Hello, everyone. I know, it's been a while since I've published something, however, due to current circumstances I simply cannot write faster. Anyway, here's new chapter, I hope it's not too messy.
ValinNight, Natsu is Awesome, JacobStoneclaw, FanFictionHunter, Lintum1, John Bob, johndoe5574, JohnV1896, Guest, Supergoddad, emoryjmorrill, Guest, people, many thanks for your reviews, I'm very sorry that I couldn't get this chapter ready earlier.
Lightningblade49, I wouldn't say so, in contrary – Erza's will is very strong. But will always should have some foundation. Erza lost her foundation, thus she also lost her will – all why and why will be explained during ToH arc.
Guest, I'll try to explain background lore as good as possible, as it's very different from canon.
dayvon135, who knows? She lived so long ago…
Fairynatsudragneel2345, no, of course Natsu do not have dragon's powers, of course he's not E.N.D. and here's no E.N.D. at all because Zaref has completely different background.
Also, I'd like to say it now to prevent any further questions – Natsu's harem will only contain three girls, it has been decided from the very beginning of the story. Even more – it's essential for the story.
Chapter VI – Miracles don't happen, part I
July 12, Year X784, 7:39 AM, Natsu's mansion.
Lisanna and Mirajane were in shower room, washing each other. As usual, tonight they were ruthlessly fucked until they both passed out, using as many perversions as they could invent. However, something was unusual. For example, they both were ordered to go to bed as soon as Natsu returned from guildhall. Of course, such an order shouldn't be repeated twice, as both siblings are extremely dutiful when it comes to concubines' duty. But still it was strange, as Natsu didn't even asked how girls' training is going (Mirajane also was ordered to train as there are still huge room for her combat power improvement). Besides, today both girls were awoken much earlier than usual. In overall, it seemed like their master in some kind of hurry.
As sisters came out from bathroom, they found Dread Master already dressed up, reading some documents. "You ready?" He asked as soon as girls entered the room. "Good. I guess you noticed that I'm acting like I'm in hurry?" He asked, still looking into the scroll in his hands.
"Yes," Lisanna nodded.
"Is something wrong, Master?" Mirajane wondered.
"Wrong? No," Natsu replied, "Let's call it 'slight change of situation'. Yesterday, I had a mock battle with that red-haired elf, Erza," Natsu decided to give a short version of yesterday's events. "Due to some concourse of circumstances, she's in coma now…"
"Really?!" Mira exclaimed. She sounded surprised and also regretful, probably because she couldn't see elf's ass being kicked pretty badly.
"Really," Natsu replied. "No worries – that was approved mock battle, incidents happen, I got no problem with the guild. However, during battle I discovered something… unusual. I myself can't say anything definite now, but I have to be here when she recovers, that's for sure…" Natsu added.
Indeed, 'Silken princess' suddenly lost her will to live, right in the middle of battle, and with high probability Natsu himself, or something he did, was the reason for this. As such, he couldn't be sure of Erza's intentions anymore, she actually might try to finish what she started during their fight (i.e. suicide) as soon as she wake up, and Natsu couldn't allow it. Not that he cared about elf herself, but about information in her head…
"On the other hand," Dread Master continued to explain, "I already got prepayment for that Galuna job I told you about. This is urgent job, and I don't want to risk my reputation. Summarizing everything aforesaid, I have only one option – we should go and deal with that so called 'Galuna island curse' as soon as possible."
"We understand," Lisanna said as both demonic sisters nodded to their master.
"Good," Natsu said as he put his scroll aside and finally looked at girls. Both demonesses were still nude, and their bodies were still a bit wet, glittering very seductively. But now wasn't the time for such thoughts… "Lisanna, come here," Natsu called for younger sister, pointing at place right in front of himself. "Yesterday I wasn't in mood for that, so to say, but now let me evaluate the results of your training." Despite she just started, first results should already be observable.
"She was training industriously," Elder sister reported, as she was tasked not only to train herself but also oversee her younger sibling.
Lisanna approached Natsu, to be honest she seemed a bit nervous… but that's understandable. "Closer," Natsu ordered as he grabbed girl by her buttocks and pulled closer to himself.
"Ah!" Lisanna yelped, "Master, please, that's, ah… arouses me…"
"Endure," Natsu replied indifferently as he began to examine girl's body with his gloving eyes. It seemed like he was able to trace some… lines on Lisanna's skin, or rather, under her skin. "Damn…" Dread Master swore as he examined young demoness' body far and wide, "It's not working…"
"But master! I was training ha…" Lisanna exclaimed in attempt to justify herself but Natsu pressed his index finger to her lips. "Shh…" He shushed, "No need for excuses, it's not your fault," He said, "It's rather I got ahead of myself… not now!" He commanded when slutty demoness swallowed finger that he pressed to her lips and began to suck it.
"Jane, dress up," Dread master gave order to elder sister and then again turned to Lisanna. "It seems that simple 'replace chakra with natural energy' doesn't working…" Natsu thought aloud. "Not with such complex combat style as 'paper angel', at least. It seems that to make it work for you I have to write new magic formulas to replicate all jutsus… In other times it would be interesting experiment…" Dread Master continued to think aloud, "But now we definitely have no time for that…"
"So… what shall I do now…?" Lisanna wondered.
