Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Inseparable ❯ Chapter 6
They noticed the sign before they entered the city:
810 Days since last Dragon Slave
Lina Inverse NOT welcome, except by Royal Decree
"I guess we're here," Zel commented. Amelia nodded. "Now, to the Palace."
They strolled through the streets of Xoana, watching the people work industriously under the watchful stare of several thousand Maijin Zoalmegustar icons. Zel shivered. "If Martina was designing a god, why did she have to make one that was so creepy looking?"
"Martina-san always was a bit odd. She and Onee-san were good friends as kids. They used to play dress-up with Mother's old clothing. Well, that and try to summon demons in the backyard. They even let me watch, and they promised if they actually managed to summon one, I could smite it in the name of Justice." Amelia smiled fondly at her childhood memories.
Zel once again thought that, even if he were to marry into the Sailoon Royal Family, he still would be more normal than average for the family, despite being a chimera with a great-grandfather who tried to resurrect Shabranigdu. Hell, Xellos could marry into that family, and no one would consider it odd.
They approached the castle, rebuilt in Martina's typical style (so overdone it would make an architect cry and plastered with even more art devoted to the glory of Maijin Zoalmegustar). The two guards at the gate saw them approach. "Halt. State your name, place of origin, reason for coming, if you're expected, and how long you plan to stay."
"I suppose you want my shoe size and mother's maiden name, too?" Zel asked sarcastically.
"Hello, Fred-san!" Amelia greeted the guards. "Shawn-san, how's your mother?"
"She's fine," the younger guard answered. "Here to see Her Highness, Princess Amelia? And is that a friend of yours?"
"Yes to both. Could you tell her I've arrived? I should have sent notice ahead, but this was kind of an impromptu visit."
"Sure," the guard grinned. "Follow me." he led them into the throne room. "Her Highness Princess Amelia wil Tesla sailoon and some creepy looking guy here to see... oh, hello, your Highness."
Zangulus was seated on the floor at the foot of the throne, an infant across form him. Judging from the baby's coloration -- blue eyes and wisps of dark green hair -- Zelgadis and Amelia were looking at the next ruler of Xoana. A nurse hovered nearby, in case the baby sneezed or got a funny look. Zangulus wasn't paying attention to her or to the visitors. He had a large set of flash cards and was holding them up one at a time for his child's inspection. "See, this is a broadsword... and this is a rapier... and this is Daddy's Howling Sword that Mommy thinks he got rid of..." he looked up. "Oh, hello, Zelgadis, amelia."
"What are you doing, Zangulus?" Zelgadis asked.
"Teaching little Zarathustra here the rudiments of swordsmanship. You can never start them too young," Zangulus beamed, every bit the proud father. Little Zarathustra, however, seemed much more interested in the culinary properties of the flash cards than the pictures of instruments of pointy death.
"Um... yeah..." Zel sweatdropped. "Where's Martina?"
"Zangulus, did I hear we have visitors?" Martina strode in. Her dress sense had changed much since her days of being a crazy curse happy princess. Must have been the whole pregnancy thing, since it looked like little Zarathustra would be getting a new brother or sister in a few months. "Why, Amelia, how nice to see you again! And, look! You brought Zelgadis! And you're even holding hands. My Maijin Zoalmegustar bless your union. Here, have a religious icon. Great for fertility. We'll be sure to come to the wedding, won't we, Zangulus dear?" Her words were innocent enough, but she had a kittenish look in her eyes.
"Um... yeah..." Zangulus nodded distractedly.
"Martina..." Zelgadis walked forward slowly, a menacing look in his eyes. Surprisingly, Amelia overtook him.
"Martina-san! Did you put this spell on Zelgadis-san?"
"So what if I did?" MArtina asked defensively. "He deserved it. He was a moron and tried to ignore true love. So, I used the power of Maijin Zoalmegustar to punish his lack of faithfulness."
"It is unjust to force someone to do something against their will!"
Zel, recognizing an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object, decided to take matters into his own hands. Zangulus gave him a look of sympathy, as Zelgadis started walking towards the other parts of the castle. Martina and Amelia continued to argue as they followed him out the door and down the hall.
"What about your needs?" MArtina asked. "Isn't it unjust for him to leave you hanging? He should at least tell you his feelings for you, so you'd know if he ever planned on coming back."
