This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
It’s been about a month since the Avatar deal and the group had been back in Magnolia for about 3 weeks, but the past few weeks have been a mess.
They came to Magnolia for answers.
They got answers.
But, not the sort they’d expect. It was the sort that sent Natsu into an endless cycle of quietness, sickness and sleep. His mind was a mess and the others weren’t too sure how to handle this new found information. What was more, this information was found in a book left by Makarov in the guilds library. The guild hadn’t been active in a year, yet the townspeople rebuilt it kept it in good shape with the hope that Fairy Tail would be back.
All this time the old man knew.
They found themselves at a crossroads. Well Erza, Gray, Juvia and Lucy did. They’d only been back a few hours and the years training they all did, was dissipated by a few written words.
Wendy and the others didn’t know, since they got back, Wendy and Carla decided to visit Porlyusica, Happy tagged along with them. Wendy wanted to develop her knowledge on medicine, since she’d begun to learn that no matter how well she developed her magic. Magic wouldn’t fix everything.
They ventured towards the guild hall. It was strange to see it so empty.
“Why are we here again?” Natsu groaned. After the long journey, food was clearly at the top of his agenda.
“Jeez, you never listen do you” Gray rolled his eyes, it may have been a year, but there are some things that will never change.
At least for now.
“We’re here to see if the guild has any books that will help us. I mean it had some on E.N.D and we didn’t really look hard then. From what I hear despite the destruction our guild faced, most of the books were salvaged. So who knows” replied Lucy.
Lucy was happy, even though they’d taken a break from gathering up the others and jumped ahead to do some research on Zeref and E.N.D, she was happy to be back in Magnolia with the team. However a lingering sadness dwelled within her that had developed the past year, it’d become a dark void within her soul. She just hoped the others would soon return with them.
They entered the library and began to search. Like old times, Natsu and Gray easily distracted themselves and started fighting, unsurprisingly Erza intervened and the search started again. On the bottom shelf Natsu encountered an old rugged book. It was odd since the other books surrounding it seemed new and quite colourful. There was something about this dusty grey book that caused Natsu to pick it up. After examining the outside of the book for a while, a note eventually fell out. He recognised the handwriting to be Makarov’s. He picked up the note and much to his surprise it seemed the old man had in fact written it to him. It proceeded to say;
When you joined the guild I told you about what Mavis believed, ‘Do fairies have tails? Do they even exist? Nobody knows for sure. So this guild is like them, an eternal mystery. An eternal adventure’
I wanted you to find a family in the guild, being abandoned isn’t easy. I could see it was difficult at first, but you saw it eventually. That family. Of course, there is something I know, something about you that may change this. You brats have all grown so much.
I wish for you all to remember what a family is. It’s not blood. I’ve seen for myself that our blood ties don’t define who we are. You’ve shown me that, Natsu. Family is a bond, one that never goes away. You can never forget that. None of you can ever forget that.
I never wanted this day to come, but the moment I decided to disband the guild I knew it’d come round eventually, that you would be stood here now reading this. That taking you in carried more responsibility than simply taking in an orphaned child. When you read the contents of this, remember Fairy Tail.
Remember your family.
This note startled Natsu, what the hell was the old man talking about? Of course he knows who his family is. And yes that included the ice princess. It worried him, causing him to hesitate when opening the book.
It was there. On the first page in the top left hand corner. Suddenly Natsu pieced everything together so quickly his head started to hurt. This couldn’t be right. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Natsu flicked through the pages.
It wasn’t a coincidence.
This was him. This was Natsu. Natsu Dragneel. Well, according to the book a reincarnation of Natsu Dragneel.
The others were too busy flicking through various books to notice, but eventually Gray noticed Natsu trembling.
“Have you read too many big words that your head has turned to mush?” Gray looked at him with a concerned look as he begun to realize that Natsu looked pale.
Something was wrong.
“Natsu?” Gray walked towards him. It was now that the others noticed.
Natsu just stared at the book trembling in fear. It was there in ink. Words that had been written over 400 years ago…
“Natsu-san are you okay?” Juvia asked.
He managed to let out a small mutter, ‘Don’t kill me.’
Gray saw the letter and begun to read it having already noted that it was written by the old man.
The others read it too.
“What does he mean by that? Natsu do you know what he’s talking about?” Asked Erza.
He didn’t seem to acknowledge their presence anymore and just looked at the bookshelf with an empty glare, eventually collapsing to the ground. He was trembling so much he couldn’t even stand anymore. This wasn’t Natsu. Not at all. Lucy walked over and kneeled down next to him. She placed her hand on his shoulder to reassure him. But, he was past that. He felt alone in a dark room. Not even Lucy could get him out of this dark hole.
