A Sorceress of a Different Color
By: Kami Kat, Head Priestess at the Temple of Dead Fandoms
For: No reason; wanted to write it
So, I'm sure the canon of this story exists somewhere, and I'm very sure I'm mangling about a hundred facts or so of the Slayers universe while writing this. However, I only have access to the first six novels translated by TokyoPop and the anime, and both those are a little hazy in my head. This is not an excuse for my flubs, but an explanation of why they happened in the first place.
And, well, I couldn't leave this idea alone once it popped into my head (if only because it's a short fanfic idea, and I have better luck with those than with the longer ones). This explains one of Lina's nicknames (which I think is an unfair nickname), as well as the events of a few very important parts of her early life.
Written in May of 2007, so much more recent than my other stories submitted so far. I think this is one of my best stories, but I'll let you be the judge.
Disclaimer: Slayers certainly ain't my idea, but rather the brainchild of the wonderfully talented Hajime Kanzaka. This story is written purely for fun and if someone tries to charge you for it, they are an idiot because it ain't worth the bytes used to save it to my hard drive, let alone money.
Lina skipped—skipped!—down the hallway, a wrinkled slip of paper clutched in her fist.
Who knew such happiness could come from a piece of paper? She felt like she'd rolled around in a pile of purest gold and eaten a huge, perfectly cooked feast. No, she felt even better than that!
Her footsteps beat a beautiful staccato while the lights blinked in and out, as if keeping time. A slight breeze ruffled the hanging tapestries she passed, and if she threw some of her common sense out the window, she could almost say they were dancing with her in joy at the news.
Ah, life was beyond good!
A few of her fellow students stopped their activities to watch in bewilderment as the petite sorceress-in-training waltzed by, a bright smile lighting up her face and her body drifting along as if made of sunshine and fluffy clouds.
An equal number of students broke into hysterics and ran for their rooms, wailing and frothing in fear.
A smile like that on Lina Inverse could only mean severe calamity. Some students nearly killed themselves when they forgot the doors to the dorms were closed and ran into them at full speed.
Some simply fainted on the spot. Given that this particular magic school adhered to strict architectural codes, including bare stone floors in the hallways, it seemed the medic students would get plenty of practice on them later.
When anybody bothered to pay them attention, that is. At the moment, all eyes were on only one individual.
Lina continued to prance down the hallway, leaving increasing confusion in her wake. Students brave enough to resist running and remain conscious gaped at her as she went by, many of them turning to fellow classmates and asking if pigs had begun flying… with or without mazoku influence.
The smarter students—not the smartest; those had hightailed it out of there as soon as they spied Student Inverse's smiling face—formed little clusters and started loudly wondering what was up with her.
Unfortunately, one group reached a conclusion that caused even greater panic than the sight of Lina Inverse happily strolling down the hallway.
What if the prediction had come true?
That thought sent most of the remaining students scrambling in search of prayer beads, crosses, statues—any holy items they could lay their hands on. Murmurs to Ceiphied, whispers to L-Sama, even muffled sobs to Shabranigdo echoed throughout the students' dorms.
Those few, pitiful souls left, unable to move out of terror, unable to faint in fear, flashed back to that day.
When a young girl, barely beyond ten years of age, had appeared at the doors to the magic academy and flashed a sack of gold, the elders had thrown wide their arms in acceptance and gladly ushered her inside. She seemed nervous at first, though that was to be expected when undertaking such a task as learning magic, which would forever change a person's life.
It was the next day, at the ceremony the school called "The Choosing," that it happened.
Each student was to perform several simple, small tasks to determine if they had any natural affinities, so his or her class schedules could be built accordingly.
Student-Potential Inverse had completed the last shamanic task, producing a brilliant fireball that popped and fizzled into nothing, when a shriek erupted from nearby, at the divination circle.
Nearly everyone ignored it. Predictions were not uncommon, but oft untrue, and the students making them did whatever idiot stunts came to them to try and pull as much attention their way as possible.
When a student failed to be a true diviner—and there were perhaps ten of those each year out of thousands of applicants—the student would often switch from magic to acting with no harm done. Actually, many failed divination students had risen to incredible heights in the acting community.
Divination was a difficult and—ironically—unpredictable magic at best, but many candidates sought to improve their own powers using the meditation techniques taught in that discipline, so even students not interested in the art took the required tests. It was one such student who had screamed—probably trying to ease the boredom of the whole thing with a bit of over-the-top dramatics. Most of those gathered in the main chamber ignored her… until a distinct, otherworldly voice boomed off the walls.
"AND THAT WHICH IS KNOWN AS INVERSE SHALL EARN MANY NAMES, DO MANY DEEDS, AND BE SIGNIFICANT TO THE LORD OF NIGHTMARES."
Dead silence enveloped the chamber. Nobody dared move. Clearly visible now was a young slip of a girl, standing as if someone held a forge-hot poker to her spine, her eyes threatening to pop from her head and her mouth the source of that deep, monstrous voice.
"RED-EYED INVERSE, POWERFUL AND STRONG, SHALL BE GIVEN THE TITLE ENEMY OF ALL WHO LIVE TO AVOID COLOR."
With a soft sigh, much like a child utters when settling down for sleep, the tiny girl fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs. As one, the entire crowd turned to stare at Student-Potential Inverse.
