A/N: Hey guys, sorry about the mini hiatus I took last month. y usual schedule is to release once or twice a month, but that didn't happen in March, for a couple of reasons. First one is, I just got a bit of writer's block, mostly due to something of a burnout. This story is one that I've worked on for years now, and I'd like to think that I put out content pretty consistently for it, but it starts catching up with you after a bit (nearly three years, in this case). There were also some people just being nasty in the comments and PM's, so that was kind of a bummer, but it's all good now. I just needed a bit of a break to recharge, and now I should be good to keep up with the original schedule.
The last reason I took a break was because I decided to change the pacing of the war arc a bit. You'll probably get what I mean by the time you're done with this chapter, but it took a little while to redo some things in my head, and I wanted to do them right for you guys. I hope it makes for a more enjoyable experience than what I had originally planned, but only time will tell.
With all that being said, please enjoy this chapter so we can get the war properly started!
P.S. I hope everyone has a good Easter, whether you celebrate it or not!
Alvarez War Arc: Chapter 1
Magnolia was dark in the countryside, empty and quiet, save for a few lights and echoing footsteps. Alone among the citizens, the members of Fairy Tail remained in their hometown, having charged the wizards associated with other guilds with seeing to the safety of the innocents so that they could muster all of their strength to counter the coming storm.
In the guild hall stood Mavis, Mirajane, Makarov, Gorun, and a handful of others who would be in charge of maintaining communications among their comrades and coordinating their efforts. "Nothing yet?" the first guild master asked their saiyan friend, who immediately shook his head in the negative.
"Genora isn't sensing anything either, which is honestly more worrying," he told them with a slight frown. "We should be able to sense them the moment that they leave their territory, and from what we know, they should have left days ago. I'd wonder if they were hiding their power levels, but there's no way that they could train all the standard men-at-arms to do that in the time that they've had."
"Do you think that the Time Breakers have something to do with it?" Makarov wondered aloud.
"If that is the case, I don't think that there's much we can do to counter whatever means that they're using to remain stealthy," Mavis sighed. "It sounds terrible, but we just have to sit and wait for the inevitable conflict to arrive on our doorstep."
"Gorun, you should go and be with your family," Mirajane said as she turned to the young man. "We have things well in hand here, and Azura can contact us the second that she detects anything. You've done enough for now."
"I should be ready at a second's notice," he started to say, but Mirajane was having none of it.
"I'm ordering you to go home, as your guild master," she informed him. "I know Kinana and Rachel are nervous about what's coming, and I'm sure your team could do with a little show of support from their leader. As soon as something comes up, you'll be the first to know, I promise."
"Go on, boy," Makarov urged him. "This is the time to be with your loved ones, now more than ever."
He hesitated once more, but he knew that they were right- there wasn't anything that he could do here, and his family had every right to be afraid of the impending conflict. "All right," he conceded as he placed his fingers to his forehead. "I'll have the saiyans ready to mobilize at the drop of a hat. Lucy and Levy- the ones from the future- also have a contingency in mind that I think they're going to employ very soon, provided all goes according to plan."
"We know we can count on you," Mavis said with a gentle smile. "See you soon, Son Gorun."
Lucy, Momon, and Éclair were trying to keep their unease at bay by playing a game of cards with Natsu and Happy around their coffee table when they were surprised by a knock at the door. "Who could that be, at this hour?" the former priestess asked as her roommate moved to answer it.
"I'm not pickin' up on a smell that'll tell me, so be careful," Natsu warned as he got to his feet and set one of his hands on fire.
Lucy nodded and peered through the peephole before she let out a sigh and visibly relaxed. "It's okay, guys," she said as she opened the door and admitted a familiar figure. "It's just me."
"Oh, that explains why Natsu couldn't pick up on a new smell," Happy said as Future Lucy came in with a small wave by way of greeting. "I just thought that his schnoz might be broken after he smelled all those weird mushrooms last month."
"I told you, my nose is fine!"
"Glad to see you're all doing well," Future Lucy giggled as she shut the door behind her. To her other self, she added, "Get any writing done?"
"It's been a surprisingly productive week," the other blond grinned nervously. "I guess writer's block kind of becomes irrelevant when it might be your last days alive, right?"
"Don't say that," Natsu growled as he snuffed out his fire by slamming his fist into his other palm. "We're all walking away from this in one piece. Gorun and I'll see to that."
"But you can't fight a war all on your own," Future Lucy told him with a grim look in her eyes. She hesitated for a second before she asked, "Hey, Happy, Éclair, Momon? Would you mind giving the two of us and Natsu some privacy for a minute?"
"Of course," Éclair nodded as she stood up to go. "I'll go make sure that my traps are still set in the street outside. Come, Momon."
"Aye, ma'am!" the little bird chirped as he moved to sit on her shoulder.
"I'm stayin' right here!" Happy argued. "Anything that you can say to Natsu, you can say to me, too!"
"Hey, little buddy?" Natsu said, surprising everyone in the room as he kept his gaze levelled on Future Lucy. "Go on with Éclair for me, will ya? If Lucy's askin' us for a favor, we owe it to her a hundred times over."
"Well… Okay, fine," the blue exceed muttered as he sprouted his wings. "But I wanna know what you guys talked about later!"
"Don't worry, it won't be a secret for long," Future Lucy assured him. Once the others were gone and the door had been shut behind them, she turned to her friends and said, "It goes without saying, but we're going to need everything we've got to win what's about to come. To that end, Levy and I came up with a plan to help maximize our chances of surviving and protecting the people we love. The catch is, it'll only work if our present-day selves agree to it."
"What are you talking about?" Lucy asked her, only to be surprised when the other girl held out her hand, which contained a pair of blue potara earrings.
"Azura will be by to pick these up soon," her future self told them. "With these, we can multiply our powers exponentially."
"But shouldn't we save these for our stronger members, to make it more effective?" Lucy questioned. "Raykai and Drakai are both way stronger than we could ever hope to be, fused or not."
"True, but there is a catch to our fusing that would be both a blessing and a curse," Future Lucy told her. "If we fuse, it'll never come undone, because we are the same person, just from different times- we will effectively return to being one being, as opposed to a pair of people sharing a new body and mind."
