Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ The Slayers: Mirror ❯ Chapter 24

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

“So,” Lina Inverse asked as they headed out from the snow bound village, the redhead still looking stuffed up and miserable even dressed in all the furs that she now wore, “do you think he was telling you the truth?”

Zelgadiss shrugged, his green skin barely visible through his cloak as he said, “I think the barkeep was too scared to lie to me.”

“Good point,” Naga calmly agreed, the black haired woman staying close to Lina’s side. Her regular garb had been beefed up with furs, but as always she kept her sword at the ready slung over her shoulder.

Amelia walked by Zelgadiss, her short black hair hidden under her own protective cloak, her garb much heavier than her boyfriend Zel’s. Tentatively she asked Lina, “Have you forgiven us for waiting two days to tell you?”

Lina sighed softly as they stomped through the snow on the road up into the hills. “I can’t blame you,” she conceded, “I was pretty sick.”

“Pretty sick is an understatement,” Naga shook her head, “you were burning with fever until that healer got to you.”

“As it is, you should probably still be in bed,” Amelia added.

“No,” Lina shook her head firmly, “we don’t dare.”

“Information goes both ways,” Zel conceded.

“Eh?” Amelia asked.

Naga looked up into the sky, trying to guess if the show might stop soon. “If someone in the town knows Naga is up at that castle,” she noted as she made a disgusted face, “someone in town knows to sell the information that we’re asking around.”

“And the longer we wait to move, the tougher the resistance will be,” Lina concluded. She looked at Naga, “What do you think?”

“More snow,” Naga sighed, “no idea how much, though.”

“Lovely,” Zel sounded disgusted. The cold didn’t bother him, being made of stone had it’s perks, but that didn’t mean he much enjoyed slogging through it. They moved along the road for nearly a hour, the snowflakes drifting down before he finally had to ask, “Why are we staying on the road anyway?”

Amelia grimaced, “The trees on the side of the road will give us some cover.”

“Maybe,” Lina dropped her voice, “but I want to see if they’ve gotten attackers ready for us by the roadside.”

“You think...?” Amelia narrowed her eyes.

“There are shadows moving in the trees,” Naga said it softly, deliberately keeping her gaze front, “two on the left side, three on the right.”

“Scouts?” Zel asked them quietly, his hand casually falling to his side, near enough to make drawing his sword easier.

“That or they couldn’t round up too many people,” Lina answered in a near whisper. She frowned as her eyes swept their flanks, “The shadows, they’re gone....”

“Look out!” Amelia shouted, luckily having looked up in time to see the boulder crash down from the cloudy sky. Luckily they were fast, as the band of adventurers barely god clear as the stone hit, rocking the very earth beneath them.

“We’ve got to move fast,” Naga yelled, “before they try again!”

“Ray Wing!” Lina yelled as she grabbed Naga’s hand, the two skimming along the ground as Amelia and Zel did the same. With a unearthly speed they zipped up the gently sloping hill, the trees racing by until they turned a corner.
Ahead of them was a rough encampment, blocking all traffic and fortified from attack. Over thirty men milled about, and behind them stood three giants, towering over the men in their primative armor, each carrying heavy clubs made of whole trees.

“Damn,” Zel muttered, obviously a bit surprised at what waited for them.

“Lina, put me down,” Naga said grimly. Dropped from Lina’s grasp she hit the snow and rolled, coming up in a combat crouch as she drew her sword.

“Do we have a plan?” Amelia wondered as the rest of them set down a bit more gracefully around her.

“Which one of you is Lina Inverse?” a giant boomed, his beard woven with bone and ice and his skin a unhealthy looking grey.

Lina let her red hair flow free as she pushed the hood of her cloak back and answered him, “That’d be me.”

“I have been ordered to tell you,” he roared, “turn back, or die.”

“Can we have some time to think about it,” Lina shouted back.

The giant actually looked amused, “Think quickly!”

“You want a plan?” Naga asked as she studied the enemy, “We can run, go through them or around them.” A grim smile, “I vote through.”

“We can’t negociate?” Amelia wondered.

Zelgadiss shook his head, “I forgot you haven’t fought northern giants.” He bent forward, then softly whispered something into Amelia’s ear.

Amelia’s eyes widened and she went pale. “They do WHAT to women?” she yelped.

“Exactly,” Lina nodded. She turned to look at the improvised barrier and their enemies, “So, which first? The barrier, the men or the giants?”

“Why not split up our attack?” Naga offered as she quietly explained.

Meanwhile, up at the barrier there was a nervous energy crackling about. “Strife,” Dan said as the brown haired soldier waited impatiently, “is Lina Inverse as bad as they say?”

Strife’s white hair flowed in the breeze as the young man lit his pipe, puffing a bit on the smoke. “Worse, probably,” he noted cheerfully.

“Eh?” Dan blinked.

Strife gestured with his pipe, “Think about it. She’s been nicknamed Lina the Dragon, the Bandit Killer and a dozen more names. You don’t get that kinda rep being miss goody two shoes.”

Dan paled a bit, “So we’re in trouble?”

Puffing on his pipe contentedly Strife shrugged, “Such is the lot of the common man.”

“How can you take this so calmly?” Dan asked, waving a arm.

“What other option is there?” Strife wondered, “Panic?”

“I...” Dan started, just before they heard a ominous sound.

“... oh spirits darker than dusk," they heard off in the distance, the woman’s voice carrying with it an eerie tone, “red beyond crimson flow like blood. In the name of those fallen to dust, I pray to the shadows. Mark ye these villains that bar our way, and to my small strength thine own ally, to deliver doom, folly repay. Come judgment from the grave, Dragon Slave!”

“Move!” Strife grabbed Dan and they raced away from the barrier even as a bolt of what looked like hell itself descended on the blockade. The explosion sent giants and men flying, shattering their forces in one blow.

“What the....” Dan started even as four warriors fell onto their disorganized men, striking to cut them down as two swordsmen raced at the giants.

“I think we’d better tell Hectate about this,” Strife suggested as they broke for the cover of the woods.

“Good plan,” Dan agreed as they hurried off.

To be continued....