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

"Beauty and the Chimera"
Part Five

Xelloss: (seated comfortably in a big armchair in front of a roaring fireplace, somewhere in the castle, with the book on his lap. He flips a page and lifts an eyebrow with interest.) Well, now, isn't THIS interesting. The big dance scene! (laughs evilly) When Zelgadiss-san remembers how he danced with Ameria-san, he won't be able to live it down! On to Scene XIV!

(Inside his room, Zelgadiss is getting dressed and ready for the big night with Ameria. Gourry is in there with him.)
Gourry: (helps Zel get into his tuxedo jacket) Aren't you excited?
Zelgadiss: (hesitantly) I'm not sure I can do this, to be honest.
Gourry: (gives Zel a friendly whack on the back, sending him stumbling forward) Aw, Zel, don't be timid. Be bold! Daring!
Zelgadiss: (repeats nervously as he picks himself up) Bold. Daring. Right.
Gourry: (looks up, thinking) I think Lina told wait, maybe it was, no, it was Lina. I remember her telling me she would Dragon Slave me if I forgot what's going on. Okay, so there's going to be, let's see (ticks off his list on his fingers), music. Right. And candlelight, and all that romantic stuff. (looks up again, trying to remember) And what was that last part Lina told me? Hmmmm...
Zelgadiss: (sweatdrops, checks his appearance in a mirror, scowls when he touches the stones on his face, mutters) Don't hurt yourself, Gourry.
Gourry: (slaps a fist into his other palm) I got it! Then you tell her you love her!
Zelgadiss: (facefaults into the ground, lays on the rug, twitching)
Gourry: (confused, looks down) Zel...hey, Zel! What's wrong? It's easy, really. All you have to say is "Belle, I love you!" and that's it! (laughs) It's so simple even I could do it!
Zelgadiss: (recovers, stands up, brushes himself off, says dubiously) Simple.
Gourry: (helps brush off Zel's shoulders, nods) Yup!
Zelgadiss: (says snidely) Then why haven't you told Lina you love her?
Gourry: (sweatdrops) (says timidly) Because she'll Dragon Slave me into orbit?
Zelgadiss: (sighs heavily, gets back to the original topic) I can't do it.
Gourry: Of course not! (doesn't notice Zel's eyes get wide as he speaks) Only Lina knows the Dragon Slave!
Zelgadiss: (facefaults again, but quickly recovers, says loudly) I meant... (quieter) Confess (gulps) love, I mean.
Gourry: (hands Zel his bow tie) You care for her, right?
Zelgadiss: (hems and haws for a few minutes, trying to use tying the bow tie as a distraction from the question)
Gourry: (elbows Zel) Don't you?
Zelgadiss: (growls, says defensively) I do, all right? I do.
Gourry: (smiles broadly) Then you should tell her!
Zelgadiss: (sighs again and shakes his head, finishes tying his tie)
Gourry: There, all done. Ready to go?
Zelgadiss: (nervously) No?
Gourry: (glowers at Zel) Not the answer I was looking for.
Lina: (knocks and enters, looking Zel up and down) Hey, Zel, you sure clean up good! Belle's waiting downstairs, so you'd better get over there, because she's as nervous as a bandit in the middle of one of my Fireballs!
(For some reason, hearing that Ameria is nervous as well gives him enough courage to go downstairs to face her. As he leaves the room, he turns to Lina and Gourry, a nervous but grateful expression on his stony face.)
Zelgadiss: Thanks.
Lina: (winks and gives him a thumbs-up sign) Ganbatte yo!
Gourry: (grins confidently) Break a leg, Zel!

(Ameria, meanwhile, is waiting at the top of a staircase, dressed in a glittering gold ball gown. It is cut off-the-shoulder, with a fitted, low bodice. The skirt is a floor-length hoop skirt, and it is scalloped in layers of shining fabric. Ameria's short, black hair is piled on top of her head, with little tendrils pulled down to frame her face. Gold clips that match her gold dangle earrings hold it in place. She fidgets a little and wiggles her fingers in her gold, silk gloves, all the while nervously looking to the staircase across from her. Her thoughts are racing; Zelgadiss certainly SEEMS to like her. All she had to do to ascertain that was to pay attention to his subtle gestures of attention and even affection. Yet, she still isn't sure, and she isn't entirely sure of how she feels, either. She tries to like everyone; that's her nature. But does she love him? She sighs and presses her lipstick-coated lips together in exasperation. Suddenly, she sees Lina and Gourry literally shove Zelgadiss to the top of the stairs across from her. He clears his throat and tries to act dignified, but then he notices her, gives her a long look up and down, and immediately blushes bright red. He looks away and fixes his tie, then starts down the stairs. Ameria steps down as well. They meet where the stairs join, on the landing, and Zel, still very nervous, offers his arm. She smiles reassuringly and takes it, and they continue down the stairs, on their way to the dinner table set up not far away.)
Zelgadiss: (softly) You...look wonderful.
Ameria: (beams at him) Thank you! Wow, Zelgadiss-san, you look great in a tux!
Zelgadiss: (looks away, embarrassed) Um, thanks.
Ameria: (happy to see the effect she's had on him, smiles even wider)

