Chapter 1: Where the Magic Happens
Now, I know what you might be thinking… "AlucardsBro, don't you have a pretty bad track record of keeping up with more than one story?"
Yes, I do.
However, I have decided to go ahead and begin this new story anyway just so I can have something else to work on whenever I have trouble with "Bloodstained Souls." As some of you might know, writer's block can be a very real and frustrating thing. Sometimes you know what you want to say, but you just aren't satisfied with anything you write down.
Well, whenever I have that issue with "Bloodstained Souls," I will be coming here instead to keep my creative juices flowing. Constant writing is better than just sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike out of the blue.
Now, with all of that said, I have wanted to do a good Fairy Tail crossover for quite some time. And yes, I did have one written previously, but that story wasn't really going anywhere. The problem with Dragon Ball crossovers is that you have to be very aware of power levels, and no one in Fairy Tail can even hope to compare with the heavy hitters of Dragon Ball. Having someone like Broly in the Fairy Tail universe just doesn't work well, and it would have made the fight scenes incredibly boring. Someone might be able to pull it off well, but I can't at my current level.
Therefore, instead of stressing myself out unnecessarily over a Fairy Tail/Dragon Ball crossover, I have decided to write this Fairy Tail/Bleach story instead. And unlike "Bloodstained Souls," where I have already confirmed there will be a harem, this story will see Ichigo with only one romantic partner.
And yes, I already know who it will be.
The Kingdom of Fiore is a neutral country of seventeen million people.
It is a world of Magic.
Magic, bought and sold every day, is an integral part of the peoples' lives.
Moreover, there are those who use magic as their sole occupation. These people are known as wizards.
These wizards belong to various magical guilds, and preform jobs on commission. There are a large number of guilds throughout the country of Fiore.
In addition, there lies a certain guild in a certain city.
This guild has hosted many legends over the years, and it will certainly continue to host even more far into the future…
…and its name, is Fairy Tail!
(Hargeon Town, Fiore)
Brilliant sunlight shone down on the port city of Hargeon.
A light breeze was in the air.
The sounds of the nearby ocean echoed on the wind.
Merchants and their customers haggled back and forth amiably, debating the appropriate price of various goods and services. Covered wagons filled with fruits and vegetables lined the alleyways of the shopping district, attracting the attention of hungry passersby. Invigorated by the beauty of the day, the people of Hargeon carried on about their business with wide and happy smiles.
And yet, there was one visitor to the city who wasn't in such a good mood…
"Four-thousand jewels?! Are you out of your mind?"
"I'm sorry sir, but the price is fixed. Long-distance communication lacrima will cost you a pretty penny no matter where you go, and you won't be finding a better deal anywhere else in town."
Scowling, Ichigo Kurosaki muttered a string of obscenities under his breath and reached into one of the pockets of his jacket. The most recent job he'd taken in Margaret Town hadn't turned much of a profit, so he was a fairly short on cash at the moment. Pulling out his battered wallet and producing the necessary amount of currency, he slammed the jewels down on the countertop and snatched up the lacrima he'd intended to purchase. Turning on his heel, he briskly walked away from the main counter and towards the front door of the shop.
"Have a good day," the middle-aged shopkeeper called out. There was a noticeably smug undertone to his voice. "Thank you for you patronage, and please come again."
"Don't count on it…" Ichigo snorted quietly, waving a hand over his shoulder dismissively. Stepping out of the shop and into the sunlight, he placed his new lacrima in the rucksack slung across his torso. He knew the shopkeeper had swindled him out of more cash than the damn thing was worth, and he was sure the bastard would be laughing at his expense for the next several days. However, the communication lacrima he'd been carrying until recently had met an untimely end under the foot of a giant monster during his most recent job, and he'd needed a new way to maintain contact with his family back in Crocus.
His father had been the one to suggest that he travel the continent, and although he'd initially been very hesitant to agree, Ichigo would admit that it had been the right thing to do. Sitting at home for months on end after their initial arrival hadn't been doing him much good. In contrast, putting his skills to good use and completing jobs for the various people he'd encountered throughout his journey left him with a much greater sense of fulfillment.
Though he was technically no longer a Substitute Shinigami, his natural inclination to help others remained.
Maneuvering through the crowds of people, Ichigo briefly stopped at a fruit stand to buy a snack. Sacrificing a few more jewels was hard to do, but his stomach didn't much care. Biting into a fresh apple, Ichigo turned down an empty alleyway to avoid the majority of the crowds. Rounding the corner of a building, he immediately noticed a rather large group of young women congregating at the front of what looked like a fairly upscale bar.
He didn't particularly care what was going on, but he was still nosy enough to casually walk closer in an attempt to overhear.
"Oh my gods, is it really him?"
"I can't believe he's here!"
"Salamander, will you sign my notebook?!"
"Sign my face!"
The squealing of the girls reached a maddening pitch, and Ichigo rolled his eyes as he realized why they were so worked up. A tall man dressed in unnecessarily ornate clothing stood at the center of the mob. A dark, high-collared cape was clasped over his shoulders, nearly reaching down to the backs of his knees. Underneath, he wore a light short-sleeved shirt with outlined edges, paired with pinstriped pants with visible hems. Most people might've thought he was handsome, given his rectangular face and sharp features.
However, the arrogant look in his eyes betrayed his true underlying nature. None of the women seemed to notice it though. They certainly didn't seem to notice the charm ring on his right index finger either…
Ichigo was still familiarizing himself with the history of Fiore, but he knew charmed objects were illegal everywhere in the country. No legitimate business even sold them anymore. Con-artists often used them to influence their victims into giving them anything they asked for, which was typically everything the poor suckers had on them. It was also a well-known fact that charm rings were used in the highly illegal practice of human trafficking…
Evidently, some things never changed no matter where he went.
Scowling, Ichigo moved forward and pushed his way through the crowd of women. Several of them snapped at him, but a quick glare on his part was more than enough to shut them up. The man at the center of the mob noticed him quickly — his masculine features and orange hair certainly made him stand out — and raised a questioning brow.
