Slayers Novel Feats Collection #5: The Silver Beast

We’re finally back with the next installment of our examination of the original Slayers novels by Hajime Kanzaka. Next up, the fifth, Slayers: The Silver Beast.

Slayers the Silver Beast OBD

This novel takes place roughly during the events of Slayers: NEXT, but along radically different lines. Mazenda makes an appearance here, but she is not closely associated with Kanzel during the Saillune shenanigans seen in the last book (corresponding to episodes 8-13 of Slayers: NEXT).

Now let’s get into the feats.

The treetops suddenly shuddered violently. An instant later, leaves showered down on us, filling the air and almost completely obscuring our vision.

I sensed a presence somewhere above us and looked up. Mazenda hovered high in the air, that very same smile fixed on her lips. She held a stone in one of her hands. Was she going to pelt us with rocks? I wondered if she was casting some kind of warding magic. She did hurl the stone, not at me, but at the ground near me.

I immediately recoiled, leaping sideways. I soon found out that was a bad idea.

ZAP!

A weak charge of lightning struck me. For a moment, a numb, tingling sensation coursed through my limbs.

The effect didn’t last long, at least. I came back to my senses fast, but I still couldn’t figure out what stunt that woman was trying to pull. I rapidly chanted a spell.

“Elmekia Lance!” I shouted and released it in her direction…

…Or didn’t, actually.

My head went completely blank. It was like a light had been suddenly switched off, and all those supercharged flashes of thoughts in my brain abruptly vanished. (pg. 14-16)

This is Mazenda’s sealing spell as seen in Slayers NEXT. It’s done a bit differently here, but it has the same effect. Mazenda mentions that if Lina defeats her, her magic will be restored, and beckons her to come to the town of Mane.

Things get heated while they’re there:

The moment Gourry had drawn the Sword of Light, Vedur’s shadow had erupted out of the ground and attacked Gourry with several shadow blades. While Gourry had cut through the blades with his Sword of Light, Vedur had swung his sword and gashed Gourry’s breastplate. (pg. 52)

Vedur has advanced shadow manipulation, enough to avoid attack and defend. Yet, here we see his partner in crime, Gilfa:

I was starting to guess that Gilfa was a Shadow Master. This day just keeps getting better and better.

I was still confused with Gilfa. No matter how expertly skilled a Shadow Master is, I’d never known one with the ability to speak through another’s shadow. Was it possible?

At any rate, the team beats a retreat.

And now enter…Xellos!

He began casting a spell, the calm smile never leaving his face.

I could hear his incantation. As spells go, it had an odd beginning.

“Oh no you don’t!” Feltis roared. In the blink of an eye, he was upon the priest and sent tumbling through the brush.

“What-?!” Was my immediate and less-than-insightful response. Feltis had been blown back by nothing more than the spell’s magic field.

See, when a spell’s being cast, a magic wall (sort of like a force field) surrounds the caster. The wall is generally stronger for stronger attack spells, but only to a point; to give an idea, the Dragon Slave, said to be the most powerful attack spell, provides a wall that still can’t withstand a third-rate sorcerer’s fireball or a first-rate swordsman’s slashes.

Until right then, I’d never seen an attacker – especially one as powerful-looking as Feltis, deflected by a magic field alone. What the hell was that priest chanting? (pg. 66-7)

So the normal magic barriers are pretty weak, but Xellos’ is pretty strong. I still don’t know how a first-rate swordsman like Gourry could beat a barrier with a normal sword, but whatever.

As for the spell itself?

“Blast Bomb!”

As the air whooshed and whined, dozens of balls of light sprung forth around the priest. Then they tore through the air, spiraling to converge where he pointed.

That’s when my inner voice gave me a simple and desperate instruction: Duck!

I hit the ground as the balls of light slammed into the very unlucky Feltis.

KA-BOOOOOM!

The massive roar was followed by a concussive shockwave and, finally, by a blast of overheated air. The hands I slapped over my ears barely managed to keep my eardrums from bursting.

