Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

First off, apologies for the delay in releasing this chapter. Needless to say, there were plenty of distractions IRL that kept me from working on this chapter over the past few months. Especially with the release of so many interesting video games such as Soul Hackers 2, Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, as well as God of War: Ragnarök.

Anyways, with 2023 right around the corner, I am proud to finally present the latest chapter of Fire Fairies!

Also special shoutout to the 3rd Dragneel for helping me out with edits.

Fire Fairies Chapter 8: Fairy Queen vs Fire Knight

Erza blinked as she finally registered what Chapati had said.

"Erza's going to be in the next match-up?" Lucy asked with a surprised look on her face.

"Looks like our luck is about to turn around." Gray said with a confident grin.

"Heck yeah! No offence to Maki and her team, but Erza's going to win this in a heartbeat." Lucy said with a smile.

"I don't know." The others looked at Elfman with questioning looks, causing him to feel flustered.

"I-I am not saying she won't win, but it may not be as easy as you think. I mean I don't know anything about Erza's opponent, but he does look pretty damn manly." Elfman explained simply.

"That's your reasoning?" Gray asked. "Maybe all those extra muscles of yours have finally gotten to your head, Elfman."

Elfman turned to Gray, a tick mark visible on his forehead. "What was that?"

"That's enough. Don't think that because I am going down to fight that you are allowed to fight each other." Erza said with a commanding voice, preventing a fight from breaking out and causing her friends to stand at attention.

"And besides, Elfman isn't wrong." She continued, gaining surprised looks from her teammates. "While I do have confidence that I can win, there is very little that we know about my opponents fighting style, nor what kind of magic he uses. Even with the power boost we received thanks to Ultear unlocking our second origins, it would be foolish to let our guards down against unknown opponents."

Gray, Lucy and Elfman nodded. Erza's explanation made a lot of sense.

"And like Natsu told them last night. I have no intention of holding back my strength against them." Erza finished with a confident smirk.

Elfman grinned while Gray and Lucy smiled. "Give him hell, Erza!" Elfman declared as Erza nodded her head.

She then jumped from the balcony doing a flip in midair and activating her Requip just as she hit the ground. When the dust and light cleared away, Erza was dressed in her signature Heart Kreuz armour. Her stance seemed to influence the crowd who went crazy with excitement.

"Show me what you've got, Akitaru Obi!" Erza shouted while pointing her finger toward Obi.

"Well, she certainly knows how to make an entrance." Hibana said after watching Erza's little display.

She then turned to Obi. "You better not hold anything back. Your opponent is Erza Scarlet. Seven years or not, she's likely been preparing for this tournament since they came back. As one of the most powerful S-class mages in Fiore, she is not someone to underestimate."

Obi smiled underneath his helmet as he walked past Hibana and stood up on the ledge of the balcony. "Don't worry you're pretty little head, Hibana. After all, Shinra and the others told them we wouldn't be holding anything back." Obi told her, recalling the conversation he had last night with his subordinates regarding Fairy Tail's challenge.

"And I don't plan on doing so either." Obi said as he jumped off, falling straight toward the ground. When he finally reached the arena floor, Obi's landing caused a loud boom that echoed throughout the stadium as he performed a perfect superhero landing.

"SO COOOL!" Arthur and Shinra cried out with stars in their eyes.

Obi slowly got up and walked toward Erza, who was also making her way toward him. After what felt like an eternity, both Erza and Obi stood at their respective positions almost 10 feet from one another.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, let the next match…" Chapati announced, while one of the representatives of the Grand Magic Games was getting ready to strike the gong to signal the start of the fight. In that one second, before he swung, Erza smiled at Obi, to which he returned with a nod while smiling underneath his mask.

"May the best knight win." Obi said with a confident tone.

"I intend to." Erza replied, just as the representatives struck the gong, causing a loud echo throughout the arena. Less than a second later, Obi dashed towards Erza, one of his arms raised overhead, preparing to swing down.

