Coursework all done, no lectures, it's a good day right now. So here you go. A nice slightly longer chapter. Wait a few weeks and you'll get some extra long ones. Also, I hope no one though last chapter was an April Fools thing. I was worried about that, what with releasing on that day. Stupid Tuesday being on that date.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail or Bleach. Shame, it would be great if I did.


Protector Of The Fairies


Keep Standing, Keep Fighting

Gray spread his hands out, daggers of ice forming and firing towards Midnight. At the same time Lyon acted himself, small birds forming and flying towards his enemy without the need for a command.

Midnight watched as the ice flew towards him and blinked. The moment the ice was about to reach him, it shot to the side and around him, not a single bit of ice even scratching him.

"Was that all you've got?"

"Not by a long shot."

Lyon raised his hands in a creation form above his head before swinging, tigers of ice appearing. Each of them ran towards Midnight as the birds that Lyon had previously created changed direction, all attacking Midnight at once from all directions.

Again, none of it seemed to phase Midnight as each attack missed him by a long shot, not anything able to get a grasp on him.

Midnight sighed in annoyance. Was this all the two Mages would do? He reached out with one of his hands and gripped a tiger by its neck. The tiger snapped at him but the teeth simply missed, bending around him as they tried to reach him.

With his other hand, he brought his fist down on the tiger, smashing it into pieces. He demolished the other tigers and birds with ease before some ice shot down by his side. He glanced at the ice sword that missed him, not worried in the slightest as he waved a fist straight at his attacker, a sharp blast of air cutting into Gray as he was flung backwards.

Gray rolled as he flew backwards, landing as safely as he could as he brought a hand up to his chest where the air blade had cut into him. Ice rapidly spread over the wound, freezing it shut before much blood could spill.

"Gray?"

"I'm okay," muttered Gray. "Barely hurt. I won't let him get me next time."

"Fine then," came the response. Lyon raised his hands once more as two small ice dragons began forming. Gray saw what Lyon was planning and jumped onto one of them as Lyon did the same, both dragons taking flight into the air.

Midnight smiled as both dragons flew towards him, raising a hand. "You're too close."

And the both dragons exploded outwards, the ice flying to the sides in weird distorted shapes. Gray and Lyon weren't one to take the surprise without reacting though, both jumping from the ice with one hand raised downwards, the other facing back behind them as they guided the remaining ice into a new slide form.

The two slid down, jumping off at the last moment and creating weapons of ice. Lyon formed a large long broadsword while Gray created an oversized hammer. Lyon swung first, attempting to make Midnight jump. Instead, Midnight smirked, the blade bending as it went to hit him and returning to normal as it slide past him.

Gray didn't stop his attack because of that however, instead raising the hammer up high and smashing it down against the Mage. Dust kicked up from the ground and they could see the earth cracking from the force of the blow.

"Did we-"

The ice shattered outwards, Midnight still wearing that same smirk on his face. And there wasn't a single mark on him.

"What!" Lyon glanced from Midnight to the remains of Gray's ice hammer. There was no way that Midnight should have come out of that unharmed. He had watched the Mage get hit, and Midnight had done nothing to defend himself. In fact he was still in the same pose as when the hammer had hit him. Did he even move at all to free himself?

That was worrying. If Midnight was using something without even moving, exactly how powerful was this man? To freely use Magic like that suggested a large degree of intense experience. Most Mages needed some form of movement half the time. Even Jura would make small moves when he acted, whether it was a shift in his stance to a step forward.

Or maybe Midnight was moving. Perhaps it was simply subtle movements that made his Magic work. They had already seen him raise his hand once to destroy their ice dragons so he must have needed it then. Distance could be a crucial factor in the man's powers.

If that was the case then it they couldn't fight him at a distance. Their attacks weren't fast enough to reach the man before whatever he did happened. While the man might be more effective at doing whatever he was doing at close range, they were more effective too.

And Midnight hadn't responded to his attacks the same way when he had overwhelmed the man. Perhaps numbers were the key. Still, they had to hurry. They had seen when Nirvana had fully been released not that long ago and couldn't afford to hang around the area they were in for too long.

