Chapter 6: Steampunk
Len and Matt both ran towards the light, but then the ground rumbles as a huge figure rose up from there, six stone legs sprout out from the ground, raising up into the air, "What the fuck is that?-!" Matt shouted.
"It's huge!" Len cried. He then felt a huge magic energy, "This energy… It's Nirvana! That huge thing is Nirvana!"
"That's Nirvana?-!" Matt cried, "That's not a magic spell, that's a gigantic cannon!" One of the legs starts to rise up and the entire huge structure starts to walk off, "EH?-! It's moving?-!"
"Matt, do you think you can get us up there?" Len asked.
"You're going on it?-! There's no telling what could be up there!"
"There's something controlling that huge machine and I know who." The blonde mage stated, "I'm counting on you."
Matt nodded, "I understand." He claps his hands together, lightning sparks and a magic circle appears under him, "Mech Magic: Rider!" a bright light surrounds him with sounds of gear clanking at each other and metals crashing and screws spinning in; the light dims to reveal a dark brown bike(The magic motorbikes from Racer but no wheels) with a platform on its right side, a symbol of a gear in the center. Matt sat on the driver seat, "If you die, it's not my fault!" Len understood and jumps on the platform as Matt turns on the engine.
The bike floats up and flew right into the air, straight at the huge moving structure. "Here, Len." Matt hands over a small waist bag with a card holder besides it. Len opens it to find it filled with bullet magazines, "Your master wants me to give it to you if we met up. I'll handle the bullet making; you just focus on not breaking the pistol."
The blonde buckles the bag around his waist, "I'll tell you the address afterwards." Len tells his friend. He took out his gun and slides the magazine in. He cocks it in ready-to-fire mode and slides a card from the card holder into the cartridge under the barrel, "Cartridge set." A female monotone robotic voice said. He aimed in front to check, noticing the structures on top of Nirvana, reminding him of ruins, "This place…" He puts down the gun, "It's like a town, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does." Matt stated. The bike flew lower so they can get a better view of the ruins, the night sky filled with stars and only the moon shines its light for them to see, "It feels like we're in a ruin of some sorts."
"Maybe because we are." Len stated, "I mean, these structures are obviously buildings." He then noticed Lucy and Gray below them coming out of a hole, "It's Lucy…" He then saw one of the Oracíon Seis behind her, "Oracíon Seis!"
"Ah? Where?-!" Matt asked, noticing Hoteye under them next to Jura, "Eh? Jura-san is with him…"
"Eh? The Ten Wizard Saint Potato Head?" Len said.
"Potato Head…?" Matt wondered, picturing Jura's head as a potato, 'I guess it is kind of true…'
"Now that I think about, isn't Nirvana a spell that can switch light and darkness?" Len stated, "Then that blocky priest could be…"
"Maybe we should go down and ask." Matt said.
"What is this place…?" Gray wonders as Lucy crawled out of the hole. After the fight with Angel with Lucy's win, the blonde stellar mage was washed down the rapids with Natsu, who got caught on a raft and completely helpless, and with much luck they survived the waterfall. They then met Sherry, who became evil due to Nirvana and tried to kill them to avenge Lyon's supposed death, but Gray intervened with Lyon revealed to be alive. Afterwards, they got caught in Nirvana's awakening and managed to get to the center via the legs. "It looks like a town…" Lucy stated.
"You're absolutely right, desu-yo…" They turned to find Hoteye with Jura.
"To have both of you here is very assuring." Jura said.
"The old man from Lyon's guild!" Gray cried.
"…And Oracíon Seis?-!" Lucy cried, "What's going on?-!"
"Don't worry, he's our ally now." The earth mage stated.
"World is lovely! Desu-yo…" The priest preached.
"No way!" Lucy cried.
"That old man can also use the magic of enlightenment?-!" Gray cried.
"Lucy! Gray!" A familiar voice called out. They look up to see a hovering motorbike with Matt riding it and Len on the platform connected to it, "You're all right?-!"
"Len-niisan!" Lucy cried.
"You're alive after all." Gray stated.
"Matt!" Jura cried.
"Jura-san, we heard everything." Matt stated, "But, is this place really a town?"
"This is where the ancient people of Nirvit once lived." Hoteye explained, "Around 400 years ago, many wars took place all over the world. The people of Nirvit who remained neutral, lamented this world, and create a magic to sustain its balance. An incredible that interchanges light and darkness, named after the country of peace, Nirvana; desu-yo…"
"How ironic… the spell was named after the country of peace but is used for evil purpose now." Gray stated.
"But… it was a good spell right from start, if it didn't have the power to turn light into darkness…" Lucy stated.
"It can't be helped. Perhaps the ancient people who created it didn't foresee this far in the future that their creation would be used for evil." Jura stated.
"It was a bad idea to create this spell from the start. All powerful spells have strong consequences, after all." Len stated.
"At any rate, the city has started to move, and that's not good." Hoteye explained, "We have to stop it as soon as possible."
"Of course!" Gray nodded.
"But how do we stop it?" Lucy asked.
"Brain is controlling this city from the central master room, the highest tower you can see. While doing that, Brain can't use his magic, so it's the chance to attack him." Hoteye stated.
