I do not own YYH or Fairy Tail

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Chapter 8 Phantom Lord Part II: The Runaway Debutante

Magnolia – Meanwhile

While the rest of Fairy Tail was off battling Phantom Lord, one of the remaining mages walked alone across the town's cobblestone streets. As she clutched a bag of groceries close to her person, Lucy couldn't help but think of her friends who were currently off fighting the enemy guild.

"I still can't believe they took off like that", Lucy sighed, "But I guess someone needs to stay here to look after Levy and the boys".

The blonde celestial mage gasped as she was caught in a sudden downpour of rain.

"It's raining? But the sun's still out", she said in a confused tone.

Her thoughts shifted as she suddenly heard the sound of footsteps growing closer to her. She looked ahead to see a mysterious blue haired woman walking towards her.

"Wh-Who are you"? Lucy asked nervously.

The young woman in question wore a blue coat, a cream white furry trimmed navy-blue shawl with a pure white cloth doll attached to it, and a Cossack hat that matched. Her hair was slightly curled at the ends and her skin was as pale as alabaster porcelain. Her blank stare sent a shiver down Lucy's spine more than the cold dampness of the rain did. This was Juvia Lockser of the Element Four.

"Drip, drip, drop", Juvia replied in a cold and monotone fashion, "Juvia is the Rain Woman. It's always with me, and what sort of woman are you, pray tell? Drip, drip, drop~".

"Uhhh, the regular kind"? Lucy said nervously as she hunched over in hesitation, "What's with all the "drip dropping" "?

Instead of replying, the mysterious and forebodding blue haired woman simply opened up a pink parasol as she continued to walk by Lucy.

"Pleasure to meet you, I'll be going now", Juvia said.

"Well take the rain with ya"! Lucy shouted irately.

"Non, non, non! Non, Non, Non"!

An unfamiliar voice suddenly filled the air. Looking back, Lucy saw a strange shape rise up from the street. At first, it looked like a lifeless blob that had blended in with the pattern of the street. Then, it shifted into that of an older man with a slim frame. He was green hair that pointed upward and a pointy moustache that matched. He bore a monocle with a slim chain on his right eye, which made his left eye look slightly larger. In contrast to Juvia, he wore a brown suit with a ragged collar that had three protrusions on each side. Beneath his suit jacket was a white collared shirt and a red tie. He also wore a short cape that seemed to be attached to his elbows. His feet were still sunken into the ground and it looked as if he were standing in a large mud puddle. This was Sol, a fellow member of Phantom's Element 4.

"Je suis là! I bid you bonjour, mademoiselle"! He said in an amicable fashion.

"Great, another weirdo"?! Lucy said exasperated.

"Juvia, mon petite ami, you mustn't shy away from the task at hand"! Sol chided.

"No, monsieur Sol", Juvia acknowledged.

"My monocle tells me many things, Mon Cheri. It tells me this belle dame before us is our sought after cible", Sol said, adjusting his eye piece.

"Does it? So she is the one", Juvia replied.

"Cible"? Lucy repeated, "That means...target".

"Ah, pardonnez moi! I have not told you my name"! Sol said, bowing at a rather odd angle, "I am Sol of the Element Four. Also known as Sol of the Earth! But it would behoove you to call me Monsieur Sol".

"I've heard of the Element Four", Lucy said, switching to a more serious tone, "You're with Phantom"!

"Tres bien! Correct"! Sol replied in confirmation, "We've been sent here to collect you and bring you back to the guild at once"!

Lucy glared venomously as this news reached her ears.

"Ma belle companion is a rain woman whose also part of the Element Four. She's known as Juvia of the Great Sea"! Sol said, motioning to Juvia.

Without wasting a second, Lucy dropped her grocery bag and reached toward her side for her keys.

"You're the ones who attacked my friends! Aren't you"!? Lucy said, her blood boiling as she thought of Levy and the boys back in the hospital.

The blonde mage gasped as she was suddenly encased in a large sphere of water. She immediately tried breaking free by repeatedly, though vainly, pounding away at the surface of the sphere, but to no avail.

"Oh contraire, mademoiselle! A reasonable guess, but we are not the culprits"! Sol said in a matter-of-factly tone, "That honor and renovation of your guild hall was the work of Monsieur Gajeel! Although to be fair, we were with him in spirit, as the saying goes".

"Why are you doing this?! Let me out of here, now"! Lucy said as she struggled in her makeshift prison.

"Don't waste your energy", Juvia said coldly, "My Water Lock spell cannot be broken".

As strong in spirit as she was, Lucy soon succumbed to the nature that her binding entailed and, as she ran out of breath, passed out as she slowly shut her eyes. The celestial spirit wizard was now their prisoner, helpless as she floated seemingly lifeless in the large orb like water prison.

"Awww, se magnifique"! Sol said jubilantly, chuckling as he repeatedly swayed to the right in a rather eccentric way.

"Do not be afraid, we have explicit orders to keep you alive", Juvia assured half-heartedly, "You are nothing more than the target for our retrieval mission from our master...Lucy Heartfelia".

As the two members of the Element 4 walked away with their captured target in tow, they left behind Lucy's keys, which were now soaked by the rain. Luckily for the captive blonde mage, there happened to be a large shadowed figure peaking its' way up over one of the buildings surrounding the path.

"The target has been captured. Drip, drip, drop~".


Oaktown – Moments later

Much later, back at the Phantom Lord guild, the battle between Phantoms and Fairies continued to rage on. While Yusuke began to make his way back to the main hall, his fellow guildmates continued to doll out attack after attack on each and every member of Phantom who dared to cross their path. Naturally, whoever wasn't caught up in Natsu's flames were flash frozen by Grays' ice. That said, the rest of the guild members weren't doing too bad either. A few members of Phantom found that out the hard way as they rushed at a certain brunette card magic mage. Though they outnumbered her, Cana was anything but afraid.

"Card Magic! Lightning! Reverse Tower! Lovers! Thunderbolt's Fate"!

The three cards she held combined to create a wide array of lightning bolt's that struck down her attackers almost instantly. Next to her, Fairy Tail's resident playboy, Loke, readied himself as he twisted one of the rings, causing an eerie green light to shine from it.

"Ring Magic! Twister"!

With a wave of his hand, he summoned forth a powerful whirlwind that engulfed many other members of Phantom. Meanwhile, Elfman Strauss, the guild's self-proclaimed "real man", was proving that his title was well earned as many of the Phantom Members fell to his Beast Arm. From the enemies' perspective, the Fairy Tail Guild was in control of the entire fight. However, things would only stay one-sided for so long, and they all soon learned that the hard way as a loud noise drew their attention away.

BOOM!

Many of the members from boths sides looked up to see an imposing figure standing on top of the large yet disheveled Phantom Lord sign.

"Is that"?

"It's gotta be...".

Erza's eyes narrowed as she immediately recognized the new arrival.

"It's the Iron Dragon Slayer", Erza said, "Black Steel Gajeel".

One Fairy Tail member, Nab, a large, muscular, tanned skinned mage with a skull necklace and black vest was first to offer and offensive.

"You attacked Levy"! He exclaimed, cocking his fist back to ready a punch.

WHAM!

In an instant, Gajeel had transformed his arm into an iron pillar and struck Nab in the torso before he even had a chance to strike.

"He knocked out his own guildmates with that attack"! Gray said in disbelief.

"Show me what ya got", Gajeel sneered as his arm changed back to normal, "That is, unless you all are afraid of facing the great Iron Dragon Slayer".

"Real men have no fear"! Elfman bellowed as he used his magic to transform his arm into some sort of stone monster's arm.

