"You want me to what?!" Kiana yelled furiously as she picked up a tray of empty beer mugs and walked back to the bar. Gildarts followed her as she stormed away, like a wounded puppy seeking help.
"Told you she wouldn't go for it," Natsu chuckled as he rested his cheek against his fist as Gildarts walked up next to him. He observed everything that was going on from his seat at the bar while Gajeel sat next to him.
"Shut up Natsu," Gildarts sighed annoyed as he shook his head. He was beginning to get a headache from all this arguing. "Kinana won't you please reconsider?" He pleaded with the young girl, his eyes almost begging her to reconsider.
The purple haired girl glared at him as she walked on behind the counter. Mira stood at the center watching the two of them at the same time. The other patrons of the bar had their eyes on the two of them, some of the men snickering as they thought Gildarts was pursing Kinana for company during the night, but he was just getting the rejection. Mira was beginning to get annoyed while Natsu and Gajeel stared at one another with both amusement and pity.
"No," the girl grumbled as she picked up the beer mugs and threw them into a sink of water, splashing the soapy liquid onto the floor and her apron. She proceeded to pour new cups of beer and take the tray to their tables. Gildarts followed her, pleading even more that she reconsider the offer, only more so now. The girl slammed the mugs onto the table angrily as she looked back and continued to tell him, "No."
The onlookers continued to giggle amongst themselves as Kinana continued to pick up the remaining empty mugs. She glided through the snickering crowd as Gildarts persisted. Natsu and Gajeel were hoping that Gildarts would finally give up but the old man was persistent. She wanted to tell Gildarts to stop, but unfortunately she was busy with the other customers at the moment. Gray sat at a booth with Juvia and Lyon, all of which were equally as confused, but Gray just didn't seem to care all that much as Juvia snuggled up to him.
The boy retracted away from her as the girl looked up with him with sad puppy dog eyes. It appeared that Kinana was not the only person in the pub who was annoyed with someone else.
"Kinana please, if you could just help us out this one time," Gildarts begged.
"No," the girl snapped as she scampered back to the back of the pub and to the back door. She slammed it in his face as she disappeared behind the oak wood. Gildarts just sighed in defeat as he slumped his way over to the bar and sagged in his chair. Mira walked over and handed him a beer, smiling her same friendly grin as she placed a mug of frothy beer in front of him.
"So, mind telling me what all that was about?" She asked placing her hands on her hips. She leered at the old man with dissatisfied eyes as he slouched under her glare.
"He's trying to convince Kinana to do some spying for Makarov," Natsu told her. The old man looked at him with a cocked eyebrow but he wasn't about to start another argument with someone els.
"Gildarts don't you know better than that?" Mira said disapprovingly. She pouted her lips as she leered down at him. That same gaze that always made the man feel uneasy. She may have been sweet and innocent most of the time with a smile that could light up the room, but when she was upset, it could be just as devastating. "I wouldn't think you'd be one to stir up trouble; especially with Kinana. You know she's a delicate girl."
"It's important Mira," Gildarts told her as he hunched over his own mug twirling the ale inside along the rim. "You know I wouldn't do it unless it was really important. And she's the only one that can help us at the moment. There are other ways around this, but it's the only way that would make it easier on everyone."
"And what is this job that you need her to do?" Mira asked as she leaned forward to eye level with Gildarts. The old man looked at her directly into her pupils. She moved forward just a bit, but it was enough to cause the man to shutter back.
"Just talk to somebody for us," Gildarts answered coyly as Mira didn't seem all that pleased by her answers. "I mean she is someone who could be a bit more persuasive when it comes to certain subjects. I'm surprised that she was so sensitive to the subject. Especially when I mentioned that the person in questions name."
"Well then perhaps you should just let it go?" Mira said as she stood upright with a fierce scowl upon her lips.
"Mira do you think you could talk to her for us?" Gildarts asked, oblivious to Mira's disapproval. Mira cocked an eyebrow at him as she stood up glaring at him folding her arms across her chest.
"I'm not going to force Kinana to do anything she doesn't want to do," Mira said as she placed her hands on her hips. "That poor girl suffers enough as it is. I don't need you forcing her into anymore trouble." She took a deep breath. "Natsu, can you please talk to him for me?"
She looked down at the seat next to the older man only to see that the chair was in fact empty. Her eyes darted around the bar and she even discovered that Gajeel happened to be missing as well. This wasn't good. "Where did they go?" She asked annoyed.
"I don't know," Gildarts said taking a drink from his mug. "Maybe they went to go spend time with their special lady friends. I know that's what Jellal is doing right now."
