Erza, Lucy and Juvia rushed toward the front of the line where they encountered Makarov. They were already too late, at least half a dozen ships had already landed and with men storming the docks. The line was almost broken, the young soldiers attempted to push them back but they were overrun. There weren't enough arrows and slowly the thin line of guards diminished.
"Madam Lucy! Juvia? Erza? What in the name of the gods are you doing here?" Makarov yelled as he saw the three young women. His eyes were wide and his mouth agape.
They didn't have time to answer, the line was broken and what soldiers remained were in full retreat. Now the Mila invaders were about to breach the wall. They pushed to have the gate closed as their fellow soldiers ran through to safety. They were being chased down, but they managed to close the gate just in time. A few soldiers were left behind, but they were speared behind and would have been unable to make it.
Now the Mila forces clashed against the door, banging and cursing. The archers continued to fire, but Mila brought their own. It was a free for all, Makarov had been distracted enough by the three women that the archers shot wildly at the men at the base of the gate. They didn't have the chance to see the row of archers that lined up behind the chaos of the foot soldiers. They opened fire Makarov caught it just in time to shout for everyone to take cover. Some of his men heard the call, but other didn't. Of those some of soldiers, several were struck with arrows and fell over either dead or injured. Either way, they were no longer able to fight.
Lucy and the others ducked behind the wall allowing the arrows to sail overheard. Lucy clutched her hands to the top of her head. The archers returned to their feet, but Makarov grew even more frightened when he saw that the invaders had brought their own ladders.
"Ladders!" Makarov shouted. The archers stood back to their feet and began to launch their arrows. Men began to climb. The clang of wood against stone was heard right in front of them. "Swords, grab your swords!"
Erza stood to her feet; she could see some men climbing towards her. One man was near the top step. The man neared the top as Erza punched him square in the jaw and shoved the ladder down. Arrows sailed over her head and down the wall. Lucy stayed near the edge out of harm's way along with Juvia.
It wasn't long before a swarm of Mila invaders ascended upon them while others below tried to break through the gate. Lucy pulled out the sword that she had brought with her, Juvia held hers as did Erza. Men poured down from the latters as the girls readied themselves. The first couple of men came charging in, swords raised high. Lucy parried the sword away before she ran her blade right through her opponent. Erza did the same. Two men attacked her. She blocked one blade, driving it to the side before she spun around, letting her blade glide through the second assailant before she jammed it into the chest of the first.
Despite his small stature, Makarov stood to his feet, deflecting one blade while dodging another. He hacked and slashed at the men's legs, causing them to topple over before finally spearing them when they were down. One man attempted to hack the old man's head from his shoulders, but he ducked beneath the blow and plunged his sword into the man's chest.
Lucy found herself getting pushed back as she deflected an barrage of attacks. She bumped into a young archer as he spun around to see her in trouble. He slashed his sword at her attacker slaying him. She was about to thank the man, but a hand came out from one of the latters and grabbed him by the back of his cloak. With a tug he was dragged over the wall falling into the sea of attackers below. He screamed in panic as Lucy watched him disappear.
The man that had pulled her ally leapt down from the ladder with an axe in hand. He swung it at her, but she dodged just in time. His weapon collided with the wall as his hands shook violently from the recoil. Lucy jumped up and ran him through before backing away. There was no end to them.
"Fall back!" Makarov bellowed. "Fall back!"
Lucy looked back, seeing the swarm of soldiers that poured over the wall. The wall was lined with bodies, both Mila and Magnolia. Erza ran towards her, she deflected sword after sword, sweeping the les of her opponents. It was like watching a dance as she bobbed and weaved her way through the onslaught of assailants until she finally reached the other girl.
Some of the invaders seeped over the wall and ran in to ransack the city. Levy saw a group of them charging further in as she and Wendy hid in an alleyway near the center of the docks. She hid behind a wall hoping that she and Wendy would go unnoticed. She kept the younger girl behind her as she peered around the corner.
"Over there!" one of the men shouted as he saw Levy peak out from the alley
"Oh no," Levy gasped as she ran with Wendy back up the street.
"What's happening?" the little girl squeaked as Levy pulled her by the hand.
"We have to go," Levy told her. "Don't worry they're not going to get us."
The two of them continue to rush down the narrow streets. But much to Levy's dismay, the Mila soldiers were gaining on them. Levy rounded one street corner before she heard the clanging footsteps of the men behind her. They were close now, one of them was reaching out his hand to grasp at her collar.
Just then a brick came sailing down, striking the man in the face. He tumbled over tripping a few of the men behind him. Levy and Wendy kept running as more and more bricks, stones and other hard objects were thrown at their accosters. The men stopped as they attempted to hold their hands up to shield themselves. Levy looked back to see that the men were no longer following as Cana stepped up in front of her. Following were Lisanna, Evergreen and most of the other girls from the pub. In their hands they held metal poles and any other blunt objects they could find.
