Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ In which the Five ( and their dragons) Purposely Convene ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Searching for the Sun Lands, a Gundam Wing fanfic by Raberba girl
Chapter 7 – In which the Five (and their dragons) Purposely Convene (rough draft)

« This is…Faerie? » Relena said in awe.  Dorothy had brought her to what looked like a huge…either banquet hall or throne room, she couldn’t decide.  Two thrones stood at the head of the hall, where a king and queen of breathtaking beauty were seated, but the rest of the hall was filled with groups of laughing fae, many of them eating or drinking.  Music filled the air, haunting melodies not heard on Earth.

« The Seelie Court, at any rate, » Dorothy answered.  « My own people’s halls are not so gaudy. »

Relena would not have called the bright colors and sparkling light ‘gaudy,’ but she had no desire to argue.  She let Dorothy lead her up to the thrones and introduce her to the fey monarchs.  « My Bright Lady Titania, I present to you Princess Relena Peacecraft of the Sanc Kingdom.  Relena-sama, this is Titania, ruler of the Seelie, and her consort, Lord Oberon. »

Relena curtsied, and the monarchs acknowledged her with nods of recognition.  « So this is the one, » Titania murmured coolly.  « Frankly, I would have preferred her brother, but she will do. »

Relena frowned.  « Pardon me, Your Majesty? »

Titania smiled.  « You are of the Peacecraft line, are you not? »

Oberon, also grinning, leaned forward to prop his chin casually on one hand.  « Tell me, little one, have your powers been so useless to you in your distress, that you would turn to Faerie for help? »

Relena’s face burned.  Did they know of her childhood failures?  Or were they, knowing of the Peacecraft legacy, simply puzzled that she had allowed herself to be kidnapped and carried around the country like an ordinary helpless girl?  « It should be enough that I am in need of help, » she said stiffly.  « I was promised contact with my family if I came. »

« Of course, » Titania said soothingly.  « Dorothy, look after her, will you? »

Dorothy curtsied gracefully.  « As you wish, my lady. »  Then she led Relena out of that great room, into a hallway with many doors.  One of these she opened, revealing a dim room bare except for a large mirror hanging on the wall.  « The queen prefers this room to be lovelier when she’s using it, » Dorothy explained, « but doesn’t bother to keep up with the glamours when she’s gone. »  She smiled.  « Of course it would never occur to her to use real furnishings. »

« I see, » Relena said politely, anxious to speak to her family.

Dorothy walked up to the mirror and, to Relena’s surprise, addressed it.  « Mirror, mirror on the wall, bring an answer to my call. »  The glass suddenly shone with light, filling the room with a low hum.  Dorothy stood aside and smiled.  « Come, Princess.  Stand here, and speak the name of the person you would like to talk to. »

Nervous but eager, Relena stepped forward and uncertainly spoke her mother’s name.  For a moment the mirror’s glow intensified, but then suddenly cleared to reveal a woman’s worn, familiar face.  « Mother! » Relena cried.

The queen stiffened at the sound of her daughter’s voice, but her expression did not change.  « Curse these spying spells, » she said meaningfully.  « Having your every move watched is so demeaning. »

« Wh…What? »

« Be careful, Relena-sama, » Dorothy said.  « Your mother is being watched.  Your enemies cannot hear you, but they can hear every words she says. »

Relena swallowed.  « Mother, you don’t have to speak, just listen.  I’m safe, I didn’t even know about Uesa until I heard about it in Barandeh.  I’m so sorry, Mother. »

The queen smiled and touched her fingers to her mouth, blowing a kiss.

Relena’s smile was watery.  « I wish I could be with you….  I’m in – I’m actually in Faerie right now. »

A look of alarm crossed the queen’s face.

« It’s all right, really; I’m safe.  Dorothy rescued me from Hero – from my kidnapper, I mean.  I don’t know who he is or where he’s from, but he hates Uesa and was hired by someone else to take me.  I don’t know anything else about him.  Mother, I – I don’t want to just sit in hiding when you’re a prisoner.  I’m going to find a way to save you…all right? »

The queen was shaking her head.  « Oh, I pray that my daughter is safe, that she won’t do something foolish, even with good intentions. »

Biting her lip, but not dissuaded, Relena said softly, « I love you. »

Her mother mouthed back the words, ‘I love you.’  Relena took a deep breath and touched the mirror, and it went clear again, showing only her own reflection.  « I wish to speak to my brother Milliard now, » she told it.  The mirror once again glowed – but then there was a violent flash of light, and a cracking noise; when Relena opened her eyes again, the mirror-face was clouded, with a crack along one side.

