Butterflies, Dominoes, and Causality
Chapter 11 of 12
A Hentai Slayers Fanfic by RVincent
PLEASE READ - I do not own ‘The Slayers’ and have no relation or ties to those people that do own the series, aside from the various DVDs and VHS tapes that I have purchased over the years. In conjunction with this statement I further decree that I am not claiming ownership, nor am I making any money off this fan work. No copyright infringement is meant, I am writing this as an expression of my fandom. Furthermore, this fanfic will contain some blood (not much) and some female x female sexual encounters and is therefore meant for adults only. If you are under 18 years of age please go back now and ignore ever reading this preface. For those other people that intend to stay I can only hope you enjoy reading this.
This is just one chapter of a multi-chapter fanfic, reading previous chapters is necessary to understand what is going on in the storyline (yes, despite the age restrictions there is a story line). Please visit the Slayers Hentai Fanfiction Archive (http://slayers.destructve.com) to read previous and subsequent chapters.
*****************(Classic Snowflake Openings Rock!)*****************
- Sairaag Concluded-
During his stay in Sairaag, Gourry had found that dinner was a big affair at Eruk’s home. It was one of the few things the man was stringent about with him. Luckily, Gourry never had a problem ensuring that he showed up on time for food. Actually, more often than not Gourry found himself at the table early. Just like today. Usually one or two parishioners would also join the three of them at the, but not on this particular night. As such the table meant to seat ten or more felt empty with just three places set. Finally, just as dinner was set to commence, Eruk sat down at the head of the table.
Gourry looked around, Sylphiel was running late again. She’d been late more often when he had first shown up, but more recently she seemed to be considerably more punctual. He looked to the stairs and then to Eruk, wondering when she might show up. At that moment Sylphiel descended the staircase and made her way over to sit next to Gourry. Uneasily he turned to his side, she’d always sat across the table at her fathers’ right hand. Now Gourry found himself wedged between the two of them.
Warily Gourry looked to her father, but got an approving nod in return. Quietly he allowed himself to expel the breath he’d been holding. He was grateful, that could have made things uncomfortable. A servant woman came from the kitchen, this time holding a single plate and a bottle of wine. Expertly she removed the covers from the trays that she had already previous set on the table, presenting each with a flourish that was wasted on the three of them.
Gourry’s eyes widened, Eruk knew how to eat. He smiled and gave a childish laugh, “Thank you.” He said as the servant filled his cup to the brim with the maroon liquid. Just as quickly the three of them started eating.
Eruk tried to catch up on the days events, “So, what were you two up to today?”
Sylphiel smiled, “I took Gourry-sama see Flagoon.”
Her father nodded and Gourry’s smile quirked as he turned to look her over, she’d been calling him Gourry-sama since she’d kissed him. He looked to Eruk to see if he noticed anything amiss but he smiled and nodded unconcerned. If anything he seemed to be in better spirits than usual despite the seating arrangement.
“So, what did you think?”
The question caught Gourry off guard due to his introspection so he scrambled to answer, “Ummm… unhhh….” He started off floundering, “It was big?” He hoped that it would be enough of an answer.
“Yes, it’s likely to be the biggest tree any of us will ever see.” Eruk nodded sagely giving Gourry a sigh of relief.
The conversation died off quickly which was not unusual. Often Gourry found himself struggling for conversation with the older man, and he felt Eruk had the same feelings. Still, it was worth the effort. Occasionally Gourry would notice a quick glance in his direction by Sylphiel but whenever he tried to catch her eyes wandering on him the only thing he saw on her face was a blush.
Finally fed, Sylphiel was first to leave the table, and next Gourry.
“Hold on a moment if you would please?” Eruk interrupted just as Gourry was getting to his feet.
“I am not sure what you make of my daughter…” Eruk started out in all seriousness. “But it seems she has become quite enamored with you.”
Gourry nodded, it was hard not to notice, especially with the memory of the kiss digging so deeply in his mind.
