Butterflies, Dominoes, and Causality
Chapter 8 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!)*****************
Off in the distance there was one mountain peak higher than any of the others surrounding it. In the early morning light it glistened, it glowed, it just looked special. It was mostly those previous factors, and not the crude map that accounted for Lina’s faith that what they were seeking was atop the mountain they were so quickly approaching.
“It’s dead ahead! We’re almost there!” Lina shouted, looking back at her companions.
Zelgadiss looked at the map scratching his head. He wanted to correct her but didn’t really want to mess with her mood. So long as the four of them were heading in the right direction he figured that was good enough. At least for the moment. Truth be told he was getting very anxious. He wondered if the others in the group would understand if he wanted to go on ahead via Ray Wing just to scout around a bit.
Lina kept up her pace but took another look at her friends. Gourry was downcast, his eyes were on his feet. He’d been like that since they had left that morning. And Amelia… at least she was acting more friendly, but still distant. Lina swallowed hard. She was having a more difficult time trying to figure her out than she would have ever imagined. The night before burned brightly in her mind, just thinking about it… Lina nearly tripped over her own foot, missing a step in the path. Actually, it was best not to think about it while walking.
“Okay, time to cross the valley.” Lina stopped, giving everyone else a moment to catch up. Their path had looped around the base of the mountain they were traveling on. To their left was the continuation of the road, around the mountain, down into the valley, and up the next mountain. Or at least what passed as a road. Long ago it had been cut into the mountain, and apparently abandoned, it was overgrown with grass, foliage, and in places completely collapsed, but anyone could tell that at some time in the past it had been engineered. Ahead of them was a sheer drop off from dizzying heights.
Gourry preferred not to look and just closed his eyes and held out his hands. Lina smirked, “It’ll be over in a minute you big baby.” Lina grabbed a hand and Zelgadiss did Likewise, “Levitation!” They both shouted in unison, followed a moment later by Amelia. With the animals gone from the area, and taking to the air, even the background sounds of their footsteps were absent. The eerie silence of the area quickly settled in as they crossed the chasm. Lina hated it, if she had any reason to think they were being stalked she would have been totally against it. No doubt they would have made a good target carrying Gourry between mountains, but they hadn’t had any trouble so far.
As expected the crossing went off without a snag. Gently Zelgadiss and Lina set Gourry down on the ground. Cautiously he opened an eye and looked down at the ground before a smile overtook his features and he gave a little happy jump. Lina and Zelgadiss landed then just behind them Amelia. “We’re almost there.” Zelgadiss stated, noting a landmark that gave away their position. He pretended not to notice the smug smile that Lina shot in his direction and started walking.
The grade was steeper. Unlike the previous paths that for the most part stayed horizontal, this one actually ascended the mountain. It made the climbing more hazardous, and arduous. Not long into the climb the front of Lina’s legs started to burn from the endurance test.
Mercifully the four of them soon enough came across a ruin at the side of the road, likely for relay runners centuries before. Lina took a moment to sit down and surprisingly even Zelgadiss joined her by the tumbled stone shack. “You think this is going to be it?” He asked, a bit of worry in his voice.
“Maybe… we’ll find out, won’t we?” Lina smiled back. She wondered how much he got his hopes up any more. She knew she usually didn’t. Lina never even looked at a quest with Zelgadiss as something that would earn any return on her time other than the adventure. She never really expected to cure him and she wondered if that complacency was part of the problem. That maybe since she never expected to cure him it let her give up that much easier.
They had only sat down a moment previous, but already Zelgadiss looked anxious. Lina was surprised he had held it in as long as he had. “Enough resting, let’s get a move on and get to the top of this mountain!” She shouted, trying to rally the energies of her traveling companions. If it worked, it didn’t work well as Gourry and Amelia looked less than enthused to push themselves to their feet once again.
“Come on you two, at this rate we won’t make it there before nightfall…”
With the way they were traveling up the mountain, the sun setting directly beyond it, the darkness of nightfall started to come on earlier than expected. Thankfully the foursome had a particular set of ruins in their sights. By picking up their pace appropriately they made it there before the real darkness set in.
“So, what do you think?” Lina asked, eyeing the ruins, her hand to her hip.
Zelgadiss frowned, “Smaller than I was lead to believe from the passage.” He grumbled.
