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Chapters 13-15
Chapter 13: Sidetrip


     "Just let me do your hair! I want you to look your bestest for the sailors!," Veronica ran after a sopping wet Little Zel with a comb.

     "I don't really think the sailors will care how Zelgadis will look, Mam," Jeremy replied, sipping his chai tea.

     "Well, _I_ care how he looks! Now hold still!" Veronica grabbed him from behind and tackled him. Zel hit the comb with his palm, sending it flying over the table.

     "He never did like people dressing him," Amelia replied, blowing on her chai tea, "This is very good. We have nothing like this in Saillune!"

     "Well," Gourry replied, stirring his chai tea, "every time one of you guys tried to dress him, it was usually in a dress!"

     All action stopped in the room, even Zel turned his sopping wet head to face Gourry. Jeremy's tea splattered all over the wall in front of him, "What did you say?!"

     "Great. Our cousin's a cross-dresser. He's probably gay too," Malcolm mumbled.

     "Malcolm! How rude of you say!" Elise sipped her tea, "Just because your cousin cross-dresses doesn't mean he's gay. 95% of cross-dressers are heterosexual, you know!"

     Lina, Amelia and Gourry facefaulted, "What exactly does that prove?!"

     "Exactly what I said. Just because Zelgadis cross-dresses doesn't mean he's gay."

     "Yeah," Jeremy added, "what do you have against gay people anyway?"

     "Nothing," Malcolm replied, "I was just stating a fact. At least, I thought it was."

     "Oh, good, didn't want you turning homophobic on us!" The family laughed at this while Lina fumed, "Hello?! Don't we have a boat to catch?"

     "It's... not... hold still... coming... argh... for another hour... sit," Veronica instructed, "It'll be harder if you let it dry!"

     "Do you think Da is going to be one of those ships, Mam?" Malcolm asked.

     "No, I don't, Dear. He's on a different ship."

     "Oh, your husband's a sailor?" Amelia asked.

     "Yes, he is."

     "I bet you want to be just like your Daddy someday, huh, Malcolm?"

     "Not really. Da is always telling me not to go into it. He told me that if he could get out, he would," Malcolm shrugged.

     "Why doesn't he?" Gourry asked.

     "He was an orphan and eventually sold himself into slavery for food. The guy who bought him was the captain of ship. He eventually bought his freedom but, by that time, he was too old to go into another trade. So, he's stuck."

     "How sad. He must miss you a lot when he's away. I bet he thinks of his wife and sons constantly," Amelia sighed.

     "Son," Jeremy corrected.

     "Excuse me?"

     "Son. I'm not his son. My Da's dead. Mam married his Da right before Malc was born."

     "How long before?" Lina asked, getting into the story.

     "About two months before," Veronica answered.

     "TWO MONTHS?! You mean..."

     "Ever heard the song 'Home Boys Home'?"

     "You mean," Gourry asked, "the one about how some sailor sleeps with a woman he's never met and she has his kid?"

     "Yes, that one. I do like that one a lot!" Veronica patted Zel on the shoulder, "All done! Go have breakfast."

*** ***

     The quality that separates the humans from the animals is reason. Zel was using that precious gift.

     After that last dream, he began to wonder how he got there in the first place, since people don't grow down and he had memories from the future.

     He did remember Lady telling him that her "Daddy" would never attempt "suicide" but according to his dream, her "Daddy" did. But that was beside the point. Suicide is probably a very bad thing and probably something very serious. The Adults claimed that when he got to whenever he was going and "put him together" or something, he would try committing suicide again. So, what was the point of all this?

     Suicide didn't sound like much fun and he didn't want to do it, whatever it was. But the Other Him did. Now, all he had to do was figure out what suicide was and figure out whether he should be concerned or not.

     Fifteen minutes after breakfast, they all gathered their belongings and began traveling to the dock. Since the Adults decided to trust him, his hands were free to do as they wished.


     Lady turned around, "Yes, Master Zelgadis?"

     "#What is 'suicide'?#"

     "Well... uh... it's when... you try to hurt yourself very badly and usually you die. Actually, now that I think about it, that's the main requirement. Why do you ask?"

     "#You mentioned it to me when I first arrived,#" he lied.

     Well now! That sounded terrible! Why would anyone want to hurt themselves badly enough to lead to death?

     Then again, seeing what he had seen, maybe he had a good reason. Well, if he was going to do that again as soon as they "put him together" then it wasn't worth the hassle.

     Maybe this was best. Just start all over from square one.

     "#Do not fix it if it is not broken!#"

     "What was that?"


     Stretch, 1, 2. Stretch, 1, 2. Get, set, go!

*** ***

     "Wait! Stop!" Amelia cried out. Everyone turned around.

     "Man! Where's he going?!" Jeremy stomped his foot.

     "Gourry, go get him. We don't have time for this!" Lina ordered.

     "Sure. He's got a head start, though."

     "So?! Start running, Jellyfish!" Lina pushed him forward, throwing him off-balance. He dangled on his left foot before he fell on his face. "What are you doing, Gourry?! This isn't the time to fool around!"

     "_You_ pushed _me_!"

     "Who cares about that now? Go get Zel back!" Lina moaned into her hands, "What's with this guy and running off?"

