unlight doesn't shine in this fragment of shores from
the Sea of Chaos, but morning is something you can feel in your
bones. It's a new day born, refreshing and timely; and for an adventuress,
who sleeps wherever she can and finds new things each day, waking to a
new morning is no problem.
Lina knew, in her heart, when she wanted to wake.
She rose from sleep, feeling renewed, stretching out... she glanced at
Gourry, who slept like a rock next to her, still out. A smile danced
across her lips, as she quietly got to her feet and dressed, stepping out
into the cool air.
She considered setting out a note, but the chances
of Gourry taking the group back to the World of Dreams to avoid the onslaught
just on her say-so were low. But she absolutely didn't want him hurt
in the mess... instead, she had tried to contact Xelloss in her dream,
and ask him to take them all there while they were sleeping.... presumably
the message got through. He was taking his time about it, though.
No matter -- Lina had business to do.
She opened her wings, and flew in silence to a point
on the island out of view of the camp. Settling to the ground, she
gathered her wits, and called out.
"You coming or not, Lara?!"
Darkness, with the silver edge she had seen earlier,
coalesced into form.
"I was always there, actually," Lara commented,
studying her manicure. "I just turned myself invisible and inaudible
for the night. Keep your enemies close, so to speak..."
Lina frowned in distaste. "I'm not your enemy."
"Of course you are, Knight of the Lord of Nightmares,"
Lara said, glaring at her. "Everything ABOUT you is nemesis to me.
But don't worry. I won't kill your stud boyfriend; I'm not interested
in him, only you. That's why you came alone, isn't it?"
"I hope he enjoyed you last night, seeing how it'll
be the last time," Lara said, starting to gather a ball of black fire.
"But fun is fun and work is work. And I'm going to ENJOY this--"
"Boring," Lina yawned. "Fireballs and zappy
wappies. Woo. I actually had something else in mind."
Lara voluntarily powered down her spell. "This
is the part where you taunt me into making a huge tactical error, isn't
"Hey, you decide yourself," Lina shrugged.
"I was just wondering if you'd like to try fighting with blades.
You're free to turn down the offer. The world won't care."
"Swords? I don't do swords," Lara said.
"Or knives or bows or nooses or slings and arrows. Just magic--"
Lina finished the spell she had been chanting under
her breath. "LAGUNA BLADE!" she shouted, tearing a black stream of
lightning from the air, a sword made up of pure chaos energy, funneled
from the Lord of Nightmares. She held it defensively, careful not
to lop any of her own bits off (since it was a pretty big blade).
The Knight of Shaburanigdo wasn't impressed.
"I can do that spell..." she said, pulling an almost identical blade into
being. "And without the silly chanting."
"Yours isn't a true blade," Lina said. "You
don't have any chaos. Look at it. You can SEE the way it just
keeps repeating a pattern of squiggles through the air."
"Could we get on with the kicking of ass and taking
of names, please? Taunting's old."
"I'm trying to explain," Lina said. She played
a hunch hard and fast, inwardly hoping it'd help her avoid trouble.
"You aren't drawing any of your power from Shaburanigdo. It's all
coming from a being called Order. Can't you tell? Doesn't it
feel strange when you go to tap all those Mazoku specialties?"
But Lara took direct offense. "My father protects
me," she said, cold as steel. "You're a lying little slut, Lina Inverse."
"Shaburanigdo's dead. Look, Lara, you're being
duped here if you think your 'father' is the one guiding you. It's
all a trick! Order is manipulating you. We don't have to fight;
we can team up to--"
The ordered blade slashed at the space Lina had
occupied half a second ago. Lara swiveled to face her, purest hate
in her eyes. "Shut up about my FATHER! You can never understand
Lina gave up the argument; in this intense a fight,
you can't spend time trying to debate a point like that AND defend yourself.
She parried each strike, but Lara was fast, faster than Lina could have
guessed -- a few narrow escapes popped up, now and then, as she kept solid
distance between themselves.
The fight took to the air. Lara rode on a
dark Raywing, sliding through the atmosphere smooth as silk while Lina
was fluttering around with her butterfly wings, movements erratic.
Lara couldn't guess where Lina would wobble off to next, and her strikes
skimmed through the air, upsetting reality but not destroying her opponent;
the two flew apart, losing the weapons, and started going back to conventional
But that was Lina's error. While they were
fairly even at the Laguna Blade, Lara was still a stronger opponent at
straight fire tossing, ice flinging, explosions of darkness sock 'em beat
up magical combat. Before Lina could start to get some defenses up
and work on a nice weapon, Lara had her whipped left and right by strands
of ordered darkness; Lina span out of control, like an insect with its
wings damaged, and crashed to the ground.
