Chimera in Double Trouble

Chimera in Double Trouble

BG: Read Chimera and the Tower as well as Chimera and the Silver Lady before reading this because this is kinda like part three or something like that.

Disclaimer: I really don't actually write these often because I know full well that the characters in my stories aren't always mine, besides, its not like I'm going to sell these or something!

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Lina sat in her apartment in the Seyruun castle brushing her hair. It technically wasn't her apartment, just the one she was using right now to attend the wedding. She sighed, "Zelgadis and Amelia are getting married... I just can't believe it. After how he seemed so in love with Canthrea he just left her for Amelia." Lina shook her head, pushing her crimson tresses over her shoulder. Carefully, she set the ivory comb down, smiling as she looked at it.

Gourry had actually remembered her birthday. Lina of course had to remind him but once he'd remembered he'd given her the ivory comb gladly. Her fingers picked the comb up, turning it slowly in the light, marveling at its simple beauty. Lina set it down once more and got to her feet, headed over to the bed. Tomorrow would be a big day, she had to be ready for anything.

* * *

Zelgadis could feel his stomach tighten as he looked around his current apartments. They weren't really his, in fact, by the next night, he would be sleeping in a completely different part of the castle. The young man ran his fingers through his hair and turned to look in the mirror at his electric blue eyes, tanned skin, and deep black hair. "I hope they get here in time..." he said softly to himself then picked up the candle, carrying it toward the bed.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he rubbed at his arm a moment before lifting his pant leg to look at the bruise on his shin. "Still clumsy as ever," he said softly. Zelgadis shook his head, trying not to think back to the days where he was hard as a rock and such things as tripping over a chair wouldn't have phased him, except in ego. Now his pride was wounded as well as his leg, but if that was the price he had to pay for being able to marry Amelia, then he would pay it gladly.

"I just hope they get here in time," he said once again then blew out the candle, rolling onto his back and pulling the covers up.

* * *

Zelgadis woke up screaming for the third night in a row, though he was gladdened to find Canthrea gently caressing his hair and whispering soft assurances. "It was only a dream love. We'll be there by tomorrow and you can make sure nothing like that happens. Okay?"

Zelgadis nodded slowly, his slit eyes glittering in the almost dead campfire. They could have slept in an inn, but that would mean that they'd have another three hours to travel in the morning. He'd pushed himself and Canthrea as far as he dared, even if that wasn't far.

The Chimera looked down upon his wife, watching as the flickering light shimmered on her wiry silver hair and granite skin. A smile touched his lips when he noticed her hand resting upon her growing abdomen. Reaching over, he let his hand cover her's. He couldn't deny that he was happy. He even admitted to himself that he was glad to have been created. Canthrea was just an amazing companion. She have him space when he needed it, cuddled when he felt lonely, and loved him despite the fact that he wasn't the original Zelgadis. She even gave him the time he needed to figure himself out, assuring him that he was just as good or even better then the other Zelgadis.

His gaze focused on her face once again, finding her eyes open. "Lay down, you're letting the cold air in," she said softly but firmly. He lay back down as told, putting his arms around her to ward off the cold. Zelgadis's eyes turned toward his thoughts once again.

They'd received the invitation six months ago, Canthrea had just been too busy with her studies to start out early as Sylphiel had done. Now they were only a short ways away from Seyruun's capital but it was just too late in the night to continue. Canthrea hadn't mentioned that her ankles hurt, but he'd seen her limping when she thought he wasn't looking.

It was because of him that her ankles hurt, and he was rather proud of himself for causing it. It meant that he was fertile, even if he dreaded the thought of his children looking exactly like himself. He couldn't say anything about it because it would imply that he didn't like how Canthrea looked, for she was exactly the same way. Zelgadis simply kept his mouth shut about it, he loved her too much to hurt her feelings. Closing his eyes finally, Zelgadis succumbed to Canthrea's sleeping spell.

* * *

Lina stood with Amelia helping the younger girl get her wedding dress on. "Hold still just a moment, Amelia!"

