(A Slayers Fanfic)
By: Niki "NeeP" Paradis
Chapter One: Bringing up Copy...
Everything was exploding. Canisters were shattering, pipes bursting, and all round chaos ensued. The wizard in charge of the Leyrun Wizards Guild, specialising in chimeras, was in a screaming fit at the retreating backs of the criminals.
"GET OUT!!! STAY OUT!!! DON'T YOU EVER COME BACK HERE!!!" he screamed.
The perpetrators, a young, under-developed red-head teen-age girl, a lanky vacant-eyed blonde man, a doe-eyed, raven-hair young woman and a spunky, loud cheerful young girl with short dark hair, were all fleeing the scene as fast as they can.
"Sorry!" called out the redhead. "No hard feelings, okay?!?"
Then they were gone. The old man stared for a moment after the empty spot where the redhead and her cronies had vanished, then he collapsed on the spot.
The old man sat in the debris of what was once his masterpiece. Pieces of the ceiling were still raining down on him as he sat in shocked silence. Those two morons destroyed his wonderful, wonderful kopii incubator. Hah! They may say that they were a master-swordsman and a magic-genius, but it was obvious that they were both complete morons. And now, he can't even find out if the machine that he had spent valuable guild funds on even worked right. He was certain that there was no way that the guild could afford to pay for repairs for all of the damages. He wanted to cry...
"Are you all right, Master Tomas?" asked a meek sounding voice, breaking through his misery. The old wizard looked into the young face of his assistant and apprentice, Devin. The boy appeared to be bruised and his robe was scorched and tattered, but seemed to be all right.
"I'm all right, lad," he said to reassure him. "Just a little bit in shock, that's all."
The young assistant helped his master onto his feet.
"It looks bad, doesn't it?" asked the young man.
"Hmmm?" mumbled Master Tomas as he picked broken bits of glass from out of his beard. He looked around at the debris and sighed. "I suppose that it does look that way... But I find that it hurts to look at this. I mean, look what they have done to it..." He paused, then shook himself. "But we'll take total stock of the damage in the morning, all right lad?" he said in a calmer voice. "It hurts a little too much to think about it right now."
They started to walk through the settling dust towards the new exit that was created in the explosion.
"I guess so," said Devin finally. "I just wish that there was some way to salvage..." he was at a lost for words, "something from all this mess."
"I know what you mean, lad," sighed the old wizard. "I really was looking forward to studying exactly how much memories and skills can be transferred from the original master-swordsman into a kopii... But I guess we won't be finding out anytime too soon."
Moonlight was peeking through the holes in the walls and ceiling, making ghostly shapes through out of the dust and wreckage. Master Tomas sighed again as he looked at the ruined half-formed bodies of his latest batch of chimeras. What a waste, he thought to himself, starting to fall into a deep funk. His gaze was torn away from the mis-shaped forms as he spotted something glittering gold in a patch of moonlight. Apparently, Devin saw it too and the two of them walked up to the golden object together.
It was a lock of blonde hair.
The old man's thoughts went through his mind quickly. It wasn't his hair as his was grey, it wasn't Devin's hair as the boy had short brown hair, so it was obviously the hair of one of the intruders. --And only one of them had blonde hair. He started to get excited. He practically ran over to the piece of hair and carefully pulled it free from the pieces of wreckage that it was lodged into.
"It's the hair of that master-swordsman, isn't it?" asked Devin, who knew his master well enough to follow his thoughts.
"That it is, lad. At least not all of the samples have been destroyed," he chuckled. "Maybe it's not so bad of a night that we thought, eh?"
Quickly, the old man cast a preservation spell onto the lock of hair. After a quick search through the wreckage of the lab, he managed to find an intact and fairly clean jar to place it into. It might be awhile before everything is up and running again, but at least he won't have to waste time to find a sample.
"All right, Devin, m'boy, lets go home!" he said cheerfully.
He dropped his assistant into the concerned and over-protective arms of his mother and merrily went on his way. He thought about how he the project, that was now back into action.
After all, thought the old man to himself, the machine can be rebuilt, --especially with the original plans locked up in the safe at home. I'll find the money to get it working again. And now he had the sample to work on. So all that the group of morons did was set things back a bit. After the disaster of the day, things were starting to look up. Not even the concerned fussing of his wife, when he got home, late and dirty managed to dampen his spirits.
Other things happened as well.
For one thing, a rogue kopii of an infamous red-priest destroyed the nearby city of Sairaag the following evening. And all of the survivors were making their way to the outlying villages and to other parts as well.
It was a good and bad thing.
It was good, because in the time-span of three months, the small village of Leyrun was growing fast. It started at first as shanty-houses, then proper structures were being built and new craftsmen and artisans were moving in and setting up business. It was a wonderful thing for the economy, and everyone was taking advantage of all that was becoming available. Including Master Tomas.
After assessing the damage, he was pleased and relieved to find that his kopii machine wasn't as bad off as he thought. The pipes were broken and the tubes needed to be replaced, but the rest of the machine was in decent shape. The repairs to the equipment and building were almost completely covered by insurance, as Master Tomas had the foresight to take some out in case of an incident in sabotage. And let's face it, that was what the group of morons did a few months back... more or less. He also decided to take advantage of the influx of craftsmen and artisans to get the structural integrity of the Guild building reinforced. Professional plumbers, instead of students trying to earn credits and currying the guild-master's favour soldered the new pipes. And they all worked cheaply, as everyone was competing against each other to have their services used. It was a 'buyer's market'.
It was a bad thing because the popularity of the art of chimera making, especially 'kopii magic' has hit an all time low. It was a kopii that destroyed the city of Sairaag and not one of the survivors wanted to see or hear anything about that specific form of magic again. In short, there were too many people who have something against the concept of 'kopii-ing' and they would more than likely lynch the old man if they knew that was the area that he specialised in.
Master Tomas simply decided to avoid a spectacle by simply not admitting to what kind of research that his guild majored in. So he had to lie about what exactly the machine did. It wasn't like the rest of the villagers ever had a real clue to what went on at the guild-house.
Then one sunny morning, after all of the repairs were made to the equipment and building, Master Tomas and his assistant, Devin, got to work. First they made sure that everything was clean and working properly. Then, the old man opened the jar that he kept the lock of hair in. He dispelled the preservation spell and placed the hair into the receiving tube and closed the cover. He watched as the tube filled up with the liquid and chemicals that were necessary to make sure that the spell worked. Devin looked up momentarily from the readouts and glanced at the rapidly dissolving hair.
"Excuse me, Master Tomas?" he asked hesitantly.
"Yes? What is it, lad?"
"Was there supposed to be a few red hairs mixed with the blonde ones?" he asked.
"Huh?" Quickly the old man stared at what was left of the hair in the tube. A few strands of brilliant red hair dissolved along with the blonde. He blinked once and the hair was gone.
