NEWS FLASH! Nepha the Preppy Princess!
Zelgadis takes on a heavy burden in Feli. . .
Hey! It’s me, Lina Inverse! Wow, things are really going great! We finally beat Rezo, lost Amelia, and we’ve continued on our way! Zelgadis has gone, he’s on his own now, and I wonder what’s happened to him.NEWS FLASH! Nepha the Preppy Princess!
Right now, we’re on our way to the kingdom of Feli. Sounds like great fun, don’t it?
I can’t wait to see this place! Feli is supposed to be huge!!
Oh, enough of this history lesson. Let’s get this show on the road!
It had been a while since the death of Zolf and Rodimus, and the defeat of Shabranigdo was far behind. Zelgadis Graywords was walking down a beaten path solemnly, his sad blue eyes focused on the ground in front of him.
“Strange, how things work out,” he stated quietly. “After everything, I am alone again. I never thought my life would be this way, not even after Zoey and I. . .”
He stopped, looking up. Several knights from the kingdom of Feli, cat-like creatures called Felinics, stood before him. Each one had swords (though that wasn’t what Zelgadis feared), and an apparently powerful wizard stood before them. The wizard, however, wasn’t Felinic, but human.
“There he is!” said one guard.
“Yes, that is him,” stated the wizard in a monotone voice. “That is Zelgadis Graywords.”
Zelgadis took a step back, his eyes narrowed and his sword drawn.
“Who are you?” he growled. “What do you want from me?”
“My name is Vrumugun. We are going to take you back to Sairaag. There, someone waits for you,” answered the wizard.
“Over my dead body!” snapped the chimera. He held out his hand, which glowed with energy. “FIREBALL!!”
He leapt out of the way as the ball of fire struck the ground in front of his attackers. Then, he ran.
*Why are you running, Zelgadis?!* he asked himself, sprinting at almost his top speed. *Oh yeah. . .wizard. . .black arts and shamanistic magic DON’T mix. . .always wondered how Rezo kept those powers from contradicting each other. . .that Vrumugun probably could’ve killed me. . .*
He continued running, not knowing where he was headed, knowing that if he stopped, he could be killed. Even though he knew he had lost them, he kept running. No use stopping now. . .
“Hey, Gourry?” questioned Lina Inverse, stretching as she walked next to the tall swordsman.
“Yeah?” Gourry Gabriev said in response.
“Ever wonder what happened to Zelgadis?” Lina asked.
Gourry nodded. Suddenly, a blur ran out of the woods. It slammed into Lina, and stopped when it heard her shocked cry.
“What the. . .?” Gourry stammered in shock.
Lina rubbed her head after she sat up, thinking hard.
*There’s only one thing _I_ know of that could run into you that fast and feel like a boulder,* she thought, her head still spinning. *Zelgadis!*
She looked up, finding the chimera in mention. He was breathing heavily, on the brink of collapsing, hands on his knees and head down. It was obvious he had been running for quite a while.
“L...Lina. . .” he stammered. “Thank. . .thank the gods I found you,” he breathed. “I. . .I. . .”
Zelgadis fell to his knees, still struggling to catch his breath.
He felt a horrid pain in his chest, like someone was ripping his lungs and heart out with their bare hands. He had no idea how long he had been running, he only knew he had been.
“Zel, what happened?!” cried Lina, shocked that Zelgadis was this tired, since he rarely got worn down. “Are you okay?”
“I. . .I’ll be fine. . .” Zelgadis whispered, clutching his chest. His breath was coming back, but the pain in his chest remained. “I just. . .need to rest. . .”
With those words, he collapsed.
“Zelgadis? Hey, Zelgadis, wake up!”
Lina was tapping Zelgadis’s face, unsure if he actually felt it. Finally, the chimera opened his eyes and blinked.
“Ohhhh. . .my chest feels like someone just sliced it open. . .” he groaned.
“What happened?” asked Gourry. “Why were you running?”
“Some strange wizard, named Vrumugun,” Zelgadis answered, staring at the sky above. “He wanted to take me to Sairaag, and said someone was waiting there for me.”
“Yeah, we’ve met him,” sighed Lina. “C’mon, let’s get moving. Just in case the GOON patrol shows up again.” She smiled a little. “We’re on our way to the kingdom of Feli right now.”
Zelgadis nodded and stood, his strength returning to him as he felt the solid ground beneath his feet. Once again traveling with Lina? Ironic.
In Feli, things were going pretty much like they usually would. Royal processions, suitors coming to see the Princess, that sort of thing.
The princess, however, was less than pleased with the suitors there to try and win her hand.
