Straw Hat Among Fairies
Ch. 15 The Mountain Saint!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story. One Piece belongs to Eichiro Oda and Fairy Tail belongs to Hiro Mashima. The only things I own are original characters and this story. Both mangas and their characters belong to their respective owners listed above.
One month later, February 4, Year X777…
"Man, how long is it going to keep snowing Erza?" Luffy asked as the duo found themselves sitting near the mouth of a very large cave as snow rained down heavily upon the mountain side even this early in the morning. Erza looked out the mouth of the cave from the rock she sat on, already dressed after swapping out her winter pajamas and placed her sleeping bag into her pocket dimension. She was now wearing her new cuirass with spaulders over a long white sleeve shirt with a new red string bowtie around her shirt's collar while red snow gloves covering her hands. She also was wearing cold-resistant brown pants with black snow boots that went up to her ankles, fully prepared for the cold winter days on the mountain they were on. Erza, however, could not stop the chill she felt as she looked towards Luffy, her friend was only wearing a long winter coat with horizontal white and yellow stripes over his t-shirt, shorts, and sandals.
"I don't know Luffy… I guess it just snows more up here in the mountains than it does down at the base." Erza replied, the duo having spent the last month traversing across the mountain ranges to the south east of Mount Krieger to get to the closest town to them which was several miles west away from the mountain they were camping on. "Well since we won't be able to move until the snow starts to clear up, do you want to talk about something else to pass the time?" Erza asked, trying to lighten the mood a bit as Luffy turned away from the mouth of the cave towards her, both kids were kept warm by the campfire they set up further into the cave. A kettle was hanging over the open flame as the water in it was being heated up to make it more suitable for drinking.
"Ok so what do you want to talk about?" Luffy asked, not sure about what they could talk about since he already told her everything about his time at the guild over the past two months. Erza tried to think of a topic they haven't discussed before when the memories of Luffy's fights back at the tower suddenly sprung into her mind.
"Maybe you could tell me how you turn parts of your body a shiny black? Or how you managed to knock all those cultists out just by looking at them! Those powers aren't a part of your Devil Fruit, are they?" Erza asked, having always wanted to know how Luffy did such things but the time they needed to recover from their fights at the tower or the time spent walking kept her from asking him.
"Oh, you're talking about Haki. I almost got confused by what you said for a second there…" Luffy muttered as Erza tilted her head quizzically at the term he used.
"Haki? That's the power you used when you were fighting back at the tower, correct?" Erza asked curiously as she set the kettle to heat up over the fire, interested to see how Luffy could do such things even if he didn't have any natural magic. She wasn't sure what to classify Devil Fruit powers into so she figured she would ask him more about them later at the guild.
"Yeah! Although there are kind of three different colors of Haki…" Luffy answered, taking on a much more contemplative look that the armored girl wasn't used to seeing.
"Really? Why are they divided into three colors?" Erza asked honestly, becoming much far more interested about Haki than she realized.
"I don't know why they are called colors but Rayleigh explained to me that it was to differentiate the three types because of how different they are. I didn't really understand it that well at first…" Luffy admitted as he scratched the back of his head, remembering how difficult it was for him to utilize any of the Colors at first. Erza pondered what Luffy said for a minute before continuing with her questions.
"Luffy, who's Rayleigh?" Erza asked, causing Luffy to widen his eyes a bit at his own slip of the tongue.
"O-Oh, he's this awesome old man who taught me everything I know about Haki, although he only taught me the basics..." Luffy answered quickly, his slight shock at the beginning caused Erza to frown at his reaction but she decided to just file that away for later.
"Really? He sounds like a pretty good teacher from what I could see you do." Ezra admitted honestly, now wanting to meet the man who taught her friend this mysterious skill.
"Yeah, Rayleigh's about the coolest guy you could ever meet! You'd probably like him." Luffy said earnestly, grateful to the former Dark King for all his help in getting him stronger for the New World. Erza could only smile at the fondness in Luffy's voice as he spoke about his teacher, glad to see that Luffy was opening more about his past.
"So, Luffy... Do you think it's possible to teach me how to use the three colors of Haki?" She asked as Luffy looked at her slight surprise, having not expected her to ask for such a favor. "I-I mean if it's possible for me to learn it-"
"Sure." Luffy answered casually as he picked his nose with his pinky, surprising the scarlet haired girl with his quick reply.
"Wait really? You can teach it to me?" Erza stated in surprise, having not expected the rubber boy to comply with her request.
"Yeah. I mean, why shouldn't I be able to teach you to how to use Haki? I mean I already taught my friend Cana to use one of the colors back at the guild so I can teach you how to use it." Luffy replied casually again as he pulled his pinky out and flicked the booger away, seeing no problem with his friend's request. "Why do you ask?" The rubber asked casually, slightly wondering what made Erza ask him about it right now with two months into their journey.
"I just wanted to know if it was possible since Grandpa Rob once told me back when we were in that tower that only ten percent of the world's entire population could actually use magic. I just thought it would probably be the same with Haki since you're the only person I know who's ever talked about it. Even Grandpa Rob never mentioned a power like that before." Erza explained as Luffy listened to her reasoning.
"Huh. I don't really know a lot about Magic but what I know from what Rayleigh taught me is that Haki is like this latent power that everyone in the world can use but not that many people can actually use it. Or was it every living thing?" Luffy tried to explain Rayleigh's teachings as best as he could while Erza listened intently to his every word, knowing well by now that the rubber boy was not very good with detailed explanations.
"Ok if everyone can possibly use it, how come I haven't seen anyone else use it before I met you?" Erza asked to which Luffy just shrugged his shoulders in response.
"I don't know. Rayleigh said that it had to be awakened for someone to use any of the three colors. He told me that extremely tough training or intense shock can awaken it in someone. He even once told me that sometimes people are born able to use it from the start." Luffy explained as he scratched the back of his head while Erza listened intently, wishing she had something to write all this information down on like a notepad.
"Ok now that you've told me what Haki is, can you tell me what are the three colors?" She asked, wanting to know what makes it each color so different from the other.
"Alright." Luffy replied. "The three colors are presence, fighting spirit, and intimidation!" He proclaimed, repeating verbatim what Rayleigh had taught him back on Rusukaina as Erza tilted her head in confusion by what Luffy meant.
"Presence, fighting spirit, and intimidation? Could you elaborate on that Luffy?" Erza asked politely, figuring that Luffy was trying to do his best to explain Haki to her.
"Uh sure. I can't really show you the first color right now but I can show you the second one, Armament Haki." Luffy stated as he held his hand out towards Erza.
"Um… Luffy, what are you doing?" Erza asked as she tilted her head in confusion, not sure why he was showing her his hand like that. "Do you want a high five? I'm not really sure how that works into Haki…" She asked as she got off her seat.
"What? No, I don't want a high five! It would hurt you like hell if I high five you like this…" Luffy replied in disbelief, before realizing his mistake. "Oh, that's right! I forgot that you can't notice Haki like I can!" He stated before looking at Erza.
"Armament Haki is like covering yourself in this invisible armor not made of metal but of your will to fight!" Luffy explained as Erza widened her eyes in surprise at his words. "Now hit my hand as hard you can! I've already covered it in Haki so don't worry!" He asked his friend, who looked far more invested in his explanation than before.
"Invisible armor huh? Well let's give it a shot!" Erza muttered to herself as she pulled her right arm back as she requipped a spare gauntlet she had in storage.
"HYAAAH!" Erza shouted as threw her right arm forward to punch Luffy's hand with all her might. What she wasn't expecting was for her armored fist to be stopped inches from Luffy's hand as she felt her fist be blown back, knocking Erza off her feet onto her back on the cold cave floor.
"Erza!" Luffy shouted in shock as he jumped off his seat and bent down beside the scarlet haired girl to make sure she was all right. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to do that to you! I forgot that this type of Haki can push people's attacks back sometime depending on their strength." Luffy explained quickly, remembering how that large marine with the axe, Sentomaru, sent him flying with just a palm thrust that didn't even touch him and how Rayleigh sent a giant elephant trying to step on him flying back with a single hand that didn't even touch the massive beast back on Rusukaina when his two-year training began. While he expected Erza to punch him for nearly hurting her like that, he didn't expect her to flip back up onto her feet with her singular eye sparkling and a beaming smile hanging on the scarlet haired girl's face.
"Holy crap! I was not expecting that at all, Luffy!" Erza shouted in surprise as she turned towards Luffy before she picked up the stunned rubber boy and placed him onto his seat, her voice echoing throughout the cave. "Is that how you turned your arms all black to deflect those magic attacks back at the tower correct?" She asked quickly, trying to keep her voice at a more even tone but slightly failing to hold back her excitement.
"Uh… Yeah! Though that's only when you apply a heavy coating to a part of your body. It can even coat weapons! Can you pass me a sword so I can show you?" Luffy asked as he held his hand out to Erza, the scarlet haired girl quickly summoned a sword from storage as she wanted to see more before passing the blade into his hands. "Rayleigh called the technique, Armament: Hardening." Luffy finished as his entire right arm turned black instantly to Erza's amazement, which only grew in intensity as she watched the coating crawl up onto the sword in the rubber boy's hand. The hilt was the first to turn darker followed by the sword's blade, creating a much darker looking sword in the process.
"Whoa." Erza muttered in awe at the sudden change in Luffy's arm and the sword in his hand as she placed her hands on his arm. She could not stop the excited grin from growing bigger on her face as she tightened her grip on Luffy's hardened arm, amazed at how it didn't squish under her grip like his rubber physiology would allow. Instead, his right arm felt more solid, dense, and as hard as iron in her hands.
"I know right!" Luffy stated excitedly in agreement, he was grinning just as much as his friend was at the sudden change over his arm. "You know have no idea how excited I was when Rayleigh showed this off to me for the first time!" Luffy exclaimed excitedly as the armament faded off his arm, returning his appendage and the sword in his hand back to their normal colors as Erza let go to stare in wonder at how easily Luffy could turn it on/off. "It was so cool-looking! Like he just put black armor all over him instantly! It was like an instant armor to cover himself in!" Luffy stated with complete glee in his voice as he handed Erza her sword while he recounted the very first time Rayleigh had ever shown him what Armament Haki was capable of. Erza, on the other hand, just gazed over the sword in her hands as the words 'instant armor' echoed throughout her head as she imagined her sword covered in Haki once again, only this time it was coming from herself as she held it aloft while wearing a darkened set of armor in her mind.
"Luffy." Erza stated softly as Luffy finished his story to look towards her as she turned her head towards him. "I want to learn Armament Haki! Can you be my teacher for it?" She asked with stars in her single eye, her excitement at what the Color of Armaments could do for her was palpable as her excited expression lit up the dark cave.
"Sure, Erza!" Luffy replied happily, glad to see that she was just as excited about it like he was before his expression changed into a confused one. "Wait I thought you wanted to learn about all the colors of Haki, well at least the two colors I can actually teach you to use…" Luffy asked surprisingly cognizant about Erza's earlier request, to which said scarlet-haired blinked twice at the rubber boy's words.
"Oh right… I was just so caught up in what you said about 'instant armor' that I had forgotten I had already asked you about it." Erza admitted somewhat flustered, embarrassed that she had already forgotten that detail before realizing something the rubber boy had said. "Wait you said you could only teach me two of the colors. Why can't you teach me the third color?" Erza asked curiously, making her wonder what was so special about this type of Haki to make it unteachable to her?
"Well the first two colors, Observation and Armament Haki, anyone could use. Rayleigh told me that the third color, Conqueror's Haki, is only found in just a few people out of like a million people or some really big number like that. It like lets you knock out tons of people that are way weaker than you without even fighting them." Luffy explained to a surprised Erza.
"So, wait that time you were fighting the cultists when I first met you, you were using Conqueror's Haki to knock them out right?" Erza asked in surprise at the fact her friend was one of very few people capable of using such a power. When Luffy nodded in response, a new question formed in her head about the usage of such a power. "Wait, if you could just knock people out with your Haki, why didn't you knock out Tensei with your Haki instead of fighting him?" She asked, wondering what kept him from just knocking out the dragon slayer with no effort compared to fighting him until he completely exhausted and unable to move.
"Well, Conqueror's Haki isn't perfect Erza. I need to gauge to how much power I need to put behind a blast to knock out the guys I want to knock out, not to mention focus on them specifically." Luffy began to explain as he sat back down on his seat as Erza did the same.
"Rayleigh told me that this power can only affect those whose will power is weaker than mine. If they are like really strong-willed guys or they are nearly as strong as me then it won't work on them. That land shark was pretty damn strong compared to all the other guys we fought at the tower so it probably wouldn't have worked on him back then." Luffy explained, although he wondered if it would've worked at all. Maybe if he was his proper age, he could've knocked him out...
"I see then." Erza muttered in reply, as she stored away the info for later. "Can you demonstrate it to me right now? You can even try it out on me!" Erza asked, hoping that a demonstration of this power would help her better understand it.
"Hell no!" That was not the answer she was expecting from Luffy. "There is no way in hell I'm going to use my Conqueror's Haki on you right now! Are you stupid, Erza!?" Luffy shouted in complete astonishment at what the scarlet-haired girl had asked from him.
"W-Why not? I could handle it if you can just control the output of the blast!" Erza argued back as Luffy looked unfazed by her argument.
"No, I'm not doing that to you especially when it's snowing like that outside! You could never wake up again if I knocked you out like that!" Luffy stated belligerently, turning his head away to look out the mouth of the cave to watch snow rain heavily upon the mountain side as strong winds blew down the mountain. Erza only blinked twice at Luffy's reasoning, before remembering the armor shop owners' warnings about what happens to people who fell asleep when it got cold up in the mountains, about how they'll never wake up again if they weren't kept sufficiently warm enough or if they didn't have someone to keep them awake. Erza could only shudder at the thought of falling asleep on a frozen mountain in the middle of winter only to never wake up again and to just be found later by some other explorer as a cadaver popsicle. The scarlet-haired girl was glad that they hadn't found any signs of a tragedy like that yet but she didn't want the same fate to happen to them either.
"I learned Haki to keep my friends with me, not lose them because of doing stupid shit like that…" Luffy muttered under his breath as he watched the snow fall outside, the scarlet haired girl's singular eye widened at Luffy's solemn statement, having not expected her request to bring up bad memories in her friend. She stumbled trying to find the proper words to apologize to him but couldn't figure out anything that could break Luffy out of his bad mood. Out of ideas, she just resigned herself to trying to change the topic back to their journey and how much progress they made since they left Nymphaea.
"It's been a month since we left Nymphaea. Hopefully we should finish crossing this mountain in the next few days…" Erza stated somewhat hopefully, wondering if that news would knock Luffy out of his funk. "Also, the tea should be ready soon." Erza stated quickly almost as an afterthought as she turned her head to watch the fire heat up the kettle that was in the supplies Kazetaro had given them over two months ago alongside other things.
She smiled slightly as she heard the water boil, knowing that Luffy and her were soon going to be out of this mountain range and back to the open fields of Fiore. She looked over her new armor piece, small dents now littered the formerly pristine cuirass after days of fending off various wild beasts that called the mountain range home but she was happy with what she got. She felt safer now that she had armor to cover herself with and made sure to buy more than one set of the same armor for the trip. Of course, she'll have to find a black smith to repair all her armors and weaponry she had stored with her Requip, the limits of its storage had increased to hold at least six more items than before over the course of two months.
