Chapter One

Zelgadis shuddered, despite his best efforts to supress it. Even in his cold, inhuman body, he could feel the cold chill biting through his blue skin as it beat against his weather-worn tunic. He hadn't chosen a particularly good time to go searching for the Snow Temple Saryn was talking about. He didn't even believe in the rumor that went along with it. All he knew was that there was a highly powerful magical item here, and if it was powerful, he could use it. He glanced up from the paper he was looking at, sighing as he looked through the snowy mist about him.

(Definitely the wrong spot... but I know I'm reading this correctly...)

He looked left, then right, then back to the paper, his patience wearing thin.

"All that work... and all I get is a cold slap in the face... Really smart, Zel..." he spoke, to no one in particular. He shook his head, irritated, "and now I've gotten to the point where I'm talking to myself..."

He turned around, back in the direction he came. He'd continually been frustrated by false claims of cures, and items that had already been taken and impurified to the point where it was of no use to him. He didn't even know if the Claire Bible was still available for his pursuits.

He stalked back to the small, dimly lit town, cursing quietly, (Lina knew that I was only hanging around for a cure... why didn't she... at least think about it... while she was there and had the book to tell her what she wanted...?)

Of course he knew the reason... It was a dire time of need, and regretting the decisions they made then was worthless. The world was still around, and he was still alive... still searching... and still lonely, miserable, and almost to the point of giving up. One could only take so much lies and failures before you accept defeat...

(Except for me... Maybe I should go back to where Rezo's lab used to be... maybe I can find something in his notes there...)

He frowned, realizing where this train of thought was leading...

(And, remember, Zelgadis, that you've done that countless times over, and there's nothing there that's even salvageable...)

He stopped as he held the paper up closer to his eyes. He grumbled, quietly as he looked around, hating the fact that, even his Mazoku-Enhanced eyes couldn't penetrate the snowy abyss about him. He could use some magical spells, but he didn't want to waste his energy here, when most of it was used just to keep him warm.

He looked back down to the paper then felt an odd sensation... not magical power or Mazoku in nature... but powerful nonetheless. It was like a deep vibration that shook him to his core. Like the earth below him was about to...

He stumbled, unexpectedly, and the ground shifted a bit beneath him. It stopped as soon as it started, but that vibrating sensation still tingled, causing his ears to feel as if they were being tickled. But this was no laughing matter. Natural Phenomenon... Placing the paper in a small sack hanging over his shoulder, Zel's mind worked quickly to come up with an explanation, as another slight shift knocked his balance off a bit.

(Earthquake... Oh, damn... That's not good...)

He'd sensed this feeling before sometimes, but since he wasn't born a Chimera, and no one else he knew was, either, he didn't know what half of the sensations meant. But this one seemed only to be common sense as the ground's tumblings became more violent.

Zel positioned himself in a ready-run position, waiting for the vibrations to subside a bit before he took off with his demonic speed. But before he had the chance, he felt the earth give way underneath him, sending him down into the darkness that was below.

Feeling himself in a free-fall, Zel looked down, trying to gauge what he would land on, and if he would survive -

And felt thousands... millions of prickling sensations that struck his entire body as he hit water, the surface rippling with the splash's force. He began to take in a sharp breath from the surprise, but only got a mouthful of cold water. Acting quickly, before panic could set in, Zelgadis casted a Rei Wing Bubble, letting it encompass his body in an air-filled aura.

Falling to his knees, his lungs coughed up the ice cold liquid. Even though he didn't need to breathe half as much as before, it was a human trait that he just couldn't seem to get rid of. Taking a few, deep breaths before continuing, Zelgadis looked up and around, trying to figure out -

"Well, I'll be Damned..." he mumbled, an evil smile playing across his lips, "the Snow Temple... covered in water..." he rolled his eyes, "Figures..."

Before him was the oddly decorated, yet majestic looking ancient Snow Temple, covered under centuries of... cold water and ice. He must have been walking on a lake...

(Pretty strong ice if it could hold me up...) he mused, chuckling a bit. One needed a little bit of a sense of humor in order to survive, knowing Lina Inverse... And lord knows, Zel had the smallest little bit of humor.

After taking a moment to regain his composure, Zelgadis stood his full height and directed the Bubble towards the temple.

Just his luck... the entire Temple was immersed in water. Not one place without it. He stood in the center of the final room he'd checked. He hadn't actually searched, yet, due to the water, but he was seriously considering it, now. He could always hold his breath, and then look, calling up a Rei Wing whenever he needed one.

He nodded, satisfied with that compromise. He took a deep breath, and then dissipated the bubble, slowly floating down to the surface of the floor. His weight allowed him to remain on the ground, walking almost like he would in air. He looked about, for anything of interest, and found the barren, empty room of the temple positively boring.

He half-walked/floated to the nearest alcove in the wall, and looked inside. It appeared that the temple used to be several stories tall, in it's prime. Now it was several stories under. Zel mentally groaned, realizing that, in order to fully search the temple, he'd have to descend several hundred feet.

Placing his hand on the edge of the alcove, he clambored over the edge, until he was perched along the side of it. Looking down, he began to second-guess his actual motifs of wanting to go down into the dark... murky... cold depths of the temple...

(Wanna be human, again...) he reminded himself, swallowing his doubts as he relinquished his grasp on the side, quietly plummeting down into the abyss, his cape flowing out behind him.

Chapter 2   |   Fanfiction