Ps: I would be using Japanese honorifics in my story. I feel like it would add to the story and also the conversation won't feel the same without it. For eg; Magna addressing Yami as Yami-san feels much better than just Yami or Mr Yami, considering he sort of worships the Black Bulls captain.

Disclaimer: Fairy Tail and Black Clover belong to their respective owners. I do not own anything other than this fan fiction and my Oc's.

X-X

It was that time of the year. That day where every young wizard chosen by a grimoire looked forward to. A day that turned the dreams of a few into reality, and crushed those of many. It was the day of the magic knights' entrance exam. The royal capital was buzzing and vibrant because of the grand occasion about to unfold. Numerous talented, young wizards from all nooks and corners of the kingdom gathered here at the capital, to showcase their talents, hoping to get noticed by any of the captains of the nine magic knights' squad of Clover.

Still, it was not an easy task to gain the attention of a captain. You needed to be a cut above the rest to have any chance, of making it into a squad. Especially, when you are just a commoner, your chances would thin down exponentially.

However, those did nothing to quell or curtail the enthusiasm of the countless youngsters, who flocked towards the royal capital of the Kingdom of Clover. With the fire of hope burning in their hearts and the glow of their dreams evident in their eyes, these magic knights' hopefuls made their way onto the venue, for partaking in the entrance exam which would shape their lives and their future.

Such a young hopeful was a fifteen-year-old, of short stature and messy, ash blonde hair. His shabby attire did very little to diminish neither his hope nor his energy. This young man was Asta from the village of Hage. Like the countless others who had flocked to the capital, he too carried a dream in his heart. A dream to become the magic emperor of the kingdom of Clover.

"Yuno, that bastard." Taking a bite off the grilled purple snake in his hand, he shouted out in frustration. "Damn him. Going away on his own."

Amidst all this cursing and murmuring which gave him odd looks from passerby's, a realization hit him. He abruptly stopped in his tracks to bring his thoughts in order. "Where the hell is that exam being held anyway?"

"No matter what, I will definitely become the magic emperor." Asta reassured himself even though at that point it felt nothing but a failed attempt to calm his nerves.

Unlike the rest of the citizens in the world, he was born without any magic. In a world where possession of magic power was the norm, someone like him without even an ounce of magic in his being, dreaming to be magic emperor, let alone even a magic knight, was ridiculed upon. Though, his family at the church never made him feel bad openly, they never had any faith that his dreams would come to fruition. The people other than them, made no effort to hold back in insulting him. He was subjected to many taunts and scorns ever since they became aware of the dream he held. It was enough to push anyone to the verge of breaking down. However, Asta was no such 'anybody'. His determination remained unwavering. These ridicules and insults only egged him on, to strive to push past his limits.

Today would be the day, he was going to prove them wrong. He was going to become the first magic emperor who did not possess any magic. For that, he had trained. Since he lacked magic, he trained his body till he dropped. All that sorrow and pain, he had to go through for being different, acted as a catalyst to his will. They never weakened him nor his resolve.

What he did possess was a grimoire, which let him wield a sword that negated magic. This grimoire of his was so dirty that many still refused to believe it as one. Still, Asta did not care. It was his grimoire. He treasured it dearly. He remembered clearly, the pain he felt inside when he was the only one who failed to get selected by a grimoire, and also the boundless joy he experienced when he finally got one. With the power that his grimoire offered him, Asta felt fully confident in his quest to join a magic knight squad. This was going to be his first step towards his long-cherished dream. But, most importantly right now, he felt he was running late and he had no idea where the exams were being held. To top it all off, he finally accepted that cruel truth, he was lost.

"OH crap. I feel like I am lost. This city is so big." Asta murmured to himself as he kept running through the streets of the capital. His eyes darted across the entire area he covered, trying to locate the venue of the entrance exam. To him who had never set foot outside the village, the capital felt like an extremely huge place. Everywhere he laid eyes upon, felt like something totally new to him.

Running around aimlessly, his eyes shifted to the sides and he failed to notice that there was someone else in front of him. Unknowingly, he collided headfirst into this person, with both of them collapsing onto the ground.

"I am so sorry." Asta hastily got upon his feet and blurted out an apology with a contrite expression.

"You are not hurt are you, mister?" He extended his hand to the slender, blonde-haired stranger.

The stranger retorted with a mild smile. He then accepted the gesture and got back upon his feet. "No harm done."

Asta analyzed the stranger in front of him. He was about his age but much taller. However, what struck out the most for the anti-magic user was his strange appearance. He wore a very long, crimson vest with golden edges, reaching down to his knees and closed few inches above his waist on the front. Most of his upper face was hidden by a crimson mask with golden edges. To add to his already weird appearance, he had on a large crimson hat, with a prominent brim curving upwards on the sides and golden edges, which on its upper left side bore an extremely long, massive and spiky pink plumage.

The ash blonde haired teenager wasn't the best when it came to deductions. Still, he could say that the stranger's face and his clothing did not fit well. As if both of them contradicted each other. His face had a special charm to it, which made Asta believe that he was of a very high lineage.

"A noble, without a doubt" which was he made of it. But his clothing, for all its external grandeur was cheap and completely unbefitting of a noble. Asta was fairly positive of this fact. Since, the only clothes that were cheaper than those on this stranger were the ones he wore himself.

"I should stop assuming things about people." Asta shook his head to settle his thoughts. He had been observing the teenager in front of him for a little while now. This had resulted awkward silence created around them at the moment. It wasn't common for two youngsters to stare at each other in the middle of the street.

"I am Asta from Hage village." He introduced himself, bowing slightly. He was feeling a bit confident inwardly now, assuming that the person in front of him might also be from the boonies, and not a noble like his demeanor signified.

He extended his hand towards the stranger with a warm smile on his lips. "And you are?"

"Call me Rufus." The blonde haired fifteen years old, contemplated on it for a while, analyzing the ash blonde teen before he accepted the gesture and shook his hand.

"Strange…" The thought ran through Rufus' mind.

"I sense no magic from him." He then readjusted his hat, as he gave him yet another mild smile.

Asta couldn't deny the fact he was inwardly glad to make acquaintance of someone here. He flashed a cheerful grin to validate this.

"So, Rufus. Are you also from the boonies?" He made no effort to show any tact in his questioning.

"Who knows?" Rufus's demeanor still remained calm as he laid a hand on his hat. "Where indeed might it be?"

"Huh?" Asta was totally surprised by the strange answer. Still, he composed himself and resumed. "Are you here for the entrance exams, too?

"Why? Yes indeed. I am." The blonde-haired wizard retorted in a nonchalant tone.

Asta felt a bit awkward at this odd conversation. Clearly, Rufus in front of him had no intention of making his acquaintance. To top it all off, he tried hard to make his answers felt weird and highly sophisticated.

"Rufus, do you know where the exams are being held." The tone of the anti-magic wielder's voice failed to display the same level of enthusiasm as earlier. Rufus's strange attitude now completely put him off.

"I kept searching for it and got completely lost." He scratched the back of his head and gave him a goofy grin. "I was hoping you could help me out here."

"I believe the exams are to take place over there." The blonde pointed towards the north-west direction before the shorter youngster could continue with something else. "You better improve your pace if you want to make it in time."

"Hmmm." Asta quickly pacified himself from the sudden response and muttered with a light sweat drop. "Thanks for that."

It invoked no further response form the listener. Asta stood there for a while deliberating on what his next course of action should be. He did not want things to end just like that between them. The anti-magic wielder suddenly began to speak but quickly halted as he began. He hesitated for a moment, pondering whether he should ask Rufus about it or not.

"Do you want to...maybe…go there together?" He stated, finally deciding upon a choice.

"I appreciate the gesture." Rufus Lore bowed gently with a gentle smile spread across his lips, and his eyes closed. "Though I prefer to be encompassed by solitude at the moment, I shall accept the gesture."

"He's upped his vocabulary now." Asta felt his brain start to overheat. It did surprise him that Rufus accepted his offer, given how unfriendly the weird wizard appeared to be. Nevertheless, he felt a strange kinship towards him. Inwardly, he felt jubilated at this.

Rufus snapped Asta out of his trance and pointed towards the direction of the venue. He took the lead while the anti-magic user followed him, trying to make small talk which the blonde wizard barely responded to. It felt to Asta as if Rufus hopped rather than run.

"I can adamantly say, he has no ounce of magic in him." He glanced at his fellow candidate who was narrating some story about some Sister Lily.

When they finally reached the venue, the sheer number of the crowd gathered made Asta almost lose his nerve. Rufus on the other hand, remained unwavering.

The exam required them to register at one of the many registration counters. Rufus looked around and thought it was best to go his separate way now. He gestured the same too Asta, pointing at a different line as opposed to the one Asta was at. There were things Rufus had to accomplish and being alone felt better to get there.

The anti-magic wielder was hoping to go in together. He felt a bit disappointed by decided it was childish to voice it now. Afterall, it was every man for himself from now on. "It was nice meeting you Rufus. All the best to you for the entrance exam."

"All the best wishes to you too." The blonde-haired wizard waved back, pulled up his hat and walked away,

"He seems like a real ardent individual." Rufus mediated to himself. "The Larks sing a cheerful song today."

X-X

A vast golden field spread across the land. The birds sang while the buzzing bees were busy gathering nectar for the upcoming winter. It was tranquility given form. The scenery, beautiful enough to bring serenity to even the most troubled minds, felt straight out of a fairy tale. Amidst the field where a pristine wind brushed against the crops, two wizards rested. Their personalities contrasted each other and so did their external appearance. Though, it may seem that they would never mingle, contrary to that, they were the best of friends and a pretty renowned duo throughout the magical circles of Clover.