Lara descended next, landing on one toe.
"Not much, are we," she said, holding out a hand
that gathered as much black light as it could grasp...
A bar of solid white light penetrated the center
of her spell, vaporizing it.
The Knight of Shaburanigdo turned to face the meddler,
and saw Gourry, Sword of Light drawn. And backing him were Amelia
"Ganging up on me?" Lara asked, wrapping herself
in a glowing red shield. "Fine. It'll just--"
She found herself staring down the barrel of a combined
Ra Tilt attack from the two Shamanists, spinning like electrons around
the nucleus of a Sword of Light strike.
The Knight of Shaburanigdo went away, black lines
fading into nothing as the attacks shot through her.
Gourry immediately ran to check on Lina, while Zel
and Amelia looked around, trying to make sure the target was really squished
into atomic paste. "LINA! LIIINAAA--"
"You don't have to yell," Lina muttered, pulling
herself up. "Ugh. What're you guys doing here?"
"Saving your ass, thank you," Zelgadis said.
"Be careful. I don't think we got her."
Lina felt around at her side. "Wait, where's
my bag?" she asked. "I put the Lock of Order in it."
"It's over there," Gourry said, pointing to the
nice, open space where Lina's bag had fallen in the fray.
Before any of them could reach for it, Lara burst
out of the ground, chunks of rock and dirt flying as she neatly scooped
up Lina's pack. She tore the lock from it, and tossed the bag back
"You know, you were right," Lara said. "Why
fight? Now, I've got all the pieces! Lock, chain, clasps!
You'll die with the rest of them, when I burn the world!"
Gourry, who had gotten a clue about one thing at
least, spoke up. "But that's not all the--"
Lina silenced him with a hand over the mouth.
"You won't get away with this!" she filled in.
Lara readied a large attack, and.... dashed away.
South, towards the camp, towards the altar.
"Stop her stop her!!" Lina shouted, although really,
there wasn't a need. Already, Amelia and Zelgadis were in pursuit,
with Lina dragging Gourry along much slower than they could fly.
"We've (ow) got her (oof) on the run now!" Gourry
shouted, occasionally bumping his head on a rock. "After all, you've
got that key on your necklace and she doesn't! What could possibly
As if triggered, Lina's mind remembered something.
"Gourry.. the key wasn't IN Zelgadis's vision. She can still assemble
the pieces and use them!"
"...oh. Well, Amelia and Zel will stop her!
I mean, what ELSE could possibly--"
"Stop SAYING that, Gourry!!"
Twisting into reality from some unknown place, a
wall of silver lines formed, blocking Lina from reaching the others.
She stopped running, and Gourry stabilized as well, Sword of Light at the
YOU HAVE INTERFERED ENOUGH. YOUR CHAOS WILL
NOT INTERFERE ANYMORE, the being of power and Order stated.
"This is getting old!" Lina spat. "Out of
Lina spread her wings as far as she could, and dove
through the matrix; the natural chaos of her wings penetrating it easily.
But Gourry was an other matter. He hurled himself at the wall, and
simply bounced right off. The Sword of Light wouldn't cut it, either,
as the grid shifted to cage him...
"Gourry!" Lina called, turning to return and help
"I'm fine!" Gourry said, waving her off. "Stop
Lara! You don't have time!"
Lina was torn, glancing between the raging battle
between Zelgadis, Amelia and Lara.. and Gourry. But Zel and Amelia
went down fast, as Lara sniped at them with magical strikes, knocking them
aside while she made a beeline for the throne.. there wasn't much choice,
after that. Praying that nothing would go wrong, she used every drop
of speed she could manage, and closed in.
At the Altar of Order, Lara landed, and quickly
assembled the pieces.. manacles on either arm, chain to connect them, lock
to bind them. She was operating on autopilot now, doing the motions
without knowing how she knew to do them.
A stream of golden water seeped up from the lake,
drawn to the completed altar irresistibly.. flowing uphill against much
force, flooding quickly into a near-human form...
"Finally," Lara sighed, relieved. "Lord of
Nightmares, you are bound to a human as was dictated by your nemesis, and
must obey my command... I wish you to destroy this world!"
Lina plowed into Lara head first, knocking her aside.
The two girls splashed through the lake of gold and rolled to a halt on
the shore, but the damage had been done.
