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Thread: Summer Nights (Slayers - Xellos/Filia - Oneshot Collection)

  1. #26
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    Theme #95.

    Everyone Needs a Hobby. Rated G.

    It all started because Xellos needed a place to keep his books. He didn’t exactly subscribe to the notion that knowledge was power, but knew all too well that knowledge was the best way to leverage power. Not only that, but he also knew the location of every five-star ice cream parlor in the entire world. That was something worth bragging about.

    He supposed that he could’ve kept them on the astral side but… well… books seem to sort of belong on shelves. And he didn’t like reading on the astral side anyway. The constantly shifting light sources made the prospect rather annoying.

    And what is a house but a place to store shelves?

    So he’d gotten a space of his own—not to live in, but to keep things in. It worked out well not only for books but for any items that he had to… eh… ‘confiscate’ because they were too dangerous for human hands, but were not to be destroyed. Plus he could read mid-air without arousing any suspicion.

    After awhile the place seemed rather empty so he’d started picking up some furniture to fill it—just for the look of the thing. It was good quality stuff too. Many a burning palace had lost its antique chairs and tapestries, though not to the flames. Xellos didn’t like waste.

    What he’d built up was, he thought, a fairly well decorated space. Some of it was a little useless—but at least it looked nice. Unfortunately he could, at that moment, see none of his valuable, ill-gotten furniture acquisitions. He was, however, getting a great view of the red plush carpet.

    “You may rise,” said a female voice that was all authority.

    Xellos leaned on his staff to pull himself from his kneeling position. Lord Beastmaster, another monster who knew the value of cutting out a corner of real-space for oneself—was looking around the room with cool interest.

    “So, this is where you’ve been living,” she said.

    Xellos shrugged. “Not ‘living’ as such, Lord Beastmaster,” he said. “It’s more for storage and writing reports.”

    “Ah,” Zelas said. “So if you’re not living here then you’ve been living with that Filia girl you’ve mentioned with disturbing frequency?”

    Xellos winced. When Lord Beastmaster got to asking questions it was like a tickle on an open wound. “No,” he said carefully. “I simply drop by her home when I have no other matters to attend to. Occasionally,” he added quickly.

    “Occasionally,” Zelas repeated.

    Xellos nodded fervently.

    “Xellos?” Lord Beastmaster asked patiently.

    “Yes, Lord Beastmaster?”

    “There are forty-eight vases in this room alone. Have you noticed?” she asked.

    The inconvenient fact sunk into Xellos’s head. “Are there that many, really?” he asked with slathered-on innocence.

    “You put them here,” Lord Beastmaster said without rancor but with a deep and dangerous certainty, “you’d know.”

    “Well…” Xellos tried. “Well,” he said again and added a little laugh, “is forty-eight vases really that many when you get right down to it?”

    “Forty-eight vases in one room is an undeniably fanatical amount,” Lord Beastmaster stated. “Explain.”

    Xellos struggled. In his vast repertoire of excuses there was nothing about suspiciously large pottery collections. “I… well, I enjoy art is all.”

    “Particularly vases?” Lord Beastmaster asked gesturing to a vase with a kitschy cat pattern painted onto it.

    “Oh certainly,” Xellos agreed.

    Lord Beastmaster passed a series of small vases on the window sill. One said ‘home’ another said ‘is’ another ‘where’, ‘the’, ‘heart’, and ‘is.’ “How fortunate that you should suddenly discover your latent fondness for vases at the exact moment that the pretty dragon girl you met in your travels with Lina Inverse starts selling them.”

    Xellos was not dumb enough to try ‘I hadn’t noticed she was pretty.’ He was, however, dumb enough to say: “That was very lucky for me.”

    Lord Beastmaster gave him a look that made him question whether his luck would hold out much longer. “You wouldn’t happen to have a collection of maces somewhere in this house now would you?”

    “I’m afraid not,” Xellos said pleasantly, but if he’d been a human sweat would have been pouring down the back of his neck. “Filia won’t sell me any weaponry.”

    Zelas raised an eyebrow, a white painted vase with ceramic roses around the neck between her fingers. “Does she think you need them?”

    “You’d have to ask her,” Xellos said and instantly regretted it. A confrontation between Lord Beastmaster and Filia did not seem destined to end well.

    Zelas nodded. “And… those flowers on the table?” she asked. “The ones in yet another vase?”

    Xellos grimaced. “…Snapdragons,” he said, his voice coming from a long way off.

    “Yellow snapdragons too, I noticed,” Lord Beastmaster commented.

    “They may be, I admit, rather unfortunately named, but they also add a much needed pop of color to the room,” Xellos tried desperately.

    “I see,” Lord Beastmaster said, moving on. “And this… pile of rubble right here?”

    “Oh, that. That’s a vase that Filia threw at my head,” Xellos answered.

    Lord Beastmaster rubbed her temples, her patience rather strained at this point. “Why do you have this?”

    “Well,” Xellos struck out, not a hundred percent sure of the answer himself, “I… with the experimental vein running through the art world at the moment I thought it might turn out to be a rather valuable pile of rubble.”

    Zelas stared at him.

    “It’s an example of deconstruction, you see,” Xellos finished.

    Lord Beastmaster dug out her pipe, lit it without the aid of matches, and took a long, long drag before finally saying: “This Filia—the one you’re constantly claiming to dislike, usually when that fact is not relevant in the least to our conversation—you realize you’re making her rich by buying all these, don’t you?”

    Xellos mumbled something.

    “What was that?” Zelas asked, leaning forward. Her hairspray-is-for-lesser-beings look never once fell out of place.

    “I… I have a frequent shopper’s card,” Xellos said, evidently embarrassed. “So I do get a discount.”

    In the silence that followed that statement a spark fell from Lord Beastmaster’s pipe and onto the carpet where it sizzled gently, producing a small flame. She stepped on the newborn flame, smothering it, but her expression was strained, as though she’d been debating the action.

    She looked up from the suppressed fire and at her only servant. “Is this going to become a problem?” she asked. “Is this already a problem?”

    Xellos cast his eyes down. “Everyone needs a hobby, Lord Beastmaster,” he said. There might have been sulk in his voice if it hadn’t been pushed out by fear.

    “Very true,” Lord Beastmaster allowed. She’d been cultivating quite a few herself—all of which were strongly discouraged by the Seyruun Surgeon General. “But Xellos,” she said, “this hobby of yours really has nothing to do with collecting vases, does it?”

    “…Not at all, Lord Beastmaster,” Xellos was finally forced to admit, his smile a rather mangled, beaten thing at this point. “Not at all.”

    Lord Beastmaster tossed the miniature vase she’d been holding in the air. When she caught it she grinned, incisors exposed. “Good,” she said in a satisfied tone. “I thought they were a little frou-frou for your tastes anyway.”

    She set the ceramic paperweight down on the table. “Everything’s in order then,” she said with the air of one who’s completed a successful inspection.

    “It… is?” Xellos asked weakly.

    “At least an acceptable amount of disorder—though if this dragon pursuing hobby of yours gets too much for you, you might want to take up something a little less dangerous… like lightning charming or breaking your own fingers.”

  2. #27
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    Here's theme #14. And my 25th Summer Nights oneshot!

    Dusk. PG.

    The sky was in the last throes of sunset—orange only remained in faint traces and close to the ground. Day was all but dead and the eventide was only just flowing in. For the moment the world was at a point in between. What it was exactly at that point had been a matter of heated discussion between the dragon and the demon as they walked the lantern lit path through the park. Filia had called it twilight, but Xellos seemed to think that it couldn’t be proper twilight until the first stars showed up. Filia had never heard of such a thing and demanded to know what he’d call it. Xellos suggested gloaming which Filia instantly shot down because she felt it sounded ‘stupid.’ Xellos actually seemed a little offended on behalf of the word. In the end, they’d decided to call it dusk and leave it at that. Dusk was all about happy mediums anyway.

    Filia was grumbling—not really saying anything, but general displeasure radiated off of her. All she’d wanted was a little fresh air, a little time in the cool almost-night, and at least, at least a little time away from Xellos. But of course she couldn’t even have that. Xellos knows when he’s not wanted, and his reaction is always to invite himself in anyway.

    She stopped walking abruptly and took a seat on one of the park benches, not bothering to ask him if he’d like a rest or not. He’d sat down next to her with a: “You’re not out of breath already, are you, Filia?”

    Filia sniffed. “Hardly. I only wanted to just… enjoy the park for a little while. Though I’d enjoy it a lot more,” she’d added aggressively, “if you’d sit on one of the other benches.”

    “Ah, but then I wouldn’t have this view,” he said, pointing with his staff upwards.

    Filia followed his gesture with her eyes toward the lantern pole where one end of a large spider web was attached, stretching like a net over to a tree. The flickering candlelight from the lantern made the strands visible against the sky, so it appeared to rise like a wispy, mildly fly-blackened moon. In the middle of it glittered spider. It may have been red or it may have only looked red in the firelight.

    Filia wrinkled her nose. “Disgusting,” she said, crossing her legs irritably.

    Xellos looked at her curiously. “Don’t tell me that you’re one of those people who are more afraid of spiders than death.”

    “I’m not afraid of spiders,” Filia countered harshly. “I just hate them—both the eight-legged and the two-legged kind,” she lobbed in his direction.

    Xellos carefully ignored the barb on that statement and instead just gestured vaguely at the bug. “Are you telling me that you have no admiration for the spider? Its laudable economy of effort? The beauty of the silken traps it weaves? Its acrobatic grace and its force of design?”

    “Absolutely not,” Filia said certainly.

    Xellos gave the web a thoughtful look and then shrugged. “I thought it was a pretty looking web—especially with the light shining on it like that.”

    “It’s used to trap things,” Filia said vehemently, mad, but not particularly focused on actual spiders at this point.

    “Pretty things usually are,” Xellos observed. “How could you trap someone with something they didn’t want?”

    “You’d know all about that,” Filia said darkly.

    He gave her a grim smile. “You think I’m a spider?”

    “Well if all eight shoes fit!” Filia said back.

    “You were calling me a cockroach only this morning,” Xellos pointed out. “You need to get your bug-based comparisons straight.”

    “You’re both,” Filia said sulkily.

    “Fine then,” Xellos said, moving on, “if you have no admiration for the spider, then what about pity? Spiders are territorial and live solitary lives. Surely that’s cause for some sympathy.”

    “They live solitary lives because if they’re too close together they eat each other,” Filia pointed out. “I’m not going to pity cannibals because they lose friends every time they get a snack attack! And they don’t hunt honestly. They use cheap tricks.”

    “But Filia,” Xellos said, clucking his tongue. “Spiders are only being spiders. You can’t blame them for the lifestyle they were made to live.”

    Filia was annoyed, partly at Xellos, partly because she wasn’t sure if he was making an excuse for spiders or for himself. If the latter was the case then he was fooling himself and deserved a punch in the face. “People have a choice,” she said.

    Xellos chuckled darkly. “People like to think they have choices.”

    That sentence fell like a heavy stone into the pool of their conversation. It was impossible to speak again until the ripples had faded.

    “So why don’t you tell me about your choice, Filia,” Xellos went on. “Which would you rather be: the spider or the fly?”

    Filia glared at him. She didn’t like either of her choices. She tilted her glare huffily away. “Neither,” she said. “I’d be a butterfly.”

    “Oh?” Xellos answered, with barely contained amusement. “So you’d be a pretty fly? I’m afraid you’d only make a more attractive meal,” he said as a moth, the butterfly’s less gaudy cousin, flew into the spider’s web and flapped its glued wings pointlessly.

    “Yes, but butterfly wings are toxic,” Filia answered in a know-it-all tone that she loved to use on Xellos and hated when he used it on her. “If you ate me you’d suffer for it.”

    Xellos grimaced. “You know,” he said after awhile, “I believe you might well be a butterfly.”

    “Fine by me,” Filia said smugly.

    “Of course,” Xellos finally added thoughtfully, “I think that most of what butterflies do is flutter around and have sex. So either you’re not much of a Lepidopterist or I don’t know you as well as I’d like to.”

    Filia made a profoundly displeased sound. She crossed her arms. “I’m changing my bug,” she announced.

    “Fine then, go ahead,” Xellos said, smirking as he readied to attack her next option.

    “I’ll be…” Filia began, but the answer was so simple, “a bee.”

    Xellos opened his mouth to make some sort of smart comment, but then closed it, nodding slowly. “Yes,” he murmured. “Yes, I could see that. A flying, oversized, golden zealot. That works.”

    Filia scoffed. “What makes a bee a zealot?” she demanded, not even touching the ‘oversized’ part.

    “Well, they’re entirely focused on the hive—not themselves as individuals—and they’ll make any sacrifice in the name of the hive,” Xellos explained.

    “But… but bees are also hard workers,” Filia pointed out, not willing to go into the tangled, bloody issue of sacrifices for the many.

    “True,” Xellos agreed. “They work themselves to death. And as for your complaint about butterflies,” he added, somewhat gently, “while the queens are promiscuous, and the drones… well, that’s their entire purpose, at least you can take solace in the fact that the workers are chaste.”

    “And bees are not defenseless,” Xellos added thoughtfully. “But using their last, best weapon means death…”

    “You’re just bringing us farther and farther away from the point!” Filia cut through his thoughts. “This isn’t about insect comparisons—this is about spiders—it’s not even about real spiders,” she corrected herself. “It’s about deceivers, trap-builders, web-weavers,” she added venomously.

    Xellos curled his gloved fingers around the armrest of the bench. The lantern lights seemed to grow brighter as the sky grew darker. “I don’t see why you can’t at least appreciate a good trap. And in any case, you needn’t worry. I’m not spinning any webs tonight to catch you.”

    “You wouldn’t know what to do with me if you caught me,” Filia said haughtily.

    She could hear Xellos gritting his teeth from next to her. “I’m sure I’d manage to figure something out,” he said edgily.

    Hmmph.”

    The spider had finished mummifying its catch and had returned to the center of the web to let its dinner decay into a gooey liquid.

    “What about you, Filia?” Xellos asked speculatively. “Have you ever spun a web and set it out in the gl—dusk to wait for your quarry?”

    “Of course not,” Filia answered, offended. “I don’t manipulate people like you do.”

    He looked at her carefully as though searching for a tell. “You believe that, don’t you?” he asked softly.

    “It’s the truth!”

    Xellos shook his head. “You don’t spin with malice and forethought, but whether mindful or not you’re quite adept at wrapping your gossamer strands around your victims. I know.”

    “What are you talking about?” Filia demanded, taken aback.

    “Yes,” Xellos said, almost to himself, “I think you wouldn’t be nearly as good at it if you were actually trying. That’s the real charm of it.”

    Filia stood up irritably. “Are you just going to sit there and mutter about bugs all night?”

    “I suppose not,” Xellos said, rising and trailing after her. “We ought to be getting home so that you can wrap me up and eat me.”

    “I am not a spider!” Filia shrieked.

    “I’ve seen you with fangs,” Xellos said disbelievingly.

    “You scum! If anyone’s a murderous night creature, it’s you!”

    Xellos pointed at her mouth, not considering that under the circumstances he was putting his finger in great peril. “There they are. The fangs are out.”

    “YOU!”

  3. #28
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    I like it Ski D: You can read mine once I am done btw I thought it was only the 1st page then i thought rest were comments then saw it wasn't jesus you can write xD
    I swear, it’s been two years since somebody ask me who I was. I’m the greatest, man, I said that before I knew I was.


  4. #29
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    XD Thanks. It's my lofty goal to do all one hundred themes someday.

  5. #30
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    Here's #86.

    My Fancy Way of Saying Hello. Rated G.

    Filia opened the door to the kiln and took a deep breath. It was cool now, but she could still smell the smoky mixture of earth and flame. She reached in and felt the ceramic surface of the piece within. She looked it over careful, spinning it gently. So often a promising vase could be ruined in its trial by fire. Here, though, all seemed to be well. There was certainly no warping, and she breathed a sigh of relief when she had confirmed that the new paint she’d bought had held up under the heat. She smiled. All that was left was to put this on the shelf, where it would surely find a home when her shop doors opened the next morning.

    She lifted the vase from its warm and cozy mortar womb, hugged it to her chest, and carefully shut the oven door. She turned around and walked two steps—maybe three.

    “Salutations, Filia.”

    Crash.

    “Oh dear,” commented Filia’s saluter. “How very clumsy of you.”

    Filia was already crouched down on the floor grasping pottery shards in a kind of desperate rage. “Xellos!” she shrieked at the figure who could’ve only materialized by magic or by hiding in the back of her kiln. “This is all your fault!”

    Xellos arched an eyebrow. “Is it my fault that you scare easily?”

    Filia was still gripping a pottery shard like a dagger when she rose. She came back with a red-faced and sullen: “You don’t scare me. You just startled me, that’s all.”

    “Forgive me,” Xellos said, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. “Is it my fault that you startle easily?”

    “Anyone would be startled if someone just randomly appeared behind them,” Filia countered. She tossed down the shard on the floor with the rest. “But you always do that. It’s downright rude.”

    “I thought I greeted you quite politely,” Xellos replied. “I believe you’re the one between the two of us that can’t seem to master basic etiquette.”

    Filia crossed her arms. “It’s not polite to wait around until people are carrying something heavy or fragile before you materialize right behind them. It doesn’t matter if you say your phony ‘salutations’; you might as well say ‘boo!’ It’s mean-spirited and don’t pretend it’s anything else, you trash!”

    “Well, then it was poorly received,” Xellos commented sourly. If he’d lied to her he’d have blamed her for hearing it wrong. “So why don’t you tell me how someone mannerly enough to resort to name-calling two-minutes into a conversation thinks she should properly be greeted?”

    Polite people use the door,” Filia spat.

    Xellos hesitated. “…But doors are so unnecessary,” he replied with the slightest hint of fretfulness in his voice.

    “They are not!” Filia shot back. She scowled at him. “I can teleport some too, y’know,” she reminded him, “but I don’t just randomly appear in people’s living rooms. There have to be certain boundaries.”

    Xellos shook his head, making little clucking noises with his tongue as he did so. “But we don’t operate under those boundaries, Filia. That’s not our procedure.” He placed a hand on his chest. “I greet you by rising from your shadow and talking in your ear, and you greet me by dropping something on the floor, screeching my name and then accusing me of something ridiculous. I see no compelling reason to change any of this.”

    “You wouldn’t,” Filia answered darkly. “And I’m not greeting you when I do that.”

    “Really?” Xellos asked thoughtfully. “Then I suppose you’re rather rude as well, by your own standard,” he concluded.

    Filia couldn’t really argue against that, but that was alright because she knew very well that Xellos was no good and that bad people deserve bad manners. “Maybe I’d greet you politely if you greeted me politely,” she said with a self-righteous sniff.

    Xellos mulled over this in his mimed sort of way, cupping his chin in his gloved hand. He grinned at her. “I suppose it’s never too late to start again,” he said, and then disappeared.

    She stared at the place he’d just been standing for a moment, then groaned and resolved not to entrench herself in his nonsense. She walked over to one of the shelves where the broom and dustpan were leaning.

    There was a knock at the door. Filia froze for a minute, her gaze fixed on the side-door. She unfroze, muttered a word she wasn’t particularly proud of knowing, and continued toward her cleaning implements as if she hadn’t heard anything out of the ordinary.

    By the time the second knock struck she was already making her way back to the pile of rubbish that had once been a promising new vase. By the third knock she’d begun clearing up the mess. By the fourth knock Jillas had raced into the room.

    “Oi’ll get it,” he declared running for the door.

    “No!” Filia whisper-shouted at him, holding an arm up and signaling wildly.

    Jillas gave her a puzzled look as the fifth knock struck. “But, Boss,” he began, “what about…?”

    “Trust me,” Filia said heavily, “it’s no one we want to talk to.”

    Jillas gave her a knowing nod. “A salesman, right?”

    The sixth knock sounded and Filia glared at the door. “Much worse than a salesman.”

    A fresh look of horror suffused Jillas’s vulpine features. His hand strayed to his belt where he’d once kept grenades before Filia had requested that he not go so heavily armed. “You don’t mean…” he began.

    Filia nodded darkly.

    “Tax-collectors?” Jillas finished ominously.

    Filia ceased her nodding. “No, it’s just—”

    “You ignored me,” Xellos accused, popping into existence predictably inside Filia’s personal space bubble.

    Filia sprung away from him; not to a conversational distance, but certainly to an argumentative distance. “So what?” she retorted.