"The ends don't justify the means, Martina-san. Just because Zelgadis-san was being inconsiderate, does not mean you have a right to interrupt his life without even asking him!"
Zel started opening doors. How many rooms did one family need, anyway, especially when Xoana is having a budget crisis? If Martina wasn't careful, she'd have a revolution on her hands.
"And what was he doing that was so important? Looking for his cure? What does he need to be human for? You don't care. His friends don't care."
"Really. Tell me, Amelia. Zel's been looking for his cure for how long? At least 3 years, all over the world. Do you really think there's a cure out there for him to find?"
Zel paused, curious as to Amelia's reaction.
"Um... well... he only needs to get lucky once."
Zel sighed and opened the next door. It was Martina's study -- the beady eyes of Maijin Zoalmegustar stared back at him. In the center of the floor he saw what he was looking for -- a crudely drawn magic circle with a knife sticking into the floor in the center. Two items were impaled on the knife -- one looked like a woman's handkerchief, the other...
"Os that's where that sock got to," Zel said to himself. "I've been looking for it for years -- must've left it here the last time I was in Xoana." he walked inside the room.
"See?" Martina crowed over Amelia's not-quite admission. "Even you think he's waiting his life."
"So?" Amelia said. "It's Zelgadis-san's life. If he wants to die a lonely bitter old chimera, it's his business."
Zel took a hold of the knife with his free hand and pulled. It came out of the floorboards easily -- they already bore the mark of many such knives. He grabbed his sock, stuffing it in his pocket, then took Amelia's handkerchief. He set the knife on the floor, let go of Amelia's hand and walked towards the door. "Coming, Amelia?"
Amelia and Martina looked at him, then at the magic circle. "Notfairnotfairnotfairnotfair!" Zelgadis and Amelia were treated to the ugliest thing a person can see, even uglier than Chaos Dragon King Gaav in a schoolgirl uniform -- a grown adult throwing a temper tantrum. "Zangulus! Get up here and beat the snot out of Zelgadis for ruining my plan!"
"Honey!" Zangulus yelled back. "Be careful! Zarathustra was just about to have his nap, and you woke him up!"
"Maybe we better go... see you later, Martina-san. Come on, Zelgadis-san. Walk me home, okay?" Amelia practically pushed Zel out of the door. The two didn't look back until they were some distance out of Xoana.
The trip back home was uneventful. Amelia insisted on performing a few Random Acts of Justice and Zel would have asked to stop to check out libraries and temples for his cure, except he had already been through everything in the area... twice. Eventually, they reached the gates to Sailoon Castle.
"So... this is goodbye, Amelia," Zel said.
"I'm coming with you, Zelgadis-san. I like traveling and I like being with you. It's a win-win situation."
"What about your duties as Princes?"
"A trained monkey could do my duties as Princess."
"Oh." Pause. "Why did you want to come back here, then?"
"I needed to get a few more things. Besides, with the way Martina-san was acting, I wanted to get a few kilometers between us and her before I stopped to ask."
"I thought you didn't believe my cure was out there?" Zelgadis looked skeptical.
"I never said that. Besides, it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey. And, this way I don't have to say goodbye to you, at least for a while. Only hello." Amelia took his hands in hers.
"That sounds like a line from a cheesy romance novel."
"Darn... I was hoping you wouldn't notice."
Zel smiled at that.
"So?" Amelia smiled back. "Can I?"
"It's your life," Zel shrugged. "At least I'll have someone to talk to besides the cows."
"Thank yo, Zelgadis-san," Amelia said. "Maybe you aren't such a moron after all."
"Thanks a lot."
"Zelgadis-san? There's been something I've ben wanting to do since you've arrived..." Amelia said, a faint blush on her cheeks. She released his hands and wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing his head down to her level. She closed her eyes and kissed him.
Zel was a bit surprised that Amelia would be so forward, but who was he he to look a gift house in the mouth? He wrapped his arms around her waist, returning the kiss. The two held that position for a while, parting at last, more for a need for air than a desire to end the moment.
It was at that instant that prince Phil, having heard Amelia's voice, came out to greet his little girl.
Phil saw Zel. Zel saw Phil. Phil saw where Zel's hands were and made a correct guess as to what Zel had been doing.
"Um... hi... Phil... we were just..."
"Daddy... I can explain..." Amelia started walking towards her father, her hands out in a conciliatory gesture.
Sometimes even when we figure out we're being morons and correct, we only find new ways