notes: I kind of hate this chapter because I just cannot seem to write fight scenes well and it pisses me off. So basically, it sucks. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

other: Also, I chose a different cover for this story, but ffnet is wacky and I can't see it when I manage my stories. So I was wondering if you could all see it? I hope so. I don't just want a blank picture for this story. :c

cheers to: Here's to 100 reviews! Let's keep it up, everyone!


Natsu heaved, and scowled at the panting knight before him. Dan Straight was proving harder to beat than he had originally thought, and he still had to rescue Lucy from the sleazy-looking guy who had kidnapped her. He grunted and wiped a trail of blood away from his mouth.

"You're not getting Lucy."

Dan bristled like an offended cat. "I will save Lulu, and I'll kill you before I do!"

The dragon-slayer clenched his fists, and shot toward the knight. Dan dodged, and landed a solid blow with his lance. Natsu, still refusing to give up, charged at him once more.

"What do you want with Lucy?!" he roared, ducking as Dan swung his lance at him once more.

The knight huffed. "To marry her, of course!"

Natsu narrowed his eyes and attempted to use Fire Dragon's Roar. "She doesn't want to go back to her father."

"Of course she does!" Dan shouted, blocking Natsu's attack with his shield. "You've just tricked her into thinking she doesn't!"

Unnoticed to the two fighting, Natsu's attack fried their two spectators, and they fell to the ground, immobile. Sol twitched and Totomaru's hair sizzled.

"Like hell I would do something like that!" the incensed dragon-slayer roared. "Fire Dragon's Roar!"

Dan blocked with his shield, and countered with a swing of his lance. Natsu stuck out his foot, and Dan tumbled to the ground, but not before bringing the dragon-slayer with him. The two struggled on the ground, exchanging blows and kicks.

"Ugh! Lulu –," Dan yelled in-between hits, " – will be coming with me!"

Natsu socked him in the jaw. "Why're you so," he grunted when Dan punched him in the stomach, "obsessed with Lucy anyway?!"

"Because I love her!"

Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream ripped through the woods, and the two ceased their fighting. Natsu's eyes widened and stood, hands clenched at his sides.

"That was Lucy!"

The dragon-slayer exchanged horrified glances with Dan.

"We'll finish this later." the latter grunted, standing up and grabbing his discarded weapon and shield. "First I have to save my precious Lulu from whatever is hurting her."

Lucy's back hit the door. "H – how did you…?"

Aria began to cry, startling the blonde. "So sorrowful Miss Heartfilia, that the great dragon Salamander has to die and that you got caught!"

Her left eye began to twitch as she watched the tears pour down his face. "Yeah, well, Natsu won't lose. I just have a feeling he won't." she reached behind her and began meddling with the doorknob once more. "And you don't have me just yet! I can still fight!"

The blonde clenched her fists and lifted them in a defensive manner.

Aria, however, continued to pour out all of his sorrows. "And these poor creatures were caught in the crossfire!" he exclaimed, holding up a shrunken Plue and a dejected Happy.

Lucy gasped. "What did you do to them?! Let them go!"

Happy reached out a paw toward her. "Lushiii…run." he croaked.

Plue nodded in agreement.

The martyr's eyes widened. "B – but –,"

Suddenly, a dark and heavy presence settled over the room. Lucy gasped and fell to her knees, clutching her throat. It was something horrifying that was leaking into the walls, and she felt like she couldn't breathe. The air smelled like death and decay, and she struggled to look up at Aria.

"Master Jose is angry! How sad!" the large man wailed, and the blonde felt a sense of dread in her stomach.

The door to the cottage flew open, and Lucy almost gagged at how strong the evil presence became. She felt a hand on the back of her dress, and looked up to see Aria lifting her off the ground. Her fearful brown eyes traveled over to the sinister presence, and she almost screamed when she saw Jose standing there.

Something black and chilling leaked through the open door, and it made her skin crawl. She began to shake as Jose took a step towards her. His expression was something awful, dark and sinister, and she wanted to run, run, run away as fast as she could.

His hand shot out and grabbed her by the hair, and he pulled her face close to his. She tried to swallow the lump in her throat as she came face-to-face with his evil snarl. "I'll teach you, Miss Heartfilia," he painfully jerked her hair and she let out a shriek, "to mess with me, Jose Porla – Master of Phantom Lord."

"L – let me go!" the blonde protested weakly, wrapping her hands around Aria's arm and kicking her legs back and forth. "I don't want to go back with you!"

Jose gave a blood-chilling laugh. "Go back with us?" he stuck his face right up by hers. "Why Miss Heartfilia, I'd let you have your foolish wish, if I wasn't getting paid for bringing you back." his eyes gleamed dangerously. "However, your father said to bring you back 'whatever the cost.'"

Lucy squirmed, and a cruel smile played on his lips.

"So I'm just going to tell him that Salamander did this to you."