The gravity of this revelation took a moment to sink in, and when it did, it was Natsu who was the first to speak. "If you guys did this, would only one of your memories remain?" he asked the future girl. "You shouldn't have to sacrifice yourself for any of us, especially not after what you've gone through."
"From what we know, most of our memories will simply overlap and become indistinguishable, since the majority of our lives are exactly the same," she replied quickly. "The ones that are different from each other will still remain separate, so it's not like one of us will disappear into the other's mind. We won't die in that sense."
"But we'll never be our individual selves again," the current Lucy said. "Isn't there anything you want to do as yourself, without me holding you back?"
"What do you mean?"
"We may be the same person, but your experiences in the future and Time Patrol have changed you, even if just a little," Lucy elaborated. "I know you remember what it's like being me, but I don't want to take anything away from you that you wanted to do on your own, you know?"
"Something I want to do on my own, huh?" Future Lucy murmured. "I guess… there is one thing." Turning to her other self, she held out one of the earrings and said, "Put this on your right ear, if you're ready to do this. I'll be ready in just a second."
Lucy opened her mouth to ask something, saw Natsu out of the corner of her eye, and came to understand her future self's intentions. "Okay," she said as she reddened and took the earring. "Just don't embarrass us too much, okay?"
"Why do you think I kicked Happy out?" her future self giggled in spite of her own reddening features. "Thank you for understanding, Lucy."
"If anyone could, it would be me," she laughed before she turned away and fitted the potara to her ear. "Okay, I'm ready."
"Natsu?" Future Lucy said as she reached up to put the other jewel to her left earlobe. "Thank you for bringing me to Fairy Tail all those years ago. It means the world to me. You mean the world to me."
"Luce?" Natsu asked as she fitted the earring in place and stepped closer to him, her eyes closing slowly.
"I love you, Natsu Dragneel," she said as the earring began to glow. "That will never change, no matter what comes next." With that, her lips met his, and her arms wrapped themselves around his back, keeping both of them in place as a bright light filled her apartment.
Natsu felt a slight tugging sensation coming from Future Lucy, followed by tingling in his arms as something passed through them and then solidified. As the glow faded away, he felt her face and arms pull away from his and leave a single figure standing before him in place of the two who had been there just a moment ago. Lucy appeared completely unchanged, save that she now wore both potara earrings.
The girl quickly looked down at herself, as if to make sure that everything was in its rightful place before she reached up and took the earrings out. When nothing changed, she murmured, "So this is the way things are now… It's honestly less weird than I thought it would be." Unlike normal fusions, her voice did not sound like a blending of two tones, furthering the notion that she truly had returned to being one person.
One thing was noticeably different to Natsu- her power level had increased by a huge amount, actually putting her in his league. She might be stronger than Laxus used to be! he thought as he remembered his guild mate's devastating power from when he had fought Hades of Grimoire Heart.
"Hey, Natsu?" Lucy asked, bringing his attention back to the present. "How do I look?"
He titled his head slightly before answering, "Like the same old Lucy I've always known." She smiled at him, though she appeared surprised when he stepped closer and added, "By the way, I love ya too, Luce. I'm sorry I didn't tell you in the future, and that I didn't keep my promises. This time is gonna be different, though." He put his hands on her shoulders and gave her one of his trademark toothy grins that made her smile back at him, in spite of herself.
"How do you know that?" she asked him.
"Cos this time, we're gonna be fighting side-by-side," he told her. "I always tried to protect ya, but now I see how far you're willing to go for all of us. Happy's always had my back, but I hope you don't mind watching it this time, too."
"I've finally got the power to protect everyone like I've wanted to ever since Phantom Lord attacked us," she said with a brilliant smile. "Now that I do, you can count on me being on the front lines with you. I may not be a dragon slayer or a super saiyan, but you better believe that I'm ready to wreck shop."
"Lookin' forward to it," Natsu grinned again as he took her hands in his. "And thanks."
"For tellin' me how you feel. Makes it a lot easier for me to figure out how to do the same, you know?"
"You two done now?"
The two wizards let out a yell of collective fright as they turned to see Azura floating outside the open window with her hand held out and a deadpan expression on her face. "Potara. Gimme," she ordered. "I already had to deal with McGarden, so I don't feel like having a repeat of wanting to claw my eyes out."
"Way to ruin the mood," Lucy muttered as she passed the earrings over.
"Good," Azura snorted. "Now you know how I feel."
"Tell Gorun I said thanks," the celestial wizard told the other girl before she could leave.
"What are you thanking him for? I'm the one flying around town watching you people being nauseating."
"What, you mean like you and Rogue?" At Lucy's words, Azura's red eyes flared blue, leading the celestial wizard to squawk in alarm and immediately say, "I'm sorry!"
"Damn right you are." With that parting sally, Azura flew off, heading toward Gorun's house fast enough that the tailwind nearly knocked Lucy over.
"I think I just saw both of my lives flash before eyes," the blond girl said in a high-pitched voice.
"They both did it?" Gorun asked as he took his earrings back from his cousin.
"Yep," she nodded as she leaned against his wall in the kitchen. "It was a good idea on their part, I give them that. Just wish that they hadn't gone soft right as I went to get the potara."
"You can hardly blame them, given who we're apparently about to go against," he murmured as a shiver of dread crawled down his spine. "If Vajra makes an actual appearance, all of the countermeasures we prepared and willingness to go as far as we can for our friends will be for nothing."
"I dunno," Azura murmured as they watched their teammates talking to one another in his backyard, some of them smiling at others under the moonlight, which made Gorun glad to see. "If it's really Vajra, he's probably the biggest living threat to the Time Patrol. The Supreme Kai of Time said that she would be willing to send help if made an appearance- maybe she'll send some of the big guns."
"Yeah, but at what cost?" Gorun inquired, causing her to give him a puzzled frown. "Think about it. We live in an aberrant timeline, so if she sends all her best to stop Vajra, they may well succeed in stopping him, but that does not mean that they will fight to keep our world safe. If something happens to everyone here, they'll probably consider it collateral damage, at best."
