Rating: PG/PG-13
Fandom: Slayers
Genre: General
Status: Complete
Summary: A couple of short vignettes involving the Slayers characters in a Discworld setting. Theme challenge response.

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It is very possible that there is a world out there stranger than one in which a gang of super powered spooks battles with a bunch of pious reptiles to decide the world’s fate.

That world might be…

*****

“Ah, Miss Seyruun. I apologize for the delay,” the man at the desk said, shuffling papers as Amelia entered the room.

“No trouble,” Amelia said weakly, taking a seat. She was not in the best of spirits. She’d been full of confidence when she’d arrived in the city of Ankh-Morpork earlier that morning, but nearly being mugged by a man who claimed to be a licensed professional in the field of mugging had dampened this feeling. And then there’d been the wait outside the Patrician’s office. Something about it had set her teeth on edge. She couldn’t help feeling it had something to do with the clock.

And then there was the Patrician himself. She was not fooled by the thin appearance or the delicate pianist’s fingers. She’d seen enough of the world to recognize an aura of menace when she encountered one. The general suggestion exuded into the atmosphere was that things might be friendly now, but having people thrown into dungeons wasn’t even the most taxing part of that man’s day.

She squirmed slightly in her chair. She wished she had Mister Zelgadis with her. He was better with people like this. But she knew that Mister Zelgadis had better things to do than worry about her father’s pet projects.

“I understand,” Lord Vetenari said, holding a piece of paper up for closer inspection, “that your father has sent you as a special envoy to our bustling city to… what was it again?”

“To uh…” Amelia began wretchedly, “to promote moral principles and uphold virtue.”

Lord Vetenari stared at her for considerably longer than was comfortable. Finally he asked: “In Ankh-Morpork?

“We intend to be a force for good, sir,” Amelia said shyly but determinedly.

“Oh dear,” Lord Vetenari said vaguely. He was going to have to make sure that this one never came in contact with Captain Ironfoundersson. The resulting upheaval and likely extremely moving speeches would only be amusing to observe from a great distance. “And did your father tell you anything about Ankh-Morpork?”

“Only that it is a burgeoning metropolis filled with talented and very clever people who will be the bearers of the future,” Amelia said. He’d also said that it was a lawless pit of villainy and easygoing sin, but Amelia wasn’t about to mention that.

“Hmm,” was all the Patrician said, looking back down at his paperwork.

The pause went on just long enough for Amelia to wonder if she’d been dismissed. She wasn’t sure if she should leave or stay and was starting to contemplate coughing when the Patrician finally looked up again.

“Well, everything seems to be in order.” He gave her a cold, brittle smile. “I will watch your efforts here with interest.”

“Yes, sir,” Amelia said uneasily.

“Don’t let me detain you,” Lord Vetenari said, as he turned once again to his paperwork.

Amelia didn’t intend on letting him, so she scurried out of that office as fast as was dignified.

*****

“Are you sure this is safe?” Zelgadis asked from his position on a chair in the Alchemists’ Guild with a worrying amount of straps on it. He insisted they not be snapped shut, even though according to the alchemists they were only there for his comfort.

“Why of course, young man,” Mister Silverfish said with a keen and slightly sweaty smile. “You leave it to us and we’ll have that chimeraism fixed up in no time.”

“Only I was thinking I might see if they had any ideas at the university,” Zelgadis said slowly.

“The wizards?” Silverfish repeated huffily. “Bunch of frauds if you ask me! Just a lot of silly old men playing around in dresses. No! If you want things done you must go to men of science!”

Zelgadis glared at him.

“Oh, that’s right,” Silverfish said as realization dawned. “You said you practiced magic.” He looked anxious at Zelgadis sand said, “You don’t uh… look like a wizard.”

“I get that a lot,” Zelgadis said bluntly.