    “I wouldn’t say that ignoring someone counts as a polite greeting,” he pointed out with damnable reasonableness, though not without a certain irked increase in grip on his staff. “And I was so very courteous to you this time around.”

    “I only said I might be polite to you,” Filia countered, exploiting her loop-hole. “I didn’t say I actually would. And it’s not courteous if you only play at manners and then just barge in and do whatever you want when it doesn’t work out the way you want it.”

    “Well, it’s obvious to me that rudeness is the only thing you respond to, Filia,” he said, raising his index finger.

    Filia’s fingers twitched; they felt magnetically drawn to Xellos’s neck. “My only response is to tell you to leave my house this instant or I’ll start testing the maces on you!” she snarled.

    Xellos shrugged carelessly. “But it’s a response nonetheless, Filia,” he reasoned. “I’m not picky as long as I get one.”

    “You—!” Filia began, incensed.

    “Umm... ‘ey, Boss,” Jillas cut in.

    The corners of Xellos’s lips turned downward in displeasure. Because of that interruption he’d be left in permanent suspense as to what Filia had been about to call him. It could’ve easily been the generic ‘monster’ or ‘demon’; likely her usual ‘raw garbage’ or a variant thereof; but it also could’ve been cockroach… snake… beast… devilishly handsome gadabout… Yes, he decided, let’s go with that last one.

    “What?” Filia demanded, her anger still at high-levels when she turned to Jillas.

    “It’s just…” Jillas began, “is this guy bothering you, Boss?”


    Filia sunk her head into her hand in frustration. “Always and every day,” she said harshly.

    “I’m not here every day,” Xellos pointed out.

    “Always and every day,” Filia reaffirmed.

    “If that’s ‘ow it is…” Jillas began resolutely, turning to face Xellos with a steely one-eyed look. This was the same person who’d threatened Lord Val for such a long time and had now turned his negative attention toward his new boss. He gulped. He knew he didn’t stand much of a chance against someone who’d given even Lord Val a run for his money, but… some things just have to be done. He wasn’t about to let anyone antagonize his boss. He lowered his voice. “…Oi’m going to ‘ave to ask you to leave,” he finished.

    Xellos rested his head against his hand and chuckled. “Oh, please, do,” he urged. “Go on and ask.”

    “Don’t bother asking him,” Filia counseled her loyal fox, throwing Xellos a disgusted look. “Talking to Xellos is impossible.”

    “Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Xellos returned slowly, as if he felt Filia’s assessment rather unfair. “I’m sure I wouldn’t insist on staying here if I felt myself prompted to leave.”

    Filia snorted.

    Xellos leaned in closer to her and gave her the kind of look an ingratiating teacher might give to encourage a dull-witted student. “You just have to ask the right way.”

    “What’s the ‘right’ way?” Filia asked skeptically.

    “Well,” Xellos said, grinning, “we’ve already discovered how you and I say hello to each other; now we just need to find a way to say good-bye to each other in our own, special way.”

    “And what way would that be?” Filia asked again, grinding her teeth together.

    “You’re actually following the procedure I want us to adopt pretty well so far,” Xellos observed cheerfully. “First off, you stop ordering me out of your house and grudgingly accept my presence, which you’ve done already.”

    “‘Grudgingly’ is right,” Filia muttered. How very like Xellos to only take it as his cue to leave when people stop asking him.

    “Then I give you my good-bye,” Xellos continued as if this interruption hadn’t occurred. “And then,” his eyes flicked open and he surveyed her conceitedly, “you beg me to come back to you.”

    “What?” Filia demanded incredulously. “There’s not even the slightest chance that I’d actually ask you to—”

    He leaned in closer and kissed her on the cheek.

    “Bye, Filia,” he half-sang at the still stunned dragon before he disappeared from view.

    Filia’s mouth hung open in shocked stillness for a few seconds, blood rising in her face and making it almost glow red. Then finally she clamped her mouth shut and clenched both her fists.

    “Xellos!” she yelled into the empty space he’d occupied. “Come back here, you creep! What makes you think you can do something like that and then just run away?! You won’t get away with this!”

    Jillas, for his part, stared from his boss—raging and stamping her feet, on the verge of a tantrum and still yelling, red-faced at her departed guest—to the smugly vacant space in front of her.

    “What the ‘ell was all that about?” he wondered to no one in particular.

  6. #31
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    Theme #91.

    Hatred and Loathing. Rated PG.

    Filia sat on the very edge of the stone perimeter around a bubbling fountain. She didn’t want to get her cloak wet, but the cool spray in the air felt nice as it hit her face. The fountain was tucked away from the crowded center of the town she and the others had stopped in and was surrounded mostly by cafes and restaurants thin on customers in the middle of the afternoon. She couldn’t have possibly staked out a better space to relax between the soothing wash of the water, the sunshine, and the far-enough-removed hum of shoppers beyond the square. Nevertheless as she looked into the coin flecked bottom of the fountain, she couldn’t help feeling dissatisfied.

    “Maybe,” she said sourly to herself, “it’s because Miss Lina took the last of my money and ran off to that all-you-can-eat buffet, so I don’t even have a single coin left to make a wish with.”

    Her hand strayed to the satchel that had once contained the meager salary the temple had provided her with and now only contained lint and a bit of quartz she’d found on the ground and absentmindedly picked up. But what would I wish for, she wondered, if I had a coin?

    Well, she couldn’t help but realize, there were a lot of things she could wish for. First and foremost she could wish that Miss Lina, Mister Gourry, and Miss Amelia would look up from their culinary tour and realize that they couldn’t afford to sample every item in every restaurant in every town they stopped in, mend their ways, become fiscally responsible, and perhaps take up some sort of ascetic philosophy that meant eating only very tiny amounts.

    …But that was downright unlikely.

    She could wish that Mister Zelgadis would quit threatening librarians at sword point until they showed him their rarest books so that she could browse the serials at her leisure without having to worry about being kicked out of places. She could wish that the temple in its theoretically infinite wisdom would give her more money to fund this high-priority mission. She could wish for strength to avert the threatened destruction of the world. She could wish for a clue to the next Dark Star weapon. She could wish to find out whether or not what Valgaav had said about her people was true.

    She could wish to find out what Xellos was up to in all of this. She could wish to find out where exactly he was right now and what he was doing. She could wish that he’d stop being so obnoxious all the time. She could wish that if he was going to go away then he’d at least give them fair warning about it and tell when he’d be back. She could wish that he’d quit with that high and mighty attitude all the time and stop making it seem like everything was always her fault. She could wish that he wouldn’t always have that insufferable grin on his face. She could wish that something terrible would happen to his hair. She could—

    She paused and unclenched her teeth. That was… probably too much wishing about Xellos anyway. But still! It irked her! Wasn’t everything else they had to deal with bad enough without having him popping unexpectedly in and as unexpectedly out without even doing them the courtesy of letting them know anything? She didn’t know how he did it, but sometimes she thought Xellos managed to be more annoying when he was gone than when he was actually around.

    Not that she wanted him back or anything. It was just… was a little consistency and communication really too much to ask?

    “Miss, might I have an extra lemon wedge and a glass of ice?” an ingratiating voice from nearby asked.

    Filia whipped her head around with the same whoosh as a pipe being swung through the air.

    There he was! He must’ve known they were in this town but he was taking his sweet time before he let them know he was back—just kicking back on a café patio drinking an iced tea without telling them a single thing!

    She stormed over. “Xellos!” she shrieked.

    “Oh, hello there, Filia,” he said mildly as she approached his table. “Could I treat you to a drink? I’m sure the dragon race hasn’t parted with anything more than the absolute minimum amount to cover your expenses, and I can afford to be a little less miserly even for the likes of you.”

    “Shut up,” she ordered him, but because she was thirsty she turned toward the (somewhat frustrated looking) waitress and said: “I’ll have a cup of cinnamon tea,” before sitting down across from the hated monster and directing her attention back toward him. “Don’t pretend you know anything about the financial policies of my people—and that’s beside the point anyway. Where have you been?

    Xellos smiled and took a drink from the thin black straw rising from his beverage. “That’s…” he began.

    “Forget I asked,” Filia cut across him, denying him the pleasure of getting to say his trademarked phrase.

    “Well, what did you expect, Filia?” he asked as the waitress came back with Xellos’s iced tea accoutrements. “Am I supposed to confess all my secrets to you? I didn’t know we’d gotten that close.”

    “We’re not close,” Filia snapped. “We’ve never been close and we’ll never be close.”

    “I suppose I shouldn’t doubt the mighty divination powers of a golden dragon,” Xellos said, leaving the extra items he’d asked for untouched—they’d only been requested because annoying the wait-staff was a little hobby of his, “but given your level of incompetence, I think I will anyway.”

    Filia sputtered and fumed. She hated the mild-mannered way he answered her. She was ready to jump out of her skin, but he was replying to her comments like he was just taking his turn in a pleasant game that he had a clear advantage in. She lived for the moments when he was lost for a response, when a twitch fidgeted from under his temples, and when his hands unconsciously became fists. Those were too few and too far between though. Most of the time she’d have to hold herself back from tackling him and he’d just laugh at her.

    What she wanted now was a comeback—something like the kind he threw at her without apparent effort. There’d be a pretence at manners with an undercurrent of hostility and a finely crafted barb that would not just sting and provoke anger, but do so insistently. Perhaps there’d even be a confusing spin—an insinuation only half-expressed to turn over in her mind again and again long after she wanted to stop thinking about it.

    She couldn’t think of any such comment, so she forwent the bells and whistles and delivered her point undisguised. “I loathe you,” she informed him, packing as much buzzing animosity as she could into those three little words.

    He didn’t smile at her—his expression was more thoughtful. “You don’t really, you know,” he finally answered her after a moment.

    “I most certainly do!” Filia answered forcefully.

    “No,” Xellos said, idly tapping his glass as Filia’s hot tea was placed in front of her. “You may hate me, but you don’t loathe me.”

    Filia scowled. Xellos was just splitting hairs now—stupid purple hairs. “Those mean the same thing!”

    Xellos tutted and waved his finger in her face. “Silly Filia,” he said, “don’t you know that there’s no such thing as a true synonym?”

    Filia crossed her legs and took a too-hasty swig of her tea. She tried to pretend she hadn’t scalded herself as she demanded mockingly: “Fine, Professor Xellos, then what’s supposed to be the difference between hatred and loathing?”

    “Well,” Xellos said thoughtfully, perhaps wishing he had a chalkboard on which to make his point, “they’re obviously rather similar concepts, as you’ve noted. Both are characterized by intense dislike.”

    “And I do dislike you,” Filia cut in because she could, “intensely.”

    “I’ve noticed,” he said, annoyed at the interruption. “The difference here is how that disapproval is manifest. Loathing is a sort of dry, cold attitude, whereas hatred is characterized by passionate dislike.”

    “So…” Filia began, trying to get to the meat of his implication, “you’re saying I don’t loathe you because I dislike you passionately?”

    “You’re passionate in general,” Xellos commented as though sharing a cherished observation, “but particularly toward me.”

    Filia glared at him. She certainly didn’t like the sound of that. “In the most negative way possible,” she added as a qualifier.

    “Of course, Filia,” Xellos said in his most obvious ‘I’m humoring you’ tone, “but that does point to the most important difference between loathing and hatred. Loathing is a repelling force while hatred is an attracting one. That’s the real tell that you don’t loathe me. You’re certainly not repulsed by me.”

    Filia didn’t know where he got ‘certainly.’ Probably from the same place of ego-centric madness that convinced him pageboys and cheap staffs were at the height of fashion. “I am so repulsed by you,” she answered venomously, “because you’re repulsive!

    “No, you’re attracted to me,” Xellos corrected with a patient smile, “because I’m attractive.”

    Filia nearly knocked over her tea when she collapsed face first onto the table in a fit of exasperated fury. The silverware rattled dangerously as she pounded her fist over and over into the tabletop. Ego-centric madness was right!

    “What could possibly make you think something so ridiculous and obviously untrue?!” she demanded.

    “It’s not the least bit ridiculous,” Xellos chided. He gave her a would-be sympathetic look. “You don’t need to feel ashamed of it. It’s perfectly understandable.”

    She was getting a tension headache from gritting her teeth. She stood up in a huff and let out an exasperated groan. “I’m not ashamed of anything because that’s not true!” She put her hands on her hips and looked him squarely in the eye. “I don’t know where you get your illusions, but for your information I find every single, solitary, tiny aspect of you completely and utterly repulsive, you worthless pile of trash!”

    Xellos responded to her tirade with an unaffected shrug. “If that’s true, then why are you here?” he asked.

    Filia froze. “What?”

    “If you’ll recall, I didn’t initiate this little conversation,” Xellos pointed out placidly. “If you really loathed me then you could’ve kept your sad perch on the edge of the fountain or left the area altogether. I’m entirely avoidable at the moment, so if I was truly so revolting to you then you could’ve easily opted out of dealing with me and feeling my presence. Instead, you couldn’t help but choose to join me—as near as possible. You are attracted to me.”

    Filia opened her mouth to let out a disbelieving sound. A reply to such a feeble line of reasoning had to be easy enough to come up with, right? So… why couldn’t she manage one?

    “I just wanted to be angry at you up close,” she responded in what she knew was a poor excuse.

    Xellos smiled. “Up close is the point,” he answered.

    “Well, I don’t need to be up close,” Filia snapped, snatching up her cup of tea. “You’re right about one thing—you are avoidable right now. So I’m just going to go off and finish my tea in better company: my own!”

    “You do that, Filia,” he replied blithely.

    She clomped over to a table on the patio that was as far away from him as it was possible to be without leaving the eating area entirely. She slammed down her cup of tea, much of which sloshed on the table as a result, swept her cloak out dramatically, and sat down.

    Across the patio, Xellos muttered quietly to himself: “Five, four, three, two…”

    Filia’s chair creaked as she got up and strode back over to him purposefully, her tea forgotten at the table. “Well, I don’t see what difference it makes if I’m here or there! I despise you as much up close as I do from a distance. So leaving you alone would just be letting you get away with everything!”

    Xellos snickered unkindly and leaned back in his chair which provoked a new eruption of fury from Filia. “Stop laughing!” she commanded.

    “Oh, it’s alright, Filia,” Xellos said, leaning forward once more and ceasing his laughter. “There’s no need to be so tense. After all, it’s not as though your feelings are unrequited.”

    Filia took a startled step backwards. “What are you—”

    “That’s right, Filia,” Xellos said, getting up and subjecting her to the full intensity of his stare. The reached out and clasped the still stunned dragon’s hands and held them in his. Then, in a voice overflowing with tender, heartfelt passion he confessed: “I hate you too.

    A shiver rattled around Filia’s spine for a few. She drew back and hugged her arms around her body, her stance and expression radiating deepest horror.

    “Is there a problem?” Xellos asked with innocent interest.

    “Of course there’s a problem!” Filia snapped, but her voice was rather panicky. “Your words are saying one thing but your tone is saying something entirely and terrifyingly different!

    “Oh?” Xellos pressed. “So… are you saying you don’t think that you and I were meant to hate each other—truly, madly, and deeply—for all eternity?”

    Filia struggled for a moment, unsure how to respond to what was being said, or, more accurately, the way it was being said.

    “…Or at least one night?” Xellos hinted.

    Something flat-lined in Filia’s expression. The fists hanging from her side seemed to vibrate slightly. This wasn’t a volcanic eruption, but it would’ve been a good reason to start evacuating villages.

    “Filia?” Xellos tried.

    Filia drew in a breath as though preparing to go underwater for an unforeseeably long period of time. When she finished, she let out a ringing shout of: “GET AWAY FROM ME YOU DISGUSTING WEIRDO!” before running blindly off.

    “Ah,” Xellos said at her retreating back, his tone somewhat deflated, “now you’re repulsed.”

    Xellos watched her race off to the fountain she’d been camped out at before. She reached into the shallows and scooped out a handful of coins before flinging them back into the depths and adopting a prayerful gesture. Moves like that are generally frowned upon by whatever deities rule wishing fountains—but no doubt she felt her emergency wish justified the breach. He wondered if he should do something. He realized that he may have fumbled what had started out as promising by taking it too far.

    He quickly decided not to worry about it. A little polarity shift wouldn’t change anything in the long run. He consoled himself that it was only temporary.

    And sure enough, she was already turning around, pumping her arms furiously at her sides as she stamped back over to no doubt give him a piece of her mind.

    She’d given him so many pieces of her mind that he was confident he’d have the whole thing before too long.

  7. #32
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    Looks like I found a gold mine. Trust me, if I didn't have midterms these next two days, I would be eating these up and spitting out reviews for you. Ah, but I remember Slayers. Not very well, but I remember enough about the characters Filia and Xellos to know their personalities and the...er...way they treated each other. Expect to hear from me again when my school decides I've had enough torture.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

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    Where have you been all my life? I mean, thanks for reading :P I'm in about the same boat for writing--that's why there hasn't been a chapter update in a month. Once I get a breather from school there will be more.

    Good luck with your midterms!

  9. #34
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    Where have you been all my life?
    I take it there aren’t many Slayers fans in a Pokémon community. By the way, how the heck do you do the cross out thing? I know how to do it in Word but it doesn’t carry over.

    Yay! Two midterms down, two more to go. But the next one isn’t until Monday so I’m going to procrastinate—I mean, take a break hooray!
    Uh…I hope you don’t mind extra long reviews. Because you write so well, I didn’t find much to criticize, so I ended up commenting my thoughts while reading. Er…but I might have gotten…carried away? Lol
    He’d initially joined the clergy because he wanted a career in which he could avoid hard work and danger and stay indoors
    Lamest excuse ever to join the clergy, Reverend Rinderpest. (Mmmm…alliteration) You could easily be an author: it’s a non-dangerous job, isn’t hard, and you can stay indoors. You get more excitement out of it too.
    I’m scared of the dark and still sleep with a square of the blanket I had when I was a baby. I’m the last person that should be standing against the forces of darkness.
    The irony here, dear Reverand, is that you joined the clergy because of its lack of danger/hard work.
    Masis’s
    When you have a name that ends in an “s”, you just put an apostrophe. So it would look like Masis'.
    Of the two, the second tended to be difficult to permanently expel a spirit from, but the first tended to be the most dangerous for client and attending.
    Might I direct your attention back to the original reason for joining the clergy yet again, dear Reverend? See, if you were an author you wouldn’t be having this problem, would you?
    He’d tried to think of clowns with claws; he’d tried to think of gurgling masses of flesh and teeth; he’d tried to think tentacled monstrosities; and for some reason he’d tried to think of a little girl turning her head around three-hundred-and-sixty degrees.
    My, these occurrences all seem oddly familiar. I wonder where I could possibly have seen these from.
    Filia gave Verily the same look that his teacher’s had given him when he confused scripture enough to think that the wages of sin was, in fact, eternal life
    But most people commit all sorts of sin just to reach eternal life, so in essence…
    He looked hesitantly at the man on the chair watching him like a cat.
    It’s a little hard to tell if the Reverend, being a skittish scaredy-cat, is the one watching Xellos or if Xellos is watching the Reverend like the sneaky little kitty he is. It’s probably the latter, only because when I think of cats I usually think of them popping out of nowhere just to annoy the heck out of you. Ha, I just got this image of Xellos as a cat.
    Babbage
    It’s like….cabbage…but with a “b”. Lol.
    But what Filia really had objected to was after the tea had been drunk and Mrs. Babbage insisted on a tea leaf reading.
    This sentence sounds a little weird to me. The “and” throws me off.
    She’d also picked up another deck of tarot cards. That must make twenty by now.
    She needs twenty decks of tarot cards? Does she want to simultaneously predict the future of a small army?
    The girl couldn’t count.
    It’s probably because I’m tired, but I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Hooray for lack of sleep!
    But Filia didn’t seem to be occupying the same realm as her guest anymore. And it was at that point that Rosemarie Babbage saw Miss Filia scowl darkly at her cup; hurl it against the wall in a shower of porcelain; and scream to the universe, Mrs. Babbage, and destiny in general:

    “The tea leaves are WRONG!”
    Remember that time you and the party were assigned to couples through the drawing of gems, Filia? I think the universe kind of had it out for you. Sure, it had all been nothing but a hoax arrangement and sure the other two couples were paired up wrong but that’s beside the point.
    Gourry following because he was epoxied to Lina at the hip
    So that’s why their stomachs and appetites are so similar.
    And then they’d picked up Sylphiel along the way just to make things more complicated.
    Is she still infatuated with Gourry? I can’t remember whether or not she ever got over him.
    But they were making the food thing work, mostly by cutting down to six courses per meal.
    Would that be six courses between both Lina and Gourry or six courses each? Lol
    It was called… ‘snapped corn’ or something.
    Me: Lina, you do realize that’s for the feeding of farm animals, right?
    Lina: Ba! Should I care?
    Me: Ba, huh? Spoken like a true sheep
    EDIT: So that's why she dressed up as a horse for that one episode where they went into the tower of dolls...
    “Oh fine,” she said, slamming down the metal snack bowl on the floor with a giiiooong sound. “If you must know, it was Xellos.”
    I remember that episode! Gourry was way too taken with that squid costume. And dare I say Amelia was the star of that episode? *gets run over for bad joke*
    It worked too. Slimy prick.
    Whose thoughts are these?
    “A few years ago. Twice. On the cheek.”
    When was the second time? I remember he kissed his finger and before pressing it to her lips in the episode he debuted on. Is that what you’re referring to? By the way, how many years after the end of the show does this fic take place?
    “If you ask me, it sounds like you’re jealous.”
    And for some reason I can hear Valgaav in the background singing:
    Mommy is jelly!
    She wants to be with Xelly!
    “Filia, you’re really ruining the mood,” Xellos commented
    Yes, Filia. You’re really ruining the mood. And to think I actually got up to go get some popcorn so that I could better enjoy this scene. Popcorn waster.
    “I mean, I’ve done much worse things and you haven’t been as mad,” he pointed out.

