Chapter 28: Feelings

"General Arcadios?" Lisanna announced in surprise.

"Yukino?" Lucy was in complete shock at seeing her fellow celestial mage.

"It seems like my research is correct. To defeat Zeref, we must first capture Acnologia." The knight stated with confidence.

"What?" Lisanna looked at the man in confusion. "What connection does Zeref have to Acnologia?"

"Also, what is the army brass doing down here?" Gray questioned.

Yukino looked at Lucy before smiling at her. "It is good to see you again, Lucy."

"Yukino…what are you doing here?"

"I am now a part of the same army unit as General Arcadios here."

"But…what about Sabertooth?" Lucy asked.

Yukino looked down towards the ground. "I…was kicked out from the guild."

''What? For what reason?" Gajeel added in.

"I…was too weak and lost my match against the mage from Mermaid Heel," the girl answered.

"You lost ONE match, and they just kicked you out?" the blond celestial mage was irritated that a guild kicked one of the mages out for such a simple mishap.

"…Sabertooth's main idea of the perfect guild is the focus of strength or power. Once someone does not live up to that idea of power, they are deemed unfit to be in the guild."

"I think the only weak ones are them. No one should ever be kicked from a guild regardless of their strength," Lisanna stated.

Yukino, who was caught off guard from the sympathy and understanding from Fairy Tail, gave a small smile.

"As much as I hate to ruin this tender moment you all are having, we have a more epidemic on our hands." Arcadios interrupted.

"You still have yet to tell us what this big plan of yours is," Lisanna spoke. "Why don't you start with that first before we tag along with you."

"Lisanna Strauss. I must say, your bout against Sabertooth's dragon slayers was amazing. You may not be an original dragon slayer, but you sure know how to fight like one." The man complimented to the white-haired woman.

"As much as I appreciate the comment, flattery won't get you everywhere. So…just tell us already why you're here." Lisanna spoke with annoyance.

"Very well." Arcadios agreed and cleared his throat. "We need the power of a celestial mage to help in this plan. That is why we asked Sargent Yukino to aid us."

"What?" Lucy questioned. "What do you need celestial magic for?"

"To stop the apocalypse from happening once more." The cryptic response from the knight caused the fairy mages to stare in angst. "Perhaps you should follow me," Arcadios turned on his heel and walked away. A moment of hesitation loomed over the mages as they shared glances. With no other choice, they followed in silence.

The group found their way out the tunnels and back into civilization. They eventually found themselves walking in a familiar giant palace.

"Wait…are we in-" Lucy asked.

"The Royal Palace. Yes."

"Are we even allowed to enter,"

"As long as you do nothing wrong, you'll be fine," Arcadios stated. He stopped walking and turned to face the group of mages. "First off, I would like to apologize for the attempted kidnapping of Lucy Heartfilia a few days ago."

"What?!" The group shouted in surprise.

"That was you?!" Lisanna growled at the man.

"Please understand that I didn't mean any harm. At the time, I was in such a hurry to acquire a celestial mage; I made a hasty decision. Time was of the essence. You see, the Grand Magic Games was a sort of disguise…to obtain a great amount of magic from various wizards from around the kingdom. Enough magic to help a certain project get off its feet." He began walking once more.

"Have you been doing this every year?" Gajeel asked with curiosity.

"Making a good first impression, Arcadios," Lisanna snarled.

"Feel free to say whatever you wish, but…the eclipse project must happen in order the save the human race." As the group continued to walk, they came across a massive flight of stairs that lead to an underground passage. Venturing down the stairs, they walked inside a large room. Inside stood a giant door like some relic from a long-forgotten civilization.

"That is ONE big door…" Gajeel looked at the door with angst.

"When the sun and moon intersect, the power of the twelve keys shall open the door. We will open the door and travel back to the past, to the days of old…and defeat Zeref before he could obtain immortality. That is the purpose of the Eclipse Project.

