I actually have another chapter! This took me all day yesterday to write, and then some more editing today. So, go forth and read, and don't forget to review. Thanks to all who have reviewed so far!
Teleporting was demanding on one’s powers, if they weren’t fully developed. Elisa had never had the chance to try long distances, of course, so it drained her strength considerably. She also had no idea where she ended up, and felt extremely foolish when suddenly her knees buckled and she collapsed on the floor. If there were anyone or anything dangerous around, she would be in trouble.
Through her now-hazed and blurred senses, she couldn’t sense any other presence around her, but all the same Elisa felt foolish. She hadn’t really been taught the particulars of teleporting, obviously because her parents didn’t want her to know. It had taken every ounce of her concentration to get herself to…wherever she ended up. Since she knew of no other place other than Wolfpack Island, she had simply let her magic take her wherever it wanted. She realized now that that hadn’t been a good idea.
“This is insane,” she said to herself, gritting her teeth and forcing herself to stand to her feet. Holding her aching head, she took in her surroundings, easily seeing in the darkness what kind of place she was in now.
Some abandoned house…I wonder who used to live here.
Since no one was there, and she was terribly tired, she decided to rest a bit before figuring out where to go next. Yawning, she brushed the dust off of the sofa and collapsed there, feeling like she’d been run over by something huge. She felt miserable.
I feel miserably pathetic, she thought. And now I’m going to get it big time if my father finds me. I can’t let him find me…but…I wonder what Mother will say? Will she hate me because I left? What about Zelas-sama? Will she hate me, too? And…I broke my promise. But I couldn’t just stay there…they were going to make me fight that dark lord by myself. I’m not strong enough to defeat someone like that! I have to find that Lina person.. Mother said she defeated two dark lords, a dark lord from another planet, and the supreme dark lord Shabranigdo. She’ll be able to help me.
She sighed, and tried to think of more positive thoughts. After all, I’m free! Finally, I’m here, in the world I’ve wanted to see for so long. A small smile on her face, she drifted off to sleep, dreaming of open countryside and exciting adventures.
Morning light hit her eyelids harshly, streaming through the open window to bombard her senses to wakefulness. Her back was aching something awful, and her head still pounded. Groaning, she rubbed her hand over her eyes to get the sleep out, and opened them…
…to see another pair of eyes staring into hers.
The intruder immediately backed away and hid behind the overturned table. Elisa was also immediately on her feet, her reflexes telling her to strike out, furious at being so rudely awakened.
“What are you doing here?” the intruder asked in a high-pitched, strangely accented voice. Elisa could see two large eyes peering at her from over the edge. “This ain’t your house, so get out!”
“Is it your house?” Elisa asked. “Somehow I think not.”
“Well it ain’t yours so just get out. We don’t want no more trouble, so beat it. I can put up a fight, too, you know. You don’t wanna mess with me!”
Elisa grinned and flippantly tossed her head. “Heh…those are strong words for a coward hiding behind a table. Listen, I’m not going to hurt you unless you attack me, so why don’t you come out?”
The intruder hesitated before stepping out into plain view.
The fox-man sniffed, clearly annoyed. “Hmph, what’s wrong wit’ that?” He then stared at Elisa with an odd expression in his eyes; much like the one he had had in the split second she’d seen them the first time. Curious, somewhat confused, and then a little sad.
“What’s the matter? Something wrong with the way I look?” Elisa questioned, suddenly feeling defensive.
“No…you jes look like someone I knew. I dunno where she is now.”
Elisa eyed him. “I look like someone you knew?”
“Yeah, she had long, blond hair like yours. She used ta live here until she and her baby disappeared thirteen years ago.”
Elisa’s eyes widened as she stared at the fox-man. Her eyes drifted to the rest of the house. So warm and cozy looking. Even with years worth of dust settling on everything, it looked like something Filia would have lived in. Her mother radiated warmth and coziness, despite her violent nature. Swallowing hard, Elisa walked past the fox-man, pushing the door open to another room, feeling as though she were lead there… by memories, perhaps.
“This is…?” She knelt down and picked up a worn stuffed animal, wiping off the dust and gazing at it somewhat sadly. “I remember. This is my home.”
The fox-man looked at her in surprise. “Your home? What do you mean this is your home?”
Elisa turned around and smiled, tears in her eyes. “I don’t know who you are, but you knew my mother, didn’t you? Filia? What’s your name?”
She thought that he might faint for a second, as his eyes bulged out of their sockets, but then they turned watery and suddenly Elisa was met with a giant hug.
“It’s you, Elisa! How great and grand this is to see Filia’s baby girl all grown up! It brightens me heart, it does! It’s your old Uncle Jillas, me darlin’!”
Elisa sweat dropped and kindly pushed ‘Uncle Jillas’ away. “Um…thanks. Nice to meet you, too.”