"That sounds great." Luffy responded, his eyes were focused on the snow falling along the mountain side. "Climbing this mountain has been fun but it's been too cold lately." Luffy complained, hoping for it to stop snowing so they could continue their journey across the mountain path that Erza learned about from the armor guy she met back in town. Erza smiled at hearing Luffy complain about their predicament, just glad that he was no longer focusing on the past.
"Luffy, the shopkeeper told me that with the snow piling up, all of the mountain paths leading to the roads to Crocus would take at least a month or more to cross." Erza explained as she took the kettle off the fire and poured some hot tea into cups for Luffy and herself.
"Crocus? What's that place? And why the hell do we need to go there if we are heading to Magnolia in the first place?" Luffy asked in surprise as he turned himself back to his scarlet haired friend, who was surprised that Luffy didn't know the name of their destination.
"Crocus is like the capital of all of Fiore, Luffy! We're going there to cash in that Rainbow Crocodile's scales we got back in the Nymphaea spring for the largest amount of Jewel's possible. We could possibly get over a million jewels for these scales!" Erza explained, having learned from the armor shopkeeper that none of the stores back in Nymphaea had the proper amount of money to pay for the prize that she and Luffy obtained back at the hot springs. The owner was even kind enough to warn her that a lot of people wouldn't hesitate to swindle them for an easy cash grab.
While distraught at the ideas how easily people would be willing to swindle others out of their hard-earned money, Erza found herself relieved when the shopkeeper told her to keep mum about the treasure she had until they arrived in Crocus where he assured her that the super rare crocodile's scales would fetch an incredibly high price of at least 2,000,000 jewels at minimum. The scarlet hair girl could only smile at the idea of just how much money they had unknowingly earned in such a short time.
"With that much money in our pockets, we won't even have to walk the rest of the way to Magnolia. We could just pay someone to ferry us!" The scarlet haired girl stated with glee, just happy that their journey may be over soon. Her smile drooped into a questioning frown as she looked at Luffy curiously.
"I'm surprised you didn't know that Crocus was the capital of Fiore. Almost every citizen of Fiore knows it by heart. Haven't you been living in Magnolia for the past few years?" Erza asked, remembering how Luffy told her everything about how he joined the guild to when he ended up at the Tower of Heaven. What happened before he joined the guild, Luffy was surprisingly silent about but Erza didn't want to pry into his past and was glad about whatever information he let slip out. When he felt comfortable talking about it, she'll be there ready to lend an ear.
"Well not really." Luffy admitted causing Erza to stare in confusion at his words. "I've been kind of living in a tree for the past three maybe four years." Luffy admitted sheepishly as Erza dropped both cups in shock, their hot contents spilling onto the cold cave floor as the scarlet haired girl immediately crossed the distance between her and the rubber boy as she grabbed him by the front of his winter coat.
"What the hell do you mean you've been living in a tree!?" Erza shouted angrily as she shook the rubber man violently by his coat, her voice echoing throughout the cave as it caused something further inside the cave to stir. "Why would you even live like that?" Erza demanded from a surprised Luffy.
"I don't really have a house so Gildarts helped me make a treehouse in the forest close to town. Besides I lived like that with my brothers on my home island before I left it." Luffy explained quickly, however his words caused Erza to blink in surprise at that tidbit.
Meanwhile further inside the cave, something big was starting to arise from its resting spot, being the first one of many similar sized creatures to have been awoken by the loud noises the duo were making at the mouth of its pack's den.
"Wait you lived on an island with your brothers before coming to Fairy Tail?" Erza stated in surprise, as Luffy realized what he just said aloud. Neither one noticed that the cave began to shake suddenly at infrequent times, as the sounds of footsteps began to ring out from further into the cave and only got louder as time passed.
"Y-Yeah, it was a fun time until we left and I ended up in Fiore…" Luffy replied, sounding more nervous than he intended. This caused Erza to narrow her eyes at the way Luffy was speaking, having noticed that he was lying about something. What it was, however, she didn't have a clue. She didn't get a chance to question Luffy further as both her ears and Luffy's suddenly picked up the cave violently shaking as loud, crunching footsteps echoed from further into the cavern. Luffy and Erza looked down to see that the spilled tea rippled every time the ground shook, indicating that something big was coming their way...
Erza quickly let go of Luffy as she went ahead to grab any of the supplies she had left out as Luffy walked past the campfire, its light was the only thing that illuminated the dark ice coated cave. Before the rubber boy could walk into the darkness of the cave to discover what was making that loud stomping noise, he found his hand being enveloped by Erza's hand as the scarlet haired girl quickly pulled him away to hide behind a large, jagged rock sticking out of the floor.
Her actions were rewarded as the ground soon stopped shaking as a huge shadow was cast against the cave wall opposite of the duo's location, indicating that something had arrived at their campsite from within the cave. Luffy and Erza quickly peeked around their hiding spot only to stare in awe and shock respectively at the massive, draconian creature that had invaded their campsite.
Standing at a height that allowed it to easily stand shoulder to shoulder with a Pacifista even while crouching down to move through the cave, the Blizzardvern or White Wyvern just looked around the cavern as it sniffed around the campsite before its blue eyes caught sight of the campfire, allowing Erza to look it over to see what she and Luffy were up against now. Snow white scales covered its entire body as rows of large, black spikes ran down the back of its head down to nearly the tip of its tail. Attached to its sharp-clawed hands and arms were leathery, bat-like wings that were big enough to support its massive frame in the air but could also be easily folded up to allow the beast to move on the ground without any problem. It's arrow-shaped head was bigger than either her or Luffy's entire bodies and its massive maw was lined with long sword-like teeth, no doubt meant to rip and tear into anything unfortunately enough to be caught in its bite.
"So that's a Wyvern..." Erza muttered beneath her voice as she watched the draconian reptile just stare at their campfire, she was unsure if the beast was just taken with the sight or was just basking in the probably mediocre amount of heat it provided its massive frame.
"Looks more like a dragon to me-" Luffy was about to say only for Erza to quickly pull him towards her with one arm as she covered his mouth and placed a finger to her mouth.
"Shhh!" Erza shushed him silently, her singular eye wide as she looked back and forth from their hiding spot to see if the wyvern had heard Luffy. Seeing that the large draconian creature hadn't heard them, the scarlet haired girl let out a breath she didn't know that she was holding as she turned to face Luffy. "Don't talk so loudly! I don't want that thing to hear us Luffy." Erza lightly chastised her friend as she removed her hand from the rubber man's mouth, worry was etched into her every word now that they had to deal with such a large creature.
"Sorry Erza." Luffy apologized as he turned to look at the wyvern, watching as the creature sniffed the cave floor and started to lick up the tea Erza had spilled earlier. "But that thing really does look like a dragon to me. Although its way smaller than that red dragon I met a long time ago…" The rubber man muttered that last part as he took in the wyvern's appearance but it was too small and different in appearance for him to truly see a complete resemblance between it and Vegapunk's artificial dragon that he along with Zoro, Usopp, and Robin met back on Punk Hazard. "Although it does look pretty delicious…" Luffy muttered as he slobbered over the idea of eating such a large creature. Erza could only turn her towards her friend in surprise at Luffy's casual statement.
"Wait a minute. Luffy, you met an actual dragon?!" Erza muttered in shock as Luffy turned his attention back towards her. Just as he was about to explain what he said, Erza quickly covered his mouth again. "You know what? Tell me that story later. We have much bigger fish to fry." Erza muttered as Luffy nodded his head in agreement, realizing he'll need the extra time to figure out how to explain it without drawing too much attention to the contradictory details. Erza was smarter than him after all!
"Ok so do you want me to go kick that dragon thing's ass, Erza. Cause I can go do it if you don't feel up for fighting right now." Luffy stated, ready to jump out from their hiding spot to go fight the wyvern only for Erza to grab him by the scruff of his jacked to pull him back behind their hiding spot.
"As much as I would want you to go kick that thing out of our campsite, I've seen how you fight Luffy and I don't want the mountain to come crashing down on us." Erza explained to the pouting rubber man. "We need an actual plan if we want to get rid of this thing. So I suggest we-we…" Erza began to stutter once a shadow was cast over her before she looked up and her singular eye widened in fear.
"Uh…Erza? You ok?" Luffy asked only to notice a very large shadow being casted over both him and Erza. He began to slowly look up only to find the wyvern's head right above them, the draconic creature glaring down at them with its mouth open to show off its jagged knifelike teeth as a drop of its saliva fell on Luffy's face. While Erza was busy trying to not make a sudden movement that would cause the wyvern to attack them, the rubber man for his part only blinked once as the saliva oozed down his face before wiping it off himself with a blank look on his face before looking to Erza as she did the same to him. Erza only nodded her head seconds before Luffy quickly grabbed her and scooped her up into his arms. The rubber boy then dashed off towards the cave's exit, carrying the scarlet haired girl princess-style the entire way.
The white wyvern could only throw its head back in shock at the trespassers' sudden movement before roaring in anger at the duo and quickly chased after them. However, due to its sudden awakening from its hibernation and the mouth of the cave growing smaller due to the accumulation of ice around the cavern walls, the white wyvern found itself barely able to chase after its targets. As the wyvern tried to fight past its grogginess, Luffy didn't bother to give it a chance to catch up as he quickly carried Erza to the cave's exit.
The rubber man quickly jumped out as soon as he and his passenger passed the ice coated entrance, barely making it out of the cave seconds before the white wyvern's head shot out after them. The white wyvern tried to snap its massive jaws down on the duo only for its momentum to suddenly stop as its jaws came smashing down, barely missing the back of Luffy's jacket in the process.
From her perch in the rubber man's arms, Erza could only stare wide eyed in shock at how damn close the draconic beast was to snapping them up in its jaws. She could hear her heart beating rapidly in her chest as her breath was caught in her throat, mentally thanking whatever god that was listening to her for the fact the wyvern was too big to fit through the cave entrance. Erza could only watch as the white beast struggle angrily in its makeshift prison, its head and neck were the only things that could fit through the mouth of the cave.
"Yeah! We got out! Shishishi!" Luffy cheered happily as both he and Erza soared forward through the air, blissfully unaware or uncaring of how close he was to being eaten alive. "See ya later, you not-a-dragon!" Luffy called out as he turned his head around 180 degrees to shout goodbye at the struggling wyvern, who only roared angrily at him as the rubber man and scarlet haired girl got further away from the trapped beast.
"Hey Luffy? Now is not the time to mock that thing!" Erza shouted angrily into Luffy's ear.
However, the duo had forgotten that the cave they were camping in was overlooking a steep snow-covered slope. So when Luffy's feet finally touched the ground, the duo quickly found themselves sliding down the slope uncontrollably as Luffy's sandals didn't offer any means of stopping their descent. The duo's eyes quickly widened in horror when Luffy's foot hit an edge jutting out of the slope.
"Oh shit…" Erza found herself muttering as she knew both her and Luffy were about to get a harsh lesson in physics as the rubber boy began to fall forward. What the scarlet haired girl wasn't expecting to happen next was for Luffy to suddenly shift her position in his arms mid-fall, ensuring that he took the brunt of the impact as he crashed face first into the rocky mountainside while she came out relatively unharmed.
It didn't stop there as Luffy's momentum caused them to keep on rolling down the slope as snow quickly gathered around him and Erza until they were completely covered in a huge snowball.
The massive snow ball continued to roll downwards until it came to a stop near a large open field covered in snow. Not long after the snow ball stopped, the mass of compacted snow suddenly exploded outward in a spectacular display of magical energy with Erza standing at the epicenter of the blast.
As large clumps of snow rained down around her, Erza stood up proudly while cloaked in her Ice Climber armor with the hood up and a red faced Luffy hanging over her shoulder.
"Luffy, are you all right?" Erza asked softly as she placed the shivering Luffy back onto his feet.
The rubber boy only nodded in response as he quickly slapped his reddened face in quick succession, trying to return some heat back to that part of his body. Erza could only smile softly at the rubber boy's actions, happy that he wasn't seriously injured.
That small moment of peace came swiftly to an end as a loud, deafening roar filled the air, causing the scarlet haired girl to clench her eye shut while forcing her to cover her ears with her cold resistant gauntlets.
She wasn't the only one to be startled by the sudden loud noise as Luffy stopped slapping himself and quickly looked up to see large chunks of ice suddenly flying through the sky towards them. Seeing one large ice chunk rocketing directly towards them, Luffy just calmly pulled his right arm back and pumped it, causing steam to shoot out of his arm as he put his left arm forward to aim.
"Gomu Gomu no Jet Pistol!" Luffy shouted as he punched the falling ice chunk at incredible speeds, obliterating it into smaller bits of ice that rained down harmlessly around him and Erza as the scarlet haired girl opened her eye in confusion at the bits of ice raining down on her head.
"Hey Erza..." Luffy said as Erza quickly turned her attention towards him, ignoring the chunks of ice that crashed down around them.
"That dragon-thing is out of its cave." He stated normally as he pointed in the direction of the Wyvern's cavern as Erza followed the rubber boy's line of sight. Turning her head slowly, Erza quickly saw that the White Wyvern was now free of its makeshift prison, the cave's mouth was now far larger than when they left it.
"So much for trapping it there and escaping..." Erza thought as she quickly shifted into a battle stance alongside Luffy as the duo watched the Blizzardvern stand up to its full height, spreading its massive wings up in the air to their full length as it let out a mighty roar towards the duo that shook the mountain side they were on.
Erza could only grit her teeth as she covered her ears in an attempt to block out the draconic creature's booming roar. She turned her head to look at Luffy only to see that he was unaffected by the creature's volume, in fact he had a big grin on his face as he stared at the roaring wyvern...
"Hey Erza..." Luffy stated calmly, the mischievous smile on his face belied his excitement.
"What is it Luffy?" Erza replied slowly, trying to not take her eye off the wyvern.
"I just got an idea for how we're going to get off this mountain and get to this Croco place really, really fast." Luffy stated with a mischievous gleam in his eyes as the smile on his face grew into a cheeky grin as he watched the white wyvern pull its head back. It only took a moment for Erza to catch onto Luffy's words as her singular eye widened in shock before taking her eye off what the wyvern was doing to turn towards the rubber boy only to see he was staring at the dragon-like creature with his straw hat casting a shadow over his gleaming eyes.
She was about to shout something at him only for the words to be caught in her throat as she felt her a sudden chill go down the back of her neck. She quickly turned her head to look back at the wyvern only to see that that it was pulling its head back as magical energy was slowly building up in its maw.
"Oh no..." Erza muttered in growing apprehension at what was coming next as she took a quick glance towards her friend to see Luffy coming to the same conclusion as he quickly rushed through the snow towards her. He managed to reach her just as the white wyvern threw its head forward as multiple light blue beams of magical energy were fired from its mouth.
Acting on instinct, Erza quickly grabbed the rubber man by his shoulder and threw him far behind her just as the light blue beams struck her in the back, freezing her in a towering spike of ice.
"Erza!" Luffy shouted in horror as he quickly jumped back onto his feet, ignoring everything happening around him as he rushed towards the frozen girl. Placing his hands on the ice spike, he ignored the heat being drained from his hands as he looked at Erza's frozen expression within the ice. "Don't worry Erza! I'll get you out of there as soon as I-" Luffy said quickly as he was about to punch the ice only for an image of Aokiji and Robin to flash before his eyes, causing him to stop his fist seconds before it could touch the ice.