"You said it's 'moving' though. Is it heading somewhere?" Gray asked.
"Most likely." The blocky mage said, "But I don't know where its destination is."
"That's right, only I know what father is thinking." A sudden voice said, they all looked up to find the sleeping mage from before awake to reveal the blank red eyes, "Midnight!" The plump mage cried.
"Oracíon Seis!" Gray cried.
"The guy's who's always sleeping!" Lucy cried.
Len's eyebrows frown again, something telling him that that mage is not to be underestimated, "Hoteye, have you betrayed my father?" Midnight asked.
"No! I only realized that what Brain is doing is wrong!" Hoteye replied.
The once sleeping mage leaps down from where he sat, "Did you say that my father is… wrong?"
"Wait… did he say father…?" Matt stated.
"You mean they're a father and son in the same dark guild?" Lucy stated.
"People's hearts shouldn't be manipulated by magic." Hoteye stated, "We can make weak hearts grow stronger." Midnight said nothing, and swings his arm, taking everyone by surprise as several of the buildings behind and around them all got cut by an invisible blade. The light mages, however, are safe as they fell into a crater just before the blade hits, "W-What happened…?" Gray asked, a bit startled by the sudden appearance of a crater under them.
"Hoteye-dono made the ground cave-in and save us." Jura explained.
"Eh? Where's Len-niisan?" Lucy asked.
"Up here." His voice said, Matt still on the bike with two robots with huge shields in front of them, "Matt managed to block the attack to us."
"But what is that magic?" Matt wonders.
"All of you please head to the Master Control Room!-!" Hoteye shouted, "The power of every person in Oracíon Seis is equal! Leave Midnight to me!"
"You and me? Equals?" Midnight smirked, "Don't make me laugh."
"Liquid Ground!" Hoteye release a torrent of melted earth straight at the mage, it was then dissipates just when it approaches Midnight.
"A match between Oracíon Seis?-!" Gray grunted.
"Wow, this is quite a development…" Lucy muttered.
"Hoteye-dono…" Jura muttered.
"Now! Go quickly!" Hoteye tells them, "Also, my real name is Richard; desu-yo…" He said with a smile.
"To reveal your true name to the enemy… you've really fallen, Hoteye." Midnight muttered.
"Matt!" Len shouted.
"I know!" Matt complied and flew higher and away from the battle, "Everyone, head to the tallest tower! We'll try to find if there's any other of us up here!" With that, they flew off into the air. They flew around as Len tries to find any one he knows, "Here goes…" The blonde mage sighed, "Sense Radar…" In his mind, all the surrounds are gone, left in a black empty space. Within that space, few small blue flames lit up, every flame signaling a single mage. '12 magic sources… three of them belongs to the three we met just then with the three Oracíon Seis, and I know that's Natsu's magic energy and another are Titania's and Wendy's… but what with the others…?'
Then, he heard a roar so loud that it forces him to cancel the radar before it causes him to go deaf just as Matt covers his ears to block out as much as the noise as possible. The roar is not like any creature he have encountered in before both here and back in Solien, but he heard it before, it was a dragon's roar. 'A dragon?-! Wait, what is a dragon doing here? O-Okay, calm down. If it was a dragon, I would have sensed it but I didn't… so it can't be a dragon.'
"Oi, Len!" Matt cried, "Look there!" he pointed down, noticing it was Erza with another guy, he has blue hair and dark green eyes with a red tattoo on the right side of his face. Len's eyes widen in shock, "J-Jellal…" Len muttered in shock. But then he notices Midnight approaching from behind and Jellal fires his blast but it moved to the side just as it hits him. Midnight smirked as he swings his arm, "Shit!" He leaps down, much to Matt's surprise, "Oi! Len!"
With Erza, she stood ready and cautious of the appearance of one of the Oracíon Seis, Jellal standing beside her. The once evil mage has lost his memory since his failure with the R-system, and he can't remember anything besides Erza's name. He, somehow, found Nirvana's seal and undo it, in hopes of destroying it before it can fully appears. But, that was thwarted by Brain as he managed to undo the Self-destructing magic circle he placed on it thus its appearance. Thanks to Erza's coaching on living to repent for his sins, he remained with her to find another way to destroy it.
"Stand back, Erza." Jellal tells her.
"Jellal…" Erza muttered.
Midnight smirked as he ready to release his magic. Jellal raise his hands up and fires a series of yellow energy blasts straight at the final Oracíon Seis mage, but the blast easily moves to the side, shocking the ex-convict. Midnight smirked as he swings his arm straight at him, the same invisible blade slides over in the air straight at him. Jellal prepares himself from the hit, but it never came as a figure lands in front of him and diverts the blade with his sword so it hits no one, slicing the building behind them.
"Even if you're not him, you're still a pain in the ass as usual," Len smirked, "Jellal."
"An ally. That's all you need to know." Len stated.
"Len!" Erza cried in shock.
"Len you bastard!" Matt shouted from above, "If you're going to do something crazy, at least tell me beforehand!"
"Hm…?" Midnight looks at Len confused, "How did you know about it…?"
"Like you want to know." Len smirked.
"…No matter." Midnight smirked, "You can never defeat me, neither of you."