    “Name one!” Filia retorted.
    Um…Filia? You don’t remember the time you overheard Xellos offering to kill Lina for Valgaav? Or does Lina no longer matter ‘cause she got a kiss and you didn’t?
    He hesitated for a minute, brows furrowing ‘til they met in the middle, then brushed his lips almost gently against hers. She shivered visibly and… audibly. He seemed to take that as a cue to continue and… kissed her.
    This is more like it. *munches on popcorn*
    (such as Interrogation or Peer Pressure, the freezing of an unwary companion’s underwear, or raising the dead)
    ….Say what now?
    She was afraid, and even angry that he would dare to step foot on the holy ground of temple.
    I think you might be missing a “the” in between “of” and “temple”. Or should I mention this to the author of the book within your story? Lol
    Filia took a deep breath, her face red and furious. She threw her head back angrily into the night and screamed: “XELLOS!!”
    Oh so that’s what you do in your spare time, Xellos. Didn’t know you wrote saucy novels. By the way, Skiyomi. I LOVE THE SNIPPETS OF BOOK YOU PUT IN THERE. I only wish that I could read the whole “Forbidden Desires” novel; it has the potential for unlimited amusement.
    On another note I must apologize to the Reverend Rinderpest. It seems that authoring books can be dangerous, especially if you end up angering a golden dragon. Looks like there’s only one path left to you, Reverend: marry rich.
    Or, and Filia was much happier with this example, little boys! Yes! It was very much like that. Little boys often got the urge to pull of pigtails of little girls that they certainly didn’t like at all. And every knew there was nothing at all sexual about—
    Try telling that to Sigmund Freud.
    “You know,” he prompted. “Change my hair.”
    Xellos with a mullet! Xellos with an afro! Xellos with a Mohawk! Xellos with a…ok I’ll stop.
    And anyway, that’s not even his real form. His real form is as impersonal as things get. This is just… a costume he wears.
    Wasn’t his real form something like a gust of wind or something? I can’t quite remember.
    This was because he’d never learned one of the better, yet somehow less widely taught lessons from the Old Testament: Beware of women with scissors.
    They have an Old Testament in the Slayers’ world?
    Edie’s Garden
    =Garden of Eden. I see what you did there.
    She caught it, mostly on impulse and glared down at the red an
    d noticeably shiny thing in her hand. It didn’t appear to have any worm holes in it. “I’m not going to eat it anyway,” she sniped. “It’s against the rules.”
    Freaky spacing alert! Freaky spacing alert!
    “I didn’t know dragons were so wasteful,” Xellos commented craftily.
    THEY ARE. Filia almost made me waste a perfectly good bag of popcorn earlier today.
    He reached out his hand toward her, leaning forward as she leaned slightly back. He rested a fingertip gently against her chin and dragged it slowly upwards to the corner of her mouth where the juice from the apple had dripped. He brought his hand back and thoughtfully licked the finger.
    Did he do this while he still had his gloves on?
    Xellos smirked. “I just thought you might have acquired a taste for forbidden fruit,” he said. He waved a finger at her. “I don’t think I was wrong.”
    …Huh, I’m suddenly reminded of a movie title. Now what was it again? Oh yeah! “How to Train your Dragon.” But considering the earlier passage:
    He smiled and moved closer to her as she gripped the apple like a chastity belt. His lips closed around hers almost lazily as his hand snaked around her and pressed steadily against her lower back. This was probably a good thing in retrospect or she would’ve fallen off the bench. Her head was already beginning to tilt to one side before she woke up enough to push him off of her.
    And considering Filia’s short fuse, I think it should be a little more like “How to Tame your Dragon."
    I WILL review the rest of them. It’s just that my ADHD only allows me to do stuff in chunks (plus I really should get started on my next midterm). And I’ve been suddenly stricken with a strange desire to watch Slayers again (I wonder why lol).

    I think it’s only fair to tell you that these are wickedly good. I can’t seem stop reading. I literally have to tear my eyes away to type up more review (only to have my eyes demand more reading). By the end of today, I’m going to probably reach the end of the stories here even if I haven’t reviewed them yet.

    Again, I’m sorry for the extra long review (um…please don’t be mad at me?). I actually ended up writing more pages in word on this review than I did a chapter of my current fanfiction project (though admittedly most of this review is filled with quotes).

    Talk to you soon again!
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

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  10. #35
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    Don't be silly; I LOVE long reviews! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and leave comments!

    I take it there aren’t many Slayers fans in a Pokémon community. By the way, how the heck do you do the cross out thing? I know how to do it in Word but it doesn’t carry over.
    I'm afraid there don't seem to be. *sigh*

    Oh, strike-out is the same coding as italics or bold, it just uses an s instead of an i or a b.

    When you have a name that ends in an “s”, you just put an apostrophe. So it would look like Masis'.
    That's actually an issue with people on both sides who feel... well, very strongly about it (and they keep dragging poor Keats in as an example too!) I happen to be of the opinion that the extra s looks better and is clearer and since the issue is so divided, I choose to use my preferance.

    She needs twenty decks of tarot cards? Does she want to simultaneously predict the future of a small army?
    Actually, tarot card collecting is a thing.

    It’s probably because I’m tired, but I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Hooray for lack of sleep!
    A teenaged girl sleeping around in a world without or with limited contraceptives (it's hard to say in the Slayers world what they have because, for some reason I can't fathom, they've never mentioned any in the show. If they don't have magical methods then what they have is probably quite primitive/ineffective) would be wise to keep track of when she's ovulating and be able to count out when it would be safe to have sex. A girl who's bad at math however...

    Is she still infatuated with Gourry? I can’t remember whether or not she ever got over him.
    She was kinda blushy around him in Revolution... but I don't think she made any overt moves. If she's still hung up on him I think she's pretty much accepted that he's hung up on Lina.

    Whose thoughts are these?
    Lina's. I thought it was clear enough since it's right after she speaks, but maybe not.

    When was the second time? I remember he kissed his finger and before pressing it to her lips in the episode he debuted on. Is that what you’re referring to? By the way, how many years after the end of the show does this fic take place?
    Hmm? I'm pretty sure he kissed her on the cheek the first time around too--when he nabbed the Claire Bible manuscript and set the place on fire.

    A few years. I'm not really too concerned about that.

    And for some reason I can hear Valgaav in the background singing:
    Mommy is jelly!
    She wants to be with Xelly!
    XD

    Um…Filia? You don’t remember the time you overheard Xellos offering to kill Lina for Valgaav? Or does Lina no longer matter ‘cause she got a kiss and you didn’t?
    Filia's... not completely rational at this point.

    ….Say what now?
    Oh, you know, Ouiji boards, seances... harmless sleepover stuff!

    I think you might be missing a “the” in between “of” and “temple”. Or should I mention this to the author of the book within your story? Lol
    Ah, I should probably go around and fix some of these errors (I'm aware of a lot of them already) but if I fix them here I have to fix them everywhere else I've posted (which is especially annoying on fanfiction.net). Someday I'll do a massive overhaul of all my stuff.

    Oh so that’s what you do in your spare time, Xellos. Didn’t know you wrote saucy novels. By the way, Skiyomi. I LOVE THE SNIPPETS OF BOOK YOU PUT IN THERE. I only wish that I could read the whole “Forbidden Desires” novel; it has the potential for unlimited amusement.
    On another note I must apologize to the Reverend Rinderpest. It seems that authoring books can be dangerous, especially if you end up angering a golden dragon. Looks like there’s only one path left to you, Reverend: marry rich.
    Someday I want to revisit Xellos as the secret trashy romance author... it just makes a weird amount of sense to me.

    XD I probably couldn't write it. Those snippets were supposed to be fun for me because I could just let myself go and write something trashy, but it ended up being harder than I thought.

    Xellos with a mullet! Xellos with an afro! Xellos with a Mohawk! Xellos with a…ok I’ll stop.
    I vote for Xellos with a silly goatee and moustache.

    Wasn’t his real form something like a gust of wind or something? I can’t quite remember.
    It's a black cone.

    They have an Old Testament in the Slayers’ world?
    Fun part of not making the narrator an actual character from the show is making these kinds of references.

    Did he do this while he still had his gloves on?
    Why not? His clothes are part of his body.

    Again, thanks so much for your wonderful comments! I really enjoyed reading them and it's nice to see another Slayers fan here :3

  11. #36
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    That's actually an issue with people on both sides who feel... well, very strongly about it (and they keep dragging poor Keats in as an example too!) I happen to be of the opinion that the extra s looks better and is clearer and since the issue is so divided, I choose to use my preferance.
    Ah, I wasn't aware of that. Sorry.

    I was just poking fun at Babbage's expense.

    A teenaged girl sleeping around in a world without or with limited contraceptives (it's hard to say in the Slayers world what they have because, for some reason I can't fathom, they've never mentioned any in the show. If they don't have magical methods then what they have is probably quite primitive/ineffective) would be wise to keep track of when she's ovulating and be able to count out when it would be safe to have sex. A girl who's bad at math however...
    Now I feel rather stupid that I didn't realize that before.

    Lina's. I thought it was clear enough since it's right after she speaks, but maybe not.
    It's a little fuzzy, mainly because before you only ever put Filia's thoughts in italics. But I realize now that you're writing in third person omniscient so it really isn't a big deal.


    Hmm? I'm pretty sure he kissed her on the cheek the first time around too--when he nabbed the Claire Bible manuscript and set the place on fire.
    To this day I am STILL looking for this in that episode.

    Ah, I should probably go around and fix some of these errors (I'm aware of a lot of them already) but if I fix them here I have to fix them everywhere else I've posted (which is especially annoying on fanfiction.net). Someday I'll do a massive overhaul of all my stuff.
    Understandable. I can't help but point them out...

    Someday I want to revisit Xellos as the secret trashy romance author... it just makes a weird amount of sense to me.
    You're not the only one who feels it makes sense.

    XD I probably couldn't write it. Those snippets were supposed to be fun for me because I could just let myself go and write something trashy, but it ended up being harder than I thought.
    To be candid, I find them a little fun to write.

    I vote for Xellos with a silly goatee and moustache.
    How is that so easy for me to imagine?

    It's a black cone.
    His form is one of the reasons he likes ice cream.


    Fun part of not making the narrator an actual character from the show is making these kinds of references.
    Ah! I guess I'm just so used to delving the narrator into the world when I write. Sorry.

    BTW, What is a PM list and what is it used for?

    “Oh please,” Filia said scornfully. “What would a monster know about interior decorating?”

    Xellos raised an eyebrow and wondered what a dragon would know about it.
    *AbsolXWolf snorts*

    Xellos leaned forward. “Filia,” he said, “every time I come here the furniture is in a different configuration.”
    Considering that he probably bothers her at least once a week…You have a lot of time on your hands, Filia.

    “You clearly have way too much physical energy to expound,” he said. “You need a hobby.”
    But she has a hobby: monster berating.

    “How impressive,” Xellos commented in a tone that was snickering behind the bleachers. “What an interesting image that brings to mind,” he added thoughtfully. “You, drunk in a bar at midnight, swindling ham-fisted sailors out of their hard earned money.”
    Is it wrong that I can imagine a drunk Filia at a bar arm wrestling and drinking her troubles off while every so often yelling about “That stupid monster”?

    “There were ham-fisted sailors, though.”
    What is a ham-fisted sailor anyways? All I can think about is a guy with big muscles and fat fingers.

    “All-you-can-eat steaks from Tiberius’s T-bone House in the village square,” Filia said.
    Tiberius: step-son of Octavian (the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar). Ever since I took a Roman Civ class, I can’t help but look at names like this.

    Xellos looked around her openly to her gluteus maximus. “I imagine that was quite a lot,” he said.
    LOL

    “A game is always more fun with a wager,” Xellos said, looking into his tea as he swished it from side to side as if he wasn’t paying much mind to the conversation.
    Reminds me of something that my classmates would say when I was younger: “A game is only fun until someone gets hurt. Then it’s hilarious.” Xellos would probably agree with this notion.

    Xellos grinned. “Because if I didn’t show up, you’d have no healthy way to relieve all that frustration you’re so good at accumulating and eventually rearranging furniture wouldn’t be enough for you to deal with it so you’d snap and end up as a performer in some sort of underground mud wrestling competition.”
    LOLSAYWUT?

    She hesitated and then swallowed her pride and added her other hand. But even pushing with both hands she still couldn’t beat him.
    I suppose he really is that physically strong, he just prefers to use words or magic.

    She didn’t even notice as he leaned forward, tilted his head, and put his lips against hers.
    :-D

    “I…” she began, barely able to get the words out. “I win.”
    Go Filia!

    “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.
    I know he reports everything to Beastmaster, but it’s still funny reading about him reporting an arm-wrestling match. Don’t get me wrong, I find it extremely realistic that he would report even the slightest interaction between himself and Filia. It’s just that I find it amusing to witness it firsthand.

    “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.”
    This sentence makes me hungry.

    leaning over to take a sip from a martini glass containing a highly toxic, sweet blue liquid with a chemical make-up very similar to antifreeze.
    Oh hey, I’m no longer hungry.

    Zelas was not above letting her subordinate run into brick walls of his own making. At least when it was of no harm to her. She liked to think it taught valuable lessons.

    She blew a smoke tesseract because smoke rings are for chumps. “Knock yourself out,” she said.
    This is definitely how I’ve always imagined Zelas to be like. Great characterization!

    Besides, it might be impossible; Xellos always seemed to know where he was.
    You know, that’s quite possible. I never thought of it before now.

    “I could,” Filia said through gritted teeth, starting to get really frustrated at this point. “But I! Don’t! Want to!”
    The exclamation points don’t particularly look good to me. Um…it’s just my opinion (please don’t be mad!).

    “So,” she heard him say, “when I was kissing you and you were nuzzling your face into my hand, did that mean you didn’t like it?”
    That isn’t all that far from the truth, Xellos. She didn’t like it. She loved it. But don’t worry; people confuse the distinction all the time.

    “Well, it was a pleasurable experience,” he said simply, causing something to go twang under Filia’s ribcage. “If I denied something so clearly true then that could only mean that I was hiding something important from myself,” he added in a holier-than-thou tone that was rather ironic on a demon.
    Haha. At least someone in the relationship isn’t afraid of telling the truth occasionally.

    “I don’t want you to kiss me!” she finally exploded out. “I don’t know how you can even say something so awful like it’s no big deal!”
    Like I said before, at least Xellos isn’t afraid of telling the truth occasionally.

    “And anyway,” she snapped, “why is it always on me? You just keep going on with your ‘Oh, Filia, you want this. It’s all you.’ when you’re the one that admitted to liking the kiss in the first place. Why don’t you just try honesty for once in your life, if only for the novelty of it, and say ‘Can I kiss you because I want to?’ It’s at least a less obnoxious strategy!”
    Note to Filia: look at the above comments I made.

    “I don’t even know why you’re bothering with this,” Filia said, mostly to herself. “I mean, it’s not like you felt the need to debate me about it last time. You just went ahead anyway and I was too shocked to…” She looked up into Xellos’s open eyes.
    She might as well scream “Kiss me, dangit!”, because she all but gave him permission here.

    “The,” she began – she couldn’t believe she was saying this, “the bedroom is upstairs.” Thank the gods she hadn’t moved the bed. Only because she couldn’t fit it out the door (which raised questions about how it got in there in the first place).
    I hope you won’t hate me for being honest, but I would like a little more leading up to this comment. I know Filia doesn’t need too much persuasion to get it on with Xellos, but it still feels a little rushed.

    Like she’d actually sacrifice a possible get-out-of-death-free card to satisfy her own obviously insane and morally reprehensible desires!
    You only live once, Filia.

    It wasn’t in a pretty container because it was only an inch thick layer of an alloy of orihalcon and magnetized iron that was keeping the radioactive sludge inside from eating through its container and dissolving through the world until it came out the other side.
    This sentence sounds a little weird to me. If it were me, I would try to change it. (Please don't hate me)

    “Really?” Xellos said. “Don’t you want him to live up to his potential?”
    Sounds like someone is grooming someone for mischief making.

    Perhaps he’s just in it for the mayhem, Filia thought sourly. Honestly, between the two of them she wasn’t sure which was more trouble.
    I could be wrong, but I think you need a “who” instead of a “which”. Unless you're not referring to Val and Xellos.

    “Of course,” Xellos said comfortingly. “I assured her that we’re just sleeping together.”

    Filia’s mortification deepened. “You did what—”
    Hey, he’s trying to prove to you that he can be honest.

    Val’s face told a story, and it was an easy to read story with cardboard pages and big letters. Filia gave Xellos a fleeting look of amazement. Val’s first crush. And she hadn’t been the first one to notice it! Damn that observant bastard!
    Wow. When I was 5 years old, crushes were the last thing on my mind. In fact, only one of my classmates was actually ever interested in crushing on someone. The rest of us were too busy making sandcastles.

    Sure, it probably made some sense to Val. Xellos might have pretty purple hair, but he was still the male role model in Val’s life (unfortunately) so that probably made him the go-to person for advice on girls. But still! You do not ask a monster for dating advice! Someone ought to write that down
    You do not ask a monster for dating advice. There, I wrote it down lol. On a more serious note, I wouldn’t ask Xellos for dating advice. He has a tendency to attract the crazy girls. Like Filia. Joking, joking. *ducks as a mace comes flying my way*

    “If you really want to impress her then do not be nice to her and definitely don’t compliment her,” Xellos said. Then he paused, gave the matter some thought, and added: “Unless you insult her before or after you compliment her. That actually works twice as well.”
    Somehow, I don’t think too many girls would really be impressed by constant insults and bad behavior.

    “Pull her hair,” Xellos suggested. “Make faces at her, chase her, call her names—”
    That would definitely get him noticed, but do some girls really like that sort of attention? I get that it pretty much sums up the relationship between Xellos and Filia, but I don’t think it works on that young of a child. Plus, even Xellos is polite (or tries to be) to Filia sometimes.

    “My advice won’t fail because it is excellent,” Xellos said assuredly. “Perhaps you should start picking up parenting tips from me, Filia,” he said, turning to her. “After all, I am the World’s Best Dad.”
    Filia sucked in an exasperated breath. “Just because you buy a mug doesn’t make you—”
    Do I detect Xellos admitting that Val is their love child?

    “Well, she certainly doesn’t like him for this,” Filia said angrily. “Negative attention is not as good as positive attention, you know,” she reminded him.
    As much as I like Xellos' personality, I prefer positive attention to negative when it comes to relationships. Of course, I would want them to be spiced with plenty of sarcasm, but that does not necessarily entail insults directed at each other. Am I just weird like that?

    As usual, I found little wrong with your grammar and spelling. Your characterizations are perfect as always as well. So, like with last time, I took to making comments at the situations. Still trying to get caught up with my own work, and still trying to deal with an issue I’m having…
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

    png image hosting
    I made this ^

  12. #37
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    Ah, I wasn't aware of that. Sorry.
    No prob, it's a pretty common thing. I just wanted you to know that I had a reasoning behind it.

