Welcome to my newest multi-chapterd project. (^_^) Some key notes regarding the story at the end, so please read them.
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#01: First Impressions
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A man stood, looking out the stained glass window as his eyes stared out into the distance and his thoughts remained occupied.
He said nothing when a figure slid through the huge open doors of the room, the new arrival walking forward and coming to a step several feet behind him.
Only then did he speak.
"Did you find her?"
A bow of the head. "I believe so my Lord."
He turned around to face them, one eyebrow arched. "Believe so?"
The person pressed their lips together, "It's unconfirmed..."
When the man made no reply and continued to watch expectedly, they went on.
"I've already made preperations to observe the girl, if all goes as planned she should be in our hands by the end of the month."
He nodded. "Well then, I expect you to accomplish that without any mistakes." His underlying threat of what would happen should everything not go as planned was left unsaid.
"Very well my Lord." with a bow, the figure left the room.
Turning back to the window, the man narrowed his eyes.
Enjoy your freedom whilst you can little girl.
It won't last...
"Levy-chan, do you have to go?"
"Oh relax guys, it's only a month."
"But your family…"
"Are perfectly okay with me going. Infact they love it, it does create better ties with the Royals after all."
"Then let us escort you!"
"I'm fine, why would I need escorts when there's the entire Royal Guard there to keep me safe?"
The two men sighed in defeat, no further excuses nor protests coming to mind.
Sparing a glance to the duo, the girl's lips curved into a smile. Closing the lid on her last suitcase, she turned towards them and placed both hands on her hips. "I'll be back before you know it. I barely see Lu-chan other than at events or the odd visit, so I'm excited to be spending a month at her castle."
When they both glanced up, wounded expressions on either face, she sighed. A second later, an idea came to mind. "You know, there's gonna be a ball at the end of the month… I promise I'll save a dance for each of you then."
And like a switch flipped, their faces instantaneously burst into huge grins as they thanked her eagerly. Levy could almost imagine them with wagging tails on their behinds, the thought causing her smile to widen.
"Levy-san! It's time to go!"
At the voice that drifted from downstairs, Levy turned around and grabbed her suitcase. All her other belongings were already in the carriage waiting.
"Oh no, no Levy! Let us carry it!"
"Hey I'll carry it!"
Rolling her eyes at their bickering with a smile, she walked past the two with the suitcase in her own hands. "Bye Jet, bye Droy. I'll miss you!"
It took them a full minute before they turned away from another and realised she'd vanished, by then the young mistress having already left. The other occupants in the large house all sighed at the sounds of their wails.
"Oh, I can carry that Miss. McGarden."
"Hm? Oh it's fine; this has a special book in it I want to give to Lu-chan as soon as I meet her."
The older man who'd been the one to drive the carriage nodded, "Very well."
As he began unloading the luggage at the back of the small vehicle, Levy glanced around the court yard of the castle. There was no sight of the Princess but that was to be expected, the young blonde was probably trapped in etiquette lessons and hating every second of it. From the corner of her eye she spotted a few of the castle servants coming outside to help with the luggage.
Seeing no source of interest to keep her waiting here, she began walking off. The man sent a soft warning that she shouldn't wander around but since he made no move to stop what he was doing and go after her, she didn't pay much attention. Sending a smile his way, Levy resumed her exploring; she'd been on visits to the castle ever since she was young so she had a fairly good sense of direction in the large place.
Vanishing off the court yard, she took a path down to the gardens, searching for one familiar spot in particular. It didn't take long; the shaded spot beneath the large oak tree coming into view soon enough.
With a sigh of contentment as she removed her high heeled shoes, she unzipped her suitcase and pulled out a few books, plopping herself down on the grass and immersing herself in the pages. This was one thing she loved about the castle; the grounds were so large that it was easy to find a quiet and serene place within the gardens… This spot in particular had been a favourite of hers whenever she visited the castle, becoming a nostalgic place. Back at her own house, she had to go all the way out of the town into an isolated field to get the same sense of relaxation. – And since her family were nobles, her parents didn't look too highly on her vanishing off by herself.
