Author's Note: Yea-hay! It's... done! I'm definately going to write more Zel/Amelia in the future... they're just so darn cute. Anyway, hope you guys liked this :)
The first thing that greeted us when we reached the encampment was an angry looking man holding a comically large book. "Where have you been?" he asked, glaring at Amelia.
Only looking for survivors in the rubble, I thought. Nothing nearly as important as, I tilted my head to see the title of the book, "The Sport of Gentleman and Gentleladies".
"Have you made a decision about the match, then?" Amelia asked, ignoring his question.
"Yes, yes," the man said hurriedly. "There'll be an official announcement. We just need to get all of the participants together."
"Can't you just tell us who won?" I asked impatiently. All this runaround was getting ridiculous.
The man ignored me. Apparently if you don't play Brass Rackets your words are worth nothing. Instead he turned to Amelia. "Do you know where your partner is, by any chance?"
Amelia shook her head and I began to walk away. "Where are you going, Mr. Zelgadis?"
"I'm not a Brass Rackets player so you don't need me," I said with my back turned. "You and Xellos want to line up to get your little third place medals, right? Well, have fun," I said with no conviction whatsoever.
I walked away, pointedly not looking back, and found a post that was still intact to lean on while I waited for the official announcement. Gourry sat dejectedly some ways off, and, just as Amelia said, he was wrapped up like a mummy.
"Hey," I said.
"Mebph," he said through his bandages. I nodded. This was an unusually profound statement from Gourry.
I turned my attention to the stage (actually it was just a section of plywood that wasn't completely burned to cinders, but let's not mince words). Only three teams seemed to have survived and were waiting to hear their fates. The match's referee stumbled up toward them. He was covered in soot and looked like his hair had been burned off. In other words, he was lucky to escape the Dragon Slave alive. I'm sure he didn't see it that way.
He coughed out at the assembled crowd of Brass Rackets enthusiasts (including Debbie and Dan our erstwhile seat-mates who had unfortunately survived). "Since the outcome of the final match cannot be determined, not to mention two of the competing teams were disqualified," at this he shot a look of pure acid at the Lina-Rudo and Martina-Keith teams, "and the other players have disappeared: the winners are the Amelia-Xellos team." At this he handed Amelia a large golden trophy that symbolized so many things; victory, prestige, and most importantly a clue to the location of the Clair Bible.
Maybe justice does triumph… well, crap.
"Thank you very much," Amelia said like the polite girl that she is. The small crowd applauded with all it was worth as though trying to make up for their lacking numbers.
Third place nothing. I suppose this means that Xellos gets the clue to the Clair Bible. Another gambit ends in failure. I guess I should be used to it by now.
"Huh?" I said smartly, looking up to see Amelia holding her golden trophy.
"Here," Amelia said, holding it out to me. "You wanted to see this right? The clue to the Clair Bible?"
I just… I didn't even know what to say for a minute. After all this, it actually does work out in the end? Why didn't it ever occur to me that she would…? I took the trophy dazedly and decided on, "Thank you."
Amelia just smiled her little smile. "You're welcome."
"Is that why you-," I stopped before I could say "entered the tournament in the first place".
Amelia shrugged her shoulders. "I just thought, y'know, the more of us that entered the better our chances."
"Yeah, I suppose," I said, still in some kind of stupor from the surprise of thinking that my dreams were crushed and instead being given a trophy.
There was a long pause in which neither of us said anything. The only sound was Martina and Lina shouting about something in the distance.
Finally Amelia said, "Aren't you going to look at it?"
"The trophy," Amelia prompted helpfully.
"Oh, yeah," I said, feeling a little stupid. I cast my eyes down the gold-leaf finish.
The 47th Annual Brass Rackets Championship
"Battle on Champions. You've proven your worth."
I read it twice just to make sure before shouting out to the world in general: "What the heck is this?! It says 'Clair Bibble' not 'Clair Bible'!"
"Clair Bibble?" repeated Xellos, appearing from nowhere with his stupid guidebook. "Oh! The name of the person who invented Brass Rackets!" He looked down at the page and clucked his tongue. "Oh dear," He said, without any trace of contrition. "I must have read it wrong."
"Why you! You knew, didn't you?!" I wasn't buying that for a minute. I had had it with this day and with Xellos and certainly with Brass Rackets. So I did what anyone in my position would've done. I lobbed a fireball at Xellos.
"Huh?" Xellos said, like he didn't deserve it, as he jumped out of the way dooming the small crowd behind him to a barbequed fate. "Oh please!" he said as he landed. "I really didn't know at first!" At first, huh? I'm so glad my second fireball hit him with a satisfying fwoosh. "Ugh, didn't see that one coming," he said, before he crumpled to the ground.
I was tempted to pull an Amelia and declare "Victory!" since I really need the pick-me-up, but I have a little too much dignity for that.
Speaking of Amelia, she really came through for me, I thought as I watched Lina and Martina terrorizing their former partners for some unknown reason. Sure, it didn't work out, but that wasn't her fault. It was Xellos' fault, I thought savagely. I looked over at Amelia and Gourry watching said Lina and Martina terrorizing.
I won't forget this.