“I just want you to know, you could do a lot worse than to choose Sylphiel.” Eruk sighed, “But please,” Eruk stopped, his voice dropping, “just don’t make her cry. Please.”
“I-- I won’t.” Gourry swallowed, his throat felt tight.
“All right then, sleep well.” The demeanor he was used to from the man was back.
“You too.” And with that Gourry ascended the stairs, his feet carrying heavily as he climbed. Continuing down the hallway he paused momentarily as he passed Sylphiel’s room. He took a moment to watch the door and listen for any movement inside. Sylphiel hadn’t said anything about the kiss since it had happened. Even when he’d come right out and asked her about it she had diverted the question, shyly turning her face to the side, not able to meet his gaze. It was completely in contrast to the assertive and somewhat troublesome girl he had come to know during his time in Sairaag.
At first she had treated him as an annoyance and as time went on, after he’d traveled with her through the Miasma forest, he felt she saw him as more of an equal. But now… he wondered… Sighing he walked the rest of the way to his room. Getting inside he found the lamps were already lit. Purposefully he un-strapped his sword and placed it just between the night stand and the bed. It was the quickest spot to withdraw it from if someone where to come in while he slept. His plate mail was carefully hung on a nearby chair to support its weight without toppling and his shirt and boots were next to go.
Gourry turned quickly at the sound, walking to the door and carefully opening it only wide enough to fit through an uncurled hand. “Sylphiel?”
“Can I come in for a moment?” She asked, not looking at his face.
“Yeah, sure.” Gourry stepped away from the door allowing it to open further. Momentarily he worried about his sate of undress but berated himself, he wasn’t too bad off. It was just the thought of how Eruk might react should he come by to find his daughter cavorting with a shirtless Swordsman of Light that dissuaded him.
“I--” She began immediately, sitting down, “I’m sorry about today.” Her voice was low, forcing Gourry to move closer, sitting down next to her on the bed.
“About what?” He asked despite his suspicions.
“About everything today, under Flagoon… the kiss.” He could hear her swallow hard even next to her. No matter how upset she seemed, her blush even burned on her ears.
“Don’t worry about it.” Gourry replied confidently, wanting to comfort Sylphiel and glad to have a confrontation out the way, “I’m sure it was nothing.”
“No!” Sylphiel interrupted suddenly, “It wasn’t nothing… it was just--” She sighed, “Not the right time.” She cursed under her breath, kicking her feet lightly against the wooden planks on the floor.
“Oh.” Gourry responded intelligently, wondering anew exactly where Sylphiel had been leading things.
“There is something we need to talk about.” Finally she turned from the floor to meet his gaze, her smile in full bloom, “But it’s still not the right time. Do you think we could talk tomorrow afternoon sometime, out on the hillside?” She finished with a hopeful smile.
“Yeah, but why not right now?” Gourry looked around for emphasis, “Is there some reason we can’t-”
Sylphiel turned and hugged him tightly, “Just… tomorrow, okay?”
Gourry brought an arm around her back as a natural reaction, holding her tight against him, feeling her warmth, “Okay, tomorrow.”
Sylphiel nodded into the hug before pulling away. “Sleep well Gourry-sama.” Timidly she leaned forward and gave him a short kiss, this time on the cheek, before walking out the door. Leaving Gourry touching the side of his face unbelieving as he watched her go.
Gourry sat on the hillside waiting. He had been there since he had finished his patrol along the nearest edge of the Miasma forest. Just like his previous patrols, he hadn’t seen anything. He was sure that his job in Sairaag was almost complete. The number of lesser Demons in the forest had dropped significantly, after he had started killing them apparently it had scared many more of them off. There hadn’t been any sightings, in over a week. That was unusual even during good times. He also noticed that the oppressive air surrounding the forest had become more tolerable, though it was never lacking.
