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Chapter 9: The Quest III

Location: Rito Kasuga's Mansion

It was another bright and bustling day in the city of Libel as the citizens slowly emerge from their homes and out onto the streets. The hustle and bustle of the people ringed in the air as the sounds of cheers and shouts reverberated everywhere. The sun appeared high above in its glory; showering the city and its people with an abundance of light and joy.

However, not everyone shared the same thought.

"Don't you think it's a bit too early to start training?" Yuki asked, as she desperately tried to stop the yawn which threatened to escape her lips.

"It's not early at all, you're just too lazy to wake up at this time." The pinkette responded with a shrug and the girl shot him a heated glare.

"I would have woken up on my own if you had just told me to. You didn't need to do what you did to wake me up!"

Not only had the Dragon Slayer enter her room as if he owned the place, he also, without any hesitation or guilt, pulled the bedsheet over causing her to drop to the ground with a thud.

Natsu rolled his eyes, "Wendy told me to help you with your training so you either deal with it or I'll drop you back at the guild," He said without even facing her. The girl's eyebrow twitched in annoyance but eventually gave up on it eventually.

'Why must he always bring that up? I KNOW that Aunt Wendy asked him to help train me, I was THERE! Is there a need to continuously repeat it?' Sighing to herself she released one more yawn slapping herself awake.

Even if she didn't like how he got her to wake up, she was determined to train and regain her magic again, and if it meant dealing with a stubborn and troublesome pinkette, then so be it!

"So, do you want me to start meditating again?" she asked but the man shook his head and pointed at himself.

"Come and attack me." The girl tilted her head in confusion.

"Excuse me?"

"I said, come and attack me." He repeated, though in a more annoyed tone at the fact he needed to repeat himself.

"Wait, but why? If we're going to be fighting against actual enemies, shouldn't I be trying to break my curse?" The Dragon Slayer rolled his eyes.

"Even if we manage to break your curse today, what are the chances you'll be able to activate it immediately? Heck, would you be able to control it? After all, you've never tapped upon your magic before."

Realisation finally dawned upon the girl and she nodded her head, understanding where he was coming from.

Demon Slaying Magic was an ancient and dangerous power capable of destroying everything in its sights, and she'd probably put Rito and Laura's lives in harm when she was trying to protect them. Or worst, she'd cause enough damage that would get the Magic Council's attention which would indirectly mean getting Fairy Tail's attention which meant ruining her chances of ever finding a way to break the curse and activate her magic.

"I guess that makes sense…" she whispered underneath her breath.

"Besides, we're about to fight a group of wizards, so I need to determine how strong you'd be and whether or not you'd be more of a liability or an asset for the upcoming battle."

'Did he really need to put it that way?' the girl glared at the pinkette but she couldn't deny his words…as much as she wanted to.

The girl got into her fighting stance and waited for him to do the same, but the man just stood there.

"Well come at me then. There's plenty of things to do and spending it all here would be wasteful." He said, prompting the girl to charge in with a loud cry.

'I'll show him!' She thought as she aimed a punch at his head, but he was able to avoid it with ease, causing her to stumble slightly, but she quickly regained balance by twisting her body before she sent a kick at his back, though this time he caught it with ease.

"Is this all you've got?"

"Not a chance!" Managing to pull her leg back from his grasp, the girl slowly walked around the Dragon Slayer, yet he showed no signs of moving from place at all.

Thinking she found a blind spot, she charged in for an attack, but without even turning back, the rosette tilted his body to the side, completely avoiding her.

"What are the two of you doing so early?" Laura asked curiously as she arrived just in time to watch Yuki face plant on the ground once again with the pinkette standing over her with a bored expression on his face.

"Training." That was all he said as he avoided yet another punch from the girl before taking a step back.

"Might I watch you two?"

"Go ahead, though let me tell you upfront, there's nothing interesting to watch." He deadpanned as he sidestepped another attack before striking the girl's legs, dropping her to the ground but she quickly rolled away before he could do any more.

"Just watch, I'm going to land a strike on you no matter what!" she shouted in determination.

"Right, just keep telling yourself that." He yawned tiredly as he gazed at the sunrise.

Deciding to take that opportunity, the girl lunged at the pinkette, but just when she was about an inch from him, she leapt to the side before leaping forward and she carried on doing so at a fast speed to the point there were afterimages of herself.

"That's incredible, I can't even see where she is." Laura said in awe as her eyes tried keeping up with the girl, but failed.

"Hehe, that's my partner for you!" Eara, after deciding to watch the training, said proudly. While she was unable to use her magic, that didn't mean she wasn't capable of winning a fight at all. In fact, Yuki was still one of the tougher mages in Fairy Tail for her quick reflexes and devastating swordsmanship.