"We'll see about that." Len was about to step forward but Erza beat him to it as she call forth her sword and swings down at him, but the blade's trajectory was moved away from its original target, shocking the knight mage, "Is it time for the main dish already, Erza Scarlet?" Midnight mutters.
'The sword's direction changed?-!' Erza thought in shock.
'This magic…!' Len realized, 'Could it be?-!' "Get back, Titania! You're the worst match against him! Withdraw and let me handle it!"
Erza ignored his words and summons out another of her swords as she strikes again, having the same result, 'Again?-!' Midnight smirked as he raises his palm; a gust of wind pushes her back. But then her armor starts to twist around her, "W-What?-!" the twisting armor caused her to drop her swords and starts strangling her, the scarlet haired woman grunted out in pain.
"Not good!" Len cried. Erza grunted painfully, before removing her armor in a flash of light, changing into her signature Heaven Wheel armor, "I see. So that's the true nature of your magic." She stated.
"Indeed." Midnight smirked lazily, "My Magic Reflector has the power to distort and twist anything. It can deflect incoming magic back the way it came, and by warping the path of light, it can even distort light to create illusions."
"Not just that, you're able to distort the air into a sharp invisible blade to cuts through almost anything." Len added, "That's some magic you got in your arsenal."
Erza was about to move but Matt drops down in front of her, "You…" she muttered.
"You've taken quite a considered damage from the poison before." Matt tells her, "Rest up and let your body heal. I'll take care of him."
"Wait, Matt! You know that you have as low a chance as her!" Len cried.
"But you are too weak to fight him. You used Diablo, didn't you?" Matt stated, "With the magic energy you possess right now, you have no chance against him."
"Hoho? You against me, am I right?" Midnight smirked. Matt ignored him and claps his hands together, sparks flew as gears and screws form out around him, metal armor plates also appears. The plates aligned with each other over some gears, as screws inserts into some of the opening, tightening the plates together. Pieces of armor starts to form from the legs to the chest plate, gauntlets appears as more armor plates lodges themselves on him. A hole in the center of the chest plate glows as a gear spins in it and lastly, the helmet forms around his head, covering his head entirely with the exception of two eye holes.(Ironman-mach-1 but brown and silver) "Mech Warrior, complete."
"Going all out?" Len stated.
"Interesting, but it has no effect on me whatsoever." Midnight smirked as he raises his hand up, Matt's armor starts to twist around his limps, he cries out in pain. But, he manages to brings out a small gun mount on his shoulder and fires a small missile. The reflector mage smirked and he moves his head to avoid the attack as he swings his arm, "Spiral Pain!" He sends him flying up into the air with spinning wind blades, "Done already?" The smoke clears, leaving Matt shirtless to show his bruised slim chest except the bottom armor pieces as he drops on his knee.
"I was afraid of this…" Len muttered.
"Now now, you can't go dying on me, Steampunk of Lamia Scale." Midnight smirked, "I like you to entertain me until we reach Cait Shelter."
"Cait Shelter…?" Jellal muttered.
"That's Wendy and Carla's guild…" Erza muttered.
"The first of our destinations."
"Why Cait Shelter? Why them first?" Len asked.
Midnight smirked, "Nirvana was created ages ago, by a race who wished to put an end to war, the Nirvit. However, Nirvana turned out to be far more dangerous than they had imagined. As such, they sealed away the magic they created with their own hands. Fearing the evil uses it could be put to, they continues to watch over the seal over the centuries. Their descendants formed a guild in order to look over it that is Cait Shelter."
Everyone all widen their eyes in shock, "They possess the power to seal Nirvana away once more. As such, they must be destroyed. After all, we wouldn't want this glorious power sealed away once more, now, would we? This power that allow us to cast the entire world in chaos!" Len gritted his teeth in anger, "And this also serve the function of teaching them a lesson. Throwing the Nirvit, who always clung to neutrality, to war. With the power of Nirvana, we will turn their hearts to darkness and have them slaughter one another! Isn't it simply thrilling?-!"
"You're disgusting…" Jellal growled.
Midnight smirked as he looks at him coldly, "Oh, stop trying to act all righteous, Jellal. You yourself are filled with nothing but darkness. You are a foul, depraved, and evil man."
"T-That's not true…"
"Oh, but it is!" Midnight continued, "You forced children to labor under your command! Killed your own comrades, even tried to kill Erza!" Jellal shook in fear, fear of his old self, "How many people do you imagine you have cast into misery? How many people have succumbed to terror and wept tears of anguish, thanks to your actions?" He looked down on the ground filled with guilt, "Join us, Jellal. You would make a wonderful member of the six."
"Shut up!" Len shouted angrily, shocking everyone there.
"I don't know what Jellal did to deserve this much discrimination, and I don't know why he did all that." The blonde mage stated, "But! I know that inside him is a man of light, of justice and all that is good! You, on the other hand, is just disgusting! What the person did in the past doesn't mean anything! What matters is what he does from now on!"
"Len…" Erza muttered in shock.
"Is that all you have to say, Len?" Matt grunted as he got up, stumbled a bit and panting heavily, "Then I'll end this match as fast as I can. I'll stop this oversized spider!"
