Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail or the song La Llorona by Angela Aguilar.

Khalid's grandfather, whose name was Altair, was a tall man with kind hazel eyes, his hair white, an indicator of his old age. He was sitting in the living room when they all arrived in a tiny cottage at the edge of Era.

"Oh! Great Fairy! You've come back," said Altair, getting from his seat, using his walking stick to walk towards Lucy. he grabbed her hand for a shake. "You look just like her."

"Great Fairy," repeated Lucy, shaking back with a questioning look on her face. Did he mistake her for a Fairy Tail mage?

"If I remember correctly, Ella means beautiful fairy in ancient Fiorian," explained Khalid as he headed to the kitchen to brew some tea. It was going to be a long evening.

"Ella," Laxus blurted out when he recognized the name. It was the name of one of Lucy's ancestors. "Ella's journal was part of the pile. I couldn't read it because runes were placed on it." He turned to Lucy. "It said only a child of the stars may read this. I guess it was referring to you." Ella probably didn't want it to fall into the wrong hands, so she placed extra safety measures in case it got out of the Celestial Spirit World. "She died… of Magic Deficiency Disease," he muttered quietly. Guess this is how she got sick.

Lucy gasped when Laxus mentioned Magic Deficiency Disease. Her mother died of the same ailment.

Altair shook his head sadly as he recalled Ella. "She was a bright one. Ahead of her time." He headed over to a bookshelf and grabbed a picture frame, showing it to Lucy. It was a picture of a blonde woman smiling and a young boy with black hair, a younger version of Altair. "I was just a boy when I met her. At that time, the Djinns had control over the royal family and conquered half of Fiore." It was horrible. The Emperor was killed and the crown prince went missing. The Emperor's brother took over running everything like a dictatorship. It seemed someone wanted the throne and found a way to get it. "A team from Fiore and Desierto was assembled to tackle the Djinn problem. Ella was the representative from Fiore and my father crafted the vases and its keeper."

"I thought Desierto and Fiore didn't have good relations at the time." inquired Freed. The borders to both countries have been closed for decades.

"It's not that we didn't have good relations. We just didn't interact much with the rest of the world," informed Altair, grabbing the cup Khalid handed to him. "The borders were only closed after Abishai was sealed away."

"To prevent the vase from getting out of Desierto," exclaimed Bickslow with realization. "But I thought the vase was under your family's protection," he pondered. "How did it get out?" He was pretty sure Khalid didn't willingly give it away to someone and would rather give his life. How did it end up in the museum in Era? The records said someone donated it but it wasn't the Aziz's.

"That's what we are trying to figure out," called out Khalid as he took his place by his grandfather's side. "I was ... away from my post for only a few minutes. Nature called," he continued, sounding almost embarrassed. "When I came back, the door was unlocked, and the vase was missing." It was his most shameful moment in his entire career.

"We have a set of rooms in the castle where forbidden objects are kept secret to prevent theft," explained Altair when he saw the confused looks on the mage's faces. "It is a 24 hour patrol and surveillance." He took another sip of his tea. "Even if someone got past the guards, there's a silent alarm that gets tripped if someone enters the room." He paused and then continued. "Someone disarmed that alarm. And they knew exactly how to do it."

"Could it have been a Djinn," asked Evergreen. That would make sense, considering they were trying to liberate their leader and could easily disguise themselves as someone else.

Altair shook his head no. "I can see why you would think that, but after what happened last time…" He took a pause as he recalled the past. "... great measures were taken to ensure Djinns are unable to enter the palace again. There's a barrier created with runes written in lamb's blood. They're physically unable to get past." They learned the hard way that regular runes can only do some much in keeping them at bay, especially the higher-level ones.

"Then they must have outside help. Someone is supporting them, aiding them in their crusade. Remember, in the tunnels! Loke and I heard them talking with someone," Bickslow chimed in. He remembered that the mysterious person said this was the last task he was going to do for them, but the Djinns threatened him, saying they were not finished with him.