Amelia and Gourry caught up at the rear just as Lina and Zelgadiss came to a stop at the outer edge of what was once a miniature courtyard. “Is this is?” Gourry asked, looking over the crumbling structures.
“I guess…” Amelia answered, unsure of herself and looked between Lina and Zelgadiss for assurance. In response both of them nodded their heads.
Three buildings in total were standing, each with a footprint about the size of a standard house though notably taller. Sizeable pillars, black in color, stood tall in the front of each building. Despite their height though, each building looked, at least from the outside, to only be one level. Still, the moss and craggy features of the remaining masonry work made an assessment of the buildings difficult. One of the buildings had a collapsed roof, and there were ruins of other buildings surrounding the standing structures. If what they were searching for was not in one of the upright buildings, things could end up taking awhile.
Zelgadiss walked to the door of the most stable looking of the ruins, “Lighting.” Immediately a sphere of pure incandescent light rose from the palm of his hand, flickering and growing in size until it floated comfortably just above shoulder level. Lina nodded, moving in behind Zelgadiss, with Amelia and Gourry doing the same.
For a moment Zelgadiss surveyed the structure from the outside, reaching out and peeling a patch of dark green moss from the building to get a better look at the stonework beneath it. The action was not all that revealing, whatever features might have been in the stone were obscured by the destructive action of the moss, roots had embedded themselves fully in the stone, causing it to blacken and flake away in patches, embrittled.
“What the--!” Zelgadiss turned suddenly, just in time to catch his lighting spell sputter and flash out of existence with a brilliant luminescence.
“What just happened?” Lina vocalized first, Amelia was still slack jawed and Zelgadiss looked if anything, angry.
“I don’t know.” Zelgadiss said carefully. “It just disappeared, somehow it was nullified.”
“Couldn’t you just do it again?” Gourry offered.
Lina shrugged, “Go for it.”
Zelgadiss nodded, “Lighting.” This time the power formed a spark of light in his hand before immediately winking from existence. “A barrier?” Zelgadiss suggested after a moment.
“Lighting.” As expected, Lina summoned a dazzling orb of light. Instead of allowing it to float though she kept it tethered to her hand and took a few steps forward, holding it in front of her through the distance.
**Tssssssszzzzzzzzz** The spell hummed suddenly and wavered. Lina stopped, holding her hand still, right at the threshold of the doorway. “A barrier.” She said this time more concrete, putting her hand the rest of the way through the doorway and causing the spell to momentarily implode before flashing out of existence.
“What’s that mean?” Gourry asked after no one spoke for a moment.
“It means-- we’ll have to put off exploring till tomorrow.” Lina finished after a moment of hesitation. Seeing Zelgadiss’ irritated expression she added, “It’ll be much better to explore by daylight and hopefully we can get an idea of the layout of this place. Maybe even dispel the barrier. He gazed off into the darkness, his enhanced vision giving him a layout of the room he was walking into. Sadly, it was barren. Anything from antiquity that once was in the room had long since vanished. He felt his hope fade slightly but not enough to make him complacent about the wait ahead.
“Lina’s right.” He finally admitted with a sigh. “Let’s set up camp back on the trail for the night.” Zelgadiss had a place in mind they had passed not too long previous. It was best they not camp right at the ruins. Especially considering they were unexplored and ruins occasionally had a nasty reputation for ghosts and guardians.
“Okay, sounds like a plan.” Lina voiced her agreement, tossing her pack back over her shoulder and heading away from the ruins for the night, bringing Gourry and Amelia in tow behind her.
Zelgadiss hesitated a moment, starring into the darkness at one of the corridors leading away from the room he was partially standing in. Giving a sigh he finally relented, turning on his heel before running off to catch up with Lina and the others.
Despite his best attempts, Zelgadiss couldn't take his eyes off the ruins. Lina, Amelia, Gourry, and himself had camped down the mountain side from their goal. But it was still visible. Even though the moonlight was faint he could still make out the pillars, the absent rooftops, and the hauntingly dark doorways. Again he had to stop himself for the umpteenth time that night. He badly wanted to head off to the ruins alone and explore. After all, they had been traveling for nearly a month and the vindication for that time and effort could be just beyond the door.
He just wanted to say 'To Hell' with waiting for the morning. A torch would suffice just as good as lighting. But again he sighed and hung his head low, it really was best that he wait. Going through the motions of being on watch he looked over the patches of trees nearby. For the most part though it would have been impossible to sneak up on the four travelers. The side of the mountain where they had camped had very sparse foliage. Of course conversely it meant they had no cover themselves, but that was the price to pay he guessed.
