-- Insert standard disclaimer --

Part 3: The Bargain

A woman with long black hair and green highlights who was dressed in a purple priestess outfit was walking down the streets of a town one afternoon. She seemed a little giggly and kept on laughing to herself.
Oh Gaury-sama, I can’t wait to see you!! The price I paid to that weird looking fortune teller was worth it. I will use all the money in the world just to see you Gaury-sama!! She thought to herself. She knew that in this town was the man of her dreams, Gaury Gabliev, and she had one thought in her mind. To find him, and make Lina Inverse and him break up.
She didn’t hate Lina, she actually liked the sorceress, but Shilfiel was a different person when Gaury was concerned. She would use all the power in the world if it meant that she could get Gaury to notice her. I am willing to bargain with the devil himself for you Gaury-sama!!! She declared in her mind. Little did she know that she will actually have to bargain with the devil for him.

I HATE UTTER CHAOS!!! Zelgadiss screamed in his mind. Of course no one heard him. Zelgadiss sighed and pressed his fingers against his temple in an attempt to calm himself down. What was an inn a few moments ago had turned into the Sea of Chaos. The mazoku priest was hugging Lina in which Lina was screaming and throwing Fire Balls every which way. Gaury was practically pulling Lina’s hand off in order to get her away from Xelloss. Yet none of those weren’t the cause of the utter chaos. Although Xelloss was a little out of character he was still just as wacky, Lina’s temper tantrums were normal, Gaury’s over protectiveness was normal. The problem was Amelia, who hadn’t said a single word and didn’t lecture any one on the ways of justice all day.
Zelgadiss wasn’t worried, he was freaking out. When Amelia out of all people didn’t lecture others on justice it was a problem. Zelgadiss thought that if at least Xelloss would get somewhat more…to his usual self, which wasn’t really normal, than the chaos would some what settle. He knew he was wrong. Amelia’s silence was the cause of the chaos.
Perhaps he had been a little hard on her. After all she was the most innocent one among the group, plus being a princess she was accustomed to people pampering and loving her. Yes, he probably was too harsh. Yet maybe it was the best. Even if Zelgadiss did return Amelia’s feelings she was a princess and him a chimera. That was another reason he didn’t love her. She was a princess, born to someday run a country. Zelgadiss had a sneaky suspicion that Seyluun would be better off with Amelia as the queen than her sister. He wasn’t sure why though. One destined to be a queen and a measly chimera…no, he couldn’t be with her.
Amelia abruptly stood from her chair. What she did next caused everyone, even Xelloss, to stare at her in shock.

Amelia was fed up with it. Zelgadiss was looking at her with pity, and Lina still hadn’t noticed she was lucky to have two men after her. Amelia picked up the glass filled with water from the table and threw it at Lina. Lina, and Xelloss who was hugging Lina, ended up soaking wet.
"Hey, what did you do that for Amelia?!" Lina demanded. "Do you know that I don’t carry around much clothes other than this one?!" Amelia kept silence and just walked towards the stairs. Lina got out of Xelloss’s grip and grabbed her by the shoulder. "Amelia, I’m talking to you!!"
Amelia though just slapped Lina’s hand away from her shoulder. "I have nothing to talk about." Amelia said and continued to walk up the stairs when she remembered that she had a can of soda with her. Amelia whirled around and splashed the soda all over Lina. "Good night Lina-san." Amelia informed and walked up the stairs.
Lina stood there, dazed and shocked. She soon started to laugh under her breath, very scarily. Her lips twitched in a wicked smile that would send a dark lord running and she screamed out. "FIRE BALL~!!!" As the inn heated up for a second and most of the people that just happened to be located around Lina came out burnt to crisp, twitched, and then ran away.
Lina just walked up the stairs and mumbled to herself as she undid her cape that was soaked with soda and water.

