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A/N: 0oO!  You really think this story is that good?  Thank you sooo much for your reviews!  (I think that’s the first time I’ve had five reviews for one chapter!) ^_^  I’m very happy.  About the movie room thing. . . You should know that I tend to be forgetful at times, and I’m not especially efficient in showing emotions so. . . Let’s just say, since they were in another dimension, they believed anything was possible.  *sigh* I found that I can’t become outwardly moody in order to write dark, angsty stuff, because if I’m distracted enough to be moody, I get a headache.  -_-.  Ah well, I’ll manage.  Please continue to review!

 

 

Day One - Part Two

 

 

            The projector screen once again showed the countdown.  Four, three, two, one, *Bleep*.

 

            The camera had centered on following the sparring match between a middle-aged man and a teenage boy.  The man was only a head taller than the boy, but his features revealed strength with age and wisdom.  Their haircuts were similar in style, as their hair formed symmetrical “wings” above their ears.  The man’s eyes were closed, his expression peaceful, as he blocked the young boy’s attacks with a priest’s staff.  He seemed to dodge and block effortlessly, in comparison to the boy, who was sweating profusely.  The attacking and dodging went on for another few minutes.  Finally, as if deciding to end it there, the man suddenly retracted his staff, and sent the end of it to meet the boy’s stomach with a controlled thrust.  The boy hurtled head over heels in a sort of tumble until he hit the far wall, a wooden wall.

            The boy groaned as he clutched his stomach with one hand, and rubbed his head with the other.  He mumbled that his head hurt and that he didn’t have to hit him so hard.  By “he”, the boy was referring to his elder.  The older man did not move from his position, but he spoke his piece in an authoritative voice.

            “Get up now, Zelgadis.  A true man faces his dangers head on; a true warrior would take that hit with naught but a flinch.  How can you possibly hope to survive on your own, if you cannot take a simple hit to the stomach?  Get up, and face me now.”

           

**

            Lina was surprised when the boy was identified as Zelgadis.  For one thing, he was human!  Though, she admitted to herself, she could see the definite resemblance.  He also looked much younger, too.  Lina judged from his appearance that he was around 15 or 16.  She couldn’t help but also admit that Zelgadis looked rather cute as a human.  Lina shook those thoughts out of her head, but a light tint of blush remained on her cheeks.

            Zel looked over at her, and his superb eyesight caught Lina becoming a little red.  His first thought was that Lina was getting hot.  Wait, that didn’t sound right (to Zel).  He didn’t catch any beads of sweat on her face either.  Zel came to another answer; was Lina embarrassed?  Resolving that this might be exactly it, Zel wondered what she could possibly be embarrassed about now of all times.  He glanced at the movie clip and a voice projected an idea into his head.  “Lina is embarrassed that you were so weak as a human.  She’s ashamed to be your friend.  She. . .”  Zel shook off these thoughts before they could be finished, and tried to concentrate on the movie clip.

**

            Zelgadis struggled to get up as he used the wall for support.  While sliding his back slowly up the wall, he insisted with the air of whining, “But Master Rezo, we’ve been sparring for three straight hours now!  I’m tired.”

            Rezo’s cool, calm voice hid a tint of anger.  “You, who wishes to become strong, are not willing to work for your strength?  Is that not true?  Is time more important to you than strength?”  When Zelgadis hung his head in silence at this, Rezo dismissed him with a wave of his hand.  “Then so be it.  I refuse to spar with someone of such insolence.  Go now and frolic your time away.  Enjoy life while you can, before obsession rips you apart.”

            Zelgadis gave Rezo a queer look at this, but slowly edged towards the door.  He looked back at Rezo, surrounded by the boards of the wooden dojo.  Holes and dents, all made by his body, were scattered along the room.  Zel slipped out of the door, closing it behind him.

            Rezo sighed.  He mumbled a spell, and the dojo looked new once more.  Rezo then followed Zelgadis out of the door, turning towards the huge mansion of which the dojo was a part of.

            Zelgadis rushed through the side door of the mansion, skipped up the regal staircase two at a time, turned left to a beautifully decorated hallway, opened the door to his room, and slammed the door shut behind him.  Shedding his stinky clothing, Zelgadis scrambled into his adjoining bathroom, and under his showerhead.  He let the cold water wash over his aching muscles, and relaxed.  He didn’t mind that it was cold; he was used to it, and actually preferred it.

**

            Lina blushed more at seeing Zel in the shower, but the camera stayed centered on his upper half during this point.  Zel, like Lina had done before, tried to sink lower in his seat and failed.  He himself was embarrassed that Lina was seeing him taking a shower, regardless of the fact that it was only a movie clip.