"You're pretty durable, Steampunk." Midnight smirked, his pupils shrink to a single dot with a creepy smirk, "You're worth killing, after all, Matt Jackson. But you should know, you can no longer hit me."
"Are you sure?" Matt smirked as he claps his hands together and a pair brown and silver gauntlet appears around his hands, lightning sparks around it. He dashes forward with his fists ready and appears in front of him in a split second, 'Fast!' Erza cried.
"You are fast, but it is hopeless." Midnight smirked, "You can't hit me-" Matt punches straight at his face, slugging him back and crashing him into the building behind, "W-What?-!"
"As I thought." The mech mage said, "You're magic has two vital flaws. One, you can twist anything with your reflector, but you can't affect the human body. I thought why you twist Titania's armor instead of her body." He raises his hands, "This specific gauntlet is created from the scales of one of Solien's kings of beasts, the Scaled Shark. Its scales are unique as it possess the physique and composition of a human bone plus it is denser by ten times, making it as hard as steel."
"You…!" Midnight tries to warp the metal around his legs to break them; Matt vanishes leaving a Spy-robot in its place which twists. Before he can react, Matt punches straight at the other cheek and sending the dark mage flying and into another building, "Second, there's a range which you can use your reflector. When you got me in your magic, you dodge the missile I fired at you. Why don't you just use your reflector? It's because you couldn't. You can only use it in one area, that is me, or yourself, and when you use it on me, you can't defend."
Midnight's eyes widen in shock at the confirmation, "Also, my reaction time is far faster than any original mage. I'm from Solien, after all." Matt stated, "I can easily switch places with my robots and hit you myself. Oh? Now that I think about it, I'm like your third weakness, now is it?"
"Strong…" Jellal stuttered.
"He's a powerful mage." Erza stated.
"To be honest with you, Matt is stronger than me in terms of total attack power." Len stated, "Back in Solien, he was one of the top five fighters in the whole country, and that's saying something."
"One of the top five… huh?"
"Shit! I was so close!" Midnight shouted.
"It's over, Midnight." Matt stated, "It's clear who the winner is."
"…hahahaha…" Midnight chuckled, "If you died earlier, you wouldn't have to see this fear…" At that point, the sound of a bell ringing rang throughout, ringing a total of twelve times, "At midnight…" His body turns dark as it swells up growing bigger, transforming him into a black monster, "I don't care what happens from now on!" He charges forward with energy around his hand, and explodes the entire area around them. Everyone manages to leap back avoiding the blast but sharp tendrils pierces through Erza, Matt and Jellal. "Oops~ don't go dying on me so easily now! This is where the fun really starts!"
A claw slashes right through, the beast vanishes and Midnight was left standing where he always stood. Len stood on the side, his right arm in its released state. Five distinct claw marks appears on his chest with blood spurting out of the wound, 'W-What happened just then…?' Jellal wondered.
'Both mine and Jellal's wounds are gone…' Erza thought in shock.
"H-How…? Why aren't my illusions…?" Midnight sputtered as blood fills his mouth.
"Illusions…!" Erza realized.
"It's set once my arm is released." Len stated. Midnight notices his arm, shocked of the red demonic arm that is his arm, "T-That's…!" He cried.
"Illusions, curses, demons, darkness… regardless how strong, I'll devour it." Len stated, "With this right arm of mine!"
'M-My prayer…' Midnight prayed, 'I only want to fall into slumber… in a quiet… place…' He collapses to the ground, "Damn you… Demon…Slayer…" He mutters before blacking out. "It's all over. The Oracíon Seis are no more." The demon arm returns to its sealed state, the armor still on his arm. But then he drops on his knees, panting even harder, "Oi! You all right?-!" Matt ran over to him, "Baka! Using Diablo when you're already that weak, it's suicide!"
"Yeah… I know- Grk!" Len drops onto the ground, panting really hard, "Len!" Matt cried. He touched his forehead, "Not good… the symptoms are here…" He looked over to the two, "Okay… since both of you have high level magic… Erza Scarlet, please come here!"
"What? Is something wrong?" Erza ran over and kneel beside Len.
"Okay, now listen-" Matt couldn't finish his sentence as Len lunged forward and bite down on her bare shoulder, shocking her. Then a slight burning pain arises from where Len is biting as the blonde seems suck up. Both their bodies glows a bright red, as Len suck up something, before having enough and let go, his breathing went back to normal. Erza, on the other hand, is panting rather hard from the sudden sensation from what happened just then.
"L-Len…?" Erza stuttered tiredly.
"W-What…?" Len muttered, before realizing what he just did, "WAHHH!-!" He pushes Erza back, "I'm sorry! I didn't intend to do that!" He cried blushing really red, "I-It's just a reflex from overtaxing myself, that's all!"
"N-No, it's okay…" Erza stated.
"JELLAL!-!" They turned to see Wendy running towards them with Carla strutting beside her.
"Wendy!" Len cried.
"So you're all right…" Erza stated in relief, "Thank goodness…"
Wendy then looked at Jellal, "We finally meet, Jellal." She said, the ex-convict looks back at her confused, "Do I… know you…?" He asked. The sky dragon slayer blinked in shock, 'So he doesn't remember me after all…' She thought sadly.
