JUMP! But Watch Out, It's A Long Way Down!
Is Gourry in LOVE with LINA?!
Well, all things considered, we’ve been through some pretty rough times. Here recently, Zelgadis cast a deadly ancient spell called Demon Claw, and ended up accidentally hitting Nepha!! To make things worse, while he, Zoey, Netalia, and Tannah were in the kingdom of Mythica, an immortal Felinic named Jana showed up and tried to kill them!JUMP! But Watch Out, It's A Long Way Down!
Good ol’ Vrumugun showed up about then, but only succeeded in having his Pyrestone shattered, which -- in turn -- killed him. Netalia managed to use the most powerful spell a Phoenix can use, called Phoenix Pyre, to incinerate Jana’s body. She’ll be back, though.
Now, we’re about to arrive in Feli again, on our trip BACK towards Seyruun! Let’s get going! ~_^
Lina Inverse yawned wearily as she and her companions walked along the path that led to the peaceful kingdom of Feli, Princess Nepha of Feli’s homeland. She glanced over at Gourry Gabriev, who looked as if he was about to fall asleep walking. She smiled slightly for a reason unbeknownst to her, and looked back at the path ahead of her.
Netalia, the young half-Felinic phoenix who no more than two days before had lost her father, lagged behind the whole group, her bushy gray tail swaying unsteadily.
To Lina’s right, Zelgadis Graywords had begun carrying Nepha, who had gone to her cat form and fallen asleep in his arms. Zoey Graywords walked a little behind her brother, following quietly. The young femme chimera suddenly got the feeling they were being followed. . .
“Who’s there?” she shouted into the coming darkness behind them.
The rest of the group stopped and looked as well. Out of the shadows came four figures. Enemies? Far from it!
Link of Hyrule, Great Sorceress Auburn Lawrence, Great One Jersey Whyte, and Great Enchantress Jette Matthews stood there!
“What’re you guys doing here?” asked Lina.
“Aside from the fact that we’re looking for two books these two nut girls claim exist, nothing,” sighed Link.
Auburn stuck her tongue out at her charge, mysterious green eyes flashing behind tortoiseshell rimmed glasses.
“A... friend of mine suggested we search for the Claire Bible manuscripts, to help with a current crisis in Hyrule,” she explained.
“There’s a different book someone I know told me about,” Jette mentioned, “that could help out as well.”
“I’m not gonna bother asking,” grumbled Jersey, “who told you two about this stuff.”
Jette was about to say something, but was instantly quieted by a fireball whizzing past her face. The group looked up to find that Jana had returned!!
*I really, REALLY hate immortals...* Lina thought to herself as she cast an Elmekia Lance at the Felinic.
Jana easily dodged, laughing at the futile efforts of the group before her. She cast two more fireballs and continued to laugh. It was then that Gourry noticed something: all her attacks were aimed at Lina!!
“Foolish mortals!” she hissed. “I can’t be killed that easily!”
Auburn was hit with a fireball, but the hit barely phased the Gerudo. She leapt up in retaliation, preparing to fire an Elmekia Lance, when...
“Wha...?!” she managed to blurt.
Without warning, the spell went TOTALLY haywire!! Auburn gasped, but couldn't keep the spell from heading towards where it was going to go... RIGHT towards Gourry.
It was only after she realized THIS that she realized one fiery red-headed sorceress was running towards Gourry as fast as she could. At this speed, she managed to shove Gourry out of the way... and be hit herself.
Gourry was still dazed at what had happened when a girl with long, wavy, mahogany colored hair leapt in front of him and started casting spells at Jana. Another girl was with her, with long blond hair tied in a ponytail, a sword held in her hands.
"Cover me, Lenny!" she called to a young man who was a little shorter than Gourry, with short cut blond hair.
“Gotcha, Gabriel!” he responded.
For several minutes, it was no more than a huge fight, when finally the two blond haired sword swingers managed to help the auburn haired sorceress drive off the Felinic witch. The girl walked up to Gourry, followed by the guy.
“Lenny?” questioned Gourry. “Gabriel?”
The two were Leonard (Lenny) Gabriev, Gourry's older brother, and Gabriel Gabriev, Gourry's little sister.
