Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto
Fairy Tail © Hiro Mashima
It was a good day, a really good day, even by Fiore standards, the sun was bright circled by a double rainbow, there was barely a cloud in sight and a light breeze blew through the streets of Magnolia leaving everyone feeling refreshed and relaxed. Everyone was going about their business with barely a care in the world, consumers haggling with the store owners over prices of the items on sale and kids ran through the streets playing happily. It was perfect... too perfect.
Naruto looked up at the tree line just on the outskirts of the town with a deep scowl, something wasn't right and it made him feel on edge. Usually he liked this kind of weather, it was good for taking jobs, training or even taking Erza out on a date but something was seriously off about today. He turned his attention to the sun, placing a hand on his brow to shade his eyes from the sun's glare. That strange rainbow had him worried, he had no idea why but something kept telling him that that rainbow was a sign that something was going to go seriously wrong.
It was like a gut instinct and he had always been taught to follow his instincts.
"Nii-chan?" a familiar voice pulled his attention out of his train of thought, "What are you looking at?"
Naruto looked down at the source, it was Grace, his kid sister now twelve years old and in the process of learning Re-quip Magic, her Fairy Tail guild mark emblazoned proudly on the inside of her arm in bright green, exactly where his was. It was shame that he couldn't teach her Dragon Slayer Magic or even Water Magic but honestly he could not be more proud of her she had a natural talent for magic that it was almost scary to the point where she could put up a fight against a lot of the guild members and even Laxus, the asshole that he is, had grudgingly admitted that she'd be a force to be reckoned in a few years... not in so many words, but close enough. She was even picking up Erza's 'take no shit from anyone' kind of attitude with her magic.
"Huh? Oh, it's nothing don't worry about It." Naruto replied hastily, scratching the back of his head with a nervous laugh, "Come on or we're gonna be late." he set off again down the main street.
Grace stared at him sceptically as she followed, "Really? Then how come you've been quiet the whole way here, huh?" she retorted, "Usually you start skipping at the prospect of seeing Erza-nee, what gives?"
"Hey! I do not skip." he replied indignantly.
"Yes you do and don't change the subject!"
"It's nothing really, I'm just being stupid." Naruto said desperately trying to get her to drop the topic.
"You got that right." Grace muttered, and sighed, "Alright, if that's the case then I'll just have to tell Erza-nee something's the matter with you, I'm sure she'll get an answer outta you, and I bet Mira will jump at the chance to help." she sighed again and turned away in mock sadness to hide her cruel smirk.
Naruto froze, she was spending too much time around Cana, "Alright you win." she cheered, "I just got a bad feeling about today is all, something just doesn't feel right and I don't know what. I don't like it."
Grace folded her arms and placed a finger on her chin looking thoughtful, "Does it have anything to do with that rainbow you were just staring at by any chance?"
Naruto sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "That's the thing I don't know, I don't know. I... I think I remember someone telling me that a double rainbow circling the sun was a sign of danger and serpents but..." The faint image of an old man with a pipe looking down at him with a kindly and encouraging smile floated across his mind's eye.
"How could something like that be a sign of danger? I mean come on, I've never heard of it and Gramps has never said anything like that." Grace protested.
"I honestly don't know, I think it has something to do with deception, making you think it's a good sign when it really isn't." Naruto replied warily.
"Well, do you think it has something to do with Oceanus-jiji?" She asked, "It seems like something he would know about, doesn't it?"
Naruto nodded, "It does, but he's but I'm sure the one who told me this was human and not a massive blue dragon." he sighed again, "And the only thing Oceanus ever told me on rainbows was that they were a possible sign of a natural disaster having just occurred and that it was light refracting off of water in the air. That and they are a possible food source, but nothing on a double rainbow like this one."
Grace broke out into a wide grin, "Well, I think you just answered your own question, maybe it's just light refracting off of water in the air in a weird way! Nothing to worry about!" she laughed proudly at her explanation.
Naruto smiled and laughed with her, "Yeah, I guess you're right, I really am just being stupid." 'But still...'
The younger mage smirked, "Yeah, you are." she quipped, "Now let's pick up the pace or Erza-nee will kick both our asses!" she took off running down the street with surprising speed. Naruto shook his head and adjusted Nejibana on his back then took off after her.
After about five minutes of running they reached the front doors of the guild hall and giving a quick glance to each other they grinned then kicked the doors open with a deafening 'bang',
"WE'RE HERE!" they sang at the top of their voices.
... And were met by a flying, pink haired mage with a flaming mouth, heading straight for them yelling; "Fight me!"
Both Naruto and Grace simply stepped to the side and let Natsu fly right on past them and land with a satisfying crash somewhere behind them. The pair's grins became even wider at sound. It was the little things in life.
A second later the whole guild broke out in laughter at the spectacle despite the fact that after nearly two years of it, it was still very funny to watch. Natsu picked himself up off the ground muttering cusses and dusting off before walking back into the guild and joining the laughter.
"Man Flame Brain!" Gray called to Natsu, "How dumb are you? You do that every day and fall for the same trick every time!"
The Dragon Slayer turned to the Ice mage with a ferocious glare, "What was that, Snow-cone?" he said, "I couldn't quite hear you over the sound of you stripping."
Gray's eye twitched, "What, you deaf as well as dumb?"
"Why don't you come over here and say that to my face?!" Fire was literally spewing from Natsu's mouth.
