Tales Of Symphonia Fan Fiction ❯ Tales of Symphonia: The People v. Zelos Wilder ❯ Part One: Pre-trial, Chapters 1-4 ( Chapter 1 )

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

NAMCO Tales Studio, Ltd. holds the exclusive rights to all characters and story elements appearing in the video game Tales of Symphonia. The following story has been created for entertainment purposes only, and no profit has been made by the author.
The People v. Zelos Wilder
Part One - Pre-trial
Subpoena: Lloyd and Sheena
"Hey, slow down, will ya!"
"No way, Sheena. Speed up if you wanna catch me!"
"Lloyd!" she growled. "When I catch you--"
"If you catch me."
Though seething on the outside, inwardly Sheena was having the time of her life. There'd never been much time for fun and games while the young summoner was growing up. But here she was at twenty-one years old, legally an adult by even the strictest of standards, playing an impromptu game of tag with the man she loved. Or was it keep-away?
They'd been having lunch when Lloyd ran off with the last apple after he'd already had three. A big grin was plastered on his face. Whenever he cast a backwards glance to his pursuer, he held the apple up to his mouth, threatening to take a bite.
She forced herself to suppress her grin. Serious face, girl. Eye of the ogre! Lloyd had matured a lot in the two years since their Exsphere-hunting journey began, but he still knew how to cut lose and have fun. They were finding Exspheres only occasionally now, just three in the last month. They could both sense their journey was nearing its end, and were purposefully stretching it out, making every day count, because once it ended, their relationship would never be the same. The pressure on Sheena to return home and assume the chiefdom had increased sharply these past months. Grandpa wasn't long for this world, and she couldn't properly govern her village from the back of a protozoan.
Sheena stretched out her hand. Lloyd was allllmmmost within reach. She took a flying leap, but he dodged and took a true flying leap, unveiling his wings and hovering just out of her reach.
"No fair using wings," she said.
He tossed the apple back and forth between his hands. "All's fair in love and war, Sheena."
"Oh really?" Not bothering to dust herself off, she closed her eyes and began to chant. A glowing circle of black and violet beneath her feet signaled the coalescing of energies. "I summon thee--"
Lloyd panicked, dropping to the ground immediately. "No, wait, wait. You can have the apple. I was only teasing."
She ceased her chanting, saucily sauntered over to him, and took the proffered fruit. She kept her eyes locked on his as she took a bite. "Wise decision, Irving."
"Heh. Zelos is right. You can be really scary sometimes."
Sheena cocked an eyebrow. "Thanks for bringing up that pervert. I just lost my appetite." She left the apple in his gloved hand.
Lloyd found himself unconsciously tracing the impressions her teeth made on the fruit while watching her walk away. "Sorry."
"S'okay. You can make it up to me later."
Lloyd shrugged, and took a bite out of the apple. He tasted a hint of kirima on the apple. Sheena's lip gloss. He smiled.
"What are you smiling at?"
"Just looking forward to making it up to you."
Sheena blushed. "Lloyd..."
"Lloyd Irving!"
Lloyd dropped the apple and before it struck the ground his swords were in his hands. Before it had rolled more than five inches, he was wheeled around, both swords pointing at the source of the voice. Before it came to a stop, Sheena was at his side, the afternoon sun glinting off her spell card.
"Ah...and Sheena Fujibayashi. This shall make my job easier."
"Tell me your name, and I will tell you mine."
The stranger consulted the scroll he held. "Yes...definitely Lloyd Irving."
Lloyd turned his head slightly toward Sheena, keeping his eyes on the stranger. "So, is this guy an enemy or what?"
"I don't think so."
"Right you are." He rolled up the scroll, pulled another from a bag at his side, and started forward, hands in the air. "I am no enemy, but a simple server."
"You mean servant?" Lloyd asked, lowering his weapons a bit. It was tiring holding them up like that.
"No, I mean server." He handed him each a scroll. "You've been served."
Lloyd sheathed one of his swords to accept it. "Served what?"
"Subpoenas," Sheena said, surprised. "We've been summoned to the royal court in Meltokio."
"It's Zelos," she said, "He's been arrested."
Press Conference: Lloyd and Sheena
"This just in, it appears the Chosen of Mana, Zelos Wilder, has been arrested. We now go live to just outside the Meltokio Castle, where the king's press secretary is about to speak..."
The tremendous screen was the first thing Lloyd and Sheena noticed upon entering Tethe'alla's capital. Its prominent placement all but guaranteed this. Currently, it showed a young man and a pretty young girl delivering with plastered-on smiles all the gossip and official pronouncements of the day. The screen itself was nothing new to the travelers. They'd seen such technology at both the human ranches and the Renegades bases, but never on this large a scale. What the Desians used for two-way chats, the king had appropriated for mass communication. They were impressed.