Princess Nepha Elonsa of Feli, a young half-Felinic, wasn’t about to marry just any man who came along. She was waiting for someone special. . .the true holder of the Mystic Blade. But we won’t get into that now.
Suddenly, there was a loud explosion. Nepha was sitting in her bedroom in the castle. She looked out to see a large hoarde of soldiers from their neighboring and enemy kingdom, Kani. Jumping to her feet, she called down the steps.
“Guards!!” she yelled. “Guards, quickly! Kanics are attacking the city!!”
She looked back out the window as her pet tapii, Joko, jumped into her arms and chirped.
“We’ll stay here, Joko, where it’s safe,” she told it. “At least, I hope we will. . .”
“Oh, my God!” Zelgadis exclaimed. “What’s happening here?”
“Looks like someone’s attacking Feli!” Lina cried. “Should we help?”
“Well, of course we should,” Gourry voiced. “The Felinics are a peaceful race. They could be killed off in this!”
Inside, the city was packed with Felinics trying to avoid the spells and swords of the attacking Kanics. Lina and Zelgadis instantly put their skills to use.
“Flare arrow!” shouted Lina, throwing a flaming arrow at a group of Kanics.
“Blam BLAZER!” growled Zelgadis, casting the spell at another group.
“There’s no end to these guys!” Gourry cried as the Sword of Light cut through another Kanic.
“Zelgadis! You and Gourry get to the castle and get the royal family to safety. I’ll handle things here!” Lina instructed.
Zelgadis nodded and ran off, Gourry following closely behind.
“Looks like the Kanics are already here,” Zelgadis said, looking at the castle. He looked for a moment at the large, thick wooden door blocking their path. “I’ll get us in.”
“I could cut through it. . .” Gourry tried to say.
“No time,” Zelgadis interrupted.
The chimera lowered his head a little, closing his eyes. Then, he took off at his top speed, jumped, and slammed his shoulder into the door! It shattered like glass against his stone skin.
“Nice job,” chuckled Gourry.
Zelgadis hadn’t heard. He had already entered the castle walls.
“The queen will pay a hefty ransom for this one,” laughed a Kanic.
He and a few of his comrades were inside Nepha’s room, and had the half-Felinic backed against a corner.
Nepha’s ears were laid flat against her head and her tail was fluffed as poofy as it could get. She was shaking, terrified. The door was closed, locked. There was no escape. . .
Suddenly, someone burst through the door, shattering it as if it had merely been glass or ice. That same person cast a Blam Blazer and obliterated the Kanics in the room.
Nepha sat with her mouth agape and green eyes wide, her ears now perked and her tail swishing curiously. When the silver haired young man turned to her, however, she gasped in shock. A chimera!
“Who are you? What do you want?” she pleaded, still a little shaken from her encounter.
“I’m here to save you,” Zelgadis responded. He grabbed her wrist. “C’mon, follow me!”
As they ran into the hall, they realized they were blocked by a fire.
“Oh, no. . .” groaned Nepha. “It’s good that I gave Joko to Mom. . .”
When she least expected it, Zelgadis scooped her into his arms.
“We’re going to have to take another way out,” he told her, then ran back into her room and kicked out the window!
“Are you mad?!” Nepha cried. “We’re 11 stories up!!”
“You’ll be fine,” Zelgadis told her.
As he jumped, Nepha managed to blurt:
“But what about you?!. . .”
Gourry, in the meanwhile, had managed to get Queen Arial Odema of Feli out, along with Nepha’s tapii Joko.
“Oh, my daughter!” she cried worriedly, watching the burning tower. “I pray she got out safely!”
“I’m sure Zel got to her in time, your majesty,” Gourry comforted with a smile. “Lina can handle that fire.”
Deep in the woods, Nepha was seriously objecting to the fact that Zelgadis was carrying her about.
“I will not tolerate being carried around like luggage by a chimera!!” shouted the young princess. “I demand you release me at once!”
“No problem,” grinned Zelgadis with a hint of sarcasm.
He dropped his arms, in turn dropping Nepha. She landed hard, crying out, but instantly got back to her feet, fiery eyes shooting sparks at the grinning chimera.
“Just who do you think you are, treating me like that?!” she growled. “Do you have any idea who I am?!”
“I think -- no, I know I am Zelgadis, and my idea of you is that you are an overly pampered royal brat named Nepha who obviously can’t accept the real world,” stated Zelgadis. “Now, I’m only gonna tell you this once. Do not presume to order me around, unless you want me to leave you to those Kanics to use for ransom and destroy your kingdom. Understood?”
Nepha blinked, shocked. No one had ever talked to her like that. However, in the end, she nodded in compliance. It was him or death, and in her own mind, she was realizing that this guy wasn’t that bad. . .
