To Live Another Day
Episode Nineteen: Dancing Around The Issues
Filia, Lina and Amelia retreated to their room and Zelgadis and Gourry to theirs. Gourry slept soundly as he was too dense to worry about anything. Zelgadis stared at the dark ceiling for a while, but soon allowed sleep to overtake him while listening to the sounds of Gourry's snoring. It was business as usual, Zelgadis mused, when was he not in the middle of something troublesome? There was no need to make a fuss over such an almost common occurrence.
Amelia stayed positive and allowed sleep to fall upon her, attracting pleasant dreams with the power of positive thinking. Lina was too tired to have any encounters with insomnia, thus she was out like a light as soon as her head hit the pillow. Filia was the first to have changed out of her ruined dress, gotten cleaned up and into her comfy night gown, but she was by far the last to fall asleep. She tossed and turned in worry, until finally, exhaustion led to a restless slumber.
The sun came up, morning invading the resort lacking its usual brightness. Heavy rain fell upon the land even if the streets were just as busy with a rainbow of umbrellas all around. The rain made the atmosphere cold and further zapped away the motivation from those who were already lacking the desire to get up.
It wasn't until mid-day when Amelia got out of bed and started singing loudly and cheerfully to balance out the gloomy mood in the air. The action woke Lina, who was positively starving, and Filia, who was plagued by tiredness and bloodshot eyes. With Amelia ready to face a new day with the power of justice on her side, Lina rushed to get ready and hurried downstairs for brunch, a meal that would combined the breakfast she missed with the lunch which was about time to eat, no way was she skipping on either one.
Filia was the last of the women to drag herself out of bed like a zombie and get herself somewhat ready to face a new day. She peeked into Phythan's room and found that he was still fast asleep, then headed downstairs. She hoped some food would give her a little much needed energy.
As usual, Lina and Gourry were stuffing their faces at their own table that no one dared to invade for fear to losing a limb. That left Amelia and Zelgadis at the next table beside them, with Amelia giving a cheerful speech to lighten the mood, while Zelgadis and Filia half listened.
After the rather normal and uneventful brunch, during the entirety of which Xellos didn't show up, the group went to check on Phythan again, with an extra set of footsteps joining them as they went up the stairs. They turned to see a familiar purple haired man, who returned their gazes with a squinty eyes smile.
There was a collective pause until Lina, who was walking at the front of the group, turned her head forward and continued towards Phythan's room without a word. It would be a waste of time to try to get information out of Xellos anyway. Once the group was back at Phythan's room with a collective silence upon them, they stood around him and peeked over him as if he were a very strange sight.
A few seconds passed and the group ceased their collective staring with Lina adopting a pose that hinted that she was about to explain her plan of action to the group, or rather remind them about the plan of inaction that she had suggested the previous night. However, before she could say anything, Phythan's eyes opened and he looked curiously at the people around him with chocolate brown eyes.
"Phythan?" Filia stared at his face perplexed, she noticed now the change in his eye color, but couldn't explain it. He was the same person, she had no doubts. Maybe she had been distracted before, maybe it had been a trick of the light.
"You know my name," his voice was the same but his words made no sense. "Who are you? What happened to me? This room..." He sat up slowly on his bed and tried to look beyond the group at the room he was in. "Where am I?"
Another collective paused passed until Lina loudly declared in a voice full of frustration, "you have got to be kidding me!" Her palm met her face, running down from her forehead to her chin. "So he finally wakes up and now he has amnesia?"
"How inconvenient," Xellos chirped, hiding any hint of annoyance very well. "I was curious about what happened too."
"You're going to tell us you don't know?" Zelgadis stated a rhetorical question. It didn't matter what Xellos answered to it, a conclusion about that had already been reached.
"It is the truth this time," Xellos' smile never faltered even if he knew they didn't believe him. It wouldn't actually make a difference if they did.
