Later that night Kinana made her way to the docks while Natsu, Gildarts, Jellal and Gajeel followed her. The young girl masked herself with a tattered cloak and hood that veiled her face. She didn't want to cause any suspicion, since the docks were not located in the slums of the city. Yet, even though it was still night the docs were still somewhat popular, or at least the bars and pubs were. Sailors and workers would spend their daily pay drinking themselves into a stupor every night before waking up to do it all over again.
The men behind her also disguised in cloaks and tattered clothes but they mainly hid back in the shadows. Unlike the young girl, they did not have to hide their faces since they weren't exactly men who would be recognized by the more, unsavory characters that spent their nights at the bar. However, they didn't want Kinana to be seen by Cobra until she had confronted him and caused the young man to get anxious.
Even though they were there to insure that nothing happened to the young woman, they were also there to bring Cobra in by force if necessary. They could not risk losing him at this time. They had not informed any of the other commanders of their plan fearing that they would ruin any chance they had at nabbing Cobra. But to be honest, it was more for the protection of a man they saw as a friend now, even if he was part of a crime syndicate.
Gildarts watched her intently as she approached two drunken men, covered in grim as their dirty brown clothes hung loosely from their skinny frames. They hiccupped but it did not appear that they were going to hurt the young woman. Natsu and the others watched from a building corner, but around a stoop that led up to one of the boarding homes as they saw the men point to the door of a pub that resided right on the docks. Literally the pub was on the edge that there had to be a railing a few feet from the door to stop drunken men from falling into the cold, dark sea below. The girl bowed her head, a gesture of thanks as she made her way to the door.
Natsu and the others followed her as she soon disappeared behind the door. Gildarts moved forward while Natsu and the others stayed behind. Cobra did not know of the old man, so he would be go at it alone. They would stay by and watch the door in case anything went wrong. They watched as the old man crossed the cobblestone streets, Natsu made sure to keep his eyes on the several other wonders that bypassed his old master to make sure that they were not up to any ruse that would cause a disturbance to their job.
Before Kinana had even arrived within ten meters of the door she could hear the boisterous sounds of singing, yelling and music within. Once she pushed the door opened he was drowned in the noise, and bright fiery light of candles that hung all along the walls, above on chandeliers, and even the stairway railing in the back. A large fire roared in the center of the pub as men clamored at tables around it, exchanging tales of woman and jobs; drinking themselves to the point that some of them had passed out on the floor. The stench of the place was enough to make the girl gagged as she wondered what in the name of the gods could cause the stench of rotting tuna to permeate through all these men.
Kinana looked around the room when she saw the back of some familiar pointy ears and spikey brown hair laying over a mug. She weaved her way through the bodies of men and a few woman of the night. The sight of some of these women made the young girl squirm as she thought that some of these men would have to get blacked out drunk to find any of these woman even remotely attractive. Most of them were husky; rotund around the belly and thighs that would crush the men beneath them with a simple squeeze. Their faces plastered with more makeup than what a painter would use on canvas. One particular woman had the whole front row of teeth missing as she stood there flirting with a man that was old enough to be her grandfather. And the girl thought the smell of such a place was disgusting enough.
Finally, she arrived to the passed out body that leaned from his seat and rested his head on the bar. The bartender was far too busy serving drinks to take notice as she peered down for a closer look. Yep, it was him, her old friend Erik just as she thought. She let a deep breath a bit annoyed as she stared at the young man with worried eyes.
"Erik," she said quietly as she nudged him. The young man let out a soft moan but he did not wake. The young woman giggled to herself as she thought it was kind of cute, but she quickly snapped herself out of it as she remembered that she had a job to do. "Erik," she said a bit louder as she shoved him harder.
"Wh—?" Cobra yawned as he blinked his eyes open. She could smell the alcohol on his breath as her eyes began to sting as she began to cough. He wasn't fully awake as he looked up at her drearily. "Kinana?" he said stunned as he slanting his eyes at her to get a better look. "I must be delirious," he yawned as he closed his eyes and fell back asleep.
"No you idiot," Kinana said as she shook him even harder now. "It really is me. I need to talk to you."
"But it's the middle of the night," Cobra whined as his eyes wavered half shut as he could barely keep them open. "Can't it wait until morning?"
"It's only nine at night," the girl grumbled. "It's not even that late you nitwit." But the young man didn't respond he was far too out of it to realize what was going on. The girl gritted her teeth as she began to wonder what exactly she should do, before ultimately deciding that it was best take him somewhere to sleep it off.
