orning soaked Noh Wheir like a fine layer of dew; sparkling and cleansed.  Except, of course, for the destroyed buildings left in the wake of the previous night's disasters.  However, the people of Noh Wheir were a fine and polite folk, and told Lina and company that they could certainly spend the night and rest up after what happened, and as long as they were out of town by lunchtime, they would not be lynched.
    That was good enough for Lina, who needed her sleep.  The space behind the smithy's shop wasn't really enough for three people, but Naga, Gourry and herself managed it just fine.  She dreamed of penguins and sealing wax and other random things with no meaning whatsoever and enjoyed it.
    Breakfast was had at the local restaurant, which was more than happy to give them a free meal if they'd leave right after they ate it.  Lina had eggs and toast and bacon and a tall glass of orange juice and a whole roasted pig.  Fed, rested, and ready to go, she wandered back with her little group, talking about things to come and things that had past.  Daylight helped illuminate things somewhat for them.
    "At least we know who's been dogging us," Lina said.  "I don't like it.  Not in the slightest.  But at least we know."
    "I didn't know you had an evil twin sister, Lina," Gourry said.  "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
    "I don't HAVE an evil twin!" Lina groaned.  "Like I said the last time, she's from a parallel timeline where my life developed after we killed Shaburanigdo in a different way and as a result she's heavily traumatized and definitely doesn't have the same mindset as me, and resents me for being able to get out of that one without a scrape.  Do you understand?"
    "Ummmmmmmmmmm... no.  Not at all."
    "Then she's my evil twin," Lina said, rolling her eyes.
    "Ah, okay!  I get it now."
    "Those three are going to be a bother, aren't they?" Naga asked.  "Bugging us all the way to Evilania.  Should we have finished them off here and now and saved ourselves a great deal of hassle?"
    Lina and Gourry shook their heads at the same time.
    "She may be confused, and definitely psychotic, but she's still me in some way," Lina said.  "She wanted me dead.  I don't particularly want to want what she wants in the other direction, if that makes sense.  I'll figure out what to do about her later, but getting rid of her is not an option.  I think I've got a good grip on what's going on now, so there's not anything left unknown to dread over.  Makes it easier to think about.  Far more dangerous, but I'm okay with ordinary danger."
    "And as for that guy, he may be a real jerk, but I don't like killing people," Gourry agreed.  "I'd never have dueled that far, even if his girlfriend could heal him.  But I knew he wouldn't give up unless I went all out.  Insect rankers take that stuff seriously, or something."
    "I'm not so sure about that sorceress as being his 'girlfriend'," Naga said.  "Something about her worries me.  I don't particularly like how that ruffian treats her, either.  And naturally, as a heroine, I'll have to do something about it."
    The three of them paused, each thinking deeply about something or other.
    "Either way," Lina concluded, "I'm glad they're gone for now."
    The smithy produced the coach, repaired and refinished.  The horses were considerably calmer, and Gourry was given a bottle of pills and instructed to give them two pills every third day for five weeks, which he immediately forgot.
    "Oh, by the way, someone dropped this off for you," the smithy said, handing Lina an envelope.  "It was in the mailbag this morning."
    "Eh?" Lina asked, pausing in hauling herself into the coach.  "Who would know we'd be out in the sticks?"
    "Perhaps it's a magic letter!" Gourry smiled.
    "Get real, Gourry, there's no such thing as correspondence magic," Lina laughed, opening up the envelop.  "'Dear Lina.  I'm using this correspondence magic to get you a letter and let you know thaaaa...' What?!"
    Gourry looked positively smug.
    Lina gripped the letter tighter.  "'...let you know that, as you've probably figured out through my less than subtle maneuverings to keep things lively, I'm following your progress in interesting ways.  Entertaining as always.  You're going to want to take the the road to your left when you reach a fork in the next three hours of travel.  I'd say why, but that is a secret.  Have fun.  Signed, X.'"
    "Gosh, who do we know with a name like 'X'?" Gourry asked, scratching his head.
    "I met a nice person named Xena once," Naga said.  "She had excellent fashion sense."
    "Just drive, Gourry," Lina said, slumping into a seat.  "Call me crazy, but I think our problems are definitely not over yet.  And turn left in three hours."
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka / R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.