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 for mild language

Chapter Seventy-Nine: Kerrin's Fate / Xellos

Gourry asked, "Hey, where'd he go?"

"Don't tell me he decided that Kerrin would make a better match for Amelia?" Furious, Lina voiced the thoughts of everyone in the room. "If Zel left now, she'd have no choice but to marry him, wouldn't she?"

"No!" cried Amelia as tears began to stream down her cheeks, and a sudden deep, throbbing ache began in her chest. She clutched her fists reflexively over her heart. "We have to cast the spell and cure him by midnight so we can be married! He promised!"

Lina gave her a sharp look. "Did he, Amelia? He actually agreed to marry you?"

Amelia faltered. "Well, no... not in so many words... "

"Damn it!" Lina roared, her ruby eyes flashing fury. "I should've known he'd do something like this! That jerk! You should have made him promise, Amelia!"

Her shoulders hunched as the searing heartache increased. "I know... " she wailed.

Instantly the red-haired sorceress turned contrite. "Well, come on, guys, we've got to split up and look for him."

Amelia sniffled, and swallowed hard to hold back the wails that wanted to burst forth from her spasming throat. "Sh-shiran can track him."

Lina nodded, turned to leave, and then hesitated. "Listen, Amelia, I want you to stay here, okay?"

"W-what? But why?"

Her tone was pure acid. "I've got a few things I want to say to that arrogant, stubborn jerk of a martyr, things I should have said a long time ago. I need you to wait here. Don't worry-he won't get away from me. If I have to, I'll be glad to knock him out and hogtie him." The fiery-haired sorceress' voice took on that crazy, frenetic edge of mayhem that made people back away from her. "... In fact, maybe I ought to do it anyway, just to make sure he doesn't pull another fast one before tonight."

Kerrin stared at the tiny sorceress in shock. I thought she was his friend. She's... sort of scary...

Shocked, Amelia snapped out of her grief, spurred on by her instant concern for her beloved's welfare. "Wait, Miss Lina!" Amelia grabbed onto the petite sorceress' black cape as she turned to leave the room. "I don't want you to force him."

"But Amelia!"

An embarrassing mental picture of the stone man being bodily dragged back by the leg by a tiny seething sorceress came to the princess' mind. "He has to want to come," she said fervently. "I told you before, if we force his cure on him, he'll resent that we took the choice away from him, and then even if he did marry me, he'd feel like he was forced into that, too! He'd spend the rest of his life resenting it-and me."

Abruptly she dropped the cape, lowering her head so that her eyes were shadowed by her bangs. "Anyway... maybe he really doesn't want to marry me."

Lina's mouth dropped open. "What are you talking about? I know he loves you! Because of-" She cut herself off before she accidentally mentioned the gem.

Amelia smiled slightly, but did not raise her eyes. "I know he does. He wouldn't lie about that, but... maybe he doesn't want to marry the Seyrune princess. Maybe he doesn't want to be a ruler. Or maybe-" her tone became questioning, reaching for answers, "maybe he doesn't want to have Daddy as a father-in-law?"

"What?" exclaimed the big man, looking hurt.

Kerrin felt a bit indignant on the prince's behalf after spending so much quality time getting to know the man, but because of that he also understood Miss Amelia's comment.

Amelia smiled fondly up at him, although her eyes were sad. "Sorry, Daddy, but you can be a little... overwhelming, you know?"

Lina's face was a mixture of fury and frustration. "Damn you!" she cursed the absent chimera at the top of her lungs, clenching her fists.

"Well, that's a fine greeting for an old comrade," came a familiar light voice.

"Xellos?" Lina stopped in mid-tantrum, her eyes lighting up. "Just the mazoku I wanted to see!"

Mazoku? A jolt of fear hit Kerrin in the stomach. He stared wide-eyed at the seemingly ordinary-looking purple-haired man who was wearing some kind of priest's outfit.

"I came to pick up the gem I loaned you, Miss Lina."

"Oh, yeah," she remembered, "it's right there." She pointed to the floor where Zelgadis had left the blue gem, and watched as the mazoku went over to pick it up. "So what's the deal with-" Suddenly she clamped her mouth shut, noticing the others' curious stares. I want to know if I was right about the gem's powers, but I don't want it to get back to Zelgadis that he didn't confess his love to Amelia on his own. Even though the jerk deserves it; Amelia doesn't need to know...