Natsu looked at younger sister with irony. Hope in her voice was clearly recognizable, probably she hoped that now Natsu will abandon his desire to use her on missions and instead she will be assigned with something like handmaiden's duties… in addition to her concubine duties, of course. "Don't you worry, my dear little whore (for succubus it's actually a compliment), I always have several spare plans…" As he said that, Dread Master stood up and headed to big floor-standing mirror that stood in room's corner.
"You should consider yourself privileged," Natsu said, looking at mirror. "You'll be granted a gift," He added, and for some reason he smiled, as if remembering something. "You know, she adored mirrors, was almost obsessed with them," Dread Master said, and it was hard to understand – was he talking to Lisanna and Mirajane, or to himself, and about who he was talking… "Mirrors, they were reflecting her beautiful self… but mirrors can be used in completely different manner."
Both girl seemed confused, but Natsu seemingly didn't care. "Jane," he addressed elder sister, "Go to train station, buy tickets to Hargeon for us," He ordered, as he gave her money. "Yes, for all three of us," Natsu confirmed as Lisanna uncertainly pointed at herself.
"But, master…" Mirajane said uncertainly. She was a bit worried – Lisanna didn't learn any combat magic yet, she hardly will be of any use… Besides, isn't that mission dangerous?
Natsu, however, ignored her worries. "Be swift," He commanded, "And remember – lux-class carriage, nothing else." Unable to disobey direct order from her soul's owner, Mirajane had no choice but to comply. She gave Lisanna one last, slightly worried sight, and left the room, knock of her heels could be heard while she was walking downstairs.
As such, Lisanna was left tête-a-tête with Dread master. She was still nude and still uncertain – what he's going to do about her lack of combat power. Natsu, in the meantime, returned to mirror and looked into it again. "Legends about your goddess, Andel, does they say something about some of her servants or something like that?" He suddenly asked.
"Huh?!" Lisanna seemingly was quite surprised with such a question. But Natsu stood silently, clearly waiting for answer, so girl had to say something. "Well," She said uncertainly, "Legend says that she had ten 'angels' at her side… but, sadly, almost all mentions about that were lost…" Lisanna really liked old legends, and she really was sad that almost all of them were forgotten.
"Well, basically, it is truth," Natsu said.
"What?!" Demoness exclaimed.
"Andel, whose real name, as I already mentioned, was Andariel, actually had ten elite guardians. Five elves and five demons, enforcers, each granted with unique power, so called "Seiki Dōryoku", astral power – neither magic nor curse or mystic weave, more like artificial chakra… and you will be granted power of one of those guardians."
"M… m… me…?!" Lisanna couldn't believe, she stared at dread master with her mouth wide open.
"Yes, you," Dread master confirmed. "Soul of each guardian belonged to Andariel, just like your soul belongs to me. You're well-suited for that, and you will learn why, soon enough." As Natsu said that, he bit his finger, making it to bleed slightly. With his own blood he painted reverse cross on mirror's surface, made Ox → Monkey → Snake → Tiger hand seal sequence, and then touched mirror's surface, "Summon: Void Realm!"
Mirror's surface suddenly became pitch-black, and ripples were surging across it, as if mirror's surface turned into black water. Then, slowly, ten shining crystals surfaced above black 'water', illuminating the room with mystical light. "Child, come closer," Natsu ordered, looking at crystals.
Lisanna made several steps toward Dread Master. She couldn't disobey, she couldn't even think – girl seemed like she just lost her will, as entranced, she couldn't divert her eyes from those crystals.
"Oh, look – this one's resonating,' Dread Master said as if thing were going better than he was expecting. Ten crystals were floating above black 'water', but orange one were shining brighter than others, and even eliciting some sparks. Nine crystals submerged back into black 'water', and moment later 'water' dissipated as mirror again became common mirror. However, orange crystal was still floating in the room, sparkling and shining, as if it was impatient. "Accept the gift," Natsu said as he waved his arm towards Lisanna. At that moment, orange crystal literally shot towards young demoness, as it hit her right into the middle of her chest.
"Ah!" Girl screamed as she was thrown back for about two meters and fell on floor as crystal easily passed through her skin and 'submerged' into her body. Few seconds have passed before Lisanna could comprehend what just happened. Despite she was in some sort of trance since the moment crystals appeared from the mirror, she actually remembered everything. "What happened?!" She exclaimed – no wonder that she actually was scared.
"No worries, everything's going as it should," Dread Master commented.
"But… I don't feel anything…" girl replied uncertainly. She looked at her own body, but seemingly nothing changed. Also, aside from initial impact, she really wasn't feeling anything. But Dread Master was looking at her indifferently, as if waiting for something.
About a minute has passed, and then… "Master! I feel something!" Lisanna exclaimed, as she suddenly began to feel heat inside her body.
"Yes, this is how it should be," Natsu nodded.
"But master!" Lisanna was actually quite scared, "The heat! It's… Ah! It's getting more hot!"
"Yes, I know. The transformation isn't completely painless," Dread Master said is if it was nothing special, "It might hurt a bit…"
"AAAAAAUUUUGHHHH!" Lisanna suddenly let out scream of agony as she fell on floor, definitely she was writhe with horrible, unspeakable pain. As demon, she had inborn, very high thermal tolerance, but heat inside her now was very far beyond tolerance level. Right now she was feeling like normal human would feel if every cell of her body was pocked with white-hot blade.
