Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail
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(looked over by the lovely Ice Fata. I hope you all enjoy!)
Number one on a dragon's list of priorities was its horde. Or princess. Or whatever it fancied really. The stories weren't really clear how one managed to actually employ a dragon to do ones bidding but it was still a very important rule. Dragons protected their stuff, end of story.
DisclaimerSo it took Lucy all of two seconds after leaving Natsu shouting after her scaly behind on a deserted forest road to realise that letting her captive go in a fit of rage probably wasn't the best move she could have made.
"It's his own fault," she snarled aloud to herself as her anger boiled into a raging flume of blue fire that scorched the clouds she skimmed through into thin wisps of steam. Her wings snapping in the air like pistons hurtling the female ever faster, trailing embers in her wake. "Stupid Natsu."
Her anger takes time to fade, several high speed laps around her new abandoned Keep doing nothing but wearing her patience with the whole fiasco thin. The last dregs of frustration leave her depressingly drained and empathetically empty. A flying pig with a singing goat riding it could pass and she would merely eye it with pessimism and a roll of her eyes.
Golden scales flash in the sun as she begins to slowly wheel in the sky with indecision, circling her Keep with a frustrated air, the pros and cons of rushing back to snag Natsu by the scruff of his jacket and drag him back to his tower like a scolded child rattling around her head. She really should just make a sign that said 'Time Out Tower' and be done with it, she thought savagely with an evil internal smirk. "See if any Knight would come get him then." She preened to herself with a happy puff of smoke.
Her moonlight pale wings began to ache with her exertion, making the once-woman grumble in annoyance as her less than graceful landing in the spacious courtyard caused cracks in the flagstones and brought down half the roof of the old stables. Simmering with a bratty tantrum, Lucy thrashed her tail and spat sparks over the poor abused flagstones with a frustrated growl, despairing over some golden scales that had come off in her mild crash, leaving winking aurum eyes as they caught the sun.
The whole place felt empty, more foreboding by herself without Natsu to amble about, playing pranks on her, breaking things and complain about the horror of everything remotely resembling his hair colour. Say what you will, the Princess that was here last must have loved pink.
Lucy sank to her soft belly scales, resolving to clean up her shed scales later, crooning at the warmth of the slabs beneath her, before reaching into a nearby alcove and drawing out her Fairy Tale book.
'I'll give him till sunset', she decided with a firm nod of her head as she flipped the page of her book delicately with the fine tip of a brown talon, then she will go drag him back.
Natsu groaned in frustration as he tried to back track through the town.
At every turn their seemed to be one of his father's Knights, with Grey lurking between the inn and the entrance gates that lead back to Lucy's Keep.
He had somehow managed to shop while he was scrambling for the nearest available exit. The first stop had been at the local butcher, ducking under the shop awning and nearly gagging at the stale smell of blood soaked into the wood of the slanted compartments packed with marbled meat and salt. The man was rather large, a portly gentleman, if he was to select a phrase from the noble drivel his father had shoved down his throat during etiquette lessons. The disguised prince sized up the meat by eye as the big man snorted irritably like a horse and proceeded to go back to sharpening his carving knives upon a honing stone, sending a shower of sparks over his leather apron splattered with dark stains of animal blood.
The meat was newly out, he summarised gleefully after a moment, waving a small purse of the ancient doubloons at the grumpy butcher that adhered to his very large order.
"What are you going to be doing with all this meat, boy?" The man snickered nastily as Natsu packed it tightly into his travelling pack. "Feeding a dragon?"
"Well... Something like that... But she's really nice if you can catch her in a good mood." He nervously chuckled, scratching the back of his neck with an embarrassed shuffle as the overweight man gave him an appraising, knowing look.
"Be careful what you say boy, or word might get back to your wife."
The butcher smirked at his spluttering, complete with a hot flush dusting his tan skin, a wheezy cackle following the stomping Prince back into the sun.
Natsu grumbled to himself moodily as he followed the street back towards the entrance, a low swinging sign catching his attention as he turned the corner onto the Main Street towards the forest.
It was a wooden sign, lacquered and bright in the shape of an open book, with words literally jumping off the page.
A flash of armoured silver ahead had him bolting for the door, a bell jangling loudly at his entrance, causing the petite woman browsing on the top shelf to squeak in surprise and nearly over balance on the rickety wheeled ladder.
"Oh, hello!" She waved down at his cloaked form, grabbing the shelf for balance as she slotted a heavy tome back into its place. "Welcome to the Little Bookshop!"
"Little...right." Natsu smirked under his hood, staring around at the giant space, filled to almost overflowing to with books and scrolls of every subject imaginable.
The blue haired girl beamed joyfully, bouncing down the rungs of the ladder with a graceful ease to stand before him with a happy energy. "Knowledge is power don't you know."
