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Chapter 7:

Got Xellos?

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Down in the depths of my fiery home

The summons bell will chime

Tempting you and all the earth

To join our sinful kind

The is a job to be done and I'm the one

You people made me do it

Now is the time for your fate and I won't hesitate

To pull you down into this pit.

--Metallica, 'Jump in the Fire'

"Gee, Mr. Xellos, This place is empty too." noted Amelia. This was the second place that had been visited by the group. The first had been utterly destroyed, but with the village nearby left intact. The fact that the shrine, which had imprisoned the deceptive Mazoku Kracatow, had been destroyed did not concern Xellos. What did was the unalterable fact that if Kracatow had been freed that village would have been destroyed. The only- ONLY explanation was that someone had set her free. And had consigned her to oblivion. Forever. The first place had human bones there. At least the Mazoku lackey had died while fighting with his master.

"Didn't you claim there was a recorder here?" asked Zelgadis.

"Yeah, we also gotta find that holy flute thingy, right?" said Gourry.

"You dolt!" yelled Lina, banging him on the head "How can you even call the Recorder of Le' Ching, a 'holy flute thingy'?!? It's a legendary holy relic! Surely even you must have heard of it!"

Gourry's blank expression was that of a puppy dog that had been punished for something it did a week ago and had not the slightest recollection why it was being wapped. He shrugged.

Lina, after exasperatingly looking to heaven said, "It was carved from a sacred branch taken from Flagoon, the holy tree. By the ancient sage Le Ching. Its notes could clam a raging sea, an angry mob or keep all but the most powerful masters back."

"And that's was what was keeping Kracatow imprisoned here." finished Zelgadis. "Although it seems that whoever removed the flute was well prepared and either has imprisoned or destroyed her. I cannot believe that a monster would have been so weak."

"That's obvious." said Xellos, "But where have they gone? It seems that the rebel must be using humans or a humanoid to remove the objects of binding."

"Whoever did this, they were very careful to remove all traces of their presence" added Filia, "Miss Lina, this is terrible! The loss of these relics is priceless and besides what will keep these evil monsters bound from humanity?"

Zelgadis rolled his eyes and let them trail to the ground. Seeing something he bent over and picked it up. Long and string likeā€¦ and it was PURPLE?!? With demon speed he tucked it into his belt pocket. "Well, I guess there's nothing here." He remarked in a near monotone. "We might as well go get something to eat." 'What is Xellos up to? Is he playing us for fools in his sick game? Or is he going to frame us all? Maybe he's killing off future competition, and may even need our help; after all, Lina is a sorcery genius. If so, then he may be prepared to use us as scapegoats if something goes wrong.'

"YAYYY!!! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!" exclaimed Gourry.

"FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!" joined in Amelia

"FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!" chimed in Lina.