Meanwhile, the pinkette hadn't even bothered trying to look for the girl's location and just silently stood in place, as he prepared himself for the girl to strike at any moment. The moment Yuki felt exhaustion start to kick in, she finally stopped her distraction and reappeared behind the Dragon Slayer and seeing that he wasn't looking at her, the girl decided to take that opportunity, "Take this!"

Unfortunately for her, the result proved to be the same as he just dodged to the side, completely avoiding her attack.

"You actually used your head for once. Surely that must be a first."

"Grr, stop dodging already!" the girl yelled in annoyance, just barely missing an inch of her target who ducked under her attack effortlessly.

"As you wish," The Dragon Slayer rolled his eyes and decided to shorten the distance between the two before immediately striking the girl with a punch to her gut. The force alone caused her to cough out as she dropped to the ground. She tried getting, though the moment she tried her mind began spinning causing her to drop back to the ground as she panted for air.

"That's it for today." Natsu announced as Eara flew over towards the ravenette in concern while the brunette walked up to him.

"So how did she do?" Laura asked curiously as Eara handed a small towel over to the ravenette who was panting heavily on the ground.

"Thanks," the girl smiled before turning over to her companion, who was busy wiping away the dust from his clothes, in expectation.

"Absolutely pathetic. Not only were you completely rash in your attacks with nothing to back it up with, but all of your attacks were completely simple. If you face off against anyone who's even slightly better against you, you'd be in deep trouble." The pinkette explained coldly and each word struck the girl's heart like an arrow as a cloud of depression hung over her head.

She knew that she shouldn't have felt as down as she was now, but no one had ever told her how badly she had done before. Sure, she had been criticised by both her parents and mentors before, but it was never to this extent. She didn't know why, but his words hit harder than any others.

Was it because this was the first ever time she had been out of her comfort zone?

"It's okay Yuki, I think you did amazingly!" Eara comforted, though it barely had any effect as the dark cloud still hung over her head. Meanwhile Laura sent a disapproving stare to the Dragon Slayer who rolled his eyes. What was the point of lying to her anyways? It wouldn't have helped the situation for them.

Natsu stared at the Exceed who was doing her best to console the ravenette, but was proving to be useless, causing him to sigh as he walked over to them. The two girls looked up at him and Eara sent a glare his way, as if thinking he was about to make it worst, but he ignored it.

"While there's undoubtedly plenty of errors you have in your fighting skills…" He started and hesitated continuing before he ultimately sighed.

"…As long as you continue to train I'm sure you'll be able to improve on it." Laura smiled when she saw this, while the other two were staring at the pinkette in disbelief.

"…"

"What?" The pinkette asked in annoyance at the looks he was receiving from the two.

"Who are you?" Both the girl and Exceed voiced out as they stared at him in confusion. The pinkette was trying to give her encouragement? Surely someone had replaced him in the matter of seconds they weren't looking at him.

This of course formed a tick mark on the Dragon Slayer's head as he looked away.

"Tch, I was a fool for thinking that giving you encouragement would help."

"No, no! You should be doing more of this each day! Heck, you should encourage and compliment me more often!" The girl said with a hand on her hips.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, to receive a compliment, you need to do something which deserves one." He said causing the girl to blow a raspberry at him.

Laura, who had been silently watching the interaction between the two, suddenly giggled, "The two of you seem very close with one another." the brunette commented causing the two to look at client as if she grew two heads.

"Are you kidding me, Laura? The only reason why this guy is with me at all is because someone told him to!" Yuki said, pointing at the pinkette who snorted in response.

"Obviously, after all who would want to spend their time with such a nosy and annoying child?" his snide comment elicited yet another glare from his travelling companion.

"Yeah, and nobody would want to spend time with a brooding asshole like you!"

"I can't stand on listening to such nonsense any longer. Make sure you stay together with her at all times and notify me if there's any trouble." Without even waiting for her response, the Dragon Slayer walked off from the field, leaving the trio behind.

"Ugh, that guy is so insufferable! How on Earthland can Aunt Wendy manage to put up with someone like him?" The girl tried to imagine a scene where the kind and gentle Wendy Marvell would spend time with the sarcastic and rude Natsu Dragneel and even enjoy it…but she just couldn't. Unfortunately for her, that was the reality of it.

It just made no sense whatsoever!

"Don't you know that people have said that the more you hate someone, the more likely you'll get together with them?" Laura couldn't help but giggle after seeing the horrified look on the ravenette's face.

"Not only do I hope that will never happen, but I know for a fact that will not happen." She responded after shuddering for a bit.

"Oh? He's not as bad as you think you know. In fact, I'd say he's quite the looker, don't you think?" she smiled.