"Uh..." said the wizard brightly. Then he shook himself and looked at his assistant with determination. "It can be a control," he said. "We'll see how much of a difference a few strands of hair can make."
Devin shrugged. What the hell, why not! He returned to looking at the gauges and readouts. "Everything else appears to be normal sir," reported.
"Excellent!" It was obvious that Master Tomas was excited. "Tell you what, lad. Since the process takes a day and a half, we'll have time to go to the inn and celebrate."
"I dunno..." mumbled the boy. "My mother wanted me to save my money for a rainy day..."
"Don't worry about it, lad. I'm buying."
That made Devin perk right up. As fair as a Master and teacher that the old man was, he had to admit that the wizard was a bit on the frugal side. Ah, the hell with it... The old man was cheap. He was a tightwad with his and the guild's funds. So when the boy heard the phrase 'free food', it was obviously an opportunity not to be missed. The head of the guild was obviously in a very good mood. There was only one way to reply, and so Devin did.
"Yes sir! I'd love to celebrate too!" he said.
The two of them went to the TreeView Inn. Master Tomas ordered Roast-beef sandwiches and ale for the both of them. Devin was reluctant to try the brew at first, but his master reminded him that his mother can't be with him all of his life. So he took a sip. The liquid burned slightly through his throat and warmed his stomach. Within a few moments, all of the doubts that he had about the project had disappeared. He felt good about the whole thing. He felt better than he did his whole protected life. This good feeling came into being about 2 minutes after the boy took his first drink. But that really didn't matter to the boy.
"I love you, Master..." giggled the assistant.
"Hmm... Master Tomas looked a bit concerned. "I think that you had a bit much to drink, lad. Maybe you ought to stay at the lab tonight so that your mother doesn't get a look at you looking like that."
Devin hiccuped. "H'okay..." he agreed.
"You can help me set up a bed in the lab and stay there just in case something goes wrong with the project."
The two returned to the guild house --going the long way around in order to avoid passing Devin's house. The old man was grateful the mother of the household to let Devin be apprenticed to him, but he knew that she worried about her youngest son from time to time. If she knew that her son's master had gone ahead and gotten her youngest completely drunk, she'd more than likely freak out.
Devin came from a rather large merchant's family, and he was considered to be the odd one out, as the boy rather study magic than make a profit. But his parents were both supportive. They figured that it was time for a new direction for the prominent family, as long as their youngest did not get hurt. If Devin got hurt, again, the financial support that they gave to the magic guild would be pulled immediately. Master Tomas almost lost everything that night of the explosion. He was lucky that Devin was little more than scratched. A broken leg would've cost the guild an arm and a leg --so to speak.
Fortunately they managed to scoot around the problem area without running into anyone who would tattle to Devin's family. They made it to the guild-house and into the lab without too much trouble. It took around two hours for the two of them to set up the bed, but it went up soon enough. Master Tomas was even decent enough to give his apprentice the bed while he slept in the old easy chair that he used for studying.
It was mid-afternoon the next day when the kopii incubator chimed. Both master and student quickly turned their concentration away from the poker game that they were playing (Devin was winning) and looked towards the huge chamber where the 'final product' was to come out. Devin looked at the readouts.
"Everything checks out, Master Tomas," he said.
"That's good, lad." The old man was quavering in anticipation. "Bring over that clipboard from the table and bring it here. I do believe that the door is about to open."
The door of the chamber opened with a slight crack. Expecting the worse, like a puddle of ectoplasm or a seventy-armed monster, the two scientists/wizards rushed to the opening and looked inside. Each was quivering with excitement.
A confused looking young man sat on the floor. He blinked in the sudden light that was coming from the crack of the open doors. One of his knees was drawn up to his chin and his hair spilt down his back and onto the floor. He shivered in the sudden coolness that came into the chamber. He saw the old wizard and apprentice and swallowed. Then he cleared his throat and spoke.
"You wouldn't happen to have anything to eat, would you?" he asked.
"..." The old man was at a lost for words. Then suddenly, it occurred to him. He let out a whoop of pure joy. "It worked! He's alive!" He turned to Devin. "We did it, lad!"
Devin grinned, pleased that the old man's experiment came true. The young man in the chamber looked even more confused.
"What's going on?" he asked.
The old man stopped his celebrating and looked at the new life he had just made. "Oh! Sorry about that. C'mon out lad." He reached into the chamber and helped the young man to his feet and led him out. "Let's see how you look."
Once the kopii was out, Master Tomas began to do an examination. He muttered comments as he examined every little detail. He studied the fingernails, "Fingernails are fully formed." He pulled the young man's head down and looked into his eyes, "Eyes are clear--no sign of cloudiness..." He gave a quick tug on the long hair, "Good, good... Hair's rooted firmly." The old man took two steps back and looked the tall figure up and down. "All in all, I'd say he's perfect." He paused. "The colours are a little off," he said.
Devin's eyes were round as saucers as he watched the examination take place. The young man was getting red in the face. "Excuse me..." he said.
"Hmmm?" asked the old man. "What is it, lad?"
"Are you some kind of pervert or something?"
"What do you mean?"
The tall young man made no movement to cover his nakedness, but the old wizard caught on anyway.
"Oh! Sorry about that!" The old man had the decency to blush. "Devin, pass over that blanket from off the bed." He took hold of the blanket from the assistant. "Thanks. Here, lad. Use this."
The young man took the blanket and wrapped it around himself. He allowed the old wizard lead him to a chair and sat down. "What is going on here?" he asked exasperatedly. "Is there any food around here at all?!?"
"You take a guy's clothes from him, stare at him while he's in the buff and you don't even have the decency to FEED HIM?!?" The young man stopped his ranting as if he was suddenly aware of what he was saying. He blushed. "Sorry about that..." he mumbled.
"Must be because you're hungry," suggested Master Tomas. He went to a cupboard and brought out some bread, cheese and cold cuts. He set them down in front of the young man. "Here you go, lad," he said. He called over to Devin, who was still standing in shock, "Bring over the pitcher of water, will you, please? Our young friend is probably very thirsty."
"Yeah!" said the young man brightly, then proceeded to wolf down all of the food. The old man and his assistant could only watch in wonder as the foodstuff disappeared into what appeared to be a black hole of sorts. When the kopii gestured towards the pitcher in Devin's hands, the young apprentice could only pass it over in complete silence.
"Thanks!" The water was gone in a few gulps, and the young man wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "That's better. Now, can you guys tell me what is going on here?"
The old wizard introduced himself. "I'm Master Thomas, head of this magic guild. This is my apprentice and assistant, Devin. What do you remember about yourself, lad?" The old man didn't quite realised that he had just made a mistake.
"Oh! That's easy!" grinned the young man. "My name is Gourry Gabriev and I was born..."