     "Malcolm, come with us. Hopefully, we'll be able to convince the boat to wait a while for the boys to get Zelgadis," Veronica said as Jeremy and Gourry ran towards Zel's escape route.

     The streets of Hayla were crowded and, while Zel could get through it quite easily, it was an impossible task for his followers.

     "Stupid... excuse me... he always does this!" Gourry moaned. He was hot and sweaty and he was not in the mood to run after a little version of his loner friend and bring him to the dock in under ten minutes. To make things worse...

     "We've lost him. Damn it! Stupid kid!" Jeremy ran his hand through his hair, "He could be ANYWHERE by now."

     "Let's think about this. If you was running away from something, where would you go?" Gourry asked.

     "The dark alleys. I mean, it's dark and there are lots of places to hide... Oh no!" Jeremy bolted to the nearest entrance to an alleyway. Gourry quickly took after him.

     "What's wrong? Did you see him?" Gourry asked when he caught up. Jeremy shook his head, "No, but I just realized something. Prostitutes live in the alleys. If he found one..."

     "I think he's a little young for that..."

     "NO! They'll take him in! They'll think he's a runaway or wanted by the police. They'll protect him and treat him as one of their own. We have to find him before someone else does."

     "You mean, we have to go in the brothels and stuff to find him?!"

     "Look, I don't want to be seen going in there neither but we have to find Zelgadis!" They went in search of a brothel.

*** ***

     "Probably runnin' from them dang stiffs," a "sister" (the term prostitutes use for each other because "they were all sisters") said to another.

     "He look of Sailunne on him. You Sailunne boy?" The another said with halted Official*.

     "Sheila, he sure does. We'll call you 'Sail'."

     "No," a blank-looking "sister" interrupted in her soft, low monotone voice, "That name will bog him down with the 'rock people'."

     "Um, yeah, Tricia. The 'rock people'..." The first "sister" raised her eyebrows at Sheila.

     "I mean it, Marie, the 'rock people' are the people who are not in touch with the 'inner light' of the universe and ignore the calling of the Great Mother Earth who loves us."

     "That's nice, Tricia, but I think 'Sail' is just fine," Marie sighed.

     "We should name him 'Moonchild'."

     "Why? Why in 'Great Mother Earth' or whatever's name should we name him 'Moonchild' rather than 'Sail'?" Marie stared at Tricia at with a look that she perceived as scary. Tricia wasn't startled a bit.

     "'Cause he looks like the moon, that guards our sleeping mortal bodies before our souls are one with the Great Mother Earth."

     "How does this little boy look like the MOON?!" Marie demanded.

     Sheila regarded Zel, "He no look of Moon."

     "His skin, my sisters. His skin is the color of the glorious watching Moon," Tricia concluded.

     "Oh. Why didn't you just say?" Marie slouched down against the wall.

     "Because I thought you saw it too. Maybe you should listen to your 'inner light' more."

     "I don't _care_ about my stinkin' 'inner light'. The only light I see is the light at the end of your 'Blur Candle' you are constantly smokin'. Do you smoke that junk on the job? Doesn't it make your customers sick?" Marie waved her hand in front of her face when Tricia exhaled her smoke.

     "Most of them smoke it with me."

     "My buyers do too. I then made sick, throw up many," Sheila complained.

     "Hey, Sheila, that reminds me. You know when Mary's baby is due?"

     "One month."

     "We should name it 'Moonchild' when the mortal body is complete."


     Tricia exhaled slowly, "You are such a rock person."

*** ***

     "Look, I know it sounds stupid, we're _not_ here for a love session. We believe that my cousin, a little boy, wandered into here. Please let me go check," Jeremy ordered, panting.

     "That will be 5 gold," the clerk said singsong.

     "LISTEN! You stupid little FREAK! I am NOT having a good DAY! Let ME go BEHIND the CURTAIN to JUST LOOK for my little COUSIN! That's all I want. I'm happily married..."

     "That's a new line," the clerk said, not looking up from her nail filing.

     "Please, for the love of the Gods, let me go behind there to just see..."

     "Is your 'cousin' really back there or do you just want to see some naked, sweaty, tanned female bodies, or male, whatever, I don't know your preferences, without the commitment."

     "Okay, I'm going to be calm now. Is there anything I can do?" Jeremy said leaning against the desk.

     "Well, tell me what you want to do and I'll tell you what can be done," the clerk said, and for the first time, looked up at her pest.

     "I want to find my cousin. Understand?"

     "Perfectly. I love family commitment in a man. _So_ rare these days."

     "I think he's back there with your co-workers. I want to go back there to find him and bring him to the dock within five minutes. What can I do about this?"

     The clerk leaned back in her chair and tapped her file against her chin, "Weeeellll..." She immediately popped upright, "you could give me five gold."

     Jeremy slammed his fists against the table, "Dammit! I do _NOT_ have time for this!" He turned to Gourry, "Gourry, can I borrow your sword for a second."

     "What for?"

     "Just give it."

     Gourry handed the sword to Jeremy frowning, "Don't make this worse..."

     Too bad, Jeremy whipped around and pointed the tip at the obviously frightened clerk's throat.

     "I want to go back there NOW."

*** ***

     Marie looked at the clock, "Oh, my turn to do rounds outside. Tricia, can you watch Sail for me?" Marie asked as Tricia lit up another (her fifth so far and it was only eleven o'clock) Blur Candle. The flame crackled and popped and turned blue and black.

