Chapter 63: Titanfall
"Fairy Tail"- Regular Speech
'Fairy Tail'- Regular Thoughts
"Fairy Tail"- Flashbacks
"Fairy Tail"- Dragon/Demon/Monster Speech/Names of Spells
'Fairy Tail'- Dragon/Demon/Monster thoughts
Fairy Tail- Stating of the year or a place
Summary: I was told I was alone...in a world where NAKAMA were every person's desire. Then HE found me, he said he saw great potential in my small body and he raised me. Because of him I lived...I learned...and I finally found someone I could call nakama. Even if he didn't call me the same. That is why I will do whatever I can to live up to his name. As the son and dragonslayer of the greatest being I have ever met. Acnologia, the Black Dragon of the Apocalypse.
Skies of Fiore
"As much as I appreciate being carried through the skies, did you really have to choose the princess carry?" Roshi asked.
"Would you rather be dangled by your arms or legs as we travel trough the air at sub-sonic speeds?" Zabrock responded.
"Then suck it up." The Density Magic user stated before shifting his silver eyes upwards. "At least you're not the one being held in the arms of a twelve-year old."
"Well technically I am because if I'm being carried by you and she's carrying you, then she's basically carrying both of us." The Lava Dragonslayer replied. "I just can't believe I'm nearing two hundred years and I have to resort myself to being princess carried like a damsel in distress simply because I can't fly."
"Are you complaining, Zabrock-san? Roshi-san?"
In any other situation, the two powerful mages would have brushed off such threatening words from the Sky Dragonslayer. However, with Wendy carrying both him and Roshi in her arms as they were held aloft several thousands of feet above the Fiorean Sea, such words were much more frightening.
"No, Wendy-sama!" Roshi quickly responded.
"We're not too heavy are we, Wendy-sama?" Was the reply from Zabrock.
"Not at all, Zabrock-san." Wendy stated as she adjusted her hold on the older mage's shirt. "Using your Density Magic to make yourself less dense helps immensely. It feels as if I'm only carrying just a bit more than the weight of Roshi-san."
"That's good to..." Roshi halted in his nodding as a metaphorical record scratched in his mind. "Wait, are you saying I'm fat?"
Roshi sweatdropped as the daughter of Grandine averted her gaze and whistled innocently before glaring at his male carrier who began to snicker beneath his mask.
"Son never called me fat."
"Yeah well, Son Goku's not here right now." Zabrock stated, something which made his eyes narrow in thought. "Which we actually never discussed. Oi, boss! Why didn't we bring the rest of the Nine with us?"
Naruto's eyes shifted to glance at the forer dark mage out of his peripheries. "It's too much of a risk with Zeref involved."
"How so?" Roshi asked. "They're monster of magic on par with dragons, no?"
"It's primarily out of pride that we like to make the claim that we are capable of fighting with dragons, but that's beside the point." Kurama replied. "But to answer your question Zabrock, the reason for not bringing Son and the others is because we are composed of pure magic and we do not know what Zeref is capable of. Our creator, Hagoromo Otsutsuki, he was comparable to Merlin when it came to both power and skill. Zeref is Merlin's ancestor and due to Zeref being out of commission for the past four hundred years, we know next to nothing about his current skill set. The worst case scenario is that Zeref would have to be placed on a tier alongside Merlin."
"You told us Zeref could use Life and Death Magic, but would that really have an effect on you though?" Zabrock asked. "Like you said, the Nine are pure magic. You're practically immortal."
"Yes, with regards to Death Magic, we're not affected." Kurama replied. "But Life Magic allows someone to manipulate the very essence of magic at its core. Like we explained back at the castle, Zeref can perform matter reconfiguration with this type of magic and if he is truly able to perform spells on the scale of his great-great-great grandfather then it would be putting all of us Nine at risk if he's able to manipulate our cores."
"Oh." Was the intelligent reply from Roshi and Zabrock.
The small group broke through a cluster of clouds and suddenly the sounds of combat were picked up by the enhanced sense of hearing of the dragonslayers and Kurama. However, though he couldn't hear it, Zabrock could very well see the explosions of magic and fire that were taking place in the visible distance.
"Did we get any word from Shukaku-san about what's going?" Wendy asked as she directed her brown eyes towards the horizon.
All eyes shifted to Kurama for the answer to that question.
"You were in contact with Shukaku a few minutes ago, correct?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah." The fox costumed Exceed replied to his dragonslayer partner. "Shukaku, Gyuki and Isobu are still locked in combat with the two mechas that Grimoire Heart created with their airship fleets. The casualties are definitely not as high as they would have been if they weren't there. They're playing their parts of being the alleged saviours pretty well, so our plan is coming together quite nicely, but doing so has caused the Fiorean fleet to lose quite a number of ships in the process as the long range weapons on the mechas are breaking through intermittently."
"The fleet is retreating though, aren't they?" Roshi asked.
"Yes, they'll soon be out of range of the attacks at the rate they're moving at, and once they are, they'll take out the mechas." The Kyuubi no Yoko turned his eyes towards the three executive members of the spy network. "The three of them have been given the instruction to retreat once that is done, but Shukaku noted that Gaara is currently locked in a battle with two of the remaining Kin of Purgatory from Grimoire Heart."
"Gaara's pretty strong, does he really need help?" Roshi paused as the fox costumed Exceed directed a deadpan expression his way. "What? I assume that's what you were leading up to."
The Bijuu-Exceed sighed. "Anyway, yes, but while Gaara is a Kin of Purgatory himself, he is fighting Caprico. That being is a Celestial Spirit that was somehow anchored to the material world and while Naruto would be able to dispatch with them quickly, we have no time to waste since we have to find Zeref and kill him."
"So we go and find Gaara, beat this Caprico guy and whoever the other Kin of Purgatory is, get out and then..." Zabrock looked to his superior. "...what do you want us to do after?"
"Get out as fast as you can." Naruto immediately replied. "If you're successful in your mission before Shukaku, Gyuki and Isobu are finished with theirs, you leave with them."
There was a tone of urgency in the Apocalypse Dragonslayer's voice, something which made Wendy, Zabrock and Roshi look at each other in confusion.
"If you say so."
Forest, Tenrou Island
The sounds of steel slicing through wood and foliage were heard within the forests of Fairy Tail's sacred island. The crack of bark meeting the solid ground seemed to echo as Gajeel's sword arms sliced through anything in their path.
As he stepped into a small clearing, the Iron Dragonslayer paused to tilt his nose up. He took a few quick sniffs, the various scents of the land entering his nostrils to be processed by his brain's superior olfactory senses.
"I'm getting a bit of Master's scent coming a bit more from the north east. What do you got?" The black-haired dragonslayer turned to face his brethren of fire and water. Juvia and Natsu took a few sniffs of the environment for themselves before nodding in agreement.
"Yes, Juvia agrees." The daughter of Levia stated. "Though the scent of ozone suggests that Laxus-san's scent is more prevalent."
"We seem to be getting a bit closer too." Natsu stated as he turned to the other members of the rescue team. "We should find Ji-chan and Laxus soon guys!"
Erza nodded to the children of dragons. "Alright, we'll keep advancing, but everyone remember to be on your guard. It seems as though whoever was fighting Master and Laxus is very strong."
