a Slayers fanfic
Chapter 12: A Victim of Love
She tried to note where they were going, in case he was trying to get her lost on purpose. She wouldn't have put it past him. Unfortunately in the dark, she couldn't tell one tree from another. If they got lost, they were really going to be in trouble. Still, he seemed to know where he was going, being able to see in the dark better than her anyway.
The Mazoku priest eventually led her to an open meadow far from the road and the campsite. There was nothing special about it that Mayaki could see, though it was nice enough for a meadow. There seemed to be a lot of crickets around them, all chirping off-rhythm from each other. "Okay... what is it you wanted to show me?" she asked tiredly.
He smiled at her in the moonlight and stepped back toward her. She cringed back instinctively. He took her chin gently in his hand reassuringly, though she felt no more at ease. He stroked her hair back over her shoulder and brushed her cheek with his thumb. "For one," he said softly, "this." He leaned forward and kissed her gently. A thrill ran thought her body and she froze, not really returning the kiss but doing nothing to make him stop either. She just stared at him when he pulled away from her. His eyes sparkled with the starlight. Mayaki couldn't quite make out the rest of his face, but somehow she could tell he was wearing a different kind of grin. It was still quite evil, but it lacked the mischief it usually had... in fact his whole manner seemed more lighthearted, if it was possible for a Mazoku to feel happiness.
"Come along, Miss Mayaki. You've got a lot of things to learn," he said, ushering her further into the open.
She looked panicked, her mind racing. "Learn about what?"
Xellos smiled to her reassuringly again. "About your Mazoku side, my dear. As I told you before, you are destined to be Mazoku. And for that, we'll need to train you into a fine, strong, swift little wyvern."
Mayaki's breath caught. "That was in my dream!" Then her temper hit. "What the hell were you doing in my head?!"
"Oh, come, Miss Sora, like you would have paid me any attention if I'd just told you what a lovely Mazoku you would make."
"Of course I wouldn't! I don't want to be a monster!"
"There is evil in your heart," he told her. "There always has been. It's your nature. Think of your dream, and think of how much you enjoyed killing the creature I brought you." Xellos danced around her. She couldn't deny that she'd enjoyed the kill. It was exhilarating to feel flesh between her jaws and hear the wail of the monster as it died in agony. "You are a monster, Miss Mayaki. And so your kind will always consider you for as long as you exist."
"No. There's a cure. There has to be," she said adamantly.
"Oh, please... if there even is a cure, what makes you think that you have a chance of finding it? It's already more or less proven to be a needle in a haystack for Zelgaddis. What makes you think that you would have any better luck?" He took hold of her shoulders from behind. "How many years would you be searching, do you think? And once you do find it, how many more of your precious days will you have left to enjoy it?" He leaned forward and planted a kiss on her cheek. "Your human half will only let you live for so long... human lives are so very short."
She whirled on him, her hand flying from her side on its own, striking him across the face. "STOP doing that! What the hell do you want from me anyway?!"
Xellos touched the mark her slap left on his cheek and smiled at her. "You hate me, don't you?" he smirked, enjoying every minute.
"What?! What does that have to do with- "
"You emotions, Miss Sora, are the most delectable I've come across. Your hate, your fear, your rage, your sadness... You keep them deep down inside so that when they bubble to the surface, they're pure and violent, like finely aged wine. They are," he chuckled, "quite delicious."
She glared at him. "You enjoy feeding on my emotions. So why do you keep pressing the fact that I am 'oh-so-destined' to be Mazoku? Wouldn't I be worth more to you as I am?"
"Like I said," he gloated, "how many short years would you last? Humans are not only short-lived, but you're so fragile. A simple blow to the head or the spine, and it's the end of you. No, I want you to last much longer than that, sweet Mayaki." She stared pensively downward. He tilted her chin up to meet his purple eyes, the only thing visible in the silhouette of his form. "I have existed for more than a thousand years now. Think about it... wouldn't you like to live forever? Oh, I'll admit it's not all fun and games, but I'd say the benefits far outweigh its shortcomings."
