ome, at the moment, was a guest room in the Royal
Palace of Sailoon. And there is indeed a book back at that room which
Lina is very serious about. It's just not the one she's reading.
While 'The Adventures of Jean the Clever'
is a very good book, heralded by many feminist literary critics as the
first mythical tale of heroism to feature a true and realistic heroine,
and technically Lina is only fifty pages away from the bit where Jean outwits
the king of dreams and wins the sacred talisman, it wasn't a dangerous
magic book. The Giga Lores, on the other hand, are highly magical
and highly dangerous.
In her last journey, Lina managed to obtain
what many believe to be the most powerful (and the most lost) book of magic
ever written. She never was sure how she got it, it just turned up
in her pack one day; sort of like discovering five tons of pure gold completely
by accident. At the time, she was busy looking for some book about
mirrors, which was very important at the time... but time passes, and this
book was very important at this moment.
Inside was a prophecy, simple yet vague.
It stated that the two main spells Giga created, Giga Slave (an incredibly
destructive variation of the Dragon Slave, the highest black magic spell)
and the Giga Restoration (an incredibly powerful variation of the Ultra
Restoration, the highest white magic spell) were meant to be cast as a
pair. That is, if one human casts both spells -- presumably in the
same lifetime, rather than one right after the other -- it would start
them down an irreversible path, towards Giga's Gate, and towards some undescribed
salvation. Hark and beware.
At the time, Lina was way too busy working
on her mirror problem to get involved in that sort of thing. She
simply decided she'd sneak around some messy prophecy by never casting
Giga Restoration for the rest of her life. Naturally, time came when
she HAD to cast it, or doom the world to darkness.
Although the world technically was saved,
everybody prospered and matured and became better people and riches and
fortune almost were theirs, now the real worrying was set in. One
dangling problem that didn't go away with the ending of that quest, it
sat there, taunting Lina to continue to fulfill the prophecy and get into
lord knows what trouble. So to distract herself, Lina would sit down
and enjoy a nice book like 'The Adventures of Jean the Clever'. It
was a good way to pass the time, and the palace of Sailoon was a good place
for doing just that as well.
Her guest room at the palace had a very lived
in look. Clothes were strewn about here and there, to be gathered
and washed by palace servants (a feature Lina appreciated in her new home).
Lina had taken to not wearing her armor and full getup, since there wasn't
much need, kicking around in casual clothes instead. Books were scattered
on the workdesk near her bed, and the sheets had that rumply, slept-in
look regardless of how recently they were changed. She had a nice
window to the world, overlooking the city in case she felt like going out
so she could look and see how things were and then go back to reading or
studying her magic. Weather was turning sour today, she noted, from
her seat against her headboard, turning the next page.
The blast of trumpets and bells sent her sprawling
off the bed, peace shattered. Of course, Dayvid HAD to go and invent
a new kind of 'internal doorbell' and put them on all the rooms of the
castle, and of COURSE there had to be a bug with the volume of the instruments...
"Come in," Lina called, pulling herself back up
to standing with the bedsheets. Then she noticed a slight orange
movement behind her, and quickly ducked back behind the bed--
The door opened, as a royal servant type walked
in, giving announcements. "Presenting her royal highness, Princess
Amelia Wil Tesla Sailoon, calling upon Lina Inverse with message from his
royal clerk, Dayvid Devince!"
"Hi, Amelia," Lina said simply, keeping hidden.
"Hello!!!" her bouncy, perky, adorably cute l'il
princessly friend said, skipping into the room after the pomp and circumstance
were out of the way.
Lina folded down a corner of her book and set it
aside. She fetched her cloak from nearby, pretending to be a bit
chilly, and slung it over her shoulders. "So, what brings you?"
"I bear a message!" Amelia said, pointing to an
official looking scroll. She quickly unrolled it, holding it at arms
length, and began to read aloud. "From: Royal Astrologer Dayvid.
Amelia, go tell Lina that if she doesn't get out of here and stop freeloading,
the kitchen staff and the laundry staff have threatened to go on strike.
But make sure you phrase it in a nice and royal sort of way, I haven't
quite gotten the hang of... that...... yet. Um. That's all."
"I see," Lina said, nodding.
"I guess I should have read it first," Amelia smiled
weakly. "Um. I'm not used to this 'inter-office memo' system
Dayvid came up with..."
"It's okay, it's okay," Lina said. "Been a
lot of changes around here, it seems. So, I'm being kicked out?"