The old man was startled at first when he realised that he copied a young man whose wanted poster was pasted all over Sairaag, and that he was risking his life those months past with a wanted criminal in his lab. The as the young man went into detail, he then realised what kind of mistake he had just made.
The next four hours were filled with the young man telling his life story.
"...And then Lina and the guys and me all came in here to see how copies were made, and we made a whole mess of little copies of me and Lina which fought and the Lina copies won and they all disappeared. Then the big machine started to blow up and we tried to get away. Then I woke up in that chamber of that machine and now I'm talking to you." The young man then looked to his audience to see how well his story was received.
Devin was snoring on a nearby wooden chair, leaning against the table. A small puddle of drool was under his head. Master Tomas was struggling to keep from nodding off. He suddenly realised that the talking stopped and he shook himself.
"That was uh, very interesting," lied the old man, but I have some disturbing news to tell you, lad. You better sit down."
The young man blinked. "But I am sitting down."
"Quite right." The old man paused. "Well, it's like this..." He stopped again. Then he prodded Devin awake. "You tell him, lad."
"Huh?" was the apprentice's intelligent reply. "Tell him what, sir...?"
"Uh..." Master Tomas didn't know what to say.
"Yeah, tell me what?" prompted the tall youth.
"Uh, right." The old man sighed. "Well, since you're my responsibility..." He walked up and put his hands on the young man's shoulders. "You're not this 'Gourry Gabriev' that you believe you are."
"I'm not? What do you mean?" The youth seemed confused.
"You see that bell-shaped chamber over there? The one you came out of?"
"That's the 'kopii-incubator'. You came from that. Do you follow me so far?"
"Do you know what that means?"
"Nope!" the youth said brightly.
The old man and the assistant both face-faulted. Devin fell out of his chair. Master Tomas recovered and tried not to strangle the new life he has created.
"I'm trying to tell you that you are a kopii of this person, 'Gourry'," he said exasperatedly. You got that?"
The tall young man shook his head in disbelief. "You got to be kidding..." he mumbled.
"It's the truth lad. I'm not kidding. Maybe you're not an 'exact' kopii, but a kopii is what you are."
"Not an 'exact' kopii? Am I a kopii or are you guy simply full of it?" The young man sounded indignant.
"The colouring's a little off," the old wizard admitted embarrassed.
"The colour's a little off?!?" The tall youth was confused and angry all at once.
Devin went to a cupboard and pulled out a hand mirror.
"Maybe you ought to take a look for yourself," he suggested. "It'll prove that Master Tomas isn't lying."
The young man gingerly took the mirror, and studied his reflection. It was the face he has always known, and everything was in the right place, but the colours were all wrong. Instead of the cornflower blue that he knew that his eyes should be, they were a warm lavender. And the hair framing his face was a reddish-gold instead of the colour of new hay like it was supposed to be.
"Why..." started the young man. "Why are the colours wrong"
"It's probably because of the few strands of red hair that got mixed in with the blonde when Master Tomas created you."
"Created me..." said the young man dejectedly as the information sunk home. His voice was getting depressed. "So you're saying that I'm not who I think I am?"
"Sorry lad," sympathised Master Tomas, "I'm afraid not."
The young kopii said nothing for a few minutes. And then...
"Do you have anymore food? I like to eat when I'm depressed."
The old man patted his shoulder. "Not at the moment. But, Devin...?" He looked to his apprentice.
"I'll go get something form the inn, Master Tomas," said the boy, figuring out what his master wanted.
"A lot of food?" asked the young man hopefully.
The old man sighed. He reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out a battered looking pouch. He opened it up and a cloud of dust and a few moths escaped to freedom. He reached into the bag and pulled out a few coins, which he handed to Devin.
"Here you go, lad."
"Be sure to get a receipt."
The boy fought to keep from rolling his eyes upward. "Yes sir," he said again, then left.
Once Devin was gone, Master Tomas turned to his new ward and spoke softly to him.
"I know that this is tough for you, lad, but I need you to choose a new name. Can you do that?"
"Uh..." the young kopii looked thoughtful for a moment. "Do I have to?"
"It's for your own protection, lad."
"Uh, okay..." The youth concentrated really hard for a moment. Then he grinned.
"You have one?" asked the old wizard.
"Yeah. I want to be called, uh, 'Gourry'."
The old man fell to the floor in shock, his hands in the o-yakusoku position. It took a moment before he could climb back to his feet.
"I meant a different name," he said shortly.
"Oh." The young man thought some more, then he shook his head. "I can't," he said. "I can't seriously think myself as anyone else but 'Gourry'. Who else can I be?"
The wizard sighed. "Don't worry about it now, lad. We'll work on it tomorrow morning. Here's Devin with the food."
Sure enough, the apprentice came in with a huge tray of food that he set down in front of the young man. Then he stood back as the kopii tore into the food with not quite as much enthusiasm as before. But the food disappeared quickly enough. The tall youth stood up and wrapped the blanket tighter around himself. He shivered.
"Are you okay, lad?" asked Master Tomas, concerned.
"I'm not sure..." said the youth in a very quiet voice. "I think that I'd like to be by myself for a bit."
The old man looked out the window at the night sky. "It's time for bed anyway. You can stay here for the night," he pointed to the bed that was set up the night before. "The uh, 'facilities' are down the hall and to the right." He pointed the way. "And Devin will be staying in the study, if you need anything."
"Hey!" exclaimed Devin.
"It's all right, Devin, my boy. I cleared it with your mother. I told you that you had a project to oversee tonight."
"You mean, me..." muttered the kopii.
"Shh. It's all right lad." The wizard patted his ward's arm.
"Well, if it's okay with Mom..." the boy began, "I guess I can stay..."
"That's the spirit, lad. This young man won't be any trouble at all, right?"
"I guess..." mumbled the young man.
"Where will you be Master?" asked Devin.
"I'll be doing some important stuff tonight, lad. Don't you worry about it. I'll be back early tomorrow morning."
Master Tomas left shortly afterwards. He knew that he couldn't quite tell his wife that he had successfully created a kopii. Especially since she has heard those nightmare stories that the refugees were telling about. That didn't mean that he couldn't celebrate with her though. He had picked up the flowers and wine that he had stashed in his office earlier that day and he was sure that his wife would be happy to celebrate with him, even though she wouldn't know what they were celebrating about.
Well, the wizard's wife was more than happy to celebrate with him. In fact she was pleasantly surprised as well --she didn't think that the old man had it in him. And so, they uh, celebrated well into the night.
And in the laboratory of the magic guild, a very confused young man huddled under the blankets.
I'm not Gourry, he thought to himself. Or at least not anymore... Who am I now? The thought of being a duplicate of a man that he thought he was very depressing. He had all of the memories, but not the identity. And at the moment, he really didn't have a name either. I'm nobody, he thought bleakly. He wondered briefly if life was worth living without having an identity, and whether or not he wanted to continue living it, but he shrugged and realised that an identity isn't all that hard to come by. Maybe if he can come up with a name he can build up the new identity from that.
