"You're looking healthy." Xellos greeted his target with a mocking grin. The people around them were oblivious to the tension in the air as they went about their business, staring at the pretty pointy eared girl or getting slapped by jealous dates.
"You're looking smug." Kirei glared at Xellos with a great fury in her golden eyes. "You have no idea how much trouble you caused for my clan by killing Jewel."
"I thought you weren't fond of the brat," Xellos responded with mock innocence.
"She was... necessary," Kirei growled.
xoxox xox xoxox
Several days ago, close to midnight in the outer lands across the sea from the peninsula, a monster general priest with a peculiar mission appeared in the gates of a mansion on the outskirts of a secluded white dragon settlement. Quiet and sneaky, Xellos approached the mansion, standing before its front entrance. It didn't look like there were guards around; there was no reason for the owner of the mansion to expect intruders. Yet there was in the end at least one guard...
"Stop, you monster!" A white dragon female with fiery golden eyes and long silver hair in a folded ponytail, that made it look half as long as its true ankle length, approached. She was wearing what looked like some kind of martial arts uniform and looked ready to fight. "Why have you come here, insect?"
"I came here for you, Jewel." This had to be her, Jewel, the legendary beauty of the white dragons. For a moment Xellos thought she was only a rumor. She was said to be quite young, just barely entering adulthood. She was betrothed about a century ago, but was too young to marry. Thus she was kept protected and hidden, as her fiance, a black dragon from a family of prominent political influence among the dragon race, was extremely protective of her. As a result of that, few had laid eyes upon her, but those who had, spoke wonders of her beauty. She would make a grand addition to Beast Master's collection.
"My name is Kirei," the white dragon girl corrected. "I am Jewel's protector. If you're here for the spoiled brat you'll have to get through me!"
"Spoiled brat?" Xellos questioned. "That's not how I would expect a bodyguard to refer to her superior," he mocked.
"My opinion of her does not matter." Was that a hint of jealousy in Kirei's voice? "I am her protector; it is my duty to my family. I must repay them for raising me as a child by protecting the one they treasure."
Xellos chuckled, "if the guard is this cute, then the treasure must be a real beauty. I'm sure Lord Beast Master will be very pleased with her new dragon hide designer purse."
"You want to turn Jewel into a fashion statement?" Kirei considered the possibility in her imagination. "Well, it is kind of fitting for such a manufactured beauty..." She shook her head, remembering her duty and trying to firmly hold on to it. "What am I saying? I'll fight you to the death to protect Jewel if I must, insect!" Without any further warnings, Kirei charged towards Xellos, who disappeared into the astral side.
Xellos reappeared behind Kirei, with a ball of black energy ready to shoot it at her. She jumped, flipping backwards as the ball of energy passed harmlessly through the now empty spot where she stood a split second ago. She attacked with magic even before she landed, managing to catch Xellos before he faded away completely. Before he reappeared, Kirei continued on the attack, hitting the areas where he intended to fade into the physical world. Finally, Xellos appeared floating high above the mansion. 'I see now why they thought one guard was enough,' he mused. For a young white dragon, this girl was exceptionally strong. Play time was over...
With another ball of black energy surrounded in purple lightning, Xellos went on the attack. Kirei didn't move, his blast hit her head on and when the dust that was lifted when the energy collided with the ground settled, there was no one there. 'An illusion!' Xellos realized. She must have sensed him moving up to reappear several feet in the air. She predicted that he would attack from above and left an illusion below in her place. Where was the real one?
Xellos looked in every direction; Kirei was gone, just gone, he couldn't even sense her intense emotions anymore. Did she run away like a coward? Maybe she was smart after all. He looked towards the mansion that looked so exposed to infiltration. He was there for Jewel, not her bodyguard, so it didn't matter if Kirei ran away. Xellos faded into the astral side with intentions of teleporting straight inside the mansion. As he entered the astral plane, he caught a glimpse of a most unexpected sight.
There was a white dragon with black energy that pulsed through her, surrounding her in black lightning. She looked as if the dark force within her could not be contained by her body, as if it would rip her apart from the inside. He only saw her for a split second before a blast of magic made him go on an emergency retreat. 'What... what is she?' That blast point blank actually hurt a lot. Yet somehow, she kept her emotions completely hidden as if she wasn't even there.
Kirei reappeared in the physical world, going all out with rapid blasts of energy, which Xellos was quick to dodge, until she exhausted herself and had to pause to catch her breath. Her senses where blurring, she had pushed herself too much. It was too late by the time she sensed the blast of dark energy surrounded in purple lightning heading towards her. Her damaged dragon body was not responding, she couldn't dodge it and was knocked out.
Finally victorious, Xellos approached his would-be victim. "So that's what you are, a poorly made chimera. The monster fused with you was never fully integrated." He was reminded a little of Valgarv. A combination of dragon and monster that was actually stable, did such a creature even exist? Valgarv could not fully transform into a dragon, though a partial transformation could give him extra power. This girl forced herself to transform and paid the consequences. "You're bearly in control..."
Xellos raised his hand as if to finish her off, but soon the dark energy in his palm faded to nothing and he lowered his hand. "Such a little firecracker..." Her temper reminded him of Filia. Leaving the injured unconscious dragon girl on the ground in front of the mansion, Xellos went inside. He knew he wouldn't run into any further interruptions. Surely the dragons in the near by village sensed all this. If their strongest warrior fell in battle, they would know there was nothing they could do.
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The inside of the mansion was elegantly decorated with emerald curtains that stood out on pale pink walls, plush carpets and expensive looking art. Xellos paused as he spotted a pink vase splashed with drops of glittery green. Filia was trying to glue some clear rhinestones to it. She arranged the glue in swirling patterns, but before she could pick up even the first rhinestone, Xellos showed up and dumped a jar of green glitters on the work in process. He wanted purple, but he couldn't find it, so he settled for annoying Filia with the first jar of glitters he found. "Her vases are everywhere..."