“Why is Zeref my brother” Natsu’s voice became a whisper. His breathing became heavy before suddenly fainting. It was normal for Natsu to be warm, but at this very moment it was quite obvious he shouldn’t be this warm.
“That fucker, he lied. He said he was going to bring more despair. But, he’d already given it. It was there from the beginning.” Gray was conflicted. Natsu was a brother to him, but it seems he was one to Zeref too.
Gray couldn’t accept this so easily, but he couldn’t ignore his promise to his father which was to destroy E.N.D. Natsu could be a monster a times, yet was no demon and he was certainly not even close to being like Zeref. Gray clenched his fist, he was frustrated, angry, but not at Natsu.
Everything had suddenly become a mess. Gray didn’t know what else to do other than to approach the feverish Natsu and use his ice magic to cool him down. He carefully picked him up. Natsu was lighter than he imagined. It was sort of strange, since the ice mage was so used to beating the crap out of him (as well as having the crap beaten out of him too) and yet, despite Natsu somehow being the life Gray had set a goal on destroying, he couldn’t, it was the same with his father.
He couldn’t kill family.
“Gray-sama where are you taking him?” Juvia was slightly concerned. She knew how hard Gray had trained and knew why he had done so. Which is why she was worried of what Gray may do to Natsu. Everyone was. Gray’s goal wasn’t exactly a secret.
“I’m taking him to Porlyusica, this isn’t something we should be blabbing about, but if gramps knows, then maybe she does too.” He replied.
No one really knew what else to do, Natsu was sick. This was Natsu, their Natsu, not some demon from Zeref’s book and not Zeref’s dead little brother. This was Natsu Dragneel of Fairy Tail and he needed them now to help him, like he’s always helped them. That fact couldn’t be ignored.
Gray could feel Natsu’s heat as could Lucy who was stood right next to him, she wasn’t leaving his side. He’d had begun to sweat and had gotten seriously pale, if they were going to do anything they had to be quick about it.
She placed her hand on his forehead and frowned, “He’s really burning up, we should hurry if we’re going” Lucy thought how this wasn’t Natsu burning up in an ‘I’m all fired up’ sort of way. The thought saddened her.
“I’ll stay behind, we don’t all need to go and if that book was here then the master may have other things too” Erza was worried, but she was right in that they didn’t all need to go and she wanted more answer’s. What they had was a ‘breakthrough’ of sorts, certainly nothing good, but something and she wasn’t satisfied with that fact that the master knew of this fact the entire time. Was Fairy Tail a guild of light? Or is the concept of light and dark not quite as simple as what we’ve always been taught?
“Juvia will stay too. Juvia is worried about Natsu-san. But Erza-san has a point, there may be other things. Look after Natsu-san, Gray-sama” She gave a small smile. Seeing Gray hold Natsu with such a worried look, reassured her that Gray would protect Natsu, she saw the same as most. They are brothers.
Gray carried Natsu to Porlyusica’s with Lucy. They approached the house. Wendy with her excellent hearing heard them and most likely heard Natsu’s heavy breathing and distress, the blue haired girl startled to see the fire mage in such a state came running towards them.
“You guys! What happened?” She approached them. From only few feet away she could feel the heat coming off of Natsu.
The old woman trailed behind the small girl, followed with Happy and Carla. Happy’s wings suddenly drooped down as he lowered to the ground. He didn’t what he saw. The most Natsu is ever sick is from travelling or because he’d been reckless and ate something he shouldn’t have. Either way there’d be hope he’d recover. But this was uncharted territory.
“Bring him inside” Porlyusica looked away and proceeded to walk back into her house. They looked at her. She knew.
Gray laid Natsu on the bed. Natsu had suddenly become this fragile being to him. He used his magic again to cool him down, it didn’t do much. Yet he’d like to think it made him feel a little better, even just for a moment.
“When Wendy told me you had gone to the guild, I was wondering how long it would be before you came here. I was hoping to never have this conversation, but that damned old fool decided to leave.” She’d begun to mix up some herbs. Gray and Lucy didn’t take their eyes off Natsu, even for him this temperature was far from good.
“I don’t understand what’s going on? Why is Natsu suddenly sick? What conversation? What happened?” demanded Carla.
The old woman sighed, “How much have you learnt of Zeref?” she looked at Gray and Lucy.