"…Or rather, you'll feel unimaginable agony," Natsu said, indifferently looking at woeful girl, who was rolling on floor and screaming horribly, her entire body now was covered with flame, which, however, didn't damage carpet or room's floor. "By the way, Andariel herself made all those crystals, and she deliberately made transformation process that painful… no idea why," Dread Master added, though it wasn't helpful, not at all.
Lisanna's torments lasted for about six-seven minutes, all this time she was screaming, crying and squirming in convulsions of agony, while Natsu was calmly observing that process, as if it was some sort of interesting experiment. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, flame around Lisanna's body dissipated and she stopped squirming and screaming. Right now, she was just lying on the floor, senselessly staring into space.
"Oh, good," Natsu said as he picked girl up and placed her on bed. Lisanna showed her reaction on that. It looked like she was in some sort of pain shock… And yes, she was in deep pain aftershock, however, it fact, it wasn't the reason of her current condition – she was sitting on bed, just as Natsu placed her, and looked senselessly into the wall.
About 20 more minutes have passed, but Lisanna still was in trance-like condition. Still sitting on bed, looking into the wall. Natsu, in the meantime, finished all his paperwork, and now stood near window, waiting for Mirajane to return. "Just in time," He said as he heard knock of her high heels on the stair. Moment later elder sister entered the room.
"Master!" Mirajane raised up her right hand, showing three tickets. She seemed quite satisfied with herself – considering her lack of experience with human's world, the fact that she managed to buy right tickets all by herself was quite an achievement, at least from her own point of view. Natsu approached and took the tickets. Indeed, Mira did everything right – right train, right destination and even right carriage. "Master… what's with Lisanna?..." Though, Mira's tone changed quickly as she noticed her younger sister sitting on bed, starring into nowhere and unmoving, as if she turned into statue.
"Don't worry, she's just busy," Natsu replied simply.
"Busy?" Mirajane looked at Dread Master in worry and confusion.
"Yes, kind of," He confirmed, as he hid tickets in his pocket. "She was endowed with ancient power while you were gone. Process was completely successful, but now a huge amount of information is flowing into her mind, all basics about her new powers, so now her brain's so busy processing all this information, that she can't do anything that requires participation of cerebral cortex," Natsu explained. "She can't event percept us right now."
"Ancient power?" Mira approached her sister, she was still worried, as Lisanna showed no reaction on her sister.
"Yep," Natsu nodded, "She's now one of Andel's 'angels', as your legends would say," He added casually.
"What?" Mirajane froze on place. She slowly turned around and stared at Dread Master, demoness looked like she just lapsed into idiocy. Right now she could be used as illustration for 'deep confusion' dictionary entry.
"I told her – she should consider herself privileged," Natsu said. "She now wields power of one of ten Andariel's elite guardians, guardian of eternal flame – Ifreet. Right now she's learning how to use her new powers…" He explained, "But only on basic level, though…" Dread Master added. Bu the way, Natsu decided to omit information about Lisanna's internal physiology, which changed in many ways. In fact, girl was no longer a demon, she became Seikirei, astral spirit, but right now that information was no use for Mirajane anyway.
Elder sister was still looking at Natsu with saucer-wide eyes. "Stop looking at me like that," He said, his tone was quite ironic. "You know that I am 'Dread Master', yet it seems you still didn't comprehend what that means…" Natsu came closer to Mirajane. "You have to understand," He said, as he made very unexpected thing – Natsu gently touched Mira's chin and made her to look into his dreaded eyes, "All those legends you heard – no, they aren't true – they're very big understatement."
Well, it was easy to say, but not easy to comprehend, to be honest. Mirajane was very smart girl, but… well, Natsu was right – she still didn't comprehend what that means. Anyway, right now time was of the essence. "She will be like that for six ~ eight hours, but we can't wait that long, it's time for us to go to station."
"Eight hours!?" Mirajane exclaimed.
"It's learning curve, can't be helped," Dread Master replied. "Hmm… no, I don't want to strain my eyes with no reason… besides, we already have ticked for her…" Dread master was thinking aloud "…okay, just pick her up and carry to station, I'll hide her presence," He decided.
"Wait, master, shouldn't I dress her up?" Lisanna was still nude.
"Oh, don't worry about that," Natsu replied, opening door, "Clothing is no longer an issue for her, you'll see by yourself." It didn't explain anything, but Mira already was feeling herself dumb enough, so she decided to not ask more 'dumb' questions.
Natsu locked house's door. Mira stood behind him, she was carrying her still entranced sister on shoulder.
"Natsu!" Girl's voice suddenly called for Dread Master and his demoness. That was one of Fairy Tail members, small girl with short blue hair. Her name was Levy Mc…something, whatever. She ran closer, seemingly she was in great hurry as girl was out of breath. "Trouble!" She exclaimed, breathing heavily. She didn't notice Lisanna, as Natsu promised – he hid her presence, and Mirajane's presence as well, just for convenience.
"What is it?" Dread Master asked quickly, "Something wrong with elven girl, Erza?"
"Ah, no, no – she's okay…" Levy replied, still trying to catch her breath, "I mean, she's still in coma… well, it's not about her!"
