The Black Guard
Chapter Three: First Missions [1/2]

Makarov pulled the stamp away from his skin and, to his amazement, there was a (shiny) new black tattoo of the odd symbol of the Mage Guild Fairy Tail. 'No...my guild,' he mused to himself as he traced his flesh hand over it.

"Hey! Raven!" The golden-eyed boy looked up again to see Natsu, who grabbed onto his metal arm and dragged him to a bulletin board of sorts. "Check out the Quest Board!"

"A...quest board?" He thought aloud, and his pink haired comrade grinned.

"Yeah! Anything that catches your interest?" He asked.

"A mission?" Raven questioned, and Natsu nodded.

"Yeah, I want you to go on a mission with you! Hm..." Natsu looked over the fliers before ripping one off and reading over it. "Wanna go on this one? It's a short mission, just get some bandits. Maybe we could check that rumor I heard about there, too," Natsu said casually and Raven thought for a moment.

On one hand, he could explore more and get used to his new (and annoyingly younger) body, on the other he could stay here, maybe get to know the others better and find a place to call home for now. As he weighed the pros and cons, he didn't see Levy walk up to him and sit by the stool next to his.

"You're going on a mission with Natsu?" She asked, and Raven looked down at her.

"Maybe, I don't know yet." Levy nodded, and Raven looked over the sheet again. Natsu watched him eagerly, before the golden eyed male sighed. "All right, I'll go. I want to get to know the area better anyways." Natsu cheered, as did a blue, flying cat with wings.

Wait.

A blue cat? With wings? Cheering?

"What is that?" Raven asked, pointing at the strange creature. The cat-thing pouted (how it could pout, Raven could only wonder) at him, its disproportionally small wings still flapping in the air.

"I'm Happy, and I'm an Exceed!" Raven's brows furrowed.

"Exceed? As in 'go beyond?'" He asked, and Natsu shook his head, laughing at the cat. "Ah, Exceed as in a species. A species of flying, talking, blue cats...never heard of them."

"Well, we've never heard of any other Exceeds, so I'd gather that they're either endangered or just really hard to find," Mira chipped in. Raven nodded in understanding.

"Well," he turned to face his pink (ahem, salmon) haired colleague and let out a slight smirk. "Are we going to head out or not?" Again, Natsu and Happy whooped before grabbing his arm, and running out the door. 'Why does being dragged feel so familiar?' He grumbled, doing his best to keep up with the boy's fast pace.

It took a few minutes of running for Raven to notice that they were running towards to forest and Raven sighed, stopping, which made Natsu and Happy stop as well. "What's the matter, Raven?"

"This is the wrong direction, shouldn't we be heading to the train station to both go the right way and get there faster?" Raven asked, jabbing his thumb behind him. Natsu's eyes widened at the word 'train' and doubled over, one hand holding his stomach, the other over his mouth.

"Natsu!" Happy and Raven exclaimed, hurrying over to the boy. "Are you-"

"I'm...not feeling so good," Natsu forced out, before he pulled his hand away and vomited. Raven stared at the boy coldly, an irritated and hateful look in his eyes. "I'm sorry!" Natsu shouted, suddenly afraid of the new Guild member. "I'll never do it again!"

Raven let out a sigh, wiping off some of the thick and sticky liquid from his chest and glaring at the vomit stuck in his Nasod arm. "You're going to pay for that later. Come on, we're heading to the train station whether you like it or not." Using the metal arm, he snatched the back of Natsu's collar and lugged him over to the platform after paying for tickets. As Raven lay the pink haired boy on a seat, he scowled. "I never knew you were so heavy."

Natsu tried to retort, but the train lurched and began to move. His face went pale and he opened the window, vomiting again. Raven had a rather deadpan expression. "How much do you eat to barf that much..?"

"Natsu eats a lot, so he's always got something!" Happy chirped, making Raven turn his blank gaze to the cat.

"Why are you saying that as if it's a good thing..?" He asked, and Happy opened his mouth answer, but Raven quickly added, "that was rhetorical." Happy nodded and the rest of the train trip continued in silence until they reached their destination. Which, before the doors closed, the golden eyed 'Mage' hauled Natsu over his shoulder and carried him off the train so they would get off at the right place.

