a Slayers fanfic
Chapter 4: A New Threat
The group of travelers journeyed on after an equally wonderful breakfast from Mayaki. Zelgaddis and Mayaki walked side by side, chatting together cheerfully about this thing and that. Amelia, who led the horse on in front of them, ground her teeth and observed to herself, *Mister Zelgaddis is never that talkative around me! What does he see in her anyway? She's no champion of justice. Not even a princess... just some peasant. Is it really true that you can get to a man's heart through his stomach, I wonder?*
Behind her, Zel made some subtle, dry joke to Mayaki, and she burst out laughing. Amelia pointedly ignored her and turned her nose up at them.
* * * * *
"This looks like a good place for lunch," Lina decided, wandering off the road and into a little clearing, dropping her pack from her back and all but collapsing on the fresh green spread of grass. "Okay, Mayaki! What have we got for lunch today?"
The little cook bowed slightly and announced, "I was thinking cold meat sandwiches, but really, there's nothing I can do for a cold meat sandwich that anyone with one hand can't do as well."
Lina groaned. "But...but Mayakiii.." she whined.
Zel scolded her. "Mayaki's right. I think she needs a break from cooking for you all the time. We can put together lunch for ourselves." Mayaki gave him a grateful smile. He caught it out of the corner of his eye and quirked a grin back at her. Amelia glared at the two of them, unnoticed from the other side of the clearing as she tied the packhorse to let him graze.
Mayaki set her things down and took off her boots to rest her sore feet. She had never walked so much in her life! For now, it still hurt like the dickens to get up in the morning, though she knew that would pass. Her feet would toughen up and her legs would get stronger as she became accustomed to walking all day. She wondered to herself where she was even going. How long would she travel with Zel and the others? Where would she stop, and what would she do there? Would they accept her there as they hadn't in her own village? There was so much that she hadn't thought out when she left... she was a wanderer now.
Mayaki's ears perked up as she heard a rustle in the bushes. She looked around suspiciously. "Did you guys hear that?" she interrupted the conversation between Lina and Gourry.
"Probably just a deer," Lina waved, brushing her off.
Mayaki had seen-and caught-several deer. She hadn't heard any of them rustle in the brush like that when they were eating or moving...
"I don't think it's-"
A bolt of magic flew from the bushes straight for them. Amelia shrieked and flinched as it sailed past her and into Gourry. Even the swordsman's reaction time wasn't enough to spare him from being hit with the freeze arrow and pinned to the spot. His lower body was frozen in place, on one foot and one knee, hands grasping the hilt of his Sword of Light. He was encased in ice up to the neck.
Lina startled to her feet, as did the rest of the group, to face their yet unseen adversary. Zelgaddis unsheathed his sword and stood by the defenseless Mayaki,. Lina activated the talismans she wore and focused her energies and Amelia prepared to throw a spell at whatever came through the bushes at them.
Mayaki crouched behind Zelgaddis in terror. If she could reach the horse, she would have an adequate weapon to fend off an attack on herself in her cooking knives... She patted her bodice to make sure her dagger was somewhere she could get it easily if she needed to.
Lina looked up. "Darkness beyond twilight, Crimson beyond blood that flows... Buried in the stream of time is wh-at the Hell?!" Lina's spell was also lost as someone grabbed her from behind and his partner tied her wrists together.
Zelgaddis readied a Ra Tilt spell and peered around the clearing with a scowl on his face. He heard something behind him and half turned, just in time to be caught from behind by another freeze arrow. He shouted as he was also frozen up to his neck. The spell lost its momentum and died out. "Amelia! Mayaki! Run!" he shouted.
Mayaki and Amelia exchanged glances, then turned to flee into the woods. Amelia summoned a spell, tossing it behind them as they ran. "Flare Arrow! Oh!" Someone on her side tripped her and the spell went flying over the tops of the trees, causing no damage to their assaulters. She was pinned down and soon her wrists were tied as well.
Mayaki poured all the energy she could muster into the run for the edge of the clearing, where she would at least have some cover. She was almost there when the leader of the bandits stepped out in front of her. She ran smack into him with a startled gasp and rebounded, slightly dazed by the impact. He smiled lecherously down at her, being half-again her height and at least twice as wide through the chest. "Hel-lo," he said cheerfully. "Having a nice picnic, were we?"
She stumbled backward, fumbling with her bodice to get the dagger free. She finally managed to draw it and held it up defensively in front of her. She swept her vision across the clearing, looking for some way out or some source of help. There were a dozen or more robbers, Zel and Gourry encased in ice, Lina thrashing about in the grasp of her captors, Amelia face-down in the dirt, and, above it all, Xellos lazily floating on his back and deflecting the spells of the two mages with one hand.