"Jellal's memories have been damaged somewhat… it seems he can't remember either of us right now." Erza explained.
"Did I… know you…?" Jellal asked once more.
'His memories…? I see… So that's why…'
"I should hope you haven't forgotten how to stop Nirvana on top of everything!" Carla cried.
"The self-destruct array will be no use at this point." Jellal stated, "I don't what else I can do. I'm sorry."
"Then what's going to happen to our guild?-!" The white cat cried, "It's right there! Right in front of us!" But then the ground starts shake, "What's that?" Len wonders.
They then saw over the horizon, black and white light gathers around in front of the Cait Shelter guild-house, "They're firing Nirvana!" Matt cried.
"STOOOPPPP!-!" Wendy cried. The light fires at the tribal tent, the blast going straight at them. But then, something drops from the sky, a magic bomb that bombard at one of the legs, causing the aim to shift slightly and the laser missed its target. Another blast came straight down and hits another of Nirvana's leg.
"What was that?-!" Len cried.
Matt looks up and his eyes widen in shock, "T-That's the…!-!"
Everyone else looked up as well, noticing why he was shocked, "The magic bomber, Christina!-!" Erza cried.
"It can still fly?-!" Len cried.
"Can anyone hear me?-! If you're safe, please respond!" Hibiki's voice said.
"Hibiki!" Erza cried.
"Erza-san? Ah! And Wendy-chan! You're both safe!"
"We're here, you know." Len stated.
"Ah! Len-kun and Matt-san!"
"I'm just about safe as well…" A familiar voice said.
"Senpai! Thank goodness!"
"You're not dead yet, Ichiya?" Len stated.
"AH! THAT"S HARSH!"
"What's going on here?" Erza asked, "Surely the Christina was taken down…"
"Lyon-kun created a make-shift replacement for the broken wing with his magic, and we got it airborne through the combined powers of Sherry's Doll Magic and Ren's Air Magic. That attack just now was thanks to Eve's Snow Magic."
"You all…" Carla stuttered.
"It was nothing. I just combined Christina's own heavy magical ammunition with my own… but even so… I couldn't even destroy one leg… And after that blast… I'm out of power…" Eve was then cut off.
"Thank you… everyone…" Wendy said touched with tears.
"Well, that's the deal. I'm afraid we're pretty much all spent. We can't do any more attacks like this." Hibiki stated. The magic bomber swerves around in the air and it starts to drop down quickly smoking and pieces of it are breaking apart and disappearing into the air, "Ah! Christina's…" Wendy cried.
"It's falling!" Carla cried.
"It takes a lot of strength to lift that huge thing, and to maintain it for so long is almost impossible." Len stated.
"Don't worry about us! Just listen to this, all of you! It took a while, but I managed to find the information we need in my Archive!" Hibiki tells them, "A way to stop Nirvana!"
"Really?-!" Erza cried.
"As you've seen, Nirvana has six legs-like structures, right? Well, those structures also serves as pipes, valves drawing magic up from the earth. The lacrima crystals responsible for controlling the absorption are positioned around the top of each of the six legs. If we can destroy all six of those crystals at the same time, Nirvana should seize functioning. Also, you can't destroy them one at the time! If you destroy one of them, the other crystals will just repair the damaged area!"
"All at once?-!" Erza cried.
"That's easier said than done!" Len cried, before remembering, "Oh yeah, if you use the Archive…"
"That's right, but I don't think I can help with the timing… and this telepathy isn't going to last much longer." The playboy grunted in pain, alerting the rest worriedly; "I've uploaded the exact time into each of your heads. I know you can do this, I believe in you!"
A couple of loading bars appears above their heads filling up with a ding, "Twenty minutes?-!" Wendy stated.
"That's the moment before Nirvana finishes charging up for a second shot."
"How utterly futile…"
An unknown voice shocks them all, "This voice!" Len realized.
"It's that Brain man!" Wendy cried.
"He's jacking into my telepathy?-!" Hibiki cried.
"My name is Zero. Oracíon Seis' Master."
"Master?-!" Matt cried.
"First, allow me to grant you my compliments. I never would have dreamed that there would be another one in the world who could use Archive like Brain…" Zero stated, "Now hear me! Mages of the light! I will hereby proceed to destroy everything! I have begun by destroying three of your comrades. The Dragon Slayer, the Ice-Construction mage, the Stellar Mage, oh, and her pet cat as well."
"Natsu-kun and the others?-!"
"You're lying!" Wendy cried.
"You son of a bitch!" Len shouted angrily as he ran off, only to have a huge robot lands and squashes him to the ground, "Let me go, Matt!"
"Calm down, Len." Matt tells him.
"Now, you spoke of destroying all the lacrimas at once, right?" Zero added, "Well, I myself stand at this moment before one of those lacrima crystals! HAHAHAHAHA! As long as I'm here, you have no hope of destroying them all at once!" He cut off the telepathy.
'The chances of finding Zero at our destination is one out of six… and we should probably assume that only Erza has a chance of defeating him.' Jellal thought.
"Wait!" Carla cried, "We don't have six mages here! There are not enough people to destroy all six lacrimas all at once!"
"I-I can't use… any destructive magic… I'm sorry…" Wendy apologized.