“Who’s the girl?”
Gourry turned his head towards where Gabriel's gaze was aimed, and gasped at the sight before him.
“LINA!!” he cried. “Lina, NO!”
Somehow, Gourry got the strength to jump to his feet and run over to Lina, cradling her small form in his arms.
The mahogany haired girl, Kioko Inverse, ran over and watched quietly, her cerulean colored eyes wide and glittering with tears. She was the younger of Lina’s two older sisters, Luna Inverse being the oldest.
“Oh no...” breathed Nepha from her current place beside Zelgadis. “Oh, Gourry...”
“Lina!!” Gourry sobbed out. “Lina, answer me!”
He held the petite sorceress a bit tighter, but her body was limp. Her flesh was still warm, but her breath was shallow and weak.
“I--is...” Kioko whispered. “Is Lina all right?”
“No,” murmured the swordsman in response. “No, she isn’t.”
He was supporting Lina’s tiny frame with one arm, using his other hand first to brush her fiery red locks out of her face, then to brush away the cold beads of sweat that stood out on her face.
Auburn ran over worriedly, tears streaming down her face.
“Gourry... I’m sorry, I’m so sorry...” she managed. “The spell backfired, I didn’t mean to...”
Without warning, Jersey grabbed Auburn’s shoulder and shoved her roughly against a tree.
“Lying Gerudo witch!!” he shouted, tears in his eyes. “You’re a crafty one, tricking us like that, but you slipped up! You knew that would hit Lina, didn’t you?!” By now, Auburn was crying so hard, she couldn’t answer, so Jersey shoved her again. “Didn’t you?!”
Jette pulled Jersey back in an instant.
“Jersey, stop that!” ordered Jette. “If she had done it, would she be crying?!”
“Probably like Kenneth (note: he’s referring to Auburn’s half brother, Ganondorf’s son, the current Prince of the Gerudos),” growled Jersey, “really good at acting.”
Jette frowned at him, then turned to examine Auburn’s shoulder.
“By Din,” sighed Jette. “Look at these bruises.”
“I’m all right,” Auburn said quietly. “Just sore.”
“I don’t believe you,” Link muttered. “It’s bad enough this happened, Jersey, but to blame Auburn?” He sighed. “Gods. You know Auburn doesn’t lean that much towards her Gerudo side.”
Jersey lowered his head and turned his back as Gourry stood, Lina still in his arms.
“C’mon,” he said quietly. “Let’s get to Feli before nightfall.”
“By Farore!!” growled Jette angrily after talking to the captain of Feli’s royal guard, a tiger Felinic named Enteius Dae Vrentan. “The only decent shrine maiden in the whole damn city is Nepha’s human cousin, a deaf girl named Charoletta Paeton, and she’s out visiting her friend in what’s left of Sairaag named Sylphiel Nels Rada!!” She facefaulted. “When will she be back?”
“Tomorrow,” responded Enteius, pushing his dark orange bangs out of his face. “Miss Sylphiel is coming back with her.”
“Great,” breathed Jette in a sigh of relief. “Lina’s gonna be just fine, then.”
“What happened to Miss Lina anyhow?” Enteius questioned, his ears perked slightly. “She had some pretty rough injuries.”
“An immortal Felinic named Jana,” sighed Jette.
Enteius was more curious than ever now, but what could you expect from a cat?
“A Felinic?” he inquired. “I wonder why?”
“Well, actually, it was Auburn,” Jette explained, “by accident. ‘That time of the month’ kinda struck, and she couldn’t use her magic, so when she was casting the spell, the magic went haywire and hit Lina!” She sighed again. “But most of Jana’s attacks were aimed towards Lina.”
“Oh,” sighed Enteius. “That sucks.”
Gourry looked down at Lina, who seemed to be so... peaceful. She wasn’t asleep, she had been in this damned coma for days. It wasn’t like Lina... wasn’t like her at all. Lina was the tough one. She was supposed to sit up, look at him, laugh and tell him it was all some stupid joke. Some stupid joke...
