The Crusade approaches Palas, the capital of Asturia. Inside, Hitomi looks at Allen and wonders if he hates her. In the Guymelef hangar, Merle finds Van, who stares at his sword angrily and thinks of his brother. The Crusade lands and everyone gets out. Hitomi, Merle and Van stare at the ocean. Suddenly, a beautiful blond woman rides up on her horse and greets Allen. She is Millerna, the youngest princess of Asturia. Allen introduces her to Van and Millerna reminisces about meeting Van and Folken years before at the Fanelia castle. Allen says he needs to see the king and Millerna lends him her horse. Millerna tells Hitomi to carry Allen’s stuff to the castle, thinking she’s a handmaiden. The two of them and Merle get into a short argument which ends with Hitomi accidentally blabbing about being from the Mystic Moon. Meanwhile, in the castle Allen tells King Aston about Zaibach’s attack on their fort. Aston refuses to listen since Zaibach is their ally and introduces Allen to Folken, who was standing in the corner. Folken says that Fanelia had launched a sneak attack on Zaibach which is why they destroyed it. He demands that Escaflowne be handed over to him and Aston goes along with him. Allen stands there angry. Later, Merle, Van and Millerna sit at a table and Hitomi enters wearing a dress that Millerna had lent to her. The maid is about to throw out Hitomi’s clothes but she stops her. They get a message from Allen saying to go to the bazaar without him. They head out to leave, but beforehand Van gives Hitomi her duffle bag. Meanwhile, the crew members of the Crusade finish hiding Escaflowne under a tarp but the Royal Guard comes and cuts them down, revealing Escaflowne. They declare that under orders of the king, they are going to seize Escaflowne.
Hitomi, Millerna, Van and Merle walk through the crowded marketplace. Hitomi is surprised to see the various animal like people in the market. Suddenly, Van sees two Zaibach soldiers and his brother on a bridge and heads after them. Meanwhile, Hitomi notices a CD on a table and plays it in her CD player. While the song plays she is reminded of Yukari and Amano. Suddenly, she sees a vision of Van being struck by lightning. Hitomi heads off to warn him and Merle follows, leaving Millerna alone. Folken walks through the alleys of the town while Van tries to catch up. He crosses over a bridge and a carriage arrives to pick him up. At that moment, Van reaches the bridge and notices the Floating Fortress behind the nearby mountain. Van calls out to his brother and Folken turns around, asking Van if he will join him. Meanwhile, in the Vione Dilandau picks at his cheek until it starts bleeding again. Gatty warns him not to pick the wound and Dilandau punches him in the face. He receives a message from Shesta about Folken. Back on the bridge, Van asks Folken why he is with Zaibach. Folken said he died 10 years ago when a Dragon ate his arm, but Emperor Dornkirk saved him. Hitomi and Merle run through the streets trying to get to Van, obtaining directions on the way. Dilandau, inside the Guymelef hangar gets in his Guymelef and aims to shoot at Van from afar with a crima claw. Folken continues to talk to Van, asking him to join him and saying how Zaibach will end all wars. Hitomi and Merle run through the alleys, and Hitomi tears up her dress so she can run faster. In the Vione Dilandau charges his energist to maximum to snipe out Van despite warnings from Shesta. He shoots at Van but Hitomi arrives at the bridge and pushes him out of the way just in time. Dilandau’s Guymelef overheats and burns up. Van is convinced that Folken was behind the attack, but Folken denies it. Folken leaves as the Asturia Royal Guard arrives demanding Van come with them. Later, Van stands in Escaflowne in a giant arena; King Aston says that as proof of their friendship he wants him to prove himself. His opponent is revealed to be a bounty hunter named Sajima. Aston talks to Asturia’s wealthy merchant, Meiden, who wants to see the worth of Escaflowne. Meiden asks why he doesn’t have Allen fight him and Aston and says he will deal with Allen later. Hitomi wonders if this is what the earlier vision was warning her about. Suddenly, the door behind Van opens, revealing two more opponents.
This is one of the shows’s rare slow episodes, although it does provide some more world building and character development. In the FOX Kids version half of the episode ended up being cut. Princess Millerna appears for the first time and will be constantly vying for Allen’s attention over Hitomi. It was interesting to see Hitomi come across a CD in the market place, showing that others from Earth must have been to Gaea before. The episode foreshadows the conflict our heroes will continue to face throughout the series as the king aligns himself with Folken rather than Allen. The scene with Dilandau trying to kill Folken is used to show us how crazy he is and is used to increase his hatred for Van/Hitomi even more. Outside of that scene however, there is little action in the episode at all. The episode ends with yet another cliffhanger, which has become quite common to this point.
Original Review: April 1, 2006