Slayers: Mirror Fifteen
"You have no idea how good it feels to be home," Amelia sighed as they descended from the hills towards the kingdom of Saillune. The white clad woman turned impatiently, black hair shining as she continued, "Hurry up!"
Lina rolled her eyes, her red hair bouncing as they strode down the trade road. "Take it easy," she advised, "we'll get there." Looking over at her increasingly quiet travel companion Lina asked, "Are you all right, Naga?"
Naga smiled faintly, "I'm not sure." Her eyes were oddly haunted as she continued, "It's strange, I feel as though I've visited this place but I know I haven't..."
'Interesting,' Zelgadiss thought, watching them together. Lina treated the tall swordswoman so gently, looking up to her with a almost... lover-like concern. Aloud he offered, "Maybe Phil can help clear this up for you."
"Maybe," Naga answered softly.
Amelia looked at Naga, her own expression softening a little. "I forgot this is new to you, Naga," she said as they walked on.
Around them the crowds moved on, most of them looking at the band of adventurers. They clearly recognized both Amelia and Zel, and they moved with caution around Lina, the fearsome bandit slayer. The tall swordswoman with the band was a stranger, yet there was something oddly familiar about her to the people of Saillune.
Lina walked protectively beside the taller Naga, her eyes flashing as she warned off anyone who came near. "Let's hope Phil doesn't mind company," Lina said.
"I think he'll be happy to see Amelia," Zel flashed a smile, "if in a scolding mood, considering she didn't tell us where she was going."
"Zel," Amelia complained, "I explained..."
Lina shook her head as the two argued, the greenish skinned young man and his petite but energetic girlfriend. "Aren't they cute?" she murmured to Naga.
Naga chuckled softly, "Actually, yes the are." Her gaze was fond as she looked at Amelia, "I was a little wary when we first saw him but... I think he's worthy of her."
"You sound like a older sister," Lina said softly.
"Now that's scary," Naga answered wryly. She looked down at Lina thoughtfully, "You know, I don't remember you mentioning family..."
Lina reached out to take Naga's hand, knowing the taller woman was talking like this out of nervousness. "I have a older sister," she admitted, "she pretty much raised me, as far as it goes." Dropping her voice she added, "Big sister is one of the few people I'm scared of."
"Eh?" Naga blinked in surprise, a faint blush appearing on her face as she held onto Lina's smaller hand in hers.
Lina shrugged, "What can I say, she had a impact on me when I was young."
Naga had a odd look on her face, trying to get her mind around the idea. "I'll have to meet her one day," she said with a wry smile.
"I'd like that," Lina added, "you can meet the family."
Naga blushed as the implications finally hit.
"Ho, Princess Amelia," a guard called from the gate they were nearing, the tall man beaming at the mixed group of adventurers. He looked amused, "Outriders have already sent word of your coming to the palace."
"Thank you," Amelia nodded as they headed through the outer gates and on to the familiar streets of her home. She led the way unerringly through the streets, up to the palace that rose majestically from the center of the city.
"I wonder how annoyed Phil is at you slipping out of the city the way you did?" Zel asked her with a wicked smile.
Lina shook her head, "I doubt he's be too bothered, he's probably gotten used to Amelia racing off into battle considering how often it's happened."
"Gee, thanks," Amelia rolled her eyes.
Naga adjusted her cloak nervously, her simple garb and leather armor marking her as a warrior. "What's Phil like?" she asked softly.
"A good man," Lina answered promptly, "I like him a lot."
"Comforting," Naga flashed a smile.
They reached the palace only to jerk as the doors crashed open, a bear of a man bursting out to enfold Amelia in a powerful hug. Phil swung her around happily, "Welcome home!"
"Father," Amelia laughed as he gently put her down, "I'm sorry to worry you."
"I know you can take care of yourself," Phil said as he looked around the group, "but I'm glad to see you had help..." He trailed off, his eyes widening as they fell on a certain figure.
Clearing her throat Amelia gestures, "You know the others, but I'd like to introduce the swordswoman Naga."
Phil's voice was hoarse as he murmured, "Gracia?"
Naga felt her short black hair brush her blushing face as she looked up at him, a man who looked eerily familiar to her. "Not exactly," she said to him as gently as possible before continuing wryly, "it's a long story."
Phil cleared his throat once, his cheeks red. "One I look forward to hearing," he answered. In more normal tones he looked at Zelgadiss, "Welcome back, son-in-law."
"You two made it official?" Lina blurted as she looked at Zel in surprise.
Amelia blushed charmingly, "No, but we've finally set a date for the wedding so he should be saying future son-in-law."
"Close enough," Phil grinned. He turned to lead them inside as he said, "Knowing you all like I do, I had a meal prepared for your arrival."
Lina slapped him on the back, "I knew I could count on you."
They gathered around a heavily laden table, digging in eagerly even as Naga began to explain her story to Phil. He ripped some meat from a thigh as he said, "So, you're a magically created copy of the original Naga the White Serpent?"
"Yes sir," Naga nodded, "Amelia was hopeful that your sorcerers could use me to try to find out what happened to the original."
"And you don't remember your past?" Phil asked gently.
Naga shook her head, "I'm sorry, but no. Before a certain point it just dissolves to a blur..." Anticipating the next comment she added, "And both I and the original tried various kinds of magical healing, but they didn't work."
"I'm not surprised," Amelia agreed, "healing the body with magic is relatively simple, but the mind is much more difficult."
"Very true," Zel nodded, sitting beside Amelia. As they ate their hands would occasionally brush, the two exchanging blushing glances.
"Young love," Lina murmured. She looked over at Phil, "When your magicians do their searches remind them to be careful with Naga, I'd be very annoyed if she's hurt."
"Of course they'd be careful," Phil said firmly.
Naga had the oddest little smile as she looked down at Lina, a faint blush coloring her cheeks. "Thank you," she said to her softly.
Lina looked away uncomfortably, "Just looking out for my partner."
Naga put her hand over Lina's, squeezing it gently.
Phil raised a eyebrow, but he was smiling. "Well, isn't that interesting," he said thoughtfully, just loud enough for Zel and Amelia to overhear.
"Daddy," Amelia cautioned softly, "don't jump to conclusions."
Phil just chuckled softly.
To be continued...