I'm back with a new chapter for Fire Fairies! Before we start, I just want to thank everybody for their patience and I hope you enjoy the new chapter.
And now let's get on with the show!
Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Force or Fairy Tail
Fire Fairies Chapter 6: Secrets, Festivities and Despair
Leonard Burns calmly made his way down the streets of Crocus. While normally bustling and full of life during the day, the streets were practically empty at night. Of course, considering what he was currently here for, this suited his needs perfectly.
Burns came to a stop underneath an empty bridge and calmly leaned against the wall and closed his eye as he waited for his guest to arrive. He spread his senses out, taking in the sounds of the night and breathing in the smell of the city. Suddenly, his ears picked up a sudden disturbance that was coming closer to his location. However, Burns did not even look the slightest bit alarmed. He pulled out an ornate pocket watch with his guild's symbol on the front, popped it open and nodded. Seems like the meeting was going to happen right on schedule.
"Quite the performance you put on today." Burns said as he moved his head to the right to see the masked form of Mystogan, or rather Jellal, walking towards him. "Though if I may add, it was also pretty stupid."
"Which part? The one where I make a complete ass of myself or when I almost exposed my identity?" Jellal commented as he came to a stop right next to Burns.
"Both." Burns commented as he walked away from the wall to stand in front of Jellal. "Whatever your reasons for wanting to help out Fairy Tail, exposing yourself like that would have just caused more problems for them."
Jellal was silent as he contemplated Burns's words. "… You're not wrong. I got carried away today. I acknowledge my mistake. That being said, I do not have any regrets about helping the Fairy Tail guild." Jellal said with a determined look in his eye.
Burns stared him down for a few seconds, before letting out a tired sigh. "You youths today can be so reckless. I get that you want to seek redemption for your past sins. Just don't let yourself get killed along the way. Otherwise, what's the point?" Burns said to Jellal.
The blue-haired mage nodded. "Thank you. I will be sure to keep that in mind."
Burns returned a nod of his own. "Your performance today aside, were you able to get what I asked for?"
Jellal nodded and pulled something out of the confines of his cloak. "Here, it's the information you wanted." Jellal showed him a tiny blue lacrima. He concentrated some magic into the palm of his hand and a holographic 3D map of a complex tunnel system projected itself from the sphere.
"A map of the Nether, as requested." Jellal said as he cancelled the flow of magic, which caused the map to disappear. He then placed the lacrima in Burn's open palm. "Finding an intact copy of this map was by no means easy. Not to mention trying to find it while also making sure to stay under the radar."
Burns nodded before pocketing it. Jellal then continued to speak. "We also followed up on a few leads. It appears the hunch your guild's science team had was right. The White Clads are hiding within the Nethers' underground tunnels. Considering how large and complex the underground network is, it would be foolish to try and send people, especially a large force, into the Nether without any idea of what to expect." Jellal said with a serious tone.
"Barring traps and potential ambushes aside, the sheer scale of the Nether is mind-boggling. You could search for weeks and not find anything. Fortunately, we were able to get an idea as to where you should start your search." Jellal said as he pulled out a small piece of paper from his cloak and handed it to Burns, who read it before putting it in his pocket.
"I understand getting this information was difficult, so you have my thanks." Burns confessed with a grateful tone.
Jellal shook his head. "It's the least I can do. But honestly, from what you've told us, Crime Sorciere also has a stake in keeping tabs on the White Clads. For the past seven years, they've become more active, especially when you take into account the rising number of Infernals popping up across Fiore. Not to mention that incident involving some of your members… my sympathies for how things turned out by the way." Said Jellal.
Burns' eye darkened as the memory of said event went through his head, causing him to fold his arms over his chest. "…It's pointless to stay caught up in the past. What happened, happened. Right now, it's more important to focus on where we go from here." Said Burns.
He looked straight at Jellal. "We certainly won't forget your help with this matter. Should Crime Sorciere need any assistance, you can count on Fire Force to back you up."
Jellal chuckled. "Thank you, Captain Burns."
