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Chapter Six
Chaos spells -
a cure for Zelgadis?

     Lina settled into the bath and opened the book Melee had given her with a sense of greed.  It had been years since she had discovered a completely new spell; here was a book full of new ones.  As she went though it she categorized them to herself.

     “That’s a barrier spell against astral attacks, Xellos will love that one. Neat there’s the one she used to choose Xellos and the one to make him a priest. Hmm, this implies she could balance all the dragons and monsters, no wonder they’re scared of her... Oh my goodness, that one could transform Zel back into human.”  Lina caught herself before she dropped the book into the water.  Then she was drawn into the spell again. “It takes both the Priest and the Knight of the Mother to cast but it’s so simple.”

     “No!” she silently screamed to herself.  “I can cure Zel but at what a price!”

     “Lina, are you all right!” Xellos asked as he burst into the room. “Erk.” He froze as he saw Lina’s state of undress.

     “FIRE BALL!”  He left as quickly as he entered.

     “That does make a girl feel better,” Lina remarked to herself as she settled back to think over her newest problem.

     “You should know better by now,” Zel remarked to a singed Xellos as he entered the inn’s common room.

     “But she was upset,” Xellos remarked plaintively.

     “Hey Gourry! What’s rule number one when traveling with Lina?”  Zel asked.

     “Never see her naked and don’t talk about how flat chested she is. Then there’s don’t take her food, don’t get between her and bandits... you know there’s a lot of rules with Lina, no wonder no one can remember them all,” Gourry responded.

     “But she screamed for help, I could feel it,” Xellos answered.  “Now she’s angry at me.”

     “Just take your lumps and apologize,” Zel told him.

     “I don’t understand.” Xellos flopped in a seat.

     “Get used to it; confusion is the normal way of life around women,” Zel laughed.

     “Men, you’re all the same! I’m going to check on Lina!” Amelia told them as she stalked out the room.

     “Amelia proves my point,” Zel finished, after he went to the door to make sure Amelia was out of earshot.

     “Lina, I just left those thugs downstairs. Are you okay?”  Amelia asked through the door of the bathing room.

     “Yeah, Xellos just surprised me.  Come on in, Amelia. I’m just getting dressed; so much for a relaxing bath.”

     “Did Mr. Xellos upset you that much?” Amelia stared at Lina. “Did he do any thing, you know, anything bad?”

     Lina smiled, touched at Amelia’s concern. “I was surprised at something and he rushed in to make sure nothing was wrong; he was more surprised at my being naked than I was seeing him there.  You should save your concern for him. I did fire ball him.”

     “Miss Lina, was that really just of you?” Amelia asked.

     “Not really, so I’ll accept his apology later,” Lina told her friend.  “I do have an ethical question for you. If you knew that you could give some one you care about the thing they most wanted in the world but it would cost you your freedom and your self, could you do it?”

     Amelia sighed, “I wished you would have asked me when we first met, I’m sure that I would have had an answer for you.  I’ve learned since that you have to learn to weigh decisions and consequences.  The only thing I can say is that it depends on whether or not that friend would want you to make that choice.”

     “I’ve trained you too well.  Okay, it’s this whole Knight of the Mother thing that Melee is pushing me towards. I mean, it has so many advantages, new, stronger magic, hell, a whole new branch of magic to explore.  It also gives me the strength to protect my friends, I’d even be able to cast the giga slave without worrying about destroying the world...” Lina trailed off and thought, “Xellos, it would give me Xellos.”

     “The downside?” Amelia prompted.

     “The downside is that I’m scared of losing myself.  I still don’t remember what happened after I cast the giga slave, just that horrible fear as I felt myself losing control.”

     “So the only reason you don’t want Miss Melee to choose you is fear?  That doesn’t sound like you, Miss Lina,” Amelia said as she patted Lina’s hand. “Talk to Mr. Xellos about it. Fear shouldn’t be the only reason you don’t do something. I’m going to bed now; just knock on my door if you need me.”

     Lina nodded and thought to herself as Amelia left, “There is more at stake than you know Amelia. Would you be so kind if you knew fear was also keeping me from Zel’s cure?”

     After she got dressed, Lina went down to the common room, hoping there was something available for a snack.   The room was dark with only the light from the fireplace gleaming.  No food.  Lina took a seat by the fire and looked at the spell book Melee had given her.  She understood what Melee was trying to do but Lina couldn’t get mad at her.  Melee had her mission and giving Lina more reasons to see things her way was a legitimate tactic.

     “What’s wrong Lina?  I’m trying to give you your privacy but I can’t block you out when you’re feeling things so strongly,” Xellos said as he left the shadows.

     “I didn’t see you there,” Lina observed.  “Why can’t things be simple?  Why does there have to be so many reasons for every little decision?”

     Xellos sat down beside her. “I don’t know. I’m still trying to find my way around myself.  I’m sorry for barging in on you earlier.”

