Mountain of the Sun
After arriving back from the battle, Van is sent on another journey. Lulu asks him to venture up Solelle Mountain to retrieve a civilian Battle Rover. Lulu tells Van that the Zoid (named Gamba) belonged to her father. 15 years ago he loaned Gamba to a man named Giovanni to help with his work. When they looked into it, however, they found the work had not been done for 3 years. Van accepts the task and begins his trip.
Van ventures up, and despite the rough terrain, quickly spots a Battle Rover. Just as he does so, some rocks fall from the cliff side. Van jumps up and saves the Battle Rover, noticing it was carrying many children on its back.
Van introduces himself to the pilot - a young girl named Rosa. She explains that they were taking the children to school at the base of the mountain. A round trip usually takes 3 hours. Yet a rockslide blocked the good road, forcing them to take this risky one (and add another hour to their travel time). Van uses Caesar to clear the rock slide, but doesn't mention Gamba. He decided to scope out the situation before confirming if the Battle Rover the children were using was the one he needed to recover.
Subtly, Van asks how long it would take them to go to school on foot. Rosa replies that the trip was so treacherous they wouldn't even ask young children to attempt it. As Van arrives at the village, he asks why they even lived up here - considering it was such an out-of-the-way place. Rosa tells him it was a Solbatross Rookery. She takes him to the mountainside, where hundreds of wild Solbatross Zoids lived. The village had been constructed so that the inhabitants could help provide nests for the Solbatross. The Solbatross come every year and lay a Zoid Core, which in 90 days develops into a Solbatross and leaves with their parents.
Furthering the explanation, Rosa tells Van that Solbatross line their nests with scales, and that these scales are very efficient solar batteries. The Zoid Cores use the energy to grow while in incubation. However, the Solbatross create new nests every year - this would cause a problem if left unattended, as the Solbatross scales would quickly cover the whole nesting ground. It was the role of the villagers to clean out the old nests. The villagers then sell the scales as batteries and make a living. This harmonic relationship ensures the wellbeing of both the Zoids and the villagers.
Van offers to help Rosa with her work. She initially refuses, since it wasn't polite to ask a stranger help with work (especially considering what Van had done so far to help). But Van none the less insists. Rosa remarks that Van reminded her of her late grandfather. She tells Van that her grandfather passed away 3 years ago, and that he and Gamba (as the Battle Rover was indeed Gamba that Van was looking for) solely did this job during that time. Rosa also tells Van that her grandfather's name was Geovanni Montague.
As the village children come to help, they treat Gamba with high-quality oil. They had saved up for it, and bought it in secret, knowing Rosa wouldn't have allowed them to spoil her had they let her know. It was their gift to her for helping them go to school routinely.
Van decides to leave the mountain without completing his task. He meets with Lulu who was enthusiastic to get Gamba back. However, instead Van asks her to forget about Gamba. As compensation, he even offers Zeke to her instead.
After an emotional encounter - Lulu tells Van that it wasn't necessary. Gamba was allowed to stay on the mountain. In fact, she had never intended to retrieve Gamba at all. It had been a test of character for Van, one that he passed with flying colours. Lulu reveals the two that had asked him to take the test. It was none other than Rosso and Viola.
Deep Red and Deep Blue
The group travel towards their target in a Whale King, but as they draw near Rosso and Viola ask Van to get off. There was another test coming for him.
They trap Irvine, Fiona and Moonbay inside the Whale King, and begin to take off. They tell Van they were taking them to Mr Chen. He was the one who had originally sent for them. However, he was actually more interested in Fiona, rather than Van. It seemed Mr Chen knew something about the Zoid Eve.
Van attempts to run up a cliff to board the Whale King, but a high-speed Zoid intercepts him. Just as he was getting his bearings, another Zoid closed in for melee combat. These Zoids were Liger Zeros, just like Caesar. However, they had the Jager and Schneider CAS. Viola was piloting the Jager, Rosso the Schneider. Van, equipped with no armour, was incredibly angry at them for taking away his friends. Totally unfazed by their armour, he decides just beating them in combat wouldn't be enough, he wanted to meet Mr Chen and give him a good hit.
The battle is quick, Viola charged at Van, and while the Jager was much faster than Caesar, it lost agility at high speed. Caesar darts around Jager, and knocks it into the Schneider, getting both Zoids' tangled together by their mane. In one fell swoop Van incapacitates both of them, striking a specific spot in the Liger Zero that houses the Liger's motion control. Thoroughly beaten, Viola reveals the location of Mr Chen - directly above Van.
A huge flying castle descended upon them, this castle called Hourai, was where Mr Chen lived. Before they leave, Rosso and Viola reveal that they were the ones who had attacked Van at the bottom of the ocean. More importantly, they tell Van they wanted to thank him. Viola reveals that Rosa is her sister. They tell Van that they would help him from here on out, as they were indebted to him for helping out Rosa.
Rosso and Viola release Van's friends, just as Mr Chen makes his appearance. He immediately apologises to Van for testing him twice, but Van pays no heed to this. Van was totally shocked by Mr Chen's appearance, he looked identical to Raven.
- ISBN: 1-56931-813-1
|Chaotic Century Graphic Novel|
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