Runner


If you know nothing about parkour or free running, it's best if you first read the explanation bit (part 1) of the author's note at the end before starting the story. I'd also highly recommend you watch the video on my profile (under Runner playlist) because that really helps. Plus, parkour looks really cool. And Ghost Assassin fits really really really well, I'm not even kidding. Go listen.


Recommended:

Ghost Assassin – Maduk ft Veela (If you prefer the instrumental version: Hourglass - Maduk)

Shard – Mirror's Edge OST

Android P – Kraddy


Parkour moves reference (check playlist video):

Wall run – 0:47, 2:32

Roof jump – 0:43, 1:22, 1:53, 2:05

Post-roof jump landing – 0:25

Twist up and over banister – 2:03, 2:46, 3:40, 4:18

2 wall bounce – 4:52

Cat leap (Zigzag stairs) – 1:31


Runner

Are you a Runner?

Or are you an Enforcer?

Choose your allegiance wisely because one side is about to fall.


One last run, one last message and Faust would fall. The city would be theirs.

He secured the bandana around his head, covering his blue hair, and pulled up his mask.

"Heads up!"

His hand shot up to his right and he caught the small package being flung at him without looking. Tossing it casually in his hand, he turned towards the offender.

"Don't mess this up, Mystogan. This is the last step."

A grin spread across his face behind his mask, his eyes gleaming with a hint of menace. "I never mess up."

The man watched with folded arms as Mystogan slipped out of the window. "Why'd you think the leader chose him for such an important assignment? The guy's just a rookie."

"The leader always has his reasons. There's definitely something behind his choice."

The man made a disbelieving noise. "I hope so."


He sprinted across the rooftop, leaping over the vents and railings. She could hear his ragged breathing as she drew closer. Clearly he was underestimating her…again. Eyes narrowing with determination, she summoned all of her energy and sprang towards him, arms outstretched. She needed to intercept that message at all costs.

Her fingers brushed against the rough packaging of the parcel, when he suddenly changed directions and scaled the wall in a series of swift motions. Erza followed him, pushing herself up the wall with her momentum as her right foot slammed against the wall. Her fingers gripped the ledge at the top of the wall and she pulled herself up quickly but he was already halfway across the roof.

Fucking bastard. She growled audibly as he spared a glance backwards, giving her a cheeky wave. The air whipped through her hair and she chased him. It felt good, really good to be running, with the soles of her feet pounding against the hard ground, her heartbeat and rhythmic breathing echoing in her head, the adrenaline pulsing through her veins.

Her lips twisted into a half smirk and a half snarl as the man leapt over the gap between the two buildings easily. Leapt didn't describe it accurately though. He had in fact, performed two front flips on the roof before bridging the gap in a perfect arch. Twisting in mid air, he landed on his side, rolling over on his right shoulder and back onto his feet.

Without any hesitation, Erza jumped after him. Mystogan may be the new rookie amongst Fairy Tail's ranks but the easygoing man had already made a name for himself. He was very good at what he did. He had made the jump look almost effortless. But she was better and he was underestimating her, choosing to perform flashy tricks and expend unnecessary energy and waste precious seconds. He may have done all of that to send her a signal, to tell her that he thought he was better than her but if there was one thing Erza had, it was the skills to be the best. And oh, she was the best.

She slammed into the fire safety ladder on the building exterior, legs dangling but her grip held firm. Arms straining and grunting with the effort, she swung herself back and forth and hoisted herself up. He wasn't wasting any more time doing as many of his fancy flips and twists anymore. She grinned at the thought. So, he was finally taking her seriously.

Good. Erza Knightwalker liked a challenge.

With a few well-timed steps, Mystogan twisted up and over the banister and onto the lower roof. She in turn swung under a railing and down onto the balcony at the same time as him and she could hear him laugh. He slid across the ground, kicking up the dust and sand, and scrambled back to his feet. He charged towards the wall to his left and kicked off against it, bouncing higher and higher between the wall on his left and the one on his right until he reached the top and slid off the slanting glass windows of the building.

Erza smirked and veered to her right. She had another advantage on her side. Mystogan had taken the long way round because his muscular build would not allow him to fit through the shortcut, but with her frame, Erza was small enough to take that particular route. With one hand pressed against the handrail, she swung both legs over it and dropped down each level of the stairs in a zigzag pattern.

She remained hunched over the side of the exterior of the stairs on the first level, listening hard for his heavy footsteps. He was wearing boots instead of the lighter sneakers most Runners used. Erza wasn't sure if that was down to his idiocy or his arrogance but it didn't matter either way, she had already won the moment they had decided to send the rookie to finish the job.

4 years worth of hard work ruined because of one simple mistake.

She scoffed.

Idiots.

