"They're here!" A little fox boy rushed down the Seyruun street to meet the group cheerfully. "Are you feeling better aunty Filia?"
"Yes, thank you..." Filia replied with a smile, feeling herself calm down a little. She recognized the boy as Palou from Jillas' stories. That meant that his mother, Elena, was probably near by. Filia was let down the street by Naga, who insisted she had something to show her. The golden dragon was still confused about what was going on, but she tried to stay as calm as she could manage, then maybe people would stop sugar coating everything and tell her about the details she suspected they omitted. She found the strength to remain positive seeing how happy Val looked as he showed Palou the yoyo Milgazia had given him. It looked like the two boys were already great friends.
Turning the corner to a street near the castle gates, Filia spotted a lovely two story building that had already been fully restored and looked as if it was only recently painted. The colors presented beautiful pastel shades, relaxing sky blue walls and glass display windows lined in golden colored frames. The second floor even had a cute little balcony with vases peeking out between the thin golden colored bars of the railing, easily seen but secured from falling. Filia recognized the vases as some of the ones Amelia had purchased some time ago. They contained lovely pink flowers that appeared to have been recently added. The glass displays on the top floor also featured more vases on one side and maces on the other, all of them crafted by Filia. The maces were supposed to belong to the Seyruun army, though Amelia temporarily confiscated them.
"Miss Filia!" Amelia jumped off the small balcony, joining the others on the street below. "It's good to see you again! What do you think of the new shop? I put up some of my vases up there as samples so people can start looking forward to when it officially opens. Then you can put up your new merchandise and I can put those back in the castle. I added some of the maces from the army we got from your old shop too."
"New shop?" Filia blinked in confusion. Apparently there was more than she imagined that Jillas and Gravos neglected to tell her.
"Yes, oh that's right, I guess you wouldn't remember with your amnesia and all, but you had decided to move here to Seyruun." The princess cheerfully pointed at the second story of the building. "That's your brand new shop up there. The shelves inside are empty, but there are supplies and materials ready for use, so you can get creative and start filling up the shop shelves."
"Wow," was the only thing Filia could manage to voice at first. So she had sold her old shop and moved to Seyruun? That was her logical conclusion at least. "You set everything up for me? Thank you." Although that did leave an unanswered question about what happened to the old merchandise, but Filia assumed that it was probably too troublesome to move everything and she had some kind of massive closing sale. She decided not to complain to Jillas and Gravos about not mentioning the new shop; they probably just wanted to surprise her. "The first floor is a bakery?" Filia curiously peeked at the glass displays with fresh bred, cakes, cookies and other baked goodies ready to be sold.
"Yes," Amelia smiled, taking in the bakery's scents. "Elena runs a bakery on the first floor; her business is already off to a great start."
Elena was Palou's mother and if she ran a business so close to Filia's, that meant that she was now living in Seyruun too, rather than simply being there for a visit. That would explain why Palou and Val were so close. It made Filia glad to know the boys would be able to play together often, since they lived in the same city. Plus Seyruun was a strong and safe city; it was really a good place to raise Val. Then there was also the advantage of being close to her good friend Amelia with whom she occasionally exchanged letters in the past.
Naga had already taken Gravos inside to share a strawberry cake with him while Filia and Amelia talked. Val and Palou were happily snacking on some chocolate chip cookies. Elena was talking with Jillas, who had gone inside. They both welcomed Amelia and Filia as they went in. However, they couldn't talk for a long time as they were interrupted by the voice of an impatient Lina Inverse.
"Filia! Jillas! Gravos! Val! Elena! Palou! Amelia! Naga!" The redhead sorceress shouted at the top of her lungs. "What's taking you so long? It's bad enough that Phil made us wait until Filia's group came back, now you're all going to make us wait even more? I want to start eating!" Gourry was, predictably, following Lina as usual.
"Oh, don't be so impatient, Miss Lina," Amelia tried to calm her. "Let's not forget that this banquet is to honor the efforts of all those who participated in the battle that has truly not yet ended. Even though not everyone will be able to attend..." Solex, Xellos and Zelas, along with a few others, would most likely be absent. That would make things simpler, but at the same time, Amelia wished that everyone could be there. She had also learned about what happened to Kally, Kalio and Medusa, which saddened her. Yet she was always ready to persevere and try to make the world better for the sake of those who still remained.
"But Amelia, the table is set, the triple banquet is ready to start and we're hungry," Gourry whined.
"I might as well start with the appetizers," Lina took a step towards the bakery, but Jillas stood in her path.
"I swore to protect these shops and I'll keep my word!" The fox stood unflinching despite facing the deadly danger that was a hungry Lina Inverse.
"We better go to the castle's banquet hall before things get out of hand," Amelia suggested. "You can get a tour of the shop later, Miss Filia." Thus the group went on their way to Seyruun castle.
The remainder of the day was spent feasting on a triple banquet that went on late into the night. Everyone knew to keep certain details about the past few months a secret so as to not shock Filia too much. No one really wanted to have to deal with a dragon form temper tantrum if she was terribly offended by the notion of being married to a monster, while not being able to remember first hand what brought about such a plot twist in her life. Filia had a good time, though she still felt like something was missing, but decided not to question it too much. The feeling of missing something was only natural given her amnesia, and the missing details would surely fall into place soon enough.
xoxox xox xoxox
A time of rest and recovery was upon the world and there was a lot to be repaired. The Stillness could not be reached and it remained inactive for the time being. Everyone went on with their lives all across the land. Amor Resort was repaired just enough to be somewhat functional. Martina, Zangulus and Sylphiel continued working there. They were joined by Phythan and Onyx, doing various tasks around the resort. Celo continued his job as manager and Tiffany completed her training in preparation for the eventual battle against the Stillness. Her appearance had vastly changed because of her chimera condition, but she was otherwise well enough.
