Episode 007: Crazy! This Is Our Life
Episode 007: Crazy! This Is Our Life
Flashback... Though the Seyruun royal kitchen was shut down until further notice, a few of the castle guards were curious enough to discretely peek in. Seeing the odd purple haired man who was actually a monster in a pink apron and fluffy white hat was not something to bat an eye at. They had seen him wearing stranger things during the past year which included a rather form fitting red dress in a very believable female disguise among other things. However, seeing their crown prince, king actually, wearing a similar get up was... well it wasn't all that strange either. The king had crazy friends after all, and friends tended to influence each other. Thus without any comments, the curious guards went on their way.
As for the king, as he had officially taken the position about a year ago after the death of his elderly father, he adjusted his fluffy white hat and paid attention to his teacher. Despite being king though, most were still used to seeing him as the eternal prince, since he held the title for so long after becoming the acting ruler, nothing really changed after he became the official ruler. Said king was currently engrossed in the task of stirring a bowl full of a strange mixture that Xellos assured would become a cake if placed in the oven.
"Now we need to add some pepper." Xellos reached into the pocket of his apron, shaking his head at Philionel, who had began to search for pepper in the many kitchen cabinets. "This is a special pepper; it's imported from far away." There was indeed a special pepper made with a secret recipe of the fox beastmen. However, Xellos was not able to find it and what he actually stole from Jillas was a very potent gun powder. He added half of the jar to his dough and gave the rest to Phil to add to his.
The pair continued stirring the dough in silence for a while until Xellos began to hum. Phil soon joined him until they were all out singing a peculiar tune that Xellos had written in case he needed to summon Lina's temperamental wrath. He was so amused by his musical creation that he shared it with everyone, except Lina, he would save that for an emergency. It was odd for a monster to come up with song, that could almost be seen as a spell, which triggered a human's power to flare along with her temper, but Lina Inverse was certainly special. Xellos had even sung his lyrics to Beast Master and she enjoyed it, even joining in to sing along with him.
"Watch out, look out, take cover, run for your life, it's over." Xellos and Phil lightly danced from side to side as they sang. "Here comes the crimson fury, if you don't run... You'll be sorry!" They started moving their hips left and right to the tune of the song. "A little girl, a tiny lass, her fragile temper made of glass. She's got a right hook made of brass, she's the worse disaster that's come to pass!" The batter was ready and the two wanna-be cooks placed it into molds. The mixture looked green with a bunch of odd herbs and condiments that Xellos insisted on adding.
"Dragon spooker, bandit killer, she's no looker, has no figure, she's so violent, call the healer, only true pain she'll deliver!" The molds were placed into the oven and a fire was lit to make the temperature go up inside the enclosed space. As they waited for their masterpieces to bake, Xellos and Philionel continued singing and dancing, joining hands and spinning around the kitchen.
"She should really be arrested, her gluttony is uncontested!" Phil twirled Xellos around, spinning him away then back towards him. "With utter chaos she's infested," their steps were in perfect sync, their hands were joined, Xellos' other hand on Phil's shoulder and Phil's other hand on Xellos' waist. "And she's really, really flat chested!" As Xellos was dipped, he threw his head back, but his fluffy white hat defied gravity and didn't fall off. From an upside-down angle, he saw the oven's metal glowing red with sparks flying from its interior making their way out from the small openings on the door of the oven. As Phil pulled him to an upright position again, rather than continuing the song, Xellos performed an emergency teleportation which very likely saved Philionel's life.
A hug explosion rattled the castle, making the very earth tremble! The kitchen and its surrounding areas were left in complete ruins. A few guards near the sector were injured and had to receive emergency medical attention from the healers. A vast green smoke invaded the castle, which had to be evacuated. All those who were unfortunate enough to inhale the smoke spent the next few days with green faces riving in pain.
xoxox xox xoxox
Back in the present time, Filia finished her story about the events that led Xellos' cooking to become illegal in Seyruun. "That's the whole story as Philionel told me. Xellos had his own version which was sort of truthful, but with a lot of his own perspective thrown in, which made it sound like a whole different story. He got angry at me when I took Phil's side and... Well, I guess you know the rest. He disappeared for a week, so I figured he had gone back to Wolf Pack Island."
