Slayers: Chaos

Chapter 8

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 071: Partition! A Legend To Be Feared

After the new android body for Gorun Nova was built, he was successfully transferred into it. "It looks like things are working so far. What about my power as a lost ship? It is in my old vessel, but how will you take it?"

"Xellos can take over your old empty vessel and get everyone through the portal, since that ship is smaller than the Great Beast," Zelas explained. "If he doesn't become detached from it, he will automatically absorb its power, like a chimera, except since he's a monster, it'll be pure energy that he's receiving rather than matter that would affect a physical form, as such a burden wouldn't be present. Xellos' will then receive your power and be able to transfer it to me when he returns and rejoins me in the Great Beast."

"Sounds like everything is set up to go," Lina concluded. "Let's switch ship so Xellos can take us home on Gorun Nova's old vessel. Let's make this little visit count to do anything we might have in mind. We'll be back here in the over-world soon and we can't afford to have any distractions even in the back of our minds when we face Darkstar."

Thus the crew switched ships, with Xellos serving as the AI to Gorun Nova's old vessel. Zelgadis removed his armor, leaving it in the Great Beast in case he needed to temporarily use it later. Thus Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia, Xellos, Gorun Nova, Milgazia, Onyx, Light, Labyrinthine and Luna crossed through the portal on their way back to their world.

Zelas watched as the previous vessel of Gorun Nova, now controlled by Xellos, disappeared into the portal. Her instinct gave her a bad feeling, which she theorized was about the current situation of her world. Yet there was more to it than that. Suddenly, she thought it was a bad idea to be there on her own, but why? The minions of Darkstar had been defeated and Darkstar himself had remained in a static location, focusing his energy in cracking Canal's protection program on Dolphin and Dynast. It was a program that Zelas herself no longer needed, as her own mental defenses had been built up through her experiences in the over-world enough to resist Darkstar's mental assaults. Though that didn't mean a victory against him was assured, she still had to consider the physical combat in the situation.

A feeling akin to a cold chill overtook Zelas. She was a fierce monster lord and now a powerful lost ship. She couldn't be afraid, she had faced near ruin and destruction many times already and had dodged death by a hair often enough lately to know that a battle wasn't over until it was over, no matter how hopeless it may seem. She had come a long way since her arrival at the over-world. She focused on a near by planet and tried to sense the energy of the people there. She called upon the hidden power that she heard that saiyan prince mention as something legendary and unreal. She could feel their energy and with a small tug, she began to absorb it. 'So I can do this if I focus enough. I could wipe out all the life forms in this planet from this distance if I wanted. They would notice if I take too much energy, but I could overpower them. If I weaken them, they will start to fear when the inexplicable exhaustion settles in and their energy will be that much more delicious.'

Zelas' train of thought was interrupted again. She felt danger and it was close, but her radars were not picking up anything out of the ordinary. She stopped focusing on the planet and left its energy alone for the time being. Instead she tried to sense the energy around her. She focused on her instincts as a beast and felt it more clearly. There was danger; there was mortal danger, but what? Then she realized it. "Darkstar!" He was no longer in a static position. He must have detected that Bodigar, Nezard, Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis were destroyed. Now Gorun Nova's lost ship vessel had left the over-world, thus Darkstar might have assumed that it signified his destruction. With no minions left to serve him, he must have gotten concerned about Zelas' growing power. She couldn't win against Darkstar alone.

As much as Zelas hated to admit it, she needed her crew to lend her power and to team up with the Swordbreaker. Yet she couldn't communicate with Xellos due to the interference in the portal. As for Canal, even if Zelas managed to get a hold of her in a long distance call, she was surely too far away to make it there before Darkstar even if she made several light speed jumps. 'I have to outrun him, but I can't, as massive as Dugradigdu is, he's still faster than the Great Beast. All this moving around is taking resources away from the task of breaking into Dolphin and Dynast's core programming, but even while doing that, Darkstar is still too strong. He's got me in his radars already, I know it, running away will be useless. Dark energy won't work on him and I can't produce a big enough blast of courage to damage him on my own, when he has both Dolphin and Dynast' fear to counteract it.'

Zelas pushed her processing speed to maximum as she started to feel the waves of energy that signified that something massive was about to emerge from a light speed jump. She couldn't take on Darkstar on her own, but running away was useless and she couldn't fit through the portal to her world either. 'Divide and conquer...' she thought bitterly. She considered squeezing in through the portal, but knew it would be useless. 'There's no way I can fit through there unless I'm in pieces.' That thought actually gave her an idea. 'Pieces...'

The massive structure of Dugradigdu finally emerged from his light speed jump in front of Zelas. She remained still and unafraid, refusing to bow down to her enemy. "So we meet again, Beast Master Zelas Metallium. That portal behind you, now it makes sense, that's where your crew went, isn't it? It's a pity the portal is much too small for you. You have nowhere to run."

"I do not fear you, Darkstar, I will win," Zelas assured. Her last desperate plan had already been set in motion.

Darkstar laughed long and loud with mocking cruelty. "You will win you say? How can you? You won't even be able to scratch Dugradigdu's paint job.

Zelas could feel every circuit in her vessel heating up, but the inner system alarms didn't go off. Somehow, she was handling it. 'Maybe this is akin to what humans call a rush of adrenaline. My processing speed will certainly be enough now. It looks like I'm ready sooner than I thought.' She grinned with the look of a victorious challenge. "You cannot destroy me, Darkstar of the Stillness. Your minions have tried to strike me down before, but I only came back stronger each time. I dare you to tare me to pieces if you have the strength!" Zelas closed the communication channel, blocked all communication links and activated the program she had been working on.

"You'll regret your insolence!" Darkstar yelled, though Zelas could no longer hear him. He prepared to shoot his powerful laser weaponry, which easily cut through the Great Beast, leaving her in pieces. Darkstar didn't realize that Zelas could produce her own psy-energy and assumed that her lack of shield was due to not being able to project one and knowing that regular energy would be a waste. "This was too easy. All that talk for nothing, I guess you must have lost your mind." Before the power left in the dying lost ship was gone, Darkstar intended to absorb it for himself. However, before Darkstar, who had gotten confident in his victory and lowered his guard could take the pieces of the Great Beast into himself, the portal sucked them in. "What? Why?" He didn't understand what had happened, but assumed it was a random reaction and nothing more. Besides, even if the remains of the Great Beast were being called to the other side, she was already too close to dying to make it there alive as far as Darkstar knew. "Her power was wasted, but it doesn't matter, I still have the other two and this one is out of the way. Canal, you're next..."

Inside the portal, the programming Zelas had left in automatic finished its job. After Gorun Nova join their side, he passed on the software that controlled the microchips in the portal to her and she was able to set them up to make the portal suck in the broken pieces of her vessel. Darkstar was too large, so even if the portal tugged at him to follow, he wouldn't fit through. Yet Zelas was still in pieces and her energy was fading away fast.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Xellos guided Gorun Nova in the space between the worlds. "Get ready everyone!" The lost ship glowed and began to fade. "This ship is going to turn into my energy which I'll absorb. I can keep pushing us the rest of the way through, but you'll have to hold your breath. When we emerge on the other side, the dragons can ensure a safe landing." He stopped in the middle of his explanation, blocking out the sounds of the others' voices as they commented on the plan. "We're going back," Xellos suddenly announced with a seriousness that was unlike him. He went on a full reverse with Gorun Nova's lost ship vessel becoming more solid again as it drew closer to the over-world once more.

"What happened? Did the energy conversion fail somehow?" The android Gorun Nova inquired. He looked like his original knightly projection.

"The problem isn't with us, it's Beast Master. I feel that she's in danger." Xellos revealed with worry. "I can't explain it, but I can sense her, only barely. She's here, she's in the portal's tunnel, but I don't know how. The portal isn't any bigger, she shouldn't fit through. Her energy is fading!"

"Did she get attacked after we left?" Amelia worried.

"We shouldn't have assumed that Darkstar would remain in a static position," Milgazia concluded with frustration. He could think of no other enemy that could stand up to the Great Beast.

Xellos finally arrived where the pieces of the Great Beast were. "Lord Beast Master!" He cried out in a panic. "She's in pieces; she has been destroyed, ruined!"

"Xellos, calm down!" Filia urged. "Didn't you say you could still sense her energy? If that is so, then she's not dead."

"Yes, yes, she's alive!" Xellos extended several cables from the lost ship that used to be Gorun Nova's towards the Great Beast' pieces. The cables wrapped themselves around the larger parts, with the smaller ones being carried by the tractor beam. "I can't repair her fast enough to save her. All I can do is take her to our world and hope her change in shape to an astral being is enough to save her." Without a split second to lose, Xellos headed back to his original world with the dying remains of Beast Master in tow.

xoxox xox xoxox

The arrival in the Slayers' world was full of tension. As expected, Gorun Nova's old vessel turned into energy that was absorbed by Xellos. He tried to wrap his own energy around Zelas to keep her as stable as possible while her physical vessel recovered its purely astral form. The group reappeared in the skies over the Elmekia desert, in the center of which there was a very deep crater caused by the effects of their battle with Gorun Nova earlier. As the group fell, with a flash of golden light, Milgazia transformed in mid air and caught them safely on his back.

The golden dragon elder landed on the desert sands next to the large hole and they all watched as six dark lights descended from the sky below the portal. One of them took the shape of a black cone, then Xellos. Another dark light took on the form of a sea monster, then Deep Sea Dolphin. The other remaining four dark lights gained the silhouette of four small winged wolves, then different versions of Zelas. "Lord Beast Master!" Xellos panicked. A piece of a monster could never be the same as the original. Had Zelas been torn apart like Shabranigdu had?

Three of the four Zelas faded away, teleporting through the astral side without offering any explanations for their actions. The one that remained had the least amount of power out of the four, but she seemed to be the most familiar with Xellos. "Wipe that panicked and sorrowful look off your face, Xellos. My one and only general priest shouldn't be making such a forlorn expression, it doesn't fit you."

"Lord Beast Master!" Xellos cheered in recognition of his mother's true persona being intact. He threw his arms around her in a big bear hug.

"Filia and her strange rituals are rubbing off on you." Zelas calmly made Xellos straighten his posture as they lost altitude and gracefully landed on the sandy grounds of the Elmekia desert near the rest of the group. She patted his head, messing up his hair slightly. "Dynast would laugh at us if they saw us now, Dolphin too if she wasn't so scared of you killing her for it. They'd laugh at you for hugging me like a mortal child and at me for not punishing you for it."

"But you did punish me," Xellos pointed at his messed up hair, then proceeded to smooth it out, only to have Zelas ruffle it out of place again.

"I guess I did," Zelas chuckled.

"As much as I hate to interrupt the mother and son reunion, I need to ask, what in the worlds happened back there?" Lina inquired with great urgency.

"I'm pretty confused about it myself," Deep Sea Dolphin admitted. "One minute I was being held prisoner by Darkstar and the next I was here." She frowned at her lack of power. "What happened to all my power? And yours is gone too, Zelas, if you are even the same Zelas. How is it that you're in four pieces but you don't seem to be ruined?"

"Ruin, the death of a monster, the destruction of their persona," Zelas began to explain. "That is what happens when a monster's persona is torn apart, but I was not torn apart. Using the technology of the over world, I created partitions in my system that clung to the circuitry of the physical pieces of my ship. They were very small partitions in case Darkstar blew my vessel into tiny pieces. There were four larger parts after the Great Beast's destruction and thus the partitions on each part fused together. That is why there are four of us. I was actually the largest part in terms of system resources."

"Then why do you have the least amount of power?" Dolphin asked impatiently. Everything was very confusing and she didn't like the feeling. Her captivity was unpleasant enough. To be rescued was a great relief, but without power, she wondered if she would last long.

"I'm getting to that," Zelas continued her explanation. "My power is in three pieces, I have divided it from my persona for the purpose of keeping my persona whole. I am memories, personality, everything that Beast Master is. Yet power alone can't exist without something to keep it focused or else it would disperse. The pieces of my power took on several aspects of me. Xellos, you did well on bringing me here. I set things up so that the portal would absorb the pieces of my ship. I couldn't communicate with you, but I knew your instinct would guide you to find me. I know I couldn't have been repaired as a lost ship, but becoming astral again has stabilized me somewhat. Because I was divided systematically rather than torn apart, I can be put back together. From this side, all it should take is a little fusion magic... provided that we can capture the rampant power that's on the loose. But I'm sure we can manage."

Dolphin was staring in disbelief and amazement. "I must have missed out on a lot during my captivity. You were torn apart and you didn't get ruined. Has any monster ever truly survived something like this before without losing their original persona?"

Zelas chuckled as if laughing at her own misfortune. "Dolphin, I was forcefully summoned to another world. I was nearly destroyed and had to endure being rescued by a lord of light. I was nearly destroyed on several more occasions and I was forced to rely on my crew until I could learn to fight for myself. Again I was nearly destroyed; I had to handle positive energy coursing through me while trying to keep myself from being destroyed. I had to use dark energy to defend while at the same time attacking with positive energy, which I don't even have to point out to you that is painful for someone of our kind. And guess what? I was nearly destroyed yet again, I endured having a breakable physical form and having it constantly being broken after every close call in every desperate fight, and you think I'm going to get ruined? Ha! If I haven't lost myself yet, then a little thing like being torn to pieces won't defeat me."

Dolphin just stood there staring with her mouth hanging open. "Wow, and I thought I had it bad. Having Darkstar constantly trying to pry into my mind while being protected by a strange yet fading power that I don't understand was bad, but it sounds like you got roughed up worse than a human who got on the bad side of a mafia boss."

"A very eloquent way to put it," Zelas commented. "My point is that I've gotten back up from so many falls by now that tripping on this rocky road doesn't even surprise me anymore. I'll pull myself back together, then I'll go fight Darkstar and get trashed to an inch of death again. I know it will not be an easy victory, but I will win, then I'll pull myself together again and finally take a vacation."

"You're pretty tough, you always have been. Speaking of tough, where is my power, you haven't explained that yet," Dolphin pointed out with lost hopes.

"Darkstar has it," Zelas revealed. "Don't worry, it is still contained and protected by the same program that was protecting you, so he has not absorbed it yet. I did to you, what I did to myself. I partitioned you so that you could be taken apart without being torn. I managed to hack into Dugradigdu's systems while Darkstar was busy doing his evil mocking laughter, which doesn't hold a candle to my evil laugh, by the way. I was going to do the same for Dynast, but I ran out of time, so he is still with Dugradigdu. Since Darkstar only wanted your power and was going to destroy your persona, I doubt he would see this as a big loss, although I'm sure he'll be angry that I managed to hack him a little, even if I didn't have time to do much."

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 072: Fishy! While The Wolf's Away...

Dolphin stared blankly at Zelas' explanations and finally nodded her head like a bobble toy. "I didn't fully understand all that, but the point is that I'm alive and there's a chance I'll get my power back. But what will we do in the mean time. There are dragons here, Lina Inverse and, call me crazy, but I feel the Knight of Ceifeed's presence on that crescent moon shaped jewel that woman who looks like she could be Lina's mother is holding." Dolphin lowered her voice more and more as she spoke, ending the warning in a quiet whisper. "With most of your power outside of your control for the time being and my power gone, Xellos is stronger than the both of us... and considerably stronger than I remember him being for that matter. But will he be able to fight off the dragons en mass and the knight of Ceifeed and Lina Inverse and all other possible dangers that want to kill us at the same time? I am assuming you don't want to kill me yourself, since you took the trouble of rescuing me from Darkstar."

Zelas laughed at Dolphin's uneasiness. "Darkstar really got under your skin, didn't he? Quit panicking. Although I suppose I shouldn't blame you. The first time I found myself without being able to control a decent amount of power," meaning a considerably large amount, "I was pretty upset too, but I survived and recovered. Besides, I'll let you in on a not so secret detail, without my help, Darkstar can't be defeated, the dragons can't touch me or they'll be throwing away their lives."

"I get it, it's genius! And since I'm your ally, they can't touch me either!" Dolphin nodded rapidly in self reassurance. "We are allies aren't we?"

"My, my, you're suddenly quite fond of me, aren't you?" Zelas laughed. "You better not forget how much you owe me in case I decide to collect one of these days. By the way, I have news..."

"More?" Dolphin wasn't even sure if she could take it.

"Since we were removed from this world, all active pacts were broken, which includes Leviathan," Zelas informed with a Xellos style cheerful expression. "That means that your precious pet is dead."

Dolphin gasped, "my Leviathan, my longest pact record! Oh, that Darkstar's going to get it!" She stomped her feet in angry frustration.

"The legendary beast of the sea is gone?" Filia was surprised to hear it. Though she wasn't exactly an expert on the subject, she had heard many stories.

"Nah, those are just monsters named after Leviathan by humans," Zelas waved her hand in dismissal. "I was talking about Dolphin's pet goldfish."

"Goldfish?" Several members of the group sweat dropped simultaneously.

"I want to drown that Darkstar, if it was possible for him to drown I mean," Dolphin grumbled angrily. "Get him for me, will you Zelas?"

"I'll get him for myself," Zelas proudly declared.

"That's right, justice will always triumph!" Amelia cheered.

"I say it again, you're tough, Zelas," Dolphin commended. "You have to be if you put up with positive craziness like that."

Zelas shook her head hopelessly, "you don't know the half of it."

"Aw, but being optimistic is good. I mean, just look where it got you, Miss Zelas, you survived what any pessimistic monster wouldn't have been able to! Things are looking up, your power is safe and can be recovered, Miss Dolphin has been rescued, even if she has sadly lost her dear pet, may he rest in peace. We need to stay optimistic, just like Zelgadis and Gorun Nova did and it led them to become human!"

"That's right, Zel was supposed to become human and Gorun Nova too. With all that's been going on, I forgot!" Lina admitted; she was feeling somewhat like Gourry for becoming distracted enough to forget about something important.

"To be honest, I got caught up in all these explanations and wasn't really paying attention myself," Zelgadis confessed. It was one shock after another since their arrival back at their world. "It looks like it worked though, I'm finally human!" He could only hope that the effect was true and permanent this time, though he had spent some time as a human without his armor in the over-world and he did feel very much human still. "This is... I really think this is the real cure at last!" He could barely believe it after all he had endured.

"Then that means I should be a human too!" Gorun Nova hoped. "But I have never been human before so I don't know what it's supposed to feel like."

