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Slayers Excellent #3

"Lina-chan's Great Fashion Strategy"

[an error occurred while processing this directive]「りなちゃんの大作戦」

Guess what? Lina's eating!

No fights this time, though. A young lady walks up to Lina while she's eating, and the restaurant mysteriously clears of all other people. She introduces herself as Tatiana Reyward, the preeminent designer of formal fashions in the city, and starts pointing out how Lina doesn't dress like any other mage. In fact, she points out the discrepancies in glaring abundance, to which Lina grows quite upset. The point of it all: Tatiana wants to enlist Lina's help, and offers money.

Cha-ching! Lina's interested. Tatiana explains, rather passionately, about the growing scourge of fashion design which had begun plaguing the town, blaming it all on one woman! Tatiana implores Lina to work with her as a fashion designer, which seems like an innocent enough offer. Unfortunately, Tatiana seems more than a little unbalanced, having smashed a table in two during her explanation. Lina's made up her mind not to help anyone that freakish ascend to power in any city, so she refuses and walks out.

Muttering to herself about how she always manages to run into the weirdoes, she encounters Naga. And Naga, and Naga, and Naga. No, it's not the ten clones (whatever happened to them, anyways?), it's just a bunch of people dressed like Naga. One of Naga's newfound lackies is named Marty Renford, and seems to have latched onto Naga and enlisted her help in creating a new line of fashions. Apparently, this is the other woman which Tatiana had mentioned. Throughout the course of Naga's and Marty's taunting Lina, she grows uncomfortably upset and Dill Brands them into the air, then immediately returns to Tatiana's shop and demands to join forces with her.

Tatiana's more than happy to comply, and they start discussing their plans, when Marty and Naga wake up and bust a hole in the side of Tatiana's workshop. Marty and Tatiana challenge one another to meet on the plains at sunset, and then Marty and Naga depart.

Lina and Tatiana, then, meet up with the rest of Tatiana's fashion design assistants, and then proceed onwards towards Marty's design atelier (studio). She tells Lina not to worry, that they'll have plenty of time to make it to the plains on time, and asks her to go ahead and destroy Marty's atelier. Lina protests, and right on cue, an explosion sounds from the direction of Tatiana's workshop. It seems that Marty and Naga decided to strike first, and they return to find Tatiana and the others at their studio. Battle ensues, with Tatiana and Marty leaping at each other's throats - or their clothes, as the case may be. Marty ties a skull-adorned wrap around Tatiana, while Tatiana seems to have replaced part of Marty's outfit with a bow. This means war.

Lina and Naga are thusly urged to step in, and their magical attacks mystify the others with their beauty until spinning out of control and blowing up a good part of the city block in which they stand.

Tatiana and her crew lead Lina through a dark underground passage - she explains that they each had several ateliers for just such purposes, and that now Tatiana only has two left. They discuss strategy, and Lina chides Tatiana for resorting to violence instead of just focusing on the design which they say they practice. She uses a bit of rhetoric, asking them what would happen if they just stopped fighting? Of course, she implied that nothing would happen, but Tatiana took it to mean that all traces of her design style would be effaced from the earth forever, only giving her renewed determination to obliterate Marty.

Unfortunately, Marty's got a new toy to play with - a towering building, animated with golem-magic - and crushes the studio which they're currently in. They flee towards another studio, while the assistants explain to Lina the nature of the beast: Marty Nine, a mobile studio claimed to be the Empress of Heavy Weaponry, ready to destroy all in the name of Marty's school of design. Tatiana's answer to that is her final studio, the Final Battle Mobile Fortress Cthulu, an equally potent mobile studio resting innocently by the side of a nearby mountain. They enter the studio and activate it, bringing the humanoid battle fortress humming to life.

Meanwhile, Naga's laughing. She thinks she and Marty have won, since they haven't seen head nor hide of Lina since the battle. She's so busy laughing that she doesn't hear Cthulu coming up behind her - with "stealth mode" on (?!) - and just flies off into the distance to Tatiana's battle cry of "FORMAL ATOMIC SOLILOQUY WRECKER!!"

With Lina at the helm, Cthulu punches the behemoth tower, knocking off its upper half to even out the battle a bit. Marty starts attacking, but Lina uses a bit of knowledge she got earlier - the assistants know a little bit of magic, it seems. With the help of the assistants, Levitation is cast to elevate Cthulu out of Marty Nine's reach. Naga has returned to Marty's side, but it's a little too late, since once Lina gives the order, the assistants step away from Cthulu, letting it drop to the ground, completely annihilating Marty Nine.

Oh, and the city, too. Marty declares her revenge, but Tatiana silences her with a foot and her bragging. That's where she stands when the cops come, though, claiming that they've tolerated Tatiana's and Marty's feuding for entirely too long. They turn to Lina - Naga's already split town - and Lina puts on a crying innocence act. "Miss Tatiana is such a dreadful mistress... I didn't want to make such a big mess!!" She bawls and flees, effectively fooling the policemen and flying off into the sunrise while the cops are left to bemoan the tragedy of the young girl's corruption. But Lina got the good end of the deal - freedom!

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