     "Sure, Marie. I'll watch Moonchild."     

     "Sail! His name is Sail!" Marie stomped to the door, quickly composed herself and walked out. Tricia looked at Sail or Moonchild, having two names sure was confusing, looking through a box of unmentionable love toys for special customers with special needs.

     "Moonchild. Those are not for you," Tricia led him away from the box and sat cross-legged in front of him, "I will not let you become a 'rock person'. Not if I have anything to say about it."

     "#Okay. Whatever.#"

     "You must search for your 'inner light' and listen to lullaby of the Great Mother Earth who loves you."

     "#I though my Mama loved me. I do not know this 'Earth' person.#"

     "Here, Moonchild," Tricia reached into the opening of her flimsy gauze dress and brought out another Blur Candle, "put this end in your mouth." Zel/Sail/Moonchild took the Blur Candle and put the indicated end into his mouth.

     He mumbled through his teeth, "#This tastes funny.#"

     "Now, do not be afraid of the fire. When it touches the key to the 'inner light', it will not burn you and your journey will begin." Tricia took out her lighter and held to the other end of the Blue Candle. The end hit the flame and it crackled and popped. "Now, breathe in, Moonchild."

     He did and immediately wished he hadn't. His eyes watered and his nose burned on the inside. His stomach liquefied and his heart was kicking his ribs.

     "Now, take the key out and breath out." He did so and felt a little better.

     "Now repeat." He violently shook his head. He noticed off-handily that someone was yelling in what he assumed was the front room. "The first time is always the hardest. It gets easier." Well, she seemed to know what was going on. He shrugged and took another big breath of the Blur Candle. It was still bad but he knew that Tricia was an Adult and Adults always knew best. Why question?

     Pretty soon, he didn't need Tricia's instruction on when to breathe in and out, it was like he was a natural at this "enlightening" thing or whatever he was doing, she never exactly explained. Anyway, the more he did it, the better it felt and became less of a jolt. But his head started to feel a little fuzzy and everything seemed to be covered in a thick gauze, wafting in front of him. He also felt very happy and very loved and loving. He loved everyone in the room. He felt kind of sleepy and it was suddenly hard to sit up on his own.

     Tricia looked concerned, "Moonchild, don't sleep now. Stay awake," the words sounded warped, like melted chocolate in the summer noon sun. He laughed at the difference in sound. Tricia pushed him against the wall and left him. She swam back (or so it appeared to Zel/Sail/Moonchild) with a plate with a brownie on it.

     "Eat this, and listen to the Great Mother Earth calling you," she said as she handed him a fork.

     Oh yeah! He was supposed to be listening to this Great Mother Earth person. He was really going to try hard this time. He ate the brownie and everything slowed down for him, nearly stopping.
     "#I love you, Tricia.#

*** ***

     The clerk nearly ran into one of her employees.

     "Where do big men come in from?" Sheila demanded, her eyes reflecting the light of the blade.

     "They're looking for someone here," the clerk explained.

     "No do all?" Sheila remarked, "Big men look for women, yes?"

     "No, we're looking for a child," Gourry explained, "I want my sword back, Jeremy," he nudged Jeremy, who said nothing.

     "You big _sick_ man."

     "Huh?... Oh! No! Not like that! He may have ran in here. He ran away for some reason and... hey! There he is!" Gourry pointed at the far corner where Tricia and Zel sat.

     Gourry walked over to the pair and heard Tricia saying, "Listen, for She loves you..."

     "Hey! Zel, come on! We got a boat to catch!"

     "#I love you, Big Guy,#" Zel looked up at Gourry with adoring eyes.

     "Hey!" Gourry turned to Jeremy, who was walking over, "he's in a better mood now. He looks kind of sleepy somehow."

     "Sleepy?" Jeremy asked.

     "#I love you, Jer.#" Jeremy bent to pick him up and noticed his eyes.

     "Cephied! His eyes are dilated! He's been drugged."

     "No," Tricia interrupted, "Moonchild is on a journey to find his 'inner light' and hear the voice of the Great Mother Earth who loves us."

     "Terrific, he's still drugged though! What did you give him, you harpie!"

     "You are such a 'rock person'. You should listen to the Great Mother..."

     "I don't care! Tell me what you gave him so we can leave!"

     "You are not taking Moonchild. I will not give him to a 'rock person' who will diminish his spiritual being and deafened him to the voice of the Great Mother Earth."

     "Huh? I understood, like, none of that," Gourry shook her head in bewilderment.

     "Just tell me what you gave him!" Jer demanded.

     "Fine, you blind 'rock person'. I let him experience what you 'rock people' call 'Blur Candle'" Jeremy moaned at this. "and a brownie made with Dream Tea leaves baked in."

     "Okay, he'll probably live but he's going to out for a while, Gourry. You're going to have to carry him," Jeremy said, sighing.

     "I don't mind. He's sedated, right? That means out to lunch. He won't resist going now. He'll be a good boy," Gourry said, patting the completely mellow Zel, "maybe we should keep some handy, just in case Zel gets too depressed and gets annoying about it."

     "If your friend is depressed," Tricia interrupted, getting out another Blur Candle and revealing almost all of her cleavage in the process, "it is because he turned his ears away from the Great Mother Earth's comforting voice. If he stops and listens, he will be at peace."

