To Live Another Day
Episode Two: There Are No Words
Xellos, the subject of an unfortunate and terribly humiliating curse watched as Filia, the self proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, observed Lina and Gourry, the buffet staff's worse nightmare. The pair a few feet away appeared to be content with munching down on every delicious culinary delicacy they could find in the buffet, apparently without a care in the world. Filia however decided that they needed a little help, a small push in the right direction.
The determined dragon got up from her seat, being followed by Xellos, and headed over to the assortment of candles that was placed on a table in a corner of the open buffet. They were clearly there so that couples could pick out whichever they liked best and place them on their table. She then proceeded to separate the assortment of scents, by smelling each candle closely one by one, until she settled for a rose scented red heart shaped candle.
She paused and wondered how she should go about this. She needed to add the candle to their table somehow, but didn't want to be seen. Then again, given how focused Lina and Gourry were on their food, maybe they wouldn't see her anyway. None the less, she had to at least try to be sneaky, just to be sure. She went down on all fours and crawled towards the table. A perplexed Xellos decided to follow suit, also crawling behind Filia until she stopped abruptly, causing his head to collide with her backside.
The unfortunate, though surely accidental, mishap provoked a tiny undignified squeak to issue from the back of Filia's throat as her hands flew to her behind dropping the candle in the process. With both hands clasped over the 'perversely invaded' area protectively, Filia turned her head towards Xellos and glared. "Just what do you think you're doing?" She growled.
"The same thing you're doing," Xellos replied innocently with an ever present grin.
"Excuse me?" Filia's indignation was evident. I'm not going around touching people without permission," she frowned. This was wrong, Xellos was evil, annoying, perverse, cruel, dishonorable and just downright unpleasant, but not a pervert, she couldn't handle adding that to the already overflowing list.
"Accident, please do proceed with what you were doing before." Xellos encouraged hoping that Filia would just let the matter drop. It's not like he made a habit of smashing his face into dragon tail on purpose.
With a hint of doubt in her eyes, Filia picked up the candle and debated her next action. Having Xellos directly behind her was bad. "If you must tag along, then crawl next to me, not behind me."
"I fail to see the purpose of this," none the less Xellos did as he was told, crawling next to Filia now.
"I want to set a candle on their table so that there's a romantic atmosphere," Filia explained and immediately regretted it. She shouldn't be telling Xellos about her plans so he could ruin them! "Don't try to stop me," she crawled away faster with Xellos keeping up.
"You know, people are staring," Xellos pointed out, not really caring too much, but feeling stupid none the less. However, it was still a good venture. He got to observe not only the matchmaking, but also Filia's behavior, which in the end had to equate to something in his favor when it was time to make his move.
"They're not," Filia whispered, referring to Lina and Gourry who were still focused on their food. The sneaky pair reached the area of the floor next to Gourry and Lina's table. Filia carefully used her laser breath at minimum intensity to light the candle and reached up to place it on the table. She then crawled backwards away from the table and took refuge behind a plastic pink potted plant; the color was rather predominant in the resort.
Gourry was the first one to see the candle; he nonchalantly picked it up, blew it out and took a bite out of it. "Hey! That flaming candy was mine!" Lina snatched away the remainder of the candle and devoured it herself while Gourry protested that he saw it first.
With a horror stricken face, Filia looked back at the candle table, noticing a sign above it that advertised them as 'sweet edible candy candles.' Well at least that explained why Gourry didn't spit it out in disgust, but candles that were promptly eaten wouldn't be around long enough to create much of an atmosphere.
While Xellos did have extensive knowledge about humans, he focused on things such as manipulation and war. Emotional pressure was useful to know about, but romance was not. Okay, so apparently eating candles was romantic. Right, he would have to make a mental note about that.
It didn't look like Filia was anywhere near done yet. She got up and this time walking in a much less crazy manner, made her way over to the jukebox. She searched her pockets for a coin but sadly found she had none, she had left her wallet forgotten in her luggage back in the girls' room. Sighing sadly she felt that she would have to give up on her next hopefully better received mood setting idea: music. "I wish I had a coin." She muttered to herself.
"Here," Xellos offered, eager to see what Filia would do next. He hated to admit it but he was starting to get amused despite the subject of his study being such a terribly fluffy one. Finding amusement in war, destruction and all around chaos was one thing, but in matchmaking? Who would have thought?
"Thank y-" Filia stopped her automatic reply, eyes going from grateful to suspicious. She looked at Xellos who just smiled like he always did. She examined the coin waiting for it to explode, but it didn't. "I'm watching you," she warned before deciding to try her luck with the coin. She inserted the coin into the jukebox cautiously.
The contraction apparently imported from a far away less magically and more industrially developed land came to life with an odd voice. "Tell me what song you wish to hear?" From there on out Filia began to list names of songs, but the machine kept pointing out it didn't know any of those.
"Do you even know what this thing is?" Xellos wondered curiously. He knew exactly what it was and he had a feeling that if Filia knew, she wouldn't want anything to do with it. But maybe he was wrong...
