A.N. (5/26/22) - Sorry for the long wait, this marks off the final chapter of this story!
Chapter 9 - Five Years Later
The term was popularized by Fairy Tail and was used to describe the group of the main members of their guild that disappeared seven years ago.
Since that time, Fairy Tail had declined in terms of strength and reputation. It was only in the last few years did they slowly make a comeback.
In the city of Magnolia, the citizens have slowly gotten used to the fact that Fairy Tail was finally recovering. The new members that have joined have inspired the rest of the guild to become more active in performing jobs and raising their strength.
Of course, the catalyst for this change could be said to be Vale.
And as for our young enchanter…
Sitting alone outside of a restaurant, Vale's mouth watered as he removed the lid to the large bowl in front of him. The size of the dish was massive, almost as wide as the table supporting it underneath, and the same height as his head.
And finally, the aroma hit his nose.
"It takes understanding to accept it as a whole," he began. "Knowledge to set the proper pace. Courage to attack the mountain of meat. And dedication to keep on eating. All these skills are needed to finish the MEGA BEEF BOWL!"
With that said, he began tackling his meal.
The young child had finally grown into his teens. With the growth came several changes to his body, one being the increase in his already enormous appetite. The comical sight of a thirteen-year-old kid eating amounts of food that dwarfed his own size caused nearby spectators to murmur in surprise.
Finished with his meal, Vale gave out a loud burp.
Vale didn't often get the chance to splurge on food like this. Sure, he ate enough so that he felt full most days. But eating till he was completely stuffed was rarer now that his appetite's increased. Compared to most of the mages in his guild, he eats about seven to a dozen times the amount of food they normally eat.
Yet, his height remained a sore subject. Out of the youngest mages in the guild, he was still the shortest. Even Zera, who hasn't changed a day ever since that incident five years ago, was still taller than him.
Stupid Romeo and his sudden growth spurt. I'm supposed to be older than him.
Paying the bill, he left the restaurant.
This week was going to be important for several reasons, so Vale needed to complete several tasks first before things took off. The demand for the mage known as the Enchanted Fairy was great, and Vale's reputation has grown over the last couple of years.
But for today, there was something he needed to do.
Making his way towards the former Fairy Tail headquarters, Vale entered it and began making his way to the back. Pressing something, a secret passage opened up underground. Making sure that he wasn't followed, Vale entered the passage.
Entering a certain room, Vale used his magic power to manipulate the seal protecting the doors to open. Staring at the contents of what laid inside, Vale's breath hitched.
"Lumen Histoire (Fairy Heart)."
This wasn't the first time seeing it, but Vale's heart still throbbed whenever he saw the large lacrima crystal encasing the first master of Fairy Tail.
Tearing his eyes away from it, he placed the back of his forearm over his forehead and closed his eyes.
Instantly, the room around him disappeared.
What most didn't know about Vale was that implanted in his arm was an advanced communication lacrima that allowed him to send messages far away to a paired half linked to the magic tool.
Waking up, Vale found himself in a dark space. A shiver went down his spine as dark memories tried to resurface. Calming himself down, he heard a voice speak.
Vale tensed as he began to speak. "It's just as we suspected, the existence of Lumen Histoire is certain. Once his majesty returns, we can pass on the news to him and inform him of its location."
"And what of your investigation?"
"Tartaros is unusually silent," Vale replied. "Several times, I attempted to observe their headquarters from a distance. But other than taking control of the leftover dark guilds of the Balam Alliance, they haven't made any big moves."
"They're consolidating their forces, reserving their power."
"I believe so. I have already leaked the information about Face to them earlier this week. Eventually, they'll have to act on that information and attack the Council."
"Good, you have done well."
Vale smiled and gave out a sigh of relief.
"And once your investigation has concluded, your role will end as well. At this rate, I assume that you'll most likely be recalled by the end of the month."
The smile on his face froze.
"You have already completed most of the tasks that have been assigned to you," the voice explained. "And it has been years since you have left home. Don't worry about Tartaros or Lumen Histoire any longer, we will take it from here."
"...ah." Vale didn't know what to say. "Yes… I see… but…"
He gripped his arm. "Do I have to return so soon?"
The voice was silent.
"It's just, I've built this rapport with Fairy Tail. And we know for certain that their main members will return soon. Isn't it better if I continue to stay here and keep watch over them once they do? And..."
Vale grew silent.
"What's wrong?" The voice turned concerned. "Is there something else?"
He took a deep breath.
"...no, it's nothing." He shook his head. "Then I guess this is farewell."
The connection was cut, and Vale sat alone in the room with heavy thoughts on his mind.
Vale left several hours later and returned to where the current Fairy Tail headquarters were.
The old building that Vale recalled when he first joined looked nothing like it did currently. Over the years, the guild's success had allowed them to make several renovations to the current building. The difference between what it was before and what it was now was like night and day.
Hearing Romeo's voice calling out to him, Vale looked up and smiled as his friend ran towards him. Lowering his speed as he neared, Vale saw Romeo's face frown.
