Hero's Tail; Chapter 10
It was a crystal clear sky this morning with the chirping of singing birds roaming throughout the vagrant sun shining down on Magnolia Town. The waters were calm and the air felt refreshing against my skin.
Despite this peaceful atmosphere of nature, what stood before me and Lucy stuck out like a sore thumb as it destroyed the illusionary harmony we were both experiencing just moments ago.
"No way…" Lucy brought up a hand of hers and covered her mouth in disbelief.
"What the hell happened here…?" I was bewildered.
In front of us was the Fairy Tail headquarters that we were in just last night, except it was now completely renovated in a bad way.
Massive pillars of what appeared to be made of iron pierced through the stone walls of the building from all corners. The once beautiful and artistic figure of Fairy Tail was now looking like some child's recreation of a porcupine fused with a castle as numerous metallic pillars demolished the roofs and walls leaving a mess on the ground below.
I was speechless; after all, I could still remember clearly the events of yesterday before I had left the perfectly intact guild. After the duel between Erza and I, we had opted to return to the guild before disembarking back home.
"I knew it Shirou, you are a true man!" Elfman shouted while slapping my back with excessive strength.
"I'm glad you think that way of me," I said with a little laugh.
"To think that someone could actually match Erza with a sword," Loke said from around the corner. For some reason he was always on the opposite side of the room from Lucy.
"Shirou! Times like these call for a congratulatory beer!" Cana held up two mugs of beer and forced one into my face.
"Haha, I guess you're right," I replied as I was beginning to get in the mood of the celebratory environment. "Cheers!"
Someone harshly cleared their throat in order to garner everyone else's attention. It was obviously a very indignant looking Erza who was clearly not sharing the same sentiments as everybody else.
Stone cold brown eyes pierced through me as she beckoned me over with a look that told me if I didn't, chaos would ensue. After giving a quick sigh, I complied and headed on over.
"So Shirou… Let's hear your explanation on how you were able to use my weapons," Erza sat on top of a bar stool with one leg crossed over the other as she interrogated me.
Many other of the members also joined the discussion we were about to have in curiosity; I guess my magic and abilities weren't common over here either.
"Well, it's actually a part of my abilities as a mage," I started off lightly. "Regardless of the similarities of my magic compared to Erza's, I don't actually use what everyone refers to as Requip magic."
"What? You're bringing out weapons from a different dimensional realm aren't you?" Levy asked confused.
"Yes, for the most part that is true, but the weapons I summon do not exactly exist. Instead of storing weapons and armory that exist in realty into an alternative space-time continuum; the objects I use are projected from the reality within the workings of my mind."
Blank faces were marked on everyone around me, except for one individual who I expected no less from.
"Interesting… Are you perhaps trying to suggest that your weapons are created by virtue of imagination?" Makarov spoke up while stroking his bushy moustache.
I nodded my head. "For the most part, that's correct; I have adopted a special ability that allows me to analyze the composition, form and history of any object I lay my eyes on, though I am more proficient at this in regards to weapons," I wasn't going to get into the complications and complex theories behind my magic; instead I was explaining most of my abilities in Layman's terms. Still, what I was explaining was only just the surface of my abilities. "And through this ability, I am able to project the image of any weapon as long as its composition is not alien to me."
"You're saying you were able to analyze my swords and use them as your own right when I drew them out?" Erza asked with a very engrossed tone.
"Yeah, the moment I laid my eyes on your weapons, I was able to add them to the collection in my mind," I told her bluntly. Erza seemed to convulse slightly in anger as I mentioned that; she must've been quite prideful in her weapons. "Once I have a weapon's information stored into the archives of my mind, I am able to project their image into reality through the use of my magic."
"Wait, wait!" Levy shouted out in excitement. "Isn't that basically a form of Lost Magic?"
I recalled Ultear mentioning something about her 'Arc of Time' being considered one of the Lost Magics.
"I believe so," Makarov looked at me in interest as he brushed his chin now. "This seems very similar to the 'Arc of Embodiment'."
"Arc of Embodiment?" Lucy asked out after not recognizing the name.
"It's one of the lost arts of magic that allows its user to materialize whatever they imagine," Levy stated in a very serious manner. Peculiar and relatively unknown information seemed to be her speciality, so it came to no surprise that Levy would have this information memorized.
Everyone whispered in awe amongst themselves. I guess even in this world there happens to be a higher plane of magic as well.
"Though my magic does eventually disappear after being rejected by nature; it is not permanent and is constantly being fueled by my energy."
"I see… What a shame," Makarov said out with a sigh. "And here I was hoping you'd be able to fix the damages that occur here on a daily basis."
I smiled towards the saddened old man.
"That doesn't mean I can't fix whatever needs to be fixed; magic or not."
Makarov turned towards me with teary eyes and quivering lips.
"You're truly a blessing, Shirou!" the old man wept without restraint as he stretched an arm towards me and patted me on the back.
"Every little bit we learn about Shirou makes my opinion of him grow more and more!" Jet grinned openly.
"You've heard it here folks! Shirou can use Lost Magic and he is a part of Team Shadow Gear!" Droy cheered in unison with Jet.
"I'll admit your magic appears to be powerful…" Erza crossed her arms as she maintained her glare. "But don't think for a second that it allows you to just waltz around and steal my weapons!"
"I can't make any promises," I shrugged sarcastically towards Erza with my arms up in the air.
"You bastard… You better watch your back," Erza stood up in reaction to my reply and fiercely scowled.
"Now, now Erza…" Levy tried standing in between the Erza and I, but she was clearly frightened.
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves here," Makarov said joining Levy. "Just look at how the guild shines gloriously and brightly after Shirou jumped at it!"
"Hey! I helped out too," Natsu retorted in anger.
"You were sleeping for more than half the day; Shirou's the one that did the most of the cooking and cleaning," Gray said irritably.
"Damn, I was discovered!" Natsu held his hands behind his head and walked away.
"Tch," Erza clicked her tongue after being ganged up on. "Just don't be using my weapons without my permission; I ventured through hell and back to acquire some of these treasures."
