The Power of Twelve

Chapter 8: Attack on Fairy Hills

Gajeel had been right to trust his instinct and watch over Levy, for Senka had easily discovered that she was gathering important knowledge. One of her demonic minions had been creeping around Magnolia and had managed to follow Evergreen to the Fairy Hills building, where it had then proceeded to look into all of the windows and gather intelligence.

Almost immediately, the minion had been forced to back away from the building when it became evident it wasn't the only one there. Through her ball, Senka had spotted Gajeel and warned her minion in the nick of time. It had watched from a distance, sure, but it had certainly gathered enough on Levy for her to be labeled as a threat.

And as every good villain was fully aware of, threats had to be taken care of. Immediately.

*On the Streets of Magnolia*

Lucy walked next to her energetic partner, her thoughts racing. With a simple, heartfelt conversation, Natsu had brightened up her mood easily. Instead of broken down and depressed, she now felt determined and ready to take on almost anything.

Said partner, who appeared to be carefree as usual, was actually quite focused. He kept Lucy in the corner of his eye, watching her carefully. She seemed to be doing much better than this morning, and heck, she even had a slight spring in her step. That's the Luce he knew and loved.

And loved?

Before he had time to ponder over the new direction his mind had begun to take, Lucy gave a sudden gasp from beside him and her hand went to grasp her keys. One in particular was pulsing angrily, but it wasn't one of the blackened keys. It was the key inscribed with the zodiac symbol of the lion.

The blonde quickly grasped the key in her dominant hand and prepared to release Loke, but Natsu stopped her with a hand clamped around her wrist. "Don't," he warned. "Can you feel that? Something's really wrong." She lowered her arm and stared into onyx eyes that were fixated on a point far beyond her line of vision.

Natsu took in a deep breath; scenting the air. Without warning, he took off, a confused Lucy stumbling after him. He twisted around citizens doing their everyday thing, ignoring the angry shouts he received for running through the crowd. Lucy would've lost him, but strangely enough, it was more like Loke was leading her now.

The key fastened to her belt seemed like it wanted to release itself and fly towards a destination, but something about the way Natsu was acting told Lucy it wasn't the best idea to summon the lion now. Finally, after nearly a dizzying series of turns, the celestial mage found herself at Fairy Hills. Her stomach dropped to her feet as she took in the scene.

A swarm of small, dark creatures were rampaging around the building, most unable to bypass the protective barrier due to their murderous intent. A plume of fire came from the midst of all the little monsters, and it was then she knew that she'd located Natsu.

"Open, gate of the golden lion; Leo!" Loke was released from his key upon his master's orders, and he leapt into the fray, destroying nearly a fourth of the beasts with a well-aimed blast from Regulus. When Lucy was able to get a better look at him, her heart leapt into her throat.

The head of the zodiac looked absolutely… frightening. His eyes were feral behind his sunglasses, and his spikey hair was even more drastically askew than it normally was. Something about the malicious waves coming off of him didn't sit well with Lucy, and it was then she considered sending him back.

At least, until a shout from Natsu drew her attention away from the spirit. She blinked and drew her whip, making her way to her partner by listening to him call her name. "Natsu!" She answered loudly, smiling in relief as she came in sight of him. She quickly snapped her whip at a couple of creatures that got too close before speaking again. "What's going on?"

Natsu's face darkened and he pointed with a finger at the cause of the commotion. Lucy inhaled sharply, and felt her heart clench painfully. Hardly visible with all of the monsters running amuck, stood Senka. 'Why is she here? It's far too early…' The mad woman was cackling, and just when Lucy thought it couldn't get any worse, the following happened.

Natsu charged her without a second thought, furious flames ready in his hands. Just as he was about to strike her, Senka raised her left arm which held the crystal ball. From the ball, a huge pillow of fluff spilled out, and Lucy heard Loke let out a strangled cry.

The fire dragon bounced off of the fluff and landed on the ground roughly. From his position, he could clearly see the sphere clenched in Senka's gnarled grasp. From that object, a soft pink light shone. Black eyes widened in realization. "Luce, it's Aries! She's using – "

Natsu didn't have to finish his warning; Lucy had already come to that conclusion. She pushed all of the doubtful, depressing, and hopeless thoughts to the back of her mind and reached for Leo's key. Once she'd forcefully closed his gate, she pulled out another key.

Gemini emerged and took the form of its master without asking. Another Lucy, identical to the original, stood tall and at the ready. The talk she'd previously had with Natsu was at the forefront of the celestial spirit mage's mind as she gestured for Gemini to attack at once with a plain brown whip while she summoned Cancer in an attempt to cut through the huge pile of fluff Aries was producing.