Pokota and his family returned to Taforashia, along with some helpers and supplies from Seyruun to rebuild. Xellos and Solex were still recovering at Wolf Pack Island as far as anyone knew and Zelas had been quiet lately. Fang also remained at Wolf Pack Island, he missed playing with Val, but since the danger of the Stillness using the death of the last ancient dragon to empower itself was, for the time being, not an issue, there was no real necessity to keep Val hidden. At least Fang could still play with Fili and the wolves.
Philionel became the official king of Seyruun. The coronation was held as soon as things settled down in the city. His royal duties were the same as before, since he had been the acting king for a while. Amelia stayed in Seyruun to finish overseeing the city's full recovery and Zelgadis remained by her side. After Lina and Gourry feasted in the many recipes that Seyruun had to offer, they went off on another journey to hunt down treasures and apprehend bandits, to pass the time until new information about the Stillness came. Maybe they would hear something useful on the road.
Filia settled into her new life in Seyruun and soon filled her shop with new products. It was fun setting up the vases and maces and polishing them with the scents of the bakery in the first floor in the air. Gravos and Jillas were still helping as always, now assisting both Filia and Elena's businesses. Naga had left on another trip around the world after attending her father's coronation when Seyruun had become stable. She had promised to write regularly. Palou and Val would always play together, enjoying the time of relative peace, as peace could only exist if it was relative. Overall, Filia mused that aside from the looming danger of the Stillness, her life was good, yet there was something missing.
xoxox xox xoxox
At Wolf Pack Island, Zelas sat on her throne, contemplating the flier in her hands. The world had survived the apocalypse as far as most people knew. Of course, the danger was very much still present, but they assumed it was over. With heavy losses and much mourning over lost love ones, the people of the world united to try to do something that would lift their spirits. They intended to accomplish such a purpose in friendly competition in the form of a world wide brass rackets tournament.
Most of the lands of the peninsula, which was once inside the barrier, had united to conduct two massive elimination rounds. The two competitions slightly modified the rules of classic brass rackets, making the matches to be played one on one. Each competition was exclusively for men and women respectively. The purpose was to find the strongest team to form the two halves of the classic male and female brass rackets team that would compete in the world wide tournament, which would follow the sport's classic rules.
Zelas was all too eager to both enjoy the event and make a big mess of it. She could use this opportunity to further prepare for the eventual battle against the Stillness. She would be even more closely linked to the world and in less danger due to her condition of being purely astral if there were that many more people who couldn't stop thinking about her. She would climb the ranks in disguise and reveal herself as Beast Master at the world wide tournament, turning the event into chaotic pandemonium. It was a win-win situation in every way, she would have fun, she would have a feast, she would rain on the world's false parade and she would become stronger.
xoxox xox xoxox
A few days later, Milgazia made his way through Dragon's Peak, walking to his house, a few golden dragons scurrying out of the way of his path. It was not that they feared or disliked their trusted leader, but rather that they wished they had been kinder to his guests. Just as Milgazia assured, no harm had come from allowing Filia and Val to live among them for a few days, but that didn't seem to sink in until they were gone. That left several of the Water Clan dragons wishing they had shown Milgazia more support when it was really needed. Some just didn't feel like facing him just yet, he wasn't angry, but they were regretful. Admittedly, a few were also glad that the so called traitor and her ancient dragon child were gone, but disagreement was something that could be found on almost any group of any kind.
Memphis was in front of Milgazia's mountain cabin, trying to towel dry an energetic looking Justice, but the pale yellow husky wouldn't sit still. "Oh fine, you can go play now. Just don't get dirty!" She released him and stood to greet Milgazia. She was dripping wet as it is the fate of anyone trying to bathe a dog. "Hey, I wanted to show you this." From her pocket, the elf retrieved a very wet flier.
Milgazia received the paper, first taking the time to thank Memphis for getting Justice all cleaned up, then examining the flier with curiosity. The ink was blurred and difficult to read, but from what he could perceive, the flier was advertising the upcoming world wide brass rackets tournament. It also invited the general public to sign up for the men and women's competitions in hopes of earning a spot on what was advertised to be the ultimate classic brass rackets team. Milgazia had a pretty good idea about why Memphis would bring this up, thus he inquired. "Are the rumors true? Has Zelas entered in disguise?"
Memphis herself had infiltrated the women's elimination tournament and found that Zelas was indeed participating. She had an alternate sporty look, with short orange hair and blue eyes, going by the alias of Yuna Wolf. "Yes, she hasn't even shown her full skill yet, though she managed to best me at the court," Memphis pouted.
"Zelas wasn't happy with how the energy borrowed from the Sea of Chaos restored the world to better conditions than she calculated," Milgazia reminded. "I was expecting her to try to take back some of that, so to speak. She must be plotting to cause trouble, no doubt about it," he concluded.
"What can we do?" Memphis asked, she knew that a direct confrontation during one of the brass rackets competitions would bring many innocent by-stander casualties and was thus out of the question.
"This situation must be handled carefully," Milgazia voiced. "Finding out what exactly Zelas is plotting will be vital to getting the situation under control. They are still taking late entries in the elimination rounds, aren't they?"
"Yes..." A look of realization soon overcame Memphis' features.
"Zelas will surely win the women's tournament. In order to keep an eye on her, I'll have to win the men's tournament and become her brass rackets partner." Milgazia knew that it was easier said than done, but he was determined not to allow Zelas to take back the progress that the world had made. She wanted to torture the world more so than kill it, but that was a pretty bad fate in itself and Milgazia needed to make sure the pain didn't get too far out of hand. After all, character building and extreme torture were two entirely different things and he would rather the world have a healthy amount of the former, rather than an excessive amount of the latter.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Filia hummed as she polished a large base at her new shop at Seyruun. A peculiar feeling invaded her senses as a certain monster general priest teleported into the shop. She turned her glaring eyes on him, not showing any outward signs of the fact that she had been secretly wondering if he was really okay. He was an evil monster who deserved to be injured, but if it was the apocalypse itself which had been, at least temporarily, adverted, then the mysterious injury in question could be potentially dangerous, perhaps even mortal. She didn't want him dead; she was not the kind of person to wish death on anyone. Feeling a secret burst of relief only in the privacy of her mind, Filia's suspicious voice spoke the name of her uninvited guest, "Xellos!"
