So who's enjoying this so far? Things are sure taking a dark turn for our intrepid graduates, huh?
Who wants more?...
"Oh you heard what I said fine," Erigor said after being greeted with looks of surprise and disdain, "if the bitch is being so much trouble then just lock her up until she calms the fuck down."
"Forget about that for a moment," Angel said, stepping forward, "where are Azu-chan and Vid-chan?"
"Still 'hunting' or some shit," Erigor shrugged, "we split up a while ago."
"Looks like you were real successful," Natsu quipped.
Erigor shot him the bird.
"Natsu," Erza stepped in, "don't make trouble. Erigor, what makes you think locking Sherry up is the best solution?"
"Because she doesn't look like she'll listen to reason anymore," he gestured to Sherry, who was still pinned under Juvia, "and I sure as fuck ain't dealing with any of this shit." As he headed back to the cabin the Thunder Boyz claimed, he called "Think about it!", tapping the side of his head and waving jauntily.
Chapter 5: Deepening the Grave
"I should have fucking gone with Erigor," Vidaldus whined as he and Azuma kept trudging through the underbrush. Neither had found any sort of game since they split up with their comrade and both were starting to feel the effects of their fatigue en force. "Probably fucked Karen by now. And Angel. At the same time."
"Is there something you want Vidaldus? You're being too subtle," the dark skinned young man said, well aware of how unsubtle the Metal Maniac was being.
"Azuma, can we please head to camp? We're never gonna find shit out here and we both know it, so let's cut our losses and go make sure Erigor hasn't worn out all the bitches at the camp."
"I agree with you that we won't find anything tonight," Azuma resigned. "Let's head-"
Something grabbed Azuma from behind and pulled him into the shadows.
"FUCK!" Vidaldus screamed, turning around and running like hell as fast as he could. He didn't care about where he ended up, jut so long as he was far, far away from whatever was out there that ate people.
He ran for what felt like hours before he finally burst out of the foliage and onto the beach, just shy of the rocks the boat got stuck on.
Figuring there would be weapons of some kind stashed on board he could defend himself with when that...whatever-it-was that grabbed Azuma caught up with him.
At the same time elsewhere, Jellal was trying to scale the side of a deep pit he was currently inhabiting, cursing under his breath all the way. He'd tripped into it in his haste to find his..."traveling companions" to warn them of the danger they were all in. The sheer, steep walls of said pit, however, were probing to be singularly uncooperative for him. The wall offered very few handholds, and most of the ones he tried already crumbled whenever he grabbed onto them.
At this moment in time, he was right fucked unless some extraordinary miracle happened.
After many failed leaps to reach a rock that looked more stable than the others had been he slumped down, leaning against the wall in resignation. He was getting nowhere flailing blindly like he was, he needed to pause for a moment and think, then maybe he could figure out of this hole he was in.
If only he could get that girl out of his freaking mind...
All of a sudden he turned around and punched the wall he was leaning on as hard as he could, his frustration winning out over his desire to think; frustration born of his own feelings of betrayal, of being played like a string instrument. Sighing, he leaned his head against the wall again, a little more forcefully than he intended.
Only to fall back into a small cavern.
I don't know if I could call this a miracle, he thought as he made his way into the dark, but I'll take it.
Spirits were rapidly falling with the rest of the Fairy Tail Academy graduates; firstly because of all the people who hadn't made it back to the camp, alive or otherwise, and secondly because of Sherry's meltdown.
And now there was a third option that made its presence known.
"I wonder what's keeping Aquarius-san?" Aeries wondered aloud as everyone sat by the fire, rubbing her arm nervously.
This gave everyone pause.
"That's a good point," Jason agreed. He and Aeries were sitting with Shou and Millianna. Lucy, Erza, Loki, and Natsu were sitting with the little girl, Wendy, trying to cheer her up with Natsu's antics. Elfman, Gajeel, Ren, and Eve were playing with some cards one of them had brought along. Levy was still in her cabin, pouring over her books like no tomorrow. Juvia and Mirajane were sitting with Gray and Bisca respectively, doing their best to comfort them. Angel was with Mirajane and Bisca, though Karen wasn't with her; most likely putting one of the beds to good use with Erigior. Cana was reclining by herself, nursing a bit of a hangover. Freed was sitting atop one of the cabins, searching the forests for any sign of his comrades. "The other Thunder Boyz and Jellal haven't gotten back either; this is not kewl."