"No shit." Gajeel scoffed. "Whoever that guy was flung the old man through the air even in full titan mode. That ain't no ordinary level of power."
"Redfox is right." Tyson adjusted his trucker hat nervously. "Now I know we're considered a joint strike force for this thing, but what exactly is the plan here if the enemy is with Laxus and Makarov-sama?"
All eyes turned to Erza.
"Tyson, you and Alice will provide long-range support. You'll take as best of a sniper's position as you can and keep an eye out as well as provide cover fire if necessary. Juvia and Gray will go for an immobilization combination with their Water Prison and Freeze spells, and then the rest of us will go for a full frontal assault."
"You're really getting the hang of this responsibility thing as a Wizard Saint, huh?" Gray smirked. Sure Erza has led her guildmates into battle before, but this was an actual strike force composed of different types of combatants. It was a very different ball game, and she seemed to be playing it well so far.
Erza rolled her eyes at the Ice Make mage, but a small smile adorned her face. "Shut up and let's keep moving. We've got two Dreyars to take back home."
"If they're alive." Archid muttered under his breath. A quick elbow to the ribs Adeltrud had him wincing. His twin sister's glare was met with a glare of his own, but before he could take another step forward, the sound of sandal covered feet stamping on the grass covered the ground met his ears. Archid's head snapped in the direction of the footsteps, but before he could register the source, he found his ability to breathe being slightly compromised as his collar was gripped tightly. "Oi! What are you..."
The member of Ernesti Doma's squadron found his words dying in his throat as Natsu's glare was fired at him point blank.
"You don't make a comment about our nakama like that. Laxus and Ji-chan won't die from somebody like those bastards from Grimoire Heart, so shut your mouth and keep walkin' before I break your jaw."
Natsu snorted forcefully, orange-yellow embers escaping from his nostrils as a way to emphasize his threat. Glancing a bit beyond Natsu's face, Archid's eyes widened and sweat began to drip down the side of his face as he felt the invisible force of killing intent coming from the other members of Fairy Tail.
'Note to self. Don't make negative comments within earshot of a dragonslayer.'
The pink-haired dragonslayer released the Rune Knight Captain from his grip before taking his position back at the forefront of the strike force alongside his fellow dragonslayers. The other members of the strike force merely shook their heads at Archid as Adeltrued dragged her currently stunned brother along by the arm.
One Hour Ago- Forests, Tenrou Island
With Caprico and Meredy off to fight the partner of Shukaku, and said Ichibi now engaged in a ferocious battle with the two gargantuan mechas of his own dark guild's making, Hades turned to his second in-command and motioned for her to follow him.
"Come Ultear, we have the rest of our plan to complete."
Before the two could even take three steps, a bolt of golden lightning burned a dark line in the grass. Hades raised an eyebrow as he stared at the trail of burnt foliage before turning to the user of the magically forged lightning.
"The line between bravery and stupidity is a very thin one, boy. If you don't want to reveal where you stand in that comparison, then I will only share this piece of advice with you once." Hades's Devil's Eye glowed threateningly. "Do not get in my way."
"No way in hell, old man." The former Second Generation Dragonslayer snarled as lightning sparked off of his body. "I've faced against people way scarier and stronger than you."
"Then you're even more of a fool than your grandfather. At least Makarov has some sense...don't you boy?" The centennial dark mage shift his gaze to the Titan of Fairy Tail who stood beside his grandson.
"What the hell are you talking about?! Jiji isn't sc-" Laxus's words died in his throat as he glanced at the diminutive mage he called family.
Makarov Dreyar kept a stern gaze fixated on his predecessor and teacher, but his attempt to keep a brave face both in front of his foes and his grandson proved to be an effort in futility as a few beads of sweat lined his brow. A minimal tremble rested upon his shoulders, and Laxus could only stare at the Third Master of Fairy Tail.
"Do you understand now, brat?" Hades took a step forward and the ground cracked beneath his boot. The spiderweb of crevices stretched out towards Laxus in an almost threatening manner as the force of Hades's aura of magic energy flickered around his body like the flames of purgatory. "My power eclipses that of both you and your grandfather's combined. Your death blow from earlier was merely a test of how much Zeref's Death and Living Magic powers could allow me to regenerate, and now I know."
"You knew you would survive that?" Laxus's facial expression was all that was needed to show how much of mad man he thought his opponent was. "No way you knew that you would survive a Unison Raid spell from me and Jiji! No fucking way!"
"I've studied the powers I aimed to acquire at this point, brat. The only thing to do was to see their limitations."
"You...You're not human anymore." Makarov managed to utter out. "What are you, Master Purehito?"
"A demon. A monster. An immortal dark god." Hades raised his fingers as he listed off the answers. "There are much more options available to you I'm quite sure, but I do not have the time to dwell upon those things. Now I believe it is time for Ultear and I to move on from this pointless dialogue."
Another bolt of golden lightning struck down at Hades's feet and the Master of Grimoire Heart's eyes narrowed in annoyance.
"You're crossing the threshold of stupidity and bravery, brat."
"Don't care." Laxus's eyes glowed menacingly as he drew upon his magic energy, immediately transforming into his Thunder in Heaven mode. "I'm taking you down!"
Hades wasn't given a moment to blink as a few sparks of lightning marked his charge. The demon blood infused man felt the hair on the back of his neck raise and his eyes narrowed as his snapped in the direction of his second in-command. His legs immediately tensed and Hades immediately surged forth, standing in front of Ultear with Laxus's fist sparking merely inches away from her face.
Dark eyes were wide with shock, her Master's firm grip holding the offending limb which shook in its attempt to break free and complete its task.
"So you do care."
"I'm impressed, brat." Hades chuckled. "To think you would target Ultear shows you may not be as stupid...but you are still stupid nonetheless."
Laxus gritted his teeth, biting back a wince as he felt the grip on his wrist tighten significantly. His radius and ulna creaked under the pressure and the world became a blurry mess of colour as Hades flung him aside. Laxus quickly regained his bearings and planted his feet against the bark of the tree he was about to collide into.
However, the moment he did, he felt the bark shift.
"Laxus, look out!" His grandfather's voice met his ears and simultaneously his sixth sense for danger, honed from years of fighting, kicked in. The bark shattered beneath his feet as he quickly flew through the air to avoid whatever it was that was about to attack him. Landing beside his grandfather, both generations of Dreyar mages looked back at the tree, their eyes widening.
"Wh-What the hell is that?"
The bark of the tree that Laxus pushed off of suddenly began to creak as a violet-black magic seal sprung into existence.
(Insert Music: Naruto Shippuden- Martyr)
"Life Magic..." Hades's voice rang out as he pointed his hands in the direction of the tree. "Womb of Lilith!"
The magic seal then began to pulse, an audible sound akin to a heartbeat echoing throughout the forest. The bark continued to crack and creak and both mages of Fairy Taiil could only watch as veins of magic energy stretched across the entirety of the piece of foliage. The magic energy began to grow increasingly more concentrated and suddenly a pair of massive clawed hands sprung forth from the magic seal.
