She weighed the spear in her hand, feeling the cool steel of the Ten Commandments slowly warming in her palm. It was good to finally be back.

Erza took a deep breath. She was all alone in the clearing, surrounded by tall oak trees, the sunlight filtering through the rustling leaves. The ground beneath her feet crunched as she shifted her weight around.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

The cool air felt sweet as she inhaled deeply. Taking one last look around her, she started going through the motions slowly.

Being in a coma for two months had led to some muscle atrophy and she had undertaken an intense physiotherapy program for the last four months. It was a rude awakening for her to find that she couldn't perform even the most basic of things such as walking or lifting things. Training and sparring were obviously out of the question. She grimaced at the memories. The feeling of being so useless and helpless still left a bitter taste in her mouth. The great Captain Knightwalker, being reduced to someone even weaker than an average person. Unforgiveable. Still, it was of some consolation that she had only been reduced to such a state because she had fulfilled her duty to protect the king, to protect him.

So she had pushed herself in order to speed up the recovery process, doing everything possible. More exercises, longer hours, brutal work regimes, she tried everything. She needed to shake off the hollow feeling that had wormed its way into her heart.

During her first few weeks, she had bullied and tormented her physiotherapists in the hopes of being able to resume duty quickly and within one month, she had already had three different physiotherapists. When the last one had once more submitted to her demands of rushing through the therapy, having been too intimidated to object, Laxus had finally stepped in to personally supervise her.

She soon realised that arguing with Laxus was futile. He could easily overpower her in her current weakened condition, something that she had learnt the hard way. During that one time, her frustration had gotten the better of her and she had thrown a punch at him. Sidestepping her weak attack, the blond had proceeded to twist her arm deftly behind her back in one swift motion and the muscles in her thighs had faltered, sending her onto her knees. When he had released her, she could feel the fatigue sweeping through her entire frame and she couldn't move for a second. Grunting with the effort, he had grabbed her by the arms and pulled her up.

"Now you understand why you have to rebuild your muscles slowly?" He had chided her and she had let out a stream of curses in response.

She knew that he genuinely wanted to help her. Laxus was a good friend. He was dependable, honest and altruistic. His carefree attitude made people want to naturally open up to him and coupled with his uncanny ability to see through people, it was almost enough to make her confess her worries to him. Almost. Her sense of pride was too strong for her to openly display such weakness.

Still, she hated herself for even allowing him to perceive her weakness. She hated that he could see through all of the walls that she had erected around her heart and yet pretend that he couldn't. And it was this feeling, and her pride, that triggered her defence mechanism to fight back, to push back, to push him away.

Laxus had simply laughed at her attempts and continued his good deeds. As the days progressed, the two of them settled into a familiar routine.

They had first started out with the basics, simple exercises such as moving the arms and legs and walking. As time passed, they had moved on to more intense exercises like running and light sparring before finally restarting her training regime.

Erza had fought him every step of the way, often trying to sneak in more rigorous exercises or longer hours. In return, he had pushed back even harder and harder until she had finally relented after a particular incident.

She twirled the lance between her fingers expertly, feeling the smooth metal roll over in her hands. It cut through the air with a loud whoosh and she extended it forwards with a flourish. Using her momentum, Erza spun around and was about to stab an imaginary enemy when a jolt of pain flashed up her right arm. The sudden numbness caused her to drop her weapon and she watched as it fell to the ground with a loud clatter.

Breathing heavily, she flexed her fingers uncertainly and bent down to retrieve her weapon. It was most likely a slip of the hand due to her lack of practice, she thought to herself, pushing away the other thoughts of her condition regressing. With the lance in her hand, she continued with her usual routine.

Forwards, left, right, right, stab.

Backwards, right, left, dodge, strike.

She sprang forwards, lance raised high when her knee suddenly gave way and she tumbled unceremoniously to the ground. Erza rolled to her side and struggled to her feet. Her fingers curled around the loose dirt on the ground in frustration. It had almost been three months and she was still way below her usual standards.

"Damn it, damn it, damn it!"

She pounded the ground with her fist, her face contorted in rage. Damn it, she felt so weak, so useless.

"Knightwalker, it's alright. You're just having a bad day."

Her eyes narrowed into slits, unbridled rage gleaming in her eyes and she spun around, throwing her lance at him with all her might.

