Episode 033: Conference! A Time For Revelations
Episode 033: Conference! A Time For Revelations
Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis were currently at the surface of Wolf Pack Island. "I can't believe Martina behaved like that," Lina frowned. "So what if we cleaned out the royal kitchen, it was her duty as a hostess to feed us! She didn't have to throw such a fit!" They had been in the middle of that argument when Filia arrived to get them.
"I didn't have time to spar with Zangulus," Gourry pouted in disappointment.
"I would be more concerned about what Zelas wants," Lina commented. She eyed Zelgadis in questioning.
Zelgadis had already explained how he recovered his previous chimera form, plus a tail, along with his memories. "I don't know, but she's definitely up to something."
Amelia petted the wolf that was on her lap, they were all settled into a grassy patch on the ground, with the wolves lounging about like puppies. "I guess we'll find out soon, she mentioned we should wait for her here."
"Until she took care of business with Xellos and Filia," Lina recalled. "I wonder if that means she's going to change them back. But if that's the case, then the time of preparation for whatever is to come might have already ended," and she didn't feel at all ready.
xoxox xox xoxox
Simultaneously, at Zelas' throne room, the monster lord stood and took a few steps forward before Xellos and Filia. Speaking in a voice that was both commanding and elegant, she declared. "Xellos Metallium and Filia Ul Copt," Beast Master addressed them by their true names, which filled their already puzzled minds with more questions. She lifted the amethyst necklace which Celo had emptied of all the chaotic energy it had collected, transferring it to a different vessel for safe keeping. "I hereby break the pact between you and return you to what you once were!" She crushed the purple jewel in her hand, easily reducing it to dust.
Dark, golden and violet lights surrounded Xellos and Filia as they were returned to how they used to be. The process left them unconscious while their memories settled in and were sorted in their minds, but other than that, they were alright.
xoxox xox xoxox
By the time Xellos and Filia woke up, they were in the surface of Wolf Pack Island, laying next to each other in picnic blankets. Filia allowed everything that had happened to sink in and frowned. "I can't believe I was a monster."
"I can't believe what an interesting monster you make," Xellos teased. Yet beneath his carefree exterior he was lost in thought. The hints that Beast Master gave about what was to come greatly unnerved him. "Lord Beast Master," he approached her at the center of the picnic blankets that were laid out with Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis also present. Lina and Gourry ate the most, of course.
"Ah, you are awake," Zelas observed. "Join us, Lina got impatient and wouldn't shut up, so I entertained myself with a little cooking."
"Is it time to reveal the truth, Lord Beast Master?" Xellos asked and at those words Filia caught up to him and gave him a suspicious look. Lina momentarily paused in the process of reaching into the picnic basket nearest to her, as there were several, then feigned nonchalance and grabbed another sandwich. Many things had become clear to Xellos, but there were new questions.
"Yes," Zelas replied, dreading the topic, but knowing it was inevitable. "To clarify," she told her true general priest, "Dolphin and Dynast are in the same boat as me in this. The true enemy is Darkstar." Zelas stood and called out, "your attention everyone, I will now explain why I've called you all here." At those words, even the gluttonous Lina and Gourry started paying attention.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, at the main conference hall of the dragon temple alliance, far from the peninsula, in what was known as the outer world... "So you see, my fellow dragons, it is up to us to protect this world. The Knight of Ceifeed has spoken, bringing with her the commands of our Lord Ceifeed. We must heed her words!" Topaz Ebony was doing a fine job of riling up the council. "Everything is already in place; we need only your energy. This is our chance to rid the world of monsters forever. This is our chance at true victory. Through the alliance of the glorious dragon race with our trusted Knight of Ceifeed and the honorable Lord Vorfeed, we shall be victorious! Peace and prosperity will flourish, Lord Vorfeed will save us with her great power, she will grant Lord Ceifeed's wish for our well being. There is no question about what we must do! Thank you for your attention..."
