AN: So here I am again, and not as long a wait this time! So I am getting better, he says, specifically not looking at the dozen or so stories he not touched for several years. Either way, focussing on the positive, I have finished an update. I'll admit it was a pain to write to, as I want to bring this arc to a close, but don't want to rush it. As such it's been a pain to write, especially since the cast in the story, despite being half what is in canon, is still massive, and still split across the entire island doing numerous things.

But anyway, my complaining aside, here is the new chapter, I hope you enjoy it.

Here is chapter 29, hope you enjoy, and please leave a review etc. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to PM me. Also I am on a discord with a load of other writers, so if you fancy popping over to ask questions or offer suggestions about this story, or any of my other ones, or to find new authors you might not have come across yet, please feel free to use the link in my bio.

Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson or Fairy Tail.

( - )

(Last Time)

"It couldn't be." The boy muttered as he got to his feet, his wavy black hair blowing in the wind as he felt the ground beneath his feet shake, and the air around him suddenly felt colder. "I thought he was dead." The boy continued to mutter to himself, his brow furrowed, and his eyes flashing red for a moment at the thought of that man still being alive, and more importantly being on the island, the same island that he had spent the last year hiding on after leaving Alvarez, his magic hidden as he secluded himself from the world, and from the reputation he had gained himself, as Zeref, the Black Wizard.

Narrowing his eyes at that, though, Zeref's eyes flashed crimson again momentarily. After all, if that dangerous monster, the destroyer, was once again on the move, well it was as sure a sign as any that things were changing fast, and that the current Era might soon be reaching its end.

( - )

Chapter 29

( - )

(In the Year X686)

Sitting around a campfire in the middle of a building site, five good friends laughed and made merry as they shared their drinks, and roasted a whole pig on the flames.

The night sky overhead was clear, and their moods were good as they discussed their recent triumph.

The Blue Skull Guild, the Dark Guild that had once terrorized the people of Magnolia, was gone. The Dark Wizards that had made up its ranks, had either been killed in battle, rounded up and imprisoned or were on the run, even now, fleeing through the night like criminals as the long arm of the law chased them.

They had won their fight, and had managed to come out of it mostly unscathed, too.

More than that, they now also had a plan for the future.

They were going to create a Wizarding Guild, one that would be the antithesis of the Dark Guild that had once bullied, abused and coerced the people of Magnolia. Instead, their guild would be a happy and joyous one. It would be a guild that thrived on excitement and adventure, and that treated its members, and the people of Magnolia, like family.

It was a good dream.

A little trite, maybe, considering the fact that four of the five members of the group were grown men. Men that had faced war, battle and death. Men that had once been mercenaries and treasure hunters, and had seen the very worst that humanity had to offer.

But it was a sweet dream still, one that had been brought to life by their childish, yet charismatic, fifth member, a young girl by the name of Mavis Vermillion.

"To Fairy Tail! The soon to be; best guild in Fiore!" Yuri Dreyar shouted enthusiastically, thrusting his tankard of ale into the air, even as the others cheered and clashed their tankards with his. His blonde hair was dishevelled and shaggy, and his eyes had dark rings under them. Despite that, however, he was still in good cheer. They had won their battle, and were already well on their way to constructing their Guild Hall.

"To all the adventures we've had so far, and all the ones yet to come!" Mavis added, raising her cup of sweetened juice, even as her companions cheered again. The flickering flames of the fire reflected off her green eyes, even as they sparkled with excitement.

"To our comrades here today, and those we are yet to meet!" Warrod Sequen added, his eyes tearing up slightly as he grinned around at the others, his comrades, his friends. He'd always been a sensitive person, but now, looking around at his friends with liquor sitting happily in his stomach, he was struggling to hold back his emotions as he basked in the joy and happiness of those around him.

"To magic, and the way it unites us all!" Precht called out next, meeting their tankards with his own, his one visible eyes twinkling happily as he threw an arm around Yuri's shoulder and pulled him in for a half hug. The last few weeks had been hard, and at times he had begun to fear it would all end in failure. But now, a week after their victory, he was finally allowing himself to start to feel hope and excitement for the future.

"To Mavis, the saviour of Magnolia!" Percy threw in next, a bright smile on his face too as he looked around at his companions and took a deep gulp of his ale.

They were an eclectic bunch.

Warrod, Yuri and Precht, he had known for several years now. Ever since, he had run into them in a tavern, and agreed to join them on a treasure hunt. They were good, honest men, and good friends too.

