Note: This fic was written before Slayers was commercially released in full. Therefore, some of the spellings may not be what you're used to. For the sake of clearing things up:
Sailoon = Seyruun
Zoamel Gustav = Zoamelgustar
Ellis = Eris
Shilfiel = Sylphiel
I think that's all of them ^_^*. Anyway, enjoy the story.

Slayers: Inconceivable

In a distant countryside, among rolling, green hills, and crystal blue lakes, there lay a quaint little village. The village itself reflected the beauty of the surroundings. Children frolicked in the streets, and the joyful songs of sparrows could be heard from nearby trees. The houses were all clean, and well maintained. The inn only served the best of produce, which was prepared with great care.

In this particular tavern, two figures noisily stuffed their faces and inhaled entire plates of food, squabbling over every dish.

"It's mine! Gimmie!" shouted the short redhead in an overly showy, bright-colored outfit as she grabbed a leg of chicken.

"What do you mean yours? I grabbed it first!" retorted her counterpart, a blonde man in blue. He yanked the chicken leg back towards him, as if it was his only worldly possession. Both dug their teeth into the same piece of meat, gnawing it to the bone, before moving on to the next plate not two seconds later.

After another hour and a half, the two decided that they'd had enough. They could always snack later….

"Ohhhh," groaned the redhead, "I think I ate too much. My stomach feels like it's going to explode…"

"Wow, I'd never expect you to say that, Lina. You're a bottomless pit!" replied the blonde.

"I'm what?!" shouted Lina. "Are you calling me a pig, Gourry? Are you saying I'm fat?!" She tried to rise from her chair as menacingly as possible, but could only manage a weak wobble, due to the weight of her overstuffed stomach.

"Ohh…. did I say you were fat?" said Gourry, scratching his head. "Ne, Lina, you don't look so good."

"Now you're calling me ugly?" she accused. Her stomach violently protested her temper, and lurched a couple of times, causing her to sink back into her chair in pain. "Where's some Alka-Seltzer when you need it….?" She groaned.

Gourry had no idea what she meant by that, but instead lifted her out of her chair, amid Lina's rather vocalized protests. "You're in no condition to yell at me," he said. "You're not well, and I think you should rest up until tomorrow. I'll take you to your room."

"No!" shouted Lina. "You're not carrying me to my room! I can walk by myself! Put me down, you hear? Put me down!!" Her last words were cut off by a hiccup that tasted an awful lot like the last thing she'd eaten. "Oooooh…. maybe I'm not so good…..," she moaned. "But I can make it to my room ON MY OWN!!"

Gourry didn't listen to her, though, and dutifully carried her up the stairs, looking chivalrous all the way. A damsel was in distress and needed his help. He entered Lina's room and laid her on her bed, then pulled up a chair next to her.

"Now what are you doing? Get out of my room!" shouted Lina.

"You're not well, and should be watched over. It's my duty to make sure you come out of this in one piece."

"Gourry," Lina groaned, "You're acting like I'm gonna die from indigestion. I'm fine! Now MOVE IT!!" Gourry didn't budge. There was no way she was going to be able to get him to leave, she realized. Lina flopped down on her pillow and let out a long sigh. "Fine," she finally said. "But if you're gonna stay in here, you might as well be of some entertainment value. Tell a story or something." It should be entertaining enough to see him try and remember an entire story, she thought to herself.

"Alright, if that is your wish. I will tell you a story that has been passed down through my family." He sat alongside the bed, in a thinking position, like he was trying to remember how it started. "Oh, now I remember!" he announced. "Ahem. 'Once upon a time…….' Um….. uhhh…." Gourry scratched his head, trying to remember what came next. This was a tough one.

"Gourry, just make it up as you go along. I couldn't really care," said Lina, from under her pillow.

"Alright," said Gourry. "I suppose I could just make up the parts I don't remember." This would most likely mean that he would ad-lib the entire thing. "Once upon a time…" he began again….

" 'A girl named Amelia lived in a small house in the middle of nowhere. She was only about twelve years old, and her parents were nowhere around, but she got along fine, so that was okay. The only person she knew was a boy who lived a little ways away, who was a bit older than her, and his name was Zelgadis. Amelia really liked him, but would never say so, because she was afraid she was still to young to be in love. She had always assumed that he loved her as well, and that someday, they would be together.'"

Amelia happily skipped down the path towards the well, which was about a mile from her house. She was hoping that Zelgadis would be there, as she was always happy to see him. She was sure that he'd be happy to see her as well.

"Ohayo, Zelgadis-san!" she shouted as she neared the well. She trotted over, swinging her pail, with a big sweet smile that could spontaneously cause cavities. "What have you been up to lately?"

Zelgadis showed little reaction to her presence, but still answered the question. "I want to become stronger, so I'm going away to seek power."

Amelia's face fell. "You're….. going away?" she whispered.

"And I doubt if I'll ever come back. I'm off to gain my fortune and power, neither of which I can find here."

Amelia's eyes started to glaze over. "But… but what about me? I thought we were friends! You're the only person I know! Please say you'll come back to me! Please!"

Zelgadis though about that for about a half a second. "I don't think so," he stated, flatly, running a pale hand though his dark hair.

"Then…" began Amelia, looking at the ground, "take this," she said, holding out a small bracelet, "so that you'll always remember me. And, maybe you'll come back to visit after all."

He snorted and took the trinket, rather indifferent about the entire ordeal. "We'll see what happens." With that, he took his sword and his pack and headed away.

" 'And so Amelia waited for Zelgadis to come back. Then, one day, she heard that he had been killed by… um…. Evil Chimera Man. And so Amelia was very sad…'"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said Lina, who'd only been half-listening the entire time. " 'Evil Chimera Man'? What kind of a name is that? And how'd she hear about him being killed if there was no one else around?"

"Ano, I don't remember all the little stuff, Lina," replied Gourry, still trying to think of what was supposed to happen next in the story.

"Yeah, whatever," said Lina, waving it off. "Just try to have the rest make a little more sense."

"Right," said Gourry, as he continued the story.

" 'A while later, Prince Phil-whatsis of the Sailoon family found Amelia and adopted her, so she's a princess now.'"

"His name's Philionel, Gourry," Lina corrected.

"Oh yeah. 'Phlioneous made Amelia a princess, and so now she lived in a big castle in Sailoon. But she was still very sad about losing Zelgadis. The prince taught her all about justice, and the only time she was happy was when she would go to towns and tell them about justice. She also liked stopping evil bandits from being evil.'"

Amelia had gone into a nearby village, to spread the cause of peace and justice. "I, Amelia Wil Tesla Sailoon, say that the path of justice is a great path, but evil must be vanquished from this land! Justice always triumphs!"

Most people didn't listen to her. In fact, the majority tried to avoid her whenever she came into town. This didn't stop her, though, as she would often climb to the highest place in town and make herself seen.

And, consequently, she made herself seen to a suspicious-looking trio who had been keeping an eye on her ever since she came into town that morning.

"*That's* who we're supposed to kidnap?!" one of them said, looking as though he was going to have a heart attack.

"Indeed, that is Princess Amelia Wil Tesla Sailoon, of the Sailoon royal family," said another, much calmer than his counterpart.

