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There is a tale about a tower nearby, which tells of a doll-maker who hates humans for some reason. However, it is also claimed that he knows something about another Clair Bible, perhaps knowing something even more powerful.
Xelloss' telling of the story makes it a LOT spookier than it really is, though, making it sound more like the puppets in Shin 3x3 Eyes. So when the owner of the diner comes ino, they all think he's a possessed doll, and freak out. But he says that the only way you might be able to get into the doll-maker's tower is to dress as animals, since he hates humans. The group balks at that and decides to go in anyways.
Once they get in, they are confronted by dozens of dolls, floating in mid-air and all staring at them. Xelloss asks Lina if she's scared, and she says she's not. So he decides to test his theory by placing a cold finger on the back of her neck. She's scared all right, and screams bloody murder. She and the others bolt out of there in fear...
Amelia, who was initially annoyed at having to carry the animal costumes, is probably glad she did, because now they put them on as disguises. Lina dons the costume of a pink horse, Amelia a starfish, Xelloss a frog, and Gourry, a jellyfish. While Gourry seems to enjoy his costume entirely too much, Zelgadis balks at being stuck with the bunny outfit. They force him into it anyways...
So they re-enter the tower. A strange jester greets them, presumably the mad doll-maker, as he's carrying one in his arms. He says that to reach him, they'll have to face his challenges first... and of course, he disappears to a more inaccessible room.
The group first faces a cook, who challenges them to cook a meal quicker and better than him. The group all looks at each other, and no one can cook, except Xelloss, who jumps up there and beats the cook for time. However, he fails the taste test, and him and Martina are both transformed into super-deformed dolls!
Amelia grabs them and they all run to the next challenge - an octopus who challenges them to fight 'ken' - swords. Gourry, of course, accepts the challenge of 'ken', but the octopus actually meant 'jan-ken-po' : 'Rock-paper-scissors.' Gourry tries valiantly to beat the octopus, but in his jellyfish costume, all he can manage is to get his flagellae tied in a knot, resembling a fist for 'rock'. The octopus, though, beats him with an open tentacle, for paper. (Never mind that the octopus also had tentacles for 'scissors' and 'rock', also, so it COULDN'T lose...) So Gourry becomes SD too.
Next challenge is a snake who demands one of the group to play 'shiritori'. The snake conjures a pair of tiger-striped underwear onto Zelgadiss, as no one else seems to be volunteering. Seems he's been declared 'it' in a game of tag, and... this is rather hard to translate... he has to tag someone else's butt in order to make someone else 'it'. However... Zelgadiss finds himself in a difficult situation - tag Amelia, who would definitely misinterpret the motion, or Lina, who would retaliate for the motion! For his indecisiveness, he's automatically disqualified and made into a doll as well.
On to the next challenge... there are two doors to pick from! Amelia chooses one, Lina chooses the other. On the other side of the doors, Amelia reappears as a doll. Guess Lina's door was the correct one. Anyways, the doll-maker's there, and still carrying his doll. Lina shoots him in the chest with an Elmekia Lance spell... but it doesn't do anything to him! The doll-maker charges on Lina but mysteriously is knocked aside... by Xelloss! Seems he had fought this guy before and knew a way to break the doll-curse. He says that the Elmekia Lance didn't work on the guy because he's not human - he's actually the doll in this case! The doll the doll-maker carried was the spirit controlling the doll-maker, who was a doll himself! ( I think that's what the deal was, but I'm not 100% sure. ) So Lina shoots the little doll with another Elmekia Lance, and then, since all the other dolls are converging on them, she decides to nuke the tower with a Dragu Slave.
So everyone ends up back to their semi-normal selves. Except Gourry, who's just diggin' that jellyfish costume WAY too much. Xelloss says, "Well, that's just wonderful!", seeming to be sincere, to which Lina keeps wanting to know why it's so wonderful, how he knew the guy from before, and how he got free. He replied with a light kiss on Lina's cheek, and said, "Let's just leave it at that." This completely stuns Lina, who just falls to her knees blushing. Zelgadiss, on the other hand, is more than a little upset that this has nothing to do with their quest for the Clair-Bible, getting the impression that the others would call on him only when they needed his help...
Last modified: 2004.04.05 (Mon)
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