The nameless young man fell asleep while trying to think of a new name.
Morning came and a very happy Master Tomas came strolling into the guild-house while carrying a huge bundle. He passed the study and noted that Devin was already up and about. He found his assistant in the lab, playing a card game with the tall young man, his kopii. They weren't playing for money, which was probably a good thing, as the youth didn't have any and the fact that he seemed to be losing. Devin, the merchant's son, was trying to explain some of the principals of poker.
"You have to keep a straight face," he said. "As it is, you're letting everyone know what you are holding by reading the expression on your face."
"But I am keeping a straight face," muttered the kopii. "This is the face I always use."
Master Tomas shook his head. Even he wouldn't have any problem fleecing the young man if the young man was worth the fleecing. His emotions were very transparent on his face, whether or not he held a good hand or bad.
"'Morning, lads," he said cheerfully, interrupting the lessons. "We've a very busy day ahead of us."
"We do?" asked the tall youth.
"Yes sir," stated Devin. "What is it that we're supposed to do?"
"Will there be breakfast first?"
"Can I go check in with Mom first? She tends to worry."
"We'll get it all done lads, don't you worry." Master Tomas then turned to his creation. "How are you feeling today, lad? Any problems?"
"Uh, no," replied the kopii. "I feel fine."
"No aches or pains?"
"The plumbing works?"
"What?!?" The young man went red.
"I have to make sure that there is nothing wrong with you. So did you, or not, have any problems answering the call of nature?"
"Good. Now here's some clothes for you to wear for a little bit." He passed the bundle over to the young man. "They may be a little small in places, but we're getting you something more suitable anyway today, so you'll be a good lad and bear it for the time being, right?"
"I guess." The young man pulled out a shirt from the pile and pulled it over his head. He continued to get dressed as the wizard and apprentice looked the other way. "Will we be getting breakfast?" he asked, signalling the fact that he had finished getting dressed.
"Yes," said Master Tomas testily. The he asked, "Did you think of a new name yet?"
The young man's shoulders slumped. "No. I couldn't think of one I liked."
"Why does he need a different name anyway, Master?" asked Devin.
"Yeah?" prompted the kopii.
"Well, a few months back, there were wanted posters of a 'Gourry Gabriev' posted all over the city of Sairaag, along with pictures of Lina Inverse and a Zelgadis Greyweirs. The majority of the people around here pretty much blame the group for the destruction of the city, even though I understand that the group actually destroyed the renegade-kopii that actually caused the downfall of the city." The old man sighed. "Anyway, both the name, 'Gourry', and the term 'kopii' are not very popular at the moment. So a new name is necessary, and we better not refer to you as the 'kopii'. Do you understand that, young man?" He turned to the kopii.
"I guess so," said the youth. "But it's hard to come up with a name."
"I know lad."
"So what are we doing, Master?" asked Devin again.
"Well, we'll have to get this young man some clothes that fit him properly, then we really ought to get him a sword. That way we can continue the studies."
"Studies?" asked the young man.
"Yes. We'll see how many of Gourry's skills you will retain."
"Let's be off, lads."
The trio walked into town, momentarily stopping at Devin's house to allow him to check in with his mother. The young man hid in the bushes to avoid the awkwardness that an introduction would bring, especially to a guy with no name. Master Tomas was praising Devin's progress to his mother, telling her that to celebrate, he was treating her son to a big breakfast down at the inn. The mother gave her permission and admonished her youngest son not to spoil his appetite for dinner, which was meat loaf and all of the trimmings. Devin made the promise easily, especially since he loved his mother's meat loaf.
Then they continued on their way. Master Tomas was aware of how the ladies of the town were looking at the young man as they walked by. He was also aware of how the young man wasn't even aware of all the glances. Soon they reached a tailor's shop and they all went in.
The young woman at the counter looked at the trio with interest as they came in. An old guy in wizard's robes, a young man in apprentice wizard's robes and a tall handsome young man in clothes that didn't fit him very well.
"How can I help you today, gentlemen?" she asked.
"My nephew here, needs some new clothes. As you can see, he pretty much outgrew these ones."
"Of course, sir." She turned to the tall young man. "Is there any preference that you would like?" she asked.
"Yes," replied the young man. "I like blue."
The young woman practically dimpled. "I think that blue would look wonderful on you."
Master Tomas pulled his assistant aside. "Here's is where I want you to start taking notes," he said to the boy. "I want you to study how he interacts with other people. You got that, lad?"
"Yes sir," replied Devin.
Quickly, the young woman took out a tape measure and pulled it across the youth's shoulders, chest, waist and so on. "I think I might have something already made that just might suit you."
"Oh?" asked the youth.
"I'll bring it out. Wait right there."
The woman went into the back. The sounds of rummaging could be heard. Soon enough, she brought a simple tunic and trousers out and handed them to the young man.
"There's a changing booth over there, if you want to try them on," she said, gesturing to a small booth with a curtain in the front.
The youth just stood there, unsure of what to do.
"Go on, lad," prompted Master Tomas. "There's no point in buying them if they don't fit."
"Uh, yes sir." The young man went into booth and pulled the curtain shut. In a few moments, he came out again wearing the outfit.
"It suits you well," the young woman said. "Why don't you take a look in that mirror over there?"
The young man walked to the mirror and studied his reflection. The tunic and trousers were both made of the same sky-blue material that set off his strawberry-blonde hair very well. It also made his lavender eyes stand out a little more. He was confused by his appearance that looked not quite the way he was certain that it was supposed to be.
"So what do you think, Mister...?" the young woman prompted.
There was no reply, as the young man was still looking in the mirror.
"Excuse me, sir? Mister...?" The young woman didn't have a name to put to the handsome youth.
Still no reply.
Devin, who was a little annoyed by being in a clothes shop with a young woman who was not even looking at him, and stuck writing observations instead of introducing himself to the girl, called out to the young man.
"Hey you!" he said. "Kopii! Answer her!" Then he slapped his hand over his mouth realising what he said.
Master Tomas brought his fist on top of the boy's head. "Idiot!" he muttered.
The youth turned, his eyes opened wide.
But the young woman wasn't taken aback at all.
"Copy?" she asked. "What an interesting name. What nationality is it?"
The old man thought fast. "We're not quite sure," he said, "but it's from overseas."
"Oh? So, Mister Copy, what do you think of the outfit?"
"It's nice," said the youth, not knowing what to say.
"That it is, lad," replied Master Tomas. "Tell me, young lady, what is the price?"
"Twenty silver," she replied.
"I'll give you ten," countered the wizard.
The two haggled until the price was right for both of them. Then the old man paid and they all left.
