Slayers New by Esther Nairn | Epilogue: | Three Days After the Conclusion of Slayers New
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“And that, my master, is everything that has happened so far.”

A long silence followed, broken only by the sound of cigarette smoke being exhaled into the air. It dissipated quickly, however, once again giving the storyteller a clear view of his master’s exquisite, tanned face.

“Excellent,” breathed Greater Beast Zelas Metallium, one of the three remaining dark lords under Ruby Eye Shaburanigdo. Her golden, lupine eyes, the same color as her hair, gazed down at the Mazoku kneeling before her, his ruby-tipped staff conspicuously absent. His cape pooled around him, its inky color blending in with the black obsidian tile that covered the floor of her throne room. He gazed up at her calmly, his amethyst demon eyes almost taking on a wolf-like appearance themselves in the dim light of the torches suspended to either side of Zelas’s throne. The dark lord raised her long, slender cigarette holder to her perfect, red lips. She slowly inhaled, then brought the cigarette back down, knocking ash from its tip with a casual flick of her wrist. “Excellent work, Xelloss. Where are they now?” she asked, smoke pouring from her mouth as she spoke.

The priest closed his eyes and visualized the location of Lina Inverse and her friends. Zelas closed her eyes as well, and saw in her mind’s eye a lush, green forest. The branches of some of the trees in front of her vision shook, then collapsed to the ground with a crash. The golden blade of the sword from Achek’s Tower came into view before Gourry Gabriev’s face did as he swung it back and forth to cut a path for his companions behind him. His face, she noticed, was tight with concentration. Lina Inverse followed him closely, boredom and annoyance twisting her petite features into a scowl. Ameria Wil Tesla Saillune strolled along behind Lina, talking amicably over her shoulder to the man behind her, whose ever-present easygoing expression made her sneer with disgust. “That is the new one?”

Xelloss nodded, his eyes sill closed. “Prince Janak Chakar of Orios,” he added.

She nodded in response and kept watching. A girl followed Janak, her green-blue eyes carefully avoiding the prince as she fidgeted with the hem of the tunic that hung from her frame. She turned her head slightly and surreptitiously glanced at the man who brought up the rear, a stonily impassive expression on his blue face. If it was possible, Zelgadiss Greywords looked even more bored than Lina. He gave a cursory glance at the forest around him, and his sword flashed out to his right, separating a small branch sticking out over the path from the huge oak tree to which it had just previously belonged. His aqua eyes finally met the girl’s, and she faced forward quickly, an unreadable expression on her face. “And that,” Zelas said softly, “is the Chakar girl.”

“Erika Chakar,” Xelloss acknowledged.

She watched the little troupe for a few more moments, studying the newcomers to Lina Inverse’s merry band of followers. Slowly, her mouth twisted into an amused smile. “Very well, you may stop now, Xelloss.” Immediately, the image faded from her mind, and she opened her eyes. Her priest simply gazed up at her, patiently awaiting her orders.

Zelas ignored her servant’s expectations, and calmly took another drag on her cigarette. She held the smoke in her mouth for a thoughtful moment, but finally tilted her chin and blew it out in little rings. She crossed her long, slender legs under her cream-colored robes and folded one arm across her chest, resting her other elbow in her palm. She tapped her chin with her index finger while holding the cigarette holder between her knuckles, pursing her lips and running her tongue over her canine teeth. Finally, she said lightly, “I believe now would be a good time to set our plan into motion. Xelloss, I want you to go to the Tes’sha Forest.”

“Yes, master,” the priest replied obediently, and started to stand.

“I didn’t say you could rise,” she added quickly.

Surprised, Xelloss lowered his knee to the dark tile again and bowed his head. “My apologies,” he said quietly. He wondered why Juu-ou-sama insisted that he act so formally; usually when he reported to her it was more of a conversation between kindred spirits than a report from a servant to his master.

“I don’t want them to see you just yet,” the dark lord continued. “Wait another two or three days, and then make your appearance. Don’t stay any longer than you have to.” Her eyes flashed over her cigarette, which she now brought close to her lips. “Just long enough to say a quick ‘hello’ to Lina Inverse and her friends, and to introduce yourself to the Chakar girl. Understood?”

“Perfectly, my master,” Xelloss replied.

Zelas brought the cigarette holder to her lips and inhaled, then blew out the smoke in a little puff. “Be sure that Erika knows just who and what you truly are by the time you leave,” she said with a smirk.

Xelloss knew not to let his surprise show. Keeping a mask of impassivity carefully in place over his face, he pointed out, “That is more than we usually let on.”

She nodded. “I know. I want her to fear you.”

