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

Note: For those of you who might not have realized, I uploaded a new chapter 80 with a lot of new stuff added, making it about twice as long as before. You might want to go read that before you read chapter 81.

Flittiko - 'FLEE-tee-koh. The flittiko is a small metal instrument similar to a flute, but played with the instrument held in front of the player instead of held off to the side.

Chapter Eighty-One: Let's Go for It! The Oracle's Advice

Time passed as the chimera gazed out over the city from the palace roof, watching without seeing as dozens of windows appeared from the darkness in various shades of yellow or white, rectangles of everything from candle-and-oil-lamplight to light spells.

As Zelgadis sat between two large stone columns, he set the side of his forefinger against his chin, deep in thought, sincerely trying to follow Lina's example and focus on hope rather than despair and fearful misgivings.

Lina asked me if I wanted to see Amelia's face light up the way it did during Martina's wedding... hmm... wedding... The last night I spent here at the palace, I had a dream of Amelia, as a bride and then a mother. Her face was so full of joy... for herself, her husband, and her children. I envied that man... I... wanted to be that man.

His teal eyes widened in realization. I didn't just want a normal life; I wanted that life, that family... an end to being alone. With Amelia and-some little ones... A twinge of uneasiness brushed through his mind at the thought, but not for the usual reasons. Children... children of mine...

Think positively, he reminded himself. He tried to picture what the future might be like, being married to Amelia, and slowly smiled. With her at my side, I could do anything, even rule a kingdom. I'd have a lot to learn at first-from what I've seen, Seyrune's citizens have more freedom, more choices, instead of the way it was in my family, where the leader's word was law and the people's wishes were ignored. I'd have to learn how to accommodate others without letting myself be swayed too much.

Perhaps I ought to choose a trustworthy aide, someone who knows the ropes and can help fill me in on the little background details that will help me learn about life in Seyrune, and the Seyrune court, specifically. Like who I should keep my guard up around.

Hm. If I'm human, then I'll have to be more alert for physical threats, too. With a flesh-and-blood body, I'll have to be careful for a while until I've gotten accustomed to things like being injured, and having to eat and sleep more often. Still, everyone else has the same disadvantages, and they all manage.

Idly he stretched his arms over his head, finally relaxing as the power of positive thinking took effect. I wonder which bed chamber I'll be living in... with Amelia- Suddenly his eyes widened and he sat bolt upright. If I go through with this, if I let her cast the spell and the cure is successful, we'll be married tonight!

"And that means... I'll be human," he said aloud, his voice tinged with wonder. "With Amelia, alone together... "

He became aware that his breath was coming faster, his heart beating rapidly in his stone chest. He recalled what she had looked like when they'd accidentally seen each other in the nude, and slowly an intrigued smile grew on his face. She certainly didn't seem to mind too much... She even said she was looking forward to it. It's still a little hard to believe that she could truly want me, but if this cure works, I won't disappoint her. I hope.

For a while, the chimera's mind was occupied with typical male fantasies, an activity in which he had seldom allowed himself to indulge (what was the point, when doing so would only leave him frustrated?) in the past. Now he looked toward the future with an eagerness that he had seldom experienced, even before he'd been cursed, and not all of it was due to the imminent wedding night. Every time he imagined Amelia's smile he felt a warm tingling all over, a heady rush of love that made him feel slightly dizzy. Is this what it's like to feel lovesick?

The stone man was unaware of the passage of time, but eventually old habits began to surface. Zelgadis felt that familiar uneasiness that something might come along to take away his unhappiness, and he cast about in his mind, looking for obstacles.

And he found one. Kerrin... what should I do about him? I was halfway expecting to have to challenge the fiance Amelia mentioned, but that she should choose my own cousin out of all the men who must have been vying for her hand-it still stuns me. She said she didn't know of our relationship, so what made her pick him?

