I wish I knew what was going on.
Amelia and Lina were at Zel's old house. They'd been searching for over an hour, with no luck. The Seyruun princess was beginning to think they wouldn't find anything.
This is a waste of time. Who cares what Mister Zelgadis has. We should just go face this Mo`re person and demand he give us back our friend. Xelloss might have been wrong anyway. No way this villain can be that powerful...
"Yo, Amelia! Come look at this!"
Startled from her reverie, Amelia trudged dutifully over to the sorceress. "What did you find?"
Lina held up an old book. "This. It was hidden in a loose floor panel. It's so old and dusty, I don't think Zel even knew it was here."
The princess looked around. "But everything is covered in dust, Miss Lina."
"Not like this. Besides, I don't think Zel's been here since Rezo changed him into a chimera."
"Oh." Amelia grew pensive. Zelgadis never really talked about himself. They hardly knew anything about his childhood or who he was before he was cursed. She glanced around again. "Did he live here by himself? Didn't he have any family?"
"I don't know, really. You know how tight-lipped Zel is. But from what I can see, I'd have to say he was on his own. Everything is made for one person, two at best. And he was the last one here. So I guess he was alone for awhile." She started flipping pages in the book, skimming the passages.
"How sad. No one should be alone like that. Everyone should have someone to talk to, don't you think?"
"Some people are better off alone, Amelia. When you've been hurt as much as Zel, you might feel safer being by yourself." Lina's eyes widened. "I don't believe this..."
"What is it, Miss Lina?"
She points to the book in her hand. "This is a journal from Zel's great-great grandmother. Apparently, she was a pretty powerful sorceress herself." Lina read the passage carefully. "Her name was Jerales Revan. She was mainly a healer, though she knew a lot of shamanist spells, along with some black magic. She met and later married Zel's great-great grandfather, taking the name Greywers. According to this, Jerales was worried about 'the one who would come after her, heart of gold encased in stone.'"
"She's talking about Mister Zelgadis! But how would she know? He wasn't even born yet!"
"Quiet! I'm still reading." Lina went back to the book. "The first part of this reads like a journal. The second part is more like a letter. I'd have to guess she was writing it for Zel, since she keeps referring to stone and blue skin."
"What did she say? And how did she know about Mister Zelgadis?"
"She must have been a seer or something. She says she kept seeing things in her dreams. She sounds really scared for Zel. A little bit more, and I'd say she was a nut. Listen to this. 'I have kept the power back in my line for so long, but I can't hide it anymore. I only hope the blue one of my blood will have the strength of mind and heart to wield it properly. But if someone finds it before he learns of his heritage, the entire world may be lost.'"
"The power? What could she mean? And is this what Mo`re is after?"
"Possibly. There's more. 'The great dance between creation and destruction. Life, death, rebirth. He will have the ability to call the great serpent and reshape the world. It was the only way. I feared the consequences if the power fell into Rezo's hands. I must pass it on to the one of stone. There is no other choice. May he be strong enough for his inheritance.'"
Amelia chewed her bottom lip. "Whatever it is, she didn't want Rezo to have it."
"She probably knew Rezo was going to go crazy at some point. She knew Zel was going to be turned into a chimera, so it makes sense." Lina skimmed the book some more. "'I have done all I can. It is up to my descendant now. I leave this in the hopes he will find it and understand his place in the world. To you of my blood, I have granted you a wonderful and horrible gift. The magic of the Ra Lagora. The responsibility is great, but I have faith in you. When the time comes, you will control the great serpent. Repeat these words, and may the fates guide you.'" Lina scowled. "A page is missing. Someone tore it out a long time ago. Great."
"And it had the words to the spell, didn't it?"
Lina sighed. "Yeah. Well, it's obvious that Zel had a powerful spell on him. The spell sounds so powerful that it's not taught, but is passed down through the bloodline."
The young shaman was confused. "Which means?"
"Which means Zel is the only person who could cast this 'Ra Lagora.' That must be what Mo`re wants. He wants the power of the Ra Lagora!"
Amelia was still perplexed. "But what does he want with that much power?"
Lina glares at the young girl, whacking her on the head. "Isn't it obvious? With that much power, Mo`re could do whatever he wanted! He could even become a god!"
"A-- a GOD?!"