I could understand Erza's aggravation towards me using her weapons. She had to physically obtain them herself while I merely acquired her weapons just by a single glance. Perhaps I was even feeling a little guilty about being a 'Faker', only a little bit though.
"I'll do my best, Erza."
After conversing with the others a little longer, we had all parted ways from the clean and brand new looking guild.
Sure, now that I was standing in front of a crumbling guild, that just meant more fun work for me to do. But what the hell, everything I've accomplished previously has suddenly been nulled making yesterday a complete waste of time. Whoever was responsible for this was surely asking for a beating of their life.
"We've been had…" Mirajane approached us from the entrance as I and Lucy stood there in confound.
"What do you mean Mirajane?" Lucy asked worriedly.
"Moreover, is everyone alright?" I added on to the end of Lucy's question.
"It seems Phantom Lord attacked our guild last night, fortunately, no one was in the guild at the time," Mirajane said with mixed emotions.
I see, so they struck last night under the detection of the Fairy Tail members. Was it a cowardly act? Or was it provocation? This wasn't something that could simply be passed by.
"What is this Phantom Lord?" I asked curiously.
"Oh, that's right, I forgot that you weren't from around here," Mirajane said as she spun back towards the entrance of the ruined building. "Come down to the basement, we'll let you in on what transpired."
From what I gathered, Phantom Lord was one of the main rival guilds in opposition to Fairy Tail for the position of top guild in all of Fiore. They have had numerous disputes and never had a good relationship with one another. Their guild master, Jose Parla, was one of the Wizard Saints much like Makarov was, and they had many famous mages much like Fairy Tail did.
They had their scuffles, but this was the first time that they had ever openly provoked Fairy Tail like this though.
"Master! Do you understand our current situation!?" Erza shouted out loud in anger.
"They wrecked our guild!" Natsu's forehead was snaking with veins as he could barely keep himself from exploding.
Mostly everyone was already present in the basement of the guild; it looks like I and Lucy were one of the last ones to arrive. Anger was one the most common expressions the members of the guild were displaying as most of them conversed about how they would go about returning the favor that our opponents have given us.
"Well, calm down," Makarov appeared to be restless, but he didn't let his infuriation get the best of like the others. "It's not something to make a fuss about."
"Serious!?" Gray shouted out incredulously.
Shock soared through the ranks of the faces listening in on Makarov's calm nature.
"Phantom right? This is as far as those idiots will go," Makarov chugged down the rest of his beer. "I don't see why they even bothered to attack an empty guild. There's no need to make a fuss about someone that resorts to cowardly attacks; leave them be."
"I CAN'T ACCEPT IT!" Natsu shouted and slammed his fists against the counter; his mouth was wide open to display his fangs as if representing his urge to fight. "I won't feel right until I smash them down!"
"Enough! We'll continue our activities here in the basement until the floors are fixed," Makarov got off his seat and landed promptly on the floor below. "While you cool down, I've gotta go, nature calls."
Makarov quickly dashed off out of sight as his small figure disappeared behind the crowds of people and furniture.
"How can Jii-chan be so calm…?" Natsu's clenched his fists and gritted his teeth heatedly.
"I could be wrong, but Makarov appears to be as agitated as the rest of us are," I threw in my own opinion in defense of Makarov. "He's the guild master; it seems falling for Phantom's insult to us would cause more problems than it would solve."
"Natsu… Warfare between guilds is prohibited by the council, and Fairy Tail is already on their bad side," Mirajane agreed with me as she tried mediating Natsu's anger.
"They were the ones who attacked first!"
"That's beside the issue…" Mirajane softly said.
"If Master truly feels this way about it…" Erza stared dishearteningly at the floor as she also gritted her teeth.
The rest of the members also mirrored the same state of mind as they had to retain a passive stance despite being humiliated as such. All because of Phantom's little childish games, the once joyful and happy nature of Fairy Tail had been trampled on; my blood was also boiling.
"We have to accept that…" Erza regrettably announced.
Was there any way of facilitating and receding everyone's current misery and hatred being expressed?
Everyone left on that note to find something to take their minds off of the current situation; I headed towards the table where my new team was residing.
Levy currently rested her head against her hands placed on the table, while Jet and Droy seemed to be silently contemplating and sorting out their thoughts on the matter.
"How about we take on our first mission together after everything's settled?" I asked the three of them. It was the only thing I could do for them as a friend; I couldn't just stand around while they drowned their sorrows away. While it wasn't much, this way they could concentrate on something other than what happened.
"Hmm, our first mission together?" Jet repeated my words.
"You say some good things, Shirou!" Droy's energy had suddenly rejuvenated. "I'm down for whenever!"
"The sooner the better!" Levy raised her head and cheered gleefully. "We'll earn enough Jewels to repair the entire guild!"
"That's the spirit; there's nothing we can do here, instead we should be focussing on things to contribute to the guild," I nodded my head as I appreciated their enthusiasm. "Then how about we begin one tomorrow?"
"Yeah!" Droy got off his seat and pumped his fist into the air. "I'll go look for one now! Just to let you know, I'm going to pick the most difficult one available to us."
"I wouldn't want it any other way," I told him happily.
"Alright! Then let's meet up tomorrow morning!" Droy shouted to which all of us cheered. "I seriously can't wait."
The four of us seemed to become the centre of the guild as our delight and enthusiasm was distracting the others from their own self-destructive moods. Even after something as mortifying and discouraging as what had just occurred to our guild, it is times like these where having bonds with each other truly mattered. It was something I was beginning to pick up off from my fellow friends around me.
Twilight passed as most members of the guild were proceeding to leave after a long day of removing rubble and contributing anything that they could to restoring the building. Lucy, Natsu, Gray, Happy and Erza had already left moments ago leaving me and the rest of Team Shadow Gear.
"What a beautiful night sky!" Droy said excitedly as we ventured outside the destroyed doors of Fairy Tail. He brought up his hands as if trying to grasp the twinkling stars for himself. "The stars are shining brightly as always."