"Gray. How much time can you buy me?"

"As much as you need, and then extra."

"Good. I'll hold you to that."

As Lyon raised his hands into a creation stance, Gray rushed towards their enemy. Ice spread along his limbs as he clapped his hands together, his Ice Make Magic shaping the ice into sharp blades on the edge of his arms. Midnight actually raised an eyebrow as Gray nearer him, interested in what Gray was about to do.

The first blade came round as Gray swung his arm, the blade missing Midnight as it bend around the Mage without harming him. Gray spun on his heel, using the momentum to increase the speed his second strike came round at. Again it missed Midnight, not harming the Mage or even reaching him. Gray continued his assault till he reached the seventh strike before Midnight ducked under the swing, raising an arm under the blade with his palm outstretched. The blade exploded into pieces from inside, the ice scattered across the clearing and yet none hit Midnight still.

Gray snarled, the other blade of ice shattering. There was no point of continuing to keep it in place if it wouldn't even help him.

Midnight sudden raised a hand towards Gray, the black haired Mage reacting instantly. A hand shot up and a hastily constructed block of ice appeared between the two. Midnight smiled more sinisterly and Gray quickly learned why as he felt his clothes tightening around him, restraining his movements. His shirt reached up towards his neck, wrapping round it and making it hard to breathe. He couldn't even call for help.

He didn't need to however. Lyon raised his hands finally, a large force of ice constructs forming. Tigers, bears, wolves, eagles, panthers, and many more different animals were appearing rapidly. Midnight actually looked both surprised and impressed, releasing his hold on Gray as he dropped his arm back to his side. Gray gasped for breathe as his clothes released their hold on him, glancing at Lyon in surprise at all the constructs he had created.

"Ice Make: Zoo Rampage!"

Lyon took a deep breath, using the quick opportunity to shake off the exhaustion he was feeling from the large amount of Magic he had been forced to quickly channel. Midnight didn't even try and use the opportunity, instead waiting patiently with interest. It looked like the Dark Mage wanted to see what his attack would do, and that arrogance was going to play against him right now.

"Get him."

The constructs roared, all charging in at once at Midnight. They leaped and flew at the Mage from all sides, providing no opportunity for Midnight to escape from.

As the first animal came, Midnight grabbed it, spinning and throwing the animal towards one of the eagles attempting to attack him from a blind spot. At the same time a bear brought its claws down at Midnight only to bend around the Mage, Midnight not even registering the attack. Instead he attacked one of the lions that had snuck at him from one side, pinning it against the ground. He jumped onto the animal and used it as a springboard, leaping onto one of the eagles as he aimed a hand back at the lion below to cause it to shatter into pieces.

A swarm of birds joined him in pursuit, even as the eagle Midnight was riding on tried to throw him off. Midnight brought a sharp kick down on the eagle's neck, breaking off its head and causing it to begin falling out of the sky. The birds nearby tried to pull away but Midnight was already jumping towards them, grabbing them as he fell and either smashing them together if they were small enough or grabbing onto one of the bigger ones and repeating what he did with the eagle.

As the last bird fell, he landed softly on the ground, the earth bending inwards as he hit it before restoring back to its original position. A group of tigers took that opportunity to pounce at him but Midnight swung his arm towards them, a vortex of air grabbing the group and ripping them to pieces from the furious force the attack contained.

Midnight glanced back behind him as the remains of Lyon's creations slowly approached him. And then they settled for all attacking at once, leaving absolutely no room to escape or dodge from, even if one was destroyed in the process.

Not one of them hit Midnight. Midnight simply stood there as all the animals flew past him, some being destroyed from simply crashing into one another. A flew flicks with his hand and the last few shattered into pieces of ice, none left to challenge him.

Lyon's eyes widened as he took in everything he was seeing. All that Magic he used, the entire army he formed, it had all been useless. He could sense Midnight mocking him as he turned to smile at them, his eyes gloating of his invincibility.

That was madness. How could not one of his attacks hit? Why did they all miss in that last attack? Why were their attacks bending around the man?

