Slayers: Mirror

"I can not believe this," Lina Inverse muttered to herself irritably, the slim young woman pushing her wild mane of reddish brown hair back angrily as she looked around her. Her violet cloak almost reached the ground, the golden blouse and red pants she wore kept magically clean, her jewels and decorations glinting in the afternoon sunlight. A sorceress had to look professional, after all.

The kingdom that she was visiting was a small one, far out of the way of the many great wars and conflicts of much larger nations. The castle she was walking towards gleamed with whitewash, the town streets she traveled clean and the people here seemingly living happy, industrious lives. It was all almost enough to make Lina physically ill.

And then there were the damn banners!

They were hung from almost every building, carefully draped across the road over the smaller gaps in between the upper stories. The face that was depicted on them was gentle, kind, looking out at the world with charity and compassion. It was also Lina's face, and just looking up at them made her want to start flinging fireballs!

With a fierce scowl on her face Lina continued on, determined to get to the bottom of this madness. When she first heard about the rumors a few months ago, she had just believed it to be a distortion of her own adventures. But healing the sick? Helping people without charging them a cent? ACTUALLY GIVING MONEY AWAY?! Gah, it was going to ruin her reputation. So she had left Gourry and the others behind her and went to find out what, exactly, was going on.

"Well, at least now I know where the rumors are coming from," Lina muttered to herself softly, nearing the castle. There was a long lineup standing there patiently waiting to go inside, but Lina cut the line, striding on towards the heavy gates.

The two guards who were standing there exchanged surprised looks, clearly astonished to see her standing there. "Lina-sama, what are you doing out here?" the one blurted out as he gazed at her in honest shock.

The other guard's eyes narrowed slightly, "No, she must be the other one!" He executed a surprisingly respectful bow, "She left us instructions to send you right in, Lina-san." The gate slid open, and both gestured her inside.

'The other one,' Lina thought with a oddly familiar sinking feeling, 'no, it just couldn't be. There's no way in the world that those two could have survived!'

A female page met Lina almost as soon as she stepped inside, the girl's eyes wide with surprise and stuttering nervously, and she lead her through the castle to the great hall. The place was well lit, and obviously quite comfortable, but it was also oddly Spartan. It was as if the owner didn't care about any of the trappings of wealth and power, and instead was content to live a much simpler life. It was all enough to make Lina's skin crawl.

"You can just go on in, ma'am," the page smiled over at Lina nervously before pushing open the doors to the main hall.

The conversations were quiet and respectful as Lina Inverse entered, the talk easing off as she went inside. Just like the rest of the castle there were no great decorations here, just a simple carpet leading towards a comfortable chair that was situated near the back of the room. Lina pushed forward through the people, using her elbows as needed, a soft glow lighting the walls as she felt the power of a healing magic working.

Lina noticed the figure who kneeling there in front of the chair first. Dressed in leather pants and matching vest over a long white shirt, short black hair crowning the head. Across the shoulders a long sword rested, by the looks of the hilt and sheath well used. Her arm was expertly bandaged, a soft glow coming from delicate hands to wash over the wound.

Those delicate hands were garbed all in white, the loose shirt that she wore was comfortable but undecorated. White boots and matching long pants completed the outfit, hugging slim legs that looked rather familiar. With the greatest reluctance Lina continued on upwards, soon looking at what she had feared she would find here. Looking into a face that perfectly matched her own. But Lina's face had only rarely had such a... gentle look on it.

"There, Naga," the other Lina finally murmured, "that should do it." As she pulled her hands away her voice became gently scolding as she continued, "You know, you should be a bit more careful when you go dragon slaying."

'Naga?!' Lina Inverse thought in surprise as the warrior rose.

"I'm sorry Lina-sama," Naga smiled down at her wryly, the tall warrior carefully unwinding the strips of bandages from the now fully healed wound on her upper arm, "but being careful and dragon slaying don't really go together well."

"Then maybe our guest may be of some assistance to you in that," Lina smiled gently at Naga from her seat. The white clad figure looked upwards, searching the crowd until she met her twins eyes and smiled, "Isn't that right?"

Lina Inverse scowled as she realized her entrance was obviously noted. She rudely pushed forward, emerging from the crowd to meet her double's gaze. There was a rumble of shocked disbelief as the crowd saw the two of them so close together, and Naga tensed up, loosening the sword that rested over her shoulders.

"And here I was hoping that you two were killed or something," Lina Inverse said to her white garbed counterpart with a fierce scowl.

"Don't you dare speak about my Lina-sama like that," Naga stepped between them, the look on her face clearly murderous.

"No!" Lina rose from her throne, her voice ringing out. "No violence," her voice softened a bit, "not in this place."