The sudden calling of his name snapped him out of his reprieve. “Oh, there you are.” He called back, leaning backward onto his palms and turning his head as Sylphiel approached his spot. He looked around, the tall grass covered the hillside and it glowed amber in the afternoon sun, dancing from just the slightest of winds. He looked up momentarily into the above branches of the tree, it was the closest one to Eruk’s home. Above there were tiny notches carved into the bark, he had chosen to sit next to it not only to give himself something to lean against but also because he figured it would help Sylphiel pick him out.
“Hey.” She sat down next to him with a smile, “How’d things go today?”
“Everything went good. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
“So… what did you need to talk about?”
Suddenly the same Sylphiel from the night before was there, her eyes just as surely unable to meet his. “I-- well… we can talk about that in a minute.”
Gourry leaned back fully on his palms, “Okay.” For the moment Gourry was content to just sit and watch the blowing grass and look out over the city below. The hill offered the perfect vantage point for such activities.
“Gourry-sama… how do you feel about me?”
“How do I?” Gourry stopped himself from any automatic answers, thinking about the day previous, the kisses. He’d been unable to push them from his mind the night before when it had been time to sleep. “What do you mean?” He asked, hoping she would give some kind of clarification on where she was heading with the line of questioning.
“I was just wondering if maybe… you felt something for me?” He watched her carefully, she was pulling the tip of the glove off her finger tip then pulling it back on, back and fourth.
“Hummmm…” He wasn’t really sure what he felt. To be forced to put a name to it made him feel a little pressed. “I like you, at least I like being with you.” He answered truthfully. That was as much as he knew for himself. Truth be told, it was the only thing he could think of that might give him reason to stay in Sairaag after the incidents in the Miasma forest were resolved.
“Gourry-sama… I like you too.” In response Sylphiel turned fully away, starring off toward the city.
“Really?” Gourry asked, his eyes wide at the admission.
“Really.” Sylphiel sighed, now able to turn to face him. Tears were beginning to pool in the corner of her eyes, “But… I’m not good enough for you.”
“Why?” Gourry felt himself nearly shout on reflex, “What would make you think that?” Gourry hadn’t had much experience with girls but it seemed like a strange thing to come out and say.
“You wouldn’t understand.” Hesitantly she wiped the tears from her eyes, “You don’t understand me, or Sairaag, or even the legend of the battle against Zanaffar.” She smiled at the last bit. No one else in the city would have ever said that to his face, he was too revered but she knew enough about him from their time together to realize he had a deficit when it came to any long term memory.
“Then tell me.” He demanded firmly.
Sylphiel let out a shaking breath, thankful that she had stopped crying. “Remember the story of the fight against Zanaffar Gourry-sama.” She didn’t ask it as a question, just to set the mood. She had decided to start from the beginning to make things more simplistic.
“Yeah… I think so. About how my ancestor defeated Zanaffar with the sword of light.” He’d been reminded of the legend enough since he had started living in Sairaag to remember the bulk of it.
“Yes… and after the battle he planted Flagoon in the center of Sairaag to absorb the miasma and purify the city.” She decided to reiterate the important part.
He nodded, “I remember all of that.” He responded trying not to sound too proud of himself.
“But did anyone tell you where the seed for the tree came from?” Sylphiel asked, careful to bring the question across clearly.
“No.” Gourry answered earnestly, “Did they buy it somewhere in town or something like that?” He scratched his head, trying to figure out the importance of Sylphiel’s question.
“No…” She shook her head, a smile on her lips despite the seriousness of the situation. “Flagoon, the Holy Tree was a product of the union of the Swordsman of Light and the great Shrine Maiden of Sairaag.”
“So they made it together?” He answered quickly.
“It was a product of their love Gourry-sama.”
The undertones were obviously lost on him, so Sylphiel decided to give it another try, “That tree,” She pointed out in the distance to Flagoon, “Was created from the union of the two of them as lovers.” Immediately she felt the heat return to her cheeks.
