Title: Slayers Wild
Episode 2: Black Sheep! Family Tree of a Madman!
The town of Kelicthia was a small village of maybe
fifty homes plopped in a small valley somewhere between Sayruun and the
ruins of Sairaag. It wasn’t a big tourist attraction, and as such
didn’t see many strangers.
And that was probably the reason the small group of warriors and sorcerers attracted a fare amount of silent stares as they entered the square, a young shrine maiden in the lead.
“I don’t like this,” stated Zelgadis, under his breath, pulling his hood in tighter to hide his face, “why are they all staring like that?”
Sylfiel didn’t even turn back to answer, continuing on and waving to familiar people. “It’s just because we don’t get many visitors in Kelicthia,” she explained, “that’s all. The people here are really very friendly.”
“As long as they have a place to eat,” Lina spoke up.
“Yeah,” Gourry agreed.
“We’re starved!” The both exclaimed together, striking a pose in the middle of the street.
“They’re embarrassing,” Amelia whispered to Zel.
“Wait’ll you meet my uncle,” said Sylfiel, “he’s the nicest old man. And he’s the best cook!”
“Cook, huh?” asked Lina. “Can’t wait to meet him!”
Over by a vending cart on the side of the square, a group of children were milling about, buying various foodstuffs for their parents or just plain goofing off. One straggly haired little girl finished her business with the vender and turned to see Sylfiel and the others. Her face brightened considerably.
“Hey! Look everyone! Miss Sylfiel’s back!”
The others all turned to where she was indicating and the little girl led the charge as they all went over and encircled the shrine maiden with hugs and welcomes. Sylfiel answered them all in kind.
“Rasha! Everyone! I’m glad to see you all again!”
“We were getting worried about you, Miss Sylfiel,” stated Rasha, “um, who’re they?”
Sylfiel disentangled herself from the mass of child limbs and stood up again. “Everyone, these are my friends. Miss Lina, Gourry de- er, Mister Gourry, Miss Amelia, and Mister Zelgadis. We’re on our way to Sayruun. I’ve been teaching these children some white magic,” she explained, “some of them show some real promise.”
Rasha’s eyes seemed to light up. “Miss Lina? As in Lina Inverse? Wow! Can you Flare Arrow a piece of wood for me?”
“You mean, like an autograph or something?” Lina asked the little girl, sweat dropping.
Rasha shook her head. “I wanna learn how to be a great sorceress, someday!”
“Isn’t it great to be a role model, Lina?” Zelgadis asked, sarcastically.
“One could do worse,” Lina shot back.
Gourry had already fallen in to playing with the children like a big brother and was presently giving two piggy back rides at once.
Rasha reached into a pocket and pulled out two pieces of paper. “I almost forgot,” she said, “a guy came by yesterday. He said that he heard you were traveling with Miss Lina Inverse and her friends and wanted me to give you these two messages.” She handed the two pieces of paper to Sylfiel who looked them over.
“They’re for Mister Zelgadis and Gourry Dear,” she said.
Gourry had stopped and let the two kids off before taking the message and looking it over. Zel also took a moment to read his.
“ ‘Gourry Dear’?” Rasha asked, slyly. “Miss Sylfiel’s got a crush!”
Sylfiel turned a vibrant shade of red and held a hand over her mouth, giggling. “Wh-what makes you say that, Little Rasha?”
“Hey Mister! Are you gonna marry Miss Sylfiel?” Rasha asked of Gourry.
“No way!” Gourry exclaimed, head still buried in his message.
Everyone paused and glanced between Gourry and Sylfiel.
“Ouch!” Lina exclaimed. “Talk about being shot down!”
“This says my little sister’s gone missing!” Gourry continued and Sylfiel almost looked relieved. “My mother needs me back home, right away.”
“You have a sister?” Lina asked. “I didn’t know that.”
Zel shoved his piece of paper into his own pocket and began heading back out of the square.
“Mister Zelgadis!” Amelia exclaimed. “Where are you going?”
“Home, as well,” the chimera answered.
Gourry started going into a bit of a hysterical fit and Lina had to smack him across the face a couple of times to make him get a grip and act rationally. Amelia and Sylfiel, meanwhile, glanced at each other, then after the retreating Zelgadis.
