Hello again! I meant to put a bit of an Author's Note up here again with this chapter, but I was half asleep when I posted it and didn't realize until this morning that I had completely forgotten about it! Sorry! Got a bit carried away with how excited I was to finish it! Thank you to everyone who followed/likes it enough to add it as a favorite! It was greatly appreciated! Back to the story and enjoy!
Chapter 3: Glimpse of a Dark Future
I yawned as I felt Tyger stir and was about to begin the process of waking me up by biting me when I stopped her. I grabbed her and placed her on my shoulder once I had sat up. I looked over at Zeref and saw that he was sleeping peacefully, his hair hanging over his eyes and seeming a little less worse for wear. I walked over and grabbed a piece of paper, writing on it that I was at the guildhall and would be back at sunset. I also wrote that I had placed Shadow Magic all throughout the house that acted both as a barrier and a defense system in case that the house was attacked. The magic spread throughout the house would keep his Death Magic from destroying the place and the outside world. When I left the room, I gave him one last look before walking out of the house and locking the door behind me. I grew wings again and flew back to the guildhall, Ty squealing excitedly as we neared the towering guildhall and landing in the courtyard.
With every step I took to the doors, the wings of darkness vaporized into thin air as I made the doors open with a flick of my wrist and the shadowy arms opened them for me. I walked inside to see everyone was going about their daily business, all accept for Natsu. He sat on top of one of the tables, his feet on the bench in front of him and watching me closely. I watched as he got up and made his way over to me, grabbing me by the arm and pulling me over to the wall furthest away from anyone else. He looked so serious as he gazed at me, his dark eyes glimmering with some strange emotion.
"There's something I would like to know," he said softly.
"What is it?" I asked curiously.
"Who was that person you were with last night and why were there flashing lights in the forest behind your house?"
"First of all," I said quietly, feeling quite angry at him all of a sudden, "that's really none of your business but if you must know, it was a dear friend of mine. Why were you spying on me?"
"My house is on the hill next to yours and I happened to hear strange noises outside. So I went out there to see weird lights, then later saw you show up with some guy. I didn't mean to spy or anything, I was just hoping that you weren't being blackmailed or something crazy like that."
"Thanks for the concern, Natsu, but I'm a Dragon Slayer just like you and I think I can take care of myself," I told him calmly.
"You'll let me know if you ever need help, right?" he asked me, the look in his eyes suggested that he actually meant it.
"Of course," I said simply. I patted him on the shoulder in a friendly way, knowing that he must have a puzzled look on his face as he watched me make my way over to the bar and hop up onto the counter.
"Timara!" I heard Wendy call for me and saw her run from the doors straight to me. "I need help!"
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"I still can't make that ball of magic yet!" she told me, setting Carla onto the counter and pulling herself up onto one of the barstools. "Do you have any tricks to do it?"
"I already told you," I laughed softly. "It just takes practice is all. Don't force it, just feel it."
"But it's so hard!" she said, feeling dejected.
"Sometimes, the simplest things are hard," I told her, catching Tyger when she leaned over my shoulder too far and fell. "It may take some time, but I'm certain that you can do this. It's just one of those things that can't be taught by another person how exactly to do it."
"Can you tell me how you did it?"
"It took me a very long time to get it down. I was an angry child since I could remember. I probably wouldn't be if those men hadn't attacked me all those years ago. But creating a ball of magic seemed out of my reach because I kept trying to force it. Skiadrum told me that I would never get it if I didn't calm down. He taught me to create a space of peace and tranquility in my mind to get as calm as possible, then I could create the ball within seconds as easy as could be."
"A space of peace?" she whispered to herself before asking, "What was yours?"
"Being on top of the tallest mountain, surrounded by snow and the night sky. That was what I chose back then as a child. It's different now."
She nodded, then wandered off to another table with Carla flying after her. I smiled and set down Tyger on the counter so I could watch her walk around. I watched as she sat there and closed her eyes to concentrate on her thoughts. Natsu and Gajeel walked over to her as she held out her hands with her palms facing upwards, her face relaxing and a sky blue ball of light formed in her hands as a sudden breeze whipped her hair around. She opened her eyes and grinned at me, Natsu and Gajeel looking envious. They asked her how she did it and she gave the same explanation to them as I had given to her. Gajeel had it down a few minutes later as he meditated like Wendy had, a metallic green ball with what looked like shards of silver mingling within it in his hand. Natsu, for some reason, wasn't able to create it and he looked furious. He stormed off, muttering something under his breath when Gray walked closer and the two of them immediately got into a fight. I sighed and made a barrier of shadow to separate them, not wanting Makarov to come back to a destroyed guildhall.
