Episode 021: Reborn! The Young Prince Returns
Episode 021: Reborn! The Young Prince Returns
After a misunderstanding caused by one of Xellos' mischievous monster comrades, the monster turned golden dragon ended up ingesting a piece of a troublesome dragon lust berry. It was the same kind of berry that caused such stress to Filia in an occasion taking place on the previous year. Thus the situation ended up with Filia arriving at Xellos' room too late to prevent the disaster and standing there before him, listening to his complaints. "You're a perverted monster and a cowardly one, wanting to back out after the trap was set," Xellos accused.
"What?" Filia's face was crimson in mortified fury. "I didn't realize what those berries did. I meant to cause you insanity not..." she paused, red-faced, then added in a quieter voice, "not lust."
"And what are you going to do about it now?" Xellos insisted, his eyes shining with a mischief that Filia thought was not befitting of a dragon.
"Nothing, it's not my problem." Filia crossed her arms and willed the redness to fade away from her face. Her skin tone returned to normal as, being a monster, she had control over it, though that control sometimes slipped.
"Well, it's too bad I don't have a pretty dragon to keep me company." Though the words were only sarcasm, they seemed to jolt Xellos memories. There was the image of a woman, but it was blurry. She had long golden hair. Was that a golden scaled tail on her? A dragon? A golden dragon...
"Raw garbage?" Filia observed the expression that had overtaken Xellos' face. He appeared to be lost in thought and she couldn't help it but to be curious about what he could possibly be thinking. "Are you still there?" She leaned closer as if trying to read something in his eyes, they were open, but his gaze was somewhat disconnected. "Hey!" She yelled into his face.
Xellos blinked, awakening from his thoughts. He couldn't remember who the female golden dragon was, but the sudden proximity of the monster general priestess caused him to kiss her as if being pushed by a purely reflexive action.
Filia took a moment to react again, before she realized who she was and what she was doing. She tried to push Xellos away, but he held her in place until she gave a little stronger shove, "don't..." This felt much more comfortable and familiar than it should and it worried her.
"If you don't want to be around me right now, then disappear." Xellos suggested, trailing kisses down her neck. "You're a powerful monster, you can just push me away or teleport yourself far away from here. But you don't want to, do you?"
Filia realized that she didn't want to leave, but she couldn't get all cozy with a golden dragon. What would Beast Master say? "What kind of dragon are you?" She reproached half-heartedly.
Xellos grinned; in all honesty he didn't even know the answer to that himself, so he replied with the first possibly truthful explanation that came into his mind. "One of the kind."
"I can't argue with that," Filia admitted. There was a small silent pause, during which the tension seemed to stand still. Filia was in the middle of a tempestuous inner debate trying to decide what she should do and dealing with the impossible task of reconciling what she wanted to do, which she wasn't even sure of herself, with what a proper monster was expected to do.
Then suddenly, Xellos' face flashed with inviting mischief and just as swiftly, his eyes were closed again and he had his usual cheerful grin, which made him look like he didn't have a care in the world, plastered on his face once more. "Since I only had a tiny piece of the berry, it looks like the effect wore off and I've managed to calm down now. Well, I should be getting some sleep; dragons need their sleep you know. You should be getting back to your room as far away as possible from mine; I'll see your ugly face in the morning." He practically shoved her out the door.
With an expression of extreme disbelief, which Xellos secretly thought was priceless, Filia was pushed out to the hallway and had the door closed on her face. 'What just happened?' It took a moment for her to realize that the dilemma was over and the insolent golden dragon had kicked her out of his room, not that she wanted to be anywhere near him anyway. She threw her head back in indignation and stomped up the hallway towards the stairs muttering something about a "raw garbage
dragon" that she refused to admit even to herself that she was attracted to.
The recent incident was in no way the cause of that attraction, but it was an eye opener, or at least it would have been if Filia had been willing to admit anything at all. The, unknown to them, mutual, attraction had perhaps started after their battle. It was odd, but nearly killing each other made them see each other in a new light.
Behind the closed door, Xellos listened to Filia stomping and growling under her breath. She was loud enough to wake Lina, who yelled something about fair maidens needing their beauty sleep. Gourry however, slept like a rock, as Xellos could still hear him snoring in the next room. Or perhaps the swordsman's senses were so well trained that he subconsciously ignored noises that didn't represent an immediate danger, at least not to him and Lina. Without even realizing it, Xellos found himself grinning in amusement. That peculiar monster, Filia, was certainly one of the kind.
xoxox xox xoxox
When the next morning came, the group was on the road again. The trip continued relatively uneventful, until Lina, Gourry, Filia and Xellos reached Taforashia. There they met up with Pokota in the royal courtyard at the entrance to the castle. The Taforashia prince couldn't seem to make up his mind if he was excited, nervous, hopeful or disappointed. The mix of different tastes and opposing emotions was confusing for Filia. "Why are you so moody?" She bluntly asked, as if it were an accusation. Her head had been filled with too many confusing thoughts lately, mostly about Xellos, and she didn't have the patience to deal with this.