Outside, the young man made a bundle out of the old clothes and slung it over his shoulder.
"Copy?!?" he asked Devin. "Why did you call me that?"
"It was an accident," mumbled the apprentice. "I was trying to get your attention."
"We were supposed to keep away form the phrase 'kopii'. That's what Master Tomas said."
"Sorry," said Devin meekly.
The trio was now walking among other people.
The old wizard chuckled. "It's probably not what I would have chosen for a name, but I guess it'll do."
"You mean that he's stuck with it as a name now?" asked the apprentice incredulously. "Why? Only that woman in the tailor's shop heard me call him that."
"Yoo-hoo! Mister Copy!" called out a voice, and the young woman from the tailor's shop came running up. "I would like you to have this," she said as she pressed another tunic into his hands. "There's no one else your size and I'd hate to see my work go to waste..."
The people around them all chuckled at the scene. The young man blushed as he accepted the gift.
"Uh, thanks..." he said in an almost shy voice.
"No problem, take care." The young woman was already running back to her shop. "See you around, Mister Copy!" she called over her shoulder.
"Well now, lad," chuckled the old man, patting the tall youth on the shoulder, "what do you make of that?"
"I don't know..."
"Well, it seems that a lot of people know your name now, so why not accept it?"
The young man shrugged. "I guess it's not so bad of a name, and if I find a better one that I like, I can change it, right?"
"Well, it might be a little bit more difficult than that, lad, but it can be done."
"Okay," said the newly dubbed Copy. "I can live with that."
"Good. Now we better get you over to a shoemaker. You're going to be needing boots as well, lad."
"How about breakfast?"
"Yes, Master Tomas, when will we eat?" asked Devin.
"After we pick some boots up for Copy. Is that all right lads?"
"Yes, sir!" exclaimed the two youths.
A little later and the three could be seen at a table at the inn. Huge amounts of food were piled high in front of them, but it was Copy who was eating the majority of it. Master Tomas looked sadly into the pouch that held some of the guild's funds. It was almost empty. The sad part was that most of the money was being spent on the meal than on anything else, except for the sword, that has yet to be purchased. The old man sighed. This was the most money he has ever spent in one day with the one exception of his daughter's wedding, twenty years ago.
Copy was oblivious to the old man's mood. He was busy stuffing his face with all of the food that he can. It was the first time since learning that he wasn't who he thought he was that he has been in a positive mood. He had a name now --maybe it wasn't a real name, but it was something that he could use to start building a new identity with. He even had new clothes, and boots, all simple in style, but they belong to him, Copy, and that also helped in establishing who he was. All he needed now was a sword, and he knew that he would have to haggle with Master Tomas over the right sword. Especially since it was apparent that the old man was a bit uh, tight with the purse strings, but in order to get a good sword, money had to be paid. After all, and especially with swords, you get what you pay for.
After the meal was eaten, the trio went off to the blacksmith's. Copy told the two magic users that he would be telling the blacksmith what he wanted. Master Tomas agreed and said that allowing the youth to choose his own weapon will help him and his assistant with their studies of their project. They entered the shop.
The blacksmith was a huge, grizzled middle age man who reminded Copy of some foreign prince. He looked to the three men in slight puzzlement. He had no idea what the two men in wizard's robes wanted, but the third guy --the tall young man was already looking around the shop as if he already knew what he was looking for.
"I'm Master Groning. What can I do for you today?" the smith asked.
"What do have for swords?" the tall youth asked.
The blacksmith looked the young man up and down; he nodded at the properly developed sword muscles, his stance and his seriousness. The boy knows what he's about, the man thought to himself.
"What kind of sword do you have in mind?" asked the blacksmith.
"Hmmm..." The boy looked thoughtful. "I'd like a straight, two-handed sword with a double-edged blade."
"Well now," drawled the blacksmith, "if that's what you want, then I got a few to choose from." He gestured to a selection on the wall. Various swords, meeting Copy's qualifications hung as if waiting for the right person to take them down. There was one that caught the young man's eye. It had a fancy scrolled hilt with guilt and gems. He took it off of the wall and carefully drew it from its sheath. It clanked as it was pulled out. With disgust, he re-sheathed it and returned it to its spot on the wall.
"I really don't like that one." He announced.
(Master Tomas let out a sigh of relief. To him it was a good thing that the boy wasn't going for the most expensively looking thing there.)
"That's not one of mine," commented the swords-smith. "Some kooky noble gave it to in exchange for re-shoeing his horse. I think it's just a fancily made piece of crap."
"I agree with you," commented Copy. "The weight was all wrong." He reached up and took a sword of a simpler make off the wall and unsheathed it.
Shiiiing! The sword came out smoothly. The young man held it up, squinting at it from side to side. He did a few practice swings with it.
"This seems to be a nice blade," he commented.
"You got a good eye, boy." The blacksmith sounded pleased. "That's one of my better works. Nothing fancy, but it's top quality, and I guarantee that she'll never let you down."
The young man was thoughtful. "Is there a place where I can do some exercises with this?" he asked. "I want to make sure that this is the right sword for me."
"There's a practice yard behind the shop. You can practice there."
Master Tomas and Devin were both feeling a bit of the fifth and sixth wheel out, but they figured out that Copy did know what he was doing.
"Do you mind if we watched you, lad?" asked the old man. "I admit that I'm a bit curious about the art."
"Me too," chimed in the assistant.
"Uh, sure --that is, if there is enough room." Copy looked to the grizzled man for confirmation.
"Yeah, there's enough room." He handed the young man a sword belt. "Use this so you can get the best idea of how you want to wear the sword."
"Right," said Copy. He attached the scabbard to the belt and put it on, adjusting it so that it hung just right. Then he went into the yard. The two magic users followed.
The yard was just large enough for a guy to swing a sword around in and for a couple of spectators to watch, providing that they remained close to the fence, which both Master Tomas and Devin did. Copy walked to the middle of the yard and pulled the sword form its scabbard. It rang as it was pulled clear, and the sun reflected off the blade, matching the gleam from the young man's strawberry-blonde hair. Then he began to perform the exercises.
Devin and Master Tomas watched in amazement as they saw what a master swordsman could do. They realised that Lina Inverse was correct about her companion a few months back and Copy's memory to do the same thing was proof that his experiment was a success. He was so excited, that he trembled. Devin had his mouth open, unaware of the fly that flew in and was now siting on his tongue. Soon the young man finished and re-sheathed the sword with a satisfied smile.
"This is the sword I want, Master Tomas!" he announced. "I don't care how much it costs."
"Well lad," chuckled the old man. "For that performance, I'd say that you earned it. Maybe I can bargain down the price a little..."
"Sorry, sir," interjected Copy. "If you try to bargain him down, you'll just insult him. I'm positive that the smith will give us a reasonable price."
The old man sighed. "If you say so lad..."