"It's been a while, did you miss me?" Xellos inquired in the same mocking tone that characterized him. He was a monster again and Filia held no memories of him ever being anything else.
"Why would I miss your annoyance?" Filia pouted and glared, setting aside the vase she had been polishing before she acted on the very tempting possibility of throwing it at Xellos' face. "Why have you come to bother me?" She placed her hands on her hips and gave Xellos a suspicious look, secretly hoping he didn't bring up any subjects that she was not fully informed about. Sure, it might give her a chance to obtain more information from him, but she didn't want to confess her amnesia. Xellos would surely find a way to tease her and annoy her about it and the missing memories by themselves were annoying enough as it was.
"Comfort food," Xellos confessed with more truthfulness than Filia could ever guess, though his tone was just as cheerful as ever.
"I'm not going to feed you!" Filia snapped. "If you're hungry, go buy something from the bakery downstairs and don't cause any trouble!" She felt an odd sense of familiarity in the activity of arguing with Xellos that was almost reassuring.
"I might get some cake later, but it's not that kind of food that I'm looking for right now." Xellos explained, still grinning in mockery. "Besides, you're already feeding me."
Wrath... What he wanted was wrath and Filia realized it. She gritted her teeth and mentally counted to ten hoping to calm her anger. She didn't want to feed Xellos. 'Life is wonderful and living is great,' Filia mentally chanted and when it didn't work fast enough, she tried to reason with herself. 'This isn't so bad; he hasn't done anything really bad yet. Maybe he's not fully recovered from his mysterious injury. Maybe he'll go away soon. Maybe I can just ignore him, this really isn't so bad. I have a nice shop in a great city. I'm surrounded by friends and family, Val is happy and I'm happy too. An insignificant detail such as Xellos won't annoy me. I won't let him get to me.'
Xellos frowned as he felt Filia calm down into peaceful bliss. It didn't bother him as much as it should, but he still wanted her anger, he needed to eat something delicious the monster way after the terrible shock he received. Said shock was not about the near apocalypse that the world had gone through or about his missing memories. It was a shock far greater than the surprises he had received by all other events he witnessed in his life put together. It was a great and terrible shock indeed and he could really use some of Filia's delicious emotional nutrients as comfort food right now. "If I didn't know any better I would say you're happy to see me."
Filia smiled, determined not to let Xellos win. "I heard you were pitifully injured and I felt so terribly sorry for you." Xellos was prideful and Filia knew it. Albeit he could accept assistance, if the situation so demanded it, pity was a whole different story. Surely he would hate it.
"Oh really?" Xellos felt his eye twitch involuntarily before he quickly composed himself. "I'm sure you're terribly frustrated over the fact that I'm all better now. Your wish of my death will not be granted any time soon, cruel dragon."
Filia frowned, that wasn't exactly the kind of counter argument she wanted to hear, not that she wanted to hear any counter arguments at all. "I don't wish death on you, or on anyone."
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 125: Exposed! The Truth Must Be Faced
Grinning teasingly, Xellos focused on the present activity of annoying Filia after finally having been able to go visit her at her new shop in Seyruun. He was feeling better already. "So you don't wish death on anyone? Not even the Stillness?" Xellos threw out the possibility.
"That's different! I want that fiend gone, but that's only because for as long as it exists, it will try to kill us all!" Filia strongly argued. "That thing is not really a person, it can't change its ways," that's what Filia had concluded based on what she was told. "It took so many innocent lives," many more than she could remember.
"Yes, I would say about a third, maybe even half, of the world's total population," Xellos stated in a sugar covered happy tone.
Filia's eyes widened. She didn't intend to bring up the subject of the events of the past few months to keep her amnesia a secret from Xellos, but now that he had brought it up she was thirsty for more information. She wanted to know the kind of truths that Xellos would bluntly state with that inappropriate cheerful tone of his. The kind of harsh truths that her friends knew she wouldn't like to hear, but needed to face. "You're not exaggerating?"
"Not at all, Seyruun is in grand conditions in comparison to most other places," Xellos informed. "I take it you haven't had time to go around? Of course not, it's not like you care. In fact, you probably didn't even notice the supplies Seyruun has been sending around, because the lives of so many are just not important to you."
Filia ignored Xellos' teasing. His extreme critiques didn't bother her anymore, she knew better than to take them to heart. Yet the facts where still harshly present. More than ever, she felt the need to check on the town where she used to live. She had assumed that it was recovering just as Seyruun was, but that might not be the case. Had Jillas and Gravos even had time to visit while taking care of Val and her during her coma of several days at Dragon's Peak? Without another word, Filia walked past Xellos and headed downstairs.
"Walking away in the middle of a conversation and ignoring your guest? How rude!" Xellos exclaimed with exaggerated offence. "I'm not surprised though, you are a dragon and dragons are barbaric brutes with no manners what so ever."
Still ignoring Xellos, much to his annoyance, as he followed her, much to her annoyance, Filia made it to the bakery downstairs. She arrived on time to see Gravos returning from delivering a large heavy base that the buyer couldn't quite carry alone. "Gravos, could you mind the shop for me for a while? I need to go out for... maybe a few days."
Gravos was about to agree, at first assuming that Filia was going out for a few minutes or hours at most, but when she said days it took him by surprise. "Days?"
