Mr. Ryuuzaki lifted his head from his drink. "Ahh... Mr.Cranston." He
walked over to his soon to be partner and patted him on the shoulder. "Mr.
Cranston." He shook his hand then bowed. "I was just being entertained by
my daughter." He motioned towards the blue haird youth. "Umi! Come meet
Cranston ,Lamont Jr."
Umi looked up from Hikaru and smiled. The smile quickly lost it's color as
she spotted Emeruald. "Em.... Yes father." She walked over to the small
gathering taking Hikaru with her. Her eyes sparkled with unshead tears.
"Good evening Mr. Cranston." She bowed. "It is a pleasure meeting you." She
turned to face Emeruald. "And are you a guest of Mr. Cranston?" Umi looked
into the other girl's eyes. Her heart was pounding in her ears. ''Magic
Knights please save Cephiro...' The childlike voice rang in her ears.
"Umi dont be rude!" Mr.Ryuuzaki laughed and apologized for his daughter's
Lamont relaxed as he smiled back at the older man, which was a funny thing
to think of him, for Lamont had been around for longer than he had. Gray
was beginning to enter Mr. Ryuuzaki's hair, but that was the only
difference from the last time Lamont had seen him a decade ago. "Excellent
to see you again, Ryuuzaki-san! And it's great to be welcomed again so
warmly into your beautiful country.", he said shaking his hand in a firm
but hearty grip. Which was true. Next to America and China, Japan had a big
place in his heart.
His eyes met those of his soon-to-be partner's beautiful daughter. She was
slightly tall for her age, long sapphire hair a shade lighter than her
father's fell to her back, and a pair of sea-blue eyes to complement it.
Umi Ryuuzaki. Didn't that mean something like "Sea of the Dragon Blossom"?
A blossom she was indeed. She had the looks of a model about her, Lamont
could bet any she was very famous among her peers, not just because of her
father and mother.
The Shadow smiled as she was introduced, then he bowed in true gentleman
fashion. "A pleasure to meet you, Umi-dono." He flashed a smile at her
father. "Your father didn't tell me he had such a beautiful daughter."
She suddenly asked him if the blond woman was his date, who he had been
holding protectively the whole time. He chuckled at what her father had
thought to be rudeness, held his other hand up in understanding at the
girl's question. "No, it's all right, Umi-dono. She is my...date." He felt
Emeraude shift a little on his arm. Something was in the way Umi was
staring at Emeraude bore...familiarity and astonishment.
'Magic Knights please save Cephiro...'
Emeraude heart jumped at those words that had suddenly appeared on her
mind. It was not her own thought, she knew. The thought came from that
pretty blue haired girl that now stood before her. 'Knights...Cephiro...'
she pondered silently, her face betraying her thoughts as she smiled at the
people around her. 'Saving the land, is that what it was? What was the
threat of pillar?'
Instead, the pretty maiden smiled at Mr. Ryuuzaki. "No," she smiled gently,
"no need for an apology. I am a guest of Mr. Cranston Jr. and it is quite a
pleasure." Emeraude looked at Umi, noticing the girl was trying to hide
some sort of uneasiness. "I think your daughter is quite amazing. My, do
you not agree that she is quite beautiful and elegant. Do you play a sport,
Ms. Umi Ryuuzaki?" she said, trying to erase Mr. Ryuuzaki stern expression.
Hikaru looked at Umi's expression and noticed exactly what was troubling
her friend. Forcing back a shroud of tears she stepped forward and smiled.
'Is it really you?' Hikaru thaught glancing at the girl before them.
Everything that had happened flashed in the memory like it was
yesterday...that sad battle, the tears full of regret, Cephiro crumbling,
my wish when I had become the new pillar. Hikaru then noticed the man
before them. 'Mr. Cranston Jr. they said his name was...' She thaught."Oh!
I feel very rude. Mr. Cranston, my name is Hikaru Shidou!" She said
cheerfully, extending her hand to shake his.
'That's it!' Emeraude said, taking in what she saw from Hikaru. In an
instant, she once again relived the pain and horror that she once faced. 'I
fell in love,' the sea-eyed girl thought slowly. 'the land crumbled and was
put to pain all because of my foolishness...'
Then she froze. Seeing Hikaru's wish as the pillar after her, Emeraude
frowned slightly. Sometimes she wondered why she did not do the same. The
golden haired maiden always thought that it was because she did not wish to
put that heavy weight on the shoulders of the people. But another reason
came to her.
'Maybe i did not trust my people to lead themselves,' Emeraude wondered
silently, realizing it. 'Could i have thought that?'
Umi gave a smile still uneasy. "I fence..." 'And save strange worlds...'She
added mentally to herself. "I believe Hikaru is hungry plus we're planning
on seeing Fuu before the night is over. We should be going father. It was
nice to meet you Mr.Cranston." Umi bowed and then bowed to Emeruald. "And
you too Miss."