Not only big, it was also loud. The voices blaring from its speakers could be heard over the hustle and bustle of the market without their having to strain too hard.
The male announcer continued. "No, I'm sorry. I've been informed there has been a slight delay. We'll check in on the press secretary in just a moment. I'm told, Mary," he spoke to his fellow announcer, "The Chosen is quite the ladies man. I'm sure many of the ladies in our audience could attest to this.
"Oh, yes," the female agreed.
"Have you ever been out with the Chosen?"
"Oh, no, I've never been that lucky."
"Well, as a special treat, our producer has put together a retrospective of some of the Chosen's past loves." As the male continued to speak, images began to fill the screen, each apparently a past "love" of Zelos. "And here's a face you'll all recognize!"
The color drained from Sheena's face. On the screen was a picture of her in her signature outfit of black, blue, and lavender. She lectured a group of girls, the flighty young things that always followed that idiot pervert around. She had gotten sick and tired of the inconvenience they presented, and had just started really laying into them. She remembered that day. It was right before he started wearing that stupid bird mask.
"Awfully possessive of her man isn't she, folks?"
"WHAT! That wasn't a date! I wasn't even alone with him! There are other people in the photo, idiot. Look, Lloyd's right there. See!"
You realize they can't hear you, right?
Shut up, brain!
"That's right, Bob. It's Sheena Fudgy...Foojiboo..."
"The little minx from Mizuho. You remember her, don't you, Mary?"
"Sure do, Bob. She came to our fair city illiterate and barely able to speak the language..."
"Barely able to..." Sheena fumed. "I'll kill that little..."
The man spoke again, "And look at what she's become. Fluent, well-spoken, a bit rough around the edges maybe, but the Chosen must have seen something in her."
"Now I have to kill Bob as well," Sheena grumbled.
"And," he continued, "here's a shot of the two just after she arrived in our city." The picture showed Sheena and Zelos in what was then Meltokio's finest restaurant. They were dressed appropriately, she in a tight red dress and he in a flattering dark suit.
"That's not a da—...th-that...oh boy..." Her mouth dropped, and she couldn't quite seem to shut it. Zelos had a photographer there that night! She didn't know whether to burst into tears or call down the curses of the gods, including the ones she didn't believe in, on his head. She felt she might do either any minute. She directed all her willpower toward choosing anger over tears.
Lloyd gulped nervously. By now, Sheena's outburst had attracted a lot of attention. "Uh...Sheena, perhaps we should..."
"Not now, Lloyd."
"But everyone is staring."
"Can you believe the nerve of this guy? Claiming me, ME, as one of his floozies." Never mind the picture made it look like she was exactly that. "I'm going to kill him. No, you're going to kill him. Come on, defend my honor."
Lloyd stammered out a response.
Sheena suddenly gasped. "Oh...everyone is staring, aren't they?" Grasping his shirt, she ducked her head behind Lloyd's shoulder. "I'm so embarrassed."
Lloyd allowed her to remain hidden. "Don't worry about it, Sheena. C'mon, let's go check in at the castle." He took her hand and began to lead her up the stairs.
As soon as his hand touched hers, she smiled, beginning to feel just a little better.
Interrogation: Zelos and Sheena
Locked in the king's dungeon, Zelos had a problem. He was about to fall asleep from the gramophone's soft music and he still hadn't found his chair's sweet spot. "Hey, Sebastian," he called to his butler, "Hurry up with the latte, will ya? And make sure it's decaf. I hear a certain curvaceous cutie is headed my way, and I'll need my beauty sleep."
Sheena entered the dungeon without a sound. "You'd have to sleep a very long time to have an effect on me," she said.
"How long?"
"You'd get bedsores."
"Ah, I've missed you, hunny."
In spite of herself, Sheena smiled. "You too, idiot."
"And what's this? You're alone. A summoner with no swordsman is a tragedy."
"My last swordsman broke. Know where I can get a replacement?"
"Ho, ho, ho. Will a gleaming knight suffice?"
With every escalation of the banter, Zelos inched closer to the bars. He was delighted to note that Sheena did the same. Soon, she'd be close enough to touch, and if he played his cards right (the ace of sympathy and the king of charms) she just might let him.
"I think he might."
"Glad to hear it."
Sebastian interposed. "Your double tall nonfat decaf mocha latte, sir."
Zelos grimaced. "Go away. You're fired."
"Mmm. That smells delightful," Sheena said.
"Sebastian, you're rehired. Make my hunny a latte. Chop, chop!" Turning back to the unusually ebullient summoner, he gave her a seductive smile. "So, where were we? Ah, yes, you were about to tell me why you left that lamebrain and came crawling back to...I mean, graced me with your presence."