Fairy Tail had worked so hard to bring down Faust's tyrannical rule. They had managed to evade the Enforcers for 4 years, utilising people called "Runners" to send messages to other revolutionary guilds for fear of governmental interceptions and communication monitoring. They had managed to amass huge support amongst the people and amongst the guild factions dotted around Edolas in their bid to free their city and they had always been one step ahead of Faust and his men. That was until she had joined the ranks of the Enforcers.

Fairy Hunter, they called her, because she was the Enforcer with the best kill rate of Runners. It wasn't that she agreed with what Faust was doing or his methods, she merely preferred to change things from the inside. If she could gain his trust, then she could bring him down from within.

Soon, she mused to herself, soon she would be able to strike.

3…

2…

1…

Erza let go of the edge and dropped down, landing on top of Mystogan and sending them both crashing onto the ground. He shoved her off of him quickly, rolling onto his knees. She stood up, surprised that he was no longer running.

"So you've come to accept that you can't outrun me, can you Mystogan?"

He grinned behind his mask. She could see the amused glint twinkling in his eyes. "That's not true, Knightwalker. I just got tired of running away from you."

Erza held out a hand. "Give me the package, rookie, and I won't kill you."

Mystogan laughed easily. "Come on, you know I can't do that."

Her eyes searched his face, or at least what little could be seen of it. Seeing the laughter in his eyes, she took a step forwards threateningly. "You're naïve and stupid, boy. You don't belong in our world. So leave the package and I'll left you go."

His eyes melted into a dark brown at her words but she could still see the amusement flickering in them. "Sorry, no can do."

She closed the distance between them in two strides and lashed out with her fist. He dodged her initial strike easily but found himself parrying the quick succession of blows aimed at his head. Erza feinted a step to his right and he sent a fist flying her way. She shifted her weight slightly, pushing it out of the way and smashed her elbow against the side of his face. He stumbled backwards and a choked gasp escaped his lips. Shaking his head in an attempt to clear his blurring vision, he charged towards her. Moving at the last second, she pirouetted behind him and kicked him from behind. She smirked as he fell flat on his face.

His sudden laughter caused her to cast a skeptical look in his direction. Slowly, Mystogan got to his feet, brushing the dust off his shirt. "So, you are as good as they say."

"No," she shot back acerbically. "I'm better."

Mystogan hurtled towards her once more and she shifted her weight slightly. As he closed down on her, she dipped down, catching him on the shoulder with a left hook. He bore the brunt of the blow, his other hand reaching over and grabbing her by the arm. He flung her backwards, using his momentum to throw her in an arc, but she righted herself before she could smash into the wall. Using the wall as leverage, she leapt over his onrushing form and brought her leg up as he turned around, aiming for a crushing blow to the gut. He caught her leg and retaliated with a kick of his own, knocking the breath out of her.

She glared up at him as she fell down on one knee and he towered over her, hands in pockets, his leg still outstretched. So, that bastard had actually anticipated a fight and had sacrificed speed in return for destructive force by wearing heavy boots.

A smart move on his part, but his arrogance was going to cost him once again.

Her hand jerked upwards, catching him by surprise. The hidden blade flashed under the sunlight and she slashed upwards with the knife in a reverse handgrip. He howled as the knife sliced vertically upwards from his cheek across his right eye and he stumbled backwards blindly, one hand clawing at his face.

Erza rushed forwards to finish the job. She would take his life if it meant getting that package.

The blood streamed down his face, soaking his mask. In a fit of rage, he spun around, dragging his leg in mid air and landed a massive blow to the side of her head. Luckily, she managed to bring up both hands in time to cushion the blow. She rolled across the ground and stood up quickly.

He was breathing heavily, head bowed, arms shaking in fury. She didn't move, waiting for him to make the next move as he inhaled deeply and composed himself. Looking up with blood covering the right side of his face, or his eye at least, she could see all traces of playfulness and laughter had disappeared. She tensed as she observed his posture suddenly relax. He almost seemed…carefree.

Her eyes widened as she watched him reach up casually to pull off his mask and bandana and recognition dawned on her.

The distinctive colour of his hair…

"You're Jellal Fernandes," she breathed out in disbelief.

"And leader of Fairy Tail," he gave a mock bow. "Guilty as charged."

"But…but why? Isn't Faust your father?"

His fingers pressed against his right eye gingerly. "Adoptive father," he clarified. "Fuck, this is gonna leave a scar."

He mumbled something about getting a matching tattoo with someone or something but her head was spinning at the latest revelation and she gave it no further thought.

Faust's own son was trying to bring him down.

Jellal suddenly tossed the package to her and she nearly dropped it in her haste.

"What?"

He wiped the blood from his face, grimacing as a sudden pain shot through his eye. "This hurts like fuck, Knightwalker."

Erza fumbled with the package, ripping open the paper to find nothing but an empty box. "What the fuck?"

Jellal burst into laughter. "You expected something important?"

