a Slayers fanfic
Chapter 10: Armed and Dangerous
Xellos waved to them as they exited the temple. He sat sidesaddle on top of their traveling supplies without crushing them, still tied to the nervously shaking horse.
"Well, that took a little longer than expected, I'd say," he smirked as the group strolled up. "Did you all have a good time getting your wishes granted?"
Everyone glowered at him. The Mazoku held up his hands defensively and floated down from his perch. "Now, now, don't look at me. I had nothing to do with this particular little fiasco."
"Wouldn't you have to be involved to know it was a fiasco?" Zel asked flatly.
Xellos shook a finger at him. "This time, I can just see it on your faces. Or, in Lina's case, on her chest."
"What?! Why you.." Lina shoved past everyone else to slug Xellos deep in the gut. The monster doubled over and coughed, having the wind knocked out of him.
"I have a feeling you knew something about this place and didn't tell us, Xellos," Zel growled. "What kind of information were you withholding now?"
"Well, I might've known something..." he gasped. "..but I thought you knew about the Temple of Dreams already..."
Lina nodded and held her hands up as if she was expecting that kind of answer from him anyway.
Mayaki continued to stare at the trickster priest while the group packed their gear up and tried to comfort the distraught horse. Her look wasn't one of hatred or mistrust, or even annoyance. She was curious.
Xellos caught her look and opened his eyes at her, giving her a mischievous wink as his evil smile grew wide and friendly. She continued to stare, and he waved at her. Completely befuddled, she looked away.
*it was just a dream he couldn't have actually be in my head he couldn't I know it I like him I like being a monster I like being special he couldn't I mean there's no way it's impossible it was just a dream..*
Reassured by her rapidfire stream of thought, she looked back up to meet his eyes and grinned back at him.
Another thought struck her as she finished tying her things onto the horse. "Before we leave town, do you think we could stop at a weaponry shop?" The whole troupe stopped, staring at her. She got irritated. "Well, it's fine and well for all of you who can defend yourselves without changing forms, but it's a little hard to make friends when people know you turn into a monster!" She paused, calming down. "And I lost my dagger," she added sadly.
The others continued to stare, then exchanged a blank look.
* * * * *
"Ah, welcome, sirs and madams! How may I serve you today?"
Mayaki edged toward the man timidly. "Um... I..." She stopped as a stone hand rested on her shoulder.
"My companion here needs a weapon to travel with," he said calmly. Mayaki gave him a thankful look, noting that he had his hood and veil up to mask his face. She couldn't read his expression to see if he was still angry with her. Not wanting him to think she was staring, she quickly diverted her attention to the shop's wares. She was in awe. She never knew so many types of weapons existed!
"Wonderful, wonderful! And what sort of weapon does the little lady have in mind? We have just about anything she would be looking for and we do custom work as well..."
"I'm... not sure what I want," she said quietly. Both the shopman and Zelgaddis looked curiously at her. "I've never handled any kind of weapon before."
"Well then, we'll just start with the swords over there and work our way around, shall we? The shopkeeper grinned, profit practically etched in his dancing eyes.
Mayaki attempted to heft a broadsword, barely able to get the tip of the blade off the floor. The shopman helped her put it back on the rack and motioned her toward the smaller one-handed swords and rapiers. "Perhaps milady would be interested in this one, once carried by the Knight of Ceiphied herself," the man gloated, handing Mayaki the delicate looking blade. She swung it around easily in the air as Zelgaddis instructed her.
Across the room, Lina's jaw dropped, as did the fancy throwing star she was looking at. It made a metallic clank on the floor when it hit. "That sword belonged to my sister?!"
The shopkeeper regarded her coolly. "If your sister is the Knight of Ceiphied, then yes. She pawned it to me, for money to get back home, she said. Something about part-time job obligations."
Lina squeaked in fear. "Mayaki, put it down! It might have Luna's cooties on it still! She'll come looking for it, and then I'll be in trouble!" The little sorceress dashed behind Gourry and clung to him, peeking out nervously.
With a confused look, both Mayaki and Zel stared at her. Amelia peeked around the corner from a rack of powder weapons as well.
The shopkeeper, seeing the chance for a sale slipping away, quickly tried to recapture the shreds of Mayaki's attention. "The Knight of Ceiphied carried this sword with her on her travels, fighting off evil. As you can see, it's a very light and agile blade, perfect for a young lady. It was told to me by a very reliable source that she once slew five blue wyverns at one fell swoop by cutting their heads off with this very sword!"
The sword fell clumsily out of Mayaki's hand and hit the floor with a clatter as she put both her hands up, protecting her throat. Zelgaddis's eyes showed disgust behind his veil. Lina stared out from her hiding spot behind an equally confounded (but when isn't he?) Gourry. Amelia stared from the corner again, setting down the gun she was handling. Even Xellos looked a little on-edge, his smile for once deserting him.
"What else have you got?" Zel asked.
* * * * *
The store owner had Mayaki try a bow and arrow. He showed her the short shooting range in back of the shop. Zel followed to observe. For a while, Mayaki couldn't figure out how to get the arrow nocked properly. Then she couldn't manage to keep it on the bow while she drew. Finally she managed to get a shot off. The arrow sailed up over the target... so far over the target, in fact, that it cleared the back fence and sailed far down the alleyway. About a block away, a very startled and probably injured cat opened up to tell the world how unhappy it was. Mayaki dropped the bow and clapped both hands over her mouth.
"Let's try something else, shall we?" the shopman suggested, swiping the bow and the rest of the arrows from her.