"I can help determine that," Xellos surprisingly offered. "Hold out your hand."

Too happy about the possibility of having become human to be on his guard, Gorun Nova obediently held out his hand. Xellos then proceeded to pinch the skin on the back of Gorun Nova's hand with his index finger and thumb, until with an indignant "ow!" Gorun Nova pulled his hand back and rubbed the affected area with the other. "What did you do that for?"

"I was simply answering your question," Xellos innocently replied with a blameless smile. "That is what being human feels like, painful. Trust me; I've been through it, good luck getting use to it and watch out for possible hidden allergies." Xellos couldn't help it but to shudder remembering his own allergic experience, though his was an extreme and rare case.

"If I'm human, like Flagoon, then I'm happy," Gorun Nova decided. "Besides, this can't be any harder than being a sword that can't even talk or decide where to go. Compared to that, this form is very comfortable, though it might take some getting used to, since I've never been a biological creature before."

"I'm happy for you, Gorun Nova," Gourry smiled with a thumbs up. "Now that you're a human there's lots of cool things you can do, like eat!"

"Mr. Gorun, you should stop by Seyruun sometime, my dad's martial art lessons will help you get used to your human form in no time!" Amelia offered. "Then you can work out an appetite and enjoy a nice meal."

A few of those present shifted, wondering if it was a good idea to let Philionel train Gorun Nova, who was just getting used to being human. Gourry discretely whispered to Amelia, "please tell Phil to go easy on him."

"Speaking of food, I better get cooking if I'm going to deliver the promised banquet," Labyrinthine recalled. "But first we need to go by Taforashia so we can drop off Luna's soul in her body. The cube turned into this jewel, but it seems its functions are the same."

"About that jewel," Zelas interjected. "After you're done putting Luna's soul back, do you mind if I keep it as a souvenir?" Though it was voiced as a question, it basically meant, 'give it to me or I'll take it.'

"I don't see why not," Light considered it. "Do think that's okay, Luna?" The jewel only pulsated in return, as it was all that it could do to communicate, yet somehow, Light understood his daughter. "Sounds like she's okay with it."

"Then it's settled, you can give me the jewel later," Zelas concluded.

"When will the food be ready, mom?" Lina hungrily inquired.

"It will take a while, dear, please be patient." Labyrinthine smiled at how some things about her youngest daughter never changed.

"I should check on Dragon's Peak to make sure things are alright," Milgazia decided. "I will see everyone later."

"Bye..." Onyx quietly left as well, catching a ride to Dragon's Peak at the Kataart Mountains with Milgazia.

"I'm sure Phythan is worried about you," Milgazia commented as they flew away. 'My wings do feel stronger now,' he quietly mused on the effects of the jetpack upgrade.

"He probably has a lot of sketches to show me. Other than comics, he has been taking up an interest in machine designs, must be all those books Celo left for him," Onyx mused. "He'd be surprised at all the things I saw in my short time in the over-world."

"I thought Zelas' influence would stay with him. Somehow I can picture him becoming her intern again in the future, perhaps for a job similar to Celo's," Milgazia let out an exasperated breath. "I suppose it can't be helped, but it's better to have one more dragon keeping a close eye on Zelas' plots than one less. Besides, Phythan would be very difficult to corrupt, though relatively easy to trick."

"I hear you," Onyx understood the request spoken between the lines. "Keep an eye on him, got it."

xoxox xox xoxox

After Milgazia left, Xellos went to take care of some official monster business with Zelas, who was sure the representations of her power would make a move and make their location known soon. Filia decided to check on Val and the others at Seyruun and gave Amelia, Zelgadis and Gorun Nova rides back to the white magic kingdom in her golden dragon form. It felt very good to stretch her wings and tail again after such a long time.

With Fang providing additional transportation via astral side teleportation, Light and Labyrinthine easily reached Taforashia, where they found Pokota and Sylphiel, who was visiting. Luna's real body was safe and her soul was restored to it. With the knight of Ceifeed safe once again, the Inverse family and Gourry, who had tagged along, returned to Zephilia. After delivering his passengers to their destination, Fang took the promised crescent moon shaped jewel and left to take it to Zelas.

Beast Master, or at least the part of her that held her persona, was at Wolf Pack Island having a meeting with Neuro and Zenki. Galathia was also there, hovering over in the background, waiting impatiently for Zelas to finish talking to her lieutenants so she could talk to her about anything and everything. Xellos had accompanied Dolphin to her home, as per Zelas' request, and made sure none of her minions were getting ideas of treachery, as Dolphin was now officially Beast Master's ally. Riksfalto seemed to get the message and kept an eye on Dolphin while she tried to begin the recovery process of her power. Other than the rogue pieces of power that Zelas needed to reintegrate into herself, Xellos was currently the top monster in that world.

xoxox xox xoxox

Milgazia and Onyx arrived at Dragon's Peak to find Memphis in the middle of what could only be described as a pep talk to the dragons, who were all too happy to see their leader had returned alive and well. Phythan was happily reunited with Onyx, while Milgazia gave Memphis the update to answer her rapid stream of questions, all of which could be summarized as, "what happened?"

There was a human with Memphis, a sorcerer by the looks of him and surprisingly, Milgazia's old friend Linesword, who rarely ventured out of his elven village, was there as well. The older elf kept a close eye on his daughter and more so on the human man beside her. It was a peculiar behavior that Milgazia couldn't help it but to notice as he spoke with Memphis.

Finally, the elf girl let out a frustrated breath and turned to meet her father's gaze. After a few silent seconds, Linesword finally looked away and she continued what she had been saying to Milgazia. "So that's when that monster called Erosnum attacked along with a group of other monsters and we had to fight them off. Vrumugun had just recently arrived at the time on a diplomatic visit on behalf of the kingdom of Zoana and helped us fight off the monsters. He's a pretty skilled sorcerer," she smiled. "However, some people are being rude to him," she glanced at her father disapprovingly. "And as the dragon elder around here, I think it is your duty to make them stop!"

"I see..." Milgazia quietly took in all the information and decided to have a private talk with Linesword. "Well, it looks like you've handled the situation quite well, I commend you on that, Memphis. Mr. Vrumugun, I am very grateful for your assistance to my clan. Though we are in a time of crisis, I would very much like to conduct proper diplomatic discussions with you as soon as there is time to do so. For now, please enjoy your stay at Dragon's Peak and make yourself at home." As Milgazia spoke, Linesword let out a little huff, which made Milgazia glance at him in question.

"Memphis, maybe you should do another round of patrol just in case," Linesword suggested.

"That's a fine idea, father," Memphis agreed. "Vrumugun, would you mind coming with me?"

"I would be glad to," Vrumugun left along with Memphis, despite the looks Linesword was giving him.

After they were gone, Milgazia let out a tired breath. He didn't expect to arrive at Dragon's Peak and find everything in order, but he didn't expect this kind of trouble either. "What's going on?"

"That Vrumugun guy has his eye on my Memphis, that's what's going on!" Linesword grunted. "That Zoana place is closely allied to Beast Master; it's a kingdom of black magic that's not to be trusted!"

"This isn't like you," Milgazia observed as calm and collected as he usually was, when there wasn't a certain monster lord purposely trying to get on his nerves. "You are usually quite open and friendly to humans, black magic users or not. Besides, Zoana isn't really a bad place despite their alliance. I'm sure we can both agree that Seyruun is an exemplary honorable kingdom and they have a sort of alliance with Beast Master too. Diplomacy with monsters, albeit quite headache inducing most of the time, has become a necessity in this day and age."

"That's not the point," Linesword rumbled. "It's not that I'm discriminating against Vrumugun specifically, but rather, any man that goes after Memphis needs to be subjected to a very detailed scrutiny."

"I can understand that," Milgazia half lied. He understood the basic concept behind the situation, though he had no children of his own to be protective, or over-protective, of, albeit he cared for Memphis like a niece. "You must try to be open minded; love can be found in the most unexpected of places such as with-"

"A monster!" Linesword suddenly exclaimed.

Milgazia thought about it as if Linesword was suggesting the possibility. "Admittedly, I'm still a bit skeptical about that, but I suppose there could be stranger things. I mean, there have been obscure legends about such topics which had to be based on something. Plus there is Filia's situation and I'm sure she would say that it is quite possible for a monster to love, even if she assaults Xellos with her mace more often than-"

"No, I mean there's a monster right behind you, two actually," Linesword insisted.

"Oh..." Milgazia glanced at the pair of monsters that stood there uneasily. Several dragons have rushed back to the scene upon sensing the unexpected visitors, but Milgazia was quick to assure them that everything was under control. The dragons seemed happy enough to let Milgazia handle things; he was good at appeasing monsters as far as they could tell. In the privacy of his mind, Milgazia admitted to himself that he was embarrassed not to have become fully alert when the monsters teleported into his clan's territory. Linesword and the others had certainly sensed them, yet Milgazia had gotten so accustomed to being surrounded by monsters, literally surrounded while traveling in the Great Beast, albeit it was a different form, that he didn't even feel uneasy and disregarded the feeling of an uninvited presence in the back of his mind. He mentally scolded himself thinking he really shouldn't allow himself another slip off like that. Finally, after a pause that felt too long, he addressed the two monsters with a diplomatic tone. "Greetings, Lord Deep Sea Dolphin and General Riksfalto. To what do I owe this visit?"

Riksfalto stood by quietly, looking rather annoying, while Deep Sea Dolphin stood forward and pointed at Milgazia with her index finger. "You!"

"Yes?" Milgazia blinked in confusion over her strange behavior.

Dolphin delivered a most peculiar request, or rather order, as she stated her unexpected and so far inexplicable intentions. "I'm taking you out on a date!"

Linesword's jaw hung open wordlessly while Milgazia just stared wondering if he had heard wrong. But he knew his ears were clean, they were always clean and he never had to be told twice, even as a child to wash behind them as well. After a long moment of silence, Milgazia finally spoke with an unsure, "pardon me?"

"You're pardoned, now let's get going," Dolphin insisted, grabbing Milgazia's arm and starting to drag him off, with Riksfalto hovering about in the background uncomfortably.

"Wait a minute!" Milgazia exclaimed as he firmly planted his feet on the ground. "I believe I have misunderstood. Could you repeat your reason for having come here?"

"I said I'm taking you out on a date. You know, a date, those strange outing ritual things." Dolphin's explanation hinted that she was not exactly an expert on the subject, but she certainly sounded dead set on making it happen.

"You have to tell me..." Linesword pushed each word out with difficulty as the shock of what he had just heard had rendered him speechless. "What in the world do you do to make monsters crazy for you like this? It's... it's..." The elf decided to use a more modern expression than what he would normally speak. It was a phrase he had heard Memphis use and no doubt she had picked up the eloquent little remark from the humans. They were quite good at coming up with a variety of expressions for each and every situation. "It's freaky!"

"I'm not... I didn't... I don't..." Milgazia stuttered to find the right words to say, but they were simply none. Thus he took a deep breath and decided that, first things first, he should begin with a simple and reasonable request. "Dolphin, please stop pulling at my arm." Surprisingly, the monster lord did so. Once that was out of the way, Milgazia proceeded to inquire as calmly as he could. "Why do you wish to go on a..." it was too weird to say it, Linesword was right, it was indeed 'freaky.' "On a date with me?"

"Oh it's not that I like you or anything," Dolphin twisted her nose in disgust. "I've seen sailors that are better on the eyes than you, in fact sailors are... Er, never mind, that would be getting off topic. My point is that I don't find land lovers like you the least bit attractive. However, Zelas is always hanging around you, sucking information out of you with her diplomatic meetings, so I decided to top her by taking you out on a date, then I can get more info and come up with a plan to gain some power so that I don't have to be embarrassed that I'm not even as strong as Xellos and I won't need to have Riksfalto hanging around me playing bodyguard all the time." Dolphin twitched. "Oh and if I do get attacked and, and, and Riksfalto gets destroyed, and, and, and there's no one there to do anything about it, then I can use my power combined with yours and fusion magic the enemy to next Tuesday!" She twitched some more. "Cause you know, fusion magic is strong, but I need to have a dragon near by to do it. Oh and since Zelas is my ally, don't you even think about betraying me because then she'll cook you. If she asks, just make sure to tell her I'm only borrowing her dragon, not stealing it, I mean you."

"A nervous breakdown as an after effect of what Darkstar subjected her to?" Milgazia theorized.

Riksfalto let out a hopeless breath and nodded, "yeah, ruin paranoia."

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 073: Lunatic! We're All Mad Here

Milgazia was stuck thinking about how to handle the unlikely, but apparent, situation of Dolphin having a nervous breakdown that drove her to seek a creative way to protect herself. Darkstar had drilled the fear of death into her head during her captivity, something that Milgazia did not doubt that he could do, thus it was only natural that she clung to the life giving power of fusion magic, even subconsciously, as a form of protection. After all, even when monsters wanted destruction, they had their, ifs, ands and buts about it, as if they didn't want to just get it over with. Exterminating others, they would do it, especially when it empowered them, thus making them safer at the same time, in the case of the higher ranks, or preventing them from being labeled as incompetent and exterminated by their superiors in the case of the lower ranks. Yet at the last moment, like any sentient creature that existed, they wanted to continue existing. They were chaotic, not nothingness, after all.

This also worried Milgazia for another reason. Zelas had been studious in overcoming the monsters' known weaknesses and even managed to provide several of her minions with added defenses through various processes. Fang was a monster and fox chimera, part monster and part living beast. Xellos had experienced humanity and retained the lessons learned well enough so that he was stronger as a monster towards their usual weak points. However, Zelas had not made any changes to herself, yet she was able to adapt to wielding courage, albeit it still pained her. Granted, Canal was able to wield wrath, but upon remembering the situations he had been told about in stories shared while traveling through space in the over-world, Milgazia mused that they were worse off than he thought. Just as Canal had been outmatched at that time, so were they. The balance of darkness and light was so off that one side wielded the power of the other in an effort to restore that balance and that led to evolution, the mixture of light and dark. To take some of the opposing forces and wield them to even out the field, said field would have to have been severely tilted in the first place.

It all also reminded Milgazia of when he started to wield black magic, even mastering several spells that borrowed power from Zelas. He wasn't raised to do so, being a golden dragon and all. He should think he would want nothing to do with such forces after the events of the War of the Monster's fall. Yet he took that power and used it as if it was his own, his instinct guiding him in an ironic twist that felt too necessary to be a mere coincidence. To win is to lose and to lose is to win. Those who push the world out of balance will have their power taken for the purpose of trying to restore that balance. Over a year ago the battle had been motion versus stillness, ever changing life versus eternal death, chaos versus nothingness. This time it was an odd mix of a being that wielded both darkness and nothingness in unpredictable ways. Yet one thing had to be the same as last year, Milgazia didn't know how, but he knew it. "She knows..." He muttered under his breath. 'Zelas once again knows more than she lets on,' Milgazia mused. She must have reached the same conclusion as him as us and didn't further push the worlds out of balance even if she had the chance to kill Luna, maybe even ruin or seal her very soul to prevent the knight of Ceifeed from reincarnating. Yet she let her go so easily, she must have expected to require using Luna's power for herself in the future somehow. Maybe it was just an inexplicable instinct, but a beast's instinct was usually right.

"Who knows what?" Dolphin snapped, not liking the long silence. She wasn't used to being in such a weakened state and the feeling of Darkstar's power trying to overtake her was far too fresh in her mind for her uneasiness to leave her any time soon. Receiving nothing but silence in exchange for her question, Dolphin continued with a thoughtful expression replacing her slightly psychotic one from before. "A monster who is worried about dying, the world is a backwards place if I am haunted by what I feed on."

"One less person alive means one less to threaten you. Submission gives you power to protect yourself. Your so called inclination towards destruction is self preservation to the extreme," Milgazia pointed out.

Riksfalto's glare intensified on the golden dragon elder and she opened her mouth to speak with none too polite words. Yet before any sounds could depart from her throat, Dolphin raised her hand to silence the monster general. The monster lord of the sea smoothed out her blue dress as if to buy herself some time with useless fidgeting to calm her indignation. "Way to throw our principals on our faces, but it's not like I didn't know that monsters are contrary. We're supposed to be, I think, we're chaotic," she grinned almost insanely.

Milgazia concluded then that Dolphin was indeed rather unstable. He had heard the rumors of her having gone insane after having to remain at the sea for such a long time, yet during his brief meetings with her before; she seemed to still have her sanity intact. Or at least she was as sane as anyone else in the group of people that sometimes crossed paths with Lina Inverse. Perhaps there was another less sane side to her that came and went and Darkstar had brought it out. Contemplating her and trying to guess her actions, Milgazia remained silent unsure of where he stood, and most importantly from his perspective, unsure of how safe his clan was. He could take on Dolphin in her weakened state, though Riksfalto would give him trouble. Even so, with his fellow dragons having recovered to an extent, victory was a very realistic possibility. Yet Zelas had granted Dolphin protection and all that Beast Master had to do to obtain a fatal revenge was refuse to do anything at all, as her help would surely be needed against Darkstar.

Unsatisfied with the silence, Dolphin insisted. "So, are we going out or what?"

Milgazia sighed hopelessly. Monster lord or not, rejecting such an unstable woman felt as if it was a very suicidal idea. He prepared himself for a big headache and finally breathed out a tired, "yes."

Both Linesword and Riksfalto stared at him in open mouth shock while Dolphin clapped her hands together. "Grand! Let's go then."

"Where?" Milgazia inquired with disdain.

Giving the prospect some additional thought, Dolphin realized she had not planned things out that far. She just wanted a creature that was as opposite as possible to Darkstar near by to use as a potential shield. "Anywhere is fine, you can pick as long as it's not in the center of dragon society or something like that."

"Very well, I will think of something," Milgazia agreed.

"Wha..." Linesword tried to speak, but he was simply too shocked. He swallowed hard and pushed his voice to function. "Sure they're both pretty, but they're also both rather insane." He had the nerve to joke about Dolphin and Zelas, while Milgazia gave him a displeased look. The elf gave the golden dragon elder a pat on the back. "Good luck, I'm sure you'll be just fine, as you've always behaved like a perfect gentleman, so I see no reason why things wouldn't go perfectly." He let out a small laugh, knowing very well that this so called date would be nothing like a real date.

"I'm tagging along," Riksfalto half requested and half declared, her mouth turning into a dissatisfied line.

