A/N: I am truly sorry for the SUPER LATE update! School projects and, I admit, my laziness got in the way. I also needed some time to fully develop the flow of the story, and I'm thankful I did. Now you can go on and enjoy!
Oh, Juvia might be a little OOC here. I really don't know how to write her well! I apologize in advance!
Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail.
Chapter 2: Beginnings
"Lucy dear, we've arrived."
The blonde's eyes fluttered open. When she saw how bright it was in the carriage, she abruptly sat up and fixed her gown. I didn't sleep that long, didn't I?
It has been nearly 3 weeks since Lucy and her family left for the Fiore Kingdom. The Heartfilia family ruled the Caelles Kingdom, miles away from Fiore. In fact, it was on a whole other continent. It took 2 weeks of sailing to get to Lilian City, the docking city of Fiore. Then it took another week of sailing to reach Magnolia, Fiore's capital city. Now, they were in a luxurious carriage that will carry them to the Saurian Citadel.
"Miss Lucy, your brush," she heard Annabelle, her lady-in-waiting say. She sat in the seat across her. The gentle old woman has been with the family for nearly 20 years, and watched over Lucy and Juvia since they were infants.
"Fix your hair, silly," said the blunette beside her as she reached out to brush the stray strands of golden hair wildly strewn about Lucy's head. She offered to braid Lucy's hair, but Lucy preferred her half-ponytail.
"Thanks, Juvia," Lucy smiled at her sister. "Thank you, Annabelle."
"You sleepyhead," Juvia looked out the carriage window. "Good thing mom woke you in time. Just look at this place!"
Lucy poked her head out the window. She was overwhelmed by the sight.
Lush pine forests and rolling hills spread as far as the eyes could see, very different from all the snow-capped mountains back home. Lucy could see the docks and ships at the shining ocean. She felt the cool The houses were made of rosy brick and Lucy saw the kindly faces of the citizens staring at the elegant carriage. Lucy never expected Magnolia to be this beautiful. Lucy looked up, and at the very top of a sheer cliff, surrounded by evergreens, she saw the glistening Saurian Citadel.
It lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful castles in the world. It was also very huge. There were many tall elegant towers and high walls topped with battlements. It looked like a pure diamond of fire with the high sun's rays setting it ablaze. A home fit for dragons, Lucy thought.
"I wonder what kind of people they are," Lucy had asked her sister 2 weeks before in the room they shared in their mansion. "You know, with the dragons and stuff."
"Now that you mention it, I think they'll resemble dragons in a way," Juvia had said. "I imagine them as tall, intimidating people that just by looking at them, you'd respect them in a heartbeat." She paused, and pondered for a moment. "Or maybe they're just plain scary."
Their laughter filled the room.
Now, as she stared at the castle, she started imagining what they were like. When she was younger her father told her that they had extraordinary powers, much like the beast they were named for. Since then, Lucy had always dreamt of winged serpents soaring over the skies.
"Breathtaking, isn't it?" said Layla. Lucy averted her gaze from the window to look at her mother, who was seated opposite herself.
Layla Heartfilia stared longingly at the palace, her eyes flickering with excitement.
"I remember when your father first brought me to Saurian Citadel. It's every bit as beautiful as when I first saw it."
"Mom," Juvia started. "Why are we here?"
The Queen stayed silent, as if thinking of what she could possibly say. "You father and I have some... important matters to discuss with the Dragon Lords," she managed to say. "Please understand that that is all I can tell you at the moment."
Juvia's shoulders slumped in disappointment. "I understand, mother."
Lucy chuckled. Juvia's always been curious. She didn't like not knowing everything she could. She was always asking questions. She had a knack for mysteries. She and Lucy loved writing stories about the unknown.
Several minutes later, the carriage was pulled to a stop. Lucy, Juvia, and Layla got off the carriage. Lucy spotted her father, Jude Heartfilia, dismounting his carriage as well, along with Fleet Admiral Gildarts and Vice-Admiral Macao.
They were standing in front of humongous wooden doors. Lucy didn't forget to bring her notebook, which had all the ideas for her stories. In a castle as huge and fantastic as this, Lucy figured she wouldn't be short of inspiration.
Juvia tapped her sister's shoulder. "Last one in is a rotten egg."
"What?" before Lucy could react, the doors opened and Juvia was running across the brick bridge and onto the emerald green lawn. The princess' laughter could be heard as she ran. Her gown was as heavy as hers but darn, was she fast.
Not accepting defeat, Lucy ran after her. "Hey! Just you wait, you cheating little.."
"That's the spirit!" Fleet Admiral Gildarts called with a hearty laugh.
Layla and Jude watched as their children sprinted into the castle. "Sometimes, I can't believe they're already 15," the king said.