“Is this it?” He wondered to himself aloud, keeping his focus on the ruins. The thought had filled his mind through the day but not so much as it did now. Certainly he didn’t feel as pessimistic as usual, but that just meant to him that he had even further to fall. What would he even do with real skin again? He would have to re-learn how to fight to be certain, and he knew his magical capacity would be diminished. But would it be worth it? He loved power and always had, did he really feel like he had learned anything?
No… at least not yet. He regretted the transformation for certain, but never the power that came with it. Zelgadiss sighed, wondering if his introspective moment was a side effect of nearing a potential cure or just some fan fiction author’s attempt to further the plot. It didn’t really matter. At least he had the first watch, with the excitement that he was feeling, sleep seemed more elusive than ever.
Awhile later Zelgadiss fed a few more sticks and brush into the fire. There hadn’t been much in the way of burnable material nearby. The few trees around were healthy, too green to burn, and oddly enough there were not any felled trees either. That meant they were stuck with green twigs and brush. The brush burned unevenly, small pieces of it catching updrafts from the fire and taking to the air, leaving Zelgadiss on fire watch as well.
Even without finding his cure though, he felt things were changing. Whatever was going on between Lina and Amelia, even if it wasn’t as serious as the swordsman suspected, it still represented a shift in the dynamics of their group. It was something that didn’t set well with Zelgadiss. He wondered -- what his place was in everything. What it was all leading up to.
He’d never really seriously considered himself to be in any sort of romantic entanglement with the princess he traveled with. But if somehow he did ever chance across his cure, the palace is Sailune would be one of the first places he would travel. If that was no longer the case, what could he fall back on? “Damn…” He cursed to himself, wondering if he had lost any chance to make a move, or if he even ever had the right. Maybe it was time to leave, he thought to himself.
It had always been his custom to disappear at the end of the adventure, and if he did really find a cure, that would bring this adventure solidly to a close. But then what? He hadn’t really thought about that either. He didn’t have much of anyone. He sighed again, it didn’t matter. “Whatever will be, will be.” He muttered to himself, again casting his gaze headlong through the doorway to the ruins.
Opening the flap of her tent, Lina surveyed the camp site. The fire had since burned itself to embers and the sun was high on the horizon. She wondered just why she had been able to sleep so long. And then she cursed Zelgadiss for not having woken her for her watch. For a moment she felt worry. Where was Zelgadiss? Her worry though easily grew to irritation when she realized he had probably just been too impatient to wait for the next morning to go exploring.
Begrudgingly she closed the tent flap and trudged around in the small space inside to get ready for the day ahead. Donning her gloves, shoulder guards, cape, and other accessories while hunched over before opening the tent and fully stepping out. Apparently she was the first to do so, Gourry and Amelia’s tents didn’t appear disturbed and either Zelgadiss had never sent his tent up or he took it down before he had left. Either way that was another point against him and it caused Lina’s eyebrow to twitch.
“Gourry!” She called out, beating her hand against the side of his tent. She head shuffling inside, “Zel’s gone ahead to the ruins, get ready and meet me up there when you’re dressed.” She heard a groan from inside and walked over to Amelia’s tent, banging against the fabric, “You too Amelia, did you get that?”
“He didn’t wait for us?” Amelia yawned out from inside the tent.
“Pthhhh, what’d you expect?” Lina countered before jogging off along the trail to the ruins. She was grateful that they didn’t look as imposing during the day as they had the night before. Though the thought that she would be unable to cast spells inside caused at least a ripple of worry. She brushed it off, save Amelia they all had some kind of hand to hand experience with a sword and Amelia at least knew some unarmed fighting if she needed it.
Lina slowed when she entered the court yard. At one time it had all been brick. But through centuries of neglect the only bricks that were still visible were those around the base of some of the trees that had been pushed to the surface as the root systems expanded. There was more too, evidence of fountains and reflecting pools that had since become nothing more then depressions in the dirt and shapeless mounds of soil. She wondered just what the place had been. A temple? Or had it been the house of someone of wealth, or royalty? The only permanent settlements of the area were confined to legends and warnings, so who would build out here in the first place?
