Slayers:
SPELUNK! The Caverns of the Seyruun City Limits

written by John Berry & Alba Aulbath
The Slayers ©2002 Kadokawa Shoten and TV Tokyo


So it was that Zelgadis just happened to be passing through a kingdom all too familiar to him when he received an invitation. So it was that he came to realize he was not the only one invited. So it was that he grudgingly came to the realization of whereto he was invited.

He knew he shouldn't be surprised, but still... "Why is it that whenever I'm within the vicinity of you two, we end up at a restaurant every ten minutes?"

The two of whom he spoke of should not take too long to figure out. He, Lina, Gourry, and, of course, the one who invited them in the first place, Amelia, were waiting for their seats. For quite a while. This was apparently a pretty popular place.

"Don't ya think yer exaggerating just a little?" Lina asked her chimera friend.

"Okay," Zel shrugged. "Eleven minutes."

Gourry gave him a serious nod. "That's better!"

"Couldn't ya be just a bit more polite, Zel?" Lina asked Zelgadis as she gave Gourry a nudge with her elbow. "I mean, this isn't a normal stop; Amelia invited us here!"

At the mention of her name, Amelia spoke up. "Yes, the food here is pretty good! When I tried this place with Daddy, I thought immediately of you, Miss Lina."

"Ahem."

"Yes, and you too, Mister Gourry!"

It was at that time that a waiter finally came. "May I help you?"

Amelia nodded. "I have a reservation for four..."

The waiter immediately recognized the princess of his hometown. Wouldn't you? "Ah, yes. Ameria Wil Tesla Seyruun. Right this way."

The princess sweatdropped. "Um... that's 'Amelia.'"

He checked the list again. "Says here 'Ameria.'"

"I told them 'Amelia'!"

"Well, I have 'Ameria' written down here. Are you Ameria or not?" He pointed out the door. "If you're not Ameria, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Amelia gave in. "Oh, fine." She and her friends followed.

"C'mon, Goully; Zergadis," Lina teased.

"Right away, Rina," Zel played along, very faintly smiling.

Once seated, Gourry made a somewhat odd request. "May I have another menu, please?"

Assuming that more guests may be on the way, the waiter complied. He was about to step away to give them all time to order when he was interrupted...

"Where do you think you're going?" asked Lina. "I'm ready to order now!"

A bit flustered, the waiter turned around. "My apologies. What will you be having?"

Gourry jumped in, as if he could not wait to show off something. "Thank you. I'll have everything in this one," he put down one menu. "And everything in this one," plopping down the second. He elbowed Lina, hoping she would notice how incredibly clever his one-liner was.

She simply rolled her eyes.

The rest placed their orders and the waiter was about to take back the menus when Gourry refused to let go of his. "Hey, I'm still reading this!"

The waiter seemed confused. "You ordered first, then you read?"

"Doesn't everybody?"

The waiter simply sighed and walked off.

"Boy," Gourry commented. "He's not very bright, is he?" He turned his attention back to his reading material.

An eternity of waiting was before them. Desperate for anything to take her mind off the fact that she was in an eating facility and not eating, Lina blurted out the first conversation-starter she could think of. "Sooooooo..."

Another pause.

"Yup," Zel replied.

"Hm," Lina continued. "So, uhhhh... you find a cure yet?"

Zelgadis simply raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, stupid question. Sue me. Like you have much practice conversing."

"Hey," Gourry pointed at something in the menu. "What the heck is this thing? 'Deluxe Fungus Surprise'?"

"I... have no idea," Lina admitted. "But you already ordered two of them, so you better like it."

"And it sounds so delish, too," the chimera sarcastically pointed out.

Lina couldn't stand it. More waiting. How long would this last?! They could've at least gotten some breadsticks or something, but noooooo! How great could a place be that doesn't even offer some frickin' breadsticks?!! Gourry's head was beginning to look like corn on the cob. Amelia, a big bowl of pudding. Zelgadis... rock candy. That last one seemed too obvious. HOW MUCH LONGER?! With enough seasoning, the table would probably be edible enough... LOOK WHAT YOU'VE MADE LINA INVERSE RESORT TO, YOU NAMELESS RESTAURANT!! Thinking about eating furniture! Or even her friends!! If some service didn't arrive in three seconds, a Dragon Slave could very well turn this whole establishment into a crater!! Food! Food!! FOOOO--

"Oh, look, the food's here," Lina calmly noticed.

Indeed it had. As could be expected, Gourry and Lina were the first to dig in. Zelgadis began to wonder how they kept from inhaling the silverware at times.

It was at a particular entree that Gourry paused... "Hey... This... This is pretty good!"