"I'm curious about that myself," Lina added. One did not have to be a monster to notice the green toy's ever changing expressions.
Pokota, who had been warned about the basics of the situation concerning Filia and Xellos, attributed Filia's bluntness to her monster side and held back any biting remarks, despite not being in a particularly pleasant mood himself. As for Lina, he just grumbled a barely audible, "none of your business," and pouted.
Gourry smiled in a friendly way and patted Pokota's hair like a child. "Hey little guy, if there's anything at all we can do to help, just let us know!" He offered good naturedly.
"I'm not a little guy," Pokota continued to pout, though his expression turned momentarily hopeful when he elaborated. "I managed to make a copy of my body," he revealed with growing excitement. "My original body, I mean," he specified before Lina could comment. With hope in his eyes he smiled at the possibilities, but his smile was not completely happy, as if there was something missing from the picture of his plans. "I managed to find a jar that can hold a soul too. It was one of Rezo's old experimental jars, I was lucky I actually tracked it down. I've been researching a lot."
Lina was quick to put two and two together as she drew a conclusion from what Pokota had said. "You intend to use the jar to transfer yourself to the copy of your body, a homunculus body, isn't it?"
"Yes," Pokota confirmed. "It may be a homunculus, but it's just the same as my original body."
Lina mused over the information. "I wonder if Zel could do something like that."
"Doubtful," Pokota pouted bitterly. "He would need some kind of completely human genetic sample to create a homunculus copy. If he uses his current genetics, the copy will be a chimera too. My old body wasn't completely destroyed after all. I managed to dig out samples from the site of the battle; even a few strands of hair can go a long way with the proper research."
This was the same person who had made a replica of the sword of light, so Lina had no reason to doubt his claims. "Well, it's too bad about Zel, I doubt there's anywhere were he can find a sample of his old human body." The redhead noticed that the mention of Zelgadis didn't sit well with Pokota. "Cut to the chase stuffed animal, what are you not telling us?"
Pokota was about to retort with something along the lines of 'flat chested little girl' in reply to Lina's stuffed animal remark, but he stopped when he saw the look in her eyes. She was sincerely concerned. "I had asked Amelia and Sylphiel to help me with the process. I can't possibly do the transfer myself, because I'm the one who's being moved, it would be too much. They had both said they would help, but now they won't come. I wrote to Amelia and she made up excuses to postpone the visit. Then Zelgadis wrote to me, I would guess without Amelia's knowledge, telling me to find someone else and not ask Amelia anymore."
"Sylphiel said she had something very important to take care of, but wouldn't tell me what it is," Pokota continued sadly. "This communication happened with the spell to call a courier monster bird. You've used that spell before, so you know the bird only needs to know who the letter or small package is for and not where they are, as they can find the receiver on their own. Though I couldn't get much information out of him, I got Jarde to admit that all the correspondence went to Sairaag."
"In other words," Lina correctly concluded, "they are all in Sairaag." This new information filled Lina's mind with questions and all sorts of theories. Perhaps something was happening in the rebuilt Sairaag that Zelgadis, Amelia and Sylphiel were all involved in. Pokota, even as a stuffed animal, could hold his own in battle quite well, so why wouldn't they tell him the truth if there was something going on? Did they want to keep him out of danger and in his homeland in case he had to defend it?
Then again, if there was something dangerous going on, if Sairaag had been attacked, why didn't they warn Pokota in case the enemy eventually moved closer to Taforashia? Besides, if Amelia and Sylphiel had already agreed to help Pokota with his body transfer, they wouldn't just go back on their words. Something big must be keeping them busy, something that for some unknown reason they didn't want to reveal.
"Lina," Pokota's voice woke Lina from her thoughts. She wasn't reaching any useful conclusions anyway, just coming up with more questions that lacked known answers. "Would you assist me? I want to go to Sairaag, but I want to go how I should have been, not like this."
Lina nodded in agreement. "You have nothing to worry about now that you have the beautiful sorceress Lina Inverse to count on. But I'm sure the transfer spell is complicated and I won't be able to perform it on an empty stomach."
"I figured as much," Pokota chuckled. He didn't understand what was keeping Amelia and Sylphiel away, but he knew he could count on Lina to help him. Then he would see for himself what was going on at Sairaag. "We'll have a banquet for you all day long, then tonight the spell will be performed. Then I'll be leaving for Sairaag in the morning." If all went well, but Pokota wasn't considering the possibility of failure, so he didn't even voice it.
"That's pretty fast," Lina commented. Pokota was clearly in a hurry to find out what was going on, but then again so was she. "Alright, I'll do it. If you've rested enough to start getting used to your new body by tomorrow morning, then you can go to Sairaag with us."
xoxox xox xoxox
That night Lina, Gourry, Xellos, Filia and Pokota entered the castle chamber that was prepared for the transfer to take place. Magically charged stones were embedded in the walls of the chamber, creating a web of light overhead by reflecting the light of the torches on the four corners of the room. The lines of light seemed to change in translucent shades of blue and green, creating quite an atmosphere.