"What's with the look? It looks like somebody just gave you some bad news or something."
"Ah," Vale touched his face. "It's nothing, I was just thinking."
Romeo studied him for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. "Well, have you heard the good news? I just heard from Dad that we've finally paid off our debt. Not just that, but it looks like we might eventually be able to buy back our old place with the savings we've been gathering."
Vale's eyes widened. "Really? That's great news!"
"Hehe," Romeo smiled. "Our goal is to buy the building before the Tenrou group returns. After all, we can't exactly show that we've been managing by if they see our dingy old place."
"I happen to like our current headquarters," Vale said. His smile turned fond as he traced one of the walls. "It's just… there's a lot of memories here, you know?"
Romeo's smile softened. "Yeah, I do."
The two were silent for a moment, and Vale recalled a similar conversation between them several years ago when they first visited the old guild headquarters. The difference between then and now was that Vale could finally understand what Romeo meant that day.
"Where's Flare? And Zera?"
Romeo sighed. "Flare is out on another mission, and Zera's visiting Warrod again to get her magic under control."
Vale grimaced. The fact that Zera was now cursed was a common topic amongst their guildmates. Most of the time, she had pretty good control of it. But at times, it was to the point where she would have to isolate herself for days and even weeks at a time.
The Curse of Contradiction.
Looking through records and books didn't help much when Vale tried to research about it. Even back home, when knowledge of Zeref's origins was common knowledge amongst the upper echelons of the Empire, there wasn't much explained about how to deal with Ankhseram Black Magic.
Still, they had hope that Zera would get better. It was the reason why she trained so hard to master her new god slayer magic.
Vale frowned at that thought.
"Is Zancrow going to cause trouble at Warrod's again?"
Romeo shook his head. "After the last time, it seems that Warrod finally put his foot down and disciplined him. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but Zera claims that Zancrow is as meek as a mouse whenever they visit now."
Vale's eyes were boggled at what he said. "I would pay to see that."
Romeo laughed. "Still, it's nice to know that he's finally warming up to the rest of the guild."
Vale gave the other boy the stink eye. "Was that a pun?"
"What?" And Romeo's eyes widened as he realized what he just said. "Wait, that wasn't intentional, I swear."
And Vale snickered.
Before long, Vale started to laugh uncontrollably. Seeing his friend burst into laughter, Romeo couldn't help but laugh along with him.
As the two boys laughed together, Vale felt his heart relax as he took in the atmosphere. As he recalled the conversation he had earlier this day, he realized something.
I don't want to go.
He wanted to stay here. He wanted to stay with Fairy Tail, to stay with his friends. He wanted to keep doing stupid stuff and having dumb conversations with the people here. He wanted to continue doing job requests with his team and having amazing adventures with them.
Unnoticed by Romeo, a single tear appeared in the corner of his eye.
He didn't want to go yet.
Vale Endoyle did not exist five years ago.
Or rather, that was not the name he was born with. The new name he had chosen to take when he left his homeland, he didn't choose it without thinking. While the meaning behind his last name was a personal one, the first was a nod to how he was born into this world.
Vale, meaning 'valley'. Referencing the place he came from, the 'valleys of time'. Otherwise known as the Rift in Space and Time.
I-It's so dark... What is this place...?
He didn't remember how he got there. Only that it was a place that he could only visit because he was dead.
Time did not pass normally in that place. But to him, it felt as if he was stuck in the dark for an eternity. Unable to interact with his surroundings, with nobody to talk to.
But on the day he was born, a miracle occurred.
July 7th, X777.
The Eclipse Gate opened, and something amazing happened. For the first time, Vale could finally sense the world. Reaching out to anyone who could listen, he cried for help to take him out of the darkness.
But only once voice heard him.
And Zeref took action.
"Hmm, Lady Irene. I request your help on a certain matter."
"Yes? What is it, Your Majesty?"
"I need your assistance on a certain project. I am currently indisposed, so I will have to leave the task to your capable hands."
"Good, then this is what I want you to do…"
And thus, he was born.
A puppet created by both Zeref and Irene, enchanted with life created from a fragment of Irene's flesh and bone doused with large amounts of her magical power into it. An Etherious, yet still human at his core.
On that day, he opened his eyes for the first time.
But the rest of his story… that will be a tale for another time.
Because this chapter will instead go over another issue.
Yes, the return of Fairy Tail marks a turning of an age. The peace they have lived these past seven years will finally be broken.
And thus, Vale needed to prepare for Fairy Tail's comeback.
It's been a few years since Vale recalled the series, so there were times when he found gaps in his memories regarding the source material. He got the broad strokes, but the small details often eluded him. That was one reason why he was unaware of which council members were linked to Face other than Jellal.
Knowing that, Vale decided to look for him. And there was only one person he knew that might be able to help.
"Hmm, I'm not sure." Warrod gave Vale a resigned look. "That's not exactly something that falls under my area of expertise, so I don't know what to say."
