Slayers Again

Lina Inverse opened up one eye lazily and then the other. She slowly got up, yawning and stretching at the same time. She looked to the other side of her bed at her lover. Yes, lover. She and Gourry Gabriev had been together as a couple for a year at that point in time. He hadn't proposed yet, but she felt that day coming upon her quickly.

"Gourry?" she said, while trying to wake him.

Gourry just rolled over and mumbled something incoherent.

Lina's left eyebrow twitched and then she said something that would wake up the whole inn. "MEGA BRANDO!"

"Itai..." Gourry grumbled as he finally woke up in the now extremely charred bedroom.

"Gourry no baka!" Lina yelled at her slightly charred boyfriend.

"What did I say this time?" he asked, confused.

"You ignored me while I tried to wake you up!" she snapped.

"So you blew me up? Isn't that kinda harsh?" he asked.

"NO! Not when I have a boyfriend who likes to sleep in until lunchtime!" she growled at him.

"It's lunchtime?!" Gourry asked with a happy gleam in his right eye.

Lina's eyebrow twitched again as she banged him on the head. "You are hopeless!"

"I am?" he asked.

Lina ignored him as she ran downstairs to eat breakfast. Gourry just sat in the bedroom as confused as ever.

Lina had just ordered just about everything on the menu doubled. The waiter just looked at her as if she were insane, but didn't say anything because he knew who she was.

Gourry arrived downstairs and just sat at the table staring at Lina wondering why she was so unusually cranky that morning.

"Ano...Lina? Is there something wrong?" he asked.

Lina gave him an odd look and asked, "Should there be anything wrong?"

"It's just that you don't act like this all the time and when you do, something is bothering you. So...what is it?" he asked once more.

"Truthfully?" Lina sighed. "I miss the gang."

Gourry, actually understanding the situation, put an arm around her and said, "I miss them too, Lina."

"It's just that, well, travelling without them feels so weird," said Lina with a shrug.

"Maybe we'll run into one of them sooner or later this year," said Gourry, trying to give her some hope.

Lina sighed again. "Maybe."

They both left the inn, full to the very amount. Lina needed something to keep her occupied, so she decided to go after some bandit gangs.

"Ah! It's Lina Inverse!" cried the first bandit.

"The Enemy Of All Who Live!" shrieked the second one.

"The Dra-matta!" the last one said with utter fear.

Lina flipped her hair over her shoulder and gave them a smug smirk. "That's right boys. I'm here to clean you out!"

"MERCY!" they all cried at the same time.

Lina shook her left index finger at them, indicating that there was no chance in any of the nine hells for them to get out of this and said, "FIREBALL!"

Leaving the nicely charred and disheveled bandits lying on the ground, Lina collected their treasure and went off to find Gourry.

Gourry was hiding behind some bushes, so that he wouldn't get caught in the explosion.

"Gourry!" Lina called out.

"Oi, Lina! Over here!" Gourry yelled out from behind the bushes, waving his hands in the air.

Lina walked over to the bushes and sat down next to him, showing him her treasure.

"Hmm...I wonder how much money we could get if we pawned these things," said Lina, while she was looking at a small pearl necklace.

"Why steal them if you're not gonna use them?" asked Gourry.

"I only steal for profit, not use," said Lina.

"But there was a time that you and Zelgadis were looking for some book and you used it," said Gourry.

"Hai, Gourry and that book was the Claire Bible. I was the only one who was able to look at it," said Lina. She then looked up wistfully at the sky. "Poor Zel didn't even get a chance to look at it for his cure."

" that's why he was looking for it," said Gourry, finally making a realization.

"You just now figured that out?!" Lina asked incredulously.

"I always thought that he just wanted to learn more spells like you," said Gourry, shielding himself from any possible attempts on his life by Lina.

"I don't know about that, Gourry. He may have wanted the book for that too, but his main reason was to cure his body," said Lina.

"But why exactly was he looking for a cure? What was wrong with him?" he asked, the forgetfulness surfacing once more.

"Dear L-sama! Zel is a chimera, Gourry. A chimera. He wanted a cure to get rid of his golem and demon side," Lina explained exasperatedly.

"What's golem?" Gourry asked stupidly.

Lina face-faulted. "You don't even know what golem is?"

Gourry scratched his chin for a second, grinned and said, "Nope!"

"ARRGHHH!!!!! Don't you know anything about anything?" she growled at him.

"I know about sword fighting," Gourry answered proudly.

Lina rolled her eyes at him. "No, baka. I meant do you about anything intellectual?"

"What's intellectual?" he asked.

Lina's eyes bugged out and then she sighed. "I give up."

"Give what up?" he asked.

"I give up on teaching you anything and everything. I'm just gonna let you find out for yourself from now on," said Lina.

"Find out what?" he asked.

"Everything about life," Lina replied simply.

"Really?" he asked.

"Really," she said.

Gourry looked at her confused. "So, ano...what were you talking about?"

"BAKAYARO!" she bellowed at him.

"Eh?" Gourry squeaked.

"GAAV FLARE!" she screamed.

"Iie!!!!!!!!!!" Gourry managed to say before she threw the spell on him.

"Now you'll know better to listen to the conversation!" she yelled.

"You're so cruel, Lina," Gourry sniffed.

"Remind me, Gourry. Why do I put up with you?" she asked.

"Because we love each other and because I'm your protector," said Gourry.

Love, she mused. Do I still love him or did I only enjoy the fact of making myself believe I was in love?

"You still love me?" Lina asked in an unbelieving tone of voice.

"Yes, why wouldn't I?" he asked, clearly confused.

"I mean, I always degrade you! How can you not be fed up with me?" she asked.

Gourry shrugged. "I dunno. I guess I can tolerate you better than most other people can."

Lina looked disappointed and relieved at the same time. "Oh."

"So, Lina? Where are we headed to next?" he asked.

Lina looked at him as a plot formed in her head. 'I wanna see if he truly loves me. If he's able to resist this then I can say that he truly does.'

"Why don't we go to Sairaag? It's been a while since we've been there and I would like to see Sylphiel again. Especially her cooking," said Lina.

"Okay. It'll be nice to see her again. You two were close, so I'm sure she'll welcome us!" Gourry said enthusiastically.

"Right. Now, speaking of food...I'M STARVING!" Lina announced loudly.

"Yeah! Me too! There should be a restaurant nearby here, so let's get going!" Gourry agreed happily as he patted his stomach.

Lina laughed as they ran off for the restaurant.

Meanwhile, at the Seyruun palace, Zelgadis Greywers was huffing around in annoyance. His darling and beloved wife was going to make them late for their town meeting again. Yes, wife. Zelgadis had married the lovely second princess of Seyruun, Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun. He had promised to visit her after the defeat of Dark Star, her bracelet that she gave him was a symbol of that promise. He was attracted to her back then and still was. When he did come back to visit her, he had noticed some changes in her physique. She had grown taller and was much more slender than before, along with the fact that she was bustier in one particular area of her body. The more time he had spent with her, the more he was falling in love with her. Amelia had matured not only physically, but mentally as well. Zelgadis could actually hold a decent conversation with her without her talking about justice every ten seconds.

"Darling! I'm ready!" said a pretty female voice from above the staircase.

"About damn time," Zelgadis muttered under his breath.

Amelia came strolling down in a deep blue gown with flowing skirts surrounding it. The sleeves were off set, which in turn showed off her bare shoulders. Her crown was placed at the top of her long, raven hair and she was wearing golden earrings, which represented the sign of sorcery.

"You look lovely, koishii," Zelgadis complimented.

Amelia blushed and said, "You look very handsome, Zelgadis-sama."

Indeed he did look handsome. The poor man was still a chimera, but that didn't bother him anymore. Many people thought that his chimera appearance, including Amelia, was entrancing and mysterious. He had decided to give up searching for his cure for at least a while and focus upon his marriage. Zelgadis was dressed all in white, but he no longer wore a cloak and instead a shawl like garment was wrapped gracefully around his shoulders with a blue broach pinning it together at the end of his left shoulder, making it sag slightly down on that shoulder.

"Shall we, koishii?" Zelgadis asked his wife.

Amelia smiled gently at him and said, "Let's go."

They both walked out of the palace hand in hand to the town meeting.

As they walked along the path to the town meeting, Zelgadis felt a strange twinge of sadness edge into his heart.

I haven't seen the old gang in so long. I wonder how they're all doing, Zelgadis thought quietly to himself.

"Amelia-koishii?" Zelgadis said quietly.

"Hai, Zelgadis-sama?" she asked.

"You know, we haven't seen any of the gang in like a year," Zelgadis started.

"I know we haven't. We had such fun times, though. Didn't we?" she asked, a genuinely happy smile rising upon her face in remembrance.

"Hai, that we did. I was meaning to ask you something referring to the matter, though," said Zelgadis.

Amelia raised an eyebrow in curiosity as to what her husband was plotting. "In what way?"

"Well...I was thinking that we could have a ball just among friends and relatives, meaning that we'd be inviting the old gang, considering that the only people that we've seen at all in the past year are Xellos and Filia," said Zelgadis. "So, what do you say, koishii?"

Amelia's lips broke into a large smile. "Hai, Zelgadis-sama! It has been a while since we've seen them and a reunion is simply to be called for!"

Zelgadis nodded. "Who do you think we should contact first?"

"Well...Xellos-san and Filia-san live nearby us. They should be the first ones," said Amelia.

"You're right. Who knows where Lina and Gourry could be," said Zelgadis, rolling his eyes.

"I also heard from Filia-san that her son Valteira-san has grown now," said Amelia.

"Oh, by how much?" asked Zelgadis.

"She told me that he has the physical body of a seventeen year old boy," said Amelia.

"WOW!" Zelgadis commented in a stunned tone of voice.

"Hai," Amelia agreed.

"We should also invite Sylphiel, Martina, and Zangulus," said Zelgadis.

"Most definitely," Amelia agreed.

While they were talking, a tall female figure appeared before them with an amused look on her face.

"It's been a while, ne Amelia-chan," said the girl.

Amelia froze for a moment and then turned around with shock written all over her face. "Gracia?"

"Hey, nee-chan long time no see, ne?" Amelia said with a weak smile.

Zelgadis looked at the both of them in shock and then whispered into Amelia's right ear, "This is your nee-chan?"

Amelia turned to him and nodded. Zelgadis could see the family resemblance, but their choice of attire was definitely different.

"I heard that you had been travelling with the sorceress Lina Inverse," said Gracia.

"That's true," Amelia said slowly.

"How did you find her?" asked Gracia.

"She was loud, rude, and bad-tempered. But, underneath it all, there was a kind heart and she would always stick up for her friends, no matter what the situation was," said Amelia.

"That sounds like her," said Gracia with a smirk.

"How would you know?" asked Amelia with a confused look on her face.

"Because I knew her before she met you. I used to be her travelling companion and also greatest sorcery rival," said Gracia.

"You can't be..." Amelia trailed off.

"Oh, but I can," Gracia interjected. "I am Naga, The Great White Serpent!"

"You're Naga?!" Zelgadis asked incredulously.

"Hai and who might you be?" Gracia asked with a wicked gleam in her left eye.

Zelgadis smirked at her and said, "Amelia's husband and friend of Lina Inverse."

"My baby nee-chan is married? I missed the wedding? Phooey," said Gracia with a pout.

"Hai, I got married last year," said Amelia.

"Do you have any pictures?" Gracia asked hopefully.

"At home. If you come home with us, you can see them. I'm pretty sure that oto-san would like to see you," said Amelia.

"Hmm...well...I don't see why not," said Gracia, thoughtfully.

"We might as well go home now, Amelia-koishii. We missed the entire town meeting," said Zelgadis.

"I know. Let's go home then, shall we?" Amelia asked.

Gracia and Zelgadis nodded and then they all left for the palace.

Once they arrived at the palace, Amelia and Zelgadis entered the main hall with Gracia trudging along behind them.

"Wait here, nee-chan. I'll go and get oto-san," Amelia said quickly before she left to find her father.

Zelgadis waited in the main hall with Gracia, but his mind was somewhere else. He was thinking about how it would be like to see the whole gang together again. His thoughts were focused mostly on his good friend, Lina Inverse.

I wonder how she is. Did Gourry finally get together with her? I wonder what she looks like now. Did she grow any taller? So many questions, so little time. I'd rather see for myself at the ball what's been going on in her life, rather than asking myself these weird questions, Zelgadis thought.

Amelia finally came downstairs with her father in tow. Gracia looked towards him, her eyes unwillingly filling with tears.

