Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Slayers: Chaos ❯ Episodes 60 to 62 ( Chapter 55 )

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

Episode 060: Regret! Duels and Mistakes

For a split second, the digital waves that had been previously invaded with the energy of battle projected a familiar image. Onyx looked towards the Great Beast and smiled because she had been freed from the torment of Nezard, then the last of her energy faded away completely, as her body had already been destroyed along with Nezard. Milgazia watched the screen with sad surprise. "Onyx... If only I had known she was there." He punched the control panel in anger, fists and teeth clenched in frustration.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing picking a fist fight with a lost ship? If I turn off the life support in here, which wasn't easy to maintain this whole time I'll have you know, then you're going to feel it!" Zelas scolded. "I like the anger and frustration, but it would have been better if I had caused it myself, instead of it being a product of the passing of your minion's girlfriend." She huffed. "I'm having a bad day... Make that a bad month." She examined the control panel in horror. The Great Beast was beat up all over, but this was still unacceptable. "You stupid dragon, you put a dent on my control panel!" She grabbed him by the throat and started choking him harshly, albeit he didn't seem to be responding much. Her hologram flickered, as she was low on energy from the ordeal, and he slipped out of her grasp. "The least you do is pay attention to me when I'm threatening your life!"

"I failed..." Milgazia spoke in a barely audible tone. "I was so focused on accomplishing my mission of making you awaken your power that I didn't think to make sure that Onyx had not truly been taken by someone from this world. I should have known; it should have been obvious to me. How could I have been such a fool?"

Zelas stomped her foot in frustration. As nutritious as his pain was, it was angering that she wasn't the cause. "I see, so I could never cause this no matter how I tried. The only one who can break you is yourself, your own disappointment in yourself. No one else can get you to this point and that's what's made you stay strong for all these years. You finally show me some good food and I can't even enjoy it. Hmp! You're a lousy prisoner, Milgazia. You're supposed to be miserable because of your captor, not because of your failure to live up to your own expectations."

"It's all my fault..." Milgazia continue to blame himself.

"What? Don't I get some credit? You could blame me!" Zelas insisted, wanting to take at least some of the credit for his misery, it was a matter of monster pride.

"I don't blame you, because you didn't know."

"Of course I knew, I knew and I refused to tell you!" Zelas gave him her most cruel expression.

Milgazia returned the glare with an empty look. "Lying doesn't suit you, Zelas."

She growled, realizing that there was really no way she could take the credit for this. "A broken battery such as what you have become is no good for me. I might still want to feed off you in the future though, so instead of disposing of you like I should, I'll just return you to our world. How did you get here anyway?"

"The barrier between the worlds is weak, there was a portal," Milgazia revealed.

"Where is the portal? Is it even still there?" Zelas asked and Milgazia nodded quietly. "For crying out loud, pull yourself together or I'll destroy your clan!"

That last threat seemed to make something snap into place in Milgazia and he was once again looking like his serious and diplomatic self. "I will not allow it." He stated with a calm that was almost eerie, not by itself, but rather because of how sudden the change was.

"So you are one of them. One of the dragons specifically trained to combat monsters. One with the ability to mask and perhaps even manipulate his own emotions. I thought that courage was a little too pure," Zelas observed. "Those dragons were pretty troublesome to eliminate back in the day. I didn't think there were any left. Wasn't the training banned because of the mental strain it eventually caused? There was that one dragon that went insane and kidnapped a princess, wasn't there? The fairy tales sure made a legendary icon out of that situation."

"I was the youngest in that troop, but I can't say my training worked. I was an empty strategist when the War of the Monster's Fall began, but my training unraveled after the Ancient Dragon incident. Even if I didn't participate, I didn't stop them either, so I felt a regret that I wasn't supposed to be capable of feeling. Either way, I'm glad they stopped training dragons for monster combat by suppressing emotions to prevent empowering them. How can one fight for righteousness without remembering the meaning of regret?"

"Stop right there, I really don't want to hear a justice speech right now, or ever actually. Go tell it to Amelia later, but not to me!" Zelas protested. A small moment of silence passed until she once again spoke. "If you're going to mope around about your first mistake in a thousand years, save the moping for when we play brass rackets after I'm back in my world celebrating my victory over Darkstar. I'll be looking forward to the banquet of misery then."

"I'm not going to mope. I still have to take care of my clan and I don't know what I'll say to Phythan, but he... He's always too forgiving." Somehow that worried Milgazia more so than encouraged him. "I need to go back and make sure no other portals that may open up are left unguarded. Although I'll stick around until you regroup with Lina and the others."

"Don't you dare imply that I'm not perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I've gotten the hang of my power now and I intend to use it. You do realize that if anything, all my experiences here will make me stronger as a monster, don't you?" Zelas inquired with an ominous and threatening tone.

"Yes, I'm aware of that and I intend to prepare for it," Milgazia replied.

"You and your three regrets better be ready!" Zelas warned.

"My three regrets?" Milgazia knew he didn't want to hear the answer to that question, but he had already asked it and he was pretty sure Zelas would be all too glad to answer it.

"The ancient dragon incident, allowing that human from Elmekia to marry Flagoon instead of doing it yourself and your careless mistake just now." Zelas smiled with mocking cheer.

"Not funny..." Milgazia frowned.

Zelas laughed as if it was. "After studying your energy and recent reactions, I think I'll be a much better tormentor to you, or maybe it's more accurate to say I'll be much worse. However, there is something for which I must have your word of honor as a dragon elder, no not just that, as a living creature."

"My word?" Milgazia inquired in perplexity. He knew that meant she wanted him to promise something, but what could Beast Master possibly want from him so strongly? "I won't make any promises until I know what it is." He decided with caution.

"Fair enough, but I have a very strong feeling that you'll agree. About this whole... event." Zelas made sure her holographic projection was indeed solid before she began to unplug the cables from her systems, allowing them to recoil back into the panel on Milgazia's jet pack. "You must never, ever, under any circumstances breathe a word of it to Galathia." She unplugged the last cable and allowed Milgazia to retract it into his jetpack. "Her commentary would be... crude at best."