Though Vale had grown over the past few years, Warrod had barely changed in appearance compared to when they first met. Although, maybe it was just his imagination, but Vale thought that he seemed happier recently. His face was childlike despite his age, and his eyes twinkled with amusement while the two sat across from each other at the small table.
"It's alright," Vale replied. "But maybe you can redirect me to someone in the Council?"
"Well, normally I'd recommend Yajima, though I hear that he's getting busy dealing with this year's Grand Magic Games." Warrod hummed and held his chin. "But I think there might be someone else who would be able to help?"
But before Warrod could respond, the sound of a young girl's voice interrupted them. "Warrod, I need help putting out the fires again!"
Warrod sighed. "Coming, coming. The youth truly have no patience for things anymore."
Following him, the two entered the garden to see Zera standing over a black bonfire burning away several feet in front of her. Glancing in their direction, she waved her hands in panic while gesturing towards the flames.
"Give me a second."
Chanting for several seconds, the bonfire popped as Warrod's magic caused the fuel to warp and change into something that couldn't sustain it anymore. The surrounding plants converged on the remaining cinders and exploded as the bulbs expelled vast amounts of water. Once it was clear that the fire was put out, Zera gave him a thankful look.
"Still have trouble manipulating your flames?" Vale asked.
"Yeah," Zera scowled. "I can control them easily whenever I transform, but my teacher wants me to get used to them in my regular form so that I don't rely entirely on the enchantment."
Hearing her casually reference Zancrow in conversation, Vale didn't know what to think about that. Since Zancrow was only an illusionary being, the only person who could talk with the former Grimoire Heart member was his student, Zera. The only exception was when Zera used her magic to form an illusionary body for everyone else to interact with her teacher, giving everyone the opportunity to at least talk with him occasionally. From what he could judge, he figured that the relationship between teacher and student wasn't bad, but Vale still found it difficult to imagine the loudmouth mage as someone pleasant to hang around.
Over the years under his tutelage, Zera had grown and advanced in strength. While the mastery of her new magic was still debatable whenever she wasn't using the residual thought enchantment, her transformed state allowed her to access the skills and instincts of her teacher. Each time she tapped into Zancrow's magic, Zera continued to grow and slowly acclimate to mastering the flames of a Fire God Slayer.
It wasn't an exaggeration to say that she was the current strongest member of Fairy Tail.
"By the way, I wanted to mention something regarding the both of you," Warrod said to change the subject. Hearing Warrod's words, the two young mages turned in his direction with questioning looks. "I've spoken with Mister Heartfilia a while back about a potential idea regarding the usage of the current Fairy Tail headquarters. Since the guild is planning to move back into its main headquarters soon, the two of us talked about several avenues as to how the smaller building can be used."
Jude Heartfiilia. The former owner of the Heartfilia Konzern, now a current member of the Love & Lucky Merchant's Guild. Recently, he found success by dealing with major port cities that traded with Alakitasia. Supposedly, he had just returned recently from his business trip. Though, it appeared that he somehow became acquaintances with Warrod without Vale realizing it.
"Under the assumption that the missing members will return sometime this year, we voiced worries that some of the mages without permanent settlements will have trouble returning to their normal lives due to issues like rent and funding. Thus, he proposed the idea of using that space to aid the returning members for those who especially have trouble with housing."
Vale picked up on the idea immediately. "You want to turn the building into a communal space."
"Exactly," Warrod nodded. "A sort of dormitory for any members of Fairy Tail that needed to support them while they take their time getting their feet back onto the ground. I've already expressed my interest in investing to fund the remodeling process, so now, we just need to fill the building with any interested tenants."
"Us?" Zera gave an understanding look at his response. "You're talking about the two of us."
It made sense, now that Vale thought about it. Both of them still lived in apartments instead of permanent homes while Romeo still lived with his father. Flare was another member who also lived alone, but the fact that she wasn't here at the moment was probably why Warrod was talking to the two of them first.
"I've already discussed this with that red-haired friend of yours, and I'm currently finalizing the details with your Guild Master." Warrod gave a tired shrug. "It will probably take a few weeks for construction to finish setting everything up. But by then, the both of you can move in as its first inhabitants once it's finished."
"I'm fine with the plan," Zera replied. "I'm guessing that the rent won't be as high, given that the building will mainly be used to house the returning members?"
"A trust fund will be set aside so that there will be enough supplies to keep costs to a low. The only issue will be controlling the tempers of any rowdy mages that might cause damage to the property."
Vale winced. The thought of keeping multiple Fairy Tail mages in check sounded like a nightmare.
Warrod chuckled after seeing his expression. "Anyway, that's all I wanted to talk about. Oh, and regarding the thing we talked about earlier, I'd say that if you want to talk to someone in the Council, you should speak with a member of the Rune Knights, Doranbolt. Since he's an intelligence officer, he should help you in that regard"
"I'll do that then," Vale nodded. "Thanks for the tip, Warrod."
