"Natsu!" - Person Talking

"Natsu!" - Person Thinking

"Natsu!" - Large Being Talking

"Natsu!" - Large Being Thinking

"Fire Dragon's Iron Fist!" - Magic

Ah, I'm back. Sorry guys. Don't really haven an excuse, just not been doing anything but work and school. It's here and new, but don't be expecting anything new anytime soon, sorry bout that. But eh, this is back so hopefully you guys and gals who've been waiting for it like it. But if I can be honest for a sec here, I really kinda had my heart die with Fairy Tail. My ship is sunk, least favorite ship is sailing (Not that I had any expectations for my ship sailing anywho) but eh, Fairy Tail hurts me now man. But enough of that, can't apologize enough for a year of not doing anything, and I won't make n'excuses. My writing has probably deteriorated from not writing anything creative, mostly been writing research papers and and the like so yeah. But anyway, you came to read, so let's a go.

Smoldering Ember - Chapter 8

With the dissolution of the dark guild Tartaros and Fiore's strongest guild, Fairy Tail, the previous era had faded away in the throes of time as a new one was ushered in. Four months having passed since the cataclysmic battle between the Fairy Tail and Tartaros, alongside the titanic clash between Igneel, Natsu and Acnologia, coinciding with the death of the two former; it was a rather somber and sad time period. With the members of Crime Sorcière, those who were the closest to the pinkette who had his life abruptly taken from him by the Black Dragon of the Apocalypse, they moved on in order to carry on his legacy and protect the world from darkness. Though, it was far more then that as they were carrying on in order to protect the young, pink haired child that he had promised to protect with his life.

(Time Skip - Six Months Later)

(Scene Change - Crime Sorcière Guildhall: Main Entrance)

"Ha... That was a rather grueling task." Jellal quipped in an exhausted tone, stretching his arms and back as he entered the guildhall.

"Oh, welcome back Jellal!" Meredy called out in a chipper tone as she waved at the bluenette, getting a tired smile from the older man as he returned her greeting.

"I see that you're full of energy as always Meredy, did Nagisa cause you any trouble?" Jellal asked the pinkette in a concerned manner, getting a negative shake of the head from the young lady.

"You know Nagisa, Jellal. She's the sweetest and quietest little bundle of cuteness! She's never any trouble!" Meredy chimed in a happy tone as Jellal laughed good-naturedly, sharing her sentiments as Nagisa was indeed the sweetest and most soft spoken child he had met in his lifetime.

"Yes, I know. She's the sweetest child that I've met, always gently and politely asking instead of crying for what she wants." He said with a light laugh, the pinkette across from his following suit as they fell into a amiable laughing fit.

"Well, aren't you two full of energy." Ultear called out to them from the second floor, yawning a bit while rubbing the remainder of her sleepiness from her eyes.

"Ul! Good morning!" Meredy chirped in a chipper tone, Ultear yawning once more before sleepily returning the greeting with an equally sleepy smile.

"I hope you slept well, Ultear." Jellal said with a bit of mirth in his tone, Ultear grumbling a bit under her breath about a certain blue haired morning person.

"G-Good morning, everyone." A quiet voice called out from beside Ultear, causing the heads of everyone else to shift and smile at a nervously smiling Flare.

"Ah! Good morning Flare-chan!" Meredy chimed at the anxious redhead, reliving her anxiety as a small and gentle smile marred her face at the warm greeting.

"Good morning as well, Flare. I hope that you had a good night's sleep." Jellal added with a smile of his own, Flare returning it as Ultear and herself made their way down the stairs.

"Oi, what's with all the noise so early in the morning?" A tired and irritated voice called out from the opposite side of the building, the five gathered below turning to see a half awake Erik yawning and glaring at them.

"Now Erik, no need to be so testy so early in the morning." Richard said in a kind but scolding tone, Erik turning to face the block-faced man.

"Tsk. Still feels weird using our real names instead of the ones Brain assigned us." Erik muttered as he was joined by the members of his old guild; Macbeth, Richard, Sawyer and Sorano, heading down to greet their new guildmates.

Once they made it down to the floor of their guild and home, they turned to face Jellal as he began reporting what he had done while out on his mission. Having been on a standard recon mission to see if there were any incidents that needed attention, Jellal reported that Fiore was seemingly calm and peaceful at the moment. The report causing a bit of relief to pass through his guildmates, he felt his brow twitch when he saw Erik mutter something under his breath having wanted to stretch his legs.

"Well, as things are now we don't have much to worry about. Though, be sure to keep your eyes and ears alert. None of us have the power to predict what may come in the future, so it's still best to be ready for anything." Jellal explained to the mages gathered around him, getting nods of agreement from all of them before they headed off to tend to their own businesses.

"Oh my! Still the sweetest little angel aren't you, Nagisa." Sorano chirped in a teasing tone as she scooped the pink haired child from Meredy's arms, the older pinkette's brow twitching in a dangerous manner at the blatantly domineering act.

"Sorano! What gives you the right to just take Nagisa from me!" She growled at the snow-haired woman, Sorano giving her a rather smug look as Nagisa giggled and snuggled into her ample chest.

"It's not my fault that this little angel likes to snuggle with me more then she does with you." Sorano quipped in an equally smug tone as Nagisa giggled at the two battling young ladies, Meredy's brow twitching in a mix of anger and irritation at Sorano's expression.

"Enough you two. Having some friendly banter is fine, but please refrain from doing so in front of Nagisa. What would Natsu say if he saw the two of you doing that in front of her?" Jellal said in a rather stern tone, the eyes of Meredy widening before closing a bit in shame while Sorano's smug smile thinned to a rather shamed line.

Sighing a bit, Jellal moved to secure Nagisa in his arms as the young girl giggled in response before reaching out towards him. The two young ladies bowing their heads a bit in shame, they quickly apologized to each other before the atmosphere turned back to a lighter note. As they all converged and gathered within the confines of their guildhall, they quickly fell into a mood of light chatter and laughs as the mages of Crime Sorcière caught up with each other and began sharing tales of their training and exploits.

"No kidding. So you managed to extend your range compared to how it was before, huh." Erik quipped as Sawyer began explaining the steadily growing range of his Slowing Magic, the Second Generation Dragon Slayer listening intently as the blonde seemed to be showing much more emotion then he had in the past few years.

"Yeah, it's not as far as I'd like but... I'm getting there." Sawyer said in a soft but determined tone, the two sharing a small smirk as they caught up with what their training entailed.

"Don't forget to get plenty of sleep, sleep is important." Macbeth quipped while stifling a yawn, having returned to his sleepy and laid back personality in comparison to how he was months ago.

"Oh? Is that true? Hmm... Makes me wish I had fallen in love with Natsu-san as well, then Nagisa being my little angel wouldn't be such a farfetched idea now would it?" Sorano said in a soft tone as she was regaled with more tales of the pinkette's exploits, though her ending statement caused a small surge of jealousy and protectiveness to spark through Flare, Ultear and Meredy.

"W-Well, it's no use thinking about it now. But I'm sure that you would've fallen in love with him if he was still around." Meredy replied in an equally soft tone, her eyes shining as she remember how beautiful and comforting his flames were.

"As much as I hate to admit it, that's a truth that would have no doubt happened. Natsu did have a talent for attracting rather unique women." Ultear admitted with a small pout, glancing at Meredy and Flare as they stared back at her.

Seeing her stare along with hearing her statement, Meredy simply smiled in a rather haughty matter while Flare flushed a bit at the rather truthful observation. But once again, the tension that was felt between them melted as they softly laughed at the interesting coincidence, reveling in the memories that they shared with the pinkette. Soon enough, the mages of Crime Sorcière bid their farewells to each other as they moved to either train, scout or rest for what was to come.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Cronaca Town - Lucy's Home)

"Haa... That was another rough day..." Lucy muttered as she started trying off the remnants of water that clung to her blonde locks, switching the task of drying to one hand while she grabbed her cup of tea resting on the table.

Since Fairy Tail's disbandment, Lucy was drifting from town to town trying to find something to fill the void that the lack of her guild had created. But as fate would have it, while Lucy was passing through Cronaca Town she ran into Jason from Sorcerer Magazine. After explaining what had happened to her guild to the man, Lucy was offered a position as a reporter from Jason. A bit stunned and unsure at first, Jason eased Lucy's worries when he said that she would be free to use whatever free time and resources she had to look for her former guildmates and friends. That was what cemented the deal and caused her to join the magazine.

"It's been almost six months, huh." Lucy whispered to herself in a nostalgic and somber tone, tracing her fingers over the emblem of her guild while an equally somber smile graced her face.

"Well, I'm glad that mostly everyone is doing fine. Gajeel and Levy are a part of the Magic Council's Custody Enforcement Unit surprisingly, Erza is travelling the world searching for any signs of evil, Gray and Juvia are staying together Amefurashi Village, Lisanna and her siblings are still together with Happy in Alterare Village, Wendy and Carla are being well taken care of by Lamia Scale and well... Looks like everybody is doing fine." Lucy whispered to herself as she smiled a bit of a brighter smile, turning to look at the sparse but special photos of her friends that she had collected over the months.

"I wonder what you would be doing if you were still around, Natsu..." She said to herself in a quiet tone, moved to look at a worn photo of the pinkette wearing his trademark grin.

Sighing to herself, Lucy wiped the sad look off her face and replaced it with a much more gentle and happy expression. Leaning forward, she planted a soft kiss on the photo before returning to finish her article. Taking a sip from her cup of tea, she mulled over what else to add in order to draw the attention of her companies slow but steadily growing reading base. A bit lost in where to take her article, Lucy opted to finish it tomorrow and headed to bed, no doubt still lost in the memories and future possibilities that she shared with her guildmates.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Unknown Location)

"Tsk, still no signs of it..." Erza muttered dejectedly as she studied the map laid out in front of her, various marking making it barely legible to the untrained eye.

Since the disbandment of the guild, Erza had moved on to find any traces of the dragon that took away the person that she cherished even more then Jellal. Though she was hunting for Acnologia, Erza already knew that it would be a fruitless endeavor as she lacked the means of even properly damaging the dragon. Even with her strongest armors and weapons, she lacked the Dragon Slaying Magic that could even hope to damage the dragon. More then anything, her quest was more of a means to remember Natsu by.

Why would going on such a quest help her remember Natsu, especially when she had a number of photographs and portraits of the pinkette? It was more of a way for Erza to stay connected to him, as his last proclamation was the promise of killing the dragon. By taking up his last promise, Erza was keeping a piece of Natsu within her heart. It wasn't something as tangible as the photos that she kept close to her heart, but it was even closer to her heart then they were.

"Wonder what everyone else is up to. No doubt causing trouble." Erza said to herself in a soft and mirthful tone, a hint of longing on her face as she remembered the happier times with her guild.

"No use worrying now, they're all capable mages. I'm sure they'll be able to take care of anything that comes their way." She added in much more confident tone, smiling as she remembered seeing Wendy and Lucy on the cover of a number of Sorcerer Magazine issues.

Folding the map laid out before her, she requiped it back into her pocket dimension before retrieving a sleeping bag. Folding it out, she proceeded to create a comfortable campsite before settling in for the night. As she slowly drifted to a realm of sweet dreams and fond memories, she was seemingly ignorant of the number of twitching and unconscious wild beasts that laid around her camp from the aftermath of their attempted ambush of the redhead.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Amefurashi Village)

"Gray-sama, lunch is ready!" Juvia called out in a loving tone as she skipped to the young man sitting on a frozen log, gratefully taking the basket of sandwiches that the bluenette had prepared for him.

"Thanks, I was starving." He replied in an equally grateful tone as he quickly devoured the tasty albeit a bit salty treats, Juvia beaming in happiness as she watched him eat.

"...You think everyone else is living as content as we are?" Gray asked the water Mage out of the blue, Juvia flinching a bit before a rather solemn smile appeared on her face.

"Juvia isn't sure, Gray-sama. Juvia hopes that everyone is living a happy and safe life, but Juvia can't be certain." Juvia answered in an honest manner, Gray simply nodding his head in a soft manner before he heaved a slightly heavy sigh.

"Well, where ever they are, no doubt they're all doing fine. Lucy's working for Sorcerer Magazine now, Wendy is happy and healthy with Lamia Scale and there's no need to worry about Erza." Gray stated as he finished the rest of the sandwiches that Juvia had prepared for him, the bluenette's eyes softening when she saw the fond nostalgia drifting in the eyes of the one she adored.

"Gray-sama..." She whispered in a soft tone, reaching out towards him in an attempt to comfort him only for the young man to suddenly stand.

"That's enough moping around, come'on Juvia." Gray announced as she jumped at his sudden suggestion, quickly standing beside him as they worked on their movements in tandem.

(Time Skip - An Hour Later)

"Ha... Well Juvia is going to shower first then, Gray-sama. D-Don't hesitate to j-join Juvia if you want." Juvia said with a crimson blush on her face, heading to their shared bathhouse as Gray remained seated at the table.

Her words never reached the Ice Mage as he was focused on the events of the past six months, his shoulders slackening as he recounted the way that his old rival fell at the hands of Acnologia. His fists tightening at the memory, the tears, anguish and anger that Natsu's final spell contained; he forcibly calmed himself as he knew that no one could stand up to the near omnipotent might that the Black Dragon held. Though, he let a mirthless chuckle escape his mouth when he recounted the promise to catch up to and surpass the pinkette that he made back when he visited their old guild.

"Can't surpass someone without a proper match to see who's stronger..." He whispered as he looked down, having hoped to see where he stood against the pinkette at the moment.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Margaret Town - Lamia Scale Guildhall)

"Congrats on another job well done, Wendy!" The energetic voice of Chelia called out as she gave her best friend and partner a hug, the timid but smiling Dragon Slayer returning it as they completed their report.

"Thanks Chelia, but it was mostly due to you and your Magic." Wendy quipped as she pushed more of the praise onto the God Slayer, Chelia giggling as she shook her head in a knowing fashion.

"Come'on, don't be so modest Wendy! You've really gotten a lot stronger since you and Carla joined, have a little bit more faith in yourself." Chelia said as she squeezed Wendy a bit tighter, the bluenette flushing a bit before she tried to pass the praise off once more.

"B-But it really was mostly because of you, if you hadn't stopped those monsters when they ambushed us it would have been a much harder job!" She added as her best friend sighed, the bluenette feeling a bit awkward before they both started giggling.

"I'm glad to see that Wendy is settling in nicely." Lyon said with a smile on his face, happy to see that the formally timid Mage was starting to edge out of her shell.