Burns nodded and prepared to leave, but Jellal suddenly caught his attention. "By the way, I certainly wasn't expecting Shinmon Benimaru to put on a display of power like that."
Burns sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck. "That young blood has a temper, alright. But rest assured, he won't do anything too chaotic."
"I see. That's good to hear." Jellal admitted, though he sounded a little unsure. "Where is he now by the way?"
Burns sighed as he started walking away. "He's gone off to blow some steam."
The Fairy Tail guild stood dumbfounded at the scene before them. It was a sight that many of them, including their oldest members, had never seen before.
"Ahahaha! I like a guy that can hold his liquor." Cana Alberona slurred as she pulled back another shot of high-quality alcohol.
"I can't believe it… Cana's actually drunk?" Erza asked with a shocked expression.
"You're damn right! I'm waaaaasteeddd!" Cana yelled dramatically as she took in another shot, while Benimaru merely smiled and took one of his own.
"And were juuuust getting started!" Cana cried happily before suddenly falling onto the floor, causing a bunch of empty bottles to clatter and roll all over the place. Despite her tumble, Cana could not stop laughing with a ditsy look on her face.
Benimaru got up and walked to Cana before picking her up, causing Fairy Tail's heaviest drinker to squeak in surprise.
"Hey… 'hic'… if youuuuu're gonna pick me up like that, you should buy me a 'hic' driiink first." Cana slurred and hiccuped while slamming her finger into Benimaru's cheeks. Despite how forceful she was being, Benimaru did not seem to mind as he just continued to smile.
"I already did." He stated, causing Cana to blink rapidly as she processed his words.
"Oh shoot! That's riiiiiiight... hahahahah!" Cana said before her cheeks puffed up she started laughing hysterically. When Cana finally calmed down, she looked back at Benimaru with a red blush and a smile. "I think I might even like yooouuuu..." Cana slurred the last part before she unceremoniously went limp, followed by loud, unladylike snoring.
'She passed out?' Thought every member of Fairy Tail in shock as they finally came to terms with the situation before them.
Benimaru walked up to Freed, who seemed uncertain of what he wanted to do. "Please ensure that she gets home safely, okay?" Benimaru said with his ever-present smile that caused Freed to blink in confusion before finally processing his request. He quickly nodded and took Cana out of his arms.
"Uhm, yes. I will do that." Freed said.
Benimaru hummed in agreement before he turned his attention to Lucy. He walked up to her, and she seemed quite nervous by his unflinching smile and closed eyes. She was then shocked when she felt him put his hand on her head. "For a weakling, you burned pretty brightly today." His words caught Lucy off guard.
"Keep up the good work and be sure to keep kicking ass like today." Benimaru said confidently.
"I-I will! Thanks." Lucy said a little uncertainly.
Suddenly, Natsu got between him and Lucy and pointed his hand at Benimaru. "Hey, weird guy! Fight me!" Natsu yelled.
For a moment, Benimaru's eyes opened and glowed with an eerie light, as though he was seriously contemplating Natsu's request. Then just as quickly as it came, it disappeared. Replaced once more with his ever-smiling visage.
"Hmmm, nope." Benimaru simply replied, causing Natsu to get angry.
"Why the hell not?!" Natsu yelled shaking his fists and stomping his feet like a child having a tantrum.
"I don't really like fighting weaklings." Benimaru said as he walked away.
"What was that?" Natsu said with an angry look. However, he just huffed arrogantly. "Well if you're walking away, I guess that means I win by default." Natsu said while laughing arrogantly.
Benimaru suddenly stopped and before Natsu knew it, he instantly crossed the room and put his hand on Natsu's shoulder. Natsu was taken off guard by Benimaru's sudden appearance, and he flinched a little when he noticed how strong Benimaru's grip was. Just as he was about to give him a piece of mind, he was caught off guard by Benimaru's smiling face. Only this time, it had a much more intimidating aura.
"Do you want me to kill you? I will." Benimaru said with a calm voice that sent chills down Natsu's spine.
Before things could escalate, an armoured fist crashed down on Natsu's head with so much force that he sank a foot into the floor of the establishment. Erza's eye twitched as she berated Natsu.
