Makarov's Office, Fairy Tail Guild Hall
"I wanna join the guild, gramps." I demanded.
Makarov raised his gaze from his desk and leveled a stare at his grandson, contemplating the numerous changes that have taken place within the boy. "The child's appearance is changing… he is looking more like a wild beast by the day."
The Wizard Saint's eyes darted back and forth, examining every point on his grandson's frame. "Do my eyes deceive me or is he gaining muscle mass… and from the looks of it, Laxus seems taller than before." In the three months since the insertion of the Dragon Lacrima, the Dragon Slayer had already gained a couple inches in height.
Makarov was no fool, he was well aware of what his grandson was up to but he honestly hadn't the foggiest idea of how to address it. To his great shame, the Wizard Saint had been somewhat avoiding his grandson as of late, unsure of how to handle the metamorphosis that was taking place.
In the days immediately after Laxus had awoken from his coma, Makarov had been ecstatic at the boy's improved vitality. Laxus' prior sickly nature had always terrified Makarov and even with routine visits to Porlyusica, his grandson hadn't been getting better as he aged making Makarov start to fear for the worst.
"I have to hand it to Ivan, conniving scoundrel that he may be." the Wizard Saint mused. While Makarov was usually wary of his son's actions, this latest scheme of his had surpassed even Makarov's wildest of expectations.
Laxus had always marveled at the magical tales that Makarov had shared with him, the boy dreaming of entering the world of wizardry that his father and grandfather both walked. Whereas before, that dream may have remained just that, but now that Laxus' body and magic power were in sync? It was no trouble at all for Makarov to leave his grandson to his fun.
As a standing Wizard Saint and a Guild Master, Makarov Dreyar was an incredibly busy man. If he wasn't in his office being drowned in paperwork and other minutiae regarding the running of a trade establishment, then Makarov was away on business with either the regional Guild Masters or the Magic Council.
Most parents would frown at Makarov's lax nurturing style, wondering how he could leave such a young child to their own devices, but the Wizard Saint had always been an extreme adherent of freedom and pursuing your dreams.
Magic was alive, both born from reason and venturing beyond, paying little heed to rules or convention. If a wizard worried too much about what should be then they would never progress. So when his grandson had taken to his library to start learning about the foundations of magic, he could only happily oblige.
If Laxus ever wanted for anything, the Guild Hall was always open and the boy was more than welcome to come bother his grandfather when he was present in his office. Makarov's whimsical view of existence may have been odd to many, but it reflected the manner in which the legendary wizard had lived his own life.
Makarov's parents had died very early on, his mother losing her life during childbirth and his father passing away when he was only four. Makarov had grown up within Fairy Tail, the Second Guild Master Precht and Warrod, one of the future Four Gods of Ishgar, keeping an eye over the son of their deceased teammate as he matured.
Makarov had mostly raised himself however, throwing caution to the wind and chasing adventure with abandon. Impetuous and quick-tempered during his youth, Makarov had decimated thousands of challengers during his rise, distinguishing himself as one of Ishgar's greats. He had faced many trials during his long magical career, but it was through overcoming adversity and hardship that truly defined a mage.
The pinnacle of magic that was the Ten Wizard Saints demanded no less.
That being said… Laxus was shaping up to become something else entirely.
According to some of the guild members who kept tabs on the boy for him, Laxus had essentially ceased appearing at the Guild Hall. But when Makarov found time in his schedule to check on his charge, what the Wizard Saint had discovered dumbfounded him.
Last he'd seen his grandson, Makarov found an excitable child in the beginnings of a sojourn into the realm of fantasy. Now however… the Wizard Saint lay witness to an avid practitioner dedicated to intense study of their craft.
And they were clones at that!
Makarov knew his library possessed a great many subjects on magic, so a manual on how to create Thought Projections wasn't far-fetched.
The problem was how the hell did a five year old child manage to create them with such proficiency?! Even he had to second guess himself on whether it was possible to make corporeal clones or not.
But apparently it was, seeing how Laxus had not only accomplished the feat but exploited it to such a ridiculous extent.