She was saved from having to finish her sentence as Amelia knelt down near Shiran. The others were used to the lavender dragonwolf, but both Philionel and Kerrin drew in involuntary breaths of fear at the sight of the small princess kneeling at the feet of the huge beast, literally under the animal's chin.

The contrast was astonishing. One was a huge, sharp-fanged beast, the other a petite, well-formed young woman with brave, spirited deep blue eyes, thick, shiny raven hair, and a (normally) bold, vivacious manner. At the moment, she was radiating distress, which stirred an unaccustomed feeling of protectiveness in Kerrin. He gave the animal that was hovering over her careful scrutiny, ready to move if he saw so much as a hint of aggressiveness on Shiran's part.

The wolflike creature, the size of a pony, had a slender, gracefully tapered head, very long, thin, upstanding ears that curved ever so slightly toward each other at the tips, and a well-balanced, muscular body, with long, strong legs that looked capable of carrying her all day long if Kerrin was any judge, after his experience with horses.

Her tail was long and fluffy, carried in a slight upward curve, and her coat was thick and lustrous, white with light purple at the tips, which gave the hair the 'lavender' cast. It was longer and fuller on her neck, chest, belly, and tail, and a fluffy ridge of darker purple hair rose from between her ears, reminding Kerrin of a dragon's crest, down the back of her neck to the base of her shoulders. The darker color continued down her spine to the base of her superb tail. Her nose, tail tip, and the tips of her ears were a medium purple color that matched her crest.

Shiran's eyes were especially unusual; glowing green, with no black pupils, only highlights where the light reflected off of them. This effect reminded Kerrin of a perfectly round jewel, a shining gem, the rich, vibrant color of new grass. As he studied those eyes, he realized that Shiran was looking down at Amelia with eager devotion, ready to do whatever was asked of her.

He found himself smiling. What a magnificent creature.

The princess commanded softly, "Shiran, find Zelgadis!"

The lavender tail wagged once, and then Shiran sprang away toward the open door at the far end of the room.

"Hey, wait up!" Lina dashed after the rapidly retreating dragonwolf.

Amelia called after her, "Remember, Miss Lina-no death threats or dragging him back by force. He has until midnight tonight to decide! I'm counting on you!"

Lina growled audibly, then yelled over her shoulder, "Listen, Xellos, stay here until I come back, okay?"

"But Miss Lina-"

"Hey, Lina, wait for me!" Gourry dashed out of the door after her, his yellow hair flying, just before it closed with a boom.

For a long minute, no one moved. Kerrin was a bit overwhelmed at how fast everything had changed, intensely curious about the mazoku that had appeared in their midst, and rather intimidated by the tiny but fierce Lina Inverse. No wonder they call her all those names, like Bandit Killer and Seyrune's Destroyer. I'd hate to be on her bad side!

He was also bothered by something else. After a long minute, Kerrin ran a hand through his auburn hair, turning it into a thatch of gravity-defying wisps, and approached the beautiful blue-eyed princess. "Miss Amelia... " he began, "That wasn't the Li I remember. My cousin never gave up on something he really cared about... I don't understand. He loves you, and you love him, right? You say you can cure him, so there's no real barrier preventing him from marrying you, is there? Why would he suddenly decide to give up now?"

Amelia gazed sadly at the troubled young man, her shoulders drooping, her little face growing so desolate that he instantly regretted his query. "A lot has happened to him since you knew him, I'm afraid," she said quietly. "He's spent years slowly being eaten away by self-recrimination and hate-of Rezo, of all the people in the world who are ignorant and treat him as an outsider, of his own body... "

Oh, Li...

The terrible, forlorn look on Miss Amelia's face left no doubt as to the truth of her words. She took a slow, deep breath and let it out in a sigh of heartfelt woe. "It took a long, long time before he accepted my love. I still see it in his eyes, this soft, bewildered look of wonder-wonder that someone could come to love him, in spite of his appearance."

Kerrin's soft brown eyes were puzzled. "You told me once that you like how he looks."

She flashed him a quick smile. "Oh, I do! I think he's the handsomest man in the world... but he won't believe me. He still feels... unworthy, I suppose." Her face fell. "When he found out I had a fiance, it really hurt him. He felt I'd betrayed him... so I made sure not to say anything more about you until now. That's why he was so surprised to see who you were."