"It's a jukebox," Filia pointed towards the sign attached to the box. It featured a square enclosed bottom and a display of musical notes stone carvings under glass on top. There was an opening to insert a coin with several coins littering the bottom of the sculpture as if it was a wishing fountain. "The instructions read, 'jukebox: insert a coin to hear a song' see?" She stated as a matter of fact, while pointing at the sign. She might have added something about monsters being illiterate, but she stopped and instead theorized about the problem, "the coin was fake."
"No, you just don't know what this is," with a low power magical force of dark waves, Xellos created a small hole on the bottom box to reveal a small monster that looked like a parrot with really big teeth. "It's a magical container for a type of monster that can steal voices; they're rare in this area, hence why it wouldn't know any songs from around here. Some far away cities trap them and use them for entertainment. Of course they would have to sacrifice a few singers to build up the variety first. The people here must have purchased it unknowingly or maybe on purpose." Xellos finished his information.
Filia felt herself twitch in anger as the buffet's manager paused in his recently started activity of complaining to Lina and Gourry about eating too much, to take notice of the damaged equipment. He then proceeded to accuse Xellos and Filia of property damage. "How could you even complain? What you have here is a monster! It can endanger people's voices!"
"Not if you hadn't let it out!" The manager dramatized.
"How could you take such a risk by keeping it here?" Filia argued critically. She was thinking about how terrible it was that the humans would take such a foolish risk and was ready to chastise the manager further, when the odd purple big tooted parrot thing let out a mighty squawk that left her ears ringing and her throat strangely dry. Then she became painfully aware of the fact that her voice was gone. Making mute gestures, she insulted Xellos with her eyes; he was the one that let that thing out after all.
"I honestly didn't think it would want your voice," truly amused, Xellos couldn't help it but to tease Filia. "I mean it's pretty bad, specially when you yell at me for no reason, quite unpleasant to the ears. I feel sorry for that poor creature; it'll probably get a horrible case of indigestion."
What Filia couldn't do with her voice she did with her mace. After all, a hit to the head could be translated into a variety of insults. Seeing the hit coming from a mile away, as that was the predictable reaction from Filia, Xellos easily dodged. The exchange gave the manager enough time to panic and the parrot monster enough time to fly away.
"There goes your voice!" Xellos pointed out as Filia stopped swinging her mace at him and joined the manager in panicking.
"Capture it!" The manager suddenly begged. "Don't think I didn't notice," he looked at Xellos accusingly. "I saw those small rays of energy; they must have been stronger than they looked if you managed to break this container. I know you're a sorcerer. Since you're responsible for this disaster you must fix it! Recapture that creature at once or be banned from this resort."
Xellos was less than happy with being ordered around by this human, in fact, he was most displeased, but he knew that getting kicked out of the resort was a bad idea. "Alright, I'll find the creature and exterminate it." His tone left no room for argument as his purple eyes opened in a rare occasion and his fangs became the prominent feature of a grin that looked harmless a mere second ago.
The manager nodded slowly and backed away. He then took the time to nervously look at anything that wasn't the scary sorcerer, because he didn't realize Xellos was a monster, in front of him. That's when he noticed that the two gluttons from before were gone. Then a chef came running to proclaim that a blond man and a red haired girl were assaulting the kitchen. Leaving the manager to his troubles, Xellos promptly left, followed by a fuming Filia.
xoxox xox xoxox
Spotting the parrot monster was very easy; catching it was another story as it moved with amazing speed, gliding through the crowds of people walking down the massive resort streets. Filia let out a stream of silent insults directed at Xellos, who mockingly placed his hand behind his ear and leaned in. "Sorry Filia, could you speak up? I can't hear you." He gestured with fake innocence. "What was that? Could you repeat what you just said? Oh my, how terrible, it seems my hearing is failing me. Don't you feel guilty for leaving me deaf after all your yelling?"
Filia's face turned a distinct shade of angry red as she wielded her mace at Xellos who easily teleported away via the astral plane. A few passer-bys stopped to watch but they were not alarmed. They assumed that the comedy routine of a magic show was all part of the park's entertainment, some even clapped and cheered for Xellos, who was apparently the winning character of the skit. The unwanted attention only got Filia more upset until she paused, realizing that she had lost sight of the parrot. She waved her hand to Xellos and put away her mace. She raised both hands, palms facing him.
"Does this mean you want to call a truce?" Xellos inquired, not quite ready to stop playing, bothering Filia was such a fun game. He watched as she nodded frantically.
Filia then tried her best to signal to Xellos what she wanted to communicate. It didn't help that neither of them knew human sign language, which was the only kind of sign language available really. Dragons thought that those who didn't have a voice were simply destined to be silent observers and that was the natural order of things. As for monsters, when their 'hands' consisted of claws, pincers, paws, twigs and actual hands with a variety in number of fingers it was pretty hard to standardize a sign language. Besides, communication didn't matter much to non-spies anyway. None the less, Filia made a brave attempted and moved her voice-less lips to say 'where is' while shrugging her shoulders, her forearms upwards and her palms flat towards the sky. 'The parrot' Filia's mouth moved without sound as her arms made a flapping motion.
