Episode 036: Frustration! The Bitter Taste of Defeat
Episode 036: Frustration! The Bitter Taste of Defeat
Filia stood at the door to a chamber in the center of the Seyruun castle, a few stories underground. There were protective charms and runes all over the room on the walls and floor. At the center of it all, there was Amelia sobbing over something that was placed upon a pillow with Zelgadis trying to console her. Phil attempted to encourage her too, but sensitive as he was, he could hardly console himself. Naga was hugging Gravos, trying to soothe him. Normally, the close contact would make his face turn red, but he was too distraught to notice at the moment. The three fox beastpeople, Jillas, Elena and Palou were also huddled up together trying to find strength in each other with Val in the middle of their little group. No one seemed to notice Filia until she spoke. "What happened?"
The whole room froze and quieted with only barely audible sounds of sorrow. Philionel tried to speak, but couldn't find his voice. Instead, Amelia explained between sobs, "I failed, I said I would never let something like this happen," not again, "but I failed. I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, you tried the hardest with your white magic, you're the best healer here, but I... I could hardly assist," Zelgadis gloomily added.
"At least you had magic to give, I just stood there unable to protect this little one at all," Phil cried.
"Oh daddy, don't cry, you were with us in spirit," Amelia tried to console her father. "I was at the center of the protection spell, I should have... should have..." her voice gave into silence.
Without a word, Filia walked across the chamber towards the cracked egg that was upon the pillow. "Solex... why?"
Naga stepped forward with tears in her eyes; she understood surprisingly well what had happened. Her knowledge of magic was more than most would think of at a glance. She had been told about the happenings at Wolf Pack Island and what Zelas explained. "Chaotic energy was at the center of Solex' formation. What was used in the summoning of Beast Master was chaotic energy. In theory that is also what lies between the worlds. The onslaught we felt was because of it, Solex was especially vulnerable to it."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Filia gasped, instantly feeling guilty. She picked up the lifeless egg that was like cracked glass. "I've waited so long to have you back, Solex, and now... Now you're gone. I should have been here; with holy magic I would have been able to do something!"
"No, you wouldn't have," Naga stepped forward with the terrible news. She slowly parted from the sniffling Gravos and walked over to Filia who had fallen to her knees with the egg in her hands. The eldest Seyruun princess knelt beside the golden dragon and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Fang told us that which Beast Master told him. If there was an onslaught of magic, as there was, every living creature would feel it and nothing would stop it. It was only a theory, but just as chaotic energy revived the planet last year, this time it was used in a way that the side effect was tragic. Zelas didn't want to lose Solex either, he was her minion's minion after all and a being who combined the benefits of being a monster and a dragon. If there was anything that could have been done, she would have done it. Monster lord or not, it would have been in her best interest. We set this place up anyway, we tried, Amelia was especially hopeful, but no one could stop this. Not us, not you, not anyone."
Filia remained motionless with tears streaming down her face. "Why didn't she tell me?" She reproached Beast Master in a silent whisper. "Why didn't any of you tell me? Why didn't you go get me?"
"Xellos must not know yet," Naga informed with sorrow. "Fang passed on Zelas' message to us. Xellos needs to concentrate on his duties and keep things flowing as smoothly as possible. He can't deal with the loss of his," minion, Zelas had called him, though Naga decided to say "child. He can't deal with the sorrow of his wife. I'm sorry, Epona." Naga gently hugged Filia, calling her by her old nickname that Naga had given her over a year ago at Gourry's clueless suggestion. "I was the one who said we should fulfill the request. I see now that regardless of the result you would have wanted to try too. I understand if you're angry at me."
A moment of still and tense silence passed and finally, Filia shook her head. "I'm not angry at you and I believe what you said, this truly was inevitable. It's just so sad and frustrating and hard to believe. I'll tell Xellos, but you're right, I can't bother him and be troublesome to him now, he has enough to deal with. It must be hard to keep everything in order with Beast Master gone." Filia slowly stood. "I'll be going now..."
"Where, boss?" Jillas at last found the strength to speak.
"Sai..." Filia stopped and didn't finish voicing the name.
Amelia understood, "were you going to say Sairaag?" Filia gently nodded. "It's alright, you can say it. Before you got here, Zelgadis and I explained everything." It was no wonder poor Phil was extra sensitive really. "Let's let them rest together then."
