Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Slayers: Chaos ❯ Episode 48 ( Chapter 45 )

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Slayers: Chaos

Episode 048: Abduction! Sneaky Thieves and Tomboy Maidens

After dinner was done, Milgazia and Flagoon went around the Seyruun kingdom, passing the time at her leisure. After the sun went down, Flagoon stopped in front of an inn. "Shall we get a room?"

It was the easiest question Milgazia had received so far since he started traveling with Flagoon. "Yes." He answered simply.

They went into the inn and Flagoon only said, "give us a room." With a carefree friendly smile.

Milgazia remained oblivious to the assumptions of the inn keeper for a moment until the elderly lady spoke. "A suite for a couple?"

Milgazia choked on air, "no, two rooms please." He spoke as soon as he regained his voice. Diplomacy, diplomacy, he had to remember diplomacy and not make any shocked faces. He would have to do this with a mindset as if facing a monster, trying not to feed it, if he was going to keep his expression on check. But wouldn't that be disrespectful? None the less he clearly had to try harder.

"If you want to pay extra," Flagoon rolled her eyes. "There's nothing wrong with two friends sharing, I thought the slumber party would, if anything, help you open up a bit. You're still kind of avoiding me and I want to be your friend."

Milgazia closed his eyes for a moment before replying. Flagoon seemed to be semi-unaware of gender differences sometimes. "It's just not proper."

"Race?" Flagoon inquired with a frown. She didn't think the fact that she was human and he was a dragon should be such a wall between them.

"Gender," Milgazia didn't really expect her to fully understand.

"I can wield a sword just fine," Flagoon pouted, while the inn keeper watched the exchange with perplexity.

"That's not the point," Milgazia sighed.

"You remind me of the kids from the village I grew up in, always fussing about cooties." Flagoon recalled with a small laugh and the slight wrinkling of the nose. "Have it your way mister, but I thought falling asleep exchanging tales of adventure would be fun. We'd be like real comrades then. I'll get you to come out of your shell yet." Flagoon's words, though will intended, left Milgazia with a heavy feeling of foreboding.

xoxox xox xoxox

At an inn at the Coastal States, different from the one they had been at before, Xellos and Filia were spending the night. Xellos could still taste her uneasiness seeping through the thin wall that separated their neighboring rooms. It was delicious, yet it also made him curious about her full story. She had a charm to remove, which he had no intentions of helping her with, though he was pretty sure he could take it off if he really tried. She also mentioned having a home to return to, even if she didn't say where it was. By the way she glanced around as they walked down the streets earlier, he gathered that she was lost. The name of the 'Coastal States' meant little to her, as she had only giving him a look of confusion when she asked where they were and he gave her that information. She was obviously not from that area.

Another mystery was how Zelas found her. Xellos didn't ask for the details, but he assumed that another monster, possibly Fang had fetched her at Zelas' command, since Beast Master herself could not leave Wolf Pack Island for the reason of the barrier. She might have been a random girl. Well, not entirely random, if he gave it some further thought. She did conclude that she was rescued from the sea. Maybe she was among the crew of one of those crazy voyages to try to get past the barrier. The ship must have been destroyed by Deep Sea Dolphin and maybe the remains were thrown near Wolf Pack Island, where Zelas could have found the girl herself, then sent her over.

Yet the girl, sweet and innocent as she appeared to be, had shown no signs of mourning lost family or friends. Why else would she be on that ship if not because her parents, or siblings, or family, or friends, were on the ship? She wasn't a sailor, or at least she didn't appear to be one. She seemed to be a stay at home damsel that spent her time walking through her garden and putting flowers in her hair. A delicate pretty girl to be betrothed to a rich family and... And now the theory was turning into a novel. Yet it could be the answer. A pretty, innocent girl had little reasons to be lost and alone, if not because she ran away and that could explain the taste of guilty betrayal and quiet resignation to deal with the situation that radiated off her. She regretted running away and wanted to return to her family and earned their approval again.

Perhaps that choker, which she claimed was a good luck charm and Xellos didn't bother to check if it was, served as proof of her willingness to run away, hence why she wanted it so badly gone. It was silly indeed that humans thought that by powering up their feeble existence with amulets they could actually break through the barrier. Maybe that was her story, Xellos quietly mused on it. Moving his thoughts to a more imperative topic, he thought about Flagoon and Milgazia.

She was leading the way in her unpredictable traveling pattern, full of unnecessary twists and turns, random stops and senseless back tracking that was nothing like the systematic Milgazia. Though he changed his patterns of travel as needed, he at least stayed clear on the goal, which would hint at said goal and once Xellos knew it, his movements would be easier to predict, though the dragon elder didn't stray from his clan's home at Dragon's Peak at the Kataart Mountains often anyway. Flagoon was a wanderer and an unpredictable, peculiar one at that. This mission was becoming most interesting indeed.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was a new day and Xellos moved into the southern region of Ralteague. Filia was still following him with little ideas on what to do beyond a very general plan. He needed to get some news on Milgazia and Flagoon to know he was close enough not to miss anything too important, but not too close so he wouldn't be noticed. A group of men suddenly approached Xellos and Filia as they entered the town. "Stop right there, you fiend!"

