somariel: Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth (Hikaru)
Title: A Surprising Meeting
Rating: K+/PG
Fandom: Magic Knight Rayearth
Characters: Presea, Shidou Hikaru, Ryuuzaki Umi, Hououji Fuu
Summary: Presea is surprised to find three girls caught in the trap she set for Mokona, but she's even more surprised when she realizes who they are.
Notes: Set in the manga universe.

A/N: Many thanks to FFN's Antoinette Veronica for beta'ing this for me.
All recognizable dialogue and thoughts are taken from Tokyopop's 10th Anniversary edition of Magic Knight Rayearth. Alternative wordings are taken from the resources on the Magic Knight Rayearth fansite Definitely Not Tokyo.

Three days after I first heard the rumor that Zagato had made a grab for power and kidnapped Princess Emeraude, Guru Clef visited me and left a rabbit-like creature called Mokona with me, telling me that the Magic Knights were coming.

At first I welcomed the company, but within a day, I was finding it to be annoying. Mokona seemed to take a positive delight in creating messes. The books and papers in my study were the most frequent victims, but I also found cushions on the floor in the sitting room, pots and pans scattered in the kitchen, and clothing strewed about in my bedroom.

A week after Clef’s visit and four days after I had set up a cage to catch Mokona in my study, I heard it come crashing down.

Rushing into my study, I cried, “I’ve got you now, Mokona! I knew it was you that kept messing up my study! I’ve got you red-handed!

“Let’s see, how should I punish you? Should I tug on your ears and stretch them all out? Or should I hang you upside down from the porch?”

I started laughing excitedly, only to be brought up short by a “Puu” from the direction of my chair. My laughter trailed off as another “Puu” sounded.

“M-Mokona?” I cried, turning to see him sitting in my chair. If he was there, then who was in the cage?

Before I had even completed the thought, I was turning to look at the cage. There were three girls in the cage. One was dressed in blue, with blue hair. One was dressed in red and black, with red hair. One was dressed in green, with blonde hair. All three of them were wearing simple armor with jewels in the color of their clothing.

“Hang on,” I said, coming over to the cage. “Are you the ones who keep messing up my study?”

“NO!” the blue one cried.

“Then what are you doing in that cage?”

“We just stepped through the doorway,” the red one said, “and it fell right on top of us.”

“Well, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s a trap for the vandals who’ve been trashing my study

“Who’d it trap?” I cried, pointing a finger at them. “You! What’s that mean? You’re the vandals!”

“It’s not us!” the blue one shouted.

“It’s impossible, ma’am.” The green one placed a calming hand on the blue one’s shoulder. “We couldn’t be the ones doing it. That is, we just arrived in Cephiro today.

“And besides,” she added, pointing at my chair, “that animal is going nuts.”

I turned to look at my chair and saw that Mokona was throwing papers about, “puu”-ing happily.

“I think he’s been here before,” she finished.

I shouted Mokona’s name as he threw more papers into the air, but his only reply was a firm “Puu!”

“Anyway… Open this cage!” one of the girls cried.

Turning back to them, I said, “Not a chance! I never invited you into my home. Even if you didn’t mess up the place, you’re still intruders.”

“Us?!” the red one cried, sounding shocked.

Turning away again, I said, “So, how should I punish you? Should I yank on your mouth to see how far it stretches? Or should I dump all three of you in a big pot and boil you?”

It sounded like one of them was saying something, but I was too excited to listen. I hadn’t had this much fun in ages.

I could hear the girls talking and shouting behind me, but I ignored them until something that had just been said caught my attention.

Abruptly turning around, I cried, “What did you just say?!” Had one of them really just said that the door had been unlocked?

“Um…me?” the blue one said. “If we were robbers…?”

“No! Before that!”

“The door wasn’t even locked!” she said, grabbing the bars of the cage. “I know we shouldn’t have come in, but we called and no one answered.”

“My lock was specially designed by Guru Clef. No one in Cephiro can open it. They have to have this key…” I lifted my hand and retrieved the key from the jewel on the clip that attached my shoulderguard to my apron.

