Instead of updating Ivory Tales I've sort of decided to start uploading one of my other In-Progress D.Gray-Man fanfiction. I was simply curious how people would react to this story - which I personally like better than Ivory Tales, as it's a much more creative process, because I mostly leave the canon Hoshino has set for us, but still stay in the DGM universe with its Akumas, Noahs etc etc.
For a warning: This piece is set after the whole Arc incident in the Manga / Anime and even if it's different I still base this FF on the new things we have come to know and my own theories. What I want to say: there are spoilers. And just to repeat what is written in the summary; there will be (among other things) girl!Allen.
Pairings: For this and the next chapter there are no pairings, but I it won't stay like that.
Disclaimer: D.Gray-Man belongs to Hoshino Katsura
P.S.: I'm still too stupid to get the line breaks to work. Forgive me. ('-o-o-o-' signals the end of the paragraph)
Noah of Destiny
The war was going bad for the exorcists. The Earl of Millenium had finally started to move and unimaginable destruction hit the order. Of all the exorcists humanity could have had on their side only a handful were still alive and able to fight. The situation was dire and they absolutely needed something – anything –which would give them a shimmer of hope or at least some time to mobilize new forces.
"They still haven't gotten hold of the heart". The leader of the Black Order's headquarters was furiously stomping through his room. "As long as there is still Innocence we can gather new forces. I know that this is a vain attempt to win this war, but it could buy us time".
"So what do you have planned, Komui?", the female exorcist, Linali, spoke up hesitantly.
"I know that the war is wearing you out…", the supervisor said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and left his hand lingering there, thinking, "but this is something we have to do… The generals are looking for more compatibles, but there are only four of them left…". He turned to face the young exorcists. "That's why, you, Kanda, will be sent out as well". The young Japanese man frowned, while the two other youths just gasped.
"But brother", Linali started, but was cut short by Kanda:
"Why", he demanded, dark eyes intensely focused on the tall man in front of him. Komui sighed, but met his gaze.
"Because you have broken the limit recently. You will be officially made general this evening", he answered and the three young exorcists looked at Komui with surprise written over their faces. A red headed young man turned to face Kanda.
"Wow, Kanda! Who would have thought it! You are amazing!", he complimented, but Kanda just snorted.
"That's ridiculous. I don't want to go travelling, looking for compatibles while we have the Noahs and the Earl to fight", he hissed, quite annoyed.
"I told you why it is necessary. We need more exorcists or all will be lost", Komui repeated, "I fear that I cannot let you refuse, Kanda. The world is at stake". Kanda stared at him, then he grinded his teeth and looked at the floor. There was no getting out of this.
"You know that you'll be sending me to death", Kanda commented while they were heading down to Hebraska, the Innocence's guardian.
"Kanda, you're the strongest exorcist next to the generals", Komui assured him and Kanda watched him from the corner of his eye, then he turned to face towards the opposite wall.
"But not as strong as a general. You know as well as I do that a general isn't only targeted by Akuma, but also by the Earl and the Noah. I might buy you some time, but it won't be long, because my curse will use up my life very fast if I have to fight constantly". Komui remained silent, but he had his eyes closed, guilt clearly visible on his young face.
"I… am so sorry, but it's the only choice we've got left", he whispered. Kanda looked at him, then let out an annoyed sigh.
"I don't care. Just don't get your hopes up that this will turn for the better", he spat. The hovering platform came to a halt and the giant form of Hebraska appeared.
"Kanda Yu, let me feel your Innocence", she demanded in her loud, eerie voice. Kanda took out his sword Mugen from its sheath and invocated it. He held it up and a dozen of Hebraska's skinny, long arms came forward to touch it.
"The synchronisation rate it at 118 ...", she exclaimed, "Kanda Yu, you have now reached the rank of a general". Despite the tense situation Komui clapped.
"Congratulation Kanda", he told him, smiling, but his eyes were still full of guilt. Kanda stopped the invocation and sheathed Mugen, whereas Hebraska raised a hand to his forehead.
"I have another prediction for you", she spoke softly and both Kanda and Komui raised their eyes to look up at the giant exorcist. "You will finally find the person you have searched for so long. Your encounter with them will give you alone the possibility to choose the course of fate". Komui turned to look at Kanda, who didn't move a bit, just stared ahead, hand on his chest.