They wanted to be gentle with her, that much was clear. Maybe a disaster had happened in their old home town which was the real reason that led to their move to Seyruun. Filia didn't want to push her family into reliving the situation and knew they were just trying to protect her by keeping it quiet, which were all the more reasons to go on her own. "It's nothing, I'm just..." She couldn't tell the truth, but she didn't want to lie.
Xellos wrapped his arm around Filia's shoulders, annoyingly pulling her close to him. "We're going out on a romantic get away for a few days." He grinned with his most sarcastic squinty eyes smile.
Before Filia could harshly slap his arm away and yell a few insults at Xellos, Gravos nodded with a smile. Perhaps Filia's memories were coming back if she apparently had remembered that she no longer disliked Xellos. "Alright, have fun and don't worry about the shop and Val. We'll take care of everything." With his well wishes stated, Gravos merrily made his way up the stairs to the vases and maces shop.
Filia stood in frozen shock, her mouth slightly agape. "He believed it..." she concluded in horror. How could Gravos sound so sincere? He didn't sound like he was joking at all and surely he knew better than to make this kind of terrible joke anyway. Then again, it was worse that he would actually think it was true. Didn't he know Filia better than that?
"Your stupidity must be rubbing off on him." Xellos stated as a matter of fact with some surprise of his own. He didn't think Gravos was this gullible.
Pushing herself out of her shock, Filia removed Xellos' arm from around her shoulders and went off to say her remaining farewells before leaving. Xellos stood next to her in every occasion and no one question why Filia was apparently going somewhere with him, though she was hoping he wouldn't follow her. The way they were all so calm around Xellos unnerved Filia, but she figured it was all a result of the stress from the recent dangers.
xoxox xox xoxox
After a long flight, during which Xellos attempted to hop on Filia's back several times, promptly causing her to spin wildly in mid air to throw him off, and a few rest stops along the way, Filia finally arrived at her previous place of residence. The location was terribly run down and the locals were not happy to see her. "Dragon!" They screamed as she landed, though Filia was more focused on finding a suitable pile of debris behind which she could transform into her smaller shape. Her mind was also occupied by the concern of Xellos peeking at her.
In short, by the time Filia was back in her elf form, she noticed too late that she was surrounded by an angry mob. "Everyone?" She stared at them unsure. "What's going on?"
"Why have you come back, dragon?" Someone in the crowd asked in a very accusing tone. "Are you here to try to devour us in revenge for burning the remains of your old shop? You're not welcomed here, not you or your beast friends!"
Filia stepped back in shock. She was unable to find her voice seeing the townspeople like that. "It's true, it is her!" Sasha approached the angry mob, pointing at Filia.
"That horrible dragon is back!" Anna dramatized.
"Go away you wild creature!" Manna shouted angrily. "You're nothing but trouble!"
"No doubt about it, those tree chimera we had attacking the town earlier were looking for her," Sasha accused. "Because of her bringing danger to our peaceful town so many people died, including Hanna who was always so kind to Filia. She's such an ingrate!"
"Yeah and it was her friend that leveled the mountains just outside of town, they're so violent!" Anna added.
"It's no wonder the beasts she kept with her turned out to be horrible murderers, one just had to look at them to know!" Manna yelled.
"Oh yes, she does make weapons for a living," Sasha agreed. "Then when the zombies attacked right before the end of the apocalypse, she was nowhere to be found, the coward."
Filia's eyes were filled with tears; she didn't understand any of this. She had heard about Lina blowing up a mountain when she was attacked by monsters while looking for some spicy herbs, but she didn't think anyone cared all that much. Filia had heard about the tree snake chimeras and Venus, thinking of her as a whole different person from Hanna, whom she thought was still alive. She had not been told about the visit to Beast Master's Spa in the astral side. She didn't know Venus and her forces had apparently been after her, though in truth they were actually hunting for Xellos that time.
Hanna was dead? Many of the townspeople were dead? She had put them in danger? Jillas and Gravos' reputations were ruined because of her? This was her fault? They hated her, the whole town hated her. Filia was paralyzed. She couldn't speak, she couldn't' move, she couldn't even feel the abundant tears flowing from her eyes. The angry mob was going to attack her with murderous intent, blaming her unrightfully for all that had gone wrong and she just stood there like a rag doll.
"Are you going to move, stupid dragon?" As he voice the question with an obvious negative unspoken answer, Xellos teleported Filia away.
The distance of the teleportation was short, so Filia didn't get a harsh wave of sickness because of it, but she was already feeling terribly sick because of what happened in the ruins of town. She could see the town far away as she stood in a valley that was once a mountain. She was still speechless, still motionless, still trapped in deep sorrow.
"Honestly, I prefer wrath, but I suppose this will have to do," Xellos teased, hoping to get some kind of reaction from Filia. He stood directly in her line of vision and leaned close to her face with a big smile. "I thank you for the meal."
Filia felt herself tremble with the pain of the hardships she had forgotten and still could not remember, which only made it worse. "They hate me," she sobbed. "They hate Jillas and Gravos too. They even hate Lina. Why did this turn out so wrong? Why did innocent people have to get involved in my problem, in my fight? Hanna... I cared for her like a mother and she's gone!" Filia's voice increased in volume until she was all out wailing.
"You really are pathetic, stupid dragon," Xellos criticized unhelpfully. "You knew there was a harsh discovery waiting for you here," though she expected something different, "but you still came anyway. If you couldn't face the truth why didn't you just remain in ignorant bliss like the pathetic fool you are?" This was annoying, Filia's sorrow had a particularly bitter quality to it, he wanted wrath, delicious wrath to feast on, not this overrated monster dish.