Unless… Was that the man's Magic? To bend things? But then what did he do to Gray?

"You're distorting things."

Gray was the one who actually spoke up in the end, glaring at Midnight whose smile had only gotten bigger at being found out. "I knew it."

The dots quickly clicked in Lyon's mind. Distorting the air could cause those sharp blades to appear, distorting the ice as it came to hit him would allow it to miss, distorting the air would grant a soft landing, and distorting someone's clothes would cause them to attack their wearer.

But why did he use his hands for some things and not for others? Was it simplicity? No, it had to be another reason.

That was it. He had worked it out. He glanced at Gray and saw the Mage give him a nod. Good. They were on the same page with what the man's Magic was capable of. Now all they had to do was use it against the man, and then find a way past his defences.

Before anyone else could move, light lit up the area from above. They all abandoned fighting for a moment as they stared up at the bright flames in the sky before they formed a gate of some kind. It was a few moments later when transparent dark green light shot across the sky, enclosing them all within a cube of it.

"What… What is this?" muttered Gray, staring into the sky. "Lyon? Do you know what this is?"

"Not a clue," came the reply. Lyon glanced at the barrier they were trapped within, his eyes scanning the edges of it and seeing how far it enclosed. "Ah. It must be the last of the Shinigami. Now that Nirvana has been released I guess it counts as an emergency and that it needs to be contained."

"Someone dares to defy Father?" Midnight's smile disappeared, changing to an ugly snarl. "How dare they. I'll rip them apart and force this pathetic barrier to fall."

"Not while we're here you won't," said Gray. "You aren't going anywhere."

"You think you will stop me? No matter, it doesn't affect anything either way. I'm sure Father is already there dealing with the trash."

Lyon's eyes widened, glancing back at the barrier. Looking closely he could see small fluctuations in the walls of energy, almost unstable in appearance. That meant trouble. If the Shinigami was holding the barrier in place, could they even fight if someone came close enough to them?

He looked towards Gray but Gray had already beaten him to it. "Go."

Lyon glanced at Midnight and then back to Gray. "Are you sure?"

"I'll be fine. Just get out of here. Warn the others."

Lyon took one more look at the two before turning and running off. He paused for one moment to shout back at his friend. "Don't die. You hear me? Ur will never forgive you if you end up dying to someone like this."

"I don't plan to. Now get out of here."

Midnight watched as Lyon left, turning the rest of his sole attention towards Gray. "Was that wise for you? You haven't even scratched me, and yet you believe you can beat me alone? Your friend would have stood a greater chance that you would."

"He'll be fine. He's faster than I am, especially as he can create an eagle or something to move about on if he wants to. We need speed now to stop Brain."

Midnight laughed. It started more of a chuckle before breaking down into something more hysterical. "That's a good one. You won't beat Father. None of you can. He's planned for this for a long time. It's far too late to stop any of us now."

Glancing behind him, Midnight smiled at the giant form of Nirvana. "Look at it. That is our prize. No one can take it away from Father."

"What? You don't think it is yours too?"

"Not at all. I don't care about Nirvana personally. But Father wants it, and I live to serve Father."

"You're messed up there, you know that?"

"You would never understand." Midnight turned back to face Gray, a sinister smile back on his face. "So what will you do now? Can you at least give me something funny to watch?"

"I'll do more than that. I've worked it all out."

"Ah. My Reflector Magic. Yes, you said you'd worked out about its distorting abilities."

"I've done more than that." The smirk vanished from Midnight's face, the Dark Mage watched Gray carefully. "I've worked out the little limitations it has. And you're completely out of luck now."

Gray reached towards his shirt before he pulled it off in one swift move. He did the same with his trousers, leaving him in just his underwear. Midnight frowned at the actions, especially when Gray raised one finger. "So what? You stripped."

"Nice try."

Midnight scowled, even as Gray continued talking.

"When you strangled me with my clothes, I noticed how it was the fabric that was moving, but it never got any longer. And after working out you could distort things, it only made sense that you distorted my clothes to attack me. So all I had to do was to get rid of the excess before fighting you. You could always use it on me still, but how much can you do with just my underwear?"

