Chapter Eleven: Jueno's Tale
Kentaro's jade green eyes focused on the direction he was flying as Bento continued to grip him tightly around the waist. Flying close by Van still confused about everything he had just seen was trying to recall anyone he knew with red eyes from Zaibach. And then it hit him like a ton of bricks.
"Can't be" he said out loud with a shake of his head, "It's just. It's physically impossible."
Meanwhile inside of Allen's home Dilandou heard the approaching guymelefs as two of his soldiers came into the room to inform him of it.
"And just when it was getting interesting" he grinned, "I guess that is your hero coming to rescue you."
"Huh?" Hitomi's eyes blinked as she stared back at him.
"I knew it would only be a matter of time before they realized that we lured them out there to get them out of the way. Gatti. Chesta" he replied to the soldiers much to Hitomi's surprise, "I believe we have overstayed our welcome for now. The owner of this house is returning" he wrapped his cloak back around him since he had removed it some time earlier, "We'll see each other again Girl from the Mystic Moon. Rest assured of that" he added as he departed the room.
Hitomi fell to her knees as into the room Merle and Yukari dashed in followed quietly by Millerna and Celena.
"Hitomi!" Merle cried as she ran over and placed her head into her lap.
"Merle" Hitomi said back gently as she patted the top of her head.
"Hitomi" Yukari replied as she looked down at her with a concerned expression, "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine Yukari" Hitomi said back with a smile, "Really Merle, I'm all right. Don't cry."
"But it was Dilandou" Millerna replied softly as she too came over leaving Celena alone in the doorway, " I mean we all saw him didn't we?"
"Yes it was him Millerna" Hitomi nodded as she got to her feet Merle still wrapped around her waist as she embraced her, "Make no mistake about it."
"But how? I mean" Millerna shook her head as Merle perked up her ears.
"Listen" she replied, "That sounds like Lord Van."
Sure enough Van's Escaflowne was the first to land and he immediately climbed out, jumped down, and dashed towards the house.
"Hitomi!" he called out as he flung open the doors, "Hitomi are you in here?"
"Van!" she said calling him to her side at once.
"Oh thank goodness" he sighed and then walked over to her, "Hitomi was he here?"
"Was he here?" he repeated, "Was it really him?"
She nodded her head slowly finally understanding him.
"Yes it was him."
"But, how can that be?" his eyes became wide at the revelation.
"That's what we were wondering ourselves" Millerna replied speaking up as she walked over, "Especially since the strangest thing is they were both here."
"Your majesty" he looked at her directly.
"Let's discuss this outside" she suggested, "I know that Allen and the others have returned as well."
"Yea" he nodded, "But not only them. Hitomi" he added turning to the other girl, "Your brother is here also" he finished seriously.
"Ken? What for?" she asked surprised as he took her hand gently in his own and Millerna walked back over to help Celena.
"Come and see for yourself. You won't believe it otherwise."
( Next Scene)
Van led the way outside where in the yard the girls could see the parked Crusade and the Crusade crew along with Allen standing by it. Next to Escaflowne, Van's that is was Gryphen with his arms crossed as he watched them appear. But the weirdest addition to all of them was the other guymelef that was not far off from the rest.
"Ken?" Hitomi said surprised as she saw him and Bento leap down from the guymelef, "Escaflowne!" she exclaimed as she stared at the machine, "Ken what's going on?"
"Celena" Allen replied at once interrupting her as he saw sister and then ran over, "Are you all right?"
"My brother" she said when she saw him, "I" she immediately collapsed into his arms.
"Celena!" he cried.
"She'll be all right Allen" Millerna reassured him, "She's just had a bit of shock that's all."
"It was Dilanadau" Hitomi replied shuddering slightly as her brother watched her expression and frowned himself.
"What?" Allen exclaimed as the Crusade crew's eyes widened, "What are you talking about?"
"It's true!" Merle cried out, "I saw him with my own eyes."
"Yes, we all did" Millerna nodded, "Right Yukari?" she asked Hitomi's friend much to her astonishment.
"Yes" she agreed with a nod of her own, "He had really scary red eyes. And was dressed in some kind of uniform."
"But how is that possible?" Van asked, "Princess you said that they were both in the room."
"What?" Allen exclaimed again as he lifted his sister into his arms, "Both?"
"Yes" Millerna nodded a second time, "Celena was with us the entire time Allen. He came in the door with his soldiers and looked directly at her."
