A Slayers shortfic
Disclaimer: the characters from Slayers are owned by Hajime Kanazaka and Rui Araizumi. This story is based only on the anime and manga, ignoring something hinted at in one of the video games.
"ZELGADIS, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!"
Lina's furious howl reverberated through the tunnel, rising above the growls and hisses of the oncoming monsters. The fiends stopped dead, momentarily too surprised to continue their advance.
"My fault?!" the chimera demanded indignantly. "Let's see, as I recall, I tried three times to slip away from you people so I could explore this place and look for the Claire Bible on my own. How is it my fault that you're here, Lina?"
"It's your fault for not trying harder!"
Gourry scratched his head in puzzlement. "Lina, I don't get it. Why don't you just blast these things with a Dragon Slave?"
Lina clutched her forehead in exasperation. "Gourry, I already told you, I can't! How can you forget something so simple so quickly?"
"Gee, Lina, I don't know. Did you say why you couldn't do it… Oh, right. It's 'that time of the month', isn't it?"
The horde of monsters choked back a few snickers at the sight of a massive muscular swordsman getting thrashed to a pulp by a petite girl half his size and one-third his mass. "NO, YOU IDIOT!! THIS WHOLE STUPID CRYPT IS SURROUNDED BY SOME KIND OF ANTIMAGIC FIELD!! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?!"
"Oh, now I remember…" the bruised and quivering mass of flesh managed to get out.
Lina panted for a few seconds, getting her temper back under control. Out of the corner of her eye, she noted that the monsters were beginning to move forward again. "Amelia! Have you found anything yet?!"
"No, Miss Lina, not yet!" the Seyruun princess said, desperately continuing her examination of the wall at their back. Given that this was an actual dead end, with several dozen feet of solid rock in every direction, it wasn't surprising that she hadn't yet found the secret door she was hoping for.
"Great," Lina muttered, eyeing the horde in front of her with mounting anxiety. These weren't the simple, easily-dispatched types of monsters she was used to finding in hordes. There were otyughs, and coeurls, and sh'ryekk, and more, present in sufficient number that there was no way the adventurers would be able to cut their way through.
Yes, the situation was bad, all right. "Look harder!" the red-haired sorceress called to Amelia, a touch of panic rising in her voice.
"OHO HO HO HO HO," Naga laughed, causing Lina's blood pressure to climb a little higher. "You could help her, you know."
"Shut up, Naga!" Lina yelled. "In case you hadn't noticed, there's a whole bunch of monsters that're about to attack at any minute. We're gonna need everybody who can swing a sword to hold them off long enough for Amelia to finally find the stupid secret door!"
Naga sniffed derisively, looking at Gourry's pummeled form. "A pity you didn't think of that a minute ago, when you were thrashing your boyfriend."
"Naga, I really don't think this is a good time for discussion," Zelgadis cut in nervously, eyeing the veins bulging out along Lina's forehead and neck. "Why don't you help Amelia look for a switch?"
"Bah. I have better things to do," the self-proclaimed White Serpent said airily.
"Like… what?" Lina ground out in a low, dangerous tone, her fists clenching at her sides. By now she had turned to face Naga completely. She was thus unaware that the monsters had stopped their advance again, now that there was more entertainment to be had through watching.
The creatures were still some distance away, but they had begun getting close enough to worry Naga. She glanced behind her, making sure Amelia wasn't too far away from the rest of them, then pulled out a large, ornately-carved rod. "Like…" She twisted the rod, bringing two particular symbols into alignment.
There was a bright flash of light. When the various beasts had blinked the spots away from their vision, they found the tunnel empty before them.
"…getting us out of here."
Amelia blinked as the wall under her fingers changed from cold stone to paneled wood. "Huh? What happened?"
"Th-that's what I'd like to know!" Lina said, shocked out of her fury by the sudden change.
They were no longer in a dark stone tunnel deep underground. There were no monsters to be seen. Instead, they stood in a large, opulent room. A bed about the size of the one Amelia slept in when she was at home dominated one wall. Another was taken up by bookshelves. The floor was covered with a thick, luxurious carpet. There were several objects scattered around the room that didn't look like anything the redheaded sorceress had seen before.
"Home sweet home," Naga said happily. She unbuckled her sword belt, tossing it and the still-sheathed blade carelessly off to one side, secure in the knowledge that the servants would straighten up after her as soon as she went somewhere else.
"You brought us here, Naga?!" Zelgadis asked disbelievingly. "How?!"
"With this, of course." Naga held up the rod. "It's a traveling device that allows me to come home whenever I wish."
"But… the antimagic field…" Lina protested helplessly.