No, not this time. She wasn’t going to get up. All the times he had sworn to Lina he thought she was immortal, all the times he had convinced himself this. A charade he kept up to avoid being bothered by the others. An idiot? No, but he would never tell Lina all he knew and remembered. What sometimes made him wonder was that it was her fiery temper and bright spirit that kept him thinking she was so damned incredible.
He sighed and sat down, looking at Lina’s still form. He still thought she looked like she was asleep, like she would wake up any minute now, smile, and say, “Hey Gourry, you look blue. What’s up?”
No. No, not this time. He was starting to wonder if he had lost it. Lina beat up on him 24-7, how could she POSSIBLY be in love with him? How could HE love someone who treated him like she did? He didn't care, though. Somewhere, deep in his tormented heart, he knew that Lina cared, so he cared too.
“I must be crazy,” he told her quietly. “We started off as no more than acquaintances, and now, I’m admitting I'm in love with you? Strange world...” He sighed. “You always saw me as the dim-witted swordsman with a marshmallow heart... at least the swordsman part and beyond is true. I’m not as stupid as I act, Lina-chan, and I know you know it too.” He looked at her face for a long moment before continuing. “You can’t die on me, Lina-chan, I need you. You know I do, Lina-chan. I hid from my own affections by using a cloak of idiocy... a cloak I never seemed to want to drop. But you saw through it where others didn’t. You acted differently around me. Lina-chan...” He took her hand without even knowing it, gently kissing her knuckles. “Don’t leave me now, Lina-chan.”
He placed her hand back on the bed beside her and stood to leave. As he walked out the door, Lenny and Gabriel watched silently.
“Look at him,” sighed Gabriel. “He’s so lonely. He really does love her.”
“That’s Gourry for ya,” sighed Lenny. “He’s no idiot, but he sure acts it.”
“What if Lina dies?” Gabriel suddenly asked, turning abruptly to her oldest brother. “What will Gourry do?”
“The logical thing,” sighed Lenny sadly. “He’ll kill himself.”
Jana snarled angrily as she contemplated her earlier defeat, to two Gabrievs and an Inverse. Well, she had managed to take out that little red-headed witch... Without her, getting to Netalia would be much easier.
She heard a slight rapping at the door and opened it to find a young Felinic man with tan fur and brown hair. His eyes were a stunning shade of blue, and he had a crafty smile on his face.
“You’re the one who wants the half-Felinic phoenix girl dead, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Who are you?” Jana questioned in response. “Tell me, and I may tell you what you want to know.”
“My name is Neitao Vwiskra, and I am the court sorcerer for the Royal House of Feli. It’s a good job to have, if you want a crack at the throne,” laughed the young man dryly. “I have a proposition for you.”
“Oh?” questioned Jana. “And what would that be, pray tell?”
“Lina Inverse isn’t dead,” stated Neitao, much to Jana’s dismay. “Now... you want Lina Inverse dead because you can easily get to the phoenix that way, I want Lina Inverse dead so I can get to the princess. If we join forces, we can get rid of her easily, and solve both our problems.”
“Yes, but Lina’s as good as dead,” smirked Jana.
“Not true,” said Neitao. “Two shrine maidens are coming. They’re very powerful, they can cast Resurrection. She won’t die.” He smiled devilishly. “First...”
“Yes?” asked Jana, curious now.
“We go after the shrine maidens.”
Sylphiel Nels Rada pushed her thick indigo colored bangs out of her eyes and laughed slightly, looking at the girl with the blue-green hair that was walking beside her named Charoletta Paeton. She signed something as she laughed again.
**Your cousin’s a strange one,** she signed. **Is she always that enthusiastic about things?**
**Sometimes,** Charoletta signed in response, smiling. **That’s Nepha for you.**
Suddenly, a flare arrow knocked the two off guard. Neitao stood in front of them, laughing demonically.
**Who’s that?** signed Sylphiel frantically.
Charoletta signed the word slowly, and narrowed her eyes to show Sylphiel that she didn’t like the guy.
“Wh--what do you want?” Sylphiel asked.
“To KILL you!” laughed Neitao.
He was distracted, however, by Charoletta... casting some sort of spell.
Then, she threw the spell at him. It was an Elmekia Lance!
Neitao instantly took that moment to flee.
**C’mon, there must be something wrong in Feli,** Charoletta quickly signed.
With that, the two started running towards the city.