Still, he flashed a suave smile that had the women surrounding Ichigo squealing. "Well hello there, friend. Did you want an autograph too?"
Ichigo folded his arms over his chest. "Not really."
The man laughed. "No? Well if you're after something a bit more personal, I'm afraid I only have eyes for all of these beautiful ladies. No offense taken, right?"
Once again, the girls swooned.
"He's so kind!"
It went on and on…
Brow creasing, Ichigo shook his head. "I'm here about the charm."
That seemed to get the smarmy bastard's attention. His eyes widened, but he was quick to readopt a carefree expression. "Charm? I'm not sure I know what you're talking about. The only charms here are those I naturally possess."
The girls squealed again.
Ichigo wanted to vomit. Actually, scratch that. What he really wanted to do was knock the guy on his ass, but he didn't need to get himself arrested again for starting another unprovoked fight. "Look, you really don't want to make this any harder than it has to be. Trust me. So why don't you just drop the act and take off the ring."
The man's casual smile shifted into a scrutinizing frown. "You seem… familiar. Have we met before?"
"I don't think you'd still be walking if we had." A sudden kick to the middle of his spine had Ichigo stumbling forward. He managed to catch himself before he could fall down, and he promptly turned in surprise to stare at the red-haired young woman who'd done the deed. "What the hell was that for?!"
"How dare you threaten Salamander!" she shouted, ignoring his inquiry. "You should be grateful that a great wizard like him is even willing to talk to a thug like you!"
Was she serious…?
Scowling, Ichigo gestured towards 'Salamander' with an outstretched hand. "He's wearing a goddamn charm ring! You're all being manipulated!"
"How dare you!"
"What a jerk!"
"He's just jealous!"
"Ladies! Ladies!" Salamander interjected, raising his hands passively. "There's no need to be so harsh on the poor guy. He can't help it if he's envious of my success. Look buddy, maybe if you apply yourself, you might be able to be just as great as I am someday."
The girls in the crowd immediately reverted back into a fawning mob.
"He's so inspiring!"
"Such motivating words!"
"What a sweet guy!"
Oh, for the love of…
Preparing to summon Zangetsu, Ichigo paused when a pink-haired young man suddenly burst through the crowd to stand next to him. He was lean and muscular, with a slightly tanned skin tone. His eyes were dark, and there was a very prominent scar of the right side of his neck.
He wore a sleeveless, gold-trimmed black waistcoat that exposed his chest and abdomen. White, knee-length trousers covered his legs, and open-toed sandals adorned his feet. A thick scarf was also wrapped around his neck and shoulders, which was a bit strange given the weather. Additionally, a blue cat was perched on his shoulder.
For some reason, Ichigo was somewhat reminded of Kon.
"Igneel! I've finally found… who the heck are you…?" The boy's expression went from overjoyed to disappointed in less than a second.
The question was directed towards Salamander, who's jaw dropped in response. "Who am I…? Who am I?! I'm the greatest Fire Wizard in Fiore! I'm Salamander! Surely you've heard that name?"
The pink-haired teenager blinked.
Then for a third time.
Then, much to Ichigo's amusement, he turned around and began to walk away.
"Hold on just a minute!" Salamander shouted incredulously.
Further contributing to the idea that the man was indeed wearing a charm ring, the mob of girls immediately adopted a collective aura of maliciousness and swarmed the poor pink-haired guy as he tried to go on about his business. Punches were thrown. Kicks connected with ribs. Teeth bit down into flesh. The boy at the center of the mob cried out as he was beaten and battered senseless by the irate women.
"We'll rip you to shreds!"
"Come back here!"
"What the heck is wrong with you chicks?!" the boy exclaimed.
"Now, now, that's enough, my lovelies," Salamander chuckled, having reassumed a confident attitude. "I'm sure the poor boy didn't mean anything malicious by it. Now then, I'm afraid I must be going. I have quite a bit of important business to attend to. But fret not! You're all invited to the party I'm throwing on my yacht tonight!"
As expected, the women immediately began to swoon once again.
Purple flames surrounded Salamander, and he shot off into the air with the assistance of his magic. Ichigo prepared to give chase, but thought better of it at the last moment. Much as he hated to admit it, matters having to deal with illegal artifacts were often best left to the authority of the Rune Knights. He wanted to take down Salamander himself, be he couldn't afford to risk another summons to stand before the Magic Council.
One time had been enough.
He really didn't want to do it again.
Besides, he knew where Salamander would be tonight.
He would report the bastard to the authorities, and let them handle it. And if they needed any help, he supposed it wouldn't hurt for him to stick around until nightfall to make sure things went smoothly.
It wasn't what he wanted, but he knew he need to play by the rules.
Breathing out an aggravated sigh, he turned to find the police station. However, before he could get very far, he paused to look down at the pink-haired boy who was still laying in a crumpled heap on the street. "Yo, you gonna be alright?"
The boy did not respond.
The blue cat did. "He'll be fine. He's taken worse beatings before."
Ichigo felt like he should've been surprised, but he wasn't. Talking cats weren't exactly a new thing to him. "That right?"
"Aye! Natsu has a bad habit of getting into trouble."
"Natsu, hm? And what's your name?"
"I'm Happy, sir!"
Smiling lightly, Ichigo leaned down and hooked his hands under Natsu's arms. Hauling the boy to his feet, he made sure he had a stable footing before stepping away.
"Ugh.. thanks," Natsu groaned, shaking his head. "What the hell was up with those girls?"
"Wasn't their fault," Ichigo replied. "They were under a charm spell. That Salamander guy was probably hypnotizing them just to fuel his own ego."
"Charm spell? Wait… aren't hose banned?"
"So, you guys saw that too, huh?" a feminine voice suddenly spoke up.