"You fool! Fights between teams are strictly forbidden during the Grand Magic Games!" Erza loudly berated her companion. "I will not have you get our team kicked out because you were impulsive. Do you understand me?" Erza questioned with authority.
"Hey." Erza blinked as she looked at Benimaru, who seemed to be back to his previous smiling self.
"I'm pretty sure you knocked him out." Benimaru said while pointing at Natsu.
"Eh?" Erza asked while blinking innocently. She then made her way around Natsu to face him. She was surprised to see that Bernimaru was right as Natsu was practically foaming at the mouth and his eyes had rolled to the back of his head. And yet, Natsu somehow continued to remain standing.
"Oh no! Erza killed Natsu!" Happy cried with exaggerated tears streaming down his face, causing Erza to feel all flustered and vehemently tried to calm him down while rapidly waving her arms over her head. This had the effect of dispelling the previously tense atmosphere as the Fairy Tail guild members present laughed at Erza's flustered, albeit cute reaction.
Pretty soon the entire guild had joined in on the fun of poking an unconscious Natsu, as well as enjoying some much-needed refreshments. Before Benimaru knew what happened, everyone got back into a festive mood and was celebrating in their own unorthodox and chaotic way. All the while, Benimaru continued to stand where he was and calmly observed the situation happening before him.
"…. Not bad." Benimaru simply said.
"There you are!" A voice yelled loud enough to catch the attention of some of the Fairy Tail guild. Looking to the entrance, they saw none other than Obi, followed by the rest of his team, along with Hinawa and Tamaki.
"Oh, it's you guys." Benimaru said nonchalantly. However, Obi was anything but pleased.
"Don't "oh, it's you guys" me! First, you cause a huge spectacle in front of the entire stadium, then you just walk off without telling us where you're going. We've spent hours combing the city trying to find you."
"I said I was going to get a drink." Benimaru told him simply.
"Are you serious? Even if you implied you were going to a bar, do you have any idea how little that narrows it down? This city has plenty of bars!" Obi yelled.
"Well, that's all in the past. Let's stay and have a few more drinks." Benimaru said as he tried to make his way back to the bar, only for Obi to stand in his path.
"Sorry, but we need you to go back to the hotel now." Obi stated firmly.
"Seriously? The night is still young, and we still haven't properly celebrated your subordinate's victory yet. So, why would you want to stop now?" Benimaru asked.
"Well, besides the fact that you're quite plastered already." Obi pointed out. "Maki and her friends are going to celebrate, but you and I need to head back to meet up with Burns. We need to discuss that important meeting he had… remember?" Obi said the last part in a stern manner.
Benimaru blinked before sighing. "Geez, that was tonight? Seems the old fat plans to rest when he's dead, huh?"
Obi nodded. "Not to mention we need you back at the hotel to help put Hinata and Hikage to bed. We left Vulcan and Iris behind, but you're the only one who they'll actually listen to."
"What? Vulcan and Iris can't handle a couple of kids?" Benimaru asked with a smile.
"Didn't you hear what I said? We left Vulcan behind to deal with the twins and Iris." Obi emphasized the last part.
Meanwhile, at the Hotel Fire Force was staying at
"Oh lookee! A little Horsey!" Hinata cried out with childish mischief as she tried to jump on a mechanical horse in Vulcan's makeshift workshop.
"No, Hinata! Don't touch!" Vulcan cried out as he grabbed the little girl in midair.
"What's this do?" Hikage said curiously as she tried to push a button in the belly of a mechanical bear. Vulcan saw what she was about to do and cried out in concern.
"Hikage, NO! You'll destroy us all!" Vulcan cried out while pulling her back by the scruff of her kimono.
"Let us go old, fart!" Hinata yelled while trying to squirm out of Vulcan's grip. Meanwhile, Hikage attempted to slap him with her kimono sleeve.
"Yeah, dumbass! Let us go or die!" Hikage yelled enthusiastically.
Vulcan groaned as he tried to juggle things by himself. "Iris, can you please give me a hand?" He asked while turning to the nun, who stayed behind to help him with the twins. However, his eyes went wide when he saw Iris stand over a curious-looking contraption with a big red button.