Phythan examined each person's face with curiosity; he looked at Filia who lacked her hat. Her ears were clearly visible, but for a golden dragon, she could not be mixed up with an elf, for they could recognize their own kind. "You're a golden dragon," he stated simply, as if grasping the obvious facts would help him understand what was going on. "You know my name," he continued, making a pause and watching for any reactions from the golden dragon lady.
Filia nodded, "I found you injured last night. Amelia, Zelgadis and I healed you," she motioned towards each person as she spoke their names. "Then we brought you here, Lina and Gourry are also part of our group." Lina clearing her throat interrupted Filia's introductions. "Lina is the leader," she clarified, which seemed to satisfy the redhead. She skipped over Xellos' introduction on purpose. "Before you passed out last night you said my name, Filia."
"I did?" Phythan looked confused. He didn't want to question his saviors, but he didn't recognize Filia or any of the others. "I'm sorry, I don't remember you. I apologize for that and I thank you for helping me."
"Do you remember anything at all about how you got injured?" Lina tried one more time. Maybe his amnesia wasn't total, maybe he could remember a tiny image of the events that took place which would serve as a clue.
"Yes," the certainty in Phythan's voice took everyone by surprise. "A monster snuck into the temple to steal the treasure we were tasked with guarding. I fought the monster and..." Phythan tried hard to focus but all he got for his efforts was a headache. "That's all I remember." He took a look around the room again. "This place doesn't look like a golden dragon temple. Is this in one of the nearby towns close to the Fire Dragon temple?"
"The Fire Dragon temple?" Filia repeated in confusion. The followers of the fire Dragon had been exterminated some time ago. Furthermore, she didn't know what that treasure he mentioned was. He was clearly confused, his words made no sense. "I think... I think your memories might be a bit jumbled up." Filia tried to explain it as gently as she could.
Phythan looked genuinely confused. "What do you mean?"
Xellos chose that moment to speak up and deliver a direct explanation, decorated with a cheerful tone. "The dragons of that temple were mass murdered some time ago."
Phythan stared in shock for a few seconds as if an invisible time bomb was ticking, as his face became red with anger. "You're lying," he stated flatly with a glare that some would call worthy of the biggest righteous fury and others would describe as the look of murderous intent. It was all in the contrast of perspectives really.
Xellos smiled, his expression screaming 'you poor ignorant dragon' as he shook his head lightly. "Filia, would you care to accept or deny my claim? Maybe this poor fool will understand if he hears it from a member of his own flawed hypocritical species."
Filia couldn't say anything. The errors of her people were being thrown in her face in the middle of her confusion. Phythan wasn't from the Fire Dragon temple; Filia had never met him before he ran into her at the resort. Was he lying or just confused? She was already too worried, disturbed and lost to articulate a single word before Xellos added old guilt and bitterness into the mix. She just froze, expressionless, like a statue.
"Nothing to say?" Xellos prodded with the raise of an eyebrow, one eye open, the other remaining in its usual squinting fashion.
"Who are you?" Phythan demanded with an angry glare.
"Oh, that's right, rude Filia didn't introduce me before." Xellos criticized her in hopes of getting some form of reaction out of her. Her temperamental side was familiar and enjoyable, but her frozen state bothered him for reasons he could not explain. "My name is Xellos, I'm a monster allied to the great Beast Master Zelas, pleased to meet you." He stuck out his hand in a business-like manner, knowing full well that his words didn't exactly set the mood for a friendly handshake.
Phythan looked positively horrified as he predicatively slapped Xellos' hand away. "You're a monster!" He loudly declared, standing on the bed and pointing at Xellos. "I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but I know it's your fault you fiend!"
"Spoken like a true golden dragon," Xellos rolled his eyes dismissively. This was much more fun when Filia did it. "Are you a relative of Filia or something?"
He wasn't, but Phythan's automatic response was, "there's no reason why I should reveal that to you!" He didn't stop pointing at Xellos the whole time. "Terrible fiend, justice will prevail over you by my hand, in the name of the Water Dragon!" Those who, unlike Filia, were not in a catatonic state, noticed a bit of a contradiction in relation to the fire and water dragons, which one did he serve anyway? Additionally, Amelia was smiling with admiration, inspired by the declaration of justice. "Vile creature, you will be defeated!" With that final declaration of war against Xellos, Phythan was surrounded by a golden glow and began his transformation into dragon form.