“Whatever the case, I urge you to let us handle this problem, Mister Zelgadis,” Silverfish said. “If alchemy was the art that transformed you, then alchemy must be what cures you.”

That… did make sense, but… “Didn’t I hear something about an explosion here last week?” he asked, eyeing the man suspiciously.

“Oh, that always happens,” Silverfish said as though it was an irrelevant detail. “Trust me, it all works out in the end.” A small fire exploded from a cauldron behind him and was being rapidly put out by other alchemists, but Silverfish didn’t appear to acknowledge it. “Please give us a try,” he said, holding up a beaker full of a slightly smoking sludge.

Zelgadis eyed the mixture with an expression of caution mixed with horrified curiosity. “What’s in that anyway?”

“Only natural ingredients,” Silverfish said reassuringly. “A bulb of Zigadenus Venenosus, Catha Edulis leaves, spines from Mala Mujer, some White Snakeroot, and a tincture of Henbane.”

Zelgadis had learned a bit about plants from his ill-advised and accidentally hallucinogenic foray into the art of potion brewing. “Aren’t all of those poisonous, extremely painful, or highly addictive?” he asked.

“Yes,” Silverfish said brightly, not as though he’d been found out, but as though he was pleased to meet a quick student. “But if our theory is correct, the harmful effects should be negated by the mixture of gunpowder we added.”

There was a long silence.

“I’m leaving,” Zelgadis said unceremoniously.

*****

The senior staff members of the Unseen University watched in awe as the skinny, petite red-head and her muscular blonde companion put away food like it existed in infinite quantities. As a rule, wizards were uncomfortable around women, especially ones that purported to be magical practitioners, but the young lady known as Lina Inverse had done nothing since she walked into those hallowed halls but gain their respect.

She was loud, she was arrogant, and she had a bottomless appetite. If she’d only been more sluggish and in dire need of an elastic waistband, she would have fit in perfectly among the senior wizards. A beard might help too, but they understood that that might not be possible.

Her companion was a little worrying though. He had a dippy sort of look on his face and seemed to wonder why no one ever used the university gymnasium. Plus he got on a little too well with the Librarian.

“So you smashed the bottle against the bar, and then what happened?” Gourry asked, as he ladled another spoonful of soup into his mouth.

“Ook,” the Librarian said significantly.

“Do you suppose we could entice you to staying with us any longer, Miss Lina?” Ridcully asked. He’d become rather fond of Lina during her short stay. She shook up the staff and had a policy about setting fire to people who didn’t know how to act that Ridcully respected.

“I don’t know,” Lina said after nearly consuming an entire plate of pasta in one well-executed slurp. “We’ve got lots of places to go and all.”

“We could even give you your very own office,” Ridcully promised. “I’m sure the Dean would be perfectly happy to give you his.”

“Really, Munstrum,” the Dean said, eyeing Ridcully haughtily. “You can’t honestly be thinking of overturning years of university tradition by allowing a—”

“Butter castles! And they all come crumbling down,” the Bursar announced brightly.

They watched him to see if that was it. It appeared to be.

“I say a young lady with spunk might be just what this place needs,” Ridcully went on.

“Only if you want another tower blown up,” Ponder Stibbons said darkly from Ridcully’s left.

Ridcully goggled at him. “Nothing wrong with an explosion every now and then, man. Anyway, I thought you high energy lot were bang for explosions, if I may use that phrase.”

“We don’t blow things up out of childish pique, Archchancellor,” Ponder said wearily, as though he’d explained this many times before. “We only induce explosions under a controlled set of circumstances to observe the energy readings and blast patterns they create.”

“Oh?” the Archchancellor said. “Then what about that entire strip of lawn that got singed away last week?”

“A calculation error,” Ponder explained hastily.

“Yeah, well,” Ridcully said, disinterestedly shifting away from Stibbons. “What do you say, Miss Lina?”

