Lazy rings of smoke slowly followed each other towards the high stone ceiling over Beastmaster Xelas. Calm resonated off the waiting Demon Lord. Although it was not nearly as deep as it seemed. Fierce self control and millennia of practice were at its core. Chilled wine went a long way in assisting the passing of time as well.

Hours passed while Xelas channeled the carefully crafted calm. One cigarette followed another just like one rare wine followed another. Xelas smirked as she thought about how it was a very good thing that she had no need to worry about neither lung nor liver disease.

When at last one of the visitors she'd been expecting arrived, Xelas opened the front door with a flick of a finger. She extinguished the cigarette with slow crushing motion on the marble topped table that held her mostly empty wine glass and completely empty decanter.

Dynast's priest entered the room and kneeled. A sneer twitched at the edges of his lips as he waited impatiently to be acknowledged. No human, and most demons, would not have noticed the infinitesimal twitch of his lips. Xelas delicately set her cigarette holder on the marble table as well, pointedly ignoring the kneeling priest.

By the time her eyes drifted over the demon, he was practically crawling within his own skin. Obviously failure was not going to be acceptable for his master.

"Well what is it you want?" Xelas asked as if she had no clue why he'd bother coming all the way to her little island.

The priest rose slowly. Dynast's orders included being beyond respectful towards the Beastmaster. Ordinarily a bow would be all that was required of a visiting priest, but Dynast felt the need to have his priest stroke the Beastmaster's ego a little to encourage her action.

"Lord Dynast wishes to make an arrangement with you."

Xelas let out an exaggerated yawn. "I believe we've already attempted following his plans. You may tell Lord Dynast that I'm disinclined to acquiesce." The disdain that she placed in Lord clearly stated how she felt about his ability to lead.

The priest's lips thinned. This was not going well for his future health, and the way things were he was going to get punished severely by Dynast.

"At least agree to hear him out in person." Although the priest did not mean for it to be there, there was a certain sense of desperation in his statement.

Xelas rolled her eyes and reached for her wine glass. She twirled the glass. Each spin of the red liquid the glass filled a little more. Drawing the seconds out into minutes, Xelas let his anxiety build as she pretended to consider his request.

"If he feels he must." Xelas waved her free hand to dismiss the demon. He did not bother walking out before teleporting.

Xelas grinned ferally. "I was rather hoping he'd come himself to begin with, but I suppose this works equally well. Takes longer but makes him more desperate."

Claw like nails tapped on her throne. She would need Dynast to approach Deep Sea this time. After Xelas practically dragged her into the last fight Deep Sea wouldn't want to even see Xelas, let alone speak with her. The tapping rhythm continued as she thought about the likelihood of Dynast succeeding in such an endeavor.

"I'll make sure he goes, but I better not count on Deep Sea contributing anything to the next battle." Xelas sighed. Already she was tired of this war and only one battle was done. A smirk graced her red lips. "Wonder if it's hoping too much for the Golden Lord to step in again."

Xelloss materialized and bowed quickly before approaching the throne. Since he was not summoned this time he did not bother with the formality of kneeling or waiting to be acknowledged.

"Well this is a surprise. Two days in row you come without being summoned." Since beginning his pursuit of Lina, Xelloss had taken to only leaving her side when summoned.

Xelloss hesitated. He was unsure of what he thought he'd accomplish here. The first instinct Xelloss had when encountering something he was unsure of was to consult his master.

"Lina's lost all magical power. Even a light spell does nothing."

"Nothing at all? It doesn't even fizzle?" Xelas sat up suddenly very interested.

"Nothing." Xelloss said seriously.

"Her time of the month?"

"Lighting spells are full strength, and most of her other spells fizzle or are incredibly weak." Xelloss said curious as to where Xelas was going with this.

"I see." Xelas tapped the cigarette holder on the arm of her chair. The steady click filled the room. "This degeneration of magic got drastic when?"

Xelloss searched his memory combing through all of the signs and hints. "I suppose that the drastic degeneration began the day after the battle in the North."

Xelas frowned deeply and set the cigarette holder down once more. She sat up and stared at her servant. "You are absolutely positive of this?"

Xelloss blinked at the sudden change in his master's demeanor. It was a minor change of posture and a slightly different glint in her eyes. Most would hardly notice it, but to Xelloss it was a glaring change.

Once more Xelloss browsed the facts stored in his memory to double check his previous statement. "Yes, quite sure."

Xelas stared through Xelloss for a few moments before breaking her intense gaze with a deep sigh. She leaned back and stared at the ceiling.

"Consequences. I wonder." Xelas closed her eyes. "The Golden Lord warned you about consequences." Xelloss nodded. "From your first experience witnessing the Giga Slave, she was going to take Lina's body." Violet eyes suddenly opened wide in understanding.

"But that's impossible!" Xelloss was firmly in denial.