(As they eat, Filia stands in the doorway to the kitchen, with Baby Valgarv at her side. She starts singing when an orchestra supplied by some extras in a corner starts playing.)
Filia: Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends

Just a little change
Small to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared,
Beauty and the Beast.

(Ameria and Zelgadiss then go into the ballroom, where they dance, one set of hands clasped, with Ameria's other hand on his shoulder and Zel's hand pressed gently to her back. Filia, still singing, is now standing next to Lina and Gourry at the top of the stairs, looking on. Ameria and Zelgadiss move together perfectly. Zel twirls her, then pulls her back and dips her low over his arm.)

Filia: Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise

(A few steps later, Ameria brings her left hand down over his arm and adjusts his hand so that he's holding her around her waist. She smiles up at him and he smiles back, and she nuzzles her head against his shoulder, closing her eyes blissfully. Zel feels his heart skip a beat and looks up at Lina, Gourry, and Filia, who all smile and flash a 'V' is for Victory sign with their fingers. He and Ameria keep moving around the dance floor with perfect timing.)

Filia: Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time,
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast.

Tale as old as time,
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast.
(to Baby Valgarv) Off to bed with you now, Val-chan. It's past your bedtime. (kisses him on the forehead) Good night, love.

(Filia and Baby Valgarv leave, but not before stealing a quick peek at Ameria and Zelgadiss, who have exited the ballroom and are now standing on a balcony under a starry night.)
Zelgadiss: (looks down at Ameria thoughtfully) Belle? Are you happy here with me?
Ameria: (hesitantly) Yes. (looks away into the distance)
Zelgadiss: (picks up on her hesitation) What is it?
Ameria: (looks back at him sadly) If only I could see my father again, just for a moment. I miss him so much.
Zelgadiss: (looks disappointed for a moment, then excited) Well, there is a way...

(A few minutes later, Ameria and Zelgadiss are in his room, where Zel hands her the magic mirror.)
Zelgadiss: This is a magic mirror, one that will show you anything you wish to see.
Ameria: (cautiously) I'd like to see my father, please. (Ameria flinches as the mirror flashes into life. It then reveals Prince Phil fallen in the woods, lost and, it appears, sick. Ameria is shocked. Zelgadiss looks on with concern.) Papa! Oh no! (frantically) He's sick; he may be dying! And he's all alone!
Zelgadiss: (turns, carefully considering his options, to the rose, which is still floating in under its bell jar cover, with some already-fallen petals on the table under it) Then...then you must go to him.
Ameria: (hushed) What did you say?
Zelgadiss: (looks away) I release you. You are no longer my prisoner.
Ameria: (in amazement) You mean...I'm free?
Zelgadiss: (simply nods)
Ameria: Oh, thank you! (to the mirror) Hold on, Papa. I'm on my way. (turns to leave, then turns back and pushes the mirror toward Zel)
Zelgadiss: (shakes his head slowly) Take it with you, so you'll always have a way to look back and remember me.
Ameria: (leans over and kisses Zel on the cheek) Thank you for understanding how much he needs me.
Zelgadiss: (looks down in depression as she runs out of the room)
Lina: (enters and crosses the room just as Ameria leaves, looks at her, slightly confused, but shrugs and says cheerfully) Well, Zel, I must say everything is going just peachy. (grins and punches him lightly on the shoulder) I knew you had it in you.
Zelgadiss: (very sad) I let her go.
Lina: (not really listening) Ha ha ha, yes. Splend-- (interrupts herself) You WHAT? How could you DO that?
Zelgadiss: I had to.
Lina: (still amazed) Why?!
Zelgadiss: (looks up at her sorrowfully) Because...I love her.

(Lina leaves quickly and runs downstairs to spread the news. Everyone crowds around her in the kitchen as she explains Zel's decision.)
All (except Lina): He did WHAT?!
Lina: It's true!
Baby Valgarv: (forlorn) She's going away?
Gourry: But he was so close! Did you see them tonight?
Sylphiel: They were so cute!
Filia: After all this time, I would say that Zelgadiss-san has finally learned to love...
Gourry: (confused) Um...shouldn't that break the spell?
Filia: It's not enough. She has to love him in return.
Sylphiel: (dejected) And now it's too late.
Lina: (frustrated) Oh, now we'll never be free of this bounty on our heads!

