Hi there, been a while since my last update.
Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter out. I admit that I was distracted these last few months playing Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Legends: Arceus (which btw is one of the best Pokémon games that I have ever had the privilege of playing).
A friend of mine also got me into playing Elden Ring, which has some pretty breathtaking visuals and scenery.
Anyways, thanks again everyone for your patience and without further ado, enjoy the chapter.
Also, shout out to 3rd Dragneel for helping me out with edits.
Fire Force Chapter 7: Chariots of Fire
It had already been a couple of hours since the Fairy Tail mages and the members of Fire Force started celebrating their first day competing in the Grand Magic Games.
While most would have assumed that celebrating was the farthest thing from Fairy Tail's mind after their crushing defeat earlier that day, those people had no clue what kind of guild Fairy Tail was.
Their actions were especially surprising to the few people not from either group, who watched flabbergasted as the members of Fairy Tail went about doing some weird challenge in the form of barrel surfing.
Unsurprisingly, Natsu proved to be the most destructive whenever he started surfing on the barrels. On the other hand, Shinra proved himself to be quite adept at barrel surfing to the point where even Natsu and the other members of Fairy Tail, who should have been his enemies, could not help but be impressed with his dexterity and balance.
Rather than feel intimidated, the less talented Fairy Tail mages tried to challenge Shinra. Even Erza tried her hand at this rather unusual sport. While not bad, she still proved clumsy and wiped out after just a few seconds.
Though she proved much better than Arthur, who flunked out the moment his foot touched a barrel.
After a lengthy competition, the barrel surfers took a breather and were enjoying a nice round of drinks with their comrades.
"… and so that's basically what happens every time my lucky lechure lure activates." Tamaki cried with a blush on her cheeks. Despite not having much to drink, Tamaki was already showing signs of being inebriated.
"… So, you're saying that your "lucky lechure lure" is a type of jinx where you somehow end up in… less than appropriate situations?" Erza asked with a curious look.
'Pretty sure she's just super clumsy…' Lucy thought as she looked to Maki, who quickly nodded her head.
"Mmhmm. It's such a huge hassle. And it's not like I'm trying to do it on purpose." Tamaki cried out. "It's all my stupid lure's fault. It's not like I want to just suddenly get stripped naked in public. I am not a weirdo!" Tamaki cried out while slamming her fist on the table.
"I know exactly how you feel, Tamaki." Gray said while nodding his head with his eyes closed.
"I don't need your pity, you sicko!" Tamaki snapped with her eyes white with rage as she pointed a finger at Gray. "And another thing…" Tamaki said as she pointed her finger towards Juvia, who was sitting next to Gray.
"How dare you try groping me in front of your girlfriend! You are the loooowest of the low." Tamaki said with extra emphasis on the "low" as she narrowed her eyes at Gray.
Her comment caused Juvia to blush with a small smile on her face. Meanwhile, Gray blushed and almost choked at her comment.
"I told you that it was an accident!" Gray said before he blinked when he registered what else Tamaki said. "And she's not my girlfriend."
Tamaki narrowed her eyes at his comment, before getting up and walking in front of Juvia. Her gaze swept over Juvia's entire body, from her feet to her beautiful face.
"Uhmm, is everything alright, Tamaki?" Juvia asked Tamaki. However, Juvia was completely caught off guard when Tamaki suddenly grabbed her breasts and started groping them similar to how Juvia accidentally groped her a little while ago.
Juvia let out a surprised squeak, which quickly turned into a quiet moan. The act itself caused every guy in the vicinity to spit out their drinks (or food in Natsu, Arthur and Shinra's case).
Just as quickly as she grabbed them, Tamaki let go of Juvia's breasts. She then turned back towards Gray with a finger pointed directly at his face.
"Not my girlfriend, my butt!" She cried out. "No man in their right mind would turn down the chance to have blue hair as a girlfriend. She's gorgeous, cute, has a great sense of style and her boobs…" Tamaki suddenly looked at her hands with a drunken expression and then started groping the air. "I mean, it's obvious that they're big, but the moment I touched them… I had no idea that they would also feel so soft even through such heavy-looking clothing. Not to mention how springy they felt as they pushed back and…"
"OK! WE GET THE PICTURE!" Gray cried out while blushing up a storm. Juvia, while also blushing, turned towards Gray with a smile and started to unbutton her top.