“Zelgadis has been missing for hours now,” sighed Lina, looking around. “Where could he be? I hope he and the princess weren’t hurt.”
“Aw, they’re probably fine,” chuckled Gourry. “Zel’s tough. You know he’d be able to fight his way out of just about anything.”
“But I’m mostly worried about Princess Nepha. She could be hurt, or worse!” she countered. “I mean. . .”
“Lina, stop thinking such bad things,” Gourry interrupted, poking Lina’s nose. “They’ll be fine, I know it.”
Nepha followed closely behind Zelgadis, her eyes focused on the back of his head. Every one of his features was easily recognizable. Midnight blue eyes, marble-like turquoise skin, stone plates that appeared to be made of blue-green granite breaking the smooth texture here and again. His hair was a silvery color, and a wire-like texture. He was quiet, and very calm. Much too serious.
“Um. . .Zelgadis, is it? I was wondering. . .you bear a slight resemblance to the Red Priest, Rezo,” Nepha finally spoke up. “Are you, perhaps, related to him?”
“He’s my grandfather,” responded Zelgadis quietly. “I never knew my grandmother well.”
Nepha swallowed hard. Was there nothing she could say that could break this stifling silence? Her pure white ears laid back against her head, looking nervous. Zelgadis very quiet, a little too quiet for her own liking. It was nerve-wrecking.
Suddenly, Zelgadis’ hand shot out, stopping Nepha mid-stride.
“What?” questioned Nepha. “What is it?”
“We’re surrounded,” Zelgadis responded quietly. “Kanics.”
He stood straight, drawing his sword and waiting. Finally, Kanics leapt from bushes in every direction. Nepha gasped in shock.
“Oh, no!” she cried.
Zelgadis was, in a few minutes, a little surprised. As he fought off the Kanics, Nepha added in a lot as well. She was, in reality, a highly talented sorceress.
But not even that was enough. Some of the Kanics were highly skilled themselves. Then, when all seemed lost, the Kanics appeared to be put under a huge mind control spell! Zelgadis and Nepha lifted their heads to two figures walking out of the woods. Male and female, obviously identical twins. The taller of the two, the male, smiled faintly.
“I see you two are having some small problems,” he stated.
Nepha raised a brow, but Zelgadis spoke.
“Who are you?” he questioned.
The male twin chuckled a bit, then smiled just a little wider.
“Ah, you needn’t worry about us. You can trust us. You see, I am Xellos, mysterious priest, and the girl with me is my twin sister, Xella, mysterious priestess,” he responded, closing his eyes as he introduced he and his sister.
“These Kanics shouldn’t be causing you any more trouble,” stated Xella, “for now.”
She raised a free hand, the other holding a staff, and snapped her fingers. They Kanics lifted their heads a little and walked off into the foliage, back towards their own kingdom. Nepha looked at them.
“You’re a priest. . .and a priestess? Twins, right?” she questioned.
“Correct,” Xellos responded with a curteous bow. “We are, in fact, identical twins.”
“Why did you help us?” Zelgadis growled lowly.
“We’d hate to see a fellow grandchild of a priest be killed,” Xella said. “All in all, I’d say we did well.”
“Come, Xella,” Xellos suddenly said, his face oddly grim. “We shouldn’t linger in the open for too long.”
Xella nodded, then followed her brother into the shadows.
“. . .Okay. . .”
Lina was pacing now as they waited for word from their chimera friend and the princess he was with.
“I hope HE didn’t decide to use her for ransom!!” she stated.
“I’m sure he didn’t,” chuckled Gourry. “He’s probably just. . .tryin’ his hardest to get back here.”
Strong coincidence. As he spoke, Nepha and Zelgadis walked out of the woods! Nepha, seeing her mother with Gourry and Lina, ran up to her and hugged her.
“Nepha, dear, I was so worried about you!” Queen Arial cried.
“I’ve missed you too, Mom,” chuckled Nepha.
“Well, this happy reunion is over,” Lina smiled. “C’mon, you two, let’s go. . .”
As they were starting to walk away, Nepha stopped them.
“Wait,” she said, “I’d like to come with you.”
Looks were exchanged.
“What does your mother think?” questioned Zelgadis.
Nepha looked at Arial, who smiled.
“You have to find him, Nepha, and he’s obviously not in Feli. You have my permission,” she responded.
“That settles it!” Lina smiled. “You’re comin’ with us, Nepha!”
As they walked off, Zelgadis thought to himself.
Woohoo! On the road again, and with a new friend! I wonder what other new and exciting adventures await us ahead. . .
To Be Continued!
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