SLAYERS REFLECT #8 : Raiders
of the Lost Library
By Stefan Gagne, Spoof Chase Productions.
vilanian landscapes are not picturesque. They do not have great
oaks with leafy green coats, or fields of gold, or daisies a plenty.
They do not have happy woodland creatures other than the occasional feral
chipmunk. They do not have butterflies. Not usually.
Fluttering along the wastelands, a single golden
butterfly haphazardly traced a path through the air. Its thoughts,
like the thoughts of all butterflies, were very simple; find flowers, flutter,
flutter, find flowers, flutter, attract mates to get it on with, flutter.
Right now it was in 'flutter' because it wasn't sure how it got here, since
it was planning to go south in annual migration like its species was supposed
to, but the wind currents drifted it off course here, chaotic eddies that
can stem the path of nature.
The butterfly flapped around in a tight circle of
confusion, its beautiful wings of gold beating at the air, swirling air
currents that seemed very small to begin with...
Lina awoke from uneasy dreams to find herself transformed
into a giant insect.
Actually, that wasn't entirely true. She was
still human, but the surprise value was just as high; because when she
woke up, the first thing she saw was a large tentacled monster.
"KYAAAA!!!!!" she shrieked. "I'm still hallucinating!"
"No you aren't, he's just an oni," Naga explained.
"As I was.. ah... saying," the hideous abomination
said, "We're twenty minutes away from the dig site of the Great Library,
which Evilania recently unearthed as a result of territorial expansion
as planned by Dictator Cain the Fourth of The Horrible Reign of Blood,
the current Dictator of Evilania, who in this year decided to dedicate
a temple to himself on that very site, except the digging--"
"I have a headache," Lina said. "Does anybody
have a remedy or some--"
A warm feeling rushed through her head, clearing
Lina blinked a few times, turning to look at the
sorceress responsible for that. "Ah... good work," she replied.
Lily said nothing, sitting back to listen quietly.
Of course, last time Lina saw Nigel the horribly
boring civil servant, it was at the Evilanian Board of Tourism. And
yes, he did have a dozen flailing phallic tentacles, but Lina had chalked
that up to her very interesting dinner which was making her see things
like giant pink elephants stampeding through her navel. She hadn't
counted on her sight being perfectly clear at that time.
She learned later in the trip, which took entirely
too long to be interesting enough to go into detail on, that apparently
Nigel was from a race of hellish beasts created by an insane genius who
wanted to take over Evilania. Unfortunately, his people were more
suited to basic paperwork and having tea and crackers before lunch and
discussing popular sports, so they went into government instead.
Which, in a lot of ways, put them in a proper position to take over the
country; if they weren't too busy typing reports to care.
Apparently, it was the tentacle-oni who first pushed
to have the site of the Great Library declared a historic landmark, when
the Dictator was planning to destroy the site and build his temple just
because he'd be an evil bastard to deface such a place. The oni,
however, knew the intricately demonic laws of Evilania much better than
any human, and managed to preserve the site from harm, so that tourists
could stomp through it and leave used coffee cups and handprints and destroy
it slowly over the course of a few decades instead.
All of which didn't really matter as far as Lina
was concerned, because she was planning to raid the place for the Mirror
Lores anyway. Gourry slept through the entire long-winded monologue
of their tour guide, while Naga was busy doing her nails and Lily just..
stared at the wall of the coach cabin.
"Are we there yet?" Lina asked, five minutes after
the last time she had asked.
"...which is interesting, because the inner chambers
have a particularly neo-decian style of furnishings, contrary to the findings
of explorer Jean-Custurd who believed that the Great Library would be designed
entirely in the style of the elder Alextribikians, who..."
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"...onto the third generation of interior decorators,
which believed in a more monochromatic system of indexing by chamber, which
was of course patterned after the great halls of early Sailoon courts of
justice, designed originally by..."
"Can I just get out and walk the rest of the way?"
"...that time after the reign of the third Bishop
of Antiok, who was responsible for the various draperies added to the Library
with depictions of the Lord of Nightmares renamed to the Lord of Dreams,
which was her name during the reign of the Empire of Tazminjek, which..."
"My brain is melting."
"...fond of the color blue, as it applied to the..."