Tyger climbed up my arm and sat on my shoulder so that she could whisper in my ear, "How's Ref doing?"
"I'm sure he's fine," I whispered back. "There's plenty of food already in the house thanks to the man who owned the place previously and as long as he stays inside, he'll be protected."
"Won't he be lonely?" she asked sadly.
"He used to be alone on Tenrou Island for a couple centuries," I explained, trying not to laugh. "I think he can wait until sunset and be ok."
For the rest of the day, I had to teach Natsu how to create a ball of magic while the other two Dragon Slayers perfected the technique. Just before nightfall, Natsu managed to get the hang of it, forming a ball of fire that had a golden center. He looked so excited and thanked me, hugging me quickly before running out of the hall. I shook my head and picked up Tyger, who was chasing a shadow bunny around. She batted her tiny paws at me playfully, flapping the one wing as hard as she could and staying airborne for a lot longer than she had before. I caught her and carried her outside, then formed my wings and flew off to my mansion on the outskirts of the woods. I saw the lights were on and heard clinking noises inside, making the both of us curious as we quickly made our way inside to the noises that were coming from the dining room. I walked inside to see Zeref standing beside the dining room table proudly and the table was completely decked out in food enough for two. I was in shock as I looked at it all and then looked up at his beaming face.
"I figured you deserved someone taking care of you for once and this was the least I could do for you since you took me in," he told me, his eyes sparkling. He was in front of me before I could fully realize it, hugging me as tight as he could and then letting go before Ty could scratch him for squishing her. He walked over to one of the chairs and pulled it out for me, waiting for me to sit down before pushing it closer to the table and then sitting down in the chair next to mine. I set Tyger down on the table next to a small plate that was her size and she mewed in thanks as we put soft food like mashed potatoes on the plate for her to eat. I had a little bit of everything, which was mashed potatoes, ham, corn on the cob, peas, and bread rolls. Zeref did the same, only in larger quantities. He ate everything that was left and looked content after we had finished eating. "Now, there's something I've been meaning to talk to you about."
"What is it?" I asked curiously, picking up a sleepy kitten and holding her so that she could fall asleep in my arms.
"Do you think it's a good idea for me to leave and hide somewhere farther away from here?" he asked me uncertainly. "I'm worried about you."
"You don't need to be worried about me, Zeref," I told him calmly. "I'm an S-Class Wizard and easily the strongest in the guild besides the master."
"But what if the thing that's hunting me comes after you because it figured out that I was here? It's very strong!"
"Do I need to fight you to prove that I'll be ok?" I asked with a small laugh, reaching over to clasp his hand in mine. A faint flush appeared on his cheeks and he held my hand a little tighter. "I swear to you, I can hold my own in battle and even then I have all of Fairy Tail to back me up if the need arises."
"No need to fight me," he said quickly. "I don't want to accidentally hurt you."
"Are you trying to say that you could?" I challenged with a contagious smile that had him grinning back. "Anyway, I think it's time for us to head to bed for the night. You should pick a room to stay in."
I slipped my hand from his and started to carry plates back to the kitchen with one hand with Zeref assisting me in the endeavor. It didn't take long with his help and we were walking up the stairs to the second floor.
"Which wing of the house would you prefer, the west wing or the east wing?" I asked him.
"Which wing are you staying in?"
"Then that's the one I choose as well," he said, so I led him along to the right that held a long corridor with rooms on either side. My room was the biggest on the very end of the hallway and he chose the one across from mine, giving me yet another quick hug before he practically ran to his room. I shook my head and walked to my door, opening it and stepping inside.
My room was the master suite, windows that looked out over Magnolia and the lake. I had a large bed with a canopy, all of the blankets were royal blue, which was my favorite color. There was a door on the far end of the room that led to an en suite bathroom and also a large dresser next to a mirror. I walked over to the bed, crawling under the blankets and setting Tyger down next to me with her head propped on the pillow. She snuffled in her sleep and curled up against my neck. I smiled as I pulled the comforters up over my shoulders and fell asleep with her fuzzy arm thrown lightly against my throat.