Ichigo and Natsu both turned to look at the girl who had evidently decided to approach them. She had a height and build that reminded Ichigo very much of Orihime, but that was where the physical similarities between the two ended. Whereas Orihime had gray eyes and light orange hair, this girl had brown eyes and bright blonde hair that was tied up into a ponytail on the right side of her head. She wore a white sleeveless shirt with blue trims, along with a short blue skirt and brown, knee-high boots.
She was very pretty, but Ichigo was far more interested in the gold and silver keys hanging from her belt.
"Yo," he said lamely.
"Hi there," she smiled brightly. "My name is Lucy."
"Nice to get you. I'm Ichigo," he said, before jerking a thumb over his shoulder. And these two are Natsu and Happy. So, you noticed Salamander's charm ring?"
Lucy's expression faltered. "I… well to be honest, I didn't at first. That creep almost put me in the same trace as the rest of those poor girls! But I managed to snap out of it when you guys showed up and pointed it out. Thanks for that, by the way."
"Don't mention it."
"No, really. At least let me treat you all to meal to show my gratitude."
"I don't really-"
"Well, if you insist Loopy!" Natsu cheered, forcing his way between them. "I'm freakin' starving! We haven't had anything to eat for hours, right Happy?"
"Aye Sir!" the blue feline agreed.
Lucy's expression soured. "It's Lucy. Not Loopy."
"Whatever you say, Laney. So, what's on the menu?"
Ichigo snorted. Lucy caught him, but her frown eventually became a resigned smile.
"There's a nice little diner down the street," she said.
"Then what are we waiting for!" Natsu grinned, throwing his left arm over her shoulders. "Lead the way!"
Ichigo shook his head as Natsu began to guide Lucy down the street. Didn't he realize that she was supposed to be showing him were they were going? Following the pair, he allowed Happy to perch on his left shoulder.
"Is he always this scatterbrained?"
Happy giggled. "You have no idea."
Walking down several streets and through various city districts, the group eventually arrived at the diner. It was a modest establishment, but looked homey enough. Ichigo wasn't really one who cared much for elaborate architecture and overly-complicated interior design, so he wasn't about to complain. They went inside and sat at a booth, and soon enough a waitress came out to take their orders.
Ichigo requested a simple bowl of beef ramen. He appreciated Lucy's gesture of wanting to buy them food, but he didn't want to force her to spend more money than necessary.
Natsu, on the other hand…
Natsu seemed completely oblivious to the absurdity of his order. He asked for a medium-rare steak, a baked potato, grilled salmon, a full plate of pasta, pork chops, scrambled eggs, fried chicken, and an assortment of other dishes that sounded like a heart attack just waiting to happen.
Lucy — who looked just as exasperated as Ichigo felt — ordered a small salad so as to not completely annihilate her bank account.
The food came out quickly, and Ichigo paced himself as he ate.
So did Lucy.
Natsu immediately proceeded to stuff his face with as much food as humanly possible. His cheeks bulged outwards like a hamster, and he didn't even give himself enough time to chew properly before he was biting into something else, sending food flying everywhere.
"You know…" Lucy deadpanned, "you don't have to shovel it all down."
"Buh I'm hungwry."
"Swallow before you talk," Ichigo admonished.
Natsu rolled his eyes, but did as he was told.
"Anyway…" Lucy stressed, turning to Ichigo. "Are we going to do anything about Salamander? He can't just get away with hypnotizing all of the ladies in town."
"I've already decided to contact the authorities after I'm done here. They should be able to handle it."
"Screw that!" Natsu snorted, biting into a turkey leg. "We should go and beat him up!"
"And get arrested in the process for taking the law into our own hands?" Ichigo shot back. "I want to teach that asshole a lesson just as much as you do, but we have to let the authorities handle this one. There's a procedure for this kind of thing. Three citizens trying to involve themselves will only make things worse."
"No, he's right," Lucy sighed, cutting Natsu off. "That creep tried to put me under his spell too, but I'll be happy just as long as he gets what's coming to him. Again, thanks for barging in when you did."
Ichigo simply nodded.
"No problem," Natsu gurgled though a mouthful of spaghetti.
Lucy smiled brightly, pointedly ignoring the spray of pasta sauce that had just come dangerously close to splattering all over her face. "So, anyway… I know I may not look like it, but I'm actually a wizard too!"
"That right?" Ichigo asked.
"Yeah, but I'm not in a guild yet or anything like that. Oh! I should probably explain, huh?" He knew what a wizard guild was. He'd been living in the capitol city of Fiore for nearly a full year. Still, Lucy seemed excited to explain, so he decided to humor her. "See, guilds are places were official wizards can gather to exchange information or take on job requests. Unfortunately, you aren't considered a fully-fledged wizard unless you're part of a guild. But there are tons of them all over the world! I've heard its really tough to get into the more popular ones, but the one I want to join is the best one of all!"
Ichigo spared a look at Natsu.
The pink-haired boy was in a completely different world.
Likewise, Happy — who was sitting on the table — seemed more than content to ignore Lucy in favor of munching on a fish.
Clasping her hands together over her chest, the blonde let out a dreamy sigh. "They're always featured in Sorcerer Weekly magazine, and if I could ever actually convince them to let me join I think I'd just about die! Can you imagine?!"
"Sounds crazy…" Ichigo said halfheartedly, laying an arm over the back of their booth.
Evidently, his tone didn't go unnoticed. Lucy's cheeks turned slightly pink, and she let out an awkward laugh. "Ehehe… sorry, all of this talking about wizards and guilds must sound like a bunch of jibberish to you three. But I'm telling you, I'm definitely gonna join that guild!"
"Well, it's good to have aspirations."
"You sure do talk a lot," Happy said.
Her blush deepened, and Lucy sheepishly rubbed her neck. "Enough about me… what brings you guys to Hargeon?"
"We're looking for Igneel!" Happy replied before Ichigo could comment.
