Chapter One – Mavis Vermillion

"But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them."

Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Acnologia hated a lot of things.

He hated people. The ocean. The cold. People. Butterflies – he was a grown dragon, dammit. Math. People. And most of all, Mavis Vermillion.

Okay, so maybe he became a little fond of her (a lot of fond of her), but he still hated her.

Though maybe the ocean came in second place, rather than humans – after all, it was the reason he met Mavis in the first place.

See, as much as he hated the ocean, he still usually had to fly over it. After all, it did span a large part of the world.

He should know. He's a three-hundred-year-old dragon. He gets bored.

But on that fateful day, he decided he needed a bath, and the only place he could land was an island.

Of course, he could just bathe in the ocean, but he still remembered the last two times he had done that.

The frisky whale was bad enough, but the damn killer whale that thought he was its father drew the line.

He wasn't about to risk a third time.

So, he landed on an island that could maybe fit him about ten times over, and turned back into his human form, because he doubted that there was a river or lake big enough for his dragon form to bathe in.

Besides, he ended up cleaner when he washed as a human.

He had thought the island was deserted.

It wasn't.

"Hello, sir! Did you see the dragon that landed around here?"

"What the fuck?"

Acnologia did not like being startled, especially while bathing. He reflexively threw a bundle of Chaos Magic at her, and the tiny girl jumped to the side easily.

"Sorry for startling you, Mister!"

He peered at the small girl, glad that the water he was in was deep enough. "Who the hell are you? And what are you doing on this island?

"My name is Mavis Vermillion! And I live here!"

"You…live here?" Acnologia asked incredulously. "Alone?"

"Nope! My friend Zera is here, too!"

She pointed at an empty space beside her, and concentrating on his magic, he was able to see her illusion – a personal illusion, and a very strong one, too.

He should know. Chaos Magic is built around illusions.

She would do well, learning Chaos Magic.

He shook off the thought immediately.

He would not teach anyone Dragon Slaying Magic, not after what happened last time.

"Are there any adults on this island?" he asked the girl – Marin? Mable?

"No," the girl said sadly.

"How long have you been alone here?" he asked.

"…the past two years," the girl answered. "Two years ago, the magic guild Blue Skull invaded and attacked Red Lizard. We were the only survivors."

So not only was the illusion strong enough for its own personality, it was based on a real person, too.

This girl had some inherently strong magic.

And depending on how close their relationship was, in combination with how desperate and powerful this girl was at the time of her friend's death, she might even have created a soul bond - literally connecting the dead girl back to Earth by constantly supplying magic to her in order for the dead girl to have a physical form.

So maybe he could...

Acnologia bit the inside of his tongue, drawing blood until he came to his senses.

All dragons had a pull to train a dragon slayer – it was something that happened all at once, triggered by the first slayer.

Once the first dragon slayer had turned into a dragon, it released a type of virus that made everyone want to raise a dragon slayer, whether they were for or against humans.

The only thing that made the dragons that hated humans happy was that eventually, all dragon slayers became a dragon. If they raised them in solitude, away from humanity, and taught them for a long enough time, it would almost be like they were never human in the first place.

Despite everything, though, Acnologia still liked becoming human, every once in awhile.

"How old are you, girl?"

"Vera and I are both eight!"

Not only powerful, but oddly intelligent and able to survive in the wilderness.

Are you so pathetic that you latch onto the first other human you see? He roared at the dragon half of his soul.

She's a good candidate! It insisted.

I don't care, I refuse to train a slayer!

She's eight, are you really going to leave her here?

She can obviously take care of herself! Acnologia shouted.

"So, did you see it?" she asked.

"See what?" he asked, brought back to reality.

"The dragon!" she repeated – and then ran right over what he was going to say when he opened his mouth. "Wow, I'd really love to meet a dragon!"

"Why?" he asked, curious.

"Well, for one, dragons are supposed to be hundreds of years old! Imagine all of the things that it could teach me! I mean the library is nice, but personal experience is something else, and I'd love to hear first-hand accounts…"

He blinked, and before he could stop his dragon, asked, "You like to learn?"

Shut up, I'm not training her! He yelled at it.

"Oh, I love to learn!" she said enthusiastically. "I've read a majority of the school library here, but I'd love to learn more!"

He was invited to dinner.

At some point, the girl had decided to invite him to dinner, her illusion of a friend badgering her the whole way and repeating that it was a horrible idea.

He went anyway, even though he hadn't told them his name.

Somehow, he ended up staying for another five years.

Oh yes…how he hated Mavis Vermillion.

If it wasn't for her, he never would have become a member of Fairy Tail.

Acnologia may have hated Mavis, but if it wasn't for that day, he would've turned in a feral monster in a bit over a hundred years.

That one encounter brought him back to humanity, and eventually, over a century of time, saved him.

And sent them all along a different path.

I am sorry. My muse hates me for starting another story.

I have no idea how often this will be updated, but it is unlikely to be as often as Ripples - maybe once every or every other week.

Blame papalogia and acnologia's ass (on tumblr) for inspiring this.

And yes, just like with Ripples, it'll be awhile before the Dragon Slayers come in; though it probably shouldn't be as long as Ripples.