Zelgadis was once again walking with his copy just one step behind him

Zelgadis was once again walking with his copy just one step behind him. "Why do you do that?" he asked finally, looking over his shoulder at the Chimera. "You keep making me think its Zolf or ..." he stopped, unable to continue.

"I apologize, but in my opinion, you are my lord, if it weren't for you I would not be here. I do this out of respect for you," his copy replied, Lina looking on in curiosity. "I'll pester Lina if you'd rather have space."

Zelgadis gestured vaguely, "You're fine," he said absently but watched as the Chimera copy moved anyway, instead, walking beside Gourry and attempting to make conversation. He sighed, having someone walking just a step behind and to the side of him reminded him of his friends Zolf and Rodimus, but they were dead. Zelgadis wondered if his own copy could ever become as good a friend as they had been. His attention was drawn from his musings when Lina screamed.

"PERVERTS!" A fireball was thrown at Zelgadis's copy and Gourry. Briefly, Zelgadis pondered what the two other men had been talking about but brushed the thought aside when Lina rounded on him. "Please tell me that YOU don't think such disgusting things?!" He blinked.

"Lina, we were complimenting you!" Gadis protested softly, trying to put out Gourry's sizzling clothing.

Zel rubbed the back of his head and glanced from Lina to the two men. "I don't know what they were saying so I can't really answer that Lina."

"They were talking about my legs, Zelgadis!" Lina fumed.

Zelgadis's eyes went down to Lina's legs, "Well, I don't see what's wrong with that. They're legs, they look like legs they work like legs." Gadis sniggered.

"We were discussing what position legs looked best in," Gourry spoke up and winced at Lina's glare.

"Oh.. in that case... no comment." Zelgadis blushed and started backing down the road.

"You DO think of things like that DON'T you?!" Lina accused.

"It's a fact of nature, men will think things like that, Lina, get over it," Gadis spoke up again, helping the other swordsman off the ground and dusting him off. Lina huffed, starting down the path again, pushing past Zelgadis. Sylphiel looked regretfully at the men and hurried after the redhead, getting a catcall from Gadis.

"I cannot believe you," Zelgadis said to his copy, "I'm GLAD what happened to me did, at least I'm not like you!"

Gadis gave a deep bow. "I try," he said mockingly with a wink.

Lina and Sylphiel walked side by side, "He wasn't like this before," Sylphiel said softly. "I wish Canthrea was here. She always knows how to handle him."

"I just KNOW he talked Gourry into signing that letter," Lina fumed.

"Maybe he'll settle down when he realizes that being completely opposite from his original isn't the best way to go," Sylphiel offered, or tried to. Lina wasn't listening.

"Of all the things to say! My hair does not look like blood!" Lina wiped her face on her glove, finding that she was crying for some reason. Sylphiel watched as Lina's facade broke. "I'd thought 'At last! Gourry's making moves on me!' and it turns out that its not even Gourry's handwriting and I KNOW Gourry wouldn't be able to spell words like 'fragile', let alone use them! Turns out it's that copy-freak who wrote it!"

"But Gourry said he did think you looked like an angel when you're asleep," Sylphiel pointed out, knowing now that Gourry would never be hers. "Is that in the letter?"

Lina sniffled some and pulled out the letter, "Yes... but.."

"Can I see?" Sylphiel asked softly and Lina reluctantly handed it over. The shrine maiden's eyes watered as she read, "This- this is so beautiful, Lina, how can you be upset about it?"

"It's all a joke! That copy's trying to hurt me!" Lina clenched her fingers tightly.

"He's not like that. He doesn't take pleasure in upsetting people. He does what's needed."

"What about when he patted my butt?" Lina rounded on Sylphiel.

"That was to get Xelloss's attention," Sylphiel answered, slowly folding the letter back the way it was. "Lina, he's honest above all things, he says what he thinks and feels and if he says he thinks that we have nice-"

"Asses?" Lina offered.