« Oh dear, » Dorothy murmured.  « It looks like that is all we will be able to do today.  Run along, Princess; it will take me a while to mend this. »

« But I want to talk to my brother, » Relena protested.

« Something is blocking magical communication with him, » Dorothy explained.  « I’m afraid that contacting him is impossible at this moment.  Don’t worry, just find something to amuse you until I’m finished.  The Seelie Court is not lacking for diversion. »

Restlessly, Relena returned to the main hall and wandered around, shying away from the creatures who seemed to be taking an interest in her.  There did indeed seem to be diversion enough, but what Relena really wanted was…well, something that was forever lost, to tell the truth.  Home, family, everyone safe and happy again.  Certainly not things she was going to find here.

« I said get off me! »

A man with dragonfly wings came reeling backwards past Relena; she looked over in surprise to see the angry speaker.  Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in disbelief.

« I may be starving, but I’m not yet so weak I can’t send punks like you crying for their mothers! »

« Noin-san! » Relena exclaimed.

The captain turned to her, the irritation swallowed by amazement.  « Princess…Relena? »

« Oh Noin-san! » Relena cried gladly, rushing to take her hands, « I’m so glad to see you!  You look…awful. »

It was true.  Noin’s clothes were stained and disheveled, her hair a mess; there were dark circles under her eyes and her face was scratched.  « Who cares about me? » Noin said impatiently.  « Are you all right, Princess? »

« I’m fine, now that you’re here, » Relena said warmly.  « Is my brother all right, Noin-san?  Do you know? »

Noin’s face fell.  « No, I don’t.  And don’t bother depending on me, Princess.  I can’t even get myself out of this mess, much less you. »

Relena frowned.  « What mess? »

Noin shook her head slowly.  « I’ve been here for days…they won’t give me anything to eat. »

Relena looked out over the banquet tables filled with food, and her eyes widened in realization.  The food of Faerie was perilous for mortals, since to taste it meant confinement in Faerie forever.  « Noin, what happened?  How did you end up here? »

Noin sighed.  « I was searching for you, Princess; city after city, and all the roads in between.  I found a lead in Barandeh, but then I got caught up in a fairy ring and found myself here. »  She smiled.  « I guess Dorothy didn’t lie after all.  She said you would be here. »

Relena frowned.  « Before I came, you mean? »

« Princess, » Noin said solemnly, « I’m not sure why these fae are interested in you, but it might have been a mistake for you to come. »

Relena suddenly felt cold.  « What do you mean? »

« Well…now that they’ve got you, they might not let you leave. »

o.o.o.o.o

The sight would have been breathtaking if there had been anyone to see it.  The five dragons came soaring down from above the clouds, circling lower and lower until they came to graceful landings at the foot of the Peacemillion Mountains.

Hero dismounted stiffly, so sunk in his own thoughts that he very nearly tripped.  Hurtling down Wing’s wing to land in an ungraceful heap would have been the humiliating crown to this awful day.  Not even the retrieval of his Gundam made him feel better.  ‘You lost the princess,’ he kept thinking to himself, frustrated by how much it bothered him.  ‘All your training, all your skill, and you can’t even hold on to a girl.’  Luckily he had not voiced that last thought aloud, or Duo would never have let him hear the end of it.

Hero looked over at the mage, who was helping the little girl down to the ground.  It seemed like the six of them were to be spending the night in the same camp, which did not suit Hero at all – he worked alone.  Yet at the same time, he needed to find out more of these other dragon riders, for all of them, even the delicate-looking prince, seemed dangerous in one way or another.  He didn’t want them interfering with his missions, which they very well might if they were all partnered with vengeful dragons.

« I know we had to leave before the dragons were noticed, » the prince was saying, « but surely we have time now to get some answers to our questions? »

« First things first, » Trowa said shortly.  « We need to get this place secure and settled for the night. »

« I’ll set up wards, » Wufei grumbled.  « Your Highness, get the food out of my bag and make the others share resources. »

« Make them? » Quatre said blankly, and eyed the other young men.

« I don’t object to sharing the food, » Trowa said.  « I can easily get more.  Hero, Duo, what have you got? »

« What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours, » Duo said merrily.

« But Duo-nii, » Hilde said in confusion, « we don’t have any–« 

He shushed her quickly.

Hero sighed.  « Whatever.  But only for tonight – I’m not about to team up with anyone. »

« Same here, » Trowa said smoothly.  « Heavyarms and I fight alone – but we do need to coordinate our attacks, so they don’t interfere with each other. »

« What attacks? » Quatre said insistently, but Trowa’s only answer was to toss him a bag of food.

Sooner than it would have taken most groups, the camp was set and the six were gathered around a fire, eating supper.  The dragons were more or less sprawled in a large circle around them.

