Erza hated to be powerless. She felt frustrated and angry as she glared at the mages in front of her. A Dark Guild, she knew.
They stood in the town square, where the mages held the townspeople as hostages. She knew that if she resisted the civilians would pay the price. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a young girl huddle closer to her mother, eyes wide in fear.
How did this happen? Erza didn't know. The events of this morning had moved too fast for her to remember. She can think about that later, right now she had bigger problems.
There were twenty of them in total. Ten mages kept the hostages in check while the others surrounded Erza. All of them were from Eisenwald, Erza knew. She also knew that they wouldn't hesitate to wipe out this town's population. She heard laughter among the mages.
"Well, well, well, looky what we have here." A voice said. Erza turned to the speaker. He was the mage on her immediate right. His hair ran long and dark over his shoulders. He wore a button up shirt and a long overcoat. He bore a nasty grin on his face. "The famous Titania, Erza Scarlet." The other mages chuckled.
Erza clenched her fists. "If you leave now, I promise I won't harm you." The mages barked with laughter.
The previous speaker wiped a tear from his eye after the laughter had subsided. He sighed "That was a good one. 'I won't harm you'" he said mimicking Erza's tone.
"But here's the thing, we have a job to do." The mage said, turning serious. "Lord Erigor wants to test Lullaby on this town. He's on his way."
Erza paled. Lullaby was one of the creations of Zeref, the most evil and powerful of dark mages. But what worried her more was that it was in the possession of a Dark guild. Her mind quickly started to formulate a strategy. If she could distract them long enough, she might be able to requip into something that might tip the scales. Keep them talking she thought.
"Lullaby?" She asked, pretending to be ignorant. She needed to know why and how they have acquired it.
The mage grinned evilly. "You don't know? It's a powerful artifact created by Zeref himself! With that much power Eisenwald would be unstoppable." He turned to Erza and gave her a sympathetic look. "Sadly, none of you will live to see our glorious ascent to be the most powerful guild in Fiore."
Now it was Erza who gave a small laugh. The mage glared at her. "Is there something funny about what I said?"
"Actually, there is" Erza said. She turned to him and summoned a sword. She pointed it at him. "The number one guild in Fiore is Fairytail!" The mages of Eisenwald looked to one another uneasily. Was she planning to fight? They knew that even all twenty of them were no match for her.
"Ah, ah not so fast, Titania." The mage earlier held up his hand " Earth magic: Flat Plain" The ground shook violently as a gigantic part of the town was ripped from the ground. A perfect square of earth the size of a house levitated above the townspeople. "Now, if you so much as lift a finger, then these people get flattened."
Erza knew they weren't bluffing. Any mage from a dark guild would not hesitate to harm innocent people whether it was for their mission or simply for the sheer enjoyment. Erza hated it, but she let her sword disappear. She let her arms fall to her sides. "I surrender, just don't hurt them."
The mage grinned. "Oh, Erza we won't hurt them." His grin turned into an insane smile. "We'll do so much more than that."
"You coward!" Erza shouted.
He started to laugh, but then one of the townspeople stood up. "Why? Why do you need to hurt these people for power?"
They all turned to the new speaker. He had slightly long spiky blonde hair and three stripes on each cheek, kind of like whiskers. He looked to be her age. He wore a forehead protector with a strange insignia on it. He was clad in a black and orange jacket with matching pants and strange looking footwear. What really caught Erza's attention were his eyes. They were light blue and (In Erza's opinion) complimented his handsome face quite nicely. He now stood glaring at the mages of Eisenwald.
"Who are you suppose to be?" The earth mage questioned. The youth thought for a moment as if he wasn't sure himself.
"I'm Naruto," He finally said. ", Naruto Uzumaki"
"Well, Naruto as I said before we don't want just power, we want to BE the most powereful."
Naruto cast his eyes down. "This is why there is always conflict, where everyone loses." He muttered. Naruto looked up to the earth mage, a new look in his eyes. "I'll repeat what Erza-chan said." He spoke to everyone in general. "Leave now and no one gets hurt."
The mages just laughed again. "You people really don't get it." The earth mage said.
Now what happened next was so fast that if Erza had blinked, she would have missed it. Naruto came up to the earth mage with incredible speed and slammed his fist into the mage's gut. He followed it with an uppercut that sent the mage flying. The mage didn't even have time to cry out in alarm. He landed next to his comrades, blood ran down the corner of his mouth.
