A/N:  Here is my sequel to "Inner Beings".  It's about a little adventure Lina-tachi have before arriving in Barbados.  In this story, Lina-tachi consists of Lina (and Angelina), Mazolina, Kollina, Gourry, and Xellos.  Savor, read, enjoy.

One - Arrival of a Child

            Lina-tachi were peacefully walking through the small village on their way to Barbados.  It was about an hour before the sun actually set, so the sky was a mixture of many, many, colors, including red, orange, purple, and pink.  They stopped by a nearby fountain to look at the traveling map.  It was a regular day, with regular activities, until something strange happened once more.

            A small red cloud formed directly above Lina-tachi.  Since a lot of the sky was red already, Lina and Gourry didn't pay attention to it, but the others looked up in surprise.  As soon as it finished forming, the cloud quickly dispersed with a small 'poof', leaving behind a red-striped white sphere the size of a large beach ball.  As gravity took control, the ball suddenly plummeted to the ground, bouncing off of Lina's head on the way.  Apparently, the ball was a bit heavy, so Lina fell backwards onto the ground.

            Clutching her head where a small bump was forming, Lina groaned.  Soon, she regained her usual manner and started shouting out in front of her, "L-sama that hurt!  Who the heck would be dumb enough to pull a stunt like this?!  Why I'm gonna –"  Lina stopped in mid-sentence when she saw that nobody was in sight (other than her companions) and a large ball was shaking in front of her.  It rattled back and forth until it suddenly stopped.  Lina crawled timidly toward it, only to be surprised when the ball was shrouded by a pink cloud.  Lina stepped back again as she waited for the cloud to dissolve.  When it did, to everyone's complete surprise, it revealed a little girl, sitting with her hands rubbing dust from her eyes.

            The girl had pale blue hair down to her shoulder blades, with a few golden streaks running through her hair.  She wore a neat black shirt with "Princess" written in white on the middle of it, along with a matching pair of black Capri pants.  On her feet were white socks with little, black slip-on shoes.  Her main theme appeared to be black, and yet, she seemed no older than five.

            When the girl opened her eyes to reveal crystal-clear cerulean irises, she looked at the group before her questioningly, as they were to her.  She looked around and noticed her surroundings.  She was visibly getting more scared by the minute.  Timidly, as if afraid of the answer, she called out, "Onee-chan?  Lizzy, where are you?  Where am I?  How'd I get here?"  At this point, seeing that nobody answered her, the girl started bawling like a baby; little waterfalls of tears were streaming from her eyes.  Startled by this, Lina quickly bent down, reached out a hand, and comforted the little girl.  "Shhh . . . It's alright.  We'll help you find your way home.  Everything's going to be just fine.  Shhh . . ." Immediately, the girl stopped crying and looked up at Lina.  With a small smile, she said, "Gee, miss.  You sure are awfully nice.  What's your name?"  Returning a smile, Lina replied softly, "Lina.  Lina Inverse.  These are my friends *gestures toward the rest of the group* Gourry Gabriev, Xellos Metallium, Kollina and Mazolina.  What's your name?"  The girl stood up, but she was only tall enough to see eye to chin with Lina when she was bending down.  As she looked up into Lina's eyes, she chirruped, "My name is Crystal, but everybody calls me Cece.  Pleased to meet you! (Nice manners for a four year-old)" Lina nods and Gourry bends down as well.

            "Hello Cece.  Are you lost?"  Crystal shakes her head.  "Where are your parents?"  Crystal looks down and kicks a little rock with her shoe.  "My sister says that my dad disappeared one day.  Then my mother followed him a year ago.  Now I live with my older sister, Lizzy."  Xellos and Mazolina both twitched, but fortunately, nobody noticed.  Lina nods again and gently asks, "Where's your sister?  Do you need help getting home?"  Crystal slowly nodded.

            "A few minutes ago, I was at home with my sister.  We were watching a show called – Wait a minute.  Lina Inverse?  You were on the show!"  Crystal suddenly glomps Lina as she adds a muffled, "You're my hero!"  Lina blushed but gently patted Crystal's back.  When Crystal let go, she continued, but so quickly that it soon turned into ranting, "I was watching a show called Slayers with my sister.  It's a T. V. show that has you as the star!  When I see you use magic, it looks so cool, and I wished I knew how to do it.  I asked my sister once if she knew how, but just laughed at me.  A few minutes ago, I was leaning against the screen while I was watching.  I silently wished that I could adventure with you, and I suddenly found myself here!"  Crystal gasped for air as she calmed down.

            Everybody stared at Crystal as if she was from another world (Well, she is! ^_^).  Slowly, Lina asked, "Just where are you from, anyway?"  Jumping up and down with excitement at getting to meet her cartoon hero in person, Crystal answered, "Hm?  Oh, I'm from Phoenix, Arizona.  Ever heard of it?"  Apparently, Crystal thought that Lina-tachi were real actors like the ones on soap operas (and things like that).  Crystal stopped jumping when Kollina stepped forward, shook her head, and replied, "I'm afraid not.  This invention you've mentioned, the T. V., has not yet been created in this world.  I have a feeling that you are not from this world at all.  I believe that you have been transported to our world for some reason.  Perhaps it is to just carry out your wish, but I have a feeling that until that is accomplished, you will not be allowed to go back."