     "Yeah, maybe that's it," Gourry said, heaving Zel over his shoulder.

     "You, Blonde Man, are not a 'rock person'. I trust Moonchild in your hands. Do not fail him," Tricia bowed deeply, again showing that lovely cleavage as Gourry was dragged away.

     "Yeah, great. Let's go," Jeremy ordered as they went out the back door. Once outside, he turned to Gourry and said, "Look, don't encourage them, okay?"

     "I thought it was sound advice."

     "Did you look at her eyes? They were completely glazed over. She was babbling."

     "I wonder what the Great Mother Earth sounds like," Gourry asked the sky. The sky had no reply. The trio made their way to the docks, hoping they hadn't missed the boat.


To be continued...

*-My term for how everyone in Slayers can speak the same language.

Author's Notes: Okay. I say this loud and clear: I do NOT support drug use! I hate drugs, come on, I don't even like alcohol! I just use drugs for humor purposes in stories, not in real life. I do not support drugs. Do not flame me about this. Anyway, the whole drug scene was actually spoofing a similar scene in a book I recently read. Basically, three brothers stop at a bar and a dwarf (this was a fantasy book) invites them to "dwarf spirits". The youngest doesn't want to at first but his oldest brother makes him try and, well, he doesn't hold it very well and starts telling everyone about how much he loves them, even if his audience is someone he just met. He eventually falls asleep on the floor, his last thoughts being about how much he loves his brothers (whom he hated only minutes before) If you want to read it, it's in the book "The Second Generation" by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The story is called "Wanna Bet?" (The book itself is a collection a short novellas. "Wanna Bet?" is the best story in there.)

Anyway, C&C are needed and welcome at
And I don't support drugs!

Chapter 14: Hidden
     "#I do not love you anymore!#" The rest of Zel's words were lost in throwing up over the side of the boat.

     "Mister Gourry, how could you?"

     "Smooth move, Gourry."

     Gourry gave up trying to prove his innocence. For the past four hours of their trip, Lina and Amelia verbally and physically abused him.

     "This conversation is getting really old. I already said sorry about ten times," Gourry moaned.

     "But what you allowed was simply evil, Mister Gourry!"

     "You should've caught him BEFORE he got there!"

     "Was that... never mind."

*** ***

     The trip itself took two days. The shore of the island Mead was muggy and overgrown with weeds.

     "I have no idea why you guys want to come here of all places," the young captain, not much older than Gourry, said, scratching his head, "I mean, there's nothing here that's worth seeing. Look, I could take you to Matha, it's only a hour away, I hear it's beautiful..."

     "No, thanks for the offer, though," Lina said, whom had been wondering the same thing herself, "What are we _doing_ here?" she asked herself.

     "Well, when you're done looking around at nothing but weeds, on the southwestern side, there's a bridge leading to Aca. They're great boatmen and I'm sure one of them will take you back to Hayla for a small fee."

     "Thanks for the advice," Gourry said. The captain departed, eager to get his cargo to his buyers, leaving Lina and the others on the dismal shore.

     "This place sucks! Who'd want to live here?!" Lina complained, sitting down on the shore.

     "I'm beginning to doubt that people do," Gourry added.

     "It is pretty bleak looking, isn't it?" Amelia said, near tears.

     "#I want to go home!#" Zel whined.

     "You and me both, Master Zelgadis."

     Lina shook herself out of her sulking and said, "Well, sitting here and complaining about the aesthetics of the place is not going to help Zel. Let's find this temple, get his body back together, and go to Aca."

     "But, we don't even know where the temple is, Lina," Gourry commented.

     "Then we go LOOK for it! Come on!" Lina moved to charge into the overgrowth when Gourry noticed something.

     "Hey, Lina, wait! Aren't those plants nettles?" Gourry called after her.

     Lina looked down, "Uh, yeah, they are."

     Amelia looked at the trees, "Those are poison ivy trees, too!"

     "Fine! We won't go this way, we'll go another way."

     Lina led the group farther down the shore. At first, Amelia thought one of the entrances was safe... until she nearly banged her head against a huge beehive. Later on, Gourry nearly walked into hot spring. Not one of those nice hot springs, he nearly walked into a hot spring that give the victim third-degree burns and are covered in colorful bacteria. A nearby raccoon convinced Gourry to find another route when it stumbled into the spring and died there.

     "What is with this island?! How do you get inside?!" Lina screamed in frustration, tearing her hair out.

     "These people must really not like people," Gourry said.

     "How do these people get supplies?" Amelia wondered aloud.

     "WHAT people? I haven't seen anyone on this stupid island! We've have been walking around for four hours and we haven't seen any signs of human activity! It's a GHOST island! We're wasting our time! Look, we're nearly at the place where we started!"

     "#There is a path here,#" Zel interrupted, pointing to the nicely cleared off path.

     "Oh, look, there's a path here, silly me," Lina amended.

     "Hey, Lina, isn't this funny? If we had gone the other way, we would've gotten here in under ten minutes," Gourry laughed.

     Lina then punched him in the jaw, "IT'S _NOT_ FUNNY AT ALL!!!"

     "No, I guess not," Gourry mumbled, trying to put his jaw back into alignment.

     They walked down the path. Inside, the vegetation was much more organized, "They probably put those weeds and stuff on the outside to keep people out," Amelia figured.

