Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or Fairy Tail
"Don't be scared, don't be scared," chanted Usopp as he crept through the maze, his knees shaking back and forth. Due to this he had to have his stance widened as to not have his bones banging against one another and alerting everybody else of his location. Despite his sweaty palms his hold upon his weapon didn't waver possibly because of his grip was strong enough to indent steel.
Coming towards a corner, Usopp had his back to the wall as he tried to keep control of his heart rate. "Silence you, do you want them to hear you," he whispered in a desperate attempt to slow down his heart rate. Breathing deeply he peered around the corner, praying that somebody wasn't in front of him. Upon seeing that the coast was clear he stepped out into the open yet his grip on his weapon didn't falter in the slightest.
He was a long range fighter through and through but even with the handful of dials he kept on him he doubted whether or not he could compete against the might of some of these mages. Usopp recalled the battle he had seen on the first day where Jura had shown his power, what were the odds that he was going to walk into the freakishly strong person who could be just around the corner?
At least he was confident he could run pretty fast.
The sound of footsteps behind him caused Usopp to twist around on his feet in little more than a heartbeat, his weapon raised and prepared to fire. After a few tense seconds Usopp conceded that he had been hearing things and lowered his weapon, a fine sheet of sweat glistening upon his brow.
"You should've kept your weapon up," warned a voice behind him which caused Usopp to shiver from head to toe before he took off screaming. Zipping around corners, the sniper dared not turn around lest he lose precious milliseconds in his escape. Sadly in an urgent moment he took a wrong turn and found himself running directly into a dead end at full force, his nose almost breaking from the collision that knocked him to the ground.
Panting frantically, Usopp scurried back to his feet and pressed his back against the wall, raising his weapon upright as he prepared to face the challenge that was coming towards him. Seconds seemed to last as long as hours as the member of the Straw Hats swallowed a lump within his throat as perspiration poured down his face. For the longest of time it seemed as if he had lost his pursuer but he dared not relax for a heartbeat. He was right to do so as the wall he had his back to exploded outwards in a shower of debris that sent him sprawling across the ground painfully.
Recovering as quickly as he could, Usopp fired three rapid fire rounds towards where the explosion had come from. While two attacks were avoided without much hassle, his opponent managed to catch the third projectile as if it was nothing. "Cute," she mocked before tossing it to the side before finally stepping into the open to show just who the sniper was up against.
For some reason he felt as if the member of the Ten Wizard Saints would have been the better opponent as he found himself staring at the imposing member of Minerva. With grace in her step, the member of Sabertooth walked ever closer. "At least you know where you belong worm," she taunted as she closed the distance between her and Usopp. "Groveling on the ground by my feet, sadly you are not even worthy of being in my presence."
Usopp had no time to prepare as he found himself flung into the wall by an explosion before falling to his hands and knees, blood pooling out of his mouth. A smug smirk crossed Minerva's face as she lashed out with a kick at the side of Usopp's head, only through quick reflexes was the sniper able to roll out of the way of the assault.
'She saw through my ketchup star?' pondered Usopp as he grabbed hold of his over sized slingshot, 'or did she want to make sure I stayed down?'
"Take this," shouted Usopp as he pulled back on the elastic straps. "Firebird Star!"
The crowd watched in awe as it seemed as if a phoenix burst from Usopp's weapon and they were equally as stunned as with a simple wave of Minerva's hand the attack vanished as if it had never existed in the first place. Usopp swallowed nervously as he looked up towards his opponent, her dominating form looming ever larger as he wondered what he had to do in order to defeat her.
Ace's face was emotionless as the body of the member of Quatro Cerberus falling at his feet. As the body vanished from sight, the former pirate couldn't help but wonder whether he'd released a more dangerous enemy into the fray or if he had somehow managed to snag the right opponent and allowed Erza to enter the mix. Figuring that there was no real way to discover who he had unleashed at the moment, Ace started moving again through the winding corridors in search of his next target. It didn't take him long however to stand within a large opening and he found himself staring at the person who he would now be fighting.