"Your parents don't think that, and neither do Grandpa Kakarot and Vegeta," she argued. "It'd be fairly difficult to argue with them."
"True, but it's not like they'd be able to keep an eye on everyone who comes along to make sure that they behave and fight Vajra at the same time," Gorun sighed. "Before you start yelling, I know, I'm being a pessimist. It's just that… Ever since you've come to this world, ever since we took down the phoenix together, it's felt as though no matter what comes at us, we would be able to handle it. I guess I had allowed myself to settle into a false sense of security, and now that it's been annihilated, I'm trying to cope as best I can."
"Sorry you feel that way," Azura said, and because she sounded sincere, Gorun looked at her with no small amount of surprise. "As for my part, I suppose I'm content."
"Content?" he repeated.
"All our lives, I wanted us to be able to acknowledge each other as equals, and to fight alongside each other against the great enemies of time," she said without looking toward him. "Now here we stand, we guardian deities of Fairy Tail, ready to fight, bleed, and die for our cause, no matter what is set against us. I have everything that I've ever wanted, and I find myself feeling more at peace than I have in years because of it." She allowed a slightly savage smile to move her lips upward as she added, "And now that I do have it, I'll be damned before I let some Time Breaker idiots and jumped up wizards take it from me."
Gorun just stared at her in surprise for a few seconds before he extended a fist to her and said, "Then we're finally of the same mind, aren't we?"
"We are," she nodded before she knocked her fist against his. "This may be an aberrant timeline, but it's our aberration. So let's defend it the best way we know how."
"By blasting anything that threatens it to atoms?"
"Is there any other way?"
"Are we sure?" Trunks asked nervously.
"Beyond the shadow of a doubt," Chronoa answered, looking just as worried as they peered into a familiar scroll from the book of beginning to end. As she rolled it up, she said, "Get all of our Z-class fighters prepped for battle. I don't care if they're in the middle of a mission, I want all of them back here as soon as possible. Switch them out with some S-class or even A-class if you have to. This is priority one."
"Yes ma'am," he nodded, but then paused. "You're not planning on fighting yourself, are you?" he asked her.
"You know I have to."
"Not like that, you're not!" the half-saiyan exclaimed as he pointed at her swollen midriff. "We can't risk something happening to you and Lettis!"
"I'm the Supreme Kai of Time," Chronoa shot back irritably. "This is my duty- it has been since before antiquity."
"While that is true, you're also about to be a mother," Trunks argued. "And you have the Time Patrol to help you, now. This is what we've trained for. With my father and Goku, not to mention our daughter and the hero of Toki Toki City on our side, plus all the other people that we've spent ages training up, we can handle this."
"Oh yeah?" Chronoa snorted as she looked him up and down. "What about you? You're going to be a father, aren't you? Doesn't that disqualify you from participating in what's about to come?"
"Absolutely not," Trunks said firmly, surprising his wife. "It's a mother's job to see to the well-being of the child. It's the duty of the father to see to the security of the world that the child will grow up in. If Vajra wins, Lettis won't have a safe corner in all the cosmos for us to raise her in, and I refuse to let that happen."
"Well spoken," said a familiar voice that caused the pair to turn with surprise and open mouths.
"You?!" Chronoa gaped. "What are you doing here?!"
"And how did you get in?!" Trunks added.
"You don't change the passcode for the barrier often enough," the newcomer answered dryly. "That's not important right now. I'm here to tell you to call off the operation you were about to get started. You'll only get all of your people killed."
"Yes, even Kakarot, Vegeta, Jicam, and Lettis," the other person nodded firmly. "No one of this era can stand against Vajra and live to tell of it. Even the gods of destruction would be able to put up no more than token resistance."
"We figured as much, but what other choice do we have?" Trunks demanded. "We can't just let him-!"
"Leave Vajra to me," their guest interrupted. "I'll see to it that Gorun's timeline is protected, and that Vajra never troubles you again."
"How can you guarantee that?" Chronoa demanded. "One exchange of blows between the two of you wouldn't just obliterate Universe 17 of that timeline- you'd certainly harm adjacent dimensions, maybe even the entire multiverse!"
"I don't need a reminder of my capabilities," the other person remarked flatly. "That being said, rest assured that I have countermeasures for collateral damage in place. I've lived long enough to know how to take every precaution. All I need from you two is a battlefield clear of Time Patrollers. I won't be held responsible for what happens to anyone who tries to run interference."
"Is that a threat?" Chronoa asked thinly.
"No, not from me, anyway," the other person shrugged. "But Vajra hates Time Patrollers more than almost anything. Sending your people in would be unbelievably stupid- not to mention that it's all but an instant death sentence."
"You sound like you know who he is," Trunks pointed out with a frown. "Do you?"
"Then just tell us where we can find them earlier in their timeline so we can take them out!" Trunks said, sounding exasperated.
"Can't do that."
"Why the hell not?!"
"Keep watching that scroll and you'll find out," the other person said quietly. "If that doesn't satisfy your immediate curiosity, then it should suffice to say that without Vajra, many events that have led to the formation of your family would not occur. It would be exponentially worse than when Towa tried to erase Jicam from the Time Patrol." That was enough to silence the leaders of the organization, so the intruder nodded in satisfaction and turned away from them. "You won't see me again," they promised. "Take care of yourselves, would you?"
"Are you not planning to survive this?" Chronoa asked.
"When fighting Vajra, one should never assume anything, least of all their own survival," the other person snorted. "But that doesn't mean I won't win." Then they were gone with Instant Transmission.
It came without warning.
One second Gorun and Azura were talking with the rest of Golden Tail beneath the stars of the night sky, and the next, the air was filled with hundreds of flying warships, and the countryside around Magnolia was filled to the brim with a million Alvarez troops.
"What the-?!" Cana yelped as the wizards all exchanged looks of shock. "Where'd they all come from?! I thought they were supposed to hit us up with attacks in waves, not all at once!" She looked over at Rachel before adding, "Didn't we deploy wizard guilds across Fiore for that?!"