"Hush, you two!" warned the third, the obvious ringleader of the operation. "We don't want to give ourselves away yet. Wait until she's alone and no one can see her. Then we can grab her."

Waiting for Amelia to be alone wasn't too difficult a task, since the townspeople wouldn't touch her with a twenty-foot pole. But Amelia was pleased with her progress, and was happily prancing back home when the suspicious trio stopped her.

"Greetings," said the ringleader, a girl with short, spiked black hair, and a tight black leather miniskirt ensemble. "We are but three lowly circus performers…"

The two men with her gave her an odd look.

"Um, I mean, we are three, uh, insurance salespeople!" The other two still didn't seem to like that one, either. "Uh, three…… bandits??"

Before the other two could object to that one, Amelia had jumped to a high branch on a tree, striking a dramatic pose. "Evil bandits, your ways are unjust! Prepare to feel the swift hammer of justice to relieve the world of this darkness which you have brought to it!" She then gracefully leapt from the tree…

… and ricocheted off a rock twenty feet away before landing in an undignified heap on the ground.

"Well, looks like we got her, whether we want her or not," said one of the men, dressed in a tasseled olive green cape and a ridiculous-looking hat of the same color.

"She is simply making this job easier for us," said the other, a man wearing navy blue sorcerer's robes, and had a red gemstone in his forehead.

The two men scooped up the pile of princess, with the girl leading the way. "Soon Prince Philionel will be after us, so we must hurry!" she ordered. With that, the three suspicious people and the princess made their way through the forest, towards whatever evil goal they had in mind.

"Lemmie go!" wailed Amelia, once she had come to her senses. She was being loaded onto a ship in the harbor city of Sandoria. "Kidnapping innocent princesses is very unjust!"

"Quiet, you little runt!" shouted the girl in charge, who had introduced herself as being named Ellis. "We're being paid quite a bit of money to bring you to Sairaag, so you'd better behave!"

"And what are you going to do to me once we get to Sairaag?" asked Amelia.

"I certainly don't have to tell you that!" replied Ellis. "But any more questions, and I'll just throw you overboard and drag you behind the ship all the way there!" Amelia kept her mouth shut that time. Ellis nodded in satisfaction and continued preparing the ship for their departure.

Zangulus, the man in green, leaned on his sword and shook his head. "Vrumugun, I think she's being a little too cruel…"

Vrumugun shrugged. "You could always challenge her to a duel."

"Ah yes," said Zangulus. "But she probably isn't very good with a sword."

"And if you kill her, we'd get no reward," replied Vrumugun. It was obvious that these two were bored with their mission already. Ellis shot the two a look as they headed out of port.

"No more rhyming now, you hear?" she snapped.

"Anybody want a beer?"


The ship sailed on into the night. Amelia was sleepy, but just couldn't doze off. It probably had something to do with the fact that she was scared that if she fell asleep, one of her captors would jump her and slice off her head. But other than that, there was no logical reason why she couldn't sleep.

Ellis was manning the wheel, while Zangulus and Vrumugun just sat around and waited. Zangulus was perched at the stern of the ship, watching the water behind them.

"Would you just stop looking back there?! No one's following us!" shouted Ellis from her position at the wheel.

"You sure no one's following us?" he asked.

"That would be completely, utterly, and in all ways inconceivable," she replied. "No one in Sairaag knows what we've done, and no one in Sailoon could have gotten here fast enough!" Zangulus nodded and continued watching the sea behind the ship.

"Stop it!" Ellis reminded him again.

"You sure there's no one following us?" he repeated.

"I told you before, that is absolutely inconceivable. And that's final!" she demanded. "Just out of curiosity, why do you ask?"

Zangulus shrugged. "Oh, it's nothing really. I just happened to look behind us and something is there."

Ellis ordered Vrumugun to take over steering while she raced down the deck to have a look at what he was talking about. Sure enough, there was a small boat behind them. "Probably just some local fisherman out for a pleasure cruise in… sea dragon infested waters….

"See?" said Amelia. "My daddy already found you, and he's coming after you! Soon, you will all feel the swift sword of justice!"

"Yeah, whatever," said Ellis. "There's no way he can catch us in time though."

"But he's gaining on us," Zangulus observed.

"It doesn't matter, since we…." Splash. Ellis and Zangulus turned around to see that Amelia had jumped overboard. "Oh great… Well, what are you two standing around for?! Jump in and get her!"

"But I don't know how to swim!" whined Zangulus.

"And there's a sea dragon lurking in these waters," reminded Vrumugun.

"I don't care!" shouted Ellis. "You're disposable, anyway!" she yelled as she threw Vrumugun overboard. "Now go get her!"

Vrumugun snapped a levitation spell in place just before he hit the water. He grumbled and floated out over the sea, trying to find where Amelia had swam to. This wasn't a difficult task, as she wasn't much of a swimmer either and was splashing and gurgling about twenty feet away from the boat. "This is a highly illogical thing to do, princess. Don't you know that there is a sea dragon that lives in these waters?"

As if to emphasize his point, the aforementioned sea dragon shot its head out of the water and roared. Amelia shrieked and latched onto Vrumugun's leg and yanking him into the water with her. The dragon looked around and spotted Zangulus on the boat.

"Uhhh, Ellis….. The dragon is looking at me funny," he began, but was then snatched up by the dragon's claws.

Amelia, in the meantime, decided that this dragon was being very unjust, so she proceeded to climb on top of the highest thing available: Vrumugun. "Evil dragon, I will punish you for all the wrong you have done to people! DIEM WING!!" she shouted, sending a burst of wind that knocked Zangulus out of the dragon's claws and into the water. The dragon, positively pissed, turned to face Amelia. "My love for justice will never waver!" she shouted at the dragon.

The dragon roared and grabbed Amelia, intent on crushing the little runt into a pulpy mush…

"The dragon doesn't kill Amelia," Gourry interjected.

"Pardon?" said Lina.

"You looked like you were about to jump for joy that Amelia would get squished. I don't want you hurting yourself for nothing. She doesn't get mushed."

"Ohhhh…." Said Lina, not really caring. "Whatever. Just keep going."

"Ano, I can't remember where I was. Um, let's see… 'Amelia knocked Zangulus out of the dragon's hands, the dragon was mad, it grabbed Amelia, and then…'"

"Pweeeeeze don't eat me, Mister Dragon!" said Amelia, her eyes getting all big and shiny. The level of cuteness rose to phenomenal magnitudes, which was more than enough to cause the dragon's teeth to spontaneously rot.

The dragon gasped, dropped Amelia, and pulled out a compact mirror. All its teeth had turned a sickening blackish-brown from all the sweetness. Discouraged from fighting anymore because of its loss, the dragon sank beneath the waves and headed away.

Amelia pulled herself back onto the boat, along with a soaking wet Zangulus and Vrumugun. "Ano, I think I lost a contact lens back there," she said. "You think one of you boys could jump back in and find it for me?"

Zangulus and Vrumugun looked at each other, then proceeded to bind and gag Amelia for the rest of the trip.

"That boat has really gained on us," said Zangulus the next morning. "He's almost right on top of us!"

"Well, he's too late! See?!" said Ellis. "The Plateau of Craziness! We've reached the outer borders of Sairaag! Now nothing can stop us!" The three captors and one captive exited the boat at the foot of the Plateau.