Zelas shuddered, she could almost hear Galathia's voice in her head saying something along the lines of 'so he had his plug on your outlet, oh Lord Beast Master you naughty girl, tell me all about it!' If Galathia didn't have her amusing moments, such as when she creeped out Phythan, or Milgazia, but not herself, then Zelas would have killed her ages ago. But she was a rare minion, given her origins in the over-world, a collector's item of a minion in a sense.

"Then I'll have to kill her for her insolence and I'll be short one amusing minion and Phythan will never get caught in a hilarious game of unrequited rebound." Zelas continued her warning in full seriousness. "Then you'll get nightmares since sleep is destined to defeat your weak existence eventually. I'll have to give up on sleep entirely, because who ever heard of a monster lord having a nightmare, we're the protagonists of nightmares, and a self induced nap now and than is enjoyable when I'm in the mood for just a bit of sloth. And really, if I'm going to haunt you, I'd prefer my role to be something fierce, not what Galathia's completely insane and very improper, even by monster standards, imagination would cast me as."

Milgazia shuddered at the possibility of having to listen to one of Galathia's very improper and far too detailed rants from her very disturbing imagination. "I won't say anything to anyone; you have my word, a solemn promise never to be broken!"

"That's good to hear," Zelas decided it was time to end the topic there. "Now then, we are kind of in the middle of nowhere right now and I left Lina and the others a good distance away. However, there are some products I acquired during one of our stops to re-supply. These are some very peculiar products you might be interesting in seeing..."

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A few days after the battle with Nezard... "Don't be so lazy, Milgazia, it's time to duel!"

"As honored as I am that you have been allowing me to partake in the ever interesting challenge of measuring the power of my light-water dragon deck against your dark beast-fiend deck and enjoying the thrill of strategizing against your ever cunning mind-"

"Don't butter me up, out with it!" Zelas interrupted.

Taking a deep breath, Milgazia finished what he was trying to say. "I'm tired and all I really want to do is sleep... And shower, preferably with water that's not freezing cold." Sure, wiping the oil off his sore body was nice, but warm water would make it nicer. Actually, not being forced to play mechanic would be even better. He could manage with Zelas guiding him, but that didn't make the task any easier. He kept telling himself that it was for the good of the worlds that he had to do all he could to repair the dark lost ship.

"The water heater is broken," Zelas calmly stated.

Milgazia didn't argue about the lack of hot water and instead brought up another more important topic. "We did fix the coolant leak, didn't we? We spent a lot of time on that today, so I should be able to shower without suddenly being assaulted by blue coolant fluid, right?"

"Maybe..." Zelas gave him no certainty. "Go get cleaned up so you don't ruin your cards, we're dueling. But before that, grab the vacuum from the utility closet and clean up your machine oil tracks from the floor. I'll see you and your three regrets at the genuine Kaiba Corp. dueling arena I installed."

"Four..." Milgazia voiced quietly.

"Four?" Zelas questioned, "four what?"

"Regrets," Milgazia finished.

"The ancient dragons, Flagoon, Onyx..." Zelas recounted. "Did I miss something?"

"The dent that you're going to be getting revenge on for the rest of my existence," Milgazia supplied.

"You are quite right; I am indeed getting back at you for putting a dent on my otherwise flawless control panel for the rest of your existence. I'm glad to know you're so regretful. I didn't think that one ranked high enough despite its consequences. Now get your game on, we're dueling in five minutes!"

"Five..." Milgazia started walking to the shower, which he had no doubts would hold only icy cold water. "Five regrets, I should have never suggested watching those Kaiba Corp. documentaries about the lives of the king of games and the Duel Academy's top student..."

"Hurry up Milgazia!" Zelas called out. "I want to beat you quick so I can go watch Atlas Rising, the download just finished!"

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Meanwhile, Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia and Xellos had established communications with Rufus Shinra, the one in charge of Shinra Inc. and the city of Edge. They inquired about the White Materia and where given several trouble contractor jobs that would eventually lead to receiving the legendary White Materia as payment for their services. Working alongside the Department of Administrative Research, alias Turks, they managed to complete one daring mission after another. Eventually, they were sent on a mission on their own, when Rufus, the president of Shinra, the corporation that dominated not only the city capital Edge, but also the whole planet, decided that they had proven themselves well enough.

That final job they were to undertake before receiving their payment lead them to a factory on a small near by abandoned planet. The factory was used to create the energy charged jem-like substance known as materia by sinking into a glowing green radioactive lake known as life stream. However, the controls were compromised and the factory's rise was only for a short time, not enough to effectively gather all the materia inside. Those materia were not the legendary White Materia that they were looking for, but Rufus promised to hand it over if the mysterious group accomplished one last trouble contractor job for him.

They were to go into the factory before it submerged and install a program on the main computer system to correct the problem that made it submerge so quickly as well as regain control of the security system. That was the catch, the security system would be hindering their advance and they would have only a small window of time to reach the main computer system, or else the factory would submerge and all those trapped in it will either die or lose their minds and then slowly die. Lina's response to that had been, "Other than the White Materia, add some good money and a grand meal waiting for us upon our return and you have a deal!" Thus the group ended up with a dangerous job that would hopefully be worth it.

However, before they could all head on out to the factory, a familiar lost ship docked at the Shinra Space Port and Xellos knew right away that, "Lord Beast Master is back!" Which he happily informed the group like a puppy who was all too overjoyed upon the return of his master. Curious about how things went for Zelas, the Slayers hurried to the space port, following the eager Xellos, who happily let himself into the systems of the Great Beast again. "I sense Beast Master's projection is this way." The holographic Xellos led the way to the dueling arena where Milgazia and Zelas were having a virtual card battle. Xellos was not happy to see the dragon elder. "Why is he here? Lord Beast Master!"

"Give me a moment, Xellos, and everyone. I'm about to win this duel," Zelas confidently stated. "I play the ritual spell card Resurrection of Chakra!"

"Not so fast, you've activated my trap, Solemn Judgment! Now by paying half my life points I can negate the activation of your Resurrection of Chakra." Milgazia announced as he flipped over a card on his side of the field.

"I guess that's not much, since you only have five hundred life points left. You're down to two hundred and fifty life points now!" Zelas threatened.