"Kanda…", upon hearing the man's voice the young Japanese drew himself out of his stupor and turned to the supervisor.
"I will leave, right now", he told him, a fire ablaze in his eyes which told Komui that there would be no stopping Kanda from now on.
"Don't you want to say good-bye to your friends?", the man asked, but Kanda just shook his head.
"Don't tell them about the prediction, I need to carry this burden alone", he told him, brows furrowed. Komui hesitated, but then he nodded.
"We already have prepared your new uniform. You can depart instantly"
Kanda was sitting on the back of a merchant's carriage, travelling east. He had reached the Chinese border some days ago and was still going farther. The carriage rolled over the bumpy road which wound its way through corn fields. The golden buttons on Kanda's uniform glimmered in the setting sun and Mugen rested in his lap. He had only been a General for two months now, but he had already been able to collect nine pieces of Innocence and found four compatibles, which he had dropped off at the nearest Dark Order branch. He had said the same words to all of them: We will send you to war. Brace yourself to face death. He had felt sick saying it each time. The first compatible was a man in his thirties who just got back from an outlandish war, the second had been a women, mother of four children, which he had to drag away from home, the third was a young man, who had just married and the fourth one was a young girl of six years he had picked up in India. All of them compatible, all of them destined to die. Kanda hated it; he hated everything of this ridiculous war.
Kanda had gotten word recently that they were now 30 exorcists, more than there have ever been in the Dark Order's 100 years of history, but 30 compatibles for the 109 pieces of Innocence was not much. Not if those 30 people were up against never ending masses of Akuma, a whole clan of Noahs and the Earl. All their efforts seemed quite useless.
Kanda raised his head and stared into the sky, where the redness of the setting sun was slowly being replaced by the night's faint blue.
In this moment of silence the wind carried a strange noise to Kanda's ears. At first he thought it was just the night breeze blowing through the fields and the forest trees, but then he was able to discern a melody. It was still very faint, but as the wind grew stronger so did the melody and Kanda was sure that he heard someone singing.
"Oi", he called to the merchant, who turned his head, "what's that noise?". The merchant looked at him quite puzzled then he squeezed his eyes shut as if he was listening intently. When the singing was quite loud he opened his eyes again and laughed.
"That's the forest maiden. We call her that", he explained, when Kanda just looked at him blankly, "every farmer in the vicinity keeps talking about her singing, but I haven't seen her yet. Doubt anyone has". Kanda frowned, then he turned towards the forest, a wide stretch of cornfields lay in between. By the time he just wanted to ignore the song, he saw something sparkle in between the golden fields. It was a human, he was sure of it; a delicate white figure in between all the gold. Before he knew what he was doing, he had jumped off the carriage, strapped Mugen to his belt and went into the field. He could hear the merchant calling, but just raised his hand as thanks for the ride. The singing. He had to follow the singing, somewhere in the back of his head he recognized the tune. His hands brushed the high grass as he left the cornfield. He didn't see the figure anymore, but he could hear her, so he followed the sound into the forest.
He took Mugen out and it was pulsating in his hand. Was this Maiden of the Forest connected to Innocence? He stepped farther into the forest until he got to a small clearing, nothing more than a bit of earth without trees where the sun could reach the floor. Everything was drenched in golden and red light. And into this light, hands and back on a tree, slipped a figure dressed in white. He only saw her back, not her face. She wore a snow-white Kimono, her long pale hair, loosely fixed into a red band at the middle of her back, waved in the wind. Kanda suddenly felt breathless, as if he had been running for a long time and he held Mugen firmly in his hand, already invocated. Tension lay heavy in the air.
"Oi! Who are you?", Kanda called into the silence. The figure didn't move for a bit, then she glided to the side, shoulders still at the tree's surface and faced him. Kanda's breath caught in his throat. "You…". The women in front of him held an earthy brown wooden mask with darker circling symbols in front of her face with her right hand.
"It's been a long time, Yu Kanda", she whispered with the same voice that had sung the melody, with the same voice Kanda had heard over and over again in his dreams for years.
