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Chapter Seven
With Magic

     Lina sat in the new and improved alternate control chair. Canal had configured the psy collection rods and they now extended in front of Lina where she could comfortably hold her hands while resting her elbows on the arms of the chair.  Kain watched her with a frown.

     “How can you do that?” he asked. “The power comes from your mind, not your hands.”  

     “Actually, magic is an innate part of you, it doesn’t really matter where you focus it as long as you are comfortable.  I find that having the build up so close to my mind disrupts my will and I can’t concentrate properly.  How do you think you control your sword? The focus is through your hands.” Lina thought for a moment. “Here, sit down and try to charge the barrier,” she said as she got out of the seat.  Kain gingerly took her place.

     After a moment, Kain threw up is hands in anger. “This is stupid, I’m perfectly happy doing things the same way I’ve always done them.”

     Lina gave Kain a hard look. “So you’re a quitter, are you?”

     “Who are you calling a quitter?  I just said it was useless. I’m going to try anyway, now explain it to me again.”

     Lina closed her eyes and took a deep breath to compose herself. “Get into position and close your eyes. Now think of using my, oops your, sword of light.  Now imagine you’re calling up its power; feel the power in your hands, increase the light, more... more....  The enemy you’re fighting will kill you if you can’t bring as much power into the blade as you can.  Use your fear, direct it into the blade, take your anger, feelings of hopelessness, they go into the blade as well.” Lina smiled triumphantly as she got a nod from Canal.  “Okay, stop now the psycho barrier is ready to run.”

     Kain looked at Lina in confusion. “Charged already? I don’t feel tired at all.”
     “You were right, Lina, by feeding his negative emotions and changing the focus point, Kain shorted the power up time immensely,” Canal noted.

     “As you can see, the power is also drawn more efficiently without as many side effects,” Lina added.

     “I’m going to be busy for a while with calculations. I’d really like to discuss your friend, Xellos, with you later though.  His power operates differently than yours and I’d like to understand it a bit better,” Canal informed Lina.

     Lina looked into space. “I really can’t give you too much information about Xellos’ power, especially now that it’s changed.  All I can tell you, with any type of certainty, is that it is intrinsic to who he is. He was given his original power level when he was created.  He really can’t use spells the way I do; actually it would kill a lesser member of his race, but he can draw on the power of the Mother of All.  That ability sets him apart from the others in so many levels.”

     Lina sighed and looked directly into Canal’s eyes. “You may not want to talk to Xellos directly about this, but he himself may not understand about his power, all you can do is ask.  To be quite honest, if you can help him maximize his power he would be grateful.”

     Canal nodded.  “If you think that is the right thing to do, I’ll do it later, when I’m done processing the data I’ve collected, and downloaded some files from the psy energy experimental centres.”

     “Well, I’ll just be going now, I’m hungry.” Lina smiled impishly.

     “When aren’t you?” Kain shot back then reddened as his own belly grumbled.  “I guess it is time to eat.”

     “Kain, did I explain a side effect of using that much energy?”  Lina asked then continued as Kain shook his head. “Well, the way you were charging up was very inefficient, and was interfering with your mind.  You probably felt like you had gone through the wringer and food was the last thing on your mind, but your body needs to replace the reserves that you used, so now that your head doesn’t hurt, it’s telling you to eat.”

     “I actually used more power there.” Kain looked away. “How easy would it be to use a final psy blast like that and not even realize it?”

     Lina sighed. “That’s something I’ve seen done and it is scary, it isn’t a worry for me because I have access to an unlimited source of power.” Lina patted her sword.  “My limitations are all centered around the fact that I need my personal reserves to control what I draw.  The one time I drew too much, I passed out before all of my life energy was gone, mind you, I did have white hair for a while afterwards.  Gourry, a dear friend of mine, called me Granny the whole time.”  Lina walked over to the wall and rested her head against the railing.  “Gourry, Zel, Amelia, all my friends are so far away. I wonder how they’re doing.”

     Kain laughed. “If they survived traveling with you, I’m sure they’re fine.”

     “Smart aleck, let’s get to the important stuff....”

     “Food!” they shouted in unison.
     As Milly heard the pair enter the dining area she smiled, hungry people to feed. “I’m almost done; take a seat and I’ll bring it out.”  

     Lina and Kain sat at the table. “Hey, where’s Xellos?  Don’t tell me that he took off somewhere without telling me.  I thought that I had finally broken him of that habit.”

     “Tsk, tsk, Lina, you’re sounding more like a wife every day,” came a voice from behind her.

     “Xellos, you fruitcake,” Lina yelled as she hit him on the head.  Xellos obliged Lina by giving a very convincing groan before he dropped the act and smiled.

     “Do it again, Lina.  You know how much I love it when you touch me.” Xellos’ eyes lit up with a wicked joy.

     “Xellos Metallium, behave yourself,” Lina told him firmly, trying to suppress the dimples that were struggling to appear on her cheeks.  “Where were you any way?”

     “I took another jaunt in the astral plane, it’s so soothing.  I didn’t see our blond friend but I did spot some other areas of darkness, one which just left the area we are going to.”

     “Didn’t Neena say that the UG had accused your friend, Rail, of stealing a lost ship?” Lina asked Kain.

     Kain nodded in agreement then added, “I hope he still is a friend.  We’ll be docking soon; there should be some information available here. Neena did say that Rail had been sighted at this port.”

     “Are we in port soon? Great, I have some more grocery shopping to do,” Milly remarked as she started bringing in platters of food.  Putting a special plate in front of Xellos, she motioned for him to try it.  “You are going to waste away to nothing, Xellos. Try this, I’m not known as the Greatest Cook in the Universe for nothing.”

     Xellos looked at the plate in stupefaction. “I really don’t need to eat, I had quite a nibble earlier.”

     Milly gave Xellos a severe look. “I know that there was nothing missing from the Galley, so don’t try to brush me off.”

     Xellos and Lina both sweatdropped. Not wanting to go into his normal explanation of his method of feeding to the others, Xellos took the plate and sat between Lina and Kain, going through the motions of eating while Lina cleared his plate for him.  Lina’s ultra fast eating techniques were certainly coming in handy, he told himself.  Humans really didn’t react well to his normal eating habits.

     Canal’s picture came on screen. “We’re in port now folks and I’ve located Rail. It really wasn’t difficult, as he’s a patient in the local hospital.  Kain, get ready, we’re going to see him right away.”

     “We’re going as well,” Xellos spoke up. “When I was in the astral plane, I felt what I assume was a lost ship leaving the area; I have to assess if there’s any link between your friend and the dark presence.  Lina can do any healing, she’s better at it than I am.”

     Lina shot Xellos a sharp glance before remembering Melee’s little gift in her hip pocket.  The spell that freed Xellos from Zelas would be needed if Rail were under the lost ship’s control.

     Canal looked frustrated for a second and then agreed to their wishes.  “Okay, but no fights Lina.  Xellos, you are responsible for her.”

     Xellos snickered, “That’s a new one, Lina, it’s usually the other way around.”

     “Take it as a sign of your new respectability.  Soon you’ll be a humourless, staid old man,” Lina shot back.

     Xellos grabbed at his heart. “Wounded, wounded to my very core. Lina, you have destroyed me.”

     “Come on, you fruitcake, answers are awaiting us,” Lina laughed as she drug the ham along behind her.
Slayers - Universe