Please refer to Chapter One for the STANDARD DISCLAIMER
Sugoi, minna-san! I'm so happy that you liked this little ficcie of mine after all. Thanks to all those who reviewed. You'll be glad to know that it cheered up this little dragon immensely. I'm sorry for coming up with such a terrible story on how Dolphin got… well… I was too lazy to conduct research. I've made the necessary changes, though. Thanks again to Filia Metallium for clearing things out. And about the unnecessary spaces and short scenes, I apologize… It's just my writing style getting the better of me. Gomen, too, to a certain reviewer who was asking for some Filia-Xellos interaction… You'd get that in the next chapter most likely… I hope that'd be enough reason to watch out for that…
It really gave me a headache coming up with a prophecy that SOUNDED as one so…
Oh and BTW, gomen for the delay… I really am such a lazy writer. Bad Ryuuen, bad!
The sun was shining brightly that day. Birds were chirping happily from the boughs of the trees that fringed the shady path. A summer-sweet breeze blew, sending golden locks fluttering in the breeze. A rather ruffled Filia Ul Copt frowned as she unsuccessfully tucked the wayward strands under her headdress. It was such a beautiful morning. Humming softly, she continued down on her way. She had had a considerably pleasant week's journey, after all. The weather had been unusually pleasant, wayside bandits exceedingly few and hospitable innkeepers graciously abundant. It had been almost perfect. So much unlike traveling with Lina and the others…she mused.
It had been almost two years now since the Dark Star incident and the Slayers have gone on their separate ways. She, for her part, had settled down in a quiet little village in the outskirts of the holy city of Saillune with Jillas, Gravos and Val, and opened a Mace and Pottery Shop which had earned her quite an ample sum of money. She had stayed there ever since, occupied by running the shop and raising Baby Val who had just hatched 6 months ago. The others, on the other hand, returned to their normal lives. Lina and Gourry, from what she had gathered, were still traveling with one another, killing bandits here, slaying mazoku there. They seemed to have made a living out of it, though, knowing them, they must have spent all their earnings on food. Filia barely heard from those two since they seldom seemed to visit the same town twice. Zelgadis, too, had resumed traveling and looking for his cure, dropping by once in a while only to ask for advice. Amelia, on the other hand, having reassumed her duties as Princess kept in touch with her regularly. Her letters, though overflowing with complaints, justice speeches and concerns on Zelgadis, were very much entertaining, Filia had to admit. The princess would, to be sure, drop by once in a while for a chat and some tea but those moments were seldom. Her royal bodyguards made sure of that. However, her most frequent visitor, she would rather do without. She really didn't understand why that filthy bit of mazoku gutter trash persisted on hanging around her shop almost everyday even if she made it painfully clear (pun not intended) that his presence was unwelcome. He would just sit there and be as annoying as possible as though he had nothing better left to do for the whole of his long miserable existence. He always did something to get her all riled up and when she tried to do something (*coughmace-samacough*) about it, he would just smile and phase out, the fruitcake! She had asked him once, out of sheer exhaustion, after a morning's chase, why he insisted on staying only to be met with that irritating waggle of a finger and his trademarked line, "Sore wa himitsu desu!" And then there were times when he just had to go and humiliate her in front of her customers… She didn't want to think of the rumors that were circulating. And he is such a hentai… Riling her more out of perversity than for his meal so that he could look up her skirt when she reaches for Mace-sama or see her naked when she transforms. Oh the mere thought of him made her seethe with rage… She just hoped he didn't drop by for one of his visits during her absence. If so, she hoped that Jiras had kept his promise and didn't tell him anything. And Val… Oohh… if he does as much as lay a finger on MY child, I'll…
Determinedly, she picked up her pace down the familiar road, intent upon reaching her home as soon as possible. It had been such a long week. Breaking into a run, she gathered her skirt and sprinted across the field into her home, her newly reacquired shrine jewel glistening in the sun.
* * *
It had been two weeks ago since she received a mysterious message. She was busily preparing breakfast early in the morning after having done the laundry, as was her wont, when she heard a timid knock on her front door. Wondering whom it was and at the same time, she uttered an impatient "Just a minute!" while walking towards the front door. Checking her appearance before a full-length mirror and assuring herself that all was in place, she turned the knob gently just to find…
She frowned. There was no one in sight. Muttering about practical jokes and idle neighbors, she started back inside when a nondescript package caught her attention. Reaching out to pick it up, she examined it closely.