“Mister Zelgadis! Wait!” Amelia pleaded, running after the chimera.
“I don’t have time to talk this over,” Zelgadis answered, not even turning back.
Lina glared after him. “Oh you don’t, do you? Amelia, c’mon.”
“Right, miss Lina,” the princess agreed.
“Charge!” Lina proclaimed, setting the two of them into motion. Within seconds, they were both hugging one of Zel’s ankles, trying to get him to stop. Zelgadis shook the ankle that Lina was holding on to, in an attempt to get at least one of the girls off.
“Hey! What’s the idea? Get off!”
“Forget it, Zel!” Lina said, a tremor in her voice as she was jerked around.
“Stop going off alone, Mister Zelgadis!” Amelia preached.
Gourry, Sylfiel, and Rasha all looked on with large sweat drops forming on their foreheads.
The next day was sunny and peaceful.
Zelgadis found himself traveling down a small, wooded path, moving in and out of the speckled shade that the trees offered. As he went, he meditated on the group’s conversation the day before.
“My father is ill,” he had confessed to everyone. “They say he won’t live much longer.”
There had been gasps all around and everyone, save the preoccupied Gourry, offered their condolences and offers of help in any way they could.
After that, it had been Lina who had brought up the serious issue. ‘This seems a little too timely, to me,” she had said, “both you and Gourry getting calls home at the same time, I mean.”
“That’s why I’m going alone,” Zel had said, “I don’t want to break up the group any more than we have to, what with the Mazoku still after us.”
“But going alone isn’t too bright, Mister Zelgadis,” Amelia pleaded, “and what about Mister Gourry?”
“Whatever happens,” Sylfiel put in, “I’m going to have to stay here for a week or so. The children are behind in their training, I should catch them up a bit.”
“Are you sure this is okay, Mister Zelgadis?” Amelia asked of the chimera, breaking his reverie. “I mean, the others and I kind of bullied you into taking someone along and-“
“Never mind that, Amelia,” Zel responded, “the more I think about it, the more I do want someone to come along.”
“I... um...” Zel seemed at a loss for words for a moment. “My family didn’t exactly have a going away party for me when I left.”
“Because you left to help Rezo?”
“I didn’t really tell them I was leaving and... they don’t know yet.”
Zel knocked the knuckles of his two fists together as his answer.
They both traveled on in a silence that was indeterminably long until the Sun began to set in the West.
“It’ll be dark soon,” Amelia commented.
“We’re almost there. Only another two miles or so.”
Zel pulled his hood and mask up, tighter, as he and
Amelia gazed down the hill, toward the small town sprawling out before
them. It was dark now, the moon the only thing giving any appreciable
light to the scene. A lantern was lit here and there, indicating
sleepless individuals doing some late night work.
“I don’t know if this is the best way to do this,” Zel commented to his companion.
“What other way is there?” Amelia shot back. “The only way you’re going to be able to see your family is by going down there and talking to them. So c’mon.” She grabbed Zelgadis by the wrist and pulled him down the hill and into the village.
Zel led the way to a small house on the edge of the town that backed up to a small patch of woods. They came to a stop at the front door and Zelgadis seemed somewhat hesitant. He looked back to Amelia, who urged him on with a small pushing movement of her hands.
Zel cleared his throat and mustered up him nerve. It was an odd thing to have to do, after all this time. He had faced Monsters, Demons, Berserkers, Bandits by the bucketful, angry royalty, crazy royalty, and vengeful priests and had never been as scared as he was right then, standing in front of his parents’ door, about to knock.
He had knocked before he even realized it and presently a woman came to the door. She was somewhere in her middle ages, a few strands of grey beginning to show in her otherwise maroon colored hair.
“Hello, Mother,” Zelgadis said to her, quietly.
She stared at him for a few moments, as if puzzled. Then, the light seemed to dawn on her.
“Zelgadis?” she asked tentatively.
Behind his mask and under his hood, Zel nodded.
Words from either of the two failed them from there as tears came to Mrs. Greywords’ eyes and she wrapped her arms around her son.