Filia nodded, tears still flowing from her eyes. She went over to Val and hugged him. "Val, honey, I'm so sorry it had to be this way. There wasn't anything anyone could do." Val couldn't say anything and just hugged Filia. She made a silent promise to protect him; she wouldn't let Darkstar or anyone steal anyone else from her.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, in the over-world. The trip was rough and painful, but Zelas knew that the fight was just starting. She tried to sense her surroundings and thought she felt something. She couldn't sense things normally, but somehow, knowledge of her surroundings did reach her. She tried to feel her own astral body and found her shape to be odd and solid. Had the trip turned her into a sort of physical being? She tried moving, but the motions were stiff and lacking in precision, as she was not used to that form. 'What am I?' She thought.
Zelas saw a large vessel with four smaller vessels around it. The vessels were strange, floating in a vast blackness with many points of light that she realized were stars. This was like the outer atmosphere of the planet from her world. Was this how all of the over-world was? Wasn't there a planet were living creatures inhabited? She couldn't see one near by. The largest vessel was pulling her in and somehow she knew it was Darkstar, even if it looked nothing like how Xellos described him from the events of the prophecy. She willed herself to move away from it and felt the effort of the movement like fire emanating from her body to propel her. Then she realized she was a vessel too.
The possibility of having a physical body in the outer-world did cross her mind, but she certainly wasn't expecting to be some kind of ship that looked more like a very advanced machine than a biological creature. She tried to surround herself in a magical shield, but got no response. She couldn't use magic at all, this was bad. She saw two other vessels, one had various shades of blue and the other was light and dark gray, that were also trying to resist and recognized them as Dolphin and Dynast. "Dolphin! Dynast!" She called out to them and heard her own voice echoing within herself, as if being projected inside her body instead of outside. "Dolphin! Dynast!" She tried to reach out to them with her mind and felt a sort of telepathic connection initiate. It was a transmission, though she didn't know it by that name.
"Zelas! What in the world is going on? What are we?" Dolphin yelled exasperated and impatient, panicked.
Zelas could see the image of Dolphin in her mind somehow. "How should I know, I just got here too. Shut up and retreat!"
"How is this thing holding us? I feel a pull but it's different than magic!" Dynast joined in. "What happened to our power? There has to be some way we can fight!"
Dynast's image also appeared in Zelas' mind and she assumed they could see her in the same way. Strangely, the image was of their human-like appearance, a sort of mental projection perhaps? "Never mind fighting, retreat for now!"
"Ha ha ha!" An imposing male voice echoed through the three monster lords' minds and the image of a man dressed in a tight black bodysuit, with long blond hair and cruel blue eyes appeared in their systems. "You have no idea what you're doing," Darkstar mocked. "You can't even communicate with each other without broadcasting your messages in this whole area. You don't even comprehend the forms you've taken!"
"Comprehend this!" Dynast shouted angrily and willed himself to attack. Even if he didn't understand what he was, he had to have some power to unleash; it couldn't have all disappeared on the way there. Countless missiles and lasers suddenly emerged from the vessel of shades of gray. He was doing it, he was attacking. Satisfied with that, he continue willing the same thing to happen, but soon the missiles ceased and a while later the lasers stopped as well. The four dark vessels that surrounded Darkstar had shielded him as well as prevented significant damage on themselves. Dynast was exhausted, he tried to shoot more of those things that looked like projectiles from those bazooka contraptions from the outer continent, but none came out of his form. The four enemy ships opened fired, damaging Dynast's defenseless vessel greatly.
"You'll be the first to be absorbed, give me your power!" The tractor beam was initiated again as Dynast was pulled in and the transmission link he had with Zelas and Dolphin was lost.
"Zelas, what do we do? Will our power be exhausted so easily too?" Dolphin called out to Zelas.
"I don't know," Zelas' tone was clipped and enraged. She had never felt so helpless before and it angered her terribly. This couldn't be her end, it just couldn't be.
"I won't allow this!" Another voice echoed as a white ship arrived. The ship was different from Darkstar and his allied vessels and also different from the monster lord vessels.
"Canal!" The voice of Darkstar snarled angrily. "You do not have the power to defeat me, I hold the true consciousness of that ship as my prisoner, Vorfeed is mine!"