To anyone else, Obi's movements seemed instantaneous. However, to a fighter as experienced and gifted as Erza, she was already preparing to react. Erza's eyes narrowed and her entire body glowed with an ethereal light. A clear sign that she was about to change her armor.

A second later, she had transformed into her Flight Armor, which increased her speed, allowing her to jump back from Obi's incoming blow. She just barely dodged the attack which grazed one of her beautiful scarlet locks.

All of these actions happened in the span of a few seconds, so by the time everyone registered what happened, Obi's blow had already struck the ground. What followed was a massive boom and a cloud of dust as Obi's attack cracked the ground beneath him.

Suddenly, Obi's senses screamed at him to move. Quickly turning his body to the right, Obi saw Erza charging through the smoke cloud. The moment he saw her, Obi crossed his arms just as Erza's speed-enhanced kick struck, pushing him back a few feet.

The audience gaped in shock before cheering at the display of overwhelming speed and strength displayed by these two fighters.

"MY GOODNESS! Ladies and Gentlemen, in all my years serving as an announcer for the Grand Magic Games, I've never seen a match debut in such an action-packed way." Chapati announced with clear excitement in his eyes.

"We've just witnessed displays of strength and speed that go far beyond human limits and that very few mages can ever hope to attain. It's clear that these two fighters have trained diligently in the art of hand-to-combat." Said Yajima.

Jason, meanwhile, had stars in his eyes as he seemed more ecstatic than he normally did.

Erza once again took up the attack and started literally running circles around Obi, leaving afterimages in her wake. However, Obi did not rush forward to meet them and merely stayed where he was and patiently waited for Erza to make her next move.

'This man possesses impressive physical abilities. Furthermore, his ability to remain calm in the heat of battle is nothing to sneeze at. He's also incredibly strong if a single strike could cause that much damage.' Erza thought as she calmly analyzed Obi. 'Well, if he won't come to me, I'll strike first.'

Erza then broke away from her evasive maneuvering, jumped over Obi and prepared to deliver an overhead strike. While in midair, her armor suddenly glowed, before shifting into her Flame Empress Armor.

'Fire Force mages specialize in diverse types of fire magic. However, regardless of the fire attack he throws my way, my armor will protect me.' Erza thought as she swings her sword sending an arc of flame toward her enemy.

"Heck yeah! No matter what kind of firepower that guy is packing, it won't do jack against Erza!" Grey spoke with a cocky smirk.

However, Obi knocked Erza's fire slash away with a fierce backhand causing it to disperse. Erza tried to follow up with a strike from her sword, but just as it came within striking distance, Obi backhanded her weapon. The force of the blow was so strong, it actually threw Erza off balance for a second. Unfortunately, that was all Obi needed.

Obi quickly moved his other arm up and everyone was surprised to see a white glow surround his hand. As the glow dispersed, a strange weapon that looked similar to a rocket launcher appeared in Obi's hand.

Before Erza had a chance to recover, Obi pulled the trigger and Erza was unable to do anything as a projectile slammed against her armour. What followed was a large white explosion that engulfed both fighters in a white cloud. However, it did not stay for long as the cloud quickly dispersed allowing the audience to see what happened.

Erza's armor was now covered in a bizarre white foam. As she slowly got back to her feet, she looked back at Obi with shock written all over her face. A feeling that was likewise mimicked by her teammates.

"What the heck was that?" Elfman asked incredulously.

"That wasn't fire magic!" Lucy cried out.

"That was Requip!" Gray exclaimed, his previous cockiness gone.

Back with the other Fairy Tail members, they too were caught off guard by this unexpected development.

"No way! He can use the same magic as Erza?" Happy asked.

"What the heck is going on? Aren't Fire Force mages supposed to only use fire magic?" Droy asked while nervously stuffing popcorn into his mouth.

Makarov and Mavis frowned as they realized exactly what this latest development meant.

