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Slayers - Guilty

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By Skiyomi
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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, but this was an added bonus. Her smile faded as she looked around tentatively at her dining companions. She tried to slip the package furtively under her chair.

"What's that, Amelia?" Lina asked, looking up from her spaghetti.

Amelia lamented her fate. Why couldn't Miss Lina have just been totally focused on her food like usual? "It's… nothing," she said.

But it was too late. Lina snatched the package out of her hand. "What's the Jester Publishing Club?" she asked curiously, reading the label. "Some kind of book-club?"

"Yes," Amelia said quickly, deciding that this was both true and non-incriminating. "It's just a book of the month club," she said hurriedly, as she tried to take the parcel back.

"What? Like a funny book club?" Lina asked, wondering at the publishing house's name.

Amelia hesitated here. She really didn't want to tell a direct lie. On the other hand… on the other hand it's none of Miss Lina's business! "Yes," she said.

"It's not," Zelgadis said, and to Amelia's horror he was rolling his eyes. "That's a romance novel company."

"What, you mean like those… I don't know," Lina trailed off. "Those books where the top part of the lady's dress is always torn?"

"Bodice-rippers," Zelgadis said gravely.

Lina made an ugh face. Then she looked suspicious. "How would you know about that?"

"I spend a lot of time in book shops," Zelgadis said sharply. "You notice these things."

"So is it true?" Lina said, turning to Amelia. "You're part of this bodice-ripper book of the month club?"

Amelia had an agonized look as though she'd like to disappear and muttered noncommittally.

"Huh," Lina said. She really wouldn't have expected it from Amelia. I mean, she thought, these are… girl books. Well, I guess that works out since Amelia is a girl. And so am I. Not that I'd actually read those things.

"They're awful books," Filia said vehemently, taking a self-righteous swig of her tea. "We never allowed them in the temple because their full of lewd material, negative gender stereotypes, and malicious misuse of thesauruses."

"Malicious what?" Gourry repeated.

"Oh, I don't know," Xellos stepped in, because he liked to take the point of view opposite Filia. "They might not be especially intelligent, but everyone has their guilty pleasures."

"I don't," Filia said automatically.

"Really? Let's take a vote." Xellos looked around the table. "Whoever believes Filia: raise your hand."

Everyone was suddenly too engrossed in their meals to vote for anything. Filia seethed.

"Well, I don't," she said sulkily.

"Who cares?" Lina said. "Books are about escapism. People can read what they want," she said.

She looked down at the package speculatively. "You know, I used to make fun of these books a lot when I was younger," she said wistfully. "They're really funny if you just look at them right."

"Miss Lina, please!" Amelia said. She had already been embarrassed enough for one day. She didn't need things rubbed in further.

"Oh, come on. It's harmless. Anyway," Lina said, throwing in a wink, "you're not part of any romance book of the month club, right? This came to you by accident."

"Umm… yeah," Amelia said, thankful for this rather cheap lifeline.

"I refuse to support smut," Filia said, crossing her arms in a very definite manner.

"Oh, come on," Xellos nudged. "You don't know it's that bad until you open it."

"I'm with Filia on this. Some of these books can be pretty tasteless," Zelgadis said, but he didn't make eye-contact with Amelia as he said it.

"I wanna at least look at it," whined Lina. "Anyway, like Xellos said: you don't know it's bad."

"Oh, like we should take a monster's advice on morality," Filia commented acerbically. I believe that's my area, she thought.

"They just send random books so there's no telling what it'll be about," Amelia said. Then she remembered her role and added: "I mean: I bet that's what they do."

"Well, I don't care what you guys say. I wanna see it," Lina said. "These are always worth a laugh."

She unwrapped the packing and opened the box within. Amelia looked over her shoulder as Zelgadis made a great show of looking the other way, while keeping one eye nonchalantly on the box. Filia had actually turned her chair to face in the opposite direction from the sinful material. Unfortunately this meant she was facing Xellos. And he was even more sinful material. He smiled at her. So she looked off to the side with a "Hmmph!" And Gourry, perhaps making the wisest decision of all: concentrated on eating as many meatballs as he could.