"And I'm too worn out from fighting Midnight." Matt sighed, "Sorry."
"That leaves three!" Erza stated, "Are there any other mages who are able to move?-!"
"You have forgotten about me." Ichiya stated.
"That makes four…" Matt counted as Len broke free of the robot and began to run off only to get squashed by another huge robot.
"This isn't good… My magic is almost gone… I can't… hold the connection…"
"We need two more! Someone! Anyone! Please respond!" Erza cried.
Len had it with Matt's robot and slices right through it with his Motor Knight, "OI!-! GRAY! NATSU! LUCY! CAN YOU HEAR US?-! RESPOND!-! I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE STILL THERE! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?-!" He shouted out, "PLEASE RESPOND!-!"
"Natsu-kun… can you… hear us…?"
"We heard you…"
Natsu's voice growled, everyone all smiled in relief.
"Destroy all six lacrima… at the same time…" Gray's voice panted.
"And the lucky one… gets to punch that Zero guy in face… right…?" Lucy's voice said.
"Eighteen minutes left… We got to hurry… We have to protect Wendy's and Carla's Guild!" Happy said.
"Just what I want to hear…" Len smirked.
"T-This connection won't last any longer…" Hibiki panted, "I've transmitted a map into all your heads… Each… of the lacrima… is marked with a number… Before the connection breaks… each of you decides on a number…"
"One!" Natsu declared.
"Two!" Gray shouted.
"I'll take three! Please that Zero isn't there…" Lucy muttered.
"I shall take four." Ichiya stated, "My parfum tells me that it's the closest to me."
"You meant the map." Erza stated.
"Ah! Do you have to say it like that…?"
"Then I'll handle number five." The knight mage stated.
"Erza! You're all right now?-!"
"Yeah, thanks to a certain someone."
"I'll take number six." Len interrupts.
"Is there someone else there?-!" Natsu cried, "Who was that just now?-!"
"Natsu doesn't know about your situation yet…" Erza whispers to Jellal, "He still considers you as the enemy. You should keep quiet."
"Oi!" At that moment, the telepathy cut off, the playboy ran out of magic. "We lost connection…" Gray panted.
"Hibiki must be really at his limit…" Lucy stated.
"At any rate, it looks like we have more than enough people!" Happy stated, "Let's go! Whoever runs into Zero will have to take him out! Everyone has to manage their own stations so don't expect any backups!"
The lone remaining mage of Blue Pegasus grunted as he got up on his fours since his limps are tied to a stick at the moment, and with a "Men!", he leaps off like a frog, before collapsing exhausted just from a few jumps panting and sweating profusely.
"Number four! I must reach number four! Everyone is counting on me!" He got back up and carry one leaping, "I cannot betray their trust! I'm not out of breath at all! I'm still a young man! MEN!-!"
Natsu drags his feet to his designated area, and stood in front of the round magic crystal was the master of Oracíon Seis, Zero. He has white long hair like Brain but pale skin and blood-shot eyes, with the cloak switched with a green army coat.
The dark guild master smirked, "So you still live?" He said, "What business do you have here, brat?"
Natsu chuckled, startling Zero a little but he didn't show it.
"Let's see who it's gonna be destroyed in the end… you or me?" The fire dragon slayer said with a feral grin.
"I heavily suspect Zero at the number one lacrima." Erza stated.
"That's where Natsu-san went!" Wendy cried.
"He has an extremely good nose." Erza stated, "I didn't doubt he chose number one because that was Zero's location."
"I see." Len nodded.
"Then we should go and back him up!" Wendy cried, "If we fight together…"
"Don't underestimate Natsu." Erza tells her, "We can trust him to handle this."
"Then I'm off." Len said, walking off towards his destination, "Good luck, Titania." He then noticed Jellal shocked expression, "Jellal…?"
"N-No… it's nothing…" Jellal stated.
"…Matt, take care of Wendy for me…" Len stated as he ran off towards his destination, knowing full well what's going on.
Len arrives in front of the lacrima he was supposed to destroy in soon. He took out his gun clocking it since he almost exhausted his own magic with his fight with Shadow, so he can't take out his swords. Not that he need it right now, with a fresh batch of ammo around his waist and a new magic cartridge in. 'It's time… You better win, Natsu…' He aims it at the lacrima with his finger on the trigger.
"Here goes!" A yellow magic circle appears under him, "Templar Shot!" He fires a yellow blast straight at the crystal, destroying it completely breaking into countless pieces. "Yosh, just hope the others did their job-" The ground under him starts to shake and collapse under his feet. "Shit!" Startled, he starts to run for it, heading out through a hole in the wall.
"Is everyone safe?-!" Gray cried as he skids to a stop, just as Lucy and Happy tumbles besides him safely. Erza too was fine along with Ichiya, who somehow became overly bulked up, scaring the scarlet mage a little; Jura and Wendy too arrives there safely with Matt, "What about Natsu-san and Len-san?-!" Wendy cried, "Jellal isn't here either!"
"I can't find them." Jura stated.
"Where is Len?-!" Matt cried.
