A Winter's Solstice

Rezo looks down on his grandson from the afterlife. He sees that Zelgadis' obsessions are driving him to the same fate that he had recieved. He pleads to the gods to find a way to get his grandson a second chance. To find some way to warn him of his fate...

The weather was steadily turning colder as the solstice drew nearer. Zelgadis Greywords was off on yet another search for his cure. He had just reached a small village in the kingdom of Zephilia. It was already growing dark and he wasn't looking foward to another night outside, so he found a room at the local inn. He checks in at the desk and goes straight to his room. Questing for a cure is hard and tiring work.

The next morning, Zelgadis leaves the inn and walks over to the nearest restaurant to get his morning coffee. As he approaches the location he hears familiar voices from the inside. He walks over to the window to make sure the voices don't belong to who he thinks they do. Upon looking inside he sees what he was dreading. Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev were sitting at a table eating and talking as they always did. He decides that he should get away before he was spotted, but too late. Before Zelgadis left he came into eye contact with Lina. It was obvious that she saw him and now there was no getting away without at least visiting them first.

Sitting at the table was Lina at war with her friend Gourry, he dared try to take some of her food. She stabs his hand a few times with her fork and gets her sausages back. It used to only take one good, hard stab to get him to let go before, but like other things, he developed a tolerance for it. She glances over to the window across the room and sees a face that she hadn't expected to run into any time soon. Overjoyed at seeing Zelgadis again, she waves at him beckoning him to come inside. She notices a slightly reluctant look on his face, but before she could think about that, Gourry had made an attempt at her pancakes.

Zelgadis walks in and sits at the table with Lina and Gourry. He waves down a frightened waitress and to her relief, he only orders a cup of coffee. From past experience, he knew better than to try to talk to Lina while she was eating. That is, only if you wanted a response from her. He sits there sipping his highly caffinated beverage, letting it do its work and wake him up.

About three cups later, Lina was finished eating. "So Zel, what brings you around here?"

"I had another lead on my cure."

"Oh, really, have you checked it out yet?"

He isn't sure what to answer there. If he says that he had already looked and it was a bust, she would insist on him coming with them for a while. If he says that he hadn't checked yet, she'll want to go with him. He didn't hate the company, per se, it was just that they always slow him down. Whenever he travels with Lina, he gets off track from his quest. Knowing that there was no way out of it, he answers, "Yeah, I checked already. It turned out to be a cookbook."

Lina hesitates in her reply. Zelgadis gets his hopes up that maybe they're busy and won't be able to bring him along. "Well, that sucks. Why don't you come with us for a while. Haven't seen you in a long time."

Zelgadis is about to comply to the Great Will of Lina, when something comes over him. He decides to take a stand and say no. "I don't think so Lina. I really don't need the distraction from my quest."

Not to be detered so easily, "Aww, come on Zel. We were going to go to the capital for the solstice festival. It'll be a lot of fun." Lina was doing her best to rope in her antisocial friend. "Its not like you have anything else to do at the moment. Then after the festival, we can help you look for your cure."

"No. I do not want to go the solstice festival. I do not need your help. Most of all, I do not need to be distracted from my quest. The only thing I do need is to find my cure." He didn't mean to sound so harsh, but he felt that there was no other way to get through to her. Without another word, Zelgadis gets up to leave the sorceress and the swordsman behind. To get back to the only thing important, his cure.

He leaves the village and gets back onto the road. Even with no particular destination, he always felt better to be traveling. Maybe he might come across something during his wanderings. Why was his cure so important? So he wouldn't be a monster; so he could have his friends; so he could be worthy of the one he loved.

If only he knew he didn't need a cure. Lina was still sitting in the restaurant; hoping that maybe Zelgadis would come back. She felt really bad for him, but she didn't know of anything that would help. He seemed to be getting worse .. especially since the incident. If Zelgadis wasn't careful, he would really become the monster he believed he was. Deciding that she wasn't going to get anything done sitting around, she wakes Gourry up and the two continue on their journey to the solstice festival. Maybe she would get an idea on the way there.