"So how are we gonna get up there?" asked Zangulus. "There's no rope or a ladder or anything."

"That's why I brought Vrumugun along, you nitwit!" said Ellis. "Vrumugun, give us levitation."

"You mean I have to carry all four of us up?" he said, bewildered.

"Yeees!" said Ellis, losing patience. She shoved Amelia into Vrumugun's arms, then proceeded to wrap her arms around his neck. "Now take us up!" Vrumugun sighed and cast a levitation spell. He lifted off the ground, with Ellis and Amelia in tow. Zangulus, realizing he was being left behind, jumped and grabbed one of Ellis' legs. This added weight caused Vrumugun to stall in mid-air for a moment, before continuing to inch his way up.

In the meantime, the boat that had been following them earlier made its way to land, its occupant hot in pursuit. He levitated himself and chased them up the cliff.

"You were supposed to be a sorcerer! Not just some third-rate wizard, and yet he gains!" shouted Ellis, right into Vrumugun's ear.

"Well, I'm carrying three people, plus you're choking me, making it a little hard to concentrate, and he's only got himself."

"That's no excuse!" shouted Ellis. "I can kill you right here, you know. I can easily get another Vrumugun."

"If you kill me, I'll drop you," he reasoned to her.

"Just shut up and move faster. And, Zangulus…. STOP LOOKING UP MY SKIRT!!!!" The four continued up the cliff, with their pursuer close in pursuit. By some miracle, Vrumugun was able to make it to the top before they were intercepted. He gladly let his cargo off in a heap on the ground.

"He's still coming!" said Zangulus. "How do we stop him?"

"I'll handle this!" said Ellis. And with that, she threw a rock off the side of the cliff. The pursuer easily dodged it, though, and it simply went tumbling into the water below. "Rats," she said. "If only I knew a spell to break levitation."

"The princess specializes in white magic. I'm sure she knows Flow Break or something to that extent," observed Vrumugun. "The only problem is getting her to help us."

"I think I know a way," said Ellis. "Princess Amelia, the person following us is very unjust! Why, I'll beat he's that dreaded pirate, Evil Chimera Man, out to rob and kill us!"

"Evil Chimera Man…?" whispered Amelia. "Zelgadis-san….." The little princess' face began turning a dark shade of red, her eyes even taking on a red tint. "For justice, then. And for my Zelgadis-san! YAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" She hurtled every spell she could think of off the cliff at the approaching person. "Take that, you evil, unjust pirate!" Needless to say, this stunted his progress ever so slightly, as he was now hanging for dear life on the side of the cliff, which was crumbling away beneath his fingers.

"Fine, fine, that's enough," said Ellis, retrieving Amelia. "Vrumugun, you take Amelia. Zangulus, stay behind and watch our friend. If he falls, fine. If not, the sword."

Zangulus shrugged as the others left. He peered over the cliff to get a good look at whoever was following them. He appeared to be wearing an off-white to tan colored shirt and pants, plus a cape of the same color. His face, however, was masked by a hood, and a mask was also pulled over his mouth and nose. All he could see was a few spikes of violet hair from under the hood.

"Hello down there!" Zangulus shouted. "Tough going?"

"Look, this isn't as easy as it looks, so I'd appreciate it if you would just leave me alone while I climb," replied the man in tan.

"No problem," said Zangulus. "I suppose I could help you, but I'm just waiting around to kill you."

"That would put a damper on our relationship," said the man in tan. Zangulus shrugged and continued pacing. A whole minute went by.

"I don't suppose you could hurry it up, ne?" he said.

"Look," said the man, "If you're so eager for me to get up the cliff, you could at least lower a rope or a branch or make yourself useful or something. If not, I'm afraid you'll just have to wait."

"I hate waiting," murmured Zangulus. "I can give you my word as a swordsman that I won't kill you until you reach the top!"

"No good. I've known too many swordsmen."

"Is there anything I can say to convince you?"

"Nothing comes to mind."

Zangulus thought for a moment. "I swear on Zoamel Gustav, you will reach the top alive."

The man in tan was wondering what the heck that was supposed to mean, but he decided it was honest enough, and decided to take his chances. "Throw me the rope," he said.

"Ano, I don't have a rope," said Zangulus.

"Then lower a tree branch."

"No tree branches, either."

The man in tan sighed. "Then what was that entire conversation before supposed to accomplish? I haven't gotten any farther up the cliff, you know."

"Ah. Well, why don't you just levitate like you did before?"

"Because I…. I…. ummmm… I…. guess I could do that, too…." The man in tan sweatdropped, realizing how foolish he must look for that. He snapped a levitation spell into place and floated the rest of the way up the cliff. "Now…" he said, drawing his sword.

"No, no. Wait until you are ready," said Zangulus. "I want this fight to be as fair as possible." The man in tan blinked, but put his sword away and sat down on a rock, Zangulus sitting on a rock opposite him. "By the way, you wouldn't happen to be a Mazoku, would you?"

The man in tan looked up. "Do you always start conversations like this?"

"No, it's just that… a Mazoku seduced my wife, and broke her heart…." Zangulus replied.

"Gourry, Zangulus didn't even know Martina when he worked for Ellis," said Lina. "And since when would he talk about something like that?"

"How tragic," said the man in tan, completely ignoring Lina's interruption of the story.

"I have been searching for years for that Mazoku, so that I can avenge her. But when I find him, I will say, 'Hello. My name is Zangulus. You maimed my wife. Prepare to eat aardvark.'"

Lina and the man in tan did a collective facefault and sweatdrop at that one. "Gourry, I'm starting to wonder if it's you who's not well," said Lina.

"Uhhh, anyway," said the man, "I think I'm ready now. You've given me plenty of time."

The two stood and unsheathed their swords. "En guarde!" shouted Zangulus, just for the sake of saying it. Their blades locked in fearsome combat. Or, perhaps it was somewhat fearsome. Actually, it was downright not fearsome, as they locked blades, and just stood there, staring at each other. They then pushed apart and locked blades again.

"This is going nowhere," said the man in tan.

"Well, then maybe it's time I up the stakes a little," said Zangulus. He held his sword in front of him, then brought it down. "Howling Sword!" he yelled as a burst of wind came from the sword, knocking the man in tan backwards. "A little more interesting now, ne?"

"Quite," said the man in tan, getting up. "But it'll take more than that to defeat me," he said, charging again, and again, their blades locked. "I must admit, you are quite a skilled swordsman," he observed.

"Naturally," replied Zangulus. "But, why are you smiling, then? At least, I'm assuming you're smiling, since I can't see your face."

"Because I know something you don't," he said.

"And what might that be?"

The man smiled. "I'll let you figure that one out on your own." The two combated more, a few more clashings of blades, and a few more Howling Swords. "I think it's time we ended this," said the man in tan.

"My thoughts exactly," replied Zangulus. "Sorry about this, but I'll have to kill you now." He swept down with his sword, cutting cleanly through the man's frontside. And… the man just stood there.

"And I just got this shirt fixed, too," he said, looking down at the rip in his shirt. There was not a trace of blood or torn flesh. He was just as intact as he was before.

Zangulus backed away. "Who are you? How did you do that?"

"I am no one of consequence," replied the man in tan. "But, as you can see, you cannot defeat me by sword alone."