"A pity that he didn't divorce you," Zelas sipped her tea, which Filia had prepared for them while she told the story. The golden dragon decided not to comment about the divorce, or lack thereof. Moving on to the next topic, but still not the main issue that she had come to address, Zelas inquired. "How is Solex?"
"He's fine..." Filia replied with a hint of worry in her voice. Solex was by Xellos' initial conclusion, his minion, a creature made out of his own energy mixed with the energy of a golden dragon for the purpose of severing the monster energy from its original. He was made by a past enemy who had stolen Xellos' power, but the being, at the time without a name, had a mind of his own and with it, the ability to choose his own loyalties. Thus he became as Filia's child. Yet he was an unstable creation as he was made forcefully, rather then by his master's will. Eventually, he came close to disappearing, but was preserved by being given a vessel to possess, a vessel made especially for him by means of a potion which caused Filia to lay an empty egg, which was not empty for long. Yet a year passed by and the child had not hatched.
Filia wasn't worried for Zelas. As far as she knew, the monster lord would rather preserve Xellos' little minion alive. Since then Xellos had recovered his full power, but Beast Master could never have too many allies, especially one who could be potentially powerful if the combination of dragon and monster favored him. He could be as Valgaav was, but loyal to her. Filia's fears were, she realized with surprise, worse than that. Zelas was certainly someone to worry about, but at least she was an entity that, albeit stubborn, could be reasoned with. Situations were different from entities; they happened for better or worse and had no mind to be changed. What if the whole process had failed?
"You worry for him," Zelas concluded, the expression was plainly visible on Filia's face and the taste of her peril was strong. "There is nothing to be done except wait." It was not a consolation, as Zelas had no intentions of speaking such things, very much less to Filia of all people, let Xellos console her if he so chose to do so.
Yet Filia found a small measure of comfort and at the same time, hopelessness. Not even Zelas with all her power, knowledge and cunning could do more than what was done. Solex would live, or die, or perhaps exist in an eternal comatose dream within a dragon egg full of monster energy.
"Has Xellos told you about my visit?" Zelas changed the subject, moving on to the main reason for her presence at Seyruun.
"Yes," Filia had dreaded this moment. She wasn't expecting Zelas to visit when she did. When the time came for her to explain the pact that was, according to Xellos, temporary, but Filia dreaded all the same, the golden dragon expected the general priest to be there. If Zelas came by herself, Filia had hoped, she was there to address something else. Yet her hopes were dashed and it was time to face her fears. "He didn't tell me what the pact was about, only that it was temporary and that if I resisted, I would be killed." He had sounded annoyingly cheery as he explained it too, for the most part at least. "And he..." Filia paused and left it at that, wondering if she should mention the strange event.
xoxox xox xoxox
Flashback... Xellos' periodical visits to Wolf Pack Island had become rather frequent. At first Filia paid it no mind, though not long ago he spend a whole week over, perhaps it wasn't enough. Maybe even a monster got homesick at times, maybe he was entertained hanging around his mother all day and playing with her many pet wolves, or maybe there was some terrible plot in the making. As there was little to be done about it before she knew what she was up against, Filia decided to fight that fire if, and most likely when, it burned, hopefully not literally.
When Xellos returned, things seemed normal enough. He played with Val for a little while and was especially creative about suggesting mischievous things to do to poor Phil. Yet that was likely due to some lingering resentment over the whole illegal cooking law, he'd get over that soon enough, Filia reasoned. Everything seemed more or less calm as Filia put Val to bed and went to check on Solex. The glowing translucent sphere with swirls of black and gold inside it was the same as ever. She spoke softly to it, as if the monster dragon child inside could hear her, and she believed he could. Then she went to bed.