Rezo saw what had happened in the restaurant. Zelgadis was most definitely getting worse. Soon he would become so obsessed, he wouldn't have any idea of right or wrong anymore. Rezo felt very guilty, knowing that his obsession with his blindness, lead to his grandson's obsession. It would be all his fault if Zelgadis ended up with the same fate as himself. Maybe there is a way he can help. He would just need to get a little help to do so.

Zelgadis traveled all day still not knowing where he was going. It was starting to get late so he decided to rest for the night. After finding a nice clearing off the side of the road, he built a fire and settled down for the evening. A few minutes later he hears a familiar chiming sound. At first he thinks it is his grandfather's staff, but that was impossible, Rezo is dead. When he hears the chime again, he starts to let his fears get to him. He closes his eyes tight in the childhood fashion of hiding. If you can't see them, they can't see you. After realizing that what he was doing was foolish, he slowly opens his eyes.

When he looks up, he sees Rezo, but no staff. The chiming sound didn't originate from Rezo's staff at all, the sound came from the chains draped all over his grandfather. Quickly hiding the shock from seeing his dead grandfather standing in front of him with chains all over him, Zelgadis speaks in an almost calm voice.... at least he was about to, but after opening his mouth, he realized he couldn't think of a single thing to say.

Noticing his grandson's hesitation, Rezo decides to speak first. "Zelgadis, I have come to warn you."

After hearing Rezo speak first, Zelgadis finally found his voice and brain cooperating again. "Warn me about what?"

"You're obsessed. If you do not do something about it soon, you'll end up like me."

"I am nothing like you. I'm not obsessed. I just know what I want and I won't let anybody get in my way."

"I was afraid of that. Your obsession has already blinded you. I have got some help to show you that you really do have a problem Zelgadis. I'm worried about you. I don't want you to have to go through the same fate that I have."

"Don't worry. I won't. I don't plan on resurrecting any demon kings any time soon. Now why don't you go haunt somebody else and let me get my rest."

"True, you may not resurrect Shabranigdo, but you are becoming the monster that you have so convinced yourself you are. You have been pushing away every person who gets close to you, just so they didn't slow you down in your quest. You need help, more help than I could give. Luckily there are some more powerful spirits than I who are willing to help you out. Good luck, grandson."

After Rezo faded away, along with the chiming sound, Zelgadis thought that it was all over. He lays back down on his bedroll intent on getting some sleep.

"Mr. Zelgadis, Mr. Zelgadis, wake up." He tried to ignore the childish voice. "Why won't you get up?" The whinning he could handle, but when she started pulling at his hair and ears, he couldn't ignore her any longer. He opened his eyes and found himself looking directly into a couple of large, dark green eyes.

After seeing her charge wake up, Heri got off of his chest and let him sit up. As she did so, Zelgadis got a better look at her. She was a young girl, probably around nine years old, with puffy brown hair and two pigtails hanging in the front. "Anna?" Hearing that, the girl started to giggle.

"My name is Heri. I am here to help remind you of what you were like in the past. I took this form because it was familiar to you." Heri looks at Zelgadis, who is now sitting up, and notices the incredulous expression on his face. "Didn't Rezo tell you that I would be coming here?"

Speaking more to himself than the spirit before him, "I'm only dreaming right now. Soon I'll wake up and get back onto the road. This is not real ..." Heri reaches over and pinches Zelgadis on the cheek. Shocked by both the sudden pinch and the fact that such a frail looking being could pinch his rock skin, he stopped his mantra. "You're really there. This isn't a dream?"

"No silly. Now come, we have much to see." She takes ahold of Zelgadis' hand and the two fade away leaving behind the scent of sakura.

They reappear in a forest. Nearby Zelgadis could hear the sound of chopping wood. Heri pushes some bushes aside and they see a young boy standing next to a cabin chopping firewood. A woman comes out of the cabin and starts speaking to the boy. She looks tired and weak, but her weakness is not that of age but of sickness. Nevertheless she had the beauty of kindness in her features. The boy admonishes his mother, "Mom, you shouldn't be out. You're not well. I'll be done with the firewood soon and then I'll start on dinner for you." She nodds at him with a grateful expression and walks back into the house.

"Do you remember this?"

"Yes. That's me when I was a boy. Mother was never well and Father left when I was very young, so I took care of her. It was a lot of hard work, but it was nice with just the two of us there."