Xellos continued towards the room at the center of the mansion where he sensed a presence. He pushed the elegantly carved double doors open, cherry blossom pictures parting left and right to reveal the inner room. There was a lot of pink to go with the cherry blossom theme; Filia would probably like all the pink. In the middle of the room among many soft pastel colored cushions, there sat a young white dragon woman in front of a large mirror, admiring her reflection. "Jewel..."
At the mention of her name, she turned around to face the unwelcome invader. "Monster..." Her voice was clear melodious and beautiful, as was she. Her hair flowed in amazing waves as if it was crafted from the finest silver. It seemed long enough to reach her ankles. Her ears were long slender and pointy, sticking out left and right and slightly upwards, rather than straight up. A few shorter strands of hair framed her flawless face and light pink makeup highlighted her delicate features. Her eyes held various shades of green as if peridots, jades and emeralds had been fused together in impressive swirls of melted gems.
"What a disappointment," Xellos voiced.
Jewel showed no change in her neutral expression. "What words do you speak?" She inquired with detachment.
"You are Jewel, are you not? I had heard you held legendary beauty, but I don't see what the fuss is about." Xellos stated, unimpressed. "Your bodyguard is cuter than you."
Jewel merely blinked, "unreasonable," she stated in her quiet melodious voice. "My elder sister holds no beauty; she is damaged beyond repair, overtaken by a terrible monster. She is destined to die if she does not free herself and free herself she cannot."
"That fact doesn't seem to bother you much," Xellos observed.
"My only concern is my duty," Jewel replied.
"Your duty?" Xellos questioned with mild curiosity.
"For as long as my beauty mesmerizes all, my clan shall remain prosperous." Jewel stated emotionlessly.
"You're pretty dull," Xellos observed. There was a hint of indignation, mixed with fear and annoyance, perhaps a hint of rage, yet it was all so downplayed he wasn't even sure. She was a superficial beauty, a cultivated beauty; she was manufactured in a sense. When it came down to it she was nothing but a living doll with barely the hint of a spirit in her. She was trained to be beautiful, trained to be the image of perfection, nothing but an image, nothing but falsehood. "Quite dull indeed, a disappointment."
"An astral being with no definite appearance would not understand the meaning of beauty," Jewel stated with indifference.
"You think so?" Xellos pretended to look perplexed, then he gave her a mocking grin. "Maybe it just takes a little more than what you're capable of achieving to make me understand." He wasn't sure why the image of Filia popped into his head, but he tried to leave such thoughts for later and focus on his mission. "It doesn't matter, not for you at least, because you're about to die anyway."
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In the present time at Seyruun castle, the New Year's ball continued. Kirei's intense anger invaded the atmosphere around Xellos. The emotion was slightly bitter, as if mixed with sorrow, unlike Filia's pure, almost innocent, fury. "The only reason for which someone as tainted as myself was kept in the clan was to protect Jewel. When she died I was regarded as a disgrace because I lived when she did not. Jewel's fiance is disappointed and my clan has been abandoned. She was to marry in a mere few months; the Ivory clan was to become one with the Ebony clan."
"So much for political power," Xellos chuckled mockingly. "Why don't you marry Mr. Ebony yourself? Oh wait, that's right, you're dying as a side-effect of the monster inside you. You're an imperfect chimera."
"I would rather the monster kill me than completely fuse with me. I will resist it even if I die." Kirei snapped angrily. "Even if I cannot reach happiness, my family could have if you haven't shown up to collect another trophy for Beast Master."
"So now you want revenge? Fine, let's take our fight outside, shall we?" Xellos suggested.
"You don't want to cause a commotion do you?" Kirei correctly concluded.
"If you do," Xellos slowly opened his eyes threateningly. "I guarantee you will regret it."
"We shall see," Kirei walked away.
Xellos paused, debating if he should follow her or not. She didn't seem stupid enough or suicidal enough to cause trouble. No, not that one, she seemed to be a cunning fighter, she would probably assess the situation further before making a move. She was heading towards the line where autographs were being signed by Yuna Wolf and Angel Dragon. So that was her plan, she probably intended to gain some support from Milgazia, but he should know not to make a troublesome move, especially given his... relationship.
In conclusion, it was fairly safe to say that Kirei wouldn't be causing any immediate trouble. Xellos would keep a cautious eye on her, but for the time being he could afford to let her go about her useless business for a short while; it wouldn't get her anywhere anyway. He looked around the grant party hall until he spotted Filia sitting at the bar talking to Luna. Great, just great... Couldn't she just hang out quietly on her own until he returned from his unexpected duties? If she was really bored, couldn't she go play the third wheel for Amelia and Zelgadis for a while? Or go pig out at the buffet table with Lina and Gourry? Though she might be risking her limbs on that last option... Of all the things Filia could have done to entertain herself in his absence, why did she have to go talk to the Knight of Ceifeed? Without further ado, Xellos tried to look harmless as he approached the bar.
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Zelas discreetly watched as Xellos went off to the bar where his little pet and the Knight of Ceifeed were. As for the white dragon girl, she was approaching the autograph table, her eyes fixated on Milgazia while he tried to avoid her gaze. "She knows who I am," Milgazia whispered under his breath to Wizer.
The coach was sitting between the two athletes like a human wall of peacekeeping. "Not good..." Wizer glanced at Zelas, who was playing the part of Yuna and seemed well aware of what was happening.
"If she blows our cover..." Zelas' plan was to disappoint everyone when they looked up to Yuna as an inspirational sports heroine. Perhaps some of the fans would even become her followers and form troublesome cults that worshiped Beast Master. It would be so chaotic, so fun, she couldn't allow her cover to be blown now.
"Don't worry, I have a plan," Wizer whispered discreetly. "As the athletes that I coach, it is my duty to assist you in any way I can. Let us create a diversion." The detective turned coach suddenly stood up, addressing the crowd that was standing in line waiting for their autographs, among which Kirei was. "Hey everyone! Wouldn't you like to see Yuna and Angel dance a passionate tango? I know I would!"
"Yeah!" The crowd, excluding Kirei, cheered.
