Silly Slayers Vignettes III
In Which Filia and Xellos Go Shopping Together.
Filia picked up a gauzy, pink skirt from a rack marked “Clearance” and studied it carefully. It was hot out—nearly too hot to be out in the marketplace and trying clothes on—but the deals were hotter. She could just barely feel the tiny breeze as the owner of the tent fanned herself from behind the cash register, watching in case anyone tried to make off with her wares.
The skirt was cute. There was no way to deny that. Filia just wondered why it seemed like everything these days had to be so short and sheer. What’s more, it was getting harder and harder to find slips these days to cover for the translucent quality of popular fabrics. She couldn’t for the life of her figure out why clothing that you could see through in full sunlight was the “in” thing right now. It was probably a sign that her teachers at the temple hadn’t been completely wrong when they said the world outside the temple walls was going to hell in a hand basket.
But she wasn’t at the temple anymore. And, well, there wasn’t any harm in trying on the thing, was there?
“Your obsession with pink is starting to seem really juvenile,” a nasally falsetto trilled from behind her. “The blue would bring out your eyes more.”
Filia felt a twanging in her cheek as a muscle fluttered involuntarily a few times. She ground her teeth together, rolled her eyes back, and offered up a silent prayer to the Fire Dragon King before turning around.
“This has got to stop,” she said heavily. “You need to change back—now.”
Xellos beamed at her over that ridiculous feathery fan he’d picked up. He rested a manicured hand on the red silk that clung tightly to his rounded hip. Filia swore he had to have been sewn into that dress. You could even see the indentation of his belly-button through the fabric.
“But I’m doing this for you,” he insisted laughingly in his familiar, though slightly higher-pitched than usual, voice.
She grimaced. Gender might’ve been more or less just an option for Xellos, but she didn’t understand why he saw that as an invitation to sprout breasts and giggle coquettishly. It was downright freaky, that’s what it was.
“I never asked for this!” she screeched, voice breaking slightly.
He snapped his fan shut and tapped at the end of her nose with the frilly abomination. “But you said you wished you had a girlfriend to go clothes shopping with,” he pointed out.
She slapped the fan away. “I didn’t mean you! And besides that,” she continued, crossing her arms. “I’d actually have real girlfriends to go shopping with if you hadn’t ruined my book club!”
He ran a hand through hair that was sleeker than hers even when he wasn’t playing the part of a woman. “Ruined is such a strong word,” he answered her, only mildly sheepish.
“Not strong enough,” Filia insisted. “And I wouldn’t take clothing advice from you anyway,” she added, looking him up and down with a disapproving expression. “I don’t want to be mean,” she said, lying rather blatantly, “but you’re dressed like a slut!”
He looked mildly offended. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “…Perhaps you’re just not as comfortable with your body as I am with mine.”
That appeared to set off a light bulb in his head. He leaned over toward her, a pleased expression on his face as though he’d finally figured something out. “Oooh, I see! You’re just uncomfortable because you’re still attracted to me even like this.”
“What do you mean ‘still?!’” she demanded. “And get your boobs out of my face!” she hissed, shoving him away.
In Which Xellos Cannot Get a Guinea Pig to Acknowledge His Existence.
Xellos leaned against his staff, staring intently into the wire cage overflowing with hay that sat on the floor of Filia’s living room. Inside the cage, a furry, rotund creature snuffled around, occasionally snacking on a bit of hay or stopping to groom himself. He did not pay the monster observing his movements any mind—he hadn’t for the last hour.
Far be it from Xellos to depend on the attention of an overweight rodent, of course. But he couldn’t help but take it rather personally at this point. Filia had acquired the thing two weeks ago as a replacement pet for Val after Snowball’s untimely death due to Filia’s carelessness at leaving her painting supplies out where an especially stupid cat could poison herself on them. Xellos had been largely uninterested at the time. The only value he saw in the new addition to the household was an opportunity to rib Filia’s for naming the creature Nougat. He’d asked her if, given her well-known sweet tooth, bestowing that name should be taken as a confession of her intention to eat the little thing. Of course, he wouldn’t have been able to blame her if she did. Judging by the way it waddled, the creature had to be at least 40% butter.
He’d been willing to leave it at that comment. But Val, Filia, Jillas and Gravos all seemed to have fallen for the cowlicky critter’s cuteness. Even Filia, who had at first found Nougat’s upkeep more taxing than she’d bargained for, seemed enchanted by him. She and Val played with him often and cooed over him constantly. Nougat lapped up the attention, and wielded his charms in whatever way he could to get food. In fact, anyone who so much as walked by his cage was subjected to his cries for food, paired with round, adorable eyes that no one could say no to.