Back with Erza and Obi, the red-haired mage was slowly getting back to her feet as the foam not only felt heavy, but she could feel it harden around her armour, restricting her movements.

"That was a pretty clever strategy. Using Requip to change into what I'm guessing is fire-resistant armor." Obi spoke up, catching Erza's attention. "That would definitely have been a challenge for most fire mages. However, your biggest mistake here was assuming that I'm a fire mage too."

Obi's comments caught Erza by surprise.

"It is true that most of the mages within our guild are known for wielding fire magic. However, because of our reputation, people often assume that all our members possess it. While it is true that our guild traditionally only employed fire users in the past, things have changed over the years. While some of the old-timers in our guild favour the tradition of recruiting only pyrokinetics, some of the newer blood among our guild's top ranks have become more open when it comes to recruitment. Nowadays, our guild is more likely to recruit anyone who specializes in suppressing fire-related threats, regardless if they know fire magic or not."

Obi's gun glowed again before it was quickly replaced with two large axes similar in design to those wielded by firefighters.

"In my case, before I joined Fire Force, I used to be a firefighter. With my experience in this field, along with my strength and ability to Requip various tools, I'm ideally suited to take on the threats that my guild faces on a near daily basis." Obi said before charging towards Erza and bringing the axes down on her head.

Erza prepared to lash out at Obi with her fire sword. However, to her surprise, the armor's light extinguished just as quickly as it came. Not only that, but she could also feel that something strange was happening to her armour. Almost as though the magical properties that gave the armor its power were being suppressed.

Though she was able to block his first strike, Erza was unprepared for his follow-up and Obi's axe shattered her sword. Obi jumped forward, crossing his arms before delivering an X-strike to Erza's abdomen.

However, despite the unexpected development, Erza quickly shifted her armor to one that was better suited for her current situation. In a flash of light, Obi felt his axes collide against a hard surface, generating a ton of sparks.

In the blink of an eye, Erza had transformed into her Adamantine Armor, which was known for its strong defence.

"So, it's true. You're pretty fast too when it comes to Requip." Obi said with an impressed tone.

Erza only narrowed her eyes as she parted her shield to look at Obi. "What did you do to my armor?" She asked.

"That projectile I fired earlier is a special type of extinguishing foam. It's a special formula we use to deal with a special kind of… entity whose body produces magically enhanced flames and heat. It also makes for an effective way to temporarily neutralize fire mages and suppress their powers, as well as weapons and materials that generate fire, like your armor. Once the foam comes into contact with it, it saps away at the material's durability, exposing its vulnerable "underbelly" so to speak." Obi explained. "Don't worry, your armor should be fine after a thorough scrubbing… can't say the same about your sword though. Sorry about that."

Erza gave a small smile. "Don't worry about it, it's not the first time I've lost an armor or weapon in the middle of a fight. I've got plenty in my arsenal to make up for it."

Obi readied himself to attack again. "Well, why don't we test just how prepared you really are."

Obi tensed his legs before rushing towards Erza. Obi started rotating his body before becoming something akin to a spinning top. Erza raised her shields again to block Obi's strike. However, she was not prepared for the force behind his spin and was shocked to feel her legs buckle under his strikes.

Eventually, Obi's spinning came to an end, but not before he swung one last time. Tensing his muscles, Obi swung one of his axes and just before the axe made contact, it was surrounded by a white light before being replaced with a sledgehammer.

The moment it collided with her shield; a loud ringing noise echoed throughout the arena. Though slightly deafening due to being in proximity of the strike, Erza was more concerned with the feeling of weightlessness she felt as Obi's strike sent her flying.

Obi bent his knees before jumping into the air. The immense physical strength he displayed was an impressive sight that left many in the stands gasping with astonishment. For Obi, his focus never left Erza, who quickly recovered and landed back on her feet. When she looked up, she saw that Obi's weapons were being swapped for something else. Gone were his axe and hammer. In their place, was a large weapon that encased his arm.

