Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Slayers: Chaos ❯ Episode 44 ( Chapter 41 )

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Slayers: Chaos

Episode 044: Strategy! Negotiations And Plans

At the Swordbreaker, the scanner that Canal used to analyze Zelgadis and Filia was a human sized glass capsule where they stepped in one by one and a line of light passed over them. It felt a tad odd, like a light electrical surge, but it wasn't particularly bothersome. After Canal had the data in her systems, analyzing it was easy. "Let's see now... Zelgadis' mechanical components have been closely linked to his being. However, they are distinct from his human body in that removing them shouldn't cause any difficulties."

"You can remove them then?" Zelgadis was filled with excitement at the possibility. He had lost hope of finding a cure for his chimera condition in his world, but the over-world may be the answer.

"I could try, but why would you want that? You are stronger this way," Canal reasoned. "Besides, it looks like because of the magical and alchemic origin of your chimeraism all of it was converted to something that this world could fit in its logic. In other words, your genetics were in such a state that not even science could make them that way. If you cross over to your world without your armor, which represents your chimera components, you'll most likely end up as a normal human and all the hard work put into modifying your body will be lost."

"You think I did this on purpose," Zelgadis concluded more so than asked. "I don't want to be a chimera, being a normal human is exactly what I want!"

"Oh..." Canal blinked. She decided not to ask too much about the story behind all that, as it sounded complicated.

"Keep it," Zelas interfered.

"What?" Zelgadis didn't like where this was going. If Zelas stubbornly insisted that he shouldn't be changed, how was he supposed to oppose her? He didn't know how, but he knew he would. His cure was at last being handed to him and he wasn't about to let it go. Besides, surely Canal would take his side; she was a part of Vorfeed after all. Though Vorfeed's position was blurred at the moment, she surely wouldn't side with the cruel whims of a monster lord, or at least Zelgadis hoped not.

"For the time being," Zelas clarified. "That armor makes you stronger and you're going to need that. You're just getting used to this world and that means your inexperience makes you weaker. If you go back to being an ordinary human, your power will only decrease further and you don't have time to adapt right now. If you wish to bring that upon yourself when you return to our world that is not my concern, but keep the armor for the time being, or most of it at least."

"She does have a point," Amelia couldn't help it but to admit it. "How about we postpone the full armor removal and you stay as a," she recalled that word they called him, "cyborg for now?"

"Alright," Zelgadis logically agreed, "if it makes a difference." He had to remember that this was a war they were heading into and he would need all his power to survive, be able to protect Amelia and help their friends. He didn't like the idea of being another of Zelas' soldiers, but if it was an inevitable part of the situation, so be it. "Can you at least remove this part for now?" He pointed at the mask.

"Sure," Canal agreed. "I'll uninstall the mask and helmet for now and remove the rest before you make the trip back to your world. About that," Canal started getting to work on removing Zelgadis' mask. She pulled out a tool kit from a storage compartment on the Swordbreaker and began removing some bolts with an electric screwdriver. "How do you intend to go back anyway? Darkstar had to collect a lot of energy to summon Zelas, Dolphin and Dynast here, as his own power was only enough to transport himself and not completely."

"I was assuming that once we regrouped and won, Zelas could use her own power to get us home." Lina gave the monster lord a suspicious look.

"Your assumption is correct," Zelas agreed. "Although only the ultimate lords of the worlds have that kind of power to begin with, I will gain that power before we face Darkstar." Or at least that was the plan. "Of course, we can't expect such feats from Shabranigdu anymore. It's a pity he didn't discover the possibility when he was whole, though Ceifeed would have surely stood in the way anyway."

"So Shabranigdu and Ceifeed check out," Lina voiced. "What about you, Canal?"

"Vorfeed and I are divided, so as individual we do not have sufficient power for that." Canal's expression became saddened as she considered the possibilities. "I don't know if we'll be able to free Vorfeed from Darkstar, but she has told me that all that matters now is stopping him." It was something that filled Canal, Kain and Millie with worry, as they wished to save Vorfeed.