Mavis, meanwhile, was perhaps the weirdest but also gentlest of the bunch. She was an odd girl, very naive and at times a little ditzy. But she also had a razor sharp intellect, and a brilliant wit. She was one of those few, genuinely good people. A novelty to meet, especially when one had lived as long as he had.

Finishing their toasting, the group of five once again settled back down, the drink and conversation still flowing as they laughed and made merry.

Only a day prior, Mavis had finally awoken from her week-long coma, one which had no doubt been brought about by magic exhaustion and the stress of battle, and by Hades he wasn't surprised. The girl had managed to almost one shot an undead dragon, if that wasn't something to celebrate, he didn't know what was. Which is why he said as much.

"Hades?" Precht asked, his lips curling up in amusement as he tested the unfamiliar word, even as the others cheered, and Yuri patted the blushing Mavis on the back,

"It's the name of an ancient and grumpy old God of the Underworld, back from where I was born. That, and also an expression we used back when I was a teenager. Force of habit, I guess." Percy chuckled ruefully.

Precht shook his head in amusement at that. "You're an odd guy, Percy, never change."

"I never do." Percy replied, forcing a smile, even as he felt his gut twist painfully.

"Who would have thought it, though, ey?" Yuri suddenly jumped in, throwing an arm around both of them. "Just a few weeks ago we were tomb robbing, treasure hunters, and now we're goddamn heroes!"

"We only did what was right." Warrod blushed faintly, scratching the back of his head.

"But by doing so, you brought happiness to so many people, and stopped the Blue Skull Guild from hurting anyone else ever again!" Mavis countered, a bright smile on her face as she threw her arms around Warrod's broad shoulders.

"We've done good work these last weeks." Precht nodded, a smile on his face as he rubbed his knuckle against his eyepatch. It was an unconscious act that the man did whenever he was feeling uncomfortable.

"We should make a pact!" Yuri suddenly announced. "A pact that we will always fight the good fight, and never back down when we see bad things happening to good people! That we will always support and protect the weak, and throw down with the Dark Guilds and wizards that try to mess with them!"

It was a corny and stupid idea. But in their current moods, and with the amount of alcohol they had consumed, to all those present, it sounded like a great one at that moment.

"A pact?" Precht scratched his chin. "I like it. As the five founders of Fairy Tail, we could make it a pact by which we, the guild and all those that come after us, live by."

"But wouldn't it just be words?" Percy asked cynically. He wasn't against the idea. But he had long come to realise that words, by themselves, were meaningless. Unless there was something else backing them up, or something else giving them weight, a person's words were only as good as the people that gave them.

"Ah, don't be a buzz kill!" Yuri laughed, clapping Percy on the back.

"How about a blood pact?" Mavis suggested.

"A blood pact?" Warrod asked uncertainly.

"Yeah, I read about them in a book," Mavis began, ignoring Yuri's chuckle and muttered; 'of course'. "In ancient times, great leaders and warriors would make oaths on their blood. It gave their vows more weight. I mean, magic doesn't just flow though our bodies, it is in our blood too."

"A blood pact, then!?" Yuri nodded, drawing a knife from his belt and slicing open his palm with barely a flinch, or a moment to second guess himself.

"Alright, why not." Warrod nodded, taking the knife and slicing his hand open too.

Precht nodded, and took the blade next. He didn't even wince as he made a small cut across his palm.

Mavis, looking nervous and excited at the same time, went next. Her face scrunching up a little as she too made a cut along her palm. The crimson liquid poured out and created a small pool in her cupped hand.

Taking the knife Mavis offered him, Percy looked around at his four friends.

"I'm afraid it won't be so easy for me." Percy chuckled, raising his hand and visibly scraping the knife along it. The blade didn't so much as leave a mark on his flesh. "My skin is invulnerable, a by-product of a magical bath I had many years ago. Blades will never cut or pierce me. Add in my natural resistance to magic and fire, and I'm pretty much invulnerable to all but the heaviest of blows, or the most powerful of magics or elemental practitioners."

A frown appeared on Percy's face at that, even as he looked around at his four trusted friends. They were all looking at him in surprise and awe. Yet beneath that he could sense a small amount of disappointment. Disappointment that he couldn't join them in their pact.

Smiling slightly, Percy flipped the knife and caught it again.