It had a strange appearance, and though Erza had never seen one in person before, she faintly recognized it as a pile bunker . Not knowing what to expect, Erza instinctively raised her shields again.

"Sorry, but that's not going to cut it, Erza!" Obi yelled before he made contact.

The force behind the blow was enough to make Erza's legs buckle again, but what followed next left her speechless. The second after making contact, the spike speared forward striking her shield, which sent a large pulse of force through her body and into the ground which cracked from the force.

That was when Erza's eyes widened when she saw the cracks appear on her shield before it shattered, sending her flying back and skidding across the ground. However, even when she managed to regain her footing, albeit, with much difficulty, Erza barely had the luxury to catch her breath as Obi suddenly stood over her. Her eyes went wide as she saw his weapon looming over her body. Furthermore, the sun shining behind him had the effect of adding more shadows to his appearance, especially his mask, making him look even more intimidating.

Once again, her instincts kicked in, as she requipped her black wing armor. The built-in wings immediately kicked in, allowing Erza to instantly slide back and dodge the blow, but was forced to shield her eyes from the explosion that followed soon after.

When the dust from the explosion finally cleared, Erza looked back and once again found herself speechless as she saw Obi standing in the middle of a large crater.

Erza, along with everyone else in the area, stared wide-eyed with shock at the sheer destructive scale of Obi's attack.

'Those shields are strong enough to temporarily hold back a blow from a Jupiter Canon. The fact that he was able to destroy it means that his weapon must be specifically designed to target and put an incredible amount of force on his target's weak point.'

With a tug, Obi removed his weapon from the ground which quickly reset back to its initial loading position with a loud clang. Looking up, he bent his knees before jumping at Erza again, switching pile bunker with two battle axes.

Erza responded in kind with two weapons of her own. She met Obi's blows but frowned as she found herself on the defensive. The moment Obi's attacks landed on her blades; the impact caused her arms to vibrate more than what she was used to. Overtime, retaliating and blocking against Obi's blows caused Erza's arms to feel more than a little sore. A feeling she hadn't felt in a long time.

She quickly ducked under a horizontal slash and then quickly rotated her body away from a second downward strike. Going with the force of her rotation, Erza tried to get into Obi's blindspot on his side.

Unfortunately, he predicted her tactic and blocked her strike with the metal bracers on his gauntlets. He pushed back while swinging his axe, causing her to duck again. She tried to move back, but she did not get far before Obi swing both of his axes down in an X- formation strike.

Erza quickly brought up her blades and met his strike head-on. The blow from the impact of their collision generated a small gust and sparks lit up the air. Erza gritted her teeth as she tried to push Obi back. However, no matter how hard she tried to force him back, he refused to take a single step. The most she could manage was to move his axes slightly.

"My turn." Obi quietly said and Erza gasped as she felt him slowly lean forward, forcing her back. She tried to resist, but her efforts did little to stop Obi as he continued to push ignoring Erza's efforts to resist him. Erza grit her teeth as she felt her feet carve through the ground as Obi forced her back.

After struggling for a couple of minutes, Erza decided to change tactics. When she noticed Obi was tensing his muscles and preparing for another attack, she decided to go with the flow. As Obi flexed his muscles, Erza ceased all resistance but kept up her defence as she used the force of Obi's attack to push herself back and put some distance between them.

Unfortunately, this also cost Erza her blades, which lay broken by her side as she was now taking deep breaths. Erza frowned as she felt her arms ringing with pain.

'This isn't working! I can't believe he's this strong!'

Looking back at their battle so far, Obi has more than made it clear that when it comes to physical power, his raw strength surpassed even hers.

'I didn't think anyone besides Mira could challenge me in a contest of pure strength. Just looking at the way he moves and attacks, it's clear that he's spent years training his body and endurance to keep up with more experienced mages. I can't force my way through this battle like I usually do. I need to change tactics.' Erza thought.

