Here we are my minions! the next chapter up to pace.

With this one, we stray even more from canon, including a new, though familiar character in a light that hasn't been seen properly yet.

Let's get to it!

Chapter 8

Future Rogue looked down at the Fire Slayer, apprehensive and unnerved. Natsu Dragneel was not like he remembered. This was much more dangerous. He was not supposed to be here. He was supposed to be dead!

And yet there he was, heat ebbing from his position across the platform, the broken bodies of three dragons around him, the ground liquefying into a stone muck.

'No… his presence will make no difference.' He thought, any paranoia purging from his mind. 'He will fail, they all will.' Steeling himself, he chuckled. "Kill me?" He called out. "I will be the one to save this world!"

Natsu's response was only a roar as leaped at the White Shadow. Future Rogue leaped high into the air, commanding the silver colored dragon Motherglare to his stead, and the dragon did so, both of them soaring into the air as Natsu came forward.

At the same moment, another dragon was coming through the gate, and seeing the attacking mage, blasted a steely cold breath that launched him into the middle of the collective rage. They wasted no time in converging on him to bring the slayer down. Whether it was by Future Rogue's command, arbitrary hatred of humans, or some instinctive notion that screamed at them, they saw this slayer as a threat. And it was not easy; Natsu lashed out at each one of them as they came at him. It was true to form as to his training heritage, but there was no passion, no inner flame.

They could only hear his screaming. Bleeding anger, hatred, fear, fury… and sorrow.

One thing was for sure.

Lives were at stake in this battle.

Hisui tried to direct the forces that had been in the vicinity of the gate away from the plaza, as dragons were still storming through the now forced open gate.

But in the end what meaning did her actions have? Even with Natsu Dragneel's newfound power, the dragons were still coming through the gate in numbers far greater than they could fight against even with Dragon Slayers on their side. What hope did humans have against creatures of such power?

Hisui's thoughts were interrupted when a massive explosion shook the air around her. The princess screamed out in shock as the winds buffeted her for a brief second before someone moved to stand between her and the blast, likely Arcadios as he was the closest to her, when the winds finally died down to reveal the sound of a dragon roaring in what sounded like pain. Hisui moved to the side of her most trusted knight to see something she couldn't quite understand.

A dragon covered in brilliant white scales was halfway through the gate when it started roaring in pain but the cause of which wasn't immediately obvious but dawned on Hisui after a few seconds of staring.

The Eclipse Gate appeared to be losing its magical potency, the white light that comprised it blinking on and off. The dragon seemed to have gotten stuck as the magic flared and faded. The beast roared in both anger and pain as it tried to either back up into the past or move forward into the future, but whatever was happening seemed to have trapped it in between.

The dragon continued to struggle for a few seconds more, but when the gate turned completely black and the dragon's cries were cut short. For a brief time the dragon didn't move, but then it slowly slumped to the ground. The dragon's back half now missing and its blood soaking into the ground.

"Wha...what just happened?" Hisui mumbled as she stared at the dragon's corpse.

"It would appear that someone, or something, has just cut off the flow of magic to the gate. Temporary closing it for a time." A deep and masculine voice answered from behind the Princess.

The Princess turned rapidly to see a hooded figure casually sitting on what was once a pillar but was now nothing more than a pile of stone. Though most of the figure's features were obscured by the hood, Hisui could still see a mass of blue unruly hair underneath along with some faint blue markings on his face. The man's skin, as he wore no shirt underneath his cloak, was tanner than most Fiorians, likely marking him as a foreigner.

The figure jumped down from the rubble in front of the princess, her guards at the ready. She could now see he stood on par with Arcadios, and the faint glow from his eyes unnerved her.

"Where is the Council's commanding officer?" the figure demanded.

Ketquozal hunched over on his staff, breathing more haggard than it had been in decades. He had done it. He had closed the Eclipse Gate, it had taken the aide of Chanmui and Lady Galona, but he could now properly think. He wished it didn't cause the death of his own, but survival was of importance.

Now he had one more task to accomplish.

Hisui watched as the man casually approached for a second before Arcadios stood between the two of them, his hand on the hilt of his blade.

"State your name, stranger, or stop where you are."

The figure only laughed at that, clearly not considering one of the most powerful knights in the kingdom a threat.

"I asked the girl, knight. Belay your sword or meet its end upon yourself." he kept his gaze on Hisui. "Now answer my question."

To her credit, Hisui managed to keep her anxiety from showing before answering. "Why do you need the council, warrior?"