The mages looked at each other with faces of shock. They stared at the door with denial.

"T-travel back in time…"

"Lucy-sama, I heard that time flows differently in the celestial spirit world. Is that correct?" Yukino asked her fellow celestial mage.

"That's true, but…"

"We need the help of a celestial mage to use the dimensional boundary line of the celestial world to open the door."

"Originally, we were going to substitute a celestial mage with pseudo-magic, but with the power of the twelve zodiac keys, a celestial mage was essential for this project." Arcadios walked towards the door. "When the sun and moon intersect. In three days. July 7th, the fated day."

The mention of the date caught the attention of the dragon mages.

"July 7th…" Lisanna muttered.

"The same day, our dragons vanished…" Wendy spoke with her head towards the ground.

"This isn't some coincidence…right?"

"Hold on…do you think this is a good idea?" Lisanna questioned.

"Ms. Strauss?"

"Your planning to travel back in time and completely re-write history as we know it. Zeref made an impact on not only the magic world but in history as a whole. By preventing him from obtaining immortality, what change do you think that will have on the magic world."

"Skepticism is a natural feeling, Ms. Strauss," Arcadios said.

"No, its simple logic." The take over mage countered. "Disrupting time should automatically raise red flags. Even in fictional literature, time travel is not something humans should abuse. The events of the past have shaped the world into what it is now. Are you prepared to upset the balance of nature itself?" Both Lisanna and Arcadios shared an intense stare-off.

The other mages looked at the two with angst. The atmosphere grew heavy as silent conflict waged between stares.

"That's far enough!" The sound of several footsteps came running towards the group of mages as members of the royal army surrounded the group.

"Hey, what's going on?!" Gray barked.

Members of the royal guard pointed their weapon at the surrounded mages. "I would like to ask you to come with us quietly, General Arcadios." A voice from behind the army. Some men moved to the side to allow a familiar figure to walk through.

"Defense Minister Darton! What is the meaning of this?" Arcadios questioned.

"That is the question I should be asking you, General," Darton countered. The small man walked closer to the group. "This plan is top secret. For you to leak discrete information to outsiders is an outrage."

"They are not outsiders! You know how much of a crucial role these people play in-"

"That is not a decision you take upon yourself to make!" Darton yelled.

"Don't act so humble and concerned. You're only doing this because you oppose this plan."

"Of course, I oppose this plan!" The minister opposed at the top of his voice. "You plan to alter history as we know it. Do you not understand the dangers of doing that, you idiot?"

Arcadios clenched his teeth.

"I understand why you're doing this, but think about this. What if Zeref was meant to achieve immortality? What if stopping from gaining immortality could do more damage to the world. The consequences are too great to play gamble with!" All the group did was stare in silent as the Darton chewed out the knight. "General Arcadios, I at this moment place you under arrest for suspicion of treason against the Kingdom of Fiore! Arrest Yukino Agria And Lucy Heartfilia as well!"

"What?!" Gray was quick to get defensive.

"What?! What did I do?" Lucy yelled.

Several army members grabbed the girls, and forcibly restrained them.

"What are you doing?!" Lucy squirmed in the clutches of the guards.

"Let me go!" Yukino protested.

One of the guards turned to Darton. "Sir, what do we do with the rest of the party?"

"Eject them from the castle. They are free to go." The guards proceeded to escort the mages out of the castle.

"Darton, you bastard!" Arcadios cursed as he was taken away.

Within a minute, the mages found themselves outside the back end of the castle. Minister Darton had accompanied the knights. There was one final thought thing to say to the mages. "Please keep in mind that these are not my wishes. I do this for the sake of the nation…but…let me give you one piece of advice. His Majesty has taken a liking to Fairy Tail. If you were to win the Grand Magic Games, you would receive an audience with the King himself. He is a big-hearted man. Convince him to be lenient with your friend. So… best be on your best behavior, Fairy Tail." Darton turned his back towards the mages as he walked away. The mages said nothing, only staring at the back of the small man as he disappeared from their sight.

