A/N: Here I am, wondering why I started another story without finishing others first but... this had to leave my head. Please don't ever ask me why I wrote this, we will be best friends forever if you never ask me.

Everything that could have gotten wrong with this job, did so in worst possible way.

Natsu and Erza were standing in front, right behind them were Gray and Lucy. They gazed up at the giant guardian, body of a man and head of jackal, greatly resembling Anubis. His skin was completely black and what little metallic clothes clothes that he had were golden while eyes were made out of two shiny rubies. His right hand held a short sword… short for his size at least as he towered 10 meters above them. It was staring down at the nearly depleted team, they were on verge of breaking, bruises and cuts all over their bodies. The guardian? He didn't have a single scratch on him. Even Erza's mightiest of attacks were no match for golden warrior… They believed this to be easy, he was moving slow at first but as battle progressed he became faster, relentless in his assaults as he guarded giant entrance of the temple. Magic didn't help one bit, not Natsu's intense flames, not Gray's mighty ice or Lucy's celestial spirits… Guardian didn't even bother defending himself, whatever they threw at him he shrugged as if it was but a snowflake that landed on a coat.

"This is not good…" Erza uttered trying to catch breath, one kneel to the ground and sword used as mean of stability "I am almost all out of magic…"

"And options…" Gray added, trying to keep himself on his feet.

"He has to have a weakness!" Natsu growled, annoyed that whatever he threw didn't made any impact "It has to have one…"

Natsu entered hall and upon spotting his prey he grinned wide. It wasn't hard to sneak up on her in this rather crowded place but he always was extra careful when executing his evil plan. Today was a special one. He moved through the crowd, hiding behind other members and inching closer to Lucy and as he reached her, he poked both of her sides with fingers. There wasn't deeper meaning to it, he merely liked the sound she would produce when tickled in such manner, one he found irresistible, cute even. Lucy on the other hand hated this, and she hated that he loved it.

"Why are you still doing that?" Lucy asked in her angry voice

"I like how you react to it." He chuckled and sat on opposite end of the table, looking at her.


"Nothing it's just… you look a bit different." He said.

"What do you mean? How different?" She asked, moving fingers through her hair as if trying to see if it is straight or if something is stuck in it.

"I dunno, just… a little different." Natsu repeated, not finding better explanation but the fact it she didn't look different, instead, he started looking at her differently. Of course he couldn't tell her that, but, there was something about her that lately made him feel odd around her, a completely new feeling for him that made his heart beat faster every time he would see her. Her eyes, her perfect blond hair, delicate pink lips, she didn't even need to smile, she was so beautiful the way she is.

"You are acting weird again Natsu" she smiled softly at him, making his cheeks slowly turn pink. Her mood however quickly turned.

"Can't believe it's almost time…" Lucy groaned, leaning back on her chair and looking up "Has it been already a month since last rent?"

"Why don't you just move to cheaper place?" Natsu looked at her, tapping with finger on table.

"Like where? Where will I get apartment for less than 70 thousand jewels per month?"

Natsu opened his mouth but he quickly closed them. There was something he wanted to say but he didn't… for some reason he couldn't. Instead he just stood up and went over to board, his eyes glancing from job to job. "What we need is something easy, something that pays good…"

"What about this one?" Happy flew over and pointed at piece of paper, Natsu came over and read out loud "Needed no less than 5 people for theater performance… bla bla bla… play named 'Ships in storm'… Not in this lifetime!" He shouted, already feeling uneasy in stomach at the very image of such thing, but he continued looking "This one is good!"

"What is?" Lucy looked his direction, not bothering to stand up so instead he walked over to her, waving with piece of paper in front of her face, she took it and began reading mumbling as she read words "… to find a magical scepter… desert temple… 400 000 jewels…"

"Pay is good, it will solve your blood payment problem for another month, plus… it's gonna be easy!" Natsu smiled wide at her.

"Two of us?"

"Would have brought Happy but he is with Carla." He nodded firmly, leaving Lucy to only sigh and she stood up.

"Well let's get going. Not like we have anything else to do."

Not more than ten minutes after they left a strange man entered guild and walked right up to the counter where Mira was cleaning few remaining dirty glasses. Elder man, dressed in uniform resembling those of archeologists, he removed his hat and waited for Mira to come closer to him.

"Good evening miss, about my request regarding that dessert temple." He spoke politely.

