Slayers - Clipped Wings

Skiyomi's avatar
By Skiyomi
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Clipped Wings.

It always started out sharp and peppery. That was when surprise overtook her. He'd say a word or two to her, probably something fairly harmless or a reply to something she thought she'd been saying just to herself, and then she'd jump and look wildly around the room for the source of the comment.

"Xellos!" Filia cried out, that surprise even now beginning to shake away into anger. "What are you doing here?"

Once the surprise was shed, her teeth would grind together and her eyes would narrow. That would generally signal her move from shock into the deep canyon of annoyance and suspicion where she would stay for most of the remainder of their conversation. Annoyance was sugary, diverging into syrupy when her rage deepened. It wasn't filling like fear or pain, or savory like sadness, but it was almost addictively sweet.

He raised an eyebrow. "Don't you ever have anything new to say? I'm sorry to point out that while dragons might consider that a proper greeting, I doubt anyone else would think it's very polite."

"I don't have to be polite to you," she declared, stepping away from her chore of lining shelves to glare at him properly. "Would you prefer I greeted you with what monsters consider polite? Doesn't that generally involve collapsing someone's skull?"

"Hardly," Xellos said with a scoff and a frown. It wasn't all saccharinity. Things could get downright sour when Filia started jabbing back. But it gave the experience variety. "And the Golden Dragons? Aside from rude demands of intent, how does your race greet people? Maybe a little species cleansing? Or is that just for other dragon races?"

That one hurt and perhaps even a little too much. He could feel it radiating off of her. Things tended to escalate in arguments with Filia, so he thought he might have to recalibrate. Before he had a chance, though, she was pointing at him, with that look in her eyes that said she might either cry or slap him upside the head next.

"You of all people have no right to throw stones on that issue!"

"Ah, perhaps, Filia," he said, trying to calm the waters back to a more reasonable level of churning agitation. "It seems that both our races have been involved in mass… impoliteness."

"I'd use a stronger word than that!" Filia shot back, understandably irked by his reference to genocide in the same terms as one might refer to not taking your shoes off inside someone else's house.

"Would you?" Xellos asked, taking a seat on the step stool Filia used to reach the highest shelves in her shop. "But it's on both sides, wouldn't you agree?"

"That's not even—" Filia began. Then she stopped and you could practically see steam spurting out of her nostrils. "Look, Golden Dragons have done horrible things. I know that. You know I know that. But even in the midst of those terrible things they were trying to do good. They were terrible wrong, but at least their intentions were good. You monsters actually go out and attempt to be awful!"

Xellos waved a finger at her. "Ah, so are you saying that a well-intentioned massacre is less vile than a poorly-intentioned massacre? Do the brutally murdered appreciate that good intent?"

Filia often thought that Xellos derived some sick pleasure from confusing her. This was absolutely true. Filia was trying to build up a counter-argument, because she knew that Xellos's thesis was full of holes. She just wasn't entirely sure how to express that at the moment. But he was already moving on and didn't give her a chance to respond.

"And in any case, if intent is considered then the matter becomes all the more murky when you realize that these acts are carried out by servants under the orders of their superiors. This is true on both sides. Now… correct me if I'm wrong, Filia, but isn't obedience one of the Dragon race's favorite virtues?" Though certainly not one of Filia's, Xellos had to admit. Unless it involved being obedient to her. "If that's the case and following orders is a laudable act, then by your own argument you have absolutely no reason to hold a grudge against me for such acts."

Filia nearly exploded. "Are you serious?!" she demanded. "You're actually going to try to play the 'I was just following orders' card and think everything will be forgiven?"

"I was not apologizing," Xellos said coldly. "I was simply following through with your logic."

"That wasn't my logic," Filia countered fiercely. "That's some twisted version of my logic that you've concocted by missing the point of everything I was saying to excuse your dastardly behavior!"

"Pardon me for listening to your words, I'm sure," he answered icily, though he was glad at least for the 'd'. "I just consider it rather hypocritical for you to judge me for carrying out orders, when you served your own race in a similar—though infinitely less important—way."

"Not even remotely similar!" Filia shrieked. "And anyway, you hit on the actually point there, served," she said forcefully. "I didn't like the things that the Dragon race was doing or the things I was being asked to do so I quit! I could do that too. Nobody clipped my wings."

"And if you're going to claim to be just 'an obedient servant' then I've got news for you," Filia snapped, really getting in his face. "If you get pay and the occasional day off then you're a servant; if you get to go home at the end of the day and belong to yourself then you're a servant; if your choices belong to you then you're a servant; if you can quit when you don't like what you're being asked to do and not face death then you're a servant. If not, then that's just,"—she struggled with herself for a moment—"that's just slavery."