Proper introductions were made and Zelgadis introduced
his mother to Amelia. All three sat in a small sitting room for a
chat, but even so, Zelgadis refused to take off his mask.
“So, Miss Amelia, you’re the Princess of Sayruun,” Mrs. Greywords inquired, “how long have you two been traveling together?”
“Off and on,” Amelia responded, “I met him almost two years ago now, Mrs. Greywords.”
“Please, call me Toki. Any friend of my son’s is entitled to do so.”
Amelia nodded in agreement.
“So...” Zel broke in, “how is Father? Am I... too late to see him?”
“Oh nonsense,” Toki stated, “he’s just out back. I should go get him.”
“No that’s okay-”
“You two stay right there!” Toki commanded. “You’re the ones who have had the long walk. I’ll go get your father.”
“Listen to your mother, dear.” Toki got up and went to the back, leaving Zel and Amelia to ponder what was going on. “Dear, put down that ax and come in here. There’s a surprise waiting for you.”
“Ax?” Zelgadis and Amelia asked, looking at each other.
Toki reentered and sat back down. “Your father will be in in a moment. He was just chopping some wood out back.”
“Should he really be doing that?” Amelia asked.
“Well, we need the wood, after all.”
“But, in his condition-” Zel began.
“What condition do you mean?” Toki asked.
“Toki, who are you talking to in here, so late at night?” Mister Greywords asked, entering while wiping his hands on a rag. He was a large, well muscled man with blue eyes that peered out from behind a mop of grey hair. He dropped the rag upon seeing Zelgadis and Amelia.
Zel stood and regarded him through several moments of silence. “Father.”
“Zelgadis! In Cephied’s name! Where have you been all this time, boy? And why have your manners suddenly disappeared? Take off that mask and let us get a good look at you.”
“I really don’t think that that’s-”
“Don’t think, boy, just do as I say. Take off the mask.”
The two Greywords men stared across the room at each other for several moments. Amelia seemed about to say something, but stopped when Zel pulled down both his hood and his mask.
His parents both allowed small gasps to escape their mouths before they could stop them. Zel’s only response was to look to the floor, sadly.
“Mister Zelgadis...” said Amelia, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“My boy...” Toki breathed, “what happened?”
“Maybe I’ll just go and find an inn for the night and-“ Amelia began and that seemed to shake Toki out of her shock.
“Don’t be silly,” she said, “Zelgadis can take the floor and you can take his room for the night. No friend of my son’s is going to stay in an inn when we have space around here. You just sit yourself back down, Miss Amelia while I find some extra blankets.” She turned to her husband. “Gavin, say something to your son.”
Toki hurried off into another room, leaving the other three in the sitting room, still on their feet and staring at each other at a loss for what to say next.
Gavin cleared his throat and picked up his rag. “Well... I always had a feeling your mother’s father was trouble. So, what, exactly, did he do to you?”
“I’m not Human any longer,” said Zelgadis, still not looking up, “Rezo turned me into this... this monster.”
Amelia took over, sensing that Zel was unable to elaborate. “The red Priest turned him into a Chimera. He’s part Human, part Golem, and part Demon.”
“Why did he ever-”
“I asked him to,” Zel answered the question before it was finished. “I asked him to make me strong, and in return I helped him search for the Philosopher’s Stone to open his eyes.”
“I see. Where is Rezo now? Why aren’t you with him.”
The room Amelia found herself in for the night was
small, but nicely furnished. Two big pillows and a nice fluffy blanket
were on the bed, inviting her to much needed sleep. She looked around
the room some more, to see what else there was. Next to a window
that faced to the woods in the back, there was a small table with a wash
basin and a full pitcher of water, waiting until it would be used in the
morning. There was a bookshelf next to the door and Amelia perused
over the titles. They were mostly books on Shamanist and White Magic;
well worn ones at that.
Finally, at the foot of the bed, there was a small, wooden chair. Sitting on it was a small stuffed bear. It was made of brown fabric and was rather threadbare. Missing one button eye, it stared out the window, as if waiting for someone to return. Amelia picked it up and examined it more carefully.
