Alright so I've never written a oneshot before, so please bear with me. This is my sixth Escaflowne story; counting the two I have currently on-running Last Person on Earth and Forgotten Words. I will warn you now that do not intend on writing more for this concept. That doesn't mean it isn't possible, because I can always be inspired in the future.
Another important note this is written in first person from Van's perspective at the age of nineteen. I have aged Van and matured him after the end of the series, but still try to keep him within character. For those who are Esca-Fanatics like me you already know when the story was created Hitomi was not the original character, but as the story evolved she took center stage. Van will always be my favorite character and I love how complex his personality is as he battles through life. I love him and Hitomi together but believe it is a relationship they would have to work at, as neither of them are used to being clear with their feelings.
An Escaflowne Short Story.
Every day for the last four years I wonder why I let her go. Was it the promise I made to make sure she got home safe? Was it Balgus's last wish? Did I just want her to have a chance at a happy normal life? Or was it that I hoped she would come back to me?
Regardless of my warring emotions on her departure all that really mattered was that she was safe and happy. That pillar of light took a piece of my soul when it sent her home. Hitomi Kanzaki, the strange, loud, opinionated, stubborn… caring, extraordinary girl from the mystic moon.
I've lost track of how many times she saved me in more ways then just by prediction. We were far more alike then I would have ever guessed. Her powers were a blessing and a curse as they brought her so much fear and pain, but she also just wanted to help. My crown and blood had similar effects on me. I didn't have much of a choice about becoming King or being a Draconian, neither of these facts brought much joy to my life until she came storming into it.
So set on pain and revenge that her light often had trouble getting thought to me during those blood soaked days. Since her departure, I've thrown myself into the rebuilding of Fanelia and that has brought me a measure of calm.
Peace also flows though me from our connection, which has remained strong this entire time. I don't… can't bring myself to ask her when she is coming back, but just knowing she is safe and loved by her friends and family is enough for me… for now.
Today as many others I send a quick through to her before continuing my day. No boring meetings or hearing complaints are on the agenda… today I hunt a dragon.
Messengers have come in of a land dragon destroying crops and property on the outskirts of the village of Arzas. If the creature has made it that much of a habit in pestering a populated area it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. Better that I go see to this issue personally than let a group of unprepared farmers face it to a disastrous end.
Well it's either I go fight this pest or listen to my advisors lecture on the merits of choosing a suitable queen… again. No thank you, I'll take the dragon gladly.
I rode out early this morning before the light filtered over the horizon. My only company the shining moons casting their mysterious glow down on me. If I waited for the sun to rise my advisors would have been there to point out that this was a job for a samurai or knights, not a king. A king had a responsibility to his country, but my people are my country. If I don't assist in this, it could get much worse very fast.
I leave the running of Fanelia in Merle's capable hands. It won't be the first or last time she deals with the daily issues while I focus on more pressing matters. The village comes into view and I can already tell that the messenger wasn't sent as soon as he should have been. Telltale marks of singed crops, broken structures, and absent livestock are present. Despite the early hour there is already a crowd milling angrily in the town square. I wear a hood to combat the chill predawn air; it also affords me a few moments of anonymity.
The armor I wear is light, but durable and it provides good movement as I will need to be quick and agile in this encounter. I hear murmurs of:
"Only a lone rider?"
"We sent for help where is it?"
"Where are the samurai? Are we not good enough?"
I dismount easily before the horse has a chance to come to a full stop. With my hood still in place I approach the center of the crowd. "Who leads you?"
A broad muscled man breaks free, striding towards me with purpose. "Go fighter, we sent for actual help not a scrawny swordsman with a death wish."
I can't help smirking under the shadow of my hood. "It seems to me you are in no position to turn away my assistance." This is quite amusing actually. Very few people speak freely with me and I find it is those interactions that show me a man's true character.
He growled under his breath. "We need experienced fighters not a single man looking for glory."
"I seek no fame here." I nod to the damage. "This is not my first experience with land dragons."