Once Jillas finally pulled himself together, he began to ask all sorts of questions. Where was Filia now? Was she still married to that jackass Mazoku? Did Elisa have any siblings? Why didn’t Filia come back with her? On and on until finally he asked:
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to find Lina Inverse.”
"Lina Inverse?!!” he screeched. “You don’t want to find her; she’s evil! She’ll blow your head off! She’s dangerous, I tell ye. Why on earth would you want to see her?”
“Because I need her help. I need to defeat somebody powerful and she’s the only one who can help me now.”
Jillas shrugged. “Well, I guess it don’t concern me no more. I only check on Filia’s house for her every so often to make sure no one’s vandalized it. Iffen you need some of me help, I’ll be glad to help ye.”
Elisa smiled and kissed Jillas on the nose. “Thanks, Jillas. Now, do you know where Lina Inverse is?”
“I heard tell she was in the city of Seyruune visitin’ her friends. You might catch her before she leaves.”
Seyruune…I think I’ve been there before, too. I feel like I have a connection with that place...
“Thanks again, Jillas,” she said, picking up her bag from beside the sofa. “I’ve got to get going now.”
“You take care, Miss Elisa,” Jillas admonished.
And she was gone.
“So this is the city of Seyruune?”
Nothing she had ever seen could have prepared her for the sight of towering buildings and temples, the sounds of music being played by a traveling band in the street. All the people: humans smiling and laughing, talking with one another. They were everywhere. Sights, smells, and sounds: all of them filled her senses to the point to where it was almost overwhelming.
“Ehh…I feel dizzy,” she said to herself. She was not aware that she had already drawn a crowd, having appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the street. It wasn’t every day that a beautiful young girl came out of nowhere, looking completely lost and confused.
Or talking to herself…
“I don’t even know where to go!” she said aloud, unaware that people were watching her with strange looks. As she turned around to see which way she would try first, she noticed that people were staring. Since she didn’t know why they would be staring at her strangely, she approached one man.
“Excuse me…but I need to find Lina Inverse. I hear she’s famous…hey, where are you going?”
The man was too far out of range to hear her as he ran away.
Sighing, she tried again, with nearly the same result. This continued on for several minutes, with no luck.
“I’m not getting anywhere with this!” she cried, feeling her temper rise. “Perhaps I should try another approach…”
She approached another man with his back turned, grabbed him by the shirt and whipped him around to bring his face up to hers. Putting on her best angry look (compliments of Filia), she yelled, “You! Tell me where Lina Inverse is NOW!”
Before the man had a chance to reply to this irate woman holding him by the shirt, Elisa found herself surrounded by several men with swords, pointing them at her. Several villagers were also pointing at her angrily.
“That’s her! That’s the one that’s been harassing people! She’s a monster!”
Elisa had no idea what was going on. The man wrenched free of her grip and backed away. “She tried to kill me!” he cried, eliciting several gasps from the crowd.
“What’s going on?” she asked. “I was just asking him where Lina Inverse is. You see I – "
“Quiet!” one of the guards shouted. “Are you or are you not Mazoku, and have you been bothering people about Lina Inverse?”
“Well, yes I am, but I’m only…hey, what’s wrong? I wasn’t trying to – hey, stop!”
Two of the guards had grabbed her arms and pinned them behind her. She struggled against them but they quickly applied a kind of binding to her wrists, rendering her powerless.
What's happening? My magic…I can’t feel it anymore! What did they do to me?
"Take her away!"
“What’s the meaning of this? Why are you locking me up in here? Oomph!” Elisa found herself being flung to the ground, her face landing on a cold, hard floor. Her arms were bound behind her to prevent her from using her magic, or from doing anything, which she supposed was what she agreed to, but she wasn’t sure what these hostile-looking humans were going to do. They didn’t look like they would be reasonable.
She struggled to sit up, only to be knocked back down. “Hey, what’s wrong with you people, I haven’t done anything to you!”
One of the men glared down at her with an intimidating look. “We don’t let Mazoku walk around and cause trouble if we can help it,” he said. “And you’re Mazoku, aren’t you?”
“But all I was doing was asking for Lina Inverse! Please, I need her help!”
“Lina Inverse doesn’t want trouble with you Mazoku. No one does! But since you want to see her so bad, she’ll come down here and get rid of you for us.” Elisa stared at them in disbelief. Were they really insinuating that she would harm them? “Look, I wouldn’t hurt anyone. I just asked that guy where Lina Inverse was. I don’t know why you’re treating me like I’m a monster.”
“That’s what you are, you little wench!” one man angrily cried, slapping Elisa across her face. Her cheek was burning, and her eyes watered. She tried to reply, but they turned and left, leaving her sitting there feeling helpless and extremely alone.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, she thought. I don’t know why those people put me in this place. I haven’t done anything wrong…all I wanted was help, and I ended up here. Humans are confusing, unreasonable creatures.