Cheers erupted from the council as Topaz's proposal was almost unanimously accepted. Milgazia remained quiet however. Topaz headed back to his seat. The conference room had a circular structure with a podium on a raised platform at the center and climbing rows of seats where the elders and heads of powerful clans were seated. They were all important leaders and influential figure in the dragon race. Beside Topaz, at a place of honor, there sat Luna, or rather, Luna's body controlled by a spirit not her own. The captive Vorfeed's energy made her appear to be herself, as it was quite similar to the energy of Ceifeed.
A very elderly dragon, wearing flowing white robes with golden details, stepped up to the podium. His hair was almost pure white with a few strands of pale blond here and there. His blue eyes scanned the crowds and waited for them to settle down from their euphoria. He stopped as he gazed at the serious and unreadable face of Milgazia, also silently known as the leader of the black sheep clan. Though he was still rather guarded, he was more open to interacting with none dragons than other elders. He had a long friendship with an elf, whose daughter, Memphis, he trained for some time. He also interacted with humans, prominently a female warrior who defeated a Zanaffar long ago and more recently Lina Inverse. He had his own non-traditional logic and while some saw his seemingly radical ways as innovative, others didn't like them.
Milgazia was well respected of course, his diplomacy was unrivaled. Always polite, always respectful, always good to be around, he was known for a time as pleasant Milgazia. Yet lately, he had been pushing things becoming more vocal about certain aspects he would have otherwise kept quiet. Rumors came and went and when the dragons found themselves in Milgazia's presence, they dashed their doubts away at the face of such a trust inspiring dragon, an honorable fair leader who was brave enough to take chances. Milgazia himself wondered for how long that would continue in such a way.
The Supreme Elder of the dragon council finally tired of waiting for the loud murmurs of the crowd to quiet down and picked up the small hammer at the center podium. Once, twice and three times, he hit the small wooden circle atop the podium with the hammer until the dragons remember their place and settled down. Normally, the hammer would only have to be used once and only on rare occasions. "Would anyone else like to speak before we take votes?" Almost everyone present raised their hands. The Supreme Elder knew that they would only have words of encouragement to share with the Knight of Ceifeed, wanting to claim a portion of the spotlight for themselves.
Luna raised her hand and several heads turned towards her. Since she was the Knight of Ceifeed and the guest of honor, the Supreme Elder's attention was immediately turned towards her. "The council recognizes the Knight of Ceifeed, you may speak."
The elderly dragon stepped down from the podium and Luna gracefully levitated towards it, in an elegant, albeit ultimately unnecessary, display of power. She wasn't wearing her usual clothes, instead clad in white dress-like robes with crimson details. "My honorable allies of the light, I thank you all for listening to the proposal I have shared with our fellow protector of the world, Mr. Ebony. While I do wish to hear each and every one of your opinions and fulfill the respectful protocol of the dragon council in allowing each of you a turn to speak, I am under the obligation to remind you all that time is of the essence. I have reasons to believe that the monster lords have learned of our plans." Her eyes flashed momentarily towards Milgazia. "If we do not act swiftly, we will lose our opportunity and Lord Vorfeed's kindness towards our world will be hindered. Thus I must request that the protocol be broken in light of the situation and that we pass on a vote now. After this situation has settled, we will have time to listen to everyone's words of wisdom concerning this, thank you." Expressing superficial polite gratitude towards the group for listening to her words, Luna levitated back to her seat.
The Supreme Elder, who served as a chancellor for the council of the dragon race took the podium once more. This time, rather than there being a flood of murmurs from the crowd, there was absolute silence as they nodded and smiled, waiting for the Supreme Elder to ask for Luna's request to be passed. "At the request of the Knight of Ceifeed, all input concerning the situation will be shared later, anyone who is against this motion please raise your hand now." No one raise their hands, they all wanted a turn to speak, but if they were promised that later, they were satisfied with that. The Supreme Elder glanced at Milgazia, who remained still as a statue with no intentions of raising his hand. He didn't want to have to listen to many support speeches at a time like this. "By a unanimous decision, the discussions will be postponed and the voting will commence now. If anyone is against the proposed plans, raise your hand now." The Supreme Elder was looking right at Milgazia when he spoke those words and, just as he expected, the water clan elder raised his hand. "Lord Milgazia?"