"Your mother was a very kind woman, even with her sickness."

"Yeah, she died a few months later. It was all my fault; I was too weak to help her." His grief quickly turned to anger. "Damn it Heri. Why are you showing this to me?"

"So you can see what lead you to the decision that you made." With a swirl of sakura petals, they are now in a different location, and time. Again the sound of wood being chopped can be heard, but along with that is also the sound of words being spoken.

"I must be stronger. I have to get strong. I need to be stronger." They see young Zelgadis hacking away at a tree with his sword.

Zelgadis looks away from the familiar scene. "This I know all too well. It's been in my nightmares ever since it happened. Please take me away from here. I don't want to see it again." He starts to walk off in the other direction when he hears Rezo's staff. Knowing what is about to happen he rushes over to stop his younger self from making the mistake. "Stop!! Don't do this, you'll regret it for the rest of your life!!"

"He can neither see nor hear you Zelgadis. These are merely shadows of events long gone. But, if I may ask, why would you want to stop him?"

"Are you kidding, look at me!"

"He only gave you what you were seeking. Power. Strength. Those of which, you could not have helped to save the world without." In another shower of petals they were whisked away yet again. In this new location, the sky was dark and an immense power could be sensed up ahead. "Who knows how this fight would have ended if you had not been there to help Lina and Gourry."

"Yeah, a lot of help I was. It was Gourry's sword and Lina's spell that defeated Shabranigdo. All I did was let Zolf and Rodimus get themselves killed."

"You are wrong. If it weren't for you, Lina and Gourry may not have even been alive to fight. There were many other times such as this where your power has helped you to save the world."

"No, you're wrong. Lina is the one who saves the world. I was only there because she has a way of dragging me along with her." Not wanting to see anymore, "Take me back. I've already lived the past; I don't need you to tell me what I already know."

"Not yet. There is still one more time that I must show you." As the scent of sakura blossoms surrounded them, they vanished. What Zelgadis saw next was something that he never wanted to remember. An event that he possibly regreted even more than his transformation. He saw himself, only a few years before his own present time, having a fight with Amelia. "She loved you more than you can imagine. She saw past your exterior and saw the real you within. The real you that you hide even from yourself."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Zelgadis-san, please don't leave! I'll give up my title. I won't be a princess anymore if you just stay with me!! I love you."

"Forget it Amelia. It's not going to happen. You're only kidding yourself."

"No! It's not true! I know my feelings and I know that you care for me too."

"You're wrong Amelia. I don't love you and I never have!" He storms away as Amelia falls to her knees. He continued walking never looking behind himself to see her crying.

"You really hurt her that day. The two of you haven't spoken since."

"I heard she got married. What I did was for the best. She needed to get over her illusions."

"But she wasn't the only one who was hurt during that encounter. What was the real reason for your cruelty towards her? The only thing she did to you was love and care for you. You did love her, maybe not in the way she wanted you to, but you did love her."

"I know I hurt her. I feel bad about it and if there was some way to make it up to her I would. It's all history now. There's no way I can see her after what I did."

The two begin walking together into the forest. "What was the real reason you did that to her? Was it that she was holding you back from your cure?"

"Well, she was. She was always telling me that I don't need it."

"You should learn to cope with your 'curse' before you push away another friend. Or possibly even someone more ..."

"What did you mean by tha -- " He looked all around himself but he could not see the little spirit anywhere only some scattered petals across the ground. As he saw his surroundings he realized that he was back in his own camp. The fire was still burning and everything was as though he had never left. "Great, now I'm hallucinating. Something must have gone bad in this tea." He takes the bag with his herbal tea mixture in it and dumps it out onto the ground. "I'll go gather some more in the morning." With that, he lays down to get his much needed sleep.

"I'm sorry Rezo. I really thought it was going to work for a moment there."

"That's okay Heri. You did your best. Perhaps the others will have better luck." Oh Zelgadis, please listen to them. This is for your own good.

"Oh ho ho, it's time to wake up Zelgadis." Zelgadis rolls over to see a large dwarf-like man laughing away at him. Upon closer inspection he recognizes the man as Philionel.