Wufei’s partner, Nataku*, lay a little apart from the others, occasionally sighing.  Wing was huddled in a sulky lump, his back to Deathscythe, who seemed oblivious to his snub; she was blowing increasingly creative smoke rings that sailed up through the night air.  Heavyarms sat silent and upright like a huge statue, gazing intently down at the humans; Sandrock lay with her head next to Quatre, occasionally shifting closer and closer until her huge nose was practically in his lap.

« Ow, » he laughed, pushing at her head until she moved away with a sigh.  « Your scales are hot. »  He turned back to the others.  « Now, are we finally going to talk? »

« First off, » Hero said harshly, « where did you all come from? »  *no, what they plan to do*

« Same place you did, of course, » Wufei said irritably.  « Except Quatre, though his mother was from the New World. »

« All of you? » Quatre said in amazement.  « None of you are from here? »

« It’s not like an Old Worlder would understand our problems, » Duo muttered, helping himself to seconds.

« What problems? » Quatre asked soberly.  « I don’t know much about the New World, just that there’s sometimes trouble over the colonization boundaries. »

« We don’t care about boundaries, » Hilde said, « it’s Uesa and the other big countries who fight over stupid stuff like that.  It’s the way those tyrants lord it over us and squish the life out of us– »  Duo elbowed her, and she fell silent.

« Tyranny, » Quatre said slowly.  He thought it wise not to speak his thoughts out loud, but it was dawning on him that, if the New Worlders were fighting against the masters who had colonized them, they might see themselves as freedom fighters or some such; yet from the Old World’s point of view, they were traitors and rebels.  He glanced down at Sandrock, who rolled an eye to look at him.  « Where do the dragons come in? » he said instead.

« Dragons were never extinct, » Trowa murmured.  « They migrated when the Old World became incapable of supporting both them and the growing human population.  They became more cautious, hiding for the most part, though nowadays the same problems are beginning to crop up. »

« There are so few of them, » Wufei said, gazing at Nataku, who ignored him.  « Yet they have no room to grow or increase. »

« ‘Cause we humans just hate having to share, don’t we, » Duo said with a bitter smile at Deathscythe.  « Especially with these ugly menaces. »  Deathscythe snorted hot breath at him, recognizing the teasing in his words and responding in kind.

« So why are the dragons coming back? » Quatre asked.

Everyone looked at Wufei, who sighed.  « There is a prophecy, » he explained.  « We’ve lost the means of a full translation, but basically, it is said that the power of the dragons will rise again with the return of their king – an event which will coincide with a war in the human realm.  At least, that’s what I figure; there’s also mention of a gathering of five dragon riders– »  He lifted his eyebrows meaningfully at their assembly.  « –and something about a ‘peace’ prince who will lead the war, and something about the sun.  There’s a lot of debate over the meaning of the prince figure, and what the sun has to do with the war or with the dragon king, or even how literal or figurative all this is – but whatever the case, it makes me uneasy that we now have five dragon riders and a prince of the Peacecraft line who was involved with the country that forcibly destroyed a pacifist kingdom. »

This explanation, or parts of it, were apparently news to more than Quatre.  Trowa and Hero sat quietly, digesting the information, and Duo called to Deathscythe, « Oi!  Is your king gonna show up anytime time soon? »  She only blinked at him and smiled secretively.

« So, » Hero finally grunted.  « What are the plans?  I don’t want you getting in my way. »

« I could say the same, » Trowa returned smoothly.

« Hey, hey, » Duo protested.  « We’ve all got the same mission here, right?  What’s wrong with, you know, working together? »  He received a bunch of glares for his trouble.

« I wish I knew more about this, » Quatre said slowly.  « I’ve…I’ve always wanted to go to the New World, to see where my mother was born…but my father has never allowed it. »  He sighed.  « I wish I could see what it’s like for people living in the colonies, if they really are so miserable that they would revolt against their overlords. »

« Trust me, » Duo said sourly, « we have good reason. »

« Your father will be doing everything in his power to get you back, » Wufei said thoughtfully, looking at Quatre.  « Perhaps dissuading him entirely is impossible, but we probably ought to send a message at least. »

« No, » Hero said flatly.  « No messages. »

« You don’t understand, » Quatre told him.  « I am my father’s only son – I have 29 sisters.  As the only heir to the throne, I am…rather heavily guarded.  My father would resort to quite drastic measures to get me back. »

Hilde was staring at him, open-mouthed.  « You have twenty-nine sisters?! » she exclaimed.

Quatre smiled.  « Yes, I do. »

« Must be a nightmare, » Duo commented, grinning as he fended off Hilde’s retaliatory smack.