Laxus tilted his head slightly, arms crossed at his chest as he looked on with a bored expression, the weapon embedding itself into the tree trunk just next to his head. She had thrown the lance with such force that half of the blade had penetrated into the wood and he could feel the vibrations from the lance shaking the entire tree.

Well, at least her throwing arm and aim were alright.

He ruffled his unruly hair lazily, pushing himself off the tree and made his way to her. "Calm down or you'll end up hurting yourself."

Blinded by anger, she launched a flurry of attacks at him, allowing the rage to consume her. She knew that she was weak for succumbing to her fury but she didn't want to think. She didn't want to think about her situation. She didn't want to think about him.

The male parried each and every blow and finally, he spun her around and locked her in a hug like grip from behind, effectively trapping her arms. He didn't speak but merely held her as she struggled with all her might against his hold, desperately trying to break free.

She cursed and swore at him, spouting all kinds of threat that would make a lesser man quiver in his boots, but he did not reply, choosing to restrain her wordlessly. He understood that her pride was taking a real good beating. He knew that she was struggling to come to terms with this 'weakness' and because of that, he held her close to him as she raged against the world.

After what seemed like an eternity, Erza grew limp in his arms, all of her energy drained from her body. Laxus took a deep breath and released her, wincing at the strained feeling in his biceps. Damn, she was strong, especially when she was fuelled by her infamous temper.


She did not reply. Breathing heavily, she stalked over to retrieve her weapon.

He stood there, staring at her retreating back. It wasn't just the frustration of feeling 'weak' or not being able to reach her pre-injury fighting standards feeding her anger. It was also aggravation at the whole situation. He could see it in her eyes. It was the confusion at the realisation slowly sinking into her as she started to come to terms with her feelings. It was the disappointment at the fact that Jellal hadn't come to find her. It was the bitterness of someone who was trying too hard to regain what she had lost within too short a period of time.

The captain shook his head. When would she realise that everything came with time? Why couldn't she see that she had lost nothing that she couldn't regain?

He looked up at the blue sky, a frown marring his handsome face.

Why couldn't she see that she hadn't lost anything when it came to Jellal?

They never talked about her near-death incident. He had never approached her about it, often feeling the heavy burden of guilt weighing down on his shoulders.

She had never opened up about it. He needed to learn that it was all part of her duties and that such risks were part and parcel.

He had deliberately thrown himself headfirst into his work just to distract himself from the temptation of guiding her through every step of her recovery. He did not want to seem overbearing and he knew that she would not want him to witness her moment of weakness. The tension between them was palpable. There was some sort of unspoken agreement between them, where they would avoid all contact until she had recovered and resumed her duties, and it was driving him crazy. She would see him in the corridors and turn and leave, seeking another route to her destination. He would catch a glimpse of her scarlet hair and look away, avoiding eye contact. They knew each other's schedules and both would go out of their way to work around each other.

Over time, even these stolen moments were lost. They knew each other too well and evading one another was too easy. But as time dragged on, he felt his self-control starting to waver. He needed to see her with his own eyes to make sure that she was alright. He needed to touch her, to feel her warm body to prove that it was not just a dream, that she was still alive. He needed to hold her and never let her go, because the aching feeling in his chest was eating him alive. Temptation had gnawed at him many times and it had taken him every ounce of willpower to resist the urge to barge into her room and confront her.

So it came as a surprise when she sauntered into the meeting room 4 months later as if nothing had happened and all he could do was stare at her in wonder and disbelief. He had to muster all of his discipline to restrain himself from reaching out and touching her gently on the cheek just to confirm that it was all real.

"Captain…Knightwalker," he breathed, still not quite believing his eyes.

Erza smirked at the shocked faces in the room, eyes lingering on Laxus for a tad longer than the others as he raised a hand in greeting, a lazy smile on his lips, before turning back to her king. "I apologise for my tardiness Your Majesty. Captain Erza Knightwalker, reporting for duty."

Jellal stood up from his chair slowly and shuffled over to her in a semi-trancelike state. "You're back," he murmured.

She nodded, feeling the emotions welling up in her. He looked older, wiser, she mused to herself. Feeling the gaze of the entire room on them, Erza coughed lightly. "I hope I haven't missed too much."