"Prince Phil, what are you doing here?"

"Oh ho ho ho, I'm not Phil. Philionel is the image that your mind's eye has given me. My name is Hodie. I'm here to show you how your friends are doing without you."

"You don't need to bother, I know they're doing just fine. Lina and Gourry went to the festival and Amelia is happily married."

"Why don't you let me show you anyway. Come along." He picks Zelgadis up and the two fly off towards Seyruun. In a matter of moments, they were already at the palace. Looking in through the window, they could see Amelia, pregnant and looking at a piece of paper in her hands. Soon after, her husband walks into the room.

"You still miss him don't you?"


"Don't worry darling. I'm not jealous. I know how much you care about him."

"It's not like that. Sure I thought I was in love with him a long time ago. Then I realized that I really do love him, just in a different way."

"I'm sure he's doing fine."

"I know. I hope he finds his cure. That's what's most important to him." She lets her husband put his arm around her and the two walk out of the room. On the way out she lets the paper slip from her hands to drift down onto the floor.

"Come on inside. Even if they return, they won't see us." Hodie walks in through the window and crosses the room to pick up the piece of paper. "Surprising that she still keeps this, after the way you treated her."

"What are you talking about. What is it?" He takes the paper from Hodie and looks down at it. It was a very accurate representation of him. The sketch looked just like him, except for the fact that she replaced his stones with heart shaped ones. Typical Amelia. He let a small smile creep across his face at the memories of how she used to cling to his arm. Letting the paper drift back to its home on the floor, Zelgadis was awakened from his memories by Amelia's voice.

"I'll be right back! I just forgot something." She walks in through the door and picks the sketch back up off of the floor. She holds it up to her chest for a moment before placing it gently inside the drawer of the desk near the window. She then moves back across the room and leaves closing the door behind her.

"It seems as though she still cares about you. And you care about her."

"What are you talking about?"

"Oh ho ho ho. No time. We have more to see." He scoops up the passive Zelgadis and the two fly off to another part of the world at speeds more than humanly possible. There were many people walking around and everyone was laughing and carrying on. There was also a fair share of drunks roaming the streets; they were obviously out-of-towners.

"Gourry! That's my hotdog!" Sure enough, straight ahead was the sorceress supreme Lina Inverse. Zelgadis almost tried to hide on instinct; that is until he realized that they wouldn't be able to see him. After that, he just stood there and watched them act in their own normal way.

"See, they're fine without me. It is perfectly fine that I didn't go with them. I would most likely have been in the way anyway." He looks behind him, to see that Hodie isn't there. Zelgadis starts looking all around himself, but he cannot see the Spirit of Present anywhere. Giving up, he decides to continue watching Lina and Gourry, following them at a short distance.

"Oi, Lina, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just tired is all. I'm going to head back to my room. I'll see you later, alright?"

"Sure thing Lina. Will you make it back to the inn okay?"

"I'll be fine Gourry. Go on and have fun. I'll see you in the morning."

Wondering what was up with Lina, Zelgadis follows her back through the crowds, leaving Gourry. He notices a slight slump to her posture that he had only now realized that she had all night. There was definitely something bothering Lina and her being the way she is, she would deny and hide it as best she could. This was the Lina that nobody ever saw. He decided that he absolutely needed to know what was wrong with her now. He continues following her melancholy path back to the inn. When he got to her room, he was hesitant to follow her inside, a slight blush coming across his cheeks, until he heard soft crying on the other side of the door.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?" Startled, Zelgadis began to wonder if she could see him. She was looking straight at him. "Why couldn't you come just this once? It wouldn't kill you have just a little fun for once would it?" He realized that she wasn't actually able to see him which led him to wondering who she was talking about. "I hate you Zelgadis!"


Why was she so mad at him? Then he noticed something. There was so much anger in her voice, but the anger was betrayed by the silent tears running down her cheek. He didn't know what to do. Wanting to comfort Lina, Zelgadis reached out to brush the tears off her cheek and instead of feeling soft skin...

...he felt rough bark. Looking around himself, he found he was at camp again. The fire had long since put itself out having no fuel to continue. Quickly regaining his bearings, Zelgadis gathered his few possessions back together and took off back in the direction of Zephilia.