The crimson coloured weapons dug into the bark, cracking it even more as leverage was provided to pull the rest of its body free. The demonic beast fell onto the ground almost as if it were baby foal, but just like a foal, the beast was quick to recover despite only just being born. Rising to its full height of eight feet, the beast's chest expanded as it took in its first breath of air. Its jaws slackened slightly, drool leaking from under its fork-like tongue, before its eyes snapped open. There were no irises or pupils, just circular, seemingly never-ending voids of shining white.
"By the dragons, what is that?" Makarov asked more to himself than to Hades.
"That, Makarov, is a demon. The first of many to come I assure you."
As if to solidify his remark, four more violet-black magic seals formed out of thin air; one on a tree, another on a rock, one from a small cluster of flowers and another on a leafy bush. In a manner not unlike their sibling, four more demons were birthed into the world by the centennial acolyte of Zeref.
Hades looked upon his five creations with a feeling of pride as they gathered around him like a flock of loyal sheep.
"You're a mad man!" Laxus exclaimed as he looked upon the four beasts. They were humanoid in posture, but that was where the similarities ended. The beasts took deep audible breaths, the deep guttural growls drifting on the winds as they looked to their creator and master.
"I would like to think myself more of a risk taker than one who teeters into the realm of insanity. Now then..." Hades pointed a finger at the two Dreyar mages. "...I'd like to take my children for a test drive if you don't mind."
"Jiji, jump on my back! Now!" Laxus's words were firm and resolute. His grandfather did not argue and jumped, his arms wrapped securely around the Lightning Magic user's neck. The moment he did, the demonic beasts struck simultaneously. Laxus took to the skies and his former location was reduced to a moderately sized crater as the five magic-made monsters crashed down with surprising levels of strength.
The beasts roared to express their annoyance, their eyes shining as they looked up at Laxus and Makarov.
"After them!" Hades ordered.
To the surprise of the two Fairy Tail mages, the beasts launched themselves into the air. They defied the resisting force of gravity in a manner not unlike Laxus's and the Thunder God of Fairy Tail quickly used his superior speed to maneuver his way around the oncoming enemies.
The five beasts rocketed past their target, powerful winds rushing past them due to the speed of their ascent, however they were quick to gain some semblance of control. They unsteadily halted themselves in midair and turned around to face their prey, drool once more leaking from their open maws as they growled at Laxus and Makarov.
"It seems they're still getting used to their own powers." Makarov observed. "Their levels of adapting is extremely high though, so we need to put them down quickly before they start to become more experienced."
"Way ahead of you, Jiji!" Laxus sped through the air, his body practically vanishing from view in the eyes of the demons. Laxus reappeared in the centre of the group and raised an arm before bringing it down upon a demon's head. The monster roared in pain as it rocketed towards the unforgiving earth, a massive cloud of dust and dirt forming upon impact.
The other four demons immediately turned and roared, rushing at the living lightning bolt of a mage. One demon struck from behind while two others came at him from either side.
Laxus's arms extended and a pair of shockwaves raced out from the point of impact as he caught the oncoming fists that at him from the sides. The demon that struck from behind also found its blow being defended against as a golden circular shield made of hardened Light Magic was formed. The beast snarled at Makarov, its shining white eyes meeting Makarov's now glowing golden ones.
However, due to being in close proximity to their target, the demons quickly closed the distance even further and wrapped their arms securely around Laxus's own. As they did this, the fourth demon cast its shadow upon Laxus as it struck from above. With a roar, the beast performing a front flip while sprouting a thick heavy tail. The newly formed rear appendage came crashing down with devastating force. Laxus's head was tilted downwards and the demon spun in the air to then deliver a fast and strong right jab to the face.
"Lightning Magic: Thunderforce Cannon!" Laxus's head snapped up and he opened his jaws. A powerful beam of lightning erupted from his throat and burned the demon's upper limb into nothing. The beast howled in agony, hovering back as it gripped the edge of the stump.
Laxus then reared his arms back, the demons which held them releasing low growls of surprise as they quickly found themselves being moved against their own volitions. Twin roars of pain were heard as the two demons were forced to crash into each other as Laxus swung his arms forward.
Not wishing to be outdone by his grandson, Makarov undid the wall of light and enlarged his dominant right hand. The Titan of Fairy Tail's massive fist came crashing down on the demon with terrific force to send it tumbling through the air.
"Laxus, take it down!"
"Lightning Magic: Heavenward Halberd!" Laxus surged towards the demon whose arm he has destroyed, the halberd of concentrated lightning morphing into existence within his hands. With a cry of effort, the Thunder God of Fairy Tail sliced through the demon's other arm, severing it at the elbow and leaving its pained form open to further attack. Laxus crashed his foot into the beast's stomach, said beast descending towards the ground at a dizzying pace to the point it knocked down a few trees in the process.
The beast's momentum carried it through the forests of Tenrou, a deep trench being carved in the process until it came to a halt by smashing into a boulder. The beast groaned in pain as it now lay within the imprint its upper body created with the piece of stone. Its neck muscles trembled as it tried to force itself into a sitting position, but all movement was immediately halted as a bright blue light washed over its body. The demon's eyes widened, its mouth agape as it suddenly felt a lancing pain due to the lightning arrow Laxus fired into its neck.
The arrow of lightning detonated, becoming a pillar of sapphire which completely disintegrated the demon's existence into ash to be scattered to the winds.
The other three snarled at the electrokinetic mage before flying towards him at breakneck speeds, but for he who moves at the speed of lightning, they were practically standing still. He batted them all aside with punches and kicks, treating them like the newborns that they were. He was toying with them, and the feeling of superiority which oozed from the Fairy Tail mage caused the demons' rage to reach new heights. A burning built up within their bellies, a burning that screamed to be released.
With a roar, the three demons opened their mouths and unleashed bright bursts of crimson destruction. The blasts of pure eternano raced towards their target, but Laxus simply raised his hands and a blue magic seal formed in front of his palms.
"Lightning Magic: Dragon's Maw!" From the magic seal came the head of a ferocious dragon, its eyes glowing with crimson light and fangs as sharp as any blade. The dragon head bared said fangs and bore down upon the energy blasts that the demons unleashed, engulfing them in one fell swoop. The blasts detonated within and the dragon of lightning died in a flash of blue light.
Distracted and blinded by the flash, the demons lost sight of their target. However, enhanced senses kept them within the loop as they smelled the scent of ozone and heard the sounds of sparking electricity above their heads. Without missing a beat, the three demons turned skyward and unleashed a trio of energy blasts at Laxus once more.
"Lightning Magic: Triple Thunderbolt!" As quickly as they had launched their attacks, Laxus had fired his counter spell. A trio of blue arrows forged from lightning were launched from his palms, each one flying straight and true. They speared through the spherical energy blasts like they weren't even there, small explosions of red dotting the skies in their wake, before they embedded themselves into the bodies of their targets.
The demons roared, but the roars were drowned out by the explosive detonations of the lightning arrows. With a resounding trio of booms akin to thunder, the demons were engulfed in massive explosions of lightning which caused them to turn to ash.
"And that's that." Laxus smirked as he dusted his hands. "How you holdin' up, Jiji?"
"Didn't have much to do since you ended up doing the lion's share." Makarov chuckled as he ruffled his grandson's currently long, bluish-white mane. "You've done me proud, my boy."
