Hello again! I would like to thank everyone who has read the story so far and a special thanks to the ones who have hit the favorite/follow buttons for my story! It means a lot to know that you like it enough to do either! The story, for those of you who may or may not be ok with violence, is going to start out in a bad situation. It's just so that you get an understanding of her past and why it is that she kept her Dragon Slayer Magic a secret for so long. Reviews are welcome and much appreciated! Enjoy the latest chapter!
Chapter 2: New Day
Pain. That's all I could remember. I looked up to see a group of men towering over me, kicking and beating me with whatever blunt objects they could find. They looked more like demons than men and I was deeply afraid. Something sharp was jabbed into my stomach and blood poured out from me. I was petrified and whimpered, closing my eyes as the torture continued.
"Maybe next time, you won't come into our village, demon," one of the men leaned down to growl at me. I tried to curl up into a ball to make myself as small as I possibly could, but my broken ribs screamed in protest.
"I bet she works for that dragon," another one hissed. "There's no other way that she can play with the shadows like that and not be an underling for it!"
"Please," I whimpered up at them. "I don't know what you're—" The breath rushed from between my lips as a foot kicked me hard in the back and I couldn't move as the fear washed over me again.
"Shut up!" the leader yelled. "You're the reason why the dragon keeps coming here to kill all our livestock, to destroy the homes we built and kill us all!"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" I screamed, covering my ears with my hands and tears slid down my dirty face. "I don't even know who you are!"
Over the yells and shouts, I heard one of the men gasp in surprise. "Wait!" he yelled to them. "She's a little girl and she doesn't even remember anything about us! We've gone too far!"
The leader turned around and stabbed a crude spear through the sympathetic man. He made a terrible gurgling noise before slumping forward against the spear and I screamed. I didn't know what else to do. They were going to kill me and I knew it. I was scared for my life and all of a sudden, I felt a dark place in my heart rip open and burst free. The shadows around us in the night darkened and spread. With a screeching noise, spikes of darkness erupted from the ground and stabbed everyone to keep them in place, only wounding them and not causing serious damage. They all yelped and screamed as I got to my feet, watching as the shadows solidified and from them crawled the demons the men so feared.
"If you think I'm a demon, then you're really going to love them!" I yelled.
The demons howled and shrieked before charging at the men. I covered my eyes as tearing noises and gurgles could be heard, the men that attacked me screamed loudly in fear just before the demons killed them. I didn't cry at their deaths since they didn't care if they killed me during their attack. I heard the screams finally cease and I looked up to see the demons standing around me. They gave me a look that meant they didn't mean me any harm. They came forward and touched everywhere that I was injured, wrapping shadow bandages around broken bones and cuts when a large shadow swooped down from the sky. I looked over at it when it landed not far from me, seeing that it was a dragon.
"You have a gift," the dragon said. "I apologize that these men did this to you. I hurried to your aide as fast as I could when I heard them doing that, but you took care of it."
"What am I?" I asked him, crying again. "Why did they attack me?"
"You're a wizard, little one, that's all," he said softly. "Many people around here aren't used to magic. What's your name?"
"I…" I thought about it, but it was a blank. I couldn't remember a thing past the beating I had received. "I can't remember…"
The dragon stared at me for a few seconds before saying, "Come with me. You can live with me and I will protect you from harm, even train you to use your magic. And as for the name… how about Timara Wyvernia?"
It had a nice ring to it and I approved, smiling a little at the great dragon before climbing onto its back, my shadows dispersing throughout the air as the dragon leapt into the air and flew us back to his lair.
"Mara, wake up!" I heard a little voice yell at me, biting my ear gently to pull on it.
I opened my eyes to slits, hearing a light laugh and seeing Lucy with her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter, the nightmare pushing its way to the back of my mind. My kitten hopped up onto my chest and smacked her little paws on my forehead, but I grabbed her before she could dig her tiny claws into my skin like she's done before. She kicked her little legs and screamed wildly, giving me a happy grin and flapping her one wing that wasn't splinted. I let go and watched as she flew upwards a few inches before she got tired, dropping down onto the safety net that was my hands. I hugged her and she purred before she smacked me with her paws from lack of oxygen from being hugged so tightly.
"So what's your plan for your day, Timara?" Lucy asked me, smiling as Ty crawled her way up to my head so she could lie there.