     They walked for hours on end.

     "Okay, we found a path but it doesn't GO anywhere!" Lina moaned.

     "#I am bored,#" Zel said.

     "I know," Amelia agreed, half-heartedly.

     "#Well, I am.#"

     "What do you want me do about it?"

     "#I have to got potty too.#"

     "Guys, I think we should rest," Amelia suggested. Lina plunked down on a rock wordlessly and held her head in her hands, "No people, no town, no inn, no food, nothing. There is absolutely nothing here," Lina complained quietly to herself.

     "Mister Gourry, can you take Master Zelgadis somewhere?"


     "He has to go."

     "Go where?"

     "He has to just GO."

     "Go WHERE?"

     "Mister Gourry, nature is calling him."

     "He can talk to trees, too?"

     Lina threw a small stone at Gourry, "Jellyfish, she means he has to go to the bathroom!"

     "Why didn't she just say so?" Gourry took Zel into the underbrush to do his business.

*** ***
     After they had rested, they continued on. Eventually, they reached a town.

     "Thanks the gods, a town!" Lina cried. She ran ahead of them towards the largest building. Gourry, Amelia and Zel ran after her. To Lina's dismay, the building was not an inn but a town hall.

     She sat down and cried, "It's not fair! I've traveled so far. I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm utter bereft! WAAAA!!!"


     "Go away! Let me die in peace!"

     "Miss Lina..."


     "You just passed the inn," Gourry pointed behind him.

     Across the street and two doors down was a building attached to a swinging sign with a plate surrounded by a knife and fork above a bed.

     "Oh." They helped Lina up and walked towards the inn. Amelia noticed that some of the houses had little plaques on them with a picture of a woman figure under a house shape. Under the picture, there was an inscription but Amelia was too far away to read it.

     "Miss Lina, have you ever seen plaques like that?"

     "No, never. Wonder what that's all about."

     When they reached the inn, it too has a similar plaque and Amelia read the inscription: "Safe house."

     "'Safe house'? What's that got to do with anything?" Gourry asked. The girls shrugged. Zel, meanwhile, was climbing on to the bench under the plaque and touched it. He saw a flash of a woman getting her throat slit.

     "#My grandmother...#" Zel said.

     "What about her, Master Zelgadis?" Amelia asked.

     "#My grandmother died here.#"

     "How do you know that?"

     "#I saw it when I touched the plaque.#"

     "What's he talking about?" Lina asked.

     "He says that his grandmother died here. The plaque told him," Amelia shrugged.


     They went inside and ordered tons of food. When the food was half gone, Lina called the waitress over, "Hey, what's up with all those plaques?"

     "Oh, it's a very sad story," the quiet girl replied, her audience had to lean over to hear her, "Long ago, a woman with a baby came running into town, late at night. She screamed that someone was trying to kill her and begged to be let into a house. Not wanting to get involved, no one let her in."

     "What's happened?" Amelia asked.

     "The man got her. No one could clearly identify the man, nor the woman. The woman's throat was slit. The next morning, the people found her in a pool of blood. But the strangest thing is," she looked straight at them, "the baby was gone."

     "Gone? Did the man take it?" Gourry asked.

     "We don't know. No one saw the man take it and even so, the woman fell face first, the baby would've been crushed under her. To get to the baby, they would have flip over the woman. There was no sign that the woman had been touched, besides the slit throat. It was as if the baby had vanished."

     "That's so creepy," Amelia said, holding on to Zel's hand, "isn't it, Master Zelgadis?" Zel shrugged.

     "But why all the plaques? You said no one knew the woman," Lina asked.

     "When the people found the body, they realized that it was their fault the woman had died. They then set up the 'Safe House' policy. If someone is in trouble, they can go to the houses with the 'Safe House' plaques on them and be given protection."

     "I think that's a beautiful policy," Amelia commented, shaking off the jetters.

     "Thank you. Is there anything else you want?"

     "Yeah, chicken dinner for twelve and some information about your island," Lina ordered.

     "Of course," the girl smiled but when her back was turned, her smile turned into a scowl.

     "There's something about that story that doesn't add up. I mean, where did the baby go?" Lina leaned back into her chair.

     "Maybe it wasn't really hurt and walked away," Gourry offered. Lina pulled Gourry in a head lock, "Gourry! That's the stupidest thing I've EVER heard. Even you are not that stupid!"

     "Okay, maybe it didn't," Gourry replied.

     "Wasn't that story what Misses Veronica saw in her vision?" Amelia offered.

     "Yeah, and Zel here claims the woman was his grandmother," Lina's face scrunched, "but how can that woman be Zel's grandmother if she got her throat slit?"

     "And the baby's head got smashed in?" Amelia added.

     "Supposedly. The baby disappeared, remember?"

     "Maybe the woman had another kid," Gourry suggested.

     "_After_ she had her throat slit?" Lina glared at him.

     "No, no, no. _Before_ she got her throat slit."

     "Then where was that other kid?" Amelia asked.

     "At home, probably."

     "So, she just left her kid at home?" Lina asked, doubtfully.

     "Look! I was just giving a suggestion!"

     "Thanks for playing, Gourry."

     The waitress came back with the food and nearly walked off when Lina ordered, "Hey! Wait! I want some information!"

     The waitress whirled around, "Oh, yes. Forgot."