"Time passes by so quickly, your Majesty," Annabelle sighed. "The young princesses have grown so much."
"But they'll always be children at heart," Layla said, a fond smile on her face. "Come. It's time to meet the Dragon Lords once again."
Lucy and Juvia panted at the main entrance of the palace. As expected, Juvia was the winner. If only this gown wasn't so heavy, Lucy thought tiredly.
Juvia caught her breath, and looked at her sister. Their eyes met. Then, they laughed. They were happy. Tired, but happy nonetheless.
"Girls, arrange yourselves," Layla commanded, though she was smiling.
Annabelle handed them their brushes and mirrors, and the two started to arrange themselves. When they were done, they straightened their gowns.
They waited until the castle doors opened. They were greeted by an elderly butler and two young maids. They bowed in respect as the royals entered the castle.
Lucy looked around her. They were in a perfectly round room. The dome-like ceiling was so high she strained her eyes trying to trace the carved details on it. The floor they were standing on was made of marble, and at the center of the floor was an intricate circle filled with unreadable symbols and unfamiliar images.
"Hey, Lucy," Juvia said. "Better snap out of it. They're here."
Then she heard a loud thud, and saw the Dragon Lords enter the room.
Juvia sent Lucy a glance. Wow.
The Dragon Lords were very tall, Lucy guessed that their average height was above 6 feet. They were very different from the images she conjured up of them. She already felt small just being in their presence.
The first one was a woman. Lady Grandine of the Sky. Her beautiful oval face looked porcelain and was governed by clear gray eyes, focused and stern. She had light blonde hair that was pinned up in an intricate bun of braids. She was dressed in a flowing white gown adorned with delicate white feathers and gold symbols that Lucy guessed were associated with wind. She stood with such poise that Lucy was suddenly conscious of her posture.
The second one was a large man, and he clearly was the eldest of the three. Lord Metallicana of Iron. He was also the most intimidating with his deep red eyes. His clothes were in a palette of blacks and silvers and reds. He had a sharp face that had several metal studs, and his long black hair was tied in a low ponytail, making him look both menacing and cunning, if his deep red eyes weren't already. He was clad in full armour, save for the helmet, which he held with his right hand.
The final one had an air of authority around him. Lord Igneel of the Flames. He wore a fur-lined cape of thick red material, which Lucy thought were scales. He seemed to be wearing some sort of armour, but different from the one the second was wearing. He had a short beard trimmed neatly, shaping his face, which was chiselled. His most startling feature was the color of his eyes, which were as black as onyxes.
"Welcome to Fiore," they said in unison.
"It truly is a pleasure to meet you again," Jude bowed slightly in respect.
"So formal so soon, Jude?" Igneel slapped the man on his back, laughing. The King looked tiny beside the man. "But it is good to see you again."
"Yes it is," Jude said with a grin.
The man turned to the soldiers. "Gildarts! Macao! How have you been?"
Gildarts grinned. "Well, we're still breathing."
"Right you are, sir," said Macao.
"Ah, Layla," said the Lady, showing teeth as white as pearls. She approached the queen, and the two embraced. "How long has it been?"
"Long enough," Layla said when they broke apart.
Grandine looked at the princesses who were silent since they entered the castle. "I believe you are Lucy and Juvia?"
The princesses nodded, flustered looks on their faces. "Yes, ma'am," they both answered.
Grandine turned to Layla. "Such charming ladies you have raised."
Layla laughed softly. "Charming, indeed."
Juvia nudged Lucy when the nobles weren't looking. "If we slip away quietly now, they won't notice us," she whispered.
They slowly inched their way out of sight from the nobles. When they were satisfied, they ran.
"The others will arrive soon," Lord Metallicana's voice was gruff. "We shall wait for them in the dining hall."
Layla approached her daughters. "We'll meet later at lunch. Behave yourselves by then," she squeezed their shoulders before joining the others.
The adults walked away, still engrossed in their conversation, leaving Annabelle and the princesses in the room.
"Can we take a look around the castle, Annabelle?" Lucy pleaded. "Please?"
"We'll be careful not to break anything," Juvia promised.
Annabelle sighed. "Oh, alright. Just remember what your mother said."
"Thank you, Annabelle," Lucy said happily. She and Juvia excitedly ran to a hallway that had many displays of statues and paintings.
"Madame was right," Annabelle said as she fondly stared at the young girls. "They really are children at heart."
"Take a look at this," Juvia said, she was staring at the wall.
"What is it?" Lucy walked closer to where Juvia was standing. She was staring at a huge tapestry depicting a dragon with deep blue scales soaring over mountaintops. It was in such vivid detail that Lucy took a while before tearing her eyes away from it.
