"I am not going to die, I'm going home like a shooting star." - Sojourner Truth

Chapter 50


So Mama, that was what happened during those two years, the time I had my first child and Loke became my husband. It was two years of happiness and sadness, loyalty and betrayal, despair and immense joy. Our struggles defined us and made our love stronger. Not once have I regretted it.

Three years later, my daughter Stella was born. Sadly, I faced the same issue of a fast pregnancy, an infant who grew at three times the normal speed, and having to give her up after less than a year to be raised in the Spirit World. My wish to Regulus was also bestowed upon Stella, and she only needed one year in the Spirit World until she physically reached the age of maturity. Unlike Luke, Stella chose to be Human because she wants the freedom to travel around the world. She is now a famous historian, teaches at the University of Fiore, and recently she became the leader of her archeology guild. I don't get to see her much anymore, she's always off at ancient dig sites, but she has made me proud. She has the skills to be a great celestial summoner, so I have been giving her some of my keys over the years. Virgo says Stella is a kind owner, although she complains at not getting enough punishment. Now, if only Stella would stop cycling through boyfriends every week!

Loke and I moved into our own place shortly before Stella's birth. Luke lived with us for quite some time. He has apparently stopped aging at around his late teens or early twenties, but he had no desire to leave me too soon. That is, until Asuka came of age. Now they live in the old Heartfilia mansion, which has been converted into a shelter for mage orphans, and they care for those children until they are old enough to join a guild...most go to Fairy Tail, of course! Instead of a wild playboy like his father, Luke turned out to be a loyal husband with a level head and quick wits. He is insanely powerful, a superb fighter when the need arises, fiercely protective, but he's gentle around the children.

As I get older, I'm beginning to wonder what Loke sees in me. I'm always worried and jealous, but he has never shown the smallest bit of disloyalty. I love him more and more every year for continually choosing me over some younger, more lovely woman. He even showed up one day and had changed his hair to silver. He seemed rather proud of himself, bragging about how clever he was to come up with the idea of making himself look older, but I told him never to do that again. I love that orange mane of his, and I want it to be my sunshine throughout the years.

So now we're living alone again. It's just the two of us, but it feels good to have privacy. That is, until Natsu jumps through my window or Gray shows up naked. Then again, my life just wouldn't be the same without those little quirks, and we wouldn't be Fairy Tail mages if we were a perfectly normal family.

Our children are grown. The cubs have left to form their own pride. I wish them luck, and I know Luke and Stella will make me proud.

Watch over them for me, Mama. Watch over all of us.

Your daughter, Lucy.

Many Decades Later

They all knew this day would come.

Lucy laid in the stiff hospital bed that had been her cage for three years already. Her golden hair had long ago turned silver, but her chocolate eyes were still as brightly smiling as ever. Her two men were with her, orange and golden manes on both of them, their faces so similar that, in her aging senility, she often mixed up one for the other.

But not now, not when they were together.

She felt her life reaching its end. She wondered sometimes what Loke saw in her, this decrepit shell who could not even feed herself. Yet he never left her side. He seemed to be more patient these days. A morbid side of Lucy figured he was waiting for her to die and be reborn so he could love her again in the next life. That was fine. It made the passing easier. She knew she would see them again...one day.


His voice speaking that pet name from the past made her smile and took away all pain.


That voice, too. Really, their voices were so alike, only a slight timbre difference distinguished father from son. Luke would always sound a little younger than Loke, although their apparent ages were the same.

She reached her frail hands up, and with shaking fingers she scratched both of them just behind the ears. She swore she could hear them purring.

"My silly Lions," she sighed, and finally Lucy Heartfilia let her soul flow out.

They stood in black suits during the funeral, the only two not bothering with umbrellas to shield them from heavy rain that felt too stereotypical for such a solemn occasion. Their hair stood out like two burning suns amidst the sea of black and gray.