She finally managed to shake him enough that the man was half awake but didn't remain that way for long. She threw his arm over her shoulder as she began to lead him through the crowd towards Gildarts. Upon seeing them the older man bobbed through the crowd and reached the young girl as he grabbed the other side of Cobra and latched onto himself.
"He's too drunk," the girl hissed as the two of them carried Cobra out of the pub. "I couldn't get him to say a word."
"Well, than that was just a whole bunch of time and effort for nothing," Gildarts growled. "Had we known it was so simple, we would have just gotten him ourselves." Jellal and the others ran up to the two of them as Gajeel took Cobra from Kinana.
"So, what should we do with him now?" Gajeel asked as he shrugged Cobra back onto his arm.
"We'll take him to the housing complex and let him sleep it off," Gildarts sighed. "In the morning we'll take him to command and let them interrogate him."
"Excuse me," Kinana said sternly as she stepped in front of Gildarts. "As I recall I was supposed to talk to him before there was any interrogating. You're not going to back on our agreement now are you?" She pouted as she folded her arms across her chest as she glared at them. Cobra let out a soft moan as all eyes fluttered as he drearily looked up.
"Of course not," Gildarts sighed. "But where should we take him? We can take him to the barracks and let him sleep it off in the hospital wing and then you can talk with him in the morning. "Unless you want to let him stay with you for the evening."
"Fine," Kiana grunted. "Take him to the barracks, but I get to talk to him first thing in the morning." She glared up at Gildarts with a sinister stare that the old man replied to with a courteous grin and nod. The girl still wasn't happy as she could hear Cobra let out a whiny groan one more time before snoring off into sleep again.
Back a few years ago, when Jellal and Erza were around the age of sixteen the two teens found themselves with the rest of Erza's friends in one of the open fields outside the girl's small village. It was an enjoyable way for the young lord to spend his summer instead of being locked up into political matters that were still far beyond his comprehension. He rather enjoyed the company of the lower class citizens over the nobility of the king's court. He made sure to wear some of the more moderate clothing when he was around them so as to blend in better with the other children.
Jellal stood by the fence with most of the other young teens as Erza stood facing a young man, one with a rather muscular physique. It was Simon and he practically dwarfed the young red haired girl, but Erza would not be intimidated. Both of them held wooden swords in their hands as they squared off. The other youngsters cheered from the railing as they watched, and just Erza's friends, but even some of the other local kids from the village. A good two-dozen boys and girls watched from the wooden railings waiting for the show to begin.
Simon rushed toward the young teen girl, barreling down on her with his sword raised high as he brought it down upon her. Erza lifted her own weapon and parried the blow as she knocked his wooden blade awayas she swung it back up, aiming for Simon's chest. The young just managed to step backwards in time to avoid the edge of the blade just grazing the skin as the girl twirled around, swinging her sword in for another strike as he Simon continued to leap back. A roar of cheers erupted from the crowd as Simon continued to prance backwards as Erza kept swinging. The teen was barely able to keep his sword up as the redhead girl swatted it aside.
Finally, after several blows, Erza managed to hit Simon's wooden sword hard enough that it was flung from his hand and landed on the grass. The boy stared at his now empty hand as Erza lifted her wooden sword up to Simon's throat. The muscular teen raised his hands up in the air to surrender, and even though he had suffered defeat he couldn't help but smile a wide grin. The red haired girl dropped her sword, rather pleased with herself as she grunted a smile onto her lips.
"Well done Sis!" a young Kagura yelled from the wooden railing as she waved her hands frantically.
Erza sat her blade on the ground as she placed a hand on her hip. "Any other challengers?" She called out to the others. No one dared step forward as the red haired girl eyed the other children.
"There's no one else Sis!" A young tanned boy with yellow hair yelled out. "You've defeated everyone here! You've already proven that you're the best sword master in the whole village. There's no one that can defeat you."
"Well there is still one other challenger," a young teenaged brunette said with a sly smirk. She had dark eyes and pale skin. She may have been the same age as Erza, perhaps a bit older, but she wore black lipstick and kept her hair rolled up in long buns and braids. Her name was Minerva, and she was known as being one of the more sinister kids in the country. "You still haven't fought Jellal yet." She grinned to herself as she glanced over at the young noble.
There was a fit of giggles began and awes that began to start from the onlookers. Jellal chuckled as he shook his head. "No, sorry, but I'm not going to fight with Erza," he said as he as he held up his hands.
