A/N: You know what? It’s strange. . . all my reviews except one have been “Anonymous”. So I can’t personally respond to any one reviewer T_T Ah well, deep down, I don’t really care, since they are still reviews, but it’d be nice to see more signed ones. Oh, and sorry if this seems a little late. . .I’ve been staying up much too late these days, and I’m too tired to write. Well, let’s get started.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Slayers or anything else that isn’t mine to own.
Zel blinked and looked around. The movie room was nowhere in sight; all around him was inky black darkness, save for the light shining from Lina and himself. The second he opened his mouth to ask where she thought they should go from there, a very pale pathway appeared before them. As they followed the path with their eyes, they saw that it seemed to go on forever, and yet, faded into the darkness. The pair exchanged glances. Shrugging, they stepped onto the path together, and walked the length of it.
After only a few minutes, the road seemed to come at a stop. The darkness shrouded the path a few inches from their boots. Carefully, Lina took a few steps forward and held her hand out before her. She chanted a Lighting spell. . . and was revoked. The force from her hand flashed briefly as it pushed her back hard enough to knock down Zel whose heavy body stopped her from flying any further. For a second, Lina remained lying on top of Zel, back to chest, before realizing what she was doing; as quick as lightning, Lina scrambled off, a blush bright enough to light their way displayed on her cheeks. As Zel stood up, a lighter, but still evident blush was present. Lina remarked with an uneasy laugh, “Heh, I guess that means spells aren’t allowed here. Maybe the light shining off of us will be enough. Let’s start moving, hm Zel?”
To this, Zel merely nodded. When Lina turned to start walking, Zel rubbed his chest slightly. The pain of the force had knocked the breath out of him. He knew Lina to be naturally light, but that just meant the force was that much stronger than them. And to think, that was only a light spell. Zel shuddered as he thought what might have happened if Lina set off a Dragon Slave.
Lina’s heart was pounding. First from the
sudden power from the spell; second from the feeling she was just beginning to
learn about. Lina had felt the strangest
sensation when Zel caught her in his arms.
She felt happier than she had ever felt in that one moment. She felt the urge to have many more similar
occurrences in the future, but only with Zel.
Lina wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but she knew that it was different
from what she had felt when Gourry saved her
They walked on for a long time in silence. Their personal light acted as a lantern would in pitch black night; only a little portion of the road appeared at a time, and disappeared behind them. After what seemed like monotonously dull hours, the silence finally got to Lina, and she started to talk.
To get into it, she talked about Amelia; how she looked, how she talked, how she acted, all that to start with. Sensing Lina’s uneasiness, Zel began to respond to her telling by asking questions at certain moments, and making comments when he felt necessary. Lina told him more about the prince Amelia had wed. A smart, reliable husband who was kind to all; a perfect match for Amelia. Then Lina related how Amelia had been reunited with her long lost sister, Gracia, a.k.a. Naga, who gracefully allowed her little sister to take the thrown. Zel smiled slightly when Lina told him that Naga had been her traveling companion before she met Gourry, and that Naga only renounced her claim to the throne if her little sister allowed her the best room in the palace aside from Amelia’s. Zel expected as much from a companion of Lina.
When Zel changed the subject to ask what had happened with Luna, Lina shuddered involuntarily. However, she related all that she cared to tell. Luna was sixteen years her senior, though it didn’t show as much as it should have. When Lina was about four, Luna left with her believed soul mate, into this very realm. Lina didn’t know what happened to her in here, but she came out alone and heartbroken. From then on, she released her frustrations on Lina from the most trivial of matters. That was when Lina became so afraid of angering Luna that she began to increase her power and run away from home.
As time passed, the conversation uplifted in seriousness, and relaxed them both. Somehow, in ways that was forgotten by the pair, they had reached the discussion of relationships, what made a good one, to be more exact.
Lina had responded that she would want someone who could stand her punches, remember what she told him, be nice to her, protect her when she couldn’t herself, and most of all, be completely devoted to only her. In all honesty, most of that was what every woman dreamt of having in their prince on a white horse. And most of them knew that it could never be possible.
Zel was quiet for a time after this revelation. When Lina asked him what he thought would make a good relationship, Zel hesitated. A moment or two passed before he replied, “If everything that you just said applied to the woman as well.”
Lina thought about this and laughed slightly. She agreed with Zel, but asked if he thought it would actually be possible. Quietly, Zel responded, “If you find the perfect match, then by all means, yes.”
This brought on another lengthy silence. Both were lost in their own thoughts as they mechanically moved their feet forward. Zel found himself wondering what brought on the topic of relationships. He wondered if he could start a relationship with Lina. . . Zel shook this thought out of his mind. He could never settle down like that. He only had one devotion - his cure. If ever he found his cure, Lina would most likely have started a family; it was that unlikely.
Lina reminisced about their past adventures. The more she thought about it, the more she realized it to be true. She – her thoughts were interrupted by her stomach’s growl reverberating through the emptiness – was hungry.