Filia sniffled; Jillas and Gravos were only trying to spare her from reliving the pain. She was upset at them for hiding this, but she could hardly blame them. They probably thought she would fall apart and they were sadly right. She took in big deep breaths and tried to calm down. She was happy up until the point when she got the urge to return to that town. If that idiot Xellos hadn't shown up and brought up the subject of the world wide losses, she wouldn't have gotten that sudden impulse to take off.
Stupid Xellos, it was all his fault, everything was his fault! Just as for the townspeople everything was her fault. She shook her head. Xellos was a horrible monster, but he had plenty of real facts to get blamed for, thus Filia decided that she did not want to blame him for something that was actually not his fault. He didn't know she had amnesia and as much as she hated to admit it, he was doing her a favor by indirectly making her discover what she had been unknowingly ignoring.
Filia had decided after her discovery of the ancient dragons' fate that she wouldn't hide from the truth, even when it was difficult to face. She dried her tears and let out one last sorrowful breath, before taking in some fresh air with intentions of speaking. Her words were interrupted before they could even form on her lips as the angry mob from town approached in the distance. The group was now larger with more people having joined the dragon hunt. Filia hurried away, desperately looking for a hiding place to transform.
"Isn't it faster to fly?" Xellos sarcastically inquired as he hurried after Filia. She had managed to make herself calm down noticeably and stop crying. He wondered what she was thinking of to have achieved that effect.
"I would fly if you would look away!" The angry mob was still pretty far, and Filia was getting further away from them. From that distance they wouldn't be able to see much if she transformed. Yet Xellos was right there, annoyingly floating next to her as she ran.
"You want me to look away so you can transform with some privacy?" Xellos inquired the obvious with a look of false innocence.
"Yes!" Filia shouted. She knew all too well that he would not grant her request.
"How very considerate of you," Xellos sarcastically replied, grinning in amusement. "It's about time you started minding your manners, but you don't need to worry about me. You've already transformed in my presence before and I've already seen every gruesome detail. If the sight of your horrendous body didn't traumatize me then, it won't traumatize me now." Filia's wrath had returned full force and Xellos was very much enjoying it. This tasted so much better than plain old sorrow.
Filia's face turned scarlet in embarrassment and anger. Her blood felt like it was boiling. "Xellos!" In a fit of rage, she transformed and tried to hit Xellos. She punched, she kicked, she swung her tail around and even bashed her head into the ground in an attempt to crush him. He took off higher into the skies laughing merrily and Filia was quick to give pursuit. She shot one laser beam after another trying to at least partially decimate the horrible annoyance. It was true that she didn't really want him dead, but she wanted to cause him pain, horrible terrible pain.
xoxox xox xoxox
Filia's later return to her shop at Seyruun was filled with exhaustion, both physical and emotional. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to injure Xellos. She greeted everyone, making her return known, then she went straight upstairs to her room in the back of the second floor. She took a bath and lay down on her soft and inviting bed for a nap. She would have a long talk with Jillas and Gravos as soon as she cleared her head a little.
Xellos showed up again at the bakery for a tangible snack and happily sat at one of the outdoor tables recently added to the establishment enjoying the sweet treat. He was not expecting Jillas to approach him with a most peculiar conversation. "Did you tell her everything?" The fox beastman asked with curious concern. He wondered if Filia's memories were really returning or if Xellos somehow convinced her to go out with him even if she didn't sound so fond of him not long ago.
"Everything?" Xellos questioned, preceding the action of taking another bite of his delicious chocolate ice-cream pie.
"You know, about what the boss doesn't remember because of her amnesia." Jillas explain in what was, from his point of view, a very clear way. He assumed that Xellos remembered everything that had transpired leading up to the unusual wedding and beyond.
"Oh, that," Xellos pretended he wasn't partially in the dark too. Beast Master had only given him the basic summary after all. At least Xellos wasn't the only one with amnesia, though Jillas obviously didn't know about that detail and assumed Filia was the only one missing some memories. "I only told her about a few details about the general state of the world, nothing too shocking. Oh yes, and she also knows the people of her old home town hate her. That's where she wanted to go."
The fox paled, though it wasn't really noticeable under his fur. He stared at Xellos' ever present grin as he ate his sweet chocolaty snack. "The town..." Filia had looked terribly tired when she returned, but not as emotionally distraught as he would imagine her to be after such a horrible discovery. He assumed that Xellos must have consoled her. "I suppose she had to know eventually. Thanks for being there for her."
Xellos had to pause, mouth open, a portion of chocolate on the tip of his spoon, waiting to be eaten. He put down the silverware on the plate next to the remaining chocolaty treat, the piece it carried still untouched. Apparently Gravos wasn't he only gullible one. It seemed that Jillas had also gotten it in his head that Xellos was in some kind of romantic relationship with Filia. The thought of relationships made Xellos remember his earlier near mortal shock and it made the thought seem terribly wrong. He was wasting a golden opportunity to tease and embarrass Filia, but given the peculiar circumstances concerning Beast Master, it just didn't seem funny anymore. Thus he clarified, "we're not really dating. I only wanted to see Filia's reaction if I told Gravos we were."
Jillas blinked in realization. Then that could only mean that Filia's amnesia was still going strong. Xellos knew about it, everyone in the group knew about it, so someone must have gotten him up to speed even before Jillas mentioned it. Xellos was probably trying not to shock Filia too much by keeping their status as a legally married couple a secret from her. "I see... Maybe it's better this way." Because in her current mental state, Filia would probably demand a divorce... while throwing a very dangerous hissy fit.
"Agreed," Xellos simply stated, still trying to push the thoughts of the shock out of his head. After feasting on Filia's wrath, feasting on some sweets and staying away from Wolf Pack Island for the duration of Filia's trip to and from her previous home town, Xellos felt a bit better. He was still in shock, but his mind was clear enough to actually do something about it. He couldn't directly take action, Beast Master would be most displeased, but maybe if he could indirectly influence the other side, everything would work out.
