Disclaimer: These people belong to their creators, not to me.

No more warnings; the remaining chickens have earned a period of grace.

Notes: well, folks, this is as far as I've gotten so far, and I'm a bit stalled now. Not quite sure where to take it from here... I was thinking of heading it into the puppet episode, but come on, a humorfic about a filler? Anyone got any better ideas? If I do continue this, it'll certainly go into one episode or another. Call it a poll and let me know.

Thanks to those of you who have responded so far. May your numbers swell and increase and become a powerful force for good in the universe--or my head, at least. But then, getting a review from Xellas is probably head- swelling enough right there (eee!)...

Asteria, thanks for your praise and attention. It's nice when someone cares enough about one's quality of work to make a correction. To the best of my knowledge, it's never stated definitively in canon how the mystery priest came into being. But hey, I'm only in-depth familiar with the anime; I've only read one of the manga. It's also been a while since I really combed the series (should probably do that again, but aargh, Realplayer!), and I may have conveniently forgotten something. If you can find a source that backs up your impression, let me know, and I'll gladly plaster a big AU poster over my entire body of work. My personal impression is that Xellos is way too good at humans to never have been one.

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Timesheet

by Nightfall

part four

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_|6:06 AM|_

"Ahhhhhh. Not up to your usual standards, darling minion."

"No, Master, I regret to agree that it wasn't. May I have your permission to lull the chickens into a false sense of security? I think they're catching on."

"...You think the chickens are catching on."

"Yes, Master."

"The birds."

"Yes, Master."

"I mean, the things with the brains the size of chickpeas."

"Yes, Master."

"In point of fact, the birdbrains."

"Exactly, Master."

"..."

"What can I say, Master? In times of adversity, those who can learn and adapt survive. And as your right hand, I hope I may be forgiven for priding myself on being an apt tool of adversity."

"Hmm. You may have a point."

"Thank you, Master. I'll allocate a portion of the budget to dog food until they've stopped panicking at my scent."

And maybe longer. Take that, Fenris. Kibble for you until you learn to leave my boots alone! DRY kibble!

"Now, what do we have scheduled for today? Any new business?"

"Well, Master, did you want me to spend today with the Inverse girl or working on the inventory or working on the draconic problem or the Gaav problem or something else? Because Young Master Greyweir stumbles downstairs very early in the morning, and if you want me to spend the day with Miss Inverse I should join them before he gets up."

"...Stumbles, Xellos?"

"Well, you see, Master, what with Miss Inverse's temper tantrums and the little Princess's various personality quirks and, if I may so flatter myself, my own efforts, he doubtless feels it wise to be fully caffeinated before anyone else wakes up."

"...And you wish to foil this attempt?"

Oh, baby, yeah. You can get a lot of flirting in before he wakes up enough to punch you.

"It's an exercise of increasing returns for minimal effort, Master. When he wakes up after anyone but the swordsman, it puts him in a bad mood at least until lunch, and he does the most delicious spirals. And also, the more often it happens, the worse the initial mood."

"I see. I have a question for you, my minion."

"Yes, Master?"

"How do you survive on just breakfast and the dregs of annoyance you can evoke in them? Your low maintenance is one of your more desirable traits as my servant, but I confess I don't understand it."

"Well, Master, they're more easily provoked than you might think. But the truth is..."

"Yes?"

Blush, look modest, smile through the eyelashes.

"I'm on a diet. --Ooooh, Master, that looked painful! Let me help you up..."

[end part four]