The white-haired takeover mage reared back his newly transformed arm threw a punch at the Iron Dragon Slayer. But Gajeel was undeterred and wasted no words as he blocked Elfman's attack with his own transformed arm.

"You're Elfman, right"? Gajeel said as his iron pillar arm pressed against Elfman's beast arm.

Transforming his free arm into another metal pillar, the Iron Dragon Slayer then thrusted it toward Elfman, who swiftly dodged it by leaning to the right and then dodged as another came at him. The white-haired mage then intercepted a third strike as Gajeel struck with his leg which also became an iron pillar. Elfman's conviction burned as he clutched the pillar in his transformed stone arm.

"Heh, you're not half bad, big guy", Gajeel complimented.

"That's cause I'm a real man", Elfman replied.

"Yeah? Well, let's see how a real man handles this"!

Without warning, several smaller iron pillars stretched out from Gajeels' transformed leg. Surprisingly though, they struck out at random, hitting many of Gajeel's fellow Phantom Lord members.

"You attacked your own guildmates"?! Elfman said incredulously.

"Cause I knew it'd distract ya"! Gajeel said as he shifted his right arm into another club and struck Elfman in the face.

Caught off-guard by the attack, Elfman was promptly knocked away. As he flew back, he soon found himself being pounced on by Natsu, who used him as a springboard and flew towards Gajeel. Now it was the Iron Dragon Slayer who was caught off-guard as the pink haired mage roared and knocked him back with a flame infused punch, sending him careening back into the guild hall's bar. As the other members of Phantom Lord watched in disbelief at the sight of Gajeel being overpowered, the red eyed Phantom Mage growled as he sat up.

"Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Fairy Tail's Dragon Slayer", Natsu said as he held up his still burning fist, "Elfman, this guy's mine".

"Oh come on! First you use me as a springboard, and now you wanna steal my man to man fight"?! Elfman groused.

"Iron Dragon Club"! With Natsu distracted, Gajeel used his magic to shift his arm back into an iron pillar which slammed into the younger mage. As Natsu was pushed back by the attack, he clung to the pillar which bore into him with both arms.

"Natsu"! Erza shouted worriedly.

But the young Dragon Slayer seemed to be unphased by the attack. Steam and smoke began to emanate from the area of the pillar where Natsu held it.

"You destroyed out guild hall, and you attacked Levy and her team", Natsu said bitterly.

As flames ignited on Natsu's arms, Gajeel's eyes widened in disbelief.

"I'LL MAKE YOU PAY"! Natsu exclaimed as he heaved Gajeel up to the ceiling.

However, the Phantom Mage used one of the rafters' beams as a springboard to catch himself. As he launched himself downward back toward's Natsu, the younger Dragon slayer readied himself as he blocked Gajeel's attack and countered it with a flame covered punch, sending the iron mage into the wall.

"The kids' really fired up now"! Wakaba observed.

"Yeah, sucks to be that other guy", Macao replied.

"He's quite the wizard", Erza acknowledged proudly with a smile.

"Hmph! Alright, you're manlier than I thought, I'll let you have this one, Natsu, but you gotta promise...", Elfman begrudgingly began to say.

"You bet"! Natsu interrupted as if already knowing what his friend was about to say, "I'll beat him to a pulp"!

Suddenly, Gajeel's arm sprang out from the pile of debris that lay on top of him and the Iron Dragon Slayer stood up, with barely a scratch on him.

"Hmph, nice try, but I'm still standing", Gajeel stated.

"Not for much longer though", Natsu said with a smirk.

"Oh yeah"?!

With a smirk and a renewed hunger for battle, Gajeel charged at Natsu once more. The young fire dragon slayer was caught offguard as his opponent transformed his leg into an iron pillar and kicked him clear across the room with it.

"That had to hurt", Gray noted as he saw Natsu land.

"This is getting pretty crazy", Loke added.

As his eyes glowed red, the strongest of the Element 4 stood in anticipation, as if daring Natsu to get back up and continue the fight.

"Aww what's the matter, you can dish it out but ya can't take it"? He sneered.

"It'll take more than that to keep me down", Natsu said as he sat up, flashing a toothy grin.

Gajeel smiled, rather pleased by his opponents response.

"You seriously think you can beat me, ya pyro"?! Gajeel asked as a green magic seal appeared over his right fist.

"Whattya mean "think"? I know that I can", Natsu replied as a red magic seal appeared over his own fist which suddenly caught fire.

"We'll see about that"! Gajeel shouted. His arm transformed into an iron pillar and was launched towards Natsu.

With one flame covered hand, Natsu caught it, steadying himself as he was pushed back a few feet.

"Your steel beams can't even touch me"! Natsu said as his flames began to cause the steel beam to give off steam.


While the two Dragon Slayers squared off against each other, Yusuke was making his way back to the main hall, fighting his way past some of the lesser members who decided to hang back. All around him were the unconscious forms of beaten Phantom Lord mages. He frowned as he held up one he had recently knocked out by the front of their shirt.

"Heh, and here I was hoping you guys would be a challenge", he said apathetically as he tossed them to the floor, "Come on, Matchstick and the Ice Princess have a lot more fight in them than you lameass's and I've been laying them on their asses on a daily basis. Heck, I bet even Red could give me a decent challenge".

Flashback

As the days went by, Yusuke had found himself rather busy even during his time off. Whenever he wasn't out hunting bandits, dark guild wizards, or monsters, he was constantly being hounded by a certain pink haired fire wizard.

"Hey Yusuke! Remember when you said any time I was ready, I could challenge you"! Natsu exclaimed, "Well I'm here to collect"!

BANG!

Without even glancing at him, Yusuke fired a basketball sized blast from his Spirit Gun and sent Natsu flying into the wall, all the while not leaving his place at the bar. The spirit detective scoffed as he took another sip from his mug. Natsu groaned as he lay embedded in the impression he made in the wall.

"Dammit...he always gets me that way", Natsu complained.

"Maybe you oughta try a different approach", Happy suggested.

"Heh, whoever told ya it was your lucky day oughta have their tarot cards revoked", Yusuke said with a chuckle.

"Wasn't me", Cana said from her place next to him at the bar, "My fortunes had you winning with one shot, as usual. Though I didn't count on you not leaving your seat".

"Not like this is the first time I've dealt with this crap", Yusuke said with a shrug, "Plus, this is good beer, I'm not about to put this down before I get a good buzz going. Speaking of which, yo Mira! Mind topping me off"?

"Sure thing", Mira said, walking up to him and taking his mug from him.

"Eheh, better watch your intake there, Detective, otherwise I might start thinking you're gunning for my spot as the guild's top drinker", Cana joked, grabbing the barrel of liquor next to her and bringing it up to her lips.

"Ha! Like I'd ever! Though honestly, the idea of going against you is a lot more enticing than fighting that pink moron", Yusuke said coyly.

"HEY"! Natsu cried out indignantly.

"If you're trying to sweet talk me, you're gonna have to do better than that", Cana teased, "Besides, you may fight hard, but I doubt even a bruiser like you could keep up with me".

"Hey now, don't go writing me off before you've seen me in action", Yusuke said confidently.

"Here you go", Mira said, handing Yusuke his newly refilled mug.

"Hey, thanks Mir", Yusuke said, taking it.

Behind him, having seen the short-lived bout from earlier, Gray was thoroughly enjoying himself as he saw his pink haired rival pull himself out of the Natsu shaped hole in the wall. He sat with Lucy and Erza at their own table situated n front of the bar where Yusuke sat.

"Heh! The poor idiot didn't even last a minute", Gray chuckled to himself.

"What happened to your clothes"! Lucy exclaimed

"NOT AGAIN"! Gray cried out jumping out of his chair.

