Lina stood at the edge of the cliff and looked at the destruction under the sunset. The red flames danced upon her face, casting dark shadows along every detail. The flames raging, as red as her brilliant crimson hair, sparkling in her soft crimson eyes. The heat radiating through the air, filling her nostrils with the burning, black smell. The fires slowly died down as she turned from the nauseating smell, her black cape fluttering violently behind her in the hot, humid air.
“Was it necessary to Dragon Slave that town, Lina?” The red light reflected off the chimera’s stone skin and hair in a fierce riot of rage as he addressed Lina from the edge overlooking what once was a town, fallen to Lina’s extreme temper.
“Of course, Zel!” She said firmly, with that hint of the ‘pain to all’ voice that Zel hated so much. She shook her fist as she spoke, “No one makes a mockery of Lina Inverse, Sorceress Supreme!” She turned back to a grayish rock at the opening of the forest, where her companion was resting. His golden blonde hair was strung across the cool, silver stone, as he lay quietly. Lina rolled her eyes and went over to him and shook him awake, fiercely.
“What was that for?!” He mumbled sleepily, trying to escape the sorceress’ iron grasp.
“We’re leaving, Gourry!” Her voice echoed across the trunks of the trees as she grabbed a chunk of his hair and proceeded to drag him from the rock, “So come on!!” Zelgadis rolled his eyes at the two, sighed, and followed them to go find the fourth member of their party. They found her sitting on the perch of a tree mumbling speeches about how unjust Lina was.
“I can’t believe Miss Lina would do such a thing as to kill so many innocent people!! I thought she was a good guy, and fought for the side of justice!” Zelgadis put his hand on his head and muttered to himself about how much he hated his life, while Lina had dropped Gourry and was shaking the tree until Amelia fell down. The princess landed with a hard thud, and began to protest about ‘How mean Miss Lina is’.
“Enough bickering!” Zelgadis said, in an irritated voice, placing his hand on his head as if he had a headache, most likely he did. “Look Lina, lets just hurry up and get to the next town.”
“Ok. Then let’s go!” Lina praised, jumping and happily running down the road.
“Sometimes I wonder if it’s healthy for Miss Lina to change moods so rapidly…” Amelia said in her sweet, little girl voice. Gourry just shrugged, and they proceeded on.
“I’m sooo hungry!!!” Lina growled in protest, “Will they hurry up already??!!”
“They have only so much kitchen space, Lina” Zelgadis smirked, “and apparently it’s less space then your stomach.”
“Are you implying that I’m fat?!!” Zelgadis just looked downward and sipped his tea. The waiters walked out, all loaded with plates of food, and set them in front of Lina and Gourry. “All right! It’s about time!!” Lina, Gourry, and Amelia dove in for their usual eating habits, while Zelgadis sat in the corner and completely ignored them.
“Man I’m full.” Lina said, rubbing her stuffed stomach.
“Yeah, me too.” Amelia said, leaning back in her chair and gazing at the ceiling.
Lina reached for the cup in front of her, and took a sip. “So Zel, any ideas on what to do next?”
“No ideas, I’m just out to find a cure, as usual.” He sighed and stared at his reflection in his tea. He wanted to be human again, more then anything, every since that dreadful day with Rezo. But now both Rezo and Kopii were dead, as well as Gaav and Phibrezo. It seemed that their troubles were over, for now at least. He sighed again and took another sip of his tea.
“Don’t be so down Mr. Zelgadis!” Amelia reassured him, the usual perk in her voice that just gave Zelgadis a headache. “We’ll find a cure for you!” She looked beside her to see Gourry with his head on the table, fast asleep. Lina rolled her eyes and took another sip of her tea. As she was about to swallow, she suddenly spit the tea out on Zelgadis.
Zelgadis wiped himself off, and mumbled his usual ‘I hate my life’ lines under his breath. “What’s wrong Lina?” The sorceress looked totally stunned, she was ghostly pale and her forehead was forming little beads of sweat. “Lina?” She continued not to respond, just stared in front of her. Amelia quickly looked in Lina’s line of sight and got the same pale ghostly look of horror.