"Happily!" Both mages marched up to each other and butted heads together, arcs of lightning literally passing through each other's eyes, "You. Are. A. Retard." Gray said slow and mockingly.
Flames lit themselves around Natsu's fists ready and waiting for nothing more than to dig themselves into his rival's skull and in response Gray placed his left fist in his right palm preparing a spell.
The rest of the guild watched on with a great amount of amusement at the sight of the two, most of them eagerly awaiting the inevitable fight that was to ensue but it was not to be as a dark shadow loomed over the arguing pair with an ominous aura,
"May I ask what you two are doing?" it asked, its voice striking fear into the two mages at its sudden familiarity.
"N-n-nothing!" they stuttered in unison both now standing straight and stiff as boards.
"Really?" It asked, "And what should you be doing, hmm?" almost instantly Natsu and Gray shot beside each other and placed an arm around each other's shoulders doing a small jig,
"Getting along like two good friends should!" Gray's response was mechanic.
The shadow disappeared and in its place stood a pleasantly smiling Erza, "Good to see you understand." She pats both of them on the head affectionately before moving around them to greet Naruto. As soon as they were out of her sight Natsu and Gray returned to violently glaring at each other though not even daring to take their arms off of each other.
Naruto smiled happily at his girl friend of a year and a half, "Good morning Erza-chan!" he said cheerily "I see you're still training the pups." Grace snorted thinking of both Natsu and Gray in dog costumes whimpering as Erza stood above them pulling on their leads tightly.
"Good morning yourself." she replied happily giving the blonde a quick peck on the lips, "If only it were that easy, at this rate we might end up having to put them down, or even neuter them both." she sighed in mock frustration.
Naruto smirked, "It's understandable but I believe that Lisanna might have something to say about that. Happy too."
"Like what? Can I be the one holding the scissors?" Grace muttered with another snort of laughter.
Behind them the mages in question stared at their guild mates open mouthed in horror, the scary part being that they would actually go through with it. Lisanna turned round from her conversation with Levi, Happy sitting contently on her lap munching on a fish, at the mention of her name just to see Natsu catching flies, confused she looked to Naruto who just winked at her before finally decided to ask later and turned back to Levi.
"So when are we going on this job you promised?" Grace asked excitedly suddenly changing the subject. Naruto smiled down at her and ruffled her purple hair, dirty look from her,
"Right away, Erza-chan and I picked out yesterday before we left for home." he answered the younger mage who was trying to flatten her hair. He turned to Erza, "You ready to go Erza-chan?" he asked.
"I am, I have all stuff packed and waiting out the back." she answered with a smile, making Naruto and Grace Sweat drop at the red heads habit of over packing cooking ingredients for cake.
"You do remember that this is just a six hour trip to the next town over and back, right?" Naruto asked her cautiously.
She nodded happily, "I know, I got everything I need and nothing more. Is that a problem?" her smile turned sinister. Naruto pat his girlfriend on the shoulder with a nervous laugh,
"N-no not at all." he said quickly, "Come on let's file for the job." and with that he turned on his heel made for the bar with a stiff march.
Grace grinned at Erza, "Looks like Natsu and Gray aren't the only ones you have on a short lead, Erza-nee."
The older mage gave a knowing smile, "I do have him trained well, don't I?" they both began walking up to the bar along with Naruto when suddenly Erza's legs seemed to give out on her and she fell to the ground like a tossed aside rag doll clutching her head and grunting in pain before becoming deathly still and silent with blood dripping from her nose.
"Erza-nee!" Grace yelled in shock, "Are you alright?" she kneeled down beside her, barely a second later Naruto was by their side, his face filled with pure panic and fear.
"Erza-chan, what's wrong!" he asked urgently only getting a faint mumble in response.
"Let's get her to the infirmary right away." Makarov ordered. Not needing to be told twice Naruto picked her up bridal style and carried her into the back where the infirmary was located with Grace and Makarov in tow.
"What was that?" Cana asked nobody in particular.
Wakaba and Macao frowned deeply, "I'm not sure but it can't've been good, Erza wouldn't just collapse for any reason." Wakaba said taking a deep puff from his pipe.
Natsu probably looked the most concerned out of them all, bar Naruto and Grace, Erza's sent shifted slightly when she fell, instead of strawberries, metal and traces of Naruto but it for that moment he could smell... ink? The fire mage didn't really know what to think but something was up.
Mira didn't like this, sure she didn't like Erza either but even she would admit that Erza didn't fall unless pushed and even then she needed to be tied up from head to toe - she knew this from experience. It was something that just didn't happen. There was no way that she was suddenly sick either, the red head quite literally beat illnesses down so for something like this to happen, it was something major.
"What's happening? Who are you!?"
"I'm sorry but I need your body for a while. There is someone I need to talk to."
"Oh yeah? Well you're not getting it! Now get out"
"And how will you make me do that, hmm? I have no intension of leaving till I talk to him."
"It's my body; I can do what I want with it."
Light suddenly filled her vision leaving her unable to see more that a few centimetres in front of her face and the strong smell of copper filled her nose. 'What was that? What happened?' the last thing she remembered was the ground coming up to meet her and an exploding pain inside her head then a voice in telling her something she didn't like before forcing it out.
"Erza-chan? Are you alright? What happened?" the voice filled her with warmth, right down to her very core making her feel safe, the voice of the one man she truly loved.
"I-I'm fine, Naruto but I'm not sure what happened, it's all blurry." Erza replied shakily her sight quickly adjusting to the strong light.
