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Literature
Slayers, A Stray Child, Part 3
Part 3.
The paddle dipped into the dark water, catching against mud and plant-matter and gods only knew what else. Filia surveyed the scene from her perch on the boards that crossed from one side of the boat to another. The splash of the oar propelling her tiny craft forward was a sharp contrast to the quiet around her. Even the clouds that had riddled the town with raindrops had ceased their onslaught, though the sky threatened that this reprieve could be short-lived. The rooftops that peeked out from the newly created sea were empty. There was not a man, woman or child in sight, awaiting rescue from the high ground. Not even so much as the quack of a duck or the soaring outline of a gull could be found to give some sign of life. But it didn't feel empty exactly. More like something was there—holding its breath.
Filia gripped the oar. Whatever that something was, it was leading her on—on to find Val, or to walk into a trap, or… what exactly? The false Val
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Literature
Slayers, A Stray Child, Part 2
Part 2.
Filia’s eyes shot open. None of the usual, slow waking up elements of transition accompanied her shift from unconsciousness to consciousness. There was no slow eyelid flutter, no soft groan as the light from the window became too much to ignore and as the senses slowly perked up to register birdsong and domestic bustle. She’d gone from laid out on the bed with her eyes closed to sitting up and staring wide-eyed at the peeling wallpaper in two seconds flat.
“No…” she said, gazing down at the covers of her hotel room bed as though they’d betrayed her. “It wasn’t a dream,” she declared, as though she could scold reality.
“It probably wasn’t,” a voice agreed. “But, then again, I don’t know what you dream about.”
She looked over at the figure sitting in the chair next to her bed. You had to be impressed at Xellos’s ability to either completely blend in with the background o
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Literature
Slayers, A Stray Child, Part 1
A Stray Child
Part 1.
Filia sat in the rocking seat of the carriage and silently wished she could will away the rain that had started pattering against the roof. If the weather had held out, she could’ve at least promised Val a bright sunny picnic later—a distantly hanging incentive that would’ve made this journey less a tedious business trip that he’d been dragged along for and more the family time that she desperately wanted it to be.
She hugged her small suitcase of luggage close to her as she tried to block out Jillas’s snores from the bench next to her and instead turned to Val, peering out the window. Well, of course he was. He’d made such a fuss about getting the window seat and yet now he seemed disappointed with the scenery he was getting.
It made sense that he was restive and that his mood was starting to match the weather. That she understood. What child Val’s age would want to be dragged along for a trip to check on a tardy c
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Literature
Slayers - Rivalry
Rivalry.
Filia stared down at the smudged ledger where she’d been noting the shop’s latest expenses. She turned her hand to the side and sighed, wiping the ink off with a pocket handkerchief. She stood up, tilting her neck this way and that to work out the kinks. That was enough bookkeeping for the day, she decided. She’d better get back to the shop room and help Jillas and Gravos handle the influx of customers. It was a Saturday and things always got a little zooey on the weekends. What was more, she knew many of the town’s residents were growing concerned about the agitated rumblings of military intervention out of the capital. Even though it would almost certainly turn out to be nothing more than pointless posturing, she knew for a fact that several of the town’s more excitable residents would be considering upgrading their brick-in-a-sock or bat-with-a-nail-in-it security systems to something a little more refined. She’d need to be there t
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Literature
Slayers - Prophecy
Prophecy.
Xellos shimmered into being in an alleyway, well out of sight of any of the people milling about in the crowded streets of the city. He had the half-formed idea that he might bide his time over a cup of tea, but was unsure as to whether he’d like to spend this break on something more productive or not.
The Dark Star summoning was off the monster race’s agenda. That was the big takeaway from the meeting he’d just attended and changed much about what was to be done now. Funny, but he’d had the feeling all along that it would wind up getting shut down, even though there’d been a great deal of excitement about the idea initially.
Since Valgaav was the force pushing for the summoning, this left them with two options: persuade him to join their side or continue with their plan to simply eliminate him. Xellos was privately certain that the former would not work and that the latter would be necessary. And, despite the benefits his superiors saw to
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Literature
Slayers - Exorcism
Exorcism.
It was the first house call of young Reverend Verily Rinderpest's career and he was terrified of screwing it up. He'd initially joined the clergy because he wanted a career in which he could avoid hard work and danger and stay indoors. His dull manner of speaking and social ineptitude made him useless on the pulpit and more trouble than he was worth in missionary work. So they'd transferred him to one of the temple's darker divisions. The dark division, in fact. The one where holy water was your tea and you cut your teeth on silver bullets.