July 5th. - The day before the final Grand Magic Games Event

Back at the Honeybone Lodge, the group began to explain what happened.

"Lucy's been arrested by the royal army?" Erza stared in surprise. "And even charged as a collaborator in some strange project?"

"Doesn't seem right to lump her with the other suspects just because she was asked for help," Laxus stated. "So what's the deal? We simply need to win the games to get Lucy back?"

"That's what we were told at least. I don't think we can believe what the old man said." Gray said.

Erza turned to Makarov. "Master? What's your take on this?"

"Hm." Makarov stroked his chin. "Going up against the Kingdom is suicide without a well-executed plan, but at the same time, we can't ignore this. I doubt they will hurt one of their citizens. Until this…Eclipse plan is completely shut down, they'll simply keep her as a hostage."

"By the way, guys. I know it may not be important in the grand scheme of things, but did you find what exactly what this plan is for?"

The group froze at the questioner. They each shared a stare at caught the S-class mages' attention.

"…I guess that means you did found something?" Mira raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, …unfortunately…we did…" Lisanna began to explain the Eclipse Plan. The mages stayed silent.

"What?! To travel back in time?" Erza stared wide eyes.

"Is that even possible?" Laxus rose an eyebrow. He stood up from the wall he was leaning on.

"Dragons, the literal definition of mythical creatures, did and still exist in this world. I don't think time travel is the most impossible thing to exist." Lisanna said.

"Yeah…but to completely go back in time and re-write history…"

"That Arcadios really seemed adamant about making the plan work. He really thinks that preventing Zeref from gaining immortality would make things for the better for not only the magic world but for the sake of humanity as well."

"But according to legend, Zeref has sealed away. Going by that, he has no influence in the world right now."

"Yeah, but…it seems Zeref influence runs deeper than just being a mere legend. "It seems another reason for Arcadios enforcing this plan…was due to Zeref…having some form of connection to Gods…"

Makarov and the other S-class mages stared at Lisanna with silence. Their eyes shook with disbelief. Beads of sweat trailed down their cheeks. The mages who first learned about the reveal, looked towards the ground. Understanding what was told was too much for anyone to handle.

"A connection…to the Gods…" Mira muttered in denial.

"How is that even possible…"

"You know what, I take it back. Time travel can exist in this world. THAT is just simply ridiculous!" Laxus argued. "Despite his immortality, Zeref was still human. How can anyone have a connection to divine beings?!

"From what you explained, Lisanna, the Dragons, are the ones who played a role in our history. What role did the Gods play in all this?" Makarov questioned.

As if they communicated through telepathy, Lisanna's group swore not to tell them the truth about the Gods' participation in the festival. "We not sure. We don't know if the Gods actually played any part of this event. All it stated was that Zeref has some connection to them. Maybe that's where the immortality came from," Deep in her core, she knew what she was going to say next was not going to sit well. "But above all, it seems the one who is the true key to this whole war and the secret of the dragons…is Natsu."

Shock struck the mages once again. Whether it was the mention of the man's name or the fact has some connection to everything.

"W-what?" Erza stuttered.

"He…what?" Laxus struggled to make a proper sentence.

Knowing some form of explanation was in order, Gajeel walked forward. "As much as we would like to tell you…we really don't know ourselves."

"The hell does that mean? You're the one who brought it up?!" Laxus retorted.

Wendy joined Gajeel. "We don't know exactly how, but underneath the coliseum laid an entire graveyard of dragons." The master and S-class mages' eyes stretched in shock. "Using one of the sacred techniques my mother created, I was able to talk to one of the spirits of the dead, a dragon named Zirconis. He was the one that told us about the Dragon King Festival, but for some reason…the moment Lisanna mentioned Natsu's name…he instantly froze and stunned."

