somariel: Clef from Magic Knight Rayearth (Clef)
Title: A Painful Duty
Rating: T/PG-13
Fandom: Magic Knight Rayearth
Characters: Clef, Shidou Hikaru, Ryuuzaki Umi, Hououji Fuu, Alcyone
Warnings: Contains MAJOR spoilers for the ending of Magic Knight Rayearth 1.
Summary: Clef will aid the Magic knights as he promised Emeraude, but he dearly wishes it wasn't necessary.
Notes: Set in the manga universe.

A/N: Many thanks to 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 and spell names are taken from the resources on the Magic Knight Rayearth fansite Definitely Not Tokyo.

I will repeat, this story contains MAJOR spoilers for the ending of Magic Knight Rayearth 1.

Two weeks after Emeraude had sealed herself in the water dungeon, I felt the summoning of the Magic Knights tear through Cephiro’s magic. And if I had felt it, then Zagato would have as well. I wouldn’t have a lot of time to explain things to them.

As the magical ripples from the summoning settled, I began scanning the sky for the flare of magic that would signal the Magic Knights’ arrival. When I felt it, I summoned Fyula and sent her off to catch them. She would bring them to my current refuge here in the Forest of Eleru.

Once Fyula had left, I called one of the most intelligent flying creatures that inhabited the forest to me and set it to watch for other people approaching. When I had finished with that, I could see Fyula returning, three figures on her back.

When she had gotten close enough to the cliff below the rock pillar I was standing on, she flipped her head and tail at the same time, dumping the figures onto the cliff. Once they had picked themselves up off the ground, I was able to get a good look at them. One was wearing red and black, with red hair. One was wearing blue, with blue hair. One was wearing green, with blonde hair. Fire, water, and wind? Probably, but I wasn’t certain.

I watched them interact for a little, trying to get a sense of what they were like, but when they showed no signs of looking for someone to explain what had happened to them, I knew I had to interrupt them. “How long do you plan to chitchat like that?” I called.

“Who said that?” they cried, looking up at the sound of my voice.

Taking that as my cue, I jumped down from the pillar, landing in a crouch. As I straightened up, I said, “So you are the Legendary Knights that Princess Emeraude summoned from another world.”

While they stared at me in shock at my sudden appearance, I took a closer look at them and was very surprised. “What?” I exclaimed. “You are still children.” None of them looked older than fifteen. “What was Princess Emeraude thinking when she summoned them…?” I muttered.

“Wait,” the knight in blue said. “What do you mean ‘children’? You don’t look a year older than ten yourself!”

“Me? Ten?!” Really! I tapped her on the head with my staff. “I’m 745 years old.”

“What?!” the blue knight cried.

“Well, you look very young,” the knight in green said.

“It’s going slightly overboard for trying to look younger,” the blue knight said.

Extending a hand towards Fyula, I said, “I helped you by summoning Fyula here, and you girls can’t even say one word of thanks?”

“Helped?” the red knight said. “Is this your flying fish?”

“So to speak,” I said, patting Fyula’s head. “This is Fyula. We’re friends.”

“Does that mean you’re from here?” she asked. “Can you tell us where here is and why we’re in it?”

I turned away from Fyula to look at the girls solemnly. I had been wondering when one of them would ask that. “You’re in Cephiro,” I said. “You were brought here by Princess Emeraude. You are her champions—the Legendary Magic Knights.”

“Legendary Knights?” the red knight said. She sounded quite excited. The other two were less enthused, judging by the blue knight’s comment about some sort of game.

Turning to me, the blue knight said, “I don’t care how, but get us back to the Tokyo Tower.”

Yes, they were definitely less enthused. But all three of them had to become Magic Knights. “Cephiro is in a crisis,” I said, closing my eyes in pain. This was hard to talk about. Why had things had to turn out this way? “You must fulfill the legend. You must become the Magic Knights and-”

I broke off as I heard chattering off to my left. “What the…?” Turning, I saw that the knight in blue and the knight in green were talking to Fyula. “Hey!” I cried. “You guys have to pay attention to this!”

