Only Stone on the Outside

by Dreamsinger

Only Stone on the Outside

a Slayers fanfic

by Dreamsinger

2003

I do not own this terrific series; I just wish I did.. Please let me know if you'd like to print or archive my story, though, just 'cause I like to know people are interested.

Many thanks to my friends Shell Presto and Marie!

PG-13 for nudity and references to bodily functions

Chapter Sixty-Two: Quiet Time

Amelia accepted the flat food tray from Zelgadis and set it on her lap. He studied her for a moment as she sat amidst the rumpled green blanket, then leaned over the chair he'd set between the two beds, handing her the bowl of beef-vegetable soup. As she set it on the tray, he hoped the liquid was still warm.

For a little while, they were both silent. Zelgadis brooded about their situation. I wish I hadn't had to reject her like that. I wish... I wanted to... to say- He firmly veered his mind away from his own ambiguous feelings about the girl. But I can't. She's much safer if she knows nothing about the cure the Oracle gave me. He sighed. I hope she doesn't come to hate me because of this. I hope she'll be able to be happy. I hate seeing her so miserable-and it's all my fault.

He blinked when Amelia made eye contact with him. Her countenance was serious, as if she had been doing some heavy thinking. "I've changed a lot since we first met," she commented quietly. "I've grown up a lot... Everyone back home says so, anyway. But you've never treated me any differently than when we met-and sometimes you get angry with me if I act-well, spontaneously... "

"Not angry," he objected. "Not really. It's just that sometimes it's the wrong time or place for that particular behavior." He met her eyes again, and somehow felt compelled to add, "... and sometimes... it's because I'm being a jerk."

She snorted a little, trying not to laugh with a mouthful of soup, and quickly swallowed. She gave him a look of sly amusement, but to his surprise, generously declined to name one of the many times he'd acted in such a manner.

So he did it for her, glad that her usual good spirits were returning. "Like the time I said... " he went on to name various escapades in which he had ended up looking like an idiot or worse, and soon she was so busy trying not to laugh that she almost spilled her soup.

The stone man had never realized that it could be so easy to laugh at himself, nor how good it could made him feel. Perhaps it was because he still carried a tight knot of guilt deep inside from the serious pain he had caused this young gir-woman, and beating up on himself was a good way to relieve some of that guilt.

He decided to ease up on the levity lest she choke on her dinner. "Are you sure you're feeling all right? Is your stomach giving you any trouble? Do you want a cool cloth for your forehead?" he inquired as he stood up and poured her a cup of tea, then took the plate of fruit and pastries, and set it beside her on the bed before taking his seat on the chair again.

"Thank you," she said, reaching for the teacup he held out to her. "I'm fine-just tired. I would like a bath, though, since it's my...my time."

He stared at her, remembering what Lina had mentioned earlier in the dining hall. Amelia looked away and went back to eating, and he watched her thoughtfully, mulling over the implications of her condition, letting her eat in peace.

Now that Amelia had mentioned it, he noticed with some puzzlement that she lacked the familiar faint earthy scent that was a normal part of women during their cycle. In some women it was barely perceptible, and in others it was altogether too pungent, though he wasn't sure why. Perhaps some women lose more blood than others.

Amelia normally kept herself as clean as possible, considering that adequate bathing facilities were not always available to travelers, but on occasion he would catch a faint whiff of a rich, heavy odor. Of course he was too polite to mention it, and usually it only made him think about how fortunate he was to not have to go through such a thing every month, and not just because it caused the woman to lose her powers for a few days.

The whole idea of it made him rather uncomfortable and uneasy, especially after what had happened to Amelia earlier, but now something he'd once been told came back to him. Normally the blood a woman lost during her cycle was superfluous to herself-both the blood and even some tissue was redundant, since it had been meant to nourish a child. He glanced at Amelia, looking for stains on her clothes, grimacing a bit as he recalled the glaring bright red blood that had been all over her torso, but could find almost no traces. As with most people who were magically healed, her skin had reabsorbed any blood that was touching it, including that which had saturated her clothes.

I probably should have left her where I found her while we healed her, Zelgadis mused ruefully, remembering the large red puddle he'd lifted her out of, but at the time I was half out of my mind-I thought she was dead at first. It reminded me too much of that other time, when she had died in my arms...

