a Slayers fanfic
Chapter 14: The Lies She Leads
Alemo explained himself to everyone once they reached his home in Sprogen and they were comfortably seated around the dining room table. His mother had been more than glad to meet Mayaki and insisted on cooking dinner for them herself despite Mayaki's repeated offers to help.
"My father pretended that he loved my mother. After he found out that my mother was with child, and far enough into the pregnancy that things seemed to be all right with her, he disappeared. Around the same time, the wyvern attacks stopped altogether. When I was born, with some terrible complications, as you can probably imagine-Mum nearly bled to death my birth wounded her so severely-Mum put one and one and one together and figured out that Mister Debarro was the wyvern and the cause of all her problems. She told me all the stories she had about him time and time again. She never really forgave him for leaving her, and she truly loved the demon. I vowed that someday, when I was old enough to travel, I would find him and make him pay for all the pain her caused her, and me.
"And now that I've found out I have a half-sister, I can't help but wonder how many more women he's taken advantage of, bringing his offspring into this world through innocent women."
Mayaki sympathized. "My mother loved Elric too. I think that it's possible he did love her back, truly, but he couldn't say that he did... it would have killed him. That's what Xellos told us."
"Bullshit," Alemo whispered angrily. "He was only a ladies' man and a monster, and that's all he was."
"I don't think he was. Not wholly, anyway. I mean, he took good care of both of our mothers. Mine never wanted for a thing in the world when Elric was with her. He probably knew the complications that would come up with a human birth-mother, and all the questions that would arise with a wyvern child... He didn't want a finger pointed at him for being what he was."
"What he WAS, was a monster, Mayaki. He attacked the villages all around here at night, killed defenseless people, burned the ground so badly that now it won't even yield crops! Elric was a monster. And worse, thanks to him, so are we!" he snarled at the girl across the table. Mayaki stood up, balling her fists in front of her, meeting Alemo head to head.
"He couldn't help that!"
"He didn't have to have children! He could have guessed what would come of it! He should have known what kind of miserable lives we would lead for being half-wyverns!"
"Come on, Alemo! Give him a break. Don't you think that Mazoku get lonesome just like you or me?"
His eyes burned. "Mazoku do not get 'lonely,' Mayaki!"
"How would you know?" she snapped back angrily.
Zel stood up and gently pushed the two of them apart. "Why don't we all sit down before you two rip this place apart?"
Mayaki blinked and sat down. "Sorry."
Alemo shook off Zelgaddis's hand and growled as he seated himself cautiously.
"I guess it's obvious which side of the family had the short fuse," Gourry commented. "Maybe they're related to you, Lina!"
"WHAT?!" Lina screeched, lunging at him and getting pulled back down by Zelgaddis. She squalled like a jungle cat as Zel forced her to stay seated in her chair.
"So, you've explored east and west of here?" Zel asked Alemo calmly before any more arguments got started.
"Yes, without any traces of Elric or the cure we're all apparently seeking. I've gone as far as the western shore of the continent without so much as a trace, and east with the same results. Then you all turned up. As far as I can tell, I'm three years Mayaki's senior... that leaves quite a time gap between his appearances here and in Telgen. Perhaps if I find more of our brothers and sisters, I can deduce his trail, and perhaps I'll find him at the end of it.
"And then what'll you do? Kill him?" Mayaki sneered. "Speaking of which, what were you doing with that idiot Race Quim anyway?"
Alemo blushed a little bit. "Well, with my unique powers and form, you can imagine how easy it is to stalk and kill prey. After I got back from my travels, and rumors about my origins got out, a man came and asked me to avenge him by killing a man who robbed and killed his wife and daughters. He paid me handsomely to have it done, and I did, gladly. After that, another man came to me with a similar problem. Word gets around." Jaws around the table dropped.
"So you're an assassin," Lina summed up for him. He nodded solemnly.
"I take on that role from time to time. I only take the jobs where it's clear that a great injustice has been done."
