Story: Slayers Mirror (chapter 12)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 12


Slayers: Mirror Twelve

The sound of the falling rain was a welcome one, the splat of water hitting the trees and running down the hillside. It meant they had finally dropped below the snowline, leaving behind the snow for now as the band of three traveled onwards with determination.

"How close are we to the town?" Lina Inverse asked, her red hair protected by the cloak that she was wearing. That, along with the enchantments on her clothes, kept her dry and reasonably comfortable even in weather such as this.

"Not far," Amelia answered, the short black haired girl dressed all in white smiling as she continued, "it's nice being close to home, I'm back in familiar territory again."

Naga nodded, the tall swordswoman striding along confidently beside them. Her black hair fell into her eyes as she noted, "Good, I'd hate to get lost again."

"It wasn't my fault," Lina protested sheepishly.

Naga smiled impishly as she teased Lina, "I still think you're natural talent for finding treasure kicked in again."

Lina had to smile at that, "We did do pretty well, fighting that sorcerer Halcyon."

Amelia had to shake her head, watching the two talking. Halcyon himself had been fairly powerful, with trolls and human servants, but thankfully the three of them had been able to handle him pretty easily. Of course, why he had a scrying orb that was keyed to the three of them still bothered her, as well as the sense that he had been serving someone or something else.

"And neither of you recognized him?" Amelia asked.

"No," Naga said crisply in reply, "and I think that I'd recognize one who was badly scarred as that old magician."

"He may not have been scarred when you met him," Lina pointed out wryly. The young sorceress frowned, "But I have to admit he didn't seem familiar at all."

"So like the bandits we have an enemy sent against us by an unknown master," Amelia sighed, "whom we have no clue about."

Naga smiled slightly as she said, "We will find out though, eventually."

The woods were thinning as they walked on, following what was probably once a old hunter's trail. Clambering over rough stone and fallen logs they descended towards the plains, only the occasional rumble of thunder off in the distance disturbing them.

Suddenly another kind of rumbling brought their attention back to Lina. "What," she frowned, "it's been hours since we caught those birds for lunch."

Naga fought back a smile, even though she was feeling a bit hungry, too. "Are we near that town you mentioned?" she turned to ask Amelia.

"An hour away at best," Amelia said confidently.

Lina groaned, putting her hand to her belly. "I'll die before then," she groaned, trudging along beside the other two.

Naga rummaged around in her pack for a moment and eventually produced a piece of dried meat. "It's not much, but..." she passed it over to Lina.

Lina nearly lunged for it, she was that hungry, but then stopped herself. "I can't take your last piece," she said to Naga softly.

Naga took Lina's hand in her own, graceful fingers pressing the food into her hand. "Eat it," she ordered her, "I'll be fine."

Lina was blushing faintly as she smiled, "Thanks."

'I don't think I've ever seem Lina hesitate over food,' a smiling Amelia mused as she watched Lina hungrily gnaw on the tough piece of dried meat.

It was actually closer to a half an hour before they reached the little town, really just a collection of buildings and an inn that were sitting on the side of the main trading road. Still, it was quite a sight to see for the three women who had been surviving on whatever they could hunt or gather for the last while.

"I'm surprised there isn't at least a wall around the place," Naga frowned as they followed the trade road down to the town.

"The nearby kingdoms don't tolerate much brigandry on the road," Amelia explained a bit smugly, "I'm afraid we're in civilized territory, now."

Lina chuckled softly even as she eagerly headed for the inn, "Trust me, I've seen plenty of bandits in cities, too, they're just called merchants."

Naga chuckled, "Nicely done, Lina."

They felt curious glances on them, hurrying through the collection of stands and shops to the inn. Only two floors tall it was a newer building, the shuttered windows peering out at the people who walked by. Lina led the way through the front door, all three of them carefully sweeping the room with their eyes as they headed for an open table.

The inn was barely half full, mostly travelers like themselves sitting at various tables or up at the bar. The inn keeper himself was an older man, an eyepatch covering one eye and a scar running up one side of his face. His hair was a weather-beaten brown, cropped short, and he wore the traditionally stained apron over simple garb.

"What can I get you?" he said with a deep rumbling voice after he reached their table, scratching at his facial scar unconsciously.

"What's your special today?" Amelia asked brightly.

"Stew," he rumbled.

"What kind of stew?" Naga inquired.

"Just stew," he clearly had nothing else to say on the subject.

Making a fast decision Lina ordered them two bowls each to start off with, and for him to be ready to bring some more when they signaled. "Oh, and get a pitcher of beer, too," she called out once he was walking off.

"Civilization, hmm?" Naga gave Amelia a impish look.

Amelia watched the innkeeper go over to a large pot bubbling over the fire and ladle out several bows of an thick, unidentified brown fluid and sighed, "I just hope that this stew isn't as bad as I think it's going to be."

"Hey, it's hot food that hasn't been made by one of us," Lina frowned at her as she gently scolded, "don't complain."

With loud thumps the bowls of stew were dropped off, along with beer and three large mugs for everyone at the table. "Bread," he dropped three loaves on the table then headed back to watch over the bosomy wench who was working up at the bar.

"Huh," Naga took a spoon and scooped up some of her stew, examining a few of the unidentified lumps a moment before putting it in her mouth.

"How is it?" Amelia asked as Naga chewed thoughtfully.

Naga surprised them by smiling suddenly, "It's good."

Lina was already digging in as Amelia ate hers more cautiously, the three of them clearly enjoying the food. Mopping up the thick juices in her third bowl with some of the crusty bread Lina smiled happily, "I don't think I really want to know what animal that meat was from, but it certainly tasted good."

"Fair enough," a smiling Amelia agreed, slurping some juice and not really caring about her princessly manners very much.

Naga was keeping up with Lina quite handily as she mopped up more of the juice in her bowl. "Do we want to stay here overnight?" she asked her companions, chewing on the bread crust.

"I want to see if he's serving stew for breakfast," Lina chuckled.

They paid for their dinners and found out only two singles were left to rent for the night. Giving one room to Amelia left Lina and Naga sharing the narrow bed, but the two women soon disrobed and slid beneath the covers together.

To be continued...

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