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Slayers Library -> Fanfiction -> "Beauty and the Chimera," Part Four

"Beauty and the Chimera"
Part Four



(Inside Zelgadiss's den, Ameria is casting a powerful healing spell over Zelgadiss, who is slumped in a chair in front of a roaring fire. Suddenly, he wakes up with a start.)
Ameria: (quickly) Oh, don't move. Just...hold still.
Zelgadiss: (ignores her, starts to sit up straighter, blinks in surprise as his head explodes in pain) Itai...
Ameria: (softly) If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt.
Zelgadiss: (glares at her) If you hadn't run away, this wouldn't have happened.
Ameria: (retorts) Well if you hadn't frightened me, I wouldn't have run away!
Zelgadiss: (opens his mouth to respond, but has to stop and think of a good reply) Well... you shouldn't have been in the West Wing!
Ameria: Well, you should learn to control your temper!
Zelgadiss: (raises his hand to bring out another point, but finds he has none, so he bows his head down again)
Ameria: (moves her glowing hands closer to Zel's head) Now, hold still. (concentrates for a few minutes, then says softly) By the way, thank you for saving my life.
Zelgadiss: (looks at her, surprised, says almost tenderly) You're welcome.

Xelloss: (gags at the sweetness of that last part) Meanwhile, back at the village tavern, Zangulus is busy scheming a way to get his "Belle" back.

Eris: (sitting at a table with Zangulus and the current copy of Vrumugan) I don't usually leave the asylum in the middle of the night, but they said you'd make it worth my while.
Zangulus: (pulls out a bag of coins from his cloak, tosses it onto the table)
Eris: (pulls the bag toward herself eagerly) Ah, I'm listening.
Zangulus: It's like this. I've got my heart set on marrying Belle, but she needs a little...persuasion.
Vrumugan: (adds in a deadpan voice) She turned him down flat.
Zangulus: Hey! (slashes at Vrumugan with his Howling sword)
Vrumugan: (dies)
Xelloss: Hold it! (appears next to Zangulus, freezes the scene, snaps his fingers, and another Vrumugan copy appears, sneers at Zangulus) I THOUGHT I TOLD you not to be so VIOLENT with my clones!
Zangulus: (glares at Xelloss) Then don't make them so obnoxious, OK?
Xelloss: (goes back to his smiley self) Why don't you work on YOUR obnoxiousness first, Zangulus-san? (leans forward, glares at Zangulus) And stop toasting my copies.
Zangulus: (sweatdrops, waves Xelloss away) Fine, fine. (mumbles) You could make them a little more DURABLE while you're at it...
Xelloss: (mid-teleportation) Excuse me?
Zangulus: (brightly) Nothing!
Xelloss: It had better be nothing. (unfreezes the scene, teleports out)
Zangulus: (continues as if nothing has happened) Everyone knows her father is a lunatic. He was in here tonight raving about a beast in a castle...
Vrumugan: (silently tries to figure out what's going on)
Eris: (scoffs) Maurice is harmless.
Zangulus: (tersely) The point is, Belle would do anything to keep him from being locked up. Even marry me.
Eris: So you want me to throw her father in the asylum until she agrees to marry you?
Zangulus: (nods in agreement, glares at the new Vrumugan until he follows suit)
Eris: Oh that is DESPICABLE. (pauses, then adds) I love it!