"No, no, no, no..." Luffy could only mutter as he slumped to his knees as memories of Robin being frozen solid flashed before his eyes as he gripped the ice spike, ignoring the searing pain in his fingers as he dug them into the ice.
"Dammit!" Luffy shouted as slammed his head into the ice encapsulating his friend, causing a large crack to form where his head struck. The crack soon began to spread as Luffy brought his head back in shock as he heard Erza's 'voice' from within the ice and saw that her Ice Climber armor began to glow with a red aura. He watched in awe as Erza 's armor continued to glow brighter from within the ice as the ice encasing her quickly shattered into a thousand pieces, freeing Erza from her icy prison as the scarlet haired girl fell onto her knees.
"Erza!" Luffy shouted in worry as he quickly helped her back onto her feet, ignoring the heat coming off her armor in droves and the snow melting around her feet. "Are you alright?" He asked with concern, looking over the scarlet haired girl to make sure not one part of her was broken off while she was breathing heavily from shock. "How did you break out of the ice?"
"I'm fine Luffy." Erza said out of breath. Despite the magical nature of the attack that froze her alive, logic still applied to this situation as being frozen into a block of ice for several minutes meant no fresh oxygen could enter her body during that interim, leaving the young girl gasping for air once she was freed from icy prison. "My armor's magical properties must have saved me." She said quickly while trying to catch her breath, noticing how much heat her armor was giving off in order to warm up her slightly cold body.
"Whoa! That's awesome! I didn't know that the armor here in Fiore came with magic powers too!" Luffy shouted with glowing stars in his eyes before a loud roar filled the air, reminding both of them exactly where they are.
"I'll tell you about my armor later Luffy! Look up!" Erza shouted as she and Luffy looked up into the air to see the white wyvern staring down at them from high in the air. Its draconic body was glowing with whitish blue magical energy as multiple ice spikes were being formed around its body. Once the ice spikes were done forming, the wyvern flapped its wings forwards as the ice spikes were fired towards their targets.
"Oh yeah I almost forgot about that jerk..." Luffy muttered to himself as he lifted Erza onto his back. Once Erza was on the rubber boy, the scarlet haired girl wrapped her arms and legs around his neck and chest with no complaints as the duo both glared simultaneously at their opponent before Luffy quickly started running.
The barrage of ice missiles were upon the duo like rain as Luffy quickly dodged and weaved through the deadly barrage as the spikes struck the ground behind the duo. Erza kept her arms and legs wrapped around the rubber boy's chest like her life depended on it, unwilling to fall off and make her friend's job harder. She did, however, notice that Luffy was moving much slower than normal as several ice spikes came dangerously close to hitting them. She quickly looked down to see that Luffy was up to his knees in snow and her eye widened in realization as the rubber boy jumped away to dodge another incoming ice spike.
"It's the snow! It's slowing down Luffy's movements every time he takes a step on this field." Erza thought in sudden realization. "It's been snowing a lot harder for the past few days, so all the snow has been accumulating all over the mountainside. Since it's been building up on the ground for so long with nothing to get rid of it, the snow is a lot deeper than it looks so making the wrong step will just leave you trapped in the snow. That thing knew this and was leading us over here on purpose to trap us." Erza mentally realized while Luffy kept on the move to avoid being hit by the wyvern's attack, despite the terrain actively slowing him down. "Luffy's been doing an incredible job so far but me holding onto him like this isn't helping our chances as long as that dragon thing is in the air..." Erza concluded as she stared upwards at the white wyvern flying overhead, the draconian creature was easily keeping pace above them despite the roaring winds beating down on the field they were fighting on.
"Luffy, we need to get out of this area! The snow buildup around here is slowing us down and I'm betting that monster knows it by how it's been chasing us this way." Erza shouted loudly to make sure the freezing mountain winds assaulting the duo didn't cover her voice.
"I know that Erza, but this stupid ice lizard won't stop chucking ice at us!" Luffy shouted back just as loudly, his arms turned jet black instantly as he back handed an ice spike aimed at his head, shattering the spike instantly. Erza gained a pensive look on her face at his statement before her face shifted into a determined look.
"Then I'll just give it another target." Erza said firmly. Before Luffy could even question her on her words, Erza unlocked her arms and legs from around Luffy's chest as she quickly pushed off the rubber boy. As soon as her feet touched the snowy ground, Erza broke into a run towards the airborne monster.
While she rushed towards her aerial opponent, Erza quickly summoned a short sword with a bright red and orange hilt into her right hand and a red and white, Hearts Kreuz heater shield onto her left arm.
Several feet away, Luffy looked surprised at the scarlet haired girl's actions for a brief moment before his face suddenly shifted into satisfied grin as he quickly realized what she was going to attempt.
"Hey you big stupid lizard, why don't you try picking on someone your own size!" Erza shouted boldly as she charged headlong towards the airborne wyvern, her Ice Climber armor ensuring that her speed wasn't hampered by the snow at all. Once she reached an area of the field where the snow only reached up to here ankle, Erza stopped channeling her magic into her armor and channeled her into the anti-cold weapons she had bought earlier. As a result, her Heat Blade started to heat up, making the blade of the sword glow bright red, and her Heart Kreuz Heater Shield began to glow with the same red magical energy Erza displayed earlier with her armor.
Meanwhile, the white wyvern was bewildered by the fact the red intruder was now charging towards him instead of fleeing with her fellow human, the young wyvern refused to be intimidated by the small human's challenge and roared back in defiance. The white beast then dive bombed towards the stupid human while firing off three ice missiles at the red intruder.
Erza continued to run forward without any hesitation as she spotted the draconic creature firing three ice missiles at her. She brought heater shield up in front of herself to block the first ice missile. She soon gritted her teeth as the ice missile collided with her glowing shield, the ice shattering and melting into steam upon hitting her heated shield. However, Erza could feel the bones in her left arm shake from the impact as the attack nearly dislocated her left arm despite her managing to block the attack. She managed to block the second and third ice missile in the same way with her heater shield, each blow threatening to dislocate her left shoulder from its socket but she gritted her teeth and bore the pain without any compliant. She looked up and quickly ducked to the side, barely avoiding being struck by the white wyvern's black talons as she watched the beast soar past her.
Missing his intended target, the young wyvern tried to turn around only to find that he was moving far too fast to make a sudden right turn. In a desperate attempt to slow himself down, he spread out his wings behind his body and put his heels to the ground to act as brakes, straining his wings to their limits while his hind talons were cutting throwing the solid rock that made up the surface of this mountain field as if they were a hot knife cutting through butter. As a final attempt to slow down its momentum, the young wyvern slammed its thick, muscular tail down onto the ground to act as a brake. With his tail being dragged behind him across several meters of snow covered mountainside, the wyvern found himself slowing down enough to be able to stop itself. Folding up his strained wings close to his body to ease the pain in his shoulders, the wyvern turned his head around to look at his friction burned tail to see if hadn't damaged it too badly.
As the white wyvern spewed freezing air over the bottom of his tail in an attempt to soothe its burns, Erza found herself gasping at the trail of destruction the beast had unwittingly left in its path.
"If I hadn't dodged that attack..." Erza muttered before gulping at the bloody image that formed in her head.
"Hey Erza!" The scarlet haired girl was cut out of her thoughts when she heard Luffy's voice and turned her head around to her right side just in time to see the rubber boy run right past her.
(One Piece OST: Can't Escape, Fight!")
"Great job back there! You almost had him!" Luffy shouted towards her as he turned his head around to give her a thumbs up just as the white wyvern spotted him and began building up magical energy in its maw again.
"I'm not going to let you fight that thing alone, Luffy!" Erza shouted at him as she was about to run after him only to suddenly clutch her left shoulder.
"Don't worry! I've got it from here Erza!" Luffy shouted back as he kept running towards the white wyvern, unfazed by the sight of the beast charging up its attack. Luffy continued to charge towards the beast as it fired its ice beam at him, the scarlet haired girl standing back to spectate as she knew how strong her friend was but refused to dispel her weaponry just in case.
"Gear Second!" Luffy shouted as he pumped his legs as the freezing blue beams flew towards him. His skin soon turned slightly pink and shiny as his body began to emit steam. Luffy quickly vanished from sight as the blue streams struck the spot, creating jagged spires of ice where the rubber boy previously stood.
The white wyvern widened its blue eyes in shock at Luffy's sudden disappearance before it started looking left and right for where that glowing pink human disappeared to.
As the wyvern searched for any sign of the steamy boy, Luffy quickly reappeared in midair near the white wyvern's head with his right arm pulled back as his fist shifted in color to a jet black.
"Gomu Gomu no..." Luffy began to say just seconds before the adolescent wyvern managed to spot him.
"Jet Bullet!" Luffy shouted as he smashed his fist right into the wyvern's face with a thunderous smack that echoed across the area. Despite the obvious size difference between an eleven-year old boy and a 14-ton wyvern, Luffy's punch was strong enough to reverberate through the white wyvern's head as it found itself struggling to stand up straight on its hind legs while its eyes were starting to roll back into its head. Landing on his feet as his skin turned back to their natural hue, Luffy just grinned confidently as he watched the wyvern stumble around before him as it tried to keep itself from crashing headfirst onto the ground.
"Wow you're really strong to still be standing after I hit you like that." Luffy said casually towards the wyvern as it dug its claws into the stone earth in order to steady itself. "You're also really fast in the air with those big wings of yours. The only other guys I've met that could fly that fast with their wings was Vivi's friend Falcon Guy and Billy. And that Sky Knight's horse but they're all way smaller than you." Luffy continued to say casually to the white wyvern despite the fact said-wyvern was no longer struggling to stand on its own feet.
"Luffy! What are you doing?!" Erza shouted loudly towards the rubber man from her spot, straining her vocal cords to make sure her voice was heard over the blistering mountains winds blowing around them.
"I'm trying to get this big guy to give us a ride off this mountain, Erza!" Luffy shouted back only for a dim lightbulb to go off above his head. "Hey! I could just make this guy fly us straight to Magnolia! We don't have to walk anymore Erza!" Luffy shouted as his face lit up with glee, ignoring the white beast behind him. Erza could only facepalm at Luffy's declaration only to wince in pain as she pulled her gauntlet covered hands away from her face.
"Ow, ow, ow... why did I know that this was what you were planning earlier?" Erza muttered to herself as she massage her aching forehead, her cold-resistant gauntlet providing some comfort from the roaring winds. She was about to say something to dissuade Luffy from his crazy plan only for her single eye to go wide upon seeing the wyvern behind the rubber boy.
Luffy frowned once he saw Erza start running towards him with a fearful expression on her face. He quickly turned his head around only to see the white wyvern's open maw crash down on top of him...
Pulling his head out of the hole he formed in the stone ground, the young wyvern had a satisfied look on his face as he turned to stare at the red headed human standing several meters away from him. Said human could only look at his imposing form with horror on her face as she could barely stand with shaking legs, the glowing metal things in her hands quickly disappeared in a flash of light as she fell onto her knees in shock. Why shouldn't the adolescent wyvern be proud? He had managed to catch one of the annoying humans that dared to trespass onto its pack's den during their winter hibernation. While primarily herbivores, white wyverns were just as omnivorous as any other Wyvern species and as such they were not picky when forced to dine on meat for sustenance.
Staring down the red headed human to let her know she was next, the adolescent wyvern started to chew his first meal in months only to find himself gagging on something completely unpalatable. Quickly spitting out the contents of his mouth, the adolescent wyvern looked down and his blue eyes widened in shock at only seeing crumbled up rocks covered in his own saliva. Before he could even wonder what had happened, the universe soon provided the young male wyvern its answer.
"Phew! That sure was a close one!" Luffy said as he wiped his forehead while he hung underneath the white wyvern's neck, having barely avoided being snapped up in said beast's jaws at the last second. Several meters away, Erza let go of a breath she didn't know she was holding, completely relieved that her friend hadn't died before her eye.
Meanwhile, Luffy stretched his hand upwards from his spot underneath the wyvern's neck as he grabbed ahold of one of the horns on the wyvern's head and used his other hand to grab onto part of its snout. He then pulled himself up before its face so he could look the icy beast straight into its blue, slitted eye.
"Hey dragon thing! Stop trying to eat me and Erza! Also stop trying to freeze us alive in ice cubes! You're really making it hard for me to convince Erza to let us ride you off this mountain!" Luffy shouted in the wyvern's face, chastising it like it was already his pet. The Blizzardvern responded to Luffy's complaints by shaking its head wildly in the air and snapping its jaws in attempt to bite the rubber boy in half.
"Hey! Quit it!" Luffy shouted as he held onto the Wyvern's head without much trouble, despite the adolescent's best efforts. "I already told you to stop trying to eat us! Gomu Gomu no Stamp!" He shouted as he kicked the white beast straight in its eye with a sandal covered foot, knocking its head back but without the same kind of force he used earlier. The wyvern quickly recovered as it swung its head sideways in an attempt to bite the rubber boy but Luffy just pulled himself over the wyvern's angular head to avoid the beast's jaws. Landing on the back of the wyvern's angular head, Luffy found himself having to grab onto two of the long, black spikes that ran down the draconian creature's spine as said creature opened up its wings and started to thrash around.
"Hey, stop jumping around so much! You're making it hard for me to hold onto you." Luffy whined while he maintained a strong grip on the wyvern's horns. The adolescent wyvern just glared up at the rubber boy and roared back angrily as it continued to thrash around and flap its wings wildly in an attempt to throw off its hitchhiker.
"Fine then, be that way! I was going to kick your ass for freezing Erza into an ice cube anyway!" Luffy shouted angrily as he threw his head backwards, stretching his neck several meters up into the sky. "Gomu Gomu no..." Luffy began while his neck continued stretching skyward as his entire forehead turned jet black before stopping once his head reached high enough into the air.
"BELL!" Luffy roared as he snapped his neck back, delivering a thunderous head butt to the back of the white wyvern's head. The impact caused a loud clanging sound to echo throughout the entire mountainside as the wyvern fell onto its clawed hands, its head was shaking from such a devastating blow.
"Sheesh! Your head is built like a tank." Luffy said in genuine surprise at the beast's durability, noticing that his earlier head butt had barely made a dent in the wyvern's white scales. He then noticed that the wyvern was starting to push itself back up while it began to spread its wings. "Oh no you don't! Gomu Gomu no..." Luffy shouted as he pumped his arm, entering Gear Second almost instantaneously before stretching his right leg really high into the air.
"Jet Axe!" Luffy shouted as he brought his leg crashing down onto the wyvern, smashing its head straight into the ground with such force that a spider web of cracks formed in the ground underneath the white beast's head.
Noticing that the wyvern wasn't trying to get up again, Luffy let go of the downed beast's horns and walked up its neck while his shiny pink skin faded back into its natural complexion, indicating that Gear Second has worn off. As he quickly checked over the white beast to make sure it wasn't dead, the rubber boy noticed that there was a big cut in the middle of the wyvern's head as warm red blood poured down the sides of its angular head, staining its previously snow-white scales the color red. Not hearing a 'voice' coming from the wyvern with his Haki, Luffy could only sigh before punching the draconic beast on its head in frustration.
"Damn it! I didn't want to kill this dragon thing. I just wanted to ride on its back." Luffy complained aloud as he sat down atop the wyvern, openly sulking over losing the chance to have the draconic creature as a pet. He did look down over at the wyvern's head before turning around to see just how big the creature was in comparison to himself or Erza.
