Children of the Dragon Wars

Chapter 57

Natsu dragged himself to the tower's entrance having to catch himself on the fragmented wood of what remained of the door. The pain of his injuries coursed through his body but was slowly evaporating away. Despite his slow recovery he still had to limp. Natsu took a deep breath as he trudged through the hole in the doorway. When he entered he found the tower was now as dark as it had been when he and the others had arrived. He was curious but it wasn't something he wanted to ruminate on it. He waited for the torches to light up like they had previously, but they were taking a significantly longer time.

Natsu began to grow impatient waiting several minutes for the torches to light up. He blew a breath of fire that ignited the entire hallway just long enough for him to see. It pained his lungs and abdominals to do so. He winced at the pain, and what little he could see was blurred. The movements caused him lunge over in pain, gripping his fist tightly. He waited a few more seconds to see if the torches would light this time, but still the room remained dark. Natsu seethed a couple of breaths before attempting again. This time the room did light up as it had done so before.

With a grimace Natsu heaved himself to the stairs and began his ascent. He found himself coming up to the part of the stairs where the three men were transported to the chamber where Ancologia was. Natsu came upon the barrier and charged on through.

He slowed his pace and attempted to come to a grinding halt, but that only caused him to topple over onto the marble steps. The youth grunted, as a burst of pain ignited from all his wounds. He laid there perplexed as he turned his head back down the stairwell.

What just happened? Wasn't the barrier there before? Maybe he hadn't run up far enough.

Natsu slowly picked himself back up and crawled forward some more. After climbing a little further he was still on the stairs. Natsu eyes gazed up as the spiral continued up into a dark abyss that he could not see. There was no possible way that he could walk the rest of the way. He was in too much pain to make the climb, and he knew Gajeel was there on his own. Gajeel was strong, that was obvious but Ancologia was a completely different enemy. Sure, even with their powers they were capable of taking on entire armies, but this wasn't an army they had to face, this was a wizard. Neither of them had ever faced an enemy like this before, but Natsu knew the danger was far more grave than they ever predicted.

There was only one option that he could take. It was going to be painful, Natsu knew but he had to do it. The youth arched his back and howled in pain as he began to transform. His wings spattered out of his back. He hadn't even finished his transformation that he flapped his wings and lifted himself up and flew towards the ceiling.

As Natsu ascended he saw a black cloud form around him. He did not have the opportunity to slow before the cloud surrounded him and consumed him. As he broke through he found himself plummeting towards the floor of a different room. Natsu managed to catch himself just before he struck the ground.

Natsu winced as he reverted back to his human form. He sat up and peered around the room. This place was different. The floor was comprised of wood, and the walls were made of hard stone and brick. He peered around half expecting to see something but he saw that the room was vacant. There didn't appear to be any doors or entryways. He hadn't the slightest idea where he was or where he could possibly be.

"Where am I?" Natsu asked out loud to himself.

"You're in a training facility within the tower," Ancologia said as he descended from the ceiling. He touched down on the floor while his cloak glided up as though it was in a gentle breeze. "This is where many of the wizards would come and train. Work to hone their skills. The only way to get here is if you know how. I know how, hence why you are here. Sorry for the long imposition, but I felt that it was necessary considering that you did ask. Plus people like to know these things, you know."

"It's not like any of that matters now," Natsu grunted as he arose to his feet. "I'm still going to kill you!"

"Yeah, yeah, okay," Ancologia sighed. "So you've said again. You want to make a reference about how I'm insane cause I haven't been called that for more than ten minutes. And to be honest, now I'm starting to get used to it."

"Shut up!" Natsu barked. "Where's Gajeel?"

"Gajeel? Who's Gajeel?"

"My friend! The one with the black hair!"

"Didn't I throw him out the window? By the way did he survive? That was a pretty bad fall, he did get tossed out of a tower that's upwards to a hundred stories. I may not be a scientist, but I feel like it would be very unlikely that someone could survive a fall from that height. And since he's nowhere to be seen," Ancologia peered around the room with a sarcastic stare, "I would say that's a no."

