nd just as soon as Naga had finished blinking, those villages were back.
    She lost control of her flight spell in the shock, feeling as if her entire body had shifted instantaneously; she fell, plunging from the sky, as the ground ran up to meet her, to greet her, to smash her...
    Instinctively, she flexed muscles in her back, and swooped back up, to glide to a halt and hover.
    Strange shadows flicked at her vision, from the corners of her eyes.  She floated back to the ground, and looked behind herself... at the magnificent black and gold butterfly wings she had suddenly obtained.  They looked very similar to the ones she knew Lina was wearing nowadays.  But how did she get them?...
    Curiously, she tried flapping them.. gaining some air.  She soared high, and to her unending surprise... saw Sailoon City, whole and unannihilated, on the horizon.
    In fair Sailoon, the winged shifted.. and landed in the Great Hall of Sailoon Palace, gleaming and bright.
    "What the hell...?" Paradox asked.  "Reality changed.  ALL of reality changed!  I could feel it, until..."
    "Until it stopped," Love said.  "Our Talents.  They're gone."
    "WHAT?!" Paradox gagged.
    "I never needed mine anyway," Reason shrugged.  "Life goes on.  Same as it did the first time the world was changed around us."
    Myth, in shock, immediately ran out, to the nearest window.. and came right back.  "Sailoon City!  It's all there!  Every street we had in the dreaming is here, rebuilt!  And... and... you guys HAVE to see this!"
    The family of the winged, the original humans, followed Myth to the window, where they first saw humans take to the air, dozens of them confused about what had happened, but starting to enjoy their new situation in life.
    Angela pulled herself off the floor, grasping for the table's edge.  "Is everybody alright?" she asked of the other patrons around her.  They didn't seem injured... and the floor had gone back to normal.  In fact, everything was a bit.. brighter.  Not the dismal, middle of Noh Wheir inn they had entered, but a shiny place, taken care of by one with a fond heart for the inn...
    (...and somewhere else in the village, an eighty year old woman who had been a waitress back when the inn was shiny and new smiled in her sleep, having dreamed through the whole affair...)
    "Soditall, soditall, I skinned my knee," Bugger said, rubbing the injury.  "Don't it figure?  Now, if......... ah.  Gel?  What's happened to you?"
    "What do you mean?" Angela asked.. and stared open at the man.  "You have... you have--!"
    "The same thing you've got," Bugger said, pointing to the open wings on Angela's back.  "Great big bloody wings, we've got.  Like the wingless... what gives?"
    "I.. I don't honestly know," Angela said.  "Can't you do a reading?  Something has gone wrong here, and you're the one in charge of--"
    "I know, I know," Bugger said, taking a handful of dirt from the pocket of his trenchcoat.  He tried to tap his Mazoku powers, and threw the dirt in the air... and watched it simply fall back to the table and plop into his soup, ruining what would've been a perfectly good meal.
    "Well?  What does it say?" Angela asked.
    "It says... we're changed folk," Bugger said.  "My powers are gone, and yours too, probably.  I'm not a Mazoku anymore, and you're not a Dragon OR a Mazoku... we've been turned into humans.  Hu-bloody-mans."
    The other patrons of the inn stared in shock at each other, as the room was full of wings...
    Even elsewhere, stranger things were happening.
    A man woke from what felt like deep slumber, on the shores of an unknown beach.  A city was nearby, where he spotted many people, hovering in the air... he examined himself, and saw that he had wings as well.
    A young lady awoke next to him, roused from sleep as well.  But she was quicker to get back into action.  "Lina?  Lina?" she called.  "Where did they all go?"
    "I know you.." the man said, studying her.
    Lara Inverse noticed the man for the first time, and an unusual recognition flowed through her... "What.. what is your name?"
    "I think it to be.. Shaburanigdo," the man said, standing.  "Although why I know this, I don't know... it feels like I just woke from a rather long nightmare.  But you're my daughter, aren't you?"
    Because it was just as Lara's memories had comforted themselves with.  This was Shaburanigdo, the true one of her mind's eye; her noble, proud father, there with a smile and a hug.. as she ran to him, delighted.
    Underneath a restaurant, a pounding was heard on the walls.  Although there was commotion above, a busboy went downstairs, to see what the fuss was about.. he noticed a fake wine rack had shifted, and that there was a hidden door behind it, with the locks shattered.  He opened, it quickly, and the man in light blue robes stumbled out.
