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She giggled, turning over to lie on her stomach, legs carelessly kicking in the air. A public bench in the middle of the town was hardly the place for one to be breaking into laughter, but Lucy couldn't help it. She'd just secured this week's edition of Sorcerer Magazine and the exploits of Fairy Tail were once again taking centre stage.
She ignored the disapproving looks of an elderly couple as they passed by, their footsteps fading away into the insignificant background as she turned the page. "Eep!" she pulled her face back, a tiny shiver running up her arm as her eyes fell upon the next picture. "Now that's one member of Fairy Tail I'm in no hurry to meet." She whispered to herself, quickly darting her eyes from the model's fierce glare. The 'Demon' of Fairy Tail was notorious in any and every magic circle. She was infamous amongst guilds and criminals alike, everyone knew of the frightful demon that could level an entire city if provoked.
Since she was in a rather light-hearted mood after having successfully added to her keys this morning, Lucy decided to skip through this particular article. She was in no mood for what would most likely be some kind of horror story. "Ooh!" her eyes immediately lit up as she turned the page, coming face to face with inviting dark brown eyes. "Well hello," she giggled. Sure, he wasn't a Fairy Tail mage, but with that messy brownish hair framing his face, Hibiki was definitely handsome. Well, not as handsome as Loki of Fairy Tail of course, but handsome enough.
"Ah," she sighed dreamily after finally completing the magazine. Hugging the glossy publication to her ample bosom, she pushed back her long blonde locks as she stared up at the clear blue sky. She wanted in; she wanted to be a part of this magnificently colourful world of magic. She wanted her name associated with great magical feats, and more than anything else, she wanted to be a part of Fairy Tail.
Her toes curling with excitement from just the thought of it, Lucy wondered where the best place for a guild mark would be. Hmm...somewhere on the thigh, or maybe my arm? She contemplated dreamily, but truth be told it didn't matter where she got her mark, just as long as she got it. Deciding she'd spent enough time in Harujion – especially since it was a useless town with only one lousy magic shop; Lucy promptly decided it was time to move on.
Abruptly, she rose to her feet, the sudden movement jolting the Sorcerer magazine embracing her large chest to fall beneath her feet. Bending to pick it up, Lucy paused as her eyes fell on the editorial page sprawled out before her. "Of course," she beamed, as an idea suddenly sprang to mind. She swiped up the magazine, a grin splitting across her face as she scanned through the list of writers. One name in particular stood out to her, for how could it not, when almost all the best articles about Fairy Tail she'd managed to gobble up over the years had his name under them?
"I am brilliant!" her eyes lit up. This was it, this was her ticket into Fairy Tail!
Heart pounding, Lucy Heartfilia raced to the train station safe in the knowledge that her plan was foolproof. After all, someone with her superior feminine charms didn't have to worry about the guaranteed success of her plan with what she had in mind. All she needed to do was track this one person down and she would be able to get all of the information she needed.
Okay, so maybe her plan wasn't as foolproof as she'd thought. She'd arrived in this town hours ago and she was still no closer to her goal than she'd been in Harujion. She had located their premises just fine, using the address printed in the magazine but, she'd been unable to get through the door no matter what line she tried. "Oof!" she kicked at a nearby lamppost in frustration. She had to get to him somehow, if she could only speak with him for a few minutes, then her plan would definitely work. But, that's exactly where her problem arose. How likely was it that out of all the people going in and out of that building, she would randomly identify the one who would lead her to Fairy Tail? She didn't even know what the guy looked like to begin with and even though she was quite confident in her womanly ways she wasn't bold enough to go about doing her 'act' to every single guy she saw going in or out from there.
Frustrated and just a little bit hungry, Lucy decided to take a break from 'observing' the building, she headed off to find a place where she could eat and unwind. Aimlessly, she strolled around the unfamiliar streets of the city hoping to come across a nice but affordable place before she had to resume her post of waiting for her mark. Fate however decided to save Lucy a great deal of time as she rounded the corner to the sound of somebody nearby shouting, 'Cool!'
The word, relatively unfamiliar to the young female mage, caught her attention. Lucy didn't really know why she thought the voice was trustworthy but as her eyes scanned the nearby vicinity her sight fell upon a young man with a blonde mohawk like spike atop his head giving an interview to somebody she didn't recognise. Focusing her eyesight upon the couple she could see that the blonde one was writing several notes in a notepad, something which quickly got her attention. Even if it wasn't the person she was after, they were obviously in the same trade and who knew if she was really lucky they might even work in the same building! If she could use this guy to get to him, her dream position in the guild of her dreams was as good as hers!
