So, this is AU, if you hadn't already figured that out from the extremely short summary. I thought for this story, 'less is more', so that's that. I'm really quite excited for this, so I hope you are too.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Fairy Tail or any of it's associated characters, all rights belong to Hiro Mashima. The man is a genius.

Chapter One

Sacrifice


{And it's no sacrifice, just a simple word}


There was a dragon called Salamander. It was said he would rain destruction and devastation down upon a village, or even a kingdom, and all that would be left would be the ashes and burnt embers of what was previously a thriving town.

No one had ever seen the dragon in person, and if one had, most assumed they wouldn't have lived to tell the tale. There were many stories of the mighty beast though, so much so that they certainly weren't lacking in legends.

For example, one story went that the dragon was cursed hundreds of years before by a powerful wizard, and that it was destined to live out the rest of its days in suffering. Another tale told of just how wild, uncivilized, and angry the dragon was. Yet another spoke of the dragon's unknown origins. But in truth, not even the oldest and wisest in the kingdom knew much about the dragon.

However, everyone knew that it resided somewhere in or near the dark forests of Magnolia, a small kingdom in Fiore. And recently, there had been incidents that only the dragon could have caused.

A year before, the people of Magnolia had experienced the same problem with another dragon – one that they knew even less about – and the people were sent into a panic. Homes were destroyed, iron rods sticking out every which way and making them uninhabitable, people were hurt, and finally, the king made a decision.

A human sacrifice would be made to the dragon.

It was a horrible method, a last resort, but still detestable all together. The sacrifice was presented in the form of a teenage girl, and she was never seen again after that. Magnolia wasn't bothered by the dragon after that, but friends of the girl were still bitter about what had been done.

Since the method of human sacrifice seemed to work, the king decided that, in order for Magnolia to be spared once more, they would do it again. And so, a decree was sent out, ordering for a proper sacrifice to be found and presented before the king.

Families hid their teenage daughters – the only candidates for the 'position' – and waited in fear as the king's soldiers marched through the streets, seeking a girl. There was really only one trait that the girl needed to possess – and that was unmatchable beauty.

Magnolia had no supply of beautiful women, but finally, three girls were chosen and presented before the king, who made the final decision. Two of the girls shook as they stood before the monarch, terrified that they would be chosen. The last girl – the only daughter of one of the most powerful and influential men in the kingdom – at seeing the terrified faces of the others, volunteered herself for the position.

That girl was Lucy Heartfilia.

Best friend of the previous dragon sacrifice, Levy McGarden.

Her father had been furious with her, seeing as how she had run away from home two years before, but had been unable to do anything about the matter. The king, having heard of Jude Heartfilia's methods, had Lucy guarded by the kingdom's best soldiers until the day arrived that she would be sacrificed to the dragon.

The blonde was dressed in the best silks and jewels, adorned head-to-foot in the kingdom's finery. A velvet cloak was draped over her shoulders, on her feet were new satin heels, and her dress was the color of the sakura blossoms that bloomed in the spring.

She was a hero. The one who would deliver the kingdom from suspected destruction. A savior, a saint, a martyr.

A sacrifice.

In exchange for her life, thousands would be saved.

It was an honor that any brave soldier would be proud to have. To give one's life for his kingdom was truly the finest way to die, or so it was said.

But Lucy Heartfilia wasn't a soldier.

She was a seventeen-year-old girl, and all she had wanted in life was to be recognized as 'Lucy' and not as her father's daughter. She'd found that when she had run away from home two years before, when she had met Levy and some others. They had become close friends, and they hadn't cared that she had come from money at all. She had been so happy.

Then the dragon had attacked, and Levy had been chosen as the sacrifice by the king. She hadn't had any family really, so it was assumed that she wouldn't be missed much. After all, an orphan was an orphan. But Levy had friends, and she'd left her loved ones behind. She'd been a brave girl that day, smiling through her tears as she wished Lucy and her admirers Jet and Droy goodbye one last time.

Lucy let out a dry and bitter laugh. Here she was, a year later, in the exact same position as her long-gone best friend. Only, she had volunteered herself for this, and there was no backing out.

She was accompanied by a procession from Kardia Cathedral, where blessings had been placed upon her and the prayers of the people had been spoken, all the way to the edge of Magnolia's dark forests. From there on, the blonde would continue on alone, likely walking straight to her own death.

