Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Slayers: Chaos ❯ Episode 1 to 3 ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Slayers: Chaos

Beast Master's latest enigmatic plot involves Xellos and Filia temporarily switching species. The dragon Xellos and monster Filia join Lina and the others as Zelgadis becomes closer than ever to his cure. XellosxFilia, ZelgadisxAmelia, GourryxLina

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 001: Moonlight! The Legendary Maiden

The voice was melodious yet fierce, dangerous. The young merchant rushed his horse, but the large brown animal didn't pick up the pace too much. The steed was tired and the carriage was heavy, loaded with recently imported goods to sell in his village near the Coastal States. The man insisted, trying to make the horse hurry again. That voice was so detached, so eerie, yet so beautiful, it was dangerous. No doubt about it, it was the ghost of a maiden, a beautiful maiden that would lure unsuspecting men to a grim fate should they curiously follow her song.

The merchant shivered. He liked beautiful women as much as the next man, but he wasn't stupid. He wouldn't go chasing after some phantom just so he could suffer and most likely die. The echo of howls was heard in the moonlit night. "C'mon boy, hurry up!" The merchant looked at the full moon. Why did that ship have to be delayed? Why did he have to wait for it? He was better off trying to find sustenance for the next month with nothing to sell, than in this terrible danger. He whistled to calm himself as he looked left and right at the trees and shrubbery at the roadside.

The wolves' growls were getting stronger, closer. The merchant considered abandoning his cargo and riding away on his horse. He even considered leaving his horse on the cargo carriage as bait for the wolves and making his escape on foot, but it was too late. Black and gray beasts surrounded the carriage. Their sharp white fangs and claws glinted in the moonlight. They were ferocious and they would without a doubt devour him.

A woman stepped out of the shadows, the moonlight revealing her beautiful young face. She was dressed in a long white tunic with slits on the sides and golden bracelets and anklets. She showed no fear for the fact that she was surrounded by a pack of large wolves, their strong muscles noticeable under their thick black and gray fur.

The merchant gasped. The moonlight maiden was indeed beautiful as he had heard. She was lovely, ethereal, tempting... but he wasn't stupid. Any other man would chase after this phantom without a second thought, but not him, he was smarter than that. He was also intelligent enough to know that he had no escape. His nervous breaths became ragged as he imagined the wolves tearing apart his flesh. As if that fate was not terrible enough, the maiden would put a curse on him, he imagined, and his pained soul would forever wonder, knowing no rest, just like her.

The maiden smiled with more cheer than one would expect from a being that was supposed to be a specter. She extended her hand, golden bangles jiggling against each other. Her body looked solid, unlike the see through body of a ghost, but the merchant was certain it was only a carefully crafted illusion. "Would you please feed my friends?" She motioned towards the wolves with her hand.

The frightened merchant appeared to hyperventilate for a moment after hearing her speak. He knew it; she intended to feed him to her wolves! The night's soft breeze played with the mysterious maiden's short black hair, her blue eyes sparkling like stars. 'She's beautiful, she looks like a princess, she is...' His train of thought faded into nothing as darkness overtook his senses and he knew nothing more.

xoxox xox xoxox

A few days prior... Amelia, being the kind hearted soul she was, had gone off to assist a village in exorcising the ghost of a maiden that was severely affecting their lives. Men would often go missing, sometimes returning to town days later with lost expressions, muttering something about wolves. Their faces were tired and worn, their eyes bloodshot with black rings of insomnia around them, their throats dry, their flesh covered with cuts, teeth marks and dirt. Their memories were wiped clean of the recent happenings. They could only remember seeing an ethereal lady surrounded by wolves and the next thing they knew, days had gone by and they were stumbling around disoriented in the outskirts of the village. Sometimes the missing people didn't return at all.

The villagers welcome the white magic using sorceress and begged her to solve their problem. At night, Amelia and her traveling companion and fiance, Zelgadis, had gone off to investigate the maiden's appearance. The night was dark with only a crescent moon in that occasion. They ventured into the area surrounding the village, into the deserted path that no one dared to walk at night, no one except the exceptionally brave and they were the only ones at the village brave enough to overtake this mission.

The sound of howls was heard, followed by growls and rapid running. They were wolves and they were closing in. The glowing golden eyes of a larger female wolf peeked from the bushes on the road side, then she quickly retreated as if daring the pair on the road to follow her. Amelia took a step forward, Zelgadis watching her back. Rustling was heard from the bushes on the opposite side of the road and the chimera turned around. There was something on that side too.

The black wolf with golden eyes appeared again near Amelia. The beast then backed away, calm, collected and majestic. Curious, Amelia approached while Zelgadis was still tense, observing the movement in the bushes on the opposite side of the road. The chimera drew his sword in preparation for a possible upcoming attack and cast Astral Vine just in case. He assumed that Amelia was inches away behind him. In their recent travels, or as Amelia called it, their crusade of justice, they had gotten even more accustomed to fighting back to back. Albeit they usually fought bandits and other such evildoers, not wolves, or haunted wolves.

The lights of glowing eyes of a silver color were seen on Zelgadis' side of the road and he tensed up at the ready. 'Pounce, just try to pounce and I'll slice you in half...' He thought, ready for a fierce fight. At the same time, Amelia got closer to the black wolf with golden eyes; she didn't look like she would attack. The princess took a few more steps forward and looked beyond the vegetation on the roadside.

There was a woman dressed in a white tunic with slits on the sides of the skirt and abundant golden jewelry. Her skin was tan and smooth, her eyes a glowing metallic silver, her hair a shiny platinum that cascaded to her waist. The elegant woman motioned for silence by placing her right index finger over her lips. Amelia tilted her head in puzzlement and looked back towards where Zelgadis was focusing on the movement in the bushes at the other side of the road. The mysterious woman shook her head and beckoned Amelia to come closer with a gesture of her hand.