(Zelgadiss watches from the window of his room as Ameria hops on her horse and rides away without a backward glance. He stares up at the bright moon and curses his fate in despair.)

Xelloss: (freezes the scene, standing on the balcony adjacent to Zel's room, book in hand, grins evilly as he notices Zel's forlorn expression) Now, wasn't that a fun scene? Romance and misery; a little of column A, a little of column B, and wham! The result? One super-depressed chimera. (walks up to Zel slowly, savoring the air of despondency, pats him on the head) Thank you, Zelgadiss, I knew you'd come through for me. (breathes in deeply, grinning all the while) There's nothing like some good negative emotion to perk you up when you're directing a story. Now then, who can I further torment? Ah, I know! I haven't heard from Gourry-san yet! Let's see what he has to say, shall we? (snaps his fingers, teleporting Gourry into the room next to him)
Gourry: (looks around, instantly confused) Huh? Where am I?
Xelloss: (nonchalantly) You're one of the supporting cast in a little production of mine.
Gourry: (lifts an eyebrow) Meaning...?
Xelloss: (rolls his eyes) A play.
Gourry: (brightens) Oh, I get it! Wow, I'm in a play? Whose part do I have?
Xelloss: (amused) You're a servant to a beast.
Gourry: (nods) A servant to a (pauses) ...beast. What kind of beast?
Xelloss: (gestures toward where Zelgadiss is standing, frozen in place, looking depressed) That kind!
Gourry: (walks over to Zelgadiss, waves his hand in front of his face) Say, he's not really paying attention, is he? (flicks a finger near Zel's nose) He's not even flinching!
Xelloss: That, my good friend, is because we are in between scenes.
Gourry: (walks around Zel, looking him over, trying to decide if he's real or just a statue--with Zel, after all, it's hard to tell) Huh?
Xelloss: (sighs, says patiently) You see, Gourry-san, I am in control of this play. I'm the narrator, so to speak, so what I say, goes. And if, in the middle of the play, I want to stop everything and get ready to direct the next scene, I simply use a little magic, and poof! Everything stays still until I say it can move again.
Gourry: I don't get it.
Xelloss: (shakes his head) Don't worry about it.
Gourry: So this is really Zel?
Xelloss: (nods) Yup!
Gourry: And you called him a beast and stuck him to the floor here, just for fun?
Xelloss: (still nodding) More or less.
Gourry: (draws his sword) Stop it.
Xelloss: (still nodding, not paying attention, says cheerfully) Right...wait. (opens his eyes to see Gourry stepping toward him slowly, sword in hand) What?
Gourry: (narrows his eyes, growls) I won't let you mess with my friends.
Xelloss: (noting that the situation has deteriorated somewhat, backs up, holding one hand out in a placating gesture, the other holding his staff and book) Now, now, Gourry-san, I'm just having a little fun!
Gourry: It doesn't look fun to me.
Xelloss: (laughs nervously, then quickly snaps his fingers, and Gourry disappears) Yare, yare, THAT certainly wasn't as fun as I expected it to be. Who would've thought blondie would have enough of a brain to figure out I was manipulating him and his friends? (shrugs) Oh well. I can still pester Zelgadiss. (glances at the still-frozen Zel, grins evilly, then opens his book and flips to a page) Ah yes, here we are: Scene XV.