"The sorceress", Kanda breathed, "you're the one… Who gave me that curse!!", he shouted, hand on his chest where his life-consuming tattoo lay. The woman remained silent, but Kanda took a step forward, frowning, trying to contain whatever violent emotion had seized him. "Lower your mask!", he demanded, Mugen raised, pointed at her throat. The figure did comply, lowering the mask slowly, to reveal a face nearly as white as her hair. She was otherworldly beautiful and young, very young, but that was impossible! That event had taken place 20 years ago! How could she…?! Kanda stared at her face, the tip of her mask on her red lips. She was smiling and her blue eyes sparkled brightly under the red sunlight. A red tattoo – or so Kanda guesses – was etched into the left side of her face.
"I take it my spell has served you well", he heard her whisper, lowering the mask entirely so that he could see her lips moving. The mentioning of his curse fuelled Kanda's anger.
"Like hell it did! You have no idea what I have went through because of you!", he spat, but the sorceress just chuckled, finally letting go of the tree, stepping nearer to where Kanda stood. "Don't move, witch!". The girl laughed slightly, eyes gleaming orange under the intense sunlight.
"You wanted this tattoo, you wanted its strength. And I warned you of the consequences", she told him and lowered her eyelids slyly, "but you were full of anger, of hate and of despair". She smiled and put the mask back over her face, hiding her hands in the long sleeves of her Kimono. "You wanted the power to avenge your family, to kill everyone who had taken from you what you held dear", she told him, this time with a loud voice, which vibrated from the trees, moving her arms and body as if she would perform in a ritual dance. She spoke like she had spoken years ago, when they first met. "So I gave you what you desired".
"Nonsense!", Kanda roared, Mugen still raised, but he couldn't bring himself to kill her, even if he was furious; he had searched for too long, he would now get his answers! And somewhere in the back of his head he could still hear Hebraska's prediction, though he couldn't be sure that the witch was part of it. He decided fate; if he messed up now, all would be lost. He had to control his emotions, keep his head clear so that he could intervene and would not make a drastic mistake.
"Yu Kanda, thanks to the curse you have survived a hundred deaths", he heard the sorceress call, her voice paralyzing him, "And in return for your lifetime I have taken from you, you gained strength and you overcame every injury".
"But the flower is withering! Each time I fight and am seriously injured a petal falls!", Kanda shouted, "and I am far from having killed the Earl and his army!". The white-dressed female lowered her mask, her face was calm and almost grave.
"We are at the crossroads of time", she told him and he frowned, "Both sides have to mourn losses and each side could win or lose anytime. Victory, Yu Kanda, cannot be held in the arms of the haughty. She can be the Earl's", the sorceress raised her left hand; dark, with long black nails, "or she can be yours". Kanda looked at her unmoving and silent, Mugen now lowered.
"Who are you?", he wanted to know, intrigued once again by her words, but this time he remained calm and in check of his emotions. He wouldn't make the same mistake again. Hiding her red hand in her Kimono's sleeve again, she raised her other hand to her chest and smiled at him.
"I am the Noah of Destiny. Ellen Walker is my name", she announced, her words only a whisper but they arrived clear and loud at Kanda's ears. The Japanese man stared at her. She was a Noah? He had made a deal with an ally of the Earl?! This was ridiculous. He raised his sword at her.
"Then I should kill you", he hissed, but the Noah just smiled.
"You should not", she announced and raised her hand, her index finger raised. A white, plain door appeared out of nowhere. "Let us continue talking at a safer place. That's why you came to search me. To have your questions answered". She did not wait for his reply, but opened the door which led into white nothingness and stepped inside, leaving the door open. Kanda hesitated. Was this the wrong thing to do? Would he be able to change fate by following her or by staying behind? He did not know for sure, but if he followed her, he could get some answers out of her and then he could engage her in a fight. All in all, following her seemed like the better option. So he did.
The room Kanda stepped into was white, with a high ceiling and a wall covered in mirrors. In a corner stood a sofa, framing made of white wood and the fabric was white velvet. In the middle of the room stood a white piano, where the Noah was standing. Her clothes had changed; she now wore a long black dress with a high neck, wide arms, and the fabric reached to the floor and pooled around her feet in silky folds and rich laces.
"Come sit with me Yu Kanda", she whispered to him, but he hesitated and glanced at the wall behind him; the door had disappeared and there was no other door or window to be seen. The Noah sat onto the piano stool, still leaving enough room for another person to sit. She patted the white surface and smiled up at him.
"Stop with that friendly façade, it's making me sick", Kanda hissed and strode over to her, but wouldn't sit down. Ellen Walker simply smiled up at him.