Tired from a busy day at the shop, Filia was in no mood to fall victim to a prank from Xellos. The reason for her suspicion was his very cheerful face. She guarded her back as if she were in the middle of a tempestuous battlefield as she got ready for bed. Finally, she examined the bed analytically before climbing into it, where Xellos met her suspicious glare with amused curiosity. "Did you lose something, stupid dragon?"
"My sanity," Filia admitted, "back when I married you, raw garbage." Cautiously, she snuggled to him, her tail slightly twitching behind her as if she was ready to jump into a defensive stance.
"Because I'm so attractive it's crazy?" Xellos teased.
Filia's eyes met his as she searched for something in the amethyst orb that stared back at her in a reverse wink, a hidden purpose, a well kept secret, something. "Is there something you need to say to me?"
"Yes, actually," Xellos admitted, seeing as Filia could read him like a book. When did she become so good at it? "There is a pact you must make," Filia's face constrained with the shaping of a defensive argument in her mind. "And before you protest, let me assure you that it is temporary." She pulled away to glare at him while he continued. "And if you refuse, Beast Master will kill you, so if I must, I'll force you into it myself."
His eyes were both open now, denoting that he was completely serious. She knew she had no choice and she huffed in indignation. "What do I have to do?"
"That is a secret," Xellos replied with a smiled, his eyes closing again.
"Tell me," Filia demanded dryly. It was bad enough that she had no choice but to accept a sort of pledge, even if it was temporary, on top of that she wouldn't be kept in suspense.
"It is a secret, even to me," Xellos confessed. He watched as Filia's face showed surprise, then worry. She bit her lip as if she couldn't decide what to think. The last time Zelas had a secret plot that she kept even from Xellos, it turned out to be a pretty a big ordeal, a very life changing ordeal indeed. "It'll be alright though; they say idiots always come out on top." He pushed her head gently back on his shoulder, fingers entangled in her long golden hair.
"And you trust Beast Master," Filia added, her voice a little muffled against Xellos' chest. "You're very loyal to her..." 'She won't hurt you, right?' Filia mentally asked and if she had a positive answer to that, she felt that she could include her own as well as Val and Solex's safety in that.
"Speaking of loyalty," Xellos' tone was still cheerful, but there was something more mixed in, curiosity, a hint of worry, puzzlement and confusion. "Always stay loyal to me, stupid dragon."
Filia could have rolled her eyes and dismissed the comment at any other time, because he knew she was and always would be. Yet this time, it puzzled her. "Xellos?"
"Go to sleep," the conversation was over, he decided.
Filia knew that she would get no further information out of him. "Good night, raw garbage."
xoxox xox xoxox
Present time... Zelas raised an eyebrow at the way Filia suddenly ceased her speech. "And he, what?" The monster lord curiously prompted.
"He told me to always be loyal to him," Filia revealed. She observed the blossoming of understanding on Zelas' face. Just as she thought, those words had not been random, they had a meaning that Xellos didn't reveal or perhaps didn't fully understand, but Zelas knew it.
Zelas made no motion to hide the fact that she knew what that was about. In fact, she made it obvious as she laughed. "His theory is way off," she chuckled. "Who'd want an ugly thing like you anyway? I would have my work cut out for me finding you a suitor to steal you away." After she was done laughing, long before Filia was done pouting, Zelas elaborated. "I told Xellos not to be jealous and it seems he misinterpreted my advice. Oh but I do hope he doesn't get jealous over a temporary arrangement like this. I shall have to tell him, after he recovers, that he is indeed my favorite general priest."
"He's your only general priest," Filia pointed out as a matter of fact.
Zelas' eyes shone with mischief, "not for long." She grinned forebodingly. "That will be your job for a while."
Filia's jaw dropped as she struggled to force her throat to produce sounds. Finally, she managed to push out an unsure, "excuse me?"
"Your stupidity is excused," Zelas smiled sweetly, with an expression very much like that of Xellos. "But I shall not go easy on you; do your job well, my minion. Come now, it is time to make preparations."