"This isn't what Brandish said would happen!" the girl cried as the warships opened fire on the town. Fortunately, Freed had erected a barrier to protect the area, but the team doubted that it would last long under the bombardment that it was receiving. Since Gorun's house was outside the town's borders, his home was not under fire, but there was no telling when that would change.
"What do you think, is it Vajra?" Gorun growled as he put on his scouter, Azura, Kinana, and Rachel doing the same. It was clear that the Time Breakers had a hand in the course of this attack changing, as there was no way that Brandish would dream of lying to a goddess of destruction. This alteration happened after we captured her.
"This seems more like Fu's style," Azura said with a negative shake of her head. "What's the game plan?"
"Saiyans, take to the air!" her cousin shouted to be heard above the noise. "We're taking out those warships!"
"I thought that was the dragon slayers' job?!" Romeo shouted back while the ground rumbled beneath them.
"We didn't account for that many craft!" Gorun said with a shake of his head. "They'll need backup, and we need to send the ground troops a message!"
"Get the hell off my lawn!" the saiyan cousins answered in unison. As he smiled savagely, Gorun added, "The rest of you, see if you can't thin their numbers with an attack from this side of things. Just stay away from the Spriggan Twelve- their power levels have been seriously levelled up. Kinana, dear, you're in charge."
"Stay safe up there," she said right before she kissed his cheek. "Promise me?"
"For you, my dear, anything."
"Let's get this show on the road," Cana said with a tight smile right before she took to the air. "Freed's defenses won't hold forever!"
Rachel, Azura, and Gorun quickly caught up, all of them with grim looks on their faces and they prepared for what would certainly be the hardest fight of their lives. "Remember, save transformations for the Spriggans and any masked saiyans," their leader said as they levelled out a few miles behind the closest ships. "Rachel, you have your moon drip on you?" Everyone was in their base forms, having decided that it would be prudent to conserve as much strength as possible for the coming fight.
"Then let's do this," he said as the four of them put their hands by their sides in identical stances. "A Kame and a hame, and a send 'em home to mommy!"
"I refuse to fight to that," Azura deadpanned, even as the blue light shone from their palms and they each faced slightly different directions.
"Too bad! Ka-me-ha-me-!"
"HA!" Four laser scattered across the night sky and instantly annihilated two-fifths of the warships from Alvarez in a series of brilliant, thunderous explosions. Each blast had been aimed to drive a wedge of space between the regiments, and now their cohesive aerial formations had been shattered. Some of the resulting explosions had even given off sufficient shockwaves to knock their neighbors into other craft, cutting their overall firepower down to just over half of what it had been, at least temporarily.
As the explosions began to die down, the four wizards noticed that cannons had stopped firing, and the remaining ships were now turning in the air to aim their guns directly at them. "Well, we got their attention," Cana muttered. "What the hell was step two?"
"Scatter," Gorun replied in a matching tone.
Cannon fire streaked across the night sky as the quartet of saiyans broke apart and shot toward the armada, each of them approaching from different angles as their power levels spiked in accordance with their rage at having their hometown invaded.
Natsu, Gajeel, and Wendy all joined the saiyans shortly after the fight had begun, and they set about making quick work of the air force being thrown at them. Down below them, Bisca got in an occasional shot from the Jupiter Cannon that Makarov had apparently salvaged from Phantom Lord nearly ten years ago. Nearly two-thirds of the ships were gone before the powerful mages were confronted with an actual threat in the form of a fireball that nearly roasted Wendy, but was consumed by Natsu.
"Thanks!" the girl shouted over her shoulder as Natsu glared up at one of the larger ships, where a man with long orange hair could be seen grinning at them. "You felt that, too?" he asked his teammate, who nodded rapidly before a Sky Dragon's Arrow blasted an approaching airship to splinters.
"Dragon Slayer magic," she answered. "He must be that Serena guy that we heard about."
"What d'ya think, Happy?" Natsu asked as he bared his teeth ferociously. "Should we show him what a real dragon slayer can do?"
"Simmer down, big guy," said Azura as she zoomed over and hurled a Riot Javelin at the ship that was passing below them. "Kaidon's already called dibs on that one." With that, she sped over to cleave another ship in half with a Spirit Sword.
"Well, I hope he doesn't mind if I get the party started," Natsu replied as he glanced at Wendy. "Ya with me?"
"You got it!" she nodded before she inhaled deeply. "Sky Dragon…!"
"ROAR!" A cyclone of wind and fire barreled toward the ship that Serena stood on and incinerated it, swallowing the man up in a cloud of smoke, though the two teenagers could sense that he was certainly still alive.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before he called down, "Is that really all that the dragon slayers of Fiore can do?"
"Not even close!" Natsu shouted back as a gust of wind shredded the smokescreen to reveal Serena floating in the air with a superior smile on his face.
"You were a Fiore dragon slayer too, if memory serves!" Carla shouted up at the man.
Serena laughed at that. "Kitty lady, I'm the dragon slayer- the one that'll take down Acnologia!" he declared proudly. "Honestly, I couldn't care less about any of this war of eradication that Zeref has going on, but I do know that the Dragon of the Apocalypse is drawn to conflict- and what bigger conflict has been seen since the days where humans and dragon waged war with one another?! When he shows up, I'll split his skull!" He laughed merrily at the thought, infuriating Natsu to no end.
"You'd betray your country just to have a chance at taking that monster down?!" he shouted angrily. "Looks like there's two monsters I'll have to slay before this is over!"
"Don't waste your time, Natsu," a familiar voice said as the owner appeared behind Serena, who stiffened with surprise. "Save your power for a real dragon, alright?" With that, Gorun axe-kicked Serena all the way down to the earth.
"Fine, but give him a good one from a real dragon slayer, yeah?" Natsu demanded, to which Gorun promised that he would.
With that done, he shot down toward the earth, firing off a Big Bang Attack that wiped out hundreds of Alvarez soldiers in a flash of blue light. He landed a few yards away from his opponent, who was dusting himself off. "So, you're what they passed off for a god around here before I showed up," he said as he folded his arms across his chest. "Not impressed."
"Now, now, why judge a book by its cover?" Serena chuckled as he looked his opponent up and down. "If we're going off appearances alone, I think you'd have to agree that I'm much more of an event than you could ever hope to be. Honestly, from all the reports I'd heard about you, I expected something more… flashy."