"It does still look pretty tas-" The rubber boy never got the chance to finish that sentence as his eyes suddenly glowed red as the "aura" beneath him suddenly flared up to an astonishing degree.
(One Piece OST: Danger!)
Listening to his finely tuned instincts, Luffy quickly jumped away from his spot on the beast's head just in time to see the White Wyvern to stand right back up again onto its feet as it unleashed a booming roar that blasted away all the snow in the area they've been fighting in for the past hour while its entire body was enveloped by a glowing, blueish-white magical aura. The wyvern's roar thundered throughout the entire mountainside, it's sheer volume forcing Luffy to cover his ears from the noise as well as wake up every creature that was living on the mountain.
Further down the mountain trail, in a snow-covered forest...
Far away from the life or death battle taking place nearly a mile, near the mountain path stood large valley that contained a large snow-covered forest of incredibly tall and large evergreen trees next to a large open field filled with a herd of large bison-like beasts grouping together to shield themselves from the harsh winds blowing down from Mount Mame-ka. Hidden between Mount Mame-Ka and Mount Krieger, the Fabaceae Forest stood silently as roaring winds flowed past the trees with the only sound occurring was the occasional pile of snow falling of the tree branches or beast moving through the snow-covered grounds.
Right in the middle of the imaginary border dividing the area between the forest and open field stood a larger than average wooden cottage with a stone chimney that was facing away towards the open field with its back to the Fabaceae Forest. Several meters away from the cottage, laid a small circular, rock outcropping that had a completely flat surface that was smooth to the touch.
The most peculiar thing about this stone platform's existence, was the large, muscular figure sitting in the middle of the platform in a meditative pose while wearing only a hooded poncho, a long loincloth held to his waist by a black belt over white pants and thick boots. The man was unmoving as snow covered his large muscular figure, the only sign that he was alive was the condensed air coming from of his hooded face.
The man remained still until a thundering roar echoed throughout the valley stirring him from his meditation as he looked up in surprise as he watched a herd of bison-like beasts start to move in rampant hurry towards the forests. As the spooked herd instinctually parted themselves to move around the hooded man and the cottage behind him, the hooded man paid them no mind as he wiped away the snow and placed his hands on the stone platform for a single moment before looking up towards the mountain trail where the roar had originated.
Back with Luffy at the fight...
"Whoa. You really are strong to keep getting up like that." Luffy admitted in surprise as he jumped several feet back, pulling his hands down from his ears as he got ready to keep fighting. The wyvern's black horns and talons started to glow with icy blue magical energy while its eyes started glowing in the same way as it focused its complete attention onto the rubber boy. The beast's glowing eyes glared straight into Luffy's dark brown eyes, the rubber boy was about to make the first move only to find himself unable to lift his feet off the ground.
"What the hell?!" Luffy shouted in surprise as he looked down to see that his feet were covered in a thick layer of ice. He then noticed that the ground around him was now covered by a thick layer of ice that was expanding outwards from where the wyvern stood. His opponent looked just as surprised at the ice that spreading across the ground, the draconic creature having noticed the buildup of ice forming around its large feet. Deciding to not let this opportunity go to waste, the White Wyvern started to charge towards the rubber boy while Luffy tried to tear his feet free from the ice covering them.
"Damn it! This ice won't let me go!" Luffy shouted as he kept trying to pull either of his legs out of their icy prison only to stop once he saw the wyvern charging up another ice beam in its mouth while it quickly closed the distance between them. "Gear Second!" Luffy shouted with gritted teeth while he pumped his leg to speed up the blood flow throughout his body just as the wyvern opened its mouth to fire...
Only for a flying scarlet haired girl to body check herself straight into the wyvern's face at the last second, knocking its angular head to the side as it fired off its ice beam harmlessly into the sky.
(Fairy Tail OST: Against Magic)
"Erza?!" Luffy stated in complete awe as he watched Erza pull her elbow out of the wyvern's left eye while she stabbed her short sword into the left side of its head, the Heat Blade barely managing to get past the beast's scales but the heat coming from it was a completely different story. The white wyvern was thrashing and screeching in agony as Erza's sword continued to burn its head with excessive heat, scorching its white scales black in the process. While the scarlet haired girl distracted the draconian beast, Luffy quickly punched the ice below him with a steaming fast punch, freeing his feet from the ice that encased them.
Seeing that Luffy was freed, Erza quickly pulled her sword out and jumped off the wyvern's head as the rubber boy suddenly appeared by the beast's face with both of his fists having shifted to a jet-black color.
"Gomu Gomu no Jet Bullet!" Luffy shouted as he smashed his armament covered fist into the wyvern's face, breaking several of its white scales. The wyvern tried to snap at him in midair only for the rubber boy to disappear from sight just as Erza dashed underneath it.
"Summer Flash!" Erza shouted aloud as she rapidly slashed the wyvern's legs with her heat blades, the glowing blades leaving behind an orange stream of light with every slash as the white wyvern roared in agony at the burning cuts left on its legs. Erza quickly jumped away as the white beast tried to slam its tail onto her, smashing the ground beneath it. She landed in a crouch with both glowing blades still in her hands as the wyvern turned its head towards her, its mouth already filled with accumulated magical energy.
Erza quickly dashed towards the wyvern right when it was about to fire its ice beam only for a steaming Luffy to suddenly appear and slam his foot up into its jaws at the last second, slamming its mouth shut as bits of ice exploded through the gaps in its teeth. Erza smiled at the rubber boy's assist as the wyvern found itself spitting out chunks of ice from its mouth while the scarlet haired girl jumped onto its tail.
"Burning Claw!" The scarlet haired girl shouted as she dashed up the wyvern's tail onto its back while slashing up its body in the process, leaving multiple burning cuts in her wake. The wyvern screeched in pain the girl's attack just as Erza kept running up it to reach the back of its head while Luffy was running towards it on the ground as his feet turned jet black in an instant.
"Gomu Gomu no Hawk Stamp!" Luffy shouted as he stretched his leg upwards and hit the wyvern's jaw with the bottom of his foot at incredible speeds, knocking the beast's head upwards while leaving an imprint of his sandal on the bottom of its jaw. Erza kept running up the wyvern's back as it started to bend upwards before she launched herself towards the wyvern's head while brandishing both of her heat blades.
"Burning Cross Cutter!" Erza shouted loudly as she slashed her blades in the shape of an X at the stunned wyvern's head, leaving a large, burning X-shaped cut deep into the beast's head. Erza quickly put her away her blades as she grabbed onto one of the wyvern's larger horns with her gauntlets and flung herself away from the screeching draconic beast.
The adolescent wyvern quickly spotted the damn red human that hurt him land several meters away from him and, despite the searing pain in his head, managed to begin gathering up enough of its own magical energy to fire one last ice beam while streams of his own blood were pouring out of the new X-shaped wound in its head. He was about to be ready to fire and make another human popsicle out of the red human, when he heard three words that he was slowly starting to dread.
"Gomu Gomu no..." Luffy started to say as he ran past a smiling Erza towards the wyvern while hardening both of his arms with Haki and stretching both far backwards. The wyvern itself could only looked down at the charging rubber boy with widening horror as Luffy vanished from its sight before reappearing before it in midair.
"EAGLE BAZOOKA!" Luffy roared as he snapped his arms forward and slammed his armament covered palms into the wyvern's chest, delivering a powerful impact to the beast that blasted it off its feet. Coughing up blood from the powerful blow as it crashed onto its right side, the wyvern found itself barely able to pull its body up before collapsing, shaking the ground briefly from the impact.
Erza quickly ran up to stand beside Luffy, neither one saying anything to the other as they turned to face one another. Once she reached him, the armor wearing girl grabbed onto the still steaming rubber boy's shoulder for support as both of them were trying to catch their breath, the snow was quickly building up across the battle field at a rapid rate.
Luffy silently patted Erza on the back as she just silently nodded back in thanks before they turned their attention towards the adolescent wyvern as it lay defeated on the ground, the snow was starting to build up over its body. They both watched it struggle to pull its head off the ground even as its spikes and claws stopped glowing with magical energy. The beaten creature tried to roar in defiance at the duo only to release a pitiful sound before its head finally fell back to the ground, its eyes rolling into the back of its head as it fell unconscious.
Luffy and Erza looked at the defeated wyvern for a few more seconds as Luffy's skin returned to their normal pigment and Erza stopped pumping her magic into her armor. The rubber boy and armored girl quickly turned their heads to look at each other in the eyes as the snow fell peacefully around them in silence, their battle finally over.
"YEAH, WE DID IT! We beat that dragon thing! Shishishi!" Luffy shouted loudly and suddenly as he threw his arms up into the air before bursting into laughter, shattering the silence in an instant as Erza jumped back in shock at his sudden burst of laughter. She found herself staring at the rubber boy in confusion before her lips began to curl up and Erza soon found herself laughing uncontrollably alongside Luffy.
"Luffy, I keep telling you that's a wyvern," Erza corrected Luffy as she managed to her chortles under control but she held a mischievous smile on her face as Luffy stopped laughing to look at her. "But it sure knew how to drag on things!"
Both Luffy and Erza quickly burst into laughter again after hearing the armored girl's pun, their laughter quickly filling the air. Said armored girl was laughing so hard she had to lean onto Luffy just to keep standing as she held onto her gut. Soon both kids were unable to keep standing as they fell onto their backs, the snow cushioning their fall as they continued to laugh to themselves.
Luffy was the first to stop laughing as he tried to catch his breath, pulling himself up to a sitting position but Erza kept on laughing until tears started to fall down from her left eye.
"Erza?" Luffy asked with a concerned tone in his voice as he watched tears stream down left side of the girl's face.
"I'm fine, Luffy." Erza replied as she pulled herself up to a sitting position as she started wiping off the tears in her left eye. "It's just that is has been a very long time since I-" She stopped herself as she went to wipe off the tears from her right eye, only to find that the right side of her face was dry while she felt the cloth of her eyepatch in place of her right eye.
All of a sudden, memories of the destruction of Rosemary Village, her time at the Tower of Heaven, and finally Jellal's betrayal were flashing through Erza's mind as tears quickly poured down the left side of her face.
"Erza?!" Luffy shouted in concern at the sudden cascade of tears down the young girl's face as she stared blankly into space, his voice snapping Erza out of her trip down memory lane. Realizing what had just happened from the concerned look on her friend's face, the scarlet haired girl turned herself away as she furiously wiped away the tears in her remaining eye with the sleeve of her tunic.
"I'm sorry Luffy for worrying you like that..." Erza began to say while she was facing away from the rubber boy. "It's just been a very, very long time since I was able to laugh freely like that." She stated somewhat somberly as she turned around to look at Luffy, only to find him staring deeply towards her. Just as she stared back into his eyes, suddenly her memories of the horrors she endured were washed away as the memories of their escape from the tower and the past few months flashed through her mind, causing her to find herself smiling about where she was now.
"Hey Erza is everything alright?" Luffy asked with confusion as Erza came back to reality, the scarlet haired girl quickly wiping away the last of her tears.
"Everything is fine, Luffy." Erza answered without any somberness in her tone as she quickly pushed herself off the snowy ground onto her feet. "Everything's actually better than I ever thought was possible." She said happily as she stared at the defeated form of the White Wyvern they had battled earlier while Luffy looked lost at the armored girl's words.
"Really? But then what were you crying about earlier?" Luffy asked with honest confusion in his voice.
"It was just some bad memories that I allowed to get the better of me." Erza replied as she turned to face the concerned and confused rubber boy, allowing him to see the dry tear stains on her left cheek. "Besides, just look at what we've done!" She stated with more energy to her voice as she raised her arms enthusiastically into the air while the confusion in Luffy's face began shifting into an excited grin. "We just beat a Wyvern together!" The armored girl proclaimed with glee as she pointed both her arms towards the downed beast. "The armor shop owner who sold me my armor told me that if we were to run into any wyverns on our journey through this mountain we were supposed to run like hell," Erza started to explain as she walked back in forth through the snow as Luffy turned his head to follow her movements while she continued to talk about her conversation with her armor provider.
"Luffy, do you know how incredible this is?" She asked with a smile on her face as she placed both of her hands onto Luffy's shoulders.
"Yeah! This means we can now have Kakigori* give us a ride off this mountain!" Luffy stated with an excited grin on his face.
"Yes- wait, what?!" Erza replied with apt confusion in her voice as Luffy quickly slipped out of her grasp to run towards the defeated wyvern, the snow barely impeding the rubber boy despite him wearing nothing but sandals on his feet. "How is that thing going to give-" Erza stopped herself once she fully processed Luffy's statement. "Kakigori?! Luffy, you named the giant, ice spewing monster that chased us out of our camp and fought us in a life or death battle for the past hour, Kakigori?" Erza asked with astonishment in her voice towards the rubber boy who stopped a foot away from where Kakigori was lying on the ground.
"Yeah, well I was originally thinking of calling him Snow Bite or Ice Cruncher but then I realized that this big guy doesn't actually bite and eat ice like that stone dragon slayer fishman. What was his name?" Luffy pondered aloud, completely missing the point of Erza's question entirely before realization struck in his mind. "Oh right! Tennis Fartwing was his name right Erza?" Luffy asked, causing the scarlet haired girl to facepalm at his words only to pull back her hands as she forgot she was wearing silver gauntlets as the growing bruise on her head could attest to. "Besides this guy looks like a Kakigori to me, since he makes a lot of ice easily." He explained to Erza as the armored girl sighed to herself at his reasoning.
"Luffy, I think you are missing the point." Erza explained while Luffy walked up to Kakigori's head, poking him every few seconds to get a reaction. "Why would you name that monster at all?" She asked more slowly, putting more emphasis on certain words than others.
"Oh! I named him since he's going to give us a ride to this Croco place as my new pet!" Luffy explained happily as he kept poking the wyvern's, ignoring the warm blood flowing down from the X-shaped cut on its head and the surprised look on the scarlet haired girl's face.
"Luffy… I sincerely doubt that Kakigori is going to give us a ride to Crocus after our fight. Let alone get up again with wounds like those…" Erza explained to the rubber boy as he lifted the wyvern's head off the ground, muttering that last part more to herself.
"Sure he will, Surume did the same for me when he was my pet after I kicked his ass and he was a giant, orange octopus." Luffy casually explained as he dropped the beast's head like a sack of potatoes, Kakigori didn't even make as sound when his head hit to ground. Erza was about to question him when she realized exactly what he said.
"Wait a minute, you named an octopus that you kept as your pet, Surume?" Erza asked, only to receive her answer when Luffy nodded in response. "Oh my god, that's actually a worse name than Kakigori." Erza said in astonishment, completely missing what Luffy had mentioned.
Luffy was about to defend his naming skills when he felt the presence of something approaching, quickly turning his head back towards Mount Mame-Ka and looked up at the cave that the duo were camping in earlier.
"Luffy?" Erza asked curiously as she looked up to the same cave they were in not too long ago, wondering why her friend was acting strange all of a sudden. Her answer came in the form of a loud yet familiar roar booming out of the cave, shaking the mountain side as the duo were forced to cover their ears from the noise. "Oh no…" Erza said muttered in realization as she and Luffy turned to face each other. "I believe we're going to have company, Luffy." The scarlet haired girl declared as she steeled herself for the incoming fight.
"Yeah." Luffy responded as he cracked his knuckles in preparation.