"Of course you are," Dolphin nodded with insistence. "In fact, I'm ordering you to play the third wheel." With a frown and an impossible to understand grumble, Riskfalto nodded and accepted her unwanted role.

Before Milgazia could even decide on where he could take Dolphin that seemed acceptable to her and not too troublesome to anyone who could be nearby or himself, a dark presence invaded his senses. This time he noticed right away and was on guard when the monster in question appeared.

"Erosnum!" Linesword was the first to verbally identify the dark creature.

"I thought I sensed Deep Sea Dolphin here," Erosnum spoke in a mocking voice as several monsters continued to materialize behind him. "My last endeavor in the Kataart Mountains was not a favorable one, but this time I've brought more monsters with me.

"Hey!" Dolphin placed her hands on her hips and glared in indignation as Riksfalto looked back and forth between Dolphin and her former monster allies. "Those were my minions, you traitors! Milgazia, sick 'em, boy!"

"You are pitiful and I will-" Erosnum's threat was interrupted when he sensed something. He looked to the golden dragon elder, who was quietly chanting something.

Soon another presence joined them. A feminine tan arm locked itself around Milgazia's neck in a headlock akin to what Lina would sometimes use on Xellos. "What's the big idea, dragon boy? Summoning my power like that. All my spells should be unusable for now, leave it to the obnoxious Milgazia to tap into my energy and specifically me rather than the other three bigger portions. I can block it rather easily with my current much smaller astral body since power doesn't seep out as much, but the constant tug is terribly annoying and-" Zelas suddenly released Milgazia, who occupied himself in getting some air into his thirsty lungs. "I see, so this is why you were calling for me, the traitor is here." She glared at Erosnum fiercely, as if she had her full power at her disposal, even if she did not.

"Lord Beast Master!" Xellos appeared, causing Erosnum to look tense. The traitor knew he couldn't win against the general priest.

"Stand down, Xellos, you too, dragon boy, and I don't even have to tell the rest of you to get out of the way, do I?" Riksfalto crossed her arms and grunted as she stepped aside, while Dolphin swiftly positioned herself between and behind Xellos and Milgazia. "I alone will be your opponent, Erosnum."

Erosnum stared in disbelief, then laughed mockingly. "Liar, you don't have the power right now. You'll just send Xellos to get me. He might be able to beat me, but you'll never get over the shame of having to be protected by your minion, instead of just served by him like a prideful beast!"

Zelas huffed, "if I were to die over something like that, I would already be dead." Though she was technically admitting her own weakness, she was so prideful and mocking about it that it unnerved Erosnum. "What do you think I've been doing this whole time if not fighting creatures bigger than me? I think I'm beginning to understand why a human such as Lina Inverse is so strong, even if humans are supposed to be frail, she has a strong spirit. Monsters are basically spirits in a sense. Brute force is fun and all, but a true beast has cunning too. I have no doubts that I will win."

"Lord Beast Master..." Xellos quietly murmured his master's name before smiling widely and cheering. "Wipe the floor with him! I won't get in the way, but I will be cheering for you from the side lines!"
"Isn't cheering counterproductive for a monster?" Linesword wondered aloud, but no one was really paying attention to him at that point, albeit many had arrived to witness the spectacle, observing quietly. Among them were Memphis, Vrumugun, Phythan, Onyx and several dragons from Milgazia's clan.

"Enough of this!" Erosnum charged forward, but Zelas nonchalantly held out the crescent moon jewel that once held Luna's soul and it captured the traitorous monster instantly.

The jewel pulsated in protest, but Erosnum was unable to break free. "A short anti-climatic battle is all that an unworthy creature such as yourself deserves." She shattered the jewel, ruining Erosnum and destroying him. She looked at the other monsters that had arrived with Erosnum threateningly. "Alright, who's next?"

The monsters looked at each other, not knowing what exactly just happened, except that Erosnum had been very easily destroyed. Without another second to waste, they ran away. "That's right, run away you traitorous land lovers!" Dolphin shouted after them. "When I get my power back from Darkstar I'm making you scrub the ocean floors clean with a toothbrush!"

"That made no sense..." Linesword quietly commented, though he was beginning to understand that with a crazy group like this, nothing ever did. "Just how many of those jewels do you have and how come it didn't absorb you?"

"My strength of will is far stronger than Erosnum's, so I could resist the pull of the jewel," Zelas explained. "I only actually had one, but those monsters didn't ask, so I didn't tell them."

"You're awesome, Lord Beast Master! Let's do a victory cheer for Beast Master! Yay!" Xellos cheered loudly. He glanced over at the others, pouting, "you're not cheering."

"You really expect us to?" Milgazia asked in disbelief. Then again, this was Xellos and crazy antics were not so rare with him. "Yay..." He muttered with sarcasm.

"Louder!" Xellos screamed at Milgazia's face.

"Yay..." Milgazia grumbled again, with even more sarcasm than before.

"Louder!" Xellos insisted.

"Yay... No way!" Milgazia suddenly stopped himself in realization. "You are not tricking me into reenacting a scene from that crazy pony show you were obsessed with in the over-world!"

Xellos' only responded by once again screaming, "louder!"

Milgazia sighed; he would have to humor Xellos with this if he was going to get him to shut up. Feeling utterly ridiculous, he took in a big breath, exaggerating the action and let out a rather soft sounding, "yay!"

Xellos fell to the ground rolling in an uncontrollable fit of giggles, while Milgazia begrudgingly completed the scene with the ironic question of, "too loud?" While Xellos kept giggling unable to stop.

"What just happened?" Riksfalto voiced the question that was on all the minds of those who had not visited the over-world.

"I'd like to know that too," Dolphin added, as Linesword and several others nodded in agreement.

"No you don't," Zelas assured. "Trust me; you really don't want to know. Only a very strong monster can withstand that."

Dolphin shuddered involuntarily. "Alright, I'll take your word for it and be thankful for my confusion."

"At least there were no skirts involved in this," Zelas mocked. She was referencing the events that occurred at a brass rackets tournament over a year ago.

"I thought we agreed we would never speak of that again," Milgazia reminded.

"Wait, was that the time when Xellos got all jealous and protective because he thought you were dating Milgazia?" Dolphin recalled.

"That is what we agreed never to speak of again," Zelas pointed out. "Discussions about Milgazia in a skirt are perfectly acceptable."

"No they're not!" The golden dragon elder growled.

"What about Milgazia in that loincloth outfit from Rolly-Rolly Village?" Dolphin giggled, feeding off the dragon elder's embarrassment and frustration. "That was pretty hilarious too."

"Can we please stop discussing me wearing anything?" Milgazia grumbled with a frown.

"What are we supposed to discuss then? You wearing nothing?" Zelas asked sarcastically. "That's the kind of conversation only Galathia would be interesting in."

Milgazia sighed hopelessly, "I can never win, can I?"

"Hey I just noticed something; the ever dull Milgazia actually has some emotional energy seeping out of him now." Upon hearing Dolphin's observation, Milgazia put his discipline to use and calmed himself, cutting out any perceptible emotional output. "Oh, never mind, I spoke too soon."

"It's true, he does come out of his shell every now and then now a days, but only for a little while," Zelas observed. She went over to Xellos, who was still rolling on the ground giggling and pulled him to his feet. "That's enough, Xellos, it couldn't have been that funny."

Between fits of ever persistent laughter, Xellos replied. "It is if you imagine this whole scene with Milgazia wearing Fluttershy's Grand Galloping Gala dress."

"I would never!" Milgazia growled, sounding very much like a ferocious angry dragon, who was casted into the villainous role in a fairy tale.

A moment of silence paused afterwards until Zelas burst out laughing along with Xellos. "I still don't get it," Dolphin pouted.

"Maybe it's for the best," Riksfalto commented and Linesword nodded in agreement. "Lord Deep Sea Dolphin, are you still going on that date with Milgazia?"

Dolphin nodded, "I suppose I might as well."

"What? With Dolphin, really?" Xellos pouted. "I thought you had better taste than that. So you're not secretly stalking Beast Master?"

"I'm not stalking anyone. I'm the one who's being stalked by insane monsters!" Milgazia argued. "Besides, didn't you want me to stay away from Beast Master?"

"Yes, I still do," Xellos assured. "But if you switch to Dolphin now, people are going to think she's better than Beast Master and I can't allow that. The dragon race, and every other race, should know that Beast Master is the best!"

Milgazia whispered something along the lines of "mama's fan boy," that no one quite caught.

"Hey! I'm standing right here!" Dolphin stomped her foot in indignation.

"My... little... mermaid..." Another voice joined the conversation as an exhausted human man made his arrival known. "There you are!" He exclaimed as he spotted Dolphin and inexplicably regained his energy upon seeing her. "I'm so glad to finally see you again, my beauty of the sea!" This was none other than Wizer Freion in a pirate outfit. "Ah, Zelas, Milgazia, how I miss my days as your brass rackets trainer. I do hope that one day you'll both return to the professional circuit. As for you, my little mermaid, I did all that you instructed and became a great pirate feared in the seven seas!"

"Um..." Dolphin looked lost in thought for a moment before finally asking. "Who are you again?"

Wizer nearly fell down at the question. "How could you have forgotten me? Oh my beautiful little mermaid, you are so cruel to my longing heart!"

"Oh yeah!" Dolphin suddenly exclaimed, clapping her hands together in realization. "I remember you now; you were that insane guy who kept serenading me so terribly out of tune. I sent you on a crazy near impossible quest to become a legendary pirate. You actually did it? How surprising, I thought you'd die at sea for sure. Well I suppose I could welcome you into my ranks, but you have to tone down the stupid mushy stuff, us monsters don't like that."

"I understand, sweet mermaid, my heart shall be as black as the darkest night with love for you!" Wizer cheered.

"Isn't that a contradiction?" Milgazia reasoned.

"Have you forgotten all about Wizer? He is a living contradiction," Zelas pointed out.

"Right..." Dolphin shifted uncomfortably in the presence of such affection. "So, since you're my minion and all, I'm sending you out on a mission. Go get me some rare treasure from some rich sunken pirate ship or something."

"Right away, my lovely mermaid!" Wizer cheered and, with an inexplicable burst of energy, he dashed down the mountain.

"So now you're dating Wizer and Milgazia?" Zelas teased. "Aren't you the loved one."

Dolphin twitched at the mention of love, even the thought of it was unpleasant. "On second thought, I'm not going out with Milgazia after all. Having a human fall in love with me is troublesome enough, but a dragon would be much worse, I imagine. Maybe I should just go home and take a nap. Come, Riksfalto, we're leaving."

"Yes, Lord Deep Sea." A none too happy about the antics Riksfalto, disappeared along with the somewhat tired Dolphin.

"You just got dumped," Zelas teased.

"Woe is me," Milgazia once again let his usually well hidden sarcastic streak show.

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 074: Reconcile! Meant To Be

After most of the crew had caught up on a few things that needed to be done, they all got together at Zephilia to enjoy a big meal. As always, Lina and Gourry were the ones that ate the most. After dinner the red haired sorceress and the blond swordsman snuck away and went for a walk. They stopped at the Zephilia park and unconsciously headed to a specific spot. "This is..." Lina whispered in realization.

Gourry, sometimes being a little clumsy with words, put the situation bluntly from what he could interpret. "This is the same place where you dumped me, isn't it?"

In this case it was a good thing that he told it like it was, because then Lina could realize that he didn't really know it like it was. "I dumped you?" She placed her hands on her hips angrily. "You dumped me!" She poked Gourry's chest with her right index finger in an accusing motion.

"No, I didn't," Gourry insisted. "I know my memory isn't the best sometimes, but I remember this. You broke up with me, just like Luna said you would, and I told you I understood and that I wanted to still be friends."

"Luna?" The mention of her sister made Lina stop cold and reevaluate the situation. "Luna told you that I wanted to break up with you?"

"I think so..." Gourry replied unsure.

"Luna!" This time Lina's shout was not filled with fear, but with an unparalleled fury. She dashed out of the park and back to her house.

"Lina?" Gourry blinked in confusion over the sudden outburst, before deciding that it was best to swiftly follow.

xoxox xox xoxox

Lina threw the door to the Inverse residence open. The action made Luna shake her head in disapproval. "Lina, you know better than to come in like that. You are being quite rude," the elder Inverse sister scolded.

Surprisingly, Lina didn't even flinch. "You were the one who confused Gourry and made him think I wanted to break up with him!"

"Oh that..." Luna realized what her sister's anger was about. "It was all a misunderstanding that I thought you too could clear up. I was going to say something if you didn't, but then there was that whole mess with Darkstar and I couldn't do anything. When we were reunited, I thought you guys had already fixed things, so there was no need to bring it up. I do deeply apologize to you both for the misunderstanding that I accidentally caused." Lina was still raging mad, the petite sorceress' energy was projecting itself as a red hot aura around her. "Is it just me, or has her bucket capacity increased dramatically?" Luna wondered.

"Must be that training she did in the over-world, something about coaxing more energy to come out and levitating without casting a spell," Gourry recalled.

"Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows," Lina began to cast her signature spell, feeling as if it had been far too long since she used it and now was the best time she could think of to put it into action. "Buried in the stream of time is where your power grows. I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand, before the mighty gift bestowed-"

"Lina!" Light interrupted his daughter's chant with a scolding tone. "You know the rules, young lady, no ultra destructive spells inside the house! If you want to blow each other up, take it outside and make sure you don't step on your mother's flower garden!"

Lina immediately stopped her chant and allowed her spell to dissipate as both she and Luna automatically lowered their heads and said, "yes father," then they obediently exited the house with a perplexed Gourry tagging along after them.

Lina let out a frustrated breath, having calmed down just barely enough to know that trying to Dragon Slave the Knight of Ceifeed was a bad idea. "I really am sorry," Luna apologized again.

Lina sighed, "I guess I'll have to forgive you. But you owe me some free food at the cafe!"

"Fair enough," Luna agreed. "Well then, I'm sure you both have things to talk about, so I'll leave you alone now." She went back inside the Inverse residence, closing the door behind her.

A moment of silence passed between Lina and Gourry, until Gourry finally asked. "Hey Lina, if you weren't going to break up with me back then and if after all that's happened you still don't want to, can we go back to being engaged like before?"

Lina blushed, feeling like she did the first time she started her relationship with Gourry. "Yes..." She paused, remembering what she meant to say when the misunderstanding began. She wasn't going to let the opportunity slip away again. "Actually, no, not like before at least." Because their previous engagement was an indefinite one without real plans of marriage.

"No?" Gourry looked disappointed. "Why not?"

"That time I wasn't going to break up with you, but I did have something to tell you," Lina revealed.

Interested and curious, Gourry asked, "what is it?"

"I was going to tell you," Lina blushed even more, her face a bright crimson like her hair. "I was going to say..." She took in a deep breath and stood up straight, ending her fidgeting and looking at Gourry instead of the ground. "I wanted to say that I'm ready." She finally confessed.

Time stood still as Gourry stared into Lina's eyes with an intense expression of deep thought that made her heart race. Then, in true Gourry fashion, his face gained a look of innocent confusion as he inquired, hand behind his head, "ready for what?"

"How could you ask me that, jelly fish brain!" Lina flailed her arms around and stomped on the ground, cheeks ablaze, as she took in big breaths of air. "I suppose it has been a long time, but you did say you'd wait, so I figured if I didn't say anything, you'd just wait around forever. So... yeah... What I'm trying to say is that we've known each other for a long time and we've been engaged for over a year, there was that time apart in the middle, but that's not the point. What I mean is..." 'C'mon Lina, just say it, spell it out for him or he won't get it!' "I want to marry you."

Gourry's face lit up with absolute joy. "Really? You do?" He picked up Lina, spinning her around, reminding her of just how small she was. "I'm so happy, thank you, Lina." Before the petite sorceress could say anything more, the swordsman kissed her and by the time they parted, she thought that she didn't really need any more words after all.

xoxox xox xoxox

Later that night, Lina realized that though Gourry had met her family, she still had not met any of his relatives as far as she was aware. She knew they were all traveling swords men and women, but she thought that there must be someone who had settled into a permanent residence somewhere that would be easier to track down. "We could go see grandma," Gourry suggested as he tried to think of a close relative of his that wasn't too hard to find or lived too far away.

"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go see her!" Rather than being filled with nerves, Lina was overloaded with curiosity, for the time being at least. She knew that they didn't have a lot of time to spare, so she called for Fang to teleport them.

Following Gourry's instruction, the monster fox chimera took the pair to a cottage in a clearing in the middle of a thick forest that Lina imagined was pretty easy to get lost in. After delivering his passengers, Fang returned to his duties at Wolf Pack Island.

Gourry and Lina approached the cozy little cottage and Gourry cheerfully called out. "Grandma, are you home? It's me, Gourry!"

The door to the cottage was opened by an elderly woman who was human in appearance. Nothing seemed to particularly stand out about her physique or her simple green dress except for the fact that her white hair was adorned with a crown of flowers that one would expect to see upon the head of a young maiden. "Gourry, my child, it is very good to see you, come in dear, and who is this young lady you've brought with you?"

"Hey granny," Gourry smiled greeting his grandmother as he and Lina entered the cottage. "This is my bride to be, Lina Inverse." The little house was impeccably clean and organized with beautifully carved wooden furniture that held a quiet simple elegance and flowers contained in vases all around. "Lina, this is granny Melly."

Lina quietly recognized one of the vases as being something Gourry purchased from Filia. He had asked her to cast a monster courier bird summoning spell to have it delivered last Christmas, though Lina had not been paying close attention to the details as she had been in the middle of her own holiday shopping frenzy. "Hello," Lina vowed respectfully. "It's very nice to meet you ma'am." A bit of nerves were starting to make their presence known in Lina, though she was still mostly calm.

"Oh, there's no need for such formalities," Melly hugged Lina. "You did save my life after all."

"I what?" Lina stared in surprise.

"She did?" Gourry sounded just as shocked.

"Yes, back when I was just a young girl, Lina Inverse teamed up with your grandfather to save me and my people," Melly revealed. "I knew the day would come when we would meet again. "It's too bad my dear Rowdy isn't here to see you again too. But you know how it is for soul mates, when they reincarnate, they are destined to meet again and so one day, after I leave this life for the Sea of Chaos and return once again, I'm sure I'll find him again. Ah, but I'm getting all nostalgic now..."

"Soul mates, huh?" Lina mused.