Mr.Ryuuzaki shook his head watching Umi drag Hikaru off. "Always been a
funny girl but she is turning out to be a very pretty young Lady. I wish
her mother could see her." His features strained. "Mr. Cranston please
enjoy yourself. We'll talk about
buisness matters later."
Umi shivered. "Emeruald! I know it was. Somehow someone brought her back.
First Nova and now... Hikaru do you think that was what Cephiro was trying
to tell us?"
Arista lowered her serious expression a tad, petting Leala who was at her
side. The guards stood quietly, uncertain expression on their faces.
"Do you not believe me?" she asked them, clutching her flute in her other
"Do you have proof of this?" the left guard asked her.
Slowly, she unhooked one of her long beautiful earrings. Within a moment, a
hologram of Eagle appeared. A picture. Arista winked at the guards. "Is
this not Eagle Vision?"
The two observed the image. After what seemed like eternity, one guard
said, "It is...indeed. I have seen him once wandering the palace with the
"Then let me through," the lavender-eyed maiden commanded. "I have business
"Yes, ma'am," they said, bowing to her, letting her through.
Once inside, she observed the palace. The walls were decorated with care
and in them were engraved sceneries. "Even the inside is beautiful," Arista
Celeste whispered softly. She came across one of a beautiful woman with sad
long hair. And another of a young girl with her hair tied up in along
braid, a happy smile on her face.
'Who can these be?' Arista wondered. STill looking at the engravings on the
walls, she bumped into someone heading the opposite direction.
"Oh! I'm sorry about that, are you--" the girl stopped in mid-sentence, the
smile on her face frozen. "It's you, Zazu, it's been a while, wouldn't you
Lamont turned his attention to Umi Ryuuzaki's companion. A few inches
shorter than her friend, she had a small delicate frame, long scarlet
braided hair, and crimson ruby eyes to match. A brilliant smile was upon
her lips, so warm and sincere it
demanded an answering smile from him. Which he did. She extended her hand
"A pleasure to meet you too, Hikaru." A powerful aura was peaking in his
mind from her. From her and Umi. Lamont's mind was perplexed and a little
confused...why was he running into such powerful presences lately? First
Emeraude, then the evil
presence he'd felt in his mind from the Sanctum...and now these two girls?
Umi and Hikaru were obviously of this world...yet something wasn't quite
right about them. Hikaru especially. She had an aura almost as high as
Emeraude's. He had to have some things cleared up.
He raised his hand and shook hers as he very gently touched her mind.
Nothing deep. Just a surface brush.
And almost regretted it, for Hikaru had an open mind.
Everything slammed into his head with full force, almost like smashing into
a brick wall. A field trip to the Tokyo Tower gone awry. A land where Will
determined all, now under strife with the absence of its ruler. A
legend.Three girls...what?! Umi, Hikaru, and a third who wasn't here?!!! A
quest to save that
world, with a sorowful end that none of them had expected, for they killed
the Pillar. His grey eyes flicked to Emeraude. If she had been killed, why
was she here now?
That was not all. Now he saw the same three girls return to a dark and
desolate land. Three gigantic ships en route to conquer the weakened world.
Battle after battle, fighting monsters, giant robot-like things. Blooming
loves, a man in dark armor. An evil girl in black with hair a shade lighter
than Hikaru's constantly
tormenting her. And a hideous being borne of fear, whose only desire was
to conquer the world. This creature was defeated, and light once more
flooded the world. All was happy.
But not for long. A seriously burned woman, Hikaru's mother? Three young
men who had barely survived a car accident, her brothers? A pale woman with
blue hair, bedridden. Umi's mother? Was this why Mr. Ryuuzaki and Umi
seemed so subdued this night?
And a dead teacher.
That was Kobayashi Ryo, his old friend! The third of these girls was
actually connected to him?!
Abruptly, Umi pulled Hikaru away with her and Lamont's hand came down.
Leaving him just standing there with his mouth half-open and cold sweat on
his brow. Mr.Ryuuzaki appeared not to notice this as he told him they would
discuss business later. His host walked off after wishing him a good time.
It seemed there was more to this than met the eye. So much more. And now
the Shadow was just beginning to get into the thick of it. He turned to
Emeraude, for once he was uncertain of what to say or do.
Hikaru stared at her friend still somewhat shaken that Emeraude was
actually alive. " Perhaps, but there are also some other problems going on
in Cephiro." She remembered words once said, ' The Pillar is like the land
itself' "Umi, do you think it is possible for me to sense what is happening
in Cephiro? I am the acting pillar and I have been feeling disturbrances in
my dreams and other times when I am alone...it's like the people want a
leader or something...I just can't put my finger on it..."
Emeraude watched as the two young girls left. She felt Lamont's eyes on
her, but she pretended not. Like her, he knew everything. "Will you excuse
us, Mr. Ryuuzaki?" she bowed slightly, showing her respect. She quickly
grabbed the shadow's arm and pulled him out of the room.