"But how?" Van scratched his head as he eyebrows furrowed.
"Hitomi maybe you know" Yukari spoke up.
"Huh?" she looked at her friend as they all looked into her direction.
"You were alone with him. Did he say anything?" she asked.
"You were alone with him?" Van replied angrily.
"I'm sorry Lord Van" Merle said hanging her head, "I couldn't protect Hitomi like I promised."
"It's okay Merle" he replied patting her head gently, "I don't blame you in the slightest. But Hitomi did he say anything to you?"
"Let's see" she said aloud as she thought, "What exactly did he say to me? The only things I can really recall since I was so frightened and everything was the fact that he mentioned that he was a product of Celena Schezar."
"A product?" Allen repeated as he sent Kyo in to lay his sister down in her bedroom.
"Yes. He said it had something to do with science or something. Oh right, I do remember though him making it perfectly clear however that he is one hundred percent male now."
"What did he mean by that?" Van asked his frown becoming even more distinct.
"I don't know" she shook her head leaving the last part out on purpose, "All I know is you guys got here just in time."
"We wouldn't have arrived here on time if it weren't for your brother" Allen replied indicating Ken who was still standing by his guymelef.
"About that" she continued with a frown of her own, "Ken, what are you doing with that guymelef?" she asked walking over to him and looking down into his eyes directly, "And why does it look like Escaflowne?"
"That's what we all want to know?" Van nodded with a frown.
"Well I" Ken began as Bento fidgeted next to him, "I."
"Perhaps I can be of assistance!" a familiar angry booming voice spoke up and Ken along with Bento immediately froze as Jueno appeared before them.
Bento gulped as the other beast man walked up to him.
"Bento" he began his fist prepared to strike him on the head.
"It's not my fault! It's not my fault!" Ben screamed as he held onto his head with his eyes shut.
"It's not his fault Jueno!" Ken said blocking his friend and facing the other, "It's mine. I asked to take it out."
"Master Ken" Jueno replied angrily his teeth appearing on the outside of his mouth as he frowned, "Do you realize what danger you could have put yourself in."
"I know, but I had no choice. My sister was in trouble. I had to do something."
"Uh excuse me!" Van spoke up clearly angry because he was being ignored, "Could someone please tell me what the heck is going on?"
Jueno focused his yellow eyes on the young man and then his frown dissipated.
"Are you the King of Fanelia?" he asked.
"Yes. I am" Van nodded his frown also disappearing.
"The owner and operator of Escaflowne the Ispano Guymelef?"
"Yes. That's me. My Escaflowne is right over there" he pointed to the white guymelef.
"I see. Well it is an honor to finally meet you in person, your majesty" he bowed his head as Bento did the same.
"We members of the Cat Tribe have always had a high respect for the Fanelian Kingdom" he explained.
"Thank you. Now could you please explain to me why there is another Escaflowne?"
"I would be happy to" he nodded as he sat down on the ground, "Do you mind if I make myself comfortable, it is a long tale."
"Not at all" Van nodded, "Allen you don't mind if we stay for a little while here and talk do you?"
"Not at all" the knight shook his head, "But I would like to hear the story myself. Princess Millerna perhaps you should return to the palace at once and see what you can find out about the sudden appearance of Zaibach in the area."
"That's a good idea" she nodded, "I'm sure you'll fill me in on everything later."
"Gaddess" he turned to his second in command.
"Escort the princess back to the palace with the others. And then I want you and the guys to do a complete search of any leftover enemies in the area."
"Yes sir commander" he nodded, "You heard him men!" Move out!" they headed back onto the ship, "We'll take the ship back to the docking area as well" he added as Millerna joined him at his side.
"Thank you Gaddess. I will see you in the morning. Goodnight Princess Millerna" he finished with a bow of his head.
"Good night Allen. Hitomi I will see you and the others back at the palace later right?" she asked the other girl who was standing by her brother still.
"Of course" she nodded and then they departed as Allen excused himself for a few moments to check up on his sister.
When he was done he returned and they all sat around the large cat man to hear his story. Ken sat close to Bento and his sister hugging his knees while Van sat close to Allen and Yukari who was on the other side of Hitomi.
"The story really begins" Juneo began, "Long ago when the Ispano's created the ultimate weapon, Escaflowne."
"At the start of Escaflowne's birth the creator had long desired to create a weapon unlike any other. A machine that would operate according to a person's will and personality."
"Personality?" Hitomi replied with wide eyes.