"If she isn't here soon- oof! Lina! Don't pull so hard!"

"I'm here," Canthrea said as she stepped into the room, visible in the mirror. Amelia sighed.

"Oh thank goodness! Zelgadis was so insistent on you being one of the brides maids!" Amelia said happily, clasping her hands together and turning around the moment Lina was finished lacing up the back of Amelia's dress. "I'll go get your dress!"

Canthrea smiled slightly, a faint blush tinting her cheeks as she carefully unclasped the long ivory cloak that hung around her shoulders. Lina fell over when Canthrea's somewhat extended waistline was visible.

"You- you- you're PREGNANT!" Lina stammered, "How?! Who?!"

Canthrea smiled a little more, lifting a finger and winking. She didn't have to say the words to tick the sorceress off. "Oh no! The dress won't fit!" Amelia exclaimed. "How far along are you?"

"It will, dear, don't fret. Hand it to me. As for how far, I'm about three months." Canthrea held out one hand, her other resting on her stomach.

"You're not going to rip it, are you?" Amelia asked hesitantly as the slippery gold fabric was handed over to the Chimera woman.

"Not at all," Canthrea disappeared behind the divider and changed into the dress while Lina stared at Amelia.

"You know- don't you?" Lina summarized. "You know who she's married to! Tell me!!"

Amelia shook her head, "If she wants to tell you she will. Hey Canthrea, is he here?"

"Umm hmm, but he wandered off. I think he's embarrassed to be here. He's so cute when he's embarrassed, isn't he!?" the magi woman peeked around the divider at Amelia and they both giggled. Lina blinked a few times. "Okay!" Canthrea said after adjusting her dress some then stepping out.

Amelia clasped her hands together, "It fits perfectly! I wish I knew how you did it!"

* * *

Zelgadis wandered the halls, his dark blue cloak still on his shoulders, the hood pulled low to hide his face. He was ignored by all, or those who passed him pretended to ignore him. Zelgadis folded his arms on his chest as he walked, making note of every little detail.

"Sir!" someone yelled behind him. "Sir- you can't go down that hall, that's restricted for those in the wedding," the man caught up with Zelgadis and was about to pull the Chimera's hood down.

"He's allowed, Frank," a voice interrupted the guard. Zelgadis turned his eyes to find a man wearing white formal clothes stepping out of one of the rooms.

"If you say so, Sir," the guard bowed deeply and went back to his post, giving a strange look to the man in the blue cloak.

Zelgadis found himself looking at himself. A mirror of himself, except in human form. The man smiled and gestured, "Follow me." Zelgadis simply nodded. "I assume that since you're here she is too?" Again, there was a slight nod. The man sighed in relief, "I was worried she wouldn't come. How have you and her been getting along?"

"Well," Zelgadis replied softly, his original cast him a look.

"No need to be mad at me, Zel," the man said.

"I'm not."

The man laughed softly, "No, maybe you're not mad exactly, but you're not pleased. I know the feeling. I'm sure Rezo would have felt the same if he'd ever met his Copy." Zelgadis winced slightly. "Sorry, didn't mean to say that. As long as you're keeping Canthrea happy then you're great."

"I am, I suppose," Zelgadis said softly in return.

"And are you happy with her?" his original looked at the copy, both watching each other's expressions.

"Yes," Zelgadis finally replied. "She insisted on us being married as soon as possible. Practically made Sylphiel to do the ceremony right on the spot." A smile touched his lips though, as did his original.

"I'm glad it worked out," the human man said patting Zelgadis's shoulder. "I haven't had such luck. Damn council took forever to agree to me marrying Amelia then insisted on setting the date to now. As if waiting this long was going to make me change my mind. Engagements shouldn't last almost a year and a half!"

Zelgadis smirked slightly, "That's what you get for marrying the princess."

"Any chance we could still switch?" the young man winked.

"Not likely, Canthrea would be upset. You may be the original, but I am the father."

The young man's jaw dropped. "She's pregnant?" he asked and got smirked at a little more. "Way to go! We'll have to go off and celebrate." Both of them grinned somewhat, the Chimera blushing when someone passed, giving them an odd look.

