Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Detour ❯ Chapter Twenty One ( Chapter 21 )

[ 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 Twenty One
Lina wasn't quite sure what had woken her, but she woke up hungry. She had discussed strategy with Zel before going to bed. Neither of them trusted Xellos. Even though the chimera was sure it'd be a little while before the Mazoku got his bearings enough to be a threat, neither of them were interested in taking chances.
Fortunately for them, Seyruun had one of the best libraries left after Sairaag's destruction. They had decided to start researching today after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast. There had to be some way to subdue or—in the worst case scenario—destroy Xellos.
She had a research plan already, too. Lina figured that maybe they could frankenstein some sort of item together from Shazaard Lugandi's research that might help them. Or, in that worst case scenario, some sort of White magic that would destroy a high-level Mazoku from Luo Glaon's work. Or maybe they could find something from Rei Magnus to help them. That was, at least, where she intended to start, and from there she'd branch out until they'd found several possibilities.
She hadn't told Zel about Xellos' belief that she was L-sama's general, and didn't intend to until she knew what was going on. That was another thing she wanted to research, however unlikely it was that she would find anything.
Lina had dressed and was headed down to the kitchen when the entire palace shook violently, surprising her and throwing her to the floor. She had regained her feet and started running toward what she thought might be the source when there was a muffled but powerful explosion that shook the palace so hard that tapestries fell from the walls. A suit of armor serving as décor fell in front of her.
The explosion had come from the direction of the Armory, where, Amelia had told her, Phil was keeping a store of gunpowder that Seyruun had acquired via trading with the lands beyond the Mazoku barrier. It must have gone off.
She was considering leaving it to the castle guard when she remembered that Gourry often liked to train down there in the mornings. Then she took off running.
Zelgadis had only needed a few hours of sleep, and daybreak found him already in the library searching through old books on the War of the Monster's Fall for ideas. After all, the Mazoku had technically lost, so maybe there was some detail they could use.
Unfortunately, a lot of the books he'd found were basically bardic lore, horribly exaggerated. He'd already read through three of those and found nothing of use, marking them as such with a slip of paper in the covers.
The chimera was shelving the third useless book when a shadow moved and he suddenly found his arms pinned at his sides. He struggled uselessly for a moment as he was suddenly pulled from the library, the creature—Mazoku, he realized—crashing through a window and flying up into the morning sky.
There had been no fight, no attempt to kill him. Zelgadis was being captured, and he had no intention of going at all, let alone quietly. He quickly cast Ra Tilt, bringing his hands together with some difficulty to release the blue flames.
His attack grazed the Mazoku, which let out a shrill scream, and he suddenly found himself in free-fall. He cast Raywing, bringing himself quickly down and away from the Mazoku, but he wasn't fast enough. The creature was after him with an angry roar, overtaking him easily. But it seemed he had at least injured it, because it slammed into him, sending them both careening through the three foot thick stone armory wall.
Zelgadis lost consciousness momentarily, but forced himself to his feet. He had taken damage, and a lot of it, all down his right side. He couldn't even move his right arm, and it hung uselessly. Blood dripped from a head wound, and his eye wouldn't open. But he could stand, and he was going to fight.
All he could see was darkness, and he quickly cast a Lighting spell to find that it was his proximity to his attacker, a dark, serpentine mass, that was the cause. Before he could cast another spell, the Mazoku hit him, sending him careening through another wall, and Zelgadis found, to his relief, that the interior walls were not that thick even if they were stone.
Still, being thrown through a stone wall was none too fun, even with stone skin to protect him.
He chanted the incantation to Ra Tilt as he struggled to his feet, only to remember that he couldn't bring up his right arm to cast it. The sorcerer started to cast Recovery on his arm, only to be hit again from behind. Zelgadis cast the first spell he could remember that only required the use of one arm: Burst Flare.
The Mazoku disappeared, and Zelgadis saw too late what had been behind it. Kegs of gunpowder, somewhere between ten and twenty, and his spell was headed right for them. He whirled and ran.
He didn't hear the explosion; instead he felt it. The concussion lifted him up and slammed him through several walls before he finally hit one that wouldn't give and fell to the floor, his body twisted but whole. He knew he needed to move, to get away before the Mazoku found him, but he couldn't move at all. The chimera clung to consciousness long enough to see the ceiling begin to cave in, and then pain whisked his awareness from him.
The Beastmaster had been less than pleased with the loss of Nyx, but had agreed that something strange was going on. Worse than that, she had admitted that Xiuh was also missing, the twins having been sent together for reconnaissance against several of the chimera-creating sorcerer's known associates as a precautionary measure. Nyx was to spy, and Xiuh was to destroy if it became necessary.
And so Xellos found himself near Atlass in the empire of Lyzeille in a recently-abandoned laboratory that fairly reeked of a foul combination of Astral and White magic. The magical mixture set the Mazoku's nerves on edge. It took a moment to realize why, but it was the same blend of magic he had felt when Nyx had exploded. He had certainly found the right place.
Digging around didn't produce much of interest. There was no map or discarded note. No glaringly obvious clues, which at least indicated that this particular sorcerer was no fool. There were things left behind, but they were nothing of value. Raw material for spells, various odds and ends.
But then, on a shelf next to a tiny chimera preserved in jar, was a small stone that caught Xellos' eye. It was deep blue, smooth on one side but jagged and weathered on the other. When he picked it up, he realized why it had attracted him, recognizing the magical energy that still remained within it.
It was a stone from Zelgadis' skin.
Xellos closed his fist over it and disappeared.
Well, I had a moment of crazy when I started writing this chapter. I suddenly realized that I have never written this long of a fic and had no idea if I should hyphenate the chapter number when I wrote it out or just use a space, or even if I should capitalize one. Yes, I am a complete geek.
Also, Chrissy wrote me a beautiful giftfic, set in the Detour universe. I really love it, and am hereby recommending that everyone read it.
Chrislea and Chrissy beta-read for me again. ^^ And Chrissy, as always, listened to me rant about this chapter.