     “I understand how it happened, just don’t do it again,” Lina replied.  She hoped the dim room would hide the rising heat in her cheeks.

     “What was it that caused you to be so upset?” Xellos asked. “I could feel you on the other side of the village.”

     “Choices,” Lina replied. “Let me ask you, if you don’t mind, how much of the Lord of Nightmares do you feel within you?  Besides your ability to feel new emotions, how much of you has really changed?”

     “The new emotions have affected me in a lot of ways, but I was changing even before Melee chose me.  The largest changes were caused by you. I can feel the Mother within me, but that is more as a potential, a new strength.  I still like to tease and manipulate people but there is feeling to it now.  Instead of scheming for power, I scheme to make you smile and to try to figure out ways to throw Zelgadis and Amelia together.”

     “I’m not expressing myself well, am I?” Xellos interrupted himself.  “I am myself, I am who I was, but now I am more.  I like the changes.  Why do you ask?”

     “Melee lent me a book of Chaos magic tonight.  In the book I found Zel’s cure,” Lina told him.

     “Great, I’ll perform it tomorrow, show me the spell,” Xellos paused. “There’s more to it than that isn’t there?”

     “The spell must be performed by both the Priest and the Knight of the Mother,” Lina told him.  She stared at the flames.

     “Damn her.  I warned her that she was to let you make your choice of your free will and not pressure you,” Xellos snarled as rage filled his heart.

     “No, Xellos.  I needed to know everything, this will influence my decision but I have to know all the facts before we get to the sword,” Lina stated in a calm voice.  “It did make me realize that the only thing keeping me from being willingly chosen is fear.”

     Xellos placed his arm gingerly around Lina watching for her reaction, then pulled her close to his side. “No matter what you choose, I’ll stand by you.  I won’t have you forced into this.”

     “I know that and thanks.” Lina rested her head on his shoulder, a peaceful feeling washing over her.  

     Xellos looked down at the tiny sorceress. How could she have become so precious to him so quickly? He realized that the he must have started feeling this way before Melee interfered with his life.  Not the tenderness or the caring, but respect had been there and admiration, a foundation for the other feelings to grow.  Would one kiss place more pressure on her?  He didn’t think so, chosen or not, his feelings wouldn’t change.  One kiss that was all, he promised himself, they could wait for more.   Using his free hand he gently cupped the side of her face, and after quickly scanning to make sure to one else was around, he lowered his lips gently brushing hers.  He looked at Lina’s face closely waiting for her reaction.  When he felt her wonder, he smiled at her and kissed her again reveling in the warmth of her lips and emotions. As a rising heat threatened to take possession of him, he broke away tenderly.

     “I feel new and wonderful things whenever I’m around you,” he told Lina with a catch in his voice.  “But I...”

     “It’s new to you, too,” Lina responded shyly. “I have a lot to think about before tomorrow so I’d better get to my room.”

     Xellos nodded before pressing his lips to her forehead. “Sweet dreams Lina dear. I’ll see you in the morning.”

     After a large breakfast, our intrepid adventurers (TM) set out again.  Lina was quietly going over the events of the night before.  She knew what decision she had to make but the conflict was still raging in her heart.  What she needed was a good bandit village to release her frustrations on.

     “Damn!” snarled Xellos, a moment before a flight of dragons appeared.  “They found us.”  

     “I no longer have the ability to fight, I’ll meet you at the Chaos Sword,” Melee informed him before disappearing.

     The fighters formed a circle; Gourry giving Lina a look to make sure he wasn’t in the path of fire.

     “Let’s give them the chance to talk first,” Lina ordered, “but be prepared to fight.”

     “We don’t want to fight you.  A discussion of your complaints would be the correct thing to do.”  Lina informed the dragons.

     “We don’t discuss with those that ally themselves with evil,” a grey bearded dragon shouted back.

     “The old hypocrite, he must be the new leader of the Dragon council,” Lina told the others in an aside.

     “Xellos is no longer bound by the monster race.  How can you, who have allied with the monsters yourselves, decry us for our alliance?” Lina shot back furious, hoping the others were ready with barrier spells.

     “ENOUGH!” Lina stepped back as Filia materialized in front of her. A quick look around confirmed the presence of a second group of dragons.

     “I am ashamed at what we are doing in the name of order.  We’ve committed grievous sins against the ancient dragons in the name of order.  Even the monsters have not committed the atrocity of genocide. Now you are going to attack a woman who has placed the security of the world before her own life and saved us all in the past without even trying to understand.”

     A male dragon in human form stepped beside Filia, “I have talked to Auntie Aqua; she confirms that the dragon council has secretly allied itself with the monster race for the purpose of destroying this group.  I am ashamed to be a dragon at this moment.”

     Dragons started dropping out of the sky and stood with the new arrivals until only ten old dragons were left in the air.