"Nii-san!" Lucy cried. At that moment, Len crashes into Lucy, his head on her shoulder, "Stars… Everywhere…" He said dizzy. The blonde mage actually ran out and came crashing down into a slope, tumbling all the way before crashing into the Stellar mage. All of the sudden, the ground under them bulge up, the soil flew up and fell around the hole, revealing Richard with Natsu and Jellal in his arms, "Love shall triumph in the end! Desuyo…"
"Natsu-san!" Wendy cried.
"Why is one of the Oracíon Seis…?" Carla asked shocked.
"don't worry, he's on our side." Jura assures her.
"Natsu-san!" Wendy ran and hugs the fire dragon slayer around his waist, "You… really kept your promise…" She sobbed with tears flowing from the corners of her eyes, "Thank you! You saved our guild!"
"That's everyone's effort put in together, right?" Natsu stated, "That includes you too, Wendy." He raise up his hand, "This time, give me a high-five."
"Hai!" Wendy did as such, clapping her hand with Natsu's.
"Thank goodness everyone is safe." Jura said in relief, "Excellent work, everyone." Everyone all stands; sat down or laid down on the grass to catch their breath while the higher ranked mages briefs everyone. "And that's the end of our mission." Ichiya sparkles.
"How did you get so big?" Len asked.
"…But, who's that guy?" Gray asked, looking at Jellal, "A host from Blue Pegasus?"
"Who, him?" Lucy asked.
"He's Jellal." Erza tells them.
"That guy is…!-!"
"But he's not the Jellal that we once knew."
"Apparently, he lost his memories of sort." Len explained.
"EH? Even so… that doesn't mean…" Gray stutters.
"Don't worry. This Jellal is completely different." Wendy tells them. Len looked at Jellal with a slight disappointment in his eyes, something Lucy picked up, "Len-niisan, you alright?" She asked worriedly.
"O-Oh, I'm fine." Len tells her.
"Don't worry, Len-san." Wendy said, "I'm sure Jellal will remember you too."
"Eh? What does she…?" Lucy said.
"…Remember me saying the Wendy was my travel companion with another one?" Lucy nodded, "Well, the other one is Jellal."
"I know, it's crazy…" Len stated, "But there's something that is bugging me. I'm going ask Erza when we get back." He looked at Erza talking with Jellal, he kind of guess the feelings the knight mage has for him, and that kind of reminded him of a certain someone, 'Mei…'
Ichiya's shout shocks him out of his thoughts, the said man seems to be pushing on an invisible wall with runes in the air, "What's wrong, ossan?-!" Gray asked.
"I was planning on using the toilet parfum in the bushes but I bumped into something…"
"Is the word parfum really necessary…?" Matt sweat-dropped, not getting the guy's obsession with the word.
"There's some letters on the ground!" Wendy cried.
"T-This is…" Erza realized, "Runes!-!"
"Since when…?-!" Gray grunted.
"We're trapped?-!" Lucy cried.
"Show yourselves!" Natsu shouted.
Several footsteps are heard as groups of soldiers assembles in front of them, a familiar symbol on their flags and uniform, "Rune Knights?-!" Len cried.
"What's going on?" Wendy wonders worriedly.
"Let me out!" Ichiya pleaded, his bladder isn't going to hold soon.
"I have no intention of hurting you." A male voice said, "I just want you to remain there for a while." In front of the soldiers stood a man with long black hair tied in a bun-like feature and glasses, him wearing a slightly different outfit compared to the other soldiers, "I'm the head of the Reformed Magic Council 4th Enforcement and Detention Corps, Lahar."
"Reformed Magic Council?-!" Gray cried.
"That was fast!" Len cried, "I thought the council dissolved after the Etherion firing!"
"We were reborn in order to enforce law and justice." Lahar stated, "We will not allow any existing evil to walk free."
"We didn't do anything wrong!" Happy shouted.
"Y-Yeah!" Natsu said shaking like a leaf.
"What's with him?" Len whispers to Lucy.
"He is always destroying everything so the Rune Knights are always after him." Lucy explained.
"I know." Lahar stated, "We're here for the Oracíon Seis. That man over there. Codename: Hoteye. Please come forward."
"W-Wait a minute!" Jura argued.
"It's fine, Jura."
"Even though my good nature has awoken, my sins from the past won't disappear." Richard stated, "I think it'll be for the best if I start over, so I can see my brother in the eye."
"… then, allow me to search for your brother in your stead." Jura tells him.
"Please, tell me your brother's name."
"His name is Wally. Wally Buchanan."
"Block-head?-!" Natsu, Lucy and Gray cried at the familiar name.
"I know of him." Erza stated.
"R-Really?-!" Richard cried.
"He's an old friend of mine." She explained, "He is doing well, and the last I heard, he is travelling the continent with his friends."
Richard could feel tears filling his eyes, sobbing in happiness, "This is a miracle that only given to those who believed in the light…" He sobbed, falling on his knees, "Thank you! Thank you!"
The rune knights took him away to custody, "I feel sorry for him…" Lucy said.
"Aye…" Happy agrees.
"There's nothing we can do." Gray stated.
"Isn't it enough already?-! Undo the runes now!" Ichiya grunted, his hips shaking rather awkwardly, "I can't hold it in any longer!-!"
"Don't you dare do it here!-!" Len cried.