He grabbed my shoulder in an iron grip as if to shake some sense into me. I slipped easily out of his grasp spinning out of reach with a fluid practiced movement. The sudden motion causes the fabric of my cloak to slip back exposing my face and unruly hair.
Murmurs travel quickly through the group. Finally someone confirms, "It's the King." They drop to their knees heads bowed submissively.
I tap the shoulder of the large man kneeling before me with embarrassment written clearly on his face. "Rise."
He hesitated before complying. I motion to the others to also rise. "I received the messages and took a personal interest in your circumstances." Uncertain whispers travel through the crowd. "I stand before you not as your King, but a fighter that knows the movements of dragons and the best way to combat them. If a party of warriors came with me, protecting me would be their first priority. Protecting you is my first priority as it should be."
The whispers held something like awe. I didn't wait to be addressed but instead took lead as would be expected. "Now tell me where this beast nests, how often the attacks come, and if I am to face a rogue dragon or a mated pair?"
The information came plainly then. Only one dragon had been sighted but it is large and quick. It attacks in the night, making off with livestock and carving a sporadic path of destruction. The last farm to be attacked had yet to report what was missing but the damage was extensive.
Just then the farmer in question came to report his findings with a frantic looking wife trailing behind him, horror clearly on her face. "Our son! Our son is missing!" He shouted almost collapsing into his neighbor.
I strode forward, dismissing the newcomers shock with a wave of my hand. "Tell me how old is this child? Could he be hiding?"
Their eyes dropped to the ground. "No milord, he is only six moons and there is not a single sign of him." He held up a torn blanket with dark unmistakable stains on the edge. This is bad. This is incredibly bad. There is no time to waste if the child is even still alive. I mount quickly and ride the beast hard in the direction they point. Once I get close enough the animal will be a hindrance, but speed is important as the dragon has an hour head start. Hopefully I can use the animal to draw the monster's attention and mask my scent until I can get close enough to find the boy, alive I pray.
I follow in the dragon's destructive wake. Shortly after the trees close in around me the journey slows, as the horse is having more difficulty with footing. The dragon has left a noticeable path, so I dismount, leading my animal deeper into the forest. Coming upon a cluster of large rocks, I know I've reached the monster's nest. Bones crunch under foot, only animal I hope. To my right I hear a noise that sounds like sobbing while to my left I hear a heavy reptilian slithering.
I tie the horse's reigns closer to the left but move to the right. I follow the sounds to the base of a large tree. Looking up my heart lifts to see the small, scared, dirty face of a boy. Quietly I speak up to him. "Are you hurt?"
Sniffling, he wipes his streaming nose on the dirty fabric of his shirt. "No… but Bosco."
"Bosco?" I question, keeping an eye on the shadows. I don't have much time, it knows something is out here.
"My- my dog." The child sobs. Thank the gods the blood wasn't his as he seams uninjured. It would appear the dragon took his dog and he followed trying to save it.
"Stay up there until I say so. No matter what, do not come down." I instructed, moving away from his tree. The last thing I want is to lead danger in the boy's direction.
A threatening hiss sends a warning a moment before the large creature darts forward towards the frightened animal straining against his bonds. I throw a knife severing the leather binding the horse. It's fleeing has the dragon's full attention since the fear in the air doesn't belong to me.
Calm purpose flows through me as I unsheathe my sword and discard my cloak. If this thing is as fast as they say, I can't have anything hindering my movement. The beast freezes in its pursuit, sniffing the air with flaring nostrils and lashing tongue. Its head snaps towards me just as I leap forward, burrowing the tip of my sword just under its jaw. I hit the vulnerable flesh but it wasn't what I was aiming for. I intended to hit the eye but it moved almost imperceptibly fast, misdirecting my strike.
Roaring it shook hard forcing me to pull the blade free instead of stabbing deeper and ending this quickly. I land lightly, dogging to the side just as it releases a molten burst of flame, catching fire to a tree and brush. The tail swings low intending to take out my legs, but I am prepared, using a nearby rock to propel myself into the air. I land on it's back, stabbing downward between the massive shoulder blades. Deep enough to wound but not kill. It rears up bucking hard to try and be free of my nuisance.