"Will you give the crowd what they want?" Wizer encouraged Milgazia and Zelas to play along, though they did not look amused.
"He's insane," Milgazia stated.
"He's suicidal," Zelas differed.
Wizer's acted cheer faltered for a second before he put a rose in his mouth and with a brand new resolve he spoke between his teeth. "If Mr. Dragon is too shy to dance, then I will happily dance with the lovely Miss Wolf," he volunteered.
Zelas looked back and forth between Milgazia and Wizer. "Are these my only options?" She seemed displeased. "Move it dragon boy, we're dancing."
"Huh?" The next thing Milgazia knew he was being pulled away from his chair and dragged to the dance floor.
"Just do what I do and don't step on my feet," Zelas warned.
"Fine," with a serious face, Milgazia had no choice but to accept the unexpected invitation.
Wizer sighed in disappointment. 'She chose to dance with her sworn enemy instead of with me? Hmp! Monster lords, who understands them? Hmp! Women, who understands them? Hmp! Monster lord women, who understands them?' Leaving the fans to fuss about the sport idols' dance, Wizer went off to nurse his broken pride at the bar.
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Meanwhile, Xellos sat down next to Filia, leaning on the bar to look at her face past the curtain of blond hair that partially covered it as she stared down at her half empty, or half full, depending on one's perspective, glass. "Elbows off," Luna half ordered and half pretended to politely request as she wiped the glossy black bar counter with a white cloth, even if it was already clean anyway.
Xellos continued trying to look harmless. He noticed that Lina had momentarily paused in her eating at the buffet table to curiously glance in her sister's general direction. Xellos smiled at the gluttonous redhead sorceress, hoping that it would further help to make Luna settle down and not cause a commotion. Lina however, promptly went back to her eating without returning the gesture and pretended she didn't know the purple haired monster. Some support.
Filia was doing a fine job of ignoring Xellos so far and Luna was doing a fine job of giving him nasty looks. Just what did Filia tell her anyway? The golden dragon's attention was moved away from whatever was so fascinating about a half full and half empty glass of wine and towards a small commotion taking place at the dance floor as the melody of tango invaded the sound waves. Her eyes widened as she pointed at the pair, "they really know how to tango," she observed.
Curious, Xellos followed Filia's pointing finger. He was going to tease her about how it was rude to point at people, but the phrase died on his lips before he could breathe a word of it. Then he clenched his teeth and glared. Milgazia was dancing with Zelas; Milgazia was dancing a tango with Zelas. "No one dances with Beast Master like that!" Xellos growled in a threatening and territorial tone. He stood up and started marching over to them. Then he realized he would cause a commotion if he so openly interfered and resolved to approach them more discreetly, with some cover in the form of a dance partner. "Filia, we have a mission to accomplish."
Contemplating the peculiar dancing pair, Filia set aside her anger for the time being and nodded. She reasoned that putting up with Xellos was something that she would have to do for the sake of the greater good. "Fine, it's a truce, but I'm still mad at you." She followed him towards the dancing area.
Wizer arrived soon after and sat at the bar, sighing deeply. "Give me something strong, Miss Bartender, I need to drink away my frustrations."
"Right away," Luna prepared a particularly powerful drink and set the glass on the bar counter in front of Wizer.
The frustrated coach downed the full contents of the glass, feeling the burn of liquor traveling down his throat in a stinging way that was almost instantly revitalizing. Yet his worries were still vividly present in his mind. "I'm a failure as a coach," he confessed.
"Isn't that a little harsh?" Luna went into psychological counselor mode, as it was the alternate function of most bartenders. "I hear your athletes are quite talented."
"I'm sure people will soon see through their act," Wizer sighed, revealing a little too much, as his senses became slightly blurry and his speech slurred. What was in that drink anyway? It was exceptionally strong. "They are amazing on their own, but terrible as a team. They hold no passion for each other, no interest in each other, not even a slight hint of a connection. Just look at them dancing there, so stiffly."
"Stiffly?" Luna questioned. "They're movements appear to be fluid and precise."
"Tango isn't about precision," Wizer insisted. "It's about passion and those two have no passion. He's so serious and she's so cold. They are talented and have fast reflexes, but it's all an act. Look there for example," Wizer pointed. "He's not even really holding her waist. If you look very closely, you'll notice that his fingers are just barely brushing the fabric of her dress."
"You're very observant," Luna acknowledged.
"It comes with years of working as a police detective." Wizer revealed with pride. "There wasn't a case I couldn't solve, or a criminal I couldn't apprehend. But this is different..." His expression became sad and frustraited. "Getting those two to even remotely work together beyond a poorly constructed act is a real challenge."
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 134: Insanity! Welcome to Wonderland
The New Year's ball progressed merrily at Seyruun castle. Amelia was dancing with Zelgadis. Martina was dancing with Zangulus. Lina and Gourry were eating. Naga and Gravos were drinking themselves silly and laughing insanely, yes, both of them. Jillas was dancing with Elena. Palou, Val and Fang were playing tag with Philionel, which was pretty amusing. Onyx was looking rather bored standing around and glaring at the walls because she didn't particularly fit in at parties. Phythan was getting more attention from the ladies than his innocent mind could think of what to do with.
Wizer's eyes traveled to the pair dancing not too far away from Zelas and Milgazia. They looked like they were fighting for control of the dance, shoving each other not too discreetly. They couldn't make up their minds about in which direction they were going, pulling and pushing constantly, which led to slight stumbles and constant physical contact. "Now that's dancing!" Wizer exclaimed, pointing at Xellos and Filia. "To the untrained eye it looks like they're stumbling around like clumsy drunken idiots, but you can practically smell the passion!"
"Interesting," Luna observed.
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Kirei watched the dancing couples with a glare. Several men had attempted to ask her to dance, but she had refused them all. She didn't know what was going on, but there was definitely something going on with Milgazia and Zelas. Deciding that it was best to study the situation further before making a move, Kirei retreated for the night. She might have acted rashly for the sake of her immediate duty, but now that her duty was dead, she had to plot her vengeance properly. She couldn't take too long though, not with that creature eating away at her very life. That peculiarly mysterious thing inside her, which she assumed was a monster.