Lucy ignored the rage she could practically feel seeping from Leo's key and pulled out Fleuve d'étoiles, and started hacking at the fluff herself, fending off smaller enemies when they launched themselves at her. 'I've got to get to Aries…'

Suddenly, a large wave of heat passed Lucy's back and completely destroyed the remains of Aries's barrier. She caught a glimpse of her pink haired partner bounding away to go defeat more enemies and smiled to herself, knowing he'd been the one to finish off the pink mass. She quickly rejoined with Gemini and crept forward, whip at the ready.

Senka stood but twelve feet away, her precious crystal ball cradled in her hands. Her venomous dark eyes glittered with malice, and Lucy wanted to turn away and run; far away from this crazy woman and her twisted plans, but she couldn't do that. Senka was a threat to her spirits, her friends.

And Lucy Heartfilia would protect her friends.

"Senka," she said evenly, tightening her grip on Fleuve d'étoiles in an effort to hide how badly her hands were shaking. Whether from anger or fear; she wasn't sure. Next to her, Gemini edged so that they were slightly positioned in front of their key holder. They certainly didn't like the aura this woman gave off.

"Hello, Lucy. Tell me, how is your lion holding up as of late? I'm certain the lamb is at her breaking point…" Lucy quickly glanced around, looking for said lamb. Her eyes landed on the ball cradled in Senka's gnarled hands, and lit on the figures contained inside.

The larger one was obviously Taurus, who stood with his giant axe in hand over the other spirit with him. Aries was unconscious, her face pale and her breathing labored. She looked absolutely miserable.

Thank the heavens Lucy had closed Loke's gate.

"You know, she's surprisingly strong. I was hardly able to obtain her power," Senka's voice cut through Lucy's thoughts. The look on the opposing woman's face was one that made the celestial spirit mage's insides twist. How could she be getting enjoyment out of ruining other's lives?

Lucy was seriously considering an attack on Senka right now. She had numbers, and with two people to deal with, surely they could overpower her? But before she had the chance to think everything through, Senka lurched forwards and swiftly grasped the end of Gemini's whip, her mouth formed into a cruel sneer.

"You'll be next, Gemini," and then she was nearly twenty feet away, the deadly crystal ball still in her hands. "I may not have gotten what I'd come for this time, but I will grab her when I get the chance. Maybe she could do some research for me… and keep her life in return for her service."

Senka disappeared, leaving behind a tortured Gemini, a livid Leo, and Lucy, who hadn't felt this torn and terrified for a long time. 'Levy-chan…'

Gajeel forcefully drove a large beast away from the building behind him, and then turned to roar in another direction. There were so many monsters swarming Fairy Hills, and only himself, the female mages, and Natsu were opposing them at the moment.

Almost immediately after the iron mage had coaxed Levy into sleeping, Senka's forces had arrived directly outside and attempted to get inside of Fairy Hills. It didn't take a genius to figure out what they'd been after.

The little blue haired bookworm that laid in bed, blissfully asleep for now. Gajeel had securely shut the window, leapt from the tree, and took to defending this side of the building. It wasn't long before others like Erza and Bisca were in the field, taking down enemies swiftly.

While the dragon slayer would've rather been in the middle of the fray like Natsu; busting heads and testing his strength, he had a specific job to do. He had to make sure none of those creeps Senka had sent made it past him to the Shrimp.

He really wished that Pantherlily were here to back him up, just in case. Not that he'd ever fail, or anything.

After what seemed like a lifetime, the contorted fiends began to retreat, all gravitating towards where Senka had just disappeared. Gajeel didn't let himself relax until every trace of them was gone. He then made his way into Levy's room and felt tension drain from his shoulders when he saw her still asleep in bed, smiling softly.

Who knew the Shrimp was such a heavy sleeper?

A/N: We've passed the anniversary of this story! Therefore, I guess we've passed Dictionary's beginning as well. I'd like to thank my avid readers and reviewers who make writing an even more enjoyable experience. Stay awesome, guys and gals. :)


Pikaskye: Uh…Natsu was at his house because, um, reasons! XD When the pairings are prominent, the fangirls arise! Genius indeed, well done!

Iloveallanime16: Thank you ;) No such thing as too much NaLu…

Nalu4life: Thank you for saying so! :D I wasn't quite as fast for updating this time… sorry!

Miss Rune: I can't wait to write more for you!

Kurisu313: XD It's not bad to be biased sometimes! I'm glad you're able to see my thoughts on their characteristics. They're both very interesting.

ShadowHunter11: Maturity isn't usually his thing - XP Thank you!

ladyAlyafaelyn: No problem! I'm glad you enjoyed it. GaLe moments are some of my favorite to write… they're so adorable. I'll be glad to keep writing for encouraging friends like you!

Guest: … okay.

Amazing: =^-^= Aw, thank you! I did have Senka attempt to do so in this chapter, so I hope it was somewhat of what you were hoping for. I'll be glad to write for kind reviewers like yourself!

Review, or who knows, maybe Senka will come after you next…