Escaflowne episode 4 "Demonic Adonis"
(the Hanged Man card)

Is it a dream? ...or an illusion?
Hitomi summarizes the previous episode.

Hitomi's unexpected outburst is met with the stunned silence of Allen's men. Allen is soon beside her. "What's wrong, Hitomi?"

"Allen, you have to run away. Take everyone and get out of here," pleads Hitomi. "The invisible enemy is coming." He tries to reassure her, but she insists that invisible giants are going to burn everything. The certainty with which she makes her predictions begins to worry the men; she is from the Moon of Illusion, after all...

"Stop it!" commands Allen. "The soldiers of Astoria do not lose their heads upon hearing superstitious words!" He tells Hitomi that she's just over tired and should take a rest. Just then, one of the men, Teo, rides up to report that a suspicious character has been captured. Another man soon follows with their prisoner. It is Meruru. Van rushes to help her.

"Lord Van, I'm so glad I found you," she cries, so weak she can barely sit up without his help.

"Meruru... Fanelia..."

"It burned. Everything burned!" In a vision, Hitomi shares Meruru's recollection. "All the samurai died. The people who were still alive all scattered. There was no one left. I searched for you everywhere. I've been looking for you all this time." She passes out.

"It can't be," says Hitomi, as her vision becomes delusion. "Everything burned? ...it's so hot..." Allen catches her as she faints. He realizes she has a horrible fever and tells Van to bring Meruru.

On the Vione, Dornkirk speaks with Folken and Dilandeu, again. He informs them that the dragon's form has faded. He can already begin to see tremors in the ‘ideal future'. How greatly will their future be influenced if the dragon escapes? He tells them to use their discretion and catch the dragon.

"Where are you going?" asks Folken, after the screen goes dark.

"The decision's been made," says Dilandeu. "I'm going to attack; we know where the dragon is."

"Astoria is an ally."

"You're such an annoyance," sighs Dilandeu. "If we hesitate at every political obstacle, the quarry will get away."

"Why must you aggravate the situation?"

"If we use the stealth mants you made, there'll be no evidence connecting the attack to Zaibach, alright?" Folken doesn't respond. "Enjoy the show, Mr. Strategist," finishes Dilandeu as he leaves.

In a quiet room, Van and Allen attend to the sick girls. Hitomi apologizes to Allen. "Don't worry about it. After all, I couldn't entrust my men with the care of a young lady," he says, jokingly.

Hitomi looks out the window. "Earth... Mother must be worrying about me."

"Mother..."

"Your mother must be a beautiful woman," she says.

"My mother died when I was young." Hitomi apologizes. "It's all right; that happened a long time ago. You're right, my mother was a beautiful woman." The scene fades into memory. "She loved flowers and was very kind." In a field of flowers, his mother watches Allen and his sister play. The scene darkens as his sister runs off, fading from sight. One day, his sister disappeared. The sorrow which followed brought an illness to his mother which killed her. The scene returns to the present. "If my sister had lived, she would be about your age." He takes her hand and Hitomi's fever blush turns a brighter shade of red. "How strange that I've told you the story of my family."

‘I just confessed to Amano,' thinks Hitomi. ‘Am I that fickle?'

On the other side of the room, Van notices a seed on Meruru's fevered cheek. It gives him an idea. He goes to see the Moleman and asks if he has some ‘gral' leaves. Van's brother once taught him how to make a salve out of them. He has Moleman help. Putting the King's sword to use for the first time, Van sets to crushing the leaves with the hilt. Finally, there is something he can do something about.

Outside, Allen checks on the fort's preparations for battle. Gadeth wonders if Allen has put stock in Hitomi's predictions. Allen tells him that his decision is based on the look in Dilandeu's eyes. "The glow of bloodthirsty insanity is harbored in those eyes." Gadeth and Riden can't believe Zaibach would attack. "They know Escaflowne is here. If they come, they'll come to wipe us out. If they don't want any evidence, they'll have to massacre us." He tells them to ready the Crusade; then wonders, ‘When will you strike, Dilandeu?'

In the forest outside the fort, Dilandeu and his men lie in wait. "We're through spying on them," he decides with a lunatic laugh. "Let's end this hide and seek."

A fire glows in the quiet room where the girls are recuperating.

‘Oh!' thinks Hitomi, uncomfortably. ‘The cat's looking this way.'

‘It's the girl from the Moon of Illusion,' thinks Meruru, tail twitching in annoyance. "Such strange, short hair. Her clothes are weird, too.'

‘She really does look like a cat,' thinks Hitomi. ‘Those ears, that tail... it's weird. I wish she were a little tamer.' Meruru finally notices: Hitomi has a bed, while she's on a bench! ‘Oh no, she looks mad!' worries Hitomi.

