Due to peculiar circumstances, Xellos ends up with a deadly curse that can only be broken by the willing kiss of a golden dragon. A tricky conspiracy lurks in the shadows... and chaos is in the air! XellosxFilia, ZelgadisxAmelia, GourryxLina
Slayers: Alive - Episode 001: Danger! The Deadly Curse
"Bring in the next course!" Lina Inverse, the gluttonous sorceress extraordinaire, was currently passing by the kingdom of Seyruun, which meant of course, stopping by the palace to visit her dear friend Amelia and her lovely royal chefs. Amelia, being the kind hostess she was, found herself in the blissful obligation to provide Lina with enough food to fill her stomach, the same applying to Gourry. She didn't mind though, Zelgadis had run into Lina on the road to Seyruun and decided to tag along, Amelia was all too happy to see him.
The sun was shining, the land was peaceful and everything was all around just fine, unless you're an exhausted overworked chef. That was why, in the midst of this peace and quiet in the city of white magic, no one expected him to show up. Yet there he was, and the peculiarly observant would notice that he was not happy with his current location, but there seemed to be something else that bothered him so much more, something that he would eloquently describe, should anyone inquire about it, as a secret.
"Mr. Xellos?" Amelia blinked looking at the new arrival escorted to the royal dining hall by one of the castle guards.
"So this is one of your friends, princess," the guard confirmed, taking the monarch's recognition of the suspicious purple haired man as proof enough that he could be trusted. "Have a good time with your visit," the guard excused himself, leaving just as suddenly as he came, but without the company of the unexpected guest.
Lina had to actually pause in her eating and turn her head towards Xellos with imaginary interrogation symbols all over her face. "What are you doing here?" She asked with her mouth still half full before turning her attention back to the food on the table and realizing that Gourry had finished eating all the barbecued ribs during her short distraction. "My ribs! Gourry, those were mine!" Their usual antics followed as they disconnected themselves from the rest of the world.
Amelia and Zelgadis however, were still waiting for Xellos' reply, perplexed about his presence and, in the chimera's case, not at all glad for it. "I just thought I should come to visit," Xellos grinned that familiar little grin that seemed to annoy everyone, which was his purpose anyway.
"Like we're going to believe that," Zelgadis accused, clearly suspicious and with good reasons. "What kind of trouble do you have in mind this time?"
"Oh, there is no such thing," Xellos innocently replied, though he was indeed thinking of something very troublesome, but this time it was troublesome for himself. He couldn't help it though, it was the tradition of every hundred years and he would look like a coward if he didn't attend. It was the monster's version of truth or dare. All the high level monsters, Xellos included of course, would get together and play their version of the classic game.
Most of the time, the players would choose truth, being placed under an instant curse that would destroy them if they lied. The peculiarity was that the asker could throw out up to a hundred questions concerning a single subject matter, so ambiguous yet truthful answers wouldn't be enough to get past the curse, only enough to delay it until the cursed was pushed to a verbal corner and had no choice but to reveal the coveted truth or lie and die. The death in itself would provide a hint at the truth, thus making it pointless to sacrifice themselves for those who valued a secret more than their life. It was a grand way to obtain information, every one hundred years during their little reunion.
Xellos was well informed about a number of things and served as a great source of information every century. The monsters would draw lots at random with each name being available once and cheating being punishable by a deadly curse whether they got caught or not. It was every monster's wish to draw Xellos' name and interrogate him about some important strategic matter, inquiring about every little thing concerning some topic of significant power. This time though, Xellos couldn't risk it. He had been order to keep his mouth shut or be killed by his superior, which meant that he had to choose dare, otherwise he would be killed by the curse if he remained silent. It was a matter of survival since being absent and coming off as the biggest coward in monster history was simply not an option, Beast Master would probably kill him for that too.
After expecting a valuable source of information to be handed to him in a silver platter by the good fortune of having drawn Xellos' name, the monster whose name is of no importance was sorely disappointed. Xellos chose to undergo a dare, which shocked all those present and filled them with interest. Angered, the monster in question took a hasty and humiliating revenge, "I dare you to... have a golden dragon willingly kiss you, standard time limit." Oh yes, the dares did have a time limit to be accomplished and Xellos could already feel the seconds ticking in his mind as his eye twitched.
"I will accomplish this dare as it is demanded of me," Xellos growled and promptly killed the monster who threw such misery upon him and that was why his name was of no importance, he was dead anyway. Of course the curse itself was another story, a product of the united power of all the attending monsters, even Xellos himself. There was no escape even if the one who dared him was dead. Worse yet, there was no cheating either. He couldn't just pop out of thin air, plant a kiss on a golden dragon and call it done; the dragon had to kiss him.
Thus that brings us back to the current scenario. Xellos had chosen his target to be Filia with some obscure plan involving emotional manipulation forming in the back of his mind, yet not fully matured yet. His strategizing was sluggish and Xellos hated it, he blamed it on the terrible dread that was in fact so terrible that not even a monster who enjoyed negative emotions could enjoy it. He decided that a simple process of information gathering was in order, least he made a mess that caused the prospect of being kissed by Filia to become even less likely, so as to not say impossible, than it already was. It was time well invested in the end, all for the sake of doing things properly and not wasting his chance, it wasn't stalling at all.
Thus Xellos felt the need to involve Lina and her friends by embarking in an odd quest to make them kiss each other. Xellos was no romance expert; he knew nothing about love except for the fact that it was unhealthy, him being a monster and all. Even if this put his health in even more danger, none the less he needed to observe. Under Zelgadis' impatient glare, Xellos continued, "I simply came to invite you all to go on vacation." He produced a group of tickets from his cloak holding them up with a grin. "This resort is renowned for several reasons, one of them being the grand buffet, they say the cuisine knows no rival and it's all you can eat. I've already taken care of all the arrangements, so the buffet is completely free."