The figure clicked his tongue in a snarl and held up the palm of his left hand. Aside from the tattoos across his arm, his palm held a distinct sigil Hisui recalled from her studies. Two rings of scrawl surrounded a mandala composed of three points of circles. One of them was glowing a deep pulse, another was faint, the last was blank.

The Mark of the Eparchia, the predecessors of the Wizard Saints.

"There's your answer, now where's mine?"

"The council is based in ERA, this is Crocus. The commanding officer, as you say, is the Fourth Division of Rune Knights. They are located to the Southwest." Hisui answered.

"I see…" The hooded man replied as he crossed his arms in apparent thought.

"Pardon me, but are you truly of the Eparchia?" Hisui questioned politely, the manners learned over a lifetime of royalty causing her to become more respectful.

The man however simply shook his head with a grunt. "Not by choice, but the council is… useful to an extent for reasons."

"Then why should we trust you? For all we know you could have simply mimicked that symbol."

"Does that really matter now? We all have more important things to worry about." The man replied with a humorless chuckle as he pointed to the sky, a dragon roaring at the exact same moment almost as if to prove his point. He turned away to go forth into the city. "There are 8 slayers nearby. They need to be removed from their leashes. Get as many civilians as possible outside the city limits." he then ran for the edge of the terrace. "Jalad! Let's move!"

Another roar was heard as a shadow soared over them, it was smaller than a dragon, but just as imposing. Its silhouette in the moonlight brought much shock to those that recognized it as the figured leaped onto its back.

"That guy… controls one of those!?" a soldier whispered out loud.

Future Rogue looked down past the carnage and saw the Eclipse Gate inactive. 'No… that's Impossible! HOW?!' he internally raged. The Gate was intact, so why was it off?

His mind fueled into a tirade, but was quickly doused. "No matter… there are over one hundred dragons here now… more than enough to- hm?"

Below him, skimming the Crocus skyline was a figure he did not recognize, it was too far away to tell, but his mount made him think… a memory leaked in… and it scared him.

"Oh? What can some hatchlings like you do?"

He held his head as pain shot forth. Whatever it was… it embodied fear.

Lahar looked out at the city of Crocus as it was ravaged by the dragons, the Rune Knights behind him at the ready. To think that a tournament would be the prequel to this chaos. The King had asked the mages that participated in the games to aid in fighting the dragons, to which many readily accepted.

"My apologies for sending you away, Doranbolt." he said as his companion appeared with someone else in tow. "But I believe he can aid in this situation, despite his crimes." he turned to address the second person. "I'm sure you're aware of what's happening."

"Kind of hard not to with all that screaming." he snarked. The second man had maroon colored hair and was wearing a white fur-lined coat. His wrists had magic restraint shackles on them, and had a single scar down his right eye.

"Prisoner Cobra, if you can contain this, your sentence may be shortened." Cobra ignored Lahar, instead looking out at the city overrun. "Prisoner Cobra, are you li-"

"Yeah, I'm listening. Aren't you? Something big's coming here."

Lahar and Doranbolt didn't get much time to react as a creature slammed down in front of them. The Rune Knights stood their ground as the beast roared. It stood four times their size, its leathery wings splayed in intimidation, its body covered in spined plates. Large paws with razor claws ended on its four limbs, its long carapaced tail ending in a heavy stinger surrounded by smaller spines. Its large head bared its gnashing teeth and shook its mane. On its forehead was a large old scar.

"A… manticore?" Doranbolt rasped.

"So you're the Council's dogs?" they heard a voice rudely ask from the back of the manticore before they noticed the hooded figure upon its back.

"Who are you?" Lahar questioned with as much authority as he could muster.

"We have no time to keep playing a thousand questions with everyone I come across, I came here for that." The man said as he gestured to Cobra and before anyone could react the man had somehow moved to stand right over the poison dragon slayer, grabbed him by the coat, and flung him onto the back of the manticore. "Jalad, bolster him and let's move."

The manticore's visage smiled as he flicked his tail, skewering Cobra with several of the spines around the stinger. Everyone present was shocked, and Cobra flinched at the feeling, but soon roared as he shattered the shackles on him.

The Rune Knights were shocked at the sight of the prisoner breaking through the anti-magic bonds. Lahar's eyes were pinpricks as he remembered something vital: manticore venom was one of the only substances that removed any magical restrictions, the others being unicorn blood and phoenix tears. He glared at the back of the figure and snarled.

"Do you have any idea of what you've just done?!" he yelled, trudging up to the figure and grabbing his cloak.