"I can sense melancholy in the air" A soft voice broke through. "Peaceful silence, a prelude to catastrophe."

"As the clouds drift in the merry breeze and the eagle soars through the majestic sky, calamity awaits in the darkness, eager to bare its fangs on the ingenuous world."

"Oblivion…"

This flow of verses was painfully interrupted by a huge fist, slamming at the back of the narrator, who was so engrossed in his anecdote.

"Rogue, you bastard. I was trying to sleep."

"That hurt badly, Sting." Rogue got off from the rock he was seated on and proceeded to kick the wizard who still lay on the ground."

"Enough." Sting screamed as he hopelessly tried to evade the incoming blows. Brushing off the dust from his spikey blonde hair, he got up on his feet. "I apologize."

Rogue sighed and a hint of sadness clouded his eyes. "I was on the verge of something great."

This remark made his companion burst into laughter, which gave way to another scuffle between the two. Sting found his eyes poked on and his hair almost ripped.

After enough exchange of blows and bruises, the two decided to finally calm down. The ground nearby had enough cracks and dents to prove what has just transpired.

Sting didn't particularly mind his friend's strange hobby, though it creeped him out sometimes with all those dark verses. But today, he really was trying to sleep.

"We should just head back to the base." Rogue decided to speak up, as he dusted his long black cape only for Sting to nod in agreement.

"But let's keep quiet about the minor destruction of the field here." He added, his eyes darting through the site of their petty scuffle.

It was no secret that Rogue was afraid of the consequences that would entail this small bout of destruction. Their captain was very strict when it came to unwanted collateral damage. The long hours of chastising aside, he feared the second round of punishments that followed.

His dragon slayer partner couldn't help but burst into laughter again. "Captain Fuegoleon will enforce more pay cuts at this rate"

"That is nothing to laugh about Sting." Rogue felt his eyes twitch. Honestly! He wished Sting would be more serious about things sometimes. Depp down Rogue knew Sting wasn't all laughs and giggles, yet he preferred him to atleast put up some for appearance's sake.

"Alright….alright I am sorry again." Sting smiled as he began to walk towards their destination, which was the road that led towards their base.

"That reminds me" He abruptly halted his advance and turned towards Rogue. "The captain asked me to accompany him to the entrance exam tomorrow."

Rogue felt a sharp tingle down his spine. He stared at his partner in disbelief, but continued to walk on in a zombie like motion.

"Oh boy!" Sting went on, resuming his steps "I hope we get some cute ones this year."

As he went on about his short-sighted dream, he failed to notice Rogue whose expression had evolved into one of fear. Sting had a habit of being too easygoing and this was one such instance where it was on full display.

"Sting!" The raven-haired wizard got ahead of him and forced his partner to stop in his tracks.

The white dragon slayer sweated bullets as he felt Rogue grip his shoulders tightly. Sting felt his eyes resembled a medieval ghost right now.

"The entrance exam is today and it should start in less than an hour."

For a moment, Sting's face turned pale. This would make it his fourth infraction that week and he dare not imagine what would befall.

"Aaarghhhh!" he screamed as the colour came back to him, bringing him back to reality.

"I need to get there right now." Rogue heard a Wizz and then proceeded to safeguard his nose from the cloud of dust forming ahead.

X-X

"Yuno!" Asta panted as he spoke. His voice reeked of disbelief while his hands were on his knees as he gasped for hair. "Why the hell did you leave me, you jerk?"

"It's your own fault for getting lost Asta." The subject of Asta's grievances retorted.

Though a small grin surfaced on his face, Yuno managed to camouflage it underneath his deadpan grimace. They had both dreamt together about this day and it was finally here. For a moment, the dark-haired wizard felt his friend would not make it and this made him sad. But now that, he was here, he could stop worrying about Asta and divert his full attention to the challenge ahead of him.

"Just try not to fail." He tried to egg his friend on.

Asta opened his mouth to say something but decided otherwise when nothing of value came to him. For all his taunting, he knew Yuno cared about him and wanted to see him succeed more than anyone. Among all the doubters and haters, his friend was the only one who believed in him and his dream.

"Let's go Asta." The voice of the wind magic user broke through the silence, but failed to snap the anti-magic wielder out of his thoughts.

The magicless young man from Hage village, took a while to take in the sight that lay out in front of him. He had never imagined in his wildest dreams that such a large crowd of hopefuls would be present for the exams. The sheer volume of the crowd itself was unlike any other he had seen before. On either side of the entrance to the venue, the citizens of the city gathered to cheer on and encourage the examinees. Many acknowledged the support they were given and waved back while a few chose not to bother with it. In any case, the entrance ceremony was going to be an arduous task. There was no way to go around it. He felt butterflies in his stomach. His hands trembled with slight fear and excitement as his heart beat faster and so did his breathing.

Yuno slowly brushed his grimoire to have a slight feel of the four leaved clover against his palm. He too had begun to feel the nerves taking hold. He had no doubts in his abilities and his conviction, but this whole world was new to him as it was to his ash blonde haired friend.

"Asta!" he called out again, this time louder in an attempt to calm himself too.

The holder of the shabby old grimoire gulped hard to compose himself. He then heaved a deep sigh before replying, the excitement returning to his intonation. "Yes, coming."

Tightening the grip on the bag he carried over his shoulders, Asta stood up straight and placed his right hand over his chest. "No matter what, I'm making it into the magic knights."

X-X

"Beast Arm! Iron Bull" These were the last words, the band of hooligans heard before they saw the stars and the moon, circling around their heads. It was over way too quickly for comfort. They barely had any time to react, as they fell victim to the tall, muscular wizard and his take over magic.

He took a while to analyze his surroundings before undoing the magic on his right arm. A deep sigh left him, as he searched for a place to rest himself. This was the third day of continuous fighting. Though his mind wanted to push on, his body almost gave in to the fatigue.

"There is no time to rest, Elfman." He murmured to himself in a reassuring manner. "You need to keep going."

Elfman reached into his bag and pulled out another set of papers. They were job requests, he had taken from the squad and there were plenty of them too. The take-over magic user, browsed through the pile to find which one was nearest to him. Finally, deciding on a quest, he put the rest back in his bag and darted through the contents of the paper he still held.

At that moment, one of the hooligans whom he had subdued tried to make a run for it. Still he was no match for Elfman's keen senses and his raw physical attributes alone.

"I better tie these guys up before leaving" A thought passed him by as he threw the unconscious man to the floor.

Ever since that day, Elfman had not known sleep. The moment he closed his eyes, disturbing memories ate at him. Why was he still a magic knight? He would wonder. It made no point to him anymore. All he wanted was to live a peaceful life with his siblings.

The white-haired mage felt a tear escape him. "Lisanna!"

His elder sister was strong, extremely strong and it was only natural she would become a magic knight. He was more focused on taking care of his younger sister and that was all the happiness he could want.

Elfman felt his body grow heavy, his feet refused to keep going. Realizing he needed to rest, the take over mage, moved towards the side of the road and sat down atop a small green patch of wild grass.

Lisanna had encouraged him to apply for the examination. She believed in him and his strength, when he had always thought of himself as weak.

"You have a kind heart, Elf nii-chan." She would say, that beautiful smile spread across her face "You are super strong too. So become a magic knight like Mira-nee and help the people in need."

His body grew heavier at these recollections. The day he heard the news of his little sister's demise, he had gone numb. Even the tears that streamed across his cheeks failed to end that sensation.

"How long has it been?" He wondered as his eyes grew heavier by the moment. From that day onwards, Elfman drowned himself in these requests, trying to run away. He couldn't even remember the last time he had a proper conversation with Mirajane. It felt…no he knew for sure, he and his elder sister had slowly drifted apart since Lisanna left.

"The good old days." Elfman closed his eyes with sleep taking over his body "I wished I could go back to them."

X-X

Inside the venue, the anti-magic wielder found himself in a crisis. Black feathered birds, who were better known as Anti-birds, a lot of them, were giving him a hell lot of trouble. These birds were sensitive to mana and would flock around people whose mana reserves were less. Asta, being someone who possessed no mana at all, found himself on the receiving end of the constant pestering by these infamous birds.

"Ouch ouch ouch." Asta ran around aimlessly in the venue as these birds continued pecking and clawing at him. "Get away from me you stupid birds."

His pleas and cries remained unheard as the birds continued with their onslaught. This ruckus was on the receiving end of quite a lot of negative attention from those who had gathered for the ceremony. Asta couldn't hear any of the ridicules and insults directed at him, as he was more concentrated on getting the birds off of him. Still, even if he had heard them, he wouldn't bother as he had already heard and experienced enough, which in turn rendered him immune to such mockery.

Aimless running forced him to crash into a tall man of muscular build and medium length black hair. This impact forced the anti-birds to fly off.

"Finally, they flew off. Sorry for bumping into you." The ash blonde wizard stated to the older man who he had collided with. Much relief surfaced on his visage as he was freed from the constant pestering of the annoying birds.

"I'll kill you brat." The man's retort accompanied by a dark aura that encompassed his figure, sent massive shivers down Asta's spine. He could feel every hair on his body stand on edge, the towering figure of the man staring him down.

"What the hell is his problem?" The anti-magic user flinched and his eyes shot wide open. His quick analysis of the stranger only fueled his sudden sense of alarm. He had the eyes of a killer, his neck was just too thick for a mage and above all he had an intimidation presence worse than any punk he had seen. Asta felt himself shaking in his boots at the encounter.

"Is this guy really my age?" His inner mind boomed before he suddenly halted himself and brought his thoughts in order. "No wait. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I can say this much from my encounter with the weirdo from earlier." He took a deep breath.