The mention of free food caught Lina and Gourry's interest instantly. "How do we know this isn't a trap?" Lina raised a suspicious eyebrow, when something sounded too good to be true, it probably was, especially if Xellos was involved.
"Why don't you go and see for yourself?" Xellos suggested, knowing that there were few believable excuses he could give, plus he wasn't going to waste his time on them. Lina wasn't convinced, but that changed when Xellos tossed a bag of golden coins in her direction. Lina caught the plain brown pouch and looked inside, her eyes lighting up in pleasure. "That's a security deposit; if I'm lying you can keep it."
"Tell you what, Xellos," Lina grinned greedily. "If you give me this as spending money I'll go on that vacation. After all, what's a vacation without being able to buy souvenirs?"
"Very well, I should have expected as much," and he did. With Lina and therefore Gourry ready to go, Xellos turned to his next victims of trickery. "This particular resort also has quite a collection of magical books, I'm sure they're quite interesting."
"Not buying it," Zelgadis grunted. "You may be able to trick Lina and Gourry into this but not me."
"I understand..." Xellos feigned resignation. "Lina, Gourry and I will go on ahead and you can stay here... it's clear you want some time alone with Miss Amelia."
Zelgadis and Amelia promptly blushed with Zelgadis letting out a stream of incoherent excuses as he mentally cursed Xellos, not knowing that the monster was already cursed. The stream of gibberish ended up with an embarrassed, "fine I'll go," with Amelia adding a similar barely audible acceptance. Thus the group set off towards Filia's residence, because Xellos insisted that he wanted to invite her too.
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The trip to Filia's shop in a city a considerable distance away, went strangely without any problems. Lina and Gourry scared a few innkeepers with their voracious appetites that drained a hole in Xellos' wallet as Lina insisted that he paid since he invited them on the excursion. There was also the occasional unfortunate highwayman who, not knowing who Lina was, demanded that the 'flat-chested girl' gave up all her money and valuables before being ignited by the wrath of a fireball. All in all, it was an okay journey.
The bells attached to the door of Filia's shop chimed as the cheerful shop keeper gave her usual greetings with a smile. "Welcome to-" then she stopped, her smile turning into a scowl, "why are you here?" She pointed an accusing finger at Xellos.
Xellos remained silent for a moment and considered his options. Outright inviting Filia to tag along in a little vacation was both ridiculous and suspicious... but he wasn't in the mood to try too hard. After all, even a monster can feel drained when facing a task so excruciatingly difficult and unpleasant that even getting started feels like a dying effort... maybe literally this time. "You owe the honor of my visit to Amelia over there." He tilted his head in direction to the princess. He didn't like lying, but he simply wasn't in the mood to make an effort.
"Me?" Amelia looked left and right as if something in the atmosphere could provide her with a clue that could help her make sense of Xellos' false claim.
"By the way, here are the tickets you asked me to hold for you," Xellos handed the tickets to Amelia, knowing that in her distraction she wouldn't examine them too closely, at least not until it was too late. "You said some terribly unpleasant things about friendship and what not, but since I'm bored, I'll tag along anyway."
"Oh... yes," Amelia thought she understood. It might have been wishful thinking, but maybe justice had finally found its way into Xellos heart and he was beginning to see the value of friendship. He wanted to express his feelings of companionship to the entire group, Filia included. If that was the case, then Amelia felt the need to assist him by coaxing Filia into joining them by pretending that she was the one who came up with the invitation. Surely then it would be far less suspicious and once they were blissfully vacationing, things would flow on their own. "I wanted to invite all my dear friends to the," she looked at the tickets, "Amor Resort?" Wait a minute, didn't amor translate to love? It sounded like someplace people would visit on their honeymoon, but love was not limited to couples, so there was probably plenty of room for friendship too. "To have fun and celebrate our friendship," Amelia finished.
"Oh..." Filia blinked, recognizing the translation of the word. Though Lina's breathing rhythm went hectic for a split second, she calmed down before anyone could notice her gasp any more then Zelgadis' blush and sideways glance at Amelia. Gourry remained blissfully ignorant. What's in a name anyway? This was about food and magical research and at the very most friendship, not romance. She looked at Xellos suspiciously. "Why would that," she pointed rudely, "even consider acknowledging the existence of friendship?"
Xellos had a good excuse for this, which consisted of guilt tripping Filia, but fate seemed to be in his favor in the face of adversity, as Amelia did it for him. It was about time he caught a break... then again, the hardest path lay ahead. "Miss Filia, I'm sure that a kind person such as yourself can find it in her good heart to overlook the past without holding a grudge and have a fun time with an open mind."
"Well, I..." Filia wasn't sure what to say, but she was giving in. "I suppose that I shouldn't let the presence of such a foul creature stop me from having fun vacationing with the rest of you." It wasn't exactly the type of response Amelia was hoping for, but it was progress. Filia had been working hard, she needed a break. She could leave Gravos and Jillas to take care of Val's egg and the shop for a little while. It would be okay... "Alright, count me in, I'll just have to pretend it's just us good people in the group," she agreed.
Okay, so Filia was not very likely to kiss him any time soon, but she was at least tagging along. Why did Xellos even choose her as the target anyway? Well, she was the easiest to find and manipulate... Yeah, that was it; that had to be it... Right, it was time to start the process of observation and gather data to put into action.
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The journey the rest of the way to Amor Resort, located on a small island some distance away, was somewhat similar from the journey to Filia's shop. Lina and Gourry stuffed their faces on Xellos' account, Zelgadis and Amelia made polite small talk with each other and Filia conversed with each member of the group equally except Xellos of course, to whom she had only the most varied repertoire of insults. He didn't reply to any of them, holding his tongue as best he could with a fake smile plastered on his face. It was creepy. After a while, Filia was in fact so disturbed that she stopped insulting Xellos in favor of ignoring him, save for the scattered occasions when she shot him a suspicious glare.
