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August 25, 2011
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My Fancy Way of Saying Hello.

Filia opened the door to the kiln and took a deep breath. It was cool now, but she could still smell the smoky mixture of earth and flame. She reached in and felt the ceramic surface of the piece within. She looked it over careful, spinning it gently. So often a promising vase could be ruined in its trial by fire. Here, though, all seemed to be well. There was certainly no warping, and she breathed a sigh of relief when she had confirmed that the new paint she'd bought had held up under the heat. She smiled. All that was left was to put this on the shelf, where it would surely find a home when her shop doors opened the next morning.

She lifted the vase from its warm and cozy mortar womb, hugged it to her chest, and carefully shut the oven door. She turned around and walked two steps—maybe three.

"Salutations, Filia."

Crash.

"Oh dear," commented Filia's saluter. "How very clumsy of you."

Filia was already crouched down on the floor grasping pottery shards in a kind of desperate rage. "Xellos!" she shrieked at the figure who could've only materialized by magic or by hiding in the back of her kiln. "This is all your fault!"

Xellos arched an eyebrow. "Is it my fault that you scare easily?"

Filia was still gripping a pottery shard like a dagger when she rose. She came back with a red-faced and sullen: "You don't scare me. You just startled me, that's all."

"Forgive me," Xellos said, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. "Is it my fault that you startle easily?"

"Anyone would be startled if someone just randomly appeared behind them," Filia countered. She tossed down the shard on the floor with the rest. "But you always do that. It's downright rude."

"I thought I greeted you quite politely," Xellos replied. "I believe you're the one between the two of us that can't seem to master basic etiquette."

Filia crossed her arms. "It's not polite to wait around until people are carrying something heavy or fragile before you materialize right behind them. It doesn't matter if you say your phony 'salutations'; you might as well say 'boo!' It's mean-spirited and don't pretend it's anything else, you trash!"

"Well, then it was poorly received," Xellos commented sourly. If he'd lied to her he'd have blamed her for hearing it wrong. "So why don't you tell me how someone mannerly enough to resort to name-calling two-minutes into a conversation thinks she should properly be greeted?"

"Polite people use the door," Filia spat.

Xellos hesitated. "…But doors are so unnecessary," he replied with the slightest hint of fretfulness in his voice.

"They are not!" Filia shot back. She scowled at him. "I can teleport some too, y'know," she reminded him, "but I don't just randomly appear in people's living rooms. There have to be certain boundaries."

Xellos shook his head, making little clucking noises with his tongue as he did so. "But we don't operate under those boundaries, Filia. That's not our procedure." He placed a hand on his chest. "I greet you by rising from your shadow and talking in your ear, and you greet me by dropping something on the floor, screeching my name and then accusing me of something ridiculous. I see no compelling reason to change any of this."

"You wouldn't," Filia answered darkly. "And I'm not greeting you when I do that."

"Really?" Xellos asked thoughtfully. "Then I suppose you're rather rude as well, by your own standard," he concluded.

Filia couldn't really argue against that, but that was alright because she knew very well that Xellos was no good and that bad people deserve bad manners. "Maybe I'd greet you politely if you greeted me politely," she said with a self-righteous sniff.

Xellos mulled over this in his mimed sort of way, cupping his chin in his gloved hand. He grinned at her. "I suppose it's never too late to start again," he said, and then disappeared.

She stared at the place he'd just been standing for a moment, then groaned and resolved not to entrench herself in his nonsense.  She walked over to one of the shelves where the broom and dustpan were leaning.

There was a knock at the door. Filia froze for a minute, her gaze fixed on the side-door. She unfroze, muttered a word she wasn't particularly proud of knowing, and continued toward her cleaning implements as if she hadn't heard anything out of the ordinary.

By the time the second knock struck she was already making her way back to the pile of rubbish that had once been a promising new vase. By the third knock she'd begun clearing up the mess. By the fourth knock Jillas had raced into the room.

"Oi'll get it," he declared running for the door.

"No!" Filia whisper-shouted at him, holding an arm up and signaling wildly.

Jillas gave her a puzzled look as the fifth knock struck. "But, Boss," he began, "what about…?"