The duo simultaneously took a step back as they kept their eyes towards Mount Mame-Ka. In mere moments after the duo looked up, another White Wyvern peeked its head out of the expanded cave entrance, turning its head from side to side as it gazed over the snow-covered mountain terrain with what appeared to be confusion on its face. Erza felt the hairs on the back of her neck begin to rise as she found herself taking a step back at the sight.
"That wyvern is even bigger than Kakigori!" Erza thought to herself in shock as she covered her mouth with her gauntlets. "Thankfully it hasn't spotted us yet-"
"Wow! Look at the size of that dragon thing! It's even bigger than Kakigori." Erza's singular eye widened in shock as the wyvern was startled and started looking around frantically for the source of the sudden noise. She slowly turned her head to the left to see an amazed Luffy looking up at the same wyvern. "Hey Erza, do you think that guys Kakigori's bro-" Luffy didn't get to finish that sentence as Erza tackled him to the ground and quickly clasped her hands over his mouth.
"Shush! Do you want that thing to find us down here?" Erza shushed him with a finger to her mouth, her single eye was wide with panic as she looked back up only to be greeted with the sight of a shower of ice spikes raining down towards them.
Seeing the deadly hail coming at them, Luffy and Erza quickly got back onto their feet and dashed away from their location as a deadly shower of ice spikes rained down behind them.
Once the shower had ended, Luffy and Erza quickly looked back to see a field of ice jutting out of the ground between them and Kakigori's unconscious body. Taking a moment to catch her breath after the sudden hundred-meter dash she just did with the rubber boy standing beside barely managing to look less winded than her, Erza spared a glance upwards and her eye widened when she saw that the larger wyvern was already in the air. The beast itself quickly spotted her and Luffy from its position in the air and unleashed a furious, deafening roar that echoed throughout the mountain side.
"Luffy! Kakigori's friend is already in the air!" Erza shouted with concern in her voice, requipping her heat blades back into her hands.
"Yeah and he's not going to be alone for long!" Erza looked at him with shock for his proclamation. "I can see six more auras coming this way from the cave!" Luffy shouted towards the scarlet haired girl, he could now see six distinct but similar auras quickly moving towards the mouth of the cave but kept his attention to the aura of the Big One already in the air. Erza turned her attention back to the cave as another white wyvern suddenly came out of said cave and took to the air as another member of it species came out behind it.
"How did he know they were coming?" Erza muttered to herself as she kept her eye peeled to the cave as one by one more white wyverns came out of the cave until six of them had joined the Big One in the air. She was about to question the rubber boy until realization struck. "Was he using Observation Haki just now?" She asked to herself, deciding to save her question for later as right now she turned her focus back to the seven draconic beasts flying in the air.
The Big One, the leader of this pack of blizzardvern, glared down at the two humans that dared step onto his mountain as his pack slowly joined him in the air. He kept his eyes focused on the human children as the rest of the pack took notice of their pack member lying unconscious in the snow while he slowly bled out, burns covering several parts of his body. As his pack roared in anger at the sight, the Big One could care less about what happened to him. If two human hatchlings were able to beat his idiot brother into such a miserable state then he deserved to die out here. Hell, he would kill that now scarred idiot himself if he did survive those injuries.
No, his eyes were instead focusing on the two humans that managed to dodge its attack. The Big One pondered how they were able to dodge it when a fully grown-human would've been killed instantly. He quickly looked over both humans for any possible weakness between them to avoid charging in head first like a young male mountain bison running on musk
He focused his attention first on the red one, her scarlet hair and red outfits, possibly armor, standing out like a sore thumb compared to the other human in this snowy environment. On closer observation, it appears the human female was missing her right eye based on the black garment covering the socket where the sensory organ would be located. She also appeared to have less endurance than her fellow human, based on how hard she was breathing compared to her companion despite her attempts to look like she was still capable of fighting. This fact along with her missing eye made the scarlet human look like the weakest link between the two humans but the Big One could sense the surprising amount of magical energy that lied within her tiny body, he would be a fool to ignore such a glaring fact.
He then turned his attention towards the scarlet human's companion who, by comparison, seemed to lack the ability to utilize magic at all as he could not sense an ounce of magical energy within the male human. The Big One could only smile maliciously at this fact, the only humans he's seen capable of fighting his kind were what the humans called 'Mages'. Without the ability to use magic, a single human lacked the strength and durability to take down even one wyvern by themselves, regardless of what species they were, let alone a pack of said beasts.
The Big One's smile, however, disappeared as soon as the white wyvern made eye contact with the male human standing on the ground. As his light blue eyes stared into the human's dark brown ones, the Big One couldn't explain why but he was starting to feel intimated by the way the human males was staring fearlessly into its eyes, as if he was a mightier and stronger beast than the Big One himself. With every second of eye contact he held with the human male, the Big One was feeling himself being dwarfed by the far smaller human's presence. In fact, it felt like his instincts were screaming at him that he was not in the presence of a human child but an incredibly powerful and monstrous beast that could stand eye to eye with his mother, one of the almost mythical Wyvern emperors that once lived alongside the Dragons four hundred years ago before that race suffered eradication at the claws of the Black Dragon himself.
Snapping his eyes away to break eye contact with the disturbing human child, the Big One roared orders to his pack to pick up his defeated brother and take him back to the den. As two members of the pack broke off from the others to retrieve their fallen comrade, the Big One roared orders to the remaining wyvern flying with him to prepare for battle as they roared back in agreement, their eyes shone with the desire to avenge their defeated comrade at any cost to themselves. The Big One, on the other hand, focused his eyes solely towards the scarlet human wielding her little human talons. In comparison to her surprisingly terrifying companion, the scarlet human looked like the easiest of the two due to her missing eye and the most fun to play with.
Deciding to take out the weakest link of the human pack, the Big One let out a massive roar before flapping his wings and flew down towards the scarlet human...
(One Piece Theme: Karakuri Castle Transform!)
"Here they come, Luffy!" Erza shouted as she watched the biggest wyvern, no doubt the pack leader, let out a deafening roar that shook the mountainside before flapping his wings as it flew towards them. Luffy, who had been watching two wyvern tenderly wrap their talons around Kakigori's body and gently pull him off the ground together in a surprising display of teamwork, took his eyes off them at Erza's shout to turn his attention towards the remaining wyvern's coming towards them. The rubber man found himself raising an eyebrow in confusion as he saw that one by one, each wyvern would fly off in a different direction which left only the Big One by itself as it kept flying towards-
"Erza! Kakigori's brother is heading straight for you!" Luffy shouted in realization at the scarlet haired girl and was about to run towards her when his eyes turned red as his Haki suddenly alerted him to something coming at him. That something turned out to be a White Wyvern as it dropped out the sky in front of him, forcing him to jump back as the beast smashed the ground in front of him with its feet.
"Luffy! I'm coming!" Erza shouted in concern towards the rubber boy as a second and a third wyvern suddenly dropped down behind the rubber boy, trapping him between three massive beasts. The scarlet haired girl was about to rush over to help him fight them off until a ice beam cut across the ground a few feet away in front of her, creating a line of ice pillars blocking her off from the rubber boy.
"Luffy!" Erza shouted as ran up to the barricade and started slashing into it with her heat blades.
"Erza get away from the wall!" Luffy shouted as he was forced to dodge a claw swipe from one the beasts surrounding him. Erza was about to object until she spotted something coming towards her out the corner of her eye. She quickly jumped away as another ice beam struck the spot she was hacking at, creating an even bigger wall of ice between her and Luffy. Erza looked up and saw that the culprit was Kakigori's brother as the large wyvern kept firing its ice beam across the ground between her and Luffy, creating a long wall of ice pillars that stretched for several meters across the area.
Turning her attention back to the barricade, Erza was forced to watch as three wyverns attacked Luffy at the same time, the rubber boy barely managing to dodge the onslaught of claws, teeth and ice from each of the white beasts. Erza gasped when she saw one of the wyverns managed to knock Luffy to the ground and pinned most of his body underneath its clawed hands.
"Luffy!" Erza screamed, her single eye wide in horror once she saw the beast begin to gather magical energy in its mouth to unleash an ice beam at the rubber boy. "I got to get through this ice! Luffy isn't wearing my armor, he won't survive a direct hit from a blast like that!" Erza thought to herself in horror as she started slashing away at the wall of interconnecting ice pillars with her heat blades, remembering how Kakigori's beam struck her and froze her solid. She started to hack away faster once the image of a frozen Luffy came into her mind, but to her growing frustration the heat from blades was being dispersed across the entire ice wall, rendering her attempts to burn her way through near useless unless she could force her weapons to produce far more heat than they're capable of unleashing. She looked back up to see the wyvern about ready to fire. She was about to yell when she saw a sudden blur shoot up and strike the beast's head, shutting its mouth as ice shot out through the gaps in its teeth
Erza looked back down to see a steaming Luffy already in Gear Second as he began pushing the stunned beast's hand off him before suddenly vanishing in a burst of speed. She let out a sigh of relief at Luffy escape before she heard a familiar charging noise behind her. Erza quickly jumped away from the ice barricade as another ice beam struck it, creating a far more solid wall of ice than what was there before. The armored girl looked behind her to see Kakigori's brother standing behind her as it continued to fire its beam across the barricade, creating a thick, massive wall of solid ice that blocked off Luffy and the other wyverns from them. Erza turned around to face the large wyvern as it stopped firing its beam to look down at her, causing the scarlet girl to gasp when she saw it actually smile down at her.
"Those eyes…" Erza muttered to herself as she found herself having to jump away as it smashed a clawed hand down onto the ground, its eyes belied the unadulterated glee it held in them as it kept swiping its claws at her. However, the look in the Big One's eyes caused images of an insane Jellal or even Tensei to flash before her eyes, the resemblance was far too uncanny for her to ignore. "Its eyes are just the same as those two's!" Erza realized in her mind as she jumped away to avoid a downward claw swipe.
"Burning Claw!" She shouted as she quickly lunged back and slashed the Big One over its hand multiple times in a near instant, causing the draconic beast to roar in anger as Erza quickly leapt back to avoid its snapping jaws. She found herself sliding back across the ground as the beast roared in anger at her while she just glared back at the draconic creature with equal fury. "This thing is trying to kill us for fun!" Erza muttered angrily under her breath, as the Big One's mouth began to glow with blue magical energy.
The White Wyvern threw its head forward as started to rapidly fire ice shards at Erza like a machinegun. Erza gritted her teeth in silent fury while she quickly put one of her heat blades and requipped back her heater shield. She deftly placed her shield in front of her as she charged through the nearly unending assault of ice, she could hear all the pings and dents forming in her shield as she kept pushing forward despite the growing number of cuts forming on her legs from every lucky shard that managed to get past her shield and cut through her cold proof pants.
Seeing the red human get even closer to it despite its barrage of shards, the Big One stopped firing as it just started to flap its wings. Hearing the sound of flapping wings, Erza quickly put away her shield as she charged through the snow to stop the wyvern's takeoff. Erza barely managed to reach the beast when the Big One flapped its wings forward, blowing the armored girl off her feet with a powerful gust of wind and sending her crashing face first into the snow. The Big One released a cackling roar as it took to the sky, leaving a pissed off girl to push herself out of the snow as she glared at the draconic beast.
"No." Erza muttered to herself as she pushed herself to her feet, ignoring the pain in her arms and legs. "I'm not going to lose to another monster like you!" Erza shouted angrily to the large draconic beast flying above her, looking down at her as if it wasn't done playing with her just yet. "I learned magic so I could keep the people I care about safe!" She continued to shout up into the air as she pointed her right hand out into the snow and suddenly her heat blade was lifted off the ground and flew back into her hand as it flared to life in her hands. "So I can protect them from monsters like you!" The wyvern stopped its circling to just stare down at Erza while images of an insane Jellal and a maniacally grinning Tensei flashed before the armored girl's mind as she tightened her grip on her blade.
"So come and get me you damn overgrown iguana! I'll cut you down to size!" Erza declared loudly as she felt her magical power rising to levels she didn't know she had as she glowed with a red magical aura.
(Fairy Tail Theme: Erza's Theme)
Her declaration did the trick as the Big One roared in anger at her insult, firing off a barrage of ice missiles down towards the girl. At the sight of the incoming attack, Erza summoned her second heat blade into her left hand as both blade came to life, burning bright red as they unleashed a sweltering heat that caused the snow around Erza to melt instantly into steam. As the missile approached, Erza spun the blades in her hand once before slashing out at the ice projectiles as they reached, shattering and melting them upon contact with her blades. She quickly jumped away as a far large ice missile crashed into the spot where she once stood, the following roar indicating the Big One was getting fed up with the girl's survival.
Erza looked up as she watched the large wyvern begin to ascend higher and higher into the air as it reached a stopping point before turning around and glaring down at her. She glared back at it, unwilling to back down as the white beast began its descent from the air. Erza steeled her nerve as she watched the creature dive down faster and faster towards her, opening its jaws out despite the freezing air assaulting it. The wyvern soon opened its wings, preventing it from crashing into the ground by redirecting its momentum so that it would soar parallel to the ground as it left a plumes of dust and snow in its wake.
The large wyvern roared as he kept his jaw open, planning on catching and crushing the red human in his mouth. What the wyvern didn't expect was for the scarlet haired girl to start running towards him, noticing the lack of fear in the girl's single brown eye. As it got closer and closer to the girl, the wyvern failed to recognize the glint in the girl's eye as it soared towards her.
Just when it seemed like the beast would snap her up in its jaws without issue, Erza suddenly came to a stop, instantly put away her heat blades into her pocket dimension, and quickly jumped to the right just as the wyvern snapped its jaws where she previously stood.
Time seemed to slow down for the large wyvern as it turned its left eye around to look at the scarlet haired girl only to see that Erza had finished summoning a sword out of midair. The beast could widen its eyes in shock for a few seconds while Erza threw her sword straight towards his left eye, successfully hitting her mark in the process. The large wyvern couldn't even react as its eye exploded in a shower of blood, the image of the scarlet haired girl glaring defiantly at it was burned into its memory in order to never forget the thing that took its left eye.
Time started to move normally again once Erza's back hit the snow-covered ground while the wyvern soared past her overhead, the girl landing completely unharmed after her bullheaded stunt. The same couldn't be said for the Big One as its sudden loss of depth perception caused the white beast to crash headfirst into the stone ground, it's momentum causing the beast to flip forward onto its back as its body went skidding across the area throwing up large plumes of snow and dust into the air behind it.
All the wyverns ganging up on Luffy could only look around in shock as they felt the ground shake from the crash. They quickly took off into the air to see the cause of the sudden quake, leaving behind a very confused, steaming rubber man.
"Those guys are leaving…" Luffy muttered to himself in surprise, his jacket was torn in several places with blood flowing down his face as his body quickly stopped emanating steam. The boy was breathing heavily as he turned to his right only to see a huge wall of ice as he suddenly heard Erza's "voice" come from the other side for a brief moment only to quickly go silent.
"Shit! Erza!" Luffy shouted aloud in realization as he ran towards the massive ice wall that blocked him off from his friend. "Gear Third!" He quickly muttered as he swiftly bit into his thumb and started blowing air into it, expanding his right arm to massive proportions. Luffy quickly pulled his massive fist back before throwing it forward, shattering the ice wall in an instant. Letting the air out of his body, Luffy quickly moved through the new hole he made in the wall only to stop once he saw what was on the other side.