Or at least he tried to. Lahar's arm was now in his vice-like grip and was being lifted off the ground.

"I readied a slayer to combat what he was made for." he said calmly before tossing the captain to his soldiers before addressing them. "Get every warlock in this battalion and set up a defensive barrier around the city. You will not engage the enemy, leave it to us. Assist the castle guard in evacuating the area. We will not have any needless lives lost this day, IS THAT CLEAR!?"

The figure's authority made many of the soldiers salute on reflex. Doranbolt stared in awe at the man as he leaped onto the manticore and took off.

'Who the hell is that guy?' but his training made him question it all. "You heard the man! Get a barrier up to cage these dragons!" the Knights followed suit and things were under way.

Cobra stood on Jalad's back as he looked warily at his aid. He stood as well, his cloak buffeting and covering him completely as they soared past the dragons below. Cobra was wary of the man. His hearing could pick up just about anything, but anything more than the man's raw magic seeping out of him was impossible.

"Fledgling." he heard the man say. "Where's the strongest guild?"

The poison dragon clicked his tongue in annoyance. "You'll be looking for Fairy Tail. They have four slayers with them, Sabertooth has two, both of them and Lamia Scale have one god slayer each, by the sound of those lacrima."

"Gods have no qualms in a dragon's fight." the man growled. "They won't assist well."

Cobra kept silent, a lingering echo from somewhere around was yelling the opposite, but he ignored it. He pointed out to the tower that he could hear most of Fairy Tail. "There they are."

"Finally. Let's go, Jalad."

Makarov grunted as he held off the dragon covered in fire, its skeleton face roaring in anger about being impeded. The dragon's flames were beginning to burn away the skin on his hands but the Master of Fairy Tail wasn't about to let this beast get to his children, he would die before allowing that to happen.

He could see brief flashes of Gajeel and Laxus flying past, attacking the dragon with their own Dragon Slaying magic, but the Wizard Saint knew their attacks would not be very effective, Dragon Slayer magic was designed to fight against very specific dragons, and since neither one was a Fire Dragon Slayer, their magic was nothing more than an inconvenience to the dragon that had introduced itself as Atlas Flame.

"Damn it all, where the hell did Natsu run off to when we actually needed him to burn something down?" Makarov complained out loud as he landed an uppercut on the dragon's snout, burning his hand but sending the dragon skidding backwards.

"Oi, Gramps! You need to back off, you don't have dragon slaying magic to protect you like we do." Laxus shouted as he sent a bolt of thunder at the dragon, its flames bouncing it away before it could strike it.

"Nonsense! What good is my magic if it can't protect my children?" Makarov dismissed as he sent a punch through the air, a beam of light flying off of his fist in the direction of the dragon.

However the dragon didn't even twitch as the light magic barreled into it, exploding in a shower of light, but when the smoke cleared the dragon remained intact and seemingly annoyed.

"Foolish wizards who would stand against the rivers of fate. Fall beneath my hellfire." it roared as it sent a breath of fire as wide as the street in Makarov's direction.

Normally the Wizard Saint would simply avoid the attack entirely, but with the whole guild behind his back he could not risk it and instead crossed his arms across his chest in preparation of taking the blow.

"Master!" He heard Erza shout out from behind him but he did not budge, closing his eyes and tensing as he awaited the heat.

However after a few seconds passed and no fire rushed into his chest, Makarov opened his eyes to see two figures riding a… manticore? Where exactly did they manage to find one of those? But more shocking than the mythical beast that the two figures were riding on was the fact that the hooded figure was somehow blocking the fire with just the palm of his hand and even appeared to be disinterested in the flames that wanted nothing more than to consume him.

"Hmph." the figure muttered as he casually flicked his wrist, sending the flames crashing into a nearby house, something that Makarov could only hope was abandoned before the dragons arrived. The figure then turned to glare at Makarov. "Do you lead these mages, Titan?"

Makarov inadvertently took a step back at the magical presence of the stranger, who had a man who appeared to be Cobra of the former Oracion Seis. "I am indeed, to whom am I speaking?"

The man simply crossed his arms. "Someone vital for destroying dragons. Order your slayers to seek out dragons who share their magic or else we will fail here and now…" the man continued to speak, but whatever he was saying was lost to Makarov when Atlas Flame roared again and began charging forward, clearly intending to destroy that which got in his way.

"Watch out!" Makarov shouted in warning, a warning that went apparently ignored as the man never turned.