“Gourry and I might be pretty busy,” Lina said uncertainly. There were lots of places she’d like to go, and hanging out with a bunch of old men held very little appeal, on the other hand the university was a pretty nice place to crash for free and had a lot of extremely interesting magic books.

“Ah, they’re bringing dessert in,” Ridcully said, looking up as a tray came through the room from the kitchens.

It was a triumph of flour, sugar, and butter. It was a cake worth getting married just to eat. It was covered in a layer of inch thick frosting complete with thicker plumes of cream placed at strategic points. It had so many layers that it wobbled dangerously as the giant tray was carried on the backs of four servants.

Lina Inverse grabbed her knife and fork eagerly.

I think I’m gonna like it here.

*****

Biers had recently been trying a new advertising campaign in order to attract a wealthier, less moldering clientele. Their new slogan was: “Biers: Where You’ll Meet the Most Interesting People”. And Filia had to reflect that this was quite true.

She’d never expected to find herself in an undead bar. She was not undead. She preferred to think of herself as ethereal. But she’d found that Biers was a place for anyone that didn’t quite fit in society. And she didn’t. That the reason she was at the bar; to… ease her troubles.

She’d been sitting at the bar next to a woman with long blue-black hair that had been easing her own troubles with a great deal more vigor; so she’d moved to one of the tables in order to avoid the prospect of her best dress becoming soaked with beer. It was there that she met three off-duty watchwomen having a drink after a long day’s work (and night’s work, and another day’s work).

“I didn’t know dragons could take human forms. I thought dragons were only those little exploding things that lived in the swamps,” the dwarf said speculatively.

“Well, Mist—” Filia stopped herself, noted the earrings and decided that they overrode the beard, “Miss Cheri, not all dragons are the same. The swamp dragons are very distant relatives to my people.”

“Every family’s got a black sheep or two,” Lance-Constable Sally said understandingly.

Filia liked Sally. She just had a very social nature and a charm that made her at ease in any setting. Very defined incisors too.

“The confusion this has caused has been just unbearable,” Filia said, unloading her troubles. “Those people at the Sunshine Dragon Sanctuary keep trying to measure me and feed me charcoal.”

“I suppose that’s just their way of being kind,” Angua commented before returning to her drink. She didn’t know how she kept getting talked into these ‘Lady’s drinking night’ things. They always ended up as an unmitigated disaster. Perhaps she just did it for the novelty.

“And I can’t even take my hat off in public anymore,” Filia said miserably.

“The ears do make you look a bit elvish,” Cheri said darkly.

“And don’t even get me started on the problems with transformation,” Filia said, leaning discontentedly against the table.

Sally and Angua exchanged a look. There was a certain ‘you’re preaching to the choir’ aspect to that look.

“It can’t be that bad,” Angua said. “At least you can always choose when to change.”

“And you don’t have to worry about losing bats,” Sally pointed out optimistically.

“I guess,” Filia said. …Wait, what about bats? But Filia was already on another self-pitying track and couldn’t be bothered to worry about it. “The thing that really irritates me,” she said, an edge entering her voice, “is that in order to transform I have to get naked. But when the transformation to human form is complete I still have my clothes on. There’s no reason nudity should be involved at all.”

“And you know what else?” Filia asked, really getting ****** off at this point. “Male dragons don’t have this problem at all! They don’t have to get naked to transform. What sense does that make?”

Sally rolled her eyes and Angua sighed as she played with a beer-ringed coaster. “It’s that…” Angua began.

“Underwire nightgown thing,” Sally finished.

Filia blinked confusedly. “Underwire nightgown thing?” she asked. “What does that mean?”

“Basically it means: You’re a woman. Life isn’t fair,” Sally said, patting her kindly on the arm.

“Well I knew that,” Filia said. Still, she couldn’t help but feel strangely… lighter to have it all spelled out like that.

A bell clanged that was more like a dirge as a zombie walked up to the bar and ordered something corrosive and unpronounceable and received beer like everyone else. Filia turned her gaze away from him and back to the table.