"You don't deserve to see what happens when a saiyan starts to show off," Gorun said as he settled into a combat stance. He didn't sense any Time Breaker energy coming from the man just yet, but he knew that even if Serena wasn't using it now, there was no telling when Fu might decide to change that. It was tempting to just go straight into his god form and finish the man off right away, but that might force his enemy's hand before reinforcements arrived. Mirajane had already contact the other guilds across the country asking for help, and now they had to try and hold out long enough for help to come.
That being said, maybe it's best if we don't have this out right on Magnolia's front porch, he thought as he tightened his fist.
"My boy, I think your phrasing happens to be just a little off," Serena said as his smile became more sinister. "I won't see you show off because you won't get a chance before I kill you and all your friends."
"It's cute that you think that." A sonic boom erupted from Serena's body as he went flying across the landscape and found himself buried in one of the mountains that surrounded Magnolia. Some of the reserve troops were actually still travelling through those mountains, and they looked up in surprise to see that a crater had just formed above them. That surprise turned to terror when a landslide crashed down and buried a lot of them, while also serving to prevent any further advances for several thousand of them.
Gorun teleported in to glare down at the mountain that he'd half-demolished before saying, "Is that all you got?"
"Cavern Dragon Shattered Spears!" Sharp pieces of rock flew up at him by the thousands in response to Serena's command, which caused Gorun to smirk in response.
"That's more like it." Spreading his hands out in front of him, he then retaliated with the words, "Emerald Stardust Fall!" Countless green etherion projectiles rained down upon the earth, destroying Serena's attack and forcing him to go on the defensive with his earth-type dragon magic by erecting a dome of solid rock between him and his enemy.
As soon as Gorun ceased his assault, he was about to call out to the man down below with another taunt, but he was surprised when the stones all broke apart and Serena rushed at him from within a slipstream of howling winds. "Gale Dragon Rushing Fangs!" He traded several blows at high speed with Gorun, his hands swirling with winds intense enough to tear through bare rock if they connected. When this assault failed, he inhaled deeply and then shouted, "Gale Dragon Moonlit Wind Song!" His breath attack caught Gorun at point-blank range, making it impossible for him to evade the technique.
The winds screamed across the night sky for a good ten seconds before Serena ceased exhaling and allowed himself a little smile of satisfaction. "How'd you like that- what was it that they called you again? The god saint of Fiore? Sonny Gone?"
"The name's Son Gorun," answered the young man, causing Serena's eyes to widen as he saw that the only evidence of his attack on the other wizard was that his hair had been tousled and held back from his face. "And it tickled."
"Heh," Serena said as his smile returned. "I guess the rumors are true. You really aren't human." His power level was rising rapidly, and now his enemy could detect strains of the Time Breakers' influence.
"Half of me is," Gorun replied as his eyes flared green, having gauged his enemy's current level of strength and determining which countermeasures he should have ready for it. "The other half is a genetic cocktail of some of the multiverse's most powerful beings- none of which are particularly fond of traitors like you."
"Traitor?" Serna laughed. "That's rich, coming from a man who supposedly abandoned his homeland in favor of accomplishing his own goals. Really, are you and I so different? According to tat dark elf, you even went on to betray everything that your home stood for, didn't you?"
Gorun was quiet at that for a moment before he narrowed his eyes and growled out, "Fu talks to much. Regardless, there's one key difference between you and I."
"Oh?" the enemy mage asked with a sly smile. "What would that be?"
"I never raised a fist against those who raised me, which is a lot more than I can say for you," Gorun replied as he transformed into a Super Saiyan.
Here, Serena gave him another condescending smile. "I thought I wasn't worthy of seeing you go all-out?" he taunted.
"This?" Gorun snorted. "Honestly, at this point, this transformation is little more than a lightshow and a way to vent just a bit of extra power. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what saiyans can do, and unless you start taking this more seriously, you never will."
"Sorry, but the only one worthy of seeing the full power of this dragon slayer is Acnologia himself," Serena sneered.
Gorun snorted at that, having decided that he'd wasted enough time. "What's a dragon to a god?" he challenged the man.
"What is a god to a nonbeliever?" the traitorous dragon slayer snorted. "Sea King Dragon- Waugh!" His words were cut off as an explosion of blue energy arced away from Gorun and knocked him high into the air.
The saiyan was on him in an instant, blue energon bunched up in his right fist as he shouted, "Saiyan Spirit!" He delivered the strike to Serena's chest, the energy that had been built up exploding on impact to send the man deep underground from the resulting shockwave. Once the rumblings beneath him had stopped, he leaned over the hole that he had made and called down, "Do you believe, now?"
A storm of wind and ice shot up out of the crater in response before Serena reappeared, his outfit in a mess and anger in his eyes. "You forget your place, boy!" he snarled, well and truly upset that this little upstart would dare to put himself on the same level as the one who had earned his title of 'god' from those around him, instead of simply by right of birth. "People were worshipping my presence before anyone knew who you were!"
"I couldn't care less about receiving worship," Gorun replied as he noticed the Time Breaker energy growing more and more apparent in his enemy's aura. "Where I come from, gods are meant to be protectors of the people, even those who know nothing of them. You've certainly failed the title in that regard."
"The gods don't care about mortals!" Serena roared as what looked to be sound waves began to ripple across both of his hands. "Mortals are nothing but their playthings at best, and ants to be crushed beneath our boots at worst!"
"Huh," Gorun said as he pretended to assume a thoughtful pose, which lured Serena into making his next move. "Are you forgetting the part where you're one of those mortals, or do you actually believe your own hype that much?"
"Banshee Dragon Fang Thrust!" the man roared, twin pulses of sonic energy shooting out toward Gorun, and producing an ear-splitting thunderclap when they hit the ground. Already knowing that his move had never hit, Serena whirled around with energy gathering above his raised fist as he shouted, "Lightning Dragon Raging Bolt!" The ball of plasma crashed into Gorun as he aimed another kick at Serena's head.