    "What.. what's happened?" the man asked.
    "We don't know... it's the strangest thing, sir!" the busboy said.  "Everybody's got wings!  And the fighting overhead, the Dragons and Mazoku.. it's stopped!"
    The robed priest looked around.  He evaluated the situation.... and nodded.  "I suppose it's a good solution," he said.  "I must thank Luna next time I see her.  It may not be what I expected, but who am I to argue, in this state?  For now, I had better see to any of the wounded in the area... and if any of my children are lost and confused in this new change."
    "Ah.. who are you?" the busboy asked.  "What were you doing in the basement?"
    "My name is Ceipheed," the man said.  "As for what I was doing... that's a rather long story, I'm afraid."
    Beastmaster Zelas-Metallum was just setting down to tea and reviewing battle plans when the world ended.
    The teacup hit the floor of her throne room at Wolf Pack Island when time restarted; she clutched at her heart, feeling her whole being.. CHANGE.  It was almost painful, but passed quickly.
    Nothing seemed different.  The throne room was just as she had remembered; exactly as she had remembered it.  But something was wrong.  She reached out with her Mazoku powers, to summon...
    To sum... to do nothing.  Nothing was there.  Frustrated, she used her voice instead.
    "WHAT is going on here?!" Zelas-Metallum shouted.  Nobody came.  She thundered to the balcony, her overlook to observe the Mazoku that resided on her island, and...
    The scene almost made her faint.  Each Mazoku, each beast and demon, each slathering fiend had been changed.  All she saw were very, very surprised looking humans -- each with those blasted wings!  She fluttered her own wings in anger.
    Someone had done this.  Lina.  She had to have.  Revenge.  Yes, Zelas must find revenge.  Without Mazoku power, Zelas was not up to par with battling Lina... however, she still had her troops -- they would do the task for her.
    "Attention!  ATTENTION!" she called to the humans below her.  A few looked up.  It was not the same enrapt commanding she could have over her minions before...  "Gather!  Gather together, we have things to do!  We have been slighted, and must take action... pay attention!!"
    Of course, from this height, they couldn't hear her.  It hadn't been a problem when they were her demonic underlings.
    Instead, they mulled around, in confusion... some left, unheeding of her commands, to find whatever it is they sought.  Others looked up.  At her.  At how very much equal they were, no longer underling and Mazoku Lord...
    What could an ex-predator do, when she was the same as her prey?  She had definitely slighted many of the foolish minions at her disposal, in punishment, or simply to keep them in line over the years... already, some of them were making the connection.  Things had the potential to get very, very unpleasant.  Risky and dangerous...
    "I should never have let Xelloss go to help her," Zelas-Metallum, no longer the Beastmaster, declared to herself.  "Damn him.  He's won."
    She took to the sky, relying on her new wings to guide her away from her island, never to return.
    But most importantly, out of all the things that had changed when the world was reborn, the scene on Chaos Island had changed.
    The storms were gone.  It was a nice sunny day, as it had once been, with no hints of other worlds.  No golden lakes were present, and no battle damage and cracks in the earth.. in the distance, a mechanical boat sat waiting to launch in pristine waters, with a flag reading GUPPY.
    Slowly, people stood up.. studying their surroundings and each other in bewilderment.
    Zelgadis picked up immediately on the fact that Yes, everybody had wings.  This didn't shock him very much; after all, it was as plain as the nose on his face.  He reached up to scratch his chin, and instead of the rocky scrape he was expecting to hear, he FELT a fingernail drag on his skin--
    "Aaah!!" he yelled, looking at his hands.  "By the six Shamans of Ky, I'm HUMAN!"
    "I'm human too!! Aaa!  AAAAAA!!!" Amelia screamed.. before figuring it out.  "Ah... wait, I always was human.  Ehheh.  Sorry!  Just a little disoriented... why do we all have wings?"
    "I'm pink," Chi'Nai said quietly, looking at herself in wonder and fascination.  Words tumbled from her mind to her mouth without much control.  "Last thing I remembered was falling, and... and being somewhere cold and silver... and now I'm pink."
    "Where's Lina?" Gourry said, alert and always key to the number one question in his head.