She chuckled slightly and turned to face Zel. Rubbing the back of her head, she patted her stomach and remarked the obvious, “All this walking must have worked up an appetite. Did we bring any extra food?”
Zel shrugged. “If we did, you’d be carrying it.”
Lina laughed a bit louder at this. “I suppose you’re right. Let’s see here. . .” Lina rummaged through her cape. Her eyes lit up as she took out a well-wrapped medium-rare steak. Her eyes glittered with anticipation as she unwrapped the piece carefully and poised her mouth for eating. Caught up in the happiness of food, Lina had closed her eyes. Zel watched with amazement as her jaws clamped. . . air. In the moment between when she had closed her eyes and clamped down her teeth, a swirl of darkness had enveloped the food, leaving disintegrated waste as it disappeared into the mass of black. Lina’s eyes watered with grief when Zel had related this to her. Determined to eat, she pulled out a drumstick, and kept her eyes on it this time. Yet again, the darkness swallowed it up before she could. Growling in frustration, Lina cried out into the darkness, “HOW DARE YOU TAKE FOOD RIGHT FROM UNDERNEATH LINA INVERSE!!! WHEN I FIND YOU, WHOEVER YOU ARE, YOU WILL PAY!!!!”
As Lina recovered her breath, Zel pointed behind her and told her to look. Lit dimly by a single candlelight, was a beautiful round table covered by a white cloth. Two chairs sat across from each other, with the table laden with delicious food in the middle. A sweet smelling aroma traveled to their noses from the table, tempting them, baiting them.
Not thinking of the consequences, Lina ran to sit down in one of the chairs and get a close-up sniff of the food. Melting in the succulent scent, Lina let out a completely relaxed sigh, as if all of her burdens had left her in that one moment. Recollecting herself, she urged Zel to join her. He was hesitant, however. He voiced his worry that considering where they were, it might not be a good idea to eat the food here. Lina gave him a glare as she told him it’d be an even worse idea to leave this food with her still hungry for who knows how long. It didn’t take long for Zel to realize the truth of Lina’s words. Reluctantly, he sat down in the vacant seat, and began to eat with Lina.
A severe hunger struck them both then, for they ate as if they had spent three years in a desert without food, and would never have the chance to eat again. Caught up in their hunger, they didn’t realize how suspicious it was that whenever a plate was emptied, it was magically refilled again. They ate for what seemed like ages, but finally, they came to a stop. Finishing her last plate a few bites before Zel, she laid back and patted her stomach. She sighed contentedly. When Zel sat back as well, the dishes slowly disappeared. Lina peeked out of one eye to watch. She yawned wearily and got comfortable in her seat.
Lina was pulled from her trance when Zel suddenly said, “Lina, there’s something written on this piece of paper.” Yawning again, Lina asked Zel to read it aloud. He obliged.
The first day is complete,
From the second you best retreat,
Before the shadows swallow,
The one you chose to follow.
Confined within self-conflict,
Newborn love you may depict,
A future lover’s death, we shall predict.
Zel slowly looked up at Lina. She was watching him intently. Laughing nervously, Lina wondered aloud who the letter spoke of.
“I-“ Zel’s response was cut off when thick vines of black energy captured Lina’s mouth, neck, wrist, waist, and ankles. It knocked over her chair as it pulled her back, swallowing her whole.
Zel had no time to react. He gulped uneasily before finishing his statement. “I. . .think it was meant for me. . .Lina.”
The lone soul finally reacted and hurried to where Lina had disappeared. He attempted jumping into the space Lina had disappeared to. This action backfired when the darkness spat him back out, landing him on the now empty table. In that moment, everything seemed to fall apart for Zel. He felt as if he had lost the will to live, if it meant living without Lina. Zel wasn’t sure why this bothered him as much as it did. He had lived all but three years of his life without Lina. But those three years. . . were the happiest he had ever experienced in his entire life.
Just then, a road appeared before Zel. It glowed a ferocious gold. Zel blinked; the light faded, though the road remained. Hopeful that the road would lead to Lina, Zel didn’t hesitate to take it. He followed the road with determination, hoping for an oasis of sorts to appear before him.
Zel didn’t know why, but his mind began to wander. It kept falling back on the last stanza of the writing. He believed that he had unearthed a newborn love, and he was literally heartbroken at the prospect of her, Lina, dying. He had yet to experience the inner-conflict that it spoke of. His heart was full of pure, undying love and his determination directed only at finding his love again. There was no conflict whatsoever; it was all optimistic.
He traveled for what seemed like days. The road sometimes curved, but it was generally straightforward. Its color never changed, remaining that dull gray forevermore. Used to endless chases, however, he remained determined and consistent. Suddenly, Zel stopped dead in his tracks. He hoped he had found what he was searching for.
A/N: ^_~ This a kinda short chapter compared to some others, but I’m fine with it. I think I can end this story in the next chapter too. Well, don’t forget to review, or I might not even post the next chapter. Ciao!