There was a crash in the great hall of the mansion and I was awake with a start, Tyger hissing as her fur stood up on end and she jumped up onto my shoulder. I threw the blankets off of me and got out of bed, running out of the room to see Zeref doing the same. I was about to run off after the noise, but Zeref grabbed me and pulled me back, accidentally making me bump into his chest.
"I don't want you going," he said seriously, his expression determined as he gazed at me. "It could be dangerous."
I heard a scream from the main hall and rolled my eyes at him. "I have the house warded against attacks. It will be ok." I turned around and walked down the hall to the stairs with Zeref following closely behind me, sliding his fingers between mine in case he needed to pull me away from whatever danger he feared could be out there. Once we went down the stairs and the large diamond chandelier couldn't block our line of sight, we saw two dark figures, one human sized and one tiny, hanging from upside down from a shadowy rope trap. I flipped on the lights to see Natsu and Happy, dangling from the ropes that were tied to their ankles.
"This isn't what it looks like!" Happy called out to me, his wings hanging down prone from his body.
I tried to hide Zeref from behind my back but he walked out to look at who it was, giving my hand a comforting squeeze as he finally gaped openly at the two of them. "Who's he?" Natsu asked suspiciously.
"How about you answer my questions first?" I said to him as Tyger hissed softly, sensing my simmering anger. "Why'd you break into my house?"
"I wouldn't call it breaking in. I just wanted to make sure that you're ok," he told me. "Now, can you let us down?"
"Natsu…" Zeref whispered and I saw hope shimmering in his eyes as tears started to slide down his cheeks.
I yanked him back and he seemed to snap out of it, looking over at me with that hope still present. "Timara, I need to ask him if—"
"Don't you dare," I growled at him before turning back to Natsu. "Why in the world did you want to check up on me?"
"Because you've been acting fidgety all day and I didn't know if you were actually telling the truth about the person at your house being a friend," he told me. "So who is he?"
I sighed and looked over to Zeref, who nodded once for his approval. "His name is Zeref. I've known him since I became an S-Class Wizard. He came to visit since he was just passing through."
Zeref frowned a little but Natsu didn't see it as he nodded, then both he and Happy started squirming as the blood rushing to their heads began to hurt them. With a snap of my fingers, they fell to the ground in a heap before bouncing energetically to their feet. They both immediately walked into the living room and I followed them to watch as they plopped down onto the couch, passing out as soon as they landed on the cushions. I sighed again and walked back into the main hall where Zeref was waiting.
"I need to ask him," was all he said.
"No, you're not going to. He won't do it either way, so stop thinking that someone is going to kill you."
"Timara…" he sighed my name.
"No," I said again before heading back to the stairs without looking back at him. I heard his footsteps as he chased after me and I hurried to get back to my room. I made it to the door and got inside to shut it as fast as I could, hearing him sigh outside the door before going to his room. I felt my body shake with some unknown emotion and Ty rubbed her cheek against mine comfortingly, getting the shakes to stop soon after.
"Mara, why does he want to die?" she asked me sadly. "He's so nice."
"He thinks that his death will make up for all of the bad things he's done in the past," I explained to her as I walked back to bed and yawned. "He thinks it's atoning for his sins."
"That's sad," Ty whispered as we both drifted off to sleep.
The first thing I noticed was that it was pitch black. I tried to move my hand in front of my face but I couldn't see a thing or even tell that I had moved anything at all. It was like being in a sensory deprivation tank that Dark Guilds would occasionally like to use to torture people. The only thing I could feel was a pressure being exerted on my body, one that I could feel was dark to its core.
You have something I want.
I felt more than heard the voice as it echoed throughout the space of darkness. I felt the air shudder around me as the pressure increased. It was beginning to get painful, my organs starting to squeeze together. I wasn't sure how, but the darkness got even worse as I felt a shudder go through the entirety of my soul.
You're hiding him from me.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I said calmly even though the pressure was bothering me.
That is a lie. You're holding The Black Wizard under your roof.
"I fail to see how that's any of your business."
You have a death wish, girl. I think you should hold your tongue.
"How about you tell me who you are," I said, stifling a whimper.
You are too insignificant to know my name. It's beneath me to tell you.
