A/N: Okay! Finally updating in forever! Finally got my shit together to write this. No excuses this time though, I'm done with that. So without further ado I give you the latest chapter of...
xXx ~ The Melody of the Wanderer ~ xXx
"Each smallest act of kindness, reverberates across great distances and spans of time -affecting lives unknown to the one who's generous spirit, was the source of this good echo. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it's passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil."
― Dean Koontz
The Melody of the Rune
Early That Morning
Dawn had come very early the next morning, as the sun allowed itself to be seen once more by the denizens of the world, birds and mammals alike awoke from their sleepy trance, as they vacated the realm of Morpheus and returned to reality.
Bustling on the streets of Magnolia, men and women alike could be seen in business suits of all forms and types hurrying to get to their place of work, or the catch the early morning Train at the Magnolia Station.
Mailmen alike were notably one of the earliest risers, following side by side with the newspaper delivery boys or even the occasional couriers. Amongst this notable group of early risers, was a particular young man, who got up neither to make some sort of monetary gain or due to the nature of an occupation, but did so for an entirely different reason.
Two somewhat weary black eyes slowly opened themselves to the world, outside was still dark as the sun had yet to peak up beyond the horizon. Sitting up slowly, Sasuke muffled a yawn as he ran his hand through his mess of black hair, squinting slightly as he took a few nano-seconds to re-adjust his sight to the environment. With two firm blinks of his eyes, whatever state of dysania which had previously threatened to overcome him vanished into nothingness.
He'd been allowed to sleep in the basement of the guild, which mostly stored the provisions and other necessities for the guild. Thankfully, he'd been given a nice inflatable bed which he had made use of.
Sasuke stood up from his make-shift bed before deflating it. Walking around, he did some stretches first to regain the flexibility in his muscles and to rejuvenate himself from his still slightly sleepy state. Sasuke had gotten up earlier than the sun, and had since then spent his time doing his full body, early morning workout.
Sitting on the floor, he'd began instantly with three hundred and fifty squats, not stopping or slowing down his momentum for even the slightest of seconds. This was mostly the 'warm-up' to his exercise however. It hadn't taken him long to complete the exercise at one squat per second. By the time he'd finished his warm up, the sun was now slowly peaking over the horizon, and the darkness had changed to an eerie but comfortable blue hue.
Standing up slightly without even having broken a sweat, he discarded his shirt to the side, and got down on his hands and feet, to start up the real exercise. With both hands positioned in a fist, he began a series of push-ups, feeling little to no strain on his muscles from the exercise he decided to up the difficulty level. Attaching weights to his arms and legs that increased his overall weight and the overall difficulty of the exercise, he began the exercise anew.
'One… two… three…'
Sasuke's mind quickly diverted to the course of action which he'd planned on taking today, the first and foremost was to leave the Fairy Tail guild.
'Eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three…'
This was mostly temporary though, as he owed them for their help, as such he was simply leaving until he was able to stabilize the weight in his wallet so to speak.
'Two-hundred and six, two-hundred and seven, two-hundred and eight…'
Regardless of which, his plan for the day replayed itself over and over in his mental map, checking the possible cons and pros, analyzing for any unforeseen effect or consequence.
Sasuke let out a grunt of exertion when he finally reached five-hundred push-ups with the weights. His body visibly dripping in sweat from exertion, the sweat glistening on his skin like a second layer; though it was to be expected, as with two-hundred and fifty pounds per limb, he'd been performing push-ups with a total of one thousand pounds on his entire body. Repeat – one thousand pounds. This was something that was considered inhumanly impossible by any stretch of imagination, even amongst his fellow shinobi. Not that Sasuke knew, or cared, but his strength was still not exactly comparable to Naruto's previous strength two years back while in Sage Mode… in which the blonde had hoisted and thrown Kurama himself – the nine-tailed demon fox which was larger than any dragon in this universe – over his shoulder, albeit with the strength of several shadow clones.
Regardless, Sasuke had just recently started to gain that level of raw strength. His eyes were only now absentmindedly catching spots in the floor that had cracked and were seriously damaged from withstanding such a huge amount of weight. He'd have to fix that before anyone noticed.
Still with the weights on, Sasuke proceeded to complete an additional five hundred sit ups, to feel the extra burn, before throwing on a random shirt, and decided to take a jog round the town of Magnolia, using the exercise as a means to familiarize himself with the layout of the city. It was through this exercise that he'd observed the early-risers of the city.
As for his training regimen, he'd have to give credit to Rock Lee for its origin. The bowler-cut haired boy had in more ways than one inspired Sasuke to always train constantly. The original belief Sasuke held was that he was powerful enough as he was, so he could stop bothering himself with excessive amounts of training, and that no opponent could possibly defeat him anymore. In a sense, he'd gained a superiority complex based on that belief.