And now he was standing in the threshold of the home of Miss Filia Ul Copt. Everyone in Achaea knew her. She was the dragon girl who ran that lovely shop on the main street. As far as Verily understood it, dragons were the servants of the gods. But selling instruments meant for bashing other people's heads open hardly seemed holy to him. Although the vases were quite nice.
Verily clutched his scriptures to his chest as he loo
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Literature
Slayers - Tea Leaves
Tea Leaves.
Filia had known that life wouldn't always be easy for a dragon living among humans. Hadn't she encountered places in her journeys where dragons were feared or completely forbidden? And even most otherwise kind and fair humans could have a tendency to be a little nervous around a creature that could breathe lasers and level buildings.
Thankfully, the thriving family community of Achaea had welcomed her with open arms. She had been treated with only the greatest courtesy since she arrived there with Jillas, Gravos, and Val in his little egg to set up shop. She had plenty of business and was surprised to find herself becoming a pillar of the community.
And that was the thing really. Because even though no one in Achaea thought ill of her for being a dragon, it did mean that she was… well, someone 'not quite like us'. The people of Achaea didn't consider this a bad thing, in fact… there were times when hard up villagers needed people 'not quite like us'.
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Literature
Slayers - First Kiss
Theme #72.
First Kiss.
It was shaping up to be another interesting journey for Lina Inverse and her band of friends, acquaintances, and sometimes-enemies. With Zelgadis tagging along to search for his cure, Amelia following to punish villains, Gourry following because he was epoxied to Lina at the hip, Filia joining in for a chance to find a lost tome about ancient dragons, and Xellos stalking them for his own unspecified purposes… well… there had already been a lot going on. And then they'd picked up Sylphiel along the way just to make things more complicated.
As it was, they were way over their shrine-maiden quota. Not only that, they were over their budget quota. Stretching a food budget to eight people (some of which had very large appetites) on misappropriated bandit booty was tough. Lina said that Xellos should help them out by not eating since, being a creature of darkness, he didn't need to eat human food. Xellos responded by saying that he liked eating human f
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Literature
Slayers - Guilty
Theme #78: Guilty.
Guilty.
It's a bit hard to juggle the responsibilities of being a princess with life on the road. But Amelia was managing. The only way she'd been able to talk her father into letting her join in with Miss Lina, Mister Gourry, Mister Zelgadis, Miss Filia and Mister Xellos during the busy legislative session was to keep in contact. She'd send a carrier pigeon out with the addresses of every place they intended to stay at and for how long, updating with new information as she went along. This allowed her to still send and receive mail. In this way she was allowed to keep adventuring while signing treaties, corresponding with law-makers, and casting votes. Every night she'd dread the mail that would be plopped at her place at the table with piles of tedious paperwork. Then again, it also brought…
A rectangular package was placed before her place that night at dinner with a familiar return stamp across it. She smiled. Not only was there no paperwork tonight,
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Literature
Slayers - Dwelling On It
Theme #93: Dwelling on it.
Dwelling On It. (Or: Filia's Really Gone Crackers This Time)
Oh gods, I want to touch his hair.
The thought burst through Filia's mind like an illegal firework. She glowered at the back of Xellos's head as they walked along. Now the pretty lights of the thought were done and the crackle of guilt was sounding as the sparks of compulsion descended and went out.
As an extended metaphor it wasn't all Filia had hoped it would be. But the fact was, she wasn't entirely sure how it had come to this point. Really, how do you go from 'Filthy monster; I hate him!' to 'Oh gods, I want to touch his hair'?
By the way, she didn't take back any of that first impression. He was a filthy monster. And she did hate him. She just really wanted to touch that filthy, hateable monster's hair. That made sense, right?
No. Not even a little.
It wasn't even that she liked his hair! She didn't! Really! Actually, the fact that she loathed it so much was
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Literature
Slayers - Unoriginal Sin
Theme #65: Unoriginal Sin.
Unoriginal Sin.
Edie's Garden and Orchard was a beautiful place to visit at any time of year, but Filia especially liked it in the fall. Every year she'd close up shop and fly herself, Val, Gravos, and Jillas down to Millspring County to visit. And it was a lot of fun. It wasn't exactly flower season, though a few late lasting species hung around in the autumn, but it was the prime time to watch the trees change color.
Val picked out his pumpkin there every year. They'd always try to get big ones so they'd have more seeds to cook. And there were plenty of activities geared at kids his age including face painting, story-telling circles, and hayrides. Not to mention all the apple pie. Filia's mouth watered when she thought about the apple pie. You couldn't get apple pie like that anywhere else in the world but Edie's.
