AU: Important relating to this story's update status, please read all and thank you.

So this is just an authors note saying I AM continuing this story on - want to get that firmly cleared first hand - but I will be restarting it. After being on hiatus for a few months, I've had a chance to improve my writing ability through practice and helpful criticism from new friends, and as such I've had a bit of a mental block on continuing this because I feel the current chapters aren't "up to standard."

I've finally come to a resolve however, and as such will be dropping this story link and re-posting the story from scratch. (I'll eventually delete this first-attempt but for now shall leave it here so people know what is going on). I won't drop this story, right now it's my main priority and too much thought and plotting has gone into it for me to discard it - you have no idea how many plots and scenes I have planned leading from beginning to end.

So, to clarify:

- This story IS being continued.

- I shall be posting it from scratch on a new story link (shall only take a few weeks to re-edit the current chapters before continuing on).

- Things that will be edited in the chapters so far: Grammar, spelling, overall writing style. Will also be adding/changing some scenes so basically, when reposted, you should reread from scratch since the updated versions of the past chapters will be much different and possible include some added detail that is key to the plot.

Sorry for leaving you waiting so long, the wait shan't go on much longer! To make it up to you, here is an extract from the beginning of the next chapter (Hopefully the improvements in my writing show through?)

P.S - And yes I gave Loke a surname. Kudos to you if you know why I chose said name. ;D

#06: Market

Levy beamed widely as she strolled down the small countryside path, arms swinging to and fro at her sides in contentment. She easily forgot how free and spacious it was outside when kept within the high castle walls - how Lucy managed to survive her entire life in such an entrapped place she'd never know.

Speaking of the blonde in question, the bluenette exchanged a sideward glance with Lucy walking in pace besides her. The princess had suddenly decided the previous evening that she wished to visit the nearby town the castle overlooked, expressing that she wanted to see the market there. Once a month, in the final weekend, townsfolk from other nearby places came by with their stalls of interesting displays. To some it might have seemed a trivial affair, but to a princess whose world was minimalized to one location for the majority of her life, it was a time in which she had freedom to do what she wished without obligation.

Luckily, the King had allowed this. Levy assumed even he realised his teenage daughter needed some time to relax, and upon having approval Lucy had happily invited Levy to come to with her - of course, she gladly accepted.

Trailing close behind the pair of girls were the two Knights appointed as their personal guards for the trip, Loke Laufay and Gajeel Redfox, aswell as Pantherlily who had decided to tag along that morning. The three males all followed closely behind the young women from a few feet distance, far enough to give them privacy but close to intervene should danger appear.

"…have you seen the stalls run by those six people? All family I think but I could be wrong…"

"Oh! You mean the ones owned by that man called Brain?"

"They have such beautiful clothing…"

Both Gajeel and Loke exchanged bland looks at the girl talk, their expressions speaking volumes of their unsaid feelings. Pantherlily, meanwhile, simply shook his head with slight amusement.

The quartet walked onwards and soon entered the small town, earning quite a number of glances as they passed through the roads in a tight group. Lucy's royal status wasn't exactly secret, after all.

"Oh Levy, look!" Lucy suddenly cried, grabbing the petite girl by the wrist and dragging her off to the side. Pointing a finger, she grinned. "It's that cool store owned by Laki! Have you seen the wooden furniture she makes?"

Levy laughed. "I have. It astounds me how she makes such intricate things."

"I wonder if Millianna's stall is here, she has such adorable birds for sale!"

"Ah, Lu-chan, it's the book store!"


The blonde came to an abrupt halt in her stride, turning around to find Loke approaching her with Gajeel not too far behind.

"Oh sorry Loke, didn't mean to go ahead." She apologised with a sheepish smile, but before Lucy could open her mouth to continue, a nearby group of townsfolk suddenly recognised her and began to speak excitedly, gaining the young woman's attention as she smiled warmly and turned to converse.

Loke ran a hand through threads of hair as he watched Lucy working her genuine charm on the locals, meanwhile Gajeel from his position behind glanced around with a downward tilt of the lips, scarlet eyes narrowed.

"Where'd the shrimp go?"

"Hm?" Loke frowned at the question, and looking around, noticed the absence of the certain blue haired noble.

Overhearing the both of them, Lucy cast a quick glance over. "Oh, Levy said something about a book store and- Oh, is that for me? Thank you!" She gushed, looking back towards a young child offering her a handmade necklace.

Loke glanced at Gajeel. "What should we do?"

Pantherlily appeared between the duo by walking between Gajeel's legs, staring up intently at them both. "Miss. McGarden is an honoured guest at the castle alongside being a precious friend of the Princess. Therefore, she is as much our responsibility as your Royal Highness there."

"I'll go fetch her…" Gajeel grumbled after a moment of hesitation. "You two stay here with the Princess and make sure she doesn't run off again."

"Sure thing." Loke cast him a wave as he sided up against the blonde, sending a chesire-like grin to a few women who stood a ways off, thus making them swoon. Gajeel simply shook his head in exasperation at the scene before walking off, nose twitching as he tried to picked out the girl's scent and eyes searching the crowd.

Time to hunt himself a bookworm…

Any questions relating to this decision, feel free to state them in a review or message me~