When the group of six arrived at the Amor Resort via ferry, they presented their tickets and were given three keys, pertaining to the rooms each couple would share as the clerk assumed. The group thought nothing of the three rooms since no one said anything about sleeping arrangements, and they roomed as they usually did, the girls in one room and the guys in the other, leaving one room vacant.
From there on out, everything went rather well for most of the integrants of the group. The resort was huge and they each had things they wanted to do, so they went their separate ways with Lina and Gourry heading off to the open buffet. Zelgadis went off to check out the library and Amelia tagged along to help in his research. Xellos decided it was time to begin his experiments. Instead of going through the trial and error himself, he would make the others do it for him and copy the winning strategy. Normally he would come up with his own tactics, but he was a monster and winning a kiss was not something his nature allowed him to properly strategize for. Besides, he wanted to get it done as fast and painlessly as possible, let the others suffer the awkwardness in his place. It wasn't stalling, not at all, and it certainly wasn't fear of failure, absolutely not.
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At an outdoor table in a fancy restaurant with couples all around, Lina and Gourry ate to their heart's content. If they had noticed Xellos sitting a few feet away hidden behind a large potted plant with odd plastic pink leaves, they didn't show it or didn't care. Xellos pondered his next move until his train of thought was interrupted by Filia taking a seat across from him at the table. "I've been thinking," she stated in response to his questioning look. "You've been acting strange lately, which means you're plotting something evil. I don't know what you intend to do, but I won't let you ruin the vacation Amelia so kindly arranged for all of us. Besides..." she admitted with a discreet glance around the fake pink plant, "even if this amusement park has room for friendship, it's obvious that they have room for more. Since I don't want to play the third wheel, it looks like I'll have plenty of time to keep an eye on you."
"Is that so?" Xellos' mind felt awake again. He hated to admit it, even only to himself, but in the privacy of his own mind he knew that he was at a loss of what to do. Essentially, he was playing matchmaker, for observational purposes only, fueled by entirely selfish reasons, but he was playing matchmaker nonetheless. "This means that you won't let me interfere in their developing romance?"
"Aha!" Filia exclaimed, her accusing finger readily pointing at Xellos. "So that's your plan. Naturally, since monsters hate love, you must hate it when people are in love. Well I won't let you ruin this for them. What was planned to be a vacation of friendship might turn into a romantic getaway for Lina and Gourry, and perhaps even more so for Amelia and Zelgadis and you won't get in the way!"
"What if they mess things up on their own?" Xellos inquired purposefully. This part of the plan at least was easy, maybe too easy. Manipulation was one of the many talents that Xellos prided himself in possessing.
"I won't allow it!" Filia firmly declared with unbreakable determination.
"So you're going to play matchmaker for them?" Which would entail unknowingly helping Xellos in his research. Furthermore, the tactics that she considered to be the most effective would probably be the most effective on her. Once the script was complete, Xellos would just have to put up a little act and after a terribly disturbing and most likely absolutely disgusting experience, he would be curse free. Then he could say something mean and break Filia's heart; that would certainly make him feel better after the humiliation of being kissed by a dragon.
"As a matter of fact, I am," Filia all too easily accepted the idea that had been put into her head, believing that it was her idea all along and that Xellos simply guessed it because it was oh so clear that it was her initial intention anyway.
"All of this while keeping an eye on me?" Which in essence meant that she wouldn't mind if he tagged along and observed the entire process unfold. A real grin full of cunning adorned Xellos' face.
Filia didn't like the look on his face, but challenged him with her response, "yes," her eyes adding a silent ' what are you going to do about it?'
"Interesting," Xellos continued to grin in a way that unnerved Filia, but she decided to stay strong and alert. No monster was going to stop the matchmaker extraordinaire... even if she had virtually no experience in romance what so ever. Either way it didn't matter, she had read plenty of love novels and that was more than enough knowledge right there.
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 002: Silence! There Are No Words
Xellos, the subject of an unfortunate and terribly humiliating curse watched as Filia, the self proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, observed Lina and Gourry, the buffet staff's worse nightmare. The pair a few feet away appeared to be content with munching down on every delicious culinary delicacy they could find in the buffet, apparently without a care in the world. Filia however decided that they needed a little help, a small push in the right direction.
The determined dragon got up from her seat, being followed by Xellos, and headed over to the assortment of candles that was placed on a table in a corner of the open buffet. They were clearly there so that couples could pick out whichever they liked best and place them on their table. She then proceeded to separate the assortment of scents, by smelling each candle closely one by one, until she settled for a rose scented red heart shaped candle.
She paused and wondered how she should go about this. She needed to add the candle to their table somehow, but didn't want to be seen. Then again, given how focused Lina and Gourry were on their food, maybe they wouldn't see her anyway. None the less, she had to at least try to be sneaky, just to be sure. She went down on all fours and crawled towards the table. A perplexed Xellos decided to follow suit, also crawling behind Filia until she stopped abruptly, causing his head to collide with her backside.
The unfortunate, though surely accidental, mishap provoked a tiny undignified squeak to issue from the back of Filia's throat as her hands flew to her behind dropping the candle in the process. With both hands clasped over the 'perversely invaded' area protectively, Filia turned her head towards Xellos and glared. "Just what do you think you're doing?" She growled.
"The same thing you're doing," Xellos replied innocently with an ever present grin.
"Excuse me?" Filia's indignation was evident. I'm not going around touching people without permission," she frowned. This was wrong, Xellos was evil, annoying, perverse, cruel, dishonorable and just downright unpleasant, but not a pervert, she couldn't handle adding that to the already overflowing list.
"Accident, please do proceed with what you were doing before." Xellos encouraged hoping that Filia would just let the matter drop. It's not like he made a habit of smashing his face into dragon tail on purpose.