He took a deep breath and determinedly focused his mind on the minor mystery of the effect a woman's cycle might have in a life-or-death situation, not wanting to think about past horrors. Do you suppose her body used that surplus to help heal her? His eyes widened and he gave Amelia another surreptitious glance as something rather profound occurred to him. Menstrual blood is meant to give life... this time, might it have been used to save her own? A source of power...

He remembered a few weeks ago when he had been envious of Amelia's ability to befriend complete strangers simply by smiling at them, both in Tollik and with Ponmar and his men. Men have greater physical strength, but a woman's very vulnerability, her lack of intimidation, can be just as important an advantage, something that both genders tend to overlook. Women actually have a lot of compensations-for example, men don't carry around of life-giving reservoirs inside of them... yet another hidden asset.

"Did I embarrass you just now?"

"Huh?" Zelgadis turned to look at Amelia, who was just finishing her soup. A banana peel lay neatly on the tray beside her, and nearly half of the pastries were gone. She had a smear of purplish pastry filling on her cheek near her chin, along with some crumbs, giving her a cute-little-girl look.

"When I... mentioned what time of the month it was," she explained shyly.

Puzzled, he answered, "No... why?"

"You got so quiet... I thought maybe you were upset."

He'd done it again, this time inadvertently. The irony of the situation hit him. "And here I thought I was leaving you alone so you could eat in peace... I was just thinking. It never occurred to me that you might worry that I was upset with you."

Amelia looked relieved. "Oh... of course, you're always quiet-always thinking. That's why you're so smart. Looks like I did it again." She gave him a sheepish look, unknowingly repeating his own thought exactly.

That got a smile from him, though it soon faded as yet another revelation struck him. "No, Amelia... it's not either of our faults. I just realized something-you and I have very different outlooks on life. Most of the time we don't see the same thing even when we're looking at it together-we interpret it differently. It's natural-men and women often see things differently-but it makes for misunderstandings and hurt feelings, even if we don't want it to. Like now. You see, I was so caught up with wondering... "

The stone man felt compelled to explain his recent ponderings, though not without some blushing and stammering, to let the young princess know what had caused him to unintentionally ignore her. He was careful to phrase it in terms of 'a woman' not 'you' to keep it less personal.

Amelia was interested-she had heard about such a thing when she'd trained as a shrine maiden, but had never seen it happen to anyone in real life. "When I go to take my bath, I'll check. It would be nice to have it over with early for a change."

He nodded, still uncomfortable but trying mightily not to show it. It's one thing to talk about it clinically, but it's another to picture it happening to someone you know.

To cover his discomfort, he stood up, went to the little table and picked up one of the cloth napkins, dipping a corner of it into the bowl for cleaning one's fingers. He turned back to Amelia and approached her, holding out the cloth and saying, "Hold still for a moment, Amelia."

She made a soft, questioning sound, but did as he asked. The stone man brought the cloth to the pastry-stain on her cheek and wiped gently until she was clean, then took a dry section of the napkin and moved it over the same area. His hand gradually slowed without him realizing it, caressing her tenderly.

She watched him with wide, shimmering eyes, but did not speak. With a jolt, he realized that he had gotten lost in her sapphire gaze, and instantly he stopped what he was doing and returned the napkin to the table, painfully aware of his recent rejection of her and wishing he could do something to make her feel better.

Amelia watched him as he reclaimed his chair, her expression a little sad, but controlled. "Thank you," she said in a quiet tone.

He nodded uncomfortably, aware of the tension between them again. After a moment, she went on, "I had this funny little sense of déjà vu for a minute-and then I remembered the morning you left the palace."

Oh, right, she did the same thing for me, Zelgadis remembered. Then she gave me that guiolin and she danced for me, and then she kissed me... His eyes lost their focus as he recalled that scene, where Amelia had given him one of her ward bracelets-a gift that had had much more profound ramifications than either of them had known at the time.

Amelia shook her head, took a deep breath, and continued their previous conversation as if nothing had happened. "So I got lucky-well, sort of, by getting hurt at this time of the month instead of any other time, right?" She tried to smile.

Always the optimist, always trying to put on a brave face. The stone man felt a rush of admiration her fortitude. He lifted her empty bowl from her lap, asking her with a glance if she was done with the rest of the food. She nodded, so he picked up the other dishes as well and got up, carrying them to the little table, and before he knew it he was saying, "Amelia, you're amazing."

She looked up at him with wide blue eyes, her mouth open.

