Not my usual length, but this is just an epilogue. Keep in mind this takes place two years after the Tenrou incident, and in the middle of what's to be my next story. (Which will be up within the week.) It's not really Natsu centric, Lucy centric, etc. Why?
Well, the damned entirety of Pledged is going to be NaLu. This is a breather in-story for me and also ties up the last point in Identity I made a while back, so... Here. I get to wrap up Identity finally and you guys get a peek at chapter 9 of Pledged.
Oh, yeah. Since I deleted my InuYasha story, this is now my most reviewed! I was going to keep it up for nostalgia's sake, but then I reread it and... I shuddered.
Epilogue - A Promise Kept
Any part of Magnolia away from the Fairy Tail building was usually quiet. The closer you were to the guild, the more likely you were to see something crash and explode… Or burst into flames… Or freeze at subzero temperatures… Or…
Well, the point was that things could and would go wrong when in that particular vicinity. Common knowledge, Levy supposed. So she wasn't sure why she was hearing so much yelling on her way back from the library, which was all the way across town. Deciding to check it out, the bookworm cut through the nearest alley and came to one of the smaller marketplaces in the chain.
"Come on, kid! Speak up! I know it was you!"
The owner of a local fruit stand was talking down – Yelling was more like it, Levy thought – To a small girl dressed in purple who couldn't be more than seven. Other people were cautiously watching the scene from afar, none of them making a move. Silent observation in case anything went wrong, no doubt.
The girl just shook her head frantically and stepped back, gripping the straps of her backpack tightly. The man reached out and grabbed her by the wrist.
"Either speak up or give me back my produce, kid! I don't have all day for this!"
Still the girl did not speak. Levy wondered why she didn't open her mouth and plead her case. It was obvious the man thought she stole something from him, and even if he was right it would be normal for the girl to deny it anyway.
Seeing the tears on the girl's face, Levy bit her bottom lip. If nobody else was going to intervene, then maybe she should try-
"What are you doing!?"
A boy about the same height as the girl dashed through and slapped the man's hand away. Levy blinked, looking behind her and back. She'd barely seen him go past her!
"Why are you hurting my friend!?" the boy screamed.
"Your friend there stole two pounds of grapes from me!" the man snapped back. "And she won't pay up! She won't even talk!"
The boy lost his glare momentarily as he turned to the girl. He murmured something to her, and in response her hands started moving speedily through foreign gestures. Levy's hazel eyes widened in recognition.
"She says she put money on the edge of the melon's shelf," the boy interpreted. "She didn't want to bother you because you were in the middle of talking with another customer."
The owner of the stand went and looked at the shelf hurriedly. Levy saw him hesitate as he stared at one particular area. Sure enough, the owner bent down and came back up with some stray coins. The bluenette guessed that he would find just enough there once he was done counting.
Seconds later, the man walked back over to the children and bowed his head. "I, uh… I found the money," he said. "But… Why didn't she just point it out to me when I was yelling at her?"
More hand motions from the girl with more translation by the boy.
"She says you were scaring her, that's why."
The man had the decency to blush in shame.
"I… I'm terribly sorry, you two. It won't happen again."
"It won't, because we're likely not going to be in this part of town again," the boy replied bluntly. "If you want to make it up to us, though, would you mind telling me where I could find a man named Makarov Dreyar?"
Levy's attention snapped to it. This boy knows the master?
"Makarov Dreyar…" the owner hummed. "Wasn't he the previous guild master of Fairy Tail?"
"Previous?" The boy cocked his head to one side. "I thought he was still the guild master."
"… Oh, damn! Sorry, kid." The owner chuckled nervously. "Makarov-san disappeared with some of the other guild members years back, so they had another master for a while. Guess I'm still a little behind the times. As far as I know, Makarov-san is still with Fairy Tail alive and well. Head to the north part of the city to find the guild hall. Just be cautious. Fights tend to break out over there."
"I… will keep it in mind." Without further words, the boy grabbed the girl by her hand and speed-walked away. Levy chased after the two, shoes scraping the cobblestone as she jobbed.
"H-Hang on, there!" she exclaimed. The children halted almost immediately at the call. The boy eyed her with guarded green eyes.
"Who are you?" he asked. "I don't know you."
"No, but you know my master," the bluenette said. "You… did say Makarov Dreyar just now, right?"
"Yes… And you are?"
"I'm Levy McGarden, Fairy Tail's resident Solid Script mage." That got a reaction out of both children, both of surprise for different reasons. The girl began signing again, to which the boy nodded and said to her,
"She says you look more like you read than do magic."
"Err. I- Well…" Levy frowned. "That's vaguely insulting, you know. True, but insulting."
"She's good at reading people," the boy explained. "… No pun intended."
"Is she a magic user?"
"No. She just has good intuition."
"I see…" Levy bent down to their height, making eye contact with the only speaker between the two. "Are you a magic user, little boy?"
"Yes," the boy replied without hesitation. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't call me 'little'. I'm practically seven already."
"Can I call you by your name, then? What is it? I told you mine, so now it's your turn."
"I suppose that's fair. I'm Crow, and her name," Crow gestured to his friend, "is August."
"Crow-kun and August-chan, huh?" Levy smiled. "Nice to meet you both. Do you want me to take you to Fairy Tail to see the master?"
"If Makarov Dreyar is the master," Crow began, "that would be most helpful of you."
"Well, I am a helpful person!" Levy chuckled. "Now, come on. I'll be your tour guide on the way as well."
Makarov hadn't meant to fall into a pit, honest. Nor was it his fault that his bare scalp got cut. Nor was it his fault that the stupid thing hadn't stopped bleeding enough for Erza to leave him alone. Why didn't anybody in that damned guild realize that you bleed from your head more than anywhere else on your body and it didn't have to be serious for it to look bad?