"Aaa! Make it stop!"
"...sixteenth generation of the art movement known
as 'broke', which enabled the library to incorporate deconstructionist
elements into the foyer and--"
The oni fell asleep, its eyestalks fluttering closed
and a gurgling snore rising.
The thick haze that was forming over Lina's brain
snapped away at the near silence. "Wha?"
Lily shrunk back into her seat. "ano... you
said to make it stop, so.. I used a sleep spell. I'm sorry, I--"
"Thank you! Thank you!" Lina exclaimed.
The white sorceress, who wasn't used to that word,
much less it being used three times in a row, tried to remember the right
response. "Um... you're welcome?"
The Great Library of the Empire of Alextribik was
nearly a quarter of a mile long and wide. It had floors upon floors
upon floors, majestic spires of crystal and marble, the shining forms of
architectures long gone. One of the seven and a half wonders of the
world, matched only by the Upright Tower of Pasta in Justivalero, to gaze
upon it was to see a sliver of brilliance, of perfection, of majesty.
Except that it was buried under a million tons of
rock at the moment, so the site of the Great Library could only be described
as 'a large pile of uninteresting dirt'.
"Whee," Lina said flatly.
"I don't get it. Where's the door?" Naga asked.
"How do they expect us to get into the library if they haven't even finished
digging up the door?"
"Seems the progress in uncovering this archaeological
treasure is a wee bit slow," Lina said. "Okay. Team meeting.
What do we do next?"
"Let's blow up the rocks with high energy magic
until we uncover the antechamber!!" Naga suggested, clenching a fist of
"We're not trying to DESTROY the library!" Lina
said. "We're talking a structure buried under hundreds of tons of
rock! Any really huge explosions down there and we'll have to learn
to breathe granite. I hereby propose a moratorium on strong magic
beyond basic Shamanism while underground. All those in favor?"
"I'd rather not die," Gourry said, raising his hand.
"Besides, I've got the my Sword of Light. We'll be fine."
"I won't go in there defenseless on a personal level!"
Naga scoffed, crossing her arms. "I vote no."
The three of them looked at Lily, who was busy trying
to look anywhere else.
"um... um?" she said, a bit scared.
"You're a part of this party now, so you get to
vote," Lina said. "What do you say? Interested in being crushed?"
"Only a fool would toss aside a powerful weapon
when unknown dangers are ahead!" Naga said.
"I-I agree with Naga-san," Lily said.
Lina wasn't convinced. "Reason being?"
"Be.. because I agree with Naga-san."
"Don't just give us the answer Naga wants to hear
because you're tagging along with her after your boyfriend got eviscerated,
say what you mean," Lina suggested bluntly.
The other sorceress swallowed hard. "I...
I, uh... I really don't have an opinion. Don't mind me. Please...?"
Lina sighed. "Okay... two for no powerful
spells, one against, one.. abstain. Decision moved."
"Objection!" Naga said.
"This isn't a courtroom! Motion carried."
"Now, Gourry, help me look for a way in," Lina said,
peering around the ruins. "There's got to be some sort of entrance
for them to haul relics and stuff through."
Naga watched the other two head off, poking around
the rubble, before peering oddly at Lily, who again was staring off into
"You're not helping anybody by playing Miss Servant,
you know," Naga said.
Lily jumped in surprise at the sound of her voice.
"Uh... I'm sorry, I--"
"Didn't I tell you earlier not to apologize?" Naga
asked. "Look, that abusive redneck megalomaniac freak is gone now."
"Oh.. oh," Lily said. "Right."
Naga waved a finger in a 'tisk-tisk' motion.
"Therefore, you are your own person and can make up your own mind.
And I don't want to see any of this moping about in guilt because you think
you failed to protect him, okay?"
Lily stayed quiet.
"This is not going to be easy, is it?" Naga guessed.
"Sorry," Lily apologized.
Naga gave up for the moment, and joined the others
to look for a way in.
There are a lot of things you don't want to see
when you wake up. Although the blasted ashes and remains of your
former Mazoku ally are very specific, they do rank up there.