"No, you haven't…" Jellal mumbled as the female captain made her way over to her chair, his eyes never leaving her form.

She hadn't missed much but he had missed her a lot.

3 months later...

"Stop fidgeting man, you look like you're gonna piss your pants or something," Laxus waved a hand dismissively.

Jellal shot him a glare but the blond ignored him pointedly and continued, clearly aware of the distress his friend was in. "Here, let me show you."

With a dramatic sweep of his cape, the captain whirled around in a swirl of black and yellow and knelt down in front of Jellal.

Jellal cocked an eyebrow. He was not amused. "And you're deciding to show me the proper amount of respect now because…" he faltered as the blond took his hand and clasped it between his. "Oh you have got to be kidding me."

Laxus looked up at him in all seriousness. "Jellal, I've been thinking long and hard and I've decided that I want to marry you. I want you to stay by my side for all of eternity."

An awkward silence followed his speech, with Laxus still kneeling and Jellal staring at him, unable to believe the horrors that he was hearing.

"So…that's it?" The king asked slowly.

"Well yeah, what about it?"

Jellal stifled his laughter. "And you expect a girl to fall for that crap?"

Laxus feigned offence but his eyes sparkled mischievously. "I'm hurt, truly. This hurts more than an outright rejection."

A cough sounded behind the both of them. Jellal whipped around as Laxus stared behind him, a large smile forming on his face.

Recognising the intruder, Laxus got to his feet with a dramatic wave of his hand. "No!" He howled. "Our secret's out!" He pressed the back of his hand to his forehead, eyes half shut. "Jellal, our secret love is secret no more!"

"Clearly." Jellal deadpanned. "Right. Guess we'll just have to break up then. Sorry Laxus. It was fun while it lasted."

Laxus snickered and Erza rolled her eyes at their antics. "I apologise for interrupting such a private and intimate moment Your Majesty," she smirked at the look of absolute horror spreading across the king's face, "but Byro is looking for Laxus."

Laxus stood up swiftly, snapping to attention. "Duty calls! See you later baby!" He gave a mock salute to Jellal and winked at Erza before making his way to the meeting room.

As Laxus's laughter faded away, the two of them were left standing there, an awkward silence hanging in the air. Erza nodded at Jellal. "If you'll excuse me, Your Majesty."

"Erza, wait."

The sudden seriousness in his voice sent shudders through her and her footsteps faltered for a second before she turned around.

"Yes, Your Majesty?"

She looked apprehensive as he approached her. He stood tall, looking down at her and she took a step back instinctively. She needed space and he was standing too close for comfort.

Slowly, without taking his eyes off of hers, he sank down on one knee. Her eye's widened. A king should not kneel before anyone.

"You…what are you doing, get up," she hissed, losing all composure.

Jellal ignored her. With one hand on his knee and the other fisted above his armour were his heart was, he started.

"Erza, I think it's time that I asked you this." His hazel eyes melted into a warm chocolate brown. "I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Not just as a king and his knight. I want more. I want to stay with you through the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to be there for you every minute of every hour of every day. I want to marry you."

He remained kneeling before her, looking up at her with patient eyes. He had all the time in the world, he could wait for her answer as long as she gave him one.

Erza stared at him, a mixture of emotions raging inside her heart. Longing, because she wanted what he was offering her; love, care, kindness, support. Anger, because the hollow feeling of vulnerability fought bitterly against the positive feelings, and she hated herself for being so weak. She hated him for being so weak. He was a proud king of Edolas and yet he was putting her before Edolas, anchoring himself into submission, and all because of her. In other words, she was holding him back. A part of her wanted to say no, because Edolas was the most important thing in her life, should be the most important thing in their lives. But a little part of her, locked away deep inside the depths of her heart, wanted to say yes. Because she was selfish and she wanted, no, needed him.

Licking her lips, Erza forced herself to look at him one more time. Her eyes flickered to his attire. Jellal was dressed as Mystogan, complete with bandana, mask and cape. For a second, she couldn't understand why her instincts were directing her attention to these details. Then it finally hit her.

He was proposing to her as Mystogan, not the king. Her eyes shot wide open. He was planning on keeping his dual-identity, which meant that she would not become Queen, at least not until his secret had been discovered by the Council. She would be free to continue her life as a soldier, as a captain without the burdens of being Queen of Edolas. He was giving her a way out.