"Nani? What's this?" she mused.
It was a box covered in white wrapping paper and tied with a golden ribbon. On a car, in golden ink, were written: To Miss Filia Ul Copt, High Priestess of the Fire Dragon King. Looking around for any sign as to who left it at her doorstep and finding none, she eyed the package in her hand warily before completely bringing it inside.
"Ohayo, oneechan!" a still-yawning fox-man greeted her cheerfully while pushing the bacon she had left around in the pan.
"Ohayo, Jiras," she greeted him absent-mindedly and for once, ignored his reference to her.
Jiras looked up at her curiously and, noticing the package for the first time, asked, "Oneechan, what's that?"
Filia shook her head, placing the unopened package down on the dining room table. "I don't know. I heard a knock a while ago and when I went to check on who it was, I found no one there except for this," she said, gesturing to it.
"Really?" Jiras remarked, pushing the cooked strips of bacon into a plate. "Doesn't it say who it comes from?"
"As a matter of fact, it doesn't," Filia replied. "All it says here is that it's for me. Funny though that whoever sent this even included my title as Ryuuzoku priestess."
"Nani, oneechan? Could it be that Xellos-san is playing another trick on you?"
She shrugged. "Could be? Who knows what that baka namagomi mazoku could be thinking of?"
"But, no," she whispered after a moment of silence. "Knowing that stupid mazoku scum, he wouldn't stoop to something as ordinary as this."
"Then why don't you just open it, oneechan?"
Filia blinked. "Why of course, I…"
Just then, a loud wail was heard from the east wing. It was Val. Switching quickly from I-wonder-what-in-the-world-is-in-that-box mode to oh-no-my-baby's-crying mode, she rushed upstairs, bumping into a still dazed Gravos in her rush.
* * *
"Oyasumi nasai, oneechan, Val-sama!"
"Good night, boss, Val-sama!"
"Good night you two," Filia replied with a smile as she watched her helpers descend into their quarters downstairs. It was a very strenuous day. They had just finished accomplishing that large order that came the previous week and had delivered it to their very rich patron who was very pleased. They made such a profit from the sale that she took the two out to some tavern and treated them to an all-you-can-eat dinner. Thankfully, though, her helpers didn't have bottomless pits for stomachs unlike a certain red-haired sorceress and her knight. She chuckled at the thought and laying a sleeping baby ancient dragon down gently in crib, she turned and left.
Entering her room, she began changing into her nightgown when she suddenly remembered something. Rushing downstairs, she was relieved to find the package sitting regally upon her dining table, just where she had left it that morning. Lifting it up gingerly, she undid the bow and tore through the wrapping paper. Inside was a box with a very familiar seal… Filia's eyes widened in shock as she recognized the said seal to be that of the Grand Elder, Saichuro. With trembling fingers, she opened the box to find a sparing golden orb inside. A small pierce of parchment fell out of it, which she hurriedly picked up. It was blank, at first, but the moment she touched it, words began to form across it, in a very queer handwriting. The letter read:
Dear Miss Ul Copt,
It is an honor to finally make your acquaintance. I trust that, in as much as you are reading this letter now, you have come across a very familiar seal on the box we sent you. In connection with this, I would wish to introduce myself. I am Milgazia, the newly appointed Chief Elder of our clan. You may wonder how it is that we survived through the ordeal with Dark Star, something I would wish to discuss with you. Also, I wish to inform you that, in spite of the charges placed against you by my predecessor, your rank and status as High Priestess of Karyu-ou-sama has not been declared void. We have started the rebuilding of our race a year ago and we need all the help we can get. I have heard of your participation in the accomplishment of the Dark Star prophecy and certain circumstances have rendered your services compulsory. In connection with this, I would like to inform you that there shall be a gathering of the Ryuuzoku congregation on the seventh day of next week at the Shrine of the Fire Dragon King. I assume that you know the way. We shall be waiting…
Chief Elder of Ryuuzoku
High Priest of the Water Dragon King
Filia blinked, trying with difficulty to grasp what the letter conveyed. It was unexpected She really didn't know how to react. The letter had been too straightforward and blunt for comfort, she just had to sit down. Sinking into one of the chairs nearby, she reread the letter while massaging her temples. It was true. Her eyes weren't deceiving her. It was true. She was not the lone survivor of her kind, as what she had believed. She knew she should have been extremely happy with this knowledge but for some reason, she wasn't. Going through the letter for a third time, she faltered slightly when it came to the line in spite of the charges placed against you by my predecessor. And then it all came back to her. How her Elder used her, lied to her about their race, kept things from her. How he turned away from her when she was in need. How he left her alone in the cave when Xellos had taken her as hostage… She let out a bitter laugh. He didn't need her then. He told her she was useless to her kind. They turned their back on her, disowned her and now… certain circumstances have rendered your services compulsory…She sighed. This was a tough decision. The part of her that remained true to her Order to swallow her pride and offer herself once again into the holy office. However, the selfish part of her that just couldn't forget the past, wanted to just ignore the letter. But what if…
Standing up determinedly, the Ryuuzoku priestess walked purposefully towards her room. She needed her rest. It was going to be a long journey ahead of her.