"Magnolia Town does have a spectacular view of the sky, there's no doubt about that," I said in response to Droy's delight.
"Ahh man, I can't wait to get home and relax!" Jet let out an exasperated breath as he hung his arms loosely. "What a day of no excitement!"
"Just think about tomorrow!" Levy joyfully stated. "Make sure everyone's well rested for Team Shadow Gear's first mission with Shirou!"
"Right, no one be late for tomorrow!" Droy said with pleasure in his face.
The entire day has been filled with the sounds of our jubilant laughter which spread throughout the guild; even Natsu couldn't help but cheering up after witnessing Team Shadow Gears antics as we went about trying to fix up the guild. More so of the other members and less of me; I didn't have much of that natural talent of spreading happiness like some kind of disease. Either way, showing no weaknesses and moving forward was the best solution to our current predicament.
"Careful on your way home!" I waved to the three of them as we separated ways at the front of the guild.
"Same goes for you, but that probably doesn't have to be said," Levy cheerfully smiled as the three of them returned to wave.
"See you tomorrow, Shirou!" Droy waved enthusiastically.
With that final note, I headed back home after an eventful day.
Phantom Lord, huh? If all they were capable of was damaging an unoccupied building, then were they not much of a threat? That couldn't be it, after all, I learnt that their master was as strong as Makarov was and they even have members equal to Fairy Tail's own S-class individuals. Just what were they expecting to happen after attacking our guild; it wasn't likely that they were just satisfied with seeing our guild wrecked.
I arrived at my front door and gave a quick peep to the neighbouring house belonging to Lucy. The lights were out, so it was probably reasonable to expect that Lucy was asleep. It was announced that members were to head home together to avoid being ambushed, so I could rest assured knowing that Natsu and the others had escorted her home safely.
With that in mind, I took out my key and unlocked the door to my home…
Something was amiss; coming from the upper floors leading to my rooms was a familiar scent. I instantly forced prana into my hearing abilities and listened in. Carefree voices could be heard as I slowly walked up the stairs. It couldn't be…
Heaving a sigh, I opened the door.
"Quite a bland room you have."
"Sorry for the intrusion Shirou, heheh."
Five members of Fairy Tail were comfortably seated at my dining table.
"I see you five have already made yourself tea to enjoy," I wryly smiled.
"Please help yourself," Erza gracefully said.
"You guys are unbelievable…" I racked my brain as I tried to calm myself from the sight of these intruders telling me to 'help myself' to my own assets.
Though I understood their intentions of sticking together in times like these, could they have at least let me know that they were going to use my living space?
"Don't be upset, Shirou. This is precautionary action required after seeing Phantom's outright challenge towards us," Erza stated meticulously while elegantly sipping on some tea.
"So we decided it was best if no one was alone," Gray tagged in as he also enjoyed some tea.
"Hmph, I still say we attack them," Natsu crossed his arms and leant back on the chair he was seated in.
"Whose idea was it to have this little sleepover at my place?"
Four out of five of the member's eyes turned towards a particular blonde female who started to shrink in her seat.
"Lucy said she'd just sleep at your place, Shirou!" Happy nonchalantly said.
"I didn't say that!" Lucy screamed out as all the blood rushed into her face. "You guys just assumed I'd be relying on Shirou to protect me!"
A silence entered the room after Lucy shouted; now how was I going to respond to this? Perhaps I shouldn't.
"Who knows what Lucy would do if she was left alone with you," Erza completely ignored Lucy. "That's why I decided to join with Natsu and Gray to keep you safe."
"Thanks… I guess," I replied not knowing what else to say.
"Hah… So no one's listening," Lucy sighed and gave up trying to prove her innocence.
For a few minutes, everyone ravished through my rooms looking for anything they could blackmail me with. It looks like these friends of mine have no sense of privacy. My drawers were tossed open, my closet was emptied out and even the few paintings that came with the house were removed in search of anything suspicious. Their search would be in vain, because I haven't had the time to decorate anything but my kitchen.
"This place is kind of boring, Shirou…" Natsu said sadly.
"Aye sir…" Happy was practically falling asleep.
"I would've thought that you'd have s-some in-in-indecent material in here!" Lucy said out embarrassingly.
"Yeah…" Erza agreed with a nod of her head. "Lucy! Quick, let's check under his bed!"
The two of them suddenly tousled and searched under my bed and every other compartment surrounding it.
"I've been living her for less than a week, and what gave you the idea that I'd have erotic material lying about!?" I said out a little irritated. It was bad enough that they intruded out of nowhere, but to suspect me of such things! I would've obviously hidden them in places that would be impossible to find if I had some.
The gong show continued for a few minutes until everyone finally admitted there was no point in looking any further.
"Hey…" Lucy silently spoke up while everyone began setting up their resting spots. It goes without saying that I was getting the floor while Lucy and Erza would share my bed. "Why did Phantom suddenly attack us?"
"I don't know… We've had some brushes before, but this is their first time attacking our guild in such a direct way," Erza explained.
"Jii-chan should quit being scared and fight it out," Natsu grumbled while seated cross-legged on the wooden floor.
"Isn't there anything being done?" I asked with interest; after all, they practically destroyed the guild just when I had tidied it up. "Surely we can't just leave it like this."
"That's right! We should go get reven-"
"Don't be stupid," Gray interrupted the jumping Natsu. "Our best bet now is to be patient while the Magic Council deals with this."
"He's right, Natsu," Erza regretfully nodded her head in agreement to Gray's thoughts. "In reality, if our guild and Phantom were to clash… both guilds would be devastated."
A sudden burst of magic from afar ignited my senses; it reeked of iron. This was definitely the destructive aura and essence that distracted me the previous day, also, it was most likely the individual responsible for the damage to the guild.
Instinctively I stood straight up on alert. With this explosion of magic which I could detect from such a distance, it couldn't have been a good sign.
"Shirou?" Lucy asked cautiously after I had abruptly broken the silent atmosphere.
"There's trouble..." the magic could still be felt through the stale night air. "I'm going to check it out."
Without thinking twice, I threw open the window atop of my bed and stepped on top of the sill.