    Now I feel rather stupid that I didn't realize that before.
    You weren't the only one who missed it--I'd gotten a couple of comments on other sites on that score.

    To this day I am STILL looking for this in that episode.
    I could dig it out because I have it on DVD, but I'm pretty sure he did kiss her on the cheek.

    Understandable. I can't help but point them out...
    XD And that's understandable too.

    You're not the only one who feels it makes sense.
    I'm glad!

    How is that so easy for me to imagine?
    XD He should totally try it.

    His form is one of the reasons he likes ice cream.
    ...!! I never thought of that!

    Ah! I guess I'm just so used to delving the narrator into the world when I write. Sorry.

    BTW, What is a PM list and what is it used for?
    I'm just the kinda writer that loves references, and this is often to my detriment, but it's often fun.

    A PM list is a list of people a writer will contact whenever they update a fic.

    Considering that he probably bothers her at least once a week…You have a lot of time on your hands, Filia.
    And a looooot of energy to expend.

    But she has a hobby: monster berating.
    How appropriate since his is dragon berating!

    Is it wrong that I can imagine a drunk Filia at a bar arm wrestling and drinking her troubles off while every so often yelling about “That stupid monster”?
    XD It's not wrong, it's so right. I do intend to do one of these oneshots with a drunken Filia eventually (though she was drunk in one of my other fics The Oracle's Wish at one point already).

    What is a ham-fisted sailor anyways? All I can think about is a guy with big muscles and fat fingers.
    Yeah, basically just big hands.

    Tiberius: step-son of Octavian (the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar). Ever since I took a Roman Civ class, I can’t help but look at names like this.
    I think this one was coincidental, but I do like to use a lot of Roman/Greek names when it comes to dragons ever since I found out that 'Filia' means daughter in Latin.

    Reminds me of something that my classmates would say when I was younger: “A game is only fun until someone gets hurt. Then it’s hilarious.” Xellos would probably agree with this notion.
    I'm sure he would!

    LOLSAYWUT?
    Xellos has a dirty mind :P

    I suppose he really is that physically strong, he just prefers to use words or magic.
    Could be that he feeds magic into his physical strength too.

    Go Filia!
    It's nice to see Filia win one of these every so often!

    This is definitely how I’ve always imagined Zelas to be like. Great characterization!
    Thanks! I think this was the first time I wrote Zelas into a story and I was really worried about how it would come across. I've written her in a few times since and it's gotten easier.

    The exclamation points don’t particularly look good to me. Um…it’s just my opinion (please don’t be mad!).
    Dooon't worry! I've never been mad at you. Even if I disagree I'm really happy to hear your input and your comments, so if I disagree, don't think I'm mad--I'm just giving you my rationale for why I did what I did and why I don't want to change it.

    In this case, I really wanted to communicate the choppiness of what she's saying--shouting every word individually. The exclamation marks really communicate the cadence of how the sentence is being verbally delivered in a way I'm not sure I could accomplish without them.

    Note to Filia: look at the above comments I made.
    Oh, he tells the truth most of the time, but that's not the same thing as being honest :P

    She might as well scream “Kiss me, dangit!”, because she all but gave him permission here.
    XD And she only realized that when it was too late.

    I hope you won’t hate me for being honest, but I would like a little more leading up to this comment. I know Filia doesn’t need too much persuasion to get it on with Xellos, but it still feels a little rushed.
    I think it works in the context of a oneshot, but I could see your thinking that. The problem here is that these oneshots, while dipping into Filia's perspective, are more from Xellos's perspective and interests, so there's not a lot of internal monologue saying 'should I' or 'shouldn't I' like I've had in some other fics in these kinds of situations.

    Still not hating :P

    This sentence sounds a little weird to me. If it were me, I would try to change it. (Please don't hate me)
    What about it sounds weird? Again, I don't take offense, I'm just not sure what you mean.

    Sounds like someone is grooming someone for mischief making.
    And no surprise there!

    I could be wrong, but I think you need a “who” instead of a “which”. Unless you're not referring to Val and Xellos.
    I do believe you're right. *hangs head* Another error that will probably go unfixed for quite some time.

    Wow. When I was 5 years old, crushes were the last thing on my mind. In fact, only one of my classmates was actually ever interested in crushing on someone. The rest of us were too busy making sandcastles.
    In the grand scheme of things, sandcastles are probably more fun than love.

    You do not ask a monster for dating advice. There, I wrote it down lol. On a more serious note, I wouldn’t ask Xellos for dating advice. He has a tendency to attract the crazy girls. Like Filia. Joking, joking. *ducks as a mace comes flying my way*
    And Martina XD Apparently (crazy) chicks dig Xellos.

    That would definitely get him noticed, but do some girls really like that sort of attention? I get that it pretty much sums up the relationship between Xellos and Filia, but I don’t think it works on that young of a child. Plus, even Xellos is polite (or tries to be) to Filia sometimes.
    I think I put some sort of disclaimer on one of my versions of this that Xellos's tactics may have mixed results on girls over five who aren't Filia :P

    It's not exactly the finest approach, but it is the one favored by confused five-year-old boys (and, of course, Xellos).

    Do I detect Xellos admitting that Val is their love child?
    Or thinking of himself as Val's step-dad. Either could work.

    As much as I like Xellos' personality, I prefer positive attention to negative when it comes to relationships. Of course, I would want them to be spiced with plenty of sarcasm, but that does not necessarily entail insults directed at each other. Am I just weird like that?

    As usual, I found little wrong with your grammar and spelling. Your characterizations are perfect as always as well. So, like with last time, I took to making comments at the situations. Still trying to get caught up with my own work, and still trying to deal with an issue I’m having…
    Considering he's a monster, it's no wonder he loves the negative attention.

    Thanks so very much for all your comments! And good luck IRL--I'm sorry things aren't going well

  13. #38
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    Here's theme #38

    Herbal Remedy. PG.

    Filia had to admit, Xellos wasn’t the worst person in the world to go grocery shopping with. Oh, he certainly wasn’t as attentive a helper as Jillas or as willing to carry bags as Gravos, but at least he didn’t double the grocery bill, which was more than she could say for Val and his growing-boy appetite. So with Jillas minding the store and Gravos taking Val to clarinet lessons, she could at least say it wasn’t ungodly awful to have Xellos accompany her.

    …Although not out loud.

    “Try not to drop anything this time,” she told him testily as they navigated through the crowded aisles of the outdoor market. “I’m sick of hearing ‘Clean up in aisle 5!’ everywhere we go.”

    “Accidents happen, Filia,” he informed her sagely, readjusting his grip on the paper bag he’d deigned to carry.

    “Accidents happen suspiciously often around you!” she snapped back before turning to look at her shopping list. “Let’s see… I think that’s all we need for food, but…” She looked around. “Oh!”

    She glided over to a table with shelves behind it in the far corner of the bazaar. Several glass containers filled with seeds and dried leaves and stalks lined it, each with a tiny handwritten label. An elderly woman behind the counter nodded to Filia before turning back to her wares.

    “My stock is pretty much gone and with cold and flu season just around the corner,” Filia explained, picking up a plastic bag and looking around at the selection, “well, you just can’t be too careful.”

    Xellos put down the bag he was carrying and gingerly observed the description on one of the herbs. “Truly,” he said, “sage is the miracle drug of our generation.”

    “Don’t make fun,” Filia chided. “It’s amazing what you can do with herbs. Caraway seeds, for example,” she said, taking a scoop and ladling some of the seeds into the plastic bag, “can cure snake bites, bring down fevers, and ease sensitive stomachs.”

    “And they’re delicious on rye bread,” Xellos finished.

    Filia closed the bag of caraway seeds, annoyed, but not about to deny a basic fact. “That too,” she said, picking up a prepackaged bag of reddish leaves and glancing at the label. “You have to know what you’re doing with herbs,” she commented, almost to herself. “It takes understanding and finesse; otherwise the cure can be worse than the disease.”

    “Then I await the inevitable trip to the local clinic to get your stomach pumped,” Xellos commented.

    Before Filia could respond harshly, Xellos pointed to something on one of the shelves that had caught his eye. “Do you need one of those?”

    “One of what?” Filia asked, teeth gnashed together as she looked to see what he was pointing at.

    “You know,” Xellos said, “that mushroom that looks strangely like a—”

    She slapped his hand away and let out a shriek before he could finish his sentence. “I don’t need an aphrodisiac!” she whisper-screeched at him, scandalized.

    “Ah, so you have the opposite problem, then?” Xellos concluded knowingly. “Then perhaps you should try this?” he asked, pointing to a thin green stalk with tiny white blossoms growing in bunches at the top. “The sign says it’s good for repressing sexual desire.”

    “Would you please keep your voice down?” Filia demanded, as the old woman working behind the table gave the two of them an odd look. Filia smoothed back her frizzing-from-frustration hair, and nodded to the plant Xellos had indicated. “That’s cowbane,” she said haughtily. “They used to grow it around the temple.”

    “That doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Xellos commented. “Does it work?”

    Filia opened her mouth to respond, but hesitated. Finally she said, “Technically, yes. It’s a very dangerous poison.”

    “Oh, I see. So it solves the problem permanently,” he said with a smile.

    He walked along the edge of the table, looking at the assortment of plants. “Come to think of it,” he said, “a lot of these are poisons. Oh, several are harmless, but a large portion are downright lethal.”

    He stopped at one particular plant—a leafy one with ominous black berries. “Belladonna,” he read.

    Filia looked uneasily over his shoulder at the plant. “I know some people use it for a pain killer, but it’s so temperamental that it’s just never seemed safe to me.”

    “Isn’t this the same plant that makes witches fly?” Xellos asked off-handedly, not taking his eyes off the glass display where the plant sat.

    Filia gave him a curious look. “Don’t be silly,” she said. “Levitation makes witches fly.”

    Xellos gave a slight sigh. “That’s not really what I meant.”

    “Well then you should say what you mean,” Filia retorted grouchily.

    “Deadly Nightshade, the devil’s herb… Belladonna,” Xellos read again. “Why does it not surprise me that a fatally poisonous herb has a name meaning ‘beautiful woman?’”

    Filia twitched. After being around Xellos this long she was developing an instinct for when he was insulting her. He liked to do so in clever ways with sly implications that he thought she wouldn’t pick up on, but she was wise to him. Of course, this one put her in a bind. She couldn’t respond to him calling her poisonous without acknowledging that he’d called her beautiful.

    In the end, she bit her lip and ignored the barb. “Devil’s herb,” she said, “that reminds me—I’ve got to pick up some devil’s hairpins.” She reached out to scoop a few blackened looking slender leaves into another baggy.

    Xellos gave her a long look. “Filia,” he said, “of all people, I shouldn’t be the one to have to tell you this, but plants with ‘devil’ in their name are usually poisonous. It’s one of those handy tip-offs like ‘bane’ and ‘deadly.”

    “I know that,” Filia snapped. “For your information everything is poisonous at a certain dose. But with the right know-how, plants that can kill in large doses can save lives in small doses. And the right dose is different for different people. Not everything with ‘devil’ in its name is as toxic as you,” she added, because she needed some kind of revenge for the Belladonna comment—the insulting part as well as the purposefully confusing compliment part.

    “I see,” Xellos pondered. “So what’s the ideal dose of me?”

    Filia made a face. “Even small doses of you make me nauseous.”

    Xellos held onto his smile, but it had gone all crinkly and annoyed. “Oh?”

    “And,” Filia went on, a wicked thought striking her, “you remember what cowbane is supposed to do?”

    The thin smile turned into a very definite frown. “That’s uncalled for.”

    “The truth hurts,” Filia jabbed back.

    Xellos thought the lady doth protest too much. “Are you sure you haven’t gotten that backwards? Like you’d need the cowbane after taking a dose of me? That seems much more likely to me.”

    Filia scowled. All the ways she could think of to take a dose of Xellos were… no. “You are not an aphrodisiac.”

    “Then what am I?” Xellos pressed on. “What’s my medical benefit?”

    “You don’t have one,” Filia informed him. “You’re noxious through and through.”

    “Oh, but I must have some kind of benefit—in the right quantity and to the right person. I think someone told me that even deadly poisons do. …What do I cure?”

    Filia was flabbergasted, not just because she didn’t want to be forced into an answer but because he… because he always… “Why do you always want to do this?” she demanded.

    “Do what?” Xellos asked. “Talk about herbs? I think this is the first real conversation we’ve had about them.”

    “Not that,” she said dismissively. “It’s like you always want us too…” she trailed off, trying to think of how to describe it, “similize each other or something!”

    “Similize?” Xellos repeated as though he’d just picked up something disgusting like a used tissue or a made up word.

    “Yes, similize!” Filia snapped, triumphant. “As in make a simile.”

    “Simile is a word,” Xellos answered, “but I very much doubt that ‘similize’ is.”

    “I verbified it,” Filia retorted. “It is what you do anyway.”

    “What makes you think I want to be… ‘similized?’” Xellos asked, a little derisively.

    “You want me to compare you to an herb—that sounds pretty… similizey…ish,” Filia finished lamely. “And this isn’t even the first time,” she pointed out, voice rising in strength once more. “We go to the zoo, you compare me to an iguana; I try to pick out what tea to have and somehow you turn the conversation into one entirely about you; we can’t even look at a spiderweb without talking about what bug each of us would be!”

    “The first one was more of a garden variety taunt than a simile,” Xellos pointed out, but without gaining much traction.

    Filia ignored him. “It’s like… every conversation we have somehow gets overlaid with a discussion about… about… it’s all just you and me! And I suppose it’s sort of a nice poetic convention,” she admitted, “but if we’re going for poetry then isn’t the subject usually… flowers, or moonlight, or summer days? Something more romantic like that?”

    Filia nearly slapped her hand over her mouth. She should not have said the R-word. It didn’t matter that she’d… well, that she’d noticed. She did not want to be the one to mention it first.

    And ooooh he’d make her suffer for it. She could practically see his faux-innocent expression already, coupled with, ‘Romantic? Are we supposed to have romantic conversations now, Filia? Do you imagine me writing a sonnet comparing you to the rebirth of spring? Do tell, Filia, do tell. I’ve always wondered what you write in your diary at night and I must say this has been very eye-opening. Are you quite sure you don’t want that cowbane? Hmm?’

    “Herbs aren’t unromantic,” he pointed out, completely failing to take the bastard-route. “Many of them are flowers, after all, and quite beautiful. The right herb can cleanse and heal, while the wrong one can bring swift death. As far as romantic subjects go, they seem ripe for comparison.”

    Filia stared for a minute, stunned not only at her escape but at the fact that he was taking this conversation seriously. “I… I suppose,” she finally said. “But that still doesn’t change the simile thing!” she said, regaining her footing and pointing an accusatory finger at him. “Why do you always insist on making me compare you to things?”

    Xellos shrugged. “Why do you think?”

    “Because…” she began, thinking carefully, “…because you like to be objectified?”

    Xellos frowned. “Try again.”

    “Because…” she trailed off. It was like… maybe they could say these things without the trappings of figurative language, but it would be… dangerous. It was a way of figuring each other out without the risk of plainly asking. It was their process, together, of finding out what they were to one another.

    “I think I know,” she said quietly.

    He gave her a searching look but did not press her for an answer. “Good,” he said. “So then can you tell me… what do I… no, what do we cure each other of?”

    Filia thought. It felt like there was so much to say, but so little that she could actually communicate. She took a deep breath and tried: “…Patience.”

    Xellos turned this over in his mind and then nodded slowly. “I agree,” he said. “Usually patience is something I value, but… there are times when it can be an impediment to what really matters.”

    There was a long silence. Filia stared at the floor. Finally Xellos picked up the bags of groceries and herbs that they’d set down. “Let’s go home, Filia,” he said.

    “…Right,” Filia said. It was all so hard to pin-point things in conversations with Xellos. There was where she knew they were and where they pretended they were. There was such a big difference between the two that there was always the danger of a slip-up.

    Xellos nodded to one of the items on the shelf. “Are you sure you don’t want to get that mushroom shaped like a—”

    “No!” Filia exploded. “Stop asking!”

    “Of course,” Xellos said meaningfully. “Why would you need that when you have me?”

    Filia grit her teeth. “We decided that you cure patience, remember?”

    “Exactly,” Xellos said, drawing up next to her and putting the hand that wasn’t holding grocery bags against the small of her back. “So let’s go home and really lose our patience with each other.”

    Filia let out an appalled sort of sound, but didn’t move away from him. “You can’t pull those kinds of comments on me and expect them to go over my head anymore,” she informed him sourly. “I know what you’re implying.”

    “Perfect,” Xellos said, “that’s even better.”

    Filia grumbled slightly to herself as they strolled toward the exit of the bazaar so that they could pay for their groceries, take them home, put them away and then… alright, maybe they’d be a little… impatient. Anyway, patience is all well and good, but at some point, she realized, it had just become the thing holding them back.

    And maybe… maybe he wouldn’t make such a terrible remedy after all.

    Filia couldn’t suppress a smile. “I’m kind of disappointed in you, you know,” she said.

    He turned to her with a puzzled look. “Why?”

    She jabbed at his shoulder with her finger. “Because you didn’t make a ‘take one and call me in the morning’ joke.”

  14. #39
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    Wolves and Their Prey. Rated PG.
    :-D :-D :-D I LOVE WOLVES! YOU MADE WOLF REFERENCES! I LOVE YOU! *GLOMPS*
    Whoot. Ok. Sorry for being creepy there. This has got to be my favorite drabble of yours so far, and not just because it references my favorite animal. I like it because Xellos analyzes the relationship he has with Filia and, at the end, the paralleling story of the wolf and the lamb hints at him going against his own kind to save her in the future. If this isn’t perfection, I don’t know what is.

    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.
    True, true, and true. You appear to like wolves as much as I do. I can’t tell you how frustrated I become when people merely slap a label on wolves in a story without fully looking up facts about them.

    Indeed they do have a complicated hierarchy. There is a slight democracy observed among wolves according to Mech’s 1970 book: The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species. While it’s true that the alpha pair more or less drives the pack’s behavior, if enough subservient wolves vote on something they can get the entire pack to go along with it.

    Er….sorry. Wolf ecstasy makes me spout information. I’ll be good now, I promise.

    He knew, though, that even if he came across a meal his hunger would not be assuaged for long. The Alpha pair had bred, and a litter had been born. It was the responsibility of the entire pack to feed them, not just their parents’. Yes, it was the place of the hunters to give up even food that was already in their stomachs for the soft-toothed pups.
    Leftovers anyone? I’m glad you mentioned this aspect, because most people I know think that only birds feed through vomiting.

    Three hundred miles away, in the kitchen of Miss Filia Ul Copt – dragon, single-mother, and successful small business owner – Xellos ruminated. Filia shoved a cup of tea in front of him bad-naturedly and wished he’d go ruminate somewhere else.
    Ruminating about tea, the universe, the existence of monsters, and how good Filia’s rear end would look if a gust of air were to “accidentally” come breezing her way?
    He’d often thought back on how it all started, because it had been a moment full of… strangeness. It certainly didn’t go the way it should’ve gone at all.

    But Filia certainly hadn’t been at all respectful when they first met. In fact, he distinctly remembered her calling him a creep and building a barbed wire fence around him in a matter of minutes. This had never happened to him before in all his dealings with dragons; even the ones that had been very efficient fence-builders.
    I guess he’s not thinking about Filia’s rear end, but her rearing. And I remember that part in the Anime!

    But Filia didn’t seem to consider that, or if she did she decided to ignore it. Maybe she was too prideful to consider her own mortality. Maybe she’d been so sheltered from living in the temple her whole life that she’d never had to be careful. Maybe, and Xellos tended to think this toward the end of a long day, she’s just naturally obnoxious.
    Is it quite possible, Xellos, that you just make her too angry to care about something as ridiculously trite as, oh I don’t know…life? You distract her from life, Xellos. You’re converting her over to your side by distracting her from life, the element opposite of the monster race.

    She hadn’t acted the way she should. And it had been… perplexing. Xellos wasn’t often perplexed. His mind was sharp, his knowledge was broad, and his intuition was keen. It wasn’t something he had to deal with on a frequent basis.