"What's this do?" Iris asked with her eyes all starry-eyed with childlike curiosity.
"IRIS, NO!" Vulcan begged but it was too late. The moment Iris pressed the button, a loud screeching sound was heard, followed by a large crash. Both Vulcan and Iris rushed to the nearest window where they saw that a large armoured van had rear-ended a lamppost, which had fallen into the street.
"NOT THE MATCHBOX!." Vulcan cried while the twins cheered for the unexpected act of destruction.
"I'm sorry!" Iris tried to placate him with her eyes full of teary-eyed innocence.
Benimaru sighed in resignation. "Fine, I got it. I'll head back."
"Hinawa's also going to go with you. He said he had a feeling that he should go in case something got destroyed while we were gone." Obi reminded him.
"Whatever, let's just get going." Benimaru relented as he turned, with Obi and Hinawa right beside him.
"Wait, Shinmon Benimaru." An elderly voice called out to him. Benimaru stopped and turned around to the source of the voice. Looking down, he saw Makarov looking up at him. Benimaru blinked when he saw Makarov suddenly bow his head to him. An act which surprised a lot of other people nearby.
"Thank you for your help in defending the honour of my children earlier today." Makarov stated calmly.
Benimaru merely rubbed the back of his head. "Don't worry about it. Those guys were just being too loud, so I shut them up."
"Nonetheless, thank you." Makarov repeated.
"Anytime, uhh…" Benimaru's eyes narrowed as he focused on Makarov. "… a leprechaun?"
Makarov sweatdropped at Benimaru's response. "It's Makarov Dreyar."
"Makarov?" Benimaru asked as he thought back to some old memories. Suddenly, he remembered a certain moment that brought a light of realization to his eyes. "Oh yeah. You're the guy that was brought in by those old crones because of the destruction of some old clocktower or whatever, right? I remember cause I went with old man Burns to address similar charges." Benimaru said with a light chuckle.
Makarov's sweatdrop grew even larger. "That's not really something to laugh about. But yes. That was me." Makarov said.
"Oh man, you were a hoot, old-timer. I'm surprised to see you, though. I thought you'd kicked the bucket a while back." Benimaru told him with mild surprise.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I was trapped in stasis for seven years. "Makarov answered honestly.
"Really? I could have sworn I heard someone say you went to the other side?" Benimaru said, although his remarks did cause Erza to march towards him with a frown on her face.
Hinawa noticed this and got between Benimaru and Makarov. "Apologies, Master Makarov. Benimaru can be a little… rough when it comes to authority figures. Especially those who have close ties with the Magic Council." Hinawa explained to calm down the tense atmosphere.
"No worries. I can understand that. To be honest, he's not the first to call me that." Makarov added, also trying to diffuse the situation before anything extreme could happen.
Hinawa nodded. Before he could leave, he took a good look at Erza. "Excuse me. You're Titania Erza, correct?" Hinawa asked.
Erza nodded and extended a friendly hand out towards Hinawa. "Indeed I am. Though, my actual name is Erza Scar…." Erza was suddenly interrupted when she felt a firm hand land on her head.
"Eh?" Erza spoke with a surprised look on her face.
Hinawa's grip soon got a little stronger as he stared at Erza with large open eyes. "Yes, I know who you are. Nine years ago, you went on a rampage to capture some thief and in the process, you destroyed my favourite store."
"…Oh!" Erza said while starting to sweat nervously at the intimidating stare he was giving her.
"It was the only place near my home that sold decent novelty hats at affordable prices. Because of your destructive tendencies, I need to go out of my way by travelling three towns over to another shop that sells the same merchandise, but at twice the price." Hinawa said with an intimidating scowl.
'He's pissed off because of some hats?!' Were the thoughts to both fairies and fire users alike.
"I trust that you are making sure to do your duties more responsibly without resorting to destructive tendencies?" Hinawa asked while his gaze got even scarier and his grip got tighter, causing Erza to sweat even more. Meanwhile, Erza's guildmates were once more shocked to see that ERZA of all people was being intimidated.