Swallowing a mouthful of pizza, Natsu nodded in agreement. "I'd heard a rumor that there was a Salamander in the city. We were gonna have to come through this way to get home anyway, so we decided to stop and see if we could find him. Too bad it was somebody else…"
"Yeah, that weirdo didn't look like a Salamander at all," Happy said.
"No kidding… I bet that poser can't even breathe fire like a real dragon."
Ichigo's eyes widened.
Across the table, Lucy arched a brow. "Uh… are you saying your friend Igneel looks like a dragon?"
"Nah," Natsu shook his head. "Igneel is a dragon."
Ichigo's reaction wasn't as dramatic as Lucy's, but he was still shocked nonetheless. Back home, dragons were nothing more than creatures of myths and fairy tales. Here on Earth Land, although they were very real, they were still incredibly rare. That said…
"Why the hell would a fire-breathing dragon show up in the middle of a city?" he deadpanned.
Natsu opened his mouth to reply, but no words came out. After a moment, he raised a hand to cup his chin in thought. "You have a point…"
"Of course he does!" Lucy exclaimed. "What made you think you'd find a dragon here?!"
Natsu shrunk down into the booth. "He called himself Salamander…"
Shaking her head, Lucy turned to Ichigo. "And what about you? Do you have a sensible reason for being here?"
"I guess so. I'm just traveling the continent."
The blonde perked up, apparently interested. "Oh? Why's that?"
Ichigo shrugged. "My old man thought it would be a good idea. I… well, to be honest, I've been in kind of a rough spot for the past few months. I guess dad got tired of seeing me mope around the house all day, so he kicked me out and told me to come back when I finally knew what to do with my life."
"Wow… your dad sounds like kind of a jerk. N-No offense!"
Ichigo waved away her concern. "None taken. My father isn't a bad guy at all, but he does have a pretty strange way of showing affection."
"I'll say. So where do you plan on going?"
"After Hargeon? I'd planned on passing through Magnolia before heading to Oshibana. Not really sure what I'll do after that…"
"That sounds really exciting," Lucy smiled. "I've always wanted to travel, and I only just started doing it on my own. Going from place to place… having amazing adventures… it sounds like something out of a story book, y'know?"
"Yeah," Ichigo smiled. "I do."
Lucy's smile grew, but she abruptly rose to her feet. Dusting off her skirt, and let out a pleasant sigh. "Well, this has been fun, but I should honestly get going if I want to keep up with my schedule. Enjoy the rest of your lunch, boys."
Her departure was a bit sudden, but Ichigo understood. Returning the blonde's wave as she walked to the exit, he rolled his eyes when Natsu and Happy threw themselves to the floor and prostrated themselves in full view of the other patrons.
"Thank you for the food!" Natsu exclaimed.
"Thank you!" Happy echoed.
Lucy reddened. "Stop that, you're embarrassing me! Just stand up and say thank you like normal people! You guys helped me out earlier, so let's just call it even 'kay?"
"But we weren't even trying to help…" Natsu said, raising his head. "Ichigo was the one who stopped that creep first."
Lucy's gaze turned in his direction, as if she expected him to throw himself at her feet as well. Snorting, Ichigo merely offered a wave. "We're square. You won't be seeing me act like a moron."
"Hey!" Natsu objected.
Ignoring him, Lucy released a sigh of relief. "At least one of you is normal."
With that, she offered them a final wave before turning and exiting the diner.
Watching her go, Ichigo stepped out of the booth and roughly hauled Natsu to his feet by the back of his scarf. "You do know what decorum is, right"
(Magia Park, Hargeon Town)
Lucy's day had certainly been a strange one.
First, she'd been charged a ridiculous amount of money for a new Gate Key. Honestly, who in the world charged twenty-thousand jewels for a silver key?! Sure, they were rare items to find in a magic shop, but they weren't worth twenty-thousand jewels!
That aside, she'd also been put under the spell of an extremely sleazy wizard. Just thinking about it was enough to make her shiver in discomfort. If he'd been willing to go through all of the trouble just to get his hands on a charm ring, there was no telling what his motives were for owning it. Luckily, Ichigo and Natsu had arrived just in time to break the charm before it could fully take effect.
Releasing a steadying breath, Lucy shook her head and tried to push such thoughts to the back of her mind. Focusing back on the Sorcerer Weekly magazine in her hands, she leaned back on the park bench she was seated on and turned the page. Smiling upon seeing the beautiful woman depicted in the centerfold, she sighed dreamily. "Mirajane is so pretty… I wish I knew how to get to be a member of Fairy Tail. Do I need to apply? Maybe arrange an interview? Dunno… but I'm so gonna join! They're the coolest guild ever!"
"Oh, you want to join Fairy Tail?"
Heart leaping up into her throat, Lucy squealed as the bushes behind her suddenly rustled. Nearly falling off of the bench in fright, she turned to berate whoever had decided to sneak up on her. However, the words died in her throat as her gaze landed on a familiar figure. "S-Salamander?! What are you doing here?"
"I've been looking for you," the man admitted, winking suggestively. "I wanted to personally invite you to the party I'm throwing aboard my yacht tonight."
Rushing to her feet, Lucy took several steps back. "Dream on! Your charm ring won't work on me anymore. That magic's weakness is awareness. It won't work on people if they know you're using it."
"Just as I thought," Salamander chuckled. "I knew you were a wizard the moment I laid eyes on you. No matter. The invitation still stands, my dear."
"Didn't you hear me? My answer is no! I wouldn't be caught dead at a party being thrown by a creep like you."
"A creep? You wound me. Why would you call me such a thing?"
"Gee, I wonder. It probably has something to do with the spell you've been using to make yourself popular with all of the women in this town. Did you even stop to think whether or not any of them were married or in a relationship?"
Salamander sighed dramatically. "Oh please, it's all in good fun. I just wanted to feel like a celebrity at my own party. Can you really blame me for that?"
Lucy scowled, turning away from him. "I guess even famous wizards can be big idiots."