"Now you listen here," I growled, my magic leaking out in my rage and making the shadows ripple like a pond when a stone is dropped into its watery depths. "You're seriously underestimating me and that will be your final mistake when I take you down. If you so much as harm one hair on his head, I will destroy you and your name from the face of the earth."
It is surprising that you can affect the darkness like this. It should be impossible from one of your stature.
"I am an S-Class Wizard of Fairy Tail, the strongest member under Master Makarov and a Shadow Dragon Slayer. My magic knows no bounds so don't force me to test them on you."
I heard a chuckle from the darkness before my consciousness started to fade from the dream. A Shadow Dragon Slayer from Fairy Tail, eh? That's almost as good as a wizard who knows Death Magic. Maybe I'll come there to collect the whole set.
I woke up with a shudder, still feeling the darkness from the dream clinging to my mind and soul. I looked up at the window to see that the sun was about to rise and knew it was time to get ready for the new day. I had a feeling that today the other Dragon Slayers would want to learn something new from me, especially Wendy, so I got out clothes for training purposes. I pulled a black halter top that would show off the Fairy Tail mark on my back and navy blue shorts, the top itself revealing a small strip of skin on my stomach occasionally. I picked up Ty and carried her since she was still sleeping, walking to the door and stepping out to see Zeref.
"You were in the dream last night," he said with a blank look on his face. "You antagonized him."
"I don't like threats," I told him, walking in the direction of the stairs when he grabbed me by the arm and turned me back around to face him.
"You don't know what you just did," he said in disbelief. "Even if I leave, he's going to come after you."
"And I will be waiting for him," I said, trying to pull my arm free but his grip was tight.
"You don't get it!" he whined and I could see the fear swimming in his eyes. "I have to stay here and protect you from him!"
"No, you're going to leave and go as far as you can to hide. In the dream, he said that he was going to collect the whole set. You'd be the final piece and we can at least buy you some time to get away from him."
The fear got a lot worse as he let go of my arm. "So that's what this is about. You shifted his focus onto yourself on purpose. You think I'll just leave now after what you just said? I'm staying in Magnolia!"
He stormed off to his room, went inside of it, then slammed the door shut behind him. I sighed as Tyger jolted awake at the noise from the door and looked up at me. I just shook my head and walked to the stairs, running down them to check the living room for guests. I saw Natsu and Happy were both awake and waiting for me, sitting patiently on the couch and then standing when we came into sight.
"Were you just having an argument with your friend?" Happy asked me.
"Unfortunately, yes I was."
"What were you two arguing about?" Natsu asked me.
"A rash decision on my part," I said, then beckoned them to follow me. "Come on, guys, time to head back to the guild."
Since I was with Natsu, I decided against flying and instead walked with him along the path to the gate. We stayed silent for the longest time, just watching as Happy formed his wings and flew around our heads lazily. He picked up Tyger and placed her on his back as he flew, Ty squeaking in joy and I knew that she was hoping for the day where she could do the same.
"What decision is your friend unhappy about?" Natsu asked suddenly.
"One that could affect my safety," I said simply.
"Why is it that you're so vague when I ask you about things?"
I shook my head slightly and watched the two cats on the path ahead of us. "I didn't realize that I was. I don't know, I have had trouble trusting people since the very beginning."
"But why? We're all very dependable in Fairy Tail," he told me. "We wouldn't betray your trust because that's just not who we are."
"I don't trust people because the very first memory I have is of a group of men attacking me and brutally beating me to the edge of death for having magic similar to the dragon that lived up on the mountain," I said quietly, making him look up at me in surprise. "I don't remember anything else before that either because they destroyed any happy memories I may have had previously with that attack."
"Timara, I'm sorry for what happened to you all those years ago," he said quietly. "But you have to know that we would never do anything like that to you or let anyone do that to you ever again."
"I do know that," I said, placing my hand over my eyes to block the sun's blinding rays to see the gate was steadily getting closer. "It's just difficult sometimes to remember that I have nothing to fear in the guild. I know that everyone is extremely supportive and I appreciate it."
He nodded and then asked, "So are you going to tell me without vagueness as to what you were arguing with your friend about?"
"Right now, no," I said softly. "It's not the time or place to discuss this. Not only that, but the situation hasn't occurred yet to cause so much worry. I swear to you that when the time comes, I will let you know and tell you about this."
