Children of the Dragon Wars

By Paul Benkendorfer

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 18

Gajeel stood in his cell, waiting for the ample time of whether or not he was going to break free. He could hear the clamor of metal boots on the stone floor echoing through the dark corridor. He could also hear the sound of men grumbling, followed by the rattle of chains. Gajeel began to grow worried, it was too soon for him to act, and with what happened to Natsu, he wondered if the plan was still going to go through. He was too busy debating amongst himself whether he should just leave now instead of waiting.

He suspected that it had to be guards that were approaching, and he wondered if they were coming for him now. He could feel a firry sensation erupt in the pit of his gut. As his vision magnified he could see that the guards were dragging Rogue and Sting with them, and once they were within distance, one guard rushed up to open the doors to two cells so they could throw the young Draconan men inside. As Gajeel watched them, he could feel the power melt away, knowing that perhaps he should stave off his eagerness for the time being.

Though he saw that once they had thrown the other two in their own individual cells, it didn't end there. They locked them to the back wall by their necks and wrists. He then noticed that as soon as the guards were done with the other two Draconans, they rushed over to his cell, and before he had time to react, they pounced on him and locked him up in a similar manner.

"What is this?" Gajeel barked. "What do you think you're doing to me?"

"King's orders," one of the guards answered. "He doesn't trust you Draconans. He knows that you've been scheming something, and we're here to insure that you don't cause a disruption."

"Is Jude really that paranoid?" Gajeel grumbled to himself.

"Jude is no longer king of Konvern," the guard answered as the entire group made their way out of the cell. "King Duke is now the ruler"

"What?" Gajeel gawked in disbelief.

There was no answer, the other guards just made their way out of the dungeons leaving the three of them behind in the darkness. Gajeel strained against the chains, but they were so tight he could barely move. The chain around his neck was practically suffocating him. The more he shifted, the more it felt like the metal was digging deeper and deeper into his skin. After awhile he was forced to just give up. Perhaps he should have left when he had the chance.

"Don't struggle too much," Sting grumbled from his own cell, "it only makes the whole thing worse."

"So I noticed," Gajeel grumbled. "Should have burned the bastards when I had the chance. So I'm guessing that you two must be Sting and Rogue."

"I'm Sting," the blonde haired boy answered. "And the other is Rogue. I never thought we would finally get the chance to meet you Gajeel."

"So, Natsu told you about me?" Gajeel chuckled.

"A bit," Rogue answered with a shrug, or what best he could do in his current predicament. "But everyone knows about you Gajeel."

"Yeah," Sting snickered, "the Wondering Dragon. You've made quite a name for yourself over the past couple of years. We heard about you back down south, we hoped to meet you one day. Never thought it would be in a place like this. But oh well, seeing how bad our luck has been, I guess we should be thankful to even have the opportunity to meet."

"And yet I have not heard a word about either of you until now," Gajeel mumbled.

"Well, when your being raised to fight for people's entertainment and to make your master money, they tend to not want people to know too much about who you are," Sting answered. "So, no surprise really."

"So what are we going to do about the plan now?" Rogue asked, a bit of frustration in his voice. "What in the name of the gods happened?"

"Well, it seems that the lovely couple couldn't wait for their honeymoon, so now, we're here," Gajeel answered. He could feel the metal chain around his neck strain his throat.

"So what do we do now?" Sting cried, rustling his chains.

"I don't know," Gajeel sighed.

The three of them sat there in the dark for a while. For how long, Gajeel did not know, it was different, he could not keep count of the time since they all sat there in silence. Then he could hear the sound of footsteps coming towards them. He could tell they belonged to small feet, they could just as easily be mistaken for a rodents. He raised his head enough to see a small shadow silhouette outline of a young woman.

"Who's there?" Gajeel growled.

The young woman said nothing as he could hear the sound of the cell door squeak open. Gajeel was a bit shocked to see that the young woman was none other than Levy, Princess Lucy's handmaiden. He was a bit bewildered to see her there, a set of keys dangling in her hand. She wasted no time before she rushed over and knelt down in front of the Draconan teen to unlock his chains. Gajeel stared at her, still puzzled by her presence.

"What are you doing here?" Gajeel asked her.

"Freeing you," Levy answered as she unlocked the chain around his neck, relieving him of the pain, "what does it look like?"

"Why?" he asked as he watched her move up to unlock his wrists.