"What's the hurry, Blue Boy?"

Zelgadis paused and turned to see a man leaning against a tree behind him. It only took a moment to place the familiar face he hadn't seen in such a long time. The pale skin, the dark eyes, the violet hair -- it was himself! He was staring back at himself when he was still human. "Wh-who are you?" He had barely managed to stutter the words out of his mouth.

"The name's Cras. Spirit of Future. Come with me."

Meanwhile in the afterlife Rezo, Heri, and Hodie are confusedly watching.

"What is he doing? He'll ruin everything!" the young Heri exclaimed.

Watching the happenings below, Rezo asks, "Why is he there. Zelgadis was just about to do what he needed to do. We didn't need anymore intervention."

"Cras is a trouble-maker. Nothing good can come from this. I'm afraid there isn't really all that much hope for your grandson anymore." Hodie places his arm around Rezo in sympathy and the three continue to watch the ruin.

"You're going to show me my future? Impossible."

"What do you mean impossible?" Quickly rising to anger, "Are you one of those idiots that believes the future's constantly changing and all that crap? I'll tell you now, I know the future and my job is to show it to you. Now come ON!" He grabs onto Zelgadis' arm and the two disappear in a cloud of blue smoke.

"I don't know what your problem is Zel! If that cure of yours is so important, then go. Get out of here! I won't distract you again! Good bye." The red haired one stormed out of the room leaving the incensed chimera alone.

"You don't have to show this to me. I already realize that I need to put more stock in my friends before I lose them."

"No, no Stoney, you got it all wrong. I'm not like my goody-goody siblings. It's a good thing that you get rid of her, she was only holding you back. If you let her stay around, you'll never find your cure."

Zelgadis looks from the scene before him to the spirit Cras. "You mean, I will find my cure?"

A slow grin begins on Cras' face. "Of course. It's not too much after this event. I can't show you the actual transformation; that would spoil all the fun. But trust me, you will find it." He takes hold of Zelgadis to show him the next scene of his future. They leave with only a wisp of blue smoke marking where they had been.

Coughing from the smoke, Zelgadis looks around and spots himself. He is sitting outside a little cafe having a drink with a beautiful woman. "Once you're back to normal, you can get any woman you want. They won't be repulsed by your freakish appearance anymore." He looks back over to his future self and watches him blatantly making out with this girl. He starts trying to think back to the last time he had been with a woman in that way. Fascinated, he gets closer to hear the two of them.

"Babe, you know I'll be good to you. Now, come on, we'll head back to your place and -- " Not able to hear what the other was saying as he whispered into the girls ear, Zelgadis could only guess by the girls response.

"Oh you naughty boy! We can't do that at my house. My brother would kill you if we got caught."

"That just adds to the thrill babe. Come on. You know you want to."

Her resolve starting to fade, "I don't know. I kind of wanted to get married first."

"Sweetheart, we'll get married if you want. But just for tonight, if we're going to be married anyway, why not let yourself go."

"Well, okay then." The two get up and the girl leads him down the street to her home.

"I'm going to marry her?"

"No, of course not. You don't even know her name. The two of you have a passionate night of -- well, why don't we just go and see firsthand, kay?"

"No," blushing quite profusely now, "was there anything else you were going to show me?"

Semi-disapointed about missing the show, "If that's what you want. Anything you're curious about?"

"Uhm, yeah, do I still have any power anymore. I remember I wasn't really able to do magic before the transformation."

"No need to go any further. I can just tell you that right now. There is a slight decrease, but you'll still have quite a bit of power. You didn't think you'd forget everything after you became human again. Humans can do magic; you don't have to be a monster." Popping over to one of the tables, he sits down and makes a drink appear from the air and takes a sip. "Give me a challange. There's got to be something else."

"Actually, what about Lina and Amelia and the others?"

"Oh please. Are you still thinking about them. I told you, you don't need them! You break off your connections with them, find your cure, and get the company of plenty of women every night. Forget them, they're lead weight that you don't need. They only hold you back."

Slowly nodding his head, Zelgadis agrees with Cras. "You're right. I don't need any of them, they're always distracting me from what is really important. I don't need to see any more. Thanks a lot. I almost made a big mistake before you showed up."

