AN/: Here it is... FINALLY! The latest chapter of The Dragon Masters, and sadly, it's the last as well. I'm sorry for taking such a long time to update, truly I am. But I hope you enjoy this final chapter. It's not that long, but I hope my news at the end will be something to pull you out of any depression you may fall into. I didn't reread this before posting, so sorry if there are any typos.
Without any more delay, I present to you the last chapter of The Dragon Masters!
Lucy had made it down to the palace foyer as quickly as she could, and did so in record time. When she got there the sun was still setting and boy was it beautiful. She peeked around the corner to see if her friends and boyfriend were still there. Of course, they were. They were looking around at the beautiful scene mesmerized, sending tender glances at Natsu every once in a while. The silly boy was lying on the ground staring up and the ceiling, a faint blush on his cheeks. Lucy briefly wondered why he would be blushing but upon looking around one more time realized that the answer was quite obvious. This was where Natsu had first told Lucy she was beautiful. It was such a sweet and precious memory that it was no wonder that Natsu would be blushing. Lucy's cheeks were even painted with a blush of her own now.
Quietly Lucy crept down the staircase hoping not to disturb her comrades' peace. Moving slowly and deliberately she inched toward the steps before her. Natsu looked so calm that she didn't want to cause a disturbance. She wanted to watch him a bit more, since seeing him so calm was such a rarity. She silently laid down beside him, nostalgia washing over her.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" she said softly as she gazed up and the golden colored dust floating through the air. She heard Natsu inhale deeply and slowly.
"Yeah, it is," he responded just as softly. It stayed silent for a long moment. Natsu's hand silently found Lucy's and he held it tightly. Finally, he turned his head to look at Lucy. He took in her appearance. She was beautiful, like always. She'd closed her eyes, a soft smile on her lips as she seemed to soak up the golden light that was cast down onto her. She looked… peaceful, serene, comfortable, blissfully unaware of everything, content. Call it what you will, but either way it was something that caused Natsu to be both happy and a bit worried.
How could she act so carefree? If it were a book they were in, Lucy would say that they were only pages away from the climax of the book. Something big was going to happen now that they'd made their way into Leafre. They'd entered "enemy territory" and that meant that danger could be just around the corner. Wasn't it dangerous to just let your guard down? That was what worried Natsu. Yet, he couldn't help but feel happy looking at Lucy lying there peacefully. She looked happy, and that made him happy. He supposed that maybe she did have an unspoken point, though. With all the imposing danger just ahead maybe now was the time to just relax. There was no immediate threat that would require their attention just yet. Now was the perfect time to relax, because if they didn't do it now they might not get another chance.
Natsu took a silent word of advice and looked up at the ceiling again, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. Now was the time to just relax. He would allow himself this moment to just forget about everything else in the world. It would all be okay for just that brief moment.
Lucy had turned her head to look at Natsu. His eyes were closed, his breathing was even and calm and his features were relaxed. If it weren't for the lack of the Dragon Slayer's obnoxious snoring, Lucy would've thought that he'd fallen asleep. The room was darker now. The golden light that had once flooded through the windows was no longer there. The sun had decided to call it a day and had descended down below the horizon. Now was the time to get up and get rooms situated. They needed to figure out where everyone was going to sleep first. The rest of their business could be attended to in the morning.
The blonde moved her hand slightly, alerting her protector that she was demanding his attention. Natsu began to sit up with Lucy, already understanding what she was aiming to do. Their movement alerted the others and they began to move, too. They all gathered in a small group at the bottom of the stairs.
"Now that we've all had our chance to relax we can get down to business. It'll be dark soon," Lucy began, allowing herself to glance at the darkened windows of the palace foyer. "Well, darker… I've got the map here."
"Good job, Lucy!" Erza praised the Dragon Master. She gave her a pat on the back that made Lucy lurch forward a good two feet. Smiling and rolling her eyes playfully she lightly pushed on Erza's arm.
"We'll be figuring out sleeping arrangements by the end of the night. I'd rather it be sooner than later. A good portion of the halls in the palace aren't meant to be walked in during the night," Lucy said reaching into her sleeve where she had placed the map at some point.
"What's that supposed to mean, Bunny-Girl?" Gajeel grumbled.
"There aren't lamps in most of the halls. We won't be able to see anything and I'd rather not have to use fire magic to light the way. I don't want to burn anything down and I'm not gonna take my chances," Lucy explained. No one could really disagree with her reasoning.
They studied the map for a moment before coming to a quick agreement. Their plans were most likely temporary, but they weren't aiming for perfection at the moment. It had become a race against time as they all ran in the direction of their assigned rooms. Beating the darkness was their goal. Luckily, everyone had managed to make it to their rooms just in time. But, they could already tell that there was a long night ahead of them.
Wendy sat up from her lying position on her bed. She couldn't sleep. Not with all her thoughts screaming obnoxiously in her mind. She clutched the soft blanket beside her and brought it close. It was a soft blue in color and had cloud-like patterns along the edges. Wendy had quickly acquired a liking to the small blanket. It reminded her of Grandine in a way; it made her feel a bit safer.
