Zelas let out a puff of smoke and admired the scenery as Xelloss filled her in.
"So. the Inverse girl has the ring now?" she asked, biting her lower lip a little.
"Yes, Juuou-sama. and she's with the Princess of Seyruun and the Chimera," he affirmed, his eyes hidden in the shadows of his bangs, his mouth curled upwards in a wry smile.
The Beastmaster gazed at her priest, chuckling a little.
"This is indeed a rather unexpected turn of events, Xelloss."
"I'm aware of it, yes."
She couldn't help herself and grinned widely.
"Let them believe it if you want, let her keep the ring, destroy it if necessary, but do not let the other Mazoku lords get it. Understood?"
The Trickster priest's grin widened, and he nodded.
"Yes Juuou-sama, as you wish."
Then he teleported out of Zelas' throneroom, leaving her to stare at the floor, a slight smirk on her lips as she blew out more smoke from that cigarette of hers.
The chimera and the princess weren't slow to jump out of the way as Lina threw a small fireball at the ring which she had thrown into the air.
"ITAI!" Amelia exclaimed and threw herself to the ground, while Zel sought refuge behind a chair, while Lina simply smiled as the ring was the centre of a blazing inferno.
Then, after a few seconds, Lina stared wide-eyed at the ring which clattered to the floor.
"Huh?!?! It should have melted!"
The two others turned to look at the ring, and Amelia was just as surprised as Lina.
"You can't destroy that ring like that! It's a Mazoku ring!" Zel shouted furiously at Lina, who arched an eyebrow at him.
"Weeeell, excuuuuse me!" she snorted, then shrieked as Amelia reached for the ring.
"Miss Lina, you should really be more careful!"
To Lina and Zelgadiss' surprise Amelia picked the ring up.
"Hey, isn't that thing hot??" the sorceress demanded, then grabbed for the ring. But on the contrary, the ring was cold, as if she never had thrown the fireball at it. Yet. it seemed different.
"Wait a minute, there's writings on it!"
"Where?" the chimera prompted and got up and over to Lina, watching the ring carefully.
"I think I can make it out." Lina said, then read with a steady voice:20
"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them...?"
At the same moment Zelgadiss sighed.
"If I remember correctly from Rezo's books, that verse was from a poem about the ring. I can't recall the rest of it though.."
There was a moment of silence, then a voice came from behind them.
"But I do!"
The three of them let out a startled gasp, and Lina tumbled off the bed and into Amelia and Zelgadiss, only to find herself staring at an annoyingly smiling face.
"Happy to see me, Lina-chan?" the Mazoku smiled innocently, earning a frown from the chimera.
"You! What are you doing here?" he demanded as he pushed Lina away from him and stood up to glare down at Xelloss, who still kept on smiling that trademark smile of his.
"Sore wa himitsu desu!"
"Argh, why the hell do you always say that?" shrieked Zel along with Lina and Amelia, but Xelloss only waggled his finger while winking.
"Now now Zelgadiss-san, you ought to watch your temper."
Zelgadiss didn't like this at all, the last thing he needed was this. this lunatic to scold him! Just as he was about to attack Xelloss in attempt to strangle him, he was held back by Lina, who held onto his cape, and Amelia, who clung to his leg.
Calm down Zel!! L-sama!!" Lina cussed and yanked him back, then turned to the Mazoku.
"Now stop fooling around Xelloss, we know you always pop up when you have an underlying motive."
"Yare yare, Lina-chan! Why do you always suspect such things? Aren't I allowed to stop by saying hi to some old friends?" he commented, acting hurt with a mock expression on his face.
"Baka." Zelgadiss muttered, and Xelloss grinned, feeding of the negative emotions from the Chimera. How they did right in doubting him. Never the less, he would get what he wanted. And best of all, they couldn't blame him for it! And in the end, Juuou-sama would get her ring back too.
"Xelloss, either state your reason for being here or get toasted by a fireball. The choice is yours," Lina threatened. Such fire in those eyes.
"I certainly wouldn't mind a fireball, but I guess I'll have to tell you why I'm here." Xelloss said, tilting his head forward to his bangs shielded his eyes from their view.
"I'm here to help you to get rid of the ring."
The three other stared at the Mazoku, and Lina spoke.
"Why? Wouldn't your master want you to kill Lina and get the ring back?" she demanded while giving him a warning glare that she was in a fireball-mood.
"Weeeeell," Xelloss started and propped himself on the bed, laying his staff in his lap once he was settled, "she fears of course that mortals like yourself shall abuse it."
"Abuse it? But I was only getting myself a free dinner!" Lina growled, earning a chuckle from Xelloss.
"Lina-chan, I'm not sure, but I think Juuou-sama is more worried about other things the ring might be used for."
Then he continued.
"But you came up with a good solution to the problem too. if it's destroyed, it's powers can't be abused, ne?"
"You still haven't answered our question," Zelgadiss prompted.
"Aaah, you see, the other Mazoku is also looking for the ring. My master knows that the other Mazoku lords are seeking the ring too, and they're not intending to give it back once they find it. In the end, she'd rather sacrifice it than letting them get it first."
"NOOOOO!!!" Lina cried out and leapt back, holding the ring.
There was a pause. Lina stared, clutching the ring in her fist. They stared back, wondering what had clicked in her brain.
"Uh. I. you're not here to steal it?" Lina finally asked, the others eyes fixed on her as she seemed to calm down at the sudden outburst.
"No Lina-chan, calm down," Xelloss smiled reassuringly, or rather, his usual smile.
"But the question is," Zelgadiss interrupted, "how do we destroy it?"
"Ah, I'm glad you asked that question, Zelgadiss!" the Mazoku grinned, looking over at the Chimera.
"The ring can only be destroyed in the fire from which it was forged!"
Amelia cleared her voice before asking.
"And where is that, Xelloss-san?"
The Mazoku turned his head to look over at her, then opened his eyes, cold amethyst which stared right into her soul.
"The oven in Juuou-sama's kitchen of course!"
"WHAT? In an ordinary bake oven? How can you forge a ring in a bake oven?!?!" Lina half shrieked and threw her arms wide.
Xelloss had now closed his eyes again and turned back to Lina, his usual cheery self again.
"You forget what she cooks in there Lina."
"What? Wait, I don't even wanna know." Zelgadiss cut in, making a slight grimace at the thought of the kitchen of a Mazoku lord.
Xelloss just giggled, then clapped his hands.
"So it's settled! Tomorrow morning we start on the journey!"
"But. can't you just teleport us there or something?" inquired Amelia, rather unsure.
"Amelia-chan, now where's the fun in that?" he grinned in response.
"Besides, how do we know this isn't one of his traps?" the Chimera added, narrowing his eyes at Xelloss.
Lina sighed, then nodded.
"Okay, tomorrow. Tomorrow we're leaving."
Chapter 4 | Fanfiction