"Fortunately pretty much invulnerable, doesn't mean immortal. I can still bleed, and can still be wounded by a blade in one single place." Reaching his arm behind his back, Percy used the knife to cut the flesh along the small of his back. Wincing slightly at the pain he could feel coming from his mortal point -the pain from that single point on his body was magnified and soul deep. Holding back a groan, Percy brought his other hand back behind him and wiped it across the small cut, smearing his palm with gold-flecked crimson blood.

Bringing it back in front of him, he showed his four friends his now bloody palm. "So how are we doing this?"

Reaching out, the five of them clasped hands, their blood intermingling as they then proceeded to make their vow.

They swore to defend the helpless and the vulnerable.

They swore to fight evil wherever they found it.

They swore to never betray the Fairy Tail Guild, and to never back down from doing what is right.

They swore to uphold Fairy Tail's name, and never to betray the guild that the five of them founded.

( - )

(With Precht Gaebolg, aka Hades, in the year X784)

Standing above the defeated form of Makarov Dreyar, Hades' expression remained neutral.

He had been there when Makarov had been born, and had comforted his father, Yuri, when Makrov's mother, Rita had died not long after his birth.

He had watched the boy grow up. Furthermore, he had comforted him when his father had died, back when the boy was not even five years old. He had laughed as that same precocious child had then played pranks on his overly patient and doting godfather, the very same man that had taken on the role of substitute father to him after Yuri's passing.

He had watched with pride as Makarov grew from gifted child -one that was too smart for his own good- into a headstrong and reckless teenager, and a proud member of the Fairy Tail Guild.

The boy as a teen had been so similar to his father, it had both elated him, and caused his heart to hurt from long forgotten memories of happier times.

After the boy had reached the age of majority he had taken on the role of being the boy's mentor. He had been there for him when his godfather left -leaving the Guild after close to eighteen years of helping to raise the boy to once again go travelling and exploring- and his favourite uncle, Warrod, too had left, and had gone on to join the ranks of the Wizard Saints.

In the following twenty years he had looked on with pride as Makarov grew and matured into a fine man, one worthy of taking his place as Guild Master after he retired.

He had loved the boy, just as he had loved his father, and now he had beaten him into the ground. He had crushed him beneath his heel, and all but broken his spirit. He and taken no joy in doing this though.

But unfortunately, they were a necessity.

"P-Precht… why?" Makarov gasped through strained breaths, raising a feeble hand towards the man in front of him.

He looked so old now, and so small. His body was hunched, and his hair, what little of it remained, was snow white.

"I've told you why, Makarov." Hades replied calmly, gently rubbing his eyepatch with his knuckle as he looked down at the younger man. He could see blood dribble from his mouth, a possible sign of internal bleeding. He could also see that the man's right arm was broken, a small jagged bit of yellow bone was visibly jutting out of the man's flesh. "You have no one to blame for this but yourself. You allowed your own weakness to poison, not only yourself, but the very guild I left in your care. It's a shame it came to this, boy, it truly is. I thought I had taught you better than this."

"Y-You taught me to protect the weak, and the helpless. You taught me that a guild was like a family, and t-that you should a-always protect your f-family. Y-you have forgotten your own t-teachings..." Makarov replied, blood splattering out of his mouth as he spoke.

Cocking his head to the side, Hades merely looked down at Makarov with pity.

The boy was still naive, like he had once been.

He didn't yet, despite his age, truly understand the world, nor the very forces of magic he so glibly wielded.

With another groan, Makarov's hand fell, and his face hit the dirt. His strength had finally given out. Hades could still see him trying to move, trying to stand. But it was futile.

Shaking his head at the pitiful sight, and hardening his heart, Hades brought his leg up and stamped on the struggling man, driving his head into the dirt with a dull thump.

"Stay down boy. This fight is over." Hades growled, his attention already drifting from the downed Makarov to the rest of the island.

He could sense other fights occurring across the island. The island was heavy with magic after all, and with his finely attuned senses he was able to feel the magic, and differentiate the different flavours of it that wafted through the air. On top of which, he was familiar enough with his underlings, the Seven Kin of Purgatory, that he was able to lock in on their unique signatures, or at least those that were actively using their magic.

Zancrow was fighting hard, the acidic taste of his fire was heavy in the air.

Likewise, Rustyrose, Meredy, Kain and Azuma were all still battling it out.

Unfortunately though, he could not narrow down just who their opponents were by the feel of their magic from this distance, save of course for the Fire Dragonslayer, Natsu Dragneel. His magic, at least, was easy to identify.