"I hate to say it, but Khalid is right. Maybe someone in Fiore is trying to bring Abishai back, but why?" Lucy couldn't help but wonder what kind of trouble the person was in to help the Djinns or what they promised to give them.

"Sometimes we may never know a person's motive when it comes to committing an act that will bring harm to the helpless," commented Altair calmly. "But sealing him again will be problematic because we don't have the same resources or people to perform the ceremony."

"Ceremony?" Freed was curious about this. A djinn sealing ceremony was something he never heard of. Sealing ceremonies in general. They were very complicated and required a lot of prep work.

"Your spirits can explain more in detail about the ceremony. To be honest, I never really understood it myself. All I recall is that everything had to be perfect. One screw-up and the spell could have gone haywire." Abishai's ceremony was successful and everyone did their part, minimizing casualties. Zeruiah, on the other hand, was a different story.

"Which spirits?" Lucy wasn't sure which of her relatives had spirits other than her mother.

Altair thought for a second as he tried to recall the names of the Zodiac. "Umm the mermaid one and the one with the veil." He couldn't remember their names, but he remembered how they looked.

"Aquarius and Libra?" She didn't own Libra. She heard that a Celestial Spirit Mage in Sabertooth owned Libra, Pisces and the 13th Key. But she did have Aquarius. She was surprised Aquarius didn't mention another relative of hers was her owner. "May I get a glass of water?" She needed a water source to summon Aquarius.

"Sure." Khalid placed a glass of water on the table.

"You may want to step back." Lucy raised a key in the air and placed it in the water. "Open, Gate of the Water-Bearer, Aquarius."

A familiar blue mermaid popped up from the cloud of smoke. Her arms were crossed over her chest and her lips in a sneer. "What do you want, brat?" She noticed they had company and was shocked to see someone familiar. "Huh. I thought you were dead," she said bluntly, staring at Altair with an unreadable expression.

"Aquarius," scolded Lucy with red cheeks.

"What?! It was a compliment." Aquarius didn't see what the problem was. She looked down and saw what she was summoned from. "You summoned me from a tiny shot glass?!" When was Lucy going to summon her in a more appropriate place for a mermaid.

"Well, I'm sorry I couldn't bring the ocean over to you!" No matter where Lucy summoned Aquarius, she would always find a reason to bitch about it.

"Can the two of you stop bickering for a second?!" Laxus was exasperated at the scene in front of him. He couldn't believe a spirit was speaking that way to their master. He is still bitter from their first encounter, where she nearly drowned him and Lucy. He cut straight to the chase. "What do you know about your former master, Ella Heartfillia?"

Laxus saw Aquarius flinch at the name Ella, her posture more rigid. "What do you want to know about her?"

"We want to learn more about the spell she performed to trap Abishai away in the vase."

"I can only tell you the basic mechanics behind it. You want more in-depth details, you have to talk to Libra and Old Man Crux. They were the ones who made sure everything was perfect. Balanced, as Libra would say," explained Aquarius with a scowl. Hearing Ella's name brought back bitter memories. It was always the good ones who passed away early. Layla's death was the final straw for her and she tried to push Lucy away to avoid forming an attachment with someone who will eventually die, leaving her alone once more.

Everyone nodded with a grim expression. Looks like they had to take a trip to Sabertooth.

Seeing that everyone was listening, Aquarius continued. "Ella was… different." She tried to think of a word to describe her, and that was the best she could come up with. "You actually remind me of her." Aquarius briefly glanced at Lucy. Always pushing the boundaries. "She wasn't your typical Celestial Spirit Mage. Most spirits mages had the ability to summon spirits from another dimension. Her talents lie elsewhere."

Lucy was confused when she heard this. Celestial Spirit Magic was basically summoning beings from another dimension into the Human World through the magic of the master. She took it a bit farther by channeling the magic of her spirits. Was there more to it? She knew there were a lot of unknowns with regard to her magic, but how much unknown was there? "Which were?"