* * * * *
"Ooohhh.. this looks promising," Mayaki said as she was handed a crossbow. The shopman was just showing her how to load the bolts when she accidentally hit the trigger. The dart ricocheted around the shop, hitting a piece of plate mail armor, a shelf, the rack of swords (which Lina was standing right next to, making her flinch), and a long case of daggers before embedding itself in the ceiling harmlessly. Everyone looked up at Mayaki from the floor.
"Oops..." she said softly with a grimace.
The shopkeeper delicately snatched the crossbow out of her arms.
* * * * *
"Here's something that might suit you, ma'am," the man told Mayaki, handing her three heavy balls tied with strips of leather thong.
"What are they?" she asked curiously.
"These are called bolos. You spin them around your head and then throw them at your attacker's feet to try to trip him, or at his head to knock him out.
She blinked. "Okay..." The man was already setting up a dummy for her to try hitting. Once he was out of the way, Mayaki checked in back of her to make sure she wasn't going to hit anything. Zelgaddis was well behind her and leaning against the doorframe. She began swinging the bolos apprehensively, ducking as they separated and tangled up in her hair. The shopkeeper started for her to take the weapon back. "No, no, it's okay, I got it," she said hurriedly, picking the balls out of her hair.
On her next try, she spun them a little faster. Again, all three balls whirled around her head at different speeds, and it threw her off. "Wait.." she said, stopping and letting the stones drop. One of them hit her on the head. She whined and rubbed at the spot, stubbornly gathering the bolos together for another try. She could hear Zelgaddis snort with laughter behind her.
"Miss, maybe.." the shop owner started to say, edging toward her to take the bolos away, but having to duck and she swung the stones wildly around her head. She spun them around her head a few times, not letting them get enough downward momentum to separate this time.
She kept her eyes on the dummy and let the thong go as the bolos swung forward in their orbit. "Ha!" she said, feeling the bolo leave her hand. Except that it didn't fly outward in her line of vision like she expected. "Huh?"
"Ow!" said a voice behind her suddenly. She turned around sheepishly to see Zelgaddis with the bolo wrapped around his head.
"Sorry!" she said quietly. Zel unwrapped the bolos carefully and handed them back to the shopkeeper.
* * * * *
While Lina and Amelia pretended to have a swordfight in the back of the store, and Mayaki occupied herself with picking out a new bodice dagger, the owner pulled Zelgaddis aside for a word. "Friend, if I were you, I would make sure that girl never gets her hands on a weapon unless she's going to fight for the other side. Just make sure she doesn't travel by herself and you'll all live." He swatted at a fly errantly as it buzzed around his head. It decided at that point that Zelgaddis was more interesting to flit around.
"Maybe you're right," the chimaera sighed, watching Mayaki as she squealed over the prettier daggers in the case. He was distracted by the insect buzzing around him. He waved his hand at it, trying to get it to go somewhere else, but instead it decided to orbit his head several quick times at eyes level. "Gah," he said, trying to swat it away.
"Hey, look at these pretty knives! Ooohh, there's a whole set of them!" Mayaki called gleefully. "The colors are all different but they match... they're so cool!!"
True enough, the polished wooden hilts were colored blue, green, and dark red, each with a ring of a different color at the base and a brass ball at the pommel of each. Beside the knives lay a type of carrying belt they would snap into, designed so there would be three daggers at each hip, easily accessible, but shielded from the swing of the wearer's arms.
"Ahhh," said the owner, trying to mask his weariness. "I'd forgotten all about those. Certainly a weapon for a lady. These are throwing knives. Good for keeping yourself out of the way during a battle. Would you care to try them out?"
"Would I!" she said eagerly, weighing one carefully with both hands as they were set on the counter for her to examine. "Wow... nice balance... good and light... must be stainless steel; look at how shiny the blades are! Nice and sharp..." Mayaki's eyes focused on the fly as it zoomed past her.
The shopman finished hanging the dartboard on the far wall for her to throw at. He made certain that he was well out of the way before he gave her the okay. "All right, miss. Let's see your throw."
Mayaki wasn't listening. She seemed rather distracted.
Her eyes wandered.
"Mayaki?" Zel asked, then jumped back as she suddenly threw the dagger, swift as a cat. "Whoa!"
She seemed to move in slow motion and a barely visible blur at the same time, keeping perfectly balanced on one foot as she drew the knife back over her head, then whipped it forward with a snap of her wrist. She took a step forward, catching herself on the tip of her toes while her leg and throwing arm remained in a perfectly straight line. "Hrrahh!" she uttered as she let go.
The knife made a whistling noise as it spun gracefully across the room and embedded itself in the wall, a good two feet from the dartboard.
"Yeah!" Mayaki cheered.
Gourry was the first to comment, breaking away from the stunned silence. "Aren't you supposed to try to hit the bullseye? Or at least the target?"
"I wasn't aiming for the target," she gloated, retrieving the knife from the wall where it had lodged, along with its victim, which she wiped off on the edge of the counter, flicked it to the floor, and stepped on it for good measure. "Flies. A cook's worst enemy," she said triumphantly.
The shopkeeper twitched. "I'll just wrap these up for you, shall I?"
"And the dagger. The one with the wolf's head, please," she added, grinning widely.
"Seven hundred silvers all together," the man said.
"Five hundred," Mayaki demanded firmly.
"Six twenty five."
"Done. And I'll just wear them on the way out, thanks."
The shopman watched the girl and her comrades leave, then heaved a heavy sigh of relief and collapsed.
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. ;)