Episode 006: Uninvited! A Visit From The Monster-in-law
Episode 006: Uninvited! A Visit From The Monster-in-law
Zelas continued explaining her plans to Xellos at Wolf Pack Island. He was puzzled about how she intended to involve Filia. "I did so enjoy my latest visit to your lovely house in Seyruun. Filia was a very amusing hostess," a hostess who was pushed to the edge of insanity by her monster mother-in-law. "Yet beneath all the chaos there is an understanding between the two of you that I find puzzling, nor do I have much of a desire to understand," and yet she already understood more than she realized. "The tales from your first meeting with the dragon girl," Zelas recalled Xellos' narrations after the Dark Star incident, "were most amusing as well as the tales that followed... There was no such understanding then, yet it was somehow developed and that brought chaos during the process. Let's go back to that, but with a twist, just for a little while."
Xellos still looked very curious and more puzzled even. "How?"
"By reviving the rivalry between you and your pet dragon." The answer Zelas provided was direct and yet so shrouded in mystery that it might as well been silence. "Let's go back to that... but with a twist this time around..." she repeated ominously and mischievously.
Xellos had no idea what Zelas was planning to do, but he had a feeling Filia would be mad at him. None the less, she would forgive him and he would enjoy the process... and in the end so would she. A million theories ran across Xellos' mind, theories in which he was an actor, but would that work? Wouldn't that mean that Filia would be more so providing the chaotic energy with her volatile emotions and not so much him with his deceptive acting? Zelas did say that he would be the source of the chaos too and why would he need Lina to keep things from getting out of hand?
"Xellos..." Zelas' voice got him out of his thoughts. "If your pet protests, do tell her that the pact is only temporary and if she still protests, tell her I'll kill her if she doesn't cooperate..."
There was a pause during which Zelas continued grinning and Xellos' thoughts raced. A pact, Filia would have to make some sort of pact, with him, Xellos assumed. But it was temporary, so her life wouldn't be changed permanently, not that he would have minded Filia taking a permanent pledge to him. He knew that even if she protested at first, she would be okay with it in the end, she always was, she always forgave him and secretly, he was very grateful. Secretly, yet not so secret that she couldn't see it, he loved her.
"And Xellos..." Again, Zelas' voice woke him from his thoughts. "Try not to get jealous." Xellos' amethyst eyes opened a millimeter wider and he stiffened imperceptibly, yet the tiny changes were not lost to Zelas. "Really now... Do try not to get jealous," Zelas teased, "not too much at least." With such words hanging in the air, Xellos' mind raced. What in the world did Beast Master have planned for Filia?
xoxox xox xoxox
Later that day, Xellos had been sent on a certain mission to Zephilia, the hometown of Lina Inverse, though she traveled around so much that she was hardly ever there. This time however, Xellos did expect to find Lina there. He knew that Luna, the knight of Ceifeed was also in town, but she was not the reason he was visiting, Lina was. With Xellos occupied, Zelas went on a little trip of her own. She teleported herself right in the middle of the busy Seyruun main street, where passers froze and merchants ceased their peddling, the general public stared and little children clung to their mother's skirts.
The noisy street fell eerily silent with the sudden appearance of the lady in the white dress, which showed off her tan legs nicely. The quietude lasted for several seconds until a woman, who had been in the process of examining a tomato from a merchant's booth, shyly whispered in theory, "a monster?"
The young man minding the tomato stand nodded his head in agreement before he finally remembered how to move his mouth and proceeded to metaphorically insert his foot into it. "That's one hot monster babe!" He whistled and stared in a way that would have sent Xellos on a rampage if he had been there. He was rather protective of his dear mother at times. Then in a very suicidal action, the young man proceeded to call out sensually, "I would let you feast on my lust any time, baby!" And he winked.
A gust of wind that came out of nowhere suddenly assaulted the tall stack of boxes on the neighboring booth, which were packed full of cabbages. The mountain of crates avalanched on top of the young man as the woman who had been examining the tomato jumped back with a shriek, crushing the vegetable, or fruit, as the debate seemed eternal among the vendors of Seyruun, in her hand.
"My cabbages!" The owner of the cabbage selling booth, an elderly gentleman, exclaimed. He placed his hands on his head and fretted over his precious merchandise. "I knew it, I knew it!" He cried. "The monster race is out to destroy my cabbages!" He positioned himself in front of the remaining crates full of cabbages protectively, like a human barrier. "Back you beast, back!" He made shooing motions with his hands.
Zelas approached the cabbage vendor, which made him tremble in fright. "Put on your glasses," she calmly instructed.
Fearing for his life, and most of all for his precious cabbages, the man reached into his pocket with shaking hands. He pulled out a pair of thick glasses, with black frames and put them on. He blinked behind the spectacles several times until the tan and white blur before him became a familiar figure. He let out a breath of relief, followed by an inhale of frustration. "Why did you do that, Lady Zelas?" He pouted like a child. "Oh no! My suspicions were true, you were lying to me when you said that one day I would have my own cabbage corporation if I saved my best cabbages for your dragon cuisine side-salads. Why have you destroyed my delicious cabbages?"