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"Your potential conquest is leaving," Filia harshly whispered to Xellos.
"Jealous, are we?" He teased.
"I feel sorry for her if she managed to capture your interest," Filia growled. The tango continued and they had made no progress in cutting into Milgazia and Zelas' dance.
"Xellos..." Zelas' voice was barely heard above the music. She gave her general a look that screamed 'get over here, now.'
"I think I'm being called," Xellos observed. Filia humored him by allowing him to lead the dance instead of stubbornly trying to push and pull in the opposite direction to where he was trying to move.
As soon as the two pairs where in range, Zelas declared, "switch," and they exchange dance partners. This was an infuriatingly long song. "What took you so long? Is your pet that much of a distraction? Do I need to get rid of her?" Zelas, still in the guise of Yuna, growled discreetly but harshly.
"My apologies, Lord Beast Master," Xellos whispered back. "I wasn't distracted, it's just that I did not realize you wanted me to cut in," he excused. It was only partially true and it made him wonder why she would want her dance to be interrupted.
"If you had not come I might have done something..." Zelas admitted, "inappropriate," like murder.
Xellos questioned, unsure if he actually wanted an answer "Inappropriate?" Like making-out in public or more?
"Yes," Zelas confirmed, "very inappropriate," very bloody murder.
"Very inappropriate?" That had to mean more... "But there are so many witnesses," Xellos pointed out almost desperately.
"When the need comes," to commit a violent bloody murder, "it comes." Zelas explained, much to Xellos' horror. She didn't know what kind of thoughts were going through his head and she didn't understand why he was so horrified. "Is there a problem?" She inquired.
"Of course not," Xellos forced himself to smile. "Anything that you decide to do is what is best. I would never, ever question your actions."
"That's a good general priest. Now do me a favor and as soon as this stupid dance is over go fetch me a drink," Zelas ordered. "I would go and demand it from the Knight of Ceifeed myself," because she was most certainly not afraid to do so and they all knew it. "But I'll probably get stuck signing autographs again."
"Yes, Lord Beast Master," Xellos agreed, trying to completely erase from his mind the images of his wild, and very inaccurate, imagination.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, Milgazia was now dancing with Filia, while Zelas and Xellos moved further away. "Are you... um... alright?" Filia shyly asked.
"Yes, I'm fine now," Milgazia admitted. "I'm glad you came, things were getting rather tense."
"Tense?" Filia questioned, she wasn't stumbling around anymore now that she wasn't opposing any directional resistance to the dance, instead loosely following Milgazia's movements.
"Yes," Milgazia confessed. He was pretty sure Zelas wanted very badly to go on the attack, even if he tried to keep his distance as much as he possibly could while still putting up a half decent act of pretending to dance. "It would not have been suitable for the eyes of young children," because it would have been very violent.
Filia's eyes widened, "really?" Just how much bottled up passion for each other did those two have? "I had no idea it was that... intense..." She felt terribly awkward right about now.
Milgazia interpreted Filia's discomfort as worry, which was perfectly justifiable. "It's okay. After this song ends, we'll go sign autographs separately and I'm sure the atmosphere will cool off after a while."
"Right..." Filia nodded, all too eager to end the conversation.
xoxox xox xoxox
Fortunately, the New Year's ball ended without any major incidents, unfortunately, the troubles that awaited Xellos, Filia and the world were far from over. Zelas, being the prideful, egotistical monster lord she was, decided that Milgazia better improve his brass rackets skills if he was going to be her unwelcome costar at the court. Thus she sent Xellos to hunt down some tea leaves that had been supposedly previously extinct, but were restored into the world after the whole incident that borrowed power from the Sea of Chaos.
The leaves were supposed to be good to make some energy drink tea with, though their existence was surrounded by a number of peculiar rumors. "Take your pet along, she might be able to sniff them out. Plus this tea is good for dragons, so you can give her some as a treat."
Xellos was not happy to have been sent off on an errand to find tea leaves for Milgazia, but none the less he went and he did take Filia along. Hence they found themselves in a big open field with various small forms of vegetation all around. "Why do I have to help you find the tea leaves?" Filia complained. "I don't think encouraging tea parties between Milgazia and Zelas will help break them up."
"That's not the point," Xellos, just as Filia, was also bent over looking at the ground trying to discern one leaf from another. This was far more difficult than it looked. "This is a mission from Beast Master; it's a direct order so it must be done."
"And she specifically told you to bring me along?" Filia complained.
"Yes," Xellos replied. "You shouldn't complain so much, lazy dragon. These tea leaves are good for your kind, you can have some."
"Why don't you get your new friend to come with you?" Filia inquired in annoyance.
"Who?" Xellos picked up some leaves to examine them more closely, but soon realized that they were not what he was looking for.
"The white dragon girl from the ball, you're obviously quite fond of her," Filia huffed.
Xellos grinned, "I don't really know where she is right now. But you're right, I am becoming quite fond of her," but that was only because she made Filia jealous and he was ever so amused by that.
Filia growled something incomprehensible. It was none of her business who Xellos hung out with. If he found a new dragon to annoy, then maybe he would leave her alone. If she never saw him again it would be too soon! She walked off in anger, stomping her feat as she went.
"Don't step on the tea leaves, clumsy dragon!" Xellos called after her in a teasing tone, but Filia didn't stop. Turning behind a large tree, Filia sat down and crossed her arms angrily. Since it didn't look like she was willing to be helpful anymore, but didn't have any intentions of leaving either, Xellos let her be for the time being and resumed his search.
After a while of glaring angrily at nothing and asking herself why she was so terribly annoyed, Filia concluded that she simply did not like being pushed into spending time with Xellos, though deep down she knew that wasn't true. She shifted and realized that the bark of the tree on her back slightly bent inward as if it was thin and hollow. Curiously, she examined it more closely, finding a hole on it to look through, but it was too dark to see inside. She pushed it a little and it gave in, she pushed it a little more and it gave in some more. Finally she pushed it harder and the whole piece of bark sunk into the hollow tree before becoming detached from it and falling in.