They all went back inside the shop. The blacksmith was grinning at the brightness of Copy's eyes.
Reluctantly, Master Tomas paid out the gold that the blade had cost. He sighed as he wondered where all of the money went (besides Copy's stomach). He was relived that the blacksmith threw in the sword-belt for free.
Master Groning was pleased that the boy had picked out an excellent sword, and he said so. Copy grinned in appreciation.
"It's a great sword. Maybe I'll be worthy of it."
"I think you already are, boy. I'm sure of it."
Copy left the shop, pleased with himself. Now that he had a sword, he felt properly dressed. Master Tomas may not have been pleased, but in the end, everything worked out for the best.
"Now what?" asked Devin.
"Now we will introduce Copy to the townspeople. And your mother, and my wife. We'll tell them all that he's my nephew... I'm sure that they will take a shine to him. You're a pretty friendly lad, aren't you Copy?"
"Uh, yeah. That is unless they try to rob me or something."
So the rest of the afternoon was spent with Master Tomas introducing Copy to the various townsfolk as his nephew. He told them that Copy's parents had recently died as a result of a fever and that he would be staying with the old man for a while.
For the most part, everyone bought the story even though they couldn't quiet see the resemblance between the old man and the tall young one. But they all figure that adoption was possible somewhere along the way.
Devin's mother was tickled pink to meet such a cheerful friendly young man. She was secretly hoping that Copy's charm and charisma would rub off onto her youngest son so that he can get himself something resembling a social life. They left the boy with his mother and went on to Master Tomas' house.
"What are we going to tell your wife?" asked the youth.
"What do you man, lad?"
"Well, we told everyone that I was your nephew. She will definitely know better. What will you tell her?"
"Hmmm..." The old man was lost in thought. "Good point, lad." He brightened. "Let's not worry about it. We'll see how everything goes then I'll decide what to tell her."
"If you say so..."
Master Tomas' wife, Tilly, was a woman who ran a bakeshop. She was plump and cheerful and didn't give a damn that everyone thought that her husband was weird. She met her husband at the door and gave him a kiss and greeted Copy like any other guest of her home.
"Tilly," began Master Tomas, "this is Copy. He'll be staying in a room at the guild house for a while."
"Please to make your acquaintance, lad," said the magician's wife in a cheerful voice. "So this is the one that you were introducing around town as our nephew, right?"
Both the old man and the young one had the decency to blush.
"H-how did you know about that?" asked Copy.
"Well, when you run a bakery, you tend to hear every juicy bit of gossip that goes around town. And if that bit of gossip involves your husband a nephew that you didn't even know you had..." she trailed off and raised an eyebrow.
"Well dear," began Master Tomas, "It's like this..."
Tilly chuckled. "Don't you worry about it none, boyos. I already know where this lad comes from. I've read your notes that you leave scattered around the house, and I figured out why you were in such a celebrating mood last night. And unlike some of the closed-minded fools around here, I'm not against the idea of copies."
Both Master Tomas and Copy looked like beached fish, gasping for air. Tilly ignored them and went on.
"The way I look at it, the Rezo-kopii that your colleague, Eris, made was a bad apple from the start. She used a genotype that was power-hungry to begin with, so of course the kopii was going to be power-hungry as well. I don't think that Copy here will have those problems. Right lad?"
"Uh, no!" exclaimed Copy. "Not in the least!"
"Well now, then I don't see any problems." She looked at her husband. "So you made us a nephew, eh? It'll be nice to have someone else to cook for. And he'll be staying here, not in that draughty old guild house. We'll clear out the spare room and we can move that bed that you took from the storage room into there."
"Yes dear..." murmured Master Tomas.
"Thank-you ma'am..." started Copy.
"Don't you dare 'Ma'am' me, lad. You call me 'Aunt Tilly', got it?"
"Yes, Aunt Tilly."
"Good lad. Now let's eat." She led the way to the dinning room.
Copy laid on a couch in the living room. The couch wasn't as comfortable as the bed he slept in the night before, but it seemed a whole lot warmer. He thought about the last couple of days and sighed. To him it seemed like he became another person overnight --while retaining the memories of his previous life. And it didn't really bother him that he was the old man's experiment, as Master Tomas never once treated him like property, but always as a person. And now he also had a family and a place to stay. He'd rather be on the road, he admitted to himself, but there was no rush for that.
He felt a little guilty about the little con he pulled on Master Tomas, earlier that day. He deliberately went for the most expensive looking sword at the Master Groning's shop first, as an attempt to get the old man to loosen his pouch-strings. After he convinced the wizard that he wasn't interested in the highest priced sparkly, he was able to get the sword he actually wanted in the first place.
The problem was that a con job, no matter how small, wasn't something that Gourry would do. It was more along Lina's style of doing things. And that was what was bothering Copy.
He yawned, stretched, resolved to figure out this personality quirk in the morning, rolled over and fell asleep.
The following day was spent with Copy helping Master Tomas cleaning out the spare room and moving the bed into it. It was quite a hassle, as the bed had to be disassembled again in order for it to be moved. The he had to help Tilly take the mothballed blankets out of the attic and help her wash them. He also helped her with the baking and minding the bakery when the magician's wife was out on errands. Tilly was also pleased that the sales of sweet buns went up when Copy watched the counter. Of course, said buns were purchased for the most part by young girls, but they were paying customers too. Evening came soon enough and Master Tomas had to make a serious decision.
He explained his dilemma around the dinner table.
"Copy-lad," he started. "I have something important to tell you."
"Yes sir?" Copy looked up from his plate piled high with mashed potatoes.
"I'm afraid that you're going to have to get a job."
"Yes, I'm afraid so. Even though I know how much Tilly, here, likes to cook for you..." he nodded to his beaming wife, "We really can't afford the amounts of food that you're consuming."
"Oh." Copy looked abashed.
"Anyway, Master Groning, the blacksmith needs some help in moving some supplies into his shop. He needs the services of a strong lad, which you are, to get everything inside. The job will only last a few days, but he will pay you well. What do you think, lad?"
"Okay, I guess. I don't mind helping to pay for the food."
"See dear," said Tilly cheerfully. "He's a good lad."
"You're right as always, dear." The old man nodded, glad to resolve the situation.
Early the next morning, Copy got up, had a large breakfast and headed out to see Master Groning.
"Will you be back for lunch, dear?" asked the magician's wife as he went out the door.
"I don't know, Aunt Tilly. I'll have to wait and see."
"All right. You be careful, now."
"I will, don't worry," called the young man over his shoulder as he jogged down the road.
Master Groning, the blacksmith was waiting for him when he entered the shop.
"Good Morning. I see that it's you, the swords-boy. Glad to have you help out. What's your name, boy?"
The blacksmith blinked at the odd name. "It's not a local name is it?" he asked.