"Oto-san," she whispered, sadly.

"Musume," he said in reply as they ran towards each other and embraced in a big bear hug.

"You belong to a very strange family, koishii," Zelgadis noted as he looked at Prince Phil and his daughter Gracia hug.

Amelia nodded silently in agreement with her husband. She then looked up at him and smiled.

"It doesn't matter if they're strange, Zelgadis-sama. We all have each other and that's what counts, strangeness or no," said Amelia.

Zelgadis looked at the hugging pair once more and smiled. "I believe that you are right, koishii."

They then all gathered together to have dinner as a complete family.

At the Metallium home, everything was generally quiet. The Golden Ryuzoku married the mazoku, Xellos Metallium and they both raised Valteira together. Xellos wasn't home at that point in time, due to the fact that he had a meeting with Beastmaster Zelas. So, everything was quiet, until a certain ryuzoku decided to raise some chaos in the house.

Filia Ul Copt Metallium looked around the entire house for her son, Valteira. He was playing a game of hide and seek with her and she was becoming frustrated. No, scratch that. She was already frustrated.

"WHERE ARE YOU!" she bellowed, making the house shake.

Silence. Utter and total silence.

"Val! If you don't come out on the count of three, I'm telling Xellos-sama!" she yelled.

Val suddenly appeared in front of her on his hands and knees. "Please don't tell oto-san!"

Filia sighed. What magic does that namagomi have over him to make him cringe in fear?

"Please, okasan!" he begged.

"Alright," she said in reply.

"Yeah!" he shouted out in glee.

Filia looked at her happy son, knowing that she could never stay mad at him for long. Before his rebirth, Filia saw him as a lost soul with nobody to care about him and love him. After the rebirth, though, she began to see him as nothing else but a happy and healthy boy. She never wanted for him to return to the life that his former self had gone through, so she made sure that he received a lot of happiness and love in his life.

The opening and closing of the front door interrupted Filia's thoughts. She walked out of the kitchen to see her husband.

Xellos Metallium walked up to his wife and kissed her on the cheek. "Oi, Fi-chan! Where's Valteira?"

"He's around," she said.

"Has the boy given my Fi-chan grief?" he asked with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

"Not at all," she replied with unblinking eyes.

Believing her, Xellos swept her into his arms and said, "Good."

"Are you going to kiss me or shall I beckon Mace-sama?" Filia asked with a raised eyebrow.

"It's so hard to decide between the two, but since you're here, I might as well settle on giving you a kiss, " said Xellos.

"Then kiss me, you namagomi," she whispered onto his lips.

Xellos said nothing as he pulled her even closer and kissed her deeply. Little did they know that their son was watching them through an open crack of the kitchen door.

Valteira grinned at his parents. They weren't married long, but they already acted like an old married couple. Actually, unknown to him, they had already acted like that far before they were married.

"Oi, lovebirds!" he called out from the kitchen.

Xellos and Filia broke the kiss simultaneously and stomped into the kitchen to find their son grinning like an idiot. They began to glower unmercifully at him.

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked, the grin on his face not leaving.

"How many times do we have to tell you that we want privacy at times?" Filia asked in deadly tone of voice.

"Sore wa himitsu desu," Valteira said mischievously with his father's famous finger waggle.

Filia's tail began to stick out in the back. Valteira's grin increased at his mother's anger.

Xellos stepped up to his son and looked him straight in the eyes. "Val, if you don't stop I'm going to have take some drastic measures in punishing you."

Valteira gulped audibly and then looked at his mother. "Gomen nasai, okasan."

Filia walked up to him and asked, "Do you mean it?"

"Hai," he said, quickly.

"Alright then. Just try not to do it again," Filia said with a sigh.

Valteira nodded. "Hai!"

Filia looked at Xellos and smirked. "He takes too much after you."

Xellos looked at her with feigned innocence. "Whatever could you mean?"

Filia glared at her husband and said, "Xellos-sama no baka!"

"And why is that, Fi-chan?" he asked, quite innocently.

Filia growled at him and took out her Mace-sama, conveniently plummeting him to the ground.

"Itai..." Xellos managed to say.

"Well, you asked for it," she said with a shrug as she removed the mace from him and put it back under her skirt.

"You are wicked," said Xellos with a grin after he recovered.

"Your bad influence is also starting to get the best of me," said Filia with a sniff.

Sensing that another lovey dovey scene was going to happen between his parents, Valteira raised his hand timidly and his parents looked at him questionably.

"May I go now?" he asked, quietly.

His parents nodded and then he ran out of there and to his room.

Xellos and Filia looked at each other, startled.

"What was that all about?" Filia asked in confusion.

Xellos just shrugged as he grabbed Filia by the waist and kissed her again.

Valteira was in his room, practicing swordplay with his bokken when he heard a carriage pull up to the house from his window. He then put down the bokken and went downstairs.

"Oto-san, okasan?" he said, carefully as he opened the door to the kitchen to find his parents on the floor kissing quite madly.

Valteira blushed and cleared his throat, startling his parents.

"Are you starting again, Val?" Filia asked with the twitch of an eyebrow.

Valteira shook his head. "Iie. I was just coming in here to tell you that a carriage just pulled up in front of our house."

Xellos and Filia looked at each other curiously and said in unison, "Carriage?"

Valteira nodded and left the kitchen to go outside. Xellos and Filia followed him shortly.

Once they were outside, Valteira pointed to the carriage and smirked. "See. I told you so."

Filia glared at her son and said, "Stop being so smug, Val."

The three of them then turned their attention to the people getting out of the carriage.

Filia's eyes widened when she saw who they were and walked up to them happily.

"Amelia-san, Zelgadis-san!" she cried out, embracing them.

Xellos slowly walked up to them and shook Zelgadis' hand. Zelgadis smirked at him and shook back.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually glad to see you, fruitcake," said Zelgadis.

"The feeling is mutual, Zelgadis-san," Xellos replied.

The last person that came out of the carriage was unfamiliar to Filia and Xellos. They looked at her strangely and then turned back to Amelia and Zelgadis.

"Who is that?" Filia asked Amelia.

"Huh?" asked Amelia as she looked to where Filia was pointing and said, "Oh! That's my nee-chan, Gracia."

"Oh, so that's the nee-chan you've been talking about," said Filia.

"Yes, she came back to the palace yesterday. Oto-san was extremely happy to see her," said Amelia.

Gracia was standing on the sidelines, unsure of what to say or do. She was usually boisterous, but at that moment, she felt completely out of place.

"Gracia, you can come over here," said Amelia.

Gracia nodded and walked up to the group. "I am Gracia Wil Naga Seyruun. I am happy to meet you."

They all smiled at her as she shook their hands. Xellos then made a realization.

"You're Naga, The Great White Serpent, aren't you?!" he said, a bit stunned.

Gracia just nodded and said, "Yes, I used to travel with Lina Inverse. I'm sure you know her."

"The Chaos Knight? Yeah, we know her very well indeed," Xellos said.

"How well do you know her?" Gracia asked wickedly.

"Sore wa himitsu desu," he replied.

Everyone, including Gracia, face-faulted at what he said.

"You will never change, will you?" Zelgadis asked, while shaking his head.

Xellos tapped his chin thoughtfully and then said, "Nope!"

Everybody groaned and then Filia decided to speak up.

"Let's go inside, minna-san. I'm pretty sure that we all have many things to catch up on," she said.

They all nodded in agreement and followed her inside the house.

In the kingdom of Xoana, nothing in particular was going on. Actually, it was all quite boring there, due to the fact that nothing would happen there.

Queen Martina of Xoana was bored. We're talking sickeningly bored. She had nothing to do and all her husband did was spar. She knew that she wasn't very talented, but she couldn't let everyone else know that. She thought back when she made those paper flowers. Maybe making some of those would have her feeling less bored. She got up off of her throne and walked upstairs to her room.

She quickly entered the room, ran her dresser and in one of the drawers, pulled out a bunch of multi-colored construction paper, scissors, and glue. She set them down onto the floor and then she sat down on the floor as well, preparing to make the flowers.

"I wonder how everybody else is," Martina wondered aloud about the companions she had once traveled with.

Martina stopped wondering and started cutting and creating.

King Zangulus of Xoana was not bored, just annoyed. He loved sword fighting, but he loved real ones. The closest he had gotten to a real one was sparring with his castle companions. He wouldn't mind going up against Gourry in a friendly match with real swords. He thought back to those days. He had enjoyed the carefree moments of those times. All of that came to an end though when he got married. Now, as much as he loves Martina, he wouldn't be able to go on with his life pent up in a palace with nothing to do. He decided that he needed to talk with his wife about this.

Zangulus left the sparring room and walked upstairs to their bedroom, only to find Martina sprawled out on the floor making artificial flowers.

"Does that entertain you, Martina-sama?" he asked with an amused look on his face.

Startled, Martina looked up to find her husband smirking at her. She just huffed at him and continued her work.

"Martina-sama, I need to speak with you about something important," said Zangulus.

"What is it, Zangulus-sama?" she asked, but not looking away from her work.

"We need to get away," he said as he sat down next to her.

"In what sense?" she asked, now giving him her full attention.

"I mean that we stay in the palace far too much. We need to get out. We need to start having fun," he explained.

Martina lowered her eyes and said, "Yes, I know. I feel the same way, but what can we do about it? All of our friends are very far away."

"Not all of them, Martina-sama. What about Amelia and Zelgadis?" he asked.

Martina tapped her chin thoughtfully. "They do live in the kingdom nearby ours and Amelia is my cousin. We should most definitely go and visit them!"

At that moment, there was a loud knock on the palace door and since the master bedroom's door was open, Martina and Zangulus could hear it.

"I'll go see who it is," said Zangulus as walked downstairs.

Martina just shrugged as she went back to her flower project.

Zangulus opened the door and looked outside to see the mail courier.

"Who's it from?" asked Zangulus.

"Princess Amelia of Seyruun," said the courier.

"Arigato," said Zangulus as he took the letter from the courier.

Zangulus closed the door and went back upstairs with the letter in hand. He walked back into the bedroom and sat down next to Martina.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing to the letter.

"It's a letter from Amelia," he replied.

"Oh, really? Let me see it," she said as she got nearer to him to see the letter in his hands.

"Let me open it first," he said to his impatient wife. He opened the letter, took it out and then began to read it aloud.

"Dear Martina-san and Zangulus-san. How are you? I hope that everything finds you both well. I am writing this letter to invite you to a ball within a few days to a week time, depending on when we can finish getting everything set up. Zelgadis-sama and I hope to see you both there. Sincerely, Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun Greywers," he finished.

"I'm going to write her back and tell her that we will most definitely be going," said Martina.

"It will be nice to see them again," Zangulus agreed.

"I wonder if she will be inviting the rest of our friends," said Martina.

"Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. We'll just have to see when we get there," said Zangulus with a shrug.

Martina nodded. "You're right. We'll just have to wait until then."

"I know that you're impatient, but what else can we do?" asked Zangulus.

"Absolutely nothing and I'm not impatient," she snapped at her husband.

"Of course not, koishii," Zangulus remarked dryly.

Martina glared at her husband momentarily and then went back to her flowers. Zangulus chuckled at her childish behavior and went back downstairs to the sparring room.

I have a feeling that many things will change that night, Zangulus mused as he entered the sparring room. I wonder if Gourry will be there.

Martina was upstairs thinking her own thoughts. Will everyone be the same if they come. I wonder if they will have any children. I also wonder if Lina and Gourry-san are a couple by now. Gourry-san was so dense, I wonder if he got a clue by now.

Lost in their own thoughts, Martina and Zangulus went about with their daily routine of boring nothingness.

In the meantime, Lina and Gourry were still walking to Sairaag. Lina was becoming more than impatient and poor Gourry had to deal with her swearing and blowing things up all the way there.

"Jeez! Are we there yet?" Lina grumbled as she trudged with her companion to Sairaag.

"Why are you so impatient?" Gourry asked from behind her.

"Look who's talking," she muttered, sarcastically.

"We should be almost there," said Gourry as he caught up right next to her.

"We'd better be. I can't hold out for much longer," she said.

"That's a first," Gourry said quietly.

"Nani kore?" Lina asked quickly.

"Oh, nothing!" Gourry responded just as quickly with a sweat-drop forming on his head.

"It had better be nothing," she said with an evil look in her eyes.

Before Gourry could say anything stupid, they arrived at Sairaag.

"Do you remember where Sylphiel used to live before the destruction of Sairaag?" asked Lina.

