To Live Another Day
Episode Fourteen: Charmed, Enchanted, Mesmerized
"It's getting dark," Zelgadis observed. He and Gourry were passing the time looking around the resort until it was time to go to the ball. They had gotten a few looks, some of scorn and some of understanding, that Gourry didn't understand and Zelgadis decided he didn't want to understand. A girls' night out in somewhat romantic place was fine, because people expected normal girl bonding to occur in such a place, as they played make over and plotted against man kind, but a guys night out in the same place? Zelgadis wasn't sure if people were assuming they had been dumped or... Or maybe it was time to stop thinking at all. "We should head back and get changed, then go to the north dome for the ball."
"Right, the girls won't like it if we're late," a few curious eavesdroppers gained a look of realization upon the mention of girls that were apparently waiting for them. The two men walking down the street in a resort crowded with couples were suddenly a whole lot less interesting. "We walked a lot," Gourry absentmindedly commented, his flip-flops making the continual flip-flopping sound that characterized such a type of comfortable footwear when dragged with equal amounts of laziness and energy along the street.
Flip... flop... flip... flop... "Shoes!" Zelgadis suddenly exclaimed, "Gourry, we completely forgot about the shoes! We got the suits, the masks and even the corsets," cue the odd looks. "I mean corsages," un-cue the odd looks. "But we didn't get shoes. We can't show up in these," he gestured towards their feet, "and our traveling shoes are too worn out for this sort of thing."
Gourry blinked, clearly not understanding the predicament. "So.... we should get new shoes!" He felt rather smart for figuring that out.
"Yes, but the shops that sell formal shoes are all the way in the other side of the resort, we'll have to run." Without further ado, Zelgadis wrapped his arms securely around the bag containing the parcels with the suit, mask and corsage, and broke into a run. Gourry followed him, both men nearly falling and actually falling on several occasions along the way, enforcing the theory that men are incapable of running in flip-flops.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Hurry, we're late!" Filia urged as she made a mad dash towards the north dome, with her skirt bunched up to her knees, clutched in her hands, her high heels making fast taping noises on the street.
"Wait for me!" Lina tripped for what felt like the millionth time. As it had happened in several occasions before, kind Amelia tried to catch her, but this time both girls toppled to the ground.
"Miss Lina," Amelia complained from under Lina. "Why do you wear high heels if you know you can't walk in them?" Let alone run.
Amelia's lack of her usual characteristic encouragement was not helping Lina feel any better about her choice in shoes. It didn't help that she had purchased a dress that was too long for her height thinking that the flowing skirt that touched the floor was pretty. It was indeed pretty, but not convenient. "That's it! Levitation!" Floating in the air only a foot or two above the ground, Lina discarded her uncomfortable white pearl decorated heels and resolved to simply levitate for the rest of the night. There should be enough food at the ball to keep her energy sufficiently replenished.
"Great idea," Filia had trailed back to her fallen companions, extending a helping hand towards Amelia, who was finally able to get up after Lina got off her. Filia took both girls' hands and shouted, "levitation!" springing forward in mid air with all her might. She slowed down as she reached the top of the long staircase were two familiar people seemed to be engrossed in the task of catching their breath.
"Do you think we made it on time?" Gourry breathed, he and Zelgadis had gone back to the shoe store, bought some appropriate shoes, went to the hotel for some quick showering and changing and hurried to the north dome.
"At least we're not too late," at least Zelgadis hoped they weren't. He adjusted his mask on his face, though the half of his face that was visible made his identity easy to guess for anyone who knew him. He looked up and saw a most awe inspiring sight. Three girls floated up the stairs like gorgeous angels, drawing quite a few spectators to look at them.
"Mr. Zelgadis!" Amelia's mask looked more like a tiara than a mask. After she found such a nice dress that matched her eyes, Filia and Lina insisted that she should not hide them. The main part of the mask was on her forehead in the shape of an eagle of pale blue feathers with royal blue accents and silver glitters. The tiara-like mask had two lines of feathers framing the face giving it a more mask-like appearance, without getting in the way of Zelgadis staring into Amelia's eyes and blushing like a ripe tomato.
