Episode 002: Possession! Cue The Exorcist
Episode 002: Possession! Cue The Exorcist
People were staring as the monster fox chimera licked the purple haired man like a puppy, except the passer bys who didn't know him couldn't picture him as a pet when he looked mostly human. Even if no on else seemed to be concerned, Xellos because he was a shameless monster and Zelgadis because he had his mind on other matters, Filia did care. "Fang, I think you've licked Xellos enough."
"Jealous, are we?" Xellos teased.
"I like you too, Filia!" Moving from his position next to Xellos, Fang looked ready to tackle Filia and lick her face, but he stopped when Xellos grabbed the spiky black collar he wore around his neck, that match the spiky wristbands and the overall look of his dark outfit that some would call goth.
"Now, now, Fang, that's not how you greet Filia," Xellos reminded in a sweet yet serious warning tone. "I've taught you this before, how do you greet Filia?"
"I give her my paw or hand..." Fang extended his hand towards Filia, who shook it.
"That's a good boy," Xellos petted Fang on the head with approval and he wagged his fox tail in response.
Filia grinned, "so you taught Fang how to properly greet me as in not to lick me... jealous, are we?"
"Goodness no!" Xellos laughed with a mix of the amusement that comes from hearing the impossible and the offense that comes from hearing the unthinkable. "I just don't want poor Fang to lick a filthy dragon. He could get sick and even die!"
"Then why aren't you dead?" Filia retorted with what she thought was a smart comeback... until it left her mouth.
Zelgadis slowly lifted his head from his hands to look at Filia as she rotated her head towards him. Her expression changed from the fierce glare she was giving Xellos to a pleading look that begged that any further inquiries be forgotten. "Can we move on to more important matters?" Zelgadis voiced.
Filia straitened in her chair and nodded sagely. "Of course, why did you call us here so urgently?" The letter that had been delivered to them instantly via a spell that summoned a monster courier bird sounded rather urgent. Filia was wondering if it had anything to do with the bad omens she had been getting. She kept spilling things, misplacing items and so on. It could signify the coming of a greater tragedy, a much greater loss. Or maybe it was just more of Xellos mischief. At least that was what Filia thought until she read Zelgadis' letter.
"Oh yes, Zelgadis, do tell," Xellos feigned concerned interest. "Why did you call us here interrupting our vacation? Is it that you had a fight with Amelia and she's not giving you any attention, so you want to share your misery by interrupting and preventing me from getting any attention from Filia? And by attention I mean-"
"Shut up, raw garbage!" Filia demanded, slamming her fist into the table. Her tea was spilled and though she hurried to set the cup up straight and clean the mess with napkins, the tea was already lost. "I've been having so many bad omens lately." She furiously wiped at the wooden table with the napkin. "I keep spilling things and losing things. At first I thought it was just Xellos, but your letter's timing has to be more than a coincidence!"
Zelgadis pushed away his cup of tea, setting it in front of Filia, "here." He hadn't even touched it and he didn't feel like drinking it anyway. "I think all of these unfortunate occurrences really are Xellos' pranks." This was no time to worry about superstitions or premonitions or uncertain things when there was so much more to worry about.
"I suppose..." Filia sighed, "thank you," she took a sip of tea; it had grown cold by then.
"Meow," a black cat with shiny golden eyes walked by and meowed at the group, specifically at Zelgadis.
Xellos grinned, "I thought you were leaving the hints to me," he whispered under his breath. The cat's eyes met Xellos and just as suddenly as the feline came, she was gone.
"Black cats are a warning," Filia commented with wide eyes. "Humans say they are bad luck, but some dragons believe that felines, such as cats, especially the black ones, have an extra sense. They don't bring back luck, they warn you of a coming disaster." She paused, shaking her head. "But that's just a superstition..."