"Yes, sir!" Erza squeaked nervously, causing Hinawa to ease up on his stare and grip.
"Good." Hinawa said as he and Benimaru made their way out of the store. But before he left, he turned around one last time giving Erza a sharp glare that caused her to stiffen up.
"Keep in mind that if I hear you doing anything else like that again… we're going to have a problem. Understood?" Hinawa asked with a dark look in his eyes that caused Erza to nod her head so fast it looked like a blur to most people.
With his warning said, Hinawa turned to Maki, Shinra and Arthur.
"You three..." Hinawa said in a low, yet intimidating voice that caused all three to jump.
"YES, SIR?" All three asked rather loudly.
"… Be sure to return to the hotel before your curfew." He said with finality as his subordinates nodded.
With his final piece said, Hinawa left the bar, but not before slamming the door behind him. When he was finally gone, Erza suddenly let out a breath she didn't know she was holding in. Shinra came up from behind her and gently patted her back.
"Sorry about that. Hinawa can get pretty intense sometimes." Shinra said with a nervous smile.
"Who the heck was that guy?" Gray asked while walking up to Shinra and Maki.
"His name is Takehisa Hinawa. One of our guild's best pyrokinetics and second in command of our company 8." Maki said enthusiastically.
"Seriously? That four eyes? Then again, he made Erza look like a scared puppy." Lucy said in both awe and fear.
"Well, he did use to be a high-ranking soldier of Fiore's military forces and former head of the Magic Council's 1st Custody Enforcement Unit." Arthur listed off, describing Hinawa's feats as if they were no big deal.
"He used to be a member of the magic council?!" Natsu and Happy cried out in comedic surprise and fear.
"No wonder he scared Erza!" Natsu said with silent awe.
"Yup. That's our Hinawa all right." Makis said with a giggle. "But anyways…"
Maki ran straight to Lucy with a serious look on her face. "How are you doing Lucy?"
Lucy blinked, before giving Maki a small smile. "To be honest, I hate that I lost… but I'm not going to let that get me down. If anything, this loss just makes me want to win the games even more." Lucy said with a determined expression.
However, her determination turned into one of shock when she saw Maki, whose eyes were big black shiny dots with tears threatening to fall.
"You're so cool, Lucy." Maki told her with the utmost seriousness she could muster.
"T-thanks, Maki." Said Lucy. Lucy was surprised again when Maki was suddenly pushed away by an unknown girl with pigtails.
"Your battle was truly miraculous. But even more importantly, you were able to keep going despite suffering from your lucky lechure lure!"
"Lucky... lechure lure?" Lucy asked with a blank look on her face as she tried to process what Tamaki said. Suddenly, a familiar image popped into her head and an embarrassed blush formed on her face.
"Wait are you talking about when Gemini transformed into me? There was nothing lucky about that!" Lucy cried out with embarrassment.
"And yet you somehow still managed to overcome it, when any normal person would be too embarrassed to move. You even used that unfortunate situation to your advantage! Please, teach me your secret." Tamaki cried out with stars in her eyes.
"Wow, Lulu. I didn't know you had that kind of power in you." Levi said after sneaking up behind Lucy with a mischievous smile.
Lucy cried out from surprise and vehemently tried to deny what her close friend had said. "No! It's nothing like that I swear!"
All of a sudden, Gray came up between Lucy and Tamaki. "Relax." Gray started to say. "We all came here to have a good time, ri-"
Gray tried to act cool at first, but stopped when he felt something soft in his hand. Looking up, Gray's eyes bulged out of his head as he witnessed his hand grope Tamaki's breast. Said girl had a huge blush forming on her face, both from embarrassment and her growing rage. Before Gray could apologize, she lashed out and started scratching at his face.
"YOU PERVERT! THIS IS WHAT YOU CALL A GOOD TIME?!" Tamaki yelled as she tore into Gray.
"I SWEAR I DIDN'T MEAN FOR THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN!" Gray yelled out in concern and pain.