"Just act friendly… "

"Man, you really look old, don't you?" He placed his hand over the stranger's shoulder with a blithe expression. "You must have had quite a hard life."

The next instant, Asta found the large, strong grip of the stranger on his head. "It appears you are ready to die, you little shit." A rough, gruff voice accompanied it.

"What are you doing down here?" Finral Roulacase who came from behind directed towards Yami Sukehiro, the captain of the infamous black bulls squadron.

"I am about to end this little twerp's life." The captain of the Black Bulls shot back. This exchange made little to no difference to Asta's condition. The only thing it did was attracting a lot of attention towards Finral and Gordon who was with him, from the gathered hopefuls.

"That's Finral Roulacase-sama. The user of a rare form of spatial magic." A female examinee exclaimed from amongst the crowd around them.

It was all that Finral needed to approach the girl, forgetting he had to stop his captain from maybe, killing an examinee.

Asta felt like his head was going to explode and had come to the realization that he had pissed off the wrong person. Above everything he was scared. It was not the first time, he found himself in such a predicament, but this was one of the worst. This person's grip was so strong that he felt he would die if this continued any longer. But Asta was not one to back down. His stubbornness and his never give up attitude were his greatest weapon. Mustering every ounce of strength he had, the anti-magic wielder, clutched onto Yami's arm. Tightening his grip, he tried with everything he had to force the latter's arm off him.

"Stop it would you?" Finral shot out in a desperate tone. "A magic knight's captain should not kill an exam candidate."

Suddenly the spatial mage realized something he should have long back "What the hell are you doing down here?"

"I went to take a dump and got lost."

"Huh." The spatial mage face palmed inwardly. "That aside, let him go already."

Finrals's pleas fell on deaf ears. Still, it did make the people around them aware of the identity of the man who was about to kill the ash blonde examinee.

"Captain…Did…he…just say captain" A voice was heard from amongst the crowd. "That means he is the God of Destruction, Yami Sukehiro. Captain of the Black Bulls."

"The black Bulls." Another voice came through from the crowd gathered around. "Aren't they the most notorious magic knights' squad in the kingdom? I've heard they incur more cost due to the damage they create than the merit they are credited for."

"Apparently, I've heard, there is only a single decent magic knight in that squad."

"Them." A brown-haired teen of average height, exclaimed, his voice laced with fear, to his friend besides him. "Isn't that squad where Salamander is? He ended up burning down our bridge a few weeks ago during a mission."

"And Zero too." The friend retorted in kind. "He and Salamander destroyed our warehouse because they couldn't agree on who got there first."

Yami Sukehiro on the other hand was not affect in the slightest by the opinion about his squad, nor did he harbor any intention of letting go of the anti-magic user. Obviously, the whole thing about killing him was a bluff. He was renowned for his tough love attitude and this was what transpired here. He couldn't deny that he was seriously ticked off, but at the moment, he was overcome with a bit of admiration for the teenager and his dire effort to unhandle himself.

"Captain. Just let the kid go." Yami's heard the commanding voice of his vice-captain from his right. Laxus himself had come in search of Yami, when Finral and Gordon who went earlier hadn't returned after a long time.

"No way. I am gonna kill this brat right now." Laxus almost felt his eyes twitch when his captain shot him down with that rough voice.

"Hey, isn't that." Laxus's forage into the fray created a small ruckus among those gathered around them.

"Laxus Dreyar. The vice-captain of the Black Bulls."

"They say he is the only level headed magic knight in that squad."

"It's Laxus Dreyar-sama. They say he uses a rare type of lost magic."

"Laxus-sama." A few females from among the crowd waved towards the lightning dragon slayer.

"He is so cute." A few others remarked. "And he looks so strong."

These remarks failed to incite any form of reaction from the dragon slayer. "Going by external appearances" is what he liked to think in these situations

"Captain, look." Laxus diverted his attention back to his captain, pointing towards the firework display that had begun. "The exams are starting now and we need to be on time."

Yami's gaze trailed past the teen under his grip and onto the fireworks in the sky. Letting out an inaudible scoff, he slowly began to loosen his grip on the ash blonde anti-magic user.

"Tchh." He dropped him onto the ground. "Guess you get to live a little longer kid."

The captain of the black bulls prepared to head towards his assigned place. "Better take good care of the life I've given you back kid. Or I'll kill you."

It never showed but Yami was delighted to have Laxus accompany him. The lightning mage never cared about these occasions but today he was able to coerce him to attend the function.

"That old man going around pestering everyone." Laxus remarked in the background. An exasperation of defeat followed it.

"Hey kid." He moved near to the anti-magic user and helped him onto his feet, trying in vain to force a smile. "You okay there?"

Asta stood for a few seconds completely dazed at the gesture. His eyes were fixated onto the form of Laxus. He did not expect something like this from a magic knight. The mage who stood in front of him was strong, his presence itself was intimidating.

"Hey kid." The Dragon Slayer gently shook the ash blonde teen to snap him back to reality. "You okay?"

"Yes. I'm all fine." Asta screamed out as he bowed down heavily.

'That's good news." Laxus replied in a blasé tone. Without any further delay, he proceeded to follow his captain and the others, before pausing to turn around.

"All the best to you kid."

"Thank you so much magic knight-san." Asta shouted out yet gain, ecstatic at meeting a real magic knight.

"I wish I could be as cool as him after clearing the exam." His mind rang.

"Strange." The lightning Dragon Slayer pondered while he walked towards his captain's seat. "That kid…..I could not sense a trace of magic power in him."

"And he seems to be quite the noisy one…...we have enough noisy ones in the squad already."

"It must have been rough having Captain Yami on your face like that." A teenager with medium built and medium length light coloured hair walked towards Asta. "Are you okay?"

"Yes. I am somewhat." The ash blonde teen scratched his head.

"By the way, I am Sekke. Sekke Bronzazza." The newcomer introduced himself. "Nice to meet you. Buh-ha."

Asta's joy knew no bounds. He was feeling left out from the moment he got here and it was like a breath of fresh air to him, to make acquaintance of somebody at the moment.

"I'm Asta." The anti-magic user retorted in a joyful tonality. The elation he felt inside assayed by the gleeful smile spread across his face. "Nice to meet you too."

X-X

The entrance ceremony was about to commence. Inside the venue, the hopefuls stood on the ground level of the venue where the exams were to be held. There was a gallery, with nine seats at some height above the base level. These nine seats were reserved for the nine magic knights' squad captains.

With bated breaths all of the magic knights' hopefuls awaited the onset of the magic knights' entrance exam. Their eyes locked onto the gallery anticipating the entrance of the nine magic knights' squad captains.

Asta's level of excitement and anxiousness was no different from the rest. He kept a hand on his chest and took in deep breaths to pacify himself. Turning to his side, he saw Sekke on his left smiling and fully confident of himself. The anti-magic user couldn't deny he felt a slight admiration for Sekke at his ability to keep a cool head at this situation.

As he contemplated these onto himself, the bugle rang, signaling the entry of the nine squad captains. Asta looked up to the gallery to see the arrival of the few of the most powerful mages in the kingdom.

His eyes caught the image of a slender, fair skinned mage with white-silver hair.

"That's the captain of the silver eagles, Nozelle Silva." Sekke stated towards Asta satisfying the latter's curiosity.

"So, that's a captain of the magic knights' squad." Asta looked on with widened eyes. "Amazing."

"But that's some hairstyle! Isn't it hard to see with that thing in his face?"

Sekke chose to ignore his remark and directed his attention towards the next captain who was a tall man, with purple eyes and long straight vermillion hair. "That's the captain of the Crimson Lions, Fuegoleon Vermillion." The bronze magic user began in a sublime tone. "Like his name suggests, he is a user of flame creation magic."

"Whoa." Asta couldn't conceal his amazement at seeing the captain of the Crimson Lions. This man had a special presence and charisma to him. Deep down, a small desire to join the crimson lions took root in him.

"But that would have to wait till later" he told himself.

"The captain of the Green Praying Mantises, Jack the Ripper." Sekke continued with his introductions.

"What's a praying Mantis?" The ash blonde teen turned towards his newfound friend.

"You know a Mantis. Like a bug." Sekke's gaze met Asta's. "Apparently, Captain Jack's severing magic can split the earth into two."

"Whoa awesome." Asta failed to keep his excitement in check. All of this was already too much for him to digest. He had always known the world was a vast place but this was unlike anything he had fathomed. The magic knight captains, intimidated him while also made him gape in awe at their sheer presence.

"But I don't want to be a mantis. Bugs are super lame." The bronze magic user failed to notice Asta's feeling or share the same level of excitement as his new accomplice.

Then he shifted his attention back towards the gallery and steered Asta's attention to a woman of blue eyes and braided blonde hair. "The captain of the Blue Rose knights, Charlotte Roselei."

Sekkei's face began to take on a tinge of red. "She's so beautiful."

But her beauty had no effect whatsoever on Asta who just thought Sister lily was way prettier.

"The captain of the Violet Orcas, Guldre Poizot." Asta's newfound friend pointed towards a tall man wearing a mask. His voice was so unenthusiastic and it felt as if he was exerting himself just to say that captain's name.

"That's all." The anti-magic user retorted in a daze.

"I have no interest in seamy guys like him."

"Captain of the Coral peacocks, Dorothy Ansoit." Sekke began again in a rushed tone. It felt as if he wanted to finish up this introduction session quickly to get to a certain someone.

Asta noticed this captain seemed to be walking in her sleep. He opened his mouth to say something but Sekke beat him to it.

"The Captain of the Azure Deer, Rill Boismortier." He shifted his attention to a young man with spiky, aqua coloured hair.