"Why not?" the brunette asked. "You scared?" The giggling grew even louder as Jellal felt a nervous blush creep across his face.
"No, it's not that," the young noble said. "I just don't want to fight her."
"He's scared!" A kid called out.
"Come on, fight her!" Another kid yelled.
Soon the kids began to chant for them to fight, as Jellal was still reluctant to go obey their wishes. He looked up to see Erza staring at him with a scowl on her face. The young man bit his lip as the red haired girl began to grow more and more displeased with him as she saw that he was not going to fight her. He didn't understand why she was so displeased with him as the chants for them to fight persisted.
"Come on Jellal," Erza shouted at him. "Fight me!"
Jellal sighed, he really did not want to fight her, but he decided that he had no choice. He stepped forward as the crowd erupted into applause and frantic giggles. As he approached he walked around Erza, the redhead still scowling at him as Simon handed him the wooden sword. Jellal took it in his hand and twirled it around for a bit. It was light, much lighter than an actual sword. And though it was carved out to look like the real thing, but it wobbled and he felt like he couldn't really get a good grip on the handle, but it should suffice.
Erza took her stance as she glared at him with a fierce stare he had only seen her give to people she really disliked. He wondered what exactly it was that made her star at him with those eyes. He felt a chill linger through his stomach as he held the wooden blade up. He really did not want to fight her.
Erza brought her sword up as well as Minerva shouted, "Fight!" The crowd grew silent as they waited for spectacle to begin. Jellal could feel his heart waver as he watched Erza take a step closer to him. The redhead girl swung her sword up at him as Jellal took a step backwards watching the tip of the wooden blade glide just in front of his face. She continued to swing as he ducked and dodged each one of her attempted blows. As Erza swung a sideways blow at him he saw that her side was left completely open for an attack. He fought the urge to strike her, but rather swung his blade lethargically pretending to go for the head. Erza easily knocked his sword to the side allowing her to ram the end of her weapon into Jellal's gut.
The crowd cheered again as kids called out her name. "Looks like you win, Erza," Jellal laughed, smiling at her. "Congratulations." Erza frowned as Jellal dropped his weapon and walked away.
"I told you Sis was the best!" the tanned boy shouted once more.
"Jellal!" Erza spat. The young noble turned around to look at her as the crowd grew silent. She bent over to pick up his weapon and tossed it to him. The boy bobbled the wooden sword in his hand as he was caught off guard by her sudden outburst. "You think me a fool?" She growled. "How about you fight me for real this time and stop being such a coward?"
A murmur arose amongst the children as they were a bit bewildered and confused. Erza won the match? Why did she want to fight Jellal again? She beat him with such ease the boy. The boy clearly did not know how to fight properly as he was too busy running away from her most of the time. Though Erza was insitant.
"Erza, you won," Jellal said in defeat. "You're a better swordsman than I. You don't need to fight me again to prove it."
"I want to fight you for real," the girl hissed. "You think that pathetic display you just put out is enough to fool me? I know you are better than that. Why did you purposely throw the match? You think that I'm not good enough to be your equal?"
"What?" Jellal said bewildered. "Of course not!"
"Than fight me for real," she growled as she lifted up her sword.
"Fight me!" The girl declared.
Jellal sighed. There was no way out of it this time. He lifted the sword up as Erza came in lashing down at him. He stepped to the side, dodging her blow with ease. But in one motion she spun around, flinging her blade up from the ground toward Jellal's torso. The boy knocked the weapon away. As soon as his sword had hit hers, he jerked it towards her body, striking her in the bosom and knocking the poor girl down.
The crowd went silent as the rest of the children were stunned. Erza glowered as she stood back up to her feet and slashed at Jellal as the young man stepped to the side. She attempted to stab him as the young man stepped aside once again as he let the girl brush past him as the girl attempted to swing her own weapon up at Jellal's head. The boy knocked the weapon away before tripping the redhead causing her to topple over and fall face first into the grass. He didn't want to hurt her, but she was growing ever more aggressive.
She leapt back up to her feet as furiously slashed at him. Jellal dodged each blow as he stepped, ducked and parried each of Erza's attempted blows. Jellal wanted to yell at her to stop, but he couldn't get the chance as she was so aggressively attacking him. He finally grew agitated enough he finally swung his own sword and knocked the girl's weapon up and then slapped her wrist with his own sword to finally knocked the sword out of her hand.