When I realized that they were trying to get Fyula to take them home, I chased them away from her, but they kept trying to go back. Enough was enough! Thrusting my staff out, I cried, “Sleiya!”, recalling Fyula through the focus jewel on the staff. “You cannot return to your world,” I said. That wasn’t completely true, but hopefully it would get their attention.

“What did you say?” the red knight cried.

“I said you cannot return to your world,” I repeated.

“W-we can’t go home?” the green knight asked.

“You’re in Cephiro now, summoned from another world,” I said. “Your will alone is not enough to return you there.”

“What?!” the blue knight cried. “You mean I’m stuck here forever?! With flying fish and freaky old-man children?! Please tell me you have Haagen-Dazs! Denny’s! Mos Burger!”

The red knight had gone still when I repeated that they couldn’t go back to their world and now she murmured something too softly for me to hear it. Before I could decide if I should ask what she had said, my attention was drawn back to the other two.

“Oh, this will never work,” the green knight said. “I have a report due tomorrow and I haven’t even started.”

“Since we can’t go back, why are you still worrying about a report?” the blue knight asked.

“Because it’s a group project,” the green knight replied. “The others depend on me. If I don’t participate, they all fail.”

“And I have a fencing match in two days,” the blue knight said. “I’m team captain! Who will lead?”

“Oh, you fence?” the green knight said. “That is so delightful.”

“Oh, would you like to come watch?” the blue knight asked. “I can invite you.”

“Is that all right?” the green knight asked.

“You bet!” the blue knight said. “It’s the day after tomorrow. Three o’clock at the sports arena.”

I had been listening to them with slowly growing irritation, but something about the way they were talking broke my calm. “Gah!” I cried. “I said you can’t go home!”

“Are you sure?” the red knight asked. “Because that means I’ll never see my folks… I’ll never see my friends, my family… Never again?” She looked almost ready to cry.

Looking at her evenly, I said, “Well… There is one way…”

The other two rushed over as soon as I finished speaking. “Why didn’t you say so?” the green knight asked. “Please tell us.”

“That’s pretty dirty, munchkin!” the blue knight cried. “Even though you’re older, we’re taller!

“Hey!” I said. “Are you threatening me?”

“Please, don’t be mad,” the red knight said, getting down on one knee. “It’s important to us that you tell us how to get home.”

“If you wish to go home,” I said solemnly, “you must save Cephiro.”

“That reminds me,” the red knight said. “Back at Tokyo Tower, there was a voice. I heard it just before we were swept away.”

“I also heard it,” the green knight said. “It was like a whisper. ‘Please save this world…’”

“‘…Legendary…’” the blue knight continued.

“‘…Magic Knights!’” the red knight finished.

“From the day that Princess Emeraude, the Pillar of Cephiro, became imprisoned, the peace and order in this world has disappeared,” I said. “The Cephiro that everyone was happy in-” except for Emeraude “-and humans, spirits, and creatures lived together in peace in… It has become a nightmare, full of war and confusion since we lost Princess Emeraude.”

Well, for a certain value of lost. Not physically, but emotionally. Lost to her own heart and the conflict between her duty as the Pillar and her own humanity.

I sensed the ripple in the forest’s energy behind me seconds before the red knight called for me to look out. Briefly gathering my own energy, I cried, “Sandasu!” and felt the lightning destroy the monster.

“Wow!” the red knight cried.

“The light split that monster in two,” the blue knight said.

“These monsters did not exist in Cephiro before,” I said. “We’re in the Forest of Eleru. It breaks my heart that monsters now roam these woods, one of the sanctuaries of Cephiro. We should hurry, before more come.”

“When the princess disappeared,” the red knight said, “why did it do so much damage to Cephiro?”

“As I mentioned before,” I replied, “Princess Emeraude is the Pillar of this land.”

“Pillar…?” the red knight asked.

