Disclaimer: I don't own slayers, etc. blah blah blah
Again, sorry, been busy at school, also had horrible case of writers block. Anyway, please, read and review. I apologize in advance, since due to the nature of the character, this chapter will be more serious than the others.
A Slayers Christmas, Zelgadis
As he watched the battlefield before him, he could only shake his head. It was so pointless. . . how could anyone eat this much for breakfast? Granted, since demons and golems didn't eat much, he had for the most part forgotten the concept of hunger, but recalling his days as a normal human, he couldn't ever remember seeing himself or anyone else consume this much food. Zelgadis sighed as Lina scoffed down another plate of bacon and eggs. Actually, things were going pretty smoothly right now. Unlike both dinners the night before, neither Lina nor Gourry had reached for the same peace of food, so overall, everyone except the chef was at peace. Well, actually, Filia was still getting over what had happened the night before. She was still sobbing upstairs in the room, and still couldn't get her tail under control. Amelia had already left to explore the town they were lodging in right now; she seemed to be the living embodiment of the season. Deciding that the action was winding down at the table, he stood up, checked that his long sword was secured to his belt, and left, trying not to attract glances from other diners. Knowing that girl, she was probably getting herself into more trouble than she was worth.
As he walked outside in the dawning light, he cinched his cloak tighter. He hated being out like this, but it was a relief to get a break from having to baby-sit Lina and Gourry. Suddenly he felt something wet and slightly hard impact his head. His stone skin lessened the blow, but it still caught his attention. He turned around and saw a group of kids preparing snowballs. One of them pointed and laughed "Haha! Why are you wearing a mask mister, it's Christmas, not Halloween! And what's with the makeup?" Zelgadis closed his eyes and mentally calmed himself. Even if he was used to reactions like this, it still got on his nerves. An adult who looked to be the children's mother suddenly appeared and started scolding the boy who had thrown the snowball "Jonny, I told you not to thrown snowballs at strangers! Now get back inside before you catch a cold!" She looked at Zelgadis and started "I'm sorry sir, normally he doesn't act so. . ." she trailed off as she realized what she was looking at. Zelgadis simply stared back. This was the other reaction he usually got, and the one he hated most. Ever since he was tricked into this cursed body, even his own village had alienated him. Ever since that day, his life had never been normal. He'd even almost forgotten the holiday that came during the winter, since he'd never been able to get close to anyone. The woman backed away slowly and then quickly retreated into the house the children had entered. The chimera simply walked on. As much as he hated it, he was used to it by now.
Thankfully, on his way to the market place, no one was really paying attention, so no one really took a second glance at his face. He soon found Amelia, who had joined into a group of carolers. Despite the fact that she was way off key, no one seemed to care, and she wasn't causing any trouble, so he decided to head back to the inn. It was too much to ask for Lina and Gourry not to have gotten into one of their famous arguments, and he didn't want to be run out of this town due to an over reaction on either of their parts. Suddenly he heard a scream. It was faint, and if it hadn't been for his sharp hearing, he probably wouldn't have heard it. It sounded like Amelia. He ran in the direction, down a twisting alley, and came to a dead end. There were three obviously drunken men surrounding a young girl, which although not Amelia, was around the same age. The girl was attempting to get a basket from one of the men, and what looked like a hiking stick was lying on the ground behind one of the men. Suddenly, one of the men noticed Zel and said "Hey, leave us be. We wouldn't want anyone to get hurt…" Zel sighed. While it wasn't in his nature to be charitable, he didn't like being threatened, and seeing the helpless girl, what else could he do? "Return the basket to the girl then, if you don't want anyone to get hurt" he said in a low voice, crossing his arms across his chest. "Oh, tough guy are you?" slurred one of the men, who looked as though he weighed about 300 lb. "Lets see how tough you are when you're face down in the snow!" The man bull rushed Zelgadis, drawing back with a fist and aiming right for his face. Zelgadis didn't move. The blow he received would have knocked a normal human out cold. There was a sickening crunch as all four fingers broke and the man fell to the ground clutching his fist. Zelgadis simply lifted the thug up by his shirt, kneed him in the chest (Another crunch as his ribs broke) and threw him to the side. By this time he had passed out from the pain, and the other two had finally taken notice. "Wha…What are you?!" stuttered one of them. "It's not important," replied Zel, drawing his sword. "What is important is that you'd better leave now if you don't want to end up like him." The two didn't waste time. They dropped the basket and ran, completely disregarding their fallen comrade. Zelgadis picked up the basket and gave it to the girl. "Here. You should probably get home before anymore of them come back." "Thank you kind sir…" she said looking up at him. He flinched, waiting for the reaction. But none came. He then saw that her eyes were pale and unfocused, and as she started feeling around on the ground for the stick, he realized that she was blind. She found it and stood up. She looked in the direction of Zel and said, "Sir…I don't mean to be trouble to you, but I don't know where I am. Can you please help me get home?" Zel sighed again. He couldn't just leave her here. "Alright." He said. She didn't have to find out what he was, so it couldn't do any harm.