Juvia turned her head and saw another room full of sculptures. "I'll be right back," she said and entered the room.
Lucy decided to do a little exploring of her own.
She kept walking until she reached another vast room with a grand, spiralling staircase. She noticed some engravings on the newel and decided to examine them.
"They look like snakes," Lucy muttered to herself. She moved closer to try and read what looked like words until she heard a small voice yell.
"Natsu, look out!"
Lucy jumped in surprise, and looked up just in time to see a person with pink hair sliding fast on the rail. It took her a moment to realize that he was about to collide with her.
"KYAAAA!" she screamed.
She felt pain in her shoulder as the yelling person slide off the stairs and bump her. She expected to hit the floor, but felt something scaly instead. She could've sworn she felt arms around her, but she was too dizzy to dwell on the fact.
A couple seconds later, the pain started to drift away. She peeked through one eye, and saw that she had landed on a guy. His arms were wrapped around her and she realized that he saved her from the hard floor. Lucy wasn't sure if she was supposed to be grateful or angry. She noticed his hair color, and mentally giggled. What kind of guy would have pink hair?
When she heard him groan, she immediately got off of him. Feeling a tiny bit embarrassed and a whole lot guilty, she helped him up.
"I-I'm very sorry about that," she said apologetically.
"Ah, my back," he groaned, rubbing his sore behind. Then he looked at the princess. "You're really heavy, you know."
Lucy blushed in offended anger at this. "What?!"
"Natsu!" a winged cat flew over to the pink-haired boy. "That was dangerous!"
"The cat...talks?" Lucy said to herself. What the heck?
"But it was fun, wasn't it?" the boy said with a wide grin.
"It sure was!"
"What kind of person would slide on the stairs with people at the edge? Do you want to kill someone?!" Lucy scolded, completely forgetting the fact that a cat with wings just spoke.
"Who's this, Natsu?" the cat hovered over to the blonde.
"I don't know," he turned and looked her in the eye, chocolate brown clashing with stark black. "What's your name, anyway?"
Lucy couldn't believe this guy. The first thing he said to her was 'you're really heavy' and then he ignores her, only asking her name when the weird cat pointed her out! The nerve!
She glared at him, wanting to spit a nasty remark, but remembered her manners. She calmed herself down before answering. "My name's Lucy. Lucy Heartfilia. What's yours?"
For a moment, the guy stared at her, as if he was searching for something. But his serious mood was gone as quickly as it came. "I'm Natsu Dragneel."
"So, Lucy, where're you from?" Happy asked. Lucy still found the fact that a flying cat existed weird.
The three were sitting on the steps since Natsu's back hurt. Lucy didn't know why, but she was here, having a conversation with people who had just assaulted her. Okay, that was an exaggeration. And Natsu did cushion her fall, so she didn't even have a scratch. Turns out that Natsu was the son of Lord Igneel, which made Lucy even more guilty. But the feeling went away when they started talking. It felt so natural having a conversation with the two, so she decided to forget the previous events.
"I come from the Caelles Kingdom," she replied.
"Oh, so you're the special visitors!" Happy exclaimed. Lucy nodded. "I get it! You're part of the Royal Heartfilia family of Caelles!"
"I did say I was a 'Heartfilia', didn't I?" Lucy said with a sheepish smile.
"Hey, Luigi," Natsu started.
"It's Lucy," she corrected, a bit irritated. This was the third time she was correcting the pink-haired boy.
"Why are you here?"
Did you even listen to me? Lucy sighed. "I'd tell you, but I honestly have no real idea why we came. But mom said that they had something to discuss with the Dragon Lords and several 'others' as well. That's all I know."
Natsu looked like he was deep in thought. Then he stood up. "I think it's time we go to the Formal Dining Hall," he looked at the princess. "Come on, Luigi."
Lucy mentally facepalmed. This was going to be a long day.
By the time they reached the grand dining hall, the 2 elegant tables were almost full. The tables faced each other, with one standing over a platform overlooking the other, where the guests sat. Sounds of laughter and people talking filled the room. Juvia rose up from her seat as soon as she saw her sister.
"Hey!" she shouted to get Lucy's attention. "Lucy! Over here!"
Lucy turned and walked over to the blunette. She looked over her shoulder. "Well, I guess I'll see you two later," she told Natsu and Happy.
"Sure!" Happy said. He and Natsu walked away.
"What's up?" Lucy asked casually.
"Lunch," Juvia said with a grin. "Come on, I saved you a seat." Juvia eyed the pink-haired teen she saw Lucy with a couple minutes ago. "You better tell me what that's about."
Lucy turned and seeing what Juvia meant and laughed lightly. "You mean Natsu? Sure. I'll fill you in. But later. Let's go."