Her house did have its own garden which she could use… But due to her family being fairly low in the hierarchy of nobles, it wasn't exactly large and since she lived in the centre of the town, she had the constant rush of noises in the background.
She envied Lucy sometimes.
She wasn't jealous of the money or clothes; it was simple things she envied. Like the huge gardens, or extensive library – oh God, it was so big – or literature classes.
Turning another page, she cast a glance across the scenery, eyes sweeping over the large water fountain sat in the centre of several benches spread out in a circle, paths branching off in different directions between each.
Just as she was returning her attention to the pages however, a blur of movement caught her eyes.
Snapping her head up, her eyes narrowed as she stared into the green foliage on the other side of the fountain. Unconsciously she found her hand slipping towards one of the high heels, thoughts of using the spike as a weapon should she need to.
Her frowned deepened as a stillness over took the scene, no foreign sounds reaching her ears. For a moment she began to wonder if she'd simply imagined the whole thing.
"LILY! GET THE FUCK BACK HERE!"
Within the blink of an eye, a blurred shape darted out of the undergrowth, hopping onto one of the benches and taking a defensive stance as it turned towards one of the branching paths.
Was that a cat?...
Still in shock of seeing a cat that seemed to be too human-like to be true, her eyes switched to the infuriated figure marching onto the scene. Eyes wide, she watched as the towering man made his way for the feline, anger practically falling off him in waves.
The cat simply watched the oncoming man with a bored expression. "I don't see what you're so angry about Gajeel."
The cat spoke.
She was now openly gaping as she tried to take in everything before her, her mother and father would scald her if they saw her expression.
"You… You…" the man snarled, "They were my things."
"Yes. And since I live with you also, I think my actions were quite justified."
The man looked like he was about to explode on the cat, and Levy was beginning to fear for the safety of the feline… but one look at the guy and all thoughts of standing up to him scampered off.
"Before you blow up on me." the cat added, "I'd like to draw to your attention that we do have an audience." He glanced in Levy's direction.
The man also turned her way.
Realising she still had her mouth wide open, she instantly closed it. Bark pressing into her back as she leaned away from his direction.
His thunderous glare simmered when his eyes fell on her, his expression morphing into something more of soft irritation. When his eyes took a slight detour down to the floor beside her with interest, it took her a second before she realised in horror she was holding her shoe poised slightly in the air in defence.
Before she could think of releasing it, his eyes snapped back onto her face.
"Who the fuck are you?"
She balked at him.
"Gajeel, don't be rude." The cat chastised.
"Shut up." The man spat with a glare his way, "I'm still angry at you."
"Why? Because I tried to bring some civilisation to the pig sty you call a home?"
"Because you messed my place up!"
"I cleaned it."
Deciding now was a good time to escape whilst the two were distracted, she threw the book into her suitcase and stood up with her shoes in her other hand. Unfortunately, she got barely a step forward before the man – Gajeel was it? – snapped his head towards her.
"Where you going?"
"Who are ya?"
"How'd you get in here?"
His eyes narrowed at her uncommitted answers, causing Levy to feel more and more stupid – a rare occasion since she was actually highly intelligent.
But what did he expect her to say when he glared at her so intensely whilst barking questions?
"Forgive the rudeness of my partner." The feline once again spoke up, "Despite being a Knight, the concept of chivalry is quite foreign to him."
Him? A knight?
"You're joking right?"
When the cat's eyebrows raised in amusement, she slapped her hands over her mouth in horror, her luggage and footwear falling to the ground as she realised she'd just said that out loud.
She glanced at the man. He glared back at her.
"Um, I-I should be leaving…" she stammered, quickly bending down and grabbing her things as she tried to back away.