"Wait! What's the matter?" Erza followed towards the window seeking an explanation, but I had already leapt.
"I'm not sure, but I'll find out soon!" my voice echoed through the air as my body was shrouded in the wind generating from my rapid descent from the two-story building.
I could hear the others in my room scrambling to their feet with my heightened senses from reinforcement, but I couldn't trivially wait for them to catch up.
As soon as my foot hit the ground, I swiftly sped towards the location of the outbreak of magical energy.
Not a single soul was gracing the empty streets with their presence; it was eerily quiet. The streets were illuminated by the lampposts placed along the sidewalks as well as the full moon gazing down towards the night in Magnolia Town. Even so, there wasn't any time to enjoy the spectacle of a beautiful city in the current situation I was in.
My body was pushed to its upper limits as there were no traces of the magic powers lessening, and now that I was closing in, other magical sources were arising in the midst.
It was a scent I was very well acquainted with.
"Levy, Jet, Droy..." I muttered out as I spun around the corner. "What the hell is going on...?"
From a few blocks away covered by a row of buildings, clouds of dust could be seen trailing across the night sky. Hastily I dashed past the remaining obstacles and into the clearing where I could finally observe the cause of my frantic worries.
It was in a small open rectangular field that resembled a park. It was surrounded by few trees and bushes; in the centre of the patch of land stood a relatively large tree. One tall figure stood tall over three others lying flat on their stomachs.
Blood littered in streaks across the green scenario where a battle had occurred. Iron pillars devastated the ground throughout the area which indicated a hectic battle had just ensued.
It took a split second to finally collect the information thrashing into my mind as I stared at the three lying bodies.
Jet's face could not be seen as his face lay buried into the grass...
Droy's body was sprawled out onto the grass as he still showed indication of trying to put up a fight, but it was clear from the state of his bloody wounds that it was impossible...
Levy's clothes were in tatters and miserable streams of tears coursed down her cheeks as she attempted to crawl closer to Jet to shield him...
What the fuck was this...?
The unknown perpetrator was being shadowed by the tree as it blocked the moon from revealing its image.
"Gihik!" the sound of a male formed from its mouth as he laughed confidently over the three fallen.
"You're not going to get away with this..." Droy grunted with whatever breath he had left. This resulted in a vicious lapse of coughing blood. "You basta- *COUGH* *COUGH*"
"Why are you doing this!?" Levy who had been roughed up as well shouted towards the male.
Though Levy was in bad shape, it was incomparable to Jet and Droy who suffered brutal wounds. The two of them must've placed themselves before Levy in order to protect her.
The man gaudily snickered out into the night sky as he witnessed Droy and Levy resisting
"The weak will always fall before the strong!" he took a few steps towards Levy.
"That's no reason…" Levy whimpered.
"Isn't this how society functions? The rats of the streets will be stomped!"
"S-stop..." Droy reached out his shaking arm.
"Weaklings should be silenced while they prostrate themselves to those superior!" the man was now mere steps away from Levy. "Do you understand!? Gihik!"
"Then grovel before me."
A heart-chilling crack was heard as I drove the tip of Kanshou into his gut. The tip pierced through and jutted a few inches into his flesh. It was surprisingly shallow.
With the intention of pain, I wrenched the blade out and before the individual could react I pivoted my foot to the left and delivered with all the force I could muster into my right leg and side kicked the region I had just punctured.
It almost seemed like the sound of metal clanging. Blood spurted out when the blow from my reinforced steel toe boots knocked the person off his feet and onto the ground a few meters forward.
"Are you three alright?" I asked in a low voice while I kept my glare at the new male.
He had long shaggy black hair and wore a black sleeveless tunic with white pants. What was most surprising was his face which appeared to have bolts attached where his eyebrows would be and vertically down his nose and his chin.
"Shirou!" Droy coughed out.
"Shirou... It's really you..." Levy's distraught face converted to a gentler image as she spoke softly. "The team's all here now..."
I nodded my head in agreement as I watched my foe getting back up to his feet.
"It's you..." the man grunted while clutching his open wound.
"Who the hell are you?" I asked in a menacing tone.
"Shirou! Be careful," Droy spoke up from beside me. "He's Gajeel, a Dragon Slayer like Natsu, except that he uses iron rather than fire."
A Dragon Slayer; this was going to be interesting.
"You were the one watching my duel with Erza yesterday," I stated.
"Hmph, so you noticed," Gajeel remarked negatively. "I'm trembling in excitement; I can't believe my luck that I'd be able to crush you tonight. A strong warrior from Fairy Tail, I could barely contain myself when I saw that battle yester-!"
I didn't give him the liberty of introducing himself. Before he could finish, Bakuya and Kanshou were already in direct path towards him.
The spinning blades both centered into the location where Gajeel was standing. Being caught off guard, the only reaction he could manage was to shield his head and body with his arms.
It sounded like a hack saw cleaving through another piece of metal. Sparks flew from the sides of both Gajeel's arms where the blades connected with, and left a long narrow gash on the upper shoulders which drew blood.
Even though I didn't have the intention of killing; the result was still diminished from what I had expected.
"Impatient aren't you," Gajeel said as he shook off the pain. Within seconds, both Bakuya and Kanshou returned to my grasp like a boomerang.
"Gajeel... You messed with the wrong team," Droy chuckled weakly as he forced a grin onto his bloody lips. "Kick his ass, Shirou!"
"Hah! Rats should not be talking," Gajeel replied as he got into a fighting stance. "This should be fun."
The ground behind him exploded in a cloud of grass and dirt as he took off towards me. His arms suddenly transformed into a dense form of steel as he brought them up to attack.
His right arm pounded against Bakuya which I brought up to defend with. In a fury, his left arm swung upwards in a flash as I blocked it hastily with Kanshou. Though he was fast and powerful, he left far too many openings which I could easily take advantage of.
Another fist of iron sped towards my face and I easily deflected it while dealing another shallow cut at his abdomen with my free arm.
The fight continued in a similar fashion where Gajeel would charge in at me while converting the composition of his limbs to use as weapons, and where I would swiftly dodge and deal a swift counter.
