somariel: Lantis & Eagle from Magic Knight Rayearth, in formal clothing after the series (Lantis & Eagle)
Title: Tragedy and Leave-taking
Rating: T/PG-13
Fandom: Magic Knight Rayearth
Chapters: Two
Characters: Lantis, Eagle Vision
Summary: After the death of Emeraude and Zagato, Lantis becomes determined to keep their tragedy from repeating - at any cost. Eagle becomes just as determined to keep Lantis from dying in the process.
Notes: Set in the manga universe

A/N: Many thanks to FFN's Antoinette Veronica for beta'ing both chapters 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.

When a brilliant light appeared in the sky from the direction of Cephiro, flaring and then dying over the course of five minutes, I was fairly certain of what it meant. Lantis’ brother and the Pillar were now dead.

After allowing Lantis about half an hour to mourn in private, I went looking for him, wanting offer my comfort and sympathy for his loss. I found him sitting on the edge of the viewing platform above the military barracks, but he was radiating such an aura of sorrow that I was unwilling to break the silence surrounding him.

A few minutes later, he began to speak. “Princess Emeraude…is dead,” he said. “Zagato…knew that this would happen… He said that the princess would never throw everything away to live the way her heart wanted to live.”

Lantis had never mentioned speaking of the issue with his brother before, but knowing that he had made it even more clear why he had left Cephiro.

Standing up, Lantis turned to face me. “Even knowing that, he couldn’t keep from fighting for his own wish,” he said. Then he murmured, “Princess Emeraude, please be free,” in a tone that sounded like he was repeating something engraved on his heart and I knew that that had been Zagato’s wish—likely even his final words.

“Lantis…” I said, uncertain of how to respond to what he had said. Then I went over and embraced him, drawing his head down to my shoulder. I wasn’t sure how much comfort it would provide, but I gently patted his shoulder anyway.

“I thought it was going to end up like this…” He sounded like he was fighting not to cry. “They could not lie to their hearts, but their wishes were never going to be fulfilled. Cephiro as it stands now…could not fulfill both of their wishes.”

Then he pulled away from me, grasping my hand firmly. “Cephiro cannot stand without the sacrifices of the Pillar,” he said, looking straight into my eyes. “I… I cannot think that that is right. This tragedy must never be repeated. I will end the legend of the Magic Knights and the Pillar system with my own hands.”

I wasn’t sure how he could manage that without doing harm to himself, Cephiro, or both, but I wasn’t going to say anything yet.

:-:-:-:-:


Two weeks later, Lantis had not said anything further on the subject of ending the Pillar system, but I knew it was only a matter of time before he left Autozam, especially with the rumors of invasion plans I had heard circulating.

Geo was helping me with my dress uniform for an inspection, grumbling about my having overslept, when he remembered something he had heard. “Oh yeah,” he said, picking up my gloves from the table where they were waiting. “About Lantis… I heard he declined the offer of a permanent position as a warrior of the Autozam army.”

Lantis hadn’t been scheduled to have that offer made until his initial year ended in another five weeks or so. I couldn’t think of any reason for the offer to have been made early other than Lantis resigning his position. And if he had done that, then he was preparing to leave soon.

Geo’s sources of information were rarely more than half a day ahead of my own, so Lantis’ resignation probably hadn’t happened any earlier than yesterday afternoon. If that was true, then Lantis was most likely still in Autozam, although it was unlikely he would remain for much longer. That was when I realized that if he was trying to leave without saying farewell, while Geo and I were occupied with the inspection would be the perfect time for him to do so.

Geo offered me my gloves, but I ignored them and picked up my headband instead. “Geo,” I said, turning towards the exit from my apartment, “I’m going to borrow your bike.” Geo’s bike was waiting right outside the apartment and I would need to be fast if I wanted to catch Lantis before he left.

“Wha…?” Geo cried, rushing over to the exit as I got on the bike and hooked up my headband. “What are you going to do about the inspection?”

I turned my head to look at him and said, “Tell them I’m still asleep.”

Then I activated the bike and sped off. As I did so, I heard Geo shout, “You know your dad’s going to yell at me for this!” That was true enough, but at the moment, I didn’t care.

When I arrived at the viewing platform where I had found Lantis after the death of his brother and the Pillar, the energy swirling around him showed that I wasn’t a moment too soon. He had already started to summon his spirit animal. “Lantis!” I called as I brought the bike to a halt.

The energy around him dissipated and he turned to look at me.

“You’re going back, aren’t you?” I said, getting off the bike and removing my headband. “To end the Pillar system of Cephiro?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Is there a way?” I asked. I wanted to know if he had actually figured something out or if he was leaving now only because of the invasion rumors.

“The Pillar must travel down the Road to the Pillar and accept a challenge,” he said. “But only the past Pillars know where that Road is…”

It wasn’t hard to see where that statement was leading. “You plan to find—and destroy—that Road,” I said.

“Yes,” he replied, closing his eyes.

“Will your life be at risk?” I asked. His plan sounded more dangerous than anything I had thought of and I didn’t want him to die.

Lantis opened his eyes and looked down at the platform. He didn’t reply, but his silence was answer enough for me. “It will be, won’t it?” I said, looking directly at him. That knowledge tipped the scales on the decision I had been weighing for the last week, ever since I had realized that my growing tiredness was a symptom of the fatigue syndrome.

I wanted him to be well gone from Autozam before I took steps to implement my decision, however, so I decided to speed him on his way. Closing my eyes, I reached into my pants pocket and withdrew the key for my hovercar. “Use my hovercar,” I said, smiling at him. Then I opened my eyes and offered him the key. As he took it, I said, “Zazu would have my hide if I let you take the FTO.” That was something of an understatement. I knew it wasn’t really true, but sometimes I felt like Zazu was only friends with me so he could be close to the FTO. “But I think this is faster than your spirit animal,” I finished.

“Eagle…” Lantis said. He sounded wary, like he suspected I had an ulterior motive for letting him take my hovercar. Which I actually did, but I was certain it wasn’t what he thought it was.

“It’s what you decided,” I said, closing my eyes again. “You will go through with it no matter what happens.” Just as I would go through with mine. I only hoped that we wouldn’t be forced to fight each other. Opening my eyes again, I gave Lantis a soft smile. “I’ve decided something now, too.”

“What did you decide?” he asked.

“A little secret,” I said. I wasn’t about to tell him that I had decided to use the fact that I was beginning to succumb to the fatigue syndrome to grant his wish to end the Pillar system and the legend of the Magic Knights, since I would have to betray his trust to do so.

Given the rumors I’d been hearing about plans to invade, I was sure I could convince my father and the rest of the Parliament to support an invasion of Cephiro for the purpose of seizing control of the Pillar system, although I would have to present it as a means of solving Autozam’s environmental problems. And the combination of my known strong will and the information I had gained from Lantis would make me the obvious choice to lead the invasion force.

Lantis slipped the hovercar key inside his cloak and then he reached out and embraced me. “Thank you,” he said.

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