"You stupid wench!" the soldier spat. "You'll pay for that!"
"Nah, I don't think I'll be paying for jack shit," Cana replied smirking widely. She patted her shoulder with the large steel pipe she carried with her. "But you'll pay for invading our city and hurting our friends! You don't think that our boys are the only ones with bows and arrows do you?"
The men looked up horrified as the line of women stepped forward with bows already drawn. Cana waved her pipe and the girls unleashed a wave of arrows. There was nowhere for the invaders to run. One by one they fell to the street, arrows sticking out of their bodies.
"Thanks," Levy said through heavy pants. She breathed a sigh of relief as Cana approached her.
"No problem," she said handing Levy the pipe. She looked down at the man who had called her a wench; he was withering on the ground in pain. "Who's the wench now?" she hissed kicking him in the gut.
Wendy looked back down the street. She could still see the wall from where they were standing. To her horror she saw the flood of Mila invaders flow over the wall and burst through the gate. What remained of the Magnolian forces were scattered and feeling back up the streets as they were being chased down. At the front end she spotted a familiar looking blonde and redhead. Right next to them were Makarov and Juvia as only a handful of Magnolian soldiers remained behind them.
"Lucy!" Wendy cried as she sprinted towards the girl.
"Wendy! Wendy wait!" Levy beckoned as she ran after the little girl.
"Lucy! Erza!" Wendy screamed running towards them.
"Wendy?" Lucy shouted shocked. "Wendy you shouldn't be here! It's too dangerous!"
Lucy felt a heavy weight strike the back of her leg as she tripped to the cobblestone streets.
Erza stopped and spun around to help her, as did Juvia. Lucy looked up and saw that the Mila soldiers were upon them. They drew closer as Makarov dove in front of the girls to screen them. He was speared by a lance in his shoulder as he was driven to the ground leaving Lucy, Erza and Juvia open.
"Lucy! Erza!" Wendy screamed as she came in closer. She saw the men with their swords and spears. "LUCY!"
Amidst her cries roared a river of flames that sailed over the girl's heads and engulfed the men behind them. Screaming in pain the men collapsed to the ground withering in pain. Those that weren't set ablaze halted abruptly as they stared at the girl in utter terror.
"LEAVE LUCY AND ERZA ALONE!" Wendy seethed.
Lucy saw that the girl's eyes began to slit and turn yellow much like Natsu's did. Her skill slowly morphed into scales as her fingers grew talons. She was no longer the cute little girl that they had known her as, but as dangerous and deadly as a beast. She tilted her head back, in a way that Lucy had only ever seen Natsu do as the little girl leaned over again as flames erupted from her lips, consuming the streets as Makarov jumped on top of Lucy and the others, keeping them down while the flames passed overhead.
Wendy stood panting as the Mila soldiers began to scamper away. Horrified and dumbfounded they ran back to their ships. At least those that managed to run fled back to the wall while others, though alive, were severely wounded and withered on the ground in agony.
While the foot soldiers fled a group of archers ran up. They stopped a short distance away as they took aim at the young Draconian girl.
"Wendy, run!" Lucy cried.
Wendy did not move. Whether it was courage or fear the blonde did not know. The men let loose their arrows as they sailed towards her, Lucy, still on the ground, reached out her hand, but she was too far away. Wendy stood her ground. To her the arrows moved as though they were passing through water. She ducked and used her newly formed claws to deflect them; much to the shock and dismay of her attackers.
"So, you like to shoot at little girls do ya?" Cana shouted at them as everyone apart from Wendy looked up to see her standing a few yards away with the mob of women behind her. The women with bows already had their arrows aimed. "Let's see how you like it!"
Once more she waved her arm as the girls let loose their arrows hitting almost all their targets. Those men who were lucky not to have been hit immediately ran as Cana and everyone else charged.
"Drive them to the sea!" Cana shouted. The women cheered as they ran down the street with their weapons waving in the air.
Wendy followed after them, but she moved with such swiftness that she overran them and onwards. She still had that instinctive drive, and that lust to kill. It was something Lucy had seen before, something that was not easy to control. She remembered Natsu had worked hard to command his powers back in his youth. Now, it was second nature to him. It was the same for Gajeel, but for Wendy, it was entirely different. She was a novice when it came to such rage and the blonde worried that she would soon destroy herself along with everyone else.
"Are you all right Lucy?" Levy asked as she helped pick up the three girls.