Just like how he altered the composition of his arms and legs into steel, it was most likely that he was modifying the rest of his body into a similar form to avoid sustaining heavy injuries. Either I was going to slowly chip him down, or try something entirely new…
"Huh!" I grunted out as I once again twisted my body and struck Gajeel's injured abdomen with the sole of my boot.
The impact was enough to throw Gajeel off balance as he tottered back a few meters while trying to catch his breath from being winded.
I crossed my arms and sprung them out while releasing both blades swirling towards Gajeel.
"That won't work again!" Gajeel roared.
Instead of trying to avoid and defend against the blades responsible for emitting a deathly hallow in this stagnant night, he brought up both his transfigured arms made of steel and moved them to the trajectory of both Kanshou and Bakuya.
The resulting sparks seemed to light the surrounding area as the velocity of the blades were brought to a halt by Gajeel's sturdy arms which absorbed the might of my trusted swords.
Both swords protruded from his pillar-like arms as they cleaved through at least half of its diameter.
"I don't even remotely see how that could be considered successful," I smirked sarcastically.
Gajeel wheezed and strained himself while putting full effort into removing the foreign objects lodging itself into his arms. The moment he removed both swords, his arms returned to its former human image with exception of the gashes in both arms that flowed with blood. He ominously held both swords by the hilt.
"Thanks for the meal," surprisingly he brought both blades to his open mouth… and chomped down hard.
"*CHOMP CHOMP*... This stuff is extremely tough," Gajeel repeatedly grinded his teeth against the blades near the hilt. His teeth were definitely ranging near the top levels of the Moh's scale of hardness as eventually the steel blades of my trusted weapons parted with the hilt.
In a deliberate manner, Gajeel also belched out loudly in a provoking manner as he rubbed his stomach.
"What the..." Droy was as confused as I was.
"H-he must be like Natsu!" Levy stammered out worried. "If he consumes his element, then his powers will be rejuvenated!"
Ever so slowly, the wounds Gajeel had sustained began closing up as his epithelial cells began duplicating at an accelerated rate. Even his fatigue seemed to vanish as if it were originally a lie.
I had also seen Natsu consuming fires at times; what a convenient trait it must have been to be satisfied by consuming raw substances. Unfortunately for Gajeel, my weapons weren't your typical blacksmith crafted swords.
"Urghh!" Gajeel suddenly doubled over. "What the hell... It's burning my insides..."
"It's mortifying enough to watch you treat my swords as a meal," I told him with a little annoyance in my voice. "An upset stomach is the least of your worries."
My projections had been created with the intentions of replicating its original composition, but even so, it was still an anomaly to reality. What Gajeel consumed was not steel, but an infusion of my magic.
He might've been able to heal the damages inflicted on his body, but it looks like consuming and absorbing prana into his own magical reserves would be similar to taking poison directly into your body.
"You disappoint me," I said while I watched him writhe in pain.
"You're just someone who ambushes those that would assure a complete victory," I stated in contempt. "Such cowardice."
"Stop talking like you've won!" Gajeel roared. He ground his teeth together which resulted in the sound of scraping metal. His previous demeanor of sickness was replaced by one of pure ferocity.
What was most striking was not his rage, but his change in appearance.
He was covered in scales; much like those belonging to a legendary class of reptiles; dragons.
Gajeel's face and body were transformed with metallic scale-like features in reaction to his outburst of emotions.
"Don't look down on me you bastard!" Gajeel's magical energy drowned the surrounding area with a relentless force.
He dashed towards me with a burst of speed.
"Iron Dragon's Sword!" a sword that looked similar to a chainsaw replaced his right arm as he swung down to where I stood.
As if it were instinct, I leapt back from the spot which exploded in a heap of dirt.
It was an unrefined display of power resembling a wild animal; just how I wanted it.
I searched the archives of my mind... It was a weapon I had never gotten the chance to use thus far, but here in Earth Land it felt almost perfect.
This sword would induce nightmares into that foe that stood before me; a fitting conclusion for someone who harms the innocent.
Prana surged through me as it coursed into my desired weapon. It continued eating away at my reserves as my circuits slightly burned in order to stabilize its image being projected into reality. From the darkness emerged the abysmal sword that screamed into the air as it surfaced into my hand.
"W-what...?" Gajeel's face deformed as he gazed upon the arrival of my new weapon. His body momentarily began to shake, but he quickly suppressed it.
It appeared that Gajeel could somewhat sense the hidden properties of the weapon that lay in my hands. Though it wasn't surprising, considering this weapon had the ability to slay dragons. This was irony at its finest for the individuals known as 'Dragon Slayers' to develop the same weaknesses as the dragons that they were made to kill.
Faster than the blink of an eye, I pressed forward and slashed my sword diagonally towards his chest.
He reacted fast and held his arm which converted to a weapon to block; a grave mistake.
"ARHH!" with his weapon literally being a part of his body, the full effect was felt from my attack.
Gajeel crashed into the ground while his body rocketed back as it tore up the earth below.
"What the hell is with that weapon!?"
"A dragon slaying sword."
I twirled the shadowy sword that was enthralled underneath the moonlight. Its chains that were wrapped around the guard rattled slightly underneath the tremendous speed it was cutting through the air with as I clutched the hilt firmly with both hands. Arondight, an immortal sword that was given to a warrior heralded as the 'perfect knight'. It was once a holy sword that was considered a counterpart to Excalibur, but its owner succumbed to darkness, thus tainting the sword. Even now while I hold this sword, it called out for demise.
Blood trailed down Gajeel's lips as he spat out the accumulating blood in his mouth. He wearily stood back up onto his feet; he was an enemy, but I could still respect his perseverance.
"You have injured my friends, so unfortunately I have to return the favor." I calmly told him. "I'm sure the Council will have a word with you about your conduct though."
"Shirou..." Droy happily called my name.
Instead of admitting defeat and pleading for mercy, Gajeel did the opposite, and laughed.