“Mister Zelgadis...” she mused to herself, “I bet he was a cute kid.”
There was a knock on the door and Amelia went to answer it. She found Zelgadis on the other side, blushing slightly.
Amelia pushed the bear into his hands and closed the door again. She heard him stutter a bit and could only contain her laughter to a quiet giggle.
In this amused state, Amelia laid down on the bed,
pulled the covers over her and surrendered herself to the comforting rest
of the dream world.
The Sun’s warm rays falling on her face awoke her the next morning. The bed was nice and warm from her sleeping in it all night, and she found it extremely difficult to leave it. But she did anyhow, thinking about how rude it would be to lay in bed through the breakfast she could smell cooking, and got dressed.
As she did, she noticed the stuffed bear again sitting on the little wooden chair. She picked it up and looked at it again in curiosity.
“But how did...”
She heard the sounds of metal striking wood and turned to look out the window. Zelgadis was behind the house, in a small wooded area swinging his sword at unseen demons, practicing his technique.
Amelia put the stuffed bear back in its place and left the room. She passed through the kitchen, the aroma of cooking bacon and eggs tickling her nose. Toki was at the stove, stirring the contents of the pan.
“Good morning, Miss Toki,” Amelia intoned, cheerfully.
Zelgadis’ mother turned to regard her guest and smiled. “Ah, Miss Amelia, good morning. Did you sleep well?”
Amelia nodded. “Yes ma’am, very well, thank you.”
“Zelgadis is out back. Will you please go fetch him? Breakfast is almost ready.”
“Sure, I’ll get him! It smells really good.”
Amelia bounded out the door and into the back woods. She followed the sound of sword on tree and looked around as they stopped.
She was interrupted by a Flare Arrow in the tree directly behind her and froze, eyes wide and a scared and goofy smile on her face.
Zelgadis, hood and mask up, came out from behind a tree with a menacing look in his eye. But upon seeing who it was, altered his state and took off the hood and mask.
“Amelia!” he exclaimed. “Don’t sneak up on me like that! I could have hurt you.”
“S-s-sorry,” Amelia stammered, then forced her wits to gather about her once again. “I just came out to tell you that breakfast is almost ready. Is this where-”
“Where Rezo transformed me? Yes.” He plucked his sword out of the ground where he had previously left it.
“You seem a little jumpy, Mister Zelgadis. Is there something wrong?”
“Maybe everything,” he answered, getting out the letter he’d received in Kelicthia, “I was going over it all last night. If my father isn’t sick, why would my mother send me a letter like this? And if she didn’t send it, then who did and why? Things seem normal here so far, but I’m worried about the others.”
“Miss Lina and Mister Gourry? I think they can take care of themselves.”
“Yeah, I know. But what if they’re walking into something they won’t be able to control? Remember, there are those Monsters after us.”
“You mean, they could be walking into a trap?”
“Precisely. I think we should try and get word to them that we’ve been tricked, give them some warning.”
“Maybe your parents can help us find-”
“No. I don’t want to worry them.”
Amelia changed her demeanor and smiled. “Then, we should go eat before Miss Toki decides something’s gone wrong with that sword of yours. C’mon!” She pushed him toward the house, all the while he was sputtering something about being serious for a change.
“I really don’t like this, Amelia,” Zelgadis said
as he and the princess strolled down the main street of the town.
He pulled his hood in tighter.
“But, Mister Zelgadis, you’re the one who doesn’t want to worry Miss Toki and Mister Gavin about this. We have to send word ourselves.”
Zel paused, looking for a response. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Someone might recognize me. Even like this. This is where I grew up, after all.”
“But you’re acting suspicious. Just act normally. Besides, I don’t know my way around. I need you to tell me where the courier service is.”
Grumbling, Zelgadis resigned himself to the situation and led the way through the busy marketplace to the front counter of the courier service. Amelia approached the old man sitting behind it amicably and took out her little purse full of gold pieces.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she said, “I’d like to send a message to Maice, please.”
The old man looked at her once, twice, then slowly pulled a book out from in under the desk as if it were the heaviest thing known to man. He paged through its alphabetically arranged pages, one by one, until he came upon the name of Gourry’s home town.
