It’s Time to Die!
I Love You With All of My Heart

    Lina had always known it would come to this. Not ‘could’ but ‘would.’ Xellos, was, after all, a Mazoku. She’d discerned his true motive a very long time ago, but she was willing to allow him to be useful until such time as his actions crossed seriously with hers.
    And here, at last, they were.
    She’d dreaded this moment, hoped wildly that it wouldn’t come while she was alive. But in this hideous place, this unholy ground where she and her friends had made their final stand, they had discovered that the true enemy had been Xellos.

    It had started typically enough, banter, running commentary, and then Amelia had had the misfortune to decipher the fact that the enemy always knew what the group was going to do… and since the only person in the group who ever went anywhere alone was Xellos…
    Lina’s stomach had twisted as he’d so casually struck Amelia down. Zelgadis had been next, the chimera charging after Xellos with murder in his eyes. Lina had run from one to the other, checking for signs of life. They were alive, but barely. No doubt he wanted to play with them later.
    Before Gourry could even move, Xellos had caught the dauntless swordsman in a series of magical strings that prevented him from approaching Xellos. But he’d managed to call out to Lina, to throw the restored Sword of Light to her…

    She stood there, the Sword of Light quiet in her hand, her companions unable to aid her. Both Amelia and Zelgadis had been granted consciousness, and were held just as easily as Gourry.
    “Mister Xellos, I’m ashamed of you! Your actions are beyond reproach! Release us and repent at once!” Amelia began.
    Zelgadis scowled as Xellos casually waved a hand and Amelia’s voice was suddenly silenced. He tried to move, once again, the strings cutting through even his stone flesh.
    “Do shut up, Princess. I don’t care for lessons on morality and righteousness. Our Lord Shabranigdo will be reborn,” Xellos smirked, regarding her with his closed eyes.
    “Not if I have anything to do with it,” Lina growled. “Why haven’t you tied me up too, Xellos? Why don’t I merit the same treatment?”
    “Because, Lina Inverse, I wanted to play with you first. It will be more fun to play with you while they can watch,” Xellos replied.
    Lina had figured that he’d say something like that. She had a few ideas of things that might work, things that she could pull on him. There were yet, a few things that he did not know that she could cast. A few things that she had only very recently learned, and not tried. Well, now’s as good a time as any… she thought.
    “Light come forth!” She called, the Sword of Light blazing into a fiery brilliance in her hand. True to her spirit, the blade was chaotic and almost painful to look at.
    Xellos started to snicker. “Do you truly think that you’ll manage to do me any harm with that? Not even Garv’s powers could destroy me, Lina Inverse. No, you have only made the game all the more interesting.”
    “I’m not finished yet, Xellos.”
    His answer was to sneer, a bolt of energy lashing out towards her from his staff. Instinctively, she leapt backwards, landing and calling another spell to her, a spell that she wasn’t even sure would work with the Sword of Light: “Astral Vine!” Thank goodess that Zel taught me this one...
    That did manage to startle Xellos as the Sword of Light shifted from white to an angry red edged with black. If it surprised Lina, she didn’t show it. “All right, Xellos, You want to play with me, let’s play.”
    An evil smile crossed Xellos’ face, and he crouched from his mid-air stance and sneered at her. The sphere in his staff glowed, and the oppressive force of the demon’s own power began to build with a sickening aura.
    Lina shook her head. She hadn’t wanted to do this, hadn’t ever wished him ill… she’d actually kind of liked him, as far as she could. But now he was leaving her no choice in the matter… Dodging a blast, she didn’t need to vocalize the initial words… Lord of the Darkness and the Four Worlds, I call upon you, grant me all the power that you possess!
    The talismans that she had gained from Xellos came to life, the first step in her carefully constructed plan that would hopefully bring him down in one blow. If not, well, after this, it wouldn’t matter what she did.
    Only by the fact that the talismans in her cloak had been attuned to shielding, did she manage to withstand the blast fired at her by her opponent. She struggled with the thought that he was her enemy, but only for a moment. When the dust cleared, she stood with her eyes closed, and her companions all held their breath. Was she…?
    Crimson eyes snapped open, coldly focusing on the hovering form of Xellos.
    “Lord of the dreams that terrify, sword of cold and darkness, free yourself from the Heaven’s Bonds. Become one with my power, one with my body, And let us walk the path of destruction together. Power that can smash even the souls of Gods!” Lina chanted, the chaotic power building into her hand.
    Xellos raised an eyebrow, trying to ascertain what Lina was up to.
    Lina brought her free hand, the hand containing the beginnings of her spell across to the hilt of the Sword of Light. “Sword, accept my spirit, accept my will and let us end this now! LAGUNA BLADE!!”
    The Sword of Light offered little resistance, and the Laguna Blade merged seamlessly with it, the transformation of power even more incredible than Lina had thought it would be. Perfectly contained, perfectly controlled, the chaotic blade almost sang in her hands.
    Xellos’ eyes opened wide as he suddenly was faced with not only the Sword of Light, but now the far more dangerous combination of Golunova and the Laguna Blade. She stood there, power swirling around her, as cold as he, and in that moment, he knew. He knew why he’d badgered her endlessly. He knew why she seemed to be the only mortal who could lay a hand on him. In that moment, he saw just as clearly as he saw the mysteries of the ages. It was his ultimate failure of his Mistress. He lowered his staff as Lina’s attack came in.
    The blade made contact, ripping through Xellos’ defenses, she felt hardly any resistance offered by the Mazoku. His staff fell out of his hand, falling out of the air and landing a few yards away. She looked up, watching Xellos dissipate. As she watched, he seemed to smile.
    I’ve figured it out, Lina. Why I failed. I’ve loved you since the day we met.
    Lina froze as his voice touched her mind, the blade of chaotic energy vanishing. She didn’t see her companions running towards her. All she saw was the fading memory of Xellos in the air. As Gourry and Zelgadis both reached for her, one in caring, one with healing spell called to his hand, she reached out a hand and screamed.
 Amelia picked up the fallen staff, looking at it quietly.