"And who might Jellal's special lady friend be?" A feminine voice said as Cana took Natsu's former seat next to her father. She smiled a wide wicked grin as her eyes lingered on him. "I know it's not Lucy, after her night of passion with Natsu. I hope she remembered the lessons that I taught her. It must be that redhead, Erza. She always seemed to have a thing for the man."
"Please don't tell me you corrupted that sweet innocent girl," Gildarts sighed into his mug. "I knew I should have never let you around her."
"Corrupted? There was no need for me to corrupt the girl," Cana giggled. "That sweet innocent girl was always a fiery little minx deep down. I just helped her discover her who she really was under all that prim and proper princess attire." Gildarts just rolled his eyes as he drained the last of his beer. Cana giggled even more to herself as she leaned into her father's ear. She had trouble controlling her laughter but she finally managed to pull herself together to whisper, "And I'm sure your young ward Natsu is the happiest one of all to have the new and improved Lucy around."
Gildarts choked on his beer as Cana laughed to herself a single tear emerged from the corner of her eye. In one fell swoop she downed an entire pint of beer before slamming the empty mug onto the counter top. Mira sighed to herself as she watched the two of them. But then her curiosity about what happened to the two Draconian teens began to bug her again. She hadn't known them for long, but she had an idea of what they were like through conversation and when she met them the other day. They seemed nice enough, but they were young men, and she knew as well as anyone that young men couldn't always be trusted no matter how gentleman like they appeared. Not that she expected them as thieves, but young men were always different when women were involved: so much different.
Meanwhile the two Draconans sent out to finish the jobs themselves since it seemed that Gildarts wasn't going to be able to do it. Natsu told Gajeel to go off and find Jellal while he went off to find Kinana. He suspected that the young noble was probably with Erza back at either their home or at the woman's lodging. Though it was more Gildart's idea that Jellal would be found there after what he saw earlier that day. The old man didn't give them an answer as to why, but Natsu trusted him enough to take the old man's word for it. The woman's lodging would be far more likely to find the two of them together considering that they lived in far nicer accommodations than the boys. So, while Gajeel went off to find the third member of their party, Natsu made his way to the back of the pub to find Kinana. He hoped that Mira did not spot him, since it was after all off limits to everyone but staff, but he had to talk to her.
He opened the door slowly leading him to a winding stairwell that looked like it led to the cellar. He followed it and at the last step he found himself in a darkened room with rows of large oak barrels stacked on wooden shelves. The ceiling was a half circle made of bricks and led onwards down into dark recesses on either side. He thought the pub was large, but the cellar was even bigger. There had to be dozens of barrels full of wine and beer crowding the half dozen rows that disappeared into the darkness. The only source of light came from torches that hung along brick pillars and candles strung up from the ceiling.
He made his way down the narrow corridor when he spotted Kinana sitting hunched over a wooden table with her face in her hands. Natsu could see that the girl was obviously upset, but she wasn't crying. He was a bit hesitant, but right now it looked like the girl needed someone to talk to, and even though he wanted to persuade her into helping them, he was now second guessing it. Clearly there was something bothering the girl and he did not want to make matters worse, even though he knew how important she could be.
"Kinana?" Natsu said as he step towards the young purple haired girl. Kinana nearly jumped in place as she gazed up at Natsu.
"What are you doing back here?" she asked scowling at the pink haired teen. "The cellar is off limits to everyone but employees."
"I know," Natsu said as he took a seat beside her. "I just need to talk to you for a moment."
"Well then the answer is no!" She snapped as she folded her arms across her chest. "I am not going to help you track down the Orecion Seis agent."
"Why not?" Natsu asked.
"It doesn't matter why, all that matter is that I don't want to help," she said standing up. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."
"Kinana, I'm asking you this because I'm a friend," Natsu said.
"We hardly know each other Natsu," the girl answered with a deep breath. "I mean, yes I'm friends with Lucy, but you only just got here. I barely know anything about you, nor do you know a thing about me. How could you possibly understand how I feel?"
"I wasn't referring to you," Natsu told her. The girl was a bit stunned and confused at the same time as she glared at the boy with quizzical eyes. "I have spent a lot of time with Cobra." Natsu continued. "I traveled around a great deal with him, from Mila to Nirvit, and then even most of the way from Nirvit to here. And despite my upbringing and who he is, I discovered that he truly he's a good man. Everything he does, he does it because he's been trying to find someone he truly cares about. I'm not entirely sure if that's the truth, but that's what Jellal told me. Maybe that's how I came to like him. The two of us are so different, but we do the things we do because of the people that we love. And I can see that in him. Just like me he's driven to find the one person he cares about most in this world, no matter the cost.