"Don't you?" he asked.

"No, baka. I've only been there once. You've known her longer than me, so I was wondering if you knew," said Lina with an exasperated look on her face.

"But I don't know," said Gourry.

"Great," muttered Lina.

"Why don't we look around? I'm sure we'll run into her," said Gourry.

"Yeah, yeah," Lina muttered once more as they made their way into the city.

They looked around for a while, but didn't find her. They then made their way to a resting spot in the now semi-destroyed city of Sairaag.

"We've been everywhere and still no sign of her. Do you think she moved someplace else?" she asked herself aloud.

Gourry answered her question with another question. "Why would she wanna do that?"

Lina shrugged and said, "Maybe she just wanted to go to a city that actually still had homes to live in."

"Oh," said Gourry.

The two of them just sat there, in a large pile of hay, and they would have nearly fallen asleep if a voice calling them hadn't disturbed them.

"Lina-san! Gourry-sama!" called the voice.

Lina's eyes blinked as the voice came into recognition. "Masaka."

"Who is it, Lina?" Gourry asked sleepily.

"It sounded like Sylphiel," she said, still unsure.

Gourry bolted right up. "Sylphiel?"

"Yeah. That's who the voice sounded like," Lina concluded.

"And that's who the voice is," someone said to them.

Lina and Gourry both turned to the owner of the voice and gasped. Standing before them was Sylphiel. She was wearing a long, green dress and her hair was up in a ponytail. She looked as radiant as usual.

"How are you, Sylphiel?" asked Gourry, still stunned at seeing her in a dress.

"Oh, I'm fine Gourry-sama. How are you and Lina-san?" she asked, politely and cheerfully.

"We're just great, Sylphiel," Lina replied.

"Well, that's always good to hear. I was in the middle of making dinner when I saw you two from the kitchen window. I was wondering if you wanted to lodge at my place for a while," Sylphiel offered.

"That sounds good to us," said Lina.

"Wonderful! Follow me and I'll show you where my home is," said an enthusiastic Sylphiel as she guided the pair to her home.

Lay one finger on Gourry and I won't be so friendly anymore, Sylphiel, Lina thought evilly as they finally entered her home.

"Alright, upstairs I have three bedrooms. One of them is my room and the other two rooms are the guestrooms," said Sylphiel.

"What kind of guestrooms are they, Sylphiel?" Lina asked.

" has twin beds and the other one has a queen sized bed. Why do you ask?" asked Sylphiel.

"Oh, no reason. Just curious," said Lina.

"Oh, I see," said Sylphiel.

"Is dinner almost ready, Sylphiel?" asked Gourry, of course having a one-track mind.

"Hai! Please, come this way," said Sylphiel as she showed them the way to the kitchen.

They all sat down at the table as Sylphiel went off to get the food. Lina had a pensive look on her face and was basically staring at nothing. Gourry caught the look and furrowed his brow.

"Something wrong?" he asked Lina.

"Iie, why?" she asked.

"You seem...disturbed," he said.

"I've just got a lot on my mind right now. Don't worry about it," she said.

Gourry looked uncertain and then said, "Alright."

Sylphiel suddenly returned with many plates of food, which made Lina's mouth and Gourry's mouth water at the site of it. The whole entire meal was finished within seconds.

Sylphiel looked at the empty plates and smiled at the pair. "You two must be tired. Just pick a room and go to sleep in it."

"Arigato for the dinner, Sylphiel. It was great!" Gourry complimented.

Sylphiel blushed slightly and said, "You're welcome."

"Yeah, arigato, Sylphiel," said Lina as she followed Gourry upstairs.

Sylphiel stood in the in the dining room by herself and smiled slightly as she cleared the plates off of the table. Things will soon be as they once were. I can feel it.

After Sylphiel cleared up the dinner table, she went upstairs to her own room to go to bed.

The next morning, Lina woke up feeling refreshed. She changed into her usual clothes quickly and then woke up Gourry by giving him a miniature fireball in the face. Gourry then got up changed and followed Lina downstairs.

Once they were downstairs, they already found Sylphiel cooking breakfast for the three of them.

Sylphiel turned from her cooking and gave them a cheerful smile. "So, did you two sleep well last night?"

"Hai! Although...I could live without Gourry's snoring. It's so loud!" Lina complained.

Sylphiel giggled at the comment and then Gourry sat down at the table and pouted. "You two always tease me."

Lina walked up to him and ruffled his hair. "Maybe it's because it's so easy to tease you."

Gourry raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't be talking, Lina."

Lina blushed slightly before muttering, "Shut up."

"Oi, Lina-san?" said Sylphiel.

"Yeah, Sylphiel?" she asked.

"Have you heard from the others lately?" she asked.

"Iie. No one has kept in contact with Gourry and I. I don't think that they were able to since we move around so much," said Lina.

Sylphiel nodded in agreement. "That's true. Oh! I almost forgot!"

Lina and Gourry looked at her curiously as they watched her rummage through a dresser drawer to retrieve a letter with the royal seal of Seyruun.

"Has Amelia written to you lately?" asked Lina, observing the letter in Sylphiel's hands.

"Iie! This is the only letter I have ever received from her," said Sylphiel.

"What does it say?" Lina inquired curiously.

"Well, what it basically says is that she and her husband -- " Lina cut Sylphiel off before she could continue.

"Wait a minute. Amelia got married?! When? Where? And most importantly, to whom?" Lina asked in shock.

Sylphiel giggled furiously at Lina's facial expression. "Alright. She got married last year in Seyruun to Zelgadis-san."

Slight sadness began to marrow the redheaded sorceress' face. "She married Zelgadis?"

Sylphiel nodded, confirming the information and Lina slumped down onto a chair in sadness.

Why do I feel like this? I have Gourry. Why am I suddenly feeling these things for Zel? He's Zel, for crying out loud! I shouldn't feel like this for him. Especially for a married man, Lina thought wildly.

"Lina-san, is something wrong?" asked Sylphiel with a look of concern on her face.

"Iie, Sylphiel. Everything's fine," said Lina.

"Would you like to hear what the letter said now?" she asked, gently.

Lina nodded and listened.

"Well, the rest of it just said that I was invited to a ball at the palace of Seyruun and that if I ever ran into you and Gourry to tell the both of you that you were invited as well," said Sylphiel.

"That sounds very nice of them," said Lina, still not sure at that fact that she was highly saddened at the fact that Zelgadis was married.

I should be happy for him and Amelia, but why can't I make myself so? I don't love him, I know that for a fact, but why am I acting like this? she fought with herself mentally.

"Lina-san, are you sure you're ok?" asked Sylphiel.

"Hai! I've never been better!" she lied.

"Well now. The first thing we need to do is buy dresses for the ball," said a cheerful Sylphiel.

Lina nodded mutely in agreement, but why did tears threaten to spill out from her eyes at any second?

Back at the Metallium home, Filia and Xellos were receiving their invitations for the reunion type ball from Amelia and Zelgadis.

"Of course we'll go!" the enthusiastic Golden Ryuzoku Filia exclaimed.

"I'm glad for that. We also sent out invitations to Martina-san, Zangulus-san and Sylphiel-san," said Amelia.

"What about Lina-san and Gourry-san?" asked Filia.

"In the invitation that was sent out to Sylphiel-san, we asked her to tell Lina-san and Gourry-san that they were invited," said Amelia.

"But only if she sees them, ne?" asked Filia.

"Ne," Amelia replied.

"Was Val invited as well?" asked Xellos.

"Hai. He is of age, so of course he was invited," Amelia said with a smile.

"Arigato, Amelia-san!" exclaimed Valteira with a charming grin.

Amelia blushed, but her smile never wavered as she said, "You're welcome."

"I do wonder if Sylphiel has run into Lina and Gourry," Zelgadis said suddenly.

"I hope that she has, but we'll only find that out as soon as Sylphiel-san responds to the invite," Amelia pointed out.

"I know, Amelia-koishii, but...what if she hasn't?" he asked.

"We can only hope for the best, Zelgadis-sama," said Amelia, giving her husband a reassuring smile.

Zelgadis remained silent, but let his mind wander. Lina, where are you? Why am I thinking about you all of a sudden? Why does my stomach feel all tense whenever I do think about you? I'm not supposed to have these feelings for you, damnit! I'm a married man. I married Amelia and now I am happy. I just wish that I could stop thinking about you!

Amelia, sensing that her husband was frustrated about something, looked at him curiously. "Are you alright, Zelgadis-sama?"

Zelgadis looked at her briefly and said, "Hai."

After a few hours, Zelgadis, Amelia, and Gracia left the Metallium home. Gracia hadn't made much conversation while there, due to the fact that she was uncomfortable.

As soon as the three were gone, Filia gave Valteira a stern look.

Valteira looked at his mother, clearly confused and asked, "Nani?"

"Don't give me that innocent act," she said in a warning tone of voice.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, now exasperated.

"You were flirting with Amelia-san!" she exclaimed.

"I was?" he asked.

"Hai!" she confirmed.

"What's so bad about that?" he asked.

"She's a married woman!" she growled.

Valteira just shrugged and said, "So?"

Filia narrowed her eyes at him and said, "Do not even think about coming on to her. I won't let you ruin her marriage!"

Valteira snorted at his mother and said, "Some marriage. It looks like they're being tied up in chains that they don't wanna be in."

"That isn't true, Val!" Filia cried out.

"Oh, isn't it? They act more like brother and sister than an actual married couple, besides...he's too old for her," said Valteira.

"Val!" she snapped.

"Oh, fine!" he grumbled.

"That's better. Honestly! You're becoming more and more like your father," said Filia.

"And what's so bad about that?" Xellos piped in, asking.

"Need I answer that?" asked Filia with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh! Now that's hitting below the belt," Xellos teased.

"You NAMAGOMI!" she yelled.

"I love it when you talk dirty!" Xellos whispered seductively to his wife as he neared her.

"Oh!" she huffed.

"What's the matter my little ryuzoku?" he asked, while circling his arms around her waist.

Filia sighed. "Nothing. It's just that Val has been behaving like the teenager that his physical appearance puts out."

"Just let him be. I know what you're worried about and I doubt that Amelia-san will let herself be taken in by Val," said Xellos.

Filia sighed once more. "I guess so."

Fortunately for them, Valteira had already left the room that they were in and had gone upstairs to his own room.

As soon as Valteira was lying down on his bed, attempting just to relax, thoughts of Amelia seemed to suddenly fill his mind.

She's so lovely. Perfect, sweet and gentile. What's she doing married to that cold-hearted oaf? She deserves so much better, Valteira thought wistfully as he fell asleep.

Back at the palace and Seyruun, Amelia was opening up a letter. This letter was Sylphiel's response to the invite. She had also received Martina and Zangulus' as well.

"Zelgadis-sama! Sylphiel-san has responded to the invite!" Amelia called out to her husband.

Upon hearing this, Zelgadis sprinted over to Amelia's side as fast as possible.

"So, what does it say?" he asked, a bit too anxious.

"It says that she will be coming and that she did run into Lina-san and Gourry-san recently and that they will be coming too," said Amelia.

Zelgadis' heart suddenly swelled with joy. He didn't know what was causing his sudden glee, but he knew for a fact that it had something to do with the reunion ball.

"So, when will actually have everything set up?" he asked, sobering up his joyfulness.

"I should say in around a few days. No more than that," said Amelia.

"Well then, let's send out the exact date," said Zelgadis.

"Hai, Zelgadis-sama!" Amelia agreed cheerfully.

As soon as Amelia was gone to write the replies to the letters, Zelgadis sat down on a chair just to think.

Lina. Why do I want to see you so badly. What is it about you that draws me to you like a magnet. I can't be in love with you because I'm already married to Amelia, Zelgadis paused his thought trail at that moment as his brow furrowed slightly.

To Amelia. I married her because I loved her, right? Of course I did! What idiot would marry someone whom he wasn't in love with, plus I know for a fact that I'm not an idiot. Lina Inverse's arrival here shouldn't be affecting me so much, but it does. I need to know what this inexplicable feeling is once I see her again. Maybe then all of these answers shall be revealed, Zelgadis mused, a bit disturbed at his own thoughts.

Zelgadis didn't know what was going on and didn't know whether to embrace it or shove it away.

Suddenly, a voice that could not be heard within the palace by anyone came through and was somewhat amused.

"Oh you'll see what's going on sooner or later, Zelgadis-san. I assure you that you won't regret this," said the voice as it suddenly vanished into thin air.