The Seyruun princess had blue eye shadow with a silvery outline that matched her dress perfectly, her long eyelashes standing out elegantly. Her lips were a slightly more vibrant shade of natural pink than usual with a noticeable gloss to them, that a romance novel might describe as irresistibly kissable. Though such thoughts did fly through Zelgadis' brain, he seemed over all too paralyzed to say or do anything. She had sapphire heart earrings that matched the heart shaped sapphire brooch on her dress and a single bracelet with small heart shaped sapphires on her left wrist. Her hair was more relaxed than usual, giving the impression that it was longer, touching her shoulders in glossy dark strands.
"A..." Zelgadis opened his mouth with a great deal of effort as the girls landed. "Me..." He continued trying to articulate the name which seemed to consume all the strength he had in him. "Amelia..."
Amelia smiled brightly, that encouraging smile that he so loved, and took a few steps forward towards Zelgadis. Deciding that she should be the one to break the ice and ease the atmosphere she blushed and complimented sincerely, "you look very handsome Mr. Zelgadis."
If it was at all possible, Zelgadis blushed even more as he made a bigger effort to recover the capability of speech. "You're beautiful," he finally stated. Remembering the corsage, he held it towards Amelia. It was less match-anything than he had initially hoped for, as it held a lovely blue flower. He thought that regardless of what Amelia was wearing it would at least match her eyes and that had been close enough to match-anything for him when he got it. Now it turned out that it matched the blue of her accessories perfectly. "I... um... for you..."
Amelia's eyes lit up with pure joy. "Thank you, Mr. Zelgadis!" With all the happiness her voice carried anyone would think she had just been given the entire world as a gift. Yet any gift from Zelgadis meant the world to her. She extended her right hand happily, her smile making her glow with joy. "Help me put it on?" Her nails were sky blue with sapphire glitters at the tips.
Zelgadis nodded and after several hand trembling failed attempts, he relaxed sufficiently to manage the task of putting the corsage around Amelia's wrist, not letting go of her hand after the task was done. Amelia in turn linked arms with Zelgadis, her fingers laced with his as they entered the large dome in their own fantasy world.
It was clear that Amelia and Zelgadis were not about to notice the rest of the universe any time soon. Filia stepped aside and wondered if she would witness a similar scene from Gourry and Lina.
Lina floated at the top of the stairs, her long white skirt flowing in the light breeze, more so since she was levitating. Her hair was pulled into a half ponytail held together with pearls that matched the dress and earrings, the rest flowing down her back. Pearls also went from the side of her head, the line of precious jewels reaching the half-ponytail in a decorative hairstyle. She wore a bracelet that consisted of three lines of pearls and light flattering makeup that gave her eyes a silvery pink glow with her lips standing out in a nice shade of glossy pink. The renowned bandit killer reached out a hand to innocently stroke her hair, secretly trying her best to be irresistible. Her nails were pink with a pearly glow that made them appear both white and pink depending on how the light reached them.
Gourry was looking at her, he seemed interested. Lina was burning with rage at the jellyfish mask he was wearing, but she was willing to let it go if he sincerely begged for her forgiveness. He took a step forward, he was about to speak. Lina waited, she wouldn't say anything first, let him be the one to realize his grave error in ignoring her over some flirty jellyfish girl. Then the interruption came...
"There you are, Gourry! I was waiting for you!" Miss Medusa emerged from the white marble walls of the dome and latched into Gourry's arm immediately. She was wearing a white dress or more so a skirt since those sea creature people were more like a head with limbs than anything resembling a torso. Her white skirt became semi-transparent just above the knees and down, showing off her shapely legs. Her heels were white, adorned with pearls, very similar to the ones that Lina decided she wasn't willing to put up with. On each tentacle Miss Medusa wore a lovely pearl bracelet and her mask was a butterfly.