Lina ignored her. "I'm sure this is what he wants Zel for. And Zel probably doesn't even know it! This burns. Now more than ever, we have to get Zelgadis back!"
"To save our friend and protect the world from Mo`re's evil intentions, right, Miss Lina?"
"No, you idiot! Because I want Zel to teach me that spell! I'm suppose to be the most powerful sorceress around. With that spell, no one could touch me. I have to get it!"
Before the princess could answer, light flashed through the windows. They looked at each other and ran to the door. The light was growing from the south, spreading over the land.
The sorceress narrowed her reddish eyes. "Something tells me we're a little too late. Come on, maybe I can still learn that spell!" Grabbing the girl by her arm, Lina sprinted out, casting a Raywing to take them to the source of the light.
Xelloss and Gourry were looking up. And up, and up, and up, and up. They followed the light to it's origin, and were now in front of the tallest tower either of them had seen. At the top, pure radiance glowed and shimmered.
Gourry raised a hand to shield his eyes. "What the heck is that?!"
The Mazoku took a step forward, his eyes never leaving the spectacle above them. "Ra Lagora. A mythical spell said to have the power to change the world to one's will. No one's ever learned it. It's harder to find than the Claire Bible. And since no one's ever seen it, it was thought to be a legend. Until now."
Gourry stepped up beside him. "Is Mo`re this powerful?"
"No, Zelgadis is."
"Zel? But how...?"
"I don't know. I don't think Zelgadis himself knew. But it's obvious this is what Mo`re was after. Power beyond the gods."
"Beyond the gods? Is there anything that strong?"
Xelloss pointed to the sky. "When the world is engulfed in the light, and all life as we know it is changed, you tell me."
He's serious. Gourry looked at the top of the tower. "That must be were Zel is. Can't you just float in and get him?"
"No. The energy is affecting all the magic for miles around. If I try and phase in, I'll likely appear inside a wall. Same for all other magic too. If someone attempted to cast a recovery spell, they might very well kill the patient."
The swordsman craned his neck. "Which means we have to climb up the old fashion way." Great.
"Indeed. We'd better go now. We don't have time to wait for Lina." Xelloss went to the door, pushing against it. Gourry followed, but found himself under a dogpile of two extremely wet and irritated girls.
"Who doesn't have time to wait for Lina?" the red-head chirped.
"Miss Lina, why did you drop us like that? And what's with the water?"
"How should I know?" Lina glanced up at Xelloss. "One minute we're riding a Raywing, no problem. The next, it starts filling up with water, and I lose control of it!"
"I'm not surprised." The priest opened the door. "The Ra Lagora is disrupting all magic."
"Wait a minute! You knew about the Ra Lagora, and never told me?" Lina fumed. "Why didn't you tell me Zel knew that spell?!"
"One, the Ra Lagora was a myth at best. Two, I didn't know Zelgadis carried the spell. Three, Zel himself probably didn't know he had it. And four, standing here arguing about it won't help Zelgadis." With that. Xelloss turned and entered the tower. Gourry scrambled out from under the girls and ran after. Lina and Amelia just stared dumbfounded for a second and looked at each other. Scowling, Lina jumped and ran after them, the princess chasing after her.
"Hey, wait up!"
Mo`re smiled pleasantly. At last, the power of Ra Lagora was free. Of course, now he had to try and control it. If not, it could tear this world apart. Not that he was too concerned with saving the world. But he did need the energy under control. While he had the person who could do that for him, the problem was the person didn't know how to control it either.
Mo`re glanced over at the chimera. Zel was sitting up in the bed, the sheet wrapped protectively around his body as he stared at the strange energy pouring out of him. Mo`re sensed his fear at the strength of it, noting the tiny crystalline tear in the corner of his eye.
This won't do. I need you lucid and functioning. Mo`re walked over to the frightened chimera, pulling him into a gentle embrace. "What's wrong, dear one? It is your energy, why so afraid?"
Zel shivered. "I... I never... so much power... I can't..."
"You think you can't control it? But, it is your destiny to control Ra Lagora, Zelgadis. You, and you alone. It is a part of you, like an arm or a leg. You can control. You have to, actually."
Mo`re pointed to the rising energy. "If you don't bring the Ra Lagora under you control, it may very well destroy the world."