Filia looked around in confusion; unsure about who they were talking about. Then she noticed they were glaring at Xellos. He wondered if they had somehow seen through his disguise and knew he was a monster. Yet the men in front of them were humans. How did they figure it out? Maybe if he put up a big enough act he could change their minds, then again, they looked pretty convinced and tasted quite angry.

Filia mused that these humans must be weary of the one she knew as Romeo Wolf simply because he was a stranger. With how tricky some humans could be, if they were anything like Venus, she supposed that they had to be careful with who they trusted. "Please stop, Mr. Wolf is a good person!"

The group looked at each other unsure, but Xellos could taste that the seed of doubt was already growing in their minds. For him it was the benefit of the doubt. "Young lady, the leader of the group looked at Filia, are you sure he's not kidnapping you?"

Filia blinked in confusion, "no?" That was certainly an unexpected question.

"You're not sure?" The leader of the villagers asked suspiciously.

"Yes, I mean no, I mean I'm not being kidnapped!" Filia tried to clarify. "I am traveling with Mr. Wolf of my own free will," she assured.

"Oh..." The defensive men looked at each other unconvinced. "Mr. Wolf, was it? Would you mind telling us what your relation is to the lady?"

They didn't look alike, so Xellos couldn't say they were relatives. He was curious about why the mob felt complied to question him like that, but first things first; he had to get rid of their suspicions. "I'm her protector." That wasn't entirely true, but it wasn't entirely false either. She was traveling with him and if he was going to keep up appearances he'd had to keep her safe from any dangers they encountered on the road. Besides, it sounded like a more solid story than simply saying they were random traveling companions with the villagers' initial reactions to them.

The leader of the mob seemed to mull over the answer he received and finally he decided that it sounded true enough. "I see... In that case, I apologize for our accusations. A lot of young girls have been getting kidnapped recently and we're suspicious of all strangers. I don't mean to judge a book by its cover again so soon, but you appear to be a sorcerer."

"I am," Xellos confirmed, curious about what the villagers mentioned about kidnapped girls. It didn't sound like it was a single incident, but rather something that had been happening for a while. "What's that you mentioned about girls being kidnapped?"

"It's been terrible," the villager revealed. "For the past two weeks the young women of our town have been getting kidnapped. At first we thought it was some crazy cult, you know they seem to have a thing for young maidens, such as the lady traveling with you. But then adult women, some of them married, began to disappear too. Not only adolescents, but women in their twenties have gone missing as well. We haven't seen any weirdos in town so the cult theory checked out, but we don't know who could be behind the incidents. Since you are a sorcerer, would you consider taking a job guarding the town? Even if we've been guarding it ourselves, the women keep disappearing as if they've vanished into thin air."

"That does sound terribly worrisome." Yet it was none of Xellos' business really, though he was curious about why this was happening. He quickly came up with a theory, there was no way that people could simply disappear, but they could be taken away via the astral side if a monster was involved. He wondered if it was just a trouble maker looking for food or a monster who actually had a plan that involved kidnapping those women.

"He'll take the job," Filia suddenly declared.

"I will?" Xellos questioned, curious at the usually quiet Juliet's outburst.

"Yes," Filia nodded.

"Thank you very much miss! I do apologize that we busied your bodyguard in the middle of his escort job, but maybe a well traveled sorcerer will be able to solve this dreadful mystery once and for all!" The leader of the villagers exclaimed. "We'll provide you with food and accommodations for the duration of your stay here of course."

xoxox xox xoxox

A short while later, Xellos and Filia were at an inn waiting for nightfall when the abductions usually occurred. "I'm sorry I dragged you into this, Mr. Wolf," Filia apologized. "I shouldn't have agreed to take on this job in your name like that, without consulting you first."

"I was curious about that, miss Juliet," Xellos inquired. "Why did you take such an interest in this case? You do realize that you are putting yourself in danger by remaining in an area from which young women are said to mysteriously disappear."

"I know, I guess I wasn't thinking about that." She still wasn't used to being a fragile human who was unable to use magic. "Even so, we can't abandon these people."

The taste of her conviction and desire to help others was strong, and Xellos didn't like it. This wasn't how his snack was supposed to be. "I will investigate the strange occurrences in this town. I don't mind making a short stop, but what about your family? The more stops you make, the more worried they'll be in your absence."

Filia frowned, she had to get rid of that choker and go home eventually. She also had to figure out in which direction home was, but that wasn't her biggest worry. She reasoned that the sea must have carried her far away, but things might look different from the air. Once she was able to transform again, she could fly around until she figured out where she was and where she needed to go. She only hoped that she managed to do that before her little vacation ran out and the dragons at the fire temple started wondering why she had not returned to her duties. It would be a terrible disgrace, she thought, if anyone from the temple found out about what was really keeping her away. "I'm on a vacation of sorts," Filia finally replied. "Although it will run out and I hope to get home before then."