"Didn't we hear something about reincarnation before?" Gourry wondered aloud.

"Yes, with Gorun Nova," Lina reminded. "I've heard other legends too. They say that though people may feel affection towards several others during their countless reincarnations, when they finally find their soul mate it is distinctly different. Then from that point on they are destined to meet again and again."

"Didn't Milgazia have a crush on Flagoon too?" Gourry randomly recalled.

"Yeah, we better not point any of this out too much or Zelas might get ideas and take to teasing him about getting dumped for a sword or some such similar joke. I'm sure neither Milgazia nor Gorun Nova will appreciate her taunts much," Lina concluded.

"It's okay, Gorun Nova has Flagoon, but Milgazia still has Zelas, right?" Gourry smiled with a clueless innocence in his eyes.

Lina sighed hopelessly. "You better not let Zelas hear you saying something like that, or she'll have your head."

"Okay, she's shy, I understand," Gourry nodded.

Lina couldn't help it but to roll her eyes as Melly laughed softly. "I guess you must be used to Gourry's antics since you're his grandmother and all." The sorceress chuckled in good humor.

"Oh yes, he always makes things so lively around here," Melly smiled. "Oh my, I haven't even served my guests any tea. How about I make you some, then we can have cookies to go along with it."

"Alright!" Lina and Gourry cheered in unison.

They sat at the table while Melly prepared the refreshments. "I was thinking about what you said, and thought it was impossible for me to have met you when you were little, as I shouldn't have existed back then. But now that you mentioned Rowdy's name it reminded me of something," Lina voiced.

"I'm still confused," Gourry complained.

"Time travel," Lina explained. "I once traveled back in time temporarily and fought alongside a boy named Rowdy, who wielded the sword of light. He had an elf sweetheart called Mellyroon, was that you?"

"That's right," Melly confirmed.

"But how is that even possible. I mean, Rowdy was a human, so wouldn't you still be a kid when he's an adult? By the time you're old enough to even consider marriage, he'd be old enough to be a grandfather!" Lina exclaimed in confusion.

"You already spoke the answer," Melly pointed out.

"Time travel," Lina realized.

"I remember Rowdy aging faster than I did. He always showed me kindness, though he thought he would be too old to marry me by the time I was old enough. Even so I was determined," Melly revealed. "Thus after a life of growing up at a much slower pace while Rowdy aged as humans do, I time traveled into the past and was able to meet Rowdy as a young adult when I was one myself. It was a little odd sometimes seeing Rowdy off, knowing that he was going to visit my younger self as promised, but the wait was well worth it, as I had the opportunity to spent two human lifetimes with him, as a friend and as a wife. As for my human appearance, it is but a disguise. Mellyroon the elf ceased to exist with my decision to defy time and Melly the human took her place. After I married Rowdy, I lived as a human and rarely even remembered that I was an elf."

"Wow," was all that Lina could say. Then she glanced at Gourry somewhat accusingly. "Why didn't you tell me any of this, Gourry?"

"Tell you what?" Gourry inquired in perplexity.

"About Melly being an elf," Lina pointed out impatiently.

Gourry shrugged. "I guess I must have forgotten..."

"It figures..." Lina sighed as she took a drink of her tea and reached for a handful of cookies, then paused and delicately took one. She glanced at Gourry, who was looking anywhere but the cookies as if trying not to be tempted by them.

Melly got up from the table quietly and returned just as silently with two extra plates full of delicious cookies in such proportions that the mountains covered Lina and even Gourry. "Is this enough to make you relax?"

"But granny, you said I had to let the lady eat first," Gourry shifted uncomfortably.

"That's wise advice that should always be followed," Lina snickered and emphasized, "always."

Lina ate slowly, savoring the cookies one by one. They were very delicious and the speed at which she sampled them increased with each one. Before Lina noticed, she was shoveling the cookies into her mouth at top speed. When she broke free from the delicious trance, a horrified expression spread across her face. "I'm sorry!" She loudly exclaimed.

Melly laughed in good humor. "I'm sure my little Gourry feels very comfortable with you. Now that the lady has broken the ice, you can do the same, Gourry."

Gourry didn't have to be told twice before he started shoveling cookies into his mouth. "Hey, what about ladies first?!" Lina joined in, competing for the cookies like they always did when it came to food. Overall, they had a good time.

xoxox xox xoxox

Later, when dark energies started being detected in several places throughout the peninsula, it became evident that the pieces of Beast Master were on the move. Surprisingly, Zelas insisted that she would take care of things herself and didn't even give Xellos any instructions. Of course, he still wanted to help, thus he ended up running through a jungle, chasing after the strongest piece. Said piece looked like Zelas did when she was the Berserk Beast and had no interest in standing still to talk to Xellos. Instead she dashed through the heavy flora of the jungle, gathering beasts to follow her, presumably to launch attacks on human settlements. "Wait, Lord Beast Master! Or is it Lord Berserk Beast? I just wanted to talk to-" A branch to the face silenced Xellos and tossed him back. "Ow..." He got up again and rubbed his nose. "I'm not going to catch her like this. Maybe if I embrace my inner beast..."

xoxox xox xoxox

At the same time, Seyruun was flooded in chaos as another Zelas with an appearance similar to her alternate sporty look that she usually used when playing brass rackets, spread trickery throughout the kingdom. From exploding fruits to random spells that turned people into rabbits and other creatures, the city was in disarray. Filia, Amelia, Zelgadis, Naga, Gravos, Jillas, Elena, Philionel and Gorun Nova tried to stop the mayhem, while Val and Palou actually seemed to be having fun with all the pandemonium. It was only a matter of time before Amelia and Naga were swayed into thinking that the chaos was more so amusing than it was bad and, despite the extreme disorder that threatened to tare the kingdom of white magic apart, started having fun too.

xoxox xox xoxox

Another piece of Zelas headed to the Elmekia desert, specifically to the crater left as a result of the previous battle with Gorun Nova. She began to dig deeper and deeper with the goal of causing the planet to fall apart by attacking its very core, thus ending the lives of all the creatures that required sustenance from the planet, which would become too unstable to be properly inhabited. Massive earthquakes and strange weather had already begun to assault the surface as a result.

xoxox xox xoxox

As for Zelas' persona, the glue that could keep all the pieces together, so to speak, she had returned to Wolf Pack Island after her little detour at Dragon's Peak and Milgazia had gone to find her. "Your other parts are making a mess of things. Shouldn't you be reabsorbing their power right about now?"

"I doubt they'll stay still and let me," Zelas, the persona, informed with her usual nonchalance towards trouble that was not necessarily troublesome to her.

"Then what can be done?" Milgazia insisted on knowing as he followed her through the long elegant hallways of her palace. "I know you must have a plan to get your power back if you're being so calm about this!"

"Indeed... But first, some food," Zelas announced, reaching her kitchen and entering it. The kitchen was large, grand and well supplied.

"Food?" Milgazia stared in confusion. "But you don't even need it."

"That doesn't mean I don't want it, and I am a great cook. You've tasted my cuisine before, so you should know," Zelas reminded with confidence.

"Dragon cuisine?" Milgazia glared.

"Not this time," Zelas informed, ignoring his upset expression about the subject. "Since Xellos insisted on running out to play and everyone else seems to be pretty busy, I here by dub you my taste tester for this cooking session. Feel honored."

"I think I should feel worried," Milgazia frowned. "As crazy as life is, maybe there is more to this cooking session than meets the eye. You always have a strategic purpose in mind with everything you do, and I'm sure that isn't going to change any time soon. I don't know how this will help you recover your power, but somehow, it will."

Zelas shook her head, though more so in feigned disbelief than denial. "You know me so well it's beginning to get creepy. No matter, you would have figured it out eventually anyway. Now, let us prepare for the occasion."

"Prepare?" Milgazia didn't like the sound of that.

"Yes, prepare," Zelas tilted her head towards a rack in the corner where several aprons hung.

One of the aprons was pink and frilly with a picture of a yellow baby chick in the front. "Somehow, I can't imagine you wearing that."

"That's Xellos' apron," Beast Master pointed out with a laugh. "This is mine," she put on a black apron with glittery purple letters spelling out 'fear the cook.' Then she gave Milgazia another apron. "You wear this one; you wouldn't want to get your nice clean white robes stained."

"What's the point? You're going to dump something brightly colored and impossible to wash off on me on purpose anyway." Milgazia examined the yellow apron he was given, which held a caricature of a roasted dragon in a pose similar to a roasted turkey. He didn't like it.

"Put it on anyway," Zelas ordered. "And like I said, at least pretend you don't know me that well. I'm starting to get creeped out."

Milgazia frowned, "the feeling is mutual."

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 075: Balance! Arrival At The Zero Hour

"Lina! Lina Inverse, I know you're there!" The insistent voice made Lina stomp out of Melly's cottage, with a curious Gourry and Melly following her. The elf had since dropped her disguise and held a younger appearance than her human exterior.

"What?" The redhead sorceress yelled. "I was eating cookies; can't you keep it down so I can focus on that?"

"Um... Lina..." Gourry adopted a thoughtful expression that usually meant that he was going to say something silly. He pointed at the man who had been calling for Lina to come out. "Doesn't he look familiar? It's like I've seen him before."

The young man was dressed in mostly black with the typical attire of a black magic sorcerer. He had a sword strapped on his waist, which also seemed of familiar character to Gourry. The man had big pale blue eyes that gave him an innocent appearance, not befitting of a dark sorcerer or fierce swordsman. His ebony hair was a chaotic arrangement of wild curls that no amount of gel could coax into submission. "Lina Inverse... I challenge you to show me your Dragon Slave!" The man demanded.

Lina blinked in surprise, "who are you and why do you want to see my Dragon Slave?"

"I am the greatest sorcerer in the world of the future and as such, I demand to see your Dragon Slave! If you refuse to use your signature spell on me head on, I will cause chaos and destruction all over this planet until it is torn apart!" The mysterious man threatened. "Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!

Lina felt herself twitch, there was something about that laugh, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. Finally she groaned, "okay," wanting only to be left in peace to eat.

"I will not hesitate to carry out my threats!" The unknown man warned. "If you continue to refuse to-" He paused, a look of realization overtaking his face. "Oh, you said okay? Well that was easy. Who ever said wisdom came with age? This Lina is the smarter Lina, far more compliant than the Lina of my time."

"Not near my garden!" Melly warned.

"Right..." Lina breathe. "Look, I don't know if you're really from the future or not, but regardless of that, if you want to get blown up by the great Lina Inverse, so be it!"

"But Lina, you might seriously hurt him," Gourry cautioned.

Lina had a curious and thoughtful look upon her face, as if she was trying to deeply analyze something. "My instinct tells me there's more to this guy than what it seems and my instinct has never been wrong before." She whispered to Gourry.

"In that case, gather around, I know of a wide area where we can go for this... experiment," Melly offered. Gourry, Lina and the unknown man, who had a peculiar chaotic feeling to him, gathered around the elf. She encompassed them all in her Raywing spell and quickly transported them elsewhere, flying rapidly through the air.

They landed in a swamp in the outskirts of the forest, which Lina wasn't exactly pleased about. "Why did you bring us here?" She frowned and twisted her nose in disgust at the surrounding muck.

"I don't like this swamp at all," Melly admitted. "If you use your Dragon Slave here, you'll clear it all out and the crater that is left behind will surely become a nice fertile valley," the elf happily explained.

"I guess so..." Lina agreed. "Alright, you, get ready!"

"I'm always ready!" The sorcerer exclaimed.

Melly and Gourry backed away to give Lina some space as she began her chant. "Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows, buried in the stream of time is where your power grows. I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand, before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hands. Let the fool, and the swamp, that stand before me be destroyed, by the power you and I possess... Dragon Slave!"

The usual effect following such a chant from Lina Inverse ensued as the land was effulged in a massive blast of power that left nothing but a crater where there was once a thick swamp. "Oh, how lovely, I'll plant lots of flowers here now that the nasty swamp is gone." Melly announced as she and Gourry rejoined Lina's side.

"Now let's see if that guy is as special as he thinks he is." Lina hopped down the crater where she found the bruised and burned sorcerer twitching in pain. "Look at that, I was right to think something was unusual about him, he actually survived that, sort of."

"Re... re... re-covery..." The mysterious young man muttered with difficulty, but failed to summon the inner strength to cast the healing spell, as his defenses had been exhausted in preserving his life.

"Oh, whatever, it's not like he's a serious threat," Lina decided to be merciful. "Recovery!"

The man stood up as quickly as he could. "You didn't need to do that, I was perfectly in control of the situation."

"Ha!" Lina chided, "you're not even fully recovered."

"That's not the point, I am alive and that's what matters. My mission in this time has been accomplished. Remember this, Lina Inverse, that I, prince Zoamelgustar, am strong enough to survive a direct hit by your Dragon Slave, so next time I request to test my power against the legendary Lina Inverse, do not speak those infuriating words of 'I'm too much for you, kid.' Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!"

"That's it!" Gourry recalled. "I knew he looked familiar and his sword too. He's Zangulus and Martina's son and that's his father's sword!"

"Then he was from the future!" Lina gasped, eyes going wide as her mind came up with all sorts of reasons for his visit to the past. "Wait a minute, how could you have trouble recognizing people you've seen recently and you can recognize someone you seen relatively recently, but as a baby! He's all grown up, I can see the resemblance to the baby if I look for it, but how did you pick up on it so fast?"

"That's easy," Gourry smiled proudly. "The sword is an easy give away."

Lina blinked and let out a hopeless breath, leave it to Gourry to be able to recognized swords in such detail. "Now that introductions are out of the way, tell me, Zoamelgustar, why have you come to the past? We're busy dealing with the threats upon the world in this time, don't tell me there's a future enemy we're going to have to deal with at the same time?!"

"Um... no... Well, I mean, the world's been in danger before every now and then since I was a child, but I didn't come here to warn you or anything. I just wanted to test my strength against your Dragon Slave, that's all," Zoamelgustar explained.

"And you time traveled for that?" Lina groaned. "Spoiled brat," she muttered.

"Prince Zoamelgustar!" A familiar golden dragon entered the scene, there was a flash of light and he emerged from what looked like a circular rip in the very fabric of time with an orange outline around it. The portal faded away a short while after it was created. The dragon looked a bit different, but still easily recognizable by Lina as being Phythan. "Oh, hello, Lina, Gourry, Melly," he greeted them all, which meant he must have gotten acquainted with Melly at some point in the future. He still held the same innocent light in his violet eyes when he pulled up his goggles to rest atop his head. His robes were a big singed though, as if something had blown up near him recently. He held a strange machine fashioned similarly to a bazooka, though it was smaller than one, albeit larger than a pistol. "Please go back to your time, prince, your training partner awaits for your usual sword and magic spar and I need to get back to my experiments if I'm ever going to reach the level Celo had. Beast Master won't like it if she finds out I'm wandering through time when I should be doing my intern duties."

"Alright, I'll go home and give my rival a taste of my power. With my chaos I shall win this time!" Zoamelgustar dramatically declared, ending the statement with a far too early victorious laugh. "Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!"

Phythan shot the gun to open a new portal and in another flash of light, the fabric of time was lightly ripped again, though this time the portal had a blue outline around it. Zoamelgustar jumped in and he was sent back to where he came. "I really should be going now, we're not supposed to be time hopping for no reason, it can break the worlds if we do it too much, but Zoamelgustar dropped the time portal gun when he used it, so he would have been stranded here," Phythan explained. "Ah, I'm probably saying too much already, well, goodbye." The golden dragon jumped through the blue outlined portal and seconds later, it disappeared after him.

"Time portals, huh?" Lina mused aloud. "At least they fade away after a little while or the time stream would be full of holes by now." She couldn't help it but to curiously wonder who that rival of Zoamelgustar was...

xoxox xox xoxox

Parting ways with Milgazia, Zelas headed towards the location of her beast portion to find Xellos in one of his attempts to communicate with her, which, as all other previous similar interventions, failed miserably. "Sounds like she still won't listen to you, or maybe I should say, I." Zelas, the persona, voiced as she materialized next to Xellos, noting his peculiar attire.

"And here I thought I would get her to listen if I was properly dressed," Xellos pouted.

"Well, you can stop worrying about that now. I sense my monster part is at the Elmekia desert crater." As if on cue another earthquake shook the land, there had been plenty of those lately. "Get your pet and meet me there."

"Yes, Lord Beast Master," trusting in Zelas' plan, whatever it may be, Xellos teleported to find Filia.

Left alone, Zelas moved towards her beast part, who was marching out of the heavily forested area and commanding her beasts to attack a human settlement on its outskirts. As amusing as the show was, enough time had passed and Zelas could feel the pulsations of Darkstar's power becoming ever stronger as the separation of the worlds got weaker. Such a broken state would surely suggest a do over from the Lord of Nightmares, which Zelas wasn't ready to prompt just yet, and most likely not for several millennia. The persona moved a certain dish she held in the astral side to the physical plane, where the beast could clearly perceive its scent as if by purely physical means. That beastly side of her, she knew, had an inclination towards physical detail especially concerning smells and would surely be called to attention by the scent of the roasted boar. The recipe and secret sauce were specially made and very much to the liking of the chef. As expected, the beast immediately noticed the scent of something grand and, as Lina Inverse would, she dashed towards it. Grinning, Zelas, the persona, disappeared, though with no intentions of escaping from the beast, but merely of leading her to the meeting place.

xoxox xox xoxox

When Milgazia arrived back at Dragon's Peak, teleported by Fang, he was covered in sauce stains. Those present at the mountain only glance at him in passing, with short casual greetings and didn't inquire for any explanations concerning his filthy state. They already knew the likely reason for that to be Zelas and thus no one bothered questioning it.

The dragon elder got himself cleaned up and, without much explanation, received the item Fang had been holding for him and was teleported to Seyruun. At the city of white magic, the trickster side of Zelas was literally bouncing off the walls, giggling madly like something out of a horror novel from a dragon's perspective, except for Val that is, as he had been taught the enjoyment of chaos by Xellos, and was having fun. A stressed Filia, accompanied by Jillas and Elena a few feet further back as they could not match her dragon speed, dashed after Val, in a futile effort of trying to get his attention while the boy was too focused on the joyous chaos to notice.

It was at such a scene that Milgazia and Fang had arrived almost simultaneously as Xellos, who was still wearing his peculiar attire. Filia halted and blinked, not sure if she wanted to comment or not. She waited until she realized that she could not resist her curiosity and finally voiced her inquiry. "Xellos... why are you dressed in a fur loincloth?"

