Laxus watched the small island disappear with regret in his heart. This job his father had convinced him to take part of had been the worst, he worried he would never be free of the memories of the sights and smells. Never free of the guilt.
Now Laxus had never considered himself to be a good man and he knew working for his father was like selling his soul for cash, but still he had never signed on for murdering women and children. Especially not for such a small reward. He turned the round medallion in his hands, running his finger over the strange inscriptions. How could one piece of metal be worth so many lives? Who could his father's client be?
Laxus had thought this would be a simple slip in and slip out type job, but the town had the medallion under armed guard both day and night. Though they had watched for a week straight, they could not find a single hole in the surveillance. Finally, tired of inactivity, Porla had made the decision that they go in guns blazing. The pay for this job must be astronomical for him to decide to take such a risk.
The entire village had sworn an oath to protect the stupid medallion and Porla had learned this the hard way. Through skill, brute force, and a little bit of luck, the team managed to take out the entire armed guard. With the Medallion in Laxus' pocket, they left the temple and were surprised to be greeted by a group of terrified looking women and children. Laxus had been the only one wary, he knew that look of determination on the lead boy's face, but the other men had laughed, underestimating and taunting their opponents. When the little boy pulled out a pistol and shot Porla in the face, Laxus reacted on instinct, taking the child out, but not before Nullpudding took one in the thigh. Obra had managed to haul Nullpudding out of there, and between Flare's cover and Laxus' last clip, they were able to flee the village. They had been lucky that only the one boy had been armed with a gun. Still, though the knives, machetes, and slings that the other children wielded were easily escaped, Porla's body had to be left behind.
The general atmosphere in the plane was somber. Nullpudding lay passed out, his leg roughly bandaged to get him back to civilization. Obra was silent as usual, Laxus was pretty sure the man didn't have a soul to begin with, he would probably move on from this unfazed. Flare was harder to figure out; he never understood how someone so jittery could shoot as well as she did. At the moment she shook all over, eyes wide while she chewed her hair. She probably didn't like this job any more than he did, but she would continue in her work, her adoration for his father unflinching. He rubbed the medallion again, the inscriptions appeared to glow and it felt warm in his hand. After this he would have to take a break, maybe retire, he was starting to lose his mind.
Suddenly the sky started to turn dark. The pilot Kurohebi called back over his shoulder saying "Get ready for a bumpy ride!"
Laxus took this moment to check that his parachute was properly attached. He looked out the window; lightning danced from cloud to cloud and in the times between the darkness seemed to engulf them. What the hell was up with this storm? How had it crept up so quickly? There was a deafening crack as lightning hit the left wing of the Cessna Caravan. Flare screamed, Kurohebi laughed like a madman, and a silent Obra watched on. Somehow Nullpudding slept through all of it.
"Fuck this," Laxus said. He pulled up from his seat and headed to the back of the plane. "There's no way I'm dying with you assholes."
"Where are you going Dreyar?" Flare yelled.
Laxus ignored her, his instincts were screaming at him to get out. He knew he would probably be jumping to his death but he just couldn't ignore the itch to get free of the cramped cabin. He kicked out the back door then he stepped down onto one of the floats, clinging tightly to the plane as the wind roared around him. Taking a deep breath, Laxus used all the strength he had in his legs to jump as far from the plane as he could, saying a little prayer to whoever would listen that he would make it.
Lightning hit the plane again and Kurohebi lost control. It began spinning wildly, flames licking its sides, and the tail just barely missing Laxus' leg before it fell away from him. The clouds grew eerily thicker; Laxus quickly could no longer see the plane or the ground. The medallion popped out of his shirt, floating in the air next to his face, still tethered to his neck by a thin strip of leather. He reached for it, feeling like an idiot for not properly securing it before jumping. When he touched it, there was no mistake this time, the inscription glowed. "What the hell?"