"Oh." He didn't look glad to see me... now I know why. Poor Li... he went away with dreams of such glory, only to spend years being treated even worse than before. And now that he's finally managed to achieve some hope for a bright, happy future, I come along and ruin it all.

The shadow in her eyes darkened. "Zelgadis was afraid that you would refuse to release me from my promise to marry you, since you're my official fiance... "

"I... have to admit I was thinking about it... " he blurted out, suddenly consumed by shame and guilt. All of their jaws dropped as they stared at him, and Kerrin turned a deep red and put a hand behind his head, "but only because it's so awful at home. But now that I know that it's Li that you love, Miss Amelia... "

Phil asked, "What's so 'awful' about your home? You're a prince, aren't you?"

He sighed. "Not exactly... See, when Li disappeared the others all began fighting over who would take his position. Two of our cousins were killed in a duel, and of the rest, I'm the one with the most magical talent. I never would have dreamed that the elders would name me as the next head of the family, but I couldn't do anything about it. They decided to send me away to school to keep me safer from threats."

He turned and gave Amelia a small smile. "When I returned, I was allowed to attend the balls of neighboring kingdoms to strengthen our ties. See, we're not a royal family, or even a very large one; we just happen to produce a lot of strong mages, which some people in my family believe entitles us to high status."

He frowned for a moment, but then his face grew softer as he gazed at Amelia. "Anyway, that's where I first saw you. You were like a bright, shining star, someone who truly believed in justice and equality for all, not just for the higher classes, and I really grew to admire you. I was so happy that I was allowed to attend your betrothal balls, and I'm even happier that I was able to work up the courage to ask you to dance."

His sweet, slightly sad smile, so like Zelgadis', made Amelia's heart go out to him. Poor Kerrin... If I didn't have Zelgadis, I'm sure I could have loved you...

"One of the best moments of my life was when you asked me to marry you," the young man went on, "and living here in Seyrune has been a wonderful dream, learning the ways of your people. Your father always made time to spend with me... "

He gazed into her beautiful sapphire eyes, and had to look away at the compassion he saw in them. "But now that I know it's Li whom you love, it wouldn't be right for me to try to force you to keep your promise. It wouldn't be just, as you say. You wouldn't be happy, and so neither would I. And... " his voice grew thick with emotion, "Li deserves to have someone like you, to bring some light into his life. He was-never really happy at home... "

Don't think about losing her. Think about your cousin. Li. You've finally got him back, after all these years. You can probably visit him, and watch as the years with Miss Amelia teach him how to smile. Or even laugh. I was the only person to ever see Li laugh-the only one he could afford to relax around. I wonder if Miss Amelia can manage it? If anyone can, she can. He remembered something she had once told him. She said she wanted to be my friend, and that's nearly as good. I'm not cut out to rule, anyway... I wish I didn't have to go home after this is over.

Amelia felt her eyes fill with tears, her heart torn between joy for herself and Zelgadis, and sorrow for this poor, noble boy. "Oh, Kerrin... thank you," she whispered, her lower lip trembling, then turned to her father. "Oh, Daddy, isn't there anything we can do for him?"

"I don't know, Amelia... " The big man sounded nearly as upset as him daughter. "He belongs to another kingdom, and I have no authority to do anything about his situation. I would be happy to have him if his family would agree to let him go, but somehow I don't think they'll be willing to, after they already lost their first heir."

He's right. They won't. Kerrin made a small sound of negation.

Amelia felt her eyes begin to fill again. Why does this have to be so hard? she thought half in anger, half in grief. Can't we all be happy for once?

Prince Phil had closed his eyes, his face pensive, rubbing his chin with his fingers. Suddenly the big man let out a shout. "Wait! If you marry Zelgadis, then Kerrin will automatically become family."

What? A burst of joy swelled in his heart, and Kerrin found himself beaming up at the prince. I hadn't thought of that! It'll be easy to get permission to visit here from the elders... the elders... the family... He began to feel the first twinges of worry."But that means all of my family will become your relatives. Is that a good thing?"

"That would give you a lot more social status than before," Phil explained. "Some people base their respect for others on status. That's very shallow of them, of course... but do you think your family might be willing to move to Seyrune? They would have the status of being related to the ruling family, as long as they obey Seyrune's laws, and if you lived here, we could appoint you to a position at the palace."