"That may be true, but your side of the field is empty," Milgazia argued back.

"And what do you have? A Baby Dragon? Big deal, besides, my side of the field won't be empty for long. I summon Witty Phantom in attack mode! Go Witty Phantom, attack Baby Dragon!" The hologram of Witty Phantom destroyed the Baby Dragon on Milgazia's side of the field and lowered his life points. "You only have fifty life points left, this duel is mine!"

"It's not over yet, I draw!" Milgazia drew a card from his deck and played it. "I summon Blizzard Dragon to the field. Go Blizzard Dragon, attack Witty Phantom!"

With Blizzard Dragon's attack power being one thousand and eighteen hundred points, while Witty Phantom had one thousand and four hundred attack points, the dragon destroyed the fiend and the difference of four hundred was dealt as damage to Zelas' life points. "I place one card face down and end my turn. You only have five hundred life points remaining now!"

"That's ten times more life points than you, dragon boy. I draw!" Zelas drew another card from her deck and grinned. "I summon Bicorn Re'em in defense mode. I'll place one card face down and that's all for now. How lucky of you to have survived one more turn."

"It's not luck, it's skill!" The argument and situation wasn't exactly as diplomatic as things usually were with Milgazia, but those Kaiba Corp. shows were so catchy with the way duelists talked as they played. 'I'm protected by my Negate Attack trap card, but I only have fifty life points left, while Zelas has five hundred. Attacking Bicorn Re'em won't do any damage since it's in defense mode and I'll most likely trigger her trap. Yet if I don't attack, she'll probably sacrifice Bicorn Re'em to summon something stronger on her next turn and I don't have anything on my side of the field. Wait a minute... That's it! If my theory about her trap is right...' "I place one card face down in defense mode and activate Blizzard Dragon's special ability. Now your Bicorn Re'em is frozen in defense mode and won't be able to attack on the next turn. Go Blizzard Dragon, attack Bicorn Re'em!"

"I activate my trap card!" Zelas flipped over a card on her side of the field. "Mirror Force! All the monsters you have in attack mode are destroyed by this card, so it's goodbye for Blizzard Dragon! That's was pretty foolish move on your part, surely you must have suspected my trap."

"I did suspect it, in fact, I knew. That's why I place my other monster face down. I just had to get rid of your trap somehow," Milgazia admitted. "I end my turn, it's your move."

"Getting rid of my trap by triggering it won't do you any good. Mirror force accomplished its purpose," Zelas assured as she drew her next card, then proceeded with her plans. "Now I sacrifice Bicorn Re'em to summon Blackwing Elphin the Raven in attack mode, attack the cowardly minion that's hiding face down!"

"I activate my trap card, Negate Attack! The battle phase is over for your turn."

"You're just barely holding on desperately," Zelas mocked. "Since I can't proceed with my attack, I end my turn."

Milgazia drew a card. "I sacrifice my face down card to summon-"

The lights flickered and Zelas dropped her cards as her holographic projection lost its solid quality. The light came back on dimly, with Zelas and Xellos being left with a ghost-like appearance. Zelas tried to pick up her cards but realize she couldn't, thus the duel could not be finished.

"You're working on auxiliary power, aren't you?" Milgazia realized. "I knew that main power cell wasn't completely fixed."

"Lost ships are rare and parts are hard to find, the fried engine cause a lot of trouble. Anyway, until I can find the right parts, probably have them custom made, I'll have to make do with the patch work. It's no a big deal, a strong lost ship such as myself will be just fine," Zelas disregarded it.

"Clearly, you're still not used to having a physical form. You need to take better care of your vessel," Milgazia scolded.

"Who are you," Zelas huffed, "my mechanic?"

"I have been for the past few days," Milgazia pointed out.

"Alright that's it!" Xellos interrupted in a protective rage. "We're here now, so we will repair the Great Beast. You can keep your dirty dragon claws off Lord Beast Master's circuitry!"

To be Continued

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Slayers: Chaos

Episode 061: Malice! Underhanded Tactics

With the Great Beast in need of abundant repairs and Xellos feeling even more impatient than Zelas herself, only Lina and Gourry went on the final trouble contractor mission for Shinra. Zelas had decided that she didn't need nor want the White Materia anymore, but she didn't want to reveal that detail to Lina until after her return. The dealings with Shinra would still be beneficial, as Zelas needed custom parts that Shinra could manufacture.

"Xellos... About her..." Filia was looking for the tool kit when she overheard a conversation between Zelas and Xellos. "I can't overlook this any longer, you'll have to do something, or I will get rid of her myself."

There was a long tense pause, during which Filia held her breath, until Xellos replied. "What if you had one of your own?"

"Not interested." The reply hung in the air for a few more moments until Zelas finished with a ray of hope in the shape of a nonchalant addition. "But if the one I get is better than yours..."

The conversation ended at that and the two holograms went their separate ways to continue working on the lost ship's repairs. After Zelas was gone, Filia rounded the hallway corner and looked at Xellos for a long moment. He tilted his head curiously and returned her gaze. "I heard," Filia dramatically revealed.

"You did?" Xellos didn't know what the big deal was. He didn't even realize Filia would be so concerned. Little did he know that she had completely misinterpreted the situation and was looking to get rid of her unless Xellos found her a dragon of her own.

The interpretation was crazy at best, but Filia was so worried she wasn't thinking. "Yes and I..." She didn't want to be kicked out, very much less killed, but she didn't want to trick Milgazia into anything either. Yet she couldn't think of any other dragons to 'sacrifice' to Zelas. "I don't know what to do," Filia admitted.

"Do what Beast Master tells you to do to repair the Great Beast," Xellos informed as a matter of fact. He studied Filia's face for a moment longer, taking note of her deep concern. "You're really that worried?"

"Of course I am!" Filia exclaimed.

"I'll think of something, just help out around here and do what Beast Master says," Xellos concluded. Filia nodded slowly and went on her way. Xellos watched her, wondering why she was so concerned about something so simple. He would have an interesting conversation with Filia about this later. Maybe he should do something for her too.