"To summarize," Kain spoke, "the only one who can travel between our worlds right now is Darkstar."

"What about the other lords?" Amelia inquired. "I don't know a lot about them, but aren't there at least four worlds?"

Lina touched her talismans. "Speaking of which, can you tell me anything about these talismans?"

Canal looked at the jewelry with curiosity. She knew the talismans were special only because of the way Lina made them sound as such, but she could sense nothing more about them. From what I can see those are devices of your world, they are powered by magic, right? If that is the case, I don't see how we could possibly activate them from here."

"I thought as much," Lina concluded. "What about the other lords from the other worlds though? Can't they help against Darkstar? I mean, for all we know he won't stop with our worlds. He's probably looking to find a way to continue gaining power and eventually move on to their worlds. What about Chaotic Blue and Death Fog? Or more likely, their lord of light counterparts, Blue Dragon and White Dragon? Where are Dynast and Dolphin anyway?"

"Dynast and Dolphin have been captured by Darkstar," Zelas revealed. "I doubt they will be able to join us."

"They are protected by a special program," Canal reminded hopefully. "Darkstar won't be able to absorb them into his being completely and as long as their AIs remain as individuals, separating them will still be possible. We don't have forever though, as Darkstar must be trying to break the code as we speak. I'm counting on Vorfeed to alert me when we start to run out of time. We'll have to head into battle then, in whatever conditions we are at the time, since waiting would make things much worse if Darkstar obtains the power of Dolphin and Dynast."

"As for the lords of the other worlds, I don't think they'll be involved." Kain spoke as if he had already discussed such things with his friends before. "Or maybe they can't be."

"When Darkstar and Vorfeed united and breached your world, they were not only summoned there, but they also wanted to go. It took that device that was in your world to guide them and their combined power to make the initial trip which left a sort of pathway behind," Canal explained. "Crossing between worlds for the first time is no easy task." There were rumors about a device called the 'Ruby Eyes System' capable of acting as a sort of connector of worlds, but those were only rumors that Canal thought were not real.

Seeing Lina's expression, Zelas knew that she was working to put it all together in her head and making sense of it. "Of course, you didn't think Celo's life would be enough to transport you between two completely separate worlds, did you? Rips between these two worlds had occurred before now, after the Darkstar prophecy, and others have crossed through those rips. If the worlds were still truly separate, enclosed as before, coming here wouldn't have been so easy."

"Celo's life?" Filia questioned. He had been Tiffany's husband and Tiffany had been her best childhood friend, so of course Filia was concerned about him. Besides, he was one of the few of Zelas minions, aside from Fang and Xellos, that Filia got along with fairly well.

"He powered your trip here with his sacrifice," Zelas confirmed.

Filia glared at Xellos, looking hurt. "You knew about that, didn't you?"

"Of course I did," Xellos made no effort what so ever to deny it. After all, it was only logical that he would know. "There was no choice."

"Believe it or not, I would have rather not lost him, he was useful," Zelas ascertained. Filia lowered her head in sadness and remained silent.

Millie sighed, "it sounds like we've all lost important people." She tried not to let her own memories get to her. "It's all the more reason why we need to stop Darkstar."

"And that's exactly what we'll do!" Amelia reaffirmed.

Canal finally finished getting all the small bolts off so that the helmet and mask on Zelgadis could be removed. After a silent pause, she announced, "Done! I finally got this off."

Everyone looked at Zelgadis in surprise. He was afraid to look at his own face, wondering what it could look like. Though in theory he was supposed to be a human and Canal's odd machinery seemed to indicate so, he wouldn't fully believe it until he saw it. Yet Amelia's face reassured him even before Millie handed him a mirror. "I'm... human..." It was so ironic that he found the cure when he was occupied on something else entirely that didn't involve obsessively looking for it.

"You did it! You found the cure!" Amelia cheered as she threw her arms around Zelgadis and kissed him, running a hand through his soft lavender hair. "Well, not really found it, since you weren't looking for it at the time, but you ran into it somehow anyway."

