Gourry, Zelgadis and Copy all sat in the bath. A floating tray with warm sake drifted beside them.
"It's been a while since I had a chance to relax like this," murmured Copy to the others.
"Yeah," agreed Gourry with his eyes closed.
"Don't get too comfortable," commented Zelgadis. "We'll have to leave soon."
Copy dunked his head under the water, and came back up shortly. "I know, I know. But it'll be a while until the next time we will get to just not do anything."
"But it is important to keep your mind on what's on ahead."
"You worry too much." Copy shook his head.
"Yeah, Zelgadis," agreed Gourry. "Relax, for once. It'll do you good."
"It's no good to enter a battle all tense. You'll get an ulcer that way," Copy finished.
"We have to come up with a strategy first, after all, the big battle's tomorrow."
"I'm not worried," commented Gourry. "Lina always has a plan."
"It's not like we're dealing with a demon lord after all. Just some little sibling of one." Copy waved his hand as if dismissing the seriousness of the potential threat.
Zelgadis threw down the pad of steel wool that he was using to scrub himself. "You guys are impossible," he said. "I'm done here. I'll see you two inside." The chimera got up, walked to the edge of the bath, grabbed a towel, wrapped it around himself and climbed out.
"Wow. I keep forgetting how uptight Zelgadis could be," commented Copy.
"Yeah, I know." Gourry shook his head. "Hey! There's still some sake left." The swordsman reached for the floating tray. "Want some more, Copy?"
In the other section of the baths, the girls were
relaxing as well. Lina was sulking. Both of the other women
in the baths were better built than she was. She decided that concentrating
on her drink was preferable than looking at her companions. And
they're both younger than I am... she thought to herself.
It's just NOT fair...
"It's so nice to be able to relax like this, don't you think, Miss Lina?" asked Amelia.
"What do you think, Kitsuan?"
"I think that this is heavenly. It's so nice to just wash all of this dust off. I'm not used to travelling." The young thief chuckled. "Of course, I'm not used to saving the world like you guys are, either."
"Actually, Miss Lina does most of the saving parts. I do get to help though."
Kitsuan sat up, her face gone all-serious. "Speaking of the saving parts... Shouldn't we have some sort of plan in mind when we go face the Big Bad Boss Guy tomorrow. Do you have such a plan, Lina?"
"Yep. Win." Lina's head was sinking into the water.
Kitsuan shot up, out of the water. "That's it?!?" she yelped. "That's your great plan?!?"
"Why worry about it?" asked the sorceress. "There's not really much to plan. We go in, beat up the bad guys, grab the treasure then split."
"It seems a bit simplistic, Miss Lina," said the young princess hesitantly.
"What?!?" Lina stood up, and glared at her companions. "What did you say?!?" she screeched, marching up to Amelia. The Seyroon princess backed down until her head was almost under the water.
"Nothing..." she burbled.
"And you!" shouted the redhead at the pickpocket. "Do you have anything to add?!?"
"Nope. Not at all." Kit knew that the secret to survival was the knowledge of when to keep one's mouth shut.
"Good." Lina went back to her spot and sat down. "We need more food..." She raised her voice to be heard by all. "Hey! Can we get something to eat out here?!?"
Back in the men's baths...
"Hey Copy?" asked Gourry.
"Hmmm...?" The young kopii was floating on his back, totally relaxed.
"Can you teach me now?"
"Huh?" Copy sat up.
"The flying spell. Can you teach me now?"
"Sure," Copy shrugged. "Why not?"
"Great!" Gourry was excited. "What do I do first?"
"You have to clear your mind."
"And this is the spell..." Copy recited the chant that made up the Raywing spell. "Got it?"
"I don't know..." Gourry sighed. Copy recited the spell again...
"RAYWING!!!" and he left the bath, floating up. He stopped at rising at about 15 feet. "See? It's easy!"
"Sure looks that way," commented Gourry. "But aren't you a little high up?"
"What do you mean?"
Lina leaned back, relaxing. She sighed.
According to the management, food could not be brought out to the bath,
but they assured her that it would be ready shortly. She was staring
at the twilight sky when she heard a male voice cry out.
Copy must be trying to teach that spell to Gourry, she thought. I wonder if he'll have any luck doing it? Actually, the idea seemed pretty scary to her. Copy, who was a kopii of Gourry, was trying to teach a spell to Gourry. Never mind the fact that Copy had a bit of the ol' Lina Inverse aptitude, his mind was still too much like the one of the dumb blonde swordsman. She looked up at the top edge of the wall that separated the men's baths from the woman's and she saw a figure floating above. A well built figure...
"WAK!!!" screamed Kitsuan from beside her. "COPY!!!"
The young man spun around at the mention of his name. He saw the three women and froze.
"What are you doing up there, Mister Copy?!?" shouted Amelia, with her eyes tightly closed.
Copy was still frozen, his eyes bugged out at the sight of the well-built women --and Lina.
Lina stared back. I wonder if Gourry is built the same way --What am I thinking?!? She shook herself and trembled. Then she got mad.
"YOU PERVERT!!! What the hell do you think you're doing?!?" She grabbed one of the sake glasses and threw it at the young man. It bounced off his head. The glass was followed by the bottle, then the tray. It was the tray that took him out. Copy lost consciousness and he fell.
Zelgadis was just coming out of the change room,
fully dressed, in his customary canvas outfit. (What else can be strong
enough and not wear out so quickly?)
"If you two are done," he started, "I thought you'd like to know that the kitchen has the meal ready..."
He never got to finish his sentence as he was drenched by the splash that Copy made as he hit the surface of the bath.
"...if you want to come in."