Some of the faces around the cemetery were familiar. Wendy stood with her husband Romeo, her blue hair mixed with silver like a gleaming waterfall, while five tiny blue and white kittens fluttered around her to hide under her umbrella. Master Erza of Fairy Tail, her hair no longer scarlet but pure silver, wore her cloak with the Ten Wizard Saints insignia on the back over solemn black armor. Natsu and Lisanna held onto each other, both of them very old as well; and a little to the side was Gray donning the black trench coat he wore all the time since losing his wife Juvia. It had been a present on their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and only that coat had curbed his exhibitionist tendencies.

Lucy's grave was near others, all etched with the Fairy Tail insignia, a long line of dedicated service: Makarov, Gildarts, Macao, Wakaba, Nab, Laki, Max, Warren, Jet, Droy, Levy, Gajeel, Cana, Mirajane, Elfman, Evergreen, Laxus, Freed, Bickslow, Juvia...proud mages all of them, some dying to protect the innocent, some passing on peacefully like Lucy, living long and wonderful years surrounded by friends.

The last prayer was given, and people began to move away, ready for the gathering that would be held in the guild hall. Loke saw one person walk up to him. Gray's eyes had not cried. His tears dried up the day his rain-woman passed away. Wearing his long black coat, the ancient Gray stared hard, almost bitterly, out of wrinkled eyes. Loke had gotten used to such looks. It was common for the older generation to feel a little bitter that they were so frail now, whereas the Celestial Spirit was as youthful as ever, eternally young and never lacking the power to fight. It created a feeling a jealousy and nostalgia in the older mages.

"Will you watch over her next time, too?" Gray asked, his voice frail but still with that passion that made him such a respected senior member of Fairy Tail.

Loke and Luke both stood firmly. "We both will," Loke promised. "With any luck, I hope you'll all be reborn together."

"I hope so, too," Gray sighed. "And Loke...thanks for staying faithful. I'll be honest, none of us thought you'd see this through to the end. A few decades ago, Cana even began taking bets. I bet in your favor. Too bad she's not with us anymore to pay up."

The Lion smirked. "Of course I stayed loyal. My pride demanded it."

"And a Lion's pride," Luke added in, "can be a very powerful thing."

Loke smiled over to the young man. "Well said, son."

A short distance away, Luke saw two women come forward, one with long orange hair pulled into a lop-sided ponytail and catlike green eyes, and another wearing a cowgirl hat.

"Hey, brother," the ginger girl sighed with a sad smile on her face.

Luke ran up to her and gave her a hug. "Stella! I'm glad you made it. We didn't think you could return from that excavation on Hoshinoue Island in time for Mama's funeral."

"Silly little Lion. I might have chosen to be Human, but I'm still half Spirit. I summoned Virgo and hitched a ride with her through the Spirit World. You know, she's the best Celestial Spirit ever. She makes my archeology digs so much easier."

"Really? So she's better than me and Dad, huh?" he challenged playfully.

"Sure," Stella shrugged. "Virgo is actually useful!" That left Luke's mouth dropped in shock and disappointment. Stella tittered softly at his face. "Oh Luke, you never change! I'm glad," she said with a distant, sad smile. "By the way, Grandpa Mustache says you're in trouble again."

"What?" Luke shouted. "Oh come on, what'd I do this time?"

The orange-haired woman just chuckled. "I dunno, but he said, 'That little lion cub is a troublemaker like his father.'" She tried to mimic the Spirit King, grouchy deep voice and all. "You can always hide with me and Piscis Austrinus on Hoshinoue Island."

"No way! That fishman gives me the creeps!" Luke looked aside. "I have too many bad memories from childhood about that guy."

"Aww, he's nice, and he's awesome when it comes to navigation. That works great on my excavations, and he has so many fascinating stories. I'm glad Mama gave me his key."

"Oh, that reminds me!" Luke dug into his pocket and pulled out a keyring. "All of Mama's Spirit Keys, or at least the ones she hasn't already given to you. She wanted you to have them. She said she knows you'll treat them with kindness. Your passion may lie in being a historian, not a mage, but if you can look up the history of magic then it's a great asset to mages all over the world."