"This will be difficult," said Makarov as he cupped his chin within the palm of his hand as he looked down upon the battlefield. His views were shared with a majority of the guild who couldn't help but wonder just how Ace would fare in this upcoming test of strength. The rest of the crowd though already believed they knew who the winner would be.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Ace-dono," said Jura as he stood intimidatingly in the center of the clearing. "I have heard great things about you from Makarov."
"That's cause he only knows the good things about me," said Ace which caused the member of the Ten Wizard Saints to chuckle lightly.
"As much as I would like to avoid this conflict, I must do what needs to be done for my guild and likewise you will do what needs to be done for your guild," said Jura as he uncrossed his arms.
"That or we could just fight for the fun of it," said Ace as he cracked his neck from side to side. "Just forget about all those points or the fact that we're being watched by all these people and simply duke it out man against man."
"I would like that," said Jura with a smile before he went into action, a single wave of his hand causing the ground beneath Ace to rocket up and send the Fairy Tail member into the air. While up there however this gave Ace a quick moment to think about just how he was going to fight against someone as strong as Jura. From the time he had spent training on the beach he was aware that an element such as Earth could hit him and since Jura used the ground as a weapon it gave him no advantage at all in that department. His only point going for him at the moment was that he was an unknown factor, nobody here knew what he was capable of yet and he would have to use that as his one and only advantage.
As another pillar of stone tried to swat him out of the air, Ace gracefully swerved around it and placed his feet upon the slab of Earth before pushing off of it and in doing so avoided another attack that would have crushed him. "Talk about pulling no punches," said Ace as he pulled out his dagger and tossed it at Jura as hard as he could. Much like he expected him to, a slab of Earth rose from the ground and prevented the projectile from striking the member of Lamia Scale.
While many could have wondered just what Ace had been planning, surprisingly it was all that he needed as the second that Jura had spent to defend himself allowed Ace to land on the ground without any threat of being attacked...at least for a moment. Barely a handful of seconds had passed before Jura was on the assault again as blunted stone spears did their best to restrict the movement of Ace. Using all the speed he could muster, Ace weaved in and out of the attacks as he tried to get closer to where Jura stood, the pirate not fazed in the slightest as one jagged piece shot forward and hit him across the cheek with enough strength that it would have drawn blood provided he wasn't made of fire. This single moment of course did not go unnoticed by Jura whose eyes sharpened ever so slightly.
Slapping his palms together, two walls of stone appeared on either side of Ace and rapidly shot towards one another, Ace barely able to jump high enough in time to avoid getting crushed. Standing atop the elevated platform, Ace leaped through the air so that he was positioned directly over where Jura stood, the wizard looking up at the Fairy Tail member with intrigue as Ace pulled his fist back.
"Hiken!" shouted Ace ferociously as he punched towards Jura, a torrent of fire shooting from his hand. The crowd shouted in shock as the former pirate used anything that could be labeled as 'magic' for the first time. Roughly a dozen seconds passed before Ace fell to the floor, his attack still burning brightly behind him.
Any hope that he had done any damage was shattered as the flames dispersed to reveal that Jura had shielded himself by creating two slanted slabs of stone that had created a roof over his head. The member of the Ten Wizard Saints however found himself on the back foot once again as Ace once more flung his knife at Jura, having somehow gotten hold of it once more in his mad dash between Jura's attacks. For the first time in the fight, Jura moved from his starting spot; the knife soaring through the air and tearing through the fabric of his clothes.
"Impressive Ace-dono," said Jura before charging forward at a blistering pace, his fist plowing straight into Ace's face and it came as no surprise to the member of Lamia Scale as his fist was not met with flesh and bone. The powerful mage skidded past where Ace stood before lifting up his arm, a wall of stone protecting him from a lance made of flame that succeeded in piercing through the defensive wall but not far enough to reach him.