"Though, it would've been a much smoother transition if you hadn't scared her off by demanding information about Gray, Lyon." Yuka deadpanned as the Ice Mage gained a bit of pink on his cheeks, the terrified look on Wendy's face all too fresh after shaking her for any leverage on his rival.

"That... That was a mistake that I hope to never repeat." He said in a grave tone as he sulked a bit, getting pats on the back from Yuka and Toby as they snickered slightly at their usually serious friend's change in demeanor.

"Ah! Carla is still at home isn't she? Come'on, we need to get going!" Chelia suddenly said as she remembered the Exceed, Wendy's eyes lighting up as she remembered what her other best friend asked of her.

"She wanted fish for dinner tonight! Why don't we stop by the market on the way back?" Wendy suggested to her best friend and housemate, Chelia smiling and nodding as they quickly headed out of the guild.

As the two left, they left in their wake a few of the younger members of Lamia Scale blushing as they imagined the positions of either of the two swapped with themselves. About to slip into a bit of the more coarse settings of their imaginations, they were quickly broken from them when they all felt a sudden chill run down their spines. Turning stiffly, they saw that Lyon, Toby and Yuka were staring down at them with promise of punishment in their eyes should they choose to "defile" the two most innocent and cute members of their guild.

Nervously laughing, those who had their minor moment of imagination quickly sped to the request board before grabbing the nearest job and bolting, returning only to have it approved before speeding out once more. The trio nodding with triumphant smirks on their faces, they returned to the bar of their guild, chatting and laughing as they toasted to another successful "innocence protection" quest.

(Time Skip - Half an Hour Later)

(Scene Change - Margaret Town: Wendy and Chelia's Apartment)

After their quick shopping trip, buying supplies for the rest of the week, Wendy and Chelia headed back to their apartment complex before starting on an early dinner. Awaiting them was Carla who had learned Transformation Magic, adopting the form of a young lady around the same age as Wendy and Chelia. Quickly preparing a simple meal of steamed fish, tossed greens and some freshly squeezed juice; the trio enjoyed their dinner before deciding to call it a night.

Changing into her pajamas, Wendy let a content smile grace her features as she contemplated the past six months since the "incident" as Carla called it. It wasn't just the disbandment of Fairy Tail that caused Wendy to retreat a bit back into her shell, it was also the death of the person who gave her the courage and strength to take those first steps out of her shell.

Since Natsu's death at the hands of Acnologia, Wendy had lost almost all of her childlike innocence, even more so when she fought against Ezel during the war with Tartaros. At first it terrified Carla and everyone else who knew what she was like before that incident, seeing her so despondent and hollow. But eventually, due in part mostly to Carla and Chelia reminding her that they would always be there for her, Wendy regained a bit of her youthful energy and happiness; though it wasn't nearly at the levels it was before.

"Munya~ Goodnight Wendy, Carla! Let's give it our all again tomorrow, alright?" Chelia asked her housemates, getting smiles and nods from them as they bid her a goodnight as well.

"Goodnight Wendy, Chelia." Carla quipped as she let a yawn escape her mouth, having already returned to her Exceed form before curling up beside Wendy.

"Goodnight you two, sweet dreams." Wendy whispered as she saw the steady rising and falling of her closest friends' chests, smiling softly as she found herself at peace once more as she tried to sleep herself.

Though, that feeling of peace slowly gave way to a much more solemn feeling as she remembered that it was nearing the seventh month of the passing of the person who she held closest to her heart after her mother, Chelia and Carla. Her smiling thinning to a small line, she made sure that Carla and Chelia were both sound asleep before discretely making out of her bed and her way over to her dresser. Silently pulling out the top drawer, she moved her hand beneath it before pushing open a hidden compartment and removing her most cherished possession. Bringing the photo close to her, she let a bittersweet smile grace her features as she did her best to hold back the tears that wanted to spill from her eyes.

The photo was of his time visiting Fairy Tail after the events of the Grand Magic Games, having been taken by Jason of Sorcerer Magazine when they weren't paying attention. The man opting to give Wendy the only copy of the photo in secret as it was of a rather intimate scene between herself and the pinkette, something that she would forever be grateful to him for. Pictured was a steaming and swirly eyed Wendy while Natsu had a surprised look on his face. Wendy was on the tips of her toes while Natsu was leaning down a bit, though the reason for the Dragon Slayer's varied expressions was due to the fact that it wasn't the kiss on the cheek that Wendy had wanted to give him; instead, Natsu had turned when Makarov called out to him, leading to a quick kiss on the lips.

That one moment, the chaos that ensued afterwards, and the statement that Lisanna left for her and the other young ladies who held affections for the pinkette still fresh in her mind; Wendy couldn't help but want to drift back to that exact moment and relive it once more. But, after a few more seconds of fond nostalgia, she let a soft but shaky breath escape before she returned her treasure back to where it belonged. Returning to bed, Wendy never noticed the tears that thinly lined both Chelia and Carla's eyes.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Rune Knights' Headquarters)

"Gehihi, looks like we bagged another one!" Gajeel called out as he opened up the doors of his place of employment, getting a number of cheers and shouts at the number of criminal Mages that the Dragon Slayer had captured.

"Lock em' up! You know the drill!" He ordered as the other Knights moved to follow them, though there was on Knight who opted to just look blankly at him.

"Gajeel, you just don't know how to hold back, do you?" Levy asked the Dragon Slayer in a bland tone, Gajeel shooting her a rather toothy smirk as her cheeks darkened a bit.

"Just get back to work!" She shouted at him as he chuckled in a much lighter manner, shaking his head as he made his way towards her.

"You don't have to be so uptight all the time, you know." He quipped as she opted to huff a bit and turn away, immediately regretting her decision when her eyes fell onto a tattered and worn news article.

A bit curious as to why his jab didn't affect her like it usually would, Gajeel turned and promptly let a small frown grace his face as he saw just what it was that sucked the joy out of the bluenette. With Levy, her eyes softened considerably as she recalled the fond and warm memories of the pink haired man that was described in the tattered article, an article stating his astounding single handed victory against six dragons and the mastermind controlling them. Seeing such an expression grace her face caused a sour one to cross Gajeel's, grunting softly as he turned and turn away from the bluenette. Though it was the nostalgic and longing sigh that left Levy's mouth was what caused the Iron Dragon Slayer to openly show his jealousy, frowning much deeper as he turned and headed towards the main office to give his report.

"Hmm?" Levy sounded as she turned to see Gajeel heading towards the office of their commanding officer, smiling softly as she knew just what it was that was causing the mood of the Dragon Slayer to sour.

"I'm sorry, Gajeel. I didn't mean to make you jealous." She said in a teasing tone as a bit of pink dusted the cheeks of the young man, Gajeel gritting his teeth as she opted to giggle and move on ahead of him.

"Tch. Even after you're gone she still thinks this much of you, Salamander." He said in an irritated but respectful tone, turning to gaze at the blurred photo of the pink haired man in the article.

With the other mages of Fairy Tail, they were all scattered but nonetheless connected by the mark that was etched onto all of them. The Strauss Siblings happily living together, Lisanna and Mirajane working at a restaurant while Elfman was preparing for his own training journey. Cana, Laki and a few of the other female mages having remained in Magnolia Town due in part to the memories that the town had in their hearts. With the Thunder God Tribe and their leader, Laxus, they surprisingly joined with Blue Pegasus. Overall, there were many partings and reunions in the past six months since the disbandment of their guild, but they were all doing as well as they could in the given circumstances. Though, as fate would have it, not everyone was unaffected by what had transpired six months since the disbandment of Fairy Tail or of the battle that Acnologia had waged against Igneel and his son.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Cenere Mountain Range)

"Ryle!" A young mother screamed as she held her crying daughter close to her chest while watching her husband get pinned to the ground, her eyes wide and filled with tears as she trembled under the predatory gaze of the wyrm towering over her and her family.

"M-Mama, I'm s-scared..." Her daughter whimpered as she clutched onto her tightly, the young mother doing everything in her power to reassure the child of her safety.

"M-Margret, J-Julia... R-Run..." Ryle managed to say to his family, his eyes unfocused and tearful as he gave them the best smile that he could.

The eyes of Margret and Julia widening, the snapped them shut as the wyrm roared before raising its leg to finish Ryle off. But, to the shock of the family, the wyrm's roar was reduced to a horrific gurgle as it was sent reeling backwards. The wyrm no longer pinning him down, Ryle was greeted by the tearful but relieved faces of his wife and daughter as they rushed to rescue him.

The relief that they felt was replaced with fear once more when they remembered the reason they were in the position they were in. Snapping their heads to the side, they widened their eyes once more when they saw a person standing before the wyrm, seemingly unaffected by the fact that it had flames spewing from its mouth and nostrils. About to call out to the person who had saved them, the words of thanks and concern that were about to leave Ryle and Margret's mouths were silenced when they saw just what had saved them.

While appearing to look human, the thing that had saved them looked far from it. Having a broken demonic looking horn jutting from the left side of their head, it only amplified its demonic appearance by the tattered demonic wing that was attached to their left shoulder. Covering the left side of its body was a black, flame-like pattern, covering its demonic clawed left hand and foot, that ended near the centerline of the being's body. It was being countered by a crimson scale-like pattern that marred the right side of its body, covering its draconic clawed right hand and foot. A draconic horn extended from the right side of its head while being completed by the draconic wing that was jutting from its right shoulder. Though, the most startling feature of the being was the unruly crop of salmon colored hair that sat atop its head.

Fear replacing the gratitude that they felt, the family quickly turned and made their way back in the direction that they were heading before they were attacked by the wyrm, entirely ignorant of the fact that the being that saved them had turned to glance at them with curious eyes. Though, its attention was returned to the wyrm when it unleashed an immense torrent of flames, consuming the being and reducing the adjacent area to scorched and ground.

Triumph marring the face of the wyrm, it was about to lean forward to consume its kill only for a fist to connect with and shatter its premaxilla. Roaring with agony, it stumbled back only for another brutal blow to connect with and shatter its sternum. Flames spewing wildly from the wyrm, its chest beginning to decompress causing its breathing to become erratic, it flailed in a futile attempt to relieve itself of the agony beginning to fill it. Though, that agony was quickly and effectively silenced when a final and much more violent blow connected with its frontal bone, shattering it, the parietal and its post orbital bone, causing the flailing wyrm to go limp, the only signs it once moved being the sporadic spasms caused by its dying nervous system.

Watching with an impassive gaze as its spasms became less and less vigorous, the being finally advanced on the wyrm before driving its hand into its chest, the crunch of its already shattered sternum echoing chillingly as it began to rip open the cavity. After a few more moments of rending through hide, flesh and bone, it finally reached what it was after, the wyrm's heart. Amongst all of the materials that certain monsters could offer once slain, their hearts were among the most valued; the more powerful the beast, the more potent the magical and curative properties their hearts offered. A wyrm's heart being regarded as second only to the heart of a true dragon, the latent magical power locked within being said to increase a mage's power three-fold should their consume it while it's still beating. At least, that is what the legends of old say.

Either following those legends or just due to innate primal instinct, the being began eating the heart as if it were a piece of fruit, blood flowing from it like nectar would an apple or peach. Quickly enough it finished the heart and moved onto the rest of the wyrm, devouring the entirety of the slain beast like the countless others that it had devoured in the past few months since escaping the cave that it was trapped within.

Once it finished, releasing a rather content sigh at its now full stomach, it stood tall as an all too familiar wave of new energy flowed through its body as the magic within the wyrm's heart began merging with its own. As the newfound power settled, it turned and sniffed the air as it tried to find the only scent that made up its memory, the scent of rose petals, talcum powder and ash.

"Nagi... Sa..." It whispered in a longing manner, its heart falling when it failed to find a trace of the scent.

A sad sigh escaping its mouth at the lack of success it had over the past few months of searching, it furrowed its brow as it tried to recall more of the memories that swam chaotically in its mind. Grimacing when a name came to the forefront of its mind, the name that it associated with itself. A name that had slowly began to fade from the rest of the world as the disaster that befell the being began to fade in the throes of time.

"Natsu... Dragneel... Who was... I..." Natsu whispered in a pained tone as he clutched his head, his name still causing a wave of agony to himself as he failed to recall his past.

Grimacing as a familiar wave of pain echoed through his body; his opposing magical natures clashing once more as they fought over the magical power bestowed upon the pinkette from the wyrm's heart. Natsu's expression soon softened as he felt his right side, his draconian side, strengthen while his left side, his demonic side, begrudgingly forfeit the battle for the boost in strength. Shaking his head, Natsu refocused his efforts on locating his daughter, the memory of her smile driving him to find her to see it once again. Turning, he headed toward the west as he began to feel something dangerous nip at his instincts from the direction.

"Some... Thing... Is coming..." He whispered with narrowed eyes, moving onwards towards the west as the sense of foreboding he was feeling began to increase the closer he got to the Mare Ocean.

"Nagi...Sa..." Natsu whispered once more as his eyes became a bit glazed with longing and sorrow, the wings of the young man drooping a bit as his mood became a bit more somber.

(Scene Change - Crime Sorcière Guildhall: Main Entrance)

Gathered once more in the dining hall of their guild, the Mages of Crime Sorcière were discussing their plans concerning the rather daunting rumors of a possible invasion by an empire that had Mages of such caliber and strength that they made the Four Gods of Ishgar seem like novices in comparison. That idea of a possible invasion was only intensified when they learned of God Serena's defection to the Alvarez Empire, the Mages in the room grimacing as they weighed their odds of successfully repelling an invasion by the country.

In the midst of their discussion, they were all startled when they saw Nagisa sit upright in her crib, the pink haired girl turning to look out the windows of the guildhall facing the east. Their curiosity piqued, it only increased when they saw her shakily stand while using the railing of her crib as a crutch, her smile and brightness sobering considerably as she stared towards the setting sun. The women of the guild, Jellal and Erik growing concerned for the pink haired girl, they were about to head towards her and see what was causing such a change in the normally shining child only to freeze solid when they heard what left her mouth.

"Papa..." She whispered in a tone of absolute love and conviction, her eyes shining brighter then any of the stunned Mages in the room have seen since she was held by the one she was calling.

(Time Skip - Six Months Later)

(Scene Change - Crocus: Lucy's Apartment)

"Hmmm..." Lucy sounded as she slowly started to wake up, stretching as a relieved sigh escaped her mouth at the feeling of her knots and kinks fading.

Quickly getting ready for the day, Lucy made sure that she had everything that she needed for the day ahead, today of course being the fourth day of this year's Grand Magic Games. Grabbing her bag, she headed out of her apartment and back towards the arena where a number of fond memories of a certain pink haired Dragon Slayer laid, Lucy smiling a bit as she quickened her pace as the sound of battle reached her ears.

