Episode 019: Farming! An Ordeal Of Strength and Wit
Episode 019: Farming! An Ordeal Of Strength and Wit
After a good meal at the Seyruun castle, Lina, Gourry, Filia and Xellos were ready to go on their way. Phil had mentioned something about people helping the Coastal States and trying to keep up with farming the lands around Seyruun in their territories all at once. Lina wasn't paying too much attention, but she half caught something along the lines of Phil mentioning that his daughter was there. Thus the red haired leader of the group decided to head to the farms just outside the main city to look for Amelia.
When they did arrive at the farming area what they found was not what they expected. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga's laughter echoed. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Keep at it, Gravy-baby," she patted Gravos on the shoulder as a form of encouragement as he busied himself tilling the land. Upon realizing her misunderstanding and recalling that Philionel did indeed have two daughters, Lina considered running away back to the castle, but it was too late. "Lina!" Naga had already spotted her and was rushing over to greet her. "Gourry, Xellos, Epona!"
"Epona?" Filia looked left and right as if wondering who Naga was referring to, but the eldest Seyruun princess had greeted everyone else already and only Filia was left, whom Naga was looking at when she spoke that name. Of course, Filia didn't remember that Naga had given her a nickname, which was suggested by the clueless but good intentioned Gourry, after the horse of a childhood friend of his. "My name is Filia," she pointed out with a pout.
Naga wasn't really paying attention to the correction and instead explained the situation. "I was passing by to visit daddy, Gravy and everyone when I was given the mission to make sure our farms continued to steadily produce even while so many working hands are off at the Coastal States, assisting in the reconstruction efforts. Your timing is perfect; you're here to help, aren't you? Look, even the kids are doing their part." Naga pointed to were Val and Palou were throwing seeds all over the place like confetti and being quite amused by the activity. With the kids at the farm, that meant that at least Jillas would have a quiet day of managing the Vases and Maces shop and the same could be said about Elena and the bakery.
Filia pouted, because she was being ignored and because she thought it was an appropriate expression of offense when someone dared to imply that a monster was there to help. Xellos remained quiet, not wanting to draw attention to himself in light of the present situation. Lina laughed nervously and was ready to throw out an excuse as to why they couldn't possibly stay to help with the farming, but Gourry spoke first. "That does look kind of fun, count me in!"
"That's the spirit! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga cheered and sent Gourry off to till the land with Gravos. The pair got into a sort of friendly competition and hurried their efforts, talking about random things and laughing the whole time.
Lina let out a breath of exasperation while Filia continued to pout and Xellos remained quiet, as if trying to blend in with the background like a chameleon. "Oh, alright," Lina finally agreed. "What can we do to help?"
"Water the seeds Val and Palou are planting," Naga handed them three watering cans, unfazed by Filia's intense pouting and Xellos' futile efforts to become invisible.
Lina glanced at where the children were throwing seeds. That could hardly be called planting, but she wasn't about to question their methods, least she risk ending up with more work on her hands. "Let's get this over with," Lina sighed. Before starting on her task she took a moment to pause and inquire. "Are Amelia and Zelgadis anywhere near here?"
"Nope," Naga simply informed. "Last I heard they were on their way to visit Taforashia."
"I see," Though Lina had considered hanging around Seyruun waiting for Amelia and Zelgadis to return if they weren't there when she arrived; she had to reconsider that option. If she stayed in Seyruun, she would end up stuck working the land and she didn't want that, nor did she want to expose her ears to the sound of Naga's obnoxious laughter more often than necessary. Thus the redhead reasoned that they would spend the night in Seyruun and head out towards Taforashia early in the morning, after a big breakfast of course. "By the way, Naga, what's your job in all of this?" Lina questioned with the raise of an eyebrow.
"I am supervising," Naga cheerfully informed. "I'm also cheering everyone with my wonderful laughter so that they'll be able to work better. Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"Right," Lina pouted, she should have expected something like that. Since she planned to leave the next day anyway, she decided to put up with it. "Well, let's go," she walked off towards the trail of seeds that Val and Palou were spreading after Gourry and Gravos.
"You can't be serious," Filia complained, shaking the watering can she was given in upset motions and splashing some water on Xellos in the process. "Monster are not supposed to do good deeds. All this manual labor is a dragon's job!" She shoved the watering can into Xellos' hands, splashing him with water again."
"Right, leave it to the capable dragon instead of the stupid lazy monster!" Xellos dared to splash Filia with water.
The action elicited a gasp of shock from Filia. "You did that on purpose!" She accused, and grabbing the watering can out of his hand again, she dumped its contents over his head.
"Hmp!" Filia tossed the empty watering can over her shoulder carelessly. She threw her head back and crossed her arms, looking smug.
Xellos looked annoyed, but he soon let out his annoyance by mimicking Filia's actions. He emptied his own watering can over her head, tossed it aside just as she had and mirrored her posture and smug expression with a similarly indignant, "hmp!"