The princess curiously approached. Amelia knew this woman was no phantom, she knew exactly who this was, her name was Beast Master Zelas Metallium. In a soft melodious whisper, the monster lord spoke, "would you do me a little favor, Amelia?"

Amelia considered her words. A monster lord who wanted a favor might ask for something sinister, but she didn't want to judge Zelas on the basis of her species alone. So what if she was a monster? So was Xellos and he was a part of their group, even if he often had his own agenda and plans of manipulation. Besides, Zelas had temporarily joined forces with Lina and the others in the past for the sake of defeating a greater enemy during the latest near end of the world. She was Xellos' mother, she was Filia's mother in law, she was...getting impatient for an answer. "If it's nothing bad..."

Amelia was standing right next to Zelas by the time she replied, the black female wolf with golden eyes who answered to the name of Chaos was right next to them, calmly sitting beside her master. Zelas grinned, "not at all," then she and Amelia faded away as the monster lord teleported via the astral side to further discuss her request.

Meanwhile... 'C'mon, pounce already...' Zelgadis glared at the roadside bushes. 'I'm not going to lower my guard, so quit waiting for an opportunity!' He glared some more with growing impatience. "Stay on your guard Amelia," he knew she was aware of that necessity, but the silence between them had become uncomfortable. Why wasn't she saying something along the lines of 'come out of hiding wicked villains! You cannot escape the punishment of justice!' Or something like that? "Amelia?" There was no answer. "Amelia?" Zelgadis turned around to find nothing but empty space behind him. "Amelia!" Where did she disappear to?

As soon as Zelgadis lowered his guard, a large black beast with silver eyes jumped out of the bushes where it had been hiding waiting for an opportunity. The creature tackled Zelgadis to the ground, making him drop his sword in the process. Zelgadis struggled to get free to no avail, the wolf-like beast was as big as a horse and it had him pinned down to the ground. There was no escape...

The beast of silver eyes and black fur had Zelgadis pinned to the ground on the night of the crescent moon. The creature's fangs were sticking out of his mouth unnaturally, like a saber tooth tiger of ancient times. The being opened his mouth and Zelgadis was actually thankful that he was a chimera. He couldn't move, but maybe his rock hard skin would allow him to survive the encounter. Surprisingly, the animal's breath didn't carry the stench of blood. In fact, his mouth smelled oddly minty fresh. The creature licked Zelgadis' face affectionately like a puppy.

The chimera blinked in confusion. Upon closer inspection he realized that this was not a wolf. The large being was the size of a horse and had wolf-like features to it, but it was in fact more so a fox, a monster and fox chimera to be specific. His ears held the trademark style of foxes and he had two big fluffy fox tails that were almost as large as his massive torso. "Fang..." The creature gave Zelgadis another lick. "Get off me."

Obediently, the playful monster fox got off Zelgadis. He was another of Zelas minion's or more like a pet, a very spoiled pet. He was strong, certainly not as strong as Xellos, but none the less with the capability of a high level monster. There was a price to pay though, while circumstances were arranged so that the monster and fox fusion would not diminish his power, it was his monster malice that was sacrificed. Being partly physical, he had added defenses that purely astral beings would not have, though he was still semi-vulnerable to spells design to affect monsters, he was less vulnerable than a pure high ranked monster would be and that made a significant difference in battle. He could be fierce, but only if he was ordered to be. The rest of the time, Fang was harmless.

Zelgadis got to his feet and picked up his sword, returning it to its sheath. He examined the surrounding area. Amelia was nowhere to be found. "Where's Amelia?"

Fang sniffed around as if searching for the princess' scent. He faded to the astral side, then returned and posed like a hunter dog pointing to his master's prey towards the direction Zelgadis had been facing earlier.

"She's not there. I was looking that way," Zelgadis argued. "If Amelia had run in that direction, I would have seen her." None the less, Fang insisted in pointing in that direction and Zelgadis let out a frustrated breath. The chimera assumed that the monster fox had no idea what he was pointing at. In truth, Fang's information was accurate, as Wolf Pack Island was in that direction, albeit many miles away.

Zelgadis set out to look for Amelia in the direction he thought she had gone, with Fang following him wagging his tails. "Your master is involved in this, isn't she?" Fang offered no reply, but none was needed. He was Zelas' pet and Zelas was fond of wolves. She had to be at the center of the problem. "Beast Master!" Zelgadis boldly called. "Beast Master, are you here? Beast Master!"

The atmosphere turned heavy with dread as if there was a vast concentration of negative emotions that this time the source was not trying to hide. In a flash of black light she appeared. She wore her usual white tunic that showed off her slender legs and perfect tan. A multitude of bangles and anklets of gold jiggled together as she took a defiant step forward. Her beautiful platinum hair flowed down to her waist behind her, tugged behind her long pointy ears, her silver eyes piercing, as if looking into Zelgadis' very soul. "You called?" She grinned as she spoke in a melodious voice.

Zelgadis swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. He was generally brave, calm and composed, but for all he knew Amelia could be in grave danger. Besides, only a suicidal masochist would go without worries while in Zelas' imposing presence. "Where's Amelia?" His voice came out quieter than he expected.

"She is, and will be for some time, under my care." Zelas replied with a commanding voice that left no room for arguments.

Zelgadis considered demanding Amelia's freedom, but he knew it would be useless. Instead he attempted to obtain more information in hopes of reasoning with the monster lord. "Why?"

Zelas' grinned as she slightly leaned forward and shook her right index finger in front of her face. Her long perfectly manicured silver painted nails glittered in the light of the crescent moon, golden bangles letting soft cling-clang noises as they collided gently against each other. "That is a secret..."

Zelgadis frowned; this was a hostage situation if he ever saw one. "What do you want from Amelia?"