Promising to think on it more later, Lina entered the first of the buildings. Immediately she felt it, like a cool wind following down her back and blowing through her from behind. She wondered why Zelgadiss hadn’t felt anything the night previous. Immediately she felt that her powers had been sealed. The feeling brought her to a standstill. She took a calming breath and backpedaled a few steps till she was on the other side of the doorway. “Levitation!” Instantly she felt herself grow lighter and lift off the ground.
She terminated the spell a moment later. Satisfied that the effects of the doorway were not permanent, at least immediately. Lina took another deep breath to steady herself and re-entered the doorway. Again she got the same sensation but the feeling quickly disappeared. The room she had entered was empty. More doors were on the far wall but there wasn’t anything to be found in the way of artifacts or lighting. There was another floor above the she hadn’t expected and the stonework of the ceiling shone through beams of light onto the mossy, tiled floor.
It was darker deeper in the building. She picked the door that had the best lighting and went through it, “Zel, are you in here?” She called out, not really expecting an answer but feeling better for it regardless. The next room was for the most part as featureless as the first, with one exception. In the center of the room was a fire pit. The second floor was absent in this room which Lina figured to be in the center of the building. Far above the roof was in shambles. Large timbers criss-crossed the ceiling, some rotted all the way through and in danger of falling, all thatching or anything that had one laid between them to prove the roof proper being long gone.
Slowly she walked to the fire pit, the area had been disturbed, haphazardly cleared and wiped away recently. There was an intricate magical circle there, as wide as her outstretched arms. Inside of which there were repeating pentagrams of an almost fractal design, made of folded copper or gold wire and encased in glass. “So this is the how the magic is being sealed.” She realized aloud, looking over the details. It was very interesting sorcery at the least and something she might be able to learn something from later. Like a lightning rod for magic that drained into the ground.
Momentarily Lina wondered why Zelgadiss had not just destroyed it. Seconds later she realized the hassle that destroying magical circles could wreak in older ruins like the one they were in now. Sometimes it was the only thing holding them up and at other times they were there for deeper reasons, like sealing some kind of demon. Either way she didn’t want to tempt it.
“Zel!” Lina called out again, wondering just when he had made it to the room she was in now. She made her way to the door on the opposite wall and again the room the greeted her was empty. Anything of value had long since been looted over the years. Surprisingly from there, another several doors where present. She eyed them warily. “What the heck is going on?” She wondered aloud walking to the middle one and looking inside.
Shockingly she was looking back into the main room she had first walked into. She turned around abruptly and looked back to the entry way a few rooms previous, it was still visible from where she was. Worried she rushed forward to the second entry way that she had spotted, and just as she had worried, came out the front of the building the same way she had come in. “Warped space, the buildings are built in warped space!” She shouted, suddenly realizing that exploring them might take quite a while.
It felt like hours since she had started her journey, but the brief glimpses that she caught of the sun showed that much less time had passed. Time was warped too she realized grumbling. Still, she had managed to search the first building in it’s entirety, even finally finding the room leading to the second floor. That had been the most challenging part, the ladder that had lead between the floors had long since decayed to nothing, leaving her with an opening about three times her height from the ground that she had no means to get into. She’d really missed levitation at that moment but by running at the wall and pushing herself off it she’d managed to make it to the second floor, which had proven itself to be just as useless as the first floor and fraught with more perils as many of the stones were on the verge of tumbling out of place and to the floor below.
Lina exited the first building and looked between the two buildings remaining. One was significantly more decrepit than the other, and that was saying a lot. She wondered which one Amelia and Gourry had gone into. Were they even together, or did each of them search a different building not knowing what they had gotten themselves into?
The warped space really complicated things, who knew how large some of the buildings were or how to get through their twisted depths. She honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if she had missed a room or two in the first building she had gone through, it had hardly been linear but it was only about three times the size it appeared to be on the outside which meant that trial and error was good enough to get her through the exploratory stages.
Reaching into a pouch at her side she removed a coin. A moment later it was sailing through the air, letting fate determine things. And a moment after that she had chosen her next building.
Zelgadiss looked between the paintings on the wall. At first things had been moderately confusing. The font that they had used, as well as the dialect was unfamiliar, despite his experience with the language. And even once he started to understand what was being said, key pieces were missing. Inscriptions, words, and miscellaneous bits were excised from the wall, leaving only chisel marks. He frowned. It was not shaping up to be as easy as he hoped. There were other oddities too. At first he had thought it unrelated, but the ceiling of the room showed an extensive star map. In the beginning he had caulked it up to setting the mood but after further inspection he realized that it was incredibly accurate.