"A bird?" Xellos guessed as if they were playing charades. The crowd of people that had gathered to watch added in their own guesses that ranged from everything from chicken to pterodactyl.
Stomping her feet angrily Filia threw a silent temper tantrum, balling her fists and kicking the dirt, arms moving up and down violently as her angry red face presented a fierce expression of narrowed eyes and clenched teeth. "A monster!" A girl called out.
Filia looked around thinking that it was the parrot, though no one seemed interested in it before. She didn't see the wretched voice stealing monster bird anyway and instead wondered if they were onto Xellos' true nature. Then she realized that the young lady was pointing at her. In disbelief, she stopped and pointed at herself, her mouth moving without sound to the shape of 'who me?'
"Monster! Monster! Monster!" The crowd began to chant, assuming that was what Filia was trying to impersonate. In which case Xellos would ironically play the part of the heroic sorcerer.
Filia looked absolutely horrified. A few tears escaped from the corners of her eyes before she ran away in silent sobs. The crowd cheered still convinced that it was all part of the show; the blond lady was a pretty good mime. Xellos took a bow as the crowd cheered and waved goodbye teleporting away, which only made the crowd clap louder. It was annoying for a monster to cause amusement for any being other than itself, but this was an exception just because Filia's misery was so delicious.
xoxox xox xoxox
It didn't take too long for Xellos to find Filia. She was sitting miserably on the edge of a fountain with a cupid statue in the middle holding an arrow ready to shoot it to the skies. She was still quietly sobbing, but appeared to be in the process of accepting the fact that she was mute and apparently resembled a monster, the latter of which seemed much crueler to her.
Xellos sat down next to her on the fountain's edge and gave her his usual infuriating grin. She glared in response and crossed her arms over her chest, shifting her body in her seat to face away from him. "I just thought you might want to know that-"
Before Xellos could finish expressing his latest taunt, the voice stealing monster parrot took the cupid statue for a perch and began to sing in a very familiar voice. "Ivory beyond white, everlasting infinite light, brightness that pierces the night, by your endless power destiny ignites, let the world be purified by your might!"
Xellos covered his ears in discomfort and the parrot looked like it was choking on air, until it fell dead on the bottom of the fountain where it promptly disintegrated into black smoke which dissolved into nothingness. The passer-bys pointed and clapped, they loved the little magic show surprises that the resort had.
"That song..." Filia whispered and upon doing so she realized, "my voice! I got my voice back!" She breathed in relief.
"What an awful song, of course it had to come from your voice, I could tell right away given how off-key it was." The remark was expected coming from Xellos even though he was lying.
As for Filia, she couldn't care less what Xellos' opinion was about her singing skills, but she did notice his discomfort. "That song was actually a purification spell designed to kill monsters, it's called Heaven's Light." She explained with a look of vengeance in her eyes. "I suppose singing it in a golden dragon's voice was too much for that weak monster. I wonder how effective it would be sung by the original owner of this voice."
"Not effective enough to kill me," Xellos assured and he knew he was right, as did Filia.
"Maybe effective enough to bother you?" She glared threateningly then put on a sweet expression and sang. "Ivory beyond white, everlasting infinite light, brightness that pierces the night, by your endless power destiny ignites, let the world be purified by your might!"
"Ugh, it's like the opposite of the Dragon Slave," Xellos covered his ears but soon realized that Filia wasn't casting the spell, just singing the chant that went with it without the willing concentration of energy that casting required. It still bothered him, though not as significantly as it could. He noticed with a certain amount of perplexity that Filia's choice to hold back meant that she was trying to get back at him, but not seriously trying to pick a fight.
Xellos told himself it should come as no surprise, he was a very high level monster after all and a single golden dragon didn't have a ghost of a chance of taking him down all by herself. Furthermore, even if she was prone to hit him on the head with her mace and throw out a variety of insults at him, Xellos noted that Filia wasn't seriously out to kill him. Not that it matter to him, because she couldn't.
Satisfied to have annoyed Xellos in some way, Filia triumphantly marched off. So she couldn't create a romantic atmosphere for Lina and Gourry, so she momentarily lost her voice and made a complete fool of herself, so some cold hearted people thought she looked like a monster, so what? She would get over it and get on with her life with the very effective motivation of not letting Xellos win. She would just have to pick up her plan where she left off. She would go off to find her friends and continue playing matchmaker for them in secret and Xellos wasn't going to stop her.
Shaking off the unpleasant feeling of the song and going back into neutral observer mode as much as he could, Xellos followed Filia. She blissfully made a point out of ignoring his presence and continued walking down the resort streets, searching for her friends. It was a big place and she didn't know where to start her search, Lina and Gourry would have probably been banned from the open buffet by now and must have gone elsewhere. For the time being, she just walked, keeping her eyes open for any familiar faces and pretending she didn't notice Xellos walking next to her.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Slayers. Once again, comments are welcomed and appreciated. It doesn't even have to be a long one, don't be shy even a simple "I read your story" is good because this way I know there are people interested in the next chapter.