"There is no need to be so reserved. I am not your foe", she told him, raising her hands to the keys.
"Stop lying. You are a Noah!", Kanda hissed, "why did you let me find you? I wasn't able to find you for 20 years and now you suddenly appeared!"
"Because I was waiting for the right time", she explained and pressed down at a seemingly random key. A clear sound was heard and Kanda saw an armchair materialising next to him.
"And why is it time now? Why couldn't it have been 20 years ago!", he shouted. Ellen smiled at him and he was growing frustrated, "stop smiling!!".
"Please, sit down", she asked him, pointing at the armchair, "it will get uncomfortable for you if you have to listen while standing". Kanda snorted, but sat down nevertheless.
"Why did you put the curse on me?", was Kanda's first question. He decided that he would do this neatly, he had sworn himself to be calm about it.
"Haven't I told you just before? Because you wanted it", she answered. Kanda growled.
"I wanted something to grant me strength so I wouldn't die instantly, something stronger than Innocence. I didn't want to be… what I am today!". Ellen eyed him interestedly, a small smile playing on her lips.
"Then tell me; what are you?", she wanted to know and he was annoyed at their flipping of positions.
"Surely no longer human!", he spat, hand on the left side of his chest, "if you had the means to make me stronger, why did you chose that one?! Because you wanted to have a sure way to get rid of an exorcist in due time?!". The Noah started to laugh, shaking her head. "Then why?! Why you, a Noah!".
"Your determination was strong and I liked the fire burning in your eyes", she told him, "I didn't do it because I wanted to torment you. I chose to give you my gift so you would get stronger and survive until the day we could meet again"
"But why, even if I haven't gotten older for the last 20 years?! Why at the cost of my life? Your curse pushed me to constant battles!". Ellen watched him silently.
"You are afraid of death, are you not?", she asked him, which just turned him even more furious.
"What kind of question is that?!", he roared and the Noah still smiled, not offended at all.
"You should stop trying to blame me. You would be long dead if I hadn't chosen the Lotus Charm", she told him.
"I still can't make sense of it. I'm not aging anymore, but I still lose my life bit by bit. Why? You still haven't given me an answer to that", he told her, now trying to be calm again, as shouting didn't seem to impress her much.
"You are immortal and can survive any injury. The flower has taken over your mortality and will fade when you go over the limit. Small injuries and even mediocre damage which could be life-threatening to a mere human, will do nothing to the flower. But constant deadly blows will", the sorceress told him, eyes focused on his face, "The reason to why your body doesn't age is because I have taken away your mortality…". She pushed a few keys with her right hand and windows appeared at the wall opposite her which flooded the room with a bright light. Kanda turned to it and could see a town with white-washed buildings and a clear blue sky. "The reason I chose this curse was mainly to keep you alive until we could meet again. I had to wait until the right time came", she continued, "I knew it would take many years and if I let you age…", she left the sentence open and Kanda snorted.
"Why? Because you thought that I wouldn't be handsome with forty?", he asked with a loop-sided smirk. The Noah laughed and shook her head.
"That's not it, silly boy", she answered, "but people change when they grow older and you were at the peak of youth. You need this freshness now. And I couldn't be sure how long it would take; if you age, then you'll die". Kanda turned away from her smiling face, still not really believing her explanation, and looked out of the window.
"You're a Noah. Why are you helping me out?", he wanted to know.
"Because I'm the Noah of Destiny", she whispered and he looked at her, "I don't care what will happen and I don't care who wins this war. I do not stand on anyone's side for a long time nor do family bonds really matter to me", she answered. Kanda remained silent for some time, thinking over his next words.
"So you didn't pledge loyalty to the Earl or to the Noah Clan", she shook her head, "how can I know that you won't just stab me in the back?", he asked darkly, "you could be false, like your smile and like your 'gift'".
"Oh, you can't be sure", she told him quite openly, "I still have some things which connect me to the Earl and I will go on doing as he tells me for as long as I want to. But I don't think that destiny should abandon either side completely".
"Tell me why you think that now is the time to act? Why not earlier or later?", Kanda wanted to know and the Noah let her fingers glide over the ivory keys of the piano.
"I told you. We are at the crossroads of time. The war is at a decisive stage". The Japanese man frowned.