"Isn't he kind of young?" The anti-magic wielder narrowed his eyes.

"I've heard Captain Rill is only nineteen years old." Sekke replied in a cheeky tone.

"Whaaaat!" Asta felt his jaw drop at that statement. "He's only four years older than me."

Suddenly, he halted himself and clenched his jaw when another realization hit him. "The path to becoming Wizard King might be shorter than I thought."

"Wizard King." Sekke couldn't help but chuckle at that. "That's a pretty big dream."

"This lowly peasant brat and his nerve." His inner feelings mused. "Vermins from the boonies shouldn't dare to dream, let alone be present for the examination."

"Ah well….At least I have a sacrificial lamb for myself."

"But for the position of Magic Emperor." Sekke put a stop to his inner soliloquies and turned towards the gallery again, where the entrance of the last magic knights' captain was causing quite an uproar amongst the crowd. "They say that he is the most promising candidate."

"The captain of the strongest Magic Knights' squad, the Golden Dawn. William Vangeance." He stated, referring to a tall graceful looking man, whose face was adorned with an elegant mask.

Asta couldn't help but notice the aura that emanated from that man. It was so calm and comforting. He felt like kneeling before him and offering him full servitude. The mask added to a feeling of mystery about him, which according to the anti-magic wielder was just too damn cool.

There was quite a ruckus created when the captain of the Golden Dawn made his entrance, but Asta was too absorbed with the prospect of what was to come, to pay attention to all that. He was more concentrated on taking all this in. A little fear did creep up inside him regarding the talks that only nobles made it into the Magic knights' squad. However, he assured himself, it was going to be alright. He had trained so hard for this and nothing was going to hold him back.

As he kept staring at William Vangeance, his eyes drifted towards the Magic Knight who had accompanied him and was standing just behind the captain. She had a eerie but commanding presence about her which he couldn't help but notice.

"Who is that scary looking girl?" He inquired to Sekke, pointing towards a young blue haired woman of his age who wore a blue outfit which matched the colour of her hair.

"Oh her?!" Sekke's tone took on a respectful intonation. "That is Juvia Lockster. The heir to one of the most powerful noble families in the kingdom."

"But she looks only about my age and is already a Magic Knight?" The anti-magic user shifted his gaze again to Juvia who stood there with a hostile visage.

"Of course, she is. Miss Juvia is renowned as a prodigy in water magic and one of the youngest persons to become a magic knight." Sekke paused to gasp in between. "She is as beautiful as she is powerful."

He then hushed down his tone and whispered into Asta's ears. "She is also said to be extremely ruthless and arrogant. So, she's the last person you want to tick off."

"Aye." Asta felt a slight chill at that remark.

"Don't get on her bad side ever." He repeated to himself in a low tone.

"Then you already met the captain of the Black Bulls Yami Sukehiro." Sekke remarked in a mocking tone. He looked at Asta from the corner of his eye to see what the latter's reaction would be.

"Ah Yes. I definitely don't want to get on his squad."

"That aside." Asta abruptly halted with remembering his encounter with Yami and turned to Sekke on his left, taking him aback a bit due to the sudden change in mood. "Who is that blonde haired magic knight with him?"

"Oh! Him? That's the Vice-Captain of the Black Bulls, Laxus Dreyar." Anyone could sense the tinge of envy in the bronze magic user's voice. "Rumour is that he uses a rare form of lost magic and is one of the strongest vice-captains."

Sekke combed back the strands of hair that fall on his face, his countenance voicing out the displeasure he tried to hide. "Truth of the matter is, he is just a lowly peasant who I think cheated his way to the top. No way can a peasant be that strong. I think he is just a show off with no talent. You could just…"

"Hey." Asta nudged at Sekke forcing him to put a halt on his rantings.

"I think he is looking at you." He pointed towards Laxus who was staring at the bronze magic user with infuriating eyes.

Sekke gulped really hard as he started sweating bullets. Desperately, he tried to look away, his eyes galloping across all directions.

Finally, Laxus broke off his death stare when Finral started some small talk with him. This inturn brought Sekke's heart beat to normal. Poor guy was not aware of a Dragon Slayer's incredible hearing.

The bronze magic user faked a smile to pretend he remained unaffected. "I thought I died there."

From the corner of his eye, he noticed the vice captain of the black bulls eyeing him with curiosity, Asta pondered on it for a while but then found the courage to meet his eyes. Laxus gave him a gentle smile. The lightning dragon slayer was impressed with the determination of this examinee who had no trace of mana in him. But whether he would pass or not was a question for later.

"He seemed to cheer me on." Asta felt his nervousness dissipate to some extent.

X-X

"What's the matter Laxus?" Finral inquired to the lightning Dragon Slayer who was scrutinizing all the contestants with a critical eye. For a brief moment, his gaze was concentrated on Sekke to hand him down the death stare. After that, he resumed doing what he was doing the whole time since he had come up onto the gallery.

The spatial mage knew it took a lot to impress Laxus and was actually a bit glad inwardly to see there was someone who caught his attention. "See anyone interesting?"

Laxus did not give him an immediate answer. Rather, he continued with his analysis for a little while more.

"I sense an incredible mage among them." The blonde-haired mage finally began, turning towards Finral.

"Someone good enough to pique your interest, huh?" The spatial magic user returned with a light smile while he combed back the strands of hair that fell on his face. "Knowing you, it takes a lot to impress."

The lightning dragon slayer was never the talkative type and Finral could never pass up on the opportunity to start a conversation with him. Him and Laxus were good friends, or that is what he liked to believe and he really wanted to know more about his squad mate.

"So!? Who is it?" He shifted his attention onto the candidates on the ground level. Finral's visage did justice to the curiosity that had formed within him.

"See that kid with the strange dress and the weird hat." The Dragon Slayer pointed towards Rufus Lore who was standing in a corner, away from the entire ruckus. "His mana reserves are incredible."

"Maybe it has something to do with the nature of his magic." Laxus narrowed his eyes for a bit at Finral's reply.

"Mana reserves mean nothing unless you can use it efficiently." The spatial mage, made no effort to pause. "If it's limited to support magic, it won't help much in battle and if it's offensive magic, the question is whether he can wield it well enough to…"

Laxus smirked. It felt to him as if Finral was trying hard to start a conversation. He did not mind that in particular since he liked the spatial mage, who was the only other normal member of their squad.

"Anyway." He directed towards his captain, realizing he had been listening keenly to this interaction. "Keep an eye on him. He seems very promising."

"There also seems to be another interesting fellow among them…" The dragon slayer began only to mince his words. His indecisiveness showed on his face, which he quickly hid with a light cough, before readjusting his cape.

"But I'm not very sure about him." Asta was certainly interesting but he knew very little about him to bring him up.

Yami nodded his head to show he understood but chose not to add anything to it. In truth, he too had his attention focused on the tall, blonde-haired mage since he came here. But unlike Laxus, it was not his magical power that caught the Black Bulls' Captain's attention. It was something else. Whether his suspicion would prove to be true or not? He felt would be revealed as the ceremony progressed further. Yet, he felt it was not his place to pry, given that incident did not involve him. So, he kept these lingering doubts within himself.

For a brief moment, he shifted his gaze towards the captains of the Silver Eagles and the Crimson Lions to see if they had noticed him. Nozel Silva's expression remained the same as it always did, haughty with a royal grandeur about it. While Fuegoleone showed a bit of excitement which he was trying hard to conceal. Judging from their countenance, Yami guessed otherwise.

"It seems they haven't noticed it yet."

"By the way Laxus" Finral began with another topic, grabbing Laxus' attention towards him. "Natsu and Gray have broken the country's record for most black stars in a month."

The lightning dragon slayer rubbed his temples in an attempt to quell his emotions "They just broke their own record from last month."

"What a pain in the ass." Yami's demeanour took a complete 180. He went back from his serious mood to his normal nonchalant mood. He never cared about the black stars but he did worry about Natsu and Gray's futures. The captain let out a deep yawn to show his displeasure. "Can't we get this over with?"

X-X

"Candidates." The captain of the Golden Dawn, William Vangeance stood up from his seat addressed the hopefuls, from atop the gallery.

"Sorry to keep you waiting this long." He cast a gentle smile which was returned by many who were present. "I am in charge of conducting this exam."

With that, he took out his grimoire and selected a specific page from it. "Magic Tree descend."

Suddenly, the entire venue began shaking and the sky atop them took a dark grey hue, black clouds forming above. Much to the awe of the examinees, a giant tree root sprouted from amongst the clouds and descended towards each of the examinees. The roots transformed into brooms and these brooms were gently placed on each of the candidate's hands.

William Vangeance then slowly closed his grimoire. A part of him still remained confuddled, unable to grasp who was in control of his body at that moment. Still, he did not let it show. To everyone around him, he was the picture-perfect definition of charisma, confidence and strength. And he preferred it to remain that way.

"Now we will begin the Magic Knights' entrance exam." The captain of the strongest magic knights squad waved his hand signaling the commencement of the ceremony.

Asta's heart began to beat faster as he found himself shaking slightly. This was it. This was the stage where he had to showcase the incredible amounts of hard work, he put into to realize his dream. This was a do or die situation for him. Clenching the broom he received ever so tightly, the anti-magic user listened intently to the instructions being laid out.

He had no idea how to get through these tests of magic power that were to be held. How was someone like him going to showcase his prowess? When he lacked any sort of magic power. Still if there was something about Asta which very few had, was his ability to quickly bounce back from an adverse situation and believe in himself. He was not going to back down. Not after all the effort he had put in.