As he leapt from his spot at the table, his chair was thrown back into Yusuke. The young half demon was so surprised that he had dropped his mug, the beer spilling out of it as it left his hand and landed on the bar counter, with some of it spilling out on his shirt. To say Yusuke was irritated was a major understatement. Without saying a word, he got up from his stool and promptly left the bar.

"Oh boy", Cana said knowingly.

Just as Gray had finally managed to put his clothes back on, he felt a hand clasp his shoulder.

WHAM!

Only to find himself, once again, reduced to his briefs as he was flung toward the same wall Natsu had flown into, making another human shaped impression in the wall.

"Ha! There's a wall there y'know, ice perv", Natsu snickered.

"Shut. up. dumb. pyro", Gray groaned as he pulled himself free.

"What'd you call me"?! Natsu growled, colliding his forehead with Gray's.

"If I have to repeat myself, you're only proving me right"! Gray retorted, pushing back.

"Hey".

Natsu and Gray blinked as they turned to see Yusuke glaring daggers at them, the beer stain clearly showing on his white shirt. His entire aura rife with murderous intent.

"Well, they're dead", Lucy said, cringing as she saw Yusuke stare down her fellow wizards.

"Aye", Happy said, flying up next to her.

"It's to be expected, but I doubt he'll actually kill them", Erza said, crossing her arms.

"Can't say I blame him, though", Cana said, setting down her barrel, "Nothing worse than wasting perfectly good beer".

"So ya wanted a rematch, huh"? Yusuke said in a low voice, "Well I'll do ya one better. I'll take both of you dumbasses on if ya got the guts".

"Whoa", Gray said hesitantly.

"Alright! I'm all fired up now"! Natsu exclaimed, running towards Yusuke.

"Wait, you idiot! Don't just.."!

Unfortunately, Gray's warning fell on deaf ears as Natsu continued to charge forward the bemused spirit detective.

"Fire Dragon Iron Fist"! Natsu threw his flame covered fist at Yusuke. Without missing a beat, Yusuke simply smacked it aside, surprising the fire wizard. He proceeded by grabbing Natsu by the ears and began spinning him around.

"Ow! Hey! Let go! Wait, stop spinning me or...urgh"!

Natsu's indignant cries of pain turned into a sickening groan as an ill stricken look stretched across his face, his cheeks puffing up as if he were about to vomit.

"Oh NO! Toss your cookies anywhere but on ME"! Yusuke cried worriedly, as he finally released the motion sick mage.

The currently sickened fire dragon slayer was thrown forward and headed straight towards Gray.

"OH CRAP"!

Gray tried to dodge but it was too late. Natsu slammed into Gray, causing both of them to collide with the wall once more, making spider web shaped cracks in the structure. Yusuke stood victorious as both semiconscious wizards lay against the wall.

"Please refrain from doing any more damage to the guild hall", Erza said in a stern tone.

"Shut it, red! I'm pissed off enough as it is without you barking orders at me"! Yusuke exclaimed angrily, "Don't tell me what to do"!

Silence filled the air as everyone else began to slowly process the fact that Yusuke had just mouthed off Erza. The red-haired sword mage swiftly stood up from her place at the table and slowly walked over to where Yusuke was. Lucy and Happy held each other, scared as to what might happen next.

"He totally backtalked Erza, AGAIN", Lucy whimpered.

"He's dead! His only chance now is to run"! Happy said, equally afraid.

As Erza finally approached Yusuke, she returned his glare with one of her own. Though her presence oozed outrage, Yusuke remained undeterred by the incensed S-Class wizard standing before him.

"What did you just say to me"? Erza demanded hotly.

"Tch, what now? You wanna throw down too"? Yusuke asked indifferently, "Wait your turn! I gotta finish what I started with panty boy and vomit comet".

"We have names, y'know"! Natsu and Gray both groaned.

"Who cares"?! Yusuke retorted, "Besides, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have spilled my drink! Speaking of which, ya got anymore, Mira"?

"Sorry Yusuke, but we won't have any more in stock until tomorrow", Mira said sweetly, completely unfazed by any of the recent events.

"Yeah, that's kinda on me, sorry about that", Cana said, waving her hand as she took another swig from her barrel.

"What?! DAMMIT"! Yusuke whined, "Okay, now I'm REALLY pissed"!

Yusuke cocked back his fist to continue the fight, but he felt something hard clamp down on him. He turned to see his shoulder in the grasp of Erza's armored hand.

"Take it outside, NOW", Erza ordered.

Once again, Yusuke was unfazed by Erza's authoritative tone, but seeing as how she was gonna be on his ass about it unless he complied, he let out a terse scoff and leaned down, picked up Natsu and Gray in a headlock with each arm, and headed towards the exit. Everyone else in the guild hall let out a sigh as the situation had finally been defused. The redhaired S-Class mage exhaled forcefully through her nose as she regained her composure. Yusuke's constant defiance was continually beginning to work on every last nerve she had.

"Guys got some serious cajones to talk back to Erza like that", Cana noted after taking another swig from her barrel.

"True, but it is a rather interesting change of pace", Mira pointed out.

(End of Flashback)

Yusuke smirked as he the memory played through his head. It was strange how in the short time he'd been with the guild, he got into more fights with his supposed teammates than he did with the scumbags he was paid to fight. Annoying though it was, he had to admit that their constant pestering for a fight did keep him on his toes, and it did bring back memories of his fights with Kuwabara. The young human hybrid shook his head, dispelling the nostalgic feeling that was welling up inside. He knew that now wasn't the time to get sentimental and remembered his course objective. Looking from side to side, he felt rather bitter as he gazed upon, what he was referring to as, the "latest members of the bum of the month club". The lack of decent opponents since he had separated from the others was making him anxious and a bit bored as well.

"Looks like if I wanna fight one of the heavy hitters, I'll have to look elsewhere", he thought".

Suddenly, the room started to shake. Yusuke was surprised at first, but he quickly regained his bearings.

"Feels like things are really starting to heat up", Yusuke observed, "I better get back if I still want a piece of the action".

Yusuke looked around as the shaking began to die down.

"There's gotta be a shortcut through one of these halls", he said to himself.

The realization hit him like a freight train.

"What am I thinking"? He said to himself, "If there's no shortcut...".

He smirked as he raised his now glowing index finger at the wall on his left.

"Make one".

XXX

In the upper levels, the tremors continued as Fairy Tail's guild master made his lone sojourn. With a burst of power and a golden flash of light, the wall in front of him blew up, bits of debris flying everywhere from the large hole that was now made. As the elderly wizard continued forward, the ground beneath him cracking as if he were walking on thin glass, he had finally come upon the one he had been looking for. He was a slim man, a few years younger than Makarov, with a thin mustache, dark lips, and long, straight, dark red hair that went down to his shoulders. On his head he wore a dark purple witch's hat with a long, bent top hanging down on the left side. He white collared shirt, with a pink ribbon fastened by his Wizard Saint medallion, which was worn beneath a purple jester-esque cloak with a high collar and two dark wings sticking out from the back. He also wore a pair of red pantaloons with black stripes, white socks and dark pointed shoes with two fuzzy balls on the tips of each. This was Jose Porla, Master of the Phantom Lord Guild.

The opposing guild master looked at Makarov as if he were expecting him, sneering as he looked at his fellow Wizard Saint with zero fear in his eyes, despite the massive amount of power emanating from the older man.

"Jose"! Makarov bellowed as he stopped a few feet away from him.

"Well well well, Look what the cat dragged in", Jose muttered coolly.

"Why are you attacking Fairy Tail?! TELL ME"! Makarov demanded.

"I haven't seen you in quite a while Makarov, six years ago at the Guild Masters' Conference, if I recall", Jose said, feigning nostalgia as he ignored Makarov's clamor, "I was a complete mess that day. I can't hold my liquor as well as you".