Unable to withstand it any longer the small girl climbed down from her bed and made her way to the bedroom door. Her bare feet pattered on the cold floor as she quietly walked across the room. The door opened with a soft creak and Wendy peeked out into the hall. Luckily, she had been given a room that was relatively close to Lucy's. It was only about two floors below Lucy's room and the Sky Dragon Slayer's room had been close to one of the towers leading all the way up to the bridges that overlooked the courtyard and led to the throne room. That meant that there were windows letting in the pale moonlight, allowing for visibility.
Taking the blanket with her Wendy dashed out into the hall and headed straight for the stairs that led into the tower. Climbing quickly she reached the door she was looking for. It was eerily quiet in the palace, causing the bluenette to shiver in slight fear. It was at times like these that she was grateful for her enhanced senses. Following Lucy's scent she was led out into the chilly, night air. Now Wendy shivered from the cold. She took a brief moment to wrap the small blanket around herself to keep warm before dashing off in the direction of the big double doors that led to the throne room.
Lucy heard a faint knock on one of the doors in her bedroom. The noise caused Lucy to put all her senses on high alert. She lifted herself from her bed headed to her door. The room was dimly lit by the flames of the fireplace along her wall. She'd lit the fire as soon as she made it into her room. She tiptoed over to the door and quickly whipped the door open, prepared to attack if it was an unwanted intruder. She didn't know why, but that was always her first assumption when something went bump in the night.
Wendy squeaked in fright when the door suddenly flew open.
"Wendy?" Lucy asked a bit surprised.
"May I come in, please?" the petit girl asked. Lucy nodded and allowed her to step in, closing the door behind her. "I'm sorry. I couldn't sleep," Wendy mumbled apologetically.
"It's alright Wendy, neither could I," Lucy said patting the small girl's head. Lucy sat back down on the bed and invited Wendy to join her. She crawled up onto the bed and curled up next to Lucy, tightening her small blanket around her shoulders.
"Lucy-san?" Wendy began meekly. Lucy nodded to show her that it was alright to continue. She paused before continuing. "Is it alright if I keep this blanket after everything is over?" she asked shaking the blanket a bit with her clutched hand.
"Or course, Wendy," Lucy answered smiling tenderly down at her. "May I ask why?"
"It reminds me of Grandine," she replied pulling the blanket up to cover half of her face. She snuggled into Lucy's side and curled up a bit. Lucy wrapped her arms around her and hugged her. "What's going to happen now?" she asked softly.
Lucy stayed silent. She wasn't sure how to answer the small girl. So much had happened so quickly. Lucy had learned that she was an Elemental Dragon Master. She then learned that she was the Dragon Princess of Leafre. After that, everything sort of went haywire. Lisanna had been controlled by Acnologia and then Luka had said that they needed to leave. Something was up, and Luka wasn't telling her everything she knew about that whole situation with Acnologia.
"Honestly, I don't know," Lucy answered truthfully. She hugged Wendy tighter. "But whatever does happen, we'll all stick together. We're all gonna get through it and everything will be fine. I promise," she whispered.
She let Wendy sleep in her arms that night. In a way, Lucy felt relieved that she wasn't the only one feeling uncertain about what was going to happen next. Wendy had openly voiced her concern to her, and so Lucy could openly share her uncertainty with the girl. But, she had to be strong for Wendy. She was still so young, and Lucy felt bad that she'd dragged Wendy along with her. She didn't want to put Wendy through any of this.
She'd made a promise to Wendy that night. They would all stay together and make it through whatever came their way. Everything would be alright. But, she knew that everything wouldn't be alright. In the end she hoped it would be, but everything before that was no doubt going to be nothing but trouble. Something big was coming. Something they could never really fully prepare for. War.
END NOTE: I feel as though I've fallen short in terms of writing a good final chapter. Don't worry, though. There will be a sequel! I've already started writing it! I've decided to try to write more chapters ahead of time so that I have something to upload while I write more chapters. I'll need help figuring out the perfect title for the sequel, though. So let me know what you guys think!
I decided not to make this chapter a NaLu centered chapter. I think I took on a more sensitive approach. That and maybe I have a few ideas up my sleeve. *smirks* who knows really? Foreshadowing is a nice little trick that can just be slipped in anywhere unexpectedly! MWAAAHAHAHAHA! Well let me know what you guys thought! As soon as I get the first chapter of the sequel started I'll start on the second one. If I get enough feedback I might post the first chapter of the sequel after I finish it. Hope to hear from you guys!
Also, I'm helping a really good friend of mine with some editing. As soon as that's finished, I do believe she'll be posting it. It's really gonna be a great story. Shout out to my best friend on the other side of the globe, Samrit! I love you deary! She's a great writer, but english isn't her first language and I don't always beta for her, so just be warned about that. She does a great job, though, and if you haven't already you should go check out her stories! *kisses* well bye for now my lovelies! Our time together during this story has been most precious, and I really do love you all! You guys are what kept me writing, and even though I haven't really updated anything for a while, just know that you guys are the reason I haven't given up. I would've kept writing anyways, but you guys make it so much more fun and rewarding to do something I already love. I hope to hear from you all again when I publish the sequel! (oh gosh I might cry!) I'll miss you until then! (the music I'm listening to probably isn't helping much with the whole crying thing. it's Melody Of Aqua from Sailing To The World) My final farewell from The Dragon Masters!