* * *
"Take care, Filia-neechan! We promise to take care of Val-sama and the house while you're gone!" Jiras piped up.
"Thank you, Jiras. I will," Filia smiled as she tucked her traveling bag securely around her waist and adjusted her priestess headdress. "And remember… No explosives in the house."
"Hai," the fox bobbed his head.
"We'll miss you, Boss!" wailed Gravos while holding Baby Val.
"I'll be back before you know it," she said cheerfully. She started for the door and, as though remembering something she stopped and looked back. "Oh and by the way, if Namagomi comes and asks where I am, tell him you know nothing. If he persists, I give you full permission to use my arsenal of spare maces in the shed. Ja!"
And with that, she went on her way.
* * *
"Oh Ceipheid!" Filia exclaimed at the sight that met her eyes. She had never thought she would be able to see the shrine, which she had served all of her life in its current state. Gleaming pillars of gold glistened from afar, a blinding light rivaling that of L-Sama herself. Erected in its grounds was a magnificent statue of none other than the Flare Dragon with the Four Lesser Dragon Deities, each facing their designated territories. All around could be seen the remnants of her kind busy at work, children running around playfully. Filia sighed. Just like the old times…It was such a wonderful sight to behold. So enraptured in its splendor was she that she didn't notice a timid young girl who approached her.
"Umm, excuse me, miss…" the child began.
"Umm… Miss Filia…"
"Miss Filia Ul Copt!"
Filia jumped. "Nani? Oh… hi there."
The little girl blushed. "You are Miss Filia Ul Copt, aren't you?"
Filia smiled sweetly. "Why, yes. What is your name?"
"Lizelle Un Paix. I'm a shrine-maiden-in-training, Miss Ul Copt, and Milgazia-sama asked me to bring you to the throne room. He saw you from afar."
"I see," she smiled yet again. "Nice to meet you, Lizelle." She somehow reminds me of myself…Filia mused.
The priestess-in-training smiled meekly and said timidly, "Shall we go now, Miss Ul Copt?"
"I'd really like it if you called me Filia."
The little girl flushed. "Hai, Filia-sama."
Filia smiled in return and offered her hand. "Alright. Let's go then."
Lizelle happily accepted it and slowly led her into the shrine.
* * *
"So, you have come."
Milgazia, the newly appointed Chief Elder of her clan, a rather handsome middle-aged golden dragon with long blond hair who served Suiryu-ou, rose from his throne and approached the Ryuuzoku priestess standing before him with a defiant look slowly.
"I assume that you are yet to forget my predecessor's acts?"
"Hai," came the stiff reply.
Milgazia let out a sigh. "Miss Ul Copt, in as much as I look up to the late Saichuro-sama, I am not saying that his abandonment is justifiable."
"That is good to know, your Eminence."
"Therefore, could you assure us of your cooperation?"
There was silence.
And then, in a firm, unwavering voice, she answered, "If there is a need for my services, Sire."
Milgazia smiled. "That is good to know, Miss…"
But he was interrupted. "But what, may I know, do you need my help for?"
The Elder dragon gave her an amused look. "Always down to business aren't we? Well, since you came to ask, you were summoned in connection with a prophecy."
Filia fought off a groan.
"Just recently, I have received a lot of queer visions, very disturbing visions if I may add. After each vision, a verse would suddenly cross my mind, which I have written down. That has been a month ago. Now that the prophecy is complete, I have some of the wisest members of the council interpreting it."
Filia unconsciously raised a brow. What has that got to do with me?