“I….I thought we killed him….” Lina mumbled, horrified. Zelgadis turned around, not really wanting to see who or what was behind, but looked anyway. He couldn’t believe his eyes. There was someone sitting at the bar, with their back turned to them. All they could see was the long, bright red hair that was tied at the end with a white band, a long orange cloak, and a sword hooked from around their waist.
“G…Gaav?” Zelgadis stuttered in amazement. Thinking it’s just someone who looks like Gaav, he stood from the table. “We should go check it out Lina.” It took the sorceress a while to respond, but she finally stood from the table, and walked slowly with Zelgadis over to the bar, where the person was sitting.
Lina tapped them on the shoulder, “Excuse me…” She stopped as the figure turned around. She was a young girl, about Lina’s age, her long red hair flowing down her back along her orange cape, that was a deep blue on the inside. Her eyes were the most magnificent that Lina had ever seen. They were a beautiful pale blue, with a hint of gold that shined like the clearest blue seas. Her face and skin was soft and pale, and she wore a lavender tunic, and her necklaces hung down and framed it’s low cut. She had on a small skirt that was so light blue, you could barely tell it wasn’t white. Underneath she had lavender leggings and knee-high black boots. Her gloves were a light blue color and in one hand she had a map of the area. She was rather short, a lot shorter then Gaav.
“May I help you?” She asked. She had a sweet voice that rang through their heads. It was sweet, yet dark and haunting. It sent shivers down Lina’s spine.
“Sorry…I just thought you were someone else.” Lina choked out.
The girl laughed, “Well judging by the look on your face, I’m not the person you are looking for. Though it would be polite to introduce myself. I am the traveling sorceress and mercenary, Janai.” She bowed her head in respects.
“Well I’m Lina Inverse”
“Lina Inverse?!” The girl was shocked. “Wow! You’re really the great Lina Inverse! It’s an honor to meet you!” Lina blushed. She seemed to get that reaction a lot, though she was glad Janai didn’t bring up the ‘Bandit Killer’ part. She really hated her reputation.
“Hello Janai. I am Zelgadis Greywards. It’s a pleasure” Lina blinked. She had never seen Zel so..so…forward with someone before. Usually he was quiet and didn’t say a word to strangers unless spoken too.
“Greywards…” Janai repeated it a few times, trying to remember where she’d heard that name before. It was some famous person of the age…AHA! “Would you by chance be related to Rezo, the Red Priest?”
Zelgadis hated it when people brought up his family ties, someday, he was going to change his last name, or at least lie about it. “Yes, he was my grandfather.” He decided not to get into the whole thing about how Rezo was both his grandfather AND great-grandfather. It’s easier if it’s just one or the other.
“Wow. I’ve heard about him. An old sage, the wisest man of the age. He traveled the world creating miracles, but all he wanted was his sight. So he was corrupted by the Dark Lord, Shabranigdo, whom you killed Lina. Am I correct?”
Lina was stunned that someone actually knew about Rezo totally, not when he was just ‘The Great Sage’, and that Janai actually knew that it was Lina who had killed Shabranigdo. “I’m impressed you know so much, Janai”
Janai giggled. “I pick things up along my travels. I guess you must be pretty bored now that you have no more Dark Lords to slay, at least not at the moment, eh Lina?”
Lina mused at the comment. “Yeah, it’s pretty dull around here. All we have left to do now is find a cure for stone boy here.”
Zelgadis fumed. “I resent the fact of being called ‘Stone boy’!” Zelgadis hated being called that. It always led to the tease of ‘Always hard’.
Janai giggled at Zelgadis. “It’s ok Zelgadis,” She soothed, “Lina’s only messin’ with ya.” Janai’s words were sweet, and filled with compassion. For the first time Zelgadis concentrated and felt a great power surrounding her.
“Janai, what kind of magic do you cast?” Zel asked out of curiosity of that monstrous power.
“All kinds. Big, small, white, shamanism, even some black. I can tell by you that you are a shamanist and must be pretty good with a sword, ne?”