Amelia clasped her hands together, looking dreamily at Alemo. He noticed and gave her a bashful look in return. "Mister Alemo! You're a justice fighter, just like me!" Everyone around the table collapsed with shock.
"So, anyway, Race's great wrong was...?" Mayaki queried.
"He said you had killed six of his men while he was traveling."
Mayaki nodded. "Well, at least he was truthful." Alemo's eyes bulged at her and he stood up again. Mayaki waved him back down. "But," she added, "I bet he neglected to mention he was trying to capture Lina and the others and sell them off at an auction. Or that his friends that I had to kill defending us were a band of robbers, I suppose."
He stared at her, wide-eyed. "You mean I..."
She nodded. "You've been had."
Alemo chuckled. "I think it's the great Race Quim who's been had... he paid me in advance to kill or capture the lot of you. He even asked if I was the wyvern slayer he'd heard about. I said yes at the time... I didn't realize he meant for me to kill another wyvern. I just thought he was referring to me as the wyvern killer, not the wyvern killer!" He grinned broadly, leaning back in his chair. "Joke's on him."
* * * * *
Despite Alemo's mother protesting, Mayaki insisted on preparing breakfast in return for their hospitality. Emma Debarro extended an open invitation for Mayaki and her friends to come back and stay with them anytime. Alemo saw the little band out, still peering suspiciously at Xellos. He pulled Mayaki aside for a little talk.
"I don't trust Mazoku. They're nothing but trouble. Why are you traveling with one?" he whispered to her.
Mayaki looked annoyed at her half brother. "Xellos says his orders are to look after Lina. Mostly he's just a pest and keeps critical information from us when we need it the most. Nothing to worry about" She cast a glance at Xellos, trying to look irritated with him, though in the end, it came out more like a look of admiration.
"Listen, Mayaki... he's evil, and he'll do anything to spread that evil. I know you like him, but watch yourself."
Mayaki gasped and blushed. "What? I..."
"You've only been staring at him since I met you. There's something in your eyes when you look at him. Just don't get yourself in trouble, fawning over that demon. He could turn on all of you at any time..."
"Stop it!" she snapped at him. "Xellos is my friend, so stop talking about him like he's just some common monster! I don't like it!"
"Neither do I," he muttered. Then he hugged her. "You take care of yourself, little sister.. Good luck in finding us a cure." His expression was unsmiling, but it showed deep care and concern for her.
Mayaki forced down her temper. "I will," she nodded.
Alemo gave her the barest hint of a grin, then looked up to the rest of the troupe. "Where will you go now?"
Lina shrugged one shoulder at him. "We'll probably head north, since you say you haven't been there yet."
He nodded. "Send word if you find anything, or any trace of my father."
"We will," Zel told him, shaking his hand. Gourry did the same afterward.
Zelgaddis caught up with Mayaki as she strode along, eager to get out of the city. "Hey... you okay?"
"Fine..." she growled sullenly.
"That didn't sound 'fine' to me..."
"I'm fine! Just drop it!"
Zel stopped and stared after her for a minute, then jogged to catch up to her. "What's wrong with you all of a sudden? This isn't the Mayaki I know..."
"Oh, and you know me so well?"
He growled back at her. "I thought I did."
Her eyes teared up as she looked at him, then, angrily, she turned away. "Well, you were wrong." She ran ahead then dropped to a walk, keeping a fast pace to outdistance him.
"Mayaki!" he called after her with a slight whine in his voice. He huffed. "Fine." He turned his head, refusing to look at her, but soon found himself drawn back to her as Xellos floated down and landed next to her.
He put a hand on her shoulder and said something to her softly, to which she shook her head and wiped her eyes on her sleeve. "I'm fine..." Zel heard her repeat. Xellos smiled back at her and tipped her chin up, floating away from her again. Mayaki eased a little at his comforting. Zelgaddis scowled. He almost didn't notice Amelia at his side.
"What's wrong with Miss Mayaki?" she asked.
"I don't know..." Zelgaddis said curiously, balling his fists worriedly.
