Episode 030: Pieces! Parts Of A Whole
Episode 030: Pieces! Parts Of A Whole
Martina stood, but Filia had already scooped the child into her arms and was glaring at Xellos who gave her an innocent look. For once, it was honest, he didn't know what he did to frighten the baby, he just stood there and let the boy examine him so as to not frighten him. The traces of magic in the atmosphere became still as little Zoamelgustar calmed down.
"You scared him, raw garbage." Filia accused with a suspiciously victorious tone.
"I didn't do anything," Xellos pointed out truthfully.
"You scared him with your ugly face." Filia informed as if it was a well known fact.
"Then your face will surely give him nightmares, he's too terrified to scream," Xellos countered.
Zoamelgustar giggled at their argument and Filia took it as a sign in her favor. "He's perfectly happy with me."
"Isn't that bad for your health?" Xellos teased.
"What? A child's happiness? I'm strong enough to withstand it," Filia stuck out her tongue.
While the others seemed just as entertained as the baby with the odd pair's arguments, Lina decided that she had enough. "So Martina, aren't you going to show us some hospitality and throw a banquet?"
"Of course I will," Martina agreed too easily and Lina knew that something was up. "Right after we finish catching up! Ah! He he ha he he! Is it me, or have you gotten shorter? You're still flat-chested after all this time? I've been hearing some odd rumors about you, Lina..."
"Enough! If you're going to rant about me, at least feed me first!" Lina stomped her feet in anger.
"If I must feed you, at least hear me out first!" Martina countered. "Such a bad mannered guest!" She pouted.
In the background, Amelia whispered something to Gourry. Lina saw it from the corner of her eyes, but wasn't paying attention. "Such a bad mannered host!" The redhead sorceress fumed. Gourry walked over to her with a smile and suddenly started massaging her shoulders.
"It's okay Lina, you're just cranky because you're hungry, let's not argue anymore, alright?" Lina froze, while Amelia gave her a thumbs up and a smile. Her face suddenly turned as red as her hair as her mind was flooded with memories. She wanted to have Gourry all to herself again, but how could she go about it? She was afraid of a serious direct rejection. At least this way she had his friendship, but what if she ruined it? She would have to proceed carefully.
Since Lina grew silent, Martina declared herself the winner of the argument with a victorious laugh. "Ah! He he ha he he!" Then they moved on to the banquet hall to occupy themselves in eating.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the banquet hall with a big meal all set up, Xellos managed to get Zoamelgustar's attention with a cookie he snatched from the dessert section before Lina got that far, as she was busily devouring everything in the main course section along with Gourry. His energy might have confused him, but this was somehow his dear uncle Xellos, so Zoamelgustar was starting to pay attention to him again. Filia wasn't too happy about it and they made it their silent competition to try to win the baby's attention.
Amelia made polite diplomatic conversation with Martina, who was in princess mode now too. That left Zangulus to take notice of the fact that Martina was either not too observant, or too self-centered, or too focused on annoying Lina, or all three, as she had not said a word about Zelgadis' cure. Curious to hear about it, Zangulus casually asked. "How did you find your cure, Zelgadis?"
"My cure?" Zelgadis inquired. He had a curse right now as half of him hidden beneath the long robes, was a fish. Yet Zangulus seemed to be referring to something he was cured from, an illness perhaps? Amelia had been telling him things slowly so as to not overload him with information that was hard to believe. He knew there was more to his life than the stories he had heard so far, but assumed she would get to telling more as they went along in their strange journey. "What do you mean?"
"For the chimeraism," Zangulus pointed out and that only made Zelgadis more confused. The swordsman king wasn't sure what could be confusing the other man; his question had been clear enough. "You were a chimera before, remember? You had blue rocky skin that you don't have now. How did you manage to become human again? I thought you had stopped searching for the cure."
He was a chimera before? Well that would explain why his fish tail was so strange, such resistant scales and the bits of rock, he was no ordinary merman. "Monsters," Zelgadis answered simply in a likely theory. He would have to ask Amelia for the details later.