A howl was heard and it was hard to tell if it was a dog or a wolf. "A howl means that death is near..." Xellos warned with a grin. The shadow of a bird passed overhead and Xellos looked up, silently prompting the others to look with the action. It was a dove; it flew in circles above them continuously. "Crows are bad luck too." As Xellos spoke, Zelgadis and Filia automatically looked at him.
"What crow?" Filia inquired. "That's a," she looked up, the bird that she was sure was a white dove before was now a black crow. "Okay, now I know you're messing with us! I'm sure all these bad omens are only a coincidence!"
"Right, I have a real problem to deal with and have no time to worry about superstitions and broken mirrors!" Zelgadis agreed. He had finally lost his patient and needed to communicate his dilemma.
"You broke a mirror?" Xellos grinned mockingly. "With that face I'm not surprised."
Zelgadis glared, "I'm not talking to you." He turned his attention towards Filia. "I'm sorry to have called you here so suddenly, but I really need your help with an exorcism. The exorcism is... I should tell you the full story first..."
Thus Zelgadis began to tell a story that took place in the recent past. He told his newly arrived companions about how he and Amelia had tried to investigate the moonlight maiden. He told them about Amelia's disappearance and about Zelas' involvement. Or rather, he told Filia, because he was sure that Xellos already knew. "That's what happened..." the chimera finally concluded at least the first part of his tale.
Filia was looking shocked, but she also had a 'should have known' look in her eyes. Xellos was giving Zelgadis a look of false innocence that he was not even trying to mask as being real. Taking a deep breath, Zelgadis continued. "After I made that deal with Zelas, I realized exactly what she meant when she said Amelia would be free if I killed the moonlight maiden. Beast Master wasn't lying, but I can't possibly hurt the moonlight maiden in any way! A few days ago, on the night of the full moon..."
xoxox xox xoxox
Zelgadis was prepared for the worse, or so he thought. He researched exorcism spells and tried to remember every detail of what Amelia did when she had to exorcise a few wandering spirits during their travels. Armed with great determination and a repertoire of magic, Zelgadis ventured out on the night of the full moon.
Zelgadis spotted some people ahead, wolves, a human figure, a carriage. He quickly approached, making no effort to hide his presence, by now he knew that a battle was inevitable, so there was no sense in delaying it. A heavy mist invaded the atmosphere as a ball of light formed in his hand, yet it couldn't pierce the darkness of the miasma. He threw the ball of light at the human figure before he could really see her features. He wondered if she dodged, she most likely did.
The miasma covered the whole area, the merchant in the carriage was unconscious and the wolves growled threateningly, their fierce eyes glowing aggressively. "Who dares to attack my friends?" A woman's voice, very much like Amelia's, called out in her justice speech tone. "Evil doer, I will not let you harm them!" Howls were heard followed by the same voice, Amelia's voice, loudly declaring, "Fireball!"
Zelgadis dodged out of the way of the barrage of fireballs heading straight towards him. "Amelia!" He called out her name, this wasn't the moonlight maiden, this was Amelia.
The mist around the area faded slightly. Neither Amelia nor Zelgadis could explain where it came from and where it went so suddenly, but Zelas surely could. "Zelgadis?" There she stood, wearing a white tunic with slits on the sides of the skirt and abundant golden jewelry, anklets and bracelets that jiggled together with her every movement.
This was Amelia alright, and for a moment, Zelgadis felt relieved. He didn't understand why she was in the company of all those wolves and why she was dressed like Zelas, but she was apparently unharmed. "I'm glad you're safe," he took a step forward and the wolves blocked his path. He stopped, more concerned about Amelia then himself, yet the wolves didn't appear to be aggressive towards her.
As if remembering something, Amelia's face became serious. The miasma around her increased, it gave her an otherworldly appearance. Her dress and hair slightly moved in a breeze that seemed to be present only around her and the mist that surrounded her somehow made her voice echo. "I am the moonlight maiden..." Amelia spoke in a lost yet serious tone. "All those who defy me shall perish! Retreat at once!"