Stella slowly held her hands out and took the keyring in shock. "Seriously? Mama's Spirit Keys? That's...wow, I really don't know what to..." She paused, and her emerald eyes widened in panic. "Hey wait, yours and Dad's aren't on here. Don't tell me you lost them, you idiot cub!"

"Calm down," he said gently. "They're not lost. Aunt Wendy has them for now."

"Aunt Wendy? But she's not a celestial summoner."

Luke gave a light sigh. He knew someone would have to break this news to his sister, and he felt regretful that it had to be him. Still, she needed to know. After all, she was his beloved sister, the girl he had protected for years until the headstrong woman left home to explore the world. "We...we're going to someone else."

"What?" Stella shouted, her voice nearly reaching a screeching level. She ignored the shocked stares from the mourners, blinded by terror at losing her brother. He was her best friend, the only man who understood her. She refused to imagine it, and anger swelled up inside her that he was leaving her now, after the loss of their mother. "Who?" she demanded furiously. "Who'll be your new owner?"

He gave a soft shake of his head. "I don't know yet."

"No way! Luke, you and Dad are my only family now. I can't let some stranger have you."

"Stella." He smiled and patted her shoulder. "It's something we already agreed upon, all three of us: Mama, Dad, and me."

The ginger girl glared in disapproval.

"Oh, don't give me that look," Luke chuckled. "No woman is good enough for your big brother, huh?"

"Asuka is too good for you, in my opinion," she said quietly, glancing over to the woman in a cowgirl hat. "If this new owner is mean to you in any sort of way, you better tell me. I may have joined the archeology guild instead of a mage's guild, but I'm just as good of a Celestial Spirit mage as Mama was!"

"If she threatens me, I'll let you use Aquarius to drown her."

"Oh hell no, then I'd drown, too," Stella grumbled petulantly. "Anyway, I should go say hello to everyone. It's been at least five years. Oh, I got you this. I was going to wait until after the memorial, but I don't know when I'll have to hurry back to the dig site." She slipped a gift box over to him.

"What is it?" Luke questioned, shaking the box.

Stella covered her mouth with a giggle and leaned into his ear. "Magical contraceptives, straight from the infamous bordellos of eastern Kohinur."

"Stella!" he shouted softly, turning bright red as he quickly hid the box in his coat.

"Well, you and Asuka don't want kids, right? You're just adopting, but...you know," she smirked. "You two are still...active, right?"

"How dare you talk like that in front of Mama's grave!"

"Oh please! Mama was the one who asked me to get them for you. She said she knows how it is, a Celestial Spirit and a Human trying to avoid having children. Anyway, I hope you make good used out of them, big brother." She gave him a wink.

"I swear, Stella, you are as bawdy as Dad!" he growled.

"Well, I learned it from somewhere. Talking about him... Hey Dad!" she shouted, waving her arms to get his attention. "Quit talking to the old fogies and come give your baby girl a hug."

She turned aside to greet her father. Luke watched his sister go and shook his head. She was wild at heart, flirtatious, could never settle down...just like Loke had been. Luke on the other hand used his sex appeal only on one woman. He saw her coming up now, a gentle woman whose hair was nearly all gray, yet it gave Asuka a noble look, a proud matron, a great mage who succeeded her parents as Fairy Tail's sharpshooter. Her eyes were still keen, and now they were on him. Even after so many decades, seeing her made his heart melt.

"Luke?" the cowgirl asked quietly, hanging back a little.

"Asuka," Luke sighed. "I thought you were staying with the kids." They had opted to adopt all the children who wandered into the guild just like Erza, Gray, and Natsu had done in their childhood.

"They're fine. Proto is watching over them. That bear won't let a single fly into the house. I had to come. I couldn't leave you, not on a day like this."

She attached herself to Luke's arm. He smiled at Asuka and gave his wife a kiss. She looked so sad for him, but Luke had an expression of acceptance. His mother was Human after all, just like his wife, and even his sister, although Stella aged very slowly since she was half Spirit. One day he would have to say goodbye to them, too. It was all part of a cycle, and it was something he as the Celestial Spirit of Leo Minor had to accept.