Caprico however, had been defeated. It was unfortunate, and irritated him, but still the man had faced four other mages, all of whom had been invited to the guild's S-Class trials. Their magic was strong. He could sense 'Ice Magic', 'Celestial Magic' and 'Light Magic', but the other one was odd. It was one of those new forms of magic, the type that melded multiple different branches into one. It was irritating, but it didn't matter.

Caprico might have fallen, but his other Sins stood strong. All save for Ultear, the leader of the Sins. Her magical signature was only faint, a sure sign she was not in combat, and was instead only using a small amount of her magic to fulfil her specific task.

All was going well. The cannon fodder were taking heavy losses, but his heavy hitters had engaged the enemy, and in a competition between Makarov's children and his own warriors… Well, there wasn't much of a competition, after all Makarov had spoiled his children, while he had harshly trained his warriors.

It was as the old adage goes; blessed are those with magic, for they shall inherit the earth. In simple terms it meant that the strong, those gifted in the ways of magic, like his warriors, were meant to rule. Whilst the weak, the magicless, were born only to serve.

At his feet Makarov still continued to pant heavily as he once again reached out and gripped the earth beneath his fingers.

"We've both grown old..." Hades mused, looking down at the younger man. Old memories of Makarov when he had been a youth swimming to the surface of his mind, as he looked down at him. "It comes to us all, or to most of us at least. Time is a cruel mistress. It takes so much from us, it robs us of our strength, our vitality, our power, and leaves us with so little. But through magic, through magic in its purest form, we can fight back and can reclaim what was stolen from us. But that is only something you will come to realise once you've cast off your delusions about magic being only good, or bad, light or dark, boy. For there are no such differences. Instead, there is only power, and those too afraid to use it."

"What happened to you, you... you were a great master..." Makarov muttered weakly. "You taught harmony to us... and led us down the proper path, the path upon which Fairy Tail was founded?"

Hades' eyes narrowed, he was tired of this cyclical conversation. He was tired of Makarov's futile resistance. The very sight of the old man was beginning to anger him. With his aged, hunched body he saw his past, a past when he was as naive and gullible as the man before him. He also saw the frailty of the human condition. Without magic, he would be dead by now, he would be rotting in the ground, just another forgotten footnote in history.

With that thought in mind, Hades lashed out one final time, striking Makarov down without a second thought.

What little fondness he had held for the boy. Born as it was from his nostalgia of a simpler, happier time. Had now finally been overwhelmed by his growing annoyance and impatience.

It was as he finally gave into his anger however, that he felt the sudden surge in power and magic in the distance.

Upon feeling it, the slightest hint of concern passed across his features. He recognised that power. He had felt it before, it had left an indelible mark on him, forever branding its cold fury into his soul.

Scowling, he turned and headed back towards where he knew his airship had landed, not even bothering to look back at his fallen foe.

He was not foolish enough to confront his old friend, Perseus, head on.

Or at least not now, not when his ire was raised, and he had had time to ramp up.

( - )

(With Gildarts)

Increasing his pace, Gildarts Clive ignored the sounds of battle in the distance. Instead, his eyes narrowed as he continued on in his chosen direction, and moved to intercept his chosen foe.

He wasn't sure who the other wizard was, but he could feel their strength from here. It was potent, on par with his own, if not slightly stronger.

A grin stretched across his face at that thought, even as he burst into a clearing within the forest and came to a stop.

Across from him, sitting on a rock, was the man he had been searching for.

He was tall, and had broad shoulders. It was a similar build to his own. On top of that the man had long, dark blue coloured hair which he had drawn back in a ponytail, and had a billowing white coat around his shoulders, which he wore like a cloak, its high collar partially concealing the lower half of his face. What was noticeably, however, was the Grimoire Heart sigil emblazoned in blue upon his coat.

This was an enemy mage, and going off the intense aura of magic he almost casually omitted, he was either their leader, or their ace.

Either way, he was strong. Too strong for any of the others to face, save for Percy and Makarov.

Hell, just standing across from the man had him doubting whether he could take him.

"You are Gildarts Clive, are you not?" The man asked, his tone solemn as he stood up. His towering height once again became obvious as he swept his coat back and revealed the high quality, magic-imbued clothing he wore beneath.

"That's me, and who are you?" Gildarts replied, sweeping his own black cloak back as he did so, his mechanical right arm flexing slightly, even as he felt his heart pound faster in his chest, and his magic beginning to thrum faster through his veins.

"You don't know me? That's discourteous. I would have thought my reputation was known far and wide by now." The man replied, his cold, almost dead, blue eyes narrowing slightly, even as the aura of magic around him intensified. This in turn caused the rock he had been sitting on, and surrounding trees, to begin to crack and collapse in on themselves.