While Erza was contemplating her next move, Obi took advantage of this slight hesitation to Requip another magic launcher and fired three rounds at her. Remembering what happened the last time Obi fired one of those at her, she quickly took a step back.

However, as they got closer, Erza noticed how they were nowhere close to reaching her.

'Did he miss?' Erza thought. Suddenly, her eyes went wide as another possibility crossed her mind.

"Don't tell me that these are…" Erza didn't get a chance to finish her sentence as the three rounds impacted three points around her. The moment they collided, Erza found herself engulfed in a massive cloud of smoke.

"Crap, I need to disperse this now!" Erza yelled as she prepared to disperse the smoke with a single blow. Unfortunately, Erza never had the chance as unbeknownst to her, Obi had taken advantage of this moment. A moment where Erza would be distracted for a split second to disperse his smokescreen.

Using that precious time, Obi expertly maneuvered himself through the thick smoke cloud and quietly snuck up behind her. Despite his silent approach, Erza's instincts still managed to sense him coming as the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly shot up.

She quickly moved around to counter him but was just a second too slow as she found herself tightly embraced by Obi.

"Gotcha!" the leader of Fire Force's team said as he slowly began to tighten his embrace around Erza, slowly constricting her. Erza gritted her teeth as she could feel the pressure Obi's embrace was putting on her.

"Sorry to do this, Scarlet. But there's no way I'm letting you go. You should probably submit now before I break something." Obi suggested as he tightened his grip around Erza, causing her to grunt in pain.

Erza glared at Obi's mask as she quickly tried to think of a way to escape this very uncomfortable situation. Normally, she would try to headbutt her enemy into letting her go, but in this case, doing so would cause more damage to her than Obi. Plus, the thickness of his clothing would lessen any blows she could potentially inflict by flailing and kicking.

"Come on, Erza!" yelled a familiar voice from the crowd. Erza did not need to look back to recognize Elfman's loud voice. "You've been in way worse situations than this! Remember what Natsu said! We're fighting for all our guildmates who waited for us! So don't you dare let that iron mask-wearing freak take you out!"

'Elfman…' Erza thought. Her comrades' words felt somewhat soothing, amidst the crushing pain Obi was inflicting on her. Elfman's encouragement was soon followed by cheers of support from the rest of her guild urging her to fight on. It was enough to bring tears to her eyes, but for the time being, she simply smiled as she looked back at Obi with a resilient look in her eyes.

All the while, Obi witnessed this in silence and could not help but feel some respect toward Erza and her guild. Not just anyone can garner that much support and loyalty.

"…You got yourself a good guild there, Scarlet!" Obi complimented, genuinely proud to fight such a worthy opponent.

"You're damn right I do." Erza gritted out with a smirk. "And that's why there is no way in hell I can afford to lose here today!"

A bright flash engulfed Erza, shocking Obi, although not enough to make him release his grip. When the light died down, Erza was now wearing her Thunder Empress armor and clutched tightly in her grip was her armor's signature lightning spear.

"What are you-?" Obi was caught off as Erza headbutted his mask, shocking him. Despite the trail of blood that leaked down her head as a result of her action, she did not flinch and continued to glare defiantly. Before he had a chance to question her rationality, Erza twisted her spear as much as she could and made sure that it came in contact with the closest metallic part of his uniform.

Obi's confusion gave way to shock as he figured out exactly what kind of insane strategy Erza was planning to do.

"CRAP!" Obi yelled and before he had a chance to release her, Erza's weapon discharged a massive amount of electrical energy. Energy which not only coursed through her body and armor but also Obi as well.

Crying out in pain from the large electrical discharge coursing through him, Obi initially refused to let go. However, with every passing second, Erza continued to discharge more and more electricity. By this point, Obi started to feel nervous as it became clear to him that Erza would not let up.