The same gesture from before was repeated once again with the same quote. "That is a secret..."

"Is there anything you can tell me that isn't a secret?" Zelgadis was becoming frustrated. His worry and anger were starting to overcome the caution of his survival instinct.

Zelas adopted a thoughtful expression. "Many things actually, albeit I don't see how they would be relevant to your current situation." She gave him a mocking expression of superiority. "Although..." there was a long dramatic pause. Zelgadis had been about to speak, but he stopped silent, waiting for Zelas to finish with hopes that some sort of agreement could be reached and Amelia would be freed. "I will tell you one fact. If you kill the moonlight maiden that currently haunts this village, Amelia will be freed."

The word currently was emphasized as if it was of peculiar significance, but Zelgadis did not notice. Instead he questioned, "kill? How can she be killed? Isn't she already dead? I thought she was a ghost."

"Oh no, the moonlight maiden is very much alive," Zelas assured. "If you kill her, Amelia will be free. She will be free in every sense. I assure you these words I speak are indeed true."

Zelgadis nodded. He had no doubts that Zelas was telling the truth, but she probably wasn't telling the whole truth. Even the most truthful words could be very deceiving when spoken without completion, without context. "I don't know how it would be of any benefit to you, but..." There was surely a grander scheme at work, something that would probably not come to light until it had already been set in motion, until it was too late. "I will do this task." Zelgadis would be helping a monster lord, but he would be doing it for Amelia's sake. "All that I ask for is Amelia's safety."

"Not I or those under my command shall bring any harm to her." Zelas smiled with superior confidence and noticeable mocking amusement. Her face was that of a skilled manipulator, a cunning master mind, an expert hunter, an invincible beast.

xoxox xox xoxox

Time passed and the moon would be waning that night, but for the time being it was still daylight. The village went about its business in the afternoon with people commenting about the recent happenings. The travelers that claimed they would solve the problem concerning the moonlight maiden had not been able to do so. Furthermore, the lady white mage was gone and the chimera man wondered the town and its surrounding area sleepless and troubled.

That same chimera was currently sitting at an outdoor table in front of a quaint little cafe in the company of another chimera companion, among two others. The villages assumed that the young man with black hair, silver eyes, prominent fangs, albeit certainly not as alarmingly large as in his other form, black fox ears and a tail, was a mix of human and fox, albeit this almost human shape was just a disguise and his true nature was that of a monster and fox chimera.

As for the two others who accompanied the blue skinned chimera, they were a woman with blond hair, who was twitching incessantly in annoyance. Her ears were long and pointy making people think that she was an elf. Albeit a few had noticed the golden scaly tail with a pink bow that peeked out from under her skirt, that young woman was a golden dragon. The final component of the quartet that sat at that table in front of the little cafe in a small village near the Coastal States was a man with purple hair and a seemingly eternal unwavering smile.

The purple haired man was being peculiarly greeted by the fox man, who licked his face continuously. "Xellos!" Fang cheered happily. "I missed playing with you." He was practically on Xellos' lap, which made the scene appear to be terribly wrong from the point of view of gutter-minded or simply misinformed nosy passer-bys. Albeit Fang was perfectly capable of communicating with words and following instructions, he was an innocent pet at heart and saw nothing wrong with licking his master's favorite minion who was also like a secondary master to him.

"I know, but this terrible dragon wants my attention all to herself." Xellos laughed and petted Fang on the head. "She has her reasons to want me around though; she's so stupid and helpless. If it weren't for me, she wouldn't even be able to dress herself!"

Zelgadis waited patiently for the antics to pass, holding his face in his hands, elbows resting on the table, cup of tea untouched. "You piece of raw garbage!" Filia shifted abruptly, her tail tapping one of the table's legs, causing the surface to shake. Her half consumed cup of tea was almost spilled, but she saved it on time.

"What?" Xellos adopted a look of unfitting innocence, making no effort to deny the fact that he was somehow used to answering to 'raw garbage' by now. "Did I get that backwards?"

Filia's face burned red with embarrassment and anger. She clenched her teeth and mentally counted to ten.

xoxox xox xoxox

Episode 002: Possession! Cue The Exorcist

People were staring as the monster fox chimera licked the purple haired man like a puppy, except the passer bys who didn't know him couldn't picture him as a pet when he looked mostly human. Even if no on else seemed to be concerned, Xellos because he was a shameless monster and Zelgadis because he had his mind on other matters, Filia did care. "Fang, I think you've licked Xellos enough."

"Jealous, are we?" Xellos teased.

"I like you too, Filia!" Moving from his position next to Xellos, Fang looked ready to tackle Filia and lick her face, but he stopped when Xellos grabbed the spiky black collar he wore around his neck, that match the spiky wristbands and the overall look of his dark outfit that some would call goth.

"Now, now, Fang, that's not how you greet Filia," Xellos reminded in a sweet yet serious warning tone. "I've taught you this before, how do you greet Filia?"

"I give her my paw or hand..." Fang extended his hand towards Filia, who shook it.

"That's a good boy," Xellos petted Fang on the head with approval and he wagged his fox tail in response.

Filia grinned, "so you taught Fang how to properly greet me as in not to lick me... jealous, are we?"

"Goodness no!" Xellos laughed with a mix of the amusement that comes from hearing the impossible and the offense that comes from hearing the unthinkable. "I just don't want poor Fang to lick a filthy dragon. He could get sick and even die!"

"Then why aren't you dead?" Filia retorted with what she thought was a smart comeback... until it left her mouth.

Zelgadis slowly lifted his head from his hands to look at Filia as she rotated her head towards him. Her expression changed from the fierce glare she was giving Xellos to a pleading look that begged that any further inquiries be forgotten. "Can we move on to more important matters?" Zelgadis voiced.