There were three platforms in the center of the chamber. Two of them were large enough for a human to lie on top of them, with another smaller, but taller one in the middle. The middle pillar had the precious jar placed on top of it, which wasn't looking particularly sturdy. Yet before Lina could comment on the conditions of the jar, her curiosity was summoned to the young man who lay motionless on one of the two larger platforms. "Who's he supposed to be?"
"Me!" Pokota exclaimed. Seeing Lina's questioning look, he elaborated. "My body was in suspended animation for a while. I would have been around Gourry's age if I had aged normally."
"I see," Lina voiced, then went on to ask amore pressing question. "That jar," she pointed at it with caution, "doesn't look too stable."
"I can't replicate it," Pokota confessed. "I've studied it, but I haven't been able to make it anew and I wouldn't dare to experiment with it in an attempt to repair it. It's a miracle I even found it; it's too precious to be risked."
"I suppose you're right, but..." Lina wasn't feeling comfortable with using that cracked old jar.
"It's okay," Pokota insisted. There were few people that he knew of who had the skill to do this and even fewer that he would entrust his soul to. He couldn't allow Lina to back out. "It's not like I'm going to be living in there. I'll only be there for a few seconds until the transfer is complete."
Lina knew there and then that there would be no way to change Pokota's mind. She let out a breath and nodded her head. "Alright, I'll do my best."
"Thanks!" Eager to get the process started, Pokota went to lie down on the platform opposite to the one that held his homunculus body. The green stuffed animal body that currently held him looked small in the middle of the platform, compared to which the taller pink haired human body, which was around the same height as Xellos, took up the entire platform.
"Stand back," Lina seriously voiced. Gourry obediently stepped into the arch of the closed doorway, his action being mimicked by Xellos and Filia, who were too curious to see how this would go to mind Lina's order.
Lina stood behind the pillar that held the jar. Other than being given food, she had also been given information and already knew the spell that she was to cast to activate the preset process empowered by the magical stones in the walls. The web of light that occupied the whole room glowed brighter as Lina voiced the words of the spell and placed her left hand on the jar's cover. She lifted it, extending her right hand towards the toy Pokota, beckoning his soul into her hand and into the jar.
Then she switch to holding the jar in the palm of her right hand and faced the human version of Pokota. She lifted the lid with her left hand, still steadily chanting the words of the spell while the others watched. A ghostly ball of light emerged from the jar, just like the one that had gone in seconds prior. Pokota's soul floated towards his human body, but suddenly, the jar exploded in Lina's hand, sending her flying back, with Pokota's soul also somehow being thrown away.
The ball of light that was Pokota passed through the wall and left their line of vision. Simultaneously, Lina was thrown harshly against the wall with blood all over her torso. "Lina!" Gourry rushed to her, closely followed by Xellos and Filia. He gently cradled her in his arms, she wasn't reacting at all. "Cast a healing spell!" He wasn't sure who held the healing magic as Xellos was acting like a dragon and Filia seemed to have monster powers now. He wasn't going to stress about it before, but right now it would be good to know there was a healer among them.
"Recovery!" Xellos attempted to heal Lina, but it didn't appear to be enough. "Recovery!" He tried again. Her eyes slightly opened, but she coughed and blood spilled from her lips. "Recovery!" Xellos tried a third time. "Just stay alive and this should eventually be enough. Recovery!"
"Stay alive? Easier said than done! Her energy feels like it's fading fast!" Why did that thought scare Filia so much? She was a monster, she wasn't supposed to care. Yet she was worried about Lina for a different reason than the mission she was given by Beast Master.
"Don't give up, Lina! You can't die!" Gourry pleaded, wishing he could do more to help her.
"Recovery!" Xellos kept casting the spell over and over, but what little progress it made was undone in seconds as Lina's heart and lungs would only injure themselves further by the simple action of trying to function.
"This isn't enough," Filia concluded. "It's not enough," she whispered solemnly. "Isn't there another spell?"
"Resurrection, but I don't know that one." Xellos replied with evident frustration.
"Resurrection," Filia repeated. Her body felt like it was filled with adrenaline, or the illusion of adrenaline. The turmoil made the word echo in her mind, "Resurrection..." She could feel it; somehow, she knew how to cast that spell. She extended her hands, palms covered in a golden glow, "Resurrection!" She tried to keep the spell going. "Xellos, don't stop using Recovery, the extra energy will still be useful. Resurrection!"
The light was so bright that Gourry had to close his eyes. When he opened them again, Lina's injuries were gone. Her tired breaths testified that she was still alive, which filled him with a great relief. "Lina?"
Lina slowly opened her eyes and chuckled to reassure her friends. "I knew that cracked jar was a bad idea. Where's the ex-stuffed animal? I need to tell him I told you so. I'm going to be the first one to put a bump on his new head."
The group looked towards the pink haired prince, or at least the body, as for the soul, it didn't seem to be there. "He's not getting up..." Gourry stated the obvious.
To be Continued
Episode 021 has a reference to Shrek in the lines: "What kind of knight are you?" "One of the kind." Just switch knight for dragon.