"What is it then?" Natsu asked, not showing that he lost interest almost completely.
"It's Lucy and Gray!" Levy exclaimed, "Can you… can you go to the guild, master will explain everyt…"
"No," Natsu cut her off. "Our train to Hargeon will arrive soon, we already should hurry to the station," Dread Master explained, "I'm very sorry (no, he wasn't sorry at all), but if you need something from me – say it now."
"Ah… well…" Levy sounded quite discouraged, seemingly she was expecting… well, a bit more care about guildmates, maybe… but, right now, looking into those glowing and completely indifferent eyes she understood that here's no point to argue. "Okay, Lucy and Gray, we think they stole an S-class mission! Mission to Galuna island!"
"Stole?" Natsu asked again. "Ah, yes, I remember – Erza told something about special permission for S-class missions… so you mean they took mission without permission?" He guessed.
"Yes!" Levy exclaimed worriedly. "That mission is extremely dangerous! Laxus refused to bring them back, and Erza…" Levy's voice faded.
"Dangerous? I doubt that," Natsu snorted. "I can understand seamen, but you people are mages, don't tell me that any of you actually believed in that 'cursed island' nonsense. Besides, they are demon and half-elf, their combined age is more than 200 years, babysitting them would be a bit too much, don't you think?"
For a few moments Levy showed a puzzled look. Natsu looked at his wristwatch, "Okay, I really have to hurry up, Mirajane's already waiting for me." Though Mira wasn't at station but rather stood right beside Natsu (Levy just couldn't see her and her sister), it was truth that she was waiting. "Just tell me what you want from me," He said.
"Please, bring them back!" Levy exclaimed, and then added with some hesitation "…by force, if needed."
"Alright, I see what I can do," Natsu said as he nodded to Mirajane that she should follow him. "By the way, I'm pretty sure they're still in Hargeon. It's long way to Galuna from mainland, but convince seamen to travel right to the 'cursed island'… I doubt they managed to do that…"
July 11, Year X784, 21:28 (about ten hours before events in Natsu's house), Hargeon.
"Galuna island? Get yourselves outta here, I'm not going anywhere near that place!"
"Forget it. We don't even want to hear that place's name!"
And other answers of that kind were what Gray and Lucy received in response to their request to give them a ride to Galuna Island. Despite pretty late hour, here was quite a lot of people – it's port, after all. However, it didn't help Fairy Tail mages to find transport. Disappointed and curious as to why no sailors or fishermen would wanna go, they spoke to another group for answers.
"Sailors around here won't even talk about that island," a man in green shirt, who was sitting in a small fishing boat spoke up.
"That place is cursed," added the second man, who was wearing an orange shirt with a white cloth tied on his head and carrying a wooden create in his hands. "Going there'd be nothing but bad karma."
They spoke to another sailor, a man with tan skin, a black beard, a blue hat and a green cloak with a wide collar. "Dunno what your story is, but you won't find any sailor who'll go there. Even pirates are avoiding that place," he said to Lucy while Gray and was sitting on wooden crates near her.
"You can't be serious…" Lucy said desperately.
"What's wrong with these people?!" Gray exclaimed impatiently.
Blonde looked around nervously. "Gray… Shall we try to continue?..." She asked uncertainly.
"We can't give up now!" Gray exclaimed with passion. "If we won't deal with that 'curse' situation, then it will be up to that maniac!" No doubts Gray meant Natsu. Demon took request page from his pocked and showed it to his girlfriend:
"HELP US! REMOVE THE DEMONIC COURSE!" was the stated request; the promised reward was 7,000,000 jewels. Also that page had "S" stamp on it – definitely that was the stolen S-class mission.
"Look, those people are suffering!" Gray almost shouted. "But I'm pretty sure he doesn't give a damn about them and their fate, just like the government! He will just sink the entire island with that electrical dragon or some another insane spell! No island – no curse!" Gray spoke out with passion.
That's exactly what happened. When yesterday Natsu told to guild that he got inter-government's request to deal with situation about Galuna island, Gray got very bad feeling about this. He deduced that Natsu probably won't be carrying investigation about 'curse' so he decided to act. Though Lucy had doubts, Gray managed to convince her to help… probably the one of Zodiac keys as reward helped a bit, though… In any case, while everyone was watching Natsu and Erza's mock battle, demon and half-elf sneaked onto second floor and took S-class request, after that they immediately headed to train station and took earliest train to Hargeon, they wanted to arrive to Galuna earlier than Natsu, as early as possible.
"We should help these people! We have to deal with that curse ourselves!" Gray was so turned on that he didn't even notice that his curse began to manifest itself, enveloping demon's body with purple glow. One of seamen seemingly noticed that.
The sailor in the green cloak had been watching the group and noticed the glow of Gray's body. "Magic?" he asked in surprise. "You people are mages?!" The two Fairy Tail members looked at sailor who added, "Are you going to break the island's curse?"
"That's our intentions," Blonde replied as slight hope lit up her face.
The sailor stared at demon and half-elf with his mouth agape. "Here, hop in then!" he waved at his boat, inviting two mages to get aboard.
"Huh?" Gray questioned. "He changed his mind that quick?"
"Who cares, get in!" Lucy urged her boyfriend.
July 12, Year X784, 1:46 AM (about six hours before events in Natsu's house), On approach to Galuna island.