And what do I do about it? Should I challenge him to a duel, or just brush him aside, as I used to when we were younger? I'm almost positive he'd give way without a fight, but... I don't want to do that to him. He must have been looking forward to marrying her... Besides, he's the only living relative I have that I give a damn about. I want to stay on good terms with him, and to do that, I need to treat him with the same respect I'll be giving Amelia-the rights of an equal.

Slowly he stood, noticing for the first time that night had fallen. I hope he understands. If he's still the same Kerrin I remember, he may not want to fight at all, but if he does want to, I'll do my best not to kill him. And later, I'll ask Amelia to help me find a nice girl for him, someone who will bring as much light into his life as Amelia has into mine.

IIIIIIIIIIIII

Amelia brushed back a strand of midnight hair that had managed to escape from her topknot, then took a moment to wipe her sweaty hands on her pants before taking up her guiolin again as it hung by its thick, sturdy leather strap from her neck. What a complicated spell! Mister Xellos knows the general words, and he knows that they're to be sung to music, but neither of us has a clue as to which kind of music to play.

As part of her formal princess training, Amelia had learned to play several musical instruments adequately, and she had chosen the guiolin. She would have preferred to use the instrument she played best, the flittiko, as she hadn't practiced with the guiolin in a year, but she had to have her mouth free to sing the spell.

Xellos had to cover his ears when she played, as the music grated against his mazoku nature, but he bore up well enough if she only played a few notes at a time. "Most people would take weeks, if not months, to work on this spell," the apparent man commented. "The Words are fairly standard, but the problem is working out the right frequencies. You want to completely abolish the spell, right?"

Amelia nodded dutifully. "Right."

Xellos sighed. "This kind of curse is insidious... it's far easier to drive it back out of sight, as it were, than to dissolve it completely."

Amelia cocked her head. "What do you mean?"

Xellos touched the tip of his finger to his temple. "Think of a pot of stew. Each ingredient is separate until you add it to the stew, but then it is almost impossible to remove all traces of the liquid from the vegetables. The liquid has permeated the solids, you see? If you take out a piece of carrot and dry it off, it still looks like a carrot, but it may smell like the stew and will have tiny particles of the liquid merged into the outer layers, perhaps even the core, if it's been in the stew long enough."

Amelia frown, her forehead wrinkling as she tried to assimilate this. "Do you mean he'll still smell like stone?"

The apparent man covered his face with his hand, his shoulders slumping, a sweat drop appearing by his temple. "Maybe that was a poor analogy. My point is that we may not be able to remove all of the traces of the spell completely, but even if we don't, he'll still look and feel human."

Her confusion eased. "That's good enough for me," she said firmly.

Xellos debated facefaulting, but decided that they had wasted too much time already. "All right, then, we'll focus on eliminating as much of the spell as we can."

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

Lina and Gourry returned without Zelgadis. Amelia gave them a worried glance as they entered the small music room-the very one in which she had gifted the stone man with a fine guiolin-and noticed that Shiran was not with them either. "Miss Lina, what happened?"

Instead of being in one of her usual vengeful rages, the red-haired sorceress looked rather thoughtful. "I told him some things that he needed to hear. The rest is up to him."

"Oh." Amelia was full of curiosity, but no amount of questioning would make Lina tell her any more, so she threw herself into practicing with a vengeance, while Xellos explained Lina's part of the spell to the petite sorceress.

The atmosphere in the room settled into one of industrious activity, with Gourry sneaking a nap in one corner while the others practiced various parts of the spell. Amelia was concentrating on a certain set of notes with a hand that was already developing sore muscles-not to mention sore fingertips-when a familiar, slightly surprised voice said behind her, "I didn't know you played the guiolin."

"Zelgadis!" She turned to face him, dropping the large wooden instrument, which gave her a sharp tug on the back of her neck as its strap kept it from crashing to the floor. She tried to hug him and the guiolin got sandwiched in between them, giving a brief, wailing twang of protest at such treatment. "I was afraid you'd never come back!"