"Have you told Lina yet?" Zelgadis asked somewhat worried. The memories he had of Lina and Gourry weren't his, but he used them to his advantage.

"Nope. Don't exactly intend to. If you want to tell her that's your business, but just remember that I've got to live with her around the area."

Zelgadis bowed slightly, "I'd rather Lina didn't know. Even if I've personally never experienced it, fireballs do hurt." The young man who was the original of the two nodded empathetically, eyes wide.

"How have Canthrea's studies been going?"

"Well enough, she's already learned all they know and has advanced their research quite a ways-" Zelgadis was interrupted when a man dashed up.

"Sir, its almost time, are you ready?"

Zelgadis watched as his original nodded. "I've been ready."

"Good luck sir," the servant bowed and backed away, dashing back to where he'd come from.

The young man looked around, "Well, if its almost time I really shouldn't be here. Go find somewhere to sit and watch." He turned but found Zelgadis's hand on his arm.

"Wait... there's something I wanted to ask you." He saw the open expression on the young man's face, willing to listen to his own copy's worries. It eased something in Zelgadis's stomach and he found he couldn't tell his original his dreams of fiery destruction right now. "I'll tell you later," he let go and shook his head. His original nodded. "Good luck, not like you'll need it." The man smiled and started at a run down the hallway toward where he should be for the wedding to begin.

* * *

Zelgadis, the original, stood at the altar, his stomach tied in knots and he couldn't help think that there was something important that his copy hadn't told him. Something his copy was about to say but then thought better of. It worried him. He had the feeling that it had something to do with the dream.

The dream that he was standing here, his copy-

Zelgadis suddenly looked around, finding his copy standing off to the side in the shadows, exactly where the Chimera man had been in the dream. He shook his head. No, he couldn't let the thought that the crazy dream was going to become real. Mazoku wouldn't be that interested in his wedding. At least not interested enough to blow up the entire chapel of Cephied in which they were gathered.

He heard the music start and turned his attention to the end of the aisle, his heart stopping as he saw Amelia. Slowly came toward him, arm in arm with her father, her face shrouded by the veil but Zelgadis could see the happy smile on her face.

All other thoughts flew from his mind as he watched his angel walk toward him in a haze of light and sparkles cast up from her jewelry and gown.

* * *

Zelgadis narrowed his eyes slightly from his place in the shadowed corner. He'd seen the somewhat frantic look on his original's face when he'd looked around. When the young man saw him, a shadow passed over his smooth face as if the thought of something had bothered him. It was then that the music started for the bride to march out in her father's embrace.

His frown deepened as he saw the warped light around her. Something wasn't right. Zelgadis's stomach clenched. He could feel the evil in the area but didn't understand it. He tried to think back into his original's memories to when something like this had happened. He could think of nothing. He saw Canthrea looking at him, her expression little different from its usual, but he could tell by the way she carried herself that she could feel it too.

He would have lost himself in the moment, gazing at his wife and thinking how beautiful she looked in gold. He would have except for the nagging feeling in his mind and the churning in his gut. Zelgadis risked coming forward somewhat, light glinting off his silver wire hair. No one was looking at him, all eyes were trained on the bride. He slipped around behind the priest and altar, coming up to Canthrea.

"Can you tell?" he whispered softly, his wife didn't move but answered softly back.

"Somewhere near Amelia. I didn't sense it before though." Canthrea's eyes scanned over the princess's body, looking for something that hadn't been there before.

Lina was broken from her awe to look at Canthrea, about to scold her for speaking but gaped when she saw the Chimera man behind his wife. "You-" was all she got out before Zelgadis put his hand over her mouth.

"Shh, what did Amelia put on before the wedding started?" he whispered softly into her ear, letting her mouth go.

"That's perverted!" Lina squeaked but found Zelgadis's hand on her mouth again.

"Just answer the question."

"Geez, you're exactly like him," Lina muttered, "She put on her shoes and garter, that's all I can think of."