To add to the strangeness, this was the only room that he had found so far below ground. The doorway leading to it had been carefully concealed in a wall and after descending the steps he figured he must have been beneath a different set of ruins, likely some of the ones that had been razed to the ground. The presence of a second magic sealing circle in addition to the one he had already spotted in the ruin seemed to confirm that train of thought as well as a second set of stairs leading away that were blocked with debris.
Was this it? He wondered. Every other ruin, he hadn’t seen so much a trace of the previous occupants save the magical sealing circles. This one was different, hidden, and much more alive with knowledge. He looked over the runes on the wall more carefully. Some of the runes surrounded an archway to nowhere that was likely blocked off when this room had been sealed. If there was anything more to see, he would have to dig his way through the archway. He eyed the magical circle in the middle of the floor. It would have to go before he could make any real progress. When he had previously forced open the door to the stairway he had felt a weakness he hadn’t expected. His demon side was dormant and he wondered what it was conversely doing to his golem side. Would his stone scale flake off to the ground, could this be a way to becoming human. “A weak human with no magical powers that changes back to a monster when he leaves the ruins.” He laughed cynically, that is if the transformation didn’t just kill him like when one of a pair of Siamese twins die and the other follows shortly.
Behind him Zelgadiss heard foot falls. He tensed, but had been expecting it so waited, “Lina?” He asked at last.
“There you are Zel.” Lina laughed having finally found her goal.
“How did you..?”
“I smelled smoke, and I followed it.” She said, gesturing toward the torch in the nearby holder.
Zelgadiss nodded, “Are Amelia and Gourry here too?”
“They’re somewhere around.” Lina started, looking around the room, “So, is this it?”
Zelgadiss shook his head, “I don’t know what this is yet, but it might be.” He admitted a moment later.
Lina shook her head with a serious look on her face, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”
“What I can’t seem to figure out, is this archway.” Zelgadiss said, walking to the wall furthest from the blocked staircase. Lina followed along with him and stood in front of the archway. Fluidly she reached out with one hand but instead of contacting the solid wall in front of her, her hand went through the wall like it wasn’t there.
“More warped space, what about it?” Lina said pulling her hand back out and leaving Zelgadiss wide-eyed. “Remember the entry way to the Clair Bible that Milgasia directed us to? It was just like this.” She said with a smile.
Zelgadiss looked slack jawed at the opening. “So we’ve found it?” He said forcibly.
“Yes…” Then Lina bit her lip, “… and no.” She let out a deep breath. “If it’s anything like the entrance at Dragons Peak it’s all warped space inside there. Not even a Xelloss could find his way through it normally.” Seeing Zelgadiss’ defeated look she sighed, “What we need is someone to guide us around so we don’t get lost in there forever.”
“Wait, what?” Zelgadiss asked cryptically, his eyes narrowing.
“Some way to figure how we can find our way to the Clair Bible.” She repeated at length, wondering what he was getting at.
“This inscription over here…” He started out, walking to the nearby corner, “talks about a map.” Then he jogged a few steps over, “And here too… more about a map.” Then his eyes went wide with recognition, “This is the map!” He shouted, pointing at the ceiling.
Lina looked up, “Eh?”
“It’s a star chart, with all the constellations, I think this might somehow be the map.” He said, starting to sound unsure of himself.
“How the heck…” Lina trailed off as she looked over the details, some of the stars were in different colors, blues and reds as opposed to all the other white stars. And there was one golden star too. She wondered, could the apparent chaos of the warped space have been linked to the movement of the stars?
“But… the stars won’t be like this for awhile…” Zelgadiss muttered, walking a few steps ahead and pointing to a cluster on the ceiling. “These are the stars that I normally use with my Astrolabe, they’re shifted.”
“Maybe they just drew them wrong.” Lina offered.
“No, I don’t think so, everything else is too precise. Besides, the stars are not stationary, they move… they would have to move back like this, that could be when this map is accurate.”
Lina wondered if the warped space really did continue moving with the paths of the stars. That would make it even more difficult to navigate. Still, if they had a map… “Is there anything that still needs to be translated?” Lina offered, trying to keep Zelgadiss’ mood lifted.