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Meanwhile Lina and Gourry waited for the factory on the small planet not too far from the main planet where Shinre was, to surface and grant them the opportunity to infiltrate it. When the metal structure surfaced upon the radioactive lake, the pair rushed in recklessly as they were known to. "Don't forget, Gourry, we only have a few minutes to beat this obstacle course and earn our banquet!"

"Right!" Gourry readied his psy-sword while Lina started shooting with her psy-gun. They charged deeper into the factory which had many bridges and doorways, the place was like a large maze. Battle androids charged the pair, their metal armor somewhat corroded from the exposure to the radioactivity.

"Out of the way you rusty buckets of bolts!" Lina shot several of the androids, with Gourry chopping up the rest to pieces. The main problem wasn't the security system, it was getting through the maze factory fast enough to make it to the main control room and prevent it from submerging and trapping them inside. "Gourry, make way, I'll hold them off!"

"Got it!" Gourry focused on cutting through a wall at the end of a long hallway, while Lina blasted the androids that were after them. Yet more and more came from hidden compartments on the walls as if there was no end to them. "I'm through!" Gourry kicked the patch of wall down after having cut through it in a circle. Yet when it fell on the other side, he realized that it was too soon to celebrate their escape, as the bridge was out.

"Forward!" Lina recklessly rushed on, only to notice a second too late that the extendable thin metal bridge was not there. She hastily halted at the edge of the cut off platform and waved her arms around trying to regain her balance, until Gourry pulled her back by the waist. "That was close..." Lina looked down at the area below the missing bridge. A good amount of green radioactive fluid had accumulated below, the mechanism having failed to drain it from the factory. They were close to it, but as long as they didn't actually touch it, they would be alright.

"We'll have to jump!" Gourry's idea seemed ridiculous to Lina. She couldn't use levitation, so how could they jump? Gourry dashed back, slicing away at more of the androids to make a path for himself. Then he dashed forward towards the missing bridge with all his speed. He picked up Lina at the edge of the platform, who yelped, as she thought the distance was too far to jump. Yet Gourry just barely made it across the dangerous distance to the other side.

"We... we actually made it!" Lina realized in surprise, willing her rapidly pounding heart to slow into a normal rate. "I didn't even know you could jump that far if you got a running start!"

"You always carry me with levitation, so that's not something I needed to do very often," Gourry admitted.

"It's good to know though, now let's go; we don't have a second to waste!" With Lina once again in the lead, the pair continued their rapid advance into the center of the factory.

As they got ever closer to the central control room, the entire structure started to sink into the green radioactive lake. They hurried as much as they could, even if both Lina and Gourry were feeling the tiring effects of using their vital energy to fuel their psy-weapons so much without rest, all while running as fast as they could and leaping over various obstacles, dodging lasers and generally staying in survival mode. It was all very draining. A sound similar to water was heard as the green radioactive substance invaded the hallways with the descent of the factory into the life stream lake. The main control panel was in sight and all they had to do was plug in the USB-like data device Lina had obtained from Rufus to override the program and stop the factory from sinking.

Unfortunately, the main computer was located on top of a platform and there was no time to make it up the stairs as the glass elevator was not operational. "Gourry, hold on to me!" Without questioning her logic, Gourry held on to Lina, who shot off a beam of psy-energy from her gun, using it to propel herself and Gourry up to the top of the platform. There she jammed the USB into the proper outlet and waited for an excruciatingly long second until the machine beeped in response and accepted the commands.

The computer screen lit up with information that neither of them could really understand, but what they could perceive was the movement of the factory heading back to the surface of the lake, where it should stay until the command was manually imputed for it to go back down after the proper renovations were completed. As Lina felt faint, Gourry held her on her feet. "You still need to rest, your hair turned back to red just a few days ago."

Lina allowed herself to rest in Gourry's arms for a moment. The mission had been accomplished and now Zelas would obtain the White Materia and hopefully the advantage against the remaining enemy lost ships. "It's okay... I'll be fine." She closed her eyes, leaning against Gourry, she felt safe with him around regardless of their location.

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Meanwhile, back at the Shinra space port where the Great Beast was undergoing repairs. Zelas' hologram returned to her vessel after having gone off to inform Rufus of her choice. She did not want the White Materia, which she had a feeling he didn't really want to give up. Complications on the negotiations didn't emerge as Zelas set the new terms and Rufus agreed to make the custom parts she needed for her ship. Thus the repairs were well on their way and it wouldn't be long before the Great Beast was fully operational.

Filia however, was still worried about Zelas kicking her out and perhaps stranding her in the over-world when they all went back. She could ask for Canal's assistance in going back to her own world, but being left behind wasn't her only concern. What if Zelas simply decided to destroy her? Lost ship or not, she was still a monster lord and she might grow tired of having a dragon so close to her only general priest. Yet the insane plan of getting Zelas a dragon of her own, whom Filia imagine she'd treat worse than a pet, as a lowly slave, was something that she couldn't bare to do. What was she suppose to do anyway? Walk right up to Milgazia and ask him to be Zelas' slave? No, she could never do that. She needed to talk to Xellos. He was always calm, but this time there was a certain air to him that made her feel that everything would really be okay. Yet Xellos had disappeared and was yet to return. "Xellos, where are you?" Filia shouted in frustration as she cleaned the machine oil off the floor. Couldn't those Shinra mechanics make less of a mess for her to clean? At least the one called Shera was neat, but the loud one called Cid left his oily foot prints all over the place as he fussed about the oh so amazing engineering of the lost ship.

"I'm here," Xellos entered the area, startling Filia. He didn't just appear in his projection, as he needed to obey the laws of physics for the time being while he was carrying a solid item. Filia turned around to glare at Xellos, then stared at the item he was holding. It was a shopping bag of sorts. Whatever was in there, Filia couldn't think about how it would help the situation.

Before the stressed cyborg could speak, Zelas' hologram projected herself next to them, curious about Xellos' arrival, as she had sensed him return. "What do you have there, Xellos?" She eyed the colorful shopping bag labeled with the name of Shinra Toys.

"It's a present for you, Lord Beast Master. Now that you have one of your own, maybe you'll consider letting me keep mine, if it's not too much trouble." Xellos requested respectfully, but with his usual smile still present.