The youth's eyes widened as he took in the sight of Amelia in all of her justice-glory, a fist raised skyward, her eyes shining like sapphires. "Your family would have more respect for you, and you could take charge of them and lead them out of the deplorable condition their morals have fallen to! Why, if they promised to reform, Zelgadis could even have his family again!" Her sparkling eyes could have been stars themselves.

The young man slowly looked from one face to another, a growing look of wonder on his face as he listened to the father and daughter eagerly planning his future-a future that was brighter than he ever would have dreamed possible.

"So how about it, Kerrin?" Phil suddenly asked him.

Caught by surprise, he stammered, "W-well-to tell you the truth, they're not all that bad... Most of the family is honorable, in their own way. The most unscrupulous ones were the two who managed to kill each other in a duel. Most of the rest are more concerned with status and appearance than anything else-as you guessed-and that's why they were so hard on Li when he was growing up. If we become related to the family of Seyrune-the white magic capital-that would go a long way to mollify them over Li's disappearance. They might even want to reinstate him as head of house."

Amelia smiled and said wryly, "You can guess what Zelgadis would say to that! ... But that's not exactly what we meant, Kerrin. How would you feel about moving here and working for your cousin?"

Kerrin's face broke out into a happy beam, his bright brown eyes shining, feeling his heart rapidly growing lighter than it had been for years. "That would be wonderful, Miss Amelia."

Philionel's grin matched his. "Well, then, my boy, what kind of work do you like best?"

Kerrin hesitated for only a moment. "Working with horses, sir."

"Horses?" The big man stepped forward and dropped a large hand on the youth's shoulder. "Well, I have a fine stable... why don't we go talk to the stable manager and see what positions are available?"

Amelia smiled at the pair as they left. It looks as if I may have a new brother. I've never seen Daddy take to someone so quickly.

Xellos had been a silent observer to all of this, but now he hung the gem around his neck and said nonchalantly, "Well, then, I'll be off."

Amelia jumped. "Wait! Where are you going? Miss Lina asked you to stay here!"

"Ah, well... " Sheepishly, he put a hand behind his head.

"Mister Xellos!" she said indignantly.

"I don't have to obey Miss Lina... ." He spread his hands. "Why should I help you cure Zelgadis? It's not like I care about your happiness-we mazoku can't bear such a thing. Why would I want to increase something so awful?"

"I'll sing."

"I'll just pop away, then. I never promised Miss Lina that I would stay."

Amelia felt a flash of fear. "Wait! ...Um... um... " She bit her lip, feeling her nerves jangling, and then it hit her. She held up a finger. "I know! If you help us change Zelgadis back to a normal human, he'll be a weaker opponent the next time we have to do battle with each other."

Xellos put a hand to his cheek. "Hmm... you have a point... but not because it would be easier for me to defeat him as a lowly human-I did decimate an entire tribe of holy dragons by myself, you know... "The young woman curled a lip in repugnance at the way the apparent man casually described the deaths of so many living creatures, as Xellos continued merrily, "... but the next time he fights he'll be feeling even more anger, despair and frustration than he does even normally-a tasty fare, indeed. All right, Miss Amelia, you've convinced me. Let's get to work on that spell."

Amelia clenched a fist, feeling an odd mixture of disgust at having to work with the capricious mazoku, to whom human beings were nothing more than entertainment or food, and a sudden strong surge of pity for him. He was created to be the way he is by his mistress, the Beastmaster Metallium. No matter what he does, he can never experience true happiness, only whatever 'satisfaction' mazoku get when they eat people's negative emotions.

He simply obeys orders, like the time he was ordered to follow Miss Lina for Hellmaster Phibrizzo-he only saved our lives because he wouldn't have been able to follow her if she was dead. It truly doesn't matter to him which side wins a battle; it's like marking down the wins and losses in chalk on a blackboard, completely dry, emotionless. But maybe that's why he likes to hang around Miss Lina-if there's one thing she isn't, it's emotionless!

Xellos was looking at her questioningly, and she realized that he was sensing her growing pity of him, and wondering about its cause. She met his gaze, and for some reason this time it was the mazoku who dropped his eyes. "You shouldn't feel compassion for your enemies, Miss Amelia," he said quietly. "Not if you want to live long."