"Where's the message?" She spat out. "Where is it?"

He grinned maniacally and this time, she could see the madness burning in his eyes. "I am the message." He gestured at her. "You can't stop us, Knightwalker. We're going to bring Faust down sooner or later and you know it. You know the city is ours." Jellal stepped towards her, his smile widening. "I know you're not loyal to Faust. You're loyal to Edolas and you know that Edolas would be so much better off without that tyrant. So join us. Join us and help us take back the city."

"You can't bring down Faust," Erza shook her head sadly. "He's too powerful."

Jellal threw back his head and laughed. "He doesn't even know his own son is trying to overthrow him. Stop kidding yourself, Knightwalker. You know that it's just a matter of time. We're so close. Just a little more and I'll be able to complete my plan." He stared into her eyes. "You're the only missing piece."

She hesitated. It was true. Fairy Tail was really, really close. She knew it and Faust knew it.

"Erza."

Her head snapped up at the sound of her name.

"Join me, and I will show you Paradise."

She stared at his outstretched hand. Shakily, she took it, gripping it tightly. A smile formed on his lips and she pulled him forcefully towards her.

The blood splattered onto the ground as the knife lodged in his chest. He gasped, eyes wide in disbelief. She withdrew the knife with a sickening squelch and he slumped to the ground, coughing up blood.

"I'm surprised Fairy Tail managed to get this far with an imbecile like you as its leader."

Jellal collapsed onto the ground, the blood pooling around him. With the last of his strength, he reached into his pocket with shaking hands and pulled out a phone.

He looked up at her with laughing eyes. "Maybe it's because I'm just the messenger."

Erza knelt down beside him and took the phone.

"I'm guessing you're the real leader of Fairy Tail?"

The caller hung up.


"You called, sir?"

He could hear the man on the line fighting to keep his voice steady, "She killed him." Siegrain said softly, a barely concealed tremor in his voice.

There was a long pause on the other side of the line before he finally spoke.

"Understood."

The regular beeping signaled that he had hung up.


He stared at his phone, contemplating the unspoken order that had just been handed down by his leader. A gravelly voice pulled him out of his thoughts.

"Who was that on the phone?"

His hand rested on his waist. "Fairy Tail."

Faust looked alarmed. "What did they want?"

Lily looked up at Faust, face contorted in fury and grief as he pulled out his Glock and shot him point blank.

"Retribution."


Author's note:

1) Explanation

Parkour practitioners try to get from one place to another, often with many obstacles en route, using the fastest way possible. Free running is the same as parkour except that free runners like to incorporate a lot of tricks into their running, speed being a lesser priority.

The wall run is where you pretty much try to run up the wall. It's similar to going up the stairs. You plant one foot on the wall, like the tip of your toes, and push upwards rather than smashing into the wall. Push up and hoist yourself over it.

I think I'm going to go crazy if I have to watch any more parkour/free running videos for reference.

A reverse handgrip is where you hold the knife so that the blade is pointed downwards. Here, Knightwalker is holding the knife so that the edge of the blade is pointing outwards. That means it's good for defending yourself, particularly if you're fighting in close quarters because the reach isn't as far as a forward handgrip. It also means that you can bring up your arm and slash across. The Navy SEALs use this technique if I'm not mistaken.

2) Random thoughts

So this is my Mirror's Edge AU. This idea had a lot of potential to become a multi-chaptered fic but I couldn't afford to start yet another multi-chaptered fic so I condensed the entire story into a one-shot.

At first, my aim was to go for evil Jellal being the leader of Fairy Tail while masquerading as the happy-go-lucky, easygoing rookie runner Mystogan. The story was therefore supposed to end where Knightwalker shakes Jellal's hand and accepts his offer, but being the idiot I am, I decided to kill Jellal off, like in all of my other fics (why you guys are even surprised anymore is beyond me ahaha, Wolfy is a troll). The story was then supposed to end with Jellal dying and I guess Faust winning or whatever but then I really wanted to write something even crazier so I went with the whole "Sieg is actually the leader like what just happened?!". And then I added the whole Lily part (why do I keep adding stuff?) and so I screwed up the fic haha. I guess I haven't written pure action in so long that I can't really do it anymore. Romangst is my true calling.

Was also trying to go with Knightwalker practicing Wing Chun, which is a form of martial arts (actually developed by a woman) utilising speed rather than strength to fight and using someone else's strength against them. For Mystogan, I guess I was going with street fighting. Brute strength and the willingness to take hits in order to find an opening, kinda trying to go with the idea of doing whatever it takes to win. Or you could say it's kinda like Jeet Kune Do, which is all about adapting to fights because combat is unpredictable and spontaneous. Be like water hurr.

My thoughts don't even make sense to me anymore, I commend you for reading the entire A/N. Admirable effort indeed.