"Sealing," answered Aquarius with pride in her voice. "Ella figured out how to seal beings into inanimate objects. Djinns at the end of the day are dark spirits." It was a farfetched theory at the time, but not impossible.

"Isn't that forbidden," asked Bickslow. He heard of stories of mages sealing spirits away in the past a long time ago and only towards angry and dangerous ones. Those objects are considered cursed to prevent people from releasing them. Sealing magic is tricky. The more powerful the spirit, the more magic and binding required. If anything goes wrong, the mage in question could potentially lose their life.

Aquarius nodded her head. "It is now. People decided to get bold and experiment," she spat out. "There are rules to follow and conditions you must satisfy. There's a lot of risk with improvisation and curiosity." A long time ago, someone tried to create their own celestial spirits. Luckily, that threat was quickly put to rest before damage was done.

"How does my family come in? Ella had help, didn't she?" Freed was surprised to hear his family was involved in something this high-scale and dangerous.

"In order to seal a spirit, you have to seal them at their most vulnerable. That way, they won't escape during the binding process. The ancestors of the current victims were responsible for stripping away parts of his essence into jewels. The seven deadly sins, as you call them," explained Aquarius. "Runes inscribed in their blood were a last minute failsafe in case someone was bold enough to release him." It was a simple but effective protection spell.

"Which can easily be nullified. If you write the runes backwards in blood of those who wrote it, the protection spell will get negated," commented Freed. Now everything made sense. In order to make sure the spell doesn't happen again, they're getting rid of the victims in a way that makes their death look natural. No blood, no spell. This is bad. With the increase in deaths, there was no telling how long until everyone was dead, his sister and Lucy's father included.

"Then you must find the jewels," warned Altair. "Our enemies already have two components. If they possess all the jewels, we'll be too late. Abishai will be too strong to stop."

Everyone was strangely silent on the way back to the Heartfilia mansion. They were feeling the pressure of the importance of this mission. If the Djinns managed to take over a kingdom the first time, what would happen this time when their leader was released?

Bickslow, not liking the silence, decided to make small talk. "It would be nice to see our friends again at Sabertooth, tomorrow." Then he remembered something Luigina said. "Oh yeah, Lucy! What do you think about celebrating your birthday in Crocus, Fairy Tail style?" It would be a nice break and certainly lift everyone's spirits. "It is tomorrow, right?"

"Yes it is," nodded Lucy with a tiny smile. It touched her that Bickslow remembered and wanted to celebrate. "I don't know. I've never celebrated my birthday outside of my home before."

"All the more reason you should! We're going to be in Crocus, anyway. After we visit Sabertooth, we can head to a bar afterward." Bickslow tried to convince Lucy.

"Well, if it's okay with everyone." Lucy looked to the others for approval, who gave their verbal confirmation.

The Next Day

Shit, thought Laxus, when they left Sabertooth and headed towards the bar. I don't have a present! He pulled Bickslow to the side and whispered. "Did you guys get something for Lucy?"

"Of course Bossman! We all did. Don't tell me you didn't?" Bickslow shook his head in disappointment and clicked his tongue. "There's still time. You can quickly get something from the shops. We'll save a spot for you." It was evening, so most bars tended to get crowded.

Laxus nodded and gave Bickslow a thankful pat, heading to the closest antique shop. When they visited Yukino and her spirit, Libra, she told the story of Ella's death and how she got sick.

The ritual of Abishai was successful, however, there was still a problem. His wife and lover, Zeriuah, was still at large, who was just as dangerous to have run free. Knowing her, she would do anything to bring her beloved back and they were pressed for time. Libra warned Ella of the consequences of performing an imperfect ceremony. The conditions still had to be met. Unfortunately, Ella paid that fee with her life with an impromptu ceremony as she got sicker and sicker.

Zeruiah must be the boss. The one in charge, thought Laxus as he browsed the shop for something Lucy might like. It was the least he could do for all she did for him and his team. But who's working with her? Who freed her from her prison? Zeruiah was trapped into an urn with no protection and binding spells. Anyone who stumbled upon the urn could have freed her.