"Then what do you plan to do?", he wanted to know from the female Noah, who was still letting her fingers touch the keys lightly without actually playing anything.
"I don't know. Why don't you think of something, Yu Kanda?", the girl proposed, which made Kanda groan angrily. Ellen lifted both of her arms and put them on the surface of the piano. "Right now Destiny is in your hands".
"Then maybe I should kill you as long as you are, so that you won't go back to the Earl", Kanda replied and had the girl laughing. Kanda noticed that in the back of her strange red hand a green cross glimmered. As he caught sight of it a familiar feeling went through him, the reason of Mugen's slight pulsating becoming clear to him.
"Why is a Noah carrying Innocence?", he asked and Ellen looked up at him.
"Because I was born with it", she answered, laughing slightly. Kanda grinded his teeth and grabbed her shoulder.
"I'm no idiot, Noah! I know that you and Innocence stand in contrast like light and darkness. Noahs destroy Innocence and Innocence destroys Noahs! You can't have both because you can't serve both Devil and God!" She lifted her own hands to his, but he pulled away at her touch.
"Even though I am the Noah of Destiny I have not planned my own fate. But because I was born with both Innocence and the genes of Noah they now stand in a delicate balance", she explained raising her red hand to her ivory face, not at all dark and grey like a Noah's.
"Fine", Kanda finally spoke up again, thinking about what he could do, "fine…", he repeated and sheathed Mugen. "You told me that for now, Destiny is on my side". Ellen Walker nodded, "That will be enough for now"
"So we have established a temporal trust I assume?", Ellen asked with a smile on her face. Kanda chose not to comment on that.
"You're coming with me. To the Dark Order", he announced and Ellen's smile widened just a bit, her eyes showed mild signs of surprise.
"Very well, Destiny takes a new turn", she announced and some sort of symbol appeared where the musical score for the Piano should be. "Then let us go to the Dark Order, with this Ark of mine". She started to move her hands over the keys and opened her mouth to sing a tremendously beautiful song, which left Kanda paralysed. He didn't feel any movement at all, but after the song stopped the Noah got on her feet and pressed a key, so that a door appeared behind Kanda. Its double doors were made of dark wood and were richly decorated with gold. Her dress was flowing around her feet and dragging over the white ground behind her, Kanda had to watch his step as not to put his feet on the fabric.
Ellen opened the door and disappeared into its void, Kanda following closely. Within the blink of an eye the darkness had gone and revealed nothing other than Kanda's own room.
"Why are we in my room?!", he spat and threw a quick glance at the lotus hourglass; five petals had fallen.
"Because Noah's Ark can go anywhere I desire it to go", Ellen told him and put her hands on the glass of Kanda's dearest possession. "Hm… What warmth my dear flower is radiating…", she whispered. Kanda stayed silent until she let go of the hourglass.
"Next time don't choose my room", he told her and opened the door so they could get outside. Kanda led the way silently, only their footsteps and the rustling of Ellen's dress, gliding over the floor, resonated on the stone walls.
"This place is rather cold and unfriendly", the Noah commented while Kanda led her through many corridors until they reached white doors. Kanda didn't reply – there wasn't any need to – and opened the doors to the Science Department. He entered and Ellen followed, attentively observing her surroundings. The scientists who were still in the office raised their eyes to have a look at the newcomer.
"Kanda! You're back!", one of them exclaimed, but most of the people were too busy staring at the beautiful women behind him, who was silently smiling gently. Kanda ignored all of them and rushed to Komui's Office, Ellen following.
"Komui!", he called to get the man's attention immediately. The supervisor raised abruptly.
"Kanda? Kanda! You have returned!", he exclaimed and rushed to him to see if he was injured, "In perfect health I guess?".
"Yes", he replied curtly and took the Innocences out of his bag and handed them to Komui.
"You're remarkable, Kanda… Four new compatibles and five more Innocence pieces!", he exclaimed then he noticed the girl standing behind him. "And who is she?"
"Ellen Walker. She has a parasitic Innocence", Kanda answered.
"Another exorcist I see!", Komui replied and smiled, "welcome to our Order!"
"Thank you very much", Ellen replied with a wide smile and shook his extended hand.
"But it's unlike you to return to headquarters with a compatible", the scientist remarked and Kanda debated for some time what he should tell him. The whole truth was not possible yet, that he was sure of.