"Don't worry about it, Erza, take your time." Master Makarov said kindly sitting cross legged at the end of the bed she was lying on.
Erza slowly, but steadily, sat up on her bed before Naruto wrapped his arms around her neck in a tight hug thanking goodness that she was okay and saying how worried he was, she smile, subtly removing her armour replacing it with a white blouse, and hugged him back getting as close to him as possible. Suddenly the weight of another pair of arms wrapped themselves around the couple, both Naruto and Erza took their right and left arm respectively off each other and put it around Grace bringing her into the fold.
Makarov watched on with no small amount of pride, there was no doubt in his mind that come the next meeting of the guild masters he would be boasting about the new budding family within Fairy Tail. The thought brought tears to his eyes; it was almost too much for his old heart to take.
The heavy sound of thick sniffing pulled the three out of their tender moment. They looked around, still holding on to each other, at the old Master; rivers of tears were pouring down his face,
"You make me so proud!" He exclaimed, trying to wipe the tears away with his sleeve only for them to pour comically over his arm and down onto the bed, "Naruto, Erza! Hurry up and get married so you can have babies and bring new life into this old man's heart!"
Erza's eye twitched lightly but she could help but smile at the Master while Naruto and Grace laughed at the sight of the man.
Naruto grinned, reaching across the bed he pat Makarov right on his bald spot, "Maybe later Gramps. But not right now."
Grace adopted a thoughtful look, taking her arm off from around Erza's shoulders and placing it on her chin, "Nii-chan, Erza-nee, I wanted to ask; where do babies come from?" They froze.
"Er... umm... th-that's something y-you'll learn about later, o-okay." Naruto stammered quickly looking to Erza for support only to find she seemed just as helpless as he was.
Grace pouted not liking the answer, "Really? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that I could go back to the hall and ask Cana or Mira and they would tell me without..."
"I'll take it from here," Makarov said, now with a cheeky smile adorning his face, "I'll tell you all about it if you want."
"Um, Gramps are you sure..." Naruto asked hesitantly.
"Of course, we can't have her not knowing now can we." He gave Naruto a subtle wink and the blonde smiled getting the apparent message.
"Well, if you insist."
The purplette grinned victoriously and stuck her tongue out at her older brother. Makarov lead her just outside the room to tell her all about it.
Left alone Naruto and Erza looked to each other and smiled,
"You really did have me worried you know, you just suddenly collapse clutching your head and blood coming from your nose." he took a deep calming breath, "I was scared."
Erza pulled him tighter silently reassuring him that she wasn't going anywhere, "I'm sorry for making you worry like that but I have no idea what happened, one second I'm walking with Grace to you and the next everything is black and there is this voice telling me that it needs my body to talk to someone. I told it to leave and get out it wouldn't so I forced it out."
Naruto pulled back from her and let out a low whistle, "That's impressive, though I expect nothing less from my Erza-chan!" he finished the sentiment as loud boast making her blush lightly.
They looked into each other's miss-matched eye, brown and blue into blue and yellow. A simple understanding passed between them, Naruto placed a hand on the nape of Erza's neck and they leaned into each other, their lips meeting in the middle and after that nothing else in the room seemed to matter.
After who knows how long of making out the infirmary door open make the couple jump apart from each other, Grace walked in look thoroughly traumatised with Master Makarov just behind her humming a jaunty tune. Naruto looked from his little sister to the Master with sudden realisation.
"You actually told her!?" Naruto asked the tiny master in a harsh whisper.
He nodded in response, "Of course, you know she would have found out one way or another, it's better for her to learn it from me than finding out in a more inappropriate manner ." he whispered back.
Naruto was about to retort that they weren't that bad but Grace tugging on his shirt pulled his attention away from the Master,
She looked at him with misty, horrified eyes, "So the... goes in the..." he voice was barely above a whisper,
Naruto nodded sympathetically, "...Yeah."
"An-and the... nine months..."
She groaned weakly, pressing her head into the blonde's shirt, "I never want to have kids"
Naruto hugged her gently giving a silent glare at the Master, "I understand."
Erza cleared her throat and stood up off the bed, "I do believe that we have a job to do, don't we?"
Naruto grinned, "I believe we do. Whaddya say Grace, you still up for a job today?"
She perked up almost instantly, anything to get her mind off that, "Yeah! Come on, we had better get going!" she shot for the door and ran back out into the hall like a purple blur.
Erza and Naruto chuckled at the younger mage's reaction before turning to the Master, ill intent radiating off of them,
"Why did you go and tell her all that?" Naruto exclaimed, "I thought you were just going to make something up?"
"I thought it best, as I said, she would have found out one way or another, besides you two weren't much old when you found out." Makarov replied with a light shrug. Naruto and Erza deflated as he made his point.
The Master suddenly grew serious, "Erza, when you get back from your job I want you to tell me what you know about why you passed out, it may be nothing but I do not want to take any risks." Erza nodded, what the voice said echoed through her mind once more.
"Good luck on your job anyway." Makarov grinned at them and strolled back into the hall.
Half an hour later the trio walked through the forest exiting Magnolia. The job they had taken was fairly simple; deliver an important package to a rich man in the next town over, Amaloove. Usually anyone else would take the train over but because of Naruto's severe motion sickness and general dislike of trains they had decided to walk plus with that route they were taking it would be a good combat real life experience for Grace.