As she released him, she was astonished to see the top of his pale silver-blue head come into view as he bowed formally to her. "I'm sorry, Amelia," he said quietly.

For once, she had no words; as far as she knew, Zelgadis had never bowed like this to anyone before. The others-even Gourry, who had awakened at her shout-stared at him. Shiran looked back and forth between them, and even Xellos seemed mildly surprised.

As Zelgadis stood upright, he met her eyes with his own serious blue-green ones. "I've been trying to be the same fool I've been for the past two months. I hope you can forgive me, but I'll understand if you're angry with me."

"Oh, I'm not angry," she said automatically.

His somber teal gaze did not waver. "Are you sure?"

Her cheeks developed a slight pink tinge at being caught in a lie. "Well... maybe a little. But I do understand how you feel, remember? After all, if our positions were reversed... "

She let her voice trail off, not wanting to do anything that might make him want to leave again. Well, I would never want to put you in any danger, but if I had to depend on you to change me back into a human, I would. As long as you decided you wanted to take the risk.

She turned away from his eyes and sighed deeply. "I just wish... I just wish that you could trust me," she said in a small voice.

"I do trust you," Zelgadis' troubled tone made her look up at him as he continued, "but the one thing you can never promise me is that nothing bad will ever happen to you."

Slowly, she shook her head. "No, I can't... I can only promise that when bad things do happen, I'll do my very best to overcome them." She hesitated, then stepped toward him, placing a hand tentatively on his forearm. "Will you be there to help me?"

He hesitated, and she could see in his eyes how very much he wanted to agree, but instead of the 'no' she feared, he surprised her by saying, "Could I speak with you-privately?"

Surprised, she looked at the others and saw Lina's mouth open as if she were about to argue, but then the red-haired sorceress gave the stone man a sharp glance, and Amelia watched her face fade to the same thoughtful expression she had worn when she'd returned earlier. Lina faced Amelia and nodded solemnly at her as if to say, I've done all I can. Now it's up to you two to make this work.

Gourry had his usual amiable smile, and Xellos had one purple eyebrow raised, but he too made no protest as Amelia nodded and turned on suddenly twitchy legs to lead Zelgadis out of the room. Shiran got up to follow them, and was stopped by a quiet, "Shiran, remain," from Zelgadis.

Amelia paid no attention to where she was going, trying to decide what could be so awful that he didn't even want to talk about it in front of their friends, and thus was a little surprised to find herself standing in the oil lamp-lit hallway in front of her own bedroom door. Habit, I guess. I always used to come here when I needed a safe haven.

She opened the door and went in, vividly recalling the time that Zelgadis had escorted her here after their 'date', and how much she had wanted to kiss him. After she lit the pair of wall-mounted oil lamps on either side of her room, she turned to see the chimera still standing in the doorway, and from the look in his eyes, he was remembering that night as well.

As she met his gaze, he took a step forward-and stopped at the threshold. Amelia felt her lips curve in a small smile. He's probably never been in a girl's room when it wasn't a life-or-death situation. "It's all right." She nodded. "You can come in."

He made a small noise of discomfiture as he obeyed her, then looked around the large room. Amelia saw it as if through his eyes: the three sizable cherry wardrobes, carved with a delicate vine-leaf pattern, the matching dresser and vanity, her collection of knights and horses arranged along the top of the dresser, the paintings, the thick many-colored rugs and yellow drapes and her big vine-carved bed with its matching yellow bedspread.

Both of them gazed at the bed, then turned to look at each other. She saw the stone man swallow visibly, then he took a step toward the small wooden chair in front of her vanity. "No-it's all right. Come sit by me," she said firmly, remembering how that phrase had worked back at the inn where she'd gotten hurt.

She approached the bed, hearing him follow her, and sat down on the side, near the pillows. Zelgadis gingerly lowered himself down near the other end, bracing part of his weight on his foot when the mattress sank under him. The princess looked up and met his eyes, and both of them blushed.