Laxus shook his head when someone's face popped into his head. He's probably feeling biased since he can't stand that person. Finally, something in the shop caught his eye. He went and bought it from the cashier gift-wrapped, hoping Lucy would like it.

At the bar

Lucy and the Thunder Legion entered the bar. She asked where Laxus was because he suddenly disappeared and Bickslow responded, saying Laxus needed to run an errand. Bickslow spotted an empty table and quickly saved it, beckoning them over.

"I took the luxury of ordering all of us beers," he called out, thanking the waitress who brought their drinks. He handed one over to each person. "For our new friend Lucy!"

Lucy hesitantly looked at the beer stein in her hand. Filled to the brim with beer and foam. She never had a beer before. Wine, yes, but not beer. She wasn't sure how to drink it. She looked at the Thunder Legion, gulping and slurping away. She took a tiny sip.

So cute, thought the Thunder Legion as they watched Lucy take tiny sips of the beer.

Bickslow shook his head and chuckled. "That's not how you drink beer, Lucy. You have to chug it all down at once. Allow me to demonstrate." Bickslow ordered two more beers and showed Lucy how to chug it. "Aaaah. Your turn."

Lucy brought the stein to her lips and took big gulps until it was empty. She slammed the glass on the table. "Aaaaah."

Bickslow smirked. "Cheers!"

Laxus entered the tavern to look for Lucy and the rest of the group. He heard a lot of noise from one corner of the room and headed towards there. There, he saw a crowd of guys cheering on two people sitting at the table. Two people he recognized. Evergreen and Freed passed out drunk at another table.

"Chug, chug, chug, chug," chanted the guys, encouraging Lucy and Bickslow to finish their beers faster than the other. Lucy finished first and slammed her beer mug on the table, throwing her hands in the air in victory.

"Yessssssss," yelled Lucy drunkenly as she climbed the top of the table with unsteady legs. She made a dramatic show of her hands, clenching her fists and raising them in the air. "I'm the queen of the world," she slurred, looking around the room, stopping when she saw Laxus. "Sparky," she squealed in excitement and motioned to Laxus to come towards her. She looked at her new friends. "Hey guys, meet my friend Sparky Thunderhead."

"Hi, Sparky Thunderhead," they said, waving at him. They were clearly smashed.

Laxus went over to the table and glared at Lucy, who was swaying back and forth, about to fall off the table. "Blondie," whispered Laxus harshly. "Get down from there."

"Nope," she refused, and looked down at him with a goofy smile. "Look, I'm taller than you," she exclaimed, and let out a bunch of giggles. "I'm taller than you," she sang, twirling around.

Laxus looked for the source of Lucy's state and glared at Bickslow. "What were you thinking giving her this much alcohol?!" Someone could easily take advantage of Lucy, especially with all these men surrounding her. She was acting way too friendly towards people she just met.

"Relax, Bossman. I was just showing her how to properly celebrate. Poor girl didn't know how to drink beer the right way. It's her birthday. Let her have some fun," reassured Bickslow. He gave him a knowing smile. "It's not attractive for a man to be jealous."

"Huh?! I ain't jealous!" Laxus quickly denied with a scowl. Okay, maybe he was a bit jealous because Lucy's giving attention to men who weren't him, but he would not admit that Bickslow of all people. He scowled further when he saw Lucy beam radiant smiles at the guys, causing their eyes to turn into hearts. Is she not aware of how attractive she is, he thought bitterly. Laxus let out a snarl when a man drunkenly asked Lucy to dance for them. She looked like she was going to and he knew he had to stop this before Lucy embarrassed herself even further.

"Okay guys, show's over," said Laxus as he grabbed Lucy off the table and slumped her over his shoulder, ignoring her sounds of protest as he maneuvered them out of the tavern. He also ignored the sounds of protests coming from Bickslow and his new friends.


"Party pooper!"

"Sir Scowlsalot!"

"Hey, she still has to help me finish my taxes!"

