Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ The Slayers: Mirror ❯ Chapter 22

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

The country of Cimeria, Lina Inverse had quickly concluded, was cold, snowy and had very bad inns. “Achoo,” Lina sneezed loudly, the slim redhead sniffling as she sat huddled by the fire in the smokey common room of the dingy little inn that they had taken shelter in for the night. It was crowded, smelly and the food was bad, just like every other inn they had visited in this part of the world.

“Here,” Naga said, the tall, busty black haired warrior gently offering a cup of what passed for soup in this part of the world.

“Thank you,” Lina sighed, reluctantly drinking down some more of the foul brew. Still, no matter how bad it tasted it was warming, and it helped to chase away some of the chill that had nearly settled into her bones.

Zelgadiss cut through the crowd confidently, the greenish skinned warrior able to stifle a barbarian’s objections with a glance. “We’ve arranged for a room, Lina,” he said with a certain amount of amusement.

“Zel,” Amelia scolded, the smaller black haired girl giving him a scolding look as Lina loudly sneezed once again.

“Sorry,” Zelgadiss said, even though he still found it pretty amusing to see the mighty Lina Inverse slowed down by a cold.

“Keep laughing,” Lina looked up at him, her nose almost cherry red from blowing it so often, “there will be pay backs. Probably when you least expect it, too.”

“Now, now Lina,” Amelia said in her best soothing voice, “why don’t we head up to the room and I’ll try the minor healing spell again?”

“We both know it’s a spell resistant strain,” Lina grumbled. She got up, shivering a bit as she clutched Naga’s arm, “Whoa, a bit woozy there.”

Naga slipped a arm around the smaller woman, “I have you.”
“Thanks,” Lina sighed as she leaned into Naga’s comforting warmth, “but you’d best be careful. Don’t want to catch this....”

Naga chuckled softly, “Considering what we do at night Lina, anything you have I’ve probably already got.”

Lina laughed softly even as Amelia blushed and Zelgadiss looked uncomfortable in the background. “You’re probably right,” she conceded.

“We’d better go grab the room before the innkeeper tries to sell it away on us,” Zelgadiss said a bit gruffly.

“And I’ll bring more of this lovely soup,” Amelia added cheerfully.

“Oh joy,” Lina shuddered, the taste still lingering in her mouth. “Couldn’t I just have a roast or something?” she asked plaintively.

“It might be a little much for you,” Naga said wryly as they moved towards the stairs at the back of the main room.

“Somehow, I doubt that,” Zelgadiss murmured with a soft chuckle.

“Do you want to chance her getting sick on you?” Amelia murmured to him warningly as they kept an eye on Lina and Naga going up the stairs, her filling up another bowl of soup from the pot simmering by the fire.

“Good point,” Zelgadiss winced.

Naga gently guided Lina along the hallway up to their room, softly murmuring to her, “Not much further.”

“I’m not an invalid,” Lina growled out irritably, even though she didn’t let go of her death grip on Naga’s arm.

“No, you’re not,” Naga willingly agreed as she unlocked the door, “but you are sick, and need to take it easy.”
The room within was better than expected, the floor not too filthy and the straw bed having been recently been replaced. “Wait a moment,” Amelia ordered, striding to the center of the small room. With a few chanted words she sent forth a purifying spell, dispelling any unclean influences from the place, then set the bowl of soup to cool a bit on a bedside table.

“Thank you,” Naga said as she guided Lina over to the bed.

“Lemme go,” Lina grumbled as she tried to climb in fully clothed.

“No, you have to....” Naga grabbed her arm even as she tried to unclip her long cape.

“I’d better help,” Amelia sighed. She gave Zelgadiss a wry smile, “You might want to grab a beer, this could take a while.”

“Right,” Zelgadiss said with some relief as he fled and both Amelia and Naga descended on Lina to take care of her.

“Aaah! Watch the hands! Noo, I can do that myself....” echoed from the room as Zelgadiss hurried down the hall.

The grizzled old bartender, the sort of one you found at any of these inns, looked bored as he poured Zelgadiss a drink. “Is yer little friend going to be all right?” he asked, peering out of his one good eye, the other covered by a patch.

“She’ll be fine,” Zelgadiss said, “she’s tough.” He took a drink, shuddering a bit at the taste of whatever had been floating in the beer then asked, “Have you ever seen a black haired sorceress in a leather bikini?”

“Is tha’ a joke?” the bartender blinked.

“Seriously,” Zelgadiss bravely made himself drink a bit more of the horrid beer, “we’re trying to find her.”

“Huh,” the bartender looked thoughtful, “there is that rumor....”

“Hmm?” Zelgadiss started, then realized why the man had trailed off. Fishing in his money pouch he dropped a few silver coins on the bar in front of them.

“Well,” the bartender scooped up the coins, “it seems a certain sorceress has had a certain lady dressed in a leather bikini as a guest the last year or so.”

“Which sorceress?” Zelgadiss asked, then when he was silent reluctantly handed a gold coin over. “You’d best not be lying,” he coldly warned.

“Never,” the bartender answered as he took the coin. “The lady’s name is Hectate, an’ she’s based in the castle at Kiramen pass.” He paused, “I should warn you, she’s got powerful allies and is said to consort with demons.”

“That’s all right,” Zelgadiss said as he finished his drink, “we’ve killed demons before.” With that he strode away, eager to relay this news to Amelia and the others.

Amelia was just closing the door to the room as he arrived. “We just got Lina to lay down,” she told him in a whisper.

“Let’s go to our room then,” Zelgadiss murmured back. They went up the hall to the room they had reserved and unlocked the door, Amelia purifying the room much like she had done with Lina and Naga’s.

“You look happy,” Amelia noted, “was the beer any good?”

“It was horrid,” Zelgadiss admitted, “but I have news!” With that he quickly relayed what he had learned from the barkeep. “If this is true, it could be the break we were looking for,” he said to her eagerly.

Amelia nodded thoughtfully, “Or it could be a trap.”

“Hmm, true,” Zelgadiss conceded, feeling a bit disappointed.

Amelia flashed him a smile, “But either way, for the sake of justice we must investigate.” Seriously she added, “But we’d better not tell Lina or Naga until tomorrow.”

“Why’s that?” Zelgadiss asked curiously.

“Because if we tell them now they’ll insist on heading out immediately,” Amelia shrugged, “no matter how sick or tired they are.”

To be continued....