Yes, he’d try this on anyone who had access to the kitchen. …Anyone, of course, except one person.
That’s right. He, Xellos, everyone’s favorite charismatic sociopath, was being snubbed by a guinea pig.
And other people were noticing it too! Just a few days ago Val had informed his mother, after he and Xellos had let Nougat out for some exercise, that, “Nougat doesn’t like Xelly.”
“Nougat,” Filia had answered, “has excellent taste.”
But Xellos had a trick up his sleeve this time. Grapes. Grapes were Nougat’s weakness. He only had to hear the very word from Filia’s lips for his eyes to start glistening with rodent greed.
“Oh, Nougat,” Xellos called, holding out a purple fruit toward the cage, “I’ve got a grape for you.”
At first, the plan seemed to be a resounding success. The little creature turned around in his cage and fluffed out his fur. “Wheek wheek! Wheek wheek!” he cried.
Xellos smiled, triumphant for a moment, until he realized that Nougat wasn’t looking at him or his proffered grape. He was looking beyond him.
Xellos turned around, to see Filia standing in the doorway, shaking her head at him. He’d expected a, “I bet he can sense how evil you are! Animals can do that, you know!” from her, but instead she just looked…
Oh no. Was she… feeling sorry for him?
She walked over and crouched down by the cage. “…He’s probably just not used to you yet,” she informed him. She reached over and opened the top of the cage, lifting Nougat out. She tilted her head toward one of the chairs. “Sit down,” she said.
Xellos obeyed, watching Filia and the obese little critter she was carrying. “Here,” she said, placing it on his lap. “He’s nice and warm, isn’t he?” she asked.
“I… suppose,” Xellos admitted. He’d seen Filia knitting the last couple of nights with the guinea pig on her lap. He couldn’t help but feel that the creature had looked slightly smug.
The guinea pig stared ahead. Were its black, shining eyes finally seeing him? Finally admitting that he existed?
What passed for thought in a rodent seemed to cross Nougat’s eyes. Then, without any further ado, it peed on him.
In Which Amelia Practices Face Painting with Zelgadis’s Help.
“Oooh! You’re going to look so pretty, Mister Zelgadis!” Amelia practically squealed, tracing across the chimera’s face with a thin brush.
Zelgadis’s groaned inwardly. The last time she’d said that, he’d wound up in a highly confusing situation involving crossdressing. He had no urge at all to revisit that memory.
He’d never agreed to this. He never would have agreed to this. Yet somehow, despite all that, he’d found himself seated on a stool with Amelia leaning over him and drawing a butterfly on his left cheek.
Seyruun was having its spring festival next week and Amelia had volunteered to do some face painting for the younger kids. The problem was that she’d never done it before. He’d told her that it probably wasn’t anything to worry about—that there wasn’t exactly a high standard of quality for volunteer festival positions—that she should quit worrying about it already.
But she hadn’t. And so, there he was, butterfly-emblazoned.
“I think that’s just about…” Amelia trailed off, making some finishing touches, “…done!” She pulled back to better see her work and beamed with pride. Zelgadis, for his part, felt relief etching his features. Escape was in sight.
“Now… what should I paint on the other cheek?” Amelia asked, dashing all of Zelgadis’s hopes. “What do you think?” she asked. “A duckling or a bunny rabbit?”
He wanted to tell her that what he wanted was to be spared this whole ridiculous endeavor. He wanted to say that he’d never agreed to this in the first place. He wanted to say that her ill-prepared volunteerism wasn’t his concern in the least. He wanted to say that he had better things to do with his time than have hopefully-washable images drawn on the rocky surface of his face.
Instead, for some reason that he couldn’t quite fathom—though he had a sneaking suspicion that it was in some way related to her impossibly wide blue eyes—he said: “…Could you at least make it a manly bunny rabbit?”
In Which Water-Type Moves are Super-Effective Against Zelgadis.
“Geez!” Lina exclaimed, pulling her cloak closer around her and shivering. “They just kept coming with those ice attacks, didn’t they?”
“Freeze Arrow isn’t that bad,” Amelia said, energy low as she leaned against the trunk of a tree, “but when you have that many sorcerers sending them out all at once…”
“We need to coordinate our attacks better,” Zelgadis deduced, “and figure out the best way to counter our enemies’ moves.”
