Author's Note: Sorry it took so long, but here is the final chapter. I hope you guys enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Gourry patted the last shovel full of soil onto the mound. It was a simple unmarked grave, in which Gourry had found a large rock to substitute as the grave stone. It was a weird sensation for Zelgadis, to be burying his own body. Then again, it was nothing compared to having his own body flirt and hit on him. That would probably be a good source of nightmares for the next couple of months.
A wind came with a light chill as the grave was completed. The four gave a moment of silence.
After Amelia gave a quiet prayer, she spoke "Shouldn't we write Eris's name on the stone?"
"Why?" asked Lina. "It wasn't her body we've buried, it was Zel's. She was just borrowing it."
"I just hope she found some peace." Amelia felt sorry for Eris. She may have perform acts against justice and tried to kill Zelgadis, but she had also been a woman in pain who had lost the man she loved. The comforting thought was to assume she and Rezo's souls were reunited.
"Her soul should be free as long as she doesn't decide to possess someone else," Zelgadis commented.
"Or get trapped in any more jars," Gourry added. He paused. "That was the last jar right?"
"Who knows," Zelgadis replied with a shrug. "There could be more, that's why we looked for that one in the first place." He clasped his chin in thought. "Although, I have a feeling if there are more, Xellos is going to get to them first."
Lina nodded. "He probably doesn't want to risk a repeat of what happened with Rezo and Shabringo's souls." She brushed her bangs from her eyes. "Granted, I can't see how or even who would want to try to put a piece of the dark lord into a jar, but there are a lot of nuts out there." Lina turned and began to lead the gang down the hill. "Let's head back to town. We deserve a celebration!"
"But we just had a celebration," Zelgadis remarked.
"And this is a victory dinner over defeating Eris, what's your point?"
"I wouldn't argue Mister Zelgadis," Amelia added with a sigh. "She's probably going to make us have one while we want to or not."
Gourry nodded. "Besides, I am getting hungry. Handling new swords does bring on an appetite."
Zelgadis shook his head as they followed Lina. As they strolled through the forest, his thoughts began to drift back to what his final decision would be for the upcoming months.
Lina and Gourry had ordered five servings of the turkey special. No words could be uttered as the pair performed their daily ritual of chewing and swallowing like starving wolves. As Lina took a break to gulp down her mug of water, Amelia broke in with her question.
"So, what are you planning to do now, Miss Lina?" The princess dipped her spoon into her soup.
"Before you had said you were searching for a sword for Mister Gourry."
"And you've clearly accomplished that," Zelgadis added, cutting into his thick steak with his knife.
Lina paused, not only to ponder the question, but to also whack Gourry's hand away from her potatoes. "Well, I figured we should go research the blast blade more, since there's a lot we don't know about it."
Gourry shrugged. "What's there to know? We know it can absorb spells and it has a pointy end to stab things. What else is there?"
Lina rolled her eyes. "I rather do some double checking to make sure there's nothing dangerous about you using that sword." She sprinkled pepper on her ham. "Some magical swords are known to have life threatening side effects and I want to be certain that this sword has none."
Gourry chewed his mouthful of turkey. "Sure, but I don't think it's risky to use the blast blade if you ask me."
"But we need to me sure," Lina argued in frustration as she waved her fork at him.
Zelgadis smirked. "Oh? You're that concerned over Gourry's health?"
Amelia beamed. "That's just like Miss Lina to be worried about Mister Gourry!"
The sorceress blushed. "What are you talking about? I just want to be sure I won't be in danger when I use it!" She madly waved her arms around. "Gourry can use it all he wants! He's the test subject!"
"Sure, Lina," Zelgadis replied, grinning evilly.
Lina glared. "In any case, I figured we should also make a detour and stop by Tashfoina and visit Pokota."
Amelia blinked. She had recalled the suggestion to bring the jar to Pokota for him to study as a lead for him to regain a human body. However, that hope was crushed as soon as she had found the shattered pieces of the jar on the lab floor. She had been debating if they should tell Pokota about the discovery at all or not. She didn't believe it was fair to raise his hopes only to learn the jar was gone.
"Is that such a good idea, Miss Lina? We don't have the jar anymore."
Lina grinned. "You're right." She reached into her astral pocket and retrieved the notes she had written. "But I still have the notes and designs for the jar."
Amelia slapped her cheek. "I can't believe I forgot about those. Mister Pokota can use the information from those to make his own jar."
Zelgadis folded his arms on the table. "If he's willing. Considering what he has personally been through, he maybe be reluctant to use that information."
Lina nodded. "Still, I thought we at least owe it to him. Pokota can decide if he wants to keep them or not."
"Just make sure Xellos doesn't get them," Gourry replied, shoveling more carrots into his mouth. "He seems driven to get rid everything related to those jars."
"You don't have to tell me that." Lina tucked the papers back into her astral pocket in her cape.
"But what about you guys? Want to come along?"
Amelia shook her head. "I would love to see Mister Pokota, but I am over due to get home."
She laid her arms behind her head. "There are some meetings with the Seyrune nobles coming up that I'm sure Daddy will be wanting my help with."
Gourry gave a nod and turned to the shaman. "What about you, Zel?"
Zegladis hand froze before his slice of steak could enter his mouth.
"I'll bet Zel will be coming with us," said Lina. "He's probably dying to find out what Pokota's been studying lately. Right, Zel?"
Zelgadis smiled as he set down his fork and leaned his chin on his hands. He had made his decision hours ago, but it was going to be different admitting it aloud. "Actually, I've decided to go to Seyrune for the time being."
The girls stared curiously, while Gourry smiled back, as if he'd been expecting to be hearing this answer.
"Really, Mister Zelgadis?"