"I know you're wondering why I'm still alive," the attractive young maiden
spoke softly. "I, too, wonder it. I saw what both those two girls saw in
A certain sadness crept into her eyes, yet her lips smiled. "They're the
one who had killed me. And Hikaru, the crimson-haired girl with fiery eyes,
took my place. However, now Cephiro has no pillar..."
She closed her eyes. "I dont know why I am telling you this..." Emeraude
paused, slightly grimacing. "other than the reason that I did not want to
put the weight of Cephiro's well-being to the people, I also had doubt that
they would be able to manage peacefully..."
Zazu's dark brows pulled together as he stepped back from the door he'd
just knocked upon, hearing the smooth, creamy voice of she who had
seemingly bumped into him... not watching where she was going... Drawing an
austere look about him, the adolescent turned to face his assailant, just
as he heard her speak...
His bright, tired, mahogany brown eyes settled upon the sight of she...
reflective, violet pools glinted back at him... a knowing and calm air
about her... Who... was she.. And then it hit him. But how he had ever
forgotten her... eluded him.. Zazu's face paled and he caught up his
mouth, closing it respectively,
".. Arista..? what... I thought that... I mean.." Zazu trailed off,
allowing his voice to quiet as he gathered his wits about him. A blush
crept to his cheeks in embarrassment, and he looked back up her, an
apologetic air about the boy... "I never expected you to... what, with
Eagle and all.. these are hectic times..
The boy smiled right then, and sighed. After all this time, after all he'd
been through and all the time he and the aforementioned young lady had
spent apart, all he had to show was lack of manners and respect..? He knew
where he wronged... "It's good to see you again. I've missed you." Zazu
straightened his hat, again, for the umpteenth time, suddenly overcome with
a subconscious onslaught..
Arista's sweet laughter rang. "Why, I missed ya too!" She grinned.
"Well...you got a bit taller, keep it up and you'll be taller than me!" The
pretty girl winked. "And who did you think it was? Of course it's me,
For a moment, her eyes reflected a certain sadness. "Yes, I have been
gone.After Eagle passed, Dad and I couldn't really get along. He was all on
modern technology. But now I'm back!"
A grin broke from her perfect red lips. "Besides...I wanted to know what
Cephiro was like," she winked, showing her flute to Zazu. She brought those
red lips of her to her flute and played for him.
Nova suddenly opened her eyes as she felt what seemed to be someone seeing
inside Hikaru's mind. She looked up and said, "Who is that...and what will
he do to Hikaru now that he's seen all that? Furthermore, he now knows
about me, as well. But is he an enemy...or a friend?"
A storm was brewing outside the window of a young man known to few as Chad
Geric. The rain was pouring like mad that night as the youth tossed and
turned in his bed. The dreams were taking place once more. The visions of a
land of prosperity and beauty being torn apart by two lovers that seemed so
very familiar. The couple looked at each other with great sadness as they
placed two babies in a capsule and
sent them through the dimensional rip directly to Earth. The two capsules
split courses and thus,the two infants took two separate ways. One landed
in a park and was found by Chad's parents,Esther Geric and Dr.Thomas W.
Geric! And the other..Was seen on a ship filled with secret agents of some
sort. The ship had the strangest symbol on it's wing. The symbol was of a
black lotus flower. The next part of the dream was even worse. Three girls
from Earth were summoned to fight this sad couple. The battle was horrible
and turned out for the worse! The woman begged the girls to kill her,and
through much regret,the three young women did just that! Now the vision
switched yet again. It showed the baby that was found by the "Black Lotus"
people growing up and turning out to be a white haired young man wearing
shades and a uniform. The other baby...Was the most confusing. The baby was
seen growing up into Chad himself!! The thunder crashed once more louder
than ever and Chad sat up covered in sweat!! The young man was breathing
heavily and wiped the sweat from his forehead. "The same
dream..............Again." He said to himself looking at his hands. "What
does this mean? Why do I keep having the same dream? Am I really.......That
child?" Chad said laying back down staring at the
Elsewhere,metal doors opened to reveal a young man with long,white hair. He
was walking next to a taller,and older man with a beard and a sophisticated
look about him. "I believe we've located him. The man known as the
Shadow,Kyle. Are you willing to track him down?" The man asked the white
haired youth. "If necessary, yes,I'll take the mission." The youth
responded. "Do you want me to eliminate him,General?" Kyle asked.
"Negative. No such actions will be necessary. If he's who we think he
is,all we need you to do is apprehend him and bring him here. We need to
ask him some questions. Then we'll talk about the elimination procedure
ifthat's what has to be done. Until then,he'll more than likely investigate
recent happenings at this school." The General said pointing to a map. The
map on the
computer zoomed in on the whereabouts and gave a pictorial description
about the school. "There,we need you to gather information on the students.
"In any of them have seen the culprit behind this bombing then perhaps we
could question this
person and even get them on our side! Besides,maybe you could find that
brother of yours down there and get him to join us as well!!" The General
said chuckling a little. "I would much rather him not join the ranks of
Black Lotus,but if this is truly necessary,then I do want to meet him at
last. I want to see what kind of a brother he'll turn out to be.