“All of it.” Zelgadiss answered back, “It’s difficult to translate so all I’ve done is tried to skim what I knew off of it.”
Lina looked around the room, noticing for the first time some of the vandalism of the runes, that would make things a lot more difficult, “I’m going to go find Amelia and bring her back to help, and Gourry too, to stand around and stuff.”
Zelgadiss nodded, barely aware of his friend as he buried himself in the translation process.
“Six months!” Amelia shouted, looking to the sky as if to confirm Zelgadiss’ observation.
The four of them had been in that dungeon of a room for the entire day, which Amelia guessed must have been much longer than a regular day. They had gone through about fifteen torches and she knew each one burned for quite a long time. Still, all of the translation was complete, leaving Zelgadiss with a stack of papers to go over. The key thing that they had come away with though was exactly as Zelgadiss had expected, they had to wait for a specific astrological alignment before they would be able to use the map to get to the Clair Bible and after Lina’s adamant argument that to attempt to do so before the map was correct would be suicide, they decided that using the map was the only way to go.
Amelia just hadn’t expected it to take six months for some stars to move around despite Zelgadiss’ insistence that they had gotten lucky and that some moved much slower. But if she had faith in just one thing, it was Zelgadiss’ ability to do calculations involving the stars. He was one of the best map plotters that she had ever seen and she had no reason to doubt his findings, but six months! She wasn’t going to wait around that long. Not even for six weeks.
Lina whistled next to Amelia, “That’s a long time Zel.”
“What are you going to do?” Gourry asked.
“I’m going to stay here.” Zelgadiss said at length, locking eyes with Amelia.
Amelia gulped, “By yourself?” She asked shakily.
“Unless someone wants to stay here with me.” It was as close to an offer as he ever came.
“You’re going to stay here, not in town or anything? That’s just reckless Zel, you know how dangerous the Kakarat Mountains can be. And if you stay here you won’t have any magic to defend yourself.” Lina finished, unable to hid the pangs of worry she felt.
Amelia didn’t know how to feel. She worried for Zelgadiss but, she didn’t want to stay here in the mountains with him. She knew that before she would have jumped at the chance. Now, she worried for his safety but that was all she could manage. In that instant she realized that she no longer tied his future to her own. She glanced over to Lina, careful not to settle her eyes on the sorceress, it was her fault.
“You shouldn’t stay here.” Amelia blurted out, “At least go back to the town, it’s too dangerous.” She wanted to make herself worry more, but as much as she tried, she couldn’t. Zelgadiss was going to do what he wanted to do no matter her thoughts on the matter.
Zelgadiss looked to Amelia, their eyes again locking for the moment. “Yes, it probably would be a little reckless to just stay up here on my own.” He mussed in agreement.
Lina, Amelia, and Gourry all let out sighs of relief. Then, all was quiet. Silently Zelgadiss sat down around the fire with the others. Absently Lina twisted and reached behind her brining out some provisions for dinner, “I don’t know about you two,” She said eyeing Gourry and Amelia, “But I don’t want to wait around here for six months.”
Gourry nodded, but Amelia felt obligated to give a more through answer, “Six months is just a little too long, maybe we could just meet you back here?” She asked, hopeful to give some kind of compromise.
“Six months and we meet back here?” Lina asked aloud to the whole party.
“Yeah, sure.” Zelgadiss agreed, looking into the fire then back to Amelia.
“That sounds doable.” Gourry agreed.
“Yeah, six months.” Amelia mumbled with less conviction, breaking her gaze with Zelgadiss.
The three of them headed out the next morning, early, in order to make it back to the city as fast as possible. It wasn’t a tearful goodbye. Lina was too strong to let that happen and Gourry was mostly just happy for his friend and confident to see him in six months. Amelia did threaten tears but held them in, somewhat for herself but mostly for Zelgadiss.
The trip back was uneventful, with Zelgadiss gone it was different too. The whole dichotomy of the group had changed and everyone found themselves acting differently without him. Within two days they found themselves back in the same town they had just left. Being that they didn’t have the best of memories of that place they pushed onward, cutting a new path to the west until they hit a new upscale town a few days later.
Lina was worried, Amelia wasn’t talking to her, Lina wasn’t talking to Amelia, and Gourry wasn’t talking to anyone. Something had to give somewhere.
/\/\||/\/\-=End of Chapter 8=-/\/\||/\/\