He watched them through curious eyes, the group of mortals now coming to be known as the Slayers. He watched them as they went long their ways, arguing amongst themselves, laughing, eating the way they always did. He followed them, sometimes as their companion, sometimes unseen, sometimes not even there, using his Mazoku powers to watch them where they went. The chaos, destruction, and fear, chaos, and destruction that followed wherever they went was delightful to one of his kind, especially one as old as he himself. He smiled as a sorceress garbed in pink, black, and cream punched a rather dim-witted blonde warrior in the face, evidently punishing him for some comment or action.

The purple-haired Mazoku vanished from his perch, appearing behind the group, humming a little tune. The sorceress turned to him, surprised, and spoke his name. Eyes closed, but perfectly capable of 'seeing', he nodded, and mentioned a certain rare and valuable artifact in a neighboring town. Of course, he 'forgot' to mention that the artifact was guarded by an entire army, the town was horribly xenophobic, and the treasure chamber was trapped so heavily he would have a hard time lifting it, but he always liked to see Lina and her friends surmount the most impossible odds. Using them as tools of chaos was one of his private hobbies and semi-permanent lesser duties to his Lady; not only that, but it was damned funny at times. He followed them to the gates of the town, and then disappeared to watch from walls, buildings, and otherwise. Of course, if they did manage to pilfer the artifact, he'd send the guards after them - it was his job, after all. Lina would hit him for it. He'd let her - it gave her something to do. If he was lucky, maybe she'd Dragon Slave the town. It had gotten rather annoying in the past century or two, and the pain, suffering, and agony of the townspeople who would inevitably die in the explosion would be a fitting meal for him. His smile broadened and sipped some conjured tea. Filia wouldn't like that. But then, Filia generally disapproved of him in general.

That Gold Dragon priestess of the Fire Dragon King! Why, she was the most obstinate, stuck-up brat he'd ever met. And yet, something about her drew his eye. She certainly was beautiful enough by mortal standards, but he'd slaughtered thousands of dragons prettier than she in the War of Monster's Fall. And yet.... torturing her vocally was more fun than he'd had in a few centuries. She gave the most splendid reactions, blushed the prettiest pink when exposed to things she was naive about. She was so easy to anger, and her beauty improved in spades when she was angry. He wanted to be the one who opened her eyes to the truth of things... and he couldn't help but feel that it was for something more than to feel her pain and confusion when he did. Somehow... he wanted her to see the world the way it really was; all tricks and traps aside, he wanted to shake out of her that startling black-and-white morality, her naïveté on the subject of her people. True, he'd done more horrible things than most Gold Dragons could even dream of, but her own elders weren't the saints they claimed to be. He wanted her to see that. To understand him.

He sighed and took another sip of the summoned tea. He needed to clear his head. A large explosion came from the city below, and he cocked one ear to hear Lina's exasperated cries of his name. Filia was making a comment about how Lina shouldn't depend on Mazoku like him. He grinned. She was at it again. More fighting, more delightful screams of pain from a Fireball spell, and Lina was on the move again, with, he realized, the treasure clutched in her arms.

He'd missed the best part. How annoying.

He shrugged, then appeared behind them, calmly floating after them and waiting for them to notice him. They were out of town before Lina turned, grabbed him out of the air, and started to pound him.

He let her do it. It kept her happy, and a happy Lina was infinitely preferable to an angry Lina.

Such is life, thought Xellos Metallium, the Trickster Priest, as the Gold Dragon began to lecture him as well. He grinned, and began to verbally fence with them both. Yes, such is the life of a Mazoku, and it was a pretty exciting ride.