"No problem." He smiled. "As long as I get to help my cute juniors, that is all I need to motivate myself."
"Sheesh," Zera sighed. "You're making a big deal out of thi—"
A strange sensation caused both Vale and Zera to stumble forward. Falling to her knees, Zera suddenly clutched at her chest as sweat began to gather at her forehead. Meanwhile, Vale was already preparing his magic to understand what was going on. Appearing in front of him, Vale's eyes swept across the translucent screen that indicated his usage of Archive magic.
"Zera, what's your status?"
"It hurts," she replied. "I feel like my body is heating up, but also like I'm wearing a sweater that's gathered a lot of static electricity. I feel sick."
"Is your magic going out of control?" Warrod asked.
"N-No… it's not that," Zera winced. "It goes deeper… rather, it's something that I'm connected to at a core level."
"Your link to Mavis," Vale realized. "I'm getting strange readings from you. It looks like your previous connection to the First Master is getting stronger."
Warrod's eyes widened. "You don't mean…"
Swiping a hand to dismiss the screen, Vale turned in Warrod's direction. "I can guide us to the other end of the connection, but we need a mode of transportation. Please, can you help us?"
"Of course," Warrod hurriedly replied. "I'll take the three of us immediately, just lead the way."
A large tree suddenly grew underneath them before shooting off into the distance with their group atop of it. All three had hopeful expressions on their faces as they all came to the same thought.
This incident was most likely an indication that Tenrou Island was returning.
"Warrod, I'll use up most of my magic power to speed us up."
"Alright, just don't push yourself."
"High Enchant Type - Magnify Speed Attribute Six."
The drain of empowering a powerful mage like Warrod was intense, but there was a clear effect. Immediately after casting his enchantment, their surroundings began to blur as the group flew faster than before. At speeds like this, it would have been normal for the occupants to experience some form of motion sickness. But all three were too worried to focus on the turbulent ride.
"I've sent a message through telepathy to some of the guild members," Zera informed. "They should be arriving not long after us."
"Warrod, how much longer until we get there?"
"We should reach the shore in a few seconds," Warrod replied.
Right as he said that, the view of the coastline suddenly appeared in the distance as they quickly closed the gap between it and them. Flying past it, their group was now currently traveling above the ocean as they continued toward their destination.
"My magic will run out at this rate, so I'll be changing our mode of transportation."
After saying that, Warrod waved his hand in a cutting motion as the section behind them separated. Falling to the ground, the large piece of wood quickly shifted into a boat-like structure as it crashed against the water. And yet, despite this sudden change, the newly created boat barely lost any speed compared to how it was several seconds prior.
Several minutes passed as they continued to travel this way, and Vale continued to update the location by using Zera's connection to relay the coordinates to Warrod. This continued on the boat came to a stop as they reached their destination.
"I don't see anything."
"Maybe we accidentally went past it."
"No, this should be right. I'm getting ethernano levels off the charts around this area."
All three of them spent time looking around their surroundings.
"Hmm?" Zera blinked. "Hey, is it just me, or are the waves getting rockier?"
"No." Warrod stumbled and grabbed onto a nearby rail. "It's true, the water is more chaotic compared to before."
Glancing down, Vale's eyes widened as he realized the cause.
Right as he shouted that, the water broke apart with a crash as a large bubble suddenly surfaced. The spray of seawater caused all three of them to close their eyes momentarily, but they quickly wiped their faces and watched as the island rose from the water.
"Q-Quick, t-take us to shore!"
"I-I'm on it!"
The moment their ship touched the shore, both Vale and Zera immediately jumped off and bolted forward further into the island.
Both of them stopped as they peered down below them. Buried under the rubble were several unfamiliar people, all of them clearly unconscious.
It was surreal, seeing them all here. For years, both of them have only heard stories about the missing members of Fairy Tail. To finally meet them after all this time, it was almost like they were dreaming.
"We can't dig everyone out by ourselves," Zera concluded. "Once Warrod gets here, he should be able to help us find everyone quickly."
His mouth opened, but Vale had no words to say. He tore his eyes away as he swallowed, and for a second, he thought that he was about to tear up. For what reason, he had no idea since there should have been no reason to feel like this.
"Y-Yeah," he finally croaked out. "But we can still get started."
Zera looked worried. She noticed his strange reaction and now looked at him with worry in her eyes. Vale tried to convey to her that he was alright but failed. He was unable to properly think as he finally spotted something.
"Eh?" Zera blinked. "What did you say? Did you notice someon—hey, where are you going!?"
But Vale had already left before responding to her, quickly digging through the rubble as he tried to free the young woman trapped underneath. There was a look of desperation in his eyes, and Zera could only watch from a distance as Vale continued to dig.
He didn't know her. Until now, he had only heard stories about her from the older guild members. But it was impossible not to know who she was, if only because the similarity between his mother and the young woman before him was impossible to miss.
Because she was related to him.
Erza Scarlet opened her eyes to see Vale's face tearing above her. They were supposed to be strangers, but something must have triggered an unknown emotion. Reaching out, she brushed her hand past Vale's face with a confused look on her face.