"AGAIN?! DIE, YOU SICKO!" Tamaki cried out with her eyes now glowing with a red light and full of fury. Suddenly, her power flared as two tails of fire formed from her backside, while two cat ears made of fire appeared on her head.
Before she could inflict her divine punishment on Gray, Juvia intervened and charged at Tamaki. "Get away from my Gray, you hussy!" Juvia yelled as she slammed into Tamaki, causing them to both fall down.
Juvia lifted herself up but before she could continue her attack on Tamaki, she noticed the rather… compromising position they were both in. Juvia's hands were tightly clutching Tamaki's breasts, causing the girl to feel both surprised and even more embarrassed. However, Juvia was just as surprised by her actions. Juvia turned around slowly and noticed Team Natsu looking at her with surprised looks on their faces, including Gray, who seemed to temporarily forget about his painful injuries for a moment.
"M-m-m-my darling Gray! This isn't what you think!" Juvia cried out quickly releasing her hold on Tamaki and jumping back, just as Tamaki backflipped away from Juvia with an angry scowl.
"Hands off lady! I'm not that kind of girl!" Tamaki yelled while backflipping away. However, at the moment when she came down, she was right in the path of Bickslow, who was casually walking by with a mug of beer in his hand. He looked up just in time for Tamaki's rear to slam him into the face, causing them both to crash to the floor.
Tamaki yelped again when she realized where she was sitting and quickly backflipped away again. However, she moved too quickly which caused her to fumble her landing. She would have fallen again were it not for Freed, who attempted to catch her.
"Hold on. I got…" While his intentions were noble, Freed somehow misjudged the distance and speed of Tamaki's momentum, causing him to accidentally grab her breasts. "…you..." Freed nervously whispered upon realizing what he had grabbed.
"Pervert!" Tamaki yelled, delivering a jump kick to Freed's face. Using the force behind her blow, Tamaki pushed herself into the air. However, as she was falling, she noticed that she was heading right towards Natsu, who simply looked up at her with a blank face.
"GET OUT OF THE WAAAAY!" Tamaki yelled.
Before Natsu had the chance to move, he and Tamaki collided. However, rather than ending up a broken crumpled mess like the others, Natsu was still standing. But somehow, Tamaki managed to get Natsu's entire upper body stuck in her orange jumpsuit, leaving the girl desperately struggling to get herself out of her latest embarrassing predicament.
"(What the heck just happened)?" Natsu said with his voice muffled.
"GAH! DON'T TALK, IDIOT!" Tamaki yelled while smacking Natsu in the head with her arms, while her feet flailed in the air.
"DAMN IT! WHY DO THESE THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?! CURSE MY LUCKY LECHURE LURE!" Tamaki cried out.
"… and I thought Lucy had problems." Happy replied nonchalantly.
"SHUT IT, CAT!" Lucy shouted at him.
"If her goal was to distract us from focusing on the games, she most definitely succeeded." Freed said while nursing a broken nose and blushing with such intensity that steam came out of his ears.
Flare cried out in pain as she fell to the floor. Nursing the blow to her face, Flare looked up at her attacker, her eyes, one of which sported a nasty blackeye, wide with fear. Standing above her was Alexei, or rather her master Ivan, whose knuckles were covered with traces of blood. He looked down at Flare, who was breathing heavily from the pain she was feeling from the numerous blows he inflicted on her face and body. Flare cried out as Ivan grabbed her face and forcefully slammed her into a wall of the alley they were in, eliciting another cry of pain from the unfortunate redhead.
"W-why, Master?" Flare asked weakly. "I beat that stupid blondy. I thought you would be-"
"Pleased?" Ivan asked with a snarl. His grip around Flare's face tightened gradually, resulting in another moan of pain from her. "You seem to be under the impression that you succeeded in your mission to make Makarov and his children pay. When in reality, you did the EXACT OPPOSITE!" Ivan yelled furiously, causing Flare to flinch.
"While I do appreciate your creativity, in the end, you allowed yourself to be overpowered and cornered by that little Fairy Tail harlot! If it weren't for Obra's interference, you would have lost the match. And by forcing his hand, you risked us getting exposed." Ivan snarled. Flare watched with wide eyes as her master's other hand started to rise and clenched tightly into a fist.