"Well, I really need to find a place to live," I said. "Money isn't a problem because I save more than I use, I just never had need for a home for myself."
"Why is that?" Lucy asked.
"I always made sure to leave the guild on a mission as fast as possible to avoid anyone knowing what my powers were, but now that the cat's out of the bag I can stay longer," I told her. "I just need to find somewhere to live."
"I'll help you find places, if you want!" Lucy told me, getting ready for the day. She was so excited and happy that I couldn't say no. We both walked outside the door to see Wendy and Carla waiting for us.
When we explained what today had in store for us, Wendy's eyes lit up and she asked, "May I come with you?"
I smiled and nodded, watching her jump up and down excitedly while Carla just shook her head at her antics. We were led around by Lucy, who picked out different houses in Magnolia that I could pick but they didn't feel like home. She looked at a newspaper to check the house listings and saw one outside the city itself, judging from the picture it was huge. We all ran to a main thoroughfare that led to a gate that was locked. A man ran out of his house that overlooked the gate and came over to us.
"Are you looking at the house that I put an ad in the paper for?" he asked, seeming like a kind man.
"Why, yes we are," Lucy told him, giving him a smile. She waved her hand in my direction and said, "My friend here is looking for a place to live during her free times when she doesn't have a mission to do for the guild."
"Oh, you're all from Fairy Tail?" he asked excitedly. "I have a son that is a member of the guild! I'll knock the price in half for you!"
He grabbed the key from his pocket, one that was an ornate silver with a strange design that I couldn't get a good look at as he unlocked the gate, opening it for us and leading us down the path. It took maybe five minutes of our fast paced walked to reach a large house with marble pillars on a hill beside a lake. It looked like it could be a mansion and I immediately felt like this could definitely be a place to call home.
"I'll take it," I said immediately.
"Don't you want to take a look inside first?" the man asked in surprise.
"Why, is there something about the inside I should know about now?" I asked seriously, watching as the man smiled at me.
"No, it's just as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside."
"One question though before I buy it," I said as the thought creeped into my mind. "Why are you selling such a beautiful house?"
"It used to be my father's summer house, but he passed away last year and left it to me in his will," he told me. "We just can't afford the upkeep it requires to keep this place."
I nodded before grabbing the drawstring purse that was strapped a few inches above my right knee and pulled out enough money for the full price of the house. The man was gaping at me for a few seconds as I handed him the money. He protested the kindness, saying it was too much when he just wanted to help out someone from Fairy Tail, but I stopped him.
"The house is big enough that if you want to stay there while I'm gone on a mission or whatever you so choose to do, you can. I don't want to take the house away from you when it obviously means a lot to you and your family. Consider the money as rent for the year, that way you can still call the house that belonged to your father yours."
He looked as if he would cry tears of joy, but instead he thanked me and handed me a spare key to the gate that also unlocked the front door as well. We all left to head back to the guildhall to check the request board, Lucy mumbling something about her rent being due soon and needed some extra money. She paled and denied my offer to pay for her rent that month, saying she felt better about coming up with the money by herself than to accept charity from someone, even if that someone is a friend.
Once we were inside the guildhall, we saw Gray and Natsu arguing by a table about something, looking as if there would soon be a fight breaking out between the two of them. I sighed and wandered over to the request board, looking for one that would be relatively close to home when Makarov called me over.
"I have to go out of town for a week to a guild master's council meeting and I want for you and Mira to keep this place in good shape," the master told us when Mirajane walked over.
"Can do, sir!" Mira said cheerily before going back to cleaning something behind the counter.
"We've got it covered," I assured him as he hopped down from the counter and walked right out the door. "Well, that didn't take long."
"He does that whenever the council gets together," Mira told me. "He likes taking a brief reprieve from the craziness our guild to spend time with the other guild masters."
Before I could respond back, Wendy rushed up to me with Carla in her arms again. "Timara, I have something important to ask you!" she said loudly. "Will you train me to get stronger? I want to learn the long range attacks that you're good at as well!"
I smiled and said, "Alright, but you have to learn one thing first. It's the basics before you can move on to bigger and better things." I raised one of my hands before her and slowly so that she could catch it, I created a ball of shadows in the palm of my hand. She looked at it in awe and then gaped up at me. "All you have to do is make a ball of your magic in the palm of your hand. Don't push the magic into its form. You have to just feel it and coax it into a ball in your hand."
