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Impact! The Eve of the Menacing Battle!

 

Rezo's eyes open, glowing red as he throws his hands down, sending a severe whirlwind outward. ("I can see! My eyes are opened!!" -Rezo) Then, Rezo retracts in pain again and his hands start to grow, and other things grow out of him. As Rezo screams in horror to know what is going on, a forboding voice tells him that "It is the one who's resurection you called for." But before Rezo is completly taken over, Zelgadis casts a spell, enshrouding Rezo in a fog. When the fog clears, Shabrinigdo stands there, tall and mighty, un affected by the spell.

Towering over the group who opposes him, Shabranigdu offers them a choice of either joining, or being killed ("Oh some choice you're giving us!" -Lina "Death, or slavery to a devil" -Zelgadis), and Gourry choices slavery ("Slavery works for me." -Gourry). Zolf chooses to fight for his life, and begins casting the Dragon Slave while Lina is amazed that this "third-rate wizard" knows the Dragon Slave, warns him that it won't work... and it doesn't! Shabranigdu seems unaffected and powers up an attack for Zolf, while Rodimus tries to drag him away... and fails. Both vanish in a flare of demonic energy, and from somewhere, a voice screams, "No!!"

Knowing they cannot defeat Shabranigdu with magic, the remaining three retreat to work on a strategy. "Pathetic, absolutely pathetic!" Lina complains, but eventually she becomes more optimistic, urging Gourry and Zelgadiss to eat up and relax. "Being depressed gets us nowhere." Zelgadiss chimes in, "After all, this may be our last supper." So much for getting everyone cheered up.

After filling her stomach "eight-tenths full", Lina's ready to talk strategy. Black Magic, such as the Dragon Slave, won't work on Shabranigdu, for the simple fact that Black Magic draws on the same negative energies that Shabranigdu controls for its effectiveness. Black Magic draws upon hatred, hostility, and terror, the very realm under Shabranigdu's control. As Lina puts it, Zolf casting the Dragon Slave was like saying, "Hey, you, help me kill you!" Even the chant of the Dragon Slave says so: "Darkness beyond twilight... those who oppose us shall be destroyed by the power you and I possess!" The Dragon Slave was originally called the Dragon Slayer, as its first caster used it to kill a dragon, but its name became corrupted through time. It remains the most powerful spell in the Offensive Group of Black Magic. (For now.)

Next option: Shamanist Magic, the specialty of Zelgadiss. (Let us overlook that Fireballs and Freeze Arrows are also Shamanist magic for the time being.) Zelgadiss relates that the spell he cast against Shabranigdu in the beginning was the Ra-Tilt, the most powerful spell in the Spirit Group of Shamanist magic. Power roughly equivalent to Lina's Dragon Slave, the Ra-Tilt attacks an opponent from the Astral (Spirit) Plane. Shabranigdu, though, exists as an astral life form, and is much more powerful than any astral attack a human can control. He can deflect an astral attack effortlessly; nothing from the Astral Plane will kill him.

White Magic is for healing, not attacks, so it would have no effect upon Shabranigdu. So there remains only one option to the trio: Gourry's Sword of Light. As trolls swarm into the town, Zelgadiss resolves to avenge Zolf's and Rodimus' deaths by killing Shabranigdu, and Gourry, seeing how his Sword is the only hope. They figure that they'll die anyways, it's better to give up their life in the hopes of defeating the Dark Lord.

Lina, though, seems a tad reluctant. She says that she wants to be a normal girl again, perhaps open a business, get out of the bandit-killing life one day, to fall in love. With Lina so caught up in her emotions like that, Gourry and Zelgadiss decide to go on out against Shabranigdu... but Lina tells them to wait. "Hey, I'm going to fight. I hate that 'I'll fight, even though I'm gonna die' schtick." If you go into fighting with a 100% chance of succeeding, the percentage that you're going to lose becomes 0%. "When I fight him, I'll win." As such, they go on outside the diner.

They step into the midst of a swarm of trolls, which are now all over the city. They seem even more relentless, mainly for the fact that they don't usually attack villagers. Lina and Zelgadiss attribute their ferocity to the effect of Shabranigdu's rebirth. Lina stands aside and lets Gourry and Zelgadiss fight, until a troll who's about to smash her ignores her for more attractive prey. "How dare you ignore me!" They continue to combat the trolls, but the trolls keep coming. So there seems to be no choice except to call forth the spell which might not do any good... the Dragon Slave.

Trolls are dead everywhere, and Lina and Gourry have collapsed from exhaustion. Zelgadiss looks upon the two, and resolves to go off and die his own death. "Even if I do die, Zolf and Rodimus are there, I will not be alone," are the thoughts in Zelgadiss' head before they are replaced by a small rock, thrown by Lina. "We all agreed we'd go together! No going solo on us!" Gourry whispers, "It's a lot less painful to just do what she says..."

Just then, Shabranigdu appears on the horizon... literally. Battle is no longer an option, but a necessity for the three.