Twins of Flame
Slayers and respective properties are possessions of H. Kanzaka and R.
Araizumi. Ranma 1/2 and respective properties are possessions of R.
Takahashi. The Kaotarian People and respective properties are possessions of
R.C. McFadden. What relationship they have with this story, I have no idea.
Gourry Gabriev could be called a lot of things,
including a mercenary, wielder of the Hikari no Ken,
or Sword of Light, an airbrained waste of space, and
the dullest knife in the drawer wielding the sharpest knife in existence.
However, even with his incredible ignorance, he can not help but notice some
things. That his right boot had a hole in it the size the town of
No, it was more of a reaction to a common animal instinct that seems to be triggered whenever something feels incredibly wrong, a danger sense, if you will. At the sight before him, it was /screaming/. That sight was that of two Lina Inverses. At this, Gourry could just stare.
Now the reality was slightly different. In actuality, you had one Lina Inverse, and one Ranma Saotome (nee Lana Inverse). However, to be honest, Gourry probably had every right in the world for his danger sense to be triggered. For the biggest sources of natural disasters on two worlds were walking side by side, discussing the differences between magic and ki.
“For one… Well, I guess you could say ki comes from all things, including from us. Magic, you said, comes from these Dragons and Granolas.”
“Yeah, those things. Anyway, so a lot of people seem to be able to use magic here, but I bet almost nobody knows how to use ki. Hell, in my world, very few people know how to use ki either.”
“Uh, La- Ranma, wouldn’t this be your world?”
The Lina dressed in weird clothing paused. “Yeah… it’s hard to think of it like that,” She admitted. “I’m so used to… well, back there.”
Gourry didn’t even catch a bit of this conversation, but it’s hard to do so when you are trying to process an impossibility with an intellect not used to such work. His vocal center did get kickstarted by a stray thought, one would venture to say, as Gourry blurted out, “Two Linas?”
This caught the attention of both the Sorceress Supreme (At least in her own mind, though it’d be debatable) and the Martial Goddess (even if she isn’t a –dess all the time). The former spoke first. “Oh, heya, Gourry! Long time no see.”
The latter sized up the person. She was starting to get the Kunou vibe, except without the perversion or bad speeches. This was not exactly a good thing, but not exactly a bad thing either. At second glance, however, she realized he was almost nothing like Kunou. Both seemed to rely upon swords, but this man, Gourry, her sister claimed, seemed infinitely more competent than the ersatz kendoist. “This is the Gourry guy you were talkin’ about?”
“Yes… Gourry?” The more familiar-dressed Lina snapped her fingers in front of his face to get his attention. “Hey, Gourry?”
“T… t… two?”
“I only see one Lina here, don’t you, sis?”
Those words snapped Gourry out of his stupor. “Sis? As in sister?” The bewilderment broke away. Well… slowly, anyway. But sisters made infinitely more sense, and was much less frightening, than the concept of two of the most frightening woman Gourry ever met.
“Yes… I’m Ranma Saotome. So you’re Gourry Gabriev. Nice to meet ya, I guess.” Ranma said.
Gourry nodded. “Nice to meet you too, Ranma… why aren’t you Inverse? And why are you bigger than… urk.”
“That… he had coming,” Ranma said dryly.
When Gourry recovered from the swift, merciless and righteous pummeling he so richly deserved, The three carried onward. “So, Gourry, have you seen Zel lately?”
Gourry nodded. “About half a day back. He said he was coming this way though. Something about weird magic in the area, and you’d probably know or something.”
Lina looked to Ranma, and nodded. “You could say that.” She thought for a moment, and then a positively evil grin crossed her expression. “Ranma… think you could get into these?”
Ranma hesitated, and nodded. “I guess so, why?”
Lina smirked cruelly. “I’ve got a great idea…”
One trip to the house, then a few hours jaunt in Zelgadis’s direction later, two almost identical women leaned against two trees in two almost identical positions, on exact opposite sides of the road. And with this, enter Zelgadis Greyweyrs, center stage. The metamorphosed Shaman approached on foot, wearing a hefty pack. And paused. And STARED. “Lina?” He asked.
With a look at each other, then back to the Chimeric sorcerer, both replied, “Yes?”
Zelgadis stared even more, looking back and forth between the twins. “Cloned?”
Both shook their heads.
Again, a reply in the negative.
“Am I going mad?”
Zelgadis frowned at that response. “Ok, what is going on?”
Simultaneously, both smirked and replied, “That is a secret…”
The Chimera barely stood on his feet as he clenched his hands, then paused. “I see… well, you must be Lina,” he said with a quiet tone, a slight smirk hidden beneath his halfmask, to the one on the right.