A crystalline tear found its way down her stinging cheek and onto the cold floor. Everything was going wrong, and she felt miserable. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Everything was so confusing in this world; the memory of the small world of her island was suddenly a sharp and bitter reminder of how little she really knew about anything.
Are Mother and Father looking for me? What will I do if Lina Inverse doesn’t help me? I don’t want to hurt these people…but I don’t want to stay here forever! I’ve got to get out somehow…
“Well, well…you look awfully comfortable.”
A painfully familiar voice accompanied by an equally familiar presence jolted Elisa out of her thoughts. She didn’t even have to look up to see who it was…and she could not meet his eyes. It was too much for her to handle right now without seeing his face.
“Have you had fun, Elisa? You certainly don’t look like you’re having fun now.”
She didn’t reply.
“Oh, the silent treatment, is it? Well that’s fine; you don’t have to talk. I can do all the talking for you.”
I’m sure you can, she thought.
He smiled, though it was a rather strained smile. “I hope you’re satisfied, Elisa. Your mother is beside herself; panicking, wondering if you’re okay, and ready to smash anything that moves. You know what that means. She’s alone in the house with Zelas-sama right now, because I had to go look for you. Do you understand how serious the situation is?”
The angry tone in his voice was enough to make her cringe. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. Her tears began to fall faster.
His look softened slightly, but only slightly. He had a fairly good idea of why she was in Seyruune. Perhaps he could play along with her plan for the time being. It just might work out.
“I suppose you think I’m here to bail you out,” he said, tapping his staff against the bars.
She looked up, then, her eyes hopeful. However, she was met with a somewhat vicious smirk. Her heart fell. “W-what are you going to do?” she asked, fearful.
“I’m going to let you stay here.”
She stared at him in disbelief. “You are?”
He smiled. “Of course! You wanted to visit the world so badly. Now you’re here and you see how wonderful it is. So I’m going to let you stay.”
“But I don’t want to stay here!”
“I’m sure you’ll get used to it.”
She couldn’t believe what he was saying. “You…you’re going to make me stay in this cold, filthy place?”
“Why should I get you out when you can get out yourself?” he asked. “Didn’t you want to be free to do for yourself?”
Her face grew hot. Unfortunately, he was right. She couldn’t reply.
“I thought as much.”
Hearing the sound of footsteps approaching, Xelloss quickly bid his daughter goodbye, and disappeared. Elisa felt even more dejected…not only had her father abandoned her, but now they were coming to kill her. She had to think of something quick. Frantically, she worked on loosening the bounds on her wrists, but to no avail, and then the door was swinging open. The guards marched in, followed by a woman with fiery red hair and a strange uniform. Elisa had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Lina stared at the slim blond-haired girl sprawled on the floor of the jail cell. “This is the Mazoku that was demanding to see me?”
Elisa tried to reply. “I wasn’t demanding to see you, I was just – “
A guard stuck his sword in between the bars and pointed it in Elisa’s face. “Shut up. She looks like a child, but you know these Mazoku are deceptive. Don’t be fooled by her appearance.”
Lina glared at him. “You don’t have to tell me that, buddy. Back off, will you?” She stepped forward, scrutinizing the girl’s face carefully. There was something familiar about her.
Long, blond hair, and those eyes that Lina would know anywhere. They could only belong to one other person…
“What’s your name?” Lina asked.
"Yeah, I thought so. You’re Filia’s daughter, aren’t you?”
Elisa’s eyes lit up. “Yes! I am!”
“What are you doing here? And what happened to Filia? Both of you disappeared years ago without a trace.”
“I…I can’t say where I’ve been,” Elisa replied, looking away. “and my mother is fine. At least she was when I left. But, you are Lina Inverse, aren’t you? I’ve come to ask you for help.”
Lina stared at her questioningly. “What kind of help?”
“I need you to teach me magic. Really strong magic.”
“Why me? Why can’t your parents teach you magic?”
“Because, you’ve defeated lots of dark lords,” Elisa replied. “I’ve heard the stories from Mother and Father. I need your help in defeating another dark lord.”
Lina groaned. “Another one? Why in the world would you have to fight a dark lord?”
“It’s a long story, one that I’m not really sure of, myself. But all I know is that I just can’t stay with my parents anymore, at least not like I was. It’s hard to explain why, but I just needed to leave and figure things out on my own.”
Lina sighed and rubbed her forehead wearily. “This really isn’t what I need, you know. I’ve got a family of my own now, and fighting dark lords is a thing of the past for me. However, I don’t see how I can refuse to help Filia’s daughter. Besides, this might be interesting.”
Elisa brightened. “Really?! You’ll help me? Oh thank you, thank you!”
Lina smiled. “I just hope it’s worth it, for your sake.”
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