Mayaki was horrified to see another man as big as the bandit leader approaching her out of the bushes from the left. "Xellos! Help me!" she cried as she faced both men at once, brandishing the dagger at them timidly.
Xellos casually looked back at her with a smile. "I think you can do quite well on your own, Miss Sora," he smirked at her, tossing the mages' Freeze Arrows right back at them. They jumped to the side out of the spells' paths, never having had their magic turned against them before and not entirely sure what was to be done about it.
Lina growled, straining against the two men trying to subdue her as one held her and the other tried to tie her ankles as well. "Xellos! You slime! Help us out here!" The bandit behind her received a vicious kick to the jaw and fell back swearing.
Xellos peeked over at Mayaki, who was being carefully backed against a tree without realizing it. "I think Miss Sora has everything well in hand here," he winked. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more important things to attend to," he said shortly and disappeared.
"Xellos, you backstabbing little wretch!" Zelgaddis yelled after him, too little, too late.
Mayaki looked up in time to see the Mazoku disappear. "No!" she whimpered.
The bandit on her left rushed her, slamming her arm into the tree trunk. The dagger was jarred out of her hand and dropped harmlessly on the grass. Her arms were pinned to the tree with one of the large man's hands. "I like this one, Race. She looks like she has some fight in her." Mayaki's eyes went wide with panic.
The bandit leader waved him onward. "Go on, have your fun with her. You've earned it, for what we'll clean up here."
* * * * *
Across the clearing, Lina tried a last-ditch effort at a spell; one she didn't need her hands for. "Levitation!" She kicked off the ground, pulling one of her enemies along with her. Unfortunately, the other one managed to get a grip on her before she could get away and dragged her back to the ground, where she was promptly thrown down and sat on while she spat out dirt from the struggle.
"Lina!" Gourry yelled, struggling to get free of the icy prison.
Zel, watching Mayaki's fate closely, fought with all his strength against the binding ice. "You so much as touch her, you slime, and I'll-"
"-and you'll what?" the one called Race answered him, striding over to him. "In case you'd forgotten, lad, you're a bit nailed to the spot." The head bandit leered at him, smirking. He walked away, toward Lina. "And this little fireball must be the famous Lina Inverse. Otherwise known as the Bandit Killer, I believe?" he asked rhetorically, bending to look her in the face as she struggled under the weight of the two men. She looked up and snarled at him.
"Let me up and we'll see just how many of you I can kill."
He smiled back at her. "Charming," he mocked. "But as you see, Miss Inverse, my friends and I seem to have gained the upper hand here. You're not going to be killing many bandits while you're face down in the dirt, I think." A shriek from Mayaki carried across the clearing. "Your Mazoku friend seems to have deserted you in your moment of need. You never can trust them, really. First sign of trouble, and they're nowhere to be seen."
"Who are you? What do you want from us?"
"Why, the bounty on your heads, of course, Miss Inverse. You do know, certainly, how much damage you have caused all across Atlas. There is many a town and city that would pay to see you punished, you know. Many an individual too, no doubt. So we'll be selling the lot of you off to the highest bidder."
Mayaki screamed again and there was the sound of a well-placed kick meeting flesh, as well as a "why you little..." from the man who held her. "As to my name," the man continued, "You may know me as Race Quim." Lina glared at him. "Men, you may begin relieving them of their valuables at o-What in the world is that?!"
* * * * *
Mayaki whimpered as her wrists were firmly tied to the tree. She knew what would happen if she couldn't get away... but she also knew what would have to happen if she was going to. Maybe there was still a way? Still time?
The man started by running his hand up her ankle, pushing her petticoats aside and feeling up her thigh. He looked up at her face and licked his lips lecherously. Mayaki shrieked. "Hentai!! Get away from me!" She struggled against the rope and only found it getting tighter for her effort.
"I like you, sweetheart. You've got spirit. Always better when they fight back."
Mayaki screamed again as he attempted to kiss her. She swung a foot at his groin and hit flesh. The effect would have been much better if she'd had some aim and hadn't hit his thigh instead. She paled. "Oops.." she said to herself. "Out of options."
"Why you little..." the man retorted, grabbing her leg as she tried to withdraw it. Apparently he wasn't fond of that sort of fight in a girl. He lifted her skirts over her knee, getting closer to his goal. Mayaki growled with rage as it built up inside her. The brigand laughed heartily over at his associates, who stared.
He shook his head and looked back, expecting to find something fleshy and pink. What he did see was rosey-colored... it was also very angry and had lots of teeth. The man fell backward in terror, beholding the horrible sight that had once been a timid young girl.
Disclaimer in short: Slayers and related characters aren't mine. Mayaki and various other incidental characters are.
Thanks for reading! Please leave me some feedback; I live and thrive on criticism! (not to mention, I'm a perfectionist. ;)