"What is it?" asked Amelia.

The swordsman thought for a moment as he chewed. "I think it's that fungusy stuff."

The rest stared, amazed at the fact that he was actually stopping to chew, as if to savor the flavor.

"All right, that does it!" cried Lina. "Let me have some!"

"NO! MY MUSHROOMS!" Gourry grabbed both platters and hunched over, protecting them with his own body. "Don't worry, my little fungi," he cooed. "I'll be the only one to eat you. I'll protect you from that... that strumpet!"

"WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!" She raised her fist, ready to come in for the kill.

"Beat me up all you want!! Just don't touch any of my mushrooms!!"

So she did.

And took a mushroom anyway.

"Hey!" whined the crumpled form that once was Gourry.

Lina chewed slowly, her eyes lighting up. "Wow, you were right... for once... This is pretty good." She hailed down a waiter for questioning. "Hey, you. What kind of mushroom is used in this stuff?"

"Hm? Oh, those are one of our best sellers," he commented. "I believe those are made from Kami Mushrooms. They grow just outside of town."

Lina's jaw dropped. "Kami Mushrooms?! I thought those were only a regend!..." She paused, then quickly corrected herself. "Legend."

The waiter continued as Amelia curiously nibbled at the plate herself. "Oh, no, they're real! I'm sorry to say that our supply is almost out, though."

"Why?" Amelia asked. "You said you got them from just outside the kingdom."

He sighed. "Yes, but they only grow wild. Nobody's been able to successfully cultivate the stuff on their own, sadly. Just lately, the entire field of them just vanished! Too many people loved the stuff, to the point where the 'crop' didn't have time to replenish itself."

The sorceress threw her hands into the air, falling to her knees. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!"

"But," the waiter continued. "I have heard that there are some more somewhere in the Valley of Caverns west of here. No one dares travel there, though. It's a very dangerous place, and if you value your life--"

"C'mon, guys! Let's get going!" Lina was already halfway to the door, Gourry close behind.

"Now wait just a minute!" exclaimed Zelgadis just as Amelia was about to follow. "Don't you people ever think? The guy just said the place was deadly, and you're going to go dive into this just for the sake of maybe, maybe getting another taste of a fungus. Excuse me?! No, I don't think--"

Lina then proceeded to shove a handful of the delicacy down his throat.

"...Hey, that is pretty good," he muffled.

"Then it's decided!" proclaimed Lina. "Come! The sooner we get the stuff, the sooner we can enjoy!"


Amelia obviously knew the area well. Well enough to guide them to the valley, however not well enough to know of which cavern the waiter had spoken. And there were several. It was not called the Valley of Caverns for nothing.

Lina remained determined. Afterall, Kami Mushrooms were nothing to scoff at. They were beyond delicacy. Even the gods would drool at the idea of having a single taste of such a food. For this, she would do anything. She would never give up.

"I give up!" Gourry whined.

Lina could not believe such... such blasphemy! "WHAAAAAT?!"

Gourry guarded his face with his arms, just in case. "I love the stuff! I really do! But how could we possibly check out all of these caves?"

Zelgadis nodded. "He's got a point, Lina."

Lina sighed. Yes, they did have a point, sadly enough. If only someone who knew the area better could aid them.

Luckily, this is a cartoon where everything happens on cue.

"Hello there," greeted an old, cloaked traveler. "You all seem lost. Do you need some help?"

At first, Lina was a tad startled that, one, the old man had snuck right up on her, and, two, it was a ridiculous coincidence, but having gone through weirder things she quickly shrugged it off. "Oh, yes! You know this valley, old man?"

"Yes I do. Actually, I live in that cave over there." He pointed to one with his travelling stick.

Lina read the sign in front of it. "The Cave of Rocks?"

The old man sighed. "Yes. That's the only safe cave I know of. I cannot really afford a house..."

Lina did not wait for the man to finish his tale of woe. "Well, tell me; do you know if any of these caves have the legendary Kami Mushrooms?"

"Hmm..." He scratched his head in thought. "I think so..."

"Whichonewhichonewhichonewhichone??!"

"Whoa! Whoa! Hold on there, young lady. I simply can't let you go! It's far too dangerous!"

The slayers considered this for a moment... and fell to the ground laughing.

Lina picked herself up and wiped away a tear. "Mister, we've all gone against Shabranigdo, Zanaffar, Gaav, Valgaav, Phibrizzo, Darkstar, and we've all died at least once or twice. What the hell could you consider 'too dangerous'?"

The old man did not for a moment believe that any human could face so many powerful monsters and demons, but decided to at least humor them for the time being. "There's not much here that will attack you physically, true. However, many of these caves have their own specific magical fields, each with their own mind-manipulating capabilities."