The package in question was a long box, about five foot long and twenty inches wide, wrapped in brown paper. Naruto and Erza could sense that there was a feint magical aura coming from the package but simply brushed it off as a magical item that had been bought for a collection. Nothing too serious.
Naruto and Erza walked close together, their hands intertwined and their shoulders gently brushing together as they walked with Erza's other hand pulling along her usual mountain of luggage. Grace walked merrily ahead of them holding the goods they were to deliver.
The blonde sighed, everything was going but the bad feeling from earlier was back but this time it was worse, he had thought what happened to Erza was what he bad thing he that felt would happen but no, it seemed like the worst was yet to come. Shielding his eyes with his free hand he looked up at the sun to see the double rainbow encircling it was still there appearing more prominently than before.
"What's bothering you?" Erza asked him.
"I'm just worried about what happened earlier is all." he replied simply.
The red headed mage eyed him sceptically but shrugged, "Whatever, just make sure that you tell me later, alright?" Naruto shook his head with a smile.
"Alight, I will."
Grace glanced back at him and flashed him a smug grin.
Ten minutes of silence followed between them. A heavy rustle from the surrounding foliage caught their attention.
"What was that?" Grace asked suddenly looking a little off put.
"A monster probably, planning to ruin our day." Naruto replied casually but kept walking.
"This is the more dangerous route to Amaloove after all." Erza stated, "It's a breeding for some forest Vulcan, nothing we can't handle." the purple haired mage took a deep breath to calm herself down, no point getting worried over nothing right?
The trees rustled again this time louder. The S-ranked mages' eye sharpened, scanning the surrounding area for the impending threat.
A loud roar echoed around them and in a flash a large mass leaped out in front of them skidding to a halt kicking up large amounts of dirt and gravel. Grace readied herself in a position to Re-Quip a weapon and attack while Naruto and Erza looked on with seemingly unconcerned expressions.
The dust cleared revealing a giant monster that was definitely not a Vulcan; it was easily the size of a small train carriage with a goat like body, complete with cloven hooves and straight white fur, a long serpentine tail covered in thick acid green scales and a snarling, angry lions head with canines sharp enough to cut solid granite. A Chimera.
"Wow," Naruto said his tone mildly impressed, "That's rare, I haven't seen one this close before."
Erza nodded, "Chimeras aren't usually found round these parts of Fiore but it's not unheard of to find one once in a while. I can see why this road is normally blocked off to the public."
"I'm guessing these things are strong then?" Grace asked, trying to keep her tone level and not lose her calm.
"Yup, they occasionally come up as S-ranked monster hunter jobs but from what I've heard about them I disagree." Erza said, "While they are strong, they aren't exceptionally strong in fact, most mages at Fairy Tail could beat it without too much trouble."
"Hey Grace, you wanna take this one down?" Naruto asked with a cocky grin splitting his face.
"You want me to take this thing on?" She exclaimed, "Are you joking me, Nii-san?"
He shook his head in response, "Nope, I know you can do it, after sparing against Gray and Natsu, you should be more than strong enough to beat it." he walked over to her and gave her an encouraging pat on the shoulder, "If anything goes wrong then Erza-chan and I will step in alright."
The Chimera did not like being ignored and let out a deafening roar that shook the ground around them; the beast crouched, its body tensed getting ready to assault at any moment.
Grace found herself filled with confidence at her brother's words and a nod from Erza sealed the deal. She handed the package to Naruto, who then walked back to Erza, and then turned to face the monster. Staring it in the eye she grinned,
"I did want to try out this new sword I got the other day and this seems like the perfect chance to do just that." she held out her arm and a bright red magic circle appeared at her hand.
The Chimera pounced.
Out from her Re-quip Grace pulled a massive cleaver type sword, easily a foot taller than she was, there was no guard and the handle was wrapped with pale white bandages. The single blade was clean silver and the rest was pitch black. Its name; Zangetsu.
Grace rolled to the side of the road avoiding the Chimera's razor like teeth, her sword slicing through the ground as she rolled. The young mage only just missed getting struck by the long tail by a mere hair's breadth.
The Chimera gave a deep guttural growl, its beady eyes showing nothing but hate for the grinning human girl before it. It rapidly spun in place intent on taking the human girl's head off with another swipe of its tail. Half way through the swing a searing pain tour through its body, the Chimera let out an anguished roar. It leaped back from the human girl as far as it could, and when it landed it saw its very own tail lying on the ground twitching.
Grace took a steady breath, Zangetsu was heavy, and it took a lot out of her to just swing it and add on the small amount of practice she's had with it and it all adds up to massive wastes of energy however, that didn't mean she didn't have plenty left in the tank, not to mention Zangetsu's very special ability. Grace's grin widened.
Naruto and Erza watched Grace slice off the monster's tail with slight awe, out of all the ways that they had expected to take on the Chimera, this was the last way they'd expected her to do it, mainly because they had never seen the sword she was using before and they helped her fill her re-quip space. They were both sure that not a single cleaver went into it. Though, Grace probably bought it without them know somehow.
With a light grunt the re-quip mage lifted the blade above her head and began to channel magic into it. A blue light began to dance around the blade and focus at the tip. Aiming at the snarling beast with the bloody stump where it's tail once was,
With as much force as she could muster, Grace swung Zangetsu down to her right side. The blue magic focused at the tip blasted out in a blinding arc travelling at the Chimera with blinding speed. The backwards force generated was enough to lift small stones off the ground and launch them into the trees behind.