The human form in the chair started to take on color
and shape now, that of a little girl with a curiously sad expression, socks
mismatched, golden hair waving in the breeze. She nodded to Lara,
supremely disappointed.. and the earthquake began.
Lina got to her feet, and looked around as the island
started to tremble. "Oh, come on, what now?!" she shouted.
"Hehh... I did it, I did it!" Lara laughed, wiping
some blood from her lip. "I broke the world!"
The shaking drew out the non-combatants from their
hiding places... staying away, but curiously watching, Dayvid, Chi'Nai
and Chi'Bi watched the scene. Zelgadis and Amelia, bruised but not
buried, were next; followed quickly by Gourry, who had somehow escaped
his temporary trap.
Lina grabbed Lara by what little shirt she had.
"Okay, you had your fun. Now STOP it."
"It's too late, don't you understand?" Lara said.
"The command has to be obeyed. It WILL come true! Nothing's
getting out of this one! The Mazoku have won, and so has my father!"
The rising form of Order took his place among them..
in the form of Shaburanigdo, demon king. A smaller and less ugly
Lara pulled herself away from Lina's grip, and knelt
at his feet. "Father, are you proud of me?..." she looked up, hoping
to see the elation in his ruby red eyes.
But Shaburanigdo's eyes weren't red. They
were silver, quick as mercury, pure as steel.
I AM NOT YOUR FATHER, Order replied.
A sinking feeling, like lead into soft peat.
A horrible realization, like the first moment a noose snaps. Lara
Order melted back into the ground, its task complete,
leaving only the rapidly disintegrating island behind to mark his victory.
"Oh... shit," Lara said quietly.
The world was shaking. Even from high above it,
it could be easily seen; and far below, on its surface, nobody escaped
the notice of it.
Naga the Serpent was busy gutting the third Mazoku
she had caught today when she first felt it. Looked left, looked
right, but didn't see any more of the beasts that could be causing this
tremor. More fighting, far away, perhaps? The war had been
winding down over the last two days, both sides seeming to have lost the
spirit that originally drove them to war, but the possibility was still
The ground cracked open beneath her feet, and she
flew into the air, to avoid any injury... only to see entire villages be
sucked under, from here to the horizon.
Far away, in some random village in the middle of Noh
Wheir, a couple was having breakfast. Most people stayed away from
them; they smelled like trouble. They smelled like badness gone sour.
"I think I need a shower," Angela said, sniffing
"It's one of the many social problems Mazoku have,"
Bugger commented, munching on his pancakes. "Don't worry, you'll
get used to it..."
The silverware started to rattle, gently at first,
then louder and louder.
"Oh, bloody hell. Don't tell me the war's
moved over THIS pit of the world as well," he grumbled. "Thought
we came here to get away from all those morons."
"Can't you tell what's happening? It's in
your power," Angela reminded.
"I know, I know. Misfortune's my game.
Let's see, if........ oh, god," Bugger said, changing his tune. "The
"What's that mean?"
Bugger looked at her seriously.
"It means you put your head between your legs and
kiss your ass goodbye, gel," he said. "End of the world. But
look on the bright side. I won't be able to complain anymore."
"You can't be serious..."
The ground cracked beneath the restaurant, breaking
the building in half.
"Oh, bugger," he said, shortly before falling in.
Even in the World of Dreams, some vibrations could be
felt. The population of Sailoon, as well as the population of a few
other cities that had been evacuated, started to worry.
The winged were gathered for a morning meeting at
the time it started.
"We're fine up here, right?" Myth asked, growing
more nervous by the second. "I mean.. if anything happens. Not that
anything is happening."
"Of course," Paradox said, totally confident.
"Hard reality separation. These are just dimensional shocks.
They can't damage us."
Love hurried into the room, pulling her dress up
to keep from tripping over it. "Something's wrong!" she shouted.
"The people are vanishing! I just came from the city square; everybody's
waking up from the World of Dreams!"
A loud WHAM signaled Paradox falling out of his
"That's impossible!" he shouted from the floor.
"You don't 'wake up' when you're here in the flesh! The only way
is to be kicked out!"
Darkness faded into darkness, as Xelloss teleported
himself into the room. He wasn't smiling very much.
"I'm afraid Paradox is quite correct," he said.
"I am, indeed, ejecting every man, woman and child from the World of Dreams,
and moving them back to the waking world. Which is, yes, self destructing."
The winged stared at him, mixes of horror, anger
and fear washing over them. Drama went as far as to draw his sword,
before Xelloss dreamed it away.
