Everyone that had been in the guild swarmed around those that had shown up except for Ashley and Sheldon. Ashley was just staring at them, seemingly lost in space. Sheldon was torn between greeting them and staying back with Ashley. However, before he could make a choice a loud voice rang out.
"Where's Lucy? I need to go fight her for not sending us off and for not being here to welcome us back,"Natsu peered around the guild, searching for his partner,"And who are the two weirdos in the back?"
That announcement made the group somber up. Macao and the rest had solemn faces on and all seemed downtrodden.
"Natsu, I don't know how to tell you this,"Macao started.
"What do you mean? Did she quit Fairy Tail? I'll just have to go and drag her back!"
"Natsu, she's dead." With that, the group that had come back reeled back and started firing off questions. Macao held up his hands to stem them off and he sat down, a heavy look on his face.
"Some ministers found her dead in front of the cathedral after you had probably had left. They said it looked like she had jumped and shattered her neck and head. She wasn't supposed to be back from her mission until a few days later though. Once the council was done questioning and analyzing everything, we had to make funeral arrangements. We were going to bury her out in the cemetery but her dad came and buried her in Alychpha. We don't know what happened to him, but he hasn't spoken to us for a long time." The guild was silent for a long, long time. Finally, the silence was broken with the sound of tears and that broke the floodgates.
Ashley was staring at the bar, her eyes glued to it. She wanted to say something but she knew it wasn't the right time or place. Sheldon looked at her deeply, knowing the conflict that rested on her and he laid his paw on her shoulder.
"To Lucy," someone declared, holding up their index and thumb finger. Soon everyone was doing it, with tears down their faces. "May she finally be in the stars."
Hours later, the guild had finally seemed to calm down. Team Natsu and Levy were in the corner talking about all her shenanigans with the other guild mates weighing in.
"Remember when she ran into the guild, screaming her head off because Gray had frozen her pipes, Natsu had burst them by unfreezing them and then Erza sliced them in order to stop the leak? Hahaha!"
Ashley shook her head, as she listened to all of the crazy parts. Sheldon was currently talking to Pantherlily as he was the only exceed still here. Mira was working behind the bars alongside Kinana. The newly reappointed master sat on the far end.
"So who is new addition to our family? What's your name," he inquired. She didn't reply but looked at Kinana for help.
"Her name is Ashley, she's a mage although she won't tell what kind of mage, and she will rarely talk to anyone else. She's really shy and she's a wizard saint," Kinana winked as she said that last part. Ashley could feel all the eyes on her when they heard those two words. Wizard saint.
The master stared intently at her and she started to sweat. Having so many eyes on her always made her nervous. Doing the trials was already bad enough, let alone all the staring that with it. She usually kept her sigil on the inside of her cloak, that way she wouldn't constantly be looked at for it.
"So you're a wizard saint huh? Think you could take me on,"an arrogant voice to her left sounded. She turned and came face to face with Laxus. His face was looking at her very arrogantly and her hands started shaking. Slapping the counter repeatedly, she got Sheldon's and Kinana's attention. Sheldon ran over and pointed his stubbly fingers at Laxus.
"You leave her alone! She could beat you in two hits if she wanted! She's the best at a lot of magic and could kick your ass any day, any time no matter what. Now you better back off or else I'm going to fight you!" Sheldon's face turned a shade of blue as he continued to yell. A couple pieces of paper was slapped on the counter. Ashley silently thanks Kinana, grabbed the papers, grabbed Sheldon and ran off.
"What was that,"Laxus was stupefied.
"Ashley doesn't do too well with human interaction and that little exceed that was yelling at you was Sheldon. They're both stuck with each other and I just sent her off to some super easy jobs. She could probably kick your ass Laxus but she'd be too nervous about actually having to interact with guild mates she'd just die from it. She's been here for only two years and yet she helped us immensely so we put up with her quirks. I'm just glad she won't have to go the games ," Kinana turned and threw away the beers that had been there.
"Games, what game?" Mira's voice piped up.
"Oh that's right, it was a year after you guys had left before they begun. So every year there are these magical games where any guild can compete. The games are different each time and whoever wins is declared the top guild in Fiore," she replied simply.
"So what rank is Fairy Tail? I bet it's number one." Natsu's voice finally piped in.
"No, we're not even in the top ten. Probably near the bottom in a top 100."
"What!" The whole guild's voice rang out.
"Now now my children, there's no need to concern ourselves with rankings and that nonsense. As long as we have this guild and each other, it will be enough," Master's calm voice rang out across the room.
"There's also a 300,000 jewel reward for the winner as well," Macao offered.
"300,000 jewels?! Well, count us in! We'll do this for Lucy!" Master added the second part very quietly, "and for any damages done that I still have to pay."
"When is the tournament happening?" inquired Levy.
"In about 4 months." Kinana replied, a mischievous look in her eye.
"Alright brats, move out!" With that people rushed home to pack and to go train for the tournament.