"No prob Stonehead. Be watching ya."

Again choking on the blue smoke that Cras so likes, Zelgadis finds himself in the present looking at his packed up campsite once again. He walks over to the road and looks down the two directions. One leads back to Zephilia, the other leads away. He sets out again on his neverending quest, completely forgetting that Lina was crying about him in the other direction.

"Cras, what were you thinking!" Rezo bounds over to the newly arrived spirit and grabs a hold of the front of his shirt.

"Shut up old man. I'm a spirit, you're just a ghost of a dead man. You don't even want to know what I can do to you. As for your dear grandson, if it weren't for my intervention, he would never have found that cure of his." He looks around and sees his two younger siblings looking at him in that reprimanding way of theirs. As usual, he doesn't care.

Rezo looks over to the other two for help. "What can we do now? He ruined everything. Could either of you go back and fix things?"

Showing much sympathy, Heri was first to reply. "I'm sorry, but we can only visit a particular person once in their lifetime."

Then Hodie, "She's right. It's all up to Zelgadis now."

A week later the bandits didn't know what hit them. Most bandits live with the knowledge that the Lina Inverse could come at any time. However, these were not prepared for the one who showed up in her stead. He was fast as lightning and ruthless as a snake. Zelgadis had burst through and slashed them all up before any even realized he was there. With a large smirk and narrow eyes, he wiped his sword off on one of the men's shirts and went to collect his winnings. Having what he came for he set off once again onto the road.

"Hey Zel!" Zelgadis looks westward and, shielding his eyes from the setting sun, he was barely able to make out the silhouettes of Lina and Gourry coming toward him. As they were approaching he made a quick decision and ran east as fast as his demonic speed could take him. The two being fled only stood there and were unable to fathom why their friend had taken off without even a 'hello'.

"Ne Lina, why did he run away like that? Didn't he recognize us?"

"I don't know Gourry." She did know, however, that Zelgadis did see them and recognize them before he ran. She just didn't want to believe it.

The blue one kept up his pace until he was sure that he had put enough distance between himself and the others. Slowing down to a casual walk, he began to ponder what had made him flee them so. He wasn't afraid of Lina and it couldn't have hurt to at least say 'hi' to her; why did he run? Then just as those thoughts began, they ended. He remembered that as long as he let that girl hold him back, he would never find his cure and become happy. Then again, according to what Cras had shown him, he would have to speak to Lina at least one more time.

Zelgadis hung around at the next town for a while knowing that Lina would be coming in that direction. And sure enough, she was there only three days later. He was sitting in the back corner of the tavern and watching her eat. When she was finished, he got up and crossed the room towards her.

"Good evening Lina." Despite the words, she knew that it wasn't a friendly greeting. "Would you come with me please? I think we need to have a talk." Lina nodds in agreement and tells Gourry that she see him in the morning. Zelgadis starts walking up to the inn upstairs and Lina cautiously follows. She can't quite place a finger on it, but she knows that something is wrong.

"So Zel, what's up?"

"Lina, I think we should stop traveling together."

"We weren't. You just showed up tonight."

"I mean ever. Every time I see you guys, I get dragged into something or other and all it does is slow down my quest."

"Sorry about that. It's not like I get caught up in those things on purpose. But still, it's better to travel with friends anyway. The road gets lonely by yourself. I remember back when I thought I could be by myself, I -- "

"Who ever said we were friends. I save you because we could work together to stop Rezo and all of the sudden I'm your friend? I don't know where you got that idea. I only traveled with you in the past because I thought it could benefit myself. I know better now, and I would appreciate it if you didn't bother me when we cross paths in the future."

Lina could only stare at him. The nerve of that guy telling her something like that.

"I don't know what your problem is Zel! If that cure of yours is so important, then go. Get out of here! I won't distract you again! Good bye." The red haired one stormed out of the room leaving the incensed chimera alone.

Having finally gotten that over with, Zelgadis felt only a brief twinge of guilt. Now if only Cras had shown him where he would find his cure. He exits the room, wanting to get going as soon as possible, and as he is leaving the building, he spots Lina over in the corner crying. The guilt is growing. He tries to push it down again and he sees Lina look up at him. She looks away and runs off.