“Oh.” This time he seemed to get the point and it brought a blush to his own face. He looked the tree up and down, it didn’t really explain how they made it, but he figured that wasn’t the point so didn’t press the issue.
“Gourry-sama, before I am worthy of your love I have to become a Shrine Maiden.” She said sharply, again tears threatening her peripheral.
“Why? I don’t understand?” His question came just as quickly.
“When I was newly born, the oracle of the shrine here in Sairaag saw a glimpse of the future.” Sylphiel began carefully, simultaneously not sure how much she should reveal or how to phrase it to make Gourry understand, “She saw the city destroyed just as it had been with Zanaffar and she prophesized that the same cycle would repeat itself. She foresaw that the only way to stop the city from disappearing forever, would be for the Swordsman of Light to once again join with a Shrine Maiden of Sairaag to save the city.”
Sylphiel fought a bitter smile quirking at the edge of her mouth. The inside of her mouth felt metallic to admit the prophecy, something she had fought against her whole life. She forced her eyes open amidst the tears, looking out over the city, there was no way it would be destroyed… But the prophecy forecast even darker visions should she fail to act after it would be destroyed… It all seemed so impossible. But here in front of her, this man she had started to feel for, he was their salvation. Suddenly it didn’t seem so bad to submit to the fate that she had been fighting.
“You… me…” His eyes widened at the implications. “And the city still gets destroyed?”
“Not right now silly.” She answered slightly exasperated, “But… I need to start my training Gourry-sama, and you… you’re destined to leave here, at least for now. I will not be allowed any visitors while I undergo the preparations to become a shrine maiden. And someday… I hope you return.” No more tears fell from her eyes, it was in the hands of the gods now. That was all she could hope for, to have him come back someday after she finished her training, and to hope it was before the city was destroyed. She shuddered at the thought, glad that she had not revealed to him that it was in fact her that had prophesized and saw the destruction of the city first hand.
“And what if I never come back.” He felt himself compelled to ask, his mind reeling at the sudden responsibility, the revealing of the future, whether set in stone or not.
“Then I will keep waiting, no matter what.” She responded, suddenly feeling her confidence and determination grow. “And I will pray every day for your return.”
Gourry quirked a bitter smile, wondering if the events in Sairaag hadn’t been coordinated, everything from the start leading him to this point in life. When he thought about it though, it didn’t really matter. Not if the final decision would be left up to him. He looked over Sylphiel, her cheeks were streaked with tears but she was still determined. He wondered if he could stay away from Sairaag perpetually. If she would really wait for him forever. Could he deal with himself if he ruined her life, if he destroyed the city. He was the Swordsman of Light now, was this really the fate and responsibility he had taken upon himself when he had chosen to take the sword.
“I can try to come back someday.” He promised at length. Feeling compelled he reached out and took Sylphiel into a new hug, feeling her clutch tightly against his chest.
“And I will wait for you… forever.”
Again Lina could feel Gourry’s eyes burning into her back. She turned to Amelia, apparently the princess didn’t have the same problem. Either that or she was much better at ignoring it. She gave Amelia’s hand a little re-assuring squeeze, not wanting her to feel put off just before she disentangled her hand from the princess’. Amelia didn’t seem upset, or at least her smile didn’t waver.
Lina continued walking for a few moments before turning around, she didn’t want to see the hurt look in Gourry’s eyes form the hand holding but she didn’t have much choice. Amelia had continued to gravitate toward her side, her hand toward Lina’s hand all throughout the day no matter how many times she pulled away. Lina sighed, she figured it must have been because she didn’t have the heart to pull away as coldly as she would have needed to in order to dissuade the princess. All the same, she didn’t want to put Gourry through that kind of torture.