"I'm afraid that the true traitor here is myself,"
he said. "I have sold all life on earth over to destruction, including
you. I hope you understand once you enter the big picture.
He banished the winged in one flick of his wrist,
and had a seat. Dream-Sailoon was empty now, and within minutes,
everyone else would be gone as well.
He turned to face an unseen figure. "Are you
certain this was required, my mistress?"
The ghostly specter of a god nodded to him.
"It Was," she said. "And It Will Be."
Back on Chaos Island, Lara was starting to foam over
"You.. you TRICKED me!" she screamed.
YOU TRICKED YOURSELF. I SIMPLY AIDED IN THAT
PROCESS. I REQUIRED YOUR INNATE CHAOS TO TRIGGER MY WEAPON.
Lina stepped up. "We can still stop it, right?"
she asked Lara. "Just give the altar another command!"
"I can't.." Lara said. "It would have to be
someone else who has touched the lock. That's the crucial part at
this point. He... he told me, but I can't remember when..."
"I'll do it! I'll do it!" Lina shouted, bounding
over to the altar. "It'll be as easy as--"
A wall of white magic split the space between Lina
and the Altar. She blinked in surprise, not sure who could have placed
it here, and cut through with a swath of black magic... it healed itself
The others joined Lina, in confusion.
"I'm lost," Gourry said. "Could someone tell
me who to attack now?"
"I didn't put that there," Lara said.
"There's a strong power near..." Amelia said, looking
A figure formed out of mist and vapors, on the other
side of the shield. A smiling figure.
"Hiya, sis," she said.
"Lu-LUNA?!" Lina gasped.
"Here just in time," she said, adjusting her apron,
and turning to face the altar. By now, the figure bound there was
clearly a small girl, the Lord of Nightmares in some human form... Luna
smiled to the girl. "Got sidetracked, but I got one more thing to
do. To save you all."
"Sis? Take down this shield, okay?.... what're
you doing?" Lina asked.
"Ceipheed's will," Luna explained, resting a hand
on the little girl's arm. "I gotta command for ya, Lord of Nightmares.
Preserve the life of this world. Preserve all of it even after the
destruction. I order."
The Lord of Nightmares-icon flashed golden, the
"That's great, sis!" Lina smiled.
But the shaking of the island didn't stop.
"I don't think we're out of trouble yet," Zel said,
stating the obvious.
Luna turned, to face the group. "Oh, can't
stop the world from ending... but it's okay. All life will be preserved.
The Dragon creed, Ceipheed's will. Even after death everybody will
Lina's look turned to confusion... and she saw Order
again, this time in the form of a great Dragon, a shimmering outline behind
Luna, behind the altar.
"He got you too..." Lina said, realizing.
Gourry pulled Lina away from the shield of white
magic. "Time to go," he said, running and leading her on.. the rest
of the group also running, taking to the air if they could. The area
where they stood collapsed, sank into nothingness as the final crumbling
Zel and Amelia took to flight, carrying along Chi'Nai
and Dayvid respectively; even Lara had joined them, holding a shrieking
and panicking Chi'Bi by the back of his shirt. Lina kept Gourry aloft,
as the ground beneath them started to... go away, to nowhere, a blank void
"We can't fly forever!" Amelia shouted. "Where
can we land?"
"There isn't anywhere to land!" Lara replied.
"Don't you see? I broke the world, dammit! That means it's
The group felt that they were descending... but
descending into what? Nothing was around them, nothing at all...
"Gourry, hold on! Quit squirming!" Lina said,
tempted to kick him, but realistically wanting him never to let go.
"We can go to the World of Dreams! I've got the power to take us..."
But when Lina probed the membrane between the dreaming
and the waking world, all she felt was battleship steel. She was
"We're stuck," she said aloud.
The light around them started to fade. Amelia
and Dayvid, who were the farthest down, let out a confused cry and vanished
completely... Lara seemed almost to give up, her spell weakening, dropping
into whatever oblivion lie below.
Zelgadis... Zelgadis was almost peaceful, in a state
of confusion. The universe was silent, as he turned to Lina, and
"It's funny, but... all I'm really upset about is
that I couldn't keep my promise to Chi'Leas to make the chimeras human,"
he said, voice a pale echo in the void.
Finally, the nothingness, the total order of zero
consumed the whole group... Lina felt it go, her grip still iron hard on
Gourry but fading through... and at the last second, as if pulled by a
bungee cord a thousand miles long, that battleship steel that had kept
her out of the dream opened, and a hand pulled her through.
And then, silence. Oblivion.
The world had ended.
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka
/ R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.