After making a quick decision, Obi fought through the pain enough to loosen his grip on Erza, allowing her to escape his hold. The second she was free, Erza crouched down and clenched her fist. A split second later, the arm which was holding onto her spear shone with a bright light, before being replaced by a very large iron gauntlet that covered her entire arm.

"That's from her Giant Empress armor!" Gray yelled from Fairy Tail A's balcony.

"She did a partial Requip?!" Lucy gasped with shock and awe.

"Clench your teeth!" Erza yelled as she unleashed all the power she could muster in her armored hand.

Still dazed from his electrocution, all Obi could do was brace himself as Erza's uppercut collided. The force behind the blow sent him flying a good distance into the air before gravity took hold and sent him crashing into the ground below. The blow also removed his helmet, which landed a good distance behind him.

While the blow may have knocked him off his feet, it failed to knock Obi out for the count. Fighting through the pain that spread throughout his cranium, Obi groaned as he got back up and stared at Erza with a determined look. Despite having the tables turned on him, Obi could not help but grin at his opponent.

You really are something, you know that?" Obi admitted, getting Erza's attention while casually rubbing his sore jaw. His helmet may have blocked most of the damage from Erza's latest assault, but damn did it still hurt.

"Even though I'm physically stronger, you still found a way to get around that advantage and escape from the jaws of defeat. You're quick on your feet, strong and can adapt to any situation." He continued to say, making Erza smile.

"Thank you. Likewise, it's not often I meet a person who can actually beat me in a contest of strength. It's been a while since I've been in a situation like this." Erza said with a glint of excitement in her eyes. "The fact you were able to do so shows just how much time and training you've devoted to moulding your body into the perfect fighting machine."

Obi blushed and laughed at that. "Ah shucks. You're making me blush!" Obi told her while rubbing the back of his head.

"What's more your Requip is also quite fast as well." Said Erza.

"In both my current and former occupation, a moment's hesitation can mean the difference between life and death. It's only natural that I would train my Requip to the point where I can switch out my tools and weapons at a moment's notice in response to whatever life-or-death situation I'm faced with. One of the benefits of Requip is how versatile it is. Of course, I don't need to explain to you how adaptable this magic can be in battle." Obi explained with a bit of pride, that Erza could not help but reciprocate.

Suddenly, Obi's expression turned serious again as he stared directly into Erza's eyes. "So… do you feel the same?" Obi asked.

Erza blinked, slightly confused by Obi's question. A fact which was not lost on the man. "What your teammate, Natsu, said earlier. Do you feel the same way about your guild? Would you be willing to exceed your limits, even put yourself through intense suffering, to win this tournament for the sake of your friends who waited for your return?" Obi asked her with members from both of their guilds, and even the audience, hanging on to his every word.

After a few seconds of silence, Erza closed her eyes and smiled. When she opened them again, Obi grinned at the fire in her eyes.

"You bet your ass I do!" Erza said with determination as she got into a perfect battle stance with her lightning spear at the ready.

Obi walked over to his helmet and after dusting it off, put it back on before facing Erza again.

"Very well then! Then show me right here and now the true power and resolve of your guild!" Obi said as he requipped his two battle axes in his palms before assuming a stance of his own.

"Why don't we follow the themes of the previous matches and make a wager?" Obi asked, getting Erza's attention.

"What did you have in mind?" She questioned curiously.

"I want to see just how powerful this resolve of yours is and whether you can back it up or not. If you fail to do so… then you must leave the Fairy Tail Guild and join ours!" Obi declared loudly, shocking everyone in the stadium.

"Wait what?!" Shinra and Maki yelled out loud.

"What the hell is that musclehead doing?!" Maki cried out. "Is he trying to piss off Lucy and her guild?! We just got on good terms with them, dammit!"

Meanwhile, in the stadium, some of the Fairy Tail members like Macao and Wakaba were expressing outrage at Obi's proposed wager.

"The hell does that jackass think he's doing?! Forcing Erza to accept a wager like that?!" Macao yelled.