"What the—" Lina began in shocked surprise, looking at the cover.

"Do they—" Amelia began disbelievingly.

They exchanged a look and nodded. Then, as one, Lina, Amelia, and Zelgadis turned to look at Xellos.

"What?" he asked.

"Umm… it's just that… well, the people on the cover look a little…" Amelia began, hemming and hawing.

"They look just like you and Filia," Lina blurted out in a completely non-diplomatic manner.

"What?!" Filia shrieked, accompanied by the sound of her chair crashing to the floor as she stood up, elbowed Amelia aside and glared at the cover.

It was… true. It was remarkably, horrifyingly, and infuriatingly true. A girl with long blonde hair in a style very similar to Filia's was silhouetted against the illustrated moonlight. A revealing white dress clung to the woman's body and, yes, was ripped in several highly convenient places. She was being suspended in the arms of a man that…

She nearly choked in rage.

Yes. A man in a black cloak with a smug looking smile and very familiar bone-structure. He was even wearing gloves.

Of course, it wasn't by any means perfect. There were certain… clear differences. The man's hair was black and messier. And Filia's breasts were not quite as big as the ones the woman on the cover was sporting. Plus she'd never wear a dress like that.

And of course it couldn't be them because they'd never in a millions years do anything like that. It was a book. A fiction. A cheap knock-off of real life with added moonlight and balcony scenes!

"You look good in white," Xellos commented, suddenly over her shoulder.

Filia gritted her teeth. "That's not me," she said.

"Well, obviously," Zelgadis said. "It's a book."

"But it's a pretty weird coincidence," Lina said, rubbing her chin in thought.

Filia took another look at the dramatically-posed cover. She narrowed her eyes at it as if she could intimidate it. "It doesn't even look that much like us," she announced. Absolutely, she thought. My initial thought that it looked like us was all wrong. It doesn't even… the faces are all… well, it's wrong. That's all.

"What's it called?" Gourry asked, abandoning his spaghetti just long enough to ask a pertinent question.

Amelia looked up at the top of the book. "Forbidden Desires," she said.

"How very appropriate," Xellos said cheerfully.

Filia glowered. The only forbidden desire she felt was the one to connect her elbow in a painful manner with his jaw. "What kind of hack piece of garbage goes around calling itself Forbidden Desires?" she asked harshly.

"Well, let's see," Lina said, flipping to the inside cover. "'Forbidden Desires'," she read. "'The scorching love story of a young shrine-maiden-in-training named Millia whose world is forever changed when she meets the dark sorcerer Serros. The sorcerer promises to teach Millia the dark craft in order to raise her younger brother from the dead. But by the time she learns enough will she have already fallen too deeply into darkness to ever escape? Will she see the light in time, or will her heart, soul, and body be irredeemably corrupted?'."

Amelia was actually started to feel a little relieved that her book had been snatched away. The romance genre was always a crap-shoot. And this time it seemed that the shoot had turned out, well… crappy. And luckily it seemed that all the embarrassment was off her and squarely on Filia.

"That's," Filia paused to take a deep breath. If she thought this would calm her down then she was mistaken. "That's the worst piece of drivel I've ever heard!"

"I've heard worse," Xellos commented.

"You want me to read some of it?" Lina asked Filia with an evil glint in her eye. Filia had prevented Lina from ordering a sixth pie last night. It was payback time.

"No!" Filia shouted.

"What do you think, Xellos?" Lina asked, knowing where her bread was buttered when it came to mischief.

Xellos shrugged. "I don't see why not," he said.

"I can give you about a million reasons why not!" Filia responded furiously.

But Filia never got a chance to share any of those reasons. "'She could feel Serros's hot breath against her neck as she tried to focus on the ancient inscription in front of her'," Lina read from somewhere near the middle of the book as Filia froze. "'Don't,' she said. 'Leave me alone you evil enchanter! I'm only going to use this magic to save my brother. I won't fall prey to your dark ways!' but it was a hollow threat. Already her body shivered and twitched against her will as he ran a hand down her side, resting it possessively against her waist'."