"Mind-manipulating capabilities?" Amelia echoed.

He nodded.

"Oh, big deal." Lina waved it off. "If they affect the brain, we'll just send Gourry in to do all the work."

The swordsman took offense. "Hey!"

"No good," Zelgadis said. "If we left him alone, he'd just get lost."

"HEY!"

"Okay," Lina continued. "As long as we know what we're up against, it shouldn't be too much trouble. After getting a taste of those mushrooms, I'm not about to back down this soon. Now I'll ask you one more time, old man... Where are they?!"

The old man sighed again. "I suppose there's no way I can stop you... Fine. The closest cave I know of to be rumored to have the mushrooms is..." He took a breath, as if preparing himself to say the most frightening phrase imagined. "...Is... the Cave of Beauty!"

The heroes facefaulted.

"Still, I beg of you to reconsider!" he pleaded. "You have no idea how horrible of a place this is! None have ever entered the cave and returned!"

Lina rubbed her temples. "The Cave..."

"Uh-huh."

"...Of Beauty."

"That's the one."

The sorceress slouched, staring at the man with heavy eyes. Silence hung in the air for a few seconds.

"Okaybyethen." She waved good-bye as she and her friends continued their journey.

"But..." the man desperately tried to talk them out of it as they faded over the horizon. "But it's icky! And scary! And evil! And... and-and really not good! I said evil, right?... Aww, crapmuffins."


If not for the hundreds of signs, it could be easy to mistake one cave for another. Out of boredom from taking such a long trip, Lina began to read a few aloud. "The Cave of Locusts, the Cave of Quicksand, the Cave of Death and Flowers..."

"You mean one cave of death and another of flowers?" Amelia asked.

"No, no. Cave of Death and Flowers. Says so right there. Odd, that."

Amelia noticed a cave before Lina could even read it: "The Cave of Justice!" With big sparkling eyes, she began, "Can we--?!"

"NO!" the others immediately replied.

Sulking, the young princess complied. "Aw..."

Not long after, Lina pointed rather dramatically at their destination. "The Cave of Beauty! Here we are!" Gourry and Amelia cheered.

"Good," Zelgadis said, a little relieved. "Let's get this over with."

The four walked inside the cave, three-forths of them marching enthusiastically. As they continued into the depths of the cavern, Zelgadis began to notice that it was rapidly getting darker. He made a slight face, holding out his hand.

"LIGHTING!" he shouted, expecting a ball of light to appear. "What the...?! My magic doesn't work?"

Amelia looked to her companion, blinking a few times. "Your magic works fine, Mr. Zelgadis."

Gourry was drooling madly, gazing at a stalagmite. "Oooohhh... Chickeeen..." He attempted to take a bite, but found that his "chicken" was unusually hard. Confused, the swordsman scratched the back of his head, turning to his comrades. "Hey, guys--" He suddenly stopped, staring at his friends, or rather what used to be his friends. In their places were large swords of different designs with his comrades' arms and legs sticking out. "Wow!... That's weird!" the blond stated the obvious.

Lina looked at each of her friends, just plainly confused. All she saw was herself, although one reflection had Gourry's voice, another Amelia's, and the other Zelgadis's. "What the hell is going on here?!"

Amelia didn't see what her friends' problems were. She raised an eyebrow a little bit. "What's wrong...?"

"I can't see anything at all," Zelgadis replied, looking slightly frightened.

Lina stared at Zellina. "Yer outta your head! You guys all look like me! Not that it's really a bad thing, but it's confusing to tell you guys apart..."

Gourry smiled. "Wow! Is that really you, guys? Neat! How'd you turn into swords? Can I swing you around, Lina?"

"No, you can't!" Lina snapped at Gourrina. She would have hit him, but she could not bring herself to strike what was a reflection of her.

"Oh, that's okay! This one looks cooler anyway." He then proceeded to grab Amelia by the ankles and practice his swordsmanship with her. "Dodge! Parry! Turn! Thrust! Ha ha! Ho ho!"

The princess did not take to being used as a weapon very well. "Aggh! Mr. Gourry, have you gone even more insane!? Waaahhh!"

Lina did not understand at all what she was seeing, but decided that since the copy of her was doing something stupid, it must have been Gourry. "Hey, me, put the other me down!"

"What the hell is going on?" demanded the blind Zelgadis.

"Damned if I know," Lina honestly replied.

Gourry's fun soon ended once his "sword" smashed into a rock and refused to cut through it. "Man, this sword looks cool, but it doesn't work well at all. It's too heavy and isn't very sharp." He dropped the Princess Blade and and headed towards one that appeared to be made of stone. "I wonder how this one handles..."

