"Zel! Zel!" Zelgadis awoke to Gourry Shaking him so hard that if he was human Gourry would have snapped his neck. "Zel! Wake up!"
"I'm awake, I'm awake..." Zel mumbled, sitting up. "What happened?"
"I don't know." Gourry's usually untroubled face was a mask of concern. "I've been trying to wake up Lina, and she's...just lying there."
Zel jumped up and...well, collapsed next to Lina...his head wasn't exactly stable, it seemed. He gently probed her mind and body.
"Hm." Zel said when he slipped out of his trance. "It seems she just had more magic taken from her than I did. Don't worry, she'll be fine if she gets enough rest. A day or so and she'll be back to normal." He looked down at her unconscious form and picked her up. "We'd better get her to bed." Said quietly, wrapping her in her black cloak. "She needs rest."
He carried her gently to her room, trying hard not to hurt her on his skin. He didn't want to lose his truest friend on something like a concussion because she hit her head on his arm.
He set her gently down on her bed and pulled the covers over her, under the worried gaze of Gourry. Zel smiled. Ever the protective big brother.
"You're sure she'll be fine?" Gourry asked worriedly. Zel nodded.
"I promise. Now shoo! Let's give her some rest, Mr. Worry-wart!" Zel and Gourry exited and closed the door behind them. Zel grinned. "And don't go back in there until she wakes up!"
"Yes mother." Gourry said sheepishly. He wasn't used to this cheerful a Zel, but might as well make the most of it. It was so depressing when Zel was sulking.
Lina sighed. Big brothers Gourry and Zel wouldn't let her leave her room, so she had to get all her news second hand. She grimaced and sat back in bed.
No one knew what had happened. Someone had taken all the magic from the city. All the stray magic, that is. If they had really taken all the magic they would have killed every living thing there. But magic users were feeling woozy and many were bedridden. Zel would have been as badly off as her if he had still been human.
This was not good. What spell could possibly require that much energy? Well, she could actually think of several, but they were all highly destructive or extremely nasty spells. She was pretty sure she didn't want any of them happening.
Not that she could do anything about it. Not with Her new brothers fussing over her so much. What had gotten into Zel, anyway? He wasn't usually this bad! His overall attitude was usually "Get yourself killed, just don't complain that I warned you against it."
Lina sighed and lay back. She wanted to get out there and beat up the bad guys now. She hated waiting.
" - pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease - "
"Lina - "
" - pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze??????" Lina begged Zel. "Pleeeeeze can I leave the room? Pleeeeeze! I'm fine! I swear! See?" To demonstrate, she aimed a small fireball at his head. He put up a windy shield and the fireball exploded, dong no harm.
Zel sighed. "Okay. I guess you're well enough to get up."
"Yippee!!" She yelled, glomping him in an Amelia-like hug. He tried hard to breathe. "We'll start on the trail of that guy today!"
Zel's oxygen depraved mind tried desperately to keep up. "W-wait, I never said - "
Lina ran to the hall. "Hey Gourry! Amelia!" She called. "Zel says it's okay to leave today! Start packing!" She ducked back into the room and started putting things into her knapsack.
Zel was desperately trying to regain control over the situation. Not likely, he never did when Lina was around, but he tried anyway. "Lina, you're still not okay enough to go out adventuring..."
"I'm fine Zel! Now start packing, or we'll have to leave you behind."
He sighed. "All right, all right. I concede defeat." He said, putting his hands in the air to signal surrender.
She grinned. "Good. Now go!" He left and closed the door.
Her smile faded. She stopped cramming things into her bag and sank to her knees.
She hated sitting still. It gave her too much time to think. To worry. To Have all the self confidence she had worked so hard for to come tumbling down. And after the wedding, the cancellation, blasting holes in her self defense, the time thinking had nearly demolished them entirely.
But she had to keep smiling. After all, she was Lina Inverse, and if she didn't smile, everyone would get worried. Lina Inverse always smiled. Lina was the sarcastic, powerful sorcereress! Nothing could bring her down.
Except for the things that were supposed to bring her up.
She finished packing silence.
"All right!" Lina said loudly to the group, now ready to go. She had her knapsack cut down to only a pouch of essentials, and Zel, as usual, didn't carry anything. Gourry never packed, he always forgot it somewhere if he remembered to pack it at all. Amelia was too caught up in the justice of things to pack anything.
"Let's go!" Lina cried, making her way out of the gates as the rest of the group followed. She was trying to be as cheerful as possible, and was doing a rather good job, if she said so herself. Not that she rather needed to. Gourry was too stupid to notice, Amelia was too caught up in the justice of the world to notice, and even if she did, she hated thinking about things that disrupted her happy little world. She'd shove it to the back of her mind and ignore it.
And Zel was too aloof to notice. But then, he always turned out to be memorizing every detail all the time, so maybe she really should try hard to hide it. He might notice.
She was forcing it. Every gesture, every pose, every nuance of cheerfulness...it was all forced. Especially that smile. She hadn't smiled that open, honest smile since before they were hit, and the only ones that she gave were saying Please, in tones heard only by the observant, please, notice I'm not happy.
She was eating less. She ate slower, which gave Gourry and Amelia more time to snatch up the rest of the food. This alone told him there was something wrong.
He was amazed the others didn't realize it. But then, Gourry was a bit dense, and Amelia hated things not fitting in her view of the world. So maybe it wasn't their fault.
Chapter 4 | Fanfiction