It had been shattered abruptly though, when Rock Lee dominated him in a pure Taijutsu match, regardless of the fact that he'd been using his Sharingan to predict the boy's moves – albeit the teen had been making use of the Gates. Sasuke had argued that he would have won if he'd been allowed to use Ninjutsu and Genjutsu, to which Rock Lee freely admitted. The point the boy had been able to teach him however, was that he wasn't a complete master of every facet of the ninja arts.
So, unless he was good enough to beat both Rock Lee and Guy in a two on one Taijutsu match, or good enough to trap and deceive Uchiha-freaking-Itachi in a Genjutsu, or good enough to outlast Uzumaki Naruto himself in a Ninjutsu contest, then he had a long, long way to go. It was a reminder that no matter how strong he was now, there was always room for improvement, and he wasn't going to let all his power go to his head as he'd done before – especially seeing how that had ended last time.
While still jogging around the city, his mind burning the images and locations of places into his memory, Sasuke came to a sudden halt, or more accurately, was forced to come to a halt when someone barreled straight into him.
The sudden surprise of an unexpected force stunned the Uchiha slightly, as he subconsciously attempted to use chakra to stick to the ground, but rather failed sourly as he'd been slammed into just as his right foot had disconnected with the floor in his jog, causing him to tip over on his weaker leg, the additional mass of heavy weight on his body being all that was needed to disrupt his normally impeccable balance. The results were a collision between unmovable object and barreling force. The two of them of them collapsed to the floor in a manner that was comic gold, and in the process also burying them under a small layer of books that the smaller figure seemed to have been carrying.
Sasuke felt his eye twitch in annoyance at himself for not dodging the person fast enough, or not having sensed the person quick enough to dodge the collision, and avoid being put in such a compromising position. His mind then instantly caught up to the fact that he probably hadn't responded quickly enough due to the fact that he still had all the weights on his body restricting his movement, a whooping total of one-thousand pounds – which also probably explained why the impact had created a medium sized crater in the street several diameters wide and multiple inches deep.
As he was, he could easily identify that the figure who had crashed into him had been a female, as his hand could feel the softness and squishiness of the person's chest, and as far as he knew, men didn't have soft or squishy chests. Her legs and ended up entangled with his, though she was quite a bit shorter than he was, and her face stopped mere centimeters away from his.
She glanced at his onyx black eyes with her hazel colored ones, before her face turned a fast shade of red, and she jumped off him like as though she'd been burned. Sasuke took his time to sit up, before his eyes made a swift and thorough examination of the girl in front of him.
She was a rather young. Petite teenage girl with a slender build and stood at a rather below-average height for someone of her age – he'd deduced she was of at least seventeen years from her chest – no, he was not a pervert. She possessed shoulder-length blue hair with eyebrow-length bangs which was tied up with a colorful bandana around her head. Her hair possessed a somewhat wavy and wild look, with locks hanging down from the top of her face. She was wearing a short orange dress of slightly-above mid-thigh length, which possessed a large white bow that tied up around her back and knotted in front of her chest, while the dress itself possessed to shoulder regions. This allowed for what Sasuke had assumed free mobility, and also displayed her guild mark on her left scapula.
Sasuke nearly sighed in annoyance at seeing the Fairy Tail guild mark. Nearly, being the keyword. He'd been hoping to avoid running into any Fairy Tail mages for the time being, as almost all of them wanted him for something after his solo flute performance at the top of their guild.
"Gomen, I'm so sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going…" she stated rapidly, bowing her head in apology most likely to hide her still red cheeks.
Her cheeks were red both because of the fall which had led to a compromising position, and because she knew that he had copped a feel of her chest, though she wasn't sure if it was accidently or not. Regardless, she couldn't attack him for it because she'd initiated the crash in the first place. Her eyes then however, noticed the crater she'd landed in. She was almost certain that wasn't there before and there was no way a combined collision could have caused that kind of damage to the street.
"Hn." Sasuke stated simply, before getting up to his feet and brushing off the dust on his clothes from his fall.
The girl however didn't seem placated with such a response. "You don't have to be a jerk about it, I said I was sorry!" she more of mumbled to herself than to him, but Sasuke's sharp eyes picked it up anyway.
His eyebrow rose slightly, which would probably be the Uchiha version of having a look like a fish gapping out of water. He then realized that no one here would understand his simple one-line responses and would most likely take offense to them. Sasuke had actually meant to harm, his response was a 'don't worry about it' but someone who didn't know the Uchiha personally would obviously assume something else entirely.