“I’m sure her companions won’t hesitate to inform her of their past dealings with me,” Xelloss said.

His master laughed, a silvery sound that echoed off the polished, rutilated obsidian walls. “Let them talk. It is none of our concern. Just make your presence known--for now, that is all I ask. You may depart.”

Xelloss bowed his head, his purple hair brushing against his cheeks as he nodded. “I will obey, master.” With that, he disappeared.

Zelas sat in silence, staring into the space that Xelloss had previously occupied. She quietly crushed the tip of her cigarette into a small, shallow golden dish on a little table next to her black obsidian throne, and left the holder there. Finally, after several moments, she turned to a shadowy corner of her throne room to her right. “You can come out now,” she said huskily. Slowly, ever so slowly, a white orb flared into existence, its light growing stronger until it illuminated the entire room, revealing the vaulted ceiling and the black pillars that supported it.

“Not so bright,” Zelas commanded sharply.

If it had had shoulders, the orb would have shrugged. “It cannot be helped,” came a low, masculine voice from within it.

Try to,” she growled from between gritted teeth.

The orb floated a few feet off the ground silently, as if deciding whether or not to acknowledge the master of the beasts. Finally, it grew dimmer, but only slightly. “My apologies. Is that better?” it asked with a trace of sarcasm. The dark lord nodded once, favoring it with an expression of thinly-veiled disgust. It decided to change the subject. “Your servant is very...loyal,” it said, drawing out its words for emphasis.

Zelas snorted and eyed the orb with half-lidded derision. “My people do not seem to have the same difficulty with the concept of loyalty that yours do,” she said snidely.

The orb bristled. “Perhaps the beasts find your sense of humor amusing,” it hissed, “but I do not.”

Zelas let a smug smirk turn the corners of her perfect mouth upward. “My apologies. Is that better?” she asked with the same trace of sarcasm the orb had used a moment earlier.

“Let’s get down to business,” it grumbled.

“Very well,” she replied lightly.

“Your servant did not sense me, did he?”

She snorted again. “Hardly. He would never think to even look for you, much less know you were there. Don’t worry,” she drawled with mock concern, “he knows nothing of the grander plan.”

The orb paused, then bobbed in acknowledgement. “Now that you have set this plan into motion, I will begin my search for my chosen one. Circumstances being what they are, it may take some time. The one I have in mind does not wish to be found.”

“That’s fine,” Zelas replied. “It will take some time before Lina Inverse and her friends reach their destination. In the meantime, you will deliver the prophecy?”

The sphere seemed to glow brighter for a second, which Zelas wasn’t sure how to interpret. “Indeed, those loyal to me will receive it,” it said with emphasis. “And how is your search coming?

The dark lord chuckled. “Quite well. Dynast Grausherra can be useful for a few things, even if he is a warmongering buffoon the rest of the time.”

"Very well,” the orb replied as it started to fade. “If you have nothing else to say, I suppose that is all, for now.”

“For now,” Zelas echoed with a nod. “Ta-ta,” she drawled mildly, smirking at the orb as it disappeared without another word.

She sat in silence, reveling in the near darkness that now enveloped her throne room. She sighed and conjured another cigarette in the long holder that lay resting in the golden dish at her right hand. She picked it up as its tip smoldered, and rose to her feet. Slowly, her footfalls echoing against the walls, she crossed the room to a recess in the wall directly opposite her throne. Once there, she stretched out her slender left hand while taking another drag on her cigarette, gently brushing her fingers across the surface of the stone tablet held to the wall with magically-reinforced golden pegs. It had been carved in haste; the foreign handwriting chipped into its surface was uneven and chaotic. Silently, she studied the characters, gray smoke floating lazily toward the ceiling from her lips, wondering if Achek ever guessed that his master’s stone tablets would ever become more than just the writings of a crazed man whose mind had been touched by the Lord of Nightmares.

She smiled ferally. Probably not.

The throne room filled with Zelas’s cruel laughter, echoing off the walls and seeping into the castle that was her metaphysical home on Wolf Pack Island. As if in reply, thousands of lupine voices joined hers, as every lesser Mazoku within her realm threw whatever passed for its head back and howled. The sound echoed through the perpetual night that surrounded the place, touching every corner, until it reached the ears of Greater Beast’s priest. Xelloss paused just before making his appearance in the physical world and once again wondered just what Zelas Metallium was up to. After a moment of pondering, he teleported to the physical world, not far from where Gourry was hacking a path through the Tes’sha woods, silently resolving to keep an eye not only on Lina Inverse and her friends, but his master, as well.

"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.