Gray held up a second finger before continuing. "Furthermore, why did you stop when Lyon prepared his attack? If you could distort things, couldn't you have continued with my as he attacked you? That solved another mystery about your Magic. You can use your Magic in two places. Around you, or away from you. But you can only use your ability in one of them. That's why you said that Lyon and I were too close. Because we were both close enough to the radius of the distorted area that you moved toward us."

Midnight stared at Gray before he laughed once more. "That's it? You know how it works? Don't be ridiculous. You couldn't touch me before, and this won't let you touch me now."

"I know," said Gray. "I already knew that. But I have two things here. The first is that your Magic won't affect me. If it did, we could have been killed from the start with ease. The human body is something your Magic won't distort."

Gray turned his head to the side, glancing at the direction where Lyon had gone. "And the second thing I have is that Lyon's gone."

"Your friend was the only one of you that might have stood a chance when I was weaker. How exactly can you do better? Out of both of the disciples of Ur, I can see who the better Ice Make Magic was."

Instead of taking offense to it, Gray just gave Midnight a sad smile. "I already know that. I can only use Static Ice Make Magic, but Lyon got so good that he could make Dynamic Ice Make Magic. He breathes life into what he makes, something I can't even comprehend how to accomplish."

"Then how can you win?"

"Because I've got my own talent." Gray smirked, clenching a fist and bringing it in front of his face. "I've met many different Ice Magic Users in the world, and everyone chooses something to focus on in the end. Like how you can't master every Magic, you can't always master every aspect of a branch too. You choose what works best, what you have the most talent for. I'm no exception. It just took me a long time to work out what my true strength was."

Gray brought his fist back down, keeping an eye on Midnight as the Mage listened. That arrogance was going to be the man's downfall, especially as he doubted the man had noticed he was gathering Magic as he spoke. Or maybe he did and just didn't care to stop him. Still, he needed some more time. So he kept talking.

"Take Ichigo's friend for starters. I didn't see it for myself but I heard of what he could do. He could create large amounts of ice with a mere swing of his blade, and that is something rare I'll tell you that. I can generate a fair amount myself but he must have at least tripled that amount, and he's about twelve or something. That's impressive."

Gray gestured at where Lyon had gone. "I've told you about Lyon. His speciality was breathing life into his Magic. Ur was a bit between me and Lyon, but with her own twist. A lot of the people who saw her fight would have seen roses and flowers of ice in her attacks. The truth is that it's because her speciality was in what could only be described as Organic Ice Make Magic."

Midnight raised an eyebrow. "Organic Ice Make Magic?"

"Yep. Half her attacks were like plants in a way, but it didn't have to be plants. When I made a foolish mistake, she came to save me. When I woke up, she was still fighting, one of her legs missing. So she had created one out of ice. And I'm sure you know that just a normal construct of ice would be nothing more than a crutch. She was moving freely with this, as if it was connected to all her nerves as a real leg."

Gray smirked as he saw the interest in Midnight's eyes. Feed them some information like that and everyone would fall for it with ease. It helps that it was all true, but it wasn't like it was a secret or anything. Ur wouldn't be the first to have used Ice Magic as she did.

"But what was my strength? I only found out a few years ago when I was helping Natsu. My power was never in the quantity of ice I could produce, or in the power or uniqueness the constructs had. And it wasn't about it being special too. It was something so simple, and yet so complex."

"Then show me," said Midnight, an almost urgent tone in his voice with his eyes widen in excitement. "You've been building up Magic for a while now. SHOW ME!"

"I was already going to do that." Gray reached down to the ground and placed both palms against the ground. "Ice Make: Ice Age."

And then everything froze, Midnight only surviving due to his Magic reflecting the frozen ground away from him on instinct. His eyes widened as he spun round, taking in everything that had happened. The trees, the ground, it was all frozen solid, a small layer of ice covering them all. And he could swear it hadn't stopped in just their area too.

"This is my speciality. I was always good at freezing stuff with my Magic, but I never went into it at all. I focused on my imagination with Ice Make, and now the two of them can work in perfect unison."