She rose up to her knees, her body brushing his causing the young teen to blush feverishly, but the girl could not see that. Her satin lavender dress draped over his face getting caught in his piercings and even in his nose. The young Draconan's nostrils filled with her fragrance; a mixture of honey suckle and tulip. It was nice, a fresh relief from the sickening stench he was forced to inhale every day. For just a moment the boy seemed lost in tranquility.

"Finally," Levy said snapping Gajeel back to himself.

A loud crank could be heard as the cuffs flew open causing his hands to fall down, knocking the small handmaiden down on top of him. Levy pulled herself up, brushing her hair out of her face. It was then that her face flushed a bright pink as she realized that her face was only inches away from the Draconan's. Their eyes locked onto their each others, finally the tension was broken as the girl nervously pulled herself off of him.

"Thank you," Gajeel mumbled, his face was a bit flushed as well. "But again why did you free me?"

"Because," Levy said coyly, still a bit flustered, "Duke has locked Natsu in the tower, and now he plans on burning Princess Lucy at the stake! I didn't know who else to turn to," she sighed to herself, tears began to form on the cusps of her eyes. "I know you probably don't care but please, I'm begging you, please save the two of them."

"And what about us?" Sting called out from his cell. The girl nearly jumped in place, she hadn't even noticed the two of them.

Levy was at a loss for words. That was when Gajeel placed a hand on her shoulder, once again startling the girl. He nodded at her, letting her know that she should go and release the two of them as well. She nodded back as she rushed over into the next two cells, Gajeel stretching out his neck as he walked out of his own cell.

Once Sting and Rogue were freed they too made their way out of their cells. They seemed so pleased to finally be out of their chains, the two of them exchanging smirks. Levy made her way to the front of the Draconans, ready to lead them out of the dungeons, feeling a bit nervous, not knowing whether she could trust, but still a bit delighted that they could be helping her. She was about to lead them down the corridor, when a familiar sound of clanging came towards them.

Levy felt her legs go numb as they just froze up underneath her. She was growing a bit worried now, that was until Gajeel pulled her behind him as he stepped up in front of her. She could see the other two Draconans taking a step forward as well. But that wasn't what frightened her the most; it was the sudden change that overtook the teens. She could see the scales form on their skin as claws began to form from their fingernails.

"Stay behind me," Gajeel told her, keep his glare focused on the oncoming guards, "I'll protect you."

"Okay," Levy exhaled as she took a step back.

She watched in dread as Gajeel lunged forward at an oncoming guard, the man swinging his sword at the teen's head. He casually ducked aside, grabbing the man's wrist and throwing him hard against the wall while he grabbed the arm of another oncoming offender and with his free hand struck him down to the ground, and in one motion, kicked him into the oncoming aggressors.

Sting and Rogue were not so interested in a hand-to-hand fight. The two of them took a deep breath, Gajeel's ears twitching as he heard them. He spun around, seeing what they were about to do. Almost instantly he leapt towards Levy, embracing her in his arms as the other two discharged an immense amount of flames from their mouths. Levy screamed as Gajeel was able to jump in front of just in time to shield her.

The flames engulfed the corridor, the sounds of men's cries and squeals blared out. Gajeel pulled Levy in close as the girl let out her own scream, cuffing her ears with her hands to drown out the sounds of the dying men. Tears streamed from her eyes as she could feel the fire brush past her. She buried herself in Gajeel's arms as she waited for all of it to be over.

When it was over, the small handmaiden quivered in the black haired Draconan arms. He held her in close, whispering in her ear to keep her eyes closed. She nodded as she could feel him pulling her forward. She cringed as she could feel her feet crunch on top of ass, and even worse when she could feel herself pass by a motionless body. She tried her best to hold off the stream of tears that were now cascading down her cheeks, but she couldn't. She couldn't bear to look at the smoldering bodies she knew were just below her feet.

"What were you two thinking?" Gajeel growled. "Did you forget about the girl?"

"Big deal," Sting sighed waving it off as he and Sting continued to walk forward. "Why do you care so much?"

"In case you two forgot, she was the one that freed us, so you could at least show a little courtesy," Gajeel snapped.

"Fine," Sting sighed, folding his arms across his chest. "We're sorry. You happy now?"

"Just keep moving," Gajeel grumbled.

He peered down, seeing that Levy still had her eyes closed shut. She dared not open them. She clung to his arm not wanting to lose him, desperate to keep him as close to her as she could. He could see that she was deeply upset, but he didn't know what he should say to her. He bit his lip and pressed forward making sure to guide her around the scorched corpses.