And, as though reading her mind, and let me remind you that that is a possibility, Milgazia continued, "However, just recently, I have been informed of a certain priestess of the Fire dragon King who was responsible for the fulfillment of the Dark Star prophecy. And that is you, am I correct?"
Filia nodded. "Hai, Milgazia-sama."
"Therefore, I would like to entrust to you one of the copies of the prophecy. I would like you to go over it and produce an interpretation of it within two weeks. That would decide whether the measures we are undertaking are necessary."
Filia looked puzzled. "Pardon me, your Eminence. Measures?"
Milgazia nodded. "Hai. If what the council says is correct, there may be a need to…"
"A need to?"
"To resurrect Lord Ceipheid."
"It seems that the prophecy if of the reoccurrence of the Kouma war."
Filia's eyes grew wide. "If so, then…"
"Yes, Miss Ul Copt. It may be that the Mazoku are now planning to raise their own lord. Somehow, a month ago, they were able to intercept a telepathic message that one of the members of the council was sending me. They may have figured out what we were planning and may have started doing the same."
Filia blinked. This was more serious than she had thought.
Milgazia sighed, as though reminiscing his experiences during the previous war. "I never thought I would live to see through another such war."
"Am I dismissed, Sire?"
"Hai. Oh, and by the way, Miss Ul Copt. Is it true that… that general priest of Beastmaster Metallium frequently… calls at your place?"
Filia twitched but managed a weak, "Hai, Milgazia-sama."
"I see. Here," he handed her a scroll. "For our sake, this is magically enchanted so that only you could read its contents. Please do be present at the Great Hall an hour from now."
"Hai, Milgazia-sama." And with that, she took her leave.
* * *
"Good night, Boss!"
"Sweet dreams, oneechan!"
Filia smiled in return. It was good to be home. Val was tucked snugly in bed, snoring lightly, having worked himself up into a frenzy when he say that "'kaachan" had finally arrived. Laying aside her headdress, she took out the scroll that the Chief Elder had handed to her during their meeting. She had yet to open it previously, for fear of losing it so it was just now, in the confines of her living room that she chose to do so. Carefully unrolling the scroll, she was surprised to find it blank. But then, slowly, in a handwriting she recognized as her own, appeared the words in golden ink:
Darkness beyond the blackness of twilight,
Light beyond the rays of dawn;
What has been is yet to be,
Neither black nor white shall spawn.
Darkness bonded with Light,
Light bonded with Darkness,
Hold the key.
Four pillars of light,
Awaken from endless slumber;
Three towers of night,
And with a union of the two,
Shall come a false dawn;
Enmity as old as time,
In deceit, won.
Seven remnants of Darkness,
One destroyed forever,
The enemy holds the answer.
And in the time to follow,
Chaos shall ensue;
Darkness bonded with Light,
Shall hide the sun from view.
Crimson beyond blood that flows,
Eternal chaos in mind,
Enemies, allies, long forgotten,
Unmindful of his kind.
Five icons of another world,
Of all that is noble and true,
Light bonded with Darkness,
Shall make the sun rise anew.
How it was,
How it is,
How it will be,
She who is neither black nor white,
Darkness and Light shall again unite;
Seal forever an immortal body,
Another returns to slumber.
And Order shall reign,
Deep within the Sea of Chaos,
Balance is restored.
Filia frowned. Milgazia was right. The first verse was too easy. Darkness beyond the blackness of twilight referred to Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo. Light beyond the rays of dawn was naturally her lord, Flare Dragon Ceipheid. What has been is yet to be refers to the Kouma War, as what her Elder deduced. But what would cause this occurrence? Taking out a clean piece of parchment, she read through the rest of the lines.
She was pondering on the line neither black nor white shall spawn when a lavender gloved hand reached out and plucked the scroll from under her nose. Filia seethed. She knew all too well who it was. Brandishing her mace, she turned to face the culprit.
* * *
.:sighs in relief:. Now that was a long one. I'm glad you made it till the end. And for those who haven't figured it out yet, this chap, aside from the first and last paragraphs, is basically a flash back. Don't ask me why. Anyway, more reviews and constructive criticism are welcome. The more reviews, the sooner you get the next part with your most awaited Filia-Xellos interaction. .:winks:. Oh, and by the way, I hope the prophecy didn't sound too cliché.
Ja ne, for now! See you next chap, I hope…