"Gihik!" he wiped the blood off his lips. "So Fairy Tail is not so full of weaklings after all. Phantom does not have a character such as you; it's quite the bore sometimes."
He chuckled slightly while wincing in pain as I began walking in his direction with my sword in hand.
"I see…" the entire match between us was clearly one-sided, but even now Gajeel had a strong glint in his eyes. "Perhaps you've joined the wrong guild, there's full of powerful individuals in my guild."
Erza, Natsu, Gray… the faces of the members of Fairy Tail flew through my mind. Even Levy, Jet and Droy had the potential to rise to elite levels if they were to become serious. I couldn't blame anyone who was ignorant of the true nature behind the friendly and pacifist looking faces of those people. Their strong-wills and desire of obtaining their goals is admirable; it was why I felt so at home in Fairy Tail.
"Hah! For your own good, I hope you're right!"
"What do you mean by that?"
Gajeel did not answer and clapped both his hands above his head. His magic gathered at an unfathomable rate; it was amazing how he could display such power when just momentarily ago he was nearly on the verge of collapsing.
I rocketed towards him as he prepared his last ditch attack.
"Karma Demon: Iron God Sword!"
Above his clapped hands arose a mountainous stake that stretched towards the sky. The form was much like a sword, but it appeared highly unstable as its shape shifted and vibrated intensively while Gajeel did all in his power to keep it under control.
And before I knew it, the towering sword flashed down towards me.
"Gah!" within the last second I plunged my foot into the ground and held off the attack with my own sword. My arms burnt and every second underneath the weight of Gajeel's magic felt like torture as the joints in my leg felt like imploding within itself.
Sweat caressed my brows as I could feel it racing down from my forehead; I was seriously starting to get a sense of how Atlas must've felt all those torturous years holding the sky on top of his shoulders.
Every second felt like an eternity, but luckily for me, the amount of time that Gajeel could sustain this devastating power was a lot less than forever.
"I-i-impossible…" Gajeel eyes looked like it was on the edge of popping out of his sockets while he panted from exhaustion. His arms dangled from the sides and his legs looked like they were about to give way at any moment.
"Not bad," I said out loud while stretching my shoulders in a circular motion. It was obviously a lot more than I expected, but the end result was still the same.
It was over; the fears that were previously crawling within my mind were doused and another night would come to an end.
I dug my foot out of the ground it had drove into and advanced towards Gajeel.
"!" I froze.
"Shirou…?" Levy called out worriedly.
This was definitely something to be worried about. All within a span of a few seconds, the entire surrounding was immersed in an outward display of power. The energy I was feeling drowned the air I was standing in as I could barely contain myself from choking. It was the scent of death.
In a hurry I scanned the area for the source of this demonic power, and that's when I spotted him.
Darkness… a malicious darkness that threatened to envelop the area into the realm of shadows; it was my first impression of that man who marched towards us.
The hair on my skin stood on edge from the frozen chill I was experiencing from his imminent descent before us. Just what was this sinking premonition I was feeling?
"Gajeel…" his cold and calculating voice emerged from his figure which appeared to be enshrouded by evil. His face was revealed underneath the rays of moonlight; his hair was a bloody red and was tied back and he had a thin moustache. "Your objective shouldn't have taken this long; I suppose my judgement on finding you was fortunate."
This was the master of Phantom Lord, Jose Porla? That explains the ominous power I could feel being generated from his body.
His darkened pupils shifted its gaze towards me as I readied my blade.
"Droy, Levy!" I shouted behind my back. "Get Jet and leave this area immediately!"
"Wh-what…?" Levy stuttered as she shook from the presence in front of us.
"Shirou, we're not just going to leave you to fight alone!" Droy forcefully retorted my shout to escape.
"I'm not going to say it again…" the handle in my grip tightened. "LEAVE!"
My voice boomed across the foreboding night that crawled with the scent of death.
"Hmm?" Jose's voice trailed off as he sneered at me. "Disgusting brats… don't think you're leaving alive."
Without looking back at the three behind me I sprinted towards Jose and brought Arondight over my shoulders.
I couldn't let my guard down against the master of Phantom; his very manifestation in this area reeked with the aroma of demise. There was no telling what his abilities were, and waiting to find out could result in an early grave.
Unlike Gajeel who came with the intention of hurting the members of Fairy Tail… Jose was aiming to kill.
At the halfway point of my destination, Gajeel obstructed my path with his own body as he took a fighting stance despite his worn-out body.
"We're not done yet!"
The blade I was wielding flashed diagonally in front of me towards Gajeel and his body instantly vanished from my range of sight as it was sent hurling across the field. An explosion was heard which was the result of his tumbling body crashing along the once pleasant grounds.
With Gajeel temporarily hindered from blocking me on my path, I closed in on the remaining distance towards Jose. Not once since I made my move had he even flinched; his figure felt more and more surreal the more I analyzed it.
Being a couple meters away from Jose, I gripped the handle of Arondight with both hands and speared it forward into his body.
The tip gouged through Jose's body as the blade could be seen exiting through the other side. There was no sound, no resistance, no feeling, no reaction…
My body was lowered to the ground to gain leverage with my stabbing motion and I gazed up to observe the details on Jose's face.
His black-stained eyes continued glaring forward at where I previously was located.
A smile appeared on his stoic face… his sight was never set on me in the first place.
"LEVY, JET, DROY!" I followed his gaze and was met by my allies in the line of his focus.
"Huh?" Droy and Levy looked at me chaotically as my expression turned agitated.
The illusionary projection of Jose that I had just impaled dissipated as I raced back towards where my friends were still positioned.
How could this have happened…? The real Jose stood behind them and raised his arm.
Shadows in the form of the undead swirled and amassed in his outstretched hand.
It concentrated and condensed into an orb gleaming in an eerie light. Time seemed to slow as I watched from a distance like I was watching a movie; unable to affect what was coming. Levy and Droy turned around to face Jose. At this point, Droy had regained enough strength to be able to stand.
This isn't supposed to happen…
With the collected magic in the palm of his hand, Jose stretched his arm out in front of himself.