While they made their way out of the dungeons, King Duke already had the stage in the town square prepared. Men brought logs and kindling for a fire on the stage per the young king's orders; all the while Lucy waited in her bedroom. She cried to herself, hugging her knees to her chest, soaking the skirt of her long white sundress. She looked out to the lake, holding the dragon pendant in her hand, wishing that Natsu was there for her. She even missed Levy, her one friend that she could have sought comfort in.

She heard a loud knock on the door and some yelling outside. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but she could feel the inside of her chest knot up. She knew that they were here for her, and it was in that moment she felt like she was truly abandoned.

The door swung open and to her surprise the man that stood before her was Arcadios. She leapt to her feet, about to rush over to him as he stepped inside. Behind him the two guards who were on duty lied motionless on the ground. There was no blood, so she could guess that they were not dead. But he didn't care, she the sight of a friend coming to her aid was all she needed to lift her spirits.

"Arcadios," she cried, as she hugged the knight, sobbing into his armor.

"Come now my Lady," he said stroking her hair, "all will be well. I'm her at the bequest of your father, King Jude. We need to get moving now, there is no time to waste."

"What about Natsu?" she asked, peering up into the tall knight's eyes.

"I am sorry girl, but there is no time for the boy, we must get moving now," Arcadios told her. "Now come, there is no time for us to argue."

"No, there isn't," King Duke said as he stepped into the room. Arcaios spun around unsheathing his sword as he glared at the young lord.

Behind Duke stood a large group of soldiers, not Konvern knights, their banner was that of Junelle. Arcadios glowered at them as he pushed to keep the princess behind him. He watched as Duke's men ran into the room, swords in hand, as the began to form a semi-circle around the two of them. Lucy held onto the tall knight in front of her as her heart began to race rapidly. She was scared, and she hid herself behind Arcadios as she could see Duke glaring at her.

"Lay down your arms Sir Arcadios," one of the knights said. Arcadis figured that this man must have been the head of Duke's guard. "Lay down your arms," he repeated, "and I promise you we will forgive you of this treachery."

"The only treachery here are the men that stand before me planning on hurting a defenseless girl," Arcadios snapped. "What kind of knights are you?"

"The kind that listen to their king," the guard barked.

"Sir Arcadios," King Duke said as he stepped forward, "you dare interfere with the law?"

"You are not the law Duke," Arcadios growled. "Nor are you my lord. I do not acknowledge you as my king, and if you even attempt to lay a hand on Princess Lucy, I will gut you like the pigs you are."

No more words were exchanged as two guards from the sides came running in at Arcadios as he parried the one of the sword, and in one move, spun around and blocked the other. He kicked the first man in the gut backwards and swung his arm up, striking the man in the face, crushing his nose as he fell to the ground. Lucy watched in horror as she took a couple of steps back, making sure that he got out of the way.

A third man came running in swinging his sword down upon Arcadios' head as the knight knocked it away, and swung his sword side ways, slicing through the third guard's gut. The man collapsed to the ground, as three other men came running in. A man leapt in from the right, hurtling down his sword in a similar fashion to the third man's, Arcadios stepped fell to his knees, slashing his sword at the fourth man's ankles cutting him just below the calf. In one fluid motion he carried the momentum back up to his feet blocking the fifth man's on coming strike, but unfortunately he was unable to block the sixth man's oncoming strike.

Yelling out in pain, Arcadios threw the fifth man from him, grabbing the sword of the sixth man. Lucy's eyes went up in shock as she saw the sword embedded into Arcadios' skin, not too deep, but blood began to ooze drastically from the wound. He wretched the sword from his body and used his sword to slash the throat of the sixth man, blood ejecting out from the wound drenching Arcadios' face with the warm, crimson substance.

The first fighters were back on their feet, the first man came in running towards Arcadios as the knight grasped at his wound. With one hand he struck the blow away to the side, raising his elbow up knocking the first man's head upwards, and keeping the motion going he slashed his sword through this man as well. Though while his back was turned one of the other guards came in and hacked Arcadios in the back.

The knight cried in pain, as he fell to his knees, but he did not let that deter him as he swung around and sliced through the guard behind him. The fifth man this time came jumping in, trying to knocked Arcadios down, but the knight rolled throwing this man off of him. He lifted his swords and brought it down upon his attacker before falling to his hands panting heavily.

Lucy rushed up to his side, placing a hand on his back as she peered into his eyes. Her eyes wondered about his wounds seeing him loose a lot of blood, his armor and cape were now soaked in it. He kept his gaze down, taking the princess's hand in his. All the assailants were either dead or no longer capable of moving. Duke sighed to himself as he stared at the two of them.