And....I'll makesure that this culprit is located...I'm pretty sure it
would have to have been the Shadow. He is the only one that has such
elusive abilities. I highly doubt that anyone else in Japan has this
capability." The General's face showed a bit of concern as helooked down at
the youth he had raised to be a spy and a soldier for the elusive Black
Lotus organizations. If anyone would have a chance finding The Shadow,it
could be Kyle!
Clef sighed and looked sadly up to Ascot sorry to hear about his seijyuus
and the rest of the planets suffering. "Some people think that deep down
inside, others are truly evil and need others to rule over them. Others
think that inside, others are truly good and can govern themselves. This
must have been what Hikaru thought the way she had left Cephiro."
"But what do the people of Cephiro have inside of their hearts if this is
happening? I do not think that anyone is evil, but then why do they doubt
and cause chaos to break loose when the good in their hearts is able to
stop all this from happening?"
"Maybe everyone has a bit of both inside of them but are unable to stay
living free of worries without a strong heart and someone to guide them and
watch out for them. Perhaps this is why they want a leader again and
possibly a pillar while we disagree?"
"There is more then one answer and one reasoning to why Cephiro is
struggling again but even though I do know many things, I don't know
everything. Maybe you'll even find the answer yourself Ascot." In
Clef'stalking he was too preoccupied to hear the knock on the door, but now
instead he heard music very closeby. With another nod of his staff thedoors
slowly crept open for them to see Zazu and Artista.
"Representatives from Autozam," Clef greeted bringing up two more chairs.
"I'm sorry if you encountered any trouble on your way here and apologize
for not sending anyone out to meet you. Please come in and sit down."
Arista quickly stopped playing her flute, slighty tilting her head at the
slight of the mage and the bal. She grabbed Zazu's arm and came closer to
the two. They had quite serious expressions on their faces, Arista
observed. So she smiled brightly. The girl truly had a bright smile that
even the darkest thoughts can be put aside for a moment for a smile to be
returned. "Please put those serious expressions aside for a moment and
smile. You never know whose day you can fill with sunshine..." Arista
turned to her companion. "Zazu, won't you introduce me to these two
charming gentlemen?" Noticing a chair behind the two men, she noticed
there was someone sitting in there. "Or should I say three?"
Then she laughed at her sillyness. "Why dont i just introduce myself by
myself?" Arista noticed that Yil and the brown-haired youth taken aback
byher personality. True, it was too cheery. She had always been accused
ofbeing care-free, too care-free. It was quite a shock to all of Autozam
when she grieved for her brother.
Still holding that bright, radient smile of hers, she stepped forward for a
proper introduction. HOwever, her cute pet snuggled at her side.
Aristagrinned. "How rude of me! This is Leala," she gestured to her
adorable pet,her gray-violet eyes laughing. "And I am Arista Celeste
Vision, sister of Autozam's former commander,
It was all so vivid yet unreal. But Lamont Cranston just knew it had all
really happened to Hikaru Shidou.
His brow was still in a cold sweat from what he had learned from the
MagicKnight's mind, and all that in a second. Emeraude was staring into his
eyes questioningly. Magic Knights. Cephiro. Two great battles of trials
andtribulations. The first had ended in sorrow for they had slain the
Princess, the very woman next to him, with their own hands. The true and
tragic legend behind the Magic Knights of Cephiro. No wonder Magic Knights
had to come from another world. No one of Cephiro could lay a hand on the
Their return had ended in pure joy. The entity named Debonair had been
destroyed and Hikaru had at last come to terms with her own black
shadow,given life by her own guilty conscience at slaying the Princess.
Lamont could sympathize with Hikaru. Even until now, he himself battled the
darkness within, using it to
fight shadow with shadow.
He felt that somehwere inside Hikaru Shidou's heart, this dark side of hers
still lived. For he had felt something looking back at him with fear and
apprehension when he was probing the Fire Knight's mind.
He reached out with his sixth sense, tried to touch the being within
Hikaru's heart. "Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you or her..."
No answer from the being, or maybe not yet.
It seeemed to Lamont people close to the Magic Knights were getting
hurt,and quite recently at that. Her brothers had narrowly survived a
hit-and-run, her mother had been burned. Umi's mother had contracted a
strange disease and was bedridden.
Lamont felt he would have to play ignorant at this fact, pretend he didn't
know this in front of Mr. Ryuuzaki and his daughter, the Water Knight.
And then there was the death of Kobayashi Ryo, the math teacher of Fuu
Hououji, who he hadn't met yet. From what he understood, Fuu was Ryo's star
pupil in class.
Someone out there, not of this world, most likely from Cephiro had a
vendetta against these Magic Knights. That vendetta had gotten an old
friend and trusted agent of his killed. Now he was angry.
