A/N: Here we go again. I really should finish old stories before starting new ones. *sigh*. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy this! Quick note, this is set a few years after the events of Fairy Tail. Also, I haven't quite finished the Oracion Seis arc, so it's highly possible that I could be completely messing up the story. Please forgive me. I'll do my best to keep things accurate without spoiling it for myself too much.
The lights in the room were bright, almost blinding after the darkness of his cell. It wasn't the first time he had been in here, but it had been the first in several months. The matter of his trial and sentencing had been postponed time and time again, largely, he suspected, due to the intervention of Makarov and the rest of Fairy Tail. He never understood why they would do this for him, someone like him that had killed and hurt countless other people in the past. For himself, he was getting tired of waiting. He knew where this was going, and he was ready to die.
It was, after all, only what he deserved.
So when, after three years of waiting, he heard the verdict, his first thought was that he hadn't heard right. He had been expecting execution, or at least life imprisonment. He had not been expecting this.
It was the first thing he had said since they brought him out of his cell, and his voice sounded rough to his own ears. He had spoken quietly, but even so, the councilman reading his verdict fell silent, narrowing his eyes and glaring at him. "Did you not hear me correctly?" he asked.
"I'm afraid I didn't," said Jellal. "Did I just hear you say I was to receive conditional release?"
"Yes," said the councilman. The word sounded strained, as if it hurt him to say it. Jellal's eyes widened as the councilman went on. "After numerous petitions in your behalf by certain high ranked wizards that prefer to remain unnamed—," Jellal had some idea who those must be. "—we have determined that there is sufficient doubt that you were in control of your actions with regards to the Tower of Heaven incident. However, should you violate the terms of your release, you will be arrested and executed. Do you understand?"
He nodded, feeling numb. Why would they do this for him? Why would she do this for him…?
"Very well," said the councilman, with all the air of somebody going through the legal motions while wishing he could be doing something else. "I will now read to you the terms of your release. Should you wish to review them, a copy will be given to you before you leave. First, ecause Fairy Tail is largely responsible for this verdict, you will be released into their custody. You are free to move about the city of Magnolia as you wish, however, you must not leave the city, whose boundaries are detailed in the copy of the document that will be given to you, without being accompanied by a Fairy Tail wizard of S-Class rank. Do you understand?"
He nodded again. Magnolia was no small city. Even though he would still be confined within its boundaries, it was more than he had expected.
"Second, outside the city's boundaries, you are to remain in the same building as your escort when inside, and when outside, you are to remain in sight. Do you understand?"
"Third, you are forbidden to use any magic without the permission of Makarov Dreyar or an S-class wizard to which he grants that authority, except in the case of magical vehicles or other devices that run on magical power. If you are given permission, Fairy Tail will be held responsible for your actions while using magic. Do you understand?"
Another nod. He wondered if Fairy Tail understood what they had gotten themselves into. Anything he did would reflect on them now. His fists clenched. Better that they had just left him to die.
"Lastly, you are subject to the authority of Makarov Dreyar, and are to obey any extra instructions not contrary to these conditions. Do you understand all of these?"
He nodded for the last time. When nobody moved, he realized they were expecting a verbal response and cleared his throat. "I understand."
The councilman nodded, rolling up the scroll he was reading from and putting it away. "You will be returned to your cell. In 24 hours, you will be collected and transported to Magnolia." He raised the gavel and slammed it down hard, the sharp crack echoing throughout the small chamber. In an instant, guards were at his sides again, their hands on his arms. He turned, allowing himself to be led away.
He would be seeing them soon, he realized. And despite everything that had happened, he wasn't sure he was looking forward to the encounter.
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