"Because I want her to stay with me", he answered and Komui raised his eyebrows in astonishment. "She is the person I have been searching".
"A… girl? You were looking for a girl?", the supervisor asked incredulously, but then a sly smile formed on his face, "ah, I understand".
"Don't go making assumptions, you idiot!", Kanda shouted, but Komui just laughed. "Che. Fine, think what you want, but I'll want her to stay with me". The supervisor stopped laughing and raised his eyebrows.
"You're taking her in as a disciple?", he asked and Kanda nodded, "but why have you refused to train the other four?"
"Because I don't want to be responsible for their deaths", Kanda answered with a grim face, "that will be all. Let's go". Ellen nodded with a smile and turned around.
"But we need to take her to Hebraska and get her a room and a uniform!", Komui protested which had Kanda groaning in frustration.
"Tomorrow!", he told him firmly, though he didn't really want to take her to Hebraska, just in case that she'll know what Ellen really is. "She'll stay in my room!".
"Kanda… I don't want to talk into your matters, seeing that you are an adult…", Komui began as the two exorcist were already back at the door, "but speaking on behalf of the Church; you have to marry her before… you know". Komui apologizes heartily as he was being approached by a furious Kanda with his invocated Mugen raised at Komui's face.
"Stop making assumptions you damned idiot!!", the general shouted and pierced Komui's hat, missing his head by just a few centimetres.
"I'm sorry!". Ellen observed the whole scene with mild amusement, but decided it was best not to intervene.
"Che. Come now", Kanda exclaimed and turned away from Komui, who was nursing his abused hat. Ellen nodded, bowed to Komui and then followed the ill-humoured exorcist out of the Science Department.
"This Komui is your superior, right?", she wanted to know as soon as they were back at Kanda's room. The man put Mugen away and took off his uniform silently, then he sat on his bed.
"Yes", came Kanda's answer, not turning towards the Noah.
"Does he know of your condition?", she wanted to know and let her fingers glide over the smooth surface of the hourglass, Kanda attentively observing her.
"He knows that I have taken a curse upon me and that I can heal fast. He also knows that my lifetime is connected to the Lotus. But he hasn't been here for that long… He doesn't know that I'm 38 years old". Kanda saw that Ellen let go of the hourglass and leant against the cold stone wall. "I have used Mugen as a weapon since I've been eight. Then, on that night – I'm sure you remember all too well – you cursed me. General Xavier found me and took me as a disciple, but we've never been to the order. Xavier knew about the curse, but he thought it best not to reveal it to anyone. He died in an Akuma attack ten years ago. On my search for you I went west and was eventually found by General Tiedoll, who had taken over for Xavier".
"So no one knows…", Ellen concluded.
"No one knows and it'll stay like this", Kanda answered, "I don't want them to put their noses where they don't belong". Ellen laughed, which angered Kanda, but then she leaned down to him.
"Very well. Your secret will be safe with me", she whispered and Kanda didn't say anything. "It is now time to go to bed, a Noah needs sleep too", she told him, then she raised her hands elegantly. A black void opened under her long dress and she glided into the ground until nothing was left of her.
"What the…", Kanda hissed and looked at the void which was closing fast until nothing was to be seen except his stone floor. After some moments of fruitless staring, he flopped down unto his bed, arms over his face. "Damn… Even if she is that person… I've let a Noah infiltrate the Black Order…", he hissed and then turned to his side, so he could watch the Lotus. "I can't know if I am saving or dooming humanity…", he whispered to himself, "only time will tell…".
To be continued
I first planned to confront you with a 10'000 words long chapter, but then I felt that it was just too much to bear. X3 So I broke it up into two chapters. The whole story is still ongoing.
I'm very curious what you think of this story so far! :3
And for those of you who wonder why I decided to write this story: In Ivory Tales I don't dare to invent a past / background for Kanda, but here I wanted to. It's a past I don't think coming true though (I would probably worship Hoshino as my new God if she decided to make it come true), that's why I feel free to let my mind run wild. I have my wish-theory that Allen could be Kanda's that-person, becaues I over-interpret (is that even a word?) the covers and I also did for the Kanda cover (of volume two) - have a look at it and you know what I mean. X3
And "Noah of Destiny" is a very cheesy title...
P.S. General Xavier is of course my invention, the idea for him came -again- from a Proseminar about China. X3