And the Shadow wasn't at all a good person to be made angry, even by an
Lamont turned to Emeraude, hung his head a second at her words, then
reassuringly patted her shoulder. Her skin was smooth and deep and
golden,as was the dress she wore. "It's all right that you're telling me
all this.I will be able to help you." A pause as he thought of her next
words."No...don't think like that. I am sure you were acting for the good
of yourown people. There are times that if power is entrusted to a
collective body, it could erupt into chaos. I'd say you were doing the
He thought a moment. "Hikaru Shidou's idea of a democratic pillar was
certainly a noble idea. That way, the planet's state would not be
determined by one person alone. But I felt from her mind that trouble is
brewing in this land you call Cephiro."
Lamont gestured back to the doors and the party behind them. "We will talk
more later, though I've already learned much. Come, the party has barely
begun. There are a lot wishing to welcome me, so it's best I won't keepthem
waiting. Like I said before I will be near if you need anything." He smiled
reassuringly, gently took her arm and led her back inside. "And one last
thing: have you any lodgings? You are welcome to stay in my house here if
Emeraude shook her head slowly. "You mean...a place to stay for the
night?No...I do not." The princess remained silent. "I am...grateful for
your offerbut I do not have anything to pay you with..."
The kind words that Lamont spoke still echoed in her mind. Still, it did
not make up for how she felt inside. Everytime she thought of Cephiro, her
heartturned cold as her stomach felt unbearable but she refused to show any
emotion.Now was not the time. Remembering Hikaru's wish for the people to
govern themselves, the sea-eyed maiden grimaced slightly. Emeraude always
thought thepeople had no practice ruling themselves, she was just afraid to
admit it andnow she has.
'So Lantis is also back...' the pretty woman thought silently. 'How can I
face everyone after all that I've done?'
Emeraude shivered a bit as a chill ran down her spine. 'I shall have to
talk tothose two knights...and the third also...apologize for everything
i've put themthrough, although, that would not make up for it...'
A certain apprehension seeped through and into the young mechanic's eyes as
Arista took him into the room, spoiling any sort of grandeur he had about
his being. Though... it really was an absurd notion... these were his
friends. What should he feel threatened by..? He sighed, inwardly, and
observed the characteristic and cheery demeanor about his old friend's
sister... he might learn a thing or two about her... Zazu sweatdropped at
the large and furred animal that pushed passed the two. Arista did have
the look of her brother, and aspects of his kind nature, but boy, Zazu
laughed to himself, he could almost swear that she was not of Autozam
She seemed almost... Cephiran... in a way.
The youth waited not for reaction, and instead drew his designated and
formal self about him, and motioned towards the tall, dark green-eyed young
man. The boy in turn grew his expression formal also, but regarded Arista
"This is Bal Ascot, chief spirit summoner in all of Cephiro.. " Zazu
murmured to his friend, from whence he looked to the regal being of the boy
with his hair tied back, "That is Prince Ferio, younger brother to the late
Emeruade-hime... I'm sure you remember her, ne..?" Zazu's features grew
soft a moment, remembering how much the former Pillar's death had affected
all of Cephiro's inhabitants. Indeed, Emeruade-hime was a hesitant
subject. He didn't much care for dampening the spirits of any reminiscent
Sighing nonetheless, he motioned towards the slightly-built boy who bore
the ominous and significant attire that hung about him; his blue eyes
glinted and spoke of a time, of many times; they spoke against his young
appearance and commanded a neccessary respect... Zazu never could
understand the age factor in Cephiro..
"That is Guru Clef. Master Mage... all members of the High Council here in
Cephiro, Arista. I've come on a business call to discuss these recent
happenings in this province, for they seem to be connected to happenings in
Autozam... I'm sure you understand what I mean.." Zazu trailed off, and he
bit his lip.
They would no doubt be interested in learning of Arista's purpose here in
their land... why, they would most likely be interested in learning of
Arista's presence entirely! Eagle Vision had played a large part in their
lives, as all of a figure head, an enemy, and as a friend. To be just
learning of his supposed sister..? Zazu nearly groaned right where he was.
Ascot regarded Clef's words silently, though feeling words were not
necessary, also at the same time, feeling no words for him to say. He
sighed, and his expression darkened. The arrival of... Zazu.. and a young
woman of slight build, and sparkling violet eyes brought him to, and he
payed full attention, rightly feeling an intrigue creep through and into
The introduction of she was made clear... though.. Ascot frowned. Sister
to Eagle Vision..? How could that be? Wouldn't they have.. heard of it..?
This was just as bad as the situation with Lantis, upon the arrival of the
Magic Knights. The virecent eyed youth barely nodded, albeit curtly, as
Zazu introduced him. Eagle's sister... this would complicate things...
wouldn't it..? The boy cleared his throat, and fisted his hands once.
"Go... gomen nasai, Zazu-san... Celeste-san.. I was not learned of
Eagle-sempai's family, save his father..." Ascot paused, cursing himself
for sounding the hesitant idiot... the boy he was *before*.... He shot a
sidelong glance at first at Ferio, and then at Clef, reflecting the 'agony'
that was apparent within him
through his fair visage. "How and why are you come, Celeste-san..? Surely
you know of... our dilemma.."
Umi stopped running about the refreshment table and took in a deep breath.