"Guess you're not as well known as you think." Gildarts replied bluntly, an aura of silvery white magic taking shape around him as he matched the enemy mage's output. "So why don't you put me out of my suspense and tell me?"

"I am Bluenote Stinger, and I am the man that will make you fall, Gildarts Clive." Bluenote Stinger replied, his tone turning frigid as he raised his hand, two fingers extended as he then gestured down. "Now show me whether you can fly."

Almost at once, Gildarts felt a sudden crushing weight land on his shoulders. It was like the sky itself had suddenly gained mass and had decided to fall.

Grunting slightly, he felt the ground beneath him start to crack and fracture, even as his knees started to unconsciously bend under the sudden weight pressing down on him.

"Cute trick." Gildarts gasped out, the silver aura around him becoming stronger and denser as he used magic to bolster his body, even as he pushed himself up and tried to ignore the sudden increased gravity around him. It would be difficult to use his magic to shatter or break this form of magic. But that didn't mean that victory was impossible. All he needed was one good hit.

Tilting his head to the side, Bluenote narrowed his eyes. "I see, so the rumours about you were not exaggerated. You will be a worthy foe."

Grinning slightly, Gidlarts took a step forward, his muscles straining and his veins bulging. "Just to warn you, I'm not good at holding back."

( - )

(With Cana)

"Urgh, I'm so tired!" Lucy complained, slumping forwards slightly as she walked through the forest, heading in the direction of the base camp.

"Hey, keep it together, girl. There are probably still more invaders on the island." Cana replied, a frown on her face as she glanced over towards her blonde friend.

The two of them, with help from Gray and Loke, had managed to defeat one of the enemy mages already.

The one they had defeated had been a man called Zoldeo apparently, and he had been a master of 'Human Subordination Magic', and a coward that had stolen the body of the Celestial Spirit, Capricorn, to use like one would a puppet. While in that body he had also, for some reason, called himself, Caprico.

On top of being a despicable human being, though, he had also been a terribly annoying opponent to fight too. It had taken longer than it should have for the four of them, two of whom were S-Class candidates, to take out one wizard.

Still, they had triumphed in the end. Zoldeo was gone, a victim of the backlash from his own foul magic, and Capricorn was now free. Sort of, but at least this time when he had pledged his service to Lucy and given her his Celestial Gate Key, it had been his choice.

So yes, they had come out of the fight not only alive, but stronger too.

Which is why they were now heading back to the base camp. An idea that Cana had suggested after the tired Loke had returned to the Spirit World, and Gray had announced he was going off on his own to find the others.

It had made sense at the time, especially with the exams having now been clearly cancelled.

"I know, I know," Lucy moaned, wiping her damp, sweat soaked hair out of her eyes as she straightened up. "I'm just tired."

"I am too, but we have to push on. The others might be in trouble." Cana replied, patting Lucy on the back comfortingly. Just like her friend, she too was physically and magically exhausted. It had been a long and difficult day, and that had been before they were attacked by an immensely powerful Dark Wizard.

Gritting her teeth at Cana's words, Lucy nodded her head. "You're right, let's go."

With that said the two of them pushed on, easily navigating their way through the woods, following the path they had trodden before.

"What do you think that was before, you know, that horrible pressure?" Lucy asked suddenly, breaking the uneasy silence that had fallen between them over the last few minutes.

"I don't know. Whatever it was, it was powerful, though. It could have been another one of the invaders. That's why we need to find the others." Cana replied, her brow furrowed. She knew exactly how Lucy was feeling. She, too, had been taken unawares when that almost primordial wave of power had swept past her. It had made her feel small, terrified and useless.

"Do you think that anyone will be at the camp?" Lucy asked softly.

"I'm sure they will. It's a place we all know, a fall-back position. I'm sure there'll be someone there." Cana replied reassuringly.

Lucy nodded at that, her expression becoming firmer as they continued through the woodlands and finally made it back to the camp.

"Something's wrong." Cana said at once, the moment the camp was in sight.

Lucy nodded her agreement.

The tents had all been knocked down, as had some of the surrounding trees. The ground was also cracked and covered in craters, and detritus from the camp was strewn everywhere. It looked like the place had been hit by a natural disaster.

Pressing forwards cautiously, Cana kept her magic cards in hand, even as Lucy pulled out her Celestial Keys.