Before the dragon slayer could smile with triumph, however, Gorun's power doubled in pressure, and he simply swung his other leg up to kick the lightning ball away. "Nice try, but I've seen that move before!" he grunted as his own lightning crackled along his body. From what he could sense, it would seem that Serena had a lightning dragon lachryma embedded in his body that was the same variety as the source of Laxus' immense power. "Tyrant Lance!" A short laser burst smote Serena on the chest, but this time he was surprised to see it do no damage at all, other than scorch the man's shirt.
"Fine, you wanna see what real power looks like?" Serena growled as the sclera in his eyes darkened to a strange shade of blue while his irises shrank and became pure white. "You'll wish you hadn't provoked me to this before the end comes." Time Breaker energy now completely swallowed up his natural aura and multiplied his power exponentially.
"I'd say that you'll be eating those words, but your corpse won't have enough teeth to chew anything when I'm done with you," Gorun replied as his emerald eyes glittered viciously.
"Don't take a dragon's fangs so lightly, kid!"
"Then don't make light of a god's power! Hrah!"
Azura was bored. She'd already demolished nearly a hundred warships, killed thousands- if not, tens of thousands- of Alvarez troops, and she hadn't even come out of her base form yet. "Come on!" she yelled at no one in particular. "At least make it a challenge for me!"
"You're an arrogant one, aren't you?" called out a voice from down below.
Azura's eyes were drawn down to a blond woman with armor only on her right arm, a massive broadsword on her back, and a condescending smile on her face. Even if Azura couldn't sense power levels, her appearance and attitude could only single her out as a member of the Spriggan Twelve. Everyone else was too frightened to maintain any sort of eye contact with her.
"And who are you?" the saiyan asked as she began to descend, her blood pumping eagerly at the thought of a real fight.
"I am Dimaria Iesuta," she answered calmly. "Warrior Queen of the Spriggan Twelve. And you would be?"
"Azura of Fairy Tail, and a warrior goddess," the blue-haired woman smirked. "This is actually perfect. I was hoping for the chance to cross paths with you."
"Is that right?" Dimaria chuckled, her self-assurance not wavering for even an instant. "You might not be glad that you did." She clicked her tongue, and the next thing that Azura knew, her throat was bleeding from a deep cut that she instinctively clutched at as she gasped for air, only to have blood slide down her throat. As she began to choke, she heard Dimaria saying, "I've heard about you, Azura. You're one of the two responsible for destroying our castle, which I should add, boasted an impressive number of defensive spells designed to prevent damage of all sorts. I know it best not to underestimate people like you, so I won't be drawing things out like many of my peers seem to enjoy doing." She swept passed the dying girl and was about to announce to her men that the enemy had fallen when she had her legs kicked out from under her, followed by a hand wreathed in red light grab her by the head and smash her into the ground hard enough for the rock beneath them to fragment.
Dimaria was gasping for breath as Azura stood over her with an angry glare, her eyes and hair having turned bright scarlet while her neck wound had closed completely. Her visage was beautiful and terrifying simultaneously, and Dimaria immediately knew that she was looking at a vengeful goddess. And unlike most of her comrades, she could actually sense god energies, so she understood that as she was, she had absolutely no chance of overpowering this woman, even with the increased strength that the dark elf had given her and the rest of the Twelve. But you're not the only one with gods on your side, Fairy Tail! she thought as she forced time to stop, allowing her to work her way out of Azura's grip, though it was still quite a struggle for her. Once she was on her feet and breathing better again, her concentration slipped just a little, and she found herself back in the normal flow of time.
No, wait- that wasn't right. How did she-?! She looked at Azura in shock as the other woman stood up straight and gave her a menacing smile. "Good try, but you'll have to use time magic a lot more powerful than that to keep me down," the saiyan told her.
"How did you undo my Age Seal?!" the Spriggan member demanded.
"That actually wasn't me," Azura replied with a shrug. "Just lucky timing for me, I suppose. But it's good to know that if one of my relatives uses temporal magic to reset the clock, it undoes your little trick."
"Your relatives?" Dimaria repeated as she looked up in the sky to see two other like Azura continuing to dismantle their air force. He gaze dropped back to Azura while she brandished her sword and asked, "So does that mean it's a talent you don't possess?"
"If I did, don't you think I would have undid your little enchantment myself?" the saiyan goddess snorted.
Something about this still made Dimaria feel uneasy, a sensation that she was not used to. "If you don't have countermeasures, then why are you so calm about all of this?" she demanded. "And for another matter, how do you know what type of magic I use to begin with? Did Brandish talk?!"
"Nothing so banal," Azura lied with a straight face. "I just happen to have some experience with temporal magics, is all. I have to say, not impressed."
"Excuse me?" Dimaria sputtered. "Who was lying on the ground about to bleed out not a minute ago?!"
"Bleeding, yes," Azura snorted. "Dying? Please. It takes a lot more than that to kill me. But please- do try again. You won't get another shot!" A blue magic circle spawned over her head before she shouted, "Takeover: Mortal Style Saiyan god Soul!"
Rachel glanced down as she detected the surging of her aunt's divine ki, and a frown formed on her brow. Going into a god form so soon, and Blue, no less? I don't detect any of the masked saiyans, though…
It was her who had turned back time by a half-second in order to save Cana from being mortally wounded by a barrage of missiles that had come from one of the ships to the rear of the armada. Based on the power she was sensing, there was two members of the Spriggan Twelve on board, though she wasn't exactly sure who.
"Hey, Rach, don't be spacing out on us!" Cana yelled as she caused a ship to burst into flames with a pair of cards. "If there's a ship we need to wreck, point the way and let's go!"
"…Rear of the advance column, there's two people with Time Breaker energy," Rachel informed the older girl as she pointed the ship out. "One of them is definitely human, but the other one is a power that I don't recognize. It may be Fu."
"You ladies need backup?" Lucy asked as she floated up beside them, Sagittarius' bow in hand, much to the surprise of the other girls.
"Since when do you fly?" Cana asked her friend. "And, uh… Where have you been hiding all that magic power?"
"I'm both the Lucy from this time and the one in the future," she explained. "Gorun lent us his potara, and since I learned how to fly in the Time Patrol, I can still do it now." As she spoke, she fired an arrow into the barrel of a cannon from an approaching ship, which caused a backfire that blew the vessel to smithereens.