Once the voice was gone, Zelgadis stiffened slightly as he felt a chill run down his spine.

"What was that?" he asked himself aloud.

Zelgadis then turned around and noticed that one of the windows was open. He sighed, walked up to it and closed it.

"It must've been the wind," he mused aloud. "Just the wind."

The three days before the ball passed quickly. Princess Amelia of Seyruun was making sure that everything was perfect for that day and that the reunion with her friends would be memorable.

Zelgadis Greywers was just walking around the palace at a leisurely pace, but inside, he was as giddy as a little boy.

What are you so happy about? Why are you thinking about her? Why is she making you feel like this? he questioned himself, repeatedly.

He stopped walking and stood still. He then closed his eyes and tried to picture her in his mind. He wanted to know what she would look like at that point in time.

In his mind, she looked lovely. No, scratch that. She looked more than beautiful to him. He pictured a sea green gown adorning her figures with lilac laces around the sleeves and the mid-front of her dress going all the way down. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail with a black string, but the ponytail swung to the right sight of her head. She looked like a princess in that outfit. In her normal clothes, she was always beautiful to him, although he had never voiced it. He had once said that she was cute when he had seen her a blue dress with a white, frilly apron. He had never seen her in a dress up until that moment.

Back in Sairaag, Lina Inverse was giving poor Sylphiel Nels Rada a hard time with the dress that Sylphiel had picked out for her.

"Please wear it, Lina-san! I'm begging you!" she cried.

Lina glared at the dress and then at Sylphiel as she said, "NO!"

"Please Lina-san!" she begged, again.

"If I have to wear that, I'm not going!" she declared.

"I see. Well, I believe that Zelgadis-san will be disappointed if you don't go," said Sylphiel.

Lina's face flushed a bit at the mentioning of his name. "Why would you say that? It's not like it would be any loss to him if I came at all."

"But it would be to Amelia-san," Sylphiel pointed out.

Lina sighed, knowing that she was right. "Ok, ok. I'll go and I'll wear that stupid dress."

Sylphiel's face brightened considerably. "Arigato gozaimasu, Lina-san!"

"Yeah, sure. Whatever, let's just get this dress on me before I change my mind," she said, blandly.

"Hai, Lina-san!" Sylphiel said quickly as she grabbed the dress and helped Lina into it.

After the two of them were dressed, they both found Gourry already ready and waiting outside for them to go to the palace of Seyruun.

"You two look lovely," he complimented. Especially Sylphiel, he added, silently.

"Arigato, Gourry!" Lina said with a grin.

"Arigato gozaimasu, Gourry-sama," Sylphiel said with a timid smile.

"Let's go now. Shall we?" asked Gourry as he offered both of his arms to Lina and Sylphiel.

I'm not as jealous as I was before. What is coming over me? Lina silently questioned herself.

I've never seen Sylphiel in a dress before, but I'm glad that I got this chance to do so, thought Gourry as he grinned at her.

Sylphiel blushed at Gourry's rather unexpected smile. Lina paid no heed to their subtle flirting as her mind was filled with the thoughts of another.

Zel...I've wanted to see you for so long. Even if we don't love each other like you and Amelia and me and Gourry, we're still friends and I've missed you. You were the only decently sane person out of our whole group. I would love to have a conversation with you again. I wonder if I'll get that chance tonight, thought Lina as she, Gourry and Sylphiel walked to the palace.

That evening at the Seyruun palace, Xellos and Filia were the first to arrive with their son Valteira. Next were Martina and Zangulus and Amelia had quickly introduced them to Filia, Valteira and her sister Gracia Then more guests had arrived that evening that Amelia lost count of them. Soon, everyone was dancing and having a wonderful time.

Amelia looked around for Lina, Gourry and Sylphiel and saw no trace of them.

"Oh, for the love of Cepheid-sama! Where are they!" Amelia said in frustration as she began to pace back and forth.

Amelia's husband walked up to her and put a hand on one of her shoulders. "I'm sure that they'll be here soon. The walk from Sairaag is far, so logically it would take them the longest to get here along with the fact that Lina is probably keeping them late with her antics."

Amelia smiled at him and patted the hand on her shoulder and said, "Arigato, Zelgadis-sama."

"For what?" he asked.

"For the reassurance," she answered.

"Ah," he said in reply.

Zelgadis then turned his attention to the palace door. He could have sworn that he had heard it opening.

"Did you hear something, Amelia-koishii?" he asked.

Amelia looked at him with a puzzled look on her face. "Iie, why?"

"I could have sworn that I heard something," he said, while furrowing his brow.

"Why don't you go and check it out then? It could have been Lina-san, Gourry-san and Sylphiel-san," she said.

"I think I will go check it out. I'll be back shortly," he said as he went to search for Lina and her party, but more specifically, for Lina herself.

Zelgadis had looked around almost every corner, but couldn't find Lina anywhere. Sure, he knew that she was there, due to the fact that he had run into Sylphiel and Gourry and at that moment, Amelia was introducing Sylphiel to Filia, Valteira and Gracia. She also introduced Gourry to Gracia. Now, if Zelgadis would have noticed carefully, Valteira was flourishing his wife with a lot of flirtatious attention along with the fact that she was gladly accepting it.

Zelgadis walked out onto the balcony, thinking that maybe she was there, but she wasn't. He looked at the sky and sighed.

I wanted to see her so badly, but she hasn't even shown herself yet. Lina where could you be? he thought, almost miserably as returned his attention to the stars.

"Could you use some company?" a female voice behind him asked.

Zelgadis swallowed hard. If it had been any other female voice, he would have probably refused, but this wasn't just any female voice. It belonged to the one who had been haunting his dreams.

"Masaka," he whispered to himself.

"It sure is lovely tonight, ne Zel?" she asked as she moved right next to him.

"Lina?" he asked in a disbelieving tone of voice as he turned to face her.

"Yeah, it's me. How've you been, Zel?" she asked with a smile.

Zelgadis couldn't say anything as he looked at her. She was truly a vision of loveliness in his mind. The dress that she was wearing was similar to the one that he had pictured her in, only it was red. Other than that, she was the perfect vision from his dream and if she hadn't been standing there in the flesh, he would've thought himself dreaming again.

"Hello? Earth to Zel," said Lina, while waving a hand in front of his face.

Zelgadis finally snapped back into reality and looked at Lina confused, "Huh? What is it, Lina?"

"I was asking you how you were," she said.

"Me? Oh, I'm just fine. Did you find out that Filia and Xellos were married?" he asked.

"Yeah, she told me. I wasn't shocked, though. I've always thought that they'd make a good couple," said Lina.

"Really?" he asked.

Lina just smiled and nodded.

"Then I guess that you've also met Amelia's sister," he said.

"I was in shock to find out that my former partner had been Amelia's sister," she said.

"Was that the only thing that shocked you about her?" he asked.

"Iie. Her complete behavioral pattern has changed as well. She's much more...polite," said Lina.

"That is true. I never thought that Naga, The Great White Serpent would be Amelia's sister," said Zelgadis.

"Other than the fact that they have an uncanny resemblance to each other," Lina pointed out.

"That's true," said Zelgadis.

"Now then. How's married life been treatin' ya?" she asked.

"It's ok, I guess," he said.

"I guess?" she questioned him.

"Well, it can irk me at times," he said.

"With all of those royal duties that you'll have to take on one day? No wonder," Lina said sympathetically.

"Yeah. It can get hectic at times," he said.

"But then you remember why you did choose this lifestyle, ne?" she asked.

"I guess you can say that," said Zelgadis.

"Hmm..." she said in reply.

"What is it?" he asked.

"It's nothing," she said.

"Oh," he replied.

"I just wonder at times why I put up with Gourry," she said.

"Don't you love him?" he asked.

"Well...yes, I mean, I don't even know anymore," she said, exasperatedly.

"I know how you feel," he said, softly.

"Huh? Did you say something?" she asked.

Zelgadis just shook his head. "Iie, Lina. Has Gourry proposed to you, yet?"

Lina snorted. "Like that's ever gonna happen any time soon. He's been so infatuated with Sylphiel lately that it's not even funny, but I guess that it's somewhat my fault as well."

Zelgadis looked at her confused. "Your fault? How?"

"Well...I kinda wanted to go to Sairaag to see if he would fall for Sylphiel," she said.

"Why would you wanna do that?" he asked, still confused.

"I dunno. I guess I just wanted to see if he was still in love with me. Apparently, he's not," she said.

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Zelgadis.

"Why? I'm not. I'm not even sure if I love him anymore. It's just that I don't wanna break his heart if I don't," she said.

"But, if he's not in love with you anymore, shouldn't he not care?" he asked.

"True, but the problem with me still remains. I don't know if still love him. I may or may not, but I need to find out," she said, determinedly.

"I at times wonder if I still love Amelia," he said.

"Why?" she asked, curiously.

"Because it almost seems like our entire relationship is nothing more than that of a brother and sister. It looks like we've lost the romance that once was between us," he said.

Lina looked at him sadly as she put a hand on one of his shoulders and rubbed it. "Zel..."

"Our marriage may not look like it's on the rocks, but at times, I believe it is," he said.

"And why is that?" she asked.

"Because we hardly talk about anything," he said. "All we do is just sit in silence. I usually read a book, while she's doing her needle point."

"I see. You want adventure in your life again," she said, guessing.

"That's exactly it, Lina. I'm sick of all this royal stuff. All I wanna do is go back out on the road and live," he said.

"Zel...if you don't love Amelia, then why'd you marry her?" she asked.

"I guess I married her to patronize her. I felt like it was my duty and I didn't want to break her heart, so I made myself believe that I was in love with her," he finished.

"Sort of like Gourry and myself," Lina said softly.

Zelgadis looked at her with disbelieving eyes. "You mean that you never loved Gourry?"

"I don't think so. Not anymore than a brother anyway. I guess I was in love with the idea of being in love with someone," she said.

Zelgadis nodded. "That sounds plausible."

"Yeah, I guess it does," she said.

Zelgadis suddenly turned his head to the ballroom. "We'd better go in, Lina."

Lina nodded at the suggestion. "Yeah, let's go in before they send out a search party for us."

Zelgadis turned to her suddenly and was captured by her crimson eyes. He never wanted to stop staring into them, but he knew that he should.

Lina looked into Zelgadis' piercing sapphire eyes and was lost to them. She knew that she had to let go of them sometime, but she didn't want to.

"Lina..." said Zelgadis.

"Zel..." she replied.

They then broke the gaze and went inside the ballroom silently. Neither of them understood what was happening, but they did want to find out.

The voice that had visited Zelgadis three nights ago, appeared again. "Lina Inverse and Zelgadis Greywers. You will soon understand what is going on and when you do, you will thank me."

The voice then disappeared unnoticed by everyone.

Due to strange circumstances, the so-called 'mysterious voice', was keeping tabs on everyone all night. This entity needed everything to be just right for its plan to work out.

After Lina and Zelgadis split apart from each other, Zelgadis just wandered around the ballroom. He then heard his wife call him.

"Zelgadis-sama!" Princess Amelia called out.

"Hai!" he said back.

"Have you found Lina-san?" she asked once he approached her.

"As a matter of fact...she found me," he said.

"Where did she find you?" asked Amelia.

"Out on the balcony," he said.

"Being a party pooper, as usual," Lina finished for him with a smirk.

Amelia's eyes brightened. "Lina-san!"

"Oi, Amelia," she said with a grin.

"How have you been?" asked Amelia.

"Pretty good. Yourself?" asked Lina.

"Simply wonderful!" Amelia answered.

"Well, that's great," said Lina.

"Zelgadis-sama? What were you and Lina-san discussing on the balcony?" she asked.

Zelgadis cleared his throat as he proceeded to speak, but nearly choked on all of his words, "Ju...just about how we were and a little bit about our lives."

Zelgadis wasn't lying to Amelia at all. He just wasn't telling her everything that was talked about in the conversation.

What she doesn't know, won't hurt her, he thought as he looked down at his wife's smiling face.

Even while Zelgadis looked at his wife, he couldn't get Lina's face out of his mind.

Lina was barely listening to what Amelia was telling her because she had caught Zelgadis' eye and she just kept his gaze that time.