I’d always known that Clef could unlock my door without the key, but I had no idea why he would have done so for three unknown girls. Unless…

“Could you three…?” I said, slowly feeling my way toward the idea that had just occurred to me. “Are you the ones summoned by Emeraude? The Legendary Magic Knights…?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” the blue one cried. “Jeez!”

“So it’s really beginning…” I murmured. “The Legendary Battle…” Spirits, they were so young! None of them could be older than fifteen and the red one—the Fire Knight—looked more like she was eleven or twelve.

Moving over to the bookcase, I then tugged the release handle for lifting the cage. Once the cage was hanging just below the ceiling again, I said, “Welcome, Legendary Magic Knights. I’m Presea. Chief Faru of Cephiro. At your service.”

While the Magic Knights looked at me curiously, Mokona bounced over to them and jumped into the Fire Knight’s arms.

“Judging by the smile on Mokona’s face,” I said, “there’s no mistake.”

“Mistake?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Guru Clef contacted me ahead of time. He said if the Knights came by, I was to provide them with weapons.”

“We can get weapons here?” the Fire Knight cried.

“Well, I am a Faru,” I said. “It’s my job to make weapons and armor.”

“You…you make the weapons yourself?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Of course.” Didn’t they have Farus where they came from?

“Wow!” the Water Knight said. “This place has it all—cool creatures, sorcerers, even a weaponsmaker!”

“And she’s really nice, too!” the Wind Knight said. “Normally in RPG video games, you have to earn money so you can buy weapons. We’re really lucky to get off so easy!”

What is she talking about? I wondered. How are they getting off easy?

“Ours are free!” she finished.

So that’s what she was talking about, I thought. Where did she get that idea? “Who said anything about free?” I asked.

“Huh?” the Water Knight cried. “You’re charging us?”

The Wind Knight hmphed. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” she said.

The Fire Knight had started searching the pockets of her skirt when I said the weapons weren’t free and now she reached under the chestpiece of her armor. When she pulled her hand out again, she looked very dejected to see that all she was holding was a small, paper-wrapped object.

Rushing over to me, she held out the object in her hands and said, “My…my wallet is in my backpack…in Tokyo… I don’t have any money on me. Only this candy.” She looked ready to cry.

Gently, I closed my hands over hers, scooping the candy into my own. With a soft smile, I said, “I don’t need money.”

“But…but you said it wasn’t free…” she stammered, sounding surprised.

Giving her a brighter smile, I said, “Follow me,” and headed for the armory.

Reaching the armory, I unlocked and opened the door, then stepped inside, followed by the Magic Knights, who looked around in awe.

“Wowww!” the Fire Knight said. “Presea, you made all these?”

“That’s right.”

“Amazing.”

“Well, girls,” I said, “choose a weapon.”

“I thought you said they weren’t free?” the Water Knight said.

“We don’t have any of whatever currency Cephiro uses,” the Wind Knight said.

“I told you,” I said, “it’s not money I’m after.”

“Then what?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Choose your favorite weapon from this room. I am only lending them to you, though. They are not yours to keep.”

“Come on,” the Water Knight said. “For real?”

“The weapons I create aren’t just any old weapons for any old user. Each and every instrument is made for a single person and that person only.”

“So these weapons…?” the Fire Knight started.

“You got it,” I said. “They aren’t yours. I’m going to make all new, special weapons just for you.”

“Just for us…?” the Fire Knight echoed.

“Go on,” I said, “have a look around. Take your time and pick what you like.”

“You just said these aren’t ours…” the Water Knight said.

“I know,” I replied. “But it would be suicide to leave the Forest of Silence unarmed.”

“We’re leaving?” the Fire Knight asked.

“I told you!” I reached out and touched a finger to the tip of her nose. “I’m going to make you weapons that only you can use.”

“Right, we got that part,” the Wind Knight said.

“In order for you to become the true Magic Knights of the Legendary Battle, I’m going to make you the best weapons ever.”

“Thank you,” the Fire Knight said, excitement glittering in her eyes.

“So,” I said, sitting down on a cannon, “go out and get me the materials!”

All three of the girls tripped over their own feet in their surprise at my statement.

“M-m-materials…?” the Water Knight stammered.