"Don't talk that way… I thought you wanted to join the Fairy Tail guild? Haven't you ever heard of Salamander, one of Fairy Tail's most powerful wizards? He and I are one and the same. If you really want to join Fairy Tail, I could probably put in a good word for you with the Master."
Her chest tightened. She knew he was trying to manipulate her, but being part of the Fairy Tail guild had been her dream for as long as she could remember. This could very well be her one chance to join… but could she really swallow her pride for the sake of this jerk's ego…?
Yes, she could.
Sighing, Lucy turned around to face Salamander. The cocky look on his face almost made her change her mind. "You… you really think you'll be able to get me into Fairy Tail?"
"I don't see why not. Just don't say anything about the charm ring to anyone."
"Then I guess I'll see you at the party."
"Excellent!" With a snap of his fingers, Salamander summoned purple flames. The magic fire wrapped around his body and gathered around his feet, propelling him into the air. "I'll see you there, my dear! Wear something nice!"
Watching as the man flew out of sight, Lucy mentally slapped herself. "Damn, he got me. I was pseudo-charmed. But…" her expression immediately shifted into a bright and cheery smile, "hooray! He's gonna get me into Fail Tail! I just have to keep my mouth shut and try to be nice to that sleaze-bag until the party is over."
Hope in her heart, Lucy rushed off to find a new party dress.
(Several Hours Later)
The party was going just as expected.
Aside from herself, there were dozens of other female guests. Oddly enough, there didn't seem to be any men on board aside from the crew and serving staff. Almost immediately after she'd arrived at the harbor, Lucy had been swept up by Salamander and taken to his private cabin, which is where she was presently.
Seated on a plush maroon couch, she squirmed uncomfortably under the leering gaze of the two large men guarding the door. The new party dress she'd bought was certainly beautiful, but it still showed off quite a bit of skin. She felt like a piece of meat…
"Isn't this nice?" her host remarked, leaning forward to grab the bottle of wine on the table between them. Two glasses had already been set out, and they were quickly filled with bubbling alcohol. "I'm so glad you agreed to come, Lucy my dear. Care for a drink? I'd like to propose a toast to your breathtaking beauty."
Using some kind of Levitation Magic, he raised one of the glasses into the air and moved it towards her. Staring at it for a moment, Lucy let her gaze drift to the man himself. A charming smile decorated Salamander's face, but it did not meet his eyes. They were filled with a cold stare that immediately had the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end.
She wanted to join Fairy Tail more than anything.
But the realization of what she was doing was finally beginning to sink in.
Gods, didn't she have any self-respect? She'd used her physical appearance to charm other people before, but that had been different. She had been in control then, and she certainly wasn't now…
Enough was enough.
Scowling, she rose to her feet and swiped a hand through the air, knocking the wine glass out of Salamander's control. It fell to the ground, shattering loudly. "Do you think I'm stupid…?"
"Whatever do you mean, darling? Please have a seat so we can-"
"I'm a wizard too, remember? I can tell when someone is trying to use Sleep Magic on me."
Salamander's charming smile disappeared. Rising from the couch he'd been sitting on, he placed his hands on his hips. "I'm impressed. What gave me away?"
"You weren't wearing it before, but I can see the dream ring on your hand. You've been trying to hide it from me. Look, I don't want to give you the wrong idea… yes, I want to join the Fairy Tail guild, but I'm not going to date you just so that can happen."
"You're quite a handful, aren't you? Such a shame." Sighing dramatically, Salamander raised his right hand and snapped his fingers. The door to his cabin immediately slammed open, and Lucy turned to see several crew members enter the room. To her horror, every single one of them was carrying an unconscious party guest.
Realization finally dawned on her. "Oh gods… you aren't part of Fairy Tail, are you…?"
"Right again," Salamander sneered, completely dismissing the suave demeanor he'd displayed thus far. "Welcome aboard my ship. You'd best behave yourself until we reach the Kingdom of Bosco. After that, you really won't be my problem."
"We're going to Bosco?!" Lucy exclaimed. "But… but why?!"
"There are a lot of people who are willing to pay a pretty penny for lovely ladies such as yourself. You'd be quite surprised to hear just how lucrative the slavery business is. I am but a simple man trying to make my way through the world. Can you really judge me for trying to earn a living?"
"You… you're a monster!" Reaching for the keys at her hip, Lucy prepared to summon one of her Celestial Spirits. However, a searing pain engulfed her hand as purple fire shot forth from Salamander's right index finger. Her keys fell to the floor, and one of the crew members kicked them over to Salamander, who stooped down to pick them up.
Without her keys, Lucy knew she was helpless.
Evidently, so did the man across from her. "These are Gate Keys, aren't they? So, you're a Celestial Wizard… only the person who has formed a contract with Celestial Spirits can use this type of magic. Which means these keys are absolutely useless to someone like me."
Without even hesitating, Salamander tossed the six keys out of the nearest porthole. "Oops."
An aching sensation spread through her chest.
Tears forming at the corners of her eyes, Lucy glared at her captor hatefully. "You… you've used magic to take advantages of these girls. Girls who have done nothing to you! And you don't even care! You're the worst wizard alive!"
Salamander sneered, opening his mouth to retort.
He never got the chance…
An indescribable sensation suddenly filled the air. Lucy gasped, nearly falling to her knees. Using the sofa she'd been sitting on to keep herself upright, she fought to keep her eyes open. It felt like someone with a ridiculous amount of physical strength was pressing down on her shoulders and trying to shove her to the ground.
Looking around the room, she quickly realized that she wasn't the only other person being affected.
The crew members were all leaning against each other, having dropped the women in their arms.
Even Salamander himself had been forced to his hands and knees.
The yacht suddenly lurched to the side as a fiery explosion engulfed the right side of the cabin, tearing a massive hole through the metal hull. Shielding herself from the searing heat, Lucy peered through her fingers in an attempt to determine what was going on. Quite suddenly, a very familiar figure emerged from the smoke generated by the explosion and stepped into the room.