"Thus, I feel it right that as your master, you need a little discipline." Ivan chuckled darkly as he prepared to bring his fist down on Flare, who closed her eyes out of fear. Just as Ivan's fist was inches from her face, he felt its momentum come to a sudden halt as a tight grip suddenly manifested around his wrist. When Flare didn't feel any pain, she slowly opened her eyes to see what had happened. Her eyes widened in shock as standing behind Ivan was none other than Fire Force's master, Leonard Burns.
Ivan grunted as he tried to break free of Burns's tight group. "What the hell do you think you're doing? This is none of your concern!" Ivan yelled angrily.
Burns did not say anything at first and merely narrowed his eye at 'Alexei'. "True… as a master from another Guild, I have no say in how you discipline your subordinates." He spoke up, surprising both Ivan and Flare. The latter of whom felt some despair at the thought of Burns leaving her to suffer Ivan's punishment.
"…That being said…" Burns slowly said as he tightened his grip around Ivan's armoured wrist which also started to heat up, causing the latter to grunt in pain. "I can't help but find such actions distasteful." Burns finished with a menacing look in his eye.
The pain from Burns' grip eventually caused Ivan to let go of Flare, who somehow managed to stay standing, albeit barely, by leaning on the wall behind her.
"Y-you! Do you have any idea who you're messing with?! Attacking me like this is like declaring all-out war with my guild!" Ivan yelled, or rather cried, with as much bravado he could muster.
However, Burns was not deterred and continued to increase the pressure he was putting Ivan under. "I'm sorry. You seem to be under the impression that I'm a soft-hearted old fool like Makarov Dreyar." He then slowly twisted Ivan's arm to the point where he almost got the armoured man to his knees. "Rest assured, I won't go easy on you." As Burns said the last part, his eyepatch ignited with a burning flame, making him appear even more intimidating.
Ivan seemed to weigh his options before deciding to take the smartest course of action. "Tcchh!" He grunted loudly as he pulled back and broke away from the fire mage's grip.
"This isn't over Burns." Ivan proclaimed venomously. Before leaving, he glared at Flare from behind his mask. "I'll deal with you later." With that, Ivan left the two.
With his opponent now gone, Burns's eyepatch returned to normal. However, instead of leaving, Burns turned his intimidating gaze towards Flare.
The moment his gaze fell upon her, Flare seized up. As he looked at her, Flare could not help but gaze back, like a deer caught in headlights. At that moment, Flare had never felt so small, even though she lived most of her life with giants.
"W-what is it?" She asked weakly. Burns said nothing as his glare intensified and to Flare's panicked state of mind, he appeared almost like a giant about to crush an ant.
"WHAT DO YOU WANT!?" Flare cried out hysterically in a tone dripping with desperation. If the man before her was going to punish her for what she did today, he could at least stop tormenting her and get it over with.
After what felt like an eternity, Burns made his move. However, rather than raise his fist at her like her master, Burns merely sighed and closed his eye. When he opened it and looked back at her, she saw him give her a sad look that looked like a mix between pity and disappointment.
"The giants of the Sun Village… Would be so disappointed in you." Burns said before turning around and walking away.
As he left, Flare stared out into space with a look of extreme shock on her face. Without warning, a torrent of tears flowed endlessly from her eyes and she lost her remaining strength, collapsing to the ground onto her knees. Burns may not have struck her, but somehow, the words he spoke were more painful than any blow he could have inflicted. Even the pain she suffered from her master was nothing compared to this.
Flare cried into her hands as the tears flowed, sobbing loudly into the night, uncaring if anyone heard or not. All the while, Burns did not turn back to look at her.
Instead, he merely looked ahead and kept on walking, leaving Flare to drown in her sorrows and reflect upon her actions.
And with that, chapter 6 has come to an end.
I hope you fans of Fire Force and Fairy Tail loved the many references and callback moments from both series that I included in this chapter.
I'm eager to hear your feedback, so please don't forget to leave a review.
Until next time, stay safe out there!