"No!" shouted Zangulus. "I cannot lose!" He charged again, but ran head-on into a sleep spell woven in front of his face. He collapsed on the ground and immediately started snoring.

The man in tan smiled. "I really don't want to kill you, but I just can't have to follow me. Until next time." With that, he turned to follow the other two captors.

"Inconceivable!" was all Ellis could think of to say when she saw the man in tan come over the hill. "He defeated my swordsman!" She turned to Vrumugun. "Perhaps he is not as skilled with magic. You stay here, and get rid of him your way." She grabbed Amelia and started to leave.

"Which way is my way?" asked Vrumugun.

"Hide behind that rock and wait for him. As soon as he's close enough, freeze him or something." With that, Ellis left, dragging Amelia behind her.

"My way's not very sportsman-like," muttered Vrumugun. He shrugged and reclined against the rock, waiting for the man in tan to appear. It didn't take too long, since the man was inhumanly fast. He rounded the corner, but halted as an arrow of ice whizzed past his head. The man in tan turned to see Vrumugun standing next to the rock.

"So," Vrumugun said, "You have defeated Zangulus. You had used a levitation spell before, so it is obvious that you know some magic, but just how good are you?"

The man smirked. "Better than you'd think."

"Well, then. Perhaps you'd like to try your luck?" Vrumugun immediately began a barrage of freeze arrows, which were easily deflected by the man in tan. He then tried and icicle lance, which the man in tan dodged. "You are quite quick, considering you are made of stone."

The man paused a moment. How could he tell? Oh yes, that's right. He had a rip in his shirt that clearly showed his frontside.

"Is that the best you can do?" said the man in tan. "For a sorcerer such as yourself, you sure don't know that many spells." The man in tan sent a flare arrow forward, which was intercepted by a freeze arrow. Naturally. He would have to try something else. "I tire of this," he said. "FIREBALL!" The fireball left a Vrumugun a nice little pile of ash at the base of the rock. "That was too easy," commented the man in tan.

"Yes, quite." The man spun to find Vrumugun standing behind him, reclining against another boulder. "But I don't go that easily."

The man in tan blinked a moment, confused as to who the newcomer was. Vrumugun was either much more powerful than he let on, or this person was simply a Copy. Logic told him to go with the latter option.

"So," said the man, "How many times am I going to have to kill you before you run out?"

"Hard to say," said Vrumugun. "But would you care to try it again?"

The man in tan shrugged. "Well, if no matter how many times I kill you, you'll just keep showing up, and no matter how hard you try, you can't beat me, I'm afraid we're at a stalemate."

"It would appear so," said Vrumugun. "How should we remedy this?"

Gourry scratched his head. Lina looked up at him.

"So? How do they settle it?" she asked, impatiently.

"I don't remember that part," said Gourry. "But I know the guy in tan wins."

"Well, how does he win? I want to know!"

"Uhhhh, maybe he hits him over the head with a piece of wood an knocks him out. I really don't remember how that part went. I'm not too good with magic and all."

"Well, just call it an unresolved conflict. Or just a plot hole or something. Let's just skip that part," said Lina.

Gourry nodded. "Sure. Well, let's see. 'The man in tan beat Vrumugun, and so he went chasing after Ellis, but during all this…'"

The moment Prince Philionel heard that his daughter had been abducted, he was outraged. He had looked to help from his new advisor, Xel, and he had suggested that the citizens of Sairaag had captured her. Phil thought this absurd, but decided to check it out anyway.

At the moment, he was standing at the top of the Plateau of Craziness, trying to piece together what had happened.

"It appears that someone was here recently," he said. "And it also appears that there was a swordfight, considering the patterns that the footprints make. And the fact that there is a swordsman sleeping in the middle of it, under some sort of magical influence."

"What do you think we should do with the swordsman?" asked Xel.

"Leave him, as he is not of consequence. He does not have my daughter, and that is who we are looking for. Forward, men!"

"So, you've finally caught up to me," said Ellis. She was seated at a table which just conveniently happened to be there in the middle of nowhere for her. "But your journey ends here. You will never get the princess away from me, because you can never defeat me!"

"So what are you trying to say? Do you think you can defeat me in combat by either sword or magic where your minions failed?" said the man in tan.

"Don't be ridiculous! I can't use a sword, and my magic isn't powerful enough to compete with you."

"Then, again, we have reached an impasse," he observed.

"It would appear so. Unless…" she stated, "Unless you wish to challenge me in a battle of wits! The winner of that battle gets to take the princess."

"Fair enough," said the man in tan. "A battle of wits it is. May the smartest and cleverest be the victor." A battle of wits in a story coming from Gourry. This should be interesting.

The man in tan made the battle simple. He held out both his hands, fists clenched. "Which hand is it in?" he stated, simply.

"*That's* the challenge?" said Ellis and Lina together. "Simple enough, though," said Ellis. "All I have to do is figure out if you're the type of person who would put something in his left hand or his right hand." She studied him intently for a moment. "The position of your sword hanging from your belt indicates that you are naturally right-handed, which could cause you to put most things in that hand. But you are a swordsman, and swordsmen tend to be versatile as to which hand their sword is in, so it could be in your left hand. You are also a magic user, so you would put something in your right hand, since it is the hand that is the strongest. But you could have also put in it your left hand, since you'd want to keep your right had free."

"So, you've made your decision?" he asked.

"Not even remotely! At the moment, information about you would favor it being in your left hand. But you would have known that, so you could have put it in your right hand to trick me. Your right hand is also being held slightly looser that your left, so something could be in that hand, or you could just be tricking me into thinking that, and the object is actually in your left hand."

"You're stalling," the man in tan observed.

"I am not stalling!" said Ellis. "I know exactly which hand it's in!"

"Then make your decision," he said.

"I will make my decision! And I decide….. Oh my goodness! There's a gigantic hairy spider crawling up your leg!" Ellis pointed out.

"So?" he said, simply. "That isn't important right now. Make your decision."

Drat. Didn't work. "Well then. I choose your left hand." The man in tan opened his left hand, revealing there to be nothing in it. Ellis went slack-jawed. "I…. I lost? How could I lose?"

"A deal is a deal," said the man in black. "Now, hand over the princess."

"I don't think so," said Ellis. "I'm not handing over anything! This deal is now null and void, and there's nothing you can do about it! What do you say to that? Huh?"

"There's a big hairy spider crawling up your leg," he said.

"Hah! I'm not going to fall for that one!" Ellis gloated. "If that trick didn't work on you, it's not going to work on…" Chomp. Ellis looked down to see that a large, hairy, very poisonous spider had just bitten her leg. "It…. It can't be! I'm invincible, you hear? INVINCIB…bleh…." Ellis collapsed on the ground, and spoke not a word more.

The man in tan looked satisfied and went to retrieve the captured princess. "I heard the whole thing," Amelia said. "So, all that time, it was in your right hand…"

" 'It' was nothing," said the man in tan. "I didn't have anything in my hands. But the ruse was worth a shot, anyway. Having that spider around was just plain luck."

"I guess so," said Amelia. "So, are we going to escape now?"

"Someone has defeated a sorcerer," observed Phil, when he arrived at an area scattered with rocks and boulders. "I'm not exactly sure how, but a sorcerer was defeated here. Xel, do you know how it was done?"