The aforementioned boy met her gaze, brow furrowed in intensity. Had he come to rescue her? How in the world had he even known she was in trouble? Natsu took a powerful step forward. Then, without missing a beat, he promptly fell to the floor, groaning and clutching his stomach. "Oh crap… I think I'm gonna puke…"
"You're seasick?! Are you freaking kidding me?!" Lucy shrieked incredulously.
"Hey Lucy!" a high-pitched voice called out, drawing the blonde's attention back to the hole in the side of the ship. Happy quickly appeared, flying — yes, flying — into view. "What the heck are you doing here?"
"Happy! Salamander tricked me! He said he was gonna get me into Fairy Tail, but he's really been using this party as a cover to drug and kidnap all of these girls," she replied, gesturing to all of the unconscious women laying on the floor around her. "Hold up… since when do you have wings?"
"I'll explain that later. Right now, we need to get outta here!" Without giving her any further explanation, the flying feline flapped his wings and dove into the room. Before Lucy could even blinked, his tail was wrapped around her waist, lifting her off the floor and into the air.
"H-Hold on a minute! I'm not very good with heights!"
"You'll have to get over it!" Happy said. "Ichigo seemed really angry!"
"Ichigo is here too? Wait, never mind that! What about Natsu?"
"I can't carry more than one person! He'll be alright!"
Lucy attempted to respond, but the heavy pressure in the air suddenly seemed to triple in intensity. Allowing herself to be carried out of the ship and into the open air, Lucy squealed in terror as Happy flew higher and higher. However, they were still close enough to the ship for her to overhead Salamander's next outburst.
"Don't let them get away," he called out to his thugs, "we can't let them report us to the Magic Council!"
Tearing her gaze away from the waters below and back towards the ship, Lucy watched as Salamander finally seemed to gather enough strength to stand up. Waving his right arm though the air in an arch, he summoned a purple Magic Circle in front of himself. From it, a number of fiery, curved purple beams shot forth. "Prominence Whip!"
It didn't take a genius to guess who he was aiming at.
Lucy screamed as Happy weaved through the air, avoiding the tendrils of fire to the best of his ability. There were a few close calls, but none of the flames managed to touch either of them.
"I… I think we might have a problem Lucy!" Happy groaned.
"What? No!" she exclaimed, looking up at him. "We cannot be having a problem while we're hundreds of feet in the air!"
"I'm… I'm sorry!"
With a soft 'pop,' Happy's wings vanished. Gravity swiftly reassumed control over them, and Lucy clutched the blue cat to her chest as they plummeted towards the rolling waves. Hitting the water with enough force to dive the air from her lungs, Lucy briefly saw stars. Her vision swam for a few moments, but as it cleared, a bright glint at the bottom of the seabed caught her attention.
Hopeful, she swam downward. Her wet clothing didn't make the action very easy, but she ignored her protesting muscles as best she could. Her perseverance proved fruitful, and she was rewarded with the welcome sight of her Celestial gate Keys.
Grabbing them swiftly, she repositioned herself and pushed off of the sea floor. Still clutching Happy against herself with one arm, she kicked and kicked as hard as she could as darkness began to creep at the corners of her vision. Just as her lungs began to burn, she broke through the water's surface and greedily gulped down a lungful of air.
"H-Happy… are you okay?" she sputtered, coughing out a mouthful of seawater.
"D-Don't worry, now we have a way to fight back," Lucy said. Safely stowing her keyring, she pulled one of the golden Gate Keys free and plunged it into the water. "Open, Gate of the Water Bearer: Aquarius!"
The surrounding seawater was pulled into a vacuum, forming a whirlpool that was accompanied by the chime of an invisible bell. A blue Magic Circle formed over the surface of the water, and from it emerged a beautiful pale woman with the lower half of a blue fish.
She resembled a royal blue mermaid, with light blue hair flowing over her shoulders and down her exposed back. The only clothes she wore was a revealing, dark blue bikini top that barely covered her large bust, along with two golden bracelets on both of her forearms.
"A fishy!" Happy cried out excitedly.
"I'd better not catch you munching on my Spirit!" Lucy threatened
Aquarius' eyes opened, revealing aquamarine irises devoid of pupils. Her gaze turned down to the owner of her key, and her serene expression immediately soured. "What. Do. You. WANT?"
"So scary!" Happy said, paddling through the water to hide behind Lucy.
She couldn't really blame him. Aquarius was never a good mood, and getting her to cooperate was more of a hassle than it was ever really worth. Swallowing, Lucy flinched under the piercing gaze of the Celestial Spirit.
"I, um… I was just wondering if you could maybe use your amazing powers to push that ship back into the harbor…?" she said. The best way to get Aquarius to do what she wanted was through flattery. That being the case, she decided to lay it on thick. "It shown't be too hard for someone as amazing and beautiful you to do that, right?"
Aquarius stared at her silently. Then, after a moment, she breathed out an aggravated sigh. "If you even think about summoning me for something stupid like this again, you're dead. Understand?"
"Yes ma'am! You don't have to tell me twice!"
Evidently satisfied, Aquarius raised the ornately-decorated silver vase that she'd been holding in her hands. The surrounding seawater moved with her, reflecting her motions like a gigantic puppet being controlled by an expert puppeteer. Then, in an unnecessary display of ferocity, she shouted angrily and thrusted the vase —which she did not let go of — in the direction of the shoreline. The ocean frothed an roiled in repose to her very clear command.
An enormous wave, appearing out of nowhere, surged beneath Salamander's yacht and pushed in back towards the harbor. Of course, as fate would have it, Lucy and Happy were both swept along as well.
"Aaaugh!" Lucy screamed, though she was quickly silenced by a mouthful of saltwater.
"I don't wanna die!" Happy cried, tears flowing form his eyes.
The world flipped, then flopped, the became right again.
