Episode #17
Synopsis written by Tim Miller (trmiller@bcpl.net)

A sea dragon has appeared in the waters near Sandoria, and is destroying every ship that tries to sail from that port ... so every bounty hunter, soldier of fortune, and would-be hero is coming to Sandoria to go out and try to slay the dragon. Unfortunately, Lina, Gourry, and Amelia are trying to get to Sandoria as well - not to fight the sea dragon (if they can help it), but to get to Sanboa, the next stop en route to Sairaag. But it's not easy going; two days ago they got seven groups of do-gooders, yesterday ten, and now they're setting yet another record as they draw closer to the city. Gourry points out that they could go through the Mountains of Tears and avoid Sandoria completely ... but Lina shoots that idea right down, noting that they have Vrumugun, Zangulus, and who-knows-who-else chasing them and going into the "ultra-steep" Mountains of Tears would be suicidal.

But Lina has a plan: it's the sorceress Lina Inverse and the swordsman Gourry Gabriev who are presently being looked for by self-styled "allies of justice." Nobody's going to pay any attention to three beautiful sisters ... right? (Gourry's hair is just right for an Usagi-style hairdo, too ;)

But, as the tallest and (thanks to a brafull of fruit) most buxom of the three, "Lala" (Gourry) catches the eye of another self-proclaimed hero. This one's an over-testosteroned specimen with the traditional big sword, who goes by the name of Volun; while he's trying to impress Lala into letting him sail with the three of them so that he can fight the dragon, he casually mentions how the Dark Lord Shabranigdo was recently reborn ... which Lina knows is true ... and how he was the one who slew Shabranigdo ... which Lina knows for a fact is FALSE, and Amelia has to hold Lina back from tearing this so-called hero to shreds with her bare hands in a fit of rage.

After they've set sail, Volun makes a big show of taking charge of what's going on. Lina and Amelia are relaxing on deck, working on their tans, when Gourry comes running up from "her" room, freaking out.

It's "a bit girly," as one of the real girls describes it upon seeing it - and more than a bit on the cutesy side. Volun actually picks up on this and offers to make the room more boyish, but that doesn't stop "Lily" or "Lulu" from trying to get "Lala" to try on one of the cutest dresses in the batch.

Shortly afterwards, Volun is sharing an ice cream soda with "Lala" on deck; Lina and Amelia are concealed nearby, ready to zap Gourry if he blows their cover. Volun is an over-considerate boyfriend ... or perhaps "suitor" would be a better term, since he proposes to Lala right there! Lina and Amelia, getting thoroughly into the act, are ready to consent to their "sister's" marriage when the sea dragon finally makes its appearance.

Predictably, Volun gets flattened within seconds of making his challenge to the dragon (and inviting Lala to watch him defeat it).

It's a very feminine-looking dragon, but after Gourry gets plunged into the water, he notices that the dragon is actually male, and comments on this to Lina after she hauls him out of the water; Amelia casts Dark Mist to cover their re-entry into Sandoria, and they break out of their costumes and start fighting. Volun tries again, but gets buried under something much like a bag of flower. Seeing the dragon putting powder on its face gives Gourry an idea, and he asks Lina to give him a boost up to its face; after planting his sword squarely in the dragon's nose, he tells Lina to zap the sword with a spell - "anything that involves zapping." Digger Volt seems to fit that description, so she casts ... and the concentrated shock leaves the dragon's face scarred, just like Gourry planned; the big beast promptly flees.

On the next ship to Sanboa, Gourry (back in male clothes, and his armor) explains what happened to Lina: it was a gay dragon, and ruining its looks sapped its will to fight. Volun seems to be nowhere to be found, for which Gourry is thankful - but the bag he was trapped in was loaded onto the ship at the dock, and in fact he is there. And poor Gourry looks so much like Lala that Volun doesn't care whether Gourry happens to be a man or not ...

Episode #18
Synopsis written by Tim Miller (trmiller@bcpl.net)

After a number of harrowing adventures, near misses, and harrowing escapes, Lina, Gourry, and Amelia have finally made it to Sairaag. While hiding in a haycart, they see the city of Sairaag and an immense tree which stands over the city: the holy tree, Flagoon. Lina remembers the story of how the demon beast Zanaffar was defeated by the Swordsman of Light (an ancestor of Gourry), and recounts how the warrior planted the holy tree in order to absorb and contain the miasma of evil which Zanaffar's dead body gave off. Gourry vaguely remembers hearing a story about this when he was a little boy, but - as he tells Lina and Amelia - he never paid any attention.