"Ah, that is a secret," replied Xel.

"Right," said Phil. "Well, it doesn't really matter, anyway. Whoever defeated the sorcerer probably has Amelia. And I will not stop until Amelia is safely returned to Sailoon. Onward, men!"

"I know who you are," said Amelia. "You're that pirate, Evil Chimera Man, enemy to all who live! I'd recognize that cold, stone face anywhere…"

"Princess, you really should learn to keep your mouth shut," he snapped. "Yes, I am a chimera, but I am not evil. At least not in the way you describe."

"It doesn't matter, since you murdered my one true love," she accused. "That's enough to make me hate you for life."

"I could have killed him. I've killed a few people in my hunt for what I am after. But this fellow must have been short on brains to want to have anything to do with you."

"Don't ever say that about him!" shouted Amelia. "He was smarter than you could ever be!"

"You insulted me before, princess. Insult me again, and I will have to hurt you. Believe me, I have no interest in your safety."

"Well, if that's the case, Chimera, why did you come after me in the first place?"

The man in tan sighed. "I heard that you were a princess that was skilled in white magic. I needed to find someone with powerful white magic skills to help me…"

"Ano, I'm really just an amateur, but I'm learning. What would someone like you need with a white sorceress?"

"It doesn't matter now," he replied. "I've seen that you will be absolutely useless to me, and so I'm at yet another dead end."

"You mean you were just gonna use me to your evil, unjust ends?!" she gasped. Amelia growled and launched herself at him, taking him completely by surprise. "Your evil ways must be stopped!" she yelled, finding that fighting him turned out to be absolutely useless, considering he had stone skin. She was able to get her hands on his face, however, and ripped of his hood and mask. With that he pushed her away and readied a fireball to rid himself of the little runt once and for all.

Amelia tumbled backwards, and looked up at him, getting a good look at his face for the first time. His skin was a greenish-blue color, and speckled with rocks that stuck out from his skin. His ears were long and pointed, and his hair was violet, and quite messy. Yet, through all this, Amelia thought she recognized him. Take away the stones, change the color of his skin and hair, and he looked just like…

"Zelgadis-san?" she whispered.

The man in tan was thrown by this, and lost the fireball he was preparing. "Pardon?" he said, wondering how this girl knew his real name. He never knew any princesses, but the girl herself also looked vaguely familiar. Then, realization struck him like a blow to the head, and the idea was about as pleasant.

"Amelia?" he gasped.

"Oh, Zelgadis-san, it is you!" she squealed. She jumped and latched onto him, making him lose his footing and tumble down a hill, which was conveniently right behind where he was standing. They both rolled down the hill and ended up in a heap at the bottom.

Amelia reoriented herself and looked around for Zelgadis, who was lying next to her, quite dazed at the sudden turn of events. She crawled over to him and put her face about an inch from his. "Hi, Zelgadis-san, I'm glad you came back for me! This must mean that we were truly meant to be together!" She smiled and giggled.

"Hold it, hold it!" shouted Lina. "They're not gonna kiss, are they? I could never imagine those two together. Yuck!"

"I think originally, they did, Lina. But, uh, I couldn't remember the original characters' names either, so I used names that I knew. But if you want, I could make it so they don't kiss."

"Please do," said Lina. "I have an upset stomach as it is."

"Okay, Lina. Ano, how do I change that, though?"

Lina shrugged. "Think of Zel, and think of what he would do in that situation."

"Okay," said Gourry. "If Zelgadis was in that situation, I guess he'd probably…"

Zelgadis choked and threw a wind spell at Amelia, throwing her away from him about thirty feet. The then immediately got up and brushed himself off. "Sorry about that, Amelia. It's nice to see you again, too, but that was getting just a little too personal for my tastes."

Amelia blinked a few times. "Oh, I see. Well, we just met again and all, and I guess we shouldn't rush into things."

"Uh, yeah. Whatever." He sighed and thought for a moment, wondering how in the world Amelia ever became a princess. Sure, she was whiny and obnoxious at times, but her heart was in the right place, and all she really ever wanted to do was to make friends. Though he wouldn't admit it, he did, on occasion, enjoy her company when he was younger, since there was no one else around for miles. And now that he'd run into her again years later, he couldn't just leave her standing around, when it was obvious that someone was after her. So, he decided on something that he hoped he wouldn't regret later.

"So, Amelia," he started, "Do you want to come with me? You know, just for a little while, until we get back to Sailoon."

Amelia squealed with joy. "Oh, I'm so happy, Zelgadis-san! We can travel together, and you can tell me all the great stuff you've done while you were gone, and I can tell you all the stuff that's happened to me!" Zelgadis simply sighed. He was beginning to regret this already…

"There they are!" came a shout from the top of the hill. "Don't let that villain escape, men! Make sure the fiend is brought to justice!"

"It's the kidnappers again!" said Zelgadis, grabbing Amelia and running as fast as his demonic-enhanced legs could carry him.

"No, those aren't kidnappers. That's just…." Amelia paused. If she told him who they really were, he'd stop and probably hand her over to them. She'd just gotten Zelgadis back, and she didn't want to lose him again so soon. Plus, since they thought that he was the kidnapper, they'd more than likely do awful things to him. No, better to keep her mouth shut this time.

Soon, the two reached the outskirts of the Wetland of Strange Stuff. "Ne, Zelgadis-san, are we really going in there? I heard that no one has ever survived the terrors of the Wetland of Strange Stuff!" said Amelia.

"We have no choice, though," said Zelgadis. "This is the only place we can go to be safe from those kidnappers."

"You call this safe?" The two ventured into the wetland, anyway. It was dark, creepy, and smelled funny. Just like any other place where evil could be lurking around every corner. "It's….. it's so creepy here…" said Amelia. "The world is very unjust to have a place like this."

"Just be quiet and keep going," warned Zelgadis. "The quicker we get out of here, the better."

"Right," said Amelia. She continued walking, making sure she stayed as close as possible to Zelgadis. "Ano, do you hear something?"

Zelgadis stopped and listened. There was definitely a sound emanating from the swamp around them, but it was hard to tell what it was. A high-pitched noise, somewhat repetitive, and grating on the ears. It was almost like… laughing. But not a pleasant, funny laugh. It was an evil, insane, sadistic sort of laugh. And it seemed to be getting louder. Closer. More annoying…

"EEEEEEEEEEEK!" shouted Amelia as an arm shot out of the ground and grabbed her leg. Zelgadis immediately pulled out his sword and hacked the arm off, but it was still left clutching Amelia's leg.

"Eew, gross," commented Lina. "I have an upset stomach, remember, Gourry?"

The arm was clothed in bright colors, now dulled by decay, with ruffled edges on the sleeves. "Wh…what was that, Zelgadis-san?" Amelia managed, as she pulled the arm off her leg.

"That would be one of the undead clowns, which haunt this area of the Wetland of Strange Stuff. One of the most evil creatures known to man. Even the Mazoku avoid them."

Amelia shuddered. "I hope I never see another one of those again," said Amelia. "They're scary." She lifted her head, as she could hear the evil laughing again. "Zelgadis-san! They're coming back! Uaaahh!"