"Well, now this is disappointing," Duke sighed. Lucy glowered up at him as she stayed by Arcadios' side. As soon as Duke stopped speaking another swarm of guards came rushing into the princess's room, swords drawn as the surrounded the two of them.

"Kill him," Duke ordered. The guards lifted their swords and took a step towards them.

"No!" Lucy shrilled as she stood up.

"Princess, no!" Arcadios cried as he reached out for her. He cringed under the weight of his own pain, his hand falling to the ground before he had the chance to grab her.

"Leave him alone," Lucy demanded as she stood in front of the knight.

"Fine," Duke said, "take the princess to the town square. We'll deal with the knight later."

The guards complied as the grabbed the girl by both arms and took her out of the room. They all rushed out, leaving Duke and Arcadios alone in the room. The king waited for everyone to exit before he took his leave, but before he closed the doors behind him he turned to the knight, "What a shame," he said tauntingly. "You went through so much, only to fail at the end."

Arcadios leered up at him, seething as he bled on the ground. Duke said no more as he shut the door behind him.

Lucy found herself being pulled and dragged down to the stage of the town center, the spot she remembered was the spot where Natsu had been publically. A crowd of town's people had gathered in front of it, watching from the ground, windows and rooftops. They were confused and concerned about what was going on, the murmur of questions arose from them as the watched as the princess was tied up to the stake.

"The princess is a traitor!" King Duke shouted as he stepped on the stage. He peered over at the sobbing blonde. "She was caught in an adulterous act with a slave. As the new ruler of Konvern, as your king, I must allow justice to prevail. And it is therefore that the princess has been tried and found guilty of violating her position as queen, and as a citizen of Konvern. Therefore, as punishment she must be burned at the stake!"

The crowd didn't appear all that pleased with the ruling, and they were not alone. Amongst them Jellal and Erza watched from nearby, cloaked to keep themselves hidden. They had heard about something going on, and even heard that King Jude had been exiled. The young noble was too busy trying to set up for the rebellion that he did not fully understand what was going on.

Erza stared at him with worry, "What are we going to do?" she asked.

"Wait," Jellal said. He turned around, seeing Bob standing behind them, also shrouded in his cloak. He nodded at the pudgy blacksmith, who nodded back as Bob made his way up to the crowd where he met with a group of Draconan slaves standing next to a local tavern.

"Are you and your men ready?" Bob asked them.

"That we are," one of the men, a tall burly dark skinned man with a half burnt face, answered. "We just wait for the signal. We will wait for them to light the flame, then we will attack."

"No," Bob snapped, "we must attack before the flame is lit."

"We will go when we are ready, not a second sooner," the slave snarled.

Bob began to grow worried as he returned to the young noble and Erza, passing on the message to Jellal. Now the noble was incredibly concerned, wondering what they were going to do about Lucy. He could see that Duke had already grabbed a torch and was slowly approaching Lucy, ready to light the kindling. Jellal could see that Erza had already unsheathed her sword and began to run towards the stage.

"Erza!" Jellal called after her, reaching out to grab her, but she was already gone.

Duke smirked at Lucy as she glowered at him. He threw the torch down on the dry wood as the flame erupted around her. The watched in horror as the fire came closer and closer to her. The crowd gasped terrified by the sight of the fire, some of the townspeople began to cry pleading for King Duke to stop, but the young lord would not listen.

"NATSU!" Lucy cried out loud, feeling the heat of the flames around her body.

From the tower room Natsu sat chained up against the wall, chains wrapped around his neck and wrists. He could feel it strain against him. He had been sitting alone, in silence for so long, that he found himself falling asleep. That was until he could hear the young blonde call out his name. His heart stopped in his chest, as he turned his gaze towards the window.

"Lucy?" he gasped, realizing that she was in trouble. "LUCY!" he cried, belching flames from his mouth trying to rip the chains from the wall. He felt desperate unable to help her. Tears gushed from his eyes as he cried out her name, wanting nothing more than to tear off the chains that held him back.

He stopped as he felt like his muscle were tearing, panting as he sat on his knees he strained against the metal chains, but it seemed that it was no good; the chains would not budge, and no matter how much fired he roared he wasn't able to break his chains. He broke down crying, feeling helpless. He couldn't forgive himself for not being able to save her. He wished that it was him out there instead of her, and he would give anything just for the chance to take her place.