"Then maybe you're not as tough as you think you are".

Both Makarov and Jose looked over to see Yusuke making his way over to them.

"What are you doing here? You should be down there helping the others", Makarov said irately.

"They can handle themselves just fine without me", Yusuke said apathetically, "Besides, looks like the real fun is in here. By the way, didn't anyone ever tell you not to make the entrance to your hidey hole so obvious"?

"Heh, well look at what we have here", Jose said, his sinister grin returning, "So, you're the infamous Yusuke Urameshi. I heard you caused quite the incident in Onibus".

"Yeah so, what's it to you"? Yusuke inquired, raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, not much. But I must say, I was quite intrigued by the fact that you nearly crippled an opponent without a second thought", Jose replied, "Not to mention the fact that you nearly shot Gajeel's head clean off had you been using your full power. You know, Makarov and his children certainly have their limits when it comes to indulging in violence, but it's like you have none to begin with. Almost as if you revel in it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't admire your style".

"Gee, I'm real touched", Yusuke quipped.

"You know, with your apparent affinity for fighting and apathy towards the use of brute force, you'd fit right in with my guild", Jose offered, "Face it, your talent is wasted among the bleeding hearts of Makarov's little so-called family. Why don't you join Phantom"?

Makarov's eyes widened as he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was Jose really trying to persuade Yusuke into defecting from Fairy Tail to Phantom Lord? Looking over at the young man, Makarov saw that Yusuke had a rather pensive look on his face. With the realization that Yusuke could truly end up leaving them for the enemy beginning to dawn on him, Makarov finally began to sweat. The room was so silent that one would've been able to hear the older man's heartbeat. The tense silence was broken as Yusuke let out a terse scoff.

"Man, you're dumb", Yusuke said with a smirk.

Jose and Makarov both shared a look of surprise as Yusuke continued.

"You really think you can win me over that easily, don't you? You're either really desperate or you just think I'm that stupid", said the Spirit Detective, "You're not wrong though, Fairy Tail's members leave a lot to be desired in more ways than one. My team's made up of a dumbass pyro, an exhibitionist with brain freeze, a whiney blonde ditz, a smartass cat, and a red-haired naggy bitch and saying that they're all a collective pain in my ass would be the understatement of the fuckin' century".

"There's some truth to all that but you could at least show some restraint", Makarov thought as a drop of sweat ran down his forehead.

"But y'know what? They're good people, and that fact alone doesn't make them weak", Yusuke continued.

Makarov's eyes widened as Yusuke said that. For the first time since he joined, he actually praised his teammates. Maybe not to their faces, but still.

"I may not buy into all the homespun sentimental crap that goes on there, but I know for a fact that they're all good people", Yusuke said, "From what I've seen today, they have each other's backs when the shit hits the fan. Even when the odds are against 'em, they charge forward like they're ready to die. And y'know something? That's pretty freakin' awesome".

Jose couldn't believe what he was hearing. Despite everything, all the intel he acquired on the Spirit Detective thanks to his position as a Wizard Saint, Yusuke had defied all expectations and stood firm in his belief in Fairy Tail. This didn't sit well with the master of Phantom Lord, and it irritated him like a bad itch. Makarov, however, felt a sense of pride as he looked over at his guild's newest member, his newest child.

"You truly are Genkai's disciple", Makarov thought.

The older man then turned his attention back to Jose.

"I didn't come here to chat, I want answers, Jose"! Makarov said in a calm but serious tone.

Suddenly without warning, Yusuke aimed his index finger which gave off a loud humming noise and a bright light blue glow. Makarov's eyes widened as he saw the young man fire off a blast from his Spirit Gun which shot off at Jose in the blink of an eye. As the blast made contact and exploded, dust and debris flew everywhere.

"Yusuke"! Makarov shouted in concern.

"Relax, I didn't even hit him", Yusuke said in a rather disappointed tone.

"What are you..."?

Before Makarov could finish, he received a shock. As the dust settled, there stood Jose, completely unaffected by Yusuke's attack. If that wasn't enough of a shock, he suddenly glitched as if he were an image on an old television set, laughing as if he remembered a funny joke.

"How did you know"? Jose asked, rather curious at Yusuke's foresight.

"Cause I'm not stupid", Yusuke replied tersely, "You're not giving off any Spirit energy, plus you're not even casting a freakin' shadow".

"Guess that's why you're the detective", Jose joked.

"A projection?! I should've known you'd flee with your tail between your legs"! Makarov fumed.

"Don't misunderstand, I'm simply trying to avoid a fight between two of the Wizard Saints", Jose explained, "Rather than deal with that mess, I'd prefer a sensible victory without all the ruckus".

"Tch! What victory? Your guild's toast, dumbass", Yusuke chuckled, "And then once your flunkies turn tail, we're gonna find whatever rock you crawled under, drag you out from under it, and then beat your head in with it. Face it, old man, you got nothing".

"Oh, don't I"? Jose said cryptically.

Yusuke and Makarov both looked at him with curious expressions. Their shared look of curiosity turned to one of surprise and shock as another new projection appeared at the fake Jose's feet. Before him was Lucy her wrists bound together and seemingly unconscious.

"Lucy"! Makarov muttered.

"You bastard"! Yusuke exclaimed.

"But why"?! Makarov said in disbelief.

"Why, you ask? You mean she's a member of your guild and you don't know"? Jose said mockingly as a dark magic seal appeared over his hand, "I'm surprised miss Lucy Heartfelia never told you the truth".

"No, don't"! Makarov cried out.

Meanwhile, a sharp tingle erupted in the back of Yusuke's neck. Turning his head, he saw a figure standing before him and Makarov. It was a tall, tan man with a blindfold over his eyes, wearing a long green coat with a hat to match, a yellow shirt, dark pants, and a necklace with a skull and orange beads. This man was Aria, one of Phantom Lord's strongest, and one of the Element Four.

"Behind you"! Yusuke shouted.

Makarov turned around to see the lumbering figure which stood behind him.

"Where'd he come from?! I couldn't even sense his presence"! Makarov thought.

"It's so sad! SO SAD"! Aria sobbed.

"What the hell's he bawling for"?! Yusuke exclaimed, "I don't like this"!

Suddenly, a bright flash of light filled the room. As Yusuke covered his eyes, he could hear a loud crash, mingled with a cry of pain and anguish. When he opened his eyes, he saw that the room was empty. The big guy was gone, and to his horror, so was Makarov. Looking down he saw a large hole where the older wizard once stood.

"Oh, shit...".

XXX

Meanwhile, back down on the lower level, the battle had come to a halt on both sides when something fell from the ceiling and crashed into the floor with a loud noise. As the dust settled, everyone was shocked to see Makarov lying in a rubble filled crater, his entire physical appearance had turned green.

"What happened to me? I feel weak...my magic...it's gone", Makarov thought.

"It's gramps"! Natsu said in disbelief.

"Is he okay"?! Gray exclaimed.

"Master"! Erza shouted in concern.

"LOOK OUT BELOW"!

Everyone looked up as another figure fell from the ceiling and landed a foot away from Makarov. Yusuke weakly stood back up, grunting as he felt a sharp pain shoot up his right leg.

"Yusuke"! Erza said, surprised by his entrance.

"Ugh, dammit, I think I twisted my ankle when I landed", Yusuke groaned.

He then hobbled over to Makarov. Getting down on one knee, he knelt before the fallen guild master.

"Heh, sorry about that, old man", Yusuke said with a smirk, "Didn't mean for that big oaf to get the drop on...".

Before Yusuke could finish his sentence, a sense of disbelief began to well up inside him. The reason for that was due to the fact that it felt as if the spirit energy coming from the sickly green wizard lying in front of him was...slowly beginning to fade out.

