To Find A Cure
Milgazia paced restlessly in the hall, face grim and anxious.
This is not good, what could be taking so long? The Gold Dragon thought darkly. He broke off his furious pacing, snapping to a stop in front of a huge closed double door, staring at it intensely. I do not like this.
As though his thought was heard, it swung open, revealing a haggard looking blond girl in pale blue and white crumpled priestess robes.
"My Lord," she mumbled wearily, so tired that her bow was a slump. "She wishes to see you but she is so..." She trailed off as tears suddenly tumbled down her ravaged face. "I tried, my lord, I tried... it is becoming so hard to..."
"Shhhh... It will be all right. Thank you, child," Milgazia nodded quickly, striding to her and catching her up, hugging her as she sobbed. "Go, get some rest. For later, she will need you again."
The girl nodded woodenly, and vanished.
Milgazia stood for a moment, then turned sharply and strode into the huge chamber, almost running to the bed.
The Water Dragon King, Aqua, one of the Five Dragon Kings under the Dragon God Ceipheed, lay on a huge bed, looking frail and tiny.
"Milgazia..." her voice was a whisper.
"My Lord?" Milgazia sat by the bedside and took up her tiny hand gingerly, as though picking up fragile glass, heart twisting at the sight of her.
"It would seem that Ruby Eye has found his revenge..." Aqua tried to look at him but couldn't. "This is indeed a Mazoku curse. Shasharil has given me all the healing that she can, being the finest healer among the Dragons..."
"Hush, my Lord," Milgazia soothed. He hid his pain. She would not want to see neither that nor his pity. "You must rest, we shall find a cure..."
"...no," Aqua said. "Know that Ruby Eye meant this to happen... his revenge on me for aiding Ceipheed a millenium past. There is no cure... not unless you can find a power greater than Ruby Eye..."
"Indeed, there is," a cheerful voice cut in.
Milagzia wheeled, a glowing ball of holy power in his hand. "Leave, Mazoku! Foul beast, you are not welcome here! Especially YOU above all others!!!"
Xelloss the Trickster Priest, general and priest to the enigmatic Beastmaster, smiled as he strode calmly to the bedside.
Aqua shuddered suddenly, agony on her face. With a cry, Milgazia hurled the ball at the priest.
"WHAT have you done?!" he screamed, racing around to strike out at the cloaked figure as the globe blinked out, hitting a shield.
"...hold, Milgazia..." Aqua's voice was a ghost of a whisper but still held power. "He did nothing, it was the curse. What is it, Keeper of Secrets, that you wish now... that your Lord has not taken from me."
Xelloss smiled even more. "I came to aid you..."
"Liar!" Milgazia snarled, stalking closer to him, placing himself between the bed and the Priest. "YOU would never aid us!!"
"In return for the past..." Xelloss finished, looking over the Gold Dragon's shoulder to Aqua. "There is a spell to thwart your curse... a cure that calls on power greater than the Lord of Demons."
Aqua's glazed eyes flashed once. "There is only one Lord higher than he... the highest of all..." she trailed off, too spent to continue.
Xelloss nodded. "The Lord of Nightmares. She who holds rule over us all, over Dragon and Mazoku both, Builder and Breaker, Savior and Destroyer."
"Such a spell will work..." there was the faintest hint of hope in her voice.
"Yes," Milgazia bit out viciously. "But what shall be the price for gaining this spell from YOU, Trickster?"
"Nothing," Xelloss met his deadly gaze, smiling. "The spell is yours but you must retrieve it first in the Kingdom of Nardaryk. There one must learn it for the book cannot be taken out... The spell must be mastered within the kingdom."
"Nardaryk!" Milgazia spat. "Bringer of False Hope! Know that we Dragons are forbidden there. Leave or I wi--"
"Dragons, yes, humans, no," Xelloss never lost his smile. "And even if you were, no Dragon could learn that spell for it is a spell of the Lord of Nightmares."
"Then what good is this news that you bring us!" Anger and helplessness of days past watching powerlessly as Aqua agonizingly succumbed to the curse, surging out. "None of the humans that aid us can learn such a spell in so short a time nor can they safely move in Nardaryk for they are white mages! Wielding the might of the Lord of Nightmares is beyond us all, Mazoku, Dragon AND Human!!!"