"Again, we don't completely understand what that means, but Natsu has to have some connection to all this."

Makarov went deep into thoughts. 'Maybe that would explain the black flames. Still, none of this adds up.'

"Well, either way, let's not bring up 'that' again," Laxus commented.

Lisanna clearly not okay with the insult, glared at the Laxus. "Laxus, stop it!"

The lightning mage simply narrowed his eyes. "Lisanna, you saw what happened."

"That was unnecessary. Natsu is still our friend. Our guildmate," Lisanna talked back.

"Laxus," Makarov called his Grandson's name. "And this goes for everyone else. If you don't have anything nice to say about Natsu…then don't say anything at all." He said sternly.

"But, Master-"

"I will not hear it, Mira!" the small guild master raised his voice. The mages stared at him. "I will not tolerate anyone belittling him. Yes…I can admit I was taken back by Natsu's sudden change, but…not even he deserves what the world has done to him." Makarov tightened his fist. "Natsu didn't ask for the Flames of Darkness. He didn't ask to suffer the way he did. Fate dealt him a losing hand, and even when the cards gave him an advantage, it was guaranteed he still lose."

Makarov stood up and jumped down from the counter he was sitting on. "To be forced to bare a power, even the gods would fear…that in itself is hell…but then…the change and become someone you never wanted to become…how do think he felt when he saw the destruction he caused." His fist clenched. Remembering what Conner told him about Natsu's past before the Flames of Darkness awaken still struck him emotionally.

'Master…' Lisanna stared at Makarov with concern.

The Master sighed as he collected himself. "As much as I want to find Natsu and show you he's not the monster he is…we have a more prominent issue on our hands. One of our family members has been taken prisoner unjustly. Our first priority is to rescue Lucy." Makarov walked closer to the group of mages. "Now usually we always go in without a thought out plan, but as I said, going up against the Kingdom without a careful, thoughtful plan is suicide. However, we're not so cowardly to stay silent about this, are we…?"

While every mage looked at Makarov as he declared his answer to Lucy's arrest, Lisanna was lost in her own thoughts. The pain was visible on her face as she held her arm on her hand. Her feelings did not go unnoticed by her older sister. Without disturbing Makarov, Mira took Lisanna by the arm and took her outside.

"I know this is hard for you, Lisanna…" Mira spoke softly. Lisanna simply stared at her oldest sibling. "If you want to sit this out, I understand. To be honest, I wish we all could take a break after what happened."

"That's exactly why I can't back down now," Lisanna countered. "After all that's happened, I can't leave Natsu the way he is…"

"I don't want you near him, Lisanna!" Mira sternly spoke. "

You have no idea how much pain he's in. His friends…us…his own child…turned against him." The story of his family Conner told kept replaying in her mind.

"Lisanna, he's dangerous. He nearly killed us! He actually succeeded in killing his guild master!"

"And did Master Victor have any form of hate or despair in his final moments. I don't understand…why none of you can see what I'm trying to show you."

"I…I just want to protect you, Lisanna!" Mira raised her voice. "I don't want to lose the only family I have left…"

"And I don't want to lose Natsu as well!" The youngest take-over mage raised her voice with a single tear falling from her eye. "I know you were scared of what Natsu had turned into, even I was not sure what to make of the situation…" The words of Natsu used to describe both his situation and his self-loathing. "But I can…the pain he puts himself through." Lisanna pointed to her older sister. "You of all people should know, Mira-nee…to be hated for a power you had no control over."

Mira's eyes widened. That fateful day when a demon attacked. The beast that claimed the life of the parents of the Strauss siblings. The dreadful roar of the creature struck fear into the souls of those that yet to become its victims. Being the first of her siblings to discover her latent magical power, she owed it to not only her late parents but to herself to protect the little family she had left. She used her newfound power to assist her village in killing the demon. Her reward? Being accused of being a monster. She was Stoned and chased out the town, all the while only being thirteen years old.