"Trust me," Filia said heavily, "it's no one we want to talk to."

Jillas gave her a knowing nod. "A salesman, right?"

The sixth knock sounded and Filia glared at the door. "Much worse than a salesman."

A fresh look of horror suffused Jillas's vulpine features. His hand strayed to his belt where he'd once kept grenades before Filia had requested that he not go so heavily armed. "You don't mean…" he began.

Filia nodded darkly.

"Tax-collectors?" Jillas finished ominously.

Filia ceased her nodding. "No, it's just—"

"You ignored me," Xellos accused, popping into existence predictably inside Filia's personal space bubble.

Filia sprung away from him; not to a conversational distance, but certainly to an argumentative distance. "So what?" she retorted.

"I wouldn't say that ignoring someone counts as a polite greeting," he pointed out with damnable reasonableness, though not without a certain irked increase in grip on his staff. "And I was so very courteous to you this time around."

"I only said I might be polite to you," Filia countered, exploiting her loop-hole. "I didn't say I actually would. And it's not courteous if you only play at manners and then just barge in and do whatever you want when it doesn't work out the way you want it."

"Well, it's obvious to me that rudeness is the only thing you respond to, Filia," he said, raising his index finger.

Filia's fingers twitched; they felt magnetically drawn to Xellos's neck. "My only response is to tell you to leave my house this instant or I'll start testing the maces on you!" she snarled.

Xellos shrugged carelessly. "But it's a response nonetheless, Filia," he reasoned. "I'm not picky as long as I get one."

"You—!" Filia began, incensed.

"Umm... 'ey, Boss," Jillas cut in.

The corners of Xellos's lips turned downward in displeasure. Because of that interruption he'd be left in permanent suspense as to what Filia had been about to call him. It could've easily been the generic 'monster' or 'demon'; likely her usual 'raw garbage' or a variant thereof; but it also could've been cockroach… snake… beast… devilishly handsome gadabout… Yes, he decided, let's go with that last one.

"What?" Filia demanded, her anger still at high-levels when she turned to Jillas.

"It's just…" Jillas began, "is this guy bothering you, Boss?"


Filia sunk her head into her hand in frustration. "Always and every day," she said harshly.

"I'm not here every day," Xellos pointed out.

"Always and every day," Filia reaffirmed.

"If that's 'ow it is…" Jillas began resolutely, turning to face Xellos with a steely one-eyed look. This was the same person who'd threatened Lord Val for such a long time and had now turned his negative attention toward his new boss. He gulped. He knew he didn't stand much of a chance against someone who'd given even Lord Val a run for his money, but… some things just have to be done. He wasn't about to let anyone antagonize his boss. He lowered his voice. "…Oi'm going to 'ave to ask you to leave," he finished.

Xellos rested his head against his hand and chuckled. "Oh, please, do," he urged. "Go on and ask."

"Don't bother asking him," Filia counseled her loyal fox, throwing Xellos a disgusted look. "Talking to Xellos is impossible."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Xellos returned slowly, as if he felt Filia's assessment rather unfair. "I'm sure I wouldn't insist on staying here if I felt myself prompted to leave."

Filia snorted.

Xellos leaned in closer to her and gave her the kind of look an ingratiating teacher might give to encourage a dull-witted student. "You just have to ask the right way."

"What's the 'right' way?" Filia asked skeptically.

"Well," Xellos said, grinning, "we've already discovered how you and I say hello to each other; now we just need to find a way to say good-bye to each other in our own, special way."

"And what way would that be?" Filia asked again, grinding her teeth together.

"You're actually following the procedure I want us to adopt pretty well so far," Xellos observed cheerfully. "First off, you stop ordering me out of your house and grudgingly accept my presence, which you've done already."

"'Grudgingly' is right," Filia muttered. How very like Xellos to only take it as his cue to leave when people stop asking him.

"Then I give you my good-bye," Xellos continued as if this interruption hadn't occurred. "And then," his eyes flicked open and he surveyed her conceitedly, "you beg me to come back to you."

"What?" Filia demanded incredulously. "There's not even the slightest chance that I'd actually ask you to—"

He leaned in closer and kissed her on the cheek.