Filia leaned into the hole that was hidden below the tree. She squinted at the darkness until she felt something poking at her tail. The appendage had made its appearance a short while ago without her notice during her little argument with Xellos. She turned her head to find a little rabbit looking at her as if asking for passage. Filia moved aside and the fluffy white bunny hopped past her and jumped into the hole camouflaged by the tree. The small creature disappeared in the darkness as it fell, making Filia wonder if it was alright. Well, she couldn't abandon a cute fuzzy bunny all on its own, though it did look like the rabbit knew exactly what it was doing.
Curious about what kind of odd rabbit hole this was, Filia jumped in, levitating so as to not plummet to the ground below. She used a light spell to see where she was going and safely landed in a small cavern underground. She saw the same white bunny making its way to an underground pond to drink some clear crystalline water. The rabbit then climbed out through a smaller hole, most likely making its way to the surface. So it was only here for a drink. Filia was about to levitate back out the way she came, but paused when she saw a peculiar leaf. It was a deep green color with red specs on it and thin sections similar to the shape of a feather.
Filia closely examined the plant with the peculiar leaves, taking in its scent which was like a mix of mint and vanilla. This was it; the leaves matched the description Xellos obtained from Beast Master perfectly. Filia considered taking some and showing them to Xellos, bragging about finding them before he did, but she didn't feel like it. Let him run around in circles up in the fields for a while longer looking for the elusive tea leaves. As for Filia, she was going to make some tea. She could really use something to relax with and the tea was supposed to be good for dragons. With her mind set on tasting a new tea recipe, Filia pulled out her small portable tea set out of a pocket in her cloak and started making tea with the use of magic to heat it up.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile in Seyruun castle, Amelia went over her luggage one last time as she and Zelgadis would be leaving on their trip on the very next morning. She looked through her comic and novel collection, wondering which she should take along. She picked up a particular novel and opened it to the first page which contained some notes from the author. "Make sure to set your imagination to high definition mode, because this is a fan service filled story!"
Amelia giggled as she remembered what the novel was about; it kind of made her wish it was a comic instead. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it's the kind of picture that would probably leave anyone speechless. In the end deciding against packing the particular novel, Amelia placed it back on its shelf and picked out a different one instead.
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Back in the little underground cave, Filia woke up and stretched with a yawn. She didn't remember falling asleep. That tea she drank was good and it must have relaxed her more than she thought if she actually fell asleep on the ground. She started to pick up her tea set to put it away in her cloak, but soon found she didn't have her cloak, or her dress. Instead she was wearing an odd bikini made of pink hearts. Boiling with anger and embarrassment, Filia immediately assigned a culprit to her predicament. "Xellos!"
A figure faded into existence from the astral side, floating a few feet above the ground. The shape became clearer until Filia recognized him as Xellos, except he wasn't the same way he always was. He still had the same purple hair and the same infuriatingly overly cheerful squinty eyes and big grin. The two main differences were that, number one; he had a pair of purple cat ears on his head along with a purple tail and number two, his clothes were... mostly missing. The ears were a deep purple with lavender at the tips and the tail was striped with deep purple and lavender. As for his apparel, or lack thereof, he wore only a purple spade symbol covering what vitally needed to be covered. "You called?" He purred.
Filia's jaw dropped as she stared red faced. The nerve of him. "You!" She pointed accusingly. "You did this, you monster!"
"Did what, Alice?" Xellos inquired with a purr as he landed next to Filia, on all fours and started rubbing against her bare legs purring.
"Stop that, you pervert!" Filia jumped back several feet in furious indignation, "and my name is not Alice!"
"Sure it is, Alice, meow," Xellos faded to the astral side again. He reappeared again next to Filia, first his grinning face and then the rest of him. "I would remember my own master's name, purr."
Filia angrily levitated out of the little cave and peeked out of the tree trunk, hoping that the fields above were just as deserted as before. When she got her mace back, Xellos was really going to get it. What Filia saw was not what she was expecting at all. Instead of the normal fields she had been at before, she found a very strange place with pink grass, orange skies, blue trees, dancing green mushrooms and smile faced white clouds. At least the clouds were a normal color, but clouds were not supposed to have faces. "Where am I?" Filia finished climbing out of the tree trunk in disbelief.
Xellos faded into existence next to her again. "You're in wonderland, meow. Where else would you be, Alice?"
Was this all Xellos trickery or was she going insane? Honestly, Filia was starting to dreadfully suspect the latter. "If I'm your master, then I order you to call me Filia." The least he could do was call her by her proper name.
"Whatever you say, Filia, purr," Xellos agreed, attempting to get cuddly again, but Filia quickly stepped away.
"Now I order you to take me home," Filia demanded.
"Right away, meow, follow me purr," Xellos kept disappearing and reappearing a few feet away, moving by way of short range teleportation.
"Can't you walk like a normal person?" Filia snapped, soon changing her request. "Or better yet, just teleport me home!"
"I can't do that, meow," Xellos insisted. "You have to follow me, purr." Seeing that she had no choice, Filia let out an exasperated breath and moved along. She really hoped no one would see her like this. She really wanted to hurt Xellos right now.
xoxox xox xoxox
After walking for a while, the scenery wasn't getting any more normal, it was getting stranger; Filia could have sworn those green dancing mushrooms were staring at her. Things that shouldn't have faces had faces, such as those odd yellow rocks Xellos was sitting on kitty style. One of the rocks just winked at her!
"Alice?" A small voice called from the ground among the tall pink grass. Filia looked down at the being that took flight on small golden wings. It looked like a dragon, sort of. Yet its head and golden eyes were unusually large. His head was almost the same size as the rest of his body and his wings were far too tiny to keep him in the air according to the laws of physics. To put it simply, he looked like a caricature of a golden dragon, like a cute drawing that shouldn't exist outside of comics, a chibi. "I'm glad you're back!"