Her eyes widened as he pulled his fist back, and she watched it become cloaked in the same sinister black swirls she'd seen before.

"Wha –,"

She let out a scream when his fist connected with her skull. Her vision went blurry, and her head began to spin and throb. The room turned inside out and she closed her eyes tightly and let her head fall.

"Master Jose, do you really think –," said man cut Aria off with a cold snarl.

"She should learn her place. Instead of struggling pointlessly and having to suffer for it, she should have just complied and come along quietly."

Lucy lifted her head and looked at her would-be kidnapper with blazing eyes.

"Like hell I'll go with you."

Jose scowled back at her. "Fine. It seems like I'll have to persuade you a bit more then."

He raised his fist, and Lucy closed her eyes, preparing for the worst. Only, it never came, because at that exact moment, there was a battle cry and something came barreling into the room. There was a loud crash, and Lucy felt herself falling.

When she opened her eyes, Jose and Aria were on the ground, and there were two other figures standing over her. She squinted up at them, trying to see through the darkness.

"Natsu! You?!"

Dan grinned down at her. "My Lulu, I've come to save you!"

She frowned and turned to Natsu. "But –,"

The blonde was cut off when Jose sat up, and with an indignant screech, reached over and grabbed her by the hair again. Lucy yelped, and began to shiver as something dark and cold wrapped around her wrists, binding them together.

"You know what? I've changed my mind. I think I'll just hold this brat hostage and bleed her father dry!" Jose laughed, standing. "I'll be rich, he'll be poor!"

Lucy felt her stomach churn, and she watched Natsu and Dan falter as several beings wearing dark cloaks and large sabers formed around them. She let out a shriek when one turned to her, allowing her to see its glowing red eyes.

The Master of Phantom Lord grabbed the back of the blonde's dress, and turned. "My Shades should be able to take care of Salamander, and if not, I'll leave Aria here as well to finish up if things get out of hand. I don't know where Sol and Totomaru went, the lazy slackers. Dan, come along. We must be going."

The knight remained in his spot, and Jose huffed. "Knight Straight, I said come. It's time to go."

Dan frowned at him. "Was this your plan all along, Master Jose? To kidnap Lulu, maim her, and then hold her hostage? Was it?"

Jose rolled his eyes. "No but, things change. So come on and let's go because I've got money to collect."

The knight's expression darkened and he raised his lance. "Let go of her. Right now. Or I'll be forced to fight you."

The older man laughed. "You, fight me? You're more of an idiot than I thought. Fine, if you want to fight me for this ungrateful brat, then first you have to defeat my Shades and Aria. Then we'll see if you can win your precious princess back."

He disappeared, dragging Lucy with him into a cloud of black.

Natsu turned to Dan, dark eyes blazing like burning coals. "Help me get Lucy back, then we'll talk." the knight seemed hesitant to accept, and Natsu noticed some of Jose's Shades moving in on them. "Look, we both want to save Lucy, so right now, let's just work together and we can finish our fight after."

Dan grinned, then turned back to the onslaught of dark beings surrounding them. "Anything for my Lulu."

Lucy struggled to try and break free of her bonds, but the more she did, the tighter her bonds became. Something else was wrong too – she felt extremely weak and tired, like someone was draining her of all her energy.

Jose carried her through the forest in silence, and the blonde felt her eyelids getting heavy. It was becoming harder and harder to keep them open, and she fought to remain conscious.

"Money isn't the only reason I want to keep you for a little while." Jose spoke suddenly, and Lucy blinked. "You're something special, Miss Heartfilia – one of the last of your kind. I want what you have."

The martyr's brows furrowed. "What are you talking about?"

"Ah, so your father really never told you, did he?" he seemed to find great amusement in this fact. "You, Miss Heartfilia, are something called a celestial spirit mage. You can control heavenly beings at your will, and there are only a few like you left in the world."

He paused, probably to let his words sink in, before continuing. "Your mother, Layla Heartfilia was a celestial spirit mage as well. It's something that is passed down through your bloodline, or at least that's what I've concluded. You're something truly extraordinary, and I want what you have."

Lucy scowled. "Like I believe you."

Jose sighed. "Yes well, whether you believe me or not, you'll come to find that, in time, I am telling the truth and that you can't escape it."

It was quiet for a moment.

"You feel faint, do you not?"

The blonde chose not to answer.

"Just as I thought." Jose mused to himself. "Those bonds on your wrist are something that Aria and myself came up with. You see, they're a one of a kind creation made of my Shade Entangle and a very watered down concentrate of Aria's Metsu. The more you struggle, the tighter they become and the more pain and discomfort they cause. And thanks to Aria's Metsu, they're also slowly draining the magic from your body. So, there's proof, it's just whether or not you want to acknowledge it."

Lucy felt her head becoming light. "I'm not…I don't have an ounce of magic in my body."