"Freezing…" muttered Midnight. "Rate of freezing, speed of freezing, amount that can be frozen. You can't create massive amounts of ice so you freeze the ground to get the extra you may want. But why not reveal this earlier?"

"It's not perfect yet. Or at least not in the way I want it. It's deadly to everyone. I can't stop that yet. I'd likely end up killing him by accident if he stayed here."

Midnight smirked, slashing a hand at Gray as distorted air flew through the air. Gray swung a hand as a large wall of ice shot up from the ground, using the ice already available to both increase its speed of creation and to decrease the energy needed. The air hit the wall and managed to break half way through it before it stopped, Midnight smiling wilder than before. "Excellent. I take back what I said before. You are more than certainly the greater of Ur's disciples."

"Enough talk," said Gray, his eyes cold as he stared at Midnight. "Besides, I'm glad Lyon isn't here anymore. I'm a Fairy Tail Mage, someone who should be very pure in terms of light and dark. I don't want him to see what I'm going to do to you."

"Oh really?" Midnight couldn't help but feel excited at the prospect. "And what are you going to do to me?"

"I'm going to kill you."

Bringing his hands together, ice gathered between the two palms, molding into a giant spinning disk. Gray took a step forward before throwing the disk at Midnight, twisting his body as he threw. "Ice Make: Saucer!"

Midnight glanced at the attack and smirked, allowing it to reach him and slide right past. In that moment Gray had used the opportunity to get closer, determined to not all Midnight to use any long range attacks by forcing him to block the ones close to him.

"Ice Make: Lance!"

Gray slammed his hands against the ground and spears of ice shot out below Midnight's feet, intending to impale him. The spears just bent around the man's body once more and Midnight raised an arm once the spears had passed him.

Gray jumped backwards as the attack happened, spreading his arms out to the sides as a large shield came forth from the ground. Midnight's attack didn't break through completely but it did shatter the shield. As the pieces of ice fell, Gray's hands shot out and grabbed two of the largest pieces, swinging them around towards other falling pieces and letting his Magic manipulate the ice and fuse them all together.

The end result was a large bow of ice, Gray already bringing it to bear against Midnight. "Ice Make: Arrows!" Hundreds of small tiny arrows flew from the bow, Midnight's eyes actually widening as they all flew at him. For once he actually moved his hands for controlling the distorted area around him, even going so far as to dodge some of the arrows instead of standing still. He could distort a large number of objects easily, but this amount was far too great for him to control subconsciously.

The barrage finally let up as the last pieces of the bow Gray was holding disappeared, most of the ice having come from the bow itself. Gray smirked as he watched Midnight try to regain his composure. "So there is a limit of how much you can control, or at least without doing anything. I wonder how far it is till the next limit you have."

His composure regained, Midnight glanced along the ground between the two, noticing some areas of the ice looked thinner than before. "How interesting. You spread your Magic through the ice when it was formed. That's how you can still manipulate it so quickly right now. But there is only so much." Midnight gestured at the area around Gray, noticing the small circle around him that wasn't covered in ice. "That attack just used up all the ice in that area. Are you sure you can keep up something like that?"

"It served its purpose." Midnight's eyes widened as twenty spears of ice stabbed past him, only his Magic saving him. He swung his head round, seeing how the remains of the arrows had joined with the ice on the ground and formed spears at that moment.

But that wouldn't have worked. The Ice Mage must have known that. Unless…

Midnight's head shot back round, desperately trying to spot Gray before it was too late. He had been tricked, and he could already see Gray closing the distance. He swung his hand at the Mage, large distorted amounts of air flying at Gray.

At the last second, a wall of ice jumped forth from the ground, Gray's feet colliding against it as he jumped and used it to push himself away from the attack. As his feet hit the icy ground, ice spread along his feet, raising him slightly as small skates formed below on the soles of his feet. Another attack from Midnight came but he was ready this time, using the skates to help dodge the attacks in combination with the frozen ground he was using to travel along.

Midnight had enough time to swing his hand one more time before Gray finished closing the distance between them, an ice sword jumping forth from the ground for him to grab. He swung the sword but Midnight's Magic reacted on instinct, the sword bending around the Mage instead of slashing against him.