"Who are you?" Filia asked the tiny dragon in curiosity. She was embarrassed, given her current apparel, but also very surprised by the creature. "And by the way, my name is Filia," she added in an annoyed tone.
"You want to be called Filia? Very well," the little golden dragon agreed. "You can still call me by my usual name. I hope you weren't seriously asking who I am. Have you forgotten your own brother?" Filia was pretty sure she never actually had a brother, but she could say nothing as she watched the small dragon glow with perplexity. The golden light stretched into a human-like shape until finally the light faded and there stood Milgazia, wearing a similar attire to Xellos, except his was a blue heart. "Surely you remember me, dear sister. I am Milgazia, the king of hearts, brother of the queens of hearts, Martina and Alice, who is now called Filia."
"You... you..." Filia couldn't even find the words to say. There simply wasn't a word in her vocabulary that expressed a sufficient amount of surprise. Milgazia was in on this craziness too? How did he even turn into that chibi dragon thing? How did the whole scenery change? Nothing made sense!
"Xellos, why have you not yet escorted Filia to the trial grounds?" Milgazia inquired, he didn't seem to be at all bothered by his lack of clothing or Filia's.
"She doesn't seem up to it, meow. She's acting really strange, purr, she won't even pet me." Xellos complained.
"How odd," Milgazia observed. "Usually my dear sister wants to do nothing more than to caress her beloved pet all day and night," he innocently stated.
Filia's face turned red at the thought of cuddling Xellos, repeatedly, all the time, with that odd attire of his... "That can't be!" She shouted embarrassed.
"Your face is red, are you ill?" Milgazia inquired. "Sadly, there is no time for you to recover. You must attend the trial right now. This trial will decide which of my two sisters will keep the title of queen of hearts, while the other will be the jack of hearts. Let's not forget that all the jacks are required to serve as slaves to Zelas, the queen of spades, for seven hundred years before they can go free. Hurry to your trial now, Filia, if you are late, it will be assumed that you wish to forfeit the title of queen of hearts."
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 135: Fan Service! Minimal Dress Code
"Serve Zelas for seven hundred years?" Filia's eye twitched at the thought. She didn't know what kind of insanity was going on and she didn't like it at all. She wondered if this was related to the use of chaotic energy to revitalize the planet. Maybe calling upon the power of the Sea of Chaos was crossing the line and it was only a matter of time before the world morphed into this nonsensical place. Filia didn't know what was going on or how to get things back to normal, but she did know one thing, she did not want to get stuck as Zelas' slave for a single day, let along seven hundred years. "Which way are the trial grounds?"
"This way, meow," Xellos disappeared and reappeared a few feet further away. "Follow me, purr." Without any further delays, Filia hurried after Xellos as he continuously teleported, leading the way.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Xellos! Wait up!" Xellos' continuous teleportation had increased in speed until Filia was running to keep up with him. Given her current attire, or lack of attire, she thought it best to transform into a dragon. Her human-like shape was one thing, but her dragon form was a whole other story. She didn't mind running around with nothing but a ribbon on her tail in that shape. It was a bit ironic, but that was simply how it worked. She looked around, feeling as if the odd mutant vegetation was watching her. That aside, there seemed to be no one else around. Thus she focused and attempted to transform.
After several seconds of absolutely nothing, her tail finally popped out with a bell ring at the end instead of her usual bow. Filia didn't understand why she couldn't transform, but it's not like anything else made sense anyway. So much for making following Xellos easier by flying. She examined her tail, tugging at the bell ring. How in the world did it get there? The upside-down heart shape of the end of her tail was too big to allow the ring to get to the thinner area of her tail. But once again, it's not like anything else made sense anyway.
Letting out a breath of exasperation, Filia continued on her way in the general direction that she last saw Xellos teleport. The bell ring on her tail made a continuous sound as she walked, but she found herself unable to retract the appendage. Trying her best to ignore the sound, Filia kept on walking, until her missing guide appeared again.
"Bell..." Xellos' purple and lavender striped cat tail moved from side to side as he watched Filia's tail intently. His posture was similar to that of a feline waiting to pounce. "Bell... bell... bell! My bell!" He dashed towards Filia, running in circles around her on all fours until he stopped behind her and started chewing on the end of her tail.
Xellos didn't bite hard enough to cause Filia any pain, but his nibbling was... tickling her, to say the least. "Stop that!" From lack of mace on hand, Filia used her foot and kicked Xellos away.
Xellos made a sound like a hurt kitten and looked at Filia with sad amethyst eyes. "You don't love me anymore!" Then he disappeared once more.
"You don't know the meaning of personal space!" Filia shouted angrily. She waited for several seconds, but Xellos did not return. "Xellos? Oh, come on, don't be such a piece of raw garbage and come back already! Xellos!" After several more minutes passed with Filia's calls being ignored, she even tried using the bell ring on her tail to attract Xellos again, but it didn't work.
Seeing as getting her guide back was not working out, not that he was of that much help anyway; Filia continued walking in the general direction she was heading before. With some luck and more patience than she knew she could realistically muster, maybe she could figure out a way to restore a shred of sanity to that chaotic nonsensical world.
xoxox xox xoxox
After walking for a while, Filia spotted something moving in the distance. Assuming that it was some sort of vehicle, she quickly headed towards it. If there was a kind of transport there, then someone should be driving it. That person might be able to give her directions, a ride and maybe even provide her with some decent clothes if she got over her embarrassment enough to actually approach. Then again, Milgazia was dressed, or rather undressed, in a similar fashion, so maybe this was the normal dress code in that new crazy world. Chaos had no modesty.
When Filia got close enough to the moving vehicle to clearly perceive what it was, she realized it wasn't actually a form of odd carriage after all. It was a piece of furniture, a table to be specific. The table's brown wooden legs were moving as if it were a horse on a calm and quiet walk, the white table cloth blowing in the gentle breeze as it went. On the path's side, Filia stood staring. Just when she thought this world couldn't get any stranger, it did.