"If you're jealous about not being the first to grope them my darling, I don't mind letting you…" Juvia was about to say but was quickly cut off by Gray.
"DON'T YOU START NOW! PLUS, WE'RE IN PUBLIC!" Gray cried out as he prevented Juvia from going any further.
"Funny how you're so quick to defend her and get jealous whenever someone has their attention on her." Tamaki said while narrowing her eyes in a suspiciously playful manner. "Very suspicious for a guy who claims she isn't his girlfriend."
Meanwhile, Maki and Lucy sweatdropped as they saw Gray, Juvia and Tamaki get into a playful argument about Gray and Juvia's relationship.
"Well, that took a weird turn." Lucy said with a sweatdrop.
"Yeah. No kidding." Maki said with a light laugh. "Well clumsiness aside, Tamaki is a really good friend and comrade. She's guaranteed to have your back in any situation. Plus, she can be really sweet to those she sees as friends."
Lucy could not help but chuckle at Maki's description of her twin-tailed friend. Despite her rough exterior, Lucy could tell that she wasn't a bad person.
"Plus, she's been a bit bummed out about not being able to participate in the tournament." Maki added quietly to Lucy.
"Really? Why is that?" the blond asked.
"Well, because Tamaki somehow gets her into pretty… risqué situations, Burns and the other veteran members here at the tournament felt that it would be better not to risk Tamaki's 'lucky lechure lure' going off in the middle of a fight or event." Maki said with an additional emphasis on the worlds 'lucky lechure lure.'
"I can see why that would be the case. Still though, I can only imagine how disappointing it must be not being able to fight alongside your friends." Lucy said while thinking of a certain twin-tailed, blue-haired dragon slayer.
Tamaki seemed to have heard her if her sudden outburst was any indication. "It wasn't even my fault this time. That pervy rune knight is to blame!" Tamaki cried out while waving her arms.
"A pervy rune knight?" Lucy asked with a surprised expression.
Shinra gently nudged her side and ushered her closer. "She accidentally tripped in a crowded area and a nearby Rune Knight tried to help her out. However, her "lure" happened and well… let's just say things got really weird." Shinra whispered to Lucy.
Tamaki gave a low growl while crossing her arms across her face. "Stupid four eyes." She mumbled.
Suddenly, a clock rang nearby and the mages of Fire Force and Fairy Tail looked to the wall and were surprised to see how late it was.
"It would appear we have lost track of time. The witch's hour is nigh." Arthur said an ominous expression.
"What the heck are you talking about? It's nowhere close to midnight." Natsu said with a confused expression.
"He means that it's getting close to our curfew." Shinra sighed with an annoyed expression.
"You're leaving so soon? Why not stick around a little longer?" Erza asked while drinking a non-alcoholic Strawberry Sunday.
"Yeah, we still need to have a barrel surfing rematch. This time, I'm definitely going to kick your ass." Natsu exclaimed with a confident grin.
Shinra could not help but match his grin. "Trust me, we'd love to continue hanging out with you guys. But Hinawa made it very clear we need to be back before curfew." Shinra said before his body, along with his fellow pyrokinetics, started shaking nervously.
"If we don't, he is going to be pissed." They all said at the same time.
"If you thought he was ruthless before, you haven't even seen a fraction of the true horrors that he is capable of when he is serious." Arthur said with a shadow crossing over his face, but with his eyes shining with an ominous blue light, his words carried a much darker message.
It seemed to work as Lucy was left clutching onto Happy, who returned the gesture as the two huddled together with their bodies shaking in fear. Natsu and Gray gulped nervously as they thought of how much worse Hinawa could get. Even Erza seemed visibly nervous as she remembered the terrifying feeling of Hinawa's iron grip slowly crushing her head, while he glared at her with those cold unblinking eyes of his.
"Yes, that does seem like a more prudent course of action." Erza said with an air of false bravado as she gently ushered the Fire Force mages to the door. "After all, the last thing we would want to do is be discourteous to your guild's way of doing things."
Before they had a chance to leave, Natsu quickly rushed in front of them, "Hold it!" Natsu yelled while pointing his finger right at Shinra's face.