Even though he could not see, Zelgadis knew what was coming. "Not a step closer, you moron."

Amelia's head hurt like crazy, but she managed to shake it off. With all the stumbling she had done throughout her years, she had built up somewhat of a tolerance for pain. She suddenly picked herself up as a realization came to her. "Oh yeah! The nice old man from before said this place had a magical field, didn't he? This is the Cave of Beauty; you all see things that you think is beautiful!"

The other three all but slapped their foreheads in a gigantic "Oh, duh!" moment.

The princess continued her exposition. "Mr. Gourry obviously finds swords very beautiful... along with food. Ms. Lina, you find yourself very beautiful, don't you?"

"Why shouldn't I?!"

"No reason!" Amelia cringed a moment, then continued. "And Mr. Zelgadis? You..." she hesitated. "I guess you must be very, very depressed or something... You don't find anything beautiful at all? That's the only reason I can think of that you can't see."

Zelgadis rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. If not blind in the first place, he would have started averting eye contact. He decided to slightly change the subject. "You seem to be unaffected, though."

Amelia smiled widely, putting her foot on a rock and holding out her fist overdramatically. "Mr. Zelgadis, it should be obvious that I find everything in this world in Cephied's great name beautiful in its own distinct way!"

"As long as it's not icky," Zel ammended.

"Right, as long as... Ohh, that's mean!"

"But true."

"But mean!"

For no apparent reason, a gigantic monster showed up. It did not quite matter what it looked like, since...

Gourry: "Wow! That's the biggest damn sword I've ever seen!"

Lina: "Look at me! I'm huge!"

Amelia: "What? Where? I don't see anything..."

Zelgadis: "Is this joke over yet?!"

The said monster lumbered forth, aiming a slow but strong punch toward Our Heroes. The fist, rather than actually hitting anyone, landed in the middle of the group and caused a brief shockwave. Lina managed to stay on her feet as she powered up a spell.

"FIIIIRRRRE--"

She gritted her teeth and cut off the spell as she saw Linaku face her. How could she possibly fry her own reflection?! Grumbling, the sorceress leapt away as another slow punch was aimed for her. It was impossible for her to harm something so beautiful!

Gourry cupped his chin, thinking hard. "How can I attack a sword? Does a sword have a weak spot...? Hmm..."

"Aim for the eyes!" Zelgadis commanded. Gourry stared at his rocky companion for a moment before the chimera sighed heavily. "Aim for the hilt."

"Gotcha!" the swordsman replied. He took out his sword, running at the beast and leapt forth, swinging for the head/hilt. "TOOOOOOOH!"

While Lina was dodging and Gourry was doing well in attacking, Amelia swung furiously!

At dead air.

"Amelia," Zelgadis began. "It's thirty feet behind you."

"Oh, right!" Amelia confirmed, but blinked a few times. "Wait, how did you know?"

Zelgadis jerked a thumb behind him as Lina, grumbling incoherently, ran by. "I can hear it." He made a face. "And I can smell it."

"I do not smell!" Lina shouted.

"Not you! The... thing!" Zelgadis yelled back, then his ear twitched slightly. "Amelia, stop there and attack where Gourry is!"

"Right!" the princess replied, holding out her hands.

"Not Gourry himself!" he amended.

"Give me some credit! ICICLE LANCE!"

When the beam of ice struck the beast, it completely froze, as Icicle Lances are ought to do. Gourry ran forward, swinging his sword. No connection seemed to be made between the blade and the frozen monster as the swordsman skid to a hault a couple of feet behind it. Of course, all too dramatically, the beastsicle split in half.

"I coulda done that," Lina piped in.

Gourry put his sword back into its sheath as he jogged back to his friends. Amelia looked to Zelgadis with a bit of admiration on her face. "Mr. Zelgadis! That was amazing! You could tell where everyone was even without sight."

"If I can't use my eyes, then it ought to be simple; I had to use my other senses," the chimera explained.

Guess it was sorta in the blood to do so, Lina thought, recalling his relation with a certain blind priest. She made extra sure to not say such a thing aloud, but she did say this: "Then getting through this cave'll be a cinch! Lead the way!"

So he did! And walked directly into a stalagmite!

"Ouch," he heroically proclaimed.

"Well, a near-cinch."

Gourry scratched his head. "Hey, I have an idea."

"No you don't," Lina calmly stated. It was with no malice, simply a fact.

"No, no, I'm pretty sure it's an idea. I mean, I haven't had one in awhile... ever... but, um, like, hear me out..."