"OHO HO HO HO HO," the White Serpent chortled, enjoying the moment. It wasn't often that she had the advantage over on the high-and-mighty Lina Inverse, slayer of Shabranigdo and all-around magical menace to society. "I would have thought someone who's accomplished as much as you told me you have would be able to figure it out, Lina."
"Naga, it looks like you just saved all our lives," Lina said sweetly. "I'm grateful. Really I am. But DON'T PUSH IT!!"
Naga laughed again. "It's really very simple," she said. "This is a device for traveling between worlds. Because it exists in all the different levels of reality at once, a measly anti-magic field in one of them doesn't have a prayer of affecting it."
"Hmmm…" Lina hmmm'd, eyeing the rod with a speculative (and, to put it bluntly, greedy) gleam in her eye. "How much is that trinket worth to you, Naga?"
"Seeing as how it's the only thing that allows me to visit my family, it's not for sale," Naga said flatly, somehow concealing the three-foot-long, inch-thick rod within the skimpy outfit she wore. "And since it takes a day to recharge between uses, we'll be here for a while. Now come along so I can introduce you to my parents."
"Parents, huh," Zelgadis muttered as the group filed out of the bedroom into a hallway. He hadn't known this Naga character very long, but it had been long enough to make him a little nervous at the idea of meeting whoever was responsible for her turning out like this.
After trekking through the halls for a while, the party came at last to a large, open room. Several pieces of equipment of an uncertain nature were present, including a pair of rings dangling on ropes from the ceiling, a padded beam elevated several feet above the floor, and two horizontal poles set fairly close to one another at different heights. The floor was soft, though it wasn't any sort of carpet that the newcomers were familiar with, having a texture unlike any cloth they'd ever seen.
In the center of the room, a woman was spinning and twisting through some form of exercise routine, leaping higher and bending more flexibly than should have been humanly possible. Her age was uncertain, particularly since the speed of her movements kept them from getting a good look at her face. She had black hair, and was wearing a skin-tight outfit that made Lina clench her fists at her sides in order to stop herself from covering Gourry's eyes with one hand.
They only had a few seconds to marvel at the performance, though, for the woman noticed them almost immediately. Breaking from her motion with a fluid roll that changed her direction by ninety degrees, the woman strode over to them. Seeing her this closely, they were able to get a better idea of her age — middle thirties, but very well preserved.
"Naginata, dear, it's good to see you again," the woman said, after giving her daughter a hug.
"Mo-THERRR, you know I like to go by 'Naga'," the White Serpent whined.
"I know, dear, I know. But it's a mother's job to embarrass her children in front of their friends, after all."
"Humph." Naga turned to face her companions. "This is Lina Inverse," gesturing at the redhead, who waved a hand, "her boyfriend, Gourry Gabriev," who looked puzzled even as the 'nice and polite' look dropped off Lina's face faster than Genma Saotome off a diet, "Zelgadis Greywords," the chimera inclined his head, wondering why the woman didn't seem surprised at the sight of his blue, stony skin, "and Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun." Amelia curtseyed. "Everyone, this is my mother, Kodachi, the Black Rose."
"Charmed, I'm sure," Lina said half-heartedly.
"Is Father around?" Naga asked, turning back to face her mother.
"Yes, but he's all wrapped up in one of his projects just now. I'm sure he'll join us once he notices your arrival."
"Is someone taking my name in vain?"
The outworlders jumped as a tall, dark-haired man appeared, stepping directly out of Kodachi's shadow. The woman herself whirled around, pulling a small club-like object from somewhere unknown and striking directly toward his head. There was a confused moment when the space between the newcomer and his attacker seemed to twist and shift, and then she was kneeling on the ground, disarmed, with her hands tied behind her back.
"Too slow, as usual," he taunted.
"Only for you," she returned in a throaty voice, looking up at him with a sultry expression, not seeming to be bothered at all by the bonds on her wrists.
Naga coughed loudly, drawing her parents' attention back to her. "And there you have my father, Ranma," she said to the other teens. "Father, these are…"
"I know, I know, I heard you introduce them to your mother." Ranma gave the group a speculative look. "There's something familiar about them…" he said curiously.
Lina was eyeing the man with the same expression. She knew she'd never met him and yet… there was something about him that she'd seen before… something in the way he carried himself, maybe, or it might be just his attitude….
Ranma's face lit up as he remembered the last time he'd visited his adopted father, and some of the stories they'd exchanged. "Of course! Now I know what it is!"
"What?" Lina wanted to know.
He smirked at her. "That… is a secret."
Author's notes: Gregg Sharp has written a series of omake about who might make a worse father than Genma. One of those has Ranma being raised by… you guessed it… Xellos. It would explain a few things about Naga, wouldn't it?
Oh, yeah — Ranma ½ is property of Rumiko Takahashi and Viz video.
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