Filia recognized the three passengers that the moving table was carrying. They were Xellos, Amelia and Zelgadis. Amelia and Zelgadis were also dressed, or undressed, in the same fashion as everyone else, with Amelia wearing pale blue diamond symbols and Zelgadis wearing white clubs. In both cases the fabric that looked like a censoring sticker on an otherwise too high rated photo, only covered what vitally needed to be covered. Yet by now, Filia figured it was silly to be embarrassed, because everyone was wearing as little as she was anyway. Of course, that didn't stop her from feeling terribly awkward. "Wait for me!" Filia ran after the moving table.
"Oh how wonderful!" Amelia exclaimed as she extended her hand to help Filia climb onto the table. "A local from this land has come to join our tea party! We are travelers from far away, our tea party is always moving. I am Amelia the justice hare." Aside from the bikini, Amelia was also wearing a pair of bunny-like ears on her head.
"And I'm Zelgadis the mystical hatter," Zelgadis took off his big green top hat to salute Filia. She noticed that he had a pair of antennae under the hat, but didn't say anything about it. Really, it wasn't the strangest thing she had seen so far anyway.
"I'm Filia," she introduced herself, watching Xellos suspiciously from the corner of her eyes while he sat there kitty style without a word. Apparently this version of Amelia and Zelgadis had not met her before.
"It is good that you should join us, miss Filia, because this is a very special tea party!" Amelia exclaimed as she served Filia a cup of tea, which the golden dragon gladly drank in hopes that it would help calm her. "We are celebrating the arrival of our child!"
"Your child?" Filia was so shocked she almost choked on her tea. Amelia certainly didn't look pregnant. It was easy to see that she wasn't, given her current apparel. Then that meant that the baby was not on its way, but instead already born. Then again, it might not be their real child, but someone else entirely. After all, family relations were certainly messed up in that world from what Filia had learned so far. Milgazia as her brother she could certainly live with, but Martina as her sister? No, just no.
"Yes, this is our child," Amelia patted Xellos on the head. "We adopted him today. This poor sweet kitty's previous master was mean to him, refused to return his affection and even kicked him, so he ran away. How could anyone be so heartless to a kitty? It's okay now, Beloved, you're safe with us."
"I'm so very happy, meow, you're so good to me, Master Amelia," Xellos purred.
"Be... Beloved?" Filia stuttered.
"That's his name, Amelia thought of it," Zelgadis clarified. "Would you like some milk, Beloved?"
"Yes, Master Zelgadis, meow, I would love some," Xellos purred, still pretending he didn't know Filia.
Zelgadis poured some milk into a bowl and set it in front of Xellos. The purple haired, monster? Cat chimera? Freak of chaos? Filia wasn't sure anymore, licked the milk from the bowl happily. Though it probably was an unimportant detail, given all the other random occurrences that were going on, Filia observed that the milk had come from the same tea pot that Amelia used to pour her tea before. It made no sense, though Filia would probably be surprised now if something did.
Trying to stretch her patience and sanity well beyond their already broken limits, Filia inquired. "Could you be kind enough to direct me towards the trial grounds?"
"The tea party goes where it goes," Amelia replied. "We know not where we're going, where we came from or where we are."
"That's right," Zelgadis agreed, "we just go."
"I see..." So they were basically lost, Filia concluded, but they didn't care. "What about you, Beloved," Filia spat out the name like venom. "Would you happen to be able to direct me towards the trial grounds?" Xellos paused his activity of drinking milk kitty style to take a moment to hiss at Filia, then he resumed what he was doing.
"That's odd, Beloved is usually such a sweet kitty." Never mind that Amelia had only known him for less than an hour. "What's wrong, Beloved? Why don't you like our guest?"
"Filia was mean to me, meow. She kicked me, she doesn't love me anymore, mew..." Xellos complained.
Amelia gasped, "you are Beloved's past master? How could you be so mean to him?"
Filia started becoming very nervous; she didn't like the murderous looks that Amelia and Zelgadis were giving her. "I'm sorry!" She pleaded. "I'm really sorry, it'll never happen again!"
"Well, if you're really sorry," the murderous looks went away, as Amelia considered Filia's supplication. "What do you say Beloved? Do you want to go back to your previous master?"
"Purr, only if she loves me again," Xellos meowed.
Amelia and Zelgadis gave Filia expectant looks. The golden dragon smiled nervously. "Oh yes, I love him very much... really..."
"Okay, if you love him, then kiss and make up," Amelia suggested.
"What?" Filia stuttered. "Kiss?"
"I don't think you really love him," Zelgadis theorized.
"If that's the case, then we can't let you take Beloved away and be mean to him," Amelia warned.
Why was Filia trying to recover that stupid monster, cat, chimera... that raw garbage thing? Just as she was considering leaving Xellos behind with the tea party travelers, she noticed that the walking table had stopped in front of a tall platform. On top of the platform there was a woman wearing a black diamond bikini. Given the fact that this was Naga, she looked pretty normal in the peculiar attire, or rather, normal for her anyway. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! The court is in session! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga hit the platform with a very familiar looking mace.
"The court?" Filia blinked in confusion, then recognized the mace. "That's my mace!"
"Ah! Ha ha he ha ha! So you decided to come after all?" Martina stood beside Naga's platform in a red heart bikini. "Then what's the first thing you do? Accuse the judge of stealing your mace. That was not a very smart move, my dear sister. Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!"
"My mistake," Filia grumbled, "that's not my mace." She tried to correct herself, even if she knew that was indeed her mace. Or at least it was her mace back when the world was somewhat normal.
"Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Order! Order! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Order I say!" Naga yelled as she hit the platform with the mace again.
Zangulus arrived wearing only a dark blue club symbol in the same style as the attire of the other scantily clad men Filia had seen so far. "Yes, I'll take your order now."
"Bring me a cheeseburger and fries and don't forget the rum!" Naga ordered, culminating her request with her signature laugh. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"Yes, your honor." Zangulus winked at Martina, who batted her eyelashes flirtatiously, then went off to fetch Naga's order.