Without hesitation, Lucy stormed towards the duo, not caring about possibly breaking into a private conversation. This was her chance to shine and she would not be denied if this was the opportunity she had been searching for. "Hey," she said as she approached the two men who turned their attention towards her.
"Can we help you, young miss?" asked one of the men.
Now that Lucy was nearby she actually had the chance to look upon the secondary person who was being interviewed. He was very tall and muscular, holding a red staff with a crystal globe adorning the top in one hand while his other gently rubbed the back of his bald head.
"Actually I was looking for someone, someone by the name of Jason who works for Weekly Sorcerer," said Lucy, explaining the situation.
"You're looking for me?" queried the one conducting the interview, revealing himself to being this Jason in the process. He flashed her a disinterested look before he turned back to address the man before him. "Jura-san, I believe I have enough information for the report, thank you for your cooperation."
"Thank you Jason-dono," replied the tall man, bowing slightly in respect. "I look forward to seeing how your report goes. For now though I will take my leave and leave you in the hands of the young miss here," he concluded motioning to Lucy.
The blonde celestial mage however couldn't help but tear her brains out internally, she had heard of the name Jura before somewhere but for the life of her couldn't remember why it held such an important place deep within her memory.
"Jura is so cool!" exclaimed Jason as he put down the final notes to add to his report. As the last letter was written his attention shifted towards Lucy, his glare intensifying as if trying to work out just who this girl was and whether or not she was of any importance. "Are you after an autograph or something?"
Lucy couldn't help but fall flat on her face after such an absurd comment, Jason's tone was completely different to when he had spoken to Jura; when speaking to the male wizard his voice had contained awe and excitement, but when his voice was projected to her and her only, it was with dismay and negligence, as if she was of no importance! Why the nerve of some people!
She was getting ready to tell him just what she thought of his treatment of her, when she quickly remembered that she needed to remain on his 'good' side as much as possible. Inwardly gritting her teeth, Lucy settled for one of her charming sweet smiles. "Why, Jason. I'd love an autograph!" she fluttered her eyelashes. "I'm one of your biggest fans you know," she linked her arm in his.
Jason rolled his eyes, scribbling something on a piece of paper. "Fine, fine," he said dismissively. "Take this and be on your way then, I have to get back to the studio now. This feature on Jura-san is gonna be so cool!" his eyes lit up.
"Thanks Jason, you're too kind," she beamed at the autograph, "I'll treasure it," she lied. "Say, Jason, you've been to Fairy Tail's guild for interviews before right?"
"That's right, and it's just too cool!" he beamed.
"Really? Oh my, now I'm just dying to see it too! Where can I find it exactly?" she asked expectantly. To her shock, Jason yanked his arm from hers, scowling down on her.
"A true professional never gives out personal information," he huffed, clearly insulted, before he stormed off.
"Wait!" Lucy tripped all over herself as she followed after him hurriedly. "Wait, please Jason!" she began to sprint after him. Jeez, how long were his legs anyway, he was walking off so damn fast. "Wait," she shouted, on the edge of screaming.
At the sound of her voice, the reporter turned around, only to widen his eyes in shock when he saw her chasing after him. On instinct he broke into his own sprint, further widening the gap between them.
"Damn it!" cursed Lucy, this was so undignified! Here she was in the middle of town, in broad daylight literally chasing after a man who wasn't even attractive, but getting into Fairy Tail was everything to her and she would not be deterred by this stubborn reporter. "Wait!" she panicked as she spotted him crossing the road and disappearing into the building she'd been watching earlier. Still she pursued him, right to the entrance, where an invisible barrier prevented her from stepping in further.
On the other side of the barrier, Jason grinned at her. "That should keep you out of my hair," he laughed. "It's a special rune you see. Ah, Freed is just too cool, he came out here and set it up himself. It only admits registered employees into the building you see, so we can keep out crazy stalkers like you. Bye!" he waved, and then disappeared from her sight altogether.
"Urgh!" Lucy screamed. "Come back here Jason!" she tried to shove herself through the barrier, but her efforts were repelled. Once again she was stuck on the outside, and all she could do was wait while looking in longingly. "Well," she huffed, going back across the street where there was at least a bench she could use. "You'll have to come out sometime Jason, and next time I won't let you out of my sight until you tell me what I want to hear."
Hours could have passed and Lucy sat underneath the shade of a nearby tree with her knees pressed into her chest. She had no way of telling what time it was nor how long she had been sitting out in front of the Weekly Sorcerer building. She for one hadn't even known that the headquarters for the magazine company was located in Harujion but Lucy figured that everybody learned at least one bit of useless information a day.