Filia straitened in her chair and nodded sagely. "Of course, why did you call us here so urgently?" The letter that had been delivered to them instantly via a spell that summoned a monster courier bird sounded rather urgent. Filia was wondering if it had anything to do with the bad omens she had been getting. She kept spilling things, misplacing items and so on. It could signify the coming of a greater tragedy, a much greater loss. Or maybe it was just more of Xellos mischief. At least that was what Filia thought until she read Zelgadis' letter.

"Oh yes, Zelgadis, do tell," Xellos feigned concerned interest. "Why did you call us here interrupting our vacation? Is it that you had a fight with Amelia and she's not giving you any attention, so you want to share your misery by interrupting and preventing me from getting any attention from Filia? And by attention I mean-"

"Shut up, raw garbage!" Filia demanded, slamming her fist into the table. Her tea was spilled and though she hurried to set the cup up straight and clean the mess with napkins, the tea was already lost. "I've been having so many bad omens lately." She furiously wiped at the wooden table with the napkin. "I keep spilling things and losing things. At first I thought it was just Xellos, but your letter's timing has to be more than a coincidence!"

Zelgadis pushed away his cup of tea, setting it in front of Filia, "here." He hadn't even touched it and he didn't feel like drinking it anyway. "I think all of these unfortunate occurrences really are Xellos' pranks." This was no time to worry about superstitions or premonitions or uncertain things when there was so much more to worry about.

"I suppose..." Filia sighed, "thank you," she took a sip of tea; it had grown cold by then.

"Meow," a black cat with shiny golden eyes walked by and meowed at the group, specifically at Zelgadis.

Xellos grinned, "I thought you were leaving the hints to me," he whispered under his breath. The cat's eyes met Xellos and just as suddenly as the feline came, she was gone.

"Black cats are a warning," Filia commented with wide eyes. "Humans say they are bad luck, but some dragons believe that felines, such as cats, especially the black ones, have an extra sense. They don't bring back luck, they warn you of a coming disaster." She paused, shaking her head. "But that's just a superstition..."

A howl was heard and it was hard to tell if it was a dog or a wolf. "A howl means that death is near..." Xellos warned with a grin. The shadow of a bird passed overhead and Xellos looked up, silently prompting the others to look with the action. It was a dove; it flew in circles above them continuously. "Crows are bad luck too." As Xellos spoke, Zelgadis and Filia automatically looked at him.

"What crow?" Filia inquired. "That's a," she looked up, the bird that she was sure was a white dove before was now a black crow. "Okay, now I know you're messing with us! I'm sure all these bad omens are only a coincidence!"

"Right, I have a real problem to deal with and have no time to worry about superstitions and broken mirrors!" Zelgadis agreed. He had finally lost his patient and needed to communicate his dilemma.

"You broke a mirror?" Xellos grinned mockingly. "With that face I'm not surprised."

Zelgadis glared, "I'm not talking to you." He turned his attention towards Filia. "I'm sorry to have called you here so suddenly, but I really need your help with an exorcism. The exorcism is... I should tell you the full story first..."

Thus Zelgadis began to tell a story that took place in the recent past. He told his newly arrived companions about how he and Amelia had tried to investigate the moonlight maiden. He told them about Amelia's disappearance and about Zelas' involvement. Or rather, he told Filia, because he was sure that Xellos already knew. "That's what happened..." the chimera finally concluded at least the first part of his tale.

Filia was looking shocked, but she also had a 'should have known' look in her eyes. Xellos was giving Zelgadis a look of false innocence that he was not even trying to mask as being real. Taking a deep breath, Zelgadis continued. "After I made that deal with Zelas, I realized exactly what she meant when she said Amelia would be free if I killed the moonlight maiden. Beast Master wasn't lying, but I can't possibly hurt the moonlight maiden in any way! A few days ago, on the night of the full moon..."

xoxox xox xoxox

Zelgadis was prepared for the worse, or so he thought. He researched exorcism spells and tried to remember every detail of what Amelia did when she had to exorcise a few wandering spirits during their travels. Armed with great determination and a repertoire of magic, Zelgadis ventured out on the night of the full moon.

Zelgadis spotted some people ahead, wolves, a human figure, a carriage. He quickly approached, making no effort to hide his presence, by now he knew that a battle was inevitable, so there was no sense in delaying it. A heavy mist invaded the atmosphere as a ball of light formed in his hand, yet it couldn't pierce the darkness of the miasma. He threw the ball of light at the human figure before he could really see her features. He wondered if she dodged, she most likely did.

The miasma covered the whole area, the merchant in the carriage was unconscious and the wolves growled threateningly, their fierce eyes glowing aggressively. "Who dares to attack my friends?" A woman's voice, very much like Amelia's, called out in her justice speech tone. "Evil doer, I will not let you harm them!" Howls were heard followed by the same voice, Amelia's voice, loudly declaring, "Fireball!"

Zelgadis dodged out of the way of the barrage of fireballs heading straight towards him. "Amelia!" He called out her name, this wasn't the moonlight maiden, this was Amelia.

The mist around the area faded slightly. Neither Amelia nor Zelgadis could explain where it came from and where it went so suddenly, but Zelas surely could. "Zelgadis?" There she stood, wearing a white tunic with slits on the sides of the skirt and abundant golden jewelry, anklets and bracelets that jiggled together with her every movement.

This was Amelia alright, and for a moment, Zelgadis felt relieved. He didn't understand why she was in the company of all those wolves and why she was dressed like Zelas, but she was apparently unharmed. "I'm glad you're safe," he took a step forward and the wolves blocked his path. He stopped, more concerned about Amelia then himself, yet the wolves didn't appear to be aggressive towards her.