"Now then, let us proceed with the trial. Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga declared, hitting the platform with the mace once more. "I have already heard Martina's laughter, it is your turn Alice, laugh with all your heart and soul."
"I... have to... laugh?" The golden dragon took a deep unsure breath, not even bothering to ask them to call her Filia. "Ah! He ha he ha he!"
"Order in the court!" Naga shouted as she bashed her mace into the platform again. "A verdict has been reached! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Alice is guilty! Guilty! Her laugh is so pitiful that she will not even obtain the title of jack of hearts, she will instead be executed! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
Unexpectedly, two men jumped out from behind the tall platform Naga stood upon. The first man was wearing a red diamond symbol while the second wore a green club. They were both human-like in appearance, save for certain small details, and rather well built.
The first man had redish-brown fox ears on his head, the same color as his hair, and a fox tail in a similar style to Xellos' cat ears and tail. "I am Jillas!" He exclaimed as he made a silly pose.
The second man had green hair, long pointy ears and a long tail, the tail covered in green scales. "I am Gravos!" He joined his teammate in the silly posing.
"We are the executioners!" Jillas and Gravos exclaimed in perfect unison.
"Jillas and Gravos?" Filia stared in disbelief. "What's wrong with this indecent fan service filled world?" If the Lord of Nightmares was watching this, surely she was having a ball.
Just as Zangulus was returning, carrying a tray with Naga's order of a cheeseburger with fries and a bottle of rum, Xellos suddenly jumped to his feet, standing upright for the first time since Filia first saw this crazier version of him. "Run away, Master Filia!" He took her hand and led her away.
"She's escaping!" Naga pointed at Filia with her mace, before bashing it into the platform again. "Go after her! I would join the hunt, but I'm on lunch break right now. Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
With Naga staying behind to eat and drink, Martina, Zangulus, Amelia, Zelgadis, Jillas and Gravos dashed after Filia and Xellos. "Hurry Master Filia, we must get to the bridge!" Xellos pulled her along, since he, apparently, was only able to teleport himself in that odd twisted version of the world.
"They're heading to the outlands!" Zangulus pointed ahead.
"Stop in the name of justice!" Amelia shouted.
"We're almost there, hurry, Master Filia!" Xellos and Filia continued running until they crossed a seemingly normal bridge. However, the scenery on the other side of the calm flowing river over which it stood varied drastically from the scenery from where they came. Instead of pink grass, orange skies, blue trees, dancing green mushrooms and white clouds with happy faces, everything was gray, black and white.
The sky was dark gray, the clouds were white with sad faces, the grass and trees were in lighter shades of gray and there were no dancing green mushrooms or suspicious yellow rocks. "They're in the outlands!" Zelgadis pointed in alarm.
"They have gone too far," Jillas observed.
"We cannot pursue them there," Gravos agreed.
"Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!" Martina laughed victoriously. "Now that they've crossed the bridge, they have become queen Zelas' property with the action of stepping into her land. They will not be able to return here for at least another seven hundred years. Ah! Ha ha he ha ha!" Martina and the others gave up on the chase and went away.
Filia looked at the bridge after waiting for her pursuers to leave. "Are we really stuck here?" She tried to cross the bridge but somehow found that she was once again heading towards the gray scenery. "What? When did I change directions?"
"This bridge is enchanted, it lets people in, but doesn't let them out," Xellos explained. "We will not be able to leave the outlands unless we get Zelas' permission."
"Which means that she'll make us her slaves for seven hundred years after all!" Filia grimaced. "Just when I thought that this insane world couldn't get any worse!" She took note of a peculiar fact and inquired. "How come you're standing normally now and not meowing and purring after every other word?"
"You are quite capable of making me purr if you want to, sweet Filia." Xellos purred seductively.
"Never mind," Filia stuttered, "just forget I asked." Changing the subject in a hurry, she inquired. "What can we do now?"
"Zelas will send her ferocious warriors of carnage after us if we don't report to her throne immediately. She notices everything that happens in her domain and must already know we're here. Our best chance of survival is to go to her," Xellos concluded. "If she unleashes her warriors of carnage on us, we will be devoured for sure!" He warned.
"It sounds like we have no choice," Filia sighed. "I take it you know which way to go to reach Zelas' throne?"
"Of course," Xellos ascertained. He and Filia started walking into the seemingly endless gray scenery.
xoxox xox xoxox
After a long walk, Xellos and Filia reached a black stone castle with torches of silver fire. They entered the castle and walked to a spacious room with a large golden throne in the middle, upon which Zelas sat. She had her usual monster lord appearance with the tanned skin. Her hair was waist length and silver, matching the color of her eyes, which held a sinister glare. She, like everyone else, was barely dressed, her bikini consisting of golden spades.
Beside the throne, left and right of it, there stood two people that Filia assumed were the infamous warriors of carnage that Xellos mentioned before. A cold chill ran down Filia's spine and it wasn't really because of the temperature. Lina and Gourry looked totally ferocious, as if they really wanted to devour her, and Filia didn't want to become dragon cuisine! Lina wore pink diamonds, while Gourry's symbol was a blue club. They were, not surprisingly at this point, also dressed in the same minimal coverage style as everyone else.
"Can we eat them?" Lina growled.
"Can we? Can we? Please?" Gourry added.
"Settle down, my warriors," Zelas waved her hand at them in an 'at ease' signal. Then she addressed Xellos with disapproval. "Why have you returned here?" She demanded. "I exiled you for your crime of having fallen in love with the daughter of the supreme emperor of the peninsula across the river. I condemned you to live as the brat girl's pet so that you would be tortured by spending your days with her, but being unable to have her!"
Just when Filia thought she was cured from being surprised after all the shocks she received, she was left speechless again. Wasn't Xellos supposed to be her pet?
"I apologize that I was unable to meet your approval, mother, but I do not apologize for my crime!" Xellos defiantly declared. "Do as you please with us, in the end, I am grateful to you. Because you exiled me and condemned me to the rank of a mere pet, I was able to live with my love. Even if she only cared for me as her pet for some time and no longer holds any regard for me anymore, I regret nothing."
To be Continued