He put a hand behind his head, a sweatdrop appearing by his temple. I shouldn't be complimenting her at a time like this... but I don't want to be cold to her, either. What do I say to her? I have no idea how a 'friend' is supposed to act, but I've got to say something; she's waiting. He took a deep breath, realizing, And-there are some things that need to be said.

"You can always see the good in any situation, no matter how terrible," he elaborated solemnly. "It's... truly remarkable."

She melted, giving him a tender smile, her eyes glimmering with moisture. "Oh, Zelgadis... That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."

He hesitated, then took the plunge. "It's true, Amelia. Today, when I-when we almost lost you, I was terrified. You... you're... " he swallowed, not sure how to say what he wanted, and copied her earlier statement, "You mean a lot to me, too."

Amelia was quiet, letting him collect his thoughts. In the back of her mind she knew he was only saying this now because he expected to lose her once they reached Seyrune, but the thought brought back the terrible ache that his rejection had caused in her earlier, and she shut it out, deliberately focusing only on the here-and-now.

"You're one of the few people I can call 'friend'," he continued with difficulty.

'Friend'? Is that all? Amelia frowned. She knew he felt much more for her than just friendship, but he was trying so hard that she took pity on him and smiled gently, encouragingly.

"You're one of the few people in this world that I trust... "

Oh, Zelgadis. She felt a lump form in her throat as she heard the slight catch in his voice. She understood how very important it was to him to be able to trust someone.

"I don't know what I would do if I-if you-if something ever happened to you." His voice had dwindled to a mere, husky whisper, and his eyes had a suspicious wetness in the corners.

Amelia felt a sharp pang go through her, both for him and for herself, for what she wanted with all her heart, but was not to be. It's not fair! Instinctively, wanting to comfort and be comforted, she again held out her arms to the suffering chimera standing in front of her, in the same way she had only minutes before, although everything that had happened since then made it seem as if years had passed. "Dear Zelgadis," she murmured tenderly.

She could see the awful indecision in his blue-green eyes. He had just told her that he couldn't commit himself to her. A part of her understood his position. He's trying to do the right thing, distancing himself from me...

A part of her was afraid. She had only just managed to get him to open up to her again, because of her close brush with death. I never want to lose that closeness ever again.

Yet there was also a part of her was annoyed; it wasn't like him to be so wishy-washy. Either he cares about me or he doesn't! Remembering her earlier display of temper, and Zelgadis' subsequent declaration that he wanted her to behave like herself, instead of pretending to be someone whom she wasn't made her decide to go with her instincts.

She sighed in exasperation and moved over on the bed until half of it was empty. "I'm through being grown up," she complained. "I want to be comforted. Come sit by me," she commanded, sounding very much like the little girl she still resembled at times.

Her imperious attitude seemed to reassure him, and he took a step toward her. Belatedly Amelia tugged most of the light green blanket that was covering her onto her side of the bed, pulling it up to her collarbone. She'd shared a bed with Lina often enough to know that it wasn't comfortable to be pinned down by the other person's weight on the blankets, and Zelgadis was much heavier than Lina.

The chimera looked a little amused at this procedure, but at least he seemed less apprehensive, so she said nothing. Maybe he thinks I'm being modest.

Then Zelgadis stopped at the edge of the bed. "Amelia... are you sure?" he asked hesitantly, looking both hopeful and afraid, as if he thought that she might change her mind and reject him.

His expression melted her annoyance, and she smiled warmly at him. "Yes. Come here." She knew that under ordinary circumstances having a man in the same bed could be seen as improper, even scandalous, but there was no one to see them here, and right now she wanted him to hold her and make her feel better, as he always had when she was upset.

The stone man diffidently sat down near the edge of the bed, turning to face her as he brought one long brown-splotched leg up on the bed to maintain his balance. He turned his head, and suddenly the two of them were face to face.

Abruptly the air between them was charged with intense energy.

Each of them read the yearning in the other's gaze, the heartache of dashed hopes and dreams, the deeply denied physical passion. The pain was almost unbearable, and Amelia came close to crying again.

In the end, it was Zelgadis who smiled, a weak, rueful smile meant to cheer her up-and he did, if only because Amelia was touched by his attempt at putting on a brave face. She made a sound halfway between a laugh and a sob. "Ohh, Zelgadis," she cried, and leaned into his solid chest, pushing him back against the headboard with a thump, seeking the remembered comfort of his warmth and the feel of his chest rising and falling under her cheek.

