Hitomi falls to her knees as the men around her look puzzled. Allen hops out of his Scherazade and asks her if she’s alright. Hitomi says the fort is going to be destroyed by the invisible Guymelefs but no one believes her. However, when they hear she’s from the Mystic Moon they panic, thinking it will bring bad luck. Allen tells them to calm down. Suddenly one of Allen’s men, Teo, enters the fort with someone mysterious, Merle, who is tied up on the back of a horse. Van unties her and asks about Fanelia. Merle says it was all burned, the samurai were all killed and any survivors were scattered. Hitomi has a vision of herself standing in the burning wreckage of Fanelia, then passes out. Meanwhile in the Vione, Dornkirk tells Folken to capture the Dragon, which he fears will interfere with their ideal future. Dilandau heads out to do it, saying the Dragon is at the fort. Folken is concerned because Asturia is allied with Zaibach, but Dilandau says they will use the stealth cloaks so it can’t be determined who is attacking. Back at the fort, Merle and Hitomi are in bed being taken care of by Van and Allen. Hitomi looks out the window, wondering if her mother is worrying about her. She says to Allen that his mother must be beautiful. Allen tells Hitomi that she died when he was young. Allen flashes back to years before, when his mother sat in a field while he played with his little sister. Allen says that his sister vanished one day and that his mother died from the grief soon after. Allen wonders why he’s telling Hitomi this and she thinks to herself why she’s being so fickle. Meanwhile, Van notices a seed on Merle’s face. He brings it to the Mole Man, who gives him a few leaves that can neutralize poison. Meanwhile, outside the men prepare the fort for battle. Allen talks to Gaddes and says he thinks Zaibach will attack due to the look he had seen in Dilandau’s eyes. He tells him to get the Crusade ready. Meanwhile Dilandau waits in the woods with his troops.
Hitomi and Merle stare at each other, thinking about how weird the other one is. Merle notices she’s on a bench and gets angry, scaring Hitomi. Suddenly, Hitomi sees a short vision of a red Guymelef. Van and the Mole Man come in and Van gives the two girls some medicine for their wounds. Suddenly, Hitomi realizes that Zaibach is attacking. At that moment, Dilandau’s forces launch an attack with the crima claws and fire, burning up much of the fort. The fort’s catapults are knocked over and destroyed without even hitting the enemy. Reeden thinks it’s the curse of the Mystic Moon but Gaddes tells him to not be foolish and that it’s a Zaibach attack. Allen says he’ll go out in Scherazade. A group of soldiers shoot flaming arrows at one of the invisible Guymelefs but it counterattacks by burning them to a crisp. A soldier charges Dilandau but is defeated. Allen comes out in his Guymelef and asks Kio if he’s alright. Kio says they have entered the Fort’s underground passage. Van runs up to Allen and asks where Escaflowne is, and Allen says it’s on the Crusade. Van wants to stay and fight, but Allen says they should retreat despite the fact that Van wants revenge for Fanelia. Allen tells him that samurai exist only to save lives, and picks up Van. Under the fort, the Crusade, a large airship, is prepared for departure. After Hitomi and Merle are brought aboard, it picks up its anchors and heads off. Dilandau laughs at the carnage he and his troops have caused, but Folken tells Dilandau he is being foolish. He says to head to a nearby waterfall, where he suspects Escaflowne is. Allen reaches the waterfall in Scherazade and jumps off the cliff, landing on the Crusade as it appears from out of the waterfall. Dilandau and his Dragonslayers watch from the top of the cliff. They go into flight mode and head after it, despite the fact that they won’t be able to use the stealth cloaks mid-air. As Van gets out of Scherazade’s hands, the Zaibach Alseides catch up. Dilandau fights Allen while another Guymelef damages the Crusade, then joins in. Watching Allen fight, Van realizes it’s his fault this is happening. He thinks about what Allen told him earlier about samurai being responsible for saving lives and jumps over to the Guymelef Hangar. He gets in Escaflowne and jumps off the Crusade, transforming it into a flying dragon. Dilandau realizes that Escaflowne is the dragon that Emperor Dornkirk was talking to. Dilandau heads after Van, telling his subordinate Gatty to take care of Allen. Allen manages to knock him off the Crusade with little trouble though. The other Dragonslayers head after Van. Hitomi asks Gaddes to head after Escaflowne, but he says that they can’t because the Crusade is damaged. Van flies away while the enemy pursues him. Dilandau says he hasn’t hunted dragons in a long time and this will be fun.
Another good episode, featuring largely character development in the first half and action in the second. We hear of Allen’s backstory here, including the sad tale of how his sister disappeared when he was a kid. The scene in the middle of the episode between Merle and Hitomi is one of the funnier of the series and Merle will continue to provide a lot of comedy relief throughout. Escaflowne is revealed to be the “Dragon” Emperor Dornkirk is after which shouldn’t be too surprising considering Folken and Dilandau are responsible for pursuing the Escaflowne. The episode ends with one of the series better cliffhangers as Van flees under pursuit by the enemy.
Original Review: April 1, 2006