"Is Jura on the defensive?" asked Chelia in awe at the match. Like most of the crowd she had thought that this fight would not have lasted more than a minute. While the master of Lamia Scale responded by making the young girl spin around rapidly on the spot, Obaba couldn't help but be slightly worried about how far Ace had managed to push the strongest member of her guild.
"Makarov, just where do you find these brats?" she whispered under her breath, unheard under the deafening roar of the crowd.
Down upon the battlefield, Ace and Jura stood out in the open once more, a mutual understanding between the two of them that those who hadn't dueled before would understand. Not a word was spoken between them as they weighed up what had so far occurred and how the battle would likely continue from here. One thing was for certain however and that was that both men now had a great deal more respect for one another.
Their duel however would not resume as planned as a section of the wall exploded outwards in a shower of smoke and debris, the body of Usopp being held in a single hand by Minerva who stood atop the rubble with her chest puffed outwards in satisfaction. Ace for one couldn't believe the state that Usopp was in; weren't the rules meant to send those who forfeited or were knocked unconscious allowed to escape the confinements of the maze? One scary thought crossed the former pirates mind however and that was that Usopp had never been given the chance to state that he was giving up. The sniper's nose looked as if it was broken in three different places, his clothes were bathed in blood and his hand looked as if every individual finger had been snapped in different placed.
It looked as if he had just walked through the mouth of hell and back again.
"Usopp!" shouted Ace as he rushed over, getting there just in time as Minerva tossed the nearly lifeless body and managed to catch him before he hit the ground. "The hell happened?"
The response he was given was not in words however as Usopp coughed up blood all over Ace as the sniper reached into his back pocket for something. Unsure of just what was going on, Ace held out his hand allowing Usopp to give him the item. "Get...get her...with this," said Usopp through struggling breaths, once more hacking up blood over the dirt this time. "I...had Luffy...unleash hell into it..."
That was all the member of the Straw Hats was able to say before his consciousness finally faded, his one sided fight against the witch finally over. Another second passed before he vanished from Ace's hands and out of the competition. "He fought like a coward, crawling on the ground like the worm he was," declared Minerva with a smirk upon her face.
Jura watched on with a scowl upon his face, knowing full well that Minerva had not needed to use such force against the Straw Hat member. He had heard rumors that the Sabertooth guild member was cruel but this was far beyond anything he had heard. Looking at Ace however as the former pirate was rising to his feet he could feel the malicious killing intent seeping from his body, a force that was pretty much overwhelming in nature.
"Oh, you wish to avenge that pathetic man, admiral yet foolish," mocked Minerva.
"To avenge one's crew mate is the responsibility of the captain," declared Ace as he gripped on to the item Usopp had gave him. "Considering the captain is my brother, I'll suffice for now."
Minerva didn't have time to respond as Ace burst forward, flames licking at his heels as he held his hand extended and pressed the impact dial into Minerva's chest. With a twisted click, the dial operated and injected the entire force that Luffy had previously injected into the item directly into Minerva's body. Blood expelled from her mouth as the member of Sabertooth was blown off her feet and sent crashing into the wall behind her.
Despite it being a physically devastating blow that rocked the female wizard inside and out, her consciousness was still intact but no longer was she capable of boasting her strength any longer, given that she was on her hands and knees with blood pooling out of her mouth. "You foul cretin," she cursed as she tried to push herself back to her feet, only to find that Ace was charging in once more with knife in hand intent on ending the Sabertooth members life. Her only saving grace came in the form of a fist covered in black lightning that struck Ace across the side of the face, the God Slaying magic able to strike the man made of fire with devastating force.
Ace bounced across the ground twice before skidding to a stop to see that Orga had entered the fray and was now assisting Minerva back to a standing position. "Shit," Ace cursed as he rubbed his cheek, realising that he had made a miscalculation by thinking that Jura was his one main threat. To have actually been hit by such an attack was something that managed to bring him down to Earthland once more and figured that it only made sense as lightning was hotter than fire and thus the attack had been able to injure him. He looked over at Jura to see what the member of the Ten Wizard Saints was going to do but saw that he had been joined by Lyon, his fellow guildmate. With ten points in hand, the two men from Lamia Scale knew better than to risk their guilds points and were backing away momentarily.