He could handle it if she would just fireball him. Whatever happened to Lina's explosive temper. Instead of pounding him down into the ground, she was crying. Zelgadis didn't know what to do. He was having second thoughts about his current course in life. NO! He wanted -- no he needed his cure. Without that he would always be a monster; he would never be deserving of a relationship. Why wasn't she trying to hurt him? What is with the crying anyway? He needed to get away; get back to what's important. He dashed out the door and out the town.

Zelgadis traveled where the road would take him. It had been a couple of years since that faithful night. He was beginning to realize that when Cras had said "soon" he was saying that in the perspective of somebody who has eternity. As he looked up ahead of himself, he saw the white walls of the capital city of Seyruun. He hadn't even realized that he was in Seyruun at all. For some reason, instead of avoiding the city, he went straight into it. Security had been laxed in the time of peace, and he met no resistance at the gate. Strolling through the city he noticed that the people were preparing for yet another party. Typical. He continued walking down the road until he heard the trumpets sound for the royal procession. Quickly moving out of the way, he watched the procession from the side of the street. Up on their horses were Amelia and her husband with the small prince riding with his mother. Walking behind them were a blond swordsman and a redheaded sorceress. Zelgadis suddenly felt he shouldn't be in plain view, but it was too late. Amelia had spotted him.

Then she looked away. Lina must have told her about the things he had done. The procession had gone by and the street returned to normal with the everyday hustle 'n bustle of the people. He never realized how much he would miss the crazy group. He needed some time to himself so he found an inn and got a room.

Zelgadis was awoken out of his contemplation by a knock on the door. He quickly puts on his hood and mask and cautiously opens the door. On the other side was an outrageously dressed messenger. "Uhm hello, uh Zelgadis-san?" After a curt nod, "I have this invitation for you." He hands Zelgadis a small envelope with the royal seal on the back in red wax. The messenger bows and walks away leaving Zelgadis standing there with the invitation. He closes the door and opens the invitation.

Dear Mr. Greywords,

You are cordially invited to attend the second birthday party of our Prince Dayvid Christofer de Seyruun. The party will be held in the grand ballroom at the palace at five o'clock tonight. Dress is formal and dinner will be served. Your attendance will be appreciated. Thank you.


Crown Princess Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun

He tosses the letter aside. Why would he want to go to this party? He never liked large crowds. And why would they invite him? They hate him, don't they? Suddenly feeling tired, he takes a nap on the bed.

That evening, when he woke up, he found a gift box sitting near the door. At first irate that somebody came in to his room without him knowing, he checks the box to find a card on it.

Thought you would need something to wear tonight. Hope this is the right size.

Joeseph Nathaniel

So that's her husband's name. He opens the box and finds a quite tasteful black suit inside. It was all black, even the shirt, with a white bow tie. From holding the pieces up, he could tell that it was most likely a good fit. However, he still saw no reason to go to this party. He gets all of his stuff together and starts to leave when he begins to think of how much he still missed all of them. In the entire two years that he had been traveling alone, he could never manage to get the image of Lina's tears out of his mind. Just because they're all split up doesn't mean it couldn't be on good terms, right? Having decided to apologize to Lina, he puts on the suit and starts off for the palace. It's not that he's giving up on his cure, but Lina has a right to know why he treated her like that.

At the party, everything was in full swing. The band was playing a very upbeat song and people were flying across the dance floor. The buffet table was huge but still dwarfed by the size of the table of gifts for the young prince. When Zelgadis saw that table he realized that he hadn't brought anything to give to the birthday boy. He was about to give up and sneak out when the hostess tapped him on the shoulder. There she was in all her glory with Joseph on her arm.

"Good evening Zelgadis-san. I'm so glad you could make it." Her tone wasn't as bubbly as it had been in the past. She was obviously only being kind to him out of formality.

Not to make matters worse, Zelgadis spoke just as formally. "Thank you for the invitation Your Highness. Perchance, have you seen Ms. Inverse around here yet?"

"She's not down yet," Joseph answered, "Her and Mr. Gabriev should be down soon. I'm glad the suit fit, I was just guessing on the sizes. It looks good on you. Well enjoy the party." With that, the couple went off to greet the other guests.