"That was Arcadios you bastard!"

"Arcadios, Acradios," Ancologia replied as he pretended to mull it over. "Tall fellow, long curly hair with a goatee? Had a fatherly trust in you and nurtured since you since you were a boy? Suffered from some sort of inner dilemma because he felt like he betrayed you when you were growing up. He helped oversee the growth of both you and your love Lucy? Is that who we're talking about? How is he by the way?"

"He's dead! Thanks to you!"

"Yeah, I know, I was just patronizing you," Ancologia shrugged. "I was the one that killed him. I can see everything that happens in and out of this tower. Well, at least on the island around the tower." He laughed. "The entire world is technically outside. I just don't want to get things confused, I'm very anal about that. Ha! Anal."

"You're a psychopath!" Natsu exclaimed as he dashed towards Ancologia.

"Why does everyone call me insane?" Ancologia sighed. "I mean granted it's true, but it's all I ever hear. Just so repetitive. It's only been ten minutes since I was last called that. No, wait a tick, you called me a psychopath. That one is new and I have to admit that it's a nice change of pace, so thank you."

Natsu felt the pit of his stomach burn with an even stronger fire than he had ever felt before. His eyes felt like they were about to bust into flame themselves as his dragon sense took a hold of him. He didn't transform into a dragon completely, just his basic transformation that he had always done. He raised his fist in the air as talons ejected from his fingers.

Ancologia smirked to himself as he held up his hand. A black plume of smoke formed around his hand before a burst of energy came out. It struck Natsu in the chest but ricocheted off his body and hit the ground shattering the floor.

"What?" Ancologia shouted stunned that he was unable to hurt the boy.

Natsu barreled down on his slashing at his face with his claws. Ancologia jerked his head back as the tips of Natsu's talons scratched his skin. Ancologia leapt back raising his hand to his wounds.

"What in the seven hells happened? Why didn't my magic work on you?" Ancologia glowered as a fresh coat of rotting skin sealed the cuts.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Natsu snickered.

"I actually would. I wouldn't be asking the question if I didn't want to know," Ancologia replied. "Let's try this again." Bolts of lightning erupted from his hand and stuck Natsu violently. The youth raised his hands to shield his body was struck repeatedly. Slivers of light ran up and around Natsu's body as the boy glowed with a brilliant light.

Ancologia put his hand down, still baffled that the youth was standing on his feet. Natsu dropped his arms and smirked at the wizard. He was unscathed; the attacks had done nothing to him.

Natsu sprinted towards Ancologia as the wizard lifted his hand up once more as lightning sputtered off of him. Natsu's fist collided with Ancologia's chin. The wizard was sent flying backwards. Before Ancologia had a chance to react Natsu was on top of him, his fist once more raised in the air. Ancologia's eyes went wide as he attempted to protect himself with his arms. Natsu's fist broke threw and struck Ancologia in the gut flinging him into the floorboards as they splintered under the force of Natsu's blow.

Natsu landed just behind him before spinning around and leaping back in the air. He attempted to bring down his knee on Ancologia, but the wizard rolled away. Natsu sunk even deeper into the floor. His glare turned to Ancologia as he shot up for another attack.

Ancologia held up his hand expecting the boy to freeze, like he had done to Gajeel. But Natsu continued to descend upon the wizard. Ancologia flipped backwards and somersaulted to his feet. Natsu lifted his head and spewed forth fire from his mouth. Ancologia swung up his hands up as a barrier protected him from the fire.

Once the fire had died down he lifted his hands as a wall rose up from the floor separating the wizard and the youth.

"Show yourself coward!" Natsu bellowed.

"Give me a moment," Ancologia called back. "I need to think about this."

"Tear down this wall you bastard!" Natsu shouted as he hacked at the wall. Chucks of bricks flew as sparks ignited with each strike.