(Ameria is wandering in the woods, casting a controlled Fireball to melt all the snow around her. Philippe is behind her, and he snorts when he sees Prince Phil laying face-down in a snowbank. Ameria levitates him up onto the horse, and they head for home. An hour or so later, the Vrumugan clones escape out the back door when the lookout in front sees them coming. He quickly jumps behind a large snowdrift to hide.)
Vrumugan: (to himself) So they're back.
(Inside, Ameria lays Prince Phil on his bed and begins a healing spell.)
Prince Phil: Belle?
Ameria: (delighted to see him awake, although her eyes are still filled with concern) It's all right, Papa. We're home.
Prince Phil: I thought I'd never see you again.
Ameria: (helps Phil sit up, hugs him) I missed you so much!
Prince Phil: But the beast! How did you escape?
Ameria: I didn't escape, Papa. He let me go.
Prince Phil: (shocked) That horrible beast?
Ameria: (smiles) He's different now. He's changed somehow. (noting Phil's dubious expression, adds) You said yourself not to judge people based on appearances. That's not just!
Prince Phil: (is about to respond to that when he hears a tapping at the window) What's that?
Ameria: (opens the window to reveal Baby Valgarv, who flies in on two adorable, cherub-like little golden wings)
Baby Valgarv: Hi!
Ameria: (hugs Baby Valgarv) Oh, you sweet little thing. How did you get all the way over here?
Baby Valgarv: I learned to fly the other day! Mama taught me!
Ameria: She must be very proud. (adds) And very worried that you're not home!
Baby Valgarv: (ignores her last sentence, gives Ameria a puppy dog-eyed look and asks) Belle-san, why'd you go away? Don't you like us anymore?
Ameria: Oh, Val-chan, of course I do! It's just that--
(Ameria is interrupted by a pounding on the door. She runs and opens it to reveal Eris standing on the porch. She doesn't recognize her.)
Ameria: May I help you?
Eris: (sinisterly) I've come to collect your father. (steps aside to reveal the asylum wagon and a mob gathered behind her)
Ameria: (confused) My father?
Eris: (mock-sweetly) Don't worry, honey. We'll take good care of him.
Ameria: (getting the gist of what's going on, says defensively) My father's not crazy!
Vrumugan: (from the crowd of bystanders near the wagon) He was raving like a lunatic not too long ago, isn't that right?
Mob: Yeah!
Ameria: (points dramatically at Eris) I won't let you! It's not just! You can't take someone away from his house simply because you believe he's crazy! (clasps her hands to her chest) I don't know who you really are, but my righteous blood is boiling--
Eris: (fed up, interrupts) Shut up!
Ameria: (wails) But I was just getting started!
Prince Phil: (emerges behind Ameria) Belle?
Vrumugan: (grins evilly) Ah, Maurice. Tell us again just how big this beast was?
Prince Phil: (booms) Enormous! I'd say at least eight or ten feet tall!
Mob: (laughs)
Vrumugan: (nudges Eris) You don't get much crazier than that.
Prince Phil: It's true, I tell you!
Eris: (waves her arms and some orderlies move in and pick up Prince Phil) Take him away!
Prince Phil: (as he's carried off) Let go of me! I demand a fair trial, in the name of justice!
Zangulus: (watches from the sidelines)
Ameria: (to Eris) No, you can't do this!
Eris: Watch me. (brushes Ameria off and walks away)
Zangulus: (before Ameria can chase after her) Tsk, tsk, tsk. Poor Belle. (with mock sincerity) It's a shame about your father.
Ameria: (accusatory) You know he's not crazy, Gaston.
Zangulus: (looks up, pretending to think) I might be able to clear up this little misunderstanding, if... (lets his voice trail off)
Ameria: (prompts him) If...what?
Zangulus: (leans down to look Ameria in the eye) If you marry me.
Ameria: (shocked) What?
Zangulus: (steps forward so he's very close to her) One little word, Belle. That's all it takes.
Ameria: (pushes him away) Never!
Zangulus: Have it your way. (turns and walks away slowly, playing hard to get)
Prince Phil: (as he's thrown into the wagon) Belle?
Ameria: (runs back into the house)
Prince Phil: (struggles) Let go of me!
Ameria: (comes back out with Zel's magic mirror, and yells to the crowd.) My father's not crazy and I can prove it! (to the mirror) Show me the beast! (The mirror shines, then produces the image of the still depressed Zelgadiss. The crowd is fascinated with it.)
Woman: Is it dangerous?
Ameria: (tries to reassure her) Oh, no. He'd never hurt anyone. Please, I know he looks vicious, but he's really kind and gentle. It's not just to judge people by appearances! I know he has a good heart. (looks at the image tenderly) He's my friend.
Zangulus: (sneers) If I didn't know better, I'd think you had feelings for this monster.
Ameria: (retorts) He's no monster, Gaston. You are!
Zangulus: (angrily) She's as crazy as the old man. (grabs the mirror from her hand)
Ameria: Hey!
Zangulus: (shouts to the crowd) The beast will make off with your children!
Mob: (gasps in fear)
Zangulus: He'll come after them in the night.
Ameria: (frantic) No!
Zangulus: We're not safe 'til his head is mounted on my wall! (raises a fist) I say we kill the beast!
Mob: (cheers and repeats) Kill him!
Man1: (sings) We're not safe until he's dead,
Man2: (also sings) He'll come stalking us at night!
Woman1: (clutches a small boy to her) Set to sacrifice our children to his devil's appetite!
Man3: He'll wreak havoc on our village if we let him wander free
Zangulus: (draws his sword and raises it, grabs a torch) So it's time to take some action, boys! It's time to follow me!
(Zangulus throws the torch into a nearby haystack, and flames immediately envelop it. He steps around it, singing about the horrible beast.)
Through the mist, through the woods
Through the darkness and the shadows
It's a nightmare but it's one exciting ride.
Say a prayer, then we're there
At the drawbridge of a castle,
And there's something truly terrible inside.
(Zangulus tries to mimic a monster, scaring the villagers.)
It's a beast,
He's got fangs, razor sharp ones
Massive powers,
Killer claws for the feast
(Zangulus shows the mirror to Vrumugan, and exaggerates Zel's appearance)
Hear him roar, see him foam,
But we're not coming home,
'Til he's dead, good and dead, kill the beast!

