When the girls arrived in Cephiro, the three things to first catch their eyes as they fall from the sky are a volcano, a mountain in the sky and the sea. Little did they know that they would later visit all three locations on their quest to become the Magic Knights, for they house the shrines where the Mashin slumber.
Upon arriving at a shrine, the girl whose element the shrine corresponds to enters a trance. In that state, she will not respond to anything other than the calling of the respective spirit, who has awakened to try her.
Oh girl from the other world, you who have been summoned. If you wish to become a Magic Knight, show now your worthiness. Show me proof that you are the right person to wear me. Show me your power. Show me the strength of heart worthy of a Magic Knight.
As Zagato's people lie in wait at each shrine, they attack the two girls not affected by the spirit. The spirit, on the other hand, does not release the girl from its hold until the situation has escalated, so that she must fight at a disadvantage to save her companions. The spirit will not allow anyone to interfere with the trial, capable of even blocking magic for that purpose.
The first shrine is located underwater, which they reach on an enclosed vessel conjured by Mokona. Its inside contains air, making breathing possible.
The second shrine is located in the sky within the floating mountain. They reach it on a flying vessel; the immense altitude makes them worry.
The last shrine is located inside the volcano, enclosed by cliffs and fire.
ASCOT. A Paru (Summoner) who awaits them at the Water Shrine. The monsters he calls forth overwhelm the girls with their magic, size and advantage in number. Though he refers to them as his friends and is enraged when they are hurt, he keeps siccing them on the girls while mocking their determination to protect each other even as they are fainting from their wounds. Furious, Umi forces him to apologize, and slaps him for putting his friends into the line of fire. Ascot explains that everyone is afraid of the company he keeps, misjudging the monsters due to them being creatures of fear even though they are friendly creatures that listen to him.
Zagato won him over by inviting him to live in the castle with the monsters after defeating the Magic Knights, something Ascot was all too ready to accept since they had been treated badly whenever they went. After Umi teaches him the true meaning of friendship, which means standing up proudly for who you believe in, he apologizes – just as she apologizes for hurting his friends – and retreats.
CALDINA. Waits for them at the Wind Shrine. She speaks in Osaka dialect, has an outgoing and playful personality and loves to draw attention to her beautiful and agile body. As a professional dancer and a Laru (Illusionist), her dance conjures hallucinations and allows her to control people like marionettes; she can even let her marionettes cast magic they already know. When under control, they may or may not be conscious.
She serves Zagato in exchange for money and manipulates Hikaru and Umi to fight against Fuu, but backs down after seeing the tremendous difference in their motives to take part in the battle. Fuu's strength of heart and conviction to put her life on the line for her friends impress her; she praises and encourages the girls to continue their journey. To Fuu, she admits having asked Zagato once why he wouldn't allow the princess to continue praying for Cephiro, seeing how an unstable world full of monsters is not worth ruling over – to which he replied that "there is something more precious than Cephiro"...
LAFARGA. Captain of Emeraude's personal guard, responsible for her safety. As the Pillar ensured Cephiro's peace, there were no wars to be fought; the guard's duty mainly consisted of taking care of the occasional monsters. Zagato cast a spell on Lafarga to control his heart, effectively brainwashing him to fight the Magic Knights. He is stationed at the Fire Shrine.
His opponent is Hikaru, who refuses to use magic due to the fact that her opponent is a Daru (Swordsman), someone who fights solely with the sword. The pressure of his sword swing is capable of bursting rocks, and inflicts massive damage on Hikaru, who is determined to shield her friends with her body. Lafarga is the only opponent who is not directly defeated in battle: When he reaches for Hikaru's sword to deal the finishing blow, it bursts into flames, making him regain his sense of self.
The Mashin of Legend
The Mashin sleep, waiting for the time of arrival. To become the legendary Magic Knights, the girls have to wake and wear them. Once a girl has passed her trial, the Mashin slumbers within her armor until all of them have been revived, marking the birth of the Magic Knights.
Ceres first takes the appearance of a blue sea dragon, Windom a green four-winged bird, Rayearth a scarlet lion (or wolf) with blazing mane. In their alternate forms, which they assume henceforth and which are made for battle, they are giant robots ("Mashin" is a pun on "machine"). As Magic Knights, the girls carry swords that have reached their true form and wear fully evolved armor, which include headgear and cape that match their Mashin.
Their swords respond to the Mashin and allow them to wear them as they wear armor. The Mashin function as an extension of the Magic Knights; magic spells can be cast as usual from within, while their weapons grow in size to match the Mashin's. Sight is not limited, and in the case of Fuu, glasses become redundant. In fact, wearing the Mashin does not feel like being inside anything at all, and movement feels as though they are floating on their own.
Outside of battle, the Mashin rest in a different dimension and communicate with the Knights through telepathy.
Strength of Heart is part of the Caged Songbird Network © 2015-2018 Lethe
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