Zelgadis stepped back, he understood, or so he thought. The moonlight maiden needed to be exorcised after all, she was in Amelia, she had taken over her! That's what Zelas meant when she spoke of the current moonlight maiden. Amelia had become the moonlight maiden since that time when she disappeared. Zelgadis formed a ball of light in his hands; the spell floated towards Amelia but had no effect on her. The chimera assumed that he simply wasn't skilled enough in exorcism to accomplish this very vital task of freeing Amelia from the spirit that he concluded was possessing her. He couldn't fight Amelia, he could never bring himself to harm her.
Zelas wasn't lying, if the current moonlight maiden was killed, Amelia would be free, her spirit would be free to pass on, free in death. It wasn't a lie; it was a very cruel truth. Zelgadis backed away. "Amelia..." Their eyes met and there was a hint of something. An apology, a request for understanding, a deep connection, a consolation, the silent promise that somehow everything would be okay, trust, love, he saw it all in a split second in her eyes. Then he retreated.
Zelgadis ran back to the village as fast as he could. The being that had entrapped Amelia, making her spirit a prisoner of her own body was strong. He couldn't exorcise it, but he could think of someone who might be able to. Someone who knew holy magic, someone who was a golden dragon, someone like Filia...
xoxox xox xoxox
The moon was waning that night, making the atmosphere around the village darker. Filia lit another lantern and set it up on the side of the road. "This is a special ritual exorcism spell," she had explained when they began the task. "It's powerful against wandering spirits, but gentle with the host."
Zelgadis set another lantern on the ground on the side of the road and stepped back to examine their work. There were lanterns all over on the sides of the rural path leading to the village near the Coastal States. "Do you really think these lights will attract the spirit of the moonlight maiden that's possessing Amelia?"
"Of course!" Filia assured. "The spirit will be drawn to the light and will want to follow the path of lanterns, from the dimmest towards the brightest. Then at the end of the path where the brightest lights are, we have the spell circle all set up. Once Amelia steps into it, she'll be free from that spirit!" After finishing her explanation, Filia glared over at Xellos. "It'll work, right, raw garbage?"
Xellos grinned in return, shaking his finger in front of his face. "That is a secret." He definitely knew more than he was telling, as it was often the case and this occasion was no exception.
Filia huffed, "right... Places everyone!" She and Xellos went to hide behind the bushes on one side of the road and Zelgadis did the same on the opposite side.
The three waited silently until eventually a heavy mist covered the area and only the light of the lanterns could be seen. Amelia walked down the road curiously with several wolves surrounding her. "It doesn't look like any lone travelers are coming this way today. I wonder who set up all these lanterns..." She curiously made her way towards the spell circle which was hidden by the fog. She stopped, standing on top of it along with a few wolves, completely unaffected.
Filia was sure she drew all the symbols correctly, maybe she should pair the spell written on the ground with a holy exorcism spell to be chanted and then it would activate, although it should have been automatic. She chanted softly, though Xellos breathing on her neck was somewhat distracting. She considered elbowing him, but then he would probably make a noise, give away their position and blame it on her. Filia's quiet chants activated the spell circle, triggering it even if nothing actually on it appear to be doing so. The spell Filia chanted, along with the effects of the circle were useless though.
The ground glowed, Amelia looked at it curiously, then she calmly stepped away, exiting the circle on the other side of the path as if it was nothing. The wolves followed her nonchalantly as the mist cleared. "Let's check the roads of the other side, we might find someone to feed you there."
Zelgadis, Filia and Xellos went out of hiding. Frowning deeply, Zelgadis looked at the circle on the ground as its glow faded. "It didn't work."
"I don't understand," Filia was shocked. "I'm sure I did it right, I've done this before, there was no mistake!" The answer to this mystery eluded her. "Maybe the spirit that is possessing Amelia is buried deep inside her soul. This is bad, if the spirit merges with her own soul she'll be its slave forever. But Amelia is strong, so I'm sure there's still a chance to save her. We'll have to try a more complicated exorcism." Filia was determined to save her friend.