    And, as is so often the case with confusion, it had made him very irritated.
    How to confuse a monster step one: act the complete opposite of what’s expected

    It had somehow gotten beyond its pen and was nonchalantly drinking from a puddle in the low grass as though it wasn’t made of protein.
    I love this sentence.
    As the wolf looked closer he realized that this wasn’t an ordinary lamb. It wasn’t a standard animal for sheering. It was well fed, its coat had been cleaned recently, and it had a shiny bow tied around its neck. Somebody loved this lamb.
    Allow me to pause a moment and bask in the wonderful hilarity that comes from representing a beam inducing, golden dragon as a pet lamb.

    The lamb watched as the wolf tried to shift his sharp predator mind back into gear in this unprecedented situation. Then it appeared to make up its mind. It lowered its head.

    And rammed it straight into the wolf’s nose.
    All I can imagine in my head is a Filia-esque lamb breathing out beam attacks, screaming at the wolf to “stop dodging” while the farmer is off to the side with a dumbstruck look on his face. Oh, and the wolf has a “stupid” bowler cut hairdo of course.

    He got up and tried to suppress a whine as his tender nose sniffed the air. He watched as the lamb walked off into the forest with her head held high and entirely too much flounce for an ungulate.
    This is so Filia. Considering her name, I half expected you to use a filly instead of a lamb, but I think I like the use of a lamb better now.

    Xellos had to admit that he’d been a bit impressed by Filia’s gall. That is… it had left an impression on him at least.
    How to confuse a monster step two: get some gall.
    Pushing buttons to see when someone would snap was a… hobby, you could say. Filia was clearly all buttons and snapped on such a regular basis that to still be together she must have possessed some truly elastic qualities.
    Xellos, I think you meant to say “Pushing buttons because I love screwing with people was a… hobby” right there.

    He started to wonder about her. Clearly this wasn’t an ordinary lamb if she would go so far as to attack a wolf. Hadn’t she ever seen a wolf before? Hadn’t she heard the barking in the night and come out to the pens only to find one of her siblings missing? Could she at least sense, somewhere deep in her ancestral memory, that things with claws and sharp teeth should be feared?
    *AbsolXWolf is waiting for the wolf to start hitting on the lamb. Any moment now…*

    Girls tended to tie bows around things for some reasons.
    I always thought it was to make things look better. Or something.

    Just you wait. He crept through the underbrush after her. You’ll learn your folly…

    …but later.
    …but never. Am I right?

    Xellos had long ago decided that it would be worthwhile to keep an eye on Filia.
    Or at least an eye on Filia’s rear. (sorry, I’m super hyper and random today)
    Filia had a battering-ram of an intellect.
    Funny how you mention a male-sheep there.

    But suddenly, as he looked at her, it seemed to change before his eyes. The rocks went up high, and the water flowed out from between them in glassy sheets. It was an icy taste from where the forest turned into highlands, and the highlands turned into mountains. The circle of trees around it let the sun in, and cast multicolored refractions in the misty air.
    Awww. The wolf looking through the eyes of a sheep.

    She stepped on his tail along the way.
    Oooh that was a good one, Filia lamb. I think Xellos has said on a number of occasions that Filia has a tendency to ruin the moment sometimes.

    “If you’re going to loiter here all the time than you could at least do something useful,” she said sharply as he took the duster in a numb sort of way. “I’m going to clean in the storeroom and you might try to help!” She stormed off down the hall.
    Xellos. Doing something useful that doesn’t require someone getting screwed in the process. Why do I have a hard time imagining this? XD

    Xellos followed her. The thing about Filia was that she was different. He was sure that the dragon elders at the temple had tried to stifle the audacity out of her.
    I did wonder about this. I mean, Filia is good, no doubt about it, but I can’t say for certain that she’s a shining example of how dragon priestesses act. Not that I really care about how a true priestess should act; I prefer Filia’s straightforward and bold personality to any priestess character I can think of.

    “And don’t you dare break anything!” she warned,
    Xellos? Breaking something? Never.

    It would all be fine. He could keep this; whatever it was that this was. He was minding all the spinning plates that could lead to catastrophe. He had everything completely under his control. And if it all must end someday, he could deal with that too. After all, he was a monster.
    Ah Xellos and his falsified belief that everything is “under control”. Dare I say he’s much too arrogant to see that everything might NOT be as “controlled” as he might think?

    There was a horrible shatter of pottery as one tall vase that Xellos had been cleaning fell into the one next to it, causing a domino effect across the entire shelf.
    I SO SAW THIS COMING!! XD it was practically destined to happen the moment Filia told him NOT to break anything. Murphy's Law happens in full effect when there's a monster involved. Most of the time because the monster in question carries out Murphy's Law himself.
    He smiled to himself. It was alright. This was alright. It wasn’t as though he’d ever have to pay a price for it or anything.
    Love the double meaning here: he could either be thinking of the pottery he just broke or the fact that he might be ordered to kill her one day.

    The wolf tracked the lamb on the path back to the farm. He’d tried walking beside her for part of the time, but she had a mean kick. Best to watch her from the sidelines.
    It’s rather ironic that Xellos mentioned watching from up close whereas the wolf here mentions watching from the sidelines.

    And anyway, it was hard to think of her like the other sheep who did nothing but chew grass all day with constipated expressions
    They do have constipated expressions! D-:
    After all, he’d experienced so many things that day that evolution had denied him the luxury of: curiosity, empathy, wonder, confusion, and…
    Xellos and empathy. Hmmmm…

    The wolf’s hair stood on end as his shoulder-blades rose together in barely suppressed rage. For another wolf to take the prey he’d been stalking all day was intolerable. It was not for the other wolf to decide what happened to her!
    Is this foreshadowing of something that may happen later in a book of yours? *hopeful*

    When wolves kill it can take hours; blood-soaked hours as the hapless animal is battered back and forth in the grip of the wolf’s teeth. It’s not a pleasant way to die: waiting for your neck to be broken.
    It’s more like waiting for them to find your carotid artery. Wolves typically bite the carotid artery in the throat when it comes to sheep according to Erik Zimen’s 1981 book: The Wolf: His Place in the Natural World. Arguably, it isn’t much better, because it takes a least 30 seconds or so for the sheep to die after this particular artery has been severed. I do think the way you described the snapped neck sounds more eloquent.


    There will be a price to pay for this, no matter what happens.
    Perfect ending sentence. LOVE IT.

    Oh yeah. I forgot to respond to your last response. Sorry!
    I could dig it out because I have it on DVD, but I'm pretty sure he did kiss her on the cheek.
    Yes please! I still can’t find the part and it’s driving me a little cuckoo.
    XD It's not wrong, it's so right. I do intend to do one of these oneshots with a drunken Filia eventually (though she was drunk in one of my other fics The Oracle's Wish at one point already).
    *Goes looking for The Oracle’s Wish*
    Xellos has a dirty mind :P
    I’m sure he’d insist that it’s nothing more than “inspiration” for his trashy novels.
    It's nice to see Filia win one of these every so often!
    Yes please let Filia win a few things when it comes to Xellos. Goodness knows she deserves a victory every now and then.
    In the grand scheme of things, sandcastles are probably more fun than love
    Oh I know what you mean. At least with sandcastles you don’t feel any pain when it decides to disappear.
    I think I put some sort of disclaimer on one of my versions of this that Xellos's tactics may have mixed results on girls over five who aren't Filia :P

    It's not exactly the finest approach, but it is the one favored by confused five-year-old boys (and, of course, Xellos).
    LOL at the disclaimer.
    I suppose I could see a few five-year-olds who have NO idea what they’re doing think that violence is somehow the key to getting favorable attention.

    But what’s disheartening is watching a few of my colleagues getting into relationships with men who have seemingly yet to grow out of that violent phase. And all the while these females associates of mine insist that “they’ll work things out”. It...hurts to watch them basically torture themselves just to stay in such a relationship.
    Last edited by AbsolXWolf; 22nd November 2011 at 3:43 AM.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

    png image hosting
    I made this ^

  15. #40
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    :-D :-D :-D I LOVE WOLVES! YOU MADE WOLF REFERENCES! I LOVE YOU! *GLOMPS*
    Whoot. Ok. Sorry for being creepy there. This has got to be my favorite drabble of yours so far, and not just because it references my favorite animal. I like it because Xellos analyzes the relationship he has with Filia and, at the end, the paralleling story of the wolf and the lamb hints at him going against his own kind to save her in the future. If this isn’t perfection, I don’t know what is.
    XD Thanks! Wolves are pretty awesome!

    True, true, and true. You appear to like wolves as much as I do. I can’t tell you how frustrated I become when people merely slap a label on wolves in a story without fully looking up facts about them.

    Indeed they do have a complicated hierarchy. There is a slight democracy observed among wolves according to Mech’s 1970 book: The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species. While it’s true that the alpha pair more or less drives the pack’s behavior, if enough subservient wolves vote on something they can get the entire pack to go along with it.

    Er….sorry. Wolf ecstasy makes me spout information. I’ll be good now, I promise.
    I did a bit of reading up on Wolves before I launched into this oneshot--it seemed necessary if I wanted to stay accurate. I think the book I read was called "Spirit of the Wild Dog" and it taught me a lot.

    Leftovers anyone? I’m glad you mentioned this aspect, because most people I know think that only birds feed through vomiting.
    It's pretty neat--especially since wolves do this for pups that aren't even their own.

    Ruminating about tea, the universe, the existence of monsters, and how good Filia’s rear end would look if a gust of air were to “accidentally” come breezing her way?
    Well, that's the usual state of affairs in Xellos's brain :P

    All I can imagine in my head is a Filia-esque lamb breathing out beam attacks, screaming at the wolf to “stop dodging” while the farmer is off to the side with a dumbstruck look on his face. Oh, and the wolf has a “stupid” bowler cut hairdo of course.
    !! That would've been awesome! It would've been a super lamb! XP

    I always thought it was to make things look better. Or something.
    Yup. Sometimes the answers are simple.

    Funny how you mention a male-sheep there.
    XD I didn't even mean to do that.

    I did wonder about this. I mean, Filia is good, no doubt about it, but I can’t say for certain that she’s a shining example of how dragon priestesses act. Not that I really care about how a true priestess should act; I prefer Filia’s straightforward and bold personality to any priestess character I can think of.
    It's hard to say because we see so little of dragon society, but I always think of it being rather patriarchical because of Filia's attitudes and because of the fact that I have never seen another female dragon--not on the council of elders, not anywhere. If that's the case, then Filia's bold attitude is even more surprising.

    I SO SAW THIS COMING!! XD it was practically destined to happen the moment Filia told him NOT to break anything. Murphy's Law happens in full effect when there's a monster involved. Most of the time because the monster in question carries out Murphy's Law himself.
    You'd think Filia would know better than to bait him :P

    It’s more like waiting for them to find your carotid artery. Wolves typically bite the carotid artery in the throat when it comes to sheep according to Erik Zimen’s 1981 book: The Wolf: His Place in the Natural World. Arguably, it isn’t much better, because it takes a least 30 seconds or so for the sheep to die after this particular artery has been severed. I do think the way you described the snapped neck sounds more eloquent.
    "Spirit of the Wild Dog" made it sound more like they throttled things to death by eventually breaking their neck. It was talking about that as being a big different between canines and felines (which have a good dental arcade for cutting vital arteries). Then again, you've obviously read more wolf books than I have.

    Yes please! I still can’t find the part and it’s driving me a little cuckoo.
    I'll go do that and see what I can find... should be episode two...

    LOL at the disclaimer.
    I suppose I could see a few five-year-olds who have NO idea what they’re doing think that violence is somehow the key to getting favorable attention.

    But what’s disheartening is watching a few of my colleagues getting into relationships with men who have seemingly yet to grow out of that violent phase. And all the while these females associates of mine insist that “they’ll work things out”. It...hurts to watch them basically torture themselves just to stay in such a relationship.
    Oh, they're not after positive attention. They're after ANY attention.

    Childish pulling pig-tails =/= adult abuse. That's a whoooole different matter entirely.

    I'll go dig up that DVD, though--I was thinking of taking screenshots today anyway. I'll edit in what I find. (EDIT: You are right--he did just kiss his finger and press it to her lips. ...Which is going to drive me nuts because I swear I remember two specific instances of cheek kissing. Did this happen in another episode that I mixed up with this one... or did my fevered brain cook this up? Have I been watching Try too much to the detriment of my Next memory?

    *madness sets in*)

    Thanks so much for your comments! I love reading them!

  16. #41
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    Here's theme #79. I hope you like Xellos applying wax to philosophy.

    Chaos: Creator and Destroyer. G.

    Xellos reflected, as he watched Filia scrubbing away at a stack of dishes and pointedly turned away every time she whipped around to glare at him, that between them, the humans and the dragons had come up with many colorful nicknames for the monster race. Let’s see… there was ‘the enemies of all who live,’ ‘the demon race,’ ‘creatures from the darkest void,’ ‘scum’ (one of Filia’s favorites) and… yes, ‘the agents of chaos.’ Xellos was considering that last one because, though fair enough, it wasn’t nearly as straightforward as it sounded.

    ‘Chaos’ had multiple definitions—multiple contradictory definitions that somehow managed to be true all at once.

    Discord was an easy one, he supposed. Easy enough to define and easy enough to appreciate, at least at first. It was like… that stack of plates on the counter that Filia was chipping away at. So neatly placed one on top of the other—so organized. But what a clatter they would make if they fell, if they cracked. Certainly humans, perhaps even dragons could understand that dire impulse to make them topple. Just because destruction was to them a vice and to the monsters a virtue, did not mean there wasn’t some universality to the urge.

    But discord wasn’t always destructive—that’s where it got tricky. Chaos was a harbinger of birth as well as death. Political tumult, construction, refinement, drama… discord is always lively. It is… creative.

    There was a definite distinction, Xellos knew, when it came to destruction. It was one thing to want to send the dishes falling to the ground, one thing to enjoy the crash, one thing to delight in the shattered pieces that would take forever to glue back together—but it was another thing entirely to annihilate the whole stack, leaving not so much as a crumb of debris, so that it was almost as if it had never existed in the first place.

    But that was the goal. To return everything to chaos… well, that brought in another definition of chaos. Depending on your perspective, that chaos was either ‘nothing’ or ‘raw everything.’ It was the formless beginning of it all and it was…

    …Disinteresting.

    And it worried him that he thought that way, but there it was. The ultimate goal in all this disorder was to create… order. Of a kind at least. It would be clean, and crisp, and would have no pesky landmasses or flowing waters or life forms to make it scruffy looking. It would be plain. It would be peaceful. Peaceful! The quiet nothing at the end of a war that should’ve been endless.

    Endless. Was that really what he believed deep down? It was certainly not a thing that should be said aloud. He would say it was against his nature, if it weren’t for the fact that the contradictions seemed to have been built into that too.

    Valgaav, when he’d joined with Dark Star and Volpheed, had described it as a trap. Perhaps it was—each side lined up against the other, duking it out for the right to choose the fate of the game board—Protect the King, check, check and mate (though perhaps, he realized, he should’ve been using a checkers metaphor since he doubted the dragons had the patience for chess). One game, winner take all; no mulligans, no chance for a truce and no way out of it.

    But it wasn’t as simple as that. They were individuals, not ideals. Take the dragons, for example, and their desperate effort for peace and goodwill—which for some reason involved a great deal of war and badwill. Their eyes were fixed firmly on the bottom line and anything that threatened it must be… ah, destroyed. They were hypocrites. He’d delighted in this fact, a thought which now etched a self-conscious frown on his face. ‘Hypocrisy’ is a very dangerous word to throw around. It’s like a boomerang.

    And someday… some dreadful day, Filia would be the one to figure that out about him; because symmetry is a fearsome thing.

    Ah, yes, Filia and chaos. He couldn’t help but notice that, as her hunched shoulders conveyed her annoyance with him without her even needing to turn around. Now, by reputation, Lina Inverse was often labeled as the personification of chaos, but in Xellos’s mind at least, Filia gave her a run for her money. True, Lina Inverse was wrathful and destructive in a useful and even admirable way, but she was also straightforward. She made no bones about her vindictiveness. She was not, as Filia was, a walking, talking contradiction. She was not surprising as Filia was.

    Filia did not merely have a temper, she had all the other emotions in the set, and she felt them with such a magnificent intensity. She wasn’t false—she truly did believe in kindness, charity and righteousness, even to the point where she’d break with the crowd if she thought it was wrong. Yet, that did not mean that she wasn’t petty, self-deceptive, and instinctively violent.

    It had surprised him, when he first met her. And part of that, he had to admit was because she was female. Now, Xellos’s own interactions and… he sought around for the right word and decided that ‘upbringing’ would have to do, provided him ample proof that there was no gender disparity in terms of bravery and viciousness. But… dragon women were another story.

    The servants of the gods did not have many natural advantages against his kind, but one of them was numbers and it was a fact that he knew that the dragons were very well aware of too. They overwhelmed and ambushed wherever they could—they relied on armies, not generals. And yes, he knew very well that this tactic did not always pan out for them, but their mortal ability to replenish their lost numbers without diminishing their own power was a very definite advantage. Right now, with the loss of all but one of the Fire Dragon King’s servants, the situation was dire for the dragons… but in a few hundred years that population breach would easily be healed. It was a thought that should’ve annoyed him, but it didn’t.

    Because reproduction was so important to the dragon race’s level of strength, that also meant that women were very important. And Xellos was sure the male elders that made up the ruling class were horrified that someday the female dragons (whose hierarchy ran parallel to the male one, but never made it even close to the top) would figure that out.

    So there were comportment books, there were classes, there was modesty, and there were ‘ways in which ladies behaved.’ It must have been quite a shock for the dragons when their race churned out Filia—aggressive, distractibly attractive, and with a killer right hook. You couldn’t blame anything on her; it wasn’t that she’d done wrong; it was just that the valkyrie played no part in their gender expectations.

    He smiled. She must’ve made people very nervous growing up.

    Was that what drew him to her? The fact that he didn’t need to knock down the stack of plates? That if he waited long enough she’d throw them at him and break them herself? Or was it just that her contradictions were uncomfortably familiar?

    Her frenzied spirit mocked his organized mind. Who was who here?

    All he knew, as she turned to him once more in a huff and tossed a dishrag in his face, was that he was in the world destroying business. And it was a business he had every intention of staying in. But… that was kind of the point, wasn’t it? It was a one shot deal. He couldn’t keep doing this if there was nothing else to do. It… was nothing more than that.

    “Don’t just stand around watching me work,” Filia barked at him, soap suds clinging furiously to her gloved hands. “If you’re going to hang around then you might as well dry.”

    “I suppose I might as well,” he said, approaching the sink, “after all, with your work ethic, I’m sure that by yourself within the next couple of minutes you’d be saying that you’re just going to ‘leave things to soak,’ and then you wouldn’t have anything to eat off of.” It was untrue. Filia’s work ethic was quite good. But an exchange of gunfire was always necessary in these proceedings.

    “Are you calling me lazy?” she demanded, her arm leaning against his from shoulder to elbow.

    “Not at this very moment, I’m not,” he answered, taking the clean plate she’d passed him and drying it.

    Of course, Filia must’ve seen the writing on the wall (fractured porcelain on the floor?) when she included him in this task. Perhaps, he thought, she’d grown enamored with the idea of having something to yell at him about.

    But… he decided, as he placed the dried dish on the rack where it could air dry further, there’s really no need to break all of the dishes. One should make my statement without much fuss—and it could be glued together again to be broken later, in any case. No need to break all the dishes today. They’ll be there tomorrow.

    And perhaps fate would demand an answer to this game someday—but who could say how long it could be held off?

  17. #42
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    Here's theme #39:

    Stop, Look & Listen. PG.

    Xellos had been trying unsuccessfully for the last several hours to get Filia to look at him.

    Ah, but putting it that way made it sound rather unfairly pathetic. The current state of affairs, with his outwardly nonchalant efforts to turn her gaze his way being thwarted by her insistence on looking at such things as tree bark, dirt, and animal dung (elements that she would most likely insist were much more worthy of her attention than he was), was not the way this whole thing had started. No… this campaign had begun not with failure, but with unexpected success.

    That morning had run much like any other morning—with a lengthy breakfast served at the inn they’d stayed at. Lina had been complaining about her latest efforts to destroy her sleep cycle by staying up all night looking through as much Outer World literature as she could find concerning magical items, Zelgadis, who had been doing just as much research, complained about how much Lina was complaining, Amelia nearly nodded off into her pancakes, and Gourry, eyes on the prize as always, was taking advantage of the others’ distraction to steal the last of the sausages.