The lightning user gave the Ten Wizard Saint a toothy grin in response to the praise. However, the lightning user's eyes widened as he suddenly felt a tight grip around his ankles.
"Huh?" Laxus turned to the source of the grip and his electric blue eyes widened as he found himself staring into the pair of white voids that were the eyes of the demon beasts. A lengthy chain of the monsters stretched from the forest floor all the way up to the one that currently held Laxus's legs in its grasp. Laxus's vision suddenly became a a dizzying blur of blue and greens as the tower of monsters suddenly began to spin like a whip. A powerful whirlwind was generated as the speed of the swings became increasingly faster.
"JIJI HOLD ON!"
"DON'T HAVE TO TELL ME TWICE!"
The two Dreyars gritted their teeth, their eyes tearing up slightly due to the winds. Finally they came to an abrupt halt upon the demons at the base of their self-made chain adjusting the momentum of their swing to send the two Fairy Tail mages careening towards the ground.
The Wizard Saint heeded his grandson's words, leaping off of his back before he would end up being crushed by the weight of the former Lightning Dragonslayer.
The ground seemed to shake from the devastating blow, the demons at the forefront of the chain and Laxus all hidden from view by the resulting dust cloud.
"LIGHTNING MAGIC: CRUSHING FIST OF MAJESTIC THUNDER!" The roar of the former second generation Dragonslayer seemed to echo throughout the forest, heralding the use of the lightning spell. The beam of lightning launched itself from the tips of his knuckles the moment it collided with the demon which still held his ankles in its grasp. The beam continued on its path, spearing through every demon in its wake until finally all that was left was a panting Laxus sitting in a crater observing his handiwork.
The landscape in front of him had been scarred by the beam of burning electricity, a massive trough that glowed orange-yellow from the heat and sparked with blue voltage seeming to stretch all the way to the edge of which ever coastline they were currently facing. Any trees in the way had their leaves either entirely burned away or had a massive holes punched through their thick trunks.
"LAXUS!" Makarov shouted as ran towards the edge of the S-Class mage's personal crater. "Laxus are you alright?!"
Laxus pushed himself up into a sitting position, an electric blue eyebrow arching at his grandfather's question. "I just punched a beam of lightning through tens of demon beasts, Jiji! I think I'm pretty oka-JIJI LOOK OUT!"
Laxus's body sparked, utilising his ability to move at the speed of lightning to quickly rush into action. He pushed the Third Master of Fairy Tail out of the way of the oncoming blast of violet magic energy before taking the blast on by his lonesome. The force of attack generated a powerful explosion, sending Laxus careening over the diameter of his personal crater and rolling across the battlefield.
The nineteen year-old mage shook his head vigorously as he gritted his teeth, the ringing in his ears currently dying down as he began to climb back to his feet. Currently electric blue eyes directed their gaze towards the elder Dreyar and the source of the attack spell.
"Your grandson's reflexes are quite impressive, I'll admit." Hades stated as he stalked towards his successor. "You have also handled my demons quite well, but no matter how many you kill, I can always make more. Their numbers are practically infinite so long as I have magic to wield, and trust me boy...I have a lot of it."
"Whatever your plan is, you won't get away with it!"
"And who's going to stop me?" Hades snorted in amusement. "You?! Believe me Makarov, I have had this plan in the making since before I left the guild and chose to make you my successor! I have factored in every possibly outcome and intervention that could possibly occur and have created contingencies for them! For example-"
"I'm not listening to any of this anymore, Purehito! Stop this!" Makarov's eyes shone with golden light and he charged, the ground shuddering beneath his feet as he began to change into his Titan form. However, the glow flickered along with the wind in his lungs as he found Hades's fist embedded deep into his belly.
"I taught you better than to interrupt your elders when they're speaking, Makarov!" The master of Grimoire Heart followed with two jabs to the face, Makarov's lip splitting from the sharp knuckles of the gauntlet his former master wore. A sudden pressure was then exerted upon the elderly mage's face as Hades surged forward to complete the combination of blows.
"HRAH!" Gripping Makarov's skull tightly, the centennial dark mage raised the Titan of Fairy Tail into the air and slammed him into the ground with enough force to crater it. Makarov's eyes continued to glow brightly as he was raised back into the air and a crushing uppercut struck the underside of his chin. He felt the bones in his jaw creak and a bit of blood pooled from the way he was made to bite his tongue. Makarov arched through the air only for chains of white magic energy to wrap themselves around him, binding his limbs together.
"Now it's time I fulfill the part of the contingency plan I have in place for your grandson..." Hades snapped his fingers and the Womb of Lilith activated once more. A multitude of magic seals formed from the brush and shattered stones, and just as many demon beasts roared to life. The monsters pounced at Laxus, clawing at his body and keeping him grounded to prevent him from flying.
"YOU PIECES OF SHIT! GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!" Laxus unleashed bursts of lightning from his body, but as Hades had said before, the demons were near infinite so long as he had magic to burn. For every one Laxus killed, five more seemed to take their place.
Makarov's eyes widened as he watched the horde continue to pile upon his flesh and blood, the younger Dreyar's cries of effort quickly being drowned out by the multitude of roars.
"Laxus!" Makarov would have reached out to him, but his hands were literally tied and now Hades began to drag him along as he and Ultear began to walk.
"Come along now, Makarov. There is much work to be done and I have a special contingency plan in store for you in particular when we find Zeref."
"No! NO NO NO! LET ME GO YOU BASTARD!" Makarov struggled against the chains, trying to brute force his way out of them. A bolt of violet lightning from his captor caused his muscles to seize up and halted his attempts at escape. Makarov could only watch in horror as the horde of demons continued to pile upon Laxus.
"LAXUS! LAXUS, I'LL SAVE YOU AND WE'LL GET OUT OF THIS TOGETHER! YOU HEAR ME LAXUS! LAXUS!"
Forests, Tenrou Island, Fiorean Sea
The Thunder God of Fairy Tail released a loud gasp as he sprung up into a sitting position. His dark eyes were wide, his heart beating his chest as he raised his fists in preparation to fight the demon horde, however...
"Wha-What...What the he-" Laxus shook his head from side to side, getting rid of the cobwebs which plagued his mind. "What happened? What's going on? Where's Jiji?!"
"Laxus, listen to me." Erza's brown eyes met his own dark coloured ones as she knelt down beside Natsu, the one who had been screaming his name at him earlier. "You're here on Tenrou Island. I'm not sure what's going on, but you look pretty banged up and you seem to have been engaged in quite the fight if the state of this battlefield is anything to go by."
Laxus looked around, taking note of the multitude of broken trees and smoking craters which decorated the landscape. He then looked at the small crew of people gathered around him, some of which he didn't recognise. However, he did make out the sigil of the Rune Knights and the Magic Council present on their clothing.
"Why are you guys here? Grimoire Heart was attacking the fleet, shouldn't you be helping them?"
"We were sent by Grand General Lahar to come and rescue you and Master Makarov." The daughter of two Wizard Saints informed him. "Now while it's great to see you alive and well, seemingly unhurt for the most part it seems too, but we need to find the Master. Was he with you during the battle? Do you know where he went?"