Sasuke wasn't the most conversational person in the world, and in fact, sometimes making simple civil conversation was a chore to him which he found highly difficult to perform. He had a form of dyslogia, in which inhibited him from properly expressing his thoughts and feelings – unless, of course, they were about rage, sorrow or battle. This had such and made him a man of action rather than a man of words, so rather than refute the girl's claims; he bent low, and began helping her pick up the numerous books that had scattered around after their crash.
The girl seemed to want to say something, but as she opened her mouth to speak, she closed it immediately after; before she simply joined Sasuke and the two began picking up the books together.
Once he'd finished carrying as many as he could hold with his hands, he noticed that the books were quite a lot, and the girl had also carried a steep pile. It made him wonder slightly how she'd been able to carry them all by herself.
"Arigato…" she tested, as she noticed that they'd finished gathering up the scattered books.
"Sasuke Uchiha." Sasuke provided his name, balancing the long pile of what he assumed to be no less than forty – a quick count with his Sharingan showed that they were forty-eight books in total. That was, forty eight books in his possession, the young blue-haired girl also had several books in her hands as well.
"Arigato Sasuke-san. I'm Levy McGarden." She stated chirpily, before she blinked as she took in Sasuke's appearance and his face, her eyes suddenly widening in realization.
"You're the guy that Erza-san and Lucy-chan brought in yesterday!" she stated, somewhat over excitedly "You're really great with the flute! The song you played was amazing! Everyone in the guild had been moved by it… though it was somewhat sad."
"Hn." Sasuke gave the verbal equivalent of a shrug. He didn't really care about the people that had been listening – he didn't even know people had been listening. He was more concerned with playing to himself and for himself.
"Where are you taking these books?" he asked, just slightly out of curiosity. Levy however could detect the unasked question hidden beneath.
"Ah, you don't really have to help me carry them, it's quite far and I can take them by myself…" she stated while waving her hands in a somewhat placating gesture.
"More the reason why you shouldn't be carrying them yourself, the books are taller than you are, I wonder how you were able to see where you were going in the first place." Sasuke stated in a somewhat bland and slightly sarcastic tone.
Levy puffed her cheeks out at the subtle jab at her height. Of course he hadn't done it intentionally, but he had still blatantly stated that a pile of books was taller than her.
"Fairy Hills." She stated with a sigh, she was secretly sensitive about her height, and hoped she'd get taller over time. "I'm taking the books to Fairy Hills, it's the dorm where most of the girls from Fairy Tail live."
"…" Sasuke gave her a blank look and she caught on to the unasked question quite sharply.
"It's near the outskirts of the town." She stated as she held up her books with her hands, and indicated a specific general direction as to which the Fairy Hills building was located.
Sasuke did find this somewhat strange though, it was still quite early after all, and for some weird reason she was couriering books from the middle of Magnolia, where he'd met her, to the outskirts of the town. That was quite a far distance away, and she'd been planning on carrying all those books by herself on such a long trip? When most people had yet to wake? Was she perhaps doing this as a training exercise? He idly wondered.
He indicated for her to lead the way, which she did, as the two began their trek down to their location. Sasuke didn't mind the unexpected diversion from his tour and jog, mostly because he had mostly completed it anyway. That, and the books she'd been carrying had drawn his attention.
Sasuke had been walking behind her, so he simply picked a book from the large pile he was holding with a single hand, such a feat which required an amazing sense of balance… or chakra as a suction or adhesive to hold it all together. He opened the book's first page, and with his Sharingan active, started blurring through pages like a man possessed, his posture as he held and read the book with one hand unknowingly similar to a certain silver haired scarecrow.
Information was power, and lack of information often killed a shinobi quicker than the blade of their enemy. This was a quote Sasuke had learned by heart, and it was one he would do to always remember. It was why he'd seen this as a perfect chance to read up on the customs and cultures, rules, and as well as the do's and don'ts of this world.
Thankfully, the current book in his grasp was one which contained certain aspects of history and information, though it seemed to generalize on the subject of Runes which was an arcane magic in the world.
Unfortunately for Sasuke though, his guest didn't have the ability to read and walk while your body unconsciously dodged objects for you and ensured that you stayed on the right path, and walking such a long distance in silence would be a highly uncomfortable experience.
"So Sasuke-san…" she started, seemingly trying to find a topic of which she could start up a conversation "… what sort of magic do you use?"
Sasuke was excellent at multi-tasking, so he didn't even stop reading as his mind thought up a possible answer to that question, which he presumed someone would have asked him by now. He wasn't going to tell them that he wasn't a mage and bring up the issue of chakra, no, only an idiot like Naruto would do that. Regardless, he also needed to tell them a specific kind of ability he used that would be enough to satisfy their curiosity.
"I use a certain type of ocular power…" he started, not even breaking his stride from his reading "…which allows me to see things in slow motion, or in fast-forward." The statement was entirely true, allowing him to give as little information about his abilities as possible.
Information was power after all.