"To all but one," the smile now was fond.
Milgazia froze, in his mind a face appearing. Huge eyes the richest shade of ruby... sparkling and dancing with fire and life, in a young laughing face that hinted at a blossoming rare and unique beauty...
"NO!" Aqua shouted, face suddenly alive. "I WILL not allow h-"
"Than you will die," Xelloss looked at her seriously.
Aqua feebly looked away, into her memories... A ride on a back, to rest her tired old bones... on tiny slender shoulders that were undeniably strong enough to save the world... or destroy it...
Milgazia saw the gentle fond smile that lit up Aqua's sickly face, washing away the pain that was there and suddenly realized that he was smiling, too.
That smile vanished when he looked to Xelloss. "I do not trust you, Priest," he growled. "But there is truth in what you say..."
"No," Aqua said again. "I WILL not involve-"
"Do you truly think SHE will not come to your aid when she learns?"
Xelloss' eyes were visible, watching them both.
Aqua sighed. "No, she will... but..."
"Perhaps, if she never learns..." Milgazia said.
Xelloss laughed gayly. "Oh, she'll learn, rest assured."
Milgazia shot him a lethal look. "You shall see to it, won't you, Trickster?"
Xelloss grinned. "No, call it a hunch. Dark tidings have ways of getting around."
"Yes..." Aqua looked rueful. "And when she learns, I doubt we can stop her..."
Milgazia nodded slightly, chuckling faintly. "And we would probably just waste our time trying to get her to change her mind as well... I have never met a more stubborn child."
Aqua's gaunt face brightened into a crooked smile, and she giggled weakly. "Nor I."
"It is decided, then," Milgazia bowed to Aqua. "I will seek her-"
"She's at Sailoon, within the Palace, having a reunion with some old friends." Xelloss said absently.
They both looked at him, brows arched.
His smile was silly... but hinted at something else. "I keep an eye on what's mine."
Milgazia bristled. "Since when do YOU claim possession-"
"Since when did you?" Xelloss countered maddeningly.
"I?!" Milgazia stuttered. "I DO not!! You are the one!! To dare claim-"
"What is rightfully mine," Xelloss said calmly, perching on the bed. "I have all the right."
"Right?!" Milgazia sneered. "You have no right to her, Dark One. All you may do is make attempts at possession and control like any other of your disgusting, vile kind. YOU have no rights to her. How DARE you?!"
Xelloss face darkened faintly. "Your kind is no better. You attempt to hold back what she can truly achieve, to drag her down by your foolish fears and jealousies!"
"FOOLISH?!" Milgazia snarled. "We seek to preserve! She knows not what she risks whenever she casts the Lord's power! She is far too young to-"
"AND yet, YOU are willing to risk that and much more now?" Xelloss smiled mockingly up at him. "It would seem I was wrong... YOUR kind is even worse than mine is. We are true to what we are, you are not. HOW pitiful." He laughs, his gay ringing laughter echoing tauntingly in the vast chamber.
"YOU-!!!" Milgazia fought the towering rage that filled him.
"My, I must have hit quite a mark," Xelloss smirked. "To set you off so. I-"
"Enough," Aqua whispered. And they both fell silent.
"I will go at once," Milgazia grounded out so tightly that his jaw ached, turning to go. He saw that Xelloss had not moved, and glared as balefully as he could at the Priest. "YOU may leave NOW, Trickster."
"Oh, I will, I'm coming with you," Xelloss' smile was once again silly and infuriating.
"WHAT?! I WILL NEVER AC-"
The Priest was suddenly in front of him. "You have no choice. It is I who knows where and what it is you seek."
Milgazia hissed, spearing Xelloss with a deadly glare, clenching his hands into fists and shaking slightly in rage. But the Priest was right; he nodded once.
"Let's be on our way, then," Xelloss said merrily.
"Wait, Trickster," Aqua's voice floated to them.
"Yes, Aqua-sama," Xelloss looked back.
"WHY are you aiding the Dragons?"
"Ah, I am NOT aiding the Dragons... I am aiding YOU."
Xelloss spun around and swept into a grandiose bow, winking at her, and wagging his finger. "That is a secret."