"What was that?" Gaury asked after Lina had left. Xelloss had some how dried himself, but than again he was mazoku.
"Amelia and Lina just had a fight." Zelgadiss stated, still stunned by the way Amelia acted.
"I can see that but why?" Gaury asked. Zelgadiss shrugged.
"I really wish to know why since it isn’t pleasant when someone interrupts your attempts to catch a girl." Xelloss muttered and Gaury glared at him.
"You were holding her against her will!! I think Amelia tried to save Lina." Gaury declared and glared back.
"Are you taking Amelia-san’s side?" Xelloss asked challengingly. "Is she more important than Lina?"
Gaury attempted to hit Xelloss in the face but Xelloss just disappeared and appeared behind him. "Lina certainly doesn’t seem to notice your feelings…" He muttered. "Maybe she’s not interested in you." Xelloss suggested cheerfully. Gaury gritted his teeth.
"I doubt she’ll be interested in a mazoku." Gaury retorted. Zelgadiss observed that Gaury’s personality changed when Lina was concerned. Zelgadiss’s conclusion was that love life was a complicated thing he wished never to get involved in.
Just than the door to the tavern opened and they all turned the attention as she rushed towards Gaury and leaned against him.
"Oh Gaury-sama it has been so long." Shilfiel said as she looked up to Gaury. "How has everything been? I sincerely hope that you are doing well." Shilfiel rushed on. "How is traveling with Lina-san? What sort of strange quest were you involved in? Anything new and interesting?"
"Whoa, hold on Shilfiel, hold on." Gaury raised a hand to calm her down. "Traveling with Lina was great until ‘two days ago’." Gaury glared at Xelloss as he emphasized two days ago. Shilfiel turned around and noticed that they weren’t the only ones in the tavern.
"I am sorry Zelgadiss-san, and…Xelloss-san, am I correct?" Xelloss nodded at Shilfiel inquiry. "It is nice to see you all again." Shilfiel smiled at the two.
"Yeah, it’s nice to see someone who is acting like their usual self." Zelgadiss muttered. Shilfiel’s presence will presumably be a bliss in this weird time. She would be capable of distracting Amelia from her current problems. That will be helpful since if she could calm down Amelia that will take away a lot of problems.
Zelgadiss had a mission, or at least he believed himself that he had a mission. His mission was to bring this group back to their usual selves. It still wasn’t at a normality he would have enjoyed but he could live with having them be slightly weird opposed to them being chaotically weird.
"Um…what do you mean by that Zelgadiss-san?" Shilfiel asked taking a seat next to Gaury.
"Everyone’s been acting…weirder than usual these days. I’m glad to see someone other than myself uphold what passes as sane in their minds." Shilfiel wasn’t sure on how to reply at what Zelgadiss had said and Gaury and Xelloss pretended not to hear him.
Although Gaury’s facial expression changed as frequently as Lina and Amelia’s, he was fairly good at keeping a facade of not listening to the bad things people said about him. If he acted like he didn’t notice it than things were still peaceful. He had learned that lesson fairly early on in life.
Xelloss, on the other hand hardly ever allowed anyone to see his face in anger or in shock. The few times were when Lina had succeeded in surprising him and Lina was probably the only one capable of doing that. There had been a few times when he couldn’t stand pain and his face twitched in agony, but rarely did he be in any way but smiling. In a sense, one can say that they are both skilled in making poker faces.
Zelgadiss was aware of that, but he didn’t feel bad saying such things because for one thing, he did understand that what he said will not effect them, especially now when all they had on their mind was Lina. Zelgadiss talked for Shilfiel for awhile and for the first time in a long while had an in-depth conversation.

Gaury knew something bad was going to happen. He felt it in his bones just like old people felt their death. Something not good would occur and Gaury knew that for some reason he will be the center of that event. Gaury was on extra alert, especially around Xelloss and Amelia. Amelia seemed un-stable and Xelloss and Gaury weren’t exactly on best terms either. Lina, was basically ignoring him, Shilfiel…Gaury knew she loved him but he couldn’t return her feelings and he just didn’t have the heart to tell her that he didn’t return her feelings. Even though Shilfiel probably already knew that.
Zelgadiss would have done anything to revert things back to ‘normal’ but than Gaury wouldn’t have this bad feeling. The only people, or rather person and mazoku, that will harm him were Xelloss and Amelia.
Gaury decided that this was the day he’ll just stay up in his room and rest. Rest was always a nice thing and lord knew he needed it.
"Shilfiel, sorry but I’m tired and I want to go rest. I’m sorry after the long way you came." Gaury apologized to the priestess and walked up the stairs, carefully watching each step. If Gaury had been careful he may have noticed that he was walking straight into a pile of towels. Of course he wasn’t paying attention to what laid in front of him so he slipped on the towels.
"Wha?" Gaury said as he tumbled backwards and for some reason, his usual physical ability was not there. Falling from the top of the stairs didn’t mean much to Gaury even though he couldn’t use magic, he usually was able to put himself in a position where he could land on his feet, it came from being an excellent swordsman.
For some reason though Gaury couldn’t move his body to avoid twisting weirdly in the air and landing with his leg twisted and hitting his head. Gaury fell, hitting his head really hard that stars started to form around his head and his vision flashed red and blue before turning completely black.