Laxus walked them until he reached a fountain. He sat Lucy down on the edge, who immediately stood up and giggled, twirling around. "Let's dance," she sang, pulling Laxus towards her.

"No thanks, blondie. I'm good." Laxus would have never thought Lucy was the happy drunk.

"Come on Sparky! Just one dance. It's my birthday," begged Lucy with a pout. Then her expression changed into a mischievous grin. "Oh! You're worried about stepping on my feet because you can't dance. Don't worry. I will teach you."

Laxus tried to protest, but Lucy wasn't having it. Apparently drunk, Lucy had some monstrous strength. Lucy walked over to a woman sitting on a bench strumming a guitar, whispering something to her. A few seconds later, a soft tune started to play. Lucy transformed into her Leo star dress.

Lucy gave Laxus a bright smile as she danced over to him, swaying her wrists in the air and twirling, singing along to the song in a soft voice.

Salías de un templo un día, Llorona

Cuando al pasar yo te vi

Salías de un templo un día, Llorona

Cuando al pasar yo te vi

Laxus was surprised. Lucy had a pretty good voice. He didn't recognize the language she was singing, though. The anger and bitterness he felt before quickly faded away because of her singing.

As she sang the next verse, Lucy lifted Laxus's arms in the air and placed them around her waist. "Even you should be able to attempt this," giggled Lucy, placing her arms around his neck. "Now we are going to move slowly side to side," directed Lucy, as they swayed back and forth. "See," she told Laxus when he did the correct movements, following her lead. "It's not hard, even for you."

"Shut up," mumbled Laxus with red cheeks. So he was bad at dancing, so what? He decided to go along with Lucy's request just to get it over with. Bonus, he got to feel her soft body against his. It's like she fits perfectly against him.

Laxus flinched when Lucy suddenly placed her head on his chest, closing her eyes. "Your chest feels so nice and warm," she admitted, wrapping her arms around his broad back. "And muscular," she added. "Ugh! Why are you so freaking hot," she whined, burying her head further into his chest.

And she happens to be an honest drunk, thought Laxus with a smug grin when Lucy called him freaking hot. A mischievous thought popping into his head. He decided to mess around with Lucy.

"Hey blondie. What picture was the mermaid talking about? She said she recognized me from a picture you had." Laxus was pretty sure Lucy would answer anything he'd ask her right now.

Lucy looked up at Laxus with bleary eyes. Her eyes went wide in realization when she figured out what Laxus was talking about. "Oooooh, that picture!" She waved her hand without a care in the world. "In my teen years, I used to collect every issue of Sorcerer's Weekly, especially the issues with Fairy Tail. It was my dream to join one day." Lucy says with a faraway look in her eyes.

"Why didn't you? You would have made a great member." Laxus genuinely meant the compliment. It would have been nice to have a Celestial Spirit Mage as a member. Although he wasn't sure how the old Laxus would have acted around her. Probably like a misogynistic ass, he thought with a grimace, and shook his head. That was in the past. He was a changed man.

"I don't know," confessed Lucy. "I guess reality sunk in. Becoming a Fairy Tail mage would mean running away from home. I didn't have the courage to do that at first." Lucy wasn't ready to leave behind the house she grew up in. The house her parents worked hard to build and the memories associated with it. She continued, "And when I did, I saw how different the world was compared to the one I was used to." Lucy saw the good and the bad, but the bad affected her the most. She was lucky to have what she had, but she wanted to help others. "I wanted to help people with the resources I had at my disposal."

"And did you," inquired Laxus.

"I did," said Lucy softly. "By giving them a chance when no one else would." Lucy convinced her father to invest in potential businesses, and she even went as far to personally meet them to make the deal. They were people who had wonderful ideas but needed someone to support them and transport their goods. However, because of their social status, most were denied opportunities to further themselves. That's where she came in. She reviewed their business plans and saw great potential in them, taking a chance. Those businesses turned out to be successful and continued to make profits to this day.

Laxus gave a tiny smile at that. He saw Lucy at work and she made a great businesswoman, but he had a feeling her passion lies elsewhere. "Have you always wanted to be a businesswoman?"