Jose chuckled. "You must – and quite a bit of it too. You're draining faster than a normal mage would."

The blonde's head dropped against his back, and before she fell into unconsciousness, thoughts of her beloved mother and celestial spirits raged like a storm inside her head.

Natsu and Dan stood side-by-side, panting and bloody. Several Shades still circled around them, and Aria stood off to the side, barely a scratch on him. They'd taken the battle outside of Natsu's cottage, and since then had become quite destructive.

The dragon-slayer spit out a mouthful of blood and glanced at Dan. "This isn't going to work."

The knight exhaled and strengthened his grip on his lance. "I know."

Natsu glanced around at the mess they'd caused, and something caught his eye. "That weapon of yours, what can it do exactly?"

Dan glanced down at his lance and blinked. "Habaraki has the ability to change the mass' size of whatever it hits. I can either shrink the object or enlarge it by a great amount." he turned to Natsu. "Why?"

The dragon-slayer smirked. "'Cause I have an idea. I want you to hit that tree over there." he jerked his head in the direction of a large oak.

"Why would I do something like that? It's a useless thing to do. We're supposed to be fighting Aria, not destroying the forest."

Natsu rolled his eyes. "Just do it."

Dan sighed as the pink-haired 'dragon' held off the remaining Shades, giving him an opening. The knight launched himself at the tree, and swung at it. The impact caused a sound wave, and Natsu was almost blown off his feet.

When he looked up, the tree was two times larger than it had originally been. He flashed the rather annoyed Dan Straight a grin, and then set his plan into action. With a great battle cry, Natsu launched himself at the tree, and, with the help of his Fire Dragon's Claw, propelled himself forward. He crashed into the tree, setting it ablaze and causing the trunk to snap in two.

Dan watched, wide-eyed and opened-mouthed as it fell forward, and toward a seemingly unperturbed Aria. He expected it to hit the large man, but suddenly, Aria extended one of his palms. There was a sudden windstorm, and when it was over, the tree was no longer on fire and it had fallen in the other direction. The knight gaped at the scene before him.

Natsu landed beside him, pensive and scowling. "That wasn't supposed to happen."

"I'm not sure what was supposed to happen."

The dragon-slayer turned his scowl on the knight beside him before glancing back to where Aria had been. "Where did he –,"

"It's so sad." a figure appeared before them, and placing his hands out in front of Dan. "That it has to end like this, Dan Straight."

The knight's eyes widened, as Aria rushed toward him, and he suddenly became encased in airspace. There was a bright light, and Natsu had to shield his eyes as an explosion of air pushed him backward. Dan's screams rang through the forest, and when the dragon-slayer opened his eyes, Aria was standing over the knight's unconscious body.

Natsu looked at the two in horror. "What did you do to him?!"

Aria burst into tears, making the dragon-slayer take a step back. "The sorrow! Dan Straight did not stay true to the objective of this mission, and so I had to use Metsu to disable him! It sucked out all of his magic energy and now there's nothing left inside!"

Natsu glanced between Aria, and the unmoving body of Dan Straight.

"How sad that Miss Heartfilia will be forced into living a life of slavery for her magic!" the large man wailed on, and Natsu's head suddenly snapped up. "She'll be forever imprisoned and forced by Master Jose to use her magic for him until she dies!"

Something burned deep down inside of the dragons-slayer, and he scowled at Aria. "What are you talking about?"

"Miss Heartfilia is a celestial spirit mage, after all. And Master Jose wants to use her power."

Natsu's fists were engulfed in flames, and he charged at Aria – completely forgetting the range of the larger man's attacks. Aria raised his hands to attempt to reflect his attack, but the dragon-slayers flames were too hot, and they burned the air up.

"LUCY'S MAGIC IS FOR HER TO USE THE WAY SHE WANTS!" Natsu roared, his flaming fist connecting with Aria's astonished face.

The man fell to the ground, unconscious as Natsu's flames licked the grass around him. The dragon-slayer stood over the body of the defeated man, panting.

"It's not for some stupid guy to tell her how to use it."

Happy flew out from the trees, with Plue tagging along behind.

"Natsu! I found Lucy!" the blue cat chirped, completely recovered from earlier.

The dragon-slayer turned to his cat. "Then let's go get her."

end notes: I DON'T KNOW OKAY. The tree thing was stupid and I just feel like scrapping this but I'm not going to because this chapter sucks and why have I done this to myself? u.u Anyway, next chapter will be better. I'm sorry this one sucked. So badly. Also, I haven't seen much of the anime past the Fantasia arc because I read the manga instead, so I haven't the slightest clue how to write Dan and I'm relying on Fairy Tail Wiki for help. I'm glad this arc is almost over so I don't have to write him anymore. Phew. He's not bad but, yeah. So Lucy is a celestial spirit mage? Uh, yes. She is. This is going to be fun.