"No!" Ancologia shouted back. "And who are you calling bastard? My parents were married! I think."

Natsu continued to hack at the wall while Ancologia sat on the floor.

"How is it possible that this boy is unfazed by my attacks?" Ancologia whispered to himself. "He must have something on him that protects him. Could it be the armor? Gajeel had similar armor but he was still affected by my attacks. So what is it that this boy has that Gajeel didn't have?"

It only took a few seconds before Natsu broke through the wall. Ancologia's eyes went wide as he saw the pink haired youth standing in the hole he just created. His eyes were lit with a burning rage.

"You know a moment was originally established to mean a minute and a half and I don't even think that was thirty seconds. You could you at least do me the courtesy!"

Natsu grinded his teeth as he charged straight at Ancologia with his fists raised high. Ancologia threw himself backwards dodging the blows as Natsu's fist collided with the ground. Ancologia hovered in the air while Natsu tilted his head and roared out a fury flames. Once again Ancologia held up his arms to create a barrier to protect himself.

Ancologia shot back with his own, black flames. Natsu stood there as the flames surrounded him. He swung his arms breaking the gust with his arms. He cried out and launched at Ancologia. The wizard swung his arms as a gust of wind burst forth from his arms striking Natsu pushing him back to the ground. Natsu fought back but Ancologia continued to throw gusts of wind at him. Natsu then tried to repel the wind with swarm of his own fire breath. The flames grew wider as they clashed with the air and spread out through the room.

Natsu continued to rush towards Ancologia but the wizard whirled his cloak and vanished in a plume of smoke.

"Oh, no you don't!" Natsu growled as he charged into the smoke after Ancologia.

Immediately Natsu found himself plunged into a room filled with water. It was dark, only a small flicker of light illuminated the spot where Natsu was submerged to see the floor beneath him. Natsu's eyes darted around as he looked to where Ancologia could have possibly gone, and perhaps a place he could retrieve a breath of air. The room was black, and the salt of the water burned his open wounds harshly. If not for his feet touching the floor he wouldn't have been able to tell which direction he was facing.

He looked around, desperate to find a way to get out. There didn't seem to be anywhere he could go. Even though he couldn't even see where he could go regardless. There had to be some way out, but where?

Where there was water there had to be a surface. Maybe if he swam up he would find the surface and break through. He immediately kicked his legs and paddled his way upwards. He swam for several seconds as his lungs began to hurt. Each passing moment only caused his lungs to ache and burn that much more. He couldn't even see if he was near the top. How much further would he have to swim?

Finally, he felt his hands brush up against a hard surface. He reached the top and placed his hands on room's ceiling. His hands scurried across the brick surface hoping to find a gap somewhere. He didn't have time, he had to choke back what air he had left as he could feel the life seep from him.

His lungs felt as though they were about to burst as Natsu tried to think about what to do next. His time was running out as he fought the urge to inhale. There was nothing but water. He was going to have to figure a way out. What was he going to do?

Then as his vision began to fade the burning moved from his lungs to his gut. His own body was reacting as he wanted to scream in pain as his talons jutted forth and his eyes slanted. A new strength had erupted inside of him.

Ancologia returned to the top of the tower where he looked around at the crumbled pillars and walls. The rubble lied across his scuffed floor. He let out a deep breath, twirling his hand around as the rubble returned to their original positions. He walked towards the center of the room as a large, silk lavender chair formed in the center of the room.

"That boy," Ancologia sighed as he sank into his seat. He lifted his feet as a footstool appeared beneath him so he could rest his feet on top of it. "I wonder how he was able to reject my magic? Oh well, he's dead no need to worry."

Just then he heard a rumbling from the corner of the chamber. An eerie sound that caused the room to shake a bit. It sounded like thunder being muffled by marble floors, just waiting to explode. Ancologia sat up straight, listening carefully and closing his eyes to see if he could see what it was that was causing the commotion. Before he even had the chance to focus the wall at the far end of the room suddenly broke apart. Water poured in widly as Natsu flopped onto the floor like a fish, coughing violently. Natsu picked himself up only to vomit more water.