The same applied to Yuno. He too was having a multitude of emotions rampant within him. He was deemed a prodigy. A wielder of the rare four-leaved clover grimoire. But unlike his rival, he never let his emotions be exhibited. Masterfully, he kept his excitement and nervousness concealed within himself. To him, achieving his dream of becoming the magic emperor was all that mattered and this moment was the first step he had to take to get there.

"For the first exam, we will have you get on those brooms and fly." William Vangeance's instruction came through. "Mages who can control their magic powers can do it with ease. Those who are unable to do so, do not even deserve to be here."

"I am getting into a magic knights' squad, no matter what." Asta kept repeating in his head, in an effort to boost his confidence. It helped him look past his own helplessness which stemmed from his understanding that he could never fly on a broom even if he wished to.

"Okay. Now." Vangeance paused briefly to look around the room. "You may begin."

The captain of the Golden Dawn had officially begun the examination. A slight ruckus ensued as each candidate rushed to do what was told. Some quickly took perfect control of the broom while others faced difficulty, unable to properly control the flow of their mana.

For Asta, his worst fear had materialized. His effort to at least make the broom float bore no fruit at all.

"That's so amazing." His attention was quickly turned towards the other examinees' remarks upon witnessing Yuno's perfect control of his magic. Even the nobles were unable to match up to his skill.

The anti-magic user looked on at his rival, proud at what he had accomplished. Still, he couldn't deny his own disappointment at his failure. However, Asta was not one to fall at such a hurdle. He continued with his dire efforts to produce some sort of result. The mages around him had already begun showering him with all sorts of insults. But that did nothing to deter his enthusiasm or his resolve. It wasn't anew thing for the ash-blonde teen. He had been subjected to even bigger ones and all this paled in comparison. Tightening the grip on the broom, he prepared to exert more strength in his next effort.

"Loosen up a bit, just like this." Sekke stated towards Asta as he gently began to float on his broom. The former's voice had no trace of concern at the latter's failure. Asta failed to notice that and still continued to regard the other as a good friend.

"That's awesome." The anti-magic user displayed his amazement at the bronze magic user's achievement.

"Just loosen up alright." He added as he continued to float with ease.

"You are a decent guy, aren't you?" Asta user remarked unknowing of Sekke's true intentions. But his hopes went a bit up after that and he tried once again to lift himself off the ground.

"I still can't float." He shouted out in disappointment and slight disbelief.

Asta couldn't help but exasperate in defeat, and frustration at his shortcoming. "Damn it!"

"Take a look at that guy." A sudden fuss broke out among the crowd, forcing the assiduity of the ones present nearby towards the source. "That is so amazing.'

"Just who the hell is he?"

Asta too noticed the fuss and looked at the direction of its origin. There he saw, the same mage he had encountered in the city. It was Rufus Lore, who with his perfect control over his magic was performing even better than Yuno. Everyone around him looked on in disbelief at the spectacle.

"Whoa! He's so awesome." The anti-magic user felt his eye widen. "He must really be royalty."

"How stupid of me to think he was just a peasant like me?" He brought his attention back to the task in his hand. A slight disappointment took root. He felt Rufus wanted nothing to do with him because he was indeed nobility and his belief that he had made a friend was simply wishful thinking.

"Guess I'll try again till I succeed."

X-X

Rufus had noticed how Asta struggled. As long as you had even a slight amount of mana in you, the brooms would budge at the least. Afterall, these special brooms were constructed to respond to the tiniest traces of mana. He brought the object to the ground and took it in his right hand. A slight tear in the fabric near his shoulder showed itself as he stretched his arm, proving Asta's analysis of Rufus' clothing to be true. The threads at the edge of his sleeves were also slowly getting undone.

Deep down he wanted to lend a hand to Asta or give him some sort of advice. He understood the pain and the struggle to prove oneself more than anyone. A sense of sympathy overtook him as he was reminded of his own past, seeing Asta trying his best in spite of the adversity.

"I am sorry," Rufus lowered his hat to hide his face. Around him, people mocked the dismal state of his clothing in hushed tones. The wizard paid no heed to that. His mother and siblings had squeezed out every Yul they could, so that he could dress up like the hero from his favorite stories. It made Rufus feel confident and brave, something he would lack if he had arrived in regular clothing.

He traced a few steps backwards and positioned the broom in front of him, ready to take flight once more. This time, he exhibited better control than before and let out more mana, in an attempt to shut the people around him. It worked wonders and he succeeded in silencing the peanut gallery. Rufus had his own objectives and his own dreams. There was nothing that could stop him from fulfilling them.

X-X

Rufus's brilliant display of control without doubt caught the attention of all the nine magic knights' captains. It especially piqued the interest of Nozel Silva and Fuegoleon Vermillion. As the captain of the crimson lions eyes at him with disbelief and awe, the captain of the eagles had only disgust in his eyes. He tried fruitlessly to barricade this feeling from the gaze of others, but the sudden change in his visage was noticeable to all his fellow squad captains present.

"Hmph." The captain of the Silver Eagles scoffed to himself. "Is he, who I think he is?

He gripped the handle of the chair tightly, struggling to pacify his emotions. A tiny bit of mana surfaced from him, which earned him the ire of William Vangeance, who motioned at him to calm down. It had little effect on his fury but aided in bringing his mana under restraint. There was no way he could feel anything else but rage and disgust towards the son of the man, who was responsible for his mother's demise

"Pathetic." The silver haired captain noticed something of more relevance that seized his full attention. His eyes averted from the form of Rufus and onto a silver haired girl of fifteen years old who stood at a corner with the broom clutched in her hands.

"If you would excuse me for a moment?" He addressed his fellow captains and got up from his seat. His fists still remained clenched, but he remained unaware of that action.

X-X

The rest of the tests involved; the magical ability test, the Magical Ability control exam, Creation Magic test and the Developmental magic test. To Asta, who possessed not even an iota of magic power, all of it was a disaster. Still, he never backed down. He gave everything his all. Sekke stood right beside Asta through all this. His real intention, was just to make himself look better. The anti-magic wielder though, continued to remain oblivious to this, mistaking it as a form of support.

Asta's lack of talent was constantly on the receiving end of everyone's derisions. Even the ones with only little magic power with themselves made no effort to hold back. But his enthusiasm did not quell a bit. If anything, he screamed and made more noise than anyone there.

Throughout the duration of these tests, each captain continued scrutinizing the participants. Three especially stood out for them. One stood out for the right reasons, the second was a mixed case and the third, for all the wrong reasons. One thing which was evident from the mood in the gallery was that this year's hopefuls as a whole, surpassed the ones from previous years. There seemed to be quite the number of talented individuals among them.

After the conclusion of all these tests, William Vangeance, the chief examiner got up from his seat. A small smile of satisfaction was plastered on his lips displaying how impressed he was with the performance of this fresh batch.

"Yuno and Rufus." William, or rather the other denizen of that body, mused to himself. "I want them in my squad."

"Alright." He began to address the hopefuls who began to gather below where he stood. "The next exam will be the last one."

Slowly pausing to clear his head as a slight tinge of pain flashed through him, he continued with the instructions. "You will engage in actual combat."

His words were met with a poor response from the candidates. Most of them still failed to realize the full extent of what he had implied. Were they supposed to fight each other or was there another enemy they had to face?

Fuegoleon was not at all impressed by the reaction that ensued from the candidates. They all appeared to be dazed at the sudden proclamation. He came to the conclusion that the major reason for that, was how Vangeance had declared the proposition. The calm and collected tone he used, had a negative impact on the crowd below.

"You will be engaging in battles." He immediately shot up from where he was seated, startling the examinees and also gaining their complete attention.

"You will pair off and fight with your partners." The sudden explosion of noises from below immediately came to a halt when the flame magic user resumed his speech. "You may use your grimoire to attack."

This outburst put the life back into the exam. The examinees finally grasped what they had to do in this situation. It also succeeded in reminding the hopefuls the severity of the ceremony they had to undertake. Going into combat with the wrong person could mean the end of their dreams.

Asta literally wanted to bang his head against the wall. "Damn it! All I was doing so far was yelling. I need to find a strong opponent to stand out."

Inwardly, the anti-magic user felt devastated. It was highly unlikely anyone would want to fight someone like him, who was nothing if not an utter failure at all the tests. Even if someone did decide to fight him, they too would be among the bottom pile hoping to earn some brownie points against the weakest fighter.

"Buh-ha." A coarse burst of laughter grabbed Asta's attention.

"Fight me Asta." Just when all hope seemed to be lost, Sekke laid a hand on his shoulder from behind. He turned around and looked at him with eyes brimming with gratitude. To Asta, it was not a simple gesture, it was hope materialized.

He fell to his knees and thanked him with all he had. "Sekke, you are willing to fight a loser like me?"

"Of course." Sekke returned with a regal tone, concealing his true intentions behind the pretense of a friendly smile. "You are a great guy."

This was finally the moment. The final stroke of his elaborate plan. Sekke had hidden his disgust for the peasant with great difficulty and played the part of a friend well. Compared to this loser, he had stood out well. Now all that was left, was to finish him off in combat and earn the laurels.

Asta's joy knew no bounds. He was so happy he could have cried. Without a moment's hesitation, he moved towards the combat area along with his new partner.

"I will just wait and see what happens." Rufus Lore thought as he adjusted his hat, watching the matchup with great interest. His plan was to go up against Asta if no one was willing to. It was not to show off his strength. Rather he wanted to make an effort to boost Asta's own image, by going really easy on him. Since he himself had caught a lot of attention here, if he fought Asta and made it look like the latter was able to give him a fight, it might help the anti-magic user get into a squad.