"Finally, after this is over, I'll be human!" Zelgadis was used to being disappointed, but he had a very strong feeling about it this time.

"Thank you Miss Canal for offering to complete the transformation later, and thank you too Miss Zelas, because if you haven't chosen us as your champions of justice that would journey to the over-world, this wouldn't have been possible." Amelia cheered gratefully.

Canal smiled, but Zelas glared. "Don't tempt me to kill you with such words," the monster lord warned.

Canal cleared her throat. "You won't be able to breathe under water and in space without the mask, but since you don't like it much, I could get you a replacement that's easy to put on and take off."

"I would be most grateful," Zelgadis sounded more cheerful than he had been in a long time.

"Consider it done," Canal assured. "I'll get on it as soon as I'm done with the other analysis. Now let's see... The system has processed all the possibilities but it looks like Filia is a cyborg for keeps." Canal looked at the golden dragon turned cyborg as she explained. "The mechanical components are so deeply integrated that they cannot be removed without a serious risk to your life. I'm not surprised though. Those components represent your dragon aspects and you were born a dragon, so naturally, it's not something that can be easily removed," Canal informed.

"Then I'm normal?" Filia breathed.

"Yes." Or as normal as any of them could ever be, Canal quietly mused. "Here I have some reverse engineered blue prints created from the data. With this we can figure out the specifics of your system so you can get the hang of your new functions."

"Speaking of new functions," Lina brought up the subject that was only a matter of time before she would speak of. "Cyborgs are pretty strong aren't they? Maybe you can help me carry these!" She pulled out some stones from her cape. They had been jewels she picked up at the cave, but now they looked like brown stones. "What? These were gems!"

"Did you pick those up from the caves here?" Kain laughed. "They only glow because of the radiation of the planet. If you drop them on the ground they'll start glowing again, but don't worry, the radiation is harmless. If you were planning to take them as treasure, unfortunately, they're worthless."

Lina grumbled as she began to empty all the useless rocks out of her cape. She found the broken handle of the brass racket and immediately asked about it. "What about this? It's a brass racket from our world. It's used for a sport there, but it was quite powerful against Gorun Nova!"

"Let's have a look," Canal examined the broken piece of brass racket. "This is type of metal isn't ordinary brass, or at least not what we know as regular brass here. This is the type of metal use to channel psy-energy. It's very pure so it would be a powerful conductor! Psy-energy is the energy that comes from your very life and it is regulated by your emotions, which changes the type of energy it is. I can craft this metal into a weapon."

"Psy-energy, eh?" Lina mused aloud. "Well, we can't use magic, so we'll use that!"

"You're going to need more than one weapon though. I happen to acquire a good supply on my last job and could provide you with some weaponry... For a price," Kain offered.

Lina was on full alert with her cunning on high ready to try to get a good deal. "What did you have in mind."

"I'll give you an extra weapon aside from the one Canal will craft if you give me your cape as a souvenir!" Kain suggested.

Millie slapped her forehead. "I knew it! It was only a matter of time before he tried to obtain that cape! Really Kain, don't you have enough black capes already?"

"Shh! Quiet Millie, I'm negotiating here!" Kain urged.

"Her cape?" Gourry finally spoke up. "So that's what you were staring at!" He exclaimed with great relief.

"He was staring at my cape?" Lina blinked. "I didn't notice." She looked at the others and their knowing expressions told her that they had noticed. She thought about Gourry's relief upon learning that Kain's interest was on her cape and her heart skipped a bit. Was he actually getting jealous for a minute there? As much as she wanted to focus on that and explore the possibilities, Lina had some business to conduct first. "I might not be very willing to let go of this cape. It's quite sturdy and durable; it's seen a lot of adventures." She spun around, modeling the cape and tempting Kain with it. She had found his weakness and she was certainly willing to take advantage of it. "But since I'm feeling particularly generous today, I'll let you make a few offers and we'll see where that goes." Kain had a bad feeling about this.

xoxox xox xoxox

While Zelgadis and Filia studied the abilities of their new forms with Canal, Millie occupied herself in chatting with Amelia, not wanting to witness what Kain would do to get his hands on Lina's cape. At least Canal reminded him that she owned the Swordbreaker and most of the things inside it, so he better not offer them out. Millie warned him not to offer any of her things either.