“Princess Emeraude’s prayers were the things that bound peace and order to this land.”

“Her prayers?” the blue knight said.

“In Cephiro, everything is controlled by one’s will. In this world, belief is power.”

“Belief…?” the red knight echoed in an awed tone.

“Princess Emeraude’s belief was the source of our peace and order. She alone protected us from fear and strife. Until…” Here, I had to pause. I hoped one of them would jump to the conclusion everyone else in Cephiro had reached after Zagato moved the Pillar’s castle when Emeraude would not leave her self-imposed imprisonment. This was hard enough for me already without deliberately leading the Magic Knights to believe a lie.

“Someone abducted the princess,” the blue knight said.

Thank the spirits, I thought. She said it.

“Who? Who would do such a thing?” the red knight cried.

“It was Soru Zagato,” I said. I hated that Zagato had to be cast as a villain, but it was necessary if these girls were to fulfill the duty of the Magic Knights. I knew he would stop at nothing to destroy them, so they could not afford to think he was anything other than their enemy.

“Zagato?” the red knight asked.

Now that they had taken the burden of the first lie from me, I found it easier to reinforce their existing belief. “Zagato kidnapped the princess and imprisoned her somewhere,” I said.

“You don’t know where?” the red knight asked. “Even with your power?”

“Zagato’s power is great,” I said, “second only to the princess.” In his desperation, he had even surpassed me. I had always said he would do that someday, but I had never thought that it would be under these circumstances. “And…” Realizing that I was about to reveal something the Magic Knights shouldn’t know, I cut myself off.

“What?” the red knight asked. “And what?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Never mind.”

“Oh,” the green knight said. “I see. The only way we can leave…”

“As I said before, willpower is stronger than anything else here in Cephiro. The princess’ wish brought you to this world. If you are able to become the Legendary Magic Knights, then her wish will be fulfilled and purged. Only then can you go home.”

“…I can’t believe this,” the blue knight said.

“This is so much like an RPG…” the green knight said.

“Save the princess by becoming the Legendary Magic Knights…” the red knight said.

“But why us?” the green knight asked.

“Now that you mention it… Why is it us and not the people of Cephiro?” the blue knight said.

“She has a point,” the red knight said. “What happened to the people in Cephiro? Why didn’t you say anything when such an important princess was kidnapped?” She was shouting by the time she finished.

“Hasn’t anyone gone to rescue her?” the blue knight shouted.

“Many sorcerers, warriors, and knights have fought Zagato to save the princess,” I said. There had been at least ten that I was aware of in the first three days alone. “But so far, they have all lost.”

“He’s that strong…?” the blue knight asked.

“More are fighting as we speak. But…the people from Cephiro cannot win.”

“Why not?” the red knight asked. “What’s stopping them?”

“Only the Legendary Magic Knights can win, and they cannot be of this world.”

“Why is that?” the green knight asked.

Because no one from Cephiro would be able to bring themselves to kill the Pillar, I thought. But I didn’t say it. Instead, I said, “To become a Legendary Magic Knight, one must revive the Mashin.”

“Mashin?” the red knight asked.

“But before that,” I said, leaving the question for later, “I have to do something about your equipment.” I knew Zagato would send someone after the Magic Knights as soon as possible and I didn’t want that to happen before I made sure they had proper armor and could use magic.

“Equipment?” they echoed.

Leaning forward a bit, I grasped the red knight’s skirt to feel the material.

Almost immediately, the blue knight yelled, “What are you doing, you pervert?!”

Dropping the skirt and turning to face her, I yelled back, “I am not a pervert!”

As she grabbed the back of my robe and lifted it, I said, “I was just checking what equipment you had on! You thought you were prepared for the upcoming battles in such flimsy dresses?!”

Thankfully, she dropped my robe as soon as I finished explaining. With a cry of effort, I slammed my staff down and used the materials I had stored in the focus jewel to give the three of them armor. It wasn’t a spell so much as it was an act of creation like a Faru would use and it took a lot of effort, especially since I had to invoke the tie to the land—and through the land, the Mashin—that I had as Guru to make the armor capable of evolving.