"Yes, the Escaflowne is very different from any other guymelef that has been created. It acts according to the will of it's pact partner. I am sure you have experienced such situations with your own Escalflowne your majesty?" he said turning to Van who nodded.
"Yes, in the past I experienced lots of things like that. Only I didn't know at the time."
"When the creator made Escaflowne he believed that he had created the perfect machine but worried that one day it was possible that that one machine could fall into the wrong hands. Into the hands of someone who was not worthy of it. And so not only was one Escaflowne created, but two."
"There were two of them?" Van replied astonished.
"There have always been two. Because of his fear the creator made them both at the same time. They were the twin dragons. To also insure their safety in this world and the future he placed them into the custody of two groups. The first Escaflowne, your Escaflowne was created for the Draconians."
"The Draconians?" Allen's eyes became wide as he spoke.
"Yes. Those winged beings of the past who held themselves high above all others. In placing the Escaflowne in their hands the creator made an error. For they became omnipotent and soon destroyed their own world. The Escaflowne survived however and before the creator died he endeavored to place it once more into good hands. He heard of a kingdom lush with green that didn't believe in war. That kingdom was Fanelia. The king at the time was an old friend of the creator and so he placed the Escaflowne into his hands knowing fully well that only a worthy enough man such as a king of Fanelia could wield it."
"But how did he know that he was a worthy enough man?" Van asked.
"He set before the king a task that all crown princes who are destined to be king must pass in order to become the ruler and receive the Escaflowne."
"Uh" Van gasped, "You're talking about the Dragon slaying aren't you?"
"Yes. In order for a prince in Fanelia to become the next king he must defeat a land dragon, retrieve the drag energist that lives within them, and then wield his country's greatest weapon."
"That happened to you didn't it Van" Hitomi said as Ken raised his eyebrows in interest, "That's why you had to slay that dragon."
"Yes. It was the passage to become king and then receive Escaflowne. But I still don't understand. Where has the second dragon been all this time?"
"With my people" Jueno answered.
"The creator placed the second Escaflowne into the care of my kind. It's why in the past so many nations destroyed my people."
"Huh?" Merle's eyes became wide.
"You are like us" he said to her directly, "You come from a smaller tribe that was wiped out."
"How did you know that?" Merle asked her eyes widening even more.
"We are of the same blood." Juneo replied, "I sensed it the moment I saw you."
"Yes but" Van said, "Could you please get back to the subject at hand."
"I'm sorry" Jueno nodded, "I got off the track there. As I was saying my people were intrusted to protect the second dragon until it's wielder appeared."
"It's wielder?" Hitomi replied.
"Yes. Master Ken is that person."
"But how can that be?" she shook her head, "Ken's from the Mystic Moon the same as I am. He's not even from your world."
"It's not supposed to be someone from our world" Bento spoke up.
"It's supposed to be someone from somewhere else."
"Yes" Jueno nodded, "As my brother has said. My people and I have been waiting a long time for Master Ken to appear. He is the only one who can wield that guymelef. The moment he placed the drag energist into it he became bonded with it and that Escaflowne will not just bond with anyone. It takes someone with a strong heart. When Master Ken appeared in this world, we knew right away who he was. The elder knew for certain."
"Were you the ones who brought Ken here?" Hitomi asked her hands clasped together.
"No" Jueno shook his head, "We don't know how he appeared here, all we know is that he has. And now that he has my brother and I have been chosen to protect him no matter what. To protect him and the Escaflowne."
"So is this what you meant by chosen one?"
"Ken" Hitomi turned to him but he turned his face from her not really sure what to say, "I see. Well thank you Mr. Jueno for taking care of him all this time. And I am sorry if he has caused you any trouble."
"Not at all" Jueno shook his head as he stood and walked over to Ken, "He did what he thought was best in his heart."
"Jueno" Ken looked up afraid to face him, "I."
"It's all right Master Ken" he shook his head a second time, "Next time I need you to inform me when you need to take it out."
"Okay" he nodded lowering his head to his knees once more.
"Well I guess that explains it" Van stood up stretching his back, "A little. Thank you for the explanation Jueno. We really should get back to the palace."
"You're right Van" Hitomi nodded as she and Yukari along with Merle also got to their feet, "It's getting late and Ken still hasn't recovered yet."
"I'm fine" he muttered putting his hands into his pockets.
"I know" she nodded a second time with a knowing smile, "But I still think we should head back."