Mayaki strolled along sulkily until a small crowd of people caught her attention. They seemed to be listening to a tale told by a man sitting against the side of a building. Mayaki stopped for a moment, getting more and more curious as she listened, recognizing the voice.
"Wait a second, you guys," she said, walking closer to the crowd.
"So then, the evil wyvern came at me, and I fought her off as best as I could, swinging my sword at her, one, two! One, two! But it was no good, because of the horrible scales of armor she had across her chest!" The crowd of listeners gasped. "The beast was too much for me," the man continued. "She forced me back with her snapping jaws and tripped me with her tail and kicked me across the face, blinding me, which is why I wear this bandage over my eyes, as you see and I cannot."
Mayaki shouldered her way through to the front of the crowd, Lina and the others right behind her. She looked down on the tale-telling beggar and grinned wickedly.
The man continued his story, unaware of her presence. "There I was, lost in the forest with an evil wyvern attacking me, and me not being able to see a thing! But, lucky for me, I kept a hold of my sword, and as the creature roared, lowering its head to finish me off and eat me, I swung out at the sound and lopped her horrible head off!" Some of the man's audience cheered and applauded lightly at his victory. Mayaki did not, keeping her eyes fixed on her enemy. The blinded bandit went on, "So I came out of the fight victorious, my friends, but the victory is a bittersweet one for me, for now I can no longer see to continue my travels as I have in the past, and cannot even open a shop as a merchant, for I would not be able to tell if anyone was... robbing me blind, so to speak. So please, if my tale has entertained you, leave a copper or two in my bowl so that I can support myself in this cruel and unjust world, and you will have my thanks and the blessings of the gods." Gaining the pity of much of his audience, the man thanked them as one by one they came forward to add copper and silver pieces to his begging bowl.
When most of the crowd was gone, Mayaki stepped up, digging a few coppers out of her pouch. She stood, blocking the sunshine that fell on the blind man, alerting him of her. "Thank you," he said as she dropped the coins into his basin, making a cheerful clink.
"That's a very interesting tale you told, my friend," she said lowly. "But perhaps you shouldn't stretch the truth so much, or I'll have to come back and finish what I started with your eyes."
The man cringed and began begging for his life, going before her on his knees. Mayaki humphed satisfactorily and stalked off, leaving the man breathing a sigh of relief. The rest of the group followed her.
"Miss Mayaki, that was really mean! Why did you do that?" Amelia scolded timidly.
"Yeah, you already blinded him... did you have to scare him to death too?" Gourry asked her scornfully.
"That was downright cruel. Don't tell me it was your temper this time," Zel added, catching her by the arm. She quickly jerked it away.
"He was only a bandit, you guys," she said sharply. "Lina kills them all the time without a thought."
"Yeah, but even Lina doesn't go around torturing people after she fights them," Gourry countered.
"That's right!" Lina added, though she thought, *...mostly because there's not much left to torture after I'm done with them...* "Besides, you already gave the guy what was coming to him."
Mayaki chuckled. "Maybe a little reminder will do him good." She confidently pulled ahead of the rest of the group by several paces. Xellos floated around her, playfully prodding her with his staff. She laughed cheerily at him.
Lina, Gourry, Zel, and Amelia stared after her. "That was really weird..." Lina thought aloud.
"Something's not right," Zel muttered, trying to put his finger on the reason.
Xellos landed and began walking beside Mayaki. "That was excellent!" he told her, quietly enough that the rest couldn't hear him. "You're getting good... could you feel how scared you had him?"
Mayaki giggled. "Feel it? I could taste it! He was terrified!"
Xellos chuckled with her, then looked at her more seriously. "I believe the others may be getting suspicious. Perhaps we should cut back on your evil this evening."
"But Xellos..." she protested.
"Tut-tut, Miss Sora. You wouldn't want to give away our secret, would you now?" He grinned squintily at her. "You should go and make up with Zelgaddis. Act guilty, he'll fall for that."
Mayaki smirked and nodded. "Not just yet, though. Let him brood awhile."
Xellos chuckled as he floated off. "Clever."
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. ;)