"Live forever?" she repeated quietly.
He clasped her hands, appealing now toward her sympathetic nature. "My life has been a lonely one, serving Greater Beast Zelas... with you at my side, I could gladly spend all eternity."
Mayaki stammered. "I... I would have to become evil?"
"Yes, you would," he said softly, still fixing her with his wicked gaze. "You know that it already lies in your soul, though. You feel it all the time, wanting to be in control but always overpowered by your conscience."
"Stop messing around in my head!"
He laughed, heartily, but lacking the evil tone he usually had. He was genuinely amused with her. "I'm not! I only remember what it feels like."
She gaped. "You mean... you were..."
"Human. Just like you. Well, part of you. Master Zelas was impressed with me, so she kept me around as her priest and general. It was... a great honor."
"So you betrayed your own kind to become a monster?" She backed away from him a step. Somehow, she couldn't find the strength to move any further, enraptured by him.
"Do you have your knives with you?"
Mayaki checked her hip. She'd forgotten to take the knifebelt off. "Yes..."
"Give me one. I want to show you something."
She hesitantly drew one of her blades and turned the handle toward him. She wasn't sure what he was up to, and she wasn't sure if she could trust him. If she was wrong about him, she'd probably wind up dead.
Before she could object, he took the knife, nimbly spun it around on his fingertips and caught it again, the blade toward her. Mayaki flinched slightly. Xellos chuckled a little at her reaction. "You're afraid of me?" She gulped speechlessly and nodded. "There's no need for you to be, my dear. Now, this won't hurt a bit."
Mayaki winced and closed her eyes, expecting him to strike her at any second. When the attack never came, she slowly opened them again. Xellos looked at her curiously and chuckled at her fear. He held one hand out toward her and slowly cut across his palm with the knife. Black mist-so black that it made the surrounding night seem much brighter in comparison-slowly leaked from the wound.
"What're you doing?" she asked in horror.
"A gift for you, Miss Mayaki." He brought his hand close to her face. When she tried to back away, suddenly her way was barred by his staff pressed against her shoulders. She squeaked with fear. "It's nothing to be afraid of," he told her. "Open your mouth. Just a taste."
She fought to get away. "No!" she cried, struggling. It wasn't Xellos she was fighting against so much as her own Mazoku side that was pushing its way to the surface despite her efforts to control it. It sensed the negative emotions Xellos was offering her, and it was very, very hungry.
Her eyes flashed angrily once and she stopped fighting. Her mouth slacked open gently, and Xellos tilted his hand and the flow of mist into it. The taste was bitter, thick and angry, and it flowed like blood. It was delicious! She sucked in the last few wisps as Xellos's hand sealed itself.
"Tell me now that you don't want to be a monster," he gloated, noting her reaction to the mist.
She came to her senses after a moment of going completely blank. "More... Xellos, please, I must have more!"
"That's enough for tonight," he grinned. "Our 'friends' might suspect if you switched sides too fast. Besides, you need your rest for the journey tomorrow."
Mayaki looked querulously at him. "Xellos, why?"
"Can't you guess, my darling Mayaki?" he grinned, quirking an eyebrow at her.
She stared, an answer beginning to form in the back of her mind.
He caught her around the waist from the side, deftly sliding her knife back into its sheath at her hip. Then he kissed her full on the lips. This time, it was no simple peck. His kiss was powerful but gentle, deep and passionate...and real. Mayaki willingly kissed back, savoring the taste of his lips, and his evil.
After a moment, he let her free. "Go get some sleep, little Mayaki. I'll see you in the morning." He tilted his staff at her and made to disappear. "Oh, and if I were you, I would consider this..."
"...a secret," she interrupted and smiled evilly back at him. The Mazoku nodded his head in approval and disappeared.
Mayaki slowly wound her way through the woods back to camp, finding her way as if she was sleepwalking.
Disclaimer in short: Slayers and related characters aren't mine. Mayaki and various other incidental characters are.
Thanks for reading! Please leave me some feedback; I live and thrive on criticism! (not to mention, I'm a perfectionist. ;)