Zelgadis readied his sword as another undead clown came completely out of the ground and snickered menacingly. It then slowly, ever so slowly, held up a weapon: a squirting flower.

Amelia cowered behind Zelgadis as the clown advanced forward, menacingly holding its squirting flower. Zelgadis leapt up and sliced the clown in half with one blow. It dropped the killer floral arrangement and sank back beneath the sand. Amelia stood in dumbfounded shock for a moment before she could think of anything to say.

"My hero!" she squealed as she latched onto Zelgadis' waist again. He shoved her away from him in an annoyed fashion. This didn't dissuade Amelia from being happy and energetic, though, as she happily skipped through the wetland, not really caring what was coming next… Until she came upon it.

"YaaaaaAAAAAAHHHH!!!!" she screamed as her feet came right out from under her causing her to do a half flip in the air before landing smartly on her head. Zelgadis came running over to survey the damage. She had landed on her head, so nothing important was badly damaged.

Amelia sat up and rubbed the bump on her head. "What was that? What happened to me?"

"It appears you have found the second terror of the Wetland of Strange Stuff," observed Zelgadis, pointing at the area of ground she had just walked into. In front of them lay a vast area covered with hundreds of thousands of Micro Machines and Matchbox cars, carelessly left strewn on the ground. A certain hazard for anyone travelling in the area.

"Oh, the horror!" said Amelia. "How will we ever get through there?" Zelgadis simply cast a Raywing spell, lifting him off the ground, so he could hover over the obstacle at hand. "Oh, good idea, Zelgadis-san! You're always so smart!" Amelia followed his example, and soon the two were out of harm's way.

"It seems we will be able to avoid trouble for the rest of the journey though here," said Zelgadis. "What are the terrors of the Wetland of Strange stuff. The first, the undead clowns. But they laugh whenever they get close, so we can easily avoid them. The second, the toy cars of misfortune. But we saw what that looked like and bypassed them easily."

"Ano, Zelgadis-san, what about the GWOTs?" asked Amelia.

"You mean the Gerbils With Oversized Teeth? People talk about them, but I don't think they exist," said Zelgadis, assuringly.

And, almost as if on cue, Zelgadis felt something at his feet. Looking down, he saw a gerbil, but it wasn't any ordinary gerbil. This was a saber-toothed gerbil! It squeaked at him and continued gnawing at his shoe.

"Oooh, it's so cute!" squealed Amelia, reaching down to pick up the little ball of fuzz. "Yes, there's a good widdle baby-waby gerbily-wirbly!" she said, holding the little gerbil. Zelgadis was about to be sick from all the cuteness. "Ne, Zelgadis-san, don't you want to hold the gerbil?" She smiled and shoved the gerbil into his hands. "Isn't he just soooooo adorable?"

Zelgadis looked at the gerbil. It was a gerbil, a rat. So? What was the big deal about a little rodent with big teeth? And this was a supposed terror of the Wetland of Strange Stuff? He guessed that travelers must have exaggerated about this place a little. The gerbil squeaked at him, hopped out of his hands, and scurried away.

"Bye-bye, little gerbil!" shouted Amelia, waving goodbye to the little furry animal. "So, what did you think, Zelgadis-san? Wasn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?"

"Oh, yes," he said, sarcastically. "And he left a cute little gerbil terd in my hand, too."

Amelia giggled. "Come on, Zelgadis-san! Let's keep going! We're almost out!" She skipped happily out of the wetland, not seeming to have a care in the world, while Zelgadis trudged along behind her, wiping off his hand.

"~Stand up and be yourself…~" Amelia sang, once they came upon more pleasant ground. "Zelgadis-san, I've had a wonderful time with you! I'm so glad we found each other again. Now nothing can keep us apart!"

Suddenly, an entire group of Sailoon guards jumped out from behind the trees and surrounded them, swords and bows ready.

"Except maybe that…"

Prince Philionel rode up to Amelia and Zelgadis on his horse. "So, this is the scoundrel who dared capture my Amelia?"

"No, Daddy, he didn't kidnap me! Zelgadis-san is my boyfriend! He rescued me from the terrible kidnappers!" said Amelia. Both Phil and Zelgadis facefaulted.

"I see…," he said. "But then, why did he run off with you?"

Xel rode up beside him. "You majesty, he is clearly a sorcerer, and a powerful one at that. I believe that he is a spy from Sairaag, and has brainwashed the princess into thinking he is her old boyfriend. But she herself said that he had been killed years ago!"

"Yes, I see," said Phil. "Very well then. Amelia, you will come back to Sailoon with me. Xel, you handle Zelgadis, and interrogate him. Once that is done, send him back to Sairaag, where he belongs."

"No, Daddy! You can't take my Zelgadis-san away from me! You can't!"

"Quiet, Amelia," said Phil. "You're not well. I'm taking you back to Sailoon, where you can forget about this entire mess." He picked her up, put her on his horse, and rode away.

"Noooooo! Zelgadis-saaaaaaaaan!" she yelled as they rode out of sight.

"So," said Xel, "I suppose we should start the interrogation?" Zelgadis said nothing. There was an evil aura about this person that he didn't like.

"Cut the small talk," said Zelgadis. "We both know that you aren't going to interrogate me, nor do you have any intention of sending me to Sairaag." He smirked. "You're a Mazoku. Someone is looking for you…"

Before he could finish that thought, a long staff connected with the back of his head, knocking him unconscious.

It took a moment for Zelgadis to reorient himself once he regained consciousness. He was lying on a table in some sort of semi-underground room. He tried get up, but found that he was chained to the table. A figure stood over him, who appeared to be half wolf and half troll.

"Dilgear?" asked Zelgadis, puzzled. "Where am I?"

"The Ditch of Doom," said Dilgear, in a creepy, evil voice. "Don't even think about…. *cough*… ahem, don't even think about trying to escape," he said, his voice perfectly normal now. "You're chained to the table, and you can't use your magic. And if you manage to get past that, I'll just have to kill you. And Xellos wouldn't want that….. yet."

"So, Xellos is the Mazoku behind all this?" said Zelgadis, not really caring. "What is he planning on doing to me?"

"That is a secret," came a voice from behind him. Xellos casually walked into the Ditch of Doom, looking as smug as ever. "But I am very interested in you, Chimera-san. Perhaps we'll just experiment a little, to see what it takes to break a rock golem."

"So it is to be torture, then?" said Zelgadis. "Your kind thrives on the misfortune of people, so it is only natural that you'd use me to your own needs."

"Well, to put it negatively, yes," said Xellos. "But I'm not all bad. Why, I helped the Prince locate his missing daughter, did I not?"

"That really doesn't matter now. I'm a prisoner of the Mazoku, and I'm assuming the royal family will be next, once you're finished toying with me."

"Perhaps," said Xellos. "Once they've outlived their usefulness. The Prince is quite a powerful person, and I can bend him to my own needs for as long as it takes to get whatever I am after."

"Just leave the princess out of this," Zelgadis warned. Although the Sailoon princess wasn't one of his most favorite people, the thought of an innocent like her being tortured by a sadistic Mazoku sent chills up his spine.

"My my, are we showing a bit of compassion for the little girl now? Strange tastes you have, indeed," taunted Xellos. Zelgadis swore that if he ever got out of there, he'd rip that Mazoku's head off.