That night, while everyone else was asleep, Gourry made a very important decision as he sat in the room with Lina and a now sleeping Kioko.
He was going to find Jana and kill her. They had been fighting her, Auburn had been attacking her when her magic went haywire. Jana was the cause, and he knew she would only cause more trouble if she was allowed to go on. He would stop her.
As he walked past the room where Nepha and Zelgadis were, he heard the door creep open. Turning, he saw Zelgadis standing there in his slacks.
“And just where are you running off to?” he asked.
“I’m going to find Jana,” Gourry stated quietly, “and I’m going to kill her.”
“You can’t go alone,” Zelgadis retorted. “She’s a sorceress. You’ll get killed!”
“I’m not doing this for me,” Gourry sighed, “I’m doing this for Lina.”
Zelgadis smiled inwardly.
*So,* he thought, *he really does love her.*
“If you go, I’m going with you,” he stated.
“You can’t,” stated Gourry. “Nepha’s here. You can’t just leave her.”
“Nepha will understand,” Zelgadis said calmly. “You’re my friend.”
“I don’t want you to go,” Gourry growled, starting to get frustrated. “If you get killed, I’ll never forgive myself.”
“I won’t get killed,” responded Zelgadis, his tone remaining calm, “and I’ll keep you from doing the same.”
“I suppose there’s no arguing with you,” Gourry sighed. “You’re coming, I guess.”
Zelgadis entered the room for a moment longer, then came back out with his tunic and cape on, his sword sheathed at his hip.
Then, door opened a little more and both men turned, to find Nepha standing in a long nightshirt.
“My love...” she said quietly, “you can’t go... You neither, Gourry.”
“Nepha...” Zelgadis uttered.
Nepha wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him. Zelgadis wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.
“You can’t, you just can’t...” she pleaded. “Zelgadis, I can’t find Mystic Blade. Jana might have it, she may know you’re coming.”
She had her bright green eyes focused on his face, but he was looking at the wall behind her.
“I’m going to help Gourry,” Zelgadis stated quietly, kissing her forehead. “I’m sorry.”
He let her go and walked away behind Gourry, as Nepha watched with tear-filled eyes the two men. Her tall friend and her beloved.
Being a princess, she had the powers of a Shrine Maiden aside her shamanistic abilities. She was a psychic.
Something was going to happen, something bad.
They would be hurt. Badly.
At the same time, elsewhere, Xellos Metallium was sound asleep in his bed. His twin sister Xella was across the hall, working on yet another experiment for their master, Zeras.
He heard the door creep open, and sat up wearily, expecting to find Xella, but instead finding someone completely different!
There stood the Ryuuzoku dragon named Valgarv!!
The two men stared at each other for the longest moment, before Xellos REALLY got mad...
“XELLA ANNABELLE METALLIUM!!”
The extremely loud shout of her name caused Xella to drop the beaker she was holding, shattering it against her desk.
The door swung open and Xellos shoved Valgarv inside.
“Oh... aheh... hello, brother...” Xella chuckled nervously.
“Xella,” Xellos growled, pointing at Valgarv, “what is THIS?!”
“Th--th--that’s a dragon...” responded Xella nervously. “His name is Valgarv.”
“I know that!!” shouted Xellos. “But what was he doing in my room?!”
“If it makes you feel any better, Xellos,” growled Valgarv, “I thought it was your sister’s room.”
The room went dead quiet. The tension in the room was thick, and Xella swallowed hard.
“You’ve been sleeping with this thing?!” shouted Xellos angrily.
“Well,” Xella said with a smile, “yeah...”
Netalia looked out the window wearily, her turquoise eyes glittering faintly in the moonlight. She heard the door creep open and turned, expecting to see yet another young palace guard, asking if she was all right and if she needed anything.
Instead, there stood a phoenix woman with long white hair and a sapphire gem.
“Who...” Netalia began.
“My name is Masago,” responded the phoenix. “I am your grandmother.”
Netalia opened her mouth to say something, then closed it for lack of words.
Finally, she managed to speak.
“Why are you here?”
“You’ll learn, child... all in due time.”
And with that, she and Netalia were gone.