(Scene Change - Crocus: Domus Flau Arena)

"The fourth day of the Grand Magic Games begins now! Today too, heated battles continue to unfold!" Chapati announced as a cheer resounded from the audience, Yajima smiling as he enjoyed the youthful atmosphere that the arena held.

As Chapati and Yajima commentate on Chrisack's battle against Berrick, which the former easily wins. Lucy arrives during the battle and is greeted by her mentor, Jason. Pulling out her notepad, the blonde reported watched with lessening enthusiasm as the matches went on, finding something rather underhanded by one of the guilds completing. A bit saddened to see something like that happening, the blonde reporter opted to ignore it as it didn't really concern her all that much. Refocusing on the magic that the Mages were using, she jotted down the less noticeable details of the matches, knowing that they'd enhance her article.

(Time Skip - A Few Hours Later)

(Scene Change - Crocus: Domus Flau Outer Arena)

Finished with the matches for the day, Lucy met up with Jason as they exchanged notes and photos of the battles. Seeing that they had a rather fruitful array of images and information, the two decided to call it for the day. Exchanging goodbyes, they headed home and awaited the finals that tomorrow would bring.

(Time Skip - The Next Day)

"And that's it folks! Scarmiglione wins with a comeback victory!" Chapati announced as the crowd cheered for the guild, Lucy opting to release a sigh at their antics as she knew what the reason was behind their weak facade.

"That comeback was to raise the collection of their bets." Lucy quipped as Jason laughed beside her, the two finishing their report of the games as they left the roaring arena.

"Well that was quite the tournament right, Lucy!" Jason exclaimed in his usual energetic tone, Lucy smiling as she nodded her head slightly at his quip.

As they were about to part, Lucy paused when she saw a messenger pigeon flying towards her. Curious, she took the message attached to the foot of the pigeon as the bird chirped before flying back from whence it came. Unfolding the rolled up letter, Lucy read through it before her eyes widened with fear. Seeing such an expression on the normally exuberant blonde caused a bit of confusion and apprehension to fill Jason, the older blonde gulping when she saw Lucy's hand begin to shake slightly.

"Jason-senpai... I... I think I may have to take my vacation early..." She whispered as she re-read the message to ensure she memorized what her old redheaded guildmate had to say, Jason nodding stiffly as he pulled out his notebook.

"Don't worry, Lucy. I'll tell the others back at the office, if it's affecting you this much... Take as much time as you need." He said in an unusually serious tone, Lucy nodding as she rushed back to her apartment to prepare for the journey ahead.

"'Lucy, I'm very sorry to have sent this message so suddenly. I'm afraid that I've got a situation that Gray and myself might not be able to handle on our own. If you receive this message, I ask that you convince Wendy to come along with you if only for the duration of this mission. Once you've secured her help, we are going to rendezvous in Amefurashi Village. Again, I'm very sorry to have inconvenienced you in such a way but I am in desperate need of assistance.' - Your friend and former guildmate, Erza Scarlet"

(Time Skip - A Day Later)

(Scene Change - Margret Town: Lamia Scale Guildhall)

"Let's hear it ladies and gentlemen, the moment that you've all been waiting for! Give it up for Margret Town's beloved guild, Lamia Scale!" A well dressed man said as he introduced the guild of his town to those gathered around him, a roar of cheer and applause meeting the mages as they began the celebrations for Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Lamia Scale's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event held by the guild in their host city, Margaret Town. The festival is held to promote and prioritize the harmony between the people of the city and the guild, being a way for everyone within the town and those visiting to get to know one another much more so then on a normal day. As she entered the city after a day of traveling to meet with her old guildmate and friend, Lucy was surprised to see that the young mage she remembered from a year ago had blossomed into a much more mature looking young teen.

"Wendy... You've grown so much..." Lucy said as she smiled softly, thankful that the young mage seemed to have come to terms with the tragedy of the past year and grew stronger from it.

Shaking her head to rid it of any depressing thoughts concerning a certain pink haired man, Lucy began to make her way towards the front of the crowd and to the guildhall. Though, a sudden shriek caused the celebrations to stall, the collective attention of those present turning and promptly panicking when they caught sight of a large number of rather aggressive looking mages standing on the outskirts of their town. A bit confused, a few of those present wondered if the group was part of the festivities, those thoughts flew out the window when a number of explosions rocked the Lamia Scale guildhall.

"Get these people to safety!" Lyon shouted with a bit of tension in his voice, moving to aid a fallen woman and her son as his fellow guildmates followed his orders.

Panic quickly spreading through the crowd of civilians, the Mages of Lamia Scale moved swiftly assist and direct those who needed it. Yuka was helping an elderly couple leave the scene while Toby was panicking as he tried to help by waving towards the safest route for everyone to follow. Watching with wide eyes, Lucy soon narrowed them as she moved to assist the Mages of Lamia Scale against their attackers. Seeing a beast approach Lyon from behind, she was in the midst of drawing the key of her strongest spirit only to pause when Lyon froze it solid. The silver haired man releasing a sigh as he lowered his hand, he was surprised to see the familiar face of the Celestial Spirit Mage.

"Lucy? What are you doing here!?" He asked in a surprised tone, turning to freeze another beast as the blonde moved to cover him.

"I came here because Erza asked me to see if Wendy could help us out with something, but I guess this counts as something else." She said as she turned and lashed at a beast that tried to take her back, the beast yelping as her whip lashed it across the face only to be frozen by Lyon.

"Well I can't thank you enough for helping us out, we'll discuss the topic of Wendy once we get through this!" He said as she smiled at the answer, the two readying their magic as another group of beasts charged at them.

As the battle continued on, the Mages of Lamia Scale seemed to be on the verge of breaking through the surprise attack, though those hopes were dashed when they soon received word from their Mages checking the outskirts of the town that the group of Mages attacking them was only a small fraction of a much larger force that numbered around at least one hundred thousand.

"Damn... Orochi Fin's really gotten bold." Lyon muttered in an angry and irritated tone, clenching his fists as he debate what to do in their current situation.

"Orochi Fin? You mean you know these guys attacking?" Lucy asked as she dodged a lunge from another beast, wrapping her whip around its neck before slamming it onto the ground in a rather brutal manner.

"Yeah, we've been rivals way back, our guild and theirs." Chelia suddenly said as she moved beside the blonde, blowing away a number of beasts as Wendy and Carla joined her.

"L-Lucy-san?" Wendy said in a stunned manner, having not seen the blonde in quite some time.

"We'll catch up later, Wendy. Right now, let's focus on getting these guys out of here." Lucy said as the younger Mage nodded, the group redoubling their efforts to drive the members of their rival guild out of their town.

Seeing that the remaining force of Orochi Fin was arriving from the west, the Mages of Lamia Scale fortified their defenses on that side, seeing that Orochi Fin had a Monster Tamer in their midst. While not the most powerful, Lamia Scale did pride itself on the strength and attitude of its Mages; the reason that the guild was struggling was because it was missing its most powerful Mage. Jura had left the guild as his duties as a Wizard Saint soon became much more prominent.

While the two guilds were battling, they all failed to notice the lone figure watching the battle unfold, their person hidden under a tattered and worn black cloak. Watching with curious eyes, they turned between the two clashing sides before focusing on the advancing army that was Orochi Fin. Curiosity filling them, the figure took a step towards them only to pause when they felt something much more ominous in the distance. Turning back and forth between the two directions, the figure kneeled slightly to touch the ground with their right hand as it slowly began to glow with a series of orange runes. The figure turning to head west, where the direction of the ominous presence laid, the runes that they left behind slowly began moving towards the oncoming army that was the Orochi Fin guild.

With Lucy and Lamia Scale, they were slowly but surely beginning to repel the army of Mages and beasts as more and more of the civilians of Margret Town were escorted out, allowing them to utilize much more potent magic. With Lucy, she was beginning to get a bit winded with the lack of extensive training she missed out on during the past year. About to pull out her new set of spells, she and the entirety of the guild froze before being forced to a kneeling position when an increase in gravity hit them. Lucy, Wendy and Carla freezing, they turned to look up and promptly wished that they hadn't when they caught the familiar sight of Bluenote Stinger.

"W-What...?" Lucy asked in a stunned tone, knowing that Gildarts had defeated the man back on Tenroujima.

"D-Didn't Gildarts-san defeat him back on Tenroujima?" Wendy added a slightly scared manner, knowing that it took the strongest member of her old guild to defeat the man before them.

"Hmm... Let me ask you all, can any of you fly?" He asked as he increased his magical pressure, forcing some onto their stomachs at the increased gravity.

"Tch... What the hell is this guy talking about?" Lyon muttered as he tried to stand, succeeding as he managed to kneel before the Mage.

"You..." Bluenote suddenly said as he glanced at Lucy and Wendy, instantly remembering them and the guild that brought him his most humiliating defeat.

"Guh..." Lucy and Wendy muttered as they realized that they were made his priority target, trying to break the gravity on them as he moved towards them.

But before he got too close, having taken a single step towards them, he froze. It wasn't just Bluenote but the entirety of those who were in the vicinity of the man. Having suddenly appeared beneath them without anyone noticing, even though many were laid face down on the ground, was an array of orange runes that were archaic looking even by the standards of Lost Magic. Confusion and fear filling those staring at the sight of the shimmering runes, they felt that fear skyrocket when orange flames began to wisp from them.

"Wha-" Bluenote started only for his words to get drowned by an immense roar of fire, the eruption of flames being accompanied by a blinding surge of light that forced the eyes of everyone watching to snap shut.

As quickly as the flames came they vanished, leaving behind the scorched collection of charred Orochi Fin members. Smoke leaving their mouths, they gained blank eyes before collapsing into an unconscious heap. Staring blankly at the scene of their rival guild having been taken out in a single moment, the Mages of Lamia Scale could only gape and gawk at what had transpired; many a bit frightful but relieved that they weren't burned themselves from being within the flames as well. But soon, their flabbergasted expressions broke into relieved and soon exuberant ones when the threat of Orochi Fin was dealt with. While another round of celebration was occurring, the Mages of Orochi Fin were being arrested, the Rune Knights having convened onto the scene when they were notified by a the townspeople. Though, there were a few people who weren't drawn into the celebrations, even when coaxed by the Mages and townspeople that they helped protect.

"N-No way... T-That's not p-possible, right...?" Lucy whispered in a frightened but hopeful manner, her body covered in a bit of a cold sweat as she tried to process what she had seen.

"I-It can't b-be... T-There's just no w-way..." Wendy added in an equally scared but hopeful manner, her memories having an eerily similar scenario of something like this occurring.

For the two former Fairy Tail Mages, the flames that they had just seen reminded them of a certain pink haired Dragon Slayer. Though, unlike the man that they had remembered them to belong to, these flames weren't as warm or as inviting as the flames that he possessed. The flames they had just witnessed burned with an intensity that seemed sorrowful in a manner, being dimmer and less earnest then the flames that Natsu utilized. Shaking their heads to rid them of such painful memories, they refocused their attention as to what was happening in the present.

Once the Mages of Orochi Fin were arrested, Lucy quickly made her way towards Wendy and showed her the letter that she received from Erza. A bit of panic filling the young Dragon Slayer, she was a bit torn as to what she was going to do until a gentle nudge from Chelia along with a somber but heartfelt string of words from her guildmates helped her decide. Stating that she would always be a Mage of Lamia Scale, that she would never forget their kindness for taking her in, Wendy expressed that she was still a member of Fairy Tail at heart. Tears lining the eyes of her newest family, she received a large number of hugs and goodbyes as she began crying at her parting. Soon enough, the two Mages were bound for Amefurashi Village, Wendy and Chelia sharing a tearful and heartfelt goodbye.

"...So, do you think it was wise to leave the issue of what happened before alone, Lyon?" Yuka asked the other young man as he lowered his hand, Lyon following suit as he turned to look at him.

"Those flames, after facing them firsthand all those years ago, I could never forget them nor of who they belong to." He said in a somber manner as Yuka smirked before letting his eyes close, letting a sigh of relief escape his mouth shortly after.

"I figured as much. I thought that the rumors of him dying were true, though I'm quite glad that they aren't. One thing that bothers me is that they seemed more... Solemn, then what I remembered them to be." Yuka whispered in a slightly somber tone, Lyon's eyes closing slightly as he shared the man's sentiments.

"Though they were solemn, they were still as righteous and mighty as they used to be. I only hope that whatever has happened to him in the past year hasn't dampened the flames that I remember dancing in his heart." Lyon finished as he turned towards the direction the runes from earlier creeped from, silently praying for their user's return.

(Scene Change - Amefurashi Village: Gray and Juvia's Cabin)

"Tch... I was careless..." Gray muttered in an irritated and self-deprecating tone, gritting his teeth and clenching his fists at the memory of his blunder.

"It couldn't be helped, Gray. It was either keeping your cover intact or watching an innocent family get killed, I would have done the same thing in a heartbeat." Erza said in an understanding tone, placing her hand on her friend's shoulder in an effort to calm him.

"Gray-sama, Juvia also agrees with Erza-san. You didn't do anything wrong." Juvia added as she held and slowly unclenched his hand, Gray's shoulders slacking as the tension slowly left his body.

About to say something, Gray paused when a knock was heard on the door of the cabin that Juvia and himself had lived in during the past year. Tensing a bit, the trio exchanged glances as they headed towards the door. Erza placing her hand on the handle of her sword, Juvia having a bit of water dancing around her hand, Gray moved a hand towards the door while the other gained a frost coating to it. Opening the door, the three prepared to ambush the opposing party only to freeze when they caught sight of the rather terrified looks on the faces of Wendy, Lucy and Carla. The tension and terror fading, it was quickly replaced with relief at the sight of familiar and welcome faces. Quickly moving aside to allow the three in, the group of former guildmates greeted one another as they caught each other up on their present situations.

(Time Skip - An Hour Later)

"So, you were undercover in Avatar working with Erza behind the scenes?" Lucy asked as she tried to clarify the information her friends gave to her, Gray, Juvia and Erza nodding as the brows on the new arrivals furrowed in response.

"What's making them so dangerous, Gray-san? Juvia-san? Erza-san?" Wendy added as she tried to find a reason behind the threat level of the guild, knowing that the three before her were more then capable of taking down most guilds on their own.

"I don't believe that it's a matter of if we could defeat them, but a matter of how to defeat them. The location of their guild is right beside a town, any provocation on our part would have sparked a conflict not between just us but with the town as well. But, given our situation, that is no doubt already going to happen." Erza explained in a pained manner, the grimace on her face matched by her friends as they realized the extent of their situation.