"I thought it might be helpful," Xellos smiled cheerfully as he always did. His words were true, but taken out of context they made little sense.

Filia opened her mouth to speak again, then closed it resolutely. "Never mind..." She looked at the approaching Milgazia who held a pie, with Fang not too far behind. "Milgazia, Fang?"

"Greetings Filia..." Milgazia rose an eyebrow at Xellos' unusual appearance, but decided not to ask and, so as not to waste time by provoking one of Xellos' 'rude dragons' rant, he included the purple haired monster in the greeting, "Xellos..." albeit with an obvious tone of lesser importance.

Xellos gasped and pointed at the pie. "Is that Beast Master's ultra special meat pie?" His eyes opened for a moment as if contemplating the thought of stealing it.

"Yes and it's not for you," Milgazia quickly explained. "It's for the trickster. Zelas has assured that if I speak certain lines in her presence, she will follow me and try to steal the pie, then she is to be led to the Elmekia desert."

"I am to take Filia there too, but I was provided with no pie to bait her with," Xellos pouted.

"You would have eaten it yourself anyway," Filia pointed out. "Besides, why must I go to the desert? I am guessing the parts of Zelas are being gathered to be united as expected, but what role do I play?"

Xellos shrugged, "I'm not sure, but I suppose we'll find out soon enough. I would say, if I were to take a guess, something related to fusion magic."

"Ah... that makes sense actually," Filia nodded thoughtfully. "Fusion magic would be the key to putting her back together, most likely..."

"What I don't understand is how a pie would be of great interest to the trickster enough so that she may be led to Elmekia by it. Furthermore, why must I be the one to taunt her with it and not someone else? I suppose I'll know soon enough too. At least the boar recipe with the secret sauce made a shred of sense, the scent was rather appetizing," Milgazia confessed.

"Ah, so she's attracting her beast part with her favorite food other than dragon cuisine. Did you get to taste it?" Xellos curiously inquired, while in the background of their conversation, Seyruun continued to be immersed in deep chaos.

"No," Milgazia replied cautiously. "Not that I would want to eat food prepared by a monster if I can help it."

"You only say that because you didn't get to try it," Xellos assured. "If you had, you'd be begging Lord Beast Master for more. That roasted boar dish is only second to dragon cuisine."

"Xellos!" Filia scolded in displeasure, she didn't like talks about dragon cuisine.

"At any rate, I will go perform the task I was sent here to do." Milgazia stepped forward, holding the pie where the trickster could see it and loudly declared. "I have a delicious pie, yum yum, it's my delicious pie!"

"Could his acting be any duller?" Xellos mocked.

"Regardless of how much emotion, or lack of emotion the acting has, how is this supposed to get the trickster's attention anyway?" Filia inquired.

"Quite simple," Xellos watched as the trickster's eyes were locked on the pie and she charged forward to take it. Fang was faster and teleported Milgazia away, causing the trickster to follow them towards the Elmekia desert, via the astral side. "No trickster can resist a pie to the face of a dragon, especially one as inviting to pranks as Milgazia. He's so serious he just begs to be challenged by trickery."

"A pie... to the face..." Filia slowly repeated. "I suppose I've heard stranger things, and ruder too," she sighed hopelessly.

Jillas and Elena approached. "Hello," Xellos greeted them with a smile, while the two foxes exchanged looks of peculiar confusion at his current attire. "Filia and I have to be on our way now, in fact, I should probably round up the whole crew while I'm at it, so that leaves you and the rest of the supporting cast to watch the kids and take care of things in this world." He offered no room for arguments or questions as he began his series of teleportations, gathering more passengers with each stop.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the Elmekia desert, the monster part of Zelas had further increased the depth of the crater, digging relentlessly towards the planet's core. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia, Xellos, Milgazia and Gorun Nova were all present at the scene, along with the main persona, plus the beast and trickster sides of Zelas.

"Ow..." Lina complained, clutching her stomach. "Can't a girl digest her food in peace without being thrown all over the astral and physical planes so suddenly?"

"It's time to go and face Darkstar," Zelas announced. "Which means it's time for me to reclaim my power."

"You think you win?" The beast Zelas mocked. "I stronger!"

"Maybe so..." The trickster Zelas teleported next to Milgazia and snatched the pie he held. "But clearly..." The dragon elder thought it was okay to let her have the pie and eat it, just as the beast had devoured the boar, since the food had accomplished its purpose of leading them to Elmekia. However, the trickster didn't take the pie with the intension of consuming it and Milgazia soon found himself with a face full of it. "I'm the most cunning!" The trickster giggled.

Milgazia glared as he tried to clean himself up. "I don't even know what's worse, being all sticky with pie, or a giggly Zelas."

"Hey!" Xellos pouted. "Don't you dare criticize Lord Beast Master or any sides of her."

"Either way, I'm the most complete, I'm the one who has the best of all these aspects, monster, beast and trickster," the persona declared.

Another earthquake shook the land and the sands of Elmekia that were pouring into the crater continued to do so more rapidly. "It's getting hard to stay on our feet here, whatever we're doing; I suggest we do it fast!" Zelgadis urged.

"I actually must agree, I would have no world to rule over if my monster side destroys this planet," Zelas voiced. "I suppose I could always take over the over-world, but it's just not the same. Sure it's a big place, but even in its vastness it has nothing that measures up to our world's dragon cuisine!"

"That's right, our world is great!" Amelia cheered.

"Amelia!" Filia exclaimed in horror. "I would expect Lina to react positively to the mention of dragon cuisine, but not you."

"Oh, it's not that I'm encouraging it," the Seyruun princess clarified. "It's just that it's good to see miss Zelas being so patriotic."

"Right..." Zelas commented flatly. "Well," she glanced over at the beast and trickster, who had gotten into a fight with each other. "Let's get this show on the road. Fusion magic should do the trick. If things fall out of balance, just add more of what is missing."

"Yes, Lord Beast Master!" Xellos stepped forward. "Now Filia, I know you're terribly clumsy, but you can't mess this up, so be careful and give it your all," he teased.

"I'm not clumsy!" Filia pouted. "You owe me for this, raw garbage."

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 076: Worlds! The Final Assault

Xellos and Filia began to prepare their fusion magic. Black energy with sparks of violet lightning gathered in his hands and golden energy with sparks of white in hers. They united the two energies into a ball that fused them both in swirls of black and gold with specks of violet and white like glitter. They couldn't go too fast or else they would throw the fusion energy out of balance, but they also couldn't go too slow, as it wouldn't grow sufficiently and they had little time to accomplish their mission. The orb of fusion magic concentration continued to grow as it was prepared to be large enough for its task, which was no easy feat.

As another deeper earthquake assaulted the Elmekia desert, resonating from it all the way to the opposite coast of the peninsula, Zelas observed that the fusion magic gathered was almost sufficient. She charged forward unexpectedly and pushed the quarreling beast and trickster down into the deep hole where the monster was, taking hold of them with her astral side and keeping them in the target area. Xellos and Filia then released the large orb of fusion magic into the hole, sending it to sweep away anything in its path and push the persona, the beast and the trickster into the monster down below, to unite the four.

A blast of magic echoed as the after shock emerged from the hole like a volcano of dark and bright light. Yet something was not right. "Lord Beast Master!" Xellos gasped, sensing his master's energy with great alarm at what he found. "It didn't work, that blast only hurt her, mainly the three that were closest to the surface!"

"But they're uniting, aren't they?" Filia focused her senses on what was happening below.

"No..." Milgazia's eyes went wide as he realized what this meant. "They're not uniting, the monster part was the least affected by the fusion blast because it was the one furthest away. The others were left injured in a sense, the monster is trying to consume them!"

"If one side of Beast Master consumes the others, her persona will be out of balance and she won't be the same!" Xellos rushed towards the crater. "She'll be ruined and we'll have only her monster side as a replacement!" Not the beast with an affinity to wild creatures, not the trickster who could be laid back and carefree, not the cunning plotting being who was a combination of many different aspects. The monster was the essence of her evil, the cruel side that took pleasure in suffering as more than a means of sustenance and a path to power. The part who wanted complete destruction, rather than continuous chaos, the part who would think that keeping wolves and other such beasts as pets would be pointless, as she would be an enemy to all those that live. The part that would give Xellos none of the special liberties that the true Beast Master allowed him, the part that would likely kill Filia and maybe even Lina and the others, never considering the thought of an alliance with such creatures to be worth entertaining. That wouldn't be the real Zelas, not the Zelas that Xellos held an unwavering loyalty towards, not his Beast Master.

"Xellos, wait!" Lina rushed forward, taking hold of the purple haired monster's arm. He could just as easily teleport out of her grip, as it was merely on his physical projection, but he waited. When Lina spoke in such a firm voice in these situations, it meant she had an idea. "Don't rush in there so recklessly. Don't you see that this is all just a purposely made miscalculation? There wasn't enough of a balance of darkness and light and Zelas' own energy joined the fusion rather than simply react to it, but Zelas warned you, remember?"

"That's right..." Xellos recalled. "If things are out of balance we need to add more of what is missing. Lord Beast Master is a monster of dark energy, so we need more light, more holy magic!" He realized.

Filia nodded, knowing that Xellos was counting on her. "I'll do my best," She levitated at the edge of the deep crater and began to send her energy into it in a big burst of gold.

"It's... It's not working..." Xellos worried.

"It is working," Lina argued. "No one ever said this would be easy or painless and Zelas knew that. The key to healing is also painful for a full monster such as her. This is entirely different from Val, because he was part dragon and part monster, thus none of the required energies for fusion were alien to him. This is far more complex and more dependant on Zelas' own will. An identity, the knowledge and belief of their own existence are all vital to a monster, she'll have to rely on that."

"You're right," Xellos agreed. "Then just as before, we will also serve as Beast Master's anchor in this world, just like we did when we faced the Stillness in its purer form over a year ago!"

"Everyone give your happy thoughts to Zelas!" Amelia cheered, before taking a moment to reanalyze the situation. "Okay, maybe not your happy thoughts since that might not be too healthy for her, just your thoughts then."

Wordlessly, Milgazia joined Filia and began to pour his own energy to fuel the chaotic fusion effect below. 'You knew the planet's wound was already too serious to be ignored, didn't you, Zelas?' He quietly thought. 'You knew your monster part would take advantage of it. All along, you knew what to do to pull yourself together, but it had to be done here, in this very place, close enough for the fusion to affect the planet itself. This was no accidental reaction; you allowed your own energy to become a part of the catalyst to power the fusion to an unprecedented level, to save your territory from destruction. To have an instinctual attachment to the world that holds your beasts and territory, even if you were told by your former master to destroy it, how very beast-like of you...'

As the fusion magic reached its peak, an explosion reached out to the skies from the crater. The waves of energy were so strong, that they blew everyone away in all directions. Rays of light and darkness colored the atmosphere with glowing points like raining stars of violet and white all around. Dazed, Lina sat up to realize that whatever she was sitting on had golden scales. As she saw Filia flying near by, she concluded that they were riding on Milgazia, who, along with Filia, had rapidly transformed to catch them. Fang deposited, an excited and optimistic looking Amelia onto Filia's back. It would make sense that the monsters would have to do some teleporting to assist in catching the group that had been thrown all around with such a force that Raywing couldn't withstand it to be used to carry them to safety fast enough. A rough, yet better than landing splat on the ground, catch, was their only option of survival.

Between the passengers of the two golden dragons, Lina observed that everyone was present and accounted for. She looked at Gourry who was on one side of her and Gorun Nova on the other, then glanced at the area where the crater at the Elmekia desert below used to be. There was nothing but the endless golden sands of the desert and no crater to be seen. Then a dark presence from above caused her to tilt her head upwards towards where a majestic figure floated.

The creature had golden fur, ivory wings and glowing silvery eyes with elongated pupils. "I feel a little different maybe, but I'm still me." The shewolf grinned cunningly. "I'm sure the remnant of the Stillness within Darkstar would turn in its host if it knew I went as far as to erase the scars left on the planet's core from before. That thing or rather, that nothing, has no claim to make in my territory."

"Lord Beast Master!" Xellos cheered, hopping over to ride on her back. He threw his arms around her neck as if she were a giant plush. "Shall we go show Darkstar who's boss?"

"Absolutely," Zelas agreed. "The energies that keep the worlds apart have been weaken sufficiently for me to tare a path between them." Normally, such a thing would be impossible even for someone of Zelas' power, but there were special circumstances at play, as the worlds reacted to each other. "All crew, report to the Great Beast immediately!"

Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis and Gorun Nova joined Xellos, followed by Filia and Milgazia, who changed back to their human-like form. "Lord Beast Master, I will await for the news of your victory!" Fang saw them off.

"I won't be gone too long this time," Zelas flew straight up towards the atmosphere, where the air was thin. The magic users created a shield around the group as Zelas ripped a small opening between the worlds and headed in, leaving the rip to close naturally behind her, though it would only close fully when Darkstar was defeated and balance was restored to the worlds.

xoxox xox xoxox

Zelas traveled through the space between worlds, changing as she went. Just as the magical shields faded, she changed into her space ship form and opened a hatch that led the crew to fall in. Soon the Great Beast emerged at the over-world in space and pinpointed Darkstar's location as well as the Swordbreaker.

An incoming transmission from Canal was received. "There you are! I've been looking for you."

"I know," Zelas replied before the image of Canal on the screen could finish. "It's time to face Darkstar."

"Right, let's do this," Canal declared with a tone similar to that of Amelia.

Zelas observed her crew, all of which looked ready to put up a fierce fight. She had evolved enough to draw power from all of them, not just the designated captain, and Xellos could further boost her system's functions. Thus Zelas, Xellos, Filia, Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Milgazia and Gorun Nova, headed out to the final battle against Darkstar on the Great Beast, along with Canal, Kain and Millie on the Swordbreaker.

xoxox xox xoxox

The Swordbreaker and the Great Beast emerged from their light speed jump at what would become the site of their final battle. The massive ship Dugradigdu lay ahead, it's appearance different from what it had been before. The colossal vessel held a vast array of newly added weaponry, no doubt brought and installed by Bodigar, Nezard, Galveira, Ragudo Mezegis and Gorun Nova during their time of service to Darkstar. A communication link was opened between the three combatant vessels. "So you've finally come to challenge me. Your time of cowardice only served to make me stronger." Darkstar taunted.

"The amount of power you gained in this time is notable, but we gained a lot more, enough to surpass you," Canal retorted.

"Is that so? I recall you retreating because you didn't stand a chance and your little friend from that pathetic inferior other world was certainly no challenge. Is that a replica of her I see?" Darkstar curiously focused his radars on the Great Beast, the results of the scan perplexing him. "You are... real? But how?! I destroyed you!"

"You will learn the hard way that the monster lords of my world cannot be so easily defeated," Zelas threatened. "You don't stand a chance."

Darkstar couldn't understand how it was possible that Zelas could have survived his previous attack. "Then the one I destroyed was the replica?"

"You destroyed no one," Zelas taunted. "The one you fought before was me, but your attacks were useless."

Darkstar growled in frustration. "This time I'll make sure every piece of you both is no larger than a spec of space dust!" He no longer cared about extracting Zelas' power, she had become a problem and it was best to simply take the fastest route to eliminate her as soon as possible.

"Don't forget about us, Darkstar!" Kain challenged. "You'll have to contend with the inhabitants of this world and the next too."

"That's right, and let me tell you, I'm known for my ability to always come out on top!" Lina added.

"Enough of this, I will show you true power!" Darkstar initiated the assault by launching a rain of missiles upon the Great Beast and Swordbreaker.

The two smaller lost ships skillfully dodged the larger projectiles, countered others with their own and the ones that could neither be avoided nor stopped, crashed against their strong psy-energy shields. Canal opened a private communication link between the Swordbreaker and Great Beast. "If we get too close, he'll blast us point blank."

"I know," Zelas replied. "I've gotten accustomed enough to the burden of a physical vessel to realize that. Then our strategy should be clear. Draw out all his physical weaponry before charging in."

"Right, and since Darkstar is putting his resources into fighting, he won't be able to progress in absorbing Dolphin's power and destroying Dynast to absorb his power as well. They should remain protected by the encryption program till the end of this battle," a battle that was only getting started.

"Heh, I'm not their babysitter, my only concern is Darkstar's defeat." Zelas began to shoot missiles full force, to cause Darkstar to use his in retaliation. His vessel was too large to move as swiftly as the Great Beast and Swordbreaker, though its armor was far thicker.

"Missile usage to seventy-percent!" Millie announced.

"We're going to have to bring in the lasers soon," Kain decided. "Millie take your post!"

"Right!" Millie prepared, taking hold of the manual aim controls. "I'm the best shot in the universe!"

"I should thank you for the idea, Zelas, I too have learned to take energy from more than one source at a time," Canal announced. It was an unprecedented advancement for the lost ships native to the over-world.

"Is that so? Then that gives me an idea," Zelas grinned. "After our missiles run out, he'll still have plenty. The high precision lasers should detonate them at a safe distance, and Darkstar won't be too concerned with regular lasers, in fact he might not even notice what follows after them."

"I see where you're going with that," Canal agreed.

"Alright! It's about time we got to do something!" Lina cheered, also interpreting the strategy.

"What are we doing?" Gourry inquired in confusion.

"Never mind the details, just focus on being brave," Lina voiced.

"Okay, I can do that," Gourry smiled.

"The last few missiles are being launched," Xellos announced. "It looks like the Swordbreaker is running out as well. Activating high precision lasers. Lord Beast Master, should I?"

"Alright, get to work on gathering the psy-energy and I'll take care of the lasers. We'll need a lot of system resources for this, so..." A few panels opened up at the controls with manual aim systems. "A beast's instinct is more precise than anything, so my little beasts, fire when you see fit."

"Alright! This is just like a video game! I'll shoot down Darkstar's missiles in the name of justice!" Amelia cheered as she and the others took their positions.

The Great Beast and Swordbreaker shot a rain of lasers, both high precision and regular, mixed together in a blindingly bright light that generated enough interference to momentarily render Darkstar's radars and sensors useless. He wasn't too concerned as even if the lasers went beyond his energy shield, they couldn't truly harm his armor. Yet a surprise lay beyond the lasers. "The psy-energy blast is ready!"