The first thing I realized was that Feltis was gone. Well, not so much gone as reduced to a smattering of orange-colored powder. That was an eerie sign he’d been vaporized – a sign scattered all over the bushes and twigs where he’d been standing. (pg 67-68)

Interesting that the Slayers novels go into so much detail about the science of the magic, even more so at times than the anime or manga. That explosion sounds like it was based on real life physics and not just lolenergy.

“Shadow Web!”

Vedur’s shadow distorted and released spear-like tentacles straight for me. I leapt even farther back; the shadow spears shot across the floor, dangerously close to my feet.

Vedur had, by then, recovered his balance, and he charged at me again with his sword. I prepared to dodge him, but suddenly realized something very disheartening.

I couldn’t move.

My eyes flew to my feet. The shadow spears had done their work: Gilfa’s lances had plunged into my shadow on the floor, effectively pinning me to the spot where I stood. He’d done a Shadow Snap with the shadows under his control. (pg. 121-2)

So this is basically a super Shadow Snap. And that isn’t all. something is seriously up with Vedur:

Without any time to withdraw his sword, Zelgadiss leapt backward, his sword lodged in Vedur’s throat.

Shakily, Vedur’s fingers gripped Zel’s sword. He slowly extracted the blade from his neck, then let it fall to the floor with a clang. His body shook as he awkwardly backed away.

Unreal!

Zelgadiss and I stared at each other, awestruck. The blade had impaled Vedur right through the throat – one of the most fatal strikes you can launch, and even the biggest, baddest creatures in the world can’t survive without a neck. But Vedur had just pulled that sword out and walked away to shake it off, like he’d yanked a splinter from his foot. It was completely impossible! Was Vedur just spasming in his final death throes or something?

Still, there was something strange about the way Vedur moved. He strode forward in an unusually erratic fashion, like he was possessed by another power.

It was more than a little creepy. Zel and I watched Vedur disappear into the corridor. (pg. 126)

Welp. Moving on.

I froze. Zanaffar?! I thought in shock. The legendary creature responsible for the destruction of Sairaag City? He’d just been a magic experiment gone wrong?!

As far as I knew, no record of explaining who the Demon Beast was ever really existed. Of course, it would come as no surprise if the original keepers of the manuscript had destroyed the proof to keep the blame away from them. You’d have to be nuts to admit that it was one of your ancestors who accidentally destroyed the hometown of the Sorcerer’s Guild. (pg. 142)

Zanaffar, it seems, was a chimera manufactured from a fragment of the legendary magical tome, the Clair Bible, but it went crazy and destroyed Sairaag.

Meanwhile, they’re soon found by Xellos:

“I simply traced the magical energy given off by the talismans I sold miss Lina.”

I’d forgotten about that. Using sorcery to scry for a specific kind of magic energy is a common strategy for sorcerers, but it’s only useful if the one doing the scrying knows the magic’s specific energy pattern. My talismans were basically tracking devices for Xellos; I told myself to remember that. (pg. 146)

So there’s basically ki sensing in Slayers, something I’d suspected all along based on numerous incidents and passages. Now Xellos really gets into something juicy:

“So” Xellos went on, joining his palms as he organized his thoughts, “back to the ‘why-won’t-magic-work’ (on Zanffar) question. In the first place, magic-” He broke off there and paused. “Rather, let’s backtrack a bit. What is mana?”

“A force that originated before the creation of this world.” Amelia recited as though she’d memorized the response long ago.

“Precisely. Because magic originates from a place of nothingness, it is capable of altering the fate of this world either through producing power or through other means.”

I took a seat next to Amelia, and Zelgadiss leaned against a sack of hay. We weren’t about to ignore the man.

“When we invoke magic here in the physical world, the spell acts as a medium to draw power from the astral side. Think of the astral side as the backside of the world; the boundary separating it and us is paper-thin.

“Elemental spells-earth, water, fire, and air – are manifestations of physical forces. These spells may be extremely powerful, but because they are embodiments of physical concepts, physical defenses can protect against them.

“However,” Xellos raised his finger again to make his point, “mind-affecting sorcery and half of the offensive spells in Black Magic attack the opponent’s astral self directly from the astral side.”

“Teacher,” I piped in, raising a hand only half-jokingly. “I have a question.”

“Yes?”

“Garv Flare has a visible trace of flame, and Dragon Slave can directly destroy a castle or even a mountain. The last time I checked, mountains and castles weren’t astral phenomena.”