They had put a day and half between themselves and the previous city and were on their way toward their next goal, thought that had not been decided in full yet. Zephillia, Saillune… Sairaag. Last Lina heard Sylphiel had gone back to Sairaag after her stint in Saillune, it had to be that Gourry knew that. Still, they were all valid options at the moment. Lina slowed, she had been on the lookout for a good camping spot for the last couple hours. The trio still had some daylight left to burn but Lina had an ulterior motive. “That’ll do.” Lina said aloud, pointing to the woods. Faintly a waterfall could be heard in the distance and that was enough of a lure to make the spot appealing to Lina for camping.
“For our camp site for tonight.” Lina again pointed to the forest, “There’s a waterfall over there, and where there is water there are fish.” Lina accentuated the point by rubbing her stomach and licking her lips, garnering her an odd look from Amelia.
“Isn’t it a little early to break for camp?” Amelia asked, curious as to Lina’s sudden suggestion.
“No… no! Of course not. Not when there are fish to catch and a river to relax in.”
Gourry scratched his head, “Okay, that makes sense.”
Lina lead the way off the road and into the forest. Sure enough it wasn’t long at all before the three of them hit a decent sized river leading to a waterfall. The water was crystal clear and despite its width it wasn’t all that deep. Still, if they wanted to bathe Lina had faith that the basin at the bottom of the water fall would prove deep enough.
“That looks like a good spot.” Amelia called out, pointing across the river to a barren spot on the opposite bank.
Lina looked around for a moment before confirming with a nod. Gourry trudged through the water, the deepest being up to his knees as he made his way to the camp site. Lina leapt between some of the larger rocks in the river, and Amelia walked through the water but tired to stick to the more shallow areas with less of a current. Lina immediately started pitching her tent a short distance from the river. Gourry did likewise but put more distance between himself and Lina than usual, which left Amelia enough space to pitch a tent between the two of them. Amelia wasn’t sure about the point of it though, she knew she would be sleeping in a different tent that night.
Lina again noticed Gourry stopping, watching her and Amelia. When their eyes met he went back to working on his tent as if nothing had come up. The tension was there just as it had been all day, and all the previous day. And it was growing. Lina sighed, driving a stake into the ground at the corner of her tent. Things were coming to a head whether she wanted them to or not.
“Hey Gourry, I need your help over here.” Lina called out from the edge of the woods. Darkness had descended on the group and Lina wanted some assistance with the firewood, “Hold down the fort, okay Amelia?” Amelia looked in her direction momentarily before going back to watching the fire.
Gourry got up slowly and walked to meet Lina at the edge of the woods. “I just need some help carrying some firewood.” She explained as they both started to head away from camp.
“Not a problem.” Gourry replied, scooping down to pick up a few twigs at his feet.
“No, not here. I already got a pile we need to bring back.” Lina started walking down the trail with Gourry in tow. They continued to walk for some time, out of range of the sound of the waterfall. Deeper into the woods before finally coming to a small cache of firewood that had been neatly stacked in the middle of the pathway.
“Gourry…” Lina intoned as Gourry started stacking the firewood in his arms.
“Stop for a second would ya?”
“Hummm?” Gourry stood upright. It was dark in the woods and he could hardly make out Lina’s features.
“I-- Gourry… this is hard.” She mumbled to herself. “Tomorrow we’ll be getting to the city… if we keep going south we’ll end up in Saillune, if we go west… Sairaag…” Lina swallowed hard, “I want you to go to Sairaag…”
“Why?” Gourry answered with a start, “I’m your protector.”
“I don’t deserve that, okay!” Lina shouted, angry at herself more than him. “You shouldn’t waste your life hanging around with some flat chested little girl. You should go to Sairaag, or Elmekia, or somewhere were you have some kind of future.” Lina trailed off, flush and breathing heavily. She cursed herself for having worked herself up so much before hand, she was having a hard time maintaining any composure.
“No, you already know there’s nothing here for you anymore. Nothing… between us.” Lina let the last part out as almost a gasp.
“There was though, something between us…. I felt it.” Gourry defended, finally his voice starting to crack.