One the other hand, he guessed correctly what Sekke's true intentions were. If it turned sour, he was going to teach the bronze mage a tough lesson. But for the moment, he decided to simply observe. Rufus wanted to know whether Asta had an ace up his sleeve or whether he was just a nobody who just had an abundance of self-belief in his arsenal.

"Hey you." Rufus's train of thoughts was broken when another candidate's voice came from behind him. He turned to see a lean, grey haired mage of his age, move towards the arena near to where he stood. The quality of the clothes he wore and the cocky grin that decorated his face, gave away to his noble lineage.

"How about you fight me?" The challenger opened his grimoire and assumed a battle stance. "I, Marcus Holstein of the Holstein family will show you what the magic power of a noble is like."

Rufus was highly vexed by that approach and his attitude. Still, he kept his emotions in check. He had come here for only one thing and that was to fulfil his dream. He had no interest in engaging in petty squabbles. And above all, after everything he had to go through in his life, this felt like nothing.

"Why not?" He returned with a mild smile. His tone laced with sarcasm. "I look forward to your lesson, Mr. Noble from some Noble family."

X-X

Any joy, Asta had felt earlier was in tatters now. Sekke had revealed his true colours. The anti-magic user was devastated. He was not good at judging people and had trusted him blindly under the assumption he was a really nice guy.

"Let's do this Asta." Sekke barked at him. "Bronze creation magic: Sekke magnum cannonball."

"Don't hold back now peasant."

"Sure thing." The sparks in Asta's heart burst into wild flames. He would have surely forgiven Sekke for turning his back on him like that. Just the fact that the bronze magic user was ready to give him company, eventhough he was pretending, was more than enough reason for him. However, what he could never forgive was his views on a magic knight. To Asta, being a magic knight was everything. It was the first step in his path to become the magic emperor. To prove everyone who had doubted him, wrong.

Pulling out his anti-magic sword out from his grimoire, the ash blonde went in for the strike. His rage amplified his speed and the emotions turned into strength. With just one slash from his blade, he brought the matchup to a close. It pierced right through Sekke's defenses and knocked the daylights out of him. The bronze magic user didn't even have the time to contemplate what had hit him. It was no mystery at how badly he underestimated his opponent and now he had paid the price for his deeds.

Standing tall like a victorious warrior, Asta pulled back his sword. "I am not joining the magic knights' so that I can avoid working hard and have a good time." He bellowed out for everyone gathered to hear.

Asta rested his large sword on his shoulders and screamed on top of his lungs. "I am becoming a magic knight to work my butt off and become the magic emperor."

Yuno and Rufus who were keenly observing the ash blonde mage were highly impressed by the display. It was not limited to them only. Everyone nearby, who had ridiculed him as a failure felt the same. They began to have second thoughts about their opinion on him. One thing was evident, none of them had any intention of facing him in battle now. However, his dream of becoming the Magic Emperor seemed absurd to them, which gave way to more ridicules.

"All of you shut up!" Asta's limit had been breached. "I told you, I am going to be the magic emperor."

Still, the insults failed to cease completely. Though, a few stopped with theirs.

"Just get out of here you stupid brat." Someone from the crowd hurled at him.

"Who are you calling a stupid brat?" Asta retorted with all his vigor. He barely had any idea on what came over him. Maybe the dam he had built to hold in his frustrations had finally been breached. The flood of emotions that followed threatened to swallow him up.

"That sword. It seems to emit an aura similar to Gray's magic." The vice-captain of the Black Bulls felt his curiosity rising. "But it feels more sinister."

"It was a pretty amazing display, wasn't it? Laxus." Finral appeared thrilled as he put his arm around the Dragon Slayer who still continued to monitor the situation.

"Umm." Laxus gave a half-hearted reply after a brief while. Seeing how his vice-captain was at the moment, the spatial magic user chose not to engage him any further. Sometimes…no most of the time, he had no idea what went through the head of his vice-captain.

"He is not using magic." Yami steered his head towards the dragon slayer's direction but was met with the same reaction as Finral. He too chose not to engage with his sub-ordinate any further, letting Laxus form his own deductions before initiating a conversation.

"He doesn't have any magic power and yet he wants to become the magic emperor." The Black Bulls captain pondered to himself, recollecting he had not sensed any mana from Asta during their first encounter. "Looks like we've got a strange one on our hands."

"Looks like, he saved me from having to finish off that trash." Rufus contemplated to himself. He used a light bit of mana to stich the tear in his clothing, paying close attention to make sure no one caught upto what he had just done

"I absolutely loath people who look down on others like that."

"Don't chicken out on me now, peasant." A condescending voice came from behind.

Looking over his shoulders, he noticed his partner was raring to go. "Looks like I'm next."

X-X

Finally, Rufus's turn had come. His opponent was Marcus Holstein, a noble from a well know family. From the moment Rufus made his entry, he earned the attention of everyone present including the squad captains. Fuegoleon and Nozel Silva especially eyed the matchup with special interest.

Marcus opened a page from his grimoire. "Mud creation magic: Exploding Mud Bomb."

"Beautiful." Rufus retorted with a mild smile much to the ire of the other. His fingers pushed against his temples as the spell formed gave shape to the caster's mana. "I have completely memorized it."

"Why you arrogant trash." Marcus felt his blood boil. It was by no means, a tame spell. The casting time was less and the intensity of the mana around it, generated a strong current which made the ones surrounding the arena to raise their hands in an attempt to shield their eyes.

"Take this and get lost." He hurled the massive sphere of mud at the blonde wizard, who visage remained unwavering.

Rufus gently closed his eyes and took out his grimoire. Slowly, he let his mana leak out of his being.

"Impossible." The crowd gasped in unison. "Another four leaved clover."

"Who exactly is this guy?"

"His mana reserves are insane."

The blonde mage chose not to wait any further. "Memory Make: The fortress of Camelot." As soon as he invoked the spell, a massive fortress, surrounded by a pure white wall, materialized around him. The opponent's offensive magic paled in comparison to the absurd concentration of mana which enveloped Rufus' defensive spell. The sphere of mud collided against the structure which blocked the entire impact of the attack. Its white walls continued to gleam, protecting its wielder from any damage.

"Impossible." Marcus shot out in disbelief. His eyes went wide and his jaw almost dropped to the floor. "That is my strongest spell. How did he block it like that?"

"Your lesson was indeed insightful my dear opponent." The memory-make wizard put two fingers to his right temple. In the next instant, a fresh page in his grimoire opened up and a new spell began to inscribe upon it.

"How…?" Finral was unable to contain himself. He failed to notice that he was pulling at his treasured hair while observing the matchup. "Did he obtain a new spell….or wait…did he create a new spell….what the hell is that?"

"I have thoroughly memorized it." Rufus gently opened his eyes and waved his hand in front of him. "Memory Make: Wail of the Earth Golem."

As soon as he finished, numerous tiny mud rondures manifested, masking their caster beneath their volume.

"Wait. That is like my magic." His opponent couldn't fathom what he had just witnessed. But before, he could reflect on it any further, the entirety of the tiny mud bombs crashed against him, rendering him immobile and out of contention.

"That was just too easy." The memory make wizard cogitated as he gave a slight bow to the spectators, who were too dazed to react.

Asta was one among the spectators who stood there in awe. Unlike the others around, He had noticed what the others around him did not. When Rufus used his spells, the mana was concentrated just around him. No one nearby felt the impact of the massive surge in magical energy. You could feel the intensity but not even a slight breeze formed as an aftereffect of that spell.

"This level of control…." The anti-magic wielder laid his sword on the ground. A broad smile formed in his face. He was delighted at how good Rufus was and his brilliant show of strength. "He is such an awesome guy…this Rufus."

X-X

"Oh!" Nozel Silva, captain of the Silver Eagles produced an audacious smirk. "That resemblance and that magic. It is just too uncanny."

"You there." He motioned towards one of the proctors of the examination to come near him. The man approached him, slightly agitated by Nozel's tone.

"Who is that? The one in the red attire." He inquired as the proctor neared him, not waiting to let him catch his breath.

"That is…" The examiner hesitated for a while to browse through his data. "He's number 166, Rufus Lore."

"Lore." Nozel felt himself stupefied. He would be lying, if he said he did not know. But somewhere he hoped he was not right. This confirmation of his findings threated to make his anger boil over. It was an extremely violent emotion, he found himself experiencing. The kind which makes you lose reason.

"So that traitor's son has come to become magic knight, has he?" His voice was laced with contempt and disdain. With all the self-restraint he could muster, Nozel kept it limited to his tone and made sure his countenance and his body language concealed the raging emotion in his heart. "A traitor to the kingdom has no business being here."

"Accused but never proven, captain of the silver eagles." Fuegoleon's voice shot through from his left. A bit of restlessness finding its way to the vermillion haired captain.

"It does not matter." Nozel glared back. "He was unable to prove his, so called innocence and was exiled. That is more than enough to validate his treason."

The arm rest was about to break from the force, the noble exerted on it. His body had begun reacting to the massive agitation he felt at the moment.

"Sir Lore chose to exile himself unable to bear the shame. There was nothing to prove those accusations against him." Fuegoleon retorted in kind. His long hair slowly raised itself, signaling the surge of mana. This was a sensitive topic for him and something he would fight for, be it a fellow captain or the magic emperor.

Nozelle seemed unfazed. He had no qualms about a duel, but this was not the time. His sense maturity made him reconsider and he found a way to quell himself. "I see you have a soft corner for the son of your former captain."

"It has nothing to do with that." Fuegoleon abruptly leaned in closer as he too masked his feelings brilliantly behind a fake countenance.