Lightning as a medium to grant physical form? Taking advantage of memory retention and force in numbers to accelerate knowledge accumulation?
Desperate for answers, Makarov had tracked down his grandson to his training area within East Forest.
He almost wished he hadn't.
A veritable army of doppelgangers engaged in all manner of magical experimentation that would take the average adult mage years of research to even devise, not to talk of putting into practice.
It was so mind boggling that Makarov had abruptly turned around and made for his office, utterly stupefied at what he had witnessed.
It shouldn't be possible.
Even if it was, this was the type of effort that a mage with decades of experience would attempt to reach a breakthrough, not a mere boy who should barely even be able to feel their own magical power.
Makarov had been called a genius as a child.
He had been hailed as a prodigy.
As a child, he was nothing compared to what he had seen his grandson achieve. Makarov didn't even think he had reached that kind of capability until his later adolescence.
Immediately, the Wizard Saint's thoughts were drawn to the Dragon Lacrima situated within his grandson's magical core. It was the only thing possible that could be responsible for the recent turn of events.
Was the Dragon Lacrima merely actualizing Laxus' potential, allowing him to achieve what would have come naturally had his body not been at war with his magic?
Or was this something more nefarious?
Who was in control? Laxus or the artifact?
Hoping for clarity, Makarov had dived into his own research to find out what he could about Dragon Lacrima and its effects on the human body. His efforts had resulted in very little however. There was just so little known about Dragons.
How on Earth Land had Ivan even managed to find this Dragon Lacrima? Unfortunately, Makarov knew that trying to get a straight answer out of his son was a fool's errand.
And now the source of his troubles had appeared of his own volition. Chastising himself for cowering from a child, Makarov steeled his resolve.
He was a goddamned Wizard Saint.
No more dawdling. Time to get some answers.
"Laxus… What's been going on with you?" Makarov began, ready for some light to shed on this whole conundrum.
I raised an eyebrow at my grandfather in confusion, I hadn't missed the times the man had spied on my training in East Forest. I didn't know where he was going with this, but I'd be careful not to let too much slip.
"Exactly like you saw it. I've been practicing my magic." I explained calmly, but a little annoyed at the line of questioning.
Oh sure, when Edward and Alphonse Elric learn Alchemy from their father's notes at my age its perfectly alright. Their mother cheered even. But when I do it, it's a problem.
Makarov frowned at the non-answer, another issue coming to the forefront. Laxus' demeanor had changed.
He did not talk like a child his age.
Did not act like a child his age.
He was too calm, too focused. It was clear that the Dragon Lacrima was accelerating the boy's maturation, but even still.
Is this what a prodigal genius looked like from the outside?
"Yes my boy, but how? And why?" Makarov asked, feeling weird at the nature of the discussion.
He was talking to young Laxus like he did his father. A conversation of adults, of equals, rather than as a grandfather doting on his favorite ward.
"I mean, it's your library. Lightning sounded really cool in the books I read, so I tried that." I answered carefully, not giving away too much. "It just… came naturally to me. When I started learning about how to feel for my magic power, I had this feeling that creating lightning was the answer. Like it was a perfect match."
Makarov mewled over his grandson's words, conceding that the response had merit.
All mages possessed affinities for a certain type of magic, it manifested itself in both their magical power and their personalities. The Dragon Lacrima that pulsed within Laxus must have possessed the attribute of lightning, explaining the child's prodigal talent for the element.
"Even still, why go so far? Where did you even come up with all of these ideas?" Makarov pressed.
"I got creative and tried out different things. For some reason, my magic power doesn't run out as easily as the books said it would. Every day, I could keep doing more and more." I answered, watching my grandfather's eyebrows soar at the implications of just how much magical power I truly wielded within me.
"I wanna be like you, gramps. I wanna go on adventures. I wanna see the world like you've told me. I wanna be strong like you." I declared with emphasis, a statement that only a child who didn't truly grasp the realities of the world could make.
Makarov felt a jolt strike the base of his spine at the sound of those words. Trials and tribulations of decades past rose unbidden within him, a few moments of silence passing before the Wizard Saint finally laid his eyes back on his grandson.