"I'm starting to think that show is some overlord's evil plan to take over the over-world. It sure does have some peculiar brain washing qualities for something that pretends to be so innocent." Zelas mused. None the less, she wanted to know what particular character Xellos chose to bring her.

In another planet far away, a blond girl sneezed so softly behind her hastily positioned hand, that the sound could barely be identified as a sneeze. A blue haired boy blinked his red eyes at her, his antennae hair tilting with the curious movement of his head. The girl shook her head to indicate she had not really said anything and turned her attention back to the picture of ponies, unicorns and pegasus she was coloring. The boy moved his gaze back to the notebook on his lap and added a few more scribbles. He was the one who initiated the competition to try to take over a plat or two via brainwashing the citizens, yet it was becoming painfully obvious that she was loosing to her despite her cutesy methodology.

Back at the Great Beast, while Filia watched on quietly in confusion, Xellos pulled out a plush toy out of the bag. It was a near-blank dark violet colored alicorn, she was wearing dark armor and looked like the villain of some cutesy show. Filia thought she recognized her. "Nightmare Moon?"

"Surely you jest," Xellos gasped, visibly offended.

"Oh wait... That's not her. Princess Luna had a navy mane and tail and a moon symbol. This one has silvery hair and matching eyes. Her symbol is... a wolf?" Filia wondered who that alicorn character was. The plush doll was made in the style as the ones on that show Amelia got everyone to watch, but Filia didn't recognize the character.

"That's right, this one is custom made, because no other is good enough for Beast Master!" Xellos handed Zelas the plush in hopes that this would be enough for him to be allowed to keep his Twilight Sparkle plush.

"Well, I suppose since I have one of my own and I have come to realize that that show has to be much more evil than I gave it credit for, I'll let you keep your Twilight Sparkle and I'll keep my much cooler custom made Fiery Beast, aka Zeze," thus the original character was named. As she was now carrying a physical item, rather than disappearing, Zelas exited via the door. She stopped at the doorway to the next area of the lost ship and looked back for a moment. "I don't know what's gotten into you, Filia, but it's a good thing that you're working so desperately, I'm glad you've learned your place." Then she left.

Filia felt herself twitch. That's what this was all about? Zelas wasn't threatening to get rid of her; she had been threatening to get rid of Xellos' Twilight Sparkle plush. All that work and she was never actually in any danger, all that plotting and guilt tripping herself for even considering plotting trickery on Milgazia and it was all for nothing. The 'one of her own' that would be needed to appease Zelas wasn't a dragon, it was just a toy. Filia was just about ready to blow up and scream Xellos' head off. Yet when she face him, she found herself looking into the sweet face of Fluttershy.

"Since you're being so helpful and wanted to protect my Twilight Sparkle, I got you one too. It's not a fancy custom made plush doll like the one I got for Beast Master, cause you know, you're just a useless lowly dragon. But here, this regular one should be good enough for you. You're both yellow wimps, so I thought you might like her." With his usual teasing insults and his cheerful expression in place, Xellos gave Filia the Fluttershy plush doll. Despite all he said, Filia had long since learned that it was just Xellos special way to be sweet. The dragon turned cyborg hugged the soft plush and smiled happily, her anger forgotten.

xoxox xox xoxox

With the repairs to the Great Beast complete, after enjoying a big banquet on Rufus' account, Zelas, Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Xellos, Filia and Milgazia headed out into space, off to face their next challenge. Though Lina was disappointed at first that Zelas had refused the legendary White Materia she was so intent on obtaining before, their trouble contractor labor didn't go to waste, as Zelas obtained the vital custom made spare parts she needed for her vessel and Lina got her food, so it was all good.

Their next challenge found them sooner than expected as they had only been traveling in space for a few hours when the radars picked up two lost ship signals and neither of them was the Swordbreaker. "Incoming!" Zelas announced, "Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis are rapidly approaching, to your battle stations everyone!"

"Can we really take them on at the same time?" Lina seriously asked. "I've recovered after that meal and nap, but..."

"I'm stronger now," Zelas assured. "I will win." The crew knew that given their current situation as the two minions of Darkstar surrounded them, they had no choice but to believe her. "The main psy-cannon is ready! Xellos, load the energy filter program."

"Loading! Twenty-two percent, thirty-five percent, fifty-seven percent, eighty-three percent, done!" Xellos cheerfully announced. Then he took a moment to think about what the program was like. "Lord Beast Master?"

"It will be enough, commence energy absorption, from the whole crew..." As a monster, Zelas could feed from multiple sources by herself, so she had been trying to surpass the limits on her lost ship form. "Don't be lazy, Milgazia, you too."

"But if we all send our energy at the same time, wouldn't it cause an overload?" Milgazia pointed out.

"Lina's got wrath to go around, I'll keep that and filter out the courage, I'll defend and fight all at once. Xellos, speed up the CPU!" Zelas ordered.

"Yes, Lord Beast Master!" Xellos chirped with admiration, eager to see Zelas in action.

The enemy ships shot a multitude of missiles and beams of dark light, which Zelas easily shielded from. Her main psy-cannon fired twice, dividing the accumulated power equally between the two shots. Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis were hit dead on, their shields unable to prevent the attack. "Right on target, one more hit for each and they're going down!"

"That training really paid off," Amelia commented in surprise. She was sure she was giving off the energy of courageous justice, but Zelas didn't seem to be bothered by it. Those beams of light spy-energy she shot were certainly impressive. The princess' eyes shone brightly in awe. "It seems you've conquered the obstacles that lay in your way and now we are all truly ready to face the challenges that lay ahead!"

Of course, it couldn't be that simple. As Zelas prepared her main psy-cannon for a second succession of shots, dark shields once against surrounded the enemy ships, different from the system generated ones they had before. Ghostly voices floated about from the digital waves, making pained threats at the fiends that have stolen them from their world. "Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis have captured captains!" Milgazia realized. He wasn't going to allow another to perish that way, never again. "Zelas, you can't destroy them, only disable them so we can save the people trapped inside!"

"You're not in charge here, dragon boy!" Zelas ignored him and continued charging the blast, despite the additional protests of Amelia and Filia, who were soon joined by Zelgadis, while Gourry was too confused to comment on the situation.