The clouds below him began to swirl, forming a funnel. There was an unnatural shade of purple mixed in with the blacks and grays. Laxus couldn't help but feel terror; this was how he was going to die. Then he hit the clouds and it felt like they grabbed him. He grunted in pain as his body was thrown around like a rag doll for so long that it felt as if time had stopped and this pain would never end. Then, before he had time to get his bearings, the storm opened up and dropped him.
He hit the water surprisingly easy, as if his fall had been from nothing more than a high dive. Laxus swam hard to the surface and treaded water. He couldn't believe he had made it. His body hurt all over and he was completely exhausted, but he was alive. Looking around he didn't see the plane anywhere in sight, he hoped those bastards made it as well.
Laxus had never even had a chance to pull his parachute; so he took the pack off his back and used it as a temporary flotation device. He hoped he could get at least half an hour from it, he was tired and his clothes were heavy. He considered dropping his boots, but he was in so much pain and he couldn't reach them without getting a face full of the choppy sea. He had to get to dry land fast.
The only land in sight looked like the very island they had just left and even it was far in the distance. Unable to see any other option, he used the little energy he had left to propel him towards the shore, hoping to catch a current to help him get there. Eventually his remaining strength wasn't enough. Laxus thought how ironic for fate to have him survive such a fall, only to die floating in the ocean. He just couldn't fight the exhaustion. He closed his eyes and the world went black.
Mira had always loved the sunrise when the light finally cut into the darkness and chased it away. Today it was especially welcome, nights where the moon disappeared had become difficult for her and last night had been the worst by far with the frightening storm. Nights like that brought to life things she tried so hard to bury. She worried about the day she could no longer fight it.
She walked the beach taking in the warm reds and oranges in the sky, and letting the peaceful sound of the waves washed over her. The cool ocean breeze blew her long white hair out behind her, whipping her dress back, and giving her the sensation that she was flying. This had become her daily meditation, one of the few ways she had left to bring a true smile to her face.
Her boarding house was getting fairly full these days. She would have to turn back soon to start breakfast, but her attention was drawn to an unusual form further up on the beach. Her curiosity winning over, she continued walking and she found a strange man passed out in the sand. His clothes were odd, with a tight black shirt and long pants covered in pockets. The boots made out of materials she had never seen before. Where could he have come from?
He was handsome in a dangerous kind of way, with the jagged scar across his right eye and the large muscular physique. Mira thought to herself that the girls in town would go nuts over him, if he was alive that is. She tapped him with her toe, "Hello?"
When he didn't respond she knelt next to him resting her head on his chest. There was a pulse, but it was weak. He startled her by coughing, and she fell away from him, her heart pounding. He was definitely still alive. The man turned and vomited water on the beach, then, with a cough and a moan, he seemed to pass out again.
"Mira!" Mirajane turned to see her brother running up the beach, she stood to greet him. She looked back at the man, she should bring him back to the house, it was cold and he was soaking wet.
"Mira, you were gone longer than usual and I was worried," Elfman started as he got close.
Mira smiled sweetly at him. "Oh, you don't have to worry about me; it was only a few minutes. It's good you came out though, I need your help."
Elfman tilted his head and furrowed his brow. When the man came into view, his eyes widened, "Who is that?"
Mira turned to study the stranger again, "I'm not sure. We should get him back to the house; he needs a warm bed to recover in. Hopefully he can tell us who he is once he wakes up."
Elfman's brow furrowed. "He's been tainted."
Mira looked at her brother with a confused expression and then back where her brother pointed. There were black marks just starting to peak out of his left sleeve, definitely the mark of the corruption. She sighed deeply, and then looked back up at her brother, "aren't we all?"
Elfman nodded sadly and went over to pick up the man. He was probably the only one on the island capable of carrying the large outsider. She was grateful for his strength when he lifted the man over his shoulders effortlessly. They began back towards the house.
"Were you really worried or did Evergreen send you because she wanted breakfast," Mira teased, trying to lighten the mood.
Her brother laughed, "I know we need the money, but I can't wait for them all to leave. I offered to make her something myself but she said she didn't want some ham-handed oaf to touch her food."
