Episode 049: Implacable! Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?
Episode 049: Implacable! Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?
"I don't know what you're talking about," Filia glared bravely at the monstrous sea creature before her. "Have you been the one kidnapping girls?"
"I seek vengeance and I will not stop until I find it!" The creature yelled.
"Your evil ends here!" Filia paused in a very Amelia-like pose, though she had not met the Seyruun princess yet, as the justice loving human princess did not yet exist in that era. Yet the pose didn't last long as no one came to back her up. "Um... Mr. Wolf?"
"Calling for your boyfriend?" The monster, a subordinate of Deep Sea Dolphin, mocked.
Filia's face turned crimson, "unthinkable!" He was a human, and a young adult, she was a dragon in her late adolescence, but still not the less not at an age when she should be looking at the opposite gender in such ways. Although, in the deepest corner of her mind, the thought seemed rather pleasant, or at least it would be very pleasant if it wasn't ever so forbidden.
"Your relative then?" The creature laughed. "It doesn't matter who you're calling, it's obvious he's not here." The monster stepped forward, it's eyes glowing brighter, more sinisterly.
"My..." Filia paused as if the detail was of importance, which anyone else may think it wasn't given the nature of her situation. She was indeed aware of the danger, but her emotions could be quite distracting at times.
"It doesn't matter what he might have been to you, he abandoned you and now you'll die like the others!" The creature was ready the take her to the astral side and rip her apart.
Filia saw her life flash before her eyes. The fact that she had been in grave danger all that time sunk in like a rock. She had no means to fight this creature and she somehow knew she couldn't outrun it. Had Mr. Wolf truly abandoned her? "He was my protector, he was..." He was the one who rescued her from a death at sea as far as she knew. Even if he didn't stick around, he did that much at least. She couldn't expect a human to be as noble as a dragon would be in the same situation, or as she imagined a proper dragon to be. "He was my..." Friend, she was going to say, but then she suddenly caught sight of someone behind the monster, someone she had not seen before as her view was obstructed by the towering creature. "Romeo!" She exclaimed when she saw him.
The sea creature monster saw and tasted the hope and relief that was reflected on the girl's face. He turned around and caught sight of the sorcerer standing behind him. The creature was unfazed at first, but then Xellos stopped hiding his identity from him and the sea monster's eyes grew wide. "You're...!"
Before the creature could speak the general priest's true name, Xellos dragged it into the astral side, making it look as if other monster was taking him into the astral side. "Romeo!" Filia yelled, in her worry she had forgotten her usually formal way to refer to him as Mr. Wolf. She had even doubted him although in truth he stood there behind the enemy watching over her and, she assumed, ready to protect her at any time. She was never in any danger, he was a noble and kind human sorcerer, he didn't abandon her. Yet there she was fearing and making it clear that she didn't believe in him. Time passed and Filia remained alone in the dark streets. "Where are you Romeo?" The monster didn't come back, but neither did Romeo. Did they kill each other? Probably... "Romeo..." He sacrificed himself to defeat the monster and now he was gone thinking that she didn't believe in him. "Romeo..." He was proof that there were good humans out there and now he was gone, unappreciated. If only he came back, she would tell him how grateful she was.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, at the astral side, Xellos was having a talk with the creature. There were actually two monsters there, the one who had threatened the girl he knew as Juliet and another very similar monster with dark green scales and glowing red eyes. Neither of them were high ranked and Xellos could take them out easily. A well powered Chaotic Disintegrate from Filia, if she had access to her power, would have been enough too. "So what's your story?" Xellos asked conversationally. Since they were on the astral plane where humans couldn't see them, Xelloas projected himself in his usual preferred human form with purple hair and squinty eyes.
"My name is Blissrock," the monster that had threatened Filia revealed obediently. He didn't know why Xellos had a different appearance before, but he didn't think it was wise to question him in any way, even if it was out if simple curiosity.
Xellos rose an eyebrow at the ironic name of the blue-green monster. "And you?" He glanced at the green one.
