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Episode #14

NAVIGATION! Invitation to Sairaag!

Synopsis written by Tim Miller

Life hasn't gotten any easier for Lina and Gourry since leaving Saillune; in fact, things have just gotten worse. They've been getting chased all over the landscape by bounty hunters - and since venturing back into the wilderness, it seems that the bandits in the region are getting in on the act ... or are they just out for a piece of the reward?

In any case, Lina and Gourry dodge arrows and spears, cut their way through a wooden barricade, and almost avoid a simple snare-trap. "Almost" isn't good enough, though, because the two of them wind up upside down after the snare goes off. The bandit leader steps up, taunting them, and mentions that someone else is here to see them ... at which point Vrumugun fades in, floating upside down in front of Lina. Zangulus is here too, and sets them loose from the trap - since "fighting someone who's hanging upside down would give me a bad name."

Vrumugun makes a token offer: if they surrender, then Lina and Gourry will be taken to Sairaag with no further harm. Lina considers this a rather poor joke on Vrumugun's part, and they get ready to rumble ... and then an ominous growl strikes terror into everyone's hearts. Well, except for Lina - since it was her stomach that just made that noise. So, she and Gourry brace themselves, and then - run away. Backwards. VERY fast. The bandit leader gets really upset, and orders his gang to go after them.

Amelia's standing on a cliff not too far away, laden with groceries and looking for Lina and Gourry; when she sees the dust cloud being raised by the merry chase, she waves to get their attention. Lina readily casts Levitation, but is then weighed down by Gourry, and the bandits ... and finally by Amelia herself, who jumps from the cliff to help them. She does sort of help, too, since her impact winds up KO'ing most or all of the bandits. However, it also wastes all of the food she was carrying.

Lina is none too happy about the wasted food, because after a failed attempt to control her temper, she winds up torturing Amelia in the best comedy anime tradition - and is interrupted by the smell of some very good roast chicken: yet another trap by the bandits. Amazingly, there is no power in the Slayers world that can overcome the combined appetites of Lina and Gourry: Vrumugun's golems are just smashed to bits when they get between the intrepid duo and their next bite to eat - but unfortunately, after Gourry manages to get hold of the chicken and take a few bites, the chicken too is wasted when the boulder trap catches up with him. Ouch.

Lina and Amelia stay just ahead of the boulder, all the way out the tunnel and down the side of the mountain, and a fast Dug Haut by Lina stops the boulder from landing on top of them. It also comes way too close to skewering poor Gourry, who pries himself free of the boulder just in time to get nailed with Vrumugun's Freeze Arrow spell. As hungry as Lina is, her magic's not up to a fight, so she and Amelia cast Raywing and take to the air, dragging Gourry along with them.

They find a raft near the river, land on it, and cast off; while they're waiting for Gourry to thaw, they float right past the bandits, wave, and watch the bandits set off EVERY trap that was waiting on the road downstream of their ambush. But just as Amelia is commenting that their escape seemed to be just to convenient, they sail into yet another trap: Vrumugun's icicles trap the raft, leaving Gourry to cut an opening for them to continue.

Then they see Zangulus on a bridge high above the river; he taunts Gourry, then leaps off. Lina and Gourry are getting ready to intercept him, but Amelia is familiar with the principle of jumping from high places: "That trick never works!" She should know - and she does; Zangulus splashes into the river right in front of the raft.

And then he appears again behind the raft, apparently standing on the water - but he's really standing on a big, ugly river-monster's head. He leaps onto the raft, landing properly this time, and starts fighting with Gourry despite the tight area this restricts them too; Amelia keeps the fish from eating the raft with a couple of desperate blows. ("I HATE FISH!!")

There's nothing any of them can do about the waterfall except go over it. (!) The raft comes apart in the process, leaving Gourry and Zangulus dueling on a rapidly rotating log; Lina is left underwater for a moment, and the fishy creature seems to think she would make a terrific snack. After reducing the monster to frozen fish-sticks, Lina pulls herself to shore and shivers for a bit before Vrumugun appears, holding Amelia hostage. Lina is getting really tired of this by now; Amelia cheers her on, saying "Forget about me, get the bad guys!" and Lina cheerfully takes her up on the offer, beginning the familiar incantation of the Dragon Slave.

Amelia and Gourry realize what's going on, and bolt for cover; Zangulus is thrown more or less clear by the explosion, and Vrumugun ... gets nailed in the heart of the Dragon Slave. The lake is considerably expanded, and the waterfall pushed upriver a ways; Zangulus hangs from a log by his cloak and curses his luck and Lina for a few seconds before his cloak gives way.

But Lina and Gourry are still really hungry ...

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