"...We can't just let that happen." Wendy said in a soft but resolved manner after a few seconds of tense silence, gaining the attention of everyone in the room as they turned to face her.

"Just because we don't know what they're capable of, has that ever stopped any of us from acting before?" She continued as she asked her friends a rather simple question, all of them flinching a bit at how resolved her eyes were.

"Even when the odds were stacked against us, when we were faced with an impossible situation, we've always managed to pull through. All of us." She added as the Dragon Slayer balled up her fists, her eyes gaining a fierceness to them at caused her friends to flinch once again.

"I don't know about all of you, but I'm more then willing to risk a frontal confrontation with Avatar. All of us have been working so hard, keeping the memories of Fairy Tail in our hearts and doing our best to move onwards from when we disbanded. I don't want to feel what I felt on that day ever again, nor do I want anyone else to feel what it's like to lose their family. I say that we meet Avatar head on and stop them before they have a chance to do anything that might endanger the lives of those villagers." Wendy said as she fixed her posture, standing tall as she faced her friends with resolution emanating from her person.

A bit stunned to see how much the young mage they knew from a year back had grown, the former Fairy Tail mages gawked at her for a bit before their faces gained a bit of an amused expression. Closing their eyes, they let smiles grace their faces at the declaration that Wendy had given to them. Opening their eyes, they also shined with the same resolution that was reflected in the young Dragon Slayer's eyes. Nodding their heads, they quickly moved out of the cabin and towards the location of the city that slowly seemed more bleak then it should have been.

(Scene Change - Malba City: Main Gate)

Chaos, the only word that would be apt enough to describe the situation that Malba City found itself in as it and its inhabitants found themselves in the center of a surprise invasion by the Mages of Avatar. Many were captured as they tried to escape their homes, others hiding in them as they hoped that they wouldn't be affected by what was to come by the dark guild; though they knew in the depths of their hearts that they wouldn't be so lucky that such an outcome would occur. The cause of this chaos was because of the "ring" that surrounded their village made up of the members of the dark guild, the Mages eagerly awaiting the "Purification" of Operation Purify that their guild was about to perform on the tainted people they had captured.

"Now, let the time of purification commence. Gather round, o'faithful followers of Zeref. Today we implement Operation Purification. In this town of thirty thousand; sinless souls move about, unknowing of their ultimate fate. These unsullied souls shall surely lead him onto this land. Zeref, the Black Wizard! So that we may walk alongside him, we offer up these thirty thousand souls. All souls in this city, be purified! Now, advance!" Arlock spoke as he raised the morale and the mournful mood of the situation, his fellow followers of the Black Wizard roaring with renewed vigor as they charged towards the city.

But as they closest of their forces neared the front entrance of the city, a large scale explosion rocked the adjacent area, sending those within its radius rocketing backwards. A large cloud of dust and debris obscuring the view of what caused such the seemingly random explosion, when it began to settle the eyes of the Dark Mages widened when they saw an all too familiar and much hated face in the epicenter of the blast's crater.

"Gray..." The Mages of Avatar muttered in a scornful and disgusted tone, their eyes narrowed in an equally hateful manner as they eyed the man who ruined their first attempt at Operation Purification.

"Tsk. And I thought I wouldn't have to see all of your ugly mugs so soon." Gray quipped in a disgusted tone as he glared the his faux guildmates, getting them to bristle in anger at his offhand comment.

"So, they're the top Mages of Avatar right Gray?" Lucy asked her friend while readying her whip, Gray nodding his head as he removed his jacket and settled into his signature stance.

"They're not to be taken lightly, but don't worry too much about being beaten by them. They're a lot tougher then they look." Gray added in a rather snide manner, smirking when the restraints on them finally broke as they charged him and his friends.

"Here they come, ready up for battle!" Erza ordered as she requiped into her Wingblade Armor, leading the assault as her swords began dancing alongside her.

"Open the Gate of the Golden Bull! Taurus!" Lucy shouted as she drew Taurus' key, opening his gate before placing the key to her chest and equipping her Star Dress: Taurus Form.

"Let's go Taurus!" Lucy shouted as she snapped her whip along the ground, a heavy tremor following the snake-like shockwave that her attack caused.

"Let's not fall behind, Juvia. Ice Make: Geyser." Gray said in a cool manner, snapping his fingers as a large scale eruption of ice consumed a wide number of Avatar's Mages.

"Juvia smells another love rival..." Juvia muttered in a frigid tone, immediately snapping her head to face Briar as the tanned woman took a step back due to the rather unsettling expression on the bluenette's face.

Before Briar or anyone else for that matter could speak, those within the vicinity of the tanned woman were sent barreling away when Juvia struck them with her Tidal Crash; submerging and scattering a large number of the already displaced Avatar Mages. Seeing that their forces on the front entrance of Malba City were already falling to ruins, Arlock turned towards Jerome as the other man nodded his head in understanding. Pulling out a communication lacrima, began ordering the forces that laid near the rear entrance of the city to hasten their advance.

"Tsk! They have forces coming from the rear gate as well! Wendy, Carla! Do you think you can make it in time?!" Gray shouted in a worried manner at the Dragon Slayer and Exceed, their expressions having a grimace pass before steeling their expressions.

"I don't think it's wise to let the two of them go alone, Gray. As strong as they've become, they're still young." Erza commented as she moved to engage Jerome, the man panicking slightly before drawing his sword to counter Erza's.

"Don't worry about the two of us! As long as they've got their strongest Mages here, the ones coming from the rear won't be a threat as long as we're careful." Wendy said in a strong and sure tone, adding to her statement as she sent the Avatar mages around Carla and herself barreling away with a wave of her arms.

A small smile lighting the faces of Erza, Juvia, Lucy and Gray; the older Mages smiled a bit brighter as they nodded at her. About to shout once more for Carla and herself to remain safe, they have their words taken by Wendy when they felt an immense wave of wind sail past them, sending D-6 and Goumon crashing into their reinforcements before settling into an unconscious heap. A bit stunned, they only grew more so when they felt an increase in their magical and physical selves. Blinking a bit, they widened their eyes briefly before smirking when they saw a light green glow emanating from their persons.

"Ile Arms x Ile Armor x Ile Vernier." Wendy said with a smile on her face as she lowered her arms, Carla smiling as well as she Transformed back to her Exceed form before grabbing Wendy and speeding towards the rear entrance of the city.

"She's really grown up, hasn't she." Gray quipped in a sober tone, a bit taken back by how much the formerly bright albeit shy young Mage had changed in a year's time.

"Mhmm, I feel a bit at fault for not being there for her." Erza added in an equally somber tone, her nonchalant attitude towards Jerome causing the man to charge at her once more with his cursed blade.

"Don't you ignore me! Have you forgotten that my Dark Sword corrodes and rots any and all things that it slashes!?" He shouted at the red haired young lady, smirking as he slashed and eroded another floating blade of Erza's Wingblade Armor.

"...You should know, my swords don't need to land on you to deliver a decisive blow." Erza muttered in a frigid tone, her eyes narrowed and sharp as she glared at the man who interrupted her trip down memory lane.

"Wha-" Jerome started in a confused manner, trailing off abruptly as he was sent careening back by an unknown number of slashes that were sent his way courtesy of the irate redhead glaring at him.

"Let's wrap this up then, the faster we can get this settled the faster we can move on!" Lucy said as she clenched her fists, Erza, Juvia and Gray smirking as they leveled their gazes on the remaining member of Avatar's top Mages.

About to move, Lucy grimaced as she felt like something was tearing into her stomach. Gritting her teeth in a mix of pain and indignation, she saw that the same thing was happening to Taurus as the Celestial Spirit was rather open about what he was experiencing. Turning her head, Lucy saw a rather victorious smirk on Mary's face as the young mage leered at her. Closing her eyes, Lucy focused all of her attention on the one who she supposed was causing the embarrassing discomfort in her person; she snapped them wide open as she sped towards the now stunned Mage.

"L-Lucky for you I have better control over myself then o-others." Lucy stammered with a bit of pink on her cheeks, cocking her arm back before slugging Mary square in the abdomen.

The Dark Mage's eyes budging from their sockets, spittle flew from Mary's mouth as she was sent backwards. With the user of the Virus Magic down, Taurus and Lucy regained their composure as they looked awkwardly away from one another before continuing their assault against Avatar. With Erza, she was quickly reducing the numbers of the Dark Mages as she danced and weaved through their ranks. Tilting slightly backwards to avoid an arc of lightning, she glared at the battalion that attempted to strike her, causing them to take a step back before they were sent scattering with slashes rending their bodies from her blades.

"That nearly takes care of them from our side." Erza said in a level manner as she gazed at the lone form of Arlock, the man seemingly unaffected by the chaos that was ensuing around him.

"Hmm... Perhaps it is time..." He muttered in a quiet tone, his words causing much more tension to fill the bodies of the former Fairy Tail Mages as they saw his form begin to fade in and out of focus.

"Shit! Erza, Lucy, Juvia! He's just a Thought Projection!" Gray shouted at his comrades in a panicked manner, the rest of their group paling as they guessed the only other location his physical body could be.

"Wendy!" Lucy shouted as she turned to sprint towards the opposite side of the town, growing more anxious and agitated when more of Avatar's lower ranked Mages blocked her path.

"It appears that high priest Arlock was correct in his assumption. A couple of sinful fools would no doubt attempt to disturb our purification, and in turn focus their attention on the main force when the key to this operation lies with high priest Arlock and the others on the opposite side of this ignorant town." They quipped in a rather vindictive and snide manner, instantly drawing the ire and rage of their opponents as they turned to focus on them.

"Take em' out." Gray muttered in a frigid and hateful tone, the dark pattern that signaled the use of his Ice Devil Slayer Magic appearing across the right side of his body.

"With pleasure." Erza added in an equally arctic tone, requipping into her Morning Star Armor as she directed her swords towards the Dark Mages making light of their situation.

"Photon Slicer." She said in a low and dangerous tone, lightning beginning to arc between her swords before condensing into a sphere that let loose a large discharge of energy at the Dark Mages.

Unable to act due to either panic, terror or a mixture of emotions in-between, the Dark Mages took the full brunt of the blast as a hole quickly tore through their ranks. The disarray from earlier becoming much greater due to the chaos created by the anger of the former Fairy Tail Mages, it was quickly taken advantage of by Gray and Juvia, the two moving beside each other before raising their arms in unison.

"Unison Raid: Silver Thaw!" They shouted in tandem as Juvia unleashed a heavy mist that quickly surged towards and soaked the Mages before Gray and herself, Gray immediately flash-freezing the mist and in-turn the soaked Mages.

"Quick guys, we need to get to Wendy and Carla now!" Lucy shouted as she led the charge to the opposite side of the city, whipping the ground once more as she sent another division of Avatar's Mages recoiling back.

Having cleared away a large majority of Avatar's lower ranked Mages, the former Fairy Tail Mages entered the gates of the town before Gray erected a wide wall of ice to prevent any of the lingering Dark Mages from following behind them. Gritting their teeth, they sprinted towards the opposite side of the town, Erza taking the lead when she requiped her Flight Armor. Surging towards the opposite entrance, Erza could only hope she arrived before something serious happened to the young duo they allowed to head off on their own.

"Wendy, Carla, please be safe." She whispered as she increased her speed further, a trail of wind following her as she kicked up dust and debris on her path towards the south gate.

(Scene Change - Malba City: Rear Gate)

"Sky Dragon's Crosswind!" Wendy shouted as she crossed her arms while slashing in an X-shaped manner, sending two blades of intersecting wind towards the Avatar Mages attempting to enter from the rear of Malba City.

The two blades creating the crosswind that was their namesake, it send the Mages flying back as a bit of dust and debris covered the grounds. Taking a deep breath to calm and steady herself after using one of her more draining spells, Wendy returned her focus to the Mages who were strangely not as anxious or as nervous the Sky Maiden had expected them to be, seemingly unaffected by the slow but steady decline of their numbers. A bit perplexed, Wendy shelved her questions in favor of staving off the attempted "purification" of Malba City. Sending another powerful gale to break a regiment flanking her on the right, Wendy re-enchanted herself with Arms x Armor x Vernier, panting a bit as she opted to use the diluted versions of her previous enchantments to conserve her Magic.

"Wendy... It's very odd, isn't it? Why aren't they attempting to overwhelm us with their numbers? It seems like they're waiting for something..." Carla quipped in a slightly anxious manner as she eyed those who were near the edge of Wendy's depth of view, taking note that they seemed to be circling the entrance of the rear gate.

"If they're waiting for something, I have a bad feeling about what it is..." Wendy whispered in a slightly anxious tone, panting a bit more when she felt her enchantments began to weaken.

Taking a breath, Wendy was about to re-enchant herself only to pause when she heard a set of footsteps calmly making its way towards her. Focusing on the direction of the sound, she tensed when she saw the man who she assumed was the leader of the group began towards her, the confidence and calm he exuded causing the young Mage and Exceed to raise their already high guard. As he stopped a few feet away from the duo, they faced off as a tense silence overtook the area.

Growing even more nervous, Wendy and Carla finally moved when Arlock raised his staff and fired a volley of Magic orbs at the two. Re-enchanting her Vernier, Wendy grabbed Carla and sped out of the way of his projectiles, though her relief was short lived when she slammed into a barrier that was suddenly erected by the priest. Panicking slightly, Wendy backpedaled as Arlock unleashed another volley of Magic projectiles towards Carla and herself, finding herself bumping into another barrier made by the priest.

"I'm afraid that your time has come to an end, young Mage." He said in a calm tone, Wendy narrowing her eyes as she watched him raise his staff towards the two of them.

As he fired off another set of projectiles towards the duo, Wendy's appearance changed to what it was when she first entered Dragon Force a year before. Her hair turning pink along with her eyes, the young Dragon Slayer gained feather-like protrusions along her shoulder blades and around her wrists and ankles. Turning to face a surprised Arlock, she momentarily released Carla and swung her arm towards the priest.

"Sky Dragon's Hurricane Edge!" She shouted as a dense and large torrent of wind ripped through the area, scattering Arlock's projectiles and sending the man and his subordinates flying backwards.

Dust and debris obscuring the area, Wendy fell from her powered state as she started panting much harder then before. The combination of enchanting her friends with her advanced spells along with repeatedly re-enchanting herself was already pushing the young Dragon Slayer past her usual limits, adding the use of Dragon Force along with one of her more taxing spells sent Wendy's stamina over the edge. Trying to recover as much energy as she could with the cover that her spell provided, Carla moved to protect the young Dragon Slayer as she tried to catch her second wind. Though, Carla and Wendy froze when they heard dark laughter emanate from within the dust cloud, stiffly craning their heads to face its source.

