Episode 018: Disbelief! Unexpected Revelations
Episode 018: Disbelief! Unexpected Revelations
The Seyruun castle's land was noisier than usual with guards running about and Philionel in full king gear giving instructions, and sometimes shouting them across the courtyard. His eyes landed on Lina, whom the gate guards recognized from her numerous frequent visits to the city and did not question when she led her little group into the royal property. "Miss Lina," Phil walked over to her with a stern look upon his face. "I do hope you are not the one to blame." Because when a town was blown up, usually Lina Inverse was involved. Yet this was not only massive property damage, it was a massacre.
"It wasn't me!" Lina immediately defended on automatic. Then she paused and curiously inquired. "What was it that I didn't do?"
King Philionel let out a breath of relief, fully believing in Lina's words. "I'm glad it wasn't you, I figured it couldn't have been. It was too harsh, even for you. A town at the Coastal States was destroyed, there were no survivors."
Silence overtook Lina, Gourry, Filia and Xellos as they pondered on the revelation. "Who did it and why?" Lina inquired, her face growing serious. She knew that trouble was afoot, but she wasn't expecting such a large scale attack, at least not so soon.
"We don't know," Phil confessed with a frown. "Seyruun is making its best effort to rebuild the town in remembrance to those who once lived there, pay our respects to the family members and friends who had dear ones in that town, and overall keep the situation calm. It's only been a little over the year since the world was so dangerously close to ending. People can't take another disaster like that."
"Fear is thick in the air," Filia observed with a serious and perplexed face. Beast Master had not mentioned having intentions of launching such an attack, thus she concluded that this was the doing of someone else.
"Indeed," Phil nodded gravely. "But we can't let our spirits be crushed!" He tried to cheer them up. "How about we go inside and have ourselves a nice meal to recover our energy?"
"Now you're talking!" Lina cheered. Her theories and worries about the disaster were thrown to the back of her mind for now, as food occupied her most prominent thoughts. Since Phil had not made any peculiar comments about Xellos and Filia, Lina assumed that he was informed of their state beforehand, so as to not cause unneeded questions to arise.
As the group was about to head inside the Seyruun castle, Xellos spoke. "Wasn't Luna there?"
The mention of her sister's name made Lina's head turn towards him in alarm, her gaze scanning the area for signs of danger, like a wild animal fueled by adrenaline. "Was Luna where?"
"At the Coastal States," Xellos revealed. "I saw Luna right before my little quarrel with Filia and she said she was heading to the Coastal States. She was invited to a party by a black dragon."
"Luna was there?" Lina mused over what this could mean. It didn't seem right at all. "The timing must be different. Maybe Luna got there and left before it all happened or she decided not to go. Maybe the dragon's party was moved somewhere else, dragons don't go out to human towns all that often anyway." Logically, if the Knight of Ceifeed had been there, the disaster would have been prevented.
"Do you think Luna is alright?" Gourry asked with genuine concern.
"She's fine." The thought of Luna being unable to handle a battle simply did not compute for Lina. "I'm sure there's a logical explanation, we just don't know it yet." Her stomach growled, "and we won't be able to figure it out on empty stomachs, so let's eat!"
While Lina and Gourry walked next to Philionel, talking about what they were looking forward to eating, Xellos and Filia lagged a little behind. They looked at each other analytically with suspicions in their eyes. Perhaps it was time for a report, they both silently mused. Thus, after the meal, they each took a moment alone to update their respective leaders, or at least those who they thought were their leaders, on the overall progress of their journey and the things they had heard.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, far away in a well hidden elf village, Memphis was visiting her father. Mr. Linesword was calmly talking to his daughter as she updated him on the most recent happenings at the Kataart Mountains, while they did a little bit of rearranging around the house. Organizing bookshelves was not something Memphis pictured herself doing during her visit, but she humored her father anyway. "What's this?" She held up a little chest that had been behind some books.
"That is a very precious," and hilarious, "secret possession of mine..." Mr. Lineswords' eyes lit up as if remembering the tale that went with the contents of the chest. It was a story of several years ago traveling with a good friend from one peculiar town to another. "I'll show it to you, but you must promise to keep it a secret, especially from Milgazia."
Memphis curiosity grew with the warning and she immediately agreed to the terms. "I promise!"
Her father looked through the books until he found a specific history book, which didn't particularly stand out from the others. He opened it and retrieved a key that was hidden among its pages. He used the key to open the chest, which contained a rolled up thick sheet of paper, like part of a canvas used for a small painting.
Alarming noises were heard from outside, which made the elf father and daughter pause what they were doing and rush to the window. Suddenly, a monster appeared at the village. The creature was a black fox with silver eyes, two long thick tails and large prominent fangs. The fox monster howled like a wolf and began to chase after the elf villagers. Mr. Linesword was immediately alarmed, by the noise and more so when he ran outside and saw what the cause of the commotion was. Yet Memphis was cool, calm and collected, albeit slightly annoyed. Some elves fought with little success, others ran for cover in alarm. As for Memphis, she walked towards the beast with a confident stride.