The smoke was starting to thicken making it hard to breath and imperative that I end this quickly. The boy had begun coughing and the flames might be more dangerous then the dragon in terms of permanent damages. Do I risk a suicidal move to finish this swiftly? The answer is simple.
I yank my sword out, jumping over the huge deadly head to land squarely in front of the creature. It darts forward with snapping viscous jaws, but I am prepared, parrying with the flat of my blade. I slide just past the next lunge by a hair. Tearing fabric worries me less than the pressure on the back of my neck just before the chain snaps. For the first time in four years, I am not wearing Hitomi's pendent.
Recovering from the shock and sudden feeling of loss, I swing myself under the dragon's head slashing from one side of its neck to the other. Blood sprays out as it rears up with the last of its strength. Stabbing into its vulnerable chest, I part the flesh cleaving into the still beating heart. The beast falls with a heavy final breath. Even though I have no use for the drag engerist I retrieve it, making the blood and gore disappear in wisps of smoke. It is better that I keep it safe, then let it fall into the wrong hands.
With the death of the creature the flames seem to lose their hunger, turning to smoldering embers. The danger having passed I approach the boy's tree openly. "You are safe come down, and I will return you home."
With huge eyes he climbs down slowly trying not to lose sight of me. "Are you okay mister?"
"I've lost something very important to me, but I must get you home." I sigh, knowing I could search this whole area and possibly never find the pendent. The only thing I had of Hitomi and our connection.
The boy looks at me for a second before running right past me to where the dragon fell.
"It is gone." I raise the glowing heart-stone for him to see. "Without this, the dragon is just ash."
He kneels in what remains of the dust digging with his little hands. That's when I realize the energist shouldn't be glowing. A smaller light emits from where the boy digs. The second his fingers close around the small stone both quit glowing. Covered in dirt and ash he runs back over to me, opening his fist to hand me the pink stoned pendent with only a small tangled piece of chain attached.
I gratefully tuck it safely into my pocket. "We have saved each other it seems." He smiles hugely up at me. "Time to go home." I whistle sharply and hear the hesitant steps of my poor horse a moment later. We ride the animal back to the village dirty and stinking, but victorious.
Returning the boy with only a few scratches to his joyful parents only added to the hero's welcome. I did my best to extract myself from the celebration. All I wanted to do was find a jeweler and get a new chain, but it wouldn't be the same. The necklace she wore everyday would no longer be against my skin day and night.
I returned to the castle just as the sun was setting to annoyed advisors and a mountain of issues that all could wait. I climb to the palace roof, one of the few places people know not to bother me. Gazing up at the glowing moons, I carefully take the broken necklace from my pocket.
"Sorry Hitomi, it seems I'm still too reckless." I sigh, gripping the stone hard enough to dig in sharply. A light beating starts in my clenched fist like the thumping of a tiny heart. Surprised, I open my hand to find the pendent glowing brightly.
The air crackles with charged energy and I was momentarily blinded by the closeness of the bright light. Blinking, I tried to force my eyes to adjust. Standing before me was a tall lithe woman, no longer a child in any way. Honey brown hair kept short was tucked behind her ears. Large green eyes and a luminous smile greeted me.
Before I could speak Hitomi ran forward, wrapping her arms around my neck. "Van, I'm home." She breathed against my skin.
I pressed my hands to either side of her beautiful face. "Welcome home." With the pendent still in the palm of my right hand I kissed her with all the feelings I've been holding onto these four long years.
It started with a dragon slaying and it is somehow right that it would end with dragon slaying.
AN- I had a lot of fun writing this story. I love writing action and the happy ending is always a huge bonus. Honestly this story was inspired by a picture I drew a little while ago. If you are interested in seeing it I have it posted on DeviantArt under the penname banryuu. The title of the picture is Van04... I'm not so good at labeling the art since I can never thing what fits that I won't want to use later for something else. You may have already seen it if you frequent tumbler, a friend of mine Dunalonghorn posted it on her Escaflowne page.
As always your support it greatly appreciated. Please Read and Review.