Zelas shrugged with cruel nonchalance. "I can't say I agree or disagree about them being delicious, but in theory, they don't look particularly appetizing, though they are certainly decorative. That is what the salads are for, a decoration, I'm a carnivore."
"And I'm a vegetarian, but can't we all just get along?" The old man begged. "Why must my cabbages suffer?"
Zelas took in the misery of the poor old man, it was a good appetizer, but it was time to move on to the main course, Filia's barely contained wrath. "Don't worry," her smile was far from comforting, more like mocking. "Your cabbages will be famous one day..." 'One day when carriages move without horses and humans fly without magic,' she mentally mocked.
"Really?" The man sniffled and saw a small line of hope. That was good; he couldn't suffer disappointment in the future if he gave up altogether. Zelas had learned that the best way to feed off the humans was not to crush them, but to allow them to grow again, for the fruits of their labor to be cruelly consumed once more.
"Of course," Zelas continued grinning. She selected a cabbage and picked it up. "I'm taking this as a souvenir, bye now." She was about to disappear, teleporting to her next stop, but before she did, prince Philionel himself dashed down the street waving at her in a friendly manner.
"Zelas! Good to see you!" He caught up to the monster lord who gave him a peculiar look. "Everything was so still in the market all of a sudden that I thought something bad had happened." He looked around, assuring the citizens. "Carry on with your business everyone, carry on." Then he started walking alongside Zelas. "Amelia has learned so much in the crusade of justice she is undergoing with Zelgadis, she has written a lot about all the places she visited. I have to thank you for that, since the spell she uses to summon courier birds to deliver letters is one of yours. She had told me how she's seeing the world in a new perspective and I've been thinking, maybe we should-"
"All learn to get along, even monsters and humans? You've given me this speech before, Phil, it's not going to work. You're just lucky I have certain investments in Seyruun and have not destroyed the city. Speaking of investments, I need to make a stop here, be a gentleman and carry my things." She shoved the cabbage into his arms.
Philionel took the cabbage without protesting. He knew that Zelas didn't want to hear his same old speech again and wisely decided not to recite it. Instead he addressed a different topic while he followed her into the toy store. "There is something else I want to ask you about. I hope you're not feeling offended because of that law I passed..."
Zelas eyed the merchandise in the toy store with distaste. "You mean the law about banning Xellos' cooking in Seyruun territory, as well as forbidding it on any allied territories of Seyruun in the basis that it is a threat to humanity?" There were stuffed animals, dolls, toy soldiers, horses and carriages, building blocks, board games, card games, art supplies, children's books and a variety of other disappointingly harmless things. None of those items were appropriate, so Zelas exited the toy store. "I'm not offended at all, it's all factual information."
Philionel let out a breath of relief. "I'm glad you're not angry. I told Xellos that he was welcome to join me for some martial arts lessons as I had promised him in exchange for the cooking lessons," which severely malfunctioned, "but he seemed rather upset at me."
"Oh yes, he ranted at Filia, then came home and ranted at me because his oh so traitorous wife wouldn't take his side in the argument. Then he moved back into his room at Wolf Pack Island for a week, which he spent complaining, it was most amusing." Zelas smiled happily, not feeling an ounce of guilt over her son's peril.
"Well, I do hope I can repair our friendship," Phil sincerely voiced.
"Keep trying," Zelas grinned, 'it would be most amusing to hear about later,' she thought. Finally reaching the place she was looking for, she entered the weapons shop. This particular store sold swords, daggers and other such bladed weapons. They didn't sell maces because the owner was afraid of declaring war, even if it was only commercial war, to a dragon. Filia's neighbors already knew what she was, thanks to some Xellos induced temper tantrums.
"I will," Phil assured with well intended determination.
Zelas browsed through the selection of bladed weapons, while Phil stood around looking quite silly holding the cabbage. She finally selected a pair of sharp daggers, which the owner of the shop insisted that she take free of charge. Maybe it was because she was with the prince, or maybe it was because her murderous glare frightened him. She handed the daggers to Phil and, though their discussion was over, he still followed her like a personal servant because it seemed noble to carry a lady's purchases after she had requested it, even if the lady was strong enough to very easily destroy his whole kingdom without feeling the least bit tired.
They arrived in front of Filia's shop, which was actually on the second floor of the structure, the first being occupied by Elena's bakery. At the bakery, Elena was busy in the kitchen, which left Jillas to mind the store front with Palou and Val helping out. "See you later, Phil," Zelas dismissed the prince, taking the items that he carried for her, the cabbage and the two daggers.
"Sure," Phil decided to take his cue, though it wouldn't be so easy to walk away after the next thing that happened. Zelas stomped hard on Phil's right big toe, causing the prince to yelp in pain and hop away down the street before the monster lord decided to express herself further. He told himself that he had to respect cultural differences and forgive her if she was a little rough. She meant no harm, he told himself; after all, people saw him as being a little rough too and he knew he meant well.