"Do you understand the words of which you speak my child? Truly?" Makarov asked quietly, the air in his office turning severe.
Gone was my jovial grandfather and in his place was a force that had vanquished the countless who had dared stand against him.
My eyes widened as my hackles rose, heart rapidly beating within my chest.
First my father, and now gramps too. What was it with S-Class mages and their ability to easily strike dread into another's heart?
"I… I do." I responded apprehensively, failing to hide a tremble at the sheer force of this presence.
Makarov held my gaze for another few, painfully slow, moments. "Power is not something so easily achieved, my child. Just as it gives, it can take as well." the Wizard Saint gravely warned. "I've long feuded with your father on this matter. Let us not be at odds."
The ominous pressure that pervaded the office disappeared with a whisper, as if it hadn't been there in the first place. Unbidden, I released a breath I didn't know I was holding and felt the trembling leave my system.
"Forgive me Laxus, sometimes my instincts have a mind of their own. I hope you can understand my concern, I've seen much in my day but your growth is quite frankly baffling." Makarov explained with a sigh, he had noticed his grandson's reaction. "You've changed a great deal and so quickly, I fear sometimes that the Dragon Lacrima within you has a mind of its own."
"So can I join the guild or not?" I squeaked sourly, unhappy at how easily my grandfather's force of will unsettled me.
I knew it would be a long time before I ever reached my grandfather's level, but I had been riding high off of my defeat of the Forest Vulcan. Pissing my pants in the face of a Wizard Saint's mere presence was not how I expected things to go down.
Makarov hummed in consideration, seemingly mulling over the question, but I knew he was faking it. From what I remembered of Laxus' previous memories, the old man had a habit of spoiling his only grandchild.
"Very well, Laxus. Remember to heed my words, but you are now a member of Fairy Tail. Where and what color would you like your Guild mark?" my new Master asked, readying a spell that would stamp the tattoo onto my body.
I didn't even have to think, quickly hiking my shirt up and pointing to the left side of my ribcage. In canon, Laxus had his black Fairy Tail mark pair with tribal markings that extended up his chest into his left shoulder and in a reverse pattern along his back.
I thought that shit looked pretty badass and would definitely like to replicate it in the future, maybe even progress it into an arm sleeve tattoo as well. "I'd like it in black please."
With a flash the mark imprinted itself, declaring me as Fairy Tail's newest and youngest member.
Nodding my thanks, I swiftly turned to leave so that I could observe the Job board, but my grandfather's final words brought me to a halt.
"Promise me you'll be careful, my child. I was young too when I first started out, but a grandfather still has his worries." Makarov said in farewell.
Pausing with my hand around the door handle, I hid a smile before turning to face my grandfather. "No promises, gramps. I'm a Dreyar after all, you've said before that trouble always seems to find us."
Makarov shared a chuckle at that. "So I've said… oh yes, before I forget! Congratulations on your victory my boy! Defeating a Forest Vulcan is no easy feat."
I froze at the casual mention, looking at my grandfather in surprise. I had been pretty deep into the East Forest when that went down.
"Come now Laxus, did you really think that I wouldn't sense magical combat so close to town?" Makarov said with a wink. "S-Class mages aren't so easy to fool. Something to remember for the future."
At that, I exited my grandfather's office and returned to the main hall, having food for thought.
Makarov Dreyar was certainly an exceptional person, a representation of the ambition that I desired for myself. With an eager smile at my new member status, I turned my attention to the Guild Hall that I was now a part of.
It was rowdy like you'd expect an establishment of people dedicated to the magical arts would be, alcohol and food flowed as the mages caroused and reminisced with one another. Men and women of differing features and race coming together in a special place to live life to the fullest.
"This is definitely Fairy Tail all right." I thought in amusement, taking in the scene in its entirety. "Still… something doesn't feel right."
Searching for familiar faces within the establishment, I managed to locate a teenaged Macao and Wakaba pair as well as a young Reedus, who looked only a few years older than me.