"Yes... if he says we do then its his honest opinion that we do. His idea of a joke is usually sneaking up behind Canthrea and dangling a fake spider in front of her to make her jump into his arms. Of course, she yells at him about doing that, but not loudly." Sylphiel clasped her hands together, thinking about it. Glancing back, she saw that Zelgadis the original and Gourry were walking beside each other while the copy had fallen back quite a ways, walking by himself, his hood pulled low over his face, his hands holding his cape close around him.

"Well trying to be different isn't an excuse to do things like this," Lina snapped.

"I'm sure you wouldn't think so if you were in his position, Lina," Sylphiel said softly but fell silent, handing the letter back to its rightful owner.

Zelgadis watched the road from under his navy hood and he missed Canthrea. He did feel bad for hurting Lina's feeling, but he couldn't apologize because she wouldn't accept it, she'd throw more insults in his face. He almost wanted to just turn around and head back to Seyruun to be with his wife. Out of the group it was only Sylphiel he could really feel comfortable with simply because she was the only one he really knew. Gourry and Lina weren't his friends, though he was sure Gourry would become his friend if Lina would let him.

Zelgadis sighed, deciding that he may owe his original for his creation, but he owed Lina nothing. He simply wanted to be accepted for himself, not thought of as just an appendage of his original, not some thoughtless creation that simply did what was told. He blinked the fuzziness out of his vision, resolved not to let Lina see that she really did hurt him with her attitude.

Something moved in the forest beside the trail, a branch snapped. Zelgadis pretended to have not noticed and continued walking as if nothing had happened at all. Another movement between the trees. Someone was following them. He narrowed his eyes and dodged into the trees, not making a sound. His quarry tried to dodge and run but Zelgadis was upon him in a moment.

Gourry turned his head to call for Gadis to hurry up and found no one behind him. "Huh? Where'd he go?"

"Who?" Zel said and looked.

"Would you guys hurry up!?" Lina demanded.

"Zelgadis is gone," Gourry explained.

"Well good riddens!" Lina shouted, "Hurry up!"

Zelgadis shook his head and turned back around, sure that his copy would either catch up to them or not, depending on if the Chimera was still with them. He caught hold of Gourry's arm and pulled him around as well.

Lina shrieked as the copy suddenly dropped down in front of her, a limp body over his shoulder. He carefully laid the body on the ground, "Look," he said softly, turning his captive's face toward the sorceress. Stretched diagonally from the man's left eye socket to his chin, across his lips was a scar.

"Is he dead?" Sylphiel asked hesitantly though she saw no blood.

"No, no, he's just pining," (MONTY PYTHON RULES! *Ahem*) Gadis replied, "Actually, I only tapped him once on the back of the head. Found him stalking us in the woods."

Lina sniffed, "Well who knows HOW long he'll be out. Copy, pick him up and carry him until he wakes up."

Gadis narrowed his eyes, "Oh, so enemies get awarded actual genders, hmm?" he asked softly but swept up the captive from the ground. Lina pointedly ignored the Chimera and marched on ahead.

"Lina, that really isn't nice," Sylphiel protested, glancing back to see Gadis hesitating to follow, as if pondering the merit of just untying his captive and letting him go. Then he started forward after his original and subsequently, following Lina. Sylphiel slowed her pace to walk alongside the copy, talking to him softly, though she wasn't sure if he was listening.

"Pleas forgive Lina, I don't know what's wrong with her." She watched the shadows under his hood but there was no sign of his listening to her. "Zelgadis... please?"

"She treats me like dirt. I don't see why I should forgive her," he finally answered.

"Because Canthrea would want you to," Sylphiel pointed out.

Zelgadis's stone lips twitched downward, he knew the shrine maiden was right. "Shouldn't you go back to Siraag?"

"I'm sure they can take care of themselves for a little while," she replied. "You need my company." He did frown this time and Sylphiel sighed. "You're only as good as you believe you are, Zelgadis. Lina's opinion doesn't really matter in the end." She placed her hand upon his arm. "Even if you don't forgive her, remember that, please?" He nodded silently and silence fell between them.