When the light of the armor’s creation had faded, the red knight looked down at hers and gave a cry of joy.

“What is this?” the blue knight asked.

“This just gets more and more like a video game,” the green knight said.

“Can you use magic?” I asked.

“Magic?” the red knight said, shaking her head.

“Of course we can’t!” the blue knight said. “If we could, we would be back in Tokyo by now!”

“I, too, have never used magic in the fourteen years of my life,” the green knight said.

“You can’t even cast one spell…” I sighed.

“Most normal junior high school girls can’t use such things!” the blue knight cried.

“I see…” I said. “I’ll give you each one specialty, then.” I gathered my power, then cried, “Accept!”

A bolt of lightning shot from the focus jewel of my staff into the sky and energy blasted out around me in a sphere. When the energy reached the Magic Knights, it turned into swirling elements as it wrapped around them. The red knight was surrounded by fire, the blue knight by water, and the green knight by wind.

Then I could only stare in shock as their bodies took on the appearance of being made from their element. I had never seen such a strong reaction from the spell to gift magic before, not even from the other set of Magic Knights I had helped. Then the effect faded, leaving each girl surrounded by a glowing nimbus of their elemental color.

Shaking off my shock, I said, “Magic chooses its user. Each kind has chosen you. In Cephiro, magic is mainly controlled by the heart. Willpower determines all aspects of magic—its success or failure and its strength. The magic that you have just acquired has chosen you.” The glow had only just disappeared when I finished speaking.

“Really…?” the Fire Knight asked.

“That light…” I said. “Its brightness… I think you three really can become the Magic Knights.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a sorcerer!” the Water Knight said. “I’m going to use this magic as much as I want now.”

When I hit her on the head with my staff this time, I wasn’t as gentle as I was earlier. “You fool! It’s stupid to use a spell when unnecessary. If you do, the magic you cast will come ricocheting back at you.”

“Would you teach us the proper way to use magic, then?” the Wind Knight said. “Since we were given it, I would like to use it properly. No matter what kind of medicine one has, one needs to read the instructions carefully so one can avoid misuse.”

“Wait,” the Water Knight said. “Magic is not a cold medicine.”

Turning to look at the Fire Knight, I asked, “What’s your name?”

“Hikaru,” she said.

“Hee-kah-roo?” I repeated.

“That’s right! You got it!” she said.

“Okay, Hikaru…” I started.

“I’m Umi,” the Water Knight said, leaning over me.

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

“Okay!” I cried. “I get it, so don’t tower over me like that.” Then I cleared my throat and extended the first two fingers of my right hand towards Hikaru’s forehead.

I was about to speak when I heard Umi and Fuu whispering behind me. Turning slightly, I yelled, “Would you two shut up for a bit?!” Then I turned back to Hikaru and extended my fingers again.

“Can you feel that the power inside you…is different from the power that you used to have?” I asked.

“I feel it…” Hikaru said. “Something warm deep inside me… I can almost express it in words.”

“Yes. That is your magic,” I said.

Before I could say anything else, though, all the birds around us suddenly took flight. Then the creature that I had set to watch for me earlier landed on my shoulder and twittered in my ear. “What?” I cried. “One of Zagato’s minions?!” I had at least thought I’d be able to show all of them how to use magic before anyone arrived.

“Zagato?!” the girls cried.

“The Zagato?!” Umi cried. “Do you mean the one that kidnapped Princess Emeraude?”

“Then he would definitely be the villain,” Fuu said.

Rushing over to me, Umi cried, “Teach me magic now, too!”

Looking at the progress of the lightning striking up into the sky, I said, “It’s too late!”

“What?!” the three of them cried.

Gripping my staff with both hands, I cried, “Clefto!” Light blazed in a circle on the ground in front of me and out of that circle came the spirit griffin I associated with.