"It's you," Vale replied. "I've finally met you…"
His older sister.
"DON'T LET HIM ESCAPE!"
Romeo dashed through the forest as he tried to escape the pursuing mages behind him. He saw a clearing ahead and cursed as three men suddenly appeared in front of him. Changing course, he bolted to the right as he ran along the river, all the while as more mages continued to chase after him.
Why today? Romeo thought to himself. Of all days, why did these morons have to cause trouble today? Getting the message from Zera, he had hoped that he could quickly make it to where his teammates were. But apparently, the universe decided to make things difficult for him.
"Triple Baku Orco Blast!"
He was already moving to intercept the attack. Whirling his body around, he threw an arm forward and covered his arm with fire.
"Hell Flame Dragon's Flaming Fist!"
To hell with escaping. The longer these idiots kept him busy, the longer it would take for him to meet up with the rest of his guild. No longer holding back, he allowed his spell to overwhelm the foe's attack until it disappeared. Skidding to a stop, he glared in the direction of the mages.
"Hey!" Romeo screamed. "What's your problem? Why the heck did you guys try to ambush me?"
"Ah." From the group, a middle-aged man with a broad jaw stepped forward. "Forgive our manners, I believe we haven't been introduced yet. I am Guild Master Banaboster, here to speak with you about a certain issue."
"You're here to talk?" Romeo raised a brow. "Sure have a funny way of expressing it."
"Apologies for the rudeness, but you must understand that my subordinates are a bit impatient."
"Keep your apologies," Romeo replied. "Just tell me what the heck you want."
"Very well. I'm here to discuss a certain matter between your guild and my own, Twilight Ogre. I'm sure you're aware of your Guild Master's plan for the reacquisition of his former guild building."
"Yeah, so what?"
"The thing is…" Banaboster gave a slimy smile. "Your father still has the problem of owing us money that he hasn't fully paid back yet."
"That's a lie," Romeo shouted. "We've already settled our debts last year."
"Ah, but you're forgetting the interest." Banaboster chuckled. "Don't worry, we'll make sure to be reasonable when negotiating with your father. However, it would be in our best interest to have you come with us when we finally discuss repayment."
Romeo wasn't dumb. They wanted to use him as a hostage to extort his father. Instead of replying, he raised his fist and lit it on fire as his response.
Seeing that, Banaboster sighed and gestured behind him. From the trees, the sound of multiple mages exiting the forest met Romeo's ears as they surrounded him from all sides. Glancing around, he counted about a dozen mages with about half of them carrying some kind of weaponry. Meanwhile, the rest were making sure to block off all paths of escape, leaving Romeo with nowhere to run.
"Did you seriously bring out your entire guild just to catch me? You do know that I'm only thirteen, right?"
"Don't underestimate him," Banaboster ordered his men. "Despite being a brat, the kid is one of Fairy Tail's newest dragon slayers. Fire mages, use your magic items to fight instead. Do not let him have any chances of recovering and getting out of this."
"So this is Twilight Ogre's definition of 'best interest', huh?" Romeo asked sarcastically. "You guys realize that this constitutes a guild war, right? Aren't you worried about getting in trouble with the Rune Knights?"
"It's your word against ours," Banaboster sneered. "And as for starting a guild war, who cares? The strongest mages in your guild are just a couple of brats. There's no way you can win if things escalate to an all-out conflict. Try tattling on us, and we'll make sure to silence you guys."
Romeo's mind was racing to find a way out of this predicament. While he didn't expect to lose, he figured that it would take an annoyingly long amount of time for him to neutralize all of the Twilight Ogre mages. He had better things to do if he wanted to catch up with his guildmates.
Thus, he couldn't afford to waste a second.
"Hell Flame Dragon's Binding Chains!"
Shooting outward from his body, lines of purple fire wrapped around every single mage that was within range of him. Shocked cries rang out as the Twilight Ogre members were caught and trapped, while a single chain flew from his arm and wrapped around a branch. Pulling him forward, Romeo's body flew upward as he leaped into the air.
As he swung away, he heard the sounds of yelling to chase after him.
He had to run.
These guys didn't matter.
The only thing that mattered was that today was the day that the missing members of Fairy Tail were returning. This was a minor inconvenience at best, and on another day, Romeo would have gladly retaliated in kind.
But right now…
An arrow immediately came flying over his shoulder, and Romeo was forced to dodge as several more followed after it. Getting annoyed, he flung several bursts of fire behind him to block most of the projectiles while expelling some smoke to distract his pursuers.
During the past five years, Romeo had fought bandits, criminals, mercenaries, and even other guild members while training his newest magic. When it came to combat experience, he was a far cry from the young boy he used to be. Training with his teammates, who were also abnormal in their own ways, Romeo was more seasoned than most members of Twilight Ogre, which mainly consisted of mages who lorded their strength over others while not being able to back up their bark.