A while later when Gaury regained his conscience, he noticed that he was staring up at a white ceiling. He couldn’t remember a thing other than for that his leg was killing him and his head was pounding. He tried to sit up but a hand stopped him.
"Please, don’t move." Shilfiel said as she pushed him back down on to the bed. "You suffered a head injury Gaury-sama and the bone in your right leg was broken. I tried to heal it with ‘Recovery’ but it didn’t work, I am sorry." Shilfiel apologized.
"Um…yeah, Shilfiel…what happened?" Gaury asked, trying to recall why he was in bed and his leg was covered by a cast and popped up on a bunch of pillows.
"You fell from the stairs." Shilfiel replied. "I am so glad you were able to survive, that was a nasty blow in the head, it could have been serious." She than noticed that Gaury wasn’t listening to her. "Gaury-sama, why don’t you rest?" Shilfiel offered. "You must be tired from the injury and all."
"…Thanks Shilfiel…I’ll do that." Gaury smiled and leaned against the pillow and allowed sleep to take him. Shilfiel smiled and stroked his head for awhile before standing up and getting ready to leave the room.

"Excuse me Xelloss-san." Shilfiel stopped Xelloss as she walked out of Gaury’s room and saw Xelloss walking down stairs.
"Yes Shilfiel-san." Xelloss turned around and anger boiled in her.
When Shilfiel tended Gaury’s wound she noticed the miasma that was carefully hidden in it. Which meant that this wound was definitely inflicted by one who could have such strong miasma that it will block and white magic. The only one she knew who had such strong miasma and will go through all the trouble to inflict pain in Gaury could only be Xelloss.
"May I please have a talk with you?" Shilfiel tried to keep her voice neutral and calm, but it was impossible. This one in front of her had hurt the man she cared about. If she had the power to, Shilfiel was sure she would have ripped Xelloss’s throat apart. Of course she didn’t have such power though. She couldn’t even defeat Lina, let alone a mazoku which Lina herself claimed will be hard to defeat.
"Sure thing?"
"May it be…out side in the back yard of this inn?" Shilfiel made sure Xelloss couldn’t see her eyes, but even then she was sure the mazoku could sense the anger she felt. Xelloss merely nodded and started walking down the stairs.
All the way to the back yard Shilfiel was thinking hard. She would have to confront the mazoku, how she wasn’t sure but there had to be a way. Maybe she should act strong and look dignified, no that wouldn’t work towards a mazoku. Than how should she do this. It was going to be hard to figure out a way.
Shilfiel was so lost in thought she didn’t notice that they had reached the back yard until Xelloss told her that. Shilfiel took a deep breath and decided to be blunt.
"It is about-"
"Do you wish to talk about Gaury-san and his injury?" Xelloss asked, still smiling as usual. Shilfiel was taken aback for a second but soon nodded her head.
"Yes, I do wish to talk about Gaury-sama and his injury. I was tending the wound and I noticed a miasma and assumed it was a mazoku that inflicted this injury on him. Well, while I was tending his injury the old fashioned way Zelgadiss-san came in to the room and told me what was going on around here. From that I drew up the conclusion that the only person, I mean mazoku who will take their time to wound a human, although Lina Inverse’s companion, will be you. So did you hurt Gaury-sama?" Shilfiel talked in quick motion that Xelloss, for once just stared at her. His smile than reappeared.
"Why most certainly so. I am surprised no one else has noticed it yet. Than again, Lina-san was a little bit annoyed with Gaury-san, and Amelia-san was being a, excuse my bluntness, brat. And Zelgadiss-san is too wrapped up in trying to maintain order. I guess I should have guessed that you will be the first to notice that I did it." Xelloss than smiled mockingly. "So, what do you wish from me young human priestess?"
"I, I wish you to stop harming Gaury-sama." Shilfiel said and straightened her shoulders, trying to disguise the fear she felt at the pit of her stomach. Xelloss’s tone of voice and smile would freeze and normal mortals blood in a second.
"Oh, but than what am I to gain in that?" Xelloss asked cheerfully. "Gaury-san is my rival and I will not stop harming him just because a human priestess asked me to." Xelloss informed her. "What is there for me to gain in this?"
Shilfiel thought for a second and than made the decision. "I will help you gain Lina-san."
Xelloss smiled mockingly at her, his eyes opening as he eyed her. "And how will you do that Miss Shilfiel. I will like to know your strategies in how you will accomplish what you say you will. Although I do trust you to attempt to aid me."
"Why will you trust a mere human being?" Shilfiel asked, genuinely surprised that a mazoku will really trust a human being.
"Oh, very easy. I presume that you have guessed that Gaury-san is in love with Lina-san, am I correct. Well, if Lina-san will become mine, the chances of you gaining Gaury-san’s heart will increase. Am I not correct on that?"
Shilfiel sighed and nodded. "Yes. You are correct that if Lina-san does become yours than the chances of Gaury-sama becoming mine will increase. However, more than who will gain Gaury-sama, I really do not want to see him in pain. I do not know how I will do it, perhaps if I can see what Lina-san feels for you currently, I would have some plan. Just please stop harming Gaury-sama, PLEASE!!" Shilfiel pleaded, tears streaming down her face. Xelloss just looked at her for a second before he resumed his usual smile.
"Well, we shall see what will happen. I will not promise not to harm Gaury-san, but if you do have a plan I may consider it." Xelloss said that much and disappeared into thin space and Shilfiel was left alone against the cold autumn breeze.