Down in the town square the fire was growing rapidly closer and closer to her. She backed up against the wooden stake, turning her head away and closing her eyes. She couldn't bear the sight of it, nor the heat. It was in that moment that she felt like it was almost certain that she was going to die, but now she had no more tears to shed.

Erza was only feet away from the stage, sword drawn and in hand when she came to an abrupt stop. Her eyes went wide as everyone in the crowd gasped as a man with long black hair leapt into the flames just in front of the princess. He slashed the ropes that tied her down before he lifted her onto his shoulder and jumping out of harm's way.

Lucy was equally as stunned as she noticed that the man who had saved her was none other than Gajeel, the bandit that her father had imprisoned. He jumped down behind the stage and set her down. Sting and Rogue passed on by them walking up to Gajeel.

"My Lady are you all right," Levy asked as she placed her hands on the blonde's shoulders.

"Levy?" Lucy gasped still in shock. "Levy," she sobbed as she hugged the girl tightly.

"It's okay you're okay now," Levy said comforting her. The blond continued to cry into her handmaiden's shoulder.

"AFTER THEM!" Duke roared to his guards waving for them to go after the princess.

The guards complied as they rushed at the small group. Just then a loud horn was sounded, causing the guards to stop in place. Even Duke turned around with a bewildered expression, as did everyone else in the crowd. Fright over took everyone as the crowd dispersed into different directions screaming as the slaves charged at the town guards, and even killed some of the guards.

"What is going on?" Duke bellowed as he fled back to the castle. "Why are the slaves suddenly uprising?"

He wasted no time as guards and knights covered him and kept the path clear until they passed the castle gates. Once inside they shut the doors behind them, leaving everyone else outside to fend for themselves. Sting and Rogue took the ample chance to fight some of the Konvern guards themselves, roaring fire and slashing at them with their claws. Gajeel stayed back, sheltering Levy and Lucy behind them as the three of them slowly backed into a corner looking for a safe place to hide during the fight.

The slaves yelled in anger as they fought the guards, most of the town's people had taking refuge in shops and houses while the battle raged in the streets. There were more slaves than there were soldiers, but they did not have the upper hand. Without armor, or even proper swordsmanship, many of them were slain by the better equipped guards. Many didn't even have swords of their own, many of them relied on clubs and whatever blunt objects that they could get their hands on to fight.

Erza unsheathed her own sword as a couple of soldiers ran at her. She lunged at them swinging her sword with as much might as she could muster, knocking one soldier to his back. She then lifted her sword and swung at the other knight, barring it down upon him as he grabbed his own sword with both hands to block it. She took the opportunity to kick him in the groin as he fell to his knees. She then punched him square in the jaw with her fist knocking him out.

The other soldier stood up, recomposing himself as he lifted his sword to her. He raised his blade above his head, but before he could bring it down, a knife came flying past Erza cheek, striking the man in the chest. He let out a wail of pain as he collapsed to the ground, dead.

"Erza," Jellal said as he ran up to her.

"That was my opponent," she said with a disgruntled glare.

"Never mind," Jellal said waving it off. "We have to find Princess Lucy."

"She's over in the corner with the handmaiden and the bandit," Erza told him. When Jellal saw them he rushed over to them, pushing and throwing aside both soldiers and slaves.

"Lucy," Jellal called out as he ran towards the blonde and other.

"Jellal!" Levy called out to him, still holding Lucy in her arms.

"Where's Natsu?" Jellal asked as he ran up to them. He looked around wondering what had happened to the pink haired teen.

"He's locked away up in the tower," Levy told him. =

"Watch these two, I'll go get him," Gajeel told Jellal said as he turned to face the castle.

"No," Jellal told him, "you and Erza take Lucy and Levy and get out of here. I'll get Natsu."

"Jellal no," Erza said grabbing his hand. "You can't risk your life for a slave boy. As you knight and personal guard I won't let you."

"Erza, as your lord I command you to protect the princess," Jellal told her. "This is what you wanted, to serve as a royal guard, and I need you to do this so please stay with Lucy and protect her. They need you more than I do."

"But—" Erza cried.

"But nothing," Jellal cut her off, placing a comforting hand on her cheek. "I'm a noble of King Duke's and he doesn't know what my intentions are. I can slip through undetected and get the boy out without causing too much commotion. Don't worry, we'll meet you guys are the rendevue point, I promise."

"Okay," she sighed grabbing his hand in hers. She knew that there was no point in arguing with him any longer. "You three follow me," she ordered them as she motioned them away from the crowd.