"Ah…" Levy muttered, not really sure how to respond to that. She had expected something more surreal, as his power was impressive, but compared to something like Natsu's Dragonslayer powers, or Lucy's Celestial Spirits or Gray's Ice Make magic… it wasn't as awe inspiring. "…that's nice?"
Sasuke could tell that she didn't sound convinced, but then decided to elaborate just a little for the awe factor – his pride would probably be the end of him, but he wasn't going to take lightly to anyone underestimating the might of the Sharingan. "The ability to see things in slow motion is more useful than you think, it is a form of psuedo- precognition that enables you to see your opponents move before they make it, enabling you to dodge, counter or parry an attack before it is ever even made." He stated robotically.
"This, coupled with the simultaneous ability to break down and absorb information and data from the most minuscule of actions, can make it be able to recognize and detect weaknesses in opponents, decipher riddles, codes, learn at a faster rate than most and manipulate even the matrices of these runes like a child molding clay."
He'd spoken without thinking, his mind had therefore picked up on some of the information he was reading, and had stated his thoughts on these specific types of Runes which prevented people under its influence from leaving them without obeying the specific conditions set – not that he knew, was a type of magic used by one of the more famous members of the Fairy Tail guild. Of course this had instantaneously brought about Levy's attention as she whipped around and saw him with his nose buried in one of her books.
"That's impossible; you can't break or manipulate the complex matrix of the runes that simply. The barrier is projected is empowered by the magical energy of the atmospheres Eternano itself, the best you can do is edit the rules just enough to find a loophole to bypass them."
Being a person who prided herself in her knowledge of Runes and Script magic in general, that little snippet and the end of his statement had been what had disturbed her more than the fact that he was reading one of her books.
"Not if you are capable of changing the conditions met via alteration of the layer of the matrix, addition of another layer of the matrix over the pre-existing one, or simple disruption of the stable flow of magical energy entirely with the manipulation of environmental Eternano. It's stated here, Chapter eight, page one-hundred and seven of Advanced Arithmancy for Rune Wizards."
He'd barely completed his statement before she'd swiped the book away from his hands and began reading at a furious pace. "This is…!" she was amazed at the fact of what the book had stated.
Basically, one could escape those pesky trap runes which people like Freed from Laxus's Raijinshu used without having to complete the requirement. This was done by simply finding a way to disrupt the magical energy which kept the runes in place, and then chipping away at that small weak spot created by the disruption before it came crashing down. Or simply absorbing the magical energy which kept the runes in place all together.
She was starting to see the usefulness of the Uchiha's 'fast-forwarding eyes' as she now dubbed them. As even with her Wind-Reading glasses, there would have been no way she'd have gotten to this book for some time – considering the large pile she had to read –, and she wouldn't have learnt about that potentially life-saving piece of information.
Without either of them realizing it, that simple action, that rather obscure piece of information had altered the course of the future to come.
Levy frowned before a thought came to her as she noticed the Uchiha with his nosed buried in another book. "This is really complex stuff. Most people wouldn't even understand the terms and expressions used in this book unless they had an idea of the specific details or general information on Runes."
Sasuke had easily detected the unasked question, how did you figure this out? And simply gave a smirk, not a cold one as he was used to, but a condescending smirk that implied the fact that he knew something that she didn't. The smirk meant one thing, That's for me to know, and for you to find out.
In reality, Runes were highly similar to Fuinjutsu which Sasuke had studied and had become fascinated with it. He had some light training in rough Fuinjutsu from Orochimaru, but his real experience with it came after the war, when Naruto had defeated him in one of their spars with a well-placed Fuinjutsu trap. Vowing not to fall to the same trick again, he started a vigorous study of Fuinjutsu simply to come up with a counter, and simultaneously beat Naruto at his own game.
He did eventually find the counter, but not so much for defeating Naruto at Fuinjustu. The blonde menace was a true Uzumaki in the sense that once he started dabbling in the art, he'd become more and more proficient to the point he made Kakashi and hell, even Jiraiya look like rank amateurs in Fuinjutsu knowledge and experience. Sasuke was of course proficient in the art as well, as his research to find counters to the blondes annoying traps had made him an expert in the field, but he truly paled in comparison to Naruto himself.
Levy of course did not know this, and as far as she was knew, she'd recently stumbled upon a rare Rune Genius. This was a goldmine of opportunity for her, especially since she had no one that could really teach her anything in her magic. Seeing as Freed was almost never present in the guild, and she really didn't feel comfortable asking the somewhat distant and intimidating teen for advice or tips.
She had just found their similar topic of interest. Her eyes glinted with glee and joy as she pestered the black-haired boy on Rune knowledge for the entire trip to their destination, while said boy answered while simultaneously reading through each and every book in her possession. Without the duo even realizing it, a new and somewhat weird symbiotic, teacher-student relationship was born.