"I want to make it clear that even though you guys are alright, and we had a fun time hanging out with you, don't you think for a minute that we're going to take it easy against you guys tomorrow." Natsu exclaimed with a grin worthy of any battle maniac. "If one of us from Fairy Tail happens to face off against someone from your team, you can be damn sure that we will be attacking you with everything that we got!"
Shinra smiled as he met Natsu's grin with his own demonic smile. "We weren't expecting any less from your guild, Natsu. Likewise, don't think that we will be holding back just cause we had a good time together. We came here to test ourselves against Fiore's strongest." Shinra said as flames emerged from his bare feet, flaring up behind his hunched-over body. Along with his demonic grin, Shinra's flames seemed to curve up to form an image similar to a demon's twisted smile. Overall, he looked pretty damn terrifying to most people.
Fortunately, for Natsu and the rest of Fairy Tail, they were the farthest thing from normal people.
"So, you guys better be ready, cause our guild is going to unleash one hell of an inferno." Shinra said while the rest of his teammates walked forward to stand next to him, each of their eyes glowing their respective unique colours as they allowed some of their magic energy to leak to the surface.
Fairy Tail Team A and even Team B from across the bar met their challenge with an equal rise in magic energy, while Natsu and Shinra clasped each other's forearms in an unspoken agreement to the promise they made.
The gauntlet had been thrown and come tomorrow, the challenge between these two guilds would be met with mutual excitement.
"GOOOOD MORNING FIORE!" Chapati cried out, earning thunderous applause from the people in the stands.
"For those of you just tuning in on Lacrima Vision, the second day of the Grand Magic Games is off to a rousing start." Chapati announced.
"Joining me is my co-announcer and former magic council member, mister Yajima." Chapati said, to which Yajima nodded.
"I look forward to today's events." Said Yajima.
"And here with us as our guest speaker is none other than Sorcerer Magazine's Top Reporter, Jason!" Chapati proudly exclaimed earning an excited yell from the reporter.
"Thanks, Chapati! Today's going to be one heck of a cool show!" Jason yelled out with virtually unmatched excitement.
"Glad to have you, Jason!" said Chapati before returning his focus to the second event currently taking place.
"In today's first event, each team has selected their members who will be participating in the grand challenge known as "Chariot."
The Lacrima vision over the stadium suddenly shifted towards a large conveyor belt of chariots that looped their way above the city of Crocus, thanks to a continuous flow of magic power.
"The rules of the event are simple. Each participant, who started off at the last chariot here at the stadium, must race across the chariots floating over the city until they reach the finish line. The mages are then awarded points based on the position they arrive in." Chapati summarized.
"As it stands, almost half of the guilds are neck and neck and are fiercely competing for first place." Yajima said as he looked up at a screen which showed off the mages from Lamia Scale, Raven Tail and Mermaid Heel who were desperately trying to overcome one another, firing a fierce barrage of magical attacks in a three way all for one battle.
"So cool!" Jason cried.
"That said, the same cannot be said for the other guilds." Yajima said turning towards the three mages following behind their fellow competitors. In this case, it was Natsu, Gajeel and surprisingly Sting, who all looked like they were about to throw up chunks on the chariot beneath them. It was taking everything they had just to stand up and honestly, a lot of the spectators could not help but pity them as they watched the three dragon slayers suffer.
"This is certainly a surprising turn of events. These three boisterous young mages, who were raring to go before this event even got started, suddenly look like they are on the verge of death." Chapati announced with genuine surprise. "Mister Yajima, any idea why things turned out this way?"
"While Dragon Slayers are certainly powerful, they, unfortunately, seem to have a weakness when it comes to transportation. In hindsight, this probably was not the best event for those three to participate in." Yajima said with a sweatdrop going down the side of his face.
"Indeed." Said Chapati.
"Still kind of cool!" Jason yelled getting confused looks from his fellow commentators. However, Chapati maintained his professionalism and returned to announcing the progress of the race.
"That said, I can understand why the Dragon Slayers would have trouble with this event, but…" he trailed off to the very end of the chariots not too far from where the dragon slayers were struggling to run.
Standing at the very end of the chariots was none other than Shinra, who was not wearing his large fire coat. Instead, he had an orange jumpsuit with his feet lacking any sort of footwear as usual. He did not seem too worried about the headstart his fellow competitors had on him in the race and was actually taking his time to stretch his legs.