"Both of you please calm down." William Vangeance cut in between the two captains, rising up from his seat. "We are here today only to analyze the candidates and determine whether they are fit to be magic knights' or not."

This more or less helped in easing down the situation. The other squad captains had their own opinions about the matter, but it did not involve them in the same way it did to Nozel and Fuegoleon.

"Nozel." The captain of the Golden Dawn addressed the Captain of the Silver Eagles. That gentle smile remained unwavering "I have to agree with Fuegoleon. The accusations were never proven. Sir Lore chose to exile himself due to the shame."

Seeing how the tension had diffused to an extent, he retook his seat. "There is nothing that can be used to deny his son the chance to participate in the exam."

The silver haired captain's temper did not placate one bit. Rather, he chose not to engage any further in this debate. Vangeance had the final say in this matter and that was not going to change no matter how much he argued. Nozel had his own distrusts and disliked about him. But as a noble, he had to follow the rules and protocols and his personal feelings had no place in them.

"Traitor, captain, Lore." Laxus turned to Finral. "Am I missing something?"

"Of course, you wouldn't know about it, Laxus-kun." The spatial mage came a bit closer to the dragon slayer, whispering to his ear. "It happened long back, before you arrived at the kingdom."

"Sir Richard Lore, former captain of the Crimson Lions and a man who was renowned to possess a heart of gold." Finral began only to pause for a brief moment. During this moment, his visage turned from cheerful to grim. "My knowledge on him is limited to what I've heard."

"Ten years ago, he was accused of treason against the kingdom." The spatial mage continued in a hushed tone, looking around every now and then to make sure the other captains were not listening in to their conversation.

"His title and property were confiscated and he was put on trial. Unable to bear the shame, he exiled himself along with his family. And it seems it was his son who had so piqued your interest." He concluded hastily, pointing towards Rufus. This was a sensitive topic and Finral was not brave enough to elaborate further on it.

"If he was deemed a traitor, why would they let his son participate?" The blonde dragon slayer was puzzled.

"It was as he said." Yami Sukehiro interrupted the exchange, "Accused but never proven."

"Is that so?" Laxus was not entirely satisfied.

His captain sensed that and stared at his subordinate with a solemn face, which was very unlikely of Yami. "There are certain things which happen when you go against royalty for the commoners."

Laxus read between the lines. He understood every hidden meaning behind his captain's words and chose to end the topic at that, while Finral heaved a sigh of relief seeing no one paid attention to them.

"There is no doubt that he is his son." The Darkness magic user resumed in a serious tone, which was something anyone rarely saw in Yami. "That magic and that resemblance."

"For what reason has his son returned?"

Gordon continued to murmur his inferences on the matter, but like every other time, his presence went unnoticed`.

X-X

The aftereffects of the sudden outburst in the gallery were felt below in the arena. It gave way to hushed rumors and restlessness.

"The traitor's son?" A voice laced with contempt pierced Rufus's ears. He looked in the direction from the corner of his eye to spot a brown-haired candidate, approaching him.

"You have some nerve showing your face in the kingdom again." Before the wizard could reply, he saw that his opponent had opened his grimoire, ready to engage in combat.

The blonde-haired wizard turned around, ready to retaliate in kind.

"Oh my!" He spoke in a low tone, slightly surprised at what he saw. Another one was right behind raring to go.

"Two more fights in succession." He forced a smile, which emanated sadness. He wasn't trying to hide it but he really did wish that his past had remained unknown, until at least the exams were over.

Rufus Lore readied his grimoire. He was not going to run away, not after getting so far. A feeling of numbness found its way to his legs. This was unexpected to him. These legs of his began to freeze. The young mage lowered his head, till the long hat covered most of his face.

"No. not now." He cried out inside. "Why would you fail me now?"

His breath turned heavy as he tried to reason with himself. "I would fail regardless of how I perform, won't I?"

There was no way, Rufus contemplated. None of the captains would take the risk and have him in their squad. It was not illegal and he stood there with no blemish in his reports. Yet, there was no escaping his lineage and the crimes his beloved father was accused of.

"I will keep going, nonetheless." He assumed a battle stance, ready to engage his challenger.

"Fire Magic: Flame Arrow." His ash browned opponent, initiated the first move.

"Memory Make: Rock Wall." A giant wall of stone erupted from the ground, barricading Rufus from the onslaught of flame magic.

"This hate." He whispered under his breath. "It is just like old times"

He glanced around to see many faces filled with disgust staring at him. "Finish off the traitor." Their eyes screamed out.

"Son of Richard Lore, the man accused of plotting with the Diamond kingdom to assassinate the king." He bit his lip to contain his anger and sorrow.

"Though it was never proven. It..." He almost choked on his own words, only to quickly regain his composure and open a page from his grimoire.

"I have thoroughly memorized your magic." He returned a mocking smile to his opponent.

"Memory Make: The Leviathan's Dive." A massive whirl of water formed around him and gushed at his opponent. This time though, the excellent control he commanded over his mana was absent. The onlookers felt every ounce of the impact. As it settled down, his opponent lay motionless on the floor.

"How dare you do that?" The voice of the second opponent came forth.

And before Rufus could even collect himself after that battle, his third opponent of the day opened his grimoire.

"Wind Magic: Raging Gust." A large gust of wind was hurled at the creation wizard.

"What the….?" His opponent stood confuddled. He was damn sure his aim was perfect; he had not seen his opponent use any spell either. But the magic only succeeded in passing through an afterimage.

"That was just your memory of me being there." Rufus Lore materialized on his right.

"Memory Make." William Vangeance looked on with keen interest. "An ancient magic passed down the Lore household."

"So his son was strong enough to inherit it, at this tender age."

"I have memorized your magic." The blonde wizard adjusted his hat as a new page opened on his grimoire. The ground was still wet from his earlier encounter and he took care not to lose his footing. Within seconds, a fresh spell began to inscribe in his grimoire

"Memory Make: Blazing Arrow of the Wind Maiden."

The temperature in the surrounding area began to rise. Everyone around could feel this massive surge in heat. In the next instant, a flaming arrow, 4 feet in length, descended from above, catching the wind mage by surprise and knocking him out cold.

That was the end of the battle. Everyone who witnessed the battles stood awe struck at this display of raw power and elegance.

"That should shut them up." Rufus deliberated to himself. Slowly, he placed an arm over his chest to control his breathing. "I am totally exhausted."

"Creation of new spells drains me dry." He gently smiled to himself in a successful attempt to hide his inner turbulence. "I do not believe I can last another fight no matter how small it maybe."

X-X

"Now it makes sense." Laxus rubbed his right cheek as he was lost in thought. He was glad that he decided to accompany his captain to the exams, thanking Finral inwardly for coercing him to go with them.

"His magic allows him to modify an opponent's spell as he wants and create a new spell or combine two of spells to create a new one." That was the longest sentence Laxus uttered all day, unable to mask his excitement. He smirked at the idea of how stupidly powerful this magic was.

"But." His eye shifted over to Rufus who sat on a corner utterly exhausted, though he did not show it. "The toll it takes on your mana is quite drastic."

"He is quite the interesting fellow." Both the captain and the vice-captain of the Black Bulls nodded in unison.

X-X

Asta was heartbroken, nay the better term to describe his feeling was utter helplessness. He had given his all, to the point he felt there was nothing more he had to offer. Deep down he had prepared himself for this outcome but when it finally came to be, his hours of effort bore no fruit in calming his aching heart.

"A magicless peasant like him stood no chance." Voices broke through the silence in Asta's mind. It was all over, no it wasn't. He was going to try again the next year and if he did not succeed, the year after that.

"Captain." Laxus couldn't help but address his captain in that moment. He had taken a strong liking to Asta at this point. His determination was admirable and he reminder the dragon slayer of Natsu in so many ways.

"Well that's no surprise." Yami got off his seat, paying no heed to his vice-captain, Finral and Gordon who questioned this sudden action from his part.

"No matter how powerful your combat skills are, if the source of power remains unknown, no one would want to do anything with it."

In an instant, Yami let his overwhelming magic power flow out. "In the end, the only thing desired from a magic knight is there magic power."

He leaped down, landing right in front of Asta. Looking down on the terrified youngster, Yami enquired. "Why would anyone want someone like you, who possesses no mana in you?"

"You wish to be the magic emperor, don't you?" The sheer intensity of the captain's magic terrified the candidates around him. "Which means you are going to surpass the nine magic knights captains here?"

The captain of the black bulls, took out the cigarette he was smoking. "Now that I am standing in front of you, do you still have the nerve to say the same thing?"

That question send a shock right through Asta's heart. He contemplated on that for a brief while. Yami was insanely strong, the other cpatains would surely be as strong or even stronger than him. Did he really believe in his dreams now? Would he, who could not make a broom fly, be able to make it?

"Of course I can." Asta bellowed much to the surprise of everyone present.

"Even if I don't make it today, no matter how many times I fail…I will still one day become the magic emperor."

Yami Sukehiro was taken aback. The conviction he saw in those eyes was enough to help him make his final decision. His three subordinates who stood at the gallery shared the same feeling.

"You are funny kid." He burst into a fit. "Come join my squad."

The youngster still remained dazed at the happenings. He was yet to fathom the full intensity of what he was going through.

"Declining is not an option by the way." Yami cut in with the expression of a serial killer, sending shivers down Asta's spine, breaking him off his trance

"I will make life so miserable for you in the Black bulls that you will be ripped to shreds." Though the words sounded harsh, the anti-magic wielder did not flinch. Rather, what he saw in the captain's eyes was genuinity, a genuine belief in Asta and his dreams. "So be prepared for that."

Yami paused for a bit to take a puff off him cigarette. "And then someday, become the magic emperor."