Canthrea shook her head, "That's not it... it was something else. Look at her father, he seems mechanical... so does she."

"You think something's wrong?" Lina whispered then watched as Zelgadis's copy slipped off the stage and out of sight, almost as if he were a shadow himself. "So that's what you guys were planning! Why didn't you tell me?!"

Canthrea shook her head, "Hush now. We have a problem, so don't get distracted by other things." Lina grumbled but watched carefully as Zelgadis, the original, hugged Amelia briefly before turning toward the altar with her.

"ZEL!" a voice suddenly screamed.

Zelgadis found himself being thrown away from Amelia by his copy, dragged back from her as something erupted around her in an intense stream of light. "By Cephied- No! Not for real! No..." Zelgadis struggled to get away from his copy's stony grip but struggled in vain.

"Then you had it too. You know I can't let you go after her. We'll have to find a way to save her some other time. Right now we have to get the guests out," the cool voice of his copy said behind him.

"Amelia!" Zelgadis found himself shrieking, his head sagging as his love was carried upward and out of the temple by a strange monster of almost pure energy. Tentacles snapped around, throwing guests and guards away from it as it floated upwards, finally out of sight. Zelgadis could just barely see Amelia reaching for him, tears falling from her eyes as she was swept away. "I- I could have saved her," he sobbed.

"No. You couldn't have. If you had the dream too then you know damned well that you die in it. I can't let that happen." Zelgadis lifted his head to look at his copy's stony expression, his granite face. He knew it was true, he just didn't want to believe it. "Its obvious that whatever it is doesn't intend to kill her yet. It would have done that in the first place. It wants something from us. Possibly Lina."

Zelgadis nodded sadly, agreeing, his logic kicking in when his emotions overloaded. "Yes," he said softly, "Probably true."

Lina dashed up with Canthrea, Gourry and Sylphiel behind. "Zelgadis! I can't believe you made a copy of yourself! What if it goes insane like Rezo's did?"

"HE won't go insane, Lina," Zelgadis the original said firmly, diverting his mind to defending his copy, anything to keep his mind off what had just happened.

"That's what Eris thought, Zelgadis, and look at her! She got killed by her own creation. Now you've gone and done the same thing. Following in familiar footsteps, are you?"

"Lina, that's enough," Canthrea murmured from behind the short sorceress.

"And of all things you made it a Chimera! Now how are you going to keep such a monster in line? You know exactly how strong it is, it could possibly even kill me and you just let it run loose like this?" Lina continued, her face almost as red as her hair.

Canthrea locked her eyes with those of her husband's, trying to keep his attention, trying to keep him from attacking Lina for what she was saying. Zelgadis's original had no such distraction and the resounding slap echoed through the now emptied cathedral.

"Lina, I suggest never saying such things again," Zelgadis hissed from between his teeth. "He may be a copy, but he's me just the same and if you insult him, you insult me. IS that clear, Lina Inverse." Gourry's hand clenched where his sword would have been, if he'd been allowed to have it. Sylphiel clung to his arm, tears in her eyes. Canthrea was the only one to move, coming around to put her head against her husband's chest.

Lina continued to stare at Zelgadis as if he'd been a snake and suddenly bit her. "Alright, Zelgadis, if that's how you want it," she said softly, dangerously.

"Lets concentrate on getting Amelia back?" the copy spoke up finally, trying to direct the hostility in a better direction, "If you hadn't noticed, she was just abducted by a Mazoku. That's the whole reason most of you are upset right now, is it not?"

Lina leveled a finger at him. "I'd die before I ever trust you, but you have a point. Lets get Amelia back then rip you to shreds."

"You will be doing no such thing to my husband, Lina," Canthrea murmured, her steely glare upon the redhead. Lina flipped her hair.

"I'm going to go change," she made her way toward the palace once again, Sylphiel behind. Gourry blinked a few times.

"Gourry, go get changed and get your sword," Zelgadis the original said softly, his shoulder sagging somewhat, sounding tired. The blonde nodded and hurried off, his tux tails flying behind him. He turned, finding himself in Canthrea's arms, her hands soothing his hair gently.