Lina knew that this was the start of another war. Desperate to stop it before the Seyruun farmlands became a crater on the ground; she dropped her watering can and rushed to step between Xellos and Filia. She pushed them by the shoulders left and right with the palms of her gloved hands to try to put some distance between them before they went for each other's throats, which would be a bigger problem more so in the case of the golden dragon. "I bet you two couldn't plant crops in a farm if your life depended on it!"
Taking the bait, Filia growled. "Why would a monster plant crops? We don't need that kind of food and Beast Master's pet wolves are carnivores anyway."
"Oh well," Lina looked thoughtful as she continued her desperate act as referee. "It's just that I've always thought monsters were better at everything than dragons, but I guess I was wrong. Dragons must be way better at farming. It's not a thing of necessity what I'm talking about here, but rather a matter of skill."
Filia was quick to argue back. "Even if monsters have no reason to farm, we are better at it than dragons. Your initial wise perception was correct, monsters really are better than dragons at everything. Just watch me, I'll prove it!" With that fiercely challenging declaration made, Filia ran off to the opposite side of the farm. She began using her giant mace of monster energy to till the land, than spread the seeds on it with wind and called forth water with magic to water them.
"Real smooth, Lina," Xellos commended.
"Are you going to let her show you off?" Lina encouraged. "Go show her what a golden dragon can do!"
"Oh no, I'm not so easily tricked," Xellos grinned.
"If you say so," Lina pretended to give up on persuading him to work, but soon added. "She's going to be real smug when she takes care of most of the farm on her own. She'll show off about it and shove it in your face."
"Then I'll just tease her about what a good deed she did," Xellos countered.
"She'll assure that it was only for the purpose of proving that monsters are better than dragons and I'll take her side and tell her not to listen to the useless jealous dragon who's just being a sore loser," Lina smugly declared.
Xellos pouted, "now that's just mean. I guess I have no choice then. You got me, I can't let that annoying monster's head grow any bigger. Alright, count me in!" Xellos ran off to compete with Filia. Reasoning that he would be faster in his larger form, he turned into a golden dragon.
"Well, that takes care of that," Lina grinned, proud of her own wit. The would-be crisis had been averted and now Filia and Xellos were pouring their energy into farming the land.
xoxox xox xoxox
By the time the sun started to set over the Seyruun farming area, the whole stretch of land was ready to produce. "Well done everyone! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga commended. "I didn't think we could get this whole place ready in a day, but here it is! Let's give ourselves a victorious laugh! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga looked towards another stretch of land a distance away from the area where they stood. "I'm full of energy, I'm inspired, I'm ready to finish a two week job in a single day. Let's do the same for the other cultivation land over there! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"No way!" Lina protested, while in the background Filia and Xellos argued about who was the better farmer. "We're done for the day. Now it's time to go back to the castle and have another big meal!"
"C'mon Lina, my greatest rival can't be tired so easily. If you give up, then I'll do this myself!" Naga eagerly stepped forward and began to work her magic. In her excitement, she didn't realize that the large stone golem she was making would trample all over the land they just took care of that day. Soon the creature towered over the land with Naga riding on its head.
"Aunty Naga!" Val and Palou called to her. "We want to ride too!"
"Hop on my brave little helpers! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" The golem commanded by Naga stretched out its arms to pick up the children, setting them on its shoulders. "Go my farming golem! Go! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
Quite frankly, Naga was making a mess, and yet at the same time, the golem's farming methods seemed strangely effective. Sure, there were large footprints left all over the place, but at least the soil was sufficiently loosened for planting. Seeds were thrown like a massive rain of confetti and water was spread all over by magic, getting everyone in the premises wet, which finally took Xellos and Filia's attention away from their farming competition argument.
Lina pouted as she watched the golem work. "Why didn't she just do this from the beginning?!"
"That human infuriates me!" Filia growled. "How dare she be so disrespectful to Lord Beast Master's general priestess?"
"I don't think your rank matters much to her," Xellos teased.
"Shut up raw garbage, I don't want to keep dealing with you!" Filia yelled.
"Um, guys..." Gourry, who had been resting from the day's work along with Gravos, pointed at the area behind Lina, Xellos and Filia.
"Not now, Gourry," Lina massaged her temples. After the hard day of work she had, she was not in the mood to deal with Gourry's less than enlightened comments, no matter how adorable he may be.
"But it's..." Gravos pointed along with Gourry and Lina gave him a questioning look, prompting him with her eyes to finish what he was going to say. "It's coming back this way."
The farming golem was indeed on its way over, ready to carelessly step on anything and anyone in its path. Lina, Gourry, Gravos, Xellos and Filia hurried to get out of its way and watched as it headed towards the general direction of the main city of Seyruun. Naga was yelling at it to turn around, but the golem wasn't listening.
"It's out of control!" Lina realized. "Giving orders all day must have tired Naga, she doesn't have the focus required to control her own golem right now. Looks like we'll have to destroy it! Someone get the kids out of the way, I'm firing!" Eager to let out some tension, Lina began to chant. "Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows..."
"Stop!" Xellos and Filia chorused and upon realizing their synchronization they glared at each other.
"Miss Lina," Filia spoke in a scolding voice. "You cannot ruin today's work until everyone has clearly seen that monsters are better at farming than dragons. After that has been proven, only then you may turn this farmland into a big crater on the ground."