They didn't get too far however as a fist sprung forth from nowhere, halting them in their tracks before bouncing back to where it had shot from revealing the rubber pirate in all his glory. "Finally I found someone," he said as he adjusted the straw hat above his head. "I was running around for ages, this place is like a mystery place, there are dead ends everywhere so I just busted my way through."
For those in witness who didn't believe him they were able to look past the captain saw holes after holes in a stretch, a sizeable shortcut having been made by the rubber man. "Oi, Ace!" shouted Luffy as he waved towards his brother before jumping to the side, a flock of ice birds that Lyon had shot at him in an attempt to catch the former pirate off guard. "Oi, that wasn't nice."
"You attacked us first," declared Lyon.
"Oh yea, I did," said Luffy as he crossed his arms as he recalled his actions in the last twenty seconds.
"Just who is this imbecile?" asked Minerva as she spent these valuable seconds recovering.
"He's the person who took Rufus out of action," explained Orga. "Don't underestimate him."
"I guess we will not be able to get out of here without a battle," stated Jura as he looked at the scenario around him. Indeed his words spoke true and he couldn't help but feel slightly excited at the battle that was about to take place. The strongest guild against one of the strongest wizards along with his guildmate was going to be a spectacle in it's own right. Adding both Ace and Luffy to the mix only made it all the more exciting.
Electricity began to circle around Orga's hands before he lashed out, a bolt of black lightning rocketing forward to where Luffy stood as the member of Sabertooth tried to get revenge for what happened to Rufus. Seeing the attack coming and recalling some of his prior adventures, Luffy didn't even bother to move as the lightning consumed his being and blasted a hole through the wall behind him.
While the crowd gasped in shock, as the attack dissipated it showed Luffy unharmed and on the move, his arm stretched out behind him as it rotated around and around. "Gomu gomu no Rifle!" he shouted as he closed the distance between him and his target, unleashing his attack. For some ungodly reason that left many in the crowd stumped, of all the people he could have tried to attack he had decided that Jura was the best target to choose. The Straw Hats up both in the competitors box and in the stands were well aware that Luffy always knew who he would fight from the get go and this had been no different to any other time he had taken on the strongest opponent.
Having seen the attack coming, Jura summoned a pillar of stone to protect himself which caused Luffy's fist to drive into the wall with sickening force. The rubber pirate found himself leaping away however as the wall exploded outwards, Jura as well having to shield his eyes from the debris as he looked towards Minerva who had unleashed the attack. Minerva quickly moved out of the way as a giant ape made of ice smashed it's fist into where she had been standing, Lyon having done his best to attack while her guard was down. Black lightning shot forward at where Lyon was standing but Orga didn't have enough time to aim properly as he found himself having to avoid bullets of fire being shot at him from Ace.
The crowd couldn't get enough as the six people beneath him fought it out with one another, having to defend from all sides and be careful not to get too overconfident in case they put a single foot out of place and find themselves pounced upon. Cana, who had had a simple run up to this point found herself looking at the carnage spilling out before her. Rubbing her eyes, the card mage opted not to join the fray and instead turned around and headed back into the maze before she found herself dragged into the fight.
Ace punched outwards, flames shooting forward as Lyon did his best to prevent his ice shield from melting. The member of Lamia Scale found his safety through Jura who launched a pillar of stone straight into Ace's stomach that made the former pirate spit out bile and blood. The man made of fire bounced upon the ground a couple of times before skidding to a stop only to roll out of the way as Orga's fist drove into the ground that he had previously occupied. Before the member of Sabertooth could follow up however Luffy's foot kicked him across the side of the head, the rubber appendage doing significant damage as blood burst from Orga's nose. The former pirate leaped out of the way however as an explosion bursting forth from where he stood, Minerva doing her best to take down the other half of the Straw Hats in the event.