Before either of them had a chance to answer they were interrupted by a loud Makarov. "Okay lads," he said the handful of soldiers that remained. "You're not going to be shown up by a bunch of ladies now are ya? You going to let them have all the fun? Come on then!" He held up his sword and ran back down the street after the mob.
Lucy could see the look of despair in the eyes of the men. There were few of them. Oh so few. They had endured the brunt of the attack and now they were weak, injured and tired. Blood covered their armor like polish and their weapons were chipped down to nothing more than needles on sticks or picks. They were out of breath and many of them appeared as though they were about to collapse. But, though many of them moaned in displeasure they followed nonetheless.
"I'm fine," the girl chuckled. She felt an immense rush course through her veins. Was this what Natsu felt every time he fought? No wonder the boy enjoyed it so much. It was just exhilarating. Even though the girl was just as worn out as any of the men, she still wanted to proceed to the battle. She wasn't injured, and the adrenaline kept her blood boiling.
"I think you lot are done for the day," Erza said as she walked down the road where the others had gone.
"Where are you going?" Lucy asked.
"I'm a knight, same as them. I need to be out there on the field of battle until this thing comes to an end. Plus I need to go fetch Wendy before she actually gets herself hurt. Get yourselves back to the house and clean up. I'll be there shortly after the battle is done and when I have Wendy."
"That's a good idea," Levy said as she took Lucy and Juvia by the hands.
"But Juvia wants to keep fighting too!" the blue haired girl whined.
"The fighting is done for the day," Levy insisted.
"No," Lucy said defiantly as she ripped her hand away. "I wasn't there for the start of this, but I'm going to be there for the end of it." She peered over at Juvia as the two girls nodded their heads.
"Fine," Erza sighed in defeat. "It's not like I'm going to stop the two of you anyways."
"Nope!" the two of them said unison.
Down at the docks most of the Mila soldiers returned to their ships and prepared to set sail. Wendy ran them down and one by one she picked off the closest soldier she could sink her claws into, literally. She leapt upon one man, tearing away his throat with her talons before she roared another pillar of flamed that soared over one dock. Many of the men leapt into water to avoid the heated waves. They would have no better luck as their heavy armor caused many of them to sink to the bottom of the waves.
Wendy roared again, consuming another dock as the men either burned or jumped into the water. It was then that the mob arrived, women shot arrows wildly at the ships, some hitting their marks, but most of them either hit wood or water. Some of them were quick enough that they were able to run down other soldiers as they began to beat them with their pipes and bricks. It wasn't long before the remaining soldiers dropped their weapons and fell to their knees in surrender.
Despite most of the Mila men surrendering Wendy walked down the docks towards the ships. The men aboard came out with their hands over their heads. She arched her back as she belched another large flame that engulfed most of the ship. The sails, the mast, nearly everything was now on fire. The men fell to their knees pleading for mercy, but the girl still had an appetite for blood. She arched her back once more as she eyed the now weeping men.
"Wendy no!" Lucy exclaimed as she ran up attempting to tackle the girl from behind.
She could sense it. It was as though Lucy moved in slow motion, each step, each breath were seconds converted to minutes. She spun around still ready to breath flame, but upon seeing Lucy she suddenly stopped. Her eyes returned to their normal, petite pockets. Her scales reverted back to skin and the claws that made up her hand were back to her own delicate ones.
"Lucy?" the girl trembled as tears poured from her eyes. "Lucy!"
"I'm here," the blonde said as she wrapped her arms around the sobbing girl. "There's no need to worry, I'm fine, you're fine; everything is going to be alright. I promise."
She brushed the girl's hair aside to look at her now drenched eyes. Lucy knelt down in front of her as the poor little thing jumped in to her chest and cried. Lucy hushed her as she stroked her hair in an attempt to calm her down.
"Everything will be alright now Wendy," she said. "I promise, everything will be all right now."
The two of them sat there together. The cool sea breeze brushed past Lucy's hair as several of the female archers approached to take the quivering men prisoner. They forced them to throw whatever weapons they could possibly have into the harbor. Wendy may have still been present, but that was no reason for them to avert caution. Especially when it came to soldiers of Mila.
"Hey," Cana said as she walked up to the two girls. "You two okay?"
"Wendy's a bit upset," Lucy said looking up at the brunette.
"Can't say that I blame her," Cana replied as she too knelt down beside them. "She's a strong kid. Powerful and scary, but strong." Wendy whimpered into Lucy's armor as the blonde scowled at her friend for the remark. "I'm not saying a thing that isn't true. The girl has some real fire in her, literally. If it weren't for her we would have lost this battle. She's a hero. One things for certain, we not only owe our city to her, but all of our lives as well. Thank you."