"Nice save, Chosen," she grinned, finally reaching the bars and threading a set of delicate fingers around one. "Guess that's what I like about you. You always know just what to say. Knowing how to properly comfort a lady is the mark of a real man." Sheena was close enough to smell his scent, kirima from his shampoo and a piquant musky aftershave. Pretty strong; he must've splashed it on right before I arrived. She reached out tentatively to stroke his chest. Seeing his pleased expression, she dropped her gaze to hide her blush.
He began tickling the exposed flesh beneath her right sleeve. "It's about time you dumped him," he said.
Her hand was behind his head now, threaded almost possessively through his red locks, and pulling him forward. She pursed her lips and tilted her head upward. She said, "It's about time, all right."
Then he saw the gleam in her eye.
"Oh sh—!"
Once, twice, three times, she pulled forward slamming his forehead into the cold metal of the bars. "Idiot!" she screamed, "Stupid pervert! This is for implying I was ever your girlfriend!"
"Violent Demon Banshe—ow!"
Zelos wrenched his head away from her grasp, losing a clump of hair, but managing to escape the flurry of punches she was throwing at his gut. For several seconds she irrationally kept reaching for him through the bars.
"Sebastian," he said, "do something!"
The butler nodded. "Of course, Master Zelos. Miss Sheena, your latte."
She smiled sweetly. "Thank you, Sebastian."
Zelos rubbed him head gingerly. "Feel better?" he asked the summoner.
She shrugged. "A little." She took a sip from of her latte, and then called out. "Lloyd, you can come in now."
A moment later, a sheepish looking Lloyd Irving entered, casting Zelos an apologetic look. Immediately, Sheena handed Lloyd her cup, making sure it was positioned so that when he drank, his lips would touch the spot hers had. "This is delicious. You have to try it."
She kept her eyes locked on Zelos's as Lloyd drank. Soon after the Chosen began grinding his teeth, she was rewarded with the sound of one of his fillings cracking.
Indictment: Zelos and Sheena
Finishing her latte, Sheena asked, "Have you even read the indictment?"
"I skimmed it," Zelos replied. Receiving a dirty look, he snorted. "What? It was twelve pages!"
"Twelve pages on which your future hinges," she insisted.
"Come on, my apprehensive hunny, I know what happened. I'll explain everything to the king, make a few bribes here and there, arrange a nice settlement with the family, and everything will be fine."
Sheena shook her head, incensed by both the brazenness of his thinking money could smooth over his sexual indiscretions and because, "You didn't even look at it!"
"Why would you say that?"
She held up a commemorative copy of the indictment, laminated and embossed with the royal seal (available at all item shops and hotels for the low, low price of only 1,000 gald—act now, while supplies last!), and read, "Count One: The Grand Jury of the City of Meltokio, Kingdom of Tethe'alla, by this Indictment, hereby accuses ZELOS WILDER of a felony, to wit: a violation of Penal Code section 261.5, (UNLAWFUL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE), in that on the night of February 23, in the city of Meltokio, he did forcibly obtain sexual favors from her royal highness, princess Hilda..."
"Hold on, this is about Hilda!" Zelos gulped audibly. "I am so screwed."
"You can say that again," Sheena agreed. "The king's not going to help you weasel your way out when the victim is his daughter."
"Wait a second. Did you say 'forcibly?'"
She nodded.
He relaxed into his chair. "Well, that's a relief."
"What?" Sheena screeched.
"That's my out. No one will think the great Zelos Wilder had to force himself on a woman. Don't worry your pretty little head, little Miss Voluptuous. I'm in the clear."
"Stupid perverted son of a..."
"Please watch your language. There are children present." Zelos indicated Lloyd who sat on a chair in the corner looking forlorn without his confiscated swords.
"They're practically accusing you of rape, Zelos." Sheena said.
"So," he shrugged. "I didn't do it."
"So, you and Princess Hilda never..."
"I didn't say that, but whatever Princess Hilda and I did or didn't do, but probably did, was entirely consensual and none of the king's business. Or anyone else's."
"Unfortunately," Sheena said, "the king and the grand jury both disagree."
He shrugged.
"Can I assume you also haven't read the second indictment?"
"There's more?"
"Yeah, and it's a biggie: Treason."
Zelos looked at her quizzically. "How do they figure?"
"As I understand it," she said, perusing the document with amazing speed, "your 'relationship' with Princess Hilda has made any political marriage impossible, and since any child born to you two would have become the king's heir, they're viewing it as an attempted coup."
"Heh. They're giving me an awful lot of credit."