"How do you explain young Shinra's actions?" Asked Chapati. "Despite currently being in last place, he doesn't seem the least bit worried. If anything, his warmup routine is truly something to aspire too."
"It's always important to warm up and stretch before a good workout, so this is probably just his way of making sure he's all limbered up." Yajima speculated.
"Physical fitness is so cool!" Jason cried.
Meanwhile, back in the stands, Shinra's teammates could not help but stare with deadpanned expressions at their teammate's actions… well almost all of them.
"… He's so flexible." Hibana whispered with a small blush on his face.
"What is he doing?" Maki said while bringing her hand down her face.
Arthur growled as his temper started to flare. He then took a deep breath, before shouting out towards Shinra.
"Hey, devil! Get a move on already! Stop fooling around and get to work!" Arthur yelled.
While it is very unlikely that Arthur's voice could reach Shinra over the roaring crowd. The young blonde's words seemed to instinctively stoke the embers of Shinra's rivalrous spirit.
His eyes suddenly snapped open, his signature toothy grin on full display.
"Ready…" Shinra whispered as he got into a starting runner position.
"Oh, it seems like he is finally getting ready to move." Chapati shouted.
"Go on Shinra, show them what a man with the devil's feet can do." Obi said while smiling underneath his mask.
"GO!" The moment those words left Shinra's lips, for a split second, the entire world seemed to fall silent around him. Suddenly, that silence came to a sudden end as a powerful burst of flames ignited from Shinra's feet. With a sound like that of a jet engine, the flames burst from his feet propelling Shinra forward at speeds barely visible to the human eye.
When he flew past the three Dragon Slayers, the speed he was moving at was strong enough to send them spinning like tops, before knocking the three off their feet. For just a couple of seconds, they seemed to snap out of their motion sickness-induced state and watched Shinra rush through the chariots, quickly catching up with the other competitors.
"L-ladies and gentlemen, Shinra Kusakabe has just pulled off an unprecedented comeback. From the bottom of eighth place, Shinra is quickly catching up to his fellow competitors. In all my years as an announcer and as someone who has seen many marvels of magic, never before have I ever seen fire magic used in such a way." Chapati exclaimed with a shocked look on his face.
"SO COOOOLLLLL!" Jason yelled with stars in his eyes. "He's like some kind of speed demon!"
However, a loud chorus of gasps was heard as Shinra was quickly nearing a set of chariots that were twisting and turning through the skies above Crocus. With the speed he was moving at, most people assumed that he would not be able to stop his momentum.
However, Shinra surprised everyone yet again, when he angled his body and adjusted his flames so that he started drifting across the chariot he was on, before repeating the same motion repetitively across the other chariots, easily maneuvering himself through the twists and turns that should have been impossible to maneuver through for someone moving that fast.
"He's not just a speed demon!" Yajima said with an impressed look in his eyes. "He's able to adjust and control both his body and magic power output at the same time to pull off seemingly impossible maneuvers'. And all within the span of a few seconds, pulling off an act such as this requires intense precision and control."
"Look at him fly through the course! What a cool guy!" Jason exclaimed.
Chapati blinked as he realized something. "Wait…. Isn't it technically against the rules to fly?" He asked.
Yajima merely waved him off. "Technically yes, but that's not what we are seeing here." Yajima pointed his finger towards Shinra who was getting closer to the competitors. Using a special remote at his disposal, Yajima zoomed in on Shinra.
Upon closer inspection of his feet, it seemed like every few seconds or so, he was pushing his legs and feet forward, almost as though he was skating and with each movement of his legs, an explosion of flames erupted from the soles of his feet.
"If he were flying, he would be firing a continuous burst of fire. However, he's releasing them in quick, yet short bursts, so technically he's not actually flying, and therefore not violating the rules." Yajima wisely explained.
"Amazing commentary, Yajima-san." Chapati said. "With Shinra closing in, how will this event end? Let's watch to find out."
Back with the other contestants, Yuka noticed Shinra coming in hot on their heels. When he turned back to look at him, he could not help but feel a chill run down his spine. The way his eyes glowed red, his intense grin and the claw-like formations made by the flames he released, he almost looked like a demon.
Quickly composing himself, Yuta decided to pull out the trump card he was saving for this game.
