The Slayers: Mirror Nineteen
"Any news?" Lina Inverse asked as she pulled some meat from the roast with her teeth, the little redhead chewing hungrily. Her cloat and some of her gear were hung over a nearby chair, leaving her in just her comfortable tunic and keggings.
"Some," Phil admitted, the black haired bear of a man scratching thoughtfully at his bushy beard, "there's some powerful defensive spells shielding where ever Naga is but we have pinned down the general region."
"Gods am I tired," Naga sighed wearily as she entered the dining hall after Phil, the tall, black haired swordswoman leaning on her little sister for support. She looked like she was utterly exhausted, her hair hanging limp and eyes half lidded.
Seeing this Lina leapt to her feet, meal temporarily abandoned as she demanded of Naga, "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," Naga reassured her as she sat beside Lina, "it's just that being in the middle of a spell like that draws your strength out, somewhat."
Amelia nodded, the slightly smaller woman smiling reassuringly, "It's all right, Lina. I checked over Lady Naga myself."
"Here," Lina passed over a big chunk of the roast as she said gently, "you'll feel better after you eat something."
"Thank you," Naga smiled at her greatfully and Lina blushed a bit.
"I see it but I don't believe it," Zelgadiss murmured, the greenish skinned warrior looking on from where he had followed Amelia in, "Lina never shares food."
Quietly Amelia said to him, "Naga has a remarkable power over our Lina."
Keeping a concerned eye on Naga Lina asked Phil, "So where do you think the other version of Naga is, then?"
Having taken a seat at the head of the table Phil grabbed some fish as he said, "In the Cimerian region, I believe."
"Theres at least three kingdoms there," Zel noted as he mentally envisioned a map of the continent, "small but fierce."
"I've met a few warriors from there," Lina mused as she guzzled some wine, "big dumb types seem their specialty."
"Only partially," Naga pointed with a chicken leg she was eating, "their fighters and swordsmen all leave home to seek out mercenary work, while the mages, sorcerers and others tend to stay at home."
"That fits with what the court mages said," Amelia noted, "it's a powerful mystic or group of mystics shielding Naga."
Shortly after they had defeated the rampaging demon the mages of the Court had taken Naga aside and tried to use her again to find her mirror twin. The enchantments that originally found traces of her passage seemed not to work, and they quickly realized powerful magical defences had been raised against their search.
"I'm sorry that we can't seem to narrow it down any more," Phil scowled. He drank half his wine in one long gulp, "So what do you want to do now?"
"We go there," Lina said flatly, "if someone's captured Naga it'll worry them, maybe even make them tip their hand."
Zel looked at her with more than a bit of surprise as he asked, "You're offering to go help someone for no reward?"
Lina smirked back, "If we're dealing with a sorcerer they'll have plenty of magial artifacts and treasures for us to loot."
"Should have guessed," Amelia sighed. She looked up to meet Lina's eyes, "Of course you know I'll be going along."
"And I, too," Zel said calmly.
"But..." Naga started.
"Both you and your mirror'd self are blood relations," Amelia said, "honor, not to mention our growing friendship, demands that I assist."
"Zel?" Lina looked curious.
Zel shrugged slightly as he smiled fondly at Amelia, "Where she goes, I go."
"I can provide some supplies and horses," Phil offered eagerly, "maybe some soldiers for escort too..."
"I'll take the supplies but no soldiers or horses," Lina said firmly.
"Hmm?" Phil raised a bushy eyebrow, his mouth full of food.
"If we're really in a hurry the soldiers couldn't keep up with us anyway," Naga explained gently as she slurped some hot soup, "and regular horses are too likely to spook if we get into a fight and need to use our sorcery."
"Besides," Zel flashed a smile, "the poor things whimper in pain almost as soon as they see me, much less my riding one."
"True enough," Phil agreed.
"How quickly can you get the suplies together? I suspect Lina wants to leave soon," Naga said with a smile.
"I'll start things moving now," Phil waved a servant over and whispered instructions, "but it won't be until sometime tomorrow, certainly."
"Good enough. I hate leaving all these good meals behind," Lina said a bit regretfully, "but we should get going soon. If Naga is a captive they have to know we've been magically searching, and I don't want to give them too much time to prepare."
"Considering they already sent the demon Arberath after us as a distraction, I hate to imagine what they could do next," Amelia said as she ate.
"Demon's lie like we breathe," Naga reminded them all that what Arberath had said might not be that reliable.
"True," Zel agreed, "but a bound demon will often do whatever it can to undermine whoever sent it. If so, he might have been truthful with his hints."
"So we can guess someone is holding Naga captive and has some powerful resources behind them," Phil speculated.
"And it might be a woman," Lina added.
"Huh?" everyone looked at her.
"Arberath called whoever summoned him ''the Witch,' " Lina reminded them, "if he meant it as a insult it's female and male witches are usually called warlocks."
"The witch could be just a employee," Amelia countered, "but it's possible."
"So what does this mystery woman want with my daughter?" Phil growled out.
Zel covertly looked at Naga, "Maybe she's fascinated by large breasts?"
"Zel!" Amelia scolded while Naga blushed.
"Drop it," Lina gave Zel a dangerous look and he made no other comments. Getting back to business Lina said, "It could be a old enemy of Naga's, mine or both."
"Or someone Naga crossed after you knew her," Naga said. She blinked "Or even a foe that my Lina and I made, who was unaware I have a double."
"Which expands the list of suspects even wider," Phil groaned.
"Trying to narrow it down would be guesswork," Lina decided to cut them off, "we'll save that till we know more."
Naga stretched, yawning slightly. "If no one minds I think I'll retire for the night," she said, "we may have a early start tomorrow."
Surprisingly Lina abandoned foraging the last of the food trays. "She's right, we should go to bed early," Lina said as she followed Naga out of the room. Once they were sure they were out of everyone's sight Lina reached out and took Naga's hand.
Amelia smiled from where she was peeking, turning back to return to the dining room with a smile. "Did you see what you thought you'd see?" Zel asked her curiously.
"Yes, I think so," Amelia said, bending forward to whisper it into his ear.
"Oh ho," Zel smiled.
"I understand from the servants that Lina's room hasn't been slept in," Phil looked more amused than anything else, "is she spending her time at Naga's?"
"It appears so, father," Amelia admitted, carefully looking to see his reaction.
"I'm glad," Phil reassured her with a smile, "I think they are well suited to each other."
"But what happens when the first Naga returns?" Zel asked.
"We'll have to see what happens," Phil sighed.
To be continued...