As if remembering something, Amelia's face became serious. The miasma around her increased, it gave her an otherworldly appearance. Her dress and hair slightly moved in a breeze that seemed to be present only around her and the mist that surrounded her somehow made her voice echo. "I am the moonlight maiden..." Amelia spoke in a lost yet serious tone. "All those who defy me shall perish! Retreat at once!"

Zelgadis stepped back, he understood, or so he thought. The moonlight maiden needed to be exorcised after all, she was in Amelia, she had taken over her! That's what Zelas meant when she spoke of the current moonlight maiden. Amelia had become the moonlight maiden since that time when she disappeared. Zelgadis formed a ball of light in his hands; the spell floated towards Amelia but had no effect on her. The chimera assumed that he simply wasn't skilled enough in exorcism to accomplish this very vital task of freeing Amelia from the spirit that he concluded was possessing her. He couldn't fight Amelia, he could never bring himself to harm her.

Zelas wasn't lying, if the current moonlight maiden was killed, Amelia would be free, her spirit would be free to pass on, free in death. It wasn't a lie; it was a very cruel truth. Zelgadis backed away. "Amelia..." Their eyes met and there was a hint of something. An apology, a request for understanding, a deep connection, a consolation, the silent promise that somehow everything would be okay, trust, love, he saw it all in a split second in her eyes. Then he retreated.

Zelgadis ran back to the village as fast as he could. The being that had entrapped Amelia, making her spirit a prisoner of her own body was strong. He couldn't exorcise it, but he could think of someone who might be able to. Someone who knew holy magic, someone who was a golden dragon, someone like Filia...

xoxox xox xoxox

The moon was waning that night, making the atmosphere around the village darker. Filia lit another lantern and set it up on the side of the road. "This is a special ritual exorcism spell," she had explained when they began the task. "It's powerful against wandering spirits, but gentle with the host."

Zelgadis set another lantern on the ground on the side of the road and stepped back to examine their work. There were lanterns all over on the sides of the rural path leading to the village near the Coastal States. "Do you really think these lights will attract the spirit of the moonlight maiden that's possessing Amelia?"

"Of course!" Filia assured. "The spirit will be drawn to the light and will want to follow the path of lanterns, from the dimmest towards the brightest. Then at the end of the path where the brightest lights are, we have the spell circle all set up. Once Amelia steps into it, she'll be free from that spirit!" After finishing her explanation, Filia glared over at Xellos. "It'll work, right, raw garbage?"

Xellos grinned in return, shaking his finger in front of his face. "That is a secret." He definitely knew more than he was telling, as it was often the case and this occasion was no exception.

Filia huffed, "right... Places everyone!" She and Xellos went to hide behind the bushes on one side of the road and Zelgadis did the same on the opposite side.

The three waited silently until eventually a heavy mist covered the area and only the light of the lanterns could be seen. Amelia walked down the road curiously with several wolves surrounding her. "It doesn't look like any lone travelers are coming this way today. I wonder who set up all these lanterns..." She curiously made her way towards the spell circle which was hidden by the fog. She stopped, standing on top of it along with a few wolves, completely unaffected.

Filia was sure she drew all the symbols correctly, maybe she should pair the spell written on the ground with a holy exorcism spell to be chanted and then it would activate, although it should have been automatic. She chanted softly, though Xellos breathing on her neck was somewhat distracting. She considered elbowing him, but then he would probably make a noise, give away their position and blame it on her. Filia's quiet chants activated the spell circle, triggering it even if nothing actually on it appear to be doing so. The spell Filia chanted, along with the effects of the circle were useless though.

The ground glowed, Amelia looked at it curiously, then she calmly stepped away, exiting the circle on the other side of the path as if it was nothing. The wolves followed her nonchalantly as the mist cleared. "Let's check the roads of the other side, we might find someone to feed you there."

Zelgadis, Filia and Xellos went out of hiding. Frowning deeply, Zelgadis looked at the circle on the ground as its glow faded. "It didn't work."

"I don't understand," Filia was shocked. "I'm sure I did it right, I've done this before, there was no mistake!" The answer to this mystery eluded her. "Maybe the spirit that is possessing Amelia is buried deep inside her soul. This is bad, if the spirit merges with her own soul she'll be its slave forever. But Amelia is strong, so I'm sure there's still a chance to save her. We'll have to try a more complicated exorcism." Filia was determined to save her friend.

Xellos was still grinning in amusement while Zelgadis glared. "If you're holding back vital information that could save Amelia..." The chimera threatened in warning.

"Save Amelia?" Xellos innocently questioned. "Save her from what?" He pretended not to know what Zelgadis was talking about.

Zelgadis groaned in exasperation. "You're impossible!" He concluded, frowning at Xellos. He was sure that Xellos knew something vital and he was determined to get the information out of him. "I'm going back to the inn," Zelgadis announced. Although the truth was that he wouldn't be getting much sleep, he had a lot of plotting and planning to do and he had a pretty good idea of a plan that could work to make Xellos speak.

With Zelgadis gone, Xellos and Filia were left alone on the road, surrounded by lanterns. She glared at him exasperated. "How could you hold back your information at a time like this? Amelia is in danger!"

"She looked perfectly safe to me." Xellos gave Filia an innocent smile that she was determined not to be tricked by.

"You're under Beast Master's orders to keep quiet, aren't you?" Filia pouted.

Xellos once again made his trademark pose and replied with his most well known quote. "That is a secret."

Filia pouted more deeply, then she smiled mischievously. They were alone, there was no one watching. "Can't you tell me?" She wrapped her arms around him, pressing her body against his. "I can keep a secret."

Xellos returned the embrace. "Maybe..." he tempted.

Well, 'maybe' was better than 'no,' and so much better than 'that is a secret.' "Only maybe?" She moved her face closer to his.