"So, turns out you're pretty fast, huh? In that case, let's see how you deal with THIS!" With a loud yell Yuta thrust both of his arms behind him and a giant spiral mass of magic appeared behind him, while also pushing him forward with incredible momentum. When it did not dissipate, the other participants quickly realized that this obstacle was made to prevent them from going any further.
"How do you like that?" Yuta shouted to those unlucky enough to be behind him.
"That magic wave not only prevents you from moving forward, but anyone also who steps in it will be unable to use magic!" Yuta shouted arrogantly.
Kurohebi looked pissed at this declaration. Risley, on the other hand, merely smirked.
"Smart move, but…" Without warning, Risley changed directions over the side of the chariot. Instead of falling, she somehow stuck to the side and easily ran past the wave.
"Don't underestimate the chubby!" Risley proudly declared, getting excited cheers from her fans.
Meanwhile, Shinra was getting closer and closer to the giant wave of magic. His previous grin was gone, replaced with a look of contemplation.
'So, that wave cancels out magic, huh? Well, if I can't get through it, around it or under it." He smirked before doing a front flip. Once again, the world seemed to slow down as he flipped through the air, before bringing his feet down hard onto the chariot just as he released a powerful burst of fire from his feet.
"I GUESS THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP!" He yelled as he soared over the wave while making sure not to use any fire to soar through the air, relying on nothing but the momentum caused by his explosive move.
For a few seconds, the entire crowd of people in the stadium and even the competitors slowly watched him fly up. When he finally reached the peak and started his descent, Shinra began to perform a series of flips.
As he gained momentum, he started to eject more fire from his feet, making him spin faster and faster. Not only was he moving ahead of everyone, but the participants also had looks of shock as they quickly realized what he was planning.
"SHIT!" They all cried as Shinra finally touched down on the front end of the chariot in front of them with a devastating axe kick. The force of the blow sounded almost like thunder and the explosion from the impact was equal to that of a meteorite, kicking up the chariot Shinra was on and causing those behind it to smash against it, one after the other, pushing the one he was on forward.
"WHHAAAAATTTTTT!?" Chapati, Yajima and Jason all yelled with shock as their eyes bulged out of their heads.
The three mages near Shinra all screamed as they struggled to maintain their grip on the chariots as they were almost sent flying through the air.
"WHAT DEVASTATING POWER! THAT SHINRA MUST HAVE FEET OF STEEL TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT MUCH DAMAGE AND STILL KEEP THEM INTACT!" Chapati shouted into his microphone.
"SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL!" Jason cried out as the lacrima vision zoomed in on a smiling Shinra, who was once more wearing his signature devilish grin. He didn't remain still for long and quickly capitalized on the opening he had made for himself. So, while the other mages were busy regaining their bearings, Shinra was already jumping off of the chariot and rushing towards the finish line.
Quickly glancing over his shoulder, he saw that the major collision he had caused was already in the process of magically repairing itself.
'Huh, that's pretty convenient." Shinra thought with an impressed look. Quickly pushing down his amazement, Shinra quickly returned his focus back to the matter at hand.
And with one final burst of flames, Shinra soared past the finish line, planting his feet firmly into the ground where he slowly skidded to a stop, leaving behind a burning trail caused by his flames.
"And there you have it folks, coming in at first place is Fire Force's Shinra Kusakabe. In an amazing display of speed, power, and control, Shinra was able to go from dead last to being King of the Chariot race! I'd hate to be the one to top that performance." Announced Chapati earning massive applause from the crowd.
"That guy is so COOOOOOOL!" Jason cried out with some tears in his eyes.
From there, the crowd's continued to cheer as the next three participants crossed the finish line with Kurohebi coming in second, Risley third, Yuya fourth and Ichiya fifth. With over half of the participants now past the line, all that remained were the three dragon slayers. Looking up at the screen, Shinra was surprised to see that they looked even worse than they did before. No doubt his little act of mass destruction did not really help with their currently sensitive stomachs and nausea.
However, while Natsu and Gajeel looked like hell, Shinra quickly noticed that they were putting in more effort to move than Sting who was lagging behind Natsu and Gajeel who continued to strive forward with determined expressions.
"I don't get it. Can you explain something to me?" Sting's voice echoed across the stadium, taking Shinra by surprise. He hadn't realized the volume had been on this entire time for the audience.