Then again, with Uchiha Sasuke, no relationship was ever going to be normal.
It had been a long and entertaining trip, in which Sasuke had ended up possessing far more knowledge on the world at large than he had when he'd left earlier that morning. Sasuke had quickly returned to the guild after aiding Levy with her books. He stealthily entered without being noticed, though it was still quite early, so only Mirajane was currently present. He made his way to the showers located in the basement of the Guild, as he needed a bath to wash off the sweat he'd accumulated from his exercise, so he could finally start his day.
As he entered the showers and let the steamy hot water wash off the sweat and grime from his day, he idly realized that he never asked Levy why exactly she was carrying all those books all the way from Magnolia so early in the morning…
Shrugging off the reason as inconsequential, Sasuke continued his shower with a sense of accomplishment as his mind arranged relevant facts and information he'd gotten from the girl's books. Most of them had been on arcane magic and other nonsensical things that he cared very little about. However, few contained valuable information about the world at large. Especially those ones that mentioned a specific name.
Zeref. The so-called Black Wizard. For some weird reason, Sasuke felt a connection to that name, as though he'd heard of it before but it had been so long ago that he'd forgotten. However, that was impossible, as he had only recently come to this dimension. Either way, he knew that he'd search out for any of the creations of that wizard, especially the demons. He'd like to compare them to the biju of his world and see how they stacked up in strength.
Sasuke's lips became thin once he realized that he'd once more made a comparison between Earthland and the Elemental Nations. It seemed that forgetting the past and moving on was harder said than done.
As Sasuke stepped out of the shower, he decided to put his plan into action… first and foremost, he needed money. Stealing it would be the easiest way… heaven knows that no one would be able to catch him with his level of stealth and power. However, it would be too suspicious if someone noticed that a bank or safe or someplace was robbed not too long after his appearance in the town. Especially since Magnolia was so annoyingly peaceful.
This meant… Plan B.
He'd worn his clothes and snuck out of the guild once more, as he was now, he sat on a high perch above a building, with his eyes blazing on as he searched for his target. His eyes caught on to various different people, mostly civilians though. As it only recently occurred to Sasuke, that according to a census and survey done; only ten percent of people in the world were capable of using magic.
That was insane. In a world mostly dominated by magical people, events and creatures, he wondered how the ninety percent of the population coped with having people that could cause copious amounts of destruction to the landscape with their mystical abilities. Let's not forget, ignoring the normal Legal Guilds who protected the citizens, the remaining part of the ten percent of people who could use magic were members of Dark Guilds that used their power for nefarious purposes.
It was another thing that separated his world from this, at least in the Elemental Nations, everyone had chakra. So if you were given the right training, everyone could become shinobi. No such luck for the poor saps in this world though.
'Found you…' Sasuke thought to himself as he gazed at his target before vanishing in a blur of wind and leaves.
Sasuke was a genius. That fact was one thing that many could not dispute, his ability to pick up information and his learning rate was above the charts. This also meant his I.Q. was far above average as well. He was no Nara Shikamaru, nor was he any Namikaze Minato, but Sasuke belonged to his own class of genius.
He'd quickly been able to pick up the little detail of the fact that new missions were supplied to the Fairy Tail each day, which meant that someone, or something was responsible for this delivery of new and available quests which were always posted on the guild notice boards.
Sasuke needed money, and the only way he could find himself getting any was either to rob some poor sod, or to complete a quest and get paid. Plan A seemed to be the easy way out, but it would draw to much attention, so the Plan B worked out quite well.
Here lied the problem though, quests where only given out to Legal Active guilds, and to take a quest, you needed to belong to a magic guild that was recognized and approved by the magic council. Sasuke had already decided not to join a guild, and as such it meant that normal quests would be unavailable to him for the main time, the only other way of getting on a quest was if someone asked for his help, in which he would be entitled to a share of the reward.
However, his pride had already taken several heavy hits, and the Fairy Tail guild master and Mirajane had already done as much as they could for him. From providing him with a decent meal, and a place to lay his head… he felt it would be highly unfair for him to ask for even more, by requesting they give him a quest to complete – when he wasn't even a member of their guild.
'No…' Sasuke decided ´…They've done enough for me. From here on, I'm on my own.'
This was what had led to his current situation. He knew that a fresh shipment of quests would be heading out to the Guild for the time being, and had put it upon himself to cut off that shipment before it reached the guild, and then obtain a quest or two which he could complete easily, so as to put some weight in his wallet.
Sasuke came to a stop at the start of a street, gazing as he noticed the courier who had the quests. He was an unassuming man of maybe thirty years of age with black hair and a short stubble, he had currently walked out of a magical powered vehicle, of which the windows were sealed tight, and was filled to the brim with papers. All of which were obviously quests.