Think about Gourry, damnit! Don't fall for a married man! You're practically engaged yourself. Jeez, I'm fickle! Yet...I can't help it. I'm falling for him. No, scratch that. I have fallen for him. I think that I fell for him a long time ago, too. I guess that I never moved upon these feelings for him because in my mind, Amelia was always the one for him. I then made myself believe that I was in love with Gourry. I think I loved them both, in the same way, but now, I truly do believe that I loved Zelgadis the most, even if I didn't show it. I wish that he wasn't married! I should try to fix up Gourry and Sylphiel. I can tell that he likes her more than me by the way that he was fawning all over her in the past few days. If I do this, I can at least get out of my relationship with Gourry, but Zelgadis will have a harder time to get out of his relationship with Amelia. I don't even know if loves me or not. Am I hoping for something that's not there? she thought, amazed at the revelation that she had brought upon herself.

Lina suddenly broke off her gaze with Zelgadis. She had her eyes lowered to the floor and through Amelia's happy babbling, Amelia didn't notice the sad expression on Lina's face.

Zelgadis, however, noticed how Lina's face looked.

What's wrong, Lina? he thought, desperately.

I wish I could tell him, thought Lina.

I wish I could tell her, thought Zelgadis.

Lina finally came back to reality when she saw Amelia's right hand, waving in front of her face.

"Ano...Lina-san? Were you listening to anything that I was saying?" Amelia asked, somewhat impatiently.

"Huh? Sorry, Amelia?" Lina said rather weakly.

"Lina-san, are you alright?" Amelia asked, now concerned.

"I'm fine, Amelia. I just have a slight headache," she lied.

"Well, I was going to invite you, Gourry-san and Sylphiel-san to stay here for the night. Would you like to go to your room now?" Amelia asked.

Lina just nodded in reply.

"Zelgadis-sama? Would you please bring Lina-san to her room?" asked Amelia.

Zelgadis complied as he led Lina upstairs to the bedrooms.

"Are you sure that you're ok?" Zelgadis asked Lina as he opened the door to one of the bedrooms.

"I'm fine, Zel. Just fine. I just need to get some sleep," she said, refusing to meet the intense gaze that was lying upon her.

"Are you sure?" he repeated, questionably.

"For the last time, yes!" she snapped as she glared at him.

"If you say so. Well, goodnight," he told her, while catching her in another gaze.

Lina just stared into his eyes. Zelgadis stared back, not stopping what was happening. They then moved nearer to each other until they were inches apart. Lina stood on her toes and closed her eyes, moving her face nearer to his. He also closed his eyes and neared his own face to hers. When their lips almost touched, a voice from downstairs interrupted them.

"Zelgadis-sama!" Amelia said loudly from the ballroom.

"Coming!" he said in return.

Lina moved away from Zelgadis with sadness in her eyes.

"Gomen nasai, Zel. That shouldn't have happened. G'night," she said in a cracked, nearly sobbing voice.

As soon as Lina went inside her room and shut the door, Zelgadis' heart felt hollow.

Aishiteru, Lina Inverse, he thought as he walked downstairs and back into the ballroom.

The evening was still young as everyone cheerfully interacted with one another. Well...minus a certain chimera.

Suddenly, an unnoticed shadowy figure appeared on the palace balcony and watched the happiness within the ballroom.

It seems as though my plan is falling into place. Soon, all of the missing pieces of the puzzle will finally come together before the start of the upcoming battle. Enjoy the peace as much as you can, children, the figure thought as it disappeared into the wind.

Back at the ball, everyone was lively, except for Zelgadis. He just kept in thinking about Lina. He needed to get her off of his mind, so his eyes wandered over to Gourry and Sylphiel. They looked more than generally happy with each other's company.

"Gourry-sama?" Sylphiel said suddenly.

"Hai, Sylphiel?" he asked with a brilliant smile.

Sylphiel blushed gently at his smile and then said, "Lina-san is missing."

"She is?" he asked.

"Hai," she replied.

Gourry just shrugged. "She's probably just running around, eating all of the food here."

Sylphiel sighed. "I suppose you're right."

"Besides, it's much nicer being around you, Sylphiel," he stated cheerfully.

Sylphiel blushed furiously at his comment, but kept her pleasant smile all the same.

"Oi, Sylphiel? May I ask a favor of you?" Gourry inquired.

"Of course, Gourry-sama," she said in reply.

"Would you be able to teach me how to cook?" he asked, almost pleadingly.

Sylphiel looked at him curiously and asked, "Whatever for?"

"I wanna be able to make tasty food just like you because Lina and I are running out of money and Lina can hardly make anything edible to eat except for cooked fish," said Gourry.

"I...I see," Sylphiel said with a sigh.

"Something wrong?" he asked, putting a hand on one of her shoulders.

"Gourry-sama, do you love Lina-san?" she asked, hesitantly.

"Of course I do," he replied in a cheerful voice.

"I thought so," said Sylphiel, attempting to hide the sadness creeping up in her voice.

"Why? Don't you?" he asked, confused.

Sylphiel blushed at his supposed insinuation. "I'm not like that, Gourry-sama!"

"Like what?" he asked.

" know..." she faltered at saying it because she was blushing so badly.

"Iie, I don't know," he said.

Sylphiel sighed. Let's try a different tactic.

"In what way do you love Lina-san?" she asked, carefully.

"I love her like a sister," he replied.

"Like a sister?" she asked.

"Hai! How did you think I meant?" he asked.

"I thought you loved her in a romantic way," she said with a slight blush.

"I used to, but now...our relationship has made itself more of a sibling type relationship," he said.

"I see," said Sylphiel. "Does Lina-san know about this?"

"I haven't told Lina this, yet, but I will," he said.

"Hmm..." said Sylphiel.

" you love her or no?" he asked.

"Hai! Like a sister," she said, quickly.

"I don't think I could ever have a romantic relationship with Lina ever again," he said.

"Why is that?" asked Sylphiel.

"Well...for one she's always beating me up for things that she knows and that I don't know. I mean, she expects me to know everything!" he exclaimed.

"Ah, and the other things?" she asked.

"Well, she's rude, loud, and bossy. Jeez, I could never be married to someone like that!" he said a bit too loudly. Actually, it was loud enough for Zelgadis to hear.

So...he thinks of her like that, hmm? I might have a chance after all, but how to break away from Amelia, Zelgadis mused, while Sylphiel and Gourry conversed.

"So that's how you think of her? I never would have thought," said Sylphiel.

"It may not seem like it, but believe me, it is," he said.

" there anyone who interests you in a romantic way?" Sylphiel asked with another blush covering her face.

"Sure there is!" he said with a smile.

"Oh, really? Who?" she asked with hesitance.

"You," Gourry whispered gently as he took Sylphiel's right hand and kissed it.

Sylphiel's eyes widened, as the blush on her face became redder. "Oh...oh my!"

"And you?" he asked.

Sylphiel's gaze softened upon him and then she said, "Aishiteru, Gourry-sama."

Gourry moved towards her and captured her lips in a gentle kiss, which she heartily returned. Once they broke apart, Gourry kept a hold of her hands and smiled gently at her.

"I promise to tell Lina that it's over between her and I as soon as possible, Sylph-chan," he said.

"Hai," Sylphiel replied softly as he let go of her hands and went off to find Lina.

He loves me. Me! Even though I feel sorry for Lina-san, I am happy. Arigato gozaimasu, Cepheid-sama! I now have true happiness in my life again, Sylphiel thought giddily to herself.

Zelgadis had observed the whole scenario. Well, well. It doesn't surprise me one bit that Gourry had a thing for Sylphiel. Those two are a match made in Heaven. And here comes Gourry now.

"Oi, Zelgadis," said Gourry.

"Hai?" he asked.

"Have you seen Lina?" Gourry asked.

"Well, she had a headache, so Amelia-koishii let her use one of the spare bedrooms to stay in for the night to rest," Zelgadis explained.

"Oh. I needed to tell her something important. Wait...could you tell her for me?" he asked.

Zelgadis didn't expect that. Great, I'm going to be the one to help Gourry break Lina's heart. Just perfect.

"Could you? Please?" he pleaded.

"Fine," Zelgadis said, while rolling his eyes.

Gourry's eyes brightened. "Great! Okay, this is what you have to say..."

It was already late in the evening and the party was coming to an end as the guests were leaving. Amelia had asked Gourry and Sylphiel to stay at the palace for one night, but they didn't want to put her into any disposition, so they declined politely.

Zelgadis walked up to Lina's room, ready to tell her exactly what Gourry had told him to tell her.

His speech to her was better than I thought that it would be, he mused.

He walked up to the door, took a deep breath and knocked.

"Who is it?" asked Lina.

"It's Zelgadis. I need to speak with you," he said.

"Come on in, Zel," she replied.

Zelgadis opened the door and went inside. He found Lina sitting on the bed, obviously contemplating something, due to the serious look on her face.

"Is something bothering you, Lina?" he asked, once inside the room.

"Well...yes and no. It's hard to talk about," she said, uneasily.

"Ah," he said.

"So...what's up?" she asked, casually.

"Oh, right. Ano...Gourry asked me to tell you something," he said.

"Speaking of Gourry, where is that jellyfish-for-brains anyhow?" she asked.

"He left a while ago with Sylphiel," said Zelgadis.

Lina looked pissed. "And they didn't tell me?!"

"Calm down, Lina. First thing tomorrow, we'll go to Sairaag and Sylphiel that way we can pick up your original clothes, alright?" he asked, trying to calm her down.

Lina just huffed indignantly and turned away from Zelgadis. "Was there anything else that you'd like to add to this?"

Oh boy, here it comes, he thought, fearfully.

"Actually, Lina, there is more," he said.

Lina snorted. "It figures. What else did he say or do?"

"Well...I don't know how to put this delicately, but...he's in love with Sylphiel," Zelgadis blurted out.

Lina was stunned into silence. She wasn't sad or angry, just shocked.

"What exactly did he tell you that I was to him?" she asked, calmly.

"He said that he loves you like a sister," Zelgadis finished off.

Lina nodded. "I see. Well looks like I wasn't the one to dump him, but he dumped me instead."

"Gomen nasai, Lina," said Zelgadis.

Lina looked confused. "For what?"

"That Gourry broke your heart," he said.

Lina looked at him amused. "Zel, Gourry didn't break my heart. In a way he actually freed me from something that I was foolish enough to get myself involved with."

"So, you don't love Gourry anymore?" Zelgadis asked, not really asking though.

"I still love Gourry, Zel, but no more than I would love my own brother, if I had one," said Lina with a small smile.

Zelgadis smiled at her. "What are you going to do now that you're finally free again?"

"Actually, the one thing I wanna do is something I know that I will never be able to do, due to certain circumstances," Lina said sadly.

Zelgadis rubbed Lina's back gently and Lina stiffened at the touch. "Come on. It can't be that bad."

"Oh, but it is, Zel. You have no idea what kind of inner torment I'm going through right now!" she sobbed as she clung to one of his sleeves, drowning her sorrows into it.

"Unfortunately, Lina, I do know what you're going through," he said.

Lina sniffed and looked up at him from his sleeve. "You do?"

"Hai," he said as he looked at her sympathetically.

"I wish that we had the same problem, that way we could work it out together," said Lina.

Zelgadis blushed slightly. "What do you mean by that?"

"What I mean is that if we're both feeling down about something and it happens to be the same kind of problem, we could go to each other for comfort," finished Lina, hiding the blush that was staining her cheeks.

"I see what you mean. I don't know what to say," he told her.

Lina shook her head. "You don't have to say anything. Just know that I'll always be there for you."

Zelgadis blushed even deeper. "Ahem, I really should let you get some rest. Goodnight, Lina."

Lina's eyes welled up with tears, but she didn't let Zelgadis see them as she turned her head and said, "G'night."

Zelgadis walked out of Lina's room with a heavy heart. As soon as he closed her door, his back slumped down one of the walls nearby as he held his head in sorrow.

Why in L-sama's name did I go off and marry Amelia for? I knew that I loved Lina back then and that I still do, but I also loved Amelia as well. The only reason I had for going after Amelia instead of Lina is the fact that I thought that she loved Gourry. Now that I know that it's not true, I blew my only chance at true happiness with the woman I love the most, he thought, sorrowfully.

Out of nowhere, not to be heard by anyone in the palace, a female voice spoke up.

"Poor Lina-san and Zelgadis-san. How tragic that they cannot share their love for one another. Well, I'm going to have to fix that, won't I? I hate seeing my children all depressed over nothing. Amelia-san needs someone else to fixate on and I have just the man for her," said the female voice.

A male voice suddenly joined her. "Yare-yare. Are you going about your capricious nature again, mother? Well, do what you need to do it order to bring together the right pairings for the upcoming battle."

"What do you think of the young man I've chosen for Amelia?" she asked.