Ameria: (interjects) No, I won't let you do this! (grabs Zangulus's arm, trying to hold him back)
Zangulus: If you're not with us, you're against us. (turns to Vrumugan) Bring the old man!
Vrumugan: (levitates Prince Phil toward the house)
Prince Phil: Cut it out!
Zangulus: (throws Ameria into the basement through a storm door, announces) We can't have them running off to warn the creature! (slams the door once Phil is inside as well)
Vrumugan: (casts a spell over the doors of the house to prevent anyone inside from using magic)
Ameria: (tries a spell, finds it to be no use, pounds the door) Let us out!
Zangulus: (to the mob) We'll rid the village of this beast! Who's with me?
Mob: (each person gathers a torch and some weapons) I am! I am!
Zangulus: Let's go!
Mob: (sings) Light your torch, mount your horse!
Zangulus: Screw your courage to the sticking place
Mob: We're counting on Gaston to lead the way!
Through a mist, to a wood,
Where within a haunted castle,
Something's lurking that you don't see every day!
(Zangulus leads them out of town and through the forest, where they chop down a few trees to use as battering rams)
It's a beast,
One as tall as a mountain!
We won't rest
'Til he's good and deceased!

Sally forth, tally ho,
Grab your sword, grab your bow
Praise the Lord and here we go!
Zangulus: (shouts over the singing) We'll lay siege to his castle and bring back his head!

(Back at the house, Ameria is prying at the window with a stick.)
Ameria: (frantically) I have to warn Zelgadiss. This is all my fault. Oh, Papa, what are we going to do?
Prince Phil: (comforts her) We'll think of something! After all, since we're on the side of goodness and justice, we can't lose!
Ameria: (cheered by this) Right!
Baby Valgarv: (in his dragon form, flies around the house and hovers above the roof. He lands, thinking, and then flies down toward the window.)

(Not long after, in the forest, the mob has now crossed the drawbridge and is hammering away at the huge doors with logs.)
Mob: We don't like what we don't
Understand; it frankly scares us
And this monster is mysterious at least!

Bring your guns, bring your knives,
Save your children and your wives,
We'll save our village and our lives,
We'll kill the beast!

Xelloss: (sitting on the roof of the castle, dangling his legs off the side, the book on his lap, grins) Isn't this exciting? I love a good murder...
Esther: (sharply) Xelloss!
Xelloss: (starts, says out loud to his invisible boss) Yes, my lady?
Esther: Didn't I tell you nobody dies in this story?
Xelloss: (thinks back) Actually, my lady...
Esther: (sneers) Don't 'my lady' me; you read the script. You know the ending.
Xelloss: (hides his annoyance behind an amicable smile) The ending? Oh, I thought that was the negotiable part of the story! I was going to suggest that we--
Esther: (rolls her eyes, interrupts) I don't want to hear it.
Xelloss: (tries again) Maybe I could take an artistic license?
Esther: (flatly) I'm going to stick that license somewhere painful if you even try it.
Xelloss: (chuckles) I'm sure if we discussed this...
Esther: (interrupts threateningly) I could always just write you into a sealed room with Ameria for a little while, tied to a chair and unable to teleport, and have her attempt to persuade your twisted little heart over to the cause of justice and love...
Xelloss: (opens his eyes and shudders at the thought) You wouldn't.
Esther: (grins evilly) Try me.
Xelloss: Have a heart!
Esther: (chuckles) Oh, I do, Xelloss, I do. Now get back to work. What scene are we on?
Xelloss: (sighs resignedly) Scene XVI.
Esther: Good. Now, let's go! (claps her hands twice) Chop, chop!
Xelloss: Yes, my lady...

Continue to the Finale!

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

"Slayers" is copyright H. Kanzaka / R. Araizumi. Original ideas, artwork, and text present on this page are copyright Esther Nairn, unless otherwise noted. No reproduction is allowed without express written or emailed permission. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.