Slayers SEARCH 2: The Hive
By: Zeraliss Darkchime

Lina awoke to hear the twittering of birds. She sat up and found herself in a bed. A window next to her shone light through brightly. A jumpy, cheerful voice greeted her happily, "Hello there, I didnít think you would be awake for another day or so!" Lina looked toward the door to see a short female humanoid tigress there. She was about five feet tall with brown hair. She was wearing a rather sloppy tank top that was made from pounded tree bark and denim shorts. Lina looked at her arm, which was wrapped in leaves and tied with a thin rope to keep it in place. The tigress spike up again, "You should be glad to be alive. It was a terror. Not a nice sight. If it werenít for the Darkchimes, you wouldnítve had a chance."
Lina stretched and looked at he anthropomorphic, "Darkchimes?" The tigress sighed and looked at Lina, "I know why you donít really know them, they didnít start coming out of the hive since, well, really recently. Oh, Iím sorry, we havenít had a proper introduction to each other. Iím Lucienne Maria." "Iím Lina Inverse," Lina introduced herself and Lucienne gasped.
"Youíre THE Lina Inverse? The Bandit Killer?" Lina nodded. Lucienne stood there shocked. "Well, I think we should get you and your friends together so we can talk about some stuff." Lina was about to walk through the door when she stopped and sniffed a little, wiping a tear from here eye.
"Whatís wrong?" asked Lucienne. Lina sniffed again, not paying attention to a strange "fading-in" sound and small creaking sounds on the wooden floor behind her. "I.. canít believe heís dead.. I canít.." "Who canít you believe is dead? " came a rather cheery voice behind her. She whirled around and gasped. There, leaning on a desk and smiling, was Xellos. His outfit was a bit ripped up and still stained with blood, but other than that, he was in perfect shape. "Xellos!!" yelled Lina, "I thought you were.. were.." Xellos continued smiling, "Dead, is that the word? Well, I WAS dead. Thanks to Lucienne, Iím here right now. She removed the Destroying Licid from the back of my neck, making me a Mazoku again. Wounds healed up instantly as if it didnít happen."
"Damn you Xellos, whyíd you do that!? You had me scared to death!" Lina yelled. Lucienne cleared her throat, "I think we should just get to the meeting area. I think we should talk the situation over." Lina walked out the door and Xellos instantaneously appeared in the appointed place as he teleported out of what so happened to be a grass house. Amelia, Xellos and Gourry were already there when Lucienne and Lina arrived. Zelgadis arrived a short while after. Lucienne started the conversation, "You guys should be lucky to be alive. IĎve never seen a group of people survive an attack from a Hesslin Squad." She looked over at Xellos, who was the only one who actually "died". He smiled back at her. "Now, anyway, Lina, did you even expect that they were going to just leave you there?" Linaís eyes went wide, "How did you know that?" "Well, everyone that has survived, which arenít many, thought that. But those Hesslins in particular donít leave their injured victems to die. They just stand back to see the mess they made, then they kill them," Lina gasped as Lucienne said that.
"Anyway," asked Lina, "Who are these "Darkchimes you spoke to me of?" Lucienne cleared her throat, "Itís a long story. You see, the Darkchimes are actually cousins. They were both put under a curse similar to your chimera friend there," Lucienne pointed to Zelgadis. "Zera, the female of the two, looks very much like him. Itís said that sheís one.." Zelgadis interrupted, "one third human, one third golem, on third demon?" Lucienne sighed, "No, similar, but no. Sheís one fourth human, one fourth golem, one fourth demon, and one fourth of a new creature called Sliver. There is a long list of different types of Slivers, and sheís part of each," Lucciene cleared her throat again, preparing for a long list. "Okay, there are over sixteen types of Slivers. Iíll give off their names and the abilities that I know. Okay, now, of course thereís the Metallic Sliver. Itís the simplest. Itís sort of a false Sliver that has the Sliver ability to gain OTHER abilities from being next to other Slivers," The others just looked at her, not understanding a word she said. Lucienne sighed.
