Posting this for Valentine's seems appropriate.


"In that case, perhaps a gift of knowledge will do," Moka said. "Erza, I want to try again with what I explained earlier, now that I'm not so stressed. I feel you must understand the enormity of what you've done."

"Alright," Erza replied indifferently.

"Erza, when we are called creatures of darkness, it is no metaphor. There are items created with the darkest magics called Demon Seeds." Moka trailed off, certain she could work their effect out. Erza and Gilgamesh both looked pensive. "Cthulhu is their maker, and therefore responsible for demonkind."

"I see. This Botis you mentioned was an ordinary snake once," Erza didn't ask.

"That might be the case, or Botis is an older demon's child," Moka said. "Cthulhu emerged here long ago and transformed our ancestors, thus the stories about Galuna turning humans into demons. Bottom line, what you've done is slay the closest thing to the Devil this world has ever known." Moka smiled. "Thank you, Erza Scarlet."

"It was my pleasure, Moka," Erza replied, smiling.

That raised a question, Gilgamesh thought - if Cthulhu was responsible for creating all the others with these objects, what had created him?

They quickly boarded the Vimana. A streak of emerald light was left in its wake, across the sky of Galuna. The demon woman watched the light adoringly. The first few minutes of their return trip passed uneventfully.

And then… well...

A glow erupted at his feet, a big metal disc with a screen materializing. Both watched the object's arrival with confusion. The disc showed the image of an old man in dark clothes, with gray hair and a well-kept beard. The figure was more familiar to him than her.

"Hello, Gilgamesh," Zelretch said. "I'm sure by now you've worked out that I am to thank for your change of scenery. It was a complicated decision because I recognize that your goal had good intentions, but that does not justify any of your actions."

If looks could kill, then Gilgamesh's scowl was a nuke. Erza frowned, ears pricked - that he was from another world like Edolas was surprising to her, but she deemed the reason he was in hers more important.

"Sending you here was what I judged the best outcome for all parties, you included," Zelretch elaborated. "You should know that this world isn't just an alternate state. It is a space outside ours, with no way back to ours. Gaining access exceeded even my abilities, but that's another story. Anyway, I sincerely think you will enjoy it there."

Gilgamesh smirked, supposing that much was true. Erza decided that Gilgamesh being from another universe wasn't as important as why he was in this one.

"In the event that someone else than Gilgamesh is watching this, the situation here is that this "Gilgamesh" attempted to unleash an evil spirit called Angra Mainyu, knowing that its release might mean the fiery death of humanity in the spirit's ichor." Erza gasped.

With that, the recording ended. She glared daggers at Gilgamesh, who returned an unperturbed frown.

"You have five seconds to explain this. If I hear the words 'he's lying', you die," Erza announced, fury and some disappointment in her eyes. Twin bursts of gold light surged from her hands, and a pair of swords emerged to be grasped.

"I did everything Zelretch claimed," Gilgamesh admitted calmly, mentally counting two seconds. "The reason why is that I was born to be a guardian of humanity, Erza."

The absurdity of the contradiction punctured Erza's anger. "Gilgamesh, that makes no sense!" her grasp loosened, but not enough to drop the swords.

"I can see how it would not at first glance, so allow me a few more words," Gilgamesh said. "In my time, I have learned that guarding humans does not simply mean fighting external dangers. Inner threats also need consideration."

Erza's face regained composure. "Elaborate."

"It is the ideal for human beings to follow their soul's true course," Gilgamesh said. "To know their heart's desire, and aspire towards one's own greatness. I am sure we can agree on this." Gilgamesh wondered if Erza would catch that part.

Erza smiled at the compliment. "A beautiful thought, Gilgamesh, but if that's what you believe, why would you do this?"

Gilgamesh was silent for a moment. "I was born in another world than this one, in the city called Uruk. That was where I grew up and eventually ruled as king until the end of my days. Millennia after my death, I was contracted as a so-called Heroic Spirit and summoned to be part of a tournament between mages and ghosts." Amusement crept into his voice.

"Like the Celestial Spirits, in a competition like those Grand Magic Games," Erza summarized.

"Yes," Gilgamesh affirmed. "At the end of the Holy Grail War, I got a new body from the spirit Zelretch mentioned and observed the modern era for years. What I saw was a world that had lost its sense of purpose. The people simply wandered through life, many thousands never finding themselves."

When he put it like that, it seemed bad, Erza thought. "You did it to give them a swift kick in the ass."

"Exactly," Gilgamesh affirmed. Erza turned away, looking out across the land below.

She eventually said, "Let's say I will consider your reasoning and arguments, Gilgamesh." Gilgamesh smiled at that. "Why would you choose genocide as your solution to this problem? You must realize how extreme that is."

"Angra Mainyu was the best tool available at the time," Gilgamesh asserted. "The alternative would have been to evaluate each human and their life's circumstances individually, billions of times over." Erza could agree that wasn't practical.

"And how did you know anyone would survive?" Erza questioned.

"During my days in Uruk, I knew hundreds of people who could only survive it," Gilgamesh related. "I imagine you would like one of them in particular. Her name was Siduri." Erza decided to ask who she was later.

After a long moment's thought, she said, "Is that why you call it the Gate of Babylon? Was Uruk in Babylon?" Gilgamesh confirmed that.

Silence reigned between them after that. Erza looked away, down at the waters. Gilgamesh closed his eyes, relaxing in his throne. Almost twenty minutes of the leisurely flight passed before Erza saw the sea end and the mainland begin; the flight to Magnolia took another twenty.

After the Vimana descended, Erza jumped off. Gilgamesh watched her, pensively.

"Will this be our last quest?" Gilgamesh asked. The question brought her to a stop.

"I've been thinking about that, and I believe I've reached a conclusion." Erza turned to him, her face stony. "I accept your good intentions, but if you do this again, I will stop you," she said with an air of finality.

Gilgamesh smiled. "Very good to hear."

Erza turned away. "Then let's find a quest for tomorrow." She resumed walking. Gilgamesh jumped off, looking at it. The air rippled, and a portal wider than the Vimana began to descend. Once it had been stored away, he followed her to Fairy Tail's door.

A familiar room met their eyes - a green carpet parted the hall, from the front entrance to the stages. Tables stood around both sides of the room, assorted guild members seated at the moment.

"Finally," Natsu shouted from the left side, beginning a brisk walk towards the two. Lucy and Gray followed behind. "Tomorrow morning, we're going on a quest, and you're not getting out of it, Erza!"

"Seriously," Gray agreed. "Ever since Gilgamesh arrived, you've pretty much only been on quests with him. That was six months ago," he stressed. Gilgamesh and Erza frowned at that, both taking a moment to ponder that.

"I wouldn't dream of it, Natsu," Erza asserted.