"I...I don't...I..." Laxus blinked and rubbed his eyes before he felt the rush of events suddenly come back to him. "Erza we need to get going now!"
"We understand that Master might be in grave danger Laxus, but I'm going to need you to elaborate so that myself and the team can get a better read on the situation." The Requip Magic user stated calmly. "Natsu, Juvia and Gajeel will track Master's scent so we can find him. Now dust yourself off and explain along the way."
With a stiff nod, the blonde mage climbed to his feet and began to explain the situation.
Hades traveled through the landscape of Tenrou Island with practiced ease, Ultear following dutifully behind her guildmaster while also keeping an eye on the elderly master of Fairy Tail who trudged along behind them, no longer fighting against his restraints or attempting to attack his captors. The collection of bruises and swollen right eyelid showed that Hades's physically abusive method of bringing the Titan of Fairy Tail to heel had proven effective.
The scents, the sounds and the scenery of the island brought a form of nostalgia for the centennial dark mage as he led his second in-command through the brush with practiced ease. Years of taking part in his former guild's S-Class trials and simply exploring the island with Mavis had led to him knowing the ins and outs of the brush as if it were his own backyard, however, the master of Grimoire Heart did not have time to dwell upon old memories.
He glanced down at the slightly rattling chain he held in his grip as the oval-shaped locket which was attached to it, pulled itself in a different direction. Having previously been facing true north, the locket now adjusted to pull itself toward the northwest.
"Master, from what I can recall, you said the demon's blood which you transfused into your body gave you a link to Zeref."
"You have demon's blood in you?!" Makarov exclaimed. "Is that the source of your power?! How you regained your youth?! How you returned from basically being burned alive by Laxus's spell?!"
"Indeed and I am most pleased with the results." Hades nodded, clenching his fist tightly around the stretch of Chain Magic which bound his former student and guildmate. "You were saying Ultear?"
"Yes, Master, so given that you have this link to Zeref..." Ultear's gaze now matched her Master's as she also glanced at the locket in his hands. "Why are you using the locket to guide us?"
"It was merely a minor misunderstanding on my part." Hades answered. "The demon blood from the Devil's Heart was forged by the Black Mage's magic and thus it did give me that, I believe the term is a 'gut feeling', which drew me towards Tenrou. However, this same gut feeling is not the most reliable in guiding me towards Zeref, but the Keys of Zeref, the artifacts to which pieces of his very soul are bound to, can do just that."
The statement was enhanced as the ebony aura that outlined the piece of metal became a bit more pronounced. The rattling of the locket also became somewhat more frantic as they began to ascend the rocky incline which led to the upper tier of the island.
"We are drawing closer."
As they scaled the incline, the two dark mages and Makarov glanced off to the side as they were now at a level of elevation that allowed them to view the titanic battle which took place in the nearby Fiorean Sea. The roars of the Bijuu-Exceed accompanied by the sounds of the titanic mechs were indicative of how the battle was faring and Hades could not help but smirk.
"Well I must say, they are doing surprisingly well for their first battle wouldn't you say, Ultear?"
"It is really is quite the spectacle to witness what so many years of study have amounted to, but the thing about machines is that are so...breakable."
"So you sent the Cerberus and Charon out there with the expectation that they would fail?" Ultear asked.
"Indeed, but they will do their job well enough. After all, they are both equipped with a Devil's Heart to give them that little extra oomph if something is damaged. Bio-mechatronics infused with demonic-based Living Magic is quite an interesting topic of study to put into practice." Hades mused with a small chuckle.
"But Master, isn't the Devil's Heart the source of your power? If we lose them, then wouldn't you lose your current level of strength?"
"A fair assumption, but that is not the truth of the matter." Hades responded to his second in-command. "However, the Devil's Hearts which fuel the Charon and Cerberus are completely separate entities from the one which I was using to fuel my longevity. As you are aware, due to my previously weakened state prior to assimilation with my Devil's Heart, I was able to produce clones of myself with the creation of smaller, weaker hearts to fuel them. Assimilation with my own personal Devil's Heart has led to me being able to function without the need for an external heart acting as a power battery like with the clones."
"You're a despicable piece of shit." Makarov growled out as he spied the former battleground that made the final S-Class trial. The craters, scorched earth and broken ice shards were still present, but amongst the destruction, the gravestone of Fairy Tail's first master shone in the light of the setting sun. The porcelain white stone glowed with the colours of fire and Makarov could only hold back tears as he looked at the grave. "To say Master Mavis would be disappointed with how you've turned out...with what you've become...would be an understatement."
"As if I would care about the opinion that Mavis would have of me, Makarov." Hades scoffed, rolling his eyes as he too spied the resting place of his former friend and guildmaster. "Let alone your opinion."
The unlikely trio continued their trek until they finally reached the point where the incline led into a plateau. For Ultear who had never seen Tenrou before, she had no reaction upon stepping foot onto the somewhat level ground that made up the upper tier of Tenrou Island's land, but to Purehito and Makarov, they could not hide their surprise.
The upper tiers of Tenrou were exposed to the elements much more frequently than the forests below, and thus they were more lush and green with a greater variety of flora and fauna. However, what should have been a very picturesque scene enhanced by the golden orange rays of a setting sun was replaced with a twenty foot diameter circle of barren wasteland.
What had once been bright green grass and leafy trees had been reduced to dried and cracked earth, with gnarled dead trees outlining the circle of death. Corpses of a variety of animals littered the areas; rabbits, wolves, birds, all of them lay still. Not even the young were spared. There was no bloodshed. No carnage or signs of struggle. No signs of intentional destruction were found. It was as if the spirit of death itself had descended upon the clearing and said "Fuck this place in particular!", before leaving to go on its merry way.
However, sitting atop a small cluster of boulders in the centre of it all, was a lone figure. Hades, Ultear and Makarov all walked towards the figure, which, as they drew closer, was revealed to be that of a young man. He wore high-collared black and tan robes with gold trim, along with a large, flowing white toga draped around his torso. He had short black hair and dark eyes. A melancholy expression was present on his face, his half-lidded eyes gazing at the corpses of the wolf pack which surrounded the small boulders.
The sounds of their approaching footsteps alerted the man to their presence, and so he glanced up from the wolves to direct his gaze towards them.
"Are you...Zer-?" Hades did not need to complete his question as the locket in his grip suddenly rocketed out of his hands. It sped through the air like a bullet, the chain of the locket disconnecting on its own so as to quickly placed itself around the man's neck. The ebony aura which outlined the locket began seeping through the man's pores and entering his body as if it were water being sucked up by a sponge.
"Ah." The young man held the locket in his hands. "This was...is-" The man corrected himself. "...mine. Isn't it?" With a soft click, the locket opened. A soft smile graced the man's features for a few seconds before the locket was closed and tucked into his cloak.
Hades and Ultear immediately fell on bended knee before the Black Mage.
"Oh my." Zeref chuckled as he looked upon the newcomers to his clearing. "To think after nearly four hundred years of hiding myself away from the world, someone has finally found me."