     Filia looked at Lina.  “We have some housecleaning to do and the election of a new council to perform.  I would have talked to them sooner but I wanted to wait until your sister was at work.  Good luck with your quest, I wish I could help more.” Then brightening, “I do have a gift for you, here.” Filia handed over her spare mace, “Enjoy!” Then laughing, she transformed into dragon form and flew away following her were the original and the newest members of her crew.  The ten old dragons glared at Lina for a moment longer and then they disappeared as well.

     “Well that was ...”Zelgadis remarked.

     “...anticlimactic,” Amelia answered, then brightened.  “It only goes to show that the cause of Love and Justice will always prevail at the end.  Justice is the keystone...”

     “I thought that positive emotions weren’t supposed to sicken me anymore?”  Xellos asked with a greenish tint to his face.

     “Don’t worry, her speeches affect most people that way,” Lina reassured him, then added, “How much do you want to bet that Filia is going to be a major force in the formation of a new council?”

     “I’m not stupid enough to take that bet,” Xellos and Lina smiled at each other in shared mirth before they both flushed and looked away.

     “Time to hit the road, we have a good two hours before we get to our next stop,” Lina shouted.

     An hour later.


     “Run bandits the Great Lina Inverse is here!”

     “FIRE BALL!”

     “Would you like some tea, Mr. Xellos?” asked Amelia.

     “Don’t mind if I do,” she was answered.

     “She really enjoys taking out those bandit gangs, doesn’t she?” Zel observed.

     “Better them than us,” Gourry answered.

     They all nodded frantically in agreement.

     “I can feel her stress levels going down, I think she needed that,” Xellos stated.

     “Yep, the last bandit camp she blasted was a good week before we got to Seyruin.  Its unnatural for her not to blast bandits,” Gourry informed the rest.

     “Well, I’m all done here, let’s get going,” cried Lina as she dragged a large sack of loot behind her.

     “Lina dear, let me take care of that for you, it’s much to bulky to be dragging with us,” Xellos told her as he stuck her bag in a dimensional pocket.

     “You are just so handy to have along.... I don’t think so!” Lina grabbed the mace Filia had given her just as it was about to follow the bag.

     “You can’t blame a fellow for trying,” Xellos smiled.

     “Want to bet?  Hurry up people, we don’t have all day,” Lina finished, taking off down the road.  “Now where’s this Sword supposed to be again?”

     “It’s in a tower on top of a mountain called...” Xellos checked the manuscript which he pulled out of his pouch, “Death Fall Mountain, that would be that mountain right there.” He stopped for a second, looked forward, then continued walking. “Lina, your stress levels are going up again,” he observed.

     “What do you expect?  Look at that sucker.  It’s gigantic.  I thought we’d be there today!”  Lina shouted.

     “Miss Lina, there’s a village at the bottom of the mountain and you have all that treasure to spend,” Amelia added, speaking with the experience of many travels with Lina.

     “Right.” Lina brightened. “Food and magic shops.”

     “Lots of food,” Amelia prompted.  “In fact, I hear that they have some of the best chefs in this region.  Lots of exotic food.”

     “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Lina exclaimed happily.

     “You’re good,” Xellos observed as the others nodded in agreement.

     “When you travel with Lina as long as I have you learn a few tricks,” Amelia boasted.  “We better hurry up or we’ll never catch up.

     As soon as they entered the village, they knew something strange was going on.  The streets were empty and a thick silence seemed to mute their words.

     “Xellos, can you feel anything?” Zel asked, as Lina and Amelia floated up to get an aerial view.

     “Nothing, this village is empty and has been empty for decades,” Xellos answered. “I’d recommend keeping on going and making camp on the mountain path.”

     “I’d have to agree.  Let’s not get side tracked until we find the Chaos Sword,” Zel looked into the window and saw plates with desiccated food remains sitting in them. “From the location of this place, this is probably related to the sword.”

     Xellos nodded and flew up to explain their reasoning to Lina. She reluctantly nodded her head. “I know, I still want to study a few of those chaos spells tonight just in case.  You should review them as well and practice the defensive ones.”  She sighed. “Once we get to the shrine we’ll be busy.  I’m still waiting for Zelas to show up.”

     “This inactivity is not like her.  But really, between Gourry and I, she has no chance against us.”

     Lina considered, “What if she allied herself with Deep Sea Dolphin and Dynast?”

     “Then we’d have a problem,” Xellos stated seriously.

     “So we’re in a strange area, in a really weird town, about to climb a mountain to get a sword that channels The Mother of All’s power and we may be attacked by three monster lords. Doesn’t this bother any one besides me?” Lina asked plaintively.

     “Sounds about normal,” stated Gourry.

     “Same old, same old,” added Zel.

     Lina walked towards the town exit shaking her head. “They just keep on getting weirder,” she muttered to herself.

Chapter Seven