"Not that I really care what happens to them," Millianna said, "but I agree that its bad they're not back yet."
"Why's that?" Shou asked.
"Because that means something's happened to-" She stopped, looked over at Eve and Ren, then continued in a whisper. "Something's happened to Hibiki." She explained after a moment of expectant silence, "The Thunder Boyz are supposed to be really tough, right?"
"Didn't stop Laxus from getting what he deserved..." Jason muttered under his breath.
After Aeries nudged him to be quiet, Millianna continued, "Remember how they never lost a fight to anyone, and always ended up having draws with the Dragonslayers? Now I was thinking; if something could keep them from making it back, what chance does Hibiki, who isn't a fighter, have?"
Silence reigned as the grim thought sunk in.
Being locked in one of the cabins by herself wasn't doing any wonders for Sherry's mental health; all she could think about was Gray Fullbuster smashing Lyon's head with a rock, or stabbing him with a sharp branch, or pushing him off a cliff, or any number of other things one could get away with on a lonely little island like this one.
Her life had been shit before Lyon came along; her parents had made it abundantly clear that they didn't care what happened to her, as long as she stayed out of their way. No one really paid much attention top her; her grades had been good enough to get by without being too standout to the teachers, and the other students left her alone for the most part. Occasionally the cattier girls would come up to her and taunt her, but she'd become numb to it after a while, since they never came up with anything new. After she met Lyon she'd become more confidant in herself and made friends with the people Lyon knew. She would forever remember that as the time her life turned around.
And then Gray had to ruin it all...
And it had to have been him that did it; it was all so clear to her now! The shirtless bastard was always jealous of his older, handsomer, better brother. Oh he acted like he was friends with his brother, hanging on his every word, but she knew that deep down, he was waiting for an opportunity to take his brother out of the picture and keep all the glory and attention for himself. Yes, that was it... And when they were marooned here he suddenly had the perfect opportunity. He just had to wait until he was alone in a secluded place, and then...
She wanted to hurt him, she wanted to hurt Gray oh so bad. She wanted to make him suffer so much like she was suffering now. Killing him wouldn't be enough, it was too quick, and torturing him wouldn't work either; because although it felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest, it just wouldn't be the same to do it to him. She needed something that would cut him deeper than any physical pain ever would...
And then it came to her, like a beacon of light in the darkness; if she lost the one person in the world she loved more than anything...
The cavern was much longer and deeper than it first seemed. Jellal was quite deep into it now, figuring he was probably headed under the mountain. He hadn't come across very many turns and no branching paths, so he was beginning to think he'd come out on the other side of the island. That would put him much farther back than Square 1, but the alternative was going back to that pit he was in before.
After a few more meters he came out into a large expanse that was at least ten times bigger than the tunnels he crawled through, enough so he could stand up. There was moonlight shining down though the ceiling, which was very encouraging for him. The walls looked a lot more stable than the pit, which was even more good news.
He was about to rush over and scale the wall, get his bearings on where he was, when he noticed something glittering in the light that shown down.
Upon closer inspection, he discovered it was the gold chains and headphones Laxus always wore.
And they were still attached to Laxus.
"Damn..." Jellal said, staring at the corpse of the leader of the Thunder Boyz. He was covered in bloody cuts all over his body, including on big one that ran across his chest. Jellal had to give the guy credit, whatever did this to the poor guy had to earn it.
He also noticed that Laxus was clutching something in his left hand. After prying his fingers off it, he saw that it was the golden cassette payer that went with the headphones. Knowing it would eat up more of his precious time Jellal rewound the tape, put the headphones on, and pressed play.