Seeing the arc of light head towards it the Chimera made to turn tail and run back into the forest however it didn't get more than three steps before the arc of light struck it in the back.
The following blast lit up the entire area for more than a few seconds. When the light died down all three of the mages opened their eyes, the Chimera nowhere to be seen, like it was never there, only its now still tail and the massive gash through the ground where the only proof that it was ever there.
Grace sighed in relief; Zangetsu disappeared from her hands, "Yes! I did it!" She pumped her fists into the air proclaiming her victory. Naruto and Erza beamed with pride and amazement at the younger mage and how she defeated the Chimera however after several seconds of standing with her arms raised, Grace's form wobbled under its own weight before falling to the ground. Within a second both S-ranked mages shot forwards and caught her before she hit the ground.
Grace coughed lightly, "Damn that takes a lot outta Me." she smiled up at her pseudo-sibling's worried expressions, "I'm fine, just exhausted."
Erza smiled, "You really caught us off guard you know that?" Grace grinned in response, "What was that sword you used, I've never seen it before."
Naruto nodded in agreement, "Yeah, it was freaking awesome, especially that massive light attack you used!" he could barely contain his awe and pride at his kid sister.
Grace blushed lightly but grinned wider despite herself, "I know wasn't it? The sword is called Zangetsu, I got it a few days ago and I wanted to keep it a surprise for you both but this was too good a situation to pass up." with help from Erza she slowly and shakily got her feet, "The thing is that the weapon store owner back in Magnolia, Kimigawa-san, wanted to keep the sword for Erza-nee because he thought that she was the only one who could use it properly but I made deal with him that if I could use Zangetsu on my first go then he'd let me buy it, and I did."
"That's very impressive, Grace, but what was that last attack you used?" Erza asked.
"That was Zangetsu's ability; Getsuga Tensho it takes my magic, as well as some from the surroundings, super condenses it and then releases it from the tip, from what Kimigawa-san told me, it was that it could be used a load of different ways, in fact being able to perform that spell was what I need to do to be able to get Zangetsu." The purplette explained.
Naruto laughed, "Wow, then it must be a real monster to use when it comes to magic."
Grace nodded and replied, "Yeah it really is, it's the reason Kimigawa-san wanted to keep for Erza-nee, he knew she'd be able to use it no problem but I showed him." she gave a weak laugh.
Naruto glomped onto his little sister nearly knocking them all over, tears of pride pour down his cheeks, "I have the coolest little sister ever! I swear when we get back to the guild I'm going to make sure that everyone knows about this! Even Mira will have to admit that Grace is much cooler than Lisanna! At this rate you'll be an S-ranked mage in no time!" Grace giggled at the feeling of Naruto's spiky hair rubbing against her face and tickling her nose.
"Stop it Nii-san! That tickles." She exclaimed, "Ah-choo! Damn it I'm about to pass out here!" her giggles became full blown laughter as she weakly tried to pry Naruto off her with no success.
Erza watched the interaction between the two with great amusement and a warm smile, she loved seeing Naruto like this, completely goofy and carefree, that's not to say that he wasn't most of the time but it was nice none the less, she couldn't help but think of how great a father that he would make, she shook her head with her ears burning red, no too soon. As much fun as it was to watch the two and listen to Naruto's prideful rambles, Grace really did look seconds away from falling unconscious.
"Alright Naruto, I think it's best that you let go." Erza said grabbing her boyfriend by the scruff and pulled him off the younger girl. The blonde pouted childishly but didn't say anything.
Grace smiled appreciatively at her sister figure, "Thanks Erza-nee." she closed her eyes and her breathing evened out signalling that she had fallen asleep.
Erza picked Grace up like a small child and turned back to Naruto, "Give me the package and Nejibana; I'll carry them while you take Grace." Naruto smiled softly at them both and unstrapped his halberd from his back. Putting both the items in the red head's free hand, he took his charge gratefully, carrying her piggyback.
"You're the best, Erza-chan." Naruto said, he leaned in and kissed her full on the lips. A few seconds later they separated and Erza smirked,
Hitching Grace a little further up his back Naruto took off down the path in a light jog, "Come on Erza-chan! We don't want to get caught by anymore monsters do we?" With a laugh he hopped over the gash in the ground that Grace had created.
Erza shook her head amusedly, strapping Nejibana to her back and making sure the package was firmly under her arm, she took after the blonde matching his pace with ease despite her mountain of luggage bouncing along behind her as she pulled it.
After just over an hour of jogging later, Naruto, Erza and the still sleeping Grace reached the town of Amaloove. The sun was just beginning its descent to the west signalling that it was early afternoon around two or three o'clock. Amaloove was a slightly smaller town than Magnolia, not by much but by comparison it was home to many more wealthy men and women than Magnolia and held less magic based shops.
Grace mumbled something into Naruto's shoulder and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck. Naruto laughed lightly and shifted the girl on his back, "I think we should go find a place to sit down until sleeping beauty here wakes up at least." he said to Erza.
She nodded in agreement, "Alright, we'll find a café to sit at and rest, it wouldn't look too good if we showed up with one of us out cold."
Fortunately not too far down the main road there was a nice little café with a few parasol tables out front. The mages sat down at one of the tables, Naruto placed Grace in one of the chairs, her head lolling gently against her chest. Erza placed her luggage by the table and sat down beside Naruto.
The blonde Dragon Slayer scratched the back of his head warily, "Today certainly had been interesting that's for sure." he said.
