by BKWillis

"Uhm, Adric? If you don't mind my asking, what's the deal with
your hair?" Chang Lee tried and failed to keep from staring at his
co-worker's lavender locks. Chang was hoping that Adric would
answer quickly, so he could get on to asking him about the weird
clothes he was wearing.

"My hair?" Adric smirked and gave his cloak a stylish swirl as he
leaned confidentially forward. He winked at Chang Lee and
raised a single finger as he answered, "That... is a secret."

With that catch-phrase, the puzzle pieces came together in Chang
Lee's head. The purple hair, the cloak, the gloves, the staff, and
above all that damnable wink and catch-phrase, could only mean...

"You're dressed as Xellos the Trickster Priest, from 'Slayers'!"

"Correct!" Adric sipped at his tea.

Now for the $64,000 question. "Why?"

Adric smirked and winked again. "That," he said, finger raised,
"is a--"

"Adrrrriic..." Chang growled warningly.

"Oh, very well." Adric set aside his tea and regarded the other
with a very Xellos-like 'tilt-your-head-and-stare-evilly-through-
your-bangs-while-tightly-smiling' look. "If you must know, I'm
just playing the system."

"What _are_ you talking about? Have all those head wounds
finally taken their toll?"

"Not at all. There is a method to my madness. Just think about
this. I received a phone call yesterday from a contact of mine who
works at Movie Fortress."

"The video rental place?"

"The same. Anyway, he called to inform me that a certain Traken
girl had been in and rented some twenty episodes of 'Slayers'.
Now, you know how Nyssa is about copying things she sees on

Chang Lee clapped his hands. "I see! You figure she'll come in
here dressed as one of the characters from 'Slayers' to kill you
off, right?"

"Not 'one of the characters', Chang," Adric said firmly. "She'll
come dressed as the star, herself."

The Chinese man was nodding. "Lina? Yeah, I can see that."
He shuddered, then went on. "But, if you think she'll be imper-
sonating Lina Inverse, shouldn't you be dressed like Gourry or
Zelgadis or another one of her friends? I'm assuming that you
want to live, right?"

"Tut, tut," Adric chided. "You aren't thinking it all the way
through. When has Lina Inverse ever let her friends stop her
from doing anything? Friends who get in her way are as likely
to get zapped as her enemies are. But, Xellos... How does he get
her to shut up when she starts yelling at him about things?"

"Why, he-- Oh!" Chang's eyes widened and he looked on the
Alzarian with a sort of awe. "Good Lord. I hope you know what
you're doing."

Further conversation was cut short as a cry of "Flare Arrow!"
sounded from outside and the pub door was blown off its hinges.

Had Chang Lee not known what to expect, he might not have
recognized her. Her brown curls had been dyed a cheery red-
orange and her 'fairy frock' had been traded in for the red tights
and tunic of a Zefielian Black Sorceress, accessorized by a black
cloak, headband, boots, and short sword. Dusting her hands, she
stepped through the ruined entrance and strode to the bar.

"Well," said Adric as she approached, "if it isn't the infamous
bandit-killer and smart-aleck sorceress, Nyssa Inverse!"

Nyssa's eyes widened a bit at Adric's garb, but she stayed in her
chosen persona. "That's 'beautiful genius sorceress', Nyssa
Inverse," she snapped.

"As you wish," Adric replied with an indifferent shrug. "I sup-
pose you've come here to kill me."

Her evil grin showed that she'd even had fake fangs put in to
complete her ensemble. "What do you think, _Xellos_?"

"What do I think? Heh heh..." Adric lifted a finger and winked.
"That... is a secret."

Nyssa glared at him for a moment, then leaned back with a con-
fident smirk. "Enjoy your little game while you can," she purred.
"In exactly four minutes your shift will end, and you'll get to
learn what it's like to be magically reduced to your component
particles. And that _isn't_ a secret."

"Oh? So you've actually gone to the trouble of learning black
magic for this little contretemps? How did you manage _that_?"

Smugly, Nyssa pulled a large, leather-bound tome out of her
cloak and thumped it down on the bar. It looked to be a typical
Conan-style, brass-clasped, pentagram-marked sorceror's spell-
book, until you looked at the cover. This was done in a rather
incongruously cheery bright yellow and bore a cartoon drawing
of a man summoning a demon. _Hideously Destructive Black
Magic for Dummies_, read the title, and listed the authors'
names as 'N. W. Serpent and D. Schneider'.

"They have a 'Dummies' book for this?" Chang Lee demanded

"They have 'Dummies' books for _everything_," answered the
Trakenite wizardess.

"You've really gone all-out this time," Adric said from behind his
teacup. How he could look so unconcerned was beyond Chang's
comprehension. Chang Lee had seen every episode of 'Slayers'
(he was secretly a big fan of Sylphiel) and knew how destructive
Lina Inverse could be. If Nyssa had just a mere _fraction_ of her
power, everyone within a mile radius should consider updating
their wills. If only Sylphiel-sama were here...