Naga slid the half drawn sword back into it's sheath, and Lina let the power that she had been building up fade away. Her twin was pretty much the same as she had been back when she had been created by the Shadow Reflector, a gentle, simpering little humanitarian, but this Naga had changed a great deal. Obviously she didn't have the problems with swords that the original Naga did, and her boyish garb was totally different. The cool confidence she showed, no loud boasting or laughter, just someone who clearly was very good at what she did.

Keeping a careful eye on the swordswoman Lina Inverse said to her twin, "You mind changing your name or something?" She waved, the gesture taking in the castle and the kingdom beyond it, "People are starting to think I do all of this stuff." With that she turned, intending to leave this place as soon as possible.

"Wait!" the white clad Lina called out. Her voice was much quieter as she continued, "I would be willing to do that, if you will do something for me in return."

Lina Inverse felt a bit of honest surprise that her seemingly angelic twin would even attempt to bargain with her. She stopped on her way out the door, not turning back to look at her as she calmly asked, "And what's that?"

"Take Naga along with you," was the soft response.

With that quiet comment both Lina Inverse and Naga looked over at her in honest surprise before blurting out, "What!?"

It wasn't too long after that Lina and the others were sitting around a very well stocked dining table, scarfing down food as fast as possible. 'She may be an humanitarian,' she noted as her twin kept up with her quite handily, 'but we still share the same appetite.'

"I can't believe you asked her that without telling me," Naga looked honestly wounded even as she grabbed a chicken leg and ripped it off the bird, gnawing hungrily. "And who will be here to protect you if I'm gone?" she asked.

"The kingdom's people will protect me. I know that you're not very happy here Naga," the white clad Lina grabbed at a roast, the same one that the other Lina grabbed. They both pulled at the same time, the meat tore, and each ended up with half. "You're an adventurer at heart, just like her," she said before she began to chew.

Lina Inverse finished off her piece of roast then guzzled back some wine, clearing her throat before she grabbed up a broiled fish. "And why me, anyway? I kind of doubt that we get along any better now than we did back then!" she barked.

Naga nodded, "Lina-sama, she's clearly not improved herself since we first met her. I'm far better off here with you."

"Lina Inverse has helped save the world more than once, Naga," Lina scolded Naga firmly. "And you're not better off here," Lina continued on forcefully, actually pausing in her eating. "You need challenges, adventures, and that isn't something that you can find staying in this peaceful kingdom with me," she said, reaching out to gently place her hand on Naga's.

Lina Inverse paused in her eating for a few moments as well, watching the two women talking together intensely. 'Well, isn't that interesting,' she thought, finally realizing what the relationship was between the two of them.

"I don't want to leave you," Naga finally said softly.

"I know," Lina said to her gently, squeezing Naga's hand, "but I also know that a caged bird can't truly be happy."

"Don't I get any say in this?" Lina Inverse asked pointedly.

"Certainly you do, Lina," her opposite smiled that gentle smile at her once again, and Lina had to shudder at the sight.

The next morning, the sun shone down brightly as Lina Inverse strode away from the castle as fast as she possibly could. Her cloak swirled in the light breeze, her money pouch jingling slightly as a few more coins clinked together inside. Quite loudly she said, "You realize I'm going to dump you the first chance I get?"

Naga strode along beside her, dressed in her leather pants, vest and white shirt, a black cloak flowing backwards. "Of course," she answered her calmly, "I'm only doing this because Lina-sama wants me to."

"Of course," Lina agreed. They walked on a bit, "So what do we do now?"

"There's still dragons to be slain up north," Naga offered.

"And why would I want to do that?" Lina looked up at Naga suspiciously.

"The dragon's horde hasn't been found yet," Naga smiled slightly.

Lina's eyes narrowed as she considered how much treasure that could be, her steps already tending towards the north. She frowned suddenly as she looked up at Naga, "How did you manage to manipulate me so well?"

Naga shrugged slightly as the two moved onto the northern road, "I just think about my Lina, and then do the exact opposite."

"Heh," Lina chuckled softly, "I'm not that bad, am I?"

"Well," Naga conceded thoughtfully, "you do seem to end up doing the right thing, for whatever selfish reason."

"Gee, thanks," Lina sighed. They walked together silently for a few moments, "Well, at least you don't wear that leather bikini anymore."

Naga's cheeks colored slightly, "That outfit was so embarrassing...."

To be continued... ?

Author's Note: The Shadow Reflector first appeared in the Slayers OVA released here under the title 'Explosion Array.' The fate of the doubles was never revealed... This is set sometime after the end of the Slayers series, though I have not decided yet if I will continue this. Inspired by the 'Oath' novels by Mercedes Lackey, featuring the sword and sorceress pair Tarma and Kethry.