     "This is Mead, right?"

     "Yes, and this is the town of Harra," the waitress said proudly.

     "Do you know where the old Death Angel temple is? I hear it's on this island."

     "It is."

     "Great! Then where is it?" The waitress was walking away but Lina grabbed her shoulder, "I wasn't finished."

     "I was, Miss."

     "Look, where is the temple?"

     "The temple of what?"

     "The Death Angels! I just said so!"

     "No, you just said 'where is the temple?'"

     "Never mind. Just tell me where to find the Temple of the Death Angels."

     The waitress crossed her arms, "I don't see why you want to go there, there's nothing there to look at. It's just a big building!"

     "I don't care about tourist attractions! Where is it?"

     "There. Is. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. There!"

     "Do you _want_ me to blow up this inn? 'Cause I will if you don't tell me!"

     "Fine! It's on the mountain. The path leading to it is at the end of town! Happy?" The waitress shouted.

     "Yes, very happy. Thanks for your time," Lina said and with that, sat down and ate her food. The waitress scowled and ran out of the inn.

     "How weird. What's wrong with telling us where the temple is?" Amelia asked.

     "Who cares? We'll go tomorrow morning," Lina ordered.

*** ***

     After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast of leftovers (for some reason the innkeeper was gone), they set out for the Temple. The streets were silent. No children were playing, no women were hanging out clothes, the sound of the smith hitting hot iron was missing.

     "I don't like this, something's up," Gourry said, holding his sword.

     "Yeah, it's too quiet out here. It's unnatural," Lina agreed.

     They continued, conscious of the silence until the reached the cemetery. The cemetery was not enclosed. The tombstones were all uniform shape and size, all of them were equal distance apart. The trees hung low, as if they were sick and tired of standing up straight. A few dismal flowers tried to grow but their height and beauty was stunted by the morbid air of the place.

     The crew passed the cemetery, which stood at the crest of a hill and starting heading downhill. They noticed all the people there.

     "Maybe a trade wagon comes this way," Gourry explained, shrugging.

     "But aren't they facing the wrong way? They're facing us," Amelia shivered.

     As they grew closer, they knew that the crowd was not waiting for a trade wagon. They were armed with pitchforks and shovels. Some had swords and maces. Even the children were armed with little clubs. All of them gave the group a belligerent glance.

     "They don't look too happy with us," Gourry whispered.

     "We have to go through them to get to the path to the Temple," Lina whispered back. This looked really bad. To the crowd, she said, "Hey, could you let us pass, please? We need to get to the Temple."

     The sturdiest man there stepped forward and boomed, "We can not let you pass." He unsheathed his sword to prove his point.

     "Why not?"

     "It is FORBIDDEN!"

     "We have to go there," Lina barked back.

     "Then you will DIE!"

To be continued...

Author's Notes: This chapter was easier because now I know what I want to do. I planned this part before everything else. What will happened to our brave heroes? Will Zel be put back together? Will I finish this before school starts up again? Find out next time in Chapter 15! In the meantime, send me C&C at since Netaddress turned evil and started charging and Angelfire wouldn't let me send mail so I'm at that address now. Don't bother writing to the nor the address because it will be cancelled July 31, 2001 and I won't be checking it anyway. So send me C&C there! See ya later!

Chapter Fifteen: Orders

     "Whoa! These people are serious!" Gourry took out his own sword.

     "Why can't we go to the Temple?" Lina demanded.

     The man replied, "Because the Temple is the holiest of holy grounds, not meant for any mortal nor any god not welcomed and called for by the Death Angels. If we let you pass, not only would your souls be doomed but our souls as well. Our peaceful island would become a private torture chamber! We can not ALLOW THIS!" The people charged forward.

     "Miss Lina! They'll kill us! Do something!" Amelia trembled and put her arms around Zel, who strangely, pushed her away. "Master Zelgadis? What are you doing?" Zel looked at her and then the crowd. Turning, he ran towards the area outside the entrance of the cemetery. "Master Zelgadis! Come back here!"

     Zelgadis pointed his finger at the graveyard and said in a hollow voice,

     "#I, who come to bring you here,
     Thus, now, I bring you out
     Show these fools who you truly serve
     Enter again these ranshackled corpses
     Live again and yet be dead for my purpose
     Obey me! You serve only me!
     I am your Master!
     I am your Master!

     Lightning struck against the darkening sky. A great moan was heard from the graveyard. Hundreds of voices with skeletal throats spoke perhaps for the first time in centuries. The skeletal arms pushed themselves out of the ground. The stench was overpowering, many children began to cry from the smell.

     "My gods! What is that?" The man trying to strike down Gourry observed. Amelia screamed.

     "Oh my GODS! The corpses have come to life! Look!" Amelia shaking to fear. The grayed skin of death hung loosely on most of the forms but some had not been dead for long and still had most of their flesh clinging on. These were the most frightening of the undead.

     The women and men alike screamed. Some recognized their recently deceased, lost wives, husbands and children, limping towards the small boy who had summoned them.

     "Lina," Gourry ran over to an awe-struck Lina, "do you notice something?"

     "What? You mean you just noticed the dead coming out of the graves?!"

     "No, look at their eyes," Gourry turned Lina's head so she would see his line of vision, "They're not just re-animated puppets, they're not just decayed dolls. They're alive! They're have souls. They're living people in decayed bodies. He just resurrected the entire cemetery but not their bodies!"