"I'm getting this creeping feeling… of anxiety…" Lucy informed the others as she sat in the boat hugging her knees together and shivering a little.
"Hey, old man, why did you let us on the boat after all?" Gray asked, examining the sailor, whose back was facing the sea and almost cloudless sky.
The sailor turned to the ice-mage and said, "My name is Bobo. I used to live on Galuna Island some time ago…"
'Weird name…' Gray thought.
"Huh, you're from there?" Lucy asked.
Seamen named Bobo didn't reply with a yes, his eyes fixed on the two. He turned his head, the moonlight was casting a shadow on left side of his face, "I fled from Galuna Island. Disaster will befall you all, too. Such is the fate of those who visit that island."
Lucy's brown eyes stared unblinkingly at Bobo, the man asking them, "Can you really lift the curse?"
The stellar-mage looked at Gray, who was passionlessly looking into the sea. Lucy turned back to the sailor and gasped as she saw what Bobo revealed to them. His left arm wasn't the same as the arm he used to steer the boat; in fact, it wasn't even human's arm. It looked to be a beast's arm, a dark purple one with claw instead of normal palm, to be more accurate.
"This is beast's curse..." He added, holding his hand out in front of two Fairy Tail mages.
"Mister! Your arm…!" Gray said as he looked back to the sailor, seeing his arm.
Lucy's brown eyes remained open, witnessing what she saw. "Curse? You don't mean…?"
"I can see the island!" Gray exclaimed, distracting Lucy from thoughts about horrors of being cursed.
"Yes, there it is," Bobo said as he lifted up his head slightly, looking to something in the distance. "The cursed island Galuna."
An Island could be seen in the distance. There was the destination of their request and the place where Gray hoped to get stronger, help people of Galuna, prove that total annihilation isn't the only solution… and earn some money. There was no going back now. No way to return to the mainland. Fairy Tail wizards do their job to the end. They saw the island, each with their own feelings surfacing from the sight: Gray had a stern look and Lucy was scared a little.
Blonde gasped; she noticed something strange on the top of the big mountain on the island. "What is that? The mountaintop is glowing…" Above the mountain, many blue robed figures were circled around a glowing light in the center. Their arms spread out, faces covered by a mask with a strange symbol on it as they chanted.
The Fairy Tail mages were so enthralled by the island's mysterious look that none of them noticed a big wave that was forming behind them.
"What's that sound?" Gray asked while Lucy looked toward the island, her expression completely spellbound. Demon looked back to see what the sound was and panicked a little when he saw the wave.
"H-Hey!" He called nervously to Lucy and the others. "It's going to engulf us! Hold on!" Gray shouted. "What the hell!?" He just noticed that seaman disappeared.
"Huh?! Where's the boat owner?!" Lucy also realized that Bobo was gone as she stood up on the boat in shock. "Where did he go?!" She asked turning his head.
"Don't mind that right now!" Gray shouted as he ran to boat's stern, knelt and extended his arms forward. Purple energy engulfed his hands, manifesting his magnetic field control curse. Using planet's magnetic field, Gray created a jet thrust. The boat started to move forward, quite fast. With that, boat managed to outran tidal wave and reach island's shore within fifteen minutes.
"Good job," Lucy sighed with relief when she safely stepped on the shore. "But what was with that man, anyway?" Lucy asked as she thought about Bobo, his demon arm, his abrupt disappearance and what he was talking about. "He said something about a beast's curse..."
"Don't worry," Gray gently embraced his girlfriend, "We'll dig to get to the end of it, but first we have to find a local village," Demon looked around. The skies became cloudy so it was hard to see anything around.
"Yes, I remember, the village chief is the one who posted the job. Let's go there first," Lucy agreed as she smiled a little while Gray unwrapped request and examined it one more time.
"Okay, I hope they don't mind late visitors…" Gray said as he and Lucy began to walk along the beach.
July 12, Year X784, 15:26, Open sea, several miles away from Hargeon.
"Ah?!" Lisanna suddenly came back to her senses, "Where am I?!" She perplexedly looked around. Last thing she could remember – indescribable pain, and now… She was lying on bed, inside rather small room, with one, small, round window… and, according to pitching, she was aboard some ship. She stood up and came to the bunkroom's door, as she opened it Lisanna saw steep stair. She walked up, and great sea view appeared in front of her.
"Hey, what is going on?" Lisanna asked some man, who just ran by her, but he just continued his way, as if he just didn't notice demoness, who, by the way, was still nude.
"It's useless, they can't see any of us," Natsu's voice sounded from behind. "We're sailing towards Galuna island now," Dread Master explained.
Unlike Gray and Lucy, Dread Master didn't try to find those seamen who'd be willing to take him and his servants to Galuna island. When he arrived to port, he simply looked around, chose fast and comfortable vessel, and used genjutsu on its crew, so now two-master yacht was heading towards 'cursed island'.
"Lisanna!" Elder sister appeared from nowhere and Lisanna almost jumped from Mirajane's worried exclamation, "Are you feeling alright?!" Of course Mira was worried about her younger sister – she spent almost eight hours in coma-like condition.