“That’s way out in the boonies, sweetheart,” he warned, “it’ll cost ya’.”
“Okay, I think I’ve-”
Zelgadis put a firm hand on the princess’ shoulder, silencing her and stopping her from digging any further into her purse. “We can do a lot better at the one down the street, Amelia. I’m certain they’ll be able to halve his price.” Ever so subtly, he winked behind his mask.
Amelia caught on right away and put her purse back in her cloak pocket. “You’re right. The guy did say he had the best prices in town. Let’s go over there.”
Together, they started to walk away from the courier booth and toward another. The old man, floored by their statements, sputtered his disbelief.
“You don’t wanna go to him,” he proclaimed, “he’s notorious for super slow couriers. Tell you what. In order to save you from problems like that, I’d be willing to go as low as... forty pieces. Whadaya say?”
“No deal,” stated Zelgadis.
“Okay, okay,” stammered the old man, “thirty-five.”
“Let’s go, Mister Zelgadis, we’re wasting time here,” said Amelia.
“You’re a pair of highway robbers!” the old man exclaimed. “All right... twenty-five. I can’t go any less.”
Zel’s eyes lit up and he cast a glance at Amelia. She smiled back at him and they both turned back to the old man.
“Sold!” Amelia proclaimed, slamming a hand down on the counter.
In a moment of dramatic irony and careful planning on the part of the writer, there was suddenly a very large, very flaming, explosion just behind them as Amelia’s hand struck the counter top. She and Zelgadis blinked several times, wondering what she had done and the old man automatically ducked out of the way of flying debris.
Ducking out of the way themselves and looking about to find the source of the explosion, Amelia and Zelgadis looked at each other in extreme alarm.
“What was that?” Amelia shouted over the din of further explosions and panicking villagers.
“I dunno!” Zel responded in kind. “Where’s it coming from?”
Amid the explosions, they moved from booth to booth, using them as cover from the gluts of flying debris. The streets immediately around them were deserted now and nothing remained but Amelia, Zelgadis, and the constantly exploding buildings.
There was a pause in the explosions and the dust began to settle and the smoke to clear. Zel and Amelia looked around quickly, trying to find what it had been that had set off the explosions.
“Zelgadis Greywords and Amelia Wil Tesla Sayruun,” came a voice from behind the smoke, “come out and face me if you dare to.”
The smoke finally cleared enough to give them a view of just who it was they were up against. In streams, the smoke vacated the area revealing a dark green creature of exceptional ugliness. It was a creature that slithered along the ground on its snake-like belly and balance the rest of his form atop that. Its mouthless face was framed by straggles of long, matted hair.
“Mazoku,” Zelgadis growled.
The Monster looked at the pair with his pupiless eyes. “In the name of Lord Hellmaster,” it proclaimed, “I have come to kill you.”
“Hellmaster!?” Amelia exclaimed, picking herself off the ground.
“Okay, this is getting old,” Zel groaned, doing likewise. He met the Mazoku’s eyes and lowered his mask. “What is it with you Monsters and revenge, anyway? Don’t you ever get sick of it? Phibrizo’s dead. Deal with it… or join him.” He drew his sword and whispered the Astral Vibe spell over it.
The explosions began anew as the three combatants went at it, tossing fireballs and flare arrows back and forth. Zel moved in with his sword, preparing to strike a blow across the Mazoku’s chest, but found himself tossed back by a whip of the thing’s tail.
“Rah Tilt!” Amelia shouted, finishing up the incantation and directing it at the monster. The thing writhed in pain somewhat, but came through the spell in relatively good shape. Zelgadis, meanwhile, had retreated and taken up position next to Amelia again.
“It used to be that that spell worked!” Amelia complained.
“We’ll have to weaken it first,” Zel stated. He flipped his sword over, into his other hand so that the blade was pointing down and prepared an Elmekia Lance. He tossed the spell at the Mazoku, hitting it dead on. Amelia did likewise and the two spells hit at once.