“It’s not the flying fish this time,” Fuu said, sounding bemused.

“Fyula’s way too slow,” I replied.

Then there was a series of thunderclaps that were getting too close and I cried, “Get on! Now!”

Hikaru was the first to clamber onto the griffin’s back and, as Umi helped Fuu up, she asked, “What are you going to do?”

“I’ll stay here,” I said.

“You can’t!” she cried.

“I’m fine,” I said. “Get out of here!”

As thunder crashed way too close, the griffin lifted off the ground.

“Wait!” Hikaru called. “At least tell us your name!”

I blinked in surprise. They…didn’t know my name. As Guru, I had become so used to everyone already knowing who I was that I had forgotten to tell them. “It’s Clef,” I called. “Guru Clef. I’ve sworn to protect you. To guide you and help you become the Magic Knights. I promised Princess Emeraude.”

“Clef!” Hikaru cried, nearly falling off the griffin’s back as she leaned forwards. “I will fight with you!”

“Look out!” Umi cried, catching Hikaru right as she started to fall off.

“No, you must go!” I called as the griffin started to turn away. “You must remain safe!”

“Clef!” Hikaru cried again.

“Go west!” I called, shouting as the griffin got farther away. “Go to the Forest of Silence. Find Presea. She’ll give you weapons! Trust Mokona!”

I heard Hikaru cry my name one last time before the griffin got out of hearing range. It did so just in time, too, since I immediately heard the clop of hooves behind me and a familiar voice said, “Long time, no see…Guru Clef.”

Turning around, I said, “I am ashamed to see one of my pupils working under Zagato. Facing the newcomer fully, I said her name. “Alcyone.”

“I thank you, Guru,” she said, “for giving me so many kinds of wonderful magic. Like this…”

The jewel on the tip of her staff began to glow, then she shouted, “Araia!” and swung the staff downward. Immediately, shards of ice formed in the air and shot towards me.

Swinging my own staff down, I shouted, “Cresta!”, forming a barrier between myself and the ice shards.

“As I should have expected from my teacher, the supreme sorcerer of Cephiro,” she said

“I taught you magic so you could protect Princess Emeraude,” I said, “not so you could tear her kingdom apart.”

Alcyone laughed. “Still a stern teacher, I see. But I have no time for chitchatting, Guru Clef. Please get out of my way. If you don’t…”

“You’ll do what?” I asked.

Thrusting her staff forward, she cried, “Clefto!” and a two-headed wolf appeared from the jewel on its tip. “You know my limits,” she said. “I’m no match fighting you one-on-one. My mission is the disposal of the fledgling Magic Knights.”

Her mount leaped off the cliff and into the air as she said, “I ask you to take care of these babies for a while. Meanwhile…I will ask those girls to die.”

“Wait!” I cried. “Alcyone!” I would have tried to follow her if the wolf had not chosen that moment to step forward and growl menacingly.

“I will see you again, Guru Clef,” Alcyone called. She was now too far away for me to be able to catch up to her in time to stop her once I had dealt with the wolf.

As my mind turned to the Magic Knights, I thought, Girls summoned from another world… If you fall to Alcyone, then it is impossible for you to revive the Mashin and become the Magic Knights… For the true enemy of the Magic Knights is incomparably stronger than Alcyone. Children of another world… Your path is difficult, but you must save Cephiro!

Turning my attention back to the creature in front of me, I gathered my power and cried, “Sandasu!”

The lightning struck and I was momentarily blinded by its brightness. When my vision cleared, I was surprised to see that not only was the wolf gone, the tip of the cliff had been blasted off, leaving me mere feet from the edge. I hadn’t meant to do that!

For the first time since I had become Guru, I had put more will into a spell than I had intended to. Mostly likely, my frustration with the entire situation—Emeraude and Zagato, the Magic Knights and Alcyone, and everything else involved—had bled into the spell. Because there was nothing I could do for Emeraude and Zagato and very little that I could do for the Magic Knights, nothing of which I could do now.
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