"Sorry about that Zelgadis!" shouted Gourry. "Copy was just trying to teach me how to fly!"
"..." The chimera just stood there with water dripping down his face. Do I REALLY want to know? he asked himself. He watched as the blonde swordsman ducked under the surface of what was left of the water, bringing Copy up to the surface. Probably not.
"My, my. That Copy is certainly a talented
individual…" came a voice from behind Lina. She turned and saw a
familiar figure on the opposite wall.
"Xelloss!!! What the #*@% are you doing here?!?" she shrieked, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around herself.
"Mister Xelloss! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" shouted Amelia. "Sneaking up on three defenceless women while they are in the bath is an act of Evil!"
"Well," the trickster priest gave a huge smile, "but so am I. So it's okay, right?"
"This clown is starting to get on my nerves," muttered Kitsuan. "Please Lina, just hear what he wants, then get rid of him..." she begged.
"I intend to," Lina reassured the young thief. "Okay Xelloss, what do you want?"
"I just wanted to let you know one little thing, before you go to the big battle tomorrow..."
"And what's that?" asked the petite sorceress.
"The Golden Idol of Chaos can only be used once. One wish. That's it, no more."
"One wish?" asked Amelia.
"No more after that?" asked Kitsuan.
"Why are you telling me this NOW?!?" asked Lina exasperated.
"No reason, really. Just so you don't throw away your one wish needlessly, I suppose. You just might need it tomorrow." The mazouku shrugged as if it made no difference to him.
"In what way? How will I need it, Xelloss?" Lina was clenching his fists in rage.
"Sorry, Lina. I can't tell you." Xelloss spread his hands in a gesture of mock helplessness.
"And why is that?" A vein in Lina's temple appeared ready to burst.
"Because, that is a secret," finished the mazouku smugly, wagging his finger at the ladies.
A low growl escaped from Lina's throat. The glare that was directed towards the figure sitting on the wall could have melted steel. "Get out, Xelloss. Go. Now."
"If you wish. I'll catch you later." Xelloss got up and was about to leave. Then he turned back. "You know something?" he asked. "Gourry was right. You really are flat-chested."
"FIREBALL!!!" Lina screamed as she let loose the powerful spell on the deserving mazouku. She would have used something else, but she had already thrown the tray and its contents at Copy.
"What a jerk," sniffed Kitsuan as she watched the scorched figure topple off of the wall.
Back in the men's changing room, Zelgadis was in
the process of wringing out his cloak. Copy had managed to cast a
very small fireball spell to assist in the drying process.
"I'm real sorry, Zel. I didn't mean to make such a huge splash," said Copy from under the towel that he was using to dry his short hair.
"I'm sure you didn't," muttered the chimera.
"He was just showing me the Raywing spell..." imputed Gourry.
"Then Lina lost her temper and knocked me out, not that it was entirely her fault."
"..." Zelgadis didn’t know how to respond to that. He sighed. "Never mind. If you two could hurry and get dressed, we can go and eat. I'll be waiting outside." He went into the hallway.
"What's with him?" asked Copy. "I said I was sorry." He quietly dispelled the fireball spell.
"Aah. That's just the way Zelgadis is, you know?" Gourry just simply figured that if he left things alone, they would blow over.
"Yeah, I guess." The kopii started to reach for his clothes. He stopped. "Hey, Gourry?"
In the women's changing room, Lina was fuming as
she yanked the brush through her hair. She was muttering obscenities
under her breath as she did so. Kitsuan and Amelia ignored her for
the most part.
"You know, Miss Kitsuan?" asked the princess. "I really like your boots."
"Thanks Amelia," said the young thief. "And it's just Kitsuan. We're the same age, so I really feel uncomfortable being called 'Miss'."
"If you really say so, ...Kitsuan."
"I do. And I really love your cape. It's a neat style how it comes off the back of your outfit."
Lina wasn't certain about how to handle the inane babbling of the younger girls. At least it's better than having them argue about the finer point of stealing and whether it is right and wrong.
"If you two are done, we ought to be going now," she suggested acidly. "I am very hungry and very cranky."
"Yep, we're right behind you, Lina," chirped Kit. "Right Amelia?"
"We're coming, Miss Lina," agreed Amelia.
Lina stalked into the hall and noticed Zelgadis waiting for her.
"It's about time," he said.
"Where's Gourry?" she asked. "And Copy?"
"They're still getting dressed."
"Nope. We're done," said a male voice. There was no way of knowing whether the voice belonged to Gourry or Copy.
"I really wish that they didn't sound the same," muttered Kitsuan from behind Lina.
"No kidding," replied Amelia.
The two came through the door. Something appeared slightly odd about the two swordsmen.
"What do you think?" asked one of them. Lina had to do a double take. It was Gourry that spoke, but he was wearing Copy's clothes.
"We wanted to trade for a bit," commented Copy. "After all, we wear the same size and all." He was wearing Gourry's armour.
It was odd, Lina decided. Looking at them was like looking at a slightly off-colour painting. For Gourry and Copy were still almost identical. Copy looked just like Gourry, except for his shorter, reddish-blonde hair, and lavender eyes. Gourry looked just like Copy, except his hair was longer and more blonde and his eyes were bluer. He looked a little uncomfortable with Copy's headband, though.
"Please go change," suggested Zelgadis. "Looking at you two is giving me a headache."
"Do we have to?" asked, uh, Gourry.
"Do it." Lina sighed, it was going to be a long night, and she just knew it.
"Fine. Okay," mumbled Copy. "We'll go change..."
"Underwear too?" asked Gourry.
Everyone's eyes bugged open. Including Copy's.
"Um, why don't you just keep them until the next time we do laundry?"