Xellos gaped at her. How could she have the audacity to suggest that— If she honestly believed something so stupid then there was no way he could set the deluded creature straight. When, by all accounts, if she had even the slightest bit of sense she should envy him his position. How dare she! Did she really think that just because those more powerful than her deigned to let have her way for the moment that she was freer than him? Did she have any concept of how fragile that illusion of freedom was? That at any moment it could be taken away? And yet she had the nerve to imply something so… so low and untrue about him?

He was about tell her that. All that. To take the blindfold off her and let her see what chains she really lived with. He was about to tell her, when he picked up a new sensation.

It was small, just a tendril of feeling flowing off of Filia as she stared back at him with a difficult to decipher expression. It had a coarse, sickening taste, as bitter in his mouth as ash.

It was pity.
A response to theme #24 of Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer Challenge.

This one is intended to be continued.

Themes Done So Far:
-Exorcism: [link]
-Tea Leaves: [link]
-First Kiss: [link]
-Guilty: [link]
-Dwelling On It: [link]
-Unoriginal Sin: [link]
-Game: [link]
-Terms & Conditions: [link]
-How to Impress a Woman: [link]
-Wolves and Their Prey: [link]
-Good Deeds: [link]
-Amusement Park: [link]
-Flower Garden: [link]
-Gemstones: [link]
-Childish: [link]
-You are Answerable for Your Fantasies: [link]
-Clipped Wings
-Totally Smashed: [link]
-Just Because You Can Do It, Doesn't Mean You Should: [link]
© 2011 - 2020 Skiyomi
anonymous's avatar
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the4gotten's avatar
Woah!!! Filia actually won an argument!!! :wow: i really liked it :D
and i definitely looove the arguments you make for this ones, everything always feels so fluid in their conversations...
to be continued?? i wanna see that one already :D
Skiyomi's avatar
It happens sometimes! XP

the4gotten's avatar
haha XD
you're welcome ;)
Mayleef's avatar
My brain burns...
Skiyomi's avatar
Umm... is that a bad thing? ^^; Sorry!
Mayleef's avatar
Not bad, not at all! It just made me think too hard :D
Skiyomi's avatar
XD Oh. I see!
Mayleef's avatar
how's the series going?
Skiyomi's avatar
Hmm? Which series?
Mayleef's avatar
The sequel of the Legal Matter, about filia and Xellos.
Skiyomi's avatar
Oh, that. It's going pretty well. I've started on Chapter 3, but haven't been able to get very far because of other projects and schoolwork. It should be taking the lead (aside from my novel) as far as writing projects go now though.
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littlecloudflower's avatar
Hm...I'd say Mazoku appreciate their freedom. I mean, didn't Xellos make a speech about that to Shabranigdo at the end of Evolution-R? They want to be free to destroy the world or something. Well, I haven't watched all of it, just the ending. Still...

However, it IS kind of ironic how they have such a rigid hierarchy and then claim to value freedom. But considering how Xellos betrayed Shabranigdo, I think perhaps Zelas is more liberal than most other Mazokus, and might let Xellos out on a longer leash.

Anyway, I love the way you described the taste of negative emotions in here! Especially that "addictively sweet" line! :D
Skiyomi's avatar
I agree that Zelas does give him more leeway, but it doesn't change the fact that obediance is absolute for monsters. Yeah, it is kinda ironic when you look at it like that.

I've resisted the urge, for the most part, to use Xellos tasting emotions until now because it's... well... it's kinda creepy! But I thought it worked well for this set-up.
littlecloudflower's avatar
Yeah, I guess, the hierarchy, at least, is absolute.

But I don't know, because didn't Xellos betray Shabranigdo at the end? So perhaps it isn't as absolute as we thought...

Well, I don't really know the circumstances that he betrayed him, so I can't say for sure...

Haha, yep! It IS kind of creepy! But it's fun and kind of helps us to understand him better! :D
AmberPalette's avatar
Yes. Mazoku are loyal and it is because there is a lack of free will attached to their very existence. Love your thesis here. LOVE that she actually got him for once, even though the line "Ah, so are you saying that a well-intentioned massacre is less vile than a poorly-intentioned massacre? Do the brutally murdered appreciate that good intent?" made me cheer.
Skiyomi's avatar
I thought Filia was due for an absolutely victory over him :) it is nice how they challenge each other, isn't it?
AmberPalette's avatar
[link] and the lead singer of this band really reminds me of Xelloss for some reason xDDDD and it's kind of a Xellia song if you squint XD
Skiyomi's avatar
XD It's that big smile!
AmberPalette's avatar
To me it's the combination of psychotic intent, vaguely present facetiousness, and cheer, LOL.
AmberPalette's avatar
It's bittersweet. It's invigorating but also inexplicably sad, which suits them well.
anonymous's avatar
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