"No way", Yusuke muttered with a frown.

Within seconds, the others came to their aid. While Cana helped in bandaging Yusuke's ankle, Erza cradled their fallen guild master in her arms.

"My power is...my magic power is...", Makarov stammered.

"Master, calm down, please", Erza said, almost pleadingly.

"What happened"? Cana asked.

"Some blindfolded bastard went and pulled a fast one", Yusuke said, groaning as he tried to stand, "Snuck up on us before we even...had a chance to put up a fight and-AUGH"!

Yusuke sank to his knees as the pain which shot up from his ankle all the way up his leg increased.

"Careful", Cana said, steadying him, "If you put any more stress on your ankle, it'll snap in two".

"Old man took the front of the blast for me before I even knew what was happening", Yusuke seethed bitterly as he clutched his injured leg, "Tch...crazy old bastard".

"You couldn't have known they'd try and ambush you, Yusuke", Happy said, attempting to dissuade him of his guilt, "I mean, nobody would ever try to take a shot at a Wizard Saint".

"Not until now, that is", Yusuke muttered.

"What's happening to him"? Cana asked, turning everyone's attention back to Makarov.

"I don't know", Gray said, rather distressed, "But I don't sense any magic energy coming from him at all".

"Wait, Gray, are you saying he's just an ordinary old man now"? Elfman said in disbelief.

"It's worse than that", Yusuke said.

Everyone then turned their attention to the Spirit Detective.

"What are you talking about"? Erza asked worriedly.

"I don't know if I told you guys this, but one of the tricks I've picked up is being able to sense someone else's spirit energy", Yusuke explained, "And if the old mans' was basically a big ass bonfire earlier, now you could say it's like a matchstick in blizzard right now".

"W-what does that mean"? Cana asked, fearful of the answer.

"In short"? Yusuke said, frowning as he shut his eyes, "If he isn't taken care of soon...he's done for".

The others were shocked upon hearing this.

"What"?! Cana exclaimed.

"No that can't be"! Happy said in disbelief.

"Come on gramps, you can pull through this"! Natsu said worriedly.

"I don't understand, gramps is so powerful, how'd they beat him"? Gray said.

"Only way to find out is to go up there", Elfman said.

As the surrounding Phantom Lord members saw Makarov indisposed, their fighting spirit had been renewed.

"This is bad", Erza thought as she heard them talking amongst themselves.

With a loud battle cry, the Phantom Lord wizards all charged towards the members of Fairy Tail.

"Don't get cocky"! Natsu shouted, swatting a bunch of them away with his fire magic.

"Crap, what now"?! Gray said, retaking a fighting stance.

"We'll just have to fight harder", Loke replied.

"That should be easy", Yusuke said, grunting as he got on his feet, "Besides, I still haven't gotten my fill yet".

As he raised his arm, Yusuke charged a large amount of spirit energy into the tip of his right index finger.

"Spirit-augh"!

Unfortunately, right at the moment he was about to fire, a sharp pain shot up from the base of his right foot all the way up his leg. Fighting back the pain, he weakly raised his arm back to where he was aiming.

"S-Spirit..Gun"!

A large blast shot out from his finger, knocking back a large wave of Phantom Lord Wizards. Despite his current injury, Yusuke was still able to hold his own fairly well.

"Dammit", He said, clutching his leg, "My ankle's killing me. But I can't give them an inch, not even for one second".

As Erza wiped her eye, she took note of the situation.

"We can't do this", she thought, "Without the master and Yusuke injured, we're not strong enough and our morale's dangerously low".

Getting to her feet, the red-haired S-Class wizard knew that there was no other choice.

"We must retreat! Everyone back to the guild, now"! She ordered.

Everyone nearby couldn't believe what they were hearing.

"Erza...", Loke said in surprise.

"No way! We can't just quit"! Gray said in defiance.

"Real men never retreat"! Elfman added.

"I still got fight in me", Macao said as he leaned on Cana for support.

"Me too", Cana added.

"We can't! We don't stand a chance against Jose! Now Retreat! That's an ORDER"! Erza said firmly.

"Say WHAT"?! Yusuke exclaimed incredulously

Almost immediately, every member of the Fairy Tail Guild began to make a beeline towards the exit, all except for Yusuke of course. Meanwhile, back up in the rafters, Gajeel stood with the mysterious wizard who overpowered Makarov known as Aria.

"I gotta commend you on taking down that Fairy Tail geezer", Gajeel said.

"I just followed Master Jose's orders", Aria replied before bursting into tears, "But THANK YOU"!

"Why're you always cryin?! Geez, cut it out"! Gajeel said, "Anyway, what happened with that Lucy girl"?

"She's been captured", Aria said, "The poor wretch's in a gloomy cell in headquarters".

"So much for a warm welcome, huh"? Gajeel joked.

Natsu, who was able to hear everything thanks to his enhanced senses, couldn't believe what they said.

"No way", Natsu gasped.

"What's wrong"? Happy asked.

"Gajeel"! Natsu growled.

The mage in question looked down at his fellow Dragon Slayer with a nide grin as he stood up alongside Aria.

"We'll settle this someday, Salamander", he sneered.

The taller Phantom Lord wizard then put his arm out to the side and in an instant, he and Gajeel disappeared.

"Those jerks...kidnapped Lucy", Natsu said, still shocked.

"Wha"?! Happy gasped.


Meanwhile, the rest of Fairy Tail was still evacuating.

"Everybody out! Let's go"! Erza instructed.

"I'm not going anywhere"! Yusuke said defiantly.

"Me neither"! Gray said, his hands glowing with his magic aura, "I'm not leaving until I get revenge! They gotta pay for what they did to us"!

The S-Class wizard then put her hand on Gray's shoulder as she leaned on him. The Ice-Make wizard was completely surprised as Erza held him in a firm yet gentle embrace.

"Please", she said softly.

"Erza..", Gray said in surprise.

Neither Gray or Yusuke had expected this. The strongest woman in the guild was actually crying.

"I'm sorry", she said, trying her best to fight back the urge to start sobbing, "It's our only option. We need him, we're completely helpless without the master".

As surprising as it was, though, Yusuke wasn't having any of it.

"Tch! S-Class Wizard or not, I don't take orders from ANYBODY"! Yusuke shouted hotly, "If you guys wanna turn tail and run, FINE! But I'm not going until I-Agh"!

Before Yusuke could rebel any further, he felt another sharp twinge of pain shoot up from his ankle all the way up his leg. He suddenly staggered a bit until he suddenly felt a hand wrap around his shoulder. He turned and, to his surprise, saw that Erza, who had suddenly made her way out of Gray's grasp and over to his position, had been the one to catch him. As Yusuke looked at her, he could see the tears in her eye beginning to make themselves more apparent. The once stern and serious redhaired swordswoman who had always seemed to keep him in check looked so emotionally vulnerable that he almost couldn't believe it.

"Yusuke...please", she said, almost pleading with him.

The young hybrid was at a loss. Yusuke couldn't remember the last time he felt this way. His outrage and battle hunger were suddenly an afterthought. For the first time in a long while, someone actually managed to make him rethink his position. Despite her bossy and demanding attitude, as well as her annoying "straight arrow" outlook, Yusuke had come to see Erza as a headstrong and capable fighter, not unlike himself. Seeing her with this forlorn look on her face completely shattered his initial image of her almost entirely.

Taking another look around, he began to reassess the situation; More and more members of Phantom were regaining their nerve and beginning the counterattack, his ankle needed more time before it was healed, and Makarov, their leader and heaviest hitter, was currently out of commission, and without him, the morale of over half the Fairy Tail wizards' was dropping rapidly. Taking all this into consideration, Yusuke finally relented.