     "Oh my Gods! How is he doing this?!"

     Amelia could not move from her spot beside Zel. She just shivered and wanted to scream but none came out. Everything inside had simply vanished.

     When most of the corpses had escaped their coffins, Zel pointed at where the crowd was heavier, "#Kill the people of this village. They stand in my way.#" He pointed to Lina, Gourry, and Amelia, "#Do not harm those three in any way.#

     The undead lurched forward, the recently deceased with a sad look in their eyes.

     A man in a cleric's robe moved to the front, waving his arms and screamed, "Bow, you fools! Bow if you want to live! Bow! Bow! Bow!" All the people, including Lina, Gourry and Amelia, got to the ground as fast as they could. Even the children did not squirm.

     As the front line of the undead reached Zel's back, he sharply put his arms out, blocking them, "#Stop.#" And they did.

     He turned to the bowed Amelia, "#Lady, ask them if they will let us pass.#"

     Amelia repeated the question and cleric screamed, "Yes! Go! You are obviously allowed to go! Just don't make our dead loved ones kill us! We are deeply sorry!"

     Zel smiled in the cutest little boy way imaginable, unbecoming of someone who had just resurrected a bunch of decayed people to do his bidding, and ordered the dead to return to their graves and their souls to the AfterLife.

     The sky brightened up and the people rose cautiously. Zel took Amelia's hand and said cheerfully, "#Let us go now!#" and pulled on her arm. The people did not try to stop their journey into the forest leading up to the Death Angel
Temple, which was called Last Run Forest.

*** ***

     After the town was out of sight and a few nerves were allowed to calm down, Lina turned on Zel and demanded, "Just where and when did you learn such a scary spell like that?!"

     "#I do not know. The words just came to me. I can not even remembered them now.#"

     Amelia repeated this to which Lina replied, "You just don't suddenly do a spell about messing around with corpses and their souls just out of thin air."

     "#I said, 'I do not know'! I wish I did but I do not!#"

     "Look, Lina," Gourry said, "he doesn't know. Maybe he made it up. Someone had to make up those spells you cast right?"

     "That's not exactly the same thing, Gourry!"

     "I think it is. One day, this guy is walking around and he sees a dragon and the dragon sees him so he's about to be eaten. He thinks to himself, 'Hm, I wish I could kill this dragon so I don't get eaten. Shabawhatshisface could defeat this thing. I know! I'll just describe him and then the dragon will blow up!' So, he makes a nice poem about Shabawhoever and boom! The Dragon-Slave!"

     Lina turned red and grabbed Gourry's shirt, "Do you realize just how STUPID you sounded?! 'Oh, some guy just wrote a poem and that's the Dragon-Slave'! Give me a break! Magic spells were not written by a guy who just bored one day..."

     "I didn't say he was bored..."

     "Who cares! That's not the point! Magic spells are created by using and understanding the magical properties of words!"

     "So, words are magical?"

     "Yes, Gourry, words are magical."

     "So, cake's magical? 'Oh, cake! Grant me power, oh magnificent cake!'" Gourry held his arms in the air and brought them down, locked his arms in front of him, palms out, and screamed, "CAKE!" Birds flew off overhead. Gourry turned to Lina, "That didn't work. I thought words were magical."

     Lina turned beet-red and locked Gourry in a choke-hold, "GOURRY! First off, that's not even a spell! Secondly, you don't have any magical abilities! And THIRDLY, YOU CAN'T JUST USE ANY OLD WORD!!!!"

     "Well, how do you tell the difference?!"

     "Look, Gourry, I am NOT going to waste MY TIME explaining the basic fundamentals of magic and YOU WOULDN'T GET IT ANYWAY!"

     "Your journey ends here."

     "Huh?" Lina and Gourry said at the same time.

     Before them were five faint spirits and among them were...

     "Worf! Raistlin!" Gourry pointed at the pair.

     "You mean Zolf and Rodimus," Lina corrected.

     "I was close."

     "Where did you get 'Raistlin' from 'Rodimus'?"

     "They both begin with R's, right?"

     The spirits looked unsure but the leader again repeated, with uncertainty in his voice, "Your journey ends here."

     "Where did these things come from?"

     "I was shouting and screaming as loud as I could about them but nobody was listening to me," Amelia sighed.

     "You could've at least tapped me or something," Lina replied.

     "What? And be hit and still be ignored?"

     "I said, your journey ends here!" The spirit leader repeated.

     "Yeah, we heard you the first time," Lina said, dropping Gourry.

     "Actually, that's the fifth time he's said that," Amelia said.

     "Fine! We heard you the third, fourth and fifth time! Happy?"

     "Your journey ends here!"

     "You've said that! We know! Is that all you can say?!" Lina stamped her foot.

     "That's the sixth time," Amelia said.

     "I don't care!" Lina barked back at her.

     The spirit leader looked near tears, "Look! I don't like this anymore than you do but I have to say that until you ask what we want of you!" He sighed, "Let's try this again. Your journey ends here."

     "Oh, Great Wandering Spirits, why do you stay in our path? What do you want of us?" Lina said monotone and stiffly, "Geez, such red tape!"