"Why did you guys even bother to enter the tournament? Seriously." Sting asked. "I mean you're nothing like the Fairy Tail I knew growing up. You're obsessed with how tough you are and what the rest of the world thinks of you. What happened to the Fairy Tail of my childhood? Your guild did whatever the hell it wanted, whenever it wanted. They never cared about what anyone else said or thought of them."
Sting's speech had captured the attention of the entire stadium which had fallen into complete silence. No one dared say anything as everyone, including Shinra and his guild, stood in silence as they too were curious to hear Natsu's answer. After what felt like an eternity, Natsu finally spoke up.
"THE REASON WE'RE HERE… IS FOR OUR FRIENDS!" He cried out with determination, shocking everyone.
"THE ONES… WHO WAITED FOR US… FOR ALL THE YEARS WE WERE GONE… WHO FOUGHT THROUGH THE PAIN AND THE HEARTACHE!... THEY WERE HUMILIATED… BUT EVEN SO, THEY STAYED STRONG… AND THEY KEPT OUR GUILD TOGETHER! WE'RE DOING THIS FOR ALL OF THEM! AND WE'RE GONNA MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE HERE KNOWS… THAT FAIRY TAIL NEVER GAVE UP! NOT FOR AN INSTANT! SO, THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I'M GONNA GIVE UP NOW!" Natsu shouted with all the energy he could muster.
His heartfelt speech moved the crowd as many of the fans that previously booed and mocked Natsu and his team suddenly cried out in support and clapped at his words. The Fairy Tail guild members who were not on Tenrou Island were probably crying the most out of anyone in the stadium.
Over with the Fire Force members in the stands, Iris and the twins were staring at Natsu with eyes filled with awe. Tamaki stared at Natsu with tears trailing down her face, while Vulcan cried manly ones. Most surprisingly, Hinawa, Benimaru and Burns all had small smiles on their faces.
"That boy… he's got an inferno raging in his soul!" Benimaru commented with an impressed look. Surprisingly, Burns nodded and gave him a grunt of acknowledgement to show he felt the same.
Back with Shinra's team, underneath his helmet, Obi was also smiling at Natsu's words, Arthur had a look of awe and felt humbled by Natsu's dedication to his comrades, Maki was bawling while desperately trying to wipe the tears from her eyes. And while Hibana did not openly weep, here beautiful eyes sparkled with emotion.
As for Shinra, the young man looked up at Natsu with shock still written on his face. Hearing his words, an image suddenly popped into his head. A familiar image that was from better, happier times. The image of a beautiful young woman waving at him while holding a white-haired baby with red eyes and pale skin sucking a pacifier that stared at him and gave an adorable wave in his direction.
It was at that moment that tears started coming out of Shinra's eyes, but he quickly moved to wipe them off with his arm. When he finished, he looked back up with a genuine smile as he saw Natsu and Gajeel finally make their way across the finish line.
"Natsu… you really are an amazing person… no. Even more than that. You're like an awesome hero to those that look up to you!" Shinra expressed with his brilliant smile.
After Natsu's amazing speech, the crowd's applause of support went on for quite a while. But like all great moments, it reached an inevitable end. Fortunately, there were still plenty of even more memorable moments awaiting everyone at this year's games.
Those were the thoughts of one Toma E. Fiore as he made his way to his personal observation platform, surrounded by loyal guards, including Arcadios, one of his most loyal and dedicated soldiers.
Said knight blinked upon noticing his arrival. "Your majesty!" Arcadios cried before quickly bowing in respect to the ruler of Fiore, which was mirrored by his fellow soldiers.
"At ease Arcadios. You and your men have done a wonderful job ensuring the safety and security of our kingdom." Toma said with a kind smile.
"Your words honour us, your majesty." Arcadios said as he and the rest of his men rose to their feet. "Though forgive me, but may I ask what brought you to come to see the games in person? It is rare for you to make an official appearance." Arcadios asked with a curious expression.
Toma smiled as he walked to the balcony to look at the adulated crowd below. "It's been a while since I've heard the crowd sound so excited at one of these events." Toma said. "That boy and his guild may be seven years out of their time, but no one can deny that they know how to work up a crowd. Plus, it makes me glad to know that there exists a citizen of my kingdom who can inspire such admiration among the masses."
Arcadios could not help but smile at his king's words.
