Lina and Gourry engaged in a bit of sword practice and Lina realizes in a most painful way that her swordsmanship is nowhere near her magical skills
Author's Note: This scene takes place during the sixth novel. Those who have read it will get it immediately. Those who haven't, I highly recommend going out this minute and buying said novel.
Story #5: "The Effect of Impact on Stationary Objects"
"After a few minutes of silent eating - well, silent except for the loud scarfing noises - I looked over at Gourry. There was something I'd been meaning to talk to him about.
"Gourry?" I asked, hoping I could get his attention.
"Mm?" he mumbled, slurping from his plate of pasta.
Just say it, Lina. Since when does he ever pay attention?
"Actually," I began, then paused. "I'd like you to, well...keep me company tonight."
I heard a couple of utensils drop onto plates. Amelia gasped. "Lina-san!" she cried. "That's very...direct of you!"
"Ah," Xelloss sighed, his smile taking on entirely new levels of creepy. "It seems that spring has finally arrived."
I spat out my stew. "Hey!" I choked as I wiped my mouth. "That's NOT what I meant!" I whipped my head to Gourry, but he'd already gone flush. "Why are you blushing?" I shrieked.
"Uh..." Gourry scratched his head uncomfortably. "Well, when a man and a woman love each other very-"
"NO!" I made sure to cut him off before he said ANOTHER WORD. "I meant I wanted to get in some extra sword practice! What is wrong with all of you?!"
Amelia knitted her brow in puzzlement. "Huh?"
Xelloss raised an eyebrow. "Non-euphemistic sword practice?"
Amelia and Xelloss exchanged disappointed glances.
* Excerpt from Slayers novel #6: Vezendi's Shadow by Hajime Kanzaka
After they returned from getting the new shoulder guards, Gourry disappeared for about an hour. He showed up at the dinner table and announced that Radok had a suitable place for them to practice and was willing to let them use it.
"How did you manage to swing it past him?" Lina asked as they crossed over the yard to one of the outbuildings.
"I just told him the truth - that you wanted to get in some extra sword practice. He started ranting about you needing the extra practice and I just nodded and said it would help you catch Zuuma faster."
"Good for you, Gourry!" Lina slapped him on the back as he opened the door.
The building was pretty sparse, with a few weapons lining the wall and some armor stacked on stands in a corner. The room was used for sword practice when it was too dark to see or when the weather was bad, and also doubled as a storage area. Lina lit the room with a Lighting spell while Gourry walked over to one of the racks and selected two wooden swords.
He walked back over to her, but didn't hand her one. "Take off your cape and shoulder guards," he instructed, his normal light-heartedness gone.
For a quick moment, Xelloss' tease of "non-euphemistic sword practice" flashed through Lina's mind. She immediately batted it away. Xelloss was just being a pain in the ass again. But Gourry's serious response to the matter actually deserved more thought. He had actually thought Lina meant...well...euphemistic sword practice.
She unhooked her cloak slowly and and watched as Gourry tested the strength of the wooden practice swords. This time, she was the one who blushed and quickly finished shedding her cloak.
"Well, when a man and a woman love each other very-"
She quickly pushed Gourry's words out of her mind. She couldn't dwell on them at the moment, couldn't begin to fully reason out why he had blushed when she suggested that they spend their evening together. He was such a jellyfish at times. There were more important things at the moment.
Gourry walked over and handed her one of the wooden swords. For the first time, she noticed that he wasn't wearing his armor and pointed it out.
"Sword fighting's completely different when you're weighed down by armor," he replied as they moved into the center of the room. "The most likely scenario you'll be attacked, other than in battle, is by having someone sneak into your room at night. You want to be unhindered and move as fast as possible."
Spoken by one who saved my ass the last time that happened. Lina frowned at the worry in his eyes and countered with a cheerful smile. If she was going to remain optimistic about this, he was going to as well - even if she had to beat it into him. "Well, let's get going so we can go teach Zuuma a thing or two."
On their way back to Radok's house earlier, Gourry had told Lina that she had a habit of dodging to the left when she was attacked in front, one that she needed to break herself of doing. It was a silent mantra that ran through her head as they faced off.