The girl watched as her weapon went sailing through the air before it bounced along the grass. She was still a bit stunned as she stared at her now still weapon as Jellal lowered his own weapon. The crowd of teens and children watched in silence as Jellal looked at Erza with a worried glance. A tear began to form in her eye as she briskly walked away.
"Erza," the young noble said as he reached out and grasped her shoulder.
"Leave me alone," she whimpered as she threw him off of her and stormed away.
"Er—" Jellal began to yell after her but Simon cut him off as.
"Leave her be," the larger boy said. "She just needs some time alone."
Jellal sighed to himself as he watched Erza run down the road. Some of the other girls followed after her and Jellal wished that he could do the same.
The next morning Cobra stirred awake as he could feel someone shake him awake as he groaned. His eyes were too heavy, and though he knew that his mind was awake, his eyes refused to open up. He could feel the shakes growing ever more forceful as he finally forced himself to open his eyes to a blinding light as his vision was foggy. He could barely see anything but white, but slowly began to fade as his vision cleared up. It took every ounce of strength he had to keep his eyes awake, but despite all that it would be easier to fight them if they were glued shut instead.
"Wake up you idiot," he heard a harsh feminine voice hiss.
"Wha—" the young man said drearily as he finally managed to get his vision back just enough to see Kinana sitting at his side. She glared at him with slanted eyes and pursed lips. "Kinana? What are you—?" He felt a cold metal object pressed up against his Adam's apple. He looked down to see that Kinana was holding a sheathed dagger up against his throat. "Kinana?" He asked as he stared up at her.
"Sorry," she sighed with a deep breath, "but you were sent here to kill me originally remember?" She pressed the sheathed dagger further into his neck. "Now I have some questions that I need to ask you."
"Kinana," Cobra chuckled as his head fell back into his pillow. "You really don't need to be so brash. I would never hurt you, and you know that. If I had wanted to hurt you I would have when I had the chance. You don't need to use that thing on me."
"Count yourself lucky it's sheathed," the girl said. "Now I want you to answer some questions for me."
"You've definitely changed," Cobra chuckled. "You're not that same sweet innocent girl I knew back in Mila. I wonder what changed you?"
"I ran away from there the first opportunity that came up," she spat. "I ran away, desperate, alone and scared. I was just a young girl lost in the wilderness, hoping, praying, that someone would come and save me."
Cobra felt a severe, sharp pain pierce his chest as he heard her speak. He could see the anguish in her eyes as he regretted not being the one there to save her in her time of trouble. He wished he could have, and had he known, well maybe he wouldn't be lying there in that hospital bed at the moment.
"Finally," the girl continued, "after traveling north for weeks, surviving on what I could steal or salvage in the wild, I was found by Laxus, the Captain of the Magnolian Guard. I had no idea that I entered Magnlian territory, but he took me back, offered me a home and a job at his wife's tavern. And now," she said as she pressed the sheathed dagger against his throat, "I'm ready to start paying back my debt."
She lied. But she did not want to tell him that she was doing it to protect him if she could. She did her best to keep a grave glare about her, but was baffled to see that Cobra appeared to be perfectly calm.
"I had no idea," he said as he caressed her cheek. The girl pulled herself away as a light blush crossed her cheeks.
"What are you doing?!" the girl cried flustered.
"Sorry, I didn't know that you were so shy," he laughed. "So what is it that you want to ask me?"
She began to ask him questions about his organization, which he was happy to tell her. The girl asked him some basic questions about the organization and what plans they had. Unfortunately, even though Cobra was completely honest with her, he still did not all the information she wanted to know. She could tell he was being honest with her. The girl was pleased with him as she found herself grinning a wide smile as she began to found herself becoming more relaxed. The hand holding the sheathed dagger gently slid down Cobra's throat to his chest.
The young man noticed it as the girl was smiling at him. He raised himself up as he inched closer to her.
"What do you think you are doing?" The girl yelped.
"What?" Cobra giggled as he leaned in closer to her. He couldn't control himself as he saw how flustered the girl was becoming as he face began to grow a crimson red. "I know you won't hurt me." He said. The girl was too busy staring into his eyes that she didn't notice Cobra's hands wrapping around her waist. She jumped as he clasped his hands around her.
"Erik!" She was growing neverous as she pressed the sheath firmly against his neck. But he pulled her in closer as she found herself leaning over him, only inches away from his lips. Her eyes were locked in on his as she felt her heart racing in her chest. "Stop," she whispered.