Toma also sighed as he cracked his back and did some stretches. "Besides, it gets stuffy watching the games from my room all the time. I need to go out and get some fresh air every now and then."
Arcadios couldn't help but sweatdrop. 'Isn't that what your other job is for?' He thought to himself.
Toma's next words broke him out of his train of thought. "In any case, after yesterday's interesting matches, I wanted to see these fine mages in action myself." The king said with an excited pep in his step.
"I understand your majesty, but you are vulnerable out here in the open. If you want, we could…" Before Arcadios had a chance to suggest something, Toma started throwing an unexpected fit.
"No! I demand to see these matches in person and that is final!" Toma declared while stomping his feet and waving his arms like a child throwing a tantrum.
Arcadios sighed. Once his king got like this, it was almost impossible to placate him. Even when he was, he always seemed to stubbornly hold a grudge for a long period of time.
"Very well your majesty, but do not leave my side." Arcadios declared, to which Toma seemed to accept.
"Excellent, so what fine matches do we have to look forward to today?" He asked shaking his hands together excitedly.
"The votes for the upcoming matches are just about to take place. If you would like to see a specific match-up, I would be more than happy to arrange that for you." Arcadios offered.
"That sounds smashing-Kabo!" Toma said with an overly excited pep to his voice. He seemed to realize this and quickly cleared his throat before quickly clearing it back to his usual voice. He then went over to the balcony to peer over the edge. He gestured to a guard, who handed him a pair of binoculars.
"Well, there are quite a few fighters that I have been wanting to see. Like that one mage... what was their name? I believe it was E…hmmm?" Toma suddenly stopped as his eyes fell upon a specific figure.
"Arcadios, who is that man?" Toma asked gesturing to one of the fighters with the binoculars.
Arcadios advanced forward and took a pair of his own binoculars and gazed in the direction his king looked at. His gaze finally landed on a man wearing a rather unique-looking helmet.
"Ah, I believe that man is the leader of the team from Fire Force." Arcadios said.
"I see. That fellow has a rather impressive-looking mask." Toma said with a look of admiration. "What is that man's name?"
"His name is Akitaru Obi, your majesty." Arcadios said.
Toma blinked at the name. "Akitaru Obi? Why does that name sound so familiar?" He asked.
Arcadios took out a magic lacrima given to him by a guard. As it started glowing, a holographic display appeared, featuring a bio of each participant. Arcadios scrolled through the participant profiles until he stopped at Obi's.
"It's not surprising, your majesty. According to this, prior to joining Fire Force, he used to be a firefighter. Apparently, he was involved during the St. Elmo's incident a few years ago." Arcadios summarized with a sombre voice.
Toma's expression darkened at the mention of that name. "I remember that incident. One of the most tragic and horrific disasters that ever occurred in Fiore's history." Toma's eyes suddenly lit up in realization. "Wait, I think I remember him know. Wasn't he one of the brave firefighters who risked their lives to rescue civilians?"
Arcadios nodded. "Indeed. Risking his life and body, Akitaru Obi rescued the lives of dozens of his comrades and even more civilians. He protected and safely guided them all through the horrors of the St. Elmo's incident. He was awarded the most respectable commendations for his valour and bravery. He's also known for his incredible physical strength as well."
Toma hummed in thought stroking his mustache. "He looks like a knight with that get-up…!" Toma blinked as he came up with an interesting idea for a match.
"I've decided." Toma said getting Arcadios attention. "I would like to see this man fight that mage from Fairy Tail."
Arcadios blinked. "Apologies your majesty, but which mage are you referring to?'" Arcadios asked.
"You know that mage who had that famous reputation so long ago. You know who I'm talking about. The one they called…"
"Unhand me this instant Captain!" Arthur yelled loudly as he was being forced onto the ground by none other than his leader, Obi. Unlike his usual deadpan demeanour, both Arthur's expression and body language was screaming with the intent of committing bloody murder as he tried to fight his way out of his superior's grasp.
Obi maintained his cool façade as he calmly restrained the squirming knight trying to escape his iron grip. Though, while his outward demeanour was calm, underneath his mask, Obi could not help but frown.
The first match had just begun between Tobi from Lamia Scale and Kurohebi from Raven Tail. Despite his moxie, Tobi's fight with Kurohebi ended just as fast as it began. During their brief fight, Tobi and Kurohebi made a bet, with Tobi waging to reveal his deep dark secret, while Kurohebi wagered to reveal his real name.