The girl who called herself Lina Inverse was feeling
very strung out that morning. She had slept under a bush because
she didn't trust the innkeeper not to sneak into her room last night, but
her back was aching from the high tension she was running the previous
day. She was getting a rash from the leaves on the local plants,
which obviously weren't meant to be friendly to humans. And now,
when she was hoping to see Ozek's empty temple, having filled his job and
erased Naga and Gourry -- who weren't supposed to be alive anyway, she
saw him die, she saw him burn he went away and Naga probably went with
all of them and -- she instead saw a large crater.
Why did this weird nightmare Lina that had her old
hair, her old powers, her old stupid attitude keep doing this? She
should see, she should know why everything here wasn't supposed to be!
Instead she managed to wipe out the most powerful ally Lina could manage
Rage pulsed through Lina's mind. Again!
Again and again! Every time she thought she was clever enough she
fell too far and they had her. But there was still a chance, a chance
to escape and get it right.
The crater was dusty, but she knew the smell of
low-grade Mazoku anywhere, the unmistakable smell of ashes and incense.
Skidding down the side of the round indentation, she approached the center,
sniffing; and found it. She gathered a handful of the ashes, approximated
the location where the altar must have been beforehand, and readied the
The ashes glowed and burned as Lina repeated the
ritual, like yanking the reigns on an old mare, trying to start it going.
Eventually, a weak form appeared, solidifying, but not nearly as impressive
as it had been the other night.
'THE... THE IRRITATING HUMANS...' Ozek growled.
'THAT THEY THOUGHT A DRAGON SLAVE WOULD KILL A MAZOKU...'
"You're not a very strong Mazoku," Lina explained.
"One good hit and your physical form is sawdust. You're lucky I managed
to revive your astral form out of what was left or you'd be in limbo for
'REVENGE. REVENGE. REVENGE.' Ozek
pulsed with the word, throbbing like Lina's heartbeat. For a moment
the fear jumped up her throat, threatened to snap her back into her memories--
down, down. Business to attend to.
"Your job isn't done. I ordered you to kill
Naga and.. and him," Lina said. "Get to it."
'POWER. I THIRST FOR STRENGTH.'
"I'll find a villager to flay," Lina said calmly.
'MORE. I CAN SENSE DARK THOUGHT NEARBY.
IT SMELLS SWEET...'
Lina got up to go. "I'll hurry and get you--"
And with a flick of the wrist, Ozek turned on the
tap of her memories, the bottled away pain and hatred that Lina tried to
keep sealed. She collapsed to her knees, thought after thought flashing
past her memory of the things that she'd experienced, what happened to
her, what she heard and saw, and most importantly, how she felt, sadness,
despair, anger, pain, depression, madness...
Ozek filtered Lina's emotions, triggered by his
will, growing stronger than he could from any six humans. The little
one had plenty of good choice delights inside her; obviously she had been
conditioned before to be an excellent source of Mazoku power.
Done, he let the girl collapse, and roared into
the... nicely daylit sky, his body smaller than before but very, very nasty.
"I WILL ANNIHILATE YOU THIS TIME, FOOLISH MORTALS!!!"
he bellowed, and his leathery wings flapped, carrying him off into the
Lina twitched slightly on the ground.
Although she didn't think to call for help, since
she'd never been helped before just by asking for it, help came.
Footsteps, the tap of a staff as they walked.
"You should have realized he'd do that," the voice
said. "He's not exactly the most professional sort of hired help.
Are you hurt badly?"
"Time is tight, Lina," her benefactor said, crouching
down to ease Lina up into a sitting position. "You're so close to
the lores now, but if Ozek succeeds, he could bury them in the process.
You need to hurry. I'll compress a night's rest into you without
dreams..." the figured held a ruby headed staff, and chanted a quiet spell.
"N... nn..." Lina started, before drifting into
The man eased her back down to the ground.
He concentrated, speaking through her mind, a momentary dreamvision.
'You will wake in a few minutes outside the ruins of the Great Library.
Get to the lores. Get the book. Then you will have the means
to what you seek.'
don't trust you
'You don't have to. Simply listen to the reasons
behind I suggest and decide then.'
who are you
The man smiled. "That is a secret, Lina-chan,"
he told her sleeping body, then walked off, a few steps this way, a few
hundred miles the other.
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka
/ R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.
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