"I'm only asking because I consider Cobra a friend now and I don't want to see him hurt. I would rather see if we can discover the information willingly, rather than bring him in and have someone interrogate him. I may be ignorant on a lot of issues, especially when it comes to politics, but the one thing I know is that you cannot trust a prison system to take care of your friends. So I'm asking you again, please, for the sake of my friend, will you help us?"
The girl stared at Natsu, as she could feel his words slicing through her. She didn't know why, but she began to feel a bit more at ease as he guard began to drop. She thought about Erik, knowing that this Cobra must have been him. She then began to wonder if Natsu's words were true. At least she hoped that they were true. She needed them to be true. Though now she knew that if she ever wanted to discover whether they were true herself, she was going to have to go through with their plan. And though every alarm in her mind was going off, her heart told her to go through with it.
"Yes," the girl sighed smiling at the pink haired teen. "When you put it that way, of course I'll help you."
Gajeel grumbled to himself as he ascended a top the stairway and entered into the girl's housing. Why did he have to be the one to fetch Jellal? Though that wasn't the thing that upset him the most, but it was when Cana decided to hassle him about how he was the only man around that didn't appear to have his own special girl. Who was she to chastise anyone? He could find a girl if he wanted to. It's just that he didn't want to. Not that he preferred men over women when it came to certain company. Certainly not. Absolutely not. Probably not.
He entered into the residence as he made his way down the hallway and came to a closed door. "Jellal," Gajeel called out as he opened the door. "Are you ready to go?"
When he opened the door and stepped into the room he stopped mid-step. There standing in front of him was Levy, naked with as she was midway through undressing herself. Her back turned to him so he could only see her thin bare legs and other intriguing parts. The girl lifted her head as she heard something and slowly turned her head around to see the young bandit standing in her doorway.
The two of them stared at one another as Levy's entire body glowed a bright cherry red and Gajeel's face blushed pink. The girl's hands trembled as she screamed, covering the more private areas of her body with her hands.
"GET OUT!" she cried.
"I'm sorry, I was just—"
"GET OUT!" she cried again as she picked up a vase from a nearby nightstand and chucked it at the black haired teen.
Gajeel saw that the hand she removed from her body to grab the vase was the one covering the lower private area of her body. His eyes went wide as he stood there paralyzed from admiration. That was until his senses came in, as the vision of the vase slowed down giving him just enough time to shut the door enough for the vase to shattered against the hard wood. He was going to try and apologize to her again before her cry for him to get out as another object collided against the door.
That was enough for him to listen as he shut the door behind him. He was breathing heavily; the image Levy's naked body still flashing in his mind. He coughed as he shook his head, as though to rattle the image from the recesses of his mind, but then again he really did not want to. He could hear some rambling in the room, but he was still too stunned to move.
The black haired teen had never been one to be startled easily, but the second he heard the screech of the door opening he nearly leapt out of his boots. Levy walked through the doorway with her eyes shut, her face still a bright pink, her face agitated and annoyed. She was wearing a light blue sundress with a dark blue strip across the breast and sunflower pinned against her upper right bosom. She slammed the door behind her as she folded her arms across her chest as she refused to look at Gajeel. Even the black haired teen's face was still a bit flushed with embarrassment as he stared at the girl nervously.
"What do you want Gajeel?" she growled. Her eyes were still shut.
"I . . . uh . . . well, I," he stammered as he couldn't look at her with a straight face. All he could picture was her naked body underneath that sundress. His heart was racing fiercely.
"Well?" the girl snapped. Now she was looking at him with a harsh glare, one that caused Gajeel to shutter. She may have had a stark eye on him, but the rosy cheeks made her look that much cuter. "What? Don't you knock before entering a room like a normal person? What were you thinking? Or did you just want to see me naked?"
"What of course not!" Gajeel told her. "Why would I want to see you naked?" Levy's eyes just slit a bit more at him. "Not that I wouldn't want to see you naked. I mean you have a really cute ass." Now Levy's eyes just went wide as she pursed her lips at him. He knew that he was only making things worse, and perhaps he should restrain himself from saying anything on the subject. "Listen, I was just looking for Jellal." He finally said realizing that all he was doing was causing more harm than good.
"Jellal?" she asked. "Why would Jellal be here? This is the woman's housing in case you forgot."
"Well, he is . . . you know with Erza," Gajeel said scratching the back of his head anxiously.
"What?" Levy asked. Her glare much more sinister now. "What are you implying?"
"You know," he said half hoping that she would understand what it was that he was implying. She just held her scowl. "Exploring the cave of wonders?" Levy raised an eyebrow in confusion. "You know; exploring the fertile delta? Snaking through the tall grass? Watering the secret garden? Dousing the eternal flame? Searching for buried treasure?"
Levy held up a hand to stop him. "What are you talking about?" She sighed annoyed.