Hitting the sandy beach like a sack of rocks, Lucy coughed up decent amount of water that had flowed into her lungs. Weakly raising her head and looking in Aquarius' direction, she fixed the Celestial Spirit with a scathing gaze. "Next time… try not to take me along for the ride…"
"Oh, that was an accident. I wasn't trying to hit the boat."
"What the heck does that mean?!"
Turning away, Aquarius ignored her mistress' outburst. "Try not to bother me for a while, okay? I'm going on a week-long vacation with my boyfriend." With that final taunt, she vanished in a brief flash of shimmering light.
"She doesn't have to keep rubbing it in…" Lucy grumbled. Reaching with a hand to massage her aching back, she shakily rose tot her feet and turned to look up at Salamander's beached yacht. It turned over on its side, and a thin trail of smoke wafted up into the air from the section where Natsu had initially blown a hole through the hole.
One by one, several dozen women staggered out of the wreck.
They all seemed far more aware of their surroundings than they'd been before, and Lucy breathed out a sigh of relief upon realizing that Salamander's charm spell must've been broken.
Unfortunately, her relief was quickly shattered as the crew members gradually began to appear as well. Holding a hand to his head, Salamander himself stood at the head of the pack of lowlifes. It didn't take long for the girls to notice him, and they all quickly ran away.
Fortunately, he ignored them completely.
Unfortunately, his furious gaze was locked on Lucy alone…
"You," he growled, marching forward. "This is all your fault! You've been way more trouble than you're worth… I should've just left you sitting on that damn park bench!"
Lucy took a step back, reaching for another Gate Key.
"I don't think so!" Salamander shouted, stretching his arms out wide to his sides. A magic circle appeared over his chest, from which a spiraling column of purple fire shot forth. "Prominence Typhoon!"
The roaring inferno moved quickly, threatening to envelop her. Raising one of her golden keys, Lucy prepared to summon another Celestial Spirit.
However, it proved unnecessary.
Jolting back in shock as a gigantic sword suddenly fell from the sky and pierced the ground in front of her, Lucy watched in awe as it effortlessly blocked the flames generated by Salamander's magic. As the flames dissipated, the blade hummed with power, and was violently ripped out of the ground by an unseen force.
Bewildered, Lucy watched it sail back up into the air and into the outstretched hand of a very familiar orange-haired young man.
Ichigo looked a far cry different compared to the last time she'd seen him.
Whereas he'd previously been garbed in ordinary street clothes, he was now dressed in a long black robe that nearly reached his ankles. Additionally, there were two white shoulder plates crossing his chest in an x-shape, with the plate on his left shoulder being decorated with three overlapping sections covered in what looked like red scales. An identical pattern was positioned on his right hip, and sat over a tattered white cloak that was tied around his waist.
"I-Ichigo?! You can use magic too?" Lucy exclaimed, still clutching Happy to her chest. "What are you doing here?"
The young man —having landed on the sand between her and Salamander — adopted a defensive stance. And yet, despite seeming ready for a fight, he looked back over his left shoulder and offered Lucy a reassuring smile. "I went to the local authorities, but apparently there's no one in Hargeon officially licensed to deal with rogue wizards. The Rune Knights are supposed to be one their way, but I couldn't just sit back and wait for them to take their time getting here."
"The Rune Knights?!" Salamander shouted, drawing their attention. His furious expression had been replaced by fear. "To hell with that! I'm too handsome to go to prison!"
"Well you don't have much of a damn choice," Ichigo snorted, raising his enormous sword for emphasis. "But by all means… resist." A visible aura of rippling blue energy suddenly engulfed him, and Lucy finally managed to put two and two together.
The pressure in the air that she'd been feeling since leaving the ship… it had been sheer magic power.
Ichigo's magic power.
It was potent enough to burn away the sand beneath his feet. The seawater along the shoreline began to froth and boil as well, generating thick whips of steam that rose into the air. The nearby wooden pier, which had been sturdy enough to withstand the tidal wave created by Aquarius, quickly caught fire and began to burn.
It was incredible.
Actually, it was downright terrifying.
And yet, Lucy instinctively knew she was safe.
"Wow…" Happy whispered, still held in her arms. "I had no idea Ichigo was so powerful."
"Neither did I…" she replied absently, enraptured by the breathtaking display.
Ichigo spoke again — addressing Salamander — and his voice rattled her to the bone. "You're gonna turn yourself in. You're gonna wait here for the Rune Knights. You're going to stand trial before the Magic Council and accept your punishment. Don't make me ask twice."
Sweating heavily, Salamander took a step back. "I… I… I knew I recognized you! I saw you in Margaret Town! You killed the Leviathan that was eating the local livestock!"
"I think we'd better do as he says, Bora," one of the crewmen said.
Happy's ears twitched, and Lucy managed to tear her gaze away from Ichigo to look down at him. "What is it?"
"I've heard that name before," the blue feline replied. "That's Bora the Prominence. Rumor has it he was kicked out of the Titan Nose wizard guild a few years ago because of bad behavior."
"So he's not the real Salamander after all…?"
"Okay! Okay!" Bora said, raising his hands in the air. "I surrender! Just please, don't hurt me."
"TO HELL WITH THAT!"
Everyone on the beach turned to look towards the overturned yacht, where a large explosion suddenly ripped through the exposed underside of the boat. Smoke billowed into the air, and the area was illuminated by a bright shower of cinders. Body wreathed in orange flames, Natsu emerged from the new hole in the yacht and jumped down onto the sand.
"Holy crap, he's on fire!"
"How is he alive?"
Bora's crew continued to shout out random observations, but Lucy's attention was promptly demanded by the unmistakable tattoo on Natsu's right shoulder. She hadn't managed to see it before, but the red symbol was now displayed proudly for all to see.
"He's part of Fairy Tail?!" she exclaimed.
"I didn't see that coming…" Ichigo mused.
"Oh yeah," Happy chimed in, "I probably should have mentioned that Natsu is a wizard, huh? He uses a special type of magic called Dragon Slayer Magic, which allows him to adopt certain physical attributes of a real dragon."