The subsequent pool of ghastly magic was unleashed; splitting everything in its path. Darkness began to flood my irrational thoughts and my vision was momentarily blinded by the explosion from the result of Jose's magic.
Dust clouded my vision as I pushed on ahead to the centre of the explosion; my heart raced and my head felt like tearing.
What was I thinking at this very moment? I wasn't too sure of it myself; my mind was becoming empty as I let my instincts take over.
"A-ahh…" Levy's cracked voice was heard amongst the turmoil.
"Levy, you're okay!?" I rushed to her side where she was still kneeling beside the unconscious Jet.
"Ahh… Ah-ah…" incoherent sounds were the only thing Levy could force out of her throat.
Levy was crying.
The dust began parting to the sky as I finally realized the reason for Levy's distraught state of mind.
An array of footsteps running towards our area could be heard as I gaped wordlessly at the sight before me.
"Shirou!" the voices belonged to the members of Fairy Tail I had left behind back at my house, but at this instant they were sounds lost in the wind.
"… Master, you couldn't have…" Gajeel's voice could be heard trembling from a little distance off.
"My, my… more brats have arrived," Jose snorted complacently; I could feel his scent walking away in the opposite direction. "The wheels have been set in motion, we're leaving now Gajeel."
I wanted to hunt him down as he turned his back. I wanted to wrench my blade through his cold and tainted heart. I wanted him to feel the anguish I was already submerged in.
But I couldn't.
My mind and reasoning was sinking deeper into that ocean of anguish; my arms and legs felt like they were bound by steel cable ropes as all I could do was lose sight of the surface.
Killing Jose wasn't what I should be doing now…
"Droy!" I shouted while running towards his kneeling figure dripping with a crimson liquid.
His broken body collapsed forward and I caught him right before his face was planted in the disheveled ground in front of him caused by Jose's attack.
"Droy, don't you dare die on me," I held his body within my arms as I got ready to lift him. "Hold on, I'll find you some help."
My voice was frantic much like a lost-child's, because after all, I could tell that it was hopeless.
"Droy!" I shouted his name again as I stood up on my feet.
The voices behind me were in a much worst state than mine was in; there was a muffled cry, a lash out of disbelief, and an uncontainable rage that was already longing for vengeance. At this point, I couldn't make out what was what.
"S-Shi… rou…" a faint whisper brought me back to my senses.
"Droy, it'll be alright, hang on a bit longer," I carefully took off into the streets in the direction of an infirmary while carrying Droy.
"… Shirou," his voice was softer than before but it was also clearer. "We're friends right?"
"Yeah… We're definitely friends."
"That's awesome… seriously," a small grin formed on his lips. "When we first met at Mt. Hakobe, I realized… you're the person I have always aspired to be, a real hero…"
"But I guess that's a little too late now, hahah…" he weakly chuckled.
"That's wrong," I strongly said without a hint of deceit. "You're already a hero; you saved Levy and Jet without a second thought."
With his last remaining traces of strength, Droy pulled himself to my ear. He whispered his last few words without erasing that smile that seemed so natural on his face.
My movements slowed and eventually I came to a halt as I continued holding on to the precious and lifeless body which became illuminated under the moonlight.
In the path I have sworn my life to, I had eventually come to the realization that it was flawed; death was a concept that would litter the roads I tread upon. From the events that had shook the very foundations of my life and to the moment where I had thought my life was at an end, I have always lived with death.
The only way to protect my sanity and continue on forward was to steel my mind and keep emotions from interfering with my goals. This did not mean that seeing people die before me did not affect me, but it was at a level where I wouldn't be overly involved to disrupt my duties.
My emotions were locked away and the juvenile and innocent idea I held before about never allowing an innocent life before me to be lost was something I learned to be impossible. After seeing so many lives lost, eventually I could only accept that not everyone can be saved.
So why was it so insufferable…? Why was I feeling overwhelmed with sorrow?
Take care of Levy and Jet in my place will ya? Thank you, Shirou…
The members of Fairy Tail stood before Droy's deathbed, save for Levy and Jet who were admitted to an infirmary and were recovering from both mental and physical injuries. For the time being, Droy would remain within Fairy Tail headquarters until further notice. It was to everyone's agreement that his final moment before his grave would be here with his family.
I will never forget the grim and vexed faces coupled with the streams of tears that everyone had expressed, and I will never forget the feelings of retribution that I shared with Fairy Tail.
The relaxed and ironic smile I usually held disappeared, and was replaced by a cold and emotionless face. Jose has already taken the life of one of my friends, there's no doubt that he'll strike again unless we stop him dead in his tracks.
Every available member of Fairy Tail had immediately rushed to the guild after hearing news of what transpired the night before. Multiple times, Natsu had attempted to charge off on his own and it was difficult trying to stop him for the reason that I had consciously wanted to do the same.
"Master…" Erza shook uncontrollably as she kept her gaze lowered.
Makarov stood before Droy as his chest heaved up and down, one hand covering his face to block out the view of his tears. Makarov was the father and we were his children… there was no doubt Makarov was the most furious of all.
"Shirou," Makarov called out my name in an unyielding voice despite his shaken appearance. "What was my child like during his final moments?"
"He was a hero," there would be no need for glorification, because in my mind, Droy has already done more than what can be put in words. "With no hesitation, Droy placed himself in front of an attack knowing that this would happen in order to save the people he loved."
Some members choked on their own tears, but they still stood firmly in order to show their respects to Droy.
"I see…" with his hand still covering his eyes, Makarov's body convulsed as he did all in his power to present a dignified presence worthy of the name 'Master' to Droy's sleeping figure. "So my child has grown up to become a hero."
"Dammit…" Natsu clenched his teeth and tried to shake away his tears.
"Unforgivable…" Gray mirrored Natsu.
I had only known Droy for a short duration of time, but during that time I had already come to see him as a friend. Droy had been a member of Fairy Tail for almost a decade; I can only imagine the pent up frustration everyone was experiencing as they looked down at someone who was practically a brother to them.
"You're one of the greatest guys I've ever come to know! It was definitely destiny that we met each other..."