"Two of our wizards have just left the hall to do it. Has someone already taken care of it?" she smiled wide at man.

"No no no, quite the opposite, due to urgency we want to increase the reward as we may have found some new facts about dangers lurking in there." Man took out paper from inner pocket of his jacket and placed it on counter.

Mira was shocked, widening her eyes "4 million jewels? Oh my, that's quite the money"

"Yes… well… it may be more dangerous than we initially anticipated."

"How dangerous is it?" Erza interjected taking paper and read it carefully

"Well I am not completely sure. There are large bits of original text missing and we have reason to believe that most of it is in the temple. But… what we have currently is that word "Guardian" keeps repeating."

"That should be enough. Mira I will take it and aid Natsu and Lucy. I will be bringing Gray along." She spoke in her firm tone.

"Wait why do I have to come?" Gray walked closer.

"Additional safety." She said and looked down at the paper again, frowning "I am not sure why but I have a bad feeling about this…"

"Watch out he is coming again!" Gray cried and all of them rolled to side, letting the tip of golden sword slam and pierce the rocky ground. Natsu was again first to rush and ran up its arm right up to shoulder and roared fire straight into ruby eyes, hoping to at very least blind him enough until they find weakness… but alas it had no effect. Guardian raised other hand and hit Natsu, sending him back down to the ground and he cried in pain, spitting blood.

"Damn! This is bad… How the hell are we gonna beat this guy?" Gray quickly ran in front, forming line with Erza to protect now Natsu.

"We have to draw him away!" Erza dashed forward, moving just pass guardian's legs, trying to be behind him. Golden warrior did little to stop her and instead he slowly turned, glaring down with its ruby eyes toward Erza. Gray started summoning ice swords and sending them toward its legs but every single one shattered, leaving no damage to it. The only thing it did do is made it angrier and it started swinging its sword, trying to hit either of them. With much effort, and a little luck, they managed to avoid it but what it did hit was massive stone pillar. The force of the swing shattered it, sending chunks of rock, big and small in every direction.

"Watch out!" Lucy cried, running toward Natsu and pulling him along with her as several fast moving rocks were heading his way. They barely missed him.

"Thanks Luce…" he panted hard "Come on, we have to try again… I'll go left, you call that big bull spirit, alright?" there was no answer from her side and he looked down. "Luce?"

Lucy was down on the ground, lying motionless in small puddle of her own blood that became larger by the second. Sharp rock pierced her side while other hit her straight at her temple… She was unconscious.

"Luce? Luce!" He cried loud as he quickly kneeled down before her, trying to see what he can do but other than pressing his hand on her wound there was nothing more he could do. The cry reached both Erza and Gray. "Wake up Luce!"

Guardian now again turned looking at Natsu and raised it sword to strike him down. In that instant Gray ran to them and formed ice wall, as thick as he could make it with what little magic he had left but it only deflected sword by a single meter… blade still pierced ice and slammed hard into the ground just beside Natsu.

"Natsu, get out of there!" He shouted loud.

"I can't leave her here!"

"Take her and run! We'll hold as long as we can!"

Natsu didn't need to be told twice. He moved his hands under Lucy and slowly picked her up, groaning from his own wounds that prevented him from managing to hold her steady. Sword rose up and swung again but instead of ice it now hit Erza's adamantine shield. She shrieked as the vibration passed through her body, making her wounds burn with great intensity.

"We have to leave now!" She groaned, preparing to endure another strike.

"No arguments here!" Gray added and began retreating back toward Natsu. They moved slow, unable to run. Erza knew she would not be able to endure another hard swing from the giant sword and it looked like it would do just that, but instead of chop it was preparing for a pierce… just what she feared most.

Before it could thrust the sword a single ray of pure energy hit guardian right on its face, forcing it to stagger back. Erza looked up and then back toward the origin of it.

"Bickslow!" She shouted, as she noticed him ride on one of his dolls and a second later Freed stood just beside her while Evergreen flew above guardian's head. She felt relieved the moment she saw them.

"Thunder Legion will take it from here! Take Lucy to Laxus!" Freed said pulling out his sword.

She nodded and changed back into her regular armor, running as fast as she can toward Natsu. The man in question seemed to love great theatrics and a single large lightning bolt struck in front of Natsu… from it, slayer emerged in his full glory. Never before was Natsu so glad to see him. Laxus leaned forward and took Lucy into his hands, not uttering a single word and in a flash of lightning he again disappeared with her.