"Watch your footing here, Mr. Zelgadis; there's some gravel coming up... Oh, duck a little... Turn right slightly..."

Perched upon the chimera's shoulders, Amelia Wil Tesla "Navigator" Seyruun directed her friend against his most dangerous of all foes: tripping. It actually would have been a cute sight if anyone was actually around to see it. To Lina, it was practically just a walking totem pole, and to Gourry, something one does not see swords do very often.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful. What Amelia could not see, Zelgadis could sense. Gourry was quite proud of himself for coming up with such a way to lead them safely to their goal. Nobody, however, agreed with his idea to call their leader-unit "Zelgamelia."

At last, their hard work paid off, for upon the next chamber did they find...

"Mushrooms! We're here, guys!"

And there was much rejoicing.

The end.


Actually, that is not the case, for upon exiting the cave Our Heroes once again encountered The Old Man™!

"My goodness! Well done, young lady! Well done, indeed!"

Lina took all credit for the victory. "Yes, yes, I know. Thank you so much." A beat. "What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Oh, I just had to see if you would ever come out or not. I was so nervous, yet so helpless... I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help, actually."

"No need to apologize, my good man! For behold!" The Mighty Inverse swung her knapsack open to show off the results of ten minutes of hard work. "The legendary Kami Mushrooooo... Uh, those don't look like Kami Mushrooms."

No, they did not. They were still mushrooms, just not the ones they had been venturing to gain.

Gourry jumped to the most logical conclusion. "They transmogrified!!"

"I have no idea how you know such a big word, but that's not what happened," Lina said.

Amelia jumped to the next logical conclusion. "I guess since the Kami Mushrooms would've looked so beautiful to us at the time that that's what we ended up seeing."

"I suppose so," Lina concured.

Zelgadis glanced sideways. "Hmm. I suppose I shouldn't have munched on a couple on the way out... GuuuUUUuuuHHHhhhhHHhh..."

The world spun and suddenly got a lot more two-dimensional. Colors; oh, the colors! Pixies and antelopes and dwarves and some sort of yellow undersea vessel! Dancing squirrels shouting "Wheee!" Swirly stuff! Fuzzy stuff! Stuffy stuff! All coming together and at the same time bursting apart! Rezo riding through the air on a bike, cackling! All the while some guitar going "waka chicka waka waka" somewhere in the distance!

Meanwhile in reality, Zelgadis's friends stared at him in concern as he laid drooling.

"Those definitely weren't the right mushrooms," Lina nodded. She then turned to the old man. "I blame you. Why did you say the Kami Mushrooms were in the Cave of Beauty!?"

"I said they were rumored to be there!" he defended. "The Cave of Beauty was just the closest one. There is only one other that I know of that could possibly have the mushrooms you seek."

Lina sighed, then motioned for him to continue.

"In order to reach them, you must pass through the Cave of Equality."

"And the mushrooms are in there?"

"Patience. No, you must pass through. On the other side, you shall find an entrance to the Cave of Love. In there, you shall find your reward."

"All right! Guys, let's--"

"Oh, uh," the man stuttered. "Do, uh, you mind if I have some of those other mushrooms? Seeing as how you won't be using them."

"Um... why?"

"Well, you see, I get so bored in my old age, but I don't have the strength to go out on adventures like you folks, so..."

"Oh, fine. Just don't O.D. or it'll be on my conscience for, like, weeks. Okay, guys, let us be off! Again!"

Lina marched off with gusto. Gourry followed with slightly less gusto. Amelia stayed behind, which is nearly impossible to do with gusto.

"Ms. Lina, what about Mr. Zelgadis?"

"Ah, don't worry. He's strong. He'll be fine."

BLARGH!!

"See? He's getting it out of his system already! Let's go!"

Amelia hesitated, then turned to the old man. "Please watch over him for a bit, sir, if it's not too much trouble." Then off she went.


Amelia obviously knew the area well. Well enough to guide them to the valley, however not well enough to know of which cavern the old man had spoken. And there were several. It was not called the Valley of Caverns for nothing.

For Lina, this quest was getting rather redundant. Ask for information, search, fail, repeat. That was how a lot of quests seemed to go, actually. The musical Ultimate Spell of Protection, the dragon cuisine... Actually, Zelgadis was sacrificed during that last quest as well. Hmm, a lot of redundancy... It wasn't like she enjoyed tormenting the guy, but if great food was on the line she couldn't let anything get in her way.

Lost in her thoughts, Lina ran into the sign they were looking for. Quite literally.

"Ow! Oh, we're here! Gourry, you go first."

"Why?"

"If something horrifying and deadly awaits us, whatever it is will attack you first instead of us delicate, young ladies."