"What? Like hell you are!" he snapped, marching forward and grabbing her by the forearm. She let out a small 'eep' and glared up at him defiantly, courage surfacing in her. She wasn't gonna let some random guy man-handle her! Enough cowering already!
"Who. Are. You?" he asked, enunciating each word deliberately which caused her anger to spark further.
"I'm not a child." She snapped, shaking her hand out of his release, "So don't talk to me like one!"
It was a sore topic for Levy, despite being seventeen she looked quite younger – always had in her teen years. She didn't like anything that made comparisons between her being a young child, especially since she would legally be an adult in a few months.
He raised an eyebrow at her snappy reply.
"And." She replied, eyes narrowing, "I am Levy McGarden, a noble and close friend of the Princess, here on personal invitation. If you are a Knight, it'd be in your duty to treat me with respect!"
When she'd finished, she folded her arms in a huff, looking at him with an unsaid dare in her gaze for him to try disrespecting her again.
She'd done it. She'd actually said all of that without letting her voice waver once!
She gave herself a mental pat on the back, now focusing on ensuring her legs didn't fall out beneath her from terror or that her gaze didn't waver.
"I think you've met your match Gajeel."
When the man's eyes left hers to focus on the cat, Levy let out a quick sigh of relief. Turning a grateful expression on the animal who was watching with a smirk of amusement.
Eager to get away from the man, she took a step back. When his eyes slid back to her, she corrected her direction and instead made a beeline for the cat – if he wouldn't let her escape, she'd at least make sure she was next to the less scary one.
The cat seemed to catch her intentions, his smirk widening as she came to crouch in front of him.
"Hi. Levy McGarden." She offered a hand.
"Pleasure. I'm Pantherlily, an Exceed." He placed a paw in her grasp which she shook a few times.
"Oh wow." She beamed, knowledge of the species coming to mind from what she'd read, now his human qualities made sense! "I've never met an Exceed before."
Her smile quickly vanished when she became all too aware of the strong presence not so far behind her.
"Apologies for my partner's actions." Lily explained, "He's not all that good on socialisation, he did spend the first thirteen years of his life as a wild child."
"Shut yer trap!"
Only just moving out of the way as Gajeel barrelled forward to start another verbal fight with the Exceed, Levy stood up once again, brushing her dress down. How much time had passed? Lucy would probably be out of classes and looking for her now…
With that thought in mind, she got a firmer hold of her things and began walking away.
Of course, Gajeel couldn't let her just go without throwing one more jibe at her.
She cringed, slowly turning around to his frowning face. She didn't have the strength or courage left to have another stare down with him…
Thankfully, he seemed content with just one remark.
His eyes swept over her once, "If you're so bitchy about being treated like a child, maybe try and reveal a little more skin compared to that flowery kiddy crap you're sporting right now."
How dare he!
Sucking in a sharp breathe, she glared as he turned back around to his small partner, her hands forming into fists. Who did he think he was?
Without even being aware of what she was doing till it was too late, she lifted her right shoe high in the air before hurdling it forward with a strength she didn't know she quite had.
Turning back around in mid-sentence to Lily, his eyes widened as an unidentifiable blur collided with his skull. He let out a howl as he was sent catapulting backwards, his legs tripping over the bench and sending him flying down into the fountain behind him.
As the water crashed over the rim of the feature, spilling onto the stone slabs; Levy did the only thing she could think of.
She ran like hell.
First chapter done! Some key things I need to say, so here they are listed in this author's note – best to get them out of the way in one go now, author notes shouldn't be too long in the future unless sharing a piece of important information about the story.
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1. The rating for this may change to M, but if so it will NOT be because of sex scenes. I don't write lemons – I suck at them – so any mature rating will be because of violence or mature themes alone.
2. This will include magic but only certain characters in story will actually have it - this will be explained further in the next few chapters.
3. Will be quite a few sub-pairings, two or such are quite important to the plot.