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Nine months since she'd seen him, nine months since she'd touched him, nine months since she'd stared into his beloved face, nine months since she'd bade goodbye to the other half of her soul, her true love.
For Hitomi each day had passed slowly her dreams always full of him his touch, his smell and of course images of the mighty Escaflowne. She missed him more every day, the only place she felt her mind rest was at the running track and the shrine. Both places she'd acknowledged were where she'd been transported to Gea where she belonged.
That night Hitomi was deep within her dreams falling through darkness when a bright light bust from above her and she saw him, Van her angel, his snow white wings spread wide as he grabbed her hand and they were flying. She was clasped tightly to his chest floating gently down into a sunny field near the sea. Hitomi smiled and looked up into his eyes. She gasped horrified at what she saw, blood covered his face and deep slashes covered his chest and stomach, but his wings his beautiful wings were torn and bloodied. "H...Hitomi" he whispered brokenly collapsing forwards. Hitomi woke up tears streaming down her face. "No not again take me back please". She brought her hands up to her face and found them red with blood "VAN" Hitomi screamed. She was out of bed running she didn't know where. She knew she couldn't go on like this, she couldn't get back to him and he was hurt possibly dead. She found herself at the shrine and swiftly bolted up the stairs and round the building, coming to sudden stop at the top of the cliff behind the shrine. She stood staring at the ocean smashing against the sharp rocks below. Hitomi sank down onto her knees breathing hard sobs ripping through her. She took one look at the moon praying for a miracle, she stood up swaying in the harsh wind a sudden wave of dizziness swept through her she stumbled and fell. She saw the sea and the rocks get closer and shut her eyes thinking of him.
Suddenly a bright light surrounded her and she heard a familiar noise and looked down there in its dragon form was the Escaflowne. She landed on its neck just inches before she would have hit the rocks. She turned joyfully waiting to see Van sat at the controls. He wasn't there, choking on fear there was no-one piloting. How was Escflowne working Van had removed the energist and there was no pilot, without warning the dragon began falling back down towards the sea. Hitomi hastily scrambled down and grabbed the controls pulling them up heading for the moon. "Escaflowne give me the strength. Take me to Fanalia". The crystal on Escaflowne stated to glow and a pillar of light engulfed them.
Hitomi woke up disorientated. The air smelled different, it held the scent of wild flowers and a freshness that could only mean one thing, her thoughts were confirmed when she saw both the earth and the moon in the sky. "I'm back" she whispered ecstatically swiftly taking in her surroundings, knowing exactly where she was as she saw a familiar grave stone. "Hello Folken, Naria, Eria" she said touching the stone reverently. Tears welling up in her eyes as she thought of her lost friends. She looked around again expecting to see Escaflowne where it was left all those months ago, there was a huge empty space where it used to stand.
Hitomi jumped, spinning around quickly to locate the sound that she'd heard, footsteps she realised softly coming closer but the light breaking of twigs was unmistakable. Fear clutched at her stomach she knew how dangerous this world could be, she moved gently behind the trees at the edge of the clearing hoping they would be enough to hide her. A figure slowly appeared in the clearing head lowered but to Hitomi she was instantly recognisable "Merl"? she called hesitantly not wanting to scare her. The eyes of the young cat swiftly rose to meet hers and Hitomi saw the tears in her friends eyes. "H..Hitomi yo..your here thank goodness" Merl threw herself at Hitomi causing them both to fall to the floor and Hitomi wrapped her arms tight around her friend as she sobbed brokenly against her. Hitomi felt her throat constrict she'd seen Merl like this before, when Van had all but died. "Merl please you must tell me what's happened" Desperation lasing her voice. The young cat raised her watery eyes "He..he's disappeared Hitomi there was an attack on Asturia, he went to investigate he wouldn't take Escaflowne, an he's just vanished no-one can find even a trace of him. Allen and the crusade even Dryden has sent out every available man to find him, they've been searching for weeks but can't find him there all saying he's dead" She finished on a sob collapsing back into Hitomi's arms. Hitomi sat there shell shocked trying to process what she'd heard. "Merl you said Van didn't take Escaflowne where is it then?" Merl looked up at her confusion evident as she turned to point at the spot where there huge gymelif once rested, her mouth dropping open in obvious shock. "No it was our last hope of finding Lord Van" she said jumping up and desperately searching the clearing, dropping down to her knees crying. "Merl Escaflowne brought me here, it appeared in my world without a pilot and saved me, then a pillar of blue light engulfed us and i woke up here. I'm sure Escaflowne must be on Gea somewhere and I should be able to find it hopefully Van too" Merl looked up the hopeless expression leaving her face being replaced by the happy cat girl Hitomi knew. "Come on Hitomi we need to tell the others your here." squealed Merl grabbing Hitomi's hand and sprinting back through the forest towards Fanalia.