"Of course, Zeref-sama!" Hades smiled at the descendant of Merlin. "My name is Purehito Gaebolg. I come alongside my subordinate, Ultear Milkovich. We have read many of your great works, studied them intensely and with great fervor so that we may one day locate you. We searched for many, many years in an effort to find you. Now that we have finally found you, we ask that we may learn from you the method of bettering this world of ours. For too long, this world of magic of ours has been overpopulated by those who are unable to cast magic. I wish to remedy that imperfection, to make it so that this becomes a world that is to the benefit of magic itself, to allow every creature that the dragons have created to be able to utilise the great gift of magic which they bestowed upon the planet."
"That is an excellent goal, Purehito." Zeref once again cast his soft smile. "But how will I be the one to assist in this endeavour of yours? Surely something of this magnitude would not require an ancient relic such as myself."
"Oh but that is where you are mistaken, Zeref-sama." Hades replied. "For you see, your ancestor, the great Merlin, was the user of the One Magic. It is the root of both knowledge and power. The root from which all magic stems. It is something which he mastered, earning him the titles of the Elemental Bender and Commander of the Stars. As his blood runs in your veins, you are also capable of drawing upon the One Magic and so I humbly ask that you show us, your apostles, the way to access the One Magic so that we may help the world."
"...I see." Zeref mused. His smile remained present, but his eyes reflected a sadness within them. "I am sorry to say, Purehito, but my ability to access the One Magic is lost."
"I do not believe that to be true, Zeref-sama!"
"You are a kind soul, Purehito, but as someone who has studied me for so long, you of all people should be aware of what I used to be. For four hundred years, I used the powers of my ancestor to bring great tragedy upon the world. Death and destruction lay in my wake as I summoned demons, crafted wars and brought the physical manifestation of a cataclysm upon the world."
A myriad of images flashed through Zeref's mind. Blood soaked battlegrounds of his own making. Armies of his demons razing civilisations. A particularly deep frown marred his handsome features as the image of a roaring black dragon was brought to the forefront of Zeref's mind, its shining white eyes seeming to stare into his very soul.
"It was with these sins that I broke my soul, and with it, my memories and skills."
"I am indeed aware of your past, Zeref-sama, but please listen to reason!" Grimoire Heart's master exclaimed, desperation present in his voice as he continued to try and sway the Black Mage.
"Your goal is quite remarkable, but it is not worth the risk of gaining access to the One Magic if it means bringing back the monster that I once was." Zeref reached around his neck and unfastened the chain of the locket before throwing it at the feet of the dark mage. The locket opened to reveal the oval-cut photo of a young black haired boy smiling as he was embraced by a pair of beautiful women. "My caretakers, Anthea and Concordia, raised me with the hopes that I would be as great as my great-great-great grandfather. I tried my best to fulfill the expectations of the ones whom I called my mothers. I was seen as one who would bring great prosperity to not just the people of my land, but to the world itself. But I betrayed those hopes and it is for that reason why I have wished for my being to be erased from this world. It is why I wish to die."
"Zeref-sama..." Hades took a deep breath before exhaling. "I...I understand that after the many things you have done during the course of your immortal life that you would end up being filled with grief and enough regrets to last many lifetimes."
"I'm glad you understa-"
"But I cannot let you go and do something as foolish as trying to die!" Purehito's crimson eye shone brightly and Zeref's smiling face was replaced with an expression of unadulterated shock.
"Chain Magic: Snake Bind!"
Four white magic circles appeared in front of Fairy Tail's former second Master, unleashing heavy glowing white chains. Each chain was tipped with the image of a snake head, their ivory fangs bared and poised to strike. The chains rattled loudly as they quickly encircled the Black Mage. Hades clenched his fist tightly and the chains responded. Zeref released a gasp of surprise and pain as he was now caught in the spell's tight grip, the fangs of the snake heads biting into his shoulders and thighs to secure their grasp on their target.
With a mental command, Hades made the chains retract into the magic circles they originated from and pulled Zeref towards him. The bound dark mage gritted his teeth, the wind from the sudden pull causing his hair to whip wildly before he was brought to a sudden halt. His body was held aloft by the chains as Hades's towering form approached him, the Devil's Eye glowing brighter the closer he came.
"Wh-What are you doing, Purehito?!"
"What I've set out to do, my lord Zeref-sama." The Grimoire Heart mage replied. "As you said, the seven keys contain fragments of your soul and memories. The moment the locket placed itself around your neck, I saw a glimmer of light return to that soulless gaze of yours, and if one Key is enough to simply initiate you waking from your slumber, then the other six will no doubt succeed in restoring you to your former glory."
"No! Purehito! Stop!" Zeref struggled against his bonds, a fearful sweat now decorating his forehead. "You don't know what you're doing!"
Hades chuckled. "You are mistaken on that, Zeref-sama. I know exactly what I'm doing."
(Insert Music: Pokemon Black/White- N's Castle)
The Master of Grimoire Heart tapped the ground with his armoured boot and six moderately sized magic seals appeared before their user in a perfect circle around the Black Mage.
"H-How did you...?"
"As I said, I've studied your books and your story for years, Zeref-sama." The holder of demon blood glanced to each of the six magic seals that encircled Zeref. "What I came to realise is that a being such as yourself could not allow common objects to contain the magical force that is your soul. You are the great-great-great grandson of Merlin himself and so it only made sense that things related to Merlin, as well as yourself, could be capable of containing you."
From each of the magic seals, a single object emerged.
"I'm sure you remember these artifacts fondly, Zeref-sama."
A chalice of solid gold that was beautifully decorated with sapphires that sparkled brilliantly. It was almost holy in its appearance, making a stark contrast to the vile aura that sprung forth around it.
"The chalice from which Merlin drank the waters from the Enchanted Lake of his lover, Nimue, as a symbol of their union."
A rather ratty and brown book was the second object to emerge. Held together by frayed strands of twine, the currently yellowish brown pages of the thick book remained intact but appeared that if one were to simply try to open it, it would fall apart. On the spine, written in very faded cursive was a simple title stating 'Magic: Volume One'
"The book of spells from which you first learned from, your ancestor's own beginner's guide to magic that was passed down your bloodline for generations and supposedly ended with you."
A ring of sterling silver that was forged into the likeness of a dragon with the dragon's tail making the loop through which one would insert their finger to wear the piece of jewelry.
"Your ring, a symbol and a gift of your graduation into being a master of magic from your mothers."
The fourth Key was a short sword. Simple in make, with a leather wrapped handle and a blade of faded steel that broke through the areas that were seemingly caked with a dark brown substance that did not appear to be rust.
"The short sword with which you performed the many blood rituals as you began to delve deeper into the rabbit hole that was your thirst for knowledge into dark magic."
The penultimate Key of Zeref was shown to be a piece of thick oak tree bark.
"The bark of your ancestor's tree. The fabled Tree of Merlin which he grew himself, though the stories say someone poisoned the tree and so this piece of bark is all that remains."
Then came the final Key which was revealed to be a fragment of broken rock.
"And finally, the piece of stone which I found when exploring the alleged gravesite of Merlin. I must say, hiding it amongst the other magically imbued rocks of Stonehenge is quite the creative hiding spot. No sane person would ever dare to approach the sacred site that marked Merlin's treaty with the giant tribes after all. Even in death your ancestor holds such sway over us mortal mages."