"Yeah, I mean who the hell does he think he is telling Erza to-" Wakaba was ranting before a strong voice caught him off.

"Everyone!" Makarov declared loudly enough to get the attention of the members who were protesting.

The members all blinked as they looked at Makarov, who despite being serious, was not at all angry.

"Akitaru Obi's declaration does not come from a place of ill intent." Makarov proclaimed. "All he wants is to see the limits of Erza's resolve and power. Besides, you all know what she is like. And it looks like our teams down there recognize this too."

Everyone looked down at Teams A and B of Fairy Tail and saw that while they all had serious expressions, none of them seemed the least bit concerned. At this point, their full and undivided attention rested squarely on Erza and what she would do next.

"Have faith in Erza and witness her inner fury and love for our guild!" Makarov proclaimed with an excited grin, causing the other members to follow suit as they renewed cheering for their Titania.

Erza herself smiled confidently at Obi's declaration. "Very well. I accept your challenge!"

Obi blinked in genuine surprise, not expecting her to actually accept the wager. "Not even a moment's hesitation. You sure you want to accept that wager?"

"You make it sound like I'm going to lose. However, that is impossible. You made a grave mistake making this kind of wager. With the pride of my guild at stake, there is no way in hell that I'm going to lose this." Erza proclaimed with absolute pride in her voice.

"Sounds good." Obi said. "So, I've made my terms, but what are yours?"

Erza continued to smile as she started gathering her magic power. "I will let you know my terms once I win the battle."

Obi laughed at her comment, "Confident until the end, huh? Very well. I'll take that bet." Said Obi.

"We've got about five minutes left! Show me what you've got, Erza!"

Both fighters released a large amount of magical power that flared throughout the stadium and just as the match's timer reached the five-minute mark, both combatants exploded from their positions toward one another.

The collision generated large amounts of wind and force as both Obi and Erza continued a non-stop clash of blows and evasions as both sides gave it their all and then some.

Obi, with his feats of overwhelming strength, and Erza, dancing across the battlefield with power and grace befitting her namesake of Titania. In a battle of speed vs brawn, Erza carefully maneuvered her way around Obi, launching a full-on blitzkrieg assault requipping a variety of weapons and armor in order to catch him off guard.

While he may have been a few seconds slower compared to her, Obi still managed to keep up thanks to his weapon's durability and the instincts he developed from surviving many life-or-death situations.

Having enough playing around, Erza charged her lightning spear with electrical energy and threw it at Obi. The leader of Fire Force's team only narrowly avoided the weapon as it travelled past him and into the air. Erza quickly followed up by jumping into the air, requipping a new weapon that left Obi and many others gaping with shock.

In her hands, Erza held a gigantic hammer easily taller than her with a long black handle in a zigzag shape. The head of the hammer consisted of gray cylindrical sections, with the one on the front being the largest and featuring light brown plating. Obi blinked as he recognized the familiar symbol of the Church of Zentopia on the white background of the hammer's front.

As Erza descended, Obi chose to make a strategic withdrawal. Even with his best defences, he would rather avoid taking a head-on assault from a weapon like that. His instincts proved true as Erza's strike created a massive shockwave that tore up the ground of the arena and kicked up large amounts of dust and debris.

With his vision obscured, Obi took deep breaths to calm his nerves and the adrenaline coursing through his body. 'Not much time left,' were his thoughts as he switched his axes with his signature pile bunker. 'This next clash will determine the winner.' Obi vowed.

"ONE MINUTE LEFT!" Chapati's voice echoed throughout the stadium and as the final countdown commenced, Obi tensed as he saw the dust cloud shift in one area, before parting away to reveal Erza charging at him with her hammer raised over her head.

The moment she appeared, Obi was already moving forward, going towards her by keeping himself low to the ground and preparing to thrust forward the arm holding his pile bunker. The hammer may have been powerful, but Erza needed at least a few seconds to slam it down on him from the angle he was approaching her at. With one strike, he would be able to slam his pile bunker straight at the hammer's base, which would either shatter it or at the very least redirect it, leaving Erza vulnerable.