"Bento and I will head back to the barn. And we will take the Escaflowne with us."
"Thanks Jueno" Ken nodded, "I appreciate that."
"Yes" he nodded back as his brother joined him at his side.
"Well then" Van smiled, "Allen we'll see you later."
"Of course" he nodded back with a smile of his own.
"Tell Celena I hope she feels better" Hitomi added.
"Will do" he bowed his head as they all departed, Van and Merle astride Escaflowne while Hitomi Yukari, and Ken opted to ride in the carriage that Millerna had sent for them.
After sending Yukari to bed Hitomi walked her brother to his dark room. She closed the door behind them as he sat on the bed removing his tennis shoes in the process.
"Quite a day huh?" she joked trying to lighten the mood.
"For all of us" she grinned walking over and then sitting down next to him.
"What are you talking about? Aren't you mad at me for leaving when you told me to stay?"
"I know I should be furious with you Ken but what you did back there. If you hadn't done it then I would be in a much worse situation right now."
"You mean the guy with the red eyes?"
"How did you know about that?" she asked her eyebrows furrowing.
"I saw him. Well I didn't actually see him, I just" he placed his hand onto the back of his neck as he tried to explain.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Van told me something when we got back here."
"Yea? What's that?"
"He told me that you went to Allen's place because you felt like I was in danger. But not only that he said that you saw the Zaibach guymelefs but they were invisible. Is that true?"
"Yea. But what's so weird about that?"
"Most people can't see them."
"Really? Can you?"
"Yes I can see them. But what bothers me is how can you?"
"I don't know, I just can."
"Ken when you felt like I was in danger earlier did you feel something like deep in your heart or did you see something?"
"What do you mean, see something?"
"I mean like a vision?"
"You mean like the future?"
"Yes. Exactly. You can tell me you know. I won't get mad or think you're crazy."
"Well, it was actually more of a feeling. But I did see that guy with the red eyes. He looked terrifying and I knew right away that you were in trouble."
"I see. I wonder if this is another bit of proof about what Jueno said earlier."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean about him calling you the chosen one. I never would have guessed that our paths could be so similar."
"Look Hitomi. I don't know what I am doing here?" he sighed as he flopped back and his head hit the blankets, " I didn't ask for any of this. I still don't know why I was chosen" he added shaking his head.
"Who knows" she agreed, "I'm not even sure what I am doing here this time. But I learned something the last time I came here."
"There is no such thing as coincidence. I came to Gaia the first time for a reason just like now. I am sure of it. I am also sure that so did you. Chosen one or not Ken, you are the one that the Escaflowne has chosen as it's wielder. And that is a very high honor" she finished with a smile as he sat up with a smile of his own.
"You know what I used to think you were crazy whenever you talked about this place. Now I know this place is everything you said it would be."
"Hmm. Oh" she felt something in her pocket, "I forgot I had these" she pulled out the cards.
"Huh? You found them?" his eyes became wide.
"I sure did" she nodded, "Before Yukari and I came here I followed them all the way to the temple where you disappeared."
"Hitomi" he lowered his head, "I'm sorry, I. I never should have taken them."
"What? Really? But you were so mad."
"I was. But for a good reason."
"No matter how I look at it" Hitomi replied, "You and are I are very similar in our abilities. Especially in this world. So can I test you?"
"Test me how?"
"With these. The last time I came here I used these tarot cards to help me fight. I want to see if you can read them but I am going to warn you this power should not be taken lightly. So are you game? Are you prepared to try something that could be one of the most dangerous tasks you will ever have to do?"
He thought for a moment and then nodded with a determined frown.
"I'm not afraid."
(To be continued..)
Authors Note: This chapter turned out longer then I intended so we will see the Duke of Freid in the next chapter. Also I changed the title of this chapter to fit better.
Next Time on Draconian Origin:
"The tarot cards can be used to make predictions but you must remember that along with that comes a huge responsibility."
"I'm worried about Celena" Allen confided to Millerna as they sat in the throne room, "She hasn't been herself since the attack."
"Freid?" Ken eyed his sister.
"A Duke resides there. A young duke. Who we will need on the journey" Millerna explained.
"I don't understand why you haven't told him anything. He needs to know Millerna."
"This world gets more and more baffling the longer I stay. Hitomi when are we going home?" Yukari asked.
"It might not be that easy Yukari."
"I am so glad to see you again" the young boy looked at the traveling companions his big blue eyes shining, "Hitomi."
The Duke of Freid