"Magic Lessons"

Part One

Kelly O'Connor

"Okay, so this is it," Zelgadiss Greywords said as he walked into the small cave, "Seems pretty pathetic to me." Zel sighed and glanced around the cave. The inside was gray, stony, and a lot like a cold dark cave, which incidentally was exactly what it was. "Yeah," he said rather unenthusiastically, "I'm just sure this is it." Zel sat down on a rock behind a small underground spring and pulled out his water bottle. "Oh well, it will provide some rest, I'm so tired I could fall down asleep right now" Zel finished taking a swig of water and a smile touched his lips as he noticed the pink and blue bracelet that adorned it. "I wonder when I should make a trip to Sayruun…" The chimera shook his head, "When I find my cure of course, I couldn't possibly go back before." He shook his head at the thought, "Since when was I so sure I cared for her…" he trailed off, and suddenly feeling very drowsy, he fell asleep.

The emerald lady walked softly in the cave, each step she took creating new life on the granite floor, grass grew where she stepped, but died when she picked up her glittering bare feet. Zel looked up from his makeshift bed by the spring and blinked. The lady was extraordinary. Her skin was the color of a perfect sandy beach, and she was surrounded by a turquoise green glow. She shimmered all over, from her long emerald green locks of hair to her elegant sparkling feet. The chimera blushed as she noticed her clothing or rather lack of. She was clothed, kind of; dewy vines and leaves took the place of clothing and were placed in strategic places all over her body. Zelgadiss gulped. "Are you The Dragon of Renewal?" he managed to get out. The woman chuckled, her laugh sounding like a tinkling bell.

"Dragon?" she asked, "Oh yes… there was that rumor about me being a piece of Cepheid, I assure you I am not, not that I could tell you what or who I am, it's rather personal," Zel nodded, surprised by this enigmatic woman's conversational tone. "Call me the Emerald Lady," she continued.

"I don't know what you are or who you Emerald Lady but I'm here to--"

"Find a cure to your curse of chimera-ism?" she asked. Zel nodded.

"How did you know?" he asked.

"People come to this cave and this forest to be cured, that seems to be all I'm of use for," she smiled good-naturedly. "Even in the darkness I can tell what's the matter with you, and why you're here. Humans are so predictable!"

"Well can you cure me?" Zel asked anxiously.

"Sure, no problem!" she grinned. Zel balked. It's this easy? "Are you ready?" she asked.

"I've been ready since I was transformed," he nodded. She smiled wisely.

"Ah of course, very well then…" she held up her hands and began to chant, but then stopped. "You realize all the implications don't you? Losses of strength, magical ability, speed…" she continued.

"Yes, of course I do!" he replied although in actuality he hadn't thought about that much. "I just want to be normal again…" he trailed off and closed his eyes, the woman nodded and the chimera hit the ground in a dead faint, and a very loud thump.

"Oh dear!" the lady giggled, "That always seems to happen, I wish they would fall more gracefully!" She looked over at the chimera and raised her arms, "Tomorrow, you won't remember any of this!"

Zelgadiss Greywords woke up the next morning with the mother of all headaches. "Ughh… I feel like I've been ripped apart." He looked around, eyes adjusting to the darkness of the cave... He noticed the entrance about twenty feet away, and could tell it was morning. "Cave? What am I doing in a cave? I don't even remember coming here." He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair, "Sheesh, am I that…" he gasped, "Pathetic," the young shaman finished quietly. Zel shook his head in disbelief and ran his hand through his hair again. "What the…" he cut himself off. His hair felt… normal. "I must be imagining things," Zel scowled and scooted over to the spring to grab a drink, not even bothering to check if anything else felt normal. The chimera sighed and splashed a gloved hand in the water, not even caring if it got wet. He splashed some water on his face and shook his head. "It can't be," he gasped, as he caught a quick glance of his reflection in the spring. "No," he said to himself, "You're imagining things…" But Zel looked at his hand. Peach fingertips stuck out from his gloves and, wide-eyed, he removed them. He stared in utter shock and amazement. The cave was fairly dark but he could still quickly make out… "I-I'm cured," he said simply, then touched his now smooth warm face. "I'm cured!!!" he said a little louder and with more conviction. He shook his head and stood up, taking in the changes. "I'm human again!" he yelled with great elation, then began to unexpectedly laugh… soft at first then loudly, like the former chimera never had before.

Zelgadiss walked out of the cave and into the sunlight, he was utterly beaming and couldn't wait to get to somewhere where he could look at his reflection fully, and just take it all in. "I'm human," he kept saying to himself trying to calm himself down. It was all he could do to keep from leaping for joy and spinning in circles. He couldn't do that of course, that's so not a cool and mysterious thing to do. So he just walked hands to his side and unawares that he was smiling like an idiot, for if he did he would have immediately stopped. "Hmm, where should I go," he grinned wider, "I could go back home," he shook his head, "Maybe not the best of ideas." The former chimera looked to his canteen and smiled, "I did say I would visit her." He ran a hand through his hair; "I wonder what she'll think of the new me?" Zel chuckled, "Or rather, the old one."

Said Princess was currently in her luxuriously furnished room reflecting on the events of the last few months, four months to be exactly. Four months since she had returned to Sayruun after another whirlwind adventure with Lina Inverse, Gourry Gabriev, and Zelgadiss Greywords. She missed her friends terribly but had little time to think about them. Upon returning home she had been immersed in the world of being a royal leader, and dealing with affairs of the kingdom. Most were dealing with Kingdoms outside the barrier. Sometimes, like right now, she did have a bit of time to reflect on her friends. Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev had written to her about their current adventures. Nothing much unusual was going on in their world. Filia Ul Copt had not only written but had also sent some samples from her new pottery store. Xellos, she of course hadn't heard from, most likely a good thing. Then there was Zelgadiss… The quiet chimera hadn't had any communication with her since they parted ways. "Oh well," she said to herself, "I wish I could hear from him, but I'm sure he's all right."

Zelgadiss, wasn't all right, he felt wonderful. The former chimera headed into the nearest town still grinning like an idiot. People just stared at the happy young man, and he scowled inside, "Dammit! Why are they still staring at me!" Zel began to pull up his hood out of habit, but stopped once he realized how odd that would look. Looking odd was not cool at all. So Zel walked into the nearest store to pick up some new clothes, some cool clothes that weren't itchy, hot, and didn't feel like burlap.

Zelgadiss entered the store and picked out some stylish new togs, he was very happy indeed with what he had chosen. It was a short sleeved tunic in a pleasant shade of olive green with navy ribbing along the sleeves and a pair of very soft, very comfortable olive green pants. "Now I just need to try them on," he said to himself. He approached the shopkeeper and asked to use a dressing, room. "Preferably one with a big mirror!" he said still wearing his moronic grin. The lady sweatdropped and showed him into a large dressing room. After she had left, the former chimera ran over to the mirror and just stared for several minutes. The first thing he noticed was the stupid grin he was wearing. He promptly wiped that off his face and replaced it with his characteristic half smile. Zelgadiss placed his hands on the mirror after that and just stared in wide-eyed wonderment. He ran his fingers through his smooth dark brown hair, and across his cheeks noticing the light sprinkling of freckles splayed across his nose and onto his cheeks. "Six years," he whispered to himself, "It took six years, but I'm finally human again." Zel sighed and pulled on his new clothes. "Perfect fit," he thought to himself. To add to that, they looked very cool. Zel smiled as he left the store, "Now off to Sayruun, I suppose."