She put a trembling hand to her chest. "Emeruald. I dont think she means
any trouble but that is definately Emeruald. I dont know why... Hikaru.."
She watched her friend. "I think that Cephiro would call out to us. We all
know that something strange is going on... but didn't you turn the pillar
ship over to the people of Cephiro?"
Umi bowed her head in thought. "Do you think Fuu would know anything?" It
was just a question. She doubted that anyone of them knew more than the
other. "Could you take us to Cephiro somehow? Would there need to be all
three of us at Tokyo Tower or could we leave from any where?" She shivered
looking around the room. Ebony shadows clung to the walls of which the
light seemed not to throw away. The shadows hung heavely in the area and as
she raked her brain they had not been there before. Only minutes ago.
"Hikaru..." Her eyes shifted to each shadow, a possible danger. "I dont
even feel safe here surrounded by people anymore. "Umi shide away from the
darker shadows and took Hikaru's hand.
Emeraude noticed Umi and Hikaru leaving to go elsewhere. "Excuse me, my
good sir," she bowed slightly to Lamont. "I have ...other matters to attend
She left the man staring at her as she went. "Miss Umi, Miss Hikaru!" she
called to them, not too loud for Lamont to hear but loud enough for the
two. "Please...Do not go."
The princess of Cephiro saw the young girls' heads turn. They looked at her
in surprise. As she caught up with them, she whispered. "Please, Magic
Knights...I need to speak to you..."
The girl who rivaled even Emeraude's beauty felt her smile falter. "They
call me Arista but Celeste is fine, too," she told the young man. Ascot,
his name was. "I doubt you have heard of me before. Not a surprise since I
do not like to take part in Autozam's biggest achievement, the technology
that creates the lack of nature in our world. But I do use some..." Again,
she pulled on one of her long beautiful earrings and revealed the hologram
of Eagle. With another touch, the image was gone.
"I haven't been in Autozam for the last two years since my brother had
passed but i heard of the sudden illness there but," she petted Leala
gently, ignoring her questions about Cephiro she had in mind, "instead, I
came here to see for myself. I had heard that Zazu was dealing with matters
and that Geo was sick himself," Arista explained, no longer smiling.
"My business here...is unknown even to me, but I'll do what i can to
help..." Arista paused, smiling, but even her lips were not enough to hide
the expression in her eyes. "My brother died for this land and I wanted to
come see it." Her voice remained calm and smooth, a bit more serious than
it had been, though not too serious. "I only felt like there was something
here that i needed to see...or someONE rather. Those two ladies engraved in
your walls...might I ask who they are?"
Hikaru looked at Emeraude. Shivering she felt why Umi felt somewhat awkward
about being around all these people. It was like someone or something was
watching them or something. Hikaru felt uneasy about talking to the girl
that they had once killed with their own hands. Balling her hands into
fists, Hikaru felt warm liquid run between her fingers...'her blood was
spilt by our hands.' Hikaru spoke, "P...Princess Emeraude, what is the
Nova heard Lamont's words. She responded to him by saying, "You know what I
was thinking? But how? Who are you? If you're not our enemy, then at least
tell me that."
Lamont Cranston smiled, gray eyes shining humor. "No no, you don't need to
pay me. I don't ask for it. Your safety is all that counts." He watched as
the Princess from another world bowed at him and moved after Hikaru and
Umi. He inclined his head as well in a nod. Whatever she had to talk about
with the two Magic Knights, he hoped it would solve things between them a
little. He understood much already about this whole Cephiro factor. Almost
as if he had been there. He nodded as she moved off. "Well, I'll see you
Lamont sat at one of the main tables, and smiles, bows and handshakes were
exchanged everywhere. People of Mr. Ryuuzaki's company or just minor
businessman were seated around him, wishing him a warm welcome as well as
clamoring for his attention. On the outside, he nodded politely showing
interest, asking some half-hearted questions of his own. But his mind
wasn't quite with him.
The dark entity named Nova responded to him, asking him who he was and how
he could see into Hikaru's mind. In his mind's eye, he saw her. The
resemblance to Hikaru Shidou was unmistakable. Her hair was pink where
Hikaru's was red, she wore a black skintight suit with an alien white armor
over it, and her ears were pointed like an elf's.
Her aura was dark, yet he felt no malice from her. "I can see into people's
minds and hearts. Your friend Hikaru has quite an open mind, a contrast to
her powerful will. Nova...I understand you. You are all of Hikaru's darkest
thoughts and desires. Yet you loved her and wanted the best for her, which
was why you believed Debonair at first when she said Hikaru hates all those
she really loves.
"You and Hikaru became one, but now you are seperating once more, a result
of the pain she feels at what has been happening to those dear to her
heart." He explained the recent occurences to Nova.
"My name is Lamont,", he finished. "And I'm not an enemy. I will help you
all, for I have a personal stake in this matter."
"Let us go to a more private place to talk," Emeraude said, a grim
expression on her lovely face. She lead them to a corner. "Listen, Magic
Knights, I must say that I am extremely sorry to the very core of my heart
for everything that has happened..."