A vision interrupts Hitomi's thoughts. ‘Something's coming!' When she opens her eyes, the Moleman's there. Her surprised reaction sends him rolling to Van's feet. Van gives her a puzzled look. "Where'd you go!?" snaps Hitomi, "leaving us all alone like that."

Van silently tends to Meruru, binding one wound with his handkerchief. This pleases Meruru to no end. Hitomi realizes he'd left them to make medicine. Without a word, Van goes to Hitomi and yanks away her sheet. "Yaaa! What do you think you're doing!?" He's tending her wounds.

"Hold still," he says quietly. "A toxin from a weed entered through this wound. This is why you have a fever." She is surprised by his thoughtfulness.

Just then, she has a premonition. "They've come. The invisible giants..."

Indeed, they have. Allen's forces are no match for Dilandeu's cloaked Alseides.

From the top of the fort, Allen watches the destruction. "So those are the invisible giants..." he mutters.

"It's true, what the girl from the Moon of Illusion said..." says Riden.

"Idiot!" snaps Gadeth, "it's Zaibach!" "I'm taking out Scherazad," Allen decides, rushing to his gaimelf.

Dilandeu and his men are sowing a path of destruction through the fort.

"Smash everything! Spread the fire!" Dilandeu tells his men. "Escaflowne will be forced out by the flames!"

The fort is all but destroyed by the time Allen arrives in Scherazad. In the broken husk of a melf, he finds one of his men, alive. Kio reports that it was strange; he couldn't see anything. "Where is the enemy?" asks Allen. They've made their way into the underground. "Any faster and the ship won't make it," worries Allen.

Van runs up. "Where is Escaflowne!?"

"Don't worry; it's been loaded onto the Crusade. ...This castle is finished; it's time to leave."

"Run away!?" Van is incredulous, "after all that's happened to your friends!?" He gestures to the burning ruins around them.

"Their sacrifice must not be in vain!" Van draws his sword.

"You consider yourself a samurai!? I will not run away! I will not turn tail and run from an enemy! For the sake of striking against the enemies of Fanelia, I will fight to the death!"

"To choose death is recklessness not courage!! Van, you are the King of Fanelia. As long as there is a king and a valley, there is possibility. New courage will come from enduring this humiliation. A samurai lives for the sake of the living. Don't forget that." Van desists. Allen tells Kio to get to the Crusade, then picks Van up. "I will not let Zaibach have you or Escaflowne," pledges Allen with vehemence.

Underground, Gadeth leads the girls and Moleman into the Crusade. He reassures them that they will soon be reunited with Van and Allen, then gives the order to launch.

Dilandeu's fun is interrupted by Folken. After putting down Dilandeu's methods, Folken suggests that waiting for Escaflowne to be smoked out may be a flawed plan. "Behind the castle, is a waterfall which drops over a cliff. They say little birds make their nests behind waterfalls to hide from predators." Dilandeu immediately sees his mistake and heads for the waterfall.

Fortunately, Allen and Van arrive first. "What are you going to do?" asks Van.

"Hang on." Allen sends Scherazad over the edge... to land safely on one of the Crusade's levitation stones, just as the ship leaves the cover of the falls. The girls and Moleman are thrown against a window but are happy to see that Van and Allen have arrived safely.

Dilandeu arrives with his men at the top of the falls, and decides to go after the Crusade.

"But we can't use the stealth mants when we fly," worries Gawti.

"Let them see!" snaps Dilandeu.

They go after the Crusade.

On board, Van asks where they're headed. To the Astorian capital, because they're being followed by a floating fortress. They suddenly notice the gaimelf flying after them. "Gaimelf can fly!?" Allen is shocked.

Across the top of the crusade, Allen gets to demonstrate his masterful swordsmanship. This excites Dilandeu even more. One of the Alseides damages the Crusade's steering during the fight.

‘It's because of Escaflowne that everyone...' thinks Van as he watches the battle. He recalls Allen's words -a samurai lives for the sake of the living- and makes his decision. He makes his way to Escaflowne. Once inside, he drops Escaflowne off the Crusade. As it falls, Escaflowne changes, transforming into a dragon shape, with Van on it's back. He soars past the Crusade and away.

"A flying dragon?" Van has caught Dilandeu's attention. "So that's the dragon Lord Dornkirk was talking about." He goes after Van.

"That's right," says Van, "come after me!"

The girls see Van leave. Hitomi realizes he's doing it to help them escape.

Allen finishes off the remaining Alseides. ‘Van, don't die,' he thinks.

"Gadeth, turn the ship around," pleads Hitomi. "Please, save Van!" Until the steering's fixed, there's nothing they can do.

Van leads the Alseides away, into the night.

"It's been a long time since I had a dragon hunt," laughs Dilandeu. "Will you make it fun?"

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