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Chapter 16

          Everyone sat around the fire; the day had been uneventful. Tomorrow they would return home to Zephilia, Amelia and Zegadis had learned all they could. Luna and Gourry didn't want to spare anymore, knowing that there was nothing that they could do to sharpen their skills.

           Lina was still picking at her food quietly, she had taught her life's work to her closest friends and now she hoped her knowledge would be enough. She couldn't fight, and she couldn't run. If she failed in her teaching then she and everyone close to her would die. For the first time in her life she wished for a chance to go back and never learn the chaos magics.

          "Oh dear, why so glum everyone? I have good news, for you see tonight these games will end." Xellos came from the shadows of the night, walking slowly into the camp. He watched everyone take the defensive. Gourry and Zelgadis walked out in front, swords drawn, Amelia and Luna taking the rear with Lina between them.

          "I have waited two years for this to end Xellos, I don't take pleasure in peoples suffering but tonight I will enjoy your death." Gourry spoke in low, dangerous tones, his blue eyes cold and unfeeling as the mazoku he stared at.
          Luna watched Xellos phase in behind Gourry and strike him with his staff, he was between them all and that was the moment she had been waiting for. Calling upon Cephied she spoke in words that could not be understood by the ones around her. A white brilliance filled the air around them for a moment and when it faded the energy could still be felt in the air. She stood staring at Xellos; her normally calm features were betrayed by the anger she felt.

          Xellos stood in shock; he could feel himself being torn at by the power she had called. He tried to phase away from Gourry as the swordsman brought the Sword of Light down on him. All Xellos could do was stumble out of the way feeling Golun Nova cut into his form. Turning to Luna he spoke in a savage voice. "How dare you call upon the Holy Power of Cephied to interfere with me?! This is not allowed! Release this barrier!"

          "I dare only call upon the ability to keep you here in this world. You have threatened my family for the last time Xellos. I will not stand back and watch her die." Luna knew she could not become involved anymore than this without risking another war between the Mazoku and Gods, but she gave them the best fighting chance they had. She pulled Lina to her and backed away.

          Her worst nightmare was coming true; Xellos was going to attack them directly. Lina knew they were still tired and their magic hadn't been perfected yet. She prayed, not to the Gods but to the Lord of Nightmares. She sent her silent pleas to Her, to protect the ones she loved. Lina would sacrifice all that she had to Her, if She allowed to them to make it. All that Lina was now able to do was stand back and hope as she listened to the sounds of fight.

          Amelia began the offensive against Xellos; she was not going to wait for more words to be passed. "Ra Tilt!" She knew the spell would have little effect on Xellos but it was a good distraction. She had to run quickly and throw a defense shield up as the blast knocked her to the ground. She watched Zelgadis launch his attack.

          "Lord of dreams that terrify. Sword of cold and darkness, free yourself from the heavens' bonds." Zelgadis ran towards the earth bound Xellos, deep down he reached inside and tapped a power he always feared. He called forth the demon that was part of him to help control this spell.  "Become one with my power, one with my body, and let us walk the path of destruction together! RAGNA BLADE!"

          Xellos fell back, he was furious now. He couldn't leave and come back with an attack. That Ragna Blade came to close for his comfort. He was at least glad Zelgadis was winded now, watching the chimera retreat back to guard Lina. Gourry was there as well. Amelia he saw was concentrating on a spell. Raising his staff he gathered his powers and struck the ground. "Blast Bomb!"

          Zelgadis and Amelia both put up shields, even Luna had to defend against this attack. Gourry stood in front trying to cut some of the power down with the Sword of Light. Lina screamed huddled between them, she could see and she couldn't cast but she could still feel the magic around her.

          Xellos watched them all drop to their knees. He smiled, for all their bravado they were still just humans.

          Gourry could hear Lina; she was scared. She couldn't see and she couldn't help them fight for her life. Grunting he slowly stood, sword held tight in his hand. This was going to end and end now. He slowly advanced on Xellos, watching the shock show openly on the mazoku face. He knew Xellos couldn't understand why he was walking into his own death.

          Gourry attacked and Xellos blocked, Xellos attacked and Gourry parried and attacked again. Neither was giving or gaining ground, but the human was tiring.

          Zelgadis was leaning on Amelia; he watched this go back and knew that Gourry would loose eventually. "Amelia, help me cast against Xellos. Use Ra Tilt, it won't hurt Gourry."
          "Right" Letting go of him she glanced back at Lina, and felt a new resolve form in her heart. "Ra Tilt!!" She would now let her die; she would not let her love do in battle.

          "Ra Tilit!" Zelgadis sank to the ground; he was spent. He watched Xellos scream as the attack hit him. Gourry never let seemed to know they had cast a spell, as Xellos let his guard down Gourry lunged.

          He could hear him scream, he felt the blade sink deep into the body of the mazoku. He drove Xellos back against the rock wall of the cliffs that circled the bay. He felt the Sword of Light bury deep into the rock, pinning Xellos. "Amelia! Cast the Dragon Slave! Do it while I have him trapped!"