"A valiant effort, Sky Maiden. But a futile one, nonetheless. Now! Ye war god of the contract, Pay forth the compensation for my sacrifice! Wield thy power for our cause!" Arlock shouted towards the heaven as he laid on his back, his partially broken mask revealing a horribly scarred and burnt visage.

"Ikusa-Tsunagi, come forth!" Arlock commanded as he flashed a maniacal grin, cackling as he saw the dark clouds begin to form above signaling that his request had been answered.

The eyes of Wendy and Carla widening, they stared towards the heavens as a mass gathering of dark clouds began to overtake the sky, the young Dragon Slayer swallowing the lump in her throat as she felt the air begin to shift and change around Carla and herself. The anxiety of the two was broken though, when they heard the sound of footsteps quickly growing louder from behind them. Stiffening they were about to act only to pause and soon relax when they saw the concerned face of Erza. Letting the tired breath that had built up inside of her chest out, Wendy gave the redhead an equally tired and relieved smile as did Carla while Erza embraced the two in an instant.

"I'm so glad that you're both alright, I'm sorry. I should've known better then to have placed such a task upon the two of you." Erza said in a soft and apologetic tone, the eyes of the two widening before closing slightly as they hugged her back.

"D-Don't worry, Erza-san. I'm just a bit tired, but other then that I can still help." Wendy said in a much more relaxed tone, Erza and Carla smiling a bit wider at the young Mage's determination.

"Don't you worry, Wendy. We'll handle things from here." Erza said in a reassuring manner as she moved in front of the young Dragon Slayer, Wendy about to comment on what she said only to see Gray, Lucy and Juvia moving beside her.

"Erza's right, Wendy. Let us take care of the rest of these chumps." Gray said as he caught his breath, letting a sigh out as he relaxed into his signature stance.

The sight of the four newcomers drew a bit of commotion from the Avatar Mages who lacked the faith that the more devout of their comrades did, those who knew of what was to come however, only cheered as they were about to witness the fall of some of the most powerful of Mages in the current era. As that sentiment passed their minds, Ikusa-Tsunagi was finally beginning to make its appearance, startling everyone but Arlock as its foot descended from the darkened skies. The sight causing a bit of panic to fill those who weren't ready, the former Fairy Tail Mages tensed as they were slightly apprehensive about what was to come.

"Damn, looks like we'll be in for a long one." Gray muttered as he removed his coat, letting his "limiter" fall as more of his Magic began to surge forth.

"D-Do you think we'll be able to take down something that huge?" Lucy asked in a slightly anxious tone, fiddling with her gloves while still in her Star Dress: Taurus Form.

"Juvia hasn't been training with Gray-sama for the past year for nothing, Juvia believes that we can do this!" Juvia told the blonde in a firm and reassuring tone, her Magic raising to match with Gray's as she stared at the slowly descending being before them.

"No need to fret, Lucy. With all of us here, there isn't a thing that we can't defeat." Erza announced in a reassuring tone as she requiped into her Heart Kreuz Armor, glancing up with an impassive expression as she contemplated what ways to take down the summoned God.

Though, they were broken from their thoughts and forced to relocate when Ikusa-Tsunagi raised the sword that rested in its hand, the God bringing it down as a heavy shockwave rocked the grounds in its path. As dust and debris obscured the view of the Fairy Tail Mages, they soon regained their vision and stood a bit stunned when they saw the scar in the earth that the God created. Tensing, they were about to act when they saw something that stole the air from their lungs.

Standing on the opposite side of the was a cloaked figure, seemingly passive about the God of War towering above it. The same was true for Arlock and the rest of Avatar's Dark Mages, those who finally took notice of the figure quickly creating some distance as it suddenly appeared from out of nowhere. At their departure, the figure looked between the parties gathered before resting their gaze upon the God of War leering down at it.

Seemingly done with the being examining it, Ikusa-Tsunagi raised its blade once more before bringing it down upon the cloaked figure. Like before, when the blade of the God impacted it created another shockwave that caused the earth to quiver, another cloud of dust and debris obscuring the vision of all who gazed in the direction of the strike. Though, that same cloud of dust and debris was erased when an immense amount of magical pressure emanated from the cloaked figure, raising the tension to levels that caused even the former Mages of Fairy to grow anxious.

"W-What? The hell is with that magical pressure?" Gray asked in a slightly nervous tone, sweat beginning to run down the side of his head as he readied his Devil Slayer Magic in the event they made a confrontational move.

"T-There's no way that person can be human, could they? T-They only thing I've felt being even close to them were the Dragons from that day." Lucy added in a frightened and pained manner, swallowing the lump in her throat as she shifted to her Star Dress: Leo Form.

"Carla, s-stay close to me. We don't know who or what that person is going to d-do." Wendy told her beloved companion in a comforting albeit scared manner, Carla stowing her own terror as she moved protectively beside the young Dragon Slayer.

"Ready yourselves, everyone. They're about to make their move." Erza voiced with a calm demeanor, contrasting with the tension that held her heart from the feeling of the magical pressure the two beings began to exert on the area.

Then, faster then one could blink, the cloaked figure moved. Seemingly having moved from the place that they stood to the flank of Ikusa-Tsunagi instantaneously, those who were watching stood baffled as it appeared to be an illusion or trick of some sort. Those thoughts instantly vanished and were replaced with terror, confusion and, for some, resignation, when they witnessed Ikusa-Tsunagi being consumed with flames that could only be described as originating from the underworld itself.

Roaring with agony that transcended the notion of the concept, Ikusa-Tsunagi flailed about as black and crimson flames seared and consumed its form. In the midst of its thrashing the God trampled on those who had summoned him, including a flabbergasted and bewildered Arlock, the death of the priest instantly sending the remained of the Avatar Mages into disarray as they tried to flee from the scene as quickly as possible. Though, their efforts were rewarded with nothing but distress as the cloaked figure simply turned to face then, the mere action of glancing in their direction causing them to bowl over before falling from the intensity of both their gaze and magical pressure.

Soon enough, the struggles of the God began to slow before stilling, the God standing motionless as everyone in the vicinity looked on with rapt attention. Then, the form of Ikusa-Tsunagi cracked, crumbling and scattering to the wind as the physical body it was granted exceeded its threshold of accumulating damage. With the single-handed and effortless defeat of their trump card, the Mages of Avatar could only fall into a stunned silence. The silence that permeated the area was soon shattered when a loud voice suddenly broke through.

"Gehihi! Catch em' all! Don't let a single one of em' go!" Gajeel ordered as he flashed a vicious grin, his subordinates quickly moving to apprehend the indolent bodies that were the Avatar Mages.

"Gajeel, how many times have I told you not to issue orders before confirming the situation?" Levy shouted at the man in an irritated manner, growing even more vexed when he simply turned to grin even wider at her displeasure.

"Levy is right, Gajeel. Issuing orders without thought could cost someone their life." Pantherlily added as an afterthought, causing his partner's grin to fall slightly.

Their attention was diverted, however, when they caught sight of their old friends and guildmates from Fairy Tail. The eyes of Levy widening, she broke out with a bright smile despite the precarious situation at hand. Quickly ushering Gajeel and Pantherlily towards the group of their old friends, the bluenette embraced a stunned Lucy before the blonde returned the gesture.

"Lu-chan! I've missed you!" Levy told the blonde with tears of happiness lacing her eyes, Lucy's own tears beginning to form as she flashed a beautiful smile.

"Hold on just a second! I'm placing all you guys under arrest!" Gajeel shouted as he stormed up to the group, drawing confused looks as they would've never suspected the rowdy young man they knew to have joined with the Rune Knights.

"What?" Was the collective response from his old friends, all of them giving him blank stares as his vicious grin quickly grew.

"You! All this time and not one 'good job!' or 'congratulations!' letter or note from any of you!" Gajeel stated with heat as the blank stares of his friends simply grew in intensity, Levy and Pantherlily smiling and laughing as they watched the scene unfold before them.

"Ahaha! Sorry, everyone! Gajeel was feeling really lonely and sad when he was promoted but didn't get a letter of congratulations from anyone from Fairy Tail." Pantherlily explained as he wiped a stray tear away from his eye.

"Heh, well hasn't someone become a bit more sensitive since we last met." Gray quipped in a slightly haughty tone, drawing the Dragon Slayer's attention as he turned to glare at him.

When their gazes met, everyone aside from Erza tensed for a rather heated encounter as the status of Gray was officially listed as a Mage of Avatar. Though, that tension vanished when the two lost their tense expressions and settled on good natured smirks before exchanging a handshake with each other.

"Yeah, I've softened up. I'll admit that much. Glad that you ain't really with these sleazebags, Gray." Gajeel said in a slightly relieved tone, Gray also releasing a sigh of relief when he heard the words that the man said to him.

"Thanks, Gajeel. I'm relieved myself, I never had to do anything that'd make me wanna turn myself in." Gray added as they shook their hands, breaking with matching smirks as the man turned his attention to Wendy.

"Gehi, looks like you've become strong, Sky Dragon." Gajeel said with pride evident in his tone when he scanned Wendy top to bottom, the younger Dragon Slayer's cheeks flushing with embarrassment and happiness.

"T-Thank you, Gajeel-san. I... I didn't want to be a burden to anyone anymore. I hope that you' will rely on me as much as I will rely on you." Wendy told the man as she bowed in respect, Gajeel laughing as he restated that she had indeed grown into a fine Dragon Slayer.

"Wait." Erza suddenly said in urgency as she froze mid-sentence when reuniting with the trio, causing everyone to tense and stare at her when they heard her tone.

Requipping her iconic blade, she turned to face the direction that the cloaked figure who defeated Ikusa-Tsunagi stood, only to see nothing as the others followed her gaze. A bit confused they were about to speak when Erza narrowed her eyes and began walking towards the ashen remnants of the God, her friends following behind from a safe distance as they grew a bit fearful of her current mood. Reaching the place that they once stood, the redhead's eyes reflected a sense of self-loathing and mortification, Erza clenching her sword a bit tighter as the realization of what had just happened struck her.

"...We were careless, absolutely careless." She muttered in a shamed and anxious tone, following the trail of footprints that suddenly vanished after a few feet from their origins.

"W-What are you talking about, Erza?" Lucy asked in a timid manner, peeking out from behind Wendy as the younger Mage stood shaking as she was being used as a possible shield from the redhead in front of her.

"That cloaked figure, the one who defeated that God. We completely forgot about them due to the chaos that the Rune Knights caused when they arrived." She stated as the blood in the veins of her companions who were fighting against Avatar prior to the knight's arrival froze, sweat instantly running down their faces when they realized that fact.

"L-Lu-chan? W-What's the matter?" Levy asked her close friend in a concerned and slightly frightened manner, Gajeel and Lily also looking on with concern evident on their faces when they caught sight of the expressions on the faces of their friends.

"Before all of you arrived, Avatar had summoned a God in order to carry out their objective. That God was an opponent who would have proven to be tricky to combat, though it was reduced to nothing singlehandedly by a cloaked individual. The magical pressure that they emanated, it was just... Monstrous." Erza explained to the trio in an uneasy manner, causing them to grow a bit concerned as even the usually unflappable Erza was sweating from the memory of the encounter.

"And no signs of where they went, huh?" Gajeel asked as he swallowed the lump that formed in his throat at the tale, a bit relieved that they didn't have to face off against someone who could take on a God with such upsetting ease.

"While it would be in the best interest of Fiore to pursue that individual, I feel that it will be a fruitless effort without a significant number of hands to aid us." Erza said as she mulled over the possible outcomes of the situation, finally deciding to drop the issue as they had indeed saved a number of innocent lives without making any dubious actions towards her and her friends.

Deciding to let the issue of the suspicious individual drop for the moment, Levy invited her friends to return with Gajeel, Lily and herself to celebrate a rather fruitful victory. It wasn't needed as they quickly charged to celebrate the successful repulsion of what could have been a needless shedding of innocent blood. After getting a number of suggestions from the residents of Malba City, the group eventually settled on a quaint but lively inn that specialized in catering to many Mages of various backgrounds.

(Scene Change - Malba City: Albina's Burrow)

"Then, I've got something that I want to say to everyone, if you all would hear me out." Lucy inquired after a few moments of silence, drawing the attention of everyone as they turned to look at her.

"I... After having such a wonderful time with everyone, it brought up some old memories that I'm glad to have had the chance to relieve. I might sound insane, but please just hear me out. I... I want to see everyone together again, I want to see Fairy Tail rise once more." Lucy said with determination as she locked onto the surprisingly mirthful gazes of her companions, the sight of amusement dancing in their eyes causing her to falter a bit as she assumed that they thought of her desire as childish.

"Gehi, don't look so down, Lucy. You might think we're makin' fun of ya, but it's the opposite." Gajeel said in an equally mirthful tone as the blonde's head snapped up, her eyes wide with disbelief at what she had just heard from the young man.

"Gajeel is right, Lu-chan. You weren't the only one who was keeping tabs on everyone, just why do you think we joined the Rune Knights? Now come'on! We've gotta get going!" Levy announced as she jumped up with renewed vigor, the others sans Lucy following suit as the blonde could only stare dumbfounded at what she was hearing.

As they began to pack their belongings, they paused when they heard a small sniffle emanate from the blonde, the eyes of everyone softening as they moved to comfort her. After a few seconds of reassuring her that they were indeed returning back, Lucy raising her head to meet the gazes of the others with a slovenly but brilliant smile on her face. Moving quickly, the group secured their belongings before making a beeline towards the town that they all once, and still do, call home.

As the trio began their departure towards Magnolia, they were unaware of the same cloaked figure observing them quietly from a distance away. The wind picking up, it partially blew back the hood of the figure's cloak, revealing an unruly mop of salmon colored hair. The face of Natsu was a mixture of distant recognition and somberness, the small smile that marred his face showed that the memories of the group growing smaller and smaller were still etched into the heart of the young man. Turning, he faced the direction that his guild still laid, growing much more somber as he remembered the bundle of sunshine that was securely held within its walls, the smile of his daughter bringing him a much more grave expression as he was still unable to witness it.

"Just wait... A little bit... Longer, Nagisa... I'm almost... Done with his... Request..." Natsu whispered to himself in a broken and slightly troubled manner, grimacing as he brought his hand up to gently massage a horrifically large scar that spanned the length of his neck.

Turning to face the direction the former and soon to be Fairy Tail Mages once more, Natsu fixed his hood before sedately moving to shadow them. The premonition of danger that he felt from the west having grown stronger over the past six months beginning to make the hairs on his body stand on end with the tension it caused him, Natsu narrowed his eyes as he contemplated the next possible set of actions that he was going to be taking. The single desire to see the smile of his daughter and embrace her being the only choice that he was unable to accept at the moment, he settled on sating the curiosity of his instincts, knowing that a battle would no doubt be the result of said sating.