"Zelas... that amount... your ship..." Canal warned.

"I get it," Zelas acknowledged. Even if she and Xellos, with even more ease than her, could handle positive psy-energy, hers was still a dark lost ship and some consequences with such a massive amount would be inevitable, but they could be reduced. "Linking psy-energy system... There, now we have access to the energy of each other's crew. Xellos, transfer some of that positive psy-energy to the Swordbreaker and divide the energy sources between us."

"Yes, Lord Beast Master!" Xellos did as he was told.

"Ah, this is some quality energy, Darkstar won't like this surprise," Canal grinned mischievously. "Ready!"

"We're ready here too," Xellos added cheerfully.

"Fire!" Kain and Lina shouted simultaneously.

The continuous blast of the lasers was finalized by two massive blasts of psy-energy, which Darkstar didn't see coming until it was too late. The psy-energy broke through his shield and collided against Dugradigdu's armor, damaging it. "You'll pay for that!" Darkstar threatened. "It's about time I showed you my true power. I now appoint Dynast as the captain of this vessel!"

"Can he do that?" Zelgadis had a bad feeling about it.

"A lost ship as the captain of another lost ship is something unheard of, but with all the modifications Darkstar has made to his vessel, Dugradigdu, who knows what he might be able to do," Gorun Nova warned.

"Canal, will your program protect Dynast?" Milgazia inquired.

"Not like this," Canal grimaced. "It protects him from being absorbed into Dugradigdu, but to be used as an external power source like a human would be; I didn't even think Darkstar could develop the resources to accomplish that, so I have no counter measures prepared. Dolphin's presence isn't there anymore though."

"I guess it's a good thing I took her out of there, too bad I couldn't get Dynast out as well, but at least we only have half the trouble to deal with. If Darkstar can use a lost ship as a captain, then no doubt, he would be able to drain power from more than one source," Zelas theorized. "I'm sure he hates it, feeding on the power of life, the essence of the Stillness within him must make it so."

"I see, so even if Dolphin's power is still locked away, a prisoner of Darkstar, he can't use it because it is not a living thinking creature, thus no psy-energy can come of it alone," Filia concluded. "Then that means..."

"We'll have to get Dynast out of the way, or at least his persona," Xellos concluded.

"Darkstar probably has too much of a firm grip on the locked away power, so like with Dolphin, we'll have to leave that for later," Lina strategize.

"Actually, now that I've given it some further thought, we might not even need to be concerned with Dynast all that much," Zelas voiced.

"I hope you're right, because I detect a massive blast of dark psy-energy about to be shot at us!" Canal announced in alarm.

"Leave it to me. Xellos, create an inner shield with positive psy-energy," Zelas ordered.

"An inner shield, Lord Beast Master?" Xellos inquired in perplexity. "But the inner side of the Great Beast isn't as strong as the outer area. To shield it with energy opposite to it will only cause damage."

"It will be fixed soon enough, so do it," Zelas ordered.

"Yes, Lord Beast Master," not questioning his commands any further, Xellos placed a shield of positive psy-energy on the inner side of the Great Beast, specifically concentrating in the control room, where the crew was gathered. Sparks of electricity surrounded the area as the dark lost ship reacted badly to the shield.

Zelas moved the Great Beast to fly in front of the Swordbreaker, taking Darkstar's blast of dark psy-energy fully head on. The dark energy surrounded the vessel, causing physical damage with its intensity, but empowering her energy. The self repair system jump started at an amazing speed and made up for the physical damage received. The darkness penetrated the armor of the Great Beast, colliding with the shield of positive psy-energy, which Xellos held up. After the dark psy-energy had been mostly absorbed, Zelas cued Xellos to, "drop the shield!" Which he immediately did. The remaining dark pulsations made the walls of the control panel glow with swirls of black and purple, being ultimately absorbed to make up for the damage of maintaining the positive shield for the sake of the crew.

"Good strategy," Canal commended. "A dark lost ship can't be so easily harmed by its own element and you even managed to shield your crew."

"Nothing feels impossible anymore," Zelas admitted.

"Then it was the right choice for you to take on Darkstar's allied lost ships, you've come far since your initial arrival here and you even got Gorun Nova to join you, I can sense it's him, though in a different form," Canal revealed.

"The other world... it's not a place to be underestimated," Gorun Nova admitted.

"That's exactly what Darkstar is going to have to learn!" Lina announced with great determination.

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 077: Invasion! Fading Boundaries

Strong energy waves invaded the area in deep space where Dugradigdu, the Swordbreaker and the Great Beast fought. Darkstar attacked with more of Dynast's energy, but it was counteracted with the same technique as before. "Zelas, this strain is too much, even for a monster lord, and Dynast has been captive for a long time," Canal warned.

"Really, Canal? Don't you get it? Hostages have no effect on me," Zelas assured.

"I should have known," Canal laughed nervously.

The pulsations of energy all around turned into small rips in the over-world, which led to the Slayers' world. However, albeit increasingly numerous, they were far too small to allow any of the ships to fit through them. "Do you really think we're alone here?" Lina shared her suspicions.

"Nosy people just can't stay out of this, can they?" Zelas mused. "Follow me," electricity coursed through the Great Beast and smoke dissolved in space, but it was only a clever trick. She unexpectedly retreated, followed by the Swordbreaker.

Darkstar took the bait, believing the Great Beast to have been overloaded and damaged. He followed the two retreating ships to the area from where the Great Beast had emerged into the over-world for the final battle. "The rip you made is still present, Lord Beast Master, though opening it to a larger size would be rather difficult from this side. I suppose you could say our world is more volatile in composition thus a trip from there to a different world is easier than from another world to ours," Xellos informed.

"The same would go for the transmission of energy," Zelas agreed.

"I have no doubts about it, Luna and all the others must have gathered in our world, most likely at the Elmekia desert. They'll be ready to send us their energy if we just get ready to receive it." Lina theorized, guided by her instinct, which had not failed her before.

Darkstar, who had been chasing the two smaller lost ships, opened fire again, with more of his missiles, lasers and dark energy. "Zelas, we need to get ready if that idea is to work. I'll take some of that dark energy too this time."

"You think you can handle it?" Zelas teased, already knowing the answer.

"Of course I can, I just need to redirect it to my weapons system. It may be bad for the Swordbreaker as a whole, but I can still use it as ammunition," Canal ascertained. "I won't use it now, as it won't work on Darkstar anyway, but I can transfer it to you at a slower pace and you can use it to repair your ship."

"Energy waves of untraceable origin detected from the rip!" Xellos announced. "It must be from our world."

"Then lets receive it," Zelas decided. "If the psy-energy is used to open a link, it should work. Amelia, Filia, you have experience in focusing in prayer, I'll give you this task."

"You can count on us and on justice!" Amelia cheered.

"This reminds me of the Stillness battle, we can win again!" Filia agreed with determination.

The energy sent from the Slayers' world gathered around the Great Beast and Swordbreaker, making it easier for them to defend themselves against Darkstar. "That power... Where is it coming from?" Darkstar growled in frustration. He traced it to the inter-world rip and hurried towards it. "I'll put an end to this!" He shot all his remaining missiles into the portal simultaneously.

"Those missiles, if they reach our world..." Zelgadis didn't even need to finish.

"If..." Lina emphasized.

Zelgadis gave the situation some further thought. "In his anger, Darkstar fired too many missiles at once. Most of them will crash against each other and explode on the way," he realized.

"And those that do reach their target won't be enough to defeat our allies," Milgazia agreed.

"Especially with the magic they wield," added Gorun Nova.

"That's right," Lina cheered, "they'll find a way to shield themselves."

"And while Darkstar is throwing a tantrum, we can attack him, right?" Gourry suggested.

A split second of collective silence overtook the ship, before Kain exclaimed. "What are we doing discussing it? Fire!" The notion didn't have to be repeated before it was swiftly followed.

Darkstar was forced to turn away from his task at the rip and set his focus once again on the present battle. Yet he was too close to the rip, albeit he couldn't fit through it. He tried to block it with Dugradigdu, focusing his shield in the front of the vessel, leaving the rear open with energy absorption devices to try to take the energy sent from the other world for himself. He was empowered at first and threatened to overload the systems of the Swordbreaker and Great Beast. However, it didn't take long for those sending that energy from the Slayers' world to realize it was being intercepted and turn it around to drain energy rather than give it. Darkstar was surrounded by electricity as he pushed Dugradigdu to cut the connection forcefully, but something had gotten a hold of him through Dolphin's power.

"Dolphin!" Zelas recognized the traces of energy of her fellow monster lord. "She's calling her power to return to her." Immediately, Zelas sent a transmission towards Dugradigdu, as it was the only way to get to Dynast. "Dynast, hold on to that stream of energy, I'll try to loosen Darkstar's grip on you. Don't hold on to your power, you can recover it later, hold on to the stream of energy that comes from our world!"

"I won't allow this!" Darkstar growled in frustration.

"This is it! Ready, Millie?" Kain's voice came through the shared communication link between the Sword Breaker and the Great Beast, though it was more so an internal conversation of the Swordbreaker's crew that time. "Millie?"

Millie was focused as if in prayer or deep meditation. "Not now Kain, the best in the universe is trying to sync her energy with Amelia and Filia. But to answer your question, the best in the universe reminds you that she is always ready!"

"She must be in deeper concentration than what it seems if she speaks of herself in third person," Kain commented.

"Psy-energy received!" Canal announced.

"Than I'll leave this one to you, since you have much more in common with Ceifeed," Zelas decided.

A ray of golden light emerged from the rip beside the stream of dark energy that pulled at Darkstar. It was the power of Ceifeed that Luna was channeling through the portal with Amelia, Filia and Millie turning the Swordbreaker into a beacon for it to follow. The hit made Darkstar retreat from his position in front of the portal, which kept on growing as more energy was sent through it. He had to release Dynast's persona in order to move out of the way and avoid another blast from the Knight of Ceifeed.

xoxox xox xoxox

Dynast crashed into the Elmekia desert like a meteorite and tried to, as quickly as he could manage, pull himself together. Taking on his human form, he examined the area around him, recognizing the endless stretch of golden sand as far as the eye could see, though it was littered with cannons and missiles. His numb senses return to him and his eyes focused on those around him. Among them, he recognized and quickly approached Dolphin. The monster lord of the sea was on her knees in deep meditation, coaxing her power to return to her. "Dolphin, Dolphin!" He tapped her shoulder insistently.

"Hush! Don't bother me now, I need to concentrate!" Dolphin shrugged her shoulders aggressively, in an obvious hint that she wanted the annoying tapping to stop. Her hands were still clasped together as she muttered incantations under her breath that resembled her own spells. Though she didn't finish casting them, as that was not the purpose of the incantations, she used them to draw her power back towards her.

"But Dolphin, we're surrounded, there are dragons," most of them from Milgazia's clan. "And the Knight of Ceifeed is here and there are monsters too, and they're all just standing there and..." It was all too much for Dynast to take in all of a sudden.

Placing a finger over her lips, Memphis let out a screeching, "shh!" That shushed Dynast for the time being. Vrumugun gave him a 'you better listen to her' look, but didn't actually say anything. Phythan smiled with a thumbs up, while Onyx remained characteristically quiet.

Luna stepped forward, an orb of light turning in her hand. "This should do it..."

Dynast opened his mouth to warn Dolphin of her apparent impending doom, though the orb of light held by the Knight of Ceifeed was shot towards the sky and not through Dolphin as he imagined. "Better?"

"Oh yes, that bit of fusion does make the flow of energy easier," Dolphin agreed, eyes still closed in concentration.

Luna turned to the open mouthed, aghast Dynast. "Well, aren't you going to try to recall your power? If I mix my energy with yours on intervals, the pulses of fusion will make the flow easier too."

"Eh?" Was all that Dynast could mutter.

Riksfalto groaned. "We have a truce because none of us wants Darkstar to get his way. The Knight of Ceifeed is allowing Lord Deep Sea Dolphin and you to reclaim your power so that Darkstar can't use it. Besides, even if he, from what I've heard, cannot absorb it at present, he does want it and if we take it away, he'll waste energy trying to keep it and that will help Zelas and Vorfeed."

"I think I get it..." Dynast slowly nodded. "But to ally with Luna Inverse, even in such extreme circumstances..." he frowned.

Dolphin momentarily opened her eyes to give Dynast a cunning look. "If you don't want your power, can I have it?"

"No!" Dynast exclaimed. "I was just saying that I don't like the idea of working with Lina Inverse' sister."

"Lina's sister more so than the Knight of Ceifeed?" Luna curiously questioned. "I see you're still a bit bitter towards her..."

"Dealing with the Knight of Ceifeed is bad enough, but Lina is on a league of her own," Dynast huffed. "Besides, I find it suspicious that you'd let us keep our power, even with the present circumstances."

"The transmission diminishes it because the cost of transporting that power gets taken out of it." Luna revealed. "But it's better than letting it be lost and possibly taken by Darkstar, isn't it?"

"This is..." Dynast was without words.

"Oh, calm down," Dolphin disregarded. "Zelas will protect us, she's a lot stronger, you know. She's like the new top monster lord of this world, like Shabranigdu's replacement, and what does the light have? A holy knight that spends more time waiting tables than actually fighting and a stubborn dragon elder that Zelas might just have for dinner one of these days, that is literally have him for dinner."

"And what does the over-world have?" Luna added, "A dark lord that's about to be defeated. Canal, the new Vorfeed as it were, is still powerful though. The dragons and myself oppose the monster race, while Zelas and Canal are opposites to each other. Yet even if the one to balance Zelas' power is in the over-world, we have a pretty good diplomat to deal with her here."

"You mean you'll take the position?" Sylphiel curiously inquired.

"Of course not, I have the cafe to tend to. Putting up with Zelas' antics is Milgazia's job. He's perfect for it, since Zelas seems to be rather fond of him, or at least fond of the taste of his hard to trigger temper. I guess she enjoys the challenge," Luna grinned mischievously. "If we look at the two worlds together, there is a balance of darkness and light."

"Let's hope that counts for the Lord of Nightmares," Pokota voiced.

"I think it just might," Luna agreed. "After all, breaking boundaries is what motion is about."

"Mr. Dynast, you should start your meditation now, just like Miss Dolphin," Sylphiel urged.

Grumbling in discomfort, Dynast did as he was told. "Just one more question," he added. "What's with all those cannons and stuff all over the desert?"

"They're Jillas Cannons!" Naga cheered. "Daddy and Gravy carried them here, then we teamed up to defend our world from Darkstar's attack, that we knew must eventually reach us, with magic and technology of our own. Jillas directed the cannon attack and everyone helped, Val and Palou too. Elena and I not only helped with the defenses, but we also made cookies! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Oh, but the cookies ran out just before you got here... Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"

"Sometimes I think it really is impossible to return the world to chaos, because it already is chaos..." Dynast muttered under his breath.

"Now you're catching on! It's about time; we figured that out over a year ago." Naga cheered. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Who ever said monsters were the most chaotic creatures around?

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, the battle continued in the over-world. "You won't get away with this, I still have more power than you can imagine!" Darkstar threatened. "Psy-energy fusion!" Beams of swirls of black and gold assaulted the Swordbreaker and Great Beast harshly.

"He's using Vorfeed!" Canal gasped.

"We can use fusion of our own!" Zelas reminded. "Xellos, load the attack pattern data, push the shields beyond the limits, we can't afford to get too damaged by this, but we're drilling in."

"Yes! I've been looking forward to this!" Xellos cheered. "Loading attack pattern data, sending attack pattern data, gathering defensive energy..."

"Attack pattern data received," Canal confirmed. "This is..." She displayed the plans of motion on the screen for her crew to see.

"It's completely crazy!" Millie suddenly exclaimed.

Lina laughed, "no, it's completely our style."

"Rash, seemingly senseless, utterly careless, a big gamble," Kain observed with a serious faced that suddenly turned into one of glee. "I like your style, let's do it!"

"What?!" Canal exclaimed. "Ugh, fine, but you're getting my ship a new paint job after this and I want high quality paint!"

"Connecting!" Zelas and Canal guided the Swordbreaker and Great Beast to link with each other, held together by mechanical claws and strong cables, the two lost ships of light and darkness becoming as one.

"What foolish desperate plan are you trying to fulfill by tying yourselves together? Darkstar taunted. "Whatever it is, it won't work!" Once again he forced Vorfeed into giving up her energy. "Psy-energy fusion!"

"Right back at you" Lina challenged.

"Everyone better have their seatbelts on," Canal cautioned.

"Commencing attack!" Xellos cheered.

The two lost ships began to spin rapidly, surrounded by energy of light and darkness. The positive and negative feelings, rather than canceling each other out, were guided to a balance that set them in a loop. In the endless cycle, happiness brought tranquility and tranquility boredom, which brought sadness, then danger was received with adventurous joy, that would give way to difficult peril and desperation, which would in turn cultivate an unbreakable determination, that would bring forth a bittersweet victory, and so on, every emotion was stripped of its purity and turned into the catalyst of its opposing force. It was a complex technique that one AI alone couldn't manage. It was a type of psy-energy that could not be allowed to lean towards one side or the other, but only fuel the continuous battle.

As it went on, the two ships spun faster and fast, pushing their shields, life support and stabilizers to the limit to preserve their greatest sources of energy, the crew within them. The tornado of fusion psy-energy proved superior to Darkstar's assault and the united lost ships collided with Dugradigdu, drilling a hole through its thick armor. At last they had penetrated the seemingly invincible fortress, but now the task lay ahead to defeat its master. While the Swordbreaker, Great Beast and their crew was yet recovering, Dugradigdu sent his internal defenses, which he never expected to need and thus were not too many, at the invaders.

"I will not allow this; you will fall in this battle, Darkstar!" A familiar voice echoed through the communication channels.

"Vorfeed!" Canal called out in alarm.

"Darkstar's hold on me has been weakened by your attack," Vorfeed explained. "I will use the remainder of my power to weaken him as much as I can. The outer defenses will be disabled so that you can reach the core of Dugradigdu while your ships recover."

"Such a task would be too much!" Canal warned with great worry.

"If Alicia could make such a sacrifice... so can I!" Dugradigdu's whole outer area short-circuited by the work of Vorfeed in his systems, but it wouldn't be long before he extinguished her from his data.

"Vorfeed!" Canal cried out for her other self, the original from whence she came.