"He'll do. He should be able to keep her occupied enough for Lina-san and Zelgadis-san to admit their feelings for one another," he said.

"I'm only hoping that they won't figure it out," she said as she began to fade away.

"They won't. Believe me, they won't," he said as he faded away as well.

Not a sound could be heard at the Seyruun palace that night as the cool winds hushed the sounds of two souls crying out for each other in the dark of the night.

That night, at the Seyruun palace, inside of Amelia and Zelgadis' room, a faint clanking could be heard on the window.

Amelia opened one eye sleepily and looked over to the other side of the bed to notice that her husband was not there. She probably thought that he had fallen asleep in the library as he wont to do. She yawned a bit and then got up to see what the racket was. She looked outside the window and saw Valteira floating in mid-air with a white rose in his hands. Amelia rubbed her eyes to make absolutely sure that she wasn't hallucinating this. Amelia then quietly opened the window to see what he wanted.

"What are you doing around here at this hour?" she whispered, questionably.

"I came to see you Amelia-san and to give you this," he said as he handed her the white rose.

"It's very beautiful, but why are you giving me this?" she asked, curiously.

"Amelia-san, I have developed romantic feelings for you. Now, whether you return them or not is up to you, but I thought that you had the right to know," said Valteira.

"I am very flattered, Valteira-san, but I am a married woman. It would never work between us. I'm sorry," Amelia said with a sad smile.

"Amelia-san, please listen to me! How can you love someone like him? He's not worthy of you!" Valteira literally cried out to her.

Amelia huffed. "That isn't true. He's a very kind and respectable man."

"He's also much older than you, Amelia," Valteira pointed out.

"Age makes no difference!" she exclaimed as she turned away from him.

Valteira nodded his head sadly. "Alas, that is true, but Amelia-san, you are worthy of so much more. You deserve someone who will treat you as an equal, not as someone inferior to them. Zelgadis-san treats you like a little sister and you make yourself believe that it is romantic love. That it is very sad, Amelia-san."

Amelia narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you calling me disillusioned?"

Valteira shrugged and grinned slightly. "Suppose I am? It's true, Amelia-san. You are what they call disillusioned. You and Zelgadis-san have nothing more than a sibling relationship. It will end sooner or later. I was just offering you a way out."

"I love him!" she shouted at him.

"Sure you do. Keep this up and you'll end up killing yourself in the long run," he said.

Amelia shot him an icy look. "Get out."

"But, Amelia-san..." he tried to say, but didn't get to finish.

"I said GET OUT!" she shrieked at him.

"I'll see you sometime later then, Amelia-san," said Valteira as he vanished.

Once Valteira was gone, Amelia sat down on her bed and began to weep.

What if he's right? I would hate to think that he is, but what if he was. Just what if? she questioned herself, sadly.

Amelia decided not mull over the matter anymore until she had gotten some rest. She fell back onto the bed, pulled the covers over herself and fell into a restful slumber.

The next morning, Zelgadis found himself lying next to Lina's door.

How'd I end up here? he wondered as he woke up.

He then got up off of the floor and knocked on Lina's door to see if she was awake herself.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"It's Zel," he said.

"Did you need something?" she asked.

"Not really. I was just wondering if you were awake. We need to go to Sairaag soon to pick up your things," he told her.

"Oh, that's right! I'll be out shortly," she said.

Zelgadis didn't answer her as he walked downstairs to the breakfast room. He was fairly sure that Amelia would be down there, due to the fact that she was an early riser like himself.

Zelgadis, instead, was all by himself downstairs. He furrowed his brow slightly, curious as to what was going on.

I may not be in love with Amelia anymore, but she's still my wife and I do need to protect her, he thought as he walked back upstairs.

On his way up, he saw Lina coming down.

"Hey, Zel. I thought that we were leaving for Sairaag," she said.

"We's just that Amelia hasn't woken up yet," he said.

"So? What's the big deal about that?" she asked.

"It's not like her to be up later than me," he said.

Lina raised an eyebrow. "Really? If you're gonna go and check on Amelia, I'll go with you."

"Thanks. She may listen to you if something's wrong," he said as he led Lina up to his and Amelia's room.

He opened the door and said gently, "Amelia-koishii?"

Zelgadis got no answer and with that, he went inside with Lina following him.

Zelgadis and Lina found Amelia curled up under the covers, sleeping like a baby.

"Hey, Amelia? It's time to get up," said Lina as she shook her friend gently.

"Something's wrong. She should have answered by now," Zelgadis noted with worry in his voice.

"Let me check something, Zel," said Lina as she put her right ear to Amelia's chest.

Zelgadis looked at Lina expectantly, but when saw her pull away in shock, he knew what was wrong.

"Iie," Zelgadis whispered sadly.

Lina looked choked up. Zelgadis didn't blame her one bit.

"We should bring her to Sairaag as soon as possible. I'll bring her downstairs. Could you go and get a carriage for us, quickly?" Lina asked as she tried to make herself sound brave.

"Hai," he said. He then ran out of the room and downstairs as fast as possible.

Lina looked back at Amelia, who merely looked as though she were sleeping.

"Hang in there, Amelia. We'll save you and after we do...we're gonna find the son of a bitch who did this to you," said Lina, holding back her tears.

Lina then got up off of the bed and walked over to where Amelia's head was. She gently picked up the fragile girl in her arms, cradling her delicate head.

What could be wrong? She feels warm, but she's not breathing. What a minute...I forgot to check her pulse. ARRRGGHH!!!!!!!! Gourry is most definitely starting to rub off on me, she thought, pretty much sickened by that idea.

Lina then neared her right ear next to Amelia's neck, in order to find a pulse.

There was none.

Lina blanched and then flew all the way downstairs with a currently immobile Amelia in her arms.

"ZEL!!!!!!!!!!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Zelgadis rushed over to Lina as fast possible. "What? What is it? What's wrong?"

Lina looked as if she were going to cry at any second. "Amelia...she's...I checked and her pulse...nothing..."

Lina finally broke down, bringing Amelia and herself into Zelgadis' arms.

"We need to leave now," he said as he lifted both girls and brought them towards the carriage.

He carefully placed Lina seated next to himself on one side of the carriage, while Amelia was placed lying down on the other side.

This is going to be a long trip, Zelgadis thought grimly as they took off.

In Sairaag, Gourry and Sylphiel were making lunch. Sylphiel was gently teasing Gourry about the flour that he got on his face when they heard a knock at the door.

"Coming!" said Sylphiel as she made her way to the front door.

Sylphiel opened the front door to find a messenger there.

"Yes?" she asked, cautiously.

"Sylphiel-san, I presume?" he asked.

"Yes, what is it?" she asked.

"This is a message from the royal palace in Seyruun," he told her as he gave her the message.

"Arigato," she said as she took the message from him and closed the door behind her.

Sylphiel then began to read the message aloud. "Sylphiel, I'm sorry to bother you, but this is an emergency. I don't know what to do and Lina has tried everything to help out. We were originally going to be going over there to retrieve Lina's belongings, but something of the most shocking nature has occurred to my wife, Amelia and we most desperately need your help. I don't know whom else to turn to. Sincerely, Zelgadis."

What could have happened over there? Zelgadis would never write unless it was an emergency. I hope that they get here soon, thought Sylphiel as she re-read the message.

Gourry suddenly walked towards her, interrupting her reverie. "Oi, Sylph-chan?"

Sylphiel quickly hid the message in one of her pockets and then smiled at Gourry. "Hai, Gourry-sama?"

"I think that the cookies are burning," he informed her.

Sylphiel's eyes widened as she ran to the kitchen.

Sylphiel walked up to the oven to find that her cookies were nearly burned, but they were still edible. She carefully removed them from the oven and put the cookie pan onto the kitchen counter, so that way they could cool off.

She then walked over to the stove once more and turned it completely off.

"Gourry-sama?" she said, quietly.

"Hai, Sylph-chan?" he asked.

"I don't feel like cooking anymore today," she said.

"Wh...why not?" he asked with wide eyes.

"Something has happened to Amelia-san and I am saddened by it," she said as she began to weep.

Gourry walked over to Sylphiel and put his arms around her. "Please don't cry, Sylph-chan. Tell me about what happened to Amelia."

"She is...well...I don't really know myself, but all I know is that it's bad," she said, weeping even harder.

"We'll fix it, Sylph-chan. I promise we will," he said, trying to soothe her.

Sylphiel sniffled a bit then calmed down completely.

"Gourry-sama?" she said.

"Hai, Sylph-chan?" he asked.

"Do you think it would be all right to let Zelgadis-san, Lina-san, and Amelia-san stay here for a few nights?" she asked.

"Sure, but why are you asking me?" he questioned.

"Huh?" she said with a confused look.

"Isn't this your home, Sylph-chan?" he asked her.

"Hai," she replied.

"Then why do you need my permission to invite anyone here?" he asked her.

"Old habit. Don't worry about it," she said as she attempted a smile.

"Alright," Gourry replied with a shrug.

Sylphiel then went to get things ready for when Zelgadis, Lina, and Amelia would arrive.

In the meantime, in another plane of reality, the Golden Lord or also known better as the Lord of Nightmares, was having a meeting with Zelas the Beastmaster's so-called servant, Xellos Metallium. It did seem odd for those two to be meeting, but due to certain circumstances, Xellos' boss, Zelas, had made a contract with the Lord of Nightmares because the Lord of Nightmares had found out that Zelas' current goal was nearly the same as the Lord of Nightmares. The Lord of Nightmares decided to collaborate with Zelas on their goal, so that it would hopefully go in the right way, with the help of a certain trickster priest, Xellos.

"L-sama," Xellos greeted the Golden Lord with a heavy bow of respect.

"Xellos-san, welcome back. How are the plans going?" she asked, walking about the room.

"They seem to be under control, but there is a problem," said Xellos.

The Lord of Nightmares stopped walking. "What's that?"

"Amelia-san appears to be dead, but Zelgadis-san and Lina-san are bringing her to Sylphiel-san for a possible Resurrection spell," he said.

"I see," she said.

"What will happen if she does not recover?" asked Xellos.

"Disaster," she told him.

"I will make sure that Amelia-san is brought back," he said.

"I hope that she is. She is a very vital part of the plan and in the upcoming battle she will be needed most desperately," she said.

"I'll get right to it," he said as he disappeared.

The Lord of Nightmares looked down at the world that she had created and frowned. One of her chosen ones was dying or pretty much dead and if could, she would have healed her herself, but she could not interfere.

I wonder what caused this sudden tragedy. I don't think that it was just something that happened randomly. Someone is deliberately trying to kill my chosen ones, but who? she asked herself.

She paced back and forth, until she finally came to a conclusion.

Of course. That little bastard. I thought that he would never come back after that time I helped kill him, but now, here he is again. Just perfect. It looks like Mystixs isn't the only one we'll have to fight in this battle, ne Kopi Phibrizo? she said to herself, wryly.

She then grinned smugly and said aloud, "If I defeated you before, and you're nothing but a kopi now, you'll be a hundred times easier to defeat this time!"

She then looked back at her world and smiled. Everything will be all right now.

Back at Sairaag, Sylphiel was still waiting for the arrival of her friends and Gourry had fallen asleep on a chair.

Sylphiel then heard knocking at the door and ran to it as fast as she could and when she opened it she saw Zelgadis carrying both Lina and Amelia in his arms.

"Oh my goodness! What happened, Zelgadis-san?" Sylphiel asked with thick concern.

"Well, Lina passed out, so I know that she's fine, but Amelia could very well be dead," he said, trying to hold back his emotions.

Sylphiel lowered her head and asked, "What happened?"

"That's just the thing. I don't know. I went to go and check on her this morning and she didn't move. Since Lina was with me, she checked her and she found no life signs on her. Lina went into a fit and passed out. I decided to bring her here, since I know no one else who knows the Resurrection spell," he said.

"Zelgadis-san, I'll try, but last time I used it was on Lina-san and it was my first time using it as well," she said.

"Well, Sylphiel, trying is better than nothing," he said.

"Hai. Follow me upstairs," she said.

Zelgadis followed Sylphiel upstairs to one of the three bedrooms, which she had in the house. Once they were inside of the room, since there were twin beds in this one, Zelgadis placed each of the girls in his arms on each of the beds.

"Zelgadis-san, you tend to Lina-san. I'll take care of Amelia-san," she said.

"Hai," he complied as he placed a folded, damp towel on Lina's forehead.