"Alright", he said with a sigh, "But I don't have to like it".

"Never said you needed to", Erza replied softly.

"Still though, I wanna give these bastards something to remember us by", Yusuke growled.

"You need any help"? Erza asked.

"Just get me to the door, it'll be a while until I'm able to walk on my own again", Yusuke said.

Erza nodded as she placed Yusuke's right arm around her shoulder. As the Fairy Tail wizards made their retreat, Erza and Yusuke brought up the rear. Even with his current injury, Yusuke managed to keep at a steady pace. Once they were close enough to the exit, Yusuke had Erza stop where they were.

"This should be good enough", Yusuke said, releasing his grip around Erza's shoulder.

Raising his right arm and extending his index finger, he gathered a great amount of spirit energy into the tip as he took aim at the ceiling. Unfortunately, he had subconsciously leaned to his right and, as the pressure in his body shifted, he grunted in pain as he felt the bones and muscles in his right foot flare up in agony. To his surprise, Erza steadied him by placing her arm around his shoulder and taking his wrist in her free hand. The young Spirit Detective turned in surprise to see Erza softly smiling at him.

"Remember", she said in a warm and gentle tone, "You don't have to go it alone anymore. I'm here for you, as I am for everyone else in the guild".

The scarlet swords mage's words brought an odd sense of comfort to Yusuke, who nodded in reply. Turning his attention back to where he was aiming, he continued to build up more and more energy until it shined like a flare.

"Let's see how you like some impromptu renovations, ya jackoffs", Yusuke growled, "SPIRIT GUN"!

A large blast of bright blue spirit energy was then fired from the tip of Yusuke's finger which exploded upon making contact with the ceiling. The impact and power from the blast was so great that the support beams gave way as the blast continued upward. Several other upper floors were destroyed as hundreds of pieces of debris rained down.

"Aw crap! He's bringing the place down on us"! One phantom wizard cried out in worry.

"Everybody run before you get crushed"! Shouted another.

As the Phantom Lord members all scrambled to get out of the way, Yusuke smirked as the blast continued to decimate the enemy guild hall.


Meanwhile, Natsu and Happy were far away from the now crumbling enemy guild hall, with a Phantom Lord wizard in tow.

"So what do we do now"? Happy asked, flying next to Natsu.

"Isn't it obvious? We're going to find and save Lucy", Natsu replied firmly before addressing the Phantom Lord wizard that he was dragging with him, "Alright pal, where is she? Tell me"!

"How should I know? I don't know a Lucy"! The enemy wizard choked out as he struggled in Natsu's grip.

He suddenly cried out in pain as he was engulfed in flames made from Natsu's magic.

"Start talking"! Natsu growled.

"I already told ya, I don't know anything"! The wizard cried out, "Seriously dude, now put out the fire"!

"If you Phantom guys hurt another one of my friends, I swear I'll burn every one of you into a pile of ashes"! Natsu threatened.

"I'm telling ya, man! I've never heard of this Lucy chick! If I had, I would've told ya by now"! Exclaimed the wizard as he writhed in pain from the Fire Wizard's flames.

WHOOSH!

Their conversation was interrupted as a gust of wind caught them from behind, and a shadow passed over them for a brief moment. Though surprised, Natsu kept his grip on his captee.

"What the hell was that"? Natsu said curiously.

"Natsu, look"! Happy said, pointing ahead of them.

The Fire Dragon Slayer looked to where Happy was pointing and saw a familiar avian figure flying ahead of them.

"Was that...Puu"?! Natsu said in disbelief.

"I thought Yusuke said he stayed behind"! Happy said equally confused.

Not wanting to waste any more time, Natsu picked up the enemy wizard by the front of his shirt and looked him dead in the eye.

"Alright pal, fess up! What's ahead of us"?! Natsu inquired, "Why would Puu be heading in that direction"?!

"I don't know who you're talking about, but that's the direction where our headquarters is", the Phantom Lord wizard confessed, "And if I had to guess, that's probably where they got your friend locked up! That's all I know"!

"Why didn't you say that in the first place"?! Natsu asked angrily.

"Aye"! Happy said in agreement.


Phantom Lord Headquarters

Meanwhile, at the top of the hill where Phantom Lord's Headquarters stood, Lucy lay motionless with her hands bound in a stonewall cell, unconscious as she rested on the cold floor. As she finally regained consciousness, she sat up with wide eyes, curious as to how she got there.

"What the? How'd I get here"? She wondered aloud.

"You're finally awake! I was starting to worry about you, Lucy", came a voice, emanating through the door's barred window.

"Who're you"? Lucy inquired, turning her head towards the door.

As the door opened up, in walked none other than Phantom Lord's guild master.

"I am Master Jose Porla of the Phantom Lord guild", Jose said, introducing himself.

"You're with Phantom"?! Lucy said, her anger quickly beginning to rise.

In that moment, Lucy suddenly recalled what happened. How she was captured by two of Phantom's Element 4 and nearly drowned in that Water Wizard's liquid imprisonment.

"I'd like to apologize for your accommodations, and being tied up must be very unpleasant, but I'm afraid I had no choice, my dear", Jose apologized in a snide tone, "But that is how you treat a prisoner, after all".

"You're the jerks who attacked my friend, Levy"! Lucy exclaimed, "You'd better let me go! My friends are going to come for me"!

"Depending on your willingness to cooperate, I'd would gladly treat you as Phantom Lord's esteemed guest rather than a lowly prisoner", Jose continued, ignoring Lucy's previous statement.

"What do you mean by that"? Lucy asked, taken off-guard by Jose's offer.

Her train of thought was interrupted when a centipede made its' way up her leg.

"EEYAH! YUCK! THE BUG CRAWLED ON ME"! Shrieked the Blonde-Haired Wizard.

"See? You don't want to stay in here do you"? Jose said, retaking control of the conversation, "I have a beautifully decorated suite waiting for you, if you promise to behave".

"Why does your guild keep attacking us"? Lucy said, regaining her composure.

"Who is us"? Jose said, feigming ignorance, "Oh, I'm sorry, were you talking about Fairy Tail"?

A sinister sneer stretched across the face of the Master of Phantom Lord.

"It was a means to the end", he said, "And that's all".

"What"? Lucy replied.

"You see", Jose explained, "We were working towards our main objective of acquiring a certain someone. They happened to be a member of Fairy Tail so if we happen to destroy the guild to get ahold of them, then so be it".

"Who are you talking about"? Lucy said, still confused.

"Oh my my, you're such a naïve girl, not at all what I'd expect from a debutante", Jose sneered.

Lucy gasped as Jose finally managed to get his point across.

"I'm talking about you of course", Jose continued, "Lady Lucy, the privileged daughter of the wealthy Heartfelia Family".

Lucy was completely shocked and bewildered. Someone had actually managed to find out the secret she had been hiding. Both from her friends, and quite honestly, herself.

"How did you find out about that"? She asked.

"Y'know, I'm surprised you never told your fellow guild members the truth", Jose said, "I'm sure Urameshi might've figured it out, being a detective and all. He certainly seems like the kind of person who'd have someone's true character pegged from the get-go. If he had found you out, then it's certainly a mystery why he never came to you about it or why he kept it from your beloved master and friends".

Jose's theory quickly threw Lucy for a loop. He was right about that; Yusuke was the kind of guy who'd figure you out with little to no trouble. Not because he was a detective, but because of the way he had such a strong sense of intuition when it came to other people. Her mission with him in Onibus was proof of that.

"Could he be telling the truth? Does Yusuke already have known, all this time"? Lucy thought, "If he does, then why hasn't he said something to me already or anyone else"?