"Amelia," Zelgadis whispered, and his hard arms moved to embrace her. She snuggled deeper, pulling her legs up to let her curl more comfortably against him. She listened for his heartbeat through the stone-it was faint, but her experience with their ward bracelets had left her attuned to his particular beloved cadence.

There seemed to be no need for words. Slowly they relaxed, taking comfort in each other's presence, knowing that this moment was fleeting-and so very precious.

Amelia tried not to think about the future, though the feeling of impending sorrow lingered in the back of her mind like a shadow. She tried to forget about everything, everything except Zelgadis.

The young princess loved the feel of the chimera breathing against her, taking pleasure in the warmth he gave off, like a stone warmed by the sun. She enjoyed the way his breath ruffled her hair and the tingly feeling his smooth palms gave her as he occasionally caressed her back through her tunic, stroking her lightly, almost as one would soothe a puppy-or a child, but she didn't mind in the slightest. When he holds me like this, I know he loves me, even if he can't say it. And I love him so much...

Zelgadis held the small dark-haired girl against him, careful not to embrace her as tightly as he wanted, discovering again how much he enjoyed holding her in his arms. She had a way of making him feel so needed, so wanted...

The chimera gave in to the impulse to lean over and breathe in the strawberry-scent of her hair, knowing it would most likely be the only chance he would ever have, bracing himself against the waves of angst that kept reminding him that she could not be his. At least I can comfort her, he thought, but nonetheless he was soothed by the feel of her living body against his, her weight on him, her scent, and most of all, by the warm ambiance of her love.

After a long time, Amelia realized that she was falling asleep. She roused herself, not wanting to wake up to find her arms empty, but all too soon she found herself drifting, and knew she needed to say something important. "Zelgadis?" she murmured softly, in case he was asleep.

"Mm?"

"I know the original one didn't work out, but I want you to make me a promise."

"... What?"

"Promise me you'll still come to see me. Even after- Promise me you'll come back, even if it's hard for you?" she beseeched plaintively.

The stone man was silent for a moment, but then she felt his chest move in an inaudible chuckle. "You know me well."

"... Is that a yes?"

Again the amused movement. "Yes. I promise to come see you."

She was reassured for a moment, but then another suspicion emerged. "But not until you've gotten your cure, right?"

"Well... "

"Zelgadis!"

She felt him sigh. "Fine... I will visit you within a reasonable length of time, not exceeding one year after your-ceremony. Whether or not I've been able to effect my cure. Is that acceptable?"

"Yes," she said happily, satisfied. Then she surprised him by sliding her arms up around his neck and lifting herself up to kiss him on the cheek. He barely felt it-a slight pressure, no more-but the small sound her lips made was clearly audible in the still room. "Thank you, Zelgadis... I know how hard all of this has been on you."

As the young princess moved down to snuggle onto his chest again he looked down at her with wonder. How can she bestow such affection, when she's hurting even worse than I? She should hate me, blame me for her pain, for failing her-not try to comfort me! She's the one who needs to be comforted... As the stone man lay there, gently holding her against him, his emotions were a muddled mix of bewilderment, guilt, gratefulness, and awed affection. He barely realized it as he began to roll slightly from side to side, unconsciously giving in to his inner convolutions.

Amelia's breathing grew deep and slow as she relaxed, soothed into sleep by the gentle rocking motion. Gradually the stone man slowed his movements and finally stopped, wondering if he ought to put her down yet.

He tried, but she whimpered and reached for him, so he leaned back against the headboard, relaxing his weight on the pillow that was wedged under his lower back, deciding to wait until she was more deeply asleep before putting her to bed. He was calmed by the feel of her weight on him, and the gentle, even sound of her breathing. Slowly his mind grew quiet, until he, too, fell asleep without even realizing it.

Some time later the door was opened just the tiniest crack. Three eyes-one blue, one ruby, and one glowing-green-looked in at the cozy scene of the princess and the chimera sleeping together.

"Gourry, would you look at that?" came the whispered shout of the red-haired sorceress.

"Aww. How cute."

"What? It's not cute, it's-" Her eyes narrowed as she took a closer look, noticing that they were both fully clothed. Zelgadis was slumped against the headboard with Amelia snuggled on top of him with a blanket partly covering her legs and back. One bare foot emerged from under the blanket. The chimera's legs were stretched out in front of him, and one of his arms was braced with the elbow on the mattress with his wrist bent so that his hand lightly rested on Amelia's back. The other hand dangled off of the side of the bed.