"Don't worry, I'll be sure to make her breakfast extra special today," Mira winked at her brother making him smile. It was so good when they could be like this, joking and smiling, it helped light the darkness that shadowed her heart.
When Laxus came to he could hear the sounds of women speaking. "He's pretty sexy Mira. I mean I've heard the phrase there's plenty of fishes in the sea but I didn't think it actually was true."
He felt a cool, soft hand rest on his forehead. The woman chuckled, "You're so silly Cana. Hmmm, he still feels a little bit feverish. Maybe I should get him another blanket. Can you go see if Elfman could get some more wood for the stove in here?"
"Sure . . . you just want some time alone with your new toy there." There was a weighted silence and the crass woman recanted, "Okay, okay, I'll stop with the teasing, do you need anything else?"
He opened his eyes to reveal the gentle woman caring for him. She had the whitest hair he had ever seen, but her face was young and quite beautiful. She wore a modest dress but it couldn't hide the attractive figure beneath. She smiled sweetly in the direction of the doorway and said "No, thank you, but I'm okay for now."
"Well hello there," he shifted his eyes to look at the other woman. Her revealing top and flowing skirts gave her a very bohemian look. Laxus was confused, neither of these women looked anything like the natives from the village and it was supposed to be the only inhabited place on the whole island. Did their intel miss something? Did he magically land in some community of beautiful amazons?
"Oh!" the white haired girl exclaimed when she looked at him. "You're awake! Wonderful! How are you feeling?"
Laxus sat up slowly, rubbing his jaw. He noticed that he had somehow lost his shirt and gained a strange black swirling marking across the left side of his chest. He rubbed it and it appeared to be permanent. What kind of person tattoos someone in their sleep? The brunette's eyes widened slightly at the sight of his chest but the look was gone quickly. She clearly was not responsible for it, could the other woman have done it?
"My name is Mira," continued the woman sitting next to him, not bothered at all by his lack of response, "that's Cana in the doorway. My brother Elfman and I found you on the beach and brought you to our boarding house here. Do you remember your name?"
Laxus frowned at the word brother, that meant there were more than just busty women here. Disappointing, for a second he thought maybe he had died and somehow been brought to heaven. Recovering and finding a way back to civilization was going to be a bitch.
"Are we on Galuna?" he rasped out.
Mira furrowed her brow, "I'm sorry I don't understand. What's Galuna?"
Laxus coughed, trying to regain his voice, "Is this Galuna Island?"
Mira frowned, "I'm afraid not, I've never heard of Galuna. You're on Tenrou Island."
"Damn it!" Laxus fell back on his pillow, ignoring Mira's shocked face and Cana's snicker. "Where the hell is Tenrou Island located?"
"I guess the closest country is Fiore, are you from there?"
Laxus looked at her like she was crazy, were they speaking some other language? "I've never heard of Fiore, is it a small country?"
Cana laughed, "Man you must have bumped your head hard when you fell from heaven. Fiore is like one of the biggest countries in all of Earthland."
Mira just looked concerned. "Do you remember your name?"
He stared at them both for a moment, were they messing with him? Had Nullpudding just made up some intricate prank? Why were they calling the world Earthland and where the hell was Fiore located. He needed a damn map. He saw them still staring at him, probably thinking he had lost his memory since he was taking so long to answer. Were they were worth trusting with his name? He decided it couldn't hurt, if this was some elaborate ruse they probably knew who he was anyway. He would just have to watch what else he gave away. "It's Laxus."
"Laxus," Mira repeated back with a smile, "Well Laxus are you up for food? I've got some soup downstairs with your name on it!"
"Yeah, that sounds great." He was suddenly starving now that his body finally awake. The women left with promises to return with blankets and food. Laxus used the time he had alone to take stock of his surroundings. His cleaned clothes lay draped over a chair, with the medallion hanging over them. His pack was still together and leaned against the wall next to the door. They had stripped him down to his underwear before covering him up with three quilts. The room itself was not fancy, but very clean with sparse, well used furnishings; a single bed, an end table, and a small desk and chair. He looked out the window and saw the ocean. Where the hell was he?