With her new task at hand, she ran to a table not far from where Natsu and Gray were fighting, catching the attention of the Fire Dragon Slayer who then tried to learn the same trick as Wendy. The both of them trying it had Gajeel suspicious enough so that he wandered over and joined them with the basic task of creating a ball of magic in their hand. I hopped up onto the counter where Makarov always sits and watched everyone going about their business. I watched Lucy go out for a request, a paper flapping in the breeze as she left with the snowman creature in her arms. I shook my head and closed my eyes after leaning back with my arms keeping me up. Tyger, who was sleeping on my lap, snorted in her sleep and I smiled. I was so happy to have this kitten in my life. She was a joy to be with, shaking up the monotony of my life when I had been all alone.
The sun was setting and everyone was getting geared up for a performance that someone was putting on. Mira handed me a plateful of food and a small bowl of milk as I woke Ty from her nap. She stretched out, digging her claws into my leg and making me cringe before she got up and drank the milk that was set out for her. I ate the other food before Ty could try to steal the rest, even though she was a baby she still tried to eat my food because it looked better to her. Gajeel got up on stage with a guitar and started to sing, making both my cat and me cover our ears.
"Mara, let's leave!" she cried.
I told Mira that we were going to head home for the night and she nodded sympathetically, saying that she'd put a stop to the caterwauling of Gajeel and his guitar in a few more minutes. I picked up my kitten and carried her outside at a run, both of us sighing in relief as the noise wasn't so ear-piercing outside. I made the shadows form wings on my back and jumped into the air, flying along until I saw the forest with the mansion like house in front of it. I pulled out the key with my free hand and when I landed in front of the door, I unlocked it and found the inside was just as gorgeous as the outside. The floor was made of marble and there was a large staircase leading up to the second floor, the top of the stairs had a huge stained glass window like one you'd find in a cathedral.
I was about to shut the door when I heard a caw from behind me. I looked back to see a crow, but something was very wrong with it. I heard Ty make a squeak as she hid behind my head as I saw that the crow was in fact dead, something keeping it alive just long enough for it to be here.
"My master has sent me to give you a message," the crow croaked, blood bubbling past its beak as it spoke. "He wishes for you to meet him at midnight in the center of the forest behind your house." With a squawk, it blew up in a spray of blood, the red liquid being sucked up by the ground within seconds. I knew what master the crow was referring to and I went over to the living room to the couch so that I could sleep for a while until midnight.
Tyger was fast asleep on the pillow above my head when I woke up, so I moved as slowly as I could to avoid waking her. I knew for a fact that I couldn't bring her along as of yet because I didn't know for sure how his powers would affect her. I left the house and formed the ethereal wings on my back before leaping into the air, my wing beats sending me high up above the trees. I knew that there would be a large dead spot to look for and that's where he would be waiting, so I flew on for about ten minutes and finally came upon the place in the woods where everything was dead and gone. I saw a black shape in the middle of the circle and dove down to it, landing gracefully a few feet away from him. He had black spiky hair, obsidian eyes, and a black robe with a white sash tied around his shoulder and waist.
He looked up, his sad expression that I was always used to shifting to one of vague happiness as he saw me. "It's good to see you again after so long, Timara," he said, giving me a wan smile.
"And it's good to see you as well, Zeref," I told him simply.
He tilted his head to the side, now a puzzled expression pass briefly across his face. "Why does it seem as if you're not telling the truth when you say that?"
I sighed. "It's not what you think. I just don't think it is a good idea for you to be so close to Magnolia and Fairy Tail, what with you having Death Magic and all."
The sad look I had known for so long made an appearance again and he looked down. "Is it so bad that I just wanted to see the only person that is my best friend, the only one who can withstand my Death Magic without so much as a scratch?"
"Is it because I'm so close to the shadows already being a Shadow Dragon Slayer that Death Magic doesn't affect me?" I asked him, slightly changing the subject.
"I guess so. I haven't met anyone else with Shadow Magic before."
"I only ask in case my kitten shows up. I don't want for you to let the Death Magic out by accident and she dies. She had a type of Shadow Magic as well."
"You have an Exceed partner?" he asked, his mood turning positive again. I had forgotten how moody Zeref was. "I think she should be ok. You haven't died on me yet."
"I don't mean to be rude to you, but why are you here exactly?" I asked him softly. "It's unlike you to stray from Tenrou Island where you can stay isolated for almost all year long."