"Okay, so I guess Iíll have to go on about what a Sliver is in general, huh?" The others nodded in firm agreement. "Okay, a Sliver is a strange snakelike creature. Normal, usually Metallic, Slivers look like the Uni Slivers you mightíve seen. Only, they donít have spikes on their arm and donít have that huge horn. Their heads are elongated to the front and back. In the back, they come to three or four spikes, while in the front thereís a beak. They have round bodies. On their backs they have blade-like spikes, and where their arms should be, thereís nothing. They have a mantis-like arm coming from their chest, the claws either being rounds and smooth, or like scythes. Some, like the Muscle and Queen Slivers, have two arms." Lucienne paused to let that long, but not complete explanation soak in. She started up again, "Well, then they have two, usually smooth tails that are thin. Except the Barbed, Spined and Queen Slivers. Iíll explain more about those later. Then, thereís the important part. When two or more Slivers are by each other, they gain each otherís abilities and looks. As and example, if you had a Horn, Barbed and Winged Sliver next to each other, theyíd shift and youíd get three rather large Slivers covered with large thorns, a huge horn on their metallic heads with large wings. If you put a Metallic Sliver there, it wouldnít give any abilities, but it would transform to be like the others," she sighed, "I guess we can just head on to the Darkchimesí Sliver hive. I can point out Slivers there."
"Wait, wait, wait. You still didnít finish explaining about the Darkchimes in the first place," Lucienne snickered at Gourryís remark. "I said we CAN head there. I didnít say that this conversation would end here and weíd just go. Well, anyway, then, after Zera, who DOES have a full name, but she doesnít like giving it out. Then thereís the male one. That one ALSO has a full name. We just call him Crain. Heís ALSO a chimera, though, he isnít even part human, even though he started as a human. Heís one-fourth golem, one-fourth demon, one-fourth troll, one-fourth Sliver. He looks REAL strange. He looks like a gargoyle. He has Troll-like body with dragon-like wings. His skin is rough and grayish-blue in color. His hands are gloved, but they look skeletal. His head is that of a Mindwhip Sliver with a horn of a Uni Sliver," she paused again.
Gourry spoke up again, "I think we should just go to the Sliver hive. Maybe there you can introduce us to them." "Problem, problem there, if we are to go to the hive, weíll have to sneak in. Zera and Crain donít really like uninvited company. We canít go in there to introduce them to you. You do NOT want to piss them off, especially Zera," she stopped again to catch her breath. She knew she was talking too much. "I know Iím talking to much, but itís a bit essential. I have to explain a wee bit more about their background. First off, they were separated from their families when they were young. They didnít know their last names, thatís why they have the name Darkchime. Also, Crain isnít his real name. He forgot his real name, but he remembered what they used to call him. His nick name. They remember the names of their relatives, but they never bothered to tell me." She paused and stopped moving. From the left, there was a strange strumming of a stringed instrument. It played a particular tune. Zel stopped cold. From the right, another sound came. It was a high sounding wind. Like a flute, but it had a strange sound, like a flute mixed with wind chimes.
"Thatís why the names Zera and Crain sounded familiar. Like relatives I never had. My sister and her cousin used to play that tune when they were together," Zel said as he looked from the left, where the string sounds came from, then to the right where the chime-like flute sound came from. Now it was Lucienneís turn to be confused, but so were the others. "You mean, you think those two are relatives?" asked the confused tigress. "Um, yeah. Zera sounds like what my parents used to call my younger sister. Sort of like how Lina and some others call me Zel for short. My sisters full name was Zeraliss," he paused irritated, "Wait, do you know who turned this Zera and her "cousin" into chimeras?" Lucienne shook her head, "Not even THEY know who." Zel let out an annoyed hough. Lucienne couched a bit, as if she was trying to keep something she knew a secret. The music continued, getting softer and softer until it disappeared.
Lucienne looked at the others, grinning, "IÖ donít think we should go just yet. It would be hard to get around with you guys looking like you were raised from the dead. If people donít think that, youíd get the bad impression that you were in pretty big fight." She gestured to their, torn and slightly bloody outfits. Xellos looked down at his own blood soaked outfit.