It didn't stop there however. Midnight took control, forcing the ice to bend back round and slash at its wielder. Gray tried to dodge but the ice blade still managed to cut into his side as it flew past. He grabbed onto the ice before it could attack him anymore, stealing some of it back to freeze his wound shut before breaking the rest off from the sword and reshaping it into a large axe. He swung it round but it missed Midnight still, Midnight actually sighing at the attempt, and for that moment he dropped his guard.

And Gray smirked at it. The axe fell apart, its purpose used up as a new blade sprung forth from the ground for Gray to grab. Then, with his free hand, he grabbed Midnight's arm.

Midnight's eyes shot open at the sudden contact, looking between Gray's grip and the sword held in the Mage's other hand. Ice rapidly spread from Gray's grip, and he could feel his arm freezing solid and time passed. At the same moment, Gray swung his sword down at his arm. He could easily dodge the blade, he knew that. But he could feel his arm freezing, and how long would it be before it spread to the rest of his body if he was already freezing this quickly. It had almost reached his shoulder in a few seconds.

So he pushed himself as far away from Gray as he could, letting the sword slice through some of the ice of his arm and separating him from the Ice Mage. He used the chance to put as much distance as he could between the two, glancing at his lost arm still held in Gray's hand.

He glanced towards where he had lost it from. He still had half the area between his shoulder and his elbow but the lower half of it was frozen still from the ice. And it was good too. He had ensured Gray would have only chopped off a frozen area. Otherwise he could have bled to death without some way to stop the bleeding. His Magic wouldn't help him there.

One thing bothered him as he turned back towards Gray, the Mage looking happy as he held the arm in his hands. "Why?"

Gray looked at Midnight in amusement. "Why what?"

"Why didn't you just freeze me solid? Why did you give me a chance to escape?"

Gray shrugged. "I wanted to see if you would actually do it. Besides, I wanted to cut your arm off too." Gray's grip on the arm tightened as he glanced at it before chucking it away. "It's because of you lot that Erza lost her arm today. So I'm going to make you experience the same pain she had to have felt. I'm going to pay you back one hundred fold."

"Big words. You had your chance to kill me. I won't make the same mistake again." Midnight glanced upwards at the sky, noticing the position of the rising moon. "Such a shame. I won't be at full power you see but it's close enough to midnight now. I think I might be able to get away with it just this once."

Before Gray's eyes, Midnight changed, his body bulging in multiple areas as his body begun to distort itself. Midnight grew taller and taller till he towered above Gray, his form becoming more muscular and claws appearing on the ends of his hands as his body form changed. His hair became longer and shaggier while his eyes began to glow a bright sinister red. Even the environment around them seemed to change, the ice melting rapidly with steam being formed from the intense heat. The light got darker, hints of red in the sky. Midnight opened his mouth and laughed at Gray below, revealing a long line of sharp teeth.

Gray wiped some sweat from his forehead, trying to ignore the feeling of his body shaking. It was almost overwhelming. The fear he was feeling was too much. The creation Midnight had transformed into. It was a Demon.

Midnight raised his clawed hands above his head, a dark orb of energy forming between the two. Gray rushed backwards, realising what the Demon was about to do. He threw his hands in front of him, mustering as much ice and Magic as he could and created a large group of shields between him and Midnight.

It didn't stop the orb when Midnight threw it. It shattered all the shields with unnatural ease, throwing him away as the blast detonated right in front of him. He flew backwards through the air, burns covering his whole body as he forced himself to land somewhat safely. He barely had time to rest as Midnight had already rushed at him, bringing one massive clawed hand down on him.

He rolled to the side, using some quick Ice Make Magic to slow the arm down as it crashed at where he had been. As quickly as he could, a large axe of ice formed and he swung it down at the arm, the ice harmlessly breaking against the skin. Gray's eyes widened and Midnight smirked, swatting Gray away with a glancing blow.

Gray crashed against the trees, coughing up blood as he felt the impact. Something must have broken, and he could feel himself getting weaker. Damn it. Was this it? He couldn't win. Not against a Demon.