As they emerged from the alley, Zel noticed a few strange looks in his direction. It must have looked odd, a girl feeling her way through the streets escorted by a chimera. "Um…where is it that you live?" he asked her. "Somewhere near the town temple" she said. "If you get me close I should be able to find my way. By the way…" she said. "This might sound a bit strange but. . . can I feel your face?" Zel's eyes widened. "I want to know what you look like. Since I can't see I find what people look like by touch." Zel was worried now. Not only was there the risk of her cutting herself on his hair, but she'd also find out what he was. "Um. . ." he thought quickly. "I'm wearing a mask against the cold. You wouldn't be able to feel anything," he said as he pulled it up over his face. "Oh. Okay." She replied with a smile. Zel sighed with relief. That was close. As they neared the temple, she seemed to become more alert. "I think I know where we are now… that sounds likethe creakysign hanging from the tavern across the street. It's right across from where my house is." They approached an average looking house. "Please, won't you come in? I'm sure my mom would want to meet you. "What!?" said Zel, but for some reason could not resist being pulled into the house after her.
She guided him into the kitchen, where a middle-aged woman was stirring something in a cauldron over a fire. "Sara? Is that you?" she asked without turning. "Yes Mother. Mom, we have a guest. He rescued me from some drunk men in an alley way." "Is that so?" the woman replied. "Well then, I suppose that deserves a free meal" She turned around and smiled at him "please sir, feel free to take off your cloak and hang it up." When he hesitated Sara said "Please. Let me see what you look like" and pulled the cloak right off of him. She hung it over a chair and was about to reach up when she heard her mother's sharp intake of breath. Zel was stunned for a moment and then started for his cloak "I'm...sorry about this…I should be going." "What's wrong?" asked Sara as her mom went next to her and put her arm around her shoulders protectively. The woman was looking at Zelgadis with a somewhat confused look.
"Look Sara" Sighed Zelgadis. "The reason I didn't want you to touch my face is…I'm not normal. There's something about me that you wouldn't understand." At that moment there was a knock on the door. Zelgadis stayed where he was as Sara and her mother moved to answer it. As they opened the door, a large group of people could be seen outside carrying torches and wielding various sharp objects. A familiar voice said "Alright! Where's the monster?!" Amelia dashed through the door, but tripped over Sara's stick, and fell to the ground with a loud thud. She looked up and with a surprised look asked "Mister Zelgadis, what are you doing here?" "I was about to ask the same thing of you Amelia," replied Zelgadis. "Well" said Amelia. "Someone said they saw a monster following a blind girl into her house. I didn't know it was you!" (Another loud thud as Zelgadis face-vaulted). "Hey, there he is!" Shouted a man who had looked through the doorway. Zelgadis recognized him as one of the men from the alley "Get him!" People started to enter the house when a small voice yelled, "Stop!" Sara stepped in front of the villagers. She turned around and put her hand on Zel's shoulder. Slowly, she felt her way up his neck, pausing as her finger-tips touched the stony plates growing on his face, and lightly brushed over the wiry hair. Zel stood as she felt his face, too stunned to react. As she removed her hands, she turned back to the villagers.
"My fingers tell me that this mans appearance is…different," she said. "But that doesn't matter to me." She continued "He rescued me from thieves in an alley way, and helped me home when I was lost. To you, he may look like a monster, but I know he's not. The real monsters are those who pick on those weaker than they are." She suddenly frowned and said "I know that voice…you're one of the men from the alleyway!" she pointed at the man who had entered the house. He turned to run and suddenly found himself surrounded by angry villagers. "You tried to steal from a harmless little girl!?" said one man, cracking his knuckles. "How dare you!" yelled a woman wielding a rolling pin. Zelgadis was soon forgotten as the villagers dragged the man down to the local jail.
Sara's mother approached Zelgadis. "Sir… I'm sorry for the way I reacted earlier. I should be grateful to anyone who helped my daughter. Please, stay for dinner won't you?" "Oh yeah!" said Amelia "I was looking for you when I heard about the monster. Since Lina and Gourry have eaten all the food at the inn, she said we're moving to the next village. She was going to leave without you, but I convinced her otherwise (Flashback of Amelia giving one of her truth-and-justice speeches, Lina groaning and telling her to hurry up just so she would stop preaching)." "I'm sorry," said Zelgadis, looking at Sara and her mother. "I have to leave. It seems that my companions are leaving town without me." "Well then" smiled Sara "anytime you're in town again, please feel free to pay us a visit." Zelgadis smiled slightly. "Maybe"
As they walked down the street, Amelia was in her normal cheery mood. "Well, that actually turned out pretty well didn't it?" Zelgadis shrugged. "I don't know. With the exception of Sara and her mother, everyone still thinks I'm a monster." "Aww, mister Zelgadis, that's not true." Amelia said with a smile. "I know you're not a monster. By the way, while I was in the market place today, I picked up your Christmas present. I hope you'll like it!" She then looked at the town clock and said "Hey, we're late! Race you to the inn!" The young princess jumped into the air with the assistance of her magic and started hopping from building to building, surprisingly without falling. Zelgadis stood alone on the street. He had been getting a strange feeling lately, though he didn't know what it was. He usually got it when Amelia was around, and right now it was stronger than ever. The chimera suddenly realized that Amelia had left his sight, and hurried to catch up. Her luck jumping from building to building probably wasn't going to hold out for long.