"Alright…?" Lisanna replied uncertainly, "No, I feel… awesome!" Girl suddenly shouted, even making her elder sister to take a step back. "I never felt anything like that in my life! That power… I can feel it surging through me! And I feel… something else… or rather, not feel… I can hear… something…"
"Echo of Andariel," Natsu said, looking somewhere aside. "Spirit crystal was created by her and each of ten guardians could her voice from anywhere. And even now… despite she's no more… her guardians can hear echo of her voice…" Dread Master turned to Lisanna, "But echoes fade. You belong to me now and you serve only to me," He reminded as his eyes flashed.
"Yes, I… I know…" Lisanna quickly knelt.
"Master…" Mirajane asked uncertainly. She remembered that Natsu said that she can ask any questions, will he answer or not… but it worth to try. "How it is… why…" She tried to formulate her question properly, "How is that you know so much about that Andariel person? Our legends… about Andel… they are more than four thousand years old! You are… you are not that old?"
Dread Master looked at Mirajane. He stepped closer and raised his arm. For a moment it seemed like he's going to hit her, but he just placed his palm on her head and disheveled her hair. "Not now," He replied. His voice sounded strange, as if he was actually sorry that he can't answer her question, but seemingly there were secrets, which he couldn't tell even to those, whose souls he owns. "Serve me faithfully, and one day you'll earn the privilege to know the answers for your questions, but not now…"
It was obvious that arguing isn't an option, so Mira just silently nodded.
"Now, let's check this one," Natsu came closer to Lisanna and examined young girl from tip to toe. "Very good. No signs of rejection, fusion almost complete," He concluded. "Now, 5th guardian of Andariel, Efreet, present us your territory!" Dread Master ordered.
"Yes, master!" Lisanna saluted. "Elohim Gibor!" She called, raising her hands to the sky. In a moment, bright flame covered Lisanna's body. Then flame took dress-like shape and began to form a robe. Within few seconds, flame faded as Lisanna now looked like godesses' from Japanese folklore, dressed in robe with a revealing neckline, a translucent sash and orange ribbons tied around a pair of forward- directed horns.
"This is your Seikī – astral dress. Wear it with pride, as it's not just your armor and your territory, it is also your raiment that marks you as one of ten guardians. Get used to it as, aside from my house, you will be wearing it everywhere, because it is also your protection," Natsu explained.
"Yes, master," Lisanna said as she bowed deeply. After that, Efreet wrapped her feet with flame and, using it as jet thrust, soared into the air.
"She's flying?!" Mirajane exclaimed in surprise, observing her younger sibling.
"All Seikirei could fly," Dread Master replied. "And that's only one of her many abilities, in fact, I'd say that you two just switched places," He added.
"What you mean?" Mirajane asked uncertainly.
"I mean that, even though she's on her basic level now, she's already stronger than you, plain and simple," Natsu explained with indifferent voice. "She's no longer needs your protection, rather, she will be protecting you from now on. And rest assured, she won't be on basic level for long, I'll make sure she'll reveal Efreet's full potential." Mirajane was looking at Natsu with her mouth wide open. "No need to be shocked so much, you actually may like to be 'younger' sister," He added as he gently touched Mira's chin and closed her mouth. "On the other hand, you may start spending less time on inventing perversions and more time on training, you're also very far from top of your potential," Dread Master noted as he slightly flicked Mira's pointed ear.
"Lord Natsu!" Lisanna called from above, "I see the island!" She shouted, pointing one o'clock of yacht's course.
"Oh, good," Natsu nodded. He headed to crewmate, which stood beside steersman, seemingly that was yacht's captain. Without saying anything Natsu looked into man's eyes. Few seconds later captain gave several orders to steersman and other crewmates. They were acting in completely normal way, as if it was their own idea to sail here, besides, they definitely couldn't see Natsu and his servants. Mirajane shivered a little, she still couldn't get used to it. Yes, she's a servant of Dread Master, but at least she's aware of that, unlike this ship's crew… but still she was curious.
"Master…" Mira asked uncertainly, "Is that Kotoamatsukami you mentioned before?" She remembered that Natsu described this genjutsu as one capable of controlling many people at the same time, and victims even ain't aware that they're under someone else's control.
"Of course not," Natsu said with somehow ironic expression. "Using her true Kotoamatsukami, Queen of Nightmares, Andariel, could control entire nations… What I'm using now's just a pale, limited copy, cheap imitation – I need direct eye contact and can control only small group of people, like small ship's crew…"
July 12, Year X784, 15:52, Island of Galuna.
Natsu ordered yacht to lie off, about four nautical miles from island's shore, as he just walked upon water and winged demon and flying spirit also had no difficulties making it to the island. "What's next, master?" Lisanna asked as all three now were standing on Galuna island's shore.
"Hmm…" Natsu was thinking aloud. "I think that elf will be in coma for at least three days, but still, I want to be on the safe side… Alright," He seemingly decided, "We'll look into this 'curse' problem and try to work out some solution, however, if problem appear to be non-solvable within 24 hours from this moment, we'll destroy this island for good."
"Destroy entire island?" Mirajane asked again.
"Yes," Dread Master confirmed, "In the end this island is uninhabited, at least according to government information, so no one going to miss it… even if it's not true."
"As you say," master," Lisanna said simply, making her sister to look at her in surprise… usually Lisanna was against violence. On the other hand, no one actually asked for sisters' opinion anyway…
"Interesting…" Natsu noted to himself, looking straight above, into the sky.