Yeah, I can be a little snotty, but that’s how I keep people on their toes.

“Mmm,” Xellos hummed. “I’m glad you brought that up. With the Dragon Slave, you can see a faint red beam as the spell makes for and converges with its target. Gaav Flare’s flames and Dragon Slave’s red beam can all be thought of as the spells’ fuses, so to speak.”

“Fuses?”

“Indeed. The resulting reaction causes attack power from the astral side to converge at the target and manifest itself in this world. If the target is not alive, the power simply comes through, but if the target does live, its mental component is torn asunder and any remaining energy breaks through into our world.

“Of course,” Xellos added, “there are spells like Elmekia Lance that solely effect the astral, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that difference before.”

Damn! The guy was smart – nerd smart. I wished I had some way to jot all that information down. (pg. 147-8)

Unlike Lina, we do. This has been explained before in the meta-series, but this is the most complete explanation. So magic in Slayers borrows from conceptual, soul, physical, mental, and other powers. Pretty neat. Even the Sorcerers’ Guild doesn’t understand magic the way Xellos does (unsurprisingly). However, this is pretty ominous when it comes to dealing with Zanaffar:

The reason offensive magic can’t affect Zanaffar is because Zanaffar’s mind is completely sealed off from the astral side.”

My eyebrows furrowed. Sealed off?

“Zanaffar has kind of a wall between his physical side and his astral side. For that reason, the offensive astral power of Black Magic will never actually penetrate Zanffar’s mind or body. Such spells cannot damage him.

“The silver lining here is that  the full offensive and physical power of Shamanic Magic can be utilized.”

Amelia sucked in a breath happily.

“On the other hand,” Xellos admitted, “Zanffar’s hide is at least resilient as an Arc Dragon’s, possibly as tough as a Dimos Dragon or a Dragon Lord’s. His hide alone can easily defeat human-level Shamanic Magic.” (pg. 149-50)

In other words, he’s a tough son of a bitch. He also can’t be tracked, and the nature of magic is further explained:

A quick experiment proved that the Demon Beast’s mind was protected against astral-side scrying, so that didn’t help us. For all we knew, Zanaffar was done and ready to wreck havoc; it was less than a heartening thought.

There was something I did, though, that I knew would help: spell research. I couldn’t very well go into battle without fully understanding how the talismans amplified my powers, but even more important, I wanted to look into a group of spells that I liked to call, “Spells that Should Work but Don’t.”

You see, some spells in the world of sorcery don’t activate from the mere act of chanting them, even if you pull the chant off perfectly. For those spells, you have to go further and determine each one’s specific parameters-some need special tools, some need ceremonies, and some have to be cast at very particular times. It’s possible that all that special pain-in-the-neck detail is simply because the caster needs extra magic capacity; Xellos’ Blast Bomb, an obvious doozy, is just such a spell.

And yes, I had my own stock of “special need” spells. And yes, since I was in a position to amplify the hell out of my magic, I felt the need to experiment with those spells. So, while we kept on in pursuit of Krotz and his gang, I spent every extra minute I could spare on spell research.

It was in the interest of science, I tell you. Science! (pg. 161-2)

Curioser and curioser. When Lina constantly says that the Dragon Slave was the “strongest attack spell in Black Magic” she usually means “that can be cast normally.” Guess what her talismans do? But now, some info on golems:

Vu Vraimer employs low-ranking earth spirits floating about in the air to transform hunks of ground into a possessed, controllable form. My lovely new golem was twice the size of my opponents. (pg. 182)

More info on how magic works. Now, more on Zanaffar:

“Zanaffar,” I grated, using every ounce of my will not to murder him (Gourry), “is a type of parasite, apparently. It starts in a suit of armor that protects the host’s body, but then it slowly consumes the host’s flesh in order to grow. When the host’s flesh is consumed, Zanaffar is complete.” (pg. 211)

We saw this in Slayers REVOLUTION, but it’s explained in pure black and white here.

The Laser Breath!