With a hint of doubt in her eyes, Filia picked up the candle and debated her next action. Having Xellos directly behind her was bad. "If you must tag along, then crawl next to me, not behind me."
"I fail to see the purpose of this," none the less Xellos did as he was told, crawling next to Filia now.
"I want to set a candle on their table so that there's a romantic atmosphere," Filia explained and immediately regretted it. She shouldn't be telling Xellos about her plans so he could ruin them! "Don't try to stop me," she crawled away faster with Xellos keeping up.
"You know, people are staring," Xellos pointed out, not really caring too much, but feeling stupid none the less. However, it was still a good venture. He got to observe not only the matchmaking, but also Filia's behavior, which in the end had to equate to something in his favor when it was time to make his move.
"They're not," Filia whispered, referring to Lina and Gourry who were still focused on their food. The sneaky pair reached the area of the floor next to Gourry and Lina's table. Filia carefully used her laser breath at minimum intensity to light the candle and reached up to place it on the table. She then crawled backwards away from the table and took refuge behind a plastic pink potted plant; the color was rather predominant in the resort.
Gourry was the first one to see the candle; he nonchalantly picked it up, blew it out and took a bite out of it. "Hey! That flaming candy was mine!" Lina snatched away the remainder of the candle and devoured it herself while Gourry protested that he saw it first.
With a horror stricken face, Filia looked back at the candle table, noticing a sign above it that advertised them as 'sweet edible candy candles.' Well at least that explained why Gourry didn't spit it out in disgust, but candles that were promptly eaten wouldn't be around long enough to create much of an atmosphere.
While Xellos did have extensive knowledge about humans, he focused on things such as manipulation and war. Emotional pressure was useful to know about, but romance was not. Okay, so apparently eating candles was romantic. Right, he would have to make a mental note about that.
It didn't look like Filia was anywhere near done yet. She got up and this time walking in a much less crazy manner, made her way over to the jukebox. She searched her pockets for a coin but sadly found she had none, she had left her wallet forgotten in her luggage back in the girls' room. Sighing sadly she felt that she would have to give up on her next hopefully better received mood setting idea: music. "I wish I had a coin." She muttered to herself.
"Here," Xellos offered, eager to see what Filia would do next. He hated to admit it but he was starting to get amused despite the subject of his study being such a terribly fluffy one. Finding amusement in war, destruction and all around chaos was one thing, but in matchmaking? Who would have thought?
"Thank y-" Filia stopped her automatic reply, eyes going from grateful to suspicious. She looked at Xellos who just smiled like he always did. She examined the coin waiting for it to explode, but it didn't. "I'm watching you," she warned before deciding to try her luck with the coin. She inserted the coin into the jukebox cautiously.
The contraption came to life with an odd voice. "Tell me what song you wish to hear." From there on out Filia began to list names of songs, but the machine kept pointing out it didn't know any of those.
"Do you even know what this thing is?" Xellos wondered curiously. He knew exactly what it was and he had a feeling that if Filia knew, she wouldn't want anything to do with it. But maybe he was wrong...
"It's a jukebox," Filia pointed towards the sign attached to the box. It featured a square enclosed bottom and a display of musical notes stone carvings under glass on top. There was an opening to insert a coin with several coins littering the bottom of the sculpture as if it was a wishing fountain. "The instructions read, 'jukebox: insert a coin to hear a song' see?" She stated as a matter of fact, while pointing at the sign. She might have added something about monsters being illiterate, but she stopped and instead theorized about the problem, "the coin was fake."
"No, you just don't know what this is," with a low power magical force of dark waves, Xellos created a small hole on the bottom box to reveal a small monster that looked like a parrot with really big teeth. "It's a magical container for a type of monster that can steal voices; they're rare in this area, hence why it wouldn't know any songs from around here. Some far away cities trap them and use them for entertainment. Of course they would have to sacrifice a few singers to build up the variety first. The people here must have purchased it unknowingly or maybe on purpose." Xellos finished his information.
Filia felt herself twitch in anger as the buffet's manager paused in his recently started activity of complaining to Lina and Gourry about eating too much, to take notice of the damaged equipment. He then proceeded to accuse Xellos and Filia of property damage. "How could you even complain? What you have here is a monster! It can endanger people's voices!"
"Not if you hadn't let it out!" The manager dramatized.
"How could you take such a risk by keeping it here?" Filia argued critically. She was thinking about how terrible it was that the humans would take such a foolish risk and was ready to chastise the manager further, when the odd purple big tooted parrot thing let out a mighty squawk that left her ears ringing and her throat strangely dry. Then she became painfully aware of the fact that her voice was gone. Making mute gestures, she insulted Xellos with her eyes; he was the one that let that thing out after all.
"I honestly didn't think it would want your voice," truly amused, Xellos couldn't help it but to tease Filia. "I mean it's pretty bad, specially when you yell at me for no reason, quite unpleasant to the ears. I feel sorry for that poor creature; it'll probably get a horrible case of indigestion."
What Filia couldn't do with her voice she did with her mace. After all, a hit to the head could be translated into a variety of insults. Seeing the hit coming from a mile away, as that was the predictable reaction from Filia, Xellos easily dodged. The exchange gave the manager enough time to panic and the parrot monster enough time to fly away.
"There goes your voice!" Xellos pointed out as Filia stopped swinging her mace at him and joined the manager in panicking.
"Capture it!" The manager suddenly begged. "Don't think I didn't notice," he looked at Xellos accusingly. "I saw those small rays of energy; they must have been stronger than they looked if you managed to break this container. I know you're a sorcerer. Since you're responsible for this disaster you must fix it! Recapture that creature at once or be banned from this resort."
Xellos was less than happy with being ordered around by this human, in fact, he was most displeased, but he knew that getting kicked out of the resort was a bad idea. "Alright, I'll find the creature and exterminate it." His tone left no room for argument as his purple eyes opened in a rare occasion and his fangs became the prominent feature of a grin that looked harmless a mere second ago.