"I know you feel uneasy around the topic," she said to the two. "And you
have grieved. I am sorry to the deepest part of my being, although that
would never make up for it..."
Princess Emeraude looked Hikaru in the eye. "I also know of such a horrible
feeling you felt that created a shadow to seperate from the rest of your
heart...Nova. I did not mean for it to be like this..."
"Maybe if I hadn't been foolish, none of this would have happened. Not even
the happenings of the present..." Emeraude gently said, a bitter tone in
her sweet voice as she took the blame for all. "Magic Knights...May I call
you Umi and Hikaru?" A small smile formed on her red lips.
Hikaru's expression brightened up a bit. Happily she respnded, "Of cource
you can call me Hikaru! Please come along with us, I am sure that Fuu would
be interested in seeing you again, plus we have a few matters to discuss
about getting to Cephiro again...perhaps you might know, is the top of
Tokyo Tower the only place we can get back or can we go there from
Emeraude thought silently for a moment. She thought back to when she first
summoned the knights, it seemed that they had been in that same tower that
day. And the other time, it was the same place. "There is a strong powerful
bond between Cephiro and that tower...possibly be the link the our world,"
she responded, playing with the golden bracelet she had on her left wrist.
"However, I had heard that tower had been demolished and needs repair,
isn't that right? Obviously the person who did the damage knew of the bond
created by your travels..."
Emeraude sighed softly, her crystal blue-green eyes looking at them. "I
believe there is another way to Cephiro...my senses still work in this
world," she paused. "the ones I had mastered as a pillar."
"To you, Hikaru, I think your shadow in Cephiro is your link," she referred
to Nova. "And maybe that shadow in your heart could be the link for all
three of you...and yes, I would like to meet the wind knight guardian, the
one that captured my brother's heart..." Emeraude grinned.
"Debonair...she used me to try to destroy Cephiro!" Then Nova's mind
drifted to what Lamont had said about her and Hikaru being separated once
more. "It's true
we have begun to separate, but since we are not in Cephiro, I still only
exist in Hikaru's heart. But I could tell she was very sad about something.
understand. But...we cannot speak to each other. All I can do now is feel
all the pain Hikaru feels in her heart."
The Shadow nodded at that, mouth set in a grim line. "And if this keeps up
some more, you will be reborn." Lamont let his words hang, absent-mindedly
nodding at some businessman's question if he had plans to construct a new
school for the blind with Mr. Ryuuzaki's company. "And Nova...should the
sheer pain in Hikaru's heart release you again...give me your promise you
will no longer torment her as you did in the past. THAT, I feel is the last
thing she needs."
Nova nodded. "I promise I will not. I shouldn't have
before and I do regret it." Then she thought about
what Lamont said about being born again because of
Hikaru's sadness and said, "I don't think I could be
reborn now. I was born in Cephiro, so I don't think I
could come back to life in Hikaru's world."
Hands tensed up on Sandrock's controls, Quatre Raberba Winner knew that it
was now or never...
A determined look in his eyes, the boy announced quietly, "I'm heading
inside. I'll locate the self-destruct mechanism in order to destroy the new
weapons system...Be careful!"
With that, the gundam began moving through a horde of mobile dolls, slicing
a path leading up toward the base.
Upon reaching the outermost wall, Sandrock stopped, allowing its pilot to
drop through a grate on the roof. From then on, Quatre knew that he would
have to work very cautiously. Inching his way through a narrow ventilation
shaft, the blonde finally made it deep into the dark OZ base.
Dropping through the ceiling, he landed softly, a dull thud resounding on
the polished floors. As silently as was possible, Quatre tip-toed through
the dimly lit corridor, pressed close to one of the cold metal walls. He
held his gun ready, knowing that at any moment, an OZ soldier could
intercept him...He had to be very, very quiet...
Finally, the boy reached the main control room. Stopping in his tracks for a
second, Quatre looked around, peering into the dark corners of the hallway.
It was hard to distinguish anything in the poor light that was provided by
the sickly, aging neon lamps hanging suspended from the ceiling.
Fortunately, nobody was there...Good. Without further ado, the blonde pilot
entered the room and moved towards the large control panel. Hurriedly,
painfully aware that there was no time to waste, Quatre began pushing
various buttons and typing away at the keys. Occasionally, he glanced at the
faintly luminescent screen looming up in front of him.
Quatre bit his lip, growing more and more frustrated with each time that the
same annoying phrase flashed across the monitor in those disturbingly
triumphant scarlet letters.
"There has to be some way to access the files! Come on...!" he muttered to
himself, on the verge of despair.
Quatre struggled not to curse loudly. At least, not in English. He allowed
himself to utter a sentence of exasperated dismay in Arabic instead.
Immediately he felt guilt at doing so gnawing at him, but dismissed it. He
really had to concentrate!
As he was about to give up, the pilot of Gundam Sandrock tried the last
thing that popped into his mind. And finally,
The green script popping up, accompanied by a female computer voice
announcing the same thing, seemed to be the single most wonderful phenomenon
in the world right now.