This time Amelia looked away first, clearing her throat. "Um... what did you want to talk to me about?" Her slightly-quivering voice gave away her anxiety.

"... Several things, actually."

She looked up to see his face full of emotions; reluctance, determination, trepidation, shame-even though none of it showed in the quiet tone he'd used.

He took a deep breath. "First of all, I need to ask you-are you absolutely sure that you want to attempt this spell?"

She searched his face, looking for some hint, but his expression had smoothed over, as if he had become a real statue. Only his eyes were alive, shimmering with feeling.

Amelia straightened her shoulders, her own voice steady as she answered, "Yes. Only I have the right to choose whether to risk my life. You never asked me to, so you have nothing to feel guilty about."

He said nothing.

Amelia tried again. "Sometimes in life, you have to let people help you, you know? You have to take the risk of trusting someone... just as I will take the risk of performing that spell for you. No-for us."

"I'm still against this. I don't want to put you in danger again... "

She opened her mouth to reassure him, but was stopped by the sudden anguish on his face, in his voice, and the sight of his fists, clenched tightly by his sides. "You don't know how I felt, Amelia... You died once in my arms already."

When Hellmaster Phibrizzo captured all of us in order to force Miss Lina to use the Giga Slave.

Amelia was somber for a few moments, but then she brought herself back from those horrible memories and recalled more recent wounds. "I do know how you feel," she contradicted him. "I've watch you die, little by little all these years, every time you said you hated yourself. It hurt, Zelgadis... "

From the guilty surprise on his face, he had never expected her to see things that way. She gave him a soft smile and reached for one of his stone hands, pulling it away from his side and slipping her own fingers into his. She gave it a determined little shake.

"I will never be able to forgive myself if I let the opportunity to restore your life to you pass by, just because it might be hard, or dangerous." Suddenly a little grin quirked the corner of her lips. "So is traveling with Miss Lina-but I would never give it up, either. I'm tough, Zelgadis; I can do this. Have faith in me!"

Zelgadis stared at the spunky young woman sitting so close to him, and remembered the last time she had asked him to trust her. When she convinced me to let her go alone into Ponmar's cave. She was right, then, too. I suppose she wins this round. He couldn't hold back a smile of pure admiration. "When you put it that way, I guess I have to."

But next-

"Oh, Zelgadis!"

She gave him such a dazzling smile that his heart gave a thump, sending twinges of enjoyable electricity through him. It took the chimera several moments to remember what he'd been about to say. "What about Kerrin?"

She blinked at him, then beamed at him again. "Oh... I'm looking forward to having him as a brother."

He fought off the urge to facefault. "Brother?"

"Well, technically he'll be a cousin-in-law, but from the way Daddy was acting he'll be treated as if he were my brother. Our brother," she added, squeezing his hard hand in that endearing way she had of wanting to comfort him even if it involved some discomfort on her part. "I'm really happy. I always wanted a little brother."

A brother? That's it? She was going to marry him! "Amelia... " He ran his free hand through his wire hair, causing a soft silvery whisper to sound. "Then what made you choose Kerrin at all?"

Her eyes widened and she looked away with a soft pink blush over her nose. "Well... to be honest, it was because he looked like you."

"What?"

"That was the first thing that made me notice him. Then we talked and danced and he was friendly and eager, like a little puppy. He said he was in love with me, and he understood when I told him I was in love with someone else-you, but I didn't say your name so he didn't know it was you-and he really seemed to care when I told him how you'd been cursed."

A shadow seemed to dim her blue eyes. "Then I got the warning from the Star Sphere and I couldn't go to you-" Her voice got a little shaky but she managed to keep it under control, and continued, "-and Kerrin supported me, and when Daddy said I could go look for you if I chose a fiance first, I picked Kerrin... because I knew it would make him happy, and... he reminded me of you. A happy you, the you you should have been... " Her tone softened. "The you I want you to be."