"The Swordbreaker is Kain's ship and I am its main operating system!" Canal argued. She was a young woman with long mint green hair in thick twin braids that went down to her knees and purple eyes. She wore a pink maid-like dress with a frilly white apron and a short purple tie. "I will rescue Vorfeed! I may not have the power to defeat you, but while you were busy summoning those ships from the other world; you didn't even notice the digital waves forming around you. Activate shield program!"
Zelas felt something invisible entering her ship. It was an AI protection program installing itself in her systems, though she didn't understand what that meant at the time. She only felt that something was keeping her safe and thought of it as being similar to a defensive spell.
"What have you done?" Darkstar's voice echoed in anger.
"That program I just installed on the new lost ships protects their main AI systems. You may be able to melt their metal into yours, but their minds will be preserved and they will fight back. You won't be able to absorb their power like that!" Canal victoriously revealed.
"You'll pay for your hindrance, Canal!" Darkstar growled. "Galveira, Bodigar, Nezard, Ragudo Mezegis, concentrate your attacks on Swordbreaker!"
'Those are the names of the weapons of light!' Zelas recalled. Yet Darkstar was referring to his allied vessels. Could it be that the weapons of light took on such a form in this world? Gourry was still in possession of Gorun Nova and if it was in truth one of Darkstars allied vessels, that meant that the second Lina's group crossed to the over-world, they would have an ambush waiting to happen. Zelas couldn't feel any magic at all, if magic didn't work in this strange world, how would Lina and the others defend themselves against a vessel similar to these? Was the endless starry blackness that seemed to compose this world even inhabitable to them, or would they take on entirely new forms that they too would have a hard time learning how to control?
Galveira, Bodigar, Nezard and Ragudo Mezegis focused their attacks on Swordbreaker. The white ship was surrounded by a defensive shield and seemingly preparing to fight back, but looked as if time would be needed to switch from defense to attack and there would be an opening for the enemy ships then. Swordbreaker glided gracefully through the endless black space, narrowly dodging the attacks of the other ships, but sustaining some damage due to being so outnumbered.
"Dolphin, Dynast, can you still hear me?" Zelas called out.
"I can!" Dolphin replied; her voice was laced with panic. "It looks like Dynast has been knocked out though."
"Focus, try to keep this telepathic channel or whatever it is between us," Zelas urged.
The communication link turned private between Dolphin and Zelas, but Darkstar didn't care to try to pry into it. When Dynast unleashed his power with so little control, it hadn't accomplished anything anyway and Darkstar knew that those two ships from the other world had no human captains within, no power sources of psy-energy. There wasn't much they could do and he wasn't concerned, he just made sure to hold on to them so they wouldn't be able to fly away.
"Okay, so what's the plan?" Dolphin calmed down a little and focused. If Zelas was insisting on being secretive, then that meant she had a plan of attack.
"That white ship, the one Darkstar called Swordbreaker, let's try to give it a hand with the fight," Zelas decided.
"What?" Dolphin shouted, stunned. "Isn't that ship allied to Vorfeed?"
"It seems so, but right now what matters is that it's Darkstar's enemy and so are we," Zelas argued.
"But it's not like it'll help us!" Dolphin countered. "We might as well be asking Ceifeed for assistance right now. Even if that Swordbreaker ship doesn't want Darkstar to absorb our power, wouldn't the best way to ensure that be to destroy us?"
"Not if we are needed as allies. We can't think about that now, focus on the present. We'll deal with Vorfeed's allies later," Zelas insisted. "Now let's do this. Try to shoot weapons like Dynast did, but focus on aiming for those dark ships attacking the white one and try not to hit the white one while you're at it."
"Easier said than done!" Dolphin huffed. "Here goes... come out... power!" A multitude of torpedo-like missiles were shot from Dolphin along with lasers.
"Pace yourself, Dolphin!" Zelas tried to shoot her own vessel's weaponry, but not all at once, carefully taking aim instead.
"Do not interfere!" Darkstar's booming voice echoed and he started to pull them back towards him to disable their weapons system. Even if he couldn't overtake and erase their AI until he managed to crack Canal's protection program, he could at least leave them without a means to attack.
"We made him mad!" Dolphin changed tactics and started directing all her efforts on fighting Darkstar, in a futile struggle to escape the pull of his tractor beam.