A sob caught in Zel's throat. "N-no! No! I can't... I don't want to! How? How do I control it?" He grabbed Mo`re's robes, a wild, pleading look in his eyes. "Please, tell me how to control this!"
"That, I don't know." Mo`re strokes his hair affectionately. "But you do. Somewhere inside, you know how to control this, Zelgadis. But you have to calm down. Relax, let your mind cast out..." Mo`re sent a calming energy into the chimera. "Just take a deep breath, and let your thoughts drift."
Zel felt the words reaching into his head, silencing the fear and panic. Free of worry and confusion, his mind begins to wander on its own, picking up and discarding stray thoughts as useless.
Mo`re smiles again. That's it. Search for the mastery you possess. The energy is yours to manipulate to your heart's desire. Find it, fair one.
Looking up, Mo`re watched the energy, waiting patiently.
"How many more flights are there anyway?"
Lina was huffing, as was Amelia. Gourry would have been, but he was too focused on getting to Zel. Xelloss was floating up himself. Besides which, he never lost his breath anyway.
"All these stairs, it's like we're back in Rezo's lab. Why can't the bad guys ever live in a nice one story house? Maybe something with a pool?" Lina knew she was whining, and as usual, didn't care.
The Seyruun princess broke into her hero mode. "Evil villains always live in places where they think justice can't find them, but the light of a righteous heart will always be victorious in the war against evil!"
"Oh give it a rest, Amelia!"
Please! Gourry was taking the steps two at a time. "If this spell is as powerful as you say, Zelgadis might be in big trouble."
"Yeah. And I thought the Giga Slave was bad."
Xelloss was oddly silent, lost in his own thoughts. If Zelgadis is the cause of this, however unintentional, will Gourry be able to kill him for the sake of the world? He may be the only one who can. Would I be able to if I was in his place? The more Xelloss thought about it, the less certain he was of the answer. It may very well come down to us having to destroy Zelgadis, and I'm not sure I can. But if that is what happens, then we'll have to.
"Are we there yet?" the sorceress complained.
As if to answer her, a door with an intricate carving loomed before them. Xelloss floated to it, placing a hand on the design.
"They're in here. Mo`re, Zelgadis, and Ra Lagora."
"Then what are we waiting for? FIREBALL!" Lina, having forgotten that her magic doesn't work, was assaulted by flying jellyfish. "ACK! Get 'em off! Get 'em off!"
"Forgot about your magic, didn't you?"
"Oh shut up."
Gourry glared at the door. He drew his sword, calling on the legendary blade.
"Light come forth!"
Glowing brightly, Gourry swung the blade. The door flashed before blowing to pieces. Stepping into the room, Gourry felt his blood run cold at the sight before him.
Zelgadis was sitting on a bed, a sheet barely covering his naked form. Cradled to his back was a demon with an angel's face. Mo`re. He was busy gazing up at the energy, whispering in Zel's ear, while the chimera stared blankly at the wall. The intimacy stabbed into Gourry's heart as he put two and two together.
That bastard! Gourry rushed forward, intent on running the man through.
"Get away from him!" Gourry brought the sword down, the cut meant to slice Mo`re in half.
Mo`re disappeared, the sword slicing through air. The indrani (1) reappeared a few feet away.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you."
Gourry seethed. "Oh yeah? Well you're not me." He charged again. Mo`re shrugged, phasing out of harm's way, porting back near Zel.
"You should listen to reason. You can't kill me. And even if you could, what would happen to poor Zelgadis? Don't you see? If there's any chance of him controlling the Ra Lagora, it lies with me."
"Liar! I bet it was you who sent those Mazoku after him, wasn't it?!"
Mo`re shook his head. "Ahriman acted outside my orders..."
"I've heard enough! You'll say anything to get what you want!" Gourry was beyond all reason, his attack ruthless as he went after Mo`re, wanting nothing less than blood...
Zel's mind continued to work through the stream of his memories, searching for the control Mo`re spoke of. Thoughts were looked over and tossed away. He wasn't sure he knew exactly what he was looking for, but was certain he'd know it when he found it. His mind stopped on a dim thought, forgotten over time. Curious, he let the memory play...
//Young Zelgadis was walking home. He had just finished hunting, and planned to cook dinner when he got there. His mother might eat a little this time. He knew she was sick and probably wouldn't be around much longer. He tried to make things easy on her, making her as comfortable as he could.