Ace meanwhile was still doing his best to recover from Jura's attack, having not felt a blow like that since his battle with Jimbei, something that seemed like a lifetime ago. The pirate had no time to recover however as Lyon went on the offensive, several eagles made of ice slamming into his back. The hardened water was painful for the fire man who grunted in pain before flaring his powers outwards to evaporate the ice before it got a chance to do further damage.
"I've got you now," shouted the other member of Quatro Cerberus who had been waiting on the sidelines for an opportune moment to etch his name down in history by taking down one of these titans. "WILD..."
His chance at glory was shot down however, Ace having gotten back to his feet and backhanding the opposing guild member with enough force that he was unconscious before he hit the ground, his body never touching the dirt as it teleported away from the battlefield before it could happen. The member of Fairy Tail had no reprieve as a bolt of black lightning slammed into his back with enough force to knock Ace off of his feet and across the ground several times. His body came to a surprising halt however as the area around him exploded, Minerva determined to finish the former pirate once and for all.
She never got the chance however as a siren rang out and the field around them evaporated signalling that their time battling one another had come to a close. A standing ovation was given, not a single member of the crowd was sitting down as they all applauded the spectacle they had bore witness to. "What an outstanding performance!" shouted Chapati whose in game commentary had gone unheard most of the event due to the noise of the crowd. "This was an event that we shall tell our grandchildren about, telling them of how they witnessed some of the most powerful combatants to ever grace this arena duke it out with such raw strength, these wizards truly are something to behold."
As both the other announcers put their views out on the broadcast, Ace was doing his best to make sure that he didn't collapse now that the battle was over. "That was awesome fun," said Luffy as he came and patted Ace on the back. "Hey, do you know where Usopp is?"
Ace looked at his kid brother, unsure what to tell him at this point. "Luffy," he said slowly as he gripped his shoulder. "Go to the infirmary, be by your nakama."
Luffy's eyes quickly widened in realization before he took off with enough speed to kick up dust at his heels, not even listening to the results as they were announced. "Securing Ten points each is both Sabertooth and Lamia Scale," shouted Chapati. "Getting seven points for their team is the Straw Hats. Meanwhile Fairy Tail A and B, along with Mermaid Heel and Raven Tail all score four points. Sadly Quatro Cerberus ends the first part of the day with zero points added to their total. After an explosive start to the day, Raven Tail keep a hold of their lead but only just having 36 points before the battle rounds. Right up their tail is Lamia Scale with 34 points being followed by Mermaid Heel with 33 points. Next is Sabertooth who now have 31 points. Seemingly back a long way, the Straw Hats have 23 points and are being followed by Fairy Tail A with 20 points. In seventh is Fairy Tail B who have 14 points but they are leagues ahead of Quatro Cerberus who only have 3 points. With the battle portion of the exam to go today, will the leaderboard be shaken up again?"
"Will Alexi of Raven Tail and Laxus of Fairy Tail B make their way to the arena for the first battle of the day!"
"Come on, it's time to initiate our plan," declared Alexi as he along with the rest of his team walked down the corridor. Looking over his shoulder however he found that Teach wasn't following them. "Teach, come with us."
"Of course, zehahahaha," laughed Teach as he began to follow, ready to put his own plans into action.
Hope you enjoyed.
Sorry about the delay from the last chapter but I have been on holiday for a while plus the whole moving house thing kind of threw me off my game. Hopefully I'll be able to update a little more frequently now but don't hold me to that cause I have no idea what's right around the corner.
Zikarn Krais: You're not the only one who thinks that and I understand where you are coming from. Hopefully by the end of the story people will have changed their minds on this subject but you never know.
Sindela: No, this story will remain in the Fairy Tail universe throughout the sequel.
Til next time.