The two made their way to where their parents were seated and took their seats. The Heartfilia family were seated at the length of a long table with the other guests. The Queen sat with her husband to her right and Lucy to her left. Juvia sat beside her sister.
"Where's Annabelle?" Lucy asked her mother.
"She volunteered to help in the kitchen," the Queen answered. "You know her, always ready to help."
The Dragon family were seated at the separate table parallel to the Guest's Table. The three Dragon Lords sat at the middle of the table. There were 8 people occupying the table all in all.
Lucy could see Natsu sitting beside a beautiful white-haired woman with violet eyes. Lucy chuckled to herself. A red-haired father and a white-haired mother. No wonder he's pink.
Doors opened, and servants poured in with delicious-smelling food on numerous carts. Steaks, stews, soups, fruits and many other dishes were laid on the table, the guests being free to pick whichever food they preferred.
. As Lucy sipped from her glass of Cranberry juice, Juvia tapped her shoulder. "So you're friends with Lord Igneel's son," she said.
Lucy gave a small smile. "More like acquaintances. He literally crashed into me at the stairs about an hour ago."
"What?" Juvia said, her brow knitting in worry. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, really. After all, Natsu cushioned my fall. Good thing none of us broke anything."
"What an unexpected gentleman," Juvia thought out loud. A sly smile formed on her pale face.
Lucy knew all too well what that smile meant.
"Hey, don't get any bright ideas," the blonde said, her eyes narrowing.
"What do you mean, sis?" Juvia asked innocently.
Lucy narrowed her eyes at her sister. Something was up in that girl's brain.
The cheery atmosphere in the Dining Hall was completely gone by the time everyone was in the Citadel's Conference Room. Mind you, only the adults were in the room. The children were sent to the Guest Room. This was a private meeting and any sort of interference was banned. It was time to get down to business.
Everyone was seated in high rising chairs at the large round table of polished wood. An large map lay at the center of the table. The faces of the nobles were stern as they stared at the paper. Silence took over the room.
Lord Igneel's deep voice broke it. "Commander Scarlet, report."
An armour-clad man whose red hair was streaked with gray rose, and with a long straight stick, he tapped at a region depicted on the map.
"I have received reports from General Luine that Bosco has been receiving a series of attacks from unknown armies, both on the Northern side and the Eastern side," he says. "They've become more frequent over the past 2 weeks."
"What about these armies?" asked a woman with short black hair. She was Ur, Ur of the Ice. "Surely Bosco would have found their headquarters by now. Bosco has one of the finest military force in Magnus Terra."
"Yes, they did find it," Commander Scarlet said with a nod. "Their Intel pointed to an area within the Piedras Mountains. But when they got "Yes, they did find it," General Scarlet said with a nod. "Their Intel pointed to an area within the Piedras Mountains. 3,000 soldiers were sent, including mages. But when they arrived, it was deserted. The enemy left no trace."
"How is Bosco now?" asked Layla.
General Scarlet shook his head. "Bosco has suffered a large amount of damage and loss. It is doing its best to recover. Which explains why King Julian is not is not with us."
Fleet Admiral Gildarts Clive stood. "Not only Bosco," he leaned over the map. "but Minstrel and Bellum have also been experiencing these attacks. Many towns in the Siccabian region of Eremus have also been destroyed, as well as parts of the Orine Islands."
"Orine Islands?" exclaimed a man with deep blue hair and glasses. "Then that means the enemy has a Naval Force! We're not just dealing with some rebel movement, are we?"
"I'm sorry to say, Sir Marvell, but yes," General Clive said. "We are dealing with a serious threat."
More reports were added to the ever-growing list of destruction. Vice Admiral Conbolt marked off destroyed areas on the map with red ink. Hours later, after much more reports from other generals, about two-thirds of Magnus Terra was covered in red marks.
"This is a serious problem," Ur muttered. "It's spread across the land."
"And in a span of merely 3 weeks," King Jude said, his face unreadable.
"Fiore and Caelles haven't been attacked yet," Lady Grandine's voice was deeper than usual, her face had a grave expression. "But I am sure we are the next targets."
"It has been confirmed," Lord Igneel stood. "At this rate, war is inescapable."
For the first time, the short old man wearing a pointed hat spoke, being silent the whole time since the meeting started.
"There is just one problem, child," he began. He stared Lord Igneel right in the eye. "Who exactly are about to face?"
A/N: And that's Chapter 2! I know it isn't worth the time, but it's all I have.
I apologize for any mistakes. On the bright side, our Semester Break is coming, so I'll have lots of time to write! Yay!
Oh, right. Quarter Exams are in 2 weeks. CURSE YOU EXAMINATIONS!