            Mazolina and Xellos nodded in agreement, but Lina, Gourry, and Crystal stared at Kollina in wonderment.  They had no idea what she was talking about.  Suddenly, a loud growl was heard, and it wasn't coming from Lina's stomach.  Lina-tachi looked back at Crystal.  She rubbed the back of her head and smiled sheepishly.  "I haven't eaten since lunch and that was about four hours ago, I think.  I'm kind of hungry.  Hehe."  Lina-tachi smiled at this and Lina leaned forward.  "Alright.  We were just going to an inn to stay for the night.  Would you like to come along and eat with us?"  At this, Crystal grinned widely and vigorously bobbed her head up and down.  Lina chuckled and stood up.  Crystal instantly clutched Lina's cape and hung on with one hand.  Lina laughed again, but started walking.  Her companions followed close behind her.

            After about ten minutes of walking, they entered the Illustrious Inn.  It was not only eye-catching on the outside, it was breathtakingly beautiful on the inside.  After the group ordered from the outrageously high-priced menu and paid for their rooms, they sat down at two tables; Lina, Gourry, and Crystal at the first, and Xellos, Mazolina, and Kollina at the next.  Due to the high prices, the inn was deserted of any other customers.  Therefore, the food appeared much faster than usual, and more exquisite than usual.  Like a kind mother, Lina cut up Crystal's meat before starting on her own.  Earlier, she had shared her menu with Crystal and allowed her to pick her own food.  By the time they had finished eating, it was all ready evening (about 7 or 8 pm).  Once Kollina had finished her small meal (she had finished long before anyone else), she excused herself and went up to her room.

            About five minutes after everyone had finished their dinner, plus desert, Kollina came back down and seated herself.  Turning to Lina, she solemnly said, "Lina-san.  I just spoke to L-sama about the reasons behind Crystal's sudden arrival.  She states that Crystal is here to find her parents.  Apparently, they both vanished from their world, into this world, much like Crystal here.  Time passes about ten times quicker here than in their world.  So they have already been here for about 5 and 40 years.  But L-sama also says that because of how they arrived, they have been imprisoned within two separate bodies of people here.  The last thing she said was that until Crystal finds her parents, they will not be able to come home.  We must help her achieve this, as she cannot do it alone."  Lina blinked at Kollina for a few moments.  Soon, she groaned and put a hand to her forehead, and her elbow on the table.  She mumbled, "Oh great, another adventure.  Ah well.  I suppose we should.  We can't leave this little girl all alone in this world.  She'll get herself killed easily the next day."

            Crystal had been listening and was at first happy, then surprised, then scared.  She was happy that she could find her parents here, surprised that time passed ten times quicker here, and scared that if left alone, she'd be killed easily.  Crystal looked at Lina for reassurance.  Lina saw this and patted her head while saying, "Don't worry.  We won't abandon you.  Maybe if you're strong enough, I can teach you some basic magic to protect yourself.  What do you say? (Teaching magic to a 4 year-old?!!  Yesh . . . Imagine what damage that could cause . . .)" Crystal happily smiled and nodded eagerly.  "I can't wait!  When can we start?"  Kollina smiled and said, "As soon as you wake up tomorrow."  As if on cue, Crystal stifled a big yawn and rubbed her eyes tiredly.  Lina smiled at this and lead her upstairs.  As usual, everybody else followed.

            When they reached the rooms, Lina asked Crystal, "Who do you want to share rooms with?   There are three rooms to choose from.  Crystal looked down and shyly started pivoting her foot a little.  In a small voice she said, "Um . . . Back home, I used to sleep with my sister all the time.  Can I sleep with you? (Coming from a guy, he'd be toast, but from a cute, little girl . . .)" Lina smiled and said, "Sure, come on.  Kollina, share rooms with Mazolina.  Gourry, share rooms with Xellos.  Everyone else nodded and went into their rooms.  The guys' room was on the right side of the hallway and the spirits' room was right across from them.  Straight ahead, at the end of the hallway, was where Lina and Crystal slept that night.  Crystal climbed into bed first and scooted over automatically.  Lina soon followed.  When she was settled down, Crystal snuggled up against her, and they both fell asleep comfortably.

A/N:  Wow.  Lina shared a bed with a toddler she had just met a few hours ago.  It must be Angelina's work.  ^_^  Also, Crystal seems very mature.  I'm sorry if she's a bit too OOC for a four-year-old, but I don't have much experience with them.  Maybe I'll just have her be a child prodigy, a child genius.  Please review.  Positive comments will be much better received than negative ones, but they will also be received.  If I get at least one review, I'll continue. That's not asking for too much, is it? ^_________^