The autumn weather was at its absolute best that day. Of course, Filia would've taken them down to Edie's no matter what the weather. They
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Literature
Slayers - Game
Theme #15: Game.
Game.
Xellos sat on the light brown sofa (with coral pink decorative pillows at either end) in the middle of Filia's living room and watched her flurry of activity with an expression buffeting between amusement, puzzlement, and slight annoyance. She was currently grunting as she heaved a hutch with pears painted on the side of it from one wall to the opposite wall and doing her best to ignore him all the while.
He sipped his tea in mild irritation. He'd had to get it himself too. Filia had never been a very good hostess. Informing her of that had done nothing to improve her manners. Apparently she was much more content to move display cabinets from one perfectly reasonable position to another than she was to pay the slightest bit of attention to her guest.
Filia wiped the sweat from her brow as she brought the hutch to a rest. Then she abruptly turned to face Xellos with a determined glare and her hands on her hips.
"Move," was all she said.
He looked upward as
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Literature
Slayers - Terms and Conditions
Terms & Conditions.
"She beat you," Beastmaster Zelas summed up after her singular servant finished relating the unfortunate results of his arm-wrestling match with the ex-dragon priestess he insisted on spending so much time with.
"That appears to be the case," Xellos admitted in a tone with a chipper candy-coating and a nervous chocolate-center. "It seems I underestimated her focus."
Zelas took a pull of her pipe and watched as the smoke billowed upwards. Losing a contest of strength against someone who is legitimately weaker than you generally indicates that they have some mental leverage against you. Xellos was supposed to be good at mental leverage. Which made this… interesting… but nevertheless troublesome.
"So you now owe a golden dragon – a former priestess, no less – a favor," she said, letting this unpleasant fact and all its implications sink to the floor.
"That is true," Xellos confessed. "She can't ask me for anything. We agreed tha
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Literature
Slayers-How to Impress a Woman
How to Impress a Woman.
Filia watched with the proud eyes of a mother as Val ran through the playground with his arms out, playing tag with the other kids and generally having the time of his life. She'd been determined to give him the childhood he'd never had, but she'd been so worried. He'd only started school a few weeks ago and it was as if she'd been holding her breath for something to go wrong. She kept thinking that he might… oh say, accidentally transform and burn a hole in the wall or something. You know, the little things moms worry about.
But things seemed to be going well. Val was adapting and making friends, no one was giving him any trouble there, and he had a home and a family now.
Well, sort of.
She broke her gaze away from Val to give a sidelong glance to the person on the bench next to her. This probably looked normal. Sure, they didn't seem too different from any of the other parents watching their kids play. But a dragon and a monster sitting peac
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Literature
Slayers- Wolves and Their Prey
Theme #22.
Wolves and Their Prey.
Really, there is no such sustainable unit as a lone wolf. Oh, lone wolves exist; pushed out by the higher ups in their packs for various crimes against the pack. But a lone wolf is only one step away from death. A wolf by itself will not howl to the lonely moon unless it wants to risk being torn to pieces by either its old pack or a neighboring pack. Wolves have a complicated hierarchy that extends far beyond the alpha pair. Wolves hunt in groups. A wolf by itself cannot scrape by for long in this cold, cruel world. A lone wolf is not romantic.
The wolf with the keen eyes and the sleek coat creeping through the underbrush was not a lone wolf. He was from a proud pack that dominated the western edge of the forest. It was one of the biggest packs in the area, though this didn't say much because many packs in the area had been reduced to as little as four adults, which wasn't even much of a pack anymore. It was those damn farms that had crop
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Literature
Slayers - Good Deeds
Good Deeds.
It had all started so – for want of a better word – innocently, Xellos reflected as he made his way through the inferno of timber and smoke that he found himself in. But things were rapidly getting out of control.
It came down to… well, self-destructive behavior of a certain kind. Take humans; they weren't supposed to try to destroy themselves, but they often felt an… an unnatural itch to do so. To take that drink after they're already too far gone, to inject something poisonous into their veins, to kill by inches and be killed by inches.
Of course, a lot of these inclinations were pleasure-based, but just as many of them were pain-based. Humans had an… inclination for danger and destruction. It wasn't held as positive, and it was always met with attempts at suppression, but still, it was there.
But destruction is a monster's bread and butter. Hence, Xellos found himself drawn into a rather different kind of troubl
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