"The new generation isn't here yet. Laxus was pretty much the oldest one of them at twenty-three when canon started." I contemplated, scanning further for anyone else I could recognize. "Cana was known to have been here the longest of the main cast, so she'll probably be the first to arrive."
But that wouldn't be for another several years, Cana Alberona was canonically five years younger than Laxus, so she might not have even been born yet. I smiled in remembrance of the scene between the father/daughter pair, the playboy S-Class mage listing the various women he'd fooled around with to discover which one was the mother in question.
"Natsu, Erza, Gray, Mira, Cana, Elfman, Lisanna, Levy, Gajeel, Wendy… this place just isn't the same without them." I thought wistfully.
Not to mention the Thunder God Legion, Laxus' protective bodyguard in canon.
Freed. Bickslow. Evergreen. Their performance during the Fantasia arc was quite stellar, defeating even the likes of Gray, Cana, and Elfman. Their leader Freed had even managed to trade blows with freakin' Mirajane of all people, even if she was rusty after being inactive for so long.
I definitely had plans for those guys, their unique magical abilities providing some insane utility and support for the future powerhouse that I was gonna become. I also wouldn't be against giving out pointers to the others, especially Natsu when he arrived.
"Should I make him my student? Having another Dragon Slayer as my junior would be pretty cool, maybe we could become Fairy Tail's own Twin Dragons like Sabertooth did with Sting and Rogue." I snorted however, when I thought of kid Natsu's personality. "If I know that guy… he'll be challenging me to a fight every damn day when he learns of my strength. For sanity's sake, it might be for the best to meet him halfway."
There was also the waifus to consider. Fairy Tail as a universe definitely had its share of beautiful women, both inside and out of the Guild.
Erza. Mira. Cana. Lucy. Juvia. Evergreen. Ur. Ultear. Kagura. Minerva. Yukino. So on and so forth.
"Goddamn there's so many to pick from! How do I even choose?! Jiraiya-sensei, guide me please!" I begged, wishing for the Great Sage of Mount Myoboku to grant me his wisdom.
In my hysterics, I almost missed someone of grave importance during my scan of the Guild. Eyes wide at my find, I immediately began thinking of the implications.
"Rob…" I thought to myself, noticing the older man's signature hairstyle.
An old teammate of Makarov's, in canon Rob had been captured and enslaved by a cult of Zeref worshippers in order to construct the Tower of Heaven. Ultimately sacrificing his life to protect Erza during a slave revolt that unlocked her true magical potential.
"Crap! I've been so wrapped up in getting stronger, I haven't thought through the implications of being eighteen years in the past. The bigger the actions I take, the bigger the butterflies I cause. I could easily change something or someone that I don't want to change!" I considered in alarm.
It wasn't even that I was scared of my ambitions rippling out and changing the world, no that was more than welcomed.
The issue was if I carelessly altered the backstories of the core Fairy Tail cast, would they still turn out to be the characters that I know and love?
Fairy Tail's younger generation were exceptional people.
However, they were exceptional people because they came from exceptional circumstances. In the case of people like Erza, Gray, and Mira especially, those circumstances could be dire.
Erza, for example, was enslaved as a child within the Tower of Heaven. She had suffered through Hell during that traumatic experience, and it was a fate that I would like to spare her from.
But if I did so… would she still become Erza Scarlet? S-Class Mage, the strongest woman of Fairy Tail, the Fairy Queen, Titania?
Overcoming adversity made a mage exceptional and Erza's experiences more than fit the bill. But if she spent a happy childhood in Rosemary Village playing with Simon and Kagura, would she ever become as powerful as she did?
Hell, would she even unlock her magic and become a mage? Ever make the trek to join Fairy Tail if Rob never told her of his experiences?
This of course, was assuming that the Tower of Heaven is what it was in canon.
The fight with the Forest Vulcan had given me the sinking feeling that the enemies in this universe might be far more formidable than originally, there was no guarantee that it would be an easy task.
What of Ultear, the daughter of Gray's master Ur?