"Ok, Timara," he said and then ignored me for the rest of the walk to the gate.
I pulled out my keys and unlocked the gate to let us pass through, waving at the kind man who sold me the mansion and the shooing the cats along so that we could make our way to the guild. The walk there was peaceful enough until Natsu began to ask about what was next for training with long range attacks. I told him that he'd just have to wait and see like the other two would. We finally made our way across the courtyard and into the guildhall, only to be ambushed by Wendy, Gajeel, and their cats. They demanded to be taught more and I laughed as I walked over to the counter where Mirajane was wiping the counter. I checked in with her and told her that we would be back for lunch. She grinned and waved me away with her towel, so I ran back to the three Dragon Slayers and out to the courtyard again. Happy handed me Tyger and I let her curl up in my arms for a quick nap as I ran past the main gates and to the main thoroughfare with the other Dragon Slayers and cats trailing behind me at a fast clip.
I took them all the way to the park with the cherry blossom trees and then whipped around with a grin. "Alright, first things first," I said, "I want you all to create that ball of magic for me! Quickly now!"
The cats, Pantherlily kindly taking Tyger with them so I could teach the Dragon Slayers a thing or two, flew off to a picnic table to watch the events unfold. I watched as the three of them created the ball of magic almost instantaneously, a smile of pride flashing over their faces before they controlled their emotion. I knew that this was something they had down to a science and I finally understood how the dragons training us all must have felt. They got to watch with pride as their students flourished under their tutelage and it was amazing to observe.
"Good job, you three!" I said proudly. "Now, I know you want to learn attacks first, but that's not how I learned things. Before you learn how to destroy, you must learn how to create. So we're going to start with creation lessons and start off simple. How about you all try to morph that ball of magic into… oh, how about a flower of your choice?"
I heard grumbling from Natsu and Gajeel, but that was to be expected since they were all about the destruction aspect of magic itself, whereas Wendy was still new to things and had an open mind going in. She had an excited glimmer in her eyes as she closed her eyes and concentrated. I watched as the ball of air shivered, but still stayed a sphere. Her brow wrinkled in frustration and she tried again as the boys tried to do the same. After about a half an hour of their attempts at morphing the ball of magic, they grumbled unhappily at their lack of success and asked for a demonstration.
In my imagination, I pictured my favorite flower, a lily, and after creating a ball of magic I felt the lily in my hand and remembered every detail about them as it slowly formed before their eyes, turning dark blue and violet in my shadows. They all gasped in surprise as I held it in my hand, walking over to the cats and giving it to them. Carla took it with a small smile, sniffing it and making a noise of pleasure at its scent.
"This is what you have to do to create the flower out of the ball," I said to them. "You remember details about that flower, any kind of detail at all. It could be what it looked like, what color it was, how the petals felt, what it smelled like, etcetera. So long as you feel it in your heart, mind, and soul, it will appear for you like… well, like magic." I grinned excitedly and waited for them to try again.
It didn't take very long before they managed to get the hang of it. Wendy picked the rose, making it look almost as if it were made from crystal. Next was Gajeel to make his flower and his was a tulip, his magic making the flower look metallic and silver. Natsu seemed to have the hardest time creating his flower. We soon realized that he couldn't come up with a flower to use, so Wendy had to lead him around the park before they found a daffodil near one of the cherry blossom trees. The next problem he had with it was that he couldn't morph the ball of magic into the daffodil itself, so the other two Dragon Slayers had to make him feel, smell, and hold the daffodil to a certain degree before letting him try again. I felt like laughing but covered my mouth with my hand so that he couldn't see me and get discouraged. Once he made a mental image of the daffodil and all its details, it wasn't long before he finally managed to morph it into the flower, making it look bright red with flames and a golden center just before the stem.
I figured that this lesson was enough for the day, knowing that Natsu was going to be the challenging one with creation lessons because he was way too good at destroying things. We headed back to the guildhall, where all three of them celebrated their latest accomplishment and I talked with Mira and Lucy for the rest of the afternoon. At nightfall, I took Ty and left the hall itself, growing my wings and flying back to the mansion relatively quick. I opened up the door and it was deathly quiet within, so I knew that Zeref must still be sulking around in his room after our argument. I thankfully already had dinner with Mira and Lucy, so I headed up to my room with Ty and we crawled into bed just to fall asleep the moment our heads hit the pillow.