The mirror itself  was impressive, magic aside.  It stood twelve feet tall, an ornate rectangle of pure reflection, with circular notches out of each corner.  It was, of course, surrounded by entirely too much ornate gold trim, with carved icons of the founders of Sailoon, various heavenly bodies, some women that the sculptor was trying to herd into his bedroom at the time, and so on.

    Lina examined the surface, running her eyes along it, and found that to be a difficult task.  It was impossible to tell that a plane of glass stood between her and the reflection of her; the mirror was ground flawlessly.  The light didn't bounce off it, or leave any telltale glare.  She was almost tempted to reach through the alleged surface and touch the other side...

    Gourry was just concerned with getting a good shave.

    "Put that away!" Lina barked, slapping the knife out of his hand.  "We're here on business."

    "But I forgot to this morning," Gourry complained.  "I don't want to look scruffy."

    "This isn't a mirror for freshening up!  It's a powerful artifact of a time when magic ruled the world!" Lina reminded him.  "It's one of the only bits of physical evidence we've got that the legendary lost lores are anything more than, well, legends.  Now hush up, I need to study this."

    Gourry studied the mirror.  "It's a mirror. So?"

    "Not just look at it. Probe it, magically, and such. Figure out what makes it tick," Lina explained.

    Blinking, Gourry poked at the surface of the mirror.  He left no fingerprint on the glass.  Nor did he feel any glass there.  "Creepy," he commented.  "Is it safe to poke at it like that?"

    "You're the one who poked, not me.  I'm just gonna set up some sensing spells," Lina said, having a seat in front of the mirror and sketching a ritual circle on the ground.

    "I know.  That's like poking, except.. different, right?" Gourry asked.  "Is that safe?"

    "Of course it's safe!" Lina said.  "Shhh. Me working now. Go play."

    Gourry shrugged, and resumed browsing the many wonders of the hall.  None of them were as interesting as the mirror.  Well, that wasn't exactly true; most of them were more interesting than the mirror, which other than feeling funny, was still just a mirror.  But for some reason, he kept coming back to that 'Marital Aid' thing and trying to figure out how it worked.  He had this strange urge to raise his sword when he looked at it.

    "Weird," Lina commented out loud.

    "I know.  What's the farm animal for?"

    "Not that!  The mirror.  All my spells just.. slide right off," Lina gestured.  "I can't even figure out how to activate it."

    Gourry squatted down behind Lina, peeking into the other side of the image.  "I dunno.  Maybe you just say, like, 'Mirror, what will I get for breakfast tomorrow?'"

    "Too easy.  There's always some silly code word or incantation and set of hand-waving gestures involved," Lina said.  "Especially with legendary lost magic."

    Gourry waved his arms around like a chicken with its head cut off.  "Ooga booga! O Magic Mirror, what will I have for breakfast tomorrow?....  ano, it's not working."

    "Not just ANY hand waving and words!" Lina grumbled.  "Specific ones."

    "Oh.  What are they?"

    "That's what I'm trying to find out!"

    "Oh!  I get it!" Gourry nodded, smacking an understanding fist into his palm.

    "You do?"

    "Yeah!  But don't you think if you sit in front of the mirror too long, it'll crack from your looks?"



    "Serves you right," Lina muttered, folding her arms.

    Gourry rubbed his sore head.  "You know, I think that's abuse."


    "Hitting me like that.  It's abusive.  And in a... 'equal society where partners are given a fair split in terms of the quotas for respect, a mutually understanding relationship vis a vis the hero and sidekick must bend towards perspective contemplation.'"

    Lina wobbled, and fell over.  "G.. Gourry, where did you hear that?!"

    "At the Sidekick's Panel.  Did I get any of the words wrong?"

    Sitting herself upright, Lina tried to regain some composure.  "No, no... just.. quit ragging on my looks, or my figure, or my personality, and stuff like that!  Then I won't have to hit you.  It's simple, right?"

    "Oh!  Okay, I get it now!" Gourry nodded enthusiastically.  "I'll try that."

    "Goooood. Now beat it, I'm working."

    The blonde-haired swordsperson wandered off again, and decided to fiddle with the iconograph some more.  He will go down in history as the first person to ever point an iconograph the other way, and take pictures of himself making funny faces; a strange obsession which would grip the population for years to come.  Time passed quickly this way.

    After about an hour, Lina rubbed out her magical circle.  "Rats.  I can't penetrate that thing, no matter how hard I try.  And I can't activate it."

    "Oh... maybe you just do something like, 'Mirror, what will--'"

    "You tried that already, Gourry."

    "Saying it, yeah.  But maybe you gotta THINK it, or something?" he asked.  "You're the sorceress, not me. I wouldn't know."

    Lina considered that.  "Okay... pick some decision, concentrate on it really hard..." She turned, and stared head on into the mirror.  Concentrating.  Staring.  Concentrating.

    What should she pick?  Well, Zel was going on and on like a broken record about how lucky she's been.  Lucky in what?  Most of her travels were remembered for having bandits chasing them, or insane demons, or dragons, or whatever.  They were usually defeated, of course, but... she thought along those lines a little, wandering about mentally, getting distracted and bored.

    Also bored, Gourry started to play with the amazing mathematical box a little.  One step away from the proof of the derivative function of calculus, it happened.

    Since his back was turned, all he could pick up on was the sound.

    Lina yelled first.  He thought that came first, anyway, in hindsight.

    Then he heard breaking glass, possibly.

    But definitely after the glass broke and Lina screamed bloody murder, he heard the wind whip up to tornado speeds, and lightning crackle.

    By that point, he had turned around; to see the shards of the broken mirror shooting past him, huge flying planes of razor sharp glass almost but not quite dismembering him. The glass, blown away from the frame, shattered to useless dust on the far wall.  And inside the frame...

    Inside the frame was just darkness, wind and dust blowing out of it, blue sparks of lightning zipping around.  Gourry had seen enough; he immediately dove into the fray, scooping up Lina's unconscious form, mind focused solely on getting her to safety.  He scrambled off to the side, away from the mirror, and waited for it to die down.

    Which it did, in a final burst of energy, which knocked a hole in the roof.  Then there was no wind, no light, just a busted mirror, and a partially melted frame.

    Cradling Lina, he carefully crept around to the front of the mirror.  All that was behind the glass was a basic sheet of plywood.  And a note, written in careful manuscript.

    'If this mirror is broken, please notify me at the following address. -SQ'.  And a location.

    Gourry reached to take the note, and the ancient yellowed paper crumbled to dust in his fingertips.

Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka / R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.