And then, when Atlas Flame was only a few feet from biting down on the manticore, a meteor of flames struck down on it, crushing the dragon into the ground and causing it to roar in pain. Looking past the manticore, Makarov saw something that caused the old wizard saint to suck in a startled breath.

There, standing atop the hellfire dragon, was Natsu; looking downright demonic as dark crimson flames wrapped around his form and his eyes appeared more draconic than human.

"Natsu! What the hell are you doing?" Gray yelled out as he imprisoned a dragonspawn in ice.

Natsu however ignored his rival, choosing instead to simply roar in fury as he slammed his fists down on the dragon's back, his blood red flames somehow eroding the hellfire.

"Damnable slayer! You would dare?" Atlas Flame roared as he slammed his back into another building, intending to knock the pink-haired slayer from his back, but Natsu was nothing if not stubborn, and managed to hang on as the dragon stomped through the city like a wild bull.

"Natsu!" Erza shouted as she prepared to pursue him, but was stopped by a glare from the manticore riding stranger.

"Did you not hear me, Requip mage? Those who will fight against the dragons are those who are able to consume their power. You will be nothing more than a hindrance to him."

"What did you do to him?"

"I have done nothing, foolish knight, I simply guided a slayer in the throngs of a dragon rage to that which he desires to hunt. Nothing more, nothing less." The stranger turned his attention once again to Makarov, who had reverted to his normal size in in order to recuperate during the lull in combat. "As I said, send your slayers out after dragons of their same magic, we don't have time to question each other's motives." And with that the man murmured something to the manticore, the creature once again ascending into the night sky.

Makarov watched the stranger leave as he considered his advice. Despite his misgivings about the strange man, what he said was correct. With so many dragons currently flying around the city it would be foolish to not have the slayers pick their battles.

"Laxus, Gajeel!" The Wizard Saint barked. "Go find some dragons of your element to slay. The rest of you brats shall accompany me in finding a dragon that we have no slayers to deal with. Move out!"

Mavis watched the manticore sail over the city as the stranger from beyond the gate threw the dragon slayer named Cobra off his mount and down at a strange looking dragon that was walking around on its hind legs. She had chosen to remain out of the conflict, as dragons were unpredictable at the best of times, and since she was unable to use magic in her current state, she would only get in the way.

However, that did not stop her from watching the stranger through narrowed eyes. He had come from beyond the gate, over four hundred years in the past, but unlike the dragons, he appeared to have no interest in rampant destruction. In fact, she could only assume that he was enjoying the chaos, in his own way.

She flew just behind him, her feet touching down upon the manticore's plated spines. Surprisingly, she felt the slight lurch of the beast's body.

"An unkempt spirit rides into this battle." she heard the figure say. "...a scent of hollowed death surrounds you… His." he graveled. "I can hear your words, spirit. Talk before I go bored of you."

"Whose authority are you acting under? Why should Fairy Tail follow your orders?"

The figure did not turn, only looking out as flames surged a distance away - no doubt from Natsu - not turning to the speaker. Instead, another voice replied.

"He is acting under Head Councilwoman Heartfilia, a dear friend to us both. He is also the only Eparchia of Slayers in the area, so it would be in your best intent to follow."

It was loud and rumbling, like vibrating brass, Mavis was agape to hear it from the mouth of the beast.

"IT CAN TALK?" she squeaked.

"Jalad. That was unnecessary to inform." the figure grunted.

"Their prattling was annoying me. This spirit even moreso." Jalad grumbled.

'Wait, "Head Councilwoman HEARTFILIA"?' Mavis thought in haste. 'How is that possible?! There was only one -!'

"You said Heartfilia, did you not?" the girl stated, a slight air of worry in her voice. "Who do you mean?"

The figure clicked his tongue and moved his head to gaze back at her direction in annoyance. "Anna, of course."

The hushed silence brought on by his words held many a question. But the First Master only needed one said aloud.

"What year is this?"

The figure turned fully to the ghostly mage. "Your inquiry is beginning to aggravate me. The year is X376, obviously!"

Laxus moved through the ruined streets of Crocus at a brisk pace, something that was not exactly normal for him to do but hey, nothing about the fact that dragons were currently swarming thought the sky was normal. The old man had ordered him to seek out dragons that were of his element, something that should have been hard if not for the fact that he could quite literally see bolts of thunder raining down only a few blocks away.

The rest of the Thunder Legion had of course wanted to accompany him, but he simply ordered them to assist the others. Sure, he had been having some difficulty with dealing with the hellfire bastard, but so long as he was going up against thunder he would have no trouble.