"Yeesh, it looks like our outfits got it worse of than us," Lina then hit Xellos over the head rather hard and yelled, "Shut up! How should you know, you were DEAD for almost half the fight." Xellos clutched his head, "No I wasnít, I just had that creatures huge body blocking my view most of the time. YOU werenít being mobbed by those things. Would you rather have me STAY dead?" he asked. Lina pretended to be in deep thought, "HmmmÖ Well, actually that wouldnít be a bad idea." Xellos huffed loudly, and the others laughed.
"Well, Iím not exactly sure what weíre gonna do about the clothes, but Iím sure we can make it to the hive through the forest so nobody sees us," Zelgadis suggested. "And run into more cheating Hesslins? No way!" exclaimed Amelia. "IÖ think that was the only Hesslin group in this whole forest. The only Hesslins youíll find would be single or double now," said Lucienne, calming them down a bit, "Well, letís get going!" With that, they started off into the woods.
Xellos flew up to the canopy of the forest, trying to find the hive from above. "What are we headed for? What does this hive look like?" he called down. Lucienne looked up, "Look to your north! It should be somewhere in that direction!" Xellos turned to what he thought was his north and gasped. It was huge. It was like an unworldly, twisted castle, and from the center of the massive structure, came a huge red crystal. It glowed and pulsated at if it were alive. He called down, "Am I looking in the right direction? Or am I just seeing things?" "It should be a large castle with a red crystal coming up from the center!" Lucienne called back up. Xellosí jaw dropped. "Whoa, those two can take care of that huge place?Ö" "They sure can, but not without help. There are worker Slivers taking care of the place. Worker Slivers can be any of the many types of Slivers, except Death and Queen Slivers. There are also two Slivers you might encounter. Theyíre rebel Slivers known only as the King and Protective Slivers. Theyíre legends. Those are also not found in the hive. Worker Slivers are only different because they are bred not to be able to share abilities," called the tigress. Xellos still floated there in shock., then gently landed.
"Well, weíve gotten far enough for this length of time. I think we should rest," suggested Lina. They all agreed, except for Xellos, who claimed that he was going to go ahead for a bit to scout the forest. The rest sat down and began to talk while Xellos scouted ahead. When he scouted ahead, he paused halfway to a small clearing. He backed behind a tree. He thought he heard something. It was up in the branches. When he discovered that it was clear, he went on ahead. When he reached the clearing, he stopped. There was that sound again. It sounded like it wasÖ right above him!? Xellos looked up and shaded his eyes with his hand. Then, a thin, smooth red tentacle reached down and wrapped around his wrist. He yelped and jerked his wrist down, bringing the creature down with it. That wasnít a tentacle, it was a tail. It was a small creature, only about three feet long and it matched Lucienneís description of a Sliver almost perfectly. It was all red, and its skin texture (Except its tail) was rough. Itís talon had a few spikes sticking out of it. Xellos grabbed it by the neck. It gave a pitiful little squeak and wrapped both its two tails around his right arm. He carried it back to the place where the rest of the group was.
They were still sitting down when Xellos arrived. He walked into the clearing, and they all looked at him. Zelgadis started to snicker, and it was easy to see why. The little Sliver got a bit out of control, and by the time Xellos got back to the group, the little creature looked like it was holding HIM. Both its tails were wrapped around his neck and it firmly held his left hand in its talon. His right hand clutched his staff tightly. "Dammit, these things are annoying!" Lucienne helped remove the little creature and held it like a snake. "Interesting, this is a Heart Sliver. Iíve never really heard about these. All I know is that it prevents all other Slivers in the area to being prone to attacking just as theyíre summoned to attack or defend," as she said this, it squirmed from her grasp and headed off into the woods in the direction of the hive. "Well, we might as well follow it," said Gourry, and Amelia nodded. They walked off into the forest. Soon, they came halfway to the clearing, where Xellos stopped. Zel looked at a tree. On it was a strange picture carved into the bark. He pointed to it, "Who did that?" Xellos looked up, grinning, "Me." Zel looked at him, "What is it?" Xellos just answered, "I have no ideaÖ"
When they reached the clearing, Amelia walked to the center. "Whatís this?" She asked as she picked up a short, strange stick off the ground. It was thin and incredibly smooth. It was gray and quite heavy for its size. Gourry took it from her and looked at it closely. He saw a small writing on the side, "Ookami. Whatís that supposed to mean?" Lina snatched it from him, "This is a wolf wand! Very few people own these. Itís said that someone getting hit with one of the animal wands, be it Ookami, Kitsune, Tora, anything like that, will be changed into a were-form of that animal!" she looked at it with amazement. Gourry asked, "Why would someone just leave it there for someone like you to pick it up?" Lina gave him a split second stink eye, then threw the wand at him. He easily sidestepped it, and it hurtled into a tree. They continued on, leaving the wand behind.