"That's it." He stretched his hand out. "Earth magic: release!"
"No!" Erza shouted as the rock began to descend. The townspeople screamed. Naruto appeared in the middle of the hostages and made a hand sign with two fingers from each hand and formed a cross. "Multiple Shadow Clone Jutsu!" A massive puff of smoke appeared as the rock landed. When the smoke cleared Erza was shocked to see over fifty copies of Naruto holding their hands above their heads, struggling under the weight of the rock.
"Impossible!" The earth mage exclaimed. "Who are you?"
All the Narutos just grinned. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki!"
By that time all of the townspeople have escaped. Naruto looked at Erza while still holding the massive rock. "All yours"
Erza nodded and turned to Eisenwald who was trembling with fear. "Requip!"
Erza was wrapped in golden light and when it faded she was in her Fairy armor holding two swords. It was payback time she knew and the mages knew it as well.
The earth mage turned to his guild members. "Well? Attack! " He ordered, but even his voice showed hesitation. The guild members hesitated a moment and charged. But they never reached Erza. She summoned her swords "Heaven's Pinwheel!"
The blades circled each other and then launched themselves at the mages. Eisenwald never stood a chance. They each gave their own shout of pain then collapsed. The townspeople cheered. Erza noticed a retreating figure running into the woods.
"This isn't over yet Titania!" The earth mage called over his shoulder and within moments he was gone.
Erza requipped back into her usual armor. She was deciding whether or not to go after the mage when a voice called out: "Um, can someone give me a hand here? This rock is pretty heavy dattebayo." She completely forgot about Naruto who was still under the weight of a massive rock. She summoned her black wing armor that gives her additional attack power and sliced the stone in half. The clones dispersed and the two halves of rock fell on either sides of the original Naruto.
Naruto bent over, placed his hands on his knees and started to catch his breath. Erza approached him and he looked up to face her.
"Thank you for the assist, back there," Erza said. "If you hadn't intervened, who knows what might have happened."
He grinned up at her. "Anything for a pretty lady," He said slightly out of breath. The small compliment was enough to make Erza blush. This was met with another grin from the blonde. Naruto straightened and held out his hand. "I'm Naruto by the way."
Erza shook his hand. "Erza, Erza Scarlet," She replied.
"Nice to meet you, Erza-chan! "Naruto smiled. He likes to smile a lot, Erza thought.
Erza decided to stay in town for the rest of the day. She insisted on helping the people fix their town, but they refused, insisting that she has done more than enough. After the battle, the mayor gave her an additional 10,000 jewel.
"I cannot accept this." She tried to explain. The mayor waved his hand dismissively.
"We have more than enough money from our harvests. Now that you've defeated the monster that has been terrorizing our fields, we'll make twice as much. Take it as a token of good will." That was as far as the discussion went. As she was leaving the mayor's office, something stopped her.
"One last question, where does Naruto live? " Erza inquired.
The mayor frowned. "The man who helped you? "
Erza nodded. The mayor answered "To be honest I've never seen him before today."
"What? You mean he's not from here?" Erza said. After the introductions, he politely excused himself saying he had something to do. Erza hasn't seen him since
The mayor nodded. "He came into town this morning, wandering the market square. He seemed lost for some reason."
Erza pondered at this for a moment, when the mayor spoke again. "Why do you ask?"
"I just wanted to thank him again for earlier."
"Well if you find him, give him my thanks as well. He saved my wife and as well as everyone else."
"I will." Erza promised.
By late afternoon Erza had left the town and found herself on the road again. It was a rural place so there were no means of transportation until she reached the next town. She lugged her heavy cart full of her stuff and the monster horn. She kept walking until she heard someone calling her name. "Erza-chan!"
Naruto was running toward her and stopped next to her. He held a rucksack over his shoulder and was panting slightly.
"Mayor said you left." Naruto said. "Mind if I tag along?"
"I wouldn't mind some company." Erza said thoughtfully. "Where are you headed?" she asked as they started walking.
"Wherever you are," He replied. Erza's sweat dropped. Naruto put his hands behind his head and continued walking. He noticed Erza's huge luggage. He made a face. "Do you really need all of this stuff?"
"Because of what?" From that point on, Erza knew it was going to be a long journey home.