Turning a corner and finding himself in what would have normally been a decent looking plaza if not for all the debris lying about, Laxus once again looked to the sky to see two dragons circling close together, bolts of thunder and lightning arcing between them.

"Well… here goes nothing." Laxus announced with a shrug as he gathered lighting into the shape of a halberd and launched his attack at the two dragons. The wide bolt soared through the air and struck fast on the blue dragon's shoulder, making it roar in pain… no wait, it was aggravation.

"WHO DARES STRIKE AT THE MIGHTY DONAR, LORD OF THE STORM?!" the blue dragon roared. His blue scales were rough and uneven in pattern, as though strikes of lightning addled their growth. A fan of horns flared from his head, themselves appearing like thick scales with discharges arcing between them. Enormous wings that saw many battles were open, revealing thick scars.

"You looking for me, blue bastard?" Laxus called out. Donar turned his gaze to the blond, showing one golden eye and one glassed over, the scar over it indicating the source.

"A Whelp intends to come at me with such a paltry effort?" Donar snarled. "Your human arrogance is nothing but wasted air."

Laxus glowered. The way the dragon spoke bristled the hairs on the back of his head.

It was then that the second dragon brought attention to itself. It was smaller than Donar, but it was sleeker, and more serpent-like. Golden scales glimmered while its slim wings rested against his body. An airy giggle escaped its narrow maw. "Now dear, be mindful of your temper."

"Stay out of this, Aksaja! I intend to put this wyrm back in the ground where he belongs!"

Laxus held his stance as Donar charged at him.

"Give it your best shot!"

Cobra couldn't help but growl in annoyance at his apparent foe, something that could only be described as a mad scientist had combined a human with a dragon and had left it out in the sun to long. The… "Dragon" if one could call it that, stood on its hind legs as it casually walked down the road.

Its skin was baggy on its torso, like someone draped a large cloak over it. Its forelimbs were spindly, ending in five-digit claws, with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb severely elongated. Its wings draped over the shoulders like a cape, but were rather small for its build. A long ribbed tail ending with a pointed needle swayed ominously, a light green liquid dripping to the ground, eating away at the stone.

But its face…

Its head was the most unusual out of the dragons Cobra had seen. Contrast to the black scales, the face was a stark white, faceted to the head like a mask. Instead of a muzzle, it had a long narrow beak with no sign of a mouth. Its eyes were blank holes staring into the abyss.

But now it was staring at Cobra intently.

"A clever display, child." it rasped. The deep tone was both calming and unnerving. "Many can claim to use the ability of infection, but a true poison slayer takes quite a conviction."

Cobra smirked warily. "Flattery won't help you when I kick your ass."

The dragon wheezed a hollow laugh. "Perhaps it won't. But I must know the name of my adversary."

"...Call me Cobra." he stated.

The dragon was silent as he bent down low, arms splayed at the ready. His eyes began to glow a dim red.

"I am not one to play by monikers, boy." he rumbled. "I am the Lord of Poison Attor Plague, Dragon of Malady. You will tell me your given name."

Cobra flinched at the tension of his words, but his past steeled his resolve. "You'll have to earn it."

Attor uttered a hiss in annoyance. "So be it." and his neck surged forth to spear the slayer.

Mavis floated above the house the manticore landed upon, its rider pacing with a surprising fervor.

"That can't be right… that's impossible!" the figure rambled. "Any Time magic would have been alerted on!"

The manticore… Jalad, she remembered its name, laid his head in a paw. "Anna is going to be so cross with you for this."

"Anna will be the least of our problems!"

Jalad glanced at his companion. Realization clear in his eyes. "You are correct… Eleanor will be even worse. She hates it when you're late."

The figure screamed in frustration. Mavis blinked owlishly at the exchange. It would seem that many slayers carried the same characteristics, no matter the time they were from.

Once more, the figure froze, before speaking aloud. "If I am so far in the future… then where is the Heartfilia of this era?"

Mavis' head wings fluttered in panic, hoping that he couldn't see her.

Wendy gulped nervously as a dragon that looked remarkably like her own mom swooped down low to the ground, the twisters it whipped up behind its tail tearing through the buildings like paper.

Wendy really didn't want to fight against the dragons, as every time she looked at them she was reminded of her own mom, but if the dragons were going to attack innocents then she would do what she had to do.

Taking a deep breath, Wendy tracked the sky dragon as she gathered magic in the back of her throat. And then, when it was preparing to make another pass directly over her head, Wendy released her roar.