There's a very tight guard around the city of Sairaag; Lina knows she and her companions can't hope to sneak through, even hiding in the middle of the hay, so they decide to sneak into the city after nightfall. Of course, "sneaking in" under these circumstances means that Lina and Amelia fly over the wall, carrying Gourry between them. The dispute that ensues upon landing, when they're trying to decide on whether or not to accost a passerby for directions, is interrupted by a young woman in the garb of a priestess, who recognizes Gourry. Gourry sort of recognizes her, especially when she tells them her name: Sylphiel.

Later, at Sylphiel's home, Gourry explains that he remembers Sylphiel because of her wonderful cooking. Lina isn't surprised to know that's how Gourry managed to remember her name - but is surprised to hear one of the rumors that Sylphiel's father has heard about Lina, namely that she looks like a young girl but is actually ninety years old. After laying that rumor to rest, Lina and her friends learn about the one who put the price on their heads: a woman by the name of Eris, who is connected with Rezo, the Red Priest.

Mention of Rezo brings back several reasonably fresh memories for Lina, who remembers Rezo all too clearly - but of course, Amelia doesn't know what happened with Rezo before, and is only familiar with his reputation as a great sage and humanitarian. Gourry doesn't even remember who Rezo is, despite the fact that Rezo nearly killed him (and Lina) some time back ...

Sylphiel warns the three of them that she has a terrible feeling, that something bad is going to happen. With this warning in mind, Lina, Gourry, and Amelia head for Rezo's mansion.

When they get to the mansion, Lina explores briefly, then indicates a section of wall and says, "We'll go in here." Gourry quickly draws his sword and cuts a hole in the wall, providing their entranceway - right into a magical laboratory of some sort. Amelia sees something moving in one of the vats, and yelps in surprise when it looks back: this lab is for creating chimeras, or combination life forms. Lina knows a little bit about the making of chimeras - nothing practical, but she's aware of the theory, and notes to the others that sorcerers are divided about the ethics of it.

Moving on, the three of them find a large portrait of Rezo above the stairs in the main hallway of the mansion; just afterwards, Eris appears, accompanied by Zangulus and Vrumugun. Eris, who is a loyal servant of Rezo, openly takes credit for declaring the bounty on Lina and Gourry, and luring them to Sairaag so that she could get the Sword of Light. Gourry begins to refuse to give it to her; Lina finishes for him, saying that the sword "is MINE!" and she and Gourry get into a short-lived argument about the subject. The argument is short-lived, though, as Zangulus and Vrumugun go on the attack, taking on Gourry and Lina, respectively.

Taking advantage of the confusion, Amelia leaps up to the balcony and challenges Eris; Rezo's disciple simply turns loose a particularly ugly chimera on Amelia, and lets her fight it. Zangulus goes after Gourry with his full strength, unleashing the destructive power of the Howling Sword which Rezo gave him; Gourry is forced to use the full power of his Sword of Light just to maintain any kind of defense at all. Lina is also kept on the run by Vrumugun, who doesn't even give her time to cast any of her big spells; all she can do is snipe back with Flare Arrows against his Freeze Arrows, and try not to get hit by anything bigger, such as the Icicle Lance.

Finally, Lina gives up on magic and draws her sword. Vrumugun doesn't believe that she can fight magic with a sword, and launches another spell attack; Lina dodges it, closes in, and cuts Vrumugun apart. Amelia manages to finish off the chimera a moment later with a Bram Blazer, and the two of them help turn the tables against Zangulus. Unfortunately, just as Lina is getting warmed up for the interrogation, a very familiar cloaked figure appears and grabs Lina from behind: it's Vrumugun - AGAIN!

Then another Vrumugun appears ... and another one ... and Lina realizes why he never seems to mind all the times she's killed him: all the Vrumuguns are just Copy Men, or clones. The Vrumuguns confirm her theory dispassionately, and start casting - but before any of the spells can go off, another cloaked, hooded, and masked figure comes in through the window and starts killing the Vrumuguns, then rejoins Lina and lowers his hood and mask. Zelgadis has come to Sairaag as well, intending to find out who offered the reward for him as well.

Eris recognizes Zelgadis, and asks why he betrayed first Rezo, and then herself; Zelgadis is just about to explain his past with Eris when a familiar voice sounds from the darkness, accompanied by the ringing of a priest's staff ... and Rezo, the Red Priest himself, emerges from the shadows - seemingly in perfect health, especially for a dead man.

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