The shaman nodded. "I can't deny that I was lucky with Eris. My fighting skills as a human are rusty. I have been getting better, but as Gourry pointed out to me I need to stay in one spot and focus on getting stronger." He turned to the princess. "That is, as long as your offer still stands."
"Of course it does!" Amelia cheered. "Daddy will be thrilled to have you around!" She suddenly had a light bulb moment. "I can even ask Daddy to give you fighting lesson with your bare hands! He's a wonderful teacher."
Zelgadis grimaced at the mental images of Prince Phil forcing him to do push ups, crush boulders with his fists and heaven knows what else. "…I'll keep that in mind." As motivation to get stronger on my own.
"That does make sense," Lina replied, leaning back in her chair. "Although, I'm not sure I could handle staying in one city so long."
Gourry tilted his head. "Speaking of which, isn't it about time we go visit your home Lina?"
Lina almost lost her balance in her chair. "What? Why are you bringing that up?"
"Well, your dad's been wanting to meet me, especially after that last letter you wrote home."
Lina seized his shirt collar. "How the hell do you know about that?"
Gourry choked. "Your sister wrote to me about it."
"Why the hell is she writing to you?"
Amelia and Zelgadis tucked their faces behind their hands and exchanged amused glances.
Seyrune- One Year Later
She's late, Zelgadis thought. She was suppose to meet me here ten minutes ago. The waitress came by and served his tea and Amelia's slice of cake. Zelgadis never cared much for sweets, but he knew this was Amelia's favorite teashop because of the cakes. He debated ordering Amelia's tea for her. Although, it would be pointless if she was being held up by the council and it got cold by the time she got there.
He sipped his drink, taking in the pleasant aroma. It was a rare for Amelia to be late, but Zelgadis was not surprised. The Seyrune council was holding a long meeting over whether they should raise taxes on the nobles to help out the poorer people in the city. It was an issue Amelia and Phil wanted to clearly express their opinions on, with Phil's being the loudest.
"And that's if he and Amelia don't throw in a justice speech," Zelgadis muttered under his breath. He reached into his pocket for the small item he had purchased earlier and placed it on top of Amelia's cake. It would be a good test for Amelia's observation skills to see if she noticed it or not.
He sipped his tea again and let his mind wander. A lot had happened in the past year. His journes as a chimera to restore his humanity still felt like a dream. He ran his hand through his soft hair. A part of his nomad side was perplexed that he stayed a whole year in Seyrune. He had originally planned to stay for a few months, at least until he felt his sword skills were strong enough for him to travel by himself.
He had to admit, Amelia and even Phil had been a huge help in that regard. They both provided tips and advice on how to strengthen his muscles. Plus, the practice sparring with Amelia and the royal guard were also useful for that.
Theoretically, he should have left ages ago. Yet, he found he kept saying "I'll stay another week." Then he would have found something intriguing to research at the library. The letters he received from Pokota regarding his own research spurred Zelgadis on. Then, he found himself helping out Amelia and Phil with the issues of strengthening their guard. Then another problem would arise, and he felt obligated to assist, and then another research topic would pop up, and so on and so on. Before Zelgadis realized it, an entire year had passed.
This was Lina's favorite topic to tease him about the last time she and Gourry came to visit. He blushed at the memory. Although, he vowed to get revenge the next time they meet up, especially if the contents in Gourry's last letter were accurate. He stirred from his thoughts as he heard running feet from behind him.
He turned to a panting Amelia. She was still in her gown, but she had managed to change from her high heels to her boots. He had to admit she looked quite adorable.
"Sorry, I'm late," Amelia panted as she collapsed in her chair. "The meeting went on far longer than I thought it would."
"I believed it would," Zelgadis replied, sliding the cake towards her. "Here, I ordered your favorite. I figured you would need some sugar after that meeting."
Amelia grinned. "Thank you. It was long, but it was worth it."
"So, the council agreed?"
Amelia ate the first bite. "We still have to work out the details, but everyone seemed convinced it was a good idea. How has your morning been?"
He grinned. "Not as eventful as yours, although I did receive a letter from Gourry." He handed the opened letter over. "And he had some intriguing news."
Amelia eagerly read the letter. Her eyes widened. "He's going to ask Miss Lina to marry him?" Her eyes instantly sparkled. "Oh, that's so romantic!"
"Apparently, his plan is to take Lina to the coast where this famous lobster is served and propose there."
Amelia leaned on her hands, caught up in her own daydream. "I wish I was there to see Miss Lina's expression." She closed her eyes and took another bite. "I swear, besides a wedding, there's nothing more romantic than a proposal."
Zelgadis smirked to himself. "You think so?"
"Of course!" Amelia began to eat the pink icing rose. "There's nothing-" A tiny glint on her plate caught her attention. Her thoughts scattered as she stared at the object. Hesitantly, she picked it up. "Mister Zelgadis, what is this?"
He grinned. "Don't you know a diamond ring when you see one?"
Amelia blushed. "Yes, but why is there one on my plate?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Zelgadis attempted to hide his blush behind his hands. "We've grown a lot closer this past year, and I've already gotten Phil's permission." He coughed. "However, if you don't want to marry me I would under-"
"YES!" Amelia leaped across the table. Zelgadis yelped as Amelia slammed into him and knocked both of them to the floor. The other customers and servers stopped what they were doing to stare at the excited princess. "YES! YES!" Amelia cried, hugging Zelgadis around his neck. "Yes, I will marry you!"
"Amelia, people are staring!" Zelgadis scolded.
It was too late. There was an instant cheer and an old man from across the room gave a fierce whistle. "Way to go, lad!"
Zelgadis' entire face turned red, but he sighed as Amelia refused to let go. He had a great future to look forward to, and he wouldn't trade that for anything.