"Whoa! What happened over here?!" Luffy asked in surprise once he saw the trail of destruction the alpha wyvern left behind during its crash landing. Almost as if answering his question, harsh winds quickly came down from Mount Mame-Ka to blow away all the dust to reveal the Big One lying on its side in a crumpled heap.
Blood completely caked its head as the sword in its left eye appears to have been further lodged into its eye socket, causing even more blood to flow down its face as it groaned in pain. Several of the spikes running down its spine had broken off rather painfully if the blood running down the sides of its body were any indication. The large white beast groaned as it picked itself up off the ground, the pain it felt over the rest of its body was like a scratch compared to the searing pain in its left eye socket.
"Wait a minute. If Kakigori's brother is over there, then where's Erza?" Luffy asked aloud as he watched the wyverns that surrounded him quickly landed and ran to their leader's aid. He was about to look in the other direction when he heard a pain filled roar come from the other way. Luffy quickly turned his head back to see the alpha wyvern screeching in agony as the sword stuck in its left eye socket started wiggling within it, causing even more blood to start spilling out onto its face. Even the other wyvern were startled by this development as they saw the sword try to pull itself out, some invisible force tugging on it as it was slowly pulled out of the alpha wyvern's eye socket.
"What the hell?! That sword's alive?!" Luffy spoke his thoughts aloud as he watched the scene from afar, not sure what was going on over there. After a minute of tugging, the sword was suddenly pulled out of the Big One's eye socket and flew past the other wyverns who could only stare in shock.
Luffy watched in shock as the sword soared past him into the opposite direction of the wyverns…
Straight into Erza's hands, the scarlet haired girl catching her bloodied blade by its handle while giving an incredibly scathing glare aimed towards the Big One, the alpha wyvern could only roar in agony as more blood flowed down its face.
"That's for attacking my friend!" Erza shouted aloud at the Big One from where she stood, her legs were shaking as she tried to hide her exhaustion behind a brave front. In her exhaustion, however, she failed to notice the large shadow being casted over her. She quickly noticed it as she slowly turned her head around to see a White Wyvern standing behind her with its right arm raised, glaring at her with hatred in its eyes at what the girl had done to its leader. Erza didn't have any time to react as the draconic beast threw its arm down at her, her eye widening in shock as she braced herself for the incoming impact…
Only for a massive, jet black fist to crash right into the white wyvern as Erza found herself stepping back in shock at the utterly bizarre sight.
"Elephant Gun!" A familiar voice shouted aloud as Erza watched the wyvern be sent flying from the collision before quickly turning her head to see a bloodied but still alive Luffy attached to the massive arm. She quickly raced towards the rapidly deflating rubber man as the wyvern he had just smashed with his gigantic fist landed on its back several meters away.
"You're okay!" Erza shouted as she tackle hugged the exhausted rubber boy who returned the hug as he tried not to fall down. Luffy was about to reply when the duo were interrupted by an enrage roar. Luffy and Erza quickly separated as they turned their heads to see the Big One back on its feet as the other three wyverns turned their attention towards the duo.
"Luffy, they look like they're still able to fight. I don't think they're willing to give up just yet." Erza said with a steely tone, exhausted from all the requipping she had done earlier but refusing to back down.
"Yeah." Luffy responded with a similar tone, sounding exhausted but unwilling to back down either as he stared down the pack of wyverns with the alpha leading at the front despite its bloodied state. "Let's give them a reason to!" Luffy declared as he smashed his fists together, turning them jet black in an instant.
"Yeah!" The scarlet haired girl replied earnestly as she gripped her blade tightly. The duo stared down the pack of wyverns as the draconic beasts took off into the air with the Big One leading the charge…
Only for three of the wyverns to be suddenly besieged by an onslaught of falling rocks from out of nowhere, knocking all of them out of the air while leaving the Big One the only wyvern unscathed. The large draconic beast could only turn its head in shock to gaze over its suddenly defeated minions, its singular eye bulging out at how quickly all of its remaining subordinates were taken down in an instant.
"What… what just happened?" Erza found herself muttering in shock at this sudden development, the girl's jaw was almost hanging from her mouth at just how quickly the pack of white wyverns were knocked out the air. Luffy held a similar expression of shock on his face until his Haki alerted to him a strong presence standing far behind him.
"I must commend you two for holding out as long as you did. I feared that by the time I had gotten here it would've been far too late…" A new voice suddenly spoke aloud, startling Erza out of her stupor. Both her and Luffy quickly took their eyes off the pack of wyverns and turned around to see a large, muscular man standing several feet away behind them, his face was hidden by the hooded poncho he wore over his body. "But now that I am here, you two can now rest easy for I will finish this fight." The hooded man declared as he walked towards them at a controlled pace, every step he took emphasizing the power he held within himself.
Erza was snapped out of her surprise at the large man's sudden appearance once she saw him walking towards them, the scarlet haired girl quickly put herself between Luffy and this man with her sword pointed towards the approaching figure. The tall figure looked up in surprise at the armored girl's reaction before continuing forward, Erza's one eyed glare doing nothing in stopping him from walking in their direction. The hooded man continued walking before turning to walk around the duo as the armored girl tried to match his pace, keeping herself and her weapon between the much taller man and her injured friend who continued to watch the mysterious figure with curiosity in his eyes.
"I understand you have no reason to trust me due to my sudden appearance," the hooded man began as he stopped to pull his hood back to reveal his bald head before turning towards the duo. The strangest thing the duo noted about his appearance were the pair of oval-shaped black marks above his black eyes and the fact he appeared to be missing eyebrows entirely. "But, please let my actions assure you that I am here to help." The tall, muscular man said in a stern yet compassionate tone towards the duo before turning to face the wyvern pack by himself.
Erza didn't know what to make of the strange, bald man who had appeared out of nowhere, his words sounded sincere but so did Jellal's words back at the tower before he snapped and decided he wanted to finish building that god forsaken place. She was about to say something at the man only for someone to place their hand on her left shoulder, causing her to turn around to see that the hand belonged to Luffy.
"Let's leave Kakigori's brother and the rest of those dragon things to this guy, Erza." Luffy said with cheery smile despite the blood running down his face, leaving the scarlet haired girl flabbergasted with the boy's sudden decision. "I have a good feeling about him!" He said with such an earnest and cheery tone as he took his hand off Erza's shoulder only to wrap his arm around her, it was almost like he hadn't been fighting for his life against giant draconic monsters on a blistering cold mountain.
"What!?" Erza could barely state aloud at how easygoing Luffy was being about their situation. She was going to say something to dissuade him from trusting the bald man with their lives when she saw the look in his eyes. It wasn't a serious look like the ones he had whenever he was fighting seriously, or the looks he gave whenever he whined about something like a little kid. Erza didn't know what the look was but she felt her arguments die in her throat before she could even think of voicing them. It only took her a minute to remember who she was standing with on a blistering cold mountain in the middle of winter, ready to fight monsters that dwarfed him in size and magical power without any hesitation whatsoever.
"...fine. I'll trust you on this Luffy." Erza stated firmly, releasing her grip on her sword as it vanished in a flash of light, disappearing back into her storage. The scarlet haired girl soon grabbed onto Luffy's hand, gripping it with both of her hands as she kept her eye on the bald man standing several feet in front of them. Luffy looked surprised by her actions for only a second before shrugging and letting the armored girl do what she wanted while he focused his attention on the back of the man who'd claim to have come to their aid.
"Alright, kick their ass old man!" Luffy shouted towards the older man who could only look back in surprise before smiling at the rubber boy's declaration.
"I must thank you for placing your trust onto me young man." the older man declared as his body began to glow with yellow magical energy. "Allow to me prove myself worthy of your trust!" The man declared as the Big One unleashed a massive ice beam towards the tall human.
"Iron Rock Wall!" The older muscular man called out as he moved his hand upwards with both his middle and index finger outstretched, causing a massive brick wall to form in front of him as the ice beam struck it head, blocking the wyvern's beam completely.
"Whoa that man formed a brick wall out of nowhere!" Luffy shouted in surprise in surprise at the sudden brick wall with Erza being equally surprised.
"I must ask that you cease your attack on these children, beasts of Mount Mame-Ka." The man shouted towards the alpha wyvern as he flicked his hand to the left, shattering the ice wall that had formed by breaking up his Iron Rock wall.
"I am Iron Rock Jura of the Guild, Lamia Scale! Turn back now unless you wish to lose more than just half your sight!" Jura proclaimed loudly, his voice carrying power behind each word as the ground began to rumble.
The Big One, despite its ice beam being easily negated earlier, roared back in challenge, enraged by Jura's words as its horns and single eye began glowing with light blue magical energy in the process. The draconic beast then flapped its wings as it took off into the air as it circled the air once before swinging its tail downward, firing off barrage of javelin-sized ice chunks to rain down at the humans.
"So be it. Iron Rock Wall: Double Formation!" Jura stated firmly as he moved his hand to side with both fingers still extended. Two curved Iron Rock Walls quickly rose out of the ground in front of the duo and Jura, protecting them all from the Big One's massive hail. The moment the white beast's attack came to an end, Jura motioned his hand upward as both walls quickly broke apart into bricks and started floating around the large man.
"Whoa! He can make rocks float too!" Luffy muttered in amazement.
"It's almost like he's using Telekinesis magic…" Erza thought to herself, finding herself amazed by the Jura's display of control as the hovering stone bricks began swirling around Jura's form, forming a whirlwind of stone that hid Jura from view.
From within his makeshift whirlwind, Jura pointed hand outwards as the bricks swirling around him began firing rapidly towards the incoming beast like bullets from a Gatling gun. The Big One quickly swerved itself in the air to dodge the launched bricks, barely managing to control its movements as it dodged Jura's attack.
"Jura's missing every shot! Kakigori's brother is bigger than the other wyverns and is missing an eye! How is he not landing a single shot on that clumsy iguana?" Erza muttered to herself in surprise, missing the blank look Luffy gave the one-eyed girl. Luffy turned his attention back to the fight in front of them when he noticed something odd about the way Jura was shooting bricks out at the large wyvern in the sky.
Jura didn't change his stern expression even as the alpha wyvern continued to dodge his barrage before bending both his index and middle finger back towards him. The change was instantaneous as the rocks he shot past the alpha wyvern did a sudden U-turn in midair as they flung themselves straight toward their unsuspecting target, the alpha wyvern didn't know what hit him as stone bricks came crashing down into his back. The wyvern didn't even get the chance to roar in shock as the wind was quickly knocked out of him by a rapid barrage of stone bricks slamming into his stomach. Jura didn't stop there as he motioned his fingers upwards causing rocks from the ground and mountainside to quickly start shooting towards the stunned wyvern, pelting the draconic beast mercilessly as the rocks began to encase the beast's body in a mass of rocks.
"Holy crap, that's Tennis' move!" Luffy shouted in surprise at Jura's spell, clearly remembering how the Stone Dragon Slayer had previously trapped him in a stone egg. Erza found herself nodding in agreement with her friend's statement, shivering uncontrollably for some reason as she continued watching the beat down unfold before her eyes. Once the draconic beast was covered in enough rocks, Jura ceased his assault as he stopped extending his fingers and let the clobbered beast fall out of the sky.
"Supreme King Rock Crush!" Jura shouted loudly as he slammed his palms together causing the rocky formation encasing the Big One to explode in its base components, engulfing the draconic beast in a gigantic explosion that shook the entirety of Mount Mame-ka. Erza could only drop her jaws in shock while Luffy looked on in amazement at the sight, the scarlet haired girl almost lost her footing several times from the ground shaking but the rubber boy was there to catch. Even the three wyverns that Jura had disposed of early could only stare slack jawed at the explosion the human mage had engulfed their alpha in, leaving only a heavy smokescreen left in its place.
The smokescreen was quickly blown away by strong winds to reveal a blackened and defeated Big One lying brokenly on its left side, the alpha wyvern was barely holding onto consciousness as it watched the tall human walk over to it.
"I advise you to order your pack to turn back now. I lowered the power I usually put into that spell so that they can have their alpha back alive." Jura said sternly towards the defeated alpha wyvern lying at his feet, the creature could barely restrain its rage as Jura could see in the beast's remaining eye. The creature then bellowed a weak roar at him, but Jura quickly noticed that the alpha wyvern was looking past him towards...
"Rock Mountain!" Jura called out quickly as he slammed his hands together. Luffy and Erza were perplexed at what he was doing until the rubber boy felt his Haki warn him. He quickly turned his head to his right as Erza did the same only to see another White Wyvern about to fire an ice beam straight down at them. Erza quickly put herself between Luffy and the draconic beast just as it was about to fire until a rock formation immediately shot up from the ground around the duo. The scarlet haired girl could only in shock while she heard the wyvern fire its beam at something else, she and Luffy were currently surrounded by a make shift stone dome with the only opening facing towards Jura.
"Luffy are you alright?" Erza asked aloud as she turned around to face the rubber boy only to see that he was missing. She didn't have to look for him for long as she saw him standing outside the makeshift cave, his eyes were shining like stars at what he was apparently seeing outside. The scarlet haired girl quickly ran towards him on shaky legs that threatened to give out as she nearly fell once she stepped out of the rock formation, not understanding why she was feeling dizzy all of a sudden but the rubber boy quickly caught with one outstretched arm. She looked up preparing to thank Luffy for his help only to find her words dying in her mouth at the sight of the giant, armored stone golem emerging halfway from the ground as it grappled with the wyvern that had tried to freeze them earlier.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared to the duo that this wyvern was the same one that Luffy had sent flying with his Elephant Gun earlier. Said draconic beast was currently struggling to get away from Jura's stone golem, the mage's creation had the beast held tight by its black horns. Jura's golem quickly pulled its armored fist back, clenching it before throwing its fist forward to deliver a devastating left hook to the White Wyvern's face. The punch knocked the beast onto its back as shards of its teeth flew through the air.
The draconic beast only had a moment to groan before it found itself being hoisted up by its tail, Jura's stone golem holding tight onto the draconic beast's tail before it began to spin around in place. The wyvern could only let out a screech of shock as it found its body being swung around uncontrollably while the environment started to become a blur before its eyes. Jura's golem continued to spin faster and faster in place until it became a swirling brown blur to everyone watching this surreal event.
"Oh man that things spinning so fast, it's making me dizzy just looking at." Luffy said casually as he watched Jura's golem continue to spin even faster, the white wyvern in the stone construct's hands looking more like a big, black and white blur. "Where do you think he's going to throw the dragon thing, Erza? Into the mountain or into the air-" Luffy stopped himself when he felt the girl fall onto his right shoulder and begin slipping down his body. Turning quickly to catch her with his arms before she could fall onto the snow, Luffy quickly pushed away the scarlet hair covering her eye to see her left eye struggling to stay open while she mumbled to herself.
Meanwhile, the remaining three wyverns could only watch as their unfortunate pack member was spun helplessly through the air. They continued to watch as their hapless pack member was finally released from the stone being's grasp only to be sent hurtling over their heads at great speeds. The flung draconic beast could only roar pitifully as it disappeared into the horizon, capped off by a four pointed "twinkle" marking the point it was last seen as the white beasts could hear a brief ringing noise at the moment.
They were soon snapped out of their shock as their alpha soon crashed into the ground before them, the three remaining wyvern's looked up to see Jura staring at them sternly while covered in a yellow magical aura.