The stress that reminding Filia of her family produced was nutritious to Xellos. He took it in pleasantly and smiled. Filia thought he was only trying to cheer her up and smiled back, though she was still worried about the situation, thus her taste remained pleasant to him. At least Xellos would know what to do to shift her taste in a way that was favorable to him. She was guilty and frustrated, it was delicious.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Flagoon and Milgazia had made it out of the Seyruun borders and into central Ralteague. They were in a different town as Xellos and Filia, though both towns were under the jurisdiction of the same Kingdom. There seemed to be a lot of activity in the border town that morning as a carnival of travelers passed by amusing the citizens with their elaborate costumes, juggling acts, singing, dancing and magic tricks. "It looks like we came by just on time for the fun!" Flagoon cheered. "This is perfect, it's just what you need to loosen up and cheer up!"

"I am not particularly stressed, nor am I sad," Milgazia tried to point out to no avail.

"You're indifferent and that is sad enough," Flagoon insisted. She suddenly spotted a magic show, going on further down the street and dragged him over there.

"Flagoon, you don't need to pull me by the hand." Milgazia tried to keep up with her while avoiding bumping into anyone on the street which was turning out to be quite difficult since the area was so crowded.

Suddenly, Flagoon released Milgazia's hand and turned abruptly, shouting at the top of her lungs, "come back here!" She darted in the opposite direction, pushing people aside in her frenzy.

"Flagoon!" Milgazia called out to her, but she wouldn't respond. He saw her turn into an alley and out of sight, thus he tried to hurry after her, but getting through the crowds without rudely shoving people aside was nearly impossible.

xoxox xox xoxox

Night fell in Ralteague and at the south of the kingdom; it was time for Xellos to get to work. Filia would play a key role in their plans to lure out the culprit of the abductions as bait. She hummed to herself pretending to be distracted as she walked down the empty streets of the town at night. All the women were in their homes, hoping that they weren't the next to disappear while their worried and frustrated male relatives guarded them with great anxiety, as if the blink of an eye was enough time for them to vanish.

As Filia made her way down the street her heart pounded with anticipation. She was putting herself at risk and in her current state; she would be defenseless against the abductor, whom she suspected might be a monster. She had mentioned her concerns to the one she knew as Romeo and he had assured her that he knew how to deal with monsters. She knew that he was watching her, but she was still becoming increasingly impatient.

A figure made her way down the street in the darkness and Filia froze. Was that the kidnapper? She stood still as the person stopped and she could see that it was a woman, not likely the kidnapper. "Excuse me, miss," the woman stopped to ask. "Have you seen a cat beastchild run through here? I've been running after the slippery little guy since this morning. The dirty little thief stole my sword," Flagoon grumbled.

"I haven't seen anyone like that," Filia truthfully replied. "Although, I should warn you, it's dangerous to be out at night. Women have been disappearing from this town."

"Is that so? Well maybe if I disappear, I'll end up in the same place that my sword disappeared to," Flagoon chuckled.

"This is serious!" Filia insisted.

"It's not a big deal, miss," Flagoon dismissed the danger. "Anyone who tried to kidnaps me is looking for trouble. Sword or not I can still fight." She caught her fist in her hand in a challenging motion. "I would advise that you learn to fight too. A woman's got to carry a weapon to get some respect these days; otherwise the bandits are all over her, mistakenly thinking she's easy prey. By the way, are you okay to go home on your own with all the kidnappings you mentioned?"

"Oh yes, I'm fine," Filia lowered her voice to a whisper. "I'm actually the bait, there's a skilled sorcerer keeping an eye on me so he can save me when I'm abducted and catch the culprit. I think it's a monster."

"That's pretty interesting," Flagoon whispered back. "If I wasn't in such a rush to recover my sword, I would join the hunt too. Well good luck."

"Thank you," Filia smiled pleasantly and went on her way as the woman continued on hers. The conversation was pretty casual despite the topics it held.

After a few minutes had passed, Filia started to feel uneasy. She wanted to call out to Romeo just to make sure he was still watching her, but that would blow his cover, so she knew she couldn't do that. She hummed nervously now trying to distract herself from the worries, rather than simply pretending to be distracted. Then suddenly, the air around her felt thin and a cold chill ran down her spine. She stopped walking as a dark cloud moved past the crescent moon in the sky, obscuring the street further into a deep darkness. Then suddenly, a pair of glowing green eyes appeared before Filia and she screamed in startled surprise.

The cloud over the moon was moved by the breeze and its dim light shone on the street once more. Filia found herself staring at a strange creature. It had green eyes that glowed in the dark and it was covered in blue and green scales with webbed clawed feed and hands. This was no ordinary water dwelling creature; it had been clearly mutated by the possession of a monster. Filia let out another panicked scream, wishing she could cast a Chaotic Disintegrate spell on that thing, or at the very least blast it with her laser breath; but she couldn't. The creature's hideous amphibian face twisted into a sneer as it showed its pointy teeth. "Are you the maiden of light, little one? Are you the one who extinguished my troops?"

To be Continued