"So, Zelgadis," said Xellos, "Are you scared yet?"

Zelgadis smirked. "Petrified."

And somewhere off beyond this story land, Lina, along with anyone else within earshot, let out a long groan.

Prince Philionel paced his castle. He was very concerned about the safety of his daughter. The fact that she had been kidnapped with very little effort showed that the security around Sailoon wasn't what it should be, and that there were too many criminals around.

And so Phil had a plan. He had summoned Xel to his room to discuss the problem.

"Xel, you are my top advisor, and as such, I need your advice on the recent development concerning the kidnapping of my dear Amelia," he stated plainly. "Do you have any suggestions as to how we can prevent such a thing from happening again?"

Xel thought for a moment. "Perhaps we could send out a squad to arrest anyone in the area who could be a potential criminal. Anyone could be an unjust outlaw, so we shouldn't take any chances."

"You're right, Xel," said Phil. "I want Amelia to grow up in a safe environment, so I guess this is the only option. And perhaps we should place more guards around the palace. No one gets in or out without my authorization."

Xel smiled. "Consider it done."

Zangulus sat on the ground, leaning against the wall of an old tool shed at the outskirts of Sailoon, a glass of orange juice in one hand, his sword in the other. "This is it, then. Yessir, this is it. I'm just gonna sit here for the rest of my life and drink orange juice," he babbled. "Orange juice is good for me, yes it is. Tastes just like biting into a fresh, ripe orange, it does…."

A Sailoon soldier walked up to him. "A drunken swordsman is dangerous. And for your potential unjust nature, I arrest you under order of Prince Philionel de Sailoon."

"Naaaaaaaw, I'm not drunk," said Zangulus. "I just really like my orange juice, I do. Yup, my orange juice and me have been through a lot together, yessir. Orange juice is my friend…."

"I think there's more in that glass than orange juice," said the soldier. He sniffed the glass. Just as he suspected. It smelled just like orange juice. "Hmm, well, you're still acting weird, so I'll have to take you in, anyway." But before he could do anything, he was frozen in place by a well-placed freeze arrow. Zangulus looked up to see what he had to deal with now.

"Vrumugun?" he said, astounded, dropping his orange juice, which splattered all over the ground. "My orange juice!" he exclaimed.

"Your orange juice doesn't matter right now," said Vrumugun. "We have more important matters to attend to. The Prince is arresting almost everyone in the city because we kidnapped the princess. I think we should go to the palace and fess up to the whole thing, so he'll let all those innocents go."

Zangulus cocked an eyebrow. "Vrumugun, since when would you care about all those people? And how would we get to the castle, anyway? It's probably guarded by hundreds of soldiers! Sorry, but I'd much rather stay here with my orange juice. Give me one good reason why I should go."

"There's also a Mazoku posing as the Prince's advisor," said Vrumugun.

Zangulus sat up. "Really? You think it's the same one I've been after all this time?"

"Definitely," said Vrumugun. "Just another reason that I think we should storm the castle and bring the evil ones to justice!" He blinked a moment, then composed himself again. "Okay, sorry about that. They hired me as part of the squad to arrest the criminals around here, but before they put me to work, they put me through a…. special Sailoon justice initiation course."

"Ouch," was all Zangulus could say. "Must've been tough on you. But, anyway, how are we going to get into the castle? You and I can't do it alone. We need an ally, with a strong mind, and skilled with magic and a sword. Someone like the man in tan." Zangulus paused on that thought. "Of course! We need to find the man in tan! He beat me by sword, and you by magic…. How did he beat you, anyway?"

"I don't know," said Vrumugun. "Nobody knows. It is a great mystery of the universe."

Zangulus shrugged. "Anyway, we'll find the man in tan, then storm the castle, and kill the Mazoku…. no, wait. You can't kill a Mazoku, can you?"

"Not by conventional means, no," said Vrumugun.

"Oh. Very well then, we shall injure the Mazoku! Onwards to Sailoon!" he shouted, getting up and running headfirst into a tree. "Oh yeah," he said. "Where is the man in tan, anyway?"

"How should I know?" said Vrumugun.

Zangulus scratched his head. "Okay, this could be a problem."

Meanwhile, in the Ditch of Doom, Zelgadis was still lying on the table, with Xellos standing over him.

"Broadsword," commanded Xellos. Dilgear handed him a broadsword. He then brought it down on Zelgadis' chest, and it simply struck it with a resounding *clang*, not even leaving a mark.

"Okay, broadsword ineffective. Two by four?" he commanded again, taking the piece of wood and smacking Zelgadis with it.

"Two by four ineffective. Pickled herring?" Xellos smacked him with the fish, and still nothing happened. "Well, you are definitely a sturdy one. We'll leave that for today, as I have other business to attend to. Dilgear, make sure he doesn't escape." With that, Xellos turned and climbed out of the Ditch of Doom.

Zelgadis, on the other hand, was quite upset, to say the least. He was chained to a table, being used as a lab experiment, and had been defaced by everything from fish to old sweat socks. Not exactly his idea of a good time. He sighed and laid his head back down on the table, wondering if there would be any end to this.

Zangulus stopped for the millionth time and looked under a rock. "Nope, he's not here, either. So many places he could be…" he muttered to himself.

"Zangulus, if it helps, let's just assume that the man in tan is not under a rock. Nor is he at the bottom of a lake, buried in a pile of leaves, under a woman's dress, or inside a tree," suggested Vrumugun.

"Well, you never know!" said Zangulus. "He could be anywhere, and we must not leave any stone unturned! We will find the man in tan, just you wait!" He looked under the rock again. "Hmm, still not there. Just making sure."

Vrumugun sighed. He wondered if there was a gene that cause people to loose their common sense as soon as they became swordsmen.

"Anyway," said Zangulus, "We have to keep looking. It's not like we're going to YAAAAHH!!!" he yelled as he tripped over a stone, went tumbling into a ditch, and hit his head on a rock. He sat up rubbing his head. "…Not going to just run into him or something," he finished.

"Well, looks like you just did," said Vrumugun, noting that the rock Zangulus had hit was Zelgadis' head. "It appears he was in this ditch, chained to a table the entire time."

"Oh no!" shouted Dilgear. "Someone has found the Ditch of Doom! How is that possible? It is so cleverly disguised as a normal ditch!" He backed away, not wanting to have to fight a swordsman and a sorcerer at the same time. "I… think I'll run away now." And so he did.

"We have found the man in tan!" shouted Zangulus, triumphantly. "Ano, Vrumugun, I think he's dead…"

"I'm not dead," said Zelgadis. "Now, do you think you could get off of me?"

"We are too late," said Vrumugun. "The evil Mazoku killed him before we could get to him. How tragic."

"I'm not dead!" repeated Zelgadis. "Hello? I'm not dead here."

"Perhaps it's not too late," said Zangulus. "If we get him to a healer fast enough, there's still a chance that we could revive him. Now, come on, let's get him out of here." They untied Zelgadis, and began dragging him away.

"I'M NOT DEAD!!" yelled Zelgadis, becoming rather uncomfortable from being dragged behind them.

"Did you hear that?" said Zangulus. "He's not all dead, he's only mostly dead! Now we have an even better chance of reviving him!"

Zelgadis groaned. "I'm not mostly dead, either. I am 100% completely alive."