#OK, the fucker isn't following me anymore. *phew!* Damn, what the fuck was that thing? It was like...I don't even fucking know, man! I just know that I wouldn't even wish this thing on the Dragonslayers on a bad day... Hehe- OW! ...Fuck! Hurts to laugh... Got me pretty good, not that I made it easy for the damn thing... If I don't pass out from blood loss soon, it'll probably find me and finish me off. So, before that happens, I just want to say...I don't even know why I'm recording this shit, man! There's no way any of those other bastards are gonna find this tape, if they even think I'm still alive anyways... I just wish I could have fucked that Erza chick before I go, she how that bitch like my giant sword, hehe- OW! Fuck mother-#
That was where the tape stopped.
He tore the headphones off and began his mad scramble up the wall, not intent on becoming some creature's meal.
He had to warn the others before it was too late...
"Guys, guys!" Levy called, bursting out of her cabin and hurrying over to the others, a load of books in her arms.
"Levy!?" every gasped, surprised that the petite girl was out of her feverish studies and, by all accounts, none the worse for wear.
"Sorry about before," she apologized after catching her breath. She then sat down and began arranging her books, "I'm OK now."
"You sure?" Lucy asked, "I mean, you know..."
Levy sighed, "I'm fine, Lucy; it was a shock finding their hides earlier and I still don't think it's quite sunk in for me yet...but there's something that I think you all need to know." She opened one of the books to a particular page and held it up for all to see. "It finally dawned on me where we are."
"Yeah, we're on Nirvana Island," Lucy said uncertainly, not sure where the aqua haired girl was going with the declaration, "We figured that out when we found the cabins before."
Levy shot the young hostess a look of "Really?".
"My point is, this isn't just some random island Mr. Heartphilia chose to build a resort on..."
Lucy rubbed the back of her head sheepishly, remembering how her father threw darts at a map to pick a building site for his resort.
"...this is an island where Fairies used to live."
Now she really had everyone's attention, if only because it was the last thing anyone expected to hear. .
"What do you mean, 'Fairies'?" Natsu and Wendy asked, though each for different reasons.
Levy turned to the tiny girl, "Didn't your parents ever tell you about them, read you bedtime stories?"
"No," she shook her head, "I think they were the ones who threw me in the ocean."
"What!" Erza gasped, "You didn't tell us this before?!"
"I didn't remember!" she whimpered, hiding behind Lucy from the Scary Lady that was yelling at her.
"Erza, be nice, you're scaring her," Mirajane admonished. She turned to Levy, "Why do you think this is a Fairy island?"
"For one thing, it's listed with other islands around here as being possible locations," the young bookworm continued, "and until recently, it wasn't called 'Nirvana' Island. About fifty years ago they changed it to that from its original name, 'Insula Lupus'."
"What's that mean?" Natsu wondered, never having been one for languages he didn't use regularly.
"It's the Old Language for 'Island of the Wolf'."
"How did you know that, Levy-chan?" Eve asked.
"Remember when we had to do that project for History class? I did mine on the local islands and their histories." She snapped her suspenders and beamed with pride, "I got a 99 for my exhaustive research!" Then she shook herself out of her reverie, "Anyways, I was digging deeper about the island itself and, well..." She grabbed another book from her pile, flipped through it, then began reading. "'Though certain minor details differ between accounts, in essence they all say the same thing; when the first expedition lands on the island they think is the one, everything seems peaceful, even idyllic. That peace doesn't last long though. After only a few hours is when the death starts, though some accounts say it took longer. Accounts of the deaths themselves are equally as varied; bodies being torn apart, impaled, even skinned."
Everyone shuffled awkwardly remembering the three skins they buried.
Levy continued, "'Soon the paranoia began to set in and the members of the expedition. The members became distrustful of one another, and eventually began killing each other for fear that the others would kill them first. It's at about this point in all the stories that the survivors start claiming that a shapeless monster begins pursuing them, picking each of them off one by one. After this point they claim not to remember much until their eventual rescue. All subsequent trips back to these islands return revealed only the same idyllic setting the survivors' stories depict...'" Levy closed the book, "After that it just goes on about the other theories about the Fairies disappearance."
"Am I the only one who thinks that scenario rings just a little too true to the one we're in now?" Gajeel asked. "I'd call for a show of hands, but I already know everyone's thinking it."
"Then why'd ask if we were thinking that if you knew we were?" Natsu not so smartly asked.
"Oh screw you, ya fruity haired pyromaniac!" Gajeel retorted, shooting Natsu the bird.