Nobody could say what the thing meant as a whole, but that wasn't the point. The title "Enemy of All Who Live" could mean nothing good. Immediately, some of the students decided they would do better by going back to their previous lives before coming to the magic academy. They left that night.
Those that stayed somehow unanimously agreed—without any organized effort—that such a grand occurrence should not be forgotten any time soon, and that the best way to cut the tension on the matter would be to tease said student, about this little incident until everybody just shrugged it off.
This worked for maybe a day, until one of the grad students tried too hard. He suggested throwing her out, in a sing-song sort of voice.
He then found out, as did the many students and teachers present, that a grad student can and will get his ass kicked when he upsets Lina Inverse, even if she has studied for less than a day and he for more than four years. Because she was exactly as the mini-prophecy had stated: powerful and strong.
After two years of nothing but spectacular accomplishments and dazzling displays of magical prowess, the entire student body (and quite a few teachers) were disinclined to bring up that odd prophecy. They wanted to live, and to keep the hair on their bodies un-singed.
So it was the unspoken secret of the school.
Now recalled by nearly everyone, because that skipping Lina just seemed too happy, especially with no feasts scheduled for that day.
No, she was only that happy when she hurt someone who wronged her. And even then, the tiny red-eyed student had never been this cheerful before. Which meant she must have extracted vengeance upon many people at once.
Or planned to.
Hence the sudden stampede of screaming and running as Lina continued in a dreamy daze down the hallway, ignoring all the chaos she had caused.
No, she had eyes only for the paper in her hand—and the destination listed therein.
As she exited the main building and made her way up the steps of the Elders' Chambers, she squealed in excitement, unable to hold it all in.
She was to be a graduate.
She had mastered all she could here and knew enough to be a full-fledged sorceress! Not only that, but to receive the highest honor among magic users! An honor that took most a decade or more to achieve!
She entered and stood straight and proud before the assembled sorcerers. Representatives from all the major guilds were present, as was to be expected.
It took some time for the group to quiet. Lina was, uncharacteristically, patient. Finally, the elected speaker stood.
"Lina Inverse," he stated, his voice bouncing all around the circular chamber, "you have been called before this great council of magic to receive two honors. The first is a certificate of graduation." He waved his arm.
A small boy bounded in, nervous as a chicken among hungry dragons, and handed Lina a gold-worked scroll embellished with the seals of many reputable academies for magic learning. He dashed out before she'd read the first word.
Her eyes fastened to her name—her name!—near the bottom. Anybody could claim to be a sorceress and many could be one without any sort of education, but this really said something. She wanted to leap about in utter bliss and shriek until her lungs had collapsed.
But the best was yet to come!
Carefully but quickly, she rolled the scroll back up—needed to get it framed later—and tucked it into her belt. Eagerly, she looked over the assembly. The speaker cleared his throat and continued.
"It is not often we have the pleasure of meeting someone able to wield magic with such dexterity as to stand apart from the ordinary sorcerer or sorceress. Indeed, many times any magic user can do the job and no one would know the difference. However, every so often an individual comes along with such talent and dedication to the craft that we must recognize and acknowledge them.
"We have no fancy medals, like they give dead generals, because anybody could steal those. We have no clumsy trophies that may break, or treasure which can be gotten anywhere with a little perseverance.
"No, we who use magic give nothing so frivolous. We instead honor our great ones with the title of color."
Lina fought to keep from bouncing on her feet. His speech was too long. It gave her time to run through all the possibilities: green, blue, purple, red, black, white, orange…
Well, probably not red. Some guy named Rezo had that one already, although that would have fit her eyes. Green would be okay, but it might clash with her hair. Purple and orange might too. Blue wouldn't be really bad, but black would be awesome. White…
Oh, L-Sama, not white. White so wasn't her. Yick!
"Lina Inverse stands before us now. From this moment forward, let her be known as—"
Lina held her breath. Not white!
"—Lina the Pink Sorceress!"
The assembly applauded, many standing up with bright smiles and cheering.
Lina stood perfectly still.
Okay, so white would have been better.
Anything would have been better.
A twitch started in her left eye. Just a tiny little twitch.
That was all the warning they had.
"Darkness beyond twilight…"
She passed through the town, clutching the cloak to her to keep out the cold. Her breath came in little puffs of white. The first chance she had, she entered a rowdy—but nicely toasty—tavern and ordered some hot tea.
"Didja hear what happened over at the academy?"
The table closest to her held a handful of men, one of whom was very loud.
"They say a sorceress, just a recent graduate, blew up over half the place!"
Several exclamations of shock burst out of the audience, but the man went on. "Yeah, and there was a prophecy about the whole thing too!"
More shocked gasps.
Lina ground her teeth.
"They say a student predicted it two years ago. That Lina Inverse, the Enemy of All Who Live, would go on a rampage."
Her left eye twitched. Damned rumor mill! Couldn't even get the facts straight!
"Well, with a name like that, of course she'd be evil! Bet she's in league with mazoku or something."
Her hands began to clutch the table in an effort to not make a scene.
"I hear she's a flat-chested little shrimp of a girl."
Her knuckles turned white, and the wood groaned in protest.
"And she even earned a color! Pretty powerful to get a color, though it may have been a joke. Someone told me it was pink…"
"Darkness beyond twilight…"
Nobody could be allowed to remember that!