The manager nodded slowly and backed away. He then took the time to nervously look at anything that wasn't the scary sorcerer in front of him, because he didn't realize Xellos was a monster. That's when he noticed that the two gluttons from before were gone. Then a chef came running to proclaim that a blond man and a red haired girl were assaulting the kitchen. Leaving the manager to his troubles, Xellos promptly left, followed by a fuming Filia.
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Spotting the parrot monster was very easy; catching it was another story as it moved with amazing speed, gliding through the crowds of people walking down the massive resort streets. Filia let out a stream of silent insults directed at Xellos, who mockingly placed his hand behind his ear and leaned in. "Sorry Filia, could you speak up? I can't hear you." He gestured with fake innocence. "What was that? Could you repeat what you just said? Oh my, how terrible, it seems my hearing is failing me. Don't you feel guilty for leaving me deaf after all your yelling?"
Filia's face turned a distinct shade of angry red as she wielded her mace at Xellos who easily teleported away via the astral plane. A few passer-bys stopped to watch but they were not alarmed. They assumed that the comedy routine of a magic show was all part of the park's entertainment, some even clapped and cheered for Xellos, who was apparently the winning character of the skit. The unwanted attention only got Filia more upset until she paused, realizing that she had lost sight of the parrot. She waved her hand to Xellos and put away her mace. She raised both hands, palms facing him.
"Does this mean you want to call a truce?" Xellos inquired, not quite ready to stop playing, bothering Filia was such a fun game. He watched as she nodded frantically.
Filia then tried her best to signal to Xellos what she wanted to communicate. It didn't help that neither of them knew human sign language, which was the only kind of sign language available really. Dragons thought that those who didn't have a voice were simply destined to be silent observers and that was the natural order of things. As for monsters, when their 'hands' consisted of claws, pincers, paws, twigs and actual hands with a variety in number of fingers it was pretty hard to standardize a sign language. Besides, communication didn't matter much to non-spies anyway. None the less, Filia made a brave attempt and moved her voice-less lips to say 'where is' while shrugging her shoulders, her forearms upwards and her palms flat towards the sky. 'The parrot' Filia's mouth moved without sound as her arms made a flapping motion.
"A bird?" Xellos guessed as if they were playing charades. The crowd of people that had gathered to watch added in their own guesses that ranged from everything from chicken to pterodactyl.
Stomping her feet angrily Filia threw a silent temper tantrum, balling her fists and kicking the dirt, arms moving up and down violently as her angry red face presented a fierce expression of narrowed eyes and clenched teeth. "A monster!" A girl called out.
Filia looked around thinking that it was the parrot, though no one seemed interested in it before. She didn't see the wretched voice stealing monster bird anywhere and instead wondered if they were onto Xellos' true nature. Then she realized that the young lady was pointing at her. In disbelief, she stopped and pointed at herself, her mouth moving without sound to the shape of 'who me?'
"Monster! Monster! Monster!" The crowd began to chant, assuming that was what Filia was trying to impersonate. In which case Xellos would ironically play the part of the heroic sorcerer.
Filia looked absolutely horrified. A few tears escaped from the corners of her eyes before she ran away in silent sobs. The crowd cheered still convinced that it was all part of the show; the blond lady was a pretty good mime. Xellos grinned as the crowd cheered and waved goodbye teleporting away, which only made the crowd clap louder. It could be annoying for a monster to cause amusement for any being other than itself, but this was an exception just because Filia's misery was so delicious.
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It didn't take too long for Xellos to find Filia. She was sitting miserably on the edge of a fountain with a cupid statue in the middle holding an arrow ready to shoot it to the skies. She was still quietly sobbing, but appeared to be in the process of accepting the fact that she was mute and apparently resembled a monster, the latter of which seemed much crueler to her.
Xellos sat down next to her on the fountain's edge and gave her his usual infuriating grin. She glared in response and crossed her arms over her chest, shifting her body in her seat to face away from him. "I just thought you might want to know that-"
Before Xellos could finish expressing his latest taunt, the voice stealing monster parrot took the cupid statue for a perch and began to sing in a very familiar voice. "Ivory beyond white, everlasting infinite light, brightness that pierces the night, by your endless power destiny ignites, let the world be purified by your might!"
Xellos covered his ears in discomfort and the parrot looked like it was choking on air, until it fell dead on the bottom of the fountain where it promptly disintegrated into black smoke which dissolved into nothingness. The passer-bys pointed and clapped, they loved the little magic show surprises that the resort had.
"That song..." Filia whispered and upon doing so she realized, "my voice! I got my voice back!" She breathed in relief.
"What an awful song, of course it had to come from your voice, I could tell right away given how off-key it was." The remark was expected coming from Xellos even though he was lying.
As for Filia, she couldn't care less what Xellos' opinion was about her singing skills, but she did notice his discomfort. "That song was actually a purification spell designed to kill monsters, it's called Heaven's Light." She explained with a look of vengeance in her eyes. "I suppose singing it in a golden dragon's voice was too much for that weak monster. I wonder how effective it would be sung by the original owner of this voice."
"Not effective enough to kill me," Xellos assured and he knew he was right, as did Filia.
"Maybe effective enough to bother you?" She glared threateningly then put on a sweet expression and sang. "Ivory beyond white, everlasting infinite light, brightness that pierces the night, by your endless power destiny ignites, let the world be purified by your might!"
"Ugh, it's like the opposite of the Dragon Slave," Xellos covered his ears but soon realized that Filia wasn't casting the spell, just singing the chant that went with it without the willing concentration of energy that casting required. It still bothered him, though not as significantly as it could. He noticed with a certain amount of perplexity that Filia's choice to hold back meant that she was trying to get back at him, but not seriously trying to pick a fight.