He was also sending her a message. He was telling her that a part of him would always be Mystogan, an Earthland Fairy Tail mage and the prince who had fled Edolas to save it from destruction in the future. He was asking that she accept him for who he was and by baring his soul to her so willingly, when he knew that she held so much power over his heart and mind, it was the ultimate sign of trust from him. He had given his heart to her, with the knowledge that she could crush it at any time she pleased, and slowly over time, she had responded by giving him the key to hers. Even now, she was still unsure if that was a wise move on her part.

Her vision blurred for a second but she focused her attention back on him when he spoke again. This time, she could hear the pleading in his voice, the slight hint at resignation tingeing his tone.

"I can't change the past," Jellal said, almost as if he could see the thoughts in her head. "But it's a completely different matter regarding the future. I want you to be a part of it, not just in a professional capacity, I want more."

He took a breath and continued. "And if…if you say no, then I will respect your decision and I will no longer pursue this matter ever again. If you say no, then I will walk away and we can continue with our lives as if it was all a dream."

She could hear the unspoken statement.

But if you say no, then I'm not sure how to carry on.

She flinched inwardly when she saw his heart shatter into a million pieces right in front of her.

He shifted his weight slightly, his eyes never leaving hers. "But if you love me, then all I ask is that you stop running. Please. Please stay with me. Don't fight it. Stay with me and don't leave me because," his voice broke slightly, "because I can't do this without you. I can't live like this, seeing you every day but knowing that I can't be with you. Please."

She did not look at him. She couldn't. She couldn't bear to look at him because she knew that she had caused him so much pain, pain so unbearable that even a sadistic murderer like herself felt guilty at accomplishing such a dishonourable feat. Erza knew, oh she knew, how he was resigned to losing her but he was still fighting. She cursed herself for her weakness. She hated feeling so lost, so vulnerable and having to admit that she loved him. She hated it. And she hated him, because of what he represented. He was her weakness, a weakness that she had desperately fought against. But despite her valiant efforts, in the end, she was only human.

Without a word, she walked past him.

Jellal knelt there, frozen. The blood was pulsing in his ears and his heart was pounding so hard that he was almost certain that she could hear every beat. He had said everything that he could say to convince her. Now it was up to her. And that thought alone terrified him more than anything.

What would he do if she really did refuse? Could he really move on? Could he continue as if nothing had happened? Could he withstand the pain of seeing her every day, working with her on a daily basis and yet not be able to love her? Could he really accept that one day, she would find another man?

He swallowed, his throat dry and with his breathing echoing in his ears. The whole ordeal finally started to sink in and the silence was killing him as resignation settled within his heart. He had nearly lost her when she had nearly died for him. Now he felt like he was losing her all over again.

He loved her so much. On one hand, it was like this most wonderous feeling of something expanding in his chest, threatening to explode and overwhelm him. But on the other hand, it felt as if she was standing in front of his kneeling form, twisting the knife lodged in his chest before ripping his heart clean from his chest. And during those times, he wanted nothing more than to sever the blood vessels and give it to her so that the pain would go away.

He looked up at her, eyes desperately searching her face for any signs. Hesitation flickered in her eyes and his heart clenched when fear entered the mixture.

Calm, he needed to remain calm.

He had played the scenario in his head so many times and although his head was unsure as to how she would react, his heart told him that she would accept. And it was this misguided sense of optimism that left him stunned as she breezed past him wordlessly.

Jellal bit back a gasp. Disappointment and pain flooded him and he held his breath in order to control his shaking. He had promised her that he would walk away if she rejected his proposal and the mere thought shook him as he fought back tears. He didn't need to make things more complicated and difficult between them.

She brushed past him and his grip tightened against his knee, his head bowed. Hot tears spilled down his cheeks. His entire frame shook as he inhaled deeply, blinking away the tears. He couldn't breath. He tried to swallow the heavy lump in his throat, biting at his lower lip to prevent any noise from escaping him.

God, he had been so stupid. Why did he think that he ever had a chance?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And so lost was he in his thoughts that his eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat when she spoke again.

She brushed past him.

He was still on one knee, head bowed as if he was too afraid to look at her.

Erza continued on her way, too afraid to look at him either. She didn't see his eyes squeeze shut in barely concealed pain. She didn't see the tears spilling down his cheeks. She didn't see his body shake with controlled sadness.