    Xellos had turned away from the others for a sip of tea, and just as a result of their seat configuration, that meant glancing at Filia… who hastily turned her gaze down to her bowl of oatmeal. She twiddled her spoon around self-consciously in the cereal, but did not seem to have any intention of eating it.

    Xellos observed her fixedly staring at her oatmeal for a moment before finally taking his sip of tea. Either, he thought, there is something very, very interesting buried in that oatmeal or Filia was just looking at me and turned away to avoid me seeing her do so.

    And that was… well, a pleasing little thought. It was easy to imagine that prickly dragon setting her gaze on him and getting lost in thought—the rumblings of aggression going off in her head and her twisting silently to herself about the probably indignity of having to sit down to a meal with a monster—and not just any monster either. She’d probably been thinking words that a priestess shouldn’t know, but that she just couldn’t help thinking around him.

    Oh yes, ever since he’d rejoined Miss Lina’s group, Filia had been such an interesting new addition. Yet, it was hard for him to say at this early stage whether it was for better or for worse. …Actually, it was easy to say, it was only that his opinion changed on the matter very frequently. Filia was an emotional tinderbox, easy to stir up, and, in the right hands, was a loaded weapon. She certainly added to the drama of the group, which was something to be valued, and her hatred of him made her extremely easy to goad and manipulate. Which was all for the good.

    …Except that somehow it wasn’t. Goading her was fun, but it wasn’t a secure endeavor. Her choked-up fury often coalesced into some very nasty retaliation. On the one hand, he knew it shouldn’t bother him. So a little golden dragon calls him a few names that are no more creative or terrible than any schoolyard taunt? Why should that matter?

    …It mattered because… because she had no respect. It was one thing to hate him, but she was supposed to play nice with the big, bad monster. She didn’t. And that, paired with her holier-than-thou hypocrisy, made her particularly obnoxious. After all, it’s one thing to be called despicable, but it’s quite another thing to be called worthless.

    And that was why this little incident of drawing her attention was particularly satisfying. No matter what she said, she visited far too much interest upon him to truly believe all that ‘trash’ stuff she spouted. Nobody finds trash that fascinating.

    Fascinating… hmm… He had to admit that he liked that.

    And what was even better than her stare was its furtive nature. As soon as she’d been caught looking at him, she’d turned away. She hadn’t continued to glare at him determinedly, as though her look of menace was some kind of punishment—no. She’d looked awkwardly away, a cloud of embarrassment swirling around her.

    She was ashamed that she’d been looking at him, which meant that she felt that she’d been doing something wrong. Which made him wonder (and not for the first time) just what sort of thoughts were sleeting across that dragon’s brain.

    And he hadn’t even meant to attract this attention. His mind had been completely on other things before he’d discovered her… ogling? Was that what that was? If so, that was too hilarious for words. More likely it was the result of a hate-fueled diatribe that had driven her to distraction, but nevertheless…

    …he wondered if he could do it again—draw her gaze once more. He didn’t think it would be that hard. Clearly he had that effect on her without even doing anything—it was just a matter of fact. So he decided, as a little experiment for the day, to try to repeat this feat.

    …Unfortunately, he hadn’t yet been able to.

    He’d walked next to her all along the road they were traveling, but she either kept her nose in the air or focused on the aforementioned components of the woodland scenery. His features creased as he tried to think of how one might go about getting a girl’s attention. It was not something he usually had to think about.

    Of course, he could’ve tapped her on the shoulder or made a comment about the weather—perhaps even jump in front of her line of sight. But he felt in a purist sense that this would constitute cheating. What he was after was to pull her toward him without action, without words, but with nothing more than himself and his thoughts.

    …None of that, however, was working very well, and it was frustrating not to know why. It should’ve. She had to hear her name, loudly and repeatedly, in his thoughts as clear as a voice calling out to her. Filia, Filia, Filia… why don’t you turn at the mere thought of your name?

    And even if she couldn’t sense his thoughts focused on her, she should’ve certainly been able to feel his eyes skittering across her. She had to know! She must’ve been trying to ignore it, just to spite him. Yes, that was the only explanation.

    Turn around, Filia. Turn and look like you did before—fury mixed with horrified magnetism, the desire to dwell on that same feeling over and over and over again, all etched in those too-dark blue eyes and radiating outward in lines across your young forehead and in the tightness of your jaw. Run me over in your mind once more with that same old inner monologue—unfocused ramblings that decry, denounce, demonize, dissect, deprecate, and… admire. Make snap judgments, obsess over the unimportant, and teeter on the edge, as you tend to do, of profound discovery without ever realizing it.

    Turn…

    …you know, just for the sake of this little experiment of mine if nothing else.


    But she didn’t turn. She stretched out her hands in front of her and chose to look at them instead.

    *****

    It was dinnertime and Xellos had to admit that the ultimate fate of operation Get-Filia-to-Look-at-Me was looking grim. He blamed Filia’s obstinacy—perhaps her embarrassment at being caught in the act kept her from making the same slip-up again, no matter how much he ramped up the mental warfare to get her attention. How very like her to be so annoyingly stubborn just when things were getting interesting.

    After all, she was across from him now and still managing to avoid looking at him. He’d been willing to accept her fiery glare, but the cold shoulder was a tactic from her that really chafed. He didn’t think it was one that she had any right to.

    But it was at the point that he was about to cast his experiment as a failure (though not without heavy blame on his subject) when things changed. Both she and he reached for the last of the biscotti in the basket on the table at the exact same moment. Their gazes met and so did their fingers as they each grabbed the oblong cookie.

    They both froze in the gesture—eyes locked on each other and in the gesture of clasping the little tea cookie. After a few moments, Filia withdrew her purchase on the biscotto and crossed her arms, making a mildly annoyed sound as she turned away.

    Xellos, encouraged by this re-establishment of contact, held up the cookie to her. “Did you want this?” he asked, not so much as an offer, but a taunt.

    And that’s when she turned back to look at him purposefully. “I don’t eat food that’s been in garbage,” she informed him.

    His lips pursed. He knew they did because he felt them do so, even though he’d given no direction to his facial features to show such displeasure. “Is that a fact?” he said, as lightly as he could.

    But even in the face of her comment there was cause to rejoice. The endeavor hadn’t failed. She had finally acquiesced and looked at him again, with… yes, he could see it all over her face. That raging inner-monologue barely bitten back, that dripping acidity in her heart, and, yes, even that awkward, not fully understood sense of guilt and confusion behind it all. Mission accomplished.

    He sat back confidently and dipped his cookie into his tea before taking a bite. Yes, it had taken longer than he’d initially thought it would, but he’d proven today that he could draw Filia’s gaze. Sometimes it had to be catalyzed, but oftentimes it didn’t and happened entirely without his intervention. Getting her to look at him was something he was more than qualified to do.

    A choking hazard of a thought occurred to him as he took a swig from his burning hot tea; that if he was looking for someone with a talent for getting someone else to look at them, then he had only to look at the dragon girl across from him, drinking her tea haughtily like the Queen of the Goddamn Biscotti-less, who had proven herself infinitely more qualified than him.

    …And it wasn’t as thought it would be any trouble to look at her again, anyway, he realized sourly. After all, he’d been staring at her all day.

  18. #43
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    I did a bit of reading up on Wolves before I launched into this oneshot--it seemed necessary if I wanted to stay accurate. I think the book I read was called "Spirit of the Wild Dog" and it taught me a lot.
    I’m very happy you did! It certainly showed.

    It's hard to say because we see so little of dragon society, but I always think of it being rather patriarchical because of Filia's attitudes and because of the fact that I have never seen another female dragon--not on the council of elders, not anywhere. If that's the case, then Filia's bold attitude is even more surprising.
    Maybe, because they are patriarchal, the Dragon Elder was being serious when he said he didn’t care that Xellos killed Filia.
    All I can is: Creepy Dragon Elder is Creepy.

    "Spirit of the Wild Dog" made it sound more like they throttled things to death by eventually breaking their neck. It was talking about that as being a big different between canines and felines (which have a good dental arcade for cutting vital arteries). Then again, you've obviously read more wolf books than I have.
    No, I must apologize. When dealing with books on animal behavior, you must first and foremost realize that there are going to differences. After all, observations are not perfect, the researcher involved are not perfect, and the situations by which the animals are observed are not always perfectly the same. Yes, wolves do not have the teeth or bite strength to snap large bones with a single squeeze like other animals (such as hippos). And now that I’ve re-analyzed, it’s perfectly natural for a pack of wolves to invoke a throttle method, even if they are not always observed to do so. I apologize again for overlooking the fact that we are dealing with behaviors. You are correct in writing the wolves this way.

    (EDIT: You are right--he did just kiss his finger and press it to her lips. ...Which is going to drive me nuts because I swear I remember two specific instances of cheek kissing. Did this happen in another episode that I mixed up with this one... or did my fevered brain cook this up? Have I been watching Try too much to the detriment of my Next memory?

    *madness sets in*)
    It’s ok. We’re all a little crazy sometimes. Who knows? I might find that other occasion when I get the chance to break away from Pokémon addictionitis and actually sit down and watch the Slayers again.
    Ah...Madness....Pokemon addiction....taking over....going to...evolve...into....Absol...

    Good Deeds. Rated PG.
    Again, I beg you to forgive my sarcastic tongue. It’s only a muscle and really doesn’t know any better.

    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.
    GASP. The words ‘innocently’ and ‘Xellos’ used in the same sentence? More Madness.

    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.
    It funny isn’t it? We have such an unnatural fear of death and yet off we go, marching to the next war.

    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.
    Yeah, I never understood the rush some people get off of doing stupid, dangerous stuff. Maybe a certain type of person is required.

    He’d always had an agenda in those situations. And that was the way it should be. But now…

    …He blamed Filia for this entire mess, he really did. After all, Amelia had gone on about justice and virtue before and he’d never done anything like…
    ...Xellos...are you going to...?

    …But the problem was, he realized, that wasn’t why he did it. He’d done it for that look. That shocked look she gave when the universe as she knew it became senseless. When he could look back into her startled eyes and say: That’s right, Filia. That fiend who can only destroy just. saved. your. life.
    Heehee. I’m not surprised this is the real reason he saved her.

    After that, he’d occasionally stopped by Filia’s shop. She might not have been very charitable where he was concerned, but she was very much into charity. Xellos tended to think that she used charity as a chance to whack people over the head with the metaphorical mace of morality. She just… took over. Wives that had run charity drives, bake sales, and soup kitchens were forced to sit on their hands as Filia, the tyrant of all organized events, lay waste to their leadership efforts and took the mantle of piety off their still stunned shoulders.
    Typical Filia. Overcompensating to make sure she gets her point across, whatever point that may be at the time. If they have PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) like they do in our world, I wouldn’t doubt she’d have made herself the president.

    Xellos said she was a control freak. Filia said that she was just trying to help and that he wouldn’t understand, now would he?
    I’d like to think of Filia as the control freak and Xellos as the manipulative one. They make quite a pair, don’t they?

    And it had worked too. He’d been much better at it than she was (except for one unfortunate incident of mass food poisoning at the soup kitchen that it was just better not to refer to). And she couldn’t stand it! It was fantastic and just went to show that she was only into the charity business for the chance to boss others around and look good doing it.
    Unfortunate incident….mass food poisoning…of course you would Xellos.

    They say that doing good deeds is meant to cause a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart. If by ‘warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart’ they meant a feeling of nausea and a distaste for the smell of hobos, then Xellos had felt it.
    It’s quite possible that you’re incapable of feeling that warm, fuzzy feeling, Xellos. Unless you really, really tried at it.

    But it was unfair to say that there were no rewards attached to it. If there weren’t he wouldn’t be in the fix he was in. He’d learned that when he’d dispatched with the robber that broke into Filia’s shop. The thing was… just because deeds were good didn’t meant they didn’t involve violence.
    Ha! Oh I see your logic there, Xellos.

    He frowned at the memory. The stupid, stubborn dragon girl couldn’t even manage to be happy then. She’d yelled at him for hurting the guy. He barely touched him…
    She yelled at him for hurting the guy who was going to rob her? Huh. Maybe she wouldn’t have been so mean to Xellos if he was a human? Perhaps she was just bitter that a monster saved her (yet again).

    And that’s when the trouble reallystarted. There was a high attached to that kind of vigilante act. What made it worse was that he was out doing things he wasn’t really supposed to do. As he’d said so often to Filia, prohibition tends to make things more attractive.
    Like drinking when you’re underage. I never did anything like that, but I knew a lot of colleagues that tried it and said it was so amazing and fun and…and when they reached legal age, they never touched the stuff ever again. Go figure.

    So he’d started justifying it. He’d killed petty criminals so that… so that they wouldn’t kill some kid’s parents and cause him to grow up to be a caped crusader for good in the future. That made sense, right?
    Of...course it makes sense...sortof....not really...

    He looked down at them as they coughed the smoke out of their lungs and got to their feet. They looked like… troublemakers, he decided. Surely the world was a more discordant place with them alive. It was alright.
    Ok, now I can’t keep the chuckles in anymore.

    The child sniffed and bellowed: “But Mittens is still in there!” She looked up at Xellos with wide, pleading eyes.

    Oh no, Xellos thought. Not the cat.
    Ok, now I can’t STOP LAUGHING.

    But he could practically hear Filia’s voice in his head: “I can’t believe you wouldn’t go back for the cat, you vicious beast! You probably just saved that kid so she could be sad about her cat dying and you could feed off that despair! You’re just twisted like that.”
    So instead of it being “How to Train your Dragon”, it’s looking more and more like “How to Train your Monster”.

    There, leaning on the charred siding of the burning house, in close enough proximity to die of smoke inhalation were that a problem she even had to think about in the slightest, stood Xellos’s Lord, Creator, and Master. She held her pipe close to the inferno long enough for it to catch ablaze.
    Oh Beastmaster. How you casually lean against a burning building while lighting your smoke on said building. Oh Beastmaster. You are amazing.

    She held it between her teeth and took a drag, blowing blue smoke into the already foggy air. “There’s a word for the kind of person that goes back for the cat,” she said calmly. “I think it’s idiot.”

    Well, that had been Xellos’s second guess.
    Hahaa. That’s a good one, Skiyomi.

    “You’re not going to try to tell me that saving that family was actually helpful to me, are you?” Zelas asked, one eyebrow raised.
    Sure it was. He prevented the rise of another Bruce Wayne.

    “Still,” Zelas said thoughtfully, in a way that barely caused Xellos to dare to hope that he’d escape from this situation unscathed, “I get the feeling that a similar phenomenon is happening to your little Filia, but in reverse. Something like that could be useful yet.”
    Filia is becoming evil. Xellos is becoming good. Pretty soon, they’re going to switch places and it will be Filia bowing down to Beastmaster and Xellos running the bake sale.

    No good deed goes unpunished. No bad act goes unrewarded.
    Was he really seeking good, or just seeking attention?
    I love Wicked.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

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  19. #44
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    Maybe, because they are patriarchal, the Dragon Elder was being serious when he said he didn’t care that Xellos killed Filia.
    All I can is: Creepy Dragon Elder is Creepy.
    I think my opinion of the Supreme Elder is a lot... softer than most people. Yes, he was a terrible person and did terrible things, but I do think that, despite what he said about not making a mistake, he felt guilt about it. Then again, that just might be me rationalizing as Filia. Still, despite his awful means-to-an-end philosophy, it's still worth noting that he seemed very invested in Filia for a great deal of the series.

    No, I must apologize. When dealing with books on animal behavior, you must first and foremost realize that there are going to differences. After all, observations are not perfect, the researcher involved are not perfect, and the situations by which the animals are observed are not always perfectly the same. Yes, wolves do not have the teeth or bite strength to snap large bones with a single squeeze like other animals (such as hippos). And now that I’ve re-analyzed, it’s perfectly natural for a pack of wolves to invoke a throttle method, even if they are not always observed to do so. I apologize again for overlooking the fact that we are dealing with behaviors. You are correct in writing the wolves this way.
    Could be both... I should read more about wolves, since they're pretty darn cool. Almost as cool as dragons! Almost.

    It’s ok. We’re all a little crazy sometimes. Who knows? I might find that other occasion when I get the chance to break away from Pokémon addictionitis and actually sit down and watch the Slayers again.
    Ah...Madness....Pokemon addiction....taking over....going to...evolve...into....Absol...
    I've really gotta get around to watching NEXT again... but with Diary of a Dragon on my hands, well... I'm probably not going to get to leave the land of Try for awhile.

    Again, I beg you to forgive my sarcastic tongue. It’s only a muscle and really doesn’t know any better.
    Oh, don't worry :P I have a similar malady.

    Yeah, I never understood the rush some people get off of doing stupid, dangerous stuff. Maybe a certain type of person is required.
    Well, adrenaline is a real thing. I enjoy riding rollercoasters and all! But yeah, I'm not into high level risk-taking either.

    Heehee. I’m not surprised this is the real reason he saved her.
    I just can't resist thinking this every time I watch that episode, because he is such a smug snake when he saves her. I mean, just look at his face!

    Typical Filia. Overcompensating to make sure she gets her point across, whatever point that may be at the time. If they have PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) like they do in our world, I wouldn’t doubt she’d have made herself the president.
    Oh, absolutely and 100%.

    Unfortunate incident….mass food poisoning…of course you would Xellos.
    I have no canonical evidence for this, but I'm of the private opinion that Xellos doesn't even mean to cook noxious mixtures. It just happens that way.

    It’s quite possible that you’re incapable of feeling that warm, fuzzy feeling, Xellos. Unless you really, really tried at it.
    It's kinda hard when he has no heart for those warm feelings to reside in.

    She yelled at him for hurting the guy who was going to rob her? Huh. Maybe she wouldn’t have been so mean to Xellos if he was a human? Perhaps she was just bitter that a monster saved her (yet again).
    He just can't do anything right in her book!

    Like drinking when you’re underage. I never did anything like that, but I knew a lot of colleagues that tried it and said it was so amazing and fun and…and when they reached legal age, they never touched the stuff ever again. Go figure.
    The forbidden fruit aspect. I've heard in countries where drinking is much less a right of passage, much less dangerous and mystified, they have fewer instances of alcoholism.

    Ok, now I can’t keep the chuckles in anymore.
    One thing that Xellos and Filia both have in common is that they're very good at justifying their bad behavior.

    Ok, now I can’t STOP LAUGHING.
    XD This was the whole reason for this oneshot. To make Xellos heroically save a cat.

    Filia is becoming evil. Xellos is becoming good. Pretty soon, they’re going to switch places and it will be Filia bowing down to Beastmaster and Xellos running the bake sale.
    I initially meant to do a follow-up to this that goes into Filia's, well, 'bad deeds,' but I never got around to it...

    Thanks so much for reading and for your wonderful comments I really appreciate it!

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    I think my opinion of the Supreme Elder is a lot... softer than most people. Yes, he was a terrible person and did terrible things, but I do think that, despite what he said about not making a mistake, he felt guilt about it. Then again, that just might be me rationalizing as Filia. Still, despite his awful means-to-an-end philosophy, it's still worth noting that he seemed very invested in Filia for a great deal of the series.
    Wasn’t it him that sent her on her quest to begin with? And I’m going to have to disagree with your opinion (sorry). I do understand where you’re coming from, but I still can’t get myself to see him feeling guilty. XD

    Could be both... I should read more about wolves, since they're pretty darn cool. Almost as cool as dragons! Almost.
    Yeah, it takes a lot to beat out a giant creature that can shoot lasers.

    Well, adrenaline is a real thing. I enjoy riding rollercoasters and all! But yeah, I'm not into high level risk-taking either.
    I don’t get any enjoyment out of rollercoasters, so it’s a little harder for me to imagine…I get adrenaline from daydreaming though.
    I just can't resist thinking this every time I watch that episode, because he is such a smug snake when he saves her. I mean, just look at his face!
    LMAO. Careful there, Xellos. You’re true intentions are showing.
    I have no canonical evidence for this, but I'm of the private opinion that Xellos doesn't even mean to cook noxious mixtures. It just happens that way.
    I imagined he doesn’t mean to either, because in the episode where the group goes into the tower dressed in costume and has to go through trials, it seems like he is genuinely trying to win.
    It's kinda hard when he has no heart for those warm feelings to reside in.
    Yeah, I would imagine that would make it a liiiiiiittle difficult.