"Joyrock," the green monster with red eyes replied simply.
"Creative," Xellos chuckled. "Why have you decided to kidnap girls?"
"A woman wielding a sword that shone with a deadly light eradicated most of my minions. I'm seeking revenge." Blissrock explained with a hint of pride and a fragile courage that was obviously fake.
"So you're kidnapping girls to get back at the warrior," Xellos voiced. "Is the warrior aware of that?"
Blissrock shifted nervously. "Well... I was away at the time and my subordinate here seems to be having trouble identifying her."
"Then you ran away and now you're saving your pathetic ego by pretending to hunt for the female warrior who wields a sword of light by a process of elimination, though it should be obvious who she is," Xellos concluded.
Blissrock gulped, becoming visible nervous as Xellos' violet eyes opened to glare at him in disapproval of his cowardice. "I... was away and my minion here said we should hunt humans, so I thought... I thought..."
"If you were hunting humans for fun I wouldn't mind, but doing so out of falsehood is another story. Monsters should be prouder than that," Xellos closed his eyes again in his usual cheery expression. "I doubt Lord Deep Sea would miss you." He moved with amazing speed to appear above Blissrock in a blur of dark colors that became a black swirl. The cone shaped tornado crashed down on Blissrock destroying him and ruining him instantly with more force than needed.
Joyrock backed away trembling. He knew it would be useless to try to escape from Xellos if he had decided to destroy them. He watched as the black cone stopped spinning and once again assumed Xellos' usual form who stared at him curiously.
Xellos tilted his head, his unreadable expression still cheery. "Although you're supposed to be his minion, he was taking suggestions from you. Care to explain?"
Joyrock let the words spill of his mouth, even if they might be his last. He wouldn't dare say such things when Blissrock was alive, but now his superior was destroyed and his own destruction waited with certainty in the near future as far as he knew. "Blissrock was indeed full of false pride. But the truth is that I knew the two of us were not a match for the warrior of light. There we were, tormenting innocent villagers and minding our own business when that nosy woman came and slew most of our group. The other survivors decided not to seek vengeance, but I wanted vengeance as did Blissrock, though in his case, it was only about false pride as you noted."
"You make it sound as if you're different," Xellos pointed out, opening one eye momentarily. "Do you claim to be?"
Joyrock pause before cautiously replying. "I'll let you be the judge of that, General Xellos. My plan was to feed from the distress of the humans. Young girls have especially strong emotions; they are the ones capable of feeding us the best out of all the humans in my opinion."
"I agree," Xellos nodded. "Young girls do tend to be the most savory. Go on."
"If I fed on enough negative energy, I would eventually become strong enough to take on the warrior of light. That was my aim," Joyrock explained.
"It is a logical plan," Xellos observed. "You were using Blissrock to keep yourself safer, manipulation him as if he was your minion instead of the other way around. You seek vengeance but not stupidly. However, weak as you are now, it will take a very long time for you to gain the needed power to take her out. Why not begin by attacking her family? That sounds like a good way to attack her without actually fighting her directly before you're ready and it might help weaken her emotionally and make her lose her focus."
"That is a grand idea, General Xellos." Joyrock respectfully acknowledged. He was starting to think that he may survive this encounter after all and didn't want to mess up his chances. "Although, I do not know the identity of those close to her, I will definitely investigate."
"Don't bother, she's a loner, she hasn't seen her relatives for years since she became a nomadic warrior and probably wouldn't remember them," Xellos chuckled.
"Oh..." Joyrock realized that Xellos was only toying with him and again he feared that he would be destroyed. Was there anything at all that he could do to make Xellos spare him? Not begging, not with what Xellos said about monsters and pride, begging for his life would only doom him faster. Realizing that Xellos was silently looking at him through cheerful squinting eyes waiting for him to spoke, Joyrock cautiously voiced. "Well, in that case I'll just keep on gathering power until I'm strong enough to beat her. I'll keep causing trouble, but I won't focus on a single area so as to not attract unwanted attention before I'm ready. Then when I have the power, I'll strike."