Lucy shook her head no. "I actually want to become a writer and explore the world," she confessed with red cheeks. "There's so much to see."

Laxus stared at Lucy. "Then do it," he stated. "If there's nothing stopping you, you should do it. Follow your dream. I only ask to be the first person to read your stories," he smirked.

Lucy smiled back at him. She never told anyone she wanted to be a writer. She wasn't sure what compelled her to tell him, but she was happy to hear Laxus supported her dream. "That's a promise," she stated, raising her hand for a twirl.

Laxus twirled her and suddenly realized something, voicing his question out loud. "Wait, if you collected issues of Sorcerer's Weekly that means you already knew who we all were when we met." Lucy probably knew of his reputation in the papers as a womanizing ass. They already established the whole Fantasia thing and Lucy said it didn't bother her because he proved he wasn't the same. However, for some reason, he hoped she wasn't aware of his 'romantic endeavors.'

"Yeppppp," slurred Lucy, stumbling a little. "You, Mister, were a BIG, BAD, JERK!" She poked his chest with her finger after each word to emphasize her point.

Laxus's heart sank at the insult and steadied Lucy when she almost fell backwards. "And now," he asked in a hopeful tone.

Lucy wrapped her arms around Laxus and cuddled into his chest like before. "You're still a jerk," she murmured.

Laxus felt his heart sink deeper. But her next words made him smile.

"But you're a good jerk." Lucy dragged Laxus over to the fountain and sat the both of them down. She grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him close to her face, their noses almost touching. "Enough talking," she demanded, her vision getting blurrier by the minute. "I am going to kiss you," she declared, staring into Laxus's eyes.

Laxus's eyes went wide at Lucy's declaration. He wasn't blind. Lucy is a very attractive woman. Probably one of the most attractive women he's ever met. Truth be told, he wanted to kiss her, too. Kissing her would finally put his mind at ease because she was constantly on his mind, even more after the little talk they had. He assumed because she was the prettiest girl in his vicinity and because he hadn't been in a relationship in a while is why she's always on his mind. This little thing he had towards her will eventually fade. But he had morals, and he wasn't about to take advantage of a drunk person, no matter how attractive or how much they begged him. "Lucy, you're drunk," he whispered, gently pushing her hands away. "Maybe when you're sober."

"I might be drunk, Laxus, but I'm not that drunk," Lucy stated, gazing intently into Laxus's eyes. It was sweet that he thought of her and wasn't trying to take advantage of the situation. "I wouldn't have the courage to do this sober," she confessed, scooting closer. "Close your eyes," she whispered.

Laxus slowly closed his eyes and waited for Lucy's soft lips to press against his. A few seconds passed and nothing happened. He opened his eyes when he felt a small thump on his chest and looked down to see Lucy sleeping, her head on his chest.

Laxus felt his cheeks blaze when he realized what was about to happen, covering his mouth. What the hell?! Why am I acting all embarrassed and shit?! It's just a kiss, he thought, trying to calm the erratic beating of his heart. He glanced back down at Lucy, who was still sleeping with a goofy smile on her face. He adjusted himself so he could carry her in his arms as looked for the nearest inn.

The Next Morning

Lucy opened her eyes when she felt the sunlight on her face. She winced when she got up too fast, her heading pounding. Waiting for her vision to adjust, she noticed that this wasn't her room or any room in the mansion. She heard the door open and Laxus entered the room.

"Morning, blondie," smirked Laxus, sitting on the side of the bed. He thought it was better to act like nothing happened and that their almost kiss didn't affect him. Because it didn't. "You fell asleep after getting drunk by Bickslow."

Lucy couldn't remember anything, but she was told she did weird things when she was intoxicated. She let out a groan. "Please tell me I didn't make a fool of myself." She whined when she saw Laxus's smirk grow wider. "Tell me."

Laxus decided to stop messing with Lucy. "Don't worry. You didn't. You almost danced for a bunch of drunk men, but I intervened before anything happened." He told her truthfully.