As Zel approached the house, he saw a familiar figure waiting for him. Zel waved cheerfully at the priest, running over to him.
"Hello, grandfather! Will you be staying for dinner?"
Rezo inclined his head. Zel knew he couldn't see, but Rezo often moved like he could.
"Not today, I'm afraid. I just came to visit your mother, and to ask you a question."
Zel nodded. "What is it, grandfather?"
Rezo handed Zel a piece of paper. "Do these words mean anything to you, Zelgadis?"
Zel took the paper, reading the words carefully. "No, grandfather. It sounds like a spell, though. Is it important?"
"Yes, though I don't know how, exactly." Rezo held his hand out, and Zel obediently gave him back the paper. "Are you sure you've never seen this before?"
"Honest, grandfather. I'd tell you if I had learned a new spell."
The red priest sighed. "I know you would. Very well. Take care of your mother, Zelgadis. I'll visit you again when I can."
"Okay, grandfather. Take care." He watched as the priest disappeared, and thought carefully about the paper he read.
It looked like a spell. I'll try and remember it. Maybe I can learn it and show grandfather. I'm sure he'd be happy. Mind made up, Zel walked into the house to fix dinner.//
The words stood out in Zel's mind. Ignoring the fight and the chaos going on around him, Zel pulled the sheet closer around him, and slipped unnoticed to a balcony. He cast his eyes heavenward, and began reciting the words he glimpsed so long ago...
"Source of all souls which dwells from the dawn of time to the end of space, darkness waits for the coming. In the eternal and infinite, from birth of life to shadow of death, the cycle remains neverending. Everlasting Flame of Blue, I summon the spirit of creation. Power hidden within my soul, I summon the spirit of destruction be called forth from the Infinite, to end thy existence from this realm, as I become an avatar of forces..." (2)
Zel held his hands in front of him, the energy burning around him, glowing like a nimbus. His eyes flashed. With a soft whisper, Zel took control of his destiny.
Mo`re was dodging Gourry's attacks, amazed at the sheer viciousness behind it. If Mo`re were anyone else, he was positive he'd be dead by now. As it were, he was in a semi-phased state all the time to avoid the swordsman. He was about to phase again when he felt it.
The energy was moving.
Mo`re turned. Outside on the balcony, Zel was chanting. The energy was gathering above him. Mo`re smiled. The time was here. He watched as Zel finished the spell, calling the power to him.
The chimera turned to face them, bathed in the light that surged throughout the tower, washing across the land. Everyone stared as a large serpent of pure, spiritual electricity hovered behind him, its roar shaking the earth beneath them. Zel's eyes glowed just as brightly, yet held a strange sense of wonder as he became one with the power of Ra Lagora.
Gourry stared, unable to move. Time froze for all of them as Zel stood before them with the power to rival a god. Breaking the moment, Gourry took a hesitant step forward.
The shaman turned at the sound. "Gourry? What's... happening?"
I wish I knew. Gourry was about to walk over to him. Spell or no spell, Zel was still his friend. Gourry had to help him, even if he didn't have the slightest clue what he was doing.
Wouldn't be the first time, would it, Gabriev? His approach was cut short as Mo`re phases directly in front of him.
"Mo`re. I'm confused. What do I do with this?"
Mo`re smiled. "You use it... on me."
The entire group stared at him. "WHAT?!"
Zelgadis shook his head. "Not even you could survive. I can't..."
"Yes you can. True, it would end my existence on this realm, but I have other lives. This is what I've been searching for, Zelgadis. Now I ask that you give it to me. Use the Ra Lagora."
"Mo`re..." The chimera was close to tears.
"Save your tears, Zel. I won't need them. You know this was what I was after all along, and yet you still treat me as a friend. I'm... touched. But I need this. Just do it, Zelgadis."
Nodding once, Zel brought his hands together. He sent four bubbles of energy out, each one encasing the others and carrying them out of range. They watched in wonder as the serpent flew high into the air, then nose-dived straight to the tower.
Inside, Zel was having one last chat with Mo`re.
"Are you evil?"
Mo`re nodded. "To some, I am. And I would have done anything to get the Ra Lagora. But ultimately, my goal will not harm your world. So I suppose it depends on perception. If you believe the ends justify the means, then no, I am not evil. If not, then I am very evil."
"What is your goal?"