“Yeah… there was.” Lina said wistfully.
“It was supposed to be you and me…. Amelia and Zel…. How--”
“It just wasn’t meant to be…” Lina took a step forward, her face pressing against Gourry’s chest.
“Then what was?” Gourry asked, his throat tight.
“You… Sylphiel…” Lina managed out between shaky breaths.
Gourry closed his eyes tightly, fighting back the tears. Remembering again his first trip to Sairaag. The first kiss he and Sylphiel had shared, the feeling afterward…. “No, I want to be with you.” The memory still hurt too much, “Even if we can never be more than just friends.”
Lina thudded her fists against his chest, “You dummy, you can’t do that. I saw how you were looking at me and Amelia today, it was hurting you… and I can’t have you hurting like that.”
“And what about Zel?” Gourry said, grasping at whatever he could to keep hope glimmering.
“Zel… well, he’s tougher than he looks.” Lina said, half-laughing and half-crying at the little joke. “Besides, he probably already had everything figured out before I even knew what was going on.”
Gourry nodded, that had pretty much been the case, or at least he accepted what was going to happen. It was Gourry that had denied it and delayed his own actions. “So, that’s it then.” Gourry said with finality. “All the times we’ve traveled together, saved each other, all of those lonely nights traveling together, keeping each other company-”
“You were a good friend and always there for me.” Lina cut him off, afraid of him finishing on a bitter note that might haunt her and himself. “And hopefully I can be there for you too.”
“Then why aren’t you there for me now.” Gourry sobbed, the emotions finally getting the best of him.
“I am Gourry… that’s why I’m telling you to go.” Finally Lina couldn’t hold it inside any more, crying openly and puling herself tightly against his chest, “Please… I can’t stand to hurt you any more than I already have.”
Gourry pulled away abruptly and for a moment Lina thought that he might be going to run, but instead he reached out and gently rubbed her head. “You know, I’ve had a good feeling about you since the first day I met you…” He trailed off, leaving Lina anticipating his next words more than anything, but instead of continuing he reached down and piled the firewood in his arms and started heading back to camp.
Quickly she ran around to the front of him, tears falling from her eyes, almost knocking him off balance she reached up on her tippy toes and planted a kiss on his cheek. “I’m sorry.” She said simply.
Despite the lack of light she still made out his smile. That same smile she’d always dreamed about, “I know… so am I.” And the two of them traveled back to camp side by side.
Lina cast a lighting spell to help guide them back to camp and was immediately glad she did, she was unsure if the two of them would have been able to find the camp again without it. Simultaneous with their walking into the clearing, Amelia spoke up, “You two were sure gone a long time.” She worried aloud. Lina shot her a dirty look in response but softened it, she had no clue what had happened on.
“Sorry about that, we just got a little lost.”
“Yeah, lost.” Gourry agreed, still distant after their conversation.
“Oh.” Amelia kept quiet, whatever had happened the two of them didn’t seem to want to talk about it. She sat back more fully against a log she had dragged around a makeshift fire pit, “So, what’s the plan for tomorrow?” She asked innocently enough.
Gourry and Lina froze momentarily before Gourry sat down heavily, “I guess I’m going to Sairaag.” Gourry mumbled, still distant.
“What was that?” Amelia had heard well enough but it hadn’t made sense.
“Gourry has things to do in Sairaag, and the two of us are going to continue onto Saillune.”
“Oh.” Amelia looked between Lina and Gourry. It had finally happened. She felt her eyes threaten tears, they were officially over. “Oh… I’m so sorry.”
Gourry cut off her mourning, feeling himself snap out of his funk, “It’s okay Amelia, I’ll be fine.” He insisted, waving his hands in front of himself to ward off her feelings.
“I know…” Amelia wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, “It’s just so sad…” She finished with a wail turning again to look at the fire.