"It might be too late for that," Xellos eyes opened again, in a fierce violet glared.
Joyrock backed away automatically. Was Xellos going to destroy him now? "Why is that?" He pushed his voice to work with great effort.
"You are so weak that by the time you become strong enough to defeat her, many years would have passed." Xellos closed his eyes again and chuckled at Joyrock's nervous torment. "The warrior of light is only human. She will not live for many years. By the time you're strong enough to even begin to put up a fight, I'm sure she would have retired by then and there wouldn't be much of an accomplishment in her death. In fact, she might have already passed away of old age."
"Oh..." Joyrock paused again, unsure of what to say and again he noticed Xellos waiting for him to speak. "Then I'll kill her descendants. Humans skilled in swordsmanship and humans who have some kind of special magical device often train their child into continuing their legacy. She fits both categories, so I would say it's likely."
"Yes, very likely," Xellos agreed. "Well then, in sounds you're all set for the next few decades. I'm sure you're anxious to be on your way, so goodbye." Xellos faded back into the physical world leaving an awestruck Joyrock in the astral side.
Joyrock wasn't about o further question his good luck. It was obvious that Xellos didn't want him in the area so he left without a second to spare. He would continue with his plans as he said, attacking humans here and there. Maybe he would even find a hidden elf village and attack them too. Then eventually he would have the power to take on the warrior of light, or at least the warrior of light of that time.
xoxox xox xoxox
When Xellos reappeared in the physical world, he was back in his disguise, his eyes red and his hair long and black. He made a show of looking tired and beaten. Albeit the scrapes, bruises and injuries were all false, they looked very real in Filia's eyes. "Romeo!" She threw her arms around him sobbing. "I thought you were killed by that monster!"
Guilt, worry, stress and relief all flooded into Xellos at the same time. The relief was unpleasant, but it was significantly diminished by worries that his apparent injuries caused. "I was dragged into the astral side, but I was thrown back here after I managed to slay the monster." Xellos spoke with feigned difficulty between heavy breaths. "Are you alright?" Before the girl could reply, he collapsed, or rather pretended to collapse from his injuries.
Filia gasped, "Romeo!" She struggled to carry him to safety, but there was only so much she could do with her strength being limited to that of a young human girl. Although Xellos was astral, his projection was very detailed and weighed as much as a human man. Silently, Xellos was enjoying the taste of her panic in inwardly laughing at her efforts to half carry and half drag him to where he could receive medical attention.
"Nya!" A cat beastboy rushed sown the street with frightened tears in his eyes, running in a panic as if Shabranigdu were chasing him. He almost bumped into Filia, but managed to dodge her at the last second and dash past next to her.
"Yeah, you better run, you little rascal!" Flagoon ran after him, waving her sword of light around. "Don't let me catch you stealing again!" She had no intention of killing the little brat, but she wanted to give him a good scare to teach him not to steal. She huffed and put away her sword, then took a moment to notice the scene on the street. "Wow, your friend's pretty beat up."
Filia snapped out of her surprise and curious daze after seeing the peculiar sword that the woman wielded. "Please, could you help me carry him back to the inn? He's hurt badly and needs a healer!"
"No problem, I'll give you a hand with him." With ease, Flagoon lifted Xellos into her arms bridal style. "Just show me the way to where you're staying."
Filia really missed being a dragon; she could carry Romeo just as easily if she was. She had to admit, this woman was strong for a human. "Oh thank you, this way!" She hurried back to the inn.