"You trying to start something with me, ya metal pierced bastard?" Natsu challenged, rising to his feet as he cracked his knuckles, "Cause I'm starting all fired up here-"
"Both of you, SIT," Erza commanded, her voice leaving no room for argument.
"Yes Ma'am!" they both said, immediately dropping into the seiza position.
"We have enough problems to deal with already without squabbling uselessly among ourselves," the red headed woman explained. She sighed, "I know we're all on edge from getting shipwrecked here, and from four of our friends dying, but if we start getting paranoid then we'll all end up dead before morning!" She turned to Levy, "Do you know how far from the mainland we are?"
"Um..." Levy leafed through one of the books, "just give me a minute."
"You have something in mind?" Angel asked.
"I do," Erza said, "If Aquarius-san doesn't find anything structurally wrong with the boat I was thinking we could rig up some kind of sail for it and just float back."
Needless to say, everyone thought this was a great idea.
"That settles it then," Lucy chimed in, "we'll all get a good night's sleep, then tomorrow we can-"
BOOM! An explosion rang out in the night.
"Freed," Erza called, hoping the Thunder Boy had seen something from his high vantage point, "what happened?"
"I think you might want to see if that phone still works Lucy," he said slowly, his face getting even paler than it normally was. "The boat just exploded."
Ultear heard the explosion clearly, glancing up from the glyph she was tracing on the ground a ways away from the camp.
Well, that puts bit of a wrinkle in my plans, she thought as she returned to her glyph.
She wasn't too worried about it though, once she was immortal she would have all the time in the world to figure a way back to the mainland. Hell, she could swim all the way back herself if she wanted too, it's not like she would die any time soon. She didn't really want to tire herself out like that though, so it was more likely she'd work on a boat or something in between her time learning all the other secrets of the Fae.
With the glyph finished she went and knelt in the center of it, taking a small knife out from her back pocket and flipping it open. As she made a tiny slit on the tip of her finger she began reciting the Old Language, "Exáudi me, spiriti! Accepta oblatio sanguinis et in sanguine alieno..."
It took a while, but Sherry finally worked her way out of her bonds. She heard the commotion outside when Levy was babbling about something or other, not really caring what it was about. A little while later someone came in and told her that everyone was going to bed for the night and left a plate of food for her. She'd taken her time eating the food, waiting long enough to make sure everyone was asleep. Now it was just a matter of reaching her target without anyone hearing her.
While the door was locked from the outside, everyone had conveniently forgotten to make sure the window was secured as well. Just about every room in these cabins had a window from what she saw earlier when they'd first arrived, but they'd just seemed to want her out of the way until they could figure things out, so she wasn't complaining; all the easier to escape her makeshift prison in the end.
The window creaked slightly as she slid it open, but not loudly enough for anyways else to hear it. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, she squeezed through the frame and dropped onto the ground outside. OK, now she had to find something shard to help her deal justice to the man who took her only reason for living away...but where to look? She seemed to remember a smaller building a little ways off from the rest, maybe it was a tool shed? It made sense, they certainly didn't bring the shovels next to those freshly dug graves with them on the boat.
She spotted it a few moments later and made a beeline for it. There was someone minding what was left of the fire, but they were facing away from her and looked more than a little drowsy. The shed wasn't locked, (they must have forgotten to before), and the door swung open quietly. After a brief scan of the contents her eyes settled on a large pair of shears, which she grabbed and then headed off to find the cabin Gray was sleeping in.
After a couple wrong windows (she had the misfortune to peer into Erigor's room) she found the one that held her quarry. There was Gray sleeping all peacefully, Juvia cuddled up next to him. Gently, she eased the window open, then climbing through herself.
They looked so cute together; the jealous betrayer and his whore. She crept to the bed, careful not to step on any loose boards. She was by the bed in no time, grinning wickedly at the two that slept there. As she raised the large shears a small giggle escaped her lips.
As she brought them down on Juvia's throat it grew into a gleeful cackle. This felt good, this felt...right. It felt like the most natural thing in the world, and she was enjoying every minute of it.
So much so that she didn't even notice when her head was bashed against the wall.
"Hear me, spirits! Accept the offering of my blood and the blood of others."