The creature shrugged off the attacks and tossed a green fireball at the pair. Zel and Amelia managed to back away from it a few steps, sparing them the brunt of the attack, but not the full effects. They were sent flying in opposite directions and Zelgadis shortly found the Monster’s clawed hand rushing toward him. He managed to get his sword up in time to block the blow, but soon found himself trapped in a stalemate of strength.
“Dynast Ras!” Amelia shouted, surrounding the Monster in a magical circle along the ground that sprung up and surrounded it in a wall of light. “Mister Zelgadis! Let’s do it now!”
“Right!” Zel agreed, putting away his sword as the Monster struggled with the field. “ All souls who dwell in the eternal and infinate. Everlasting flame of blue,” he chanted.
“Let the power hidden in my soul be called forth here and now from the infinite,” Amelia joined in.
“Rah Tilt!” they shouted together, directing the energy they had gathered at the Mazoku. The dual spell penetrated the one-way walls of the Dynast Ras and encased the Mazoku in blinding white-blue light.
Zelgadis and Amelia watched carefully as all three spells died out and faded away. The last of the dust finally settled in silence as the two Slayers remained standing, alert, back to back as though still expecting more from the Mazoku. A full two minutes later, they finally collapsed back against each other, sighing with relief.
“It’s over,” Zel finally said.
“We did it,” Amelia agreed.
They sat in silence for another full minute, catching their breath.
“So, what do we do now?” Amelia asked.
“I don’t like the looks of this,” Zel stated, “not one bit. What was it that Monster said? ‘in the name of Lord
“But I thought Phibrizo didn’t have any soldiers left after the War of the Monsters’ Fall. Except for Mister Xellos, of course.”
“So did I. That’s what’s got me worried.”
“You don’t suppose that Mister Xellos…”
“No, that’s not his style. Which means it’s got to be someone else. But what I can’t figure out is what they’re after.”
“Do you suppose they just want revenge for Hellmaster… for the sheer fun of it?”
“No… remember what that other Mazoku said… he came after us for killing Gaav.”
“So… maybe there’s two people behind it? Or is it…?”
They both paused as some realization struck them. They turned and looked at each other, alarmed. “It is a trap!”
With those words, they were on their feet instantly, sprint across the messy streets of the town, back to the home of the Greywords.
“We have to warn Miss Lina and Mister Gourry!” Amelia exclaimed.
“Right!” Zelgadis agreed. “We were separated for a reason and if we had this little trouble…”
“They’re after the others!” Amelia finished.
“We went opposite ways from Kelicthia. It’s a good two day trip to Gourry’s home town, Maice.”
* * *
The same night that Zelgadis and Amelia had arrived
in Zel’s home town, Lina and Gourry had been making their way along the
long, winding road to the farm town of Maice. Gourry was leading
the way, confidently now, as they neared the town and his old stomping
grounds. Lina trailed after him, leaning on a walking stick.
“I’m hot… I’m tired… and most of all I’m hungry,” she moaned, “there hasn’t been a single house, well, shop, or even tree house since we left the main road this morning. How much further is it, anyway?”
Gourry turned back and gave her a smile. “Not too much further,” he said, “it should be just over this hill.”
Lina sighed and continued following his lead, barely able to believe that she was doing so. She started watching the ground, making sure her feet wouldn’t fall off at the ankles as they neared the top of the hill. Suddenly, she ran into Gourry, who had come to an abrupt stop. He was looking down the hill, somewhat confused as to why there would be further woods instead of a town. He rubbed the back of his head, nervously.
“Heh… guess I haven’t been home in a while,” he said.
Lina was suddenly face first on the dusty ground, twitching.
“What’s the problem,” Gourry asked, innocently.
“Don’t tell me… we’re lost Gourry,” Lina said, giving the swordsman her trademark death glare.
“Oh no, of course not,” Gourry stated, nervously waving his hands in front of him, “I can smell burning corn husks from the end of the harvest. I must have just lost track of the hills, it can’t be that much further.”
Lina was back on her feet, staring him down in that particularly lethal and menacing way she had. “It had better not be because you know what happens when I get hungry.”
Gourry found himself feeling three inches tall, laughing with extreme nervousness.
About a half an hour later, they were looking down the slope of a hill into the small, sleeping farm town of Maice.
END EPISODE TWO