"No, I can understand why you ask," he said. "I'd wonder the same thing if I was you. For some reason, I seem to find myself in a bit of a predicament. Something is hunting me and I don't know who else to turn to."
"Who is chasing after you?" I asked him, feeling a bit worried.
"I don't know," he said pensively. "I just sensed something… dark while on the island. Something that was much darker than me. And it just kept getting closer and closer. I thought about letting it kill me until I realized it was hunting me down to use me for its evil deeds. I'm done being someone's puppet for them to commit sins. I just want to atone for mine and die in peace. Speaking of that, is Natsu—"
"No," I cut him off. "He knows the value of a life as well and will not kill you, no matter how much begging you decide to employ on him. Trust me, I know. He's stubborn."
"I wish that you would kill me," he whispered. "You're the only one right now that's strong enough to do so."
"And you know the answer to that as well," I told him vehemently, making him look up in surprise. "I've already had to watch my 'brother' kill the dragon that was a father to me. Don't make me have to watch you die, too."
"But why won't you put me out of my misery?" he asked, his eyes bright with unshed tears.
"Believe it or not, I consider you to be my friend. You saved my life back at Tenrou Island during the S-Class Trials."
My mind was already drifting back to that day of the trial. That was the year that Makarov decided to shake things up by choosing slightly easier tasks but not allowing partners to help out. I was the youngest person ever to be selected for the trials and my friends cheered for me as we left for Hargeon Port. After we got there, we took a ship all the way to the island. I survived the first task easily, although I was upset since I had taken the Serenity Route unknowingly. Next was to find a sapphire orb in a six hour time limit. I ran around, searching for it when I finally found the orb on a mini island in the middle of a pond. I was about to swim to it when I was knocked to the ground by a snarling furry creature. I screamed and looked up to see a wolf growling down at me. I hit it with a fist that erupted from the shadows, batting it off of me just in time to see a large pack of wolves running down a hill to us. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to fight them all off, but created a mini army of shadow demons that attacked the wolves. It wasn't long before a good chunk of the wolves broke off and away from the rest of the pack straight after me. I heard a noise as I saw a man jump down in front of me and use a strange magic I had never seen before. It hit the wolves and expanded all around us until it formed a large dome surrounding us, making them all drop dead to the grass as my shadow demons disappeared into the air. My savior turned around, a deeply worried look on his face as he looked at me, then the strangest expression that almost looked like confusion passed across his eyes.
"You're still alive," he said, the confusion morphing into surprise. "How…?" He looked down at the shadows that were shuddering beneath him at my agitated state, then back at me. "Shadow Magic?"
"I'm a Shadow Dragon Slayer," I told him, feeling a bit suspicious as I looked up at him.
His surprise intensified as he looked down at me and tears began to fall down his cheeks, his body shuddering with his cries as he covered his eyes with his hands. He sank to his knees and I didn't know what else to do, so I walked over to him and hugged the strange man. He gasped as if he hadn't felt human contact before, but soon hugged me back. His tears fell down onto his chest and I wiped the tears away from his cheeks, watching as he soon smiled a little at me.
"For a little girl, you sure are strong and brave to face down those wolves like that," he said, pulling away to stand up once more. "I want you to get stronger so that one day you can come back and kill me."
I gawked at him and cried out, "No! I've killed enough! I vowed never to kill again, not even in self-defense!"
"You've had to kill before?" he asked, gazing at me in surprise again. I told him the long story of my dark beginnings and how I didn't even know my own name. I even told him about how Skiadrum saved my life and named me Timara Wyvernia. He looked beyond outraged at my story but still nodded as he listened. "I'm deeply sorry that you ever had to go through anything like that. I'm glad that your attackers are dead or I would hunt them down myself."
"It's fine," I told him. "It's been a long time and I've made my peace with that turn of events."
"You are wise beyond your years," the man said.
He stayed by me for the longest time throughout my trial, watching in the shadows until finally I was the last one and managed to win the title of S-Class Wizard. I shook my head and looked at the same man in front of me now. He had his head tilted to the side as he looked at me quizzically.
"Are you alright?" he asked me. "You kind of zoned out there."
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said. "So what's your plan?"
"What are you going to do about whatever is hunting you?"
"Well, I was just stopping by for a little while before finding someplace further away to hide," he said. "I just wanted to see how you're doing now that you're older. You haven't been in trouble anymore, have you?"
