Light Casts a Shadow

Meaning of Birth

Flowers of all sorts of colors were blooming in the scenic town of Alterrassia. A young girl, with light blue hair, rushed through the city.

Her heart was pounding as she soared past the old church building.

Her small legs were screaming in protest as they tried to catch up to her quick pace.

Her sorrow and regret and loneliness were eaten away by one emotion—rage.

"It would be a shame if she were to lose this…" A childishly feminine voice laughed as the sound echoed in her ears.

Don't you dare.

"I wouldn't want to make poor Yukino all upset…" The voice sounded sympathetic, but there was a small twisted joy hidden within the words.

Her amber-brown eyes filled with glass tears. Her anger and resolve had reached its peak.

"She'd be completely devastated!"

Yukino was speeding up the stone stairs, not even slowing down for her own safety. Adrenaline pumped in her veins, making her heart beat irregularly. She swiftly climbed up the steps with a boost of speed.


Yukino had never been so angry or desperate before, in her whole life. For a sickening moment, just as she finally reached the top of the cliff, she froze. That girl, Eliza, was holding her blue rose hairpin over the sheer drop.

She tightly clenched her fists. Eliza… she may be psychotic, but she was taller, faster, and probably a bit older than her.

"Oh look, the freak finally showed up~"

"Please… give it back!" Yukino pleaded, "I'll do anything you want—it's very important to me!"

Eliza laughed bitterly in reply. The lunatic had her grimy hands on the dying flower, gripping it with a wide, toothy smile and a sinister gleam in her eye.

"Oh… I understand. In that case, you can have it back, right away—whoops!" Eliza said sarcastically as she dropped the pin from the enormous height.

Time seemed to slow down as Yukino watched her hairpin fall from the ledge. Her heart started pounding madly.




Her body reacted by itself. With strength and courage that Yukino never knew she had, she smacked Eliza who gasped in surprise for her speed and fell to the ground, clutching at her cheek. The height was briefly forgotten in the chaos and Yukino dove off the cliff, reaching for the blue rose pin.

Almost… got it…

Yukino was falling down the thousand-foot drop, reaching for her pin. The hairpin was right below her—its blue rose petals flowing gently in the wind—just within her range. Even though she could die from falling at this height, her mind was set on focusing on one thing: She wouldn't lose her sister a second time.

She thrust her hands in front of her and caught the fragile flower. She heaved a sigh of relief and hugged the blue rose pin for warmth. As she was falling from the sky, the view was absolutely breathtaking and… beautiful. It was too bad she was falling to her death; otherwise she would have enjoyed it.

I guess I deserve this…

Everyone in the town despised her.

She always screwed up every single task, but she always tried her best.

She was constantly pestered by bullies, such as Eliza, but she'd try to ignore all their harmful words and put a smile on her face.

She was a very kind and cheerful girl who had no part in this world.

And she would accept that fate. She stared up at the clear, blue sky and imagined rising up as an angel like her sister always dreamt. She held the blue rose pin close to her heart as a small tear splashed onto its petals. Yukino closed her eyes and waited for herself to collide with the ground.

To her surprise—instead of crashing into the earth—she landed onto something warm, and not the solid, cold surface. Whatever it was had saved her life and she soon lost consciousness...

6 Years ago

Year X778—

Town of Calypso—

"Yukino," Sorano grasped her hand, "RUN!"

A little girl, the age of 6, stood in the doorway of her home, traumatized. Strange people dressed in black came rushing into her village with strange masks hiding their faces. They claimed to be followers of Zeref and lit the whole town on fire. Tears poured down her face as she saw her parents sprawled against the wooden floor. Sorano took her hand and pulled her away from their house.

"Listen, we can't stop now! We must escape!"

"But Mommy and Daddy—"

"They're already gone…"

The two girls rushed past the burning houses. Sorano did her best to pull her sister through the intense heat, but she was beginning to feel very weak. Blazing embers danced through the air, igniting the whole town. She couldn't cry. If she looked pathetic in front of her younger sister, they both might just give up trying and end up getting captured like the others.

Loud cries and screams hung in the air. Most of the townspeople were already caught and trapped in cages. Children were separated from their parents and young men and women were brought forth to the ground.

"We need more slaves for the construction of the Tower of Heaven!" A voice echoed, "Grab all survivors! Kill any of the adults and elderly you find!"