Luke joined his father, and they came up to another elderly woman, just a few years older than Asuka. Loke walked up to her while Luke dabbed his wife's tearful eyes.

"Wendy," the senior Lion addressed. "You have the package, right?"

The blue-haired matron nodded, and her flying kittens replied in unison, Aye, sir! "When I sense her soul again, the keys will be given to the mother, and she will give them to the child when the time comes."

"What?" Stella shouted, leaping over to them and staring with huge, emerald, feline eyes. "Ooh, so you're doing that, huh?"

"Yep," Luke grinned.

"Thank you, Wendy," Loke said respectfully. "I know I can trust you to find her again. Well," he smiled, looking to Luke, Asuka, Stella, and all the others. "I'm not bound by an owner anymore. Luke, Stella, tell everyone hello and goodbye for me."

"Dad, aren't you coming to the memorial?" the younger Lion asked in concern.

"Yeah, I just got here," Stella protested.

"I don't think it'd be appropriate for them to see me looking the same after having lost an old friend. It's best this way," he nodded to himself.

"Dad," Stella whispered.

He smiled to his daughter. Stella ended up with Loke's color of hair and eyes, but her face was a replica of Lucy, just how she looked when Loke first fell in love with her. Even the way she fixed her orange hair was Lucy's style, as well as her choice in clothing...although Loke felt her skirts were way too short! He hugged his daughter closely, feeling joy at the children he and Lucy had, all the years of raising them, teaching them, having troubles with them—lots of troubles!—and then watching them grow up and move away, off to start their own lives.

He was so glad Lucy gave him these two precious gifts.

"It'll be fine, Stella. You still have your sweater," he said, tugging on the blue and gold sweater she wore against the pouring rain. "It's celestial clothes. Wearing that, you can hitch a ride with Virgo and visit me any time."

She pouted. "But I can't stay long. I'm not like you and Luke."

"No, you're a Human, and you should be proud of that." Loke squeezed her tighter. "You'll live much longer than others, but it means you'll be around long enough to see all your dreams fulfilled, plus you get to have the freedom of being Human. So enjoy your life, Stella. Enjoy it to the fullest, just like your Mama did."

"Yes, Daddy," she sniffled. "And you, Luke? You're not going away, are you?"

"No," the young man assured her. "I'm not bound by an owner anymore, but I'm strong enough to stay in Earthland for as long as I want. It just means I'll have more free time. Maybe we'll expand the mansion, adopt more orphans," he said, smiling down to Asuka. The cowgirl smiled at that plan and leaned into him.

Loke pulled away and looked around him. Gray came up beside Wendy. Natsu had lingered just enough to see what was going on and came over. Master Erza of course could not leave her brats, not even those only a few years younger than her. She saw their gathering and came up to give the Lion a final smile. She knew it would be their last time together.

"Gray, Natsu, Erza...I'll see you in the next life." Then with a final grin, Loke faded back to the Spirit World.

A Few Years Later

Loke hated hospitals. After having stayed in one for three years with Lucy, he really, really hated them.

Nurses stopped to watch the two of them walk by. One dropped her chart as she gawked at two of the finest looking men she had ever seen. One old lady in a wheelchair watched them pass her, then declared in ecstasy that she could now die a happy woman. A pregnant woman walking the halls saw them and sighed, "I hope my son grows up to be that dashing."

Loke smirked to himself. Yep, he still had the charm!

Luke pulled him forward eagerly. Loke wondered for a moment, if Luke was his son and half-human, why was it that he seemed to stop aging at seventeen so that he looked like a younger brother? The boy was close to a hundred years old now. Perhaps he was eternal as well. Honestly, no one was sure.

"In here, Dad!"

That title always earned them a few stares. An apparent-seventeen-year-old and an apparent-twenty-something-year-old, father and son? Loke left people questioning that. He did not feel like explaining it every single time.

They stepped into a quiet recovery room, following a neatly dressed nurse. Loke could hardly help but give just a little stare at the shortness of her white skirt. Well, technically he wasn't married anymore!

"Ma'am," the nurse said in the quiet tone of a hospital worker. "You have visitors."