Xelloss: (floating above Belle's cottage, shakes his head with mock sympathy) Poor "Maurice". (floats down to the window, peers inside to reveal Phil packing as if he's about to leave)

Phil: (mutters to himself) If no one will help me, then I'll go back alone. I don't care what it takes. I'll find that castle and somehow I'll get her out of there. (shoulders his bag, steps out the door, locks it, and trudges away through the snow. Seconds later, Zangulus, Vrumugan, and Eris arrive, break down the door, and enter the house, looking for its residents.)
Zangulus: Belle! Maurice!
Vrumugan: Guess this isn't such a great plan, after all.
Zangulus: (growls, grabs Vrumugan by the throat, walks outside, dumps him into a snowbank) They have to come back sometime, and when they do, we'll be ready for them. LeFou, don't move from that spot until Belle and her father come home.
Vrumugan: (sighs resignedly) Yeah, yeah. (As Zangulus leaves, he grins smugly to himself, then whistles loudly. About ten more copies of him step out from around the house.) All right, we can break this up into shifts. Now, I'll stand on watch first, followed by you (points to another copy), and you (points to another copy), and you can take the fourth watch (points to yet another copy). We'll figure out the rest in a few hours. Understand?
Vrumugan clones: Yes sir. (head into the house to get warm)

Xelloss: (observing all of this from above) That was...interesting...I guess. Right. Whatever. Anyways, moving right along... (flips through his script, pauses, tilts his head and smiles, in a vain attempt to look genuinely charmed by what's on the pages) Awwww...this next scene is so sweet! I'm going to melt into purple goo... (blanches, gags, then returns to his usual smarmy expression) At any rate, it's back to the castle, for Scene XII!

(Zelgadiss is on one of the second-floor balconies, watching Ameria below, who's playing with her horse and a few dogs in the snow. He smiles in spite of himself. Lina and Gourry are standing next to him, looking bored.)
Lina: (taps her foot impatiently) All right, Zel, how long are you going to stand there gazing at her?
Zel: (jumps at the sound of her voice, turns abruptly, willing himself not to blush, tries to put some indignation in his voice) I do not GAZE at Belle.
Lina: (nudges Zel with her elbow) Suuuuuure, right, Zel. That's what you SAY. (when he doesn't respond, steps in front of him and grabs his shoulders, shaking him) Don't you feel ANYTHING for her? Any special, little feeling, deep down inside of you! Honestly! I can't STAND it when people are in denial about their feelings!
Zelgadiss: (muses quietly, so that Gourry can't hear) Look who's talking.
Lina: (jumps away, glances at Gourry to make sure he hasn't heard, coughs, blushing) That's not the POINT!
Gourry: (says brightly, oblivious as to what has just happened) Hey, Zel, why don't you do something for her!
Zelgadiss: (confused) What do you mean?
Gourry: Well, there's the usual things; (ticks items off on his fingers) flowers, chocolates, (grins) promises you don't really keep...
Lina: (elbows Gourry) No, no, no. If you're going to do something for a girl, it's gotta be special. Something that sparks her interest. Ooh, I have an idea!
Zelgadiss: (genuinely considering this concept) What, what?

(A few hours later, outside the hallway leading into the library, Zelgadiss is leading Ameria down the hallway by the hand.)
Zelgadiss: (clears his throat, nervous) There's...um...something I...wanted to...um...show you... (reaches the library door, starts to open it, then stops, adds quickly) But first you have to close your eyes.
Ameria: (looks at him questioningly)
Zelgadiss: (blushes slightly, explains) It's a surprise.
Ameria: (cheerfully) Okay! (closes her eyes)
Zelgadiss: (takes a deep breath, opens the door all the way, and leads Belle inside)
Ameria: (as she walks through the doorway) Can I open them?
Zelgadiss: No, no. Not yet. Wait here. (He lets go of her hand, walks away to the curtains, and pulls them open. Brilliant sunlight spills into the room.)
Ameria: (flinches a little as the light illuminates her face unexpectedly) Now can I open them?
Zelgadiss: All right. Now.
Ameria: (opens her eyes and is thrilled to see that they are in a gigantic library filled with books) I can't believe it. I've never seen so many books in all my life!
Zelgadiss: (watching her wonderment-filled reaction) You like it?
Ameria: (runs over to a shelf filled with books on Shamanistic magic, then another shelf filled with books about legal justice) It's wonderful! Incredible! I could spend years here, learning everything there is to know about magic and theories of justice!
Zelgadiss: (smiles slightly) Then it's yours.
Ameria: (gasps in shock, turns to him, then flashes a bright smile and a 'V' for Victory sign with her fingers) Thank you so much!