"Oh Allah, thank you..." the boy murmured in relief, smiling with elation.
Now, just a few more codes to enter.
At last, Quatre had managed to initiate the self-destruct for the OZ base.
It would be blown into nothing but a pile of smoking rubble in a matter of
seconds. Well, actually, ten minutes to be precise. That should give him and
the others enough time to make it off the premises. As the young pilot
turned to go, he felt something cold and hard being shoved into the small of
his back. He froze.
"Stay right where you are, terrorist...You don't think you can destroy a
base belonging to OZ so easily, do you?" a voice sneered mockingly. "Turn
around slowly, and we might go easy on you..."
Quatre did as he was told, and was greeted with the sight of several
soldiers surrounding him. There were collective looks of astonishment at
glimpsing the boy face-on.
"Just a kid...A kid's fighting in this war?" the soldier aiming his gun at
Quatre mumbled incredulously.
The blonde pilot frowned. 'Just a kid...' he thought bitterly. He hated
being brushed off like that. He truly resented being treated like some
inferior, insignificant creature whose actions would never mean anything, no
matter what he did. His father used to look upon him that way...
"I suggest that you don't waste time with idle chatter like this...Please
surrender, and we'll all spare your lives," he told the soldiers calmly,
ignoring their expressions of disdain and scorn.
"Spare our lives?! Who do you think you are? Huh?!" the first soldier asked,
face twisted into a malignant smirk. He jabbed the end of his gun into
Quatre's ribs, kicking the boy in the stomach. "We're going to have some fun
ending your pathetic life, you spoilt little brat!"
Quatre grimaced, smiling darkly. He reached up to wipe blood from his mouth
and rasped, "This base...is going to blow up, and we'll all...go straight
down to Hell...You have...five minutes left..."
Inwardly, he shook his head at his morbid, destruction-tinged words. The son
of a pacifist shouldn't say things like that. Then again, the son of a
pacifist /shouldn't/ be fighting and killing people either. And that was
exactly what he did quite frequently these days. 'There is no other way. The
only way to end it all if to fight...There's nothing else we can do,' Quatre
argued with himself.
"The kid's right!" another soldier piped up, slamming his hand down on the
control panel and looking panic-stricken. "Damnit! Only three minutes left!"
The first soldier's eyes went wide, and his face contorted into a mask of
pure, almost bestial hatred mixed with fear. "You stupid fool!" he
exclaimed, viciously backhanding Quatre. The boy's head hit the control
panel with a loud crack. "We're all going to die, idiot! Even your little
terrorist friends out there!"
"No...they'll...get...away..." Quatre whispered hoarsely. He closed his eyes
in an attempt to alleviate some of the throbbing pain erupting in his head.
"Well, you'll be the only that will die in this place," the soldier shouted,
grabbing the pilot by his collar and yelling the words into his face. "And
we're so generous, we'll let you experience the pretty fireworks from the
bests seats in the house. Right in the middle of it all!" He laughed,
obviously pleased with his little joke. Not hesitating or giving Quatre time
to react, the man dropped the boy and aimed his gun at his chest. A smirk
flitted across the soldier's features as he squeezed the trigger. The shot
rang out, echoing in the big room, then faded. Eyes fluttering shut, Quatre
slumped to the floor in a small heap. The soldiers' footsteps soon subsided
as they hastily made themselves scarce.
Struggling to stay conscious, Quatre tried to sit up, pressing a hand to the
wet, sticky wound in his chest. He coughed, crumpling back onto the floor
again. Blood oozed out from the gaping bullethole, beginning to pool
underneath him, staining his light-coloured shirt a crimson shade.
'I'm going to die,' he realized. Oddly, he felt no regret, only a funny,
light feeling. He wanted to laugh for the strangest reason, yet cry at the
same time. Laugh because it was all his own fault, and cry because he had
killed so many people and now knew what it was like. Cry because he had been
a disobedient son all his life...
Quatre began to do both at the same time, shaking on the floor with laughter
and sobs, tears streaming down his face and mingling with his still
disgustingly warm blood. Eventually he stopped, a coughing fit wracking his
body. The hand he had covered his mouth with was covered in blood. "I'm
really going to die," the boy whispered weakly. "I...I hope the others get
away safely..." At that very instant, an enormous explosion rocked the
Before losing consciousness, Quatre thought he saw an unexpectedly bright,
white light filling his vision...
Ferio smiled, bowing politely as first the Bal arrived, then shortly after,
Zazu the representative from Autozam, accompanied by a pretty, spirited
looking young woman. The said girl bore a striking resemblance to Eagle
As it turned out, this resemblance should not have been surprising at all,
the girl introducing herself as the sister of the late Eagle. Nonetheless,
the green-haired prince couldn't help being mildly astonished at Arista's
unexpected appearance. He shrugged it off however. The more the merrier. It
would be good to discuss everything with a larger number of people that knew
what was going on.