     The group scanned around their immediate vicinity.. and spotted no fiery tempered sorceresses with the possible exception of Amelia.
    "She's gone," Zelgadis observed obviously.  "Split up.  Let's look."
    Two minutes later they found her; there was just a few large hills in the way.
    The change had dropped them on the island, but it put them around the same spot they had vanished from, after flying away from the Altar of Order.  That, at least, was still there, in a small puddle of water that was no longer golden, but seemed to have a sheen of gold on it from the noonday sun.  And in the chair, in the chains that kept the figure down, was not the Lord of Nightmares -- it was Lina Inverse, her wings spread, her eyes closed.  Asleep.
    Gourry shook her lightly, but there was no response.  He shook her medium-hard and still got no response.
    "I think we need to unlock it," Zelgadis said.  "That's what the key is for.  Who's got the key?"
    "Lina-san had it," Amelia said.  "But I don't see her necklace.  It's gone..."
    "You mean.. she's not going to wake up?" Gourry asked, concern rising.  "Not until we find that key?"
    "That's the gist of it," Zel confirmed.
    "... I don't care how long it takes, we're going to find it!" Gourry declared, clenching a fist.  "I don't care if we have to quest through the entire world again, for years on end.  If you don't want to come, that's fine -- but I'm going to set her free if it's the last thing I--"
    "Got it," Amelia said, holding up the key, and wiping it off on her cloak.  "It fell into the water."  Sure, it no longer had the brilliant silver gleam it once did, but a key was a key.
    Zelgadis nodded in approval, as Amelia passed the thing over to Gourry.  "Let's get on with this.  I want to know what the hell happened."
    Stepping closer to the altar, Gourry lifted up the lock with one hand, and slid the key in with his other hand... twisting it slightly, the chains fell apart in an instant, every link snapping, the metal pieces clattering and splashing down into the water.  The manacles flew open as well, tumbling from either side of the altar.
    Slowly... Lina opened her eyes, coming out of a deep sleep.  Age marked her glance, as she tiredly looked up.. and reached out for Gourry, slumping into his arms.
    "...how many weeks has it been?" Lina asked.  "Or was it months?"
    "Umm.. just minutes, I think," Gourry said.  "Are you okay, Lina?"
    "I am now," Lina said, letting a long sigh out.  "I could sleep for a YEAR.  If... ghhkk.. OW!  Gourry, quit freaking out!  I'm not going to sleep for a year!"
    Gourry mumbled an apology, and set a slightly crushed Lina down.  She dusted herself off, and looked around.  "Huh.  I guess it worked, then.  I really did fix the world."
    Chi'Nai was the one who spoke up.  "FIX the world?  How?  You made me human!  And.. we've all got--"
    "I know, I know," Lina said, appraising the group.  "Hrm.  I wasn't figuring on that, but I guess it fits.  I made everybody human.  Everybody, from the chimeras to the Mazoku to the Dragons to the winged.  We're all equal now.  There's no way for Order to apply a crowbar when we're all unpredictable little buggers on a level playing field, eh?  It was Zelgadis's idea, anyway, from his vision."
    "Mine?!" Zel exclaimed.
    "Sure.  I filled your promise.  So the way I see it, you owe me a steak dinner!"
    "Wow, she hasn't changed one bit!" Amelia cheered, waving a pair of fans in victory.  "So, what happens now, Lina-san?"
    Lina pondered that.  "Okay... rebuilt the world, end is the beginning, prophecies done, Order kicked out after much difficulty, Mazoku War over on account of species diversion, altar unlocked... hmm.  I think that's it.  Now, the altar explodes violently because it's been unlocked, and everybody goes home."
    "That's great!" Gourry smiled.  "See, Lina?  I told you this'd all work out okay.  Now, we can all go back.. and... ano.  Why is everybody running away?"
    The fleeing people made a beeline for the Guppy.  Gourry looked at the altar, which was starting to vibrate at a really weird hum.  Looked at the Guppy.  Looked at the altar.
    "Hey, Lina!!" he shouted.  "What was that last thing again?"
    Lina flew back, grabbed Gourry by his shirt, and darted back to the ship just as it was taking off.
    Nobody was around to watch Chaos Island go up in a pillar of smoldering reality, which is for the best.
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka / R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.