Ultear was of similar origin to Laxus, a child blessed with immense magical potential that affected her health growing up. In canon, the Bureau of Magical Development which kidnapped her was a shadowy organization in the Land of Isvan, but little else was known about its motives or reason for existence other than the purpose of pushing Ultear's magical potential to the limit.
But what of this universe?
An unethical institution like that existing under the nose of the Magic Council was a curious matter… but what if it was a secret unit under their purview? If that was the case, now I had the problem of staging a rescue from a supranational governmental organization.
Not even my grandfather would so brazenly challenge the will of the Council, Wizard Saint or no.
"At the very least, these are decisions that I shouldn't make lightly." I sighed to myself, moral conundrum ruining my good cheer.
"But this doesn't change too much now does it? This is an anime universe. Absolute power trumps all." I told myself, resolve quickly entering my features. "If I'm so strong that none dare to defy me… well then the usual consequences won't matter, will they?"
Determination welling up within, my magical power fluttering with intensity, I stared upwards at the second floor of the Guild Hall.
A special floor where only the elite of the Guild may lounge and take on Jobs.
A privilege presently afforded to only two men: Ivan Dreyar and Gildarts Clive.
The vaunted S-Class.
"One year. Let's make it happen." I reflected with purpose, marching up to the Job board.
Scanning the multitude of tasks pinned onto the board, I swiped several posters in a huff before heading out the entrance.
Hargeon Town, Fiore
"Let's see here… 10,000… 20,000… 30,000… 40,000 Jewels. Plus, as an extra reward for your fantastic work, another 5,000 Jewel bonus." said Rorg, a foreman of the Hargeon Town Port Authority.
I accepted the payment for a job well done with pride. Who knew being a working mage could pay so well?
100 Jewels was equivalent to 1 USD, so I had just earned $450 from a day's work. If it weren't for my personal ambitions, I could easily make a comfortable living from physical labor.
"Thank you Mr. Rorg, pleasure doing business." I said happily, stuffing the wad of bills into a personal spatial portal through the use of Requip Magic.
"Oh no. Thank YOU, kid. You really saved my ass." Rorg shook his head at the ridiculousness of it all.
Hargeon Town was the Kingdom of Fiore's most prominent port, engaging in an enormous amount of maritime trade with the other countries on the continent. Located to the south of the country, the port town was linked to the commercial centers of Magnolia Town, Onibus, Kunugi, Oshibana, and Clover Town via rail, allowing for the speedy transportation of goods and services.
Thus, the bustling trade port was constantly undergoing building projects, renovation efforts, and maintenance inspections in order to keep the economic engine of Fiore humming. While magic-powered industry was the main driver in creating infrastructure, mages were in constant demand as a workforce to accelerate the pace of development.
Jobs were plentiful and for mages that weren't of the sort to enjoy risking their lives on more precarious tasks, construction work was an easy calling. As a foreman for the town's most important administrative institution, the hiring and managing of mages was a constant headache for Rorg.
There were just never enough magic users to feed the demand.
Only ten percent of the human population on Ishgar could wield magic, and Fiore being small compared to giants like Minstrel, Desierto, or the Pergrande Kingdom did not exactly have an equal share of the pie.
Despairing over the constantly sliding timelines, when Rorg had the unexpected pleasure of a child wizard demanding to be put on, he had decided to bite the bullet and take the risk.
If the deadlines got pushed back any further, he was for the unemployment line anyway. Miracles came from the unlikeliest places, might as well take a chance that a kid could somehow answer his prayers.
So call him a believer… because answer his prayers this little blonde brat did.
Physical strength that put a hundred grown men to shame.
An army of doppelgangers that increased work productivity several fold.
This weird lightning magic that could telekinetically move construction materials and structures into place which required the aid of heavy machinery.
Not to mention the stamina to work past the point that would cause even the most stalwart of his workmen to end up in the hospital.
The hopelessly spiraling deadline that was holding up expansion of the port was now several days ahead of schedule. Rorg could almost cry in relief.
"Are you sure I can't bribe you to stay? I'll double… no TRIPLE your pay!" Rorg pleaded, watching the little blond messiah prepare to leave.