"It'll be alright. We'll find her. Then we'll kill the Mazoku. Then we'll come back here and you'll marry her. I promise. On my honor as a Magi, Zelgadis." With her words in his ears, he succumbed to her soothing and fell to his knees, sobbing. Suppressed emotions coming back with vengeance. He was glad that Canthrea had made it. He was glad that his Copy had come as well. They would probably be the ones who actually kept him sane until Amelia was returned to him. He was thankful for that.

* * *

They had gathered in Zelgadis's apartment, standing in his sitting room. More like, Zelgadis was pacing, Gourry was standing near the door, Lina was sprawled in a chair, as was Sylphiel, though the shrine maiden wasn't sprawled. Canthrea and the copy were sitting on a couch, holding hands.

"Sit down, Zel, pacing won't fix anything," Zelgadis's copy said softly.

"It helps me think."

"No it doesn't."

"Tch," with that, the original threw himself into another chair, clutching the armrests.

"We can't do anything until we receive word of what this Mazoku wants. Perhaps it would be a good idea to find Xelloss or contact him in some way," the copy murmured, getting a distrustful look from Lina, which he pointedly ignored when he received a reassuring squeeze from Canthrea's fingers. "Is there some way we could get his attention?"

"Well... I could give Lina my book..." Canthrea said with a slight smirk.

"Your book?! You made a new one?" Lina asked, leaning forward.

"No. I didn't make a new one."

"But Xelloss destroyed- that wasn't the real book!" Lina was engulfed in rage. "You said I could have it though!"

"I lied?" Canthrea shrugged slightly. "Besides, I knew there was a Mazoku around and I wasn't going to give my book to just anyone who made it through the maze." She laid her head on her husband's shoulder. He shifted, putting his arm around her, holding her against him. "Besides. I don't just give things away, Lina, I happen to be a business woman myself."

Lina narrowed her eyes. "You've been teaching it your magic haven't you?"

"Yes, I've been teaching him my magic. He's been teaching me Shamanism. It's a fair trade." Canthrea sighed softly.

"But now he has more power!" Lina shrieked, jumping to her feet.

Canthrea shook her head, "You can only have as much power as you're born with. Its only a matter of what ways you use that power. Just as if you'd taken Shamanism instead of black magic your Rah Tilt would be just as powerful as your Dragon Slave. Though, I have to say that the real-estate wouldn't be so destroyed if you used Rah Tilts instead of Dragon Slaves." This got a chuckle out of both Zelgadis's.

Lina glared at Canthrea's husband instead, not wanting to look at the original after the embarrassment she'd suffered earlier. She swirled around to sit once again, throwing one leg over the other and folding her arms firmly.

"We'll need a way to call you two..." Gourry suddenly spoke up with, earning a stare.

"I will be Gadis, he can be Zel," the Chimera copy murmured. "I was second, he should have the first half."

Zel shook his head slightly, "You're too modest."

"I could be otherwise, but I don't feel like it," Gadis replied with a shrug of the shoulder Canthrea was not laying against.

"Doesn't feel like it," Lina muttered, "My Ass! You're just trying to make us think you're okay."

"Lina... what did I tell you earlier?" Zel said dangerously.

"Oh! I remember!" Gourry spoke up, "That uh... ummm.... Maybe I don't remember."

Lina threw something convenient at him, that being a silver bell sitting on the table next to her. The bell clattered to the floor after hitting the swordsman. He rubbed his arm and sniffled somewhat. Sylphiel got up going to Gourry, "Are you alright Gourry Dear?" she asked, "She didn't hurt you did she?"

Lina made a face and turned her attention back to Gadis and Canthrea. She frowned, finding the magi woman curled up with her head in her husband's lap, feet on the couch and asleep. Gadis's hand was resting on her shoulder, the other playing in her hair, a slight smile on his lips.

Lina glowered, there was just too much love in the room, she felt disgusted. "Well one thing is for certain. Xelloss isn't going to show up when you're all mooning over each other like this!" she threw her hands in the air.