"I won't let you get closer to my pupils! This is it, Monster!"

That voice. He remembered it. Why was he remembering her now? Ur was dead. To defeat a Demon, she had frozen it solid alongside herself. And there was no way he could use Iced Shell in his condition.

"Step into the future. I'll seal your darkness."

Was he really going to just lie there and die? After everything Ur did for him? He refused to. He wanted to make Midnight pay. He wanted to protect his friends. He had to win, even if he would lose his life in the process.

He could feel his blood boiling in anticipation. He struggled to his feet, seeing Midnight smirking somehow in amusement. He glared at the Demon, a strange sensation in his chest. The fear he had felt was vanishing. Something was feeling off. Why had he been so scared? Deliora had been so much more frightening from the moment he had laid eyes on it, and he had felt something else too. Neither of those emotions was present right now. Why weren't they?

"Hey," Gray called. "Are you really a Demon?"

Midnight laughed. "You already know the answer to that. Now say goodbye."

Midnight raised a fist and flung it down at Gray, the Ice Mage standing his ground as the attack came. He closed his eyes instead, ice gathering around his hands and stopped trying to dodge.

He felt the pain when the fist hit him but he ignored it as best as he could, still waiting. And then he felt it. He spun round, his hands grasping the air. There was nothing there, but Gray didn't trust that feeling anymore. Ice spread along from where his hands were, freezing nothing.

And then it all vanished. The world returned to normal, the ice floors back in place and the sky returned to its normal colour. And in his hands was Midnight, half his body already frozen and the eye spreading even further. He could see the blade of ice he had held before no longer in his grip, instead plunged part way into his chest. He didn't bother trying to remove it just let. It could do more harm than good right now.

Midnight slowly stopped struggling, his body growing weaker as the cold seeped further and further into his bones. Only his head wasn't frozen yet, and the ice extending towards it would soon fix that.

"My prayer…" Midnight muttered, his eyes growing heavy. "I… I just… wanted… to be able… to sleep… in a quiet place…"

Gray released his grip on Midnight as the ice finally encased the Dark Mage completely. "Go to sleep then. For eternity." He left Midnight like that, shattering the parts of the ice blade that weren't inside him and froze the remaining parts of the wound shut for the time being.

He had gotten his revenge for Erza, so why did he not feel any better?


Protector Of The Fairies


"Message received." Hibiki turned his head round towards Jura and Ichiya, still as expressionless as before. "Lamia Scale's Lyon Vastia has returned to receiving range. Message is as follows: The barrier will fall. Brain knows about it and has already prepared for it. Send assistance. Message end."

"Men…" Ichiya glanced at the barrier they had all been trapped in with a frown. "Nirvana is trapped with us but we can't get out. This is a problem, men."

Jura nodded. "The barrier cannot fall, under any circumstances. It worries me though on how Brain already knew about the barrier. Did anyone else know of our plans?"

"The Masters? Not many others outside of them. This was all planned out at the meeting, and then the guilds learned too. I remember my guild's reaction, men."

"Our guild was told too. Nothing specific however. I doubt Master Bob said anymore than that with your guild too."

"He didn't. I do not believe Makarov would have told anyone either. And the Master of Cait Shelter has more than enough reason to keep things secret."

Jura scratched his chin in thought. "Then who was it? Unless… There's a chance…"

"What is it?"

Jura glanced out the window towards the forest below. "There was someone close to us before. I didn't see him, but Wendy knew he was there. If he was with Oración Seis then we would have known it. He would have attacked."

"Are you sure."

Jura nodded. "I'm positive. It can't be any of the defeated members of Oración Seis, and it won't be an underlying. They were able to hide so easily, to the point where Wendy was the only who could detect them. And that's only because of her Magic. The skill to hide that easily, and not even appear on Hibiki's scans means they aren't a normal opponent."

"They didn't attack you," argued Ichiya. "They could always be an ally."

"Or they could be an enemy. The point is that they are an unknown. And is strikes me as odd that there is someone like that here right now when all this stuff is happening, especially when Oración Seis seems to be prepared for quite a few of our strategies."