"Preparations?" Filia sunk into her chair. "But I can't be your general priest. What would the other dragons think?"
"Isn't Milgazia's clan the only one willing to receive you now a days?" Zelas reminded.
"Yes, and he'd be so disappointed!" Filia frowned. Though she went through a period during which she almost completely shunned her own race, she had gotten over that and found a friend in Milgazia. He was wise and caring, more open than the other dragons but at the same time sticking to his principals strongly. He had led his clan to achieve a balance that took many years to form, but it was now finally showing.
Zelas shrugged, "couldn't you just call him a hypocrite then?"
"How so?" Filia fretted.
"He plays brass rackets with me now and then. In other words, he has no problems with putting up with my whims. Why should you, my dear daughter-in-law?" Zelas teased.
"He only plays to keep you busy so you won't turn his clan into dragon cuisine. He amuses you to protect them!" Filia argued.
"Yes, I know, no it's your turn to amuse me to protect yourself," Zelas gave her a predatory grin.
Filia sighed as she frowned. This was no argument because really, who could argue with Zelas? "I guess I have no choice, but I really don't know how to do Xellos' job, so please don't take it out on anyone innocent if I accidentally mess up."
"Don't worry, your mission will not be particularly difficult and you'll have Lina to help guide you," Zelas offered.
Lina... when the monster race involved Lina Inverse, there was something big going on. Filia suspected that, even if Xellos wasn't aware of the specifics of Beast Master's plan concerning her, he must know about the general situation, perhaps even of the goal of the plan. "Lina... Lina Inverse..." Filia spoke the name in a whisper. She let out a breath that mixed exhaustion with nostalgia. "It seems another crazy adventure is about to start."
Zelas smiled, her face showing real joy, "a very chaotic adventure indeed."
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, before Xellos had gone to Zephilia, Lina and Gourry had arrived in the town. Lina and Luna's parents, Light and Labyrinthine Inverse, welcomed their daughter and her fiance happily. Labyrinthine, whose name Gourry couldn't pronounce for the life of him, received him with appetizers and the promise of a big meal that was almost done. Naturally, Gourry was most pleased with the welcome and gladly continued to call Labyrinthine 'mom' as she had previously requested in a past visit.
Soon Gourry got caught up with Light, aka 'dad', in a conversation about the swords and sword-fighting styles that he had seen during his travels. Lina knew that they would remained caught up in their little world of swords until the food was ready and let them have their future father and son-in-law bonding time. The red haired sorceress retreated to the kitchen to help her mother finish preparing everything, which meant that Mrs. Inverse would spend more time stopping her youngest daughter from eating the half cooked food and less time actually preparing the meal, but she was glad to see her little Lina again and welcomed the so called help anyway.
Luna was off working at the cafe as a waitress. She would get off work early that day and would very soon join the rest of her family to catch up on the latest happenings of Lina's adventures that were not communicated via letters, or were simply better off told and half-reenacted in person. The knight of Ceifeed arrived as expected and the meal commenced. Gourry and Lina actually minded their manners more than usual, as if wanting to give a good, responsible and mature impression.
When Lina and Gourry had become engaged, it was due to a misunderstanding which made them legally married. Rather than breaking up entirely and getting a divorce, they decided to remain engaged instead, after the situation pushed them to be more open about their feelings. Gourry had told her than that she should tell him when she was ready to be his wife, hinting that he would be willing to marry her right away if she so wished it. As for Lina, she had hinted that she had something to tell Gourry and also that she wanted to visit her hometown. He played along, clueless of her true intentions, but he would soon find out, as Lina intended to soon tell him she was finally ready. Yet as it often happened with situations concerning Lina Inverse, chaos is just around the corner and nothing ever turns out as planned.
To be Continued
I hope you were amused by the Lina song, I wrote it especially for this story. ;) The phrase, "fight that fire when it burns" is from the Jeanne D'Arc videogame.