Ignoring them all, Natsu marched forward with a snarl plastered on his face. It was quite evident who he was focused on. "So, I hear you're a Fairy Tail wizard? Well that's funny, because I've never seen you at the guild before!"
"Oh shit…" Bora swore, hands still raised in surrender.
"I have no idea what you're tryin' to do here. I don't care if you're a good guy, bad guy, or whatever. I'm not gonna let you dirty the Fairy Tail name!" Natsu declared angrily.
Continuing his march forward, the pink-haired boy headed straight for Bora and raised his right fist. The flames surrounding his body coalesced around his knuckles. "Fire Dragon: Iron-"
Lucy blinked in surprise when Ichigo suddenly snatched Natsu's flaming first and stopped him from slugging Bora across the jaw. "It's over, Natsu. The army is on its way, and this asshole will be spending the foreseeable future in a prison cell."
The shock on the Dragon's Slayer's face was quickly replaced with rage. "What the heck do you think you're doing?! That guy was lying about being a Fairy Tail wizard! I won't let him get away with that!"
"Look around you!" Ichigo shouted, making the shorter boy flinch back. "The harbor is destroyed! The lower streets of the city are flooded! I think we've done enough. Bora has been stopped, and his human trafficking operation has been exposed. We did good, despite all the damage."
"Look, I understand wanting to defend your guild's reputation. I really do. But as far as I can tell, you aren't here on an official job, which means you weren't contracted to deal with the situation. I know it's a stupid rule, but you'll be held fully accountable if the Rune Knights show up and catch you beating Bora's face in without permission. And, by extent, your guild will be held accountable. Do you really want to put them through all of that trouble?"
Natsu deflated, and the flames surrounding his fist slowly extinguished. "No…"
Evidently satisfied, Ichigo nodded. Turning his attention to Bora and his men, the orange-head scowled. "Stay put. If you run away, I will find out. And next time, I'll bethe one who knocks some sense into you."
All of the slavers immediately plopped down onto the sand.
Turning his back on them, Ichigo stepped forward and slung his sword across shoulders. "All things considered, I think that went pretty well."
"I didn't get to punch him…" Natsu sulked.
"Are we even going to talk about what just happened?!" Lucy shouted incredulously, releasing Happy to throw her hands in the air. "That was amazing! How did I not realize that you two are wizards?!"
Ichigo shrugged. "I don't like to brag about it."
"You didn't ask," Natsu replied.
"Ugh. Boys." Planting her hands on her hips, Lucy regarded the two young men with a questioning expression. "So, what now?"
"I… don't really need to be here when the army shows up," Ichigo said rather sheepishly. "I don't want to talk about it, but I've gotten in trouble with the Magic Council before. I don't need them to find me here and immediately assume I'm responsible for everything."
"Do I even want to know…?"
"Oh!" Natsu suddenly exclaimed, expression brightening. "You guys should come with me and Happy!"
"Aye!" the blue feline agreed.
"What for?" Ichigo inquired, raising a brow.
"You both seem pretty cool," the Dragon Slayer replied, smiling widely. "I think you should join my guild!"
Lucy's mood did a complete flip. After everything she'd been through tonight, and after all the lies she'd been told, her hopes of actually joining Fairy Tail had gone down the metaphorical toilet. But now, an actual guild member was standing in front of her and offering her membership. How could she possibly refuse?
"Yes!" she agreed ecstatically. "A thousand times yes!" Looking to Ichigo, she was immediately surprised to see that he evidently didn't share her enthusiasm. The orange-head's expression was thoughtful, and his eyes seemed distant. "Ichigo? Are you alright?"
He blinked, meeting her eyes. "Yeah. I just… I never pictured myself joining a guild. Being able to help people without worrying about the Magic Council hunting me down sounds pretty tempting, I'll admit. But I'm still not completely sure."
"Oh… well, you're going to Magnolia anyway, right? The Fairy Tail guild hall is in the same city, so why don't we all travel together while you think it over?"
"I guess so…"
"Awesome!" Natsu exclaimed, evidently undeterred by Ichigo's indecisiveness."Let's go home!"
"Aye, Sir!" Happy cheered.
"I still haven't agreed!"
Lucy couldn't help but laugh as Natsu and Ichigo began to lightheartedly bicker back and forth. Following the pink-haired Dragon Slayer and orange-haired swordsman as they walked across the beach and towards the main city, she clasped her hands behind her back and smiled happily.
'Fairy Tail, here I come!'
First chapter: complete.
I've had trouble with continuing new stories in the past, but that was largely due to a lack of passion. Some ideas seem great when you originally think of them, but then they don't work out so well when you put them to paper. However, I don't think I'll have the same issue with this story. Bleach and Fairy Tail are two of my favorite series, and they can actually mesh pretty well together.
The only reason I didn't write a Bleach/Fairy Tail crossover much sooner is because its been done so many times before.
Now, with that said, let's talk about the actual chapter.
As you've all likely noticed by now, Ichigo started out the story in Fiore instead of being transported to Earth Land from the main Bleach universe. I will reveal how he and his family came to arrive in the Fairy Tail world eventually, but that won't be for some time.
You'll just have to wait and see.
A lot of you are probably also wondering why I didn't have Ichigo take Bora out as soon as he realized what was going on with the charm ring. To be fair, although Ichigo is certainly the kind of person who will rush into a situation without worrying about the consequences, he is also a fairly intelligent person. He can read a situation and act appropriately.
I am also trying to depict him as a bit more mature than in the main Bleach continuity, and that is simply because he's still trying to fully adjust to the Fairy Tail world. How would you act if you were suddenly transported to a completely different planet? Would you run around screeching like a baboon, or would you act cautiously as you learn more about your new environment? Ichigo realizes that he can't act the same way he did on his own world.
He will still be hotheaded and short-tempered, but he is more mature.
I hope everyone likes this new story so far.