"Really? Do you think anything is impossible for the Mother of All?" Xelas smirked at her priest genuinely amused by his vehement denial.

"I… Uh…" Xelloss stammered as he swallowed his denial and thought about it. "No. So since She relinquished Lina's body, She's taken the unborn child's?"

"Perhaps." Xelas shrugged. "How much magic do you suppose it would take?" Xelas mused. "Of course 'consequences' is plural. And as big as it is it's still singular."

Xelloss swallowed. Perhaps he'd finally truly gotten in over his head. "So what do we do now mother?"

A small smirk graced Xelas's lips as she once more looked at her creation. It'd been many centuries since he called her that. "We wait."

Violet eyes slipped closed as a sigh slipped past his lips. Waiting was always hard, and this time it was going to be much worse. Lina's mortality never seemed more fragile to him than at this very moment.

No words were spoken when Xelloss's gaze met his master's. Only the slightest of nods was given. As sudden as Xelloss appeared he was gone.

Xelas pushed herself out of the throne. Heels clicked as she quickly left the room. Long determined strides brought her quickly to her room. The seal on the drawer melted beneath her touch. Inside the small book seemed very ordinary to be kept under a powerful demon barrier. Xelas snatched it up and strode quickly back to her library.

Xelloss rematerialized in the trees just outside of the green around Gourry and Sylphiel's home. The shapes of two giant wolves silently solidified out of the forest. They fell into step beside the priest, giving their report of the lack of events while he was gone. Then as quick and silently as they appeared they were gone.

Outside the small home, sitting on the grass, everyone was enjoying lunch with the usual ferocious enthusiasm. Lina and Gourry were engaged in their usual battle over a select piece of meat.

Xelloss grabbed a slice of cake before taking a seat near Lina, but not so close as to be in danger of getting caught by a flying elbow. Through the chaos only Milgazia acknowledged his arrival with a glare. Xelloss returned the suspicious glare with a smile, his eyes hidden.

Immediately Milgazia broke the gaze. Even with his eyes hidden Milgazia could feel the demon's power.

Several minutes passed before Lina, victorious in wresting the last meat from Gourry's grasp, turned to Xelloss and smiled. Every bit the cat that got the bird. Xelloss smiled back at her.

"Was wondering when you'd show back up," she said around bites.

"Miss me?" Xelloss inquired.

Hidden behind a curtain of purple bangs, his eyes drifted down to her belly. He wondered about the being that grew there. He hated waiting.

Lina scoffed, but a blush tinted her cheeks. "Hardly."

"You're blushing Miss Lina," Amelia pointed out with a bit of a smirk for catching Lina in a lie.

"Shut it Amelia!" Lina snapped and blushed even harder for being caught.

As everyone started laughing, Lina reacted by grabbing Amelia in a headlock. "Take it back," she growled at the princess.

Amelia gasped and tried vainly to break the hold.

"Lina, aren't you being a little harsh?" Sylphiel asked meekly. Gourry put a hand on Sylphiel's shoulder and shook his head. It was one thing that he'd learned; don't interrupt Lina when she's like this. Besides she wouldn't actually hurt Amelia.

She stuttered and tried to beg for justice and then mercy and finally for forgiveness.

Lina smiled in triumph as she released her hold. "There that wasn't so hard was it?"

Amelia was rubbing her neck. "Harder than you needed to be," the princess mumbled.

"What was that?" Lina turned around and looked with narrowed eyes.

Amelia held her hands up. "Uhh… what was what?"

Xelloss sighed contentedly as he set down his empty plate. A sweet dessert to accompany a very filling and satisfying meal, he could always count on Lina and her friends.

"You certainly seem to enjoy sweets Mr. Xelloss," Amelia observed mostly to change the subject before Lina came after her again.

Xelloss turned his attention fully to the young princess, curious that she would bring it up. "Well I suppose I do."

"I'm glad you enjoyed the cake," Sylphiel smiled broadly as she stood and started gathering the empty plates.

"Let me help you," Filia volunteered and started gathering a stack of her own.

"Chocolate is my favorite," Xelloss said.

Lina nodded. She had noticed that if he ate something it was always something sweet. Lina laughed, "I suppose it's a better habit to have than Xelas's smoking."

This comment got a chuckle from the demon and he held up a single finger. "Don't forget the drinking."

"What kind of example is she setting for you as a parent?" Amelia exclaimed incredulously.

Xelloss blinked at the princess in bewilderment several times. He turned to the people present trying to ascertain if she was serious about the question. Gourry was no help his face was totally blank and lost, likely beyond his realm of comprehension after chocolate. Milgazia was frowning deeply in disapproval as usual. Filia and Sylphiel were already on their way to the house so they weren't any assistance either. Lina shrugged. There was no explaining what went through Amelia's head sometimes.