"Both of you have so much in common that it frustrates me that you still look at Natsu in the way you do. Both you share a power you view as a curse. A curse that made those around you fear you." Trying to calm herself down, Lisanna ran her hand through her hair. "Maybe I just see things the way I do just because…I still love him, but maybe if you were in love, then you would perhaps see where I'm coming from.

Mira looked away from her sister. Her hand on her dress tightened. She was in love. Or at least…she was once in love. In love with the same man, her little sister was in love with. Seeing the man alive after being 'dead' for seven years ignited a particular fire in her very core, but it seemed the flame was put out by the winds that Natsu's sudden change brought in.

'What is it…what are you able to see what I can't…' the oldest Strauss sibling questioned her better judgment.

"Mira-nee, you are my big sister. I love you, no matter what. After all the sacrifices you made for Elfman and me, I will always respect you and will always be grateful for what you've done. This time, however, I'm doing things on my own. If you want to help me, then, by all means, please stay by my side, but if you not, then I kindly ask you to stay out of my way." Lisanna placed her fist over her heart as she spoke with confidence and assurance. "I'm going to save Natsu."

Her sister's resolve caused Mira to stare with wide eyes. She had never seen such determination from her in her life. Strong-willed and confident, maybe, but her dedication to the situation with Natsu had surprised the woman.

Lisanna turned on her heel and walked away.

Mira reached out for her sister, her hand nowhere near her to touch her. She held her arm in frustration. As the oldest sister, she wanted to make sure her family was safe at all costs. What was stopping her from preventing Lisanna from going through with a possible suicidal plan to help the man that nearly killed her friends.

"Lisanna…why can't you just listen to me... I'm trying to protect you…" Mira muttered to herself.

Maybe the thought of Natsu plagued her mind. She kept telling herself she gave up on Natsu, to no avail, however. She still loved Natsu. The internal struggle comes from the dark side of Natsu.

That very night, all the competing members and S-class mages kept to themselves. Wondering and think of what the next day would bring to them.

Gray was alone near the edge of town. He wore a calm but frustrated expression on his face as he walked through the nearby park. The man leaned over the fence on a small bridge and stared at his reflection through the ripples in the water in the pond the bridge stood over. He hated Natsu. He loathed Natsu. Betrayal was always the worst thing that could happen. One would think that Natsu would be the last person to commit such an act.

"Damn you…you traitorous bastard." The ice mage growled. Like some form of illusion, images of the dragon mage appeared within the tiny waves of water produced by the gentle summer breeze. That stupid grin of his that sunk its way into anyone's heart. The good times they had with the man was too memorable to forget.

"RAHHHH!" In a rage, Gray used his magic and froze a large section of the pond, not wanting to see the images any longer. He didn't want to see the former shell of his best friend. His fist tightened as he stared at the ice sculpture, his magic created.

Erza sat alone in the park. Leaning on the tree. Her eyes trembled with guilt and confusion. The swordswoman punched the tree behind her out of rage. On the verge of tears, she clenched her teeth.
"We're family. We're supposed to be family…Natsu…why would you do this…why would you attack our family?" His animalistic face, teeth seething with rage, a thirst for blood. She remembered it all. She remembered her close encounter with death at the hands of her best friend.

But at the same time, she remembered his face of guilt and sorrow, the face of pain as he fought back against the darkness the plagued him. Wanting his friends to run to safety, knowing full well that he would have lashed out at anyone who was near him.

"You didn't mean it…Natsu…yet…why can't I see it…"

The dragon slayers kept thinking about the history of their magic. Their existence in the world probably shaped not only the magic world but the history of the planet itself. The whole night, they thought about their fellow dragon mage.

They knew how lost Natsu was. The guilt that weighed on his shoulders. They wanted to help, but what were they able to do? The man was practically in a whole other league. What were two mages with the powers of mortal creatures going to do against the divine power that even the strongest of gods feared?