The roar struck fast, sending the feathered dragon rolling over a building. Its light frame doing so to minimize damage. Though the dragon's claw grasped the obstacle and twisted itself around to face Wendy.

"Insolent upstart!" the dragon's shrill cry pierced the air, the icy blue gaze glowered down at the small girl, small fangs in its wide mouth bared. "Did you truly think such a breeze would injure me?"

"No," Wendy replied, hoping that the nervousness she felt wasn't present in her voice. "But I did get your attention, and that's all that I wanted." Wendy took a deep breath then before bowing slightly to the dragon. "Please leave the city and go back through the gate. You don't have any reason to be here, right? Please don't destroy people's homes anymore!"

The dragon blinked slowly, apparently in surprise, before laughing almost hysterically. "HAHAHA, AHAHAA AHHHHAHAHAHAAA… I haven't laughed that much in years. You have my thanks, Child of Grandeeny."

Wendy reflected the dragon's actions, without laughter. "You…you knew Grandeeny?"

The dragon's feathers ruffled in strain. "So she never mentioned me… tch, how typical of her." The wings flared out before rolling against the body, leaving a cylindrical gap between them. "Yes, child, I knew Grandeeny. It is rather difficult to not know your own from the same clutch."

While the phrase was lost in translation, Wendy's eyes went wide. "You mean… you're..."

The dragon's head went high as it stared down at her. The cresting plumage on its head flared up. "That's right, brat. You stand against Ilmatary, Dragon of the Cyclone, First Granddaughter to Our Lord Ketquozal, and dear Grandeeny's elder sister." her smile was vicious at her next words. "And it's time I show you what a mistake she made, 'niece'!"

Wendy froze for but an instant as Ilmatary dove at her, teeth bared to rend the Sky Maiden to ribbons.

Gajeel snarled in frustration. He had gone past four dragons in hopes for a good fight, but none of them was a metal dragon. Sure, he beaned them as he passed by, but that wasn't nearly enough to satisfy him.

"Damn it, if I don't manage to find something to vent on, I'm just going to track down Salamander again."

The earth rumbled beneath the street, growing more violent as Gajeel stood still. Suddenly, black spires surged from the ground, heading in the Iron Dragon's direction. Gajeel saw the spires coming and jumped out of the way, only for a heavy torrent of stones to fall on him.

"I thought I smelled Metalicana around here, and I just find a wretched scrap?" the voice was grating along with the sound of small rattling metals with heavy footfalls.

Gajeel burst from the rubble and looked on so see a dark gray dragon, smaller yet bulkier than the other dragons he'd passed. Its scales shook to gleam in the clouded moonlight, and it was clear that it had seen battles from the calloused clusters along its body. Its wings were held tightly against its body, the thick base connected to the body showed great strength even in rest. Its shoulders had shell-like pauldrons covering them, and plates covering the underside of its neck. The head was narrow, akin to a warped barbuta helmet with the pointed maw of a bascinet. The eyes glimmered a coppery sheen that held clear disdain, and even hatred, to a degree.

"What a waste of my time..." it growled. For some reason, Gajeel was more irked at the dragon's scoff than the insult.

"You want to repeat that, ya bastard? I couldn't quite hear you." Gajeel taunted as he lowered his body in preparation for a charge.

"I'll say it as many times as you want, whelp. You're nothing but a nuisance." the dragon returned as it flared its wings. "Though I have nothing but time at the moment, so might as well rip Metalicana's little brat. So I, Rünmael, will bury you. Try to last for at least a few minutes, boy."

"Ok, so I admit that the idea of taking them on together sounded better in my head. So sue me, but don't we have bigger things to worry about right now?" Sting replied to his partners weary glare with indifference as they studied their draconic opponents.

Sting was currently facing off against a dragon that was pure white with the sole exception being its eyes, which watched Sting with an almost amused look. The dragon, much like Sting's own parent, lacked the scaly look that most would have associated with dragons, most of its body smooth like human skin with the only exception being the front of its neck and its tail that was twitching back and forth like a cat that had discovered a pleasant toy.

With how amused the dragon looked, Sting would have been more than willing to try to get it to stand down, but considering the fact that the dragon was currently lounging on the ruins of someone's home in the same manner that one would relax on a bed Sting was certain his words would fall on deaf ears.