"Nah, I did what I came for. I've got other Jobs to do." I said, shaking my head in the negative. "Just remember to spread the word that it was Fairy Tail who did this."
The money was good but the last thing I wanted to do was get comfortable. I had one goal.
"Yes, of course. But let me at least get your name! So I can send more Job requests to your Guild in case you'd ever like to return." Rorg acquiesced, frantic to maintain contact somehow. "I also have many friends that would be interested in a mage of your caliber."
I smirked in satisfaction at the unrolling of events.
All according to plan.
"The name's Laxus. Laxus Dreyar. Don't forget it." I said in finality, walking away from the foreman for good.
The past two weeks had been quite fruitful for me, having already managed to complete over a dozen Jobs. My inborn gifts and developed cheats almost made me feel bad for playing life on easy mode.
I had stuck with simple Jobs to test the waters at first, both to build up some cash reserves and get the rumor mill flowing.
A child wizard you say?
He can do better work than ten people twice his size and quadruple his age?
What nonsense… wait a minute, you mean the wonder boy is actually real?
Especially as the name Laxus Dreyar began to ring out and people started connecting the dots between me and the rest of my family. In canon, Laxus had always hated the fact that he could never get credit for the things that he did, but at my age I could tolerate it to get more benefit of the doubt.
Most of my Jobs had kept me within Magnolia Town, but now I was ready to kick things into gear and take on something more challenging. Leading me to the port where Natsu and Lucy first met and kicked off the start of the original story.
Thank fucking goodness though, that I was actually able to take the train here instead of walking for fear of motion sickness. The Dragon Slayer kryptonite of motion sickness was an odd one, but motion sickness was caused by a mismatch of brain signals and sensory stimulation.
Easily managed by someone like me who is well-versed in manipulating the neural impulses within their system.
Now for the Job in question?
Taking down a merry group of thugs who trafficked kidnapped women through the port. Reward: 250,000 Jewels.
A fitting start to my career, not unlike the circumstances in which the two main characters of Fairy Tail had befriended each other.
Unfortunately I had no leads, but as I made my way to a dilapidated looking tavern in another part of town, I figured I could find some answers.
Bribe the bartender, knock a few heads around, that's what they do in the movies right?
"The Putrid Hag? Eh… 6 out of 10." I thought, gazing at the sign at the front of the building. Chuckling at the poor taste, I pushed open the swinging double doors common in saloons and took in the scenery.
My heightened sense of smell afforded to me as a Dragon Slayer was immediately assaulted by the scent of cigar smoke and strong booze, a smoky miasma opaquing the atmosphere within the establishment. Local roughnecks and other shifty looking cretins crowded the tables within the hall, entertaining themselves with cards, knife-throwing, and other transitory amusements.
That all quickly came to a halt however, the patrons pointing curious leers at the young child who had brazenly entered the scene, but I kept my eyes firmly focused on the bar stand at the back of the Hall.
The bartender stared suspiciously at me as I made my way to an available stool, his contemplative frown masking the furious thoughts that were probably racing through his mind.
"A glass of your finest scotch, my good sir." I said with a straight face, making myself comfortable.
A middle-aged man with a pencil-thin frame, the bartender gave me a withering look, the both of us knowing full well that I was at least a decade below the legal drinking age.
"... No." the bartender said nonplussed.
"Worth a shot. Got any apple juice on tap?" I replied easily.
"What the hell are you doing here kid?" the bartender asked, returning to his task of cleaning glasses, but keeping a keen eye on the weird boy in front of him. "Ain't your mom looking for you or something?"
"My mother is dead, but that's not what we're discussing." I said, switching gears. Taken aback by the casualness of my response, the bartender's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he saw me pull out some cash through Requip Magic.
"Magic? At his age?" the bartender thought in astonishment, his appraisement of the creepy blonde child beginning to rise.
"I feel like a man of your station comes by certain skills. A talent for knowledge. A talent for information." I began, slipping a few thousand Jewels onto the counter.
Quickly glancing down at the bribe, the bartender made no move to either accept it or turn it down. Instead, he refocused his gaze at the child in front of him and felt unnerved by the intensity of my stare.