Gourry looked between Lina and Amelia, then back to Lina, Lina shrugged and Gourry shrugged in response. “Don’t worry about me Amelia, you’ve got Lina to worry about now.” He finished drooping his head in her direction, immediately bringing a stillness to the princess.
Amelia looked up from the fire to Lina, seeing the way the light of the fire played across her features and also the look in her eyes. It was strong again, stronger than it had been in a long time. She felt the confidence that it usually lent her return, things were going to be okay. Amelia managed a few more sniffles then gave a meaningful nod in Gourry’s direction before scooting over to Lina who was sitting on top of the log.
Lina reached down and ruffled Amelia’s hair, “It’ll be fine…”
Amelia turned up to catch her gaze, and the connection was back just as it had been nights previous in the Inn. She felt that lightness in her chest, that warm feeling sweep over her, different than she had ever felt with Zelgadiss, stronger, more pure… mutual for once in her life.
Closing her eyes, Lina remembered back to when she had first met Gourry Gabriev. She laughed, she had always been a schemer, always with some plan or motive, at least in the long run. But this man had broken all of that, not in her wildest dreams would she have imagined a man like him would have played such a critical part in her life. Protector, guardian, and he could have been so much more.
Lina wiped the corners of her eyes, preempting any tears, “So-- this is it?”
Gourry swallowed hard, shaking his head, “Y-yeah, it is.”
“I’m gonna miss you.” Lina stammered, biting her lip to keep the emotions inside.
“Me too…” Achingly he reached out and embraced Lina who fell into the hug, gripping back with all the might in her little body.
“Goodbye…” Lina squeaked out between jagged breaths.
“Goodbye Lina…” And with that he pulled away and headed off on his own toward Sairaag.
“Goodbye Gourry-san…” Amelia muttered, just above a whisper.
Lina watched for a few moments until Gourry rounded a far away turn and went out of her field of vision. Eventually Amelia found her way over to Lina and put a comforting arm over her shoulder, “Are you okay?”
“No.” Lina laughed, “But I’ll get better.” She forced a smile though she threatened tears. Suddenly she was kissing Amelia on the lips and bracing her behind her back, dipping the lower girl.
Amelia felt herself flush, “Did that help?” She ventured.
“A little.” Lina admitted after a moment. “But I still think I’m going to miss the big Jelly Fish.”
“We’ll see him in six months, won’t we?” Amelia asked, reminding Lina of their promise to Zelgadiss.
“Yeah, we will.” Again Lina looked down the road, thinking of her guardian. She had been convinced for so long that he was the one for her. And she knew that he had felt the same for her. But it just never worked out, and eventually she realized… it was all in their heads. No matter how much they tried to make it work, to make things real… It wouldn’t matter, because when it came down to it, they were just good friends, almost family, and though it killed her to do it to him, she had to let him go.
Lina wiped away a stray tear that had made it through her defenses, “Well then, come on, we’ve still got a few days before we get to Saillune then, don’t we?” Lina picked up her pace, starting a jog down the road, leaving Amelia no choice but to follow her.
The duo pressed on past dusk before they finally found an Inn. Not within a city but freestanding along the side of the roadway. As luck would have it they were also fortunate enough to have a vacancy left of the night. Lina immediately paid the woman working the counter and the two of them made their way up the stairs to their room for the night.
Lina and Amelia entered the room and immediately Lina turned and leaned with her back against the door, casually reaching down and locking it while looking Amelia in the eye. “Amelia…” Lina started softly, taking a step toward the princess.
“Ummm, yeah?” Amelia asked, taking a step backward, noticing the predatory look in Lina’s eyes.
“I’ve done some thinking and I’ve come to realize something…” Lina let the smirk come to her features and purposefully tried to put a swagger in her hips as she followed the princess who was backpedaling her way to the bed.
“What was tha-!” Amelia suddenly flailed out an arm, trying to catch anything. Quickly Lina covered the few steps of distance between the two of them but failed to make it in time. The boards in the floor creaked as Amelia fell on her posterior.