"My guild now knows that I am a Dragon Slayer. They didn't react as badly as I had feared as a child."
"Oh, Timara, that's great news!" he yelled, grabbing me quickly and hugging me. He was surprisingly warm for being so close with death itself and I realized that I hadn't been used to human contact in a while either. I hugged him back before he held me away from him at an arm's length. "Are you ok with them knowing?"
"Zeref, you keep bouncing back and forth emotionally and it's giving me whiplash."
"Oh, I'm sorry…" He moved away from me and looked away, sadness pouring out of him and he soon hunched over in pain as a large cloud that felt cold like death surrounded him. I sighed and formed a barrier around him out of my shadows a few seconds before his body released the Death Magic into the air, containing the magic within it until it finally dissipated. I let go of the barrier as he looked over at me in surprise. "How did you do that?"
"Your magic never did work on me," I explained. "I figured that my Shadow Dragon Slayer Magic somehow nullified the Death Magic, so I had a hunch that maybe I could keep it contained temporarily."
"Timara, thank you!" he shouted, grabbing me for another hug that had the breath escaping my lungs and he kissed my cheek to show his appreciation. I knew I had to be blushing, but I didn't let him see so I turned away from him slightly.
"Do you have someplace to stay before you leave?"
"I thought about staying here within this clearing since I've already destroyed this part of it," he said calmly and I knew full well that he'd actually do it, too.
"No," I said, watching as he looked puzzled by my answer. Before he could ask me why, I said, "You're going to stay at my place until you feel up to leaving. I refuse to allow a friend to stay outside when I can do this one little thing for him."
"Again, thank you so much, Timara," he said, giving me a smile full of happiness.
Even though I could create a horse or some other creature to carry us back to my mansion, Zeref insisted that we enjoy the night and walk back. He seemed happy just to be with another human for the first time in forever and I was content to be with him. Even though the man was known as The Black Wizard or The Killing Mage, he was actually quite kind and considerate. I knew that it was because he remembered his sins against the human race and wanted to atone to them in any way he could, but there was still a side of him that he had let me see so many years ago that most people never had the chance to know. He was a good friend of mine since that day and I couldn't let any friendship go to waste.
It took a while to get back to the house, so we talked briefly about how he'd been before he felt the dark presence that was after him. He said that he felt as if he was starting to get a better grasp on his Death Magic, but it was still a long shot at best before he could keep it under control. Through the now thinning tree line, the mansion loomed above us and he got his first glimpse of where I now lived. He looked down at the lake as we emerged from the trees and then looked back to me.
"I always imagined you living in a place like this," he said with a grin. "I'm glad that I was right for once."
As we approached my door, I happened to look over at a hill farther away from the one that my mansion was settled on. I could have sworn that I could see a dark figure standing there, watching us from afar. I squinted my eyes to look closer at it, blinking just before using my enhanced vision to really assess the person watching when I saw that it had disappeared. I shook my head but opened the door for Zeref so that we could go inside and settle down for the rest of the night. I heard padding footsteps approach after I had shut the door and saw a sleepy looking kitten appear within sight, the one wing that wasn't in a splint hanging down as if it was too heavy while she was tired.
"Mara, why'd you go outside?" she asked me before she finally took notice of the man beside me. "Who's he?"
"Ty, this is my friend, Zeref," I explained to her as a glimmer of recognition flashed upon her face. She remembered him from the stories I used to tell about my past. "Zeref, this little Exceed is Tyger and she is my partner."
"Nice to meet you, Tyger," Zeref said, bowing low for the little kitten, who giggled at his behavior.
"Hi, Ref," she said simply before walking back to the living room where she no doubt would be going back to sleep.
"Ref?" he asked curiously before gazing at me.
"She's still just a baby," I told him. "When I found her, the only thing she would say was 'Mara' because she couldn't completely say my name yet."
I gave him the short version of the story behind how I found her and he smiled sadly. I yawned a bit and decided that it was time for me to get back to sleep now that Zeref was back. I went back to the couch in the living room, telling him at the same time that he could pick whichever room he wanted to be his and sleep there, but he instead followed me into the room and took a chair that faced the couch. I grabbed my little kitten and rested her on my chest, where she immediately curled up and fell back asleep. I lay my head back on the pillow, looking over at Zeref to see that he was watching me with a quiet interest before I turned my head over to the back of the couch and closed my eyes to immediately fall asleep.