Zelgadis waited while staying in the back of the room. The less attention drawn to him, the better. He was remembering back to all of the other parties similar to this one that he attended. Back when they considered him a friend. When he looked up to the stairs, he saw a vision in red and black. Lina was stunning in her black gown with her hair done up on top of her head. She walked down the stairs, only stumbling on her shoes once, arm in arm with Gourry. He barely recognized Gourry with his casual suit and his hair pulled back into a long ponytail. When they reached the bottom of the stairs it brought a small smile to Zelgadis' face to see that the two headed straight to the buffet table. Some things never change.

Zelgadis knew that it was now or never, but it still didn't make this any easier. He still had that slight voice in the back of his mind telling him to get out right now and find that cure. But, he wanted to at least apologize to Lina. If the cure existed, it shouldn't matter if he had friends or not; he would eventually find it. He walked over to Lina and tapped her on the shoulder from behind. She spun around fast, startled, and almost covered him in cheese squares. Then when she noticed who it was, she bitterly wished she had covered him.

"What do you want?"

"Lina, please, I need to talk to you."

"Don't talk as though you know me. I sure as hell don't know you."

"I deserve that. Please, I want to apologize."

"You should."

Gourry looks up at what was distracting Lina. "Ne Lina, do we know this guy. He looks kinda familiar."

"No Gourry. We don't know him. Maybe if we ignore him, he'll go away." She turns around and starts back on the buffet.

"Lina!" Zelgadis sighs in exasperation. "I know what I did was wrong. But you don't understand. I'm sorry and I want to explain things."

"The last time I went off to talk with you, you yelled at me and told me we weren't friends. I trusted you. You were the only one I could really talk to. It hurt .. and I won't let you hurt me again."

"I won't."

Lina finally complies to his request and follows Zelgadis out to one of the huge balconies adjacent to the ballroom. Finding it virtually empty, they move to the railing and begin their talk.

"I just want to tell you what happened. Before that night, I was told that I would find my cure, but only after I got rid of all my friends. So, I did. I know it was wrong of me and it took me all this time to figure out that it's not worth it. I'll understand if you don't want to be around me, but I still need you to accept my apology. I don't deserve it, but as you probably already know, I'm pretty selfish sometimes."

Lina only stands in her spot looking straight out over the garden. Never once turning to look at Zelgadis. Recognizing his own defeat, Zelgadis turns to leave.

"Wait." Still looking away, "Like I said, you hurt me. You'll probably never know how much. But ... I miss having you as a friend. If you're going to behave better from now on, then I guess I can accept your apology." She finally turns around to look at him. Zelgadis can barely make out the sparkle of small tears forming in her eyes. However, she is smiling at him. "Now, why don't we go back in to the party. I don't want Gourry to take all the food." She pushes away from the railing and walks right past Zelgadis. Before entering the ballroom, she stops and turns around. "Well, aren't you coming?"

Zelgadis smiles. It's good to be friends again. He follows Lina back into the room.

Rezo watches all of this and lets out a tremendous sigh of relief. He was starting to wonder if Zelgadis was going to end up like himself. He notices the approach of the three Spirits of Time behind him.

The young bell-like voice of Heri spoke first. "I'm glad everything turned out all right."

"Even with Cras trying to screw it all up," added Hodie.

"Come on you guys. Things wouldn't have been half as interesting if he had ran straight to her in the beginning. And besides, I knew what I was doing. I am the Spirit of Future after all." With a large wry grin on his face he looked down at the goings on in the ballroom. Then to keep up his image he added, "but, he definitely would have made a great playa. The ladies would've been all over him. His loss."


Well, how was it? This story got a lot longer than I originally planned it to be. I had to keep going until there was a happy ending. Stupid happy endings, oh well.

On the names: The names of the three spirits: Heri, Hodie, and Cras; were taken from the latin words 'yesterday, today, and tomorrow. My attempt at being clever. It took forever to find names that fit the time thing and still fit the characters as well.

Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed it. Happy ending and all. If you don't like happy endings, then just re-read and stop right after Zel and Lina have their fight. That was where it was supposed to end. Ja ne.