The compliment did not make Wendy feel any better. For Lucy, all of it reminded her of Natsu. It was troubling for him too. Not just controlling his powers, but realizing the things he had done. Wendy was conscious of all of it, same as him. She knew that she had killed those men, even if it saved her and everyone else's life. Wendy knew she had almost incinerated those men who had surrendered. There would be no justification for it at that point, even if it was a battle killing unarmed men was straight up murder. But maybe it was the ones who fled that she wept for. They were running away and she slashed them all like a wolf among livestock.
"Is she okay?" Makarov asked as he walked up the two of them. Levy and Erza followed suit.
"She's just shaken up," Lucy answered. "No one can blame her. War is a horrible thing for anyone to bear, especially a child."
"Wise words my Lady," Makarov replied. "Well, we have a lot of work to do cleaning up. And we owe you women a great deal for today. I don't think we could have handled all of this without you. Maybe we should have placed you lot on the walls to defend the city. You won the battle for the day."
"Aye, but the men were the ones that fought most of the battle," Erza answered. "We owe them for their sacrifice as well."
"But it's our city too," Cana said standing up. "We have as much duty to protect it as anyone else. We can't just sit back and do nothing while it's ransacked and burned."
"I was told on my way over hear by Lisanna that it was you who rallied the women together Cana," Makarov said. "That you inspired them to come out and prepare to fight knowing that the defenses could not possibly hold."
"Yeah," the girl replied. "I just thought that we needed to be ready to protect ourselves."
"Such nobility and courage," Makarov grinned. "You truly are your father's daughter." The girl blushed. "Well," Makarov sighed. "We got to round these boys up and get them sent off to the barracks. There's a lot of work that needs to be done. As much as I would like to celebrate, we have too many prisoners and not enough bodies to handle all of them. I mean, our actual forces have dwindled down to only a handful of squires and young boys."
"What will you do with them my Lord?" Levy asked. "The prisoners I mean."
"I'll send a raven to Mila or whoever is in charge. Negotiate their return. Maybe, if they have any of our men captured we can exchange them. Or, we can possibly ransom them."
"Well think of it this way my Lord," Erza interjected. "You have over a dozen new additions to your navy."
Jellal rode alone on the horse that carried him to Duke's camp. He did not ride back with any haste; he wanted time to be alone. He heard the flapping of wings as he peered up to see a red dragon flying towards him. With a large gust of wind, as usual, the dragon landed in front of him. The horse began to panic as Jellal fought to keep it under control. The dragon took a step forward as he reverted back to his original form.
"Jellal, everyone's been wondering where you ran off to," Natsu called out.
"What are you doing out here? And why are you naked?" Jellal asked.
"It's not like any clothes I wore would fit me once I transformed into a dragon," he replied. "I was actually on my way to the Junelle camp to finish off Duke and the rest of his forces. Why don't you tag along?"
"There's no need for you to do that," Jellal said quietly. "Duke is dead, as is Azuma, his general. Everyone else has fled or returned to their homes. The war is over now."
"Shame, I was hoping to kill the bastard myself," Natsu sighed as he folded his arms across his chest. "How do you know for certain that he's dead?"
"Cause I'm the one that killed him."
"Oh," Natsu said embarrassed.
Natsu could see that there was a sense of distraught in the eyes of the noble. He was uncomfortable, like he was carrying a burden that was destroying him on the inside. Natsu may not have been the most keen when it came to people, but he could see and sense a disturbance in people.
"Sorry for the inconvenience, but if you want, you can fly on back to the camp and I will meet you there with everyone else," Jellal told him.
"Don't you want a traveling companion? These roads can get lonely."
"No, I'm fine really. Plus I could do without the nudity to be honest."
"Well throw me a tunic or something and problem solved," Natsu retorted.
"I don't have anything like that. This is a war horse, spare clothes and fashion sense aren't what they're equipped for."
"Well, I don't mind the lovely autumn air," Natsu said.
"It is a bit chilly, you should know."
Natsu looked down. He looked back up with a wide grin. "Nah, it's not that cold."
"Well take this at least," Jellal said removing his cloak and handed it to the youth.
Natsu took it and wrapped it around his torso. Jellal continued to ride forwards as the youth followed beside him.
"Do you mind telling me how you learned the ability to turn into a dragon?" Jellal asked. "It seems like that could have been very useful had you used it sooner."
"We learned it back home in Draconia," Natsu told him "To be honest, it would have been impossible for us if we had never returned there."
"The power of a dragon can only be obtained within the country that was cursed," Natsu replied. "But the only way we could learn it was from the dragon king himself."
"Dragon king? I never knew there was a king of the dragons? I thought the Draconian king was killed long ago?"
"No," Natsu replied. "Not so. On the contrary, he was the one who betrayed them."