My rage was building up again at an immeasurable rate as I looked at Droy's peaceful face. How cruel and twisted fate was to steal away life from those who do not deserve it; I couldn't comprehend it.
"Droy will remain here for the rest of the day before we say our farewells," Makarov said as he spun around to meet the faces of the almost hundred members of Fairy Tail that were gathered here in this grief-stricken moment. "Meanwhile we as members of Fairy Tail have to complete our duty."
The misery spilling over in the guild was going to be converted to a new emotion on the other side of the spectrum… wrath.
"WE GO TO WAR!" his voice did not seem to belong to a short old man, but instead a fearsome giant.
Makarov's deafening roar was reiterated by every single member of Fairy Tail as the thunderous warcry echoed throughout the guild.
My anger was seething and the only remedy was Jose's blood.
There will be no dawn for Phantom.
Chapter 10 End
I am a little slow to update and the reason is split between school and how hard it was to write this chapter. As you can probably see from my previous chapters, everything is going perfectly for Shirou; if this continued then ultimately everything Shirou had previously lived for would seem like an illusion. Death is real, and it follows Shirou sadly.
My one main problem with Fairy Tail is how a deus ex machina (Tenrou Island was where I got a little irritated with this) will always suddenly appear out of thin air and save everyone. Sure, I understand maybe that's the point of Fairy Tail and how the power of love and friendship will solve everything, but it gets a little contrived after seeing it so many times considering that the Fairy Tail world has a lot of gruesome facts of its own.
From the start Phantom has aimed to actually kill members of Fairy Tail, except for a few members (Juvia, and hopefully Gajeel). Considering that both guilds are considered equal in power, how did Phantom get stomped on so badly? Jose had attempted to use his guild's cannons and what not which would level half the city, so Jose killing Droy did not seem strange to me. And for Jose to pop out of thin air during the battle, I wouldn't think of it as too much of a coincidence. Shirou's entrance into Earth Land changes a lot of things, and it wouldn't be too out of place to have word about this sword swinging freak getting around to the ears of Jose. He would probably be at least worried about his strongest member.
Hopefully I can get the next chapter up faster than this one; I'm sure most of you can guess what happens next chapter!
Shadow Zeranion: What you're waiting for is coming soon my friend!
Undeen: That is pretty fun to consider; perhaps if Erza's storage for weapons is timeless then this could become a possibility. I'm gonna have to think about this, thanks for the idea.
Warden Valdr: Thanks for the comment! My plan is to show at least two different Noble Phantasms per Arc, so it won't be pure K&B. It wouldn't be Shirou if he didn't win by being unpredictable lol.
Condor green: Ahh, I'll admit I posted that chapter in a rush in the middle of the night. I wanted to have it posted and have nothing to think about except school. I figured I'd just post the interrogation this chapter.
Kami no Kage: Thanks, I just didn't have the heart to have Shirou beating Erza in a duel; I think I might touch up on this battle a little bit to not have it look so one-sided.
DemonRaily: Hand gestures, that's true. I'll keep that in mind cause that's a good point you bring up. Yeah I think I'm going to touch up on that fight a little bit. If the members realized how his abilities are slowly using up his life, I'm sure they'd bash him for it; at least Lucy would forbid him by all means.
Orchamus: Extreme wrath is an understatement at this point.
N0mster: True, even I felt a little bad about ending the duel that way.
DarnReality: To beat a sword spammer you need another sword spammer, at least that's how I see it hahah. Yeah as many reviewers have mentioned, it's too early to have a definite winner especially for a character like Shirou. Thanks for the mention about my grammar, and I keep forgetting to read your stories even though the premises are attractive to me lol, I'll get on it soon.
Dumbledork: Hahah, I'll have to really flesh out that scene
NIX'S WARDEN: Can't answer (1) for surprise factor. (2) Yes and probably pretty soon. (3) Yup, look forward to it!
Jouaint: Yup, I'm still thinking about possible scenarios but Shirou will need to use everything at his disposal.
KingofZeroX: Wow, can you see the future?
Srey: It was fun reading your reviews, especially since it tells me that I'm at least improving in my writing abilities. Yeah, while reading/watching Fairy Tail, I was also thinking, "Wow, someone like Shirou would love this place." Oh damn, you're right about that electricity thing… I'll just throw in the word lacrima and everything will be fine hahah.
GaeDearg: Thanks for the review, I'm glad my small attempts at humor are noticeable lol.
Vegeta the 3rd: Yeah! Sword spamming is the perfect counter to sword spamming! I actually got this idea from a couple PM's and a review, but since Shirou's Reality Marble works based on Shirou's idea of reality then it should probably work the same way it does back in his own world. The Reality Marble will affect the people in it differently though. I think Makarov is a very lenient Master, as long as his 'kids' are free from danger he's pretty carefree, so when he saw that they arrived back safely that's all that mattered to him. Of course, this is just how I see him. Thanks for the long review, it got my mind working up more ideas!
LacelotQuanta: Yup, it'd be safer to go with concrete alternatives rather than coming up with my very own; just something I'll think about further. Thanks for the warning, I'm still thinking it all through.
Mercy0880: Yeah, at first when I wrote this fic, I didn't plan on continuing for this long so I rushed most of the key elements such as romance. But now I find it a good pastime when I got nothing else to do, so I've basically screwed myself over. I've got a perfect solution though; throw in a side-chapter where Shirou and Lucy interact a bit more before the Demon Island arc! Thanks for the review; I didn't want anyone crying over how weak or overpowered someone in my fic was so I put in a lot of time researching a character's particular abilities.
Zerodragon: Look forward to it!
MrNeedsToRemoveAllFavs: Yup, I believe he can only trace something very similar to Excalibur. Thanks for the reminder!
Once again, thank you all for reading and reviewing. I hope you all enjoyed it.
I don't like asking for reviews, but this is probably the one time I'd like to hear your opinions about the way this chapter concluded. It was probably the most difficult chapter for me to write thus far and I'm not afraid to tinker with it if necessary.
Till next time, Cheers!