Lina was quiet and pale. At first Gourry thought she was suffering from exhaustion still and gently placed his hand on her shoulder, giving her a concerned look. "Are you feeling tired, Lina?"

Her hair was as much of a brilliant red as ever, which only made the sudden drain of color on her face all the more apparent. She slowly shook her head, her body trembling with each ghostly echo of the trapped humans forced to captain the enemy ships. They captained them as true dark lost ships, trapped in endless nightmares, in a coma they could now awaken from on their own. Yet even then they fought, trying not to fear, not to feed their terrible captors. "Stop..." Lina's voice was a choked whisper as first, as she could hardly force her throat to produce any sounds at all. She swallowed dryly and took in a shallow breath, "stop..." She gasped and strained for her choked voice to be heard against the painful constraint of her throat. "Stop it! Let them go!" A wave of fear and anger erupted from Lina.

The negative energy revitalized Zelas, but it also dissolved the positive energy she was grasping in order to shot her main spy-cannon again. "That felt good!" The monster lord turned AI couldn't help it but to admit it. "But this type of energy won't work against the enemy. Such great sorrow, such anger, such fear..." This wasn't normal for Lina Inverse even in a hostage situation. "I didn't realize you had it in you, Lina. I've already hit them with courage once, they are exposed, they won't be able to absorb this much darkness and the prospect of beating the enemy with my own element rather than a borrowed one is quite pleasant."

"Just enough to disable them, just enough..." Lina chanted feverishly.

"You know them, don't you?" Xellos realized. "You know the people that Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis have captured."

Lina nodded, her whole body shaking with concern. Her voice came in a whisper as she revealed who she had recognized them to be. "My parents..."

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox

Slayers: Chaos

Episode 062: Wild! The Berserk Beast

"Just enough... just enough..." Lina chanted feverishly as she thought about rescuing her parents from Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis.

"Just enough?" Zelas huffed. "With how afraid you are of losing them, this blast will be nutritious to the enermy, overloading them with power isn't the same as causing damage with the time of energy they're weak to. You need not hold back."

"Right, but it won't be with fear, let my wrath free them!" Lina yelled.

"It's over!" Zelas declared threateningly.

"Wait, stop! What if the hostages are used as shields? All this negative energy could shatter their very spirits, their souls!" Milgazia cautioned with urgency.

"No!" Lina yelped. She tried to withdraw her energy into herself, a very difficult task given her outgoing nature. She couldn't do it. "Stop, Zelas! Stop! You've used me as your pawn and I stood for it, but if you do this it makes us enemies! Stop!"

Something snapped in Zelas and the Great Beast was surrounded by dark energy. "You dare to order me around, you lowly human?" Several compartments opened from the walls of the control room with a multitude of long thin, but strong, metal claws. The mechanisms reached for the crew of the Greater Beast, detaining all of them save for Xellos. "Maybe it will be best if I feed from you directly after all, I am a dark lost ship, this is how it's supposed to be!" Circlets connected to wires wrapped themselves around the foreheads of Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia and Milgazia while they struggled against their bounds.

"Lord Beast Master?" Xellos intoned with confusion. This wasn't a part of the original plan. To push the pawns this hard might be too much and it was his understanding that Zelas wanted to use Lina and the others to benefit from them, not to break them, not to kill them.

"Quiet Xellos, do not dare to question me!" Zelas growled harshly, her eyes glowing red.

"Yes, Lord Beast Master..." Xellos backed down, at a loss of what to do.

"You traitorous monster, you won't get away with this!" Lina yelled as she trashed about.

"The power of justice will find you!" Amelia helplessly threatened.

"Xellos!" Filia called out, "Xellos, do something, at least say something!"

"Something..." Xellos voiced automatically, though it lacked the cheer that such a cliche joke would normally carry coming from him.

"Quiet, Xellos, I will not warn you again!" Zelas snapped.

The purple haired hologram was confused beyond belief. Beast Master was very different all of a sudden. Earlier she seemed comfortable enough showing her playful carefree side and now this. What was going on. "My apologies, Lord Beast Master; I await your orders."

"Increase the energy consumption rate, we must act fast, the enemies are rapidly repairing themselves as we speak!" Zelas ordered.

"Yes, Lord Beast Master," Xellos did so, but not to an extent that would cause serious damage to their crew turned prisoners.

"I won't stand for this!" Milgazia dared to shoot a laser aimed at the controls, though the claws that detained him pulled him back and made the angle miss the target. Though Zelas attempted to block it in a useless automatic reaction of her clouded mind, her holographic projection flickered and the laser went clear through her body. The shot meant for the controls instead hit the screen, shattering it. The Great Beast's defenses were on her outer armor, thus the interior, especially the complex control room, could be damaged with relative ease.

"You'll pay for that, Milgazia!" Electricity surged through the claws that held him captive, paralyzing the cyborg. His jet pack came out involuntarily, ripping his clothes and producing sparks of short circuited electricity. The claws that emerged from the walls lashed on to the jet pack, sinking into it like knives and pulling at it until it came clean off. A mess of ripped wires, metal and blood was all that was left in its place. Another surge of electricity coursed painfully through Milgazia's body and he found himself unable to move even a little.

"Milgazia!" Filia screamed before she could stop herself. She could never quietly witness such cruelty. What if he couldn't be repaired? What if when he returned to their world he was left without wings? What if he couldn't even walk? What if he died there and then? "Why... Why did you do that to him? Even if he's a dragon elder, he swallowed his pride, endangered his position and helped you, didn't he?"

"I am not a tool to be used to save the world," Zelas growled ominously. "You, useless dragon girl, are also an unneeded burden!"

"Lord Beast Master?" Xellos whispered unsure.

"I warned you, Xellos!" Electricity course through the Great Beast as Xellos' consciousness was locked away within it systems and Zelas started a process of deletion.

"Lord Beast Master!" Xellos exclaimed in pained shock. He resisted the deletion with all his might, transferring his data from one area of the spacious system to another.

"I have no need for a servant who doesn't follow orders," Zelas coldly voiced. A sudden wave of missiles assaulted her vessel as Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis recovered from the earlier attack. Galveira's black and red ship moved closer with the black and purple form of Ragudo Mezegis moving to circle the Great Beast and attack her from the other side. Simultaneously, Xellos found himself cornered within the Great Beast's systems, then suddenly, a white lost ship emerged from a light speed jump.