Happy and Raven waited a moment for Natsu to recover before exiting the station, and walking down a stone path, through a forest, to a large town, almost a city. But it was nearly abandoned. "What happened here..?" Raven muttered under his breath, looking around. Natsu and Happy made a sound of agreement as they did the same.

"E-Excuse me..." The three Fairy Tail members turned to see a woman in her mid thirties, approaching them cautiously. "Are you the Fairy Tail Mages?"

"Yup! That's us!" Natsu grinned, and proudly displayed the red Fairy Tail symbol on his shoulder, Happy showing the green one on his back. 'So that's where it is,' Raven noted, just making sure he was facing her. Having a blamely obvious, dark colored Guild Mark on his bare chest may not be the best idea, but it's not like he'd ever really have to hide his identity.

Hopefully.

"Oh, thank goodness! This way, please," the woman urged, her eyes seeming to darken. Raven squinted at her. Maybe, if he could just use that ability he learned from being controlled by the Overlords. Aura reading, or, in other words, understanding one's motives.

He followed her, of course, but his brows were furrowed, gait stiff and cautious. Natsu took notice to this and turned to his companion. "Hey, Raven, something wrong?" Raven jolted, focus being shredded.

"I'm fine, just thinking..." Raven immediately went back to focusing. Natsu and Happy looked at each other for a moment before shrugging, leaving the golden eyed male to his own business.

'Almost there...almost there..!...got it!' Raven grinned in triumph as a black smoke emitted from the woman. She suddenly came to a stop in an alley, not turning to face them. "Here we are," she announced, and Natsu and Happy looked around, confused.

"Where's 'here?' Where are we?" Natsu asked, frowning. Raven chuckled.

"The plan..." The woman flinched. "It was to get us lost, then kill us, wasn't it?" He asked, and she tensed further. "Though I did use a cheat to know that, it was a bit too obvious. Maybe, next time you lie, try to keep a better poker face."

"Heh..." The woman let out a laugh. "Heheh...hehe...ha...haha..!...Hahaha!" She turned around, a large sword in her hands. "Well, that's the first time someone's been able to find me out," she spat, grinning maliciously.

"Woah! She's a bandit?!" Happy shouted in surprise.

"It's time TO MEET YOUR END!" She ran forward, and Natsu, upon instinct, did so as well. The woman's grin widened, and her knife began to grow. Natsu's eyes widened and he ducked just in time to dodge a swing. "Oho, so many firsts are happening today."

"I couldn't care less." The woman whirled around, only to be met with a metal claw stabbing through her shoulder. She let out a cry, and Raven jerked his Nasod arm back, examining the blood. "I'm sorry, but you've killed to many. The world will have better peace without you."

"Raven...you..!" Natsu stared at the red blood coming out of the woman's shoulder. "Why did you..!"

"Think about it, Natsu," Raven began, his voice cold. "If you had been born, raised for the sole purpose of killing and completing missions without fail, what do you think your first instinct is to do?" His eyes were blank, dead, as he gazed into those of the pink haired boy. Natsu felt unsafe, threatened as they continued their staring match. "I was born to do as I was told by them, those people who control everything from above. I'm a puppet, I only exist for hunting and killing."

Raven shook the blood from his Nasod arm, his eyes suddenly returning to their usual serious yet caring look. "Anyways, I didn't actually kill her so calm down. I cut her nerves, and avoided her bone so she'll be able to heal up but won't feel anything in her right arm."

Happy covered his mouth with his paws, staring at the shivering bandit who was clutching her shoulder. Raven turned to her, and everyone flinched away from the golden eyed boy. "Now, tell me..." He stood in front of her and crouched down. "Who is your leader?"

"W-What do you mean, Raven? Isn't she the bandit?" Happy asked.

"No. She's just some crony of his," Raven replied. "Now, tell me."

The alley was dead silent before the woman gulped, and calmed her breathing. "It...it was-"

She never got to finish her sentence.

Her head rolled onto the floor, blood spattering onto the walls and Raven's face, making him flinch back, barely phased.

Natsu and Happy were frightened, scared of the murder.

Why had they come? Oh right, to do something with Raven.

But why did this have to happen?

"YOU..." Raven growled, looking to the roof of a nearby building. Natsu and Happy also looked up, to see a man with white hair and a white jacket. The man smiled.

"Yes, me~!" He sang, extending his arm and the, now, blood covered knife flew into his hand. "Long time no see, Raven..."

"ADD...what are you doing here?!"