"You're a smart guy, Zelos, though it pains me to admit it," Sheena said, "but I doubt you have the initiative to stage a political rebellion."
"I am pretty laid back," he agreed.
"There's one thing I don't get," Lloyd said, rising from his chair. "If the king is out to get you, why did he let you have all these amenities? Comfy chair? Soft music? Coffee maker?" Noticing shock on everyone's faces, even the butler's, Lloyd asked, "Why's everyone staring at me like that?"
Zelos cracked a grin. "That's a pretty big word for you, Lloyd. Have you been studying?"
Lloyd glared at him. "I know my fair share of vocabulary, Zelos. For instance: jerk, bastard, assho—"
"No, seriously, have you been studying?"
Lloyd exhaled. "Genis got me a Word-A-Day Calendar for my birthday."
"Bravo, Sir Bud!" Sebastian clapped his hands.
"My name is—ah, forget it," Lloyd moaned. "And what about my question? Why does the king let you have all these—?"
"He's going to say it," Zelos whispered.
"...things," Lloyd concluded.
"Ah, you're no fun," Zelos whined.
"Zelos, could you please quit making fun of my boyfriend and answer his very valid question?"
"Your what?" two voices called out simultaneously.
Sheena turned beet red. "I...said...boru-pen. The vice-chief gave it to me when I finished mid-level ninja training." She held up a cheap plastic pen, clicking it a few times for emphasis. "Zelos always used to make fun of it when we lived in Meltokio together, didn't you, Zelos? It always bothered me, but this is the first time I mentioned it. Heh, heh. Pretty stupid, huh, me bringing it up after all these years..."
"You're rambling," Zelos said in a sing-song voice.
"Shut up," she hissed.
Lloyd regarded the pen warily. "That looks pretty cheap for a graduation present."
"Are you calling my village poor?" Sheena narrowed her eyes accusingly.
"N-no, sorry."
Sheena sighed. Disaster averted.
Zelos began singing again, "Somebody's got a cruuussh—oof!"
Sheena smiled smugly, retracting her hand from between the cell bars. "And somebody's got a crushed windpipe."
Lloyd rubbed his own throat and watched Sheena warily. Maybe I should give Colette a call, he thought.
The sound of a clearing throat brought them all back to reality. "Excuse me for interrupting, Master Zelos," Sebastian said, "but you have company."
The butler spoke truth. Three guards entered through the dungeon doorway and wasted no time heading for Zelos's cell.
"Against the wall, Chosen, and spread 'em," came the gruff command of the largest guard.
"What are you guys doing?" Lloyd demanded, reaching for his missing swords.
Zelos, though, simply complied. "Relax, Bud, the guards are only doing their jobs." To the big guard, Zelos said, "Good afternoon, Klaus. How are the kids?"
He may have smiled. With his visor down, no one could tell. He said, "Good, good. Joey really loves the autographed picture."
"Tell her, 'hi,' for me."
"Sure will." Unlocking the door, he hesitated. "Sorry about this."
"Don't sweat it," Zelos said. "The blessings of the Chosen go with you."
With a nod, Klaus ordered his men to remove the chair, the potted plants, and the gramophone from inside the cell, and the espresso machine from outside. One of the guards picked up Sebastian, and threw him over his shoulder.
"Master Zelos, help me!" he cried.
"Klaus, come on, the butler too?"
"'Fraid so."
"But I brought him from home."
"I'm sorry, but—"
"...those are the rules," Zelos intoned. "Fine, fine. Sebastian, you're fired. Now, you can put him down. He's a friend visiting, not an employee."
This seemed to satisfy the big guard, who ordered his underling to drop the butler.
"Oh thank you, Master..." Receiving a dirty look from the guard, he corrected himself, "Right, thanks, Zelly, ol' pal."
"Zelly?" the Chosen questioned after the guards had filed out. "If you still worked for me, I'd fire you for saying that."
"Sorry, sir, I was put on the spot."
Turning to his friend, Zelos said, "To answer your question, Lloyd, I finished an interview with Mary, that scrumptious little hottie from the news, not five minutes before you two arrived. The king let me have those precious little tidbits of comfort for use on camera. It would be very bad PR to let the public see the Chosen being treated like a common criminal."
"And you went along with it?" Lloyd asked.
"Sure, why not?" he grinned, "I got a few cappuccinos out of it and the use of a comfy chair for a quick nap. It's a fair trade, I'd say."
Lloyd shook his head. "I just don't understand you."
Zelos shrugged, "Sometimes I don't understand myself. Well, guess it's back to scratchy mattresses and cold concrete for me. How about a little comfort for all my hardships, Sheena? The Chosen needs a hug."
But Sheena was already gone.