Lucy let out a sigh of relief and laid her head back on the pillow. "Where are we," she asked.

"We're at the Honey Bone Inn." It was the place they stayed at during the Grand Magic Games. "The others are still sleeping." Laxus pulled something from his coat pocket and placed it on the bedside table. "Happy Belated Birthday Lucy," he whispered, finding the wallpaper to be very interesting as he avoided Lucy's gaze.

Lucy turned on her side and reached for the box. She slowly unwrapped the paper and opened the box. She gasped and sat up in excitement. "It's a sextant," she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling like a little girl. "It's beautiful." It was gold in color. She looked into the telescope and adjusted the index mirror.

Laxus felt his cheeks grow warm when Lucy admitted she liked his gift. "I know they're used at sea."

"No. You can use them on land as well," stated Lucy, after she finished adjusting the scope to her liking. She sat up and moved closer to Laxus, showing him how it works. "Of course it requires calculations, knowledge on celestial bodies and high altitude," she explained passionately, not realizing Laxus was staring at her fondly. "Oh, thank you!" She hugged Laxus abruptly, who had to steady them before they fell off the bed. "I will cherish this forever," she declared, breaking the hug to continue admiring the sextant.

"Your welcome," replied Laxus, standing up from the bed to let Lucy fawn over the sextant. He gave himself a mental pat on the back. He did well.

Lucy stopped admiring her new present to glance up at Laxus. "Let me return the favor," stated, getting up from the bed.

"You don't have to. This was a gift."

"I know that. This is for entering that male pageant." Lucy tied her hair and entered the bathroom to wash her face. "Remember when I promised you a barbecue meal," she called out before splashing her face with water.

"Yeah," replied Laxus, his mouth watering at the word, barbecue. In his defense, he didn't eat anything last night or this morning.

"Well, I managed to talk to the head chef," chattered Lucy excitedly. "In exchange for advertising his restaurant on our railways, he's agreed to personally serve us in one of our new trains, today!" The man was so nice.

"Really!" Laxus's eyes sparkled like a child. Finally, he will taste the meat he so desperately desired, but then he remembered something. "But it's going to be on a train." He felt his stomach turn at the word train.

"Oh, don't worry," Lucy reassured Laxus. "It's one of our newer models. Not yet disclosed to the public, so it will be off and immobile." Lucy didn't forget that Laxus had motion sickness and took that into account as well. They will have privacy and the opportunity to dine with one of the finest chefs in Fiore.

"Well, what are we waiting for? Get dressed!" Laxus left the room and barged into beds of the Thunder Legion. "Get your butts up! There's a barbecue waiting with my name on it."

In the trainyard

Laxus let out a content sigh as he finished his final steak, rubbing his belly in satisfaction. That was the best meal he had in ages. The chef really lived up to his name, and he was so nice. He sadly had to leave because he had to go back to the restaurant.

Lucy gawked at Laxus as she watched him eat. She could never get used to the amount Laxus ate. "Where does all that food go," she whispered to Evergreen, who was sitting next to her.

"I have no clue," admitted Evergreen, wiping her mouth with a napkin. "It's not fair. If we eat like that, it'd take us weeks just to shed that weight off."

"I know, right," nodded Lucy. Stupid dragon slayer stamina.

"I must say, Miss Lucy, this train car is very comfortable. When will it be shown to the public," asked Freed. The inside looked like a house. With bunk beds and a couch.

"Next month," explained Lucy. "This train is for long distance traveling." Lucy hoped it would make things more comfortable for families traveling. "It's still a work in progress."

"I think it looks great," praised Bickslow, who went to lie down on the couch. "Oh, this is so soft."

"One thing many travelers complained about is how uncomfortable they feel sitting on a train for long hours. This should help with the discomfort." Lucy took her customer's needs seriously.

Laxus suddenly felt his stomach churn, and a wave of nausea fell over him. "Blondie," he grunted. "I thought you said this train wasn't supposed to move." He looked at the window and saw them moving, the buildings passing them.