"You sure?" said Zangulus, stopping a moment.

"Last time I checked," said Zelgadis.

"And how long ago was that? Check again."

Zelgadis sighed in annoyance. "Well, let's see, I have a pulse, I'm breathing, I'm talking to you. Yes, I definitely think I'm alive."

"Oh," said Zangulus, dropping him. "Well, then I guess we don't have to go to a healer after all." Zelgadis got up and brushed himself off.

"So, you said you'd been looking for me. Is there anything I can do for you two?"

"Indeed," said Vrumugun. "We are planning to storm the Sailoon palace to free innocent people, and kill, er, injure a Mazoku."

Zelgadis cocked an eyebrow (or would have if he had eyebrows). "This Mazoku wouldn't happened to be Xellos, would it?"

"Oh, yes, actually he is. You've heard of him?"

Zelgadis waved him off. "Yes, I've heard of him, and met him. And I'll definitely help you in getting that Mazoku. I have a score to settle with him myself…"

"It's settled, then!" said Zangulus. "So, now that we are a strong threesome, we shall storm the gates and bring down the evil Mazoku who threatens us! Onward, men!" he shouted, as he ran into a tree again, for no particular reason at all.

Amelia sat in her room, bored to tears. Her father had insisted that she stay locked up in her room, to make sure that no one would come and kidnap her again. But this also meant that she would no longer be able to leave on quests of truth and justice, and that she would never see her beloved Zelgadis again.

"Mawage. Mawage is what bwings us togevah today. Mawage. That bwessed awangement…," said Shilfiel, who was sitting opposite Amelia in the room. "Um, sorry. I'm just kinda bored too. Plus, I need to be in this story, anyway."

"No you don't," said Amelia, flatly. And so Shilfiel vanished. And that was that. Amelia sighed and went back to her moping. Life without Zelgadis was so boring and uneventful. She hoped that something exciting would happen soon.

Her prayer was soon to be answered, as the trio of heroes stalked through the bushes by the castle gates.

"There's… no one guarding the door," observed Zelgadis as they neared the castle. "I thought you said the security here was really tight! Where is everyone?" Unbeknownst to them, every guard in the city had been sent to chase after a mime, who was considered evil and a threat to society. But, that wasn't really important. They were just happy that they could get into the castle so easily…

Or so they thought. Zangulus pushed on the door with all his might. "It won't open!" he growled. "It must be locked or something!" He pulled out his sword and hacked the lock off the door, then pushed on it again. "It still won't open! It must be bolted from the inside!" He threw himself at the stubborn door a few more times, before Vrumugun tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at the large sign on the door that distinctly said "pull".

"Oh," he said, sheepishly, as he pulled open the door with very little trouble at all. The three made their way inside, ready for any type of trouble.

Back up in her room, Amelia decided that she didn't like being in her room anymore, and so just got up and left. There was no one guarding the door, and the door wasn't locked, so she simply walked down the hall to see if she could find something to do, but without running into any trouble.

Except trouble ran into her. Literally. Xellos was quite angry that Zelgadis had escaped, and so was storming down the hall, not really watching where he was going. And so he ran head-on into Amelia, who was sneaking around the other way.

"Oy, sorry about that, Xel-san. I wasn't watching where I was going," Amelia apologized.

Xellos looked at Amelia and smiled. If he ever wanted to recapture Zelgadis, the princess would be the perfect bait. "Princess," he said. "I understand that you have been held here against your will. Come with me, and I'm sure I can find something more suitable for you to do."

"You mean it?" said Amelia, her eyes getting all shiny and cute. "Oh, thank you, thank you, Xel-san! You're so nice!"

Xellos had to lean on his staff to keep from falling over under the barrage of cuteness coming from Amelia. It was a Mazoku's worst nightmare, to say the least. "Um, yes. Anyway, come with me, Amelia." Amelia nodded and happily trotted off after him, being everything that was the opposite of the negative energy that the Mazoku thrived on. He felt like he was going to keel over at any moment.

"Hold it right there, Xellos!" came a voice from in front of him. He looked up to see Zangulus and Zelgadis with their swords drawn, and Vrumugun preparing a spell. "It ends here, Xellos," said Zelgadis.

Xellos smiled. "Well, if it isn't the great Chimera. And what do you three plan to do against me?"

This time Zangulus spoke, holding his sword menacingly in front of him. "Hello. My name is Zangulus. You maimed my wife. Prepare to eat aardvark."

And once again, everyone did a collective facefault/sweatdrop at that line. "Would you just stop saying that?" muttered Zelgadis. "You're scaring me."

Amelia, however, squealed in delight. "Zelgadis-san!" she shouted, and was immediately wrapped around his leg, babbling about how he came to rescue her, they were meant for each other, yada yada.

"Let go of me, Amelia!" said Zelgadis, trying to shake her off his leg. "Hurry, Zangulus! Get Xellos!"

"Why?" said Zangulus. "I said what I wanted to say. Now my vengeance is over, so I don't need to be here anymore." And with that, he walked off.

"Okay, then, Vrumugun, you go get Xellos," said Zelgadis.

"But that isn't what I came here for," said Vrumugun. "I just came to free the townspeople from the dungeon. In fact, I think I'll go do that now." And with that, he walked off as well.

"Well, this is just great," growled Zelgadis, trying to get an even footing with Amelia still attached to his leg.

"It appears I have you again, Zelgadis," said Xellos. "The princess has done a fine job of capturing you for me."

Amelia looked at Xellos. "No! He's mine! You can't have him!" She let go of Zelgadis' leg and struck a dramatic pose. "In the name of justice, I will not have you kidnapping my boyfriend!"

Zelgadis, on the other hand, was about to lose it. Amelia was driving him nuts! He'd have to get away from her fast, with or without Xellos. There would always be another time, another story when he could finish what he started. With that, Zelgadis snapped a Raywing bubble into place and floated out the window.

"Wait for me, Zelgadis-saaaan!" shouted Amelia, running right over Xellos and jumping out the window after him, throwing a Raywing spell of her own into place.

Xellos stood up and pondered the latest turn in events. Was it really worth his sanity to try and go after those to again? As he was thinking about that, a parade of Sailoon soldiers marched down the hallway, singing a happy song about justice. Xellos made his decision, and promptly vanished from the face of Sailoon before he died of a justice overdose.

And far away, free from the burdens of Sailoon and palace life, Amelia finally caught up with Zelgadis, and she…

"That's enough!" said Lina, jumping out of bed. "This story is waaaay too weird for my tastes. I could live without knowing what happened with Amelia and Zelgadis, because, frankly, I don't care to know." Lina re-adjusted her cape and looked in the mirror. "Anyway, I feel a lot better now, so we can hit the road, Gourry."

But Gourry didn't move. "Ne, Lina," he said. "All that talking gave me a sore throat, and trying to remember the entire story gave me a headache. I don't feel so good." He crawled into bed as Lina sat back down in the chair beside him. "Tell me a story, Lina," he said. "I need a story to help me feel better."

"Alright, then," said Lina. "Now it's my turn!" She chuckled under her breath and rubbed her hands together. " 'Once there was a beautiful girl named Lina, Warrior Princess, and she had a sidekick named Gourry-elle….'"

But that's another story.