Lucy took a few steps toward the looming trees, before turning back to look out across the crowd that had followed her there. She noticed a few familiar faces she had said her last goodbyes to earlier. Jet, Droy, Laki, Kianna, Reedus, all of who were crying.

She felt a small smirk form on her face and a breathy laugh leave her lips as she realized her father wasn't there to see his daughter off to her certain death. Not that she had expected him to be there anyway.

A shot of happiness found its way into her heart, and she smiled a little, knowing that there were people who would miss her for her.

She didn't need to speak - not that she had a speech prepared – as the king had already done enough of that for five of these dumb sacrifice ceremonies. So, with one last smile directed towards her friends, she turned, and walked into the forest.

Lucy could hear the king's loud voice proclaiming her as a 'hero' as she walked, and it made her scoff. She could hear the sobbing of the old Mrs. Spetto, who had raised her since her mother had passed away, and it tugged at her heart. She'd never wanted anyone to cry for her, especially someone so close and who had known her since she was just a little girl.

The blonde's fist clenched around two pictures she'd slipped in her cloak pocket before she'd left the castle. One was of her mother, Layla Heartfilia, and another was of Levy and herself, taken only two months before the dragon had started attacking Magnolia, and Levy was sacrificed to stop it.

After waling far enough so that she could no longer hear the king's voice, which took longer than expected because that man's voice was obnoxiously loud, she stopped. Casting a glance around the dark forest, and seeing no one, she lifted her petticoats and skirts, and kicked off her heels.

She sighed in relief when her bare feet came in contact with the cool grass. She'd wanted to get rid of the heels the moment she'd put them on. They weren't anything she liked to wear, and they pinched her feet in one of the most painful ways. Not to mention she'd had to walk all the way from Kardia Cathedral to the forest in those things, and the cobblestone, dirt, and mounds of grass weren't exactly ideal for walking in the blasted things.

Lucy took a deep breath, and propped her hands on her hips. "Alright, this is it. You're going to walk through here, until you find the dragon…who will most likely eat you, but don't think about that right now. Levy did it, and so can you." she gave herself an oral pep-talk. "Who knows? Maybe Salamander will be feeling generous, and won't eat you." she laughed. "There, that's the way to think. Positive, stay positive."

She fist-pimped the slightly damp air before continuing her trek.

After about two hours of walking through the dark woods, with strange noises and bushes rustling, however, she was really beginning to lose any positivity she might have had left. Her back was aching due to her heavy chest, she was thirsty and fatigued, her fancy dress and velvet cloak had gotten caught on several thorns and bushes, causing them to tear multiple times, and she was hungry.

The blonde threw her hands up in the air, letting out a frustrated groan. "You would think," she growled, "that if a dragon was wanting a sacrifice, he would be closer to the kingdom so that said sacrifice wouldn't have to walk for ages before she reached him."

She sighed and sank to the ground, letting her head fall into her hands. "If that dragon doesn't eat me, then I'm going to die here."

Suddenly, the sound of rushing water reached her ears, and she straightened up, chocolate orbs searching her dimly lit surroundings for the source. A wide smile stretched its way across her face when she spotted a small but bubbling stream about five hundred yards from her.

Lucy scrambled to her feet, almost tripping over her heavy and long skirts in her rush, and ran over to the stream. She fell to her knees and leaned over, cupping her hands and dipping them into the cool water. She greedily took large gulps of the cold water, letting it cool her dry and sore throat and wet her parched lips.

She splashed some water onto her face, trying to rinse off some of the dirt and grime. She dried her hands on her dress, only to realize how torn it actually was. She almost laughed at how when she had come in, she'd been wearing the finest clothing in the kingdom, but now it looked worse than some of the clothes that belonged to the poorest families in the kingdom.

With a sigh, she pulled out the bun her hair had been pulled back into, the blonde curls falling onto her shoulders. It had been jolted loose by all her walking, several strands of hair hanging down, and she'd decided to just take it out. She shook her head a few times, enjoying the lack of pain due to her hair being pulled back into a tight bun. Then, she ripped a small piece of cloth from her dress, and pulled some of her blonde hair up into a side ponytail before tying it up. Not like her dress wasn't ruined anyway.

She made a face and shifted around uncomfortably, the corset the palace maids had made her wear that morning digging into her side. The blonde cringed as she touched her side lightly, thinking that maybe she should just remove it.