Xellos told himself it should come as no surprise, he was a very high level monster after all and a single golden dragon didn't have a ghost of a chance of taking him down all by herself. Furthermore, even if she was prone to hit him on the head with her mace and throw out a variety of insults at him, Xellos noted that Filia wasn't seriously out to kill him. Not that it matter to him, because she couldn't.
Satisfied to have annoyed Xellos in some way, Filia triumphantly marched off. So she couldn't create a romantic atmosphere for Lina and Gourry, so she momentarily lost her voice and made a complete fool of herself, so some cold hearted people thought she looked like a monster, so what? She would get over it and get on with her life with the very effective motivation of not letting Xellos win. She would just have to pick up her plan where she left off. She would go off to find her friends and continue playing matchmaker for them in secret and Xellos wasn't going to stop her.
Shaking off the unpleasant feeling of the song and going back into neutral observer mode as much as he could, Xellos followed Filia. She blissfully made a point out of ignoring his presence and continued walking down the resort streets, searching for her friends. It was a big place and she didn't know where to start her search, Lina and Gourry would have probably been banned from the open buffet by now and must have gone elsewhere. For the time being, she just walked, keeping her eyes open for any familiar faces and pretending she didn't notice Xellos walking next to her.
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 003: Alarming! Dragon In Distress
Xellos, the still cursed monster and Filia, the somewhat frustrated yet determinately optimistic matchmaker, made their way down the busy streets of Amor Resort in search for Filia's next victim... er... target... of matchmaking. It didn't look like Lina, Gourry, Amelia or Zelgadis were anywhere near by, but they would have to be found eventually. Sure, the resort was huge, but they couldn't miss each other forever.
Sighing as her feet began to ache from all the walking, Filia stopped near a concession stand advertising some candied berries. She eyed the berries hungrily, she could use a little snack, but then she remembered she didn't have her wallet on her and she couldn't very well ask Xellos to buy her food, even if she offered to repay him later.
Fortunately, or unfortunately if she had any idea what was to come, the man in charge of the stand offered her a free sample in the form of a candied berry on a stick. "Give this a try, pretty lady," he winked, holding out the tooth pick with the heart shaped red berry coated in caramel on it. The man had an odd accent, but he was pretty handsome, a fact that flew over Filia's head as she was focused on the berry. Maybe Lina was rubbing off on her.
"Thank you," Filia smiled politely and accepted the snack. She picked the berry off the toothpick with her mouth, first savoring the caramel on top before biting into it. It was delicious, too delicious for words. "This tastes amazing!" She proclaimed with more fascination than anyone should have for a berry.
"Doesn't it?" The man leaned in flirtatiously, the breeze playing with his platinum hair. His blue eyes stood out over his perfect tan. "Maybe you would like to have a box of these?"
Filia was about to answer with the affirmative, but then her smile deflated. "Maybe some other time," she replied in disappointment. She wanted those berries, she wanted them badly and she didn't know why.
"Going on a diet, Filia?" Xellos decided it was as good a time as any to throw another wise crack at Filia. Besides, he really felt like interrupting the flirting, not that he cared, it was just boring. "It's about time."
Filia glared at Xellos, but before she said anything, the berry salesman spoke for her. "Don't listen to him, sweetheart. You're just fine the way you are." He smiled as charmingly as he could.
"I know," Filia threw her nose in the air in an exaggerated expression of nonchalance. "Xellos is just an idiot. Even the simple act of being around him makes my blood boil." She adjusted her cloak, it was hot out today. "I can't stand him," she waved her hand in front of her face trying to fan some air into her warm complexion. "Is it just me, or is it hot?" The last statement was directed at the salesman, who of course, took it the wrong way.
"Oh it's not just you, though you certainly are, I am too," he winked while Filia couldn't make heads or tails of the true meaning behind his odd reply. He did have an unusual accent; maybe he wasn't too experienced in this particular language. Noticing that Xellos was giving him a nasty look, the salesman handed the purple haired man a box of berries. "Here, take this and go away, the lady is now in much better company. Maybe if you eat enough of those you'll actually manage to attract a woman of lesser standards. They're supposed to be some kind of dragon aphrodisiac or something."
Xellos froze in the act of having a berry box shoved into his hands as some sort of pity inspired consolation price after having what the salesman assumed to be his date stolen. Filia froze at that moment too and all the color from her previously flustered face drained momentarily, only to come back full force tinting her skin scarlet as she pushed her voice to function. "Aphrodisiac?" She spoke fearfully, dragging out each syllable as if it was something dreadful, and it was.
"My, my, so that's the kind of girl you are," Xellos couldn't even finish enjoying his taunting before Filia screamed an ear splitting wail.
"These are... these are... are these dragon lust berries?" Filia choked out in a panic.
"Yeah..." The salesman was a bit taken aback, but he bounced into action quickly and he was all too eager. "Are you really into that stuff or something? It's just a legend, they don't do a thing. But you know, if you're in the mood who needs berries? Either way, if you're into it I-"
"No!" Filia screamed at the top of her lungs unleashing a laser light from her mouth to the skies above. The salesman took the laser breath as his cue to leave. He could be open minded, but maybe there was a reason this girl was with that purple haired seemingly wimpy weirdo. He was probably her private punching bag and the salesman was no masochist.
Xellos opened his mouth to let out another teasing taunt, but before he could produce any words, Filia pushed past him in a fit of panic. He decided after less than a split second's hesitation that he should go after her. Thus he followed the stream of uncomfortable and sometimes blasphemous remarks voiced by those pushed aside by the rampaging blond.
It didn't take too long for Filia to find a sort of alleyway between a store and a restaurant and duck into it past the pink plastic potted plant with the giant leaves that were supposed to obstruct the view of the overflowing garbage cans in the alley. There she stood facing the dump with her eyes tightly shut, her hands on the sides of her face and her expression in pure agony as she chanted, "I'm not thinking, I'm not thinking, I'm not thinking..."