Gourry scratched his head. "But you're not delicate, Lina."

"GO!!!" Lina kindly suggested as she booted him in the fanny into the entrance.

"Okay," Gourry agreed after he was already inside.


The mercenary rubbed his sore buttocks as he glanced around the cavern. Nothing seemed odd about this one. Of course, nothing seemed odd about the last one at first. There just had to be a way to test the metaphorical waters; see if there was any danger without putting oneself in danger.

Then the grandest of ideas struck Gourry. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, "IS THERE ANYTHING OR ANYONE THAT IS HORRIFYING AND DEADLY IN HERE??!"

He waited a moment. Since no being came to strip him of his flesh or spoon out his eyeballs, he nodded with a self-satisfied smirk. "Lina! Amelia! You can come in now!"

The girls warily entered, gathering more confidence as they got closer to Gourry.

"I guess it's safe," Lina agreed. "Which cave did that guy say this was again?"

Amelia shook her head. "I forget."

"Hey, Gourry," Lina turned to him. "Do you remember?"

"I never remember," he reminded her.

"Oh, yeah, I forgot."

Something in Gourry's mind clicked. "Wait, Lina. You never forget important stuff like that!"

"Like what?"

"I forget."

"Oh."

They stood there in a desperate attempt to collect their thoughts.

"Weren't we in here to get something?" asked Amelia.

"Probably," Lina replied.

"I remember!" Gourry suddenly shouted.

"Good," Lina nodded. "What did we come in here for?"

"No, I don't remember that. I remember what you remember. Remember?"

"No."

"We were talking a while ago how you never forget stuff and you asked 'What stuff?' and I was like 'I forget.'"

"Oh, yeah. What?"

"You never forget important things, like quests or spells or names. Names like Shabnabingo."

"That's Shindahingo."

"Oh, sorry."

"It's all right. I'm not angry."

Another thing suddenly hit Gourry, which surprisingly to him was not Lina's fist. "Wait! You're not angry?! You're always angry!"

"I can't be always angry! Otherwise I'd be angry right now, and I'm not!"

Gourry couldn't beat that logic.

Lina changed the subject. "Where'd Ameria go?"

"That's Amelia," she corrected. "And I'm right behind you."

"Oh, right. I should've looked there first."

Gourry interupted the girls' conversation. "I don't think we should keep standing here."

"You're right," agreed Amelia. "Our legs would just get tired."

"My point exactly!" Gourry declared. "Let's go!"

"Where?"

"I forget!" Gourry still declared.


After a bit of discussion, the group decided "forward" would be the best choice. They were sure they would remember what they were looking for once they found it.

The walk continued until they came to the entrance of a new chamber. A quick game of rock-paper-scissors decided that Amelia should check it out first.

Upon entering the chamber, Amelia found her senses returned to her. She shook her head. "Ugh. What happened back there? I felt like... like my brain was made of raisins, yet I still felt the need to stay noble and gallant..." As opposed to? "Oh, well! Ms. Lina! Mr. Gourry! It's safe! Come in!"

"Great! Our quest shall not waver from our little delay back there, for Justice is on our side!" Lina said enthusiastically as she came in with Gourry. "Ms. Amelia, Mr. Gourry, may Justice guide us to the Kami Mushrooms! Evil shall not prevent us from gaining the most delicious food I've even laid my tongue upon!"

Gourry joined in the Group Justice Speech. "Ms. Lina, you're right! No icky monsters will keep us from finding them! No matter what darkness may try to slow us down, we shall never give up! Never surrender!"

Amelia grew sparkly eyes. "Mr. Gourry, Ms. Lina... that was so moving! Now that our hearts have bonded into one mind and one soul, there's only one way to do it! Let's go!"

"Ms. Amelia, Mr. Gourry...!" Lina said, sniffling with tears from the wonderous speech that they were all putting on.

"Oh, Ms. Lina! Ms. Amelia!" Gourry cried as well.

Amelia joined her friends in a Justice Hug. "I would never want to be with any other team to travel down the road of Justice to our noble goal, our glorious destination! Come, my fellow companions! Let us march down this path of righteousness!"

"Right!" Lina and Gourry agreed. The Trio of Justice Friends parted the Justice Hug in a very Justicey way, heading forth to their one great prize.

Amelia knew that something was a little... off... but truly, TRULY it was only because they came to the realization that if they embraced the ways of Justice, only then would they be perfectly successful. Oh, they were fine before, but now they were the way that all people should be!

Lina whipped her index finger in the direction of the chamber's exit, complete with exaggerated whooshing sound effect. "Look, friends! With every chamber we pass through, the closer we are to reaching our prize! Let us move with haste!" Lina rushed forward, stumbled, then rushed forward again.