"Oh, no no no no no!" Amelia said, shaking her head
so fast it almost blurred. "Sailoon is not known for bad hospitality!
Why, we once had a duke stay here for two years... of course, then the
king had him beheaded for flirting with the queen, but... that doesn't
have any relevancy to this! In fact, I don't even know why I brought
it up!! Ha ha ha..."
"Right," Lina said. "Don't worry. We'll..
pack up and take a hike tomorrow. Once I figure out where we'll go."
"Uh, you really don't have to..."
"It's okay. We have been a bit static here.
Maybe it's time to go out and--"
"Are you going on a quest?" Amelia asked, excited.
"I hear that the Statue of Arnsland is hidden in the Mountains of Peril
outside of the kingdom! I could arrange a royal escort and we could
go get it!"
"Actually.. I was thinking of maybe getting an apartment,
or something," Lina admitted.
"..oh," Amelia said, a bit disappointed. (A
noted adventurer getting an apartment was similar to a noted racehorse
jockey trading in his steed for a family oxcart.) "Okay, well...
good luck! The Sailoon royal family wishes you good fortune on all
journeys and endeavors in the near or distant future! And, um, if
you'll excuse me, Dayvid said he's got some plan for sending messages to
other countries with a small catapult he's making, sooo..."
"Hai, hai," Lina waved, opening her book again.
"Good to see you."
After a few bows and other regal procedures, Amelia
Lina relaxed, taking off the cloak, letting her
wings get some breathing room, stretching them out.
In the practice yard of the Sailoon Royal Army, swords
clashed. Sparks were struck. Men grunted and taunted each other.
Tubs of boiling tar were poured from the battlements.
"HEY!" the field commander yelled below, jumping
out of the way just in time to avoid becoming an oil slick. "Watch
it up there, you bastards!"
"Sorry!" the tower guard called down. "Just
testing the new... whot'd you call it?"
"The 'Makes-Invaders-Run-Away-Screaming'," a young
boy in the tower responded. "Sorry, we'll be more careful next time."
"Yah, well... whatever," the commander grunted,
turning back to his sparring. "I say, the boy may have brains, but
he doesn't know how to behave properly in an army camp."
Gourry adjusted the grip on his sword, conserving
some energy to chat with while he practiced. "You mean he tests stuff
while you're trying to practice, thus making the area unsafe?"
"What? No, a good soldier's ready for any
weird thing like that. I mean he doesn't properly stand up for himself,"
the commander responded. "Keeps APOLOGIZING. He wouldn't last
a day in this man's army. Let's take a break, lad. These old
arms ain't what they used to be, you know."
"Okay," Gourry agreed, and walked over to the bench,
having a seat. "You know, I really gotta thank you for letting me
work out here. I need to stay sharp for our next trip."
"Aaahhh, kids today," the commander said, shaking
his head. "Yah don't have to thank me, lad! I just got done
saying that. You put up a right challenge, and I've got no problems
meeting it. But I have to wonder why a strong lad like you isn't
in an army already. You've got the skills. I haven't seen a
quicker mind in swordplay since old William Bennels from Testabourne was
"That's my home country, actually," Gourry smiled.
"I guess it's in the water or something."
"But still, why aren't you off doing something better
with yer talents, boy?" the commander asked, appraising Gourry. "Playing
bodyguard for Lina Inverse... if ever there was a girl who didn't need
her body guarded, it'd be her. You hear the stories about that girl?
Most dangerous woman alive, they say! I'd be afraid for anybody who
tried to make a move against her."
"Aww, Lina gets in trouble too," Gourry said.
"She isn't always able to get out of stuff herself, even if she says she
is. Of course, I wouldn't want to say that to her face, but... let's
just say I've been helpful for her from time to time, and that's what counts,
"I suppose, on an individual, mercenary sort of
level... what's she paying you?"
"Nothing, I guess," Gourry shrugged. "I get
to share whatever treasure we find so I can buy food and stuff..."
"Probably not much," the soldier grunted.
"You could do better elsewhere. But you aren't elsewhere, are you?
So what's the reason? Why her? You complain to me every now
and then that she's gone into a.. what'd you call it? Slump?"
"Yeah, sort of... she doesn't really want to go
out looking for bandits or treasure or anything... I wish I knew why, but
she gets upset whenever I ask..."
"Now, that's one place where you ought to stand
up," the commander said. "In war, young'ns usually see horrible things.
