Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Detour ❯ Chapter Three ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

by Rose Thorne
Disclaimer: Slayers is owned by a bunch of folks who aren't me. I'm borrowing them for my perverse pleasure, much as Xellos borrows emotions for his.
Chapter Three
It took another day for the blizzard to break, and by that time Zelgadis was eager to get moving. Xellos disappeared during breakfast, but when he returned it was with travel supplies, including a bundle of warm clothing and a walking staff for the chimera, who knew better than to argue.
Zelgadis frowned as he bundled up. The clothing was more than simply durable. It was high-quality, the gloves and cloak lined with fur and probably expensive. He knew the Mazoku carried money for when he was masquerading as a human, but this was a bit extravagant.
“Where did you get these?” Xellos opened an eye, bringing a finger up. “Never mind.”
He donned the gloves, then brought the scarf up over the bottom half of his face and pulled the hood low over his eyes. After shouldering the pack and pulling on the warm cloak, he adjusted the sword on his belt.
Xellos smiled, handing him the walking staff. “Ready, Zelgadis-san?”
The chimera nodded, and they left the room. Xellos stopped to pay the innkeeper, who eyed Zelgadis suspiciously but didn't comment. The chimera tried to stay unobtrusive, and was relieved to finally leave the inn.
The snow, while nearly knee-deep, was powdery and relatively easy to walk in. When they left town, however, the wind blew it in all directions, making it difficult to see, and even cutting through the warm cloak. Zelgadis found himself grateful for the staff as they plodded through the snow, especially given that they were in the foothills and parts of the path were steep.
Well, he plodded on, anyway. Xellos was floating above the snow, and while it irritated him the chimera could hardly blame him.
Thankfully, the wind died down shortly after mid-day and made travel a little easier. Even so, Zelgadis wasn't happy with the progress they were making, and he knew it was his fault. He wasn't strong enough to keep the pace he normally did.
He noticed that Xellos was no longer floating over the snow, and was instead trudging through it ahead of him. He had a brief moment to wonder why before a group of bandits jumped out to surround them. Zelgadis hadn't even sensed them. He dropped the walking staff and pulled out his sword.
Xellos frowned as he sensed Zelgadis' surprise. With the chimera's heightened senses, he had expected that he had been aware of the bandits. However, the grind of steel told him that the swordsman was ready to fight, even having been surprised.
One of the bandits, probably the leader if you went by size, smirked. “So, a traveling priest. Only one bodyguard, eh?”
Xellos smiled. “Oh, he's quite sufficient,” he said sweetly. He turned toward Zelgadis as he felt a bit of fear run through the bandits to see that the chimera had thrown off his hood and pushed down his scarf to give himself better peripheral vision.
A murmur of “monster” ran through the bandits, and the Mazoku could feel Zelgadis' anger flare. The bandits backed off slightly as the swordsman took his stance.
But the leader just laughed. “We'll get a nice reward from the village for killing that demon.” The apprehension in the others vanished, replaced by greed, and too late Xellos felt the magic building in the leader; he had underestimated the human. “RAZA KLOUVA!”
Xellos dodged easily using the Astral Plane, and Zelgadis was able to dodge using his unnatural speed, flipping in the air; had he been a normal human, it would have hit him and, in his condition, killed him. However, where the Mazoku was able to leave the Astral Plane on solid ground—and it wouldn't have mattered to him even if it hadn't been—Zelgadis' movements took him off the road, where he stumbled and rolled down a steep embankment, slamming into a tree at the edge of a gully. He felt pain from the chimera, but not enough to be of concern.
“Yare yare. Perhaps I should deal with you.” That got the humans' attention, and Xellos opened his eyes, feeling their horror spike as they realized exactly what they had attacked.
The Mazoku took out the leader first with his staff, stabbing the human through the midsection. Terror flared from the other bandits as the human's body fell to the ground, and several broke and ran.
“I think not.” Ribbons of lightning crackled from his staff, hitting and electrocuting the bandits. Their bodies convulsed until he released them and they fell to the ground.
He closed his eyes again and grinned widely, then walked toward the embankment, looking down. Zelgadis had sheathed his sword and was struggling back up. He was nearly at the top when his boots slipped in the snow. Xellos reached out and grabbed him by the cloak, hauling him the rest of the way to the road.
Zelgadis nodded in thanks, breathing heavily, and went to check the bandits' bodies, taking their money pouches and any valuables. Xellos smiled; it was a practical thing to do, but he could feel that Zelgadis was disgusted by it nonetheless.
Xellos picked up the chimera's walking staff and handed it to him, then grinned. “You have bark in your hair, Zelgadis-san.”
“Hit a tree. There's wire in the tree's bark, too.” The young man pulled his scarf and hood back up, but not before Xellos noticed that he was slightly pale.
“Zelgadis-san, if you need to rest before we continue…” Had the Astral magic the bandit had used grazed him after all?
“We won't make it to the next town before nightfall if I do.” Zelgadis shrugged. “It's just a headache. I hit that tree pretty hard.” The chimera started walking, and Xellos stared after him for a moment before following.
Yes, I did research for this chapter. Raza Klouva is a shamanic attack that damages both the physical and astral aspects of a person, and it's supposedly pretty difficult to dodge unless you're fast and acrobatic. I originally had Xellos cast Zelas Brid (or Zelas Brid), which is technically only supposed to produce one ribbon of lightning, but given that it's Xellos calling on his master's power, I assumed he'd be able to cast it far more effectively than any human. However, I later discovered that Mazoku do not call on the power of other Mazoku, as it belittles their own power, so I cut that spell. Both spells are also apparently only seen so far in the novels.