Suddenly, the loud rustling of bushes off to her side startled her. Lucy held her breath as she watched and waited for some wild animal, or even Salamander to appear. After all, those were the only things that were capable of making such a racket.

Lucy's eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat. She closed her eyes tightly and clenched her fists, waiting for death to come. Only…it never did. Deciding to see just what was going on, she opened one eye, then both.

One of her brows creased in confusion as she studied the…whatever it was before her. It resembled a small snowman…thing. And it was shaking, a lot.

The blonde cautiously reached a finger out and poked it, and in return, got a 'pun' sound out of the….whatever the thing was.

Deciding it wasn't exactly life-threatening, and that she'd seen it somewhere before, Lucy scooted over closer to the…whatever it was. It looked up at with small black eyes.

"Pu-pun!"

She snapped her fingers. "I've got it! You're a Nikola! A species that's said to have come from the Celestial Spirit World!" she smiled and picked it up. "Although you don' really look like a little dog…you're still cute. I'm going to call you Plue!"

'Plue' seemed to agree with that name. "Pun pun!"

Lucy flashed Plue a thumbs up. "Hey great! Glad you like it!" she raised a brow. "So Plue, I wonder what exactly a small Nikola like you is doing all the way out here in dragon's territory, hmm?" she sighed. "Oh yeah. That's right." she stood and set the Nikola back on the ground. "You can't come with me. I don't want you to get eaten too." she gave the dog a small wave. "Bye Plue, it was nice to meet you. Take care."

Only, when Lucy started to walk off, Plue followed her. She stopped and turned around. "No, you have to stay here." she commanded, waving a finger, then turned to leave again. Only, the Nikola followed her once more.

This cycle continued on for about ten minutes before the blonde finally gave up. "Fine. You can come with me, but if you get eaten, it's not my fault." she crossed her arms and sighed, before bending over and picking the small 'dog' up. "It's good to have a friends out here though."

The two continued to walk on until it was almost nightfall, and by that time, Lucy was completely worn out. She was almost ready to give up, when Plue ran off ahead. Concerned for the Nikola, the blonde took off after him, only to find him standing at the edge of a clearing, waiting for her.

"Plue!" she gasped, leaning over with her hands on her knees. "Don't do that!" she took a few gulps of air before straightening up, about to give the 'dog' a lecture when she spotted it.

A small cottage.

It looked old, with vines growing around it, but it was quaint, and even looked inviting. Lucy glanced down and noticed that she was standing on what looked to be an extremely overgrown pathway that lead up to the front step of the cozy looking home.

The blonde raised a brow. "What…" she murmured, "is a cottage like this doing all the way out here?"

Plue tugged at her torn petticoats and skirt, and she looked down to see him pointing at the door. Lucy brought her cloak closer around her, shivering. "You want me to…go in there?" she questioned, and the Nikola nodded his head in response. Her brows creased. "Well, it is getting colder out here…" she mumbled. "And…all this way out in the forest, I'd say no one lives here, so…I guess it'd be alright, for a night anyway."

She leaned over and scooped up the still shaking Nikola and trudged up the overgrown path to what she assumed was an uninhabited cottage. Reaching the door, she was pleasantly surprised to find it unlocked, and turned the knob.

When the blonde stepped inside, she was greeted with probably the messiest sight she'd ever seen in her life.

"Good grief." she muttered, stepping over an old broken crate and shutting the door behind her. "The people who lived here must've left in some hurry to leave the place like this."

In her study of the mess on the floor, she failed to notice the movement in a dark corner of the room until she heard a voice.

"Who the hell are you?"


{It's two hearts living, in two separate worlds}


Ah, I worked on this all morning, and I'm still not too happy about how it turned out. And the title, I took forever to decide what to call this story.

I don't normally listen to Elton John, but I thought the song really suited this chapter (and story), so there. It's called 'Sacrifice', just in case you wanted to listen to it or something.

Ha, I bet you guys won't even like this story. But I really hope you do.

Please favorite, follow, and leave a review, if you can. I'd really like and appreciate that.

Forgot to mention, this is mainly NaLu, just so you know.

Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes/errors. I was trying to hurry because I have to study for a geometry test I have to take tomorrow, and so I didn't proofread. My apologies.

Ja ne~!

- Sonata-chan