The young elf woman had in her rush, picked up the rolled up canvas scroll from inside the chest and still held it in her hand, albeit she had no time to look at it. She recognized this monster and knew he must have followed her own scent to the elf village. She was the one who accidentally led him there, so she would be the one to handle this. "Leave this to me," she assured as she stood in front of her father and walked towards the beast.
"Memphis, be careful," the older elf cautioned.
"Don't worry," Memphis assured. "I know how to handle Fang." This was all a game to Fang, he was having fun by causing trouble, but being a monster fox chimera, had instead of diminishing his monster powers with the fusion, made him considerably less ferocious than an average monster. "Bad boy, Fang! Bad!" Memphis lifted the scroll and hit him on the nose with it.
Fang whimpered like a puppy and lowered his head. He had seen his fair share of newspapers from Zelas when she was training him to sit still during pet shows and had a certain amount of fear towards rolled up pieces of paper. But this was not Beast Master, it was an elf girl. Fang decided to rebel against her and snatched away the rolled up canvas with a swift movement. The instinct of his favorite game, fetch, kicked in and he teleported away to take the scroll to Beast Master.
Memphis pouted, but soon let out a relieved breath as she saw that no major damage or serious injuries had occurred. "He stole the scroll, but at least he's gone." She curiously looked at her father, whose face was rather pale. "Are you okay, dad?"
"The scroll..." Mr. Linesword gasped.
Curious, Memphis asked, "what was in that scroll anyway?"
Mr. Linesword's expression was worried. "That monster was one of Beast Master's, wasn't he?" To that Memphis nodded and her father ran his hand over his face in frustration. "Milgazia will be most displeased if he hears about this. I can only hope he never finds out, or at least that he doesn't link me to it."
With her curiosity at its peak, Memphis asked, "how come?"
Mr. Linesword let out a stressed breath, silently consoling himself in the thought that perhaps Milgazia would never find out who was responsible for preserving that scroll and how it fell into Zelas' hands. "What that scroll contained was..."
xoxox xox xoxox
Fang teleported back to the surface of Wolf Pack Island and approached Beast Master with the scroll in his mouth. He sat up, moving his front paws playfully and nudged the scroll into her hand. "What have you brought me, Fang?" As soon as Zelas took the scroll, Fang went back on all fours, wagging his two tails and making eager playful noises. "You don't even know, do you?" with mild curiosity, but not really expecting to see anything worth-while, Zelas opened up the scroll. Its thick texture was like that of a canvas and as she extended it, she began to see hints of a picture drawn on it.
Seeing what appeared to be the ground and a pair of feet with brown boots, Zelas turned the scroll over, realizing she had been holding it upside down. Fang's puppy-like noises intensified and he rubbed his fur against her leg like a cat. He was a monster fox chimera, but his monster side was akin to a beast, thus he sometimes exhibited behavior similar to other animals. Deciding to humor her minion's little bout of impatience, Zelas picked up a stick from the ground and threw it sufficiently far away so that Fang would take a moment to return with it. He could teleport, but she knew he wouldn't, that wasn't part of the game.
Zelas turned her attention back to the scroll, now right side up; there was the ground and a pair of feet with brown boots. She finished fully extending the scroll and got a full view of the portrait painted on it. Her face morphed into a smile, her lips parted and soon the sound of laughter echoed. Some of the wolves that were near by curiously approached to see what had amused their master so much. Whatever joke she saw contained in the image in the scroll, they didn't really understand.
Galathia, a gorgon-like monster under the command of Beast Master, had just returned to Wolf Pack Island, just in time to see her boss metaphorically laughing her head off. She tilted her head, which was behind a thick veil that allowed her to see but did not allow others to see her face; least the wolves of flesh and blood that Zelas kept as pets would turn to stone upon laying eyes on her snake hair. Overtaken by curiosity, the monster, whose body was shaped like a snake from the waist down and as a woman from the waist up, albeit a woman covered in turquoise scales, approached. "Beast Master?" She called almost meekly, the tone rather unusual for her accustomed bluntness.
"This is... This is priceless!" Zelas laughed. Fang returned with the stick he had fetched and eagerly tried to give it back to Zelas. Without moving her eyes away from the source of her amusement, she took the stick and threw it again. Fang happily ran off to fetch it one more time. Then she turned the canvas paper over to face Galathia's curious gaze, which Zelas was aware of even if she couldn't see it behind the veil.
A gasp escaped Galathia's lips and her eyes widened, imperceptible behind the covering of the veil, yet Zelas could clearly imagine what her expression was like. "That's... That's... Can I have it?"
"No," Zelas rolled up the scroll again and held it close to herself in a mocking protective motion.
"Oh please, Lord Beast Master, please!" Galathia begged. "Can I at least have someone make a replica of it?"
"I'm going to frame it and keep it behind glass hanging some place where my minions can easily see it, point and laugh," Zelas decided.
Pleased that she would be able to see the image often, Galathia smiled. "What an excellent plan!"