Once again, Sasuke found himself marveling at the advanced level of technology this world possessed, most of which used a clean, atmosphere friendly energy source. The vehicle was powered by the user's own magic, or so he'd read, and as such created no form of pollution. The elemental Nations were still a bit far away from reaching such a level of advancement.
Regardless, Sasuke contemplated his method of approach as which he would use to get what he needed. He already had three methods in mind, which he was constantly going over to find the pros and cons of each method. Irregardless of which, Sasuke decided to go for the simplest approach.
With a level of stealth possessed by a shinobi of his caliber, Sasuke had approached the middle aged man without once drawing his attention, his footsteps were so silent it seemed as though his feet glided above the surface of the ground. His movements so fluid, as though he'd been a ballet dancer in a previous life, with not a single motion wasted. Glancing around with nothing but his eyes to ensure that no one was paying enough attention to them in order to be an eyewitness, he finally decided to draw the attention of the courier.
"Quite the weather today isn't it?" he asked, his tone somewhat bland and uncaring. The man seemed to straighten in surprise, as he hadn't been aware of the fact that someone was directly behind him.
"Ah Yes, Magnolia seems to have the best weather in Fiore!" The man chipped in, before turning around to meet the mysterious stranger "So, how can I help-" his question died in his throat, as he glanced into the most mystical pair of eyes he'd ever seen.
The rotating red and black eyes with tomoe mesmerized him, rendering him speechless as he watched them turn slowly like a wheel, seeing into his soul and gazing into his mind.
Before he could even comprehend what was going on, his eyes glazed over, losing their color and brightness as he stared blankly into space. Without any instruction being given, he checked amongst the pile of quests he was holding, before finding one, and handing it out to the last Uchiha.
"It's an A-Rank Quest with very good pay, hope you enjoy it Uchiha-sama." His voice was robotic and monotone, but Sasuke cared very little about that. Smirking slightly, Sasuke collected the quest from the courier, and quickly put it in one of his various pockets.
"Carry on." He stated dispassionately as the man nodded and followed the instruction, acting as though nothing had happened.
Sasuke smirked as he simply walked away while looking around to make sure that no one had observed the transaction that had just taken place. Strutting away from the proverbial scene of the crime to an empty street alley, he mentally deactivated the jutsu and watched the courier look around and scratch his head in confusion. The man's memories of the last few minutes being completely blank with no recollection of what happened.
Sasuke walked just a bit further, before he began taking in every last detail of the environment with his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan, his eyes idly memorizing images of the world into his brain.
From the lone cherry-blossom tree which had its leaves flowing in the wind, to the numerous cracks that lined up the brick walls, and even every single stone which lay idly on the road. Regardless, Sasuke put up a destination in mind of a certain area in mind, before feeling the familiar pull of his chakra beneath his skin that signaled the activation of a technique.
"Shunshin no Jutsu."
The world around him became nothing more than a blur to his peripheral vision, the normal effect of tunnel vision which came with the justu kicked in instantly. That is, before his fully evolved Sharingan eyes activated, spinning madly like the pinwheel they resembled, allowing him to see places, people and objects clearly, irrespective of the speed he was moving at. Sasuke had mastered the Shunshin to similar levels as Uchiha Shisui, though he felt that Shisui would forever remain the one true master of the Shunshin.
Regardless, there was a certain thrill of moving so fast yet seeing everything in the world so slowly. It was a kind of feeling that could not be described with mere words. The world became a blur of motion and the closest thing in comparison would be as though watching a video which displayed images in three dimensions – in slow motion. He gazed at a woman pouring water from a watering can over her flowers, his eyes catching every single droplet, noticing as they floated in the air before landing with miniature thuds that sent even tinier water droplets splashing out from the impact.
It was a fun, adrenaline pumping activity that one couldn't help but marvel at. Perhaps another realistic comparison would be a high speed camera which captured over thirty pictures per second. As he was, he was faster than the naked eye could see, and regardless, anyone that was fast enough to actually see him wouldn't be able to identify him as anything more than a blur of motion moving with the wind, to be forgotten and overlooked as a mere trick of the eye.
Perhaps this was why Shisui was so cheerful? Because he'd possessed such ability and got to use it each and every day, to view the world in slow motion, to see how the little things were actually big things, and getting to do this while moving faster than most could see. Insane as it sounded, Sasuke actually thought it made sense, after all, Shisui was one of the few Uchiha who were as un-Uchiha like as one could get.