Upon entering the chamber, Lina found her senses returned to her. She shook her head. "Ugh. What happened back there? I felt like... like my brain was made of raisins, yet I still felt the need to stay noble and gallant..."

Realization dawned as she became more herself. She turned to her friends as they entered. "Guys, I think I figured this out. This is the Cave of Equality, so whoever is the first to enter a chamber, the other two will act like."

"Jeez, Lina, I already knew that," scoffed Gourry.

"We're not stupid!" Amelia added.

Lina thought a moment. "Although, I could be wrong. I was the first to enter this chamber, and you two are acting nothing like me."

Gourry whacked Lina upside the head. "Quit being a jellyfish brain! We're acting exactly like you!"

Lina kicked Gourry in the shin. "Don't hit me, dunghead!"

"Quit yelling!" Amelia yelled.

"I'll yell as much as I damn well please! ARGH! ARGH! ARRRGH! See?!"

"I'm getting a headache," complained Gourry. "Look, we should all just--"

"--Get to the exit as soon as possible," all three finished. They all turned to each other. "Quit finishing my sentences! It's annoying! Stop it! Stopitstopitstopit! GAHHH!"

The trio started beating each other up out of frustration, forming a cartoonish ball of dust and smoke. Said ball slowly made its way to said exit, outside of which they collapsed in an exhausted heap.

"The... pain..." Amelia muttered.

"I hate pain," Gourry complained. "Pain hurts."

Lina got up and dusted herself off. "Everyone themselves again?"

"Yes."

"Yes."

"Yes."

She turned around to find where the last "yes" came from: Zelgadis. Lina could tell from his expression that he didn't much care for being left behind. She nervously twiddled her fingers. "Oh... Zel... You're okay... Cool..."

Zelgadis remained stoic... until, in one quick motion, he shoved Lina into the nearby Cave of Slugs.

Amelia ran to the chimera's side. "Mr. Zelgadis, how'd you get well so fast?" she asked over Lina's terrified screams. "And how'd you get here?"

"The demon part of me recovers from toxins quickly," he explained. "After that, I was easily able to scale the mountain and run over to the other side to meet you here, allowing me to skip whatever ridiculous dangers were in there."

"Well, I'm actually glad you didn't come," said Amelia. "It just would've been scary to watch you act like Mr. Gourry."

Before Zelgadis could ask what the heck Amelia was talking about, Lina staggered out of the cave, shivering. She quickly recovered and marched in Zel's direction, menacingly jabbing a finger at his chest. "You are so lucky I'm in a hurry right now or you'd be so dead."

"I could say the same thing," said Zelgadis. "Can we get this over with? What's the last cave?"

"The most dangerous of all things..." Lina paused for dramatic effect. "Love!"


The final cave actually turned out to be completely overrated, and they passed through with no problems, devoured the Mushrooms, and headed to whatever their next heroing adventure would be. And if you believe that, I'm a hot, slender sixteen-year-old blonde named Celeste and am looking for a man with five-foot-thick glasses and is polka-dotted with acne.

Upon entering the mysterious cavern, Gourry happened to glance at a stalagmite and immediately started making out with it.

A dangerous place indeed.

Amelia's eyes glittered with admiration at the most perfect thing she had ever seen. She gave out a soft sigh, pouncing the ground and rolled within the dirt with joy. "My heart pounds with rhythmic feelings for ...THIS!" She held up a handful of the soil. "The dirt!" she moaned with pleasure. "So... dirty!" Amelia proceeded to lovingly nuzzle her nose into it before rolling around some more.

Lina did not notice such strange goings-on, so enraptured by the ceiling was she. Sure, it looked the same as all the previous cave ceilings, but this one just seemed... so... Oh, there was no mere words to describe the wonder that was this ceiling!

So in love, was she, that she could not think straight. A Levitation would have easily allowed her to get closer to the thing she desired, but the obvious never came to mind as she desperately tried to jump nearer to the roof. Upon landing after her third spring, she slipped on a puddle and fell on her delicate heiny, knocking her field of vision away from being upwards and towards the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on.

"Zelgadis..." she drooled. "I... I never noticed how... stunning you were."

"Nor I, Lina dear," he lovingly gushed. "Your fiery mane... your ruby eyes... Such nuances of your face I have never appreciated adequately until now."

"Oh, Zel-sama," Lina slipped into quasi-Japanese mode for some reason. "I... I love you!"

"And I you!"

They reached out for each other, drawing closer and closer for True Love's Kiss. Closer. Closer...

"HOLY CRAP!!" they agreed before going into full body shivers.