(Time Skip - A Few Days Later)

(Scene Change - Magnolia Town: Town Square)

As Lucy, Wendy, Carla, Gray, Juvia, and Gajeel return to the town that they had called home all those years ago, their eyes grew somber and full of nostalgia as they observed that many things had indeed remained unchanged in the past year. Erza had separated from them along the way for reasons she didn't want to share, not that any of them had the nerve to ask either way. With the redhead gone, they reminisced without her, idly chatting about the memories that they associated with various areas of the town. Their trip down memory lane was shortened when Lucy began to grow a bit anxious as they approached the road that led towards their former guildhall, drawing concerned glances from her friends. Though, they had expected this despite the brave and heartfelt words that she spoke a few days prior, knowing that the blonde was indeed a tender soul at heart.

"What's wrong, Lucy-san?" Wendy asked her in a concerned and soft tone, causing a small quiver to run through Lucy's body.

"I... I don't I'm able to take another step forward... I might have been a bit too forceful when I suggested bringing back the guild. What if... What if no one else feels the way that I do? That I'm asking for something awfully selfish after getting too carried away from the mood." She said in a doubting and self-loathing manner, drawing a few soft looks from her female companions.

"I mean, it's been a full year, hasn't it? I've lost touch with nearly everyone from the guild, I sent some letters to Lisanna, Bisca, Evergreen and a few others who I knew the addresses of, but to suddenly say that I want to revive Fairy Tail? Won't that disturb everyone who've already moved on? I'm just assuming that everyone wants to do the same, to bring back the guild. What if it's just a memory for them? What if-" Lucy started as a few tears began to mar her eyes at her own words, though the blonde's words were cut short when she heard the voice of someone who she hadn't seen in the past year.

"Lucy! How are you!" Happy cheerfully called out as he suddenly popped over her shoulder, causing the blonde to yelp in terror and leap into the air and into the embrace of a slightly sober brunette.

"Heh! As if we'd forget in just a year!" Cana said with a pink tint to her cheeks, wrapping her arms around Lucy as she gave the blonde a tight hug.

"Don't think we've just been sitting on our asses, doing nothin' this past year, Lucy. I was trying to track down Gildarts and low and behold, I got a little letter here. This guild has practically been my life since I could walk, and when Master announced the whole dissolution, I realized something. I have pretty much no clue how to function outside of the guild, if anything this whole thing has been a much needed life lesson for me. So don't be doubting yourself, you hear? I can't say anything for the others, but I will anyway, we needed someone to take this step for us, all of us. Lucy, that person was you." Cana told the blonde as she released her from her embrace, showing Lucy a very rare but very honest smile as she gently grabbed her arm.

"Now come'on! Everyone's waiting!" She said as she pulled the blonde down the road, Lucy's body seemingly acting on its own as she followed Cana towards the ruins of their former guildhall.

As she arrived to the area that made up the gateway to her former guild, Lucy's eyes widened when she saw the smiling and grinning faces of her former guildmates, all shouting with joy when they caught sight of her. Before she could speak or utter anything in response, they quieted her when they raised the letters that she had sent to them nearly two weeks ago.

"Ohhh! You guys are a sight for sore eyes!"

"Lucy! Your hair has grown longer! It looks good on you!"

"Lucy, I got your letter right here!"

"Word on the street is that you guys shut down a Dark Guild on the way here, haha!"

"W-What? E-Everyone...!" Lucy whispered in a tone of disbelief, taking in the many stories and events that her friends had partaken in, in the past year.

Everyone welcoming her and greeting her with tales of their exploits, failures and happenings from the past year, Lucy began to tear up as a small quiver danced through her once more. Catching the sight of the Strauss family, she let a few tears fall when Lisanna smiled and waved at her before moving to give her a fond embrace. The shaking of her body only increased when she caught sight of the eldest Strauss, the same person who first welcomed her to the guild all those years ago.

"Welcome home, Lucy." Mirajane said in a gentle and warm manner, the gates that held back Lucy's tears finally failing as she openly wept into the shoulder of Lisanna.

"Uwaaaa~! I-I'm b-back!" She tearfully cried out as Mira moved closer to her, switching with Lisanna as she embraced the younger mage.

"Look here, everyone. Never forget this moment, because at this is the moment that we bring back out guild. Why you ask? Because, we are Fairy Tail!" Erza announced with unbreakable resolve and determination, tearing the battered but proudly waving flag of their guild from the ruins of their guildhall.

(Time Skip - Five Days Later)

(Scene Change - Fairy Tail Guildhall Construction Grounds)

Five days after the formal restoration of the Fairy Tail Guild, the members begin construction of their new building in the crater where their old building once stood. Leaderless, several ideas to locate the Sixth Master are proposed; however, Levy states that they require an immediate Guild Master to complete the legal procedures for the Guild's revival.

In the midst of their construction and nominations for the next Master, a typical brawl erupts between the guild members as Gray and Elfman finally decide to square off to show the fruits of their training over the past year. Elfman flying through a newly installed pillar, he gets up only to wipe away the tears and slight snot that are running down his face at the wonderful and warm feeling of exchanging fists with his friends. The brawl beginning to heat up in intensity, it is easily and frighteningly broken up by an irate Erza. Levy instantly notes down Erza as the Seventh Guild Master, much to the latter's surprise and slight distress, and the approval of a member nobody seems to remember: Mest.

"We can save the fact you all forgot about me later, we've got a bigger situation to worry about at hand. You guys, you're the only ones who can save Master Makarov." Mest said in a serious tone as he stepped towards his guildmates, the reaction of them all being confused and shocked unanimous.

Revealing that their former Master is in a dire situation, he leads Erza to the concealed Lumen Histoire, forbidding anybody else from following. Though, they are followed by Lucy, Wendy, Carla, Happy, Gray and Juvia, who promptly trail them and end up blowing their cover upon witnessing their Guild's greatest secret. Overlooking their disobedience, Mest then shares his memories about his undercover mission in the Magic Council. His main objective was to gain intelligence about the Western Continent, home of the Alvarez Empire, which attempted to invade Ishgar in X781 to obtain Lumen Histoire, but were dissuaded by the threat of Etherion and Face. However, the aftermath of Fairy Tail's war against Tartaros left Ishgar with no defense against another invasion, prompting Makarov to disband Fairy Tail to protect the members, then depart to the Alvarez Empire in order to negotiate with their authorities and stall them as long as possible.

In order to extract Makarov from Alvarez without impeding the Guild's revival, Erza decides that only the ones present in the chamber will participate in the mission. Mest also describes the reformed Magic Council to be under pressure from the potential war threat from the West, just like their predecessors.

"With all of this goin' on, with Master buying us time, we're gonna go and save Master right?" Gray asked though it was more of a statement then anything, getting sounds of agreement from those around him.

"Yes. I've Revived the Magic Council, just as Master wished. From this point onwards, I'm back to being a full time Fairy Tail Mage." Mest quipped as he gained a few more agreeable looks from the others at his statement.

"If everyone works together, there's no one that we can't take on!" Happy quipped in a determined and resolved manner, pumping his paw upwards in show of his confidence.

"Let's all go together!" Carla added as she followed Happy's example, the two exceeds confidence adding to the atmosphere.

"Wait. This enemy is someone our Master himself surmised as 'unbeatable.' We can't just simply rush in blindly, without a plans or means of accomplishing what we desire." Erza stated in a serious tone as she shut down the mood of the room, drawing a few incredulous looks from her friends.

"O-Oi, we've gotten a lot stronger over the past year, Erza. I don't wanna sound cocky, bur I think, with all of us working together, we can take these guys on." Gray said as he did his best to appear unaffected by the redhead's stare, succeeding slightly as he only shivered in fear.

"The time Master risked life and limb to buy us time, his feelings towards us, do you intend to make light of them? We will rebuild out guild. We will resume taking on jobs, and helping those who ask for it. We will completely revive Fairy Tail. I want the members who have gathered here again today to laugh and smile like they once did, like we all did. That is what I, as the Seventh Master, wishes for." She stated in a tone that dared anyone to raise any objections, the others in the room shivering a bit at how serious and sharp her eyes were.

"E-Erza-san..." Wendy whispered in a troubled manner, not wanting to oppose her wishes but also wanting to save the man who invited her to a new family.

"But... My wishes as a simple guild member are different. We absolutely must rescue our Master! That is why we will go about this with just those members who are present here. A smaller band is better suited for this task. We'll infiltrate Alvarez, save Master, then get the hell out of there. And remember, this is an infiltration and rescue mission. We will not get ourselves into useless fights or cause unneeded ruckus. Now, let's make this mission a success." Erza announced as the others in the room smirked and gained determined looks from her impassioned speech.

The supposedly secret dialogue is overheard by Gajeel thanks to his sharp aural senses. He begins to plan the reformation of the B Team from the Grand Magic Games, apparently knowing where to find Laxus, grinning a bit when he reminded himself of the fact that Juvia was indeed a member of the B Team and not the A Team.

(Scene Change - Fiore: Magic Council Headquarters)

While her friends were busily working on the construction of their new guildhall, Levy officially finalizes the rebirth of Fairy Tail. While there, she also witnesses three of the four Gods of Ishgar, Warrod, Wolfheim and Hyberion, as they discuss the threat posed by the Alvarez Empire and the defection of Ishgar's top Mage, God Serena, who is now a member of the personal guard of Emperor Spriggan: the Spriggan 12.

(Time Skip - A Day Later)

(Scene Change - Cetus: En Route to Alakitasia - Caracole Island)

Erza's team sets sail for Alakitasia on the ship, Cetus, deciding to resupply at Caracole Island and also get information from Mest's spy who is present there. Meanwhile, as Gajeel's squad travels to find Laxus and his Thunder God Tribe, Gajeel having taken Juvia away from the A Team as they were preparing for their departure, has Levy explain that their unit would provide support to the main team to improve the chances for a successful extraction.

Back at the ship, the rescue party approaches Caracole, only to notice the Alvarez Navy in control of the island. When Wendy informs the others that their enemy's purpose is to roust out the spy, the team members disguise themselves as members of Cait Shelter to pass through the port authorities' inspection. As they begin their exploration of the island, the group pauses when an unsightly scene plays out before their eyes.

"Bring back my dad! Where'd you take him! Daddy!" A young child tearfully demands from one of the guards, instantly earning their ire as they prepare to strike him down for irritating them.

"Tsk." Gray mutters as frost begins to haze off of his hands, Erza instantly placing her hand on his shoulder to remind him to calm himself.

Though, that same statement becomes hypocritical once they see the guard bring down the sword he was holding towards the child. Faster then anyone else could see, Gray, Lucy, Wendy and Erza charged down the group of guards surrounding the child. Gray, and Erza slugging the guards, the other two were sent eating the ground when Lucy and Wendy delivered a rather brutal kick to their heads from behind. While their human friends were taking care of the guards, Happy and Carla took the duty of shielding the child from further harm.

As the battle carries on, Wendy asks Carla and Happy to escort the child to their father using their sense of smell, which Carla had been training in the instance she lost sight of Wendy. As they leave, Erza asks Mest to search for his informant while they secure the area of any more threats, the young man nodding as he teleports towards their usual meeting area. The skirmish quickly ends in favor of the Fairy Tail Mages, having beat down guards with little to no trouble as even Wendy showed zero sign of being exhausted or even winded. Finished with the skirmish, they then discuss their future course of actions over a serving of Star Mango Gelato. Suddenly, the stall they are patronizing is destroyed by a person who introduces himself as Marin Hollow, a member of the Brandish Squad.

"To ruin such a wonderful place. Take a good look at the face of mango gelato vengeance." Erza snarls at the man such a hateful expression, her anger doing nothing to the man standing before her and her comrades.

"You pass! With flying colors no less! Seems you can't fail my eyes!" Marin exclaims with a grin, ignorant of the fact he was being sent gazes filled with utter contempt.

Preparing to engage the man, Erza and Lucy find themselves unable to use their Magic and, are soon informed that all forms of Magic that involve dimensional manipulation are nullified by Marin's Spatial Magic. After nullifying their Magic, he then informs them that those who have been defeated by his "edicts of space" are to be sent to his own personal dimension, the state stunning the two Mages as they began to disappear from the area. Soon enough, they vanish completely, leaving behind a stunned Gray and Wendy.

"Those two passed, so they belong to me now. As for you two... You failed! Douchebags!" He shouted with disgust and contempt, shocking Gray and Wendy with his abrupt change in demeanor.

The Alvarez Mage then brings forth an utterly beaten Mest and engages Gray and Wendy in combat, easily outmaneuvering the two thanks to his expert combination of martial skills and teleportation. But his little game soon ends with the arrival of his superior, Shield of Spriggan Brandish μ. Her magical pressure soon causes the two Mages before her to tremble, finding that it was even greater then that of the cloaked figure who defeated Ikusa-Tsunagi. Swallowing the lump in their throats, they were about to pull out their trump cards when they paused, a bit wary of Brandish's action of walking past them and towards the ruined Star Mango stand.

Disappointed to see the Star Mango Gelato store wrecked, declares that she will return, believing the spy to be insignificant as Ishgar is too cowardly to act against Alakitasia. She commands Marin to free the women he has captured, intimidating the man into obedience by raising the entire island onto a pillar of rock. Despite this favorable turn of events, Wendy stalls her departure when she demands an explanation for the injuries that Mest sustained due to Marin, so Brandish seemingly disintegrates Marin as a form of compensation.

She reveals that she is aware of their true identities and reassures them that Makarov is alive. She then returns to her fleet after shrinking the island to a mere pebble as warning to stay away from her Empire. A fishing fleet soon arrives to rescue the stranded population of the former Caracole Island. After getting his wounds treated, Mest teleports everybody to an underwater temple in order to meet the spy, Sorano, who discloses information about Makarov's whereabouts as the sailing temple Olympia sets course for Alakitasia.

(Scene Change - Alvarez Empire, Alakitasia: Vistarion Palace Garden)

In the capital city of the Alvarez Empire, Vistarion, Makarov and Yajeel discuss Fairy Tail's revival and the exemplary hospitality extended towards Makarov, contrary to the rumors regarding the Empire's operation. Just as Yajeel mentions that dialogue with the emperor is rare due to his love of travel, crowds in the street begin to celebrate the return of their beloved sovereign. The two old men head out to witness the spectacle, but Makarov is shocked to see that the emperor is none other than Zeref himself.