Guardian seemed to be preoccupied with Evergreen who eluded him with ease and in that moment of distraction Freed came close to wounded trio, writing magic letters with his finger in air.

"We are leaving!" He said in the next second they disappeared and reappeared in the hall. Rest of guild members quickly moved to them, holding them and preventing from collapsing to the ground.

"What about Evergreen and Bickslow?" Erza said, dropping down on her knees from exhaustion.

"They will come once we are clear."

Ten seconds later, and with another strike of lightning, Laxus came to the hall still carrying Lucy in his arms. He said nothing and instead he carried her upstairs to one of empty beds… Gray and Natsu followed him, not minding their wounds or the fact they were leaving bloody trail as they walked. Wendy was already waiting in room and immediately she began healing Lucy's wounds. Even after several minutes, Lucy showed no signs of improvement, her wounds were closing but she didn't open her eyes.

"You two need to get your wounds treated." Laxus said, looking at Natsu and Gray who began feeling the burn of all wounds they suffered. Natsu was first to leave the room and he rushed downstairs, everyone in the hall gathered for any news on Lucy.

"Get Porlyusica!" He shouted as rest of the members exchanged glances.

Gray and Natsu were sitting on one of benches as Mira did her best in treating their wounds. They were silent but nervous, their stomachs were twisted and clenched. So many things went wrong… On the other side of the hall, Erza was giving report to Makarov about this mission.

"We arrived earlier today at the temple, everything looked fine, site was mostly ruins and rocks, nothing more." She spoke in firm but calm tone "Temple looked deserted, as if no one was there for years, decades even."

"And the guardian?" Makarov asked, frowning heavily.

"It was a statue. At least, it looked like statue made of stone. But… when we moved closer and tried to pass the entrance it broke out of stone and attacked us. First was Natsu to attack but his fire did nothing… then Gray tried to freeze it and make it brittle but… it just slowed him down a little bit. I was next… we thought it could be weak to physical attacks… Lucy summoned one spirit after another but none seem to have done anything to it. We tried everything but… we couldn't even land a single scratch and instead it tossed us around like ragdolls!" she looked down, feeling guilty, weak…

"It wasn't your fault, Erza" Makarov said in quiet tone.

"Why did you send help?" She asked.

"The same man who posted the job came to cancel the job request just half an hour ago, claiming that it is too dangerous for anyone to venture there. I had to send someone to aid you… to be honest I expected the worst."

"So the job…" She looked down, clenching her hands.

"… Was impossible to complete. Guardian was made by ancient ritual. It cannot be harmed by either physical or magical means unless one holds a scepter, one that you were supposed to find."

"So if we have found it we could have prevented this from happening?"

"Maybe… maybe not… hard to tell what you would have found in the temple." He scratched his moustache.

A clicking sound of boots was heard and everyone looked toward the stairs, noticing Porlyusica walking down. Natsu immediately stood up, not caring that he was in the middle of treatment, and rushed to her.

"How is she?" he asked, widening his eyes, waiting for any good news.

"I did all I could, the rest is up to her." Porlyusica responded calmly.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean she suffered heavy blow to her head. Her wounds have been treated but waking up is going to be task for her alone. She may- " before she could finish her sentence Natsu ran up the stairs and entered the room. For minute he watched her, calm, silent, sleeping on the bed with gauze wrapped around her forehead. His heart started beating fast, almost wanting to escape his chest. Cold sweat covered his face as he moved closer, taking chair from the side and placed by her bed.

"Hey Luce? Can you hear me?" he asked, praying that she would say yes, or nod, or just… make any motion with hand, but she didn't. "Listen, you have to wake up, alright?" There was still no answer.

He moved his hand and took hers, squeezing gently. It didn't take long for him to feel as he was on the verge of tears and indeed he was. She looked so peaceful, regardless of how rough it was just minutes ago. There was no greater wish in him than one to see her eyes open and look at him.

"I'm gonna stay here until you wake up, alright?" he smiled, only a little bit, speaking in soft voice as watched her and in that moment he started regretting not saying earlier… before this mess… there was something he wanted to say to her and he didn't. Now there was a small flicker of fear that he might not finish saying that at all.