The Lady in the Vineyards
Irvine and Melissa leave the transport aboard Melissa's Storm Sworder. Due to Tornado's damage, they would go ahead to begin the extensive repairs. Tornado is carried in a special Storm Sworder called "Yunjian" (Cloud Blade).
Van and the others don't head straight for the republic capital. Instead they take a detour and move towards Mule. Herman had suggested someone might know about the Zoid Eve at Mule. As fate would have it, this person was also Melissa's sister. Herman had originally instructed them to head straight to the capital, but Melissa was able to update the group with more recent information - her sister was in Mule, hence the detour.
It took three days to arrive at the border city. Mule was a large city protected by massive walls. The lands around it contained fertile farmland.
Moonbay takes her Gustav and heads into the city, leaving Van and Fiona to wander the crops. Fiona, not knowing any better, picks a grape from a vineyard. Van scalds her, stating it's not theirs to take, but promptly finds himself picking grapes as well.
Before long, a woman approaches them and likewise scalds them for picking fruit that doesn't belong to them. Van quickly apologises, but Fiona still doesn't quite understand, and asks why picking a single grape is a problem - considering there are so many around.
The elderly woman begins to explain that it's not a matter of how many grapes are picked, but the effort that someone went to in order to cultivate them. Yet she is quickly cut off, a group of Zoids are seen running amok nearby. Two Rev Raptors were chasing a Heldigunner, and were rampaging straight toward the field. The elderly woman tells Van to stay back, while she briskly walks towards the oncoming Zoids. It was her hometown, and she wasn't going to sit idly by watching it get ruined.
Van immediately questions what she could do against Zoids unarmed, and offers to protect the fields in her place. Promptly fusing with Zeke and Caesar, Van confronts the oncoming Zoids.
Van stands in front of their approach, and tells them to stop immediately, but a reply comes from an Imperial officer piloting one of the Rev Raptors. 1st Lt. Kirsche Hartriegel explains that the Heldigunner is out of control, and it's the Imperial army's duty to deal with it - interference from the Republican army would be considered an act of hostility.
Even though Van explains he isn't a member of the Republican army, the Imperial officer pays no heed, regardless of his affiliation, if he damaged an Imperial Zoid it would be considered an act of war.
Van tries to stall - only using his shield to prevent damage to his Zoid and the Heldigunner, but the Rev Raptors continue to use firearms, causing collateral damage to the fields below.
As he attempts to come up with a way to stall them, the old lady from before speaks out in a loud voice. She reiterates the importance of the farms they were fighting on, with people pouring their souls into the land. Her speech works, the Imperial Zoids stop in their tracks, the Lieutenant recognising her voice.
Van promptly seizes the opportunity and directs all power to a fine point in his shield, repelling the Heldigunner a great distance (but not actually harming it). With the Heldigunner tamed, the Imperial forces reluctantly leave (or rather, are forcefully told to leave).
With all the commotion over, Fiona offers her sincerest apology to the elderly woman, which the woman warmly accepts. Fiona then introduces herself, Van, Zeke and Caesar. As she spoke, Moonbay arrived back. Moonbay had heard Zoids were on the loose and had come to check. Fiona tells Moonbay that "Ms. Louise" (the name of the elderly woman) had helped stop them. Moonbay's jaw dropped as she realised exactly who "Ms. Louise" was. She was none other than Louise Theresa Campford - the President of the Republic. Van is just as shocked as Moonbay, however Fiona doesn't understand the reaction, she didn't even know what a "president" was.
What Can Be Done, What Must Be Done
As they enter Mule, Van continues to attempt to explain what a "president" is to Fiona. He states a president is "a country's most important person". However, he is immediately corrected by Louise - she points out that a president assigns jobs to people, but that doesn't make the president's job the most important one.
It isn't long before they are confronted by the city's military. A Dibison approaches and requests their information (noting that the Blade Liger was not one of their own Zoids). The president promptly replies, startling the Dibison pilot (Lt Paris).
The president and company were then escorted to a lady named Michelle, the president's secretary and Melissa Su's older sister.
Van takes some time to admire the Dibison, it's name was "Gungho". It also turns out that the Zoid belonged to Rob Herman. Paris tells Van that the city is protected by an "incredible Zoid", and the two part ways.
As they walk along, Prace (the imperial spy seen with Raven and others) is seen watching from a distance.
An unmanned Redler drew attention as it suddenly flew over the city. This Imperial Zoid was in Republican airspace, Louise advises that they should leave it alone. Tension was high between the republic and empire, and they should not open fire on the Zoid. However, Gungho immediately charges out of its hanger and opens fire. It had been sabotaged by Prace.
The attack missed, but none the less caused the Redler to fire back. The return fire causes the combat system to freeze, allowing Lt Paris to regain control. He immediately makes a run for it, trying to draw the battle away from the city. The president orders him to leave the Zoid and save himself, but he refuses the order. If he left Gungho, it would be destroyed. He saw the sabotage as his fault for not noticing it sooner. Yet he wasn't fast enough to outrun the Redler, it opened fire once more, very nearly striking the Dibison. This time, however, Van was able to shield the Zoid.
Van thinks to take down the Redler, but Paris tells him not to. The empire were looking for an excuse to start war, and if Republican Zoids shot down an Imperial one, that would be sufficient.
With one last charge, Van runs straight up the buildings and heads toward the Redler. He tried to use the same move as on the Heldigunner earlier, pushing it away with his shield. However, from mid-air he lacked the force to push the Redler far enough - it looked like it was going to crash into the city.
Just at the last moment, a gigantic shield appears and protects the city. It turns out that the entire city wall was a single enormous Zoid. The chapter ends with a wheelchair-ridden female by the name of Lulu approaching the group.
- ISBN: 1-56931-768-2
|Chaotic Century Graphic Novel|
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