Amelia's jaw dropped, her face red in embarrassment. She had been so transfixed by the justice speech that she had no time to respectfully look away. Zelgadis covered her eyes while scolding Phythan. "You can't transform like that when there are people watching!" But the angry golden dragon was not listening.
Lina opened her mouth to say something along the lines of pointing out the trouble that had just started full force, but her throat produced no sound waves. "Um... Lina, maybe we should look away." Gourry pointed out while tapping her on the shoulder with continual insistence.
"Maybe we should run away!" Lina screamed, regaining her ability to move.
The catatonic Filia seemed to wake up, looking in every direction frantically before resolving to join the other in levitating out the window. Phythan grew to his full size, which was too large to fit in the room, and effectively destroyed a good portion of the hotel. Guests ran around like ants in the streets below, pointing at the commotion atop the remains of the structure. Some were slightly alarmed, but most thought it was part of the show. In that strange resort everything was part of the show, unless otherwise stated and no one had specified that this was real danger yet.
"Oh my, if I didn't know any better, I would think you were picking a fight." Xellos grinned maliciously, both eyes open now. "I'm sure that's a silly thought, after all, I am Xellos, as in the one who massacred countless of your race and you can never hope to defeat. Ah well, what's one more?"
Phythan looked very much like he was pouting and Xellos half expected him to shout, 'meanie-head' or 'you big dumb-dumb' at him or some other such playground remark. His pouting continued for several seconds as Xellos curiously waited for his last words that never came, unless the sound he made counted as a word which was along the lines of 'chomp!' Xellos was now in his mouth.
Zelgadis' eyes were open wide, Amelia didn't know if she should cheer or not, Lina pointed in disbelief and Gourry was confused, but that was nothing new. Filia's reaction was the loudest as she screamed an agonized, "no!" and transformed into her own dragon form, ramming into Phythan from behind, causing him to spit out the purple haired monster, who looked none too pleased.
"I have to say, that was original," Xellos felt his eye twitch in annoyance as he faded into the astral side covered in dragon spit and reappeared perfectly clean. "Creative, but terribly unpleasant, basic, yet classic, I was waiting for the laser breath after the insult, but you weren't opening your mouth to negotiate, so typical of a senseless violent creature." Xellos had his teeth clenched, his eyes glaring, he was pissed off and that meant big trouble. "I guess I should show you the same discourtesy with a painful annihilation." Xellos paused dramatically, then realized that no one was actually listening to him.
Phythan was coughing up a storm and making what could only be described as a combination between gagging noises and growls. Filia was patting him on the back with concern, "what is it? Don't tell me you're going to spit out a purple hair ball!"
Phythan coughed some more, "no, it's just that it was really gross."
"Well, that's what you get for trying to eat a monster." Filia raised her index claw and waved it back and forth. "You can't go around putting such filthy things in your mouth; they have germs and can make you sick."
"I know, but I was angry," Phythan pouted yet again and gave Filia a sad look.
"I know you were," Filia patted him on the shoulder gently. "I was angry too, I still am in fact."
"So am I," Phythan agreed.
Xellos felt his eye twitching violently some more. "What part of certain doom don't you understand, you stupid dragon? Filia, get out of the way so I can decimate that idiot! Why are you babying him anyway? He's not a toddler!"
"Don't try to boss me around you piece of raw garbage!" Filia shot back. "I'm not letting you hurt Phythan, if you want to lay one of your filthy monster fingers on him, you'll have to get through me first!"
Phythan looked at Filia curiously before loudly declaring, "comrade!" and raising his claw into a fist in mid air. "My honorable golden dragon compatriot, let us fight for justice together!"
At that point Amelia's eyes began to shine dreamily and she floated closer to the golden dragon. "Justice!" She blissfully declared, happy to have found someone who shared her passion for justice.