More people were still fleeing the town, only to get caught by the masked followers of Zeref. They were brought forth to the center of the town immediately. Some villagers did try to fight back, but they were severely outnumbered and eventually exhausted of magic power. All of the town's entranceways were sealed away and there were virtually no means of escape.

Sorano held tightly onto Yukino's hand. She led her near a stream of water and found a small, wooden crate with just enough room to hide only one person. Sorano opened it up and took one last glimpse at her younger sister. Yukino was crying softly, staring at the ground, until Sorano suddenly gave her a warm hug.

"You have to escape," She smiled, "You're the only one left that I care about."

Yukino was at lost for words when Sorano removed her signature blue rose pin and placed it in her hair. She gasped when Sorano shoved her into the small crate. Her voice wavered, "N-No—"

"Please… forgive your powerless sister. Those awful people surely won't find you here… and this crate only has enough room to hide one of us. I would rather have you live your life freely than to spend your life in a damp, filthy dungeon like a slave."

"I… I don't want to lose you—!"

"Please," Sorano's voice cracked as she gently closed the crate, "Make your way to freedom…"

Tears streamed down Yukino's face as she peeked through a tiny hole in the crate to find Sorano with her back turned. One of Zeref's followers had spotted her, "I found a survivor!"

Yukino could only watch in horror as they quickly surrounded her sister. There was no way for her to escape. One of them brutally kicked Sorano to the ground and they bounded her with shackles. They were already treating her sister so cruelly and she felt so helpless when she couldn't do anything to stop them.

"S…Stop," Yukino whimpered. She wanted to break out of the box and save Sorano, but it was as if she was glued in the same position. She was consumed by fear. She was blinded by her tears, but little did she know that as her sister was being dragged away... Sorano was looking back right at her, smiling to herself.

You are a very innocent girl who didn't deserve any of this. Please… continue living the rest of your life like an angel…

Back to the Present

"Dammit… Wake up!" Sting grit his teeth.

It has been two weeks since he had left on his journey to become stronger. As he was training in the middle of the forest, he saw a little girl—maybe a year younger than him—dive off of a cliff. He sprinted past the trees and caught her in his arms right before she came into contact with the ground.

Is she dead? Sting asked himself as he gently laid her onto the ground. She had light blue hair and was wearing a white frill dress. She was clenching something blue in her hand. He heaved a sigh of relief, No, she's still breathing!

He couldn't help but wonder what the hell that girl was thinking when she jumped off of that cliff. There was no way she 'accidentally' fell off. The thought of killing yourself bothered him. That girl wasn't trying to kill herself, right? He was deep in thought when she woke up.

"Wh-where am I…" She looked a little confused.

"You're finally awake… you're in the East Forest." He eyed her, "You, okay?"

"I…I'm fine. I'm sorry for worrying you." Yukino smiled. Her smile quickly turned upside down. She completely forgot about her hairpin. She stood up and frantically searched her surroundings. When she realized she had it in her hand, she calmed down.

It was Sting's turn to be confused. "Why did you jump off of that cliff?"

"..." She was afraid to answer his question.

In the girl's hands was a hairpin decorated with a blue rose. "What's that?" He asked.

"…It's my sister's memento," She said sadly as her gaze met his, "It's the only thing I have left to remember her by. She gave it to me before she was taken away…"

He blinked. "Taken away?"

Sting's eyes widened as he noticed the pain flickering in her eyes for a moment. "…Strange people invaded my home when I was very young… They said something about needing slaves for some sort of construction… I can't remember it all too well, but they killed my parents and took my sister with them…"

When Yukino saw that her little story had made Sting crestfallen, she immediately stood up and bowed her head, "I'm sorry for troubling you!"

"Wh-why are you apologizing? It's my fault; I shouldn't have asked."

She laughed a bit nervously, "Hehehe.. sorry... Um, thanks for saving me."

"Just don't do stupid things like that," He grinned, "My name's Sting. What's yours?"

Yukino was very surprised to see Sting holding out his hand in front of her. No one her age had ever been kind to her before. She hesitantly reached for his hand, afraid that he was going to pull it away from her at the last moment. But when their hands gripped together firmly, she smiled. "I'm Yukino Aguria."

Sting fumed as they walked under the entranceway of her town, Alterrassia, "So you jumped off because one of your friends threw your sister's memento down the cliff?!"