In the end, Lina obtained a good haul of supplies, which was good, since the Great Beast wasn't exactly equipped to support a crew living within it. Zelas was a dark lost ship, she was expected to torment her captain and drain their life away, then find another one, though she intended to keep the ever useful crew alive. After all, she planned to return alive and well to her world and there would surely be other occasions in the future when Lina Inverse and the others would prove to be useful. Among the things Lina obtained, there were various weapons that she couldn't wait to see in action.

After the dealings were complete, the two ships decided, by Zelas' choice mostly, that it was time to part ways for the time being. Thus the Swordbreaker left in one direction with Canal, Kain and Millie, while in another direction there went the Great Beast with Zelas, Xellos, Filia, Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis.

Zelgadis had a new helmet, which had to be larger to make it easy to put it on and take it off. The shade of blue was darker than the blue parts of his armor, but he didn't mind, though he thought the cat ears were a bit much, but it was a useful piece of equipment so he shouldn't get too picky. Shades and a mask could be used to cover the face and retracted at will. Apparently Canal had installed the helmet's control drives, whatever that was, into the armor's system, which was already linked to Zelgadis' psy-energy. Zelgadis reasoned that her explanation meant something along the lines of him being able to control the helmet's mask and visor being opened and closed over his face by thinking it.

Zelas was holding a small item, which in that world would be called a microchip, as the group traveled through space. Most of her crew was occupied in looking out the window, fascinated by the seemingly endless blackness with the blurred lines of light, which were actually the points of light of stars that looked like lines because of their motion speed. The chip was an item Xellos happened to be carrying when he arrived. The drawing on the back of it looked like the picture on the back of Zelas' deck of cards. Though she had managed to hold on to the box lunch, she dropped all her cards when she was summoned so she did not obtain an item like this from any of them.

Zelas reasoned that if the chip had come from her cards that hid luck runes, then it would be alright to install it. She had been studying her vessel's inner workings since she arrived at that world after Canal's assistance concerning Darkstar. It was complicated, but she was understanding it, she was a sort of computer after all. She opened a panel under the main controls of the vessel and searched for a place to fit the chip until she found one. Once it was adjusted, she closed up the panel. It was only a small luck rune, but something was better than nothing, a small improvement would still be an improvement after all. That was what Zelas planned to do. She would upgrade her vessel with the technology of that world and gain power for the coming battle.

There was also another issue she needed to take care of. The negative psy-energy that powered her also empowered Darkstar. She couldn't effectively fight him in the way Canal could with the Swordbreaker's ability to feed on and attack with positive energy. Albeit, peculiarly, the white lost ship was also able to run on wrath. Zelas had heard the story of a vast burst of power Kain experienced upon channeling pure rage through Swordbreaker's main psy-energy canon. It was very strong, but ultimately useless against Darkstar when they faced him before. Even so, if a lost ship of light could work with wrath, than perhaps a dark lost ship could channel something like courage, for example.

Darkstar's Dugradigdu couldn't work with positive psy-energy, but maybe Zelas could find a way for her Great Beast to accomplish wilding courage without injuring herself. After all, courage had been instrumental in battling Darkstar in the over-world before, so it would probably be vital this time around too. Yet how could she ever use it as a weapon if in her current state it weakened her? She would just have to find a way, but whatever she did, she would not change. Zelas was determined to remain as a being of darkness, a pure monster, or for now a pure dark lost ship. That made her mission much more difficult, but what was life without a challenge?

To be Continued

Finally, the explanations are done! We can move on to the actual adventures, as now all the explanations are out of the way. As for the weapons Lina got from Kain, I'll reveal them later, when the time comes to put them to use. The Ruby Eyes System is another reference to the Slayers: Light Magic manga. Zelgadis' helmet looks like Guido's helmet from Samurai Pizza Cats.