(Scene Change - Alvarez Empire, Alakitasia: Vistarion Palace)

"Welcome back, your majesty." Invel politely said as he greeted the emperor of his country, the man nodding as he smiled at him.

"I'm back, Invel." Zeref curtly said with a calm tone, motioning for the man to follow him as they headed towards the council room.

On the way there, he orders for the Spriggan 12 to gather, though he's only met by four of them, including Invel, Dimaria Yesta, Ajeel Ramal, and August, as well as Yajeel who directs him to Makarov, informing him of his need to meet him.

"He absolutely insists that he have an audience with you immediately, so... I thought that I would allow him the chance to at least briefly glimpse thee." Yajeel said as he gestured towards the smaller man, Makarov standing quietly behind as he awaited Zeref's answer.

"It's fine, Invel. Allow us the chance to speak, alone." Zeref said when he noticed Invel begin to speak on his behalf, motioning for Makarov to follow him towards the balcony of the hallway they were standing him.

As the two make it to the balcony, they began their talk, with Zeref revealing that he is indeed the Emperor of Alvarez when questioned by Makarov, having created the country and kingdom a long time ago so he may have the forces he needs to fight Acnologia and capture the Lumen Histoire or as the two know it, Fairy Heart. Zeref also reveals that he will start the real Dragon Festival: A war between the humans, Acnologia and himself to see who survives.

"Tch! As if I would let that happen!" Makarov shouted with anger towards the youthful man, his attempt to charge towards him halted when Zeref send him back with a pulse of his Magic.

"Hm. I must admit, I am slightly thankful for what you've done... Thank you, for what you did for Natsu. I'll put you out of your misery soon, and don't worry. I'll be sure to deliver your body to your so called 'children.' I can only imagine what expressions they will carry, the thought of it does make me slightly excited I'll admit." Zeref whispered in an aloof manner, his tone only causing the man he was crushing to grow more agitated.

"You filthy... Little demon...!" Makarov managed to muttered under the pressure being exerted on his body, Zeref smirking slightly at his choice of words.

"Close, very close. Spriggan is the name of a filthy little fairy." He quipped with an aloof and haughty smile on his face, closing his hand as Makarov's face contorted into an even more anguished expression.

Though, before Zeref can deliver the final blow, Mest suddenly warps in, grabbing Makarov before teleporting away back to the forest where his comrades were waiting. As Mest recovers, he informs the group he saw Zeref, much to the shock of the others standing around him.

"Z-Zeref? What the hell is he doing there?" Gray asked no one in particular, his brows furrowing in confusion as he tried to digest what he had heard from the other man.

"I...I myself was not aware, initially, that the man known as Emperor Spriggan was in fact none other then Zeref, himself. The fact that you're all here, can I assume that you all know what the situation at hand is?" He asked the group of younger Mages gathered around him, getting nods from everyone at his question.

"I was so naive... Those bastards never had any intentions of participating in any form of negotiations. To think that I sullied the reputation of my guild to come west... In the end, it was all for naught. I've never been this disappointed." Makarov lamented as tears began to fall from his eyes, drawing the attention of the Mages gathered around him as the opted to counter his choice of words.

"What are you talking about, Master? It definitely wasn't meaningless. This past year, it's given all of us the chance to grow." Gray stated as he shone a smile towards the man, moving to place his hand on his shoulder.

"We've managed to gather everyone, managed to rebuild the guild, managed to reconnect the bonds that you unbound." Lucy said as she expressed a radiant smile on her face, drawing smiles from everyone else at her words.

"Lucy-san and Gray-san are right, Master. Everyone has grown up during year, none of us believe that what you did was wrong or worthless." Wendy added in a mature tone, drawing the attention of the man as he began to shake when he heard just how much more mature she had become.

"I believe that the things you do for the sake of others are never meaningless. It's something that you've taught me, taught all of us." Erza finished as she moved in front of the kneeling man, gently extending her hand towards him as he looked up at her.

"Come, Master. Let us all return back home, to Fairy Tail." Erza said in a soft and reassuring manner, a smile on her face as Makarov stood stunned at the expressions that were resting on the young Mages surrounding him.

In the midst of their speeches, the group is interrupted by Ajeel whose power over sand allowed him to track the group. As Mest is low on Magic, he can only make one more teleport, and is saving it for reaching the shore to jump to Sorano's vehicle, Makarov orders everyone to run. They do so, with Erza driving a Magical Vehicle and Gray and Lucy trying to slow Ajeel down with their new Magic. It seems to work until Ajeel creates a sinkhole under the vehicle, intending to bury them in sand, all the while gloating of his superior power. However, much to Ajeel and Makarov's shock, the group manages to bust out of the sinkhole with much more ease then he had expected.

"Oh? So who was it that blew away the sand?" He asked himself as he scanned the faces of the Mages standing below, locking onto a glowing Wendy as he raised an eyebrow at her.

"Really!? Her?! Swe-" Ajeel started only for Wendy of all people to send him barreling backwards with a Dragon Force and Ile Arms enhanced blow to the face, cutting off his sentence and stunning the others in her group with how fiery the action was.

"You talk far too much, if I could give you a piece of advice." Wendy told the man in a frigid tone, her voice, Dragon Force and enchanted tone adding to the image that the young Mage from a year ago had grown considerably.

"Haha! Looks like the little girl has more spunk then I gave her credit for! It's been a while since I took a punch like that! And it feels great! Bring it, maggots!" Ajeel shouted with glee as he ramped up his Magical Pressure, a large cloud of sand emanating from around him as the Fairy Tail Mages moved to counter it.

Makarov manages to save Team Natsu while proclaiming he won't let Ajeel hurt them. But the Spriggan Guard responds by sending a gigantic sand tidal wave at them that'll disintegrate everything. Just as it's about to hit, lighting suddenly vaporizes the wave. The group see that it's Blue Pegasus's airship with Laxus standing on it along with the rest of Gajeel's group aboard it. Seeing this, Mest teleports their group into it. When Ajeel tries to attack, Laxus sends a major lighting attack down to stop him, allowing the group to get away.

As the bolt of lightning makes contact with the earth, a large dome of lightning engulfs the area, making the eyes of everyone who witnessed the display of power widen their eyes in a mix of shock and disbelief. Though, on the ground, as it clears it shows that Ajeel sustained no damage from the brutal attack. A bit stunned, he was about to pursue the Mages but paused when he saw August approach. Confused, Ajeel grew a bit excited when he heard from the elderly Mage that the reason he was still standing was because of a barrier that August had erected.

Back on the airship, the A Team of Fairy Tail meets up with the B Team. As everyone greets and checks over each other, Makarov remains seated as he watches his Mages interact like they did in the past, like the past year was but a passing day. When they notice his gaze, they turn as flash smiles at him, causing the man to begin to tear up. When he meets the gaze of his grandson, Makarov finally lets the tears fall as the larger man offers a sincere and warm smile towards him.

"You alright, Jiji? You've got a lot more wrinkles then I remember on your forehead." Laxus asked in a playful and warm manner, Makarov flashing a wide grin as he laughed slightly.

"I'm glad to see you as well, Laxus. Truly, Fairy Tail is the best family." Makarov stated as he gave his best smile for the Mages standing before him, the group caught up in their own atmosphere as they headed back towards Magnolia.

"Except I'm not actually in the family." Ichiya said to himself as he flashed his signature pose, his sparkles accompanying him as he stood shining and alone.

(Time Skip - A Day Later)

(Scene Change - Fairy Tail Guildhall)

All parties return safely back to Magnolia, the Fairies immediately beginning to celebrates the return of Makarov. As the festivities carry on, Erza quickly relinquishes her position as guild master to Makarov, now making him the eighth master. After a bit of partying, Makarov gets everyone's attention and apologizes to them for his actions in disbanding the guild.

"Everyone, allow me to speak." Makarov began as he tapped his staff on the ground of his guildhall, the action drawing the attention of everyone in the guild as they turned to face him.

"I won't make any excuses The one who destroyed the place that you all called home, was me. For that, I am truly sorry." Makarov stated in a solemn tone as he bowed his head in regret, his action drawing mirthful reactions from the younger Mages gathered before him.

"There's no need, Master. We heard about everything from Mest."

"You made that decision to protect us, why would we be angry for that?"

"No hard feelings, Master.

"That's right! And come'on! We're all together again, aren't we?"

"So don't make that gloomy face! It'll ruin the taste of the food and drinks!"

"Is that so...? Hmm, what's more, my plan, the reason for going itself, amounted to nothing. Alvarez will be coming, in full force no doubt. A grand empire. It will be dropping its full force upon this very guild." Makarov said in a grave manner as he had a grimace grace his visage, his words drawing a few concerned faces from those who had seeds of doubt planted in their hearts.

"Hmph. What's the problem? We've all given a lot to reconcile and reunite. Fighting tooth and nail, overcoming the impossible, the reason we've all managed to get this far is because we've all got something to protect." Laxus said in a confident but gentle tone as he addressed those who seemed uneasy, his speech bringing a bit of hope to their faces.

"Laxus-san is right. Our desire to protect what we cherish and what's important to us, it has become our strength more times then I can remember. It's made all of us stronger, each and every time." Wendy added as she drew a few surprised looks from those who remembered how meek the young Mage was a year ago.

"I don't believe that it's because we're not scared, I think that everyone is scared. I'm even sure that, that fear is so large that we won't know what to do or how we're going to face it. But that's why we have each other, to share and shoulder those fears so no one has to feel afraid, alone." The young Mage continued as her eyes began to shine with a strength that no one had seen before in her eyes, her words bringing proud smiles to those who have worked with and watched her grow.

"But, even more then the fear of fighting or of dying, I think that what we fear the most is losing these days of smiles that we just got back. So that we can continue to laugh and smile, we don't have a choice but to fight back. But not just fight back, we have to win as well." Wendy finished as she clenched her fists, her speech causing the guild to quiet as they took what she said to them to heart.

"Winning isn't what we're aiming for. We're fighting for the smiles of everyone, for the laughs that we'll all be sharing with not just the guild, but for everyone in Fiore!" Lucy shouted as she took the stage, her eyes burning with a familiar flame that many had forgotten in the past year.

"We've all made our peace with the upcoming war, Master." Erza said to the man in a gentle tone, an equally gentle smile on her face as her guildmates reflected that behind her.

"Erza is right, Master. We're not backing down, no matter what happens. We're gonna take on Alvarez and we're gonna crush them." Gray added with a smirk as Makarov had his head held down in though, though his eyes changed drastically from how they were a few seconds earlier.

"As have I. I will make those that stand against my family rue the day that they were born! We'll take every single one of them down!" Makarov shouted as he raised his staff and emanated a warm light from it, a roar of agreement resounding as they heard his decree.

With the hearts of everyone connected and set to confront the upcoming war, Makarov then begins to tell them about Lumen Histoire, but Mavis steps in and offers to do it herself, beginning to detail her past with Zeref and what lead to the current situation.

(Time Skip - A Day Later)

(Scene Change - Magnolia Town: East Forest)

"They're here..." Natsu whispered as he glanced towards the skies from the log he was sitting on, sensing the Magic of the many airships that were cruising overheard while in a cloaked state.

Seeing that the time to fulfill the promise he had made nearly half a year ago had come, Natsu stood up from his seated position as he moved towards the direction of the most Magical Pressure, sensing many hundreds of thousands of people emanating Magic in a subdued state. Taking a breath to ready himself for the battle, he relaxed and tightened his focus and senses before heading towards the east. On the way, he slowed his pace when he saw a very familiar house, belonging to a benefactor of his old guild. Seeing that it wasn't damaged, he was a bit assured that the army heading in this direction hadn't sent scouts to reconnoiter the area.

As he resumed his previous pace, he was ignorant of the woman glaring at him from within the house. When his visage was consumed by the flora of the forest once more, Porlyusica heaved an irritated sigh as he watched him leave her property. A bit anxious at first, mostly due to the obscene Magical Pressure that he exuded, she was more annoyed by the fact that she knew that Magical Presence from anywhere. Her irritated eyes sobering, she let a sigh escape when she felt the distinct change in the nature of his Magic, being much fouler and animalistic then it was before.

"Makarov and his Mages will no doubt be horrified when they meet him once again." She muttered in a solemn and pitying tone, glancing in the direction that Natsu had left in once more before returning to her preparations for the upcoming battle.

(Scene Change: Magnolia Town - Lucy's Room)

Lucy reminisces about Fairy Heart, the reason why Alvarez wants to invade Ishgar, as well as her duty to protect it, since it's the body of their First Master, the person responsible for the foundation of Fairy Tail, the guild she met all the Mages she befriended so far. Though, a bit of hesitation begins to creep into her heart at the thought of battling against an empire that even Fiore's strongest Mage had defected to. But before she can fall into a much more anxious state, she slaps her cheeks lightly before moving to ensure that all the townsfolk have evacuated in safety.

"This time, I'll protect everyone. I have to." Lucy whispered to herself in a determined manner, the flames of her resolve stemming from the smile of a certain someone in her past who she failed to do the very thing she swore.

(Scene Change: Magnolia Town - Fairy Hills Dormitory Bathhouse)

In the Fairy Hills dorm, Erza and Wendy reminisce about the memory of having invited the younger Mage to the guild, a fond and rather chaotic memory when they recalled the brawl that broke out almost immediately afterwards. On a tangent note, Erza also tells the younger Mage that they will also have the backing of Crime Sorcière, Jellal and Ultear having contacted her a day prior about the arrangements.

"Is that true, Erza-san? Crime Sorcière will be working together with us?" Wendy asked in a tone that held hope, the redhead offering a beautiful smile in response as she nodded her head.

"Jellal and Ultear gave their word that they will be aiding us in the upcoming war. Crime Sorcière's ultimate goal is to defeat Zeref, after all. Though they said it is because Zeref is leading the opposing side, I feel that it's also because they are targeting us, Natsu no doubt having asked them to always look out for us." She responded in a somber tone as she fell back into fond memories of the man, Wendy also gaining a similar expression as she recalled the salmon haired man.

Seeing the other lost in memories of the man that they both held strong affections for, they grew crimson faced before turning away in embarrassment and a small amount of awkwardness. Slowly turning to face they other, they scoffed a bit before laughing together. As they recovered their composure, Erza falls into a slightly solemn mood as she resolves herself to protect everyone in the guild at any and all costs. Though, to her surprise, she is broken from her thoughts when she feels a pair of arms wrap around her waist, hugging her securely and protectively.

"Erza-san. This time, I will be the one to protect you." Wendy promises as she hugs the older Mage a bit tighter, Erza's eyes widening a bit before closing softly in appreciation and pride.