"So wait, are you Future Lucy or Present Lucy?" Cana asked, her confusion seeming to grow.
"That doesn't answer my question!"
"Save it, both of you!" Rachel said curtly. Over her shoulder she added, "Lucy, if you could keep the small fries away from us while we deal with the bosses, I'd appreciate it."
"You got it!"
"Cana, with me, but keep your guard up."
"You got it, Mom."
"You do that I'm older than-"
"Whatever, let's go!" With that, the two took off at top speed, zipping through the pitiful remnants of the once-mighty armada so that they closed in on the target ship within ten seconds and hovered off the port side so that they could get a better look at their enemies.
One was an old, bearded man who looked incredibly solemn at he gazed at the destruction taking place before him. His appearance and power level seemed to indicate that he was the Wizard King, August. His cohort was an odd-looking one, with a rotund body and arms that nearly dragged on the deck of the ship. Even more bizarre, the two of them could detect no life energy coming from him at all as he smiled at them with an oddly blank gaze.
Before could start throwing cards, Rachel stopped her by holding out an arm and saying, "Where's the third guy?"
August tilted his head slightly at her as he said, "You're a sharp one, aren't you? He gave us his assurances that it would be all but impossible for him to be detected by normal means."
"Do I look normal to you?"
"Hmm," August smiled slightly before becoming serious again. "I find myself needing to ask what became of Brandish after your compatriots took her away. Does she live?"
"She does," Rachel nodded quickly. "Are you interested in her return to your ranks?"
"Are you attempting to strike a deal, even as our armies clash in a battle to the death?" the old man inquired.
"You strike me as the reasonable type," Gorun's daughter replied. "You also don't seem all that interested in causing bloodshed, yourself. I don't really like all of this, and if there is a way to open negotiations, even with something as small as a prisoner exchange, I will do it in an attempt to save lives on both sides."
"You're overestimating your bargaining power here," said the large man as he stepped forward. "Emperor Spriggan doesn't care if some of us get killed during this excursion ours'. He wants the Lumen Histoire, and he's going to get it, no matter how many bodies he has to step over."
"Wasn't talking to you, android," Rachel said dismissively, which seemed to surprise them man. Seeing this, she added, "I sense magic energy that's been stored within you, but you're not alive. Even so, I get the feeling that something like you isn't standard issue, which means that your inventor is either here on the battlefield to keep an eye on you, or he's so far removed from the battle that it won't matter."
The mechanoid started to raise a hand at the two girls, but Cana already had a magic card in her hand, ready to fly into its head at the first sign of conflict. "Try it, and you're spare parts," she threatened him, causing the mech to look over at August, who nodded once, which saw to him lowering his arm.
"What do you want in exchange for Brandish's return to us?" August asked patiently. He saw no harm with engaging in some manner of parley with these wizard, so long as it did not end with them trying to turn their assault away entirely.
"I want to know where that third guy is hiding, as well as information on someone whom I suspect to be among your number," Rachel answered swiftly. "Tell me whether or not Vajra is taking part in this assault."
At the mention of that name, both men shared a sidelong glance, and that was all the confirmation that Rachel needed. "Dammit," she cursed softly.
"Lemme stop you right there," a new voice said as Cana and Rachel turned upward to see a dark elf-like being looking down at them. "Hi!" Fu grinned as he adjusted his glasses. "I'll save you all the trouble of a prisoner exchange since Miss Brandish would just be killed for talking under interrogation and tell you that yeah, Vajra is here. What exactly he's planning to do, I haven't got a clue, but I expect that it'll be fun to watch- if I have the time, that is."
"You're a Time Breaker, isn't that kind of your thing?" Cana shot up at him. "Stealing time that doesn't belong to you and putting it elsewhere?"
"That sounds like an oversimplification of things," Fu replied, sounding affronted. "I am primarily here for research, and once I have the data I need, I will be on my way."
"What kind of data?" Rachel demanded as she readied a takeover spell. If they were about to get into an altercation with Fu, there would be no room to mess around."
"Hang on, you said you were gonna help us with this assault!" the mechanoid shouted up, looking cross.
"And you believed him?" Cana scoffed. "Idiots."
"I rather expected this," August shrugged, while Rachel rolled her eyes.
"Hey! Wasn't teleporting an entire armada of a million people straight from Alvarez to Fairy Tail's front doorstep good enough for you?!" Fu demanded of the android. "Let's see you and your precious mech magic do that!"
Before the droid could make a reply, there was a slight clank as three cards landed in his head. The next instant, a surge of electricity, water, and magnetics served to blow him apart so completely that there was hardly two pieces of metal left to be put together. Throughout this, August hardly looked to the side, nor did he flinch at the sudden blast that somehow did no damage to him.
When Rachel gave Cana an incredulous look, the card mage simply said, "You know, I'm sure there was an advantage to building a fat robot, but for the life of me, I don't see it."
"You know, I gotta say, it's very interesting how you incorporate etherion magic into your original magic set," Fu said as he peered at Cana more intensely through his glasses. "I'm gonna need a more thorough look into how that works before I'm satisfied."
Cana's stomach sank as she felt as though she might have just made a massive error. Rachel's eyes widened as she thought, Of course, Cana's not a natural saiyan! This is exactly the kind of thing he'd wanna know about!
Before either of the girls could move, Fu clicked his fingers, and both he and Cana vanished into thin air. "No!" Rachel shouted, even as she ascended into her goddess form and sent a blast of scarlet energy at where Fu had been, all to no avail. "Dammit!" She rounded on August, her scarlet eyes flashing as she demanded, "Where'd he take her?!"
"Your guess is as good as mine, child," August shrugged. "It seems that there is nothing for you to gain by returning Brandish now, so I suggest you return to your friends before I'm forced to strike you down, myself."
"Sorry, can't do that," Rachel replied as she began to power up. "And since negotiations seem to have broken down, I think I'll skip straight to the part where I blast you out of the sky."