"Yes, justice! You may also join our noble cause if you wish, my honorable human friend," Phythan gladly welcomed Amelia into the group.
"What in the world?" Zelgadis wasn't even sure of how to voice his confusion.
"No, no, no!" Filia shouted, her voice rising in volume with each syllable. Phythan was acting completely different from before, something was definitely amiss. "What we need to do is calm down and discuss things in an orderly fashion. People are staring at us and..." she stopped as horror crept into her face in slow motion. She looked at the ever growing crowd below. "People are staring," Filia repeated in a panic, "people are staring, people were staring, people have been staring all along!"
Phythan looked confused as to why people staring would be a bad thing. "It's good that they are here to witness justice in action. This is a fine opportunity to inspire the masses to pursue the wonderful path of justice!" He cheered.
"Mr. Phythan is right!" Amelia joyfully declared.
"Ah!" Filia screamed at the top of her lungs, a blast of laser energy escaping her and tearing through the cloud filled skies, barely diminished by the falling rain. "They saw me transform!"
"So?" Phythan tilted his head to the side in confusion, with an expression that was disturbingly similar to Gourry's. Witnessing this, Xellos twitched some more. Phythan yelled at him like Filia, gave justice speeches like Amelia and missed the point like Gourry. If he started acting like Lina too, that would be the last drop on the already overflowing glass of vexation.
"Have you no decency?" Filia screeched, before flying away in tears that mixed with the falling rain.
"Miss Filia!" Worried about her, Amelia flew off after the distressed dragon.
Zelgadis looked around at a loss and finally flew off after Amelia, "wait for me!" He had no clue of how in the world things had gotten to this point, as if the level of unexpected weirdness had just hit an all time high.
Xellos felt a vein began to protuberate on his forehead and considered killing off Phythan there and then. He clenched his teeth and glared, before flying away in the direction Filia, Amelia and Zelgadis had taken.
Phythan watched them disappear in the distance and blinked in confusion, "Miss Lina, was it?" He looked at the red-haired levitating human girl. "Would you mind explaining to me what just happen? Did the monster retreat or something?"
Once again, Lina's hand met her forehead and slid down her face to her chin. She looked at Phythan, she looked at Gourry and she looked at the cheering people below, most of which had discarded their multicolored umbrellas to get a better view of the show above. Finalizing her assessment of the situation, Lina concluded beyond the shadow of a doubt, "I'm surrounded by idiots." After a moment's pause, during which the two idiots in mid air, one of which, namely Gourry, was holding on to her leg to stay in mid air, Lina floated towards Phythan. She deposited Gourry on his back, then saddled in herself and pointed in the direction the others had gone in, dramatically declaring with more flare than necessary, "after them!"
Happy to have been given direction in his confusion, Phythan happily accepted the command, "yes, ma'am!" He flew after the group, which had faded away in the distance with the rain relentlessly beating down on him and his passengers.
Lina glared forward. Trouble tended to come with plenty of company behind it. She had heard people say that married life is tough and though she had settled for just being engaged and this had nothing to do with her marriage, she never imagine things would be this tough. She looked to the skies that didn't appear to have the slightest intension of ceasing their downpour. Strange things were happening, their only possible clue made no sense and Xellos appeared to be rather upset, which could only mean more bad news, perhaps the worse of news. "When it rains, it pours!" Lina crossed her arms begrudgingly, shifting a little too suddenly for someone sitting atop a fast flying dragon with slippery wet scales. As a result she almost slipped off, albeit Gourry stopped her from falling.
"We better hang on so we don't fall off," Gourry advised what was to him a genius suggestion, though it should have been common sense to anyone else. He wrapped one arm around Lina's waist, keeping the other on Phythan's back for balance. She blushed, but didn't say anything, merely hoping that the rain somehow miraculously covered her red face.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Slayers. Everything will be explained in due time...
Until then, enjoy the cliffhangers, I mean the suspense! XD