"Maybe..." He repeated in a quiet tone. "Maybe we should finish this discussion at the inn..."

xoxox xox xoxox

The next morning, Filia pouted and Xellos grinned. She glared and he grinned some more. The random occupants of the inn's common room and small restaurant paid them no mind, having no idea of what their silent argument consisted. "I did say maybe," Xellos reminded with a smug look.

Filia growled in response with a fierce, "raw garbage!"

"You shouldn't be so bitter, stupid dragon," Xellos chuckled with a teasing tone. "You enjoyed your little game of bribery too."

Filia's face turned scarlet and she suddenly found the table cloth to be fascinatingly interesting. "Shut up..." A moment of silence passed between them, during which, albeit she didn't look up, Filia knew exactly what Xellos' expression was. He was still looking smug, still grinning from ear to ear, eyes squinting with joy.

Before Xellos could throw out his next tease, Zelgadis arrived at the table with a peculiar request. "Xellos... I need to talk with you, man to man, or man to monster or something like that."

"Or freak to man?" Xellos chirped cheerfully. He was clearly in a good mood that morning.

Zelgadis huffed, "whatever, just come talk over a drink for a moment."

"Sure, why not?" Xellos agreed a lot more easily than anyone expected. "See you later, Filia," he winked at her before following Zelgadis upstairs and she pouted in response.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was a little early to be drinking by the definition of most, but Zelgadis didn't look like he had just woken up, he looked like he stayed up all night, even though he said he was going back to the inn the previous night. Xellos wouldn't really know, as his mind was occupied in other matters at the time after he teleported Filia and himself from the road directly to their room at the local inn. The two men sat down at a small table in Zelgadis' room where there was a bottle lacking a label and two glasses.

Zelgadis poured a pair of drinks, "I think it should be obvious why I called you here." The chimera picked up his glass and took a sip. The liquid was strong and it stung all the way down his throat.

"Yes," Xellos lifted his glass towards Zelgadis, "cheers to captain obvious." He took a drink, he was a monster, so it's not like he expected to get drunk off common alcohol. Still, the brew had a particularly stinging quality to it that felt like drinking fire. It was a peculiar taste that rung out bitterly and yet it was the kind of bitter that was good in its own way. He finished the glass.

Zelgadis filled Xellos' glass again and took another sip of his own. "Amelia could be in danger and you know something about that, don't you?"

"That is a secret," Xellos drained his glass again. He didn't know what this stuff was, but it was good.

xoxox xox xoxox

Episode 003: Misleading! Paraphrasing Honesty

Xellos and Zelgadis were at the chimera's inn room drinking and talking. The drink was quite peculiar; it tasted almost like the substance known as astral wine, which was also called radioactive rum by some. It was a potion so strong that it could even make a monster drunk. Xellos paused, looking at the few drops of bronze liquid in his glass. He set it down in front of him and looked at Zelgadis. "What is this drink?"

Zelgadis filled Xellos' glass again, "radioactive rum," the chimera admitted.

"Not quite..." Xellos took a smaller sip this time, taking a moment to taste the substance. "Radioactive rum, or as some call it, astral wine, has a very strong burning sensation, but it's also surprisingly sweet. This stuff is mixed with something that makes it bitter. It gives it a more alcoholic taste, but the substance of it is watered down."

"True," Zelgadis admitted before finally finishing his first glass. "It's still good though, isn't it?"

"It is," Xellos admitted. "But offering me a drink won't get you any information."

"I suppose not... Not with a common drink at least." Zelgadis gave Xellos a victorious grin. "You know what they say..."

The alarms in Xellos head went off full force. Had he walked into a trap? What could Zelgadis possibly do with a drink? The radioactive rum was watered down, it wasn't enough to get him drunk, not yet at least and he would certainly stop before that happened. "What do they say?"

"Only truths you shall speak, not a lie you shall breathe, until the time is through, because you drank the witch's brew." That wasn't a real saying, it was a spell that Zelgadis had chanted.

Xellos felt an odd warmth inside of him, but just as quickly as it came, it was gone. He gave Zelgadis a smug mocking look. "It didn't work. Although I see now what this is. It's a truth serum activated by a spell. You must have already taken the antidote before you called me over so that you could drink without being affected. You probably also temporarily immunized yourself to the effects of drunkenness as an extra precaution, didn't you?"

"Yes," Zelgadis admitted. "It is true that you're an astral being, but this truth serum doesn't aim for the physical body because it's not a real potion. This is a liquefied spell; it can be used against purely astral beings."

Xellos' look was still victorious and superior. "It's true that this may work from the astral side, but it doesn't work on monsters. You could use it on non-physical beings like ghosts, the spell I mean. Liquefying this particular spell to get a monster to drink it is useless because of the way monsters are made."

"This spell makes telling the truth irresistible. A lie would feel painful, like an astral attack and you'll instinctually avoid it subconsciously," Zelgadis explained. "Normally, I should be able to ask questions and order you to answer them, but I'm not expecting this to be fully effective on you."

"I'm not expecting it to be effective at all," Xellos confidently picked up the bottle and took a long drink. He set it down on the table defiantly.

"It'll work," Zelgadis insisted, "It just takes a little while to work." He held on to that hope. "Even if you are under Beast Master's orders to remain silent, it's not your fault if you had no choice, right?"

"It would be my fault if I placed myself in such a situation, not that I would," Xellos replied.

Zelgadis frowned, "it's not like I'm planning to tell Zelas you told me anything. I just want to save Amelia."

"How considerate of you not to incriminate me and here I thought you hated me," Xellos' voice was dripping with sarcasm.

"Last year you were temporarily transformed into a human," Zelgadis reminded.

"So?" Xellos inquired, truly curious as to what that had to do with the current situation.

"You're not as vulnerable to positive emotions as you used to be before that experience. That is because when you were human such elements of human nature became integrated into your very being. When you turned back into a monster, though you once again became a purely astral creature, the emotions that you were able to have as a human were not lost," Zelgadis reminded.