"Yeah right." She mumbled under her breath and that was when the brunette realised that the girl in front of her seemed to have some form of dislike towards her partner. Which was strange considering they were travelling together.

"Is there a reason you have such a strong dislike for him?" Laura questioned with a tilt of her head as Yuki's eyes widened when she heard that.

Did she really dislike the Dragon Slayer? Despite him taking time out of his goal to help her? Did she really view him as someone who deserved her hate?

"I wouldn't say I hate him…" seeing the conflicted look on her face, the brunette gave her a reassuring smile.

"Well, I can't really give you any advices about this, but I do implore you to try and establish a strong enough connection with him. It'd be for the best after all."

"For the betterment of our mission?"

"Yes…that as well." The ravenette tilted her head in confusion but decided not to question it any further.

Meanwhile, Natsu grabbed his hood from his room and began heading for the mansion's exit but before he could even step out of the building, Sebastian walked up to him.

"Oh, are you heading out, sir?" The butler, Sebastian, asked as he approached the pinkette who was adjusting his hood.

"Yeah, I want to explore this town a bit and see if there's anything I could get to help us out." Upon seeing the strained look on the butler's face Natsu sighed, already knowing why he was making such a look.

"Don't worry about the girl, my comrade is together with her and if anything happens, they'll be able to contact me even if I'm away."

"O-of course! Thank you so much!" Sebastian stuttered before bowing his head towards him, an act which the pinkette ignored as he exited the mansion and began walking towards the main streets of Libel City.

As he walked through the street, the pinkette's eyes narrowed upon seeing a man wearing a business suit kick aside someone's hand who reached out to grab him.

"How dare you try and touch me?! This suit is much more valuable than your life ever was!" He then proceeded to kick the poor man, getting cheers from the people who had watched the scene unfold.

'This place really hasn't changed one bit.' The pinkette thought in disgust as he passed by the group. If it were in the past, he definitely would have caused a scene and helped those people out. However, seeing as he was on the run, he knew that it would ruin all of their plans about being inconspicuous, so he decided to carry on walking.

The Dragon Slayer couldn't help but recall the first time he arrived in Libel. It had been a few decades back and he had suddenly felt bored one day and decided to explore the world on his own and at his own leisure (Despite Wendy's strong suggestion about travelling together). It was safe to say that after stepping foot in the city the first time, the pinkette was determined to never step foot back into Libel ever again.

Not only were there people who were living in the city who were in desperate need of help, the ones who were blessed with wealth, rather than helping them, effectively made their situation worse and worse by constantly ignoring their pleas of help and even had the audacity to publicly attack them. Worst part is no one had ever made a move to step in, instead they'd just watch it as if it were a street performance.

'Guess it's true that true beauty is on the inside.' The Dragon Slayer thought to himself with a sigh. Though it was definitely not something he could relate with. In a way, he was slightly grateful that Rito and his daughter weren't stuck up or snobbish, otherwise he wouldn't hesitate to leave, with the large sum of money or not.

The rosette was snapped out of his train of thought as he looked down after feeling someone tug on his pants and he looked down to see a young child, almost as young as five years old, look at him with an expectant look on his messy face. Natsu stared at his dishevelled appearance before looking behind the boy to see a woman, who was also dishevelled, lying by a wall as she slept soundly.

He put two in two together as he slowly took out his pouch and handed the boy a handful of jewels. The boy's face brightened up as he shot the rosette a bright smile before bowing politely as he ran towards the woman in joy.

A small smile slowly began to form on his face as he watched the woman slowly awake from her sleep before she engulfed the boy into her arms, a warm smile on her face. She turned to face him and gave him a nod of appreciation, one he waved off as he decided to carry on walking through the streets.

"Goodbye big brother!" the child waved, but he chose to not respond back.

As he walked, the Dragon Slayer couldn't help but think back to the boy and his mother from before. The closeness between the two was rather obvious. After all, they were living in an area that doesn't care about them whatsoever and would rather them gone in order to maintain the 'cleanliness' of their city. Though he couldn't help but feel a bit…jealous.

The pinkette shook his head and decided to focus on investigating the area around him. He already wasted a few moments with the two and he still needed to explore the city. If the Neo Elements were using a base somewhere within the city, he'd at the very least like to assess the enemy before facing them head-on.

Unfortunately, the pinkette couldn't find a single trace of them whatsoever, not even when he ventured out to the slums of the city. There was absolutely zero news about them. With a sigh, he decided to return back home and just think about it later on. Though he was about to enter the mansion once again, something along the path caught his eye.

It was a lone glass bottle with a rolled up paper inside.

Natsu narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the bottle that was placed inconspicuously by the gate. While he wouldn't be surprised if there was anyone who decided to litter about. The fact that it was placed in a position that was just seemed out of place caught his attention. Besides that, he didn't notice it before when they first arrived at the mansion nor when he had left to explore.