Nevertheless, the last Uchiha finally came to a halt as he landed in front of the Magnolia train station in a burst of wind and leaves, making nearby civilians jump in surprise. A train whizzed by sharply though, the rush of wind created by its passing swooping away the leaves as they floated with the papers and light plastic materials that drifted away. The Uchiha quickly glanced around to ensure he'd arrived at the right place
A heavy horn which could be heard blowing loudly assured him of the fact, as well as a small cloud of white smoke which could be seen bellowing from a train's engine as it moved away in a 'chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga' echo that most children had come to associate with the locomotive.
"Last Call for Hargeon Town!" a conductor yelled as people hurriedly rushed into the train that would take them to the infamous port town of Fiore.
After confirming his destination that he had indeed gotten to the right spot, Sasuke couldn't help but smirk as he stared at the piece of paper in his left hand. 'Now… what do we have here?' In hindsight, he felt as though he should have checked the mission before heading immediately to the station, but he had utmost confidence in his Genjutsu.
"Freesia Town, the client is the Town Mayor. A – Rank Monster Extermination…" Sasuke muttered slightly to himself. Regardless, the only thing that was written was that they were being oppressed by a monster and required the aid of a mage immediately. Sasuke felt happy to oblige once he noted the large sum on the quest.
"Two Million Jewels huh..." He pondered to himself, the Mayor must have been desperate to put such a high amount, but that really wasn't any of his business. His goal was simply to complete the mission, get the money, and return to Fairy Tail hopefully before anyone noticed his prolonged absence – or noticed that they were short of one quest.
After all, he still had to repay Mirajane for the meal.
Without wasting any more time, he pocketed the quest into his pants as he glanced around at the station. Thankfully it was still early, so there was no Fairy Tail Mage in sight. Now, all he needed to do was get a map, and then find a train heading to Freesia Town. He did pause however, when he realized that he had no money to board a train, meaning he'd either be sneaking aboard one, or stealing a ticket. Irrespective of which, stealing a ticket or sneaking aboard would be easy enough for someone of his caliber. With any luck, this would probably be the easiest mission he'd ever completed.
Part of him somewhat felt, that he just might have jinxed himself on that one. Nonetheless, there was no time for second thoughts. He had a quest to complete.
Several Hours Later
The Fairy Tail guild was somewhat quiet today, seeing as 'The strongest team in Fairy Tail' had taken off on a quest, it was to be expected. The rest of the guild members were not that overly eccentric, and without Natsu and Gray being the proverbial matchsticks to light the flame, the guild was usually peaceful.
Makarov relaxed with a pipe in mouth and a bottle of liquor in hand, simply taking his time to relax and calm his nerves before the next fight or party would spring up.
Thankfully, most of the Fairy Tail mages already knew the law, they'd repay for any and all damages to the guild with the reward money they got on missions. Sadly, it did nothing to stop them from destroying it in a party or fight afterwards
Makarov sighed as he picked up one of the reports he'd gained from the last meeting he'd held with the other guild masters. Apparently the Balam Alliance had been staring up trouble and making several moves in the past couple of weeks… and sooner or later, someone was going to have to deal with them.
The idea was just that, an idea… but regardless, the plan to form an Alliance of sorts with other Light Guilds and attack the Balam Alliance was still a good one.
It was even more troubling now that information had come up over the fact that there was a possibility of the Alliance combining forces to become a single Guild with numerous denominations.
That would be terrifying, if the Rune Knights could barely handle them now that they were all separated, they'd stand absolutely no chance if they were genuinely united.
Makarov dropped the reports with a sigh, to clear his head of the darker matters. He truly was getting too old for this stuff. Retirement was always a possibility… but then who was he going to give the Guild to? Laxus? No. His grandson had changed, and his vision for Fairy Tail was no longer pure. Mystogan? The man was barely ever in the guild, and his mysterious past and secret would keep him unable to properly operate the guild.
He'd actually considered Erza, but she was still too young, she had yet to come to terms with her past, and it was slowly killing her potential. His last choice was Gildarts… the man certainly had the power for it. However, Gildarts lacked the subtlety, and also lacked the political prowess it needed to operate a guild. Not to mention, he'd yet to return from the hundred year quest, and the man enjoyed the thrills of travelling the world. He'd never want to sit down in one place and operate a guild.
A stray thought popped into Makarov's head. It was crazy, random and just a spur of the moment thing really, but he couldn't help but consider Sasuke… the mysterious young man with one real arm, and one prosthetic one that had come into the guild.
He certainly had the power, Makarov had put everything he had into his handshake with the young man to judge his character and his strength. To his surprise, the young man had barely flinched on the outside, and countered back with a fiercer grip. The Guild master of Fairy Tail glanced at his now bandaged and broken hand.
He hadn't complemented on the boy's strength because the boy had matched his grip, but rather, he'd complemented because the boy had broken his hand without even trying or meaning to. He'd had to give a flimsy excuse that he'd cut it on a broken beer bottle while inebriated, otherwise some the more rowdy members of Fairy Tail would seek out the Uchiha to fight him because of the fact that he broke their master's hand.