Xelloss had gone up to Lina’s room and sighed in disappointment when he couldn’t find her. He wondered where else she could be and grimaced at one possibility. She was probably checking on Gaury. No matter what she said he was her sidekick and she was probably somewhat worried about him. Xelloss sighed and disappeared.
He teleported to the astral side and stood in a place where he could survey Gaury’s room. Sure enough Lina was there sitting on a chair near the bed. Her face was twitched in worry as she pressed the back of her hand to Gaury’s forehead to feel for a fever.
Xelloss’s eyes narrowed as he glared at Gaury. Was Gaury that important to her that she had to tend for him so caringly? Will she tend at him if it had been him that had been injured? All he knew was that he didn’t want to look at her so worried about Gaury any more. Xelloss turned around and disappeared.

Lina sighed in relief when she noticed Gaury didn’t have a fever. The cast was probably uncomfortable, and she had to thank Shilfiel for tending Gaury later. Lina wondered what had caused Gaury, although he was a jellyfish, one of the best swords man she had ever met, to trip and break his leg. Even Amelia wasn’t that clumsy.
Lina predicted that there was an outside force but she sincerely hoped that she wasn’t the target. For a fact she was fed up with being a target. That was never a fun adventure. Lina sighed and took one last look at Gaury and left the room. She really couldn’t talk to him anyway until he woke up and she wanted to talk to some one whom she could trust.
She was running out of options of people to talk to. Amelia was being a brat. After Lina had dried her clothes by magic and all, she had attempted to have a talk with Amelia but when Lina entered Amelia’s room after knocking ten times and no answer, Amelia just threw pillows and vases at her. Zelgadiss was, well being Zelgadiss. Shilfiel was probably riled up about Gaury and Gaury was sleeping. She wanted someone whom she could pour her heart out to and someone who could give her sound advice.
No matter what the cost if she could zap her sister right here, Lina was sure she would have done it. At least her sister would listen, and although the chances were slim, give her sound advice that Lina currently really needed.
She’d talk to Xelloss if the problem she had didn’t revolve around Xelloss. But the only reason why she’d talk to Xelloss is because she had no one else to talk to. She wanted to talk to someone. She needed to talk to someone and no one was appearing to help her.
Lina entered her room and took out a piece of paper and sat down on the bed. If nothing worked she’d write just to figure out what in the world was going on. Lina sighed and wrote down what had caused her problem, or rather Xelloss’s name. Next thing she did was that she wrote what had caused all of her problems. One was Xelloss’s over-affection, another was Amelia’s bratty attitude, Gaury’s broken leg certainly didn’t help, Zelgadiss was being himself when she needed to talk to him, and lastly she put down that if Xelloss explained himself she would feel a lot better.
Guess that about covers the main problems… Lina decided and laid down on the bed. All she wanted to do was fall down on this and allow a nice comfortable slumber to welcome her. And she did just that.

Xelloss faded into Lina’s room and noticed that she was asleep. It was close to supper time and he was hoping to possibly take her out to a nice restaurant. She was sleeping too peacefully that he didn’t feel like waking her, instead he sat down on the side of the bed and gazed at her.
Xelloss swept a few of her fire colored strands of hair off her face and caressed her smooth cheek. Her skin felt like silk even through the rough fabric of his gloves. Xelloss took them off and caressed her cheek with his bare hand. Her skin felt so much more smooth against his bare hand. As he looked at her he couldn’t resist tipping his face to hers and brushing his lips against her forehead, against her nose against her cheek. He finally pressed his lips against hers. A light feathery kiss. He than faded out of the room.