Each of the six remaining keys of Zeref were cloaked in what appeared to be wisps of ebony smoke. The auras all grew thicker and more pronounced as they seemed to take notice of their proximity to the Black Mage. They reacted in a manner similar to that of the locket's whereby the objects each began to shake and shudder frantically before the auras of black magic energy burst forth without warning. They snaked through the air like sentient shadows before each of them slammed into Zeref's body.
A powerful wave of magic energy was unleashed, completely destroying Purehito's Snake Bind spell. The serpentine chains of ivory magic shattered into nothingness as the wave of black emerged from the Black Mage's body. Zeref latched onto his hair in a grip so tight that it seemed as if he were about to wrench his raven coloured locks free from his scalp. The pain suddenly reached a fever pitch, his skull feeling as if it were about to split open and his screams of agony grew.
Zeref's eyes widened and his jaw widened to its utmost as an agonizing scream tore itself free from his throat. His torso arched backwards as his eyes rolled up into his head, and his body began to spasm.
Hades, Ultear and Makarov could only watch as the unleashed magic from the Keys continued to flow into the Black Mage's seizing body. The magic energy grew to an unbelievable intensity, one which Ultear could only compare to that of a certain blonde dragonslayer.
'Wh-What is this?'
The heavens and the earth themselves seem to shake before the might of the magic of the Black Mage, a thought that Ultear found to be not too farfetched as Zeref's magic coalesced and exploded skyward, becoming a pillar of black that pierced the clouds. The pillar of magic remained present for several seconds before it finally began to die down, growing thinner and thinner until it was barely even a line in the sky.
The sounds of battle from the Ichibi, Hachibi and Sanbi against Grimoire Heart's mechas had either halted or were simply white noise, and for Purehito Gaebolg, that couldn't have been a more insignificant thought as he watched the now still form of the most notable dark mage in all of existence.
The world was quiet for what felt like an eternity. The seven Keys of Zeref, artifacts that were considered powerful and ancient, now lay scattered on the ground like discarded trash. Their creator lay still and silent within the misshapen ring they formed. However, that silence was quickly put to rest as Zeref's previously still form moved once more. His head snapped skyward and his obsidian orbs scanned the expanse of blue as if he were searching for something. Whatever it was he was looking for, he clearly seemed to have found it as a look of pure joy appeared on his face.
Black eyes glistened with tears as they flowed down his face.
"You finally came. Now hurry, before I truly awaken...kill me." His voice cracked as he fell to his knees. "KILL ME!"
The Black Mage's shout caused the two guild masters and Ultear to flinch, not expecting the once soft spoken mage to unleash such an outburst. It was then that the three mages gasped upon feeling the sudden burst of magic energy which permeated the atmosphere around the island.
It was a magic energy signature the three mages knew all too well.
"No." Makarov uttered.
"It can't be." Hades said. "Why would he be here? Why?!"
Ultear unconsciously raised a hand and gently touched the ring of ice which she kept upon her finger.
Like a piano would a chamber orchestra, the heavy force of magic was accompanied by the echoing boom that came with the shattering of the sound barrier. A powerful gust of wind rushed through the area causing everyone's hair to shift wildly.
The wind was his herald and his cloak billowed wildly as his boots dug into the ground. He tore small trenches as friction carried him to a calculated halt in front of the Black Mage. Obsidian met Sapphire for the briefest of moments, and the tears of hope continued to flow from Zeref's eyes as his kneeling visage took in the appearance of the man he currently saw as his salvation.
The bright orange-yellow glow of the setting sun cast its glow behind the son of Acnologia, the air visibly swirling around his right arm to form the Wind Blade spell.
"NO! ZEREF-SAMA!" Hades and Ultear moved to stop the blonde dragonslayer, but they were suddenly forced to the ground as a sudden pressure came down on their heads.
"What the..." Hades glanced back and caught sight of crimson fur. "ONIBI!"
"Nuh uh uh." The horse-sized kitsune shook a clawed digit as if he were chiding an unruly child, two of three tails having been put to use to hold down the Grimoire Heart mages. "No interfering."
There was no hesitancy.
Skin. Muscle. Bone.
All of it was pierced through in one fluid motion and in a violent splash of blood, Naruto's arm burst out of the Black Mage's back. Naruto stared at the descendant of Merlin and his eyes narrowed as he noted the laboured breathing that came from his target.
"It seems you don't want to die as much as you made it seem." Naruto snarled. "You shifted your body so that I wouldn't strike your heart, but instead you're now out a lung and you will probably bleed out. Be thankful for my newfound sense of mercy as I grant you a swift death, Black Mage."
Zeref looked up at Naruto and raised a shaking hand towards the dragonslayer's face. Blue eyes widened suddenly and soon they were bathed in an ethereal white light as an aura of black and death sprung up around the Black Mage's body.
"Like hell you will!" Naruto roared. He drew upon the eternano which fueled the aura and consumed it. The aura around Zeref began to die down and so Naruto moved swiftly and efficiently. Black and blue magic sprung forth around the limb which was currently speared through Zeref's chest and with a bestial roar, the Apocalypse Dragonslayer ripped his limb free of its fleshy confines and took a deep inhalation.
His chest swelled as eternano collected within his lungs, his eyes glowing that much brighter.
"Mokushiryu no Hoko!"
The Apocalypse Dragon's Roar burst forth from the blonde's open maw, and the beam of pure eternano washed over Zeref's body. The spell continued on a devastating path of destruction. It continued beyond the edge of the island, spearing through clouds and generating such a massive blast wave that it shifted the seas below it.
In an instant, the stream of destruction ended as Naruto's jaws snapped shut. The flora and fauna of the upper tier of Tenrou island were not spared the Apocalypse Dragonslayer's wrath as everything and anything within the Roar's path was burned into oblivion. A trench of blackened earth marked the path of attack and all of it led back to the ash coloured remains of Zeref.
Glowing eyes stared with such a fierce intensity that Naruto might have been able to sear a hole into the already ashen corpse of Zeref, but after several seconds ticked by, he gave a nod of satisfaction.
"It is done." Naruto stepped back from the charred remains of Merlin's descendant and could only raise an eyebrow when Hades released a shout of horror.
"NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOO!" The Master of Grimoire Heart's eyes widened further as a gust of wind blew through the area, and even Ultear couldn't help but mimic her guild master's expression as they watched Zeref's body literally turn into dust in the wind. "What have you done?! Years of sacrifice and study were dedicated to resurrecting him! To bringing him back to his former glory so that I could make a better world for us mages! I would have cleansed the earth of those who would not be capable of magic, and Zeref-sama would have led us into a glorious, prosperous age of magic!"
"Oh shut up." Kurama growled as he sprouted his fourth tail. Now at the size of a bull elephant, the gargantuan fox exerted even more pressure directed at the Grimoire Heart mage and pressed Hades into the ground with enough force to crater it. "Your goal is null and void now. We prevented you from enacting your little plan, and we got to him before you even had the chance to use the Keys of Zeref to turn him back to his original self."
"The Keys..." Hades managed to grunt out, his voice practically a whimper due to the improper lung expansion that came with having an elephant-sized fox bearing its weight upon him. The former Second Master of Fairy Tail's eyes widened in realisation as he caught onto the Onibi Myobu's words and his Devil's Eye shone within its socket as a wicked grin spread across his face. "That's right! The Keys! Hahaha! Then you're already too late!"