Lucy furrowed her brows in confusion when she saw Laxus's face turn green and felt themselves moving. "Yes. It shouldn't." She stood up from her seat to go head towards the control car when the train suddenly picked up speed. She held onto the wall to steady herself.

"Guys, we have a problem here," yelled Bickslow as he held onto the couch.

"You think," screamed Evergreen back, holding onto something as well.

"Something's not right," stated Lucy. "I have to get to the front car." Including this and the front car, there were 5 cars in total. Someone must have turned it on. "Someone should go fly ahead or check a map to make sure we don't crash into something." Lucy was hoping that the construction for a new station was finished and they would go straight through.

Freed pulled out a map, and Evergreen used her fairy wings to fly quickly ahead. Bickslow brought a sickly looking Laxus onto the bed.

Evergreen came back with a grim expression. "There's an unfinished train station up ahead. We have to stop this train before we crash."

Lucy quickly barked orders. "Bicks, take Laxus to the last car and uncouple it. Freed and Evergreen do the same with the next two." She hoped the control panel wasn't messed with. "I'll head to the control car and manually stop the train."

Everyone quickly went to complete their tasks, leaving Lucy alone on the train. She finally reached the control car and cursed. The brakes were ripped off and the control panel was smashed. Someone intentionally sabotaged this.

Lucy opened the front door and let out a prayer for the Celestial Spirit King. "Don't look down. Don't look down," she chanted. Looks like she was going to have to physically stop the train.

Lucy transformed into her Taurus Stardress and took a deep breath before jumping onto the tracks, extending her left leg forward, putting pressure on the ground. She used her arms to push back against the train car to forcefully stop it. Lucy ignored the burn and sting in her limbs. Her priority was stopping the train. She put more pressure when she saw she was getting close to the construction workers at the unfinished station.

"Ahhhhh." She let out a strained yell, using her final strength to stop the train. She and the train stopped a breath away from the work sign.

Lucy panted heavily, trying to catch her breath. That was close. Way too close. All the strength and adrenaline left her body as she collapsed to the ground. She let out a pained cry, holding back tears when she felt the burn on her feet. Her boots completely destroyed as she reverted back to her regular clothes, her magic fading. Her feet were bloody and covered in splinters and gravel. She started to slowly pick them out, hissing in pain.

"Lucy," she heard a couple of voices call her name. She felt herself getting lifted by muscular arms and something warm engulfing her. She looked up to see Laxus carrying her with a grim expression.

Laxus walked briskly with Lucy in his arms. He was furious. What she did was stupid and dangerous. Right now she was injured, so he was going to give her an earful later. However, he was more disappointed in himself without being able to help. Without warning to his team, he used his magic to teleport Lucy to the one person he knew could help.

Laxus landed in front of a familiar hut. He adjusted Lucy in his arms, who looked like she was going to collapse any second. He banged on the door. "Old hag! Open the door!"

Finally, Porlyuscia opened the door. She was about to yell at Laxus when she saw the injured blonde woman in his arms. She quickly ushered them in. "Place her on the bed," she ordered, grabbing her tools and herbs.

"Laxus," Lucy called out weakly, grabbing Laxus's arm. She felt very faint, but she had to tell him what she saw.

Laxus placed Lucy on the bed. "Don't worry, she's a friend. She's going to help her." The old hag was the only person he trusted to deal with injuries.

"No listen." Lucy shook her head. "I think I saw Bradford there. I think he messed with the controls." It would make sense if it were true. He knew where unused trains were.

"What," growled Laxus, his mood souring even more at the name of Lucy's ex-fiance. "Are you sure?" Maybe the blood loss was causing her to hallucinate.

"I'm not sure," she admitted, wincing at the pain. She took something out of her pocket. It was a small star pendant. "Head to the railway security office. Go and check the surveillance tapes. Tell them I sent you and show them this. Do it before the Rune Knights arrive." Lucy gasped out those final words and felt her eyes roll to the back of her head as she lost consciousness.