"My dear, by the time this battle has concluded, there won't be a sky left above our heads," August replied as he hefted his staff and filled the air with immense power. Rachel flinched, but her father and Azura had warned her about this probably being the case. August was already unbelievably strong to begin with, so it would make sense for Fu to use Time Breaker energy to put him on par with people like the saiyan deities.
Here's hoping that I don't have to resort to Destroyer magic, but if this is just him showing off, the whole country is gonna be in trouble if he gets serious, she thought as she prepared a crimson spirit sword.
Cana cursed and slammed her heel into Fu's head the second that the teleportation was complete, followed by an Explosive Flame card that blew up in his back as soon as it made contact, sending him floating several yards away from her. Far from being annoyed by this, however, Fu laughed and turned to face her with a delighted smile. "You're even stronger than I'd thought you'd be," he told her admiringly. "Honestly, it's not often that someone comes up with an idea from outside the box before I do, but that Gorun kid did it. I'm very impressed."
"Glad you're so pleased," Cana snapped as she took a quick survey of their surroundings, noticing that they appeared to be over an ocean of some sort, but without any landmarks nearby, she had no idea where in the world that they might have gone. She could still sense the other saiyans' power signatures in the distance, so at least she knew that she hadn't been taken off-planet.
"Hey, I'm a pretty reasonable guy," Fu grinned as he laid his hand on the sword behind his back. "I know it'd be selfish for me to ask for some data without giving something in return, so I'll offer you a deal."
Cana felt as though she would probably come to regret this later on, but if there was even the slightest chance that she could get something out of this Time Breaker, it would be worth it. "What do you want?" she finally asked him.
"I wanna fight you, mostly to see what the potential of an artificial- no, wait that's not right." He frowned and thought for a moment before he clicked his fingers and said, "That's it, you're a synthetic saiyan! Got a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
"Is there a rest stop between now and the frickin' point?" Cana snarled.
"I wanna know exactly what someone like you is capable of," Fu replied as he adjusted his glasses. "If you can prove that you're capable of drawing out the same potential as Son Gorun from when he gave you that lachryma in your body, I'll give your team an adequate shot at winning against Alvarez."
"You're underestimating us," the card mage warned him, but the demon was already shaking his head.
"You're not getting it, Miss Alberona," Fu snickered. "Your side has already lost. Vajra is back there, on the field of battle, waiting for the opportune moment to strike, which for him, is just when your friends think that they've won. He'll crush them to dust, both body and spirit, and they won't even see it coming."
Cana paled at that reminder. She had heard from her friends the rumors concerning Vajra, the most powerful and elusive Time Breaker to ever walk creation. If he was planning to take part in the battle, he could probably flick his fingers and annihilate their entire world, if he so chose. However, one thing Fu had said caught her ear, so in spite of the heart-pounding fear in her body, she gathered herself and asked, "You said that he wants to crush us, body and spirit, right? And if he's as powerful as we think he is, why did he bother aligning himself with Alvarez when he could just blow us all away whenever he felt like it? That kind of implies that this is personal for some reason."
"You're a sharp one," Fu replied, his grin widening. "Yes, this is personal for Vajra. That's why he needs people like me and Zeref's goons- to make your struggles and subsequent defeat all the more agonizing. He wants to give you all hope before he rips it away from you. As for me, I'm in on this just for you- to see what you're really made of."
"Just me, huh?" Cana replied as she slipped two cards into her fingers behind her back while drawing three from her satchel in plain view. "I'm surprised you didn't want to take a crack at studying Rachel. She seems a lot more interesting than me."
"Oh, I'll het to her eventually," Fu admitted. "But not just yet. Even I know not to directly mess with a goddess of destruction, even she's just a fledgling one."
"Hmm," Cana said with narrowed eyes. "So just to be clear, you know how to defeat one of the most powerful demons in all existence, and you're willing to share that information with me, but you won't mess with Rachel? Seems a little odd."
"Believe what you will, I know how to play this game better than anybody," Fu said as he drew his sword. "Now, do we have a deal, Miss Alberona?"
"What do you get if I lose?"
"Your corpse, and the lachryma inside of it, obviously," the demon giggled. "They won't be as valuable as they would be if you were alive, but I think it'll still be worth a great deal."
"Guess I don't have much of a choice then, do I?" Cana scowled as a golden magic circle appeared over her head. "Alright, Fu. You wanna see my power so badly, I'll show you what I've got. Just don't bother begging for mercy when it's over."
"Hehe, now you're sounding like a proper saiyan warrior!" Fu laughed before springing into action, blade in hand.
Back on the outskirts of Magnolia, Invel was frowning as he stood alongside his emperor and the cloaked stranger calling himself 'Vajra'. When he was unable to contain himself any longer, he turned and said, "This battle should already be concluded, if you are as powerful as you say you are."
"I've already removed the head of one Spriggan," Vajra replied without turning. "Do not incline me to do it again."
"Peace, Invel," Zeref cautioned his general. "I'm rather enjoying myself, seeing these fairies struggle and their gods in action for the first time. If the battle is already concluded in our favor, let us enjoy the spectacle. Timing is of no consequence to us."
"Yes, my lord," Invel said with a now toward his master. "My apologies for my impertinence. I simply wish to see your ambitions fulfilled as soon as possible, given how long you have already waited."
"As you say, I've waited a long time for this," Zeref chuckled. "A few more hours won't make a difference to one such as I."
Gorun: Well, that escalated quickly.
Azura: Just the way I like it.
Gorun: Even you're not gonna like it when Vajra takes to the field.
Azura: I dunno. Whoever's coming in from Conton seems to think that they can handle him. Given how surprised Trunks and the Supreme Kai of Time were to see whoever it was, and that they listened to them, I'm willing to bet that we have a better chance than you're giving us credit for.
Gorun: If anybody powerful enough to stand up to Vajra does come, everyone is toast, regardless of who wins between them! We don't stand a chance!
Mataras: Not with that attitude, you don't.
Gorun: Why did you make an impossible boss for us to go against?!
Mataras: How impossible was Broly? Your ancestors still beat him.
Gorun: This is different, and you know it!
Azura: Next time- Ages Lost
Gorun: Don't ignore me!
Mataras: Looking forward to seeing you all there.