Xellos needed a pawn, someone to use in order to influence 'him.' If it happened to be a dragon that would make things easier. Maybe Filia... Nah, she wouldn't be so easily tricked, not to this magnitude at least. Then again, Xellos was certain that Filia would find the terrible discovery just as offensive as he did. He wouldn't need to manipulate her at all, because if she knew, she would willingly help set things right. Rather than a pawn, she would be his teammate. Of course, that would involve actually confessing the terrible thing that had occurred, which he assumed begun at some point while he was unconscious for several days. That would be terribly embarrassing.
Nonetheless, if Xellos didn't do anything to right this terrible wrong, sooner or later, the mortifying fact would be known by many more people than just Filia. It was difficult waking up with missing memories to a world that was insane. Maybe that chaotic energy that was fed to the planet had some kind of side effect or something, because the occurrence was certainly crazy. Thus it was decided. Xellos would confess the catastrophe to Filia and she would volunteer to influence 'him.' Then finally the world would be set right side up again. Xellos liked chaos, but not this kind of beyond nonsensical ridiculous chaos. Albeit he should probably let Filia cool off for a while longer first.
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 126: Shock! Celebrity Couple
Sitting on the roof of Filia's shop as the sun rose over the horizon to a new day, Xellos contemplated the moment when he found out about the shock. He had just recovered at the time and was walking down the hall at Beast Master's palace in Wolf Pack Island, minding his own business. He heard Zelas talking to Galathia as they made their way through a different hallway and stood at the corner hidden from view, listening to a portion of their conversation, cut off and out of context.
"That's the full report from the monster rumor mill." Galathia finished with a tale that Xellos didn't quite catch. She was in fact talking about him and Filia. "Some are oddly amused, some are surprised and some simply don't believe it. However, other than those who have actually seen visual proof of the matter, many seem to think it's all some crazy rumor."
"I suppose it is hard to believe," Beast Master agreed. "A monster and a golden dragon together..."
Xellos was both surprised and curious. Who was Beast Master talking about? What golden dragon? What monster?
"If it was a low rank monster, maybe even a middle ranked monster, or a monster chimera, then it wouldn't be so shocking," Galathia mused aloud. "But in this case, given the rank..."
Xellos deduced that the monster in this odd involvement with a golden dragon was of a high rank. Maybe a general or a priest? Perhaps even a monster lord? That certainly narrowed down the possibilities.
Galathia's next statement made dread start to build up in the pit of Xellos metaphorical astral stomach. "Many have been thinking of your recent behavior as suspicious, but I of course, completely understand."
It didn't make this sound any better for Xellos when he remembered that Galathia was one of the more lustful monsters around, albeit her literally petrifying face didn't make things easy for her. Thus Xellos couldn't help it but to deduce, taking both the information and the informant into consideration, that a monster of a particularly high rank apparently had the hots for a golden dragon... ew.
"I'm sure you do," Zelas stated dismissively, moving on to an entirely different topic with little verbal indication. Away from Xellos' view however, she had pulled out of the astral side a black golden lined agenda written in red ink, making it clear to Galathia that she was moving on to a different subject as she turned the pages looking through her notes. "Milgazia should be here soon."
The dragon elder of the Water Clan had the audacity, not to mention the skill, to win the men's brass rackets elimination tournament and become the partner of the winner of the women's elimination tournament, Yuna Wolf. Such a name was the secret identity with which Zelas was entering the competition. Milgazia was going by something along the lines of Angel Dragon, the first part most likely to annoy Zelas and the second due to the fact that the most obvious disguises were the hardest to see through.
The tournament only allowed humans and elves to enter, reasoning that the elves were similar enough to humans. Monsters were obviously not allowed to compete. The league claimed that beastmen, dragons and other such beings would have an unfair advantage because of their physical strength, never mind that it was a weak excuse given the fact that brass rackets was more about the strength of the mind. The point was that they would not be allowed to enter. Of course, no one would think that a dragon entering incognito would actually call himself Mr. Dragon. As for monsters, they were labeled as evil, blamed for the almost apocalypse, even if they were also adversely affected during its worse stage, and banned from competing.
Zelas was very tempted to send Milgazia to an early grave, or better yet, to her oven, but she decided to let him be for the time being. It's not like he could stop her from causing chaotic mayhem by revealing her identity at the upcoming world wide tournament. He would probably be pushed into revealing his true nature as a dragon and that would cause more confusion and chaos. Perhaps having Milgazia as a brass rackets partner wasn't such a terrible thing after all.
After having reached that conclusion, Zelas decided to follow up with her plans, undergoing some brass rackets training to make sure she put up a believable act on all the public appearances and exhibition matches she would have to go through before the official tournament took place. She couldn't show her true power, she had to run around the court and make the matches look close, as they would be for an ordinary human. Milgazia was, naturally, expected to practice along with her.
Their coach and advisor, Wizer Freion, who was taking a break from his detective and police work for the time being, thought the odd pair had a long way to go. If he knew about the real identities of Yuna Wolf and Angel Dragon at the moment was anyone's guess. Maybe he had no idea, if he suspected something, he didn't show it. Although there was also the possibility that he was just playing along, feigning ignorance.
Wizer often remarked that though Yuna and Angel were impressively skilled on their own, their team work was so bad it made amateurs look like champions. He insisted that if they didn't work together, they would be each other's downfall in the official tournament, not to mention they'll embarrass themselves in exhibition matches and interviews to the point that they might not even make it to the tournament. He suggested practicing together until they began to feel comfortable with each other and learned to tune their movements to each other.
Miss Wolf and Mr. Dragon had in turn assured Wizer that they would practice together privately and tell him all about how it went later, this was to avoid having to put up an act more than absolutely necessary.