Then that voice, his voice, broke her concentration with a simple innocent, "Filia?" That sounded more melodious and attractive to her than it should.
"Go away!" Filia half snapped and half begged. "I've done something terrible! Those berries, those atrocities! Do you know their full story?" She was all out crying now.
"I don't," Xellos admitted a bit dishearten by the fact that he was ignorant of the cause of Filia's misery. He wanted to be the cause of Filia's misery, thus he should be well informed so he could taunt her.
Filia sniffled still facing away from Xellos. "Long ago, some terrible sorcerers kidnapped and tried to enslave two dragons. The dragons were kept under control with cruel magical artifacts and painful spells for the most part, but that wasn't enough. The sorcerers wanted fully trained slaves disciplined into submission from a young age. Yet they knew the dragons closely guarded their young. The two dragons in captivity would never think of willingly bringing one of their own in to such a painful situation, so the sorcerers forced them to ingest some berries that they created by alchemy which made their instinct run wild." Filia paused, too horrified to continue.
"So basically, they wanted to breed the dragons," Xellos summarized. "I do hope you're not going to somehow blame the presence of the berries at the resort on me, because as much as I've love to take credit for your torture, this was all your fault." He hoped that his dismissive attitude was appropriately vexing.
"The dragons died, they killed each other to stop their suffering and the possible suffering of those who could have resulted of their tainted union." Filia continued her story, the lack of accusation towards Xellos indicating that she knew it wasn't his doing. "The rest of the golden dragons eventually found the terrible sorcerers and studied their records to learn of their awful acts. The sorcerer group was destroyed, but it was too late about the berries. The alchemic recipe had escaped into the world and the humans treated it as a delicacy. It's fine for them, it's harmless to humans and completely without effect, but us dragons need to guard against it. I had been warned long ago when I was studying, it was a terribly embarrassing lesson but I-"
Xellos cut her off, "I don't think I want to hear about the particulars of dragon sex-ed." He stated flatly, adding just the right amount of disgust to his tone. "Anyway, are you going to wait out the effects of this by standing around in a smelly alley and staring at garbage?"
"Yes," Filia snapped flustered, "I just wish I didn't have to hear it too."
She was obviously referring to him and as it often happened, Xellos had a comeback. "Then you'll just have to stop speaking."
Angered, Filia couldn't resist the urge to turn around and glare at Xellos. The problem was that every aspect of his unfortunate existence looked desirable to her in her current state. She screamed, disturbed by her own naughty thoughts and dashed past Xellos, only to stop cold in the middle of the busy street of the resort.
Xellos approached Filia and examined her peculiar expression, like a deer caught in a Dragon Slave. "What's wrong now?"
'That guy passing by sure is handsome...' Filia mused against her better judgment. 'His hair is purple too, just like Xellos,' her rampaging thoughts added. 'No, no, no! Don't think of random men in inappropriate ways, especially if they remind you of Xellos!' Filia mentally screamed at herself. 'That other man down the street doesn't have purple hair, it's nice and black... Just like the aura of a monster, an aura of sexy darkness.' That thought was if at all possible more disturbing than the last. 'What about that nice looking blond guy over there? He doesn't look like Xellos at all... except for the acute purple eyes.' To be reasonable, the resemblances between the aforementioned random men and Xellos were small and barely noticeable unless one was adamantly searching for them as Filia's mortifying subconscious was. 'Don't think of Xellos! Don't think of Xellos!' Filia mentally screamed at herself once again. 'Think about... about... about that guy over there! The redhead with the green eyes and the nice built and the expression that's nothing like a grin. No, I shouldn't be having lustful thoughts about random strangers at all!'
"Filia?" Xellos prompted once more. It was as if her mind had experienced a system crash that would be known in a more technologically advanced future society as a mental blue screen.
Filia snapped out of her daze, painfully realizing that she had the hots for every male creature in sight, including Xellos, which was definitely the worse part. "Get me out of here," she pleaded, trying her very best to stop her body from moving, in fear that she wouldn't be able to stop it, falling into a crazy lustful trance. "Please, get me out of here, get me away from people, teleport me, I don't care who sees us, please!"
As enjoyable as the begging was, Xellos decided to humor Filia. It looked like everyone around was inclined to assume that every oddity they saw was only part of the show anyway and certainly not a cause for alarm. He held on to her and took her to the astral plane, reappearing in seconds in an empty hotel room that Filia vaguely recognized as being identical to the room the girls were staying at, though this one might have been the spare room, given the absence of luggage. The closeness needed for the process of a monster teleporting and bringing a passenger along was not broken upon arrival, as Filia held on to Xellos with all her might. If he had been human she would have crushed him with her dragon strength, even if she was in a human-like form. Teleporting usually gave Filia something similar to motion sickness, but this time the effect of the berry was too strong to allow even that.
"Filia?" Xellos questioned once more as the wheels in his head began to turn faster, because they were always turning. "Interesting," he mocked, "if I didn't know any better I would think you want me and by that I don't mean you want me dead."
Filia trembled as the well raised, moral side of her fought weakly against her berry induced lustful instincts. "Don't let me go," the request was rather pointless given how strongly she was latching onto him.
Even if Xellos was a very high level monster, he could still feel the full force of her strength and he admitted in the privacy of his own mind that Filia was a very strong dragon. "You're the one who's holding onto me." He pointed out, just to see if it would annoy her, though she was clearly too distressed to be vexed, even by Xellos. He found that strangely unfair.
"Please, don't let me go or I'll go crazy!" Filia desperately begged. For the time being just holding on to a male specimen with all her might seemed to be enough to keep her insanity at bay. "Please, please," she chanted. "I can't be set loose on the humans, please don't let me..."
"Humans?" Xellos questioned with true curiosity. "Feeling hungry, are you?" He teased.