« It’s not that bad, » Quatre said.  « They are very kind to me – they spoil me, I think. »  He sighed a little.  « Everyone does.  Sometimes it’s frustrating…I get treated like a child more than I am treated like a man. »

« Which is why you’re here, I suppose, » Trowa murmured, « rather than trying to turn us in. »

Quatre looked at him in surprise.  « Well…. »  He smiled a little sheepishly.  « I admit, it is refreshing to be on an adventure like this, with you people instead of the court. »

« This isn’t a vacation, » Duo grumbled.  « We’re going to be fighting, you know. »

Quatre nodded uneasily, stroking his hand absently over Sandrock’s pale scales.

« I’ve sent the message, » Wufei announced.  « Even so, we should be careful. »

« I told you not to send any messages, » Hero growled.

« I’m not stupid, » Wufei said impatiently.  « There was nothing about our location or intentions, simply an assurance that the prince is safe and in my company. »

« Did you use magic? » Duo asked, frowning.  « You couldn’t have sent a message any other way. »

« I know some small measure of those arts, yes, » Wufei said distastefully.  « I use them when I must, but it is not my way.  My area of study is in the natural realm. »

« In any case, » Trowa said, « we had better get some sleep. »

« Not before we figure out what we’re doing in the morning, » Hero insisted.  « No one answered my question. »

« About our plans? » Trowa said, narrowing his eyes.  « If you’re so worried about it, why don’t you tell us first?  Do you intend to go after that princess of yours? »

« You’re a bad man, » Hilde grumbled.  « Men are supposed to rescue princesses, not kidnap them. »

« I have a mission, » Hero said in frustration.  « I have been delayed long enough. »  All the same….  « She is…my responsibility, though, » he admitted in a low voice.

« Look, you’re not the only one with a mission, » Duo pointed out meaningfully.  « None of us are chopped liver, you know.  We can deal with things while you’re off rescuing your princess for real this time. »

« Deal with things? » Wufei said sharply.  « If that’s the case, perhaps we are enemies after all, Duo Maxwell. »

The boys gazed tensely at each other, as Quatre and Hilde looked between them in confusion.

« Wait, » Duo said cautiously.  « Are you saying…that you’re not planning to spread general chaos and mayhem, Chang? »

« Chaos and mayhem? » Quatre said in alarm.

« Our orders, » Trowa said slowly, « were to go with the dragons to the Old World and essentially burn its strongholds to the ground.  We were to get hold of Gundam technology and use it to conquer our conquerors. »

« But that’s–! » Quatre gasped.  « You mean you would destroy indiscriminately?  That countless civilians who did you no harm would die? »

« There is no way I would do such a dishonorable thing, » Wufei growled.

Duo released a breath.  « Doesn’t sit well with me, either, » he said, « which is why I’m glad we’re on the same side, Wu-man. »

Wufei blinked.  « Excuse me? »

« What about you two? » Hilde wanted to know, staring at Hero and Trowa as she edged behind her brother.  More than one young man was resting his hand on a weapon.

« Attacking randomly is counter-productive, » Hero said flatly.

Trowa chuckled darkly.  « What’s the use of ruling over a land of rebellious people? » he said.  « It would be repeating the same crimes that had been done to us, and look how we’ve reacted. »

« Surely you two are not that cold-hearted about it! » Quatre gasped.

Hero glared, saying nothing about the sight of dead bodies and lost lives that he saw too many times in his dreams.

« The reasons don’t matter, » Wufei said, relaxing his guard a little.  « The important thing is that we all have the same goal.  Massacre is not our intention.  Our true enemies are not the people of this land, but its bloodthirsty leaders. »

« Speaking of which, we’re going to attack those guys together, right? » Duo insisted.  « I mean, come on – if enemy headquarters get hit from above and on all sides by five dragons, we’ve got it made! »

« And get in each other’s way, » Hero muttered.  « No, thank you.  I do things my own way. »

« Instead of taking on the enemy capitals one by one, » Trowa agreed, « it would be quicker for each of us to go after a power center within a short period of time.  Our dragons are powerful enough on their own, even against Gundam soldiers. »  He glanced up at Heavyarms as he spoke, and as if in confirmation, the dragon leaned down and nudged his back with its nose.

Duo sighed.  « Morons.  Whatever; I’m hittin’ the sack. »

« I’ll take first watch, » Trowa offered.

Wufei shrugged.  « Second. »

« We need to take watches? » Quatre said, frowning.  « I’d have thought that our friends here would be enough. »  He indicated the dragons encircling them.

The other boys paused.  Then Duo laughed.  « You have a point, man! »

To be continued….

Author’s Notes:  Titania and Oberon are the names of the Faerie King and Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In which Zechs is a bit upset
In which Zechs gives Relena a call