Makarov had judged from his eyes, he was an experienced warrior… and he had a gaze that only the war veterans had possessed once they'd ended a war, and realized that they had very little left to live for. It confused and amused Makarov quite a deal, the boy was too young to have been alive for any war… but his eyes told another story.
His performance with the flute had greatly touched everyone in the Guild, and everyone had wanted to meet him to thank him for it… but he'd simply vanished. No one had a clue as to when he'd left, or why he'd left. Regardless… he still wasn't an option, as he'd already made his wishes clear that he had no intention of joining the guild. Though he wished he'd join though… because it was one of the few times that Makarov had seen Mirajane's true smile since Lisanna had died.
Speaking of the devil… "What's wrong Mira?" he asked as he noticed the woman panicking up and down as she checked the request boards.
"Oh. Master, we just got a report from the Client of the Freesia Town mission. He increased the reward of the quest to twenty million jewels!" she stated in one breath, still searching and dashing through request boards causing Makarov's eyes to widen as he comically spat out his liquor.
"Well that's quite a lot for a simple A-Rank Monster Extermination, but that isn't big enough to get so worried over." he stated as he finally regained his composure.
"It's no longer an A-Rank Mission." She stated as bluntly as she could.
Oh. Oh! "You mean…!" Makarov's eyes widened in realization.
"Yes Master, the mission has been upgraded to a high S-Class ranking."
S-Class missions were missions which could be handled by a single S-Class mage without difficulty, no problem. High S-Class Missions however, were missions so high on the S-Rank spectrum, that it was advised for it to be completed by two or more S-Class mages, or at least a single S-Class mage and half a dozen A-Class mages. In other words, they were SS - Class missions.
Usually, the only ones in the Guild that took those missions were Laxus and his Raijin Tribe, Mystogan, and Gildarts. Erza wasn't ready for that level of difficulty.
He immediately understood the reason as to why Mirajane was panicking over the quest. "The problem is Master, I can't find the quest anywhere! I've searched on all the notice boards, even the S-Rank ones and I've double checked with the courier."
Makarov stroked his chin as he tried to come up with a plausible location or idea… before he was struck with a frightful thought. "Has anyone seen Sasuke at all today?" the magnanimous amount of responses he received in the negatives simply seemed to confirm his thoughts.
Mirajane glanced at the master, her eyes widening in realization "You don't think…"
"It seems, that most likely, Sasuke is on that very quest right now." Makarov said sourly. Before shaking his head and gulping down another bottle. He had no doubts about the boy's strength, but these missions were usually something else. 'Kami, I'm getting too old for this shit.'
Mirajane on the other hand simply clicked her teeth as she clenched her fists, her thoughts wild… if that idiot made it back alive somehow, she was going to rip that arm off of him and shove it down his throat. And if he didn't… she'd still find some way to bring him back from the dead, only to hammer him on the head for committing such a stupid act.
'Seriously, stealing a quest, is he copying Natsu now?'
Unbeknownst to them all, a certain blue-haired girl who had kept quiet throughout the whole ordeal silently slunk out of the guild, the door closing behind her with a barely audible click.
A/N: And...! that's a wrap folks! Ha! Trolled you guys with the whole Sasuke not matching up to Makarov with the handshake bit didn't I? Come on guys! This is a guy who could trap all nine of the Bijuu at once in giant fucking moons! What the hell were you thinking? Anyway... Fun Fact, 1000 pounds is approximately equal to 450 kilos, which is the average weight of a telephone pole. The average weight of a car, if I'm correct, should be around 3500 pounds. This chapter is a prelude to the action which comes next chapter, and also sets the stage for the conflict... so get ready.
Oh, and I also don't believe in "definite pairings" as they are pathetic, lame and unrealistic as hell. So, if Sasuke has a partner for a pairing, it might be temporal in the sense that I may kill off the Character, or end the relationship and have Sasuke move on to someone else.
So stop pestering me about the pairing! Sasuke could possibly date Erza for all of three chapters before I have her die at the end of a villain like Jose (well not really, but you get my point.) That and I'm also removing the cliche rule about loyalty in relationships.
Random Guy: Hey babe, dump this loser and lets meet afterwards.
Main Character's Partner/GF: No, I have a loving and caring partner who is blah blah blah and would never dump him or cheat on him or anything, even though he has a harem of other beautiful women who he fucks daily, i still love him all the same.
Random Guy: What. The. Fuck?
You see what I mean guys? This has been done in so many fan fics that i've gotten sick of it and i'm going to break the rule to add some tension and realism.
Thank you for reading this extra long ass Author's Note and for reading the fic in general. Will try to update as soon as possible... so please,
Read and Review!
Illusionary Reality, out.