The four of them ran down the street as the battle continued, ducking out of the way careful to stay out of sight as much they could. Jellal turned to make his way back to the castle, but he stopped himself to watch them leave to make sure that they were safe. Erza led the others to a stable with horses, once there she helped Lucy on the horse as she lifted herself up to take the reigns. Gajeel jumped onto a second horse and lifted Levy to sit behind him. As they rode out, Erza took one last look at Jellal, seeing that he was still there watching them.

Their eyes interlocked for a brief moment as Erza sighed to herself, knowing that she had to listen to him. She could hear the clamor of the battle as soldiers and guards were charging towards them. She knew she didn't have another moment to lose as she galloped towards the main gate, leaving Jellal behind.

The young noble was a bit relieved to see them go, but even better now that he could see that they were going to make it out through the gate. He made his way back to the castle, unsheathing his sword. Fortunately, the majority of the battle was taking place in the heart of the town, and the soldiers guarding the front gate of the castle had yet to see of battle. But then again, seeing as how Rogue and Sting were the only ones fighting in the area, he could understand why they were more inclined to guard the gates than interfere.

Natsu heard the sound of the door swinging open, half expecting to see one of Duke's men come in and finish him off as well. But upon seeing that the man that was standing in the doorway was none other than Jellal.

"Jellal?" Natsu said breathing a sigh of relief. "What are you doing here? What about Lucy?! Is she okay?"

"She's fine," Jellal said reassuringly as he ran over to Natsu pulling a set of keys out of one of his coat pockets. "She's in the care of Levy and Erza. I saw them make it out of the town just before I came her."

"Thank the gods," Natsu sighed. "Thank you."

"Don't mention it, but we need to hurry," Jellal told him as he released the boy's hands.

Once Natsu was freed Jellal helped him to his feet. The young Draconan stretched out his neck. Natsu proceeded to run towards the windows to peer outside. There he saw the onslaught of the battle. The tide had turned on the slaves were being overrun by the town's guard. Many of them had already turned and fled from the city leaving those willing to fight, before they too realized that there was no victory to be had.

That was when Natsu saw that Rogue and Sting were in the mists of battle, a trail of blood and bodies in their wake. None of the soldiers dare go near them. The ground behind them littered with corpses, burned and decimated. They had made their way to the gate, where they too vanished beyond the wall, leaving everyone else behind. Natsu shook his head, disappointed by their actions.

"Natsu, we have to find a way out of here without being spotted," Jellal said.

Natsu ran over to one of the other windows, peering down to see that it overlooked the naked field and trees down below. He wondered if they could find a way to climb down, it was outside the castle walls so there would be no guards. He knew that he could probably do it, and he could help carry Jellal if necessary. It would be better than the two of them trying to fight their way through the town center. Especially since it seemed like that battle would be over and they wouldn't have that as a distraction.

"Natsu," Jellal said taking a step closer to the boy. He was beginning to get a little too nervous.

Suddenly Jellal heard a strange noise, something like the tugging of string. When he turned around he saw two archers standing behind him, their strings drawn. Jellal called out the boy's name as he fell to the ground, snapping Natsu back to attention. He could feel the sudden rush of the burning sensation swell up inside him as his senses picked up the oncoming shots. The boy spun around, able to dodge one arrow but not the other, as he was struck in his left shoulder.

The boy cried out in pain as the force of the blow knocked him back, hard enough forcing him to topple out the window. Jellal watched as the boy fell. Natsu seethed in pain as he plunged to the ground below. He fell for more than five stories before he hit the top branches of a evergreen tree that stood below. He crashed through the branches causing them to shatter before he finally hit the ground at the bottom.

"Natsu!" Jellal cried as the archers walked over and picked him up.

"Well, well, well," Jellal heard Duke sneer as the young king entered the tower room. "What do we have here?"

Jellal glowered at him as he struggled against his capture's grip. Duke made his way over to the window, peering down to see the motionless Natsu on the ground below. He chuckled to himself as he walked back over to the young noble and slapped him across the face.

"You betray me?" he spat. "You ungrateful sod! I should kill you now. But since you seem so inclined to take that whore Lucy's place. I guess I can grant it to you. Guards, take him away, and get this filthy son of a whore out of my face. The next time I see it, I want it to be smothered in flames!"

The guards complied as Jellal was dragged down the stairway. "I'm sorry Erza," he sighed to himself. "I'm sorry."


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