**

After scrubbing the dirt out of his skin and hair, Zelgadis got out, dried himself, put the towel around his waist, and went back into his bedroom to choose his outfit.  He opened a drawer of a large mahogany dresser and pulled out a stylish blue tunic and an undershirt of sorts; he opened a different drawer and selected a lighter blue pair of pants and underwear.  Zelgadis didn’t hesitate to change into these clothes, and check himself in front of a full-length mirror.  He combed his hair before attempting to smooth it back; the wings remained and a portion of his bangs continued to cover one of his eyes completely.  Zelgadis sighed at this and gave up on it.  Selecting a nice pair of shoes out of about ten on top of the dresser, Zelgadis headed back out the door.

Zelgadis hopped down the stairs on one foot, as he tried to walk and put his shoes on at the same time.  By the time he was at the door, he was ready to go.  Zelgadis walked into a waiting carriage, and was taken to the middle of town.  There, he disembarked, and strolled down to the local coffee shop, Cafetičre de L'amour (If you know what that means, let me know! ^_^).

His walk was carefully coordinated to look rich, but modest; nice, but strong.  His searching glance locked onto his target, and he walked slowly towards it.

Zelgadis’ gaze was followed, and a beautiful girl talking with her friends animatedly, came into view.  Her hair lightly flowed down the sides of her face, a little past her shoulder blades.  She wore a flowery sun dress, and had a daisy situated behind her ear.  Her lips were full and as red as a rose in full bloom.  When Zelgadis stopped in front of her table, the sun shone in from the window, and made her fair skin glow with radiance as she turned.  She smiled sweetly up at him, and greeted him kindly.  Zelgadis awkwardly bent his head in a bow, and managed to say a small ‘Hi. . . Rose.’

Rose giggled a little with her friends before asking what she could do to help Zelgadis.  Fumbling nervously, he stumbled and stuttered until he managed to get out piece by piece, “I was wondering if you’d like to go to the Winter Solstice festival with me. . .”

Zelgadis suddenly felt a huge impact on his shoulder.  It pushed him to the ground.  Zelgadis groaned from the pain as he slowly sat up and looked at his attacker.  Something inside him wished he hadn’t.

Towering above him with a possessive, intimidating glare, was Johnny O’Keefe – the Lady’s Man.  His menacing voice growled, “Get lost, shrimp.  Rose’s going to the festival with me.”

Zelgadis’ eyes roamed to Rose; her eyes looked slightly pained, but she nodded.  Johnny smirked with a chuckle.  “See?  So beat it.”

Zelgadis smiled wanly.  “I guess. . . I’ll see you there, then.  Well, bye.”

They watched him as he scrambled to his feet and ran out the door.  Johnny’s raucous laughter haunted him until the door was slammed shut.

 

The scene blinked as if a glitch had been placed, but it was just a skipping of time.  The sky was dark now, but lights lit up the streets as vendors sold an assortment of different souvenirs and snacks.  Zelgadis walked the crowded path dejectedly.  His head talked to his shoes as he became unaware of his surroundings.

“Zelgadis!  Is that you?”
            Zelgadis’ spirits immediately lit up, as the fresh scent of a rose reached his nose.  He looked toward the call, and identified Rose – closing the space between them with every passing second.  Finally, Rose caught up to him, and her chest heaved as she caught her breath.

She looked up at him and smiled.  “I’m glad you came.  My friends separated from me with their boyfriends,” Zelgadis’ face visibly lit up hopefully, “And I can’t find Johnny anywhere.  Will you tour the festival with me?”

He was positively awestruck.  Rose giggled slightly at his reaction.  Finding his voice, Zelgadis tried to respond smoothly, “Well, I’m sure it hasn’t changed in the last century or so, but sure; I’ll come with you.”

Rose smiled and linked arms with Zelgadis flirtatiously.

**

Lina watched as they played games at booths, entered little contests, won prizes, and bought food, among other various things.  She felt a strong emotion rise inside of her.  An emotion that she could only identify as jealousy.

**

As the night was drawing to a close, Rose insisted on one last event before leaving.  Zelgadis asked what could possibly be left, and was answered by Rose’s finger pointing to a swinging sign that read, “Dragon’s Dungeon: BEWARE!” in dried red blood.  Zelgadis shivered, but agreed to walk in with Rose.  Now that he had spent some quality time with her, he didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was scared.  After all, he didn’t want her to think he was a coward, now did he?