Erza placed a comforting hand on his, "Is there any other kind of day for us?"
Naruto gave out a bark of laughter, "You got me there Erza-chan." he placed his hand on top of hers and they smiled at each other, but the tender moment didn't last long as they were interrupted by a slightly irritated throat clearing. They jumped slightly in their seats and turned to see the waiter standing notepad and pen hand looking down at them with a strained smile,
"May I take your order?"
Five minutes later they sat with two iced-teas for them and glass of lemonade for Grace when she woke up. Erza sipped at her drink with a reminiscent smile something that did not get past Naruto,
"What ya thinking about?" he asked curiously, taking a large gulp of his own drink.
"Lots of clever little things." she responded vaguely, resting her chin on her hand.
"I was just thinking back to our S-ranked trials." she said, "I can't believe it's been two years already." she took another sip of her iced-tea.
Naruto nodded, "I know, it's crazy, right?" he said leaning back in the café chair, "It feels like it was only yesterday that we were welcoming Grace to the guild and were shitting the bed over having to old man Gildarts. We've really made a name for ourselves since then, isn't that right Titania-chan?"
Erza blushed at the name; Evergreen had been royally pissed off at her for 'daring to claim her title' and it lead to a very quick but interesting fight which ended leaving several guild members, including Natsu, Gray and Elfman, as statues, an Evergreen shaped hole in the roof and the beginnings to the debate on whether they should get a pool or not.
"You got that right Mizu'o." she quipped getting a bashful grin from the blonde, "Not to mention everything else that has happened since then as well." she placed her free hand on Naruto's and smiled sweetly at him letting him know exactly what she was talking about.
Naruto took hold of her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, "Yeah, and I gotta say, it was the best thing I ever did... despite how stupidly I did it."
~1 Year and 5 months previous, X781~
Barely seven months had passed since their S-ranked trial and their first kiss and things were going surprisingly smoothly, at least for everyone else. Naruto and Erza could barely look at each other without going bright red then looking away. It made missions rather difficult since they were more or less beside each other the whole time.
Naruto was currently pacing outside the guild hall muttering under his breath, he really didn't know what to do, he liked Erza, he knew that, much more than a friend, he knew that too, but what he didn't know was whether Erza liked him back like that and that terrified him. When they kissed after the trial it was really just a 'in the heat of the moment' thing and he didn't have the courage to say or do anything about it. That fact alone pissed him off, he was seen some of the worst sights in Fiore, fought some of the toughest beasts in the country and survived Mira at that time of the month but yet he could get up the nerve to ask Erza out.
As the internal debate boiled within the blonde mage the doors to the guild hall opened and revealed a man around his mid teens with long, messy, black hair that covered one eye and wore a long brown poncho with two pistols holstered at his hips.
"What are you doing out here Naruto?" he asked smirking slightly, "Shouldn't you be inside with Erza?"
Naruto looked at him with a disgruntled expression, "I don't know Alzack, shouldn't you be flirting with Bisca?"
Alzack's face burned bright red, "Sh-shut up. You're not any better with Erza, seriously with how you two get on, I'm surprised that you aren't married yet." he shot back at his fellow mage.
It was Naruto's turn to blush, "Hey! I don't know what you're talking about!"
The gunman's expression turned sly, "That's why you're out here aren't you? You're trying to get up the courage to ask her aren't you?" Naruto blush deepened and Alzack laughed, "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone but I suggest you tackle it like you do everything else."
"And how would be?"
"Just go in and ask her."
"Geez Alzack, thanks for that, it not like I haven't thought of that before." The sarcasm in Naruto's voice was so thick you could almost taste it.
The gunman shrugged, "You're meant to be one of the strongest mages in the guild, and you've faced much worse than asking your crush out on a date."
Naruto deadpanned, "You're one to talk."
Again Alzack shrugged, "At least give it a go, you never know it might just work out for the best."
"Alright," Naruto said, "I'll do it, but you have to out Bisca as well."
The mage gulped, "A-alright, it's a deal." the pair shook hands, sealing the deal.
Naruto turned around and opened the doors to the guild, putting on the most confident expression he could muster he walked through the guild hall. He spotted Bisca sitting at a table polishing her rifle while talking to Cana.
"There's Bisca, you know what to do Alzack." getting no response he turned around, "Alzack?"
There was no one there.
'That bastard ran off on me! Son of a bitch!' Naruto yelled in his head, 'I'm so going to kill him for this!' someone tapped his shoulder and his head whipped around to see Erza looking at him curiously, a blush covering her cheeks.
"Is something wrong Naruto?" she asked, obviously struggling to keep her voice even.
The ground suddenly became extremely interesting for Naruto, "N-no, it's n-nothing." he mumbled.
The blonde mage took a deep breath, still staring at the ground, "Will you go out with me?" he whispered, barely audible.
"I'm sorry?" She couldn't make out what he was saying.
"Would you go out with me?" he spoke a little louder.
"I still can't hear what you're saying." she leaned in closer to him.
"WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME!?" he froze realising what he had just done. There was no way she'd want to go out with him now, he ruined, maybe if he started running now he might be able to get away and possibly make it to Seven.
Erza giggled into the back of her hand, "At least Alzack kept his end of the deal."
Naruto folded his arms across his chest and huffed, "Yeah, only after I beat him into it, stubborn bastard."