“Oh? Why’s that?” said person asked.
“Because the other is too big to be you.”
Lina promptly fireballed the Chimera, who twitched a bit. “Ok… that was a mistake… who’s she?” he said as he climbed back to his feet.
“I’m Saotome Ranma, Lina’s sister.”
After an hour of explanations, Zelgadis still found it all too easy to doubt the story. “How come you never mentioned her before then?”
“Because I thought she was dead. I didn’t want to think about it, except for how to get her back.”
Ranma moved to Lina’s side, hugging her awkwardly. She may be a girl, or so Lina and her memories claimed, but this still was not a very comfortable position. Well, it /was/ comfortable, actually, but so… alien. That’s a good word. Yeah. Alien.
Lina nodded to her sister then looked back to Zelgadis. “I’ve been searching for her for almost ten years. And now I have a big favor to ask you.”
Zelgadis became somewhat tense, though he did well at hiding it. Big favors worded such made him very nervous, especially from Lina. “And what would this favor be?”
Ranma replied, “She wants to ask you if you’d be able to teach me magic.”
This made the Chimera even more nervous. “Why doesn’t she teach you?”
“Because I just… well, I’ve got a bad feeling about black magic. ‘nee-chan thought that you and your… shamanism?” Ranma looked to Lina for her confirmation before continuing, “Would be better for me.”
The nervousness lessened a bit. The idea of two very powerful black sorceresses would make his hair stand on end, if it wasn’t already in such a position usually. “I see. Well, I suppose I could teach her.”
Lina nodded gratefully. “Thanks, Zel. That means a lot to me,” she said softly to the Shaman. Ranma nodded her thanks as well.
Zelgadis paused and assessed his new student, frowning a little. “Do you realize she has an unusual magic aura?”
Both twins rolled their eyes. “Tell us something we /don’t/ know…” They said in perfect synchronization.
For the next couple of hours, Ranma and Lina explained the chaos that led to Lana’s death and rebirth, then the utter lunacy that permeated every part of his life. From the deception that led to Ukyou’s abandonment, to the mind-rending torture that was the Neko-ken training, the torments in China, and then the year and a half in the hell that was Nerima, which concluded with the conflict that brought him here. Even considering everything that Zelgadis had experienced in the company of Lina and Gourry, he found the stories difficult to believe.
Zelgadis sat back against the tree he was relaxing against. “And I thought Rezo was a bad person to be related to.” He said quietly.
Lina was livid through most of the explanations. Only one thought was needed. “L… Ranma, you do know that your father is a dead man. Right?”
Ranma winced and sighed. “Lina, you don’t have to do that. Really.”
Lina blinked. “Sis, why are you protecting him? Or any of them? I ought to Dragon Slave the whole damn place!” She said, outraged.
Zelgadis gave her a twitching look. “That is a bit much.”
Ranma gave her another halting embrace. “Lina, it’s alright. They don’t matter anymore. Even if I do go back, they don’t matter to me anymore…” She paused.
Lina looked at her, confused. “What do you mean?”
“I cut my ties with them when I left. Even if I go back, perhaps only one person means anything to me back there,” Ranma explained sadly.
Zelgadis frowned softly. “If there is one person, does that person deserve to know that you are alright?” Both Inverse girls looked at each other, Ranma seeming very troubled.
“But how can I get back? I thought I heard the Mirror break?”
Lina merely replied, “What, this mirror?”
Nodoka felt a chill through her as she glared at Genma. Akane and Shampoo sat back, shamefacedly as the sometimes-panda was receiving a full and total dressing down. “…and now your foolish, imbecilic and utterly ridiculous actions have cost me my son!”
The Saotome matron then glared at the two young women in the room. “As for you two. I cannot even begin to fathom what he has gone through on your behalf, and through your actions.” She grasped the scabbard of the katana tightly in her hands. “You, Shampoo, claim to love him, yet you have harassed him repeatedly.” She then gave a venomous glance to Akane. “As for you. When would you have stopped? When you spilled my son’s blood upon the ground?”
Both girls were on the verge of bawling as the furious words lashed at them worse than any physical torments. Mostly because it was the truth. A truth both girls steadfastly refused to see. Nodoka stood quietly. “It is time I departed.” She said and made her sojourn back to Saotome-ke.
As she passed through the door, three shadowy figures lurked within the room…
AN: My abject apology for this delay, but I kinda hit a mental roadblock. No, those three figures are not who you think. Guesses?