Filia was twitching. Well, her eye was at least. She was trying to get it together for long enough to avenge this act of evil, but she was almost too angry to do anything.

"'He turned her around and she peered helplessly into his amethyst eyes, lost in the eternal darkness of galaxies within'," Lina went on theatrically. "'Her body practically begged her mind to give in just this once. If not now, then when? To surrender everything she had to him in one never-ending, passionate—'"

"Alright, that's it!" Filia yelled, finally having had enough. She seized the book from Lina's grip with all the formidable strength of a dragon. "We're not going to indulge in any more of this putrid poison for the mind!" she announced. "It's disgusting, totally unrealistic, and—"

"I thought it sounded a bit like you," Xellos commented mildly.

"IT DID NOT!" Filia screeched back. She was barely able to restrain herself from literally throwing the book at him. But she didn't particularly want him to have it. In fact no one should have it.

She stomped over to the refuse bin and threw the book with more force than necessary at the pile of potato peelings and rancid lettuce. "There!" she declared. "Now it's in the trash where it belongs. No pleasures should be that guilty!"

Amelia frowned. She hadn't paid membership to that book club to have her books thrown into the garbage by irate dragons.

"Nobody is to mention that book ever again," Filia said warningly.

"What book?" Gourry asked, who hadn't been totally following this.

"Forbidden Desires," Xellos answered promptly.

"Oh, yeah. I heard you guys talking about that," Gourry said as Filia stewed in her anger. "What's it about?"

"Well, there's this—" Xellos began.

"Shut UP!" Filia snapped. "It's about nothing! Now please everyone just finish your food and go to bed!" she ordered, her voice getting strained and on the edge of a tantrum. She exited for her room in a well-executed huff.

"Killjoy," Lina said succinctly.

*****

Later that night when all was dark and still in the dining room of the inn, a shape crept through the darkness. It was doing its best to be quiet and unobtrusive. As a result of the general malignancy of the universe, every floorboard in its path made a loud squeaking noise under its feet.

It snuck over to the garbage can and carefully opened the lid as though the contents within might explode at any second. It reached inside and rummaged for something within in a raccoon-like manner. It seemed to have retrieved its prize as it tucked it under its arm. Then it made a mad, quiet dash for the stairs barely daring to breath.

Only when the figure had completely vanished up the flight of stairs did a voice from the darkness say: "Well. Isn't this an interesting development?"

*****

Filia had laid the rescued book out on her bed and was running her eyes rapidly across the text-laden pages. She'd delivered it from the squalor of the trashcan and squirreled it away. And that might seem… wrong. But it wasn't.

See, she had absolutely no desire (forbidden or otherwise) to read the thing. She wasn't the least bit curious about what it contained. In fact, she was only a chapter or two in and it was terrible going. It was a real struggle to keep reading the flowery tripe that stank up the pages. But she had to, you see?

Because the book was clearly utterly malignant and totally inane. Yet books like that had a strange power over some people. Guilty Pleasures, Xellos had said. Something like that couldn't be allowed to just rot in the trash can. It was an important teaching tool! If she read it then she'd be so overcome with disgust over it, that she'd never even have the slightest interest in reading anything of its kind again. Plus, she could better understand the sway these things held over other weaker individuals and persuade them otherwise.

But the others clearly wouldn't see the sense in that. They'd get all sorts of ideas. Which was why she had to read it in secret.

Millia had caught a glimpse of him that day; the man the elders had warned her to stay away from. He was tall with hair cropped just above his shoulders in a look that was both attractive and timeless. His cold eyes flashed into her very heart. She was afraid, and even angry that he would dare to step foot on the holy ground of temple. But yet… she couldn't help but feel something else when she looked at him… something new…

As Filia had found herself doing many times throughout the story, she flipped back to the cover where the man with the smoldering eyes held the woman in his arms. In the flickering candlelight it seemed his smile broadened.

"Tch," Filia said, and went back to the text.