"They're having sex," Gajeel finally answered.
"Why couldn't you just say that?" Levy sneered.
"I thought the other ways were more fun," Gajeel answered.
"You're so juvenile," she sighed rolling her eyes. "Though none of them are here, they took Wendy out to buy her some new clothes."
"So, what are you doing here?" Gajeel asked.
"I accidentally spilt some tea onto my own dress so I had to come back and change," Levy answered. "That was before you decided to come snooping into my room to see me undress? Come on, I'll show you where they are if it's so important that you find them."
"After you my Lady," Gajeel said bowing politely as he offered her the lead. Levy said nothing as she began to strut forward. That was until she realized that when Gajeel had seen her naked, it was her rear that was exposed to him. She spun around, and with an agitated expression returned to the doorway, her hands seemingly gliding to her rear to shield them from any wondering eyes. "What?" Gajeel asked her as she returned to her original position
"You," Levy said hesitantly. "You go first." Gajeel had no idea what she was going on about, and he wanted to make a remark about how, when someone is supposed to lead they are generally in front. But he did not want to frustrate the girl anymore than he already had. The day was bad enough as it was, and seeing that he now had to deal with a hostile Levy wouldn't make things any better.
Levy took Gajeel to a small café where he found Jellal and Erza sitting at a table with young Wendy. The place was small, quaint in it's own little way. It was so vastly different to the other cities Gajeel had visited. It was like Magnolia was centuries ahead of the rest of Fiore. The tables were still made of wood, but they had neatly chiseled seats that stood out on a flagstone patio. The three of them were sipping tea out of small cups. But what really caught Gajeel's eyes was the sight of Erza's hand in Jellal's. The three of them were a bit surprised to see Levy with Gajeel. Wendy smiled and waved at the two of them as Erza continued to sip on her own cup.
"Gajeel, Levy," Jellal said raising an eyebrow. "What are the two of you doing here?"
"This pervert needs to talk to you," Levy sighed as she strutted over and took the last available seat at the table. The strain was prevalent as the others began to grow a bit weary seeing the sour expression on Levy's face. Jellal and Erza exchanged glances of confusion.
"Okay," Jellal said anxiously as he looked up at Gajeel. "What do you need to talk about?"
"It has to do with Cobra," Gajeel answered as he stood outside the table. "It looks like Gildarts' plan isn't going to work so we need to find him and bring him in for questioning. I guess we'll need you there since Cobra considers you a friend more so than any of us."
Jellal bit his lip upon hearing what Gajeel was telling him, a strong tension arose in his gut. He figured it would have come to this, but he enjoyed the day he was spending with Erza and Wendy. "Do we have to do this now?" Jellal asked looking up hoping to hear a no. But seeing as how Gajeel had already come out to find him, he was probably going to hear something he did not want to.
"I think it's better if we get this done as soon as we can," Gajeel said. "Come on, we'll meet Natsu back at the pub and talk about what the plan of action is."
Jellal looked over at Erza for approval to leave but he was a bit reluctant as his lips twitched. He knew that this was interfering in their own personal time, but the redhead simply smiled and nodded her head. Jellal thanked her, and with a kiss on the forehead before he left with Gajeel. Erza sighed as she watched the two men leave, Levy continued to keep her same sour scowl as she drank from Wendy's cup. The young girl whined at the other woman as Levy realized her mistake and promptly apologized.
Just then Lucy walked out of the café, a cup of tea in her own hand as her white sundress, tied together with a white lace fluttered in the summer breeze. She spotted the two men leaving as she looked back at the table to see the other girls sitting waiting for her. The blonde glided over to the table and sat in the chair that Jellal just left. She could see that Wendy was a bit uneasy as she could feel the tension around the table.
"What's going on? Where's Jellal going?" the blonde asked as she peered over at Erza. The redhead had a less than happy scowl about her face as she grimaced with annoyance and anger. A sight that made all the others at the table feel a bit uneasy and worried.
"Nothing," she grumbled shaking her head. Though it was far too obvious that she was very much annoyed. "I guess its just business, as usual. Just like it always seems to be. Never any time to just sit and have a cup a tea with someone they hadn't seen in months." She said the last word as though it was it were venom leaking off of her tongue before she took on last gulp of her tea before standing up. "I'm going to get another cup."
"What's wrong with her?" Lucy asked as she watched Erza slump away. When she looked over to Levy she saw the girl was still a bit bitter. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing," Levy sighed. "It's just been one of those days."
"Oh," Lucy said nodding her head. She exchanged a glance with Wendy as the young girl was just as startled as the blonde. "I see." She began to drink her cup of tea quietly. The young Wendy did the same as they two of them wished that they could simply leave the table.