“Umm…” she said. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but aside from us this bar is full of a great many unsavory characters.”

Angua concentrated on her drink and Cheri looked like she wasn’t sure if she should say something or not. “You don’t say,” Sally said.

“I’m sure they must appreciate having members of the watch around to keep things in order,” Filia said complimentarily.

“Well, we always pay our tabs,” Angua said gloomily as she took another swig.

“I was just wondering…” Filia began uneasily, “if there were ever any… demons in here.”

Angua chewed on what was probably an olive and thought. “Not generally,” she finally said. “Not what you’d call full-fledged demons. We occasionally get a band of those Disorganizer imps, but Igor doesn’t like them since they only order one drink for five of them.”

Filia gave a sigh of relief.

“Trying to avoid someone?” Sally asked.

Filia downed her beer in one gulp, and wondered if she could get something a little stronger, or a lot stronger as the case may be. “Like the plague,” she said.

*****

Plans Xellos had been looking forward to implementing had been derailed. Filia was in Ankh-Morpork and an opportunity like that was not one he’d intended on missing. There were so many sights to show her: the Assassins’ Guild, Harry King’s ‘Recycling’ center, The Pork Futures Warehouse, The (cough) Seamstresses’ Guild, The Shades… So many magic moments were guaranteed. And by magic moments he meant her accidentally transforming and going on a rampage.

…He’d even found an undead bar he was sure she’d find revolting…

But all that had been ruined as he’d been unceremoniously summoned across hundreds of miles of continent and into a rather tastelessly decorated rural home with two old ladies and a dumpy girl staring at him. There wasn’t even a real magic circle under his feet. A quick glance was all that was needed to determine it was just a circular hopscotch pattern likely chalked out indoors for some extremely spoiled grandchild.

“Did it work, Nanny?” Agnes asked.

“Don’t look like any proper demon I’ve ever seen,” the old woman with the disturbingly sharp expression commented.

“Now Esme,” Nanny said, “it’s not as if you’ve even seen many demons.”

“I might have,” Granny Weatherwax said sharply.

“No you aint,” Nanny said. “Because you said it was mucking about and not something you’d get involved in, isn’t that right? But now the princess is cursed and we’ve got no choice but too—”

“I still say there are other things we can try,” Granny Weatherwax said obstinately.

“Yeah, but you haven’t thought of them yet, so we might as well try this,” Nanny ribbed. She sighed. “None of this would’ve happened if they’d only invited Old Mother Rimode to the birthday party. She so loves parties.”

“That’s not an excuse to curse a child,” Agnes pointed out. “You wouldn’t have cursed little Esme just because you were left out of her birthday party.”

“Of course not,” Granny Weatherwax said severely.

Agnes mentally let out a breath. She’d been a little worried on that point just after she’d said it.

“I’d curse Verence,” Granny added nastily.

“Umm… excuse me,” Xellos said, feeling as though he’d been forgotten.

They all turned to him as if he was intruding on something he had no business in. “What?” Granny Weatherwax asked flatly.

“You… summoned me for something?” Xellos asked, cringing against the old woman’s glare despite his better instincts.

“That’s right,” Nanny said, giving him a gummy smile. “We need you to tell us how to break the curse on the princess, if you please, young man.”

At this point, the conversation once again was disrupted in a whispered side conversation between the old women.

“What’s with all that: ‘if you please, young man’?” Granny whispered suspiciously.

“Nothing wrong with being polite, Esme,” Nanny whispered back innocently.

“I know you Gytha Ogg,” Granny whispered threateningly, “and you can just get your mind out of the—”

“Could you at least tell me where I am?” Xellos asked, peering uneasily at the whispering old women.

“You’re in Lancre,” Agnes answered slightly timidly.

Xellos searched his mind for relevant information. Lancre… Lancre… Lancre… “You mean like the cheese?” he finally asked.