"You mean she can turn the farmland into a big crater on the ground after everyone has clearly seen that dragons are better at farming than monsters," Xellos corrected.
"How about you don't turn this land into a crater at all?" Gravos quickly suggested.
"Oh, all right!" Lina stopped her chanting and allowed the spell to dissipate. "But we have to do something! If Seyruun is destroyed by that crazy farming golem, I won't be able to have dinner in peace tonight and I probably won't get a big breakfast tomorrow. I need the energy for the travels ahead!" She looked to all her companions for ideas, Xellos, Filia, Gravos and the one whom she didn't expect to get any ideas from but would secretly draw strength from, Gourry... Wait a minute, where was he? "Gourry?"
Upon realizing that the swordsman was missing from their ranks, the group looked around until they spotted him. Gourry was running full speed towards the out of control golem, climbing up its leg, then up its back, while the stone giant trashed about trying to shake him off. "Naga, take the kids and levitate away from here!" Gourry called out.
"Right, let's go, aunty Naga will protect you." She picked up Val and Palou, who pouted at her because they were actually enjoying the ride. Then she jumped off the golem with a spell of levitation. "Abandon ship! I mean abandon golem!" Naga landed near Lina and the others and set the children safely on the ground. "We made it! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"Gourry's still up there!" Lina exclaimed with concern. She certainly couldn't blow up the golem now.
"Sorry buddy, but you're out of control, so I'll have to slay you." Gourry dramatically declared. Then he took a peculiar sword handle from his belt. That's when Lina noticed he was carrying two swords. One was a regular metal sword that he had before and the other was that blade-less handle, it looked familiar, almost like... "Light come forth!"
"The sword of light?" Lina watched as the brilliant light of the blade cut off the golem's head.
The creature was far from beaten and when Gourry thought he had won, the golem threw him off backwards. The skilled swordsman turn right side up in the air and extended the sword's light to reach the stone arm of the golem. He pushed up with the sword to propel himself and did a font flip, landing on the creature's arm. He dashed up the stony limb and cut it at the shoulder, quickly doing the same for the other arm. Then he sliced the golem down in the middle, cutting the torso vertically in half. The pieces of the golem lost their incantation and the blade of the sword of light glowed ever brighter.
Gourry landed on his feet after the feat. He retracted the light from the sword and set the handle back on his belt as Lina rushed over to him. First things first, she looked him over for injuries and confirmed that he was alright. Then she examined the sword hilt that once again was on his belt. "Can I see that?"
"Sure," Gourry retrieved the hilt of the sword of light and allowed Lina to examine it.
She ran her fingers over the familiar yet alien material. "It's genuine," she could somehow feel it. This wasn't another replica made by Pokota or anyone else. This was the sword of light, the very same sword of light that Gourry had before. This was Gorun Nova, one of the weapons of light that was so vital during the Darkstar battle. "This is the original Gorun Nova, isn't it?" She handed it back to Gourry.
"Yes it is," Gourry smiled, as if holding the sword again filled him with joy. He had willingly let it go, even though it had been in his family for many generations. He reasoned that it was the rightful property of the people of the over-world, but now that it was back in his hands, he realized more than ever that he missed it for more reasons than its obvious usefulness and power. That sword was as dear to him as a traveling companion, as an ally and as a friend.
"How in the world did you get it back?" Lina's mind was buzzing with questions that held no answers just yet. A quick glance at the thoughtful yet puzzled expressions on Xellos and Filia's faces revealed that they too were confused by the sudden appearance of the sword of light back in Gourry's possession.
"While I was separated from your group, as I tried to catch up, I saw a woman with long green hair in a white dress on the road. She said something like, 'this sword might enjoy traveling with you,' and gave me the sword of light," Gourry explained. "At first I thought she was a sword smith looking for a good owner for her creation, but then I realized that this sword is the same one I had before. I would recognize it anywhere; this is the same sword of light that was passed down in my family. I kept looking at the hilt in surprise and when I looked up to ask the woman about it, she was already gone. I looked around but I couldn't see her. It was as if she disappeared."
Gourry's account of the events which led to the recovery of the sword of light was very suspicious. Something big was definitely going on and it was closer than anyone knew. "A quarrel between monsters?" Lina shook her head. "No doubt about it, this is much more than that." She was already involved, there was no turning back now and she wasn't one to run away from a fight anyway. Although, she would rather have her usual team assembled sooner instead of later. "Naga, stick around in Seyruun for a while longer and make sure everything's alright here. There's trouble in the air."
"Right, you can count on me!" Naga's face was serious and determined, though she still added her signature laugh at the end of her declaration of assurance. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"Gourry, Filia, Xellos, we'll head back to Seyruun for now and spend the night." Lina, the unquestionable leader of the group decided. "Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, we'll leave right after breakfast. Our destination is Taforashia." Amelia and Zelgadis should be there, plus Pokota was there and Lina wanted to have a word with him.
To be Continued
Gourry's childhood friend who has a horse named Epona is Link from Legend of Zelda.