"No… there is another amongst you besides the Oracíon Seis." Lahar said. Everyone all immediately knows who he meant, "Infiltrating the council, leading to its destruction and the firing of Etherion. There is an evil far worse than the Oracíon Seis." He pointed at the only one who is responsible for it, "It's you, Jellal! Surrender! If you resist, we have the permission to kill you."
"That's not right!" Wendy cried.
"Oi, wait a sec!" Natsu shouted.
"That man is dangerous." Lahar stated, "We will never allow him to roam freely in this world. Never!" He puts the handcuffs around Jellal's wrists, "Jellal Fernandes. You are under arrest for the crime of federal treason."
"Wait, please!" Wendy cried, "Jellal has lost his memories! He doesn't remember any of that!"
"Under the Article 13 of the Penal Code, that is no cause for pardon." Lahar stated, "You may release the enchantment now."
"Yes, sir." A random soldier nodded.
"It's all right." Jellal stated, "I have no intention of resisting. I never did manage to remember you in the end. I'm truly sorry, Wendy."
"She tells me that you saved her a long time ago." Carla stated.
"I see… I do not know how much trouble I caused all of you, but I'm glad to hear I at least saved someone, once." He said in relief. He turns to the knight mage, "Erza, thank you for everything." He walks off towards the prison cart with two rune knights on both sides. "Is that all you have to say…?" Lahar said to him.
"It is almost certain that your sentence will be either death or life imprisonment. You will never meet any of these people again."
"T-That's just…" Lucy muttered in shock.
"It's just how the world works." Len stated, "You can't run away from your own past forever."
"He's not going anywhere!-!"
They then saw Natsu running forward and shoveling the soldiers aside, shocking everyone, "Natsu!" Lucy cried.
"This is the council we're dealing with!" Gray cried.
"Why you…" Lahar grunted in anger.
"Move it!" Natsu shoves all the soldiers aside, "He's one of us! We're taking him back with us!"
"Restrain this man!" Lahar commanded, all the soldiers obeying and charging towards the fire dragon slayer with spears and staff to restrain him, but Gray pushes them all out of the way, "Go for it, Natsu!"
"Gray!" Happy cried.
"Nobody's going to stop Natsu now!" Gray shouted, tossing and hitting away the soldiers with his bare fists, "And besides, this pisses me off! That guy helped defeat Nirvana, and they've not showing a single shred of gratitude!"
"I agree." Jura stated cracking his knuckles, "It is injust to arrest a good man!"
"Though it pains me to say it, if that man is taken for her, my honey will be sad!" Ichiya shouted.
"Those idiots…" Matt muttered, looking at Len.
"Ah…! Why do I always get involved in such things?-!" Lucy cried swinging her fist around carelessly.
"Aye!" Happy said, doing the same thing.
"Please! Don't take Jellal away!" Wendy pleads.
"Come with us, Jellal!" Natsu shouted, "You mustn't be taken away from Erza! You've got to stay by her side! For Erza's sake! So come with us! We're all here with you! You're our comrades, right?-!"
"Arrest them all!" Lahar shouted, "They are guilty of obstruction of officers in the line of duty, and assisting in the escape of a prisoner!"
Erza has seen enough and made up her mind, "Enough! Stop this!" Everyone stopped fighting and all looked at her with shocked expression, not expecting her to say that, "I apologized for the commotion. I will take full responsibility. You may… Take Jellal away…"
"Erza!" Natsu cried.
Len looked at her, noticing the notable shaking, "Titania…"
They turned to Jellal, who looked back with a smile, "It's the color of your hair." That one sentence caused all the anger and hatred inside Erza to disappear, replaced with sadness and longing. "Farewell, Erza." He walked into the cell cart and it wheeled away, out of their sight. Ichiya went into the bushes immediately(he apparently can hold his bladder well in a fight), leaving the rest tired physically and mentally.
Erza went off on her own, Len knowing that decides to disappear as well.
The alliance all sat down tired, "Where did Erza go?" Happy asked.
"I think we should give her some time alone…" Lucy stated.
Matt looked around, noticing a missing blonde, and sighs, 'This is so troublesome…'
Erza sat with her legs together and knees to her chin at the end of the cliff, remembering her past in the tower prison.
"Jellal Fernandes? That's going to be a pain to remember." The young boy said.
"I don't think Wally Buchanan is any easier." The young Jellal stated.
"What about you, Erza?"
"I'm Erza. Just plain old Erza." The young Erza said.
"That's kind of sad…" Jellal said, then noticing her beautiful scarlet hair, "Oh!"
"H-Hey!" Erza blushed at the sudden contact.
"Such a beautiful scarlet hair… Oh! That's it!" Jellal said, "Why don't we call you 'Erza Scarlet'?"
"'Why don't we?' You can't just randomly name people!" The boy said.
"Scarlet…" Erza smiled a little, "Erza… Scarlet…"
"It's the color of your hair." Jellal stated, "That way, I would never forget it!"
Tears fall down her cheeks, the knight mage mourning and crying for her old friend, "Jellal…" Len sat behind the ruined wall behind her, accompanying her, if not in person but in spirit. He saw the beautiful scarlet sky of dawn, but didn't feel much happiness, only pity and sorrow, 'If only you can see this sky, Titania… no, Erza…'