A fuzzy voice echoed in his head.
"zZzz… R…eo… zzZz… R…meo… zZZz… Romeo!"
He blinked. "Zera, is that you?"
"Something wrong?" Her voice finally cleared up. "I'm getting some interference on your end for some reason. Are you fighting against anyone at the moment?"
"Yeah," Romeo scowled. "It seems that Twilight Ogre decided to pick a fight with me today."
"Need any help?"
"No." Right as he said that, Romeo was forced to dodge as a particularly powerful spell exploded right next to him. "Actually, maybe. It looks like their Guild Master is also participating."
"Got it, we're on our way."
He blinked. "Say what?"
But there was no reply. Before he could say anything, another powerful blast almost knocked him aside as the blowback force met his back. Turning around, he met the face of an infuriated
Banaboster as he raised his fist.
"That magic of yours, it kept back the rest of my members. So it looks like it falls to me to deal with you."
"Guess I shouldn't underestimate someone who managed to become a Guild Master," Romeo stood his ground. "Really though, you have to realize that there's no point to this. Holding me hostage will only invite trouble onto your guild. Are you seriously that greedy that you would make a stupid mistake like this?"
"Tsk," Banaboster sneered. "You think this is for money? No, the truth is that I just want to get back at that annoying Enchanter of yours. Ever since he humiliated me all those years ago, I've been meaning to get my revenge."
"You mean Vale?"
"Enough words," Banaboster changed the topic. "Either way, I can earn a good sum if I capture you and force a deal with your father to transfer the ownership of the former Fairy Tail headquarters to us instead. Once we gain possession of that building, we'll cement our position as the top guild in Magnolia."
"You're crazy," Romeo replied. "I won't let that happen under my watch."
From behind him, Romeo heard a familiar voice. "Neither will we."
Banaboster's eyes widened. "You…!"
"Enchant Type - Zancrow!"
"Enchant Type - Second Origin Release."
Two voices spoke out as a wave of magic power enveloped the area. Romeo grinned as he turned around to see his fellow teammates standing right behind him, their full power on display.
"You guys," he exclaimed. "I didn't think that you'd appear here!"
Zera, with blonde hair flowing past her shoulders, laughed as she let loose a burst of black flames. "Looks like you could use a hand."
Vale, with strange tribal tattoos covering his body, sighed as he rubbed his forehead. "Really, what kind of luck do you have to get caught up in this?"
"Hey," Romeo complained. "It's not my fault. But anyway, weren't you guys supposed to be with the others? How come you're here?"
But a voice interrupted them. "Stop ignoring me!"
Throwing a punch, Banaboster's hand was enveloped in an aura of energy as a large magical attack exploded before him, destroying anything in its path as it targeted the three of them. Acting immediately, Romeo fired off an attack of his own while his teammates supported him.
"Hell Flame Dragon's Nether Blast!"
"Fire God's Kagutsuchi!"
"High Enchant Type - Magnify Attack Attribute Four."
There was no holding back. Even against a Guild Master, the combination of all three of them acting together was enough to completely overpower and negate Banaboster's attack. With wide eyes, Banaboster was forced to defend himself as the raging ball of flames met him head-on.
"AAARRRGGGHHH!" Collapsing to his knee, his injured state looked pitiful to any onlookers. Raising his head, he glared hatefully at the three children standing across from him.
Footsteps rang out from behind him, and Banaboster grinned as he realized that his subordinates must have finally broken free from their earlier confinement.
"Hahahaha… you think you can handle me as well as dozens of other mages?" Banaboster stood up. "You may have surprised me with how powerful your magic is, but don't underestimate the rest of my guild."
"That should be our line."
Hearing that familiar voice, Romeo couldn't help but look up in surprise. Spotting a familiar figure appearing from behind Banaboster, tears started to appear in the corner of his eyes.
"What?" He turned around. "Wait, who the heck are y—"
"Fire Dragon's Roar!"
The figure opened his mouth as a large amount of fire shot forward in an explosive burst. Banaboster was only able to let out a pitiful scream as he was completely knocked out by the attack.
Wiping his mouth, Natsu turned to face Romeo.
"Hey, long time no see!"
Seeing the smile on his face, Romeo ignored everything else around him and shot forward. Crashing straight into his chest, Romeo finally allowed the tears to let loose as he cried all over Natsu.
"You idiot!" Romeo screamed. "Where the heck have you been all this time?!"
"Sorry for the wait." His arm wrapped around Romeo's head. "I've been caught up with everything. These past few years… they must have been hard on you."
Watching the two of them reunite, Vale and Zera gave out content smiles as they lingered a small distance away. Seeing this reaction, they could only imagine how everyone else was reacting, since only Natsu had decided to follow them to meet up with Romeo. The rest had gone with Warrod to greet the rest of the guild, meaning that only the four of them were separated at the moment.
"Things are about to change," Zera commented. "Looks like things are going to get crazier from now on."
"Yeah," Vale agreed. "But we wouldn't have it any other way."
