The Slayers: Mirror Twenty
“You have got to be joking,” Lina Inverse said fiercely, her red hair flowing around her head as energy crackled between her fingers.
“Yield or die, sorceress!” the black haired warrior dressed in just a loincloth and boots demanded, muscles rippling and flexing as he posed dramatically.
“Isn’t he cold in that outfit?” Amelia asked faintly, the black haired young woman covering her eyes and blushing.
“Not to mention no armor,” Zelgadiss gave a professional frown, the greenish skinned chimera standing by Amelia’s side.
The big man waved his sword in a graceful but deadly pattern, leather loin-cloth flapping in the breeze and likely making certain parts of his body cold. “True warriors fight like this!” he declared proudly.
“I recognize the fighting style, he’s from the Cimerian region,” Naga noted, her short black hair gently messed by the breeze, her simple leather pants and tunic comfortable and, most importantly, warm.
“Oh really,” Lina blinked. “Who are you, anyway?”
“I am Crom!” the well oiled and tanned man declared, “Son of Conan! Grandson of Mac! Great-grandson of Kaine! And I will see you dead!”
“Why?” Amelia asked curiously.
“To collect on the bounty on the infamous black sorceress’,” Crom dramatically pointed his sword at Lina, “head!”
“This again,” Lina muttered under her breath, having run into this stunt a few times before. An enemy got worried about Lina going after them and put a bounty on her head, it was annoying but she could deal with it.
“I suppose you wouldn’t just agree to give up and guide us through the Cinnerian region?” Zel asked wryly.
“Never, dogs!” Crom waved his sword again.
“I’ve got this one,” Naga said before the others could act, walking forward across the field towards where Crom waited. From the sheath over her shoulder she drew her sword, expression intent.
“Be careful,” Lina scowled.
“Always,” Naga answered, never taking her eyes off her foe.
“They send a woman against me?” Crom looked surprised, “I at least expected some sport from the monster.”
“What?” Zel said, scowling dangerously.
“Easy,” Amelia put her hand on his arm, “he’s just trying to provoke you.”
“He’s succeeding,” Zel growled.
Without another word Naga attacked, sweeping forward but Crom was ready, their blades meeting with a clang of metal on metal. He tensed his muscles, expecting to fling her away but she matched him pressure for pressure, her eyes narrowed and intent. Pulling apart they circled warily, then his blade flashed as he lunged, but Naga simply deflected him aside.
“The women of your land are strong,” Crom conceded reluctantly, the two warriors circling each other once more. He seemed more serious, studying her for weaknesses... atleast when he wasn’t distracted by the bounce of her breasts.
Naga smiled wryly, “Thank you.”
With a battle cry Crom charged, sword held above his head for a final strike. Looking at him in complete disbelief Naga watched him come, thedn at the last minute kicking up to slam the hard toe of her boot right into his unprotected crotch.
“Urgle,” Crom made a soft sound as his sword dropped from nerveless hands and he reached down to cup himself protectively.
“Ouch,” Zel winced in sympathy.
“You’s thing he’d at least wear a codpiece or something,” Lina murmured wryly as they watched him drop to his knees, whimpering.
“That was,” Crom managed in a much squeakier voice, “most unfair.”
“There is no fair or unfair in battle,” Naga said as she sheathed her sword. The others gathered around as she asked, “Who put the bounty on Lina Inverse?”
“I’ll,” Crom wheezed a bit, “never talk.”
“All right then,” Naga took one of Crom’s arms, “Zel, want to help me hoist him up?” Once they got the weak kneed Crom up to his feet again she asked with twinkling eyes, “Okay, who else wants a kick?”
“Oh, me, me!” Lina said with a evil grin.
“You wouldn’t,” Crom squealed.
“Wanna bet?” Lina swung her kicking leg suggestively.
“You’re devils, not warriors,” Crom sighed. “I don’t know exactly who ordered the bounty, but it came from the Aesir region.”
“Thank you,” Amelia smiled sweetly. A bit more hesitantly she added, “You might want to go bathe in a cold stream or river for a while, it might bring the, ah, swelling down.”
“Thank you,” Crom sighed as the band left him behind.
“You weren’t really going to let her kick him again?” Zel asked Naga curiously as they set off down the dirt road once again.
“No,” Naga admitted, the trees providing them some shade from the bright sun, “but he didn’t need to know that.”
“Remind me not to play cards with you,” Lina grinned.
“So,” Amelia asked, “do you think we’ll run into more of his people, now?”
“I’d bet on it,” Zel nodded.
It had been three days since they had left Saillune and thankfully they had been mostly quiet ones. Carrying backpacks loaded with Phil’s supplies and money pouches loaded with gold coin they had left in the morning, only to stop in the nearest tavern for a filling lunch. Once that was done they really set out, heading into dew wet hills away from the city and back to the northern lands once more.
“What really annoys me,” Naga said as they crossed a stone bridge, “is that we passed through that region going to Saillune!”
Lina shrugged, “We didn’t know, so no reason to cry over spilt ale.”
“Were you attacked going through that region?” Zel asked thoughtfully, probably already anticipating what they might need to deal with.
“Not so much, but we mostly crossed over mountains, not the highways,” Amelia said. She shivered, visibly, “Please tell me we aren’t doing that again.”
Naga chuckled softly, “No, we’re following the main roads right into Cimeria.”
Zel noted her tone of voice then his own eyes widened a bit as he asked, “You want us to be attacked?”
“Whoever is holding the original Naga knows we’re coming,” Lina said, “they wouldn’t have sent that demon earlier otherwise. So, we face whatever they throw at us and maybe one of them will spill who’s behind all this.”
“Great plan,” Zel said dryly.
“Thank you,” Amelia smiled, “I came up with it.”
“Huh?” Zel looked at her in surprise as Lina and Naga fought back a case of the giggles.
To be continued...
Note: “Crom, son of Conan! Grandson of Mac! Great-grandson of Kaine!” is a homage to Robert E. Howard's Conan, as well as his other fantasy creations.