Nanny Ogg snapped her fingers. “That reminds me,” she said. “Tiff!” she called out into the hall. “You can bring out the horse-de-overs now!”

Xellos opened his eyes as a girl with plain brown hair walked into the room carrying a plate with cheese cubes on sticks on it, she looked up into his eyes and abruptly dropped the tray.

“Don’t be so clumsy, girl,” Granny chided.

“Sorry,” Tiffany mumbled. “Just reminded me of someone.” She piled the fallen cheese back on the tray and was about to take it out of the room when Nanny stopped her.

“No point in wasting good food,” Nanny said, taking the plate from Tiffany, who shrugged and left.

“That’s disgusting,” Granny commented.

“Five-second rule, Esme,” Nanny said with a cheese-cube in her mouth.

“The dirt doesn’t care how long it was on the floor, Nanny,” Agnes pointed out.

“Curse? Princess?” Xellos prompted, trying to reinforce his presence once again.

“Right,” Granny said, fixing her diamond glare on him. “Well?” she asked.

Xellos struggled for an answer. He eventually went with: “I don’t suppose you’d considered burning all the spinning wheels in the kingdom. That’s usually the first step in these kinds of things.”

“Wouldn’t work,” Granny said firmly. “There’ll always be one that hangs around. Anyway, have you even considered what that would do to the garment industry?”

Xellos confessed that he hadn’t.

“I expect you wouldn’t,” Granny said haughtily. “Honest folk have to go around making their own clothes. We can’t just wish them from raw firmament.”

“I don’t know, Esme. I thought his cape was rather dashing,” Nanny said with an almost criminally coquettish giggle. Granny and Agnes both looked in opposite directions.

Xellos had learned to adapt to many unusual situations in his long and storied history, but he just didn’t have the mental tool-kit necessary to deal with being flirted with by Nanny Ogg.

“I suppose there’s always the hundreds of years of sleep option,” Xellos said, eager to change the subject. “Forest of thorns, handsome princes... Isn’t that how these things usually wrap up?”

“And who’s going to mow down the forest of thorns when this is over, I ask you?” Granny asked. “And take care of the livestock and crops while everyone’s a sleep? And where are we supposed to get this handsome prince? And considering the princess is only six, I wouldn’t trust any handsome prince we could get!

Xellos gave this some more thought. “I don’t suppose the Queen would consider having another baby?” he finally asked.

Granny surveyed him coolly. “Is that all the help you intend on being?” she asked.

Xellos shrugged and smiled. “Probably,” he said.

“Fine,” Granny said. “I told you this wouldn’t work,” she said to Nanny Ogg. She waved a hand in Xellos’s direction. “Begone, foul fiend, ect-cetra, ect-cetra…”

Xellos took this as his cue to faze out to somewhere more suited to his tastes. As he left he heard:

“I told you this was a waste of time, Gytha.”

“I don’t know… I thought he had rather nice eyes. Shame about the hair though.”

“What are we supposed to do now?”

*****

It is very possible that there is a world out there stranger than one that is carried around on the backs of four elephants which stand on the shell of a turtle traversing through space.

That world might be…

*****

Gourry awoke from under the tree and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He’d had such strange dreams that it was hard to figure out what was dream and what was real.

“Geez, Gourry. You gonna sleep all day?” Lina asked impatiently.

Lina would know. “Hey Lina,” Gourry asked blearily getting up. “Were we having dinner with a bunch of fat old wizards just now?”

Lina gave him a quizzical look. “Not that I remember,” she said.

“What are we doing then?” Gourry asked.

Lina rolled her eyes and let out a gust of a sigh. “Like I’ve told you a million times before! We’re looking for some magic weapons from another world so that we can fight off a dragon who’s also a monster and stop the apocalypse!”

“Oh, yeah,” Gourry said getting up to follow her.

“That makes a lot more sense.”