There was no question about it – it was the exact same light that shot out at us the night we fled from the cult’s first hideout, only now it was way meaner. The beam had emerged from beneath the ground, ripped through the earth, and hit the lake with such force that the water boiled, hissed, and sprayed violently in all directions. The vaporized water created a cloud of mist over the entire area. (pg. 214)

This was done casually by Zanffar. If only we could get a volume. Meanwhile, Gourry shows his penchant for speed:

Even scarier was what happened next: the Demon Beast charged straight at us! He fired another Laser breath, jogging behind it, when suddenly –

Gourry deflected it. (pg. 216)

Not bad.

But Zanaffar wasn’t only extremely tough, he was extremely fast. Gourry swung, but he sliced through nothing but air. Zanaffar had avoided the attack by jumping straight up!

It surprised me how high Zanffar’s jump carried him. His enormous body became a tiny shape silhouetted against the sun, hung high in the air for a moment, and then plumetted downward – straight for Gourry. As he dropped, the Demon Beast shot a nonstop succession of Laser Breaths; Gourry had his hands full deflecting Zanaffar’s attacks, robbing him of the time he needed to dodge the beast himself.

The Demon Beast landed heavily a short distance away, his impact with the earth shaking us all. (pg. 218)

After casting the Blast Bomb, in which Zanaffar is not damaged at all, Lina turns to her trump card.

I had one spell in mind that, with the aid of my talismans, could possibly get Zanffar’s attention. It was a spell for summoning darkness and converging it into the shape of a blade.

Sounds cool, huh?

I’d tested out the spell several days earlier and found its destructive potential to be, for lack of a better word, ginormous. Of course, I hadn’t deployed the spell in real combat, but it was still a hell of a spell, powerful enough to give the Sword of Light a run for its money.

I knew it would be difficult to pull off, since the blade that formed the spell was only the size of a short sword. The spell also consumed energy while it was being cast, which meant that even if I used all my magic power, I still couldn’t keep it going for very long before it burned out or my body did. Once activated, all my physical energy would go into the spell and leave me little mobility for dodging incoming attacks. My only hope was a surprise attack – a fatal, single blow, so he couldn’t live to retaliate and make me very dead.

By the way, the spell I had in mind falls within the realm of what fuddy-duddies call “forbidden sorcery.” It’s true that it originates from the same source as my most secret of spells, the Giga Slave, and that source just happens to be the Lord of Nightmares. Okay, so maybe the “forbidden” tag is there for a good reason. Cut me some slack – I was going up against a Demon Beast!

On the plus side, I knew it was easier to control than the Giga Slave, so I didn’t foresee any (serious) problems keeping it reined in. The only problem, really, was that there was no guarantee that it would hurt the Beast at all. (pg. 221-2)

And there you have it, the Ragna Blade! Although…the shot of the Ragna Blade doesn’t exactly look like a “short sword.”

Ragna Blade Lina Inverse OBD

Anyway, back to Zanaffar, who can shoot Laser Breaths out his tentacles, and, well, this:

“I have consumed my host, Grouj,” Zanaffar explained with a wicked snarl, “as well as his knowledge and experience. Is it so mysterious that I am capable of speaking in your human tongue?” (pg. 223)

We also knew this from Slayers REVOLUTION, but there you go. Zanaffar has a notable weakness, however:

“Consuming you is of no use to me, for the defensive capability that protects me from magic denies me the power to use magic myself.”

Really? I thought. So the astral seal interfered with spells both ways – it gave protection against incoming attack spells, but prevented Zanffar from casting his own. (pg. 224)

And now for the ultimate weakness:

The sword (Ragna Blade) sliced through Zanaffar’s flesh easily – so easily, in fact, that both my ploughed through the wound right up to my elbows. While the thrust didn’t quite kill Zanaffar, it sure as hell hurt and confused him.

FIREBALL!

FWOOM!

Zanaffar’s midsection rumbled as tongues of flame shot out from his ears, nose, and mouth. He couldn’t even scream as the fiery inferno devoured him from within.

As I fell to the ground, exhausted, I watched the bastard burn. The acrid smell of cooked flesh singed my nostrils and burned my eyes.

Ahh…the smell of victory. It was less than appetizing, but still oddly sweet. (pg. 231)

Zanaffar in the end got offed by a basic spell, how humiliating is that?