"Lucy, Cana!?" A scared voice called out. The familiarity of the voice, and the tone of fear in it instantly caught both of their attention as they both jumped back and looked for the source of the voice.

"Levy?" Lucy gasped, her eyes widening as she caught sight of her friend's scared, teary eyed face. She looked to be in a ragged state, her clothing was ripped, and her face was smeared with tears, grime and also what looked like blood.

Levy nodded her head, even as Lucy ran to her and pulled her into a comforting hug.

"Gajeel," Cana muttered, her gaze leaving Levy as she instead noticed Gajeel's battered and heavily bandaged form. "And Mira too!" Lying unmoving besides Gajeel, was also Mira. Her face and body was covered in bruises and cuts, and her dress had been ripped to shreds. She looked like she had been put through a blender.

"I-I found her here when I got b-back." Levy gasped out, more tears streaming down her face, prompting Lucy to hold her more tightly. "The c-camp was attacked, and she was hurt badly."

Cana grimaced at that.

Before any more could be said however, they were interrupted by the rustle of undergrowth, and another person entering the clearing.

"Erza!" Cana said, her eyes widening and her heart soaring with relief as she saw Erza Scarlet, tired, but otherwise unharmed, striding into the camp. Under one of her arms she held a chained up girl with pink hair. For a moment, Cana almost thought it was Virgo, she was into that kind of thing after all. But then she saw the red cloak, and the sigil of Grimoire Heart emblazoned on it.

"Cana, Lucy, Levy," Erza nodded to each of them in turn, her sharp brown eyes swiftly surveying the area, taking in Mira and Gajeel's injured forms, before returning to them. "We need to secure the camp. Lucy and Levy, can you two both see to; Mira and Gajeel. It looks like whoever got to them first has done a good job of looking after them, but make sure they remain stable? Cana, I need you to help me secure the camp, and my prisoner. Her name is Meredy, and she is one of the elite members of Grimoire Heart. We're going to need to secure her, so we can hand her into the authorities once we return to Hargeon."

Cana nodded at that, almost sighing in relief at the fact someone else had swept in and taken charge.

Levy and Lucy both also looked calmer, both of them nodding at Erza, before turning to tend to both Gajeel and Mira. Having something to do, something to keep them busy was good. It would stop them from dwelling on the precarious situation they were in. It would also allow Lucy at least to calm down after their fight, and recover some of her magical reserves.

"Have you heard from any of the others?" Cana asked as she walked over to Erza, her cards in hand as she started shuffling through them, trying to find useful defensive ones they could use to make some protective barriers. Ideally Levy would be doing this, as this kind of work was her speciality. But unfortunately, like Erza had likely noticed when she arrived, Levy wasn't in the fit state to help at the moment.

"No, have you?" Erza replied, looking up from where she was securing her prisoner to a nearby tree, one of the few that was still standing.

"Loke and Gray helped us beat one of the Seven Kin of Purgatory, or at least that's what he called them. After that, Loke had to return to the Spirit World to recover, and Gray went into the forest searching for others." Cana replied quickly.

Erza grimaced at that. "We'll just have to trust that they are okay, and can look after themselves. For now we will secure the camp, and once that's done, I'll go out and look for the others."

Cana nodded. This was unlike any of the other S-Class trials she had been to before, and she had been to many.

This wasn't a game any more, nor a contest.

This was an invasion, and they were under attack.

Things had turned from a controlled set of trials that tested them on whether they were ready to be S-Class, to a trial by fire, one with very real, and very dangerous stakes. At the moment, Cana had no problem trusting Erza's judgement, after all she was a seasoned S-Class mage, and one of the strongest in the guild. If any of them knew what to do in a situation like this, it was her.

( - )

(With Erza Knightwalker)

Sprinting through the forests of Tenrou Island, Erza Knightwalker kept her spear handy as she continued to search for new enemies to fight and bring down.

Hunting Dark Wizards through dense woodlands, it almost reminded her of being back in Edolas. Back then she had been known as the Fairy Hunter, and hunting Dark Guilds down had been her speciality. She had tracked down, corner and purged dozens of those selfish guilds, the ones that wasted her world's dwindling magical resources on frivolities. Over the years she had become very good at it.

Of course that was back then. Back before she had gained an outsider's perspective on what she was doing, and before her eyes had been opened to just how corrupt the kingdom she served had become. This had been before she had seen the hypocrisy of those that lived in the capital, and her own hypocrisy, all of which was driven by fear, fear of losing magic, the most important of magical resources Edolas had to offer.