(Lina, Gourry, Baby Valgarv, Filia, and Sylphiel are, in the meantime, standing in the hallway, looking in through the open door.)
Gourry: (smiles happily) Look at that!
Lina: (smugly) I knew it would work!
Baby Valgarv: (innocently) What? What works?
Filia: (sighs softly) It's so encouraging!
Sylphiel: Isn't this exciting, Gourry-sama? (looks at Gourry lovingly)
Gourry: (not paying attention to her gaze) Huh? Oh, yeah!
Baby Valgarv: (pouts) I didn't see anything.
Filia: Come along, Val-chan. There's chores to be done in the kitchen. (pulls on his little chubby arm)
Baby Valgarv: (confused) But what are they talking about? What's going on?

Xelloss: (floating outside the castle, looking in on Zel and Ameria through a window) Now, isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen? (makes a disgusted noise and teleports up to one of the balconies of the castle) I can't take it anymore. Hmmm... (gets a downright devious look on his face, and snaps his fingers. Zelgadiss appears not three feet away from him, looking dazed and confused)
Zelgadiss: Wha? Huh?
Xelloss: (lifts his control spell, says cheerfully) Ah! Welcome back, Zelgadiss-san!
Zelgadiss: (still confused, looks around) What am I doing here?
Xelloss: You're here to provide some pain and misery for a starving Mazoku such as myself. Now, come on, aren't you going to get upset about being in my little story?
Zelgadiss: (blinks, suddenly begins to understand it all, folds his arms and shifts his weight, shrugs casually) I'm rather enjoying it, actually.
Xelloss: (stops) Y-you are?
Zelgadiss: (unfolds his arms, looks at one of his fingerless gloves, studying a tiny tear in the hem of the leather, says as nonchalantly as he can) Of course.
Xelloss: (is thrown off-guard by this, attempts to regain control of the situation, smiles slyly) Ah, Zelgadiss-san, if only you knew what I had in store for you and Ameria-san...
Zelgadiss: (interrupts) That's fine.
Xelloss: (opens his eyes a crack) It is?
Zelgadiss: (resists the urge to grin from ear to ear) Sure.
Xelloss: (sidles up to him, says teasingly) You know, of course, that I'll make sure Ameria remembers every moment of this, and she'll never leave you alone about it.
Zelgadiss: (studies the other glove, says offhandedly) I'm sure that's what she wants.
Xelloss: (confused now) Um...of course that's what she wants! But it isn't what YOU want, ne? (grins, figuring he's trapped Zel)
Zelgadiss: (shrugs) Sore wa himitsu desu. (glances at Xelloss, who is, by this time, starting to sweat a little)
Xelloss: Um...isn't that my line?
Zelgadiss: (nods calmly) Yes, I believe it is.
Xelloss: (is starting to get ticked off) Do not mock me, Zelgadiss-san. You would be making a very powerful enemy.
Zelgadiss: (shrugs) Whatever.
Xelloss: (waves his hand in frustration, and Zelgadiss is teleported to the snow-covered courtyard of the castle, shakes his head in confusion)
Zelgadiss: (down in the courtyard, and, just before Xelloss recasts his control spell over him, laughs quietly) Now THAT was fun. I'll have to use that trick again. (glances to his left, sees Ameria in a red velvet dress with a long, sweeping skirt, frozen in place, waiting for the next scene to begin, and his expression changes slightly, as he tries not to think about how he wasn't exactly being untruthful in his little exchange with Xelloss)
Xelloss: (shudders at the good vibes he felt emanating from his prey, flips a page in his leather-bound book) Hmmm...the next scene takes place in a snow-covered courtyard. (scans ahead in the book) Oh, how delightful, there's a song cue in this scene. A cute little love song. Ah, yes, that should be just the thing to, ahem, crack that cheerful exterior of his. Mock me, will you, Zelgadiss? I'll give you love scenes so sickeningly sweet you won't be able to stand it! (unfreezes the scene, still watching from the balcony above) Scene XIII!