"Well, whatever the case may be, I don't understand why the daughter of a wealthy tycoon would stoop to such cheap and dangerous work as wizarding for a low-class guild, do you"? Jose continued as Lucy sat there and pondered his theory.

"So...I've been...kidnapped"? Lucy asked, prompting Jose to illuminate the situation.

"No, my dear, I promise it's not like that", Jose assured her, "We're not looking for ransom money, we're just simply doing the job were hired on for. We were hired by your father to bring you home to him".

Lucy gasped as Jose revealed their true intentions.

"No", Lucy said breathlessly, "I-I don't understand! Why would he want me back"?!

"Why do you seem so confused"? Jose asked, "Any father would go looking for a daughter who ran away from home".

"Not him", Lucy muttered in a low, resentful tone, "Honestly, I'm shocked he even noticed I was gone".

She looked back up at Jose with conviction in her eyes so clear it would've been impossible not to see.

"I'm not EVER going back! I don't want anything to do with him"! She exclaimed resolutely.

"Oh dear, I should've known this wouldn't be easy", Jose said in a fake exasperated tone as he smiled.

"You might as well just let me go then", Lucy replied.

"I'm sorry but I can't do that", Jose said.

"Please...".

Lucy then had an embarrassed expression on her face.

"I need to go to the bathroom", she said in an uneasy tone.

"Oh please", Jose scoffed, completely unconvinced, "That's the oldest trick in the book. Do you really think I'd be so gullible as to fall for something so old hat"?

"No I'm serious", Lucy pleaded, fidgeting in place, "I'm dying here".

"Fine then", Jose said, presenting a bucket to her, "Go ahead".

"A bucket"?! Lucy shouted, completely aghast.

"Heh, I'm ready for any trick you've got up your sleeve", Jose chuckled as he prided himself on his attempt at calling her bluff.

Lucy sighed as she got up and made it look like she was about to actually go through with it.

"No choice, I guess it'll have to do", she said in a defeated tone.

"Wait, you're actually going to use it"?! Jose said, aghast at her willingness.

Appalling as it was, Jose quickly regained his composure.

"Well, I've never met such a young lady so vulgar before", he chided as he turned his back, "I'll turn away cause I'm a gentleman".

Smirking once she saw that he'd taken the bait, Lucy reared back her leg and swung it forward with all her might until it landed smack dab in the middle of the Phantom Lord Master's legs.

WHAM!

"AUGHH"! Jose wailed as he felt his crotch suddenly receive punishment.

The unfortunate Guild Master fell forward, clutching his family jewels as they throbbed with pain.

"There's a reason old tricks are still around, y'know", Lucy said as she stood victorious, "They work"!

The Celestial Wizard then turned to leave.

"Bye! Take care, 'kay"? She said, winking smugly as she made for the window.

As she reached the edge, her hopes for a quick escape were immediately dashed. What she hadn't realized was the tower in which she was trapped on was several stories in the air. Below her was hundreds of feet of open air between her and the ground. She gasped in horror as the reality of her captivity began to sink in, and a feeling of hopelessness was slowly starting to rise.

"I forgot to mention...this towers' cell is several stories high above the ground", Jose groaned as he got to his feet.

He walked awkwardly, due to the fact that he was still clutching his nether regions, which still throbbed with pain from the kick placed on them seconds earlier.

"I'll admit, you really did a number on me young lady", he grunted, "But as you can see, you're not going to get away with it, you will be punished. You'll see just how terrifying Phantom Lord really is".

Lucy's mind immediately shifted to the awful moments she went through in that house, with the man she called father. The moments of being cast aside, neglected, and the feeling of being all alone. It was all so overwhelming to her that she couldn't stand it. That very feeling was what drove her to run away in the first place. She never wanted to feel that way ever again, not if she could help it. Back then, she always felt so powerless, helpless to do anything to change that. But that was then, and this was now. She wasn't that same helpless girl. She was a Fairy Tail wizard now. To some, that didn't mean much. But to her, that meant everything in the world and then some. As she decided to put every last bit of her hope on an all or nothing gamble, the young blonde wizard knew she had no other choice.

Closing her eyes, she leapt backward, going into a freefall as she started to plummet off the tower. Jose gasped, completely taken off-guard by her action. He then felt himself fall forward, both from the shock and the pain that still emanated from his crotch.

"I heard him in the distance", Lucy thought as she continued to fall, "I know he's here"!

With one breath, she yelled at the top of her lungs.

"NATSU"!

As if on cue, Puu flew with tremendous speed toward the tower. On his back was none other than the exact same pink haired wizard whom she believed in her heart would come; Natsu.

"LUCY"! He exclaimed as he clung to Pue's back, "Come on, Puu! FASTER"!

"PUU"! The spirit beast called out as he slowly began to pick up speed.

They were less than five feet away when Natsu launched himself off Pue's back, sending himself straight towards Lucy. Though she was upside down, Natsu caught her nonetheless. That said, the fact that he flew face first into her chest made it look rather awkward. Even more so as they crashed through a ruined wall, which resulted in Lucy landing on top of Natsu.

"Whoa! It's raining Lucy's"! Happy said in astonishment after finally managing to catch up with his Dragon Slayer partner.

"Made it just in time", he groaned, his voice muffled by Lucy's...ahem, breasts.

"Yeah, thank you", Lucy said in a soft tone, looking down at Natsu, "I knew you'd save me".

A shadow suddenly loomed over the two wizards. Lucy looked up to see Puu with a rather distressed look on his face as he peered down at them. His gaze transfixed on Lucy in particular.

"Puu"? She said in surprise.

"Puu~"! He sighed, craning his neck down to where they were at eye level.

He continued to coo in a sad tone as he rubbed his head against Lucy's cheek. Despite the previous events, Lucy smiled as she felt his warm feathers tickle the side of her face.

"Heheheh, awww, did you fly all the way here because you were worried about me"? Lucy asked in a warm tone, responding to his touch by nuzzling him back, "That's so sweet of you".

"Yeah yeah, real sweet, now can you get off me, please"? Natsu asked, still rather uncomfortable by his current position beneath Lucy.

Later, after Natsu had gotten out from under Lucy, he went to work on untying her hands.

"There ya go", he said as he finally undid the ropes, "You okay"?

"I think so", she said, rubbing her wrists.

"That's good news", Happy said, "Alright, we better get back to the guild".

"What"?! Natsu exclaimed, "But that's their headquarters! Let's get 'em"!

"We can't! Erza told us to retreat"! Happy pointed out.

"Because she's a wimp! I'll face those guys by myself if I have to"! Natsu said defiantly.

"But you saw what they did to the master"! Happy countered.

"Exactly! That's why I wanna get revenge"! Natsu replied, stubbornly refusing to change his mind.

As Lucy sat their on the ground, she couldn't help but dwell on everything that happened; Team Shadowgear getting attacked, her friends getting hurt, the Master nearly being taken down. It was all because Phantom Lord was ordered to take her. All of this was because of her. The feeling of guilt and sadness began to well up in her chest as tears began to fill her eyes. As Natsu and Happy continued to argue, no one noticed another person entering the area, until they spoke.

"Hey now, what's all the noise about"?

The three of them all turned their heads to see who had spoke. To their surprise, there stood Yusuke, back on his feet.

"Y-Yusuke"? Lucy said in surprise.

"What're you doing here"? Natsu asked, completely taken off guard by Yusuke's sudden appearance.

"You shouldn't be standing! What about your ankle"? Happy said worriedly.

"Don't worry, it's fine", Yusuke said, "It doesn't hurt so much anymore. Cana said a little booze and some ointment and it'll be good as new".

"Yeah, that sounds like her", Happy deadpanned.