'Which means someone must've placed it here after I left.' The Dragon Slayer looked around him before quickly picking up the bottle from the ground and headed back into the mansion.

"Welcome back sir. I hope your trip was successful?" Sebastian asked politely, but Natsu ignored him and carried on walking into the master room where he knew he'd find Rito.

Upon entering the room, the brunette was surprised to see the mercenary he hired walking up to him with a dark look on his face.

"What seems to be the problem?" he asked curiously.

"Get your daughter here and make sure that no one is listening in on us." The rosette said softly, and while he was confused about the situation, the brunette nodded his head and did as he was told.

"You called for me, father?" Laura peered into the room before entering alongside Yuki and Eara.

"Oh, mister mercenary you're back." That was when she noticed the tense atmosphere in the room.

"Is something the matter?" she asked and the pinkette looked around the room, as if checking to see if someone else were in the room before he turned his attention back to the group.

"I found this outside the gates when I came back and considering it wasn't there before means that someone deliberately placed it there." Natsu explained as he took out the bottle from his pocket and tossed it over to the male brunette.

"I think you can tell where I'm going with this."

"Damn it, so those bastards are finally on the move." Rito cursed underneath his breath as he grasped the bottle in his hands tightly.

"It's alright father. Had it not been for him, we would most definitely have missed it." Laura placed a comforting hand on her father, making him relax slightly.

"You're right. We managed to intercept their message for the time being. Now let's see what they had in mind." Opening the bottle cap, the brunette tried slipping the paper out

"Do you really think those guys are coming soon?" Yuki asked worriedly as the Dragon Slayer placed a hand on his chin.

"I'm not sure. It's highly possible that they'll strike us in a couple more days, but seeing as they plan on sending a message to the rest of their members, I'd say this would buy us just a bit more time." He then stared at the girl with narrowed eyes.

"Which means, you need to improve on your fighting skills within these next few days." Yuki smiled determinedly and nodded her head.

"What on Earthland is this?!" Rito's voice caught both their attention as they turned to him.

"What's wrong, Mr. Rito?" Eara asked curiously when she saw the crestfallen look on the man's face.

"I-I can't read it…" Yuki and Eara were surprised by this and Natsu turned to the girl standing beside her father for an explanation.

"This message is clearly written in a way so that even if we managed to intercept them, we'd never be able to identify it." Laura said.

"Those slimy bastards!"

"…Let me take a look at it." Natsu said and the man handed over the letter to the Dragon Slayer, but the expression on his face was strained.

"What's the point, this is probably written in code. There's no way we're going to-"

"I got it."

"What?!" Everyone turned to the pinkette in shock, his eyes never leaving the paper.

"Wait, you really understand the content of the message?" Yuki asked in a mix of shock and awe as she stared at the pinkette.

"I was slightly confused by a couple of words in the earlier portion but when I carried on reading, I managed to figure out that rather than a code, this was written in an ancient language called Garufan." Natsu said as he handed the letter back to Rito who was shell-shocked about this revelation.

"Garufan language…I never expected them to go such a length…"

"Wow, you really know old stuff, huh?" Yuki jokingly said before flinching when the Dragon Slayer shot her a heated glare.

"Uhh…I was just kidding?" He decided to ignore it as he looked the other way and faced his employers.

"However, the only problem is trying to translate it. If we don't decipher this message, we'll still be in lots of trouble." Natsu said as he narrowed his eyes at the paper in Rito's hands.

"Don't worry." Laura said as she brought all attention to herself.

"We have a library in the mansion, I'm sure we'll be able to translate the letter once we find a book this language." The pinkette nodded his head.

"Let's head over there then. The quicker we solve this message, the better we can prepare for it." The group all nodded their head as they exited the room and headed for the library. The group who were headed there were Rito, his daughter Laura, Yuki, Eara and Natsu himself.

Though as they were walking, Natsu suddenly stopped in place and gestured for the others to walk ahead of him before he walked over to the side where he saw a middle aged blue haired butler currently in the midst of cleaning the living room. Much like the other butlers in the mansion, he was wearing a proper suit.

"Hey you, did you notice anyone outside who could have possibly placed a bottle near the area?" Natsu asked the male, who looked surprised at his question at first, but recomposed himself as he shook his head.

"I'm afraid not, sir. After all, we would have noticed it if that were the case." Nodding his head, the Dragon Slayer walked off, following after the brunette in front of him.

End Chapter


Also, be sure to follow me on Ko-Fi page for weekly updates on my Fanfic stories as well as other perks. If you're not followed then please do so now, and if you're feeling generous, please drop one or two coffee for me.

kofi.c om (slash) christophernagura