But at least that was still better than the dragon that Rouge was currently glaring at. His dragon was… well, looked downright evil was the best that Sting could say about it. The dragon's scales were rough and jagged not to mention completely black. Unlike Sting's dad, and from what Rouge had told him Rouge's own father as well, this dragon's wings were directly connected with its claws, making it appear almost bat-like and only adding to the villainous look it had going for it. And that didn't even take into account the fact that it was glaring at them with red glowing eyes.

So yeah, suffice to say that their current situation wasn't exactly looking up.

"Well now, this is certainly quite the surprise," the white dragon eventually declared in an almost chipper tone that matched his look. "I didn't expect to find Weisslogia's little slayer when I answered the call of that man's spell. How about you, Belynngras?"

"...No I did not, Lusarth, not at all." the black dragon eventually replied, his tone even despite the fact that its eyes never left Rouge.

"To think we would have to opportunity to face the ones who were raised by our rivals. The Fates must approve, eh?"

"Fate has nothing to do with it, this is simply the work of… one who seeks our strength." Belynngras returned, his body tensing as he glared down at Rouge.

"Heh, a fair point." Lusarth replied as he stood back up, and smiled down at Sting, a smile that was far too predatory for the Holy Dragon Slayer's taste. "Well then, spawn of Weisslogia, show me the strength that my old rival imparted into you!" And with that the dragon pounced forward, swiping its right claw at Sting and sending the blonde cartwheeling into a nearby pillar.

"Sting!" Rouge shouted as he turned around, intending to help his partner. But a shadowy mass that condensed in front of him appeared to have other plans.

"I shall be your opponent, you who will one day seek our power. And I will determine if you are worthy of our strength, lest I shall rip you apart until nothing of your human form remains."

Rouge stopped as he tried to consider what exactly the dragon known as Belynngras had meant, but before he could even utter a single syllable the shadows under his feet suddenly shot out like a multitude of swords, each intending to skewer him.

It appeared he had no time to worry about his slayer partner in this fight, these were dragons after all.

Sheltered from the battle, Yukino huddled against Lector and Frosch as silent tears fell from her face, her will begging her to shy away, but her body frozen at seeing those she cared about in pain.

If someone were present to watch Natsu battle it out against Atlas Flame, they would have described him as fury incarnate. The pink-haired Dragon Slayer didn't even seem to care when he was tossed from the dragon's back or when the hellfire dragon's claws would rip into his flesh, he simply stood again and with a roar of anger and pain jump back onto the living hearth.

"Persistent leech! Release your better and fall with the mercy I can grant!" Atlas snarled as twisted his body to smoulder the slayer into the ground.

Again, Natsu only roared as he clawed his hands into the burning flesh. Atlas roared on turn and leaped in pain, releasing the slayer from the ground. He tried to latch onto the Eternal Flame once more, only Atlas grabbed him to toss him down a small rubble-strewn plaza. Natsu crashed through the fountain, the splayed water becoming steam at but a touch. He forced himself up yet again to charge the dragon, only Atlas knew he was there.

The hellfire dragon slammed his claw over Natsu, embedding it and him into the ground. Natsu growled and spat flames at the offensive limb, but Atlas endured, his mind perplexed with questions.

'This boy… his flames feel… familiar, but at the same time they are not well... and his fury is a match for… could it be?'

Any further thought was blank as Natsu bit into Atlas' skin, the dragon howled in pain as he threw the slayer into the air to tend his wound. The Eternal Flame paused in a moment's clarity before he placed his head in a claw at his own dismay.

Future Rogue looked about as the dragons were rampant, he sneered at seeing the slayers preoccupied, and couldn't help but chuckle at their dismay.

It would not matter what they did. With his army, no force in Earthland could stand against him.

It was then out of the corner of his eye he saw a rising comet from the chaos below. He glared as the flame became clearer.

"Natsu Dragneel..." his voice was a harsh whispering growl as the slayer reached his altitude.

The excess momentum Natsu has was used to spearhead Motherglare's back, causing the silver dragon to cry out in pain. Future Rogue glared at him as he stood hunched over. Most of his flames had dispersed, except for the ones coating his limbs and the two blazing horns on his head. His erratic eyes were glaring fiercely at the future slayer.

"Come to see your world fall, Natsu?" Future Rogue smiled. "The view is certainly better up here. Though you can't hear the screams of the victims, it's still a wondrous sight."

Natsu's throat rumbled as his teeth were bared.

The man continued. "Even in your current condition, you should realize the truth of everything." he fully turned to Natsu with his arms wide. "Dragon Slayer Magic is nothing but a farce! Humans can't defeat dragons, anymore than you can defeat me!"