Her luminous sapphire eyes shimmered as she reached out with her free hand and placed it tenderly on the side of his face, and Zelgadis felt his suspicions dissolve, easing the knot of disquiet that had been in his heart ever since he'd heard of Amelia's mysterious fiance.

Suddenly she giggled, running a small finger over his nose before dropping her hand. "Do you get cute freckles like his in the summer?"

He blinked at her sudden mood change, as well as her question. "Uh... to be honest, I can't recall. You'd have to ask Kerrin-he'll remember."

She giggled again and he found that his heart was lighter. Her emotions were contagious, and for the moment he gave in to this one, his mind wandering back over the days when he and his cousin had played at being swordsmen and minstrels.

That reminds me... "How long have you played the guiolin, Amelia? You never mentioned that you could play."

"Oh, I know how to play several instruments, but I've always been best at the flittiko. I'm nowhere near as good as you." He caught a note of apprehension in her voice, but then she sat up straighter and gave his hand a little squeeze as she said stoutly, "But don't worry, Zelgadis; I won't let you down! We still have almost five hours until midnight, and I promise to practice until my fingers bleed, if I have to!"

The stone man was struck by the memory of her first sword lesson, when she literally had done just that. His solemn face cracked a wry smile. "I don't think you have to go that far," he said, his voice deepening with amused pride at her zeal. "I can provide the music."

Amelia's eyes widened, and she said hesitantly, "Um, Zelgadis... you play the guiolin beautifully, but... you're not allowed to participate in casting the spell, are you?"

"No, I meant, the Oracle gave me something to make music."

He withdrew the precious magic orb from the innermost pocket of his light blue tunic and held it up. In the lamp light the golden color seemed to move and flow like honey, shimmering with a deep, rich glow.

Amelia released his hand and clasped both of her together in front of her chest. "Oh, it's beautiful, Zelgadis," she breathed.

"The Oracle said... " He closed his eyes for a moment to think. "That all you need to do is hold it and concentrate, and it will play the right music for the spell."

"How wonderful! The Oracle thought of everything!"

"Yeah... " He frowned slightly. "That reminds me. She didn't really give me a cure."

"What?"

His head snapped up to see a look of utter horror on the princess' face. He held up his free hand and waved it in front of her face to get her attention. "Sorry, that's not what I meant! I mean, she didn't just give me one option."

Now Amelia looked annoyed. "Don't scare me like that! What do you mean, options?"

"Just a few alternate suggestions... "

FLASHBACK:

Zelgadis: (stands in the Oracle's cave in front of the glimmering globe): "Options?"

Oracle: (globe glows a basic neutral blue color) : "I can give ya the spell ya want, but is it what ya need?"

Zelgadis: (thinks for a moment, frowning slightly) "Is there a difference?"

Oracle: "Ya want ta be human again so badly that ya never even let yerself consider the benefits of yer chimera form. Now, I got a couple options ya might want ta consider... first, ya might just want ta reduce the effect the curse has on ya. You know, like-keep some of the speed, the strength, have tough skin-hide fer protection instead of stone-"

Zelgadis: (suffers a mental picture of himself with bald, shiny blue skin like an octopus): "No."

Oracle: "Well then, if it's yer appearance that bothers you, how about a spell that just makes ya look human?"

Zelgadis (pauses, then shakes his head) "That could be useful, but I'd still never be able to have a normal life. The first time someone bumped into me my secret would be out, and as for my love life... "

Oracle: "Okay, then what about a mothball spell?"

Zelgadis: "A what?"

Oracle: "That's what I call it. Basically, ya take the golem and brow demon aspects of the curse and mothball 'em. Put 'em in a closet, so to speak, so ya can pull 'em out and use 'em when ya need 'em."

Zelgadis: (looks angry) "You mean re-curse myself? No thanks! I want to be completely free of it!"