Nobody bothered to mention the smoking form of Twilight Ogre's Guild Master collapsed nearby.
Fairy Tail came back to life for the first time in many years.
Not just the return of the missing members, but the reacquisition of their main headquarters marked a day of celebration for the entire guild. Everyone came together to celebrate, even those that were only there to wish them well for their fortune. Residents of Magnolia and even visitors from out of town came to witness the scene of the entire guild partying.
Although, not everything was cheerful at first. There were many tears of regret, cries of sorrow, and moments of sadness that everyone went through together. But as several days passed, and everyone slowly adapted to the new state of things, people recovered.
Zera watched all of this happen from the corner of the building. Floating above her shoulder, Zancrow gave out an exasperated sigh.
"Not gonna join the others?"
"No," Zera shook her head. "Everyone has just gotten back on their feet, and they need to relieve their stress. This whole place is a powder keg of emotions waiting to explode. I'm not in the mood to get caught up in all that at the moment, so I'll just relax and spectate from a distance."
"Hmph, suit yourself."
Barely anyone noticed him. While there was the occasional glance at Zera, there were no looks directed toward the blond figure floating beside her. Since she was the only person who could see him, it made sense that nobody else would take notice of the spiritual being.
There were a lot of visitors. From a casual glance around, Zera spotted various individuals that she had gotten to know over the past few years. Several mages from Lamia Scale were talking with Romeo, the group having visited after taking a recent quest that occurred near the town. Vale himself was talking to the three young men from Blue Pegasus, his face bright red as he was surrounded on all sides by the good-looking mages. Nearby, Macao loudly laughed as he conversed with an exasperated Porlyusica.
Flare was introducing herself to some of the older mages, specifically the dragon slayers of the guild. Apparently, the discovery that her holy relic was actually the deceased state of a dragon had awakened an interest in all dragon-related topics with the red-haired woman. While Natsu excitedly told her stories of a dragon named Igneel, two individuals spoke in nervous tones a small distance away from them. Eventually smiling, tears began pouring down the face of Jude Heartfilia as he warmly embraced his only daughter.
Everyone else was having the time of their lives, with older members of the guild laughing and cheering as they wrapped their arms around their returned comrades. The entire atmosphere was one of happiness and joy, creating a powerful and festive mood.
From the corner of her eye, Zera noticed a frantic Vale escape from where he previously was and move to another corner by himself. Only to freeze as he unexpectedly bumped into another person, his face paling as the young woman named Erza turned to face him.
Zancrow titled his head. "The brat is acting weird around that girl… wonder what that's about."
"I didn't take you as someone who gossips."
"Hey," he shrugged his shoulders. "It's not like I have anything better to do. Even if you use that weird magic of yours to make me visible, I doubt that would be a good idea considering the crowd. After all, it wasn't that long ago from their perspective that we were enemies."
Zera winced. She completely forgot that Grimoire Heart had a bad history with the Tenrou Group. Even though they took the news about Zancrow's existence well enough, she doubted that their interactions would go well with how they last met.
The sound of somebody approaching her alerted Zera to the presence of an unfamiliar person. Turning in their direction, she blinked in surprise as she came face to face with a tiny old man.
"Excuse me, would you happen to be Zera?"
"Ah, yes." She hastily bowed. "Nice to meet you, Third Master."
Makarov Dreyar smiled kindly at her. "No need to be nervous, I'm just here to meet with our newest members. I've already spoken with young Vale and Flare a while ago. Remarkable children, though I've come to understand that your circumstances are a bit unusual as well?"
"Yes," Zera nodded. "I'm not human… I'm an actualized illusionary being that has gained sentience and physical form. My creator is the First Master of Fairy Tail, Mavis Vermillion."
"Hmm, I see." Makarov looked deep in thought. "To be honest, it is by the grace of the First that we managed to survive on Tenrou Island. Meeting you is something that I believe is a sign that she is continuing to watch over us."
"That…" Zera hesitated. "I was under the assumption that my existence would fade away once the magic protecting Tenrou Island faded. I never thought that I would still be here after all this."
Of course, there were many factors that could explain why that was not the case. The fact that she acquired God Slayer magic, the fact that she gained a physical form held together by Law magic, the fact that she was afflicted with the Curse of Contradiction. Still, there was a deep fear in her heart that made her aware that the possibility that she could fade away still existed. Not that she thought that would be the case anymore, considering that nothing happened after a few days.
"Ah, yes." Makarov interrupted her thoughts. "There's another matter that I'm here to address. If it wouldn't trouble you, may I please request that you allow young Zancrow into this conversation?"
"Me?" Zancrow blinked. "What does this geezer want with me?"
"Erm… okay," Zera replied. While she was also curious, she allowed her magical energy to flow through her body and toward Zancrow through their shared link. Using her illusion magic, she watched as Zancrow's body became more visible to everyone else around them.
Makarov's eyes narrowed. "Zancrow…"
"What?" Zancrow raised a brow tauntingly. "Got something to say to me?"