Gritting her teeth, and pushing those dark thoughts back down, Erza continued her journey through the forest. Her eyes narrowed as she searched for more invaders.

Already she had dealt with one of the elite members of the invading Dark Guild that was attacking the island, a puffed up ponce by the name of Rustyrose, a man that had clear Sugarboy vibes.

He had been a powerful wizard, and his magic, well his magic was perhaps some of the most broken magic she had ever seen. He had been able to simply conjure anything he imagined into reality.

It had been both terrifying and frustrating to fight against.

Fortunately, the man had been so obsessed and dependent on his powerful magic, he had neglected actually learning how to fight. He had the fighting skills of an untrained child, and the courage of one too.

The moment he had realised that she was fighting to kill he had panicked, he had lashed out with big, over the top, flashy attacks, and tried to sweep her away through sheer force.

He had failed.

She might not be able to wield magic like the other members of the Fairy Tail Guild, but with her spear, the Ten Commandments, she didn't need to. This was something Rustyrose had learnt personally. She was faster than him, physically stronger too, and her reflexes were honed to perfection. Throw in her enchanted spear and she was easily able to close the gap between them, hamstring him, and then beat him to unconsciousness, or to death.

She really wasn't sure on that front, she had been too in the moment to notice, and by the time she was done, well, his face had been little more than an unrecognisable, bloody pulp.

Still, she wasn't that bothered either way. The man was a Dark Wizard and an invader, more than that he had admitted during their fight that his guild, Grimoire Heart, had already put multiple villages to the sword on their quest to find and unseal this, Zeref, character. He had even admitted, even bragged about, murdering innocent men, women and children, and that was all she needed to hear.

She had been a monster back in Edolas, she knew that. But she had never gone after the helpless. Everyone she had fought had been able to fight back, and thus had a chance of defeating her and saving themselves. Even those she interrogated and imprisoned were not innocent, they had been proven to be, or by their own admission had been Dark Wizards, and thus criminals.

Her ledger was bloody, and her soul was tainted with sin and regret. But she had never killed a child, nor deliberately taken the life of an innocent.

Only those that are willing to be killed, should kill. That is one of the codes she lived her life by, and something she had often recited to herself back in Edolas when doubt and regret had assailed her thoughts.

With that thought in mind, she spotted movement in the corner of her eye. There was a dark skinned figure gliding through the trees, his body literally merging with the tree trunks and the ground as he passed, he was almost swimming through the earth like it was water.

Narrowing her eyes at the sight of the unfamiliar man, Erza immediately changed direction and moved to follow. The man was moving fast, but he was also leaving behind an easy to follow trail. The trees he travelled through shifted their grain as he passed, the bark literally pointed in the direction he had gone. Similarly, the ground, and the many leaves and roots littering it, seemed to shift slightly as he passed, caught along in his wake as he glided along through the earth and trees around him.

Somehow the man was able to merge with the trees, no doubt due to whatever bullshit magic he used. But it wasn't perfect, he was still human in the end, and as such he left his mark on the land around him as he moved through it.

Picking up her pace, Erza continued to track him, her spear held in hand.

The man was headed towards the giant tree in the centre of the island, the Tenrou Tree, the one which Percy said was sacred to the Fairy Tail Guild.

She couldn't allow the Dark Wizard to roam free, not when he was in the vicinity of something so special to the Guild that had adopted her.

She owed it to them, and she owed it to Percy, to stop the man here and now.

( - )

(With Percy)

Stepping out of his watery colossus and looking around at the devastation he had caused, Percy couldn't help but feel a slight tinge of regret as he took in all the black cloaked bodies that littered the ground.

Many of them had the signs of having been burnt, meaning that they were victims of Zancrow.

But just as many were waterlogged, and noticeably had broken bones and twisted limbs. These were the ones he had killed.

He had lost his temper, and people had died.

Again.

Rubbing his face at that thought, Percy allowed the colossus behind him to collapse, the water raining down all around him, before flooding back over the cliff edge and back into the sea, taking with it as it did, the bodies of Zancrow and all those that the two of them had killed.

The fight had been harder than he had thought it would be.

He hadn't expected that there would be someone who would push him to that level, and from what the blonde had been saying, he was just one of a number of similarly powerful wizards.

It was worrying.

Firming up his resolve at that thought, Percy recovered his sword and headed into the forest. It was time to end this, and the only way to do that would be to cut off the head of the snake. This meant finding their Guild Master, that is, if Makarov hadn't already found him first.