Xellos was aware of just who was carrying him, but he didn't want to blow his cover. His mind was working on overdrive wondering if Flagoon's presence meant that Milgazia was near by. But if that were so, then the dragon elder should have already sensed him and done something. Perhaps Milgazia and Flagoon had gone their separate ways? Why?
xoxox xox xoxox
At the inn, Xellos had to admit that it was very annoying having the town's doctor power healing spells into him. The magic was extremely bothersome and it certainly didn't heal him as he had no real injuries to begin with. Still, he changed his projection slowly to appear to be healing, though perhaps a little fast because he wanted to get it over with. "You're quite responsive to white magic," the doctor observed. "Very good, this is all I can do for you, Mr. Wolf, now you must rest."
With his eyes half closed as he lay on the bed feigning exhaustion, Xellos gave a weak smile. "I thank you."
The doctor nodded, "I thank you for ridding us of that monster."
After the doctor left, Filia looked at Flagoon who had waited with her as she watched the doctor heal Xellos. "Thank you for helping me bring him here. Romeo might have bled to death if not for your assistance." She shuddered at the thought.
"Oh yes, thank you very much, you've saved my life." Xellos smiled in such a way that no one noticed his words were sarcastic.
"It's no trouble at all," Flagoon returned the gesture.
"By the way, I still don't know your name, I'm..." Filia almost spoke her real name in a moment of distraction, but quickly corrected herself, "Juliet."
"My name's Flagoon, the traveling swordswoman," she introduced herself. Though she was better known as the warrior of light, she wasn't one to brag about her reputation, besides, true fame wouldn't reach her until after the Zanaffar incident. Albeit even then she wouldn't be too recognizable, as the warrior of light with become a legendary figure with many faces and stories. "Now I really wish I had gotten my sword back sooner, then I could have helped out with the monster."
"Romeo was dragged into the astral side, so that would have been hard," Filia mused aloud.
"That's very interesting," Flagoon observed. For a moment Xellos thought that Flagoon was becoming suspicious of him. For a human to be dragged into the astral side just like that, especially a sorcerer who turned out to be strong enough to defeat his captor was unusual enough. But for a human to be dragged into the astral side and come out of it alive was even stranger. "There's something I've noticed."
'This is it, my cover is lost,' Xellos thought. He didn't think he would be so easily discovered. Though maybe Flagoon didn't know he was Xellos, the general priest of Lord Beast Master, perhaps she had figured out he was a monster and she was about to voice her suspicions.
"You..." Flagoon looked right at Xellos who was by then convinced that she had become aware of his true nature. "Have the same names as the main characters of the play Romeo and Juliet!" She smiled in amusement. "Quite a coincidence, isn't it?"
For a moment, Xellos' jaw dropped involuntarily. He quickly regained his composure and laughed. "Yes it is."
"Well, it was nice meeting you two. Have a fast recovery, Romeo. I must be going now; I ditched my friend when a thief ran off with my sword. I could think of nothing more but to recover it. Well, I'm sure he's fine. I should go find him though. I wouldn't want him to think I dislike him or something," 'just because he's a dragon,' she added in thought. Flagoon headed for the door of the room. "Good luck, see ya."
"Have a safe journey!" After Flagoon was gone Filia went back to sit next to Xellos' bed. "You should get some sleep now," she smiled gently. "I'll stay here in case you need anything."
"You don't need to stay up watching me," 'especially not with such annoyingly loving care,' Xellos mentally added. "Go get some sleep, I'm sure my discomfort will subside soon," 'when you are your protective attachment are gone.'
"Discomfort? Pain?" Filia frowned. "You're still in pain? But I thought your injuries were healed and you only needed to rest."
"My dear Juliet, it is not that simple," and it wasn't, because he was a monster.
Filia jumped to her own conclusions and though Xellos didn't directly lie, he let her think whatever she wanted. "That terrible monster did something to you before he died, didn't it?" She frowned and furrowed her brow in anger and frustration. "Maybe a curse of sorts to cause you pain when your injuries are gone. Oh Romeo, I'm so sorry, I was the one who volunteered you for this."
Juliet was certainly a rollercoaster of emotions, Xellos observed, but at least she was back to feeling guilty and worried now. She was delicious and with such thoughts in mind he pretended to sleep.
To be Continued