Okay, so maybe they weren't doing anything they shouldn't be doing. Lina shook her head and smiled, rolling her eyes. It's a good thing no one here knows she's a princess.

Silently, she opened the door. Shiran moved sleekly into the room, sniffed the bed's occupants, and then lay down on a nearby rug as Lina slipped into the room, fixed Amelia's blanket and turned down the flame until it went out. Then she picked up the plate of leftover food and tiptoed back out into the lighted hallway where Gourry waited.

As she closed the door softly she muttered through a mouthful of apple, "I can see they were really worried about us."

"Don't be so hard on them, Lina," Gourry said softly, trying to keep his voice down in deference to his friend's superior hearing. "They've had a long day-and Amelia was hurt really bad this time."

"I know... " Lina glanced at the other room across the hall, which the hostess had told them was theirs for as long as they wanted it. I figured we'd have one room for the guys and one for the girls, like it's always been, but I should have known better. Zel wouldn't leave her alone at a time like this.

She glanced at Gourry, who was watching her curiously, then squared her shoulders and opened the door. Gourry followed her in, holding their oil lamp up so that they could look around.

The room had two beds, which both relieved and disappointed her.

Gourry entered first, commenting, "Boy, am I tired." He yawned, long and loudly. "I'll glad to get to bed tonight." He lifted the oil lamp he'd been carrying and set the handle on the hook in the ceiling, then turned to face her.

Lina looked again at the two beds, remembering the intimate scene she'd just witnessed, and suffered an uncharacteristic attack of nerves. "I'm-I'm going to go take a bath-it's still early. I'll see you when I get back, okay?"

As she retreated from the room she caught a glimpse of Gourry's puzzled face. It hasn't hit him yet. We'll be alone tonight, all night, with practically no chance we'll be interrupted. We'd be able to do anything we wanted, and no one'd stop us... The thought brought with it an electric tingle of excitement-and apprehension. But I still want to save myself for our wedding night... and I'm still not really sure what I'm doing.

She stopped at the supply cupboard to choose her soaps and other toiletry items, then set them in a large bowl and made her way down the stairs to the large dining/common room. It looked a very different from the way it did in the daytime-a little lonely with only a few people sitting at any of the many tables-and headed out the back door to the bathing area. The nice hostess, Momoko, waved to her as she passed, and smiled.

The bathing area was set out of sight of the inn, well away from the smell of the stable, and had a nice tall fence around it to thwart peepers. It wasn't a true hot spring, unfortunately, but a couple of fireballs would take care of that in no time. The area itself had been lovingly landscaped, with pretty flowers and bushes, and small boulders artistically placed here and there.

Oh, I forgot to bring a lamp. "Lighting," Lina murmured, choosing a small-size ball of energy that would not be too bright, and would go out relatively quickly. Then she followed it up with two medium-sized fireballs, which she hurled into the pool, causing a great cloud of hissing steam to rise.

She dipped a finger in. Ow! I guess it's hot enough. She undressed and used her bowl to scoop out some water, then poured it over herself, and scrubbed quickly so that she could rinse and get into the pool for a soak. As she slipped in, she gasped at the heat. Whew! Maybe I overdid it this time. She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling her skin tingle all over as her pores opened, and shivered. Mmm, this feels so goood... I wish Gourry were here.

That opened her eyes. The first thing she saw were her small breasts, floating in the water in front of her. She frowned thoughtfully, cupping them in her hands. They really don't look any bigger to me, but maybe they're bigger than Gourry expected, that time he actually saw me naked in the Oracle's cave. She sighed. They'll never be as big as Amelia's, but Gourry doesn't seem too disappointed anymore... at least, he hasn't said anything about me being flat-chest in a while.

She had a sudden vision of Gourry touching her breasts, and abruptly let go of them, sinking down until the water level was just below her nose. He could probably hold both of them in one hand, she thought, distressed. I hope he doesn't laugh at me... if he does I'll have to pound him and then that'll ruin the mood. I don't know why guys like to touch them anyway. They say it's different when a man touches them than when you touch your own. I didn't understand that, but now I think I do...