A curtain was pulled aside, and Loke saw a woman in bed. She had black-blue hair and gray-blue eyes. Her face was still pale from exertion, and she wore a plain hospital gown. Beside her was a young husband with a studious trim to his pure white hair. A small daughter was with them, a child of maybe five with flaming red hair who stared at these strangers with hard eyes.

"You must be the men the letter mentioned," the woman in bed smiled congenially. "I'm Grayrain, and this is my husband Drake-sama."

The husband stared at them from behind his thick glasses. "Master Wendy of Fairy Tail is respected even in these distant parts. To get such a request from one of the Ten Wizard Saints is certainly an honor, yet I question her judgment. Who exactly are you two? The letter only said that you would be guardians to our newborn. I'm not sure Master Wendy knew all the details of this pregnancy."

Loke smiled to calm their worries. "I assure you, we're only here as we had promised long ago to your daugh-...-ter? Son?" he asked in shock, looking again at the new mother with an infant in her arms. The newborn was wrapped in a blue blanket. "A boy?" He remembered Lucy's joke about what he would do if she was reborn as a male. 'Invest in lube' had been his half-joking answer.

Grayrain smiled down and nodded happily at the infant. "We're going to name him after my great-grandfather who recently passed away, Gray Fullbuster."

"Gray?" Loke shouted. He looked to Luke fast. "Did Wendy get the wrong person?"

Luke pointed to the new father again. "Look closer, Dad."

Loke had been so eager to see the reborn Lucy, he had not taken in his surroundings. Drake was also holding an infant. Again, the blanket was blue.

"Twins?" he gawked. "Both...boys?" He felt a slicing disappointment. Well, he reasoned, maybe he'll grow up to be gay. I could live with that.

"Yep!" the proud new father grinned. "Not identical, though. You wouldn't think this kid was a boy, either."

"Drake-sama, stop saying that," Grayrain snapped. "You know the poor kid is going to be teased enough when he grows up. And hair like that must be from your side of the family. Mine are all dark-headed."

"My side all have white hair. Although I guess Mother did mention that her grandfather had pink hair, and little Elsa was born with red hair. Weird genetics."

Loke peered over and saw a sleeping newborn with a tiny tuft of bright salmon-pink hair. "Stars above!" he gasped in awe. "These two...twins?"

Luke was slightly more in control of his emotions. "What name have you decided for this one?"

"My great-grandfather, the hero from the old story, you know, Songs of the Fairy Tail Mage by the great author Lucy Heartfilia. You've read it, right?"

Luke smirked slightly at the irony. "Oh yes, I've read it. Many times!"

"Wait, your great-grandfather was Natsu?" Loke asked in shock. "But your last name isn't Dragneel."

"Well no, of course not. We're descended through his daughter Jane, of course," Drake smiled proudly. When he did, Loke clearly saw Natsu's signature smile on the man's face. Even his name Drake now made sense. Drake meant dragon.

"Ah...of course," Loke muttered. "Jane Dragneel."

"Growing up," Drake went on, "I always wanted to name my first son after Great-grandpa Natsu. Of course, so many kids in my generation were named after him—it was a popular name thanks to the book, you know—so I think we'll be a little different and call him Dragneel." He laughed and grinned again. "Dragneel Dreyar! It has a good ring to it, no?"

"D-Dreyar?" Loke whispered. "That's right, little Jane married that conceited brat of Laxus and..."

"That's wonderful," Luke cut in, pulling his awestruck father back a little so he would stop gawking and not say anything rude about this man's ancestors. "However, it seems we may have made an error. You see..." He looked to Loke, who was still blank in shock at the concept of Natsu and Gray being reborn as twins. These poor, poor parents! "This is Leo the Lion, and I am his son, Leo Minor. Please, call us Loke and Luke."

"Celestial Spirits?" Drake gasped.

"Those two keys now make sense," Grayrain nodded thoughtfully. "Great-grandfather Gray-sama had stories about you two."

"We were sworn to watch over Lucy in her next life, but it seems..." Luke laughed at the two infants. "...Master Wendy must have mixed up the auras."