Zelas took in the nutrients from Phil's pain as her energy was about to be assaulted by point blank feelings of affection directed straight at her in three, two, one... "Aunty Zelas!" Val and Palou chorused as they ran to her, because she was far too young looking to be referred to as granny, though she was in a sense, Val's grandmother.
"Hi kids," Zelas grinned and from behind the bakery's front counter, Jillas groaned. His stress was good to have in the background as she kneeled to the boys' eye level and allowed her future minions, current mischief makers, to hug her. She kissed each of them on the forehead and presented them with the daggers. "I've brought you each a present."
The ancient dragon boy and the fox beastchild squealed in delight as they received their shiny new toys. Jillas' stress became more apparent on his face. Elena and Filia would be upset if they saw the boys playing with such dangerous looking sharp daggers. The boys on the other hand were nothing short of overjoyed. They immediately started having a play swordfight with the daggers, forgetting about helping out at the bakery.
Zelas left the boys to their games and smiled in amusement at Jillas as she made her way up the stairs to the maces and vases shop that occupied the second floor.
Upstairs, Zelas found Gravos cleaning up one side of the store while Filia tended to a customer on the other. Zelas waved in a fake friendly manner, which made Filia almost drop the vase that was about to be purchased. She hurried to finish the sale as quickly as possible and sent the customer on her way. Filia forced herself to smile and, through clenched teeth, greeted the monster lord. "Hello, Lord Beast Master, to what do I owe the honor of your visit?"
Zelas threw the cabbage at Filia's face, though the golden dragon was ready for such an action and caught it on time before it hit her. "I'm just dropping by for a visit. Look, I brought you a cabbage, since you're a vegetarian."
"I'm not a vegetarian," Filia clarified plainly.
"Really? Then how come you wouldn't eat any roasted boar last time I had you over for dinner?" Zelas asked, feigning surprise and puzzlement.
The boar, specifically, Filia feared was dragon cuisine disguised as something else, though Xellos had told her time and again that it was actually boar. Albeit she didn't like how his method of assuring her was by saying that he had eaten lots of dragon cuisine and easily recognized it when he tasted it. However, she decided not to reference dragon cuisine and instead replied, "for the same reason I didn't eat any of the food, I thought you might poison me."
"Silly girl," Zelas proceeded to pinch Filia's cheek simply because she knew that the action would infuriate the golden dragon to no end. "If I wanted to kill you, I would have done so already."
"Poison isn't necessarily lethal," Filia pointed out as a matter of fact, "but it can be very painful."
"Not as painful as other things," Zelas smiled with a sweetness similar to Xellos and Filia decided that she did not want the conversation to continue in that direction.
"I'm going to put the cabbage in the kitchen," Filia declared. 'To throw away later,' she mentally added. The golden dragon glanced meaningfully at Gravos, who nodded, indicating that he would take care of the store while she tended to the uninvited visitor.
Zelas followed Filia to the living area of the second floor and took a seat in front of the kitchen counter. She placed her elbows on the countertop and observed as Filia's eyebrows twitched slightly into a more annoyed expression no matter how hard she tried to hide it. She didn't like it when people unnecessarily put their elbows on tables and was that ever really necessary? From Filia's perspective, it wasn't.
"So..." Zelas began as Filia took a seat next to her on the counter. "Why don't you tell me your version of the cooking incident? I already heard Xellos' version of it. It was the story of a martyr of a chef... perhaps you can add something to it."
Filia huffed, "martyr indeed," she recalled the event. She wouldn't lower her guard, but maybe she could entertain Zelas long enough with the story so that she would tire of hanging around and leave. "It all began when Xellos told Philionel that he was a great cook and that his skills as a chef had vastly improved. Everyone knows that Xellos is a terrible cook, even Phil, but he decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he had improved."
"That's not entirely true," Zelas interrupted. "Xellos does have some culinary talent, but it lies in monster food."
Seeing it from that perspective, Filia realized that it was a fact. "I suppose he is really good at concocting annoyance and other such unpleasant emotions." The golden dragon cleared her throat and continued. "Anyway, Phil, for some unknown reason, decided that he wanted to cook and agreed to give Xellos some martial arts lessons if he gave him cooking lessons. Xellos went off early one morning in that silly fluffed up white hat and frilly pink apron of his."
"The one with the picture of the yellow ducky on the front?" Zelas interrupted again, just to be annoying.
"Yes, that one." Truthfully, Filia thought the garment was rather cute, but not on men... Okay maybe she thought it was cute on Xellos, but only sometimes... like whenever he wore it. "So," she continued the story. "Philionel shut down the royal kitchen so that he and Xellos could work undisturbed and the disaster began. I'm not sure what it was they were trying to cook, but I'm pretty sure explosions are not edible, then there was that nasty foul smelling gas that spread all over the castle and made people's faces turn green for three days..."
To be Continued
This chapter had a little guess star appearance by the Avatar's famous cabbage man, although he is older here.