She closed her eyes as a delicious tingly feeling spread through her body. We spent most of the afternoon chasing those bandits, but after we caught up to them and Shiran took care of them-even before I could-on the way back Gourry and I had a lot of fun kissing. I can still feel where he was holding me.

Maybe tonight I'll let him do a little more than just kiss me.

When her light spell began to fade, the red-haired sorceress climbed out and donned one of the inn's heavy yukata robes, then gathered her things and headed for the inn. I'll give my clothes to Momoko for washing.

Minutes later, Lina made her way down the long hallway, its wooden floor cold under her bare feet. She had again forgotten an oil lamp, so she used another small light spell, getting more and more nervous as she approached the door to their room. Maybe I should have worn my own clothes. I don't want him getting any ideas-yet.

The wooden door creaked loudly as she slowly opened it-only to facefault at the sight of Gourry, cozily tucked into one of the beds, sleeping like a baby. She couldn't decide whether to be insulted or relieved. Why that-he-I can't believe this! Here we are, alone together for the first time since-and he goes and falls asleep!

She opened her mouth to yell at him, but for once had second thoughts, noticing the peaceful look on his face. Well, he said he wanted to go to bed. I guess I had other things on my mind than sleep. She shook her head. Does that mean I'm turning into a pervert? Brr. She shuddered.

She began to walk toward the other bed, but stopped, looking at her blonde companion. He's really cute when he's asleep. Her bare feet made no noise on the wooden floor as she walked over to his bed and leaned down to kiss his cheek. "Good night, Gourry," she murmured softly, smiling down at him.

Then she climbed into the other bed and stretched luxuriously, enjoying the lithe way her muscles moved after her hot bath, and had a sudden thought. I bet Amelia's gonna be reeeally stiff in the morning...

Author's Notes:

Nadesiko-san comments: 'I can read your fanfiction with a bad translator, while I try to learn English... But really, I love your form of writing.'

* Thank you for the compliment! It is nice to know that my writing can be understood by people whose native language is not English. And that it is interesting enough to encourage you to read over 60 chapters! ^_^

jadz_i_ka says: 'I just can't imagine Zel almost kissing with Ameria and then talking to her like (almost) nothing happened!'

* He's trying to pretend nothing happened-and he's also trying to make himself fit into the role of 'close friend/companion but not lover', but he's never done that before, so he's sort of making it up as he goes along. He's decided to be as close to her as a friend can be-even though he wants her more than ever now! ^_^ Don't worry, there's lots of scenes coming up where they get to be close...

Lina Gabriev asks: 1) In Chapter 55 when Amelia makes reference that Lina killed the Mazoku with a Dragon Slave that isn't totally correct. They are killed by the Sword of Light and the other with the Ragna Blade. It's the big huge chunk of land that Lina uses the dragonslave to destroy it so it wouldn't crush Seyrunn.

* Yes, Lina Dragonslaved the dirt, not the Mazoku, but are you sure you remember seeing that in chapter 55? I looked at it and didn't notice any times when Amelia refers to Lina... I'm puzzled.

2) In Chapter 55, I didn't realize until this point how much Amelia and Kembri were alike. Had you made the characters that way or was that just the result?

*You mean how both have boyfriends (sort of) who have something wrong with them-or think they do? Well, I actually wasn't thinking about that at all. I gave Ril a stutter because characters ought to have weaknesses/faults to make them more real and interesting and easier to identify with, and only after I printed it out and re-read it did the Amelia/Kembri parallel even occur to me-just a few weeks ago, though I wrote those scenes probably about six months ago.

3) Also, I wanted to say this before but forgot: Isn't Megido Flare that thing Zelgadis used when he was trapped in water, after he dressed up as Lu-lu in the anime? He used the spell and suddenly was surounded by a ring of fire and broke through the Mazoku's spell. I don't believe the spell is used for a calming effect as said in Chapter 57.

*I got a description off of one of the official sites-it said it attacks bad spiritual energy, which means it ought to be affective against quite a lot of things, including people's feelings. Perhaps it looks like a ring of fire, or was animated that way, but I don't think I described what it looked like when Amelia cast it, so I'm safe on that point.

4) Oh and and by the way, those women in this chapter distracted them so Gourry's question was never answered ("What did they look like, so we don't get the wrong ones by mistake?").

* I did mention that Amelia 'gave a description' of them. I didn't want to have to make my readers read about characters they'd already met, and be bored.

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