Asta simply stared at the towering figure of the man before him. All those insults, beatings and failures he had been through. The memories flashed through his mind. He was about to tear up but held back his emotions. This was not the time for sentiments, he knew that.

"Yes sir!" He clenched his fists and replied, his voice unable to hide the excitement within.

"Alright kid." Yami proceeded to return to his seat. "Scram and let the next guy walk in."

"Yes sir!" Asta retorted, but still stayed rooted to his spot.

"I said SCRAM"

"YES SIR!"

Rufus let out a light chuckle. "Good for you, Asta from Hage village."

"Next up." The announcer's voice was heard. "Number 166, Rufus Lore."

"Guess it's my time to face the barrel now." The creation wizard tried his hand at a joke, as he stepped forward to the designated spot. He chose not to respond and stayed there staring at the nine captains who had their eyes fixated on him.

"All those who are interested, please raise your hands." The same voice concluded.

Three hands were raised at that moment much to Rufus' surprise. Did they genuinely want him or was there a hidden agenda behind it? He did not know. But whatever the reasons were, this was his chance and he had to take it.

Yami Sukehiro, Fuegoleon Vermillion and William Vangeance looked on anticipating which squad he would choose.

"I would like to join The Crimson Lions please." Rufus allayed all questions about his choice. Of course, he would choose them. This was his father's squad and he had to prove himself here first and foremost. The first step he needed to take towards his dream of becoming the magic emperor.

William Vangeance was a bit disappointed. He knew the chances of him joining the Crimson Lions were all but a hundred percent. But he still wanted that talented mage in his squad.

"Ah well." Yami Sukehiro exasperated in defeat. "I had to try."

This earned him a chuckle from Laxus and Finral while Gordon murmured about wanting to have a hat similar to what Rufus wore.

Fuegoleon smiled at the new member who responded in kind. It was not about sympathy towards his former captain's son. Rather he just wanted to lead the young and talented mage down the right path, mold him into a magic knight his father would be proud of.

"Thank God I wasn't late." The captain of the crimson lions squad felt his attention broken by a short burst of laughter which accompanied the obvious lie that followed. He turned back, knowing who it was, resisting the urge to choke him right there.

" Now you have really done it Sting!"

"Oh." The white dragon slayer continued with his pretense of everything being alright. "is that our new member."

Without waiting for a reply, Sting leaned over the wall and shouted out to Rufus. "Welcome to our squad, kiddo."

"Kiddo!?" The creation wizard twitched but kept his voice hushed. "We are the same age."

Sting wasn't really looking for a reply nor did he get a chance to listen in, as his captain's strong arm threw him backwards. He crashed against the wall but was unhurt.

"Excuse me for the interruption." Fuegoleon apologized to the others present in the gallery, who with the exception of a laughing Yami and a calm Vangeance, appeared to be a ticked off. The captain of the lions was chuckling inwardly though. His subordinate was not one to follow protocols but he liked his presence. Sting had this presence and could lighten up his mood. Yet he wished he would stop talking when not required.

"Now, the last candidate." The familiar voice of the announcer rang out. "Number 513, Yukino Agria. Please step forward."

A slender young girl, stepped forward. The cloak she wore over her dress appeared plain and there was nothing in particular that stood out about her during the examination. She did not excel in anything but she wasn't horrible either. Yukino felt confident she would at least make it to a lower ranking squad.

Sting brushed the dust off him clothes and stood near his captain. The light blue haired candidate caught his attention. He felt a tinge of sympathy towards her shy demeanor. He kept staring at her until their eyes met. The dragon slayer felt a tinge of red creep into his face and turned away.

"Cute." He whistled softly.

No hands were raised and Yukino was about to break down in tears. She knew it was shameful to cry in the open like this but the floodgates in her eyes were about to implode.

The white dragon slayer hated this. He did not like seeing people have their dreams crushed. This was the reason he tried to stay away from all this ruckus. His captain was adamant he accompany him and that was the only reason he had come here. Maybe it was this aversion to these sights which made him forget about the appointment in the first place. There were rumors that Fuegoleon saw Sting as his successor which seemed absurd to the dragon slayer at first, but these days, he had started to believe there was some truth to that, since his captain took him to every meeting he attended and tell him on how to manage a squad. He wasn't interested in this and had no idea why his captain would even imagine an irresponsible guy like him could make a magic knight squad captain.

"Number 513, no offers." The announcement made Sting glance at his captain who sat there with a serious expression.

Sting knew he would regret this. "We will accept her."

The whole of the gathering, captains and knights included stared towards the source of that voice. Asta covered his mouth in disbelief, Yuno felt embarrassed for reasons he did not know, Rufus muffled his laughter knowing he had interesting squadmates to meet, Yami on the other hand made no effort to hold his laughter and Laxus wondered if all Dragon slayers except him had a few lose screws.

"Only the captain can decide that." The examiner announced putting an end to the charade, much to Sting's disappointment.

As it appeared things were all wound up, the captain of the crimson lions, Fuegoleon raised his hand. "It is as he said, I shall accept her into my squad."

A gape was heard throughout the venue. Yukino wept happy tears and looked at her now, captain and squadmate with gratitude. Now she was a magic knight and could provide for her family and protect the people she love.

"Captain…" The dragon slayer couldn't believe his ears. "But why?"

"You deemed her worthy of being in our squad, did you not?" Fuegoleon turned his head slightly to the left and smiled at his subordinate. "As your captain, I believe in your choice."

Sting was taken aback. He stared at his captain in admiration and then turned towards the teary eyed new squadmate of hers. Though he wondered why he even decided to vouch for her at that moment. There was just something which clicked in him and he couldn't help but do that.

"That concludes this year's examination." The final announcement was heard.

Disappointed voices drowned out the excited ones as the many who did not make it, slowly exited the venue. There were some words of encouragement being passed around but they barely had any effect on the overall atmosphere.

X-X

"How are Natsu-san and Gray-san faring?"

Laxus wanted to leave but Sting wouldn't let him. God! He disliked the talkative types!

"They are doing fine as always." The lightning dragon slayer shook his head. "Causing collateral damage, earning black stars, tarnishing the squad's name and continuing to squabble like monkeys…everything has been the same."

Sting kept on laughing through this. He looked up to Natsu and these stories about the fire dragon slayer was always something he looked forward to.

"I better head back to the captain, Laxus-san." He said, stil trying to control his giggles.

His fellow dragon slayer on the other hand was waiting for an opportunity to leave and without a moment's hesitation, Laxus waved him goodbye and walked away. He liked Sting but today was tiring for him as a whole. Two continuous missions early morning and then the entrance examination. Worst part he felt, which he was sharing with Sting earlier, were these sad faces who had their dreams crushed every year. You couldn't control where you are born and no amount of training could help you reduce that gap in hierarchy. Laxus found the entire concept to be unfair.

The crimson lion's magic knight, waved back and proceeded to where his captain was waiting for him. "It is all in the past now. I have no intention of musing over it."

Sting's sharp ears picked up the conversation his captain was having with the new recruit. He halted his stride and moved to the side, away from the eyes of the two people engaged in the conversation. He did not want to interrupt them and his curiosity wouldn't let him leave either.

"My mother is still dealing with her illness and my two siblings are doing well in school." Rufus smirked as he answered his new captain's questions. He had taken off his hat, exposing his long blonde hair which was combed back neatly. He had no reason to tell anyone anything about his family. His personal matters where his own. It didn't matter whether it was the captain or the king.

Fuegoleon began to ask him another question, but decided otherwise. This was clearly making his new recruit unhappy and he decided to keep these queries for a later date when he had earned his trust. Even when the whole kingdom had turned against Richard, he was amongst the few who never doubted the former captain. But that served no purpose here. His former captain's son must have gone through so much and these justifications of his was not what he needed here.

"Let's head back to the squad base." The captain motioned to his new recruit who followed him as he made his way to where the other newbies stood, including Yukino who just waited silently in a corner.

"Come out of there Sting, we are leaving." He shot a tiny of ball of fire at the dragon slayer's direction while passing by. "It is not good to eavesdrop you brat."

The eavesdropper chose to hang his head in shame and quietly follow his captain. "I thought he wouldn't notice."

"Ringing bells, trumpets heralding the arrival of young warriors. The castle door shall open and celebrations echo across the lands."

Sting heard Rufus sing to himself and rubbed his eyes to stop the incoming headache. "We got another wannabe poet in the squad now. Just what I needed!"

X-X

The first thing Laxus saw as he found his captain, was him hurling the new recruit through one of Finral's portals. He shook his head in defeat and walked towards him with folded arms.

"What did he do now?" The lightning dragon slayer enquired with Finral, who was barely holding the portal in place. The spatial mage's facial expression made Laxus chuckle.

"Apparently he took too long to poop." A tired Finral somehow mustered up enough for a reply.

Laxus chuckled yet again. They had two new members now. A noisy one with strange powers and a haughty one whose siblings he disliked with a passion. Things were going to be both chaotic and interesting.

"Oh wait!" He ceased his train of thoughts "Things were always chaotic and interesting."

"Yo, Laxu-kun." Yami called out to his subordinate in a comical tone, only to quickly revert back to his gruff voice after catching his attention. "Let's get back already, I need to take a dump."

The vice-captain nodded in agreement and followed his captain through the portal, closely followed by Finral, as the portal closed behind them.

X-X

That's all for this time. I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it. Sorry to everyone for the massive delay. I had too many stuffs going on in my life and the fanfic was the last thing I had on my agenda. Now that things are looking better and my head is in a better place, I hope to post updates regularly.

Also a special thanks to everyone who had supported me through this.

I wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Adios and until next time folks!