"I've got you now, Titania!" Obi yelled as he thrust out his weapon, ready to put his plan into effect.

However, just as his weapon was within arm's reach, Obi watched as something suddenly appeared within the corner of his vision, heading towards his pile bunker.

Obi's eyes grew wide as he recognized the sparking form of Erza's lightning spear.

'What the-When did she-?!' Obi gasped as he remembered the moment Erza's spear went flying right past his head during the middle of their intense bout a little while ago. He had not seen where it had gone after that as he was more concerned with keeping up with Erza's assault. He merely assumed it had lodged into a wall or landed somewhere else in the arena.

'How did it get here? She couldn't have rushed to my blindspot, thrown the spear and then come at me full force while wielding that hammer… could she?' Obi asked, as he watched his other arm desperately try to intercept it, but even with his superhuman athleticism, he was still too slow and would never be able to grab it in time.

Then a light went off in his head as he figured out how Erza managed to pull off this little stunt.

'Of course, she must have telekinesis!' Obi was stunned as Erza looked at him with a victorious smile. For a few moments, time stood still in the stadium as everyone in the stadium witnessed the battle's imminent conclusion with expressions of shock and surprise.

As time moved forward again, Obi could not help but smirk. "Well played, Erza."

Time resumed again as the spear impacted the pile bunker's underside, redirecting Obi's weapon and causing him to be temporarily thrown off balance.

Erza's foot stomped forward as she pivoted and swung her hammer with all her might.

"Well damn, this is gonna hurt." Obi said out loud just as the hammer slammed into his body. He slowly felt himself getting pushed off the ground as the full force of the hammer reverberated throughout his body.

With a mighty battle cry, Erza swung up and with incredible force sent Obi flying into the air.

"SSSSSSHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII…..!" Obi cried as he went flying over the stadium walls, his cry echoing and fading as he crashed somewhere in the city streets of Crocus.

All the while everyone in the people in the stadium watched with shocked expressions as Obi was defeated by Erza. It wasn't until the buzzer finally went off, marking the end of the match, that Chapati finally regained his senses.


The stadium erupted into deafening cheers as the crowd went crazy, especially the members of the Fairy Tail guild, many of whom were crying tears of joy and hugging one another in delight.

"Not only did she win by knockout, but technically she also managed to achieve victory with this tournament's first ever out-of-bounds knockout!" Yajima replied with pride in his eyes.

"SOOOO COOOOOOLLLLLLL!" Jason cried out as he lost it completely from watching Erza's epic match. Though Yajima could not help but sweat drop a little at his fellow announcer's over-the-top reaction.

"Speaking off, can someone check to see if young Obi is all right? He did get flown pretty far." said Yajima.

"….IIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTT!" Obi cried as he finally came to a stop from his long flight by slamming into the streets of Crocus, carving a long trench in what would normally have been a busy intersection.

As the dust cleared, Obi's beaten figure was finally revealed. Aside from a massive bruise formed on the front of his body, Obi was largely unharmed thanks to his uniform and his mask, though his face plate was completely demolished.

After a few seconds, Obi finally opened his eyes and with as much effort he could muster spoke the only thing he could say in a situation like this.

"… Ow." He said before collapsing back onto the ground.

And yet as he started to lose consciousness, he could not help but give one final coherent thought before falling into dreamland.

"That Erza… she's one hell of a woman." Obi uttered just as his vision finally went dark.

And that's a wrap!

I hope you guys enjoyed the fight featured in this chapter. After waiting for so long, I figured you all would be eager to enjoy some much-needed fight scenes.

Please don't forget to leave a review to let me know your thoughts about how the battle went.

Anyways, hope you all have a wonderful New Year! Stay safe, have fun and see you in 2023.