"This has to be a trap. This is no mere child." the bartender thought frantically, wanting to continue the discourse but considering the risks. "What is this? Some kind of Rune Knight sting operation?"
Before he had to make a decision however, a third person walked up to the two of us, interrupting our discussion.
"Oi, brat. This ain't a place for kids to be playing around." came a voice with a deep timbre, a large hand gripping my shoulder. "Run along home and go suck on yer momma's nipples or whatever."
Unamused at the intrusion, I turned an eye to appraise the interloper. A musclebound figure, the man had a shaved head and an ugly mug, with a red snake tattoo adoring the side of his face.
"Piss off." I bit back, returning my attention to the bartender who looked apprehensive at my choice of words.
A vein bulging at the disrespectful brat, the bearish man squeezed his grip. "I ain't gonna ask again, you little shit. You're in my seat. Get lost before I-OOF!" The musclehead wasn't able to finish his sentence before I telekinetically sent him crashing into a table of onlookers, a quick pulse of electromagnetism repelling the idiot out of my sight.
"Now, as I was saying before. I was hoping that you could help me out with a little Job I'm doing." I continued, shaking my head in annoyance.
Silence greeted my question, whatever activity that remained within the tavern after my entrance coming to a screeching halt. A pin drop could be heard as everyone stared gobsmacked at the child who had sent a grown man flying with nary a movement.
"YOU LITTLE FUCKER!" roared the enraged oaf, knocking to the side the broken pieces of table that he had landed on. The musclehead stalked towards me in fury, murder in his eyes, but I did him the disservice of not even bothering to turn around.
"I hope you're ready to die boy." snarled the man in question, to which I responded by flipping him the bird. With a howl, the musclehead bolted forward, winding up a mean haymaker to take my head off.
"Wait a minute Dus! I just had this tabletop renovated!" screamed the bartender.
Rolling my eyes at the turn of events, I easily backflipped over the meaty punch that 'Dus' leveled my way, electromagnetic sensory mapping tracking the man's every move. The missed swing caved in the marble surface of the bar stand, causing the bartender to release a cry of sorrow at the damages.
"You're a slippery little shit ain'tcha?" mocked Dus as I landed on the ground, light as a feather. The snake-tattooed man cracked his knuckles in anticipation. "It's not gonna save you."
Ignoring the taunt, I evaluated my 'opponent' and was left far from impressed. The Forest Vulcan was much stronger… in magical power, physical capabilities, all the nine yards.
Withholding a sigh from disappointment, I merely beckoned the overeager fool to come. Apoplectic with rage at the mockery, Dus charged forward once again to destroy the object of his wrath, cocking back a herculean swing that would surely reduce me to paste.
Only for his rage to be quickly replaced by a look of utter bewilderment when his punch was stopped cold. The bearish man's fist being held by an arm that swelled with bulging muscles, utterly misplaced on the otherwise slim frame that I possessed.
In times of fight-or-flight, humans have sometimes exhibited feats of superhuman strength during events of high stress. Like for example, a mother lifting a car to save their endangered child.
Adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands, increasing blood flow and stimulating electrical impulses that regulate muscle contraction, unleashing a Hysterical Strength that surpasses the limitations the brain subconsciously places to prevent one from tearing their body apart.
I knew from my fight with the Forest Vulcan that I would require ever more force to smash through the resistances monsters of its caliber and beyond possessed. While the potency of my Dragon Slayer Magic was growing, a stronger physical base would only make my close combat skills that much more lethal.
Leveraging my experience of developing Lightning Dragon's Overdrive to enhance movement speed and reaction time, I now fine-tuned the timing of muscle contractions to enact instantaneous generation of explosive power far surpassing my normal limits. While mitigating the drawback of greater strain to my muscle fibers through electrically induced high-speed regeneration.
"Oops." I said, wrenching Dus' arm with such force that his forearm snapped in half, a splintered bone jutting out of his skin. The oaf's pupils dilated before he unleashed a howl of pure agony, falling to his knees as he stared at his broken arm in horror.