"What do you mean by that?!" Naruto asked as Kurama glared at the downed dark mage. "We saw the pillar of Death Magic as we approached the island, but we know what he is capable of. He only had access to his Life and Death magics, and..."
"Purehito is correct." The familiar gentle voice seemed to echo throughout the atmosphere.
Naruto's and Kurama's heads turned slowly, their eyes widening at a similar pace.
"No...No, that's impossi-"
"I'm afraid you were too late in their usage of the Keys. Had you arrived merely several seconds prior, then you could have stopped them, but my once fragmented soul has been made whole." Zeref's form phased into existence literally out of thin air.
There was no flare of magic or the presence of a seal.
He just existed.
"I had hoped that the power of a Divine Dragonslayer, the power from Acnologia, might be enough to overpower me. You clearly have power in spades Energy Dragonslayer, but the moment you tore through my lung and moved to follow-up with your Roar, my connection to the One Magic was restored."
"The...The One Magic?!" Naruto exclaimed. "You have access to the Root?!"
"Indeed." Zeref nodded as his now resurrected body walked over to his self-proclaimed acolytes. "Though my great-great-great grandfather was the greatest mage in all of existence and he recorded much of his knowledge in books, scrolls and the like...his knowledge on magic was far too vast. As both a personal testament to his power as well to as to act as a challenge to any and all scholarly mages who sought his works, Merlin crafted the One Magic...The Root. The metaphysical force from which the archive of information pertaining to all magic stems. The powers of the elements, the ability to command the stars themselves, to warp space and time..."
A cloud of dust exploded into existence as Kurama, abandoning his task to hold down Hades and Ultear, rushed Zeref alongside the Apocalypse Dragonslayer.
"MOKUSHIRYU NO HAKAI TSUME!"
Kurama's flame coaked body and Naruto's Dragonslayer Magic cloaked claws came crashing down with as much force as they could muster. The earth shuddered as a massive crater formed from the strike. Veins of magic energy and crimson fire tore a spiderweb of cracks that originated from the center of the crater. A massive mushroom cloud of dust, dirt and flame rose into the air, but was quickly dispersed by the accompanying shockwave from the Dragonslayer-Exceed duo.
They felt it. They felt his body break. They felt the bones snap, the muscle tissue and organs tear and rupture. They felt the blood on their bodies as the Black Mage was ripped apart, but their eyes shone with annoyance as they snapped in the direction of footsteps against the cracked earth.
"The knowledge to undo Cause and Effect, and even the concept of Death...All of it exists within the wellspring." Zeref stated as he once again phased into existence despite suffering yet another death blow.
The Black Mage came to stop before the diminutive mage that was Makarov Dreyar. Having been beaten and weakened by his guild's predecessor, his body could not offer the strength to try and move away from the powerful dark sorcerer. Even if he could move, the sudden pressure that came with the magical power that Zeref now exhumed upon awakening prevented him from doing so. All Makarov could do was tremble with a level of fear that outclassed even Purehito was able to make him feel.
Emerging from the brush which outlined the circle of desolation, the strike force of Fairy Tail mages and Rune Knights all paused in their charge as they looked upon the demon creating mage.
Having been the ones guiding them, the three dragonslayers of Fairy Tail were the first to take note of the scene. Confusion was written all over their faces.
Erza appeared after the children of dragons, but she was quickly able to piece together certain aspects to get the gist of the situation. Her older twin was with Kurama with evidence of destruction as they were glaring at the black-haired mage who clearly was powerful enough to earn their ire. Said black-haired mage was also standing near her Master with a hand cloaked in black eternano and that clearly wasn't a good sign.
All in all, she knew who the enemy was.
"Who are you?!" Erza raised her dominant arm and in a flash of white magic, the Sword of Kings had its tip pointed at the black haired man.
Natsu snarled as flames sprung to life around his fists. "Get the hell away from Ji-chan!"
"Wait, isn't that..." Alice pointed an armoured digit at the two SS-Class criminal mages.
"What the hell are the Onibi Myobu and Ogonno Fuujin doing here on Tenrou?!" Tyson exclaimed.
Archid and Adeltreud were just as confused as their fellow Rune Knights.
"Ah." Merlin's descendant gained a look of realisation as he spotted the matching guild tattoos emblazoned on Makarov as well as the younger mages that came onto the scene. "What a shame that your nakama would have to be present to see this. For an elderly man, he does boast quite a significant amount of magic power so I thought he would make the perfect candidate for my demonification."
"What the fuck are you saying?" Gajeel asked.
"I do not wish to partake in such trivial matters such as conflict. I got very bored of killing after I initiated the, what did they call them...the Dark Wars?" Zeref gave a nonchalant shrug. "It is why I always summoned my hordes of demons to do the fighting for me, but I think one would be enough to deal with you all."
"Life Magic: Demonificaton."
The touch was gentle, as if it were from a parent comforting a child, but the effect was clearly to the contrary. Makarov's body became ramrod stiff as the aura of black magic that cloaked Zeref's hand entered his body. His Titan Magic activated on its own and the Third Master of Fairy Tail began to grow. The purple shade of his skin grew increasingly darker until it was borderline black as he halted his growth at a solid fifty feet. Nails became claws, teeth became razor sharp fangs.
Makarov gave the group of Fairy Tail mages he called his children one last look. Tears flowed down his face as he gritted his teeth in one final act of resistance against the spell Zeref cast on him.
"My children...I...I...I'm sorry."
"You had your chance, Dragonslayer." Zeref stated. "I really and truly wanted to die, however, if not even the might of the dragons are capable of granting me the release of death..."
Black eyes became an evil crimson as an aura of ebony magic flowed forth from the man.
"Clearly my expectations were too great for you to meet, and for that I apologize." The mage's voice no longer held any of the gentleness it once possessed. He raised an arm and the titan's glowing red eyes shone in response to the mental command. "But if you cannot stop me then your usefulness has come to an end."
The giant fist was clenched tightly. Blood lust permeated the atmosphere of the island...and the demonic titan struck.
(A/N: Hey guys, so I know it's been quite a while. Being a doctor, and especially being a doctor in the middle of a pandemic really just exhausts you. I've just been so tired and mentally fatigued after working that I really try to avoid doing things that require any significant amounts of brain power. For the past few months though, I have at least managed to get a job where I finally got the ability to find time and motivation to start back writing again.
I know not a great deal of the fighting has taken place, but obviously we'll be getting into the meat of it now that I've set everything up this chapter. Wendy, Roshi and Zabrock are gonna go and deal with Caprico and Meredy and help out Gaara for a bit. Zeref's back and turned Makarov into a demon. Hades/Purehito is still around so there's that to deal with as well, and with his ability to summon hordes of demons like Zeref, well shit is about to go down I assure you.
So I would like to apologise for my lack of updates in recent times, but well...you know, real life things are a thing. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and it gets you all excited for the things to come as I am close to finishing this S-Class/Tenrou Island arc. Will probably wrap up this arc within the next 2 or 3 chapters at this rate.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to review!)