Xellos was still grinning in amusement while Zelgadis glared. "If you're holding back vital information that could save Amelia..." The chimera threatened in warning.
"Save Amelia?" Xellos innocently questioned. "Save her from what?" He pretended not to know what Zelgadis was talking about.
Zelgadis groaned in exasperation. "You're impossible!" He concluded, frowning at Xellos. He was sure that Xellos knew something vital and he was determined to get the information out of him. "I'm going back to the inn," Zelgadis announced. Although the truth was that he wouldn't be getting much sleep, he had a lot of plotting and planning to do and he had a pretty good idea of a plan that could work to make Xellos speak.
With Zelgadis gone, Xellos and Filia were left alone on the road, surrounded by lanterns. She glared at him exasperated. "How could you hold back your information at a time like this? Amelia is in danger!"
"She looked perfectly safe to me." Xellos gave Filia an innocent smile that she was determined not to be tricked by.
"You're under Beast Master's orders to keep quiet, aren't you?" Filia pouted.
Xellos once again made his trademark pose and replied with his most well known quote. "That is a secret."
Filia pouted more deeply, then she smiled mischievously. They were alone, there was no one watching. "Can't you tell me?" She wrapped her arms around him, pressing her body against his. "I can keep a secret."
Xellos returned the embrace. "Maybe..." he tempted.
Well, 'maybe' was better than 'no,' and so much better than 'that is a secret.' "Only maybe?" She moved her face closer to his.
"Maybe..." He repeated in a quiet tone. "Maybe we should finish this discussion at the inn..."
xoxox xox xoxox
The next morning, Filia pouted and Xellos grinned. She glared and he grinned some more. The random occupants of the inn's common room and small restaurant paid them no mind, having no idea of what their silent argument consisted. "I did say maybe," Xellos reminded with a smug look.
Filia growled in response with a fierce, "raw garbage!"
"You shouldn't be so bitter, stupid dragon," Xellos chuckled with a teasing tone. "You enjoyed your little game of bribery too."
Filia's face turned scarlet and she suddenly found the table cloth to be fascinatingly interesting. "Shut up..." A moment of silence passed between them, during which, albeit she didn't look up, Filia knew exactly what Xellos' expression was. He was still looking smug, still grinning from ear to ear, eyes squinting with joy.
Before Xellos could throw out his next tease, Zelgadis arrived at the table with a peculiar request. "Xellos... I need to talk with you, man to man, or man to monster or something like that."
"Or freak to man?" Xellos chirped cheerfully. He was clearly in a good mood that morning.
Zelgadis huffed, "whatever, just come talk over a drink for a moment."
"Sure, why not?" Xellos agreed a lot more easily than anyone expected. "See you later, Filia," he winked at her before following Zelgadis upstairs and she pouted in response.
xoxox xox xoxox
It was a little early to be drinking by the definition of most, but Zelgadis didn't look like he had just woken up, he looked like he stayed up all night, even though he said he was going back to the inn the previous night. Xellos wouldn't really know, as his mind was occupied in other matters at the time after he teleported Filia and himself from the road directly to their room at the local inn. The two men sat down at a small table in Zelgadis' room where there was a bottle lacking a label and two glasses.
Zelgadis poured a pair of drinks, "I think it should be obvious why I called you here." The chimera picked up his glass and took a sip. The liquid was strong and it stung all the way down his throat.
"Yes," Xellos lifted his glass towards Zelgadis, "cheers to captain obvious." He took a drink, he was a monster, so it's not like he expected to get drunk off common alcohol. Still, the brew had a particularly stinging quality to it that felt like drinking fire. It was a peculiar taste that rung out bitterly and yet it was the kind of bitter that was good in its own way. He finished the glass.
Zelgadis filled Xellos' glass again and took another sip of his own. "Amelia could be in danger and you know something about that, don't you?"
"That is a secret," Xellos drained his glass again. He didn't know what this stuff was, but it was good.
To be Continued