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Milgazia was once again back in Wolf Pack Island after being summoned to play brass rackets, which was just an obvious excuse to have an information seeking discussion. He had visited all the largest dragon temples looking for information and had heard the story of Topaz Ebony's plans to get rid of the monster lords. However, the dragon race as a whole did not believe him. The black dragon had proposed consulting the Knight of Ceifeed and the council ruled in favor of that plan of action. If Luna backed-up his claims after calling upon the wisdom of Ceifeed, then the dragon race would seriously consider his plans.
Milgazia had pointed out that he never got to vote on that, but he was told that there were enough votes for the plan to be agreed upon regardless of what he voted for. Things were left at a standstill when Topaz claimed that Luna had requested more time to analyze the situation and properly consult Ceifeed's spirit. In truth he had been reading his plans to get rid of Luna's soul and control the empty body of her vessel to his favor. Vorfeed's energy, which was similar to that of Ceifeed, could be used to trick the dragons into thinking that the Knight of Ceifeed was completely genuine. Unknown to Milgazia and the dragon elders, Topaz would soon make his appeal to the dragon race concerning his deceptive plans.
As for Milgazia, he had no real intentions of revealing anything to Zelas. Things were at a standstill anyway, but if she knew even the smallest of details, she could probably use it to her favor. She had not yet directly asked anything so far, instead telling Milgazia to follow her inside the hidden palace underground at Wolf Pack Island. "Have you heard about the disaster at the Coastal States?"
"Yes," Milgazia replied with a single syllable, he would try to stick to such responses as much as he could.
"Rumor has it the Knight of Ceifeed disappeared..." Milgazia presented no reaction to Zelas' revelation and she continued. "But I suppose just because she's not making her presence known doesn't mean she's really gone, at least not yet. It is still too early to say what ever happened to her." Still Milgazia presented no reaction, other then the hint of perplexity in his eyes mixed with concern. Zelas decided to leave the conversation at that. She wouldn't mention that her monster spies that were in the area had been mysteriously eradicated, thus preventing her from gathering further information. She wondered if this really was Deep Sea Dolphin picking a fight or something else entirely. With Luna's possible involvement her suspicions grew that this mysterious situation was much more complex than it appeared to be.
A low ranking monster that looked like a ragged cloak on a thin coat rack floated down the hall. It had no legs, instead the ripped edges of the black cloak brushed against the floor as it glided towards them. A pair of long stick-like arms held a mop and pail. The hood of the clock concealed what could have been a somewhat wolf-like face and only glowing eyes, one red and one yellow, could be seen. "I have cleaned the hallway and given extra attention to the affected area in front of the portrait. All that nasty gorgon drool Galathia left behind is now gone." Its voice run ominously, carrying much more foreboding than a simple report about clean up duty should merit to have.
"Very good," Zelas replied. She didn't sense Galathia's presence at Wolf Pack Island at present, so she concluded that the mid-ranked gorgon-looking monster was finally off to do her job after managing to tare herself away from the portrait at the hall. The odd low ranking monster on clean up duty bowed and stood aside as Zelas and her unwilling golden dragon guest continued down the hall. Finally, Beast Master stopped in front of a small but genuine portrait. "It's not too big, but I wanted to keep the original so no one says I made this up. This image was drawn by an official artist dedicated to the event it portrays. It is proof that it did indeed take place."
For a few, for him excruciating and for her amusing, moments, Milgazia was without words. His expression was one unlike anything Zelas had ever seen plastered on his usually serious face before. His mouth hung open for several seconds as his face became redder and redder. Then he clenched his teeth and glared, finally opening his mouth, not to speak, but to shoot a strong beam of laser breath that bounced off the glass which protected the preposterous image before him. Thankful for his fast reflexes, Milgazia ducked on time and avoided being beheaded, or at least injured, by his own laser breath. "I thought I destroyed all of these." Not even the villagers of that peculiar place had a single copy of the portrait left.
"One of my minions brought me this as a gift, isn't that sweet?" Zelas mocked sarcastically. "Galathia, you know that lustful gorgon with terrible taste, she has taken quite a liking to staring at this portrait and drooling all over the floor while she's at it. I personally prefer to point and laugh. I've done a bit of research, you know? How cruel of you to steal away the champion's records. He took five victories in a row, then another three. That time that he lost, it was to you. Of course you can't expect a human to be faster and stronger than a dragon."
No one was supposed to know about this. Milgazia had hoped to bury the event in the depths of the past and never think of it again. It had been over twenty years, it wasn't a particularly long time for a dragon, but for a human it was and the village in question was of humans. Plus they had their champion who took those next three victories to fuss about. Yet now that Zelas had this dreadful evidence, surely the results of a lost bet with his long time elf friend, Linesword, would not be forgotten. There on the portrait was Milgazia, holding a large ball at Rolly-Rolly village, wearing the typical attire used by those who participated in the festival, fuzzy brown boots and a matching loincloth, nothing else.
"I think I see a peculiar similarity between you and the human champion," whom Zelas knew to be Philionel, the same one who was now the king of Seyruun. "Do you mind if I test a theory, just for the fun of it?" A cold chill ran down Milgazia's spine. He did mind, he minded a lot, but that wasn't going to stop her.
To be Continued
In the Rolly-Rolly village episode, it is said that Philionel took five victories in a row, then another three, but they don't explain to whom he lost that one time...