The growling of her stomach caught her attention as her hunger seemingly surged out of nowhere. Reaching around for her purse she knew that she had a spare thousand jewels lying around, the money having been what she had saved from her relatively unsuccessful attempt of seducing the magic store owner back in Harujion. Lucy turned her head back towards the building as she growled in annoyance. She figured that there was still a couple more hours of normal business hours left within the day so she could come back later and catch one of the staff members as they were leaving but for now getting something into her stomach was her top priority.
Pushing herself onto her feet, she shivered slightly as a sea breeze sent a cold chill through the air. Her decision to wear a skirt in the middle of a sea town might have seemed like a good idea at the time but now that it was getting colder her thoughts on the matter had changed completely. Walking away from the Weekly Sorcerer building she made her way deeper into town, hoping to find a cafe of some kind where she could get a small meal and a coffee, something light that wouldn't ruin her figure.
Her eyes focused on a petite little cafe in on the corner of two small roads and made the decision to quit her search right there and then and eat at this establishment, not caring whether or not the food was of the highest quality. Pushing open the door, Lucy felt the immediate urge to turn around and walk right out. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the building itself, in fact she couldn't help but think how cute the decorations lining the windows were adorable, but there was one customer who immediately drew her anger. There he was, sitting proudly with a cup of tea in his hand and his staff leaning against a nearby wall. Lucy couldn't help but wonder why Jason had been so interested in this Jura fellow, she couldn't remember having read about him before so he couldn't be somebody that important.
She could possibly blame her impulsiveness on irrational decisions later on but at that moment in time she didn't know why she found herself marching towards the bald wizard. Her path was cut off however as a small child got into her way, standing next to the man. "Excuse me, Mister Jura sir," the young boy said, his voice full of nerves that got Lucy curious as the boy produced a bit of paper. "Would you please sign this for me? My sister is a huge fan and it would mean so much if she had your autograph."
"It would be my pleasure," said Jura as he took the paper from the child and using a nearby pen scribbled down what Lucy assumed to be an affectionate message. "Tell me, is your sister a mage of some sort?"
"She is, you're her inspiration," said the boy as his smile grew. "My whole family is made up of wizards so if I turn out to have magic when I grow older I hope one day I'll be as strong as you."
"When you get that strength, seek me out and I shall gladly give you a friendly duel if you so desire," said Jura as he finished writing the note.
"Really!" the boy nearly shouted, unable to contain his amazement as he took the paper with shaking hands.
"It's a promise," said Jura smiling.
"Thank you so much Mister Jura sir," said the kid before he ran off, nearly leaping over the tables as he was in such a rush to tell his family what had just happened. Lucy felt a little gobsmacked at the moment, unsure if she had missed some pivotal point in that interaction.
"Ah young miss, a pleasure to see you again," said Jura as he picked up his tea, taking another sip on the beverage. Lucy however decided to take a much more bold approach to the conversation as she slammed her hands down on the table as if trying to show that she had some authority in the situation.
"Look pal, it is not a pleasure to see you again," she said in an angered tone. "I don't know why Jason was getting an interview from you but as far as I can tell you're nothing special."
"Oh, this would seem to state otherwise," said Jura as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a round badge that he placed on the table. Lucy looked at the badge, recognising the pattern from somewhere. Finally it hit her as she recalled that this was the insignia that members of the Ten Wizard Saints were given and her jaw dropped as she realised that she had tried to intimidate one of the strongest wizards in the world.
"I'm so sorry!" she said as she bowed in respect, not wanting to draw the anger of Jura upon her.
"It is alright," said Jura as he raised a hand, signalling for Lucy to stop acting as if he was some kind of royalty. The young celestial wizard was about to respond but her stomach beat her to it, growling loudly. "Take a seat young miss, I'll go get you a snack from the counter."
"No, don't do that, I can pay for myself," said Lucy, waving her hands.
"Please, humor me a while longer," said Jura as he got to his feet and gestured towards the seat that sat opposite him. "It is not often I get to meet somebody like yourself and if possible I would like to continue this conversation under peaceful terms."
"Alright then," said Lucy nervously as she took the seat whilst the Wizard Saint made his way to the counter. Her eyes shifted towards the door and she wondered whether or not she would be able to make a break for it before Jura came back. It wasn't like she didn't mind sitting opposite a guy, although she would have prefered someone with hair atop their head, but to have someone as powerful as Jura she couldn't help but be worried. It wasn't long after that Jura retook his seat and placed a cup of tea in front of Lucy.
"I hope you like jasmine tea, it's my personal favorite," he said.
"Thank you," said Lucy as she took a sip from the hot beverage. While it wasn't food it still managed to settle down her stomach for the moment.
"So you know my name miss, would you give me the pleasure of knowing yours?" asked Jura.
"Lucy, Lucy Heartfilia," replied the celestial mage.