Gray looked down at the fire mage, “Enough. Enough to make sense of things” he never imagined Natsu in such a mess, but he didn’t blame him.
Lucy had a small cloth dipped in cold water and gently placed it on his forehead and held his hand to reassure him they hadn’t abandoned him. Wendy didn’t know what was going on, but figured she’d soon find out. In the meantime the girl used her healing magic to try and calm him down.
Unfortunately, it was the same with Juvia and her magic wasn’t having much affect. Whatever happened Wendy had already figured that Natsu’s sickness was spurred on by his mental state. Happy didn’t understand either but, regardless of the heat, snuggled into Natsu’s side and closed his eyes before he began to cry at the distress.
After a while Gray spoke, “Before I left to go visit my hometown I went to see him, to make sure he was alright. Ever since he’d joined the guild his goal was to find Igneel. Now that was gone. What’s more is that dragon king bastard finished him for good. Igneel didn’t get to go peacefully like the others and Natsu didn’t get that goodbye.” He paused. “I spoke to him. As I expected, the idiot tried to play off the strong act. I guess from fighting him all the time I’ve got to know him pretty well and I definitely know when he’s lying. We talked and he told me about something that happened on Tenrou island. He said that he met Zeref before the signal was given, he was with Elfman, Evergreen and Happy. He said that Zeref saw him and cried followed by saying how he’d grown.” He stopped trying to make sense of things in his head. It sounded strange when Natsu told him, more so now he was saying those words himself.
Lucy looked up, “H-he what? Why hasn’t this been mentioned before?” this seemed like a pretty big deal. How was this overlooked?
“He said that Zeref also used his magic. But Natsu’s scarf seemed to absorb the magic, turning it black and later Wendy fixed that.” He continued.
Wendy interrupted, “Huh? I fixed it? I don’t remember doing that” she looked at Gray confused.
“That’s why Natsu never mentioned it. He said that he asked Happy about it after we got back to Magnolia. But Happy replied saying he had no idea what he was talking about. He then asked Evergreen knowing she couldn’t have forgotten either, yet she had no clue either. So, Natsu being Natsu decided to ignore it.”
Porlyusica, having decided she’d heard enough, walked over to Natsu and proceeded to give him some medicine to calm his fever. He was still sweating, however, his breathing seemed have normalized. Hopefully the medicine would do its job and bring his temperature down.
Gray continued, “He said that he’d completely forgotten about it, but then when he was on his own in Tartaros, just before he met with Lucy and Happy, he said everything around him froze and Zeref was suddenly in front of him. Zeref told him that Igneel wouldn’t defeat E.N.D and that only he or E.N.D would be able to stop Zeref and he left just as swiftly as he appeared. Natsu said that he never dwelled on it because of everything going on, but then Zeref showed up again his last words were, ’If you somehow manage to make it through this desperate situation, then I shall give you more despair…’” Gray stopped. Those words echoed in his head.
Porlyusica looked up at Gray, “So what will you do? You promised your father you would destroy E.N.D. I presume you spent the past months training and finding information for that moment. If you continue that wish then you needn’t fight him.’ She looked down at the sick boy. That being said, I doubt Zeref would allow you to kill Natsu so easily.” Wendy, Carla and Happy looked in shock.
“Porlyusica-san what are you saying! Why”- Wendy looked at Natsu, she’d already grasped what she was implying to Gray. Happy brushed the statement off, he was startled, but Natsu was Natsu and Natsu was his best friend, nothing would change that.
Lucy stood up, “This is absurd! Gray you aren’t seri-” he cut her off.
“No, I’m not. I couldn’t do that, you should know that. He needs us right now.” he looked at her calmly as a way to reassure her.
Lucy sat back down next to the bed and continued to try and calm Natsu’s fever down. The medicine was working, although he was still in much distress.
Then a sudden realization went in Gray’s eyes, “The R-system, Eclipse project, they were for him. Zeref conjured them up for Natsu. It was clear Zeref wanted his brother back.” This made Gray angry, Zeref had conjured up these demons which was stated as beings he wanted to end his life. He’d then resorted this method to revive his own brother.
“It seems like he killed two birds with one stone, he create a demon that could possibly kill him and he got his brother back. But, the dead can’t be revived, I’m guessing the price was the curse or something else regarding Natsu’s state” Lucy protested.
They didn’t really know what to think of it. Trying to place this together was painful, they couldn’t accept that Natsu had in fact died and was no longer human. Natsu was here, breathing and he even went away to train so he could protect them.
Natsu was a member of Fairy Tail. He was family. Zeref wasn’t taking that away from them.
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