Jura watched as the remaining White Wyverns scrambled to get themselves into the air, completely abandoning their alpha as the larger wyvern roared at their retreating forms with sheer outrage in its voice. Jura coughed unsubtly into his mouth as the Big One turned its attention towards him, glaring at the human that thoroughly humiliated the alpha wyvern. The creature looked like it was going to keep fight as it reared its head back only to unleash the loudest roar it could manage only for it die into a miserable coughing fit.
"Why are the prideful ones always the most troublesome to deal with?" Jura mentally pondered, shaking his head with embarrassment at the alpha wyvern's attempts to save face as it flew away after its retreating pack. "Now then are you two alright-" Jura said only for the words to die in his mouth when he saw the boy panicking over the scarlet haired girl.
"Erza! What's wrong?" Luffy said quickly while his voice was filled with panic as he held the shivering scarlet haired in his arms. The scarlet haired girl, for her part, was mumbling to herself as she struggled to stay awake. "Come on Erza, speak to me! I can't do anything to help if you don't say anything!" He said frantically before the scarlet haired girl raised her hand to tenderly touch his cheeks.
"Luffy, did you know your skin was so soft and stretchy?" Erza slurred out deliriously while pulling on Luffy's cheek, stretching it far away from his face.
"I-I know Erza. I've told you that my body's stretchy. A-Ace once tied me up to a tree with my own arms one time to get me to stop following him down the mountain before I met Sabo." Luffy replied shakily, unsure of what to do while he watched the shivering girl's breaths get weaker.
"That's dumb. Arms are meant for hugging. This Ace guy sounds like a dumb guy." Erza slurred, oblivious to how Luffy flinched at the comment. "Luffy, there's a bald potato man looking at us." The rubber man quickly turned around to see Jura standing behind him, looking slightly pale as he gazed over Erza's shivering form.
"Oi Potato man! What's wrong with Erza?" Luffy shouted at Jura, causing the older man to snap back to reality as he crouched down near the duo. He tried to reach out and place a hand on Erza's forehead, but the scarlet haired girl pulled her head away to in response. Jura was surprised by this but decided to try again only for the scarlet haired girl to respond by pulling her head away again and trying to hide her face in Luffy's chest.
"Don't let the bald yeti touch me Luffy..." Erza slurred shyly into Luffy's coat, the rubber man could barely hear the delirious girl's words as she tried burrow her head into his coat.
"I'm sorry, young man. Could you please place your hand on your friend's head for me? Time is not on our side and her distrust is only making things worse." Erza heard the "Bald Yeti" clearly despite the confusion racking up her brain at the moment.
"Ok..." Erza then heard what sounded like Luffy's voice and despite how foggy her head was at the moment, she felt something soft and warm touching her head. Whatever it was, it gave off so much warmth she could feel her head again. She liked this feeling. It made her head less sleepy and her thoughts feel less jumbled up.
"Her head feels cold! And it keeps getting colder!" A voice she felt was familiar shouted out in-what was that emotion? Fear? Flamingos? Fearmingos? Whatever it was she could hear more shouting before the warm thing was pulled away from her head.
"No! Don't go away warmth! I don't want to go to sleep yet!" Erza called out mentally as she felt herself close her eye. As soon as her left eye was closed, Erza was left alone in darkness as she floated amongst jumbled up thoughts and broken memories of things she couldn't recall but felt were important she thinks. As she lied amongst the chaos of her mind, she was about to give into the darkness around her until she felt something wrap itself around her legs and suddenly she felt warmth again as the darkness around her began to slowly fade away.
With this sudden warmth came voices, two of them Erza thought but her mind was not capable of proper math at the moment so she decided two was the easiest to work with. One voice was older, stern and most importantly unknown to the scarlet haired girl. She didn't like this voice, voices like this one she only heard in those memories where felt pain, extreme pain that she could never forget despite the confusion in her mind. However, this voice didn't seem like the voices that came with the painful memories but she didn't know what to make of this voice either. She honestly couldn't tell if this unknown voice cared about her so she remained hesitant to listen to it.
The other voice she heard was younger, frantic, and most importantly felt familiar to her. This voice just radiated warmth to her, she felt stronger just from hearing it. This voice kept saying words to her she didn't or couldn't understand at the time but she could tell they were filled with concern for her current state. She didn't know how long this voice kept talking but she soon felt like it was getting brighter and brighter within her mind.
Until suddenly, the light broke through...
An unknown amount of time later...
Erza opened her left eye to the sight of a wooden roof above her with a glass skylight showing the crescent moon shining down upon her from high in the night sky. She felt something covering body up to her neck but when she looked downwards she saw that it was a thick blanket with that held a strange design as far as she could tell from her vantage point. The scarlet haired girl realized that she was lying down on a really comfortable bed big enough to hold at least four of her. She tried to get up into a sitting position when she felt something holding onto her right hand. Erza turned her head to the right to see a welcome sight in this strange place.
"Luffy..." Erza muttered softly at the sight of the rubber man sleeping halfway onto the bed, his right hand holding onto her right hand. She quickly looked him over to see that he was wearing a set of thicker pajamas meant for sleeping during the winter without socks as usual for him. She did notice that bandages wrapped around his head, remembering that he was bleeding pretty badly back at the fight...
"What time is it?" Erza muttered silently to herself as she looked around the room, unsure of how much time has passed since she blacked out. She couldn't find any sign of that large man, Jura she believed his name was, in the dark room, the only light available to her came from the moon shining through the skylight. She did manage to spot Luffy's torn up jacket hanging from a coat rack along with her Ice Climber armor...
"Wait a minute if that's there, then what am I wearing right now?" Erza pondered to herself before she looked down to see that she was wearing a thicker, light blue version of her favorite pajamas. "Oh wow, this is pretty cute," Erza muttered to herself quietly as she pulled her hand away from Luffy to pull her blanket up to look over her new pajamas, she could see the beginnings of bandages wrapped around her legs underneath her pajama pants. "It even has that Heart Kreuz design I like..." the scarlet haired girl continued to mutter to herself before realization struck. "Wait how did get into these pajamas if I was wearing my Ice Climber armor earlier..." she muttered silently before Luffy's snoring broke her out of her train of thought.
Looking back at her sleeping friend Erza looked back up through the skylight and realized just how late it was.
"I guess I should just ask you these questions once you wake up, huh Luffy?" Erza asked her sleeping friend, his snores were all the answers she'd need at this point. She looked down at how Luffy was hanging off the bed with his bare feet exposed to the air before sighing to herself. "Sheesh, you really need to take better care of yourself Luffy," Erza muttered with a slightly authoritarian tone in her voice as she pulled the sleeping rubber boy onto the bed right beside her, the curving of the edges of her lips showed some amusement at how relaxed her friend was after the fight they had some time ago. "Honestly, where would you be right now if you didn't have me watching your back..." she continued to mock-lecture him as she slipped him under the covers, the blankets having the weirdest looking mermaid designs Erza had ever seen.
"Don't mermaids have fish tails instead of snake tails?" Erza thought to herself as she made sure that Luffy was tucked in carefully next to her. She knew that with the way Luffy moved during his sleep he would ruin the effort she just put in, but right now she didn't care about that. Right now, all she wants is for her friend to be safe and comfortable after the life or death battle they just had with a bunch of draconic monsters. "But, if I can be honest Luffy. I just want to say that I'm happy that you're my friend." The scarlet girl said honestly as she laid down and tucked herself in beside the sleeping rubber boy, shoulder to shoulder as she stared up at the roof above her as pale moonlight shined through the skylight.
"I also wanted to tell you thank you for... well everything you've done for me in these past few months. I know you're not listening right now and I should have said it to you when you're actually awake, but I just wanted to tell you this right now because," Erza took a deep breath in order to calm herself before continuing, "I'm scared of what tomorrow may hold for us." She admitted honestly as he grips the bedsheets around her tightly.
"Just today we had to fight a wyvern around a mountain before his friend's show up and try to kills by separating us. For those few minutes we were separated by Kakigori's brother, I honestly thought I was gonna lose you because I was too weak to protect you in the same way you've been protecting me these past few months." Erza admitted solemnly as she pulled herself up into a sitting position, thinking back on how easily they-no, she was overwhelmed during the battle. "But then we pulled through our predicaments and managed to make it back to each other until Jura arrived to save us from those beasts." Erza continued with a more hopeful tone in her voice.
"Looking back on it, I feel like a real idiot for treating that nice man so poorly when he just came to help us." She admitted aloud, feeling embarrassed at how she acted when the Earth Mage had arrived. "I guess it just felt too... unbelievable for me that someone so strong would show up out of nowhere and suddenly all of our problems would be solved like if we were in some Fairy Tale. After what happened with Jellal..." she stopped suddenly as the memories quickly came back to the forefront of her mind, causing her left eye to begin tearing up, "I just couldn't let myself be lured into a false sense of security only to be hurt at the last second. I can't let myself be tricked like that again..." She stated firmly as she pulled her knees up to rest her chin on top of them. "I know it's selfish of me to feel like this but I just don't want to be hurt like that ever again..." She stated her thoughts aloud, pouring her heart out before her sleeping audience.
She then looked down the sleeping rubber boy, he looked so peaceful by her side she couldn't help chuckling at the sight of him openly snoring without a care in the world.
"But you aren't like that are you, Luffy?" She asked softly towards the sleeping boy beside her. "You just show up out of nowhere, save Simon from being shot, helped me get to Jellal, and even beat him after he went crazy along with that Shark Dragon Slayer when they tried to force everyone to keep working on the tower." She casually listed off all the amazing things she saw him do back at the tower. "You just keep on fighting for my sake so much that I... I... I just want to be able to return the favor for all of your kindness towards me and my friends." She tried to explain, trying to emphasize how grateful she was to her companion.
"I don't know what we may face tomorrow," Erza started softly as she tucked herself back in beside Luffy, "But I feel if we face it together, then then I know there's nothing we won't be able to overcome." She said with a yawn as she turned her body around in the bed so she could at least see Luffy's sleeping face.
"Good night, Luffy. I'll see you in the morning..." Erza said with a final yawn as she closed her eye and drifted off into sleep...
To be continued...
I'm back bitches! You all thought I was dead but I am alive! Have a special scene I should've included last chapt-
Between the events of Chapters 14 and 15
Late afternoon, January 4, Year X777. Somewhere…
He didn't know how long he was alone in the darkness of his own mindscape. He couldn't really remember why he was floating alone in the dark, murky depths that constituted his mindscape at the moment.
Normally, this only happened while he was asleep, having dreams of conquest as he molded the world to fit his perfect image for it when that bitch would pull him out of it and put him into her 'room' within his mindscape. The so called 'queen' would then force delegate him to perform a task that she couldn't perform without his aid, more specifically a body she could use to fulfill important parts of the plan they had concocted with the good old Doc IQ. But something was wrong here, normally that bitch would usually show her ugly mug before him when he was suspended by the clear, blue water that normally filled his mindscape.
Right now, the water was murky black instead of blue and his so called 'queen' was nowhere to be found. Did she already talk to the Doc without him?... Again?
Speaking of the good old Doc, he remembered how he first met that man. He was wrapped up in chains upon chains with a muzzle around his stupid mouth. That Magic Council had dumped the good old doc in the biggest, deepest, and darkest hole they could find so they could clean their hands of him.
Unfortunately for them, I can dig pretty damn good, he thought as he remembered how he got the Doc out of the slammer. Details were a bit fuzzy about how they escaped from that pit but he remembered clawing his way out of a giant's stomach after that lummox of a guard swallowed him whole.
It was worth it to hear that gigantic idiot scream his lungs out when I blew a hole out of his stomach. He thought with a devil may care grin on his face, he didn't know how the good old Doc dealt with the other eight giant guards but he remembered him saying something along the lines of "one Laestrygonian being especially resistant to fire" as they passed by a melting skeleton of a giant amongst the scattered, bloody remains of seven other similarly armed giants.
Now that I think about it, he never did tell me how he sliced off one of the giant guard's heads without a sword. He thought as his mind drifted away from that particular memory.
Despite the hassle he went through to get the good doctor, he honestly refused to ever to call that man by his actual name due to how atrocious he felt it was. What did his parents hate him or something? He thought wondering why anyone would name their child such a name. Besides he felt Doc IQ was much more fun to say than-
He felt a sudden flash of pain as his mind got much brighter as images suddenly formed before his mind. Images of three different people, all younger than him flashed before his eyes uncontrollably as his mind began to recognize each face.
The first one belonged to that Time Arc Mage, Ultear Milkovich, the pale bitch he met and infected back at the site of the incomplete R-System. He felt his rage rise as the black liquid that filled his mindscape began to boil at the sight of that pale, two-timing bitch as the second face flashed before his mind
That dumb grinning mug belonged to Straw Hat Luffy, a wanted pirate from another world that sensei would never shut up about! The water around him began to boil at a far faster rate as he stared at that stupid mug, mocking him with how idiotic he was before the third face flashed before his mind-
All rational thought in his head came to a crashing halt when he saw the scarlet hair that belonged to this thing.
Erza Scarlet-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let-let. His mind went on a loop at that last syllable as the murky water around him began to boil at an impossible rate, he could hear a high pitch whistling in his ears as he felt his rage continue to rise higher and higher beyond all previous expectations. As he continued to stare at the image of the scarlet haired girl, he could feel the water around him boiling away faster and faster until nothing was left but a raging inferno of red hot fire.
Surrounded by nothing but a raging inferno fueled by his unrestrained fury, Tensei could only watch from within the hellish flames as the image of Erza Scarlet melted away to reveal the image of a malevolently grinning, scarlet haired woman.
"IRENE BELSERION!" Tensei roared with sheer hatred in his voice as a bright light quickly filled his visage…
Late afternoon, January 4, Year X777. Somewhere in Fiore…
Tensei woke up with a start as his eyes flashed open as he threw himself upwards, breathing heavily as he heard the rapid beeping of a heart rate monitor to his left while bright light filled his mismatched eyes. Covering his eyes to protect them from the bright light shining in his face, Tensei got a good look at his surroundings as he recognized the sterile white room he was in. Ignoring the blue blur that was stationed right across the room from him, the fishman hybrid looked to his left to see he was attached to a heart rate monitor, the highly advanced machine was making noise like a chihuahua in a cat shelter.
"There is literally only one place on Earthland where you can find advanced technology like this…" Tensei thought to himself as he turned his head to look for where the good doctor may be only to find a blue mop of hair attached to an angry preteen boy glaring at him from his seat across the room.
"Holy shit! What the fuck are you doing here?!" The fishman hybrid shouted in shock at the sight of Jellal, free from his prison, glaring at him while sitting with his arms crossed in a chair across the room from where the surprised fishman teen laid in bed.
"Apparently watching you scream Erza's name in your sleep while working yourself into a cold sweat." Jellal answered sarcastically from his seat, not even bothering to look at the fishman hybrid as he turned his attention to his fingers. "What's wrong? Is the big bad fish monster scared of a little girl with red hair?" The blue haired boy asked snidely, not even bothering to look up from his nails as he could just picture Tensei's face morphing into a rage filled one at his comment based on how much the bed was creaking right now.