"Have fun playing with him!" Galathia replied to Zelas' comment about Milgazia's time of arrival being close by in a completely non-lustful way with only innocent mischief.
However, this was Galathia and she was known for being kind of a pervert, so Xellos took her comment the wrong way and questioned her sanity in speaking to Beast Master in such a way. His horror was still growing, pulsating like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode if the terrible theory actually turned out to be true.
Zelas on the other hand, took Galathia's comment exactly as it was intended and assured, "I will." Which meant that she intended to annoy Milgazia while they practiced brass rackets.
Zelas and Galathia's voices faded out of Xellos' hearing range as he fell back against the wall and slid down to the floor with his back resting on it. Zelas and Milgazia? No, absolutely not, that was completely and totally insane. Xellos refused to believe it, it was so crazy it wasn't even funny. He paced around in denial for some time, until he could no longer contain the need to rush after Beast Master and ask her to clarify the situation.
When Xellos teleported near by, the first thing that Zelas noticed was that he looked rather disturbed. "Lord Beast Master, may I ask you a question?"
Zelas had been making her way through the long hallways of her palace towards the surface of the island at a luxurious pace, having just parted ways with Galathia. Curious about what had Xellos in such an alarmed state of discomfort, she agreed. "You just did, but you may ask another."
"With all due respect," Xellos hoped that he had misinterpreted what he heard and he also hoped that he didn't get punished for asking something so preposterous. But he needed to know, he needed to put his terrible doubts to rest. "What is your relationship with Milgazia?"
A look of realization overtook Zelas' face. "Ah, so you've heard." She expected Xellos to be a little upset that Milgazia was the one playing brass rackets with her instead of him. "To put it simply, he is my partner for LIFE." To make it complicated, people cannot actually hear capital letters being spoken. Yet Zelas assumed that if Xellos was inquiring about her brass rackets partner, than he must know that LIFE meant League of International Fellowship on Earth, which was the name of the committee sponsoring the upcoming world wide brass rackets tournament.
Xellos twitched as Zelas mused that he was taking this harder than she expected. "Seriously?" He stuttered, silently begging for it to not be true, after all, 'partner for life,' without the capital letters, was just a politically correct way to say lover.
"Yes, for that reason, you must not kill him. Also you can expect to see him at Wolf Pack Island every now and then." Taking note of the look in Xellos eyes as if he had died ten times over, Zelas waved her hand dismissively and chuckled. "Don't be such a baby, Xellos. You're still my favorite minion," she teased. "Now go away, Milgazia and I need to be alone," so they could concentrate on their brass rackets strategizing and practice acting like humans on the court.
"Alone?" Xellos twitched some more as Zelas continued her path down the hallway, leaving him standing there to twitch away his sanity. Maybe the world had not survived the apocalypse after all, maybe this was it. At least that's what it felt like to him, it was simply too horribly wrong.
Shocked and appalled, Xellos went to spy on Beast Master outside of the palace, as soon as he composed himself enough to walk more than two steps without shuddering. In the surface of Wolf Pack Island, Xellos noticed the addition of a brass rackets court. Zelas was there, with her alternate sporty look in a brass rackets outfit. Milgazia was also wearing sports attire and they seemed to be talking, but Xellos was too far away to hear them. If he got too close, even if he managed not to be spotted, they would sense him and the suspicious proximity would make it impossible for him to pretend he just happened to be passing by.
Out of Xellos' hearing range, Zelas approached Milgazia and looked at his ears. She had seen them pointy and elf-like and she had seen them rounded and human-like. As far as the tournament went, Mr. Angel Dragon was supposed to be a human. Even if elves were allowed to compete, humans were generally favored by the LIFE committee. "Do you think you can keep your ears like this?" She curiously moved his hair away from them with the tip of her finger, tilting her head slightly to the side to have a better look at his ears. "Not to mention keeping your tail out of sight?"
"I can," Milgazia assured. "Pointy ears are a sign of a slightly incomplete human transformation, though sometimes dragons allow them as a show of solidarity for the elves."
Xellos' pet, as Zelas referred to Filia, was younger, thus less experienced in changing into a human, which was probably why she never got rid of the pointy ears. Plus her tail apparently popped out without her consent rather often. "I see, well then, let's get down to business." Zelas knew Milgazia was doing this to keep an eye on her and she was making fun of him by allowing it.
While the conversation between the golden dragon elder and the monster lord took place, Xellos watched part of the scene in mute, due to the distance. From his angle, they appeared to be standing closer to each other than they actually were, as it was difficult to calculate the distance of two bodies one behind the other from so far away. She reached over to... take his face in her hand? Xellos turned away at that point and refused to watch any further. If they were going to kiss, which couldn't be further from the realm of possibilities, he really didn't want to witness it.
The painstakingly frustrated and truthfully horrified purple haired monster teleported to his chambers before he could witness the fact that his crazy theory was very wrong. He buried his face in a purple pillow and screamed into it, trying to let out his tensions in a very non-astral way. His pet, whom he didn't remember adopting or naming but had been told was called Fili Algar Metallium, jumped on the bed next to him and tried to comfort her master.
Xellos petted Fili's soft fur. The little wolf-dog cub reminded him of Filia with her light blond fur and blue eyes. That's just what he needed right now, to clear his head by indulging in what a monster would call a good meal and Filia was just the one who could provide it. He needed her delicious wrath to feast on, he wanted some comfort food to get over the shock of the horror he just learned about and start thinking of a way to fix it.
xoxox xox xoxox
Thus that brings us back to the present with the sun rising over the horizon, announcing the start of another day in the kingdom of Seyruun. Upon hearing some sounds coming from the living area below, Xellos realized that Filia was already awake. He teleported inside and waited for her in front of the stairs as she made her way across the area, towards the kitchen, which was located downstairs.