At some point during Naruto's remembrance of when he asked her out, Erza had re-quipped her usual armour chest plate to a simple white blouse. She stood up and walked around to behind her pouting boyfriend and wrapped her arms around his shoulders purposely pressing her impressive bust into the back of his head.
"Aww, but Naruto-kun," she teased, "You act like what he did for you was a bad thing, if anything you should be thanking him."
Naruto's response was not what she predicted, he twisted in his seat, placing both his hands on her waist and pressed his face into her breasts getting a loud 'eep!' from her,
"Hm memph fephd fip phaws pha fad phing." came his muffled reply, "phanf phaph fanphd fim."
Erza shivered at the feeling, "Wh-what?"
Naruto pulled his head out of her breasts and said, "I never said it was a bad thing and I have thanked him, a lot."
A groan from beside them caught their attention, Grace's eyes were slowly opening letting themselves adjust to the light. Erza jumped away from Naruto and sat back down in her seat while the blonde turned back around in his.
"Good to see you finally awake princess." Naruto teased her lightly.
Grace yawned widely and stretched giving him a small glare, "Where are we?" she asked rubbing her eyes.
Erza smiled at her, "We're in Amaloove. You've been asleep for about two hours."
Naruto grinned, "I honestly thought you'd be out longer with how much magic that big ass sword of yours made you use."
"Yeah well, I'm a hell of a lot tougher than I look ya know?" she quipped, "So have you delivered the package yet or what?"
Both S-ranked mages shook their heads, "We thought it best if all three of us were conscious and accounted for." Erza explained.
Grace nodded in understanding, "Alright, then shall we go and finish up the job 'cause I really want to look around this town." she could hardly hold back the glitter in her eyes at the prospect of searching the town. So she downed the glass of lemonade in front of her with gusto then standing up and walked over to Erza's cart of luggage finally picking up the package.
"Hurry up you two, we got places to be!" She called back at her siblings.
Both Naruto and Erza sighed and shook their heads in mild amusement before finishing their own drinks. They payed the bills for the drinks before heading off down the street to catch up with the excited younger mage.
It took about twenty minutes but they found the house, if you could call it that, that they were supposed deliver the package to and calling it huge didn't quite cover it, not in the slightest. It was easily twice the size of the Fairy Tail guild hall, not to mention the seemingly endless amount of land that surrounded the building. It was a four floor building, its walls painted an immaculate cream colour and the rose bushes that went the length of the house were trimmed to absolute perfection.
"Whoa!" Grace exclaimed in awe, "This place is so cool! Who can even afford to live here?"
"Apparently it's the man who holds large shares in both Sorcerer Weekly and the railroad industry, at least that's what the job description said." explained Erza doing her best to keep her own awe at the building under check.
Naruto cleared his throat, "Come on, let's get this done a quickly as possible before Grace has a stroke from how cool this place is." Erza looked at Grace, whose eyes were shining impossibly bright and mouth was gaping with a fountain of drool pouring out, and quickly agreed with the blonde mage.
They approached the giant mahogany and just as Naruto was about to knock on the brass door knocker, the doors slowly opened revealing who they believed to be the butler of the house. The man looked to be in his late thirties maybe early forties with slick black hair and a fancy black suit fitting his position of butler.
"You must be the mages hired to deliver master's purchase." the man said, his tone the epitome of refined elegance and politeness, "Please come in, you can wait in the sitting room, and the master will be with you shortly."
The butler led the three mages through the front large front hall; they looked around them at the impressive decor, a crystal chandelier hung from the high ceiling, black and white marble tile floor where polished to the point that they could see their reflections clearly in them and amazing pieces of art each of which were easily worth several million jewels each hung from the wall. The sitting room was no less fancy, expensive furniture and a grand fire place that burn bright and warm.
"Wow, this guy really is loaded!" Grace exclaimed.
The butler nodded stiffly, "Quite, master has spent many years building up his fortune from the smallest jobs out in the mines to owning shares in the largest companies in Fiore." He explained, he motioned to the sofa sitting by the window, "Place take a seat while you wait, you must be tired from your journey here."
They thanked the man and sat gratefully in the seat; he bowed politely and backed out of the room closing the door behind him.
"So what do you think this 'master' is like?" Naruto asked.
Erza shrugged, "I don't know, I haven't dealt with too many rich men and they didn't leave too much of an impression."
"From what the butler guy said he seems pretty down to earth, I'm mean, he did say that 'master' worked in the mines and you don't work there if you're too arrogant to get your hands dirty." Grace said.
Naruto shrugged, "I guess you're right."
"Oh she's quite right, I'd say." a new voice said.
Startled by the sudden appearance they looked over to the door, a man only slightly younger than the butler, about in his mid thirties, who brought them in stood leaning against the frame smiling lightly at them, his receding blonde hair was combed back over his head and he wore a fine white silk suit.
Naruto, Erza and Grace Shot up from their seat and bowed politely to the man, "Sorry we didn't see you sir." Erza said.
"It's quite alright." he said waving off the apology, "I am Chester Sukizo, a pleasure to meet you." he shook each of their hands in turn, giving Erza and Grace a kiss on the knuckles.
"I'm Naruto Gurgite, and this is Erza Scarlet and Grace Imari." Naruto introduced.
"It's nice to meet you, sir." Erza said.
"Hi there, mister." said Grace happily.
"My my, when I gave that job to Fairy Tail I did not expect it to be taken by Royal Fae," Chester said with a hearty laugh, "I finally get to meet you in person."
"Uh, thanks?" Naruto said, awkwardly scratching the back of his head.