* * *

Phil stared off into space, completely heartbroken. Nothing could get him to respond. He simply sat murmuring to himself about his little Amelia being stolen from him. He didn't even notice that there were two Zelgadis's in the room.

"He's not likely to wake up anytime soon," Lina stated, about to give up on the large man.

"No, he's not," Gadis stated, coming to crouch in front of the crown prince. "Because his mind has been taken." He straightened and sighed, moving back to stand near his original.

"His mind's been taken? How can you tell? Did YOU take it?" Lina accused, taking a longer look at Prince Phil, coming to the same conclusion, though she doubted that it was the copy who had taken the Prince's mind. She wasn't going to give up about him though.

"I did not. More then likely it was the Mazoku."

"Maa, no need to blame us for everything Lina-san," Xelloss stated as he appeared near her, smirking.

Lina glared, "Well its usually you guys who've done it every time, isn't it?"

"Need I remind you of DarkStar? It was the Overworlders who summoned HIM here, not us," Xelloss chided, receiving a longer glare. He shrugged, looking around, "Ah! Canthrea!" he exclaimed as if happy to see her. "You've certainly changed. Put on a little weight, I see."

Canthrea smirked, "Well, a woman normally does when she's pregnant, Xelloss, I thought you knew that."

"Mazoku don't bother with such things as breeding," the Priest General sniffed.

"So who's taken Amelia?" Zel snarled, his eyes narrowed to slits, his copy standing just behind him at his shoulder, ready to back the young man should he need it.

"Maa, Zelgadis, am I seeing double? Ah! You've copied yourself. What an interesting fix to your problem," Xelloss tucked his staff under one arm, siting cross-legged in the air as he sipped his tea.

"You didn't answer the question, fruitcake, who took Amelia," Zel snapped and felt a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

Xelloss sighed, "And I thought we could have a little chat before things got down to business. I suppose it's too much to expect of humans- and whatnot- like yourselves." The Mazoku shrugged slightly.

"Get to the point," Gadis said softly before Zel could yell at the Priest General.

Xelloss smiled, "You really want to know who took Amelia? Well, that- is a secret." He lifted a finger and waggled it at the group. He found himself being choked by Lina suddenly, his head pressed against her breasts.

"Tell us now or I break your neck!"

"Lina-san! I have to compliment you, whatever you've been doing has certainly given you more breasts- gack!"

"Enough Fruitcake! Just tell us!" Lina squeezed on the Mazoku's neck.

"Gack! Phibbrizo's General! That is all I know!"

"Like hell," Lina said but let go, knowing she would get nothing further from the purple haired priest. "So Phibbrizo's General wants to kill us? Why didn't he just do that?"

"Perhaps he doesn't want to kill you," Gadis spoke up softly. He found that his coolness often upset Lina, but she could do nothing as long as he made sense.

"What else could he want?!" Lina shrieked at the copy Zelgadis.

"A number of things," Gadis replied as Zel pondered, one hand on his chin. "Things such as power over you. He could be trying to make you hare off after the first thing possible or he might be after something else entirely."

"And how would you know all this?" Lina glared.

Gadis shrugged, "Simple deduction of facts. I may not have experienced much directly, but Zel's knowledge is extensive and in times like this it's not a bad thing to use all assets available."

"My ass," Lina snapped.

"It's a very nice ass too," Xelloss commented.

"PERVERT!" Lina shrieked and kicked at the priest who disappeared before her foot landed. He did not return. Lina fumed, wanting to take her anger out on something.

Gadis cleared his throat, "Getting back to the main problem, I'd like to point out that both the Crown Prince of Seyruun and his daughter are OOA- that means 'out of action', pretty much leaving this kingdom leaderless. That would point to some plot within the royal family once again."