"Bye, Filia," he half-sang at the still stunned dragon before he disappeared from view.

Filia's mouth hung open in shocked stillness for a few seconds, blood rising in her face and making it almost glow red. Then finally she clamped her mouth shut and clenched both her fists.

"Xellos!" she yelled into the empty space he'd occupied. "Come back here, you creep! What makes you think you can do something like that and then just run away?! You won't get away with this!"

Jillas, for his part, stared from his boss—raging and stamping her feet, on the verge of a tantrum and still yelling, red-faced at her departed guest—to the smugly vacant space in front of her.

"What the 'ell was all that about?" he wondered to no one in particular.
For Beloved Enemy's Nights of Summer Challenge. Here's theme #86.

I'm back in the oneshot saddle! ...Even though I suppose I should be working on finishing the last two chapters of The Kingdom of Illusions.

...But when it's Xellia time, you don't argue.

Other Slayers Oneshots: [link]
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:iconcmy187:
CMY187 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011
Well, that was quick. When you said you'd get to working on some oneshot stories, you really meant it.

A fancy way of saying hello...ohh, no...knowing him...poor Filia...

When I really stop to think about it, Filia Ul Copt really is a rather gifted young dragon. Smithing, pottery, combat, magic, cat's cradle, etc.
Lookin' at it from a stranger's point of view, Filia does seem like a person whom a professional matchmaker would approve of as an ideal wife. She's responsible, respectable, keeps a clean house, gets along well with most people (emphasis on most...) and is doing rather well for a working single parent (I don't think the Cone counts as contributing to the bread-winning of the household. His job dosen't pay, after all). Kinda makes me wonder if she might be noticed by some guys to be an excellent choice for a life partner.
An' taking into account the possible jealousy from a certain Mazoku and that she might go to great measures to get on his nerves...uh-oh. Why do I feel like I've started something bad?

You seemed to have done some research on the firing of pottery. Nice one.
Okay, hugging the vase seems rather strange. Next thing you know Filia would be carrying around a Weighted Companion Vase.
"The tea is a LIE!!!"

An' now, introducing Filia's eternal tormentor and love/hate partner, Mazoku General-slash-Priest, Xellos "The Cone" Metallium.

The now-classic Xellos-Filia dialogue style of Skiyomi makes its way to the pages of deviantart once again...

Scare or startle. Filia should've known better than to play the definition game with the Diplomatic Mazoku.

No other dragon in the entire world would ever refer to Xellos as 'trash' to his face. Only her. And she wonders why he has such a strong interest in her...

I wonder how much effort it must have taken for you to craft these argumentative conversations for those two. Their dialogue seems so natural and in-tune with their characters here.

Filia IS polite and well-mannered. She just makes an exception when it comes to Xellos. And he must find it flattering. Kind of a textbook perspective for a Classic Jerk. If a girl goes out of her way to irritate him despite being naturally nice, then, in the Jerk's mind, it means she likes him.

"…But doors are so unnecessary."
Hehehe. He sounds like a child...nice one.

No compel...no compelling reason!? That son of a...

Self-righteous sniff...

Well, she did give him the idea...

Jillas! Yay!! Thank you, Skiyomi!

God, I love the accent that you made for that fox. It just seems so fitting for him.

...he still moves around the house armed, dosen't he?
I just keep thinking that when it comes to Boss-Filia, Jillas has a tiny bit of a rebellious side. Going from collapsing caves and raiding settlements to baby-sitting and house-cleaning. Let's face it, that will have an effect on ANY guy...

Multi-species or not, taxes apply for everybody.
Wait til the mayor starts increasing taxes for non-humans...

"You ignored me."
Xellos is being rather childish in this story. Again, Nice.

Conversational, argumentative. Poor Filia. The Cone has already conquered some of her mind.

If there's one thing from Filia that he absolutely cannot stand, it is her blatantly ignoring him and refusing to acknowledge his existence.

Ah, the contractual agreement tactic. Learning you are, young Filia.

Magnetically drawn to his neck...how do you come up with these great lines?

How DOES she test the maces? Something I think Gravos would want to volunteer for.
But then who has the task of constructing and clearing away the test subjects?