The Supreme Elder didn't move from the center podium, indicating that Milgazia was not welcome to stand in it, which meant that his words were expected to be brief. "I simply wish to express my concern towards Lord Vorfeed. Defeating the monster lords, all three that remain at once, would be a very difficult task," Milgazia carefully stated.
The Supreme Elder looked at Luna, silently prompting her to speak. "I'm certain that Lord Vorfeed appreciates your concern for her well being, however, there is no need to worry. Everything has been carefully planned out and with the help of the energy of the noble dragon race, Lord Vorfeed will be victorious."
"What about the Darkstar prophecy?" Milgazia brought up the incident. "In that occasion, I thought Lord Vorfeed had-"
Luna shook her head and interrupted, but since all the dragons were in her favor, none of them showed any signs of disapproval towards her interruption. "Lord Vorfeed had been split in two at the time," that much was true, from a certain perspective, but then the lies began. "Half of Lord Vorfeed was destroyed along with Darkstar. The other half remained in the over-world and, without a dark lord to oppose her, she became ever stronger. It was thanks to the prophecy and the forces of this world that Darkstar was ultimately defeated, though that also signified the destruction of that half of Vorfeed. None the less, the remaining half of Vorfeed is grateful for the defeat of Darkstar and wishes to thank this world by sharing the peace and prosperity that flourishes in the over-world in the absence of evil."
"What of the balance between light and darkness, the motion of chaos?" Milgazia reminded, he would think Vorfeed was well aware of such things. Albeit, those were theories that many were not ready to accept.
"Such theories are flawed, as Lord Vorfeed has learned from experience. She has explained it all to me and I will be happy to share her teachings with everyone and clarify any remaining doubts. However, we do not have enough time for that now. Thus I must ask you to trust me, trust Lord Ceifeed and trust Lord Vorfeed," Luna finished.
Milgazia knew that he wasn't going anywhere. The majority was already ready to accept the plan to rid the world of the monster lords and they weren't willing to think suspiciously of it. Milgazia said no more and when his silence stretched for a few seconds, the Supreme Elder took it to mean that he was done speaking. "Does anyone else have any concerns to share?" No one raised their hand. "Is anyone opposed to the proposed plans?" no one, not even Milgazia who knew it would be useless, raised their hand. "Then it is decided, we will proceed as previously discussed, this meeting has finalized."
The voices of many overtook the area as some dragons filed out of the large chamber, while others remained seating and discussed the meeting with the council members seating nearest to them. Some stood and headed towards Topaz and Luna with compliments and thanks, while Milgazia remained quiet in his seat for a few seconds before finally getting up. An older dimos dragon seated near him addressed the water clan elder. "It's good to see you're being cautious, Lord Milgazia, yet this is the time to show us that adventurous spirit you always showed before. It's okay to be excited for the occasion this time; it's alright to take direct swift action," he encouraged.
Milgazia didn't want to waste his time arguing and he knew the dimos' words were well intended. "I'll keep that in mind." He smiled politely, though it was forced, and excused himself to leave.
xoxox xox xoxox
Back at Wolf Pack Island, Zelas began her explanation. "I have found out through various means," which included spying, fortune telling and unwilling hints from Milgazia, "that Darkstar is back. During the prophecy incident, Vorfeed had apparently merged with Darkstar after having become tired of the endless cycle of the war of darkness and light." Although it truth it was only a part of Vorfeed that merged, while Canal Vorfeed stayed behind, but those were details that the group would fully comprehend a little later.
For the time being, even Zelas' knowledge was filled with incomplete theories. They were both supposed to have been destroyed then, however, that wasn't entirely what happened. I believe that the fusion magic which preserved the ancient dragon also preserved them and a portion of Darkstar, or rather a portion of both Darkstar and Vorfeed united, was send back to the over-world in secret. The point is, Darkstar is back and he intends to obtain more power from us monster lords. I can only conclude that he wishes to absorb us into his being."