    The forbidden fruit aspect. I've heard in countries where drinking is much less a right of passage, much less dangerous and mystified, they have fewer instances of alcoholism
    The grass is always greener on the other side. You would think that more people would do stupid stuff like feeding wild bears because of the whole “it’s forbidden” aspect. Oh wait. They already do.

    One thing that Xellos and Filia both have in common is that they're very good at justifying their bad behavior.
    Or at least, very good at justifying it to themselves.

    XD This was the whole reason for this oneshot. To make Xellos heroically save a cat.
    Man, I have to give you credit for this. Xellos heroically saving a cat is something I’m more likely to find in a crack fic, and yet you…*applauds*

    I initially meant to do a follow-up to this that goes into Filia's, well, 'bad deeds,' but I never got around to it...
    Aww, too bad. The Absol would have loved to read that. (Absol does not know why it has suddenly decided to speak in third-person. Absol just feels like it)

    Amusement Park. Rated PG.
    Normally, she’d have looked forward to it, but all she could feel as she passed out tickets from under the awning that was the only thing standing between her and the heat of the sun was dread. And it was all Xellos’s fault.
    Filia, I think you’re starting to give Xellos a little too much credit. I mean, breaking the jars of your shop is one thing, but controlling the SUN?

    Better step up to the plate there, Xellos. She has high expectations for you.

    Let’s see… he had always one-upped her in any contest or game she tried. There had been the high striker game, the ring toss, the gold-fish catching game, the arm wrestling competition…
    Come now, Filia. Getting shown up in a game at a fair is practically expected.
    his only real failure had been the pie baking contest which had resulted in two of the judges going home sick and one of them spending the next four hours in the port-a-potty.
    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh man! That brings me back to that episode I mentioned before, with the tower where they all dressed in costume and had to go through trials. Xellos put on that ridiculous apron and made something that could compete with garbage in terms of ugliest appearance. I’m guessing the fact that he doesn’t require physical food to survive might be part of the reason he’s such a horrible cook XD

    And her expo table was always a nightmare of shattering ceramic and pottery shard wounds. It was hard to get fair-goers interested in her wares when Xellos kept reminding everyone how breakable they were.
    Xellos’ ten favorite things (not in any particular order):
    10. Angering Filia
    9. Telling people “It’s a secret”
    8. Angering Filia
    7. Screwing with the general populace
    6. Angering Filia
    5. Screwing with Lina and her party for lols
    4. Angering Filia
    3. Making sure he pleases Lord Beastmaster so that he can continue to live and thus be capable of Angering Filia some more
    2. Angering Filia
    1. Drinking tea.

    She shuddered to herself. But the worst of it had been during the picnic basket auction. People still talked about that one. It had been a few years ago and the fair committee was trying a new charity ploy to raise funds for a roof for the schoolhouse. So they’d gotten a bunch of the women in town together to make homemade picnic lunches. Then the men at the fair would bid for the lunch of their choice (and, more importantly, a certain companion to eat it with). It was a set-up based on charitable intentions, an appreciation for good cooking, and male loneliness.
    …Do people do this in our world? O.O

    She’d started to think he had better things to do then spoil her good time.
    What better things would he want to do other than Angering Filia? XD

    “What?” Xellos asked, looking curiously at the slack-jawed crowd. “I thought this was an auction.”
    Lmao. Oh, Xellos. So nonchalant about the whole thing. I wonder if he placed a bid just so he could gloat to Filia on how he bought her.

    “1000,” Xellos said in an affectedly offhand sort of way.
    Of course he has a bottomless pit of money. He probably steals or cons most of it out of people.

    “Alright,” the auctioneer said brightly. “Sold to the man with the staff! And I daresay we’ve gone and raised enough for a schoolhouse roof earlier than any of us expected!”
    Might as well build a new school while you’re at it.

    When she’d questioned/threatened him about it at their inevitable picnic table meeting later, he’d played innocent. He said that all he’d been trying to do was contribute to a worthy civil works project. That made Xellos a liar, a cheat, and a potato salad hog.
    How did he cheat, Filia? Other than most likely gaining his funds from unsavory means.

    That particular meeting had ended in an overturned picnic table and a solemn vow to never participate in a farce like that again.
    Xellos: *forlornly stares at the potato salad on the ground* I was eating that.

    That was why she’d stoutly refused both the kissing booth and the dunking booth when offered to her.
    …Xellos tricking Filia into participating in a kissing booth…Hmmmm…

    So she’d taken a safe little job running the Ferris wheel on the last day. It was a nice job, she got to see a lot of the children she recognized from Val’s class, and Xellos couldn’t do much with something like that.

    …At least… she didn’t think so…
    Pay off one of the children to insult her for him.

    “Mommy!”

    Filia abandoned her inner torment over what the future might hold for a moment as she look up and saw Val approaching at a run with Jillas close behind. He had a balloon in his hand.

    “Val!” Filia said warmly as he approached her ticket booth. “How are you doing, sweetie? Are you and Jillas having fun?”

    “I petted a sheep,” Val said, as if that was all that needed to be said on that subject.
    Awww. Little Val is so much cuter than “LET’S DESTROY STUFF” Valgaav. Of course, that might not last forever if Xellos has his way…

    That’s right: Xellos had tried to feed her child to goats.
    I doubt the goats were very interested in dragon meat. XD

    There was no getting out of it. Xellos would show up sometime during the day for his annual make-Filia’s-life-a-living-hell festivities.
    Of course! There’s all sorts of fun things going on at the fair. There’s:
    Filia dunking
    Filia berating
    Filia pot breaking
    Etc….

    That was right! The Ferris wheel stopped at the top so that the people in the cars could see the entire fairgrounds and enjoy the view. She didn’t know how it would happen, but she just knew… she could see it as clear as if it was happening right then… Xellos would get her up there somehow… the car would stop… and it wouldn’t start moving again.
    Then she’d be stuck with him in a tiny Ferris wheel car for hours. And we all know how dreadfully hard it is to swing a mace in a Ferris wheel car.

    Okay, so maybe screaming at innocent snow cone vendors was not the action of a totally prepared and well-adjusted person. And maybe she’d overreacted in throwing a rock at that bandleader, but it wasn’t her fault! He shouldn’t’ve gone around with that baton which could’ve easily been mistaken for a staff! And only sociopaths like hairstyles like that!
    XD She’s….um….losing it a little I think.
    Oh no wait. It’s already too late, isn't it?

    She subjected her surroundings to a penetrating glare. “I know you’re here,” she said sourly. “Why don’t you just come out?”

    There was no response. She looked up at the Ferris wheel, sighed, and walked toward it. She approached the control lever and flipped it, causing the structure to jerk into life. As the slowly rocking carriages filed one by one onto the loading dock, she climbed into one of them with a stony expression and stared out into the night as the rig climbed.
    Look! Xellos managed to stick Filia in the Ferris wheel without actually sticking Filia in the Ferris wheel. I guess her prediction about it came true.

    Then she yelled loud enough to cause the fairgrounds to shake with echoes: “WHERE ARE YOU, XELLOS?!”
    It’s official now, Filia. You were shown up.

    Without him there, Filia would have no choice but to sabotage herself all on her own. The good news was that she was already so good at that.
    She did end up sabotaging herself, didn’t she? But she’ll probably still blame it on him though.
    He smiled in the darkness where no one could see him, then parted his lips in the emptiness where no one could hear him and said quietly: “Don’t miss me too much, Filia.”
    Too late.

    Yet again, you make it impossible to find stuff like spelling or grammar errors. And I can't even say that the story wasn't interesting, because then I'd be lying. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but when I comment on something a character does or make sarcasitc jabs at it, it's usually because that particular part amused me. And, considering that I can't seem to get through one chapter without writing out a review for at least an hour, you can probably tell for yourself that I like a lot of parts.

    You know, it’s funny. I had even less time to do stuff that I wanted over the Winter Break than I do when I’m at school. Mainly because every time I sat down and got into my thinking mode to write, someone interrupted me. Every time.

    I need to find an easier way to take things from Microsoft word to the forums because I always seem to spend 15 minutes editing the thing so that italics and spaces show up properly in the post.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

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  21. #46
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    Wasn’t it him that sent her on her quest to begin with? And I’m going to have to disagree with your opinion (sorry). I do understand where you’re coming from, but I still can’t get myself to see him feeling guilty. XD
    It was--and in such a heavily patriarchal society (at least it certainly seems that way from the glimpses we get of it) it's kind of a wonder that he chose the inexperienced female to head up such an important task. It at least shows that he saw something special in her.

    There's a certain 'methinks the man protests too much' aspect to his denial of guilt that just makes him seem... guilty to me. I'm not saying he'd go back and change anything, though. The dragons are means to an end folks, but I can't help but feel that he had more problems with the means than he let on. That's just my interpretation though.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. You would think that more people would do stupid stuff like feeding wild bears because of the whole “it’s forbidden” aspect. Oh wait. They already do.
    Yeaaaah, people are stupid like that. And following that logic, the grass in, in fact, greener around the 'keep off the grass' sign :P

    Man, I have to give you credit for this. Xellos heroically saving a cat is something I’m more likely to find in a crack fic, and yet you…*applauds*
    XD Thanks. It's really fun to take bizarre scenarios and try to make them plausible.

    Aww, too bad. The Absol would have loved to read that. (Absol does not know why it has suddenly decided to speak in third-person. Absol just feels like it)
    Maybe someday I'll get back to it... I did have kind of the beginnings of an idea for that.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh man! That brings me back to that episode I mentioned before, with the tower where they all dressed in costume and had to go through trials. Xellos put on that ridiculous apron and made something that could compete with garbage in terms of ugliest appearance. I’m guessing the fact that he doesn’t require physical food to survive might be part of the reason he’s such a horrible cook XD
    XD It would make sense. In fact, he can probably eat completely undigestible things without any ill effects, so that would make him an even worse cook.

    Xellos’ ten favorite things (not in any particular order):
    10. Angering Filia
    9. Telling people “It’s a secret”
    8. Angering Filia
    7. Screwing with the general populace
    6. Angering Filia
    5. Screwing with Lina and her party for lols
    4. Angering Filia
    3. Making sure he pleases Lord Beastmaster so that he can continue to live and thus be capable of Angering Filia some more
    2. Angering Filia
    1. Drinking tea.
    That list = win--particularly number 3.

    …Do people do this in our world? O.O
    Apparently. I was in particular referencing the bachelorette auction from Oklahoma.

    Of course he has a bottomless pit of money. He probably steals or cons most of it out of people.
    And he made a lot off of Lina when she bought the talismans from him.

    I doubt the goats were very interested in dragon meat. XD
    Ah, but goats will eating anything. Food? Not food? They don't care.

    Then she’d be stuck with him in a tiny Ferris wheel car for hours. And we all know how dreadfully hard it is to swing a mace in a Ferris wheel car.
    It'd be waaaay too easy to lose her balance.

    XD She’s….um….losing it a little I think.
    Oh no wait. It’s already too late, isn't it?
    XD Whatever she had left is gone now.

    Look! Xellos managed to stick Filia in the Ferris wheel without actually sticking Filia in the Ferris wheel. I guess her prediction about it came true.
    Yep! Sort of, at least.

    Yet again, you make it impossible to find stuff like spelling or grammar errors. And I can't even say that the story wasn't interesting, because then I'd be lying. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but when I comment on something a character does or make sarcasitc jabs at it, it's usually because that particular part amused me. And, considering that I can't seem to get through one chapter without writing out a review for at least an hour, you can probably tell for yourself that I like a lot of parts.
    I'm glad it amused you and thanks so much for all the comments!

    You know, it’s funny. I had even less time to do stuff that I wanted over the Winter Break than I do when I’m at school. Mainly because every time I sat down and got into my thinking mode to write, someone interrupted me. Every time.
    I know how that goes. 'Course, I interrupt myself a lot of the time.

    I need to find an easier way to take things from Microsoft word to the forums because I always seem to spend 15 minutes editing the thing so that italics and spaces show up properly in the post.
    Ugh, I know how that goes. I have to go convert a chapter to the proper coding before I can post it up here. And I know that there are going to be a bunch of italics for me to deal with.

  22. #47
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    Here's theme #87:

    Unintentional Sexual Harassment. PG-13.

    Unusual sights often go unappreciated simply because spectators don’t understand what it is that they’re seeing. It was in this way that a handful of buzzed pub patron’s completely failed to appreciate the oddity of a monster and a dragon sitting at the bar and drinking together. All they saw through their booze-glazed haze was a young man and woman who looked as though they’d rather be anywhere else and in any other company.

    And it was true that neither Xellos nor Filia would’ve put themselves in this situation of their own volition. But earlier that day as they were walking through town they’d been having a… let’s call it a discussion… a debate… a comparative exercise to demonstrate which of their races was best. The word ‘jerkface’ had been thrown around, yes, but there’s no reason for that to take anything away from the solemnity of the proceedings.

    Lina hadn’t appreciated that in the least. She’d turned to them, raked her hands through her hair frantically as though she’d been nursing a headache all day and shouted: “That’s IT! I’ve had enough of you two!”

    She put her hands on her hips and glared at them. “Whatever problems you two have with each other just get over them, or at least shut up about them!”

    They both opened their mouths—shutting up was probably not their intention.

    “I don’t even want to hear it!” Lina commanded. She put her hand to her forehead for a moment, either in great contemplation or great pain. Finally she swept her hand out and pointed toward a local tavern. “Until you’re willing to at least pretend to get along, I don’t want to see or hear either of you. So just drink it out, talk it out, hug it out or duke it out—whatever. Just as long as you work it out!”

    So they’d been banished—expelled from their own party. And though neither one was willing to work on any reconciliation, there was one thing that they could both agree on.

    “Miss Lina is so mean,” Filia sulked.

    Xellos set his drink down, letting the ice clink as it settled. “She is being rather bossy, even for her,” he was forced to agree. “What’s she going to demand next? That Mister Gourry stop asking obvious questions? That Mister Zelgadis stop being sarcastic? That Miss Amelia stop using the word ‘justice?’”

    Filia had her hands neatly folded in her lap—a pillar of decency in the dank, beer-scented room. “…That would never happen.”

    Xellos raised an eyebrow at her. “Is it more likely for us to get along?”

    She sniffed haughtily. “Not at all.”

    “Of course, I’ve done nothing wrong even in the face of your constant harassment,” Xellos said sanctimoniously. “I’ve been perfectly polite.”

    “Polite?” Filia repeated incredulously. “Is that what you call it?!”

    “That’s exactly what I call it. You’re the one who’s always shouting. You’ll notice I keep my temper,” he said in a purposefully soft and even voice. This was slightly undone by his almost inaudible mumbling of: “…For the most part.”

    “You provoke me to shout at you with your wickedness!” she shot back. “And anyway, insults are insults no matter what volume they’re delivered at or what fancy language you use. Don’t pretend that that’s civil.” She took a triumphant swig of her drink and set the empty glass on the table.

    Xellos’s eyes followed her movement. Either because he had no counter-argument or because he was legitimately curious, he changed the subject. “Should you even be drinking that? I thought alcohol was a mocker.”

    You’re a mocker,” she muttered darkly as the bartender set two more glasses next to their growing collection. “Anyway, it’s only human-grade stuff. It’s weak.”

    “True,” Xellos said, taking a steady drink. “If Miss Lina was expecting the alcohol to lubricate some kind of ceasefire then she didn’t think this through. It doesn’t really affect either of us.” He paused, glass still in hand. “Though if this goes on for long enough it’ll end up affecting you.”

    “That’s because I’m flesh a blood,” Filia responded with what Xellos considered to be a perverse sort of pride in her own mortality.

    “How nice for you,” Xellos responded coldly in what he knew was not going to be his best comeback of the evening.

    “Prick me and I bleed,” was Filia’s bizarre brag as she gestured dramatically with her shot glass.

    “I’m going to assume that’s not an invitation,” Xellos muttered. “Anyway, I could say the same thing if I had enough advanced notice. It’s just not worth the trouble for someone like me. …It’s not as though bleeding takes any particular talent,” he added in a snappish tone.

    She blinked at him and in that odd speech felt the strange sense of a completely alien perspective. What was it like to have… options? To treat elements of appearance and form that mortals take for granted as permanent as though they were… just clothing. A disguise.

    Apropos to nothing she turned her gaze fixedly to the wood grain of the bar. She fiddled with her drink awkwardly, letting the very small amount of remaining alcohol slosh in a circular tide. She gave him a brief sidelong glance before looking straight back at the tabletop.

    “Umm… Xellos?”

    “Yes?” he asked, watching her change in behavior with interest.

    She seemed to have trouble knowing where to start. “Do you… at the Temple of the Fire Dragon King they told us that… that when monsters materialize in this world that their clothes are part of their bodies.” Red pigment was building up in her cheeks—probably that famous blood she was so proud of. “Do you have… is that true?”

    Xellos sat back and surveyed her for a minute—whether it was to heighten her sense of embarrassment or because he was actually thinking was hard to say, and there’s no reason that both can’t be true. “Technically speaking, yes, it is true,” he answered. “But,” he said, tugging at the fingertips of one white glove until he pulled it off completely and pressed it into one of her hands—still neatly resting in her lap, “once I remove them, they’re just clothes,” he said, holding out a perfectly normal looking hand with perfectly normal, if unrealistically clean, fingernails.

    She stared at the hand in front of her, and then back down at the glove as though not sure what to do with it. “…Oh,” she finally said.

    She set the glove down gingerly on the table. Then she took a desperate gulp of the precious last drops of alcohol in her glass, set it down, and gestured to the bartender to bring another. The bartender, working at the other end of the bar, sighed and brought two more glasses out, rather suspicious of his endlessly-thirsty-but-surprisingly-still-upright guests, but not paying them much mind.

    Xellos brought the new glass almost up to his lips with his ungloved hand—not really flesh and blood, but a damn good imitation. He watched as Filia took a drink.

    “So…” he said, looking her up and down, “what have you got under there?”

    She sprayed the contents of her mouth across the bar and began choking wildly. “You—!” she screeched furiously between coughs.

    He smirked. “Well wasn’t that exactly what you were asking me, Miss Flesh-And-Blood?”

    “That’s not at all what I meant, you creep! Stop twisting my words!” she yelled, recoiling toward the far end of her barstool.

    “Oh, I don’t think I’m twisting anything,” he countered smugly. “You might as well have said ‘show me some skin!’”

    She made a face at him that was so disgusted that the bartender was inclined to check if any of his ingredients had expired. “I don’t want to see your stupid skin!” she declared, pushing his glove closer to him as though it was a molted snake skin. “I just…” she began to crumple slightly, “…wondered if it was there, that’s all.”

    “Did you?” he pressed, eyebrows arched.

    “Yes! It was… it was all out of intellectual curiosity and nothing more!” she insisted.

    “I’ll buy the ‘curiosity’ part,” he allowed, “but that curiosity of yours isn’t the least bit intellectual.”

    “Oh please!” Filia scoffed. “As if I’d show interest in you in any other way.”

    “I wasn’t talking about any other way,” he answered, taking an excessively dainty sip of his drink, “I meant one specific way.”

    She turned her gaze to her drink in an attitude that she hoped made it quite clear that she’d rather look at just about anything but him. “I could never be that drunk!” she declared. Nevertheless she paused just before bringing the drink to her lips, and slowly set it back down on the counter. …Better safe than sorry.

    The action was not lost on Xellos. “I’m glad to hear that you have at least some self-control,” he said, smiling smugly. “At least now I know that when you’ve had a few drinks you tend to make cheeky comments.”

    “My comments were not cheeky!” she exploded. “Who even uses that word anyway?!” she demanded, more of the world in general than of Xellos.

    “You seemed very interested in finding out about the body beneath these clothes,” Xellos said resting a hand on his chest. “That’s a rather cheeky thing for a Dragon priestess to ask.”

    “I didn’t mean it like that,” Filia answered sourly. “I only asked because I figured you had to be made up of nothing but trash!”

    “Oh-ho, really?” Xellos sputtered, eyebrows knocking together. “Well I suppose you could’ve been cheekier if you were going to ask questions along that line,” he pondered, repeating the hated word on purpose.

    “What do you mean?” she growled.

    “Well…” he began hesitantly, as though loath to speak aloud such indelicate sentiments, “I’m sure when your temple was teaching you everything they thought you needed to know about monsters they also told you that higher level ones, such as myself, can modify our forms to look however we like.”