The blue rose pin bobbed up and down in her hair, "…Yes."

"Someone like that isn't your friend!"

"Hehehe, so you're on a journey to become stronger so you can join Fairy Tail?" Her eyes widened as she quickly changed the subject.

"Yeah, it's no big deal." Sting looked away, slightly embarrassed.

"…I wish I could do that."

"Then why don't you?"

Sting's question struck her. Why didn't she? "I… I don't know." She answered honestly.

As the two kids wandered around her town, she was beginning to warm up to him little by little. For some reason, being around Sting made her feel happy. Before, she would have had a ghost of a smile implanted on her face to mask the pain of her loneliness—but now—she was smiling to express true happiness.

Yukino was laughing when Sting was telling her the adventures he had after he met Lucy Heartfilia. It touched her heart when he told her that he wanted to protect his friends. When they absent-mindedly wandered into a dark alleyway, she froze.

"…" She became dead silent.

"Hey, are you okay?" He asked. Yukino was shaking uncontrollably, trembling in fear. Her eyes became shadowed by her hair.

"Go away..." She mumbled quietly.

His hands shifted uncomfortably in his pockets, "What?"

"Just, leave me alone." She spoke more clearly.


"Stay away from me. I don't want to see you ever again!" She yelled, and she ran away leaving him alone in the dark in confusion.

Yukino sprinted into the old, abandoned church building. She was panting heavily as she walked into the dark corridor. Children emerged from the shadows and completely surrounded her. When she saw the traces of magic in that alleyway, she knew that they were looking for her. She felt bad for telling Sting to go away, but she didn't want her new friend to get hurt because of her. She was crying when she lied about never wanting to see him again.

A familiar voice rung in her ears, "Well look who finally decided to show up~" Eliza appeared before her, smiling deviously, "It's the sick little bitch that had the nerve to strike me."

Yukino saw that Eliza's cheek was blistering red. She looked at the ground, "…I'm sorry—"

Eliza smacked her across the face. The impact was so strong that Yukino was launched into the wall. The kids started erupting with laughter. The look on her face was just priceless.

"You really had that coming. Why couldn't you just die when you jumped off of that cliff?" She giggled, "Poor little Yukino… you're as tenacious as a cockroach! You keep crawling back here no matter how many times you get squashed."

"…" She remained silent.

"You're pathetic." She walked up to her, preparing to smash her skull with her heel, until a piercing bright light flashed in the poorly-lit room. Everyone's eyes were adjusted to the dark, that the sudden light momentarily blinded everyone.

"Aaah!" Yukino rubbed her eyes, to see Sting standing right in front of her with his back turned. He was facing Eliza and the others. She thought that she would never see him again. She was so happy that he was here, that she cried. "S…Sting-sama!"

"Leave her alone." He said darkly.

Eliza and the other kids backed off. Sting just sounded so dangerous when he threatened them. Eliza noticed that there were ten of them, only one of him. She laughed, "Aw, that's so cute! Poor little Yukino is getting from help from an outsider—" Eliza pouted when she noticed that they weren't even paying attention to her "Hey! Don't treat me like a background character! I'll smack you~"

"Is she the one who threw your sister's memento down the cliff?" He asked in a menacing tone.

"...Yes." She nodded.

Yukino never saw Sting so angry before. The only person to have ever stood up for her was her older sister, Sorano. She gaped when she saw him face-to-face with Eliza. Eliza cowered as Sting towered over her. In her eyes, Sting looked as ferocious as a dragon—No... He was a dragon.

"Listen." He glared at her, "I'm not always like this, but when it comes to the matter of protecting my friends, their honor, and their hearts, do not trifle with me... For I am the most powerful and relentless creature you will ever know." Eliza was paralyzed with fear when Sting smirked at her, "And that's a promise."

"Sting, I'm sorry for worrying you. I'm being a burden to you again, aren't I?" Yukino bowed her head as they walked out of the town.

Sting sighed in annoyance, "What are you talking about? You're the one who was suffering. Stop apologizing."

"Okay, I'm sorry. And… is this really okay?" She peered at him, "For me to come along?"

"Yeah, we're friends remember?" He grinned, "It'll be more fun with the two of us!"

Yukino laughed. She wasn't alone anymore. She finally had a friend! She looked back at her beautiful town, bathing in the sunset, I wanna go on a journey with Sting. …So that someday, I'll be able to find my sister!

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