They walked down an icy cold barren hallway.  The spectators knew the hallway to be cold, because Rose and Zelgadis were both shivering from head to toe.  Before long, their reverberating footfalls came to a stop, as they had reached a pair of tall brass doors.  Tentatively, Zelgadis gulped, and inched his hand towards the brass ring handles.  He bit back a yelp as he quickly retracted his hands and shook them vigorously.  When Rose asked what was wrong, Zelgadis replied that the handles had been so cold that they were capable of frostbite at a single touch.  That said, Zelgadis vouched for an alternative route to getting in: he kicked the door. . . hard.

That one kick resulted in a loud click, as if a trigger had been pulled.  The walls around them shook; small pieces of the ceiling floated down in the form of dust particles.  Creaking louder than anything else, the doors opened forebodingly, as if tempting them into the jaws of He** itself.  From the sudden rush of fire that erupted from the open doors, it felt like it, too.

 

When Zelgadis came to a few minutes later, he was on the floor, now warmed by the breath of the fire breathing dragon just beyond that wide doorway.  Clutched underneath his front set of claws, the dragon kept Rose captive, and huffed in a way that taunted Zelgadis to an unbearable extent.  Unable to restrain any longer, Zelgadis rushed forward, the adrenaline of heroism coursing through his veins.  His eyes were stone cold as he bull-rushed the burning red dragon, who was twenty times his size, at least.  Something completely and utterly predictable happened at that moment.  The dragon used his other clawed paw to swipe Zelgadis in the air.  The would-be hero was out like a light.

It was then, that Rezo appeared before the dragon.  A wave of his staff, and Rose was slung over his broad shoulder.  The rings atop the staff clanged as Rezo sent the staff crashing down to meet the floor.  The doors closed once more; the dragon was locked up once more.  Rezo used his free hand to levitate the limp form of his grandson.  In this manner, he escorted Rose and Zelgadis back to their separate homes.  As Rezo rested Zelgadis on top of his bed, he smirked, knowing full well that Zelgadis would be more than willing to resume his training with vigor.

**

The next scene that they saw was when Zelgadis first became a chimera.  Unable to handle seeing Zelgadis in such grotesque pain, Lina forced her eyes shut tight until the ordeal was over.  Zel, the narcissist that he is, believed this action to be proof that Lina really did hate his monstrous form, and could not stand the sight of him, without his present clothing to shield most of himself from view.  That same voice instilled this belief in him, and left no room in his mind to question it.

The scene soon faded again, to show Zelgadis (the chimera) confronting Rose at her doorstep.  Horrorstruck to her very core, Rose let out an earsplitting scream, and ran right back into the house, slamming the front door hard in his face.  Lina winced at the sudden slam.  Her anger soon returned ten fold, as she felt raw hatred towards the woman who was so shallow as to do that to Zel in his stricken state.  Her eyes burned with passion, the passion to scratch Rose’s eyes out, mar her perfect body, and then wring her neck until she passed on into the next world.  Lina stopped these thoughts with a start.  When had she begun to think like this?  Never, in all her years, had she even thought about doing such things.  What was happening to her?  Was it simply this room, or had her long stamped emotions finally gotten the better of her?  Lina let out an aggravated sigh.  Her head hurt with a migraine as mind-crushing as entry into the Sea of Chaos.

Lina could barely keep her eyes open, as the clip ended with a cold Zelgadis leaving his town via road, while buildings burned and screams were heard, underneath the full moon.

Zel looked to Lina for her latest reaction.  As she narrowed her eyes warily from the sight of him destroying his own hometown, Zel’s suspicions were confirmed, in his own mind.  The voice in his head convinced him that Lina could never love a monster like him.  Love?  Zel questioned himself with surprise.  When had he suddenly even considered whether or not Lina, now his best friend, loved him.  This was indeed, becoming quite an interesting adventure.

Something stirred within the back of his mind as Lina and Zel were released from their binds.  The screen dispersed into thousands of silver dust particles, as did the chairs.  As they stood up, they both looked toward where the screen had been moments before.  A sudden realization dawned on them, as if they were just waking up from an antagonizing nightmare.

What was the strange contraption that allowed them to see into the past?  Into each other’s pasts?  Where had the style of those black chairs come from?  With each passing second, those details withered into nothingness within the depths of their souls, but the past events that the bewildering machine had allowed them to glimpse, was still enflamed at the very surface.

 

 

 

A/N:  Whew!  Okay, that’s another chapter done.  How’d you like it?  Btw. . .If you happen to find any little mistakes in my writing, expect it because I hate proofreading.  It only prolongs my updates ten times longer than even a flamer would want them to.  So phooey on proofreading, and I hope you review my story for the content of it, and not to point out the dumb mistakes that I know I made.  In other words, Please Review Kindly!  ^_^