"No. If you have really decided to take young Zera under your care, then that is something I can only encourage. After all, any chance at helping a young man escape his darkness is something I have to approve of."
"Hah?" Zancrow gave him a blank look. "You're crazy, you know that? Do you realize what I've done to your guild members?"
"Yes." Makarov gave a harsh glare toward the blond mage. "Don't think you're completely forgiven for your previous actions. But putting aside my feelings on the matter, everybody deserves a path toward redemption. Whether you decide to accept that chance, that is your decision alone."
Sighing to himself, Makarov reached behind him and pulled out something. "But if you want to remain close to young Zera, it would make sense that you establish a connection with us."
Zancrow's eyes widened.
"A guild mark?" Zera saw the stamp in his hand and understood what he was implying. "You're asking Zancrow to join Fairy Tail."
"Will that even work?" Zancrow asked. "After all, I'm just a spirit."
"Oh, this particular stamp will work. The real question is whether you decide to join or not."
Nobody spoke for a moment. Several seconds passed as Zancrow warily stared at the stamp before he gave out a tired sigh. Seeing his reaction, Zera immediately realized that he had already made his decision long ago.
"If you asked me five years previously…" Zancrow chuckled. "Fine, I accept. Guess I'm now a member of Fairy Tail."
Pressing a hand above his chest, the emblem of Grimoire Heart caught fire as it slowly burned away. Once it was gone, Zancrow reached forward to grab at the offered stamp in Makarov's hand before pressing it against his chest. Once he moved his hand, the guild mark of Fairy Tail was now on proud display for the world to see.
Both Zera and Zancrow blinked as the mark dissipated suddenly, the motes of light that it became slowly floating away toward a certain direction.
Makarov smiled. "Maybe I should mention now that this stamp was given to me by a special guest. I believe that she is eager to meet up with you, young Zera."
Her heart skipped a beat.
Could it be… she thought to herself. He can't be talking about her, right? Fearing that she was getting ahead of herself, her foot took a step forward without her realizing it. Before long, she was following the path of light leading out of the guild building, her thoughts in a frenzy.
Zera found herself walking out of the city as she continued to follow the path illuminating the way. The feeling in her chest continued to ache as she felt her nerves grow more excited. Her hair swayed behind her as the night breeze blew past it, and she blinked as she realized how far she traveled.
Her heart was beating faster, but Zera realized that it wasn't just because of nerves. No, this was a familiar feeling, something that she felt quite recently. It was the exact same feeling as when she sensed the return of Tenrou Island several days ago.
"Mavis…" she whispered.
Just as she braced for the worst, the motes of light that she followed began glowing brighter as they merged together. Zera closed her eyes due to the brightness, then felt somebody's arms wrap around her.
She opened her eyes and was greeted with a face that she hasn't seen in a long time.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Zera."
"Yes." Her friend smiled. "I wasn't sure that you would be able to feel me. After all, your body is no longer the same as it was before. Funny, isn't it? Our roles are reversed with me being the illusion and you having a real body."
Not knowing what to say, Zera blurted the first thing that came to her mind. "You haven't changed at all."
"Neither have you." Mavis chuckled. "I guess the two of us are the same in that regard." Her face fell. "Then again, it could be because of the curse…"
"No," Zera interrupted. "That's something we can talk about another day. For now…" She reached forward and wrapped her arms around Mavis. "Let's just enjoy the fact that we're finally reunited."
"I've missed you so much…" And finally, tears began rolling down her face as Zera sobbed. "You don't know how long I wished we could be like this. It feels like I'm dreaming right now."
"You're not dreaming," Mavis replied. "I'm not going anywhere."
As the two continued to embrace each other, a warm breeze blew around them, lifting the leaves on the ground in a whirl around them. While she hadn't lost anyone as her guildmates did seven years ago, the return of Tenrou Island meant that she was reunited with her dear friend. Finally, she could empathize with everyone else.
Fairy Tail has finally reunited.
And that officially marks the end of this story.
Yup, they're finally back. I've had Part 1 finished for several months now, and the beginning of Part 2 stuck in my Google Drive ever since. It was only recently that I've mustered enough motivation to finally finish the rest of this chapter, which is why it's coming out so late. Because of that, parts of this chapter are a bit disjointed and don't flow too well.
I thought about ending off with Vale's POV, but the thing about this story is that there are actually three main characters. While Vale will have more of a spotlight in the sequel, the two characters that received a lot of attention in this story are Romeo and Zera. Ending this story by having the two reunite with the ones they care most for seemed like a natural conclusion.
Again, I'm not sure how long it will take me to write the sequel. Once I have an idea of how to proceed, Vale and the rest of the guild will move on to the Grand Magic Games arc. I'll make a new post to notify you guys once the sequel comes out, so keep an eye out for that.
Also, I'll be posting a couple of side stories that I've written on the SB thread version. These stories will be under the title of [Enchanted Dayz (Extra)], consisting of canon side stories and non-canon omakes. Check them out!