"Finally, weíre here!" exclaimed Lucienne. She pointed to the giant gates that barred the way. The group was able to clear it with various types of levitation spells and found themselves on a long stone pathway. On the sides of the pathway were statues of every type of Sliver. "Well, I guess we wonít have to go in to have me explain each Sliver," Lucienne looked at the statues. "Well," she pointed to the first on to her left. It was a typical looking Sliver, only, it had a strange thin line of armor down it back. It was a thin as ribbon, and came down to cover the sides of the Slivers body at certain intervals. "Thatís an Armored Sliver. It makes, the Slivers around it tougher.." She went down the list until she reached the last six. She pointed to the largest one. Itís two tails were thick and it had two arms, each ending with a scythe-like talon. "Thatís a Sliver Queen. It has the ability to put forth Slivers. Itís easily one of the most important." She then pointed to the upright standing one that seemed to be dressed in a shredded cloth, arranged like Deathís cloak and robes. Its talon was shaped like Deaths scythe. "Thatís an appropriately named Shibo Sliver. Itís a Mazoku. It allows all other Slivers to kill any creature with one hit." She then stepped over to the rest and explained them. The Sword Sliver was small and could become a sword. The Shapeshift Sliver was also a Mazoku and allowed other Slivers to morph into any type of Slivers except King and Protective. Then there was the Hydra Sliver that started with two heads lined with spikes. Whenever a head was cut off, two more would take its place. It made this so with all Slivers, but those didnít have to have spike-lined heads. Lastly was the Shamanist Sliver, which psyched out the group. It allowed all Slivers to use magic skills, mostly elemental. It was also the only Sliver other than the Clot Sliver to have eyes. There was a loud thunderclap. Then, large drops of rain started to fall. It was nearing nighttime. There was a strange stone scraping behind them, but they ignored it. Suddenly, the doors of the hive slowly opened and a quick, strong breeze washed past them. The rain started to fall like sheets, extremely think and hard. Amelia turned and looked back down the stone pathway, "Hey, where did the Death Sliver statue go?" As she put it, the statue of the Death Sliver just disappeared. Lina grunted, "Canít we go into the hive? Itís raining too hard out here." Lucienne turned to her, "We canít. Remember what I told you? If we go in there, Zera and Crain will be pissed!" Xellos turned and snickered, "Off or on?" Lina ignored Xellos rude and slightly disgusting comment. They finally decided to go inside.
When the group got inside, they were happy to be out of that rain, but the clapping of the rain on the roof was deafening, and it drove Gourry crazy. As they walked deeper into the hive, it seemed more like a castle. There were lots of Slivers all over the place. The four most common were Metallic, Mnemonic, Clot and Winged Slivers. They ranged from size starting from 2 feet long to massive, yet rare Uni Slivers getting up to 15 feet in length. Little did they know that there was a pair of Clot Sliver eyes watching them from above. Light finally hit the Clot Sliver to show that its coloration was weird. Itís skin wasnít white, but dark blue. Its eyes werenít orange, but red. Itís single arm and talon were light tannish/brown, as were its tails and head. When darkness hid the Sliver again, all that was left were a pair of glowing red eyes, watching them.