“Well… we can just use fire type attacks,” Amelia reasoned. “Fire’s strong against ice.”
“Wouldn’t the ice just melt and end up being water?” Gourry asked. “Then it’d put out the fire.”
“Look at that,” Lina said, letting out a low whistle. “Gourry said something half-way intelligent.”
“Well if that won’t work then we can just use earth attacks,” Zelgadis pitched.
“That won’t work against water magic,” Amelia said, shaking her head back and forth. “Rock and Ground types are weak against water.”
“What makes you say that?” Zelgadis asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh… you know,” Amelia said, looking a little lost as she sought around for an explanation. “…Erosion, I suppose.”
“Well, if that’s true then we can’t send a rock type like Zel out there,” Gourry reasoned. “He’d get K.O.-ed in no time.”
Zelgadis let out a groan as his face fell into his hands.
“Tactful, Gourry,” Lina said, rolling her eyes.
“It’s a good thing Miss Filia isn’t here,” Amelia pointed out. “Ice has a really big type advantage against dragons.”
“Because they’re cold-blooded?” Gourry asked.
“Maybe,” Amelia said with a shrug. “Anyway, we should probably stock up on some Super Potions before we battle these guys again.”
“Yeah, and find out where the nearest Center is in case we need to get healed,” Gourry added, nodding. “I’m sure the nurse there would be glad to help us.”
Lina and Zelgadis stared at the two of them, mouths hanging open.
“What the hell are you two talking about?!” Lina demanded.
In Which Lina Loses Her Fang.
A scream echoed through the forest sending a flock of birds flying from their nests. Barely perceptible and buried under the volume of the wail, was a much quieter sound; a light ping as something small and solid hit the empty cast iron frying pan that Gourry had set by the campfire after he’d finished cooking dinner.
“I told you that bread was too stale to eat, Miss Lina!” Amelia cried, still wincing from the loud noise.
Lina grasped her mouth, looking at the rock-hard loaf of bread in her hands as though it had betrayed her. “I was hungry, damn it!” she swore.
“Oh geez, Lina, it looks like you lost a tooth,” Gourry commented, lifting up the frying pan and tilting it from side to side so that it rattled the detached piece of enamel.
“If you’re going to eat food that’s obviously past its prime, then that’s what’s going to happen,” Zelgadis said, shrugging unsympathetically.
“Oh man, that hurts!” Lina shouted, still grimacing as she reached over to get a napkin to hold against her mouth, which was bleeding slightly. When she finally got herself under control enough to actually look at the lost tooth, her eyes flew open in shock. “Nooo! That’s my fang!” she cried.
“Your fang?” Xellos asked, having watched the mildly disfiguring display with interest.
“Yes!” Lina exclaimed. She picked up the lost tooth frantically, as though she could somehow jam the thing back into place if she acted quickly enough. “Crap! Without my fang I’m going to look… like, 5% less adorable!”
“Maybe even 10,” Gourry observed, chin cupped in his hand.
“That was supposed to be adorable?” Zelgadis asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Hmmm,” Xellos hummed, looking thoughtfully at Lina. “More like a serious dental problem. It was getting worse over the years too. You’re probably better off losing it like this. If the tooth kept shifting it probably would’ve ended up in your sinus cavity eventually.”
“Mister Xellos is right,” Amelia put in. “The healers back in Seyruun have been working on a device to fix crooked teeth. It’s basically like a helmet made of wires that pulls your teeth back into place.” She nodded resolutely. “Losing your fang this way was probably a blessing in disguise.”
“Well excuse me if I don’t feel very blessed!” Lina exploded, hair frizzing wildly.
Lina ran a hand through her hair and tried to quiet her rage. “Calm down, Lina,” she said to herself. “It’s not all bad. After all, you’ve still got your peaches and cream complexion and your sparkling, brilliant eyes to fall back on. I can still be plenty cute even without my fang.” She turned a sharp look on Gourry. “Right, Gourry?” she asked.
“Oh, sure,” Gourry said, nodding. “And maybe you’ll be even better off with the tooth knocked out. I mean, there’s nothing cuter than little kids with big gaps in their mouths from missing teeth, right? Maybe it’ll be the same with y—OW!”
Gourry collapsed to the ground as Lina withdrew her killer right hook.
“Oh dear,” Xellos drawled, eyes on the beaten, unconscious form lying on the ground. “Now it appears Mister Gourry has lost a tooth too.”