“Yes, I suppose so” He was never one to brag about his skills, nor acknowledge how good they were.
Amelia was playing with the cup of tea and singing songs of justice to herself wondering what was taking Miss Lina and Mr. Zelgadis so long to come back.
“I think we should go check on Amelia and Gourry.” Lina suggested. Zelgadis nodded.
“Are those your other companions?” Janai asked.
“Yes, come with us, you can meet them.” Janai got up from her bar stool and followed Lina and Zelgadis. She was a little taller then she looked, about as tall as Lina. Zelgadis laughed to himself that they had suspected she was Gaav, the Demon Dragon King. Though she did bear a slight resemblance to him. Zelgadis wondered who she was, where she came from, where she’s traveled, just everything about her. They arrived over at the table and Amelia hit Gourry until he woke up.
“Hello, nice to meet you. I am Janai.” Janai smiled and bowed her head.
“I am Amelia Wil Telsa de Seiryuun, protector of love and justice!” Amelia’s voice was a little to perky then what Janai could handle.
Gourry sleepily woke, “I’m Gourry Gabriev, traveling swordsman”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you all.” Janai smiled, her magnificent eyes bright with kindness.
“Please, join us.” Zelgadis said and pulled up a chair for her. All faces looked surprisingly at him. That was the first time they’d ever seen him actually invite someone to join them.
“Thank you” Janai smiled warmly and sat down in the chair.
“Well Janai,” Lina said. “Let’s learn about you, about your travels.”
Janai sighed, but smiled anyway, “Well there’s not a lot to tell. I was stranded when I was little, so I have no idea who my parents are. That’s why I travel, I want to find out who they are, and to help others along my way.” She took a deep breath. “I suppose, when you said you thought I was someone else earlier, that you thought I was Gaav, the Demon Dragon King.” Lina looked shocked, but nodded. “I get that a lot” Janai sighed. “I’ve even almost been killed over it. Thought I’m almost fully positive I have no relation to him, because I am human.”
Zelgadis was hardly listening to her story. It was as if her haunting voice and beautiful eyes had sent him into a hypnotic state.
“Well, I think you could join us Miss Janai!” Amelia said. “I’m sure that you are a fighter on the side of justice and we have really nothing else to do.” The others nodded. Janai’s beautiful eyes lit up even more.
“Really! Thank you so much! All my life, I’ve traveled alone. But now I actually get to have friends. Thank you.” Janai smiled and ran a hand through her soft, red hair.
The Lord of Nightmares grinned slyly to herself as she watched Janai join Lina and the others from a sparkling, golden sphere. Her golden hair blew back in the slight breeze that blew through her lair. She looked up from the sphere, her eyes reflecting in its crystalline surface. “This girl has enormous power, she may be of use to us.” The Lord of Nightmares snapped her fingers to summon one of her powerful allies. Before her, in a matter of seconds, appeared Xellas, the Beastmaster. She knelt down, her lavender hair laying limply down her back and shoulders, the lace of her low cut dress strung across the floor. She looked up to face her master.
“Yes my Lord, what is thy bidding?” Xellas’ voice echoed through the empty space as the Lord of Nightmares arose from her chair.
“There is a new girl traveling with Lina Inverse. She has an enormous power sleeping inside her. I want you to do anything you can to get her and release that power, even make another if possible. Is that clear?” The Lord of Nightmares voices was deep and haunting, as if the screams of a thousand souls filling the room as it bounced across the emptiness.
Xellas bowed her head again and grinned demonically. “It shall be done, my Lord.” With that she disappeared. The Lord of Nightmares sat back down.
“It should be fun seeing what kind of psychotic plan she uses. Oh well, that’s why she is a high Lord.” The Lord of Nightmares snickered and mused to herself as she thought of some of the plans Xellas had used in the past.
Xellas reappeared on her throne and clapped her hands to summon her servant. “Xellos dear.” She said in a sly voice. “We have a job to do, and a fun plan to go with it.” Xellas snickered evilly to herself as she concocted a plan on how to get this ‘new companion’ of Lina’s over to their side.
End Part 1