At his words, Natsu let loose a hollow roar as he spoke in words since the start of the fight. "I don't care what it takes! If I have to become something other than human to kill you, I WILL!"

But as he rushed forward, he was held back by his scarf, the hooded rider lifting him up. His mount flying beside Motherglare, daring the dragon to attack.

"Poetic words, boy. But right now, I need answers from this fool." he pulled his arm back before tossing Natsu back to the city below. "Now go back to the Fire dragons!"

"YOU BASTAAARRRRD!" the fire slayer screamed as he fell to earth, much to the audience's silent gawk.

"…Was that truly necessary?" Jalad asked, to Future Rogue's silent surprise.

"He'll live."

"Still… rrrgh, whatever." the manticore grumbled as he turned to leave. "Do what you came for, I saw some kittens in the middle of the fray that need my aid." he flew off into the warzone.

The figure turned to his retreating ally. "Now who is doing the unnecessary? Jalad!"

"You..." the figure turned to address Future Rogue's call. "You came through the Eclipse Gate along with the dragons… yet you fight a hopeless battle with the slayers… why?"

"...Tch." the figure scoffed at the question. "Because I am a slayer, and I go where the hunt is best. Now answer me this, abomination." his eyes glowed white with a deadly glare. "Did you kill the Heartfilia of this era?"

"What are you talking about? Who is Heartfilia?" Future Rouge asked as he prepared his magic, planning to take the hooded figure by surprise.

"How pathetic. Your dragon must have been quite the fool. I smell her on you." the figure grit his teeth.

"Oh," Future Rogue smiled. "You mean that walking corpse called Lucy? She destroyed the future at this time, so I came back and killed her in front of Natsu Dragneel. Here, LET ME SHOW YOU HOW!" and with those words, he launched the shadow lance at the hooded slayer, aiming for his head. The lance struck true, to Future Rogue's glee, but that levity became confusion as the shadow dispersed, leaving only the hood destroyed. "What?! That's impossible! No slayer could survive that! WHAT ARE YOU?!"

"And with that… you've tried my tolerance four-fold." the Eparchia growled as the hood fell away, showing a ridiculous amount of pale blue hair behind his head in a large loose braid. "First, you used illegal time magic that sent myself and an entire dragon rage here. Second, said magic was intended for destruction, which would and apparently did happen in both ways. Third, I smell that annoying magic from Bizikein leaking from you. And finally?" he began cracking his knuckles. "Though I'm grateful you provided me a buffet, that does not excuse the fact that you - fucking - pissed - me - off."

The cloak billowed out behind him as his blue tattoos began to glow.

"But since that pink brat called it first I'm not going to kill you. I'm just gonna trounce your fledgling behind. So I'm not going to even use my magic."

Future Rogue snarled at the audacity this man had. He claimed to be a slayer, but he wouldn't use his magic? It was an insult! "Bold words from a fool. I am the one that will lead this world to its proper age, and I will do so as the new Dragon King!" he roared out, coursing shadow and light into his hands.

"Heh, I remember your face now… you and the four others." the figure said before he started to laugh. It was a low laugh, arrogant and determined, and Future Rogue felt his spine rattle. "You hatchlings cowered with your dragons when I appeared. That fruitless delusion you carry will never come to pass."

"Excuse me?" Future Rogue glowered.

The figure held up his fingers. "There are only two beings in this city - dragon or slayer - that have the right to try for the title of King of Dragons." he pointed down to the ground with his thumb. "The son of the reigning king, Igneel of the Fire Dragons, Natsu Dragneel, prince of the Fire Dragons." he then pointed to himself, a vicious smile on his face. "And yours truly. Raised by Bahamut the Chaos Dragon, he who is son of Jörgumandr the World Serpent, antithesis to Ketquozal. I am Eimindah Hinakhos, the true future king!"

Future Rogue nearly faltered at the introduction, but he snarled at being overlooked. The now-revealed Eimindah got into a stance, but the glow of his tattoos dimmed.

"The least you could do is try and make me acknowledge you… rotten hatchling."

The future Dragon Slayer growled in unchained fury as he lashed out to the Eparchia.

And with that, we come to a close on this chapter.

so we properly introduce Eimindah! the human name of the Dragon of the Apocalypse. Surprised he's part of the Old council? trust me, it will... hopefully make sense later on.

And yes, we gave him a cat. Technically a Manticore, but still a cat.

The other dragon slayers meet different dragons from canon! What fun can this promote? hehehehehehe

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