*****

His lips pressed silkily against hers as she couldn't help but feel her own lips part, ready to succumb in every way to his touch. She moaned shamelessly into his kiss as he reached down to fondle her breasts. She knew that it no longer mattered if the temple closed, or if she lost her status as a shrine maiden, or even if her brother remained in that cold, lifeless casket forever. Everything that really mattered was happening in the present. Not the past and not the future. His questing hand left her breasts, sliding down her stomach, past her bellybutton and…

"Serros," she breathed, desire thronging through every vocalization. "At least take the gloves off first."


"Disgusting," was all Filia said. Then she licked her thumb and turned the page.

*****

The whole thing. She'd read the whole thing from start to finish. She'd stayed up for hours and she'd be exhausted in the morning, but she'd read it all.

And it had been lewd. There had been negative gender stereotypes. And it certainly used words like 'Heaving', 'Pulsating', and 'Tumescent' significantly more often than Filia was comfortable with.

And the characters had just been… ugh. By all accounts Millia was a selfish, childish, hypocrite who thought about sex way more than she should and way more than she'd admit. As for Serros, well, he was just a vessel for sardonic one-liners who spent most of his time sexually-harassing the main character. Filia wasn't sure which one of them she hated more.

And now Filia was sure of it: she couldn't throw this book away.

She'd planned to just put it back in the trash can after properly appreciating its revoltingness. But now she knew she couldn't. It was… well, she needed to keep it. It was just the right thing to do. It would be a… a reminder that she could keep with her always of how easy it is to let oneself fall to guilty pleasures.

But the others wouldn't understand her completely morally sound reasoning for keeping the book. They'd totally misinterpret it. So she'd have to make some sort of cover to go over it, since removing its current cover was out of the question.

She looked back down at the cover for about the hundredth time that night. It was beginning to be etched in her head.

"Doesn't even look like us," she said out loud and somewhat doubtfully.

And then, in a louder more confident voice she rhetorically asked: "What kind of hack even writes crap like this?"

Hey, that's a good question actually, she thought, and looked down at the cover again. She'd mostly focused on the picture and hadn't really looked at…

Forbidden Desires: A Novel By Lex Sol

Lex Sol? What an appropriately ridiculously made-up sounding pen-name for such a stupid piece of….

…What a minute…

Lex Sol. Lex Sol. Xel…


Filia took a deep breath, her face red and furious. She threw her head back angrily into the night and screamed: "XELLOS!!"
Another short for Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer Writing Challenge! Join in the fun: [link]

Theme #78: Guilty

Rating: T
Fandom: Slayers
Pairing: Xellos/Filia
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Themes done so far:
-Exorcism: [link]
-Tea Leaves: [link]
-First Kiss: [link]
-Guilty
-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: [link]
-Totally Smashed: [link]
-Just Because You Can Do It, Doesn't Mean You Should: [link]
Published:
© 2010 - 2020 Skiyomi
Comments9
anonymous's avatar
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4652424's avatar
I wonder if the others would of noticed who it was if they read the title.
shishiyoukai's avatar
AHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh my my, uahahahahaahaha, I can't stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!! XD THIS will become a draw, I swear!!!
Skiyomi's avatar
XD Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :3
Amalika's avatar
:lmao: That was really awesome xD I knew there were too many coincidences! Millia and Serros! xD Absolutely hilarious, especially the end xD
Skiyomi's avatar
:D Thanks!

XD Yes. Xellos is not always subtle.
Amalika's avatar
You're welcome :dummy:

I guess he didn't really mind if someone (and especially Filia xD) would be able to find it out xD
littlecloudflower's avatar
This is ingenius! I laughed so hard at the end!!! :D Who knew Xellos could write romance novels, being a monster and all? :)

Does Filia really have a brother, or is that just made up? Reminded me of Sango from Inuyasha for some reason, since she had a brother...Well, also because Miroku is purple...^^; Color really does matter in anime...
Skiyomi's avatar
:D Thanks!

XD, well he's got to do something in his spare time!

Filia hasn't got a brother as far as I know. That was kinda just an addition for the romance novel plot although I was thinking a bit of Val. It wasn't supposed to be absolutely directed related to them just... based on it a bit.
littlecloudflower's avatar
Ah...So it was kind of like Val...That would make sense.
anonymous's avatar
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