The kitchen was spacious and comfortable, being equipped to handle the daily needs of a bakery and it was also the place where personal meals were prepared. Filia would cook something to add to Elena's delicious freshly baked bred that the golden dragon could already smell was being prepared. Then the whole family would sit down to have breakfast together. At least that was Filia's plan until she found Xellos blocking her path to the stairs. "Xellos!" She greeted him in the usual fashion of angrily spitting out his name like venom.
"Filia," Xellos grinned in response in the same annoyingly mocking fashion he always did with an infuriating overly cheerful mask.
"What do you want so early in the morning, raw garbage?" Filia had her hands on her hips, glaring daggers.
"I have a business proposition to make," Xellos began to explain. "I must ask that you suppress your violent barbaric instincts for a moment and hear me out. I assure you that you'll see my point and will willingly participate of this alliance as soon as I've stated my case."
"Alliance?" Filia huffed. "Why in the world would I willingly be your ally?"
"Dragons and monsters don't really belong together, do they?" Xellos sounded like he was continuing the argument with Filia, but he was in fact beginning to state his case. People were easier to convince when they didn't know they were being convinced. He had thought up some good arguments while he waited for morning so he could talk to Filia without ruining his chances of obtaining her willing cooperation by interrupting her slumber in the middle of the night. Dragons were especially cranky when they didn't get enough sleep, Xellos assumed. Although it also stood to reason that any creature lacking in rest would be cranky.
"No, they don't," Filia agreed suspiciously. She fully expected Xellos to say something about how dragons were too uncivilized and unrefined to understand monsters or some equally ridiculous argument. Yet the sarcastic remark she was expecting never came.
Instead Xellos continued his argument, moving forward quickly since Filia appeared to be so responsive this morning. She had not even shouted her latest statement towards him. "It is unnatural and wrong for a dragon and a monster to be together. Maybe they can be acquaintances, maybe even allies if they have a common goal or a common enemy. But they can never, ever, under no circumstances be a couple. Right?"
On the previous evening, Filia had a talk with Jillas and Gravos. They told her about the less pleasant side of the things she had missed and she managed to stay composed, albeit she still felt a dull ache in her heart. Xellos was still being omitted from the conversation though. Jillas and Gravos agreed that it was best to give him time to make Filia come around slowly so that the revelation didn't appear to be horrible to her. Besides, if despite their constant quarrels they got together once, they could go through the process all over again and end up happy a second time. Thus assuming Xellos was taking care of business in his own way in the romance department, they decided to give him some space.
Filia blinked in confusion, her defenses disarmed by the sheer oddity of Xellos' argument about how monsters and dragons couldn't be a couple. "Right... Monsters don't love. They don't feel any sort of attraction, not towards other monsters and certainly not towards dragons. Because monsters can't be attracted to anything..."
"That's not exactly right, but that's beyond the point," Xellos voiced in passing, before going back to his main argument. "The point is that-"
"What do you mean that's not exactly right?" Filia interrupted.
"Interrupting people is rude, stupid dragon," Xellos pointed out with a cheerful smile that didn't quite match the statement.
"Answer me, raw garbage." Still feeling emotional, Filia was not in the mood for trickery.
Letting out an annoyed breath, Xellos explained in a matter of fact, rushed tone, so as to not delay the more important matters too much. "Monsters can feed on lust," it was simple, precise and concise factual information.
"Oh," Filia blushed and she expected Xellos to tease her, but he didn't. In fact, he looked rather uncomfortable himself. "Xellos?" She curiously prompted.
"Anyway, as I was saying, it is completely nonsensical for monsters and dragons to be romantically involved," Xellos emphasized. He really didn't want to think about the possibility of Zelas feeding off a certain golden dragon elder's.. l... l... 'life is wonderful!' Xellos mentally shouted at himself, flinching as he did.
"Yes, we agree on that much..." Filia nodded unsure. She shifted uncomfortably, feeling rather awkward with the subject at hand. Strangely, Xellos looked like he was suffering from discomfort himself, though not for the same reasons as Filia. "Um... are you alright?"
"Perfectly fine," he grinned, while Filia stared at him, not with anger, but with concern. She noticed his change in behavior and it confused her. He let out a tired breath; there was no use in going in circles. Filia would know about Zelas and Milgazia soon anyway, so he might as well come out with it.
Yet before Xellos could speak any further, Filia interrupted with an unexpected question. "What's your favorite monster food?"
"Monster food?" Xellos curiously inquired. "As in my favorite negative emotion to consume?" Filia nodded. "It's wrath," Xellos truthfully replied without pausing to think about it.
"And your least favorite?" Filia tried to stop herself from looking away shyly. This was silly; it was none of her business. Besides, she should have guessed wrath was his favorite.
Xellos considered the question for a moment, "I find the flavor of sorrow to be the least pleasant, it's either overly bitter or kind of shallow, lacking in taste. Fear is pretty good, but wrath is still my favorite. Wrath is... kind of like high quality barbecued meat with a great secret sauce."
"Oh," Filia was more interested in the conversation than she thought she should be. Somehow, when she thought that Xellos was just trying to sustain himself by annoying her, it sounded less horrible, albeit it was still very much wrong. Although it was almost, but not quite, excusable if it was out of necessity. "Can't you monsters feed on something pleasant to the one giving it?"
Xellos paused and gave that question some thought too. He was allowing himself this little distraction only because Filia's curiosity amused him. He would have to tease her about it later. "Yes, actually," and now he was back down that road again.
"Really?" The light of undue hope shone in Filia's eyes. "If you must constantly feed on me, why can't you feed on that instead?"
"Such a direct offer," Xellos feigned shock, focusing on teasing Filia.
"What do you mean?" Filia didn't like the way Xellos' grin grew.
Xellos opened one eye, making it look like he was winking, sort of. "You're offering me your lust."
To be Continued