Walking through the streets of Fanalia Hitomi was amazed at how the once ruined city had been restored to its former glory, showing no signs of the ruthless attack it had sustained. The people however bore looks of great worry and sadness a testament to the love and respect they held for their king. The closer they got to the castle the more apprehensive Hitomi became. Van was missing, Escaflowne had somehow got a new energist and piloted itself and was now missing, there had been a new attack on Asturia, could Van have been kidnapped? Her mind was whirling with questions, and there was still the image from the dream she'd had. As they walked through the doors of the castle Hitomi was stuck by the simple elegance of the hall she had no time to gawp however when Merl picked up her pace dragging Hitomi along behind her. They burst through some doors into a huge room filled with people all shouting trying to make their voice rise above the rest. No one noticed their sudden entrance except one, the only one not shouting, someone Hitomi recognised and with a glad cry ran to.
She was swept into the strong arms of one Alen Shazar knight of Kayley. "Hitomi" cried Alen spinning her in the air. "I somehow knew you would come". He said setting her down. Hitomi suddenly blushed realising the whole room was silent and watching the scene before them. "Who are you girl to burst into this private council" boomed an arrogant voice from the front of the room. Hitomi felt the stress of the last few hours flood her system as a rage filled her. She turned to face the man head held high. "My name is Hitomi Kanzaki" Smirking slightly at the gasp of shock and the open mouths that greeted her statement. Opening her mouth to speak again she was suddenly assaulted by a vision. Van sat hands bound in a small cell, Escaflowne lay hidden in an unknown darkness, a beam of blue light landed on Folkens grave evaporating the stone leaving nothing, Naria and Eria stood smiling and turned to look at someone behind them. The images swirled blending into one another and Hitomi collapsed onto the cold floor.
Hitomi woke suddenly throwing herself up in bed. "Where am I?" She muttered to herself grasping her head looking around. The room she was in was rich and exotic, the bed was draped in wine coloured velvet and a huge tapestry lay across a wall. Hitomi dragged herself out of the bed and began inspecting the room coming to a sudden stop as recognised a familiar shirt lying on a chair. She picked it up hugging it to her chest, this was Van's room she realised again scanning the room, above the bed lay the crest of the Fanalian royal family with a minor alteration, angel like wings spread from it proudly showing the Draconeon blood that ran in the royal veins. Hitomi smiled fondly at it remembering Van's beautiful wings. Squaring her shoulders she walked out of the room determination in her every step she would reawaken her powers and find Van. Her vision came back to her Folkens grave , she began sprinting through the hallways recognising a set of stairs and rushing down them two at a time. "Hitomi where are you going, you should be resting in bed" cried a worried sounding Merl. "Its Folken Merl quickly we have to go". Hitomi shouted over her shoulder as she continued running. "Folken but he's dead" Merl whispered eyes widening as she ran after her delusional friend.
As Hitomi ran through the streets of Fanalia followed soon afterwards by Merl she drew looks from all she passed. All of the people recognised the young cat girl as their kings best friend and adviser but only a few realised who the strange girl rushing through the city was, the girl from the mystic moon and the saviour of Gea. Hitomi finally reached the edge of the forest and began dodging the trees some catching her long hair her skin and clothes as she passed. Spotting the clearing of trees up ahead she picked up her pace arriving there miles ahead of Merl. A shocked gasp escaped her as she looked upon the site where her dear friends, no family should have been and where the day before, for where their headstone once were there was nothing, not even a trace that they had ever been there. "No what's happened here" Merl screamed as she burst into the clearing and saw what Hitomi had been viewing only moments before. "He's alive Merl I saw it in my vision and Van he's alive but being held somewhere" Hitomi burst out eyes wide and excited. "Are you sure Hitomi, Folkens alive is that even possible?" And then the rest of what she said sunk in "Lord Vans okay" Merls eyes closed and she sunk unconscious to the floor. Hitomi quickly checked her friend making sure that she was okay before she sat in the centre of the trees and attempted to clear her thoughts seeing her pendent in her mind's eye she watched it swing forwards and backwards in perfect time never loosing or gaining a fraction of a second. How long she sat there she didn't know just concentrating on making the image powerful making it strong as strong as it was when she last needed her powers. She could feel the power of it streaming around her body invading her veins her blood becoming infused with strength. A loud crash behind her awoke her from her trance spinning sharply she came face to face with a dragon one of the many that guarded Fanalia. Stumbling away from it fear clutched at her then she remembered what Folken had once told her. Straitening her shoulders she looked directly into the dragons eye and stepped towards it, until barley a meter stood between them. The city guardian stayed perfectly still gazing at her for what seemed an eternity before It lowered its mighty head and dropped something at her feet, before disappearing back into the trees.
Hitomi stood staring at where the Dragon had once stood even after it had long vanished. Finally she looked at the ground at what it had left her, and felt her breath leave her body. For there innocently cradled in the grass was a her pendent, the one that had been responsible for her original adventures in Gea, the one she had seen last in Vans possession when she left.