Move to the right, move to the right, move to the right...
Gourry came at her.
Lina moved to the left.
"Damn it!" she hissed as the sword smacked her right hip. The force behind the blow threw her back a few feet and she landed on her back, wheezing.
"Lina?" Gourry's worried face loomed over her. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," she snapped. Ignoring his hand, she got to her feet. If she accepted his aid, if she allowed him to fret over her, then the practice would screech to a halt. It would be easy, too easy, to give up. But, she had to get better. She had to get stronger. She wouldn't be a burden to anyone and she would prove herself.
Energy pumping through her body, Lina picked up her sword and spun around. "Let me attack you this time."
She charged, raising her sword up high to bring it smashing down on him. Gourry was good, but she was small and fast on her feet. She swung. At the last possible second, Gourry twisted, evading the attack. A moment later, his sword smashed into her back and she flew across the room once more, landing in heap near the armor rack.
He was going easy on her, this she knew. If she had been a real opponent and he'd been wielding the Sword of Light, there wouldn't be much left of her now. Lina rolled onto her back, wheezed once, then got back up.
They kept at it for two hours. More often than not, Lina would forget and instinctively move to her left. This was always met by a smash of the sword in her ribs and the nice, solid thud of her body landing on the solid floor. She was quite sure that there was now a Lina-shaped impression from where she landed so many times.
She couldn't land a hit on Gourry. Not a single one. The best she could say was that she had managed to elude one of his hits - mainly by tripping over her own feet and landing on the ground before he had a chance to do so himself. Sweat dripping, Lina laid on the floor and simply concentrated on breathing. Air. Sweet, clean air. So lovely. She never took the time to simply enjoy oxygen. Best of all, it was free and in plenty of supply.
Something pushed at her shoulder and she grunted. How dare Gourry interrupt her bonding moment with her lungs.
"Lina, are you okay?" The pushing grew faster and became shaking. "You should had told me to stop for now. Are you okay? Lina?"
No. She was not okay. She was quite sure that her hip was about the color of Zel's skin and would stay that way for a long time to come. Her muscles were starting to tense and...Lina squawked as she felt herself be rolled over. She did her best to glare up at Gourry and was alarmed when she could barely move her neck. This was not good.
"What the hell are you doing?" she demanded.
He ignored her, stripping off his gloves while humming under his breath. His hands settled on her shoulders and she nearly sprang off the ground in protest...or would have if she had been confident in her ability to move.
Then Gourry started kneading her shoulders.
That did it. Lina felt herself become a literal puddle right there on the floor. That had to be the most incredible sensation she had ever felt - even better than the time she fully completed the 12-course dinner at the largest restaurant in Atlas City. She sighed happily and knew she could quickly get used to it.
His hands moved down her arms, squeezing and massaging the bunched-up muscles. She started to drift off as her body relaxed and the throbbing diminished. In fact, it took her a few minutes before she realized that Gourry had been talking to her the entire time. With a great amount of effort, she turned her head to get a good look at his knees.
"What was that?" she slurred.
He didn't bat an eye. "You're going to have to get into a hot bath. It'll help ease the pain some."
"You're doing a damn fine job here."
"This isn't going to last for long." He gave her a look that caused the pleasant lethargy to drain completely.
Lina had a feeling she was not going to like his next words.
"You weren't going to be able to get back to the house in the condition you're in. The massage will help you walk that far, but you're going to need to soak and sleep the rest of it off."
Lina groaned. She had the sinking sensation that Gourry was speaking from experience - plenty of it.
All too soon, he stopped kneading her arms and switched his grip. He got back to his feet, helping her up. Her legs buckled, but she forced herself to remain upright. "You should had done my legs while you were at it," she muttered.
"I could have..." His voice trailed off and their eyes locked. They held their gaze for a moment before she blinked and looked away, Xelloss' little statement about sword practice echoing in her mind again. Using the last of her strength, Lina shoved Gourry away from her. He managed to catch hold of the wall and didn't fall over.
They stared at each other for a second longer, then Lina headed back to Radok's house.
But she was smiling.