Silly Slayers Vignettes V

In Which Amelia is Comforted by Strong, Rocky Arms.

Amelia nuzzled her face against his shoulder, wiping a tear away. It wasn't as though the rocky surface was ideal for tears—no, it had very little in common with a gentle handkerchief. But yet it gave her more comfort than any monogrammed scrap of fabric could possibly hope to.

"Thank you," she said, squeezing her savior tight, "for being here. It's been so hard dealing with everything… there are so many responsibilities… and with grandfather gone it's been so…"

"There's no need," the chimera responded, returning her embrace.

"I just know it's not always easy for you," Amelia responded understandingly.

"It's worth it… for you," he answered, all heartfelt sincerity. "Now," he said, lifting her chin so she was looking directly at him, "let's figure out a way to cheer you up. Maybe some ice cream in the kitchens? Or we could see if the library has any new Justice Girl books?"

Amelia's face broke into a grin. She kept one arm around his partially golem frame as she allowed herself to be led out of the palace hall. "You always know just how to cheer me up, Eduardo."

They left Zelgadis, standing behind a column in the hall of Seyruun's castle, to stare slack jawed at the two retreating figures. It took him several minutes before he was able to demand, of the universe in general: "Who the HELL is Eduardo?!"

In Which Xellos Gives Lord Beastmaster a Mother's Day Gift That She Does Not Really Appreciate.

"What is this?"

Xellos's smile wavered, but only slightly. He gave his most respectful of shrugs. "Oh, just a little present, Lord Beastmaster. I've been told that it's the time of year, after all."

Zelas Metallium turned the ceramic ornament in her grasp, examining it in mystified silence. It was a vase: diminutive and with a large opening that gave it a squashed appearance. The glaze applied to it gave it a tacky, glittery sheen. The letters "MOM" had been scratched into the side.

"Actually," Xellos said, levelling with her, "I really only have it because Filia wouldn't let me in her pottery sculpting class unless I had a legitimate project that needed doing."

That at least was not a surprise. Virtually any time her subordinate wound up doing something unbelievably stupid the name "Filia" factored somewhere into the reasoning. "And you… made this yourself?" she questioned, holding the earthenware out and away from her as though it was a bag of dung.

"Well…" Xellos began hesitantly, "I'm not sure how much credit I can claim considering Filia was standing behind me and guiding my hands all the while I was working with the pottery wheel." He paused reflectively. "It was actually a bit unexpectedly romantic," he added. "…At least until the slab got lopsided and a wad of wet clay flew into her face."

Lord Beastmaster fished out her cigarette holder and held it between her teeth. "How embarrassing for you to go off prematurely on her like that," she said, lighting the end with a spark.

Xellos cleared his throat awkwardly. "In any case, I hope you'll find some use for it, Lord Beastmaster."

A smoldering column of ash slid down the cigarette as Lord Beastmaster took a lengthy drag. She crushed the still smoking butt into the bottom of the vase. "I'll treasure it," she said dryly.

In Which Lina and Gourry Run Afoul of an Erotic Baker.

"Get out of my kitchen, you witch!" the baker shouted, waving a pink and somewhat wobbly tube of dough threateningly in the direction of his uninvited guests.

"Not a chance, old man!" Lina shot back, practically vibrating with fury. "You're going to pay for your crimes against food!"

"Lina… calm down," Gourry said wearily, crouched down to avoid the fireballs and benippled mounds of cake.

"I will not calm down!" Lina yelled. Her hair frizzed wildly and the lower lid of her left eye juddered at intervals.

"I think you're just mad because that cake had bigger—" Gourry began in a quiet, but unfortunately not quiet enough, voice.

"Shut up!" Lina snapped. She turned to smack him, but then withdrew in revulsion. "And take that thing out of your mouth!"

"But I'm hungry…" came his muffled reply.

In Which Filia Shops For Gardening Equipment and Xellos Falls in Love With Her All Over Again.

As far as Filia was concerned, vases made excellent decorations all on their own. But it never hurt to add some of the beauty of the natural world into the mix. And when you run a vase shop… well, it pays to make sure your landscaping is pretty enough to set passersby to thinking about how nice a bouquet of flowers would look in their den.

Val was certainly having fun with it. Gravos was pushing a wheelbarrow along the line of potted plants for sale and Val was trailing after, stopping to smell each and every bloom. Momentarily inhaling a caterpillar had done nothing to dampen his zest for nature.

She was a little concerned with letting Jillas purchase the fertilizer. He claimed his pyrotechnic days were over, but his enthusiasm one the subject seemed to suggest he thought of it more as "potential bomb-making material" than "animal waste."

As for she and Xellos… well, they were strolling through what Xellos had insisted on calling "the murder aisle." In another circumstance she might've made some sort of comment about him seeing things through the warped, destructive prism of the monster race. But she couldn't say the thought hadn't occurred to her when she saw a machete or a pair of gardening shears strong enough to lop off a finger.

Still, you needed strong and potentially deadly equipment to keep the vines and hedges in check. If this meant having to shop in the same section as serial killers, then so be it.

She picked up one of the larger devices on the shelf. It was the coming thing, or so she'd heard—gas-powered for extra cutting strength. If the teeth around the edge of the blade could cut nearly as well as people said, it would be the perfect thing for dealing with stubborn shrubs and wind-felled trees.

She pulled the cord on the edge of the device and it roared to life. The cutting chain circled the blade so fast that the sharp edges blurred. Loud, but no doubt very effective.

She shut the chainsaw off and looked up to see Xellos staring at her with his mouth open. "What?" she demanded crossly.

When Xellos finally spoke his mouth was dry. "Buy it," was all he said.

In Which Zelgadis Does Not Have a Goatee.

Zelgadis laid out the tablets they'd discovered under the hidden compartment. The illumination from the lighting spell could only do so much in the otherwise pitch-black dungeon, but he could at least make out a little of the carvings. He couldn't read the language, not completely at least, but parts of it were familiar.

"Interesting," he said to himself. He rested his chin between his thumb and index finger. "If I had a beard, I'd stroke it."

"You mean you don't?" came Amelia's voice from behind him. The light in the room shifted as she leaned forward in confusion.

Concentration completely broken, Zelgadis turned to stare at her. "Why would you—?"

"Oh, I think I know where she's going with this," Lina interrupted with a fervent nod. "It's like your…" she trailed off, gesturing vaguely at her own face, "…rock formations or whatever. It's kinda shaped like a goatee."

"Gee, I never stopped to think about that," Gourry—who never stopped to think about a lot of things—said. "What do you even do about shaving, Zel? Do you have to use a sander or something?"

"Yeah… I've never been clear on the whole hair situation," Lina commented, lacing her fingers behind her head. "And I'd kinda like to keep it that way."

Rage and embarrassment had purpled Zelgadis's face by this point. "…Can we not talk about this?" he asked through gritted teeth.

"…I just thought it looked distinguished…" Amelia said in a small voice.