Oracle: (globe changes to a stern gray color) "Now, honey, you know if ya give up yer powers completely yer likely to get yerself killed, either in the first few weeks when yer still vulnerable, getting used ta being human, or later in some madcap adventure, helping yer friends. Considering yer friend Lina's track record, ya gotta admit that's likely."

Zelgadis: (scowls stubbornly and jumps sarcastically on her last statement) "You don't know for certain? I thought Oracles knew everything."

Oracle: (annoyed orange washes over globe): "Hey, kiddo, predicting the future's not an exact science, ya know? Take this conversation. If we'd never had it you'd be doing things a lot different twenty years from now, but since we are, yer future's rearranging itself even as we speak."

Zelgadis (his face growing serious) "So you don't control the future?"

Oracle: (globe fades back to a calmer blue) "Of course not. That's up ta you, and besides, I'm no meddler. You came ta me, remember? I can give ya advice, give ya the benefit of the wisdom I've acquired over the ages, but what ya do with it is up ta you."

Zelgadis: (calms down a bit, his tone deep with longing) "Okay, but... all I've wanted for so many years is to be completely free of this curse... of looking like a monster... "

Oracle: "You don't look human, I'll give ya that, but think about it... were people really that much friendlier ta you when you were human?"

Zelgadis: (looks thoughtful) "... Not really, I guess. People weren't as openly hostile, but not many people gave me any respect. I suppose looking like this only gives people more of an excuse to treat me with the same scorn they'd give my human side. But, still-"

Oracle: (a ripple of lighter blue passes through the medium blue glow, giving the impression of a shrug) "I'm not you. I'm not the one who's gotta live with whatever choices you make. All I'm saying is those powers of yers come in handy at times, not just for you but when yer friends' lives are in danger, so why waste them? Ya still have your human intelligence, and your soul-"

Zelgadis: (sounds a little shaky) "Do I?"

Oracle: (affectionate pink pulses of light appear as she laughs the way a parent does when they're reassuring a child) "Oh, sweetie, of course ya do! You wouldn't give a hill of beans about yer friends if ya didn't! The only person in yer head is you. And anyway, ya only got the powers of those creatures, not their minds. I suspect Rezo had a hand in that-the beings merged into you have no minds, no souls. You're still you-ya always have been."

Zelgadis: (still looking worried) "Are you sure?"

Oracle: (laughs again) "Oh, honey, I'm sure. You're still little Li inside."

Zelgadis: (looks greatly relieved) "... Then maybe I'll take your suggestion."

Author's Notes: My computer is also still having problems, mainly with Internet Explorer, which is what Fanfiction .net is on. The only reason I can update at all is because I go to the town library and use their public computers. It's such a pain! My computer works fine everywhere else except sites that use Internet Explorer, like Ebay, which is another one I go to a lot.

Chapter 82 is nearly done; I just have to go through and add some depth to it, so it ought to be up in a week or so.

By the way, I would have answered more of your reviews in my last Author's Notes, but apparently doesn't always send them to me. I only found the newest batch when I checked the 'stats' section.

Fuji the Hobbit asks: Will Naga appear?

No, because she ran away from the palace. It holds too many bad memories, and besides, someone might recognize her and try to make her stay.

Stara Maijka comments: -Very, very good job on the introspective thinking. I particularly liked Lina's saying loving made her stronger, not weaker, and that it was like have a fine, strong house to keep warm in. A strong house withstands the storms hitting it and the wear and tear inside. Remodeling and repairs may be necessary to adjust to changes of time, but it still stands, if there is a good foundation of trust, tolerance, and compromise. (My house has withstood 34 years so far. Yeah, compared to most of the people here, I'm an old lady. Can I still play?)

I found this expansion on my quote very beautiful. And yes, come play! It's nice to know my fic appeals to all ages.