"Guhhh!" Lina shook her head clear. "I was this close to... ewewewew!"

"It wasn't something I was looking forward to," moaned Zelgadis. "I'm just glad we snapped out of it in time!"

"Whew! Me, too. Something just wouldn't have felt natural."

They glanced at Gourry's rock-loving and Amelia's dirt-loving.

"Not that that's all that natural, either," Zel amended. "How are we going to snap them out of the spell?"

Lina rolled up her sleeves. "Oh, there's always one surefire way... FIREBALL!"

FWOOM!

It is hard to keep a red hot passion when one is in red hot flames. Gourry and Amelia immediately took the adrenaline rush of being en flambé to stop, drop and roll in Amelia's ex-beloved.

The princess recovered enough to start whining. "Ms. Lina!... You're looking pretty..."

"FIREBALL!!!"

FWOOM!

"Right, then... Sorry," Amelia coughed.

Lina tapped her foot impatiently. "Now, if you're all done with your Martina impressions, I believe it is time that we finally get to where we were going in the first place? C'mon, Gourry."

"AAGH! MY HAIR IS ON FIRE!"

"I said, c'mon, Gourry!"

And prithee, forsooth, and other such flowery words did they travel yonder towards the one thing that had convinced them to go on such a ridiculous quest. How long would it take to reach this, however? Possibly hours, if lucky. Days, if the past was any indication!

"Oh, here it is," Gourry helpfully pointed out. He reached towards the mushrooms until Lina smacked his hand out of the way. "Mommy!... I mean, ouch. What did you do that for?"

"Because, Kibbles-and-Bits-for-brains, things are never that easy. How long have we been on this so-called 'quest'?"

"Um, like... three, four hours?"

Lina nodded. "Right. Good for you for counting that high."

"I used my fingers!" he proudly proclaimed.

"My point is, these mushrooms could be a decoy like last time. Or they could be booby trapped! You never know!"

"Well, if it only traps boobies, I don't think you have anything to worry about."

Lina shoved a fist into Gourry's gaping maw. "BOMB DI WIND!"

His cheeks puffed out to inhuman proportions before their deflation propelled him across the cavern, slamming him into a wall.

Lina cracked her knuckles. "Now, let's see about these mushrooms."

She slowly moved her hand to the fungi. Nothing happened. She grabbed one. Nothing happened. She plucked it from the ground. Nothing happened. She took a nibble. Nothing happened... except for sweet, sweet bliss.

"This is it..." she breathed. "This is what we have been traveling for this whole time."

"That's it?" asked a bewildered Zelgadis. "I mean... no blade come to lead to your demise? No super villain come with histrionic laughter, bellowing about how these mushrooms somehow factor into his plans for world destruction? That's it??"

"BOOYA!" Lina answered.

Amelia leapt with joy. "I knew Justice would be on our side today!"

"Yeah-sure-why-not," said Lina. "Hey, Gourry, help fill up our knapsacks."

"Ghhbugllhhhhhhhg."

"Oh, get up, you big baby!"


Sacks full of precious booty, Our Heroes exited the caves safe and sound.

"Seems kinda anticlimactic, doesn't it?" Lina pointed out. "Not that I'm complaining, really. I mean, it was a hassle to get this stuff, sure, but it didn't take as long as it could have, and what's more, we were actually victorious."

"When have you ever not been victorious?" Amelia asked admirably.

"Oh, gee, lemme see... The Spell of Ultimate Protection? Dragon Cuisine? Stop me if any of this begins to sound familiar."

The princess laughed nervously.

"Gee, Lina," Gourry said. "For someone who had a rare stroke of good luck, you sure are acting sour."

"Well..." Aw, dang it, the big lug was right. "Okay, sorry. I'm just not that used to it, is all."

"Okey dokey!"

"I guess I should just sit back and enjoy it," Lina admitted. "I mean, if something bad happens as a result of all this, I'll deal with it when it does happen."

"Wow," Zelgadis commented. "That's supposed to be my style of optimism."

"Eat it, Zel."

"After my experience with the mushrooms last time, no, I won't."

"Now what'll we do?" asked Amelia.

Lina held up a victorious fist! "What else can we do! We shall walk off dramatically into the sunset back to Seyruun for a glorious fungus feast!"

"It's three in the afternoon," Zel pointed out.

The sorceress stammered. "Uh... then we shall wait three or four hours, and then we shall walk off dramatically into the sunset back to Seyruun!"

"And Seyruun's back east."

"ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT! Fine, I guess we'll just walk back now... Jackass."

Amelia tried to comfort her friend. "Oh, Ms. Lina. I thought that speech was beautiful in its own little way."

Lina sighed.