But he didn't see the ghost of a smile on her face. He didn't see the blush creeping up her neck. He didn't see the content in her eyes, having come to terms with her feelings, as she walked past him and spoke softly, so softly that he nearly missed it.


Author's note:

Seriously guys, 6 updates in a little more than 1 month? I'm spoiling you guys rotten.

I actually finished this a few days ago but I needed to wait for the date to turn to the 25th so I had to post this after 3am (thanks west coast). Anyway, so like Mirime offered to write something for anyone who sent her a prompt/pairing since it's her birthday today (25th September). I was sorely tempted but didn't think it was really fair since it's her birthday so I decided to give something to her. And here it is, happy birthday Mirime (if you're still reading this hahaha). What better way to finish such an old Mystwalker fanfic than by giving it to the veteran of the fandom? Have a good one.

Well there we go, final chapter and Retribution is finally over after 3 long years, let's ignore the fact that I was on hiatus for 2 of those 3 years. Started this story when there were only around 30 Jerza fics and 10 Mystwalker fics. Now, see how far we've come?

Old readers, thanks for staying with me. New readers, go check out my other stories hahaha. I have gotten the sequel planned out already so look out for it. I guess I'm a bit reluctant to call it a sequel because it's going to be a much darker story (you can read it as a completely separate story) and I'm going to try out another style (I guess something similar to Outlines). I mean, I feel like I've matured enough as a writer since 3 years ago to be able to focus more on character development and the emotional aspect of the story rather than being so action plot-driven. I look back at this story and just see loads of plot holes and lack of character development so that's something I'd like to work on.

I guess it's still kind of like a sequel since it's a continuation of the world created in Retribution and explores the next step of their relationship. I guess you could keep in mind that it's sort of a sequel but it would be best if you pretended that another author is writing it? I dunno.

Here's just an extra for your entertainment. These were just some crazy and stupid bits I made up with Hikari on Skype. Don't take them seriously.


Marriage proposal

Take #1

Slowly, without taking his eyes off of hers, he sank down on one knee. Her eye's widened. A king should not kneel before anyone.

"You…what are you doing, get up," she hissed, losing all composure.

Jellal ignored her. With one hand on his knee and the other fisted above his armour were his heart was, he started.

"Erza, I think it's time that I asked you this." His hazel eyes melted into a warm chocolate brown. "Will you marry me?"

She stared at him in shock, mouth open with surprise. Seeing her lack of verbal response, he continued.

"That's a stupid question I guess. You're a mean, cruel, sadistic bitch but you're hot. You're one of the best fighters in Edolas, you're loyal and of noble blood. That makes us a perfect match."

He scratched the back of his neck. "I feel like I'm talking to myself now."

Without a word, she walked past him.


Take #2

"Erza Knightwalker, will you marry me?"

"What, no elaborate flowers and diamonds and necklaces and other expensive products? Come on, you're the King of Edolas, can't you afford some damn roses?"

"You were never a shallow materialistic woman, I thought you wouldn't like such frivolous things."

"Oh so you just didn't want to waste money on things for me."

"Because they're frivolous? Well I didn't think you would want any."

"And what is this proposal? Whimsical?"

"Spontaneous obviously."

"How can I give myself to a man that spontaneously proposes to women? Sure, I give my sword to you in battle but that's only because you don't spontaneously start wars with other nations."

"My apologies, would you like me to try again? Only if you're going to say yes, please don't waste my time."

"Why don't you try and find out?"

- #$%^&*-


-Leg is cramping-

"Erza Knightwalker. After much consideration…"


"What? I haven't even asked yet!"


"Please don't tell me you're pregnant. I'm sure we both used protection, or at least I did."

"Oh please, you're about as fertile as that piece of wood over there."

"But, but I need an heir!"

"Blame yourself for not having strong swimmers."

"Why…you…I...why am I proposing again?"


"Anyway, will you marry me?"

"Sure, why not."

"Oh um right."

"What now?"

"Hmm, I haven't planned that far ahead actually."

"Oh, do you want me to reject you then? That's okay with me too."

"No. NO."

Yeah no, don't let me near Skype or let me rp, guys. See the atrocity that has spawned from my crazy Skype convos?