Wendy sat alone on her bed, hugging her legs. With the only one on her team in the room, she was left alone in her thoughts. "Natsu-san…I feel so worthless….as if I failed you…" Staring out into the night sky, the women hoped some answer would just fall from the stars.

Gajeel had made his way to the roof of the lodge building. His usually calm demeanor still present, but now thinking about what was discovered. The reason for dragon slaying magic, the existence of the gods and how the world came to be from their influence. "Salamander…" he said to himself. "Heh, in some way, shape or form, you still find a way to outclass me…jeez, I feel angry." His fist clenched. "At least, not for you surpassing me, but…the for feeling like I failed you in some way." The black-haired dragon mage stared into the night sky. "Just wait, Salamander. I'll bring you back where you belong…even if I have to knock you out…

Lisanna cradled into the blankets in her bed. Both Wendy and Happy were already sound asleep, but the silver-haired mage wasn't able to follow suit. All she could think about were the words that Master Makarov spoke.

"What Natsu needs…is a companion. Not a Savior."

"What did you mean by that, Master?" The woman rose from her bed and walked over to the window. Basking in the warm moonlight.

It was imperative they save Lucy, but finding and helping Natsu was also a necessity. After finding out what he went through within the past five years couldn't be ignored. The entire world was basically going against him. For what reason? For simply existing? There had to be something that she can do to help him.

The young woman looked outwards towards the city. A feeling of assurance came over her. No matter what she felt, she had two friends that needed her help.

"Lucy, Natsu. Hang on. We're coming to save you, Both of you."

The Royal Palace – Prison cell area

Lucy examined the cell bars. Looking to see if there was a way to break free. She sighed in defeat. "Can't do anything without my keys," she stated in frustration. She slumped next to the nearest wall. Tucking her legs to her chest. She looked over to Yukino. Sulking in the same position as her face buried in her knees.

"Hey, it could be worse," said the blonde woman.

"There's no way for us to escape. Besides, …who would be crazy enough to try to break out of the capital?"

Lucy laughed sheepishly. She knew full well who would be crazy (or stupid) enough to storm the royal castle.

A few moments of silence passed between the girls before the white-haired woman spoke. "Must be nice…to have a family…"


"You seem happy…being with them…your guild."

The fairy mage was taken aback by Yukino's statement. "Yeah. They're a crazy bunch, that guild of mine…"

"I…used to have a family too," Yukino stated. "My older sister Sorano…Whatever I did, I was clumsy and careless. I was always making my parents angry. Sometimes I wonder if they even cared about me. Sorano was always protecting and defending me."

"Used to…?" the past tense of the word caught Lucy's attention.

"Our village was attacked by a group of blind Zeref worshippers. They burned down the whole village and killed anyone who didn't want to follow them in their religion. I escaped, but I don't know if Sorano was able to." She turned her head towards Lucy. "That's why. We need to complete the Eclipse Plan. To defeat Zeref. I want to avenge my sister. If Zeref never existed…then my sister would…" The woman stopped herself before she lost control of her emotions.

Lucy simply looked at Yukino with eyes of sympathy.

'Zeref's very existence has affected the world, …but would changing the past really good for the future?"

The next day…July 6th

"It's here at last!" Chapati screamed into the mic. The last day of the Grand Magic Games! No matter what happens, a winner will be crowned today!" The audience erupted in excitement. "In charge of commenting will be I, Chapati, as well as the former magic council member, Yajima!" The ex-governor introduced himself. "And with me is our special guest, Mato, the official mascot of the Grand Magic Games!" the mascot waved at the audience. "Now its time to introduce the teams! Everyone, please help introduce our combatants!"

Just as the introductions were about to start, a member of the tournament staff walked up to the judges. New information had surfaced.

"What?! Phoenix Wing and Crimson Claw dropped out at the last minute?!"Chapati questioned.