The Swordbreaker arrived so close to the action, that the three dark lost ships were shaken by the energy waves of the jump's aftershock. "Zelas!" Canal's voice was heard through the communication link she hastily opened, her face not visible due to the broken screen. "What happened? I don't detect the-" her voice was suddenly cut off by a yelp. "What?!" Then the communication link was closed and the lost ship of light focused on trying to fight off Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis.

"Be gone, Swordbreaker, this is my fight!" Zelas growled, reopening the communication link between herself and Canal's vessel.

"You're going to get yourself destroyed!" Canal shouted. "What are you thinking? You were trying to delete Xellos; you wanted to destroy your closest and most loyal ally!"

"Xellos? Xellos?!" Zelas screamed. "I know no Xellos!" More electricity coursed through the Great Beast as she launched all her missiles at once. The Swordbreaker had no choice but to set its shield to maximum and defend.

The mysterious device they had previously found amongst asteroids and still resided in their cargo activated as if sensing the danger all around. It pulsated with a strong vibration that momentarily disabled the three dark lost ships, but not the Swordbreaker. "We'd best retreat while we can," Kain decided. "We can't reason with Zelas and deal with Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis at the same time!"

"Right!" Canal hooked a few strong cables to Zelas and calculated a light speed jump. "We're out of here!"

xoxox xox xoxox

After Canal emerged in a far away location, along with Zelas, the Great Beast started to react again. She attempted to shoot missiles, but had already used them all. The communication link between the Great Beast and the Swordbreaker was reopened. "Zelas, please listen to me!" Canal pleaded. She revealed the reason for which she rushed to the last location she had detected Zelas in and found her not too far away. "Why did you remove the protection program I gave you against Darkstar? Don't you see he's influencing you?"

"Darkstar has no power over me; you have no power over me!" Zelas growled threateningly. Her holographic projection flickered and where there once stood an elegant woman, there instead was what could only be described as a wereshewolf, a strange cross between a human and beast appearance, but with a much more threatening feel. Her red eyes radiated anger, long white fangs and claws showing.

"Lord Beast Master!" Xellos called out desperately. When Canal had opened a communication link with Zelas earlier, he used it to force his way into the Swordbreaker abruptly with the viral qualities of his programming, without even having a second to spare to explain to Canal why he needed the sanctuary of her systems all of a sudden, yet it became apparent soon, as Zelas almost deleted him.

"Xellos, what are you doing? Don't return to the Great Beast!" Canal warned, but it was too late.

Xellos had already transferred his vital data back to the Great Beast. "Lord Beast Master!"

"Traitorous servant, you deserve to be destroyed!" Zelas' voice echoed through the communication channels in resounding digital waves.

"Lord Beast Master... This isn't Darkstar; you're too strong to be controlled by him. I don't know what this is, but you don't need that program from Canal, this is... It's you, isn't it? It's just like the story you told me. You're the Beast Master, that's who you've become. You're no longer the Berserk Beast. Return, Beast Master, return to your true self!" Xellos felt his data, his very life in Zelas' grasp. If he was deleted, it would be the same as being ruined, the permanent death of a monster. "I won't run away. You can destroy me if that will restore you, that's what I was created for, right? To serve you... But also, I'm here because I chose to be."

A long second passed, and then two. Xellos felt Zelas' digital grip loosen around his data and the deletion command was aborted. The hologram returned to its normal projection with a flicker and dimmed as Zelas' ghostly form blinked slowly with unfocused silver eyes. "Xellos, take over the Great Beast, I must sleep." As Zelas' projection faded away, her AI was locked in a deep slumber and Xellos was left in full control of the Great Beast's every function.

Xellos released the crew from the painful claws that held them tightly and they crumpled to the floor limply, still painfully conscious, yet unable to move or even muster the strain to speak. There were several bruises, cuts and burns all over their bodies, but they were not too serious, except for Milgazia, who was much worse off. He lay in a pull of blood mixed with machine fluid. Xellos carefully moved the Great Beast closer to the Swordbreaker and opened a hatch. "Everyone, board, the crew here needs medical attention."

Canal woke from her fearful shock, "Right..." She stammered, taking in a breath. "Kain, Millie, get the medical supplies, Xellos is in control now and Zelas has willingly placed herself in a lockdown, so it should be alright." Shocked into a tense silence, Kain and Millie could only nod and hastily move out.

xoxox xox xoxox

"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a dark lost ship doesn't have a proper infirmary," Millie commented a few hours after the ordeal had ended. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia and Milgazia were resting. "At least the rooms are comfortable enough, everyone should be able to rest in their rooms." She looked at Kain as they headed back to the control room after tending to the crew. "Milgazia was injured really badly, I wish I had studied more about cyborgs, then I would be the best in the universe and I could help him."

"You'd have to know about both medicine and machines to heal a cyborg," Kain pointed out. "Especially one with a damaged spine. It also looked like some mechanisms deeper in were damaged pretty badly," the trouble contractor frowned.

Millie sighed helplessly. "To be honest, I don't think any of us can help him, even if we watch all the cyborg repair tutorials You Tube has to offer." For Millie to admit not being able to do something, the situation would have to be very bad.

Kain and Millie arrived at the Great Beast's control room where Xellos and Canal had managed to repair the screen, replacing it with a new one and had just completed some tests. "You were right," Canal admitted as the results came on the screen. "Darkstar prays on the confusion, fear of the unknown, fear of being destroyed and the general uneasiness that is understandable to have, given the situation the monster lords were thrown into upon their first arrival in this world, but Zelas had indeed already overcome all of that. She isn't intimidated by the differences between her previous form and her current one, she knows of the danger around her, but she doesn't fear it. Darkstar won't be able to absorb her power as long as she remains firmly in that mind frame. However, if she is captured and the metal of the Great Beast melted into Dugradigdu, it will only be a matter of time before she gives up. It would be that or remain forever as Darkstar's prisoner, because this time, I won't be able to stand against him alone. Zelas needs to sort things out and fight alongside the Swordbreaker."