Porlyusica let him have it for bothering her with such a menial injury. She slapped gauze on him and kicked him out the door faster than he'd walked in. Makarov grumbled. It wasn't like Erza had given him much of a choice. You'd think a woman who's constantly going into battles would know how delicate the skin on your head is.
The few people lounging at the front of the guild hall greeted him with a smile, taking jabs at the extra bruise he had thanks to his old friend. Makarov laughed it off with them before noticing the small crowd at the bar. The Wizard Saint raised a gray brow. Did someone bring an animal or something here? Everyone seemed so concentrated…
"Ah! Welcome back, master!" the barmaid greeted with a smile. "How was your visit to Porlyusica-san's home?"
"Unpleasant, but I don't expect anything less from that woman." Makarov motioned to the rightwards group. "Is something going on that I should know about?"
"Oh, that's right!" Mirajane gasped. "Levy brought two children with her to the guild today!"
"Children?" Makarov asked in surprise. "What's she doing with children?"
"She said they were wandering around Magnolia looking for you, master."
"Me? What do a couple of youngsters want with me?"
"I don't know. They haven't told anyone why since they got here. At any rate," Mirajane added with a wink, "It's best to ask them yourself, don't you think?"
He couldn't agree more.
As Makarov closed in on the group, he could make out the different things being said.
"… the elements? That's so cool!"
"Yeah, but I can only use one for fifteen seconds and that's it. Then I have to wait until the next day before I can do anything…"
"That's kinda' lame, kid."
"Stop picking on him."
"He kind of looks like Gray."
"It's just the hair color, stupid. He looks nothing like Gray."
"Waaaaah! Gray-sama was unfaithful!"
"Erza, stop her before she floods the place again!"
"It's lucky Gray isn't here…"
"Can we stop talking about the ice prick? It's getting on my nerves."
"A lot of things get on your nerves, Natsu."
Makarov cleared his throat loudly, silencing the murmuring mages at once. The group consisted of Natsu, Levy, Jet, Droy, and Max. Erza had gone off somewhere trying to get Juvia to calm down.
"Welcome back, master," Max greeted. "That didn't take long."
"Yeah, that was faster than Jet when it's his turn to buy groceries," Droy smirked.
"I can out run you at least, you fat tub of lard," Jet retorted.
"Excuse me! I am one hundred and forty pounds of rippling steel!"
"Yeah. Too bad you weigh two-thirty."
"Boys, boys, clear it up," Makarov sighed exasperatedly. "Now, where's the two that need to meet with me?"
"Right here," Levy piped up from behind Natsu. Makarov leaned to his right and spotted his two guests sitting on the barstools. "Their names are Crow-kun and August-chan."
"Crow and August, huh…" The corner of Makarov's mouth twitched. "I can't say those are familiar names… Nor are you familiar faces."
"Pleased to meet you, Makarov Dreyar," Crow introduced. "And I don't expect we're familiar, seeing as we've never met. However, I know of you and was told to come here."
"You were? And your friend wasn't?" August shifted in her seat, playing with her fingers uncomfortably. Crow shook his head, giving a negative answer to the guild master.
"I met August on my way here. She wanted to come with me, so I let her." August nodded eagerly at the explanation. Makarov hummed.
"I see… So what is it you need from me, boy?"
"Yeah. Mama said I could join Fairy Tail if I came here."
"He finally elaborates..." Max mumbled. "At least we know he can do magic. Nothing spectacular, apparently, but…"
"He'll get better when he's older, right?" Natsu asked. "It's how it works for everyone. Definitely worked for you, considering you almost gave me a match after seven years."
"Well... Yeah, I guess." Makarov ignored the peanut gallery entirely and stepped up to the stool.
"You said your mother told you to come here?" Crow nodded. "Does she know me?" Another nod. "Do I know her?" A third.
Makarov sighed inwardly. The kid didn't look familiar at all. He didn't know anyone so personally outside the guild that he'd just welcome a random six-year-old with open arms - Not without a good reason, anyway. He had enough childish antics going on around here without a real child hanging around. And what of the girl? He was hoping she didn't want to stick with him like glue and join as well. She had no apparent magic aura around her, and giving admission to a normal person wasn't allowed. They're called a wizard guild for a reason.
"Ah, that's right." Crow jumped down from the stool to meet Makarov eye-to-eye. His cloak shifted ways as he searched his shirt and pants pockets for something. Eventually his hands came back with a small, crumpled envelope at arm's length. Makarov took it reluctantly, unsure of what its purpose was. Crow pointed at it. "Mama said to give that to you when I got here."
"Your mother, huh…" Makarov eyed the envelope with new interest. Was his mother not magic? There seemed not to be the normal spell enchanting it. That meant there would be no hologram to interact with or listen to. An oddity, because that was the normal way wizards contacted each other. Perhaps the boy received his magic paternally.
Nevertheless, Makarov broke the wax seal carefully and opened it up. Knowing he was too short for anyone to get a good look at the contents of the letter while standing, he didn't bother moving somewhere else to read the letter inside.
There was very little written on the paper, but it was enough for Makarov to double-check the boy's hauntingly familiar green eyes.
To Makarov Dreyar:
A late welcome back from your island excursion. I hope you remember your promise to me.
There, done. A link to a pic of Crow and August will be on my profile soon.
Thanks to all of you! And I do mean all of you. I could not have completed the story without reviews from YOU following awesome people:
Reviewer Gal Iff
Captain Ea Rayos
Killer Moon Lover
The Lollipop Assassin
Wing of the Night
Plus all you anonymous peeps that didn't give me a legitimate name to put on here! A big ありがとうございます to you!