"One of Pheonix Wing's S-class mages came earlier and told us himself. Conner Valentine I believe was his name," the staff member informed. "As for Crimson Claw, the entire guild is missing in action. Even their guild master is nowhere to be found."

"There may be some link between Crimson Claw and the incident Lahar investigated yesterday," Yajima concluded. 'And if my hunch is correct, Fairy Tail had some involvement as well.' he thought.

Finally gathering the information, Chapati cleared his throat. "Attention everyone! Due to a last-minute update both Crimson Claw and the current first place holder, Phoenix Wing have dropped out of the tournament. A collection of groans and anger spread throughout the arena. "We apologize for the upset, everyone. Despite this though, we guarantee that the rest of the guild will bring their A-game. So chin up everyone. We have some high energy and action-packed fights coming up! Make some noise everyone! the mood of the spectators changed immediately as they screamed at the top of their lungs. The first guild entered the ring.

"In 6th place with 15 points, Quatro Puppy!" The all-male team ran out into the field. "With them treading behind the other teams in last place, can they make a massive comeback?!" Despite their position, the men still put on a face of confidence.

"They will, however, have to get place the holders of 5th place, Blue Pegasus!" the mages walked onto the field; the male mages smiling and blowing kisses towards the females in the audience.

"In 4th place, Lamia Scale!" The team lead by Lyon walked onto the field.

"Holding 3rd place firmly, the beauty of the magic world, Mermaid Heel!" The team of female mages led by Kagura gracefully made their way towards the field. The male members of the audience whistled and cat-called towards them. The girls only bathed in the attention, expect Kagura, who paid no mind to the stupidity.

"Now in 2nd place with 45 points, the strongest guild in the kingdom. After taking a shocking loss at the hands of what once considered the weakest guild, I know everyone is eager to see them regain the footing. Please welcome Sabertooth!" The still fan favorite guild walked out. Leading them was Minerva.

Sting, who was wearing a new black and white outfit, was looking upset and confused about something.

"And now, for the moment we've all been waiting for! In 1st place, please welcome, the new fan-favorite guild and the previous holder of the title 'strongest guild…' Fairy Tail!" the competing fairy mages walked with confidence, lead by Erza.

What through everyone off was that the current lineup of the mages. Lisanna was no longer present and was instead replaced by Juvia.

"Oh, what happened to the dragon lady?" One of the audience members commented.

"It seems like they had a roster switch."

"Well, it seems like Fairy Tail has switched the new fan-favorite Lisanna, but we know that Ms. Juvia can bring one hell of a show." Chapati hyped up the audience.

"Do your best, Juvia…" Makarov had hope for the water mage.

Something was off about Fairy Tail that didn't go unnoticed by the only sharpest of eyes, main those related to the magic council. Yajima saw the uneasiness in the eyes of the supporting mages, knowing full well what happened the day prior; what happened to He could tell the mages were keeping up appearance.

'Something tells me that Lisanna may have been taken out of the team for other reasons…' Following Fairy Tail's past of ridiculous stunts, he came to a conclusion very quickly. He sighed inwardly. 'This may be your craziest stunt yet, but I hope you achieve your end goal…Fairy Tail…'

In the stands, Mavis looked towards Makarov, "I hope you planned this through, Third."

"Even if we win, we cannot trust the words of the Minister. Going forward with only one strategy against THIS enemy would be rather foolish on our part. That's why we use a two-front approach." The small old man stated.

Deep within the city, a group consisting of Lisanna, Mira, Wendy, and the exceeds running towards the castle.

'Lucy, we're coming…' Lisanna thought to herself.

Makarov hoped his plan worked out on both ends. "I leave this in your hands, my brats," Makarov knew his mages would succeed.

Deep in the mountain outside of the city, isolated from almost most signs of life, Natsu was standing over the edge of a cliff. He stood silent, his hair blowing in the howling wind. His eyes, almost void of light. Salamander looked down towards his hand. The very hand that not only took his Father-in-Law's life but also drew blood from his daughter. The man fell to his knees, the memory of his malicious actions brought emotional pain. His hand dug into the ground. His super strength allowing his hands to sink into the ground.