"I can't explain it now. This is the path I walk, and I must do so alone. If I manage to accomplish it, then I will come back and tell you. Maybe then you can understand why I did what I did."
Zel gazed at him sadly. "Did you set me up for that attack?"
"No. I don't operate that way. Ahriman did that on his own. He was already half gone. The power you gave off sent him completely over."
"If you're evil, why did you save me from him? Was it just to get the Ra Lagora?"
Mo`re paused. "It was the original intent. I can't answer that now though."
"Did you love me?"
The question stunned them both. Mo`re spoke slowly as he answered. "I am thousands of years old, Zelgadis. I have never loved another being in all that time. I am convinced that I am incapable of that emotion." He cocked his head. "However, you are the first one I've been... concerned for. It is a strange feeling."
Zel closed his eyes. "That's a start. Maybe in the next world you go to, you'll be able to love someone." The energy began to build between the shaman's hands.
Mo`re watched calmly. "My time is almost up. Before I go, some advice? You should talk to the swordsman. You might find you both have... similar interest."
Zel blinked, then smiled. "I'll do that."
"Good." Mo`re smiled. "Goodbye, Zelgadis. I will visit you from time to time."
"Goodbye, Mo`re. I will look for you on occasion."
"In dreams and flowers, dear chimera."
With a small grin, Zel released the full force of Ra Lagora.
The group watched in horror as the serpent struck the tower, energy exploding everywhere, ripping across the landscape. They shielded their eyes from the glare, the Ra Lagora bathing the countryside in it's glow. When it finally faded, the group looked fearfully at the tower.
The tower was gone. A crater of gigantic proportions sat in it's place. The land was decimated for miles around. There was no trace of Mo`re Xiuh.
The bubbles popped, dropping everyone to the ground in a heap. Gourry ran to the edge of the crater. There was nothing. With a sob, he slid to the ground, tears stinging his eyes.
Zel... he's... Gourry pulled his knees to his chest, hiding his grief under his bangs. No, gods no... He looked down at the sword of light. If I can't... in this life, then maybe in the next... Gourry shifted his hold, ready to join his friend in death.
Gourry lifted his head. A bubble of energy floated from the center of the crater, gliding over to them. It broke, dropping a sheet-clad, white-haired chimera to the ground. Stunned, all four ran to him.
"Zel!" "Mister Zelgadis!" "Hey, Zel!" "Zelgadis!"
The chimera moaned, his eyes fluttering open. He looked at all of them, glanced down at himself, and spoke.
"Can someone perhaps get me some clothes?"
Xelloss wagged his finger. "Now why would we want to give up a free show?"
For once, no one cared about looks as they embraced Zel in a group hug. They quickly backed up when he moaned in pained.
Lina checked him over. "You okay, Zel?"
"I'm tired. I just need to rest. That spell takes a lot of energy."
"You're telling me. And by the way, why didn't you tell me you knew a spell like that! I thought we were friends, Zel! Friends are suppose to share, ya know!"
"I don't think he can hear you, Lina." Gourry gestured to Zel, who was fast asleep. Gourry picked the chimera up in his arms. "How far back to town?"
"Pretty far, but nothing a Raywing can't handle." Lina summoned the air bubble for her and Gourry. "No sense sticking around here. Wow, and for once, I didn't blow anything up this time.""
Thank the gods for small favors," Amelia muttered.
"What did you say?!"
Xelloss floated up. "Shouldn't you be getting back to town? People might think things if you're seen carrying an unclothed chimera around." With a smile and a nod to Gourry, Xelloss phased out.
"Come on, Lina. Let's just get back to town. Maybe we can have a late snack." Gourry knew the quickest way to convince Lina of anything was through her stomach.
"Well, okay. We'll put Zel to bed, and then find something to eat. I'm starving. Let's go!"
That's the best plan I've heard all day, Gourry thought as the group flew back to town.
To be continued....
1. Indrani is a Hindu goddess who at one point personified jealousy and evil
intent. In the story, I'm using the name as a title (i.e. lord, king, czar,
2. It was stated in an earlier part that the Ra Lagora was a spell that combined a mythical beast with the spell called "Ra Tilt." This is a combination of the Ra Tilt and an original spell from an RP.
On to The Epilogue or Back to Hibernal Heart or Back to the Thorned Roses or Back to the Roses?