          Amelia stood there, she heard him and she knew what he was asking her to do. She couldn't kill Xellos if it meant killing Gourry, she just couldn't. "No! I can't, you'll be caught in the blast!"

          Xellos opened his eyes, he knew that this was out of hand. He was going to loose, he felt sure of that. He was going to kill Lina one way or the other before he died though. If he couldn't kill her physically he would take everything from her and give her life no meaning.  Growling he thrust the point of his staff though Gourry's body.

          Screaming with pain Gourry sank to his knees, coughing he tasted blood in his mouth. He wouldn't let go of the Sword of Light, not till his task was complete. He spoke in a strangled voice. "Amelia..please..don't let my death be for nothing. Help me..protect Lina.."

          Amelia couldn't take it; it hurt too much. She could see the blood running on the ground around Gourry. She felt so much anger, so much pain. She just begin to draw energy to cast. Ignoring it all she delved deep inside herself and began to draw power.

          "What is the point of your heroics Gourry..We both will die. You have failed Lina." Xellos was trying to draw as much strength from Gourry as he could.

          "No Xellos, I haven't failed. You see, I will protect Lina at any cost. She and the others will live and that's all that important to me. She will survive, she's strong like that." Gourry coughed, he felt himself slipping and called on the Sword's energy and power to help in ensure that his efforts weren't in vain. "Heed me now, thee who is darker than dusk; Heed, thee which is more red than blood; In the name of that which has been buried in the bottomless abyss of time eternal."

          Lina rose from the ground, she knew what was going on, Luna had told her. She knew that Gourry was hurt, but not how badly. She could feel Amelia preparing to cast the Dragon Slave. It was Gourry's words that caused her to pull away from Luna and stumble towards him. Her heart was racing in her chest. Her mind screamed at the impossibility of it. It was her old spell, it was the old way of casting the Dragon Slave. Gourry was casting it. Amelia was casting her (?). She fought Luna's hands on her shoulders holding her back. Her scream tore from her lips. "GOURRY!"

          "I summon thee, Master of the ultimate darkness; Have no pity on the fools who stand in our way."

          "Darkness beyond twilight. Crimson beyond blood that flows. Buried in the streams of time is where your power grows. I pledge myself to conquer all the foes that stand before, the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hands"

          Xellos was preparing to defend against Amelia, but he couldn't have prepared to stand against a spell from Gourry. He couldn't accept this; it wasn't possible that this person was capable of casting this spell. How had he learned this spell, how could he learned this casting Dragon Slave?

          "Infuse me with power, Let your strength become mine, To wipe them from the face of this earth. To deliver unto them the ultimate doom!"

          "Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!"

          Lina closed her eyes, she couldn't see it of course, but she felt it. Both spells were her trademark at one point in her life. Both spells would be the death of her enemy. Both spells would take from her the most important person in her life. Her lips moved, but no sound came from them as she spoke two words.

          "Dragon Slave!!!"


          Lina Inverse lived comfortably in Saillune's Royal Palace. She was the private teacher to the young Princess Gracia and to the Prince Gourry. It had been twelve years since their birth, fifteen since his death. She walked the halls unaided now; she had lived there a long time and knew her way around perfectly. Even though she had begun to see shadows, the royal healers didn't give out much hope for her vision returning, however, she had beaten the odds before, well mostly, except for that once.  She was alone still; no one had managed to find their way to her heart. Lina didn't mind though, she could feel him with her still, always there protecting her.

          "Good morning Lina, getting ready for today's lesson?"

          "Good morning You Highness. I am, is the Queen getting the children up?" She smiled knowing the reaction she would receive.

          "Now Lina cut that out, how many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me Highness!" Zelgadis had never become used to being a King.

          "Of course Your Highness" She walked along, her hand on his arm. It had taken her a while to get used to that. She had known him as a chimera to begin with it and it some time to getting used to a human arm to hold on too.

          Zelgadis just moaned as she deviled him. He grunted in pain as he oldest child about knocked him down. "Gourry, watch where you're going. How many times do I have to tell you that. What if you had knocked Miss Lina down?" He scolded his son.

          "I'm sorry Father, just Mom said she was going to tell us the stories about the great hero Gourry Gabriev!" He jumped up and down excitedly, never catching the pain that flashed across his teacher's face.

          "Well I think we had best be going. We don't need to be late for the Queen's stories, do we?" Lina smiled as she heard the boy run off and Zelgadis sigh. "He'll learn one day Zel." She turned as if to look at him. "It's good his memory hasn't died."

          Zel never got a chance to speak as Amelia came around the corner caring their daughter. She was chatting to a man about their age, maybe a bit younger. He was pleasant enough and had a kind face. Something told Zel that his wife was up to something.

          "Good morning Lina, I want you to meet my cousin. Gerard, this is Lina. Lina this is Gerard." He was the one that found the cure for Zelgadis." Amelia watched as they exchanged greetings and talk of magic began. She caught the look her husband was giving her and just winked as they walked to join the eager Prince and share tales of their old life.

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