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Episode #16

Curve ball of resentment! Powerful fastball of willpower!

Urami no makyuu! Konjou no gousokukyuu!

I'm warning you, this is perhaps one of the silliest episodes out there. And, of course, it begins where? In a restaurant, of course - Lina, Amelia, and Gourry are in a three-way stalemate fighting for a meatball. Lina stomps the competition, but another patron interrupts her and she drops the meatball on the floor. Right before she kills the guy, Zelgadiss sighs and orders a whole plate of meatballs to soothe the savage beast.

Seems that there's a particular kind of challenge going on in the town... most particularly, a rivalry between the patron and someone else named Keith. The challenge involves something called a Brass Racquet, a magical item which resembles a tennis racquet. And, well, there's a ball involved as well. The point of the challenge is similar to tennis, in that you're supposed to play to win by knocking the ball back and forth. However, you WIN by knocking the other person out with the ball. The racquets function on the willpower of their holders more than anything else, it seems, so a highly-motivated user will do better than someone who is pressured into playing against their will.

Well, this patron wants Lina as his partner. Seems Keith teamed up with another magic user, and whenever she hits the ball, it completely evades the racquet and knocks out the person anyways. So he enlists Lina's help. She refuses, seeing no point in the tournament, until someone (I think it's Xelloss) brings up the prize of the tournament - the Clair Bible Trophy (I think, it seems a little vague to me). Lina... is still reluctant though.

Enter Martina, as Keith's partner. She flings insult after insult at Lina, following up by slamming a ball in her face. Lina agrees to the challenge, after a final insult about her bust size, being quite determined to slam Martina's face into the ground.

Lina's new partner has to train her, so he takes her to a place where there are several unusually large craters. He says that it's the training ground for the Brass Racquet tournaments in the past, and begins training. He has the others drop a rather sizable boulder over the hill for Lina to hit with her comparatively tiny racquet. (Anyone think this is turning into Ranma 1/2 yet?) She gets psyched enough and destroys the boulder with her power.

Well, the tournament begins, later, in a coliseum. Martina and Keith easily dispatch their first opponent, and Martina makes no secret of her power, completely humiliating her opponent. The others watch from above... but then Zel notices Xelloss has disappeared again. Lina and her partner enter the field... and their opponents are Xelloss and Amelia! Xelloss explains that it was getting boring up their in the stands and he decided to enter. Amelia just happened to be handy for his partner.

Well, to be short, Lina's not letting anything get in her way of beating Martina for her insults, and she hauls off and SMACKS Amelia in the face with her ball, much to Zelgadiss' enjoyment.

Lina faces down with Martina, at last. Martina launches a ball, and Lina tries to counter... but gets smacked in the face! But she's not unconscious... the ball seems to have went right through her Brass Racquet! Wait a minute... it's broken! How did that happen? After Lina gets smacked a few more times, Xelloss quite calmly produces her true racquet... "Ah, I must have switched mine with hers as we were leaving the field..."

Gourry tosses the true racquet at Lina... but it hits her square in the face. However, Lina feels no pain by this point, and sends volley after volley of flaming balls at Keith and Martina... needless to say, she defeats them.

Only it seems that she blows up a bit too much of the field. Amelia and Xelloss win for being the semifinalists in this case, it seems... Zelgadiss seems to want the Clair Bible trophy, so Amelia offers it to him. Only... it's not the Clair Bible trophy, it's the Clair Gable? Did Xelloss mistranslate its name in the book?! While Zelgadiss trashes Xelloss for his "mistake", Lina and Martina are told that the "training grounds" were actually just a spot where a monster started hurling boulders and destroyed stuff. Not only that, they learn that Keith and his rival are truly father and son, and quite friendly outside the courts. They don't take it too well either and start flinging flaming tennis-balls at their supposed partners...

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