As Gourry and Zelgadis drew closer to Jana’s hideout, they grew more and more antsy. What would the sorceress have in store for them? What would she do? Would she kill them? Would she toy with them first?
Would either of them survive?
In Gourry’s mind, he kept thinking about Lina. Her eyes, her hair, her personality... he kept that in mind. That would keep him alive, he would fight through and win. He would survive, because he loved Lina.
Zelgadis, however, did not think. He kept his mind clear. As his old friend Rodimus had once told him, ‘Clear the mind and nothing can defeat you.’ He kept this philosophy in mind as they approached.
Then, he noticed another figure out of the corner of his eye. His acute hearing caught the sound of their movement, and being part Mazoku, he sensed the negativity in the air.
“Neitao,” he murmured quietly. “I knew there was no good in you.”
“Perceptive, aren’t you, chimera?” laughed Neitao. “Now... let the fight begin!”
Kioko couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Gourry had run off to fight Jana, and Zelgadis had gone with him.
What was worse, Mystic Blade was missing!
Zelgadis could be killed!
She looked over to where Charoletta and Sylphiel had just finished casting the healing spell on Lina. The red-headed sorceress wasn’t really in too much pain now, just breathing quite unsteadily. It worried Kioko. If she died, and Gourry wasn’t there... Gourry would kill himself from the pain inflicted.
Lenny had decided to escort Sylphiel back to Sairaag when this was over. He had gotten a crush!
But that was really unimportant right now. What WAS important was her sister’s well-being, and how well Gourry could cope...
Zelgadis smirked at the Felinic in front of him.
“Surely you don’t think I can be defeated by the likes of you?” he scoffed.
“Oh, maybe not with my normal sword,” laughed Neitao, “but with this...” He drew Mystic Blade from a scabbard at his hip, and Zelgadis gasped. “I think I’ll manage.”
Gourry was, in the meanwhile, facing Jana. The immortal Felinic was laughing at him, laughing right in his face!!
“Staying behind for the sake of love?” she snickered. “How... incredibly stupid. Human emotion, bah!”
“You never should’ve tried to kill Lina,” Gourry uttered quietly. “You’ll pay.”
“Oh, you love her, do you? Love is such a weak tool to use against me, an immortal,” Jana grinned devilishly.
“It’s stronger than you know,” growled Gourry, narrowing sharp blue eyes.
He leapt at her, with only his normal sword extended, and slashed at her. Several cuts inflicted, that healed almost as soon as the sword hit.
“Ha!” laughed Jana darkly. “”Your sword can’t hurt me!” She held out her hands. “DYNAST FLARE!”
The large spell hit Gourry like a brick wall, throwing him back several yards. When he landed, the blade of his regular sword was broken off...
Zelgadis, in the meanwhile, was learning that Neitao was actually a very talented swordsman.
“You’re... better... than you look!” he growled between attacks.
“Of course!” laughed Neitao, persisting his attack.
Though he said that, he still had his doubts. Zelgadis didn’t open himself to attack, he knew better. He wouldn’t have hesitated to do so if Neitao didn’t have Mystic Blade, but he did, so he didn’t.
“I... won’t... lose to you!” shouted Zelgadis.
“Enough of this,” Neitao snarled in response. He cast a spell at Zelgadis, knocking the chimera backwards, and then started to slash wildly at the downed and unarmed swordsman. “Now, you die!”
Gourry looked at his sword weakly. He had been injured pretty badly by the spell Jana had hit him with, but he still had an ace in the hole.
He staggered to his feet.
“Still willing to face me, mortal?” questioned Jana. “Fool.”
“We’ll see,” managed Gourry softly. He held out his sword, minus the blade... “LIGHT COME FORTH!!”
In a rush of light and magic, the blade of the legendary Hikari no Ken burst from the hilt, the blade glowing an incandescent yellow.
“No!” Jana shouted.
“DIIIIIIE!” Gourry yelled angrily, leaping at Jana...
He pulled the sword down hard in a slice, and then...
All was silent.
Zelgadis was feeling terribly weakened by the feel of the sword slashing across his chest and arms. He knew the Felinic was aiming for his neck, but even in this condition, the chimera was strong enough to manage speed to dodge.