-Dreamsinger, as long as you are mentally and emotionally strong (and carry a gun-just joking!), you don't have to fear the physically strong guys. Martial arts people physically prove that all the time. It's balance, leverage, and where an opponent's weak spots are, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. Anyway, I think when you meet your special someone, you will be ready, if this story is any indication.

I just realized something. Yesterday at work a guy was coming through my line (I'm a cashier) and I had to ID him for alcohol and he commented on that fact. (A lot of guys think it's embarrassing to look young enough to be ID'd although where I work I have to ID them if they look under age 40-and most guys don't want to look older than 40, do they?) Anyway, this guy said something about people always thinking he was younger than he was-he was 26-and so I said I knew how he felt because although I was born in 1973, people never guess me at 31. He looked surprised and said he though I was 21, (which is around the average age I hear when people guess my age). Then he started asking me if I was married, and my internal red flag went up.

This guy wasn't particularly dangerous-looking, but after he was gone I realized that the thing that bothered me most was that I wanted to be the person choosing who would get interested in me. I wonder if it comes from being an author-I can make up anyone I want and they'll have all the characteristics I want and I have control over who loves whom. In real life you can't control if someone falls in love with you, unless you do things (consciously or unconsciously) to make yourself disliked or unattractive.

I wonder if that's why dating services are so popular? They're for people who like time to study the candidates and choose whom to date. And maybe they give you a sense of control, if you're feeling insecure. But they're so expensive...

Several people have responded to my query about which personality types they are, for which I thank you. One in particular caught my eye:

Cooking Spray: I'm an INTP like you, but on the site I visited, it said we have no aptitude fro writing but a high aptitude for math, which couldn't be more wrong in my case.

I hated math, except geometry. I always got all those equations mixed up, but I found visualizing pie charts easy. INTP's are not bad at writing, just less likely to feel the need to communicate what's in our heads to others. INFP's are more likely to want to write for others.

-I'm curious on what you feel about fan fiction in general.

My reasons are much like yours-I feel unsatisfied if they leave something unfinished, like a love relationship, and it IS a good way to talk to people about things that interest me and I get practice at writing, to boot.

-Why is it that there seems to be so many literate people in the Slayers fandom?

Intellectuals like the Slayers world because, in my opinion, any fictional world that is highly developed and detailed is something we are eager to explore and enjoy all of the tiny nuances that make such stories as realistic as possible. The Slayers anime is based on a book series, so it was already highly developed before they brought it to vivacious life.

-Do you imagine scenes or voice in your head as they would be animated as you write?

It's funny... at first, yes. But after about thirty chapters I had a hard time hearing the voices, so I had to watch several episodes to fix them in my head again. I generally prefer the dubbed voices, although I have watched the first two seasons in Japanese, so I always hear Amelia adding '-san' to everybody's name in my head. And I hear a lot of sound effects, like the sounds people make when they're shocked or that 'mm' sound they use when they're mildly agreeing with someone.

By the way, I've taken several of those tests and I always seem to end up on the border between each of the last three pairs of letters. The only area I'm really extreme is in the Introvert area. So my profile would look like this: I N/S T/F P/J. Confusing, huh? I can't decide if the areas where I'm borderline are because I've had to learn the skills that apply in each area throughout my life, such as S, where even though I'd prefer to be off in my mind as much as possible, I have learned to pay attention when necessary, such as while driving.

Lastly, I could tell you were an INTP by how you organized your review into categorized paragraphs, just as I always try to do. You write very coherently. You might try carrying a little notebook or a scrap of paper to write down story ideas-even just a sentence or two-to help motivate you to work on a story. I always have ideas in the most inconvenient places, like in the bathroom, or while I'm working. After I write them down, I end up thinking about them and refining the scene in my head and adding bits onto the paper as I think of them, in between customers. It's really hard to get into the right mind-frame if you've been mentally away from your story for very long, I know. Watching an episode or two of Slayers helps me get back in the right mental state, though.

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