"What have I done?" he spoke to himself. "I killed Crimson Claw, Master Victor. I nearly murdered Akiza…all my friends that tried to stop me. All my horrendous actions and yet…" The man started to see images of Lisanna in his mind. The look of concern and worry she gave him. "She never hated me, …like…" Natsu could not mutter his Wife's name.

"Hehehe…" In his mind, the atmosphere darkened around him. His subconscious submerged in a black abyss. The laughter of Ardious kept lingering in his mind. "Look at you…groveling and drowning in your self-pity."

"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" The Dragon God mage screamed at the nightmare mage's taunting voice.

"You see, Natsu? Humans fear what they don't understand. No one knows the pain you went through. Eradicating these fowl creatures can only benefit you…"

"No…I won't become a murderer…"

"You already have, Natsu. You killed your wife and unborn child. You killed your Father-in-Law. You slaughtered the only real family you've ever had. Your hands have already soaked in blood."

Then suddenly, that sinister laughing was replaced with the screams of pain and agony. Men and women letting out ear-piercing screams. Children's cries of fear rang around him.

"Natsu no!" a familiar female voice caught the man's attention. His eyes widened as he saw Erza being choked to death after being beaten within an inch of her life.

"Erza! Erza, no!" Natsu tried to run to her. Just as he got close to the woman, she and the hand choking her vanished into thin air.

"Stop, Natsu!" the dragon mage turned around to see Gray stumbling back and falling to the ground. An image of himself walked towards before impaling the ice mage with his hand.

"Gray!" The dragon mage fell to his knees as he screamed his friend's name. He gripped to his head in anger. "Stop…I don't want to see this…"

"Ahhh!" Natsu whipped his head see Lucy was cowering before a scaled clawed hand came down on her. Blood flew everywhere as her screaming died out.

Natsu stared silently, everyone he loved, slain by his hand. His hands were soiled in the blood of his friends. As he looked down to see his hands, the blood-soaked hands of a killer, he began to hyperventilate. "RAAAAH!" In a rage, he began clawing at the black air around him. His screaming grew louder. His arm swings growing more violent. "Begone…BEGONE! LEAVE ME ALONE!"

In his flailing, Natsu lost his balance and fell to his face-first on the ground. When he came to, he observed his surroundings. He was back in the mountains…or at least escaped from the guilt that haunted him. His hands cleaned of his family's 'blood,' but the not the image of what could have happened if not for the sacrifice Master Victor made. Salamander dropped his head in shame. Burying his face in his hands, he breathed heavily. He wanted to scream into the sky. He wished he could to undo everything that had happened. He wanted to cry, but he couldn't bring himself to.

"Master...Lisanna…Akiza…please…forgive me, …please…forgive me…"

Far off on Tenrou Island, a black-haired man stood, gazing out into the open sea. The wind blew through his care. His black cape flapped in the wind.

"So…it seems that you as well….have experienced the truth about humanity. The only question now is…what, will you do now, Natsu?" the man said. "Your scars of pain run deep…and the one who caused it…is the very being who raised you…"

(To Be Continued…)

Hey everyone! Angel here. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I'm very sorry for the nearly year-long hiatus. Unfortunately, outside typical school issues, I seemed to be cursed to always have, a family member was constantly in and out of the hospital all summer, their health was my utmost priority. I'm sorry for not saying anything for the longest time, but everything just became too overwhelming. They are definitely in a better place, but even now, taking care of them is still a priority.

Sorry if the chapter felt lackluster. I wanted to specifically focus on the characters and their current feeling on the situation before any type of fighting occurred.

I will definitely make sure that the next chapter doesn't have a nearly as year-long gap.

That's all for now. See you all next chapter.