"Well Lucy-dono, why was it that you were trying to get the attention of Jason-dono earlier this day?"
Lucy sat there for a moment, wondering whether or not to use the same lie that she had said to Jason but thought against it. Somehow spinning a web of lies around didn't seem to bode so well as an option where Jura was concerned. "I was asking him about the location of a certain magic guild that I want to join," she answered truthfully.
"Oh, I didn't take you as a wizard," said Jura as a waitress placed a salad in front of Lucy. It took the blonde a great deal of willpower to prevent herself from gorging herself on the food like an animal, there was no way that she was going to look disrespectful in front of Jura. "What type of magic do you use?"
"I'm a celestial wizard," explained Lucy.
"That's a rare type of magic, do you have any of the twelve zodiac keys?" asked Jura, showing his knowledge on the subject in a casual way.
"I have three actually, I'm quite proud of myself," said Lucy puffing out her chest somewhat, making it seem like having those three keys was a great deal of importance.
"And yet you are not part of a guild, could I interest you in coming with me and joining Lamia Scale? Our guild always appreciates new members and someone with your level of talent would be well approved," said Jura.
Lucy blushed at the thought, she had heard of Lamia Scale and while it was up there with guilds such as Phantom Lord and Fairy Tail it didn't do anything overly bold and generally played to the rules set down by the council. However she had not expected an opportunity like this to seemingly jump out of the blue. She didn't even know her chances of entering Fairy Tail but apparently she would be welcomed into Lamia Scale with open arms.
"Actually Jura, as much as I appreciate your offer at this moment in time I will have to decline," said Lucy, unable to make eye contact momentarily in case Jura got angry with her response. "Ever since I was a young girl there was one guild I always dreamed of being a part of and it just wouldn't feel right if I gave up trying to enter this guild without even trying."
"I can accept your answer, I wish you luck in joining this guild of yours," said Jura as Lucy took a bite out of the salad that had been placed before her. "If you would answer me one more question before I depart, what guild is it that you wish to join?"
"Fairy Tail," answered Lucy, this time making eye contact but she got nervous as she saw the expression on Jura's face.
"Lucy-dono, I beg of you to reconsider joining Fairy Tail," he said abruptly in a serious tone.
"What, why wouldn't I want to join Fairy Tail?" asked Lucy, somewhat insulted by the thought.
"The picture that the Weekly Sorcerer presents is not the real Fairy Tail," stated Jura. "I went there only last month to speak with Makarov-dono, the master of Fairy Tail and while I had been there on several occasions beforehand not once have I seen it in such a dismal state."
"What do you mean?" asked Lucy, curious to know what was going on with her dream job.
"It is not my place to say, perhaps if you were to join some happiness would be brought back to the guild," said Jura as he stood up. "Their guild hall is located in Magnolia but when you arrive do not be ashamed of what you see. If you decide that Fairy Tail is not the place that you wish to remain, remember that there will be a place for you in Lamia Scale. Perhaps I shall be seeing you soon Lucy-dono," Jura concluded with a small bow before he grabbed his staff and walked out of the shop. Lucy remained frozen in place as she let everything sink in. While she had gotten the information she had been after about the location of Fairy Tail, now there was the news that her dream guild apparently wasn't all that it appeared to be.
Pushing the remainder of her salad away, she opted to walk out of the cafe to get her thoughts together, something which was much more important than food. As she walked through the streets with her chin cupped in her hand, she couldn't help but debate what she had been told. Even though she had been told Jura that she wasn't keen on joining Lamia Scale she couldn't help but consider the possibility. If it was for her own purposes, Lucy could start off her wizarding career there and then transfer guilds with a bit of backing behind her. Plus if the wizards of Fairy Tail were able to hear of her many achievements with Lamia Scale there was no way that they wouldn't let her join.
It was at that moment with her plan finalised that a large explosion knocked her off the feet and sent nearby people into a panic. A couple of seconds passed as Lucy laid on the ground wondering just what had happened. Pushing herself to her hands and knees she saw smoke coming from the deeper part of town and she couldn't help but be worried for anybody who might have been near the blast at the time.
She wanted to go help, knowing that this could be her first achievement in heading towards a position at Fairy Tail but Lucy remained rooted to the spot, her body unable to move in fear. She screamed in terror as another blast went off, this one closer than the last.
Getting to her feet, Lucy looked in the direction that the blast had come from and knew that she should go help in any way that she could. Yet when she ran it wasn't towards the explosions but away from them, her terror outweighing her courage as her legs carried her away as fast as they could. Little did she know however that her troubles were only just beginning, because little did she know that those explosions were in those places for a reason, shepherding hundreds of people in one direction where the true horror would begin.