There is no fighting in this chapter, but there will be in the next. Who do you think Harry and Ron should fight? Please let me know.

Also, don't forget about the contest. I still got no other guesses.


116

Hermoine was paying half attention to the battle going on down below. She kept looking toward the palace, wondering how Harry and Ron were doing.

She looked back at the screen in time to see Gray deliver the finishing blow to Rufus. She cheered joyfully, planning to inform Harry and Ron that Sabertooth was losing to Fairy Tail.

Thinking about Harry and Ron made her look back toward the palace again. Hermione balled her sweaty fists as she gazed upon the towering building. She lowered her brown eyes, letting a sigh escape her; however, movement caught her attention. The young witch looked to her right and saw a young man with midnight black hair with a tuff on the top, reminding her of a bunny's tail. She saw his eyes next, sad and lonely but burning with a purpose behind their coal color. The man was shrouded in black except for a white toga wrapped around his upper body.

Hermione thought the man's description sounded familiar. She knew she had to keep a lookout for someone for Harry, so she thought back to what he said. The description Harry gave her matched the young man, who appeared to be searching for something. Hermione figured he was looking for Harry.

With a deep breath to calm her nerves, Hermione strolled over to the deceivingly powerful dark mage.

Hermione snuck passed her guild without anyone noticing and drew closer to Zeref. The black-haired mage turned to her, seeing her approach.

Once Hermione reached him, she asked, "Are you Cerberus?"

The young man nodded, "Yes, I am. I'm assuming Harry told you about me?"

"He told me who you really are and that he trusts you. He didn't tell me anything personal about you, but he did tell me a lot of what was written in history was a misunderstanding. Since Harry trusts you, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt," Hermione informed Zeref. "By the way, my name is Hermione Granger."

"I see. It's nice to meet you, Ms. Granger. Can you tell me where Harry is right now?"

"Harry is at the palace with Mira, Ron, Natsu, Wendy, Happy, Carla, and Panther Lily. They went there to rescue Lucy, who was arrested last night."

"Why was she arrested?"

"She didn't agree yet to help them open the Eclipse Gate, but it didn't matter to the army. They knew how dangerous it was to open the gate, so they had her and Yukino arrested so the gate would remain closed. Harry showed me, Ron, and our master the notebook containing future information. In a way, I'm glad the plan was stopped, but who's to say if it won't happen still?

"Anyway, Harry asked me to wait for you here while he went with the others to save our friend."

"You're right about the gate being dangerous. Harry reported that the royal family planned to go back in time to kill me before I became immortal; however, by the time I made the gate, I was already incapable of dying. They're wasting their time and magic energy, and they are risking the lives of millions."

"Is that because of the dragons that will come through if the gate opens?"

"Yes, the doors are big enough for dragons to fit through. What else was said in the book?"

Hermione gave Zeref an in-depth review of the book left behind by the time traveler. Starting with how the day was to the plan being revealed, and ending with the world burning.

Zeref's coal-like eyes burned red the more Hermione spoke. It frightened her. Zeref's eyes reminded her of Voldemort, but unlike the dark lord, Zeref's eyes were like burning coals, whereas Voldemort's were pools of blood.

Zeref's eyes returned to their regular black color when he noticed her fearful gaze. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," he said.

"I-it's fine, Zer-" Zeref cut her off.

"Don't say my real name here. Someone could hear you."

"Right, Cerberus then. So what's the plan?" she asked.

Zeref lifted his right hand and pointed with his thumb toward the palace. "The Eclipse is that way, right? Then that's where we're going. We'll meet up with Harry there and dismantle the gate." Zeref spun on his heels and began walking closer to the castle.

Hermione quickly followed with the grace of a newborn duck. "How do you plan to do that?" she asked.

Zeref turned back to look at her with a smirk that gave off Fred and George vibes. "You'll see, dear Hermione."


Harry and his team began their search for a way out of the underground. Harry wanted to avoid going near the life forces, but he knew that where they were, the exit would be. So against his better judgment, Harry led them toward the possible enemy.

As they walked, a damp, rocky wall drew closer. Harry and his group stopped and turned their eyes to take in the surrounding area.

"Do any of you see how to get past this part?" Harry asked, looking at the rest of his team.

"I feel a draft, but I don't know where it's coming from," replied Wendy. She turned her head from side to side as if looking for the source of the draft.