Amelia wondered if she should take that as a threat, but somehow she sensed that it was simply the advice of an ancient being who had seen countless battles. She tilted her head, studying the apparent man as the large blue gem gleamed against his dark cloak. I don't understand him. Why is he telling me all this? And if mazoku thrive so on death and horror, why should he care?

She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him. "Why are you really here, Mister Xellos? Is it because your mistress may have a use for Miss Lina sometime in the future?"

The apparent man opened his eerie pale purple eyes for a moment in surprise. "My, my, Miss Amelia, you're getting more cynical every day! Is it because of Zelgadis' influence, I wonder?"

The young woman flushed slightly, realizing that she might indeed be picking up some of her beloved's mistrustful manner, but then she put her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Mister Xellos."

He smiled and waved his hands in an "I surrender' gesture, apparently pleased to have riled her. "To tell you the truth, I haven't asked her, although I wouldn't be surprised if she did. But right now, I'm between assignments so my time is my own, as long as I don't start any major wars. And Miss Lina... intrigues me, I guess. It's rare that someone with so much negative emotion within them also manages to be 'a good person', I suppose. A delightful paradox."

Amelia nodded, satisfied, and would have turned away except for the mazoku's next statement. "Eternal life means eternal boredom, I told her. I got tired of killing humans for sport centuries ago-" Amelia jumped at such a cruel admission, but Xellos didn't seem to notice. "-and started looking for other ways to entertain myself."

Again, the young woman was caught in the mix of disgust for his deeds, and sympathy for his plight. "I get it... We're just game pieces to you, right?"

Xellos gave her an amiable look. "Why, yes, I suppose you could say that."

Amelia crossed her arms. So he's gotten in the habit of preserving his favorite game pieces for as long as possible. She was not sure whether or not to be insulted at being called a 'game piece', but finally she shrugged and said blithely, "I can live with that."

Xellos facefaulted.

Author's Notes:

I got a cool fanpic of Zel from Chris and I want to thank you for it! You asked for my comments and I wrote a long letter, but guess what? I got booted off of AOL right then and thus loss your address, so I can't mail it to you! My email address if you (or anyone else) would like to contact me is on my author's page. doesn't let you put it in your stories, or I'd list it here.

I decided that Kerrin would call Zelgadis 'Li' instead of 'Mister Li' or 'Li-big brother' as is usual in most Japanese shows because in Slayers they tend to leave out some of the honorifics, and it also indicates just how close a bond the two shared.

Ever notice that Xellos seems positively cheerful when someone near him is feeling negative emotions? I figure that's about as close to 'happiness' as a mazoku can come. One of my favorite scenes in Next is where Prince Phil decides to try to jump up to the floating land chunk and doesn't make it. Xellos was tickled-I love how he hides sarcasm in 'innocent' comments- "Oh, too bad. You almost made it, too!" You could tell he wanted to laugh.

Amelia notices this, and is sort of perplexed-how do you deal with someone who's happiest when you're upset? Her nature is to make those around her happy if she can-and negative emotions are not something you can fake. If she wants to make Xellos happy, she has to let herself be angry or miserable-which just isn't her natural mental state, so she couldn't do it for very long. So should she feel guilty for showering the poor mazoku with joy? It's enough to make an anime character drop to the ground with little whirly things over her eyes.

Another thing I've wondered: Is Greywyrs (or Graywords) Rezo's last name, or did Rezo have a daughter who took the name of her husband? 'Rezo' might not even be his real name, if he took a new name when he began practicing magic, the way some people do. Actually, in the anime and the manga I don't think much was said about Zel's family, so I suppose Rezo could have had a short affair and then left without knowing he'd fathered a child until much later, so that might be why Zel has a different last name, if he does. For some reason I just can't picture 'Rezo Greywyrs' in my head.

My computer still has the same error message. I may have to do a complete systems restore, (I hope not) to get rid of the problem. And since I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to the programming aspects of computers, I hope things go smoothly or I may not be able to update for a while. In any case, I haven't dared to write anything new for two weeks now, so we're going to catch up with where I am now in two more weeks, at chapter 81. And since it takes approximately three weeks to write a chapter, there's going to be a lag between chapters after that. I'll keep you informed, minna-san!

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