"They could have always predicted there being a barrier."

"Not one of this size. I didn't even know that they were planning to create one this big, or even this elaborate."

A sound caught their attention as all the Archive screens vanished, Hibiki collapsed to his knees and breathing heavily. Ichiya rushed over to his student, holding the Mage carefully. "Take it easy, men."

"I'm… I'm… I'm alright," Hibiki slowly managed to say. "Just… tired… So very tired…"

"It's okay," said Ichiya, placing a reassuring hand around his student. "You've done well today. Go ahead and rest. We'll take it from here."

"Gate… Top… Opening…"

Hibiki's eyes closed and his body went limp in Ichiya's arms, the man picking the boy up and placing him against a wall as comfortably as he could. He looked back up at Jura to see the man looked at him questioningly.

"Hibiki is very talented, and Archive isn't the most draining of Magic out there, but it still takes his toll. And he's been at it almost constantly for a few hours now, checking threats, scanning patients, managing the camp and organising assaults. It's tough on him. And connecting to Christina isn't exactly an easy thing to do. It's extremely taxing on his mental energies. I should have stopped him earlier."

"He would have likely argued against it and continued no matter what you said." Jura took another look at Hibiki before heading for the door. "But he gave us a message at the end."

"Yes…" Ichiya glanced at Hibiki in confusion before rushing after Jura. "That's not normal. He must have found the details in the data he was receiving and had abandoned everything else to get it to us. Of course he wouldn't have processed it correctly if he hadn't left that mode he was in. Which can only mean-"

"Someone is opening the barrier," finished Jura, glancing up at the sky as he went onto the ship's main deck. Above them was the large red Gate, and he could see the centre of the Gate slowly opening, provided a small exit point in the barrier.

"Christina won't fit through there," muttered Ichiya. "And I don't know if we can get there in time. And without Hibiki's Magic, we've lost any form of contact with everyone else."

"I might be able to make it to the top," stated Jura, observing the distance. "But I can't guarantee I can find Brain before it is too late. There isn't any earth on the top of the barrier that I can use, and I'll be pressed thin just getting up there anyway."

"I'll do it." Ichiya and Jura glanced at one another, realising that it wasn't one of them who had spoken just then. They turned to the source of the voice to see Natsu climbing the stairs, Happy and Carla following after him. "I'll take down Brain."


Protector Of The Fairies


And the entire Gray and Lyon battle with Midnight in one nice long chapter. I didn't want to risk splitting it up, though I didn't expect it to go on as long as it did. I took the whole explain your power thing and actually gave it an efficient use apart from providing explanations for you lot. Ice Make: Ice Age isn't something he could use without a bit of setup.

On that point, what did you think of the solution to this fight? Some predicted frozen blood, but the answer came from the freezing of Midnight's own body. The way I see Reflector is having a safe zone within the barrier. And the moment Gray touched him he began freezing him internally as well. It wasn't just a layering of ice here. He truly froze the man inside and out. It's why he can't risk fighting with allies with this power. Ice Age would have killed Lyon because he can't tell it not to target his friend.

I have to say that this was one of my favourite battles to write of this arc. We're getting further and further into it as things pick up, and we can see that Natsu is back up and ready to fight. We'll see how effective he is soon enough.

Did anyone read the new Bleach stuff? That Quincy's insane sight seemed to have been awoken by Kenpachi. And it still won't be enough. As for Fairy Tail, thank you Master Hades for reappearing, even for a moment. I'm kind of liking him at the moment. And it looks like we may learn what Lumen Histoire is soon enough. Whether I will actually keep it as what it is will be debateable so I'll have to see on that.

On a side note as well, who here has heard of Fairy Tail Zero? A spin off story about Mavis and the creation of Fairy Tail? YES! Mavis, Hades, Walrod, and the random guy we don't know yet. I want to see that. And I can easily twist some things to be canon and others to not be. I'm always adapting things as I learn them. And with the new anime out, I'm really happy. I want to see more of this alternate history that only got referenced and never seen.

Anyway, till the next time. I've been Takei. Thanks for reading.