Harry tried to feel for the draft as well but felt nothing. He saw something blue and white out of the corner of his eye. Harry turned to see what it was and saw Happy and Carla pacing around the rockface. Happy was pawing the wall in search of a crack or weak point while Carla looked at every imperfection formed in the wall.

Harry thought the two Exceeds had the right idea and was about to lend a helping hand, but Carla paused in her search and turned to them three seconds later.

"I found something," she said. Everyone gathered around her to see what she found.

It was a narrow pathway leading into the wall, but Harry could faintly see some light on the other side. It was dark and damp, a place bugs would love to make their home in. Ron seemed to be thinking along the same lines because Harry could see his freckles more than usual.

"Are you sure this is the only way across?" Ron stuttered, his voice a few pitches higher. "What if spiders live in there?"

Harry turned to his terrified friend. "I would be more worried about getting through this path without getting stuck," he said.

Ron turned to glare at him. "That's nothing you need to be worried about! Besides Wendy, you're the smallest one here!"

"I've gotten taller!" Harry snapped back.

"Will you two shut up!" shouted Lucy, forcing Harry and Ron to stop arguing and face her with wide eyes. She huffed. "Jeez, does everyone in my guild have to fight over something?"

"Aye, sir!" exclaimed Happy cheerfully.

Panther Lily stepped forward and said, "I suggest we Exceeds go through first, then Wendy, Harry, Yukino, Mira, Lucy, Natsu, and Ron follow behind."

Harry shrugged. "I have no objections." He turned to Ron, giving him a firm gaze. "Since you'll be going last, I'm sure all the spiders would be gone by the time it's your turn."

Ron turned away from him with a huff, but Harry could see the red on his cheeks.

The group chuckled at Ron's embarrassment, but after a glare cold enough to freeze Hell from him, they stopped, snapping back to the present.

"Let's get moving then, shall we?" said Carla, who was the first to walk into the crevice, followed by Happy and Panther Lily.

The rest of the group entered the small pathway in the order the dark Exceed suggested, but Lucy got stuck, stopping everyone behind her from continuing.

"What's taking so long?" demanded Ron, who started to breathe quickly and in small bouts.

Harry rolled his eyes, wishing he had a calming drought to give his panicking friend. He wondered if he should ask Hermione to help him make a new version of the potion since half the ingredients went extinct or if he should ask Fred and George.

Harry was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard a scream and crash. He looked back to the path to see Lucy no longer there but rather on the cold ground with Natsu on top of her.

With the path cleared, Ron popped out like a giant spider was chasing him. The gingered-haired wizard stood bent over while catching his breath and calming his racing heart. While Ron was calming down, Harry looked around the new area in search of the five life forces. He couldn't tell how many there were before, but now that he was closer, the energies weren't so smushed together.

Harry's eyebrows lowered. 'I sense another life force, but this one is weaker.' He looked for the source of the weak life form and saw a leg sticking out from behind a boulder. Fear clogged his throat and froze his body. Wendy noticed his stiff posture and asked if he was okay. Harry wasn't sure if he was; he feared what would be found if he checked behind the boulder. Would the leg he saw be attached or separate, causing the person missing it to bleed to death?

Wendy followed Harry's line of sight and gasped. Unlike the dark-haired wizard, she ran to the boulder to see if the leg's owner was okay.

Wendy's quick movements snapped Harry out of his dark thoughts. Wanting to prevent the blue-haired girl from seeing something horrific, Harry ran after her.

When Harry stopped next to the crouching form of Wendy, he saw the man they met last night. Arcanios was covered in gashes and burses. The wound on the man's leg was the most concerning. It was steadily bleeding; a pool the size of a basketball had formed around it already.

TBC


This chapter was supposed to be longer, but this week has been a little crazy. I was going to write on Monday, but I couldn't because Ryuu, my cat, wanted to cuddle. I wasn't going to say no when cuddles are one of the reasons I wanted a cat. I didn't write at a different time because it gets noisy throughout the day. I worked fine on Tuesday but had to help cook on Wednesday.

Natsu: Hmm… Thanksgiving Dinner… :P

Enj/Dark: It was good. :)

Voldy: It's just dinner. *eye-roll*

Harry: I hate to agree with him, but I don't know what's so special about it.

Enj/Dark: It's like Christmas dinner, but instead of a pig, you eat turkey.

Harry: Oh, why's it called Thanksgiving? :/

Enj/Dark: Look it up. It's actually kind of sad. :(

Harry: *looks it up*

Enj/Dark: Natsu, your turn.

Natsu: Please review!