That was crossing the line. Medusa had stolen Gourry, she had stolen the general concept of her outfit being white and pearls and she was wearing a mask quite similar to hers too. Lina glared behind the beautiful white butterfly that hid half her face with a few pink glitters adorning its wings. Medusa had a larger version of that same mask on her face.
"Hi Miss Medusa," Gourry greeted with a friendly smile. "I just got here and-"
"And you couldn't wait to dance with me? How sweet!" Medusa cut him off and dragged him away by the arm. "I love your mask!"
Gourry smiled sheepishly, "thanks, I'm glad you like it." He glanced back at Lina as he was dragged off inside. "Lina, Filia, do you want to come hang out with us?"
"No!" Lina snapped angrily. She floated past Gourry eradiating hot anger into the atmosphere around her. Inside the dome, she didn't even take a moment to notice anything or anyone and made a bee line for the biggest buffet table.
"Oh, okay, I'll guess we'll hang out later, Lina." Gourry looked disappointed, but accepted the event with his usual patience for Lina. He glanced at Filia, who seemed to want to glare a hole through his skull, and concluded that perhaps she didn't want to hang out with him and Miss Medusa either. Seriously, girls were so confusing sometimes. "Um... see you later," he went inside the white marble dome, finally allowing Medusa to completely drag him away.
Filia was left standing on top of the long marble stairs at the northern end of the main street, muttering something about men. For a fleeting moment she wondered if Xellos, rather than teleporting, would walk up those stairs and find her standing there. She had found some nice lilac heels with amethyst decorations. Her earrings were small but exquisitely detailed amethyst flowers. A portion of her hair was braded on the sides of her face, the braids twirling around her head like a golden crown, the rest falling down the back of her head, held in place by another amethyst flower. Tiny amethysts like miniscule flower petals adorned her hair, making its beauty truly stand out.
Her eyes were adorned in purple eye shadow that faded into lilac, her lips a pink-ish shade of lilac with shiny gloss. Her mask was small with thin wings extending over the eyes originating from a round amethyst in the lower middle of her forehead. It was a fairy, a representation of an orb of light with wings originating from the barely perceptible silhouette in the center of the light.
The flowers and chosen mask made Filia look more so like a magical elf, a mythical creature whose beauty could only be born of legends. But she was real and she was waiting, yet no one was coming for her. Filia caught herself thinking of Xellos again and pushed the thoughts away. She would be fine as soon as she was with Phythan, she would be able to focus on him then. Maybe he was already inside waiting for her. She entered the dome to find him.
The rounded structure of the north dome with its impeccable white marble walls and long dramatic, though tiring, stairs, looked far more impressive and beautiful from the outside than Filia imagine. The look was accentuated by the fact that it was on a hill, holding it above the rest of the resort on a backdrop of clear starry skies.
The inside of the dome was far more amazing. Everything was made of white marble, with several decorative portals hanging from the walls, depicting a variety of romantic scenes. Sunrises, sunsets, fields of flowers, ocean views, her eyes traveled from one painting to another as if she was in a museum filled with precious art. Tables with appetizing abundant food were scattered about all around the circular structure of the dome with lovely carved columns forming an inner circle at the center within which the dance floor was. Smaller column-like stands adorned the area with beautifully crafted flower vases holding red and white roses.
She paused as looked up; admiring the crystal chandeliers, then realized that the round ceiling of the elegant dome was made of glass. The chandeliers were literally floating, their gems infused with a long lasting levitation spell. The night sky was amazing, the stars shining like diamonds. Forget having balls in a castle, this place was so much better! The entire ambiance was further enhanced by the music played by a live orchestra, completing the magical feel of the location.