"Thank you, Wendy. You've truly become a wonderful Mage, Wendy. You are no doubt the pride of our guild." Erza told the younger Mage in a proud and happy tone, turning to return the embrace of the younger Mage as they settled into a comfortable and amiable atmosphere.

(Scene Change: Magnolia Town Square)

In the upper division of the town square, Gray thanks Juvia for being by his side, promising her that he will give his answer once the battle is over, focusing himself on taking down both E.N.D. and Zeref.

"For now, let me focus, Juvia. When this is all over, I'll give you an answer, I promise you that." Gray told the bluenette standing beside him, Juvia losing her embarrassed expression and settling onto a somber one.

"Okay, Gray-sama..." She whispered in a slightly solemn but happy tone, Gray failing to notice it as he readied himself for the battle at hand.

"Zeref... E.N.D... Just you bastards wait..." He muttered in a slightly heated tone, clenching his fists as he settled his gaze on the horizon.

(Scene Change: Magnolia - Fairy Tail Guildhall)

Back in Fairy Tail, Warren has established his radar facility that is supposed to detect enemy forces advancing around Magnolia. Mavis proposes that the forces should split in two directions: a diversion force stationed in the north, while the main force waits in the south. However, Alvarez fleet consisting of 50 ships assaulted the Guild's position from the air, using cloaking devices that inhibited Warren's radar, revealing themselves once they came in close proximity. Ajeel, the Shield that commanded the operation proclaimed that Fairy Tail will be reduced to nothing more, but dust.

As the sound and vibrations caused by the impact of the Magic cannons reach the guild, Mavis quickly has the bell rung to alert the others of the situation. Ajeel commences his attack only for the ships cannon fire to be blocked by a shield Freed puts up, though he struggles to retain the barrier even with Bickslow lending his own Magic Power to help. As Ajeel keeps up the assault, Mavis sends out the Dragon Slayers and their Exceeds to take care of as many ships as they can.

(Scene Change: Magnolia - Airspace)

"Oi, Sky Dragon! Don't be afraid to retreat if you feel scared!" Gajeel shouted towards the younger Mage in a concerned tone, though all he received for his concern was a small smile from the Sky Dragon Slayer.

"Don't worry, Gajeel-san. If you feel scared, I'll protect you as you retreat." She said in a slightly teasing manner as Gajeel flinched in response, though immediately after he started laughing loudly as he saw her expression.

"You've really grown up, haven't you Sky Dragon. Gehi! Can't let myself be outshined, now can I! Iron Dragon's Roar!" Gajeel shouted with vigor as he sent his roar towards the center of the fleet, causing those that it connected with to heel to their ports and starboards from the damage they sustained.

"Sky Dragon's Rotating Hurricane Edge!" Wendy shouted as she swung her arms across her body in a circular manner, sending a heavy torrent of heavy rotating winds towards the ships causing them damage and veering them off course.

"Let's do this, Gajeel-san! Sky Dragon's Roar!" Wendy called out to the older man, Gajeel grinning in a vicious manner as he took a lungful of air.

"Iron Dragon's Roar!" Gajeel roared as he fired his roar in line with Wendy's, the two roars intertwining with each other as they impacted the center of the fleet once more.

"Tch. Their suppression fire is getting more intense by the minute." Lily muttered as he dodged a heavy torrent of fire from one of the ships heading towards them, flying straight into it as Gajeel hacked its side open with his Iron Dragon's Sword.

"Where is Bisca and the Jupiter Cannon?" Carla said in a slightly panicked tone as she evaded a much more intense spray of fire from the ship she aided Wendy in attacking, pulling the Sky Dragon Slayer high into the air to avoid being shredded by the incoming fire.

Meanwhile, Mavis has Alzack and Bisca ready a Jupiter Cannon in the hopes of taking down the main ship. Since the cannon takes 15 minutes to charge, they know they can't afford to miss. Though, the concept of missing is something that Bisca has an unfamiliar relationship with, the green haired woman finishing the adjustments to the cannon as she leveled it towards the ship Ajeel resided on.

(Scene Change: Magnolia - East Forest: Bisca's Location)

"Osprey Squad reporting! Magical payload ready!" Bisca communicated towards Warren, getting the okay from the man as she fixed her aim.

"Mama, go get em'!" Asuka cheered from beside her mother, getting a smile from her before she was ushered away by her father.

"Magic focusing canon, Jupiter, fire!" She shouted as she unleashed the first initial shot of the Jupiter Cannon, a heavy quake rocking the area as it travel towards the fleet.

(Scene Change: Magnolia - Airspace: Ajeel's Ship)

As it is about to connect with the ship, Ajeel just deflects the shot, scattering it. The shot does take out a few more ships, but it doesn't fails to secure its intended target of taking down his ship.

"Ha! Not good enough!" Ajeel jeered as he lowered the hand he used to deflect the shot, though he is surprised when he sees Gajeel and Wendy land on his ship.

"Hoo? So you're gonna take me on, then eh?" He asked the two in a jovial tone, taking interest when he catches the fire in their eyes.

"Urgh." The two Dragon Slayers sudden groan as they collapse, their innate motion sickness kicking in as Ajeel looks on in shock.

"Hehhh!?" He shouted in a shocked manner as he watched them hold their mouths in an attempt to not retch, the Spriggan Twelve's eye twitching a bit from the disrespect he assumed they were showing him.

"Aren't you the one who was yapping at me earlier, after you gave me that punch?" He asked Wendy as he grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, raising her up to eye level as she leveled a glare at him.

"Heh, those are some good eyes. But sorry to tell you this girly, what could a band of small fry like you lot do to me?" He asked her in a haughty manner, raising his free hand as sand began to shift around the limb.

As Ajeel prepares to kill the young Man, he flinches as his men are knocked out and scattered in the air when the bow of his ship is sliced off. Confused, he tosses Wendy towards Gajeel, Lily and Carla before turning to face the source of aggression he had felt from a few seconds prior to the damage to his ship sustained earlier. A vein popping on his head, he leveled a glare at Erza as he stared at her rather impassive yet imposing gaze.

"Carla, Lily. Get Gajeel and Carla and Wendy out of here." Erza told the two exceeds in a stern tone, the two following her command as Ajeel's anger and ire rose.

"And you are?" He asked in an angry and irritated tone, clenching his teeth as he stared at her armored form.

"She who will cut you down." Erza answered in a cold and focused manner, pointing her blade towards him as the atmosphere turned much more tense then before.

"Heh, that so? Well hate to break it to you, but like I told that other girl, you small fry can't do shit to us!" Ajeel sneered as he unleashed his Magic, devouring the area of the ship they were dueling within in a sandstorm caused by his Sand World as Erza's tension grew in sync with the size of the spreading sand.

"You're kidding me..." She muttered in an anxious tone as he revealed his might even prior to exchanging blows, though the red haired Mage went on the offensive as Ajeel continued to fuel the sand.

The battle begins and Erza requips into her Heaven's Wheel Armor, launching her Circle Sword at Ajeel, who effortlessly defends himself, claiming that such attack won't even scratch him. However, Erza quickly follows with her next armor, her Black Wing Armor and uses her Moon Flash, which Ajeel evades at high speed. Gritting her teeth a bit in frustration, the red haired Mage forcibly calms herself before requipping into her Flight Armor, nearly doubling her speed as she finally lands a solid blow on Ajeel. A bit stunned, his lapse in concentration was exploited when Erza

"Hoo? So you're not all talk, are you. Wonder how many other people in your guild are this strong." Ajeel quipped in a rather nonchalant manner as Erza's eyes narrowed in response, his speed beginning to outpace her own before she managed to land one more blow on the man.

"Nice try, but too bad." He sneered as she looked on a bit stunned that unlike earlier he sustained no damage, her lapse in concentration costing her as she was blown away by an arm made of sand.

"Looks like I need to be more careful." Erza whispered to herself as she reequipped into her Wind God Armor, equipping the sword of said armor as another arm of sand flew towards her.

But unlike before, the sand arm was blown away with the winds generated by Erza's sword. A bit surprised that she was able to perform such a feat, he was greatly surprised when Erza rushed him. Though that surprise wore off when he flashed a haughty smirk, expecting the same result from earlier as he drew his arms back in preparation to blow her away. Though, that haughty attitude allowed Erza to heavily damage the man, having equipped her Sea Empress Sword, hardening the sand that made up his body allowing her to damage him.

"Now you've done it!" Ajeel roared as his sands suddenly increased in intensity and volume, heavily obscuring the view of the red haired Mage as Erza tightened her guard.

Enraged, Ajeel unleashes a vortex of sand towards the redhead, however, Erza quickly gets rid of it with her Wind God Sword, stating that she's seen through his Magic, stating that sand has far too many weaknesses. As she is about to move once more, Ajeel smirks, asking if she can do the same to a larger sandstorm.

"If you mean the sand covering this ship, there's no need to focus on it." Erza replied as she blew away another vortex of sand sent her away, Ajeel's smirk growing when he heard her response.

"The entire town...?" Erza whispered to herself as she saw the extent of which Ajeel's Magic had influenced, taking note that it seemed to be even growing as she watched it.

"Shrinking an entire island... Raising a sandstorm of this size... These guys really are on a completely different level then any of our previous enemies." Erza said to herself in a slightly anxious manner as she tried to locate Ajeel, though the man appears before her in the midst of the sand.

"I'd like to welcome you to my Sand World. Here, I am God! Ramal Sayf!" He told her in a haughty manner, sending a heavy volley of dense and high speed bladed sand at the redhead.

Erza who ends up being pushed back, with Ajeel provoking her further, attempts to slash through the sand, temporarily dispersing it. However, Ajeel appears right in front of her and grabs her by the neck, holding her midair. He continues telling her to worship him as a god, while his ability begins to drain the water from Erza's body. Even though she's greatly suffering, Erza states that no one from the guild would ever bow down to such a god, claiming that they have their own beliefs and requips into her Morning Star Armor.

Thinking that Erza's action will be of no help to her, Ajeel creates an axe of sand, ready to take her head. However, the light from Erza's armor is noticed by Bisca, who, at the ground, is waiting with a charged Jupiter Cannon and so, she fires the cannon to the light's direction, hitting the target. Unable to believe this, Ajeel is blown away and Erza, now in her Nakagami Armor, quickly slashes through Ajeel, defeating him with her Nakagami Starlight, which causes the sandstorm to finally disappear.

With the sands dispersed and Ajeel falling, Erza's stamina reaches its limit as the damage she sustained from Ajeel finally takes its toll. The redhead falling to the ground, she was far from the reach of her companions as Gajeel and Wendy had taken to the opposite side of the town to aide their companions in holding back the forces who had somehow managed to infiltrate the town. Her eyes unfocused and the light fading from them, she saw the ground slowly begin to get closer as she let them gently close, knowing that it was futile given her current state.

Her Magic nearly drained, her stamina exhausted, Erza was falling to the Earth in a graceful manner that befitted her title of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies. As she neared, her unfocused eyes slowly regained that focus before widening slightly when she saw the mass of black that was the forces of Alvarez. Not wanting to believe that such a force had acutally landed on Fiore without being intercepted, Erza's eyes finally closed with bitter resignation etched onto her visage. When she was within a few meters of impacting, Erza braced herself for the impact only to feel someone catch her, breaking her fall. A bit confused and slightly frightened, she slowly opened her eyes only to widen them and have her breath hitch, doing nothing to ease the flow of tears that began falling from her eyes.

"Fairy Tail Mages! Quickly, take care of them!" The commanding officer of the first regiment of the Alvarez Forces called out as his men quickened their pace, rushing towards the position of the redhead and the cloaked figure holding her like a treasure.

"N-Natsu...?" Erza whispered in a tone that held nothing but hope and adoration, shakily raising her hand towards his face as she desperately wished that what she was seeing wasn't a hallucination caused by the fatigue she was experiencing.

"Erza... You did... Well..." He told her in a proud and gentle manner, a small but warm smile on his face as her's scrunched up into a sob before she buried her face into his chest.

"They appear weakened, quickly!" The closest solider shouted as the morale of his comrades were immediately raised upon hearing about the situation of the Mages, drawing their arms before firing them towards the pair of motionless Mages.

A heavy explosion resounding from the impact of the Magical arms that were fired towards their position, Natsu and Erza were obscured by a blanket of dust and debris and the Alvarez soldiers continued to fired upon the relative area that they were standing before the dust covered them. After a full minute of continuous fire, the soldiers ceased as they awaited the results of their actions. Though, when the dust finally settled, a cold chill ran down the spines of the soldiers as they witness what could only be called a demon in human form standing before them.

"You... Are all... Going to pay..." Natsu told them in a frigid tone as he held a sleeping Erza to his chest, his Magical Pressure quickly rising above that of Ajeel as the soldiers instinctively took a step back in fear of the being before them.

"Fire Dragon's... Roar!" Natsu said in a soft tone as he took a lungful of air before breathing it towards the soldiers, his breath being turned into a hellish stream of flames that devoured the soldiers before him.

A horrific contrast to the gentle lungful of air that he had taken in, Natsu unleashed a stream of flames that seemed to incinerate even the air itself, the crackle and popping of the adjacent area being pleasant compared to the molten slag and lava that resulted from his roar. But that was only the initial phase of his roar, the second quickly occurring when the stream of flames finally came in direct contact with the ground. The moment the flames touched solid ground, it triggered a heavy explosion of flames that ensnared and consumed everything in the adjacent area, reducing the numbers of the soldiers by a quarter of their original selves.

Terrified and unable to grasp what had just happened, the soldiers turned and made a tactical retreat, running like the reaper itself had come to claim them of their lives. As they left the unconscious, charred and smoldering forms of their fallen comrades, they quickly cleared the area as Natsu stared impassively at their shrinking forms. Once they were out of sight and from his sense of smell, he let a gentle breath out before glancing down at the young woman snuggling into his chest while taking in his scent with a euphoric expression on his face.

"You still... Haven't changed... Erza..." He whispered in a mirthful tone as he turned and began the trek back to Magnolia, taking note that many other battles were about to begin.

"Time to... Get my... Freedom back..." He said in a dangerous and focused tone, his Magical Pressure causing the ground to quake more and more the closer he neared the town.

And that's a wrap. Nothing too epic of a new chapter but I wanted to make it long for all of you guys who still want to see more of this story. As for my ship, well ships, if you really wanna know, I'm a guy who supports a certain redheaded Mage and Sky Dragon Slayer (I ain't a lolicon, like Mest, but Wendy is 412, right?), just think they got some good chemistry. But anywho, leave a review, PM, etc., etc. Well that's all for now folks, hopefully won't be a year til the next one but we'll see, we'll see. As always, thanks for reading and you all stay awesome, alright?