"There's absolutely nothing to suggest-"

"Do I have to remind you of Mazenda and Conzal?" Gadis interrupted Lina's protest. "Now who's left for inheriting the throne? Christopher abdicated, that leaves him on the 'Watch' list instead of marked suspects. On the other hand there's Gracia, the missing older sister of Amelia. If she returns, then we'll know for sure if she's the one. Then again, Mazoku can take on any shape they please, so it might not be the true Gracia, should she return."

Lina glowered at the floor as Gadis's words made perfect sense, but she wasn't willing to listen. Not to a copy.

"On the other hand, it might be a trick to lure us away from this white magic depot to somewhere where Mazoku magic would work better," Gadis continued, his hands linked behind his back, he felt the gaze of his original upon him, embarrassing him somewhat.

"So in other words we won't know which it is till something happens and who knows how long that will take," Zel said with a defeated sigh. "Damn it all, he turned and punched the wall then winced as the skin on his knuckles split.

"Perhaps you shouldn't do that?" Gadis suggested and took his original's hand, murmuring a healing spell and watching as the flesh knit together. "Maybe you should go rest. It's been a long day today. I'll watch over things."

"I'm not sure I could," Zel said softly.

"Of course you can, Canthrea will see to that," Gadis gently pushed the young man towards his wife. Canthrea took Zel's shoulders and led him from the room. Once the door closed, Lina rounded on Gadis.

"Now you don't have either of them to protect you," the sorceress stated, putting her fists on her hips. "What's your real game? What're you after?"

Gadis shrugged, "The continual happiness of my original? Really Lina, I have no ulterior motive to helping. I want Amelia back as much as he does, but for different reasons."

"My ass!" Lina snapped.

"And as Xelloss said, it's a very nice ass and we all know, so you don't have to tell us every ten seconds," Gadis said with an absolutely straight face.

"You Pervert!"

"Lina, I'm married with a child on the way, I really don't care what your ass or even Sylphiel's ass looks like. I'm firmly in love with Canthrea and nothing can change that. Doesn't stop me from looking though." He winked broadly and Lina blushed bright red.

"You're not Zelgadis's copy at all!" she accused.

"No. I am his copy. I just strive to be myself." Gadis shrugged again, affecting boredom.

"But he is you! How could you be different from him?" Lina gaped.

"It's hard. His memories are part of me, I know why he acts the way he acts, but I try not to let those things touch me because they did not happen to me, I simply know them. Instead, I'm being what he could have been if he hadn't been changed into a bitter Chimera. I don't have the deep desire to be called the 'Dark Hearted Swordsman'. Nor do I wish for power like he did when he was young. The reasons behind his actions did not happen to me, so I have no reasons."

"I don't get it," Gourry said.

Gadis smiled, "No, I suspect that you wouldn't."

Lina narrowed her eyes, "Then calling you a monster doesn't hurt you?"

Gadis's eyes turned cold. "That does simply because it insults Canthrea who chose to be with me. You insult her choice. I suggest not doing that unless you want to see me angry." The dark promise in his eyes made Lina step back once before she firmed herself.

"Is that a threat?"

"No. Simply a warning. You wouldn't want to hurt Zel more then he is already, would you?"

Sylphiel and Gourry watched as Lina and the copy Zelgadis stared at each other, though Lina's back was to them, they could see Gadis's stony features, chilly expression, and flinty eyes.

"First sign that you're betraying us, I will kill you," Lina warned and spun around, stalking out of the room. Once the door was closed, Gadis sighed.

"She always this way or is that just recent?" he asked Gourry and Sylphiel, rolling his eyes somewhat.

* * *

Zelgadis woke slowly, finding an arm draped over his middle. Opening his eyes, he looked over to see Canthrea laying beside him. "He's going to be mad...." the young man muttered to himself as he tried to pry Canthrea's fingers off his shirt.

"No I'm not," was the soft reply from beside him and Zelgadis jumped slightly. "You didn't do anything, besides, unless you are rock, you can't get between her legs." Zelgadis blushed faintly at his copy's words.

"True..."

"Dinner's ready, by the way," the Chimera man informed his original.