While Filia was admiring the atmosphere and decorations, one of the vases caught her eye, filled with white roses. She approached the vase and gently touched it with her fingers, nails delicately painted with lilac and purple water marble lines. Feeling the smooth surface of the vase, Filia realized that her thought was unmistakable. This was her vase, one she had crafted from scratch with her own hands and painted with care... Or at least that's how her fluttering heart re-colored the picture in her memories at first, albeit the truth resurfaced as she remembered.
xoxox xox xoxox
It had been a rough day for Filia. She attempted to craft a vase to relax, then Xellos snuck up on her and caused her to ruin the almost finished product. As a result the vase had an asymmetrical diagonally lopsided look to it.
After an argument with Xellos and the creative use of art supplies as tools of attempted, yet failed, murder, Filia decided not to throw away the vase after all. It wasn't perfect, but its accidental deformation had a certain rare artistic quality to it. She was trying to paint the vase when Xellos returned far too soon for her liking, though she would assure that if he never returned it would have been too soon anyway. He made a mess of things again, the paint splashing all over her workspace, clothes and the work in progress of the vase. She was using purple and white, colors that she had subconsciously picked without giving them much thought.
Subsequent to chasing Xellos out of her home once again, Filia looked at the mess that was the vase. The paint had splashed all over it, dying it in shades of purple and white, the two colors mixing together in several patches of lilac and lavender. Filia wasn't in the mood to clean the mess; she was too tired and left it for the next day. When she got around to cleaning up on the following morning, she begrudgingly noticed that the vase really didn't look so bad. The splashes of paint looked somewhat elegant, with unique artistic passion. The thought was roughly pushed away as soon as it was formed and Filia set out to rid herself of the offending vase.
As the trashcans in her work space were full, Filia angrily carried the vase to the front of the shop seeking to dump it in the smaller trashcan next to the front counter of the store. It was there just in case clients came in with half finished sodas and candy bars that they finished while still browsing the store. Then they would have no excuse to stuff the wrappers in random vases because they didn't have the patience to wait until they came across a trashcan, there would be one readily available and clearly visible right there.
"What a beautiful vase!" An old lady whom Filia didn't recognize exclaimed as soon as she saw the vase. The lady had the appearance of an old tourist who had all the time in the world to roam all over creation and the economical resources to back it up.
"Ah, you like this one, my dear?" The old gentleman standing next to the lady smiled. "Then we shall purchase it for our collection."
"This?" Filia voiced in disbelief. She couldn't let such a vase exist in the world and be linked to her. Some may see it as elegant and original and with a little polishing it could be, but it was a product of Xellos causing trouble and that made it a terrible artifact. "Oh, you don't want this old thing, I'm sure there are far better vases to choose from at the shop. This one is all crooked; I was just about to throw it away."
"Don't," the lady strode forward, her aged hands taking the vase away from Filia and cradling it. "It's smoothly curved, asymmetrical but elegant. Uneven in an artistic way, yet perfectly balanced." She demonstrated the fact by setting the vase down gently on the front counter. "It takes a lot of skill to make original shapes like this, more skill than what it takes to make the classic styles of the others. Please, sell me this vase; I must have it for our collection!"
Before Filia could find her voice in the face of such a strong yet pleading argument, the lady's husband stepped forward and set a large bag of golden coins on the counter. Jillas, who had been minding the store standing behind the counter throughout the entire scene was left in shock as the elderly man inquired, "will this be enough to purchase the vase?"
"Sold!" Jillas cheered and happily wrapped the newly purchased item for the generous happy customers. Filia would give him an earful about it later.
xoxox xox xoxox
The truth about the vase's origin resurfaced in Filia's mind and she withdrew her hand way from it before she got the irresistible urge to break it. She didn't know how the vase got there, but she was certain it was the same one; an artist simply knew their own work. She walked away from the vase not pleased that she kept finding reminders about Xellos all around. She needed to find Phythan and the sooner the better.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Slayers. The story is fully into the fluffy chapters, but fear not, there will be humor in future chapters. There's also that plot lurking in the shadows, Xellos' curse that remains as of yet unresolved and much more. Enjoy the peaceful chapters while you can, because it won't be an easy journey for anyone once the next step of the secret plot is set in motion.