Stuff that makes 'em not want to go out there again and face any kind of
danger again. It's common, lad. Lina may be more experienced
and capable than a lot of the boys here, but that just means she's seen
MORE, you follow?"
The commander backed up slightly. "She might've
seen something that's got her spooked. Afraid to go out into the
"Ohh," Gourry nodded. "Okay. Yeah, that's
happened before, but.. never THIS bad."
Rising to his feet, back popping as he stretched
out, the commander made a suggestion. "You've got to confront her
about this, lad. Find out what's got her in a hidey-hole. Then
maybe you can REALLY be of some help to her. Besides, from the stories
I've been hearing at the servant's quarters weekly poker game, she's gonna
be lynched if you don't get her out of here. No offense intended."
"Whoa," Gourry said. "Thanks for the warning,
"Ahh, think nothing of it," the man shrugged.
He fetched his sword, and wandered across the yard to shout menacing things
at the new recruits.
Lina resolved her mind, and decided to think about exactly
what they were going to do directly and immediately after she finished
The fifty pages whizzed by in an hour, Lina satisfied
with the ending of the book; Jean of course triumphed over the dream king,
and was knighted by the queen, becoming the first female knight of her
land. And there was much rejoicing.
The old stories had a sort of aura about them, of
heroes and dragons, swords and sorcery. Things were very dramatic,
but they were very real, too; you could feel these people, know them.
A good book of old could be a fireside pal for weeks (or months, if like
most peasants, you could barely read). In contrast, most new books
were either informative or repetitive, two things nobody was particularly
interested in, but the classics never died.
Lina never had much time for reading, being on the
road all the time... now she finally had a chance to finish 'Jean the Clever',
a book she started as a kid. Eventually, she got too busy practicing
magic to have any reading time, and lost her copy of the book on her first
quest. There was a nice feeling of closure about having completed
But still, Lina felt restless, a kind of boredom
that even a life's reading couldn't solve. A deep, dyed in the wool
Sighing, she fluttered her wings a bit--
Oh, great. They were back.
This, along with the Giga Lore prophecy, was especially
worrying in her life. She fetched a mirror, to examine the wings;
golden orange, like oversized butterfly wings. But they weren't REAL
wings; she'd never get a night's sleep if they were, unless she decided
to cling to a tree branch to snooze. They were more like.. the IDEA
of having a pair of wings. Even when she had a light shirt on, like
now, they could be there, she could feel them despite the illogical fabric
being in the way. Fortunately they fit nicely under her cloak, so
on the few days when she couldn't wish them away, she could cover them.
She had gotten a bit better at controlling the wings.
Not just flapping them, which she practiced a little out of curiosity,
without actually trying to fly anywhere -- but making them appear and disappear
by concentrating her will. Still, sometimes they'd sneak onto her
back when she was feeling down, or casually thinking about them, or worse:
when she was surprised. And that stupid doorbell of Dayvid's surprised
her just enough to have them show up, and almost have Amelia see them...
She had to do something about this. Ignoring
it wasn't working.
Well, there was ONE thing she could do...
Nervously eyeing the false brick in her wall, behind
which she knew the Giga Lores had been hidden, Lina chewed on her lip.
"No," she said. "No way. I'm not falling
any farther into a prophetic trap..."
The visitor at her door was thoughtful enough to
simply knock, rather than use the bell. Lina grabbed her cloak again,
putting it on to cover the wings, and called out for them to enter.
Gourry peeked in. He always peeked into Lina's
room, after one incident when she happened to be undressing for bed; the
mark on his cheek from her slipper faded after a few days, though.
"Lina?" he said, carefully.
"It's fine, Gourry, come on in," Lina said.
"Oh, good," Gourry said, walking in. And because
tact wasn't one of his many virtues, he asked, "So, what're you afraid
"See, I was talking with my friend Dave -- actually,
he prefers Commander Rickenpot -- and he said that maybe the reason why
you weren't interested in doing anything except sitting around was because
you were afraid of someone, and he said I should probably talk to you about
it before you get lynched. Well, he used more words, but I think
that was the important bit..."
Lina sat in confusion for a moment.
"Oh," she said, after parsing Gourry's speech.
"I'm not... Gourry, come on now. If something was REALLY bothering
me, I'd tell you, right?"
"Yes, you would," Gourry said honestly.
A bit of silence.
She had to do something about this. Ignoring
it wasn't working.
"Ah, what the hell," Lina muttered. "Come
on, let's go get some dinner and I'll explain."
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka
/ R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.