"I'm going to go downstairs to retrieve the materials I need. Watch over them," said Sylphiel as she walked out of the room.

Once Sylphiel was gone, Zelgadis turned his full attention onto Lina. He looked at her serene sleeping form and wished that he could hold her in his arms, so that he could whisper words of love to her. He then looked over at Amelia. He frowned at her pale face. He loved her yes, but like a sister. He knew for sure that he wasn't in love with Amelia anymore and that his heart fully belonged to Lina. He looked at Amelia once more, swearing to himself that he would kill the bastard responsible for her death. He then looked back at Lina and gently touched her cheek with one of his stone cold hands.

She's so warm, he thought as he continued caressing her cheek.

He wanted to kiss her, but he wouldn't take advantage of her like that. He had self-control, yes, but it was wearing itself thin. It took all of his strength not to do anything irrational.

Zelgadis then noticed that Lina was slowly waking up. He saw her eyes flutter open slowly and then when her eyes were fully open, she smiled softly at him.

"Zel?" Lina's voice rasped out weakly.

"Hai," he replied and then noticed that his hand was still on her cheek.

Lina noticed the hand on her cheek and when Zelgadis attempted to move it away from her face, she stopped him.

"Iie, Zel. Leave it be," she said.

Zelgadis gulped and did as she said. 'What's wrong with her?'

"Zel, keep doing what you were doing before," she told him, a small blush beginning to creep up on her cheeks.

Zelgadis blushed furiously at the request, but again, did as she said.

Lina sighed happily. "That feels nice, Zel."

Zelgadis in turn, was as nervous as hell. "H...hai."

Lina then turned her attention to the girl in the other bed.

"How's she doing?" Lina asked Zelgadis.

"How do you think?" he asked her, dryly.

"Zel...Sylphiel can bring her back. I know she can because she brought me back," Lina said softly.

Zelgadis sighed and then gave her a half smile. "I trust your judgement, Lina."

Lina snuggled her cheek into his hand even further and sighed. "That's good to hear."

Enjoy this, Lina. Enjoy the comforts of what you can't have, while you can, she thought to herself, sadly.

All of a sudden, Sylphiel came back into the room and when she noticed the situation Zelgadis and Lina were in, she blushed.

"Oh my! Am I interrupting something?" she asked, trying to hide her blush.

Zelgadis and Lina both blinked at her. They then looked at each other and noticed that Zelgadis' hand was still on Lina's cheek. Zelgadis blushed and then quickly removed it. Lina blushed deeply in return.

"There's nothing going on here, Sylphiel!" Lina exclaimed jovially.

Sylphiel blinked. "Then it must've been my imagination."

"Yep! That's what it was," Lina hastily agreed with her.

Zelgadis, as usual, pretending that he was unaffected, stood up from the chair that he was in and looked directly at Sylphiel.

"You have everything you need now?" he asked her.

Sylphiel nodded. "Hai."

"Let me ask you something, Sylphiel," said Zelgadis.

"Hai?" she asked.

"How much life still needs to be in a body just before you cast a Resurrection spell?" he asked.

"The smallest amount," Sylphiel replied automatically.

"Well, Lina said that she could hear no pulse whatsoever. Maybe you can check Amelia to see for yourself, since you're better equipped at white magic," he said.

Sylphiel didn't answer him, but walked over to Amelia and put an ear to the young girl's chest. Sylphiel smiled slightly and then looked at Zelgadis.

"We're still in time, Zelgadis-san," she told him.

Zelgadis sighed in relief. "Good. Do you need Lina and I out of the room while you do this?"

Sylphiel nodded. "I need complete concentration."

"Completely understandable. Ne, Lina?" he asked.

"Ne, Zel," she replied.

Lina then got off of one of the beds and followed Zelgadis out of the room in order for Sylphiel to do what she needed to do.

Once they were outside of the room, they both just stood in the upstairs hallway, waiting.

Lina looked at Zelgadis nervously. She had her back to the right wall of the hallway and Zelgadis was just across from her.

"Is there something wrong, Lina? You look distracted," he said.

Lina flashed him a bright and cheery smile. "Nothing's wrong."

"You can stop lying to me," Zelgadis told her coolly.

Lina glared at him. "Well, even if there was something wrong, what the hell could you do about it?"

"Help you," he said, looking directly into her eyes.

Lina looked away from him. "Don't."

Zelgadis looked confused. "Don't what?"

"Don't do what you just did," she said.

"You don't want me to look at you?" he asked.

"I don't want you looking into my eyes," she said.

"Why not?" he asked her, trying to do exactly what she didn't want him to.

"Because, it's wrong," she said, quietly.

"How is it wrong?" he asked her, moving closer to her.

"You're married, Zel. You can't act like this when you're married," she said.

"Lina, I already told you that I don't love Amelia," he said.

"But you're still married to her," she pointed out.

Zelgadis, at that point, was standing right in front of her. "It won't be easy for me to divorce her."

"I see," she said.

Lina clutched her tunic from a borrowed pair of pajamas from Amelia's wardrobe and sighed inwardly.

So, Zel really doesn't love her. But...who does he love? she asked herself.

"Why do you even care, Lina?" he asked.

Lina paled at the thought of telling him. She had the best opportunity to tell him right then. She was just scared of the rejection factor.

Lina took a deep breath and said, "Zel, I'm going to tell you something, but please don't freak out on me. Okay?"

Zelgadis complied to her wish and began to listen to what she had to say.

Lina took another deep breath and launched her confession, "Zel, for as long as I've known you I have been attracted to you. Yes, even with the hood I was. But, at first it was all a physical attraction, so I never played off of any of my emotions at that point in time. The longer I got to know you though, the more I began to like and respect you. We might have been enemies in the beginning, but when we became fighting comrades, we became friends as well. As more time passed, I found myself falling for you, but there were two problems. Gourry and Amelia. I did love Gourry like that for a while, Zel, but even during that time, I loved you in that way just as much. I just always thought that you loved Amelia and I knew that I had nothing in comparison to her, so I just went for the easy target, Gourry. I fell out of love with Gourry recently without even knowing it. I have always been in love with you, Zel and I still am. If you just want a friendship from me, that's fine. I just need to know how you feel about me, Zel. Please?"

Zelgadis, who was standing only a few inches away from Lina, was shocked.

She loves me? Oh L-sama! Arigato! he thought, gleefully as he pulled Lina into an embrace.

Lina blushed, but didn't let go of him. She then looked up at him curiously and said, "Zel?"

Zelgadis' sapphire eyes looked down into her ruby ones as he leaned forward and finally did what he wanted for as long as knew her. He kissed her.

Lina responded to the kiss automatically. The kiss was making her weak in the knees, due to how sweet and tender it was.

Zelgadis deepened the kiss a little, but it didn't lose its sweetness. Lina responded enthusiastically and deepened the kiss even further than he did.

Zelgadis just let this happen. The kiss, at that point, lost all of the tenderness and became passionate.

Both of them were letting out so many pent up emotions for one another through that one kiss. They were both gripping each other tightly, but they both knew that they needed to let go at sometime.

When they finally did let go, Zelgadis looked at Lina and smiled. He then said something that made her heart soar.

"Aishiteru, Lina," he whispered into her right ear.

Lina could feel the tears of joy come down her face. " you really?"

Zelgadis nodded and held her even closer. They were both feeling the warmth of love emitting from one another. They bathed and took comfort within it.

Lina suddenly pulled away from the embrace. Zelgadis looked at her confused.

"Something wrong, koi?" he asked her.

"Hai. You're still married," she said.

"I know. I'll fix it. I promise," Zelgadis said warmly as he wrapped his arms around her again.

Lina snuggled against him and said, "Aishiteru, Zel."

All of a sudden, Sylphiel came out of the room looking very exhausted. She then found Lina and Zelgadis in a very tight embrace. She blushed furiously at it.

"Ano...Lina-san?" Sylphiel said timidly.

Lina's eyes widened and so did Zelgadis' when they figured out the source of the voice.

"SYLPHIEL?!" they both said in unison as they backed away from each other.

"Why were you two hugging each other so tightly?" she asked, shyly.

"We were...we were...we were comforting each other, Sylphiel!" Lina exclaimed.

"Oh. Well then, I have some good news," said Sylphiel with a smile.

"About Amelia?" asked Zelgadis.

"Hai. She's all well now, but she is sleeping, so I would let her rest if I were you," she recommended.

"Will do," said Lina.

"Oi, Lina?" said Zelgadis.

"Hai, Zel?" she asked.

"Aren't you going to change?" he asked as he looked at her attire.

Lina blushed and nodded. "Sylphiel, did you leave my clothes in the same place they were before?"

Sylphiel nodded and then Lina went off into the bedroom that she used during her stay there to get changed.

Once Lina was gone, Zelgadis turned to Sylphiel.

"Sylphiel...arigato," he said.

"You're welcome," she replied with a smile.

"I am glad that Amelia has friends such as you and Lina," he said.

Sylphiel said nothing. She smiled instead. Zelgadis smiled back at her.

Suddenly Sylphiel said, "I need to go and wake up Gourry-sama or he will never wake up."

Zelgadis chuckled lightly as he watched Sylphiel rush downstairs. He then just stood there, waiting for Lina to come out of the other bedroom.

Lina stood in the bedroom, as she looked at herself in the mirror that was there. She hadn't changed ever since she was twelve. She had three different outfits, three different pairs of earrings, two different necklaces, two different pairs of boots, and two different shoulder guards. Her current outfit hid more of her upper figure, while it flaunted the rest. The other outfits the exact opposite, but she liked the outfit she had on the best.

Lina looked herself over one more time in the mirror. She then smiled, winked and threw in her famous victory sign all in front of the mirror. She then looked down at the yellow breast band over her red and white tunic.

Is this thing really necessary? she thought as she looked at it. Maybe I should put it in one of the pockets inside of my cape. I wanna show off to Zelgadis what little I have and this thing is making me look smaller than I really am!

Lina pulled off the breast band and placed it inside of her cape. She then looked herself over a third time in the mirror, finally satisfied with her current appearance. She then walked out of the bedroom to meet Zelgadis.

Zelgadis was pacing in the hallway now.

What is taking her so long?! he thought, impatiently. He then heard footsteps coming towards him and when he turned his head, he saw Lina dressed in her sorceress outfit.

"Oi, Zel," she said with a grin as she walked up to him.

He then noticed something different about her and then he realized that she wasn't wearing her yellow breast band. He blushed as he noticed that without it, she was revealing herself to be much more bustier than what she usually looked like

She's so beautiful, he thought as she wrapped her arms around him.

Lina looked at her love in the eyes and sighed gently. He's so handsome. Why can't he see it?

Zelgadis then began to run his fingers through her fiery locks. She in turn, snuggled even closer to him.

"Zel, I know we just confessed and all, but I think it best to let everyone know about us," she said, softly.

"You're right, Lina. It's just that I don't know how to go about it. I personally think that Amelia should know first. She has a right to know," said Zelgadis.

They then heard Sylphiel's voice calling the both of them from downstairs.

"Lina-san, Zelgadis-san! Xellos-san and Filia-san are here!" she called out.

Lina and Zelgadis pulled away from each other and then shrugged. They then both walked downstairs to greet Xellos and Filia.

Once they were downstairs, Xellos and Filia both smiled at them.

"Oi, Zelgadis-san, Lina-san," Xellos said cheerfully.

"Hello, Lina-san. You are looking well and so are you Zelgadis-san," said Filia.

"Ano...what are you two doing here? I would have thought you two would have been busy or whatever," said Lina.

"We were supposed to be dining with my parents tonight, but Xellos-sama suggested that we visit Sylphiel-san since we never have. I was a bit surprised that he would recommend that, but I agreed to it, so we set off for Sairaag. I never knew that either of you would be here," said Filia.

Lina narrowed her eyes slightly at Xellos. "I see."

Even Zelgadis was suspicious of Xellos, but then again, he was always suspicious of Xellos.

Lina knew something was up and that it had to do with Amelia's near death experience. The only thing that she wasn't sure of was if Xellos was for Amelia's death or against it. She needed to know.

"Oi, Xellos?" Lina said suddenly.

"Hai, Lina-san?" he asked with a cheery smile.

Lina smiled sweetly at him. "May I speak with you?"

"Alright," he said as they made their way into the kitchen.

Once they were in the kitchen, Lina turned to him and gave him a hard stare.

"Alright, Xellos. Spit it out. Why are you truly here?" she asked.

Xellos grinned at her. "You always tend to figure it out before everyone else, don't you?"