Zelgadis nodded, "Good, I'm starving. Could you help me though? I don't want to rip this..." His copy's smile was patient and Zelgadis watched as the Chimera opened Canthrea's fingers easily and gently shook her.

"Wake up, love," he said softly, "Dinner's ready."

Canthrea yawned, rolling onto her back and stretching, "Already? I just fell asleep."

Zelgadis's copy chuckled, "That was four hours ago, love."

"Oh," she yawned again, "okay..." Zelgadis felt weird having the two talking right over top of him but his copy moved, allowing the young man to get up, headed toward the bathroom where he changed out of his formal clothing. By the time he returned, he found his copy sitting on the bed behind Canthrea rubbing her back.

"Might be a good idea do come quickly before Lina eats everything," Zelgadis commented from the door, gaining their attention. He turned then, leaving the room and headed toward the dining hall. It struck him once again that he wouldn't be seeing Amelia or her father there. He suppressed the feeling and traveled to the head of the table to take his usual seat. Lina and Gourry were already eating all they could and demanding more. Zelgadis glanced around the room to find the courtiers watching him with pity. Christopher took his seat beside Zelgadis.

"We'll fix this, Christopher, I won't let them have Amelia and she won't let them have Phil." Zelgadis reached over, laying a hand upon the older man's shoulder and squeezing gently. Numbly, the man nodded.

"I just can't help but think there was something I could do."

"There wasn't. There wasn't anything any of us could have done without possibly getting killed ourselves or killing Amelia and Phil. It will be fixed though. I'll see to that." Christopher looked at his almost nephew-in-law and nodded.

"I know you will."

Zelgadis looked toward the door to see his copy and Canthrea enter, the former having his dark hood pulled low over his face. "Christopher, I have to ask you a favor. Please let Canthrea take over the running of things until we get back. She's powerful enough to destroy any Mazoku who might try to attack here while we're gone, but she's pregnant and I'm certain her husband wouldn't want her trekking through the wilderness like that."

Christopher looked toward the door to see the only pregnant woman in the area and nodded. "There's no one else to take control now so I suppose it will be alright. I trust your judgements Zelgadis."

"Thank you," the once Chimera said softly, touched. Canthrea stepped up at that moment, yawning once more.

"That was a good nap. But dinner seems like a better idea," she said, looking upon the food with a slight smile.

"Canthrea, this is Christopher, Phil's brother and Amelia's uncle. He abdicated the throne so he has no authority but he's agreed to let you run things until we get back." Zelgadis said softly.

She took a seat, unconsciously sitting in Amelia's chair. "Fine with me. He said he didn't want me coming along as well. I don't like the thought of staying here for who knows how long and I don't like the thought of wandering around out there for who knows how long, but I guess someone's gotta hold down the fort. Who better then the pregnant tiger?"

Christopher nodded, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Canthrea."

She smiled charmingly at him, "The pleasure is mine, Prince Christopher."

Zelgadis got to his feet, making his way to a place where everyone could see him. "Ladies and Gentlemen, in light of the current crisis, it has been decided that a regent will step in for only a short period of time. This time depending on how quickly I and my allies: Lina Inverse, Gourry, and Sylphiel solve the problem and return with the Princess Amelia and restore Crown Prince Phillionel to himself." He looked over at Canthrea who slowly got to her feet again and made her way over.

"Geez, have to make me get up again right after I sat down, can't you give a woman a break?" she griped at him but patted his arm. "Hello, I am Canthrea, you probably haven't heard of me because I've been locked away for quite some time. That's a different story, however. As regent, I will not pass laws, start projects, or grant permits- unless they're absolutely needed, such as roof repair to the palace. I will do my best to protect this kingdom so that Amelia has something to come back to. She is my friend after all. Any disputes that arise that have no obvious solution will be deferred to Prince Christopher who surely knows more about it then I would. So, anyway, I'm off to finish my dinner and go back to bed."

She hugged Zelgadis before moving back to her seat and resuming her meal. He looked around, spying his copy off in a corner, half-hidden by a potted tree. He nodded slightly to the Chimera copy. They would be leaving tomorrow morning.