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Chapter Seven
The journey continues

     "Okay, this could explain Darkstar's world. Did you see any information on Chaotic Blue or Death Fog?"

     "Lina, this is really off the topic.  Look for info on the sword. I'm still trying to figure out the defensive wall, it absorbs energy..."

     "I'm off the topic...Oooh look at this!"

     "They're just like two kids let loose in a candy store, aren't they?" Amelia told Zelgadis quietly, pointing to Lina and Xellos who were busy grabbing the spell book from each other.

     Zel smiled. "They do seem to be having fun; Lina always gets a bit wrapped up when new spells are around."

     "Isn't that the truth, Mr. Zelgadis?  What do you think about all of this though?  That deserted village was really creepy," Amelia said.

     "There is something going on, not just Melee wanting some new staff, or fights with demon lords but something a lot worse; that village is just a side effect of the rest of this mess.  I have to admit that I'm intimidated by all this.  At least Lina has come to some kind of decision; she seems more herself right now."

     "Don't worry guys. Lina will have the answer when we need it.  She always does," Gourry interjected.  "Now what was the question?"

     Amelia and Zel sighed; it seemed Gourry was back to normal as well.  Shaking their heads they pulled out their blankets and started preparing for sleep.  "Since you two are still arguing, one of you can take first watch," Amelia shouted at Lina and Xel who responded with absented-minded waves.

     "Have you decided yet about the sword?" Xellos asked Lina quietly after a trio of soft snores rose from the others.

     "You know it is ironic, after all the time I spent trying to get a hold of Gourry's sword of light, I really don't want to touch this one.  I mean I REALLY don't want it but I have to take it, don't I?  There are too many factors here.  Zel's cure, could I forgive myself if I walked away from it?  We still have those former dragon elders, Luna and one, maybe three, monster lords after us and we can't beat them as we are now." Lina shook her head.  "I never wanted to be responsible for saving the world.  All I wanted was good food, travel, to learn a new spell occasionally, blast some bandits, have some fun... now... it weighs heavy but I will take up the sword."

     "Lina, I promise when this is all over I'll find you the biggest, meanest bandit camp on the continent for you to blow up," Xellos told her with a smile.

     "Make that two bandit camps and a hidden treasure trove and we have a deal," Lina responded putting out her hand.

     Xellos shook it. "Deal. Remember if we have to fight those dragon elders that means we can always search for their hoards later."

     Lina snickered. "With my luck, they'll have collected old string and buttons. Remember Filia and her pottery?"

     "I remember one dragon that collected twigs..."

     Amelia woke for a moment, listened to the muttered conversation and fell back asleep, she didn't have to worry anymore, Lina was going to be just fine.

     The next morning after the breakfast battle, found Lina walking purposefully up the mountain path arguing with Gourry about who really owned that last sausage while Amelia tried to mediate.  Zelgadis and Xellos followed behind quietly, both wrapped up in their own thoughts.

     "What's up with you and Lina?" Zel asked Xellos.  "You keep on staring at her like a lost puppy. Is there something wrong?"

     "How much do you understand about the nature of monsters?" Xellos replied.

     "Enough to know that your ability to feel positive emotions is not shared by your fellows."

     "That isn't the issue. I was wondering if a relationship with me was fair to Lina."

     "At least you look human and not like some freak of nature," Zel grumbled.

     "You don't understand, do you?  Do you see my cloak, my staff? They are as much a part of my body as my hand is; in fact, everything you see is just a sham, a puppet I put on when I need to come to this plane. I could just as well be wearing a female body or appear as a tree." Xellos sighed. "The enjoyment I get out of touching is from the emotions it produces; if I couldn't share emotions, even that would be impossible.  Forget about children, I guess it could be done magically but...  There is a whole new set of problems with that. If Lina takes up the Chaos Sword, we're going to be together for a long time; is it fair to her?  She'll lose more than she gains."  

An angry edge entered Xellos' voice. "Appearances are nothing Zelgadis, you are the only one here who doesn't understand that. Part of the reason Lina is doing this... Oh never mind, you wouldn't understand!"

     Xellos quickened his pace leaving Zelgadis to his own thoughts.  "Any signs of the battle letting up Amelia?" he asked as he joined the perky sorceress.

     Amelia smiled and shook her head.  "I think they're enjoying themselves.  My sister and I were the same, mind you we outgrew it when I was eight."

     "I heard that Amelia!" Lina shouted as she hit Gourry on the head.

     "Lina is a bit nervous about what's coming; Gourry is letting her blow off some tension," Xellos told Amelia in a quiet tone.

     "How a flat chested kid like you needs to eat so much, I'll never know... Lina that hurts."


     "He really is a good friend to her, isn't he?" Amelia observed.

     "He's going to need Sylfiel when this is all over; one way or another Lina is not going to be traveling with him anymore.  If she becomes the Knight of the Mother, he won't be able to follow where she goes," Xellos told Amelia.

     "What about you? Do you regret taking on the role of her Priest?"

     "Sometimes. I'm not used to experiencing emotional pain myself or worrying about another person, but the other emotions that come are so wonderful.  Plus, now that my feeding resources have doubled, I'm never hungry anymore," he laughed.

     "Mr. Xellos, you are so silly," Amelia shot back.  "Oh, look, what is that ahead?"

     "I think that is our temple, yes, I can make out Melee sitting on the roof of the entrance."

     "Lina, Gourry, we're there," Xellos shouted at the still fighting pair. "I can't feel anyone apart from Melee in the vicinity so we beat out the other parties."

     "Okay, I'm going in," Lina informed them. "By myself."

     "You don't want to break for a bit first and think this over?" Zelgadis asked.

     "We're going in with you, Lina; remember, I'm your protector," Gourry added.

     "Listen up, I'm going to get the Sword of Chaos and in my heart I know that I'm doing the right thing. Once I'm back Melee can say her magic words and bind me to it.  I'd prefer if you guys were out here making sure no one sneaks up on us."

     "Good plan my buttercup, except for one thing," Melee inserted, swooping down on Lina, shrinking and settling down on Lina's shoulder.

     "Did you know that Melee could do that?" Amelia asked in an aside to Xellos.

     "That is a se...Amelia, that hurt," Xellos whined.

     "What thing is that?" Lina asked Melee.

     "I have to say the spell as you take the sword."  Melee giggled. "So you have decided, I'm so happy I could just dance." She looked at the men and added, "Who wants to tango?"

     "If you're coming, do it now.  I want to get this over with."  Lina walked purposefully toward the entrance. "The rest of you stay here!"

Chapter Eight