First, allow me to offer my sincere apologies for this delayed update. I got really busy with school and work and then, when I have had time to write, I worked on updates for my other stories. I'm sorry that this one is not my priority at the moment, but I will not just abandon it.
So, with that in mind, allow me to get right into the long-delayed second installment of Do Fairies Have Tails?
As she stood at her mother's grave, just like she had each morning in the three years since she had died, little Lucy fought back the tears. She couldn't help wanting to cry when she remembered how happy it had been when she and Mama had gone out to frolic with the dragon Celesta and her hatchling Urano. She remembered the days that Mama's human friend came to visit. He was a cheerful sort of man, carefree and ready to believe in fairies and dragons until the end.
The little blonde didn't even remember his name, but she knew she liked him, and knowing that it was either the nice human or the even nicer Celesta who had killed her mother was hard for her to puzzle through, even all these years later.
"I know they didn't mean to, Mama," she'd say, almost every day, "I know they didn't mean to, but it still hurts."
And it never failed that shortly after those words fell from her lips, some maid or other would call her back into the mansion, because her father was terrified now of everything and everyone beyond the walls of his own home. The head elder's home, he was constantly telling her, was the safest one in the village, but it would only keep her safe if she stayed inside.
Lucy spent years living her life in a cage because of a misunderstanding between human and dragon, and she still couldn't understand where this rift had begun.
At fifteen, Lucy still rarely got out of the home she had been raised in. Occasionally she got to go out for special occasions, such as parties held by other well-to-do families in her community, but she knew it was all because her father wanted her married well so that she could remain a pampered, protected woman. It didn't matter that she was barely into her womanhood—he was the chief of the village, and with power only came the want for more. But habits never change, and although her father wanted her to stay inside, she still found herself at her mother's grave every morning.
"I'm doing my best, Mama," Lucy sighed, looking off into the distance, as far as she could see between the trees. Deep in her heart, she knew that out there was where she belonged. A glance at her mother's headstone, and the young blonde knew the woman would have understood. Lucy was often told that she and her mother were more alike than any two people had any right to be—not that Lucy could remember that as well as she wished. "I'm doing my best to please Papa…but it's so hard when we don't see eye to eye anymore."
Not that they'd ever seen eye to eye, honestly, but she didn't want to say that out loud. It would hurt too much, because he was the only blood relative she had left. And she didn't want to say it by Layla's grave because the schism between father and daughter had started shortly after her death.
The wind rustled through the leaves in a gust that shook the boughs. Glancing up at her house, firmly nestled in the branches above her, Lucy waited for the shout she knew would come.
"Young lady!" and there it was, as her favorite of the housemaids peered down from the balcony, "Young miss, please return to the house! Your father bids that you prepare for the ball that he's to host tonight."
"A moment!" the young blonde returned, sparing one last glance to her mother's resting place.
Lucy would have stormed out of the house if she wasn't afraid of her father scrambling after her and creating a racket. It would wake the neighbors. Instead, the seventeen year old stalked to her room with as much dignity as she could muster, slammed the door, and proceeded to slip out the window and free-fall halfway to the forest floor before unfurling her delicate wings. A few moments later and she was pacing angrily back and forth in front of her mother's grave.
"I can't believe him, Mama!" the girl said, her frustration climbing higher even thinking about the situation at hand. "Can you? Father actually had the audacity to tell me that I was engaged to Elder Braynor! The man is forty years older than me! I can't—no, I absolutely won't—go through with it. I refuse to waste my life in a loveless marriage with someone more than twice my age!"
Talking to her mother, and being near her, always calmed Lucy down, even if part of her doubted her mother could hear her. The rest of her was adamant in the belief that Layla still watched over her, though, and being near the grave always gave her comfort. She recalled again that she bore an uncanny resemblance to the deceased woman, and she heard it often enough that she knew what to expect when someone started a phrase with, has anyone every told you that… or a not-very-subtle I'm sure you've been told…. She wondered vaguely if her mother would be pleased that Lucy had turned out so much like her, but her fury with her father was too great to dwell on that long.
She, at least, was excessively thankful that she hadn't turned out too much like him.
"I wanted to find my own adventure, like you used to talk about, Mama," Lucy's voice was firm as she tried to reign in her anger. "I wanted to make friends of all races, like Celesta, and that human, and I wanted to explore the world." Her fury mounted again, and she was almost shouting. "I didn't want to be stuck in an arranged marriage with some old, wrinkly man who wants me to pop out his heirs like a friggin' rabbit!"
She threw her hands up in the air.
"Excuse me, Lucille?" a timid voice said, and the blonde whipped her head around quickly, watching as a timid-looking, blue-haired fairy drifted down towards her. "Are you going to be okay?"
Instantly, she felt bad for worrying the girl. Levy was her best friend and had been for several years, after they'd run into each other while hiding in back corners at a ball to read. The fast friendship was strong enough that, although Lucy and her father never got along very well, she'd managed to convince him to take the girl in when her family had fallen unexpectedly ill. Levy was like a sister to her. And so was the less timid redhead behind her, who wore light leather armor with her family's crest upon it.
