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Episode #25

Spirits of the dead! Lina's final decision!


Lina, Sylpheel, and Zangulus run on into the temple. After a while, they find themselves on the edge of a ledge, looking down a tall circular shaft. They can't see the bottom, so they leap down the shaft, using levitation spells to slow their fall. A long descent through darkness eventually reveals a giant crystal... closer inspection shows that there are actually hundreds of people trapped inside, among them Sylpheel's father!

Fibrizo, the Hellmaster, looks up at the group with a bemused grin. "You came after all... " he says, approaching them. Sylpheel seems surprised that the infamous Hellmaster is but a little boy. The little boy, proud of his new toy, asks the group if they are impressed by his collection: all the humans of Sairaag. "They now augment my power, I can use them as my puppets. "

He then turns to Lina, noting what a good job Xelloss did in bringing her to him unharmed. Lina's just about had enough of this talking, and demands to know where Gourry is. The Hellmaster complies, and with a snap of his finger summons Gourry, encased in a hexagonal prismatic crystal like the others. He says that he can use Gourry's Life Energy towards his own ends, and wonders if Lina would like to try and save him?

By this time, Zangulus seems to have grown weary of talking as well, and hurls a blast from his Howling Sword at the Hellmaster. The Hellmaster smiles quietly as the blast dispels around him, and calmly asks for Zangulus to show him the technique again.

Meanwhile, much to the delight of certain mailing-list admins, Amelia gets clocked upside the head with a club. Zelgadiss and Martina, too, grow weary of battle, and Zelgadiss decides that it's time for an escape. Taking Amelia in his arms, he casts Befis Bring, which blows a hole in the ground and takes the group underground, where there is a tunnel. They head on, presumably to the temple...

Zangulus swings another blast at Fibrizo, who seems to be having a good ol' time repelling it. Lina decides to try her hand against the Hellmaster, as does Sylpheel. Lina hurls the Dragu-Slave at an all-too-amused, and all-too-unscathed, Hellmaster... but then another voice can be heard repeating the Dragu-Slave's chant. Sylpheel unleashes another burst of Dragu-Slave at Fibrizo, the combined attack blowing him away!

Lina turns to Sylpheel, stunned, and scolds her out for getting into Black Magic since Sylpheel seemed to be primarily a white mage. Sylpheel replies that once she saw what Lina could do, she wanted to learn the Dragu Slave so that she would be able to compete with Lina's talent for blowing things up. (And thus, compete for Gourry.) [Special thanks to Ann Oyama for the translation of this part!!]

Lina and Sylpheel quit bickering, and run over to the crystals. It's odd, Sylpheel thinks, that Gourry and the others are still encased in the crystals; they should have been freed once Fibrizo was eliminated. Therein lies the problem - Fibrizo wasn't eliminated. He explains that he escaped, letting a shadow of himself take the brunt of the blast. In return for amusing him with the attack, he offers to punish Lina's friends.

That's not exactly a fair trade-off, one might think, but suddenly Zelgadiss, Amelia, and Martina appear in front of them, whisked away from their battle with the townspeople. "Now I'll punish your friends right before your very eyes, " Fibrizo says. He summons five golden spheres, then demonstrates their usefulness by crushing one in his fingers, like a years-old Christmas ornament. Suddenly, Amelia keels over in excruciating pain... then, after a few moments, seems to be near death.

"Cast the Giga Slave, or else I'll take them out, one by one, " Fibrizo offers. Sylpheel resists, starting to cast the useless Dragu Slave again, but Fibrizo crushes another sphere, and Sylpheel collapses. Zelgadiss becomes overcome with rage, but he falls as well with another sphere. Martina rushes over to Lina, hysterically demanding that Lina take action. Lina, frozen with fear of the Hellmaster and the threat of the Giga Slave, makes no sound... but then Zangulus steps forth. He bows before Fibrizo.

Then he leaps forth and slashes at Fibrizo. Fibrizo, all too amused, simply snaps another sphere and watches Zangulus fall as well. Martina kneels by Zangulus' side; Zangulus hands Martina the sword and cautions her to be careful. Determined, she slashes the sword at Fibrizo, sending forth wave after wave of Howling energy, but Fibrizo disposes of the final sphere once he gets his kicks out of the useless attack.

Martina's last words to Lina are for her to continue on and to save Gourry and the others... but then she, like the others, becomes petrified with unconsciousness.

Amused to the last, Fibrizo asks Lina, "So, can you now show me the beauty of the Giga Slave? I promise to release them, once you cast it..." Fibrizo crystallizes the five fallen friends, bringing them over to join Gourry's crystal, and awaits Lina's decision. Left with nothing else, Lina finds herself beginning the chant.

A vortex forms, spinning a dark web of negative energy which engulfs the surrounding environment. The whirling maelstrom grows larger, forming a giant sphere; the crystals begin raining red energy into the Giga Slave vortex. Growing in size, the sphere eventuall engulfs Lina as well... and suddenly shrinks in a giant shockwave! The sphere, by this point, is nothing more than a shotput in Lina's hand... though Lina herself is gleaming with golden energy. Quietly, she speaks in a new voice to the Hellmaster, before smacking him with a blast of energy.

Fibrizo cowers from the blast, scrambling into his crystals to hide, but the transformed Lina yanks him out with an invisible hand. "You wanted all of the control. I have all the control. I am the Lord of Nightmares.

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