After revealing his embarrassing secret about his missing sock—which he seemed completely unaware was actually around his neck—Kurohebi initially looked like he was going to do the sporting thing and help Tobi to his feet. However, he suddenly stole Tobi's precious sock from around his neck and to the shock of everyone present, he tore it up with a mocking grin while Tobi cried out in misery.
Needless to say, the display shocked and angered many of the fighters and masses in attendance, including his own team.
Glancing to his left, he saw that Hibana, who initially thought Tobi's reveal was the stupidest thing in the world, was slowly fanning herself while keeping her eyes closed. A sign that she was somewhat upset and displeased by what just transpired.
Glancing to his right, he saw that Maki and Shinra were also showing signs of anger. While Maki was frowning and clenching her firsts, she kept her emotions in check with the most noticeable sign of her anger being her brightly glowing eyes.
On the other hand, Shinra was another story. His fists were clenched, and his feet were releasing so much heat that the ground he was standing on was glowing red hot and was even showing signs of slowly melting. But most noticeable of all was that his normally toothy grin was nowhere to be seen.
"Those bastards." Shinra growled as he glared at Kurohebi. "They really are the worst. It was definitely them that attacked Wendy Marvell too."
"That horrible fiend destroyed Sir Tobi's priceless sock!" Arthur growled as Obi forced his head to the ground. "He who searched far and wide for so long to find his precious item. And just when he finally found it, that fiend callously destroyed it. Completely unforgivable! As the Knight King, I must go down there and unleash my fury upon him!"
"I understand how you feel, Arthur. While it may have been the dumbest secret I've ever heard, the fact remains that Kurohebi took things way too far. This tells me exactly what kind of people that Raven Tail are." Obi said calmly.
"So, believe me, Arthur, you aren't the only one that wants to go down there and give them a good smack to the face. But you need to calm down, losing your temper and lashing out will only make things worse for us and probably even cause those jackasses to feel even smugger. So, for the time being, hold in your anger and save it for the battles to come." Said Obi.
Arthur seemed to heed his words, but he still looked angry. "Arthur, even a wise king knows not to battle with a mind and heart guided by hatred." Obi said wisely.
His words seemed to have the desired effect and finally calmed Arthur down. As Obi released him, Arthur crossed his arms and glared at Kurohebi, who had returned to his team.
"Ahem." Chapati cleared his throat in a vain attempt to ease the tension in the arena.
"A-Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, let's move on to the second match of today's battle portion."
Turning to his left, Chapati took a piece of paper given to him by a soldier, who quickly retreated from the announcer's booth.
"Our next one-on-one battle will be between-!" As Chapati read the matchups he suddenly stopped talking as he did a double-take with his eyes going wide with shock.
"Oh my!" Chapati cried earning looks of confusion from his fellow announcers as well as a few curious stares from the audience. "Ladies and Gentlemen! It seems like we are in for a real treat for this fight. It's a battle between the leaders of two of Fiore's biggest dark horses in this tournament. Representing Team Fire Force, we have Akitaru Obi!"
The crowd applauded and cheered as Obi blinked in surprise. They had all expected anyone of them to be called upon, but even he had not expected to be called to battle so soon. With their anger seemingly gone (for now), Team Fire Force surrounded their leader.
"Congratulations, Captain Obi!" Shinra cheered. "You go on and show the enemy why you earned the right to be Company Eight's leader!"
"Who shall the captain be fighting against?" Arthur asked curiously.
He received his answer at that moment, "And his opponent will be none other than the powerful beauty that dominated Fiore's S-Class landscape seven years ago…. Ladies and gentlemen, Akitaru Obi's opponent is none other than… the one formerly known as Titania Erza Scarlet!"
And with that chapter seven has now come to a close!
Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, and for those of you who are fans of "A Certain Scientific Railgun," I hope you all enjoyed that little reference I included.
Anyways, the next chapter will officially feature the battle between Erza and Obi. I know that Elfman was the one who fought in canon, but I feel that Erza would be a better opponent suited for this version of Obi. In any case, I am looking forward to writing their fight scene.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the chapter and don't forget to follow, fav and review.
Until next time, stay safe out there everyone!