Levy's grandfather had been one of the oldest men on the council of elders, and had taken in his granddaughter when her parents went to try to soothe relations between humans and dragons to the tentative cease-fire they once knew. After three years, when they didn't come back and no word had been sent, he was forced to declare them dead and hold a funeral with no remains. A few years later, the elderly man had passed away, and on his deathbed had asked Judo to take the girl in, since the two fourteen-year-old girls had found a fast friendship at social gatherings, hiding in the background where permissible and reading.
Erza had been rescued by the Fairy King's knights in the forest near the village some ten years ago, from a band of slavers, and Lucy's mother had taken it upon herself to adopt the poor girl when she revealed that her family had all been killed in the raid on her home. In order to repay her debt, she had trained for years and become a member of the Head Elder's Homeguard. The Heartfilia clan had taken her in and protected her, treated her as one of their own, and so she decided to protect them in return, even when Layla would have never asked it of her.
The two were the only friends she'd been able to make, living in a cage her whole life…aside from two dragons and a human that, for all she knew, could be dead now.
"Miss…I mean, Lucille…?" the redhead, more timid than usual, carefully addressed her. It had taken so long for Lucy to convince the knight to call her by name. "Is there something wrong?"
The blonde smiled at her two friends—no, her sisters—and knew that they would do anything to help her. She would do the same for them, so she tried to soothe them with a gentle grin, and opened her mouth to assure them that things would be okay when she realized that they wouldn't be, not really. If she couldn't get out of this fallacy of a marriage that her father was trying to force her into, her life would never be the same. She would never get anything she had wanted out of life…and she couldn't bear to live with the thought.
"Yes," she finally said, mind reeling as ideas flitted through her head, "but hopefully not for long."
Levy raised a delicate blue brow at her rambling, and asked, "Lucy, would you care to explain any further…?"
Biting her lip, Lucy decided she would explain…at least some of it.
"Father wants me to marry Elder Braynor, since his wife passed away without providing an heir for the clan," Levy gasped in distress, and Erza's eyes narrowed suspiciously. At the look, Lucy forged on, "Well, he doesn't just want me to marry him—he's arranged it with the man and everything. He told me that I'm to marry Braynor at the next full moon. That's just three weeks away."
"He can't be serious!" the blunette's dismayed tone was the epitome of how the blonde felt. "Elder Braynor is nearly seventy!"
"It would be an advantageous match, but more for the elder than for you," Erza agreed. "You get nearly nothing out of this arrangement, aside from—"
"The only thing I get," Lucy knew she was rude, cutting Erza's reasoning off, "is a new cage to waste away in. Which is why Father and I had an argument that you had to have heard," the sheepish looks were enough answer to that, "during which I refused to marry the elder. And I intend to keep my word. I'm not exactly sure how, yet, but I won't let him dictate who I marry. If I do get married, I want it to be of my own volition, not when my father says so."
In Levy's wide eyes, the heiress recognized shock—after all, going against a father, especially a wealthy father, who just so happened to be an elder of the village simply didn't occur.
But Lucy was no damsel in distress. She would take matters into her own hands...somehow.
It's been a while, hasn't it?
A lot has happened since you've been away. Alzack and Bisca, for instance, had another child, and you missed Asuka turning nine and then ten. Laki and Warren, of all people, got married, even! Elfman and Evergreen are officially together, and everyone suspects that something's up with Gray and Juvia.
There's even more, but I'm sure the others would want to tell you themselves. I know there's something I want to tell you, personally, but I won't write it here, and I won't have the power to stop anyone who might mention it. We don't edit the letters, you know. No one knows what someone else has said, and no one will until the book hits the shelves (unless we, the editors, I mean, peek through them when we put the book together…).
As for me? I miss editing your stories. I know you won't believe me, but all your stories were masterpieces. Even the ones you haven't finished. When you left me this, I didn't have much time to look at it yet, even though I desperately wanted to, and then I heard word that you'd left. I was heartbroken, and I couldn't bring myself to even crack this book open until Mirajane said something about ways to let you know we miss you. And then I started editing like crazy.
It was an amazing ride, and I want to take another, so…just come home soon, Lu-chan!
I don't know where to start this. It's a hard thing to write, when I don't know if you'll pick up the book or even read my letter to you.
I know Levy will probably mention something in her letter about all that's happened, but I want you to know that it's different without you. I'm sure you'll hear that again and again, but it's true. Our team nearly broke apart right after you left, until we decided to continue progressing. We push ourselves to the limit, now more than ever, in the hopes that maybe, if you hear how much we struggled on our last job, you'll come back to us.
It's a strange hope, but it's what keeps us moving on.
Lucy, you need to come home soon. Fairy Tail doesn't feel as much like home if you're not there.
I wanted time to progress to her current age in this chapter. So, I did a short progression from roughly 11 or 12, though I didn't mention the age, and then 15, and then present-day (ish). Any other information from those years of her life that I want you to know will show up in flashbacks, though!
The catalyst for the rest of the story has been revealed! For the most part.
I hope you enjoyed this! I'm sorry if it's a little bit sloppy. I wrote portions of it about eight months ago, then just opened it a few days ago, edited just a tiny bit and added before, during, and after the parts I already had, in two settings.