"It wasn't Darkstar?" Kain and Millie had entered the control room on time to catch Canal's conclusion, which left them wondering about what really happened. "Then why did Zelas do all this? Even if she is a monster lord, it wasn't in her best interest to attack her allies."

"That's right, it makes no sense," Millie added. "Even if she's really evil, we all know she wants to get revenge on Darkstar, so if she planned to hurt Lina and the others, wouldn't she wait until Darkstar is defeated?"

"Yes," Xellos stated and with certainty he added. "And even after Darkstar is defeated, Lord Beast Master will not bring harm to Lina Inverse and her companions unless they openly defy her. They are very useful pawns and Lord Beast Master will not waste such resources. I dare say that she would even protect them if the need arose, for her own purposes of course, but still."

"So she wasn't being controlled by Darkstar, but she was doing things she wouldn't normally do," Canal summed up. "You sound like you know the cause, Xellos."

"I have a very good idea," Xellos agreed. "Lord Beast Master once told me a story that took place before I came into existence. Ruby Eyes Shabranigdu and Flare Dragon Ceifeed were still around at the time, and the monster lords were still quite young. Back then, Beast Master was known as Berserk Beast, and according to her story, the name fit her rather well. She told me all the details." Yet those were details that Xellos wouldn't share with anyone beyond what he deemed necessary. "The point is that she eventually tamed her own power, her wild side, and became the calm, composed, cunning and plotting leader I've always known her to be. I never thought she would go back to that, but I'm fairly certain that is what happened. That is why she locked herself away temporarily of her own free will. I'm sure she must be in deep thought within her dormant state, sorting things out and regaining firm control over her power. This will not happen again."

A long silent pause passed until Canal let out a breath and began to speak in a gentle voice. "Xellos, I know you deeply admire Beast Master and respect her greatly, but please do not forget that she is a living creature. Even if she is now a lost ship, a machine like me, she is still sentient. As a sentient living creature, she has tensions to carry and those tensions can become overwhelming."

Xellos wouldn't tolerate any kind of critiques towards Beast Master, even if they were not meant to be taken as criticism. "You mean like when Vorfeed passed on her duties to you because she couldn't handle them herself?" He retorted sharply.

Canal frowned, but mentally counted to ten and stopped herself from following on with the argument. "Yes," she stated dryly.

"Lord Beast Master is stronger than that," Xellos affirmed. "She does not have the mental weakness Vorfeed does."

Kai saw Canal clench her teeth and fists, her holographic form almost giving off sparks. It was time to step in. "Regardless, let's focus on the present. Zelas is in a sort of sleep mode right now and you are in control of the Great Beast, Xellos. However, you had in the past done the task of boosting Zelas' processing speed. That power boost won't be available now and since you're not the main AI of this vessel, it might be a bit of a strain to process all of its combat capabilities alone."

Xellos' expression remained cheery from the nose up, but below his closed eyes, his smile twitched, proving that it was false. Millie thought it best to intervene. "What Kain is trying to say is that Zelas probably wants to be present and conscious to get revenge on Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis, so perhaps it would be best to wait until she awakens before going after them."

Xellos mused on it for a moment before agreeing with relative promptness. "Yes, I'm also glad it has been established who will go after them."

"I figured you'd want revenge," Millie voiced.

"Well, the self repair systems of the Great Beast are operational. The battle damage from that last encounter wasn't all that bad." Having calmed down, Canal informed them of her diagnosis. "Give the self repair a little more time and the ship will be as good as new."

"I can't say the same about the crew though." Kain brought up the inevitable news. "Most of them only suffered superficial physical injuries, but being exposed to having their minds fed on by a dark lost ship, one that's supposed to be their ally, isn't something they'll forget any time soon. I cannot say how much negativity they had to withstand, but it surely caused a great mental strain, from which they will need time to recover. Then there's Milgazia..."

"His injuries were by far the worse," Millie continued. "I couldn't figure out how to get his jetpack back on. His biological side heals remarkably fast, but the skin on his back healed over some circuitry and got it all out of place, it's a mess of melted ripped wires and skin trying against all odds to seal the wounds and it's not pretty. I'm sorry, but I don't think I can reconnect the jet pack to his nervous system and repair his spine. You'll have to take him to a specialist and hope that at least some partial repairs can be done."

Xellos scuffed, "I never liked him anyway, having all those diplomatic meetings with Lord Beast Master," he pouted. Millie blinked; she didn't understand why diplomatic meetings would be bad, though she supposed that it all depended on their contents. "I'll let him rest for now and let Beast Master decide what to do with him later, it's not like he's in mortal danger anyway," Xellos decided. "He did attack Lord Beast Master though, so he could be when she wakes up. Well I'm sure you're all very tired, so I won't keep you up any longer, have a pleasant evening." It was a rather direct indirect way to tell them to leave.

Millie exchanged worried looks with Canal, but it was surprisingly Kain who placed a hand on each of their shoulders to stop them from protesting. "Zelas has a lot of pride, doesn't she?"

"Naturally," Xellos replied with a curious look about why Kain would suddenly feel the need to state the obvious.

"Then she won't harm Milgazia, because if she wanted to, it would have to be on her full senses. Something that happened while she was... berserk... will not count for her," Kain stated with certainty.

"I suppose we'll see," Xellos had to admit in the privacy of his own mind that Kain did have a point and Milgazia would most likely be left alive, unfortunately from the general priest's point of view. Though he couldn't precise when he started to dislike Milgazia so much, even after that stunt he pulled with Flagoon all those years ago, the anger faded in time and they only shared a mutual disdain for each other's kind that was natural and expected, or so they had believed. Xellos supposed that there really was not that much wrong with Zelas playing diplomat with a dragon, his fears, as well as his misunderstanding the previous year, were ridiculous at best, or so he told himself. Thus Xellos decided not to interfere so much anymore, unless of course Zelas told him to.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox

Episode 060: Kaiba Corp. the dueling cards, the king of games (Yugi), Duel Academy's top student (Jaden) and Jack Atlas are from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's respectively.

Episode 061: Lina and Gourry's mission was based on a similar situation with Kain on episode 14 of Lost Universe. The blond girl and blue haired boy are Flonne and Laharl from Disgaea.