"I have to admit," Adric continued nonchalantly, "the character
of Lina Inverse really suits you. That was a good choice. You
two have a lot in common."

"We're both petite, beautiful, adorable geniuses?"

"Actually, I was thinking about how well Lina's nicknames apply
to you. You know: 'Enemy of All Who Live'; 'Girl Even the Drag-
ons Don't Mess With'; 'That Abonimable Fiend'; 'Underdeveloped
Bully Sorceress'; 'That Damned Little Witch'..."

Chang Lee just stared at Adric as Nyssa's eyes narrowed and her
fists began to clench spasmodically at her sides. Was the Alzarian
really that much of a glutton for punishment? Was this some
weird masochistic mental thing finally surfacing? If so, Chang
really wished Adric would take his emotional issues somewhere
a _long_ ways away.

"...'Poster Child for Chaos and Destruction'; the list goes on. But,
of course, there's one nickname of hers that really suits you best."
Adric paused to sip at his tea and watch the Trakenite seethe.
"And, that, of course, is... 'The Flat-Chested Terror'. Fits you
perfectly, I'd say."

Nyssa's scream of fury came out in unison with the clock's four

"Time's up, Adric-Xellos!" she shouted. "Now you get yours!
Let's see if you can shrug one of these off like the real Xellos
can! And I am _not_ flat-chested!" she added a moment later.
She cupped her hands slightly and began to chant:

"Darkness beyond twilight
Crimson beyond blood that flows..."

Chang Lee screamed like a little girl as he recognized the opening
lines of the most destructive attack spell in all of Zefielian Black
Magic. He didn't even try to run. There was no point. The spell's
blast radius and effects were about the same as a tactical nuclear
warhead. He thrust an accusing finger at Adric. "It's the Dragon
Slave!" he screamed. "We're gonna get nuked and it's all your

Adric just smiled and winked at him, then began to amble over to
where Nyssa stood.

The Traken girl was still chanting, her hair and cloak fluttering
as the awesome destructive energy of the Dragon Slave began
to coalesce around her.

"...Buried in the flow of time
In thy great name I pledge myself to the Darkness..."

Chang Lee was busy watching his life flash before his eyes, and
so wasn't paying a lot of attention as Adric leaned over into
Nyssa's face.

"...Let all the fools who stand before me
Be destroyed by the power you and I possess!
DRAGON SLA-- mmmph!"

Chang Lee's life story paused around his fourteenth birthday as
he suddenly became aware of the fact that he wasn't being atom-
ized. This, he realized, was due to the spell having been interr-
upted. Looking over, he saw that the reason for the interruption
was that Adric had given the psycho sorceress a small kiss on the

The scene held for a moment as the magical energies began diss-
ipating themselves into the ground. Nyssa's eyes were wide with
embarrassed anger, while Adric's were closed and he appeared to
be smirking slightly against her lips. Chang Lee had to admit that,
with the costumes, the two looked exactly like Lina Inverse and
Xellos the Trickster Priest at the end of the 'Battle at Ultima
Tower' episode, when Xellos had shut Lina up with exactly the
same tactic.

What happened next was not what had happened in that episode,
but Chang Lee could easily have imagined it being thus. Nyssa
gently laid a hand on the Alzarian's cheek and whispered...

"Mono Volt!"

Adric screeched as several hundred volts of magically-produced
electricity blasted through his body.

"Burst Rondo! Icicle Lance! Flare Bit! Diem Wing! Elmekia

Chang Lee just shook his head as Adric was blasted, frozen,
burned, blown away, and had his spirit exploded, more or less
in that order.

Nyssa stalked away to the door, leaving the broken, frosted,
charred, wind-burned, nearly spiritless boy twitching lightly on
the floor. Pausing, she turned to give him one last infuriated
glare. "Oh, and Adric?" she hissed.

"Uggh?" he replied, meaning "Yes?"

She snapped her fingers. "Dil Brand!"

The ground under Adric exploded upwards, flinging him into the
ceiling to crash back into the wrecked and splintered common
room floor. Nyssa was already gone by the time he hit.

Chang Lee sighed and walked over to the crater. Taking a sharp
stick from the pile of rubble, he prodded Adric's body with it.
"Hey," he said. "You still with us?" A whimpering groan was
his only reply.

He shook his head. Some people. "Adric, if you can hang on
long enough, I've got a question for you."

The boy gurgled a little, which he took to mean, "Go ahead and
ask, my good man."

"I gotta know, dude, was it worth it?" He gestured at the boy's
battered and twisted form. "All this for one little kiss?"

With vast effort, Adric turned his head to face him and motioned
for him to lean close. When Chang did so, Adric raised a single
finger (the only unbroken one on that hand) and closed one
blackened eye. "That," he breathed, "is a secret..."