"Ah, I see," Zangulus nodded, accepting the answer. "Gotta be careful with them though."
The banquet was progressing in such a way, when Zelgadis and Zangulus' conversation was interrupted by a guard rushing in. "Your majesties!" He called out in despair. "The beast is back!"
"The beast!" Martina exclaimed. "Do as Lord Beast Master said, capture it alive!" She commanded.
"I'm going out there," Zangulus announced. Even in his kingly clothes he had his sword by his side. He kind of wished he had his hat, but there was no time to have the relic fetched from the royal chambers. Martina let him keep it as long as he didn't wear it too often and definitely not to important diplomatic activities.
"Oh Zangulus!" Martina reached out to him dramatically, like a damsel from a play. "Be careful, my darling!" She exclaimed with exaggerated anguish.
"Don't worry, my love," Zangulus replied with equal flare. After being around Martina for so long, her dramatics started to rub off on him. "I shall return to you and our son unharmed. Now I must go fight for our kingdom!" With that noble declaration made, the king of Zoana kissed his queen and ran off with the guard.
The atmosphere stood still for several moments as Lina tried to tare herself away from the food long enough to ask what was going on. She knew it had to be important with the talk about a beast and Beast Master, but she needed another bite, and another, and another... Then before Lina could speak, Martina laughed. "Ah! He he ha he he! Time for some beast hunting! I can entrust Zoamelgustar to you two, right?" She glanced at Xellos and Filia, not waiting for their answer before going on her way.
"Wait!" It was Amelia who called out to Martina, as Lina was still busy eating. "What's going on?" She finally asked.
"Oh, the beast is back," Martina noticed their perplexed looks and elaborated. "It's a mysterious chimera beast that goes crazy attacking towns. The magic guilds of several towns have posted wanted posters for it. Beast Master wants to capture it too, but she wants it alive. It's a slippery creature though, really hard to catch. Well, I'm off to join the fun!" She left the banquet hall.
"All those dramatics about parting ways with her husband and she's going to fight too?" Filia huffed. She had thought at first that it was touching, like something out of a romance novel, but she was proud that her huff came out sufficiently disgusted as it should be for a monster.
"I might as well see what this is about," Xellos decided. "You can baby-sit on your own for a while, right, stupid monster?"
"Absolutely not, raw garbage!" Filia refused. "From what I've heard, this business concerns Lord Beast Master, so I must investigate further. You should watch young Zoamelgustar until I return."
"Alright, I'll just take him with me then." Xellos walked only a few steps with the child in his arms before Filia stopped him.
"You'll do no such thing!" The monster screeched.
Amelia sighed and walked over to them. "Give him here; I'll take care of Zoamelgustar." The monster and dragon offered no protests to that and handed over the baby to the Seyruun princess. Then the odd pair dashed off outside. Amelia sighed and looked at the baby who looked back at her. "Don't worry, we won't miss out. As an ally of justice, I can investigate and protect you all at once!" The baby giggled in response.
"So you were going after all," Zelgadis approached. "Somehow I feel that I shouldn't be surprised, maybe I'm started to really get to know you better, or remember a little. There are many things I need to ask though, about being a chimera and other things."
Amelia nodded sadly. "You wanted a cure so badly," she recalled. "I don't know how exactly it happened, but that must be how you ended up as a merman."
"So I was strange even before this. If the way the fish tail is reflects the chimera I was, I must have been strange indeed," Zelgadis mused sadly.
"I thought you were cool and you're still cool. It doesn't matter if you're a chimera or a merman as long as you're yourself." Amelia gently rocked the baby in her arms. "Somehow, even if difficulties may come, we'll get through them together. Don't feel bad for being the way you are, okay?"
Zelgadis nodded silently, though it was easier said than done. There was a sadness in Amelia's eyes that he couldn't quite grasp as they walked out of the banquet hall in silence.