"Well, maybe not," Grayrain mused. "Elsa, get the other one."

The redheaded child, who had been glaring hard at them the whole time, rose up and went to a bassinet against the wall. She carefully lifted a small bundle.

"We really weren't expecting triplets," Grayrain explained. "We knew about these two, but we had no clue about her. It was like she was hiding behind the two boys."

"That sounds like Mama," Luke mumbled too softly for them to hear.

Loke pulled himself away from baby Dragneel and rushed over. He tried to take the infant from Elsa, but she pulled the bundle away protectively.

"It's okay, Elsa," her mother urged. "He's sworn to protect her."

The redhead sneered at him. "You better not hurt my sister." Then she let him pick her up.

Luke joined beside Loke to stare at the tiny blonde baby...girl!

"She's much smaller and weaker than the others," Grayrain pouted.

Loke gazed at the infant in awe. "She has an inner strength to her that will shine through as she grows. Do you feel it, Luke?"

"Yeah," the young Lion laughed in amazement. "Like a golden power flowing from her very soul. I feel stronger just being near her. It's definitely her."

Drake still looked skeptical. "So you two say you're Celestial Spirits dedicated to her? And she's the reincarnation of someone you swore to protect?"

Loke handed the infant back to Elsa. "You're going to make a great older sister to these three," he praised, rubbing her bright scarlet hair. Then he rose up tall and faced the curious parents. "You have a special family, sir and madame. If it's okay with you, I would like to temporarily dedicate ourselves to the protection of all four of them, at least until Lucy is old enough to inherit our keys and become a Celestial Spirit mage in her own right."

"Lucy?" Drake asked, and he looked over to Grayrain.

"We...actually haven't picked a name for her yet," the young mother admitted timidly. "We were only expecting two boys, not a girl. But...Lucy? That's a pretty name, like the author. What do you think, Drake-sama?" She looked to her husband, who shrugged to let her know it was her choice.

"We'll leave your family to rest for now," Loke said with a deep bow. "We are proudly at your service."

Luke mimicked the bow and followed his father out into the hospital corridor.

"Mama...and Uncle Gray...and Uncle Natsu. Triplets?" Luke exclaimed, laughing and shaking his head now that he could freely express his amazement. "I know we hoped they would be reborn around the same time, but really, I never expected this. I feel rather sorry for them," he chuckled. "They're going to need both of us just to keep those three from killing each other in sibling rivalry."

"No, they'll be fine," Loke smiled as they strode through the hospital corridors. "Did you take a look at the older daughter?"


"She and Lucy were the only people who could make those two boys behave." The Lion smiled to himself. "Their family will be just fine."

"Hey Dad, do you think Mama's going to remember anything from her past life?"

"Doubtful," he shrugged, not too concerned about that. "Sometimes Humans have feelings, like a place may look familiar, or they feel they've met someone before. Sometimes they get dreams of their past lives, or they have a knack for a skill they shouldn't know. Rarely, they may remember portions of a previous life through regressions and such. It's fine if she can't remember us. It just means I get to fall in love with her all over again."

"Sheesh, Dad," Luke grimaced. "Wait until she's out of diapers before you start talking like that!"

Loke laughed and grabbed him around the shoulder as they continued their walk through the sterile halls. "All right, I promise not to flirt until she's thirteen."

"Eww! This is my mother, after all. I won't have you turn into a pedophile with her!"



"No way! Seventeen."

"Eighteen, not a day sooner!"


With that, the two Lions sparkled and faded away.

The End

Rhov's Corner:

Don't you love Grayrain and Drake? Yes, Gray eventually married Juvia, and they had many children, although not 30. Natsu married his childhood sweetheart Lisanna. They had two children, Igneel and Jane (named after Mirajane). Jane later married Laxus' son. I bet Daddy Natsu wasn't happy about that! Wendy married Romeo and became a "crazy cat lady." She has no less than five Exceeds with her at all times.