    “I know that,” Filia retorted. “And all that goes to show is that you have terrible taste. Cheeky enough for you?”

    “Since you’re well aware,” Xellos continued, ignoring her comment, “did you stop to consider anything related to that while you were pondering the nature of my body under my clothes?”

    “I don’t know what you’re—” she froze mid-speech and turned her eyes deliberately away from him. “No! No, no, no! I wasn’t thinking about that at all, you depraved weirdo!”

    “Ah, but I think I detect the sound of some gears turning,” he said, holding a hand to his ear. “How could you know what I was talking about if you weren’t thinking about it?” He paused and then added, “…you depraved weirdo.”

    Filia slammed her fists down on the counter. “I am not depraved! The only reason I’m thinking about it at all is because you put it in my head!” And try as she might, she couldn’t unthink it.

    “Oh, so you are thinking it?” Xellos confirmed, beaming delightedly. “Why Filia, I’d blush if I only had a circulatory system.” He gave a theatrical shrug. “But I’m sure you’ll agree that artifice has its disadvantages as well as its… benefits.”

    “I’m sure I will not!

    “Hey,” a voice said from behind them.

    They both turned—Filia from her near descent into a tantrum and Xellos from his gloating—to see Zelgadis and Amelia approaching the bar.

    “Miss Lina’s gotten over her headache,” Amelia announced, dispelling any notion that she and he might’ve been banished from the group as well. “She says you two can come back if you’ll stop the arguing.”

    “So?” Zelgadis said, looking annoyed that he was playing errand-boy. “Are you willing to at least try to get along?”

    “Not if Filia keeps sexually harassing me,” Xellos answered.

    Amelia and Zelgadis both looked startled initially, but Zelgadis was quick to move to a deadpan expression.

    “He’s lying! I’m not doing that at all!” Filia shouted. She pointed at him furiously. “He’s the one who’s sexually harassing me by pretending that I’m sexually harassing him!”

    Amelia and Zelgadis exchanged a look with Xellos over Filia’s shoulder. Xellos mouthed, “Do you see what I’m dealing with here?”

    “Um… Miss Filia,” Amelia tried, “that doesn’t make any sense.”

    “I don’t think accusing someone of sexual harassment counts as sexual harassment,” Zelgadis said coolly.

    “It is the way he does it!” Filia spat. “Everything is the way he does it! Look!” she said, pointing frantically at him. “Look at that sleazy leer and tell me that’s not sexual harassment!”

    “This is just how I smile,” Xellos said, sounding, for the first time in the conversation like his defense was sincere.

    “It is kind of unpleasant…” Amelia was forced to admit. “But look, can’t we just compromise on this?”

    “Just how are they supposed to do that?” Zelgadis asked.

    “Well…” Amelia trailed off. “I guess they could just agree that they were both accidentally sexually harassing each other.”

    “I’ll agree to no such thing!” Filia declared. “There was nothing wrong with what I said.”

    “What did you say anyway?” Zelgadis asked, not entire sure he wanted to know.

    “She asked about my—” Xellos piped up.

    “I did not!” Filia cut him off.

    “Look,” Zelgadis said, cutting in before Xellos could reply, “aside from Xellos’s creepy looks which no one likes, all of this supposed sexual harassment—whether it was unintentional, imagined, or on purpose—was verbal, right?”

    “Right,” Filia answered, crossing her arms and glaring over at Xellos.

    “Yes,” Xellos agreed, rather annoyed at the way his facial features were being received—he’d been going for charming.

    “Then I think I have a solution that’ll put all this to a stop,” Zelgadis said gravely.

    There was a moment of silence as they waited for his answer.

    Zelgadis shook his head at them. “Just… stop talking to each other. That’s all you have to do.”

    The monster and the dragon exchanged a long look, and then slowly turned back to the man with the plan in front of them.

    “What kind of stupid idea is that?” Filia demanded.

    Zelgadis sighed and turned away from them. “C’mon Amelia,” he said, walking toward the exit, “let’s go find Lina and tell her that she can either have the both of them in her party or she can have blissful silence, but she can’t have both.”

  23. #48
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    I hope you accept prodigal children if they come bearing reviews ;.; I even tried to keep my sarcasm down for this one in favor of perhaps more substantial and perhaps helpful critique.

    Flower Garden. Rated G.
    Ok, so I’ve been wondering: Where the heck are they? I mean, are they at a place that we know? A place that was in the anime, perhaps?

    Xellos ignored her question, seemingly too absorbed in the process of taking in his surroundings. “We can’t be on holy ground,” he said, nodding at the structure in the distance. “So is this an evil garden?”
    I can’t seem to imagine an evil garden that lacks man eating Venus flytraps. Or trees that throw apples at you. Or at least Deku Babas.

    Filia wilted visibly. The freshly picked stems looked livelier than she did.
    What’s up with her? Or is she just glum at the fact Xellos is there? Is does it have to do with Xellos and the whole “You aren’t a member of a temple or anything anymore so why are you here?”

    “I thought you’d abandoned cloistered temple life,” he said. “I thought you’d made a decision. And now I find you’ve come crawling back to the saintly lifestyle of lighting incense and singing songs about dead gods.” He sounded disappointed in her.
    Oh I’ll bet he was disappointed.

    “You left with such conviction,” he went on, “that I can’t believe you’d come back here just on a whim.” He looked at her critically. “Are you hiding from me?”
    Is this part of the reason?

    That was too much for Filia. She wanted to throw something at him, but all she had was flowers.
    But if you threw flowers at a monster and followed up with a “Life is Wonderful” song, I’m sure you’d do quite a number.

    “Maybe to you,” Filia responded bitterly.

    “Maybe,” Xellos allowed. “But that still doesn’t explain why your house is empty and your shop is closed. It doesn’t explain why you’re here, Filia.”
    One thing I don’t understand is her closing her shop. Can’t Jillas and Gravos take care of it while she’s gone? But then again, they’d probably just drop vases like Xellos (only in their case unintentionally).

    Filia averted her eyes. It wasn’t fair that someone like him could make her feel guilty. It was probably just his penchant for picking apart anything she said or did. She could never be right in his books.
    XD Oh I see what you did here. Xellos was whining about not being right in Filia’s books, so now it’s only fair that Filia feels the same way. NEITHER ONE OF YOU CAN DO ANYTHING RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER!! That means they’re more or less perfect, yes?

    Filia glared at him. “You don’t understand,” she said. “It may not seem right, but this is the only chance Val has to be raised amongst his own kind. The people in my to— in my old town were kind, but they didn’t know how different he was from them.”
    It’s funny, but the first time I read this I overlooked this part a bit. Now that I’ve re-read it, I realized she’s talking about how she moved to a new town, correct?

    “Kind, but not his kind?” Xellos taunted.
    Ha! I love this sentence.

    Filia ignored this. “Can you imagine him going to a human school? He’ll never learn all the things I learned growing up, he’ll never fly on Saint’s Day, he’ll never have his first consecration ceremony… he’ll never be surrounded by an entire group of people with the same problems he’s facing. People he can talk to who will understand him. He’ll only have me, and I’m not enough…” she trailed off sadly. “He deserves to be among his people.”
    I don’t really have anything witty to say here, but I do like the fact that you mention ceremonies and religious occasions that dragons might participate in. Gives us a little glance into what dragon culture might be like.

    “Do you just think I’m stupid or something? Do you think I don’t know what you’ve been doing? Did you expect me to believe that you were just playing house for the fun of it? Ha!” she said again, and again: nothing was funny.
    Oh I’m sure part of the reason has to do with fancying himself your better half, Filia. ...Or I guess in this case your worse half.

    “But I can see you need time to think things over,” he said, putting his customary smile back into place. “I’ll be calling on you again, though not in there,” he said, gesturing to the temple once again with his staff as he turned to leave. “So I suppose if you’re really set on avoiding me you’ll just have to cut out these botanical excursions.” He looked back at her once again with a serious expression. “Lock yourself away in the temple if you think it’ll help,” he intoned, eyes boring into her.
    ...Can he go into the temple?

    She watched him in stunned silence as he exited the garden. He stepped over the rows of mums, and daisies, and primrose until he reached the path. He walked around the flowers so as not to crush them.
    He walked around the flowers so as not to crush them. Now what kind of monster does that?

    Another great one shot! Yet again, no spelling or grammar mistakes that I can find, a rather intriguing plot twist in the fact that Filia is now in a place filled with dragons and not humans, and I truly liked the ending. Not only was the end a good point to contemplate on, it raises some questions: would the past Xellos have cared enough to avoid stepping on flowers or has Filia slowly poisoned changed him with goodness?

    More reviews to come! I’m going to (make an attempt to) catch up.

    XD It would make sense. In fact, he can probably eat completely undigestible things without any ill effects, so that would make him an even worse cook.
    That, and I’m sure a part of him appreciates the negative emotions flying off someone who’s just eaten something gut-wrenching.

    That list = win--particularly number 3.
    Priority-wise, number 3 would most likely make it to the top of his list, followed quickly by Angering Filia, and then tea. Because Xellos is one to never get his priorities mixed up.

    Apparently. I was in particular referencing the bachelorette auction from Oklahoma.
    -.-; O...ok then...well...Seems a little awkward to me, but that might be in part because I’ve never really heard of one before but...

    And he made a lot off of Lina when she bought the talismans from him.
    You mean when she threatened him into giving her a price for them. It probably also helps that he doesn’t really need to eat or sleep...or buy clothes.

    Ah, but goats will eating anything. Food? Not food? They don't care.
    Still, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a goat trying to eat something bigger than a Chihuahua that was...actually alive.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

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  24. #49
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    I hope you accept prodigal children if they come bearing reviews ;.; I even tried to keep my sarcasm down for this one in favor of perhaps more substantial and perhaps helpful critique.
    But of course! I always love your reviews!

    Ok, so I’ve been wondering: Where the heck are they? I mean, are they at a place that we know? A place that was in the anime, perhaps?
    They're not at anywhere that was in the anime, but I'd place them at one of the other Dragon Lord's temples--it doesn't really matter which to me. See, the idea of Filia going back to a Golden Dragon temple for awhile (in fact, a friend of mine is writing a full scale fic based on that concept). This is just a brief oneshot dealing mostly with Xellos's feelings about her doing something like that, and her feelings at being confronted. It's a snapshot, but I did my best to hint at how they might've gotten there. The set-up would've gone something like this...

    Filia tries to carve a life out amongst the humans at the end of Try with her Vase & Mace shop and all. Everything goes pretty well until Val hatches, and then she starts to worry--worry about what his life will be like being raised with humans and how he might become an outcast and not have the kind of community that can really understand him. Her suspicions will probably be confirmed by difficulties that she has with the humans... misunderstandings and such. Meanwhile, Xellos has taken to hanging around with them getting uncomfortably close to their little family unit as Val's father-figure and well... close to Filia in other ways. Fearful of her own feelings and fear for her son both living among humans and with Xellos making concerted efforts to influence him, Filia retreats to an insulated community of dragons. Xellos is pissed off. He feels that Filia has gone back on her principled little rebellion from the dragon race (something he admired in her), that she's trying to avoid her feelings for him, and that she's putting Val in danger by going back among the 'untrustworthy' dragons.

    I can’t seem to imagine an evil garden that lacks man eating Venus flytraps. Or trees that throw apples at you. Or at least Deku Babas.
    This is the garden of my dreams and nightmares.

    But if you threw flowers at a monster and followed up with a “Life is Wonderful” song, I’m sure you’d do quite a number.
    XD True. I'm not sure she's up for singing and dancing though.

    One thing I don’t understand is her closing her shop. Can’t Jillas and Gravos take care of it while she’s gone? But then again, they’d probably just drop vases like Xellos (only in their case unintentionally).
    To my mind, she closes shop for good because she doesn't intend to come back.

    It’s funny, but the first time I read this I overlooked this part a bit. Now that I’ve re-read it, I realized she’s talking about how she moved to a new town, correct?
    Well sort of. She's talking about that human town she set up in at the end of Try.

    Ha! I love this sentence.
    XD Thanks. I patted myself on the back when I wrote it!

    I don’t really have anything witty to say here, but I do like the fact that you mention ceremonies and religious occasions that dragons might participate in. Gives us a little glance into what dragon culture might be like.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish we knew more about dragon culture.

    ...Can he go into the temple?
    That was a question I was delicately trying to avoid answering during the course of this oneshot because I'm not sure. He probably can go in the temple. I mean, he's been on Holy Ground before and was sitting on the top of the Temple of the Fire Dragon King. It probably wouldn't be as easy for him to walk around in there without people screaming at him though.

    Another great one shot! Yet again, no spelling or grammar mistakes that I can find, a rather intriguing plot twist in the fact that Filia is now in a place filled with dragons and not humans, and I truly liked the ending. Not only was the end a good point to contemplate on, it raises some questions: would the past Xellos have cared enough to avoid stepping on flowers or has Filia slowly poisoned changed him with goodness?

    More reviews to come! I’m going to (make an attempt to) catch up.
    Thanks so much! And I'd say you're on to something there: Filia has had quite an effect on him.

  25. #50
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    They're not at anywhere that was in the anime, but I'd place them at one of the other Dragon Lord's temples--it doesn't really matter which to me. See, the idea of Filia going back to a Golden Dragon temple for awhile (in fact, a friend of mine is writing a full scale fic based on that concept). This is just a brief oneshot dealing mostly with Xellos's feelings about her doing something like that, and her feelings at being confronted. It's a snapshot, but I did my best to hint at how they might've gotten there. The set-up would've gone something like this...
    Ah I see. I can imagine her trying to fit back into dragon culture, but I can’t imagine it would go all too well in the long-run. With or without Xellos. And yeah, I bet the monster would have a problem or two with rebellious Filia being unrebellious.

    Filia tries to carve a life out amongst the humans at the end of Try with her Vase & Mace shop and all.
    Which I always imagined the name of to be something like “Vases and Maces to Throw in Snide Faces”.
    Her suspicions will probably be confirmed by difficulties that she has with the humans... misunderstandings and such. Meanwhile, Xellos has taken to hanging around with them getting uncomfortably close to their little family unit as Val's father-figure and well... close to Filia in other ways.
    Xellos himself probably doesn’t help much with the misunderstandings either.
    Fearful of her own feelings and fear for her son both living among humans and with Xellos making concerted efforts to influence him, Filia retreats to an insulated community of dragons. Xellos is pissed off. He feels that Filia has gone back on her principled little rebellion from the dragon race (something he admired in her), that she's trying to avoid her feelings for him, and that she's putting Val in danger by going back among the 'untrustworthy' dragons.
    I like the concept, it adds another layer to their not-sure-if-happy romance. And yeah, Filia does seem like she is really there in part to avoid him. XD
    This is the garden of my dreams and nightmares.
    A garden of opposites is perfect for opposites.
    XD True. I'm not sure she's up for singing and dancing though.
    It’s funny, but I had this dream last night where Filia was dancing and singing “Cabaret” of all things and Xellos was just like ...-.-;
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish we knew more about dragon culture.
    Well, you certainly paint a convincing picture of what it might look like given what little we’ve got to go off of.
    That was a question I was delicately trying to avoid answering during the course of this oneshot because I'm not sure. He probably can go in the temple. I mean, he's been on Holy Ground before and was sitting on the top of the Temple of the Fire Dragon King. It probably wouldn't be as easy for him to walk around in there without people screaming at him though.
    Probably. It certainly hasn’t been the first time Xellos has tread on “Holy Ground”. And if there happened to be any young, fiesty dragons hanging about and started challenging him or whatnot, I can see the elders of said temple looking a little horrified.

    Gemstones. Rated PG.
    Amazing, amazing one-shot. The episode in question is probably one of my favorites despite Xellos not sticking around for the entire time, so I’m rather happy you decided to write about it.

    Filia tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her hands were feeling raw, dust was filling her lungs, and she had that Spring Cleaning high. Between caring for Val and running the shop, she’d been letting cleaning fall by the wayside lately. Well, no more. Filia had her mop out and she meant business.
    I’m guessing she either set up a different shop, decided to go back to the human town, or this is in the past because one-shot collections don’t always follow set times continuities.

    And organizing… organizing actually had its own quiet joys.
    How I wish I could share your sentiments, Filia.
    She reached in to take out the last remaining objects from the drawer to face her judgment. She held two of them, one in each hand, and half-sat, half-collapsed to the floor. “Oh,” she said out loud.

    They were circular gemstones, yellow in color, and on the large side. She’d almost forgotten that she…
    Whatever were they doing in her crafts drawer? Was she planning on making wedding rings from them? A bit large, but probably still doable.

    It had all turned out to be a scheme of Jillas’s to turn them against one another and not some legitimate prophecy. Of course it had.
    The irony is that Jillas is now her employee of sorts.
    Her married to Xellos? The very idea was utterly ridiculous!
    Something started to float into the back of my mind when I read this. It’s still a little blurry, but I think the word “Legal” and the name “Skiyomi” are somehow attached. XD

    But she’d picked up the two gems that declared them ‘the gods’ chosen couple’. All of them had thrown theirs at Gourry and after Xellos had abandoned her outside the temple and the others had gone off on their fool’s errand she’d just seen them all sitting there in a bunch along with one of Gourry’s teeth. So she’d… picked the gemstones up and put them away in her bag, never mentioning a word of it to anyone.
    Dare I mention that 2 out of 3 couples get divorced according to “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” by Dr. Gottman.
    Only decent link I could find: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Marriages-...ion/0684802414

    Considering that Amelia/Gourry and Lina/Zel didn’t seem to work out that well...
    The longer it took, the angrier she was with herself. It shouldn’t even be a question, she thought forcefully. They’re garbage! He’s garbage. And what do you do with garbage? You throw it out, that’s what!
    And yet she doesn’t throw him out when he comes waltzing around her shop (though arguably because he doesn’t let her).

    “You’ve been busy today,” Xellos said, sweeping a gloved finger over the top of her mantle like everyone’s least favorite mother-in-law.
    O_O Mother-in-? ...HAhaha XD

    “Xellos!” she shouted, trying to bluster her way out of the impression she’d been caught doing something wrong. “What are you doing here?!”
    Xellos: Easy. I live here, in a matter of speaking.

    Xellos sat down in one of her chairs. “Now this is interesting,” he commented cheerfully. “What do you have in there that you don’t want people to see?” he pondered. “Perhaps your diary? A secret alcohol stash? If this was your bureau then I could make some more colorful guesses.”
    ....Did he just...? Was he...?

    “Absolutely not!” Filia screeched, incensed. Her diary was in a combination safe which was itself in a locked chest in the darkest corner of the attic.
    LOL. I guess you really can’t overcompensate when a monster has taken an interest in you.

    “Why would you want to see those?” she countered.

    “Because you don’t want me to,” he said simply.
    Best reason ever. I use it all the time.

    “Not a chance!” Filia declared. “You have no right to go poking around through my things just because you’re evil!”
    ...Isn’t that the point though? Even non-evil people go poking around just because they can.

    “Why should you care if an ‘evil’ person gets paint on their shoes?” Xellos asked, advancing still forward. He stopped in the middle of the paint puddle, getting magenta paint on his evil shoes. He tapped her on the side with his staff. “Well?”
    I had to chuckle at that. EVIL SHOES WILL ONE DAY TAKE OVER THE WORLD, AND THEN THE PRICE OF ALL BUT CLOWN SHOES WILL GO UP.

    “Oh, please!” Filia said incredulously. “You were just as insulted as I was when Jillas paired us up. Why would you want a reminder of all that? That’s just—” And then it hit her like a truck full of similes.
    For whatever reason, when I first read this it looked like “Truck full of smilies”. :/ I need more sleep.

    “Nothing,” Filia said, trying to hoist herself back up. She held a hand up to her head and took a few unsteady steps away. “I think… I need to lie down,” she said deliberately. And because of the current state of her mind, she added: “You’re not invited.”
    PFT! Are you sure now, Filia?

    He looked down at the golden gemstone in his hand. He held it up to the red one on his staff and shook his head. He didn’t even know why he’d thought that would be a good idea in the first place.

    He gave the gemstone a little toss in the air and caught it.

    Oh well. No harm in keeping it.
    So it’s like:
        Spoiler:- Picture:

    Yeah, I know it's horrible looking. I'm not good with computers, and it doesn't help that I have to do this in Microsoft paint because I don't have anything fancy like Photoshop.
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

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