"Protect the dreams of all, do not let them succumb to the Nightmare..." Vorfeed's voice faded away. "You are the new Night Dragon now..."

"Vorfeed, no!" Canal loudly cried out in agony.

"Canal!" Kain hugged the hologram that represented his childhood friend. "Don't let the pain take over, be strong, it's the only way to beat Darkstar!"

Canal closed her eyes, taking a deep breath in her simulated form and in the depths of her systems, running a defragmenter and prioritizing program, the equivalent of gathering her thoughts and trying to regain her focus. "You're right, Vorfeed's sacrifice won't be in vain. I will live through this to accomplish the task she left for me. I will become the new Night Dragon of this world, the protector of the subconscious of its population."

"That's right, you'll become the best," not to mention the only, "Night Dragon in the universe and we'll be right here to back you up every step of the way!" Millie cheered.

The crews of the Swordbreaker and Great Beast exited the vessels and found themselves inside Darkstar's vessel, Dugradigdu. "Dugradigdu was originally built as a weapon, so it has a life support system that Darkstar never bothered removing, though it was understandably inactive until recently. Thanks to Vorfeed, I managed to hack in and reactivate it," Canal explained. "Our ships drilled in fairly deep and they are kind of stuck for now. At least we're not being pulled into space right now. It should be fine to remove the ships once we're deeper in, if we can manage. Since the outer defenses have been disabled, our ships will also have the chance to repair themselves, but it's still a dangerous position we're in. I can't say how long it'll be until Darkstar recovers, attacks the ships and disables the life support system in here. We need to reach the core of Dugradigdu and destroy it before long."

"And the more damage we do along the way, the less resources Dugradigdu will have available to accomplish all that," Kain added.

"Encouraging us to do some damage, are you?" Zelas grinned.

"Coming right up!" Lina readied her psy-gun, shooting at anything and everything as she charged in. The fiery red haired leader was closely followed by Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia, Milgazia, Gorun Nova, Kain and Millie. To her surprise, Canal, Xellos and Zelas also joined them. "Is it really okay to leave the ships?"

"We're still connected to them," Canal assured. "We are technically with the ships all the time."

"Besides, even if we're holograms, that doesn't mean there's nothing we can do," Zelas added.

"With a little hacking we can join the fun and Darkstar's prone to it right now," Xellos faded into the metal wall like a ghost, leaving a stream of short circuits in the inner workings beneath the wall panels.

xoxox xox xoxox

The first part of the journey deeper into Dugradigdu was relatively easy, but that would soon change as they reached the inner chambers of the vessel. "So you've finally made it?" Darkstar's voice echoed, as the lights went out.

The large metal chamber held a floating citadel with anti-gravitational technology on all sides and no bridge to reach it beyond the force field that surrounded it, forming the only dim light in the chamber. "The air is pretty thin here," Lina observed.

"That's because this area has no life support system active, Darkstar is in control of this chamber," Canal determined.

"If he's not trying to extend his control to reboot the outer areas, that can only mean that he intends to focus on this battle. The oxygen filtering in from the surrounding area will have to be enough for now," Zelas voiced.

"We've been in situations like this before, stay strong everyone!" Lina charged forward, only by a few steps before, a laser crossed her path and she had to hastily jump out of the way. It was only the first of many, which rain upon the group. They dodged what they could and shielded themselves with the psy-weapons from the close calls.

The oxygen became thinner, until it was absent completely and the gravity and temperature fluctuated rapidly to the extreme. A shock of chilling temperatures was followed by the alarmingly rapid increase of heat. "Not only is there no life support in this area, but Darkstar controls it!" Canal exclaimed.

"Not even the cyborgs will be able to survive like this!" Xellos realized in alarm.

"We'll have to hack in!" Zelas decided.

"Right!" Canal joined in, "everyone, stay strong and fight, the three of us will try to keep the conditions as stable as possible!" Canal, Zelas and Xellos' holograms disappeared as they focused on the hacking.

The rapid increase of the temperature was halted and the oxygen restored. Lina took a deep breath. "As stable as possible might not be all that stable after all," she gasped for breaths of thin air. The temperature still occasionally went up and down, from chilling to scorching, and the altered gravity had the crew feeling as if each of their feet had an extra fifty pounds attached. Sparks of electricity swerved in the air, making the very atmosphere sting painfully. Against all odds, Lina marched towards the edge of the chamber and looked towards the protected citadel. "Gourry..."

"Right!" Gourry held out the psy-sword, the one that held a bit of precious metal from their world, crafted in part from the remains of Lina's brass racket, which had been vital to their survival when they first arrived. Everyone surrounded Gourry, some putting their energy into his psy-weapon and other serving to shield them from the continuous lasers. The beam of psy-energy from the psy-sword hit the force field around the citadel, finally extinguishing it.

"Applying life support..." Canal's voice echoed. "The hacking so close to Darkstar's core programming is difficult, even the attempt is painful."

"That means you'll have to keep that shield down at all times," Zelas cautioned.

"That's right, or you'll get suffocated and cooked, whichever happens faster." Xellos chirped with his characteristic cheer that many times was unfitting to the situation.

"I can do it," Gorun Nova offered. "I was a weapon similar to this one for a long time, so channeling my energy through it is easy. I'll keep that shield down, the rest of you go ahead."

Gourry frowned in disapproval at the plan. "We can't just leave you here by yourself. There's that shield to fight against and the lasers all around."

"Like I said, projecting my psy-energy is very easy for me. I can aim to disable Darkstar's shield and create a shield to protect myself at the same time," Gorun Nova insisted. "Besides, you're going to need all the attack power you can get in there!"

"Gorun Nova..." Gourry paused unsure.

"Trust me, now go!" Gorun Nova insisted.

"Take care of yourself," Gourry finally agreed.

"You too, child of Flagoon..." Gorun Nova whispered as Gourry, Lina, Amelia, Zelgadis, Kain and Millie made their way to the citadel with some help from the jetpacks of Filia and Milgazia.

To be Continued

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 078: Forever! Until Next Time

At the entrance to the citadel, among a continuous rain of deadly lasers that made the group drain their energy investing it on psy-shields, there was a large metal door. A slightly off color panel at its side indicated that the numerical pad beside the door had been removed. "Can this be hacked?" Kain inquired.

"Maybe if you'd all stopped being so fragile for long enough," Zelas snapped.

"What she means is that we're having an all out digital, or in your world's terminology, astral, battle against Darkstar right now just to keep the life support system going and we can't spare any power," Canal elaborated.

"How long can all of you hold your breath?" Xellos chirped, his usual cheery voice sounding a bit strain as unintentional proof of his efforts.

"Not long enough," Zelgadis decided not to risk it.

Staying alive in such a suppressing atmosphere was bad enough as it was. It also explained why Darkstar was so quiet lately if he was busy with Canal, Zelas and Xellos, but they would only be able to hold him back for so long. The core had to be reached; it was the only way to defeat Darkstar. "Filia, Milgazia, you're both part machine, with the technological components being integrated pretty deeply. Maybe you can open this," Lina suggested.

"It's worth a try." Milgazia began removing the wall panel on one side of the door, while Filia started working on the other.

Impatient, Filia pulled out her mace, which she was thankful she had remembered to bring and banged on the wall panel until it fell off. She stepped to the other side of the door, "allow me," and repeated the process with the other wall panel.

Milgazia was silent for a moment before commenting that, "the important circuitry is probably a little deeper in..."

"Got it!" Filia took it as a cue to smash some more circuit boards out of the way.

Once that was done, the two cyborgs reached into the circuitry on either side of the door, extending cables into it, looking to make contact with something that would allow them control. "Just rip them out; there are no compatible plugs here." Milgazia concluded as he reached for Dugradigdu's cables beyond the removed panel and cut them, wrapping the thinner metal wires inside the cables around the end of his own plug.

"I guess there's no choice, not that I mind breaking cables if they belong to Darkstar." Filia followed the example and broke apart the cables from the citadel, tugging the thin metal strands into the outlet of her own cable. She felt a jolt of electricity as she began the connection process and began feeling as if the door was as one of her limbs which was trying to lift itself against a heavy weight. She realized that Milgazia must also be able to sense it, the weight was Darkstar's resistance and the movement to lift it away was Milgazia trying to open the door. Filia joined in, straining her systems as if she really was lifting something heavy, which was a somewhat odd feeling given that she was standing still, yet she felt as if she was doing a great deal of exercise. She could only imagine how much harder it would be for Xellos, who was more directly struggling against Darkstar.

The door finally opened and Zelas' voice was heard again. "Filia, Milgazia, I sense you've connected to Dugradigdu, it's relatively superficial, but you stupid dragons might be able to make yourselves useful after all. Reach deeper into the room in front of you and focus on pushing away Darkstar's influence."

"Just pretend your doing an exorcism," Xellos chimed in.

"Don't let your dullness hold you back, Milgazia," Zelas teased.

"That's enough with that, I'm not going to blow up now of all times." He paused, sensing that Filia was, understandably, angry at the situation as a whole and of course, especially at Darkstar. "Filia, focus on something positive, it will make pushing Darkstar back easier."

"Positive... positive..." Filia chanted, trying to concentrate.

"Just think about how cool I am," Xellos suggested.

"Oh, shut up, raw garbage." Though she said that, Filia did feel a lightness and warmth in her heart when she thought of Xellos. She also thought of all her friends back home who were waiting for her and of her precious child, Val.

"I'm not concerned about Milgazia the dull, he never gets really angry," Zelas commented. "I think I shall never forgive you for so easily forgiving me for the whole jet pack incident."

"Holding a grudge would only empower you, I'm not going to feed you as a reward for doing something bad," Milgazia reasoned.

"So if I do something," Zelas made a sound expressing exaggerated disgust, "good, then you'll get angry at me?"

"I'll try," Milgazia offered.

"Alright then, I think saving the worlds from Darkstar, even if I'm only doing it for my own reasons, can still be classified as something good, so you better keep your word and give me some of your ultra rare anger after this," Zelas warned.

The two golden dragons turned cyborgs continued to focus on their task while their remaining companions moved to the very center of Dugradigdu. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Kain and Millie bravely charged in. The inner room had armored screens all over the walls that coated the chamber in light, contrasting with the darkness of the area surrounding the citadel, which was only lit up by the deadly lasers. At the center of the tall room there was a long metal pillar attached to the floor and ceiling, with an empty area in the middle. A jewel-like device floated between the two halves of the pillar, reflecting the circuitry inside it. It was layer upon layer of a circuit board of platinum-like cords trapped in a substance similar to diamond, the most advanced data containing device ever created.

Even if the device was removed from its place, unless it was taken very far away, it would still be connected to Dugradigdu. Plus even if it was moved far enough, destroying it was a nearly impossible task; presently, even removing it was. That was the core of Darkstar's true form at present, held by purple and black electricity in its glass encasement between the two halves of the pillars. "I never thought you'd make it this far," Darkstar's human form that he once had appeared in the screens all around them. "The three programs, the former lost ship and the two cyborgs are working hard just so that the six of you can have a livable atmosphere here, not that you look too comfortable. The one who arose from Shabranigdu bows down in the name of Chaos!"

Those who were informed of the meaning behind the phrase instinctively paused, waiting for something, but there was no effect except for an increase in the oxygen output. Lina greedily took in big breaths of air, as if the precious oxygen was a plate of delicious food about to be stolen away from her. The others had similar, albeit less gluttonous looking, reactions. Zelas only laughed, "true chaos is not light and not darkness, but a creature that has a little bit of both, in different proportions, yes, but still both. Those who wish to pretend they are pure denounce chaos and are forced to submit to chaos by the speech of the truth they do not understand. Canal can wield wrath, I can wield courage, unpleasant as it may be, I can do it." Which meant that she wasn't pure evil, just as Canal wasn't pure good, perhaps she never was and only needed to admit it, because in chaos, there was no pure anything.

Though Zelas couldn't help it but to be a little jealous, in absolute secrecy of course, that Canal had more skill in painlessly handling wrath and powering her weapons with her opposing element, granted that it wasn't enough to overload her systems, and the only one strong enough to do that was Darkstar. Then again, Canal had more experience; she could have beaten Bodigar, Nezard, Galveira, Ragudo Mezegis and Gorun Nova on her own, as she had won against them in the past, but she purposely avoided combat, because it was Zelas who needed that experience. Painful as it was, having been beaten to an inch of a permanent shut down, that is a true ruined death, on more than one occasion, she did gain the experience she needed. "Besides," Zelas added in a mocking tone. "It doesn't sound like the remnant of the Stillness inside you liked it when you called upon chaos, didn't you want total silence?"

Darkstar made an angry unintelligible sound. "It doesn't matter, now that you've dared to come this close, I'll show you the power I obtained from the enemy of the Lord of Nightmares, this is the power of the Stillness!" A silvery light overtook the atmosphere as all the stages of the Stillness' cycle were projected from the remnant within Darkstar. First there was the great pain of the Lamentation which would serve to fuel Darkstar.

"Don't give up!" Amelia called loudly, so that not only her companions nearest to her could hear her, but also those who were helping to keep them alive from just outside the core of the citadel. "Everyone, don't give into the sadness. Suffering is temporary and, if anything, it teaches us to overcome. But don't block out all emotions either, because that's what Darkstar wants, that's what the Stillness wants!" That was the second stage, the Void, a lack of emotion, a mental death. Then there would come the end, the reaper of all to erase all traces of anything that might be left, or a representation of it.

"We've been through far too many adventures to give up now," Lina heroically declared, in what had come to be known as her leader mode.

"Right, we can overcome this!" Kain agreed. Together, the group attacked the glass encasing containing Darkstar's core. The glass only cracked despite their efforts, but at least they were getting somewhere.

"Stubborn fools!" Darkstar growled in anger and frustration, trying hard to fight against the hacking that prevented him from doing much.

"Everyone focus your energy on the same point!" Lina commanded. Pained voices from just outside the citadel were a testament to their companion's harsh battle.

"Lina, we'll entrust our energy to you!" He didn't know how he was doing it, but Gourry, who had never had any real ability in magic, was actually transferring his energy to Lina by simply wishing for her to have it. Amelia and Zelgadis joined in, followed by Kain and Millie, who decided to trust the infamous Lina Inverse of the other world. An honest admiration for her good taste in capes was what ultimately made Kain give up his usual position of leader without argument to Lina. With a massive blast of psy-energy, the glass container of Darkstar's present core was broken. The group didn't stop their efforts for a second, constantly attacking the very hard to destroy core, drilling through it with their combined might. Yet just when they thought they could win, their energy appeared to be neutralized.

"The Stillness empowers me; there is no hope for you!" Darkstar threatened.

"Darkstar... You can never truly wield the power of the Stillness, because you are chaos too. You existed in a human body before," Canal reminded, her voice echoing through his systems. "You know what human emotion is like from experience and yet you still fed on hatred because..." There was a dramatic pause and everyone couldn't help it but to listen attentively. "Because you're a psycho!" The phrasing was met with reactions of surprise at her bluntness. "But even a psycho seeks to change and evolve; even an insane man like you must feel some form of joy even if it's cruel and sadistic. I know what you enjoy, I saw it in that creepy twisted smile when you were human, you long for the thrill of the battle and you fear defeat because it would be the end of that. But if you won, it would be the end of the fight too, that's why you became frustrated thinking there was no end goal to this fight of darkness and light. Well you're right; there is no end goal because the goal is for it not to end. This is all for the living creatures to manifest their power and grow, magic, psy-energy, technology, evolution, that's what this is for, they are at the center stage, the humans and those similar to them... I, Night Dragon Canal Vorfeed, the lord of light, will not allow the chaos to end."

"And I Beast Master Zelas Metallium, the lord of darkness, will not allow the chaos to end."

"With great trials and great mercy to make them worth it, the cycle of evolution, of motion and of chaos must continue!" Canal insisted.

"Lord Beast Master, Lord Night Dragon, the rip has reached a sufficient size and the repairs are ready!" Xellos announced.

"Then let's go," Zelas confirmed.

Dugradigdu shook violently with an unexpected motion and the atmosphere became more tense and filled with energy, yet somehow it was easier to breathe. "What's happening?" Millie urgently inquired.

"The rip between the worlds was made large enough because of the passing of energy from our world to this one," Zelas revealed.

"So now we're pushing him in!" Xellos cheered. By the combined force of the Great Beast and Swordbreaker, Darkstar began to be pushed through the portal towards the Slayers' world.

"Wait a minute; we're going to our world?" Zelgadis suddenly realized. He rapidly took off his cyborg armor, which he had put on for its usefulness in the battle, having found it in his room in the Great Beast, though he wasn't even sure how it survived all the trials the vessel had gone through. He tossed the armor all around in his haste to get rid of it before it became a part of him again in a different form. "Phew... That was close, I almost ended up as a chimera again." Thankfully, he managed to remain fully human, though he did feel a tad ridiculous dressed in only the skin tight body suit he wore under his armor.

"What is a solid digital code in my world, is astral energy in yours, ever flowing, ever changing, ever dependant in the belief of its own existence," Canal voiced. "Are you ready for this, Darkstar? The Stillness will be a hindrance if you call upon it in that world, it will consume your astral body and you will be purely astral. Through this rip, we're taking all of you to that world, not a trace to be left behind for you to cling to this one."

"And there, in the most chaotic of the worlds, you'll meet your end," Zelas finished.

"I'll destroy you!" Darkstar growled in madness. "I'll destroy you all and your whole world, and all the worlds! Nothing will remain; nothing of the trap of the Lord of Nightmares, nothing of the endless cycle, nothing of anything!"

"It's not a trap, it's a pretty good plan, after all, what's life without a little conflict to keep it interesting?" Kain argued. "Even I who dreaded it, I think I can finally understand a little of what is beyond our understanding."

"Darkstar will likely take on a dragon-like form when he reaches the other world, which means you probably don't want to be in here." Canal warned a split second too late. She appeared again in her holographic projection, as Darkstar's systems were changing from technological to astral and the hacking was no longer needed. Her smiling face reminded the group of Xellos.

"Why didn't you say that before?!" Lina shouted as Milgazia, Filia and Gorun Nova joined the others, wondering what in the world was going on.

"We intended for you to remain here inside Darkstar as he is transported to our world," Zelas grinned.

A chorus of alarmed, "what?" Echoed through the area. Lightning rained from the center of the room where the two halves of the pillar met as Dugradigdu fought desperately to retain his lost ship form.