Ameria: (sprinkles some bird seed on the snow, giggles as a flock of small birds pecks it all away)
Zelgadiss: (watches her curiously, since he's never seen anyone get that much satisfaction out of feeding birds)
Ameria: (looks up, notices Zel looking at her, feels her cheeks pinken a little (and not just from the cold), smiles, holds out her hand full of birdseed, and puts some of it in his palm) Here, you try!
Zelgadiss: (looks a little uncomfortable) I've never really done this before...
Ameria: (cheerfully) That's all right! Here, I'll show you. (takes a handful of seed from a bag and holds it in her open palm) Now, you just shake it out onto the ground.
Zelgadiss: (unsure of himself, dumps the seed in a pile)
Ameria: No, not that way, silly! Here. (takes hold of his hand, presses some seed into it, and moves it so the pellets scatter on the ground)
Zelgadiss: (is impressed when many birds flock around him and start eating)
Ameria: (while she's holding his hand, we can hear her singing, although Zelgadiss can't.)
There's something sweet
And almost kind
But he was mean
And he was brusque and unrefined

But now he's dear
And so unsure
I wonder why I didn't see it there before.

Zelgadiss: (as Ameria looks up, and he catches her eye. We can hear him singing, although Ameria can't)
I thought I saw
She glanced this way
And when we touched
She didn't recoil and run away

No it can't be
I'll just ignore
But then she's never looked at me that way before.

Ameria: (releases his hand, ducks behind a tree while he's not watching, bends down to scoop up some snow, pauses in a moment of doubt, but then smiles again)
New, and a bit alarming
Who'd have ever thought that this could be?
True, that he's no Prince Charming
But there's something in him that I simply didn't see.

Zelgadiss: (smiling, looks up from the birds just in time to get pelted by a snowball) Hey!
Ameria: (giggles)
Zelgadiss: (ducks as she throws another snowball) Oh yeah? (scoops up some snow, throws a football-sized lump at her)
Ameria: (just barely ducks, uses the tree for her shield, forms another snowball)
Zelgadiss: (runs over to the tree, trying to catch her, but she ducks around and throws another snowball in his face)
Ameria: Can't catch me! (starts running across the courtyard)
Zelgadiss: Wanna bet? (runs after her)
Ameria: (squeals in delight, changes direction suddenly to evade him)
Zelgadiss: (quickly scoops up some snow and pelts her with it as soon as she changes direction again) Take that!
Ameria: (laughs) It's cold!!

(Meanwhile, the servants are watching on from inside, amused and very interested in this turn of events--amused enough to start singing, in fact.)
Jirasu: Well who'd have thought?
Filia: Well bless my soul!
Gourry: Who'd have known?
Sylphiel: Well, who indeed?
Lina: And who'd have guessed they'd come together on their own?
Filia: Humans are so peculiar!
All:
We'll wait and see
A few days more
There may be something there that wasn't there before.

(A few hours later, Ameria and Zelgadiss are in the library again, teaching each other spells. Zel is teaching some Shamanistic magic, while Ameria is teaching him a healing spell. Lina, Gourry, Filia, and Baby Valgarv are watching from the doorway.)
Lina: Yes, perhaps there's something there that wasn't there before.
Baby Valgarv: What?
Filia: (muses) There may be something there that wasn't there before.
Baby Valgarv: What's there, Mama?
Filia: (smiles) I'll tell you when you're older, Val-chan.


Continue to Part Five!

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Slayers Library -> Fanfiction -> "Beauty and the Chimera," Part Four


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