Oh, get real, Coney. Like she was really going to call you handsome. It's not even technically tru-I better start running, should I?

Every day, Coney. Every single day. Wish Lina would hurry up and stand hunting another Mazoku Lord. That would at least distract Xellos for a couple of weeks.

Careful handling of the interaction here, I see. I don't think I have ever seen Xellos actually converse or directly interact with Gravos or Jillas in the anime. Their characters and personalities would have to be measured carefully to get the right dialogue for 'em.

...he had been planning to kiss her right from the start, wasn't he?
And of course, 'porting in, kissin' her and 'porting away would've been far too easy. Much more fun to set it up so he could have the ever-desired debate with her about it.

Hehehehe...what a fun oneshot this was. Jillas making a cameo in it makes it even better.

Thank you for writing this. Really brightened up my day. A little chipping at the mineral vein containing the Xellos-Jillas dynamic with the pickaxe that is your keyboard, and after inspection from the foreman, it has been decreed promising.
Maybe its time to order some more mining carts...
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:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I didn’t really expect to get one out so quickly myself!

She certainly is talented. I wish we’d seen her in action more in Try. I wonder… did she learn all this stuff at the temple?

Ha! Seeing Xellos jealous is always worthwhile. And it’d be hard to imagine pretty Miss Filia *not* turning heads in her new town.

I’ve honestly thought about taking a pottery class because I think it’d help me get some new plots and terminology (and being creative is always nice), but… I get the feeling I’d make a godawful mess.

Xellos certainly thinks it’s classic—as far to say that it’s *their* version of being courteous to one another.

And I doubt that getting Xellos interested in her was ever her intent when she pulled out that nickname. She charmed him completely by accident.

When I plan dialogue I generally have to fork over almost all the space my brain to Xellos and Filia—and I’m not *good* at doing nothing. I’ve got to learn to meditate or something.

Funny thing is, he’s generally very polite too. They’re each other’s exception.

I did have Jillas on the brain after our conversation, so I thought I’d try to include him more in this~

He’s certainly got a stockpile somewhere in case things go bad—as a beastman living among humans, you can’t really blame him.

(If there's one thing from Filia that he absolutely cannot stand, it is her blatantly ignoring him and refusing to acknowledge his existence.)

Very true… and lucky for him I don’t think that Filia really gets that.

(Oh, get real, Coney. Like she was really going to call you handsome. It's not even technically tru-I better start running, should I?)

Wishful, *wishful* thinking on his part. But I got to use the word gadabout and that made me happy.

(Every day, Coney. Every single day. Wish Lina would hurry up and stand hunting another Mazoku Lord. That would at least distract Xellos for a couple of weeks.)

Ha! It’s almost like they have to take turns babysitting him.

(Careful handling of the interaction here, I see. I don't think I have ever seen Xellos actually converse or directly interact with Gravos or Jillas in the anime. Their characters and personalities would have to be measured carefully to get the right dialogue for 'em.)

I think that’s partly because Jillas might find that his best tactic is to ignore Xellos since… unfortunately there’s not really much of anything he can do about Xellos.

(...he had been planning to kiss her right from the start, wasn't he?
And of course, 'porting in, kissin' her and 'porting away would've been far too easy. Much more fun to set it up so he could have the ever-desired debate with her about it.)

Probably…

Thank you very much! Hopefully there will be more oneshots along the way before too long.
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:iconxxxsorabluexxx:
xXxSoraBluexXx Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Basically, Xellos is a brat/homicidal sadistic lunatic, who finds kissing someone without their consent completely justifiably, as long as it satisfies his own means to an end. But I guess it’s alright, because everything goes in love and psychological warfare. (Which by the way, can be pretty much the same thing) After all, Fillia is just so great at denial XD
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:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It's certainly a move he's used before.

And she is indeed XD
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:iconsilverscarcat:
SilverScarCat Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011
Heh... They argue like little kids. XD
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:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Very true XP
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:iconsilverscarcat:
SilverScarCat Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011
Makes you wonder sometimes, hmm?
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:iconrinoaebastel:
rinoaebastel Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha the end it's funny and sweety at the same time :D I like it.
Good work
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:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
:) Thanks!
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