"No sir. Master Tomas thinks it's from overseas."
"I see." The older man nodded. "Now, before we begin, I want you to know that there is a lot of pegs, nails and hooks that can easily catch in long hair." He chuckled. "Not to mentions a lot of hot metal objects."
"That's right. I'm sure that all the young ladies are simply fascinated with your long hair, but if you want to keep it that way, I recommend that you braid it. Not just tie it back, but actually braid it. You got that?"
"Good. You can used this." He handed the younger man a leather thong. "Get it done quickly and then we can get to work."
It took a few minutes and a few tries, but Copy managed to get his strawberry-blonde hair into a long plait. He tied the end of it with the thong and casually tossed the braid behind his back. "I think I'm ready," he said.
"Good. Let get to it, then."
The work was hard. Most of the supplies for the shop included raw iron, steel, copper, charcoal, some barrels of oil and other metals. It was all heavy, but the blacksmith was a kind employer and gave the boy frequent rest breaks. It was close to the supper hour when Master Groning decided to call it a day. He handed the youth a small bag full of coins and sent him on his way.
"There will be more like that for the next few days."
"I'll be here first thing in the morning," Copy promised.
The sun was starting to set as the young man walked home. He was tired, but glad that he was helping out the nice family that he was staying with. There was hardly anyone else on the street as they were all home enjoying their dinners. But there was one person who stood there, looking a little lost.
Copy decided that he could take a few minutes and help the gentleman out. He was sure that Aunt Tilly would understand his being late.
The person in question appeared to be a travelling priest. He wore the robes of one at any rate. Copy figured that the guy was probably on a pilgrimage to Sairaag and was wondering where the city went.
"Can I help you?" he asked the priest.
"Yes, you probably can," remarked the traveller in an odd sort of amused voice. "I have appeared to have lost my way..." He stopped talking, and opened his eyes wide as if in recognition. Copy could have sworn that there was something wrong with the priest's eyes, but he couldn't really tell with the setting sun. The odd appearing eyes closed again and he smiled. "I'm sorry, you reminded me of someone..."
"Oh?" asked Copy, a little nervously.
"But I can see that you're not him," the priest continued. "Anyway, I was looking for the Leyrun Magic Guild. Do you know where it is?"
"Um, yes..." Copy was getting more and more nervous. "It's down the street that way, about four blocks from here." He pointed in the proper direction. "But I don't think that anyone is there right now..."
"Hmmm?" the priest seemed to be distracted for a moment. "Oh! Don't worry about it. I'll go and visit there in the morning. Thank-you for your help. Could I have your name, please?"
"Copy? My, my, what an interesting name... My name is Xelloss," here, the priest bowed, "and I am sure that we will meet again." He turned and walked away.
"Uh, right." Actually Copy wasn't sure that he wanted to meet the weird priest again. He continued on his way home.
Master Tomas and his wife were about to sit down to dinner when Copy entered the house.
"You're late, dear," commented Tilly.
"Sorry Aunt Tilly... I was giving directions to a priest who was lost."
"A priest?" asked Master Tomas.
"Yes sir. He made me nervous though..."
"In what way?"
"He said that I reminded him of someone, and that he was looking for the magic guild. I told him that nobody would be there though. He said that he'll go visit the guild tomorrow."
"Okay, lad. I'm sure that there isn't anything to worry about, but I'll see this priest tomorrow and see if you're at any risk. All right?"
"Thank-you Master Tomas." Copy felt better already. He took a seat at the table, and dug into the food.
Normal dinner conversation ensued.
"How was your day dear?" asked Tilly.
"Not bad. We haven't started up the chimera projects yet and I think it will be some time before the guild can safely do so. But I figure that it won't hurt the students to double-check the equipment and to go over the theories. But there was some interesting gossip that was going around the staff."
"Oh?" asked the magician's wife.
"According to rumour, two demon lords, Gob, the Demon Dragon King and Phibrizzo, the Trickster are both dead."
"Dead?" asked Tilly.
"Killed by the infamous Lina Inverse and her companions, I hear."
Copy looked up from his plate and swallowed his mouthful of food. "Lina did that?" he asked incredulously.
"Apparently she did according to the rumours," commented the old man. Then he paused for a moment and looked at the young man. "Tell me something lad... You know this Lina Inverse, right? Do you think that it is possible for her to do such a thing?"
Copy put down his fork for a moment and concentrated on finding an answer to Master Tomas' question. "I don't know..." he started, then he chuckled. "But if I know Lina, if she put her mind to something, it take a whole lot to keep her from doing it." He went serious again. "But two demon lords at once? That would be pretty tough. It was tough enough for her to take out Shabrinigno, and I --I mean Gourry was helping her."
"You mean to tell me that that undergrown, flat-chested little girl killed Shabrinigno?!?" asked the old wizard incredulously.
"Well, just one of his forms..." Copy protested weakly.
"Well, good for her!" commented Tilly. "That girl did us a favour if she got rid of Shabrinigno. Three favours if she killed off the other two as well."
"Uh, yeah..." commented Master Tomas, not wanting to argue with his wife.
"Now let's finish eating before the food gets cold."
Copy had no problems finishing that command.
The next two months were uneventful. According to Master Tomas, the priest, Xelloss, never did show up at the guild house, and the whole matter was forgotten in a couple of days.
The people of Leyrun were coming to accept Copy, but he was careful to keep his origins a complete secret form everyone. He earned money by doing odd jobs around the town. Those positions also included bodyguard and the guarding of valuable goods. He took to keeping his long hair in a braid as it helped keep it out of everything and it helped disguise his similarity to the guy in the wanted posters that was still surfacing from time to time.
He also went through physical examinations with Mater Tomas and Devin every week. They wanted to make sure that Copy's physical structure was stable and to be able to catch potential problems before they became to big to handle. Fortunately, there were no problems, potential or otherwise.
There were also many questions and answers that were posed to him. The magician and his apprentice wanted to know if there were psychological differences between him and Gourry. And there were.
Copy has come to accept that he was definitely not Gourry Gabriev, despite having the memories. He was able, for the most part been able to accept the differences between himself and the man in his memories. The difference in the hair and eye colour was a simple thing to accept, it was the personality quirks that bothered him. Copy has realised, much to his dismay, that he had a temper. Gourry never had a temper, not the type that makes him burst out yelling if he got really pissed off at something. He also found that he was able to lie convincingly. It was necessary for his survival, true, but Gourry would never be able to pull off even the smallest lie as convincingly as Copy has been able to. Those were Lina's traits. He was fortunate that he never found the urge to clobber someone that said anything wrong, or any of those other annoying Lina traits, but the traits he did have were unnerving enough.
And there was another thing as well. There was an itching at the back of his mind that he couldn't quite figure out. It was kinda like there was something important there and his mental processes are unable to grasp it yet. It bothered him, mostly because he couldn't identify it --yet. But every day seemed to bring him closer to understanding it, whatever it was.