Xellos poured himself another drink, the bottle was almost empty, "another cheer for captain obvious!" He drank. "I thought the whole group was aware of that since last year, even Gourry. So I have added defenses against Amelia's wonderful life songs. I could even feed off them though the taste is so sweet it would still make me cringe. Anyway, I'm stronger because of what happened last year. How does that benefit you now?"

"The smallest hint of a positive emotion can be used to make this spell work. That emotion will be transformed into overwhelming honesty. You're still a monster; you still feed primarily on annoyance and negative emotions, though you can also feed on other emotions now. It's not completely effective, but it should have some limited effect, because you're not composed of pure negativity anymore. It'll be enough..." Zelgadis took a deep breath and asked. "What is Amelia doing for Zelas?"

"Amelia is..." Xellos clamped his mouth shut, he almost answered the question. Oh no... Zelgadis had a point; the liquid spell did have an effect on him, albeit limited. He could still resist it since he had a strong mind. "That is a secret." Xellos grinned victoriously at Zelgadis. "I'm not in the habit of lying anyway," he reminded.

"Why did Zelas take Amelia and don't say it's a secret!" Zelgadis insisted.

"That is..." Xellos paused; his words weren't coming out right. "That is..." he had to fight it! "That is... a..." He was being truthful with his words, but he was also technically hiding the truth, so it wasn't full honesty. "I think Filia is very pretty." He blurted out before he could stop himself. At least his irresistible urge to tell the truth was gone with the revelation of a different kind of guarded truth.

Zelgadis gave Xellos a curious look, then grinned. "You really love Filia, don't you?" He leaned forward on the table, his face in his hands, elbows on the wooden surface.

Xellos remained completely silent for several seconds. He clenched his teeth, he wanted to say something, he needed to say something. Then he glared at Zelgadis, still keeping his silence. A ball of black energy with purple lightning around it formed in his hand as he motioned threateningly.

"You want the antidote, don't you?" Zelgadis remained defiant. "I don't have it and I don't intend to give it to you. Please understand that I need to do this for Amelia's sake and I'm not backing down no matter what."

Xellos pointed at the ball of energy in his right hand with his left, then pointed at Zelgadis with a full open eyed glare.

"Are you trying to say you'll kill me? I don't think Zelas has ordered that." Zelgadis maintained his resolve. "Filia would be very upset."

The ball of dark energy Xellos held dissipated. He huffed and turned away, exiting the room and Zelgadis was quick to follow.

xoxox xox xoxox

Downstairs at the inn's restaurant, Zelgadis kept annoying Xellos so he would say something. The monster general priest could still keep a secret, but he found that though he could resist the spell of truth, he had to bargain with another truth to calm his impulses of honesty. "Just say it," Zelgadis teased, "you love her, admit it, shout it at the top of your lungs. You only said it once didn't you? It was only that one time when you two thought you were going to die. That was more than a year ago."

Xellos paused, glared at Zelgadis and making questioning motions with his hands. "I know because Filia told Amelia and Amelia told me." Zelgadis admitted. Xellos made a very grumble-like gesture, but refused to voice anything. "I bet Filia wants to hear it again," Zelgadis continued trying to torture Xellos into releasing some useful information. Xellos crossed his arms and stumped his feet in a sign of stubbornness. "Do you love Filia?" Zelgadis insisted. "Do you? Do you? Do you?"

Xellos felt his eye twitch. Zelgadis was easier to put up with back when he hated him, back when he was less annoying and gloomier, before he became Amelia's fiance and her cheer started to rub off on him. "I lo..." Xellos clenched his teeth. "I lo..." He had to say something, but not that. "I loathe slugs!" The purple haired monster finally shouted.

From across the room at the table where Filia had remained, there was a shrill scream. "Slugs!" A petite redhead that had arrived and joined the golden dragon's table while Xellos and Zelgadis were upstairs leapt into her swordsman companion's arms. She wrapped her arms around him in a panic and buried her frightened face in his chest. Fortunately, Gourry was able to calm the panicked Lina after a few minutes and the group settled back into the table. Lina was tempted to remain sitting on Gourry's lap, where she felt protected with his strong arms around her, but she didn't want to look like a coward.

The petite red haired sorceress glared at Xellos from across the table. "I'm still waiting for an explanation and an apology meal!" She growled angrily. "Slug false alarms are not something to throw around like it's nothing!" She waved her right index finger back and forth accusingly at Xellos. "If you keep crying slug, one of these days you'll find a real slug and when you call for help no one will believe you!"

"I'm not afraid of slugs," Xellos clarified. "I merely think they are disgusting, that's different."

Lina pouted and continued glaring and shouting. "I completely agree on that they're disgusting and beyond disgusting, but it's no excuse! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Too much, probably," Xellos truthfully replied.

"Too much indeed," Zelgadis agreed with a challenging look.

"Before any unwelcome interrogations take place," Xellos opened his eyes momentarily, giving Zelgadis a serious look. "I would like to inquire how you were able to mix that brew..."

Zelgadis' expression turned solemn, "I had some help..."

xoxox xox xoxox

Zelgadis' memories took him to the events of the previous night. He had run into none other than Amelia in the outskirts of the village. The recent attempt at an exorcism had apparently failed, but perhaps not completely. Amelia looked into his eyes then set a scroll on the ground. She walked away a few steps towards Zelas who faded out of the darkness, then they both disappeared.

Zelgadis thought that Amelia's eyes were too focused for someone who was possessed, yet Zelas was right there, witnessing everything. He didn't understand what this was about, but he had to read that scroll. The chimera picked it up and stretched it, finding a peculiar recipe that took ten odd steps to prepare. He didn't know what to think of it, it felt like a trap, but he couldn't ignore this.