Lina looked up from her food for a second and realized, "they all left." Again she considered investigating. With all the strange occurrences happening recently, the story of a beast that Beast Master wanted to capture alive was too suspicious to be ignored... but the food was too delicious to be ignored. Surely the others would be observant enough of the situation, she would ask about it later. Right now she had more important business to tend to. "That's mine!" Important business such as preventing Gourry from eating her chicken.
xoxox xox xoxox
Amelia ventured into the Zoana castle's royal courtyard, where she heard a commotion, with Zelgadis levitating close behind her. She still held little Zoamelgustar in her arms, confident that she could protect him, though she would retreat to safety if things were too intense.
"Where did he go?" Martina's voice was heard from beyond a row of thorny bushes with black roses. "Split up and find him!" Footsteps followed as Martina and the guards ran off to continue their search.
Amelia was about to fly over the tall bushes, when she heard some rustling in them. "There's something there," Zelgadis stood in front of her with a defensive stance. He was glad the group had stopped at a shop on their way there and provided him with a sword. It was a regular sword, but he could make it better. "Astral vine!"
"What in the world could be hiding in there?" Amelia thought aloud. The bushes were heavy with thorns, it would be a very painful hiding place.
Suddenly, a figure jumped from the bushes and the sword the being held collided with Zelgadis'. Peculiarly, that blade also had astral vine cast on it. Amelia's eyes widened in shock as she observed the creature. Zelgadis didn't seem to recognize the being, but she did. Between the werewolf patches of fur, she saw a familiar face, the face of Zelgadis himself. The werewolf's clothes were torn in various places, but there was no blood, as if his skin was resistant enough to prevent any injuries he could get from the thorns.
Amelia stood back as the blades clashed against each other. The werewolf had a lost fierce look in his eyes, as if he couldn't think clearly, but in battle he reacted skillfully. The pair was evenly matched. Amelia wasn't sure what this was about, but that beast, that werewolf, he was somehow connected to Zelgadis. She was determined to find out more about that, even if she had to drag the beast to Wolf Pack Island and demand answers. But she couldn't risk Zoamelgustar, she could either protect him or catch the beast, not both, so for now she needed to retreat.
"Found it!" Xellos and Filia arrived on the scene simultaneously and pointed at the werewolf creature. They glared at each other as if declaring with their fierce looks, 'I saw them first!'
"Good, you're here, protect Zoamelgustar!" Amelia gave them the baby.
"Weren't you supposed to be protecting him back in the banquet hall?" Filia questioned.
"There's no better protectors than a monster and a dragon." The Seyruun princess quickly made up a silly excuse, that didn't make a whole lot of sense, even to her. Xellos and Filia could only blink in confusion and accept her reasoning. Amelia saw that in terms of swordplay the two parts of Zelgadis were evenly matched, but the merman was noticeably more tired from levitating all the time.
Just as the merman's strength was about to give out from magical exhaustion, Amelia rushed forward. "Recovery!"
"Thanks for the energy," the merman continued fighting back.
However, Amelia took him by surprise again. She wasn't going to hang back and let him keep fighting. "Hey you!" The werewolf's animal ears twitched, he was being challenged. "Pay attention!" Amelia demanded. "Let go of your wrongful ways and rejoin the side of justice!"
The werewolf looked annoyed. "What are you doing? Don't try to get his attention!" The merman began to cast some shamanistic magic, but Amelia vigorously shook her head at him and stepped forward. He couldn't attack now, not with her standing so close to the beast, or she would get caught in the blast too.
The werewolf looked like it would attack Amelia, but she caught a hind of something in his eyes akin to recognition and he paused. Then she took the opportunity to plant a kiss on his lips. The merman's jaw dropped and his body went limp. His concentration was lost and with the levitation undone, he flopped to the ground like a fish out of water. As they parted, the werewolf looked stunned, but somehow calmed. He held on to Amelia, he was confused, but he knew he had to hold on to this woman.
"Love tamed the beast..." Filia sighed dreamily and Xellos cleared his throat next to her. She pretended the dreamy expression never happened and looked disgusted. "Love, gross!"