Lucy and Loke had two children, Luke and Stella. Luke married his only sweetheart, Asuka. Since Lucy's wish of her children growing up faster would not apply to Luke's children, he and Asuka opted to start an orphanage for children with the potential to become mages. Lucy became a famous writer, known primarily for her bestselling novel "Songs of a Fairy Tail Mage." It's estimated that three-quarters of Fiore's population have read that book. It made the main characters into legends. Thirty years after events in the manga, it became trendy to name children "Natsu," "Gray," "Erza," and "Lucy." It's estimated that a tenth of all the domestic cats in Fiore are named Happy, Charle, or Lily.

Major Fairy Tail fans will chuckle at the fact that "Erza" used to be written as "Elsa" in the manga before Hiro Mashima made official English spellings. Yet he still gets it wrong occasionally (see Chapter 22). That's okay! We still love him!

You're probably sick of footnotes, but I'll point out one more thing, something I did for my own personal entertainment. If you read this story top to bottom, you'll notice that in every chapter I used either the word pride, proud, or proudly. Every chapter! Leos are known for their pride, and I'm a Leo. I'm proud of this story, and I take pride in writing it to the best of my ability. As some of you caught, there is a triple meaning to this story's title:
1) excessive pride is a feature of those like myself born under Leo's sign,
2) a pride is a lion's family, just as this is about Loke and Lucy starting a family,
3) going off the idea of pride-as-family, Fairy Tail is also Loke and Lucy's
family. Both of them are proud to belong to Fairy Tail.

Thus, "Lion's Pride" is a simple title with deep meaning. And to think, I titled it that on a whim! Really, the Muses work in mysterious ways.

=^._.^= "What's mysterious is that Rhov hears voices in her head yet hasn't been committed to a mental hospital."

-_- "That voice is telling me you may be getting an omake called "Cat's Pride" that will be about the romance between you and Charle."

=^O.O^= "Nice voices, keep talking to her!"

Well, this is finally the end! Really, this is it. Story time is over. The End. Finito. Tapos. коне́ц. Das Ende. Fine. 終わり. No more!

Video farewell: youtu =dot= be/5nI-sG2KH4Y

Thanks much for putting up with me to the end. So much happened over this past year. I had to slow down when I cracked my wrist, underwent emergency surgery, took a month off when I flew 1000 miles back home, had another major surgery and complications, took another month off when my father had a heart attack, had to take a mental health break after I got ulcers from all the stress, plus other issues cropped up along the way. This story and I have been through a lot!

I bow deeply to those who stuck by me this past year patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting updates. I also applaud those who recently found this fanfic and decided to read the whole thing despite its immense size. I'm floored by the reception it's received, truly blown away! So many of you supported me, wrote to me, read my other works, and I even made a few close friends, which is awesome! This story is being translated into French and Portuguese. It received the very first "Fanfiction Recommendation" for Fairy Tail on T.V. Tropes. People continue to draw outstanding fan art for me. Because of the support I got here, I scraped up enough courage to try publishing my own novel. I'll write more about Last Days on my profile once it's in print.

Lion's Pride was a story I simply had to tell. It started as a PWP I wrote on a whim for a manga I barely knew, and it turned into this! My very first attempt at a Fairy Tail fanfic and it became epic! To be honest, Fairy Tail likely would have been "just another manga" if not for getting sucked into research for this fanfic, which prompted me to write more stories, do fan art, participate in contests, and become a die-hard Hiro Mashima fan. I have another Fairy Tail fanfic ready to go right now called Wheels of Fire featuring Lucy and Edo-Natsu. I've been sitting on it for months because I didn't want to juggle three huge fanfics at the same time. I hope you'll hop over there and enjoy this new Rhovy story.

I am continuously in awe with Hiro-sensei's art, and each new chapter reveals a man with an unparalleled storytelling ability! Without such a talented mangaka, this fanfic would not have been possible. As a final disclaimer, Hiro Mashima owns all rights to Fairy Tail, I made no money off of this fanfic, I got permission for all the lyrics I quoted, and the only things I hold copyrights to are the songs I invented for this story. Those are mine. You can't have them, but you can enjoy them.

Thanks again for all of your support, and I'll see you guys online!

~ Rhov