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Episode #19

SHOCK! Sairaag Falls!

Synopsis written by Tim Miller

Faced with a second Rezo, and holding clear memories of the first Rezo's death, Lina confidently declares that this Rezo must be an impostor. Zelgadis agrees, but Amelia is stunned to hear that Lina and Zelgadis killed the "original" Rezo: without knowing about Shabranigdu, Amelia doesn't know that Rezo wasn't the great man that all the legends say he was. Lina explains matters for Amelia in short terms, but Rezo brings up another question which is just as valid: "Did you really manage to kill me?"

Still certain that this Rezo is a fake, Lina and Zelgadis cast spell attacks at him; he easily repels both of their attacks, then delivers a truly massive fireball which takes the combined efforts of Lina, Zelgadis, and Amelia to hold back. Unfortunately, this is only a fraction of Rezo's power, and he is sending an even more powerful blast their way when another spell is cast from behind the party, shielding them from the next assault by Rezo. Sylphiel, worried about her Gourry, has come to join the group.

Lina knows that with Sylphiel to protect them, the rest of the group can attack at full power, so ... they retreat, knowing that even now they're no match for Rezo.

After regrouping in a ruined building and making the necessary introductions, the group wonders whether this Rezo could really be a copy? And, if he is a copy, how can this Rezo be so powerful? Lina decides that they're just going to have to ask an expert on Copying people, and knows of a research laboratory nearby where there are sorcerers working on Copying. Zelgadis has his own investigation to pursue, and leaves the group, saying that they'll rendevous in the same place at noon the next day.

Gourry is starting to get really tired of being flown all over the place, but they reach the research facility without incident - that is, until Lina forces her way in (having offered to make a generous donation) and confronts the researchers. The head of the project welcomes her and answers her questions: it's certainly possible to make a Copy of someone which would possess all of the original person's physical capabilities - strength, agility, and endurance. But they don't know whether it's possible for a copy to possess the mental capabilities as well, learned skills such as magic or swordfighting: they haven't had any expert swordsmen or sorcerers to work with. Yet.

Lina happily volunteers Gourry for a test subject; she expects that they'll need to draw a (substantial) blood sample, but the process they're working on only requires a lock of his hair. Gourry puts up a fight, even turning to Sylphiel to try and persuade her not to let them copy him. Sylphiel, though, thinks it would be wonderful to have more Gourrys around, and so a lock of Gourry's hair is pulled out and put into the duplication machine. Lina asks how long the process will take; on hearing that it usually takes a day and a night, she decides to hurry it up by adding more growth medium to the mix. While she's doing that, Gourry takes some of Lina's hair, and puts it into another duplicator, also adding too much growth culture ...

Soon, the process is complete, and they find miniature copies of Gourry and Lina - which are exact duplicates of the originals' personalities, especially their huge appetites and Lina's violent temper. In fact, just as the first Gourry and Lina copies start fighting, hordes of mini-Linas and Gourrys swarm out of the growth chambers and start fighting; Sylphiel even manages to catch a chibi-Gourry of her very own. But then all of the copied Linas and Gourrys start disappearing ... and the original Lina and Gourry and their allies manage to make it out of the building before the copying laboratory goes kaboom.

At about the same time, the current Rezo is sitting in a large chair, hooked up to what looks like some kind of organic machine - a big one. Zangulus makes a scornful comment about Rezo tiring himself out so easily; Eris turns and orders the swordsman out of the room.

Later that day, Lina and her allies are catching up on some badly- needed sleep when Zelgadis returns, and shares information with the rest of the group. Lina tells him that yes, a copy can have all the abilities of the original; Zelgadis says that the original Rezo once told him about an ancient laboratory he'd sealed away, where he kept all of the magical books and items that he'd acquired, somewhere in the old city of Sairaag. Lina immediately realizes that the key to fighting Rezo is somewhere in that lab; of course, she's expecting to find some good treasure as well. Zelgadis also has his own designs on the lab's contents, hoping to find some way to undo the transformation which left him as a human/golem/demon chimera.

But as the group is headed for the lab under cover of night, Rezo himself appears to stop them, accompanied by Eris and Zangulus. Zangulus immediately challenges Gourry, and the two of them begin duelling; Zelgadis, however, moves to take Rezo on single-handedly. Not wanting to get into a protracted fight in the middle of the city, Zelgadis casts a single powerful attack spell; Rezo meets the attack with his own magic, and quickly demonstrates that Zelgadis is no match for him. After Zelgadis is forced to back off, Rezo begins gathering power for another spell ... a much more powerful one ... with so much energy building up that both Eris and Lina realize they have to get out of there. Eris orders Zangulus to retreat, and with some reluctance, he does so.

That leaves Lina and her group. Lina gives orders to the other spellcasters, reinforcing Zelgadis's wind barrier with her own magic as Sylphiel casts her own protection spell, and Amelia levitates the group - hopefully out of harm's way; there's no way to know if they're really safe before Rezo unleashes his spell.

Lina is able to sense that it's some kind of powerful black magic; when the explosion goes off, the effect is similar to a Mega Brand - but on a scale totally unlike anything short of a Dragon Slave, for half of Sairaag is obliterated in the blast ... and as far as Sylphiel can tell, her father is among those killed in Rezo's attack. Rezo himself just stands in the midst of the flames, laughing in triumph.

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