"Don't aim at Darkstar, it's useless!" Zelas called out in alarm. "We have to make an opening for Swordbreaker. I don't like it either, but it's our only way out of this!"
"What good is Swordbreaker coming out of this if we're killed?" Dolphin panicked. "Even if it wants to help us, it can't!" In one last effort she dispatched all her missiles and used up the energy of her laser weaponry on Darkstar to no avail, as his shield protected him from significant damage even at close range.
"Dolphin!" Zelas was really frustrated now. The communication channel with Dolphin was lost; she too had been knocked out. 'It's just me now...' Zelas wouldn't waste her weapons on Darkstar, though it filled her with anger to think she was helping an ally of Vorfeed. She encouraged herself in thinking that in the worse case scenario, at least she would be avenged. Xellos was coming with Lina and the others. They had a knack for finding what they needed. Surely they would one way or another run into that white ship and perhaps their alliance would make the difference in defeating Darkstar. 'I can't believe I'm thinking like that,' Zelas mentally scolded herself. 'I will be there fighting Darkstar in the final fight, I will not fall!' She let out what felt like a battle cry, the roar of the beast, and electro-magnetic waves invaded the space around her. She wasn't sure what she did, but it worked somehow.
"It's a scrambler!" Canal alerted, though she wasn't transmitting it, so only her crew inside Swordbreaker, Kain and Millie, heard her.
"Wasn't that violet and gold ship trying to help us before?" Millie yelled, through the shaking of the ship. Millie had shoulder length blond hair and big deep blue eyes. She wore pink pants and a red jacket over a white shirt.
"I think that one is still trying to help us but doesn't have full control. Look, it's attacking the enemy!" Canal noticed.
Seeing as the other ships slowed down for some reason, Zelas took it as an opportunity to attack. She tried to aim for the dark ships and fired without hitting Swordbreaker.
"Alright, we've recovered from the scrambler beam!" Canal announced to her crew. "Kain, are you ready? We need to fire the psy-cannon at full power right at Darkstar. It should be enough to loosen his grip on that ship. We won't be able to free the others, but we can take that ship with us and regroup!"
"I'm ready!" Kain announced with valiant determination. The captain of the Swordbreaker was a young man with flaming red hair and bright blue eyes, who had a liking for a style of clothes that would best fit a different world that he had never been to. His clothing was white, with gray boots, brown belts and a black cape. Kain focused all his energy of courage, powering Swordbreaker's main psy-cannon. "Fire!"
A beam of bright white light emerged from Swordbreaker and flew past the four dark ships and towards Darkstar, hitting the target and loosening his grip on Zelas. 'Now's my chance!' Zelas willed herself to move away from Darkstar, trying to open a path for herself beyond the four dark ships. They were damaged, but so was she. Her missiles stopped responding and soon so did her lasers. She was out of energy and ammunition to attack, but she could still move.
"Kain, we need to retreat! We don't have the power to detach the other two ships of the next world from Darkstar," Canal reminded.
"Right, we'll regroup, repair, restock on weapons and come back later." Kain looked at the violet and gold ship in the main monitor. "We'll be back with a new ally once we get that ship fixed."
"Is it okay to trust it though? Doesn't it seem kind of similar to a dark lost ship?" Millie warned.
"It is," Canal confirmed. "I believe it is the equivalent of a dark lost ship from the other world, but it's Darkstar's enemy too. We'll have to be careful, of course."
"Right, we'll discuss this in detail once we're out of here and at a safe distance," Kain concluded. "Make jump calculations."
"Already done!" Canal announced. "I don't think that ship can follow us, even if I send in the jump coordinates, it doesn't have a lot of control yet. It existed in a different form in it's own world, so we'll have to try something else."
"Whatever we do, it has to be fast!" Millie urged. "It looks like the dark ships are recovering their formation!"
To be Continued
Lost Universe is a science fiction anime and manga by the same author of Slayers. Though they are separate stories, the main villain is called Darkstar and the weapons of light appear in the form of ships. If you've never watched Lost Universe, don't worry, I'll explain the basics. After all, the Slayers characters will be meeting the Lost Universe main characters for the first time, so some introductions will be in order, as well as explanations about the over-world. I had lots of fun writing Zelas' scene. She's gone from spirit creature to high tech space ship and is totally at a loss on how to function. XD