"Glad you're here, man"! Natsu said, "Now maybe you can help me convince Happy we should take one the rest of Phantom while we-"!

"No", Yusuke said before Natsu could finish his thought, "We're pulling back".

"WHAT"?! Natsu exclaimed, "Don't tell me you're wussing out too"!

"I'm NOT"! Yusuke replied, "But with things the way they are, it'd be better if we head back now and recuperate".

"What're you saying?! I thought you were just as pissed off at them as the rest of us"! Natsu said in disbelief.

"I never said I WASN'T! Look, I don't like it anymore than you, but the fact is that we need to regroup for now"! Yusuke said hotly, "Don't act like you're the only one who's pissed! We're all itching to get back in the action as you are"!

"If that was true, you wouldn't be talking about running away"! Natsu countered.

"You're gonna come back with us even if I have to knock you out and drag your unconscious ass back to the guild hall myself"! Yusuke threatened, grabbing Natsu by the front of his jacket.

"You saying you wanna fight me"?! Natsu growled as he glared at Yusuke.

"Want me to say it AGAIN"?! Yusuke retorted.

"I'm sorry...".

Their argument was quickly interrupted by Lucy, who spoke out in a soft sob. The two boys were left speechless as their blonde-haired friend started to weep.

"I'm so sorry", she said, clutching the end of her skirt.

As she slowly started to cry, all her previous thoughts on the recent events began flooding back. Her friends getting hurt, their guild hall getting trashed. It was all because of her.

"All of this...everything...it's my fault", she sobbed, "But I don't wanna leave...I wanna stay with you guys"!

She then turned so that they could see her tear stricken face.

"Because I love being in Fairy Tail"! She cried before burying her face in her hands.

"Hey what's wrong? You're crying! Why're you upset"? Natsu asked.

"You can tell us", Happy assured.

Yusuke kept a straight face as he slowly made his way over to the crying wizard. He knelt down in front of her.

"So then, what's the problem"? He said in a calm voice, "If that's how you feel, then we're not gonna stop you".

Lucy slowly removed her hands as she met Yusuke's gaze, completely surprised at his statement. Not too long ago, this was the same young man she saw take on a room full of enemies, as well as her own guildmates, with more fury and tenacity as anyone she'd ever seen, all the while swearing and trash talking in a style all his own. That young man was the very same in front of her, speaking as comfortably and gently to her as a lamb.

"Yusuke...", She said, completely astonished.

"He's right, you're one of us! You don't have to leave"! Natsu piped up.

"Come on, let's go back to the guild", Happy said, turning to Natsu.

"Yeah okay", Natsu sighed.

Yusuke gently placed a hand on Lucy's shoulder, once again caught off-guard by his tender grasp.

"Come on, Lucy", he said in a steady tone, "It's been a long day".

All three mages eyes widened in shock, but Lucy was the most shocked of all.

"He said...my name", she thought.

Getting to his feet, Yusuke slowly made his way towards the path leading away from the tower.

"Natsu, Happy, come on, get her up", Yusuke said in a firm yet mild tone, "We gotta catch up with the others".

Natsu and Happy looked at Yusuke in comic surprise, completely slackjawed by his sudden change from a fight happy brawler to a benevolent and caring human being.

"What...did he just..."? Natsu asked unable to find the words.

"I think he just did", Happy said in disbelief, "But anyway, he's right. Let's get going".

"Yeah, let's go Lucy", Natsu said, going over to Lucy.

"Don't be rough with her", Happy instructed, "Remember, girls are delicate".

"How 'bout I carry you on my back"? Natsu offered, "That okay with you"?

"Careful! She's still upset", Happy chided.

"I'm just trying to help"! Natsu said defensively as he lifted Lucy until she was securely riding on his back

Meanwhile back in the tower, as Jose sat on the ground, growling at his defeat, a blast of power surged through him, blasting his hat off as his hair stood on ends.

"SHE MADE ME ANGRY"! He exclaimed furiously, "HER FATE IS SEALED"!

Back with the group, Lucy stayed silent as Natsu carried her piggyback, with Happy floating close by. Puu flew closely overhead. As Yusuke lead the way, he turned back to look at the tower behind them as it shrank more and more in the distance. If there was one thing he knew for sure, this was all just the beginning of a much greater fight. Someone like Jose wouldn't give up so easily.


A/N: HA! Bet you thought I was through with this story, didn't you? Sorry to keep you all waiting, things have been crazy. My part time jobs been kicking my ass, physically AND emotionally. But I guess everyone who works in retail feels that way.

Anyway, thank you all for waiting patiently. Things have been crazy and I haven't had much time to write more. But don't worry, I haven't given up. Furthermore I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into my reasoning for the alterations I made to the story. Originally, I had it so that only Genkai was the one to pass away and Keiko lived. But after looking over some stories from one of my fellow fanfic writers, I realized that their reasoning was the same as one of the recurring themes for Yu Yu Hakusho; Life doesn't always pan out the way you want it to, and when the going gets tough, don't let your negative emotions regarding them consume you, or it will turn you into something you hate.

For me, this story is considered like that of Yusuke's next chapter in life. When you're faced with loss, there's a time to weep and a time for mourning. But you can't allow your life to revolve solely around sadness. There's always a new hope to be found. This was the main reason behind Koenma sending him to Earthland. Not just because of the challenges Fairy Tail will face, but also because it will help Yusuke to remember that life goes on and will eventually allow you to start anew. I'd like to thank my fellow writers, Iron117Prime & The Incredible Muffin, for inspiring me.

I truly hope I'll be as good as you guys in the future. Also to Incredible Muffin, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's not afraid to ship Erza with someone else. Not a big of Jellal as a love interest myself. However, unlike Ultimate Fairy, my ship of Yusuke and Erza will be more of a love/hate dynamic, kinda like Kaori and Ryo in City Hunter.

News regarding releases! I'm going back to my original deadline of once a month. I can't say when, because I work at my own pace. I prefer it that way. Don't worry though, it may be long, but I'd never give up on a story without notice. And there's no way in hell I'll give up on this story. OR my She-Ra/Super Sentai crossover. For those following that story, I'll have the update up as soon as I can. For those interested, I'll be posting previews and early releases on my P treon. Same name as my account here; Lonewolf427. Next chapter will be released early on . Interested? subscribe.

Now, my thoughts on this chapter; for this I hated to cut the Natsu vs Gajeel face off so short, but I felt as though I'd go crazy trying to jot down every exact detail. I'm sorry to all the tried and true Fairy Tail fans, but that's just how it is. That said, I'll try and include as much as their coming rematch as I can. I mostly wanted to focus on some of the exposition regarding Yusuke. As you can see from this chapter, he's beginning to warm up to his teammates, what with him finally addressed Natsu and Happy by their names and called Lucy by hers again. So yeah, pretty soon Yusuke will be his old self again. Not for a while though. Baby steps, y'all, baby steps

I know what you're thinking; Did Yusuke already figure out Lucy's secret? And what was so important that he had to get from their records room?

Well the answer is...PSYCHE! Haha! No way I'm spoiling any of that. You'll just have to wait and find out!

Now, TEASER TIME! The Fairy Tail Wizards have gone back to the Guild Hall to recuperate, but all is not well. Though hesitant at first, Lucy reveals her rather unhappy origins. Tensions grow among the mages, and Yusuke's unique stance only causes more unrest. Once more, Phantom Lord begins their counterattack, taking the fight to Fairy Tail this time. Guild Master Jose unleashes a relentless assault on the still damaged Fairy Tail Guild Hall. Outgunned and out of time to recover from their recent assault, can the Fairy Tail Wizards repel the enemy guilds' attack? Find out NEXT TIME! BETTER GET EXCITED!