“Cephiro has certain laws and one of them is that in order for warriors or knights to get a new weapon from a Faru, they must bring their own raw materials.”

“So that’s what you meant when you said it wasn’t free, but it didn’t cost money either,” the Wind Knight said as the three of them picked themselves up off the floor.

“What’s she mean by materials?” the Water Knight asked the other two. “Gold? Silver? Steel?”

“In my video games, they often use ‘mithril’,” the Wind Knight said.

“What are those things?” I asked.

“They’re materials from our world,” the Wind Knight answered. “Well, except for mithril.”

That was right, the Magic Knights were from another world. No wonder they hadn’t known what I meant when I said the weapons weren’t free.

Getting my thoughts back on track, I said, “Minerals like arl, slye, and kusto are pretty strong, but… But none of them are good enough for Magic Knights. We must follow the legend and thus, we must use the Legendary Mineral.”

“The Legendary Mineral?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Yup,” I said. “The Legendary Mineral…Escudo!

“Escudo…” the girls echoed.

“It’s the only mineral in Cephiro used to make an Evolving Weapon,” I said.

“Evolving Weapon…?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Weapons made of Escudo evolve according to the strength and mental powers of their owners.”

“How totally cool!” the Water Knight exclaimed. “You don’t ever have to upgrade to newer, better weapons.”

“But,” I cautioned, “if the owner doesn’t evolve, the weapon won’t either.”

“Well, then maybe it is just easier to buy better weapons for each new battle,” the Wind Knight said. “I mean, they’ll work no matter what, right?”

“Well, easier or not, you need them to be Magic Knights. Evolving Weapons are essential and you have to change and grow with them.”

“Why?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Because Evolving Weapons are the keys to reviving the Mashin.”

“Mashin?” the Fire Knight asked. “Keys?”

Slipping down off the cannon, I leaned in close to the Fire Knight and tsked. “Didn’t Guru Clef tell you anything?” What was he thinking, sending them off with so little knowledge of what they needed to do?

The Fire Knight’s eyes became shadowed and her expression grew sad. “Clef tried to fill us in, but then Zagato’s follower attacked. He stayed behind to fight so we could escape…”

Clef’s name slipped from my lips in a quavering voice that was not at all like me. “He knew… That’s why he left Mokona with me.” Feeling tears welling up in my eyes, I turned away from the Magic Knights. He had to have known that something like that would happen. And it was so much like him to stay behind like that.

Please, I thought, let him have survived. Let him be safe.

The Fire Knight started saying something, but I wasn’t really listening, thinking about Clef’s sacrifice, until I heard her say, “I owe my life to Clef for saving us.”

Startled out of my contemplation, I turned to look at her.

“We’ll bring you the materials you need,” she said. “Please make us the best weapons you can.” The seriousness in her voice was reflected on the faces of all three Magic Knights.

“Of course!” I said, somehow cheered by their seriousness. “I’m counting on the three of you. Please save Cephiro.”

“You got it!” the Fire Knight cried.

“Now that that’s decided, get going,” I said, making shooing motions.

“Wait!” the Water Knight said. “Where do we get Escudo?”

“You-know-where,” I said.

“Where is You-know-where?” the Wind Knight asked.

“There’s only one You-know-where and that is the Legendary Spring of Eterna.”

“Eterna?” the Fire Knight asked.

“It won’t be easy,” I said. “Countless warriors have searched for Eterna to find the Legendary Mineral Escudo, but none have returned.”

What?!” the Water Knight cried. “H-haven’t r-returned?”

“Nope,” I said. “Not one person.”

“That’s a tad scary,” the Wind Knight said.

“W-we’re g-going there?” the Water Knight said.

“That’s why you need to take weapons,” I said.

As the Water Knight began gathering as many weapons as she could hold, I said, “You can take them all, but can you use them?”

Startled by my question, she dropped everything she had gathered. But instead of looking disappointed, her eyes lit up. “I know!” she cried. “We can use our magic!

“Except we don’t know how…” the Wind Knight said.

The Water Knight frowned, then said, “You and I don’t, but…” As she trailed off, both she and the Wind Knight turned to look at the Fire Knight, who shuffled nervously under their gaze.