Lina smirked. "Not everyone. I'm pretty sure that Zel was interested as to why you were here."

"Yare-yare. You two are always picking on me!" he said with a pout.

"We always have a good reason to. ANYWAY, what are you doing here?" Lina asked again.

"Would you like to take a guess at it?" he asked her.

"Why not? Alright, you are here because you found out about Amelia's condition and it somehow ties in with whatever plan your so-called boss has in store for all of us, ne?" she asked.

Xellos smiled at her. "Sore..."

Before he could finish, Lina had put him in a headlock.

"Before I forget, I want no 'sore wa himitsu desu' crap. Am I understood?" she growled, dangerously.

"H...hai," he choked out.

"Now then. If you tell me the truth, I may just let you live," she told him with a sickeningly sweet smile.

"Alright, Lina-san," he said in a raspy voice.

Lina smirked at him. "Good."

Lina then released Xellos from the headlock and looked at him expectantly.

"I'm waiting," she said.

Xellos sighed and said, "Yes, you were right."

Lina gave him a smug look. "I thought so. Now tell me this. Does your boss want Amelia alive or dead?"

"Alive," said Xellos. "She wants all of you alive. Let's just leave it at that for now, shall we? We have no intentions on harming any of you. Satisfied now?"

Lina nodded. "If you're wondering, Amelia is just fine. Sylphiel did a Resurrection spell on her a while ago and now she's just sleeping."

Xellos sighed in relief. "That's good news. Though I do wonder who did that to her."

"So do I, Xellos. So do I," she said with a serious look on her face.

Back in the main hall, while Sylphiel and Filia were chatting, Zelgadis was thinking about why Xellos was there.

I wonder if Lina will be able to get any information out of him, he thought.

At that moment, Lina and Xellos walked out of the kitchen and back into the main hall.

Lina walked up to Zelgadis and whispered something into his ear. When she pulled away, he looked at her, startled.

"Are you sure?" he asked her, quietly.

"Hai. I got all of the information that he was able to give me at the moment. I have a feeling that his boss is planning something big and that we're all gonna play a big part in it," Lina said quietly as well.

"Let's just hope that it won't be too bad of a plan," said Zelgadis.

Lina shrugged. "I don't know, Zel. We'll just have to wait and find out when Xellos has permission to release the information."

Zelgadis sighed and put his right hand on Lina's right shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze.

"We just have to be ready for it, ne?" said Zelgadis with a wry grin on his face.

Lina looked up at him and smiled. "Ne, Zel!"

Suddenly Gourry came into the room, looking half-asleep, but wasn't.

"Oi, minna-san!" he greeted as he walked up to Filia and Xellos to say hello.

Sylphiel suddenly noticed the absence of someone. "Filia-san? Isn't Valteira-san with you?"

"Hai, he's just outside," said Filia.

"He can come in if he wants," Sylphiel offered.

"I'll go and get him," said Filia as she walked outside.

Filia found her son leaning against the house's brick wall.

"Val?" said Filia.

"Hai?" he asked.

"Why don't you come in?" she asked.

Valteira shrugged. "Fine."

He followed his mother inside and found nearly everybody assembled in the main hall, except for the one person that he so wanted to see.

"Where's Amelia-san?" he asked.

Lina answered him by saying, "She's upstairs resting."

Valteira sighed. "Oh, I see."

Lina raised an eyebrow at the young man. 'Does Val have a thing for Amelia?'

"Would you like to see her?" Sylphiel asked him.

Valteira's eyes brightened at the suggestion and said, "Hai!"

Sylphiel smiled at him and then led him upstairs to where Amelia was resting.

Once they were inside the room, Sylphiel closed the door behind her and let them be alone.

As soon as Sylphiel was gone, Valteira looked at Amelia's sleeping form and sighed.

I wish that she liked me back. I wonder what it's like to kiss her, Valteira thought sneakily as he walked up to the bed that Amelia was sleeping and planted a small kiss on her lips.

Valteira then pulled back a little saddened. Well, what did I expect. She's not exactly going to be responsive if she's asleep.

Valteira looked down at Amelia and then noticed that she was waking up.

Amelia slowly opened her eyes and was greeted by warm, golden eyes.

"How are you feeling, Amelia-san?" Valteira asked her.

Amelia looked at the unfamiliar surroundings and then back at Valteira.

"Where am I, Valteira-san?" she asked, confused.

"You're in Sylphiel-san's home. You didn't know?" he asked her.

Amelia shook her head and said, "Iie."

Valteira moved away from the bed and said, "Something funny is going on."

Amelia looked at him, befuddled and said, "Huh?"

"Wait here and I'll go and see what's going on," he told her as he went back downstairs.

As soon as he was downstairs, he walked up to Sylphiel.

"Sylphiel-san?" he said.

"Hai, Valteira-san?" she asked, curiously.

"Amelia-san just woke up and is wondering why she is here," he said.

Sylphiel sighed and said, "Zelgadis-san and Lina-san brought Amelia-san here because this morning they both found her near death. Nobody knows what could have caused it though. I cast a Resurrection spell over her and that's why she's fine now."

Valteira looked at her with understanding. "I see. I'll go and tell Amelia-san."

Amelia patiently waited for Valteira to return.

Why did I feel so flushed when I saw him in here? I can't like him! I'm married and yet...I don't think I care for Zelgadis-sama like that anymore. I sense that the flame of romance in our marriage has been blown out. I believe that Zelgadis-sama doesn't love me anymore. Valteira-san was right all along. I will ask Zelgadis-sama if he wants to annul the marriage, due to the lack of romantic love in our relationship. We really do behave more like brother and sister than anything else. I will ask Valteira-san to send up Zelgadis-sama for the annulment. I will not keep in something we both do not want, thought Amelia.

Amelia turned her head to the bedroom's door and saw Valteira coming through.

"Well? What was the reason?" Amelia asked him.

"You were sick, so Lina-san and Zelgadis-san brought you here to be healed by Sylphiel-san," Valteira explained to her simply.

"I see. Valteira-san, could you do me a favor?" Amelia asked.

"Sure, Amelia-san," he replied.

"Could you get my husband and bring him up here to me. I need to discuss something important with him," she told him.

Valteira nodded. "Very well." He then left the room to go and get Zelgadis.

Once he was back downstairs, he walked up to Zelgadis.

"Zelgadis-san?" he said.

"Hai?" asked Zelgadis.

"Amelia-san wishes to see you," said Valteira.

"Alright," he said as he followed Valteira upstairs.

Once they reached the inside of the room, Amelia looked at her husband with an expressionless face.

"Valteira-san?" she said.

"Hai, Amelia-san?" he asked.

"Would you wait outside the room? I'll let Zelgadis-sama know when to permit you," said Amelia.

"Hai, Amelia-san," Valteira replied as he left the room and closed the door behind him.

As soon as Valteira was gone, Zelgadis turned to his wife.

"You needed to speak with me?" he asked her.

"Hai. Please sit down," she told him.

Zelgadis complied, grabbed a chair and put it right next to the bed that she was in. He then sat down in it and waited for Amelia to speak.

"Zelgadis-sama, I am not sure if you have thought about this, but first, I need to know one thing," she said.

"Which is?" he pressed on.

Amelia took a deep breath and asked, "Do you still love me in a romantic way?"

Zelgadis' face paled at the question.

"I want an honest answer," she said, gently.

"Iie," he said.

Amelia closed her eyes and said, "I thought so."

"And you?" he asked her.

"Iie," she replied.

"What do we do about it then?" he asked her.

"I would suggest that we got an annulment," she told him.

"But that would take a while, Amelia," he pointed out.

"In normal standards, yes, but since I am a princess of Seyruun. I have certain privileges, which include self-annulment marriages," she said.

Zelgadis' eyes widened. "You can do that?"

Amelia smiled at him and said, "Hai!"

"But how does it work exactly?" he asked her.

"All I have to do is when we go home, I take our marriage certificate and burn it," she said.

"That simple?" he asked her.

"That simple," she confirmed.

"Well then, we can actually do it right now," he said with a small blush.

"What do you mean by that?" she asked.

"Don't even ask why, but I've been carrying our marriage certificate in one of cape pockets," he told her.

Amelia didn't even want to know and instead asked, "Take it out and let me see it."

Zelgadis did so and gave it to Amelia. Amelia looked at it carefully and then formed a small, match like fireball from her finger and burned it.

"Here. Take it and put it in the fireplace," she instructed.

Zelgadis took the burning piece of paper and threw it into the fireplace.

"Would you like me to go and get Val now?" he asked her.

"Hai, Zelgadis-san," she said with a small smile.

He smiled back at her and then went outside to get Valteira.

"Oi, Val?" he said.

"Hai?" Valteira asked.

"Amelia's ready for you," he told the young ryuzoku.

"Arigato," he said to Zelgadis as he made his way into the room.

Once back inside the room, Valteira walked over to Amelia and noticed that her face was radiating with a large smile, which in Valteira's opinion, increased her beauty.

"You wanted to speak with me as well, Amelia-san?" he asked her as he sat down in the chair next to the bed that she was in.

"Hai. While you were out there Zelgadis-san and I were annulling our marriage," she said.

Valteira looked at her with shock in his eyes. "Why did you do that?"

Amelia smiled at him. "Because I don't love him anymore nor does he love me anymore."

His eyes widened. "If this is true, then that means..."

Amelia smiled at him even more and said, "You now have a chance."

Valteira looked at Amelia nervously and asked, "Do you like me?"

"I don't know. Why don't we find out?" she said, mischievously.

Valteira's eyes widened even further when Amelia had grabbed him by his collar and kissed him passionately. He responded enthusiastically.

Once they pulled away from each other, Amelia grinned at him.

"Does that answer your question?" she asked him, innocently.

Valteira didn't trust his mouth to say anything, so he nodded instead.

"Let's go downstairs," said Amelia as she got out of the bed and walked out of the room with Valteira following close behind.

Once they reached the main hall downstairs, Xellos and Filia were about ready to leave.

"Val, we're going now," Filia told her son.

"Alright, okasan," he replied as he followed her and Xellos out the door.

As soon as they were gone, Zelgadis turned his attention onto Amelia.

"You need to go home, young lady, or father will be severely pissed off," he said with an impish grin.

"Hai!" she said as she walked outside to the carriage that had brought her there and entered it.

Zelgadis walked up to the driver and said, "Bring her to the Seyruun royal palace."

The driver nodded at him and took off with Amelia in the carriage.

Zelgadis then walked back inside the house just in time to see Lina waiting for him with her arms crossed.

"Aren't you coming with me?" she asked him.

"Of course I am, koi," he told her with a grin and then walked up to her and kissed her left cheek.

Lina blushed and said, "Come on. Let's say goodbye to Sylphiel and Gourry."

Zelgadis nodded and then followed Lina into the kitchen where they found Sylphiel and Gourry cooking.

"Oi!" Lina said loudly.

Sylphiel turned around to the see the source of the voice and saw Lina standing in the kitchen.

"Hai, Lina-san?" she asked her.

"Zel and I wanted to thank you and Gourry for letting us come by," she said.

"My pleasure. Anything to help my friends," said Sylphiel with a cheerful smile.

"Arigato once more, Sylphiel and we'll be seein' ya!" Lina exclaimed jovially as she walked out of the house with Zelgadis.

Once they were away from Sylphiel's home, Zelgadis gave her a curious look.

"So, where do we go from here?" he asked her.

"Don't know, Zel. Maybe we can go cure hunting, if you still want to that is," she said.

"Of course I still want to! Why wouldn't I want to get my body back to normal?" he asked her.

"Oi, oi! It's up to you, Zel. I just personally think that you don't need one," she said with a small blush.

"Why don't you think I need one?" he asked.

"I already think that you're handsome the way you are," she said, blushing even more at that point in time.

Zelgadis blushed as well. "You really think that?"

"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't," she pointed out.

"Ah," he replied.

"Still want a cure?" she asked him.

"Yes, but I think I'll live without it if you don't mind me being like this," he said to her.

"Great! Now where to go first..." said Lina as she and Zelgadis began to decide on their many adventures to come.

In the heavens, L-sama watched her world happily.

"It seems as though everything turned out for the best, but it's not over yet my chosen ones. It's only the beginning," she said with a mischievous smile as she disappeared into the wind.


There is a sequel planned for this, so the characters that weren't mentioned as much in this story will be mentioned by far more in the next one, which will be entitled Slayers After. I hope that you have enjoyed my second attempt at a Slayers story and ja ne!