One sunny day, Copy hired himself as a bodyguard for temple delegation. A group of priests and shrine-maidens were making their way home from a pilgrimage to the Great Tree of Sairaag. Apparently one of the temple maidens was returning to the town that she now called home, after the destruction of the city of Sairaag. Her uncle, who was a bit protective of her, wanted to make sure that she came home safe and sound. Apparently, the uncle has heard rumours about his niece associating with some dangerous characters. Copy didn't quite hear what the name of the maiden was, but a job is a job, and he wanted to make sure that he would be able to help out Master Tomas and Aunt Tilly in anyway that he can.
He waited by the front entrance of the temple until the group of people within was done.
"You got a good job, didn't you Copy, my boy?" asked Master Groning on his way to the café for his afternoon tea.
"A good job, Master Groning?" asked Copy, confused.
"You get to be the hero-protector of a few lovely shrine-maidens," replied the blacksmith. "I'm willin' to bet that there are many young men who would love to trade places with you right about now..."
"You think so...?" the young man scratched the back of his head.
"I know it, boy. I'll catch you later and find out how it all went. See ya!" Master Groning waved and walked away.
It was a few minutes later that the group that Copy was supposed to protect came out of the temple. The young man went up to them and was going to ask who was in charge when one of the maidens looked in his direction. Copy was certain that he knew her. She broke away and ran to him, throwing herself into his arms.
"Gourry dear! What a surprise! What are you doing here?!? I thought that you were on a quest with uh, the others."
Selphiel, his mind provided for him. This is Selphiel. He pushed her gently back and looked at her earnestly.
"I'm sorry, but you seemed to have mistaken me for someone else."
"What do you mean?" asked the shrine-maiden. "You must be Gourry."
"I'm not." Copy was getting flustered.
"Hey Copy!" called out one of the bystanders, "Why does she think that you're that wanted guy from the posters?"
"I don't know," stated the young man.
"Now that I think about it," commented the young woman from the clothes store, "he does look like that Gourry Gabriev from the wanted posters."
"I'm NOT!" shouted Copy.
"Kopii?" asked the maiden. "You're a kopii?" Her eyes went wide. "That would explain the different hair and eye colour, I guess..."
"Uh..." The tall youth didn't know what to say to that.
"You don't have a girlfriend, do you?" she asked eagerly.
Copy face-faulted. His hands went into the o-yakusoku position.
"You're a kopii?" asked another bystander. "Wasn't it a kopii that destroyed Sairaag?"
A low murmur could be heard throughout the crowd.
"Wait!!!" shouted Copy. "It's not like that! I'M not like that!"
"So you are a kopii!" yelled another person. A growl went through the crowd, and it advanced upon him.
"What are you doing?!?" Selphiel asked the crowd in an alarmed voice.
"We don't want no kopiis in Leyrun!" shouted another nameless face in the crowd. They continued their advancement.
Suddenly, Master Groning, the blacksmith was there, holding a huge axe, another one of his masterpieces. He growled at the mob, which halted for a moment, fearful of the huge, grizzled, angry, scary man.
"RUN BOY!!!" he yelled at Copy. "I'll hold 'em off!" Then he turned back to the crowd.
Leaving the big man and Selphiel behind, Copy followed the advice and made a run for it. Not knowing where else to go, he went for the guild house.
"Master Tomas!" he shouted once he was in the front door. Various students and teachers poked their heads out of the various classrooms. "Where's Master Tomas?!?" he asked them all.
"Copy?" said a soft voice, and Devin came out of another room. "What's wrong? Why are you panicking?"
"Devin! Where's Master Tomas?!? I gotta see him, RIGHT NOW!!!"
"Easy lad, no need to shout," said the old wizard as he came out of his office. "Now what's all the fuss about?"
"They know about me. They're after me. They want to kill me..."
"Whoa! Easy lad. Who is this 'they' that you're talking about?"
"The townspeople. They know that I am a kopii, and they're coming after me."
Ever so calmly, the old man blinked, and rubbed his forehead. "I see," he said. He looked around at the students crowding the doorways. "GET BACK TO CLASS!!!" he roared at them. Heads disappeared as if by magic. He then looked to his apprentice and nodded. Devin went into the office.
"What do we do now?" asked Copy.
"You're getting out of here, lad. I didn't go through all that trouble of bringing you to life only to see you killed off."
"Out of here...?" asked Copy confused. "But I thought that Leyrun is my home..."
Tilly stumbled through the front door at the same time Devin came back out of the office.
"I heard and I figured that this would have been the first place that the lad would come to," she said as she passed a bundle to her adoptive 'nephew'. "These are blankets, a change of clothes and a snack for the road."
"Uh, thanks Aunt Tilly..."
"You just take care of yourself. You understand me, lad?"
"Yes Aunt Tilly."
"That's a dear lad." The magician's wife patted him on the cheek.
Master Tomas cleared his throat. Copy turned his head to face him.
"Here is something for you." He passed a small pouch full of coins to the young man. "I thought that it would be best to be prepared in case something like this would happen." Copy didn't know what to say, it meant a lot to him though, especially since the old man hated to part with his money.
"Thanks," he finally managed.
Devin was keeping watch from the door. "They're coming, Master Tomas!!!" he shouted.
"So they are." The old wizard stroked his beard thoughtfully for a moment. "I can provide you with a distraction, lad. You better make the best of it."
"I'll find a way to let you know when it will be safe for you again," the old man promised.
Tilly kissed her nephew on the cheek. "I'm going to miss you, Copy dear."
"I'll miss you too, Aunt Tilly." Copy would have cried if there was time to do so.
"No go, lad!" commanded Master Tomas and he pulled a lever on the hallway wall. Huge bells started ringing, alarms were going off, and whistles blew.
"FIRE DRILL!!!" yelled the old man.
Panic ensued. Students and teachers were running around, forgetting where the exits were. One or two of the more enterprising youngsters took the moment to steal the answers to the exams from their instructors' bags. Copy paused only a moment to look back at his adoptive family before he made good his getaway. He climbed out of a window at the back of the school and ran for the outskirts of town. The sun was starting to set, and his getaway was barely seen by anyone.
On the roof of the Magic Guild, a wandering priest sat, quietly drinking tea and observing all of the chaos around him. He finished the last drop and willed the empty teacup back into the nothingness that which it came. He chuckled softly to himself. He knew that sending a fake message that was supposedly from her uncle would bring Selphiel home early. And being in the crowd to help 'encourage' the situation was even fun. The priest had no idea that being a common rabble-rouser was so much fun.
"I told you that we would meet again, Copy," he murmured to the escaping figure. "Just wait until the next time." And following the same route as his cup, the Mazoku priest, Xelloss, disappeared.
On to Chapter Two
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