Filia ignored the teasing and continued in all seriousness, her face buried in Xellos' chest, causing her voice to be somewhat muffled. "If I try to do something crazy and terribly improper, something unthinkable, something... sinful," she summarized, "with a human, he'll be helpless. No human man, strong as he may be, has a fraction of the strength of a dragon and dragon slaying wizards aren't all that common either," not that she would be stupid enough to flirt with one if she knew where one was located, even in her state of loss of mind. "I would... commit a terrible crime!" She cried, her tears fully cascading out to the sound of loud desperate sobs and ragged breaths.
"What if he doesn't try to stop you?" Xellos suggested. It was clear that more than a few men would love to have Filia. Although, he purposefully added in his own thoughts as if to sternly remind himself, that those men were human weaklings with extremely poor taste.
"That's worse!" Filia lifted her face and looked at Xellos, trying with all her might not to find him attractive and failing miserably. "I don't want to play with anyone's feelings, or body. I don't want to do something bad, I don't want to lose control of myself, I don't want to lose sight of morality!"
"And you think I can stop you?" Xellos lowered his voice to a whisper that could be catalogued as seductive, though Filia wasn't sure if he did that on purpose or if it was just her imagination.
"You're strong," she stated simply, noting in the back of her mind that she rather liked violet more than she would ever admit. "You're a high level monster, you can fight, you can defend yourself."
It wasn't that Filia was expecting any favors, Xellos realized. Rather, she was putting them both in a position where he could either defend himself or submit to her desires. For some reason, she was certain that he would fight back and he was probably the only man in the entire resort with the power to effectively do so. "Why would I?"
Filia's eyes widened in horror as her already shaky voice grew in nervousness. "You're a monster, I'm a dragon, we hate each other," she voiced it as if it was the most basic piece of factual knowledge. "You're disgusted by the thought of... you know... with a dragon... aren't you?" The uncertainty tortured her consciousness, while the overtaken part of her mind celebrated the possibility of an effortless surrender on her prey's part.
"I'm a monster," Xellos emphasized, his signature grin of false innocence turning into a much more mischievous one as his purple eyes stared into her azure gaze. "I'm not built to resist temptation," he informed punctuating his sentence with a kiss.
Filia's heartbeats sped up even more, her fingers partially transformed, claws digging into Xellos as her tail popped out from under her skirt and she bashed it harshly on the floor, leaving an indentation. Her eyes glowed golden, but the rest of her remained in a human form. She got over the shock and responded to the kiss hungrily, allowing herself to part from Xellos only when the need for oxygen was too immense to bear.
Xellos was caught up in the moment at first, but after Filia released him to breathe, he realized with disappointment that he was still curse. He could feel the effect of the curse on his body, slowly pushing him towards his death sentence little by little with each passing second. They kissed and she was definitely willing, so why didn't it work? He analyzed the prospect further and came up with a theory, she wasn't willing after all. This was all because of the effect of the berry; she didn't consciously make the choice to kiss him so that didn't count. That was why he ruled out threats, blackmail and bribery in the first place, apparently using raw lust as a motivational tool checked out as well. He could conclude that any motivational tools checked out. Filia had to kiss him simply because she wanted to without any outside influence to push her into it. Well, not Filia, more like any golden dragon, but Filia was conveniently near by anyway.
Xellos concluded that he would have to continue his observations and keep on gathering data. He was planning to trick Filia, but it shouldn't count as a trick if she didn't know she was being tricked. Manipulation or not, she would make the choice on her own with real affections for a lying source, yet the affections would be real even if they were misplaced and that should be enough to break the curse. He would have to match-make for himself and Filia, court her in a sense, he wasn't looking forward to it, but even a monster has survival instinct and he was strongly plagued by the desire to live another day... As well as other desires, given the current circumstances, not that he would ever admit to that.
Filia panted heavily as she struggled to fight a sudden case of asphyxiation. Her tail disappeared and her clawed hands turned back to normal human hands, leaving Xellos' shirt in tatters. The rhythm of her wildly beating heart slowed back to normal and her body appeared to calm down. She let out a breath, thankfully not a laser one. "I'm... okay..." Filia sounded like she was trying to convince herself more so than inform Xellos. One berry wasn't enough to make her go all the way, but she would be weary of food for the rest of her life after this experience. Unfortunately, her stomach chose that moment to growl in hunger, reminding her that she needed to replenish the energy she just used up. She ignored it, she would have to eat eventually, but right now she wasn't in the mood for it. Realizing that she was still hugging Xellos, albeit much more gently, Filia backed away as if she had been burned. She was horrified. "You were going to let me!" She accused.
Xellos shrugged trying to appear nonchalant and ordering his own body to calm down... immediately. "It's what you wanted and you would have enjoyed it too. Like I said, I'm a monster; I'm not built to resist temptation."
"So if a random girl throws herself at you, she can have you?" Filia pointed accusingly at Xellos with disapproval and disappointment fighting for a place in her tone alongside disgust.
"Usually, a random girl's reaction to a monster would be to scream in a panic and run away," Xellos was back to his cool, calm and collected self in record breaking time, with no small effort. "It's a bit of a turn off." He grinned that familiar false grin with his eyes closed in a silly expression that screamed he was blissfully ignorant about everything around him, even if the truth was all the opposite.
"Good for her!" Filia snapped, even if the metaphorical random girl in question didn't refer to anyone specific. Feeling embarrassed, mortified and all around humiliated, Filia stormed out in a huff.
Xellos stood in place for a second, feeling rather disappointed. Of course he was disappointed, he just endured kissing a golden dragon and it was all for naught, that was the only reason he had to be disappointed and a very valid reason it was. He decided to take a break from following Filia for a while and occupy himself with the task of purchasing a new shirt to replace the one Filia destroyed, because simply materializing a new one was boring.
To be Continued