Silence reigned supreme over the reunion. Gourry was confused, but he made an effort to understand as he stared at Zelas, making himself pay attention. Lina sat frozen behind him, with her undivided attention on Zelas in spite of all the food around her. Amelia and Zelgadis also watched quietly along with Filia, who seemed to be holding her breath. The golden dragon who had been recently restored to her original species along with her original hair color, finally found the will to break out of her frozen posture with a small movement, turning her head towards Xellos. The purple haired general priest had both is eyes open, further denoting the seriousness of the situation. There was hope and expectancy in his eyes as he waited for Beast Master to speak of a strategy to counter Darkstar, though her foreboding words from earlier still rung heavily in his mind.
"If Darkstar is successful," Zelas continued. "I can only assume that his next course of action would be to destroy the over-world and most likely this world soon after. Naturally, I can't let him step all over my territory like that." A flash of anger crossed her elegant features before her face turned serene and unreadable again, as if covered by a mask of false nonchalance. "I have reasons to suspect that the Knight of Ceifeed is being controlled by the enemy."
Lina gasped at the revelation, "Luna! That can't be!"
"Go to her and see for yourself if you wish to find out if this theory is right or wrong. However, you must be careful. If you notice anything, do not let her know it," Zelas warned. "It could be that she's only being tricked, but either way, the result of her actions, whether they are truly hers or not, is the same."
"I..." Lina paused unsure. "I'll investigate those actions and find out through that." She didn't feel ready to face Luna if she was being controlled or tricked. The redhead was concerned that she wouldn't be able to hold her temper down if Luna had been overtaken, she did care about her sister deep down even with all her fear of her, and she knew Luna cared about her too. If Luna was actually being tricked, which didn't seem likely, as she was rather sharp, then arguing with her would be impossible. "Why do you say she's being controlled anyway? What's going on? You haven't explained the whole story. How is Luna involved with Darkstar? How does he intend to attack? How do you even know all this?"
Zelas closed her eyes for a moment and obliged with more explanations. Her silver eyes opened as she summoned all her patience, this explanation was necessary after all and she wouldn't let the frustration attached to it hinder it. She had never been this stressed before; she had no reason to be. Darkstar, under the guise of Vorfeed, if you can even call it a guise since she is as a part of him, has offered the dragons to rid the world of the monsters. He is using the Knight of Ceifeed to convince them, either that, or Luna was tricked as well. Naturally, the dragons have no idea it's Darkstar they're dealing with and think it's only a part of Vorfeed that was left behind after a portion of her merged with Darkstar and was supposedly destroyed along with him during the prophecy. They see this as a purer Vorfeed who wishes to repay the inhabitants of this world for Darkstar's apparent defeat. If the dragon's fall for it, they'll lend their energy into Darkstar's plans."
"Why not just warn them?" Lina questioned. "The dragons might not take a warning from me and they certainly won't take a warning from you, but we can talk to Milgazia about it. I'm sure that if we explain the situation, he'll listen. That means helping the dragons not make a mistake, but it's in your best interest too, so I don't see why you would have anything against telling them."
"Milgazia would listen and analyze and reach his own conclusions, yes," Zelas agreed. "But it would be useless. I didn't bother telling Milgazia the whole story and simply took what he knew, united it with my knowledge and completed the puzzle. He is concerned and knows there has to be more to this, but isn't sure about the forces behind this. You may, if you wish, reveal everything I am saying to him, but it is useless either way. Even if Milgazia stands before the council and with all certainty tells them everything, he has no proof and they won't believe him. If anything, it would have been worse for him for the council to lose more confidence in his judgment."
"If that happens," Zelas continued. "His value as a window into the dragon council would be reduced, if not completely lost. Then if he becomes useless to me I would have to kill him and who would take care of his clan then? I doubt they'll enjoy having a stricter elder taking Milgazia's place, but that's exactly the kind of dragon the higher-ups will assign. That's why he's relatively compliant with me, he's protecting his clan and it wouldn't make me look good if I let him live if he can give me nothing. I'd rather not lose this resource. That is why remained mostly silent towards Milgazia until it was too late. Warning him wouldn't have been beneficial anyway, not for either of us."
To be Continued
Oh the tension! :o