A massive bolt formed, all the smaller bolts converged and headed straight for Lina, as she lost her footing due to the violent shaking. "Lina!" Without a second thought and not a fraction of a second to spare, Gourry shielded her from the hit, taking it fully himself.

"Gourry!" Lina yelled with more agony seeing Gourry fall wounded, than if she would have been hit herself.

"Everything here is too unstable, everyone; let's make a shield of energy!" Zelgadis called out. Amelia, Kain, Millie and himself surrounded the distraught Lina and the wounded Gourry.

"Zelgadis, Amelia, there's healing magic in your world isn't it? Leave the shield to us, save your energy from when we get there!" Kain called out. "Millie, let's do this!" Channeling his and Millie's energy through his psy-sword, Kain created a shield to encompass all the others.

At last they arrived at the Slayers world and the dark miasma around them was unbearable. Despite that, Amelia and Zelgadis were quick to take action, putting every bit of energy they had into healing their friends.

"Lina Inverse... Zelas has told me that if you were to unleash your true power, you can defeat the Stillness within Darkstar. The only way to reach and unarm his core was in our world, a world of space ships that would allow us to be able to journey inside Darkstar. The only way to defeat his core is with the strength of spirit that can be more easily expressed in your world. By making Darkstar fully astral, he cannot use his vessel as a means to hide his mind, as Dugradigdu has become part of his astral form, just as Swordbreaker has become part of mine. Lina Inverse, warrior of chaos, break beyond the limits and conquer this challenge!" Canal requested, encouraged and almost begged. "Good luck..."

Most of the group landed on the sandy grounds of the Elmekia desert where their friends where waiting. They had been teleported there by Xellos, Zelas and Canal, who had taken on her human shape, albeit she was an astral being in that world, similar to Ceifeed. Seeing the dark dragon in the skies and their champions returning, albeit apparently the fight wasn't over yet, everyone surrounded the new arrivals.

Gourry, who was healed, stood up in alarm, "Lina? Where's Lina?"

"She's up there..." Gorun Nova weakly replied, there was something off about him, it didn't seem right.

"Gorun Nova, you're hurt!" Gourry knew of no other way to express it, but he saw death in the other man's eyes.

Gorun Nova smiled without a hint of sorrow, "Amelia and Zelgadis healed my body of all wounds, but my mental energy had already been drained and could not be restored by giving me more physical energy. I knew I wouldn't make it, I was just holding on." He stumbled, unable to stay on his feet and Gourry helped him to stand. "I only wanted to hold on long enough to die in this world and eventually be reborn here so that one day I can be with Flagoon..." His eyes closed and his body went limp.

"Gorun Nova! Gorun Nova!" Gourry called to his in desperation, tears streaming down his eyes until he realized it was useless. Surprisingly, Gorun Nova's body was surrounded by a strange golden glow and he vanished. "Lord of Nightmares... Was that you? Are you making it so that he can be reborn sooner?" Gourry looked to the distant skies, clouded by the wounded dark dragon that was Darkstar. "Until we meet again, my comrade and friend..." He bid Gorun Nova farewell, then glared at Darkstar. "She's up there," Gourry repeated the words. "Lina is up there..." He looked at the lords of light and Darkness, whose eyes seemed, fixed on the dark dragon above, neither Zelas nor Canal speaking a single word.

Luna offered Gourry a smile. "She'll be fine, my little sister's tough."

xoxox xox xoxox

Within the darkness, Lina's ruby eyes glared defiantly. "Leaving me behind to finish cleaning the mess... They'll have a lot to make up for."

"How foolish to rely on a mere human..." Darkstar's voice taunted from a small orb of dark light that was what become of the circuit jewel.

Lina felt her heart pounding erratically as the atmosphere in the strange astral space within Darkstar did not favor humans, or living creatures in general. Her lungs burned and her skin stung just by being there. She could almost feel her hair starting to turn white from the sheer strain of the atmosphere within Darkstar's astral form. "They know that those who are neither darkness or light are the only ones capable of defeating the Stillness. They know that I, with my chaotic balance, stand the best chance at this while I have no distractions. This is my world, Darkstar, and you're about to witness my power! Lord of dreams that terrify, sword of cold and darkness, free yourself from the heaven's bonds." The brave sorceress poured all her might into that one spell, giving it every drop of energy she had. "Become one with my power, one with my body, and let us walk the path of destruction together! Ragna Blade!" The blade of chaos cut through the orb of dark light, causing it to flicker and before the sword disappeared, Lina gathered all her might and threw the chaotic blade like a lance, opening an escape route for herself.

"Running away? That hardly hurt!" Darkstar taunted, though he knew he was badly wounded and he felt inexplicably as if he was being turn apart.

"That wasn't meant to destroy you directly," Lina grinned as she ran towards the opening. "I finished what I started, don't you sense it? The Stillness is gone for good this time and not even a tiny remnant was left behind! Which mean, that you're no longer protected by it and the wound we gave your core before should be enough of an astral wound to nearly ruin you!" She jumped out of Darkstar's astral form, too tired to cast Levitation or Raywing, as she had put every drop of energy she had into surviving thus far and casting that powerful Ragna Blade.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Lina!" Gourry called out as he watched her fall, while the dark dragon above looked very unstable.

"Go catch her, Gourry... Raywing!" Zelgadis projected the spell towards Gourry.

Gourry floated up surrounded by wind, intercepting Lina's fall. He caught her in his arms and the bubble of wind lost altitude until it disappeared at a safe distance from the ground.

"Captain Lina, all is ready and at your command." Xellos called from his position, casting a massive fusion spell alongside several dragons and monsters, including Phythan and other dragons, Fang, Galathia, Zenki, Neuro, and even the lords of light and darkness, Canal and Zelas.

"Hmp! Trying to make up for ditching me back there by letting me give the final order?" Lina grumbled tiredly. 'At least this time around, I didn't fall naked out of the sky.' As such was a consequence of being disintegrated and having her body recreated by chaotic energy. "Fine then, let's not waste any more time, I want my victory banquet, fire!"

The massive blast of fusion magic was shot, just as Darkstar gained his bearings enough to realize what was coming, though he could not defend himself. In his terribly wounded state, the magic heading towards him was too much and he was reduced to black dust that blew around and faded. Cheers overtook the atmosphere for the battle had finally been won. A small black orb floated down unnoticed by most. Canal floated up and grasped it gently in her hand, grinning deviously. She hit the small dark orb in her palm, wrapping her fingers secretively around it. She addressed the crowd with sincere gratitude. "To all the people of this world, thank you very much for all that you've done. Even if our two worlds will heal and become separate again, if you ever need my help, call on me and somehow, I'll know and be here!" The dragons were especially happy with that, as they had someone similar to Ceifeed to look to.

"Well, the rips are going to close up, so we better get going," Millie observed with a frown. "And so soon too, I wanted to try out the ingredients of this world."

"We wanted to try your cooking!" Lina and Gourry complained in perfect unison.

"I wanted to go cape shopping!" Kain protested.

"Oh, that's enough you two. You know we belong in the over-world and we can't go ripping holes between the worlds all the time. Let's go, the worlds might need some rest from each other, even if somehow, I believe that in a way, they will always be united. Vorfeed took on her dragon form, covered in magnificent shining white scales, with elegant wings. She allowed Kain and Millie to climb on her back and took off towards the closing portal in the sky.

After Canal, Kain and Millie were gone; Lina took a big breath and reiterated, "I want food!" Talks of a great banquet began, which Lina demanded should take place on that very night.

"I'm here! Ah! He he ha he he!" Martina made her late entrance, followed by Zangulus, who held baby Zoamelgustar.

"You're a bit late, the fight's over," Lina groaned.

"I like to call it fashionably late," Martina argued, revealing that her tardiness was intentional. "Besides, I'm not here to fight; I'm here to congratulate the world's champion on behalf of the kingdom of Zoana."

"Oh, really?" Lina puffed up with pride that someone like Martina would actually show up to personally congratulate her. "Well go right ahead then, I'm listening!"

"Congratulations, Lord Beast Master!" Martina declared at the top of her lungs, adding a victorious laugh at the end for good measure. "Ah! He he ha he he!"

"Beast Master?!" Lina screeched in indignation.

"Don't complain, I did a lot of the work carrying all of you around," Zelas reminded. Lina sighed and surprisingly relented, as there was a good amount of truth to that claim after all.

"Well, now that the danger has passed and another chapter in our lives has come to a close, let's all go back to Seyruun and share the exciting tales of adventures and justice!" Philionel cheerfully invited. "Who knows, maybe by the time the next adventure rolls around I'll be a grandfather! Oh, but we must celebrate the royal wedding first, we might as well make it soon, right?" The Seyruun king, who would forever have the heart of a young prince, gave Zelgadis a pat on the back that, catching the ex-chimera, now human unprepared, almost sent him face first into the sand.

In Zelgadis' mind though, that wouldn't have been so bad, since he could at least hide the crimson shade of his face that way, as he only managed to nod and stutter a quiet, "yes, very soon..."

"There's too much cheer here," Zelas huffed.

"True chaos is not light and not darkness, but a creature that has a little bit of both," Milgazia quoted. "Which means that you're not pure evil, courage leads to other things, fellowship and-"

"Shut up," Zelas growled.

"Anyway," Milgazia continued, positive feelings won't harm you as much as you like to pretend they do, not if you set your mind to it. You should have already overcome such limitations through your experiences."

"Are you suicidal, dragon? Shut up and keep your word, I was promised anger," Zelas reminded.

Milgazia sighed, closing his eyes, "alright..." He focused and allowed his frustration to take hold, projecting the dark emotions he felt in various points of their adventure.

"Okay, okay, that's enough!" Zelas unexpectedly urged.

The negative feelings dissolved as Milgazia explained. "All it takes is discipline and control. That's how you annoy me all the time, but I almost never allow you to feed on it, and never to a full extent..." He paused realizing that many pairs of eyes, monster eyes to be specific, were on him. "Why are they looking at me?" He whispered to Zelas as discretely as he could manage with so many eyes on him.

"Because you're delicious," Zelas replied as a matter of fact, as if she was talking about a cake or similar treat, rather than a living creature.

"Oh..." Milgazia didn't really like this.

"You'll have to show me your angry side again later, but when there's no one else around to steal my food." Zelas ordered rather than requested.

Xellos pouted and glared at Milgazia, who noticed and gave him a questioning look. "You better be a perfect gentleman to Lord Beast Master," the purple haired monster warned. Not that it was needed, as Milgazia, ever the diplomat, always was.

The comment earned Xellos a confused gaze from the golden dragon elder and a warning look from Zelas. "Xellos..."

"Yes, Lord Beast Master?" Xellos chirped with his characteristic cheer that this time really did fit the occasion.

"Shut up and go play with your dragons," Zelas replied.

"Yes, Lord Beast Master!" Xellos pulled Filia and Val towards him in a group hug that was kind of sweet, until he slipped his hand under Filia's skirt and pulled her tail. That had her chasing after him with her mace pretty soon, with Val laughing in amusement at his parents' usual strange game of tag.

Thus the latest adventure came to a close and a big meal awaited in the near future, along with many happy occasions to look forward to. Yet a world without danger would be too boring for an adventurer, so to be sure, other adventures would be certain to come.

xoxox xox xoxox

Later, at the over-world, the Swordbreaker cruised peacefully across the galaxies... "Are you sure it was wise to keep him?" Kain asked, staring at the creature that Canal's holographic projection held in her hand.

"Don't worry, he's harmless like this!" Canal held up her favorite new toy. It was a little android about five inches tall, fashioned after the style of a chibi in an appearance similar to Darkstar's past human form.

"Canal!" The little doll screeched angrily. "You're going to pay for keeping me like this!" Darkstar, in his new fragile, yet adorable, form, struggled helplessly against Canal's grip.

"Aw, he's so cute!" Millie squealed, "can I play with him?"

"Sure..." Canal made a suspenseful pause that made chills run down Kain and Millie's spines. "After you two finish the Swordbreaker's new paint job!" She ordered firmly. "I want quality paint, so go get some jobs or I'll start charging for the oxygen around here!" Kain and Millie stiffened and hurried away to browse the online trouble contractor listings for jobs they could take on. Canal smiled in satisfaction, seeing her crew so earnest to earn money.

"But I'm supposed to be the evil one," the little Darkstar whined pathetically.

"Nothing is pure evil, my cute little friend," Canal hugged him like a little girl who just got a cute new doll. "And," she grinned mischievously, "nothing is pure good!" With a fit of foreboding giggles, Canal skipped away towards her personal room at the Swordbreaker. "Where did I put those ribbons?"

End

I used the Kanzaka Dex and Slayers Universe for information references on characters, places, magic and other details.

I don't own the anime, video games, movies or tv series mentioned on this site. I'm only doing this for fun and no profits are being made.

The Slayers and Lost Universe original novels were written by Hajime Kanzaka.

There are a whole bunch of the challenge themes from Beloved Enemy scattered throughout both parts of the story.

Some of the original characters that appear in this story are Phythan, Onyx, Celo, Tiffany, Fang, Kalio, Kally, Medusa, Galathia, Erosnum, Jewel, Kirei, Topaz, Saramina and other minor characters.

The later episodes of Slayers: Chaos include characters from the Lost Universe series, including Darkstar, who has appeared on both Slayers and Lost Universe, and others.

The cabbage vendor on Episode 006 is from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

On Episode 007 the phrase, "fight that fire when it burns" is from the Jeanne D'Arc video game.

Jarde, who was also in Slayers: Alive and first appears on Episode 013 of Slayers: Chaos, is from Valkyria Chronicles II.

On Episode 014, Team Rocket and Giovanni are from Pokemon.

On Episode 016, The dagger shaped garnets on the bracelet are a reference to Princess Garnet, who went by the alias of Dagger in Final Fantasy IX.

On Episode 019, Gourry's childhood friend who has a horse named Epona is Link from Legend of Zelda.

Episode 021 has a reference to Shrek in the lines: "What kind of knight are you?" "One of the kind." Just switch knight for dragon.

Episode 027, the explanation about the Roketto links Slayers: Chaos with the brief appearances in Slayers: Alive of Pokemon characters and explains how they got there in relation to Don't Give Me Diamonds (Pokemon), which all fits into the same continuity. This episode also has a reference to Galathia's story, which is further explained in the one-shot Minions (Atomic Betty).

On Episode 028, Iago is from Aladdin and Lina's cat plush is Hello Kitty.

On Episode 037, the story of Lost Universe is based on the anime, information from the novels found at wikia and creative license to fill the blanks in ways that it fit with Try. The name of Zelas' ship is based on an alternate name of hers, Greater Beast, with a reference to Star Fox's Great Fox.

On Episode 040, Milgazia dressing up as a 'light ninja' is a reference to the Samurai Jack episode "Samurai vs Ninja."

On Episode 041, Milgazia offering to give 'something good' as a reward, which turns out to be the satisfaction of helping others, is a reference to Flonne from Disgaea. Zelgadis' armor is like a silver and light blue Ironman.

On Episode 044, the Ruby Eyes System is another reference to the Slayers: Light Magic manga. Zelgadis' helmet looks like Guido's helmet from Samurai Pizza Cats.

On Episode 046, the names of Biggs and Wedge are references to Final Fantasy.

About Episode 047, very little is known about the swordsman of light, aside from the fact that the swordsman was actually a woman, she defeated the Zanaffar at Sairaag, then planting the Flagoon tree and that she traveled in the company of a male dragon. The identity of the dragon is unknown, but rumored among fans to be Milgazia, which I accepted as this story's fanon. Flagoon, as I dubbed the nameless warrior, is an ancestor of Rowdy, who is an ancestor of Gourry.

Episode 049's title has a line from Romeo and Juliet "Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?"

On Episode 050, the sorcerer with the golem is an ancestor of Amelia and Naga's mother. Jullios is an ancestor of Jillas.

On Episode 053, Andrew is from Sailor Moon and Star Fantasy is a reference to Star Wars and Final Fantasy.

Episode 054 is a crossover with DRRR!! That's where Shizuo, Izaya, Tom, Erika, Walker and Kyohei are from. Rule 63 states that for every character there is a version of that character of the opposite gender. Rule 34 says that if it exists, there is hentai of it. The DRRR!! crossover was inspired by our chats at the Beloved Enemy forums were someone pointed out that Filia and Xellos are similar to Shizuo and Izaya.

Episode 055, Tamaki is from Ouran Host Club. Raily and Nina are from Lost Universe, though in this story they joined the Galaxy Police from Tenchi Universe, after the Darkstar battle.

Episode 057 and others, the grappler ship functions are based on Outlaw Star.

The mysterious cube in Episode 058 looks like the ones from Portal, but with a crescent moon instead of a heart.

On Episode 060, Kaiba Corp. the dueling cards, the king of games (Yugi), Duel Academy's top student (Jaden) and Jack Atlas are from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's respectively.

On Episode 061, Lina and Gourry's mission was based on a similar situation with Kain on episode 14 of Lost Universe. The blond girl and blue haired boy are Flonne and Laharl from Disgaea.

Episode 063: Winry, granny Rockbell and the mentioned Edward and Alphonse are from Fullmetal Alchemist. Capsule Corp. is from Dragon Ball Z and Shinra Inc. is from Final Fantasy VII.

Episode 064: Zelas' look as the Berserk Beast is partially based on Ayla from Chrono Trigger.

In Episode 066 Amelia quotes L's (Death Note) "justice will prevail."

Episode 067: Goku, Vegeta, Bulma, Trunks and Goten are from Dragon Ball Z.

Episode 068: Mrs. Briefs, Gohan and Videl are also from Dragon Ball Z. The terms of pool and bucket capacity are based on the explanations for the Slayers novels. The pool capacity is the total amount of energy and the bucket capacity is the maximum amount of energy that can be used at a time. The gang who returned to its own world was Team Rocket, which was mentioned and made cameos along with several Pokemon characters in Slayers: Alive.

Episode 073: The scene Xellos tricks Milgazia into reenacting is from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, where Rainbow Dash is teaching Fluttershy how to cheer. The chapter title 'We're All Mad Here' is from Alice in Wonderland.

Episode 075: The time portal gun is a reference to the Portal video game gun.

My Main Site: http://azurelight.net
Deviant Art: http://mikaristar.deviantart.com
Fanart Central: http://fanart-central.net/user/AzureMikari/

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