The first step was simple enough; it consisted of gathering a list of ingredients. The market was closed at night, but Zelgadis thought of this as enough of an emergency to put his lock picking skills to the test. The second step was to meticulously measure the assortment of fruits, berries and herbs. Then the third step was to boil them in a pot. The mix of the concoction was strange and it smelled foul at first, but as the ingredients were further cooked, the foul scent went away.

The forth step consisted of putting the mix in a wooden vessel and dancing an odd ritual around it. The fifth step involved passing the mix into a ceramic container and singing a ridiculous song to it until the concoction changed colors. The six step required putting the mix into three round completely sealed containers that would not spill and juggling them without dropping them for a at least a full minute. Zelgadis had some trouble with that step, but he managed to do it.

The seventh step required placing the mix in blue bowl and stirring it with the hair of a chimera, without actually adding the hair. For that Zelgadis used his own hair. The eight step required a righteous speech to be given directed towards the mix, which would have to be transferred to a yellow bowl. Zelgadis quote Amelia a lot for that step.

The ninth step required a confession of ten secrets. Zelgadis was not pleased with this but if it was to save Amelia, he would speak of what he hid the most. Albeit this turned out even more difficult than he thought because he didn't even have that many secrets anymore. He felt like he was being watched even if it was supposed to be just the concoction and him. He figured Zelas must be somewhere in the shadows. Finally, the tenth step was to mix the concoction with radioactive rum. The substance appeared in an unmarked bottle out of the shadows and somehow the chimera simply knew that had to be it.

xoxox xox xoxox

Xellos' face was invaded with disbelief for a split second until his features became thoughtful. Apparently, Zelas had actually assisted Zelgadis in preparing that terrible concoction that Xellos certainly didn't feel any better about drinking after he found out how it was made. He knew about Amelia and about why Zelas had her under custody, but he didn't know what this was about.

Zelgadis crossed his arms and gave Xellos a direct look. "Now I will ask a question."

"What about my meal?" Lina pouted. She wasn't entirely sure what was going on and she would require a full explanation from the beginning rather than an out of context update to understand, but there were more pressing matters to tend to before she could ask about that.

No one supplied Lina with an answer, instead Zelgadis continued. "What can I do to save Amelia?"

Peculiarly, Xellos didn't resist the urge to speak, "nothing."

The atmosphere grew cold and Zelgadis hoped that the reply was simply due to the effects of the brew wearing off. He hoped and wished with all his heart that it wasn't true. He had to save Amelia, he simply had to. "You're lying..."

"I'm not lying," Xellos grinned.

Zelgadis decided to test that claim. "Do you love Filia?"

Xellos placed his hands over his ears, "la la la, I can't hear you!"

Zelgadis continued the odd barrage of questions while Filia, Lina and Gourry watched on in confusion. "Do you simply adore every aspect of her? Why don't you just say it?"

"Life is wonderful!" Xellos sang in desperation.

Zelgadis relentlessly insisted. "Say it for all of us to hear!"

Unable to resist the urge of honesty any longer Xellos blurted out, "I love Milgazia's cookies!" His hands immediately covered his mouth as his violet eyes opened in shock, annoyance and mortification. Then he glared at Zelgadis. "I really want to kill you right now!"

The chimera slumped in his seat, his expression heartbroken. "You're still affected by the brew... You were telling the truth before. There's nothing I can do to save Amelia..." Even so, Zelgadis wasn't giving up; he would keep trying for as long as there was life left in him.

xoxox xox xoxox

Several days earlier at Wolf Pack Island... It was a moonless night, though the crescent moon was well on its way and it would be seen in a few days. Beast Master Zelas Metallium was feeling rather bored. It had been a year ago that a series of peculiar events resulted in the marriage of her general priest Xellos to a golden dragon, Filia. Zelas stretched in her throne and yawned. She didn't actually need to stretch or yawn or even breathe, but it was all part of the realism of her physical form, they were details that she had become accustomed to emulate.

She considered what to do. The world had made remarkable progress recovering from the near apocalypse, but she had leveled the playing field with some dragon hunting so the monster race wasn't in any trouble. With the passing of time and the achievement of a balance that was tipped in her favor ever so slightly, yet ever so significantly, Zelas eased her hunts and decided to take a little vacation. She would pop over to Seyruun, the new location of Filia's shop and home, and annoy the golden dragon for a while when she was particularly unoccupied. Val was a fine little mischief maker, Xellos had taught him well.

The monster lord considered annoying Filia for entertainment, but decided against it. This was their anniversary and Xellos probably wanted Filia's wrath all to himself, not to mention other emotions that quite frankly, Zelas did not wish to dwell on. She would wait a few days and than she would go annoy Filia. Or perhaps she should pick on someone else for a while. Lina maybe? Her explosive temper was certainly entertaining and like Filia, she was so easy to rile. How about Milgazia? He was so serious and diplomatic; he would certainly present a challenge to be angered, maybe too much of a challenge. Sometimes Zelas found that she consumed more energy trying to annoy Mr. Polite and Proper than what she got as nutrients when he finally started to show his misery.

Who else could she bother? Little miss princess of justice? Or perhaps her chimera fiance? He might be fun to pick on. A smile spread over Zelas' alluring features. "Zelgadis..." she considered the idea, "Zelgadis..." she gave it further thought and her eyes glinted with mischief. "Zelgadis..." it was decided. Thus the queen trickery chose a new target, Zelas' next victim would be Zelgadis Graywords.

To be Continued

I used the Kanzaka Dex and Slayers Universe for information references on characters, places, magic and other details. I don't own the anime, video games, movies or tv series mentioned on this site. I'm only doing this for fun and no profits are being made. The Slayers novels were written by Hajime Kanzaka. There are a whole bunch of the challenge themes from Beloved Enemy scattered throughout both parts of the story.