"Now, down to business," he clapped his hands together merrily and took a seat in the overstuffed wingback chair by the fire place, "Do you have my package?"
Grace nodded happily and handed the item to the man.
"Ah thank you very much my dear." Chester reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a white envelop, "Here is your payment for the safe delivery." Grace took it with an eager grin and thanked the man and skipped back to her seat beside Naruto.
Naruto stood up followed by Erza and Grace, "Thank you very much sir but we would like you get going, we kinda promised Grace that we'd let her roam around the town for a while." he ruffled Grace's hair and getting a heated glare from her.
Chester gave another hearty laugh, "Of course, I'll let you be on your way, I wouldn't want to hold you all back, now would I?"
"Thank you again sir." Erza said smiling kindly at the man.
And with that they left.
As soon as the front door closed Chester Sukizo's face melted away, his receding blonde hair replaced by thick brown hair and the kindly expression of the middle aged man remoulded into the sharp and confident face. His eyes were now a cold and unforgiving golden colour.
Behind him the butler appeared out of no were, "Did it go well, my lord?" the butler asked and the man smiled.
"Yes Gabreel, it went very well indeed." he ran his hands down the front of his suit which had remained the same, he rather like it, very good quality, "We just need to wait for Kushina to bring us the final piece and we can begin. Go back and wait for my next orders."
"Of course my Lord." the newly named Gabreel said with a bow before completely vanishing into thin air.
The man watched as the trio of mages left the property, "Very soon, Uzumaki Naruto-kun, very soon your time will come and we shall stand above all others as the rulers of creation."
After several hours of exploring the town, as well as some shopping, the team made their way back home to Magnolia and fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, the journey back was not as exciting as the one too Amaloove. By the time they actually reached Magnolia the sun was beginning to set giving the sky a lovely orange hew.
Grace grinned happily as she skipped beside her older brother and sister figures, swinging the large bag of sweets that she had cornered Naruto into buying her. Naruto sighed sadly at the sight of his empty wallet, sure they got plenty from the delivery job but to have to spend it almost right away, it would make anyone sad. Erza smiled sympathetically at her boyfriend as he stared into his wallet glumly, she rubbed his back comfortingly, and he looked at her and smiled, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
It was around seven in the evening when they reached the guild hall, a welcome sight for them to see. They pushed open the doors and almost literally ran into Mira, Lisanna and Elfman.
"Watch it!" Mira yelled before realising who had almost knocked over, "Naruto? When the hell did you get back?" Naruto blinked,
"Uh, just now actually, we were a little late in getting back, we ran into a Chimera but Grace too care of it in one hit!" he boasted, wrapping his arm around his little sister almost as if to rub it the ivory haired mage's face...
Mira crossed her arms and huffed, "It's not that impressive." she said. Lisanna and Elfman sweat dropped knowing exactly what Mira was thinking.
"So where are you three off to?" Erza asked them.
Mira smirked at her rival viscously, "We're off on an S-ranked job, that's were."
Erza raised an eyebrow, "Really, what one is it?"
"The one to slay the Beast." Mira spoke proudly. Naruto frowned not liking it at all, he knew something bad was going to happen today, and it was going to be on this job, he knew that now.
"I don't like it." he said bluntly, taking his arm off of Grace and folding it across his chest.
The S-ranked mage glared at him, "You're just jealous aren't you? You haven't been on an s-ranked job in months and know you're jealous that I'm taking one and you aren't."
Naruto shook his head, "Something is going to go wrong I just know it." Grace looked between the two worriedly; his bad feeling was coming to pass.
"That won't work on me Naruto," she spat his name her anger was visibly rising, "We're going to take this job whether you like it or not!" she shoved him out of her way violently and stormed past. Lisanna followed looking at him with a confident smile,
"Don't worry about it Naruto, we'll be fine, just you wait and see." she said then ran off after her sister.
"I will protect them with my life; I am the man of the family after all!" Elfman exclaimed patting naruto heavily on the shoulder and walking off in the direction if his siblings.
The blonde Dragon Slayer sighed and shook his head before walking into the guild, "Naruto? Are you alright?" Erza asked him worriedly,
"I'm fine Erza, but by the end of the night, I fear that they won't be."
Phew, this is the longest chapter I've ever wrote, 9,123 words as of this note, crazy! If I ever said that I wouldn't be putting other Zanpakuto into this story, yeah well, I lied X) though don't expect everyone to be getting one, actually there will only be about three or four Zanpakuto in this story as a whole. I choose Zangetsu because, it just seemed like a good idea, and before you even ask about Bankai I honestly don't know whether to have it or not, Nejibana don't have it because we don't know it's Bankai and most likely never will so I don't know if I should give it to Zangetsu, I most likely won't though.
I really should stop with the whole 'next chapter' thing because I almost never stick to it, this chapter was meant to be about saving Lisanna and the whole fiasco about the Beast but it wasn't. I originally planned for the delivery job to be a minor thing before moving on but 2,000 words into the writing the chapter, I thought 'I can use this!' and so I became what you just read, but don't worry that will be next chapter and whether Lisanna is saved or not...
On another note, Water King has just reached 1k favourites and follows! Thank you all so much! I intend for this story to overtake Lanky Nathan's 'A New World, The Story Of A Lost Shinobi' as the most popular story in this archive... Just 2K more to go! Still thank you all for your support!
Please, don't forget to review!
Anyways, until next time,