"Make me," he said as he pulled her closer.
She loosened her grip on the dagger as she closed her eyes before Cobra drew her in for a kiss. The dagger dropped from her hand as it clanged against the tile floor. She wrapped her arms around Cobra's neck as the young man puled her on top of him. The girl let out a soft squeal as she felt her body fall on top of his. The two of them began to giggle frantically as Cobra brushed her bangs from her eyes as his other hand glided up and down her back.
"I've missed you, Kiana," Cobra chuckled as he pulled her in for another deep kiss.
"I missed you too," the girl exhaled between pecks.
Just then they heard a thunderous clamor as the girl jumped from off top of him. She stared with wide eyes as she saw a swarm of armed Magnolian guards being led by three very important looking men in officer armor and capes. There was one man in particular at the front. He was a tall, and powerful looking man despite his elderly appearance. He had a long silver beard and hair with a ornate cape that donned his shoulders. His eyes were dark and fierce, capable of piercing through a person. The girl felt her heart racing even more as they glided toward her and Cobra in swift, grave strides.
Behind the leader were two young looking men. One with short black hair outlined with a widow's peak and mildly long sideburns. On the left side of his face he had three scars, two that lined up above and below his eye while another one slashed through both. There was a small patch of fuzz just below his lip that made him appear older than he actually was. His eyes were green, but stern. The other man had longer, greenish-black hair that he kept tied up in a ponytail as his bangs hung loosely along the side of his face. Unlike his counter part he was a bit slimmer in stature, but he had a gentler appearance. His eyes were a dark-lavender and he was the only man present that wore glasses.
Trailing behind all the other men were Gildarts and Makarov. The short old man shouting in protest, only to have his remarks fall on deaf ears.
"Lahar, Dranbolt, arrest that man and take him to a prison cell for interrogation," the old man ordered.
"Yes sir," Lahar, the man with the dark-lavender eyes said as he and his counterpart stepped forward.
"What's the meaning of this?" Kinana cried as she watched the two men grab Cobra.
"General Gran Doma," Makarov shouted as he stepped forward, "this is not what we agreed to!"
"Master Makarov, you may be the Steward of Magnolia, but I am the commander of this alliance. And I say that this prisoner should be properly interrogated," the old man snapped back. "Take him to the prison."
The two men obliged as Cobra offered little resistance as he allowed the two men to put him in cuffs.
"Erik, NO!" Kinana shouted as she ran towards him, but she was restrained by a few of the guards. "ERIK!" She fought back as Cobra watched her with sorrowful eyes. She struggled against the men's grip as she attempted to pry her hands away from them.
"Enough girl!" Gran Doma bellowed. "Or I will arrest you too."
"Gran Doma, enough of this," Makarov roared. "You have no right."
"Do not speak down to me Makarov!" the old man hissed. "I will no tolerate it."
"Everyone relax," Gildarts said stepping up. "Gran Doma I apologize for all of this, but if you could please see it in your heart to let this situation slide for now, we won't take any more issue from here."
The old man though about it, as Kinana, now in tears, glowered at them. "Very well," the old man answered. "Take the boy away and leave the girl. We have much more pressing matters at hand."
"But, but," Kinana whined.
"Kinana enough!" Gildarts roared. "Do not make this anymore complicated than it already is." The girl was stunned but Gildarts glared at her with a grave expression.
No more words were uttered as the girl, still held by a few guards, watched them drag Cobra away. The boy did not resist and allowed himself to be carried away, much to the girl's dismay. She found herself heart broken and infuriated. Once they had left and the chamber doors shut behind them, the guards released her and followed the others out of the corridor. She just stood there, still stunned by all that had transpired.
"Kinana," Gildarts said softly as he approached her. "I'm sorry but—"
"Don't say another word," the girl hissed through tears. "You promised me." She glared at him with ferocious eyes. "You promised me that he wouldn't be hurt. You lied to me! YOU BASTARD!"
She began to madly swing her fists, beating the old man against the chest. He sighed to himself as he offered no resistance to her blows. Tears poured from her eyes as she tried to strike Gildarts with the hardest blows she could muster, but her frail strength was not enough to cause the man to falter. She continued to hit him until her arms gave out, as her head fell down into his chest. The old man wrapped his arms around her as she sobbed uncontrollably.
"I'm sorry Kinana," he whispered. "I'm sorry."