"What is it, master?" Lisanna wondered, she and her sister also looked up, but they didn't notice anything unusual.
There's a dome made of some sort of magic, floating about one mile above the island," Natsu replied. "I noticed a mass of formless magic above the island while we were in sea, and now, from beneath it, I can see it having shape of a dome, which refracting the sunlight."
"Can it be the source of island's curse?" Mirajane asked.
"No," Dread Master replied, still looking into the sky with his red glowing eyes. "It doesn't charge light with magic or anything like that…" He explained "…however, it definitely ain't normal. Something, or someone, made that dome, and that is probably what for we should look.
"Master, I can hear something… like voices… from there," Mirajane announced, pointing somewhere into the jungle.
"Voices?" Dread Master looked at demoness.
"I'm not sure, but… maybe we should check it?" Elder sister suggested uncertainly.
"Even for demon, sister's hearing always was superior," Lisanna nodded.
"Be more confident making suggestions," Natsu pointed out, "You two have useful traits, this is why I want you on missions with me." Dread Master looked the way Mirajane pointed at, "Government stated that this island is uninhabited, but uncharted settlement aren't rare, besides…" Natsu's eyes flashed, "That may be not settlement, but some sort of secret base, culprits behind all that 'curse' thing could be there, let's go."
"What a sorry sight…" These words, said by indifferent man's voice, were the first Lucy heard as she woke up. She moved a bit and tried to open her eyes. Her body was aching all over, there were many bruises on it, including one under her left eye, so she could open only her right eye now. With it, blonde saw tall man, dressed in black coat with blood red clouds, he stood in front of her, leaning on opposite wall. Near him, on table, two girls were sitting, and Lucy blinked twice, just to make sure that she doesn't sees double but here's actually two girls, which are looking quite alike. Above herself Lucy saw thatched roof, she herself was lying on mat, inside hat made of bamboo. "So, from where you wanna start to explain?" Natsu asked, "Why you stole S-class mission or why you two in so poor condition?" However, the way Natsu asked these questions it was obvious that he's not really interested in answers.
"Mmm…" Blonde let out indistinct moan. There was a buzzing in her head, her memories were like cloud of thick fog. Then her hand touched something warm. Slowly, she turned her head and looked to the right. "Gray!" Girl exclaimed as she saw her boyfriend, lying beside her. Lucy seemed beaten harshly, but comparing to Gray, she seemed pretty healthy. Young man was bandaged all over, some of those bandages were stained with his blood.
"Locals already told me everything they could," Dread master said. "That you two suddenly appeared in the middle of the night, stating that you're on mission to rid them of their 'curse'…" Natsu snorted. "And, without committing even basic testing, you took local nonsense at face value and went to the ruins on the other side of the island, seeking the source of that 'curse'. And, according to that you've returned few hours later, bruised all over and carrying your bleeding comrade on your back, instead of 'curse' you found someone who kicked yours assess."
Big tears began to swell in Lucy's eyes. Chocking with tears and clenching to Gray's arm, she told Natsu everything – that she and Gray went to the ruins and found big monster underneath it, frozen within huge block of ice; atop of the ruins they found a group of some sort of cultists, which were conducting some powerful spell. Their seem-to-be leader was a masked guy, who his subordinates did call 'Sub Zero Emperor'.
Lucy and Gray tried to observe him silently, but they were discovered. Gray seemed more than a match for masked guy, who was an ice mage, but Lucy couldn't handle three of his followers. Trying to fight 'Sub Zero Emperor' and protect his girlfriend at the same time, Gray took a lot of damage… In the end, both were saved by Lucy's Celestial Spirits, they were sent back to location near the village, through celestial realm. Locals treated Gray's wounds as good as they could, but he was unconscious since then.
"Understood," Natsu replied shortly. "Well, his wounds ain't seem too bad, but I guess he won't be in shape for any mission until the end of the month… but, it's even better that way. You probably should know that guild informed me that you two took Galuna mission without permission," Dread Master informed. "I won't ask why you two did that, as I don't really care, but guild asked me to bring you two back, by force, if necessary… Of course, I will take care of my mission first, but your little adventure is over, mission failed," Natsu declared. Lucy didn't say anything in reply, only sobbed plaintively, still clenching to Gray's arm.
"Umm… what's that sound?" Mirajane suddenly asked. She got down from table and came outside. "Ma… Natsu!" She called from outside.
"What is it?" Dread Master asked, as he followed Mirajane. Demoness was pointing at something in the sky, but she couldn't see exactly what it is. Natsu's sharingan, on the other hand, could see it pretty well.
"Madness…" Natsu said in disbelief, he even blinked once. He saw a lot of idiotic things during his life, and what he was seeing now was among most absurd things ever. "That's a big flying rat…"
"What?!" Mirajane asked simultaneously with Lisanna, who also came out to see what's going on.
"I probably wouldn't believe if someone would told me, but I'm seeing it with my own eyes now…" Dread Master confirmed, looking into the sky with his red glowing eyes. True to his words, it was a flying rat. It wasn't flying using wings, as it didn't has any, but instead rat was using its tail, spinning it around like a copter as three passengers were riding on the rat's back.
Also, there was something in its paws as Rat was already close enough so even those without sharingan could see it. "Is that a bucket?" Mirajane pointed out. It seems that rat carried a large silver bucket with some purple drawing on the side.