"Oh really?" He snorted derisively, earning himself an almost poisonous glower, "uh... I mean, do you have any good adventure novels?"
So that was how little book shop owner, Levy McGarden, got Prince Natsu Dragneel to sit still for an hour and grudgingly, painstakingly go through five shelves of individual books to find the perfect one.
"Lucy had better worship me for this." He snarled to himself sourly, as the girl wrapped up his purchase, along with a big book of fictional tales, as an apology for Lucy, given to him by the kind little knowledge hoarder, with heartfelt promises of more to come after he had spilled a rather good sob story about his 'poor' golden 'friend' that couldn't even get out of her bed in the morning due to her tragic 'illness' and how ever so much did she love to read.
Once he had tied the books to his bag, he gave a half hearted wave back to the cheerful bookworm and left the stuffy shop, breathing in the town air and strode out into the thick of it again, his inner monologue a conflicting argument of why exactly he is trying so hard.
Surely Gray, after a few punches and being half strangled to death on principle, would allow him to ride to the Keep and see Lucy before he got dragged back to his Father. Heck, if he begged forgiveness, asked nicely and bribed her with the new books, the golden she-dragon might set his stripper friend alight for him or make some effort to retrieve him because it said she had to in her ridiculous 'Fairy Tale Rulebook' she was always preaching to him about.
While he wandered with that lovely thought of Gray being toasted by Lucy, he wasn't aware that he was being tailed until a heavy armoured hand slapped down on his shoulder.
He reacted without really thinking, grabbing his perceived attacker's wrist and swept around to clock them square in the face with his elbow, all while yelling an attention grabbing, "Stranger Danger!"
His elbow throbbed harshly, wincing at the sting when he finally realised who he had dropped to the floor in a clatter of armour.
Gray Fullbuster scowled up at him, massaging his jaw from where he was sitting on the cobbled street, his helmet spinning like a top over the street with a metallic ring.
"What the hell did you do that for?!" The dark haired man growled up at the Prince's shadowed face, clutching at his cheek while he rolled back up onto his feet.
"Who the hell goes around grabbing random people you...?!" Natsu flared hotly, mentally beating down his temper with a stick as various trademark insults rose to the tip of his tongue, halted only by the dull throb of jamming his fanged teeth into his bottom lip.
"All I wanted to say, guy, is that you shouldn't walk around town like that." Gray said with an annoyed twitch of his eyebrow, his bright eyes flashing like steel even as he half stripped out of his chest armour. "The local authorities have already asked us to remove you in case you stir up trouble."
"I'm just leaving anyway!" The disguised prince snapped, "Just point me towards the nearest exit and I will go you Pervy Popsicle..."
"Pervy... Popsicle?" Gray repeated, eyes narrowed as the air temperature dropped, a fine frozen mist swirling where the Knight had reached for his magical ice sword tied at his hip.
As the pink haired man watched wearily where the blast of ice magic would come from, he never managed to catch the other hand flashing out to yank down his hood.
"Natsu?!" Gray scowled with fury, his molars almost audibly grinding as his rosy coloured hair was revealed to the cloudless sky, "What the hell man?!"
The Prince blanched, his tan skin drained pale, before he shot out his hand and punched his childhood friend in the face. With a quick snicker, he turned on his heel and ran like a man possessed, squirrelling down back alleys, vaulting low walls and weaving the crowd before he darted into the town stables, a mere two foot solid stone wall away from freedom.
A horn sounded in the distance, loud and probably magically amplified given the buzzing ring that it left in his sensitive ears.
Natsu winced as he hid behind a haystack, "Oh man, Lucy is going to be so annoyed..."
She was getting incredibly bored.
Her fairy tale book only lasted so long with her reading prowess and she had practically memorised the contents of the book cover to cover on top of that anyway. So here she was, the great and terrible She-Dragon Lucy, playing tiddlywinks with plates of pure gold in the courtyard. The once heiress let out a groan of boredom as a plate skittered off into a gap between the old rusted water trough she had been aiming for, flopping to the floor with an earth shaking thud as if she had been skewered by an imaginary Knight's lance.
She flicked out her lizard like tongue, scrunching up her nose as it flicked against one of the farther reaching plates from her game, bringing an oddly nice metallic taste back into her mouth.
"My book did say Dragons liked to eat gold." Lucy muttered with a note of heavy interest, sliding along the floor with a lazy intent, scales scraping musically along the ground as she lolled her forked tongue to lick up the old expensive dinner ware. However, as she got up and reared back onto her hind legs, preparing herself to swallow the a nervous mental countdown, a bright blue cat with white wings dropped from the sky right onto the tip of her muzzle, sinking its needle like claws into the soft scales of her nostrils...