“Owww…” Amelia moaned, reaching down to her butt and looking up at Lina and the smile on her face.
“Amelia?” Lina asked, hardly keeping from laughing and reaching out a hand for her friend.
Amelia took the hand quickly as Lina helped her to her feet, “Hummm?”
Lina continued pulling Amelia even after she got to her feet, wrapping her in a tight embrace, “You really are a goof, and… I love you.”
Amelia’s eyes went wide, “You do…” She let out as a squeak
“I-- I love you too! I love you with all my heart Lina!” Amelia made the hug almost painful to receive but Lina rode it out, trying to return it in kind just shy of giving pain.
“I’m so sorry for the way I’ve acted…” Lina started out.
Amelia picked up the thought, “Me too, after that first night I wasn’t sure, I was so confused Lina… I thought I’d been untrue to myself, lying to you. I would have never done that if I hadn’t loved you and that’s why… that’s why I couldn’t bear to see you after that.”
Lina swallowed hard, “I’m sorry I couldn’t say it sooner. I just-- I was confused.”
“I know.” Amelia held her tighter, the outside world vanished and she imagined the two of them standing atop a pedestal, higher than the world, in the only beam of light against an endless darkness. It was just like she always imagined love would be. “Finally….” Amelia muttered to herself, feeling a weight lift off her heart that had been held there for years.
Slowly the two of them made their way to the bed, tumbling atop it as one mass. It was slower this time, not just lust. Lina, with her eyes closed slowly explored her lovers body, gently caressing her all over, causing her to shiver from the gentle touch. In return Amelia peppered light kisses over Lina, her face, trailing down along her jaw line.
They embraced again, rolling onto the bed properly and shedding clothes along the way, not stopping until they were both naked. “No rushing this time…” Lina murmured out, closing the gap between them with a kiss. Amelia smiled into the kiss, no, there would be no rushing, this was prefect, everything Amelia had ever dreamed it would be, and it had only just begun.
Gourry shifted between his feet, waiting nervously after he had knocked on the door. He looked over the building, fairly sizeable, but through the windows it was empty.
“Who is it?” Came the voice from inside.
“It’s me… Gourry.” He added after a moment, trying not to be presumptuous.
He waited a moment longer, hearing a commotion inside the building. Finally he heard the telltale sound of metal sliding against metal as the latch for the door was drawn open. The door itself opened inward smoothly, gliding on well-oiled bearings.
“It’s been a while Sylphiel…” He managed a smile but felt the tears threaten yet again as they had frequently the last two days.
Gourry didn’t have to say a word more, “By the Gods… Gourry, what happened?” Then seeing that if anything the question caused his upturned lip to quiver even more she asked the question she dreaded, “Lina… is she…?” The shrine maiden gulped, instantly remembering with crystal clarity her own hands covered in Lina’s blood so deep under Flagoon so long ago.
“No.” Gourry shook his head solidly, “It’s just, she’s moved on… without me.” He added the last bit just above a whisper.
Sylphiel looked Gourry up and down before stepping in and embracing the swordsman. Inadvertently he found himself comparing the embrace to Lina’s final embrace. It was completely different. Sylphiel was so much taller but her touch much more delicate.
“You can stay here if you’d like…” She offered, wondering and hoping that was his intention all along.
Gourry held her tighter, feeling the tears fall from his eyes, “You know… I think I’d like that.”
Sylphiel nodded against his shoulder and pulled back, “Well, come on in.” She forced a smile to her face through the tears.
He managed a smile in return but turned back to look back the way he came, at the road that he had taken to get there, winding down the hillside and into the crater city of Sairaag. It was beautiful outside, the sun was shining and the foliage all around Sylphiel’s home was bright green. He let out a sigh and strode through the door purposefully, taking a moment to close it fully behind himself.
/\/\||/\/\-=End of Chapter 11=-/\/\||/\/\