( - )

(With Gray)

"Natsu! Erza! Gajeel! Levy!" Gray shouted as he ran through the forest. Lucy, Cana and Loke were all safe. Mira was probably still back at the basecamp, and waiting on the others to arrive. As for Master Makarov, Percy and Gildarts, they were all old enough and tough enough to look after themselves. The others though...

"Where are you!?" Gray continued to call out. It was dangerous he knew, to make this much noise and to advertise his presence like he was, what with there being multiple Dark Wizards lurking on the island.

But it was a necessary risk.

The wizard he had fought had been incredibly dangerous. If it weren't for Lucy, Cana and Loke, then he doubted he would have managed to beat him. What's more, the wizard he beat, Zoldeo, he had told them that there were other wizards just as powerful as him on the island, and that wasn't taking into account their Guild Master, and their ace.

Pressing on through the undergrowth, Gray soon burst out of the trees and found himself standing beside a babbling brook. In front of him there were a few squat, twisted trees, and also what looked like the ruins of an old village.

Those features, however, were not what grabbed his attention.

Instead, what caught his attention was the solemn looking figure in black and white robes that was kneeling down besides the brook.

It was a boy, one that only looked to be sixteen or seventeen years old. Not that his age made him any less wary. Gray had met Wendy after all, and thus knew that age didn't mean much when it came to power and skill.

Still, there was something about him that was odd. The boy looked sad, lost and alone. Just the sight of him brought up a sudden well of pity in Gray's core, especially when, as the boy turned to look at him, he could see that he was crying.

"Hello," The boy said softly.

"Who are you?" Gray replied, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.

"His name is Zeref," Another voice answered, this one sounding out directly behind him. "And if you know what's good for you, Gray, I'd walk away now, while you still can."

Twisting around at the sound of the voice, Gray's eyes widened as he found himself staring at a beautiful, voluptuous dark haired woman. A woman that looked very, very familiar to him.

"Ur?" Gray muttered, his eyes widening, before with a start he processed what this woman, one who looked so similar to his old Master, said. Swivelling around, he then looked at the sad looking boy, his eyes widening further. "Zeref?"

"Not quite," The woman replied coldly, causing him to turn back around, and just in time too as he suddenly saw a large orb of lacrima hurtling through the air towards him.

Throwing out his arms instinctively at the sight of it, Gray quickly created a shield of ice to defend himself.

From behind Gray, as the two wizards started to fight, the boy, Zeref, just shook his head sadly, his eyes flashing red. "So you are the ones that brought discord to this island…"

( - )

(With Natsu)

Running through the forest, Natsu quickly left the battered and unconscious body of Kain Hikaru behind him. Kain was a pale, rotund man, with a gormless expression and thick wild hair, he was also a Dark Wizard and one of Grimoire Heart's strongest fighters. Not that he was in any position to cause any more trouble, not after the beating Natsu had just given him.

Flying along above Natsu was, Happy. His Exceed friend had quickly taken to the skies in order to help him find the others, after all if he had been attacked by Dark Wizards, then it was a sure thing that the others had been too.

"Wait..." Natsu muttered, pausing mid run and coming to a stop as his enhanced senses caught a familiar scent on the wind. "This smell..."

Smiling suddenly, Natsu spun to his right and plunged into the undergrowth, his sandalled feet pounding along the ground as he followed the familiar scent.

Bursting out of the forest, Natsu quickly found himself in a pockmarked, crater littered glade.

Only he was not alone, as not far from where he now stood he could see Makarov's battered body lying on the ground.

"Gramps!"Natsu shouted, his eyes widening in surprise as he saw the condition his gramps was in. The man was the strongest guy he knew, he couldn't imagine how tough someone would have to be to, leave the old man in this state.

"Natsu…" Happy called from above him, his eyes dancing with fearful, unshed tears as he pointed his small paw at the fallen Guild Master.

Almost at once, Natsu felt his eyes widen in concern as a new scent suddenly flooded his senses. It was tangy and coppery. It was the smell of blood.

"Gramps!" Natsu shouted again, his tone turning fearful now as he ran forward and skidded to his knees beside the old man's side. Above him Happy swooped down, and landed on the old man's other side.

"Natsu, is he okay?" Happy asked tearfully.

Turning the old man over, Natsu felt his heart suddenly twist, even as tears began to fall down his face, and his lip started to quiver uncontrollably. "G-Gramps?"

The old man's eyes were open and staring sightless at the sky above him.

He was dead.

( - )

Thanks for reading, and see you again soon.

Seagate.