In the air Sherry, Toby, and Yuka stood on the back of Angelica, their hair whipping wildly in the wind. "Preparing the 'nuke'em all' jelly took quite a while," Pink-haired girl noted, folding her arms.
"But our timing is good though, those locals are all gathered in the village," Yuka stated holding his hands behind his back.
Toby barked in agreement as Sherry added emotionlessly, "Unless we destroy Deliora our wish will never come true. Only 'death' awaits whomever gets in our way…"
"Death?" Natsu's eyes flashed as he managed to lip-read entire conversation of rat's passengers. "Very well…"
As Angelica carried that 'Nuke'em all' jelly, a single drip of a green substance dribbled from the bucket and plummeted down to the ground. "What's going on here?" Lucy asked as she also came out of hat (she couldn't walk so she crawled on all four). She appeared just in time to see the drop hit the ground, and it began to dissolve the vegetation and even the earth itself, shocking everyone. "Hiee!" the blonde exclaimed in shock.
The villagers also saw that. Seeing what just happened, began to scream in panic as one of them yelled, "Do they have a bucket full of this?!" while one beside him asked in horror, "D-Don't tell me they're going to splash it on us?!"
"Angelica, go ahead," Sherry ordered the large flying rat. Rat, apparently named Angelica, obeyed and splashed the green acid-like jelly out of the bucket right above the village.
"How do you expect us to protect ourselves from the stuff like this?!" Freaked out Lucy yelled in panic as she watched the green goo coming down on the village. However, her screams were completely ignored.
"Natsu?" Mirajane asked, seemingly awaiting instructions.
"Don't bother," Dread Master replied as his eyes switched to Mangekyō form. "Kamui!" His left eye flashed, creating black vortex in the air, and entire green mass was sucked into that vortex, as if it was never there. Three that were riding on rat's back were shocked, but it was just the beginning. Another black vortex appeared around rat's neck, and in the next moment its head was torn off.
"Angelica!" Pink-haired girl screamed as she saw what just happened to her pet. Being beheaded, of course rat couldn't continue flying, headless carcass began to fall, splashing blood in all directions.
"Don't worry, you're going to join your pet," Natsu said without emotions. While rat was falling, three mages fell from her back and now they were in free fall. Natsu raised his gunblade, Overture, which switched to gun form. Natsu shot three times. None of three even screamed as their bodies were virtually torn apart by neutron blaster charges.
With lout *BOOM* rat's corpse fell on the ground as remains of three mages were scattered nearby. Natsu turned to his servants, "Come on, let's explore that temple on the other side of the island," He ordered, and headed to village's gates. He was acting as if nothing happened at all. Villagers quickly cleared a path for Dread Master, they all also were shocked, obviously none of them ever saw so explicit cruelty.
Both girls were slightly shaken with what they just saw. No, they were well aware that their master knows no mercy, but they still didn't get used to it. However, that was one more reason to follow his orders to the letter, so they quickly followed him. When he was already at the gate, Natsu turned to Lucy. Blonde was like paralyzed, frozen in deep shock, her eyes were dull and empty, but Dread Master didn't care. "Do not leave the village," He commanded, "This island is no longer your concern. Take care of your comrade, and, if you still want to make yourself useful – help villagers to clear this mess." As he said that, Dread Master headed towards moon temple, Lisanna and Mirajane followed him.
July 12, Year X784, 17:49, Galuna Island, Beneath the Temple of the Moon, Deliora's chamber.
Masked guy was standing near the entombed Deliora, facing the cave entrance.
Another man entered the chamber. He was of small stature, wearing weird red mask with white horns and an odd symbol imprinted on forehead, also he had brushy green hair.
"Sub-Zero emperor, your subordinates have been defeated in the village," The short man reported to Leon.
"Defeated?" Masked guy, whose name apparently was Leon, asked in displeased surprise, "By who? Those two from Fairy Tail? I thought they were barely alive…"
"No," Zalty informed the ice mage as he approached the masked guy. "Another group arrived to the island few hours ago, and they are also from Fairy Tail."
"Reinforcement?" Masked guy asked, "Or rescue team?"
"That I cannot say. In any case, if all goes as planned, the demon will be awoken at some point tonight," He added, "But we have to keep an eye on those people. I don't know what they want exactly but they may ruin our plans. If they'll be able to interrupt the Moon Drip ceremony, then Deliora forever will be entombed inside the Iced Shell." He paused before adding, "In that case all your efforts will be for nothing…"
"As always, you seem to know everything," Leon commented holding his left hand up and frowning coldly as his hand emitting a white mist. "But no matter, I can't say I'm worried. No matter who they are, but they're no match for me."
"I was hoping you'd say that," Zalty replied. "It's very reassuring to hear." He bowed to the Sub-Zero Emperor with his right arm in front of his chest. "But still, allow me the honor of joining you in battle, for old times' sake."
"You are a mage too?" Leon asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, I'm slightly familiar with few techniques…" Zalty explained looking up at Leon with a smile.
"What an ominous fellow…" Leon replied.
"Anyway, I've already dispatched our people to hold them off, the moonlight is almost gathered, we need just one man to finish the ritual," Zalty said. "I'll handle it myself."
And this is it for now. See you soon people!