"You're leaving me for that?" The merman finally found his voice; though he was still on the ground as if he didn't care if he stayed there. "If it was a normal man I'd understand, but that thing?"
The werewolf growled at being called a thing and Amelia gently soothed him. "You're the same," her opening statement only elicited an offended frown from the merman. The princess elaborated. "What I mean is that you're the same person. I don't know how you ended up part fish and him part wolf, probably because of Zelas and Dolphin I would guess. I don't know what kind of things they might have done, but I know you're both parts of the same being."
Something seemed to be pried loose in the merman's memories. For some reason, the idea of being split into separate creatures wasn't as impossible as it should be. Against all sense and logic, if there was a shred of that still left in his life, he found that he could believe this. "I believe you... but what now?"
"We'll have to go see Beast Master," Amelia decided. It was a dangerous determination, but she would follow it through. "Miss Filia, please take us to Miss Zelas!"
"If you're that determined, I guess I could ask if Lord Beast Master has a moment to spare," Filia greed. She gave baby Zoamelgustar to Xellos. "You can stay here with the baby."
"Wait! I want to see Beast Master too!" Xellos protested.
Filia pouted, "when this is over, I'll take you to her, but not now." Then when it was over, she would come up with an excuse not to take him.
"I want to go now!" Xellos insisted, his voice raising in volume. "I have to see her, I have to see Zelas!"
"Why?" Filia argued in a shout and Zoamelgustar giggled.
"I don't..." Xellos paused, recovering himself. "A secret, it's a secret I need to solve."
Filia frowned in exasperation. Zangulus entered the scene and found the gathering to be quite odd. He looked at the beast, who was like a puppy with Amelia. Zelgadis, whose robes had rolled up a little when he fell, was sitting on the ground with fins where he should have feet. Then suddenly, Filia declared, "fine!" and his son, who shouldn't even be out there, was placed in Zangulus' arms.
Zelgadis the merman recasted levitation and scooted closer to the group, intent on tagging along. Xellos and Filia joined Amelia and Zelgadis the werewolf and Filia teleported them to Wolf Pack Island. All in all Zangulus felt lost with what was going on. The only thing he could be certain of was that he had been beaten to the capture of the beast.
xoxox xox xoxox
Filia, Xellos, Amelia and the two Zelgadis reappeared at Wolf Pack Island, in front of the entrance to the underground palace, hidden beneath the island's fierce wild surface. "I'm going to ask Beast Master if she can see you now. Stay here, don't touch anything and wait quietly until I return. Don't come in until I say it's okay!" Amelia and the merman nodded in understanding, the beast growled and sniffed the air curiously, while Xellos did nothing except continue smiling his usual smile. After giving Xellos another suspicious glance, Filia disappeared again, off to inquire of Beast Master.
Silence reigned over the group, until Xellos took a few curious steps away from the entrance. He looked around the island, feeling as if he had been there before. It was all so very familiar. Amelia wondered if she should tell him to stay with the group, but figured that even if he had no memories of it, this was his home, so he should be alright exploring a little bit by himself. Xellos went a little further, noting that no one had tried to stop him. He glanced at Amelia who only smiled, then kept going a little further away. A large black wolf with golden eyes approached. Xellos wondered if she would attack him, but she didn't. In fact, she was rather friendly. More curious still, Xellos followed the wolf and went to have a closer look around the island.
A few minutes later, Filia returned and found that only Amelia and the two Zelgadis were waiting there. "Beast Master will see you now... Where is Xellos?"
"He's looking around the island," Amelia replied calmly. She entered the palace arm in arm with the two Zelgadis left and right of her, leaving a shocked and worried Filia standing in the doorway.
'He's exploring on his own?' The thought was too nonsensical, too suicidal, to fully compute for Filia. 'That stupid piece of raw garbage is going to get himself killed!' She hurried off to find Xellos before she had nothing but dragon bones to find in his place.
To be Continued
More plot twists are to come. I'll have an update about Darkstar soon...