Before the Fire Knight could get too uncomfortable, I told them, “Magic won’t work here.”

Why not?!” the Water Knight shouted.

“This is the Forest of Silence,” I said. “Magic spells are blocked by the ward in the forest and so you can’t cast them.”

“Gimme all these weapons!” The Water Knight grabbed at the weapons she had dropped.

“Examine the weapons closely before choosing,” I said. “You’ll see which weapons suit you. You’ll know. The proper weapons will call you.”

The girls wandered the armory, inspecting various weapons, for a minute or two before a broadsword, a rapier, and a bow and quiver of arrows all started to glow.

“See?” I said as the weapons floated over to them, the broadsword to the Fire Knight, the rapier to the Water Knight, and the bow and quiver to the Wind Knight. The weapons hovered in front of their chosen users for a few seconds, then disappeared into the jewel on each girl’s gauntlet, leaving the girls looking at the jewels with bemusement.

“It’s gone?” The Fire Knight waved her other hand above her gauntlet jewel.

“It’s all right,” I said. “Your guards were made by Clef, right? The weapons are now housed in your gauntlet jewel. When you need it, your weapon will appear in your hand.”

“How do we get to Eterna?” the Fire Knight asked.

“Can’t we just fly there on that huge bird that brought us here?” the Water Knight said.

“I said, magic doesn’t work here,” I reminded her.

“But that bird came all the way to the house!” she protested.

“It only made it because of Guru Clef’s magic,” I said. “Clef’s powers are the strongest in Cephiro. He was able to guide the bird here safely. My guess is it flew away already.”

“So how do we get to Eterna?” the Wind Knight asked.

“Mokona will take you,” I said.

On hearing this, the Fire Knight, who was holding Mokona, looked down at him in surprise.

“I’ve just been watching Mokona until you could take him,” I said. “Clef told me you would pick him up and he’d be yours.”

“Is that thing strong?” the Water Knight asked.

“Oh, you’ll see…” I tapped Mokona’s forehead jewel. “Mokona has all the essentials you’ll need on your trip.”

“W-wait.” The Water Knight pointed at Mokona. “Can this thing talk?”

“I understand him,” the Fire Knight said. “…Well, at least I get the general idea.”

“I think we should be glad that one of us is good with animals,” the Wind Knight said.

“Are you sure that thing’s an animal?” the Water Knight asked.

I showed the Magic Knights to the door and followed them out of the house to say farewell. Once outside, I saw that the clearing was empty.

“Presea was right,” the Water Knight said. “The bird’s gone.”

“What a shame,” the Wind Knight said.

The Fire Knight turned to face me. “Thank you, Presea.”

Smiling at her, I said, “Magic Knights from another world, please do me the honor of telling me your names.”

The Wind and Water Knights turned around at my request and came back over to where the Fire Knight and I were.

“Hikaru,” said the Fire Knight.

“I’m Umi,” said the Water Knight.

“My name’s Fuu,” said the Wind Knight.

“Hee-kah-roo, Oo-me, Foo,” I repeated, sounding the names out. “Interesting names.” Then, changing the subject, I said, “Bring back the Escudo safely. I promise you I’ll make you the best weapons ever.

“I’ll also let you know what I thought of this thing.” I held up the candy that Hikaru had offered me earlier. “It’s food, right?”

“Okay!” Hikaru said.

Leaning down to where Mokona was nestled in Hikaru’s arms, I said, “Mokona… Take good care of these girls.”

He “puu”-ed happily in reply.

“See you later!” Hikaru raised one hand and waved as she turned and headed away.

“We’ll do our best,” Umi said, also waving before turning and following Hikaru.

“I hope we live to see you again,” Fuu said.

Looking over her shoulder at Fuu’s comment, Umi said, “Don’t say such bad things…”

Then Fuu turned away and caught up to Umi and Hikaru and they headed off into the forest.

I watched them go sadly, staying outside until I could no longer see them. They weren’t even of age in Cephiro and most likely weren’t in their own world either, but they were the only hope left of saving Cephiro. Just three girls, up against Zagato and his magic and whatever else he could find to throw at them. Clasping my hands in front of my chin, I prayed, May Princess Emeraude bless them.

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