The patrons of the tavern who were rapturously watching the fight screamed at the gruesome scene, one of them even lost their lunch at the sight.
"AAAAUUUGGGHHH-urk!" Dus' wailing was quickly interrupted by the vicious uppercut that slammed into his chin, bloody spittle and teeth knocked loose as the man smashed face first into the ceiling, before collapsing to the floor in an unconscious heap.
I shook my right arm as the ballooned muscles deflated to normal after the finishing blow, whistling at the impressive might behind my amplified punch. My small frame came with perks like exceptional agility and a harder to hit target, but the strength limitations from being in a child's body were annoying.
If there was a will, there was a way.
"Maybe I should go Dojo hunting in the future?" I thought in contemplation.
I wasn't a particularly skilled fighter at the moment, even though I routinely sparred with my clones, mostly relying on precognition and other monstrous cheats to end fights swiftly. Bacchus Groh had proven that you could reach the level of the S-Class through sheer martial ability alone, it was definitely something to be worked on.
Senses flaring, I sidestepped to the left as a knife missed my ribs, a sneak attacker trying to take me by surprise. A slimmer figure than the hothead I had just laid out, the man's cat-like eyes widened at the failure of his ambush.
Whirling around, I slapped the bastard's wrist away before bulging the muscles in my left arm to land a fearsome blow to my attacker's sternum, his mouth wrenching open in a pained gasp as the bone cracked. Following up, I downed the convulsing fool with an elbow to the base of the neck.
But just as I was dealing with the second opponent, a bolt of lightning smashed into me. Smoke engulfed the scuffle as a third man made his presence known through his cocky laughter.
"HA! Bet ya didn't see that one coming, did ya kid? Don't mess with the Serpent's Fang!" cackled the loon, revealing himself to be a teammate of the previous two.
"Wow… that lightning tasted awful. Are you really a lightning wizard?" I asked, the smoke clearing to reveal me perfectly unharmed. Tiny sparks of static emitted from my mouth, confirming the claim of my feat. "I haven't had a chance to eat it before, but I hope to god that anything I try in the future is better than this crap."
The mouths of everyone in the building dropped to the floor in an undignified manner, stunned at what they were witnessing. The third goon's knees began to tremble as he backed away in fear of this demon child.
"Wh-wh-what…. are you?!" the man balked in terror.
"Who me? I'm Laxus of Fairy Tail. Fiore's latest and greatest." I smirked, firing a lighting bolt of my own to smite the pretender. When the man's wailing stopped, he coughed up smoke before collapsing onto the floor, a charred and singed mess.
"Serpent's Fang… Serpent's Fang… I know I've seen that name before." I mused to myself, reaching back into my Requip Magic to grab some Job posters. Flipping through the different pages, I eventually landed onto the Job in question.
"Ah, there we go! Serpent's Fang, a team of hustlers wanted for robbing traveling caravans. Reward: 120,000 Jewels. You idiots just made my day." I said with glee, identifying the noted serpent tattoos on the trio of groaning miscreants.
In a flash, I emitted three masses of lightning that coalesced into clones. "Secure these guys for me, will ya?" I asked, walking back to the stand with the petrified-looking bartender.
With a chorus of "Gotcha, boss.", the three Laxus clones applied a jolt of charge to the spines of the three prisoners to paralyze them, forming electric ring constructs for restraints.
The tavern patrons meanwhile sat in terrified silence, astounded at the absolutely ruthless manner in which a mere child had felled three grown criminals. No one dared move or make a sound for fear of arousing the attention of the young blonde.
"Sorry about all the ruckus, mister." I apologized, laying out several more thousands of Jewels to cover the damages. The bartender merely gaped at me in terror, back against the wall for fear that he was next.
"Now, if you don't mind. I'd appreciate some info on a group of criminals I'm chasing. Scum of the kind who enslave people. Anything you know will do."
A/N #1: And that's Chapter 2. Got some inspiration for this chapter from the story Gamer in South Blue by LordVishnu. If you haven't had a chance to check that one out, you should do so especially if you're a fan of One Piece.