"Listen here you little blueberry piece of-"
"Now, now boys. You have to play nice with each other." An unknown voice stated from out of nowhere, causing Jellal to lift his head up in shock as he looked around the room for where that voice came from while Tensei just slumped back into his bed. The fishman hybrid teen didn't even react as the air in the room suddenly cracked apart before it was forced open as a horrible screeching noise filled the air. Jellal quickly jumped from his chair at the sight of the tear in the air, eyes wide at the sight of the murky tear in space floating in the infirmary. Tensei, for his part, could only scoff at the younger boy's reaction to the boundaries of time and space being violated as he didn't even flinch when the inhuman screams grew in volume while the tear grew in height, having long gotten used to the sight of such portals.
From within the depths of the murky tear in space walked out a tall, purple haired man wearing a black cowl over a white lab coat that was being worn over a gray two-piece suit with fancy brown leather shoes on his feet to complete the look.
"Took you long enough, Doc IQ. What was keeping you?" Tensei asked belligerently, unfazed by the older man's sudden appearance as the tear in space closed up behind said-doctor.
The aforementioned doctor could only sigh at the hybrid teen's nickname for him, having been around the teen long enough to be used to his personal nickname for him.
"Tensei, I know that you feel a need to be a belligerent little shit of a humanoid but if you could at least refer to my given name of Infin Quarin for this meeting, that would be most appreciated." The now named Infin Quarin said with such a succinct tone of voice Jellal could've sworn that the older man hadn't even expressed annoyance at the older boy's nickname for him.
"I've already told you this once Doc. I'm never going to call you by such a stupid-" Jellal watched as the older teen stopped dead cold in his tracks and turned pale at the sight of a small flame resting on Infin's finger tips as the older man raised his other hand in the air with his index finger and thumb touching each other. Jellal didn't realize what was going on until Infin snapped his fingers, causing the flame on his finger tips to die out as both boys in the room quickly fell onto their faces as they choked and gasped for air.
"What the hell's going on!?" Jellal thought in horror as he gasped desperately for air, his oxygen starved body spasming uncontrollably at the sudden loss of oxygen in his lungs. The blue haired boy could barely look up to see that Tensei was choking and gasping for air just like he was, the fishman teen's hands were clenched around his neck in an attempt to remove whatever invisible force was choking him. "Is he using Air Magic to remove the oxygen from the air around us?!" The blue haired boy could barely manage to think as he felt his body and mind began to shut down, the only thing he could see through blurry eyes was Infin Quarin's dispassionate face as the older man seemed to be the only one unaffected by the sudden lack of oxygen.
Infin Quarin watched calmly at the two boys around him slowly go limp, his facial expression never changing as he heard their dying gasps within his personal vacuum. Infin then snapped his fingers as he ended his spell, causing all oxygen to return to the room as both boys gasped loudly from their close encounter with death. The man's face never changed expression as both boys took big gulps of air in as they tried to get as much oxygen back into their bodies as possible.
"Do either of you two have any problem with using my actual name for our meeting as of this moment?" Infin Quarin asked calmly towards both boys, the fifteen-year-old fishman hybrid and the eleven-year-old boy immediately shook their heads no in response to his question.
"Good. Now then to get this meeting going, this young man, Jellal Fernandez, has lost his chance to finish building the R-System along with all the resources he would need if he were to attempt rebuilding such a weapon. Therefore, he has decided to join our cause in order to gain the resources to bring back his deceased lord and master Zeref." Quarin said so succinctly with a straight face, it would've sounded comical if his audience weren't fighting to get as much oxygen back into their bodies as possible.
"In exchange for the supplies he requires, Jellal will be offering his services to us and act as an agent of ours when dealing with the Magic Council or with members of the Balam Alliance. He will perform any task you, Tensei Darkwind, will ask of him to the letter in exchange for all the manpower, supplies, and technological knowledge he'll need if he were to ever attempt building an improved R-system. Does these terms of our arrangement sound satisfactory to both of you?" Quarin asked succinctly, his face was impartial as he watched both boys nod their heads furiously in agreement with the terms the older man had established for their so-called 'alliance'.
"Excellent. I will go check on Billy to see if he has managed to keep those five children you, Tensei, obtained from the Tower of Heaven contained within their cells. They've been trying to escape from our base for the past four weeks. I want to be there to see if this escape attempt bears fruit in the form of any of them unlocking their magic." Quarin stated so calmly, it sounded like he was testing the children he was holding prisoner. "Oh before I go you two…" Quarin began as he opened another tear in space within the infirmary, both Tensei and Jellal were still gasping for breath as they looked up at his back.
"Make sure to work well with each other and to not choke on your aspirations." Quarin stated with a calm smile on his face as he held his hand up with his index finger and his thumb touching, both boys paling at the sight as the older man disappeared into the portal. Once the tear in space closed, both boys immediately collapsed, one onto the infirmary's floor and one onto the infirmary's bed as each one tried to regain control of their breathing.
"How the fuck do you work with that monster?!" Jellal asked between breathes, wishing he was back in the torture chamber back at the Tower of Heaven.
"Three years Jello." Tensei barely managed to say between breathes as he lacked any of his usual arrogance in his tone, it felt like if his heart were to beat any faster the heart rate monitor attached to him would explode violently from overload. "Three fucking long years…"
To be continued…
Not what you were expecting. were you now? Now let's get to the responses to the reviews you guys have been leaving me for the past ten months. So here we go!
R-King 93: I'm glad you liked the last chapter! I hope you enjoy this chapter just as much!
Guest 1: I'm glad you enjoy their interactions. Don't worry Cana will have her time to shine!
Magical fan18: Thanks. I realized while writing the previous chapter that Erza literally had no armor in canon that was stated to be used against and to weaken Ice Mages. And so the Ice Climber armor was born!
Tenellis: I'm glad you enjoyed it. Luffy will never aim to be a hero! Erza has come to learn that Luffy is pretty irresponsible with less important things like money or maps… She's holding onto it for safety reasons.
Gamelover41592: Probably. There's no other way to get a punishment through to that boy…
Shadow Joestar: He may meet her. I have incredibly big plans for her after all, heh heh heh… (FORESHADOWING).
Dp11: Thanks. Hope you enjoy this chapter!
Soulbow109: I'm glad you liked the last chapter. I rarely see any fics that show how she comes to love armors and wear them all the time. We know it started because of her trauma back at the Tower of Heaven but I couldn't help but enjoy writing her love for them anyway. She deserves a to act like a kid her age even though most kids aren't thinking of wearing metal all over there body. I just felt like her trauma needed to be addressed. She still lost some things back there after all…
rafaelmystwalker: I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter hijinks with the Future Trimen and their leader. We'll probably see some Dragon slayers soon. After all, a certain date is fast approaching us.
Yo: I had so much fun writing that line. I rarely get the chance to express any comedic writing due to all the fights happening recently. This chapter should prove to everyone that no one will end up being a cheerleader in this story as long as I'm writing.
OBSERVER01: I'm glad you liked the last chapter! I hope you enjoy this one too!
DJ Rodriguez: She probably comes close to exceeding a certain navigator but Nami will always be the most fearsome/scary women in Luffy's point of view. I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter and I hope you enjoyed the interactions in this chapter as well.
Rune Saint: I'm glad you liked the previous chapter. It was supposed to be part of this one as a leadup to the event here but my beta pointed out to me we were at a good stopping point for the last chapter. There will be strong women in this harem, this chapter is only a taste of what's to come in the future.
MakubeDaKiddX: I'm glad you enjoyed that little adventure they had last chapter. It was fun writing Luffy's interactions with Erza since she's a far different person compared to Ultear's more no-nonsense attitude. As for your question, that depends. We will definitely see all the Rave Master references that Mashima packed into the story in Canon. If I could find a good source to read the manga I could think definitely put in characters from Fairy Tail's older sibling. From what I've seen so far, there was this badass lady taking down a liquid acid man with Logia-like powers using actual logic to defeat him. So If I can find a good source to read it, you might see some more references to Rave Master. I hope you enjoyed this chapter just as much as the last one!
Mugiwara N0 Luffy: I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter and I hope the time it took to make this chapter doesn't damper your enjoyment of it.
Shahzeb: I understand the hate against OCs. There will only be used when necessary in this story. As for Erza's Telekinesis, its implied she could possibly lift humans with her power seeing as how Jellal could do the same but I feel like she doesn't do it that often because she could easily end someone's life if she wasn't careful enough. She was pissed last chapter, so all restrictions were off.
Kuroi Goku: Known Harem members as of this time of writing are Cana, Kagura, Ultear, Erza, and Mirajane. Hope that helps.
Demonfox2140: Yeah, Luffy saved her from being traumatized for now… Luffy meeting Wendy will be… interesting to say the least….
DarkYami2325: 1. Will be an original scene. Don't want to follow canon too much unless its necessary. 2. That's a spoiler! 3. I will wait for the Manga. Oda's own creativity definitely blows mine out of the water by like a mile but I like to think I'm getting closer to his level.
NotThatGuyAlpha: I hope you like this chapter just as much.
RubberDragon: I'm glad you love this story so much! It's nice to hear someone take the time to explain what they like about your story.
Xaxiel1572: Probably. He's probably long forgotten about them though.
Flamarow: I hope this chapter gave you more of the cuteness you desired!
GR: No nakama power here!
Guest 2: I'm updating aren't I?
SilentXD7: Maybe? There is still so much we really don't know about Devil Fruit awakenings to say that Luffy will have a definite awakened power. I mean look at Katakuri and Doflamingo! They're both awakened Paramecia Devil Fruit Users but their usages of their power greatly differ in how they're used during their respective battles with Luffy.
Carwash36: I'm glad you love it!
MAJORMATT1234: Sorry for being late on this one.
The Storm Master 567: Technically still 11 since Luffy's birthday is on May 5 and Erza's birthday is on… fuck, Mashima never revealed that! Fuck it! I'm writing this story and I say her birthday will be October 21. So yeah they're still 11 years old as of this chapter.
KingZthe1st: Yeah that seems to be a major complaint with chapter 12. I blame the fact, I've been forced to write it on and off for over a year before I finally hunkered down to finish it in the way I pictured it going. There are still some things in the original draft that I left out because of time.
Dreadlord 76: I don't know. Chapters 14 and 15 were supposed to be together in the original chapter 14 and there are still parts from it that I haven't done that are going to end up in chapter 16.
TomahawkESP: Your waiting has paid off! Enjoy the chapter!
HatethePlayer-NevertheGame: I'm glad you think so highly of my story! I can only hope I continue to meet your expectations as I put out more chapters.
Roo808: I'm glad you like it! Enjoy the chapter!
Silver III Jhin: Congratulations. You actually made me laugh at a pun I never realized I had made for five years.
Kynan99: Thanks for the reviews.
Necrois: They're aunt and niece. I can't say anymore without giving out the joke because trust me it will be hilarious.
Youshouldn'tneedtoknow: Actually I went and checked the wiki and both Mount Corvo and Mount Colubo are accepted names for the same mountain depending on what translation you're using. But thanks anyway for the heads up.
TakaT0: Thank you. I hope this satisfies your patience with me.
Zoomerfish: Why do people keep thinking this story is dead?! I literally put up a percentage on my profile to let people know how much I've gotten done on a certain chapter. I also made a tumblr for this story so people can actually submit questions about the story when they can't on this site. Sorry about that… Just really getting tired of people assuming this story is dead. I hope you can enjoy this latest chapter!
As for every review stating Luffy should be able to do this and this with his Observation or Conqueror's haki, let me politely offer a counterpoint to each of your claims:
"Observation haki should let Luffy feel this person's intent or their presence" He was tricked into going down a well by that Jacket Jacket Fruit user bounty hunter, he couldn't sense Sugar's intent to turn him and Law into toys so Usopp had to bail those two out, he couldn't sense the Minks attacking him on Zou despite being surrounded by them, Charlotte Fucking Pudding, He couldn't tell the Brulee's mirror replicas of Nami or Sanji apart from the real deals, Charlotte Fucking Pudding, and one more time Charlotte Motherfucking Pudding.
"Conqueror's Haki should let him end a fight instantly against this!" Why didn't he use it then on the Big Dragon on Punk Hazard? Or the drugged up Giant Kids on the same island? Or Sugar's Head Cracker Dolls on Dressrosa since each one of those things are made up of eight normal minions? Or the Homies that made up the Seducing Woods on Whole Cake Island? Or the weaker members of Big Mom's crew when the Angry Army came down upon him and Nami for kicking Cracker's Ass?
I have literally spent more time thinking about how his Haki should work in this story than actually writing chapters for the same exact story. If you feel it should go this way, then by all means feel that way. I'll write this story using evidence from Canon instead of making up my own ideas for how things will go.
Now I may have skipped some of you because you may have asked redundant reviews or just left a short one-word review. There's nothing wrong with a short review! Unless it consists of UPDATEUPDATEUPDATEUPDATE, then properly stop leaving reviews like that. There are things in my life I cannot control as I detailed down below.
Now that those are out of the way, most of you are probably wondering "Where were you for the past ten months and why did it take this long to type over 25,000 words for a chapter?"
Well, have you guys ever heard of Hurricane Harvey?
Because I didn't fucking hear about it until the end of the first week of the fall semester.
So everything was going great with my first day back on campus happening on the same day as the solar eclipse that happened last year. I thought with how everything was going that first week, nothing could go wrong. Then I heard that a new Hurricane called Harvey was coming in that weekend and here I thought "Oh that just means were going to get a shit ton of rain and classes would be suspended a bit at the start of the next week."
What a goddamn fucking idiot I was back then...
When Harvey hit Texas, my home city of Houston was bombarded with a shit ton of rain over the weekend. So much rain that my street was halfway flooded, then the driveway began to flood with water... I spent an hour with my mom and sister trying to push the water out onto the street but it kept on rising until it was nearly at our doorstep...
The following Monday I had to make a trek with my sister and father across my flooded neighborhood and the busy streets of Houston in the rain while carrying whatever we could take to my grandparents' home which was across the highway from us. For over an hour we had to walk in the rain through muddy water in crocs while making sure what we brought didn't get wet. I had to carry my school work and any personal belongings which included my laptop, thought the cold rain while making sure my father or I didn't slip and fall over. Later that same day, my mother had to make the same damn trek through our flooded neighborhood with my father who went back for her and to make sure to retrieve anything that could be saved before the flood waters reached our home.
Classes were cancelled for that week due to the flooding Harvey caused. My parents, my sister and I had to move in with my grandparents during that time as our street began to flood horribly. One day, I went back with my parents to our neighborhood only to find that it was being blocked off as people had been looting homes all across the city during the flooding and only residents could enter our neighborhood. Then the city decided to release the flood gates... We live near a bayou so all that released water ended up flooding our neighborhood completely and my house was flooded as a result...
I never saw it but my mom told me she couldn't walk through our home without being knee deep in water. We lost almost everything we owned in our home...
With our home ruined and a semester of college waiting for my sister and I, my family has been living with my grandparents ever since they are some of the sweetest people you could ever meet. I'm lucky they've allowed us to live with them while our house is being renovated. My home is still being renovated to this day.
So I hope you can understand why it took me so long to deliver this chapter to you guys and I hope you guys can be patient with me for the next chapter.
On a much brighter note, this story has reached over 1000 favorites and nearly 1000 followers since I posted the first chapter five years ago. Just wow man. I never thought this story would ever get this kind of popularity.
So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you guys for sticking with me for this long. Whether you're a long-time fan whose been following me from the start or just someone who started following recently I thank you all for supporting me and I promise to make sure your patience will be well rewarded as this story isn't dropping dead any time soon!
Be sure to favorite, follow and leave a review of the chapter to support the story!