Finally, Zelgadis got sick of Neitao’s games...
“GAAV FLARE!” he shouted.
The red burst of energy engulfed the other sorcerer, wounding him badly. He dropped Mystic Blade.
“You’ve won for now, chimera, and I will retreat for today...” Neitao murmured. “But you haven’t seen the last of Neitao Vwiskra!”
He phased out quickly.
Zelgadis turned his head towards where Gourry was kneeling next to the lifeless -- and headless -- body of Jana.
“That’ll teach ya,” he snarled at the dead Felinic woman.
Standing, he walked over to Zelgadis. From what the swordsman saw, the holder of the Hikari no Ken was less battered than he, but no worse for wear.
Zelgadis himself couldn’t stand.
“Good work,” he said quietly.
Gourry smiled a bit and helped Zelgadis stand, then picked up Nepha’s sword.
“C’mon,” he said. “Let’s get back to Feli.”
Nepha’s silky white ears perked a great deal as she turned to find Gourry and Zelgadis approaching, and Zel wasn’t walking. Though he was leaning on Gourry’s shoulder, he couldn’t support himself with his own two legs. It didn’t take Charoletta and Sylphiel long to lead him off to heal him, as Nepha stayed behind to talk to Gourry.
“I told you not to go,” Nepha sighed, “I knew you’d both be hurt.”
Gourry ignored her question as she cast a healing spell. He looked over her head, towards the room where Lina still lay.
“How is she?” he asked.
“Better,” Nepha replied as she finished the spell. “She’ll make it. Thing is, she isn’t awake yet.”
Gourry nodded, placed Mystic Blade in her small hands, and brushed past her into the room.
Still in the room sat Kioko, her cerulean eyes focused on her little sister. Standing next to her was Auburn, who appeared very distraught. The Gerudo princess’ eyes lifted as she heard Gourry enter the room, and she instantly bit her lip.
“Gourry, I still want you to know I’m really sor--” she began.
Gourry lifted his hand, signifying he wanted to hear no more of what the sorceress was saying.
“You two, can I have some time alone with Lina?” he asked. “Please?”
Kioko and Auburn looked at each other nervously.
“All right,” Kioko stated as they nodded, and left.
Gourry took Kioko’s seat next to Lina and sighed, looking at her quietly.
What he didn’t know was that Lina was waking up. As she heard Gourry begin to speak, however, she decided to stay ‘out’ for a little bit longer.
“Look at you, Lina-chan... I said it once, I’ll say it again: it should be ME lying there, not you. They say you’ll be all right, so I guess that makes things okay.” He sighed. “Problem is, you’ll wake up and smile at me like I’m the same old idiot you always knew. I guess I’ll keep up the charade, Lina-chan, until I can find the gall to admit to your face that I love you.”
He stood and turned to leave, but was stopped by a familiar voice!
Gourry turned on a dime to find Lina forcing herself to sit up, winking and smiling at him as she gave him a weak peace sign.
It was all Gourry could do not to fall to his knees and embrace her.
“Lina, I’m glad you’re okay,” he said. “We thought we’d lost ya... but... who was that girl that--?”
He was cut short by Lina shaking her head.
“Drop the idiot act, Gourry,” she chuckled softly. “I’ve been awake through your whole speech these past few minutes.”
Gourry’s face turned bright red as he knelt next to Lina’s bedside, smiling in his usual goofy manner.
“Lina, you know I...” Gourry started, fumbling for words.
He was once again interrupted by Lina placing a finger against his lips.
“Don’t,” she shushed. “I already know.”
She smiled at him, then -- very hesitantly -- kissed him. It was nothing at first, just their lips barely touching.
Then, it changed. A little deeper, more passionate... until Lina heard giggling at the doorway.
It was Gabriel!
“Who...?!” she managed as she pulled away from Gourry. “FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIREBAAAAAAAALL!!”
Okay... so I overreacted a little! And don’t look at me like that... No, I’m not gonna tell the others how I feel about Gourry!
Well, the Hylians are on their own and searching for those lost books, but we can’t find Netalia!
Time to continue! Next stop on our list: Utopia! Why does Zel seem so nervous about going there?
To Be Continued!
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