     The leader spirit put on a deep, booming undead voice, "We are the damned souls who sinned in our mortal doings! Now we are cursed to guard this pass from mortals such as yourselves. Fear us! No sword can stop our step and we enjoy the smell of your draining blood!"

     "Ew!" Amelia protested.

     "What corny lines! You think if you had the rest of your AfterLife, you'd write some better lines."

     The leader moaned, "Look, we don't write this stuff. We're just required to say it. It's part of the job."

     "Do you really enjoy the stench of draining blood?" Amelia asked.

     "It's alright. It's not bad, but there's better smells."

     "Look, is there something else we got to say to get through? Do we have to cut you up or what?" Gourry asked.

     "Well, first, I have to tell you what you have to do or..." he switched back to the booming voice, "face our wraiths!" He switched to his normal voice, "You know. The drill."

     "Let's hear it then."

     "You must give the child to us and leave this place!" The leader boomed.


     "That's it. Give us the kid and you go free," the leader shrugged.

     "Well, we just can't do that. He's our friend and we've busted our butts getting here. Sorry, looks like we'll have to fight," Lina smiled, "but we're keeping Zel no matter what."

     "I'm afraid that's not in your hands," three animalistic voices growled. Two trees fell away from each other revealing a three-headed black giant dog.

     "What-what-what is that?" Amelia shrieked.

     "I am Cerberus, watchdog of the gates to the AfterLife," The middle head informed them. The left head answered, "The boy is coming with me."

     "You can't just do that!" Amelia screamed.

     "Ha! You have no idea what I can do!" The right head laughed. The dog lunged at Zel and showed him the pearly white teeth.

     "#Where are you going to take me?#" Zel asked.

     "To the Temple of the Death Angels. The left head responded.

     "#But they have to go with me!#"

     "Ha! They are no longer needed! They can get to the Temple, of course, but they must defeat all these guardsmen to be allowed to continue." The middle head replied and all the heads laughed.

     "#ALL of them?#"

     "Every last one," the right head growled.

     "#But, they can not do that!#" The little boy ran to the spirits and directed his attention at Zolf and Rodimus, "#I do not know how I know you but I know I owe you a great deal for something I can not recall. I know you mean a great deal to me, but I do not know the exact reasons.#" He turned to the guard-dog, who was very close behind him, "#Please,free these two men. Do not let them be killed by my other friends. I will come willingly if you promise.#"

     The heads laughed, the middle head spoke, "It does not matter to me whether you come peacefully or not! No, I will not grant your wish because there is no purpose to it!"

     "Oh, come now," a woman's voice echoed but its source was unseen, "I think that is a splendid wish. Grant it, Cerberus, it will do us no harm."

     "That voice!" Lina said, "It's the voice of the blonde woman at the inn!"

     Cerberus scoffed but granted Zolf and Rodimus new life.

     "We're alive! Zolf, we're alive!" Rodimus said, shaking his living comrade.

     "Oh, Master Zelgadis! Thank you! We will repay you!" Zolf said.     

     The middle head grabbed Zel by the collar and flipped him on to his back and ran off, Zel screaming the entire time.

     The voice came again, "Spirits. Let these mortals pass. They suit my purposes." The spirits nodded and dissipated.

     "What the...?"

     "They're still here," Zolf explained, "they just took a less solid form."

     "Oh, what a tragedy that has fallen upon our Master," Rodimus whimpered, "we must help you. We know the way."
*** ***

     "Just up this path," Zolf pointed right in front of them, "do you see the temple in the distance?"

     "Yeah, I see it," Lina said, "do we just keep going until we hit the temple?"

     "No, there's a river in the way."

     "So what? I can swim just fine. A river isn't an obstacle."

     "This one is," Rodimus interrupted, "It may look like a normal river but it's the River of Guilt. The minute you step in it, it fills your mind with altered memories. You believe you killed people that are very much alive or caused the death of someone whose blood wasn't on your hands."

     "Does this last forever?" Gourry asked.

     "No," Zolf answered, "as soon as you step out, your memories return to normal. But most don't get that far. If the guilty memories don't get you, the zombies will."

     "Zombies?" Amelia squeaked.

     "Oh yes. All the people that have drowned there are trapped in there. They claw at you and try to drown you as well. The river makes them look like your loved ones but only they're decaying and rotting."

     "Look! On that rock! Isn't that Zel?" Gourry shouted.

     Indeed, Zel was calmly sitting on a rock just off the road. They ran to it and Zel turned and smiled. Zolf and Rodimus got closest to him, "Are you alright, Master Zelgadis?"

     "#I am fine!#" Zel smiled again, "#I managed to escape that dog. Now we can keep going!#" But before anyone could respond, still smiling, Zel took out a knife and stabbed Zolf in the heart. He turned on Rodimus and cut his head off with the ax hanging on Rodimus' belt.

     The trio were horrified at the carnage that the little kid had caused. Zel stood up on the rock and his voice changed to the voice of the woman, "Ah! Aren't I merciful? I granted these two a chance at new life. Now they will happily go to the AfterLife and live their deaths in peace and comfort!" She laughed, "Zelgadis will be mine and I will take him where he belongs! No one will stop me!" The image of Zel faded away.

     "What are we going to do now?" Lina asked herself.

To be continued...

Author's Notes: This was easier. The problem was finding a good ending point. I hope you enjoyed it but why don't you tell me about how you feel at! See you later!

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