"Right when I just finished cleaning the place!" Ancologia shouted annoyed. "Kids." He shook his head. The chair and footstool disappeared as he pranced towards the half drowned youth.

Natsu continued to cough before glaring up at Ancologia. His eyes burned with even more hatred than he had before. His dragon like amber, now flared like the flames of an intense sun. He was slow to get up, but Ancologia did not waste the opportunity to shoot the boy with a bolt of lightning that sent him crashing into the pillars behind him. The boy grimaced in pain as he fell hard onto the tile floor.

"I'm curious though," Ancologia said holding up his hand. "How did you manage to escape?"

"Don't underestimate me!" Natsu spat as he stood to his feet. "You think that you can simply drown me? You're going to have to do better."

"Don't tempt me boy!" Ancologia growled. "You and your associate keep talking about how I shouldn't underestimate you and now he's dead and you're about to die! I shouldn't underestimate you?" He bellowed. "I'm the one that shouldn't be underestimated! You think that I'm just some man? No, I'm no man, nor am I a wizard. I've have ascended beyond any mortal on this wretched planet. I have become a god!"

"You're nothing but a coward and a traitor!"

"I am a god you fucking worm and it's Judgment Day!"

Natsu arched back just as Ancologia raised his hands back up, only this time there was a blue light that illuminated around his palms. Just as Natsu was about to launch at him before he stopped as soon as he heard a loud rumbling from the wall. The two stopped as the sidewall, halfway between the two of them blasted forwards as rubble and debris sprang forth.

Gajeel staggered forward from the hole. His body was still covered in bruises and cuts; his armor had been seared off completely leaving him bear chested. Only a few fragments of his leather pants remained. A large black scorch mark seared his chest. Blood oozed from the corner of his lips and his left eye was swollen shut. There were several smaller black scars that dotted around him like black freckles. He took a couple deep breaths before slumping back into the chamber.

"You're still alive?" Ancologia said baffled.

"What? Did you think that you could kill me so easily? That I would simply roll over and die like some weakling? I am a Draconian, the son of Metalicana the Iron Dragon!"

"Nice monologue," Ancologia grunted. "Great for dramatic effect but honestly, you just look silly. And yes, I did think I could kill you that easily. That's why I was trying to kill you. It as pretty easy."

"Shut up!" Gajeel snarled.

Ancologia raised his hands once more as the blue light flashed brightly. Natsu sprinted over, just as a ray of blue light ejected from Ancolgoia's palm. Just before the beam struck Gajeel, Natsu dove in front of it, causing him to be shot back colliding with his counterpart. The two youths were sent hurling through the air, as they skidded and slid across the marble surface. Gajeel rolled a bit further away from Natsu, the only pain he sustain came from the collision. The same for Natsu, but other than that, they hadn't sustained any more serious injuries.

"I don't need you to protect me!" Gajeel barked.

"Sorry for saving your ass, again," Natsu retorted, the two of them were slow to get up. "Maybe I'll just let you get yourself killed next time!"

"Mommy, daddy please stop fighting," Ancologia said as he suddenly appeared in between the two of them. A blast erupted flinging the two of them in opposite directions.

Natsu crashed into a pillar, as it crumbled down upon him. Gajeel struck the wall. Natsu cried, feeling as though his ribcage was going to collapse into his organs. He coughed up some blood, his vision went blurring and his head felt like it was spinning. Gajeel was slower to get up. He felt like his muscles had ceased up. His vision was red, whether it was from the blood trickling down his forehead, or from the blood that he was coughing onto the floor.

Natsu jumped to his feet while Ancologia took the opportunity to fire another beam at Gajeel. Natsu vaulted at him, slashing the wizard in the back just as the beam detonated from his palm, hitting the wall just behind Gajeel, throwing the black hair youth forward. He slid across the floor tumbling as debris rained on him from behind.

"Watch it!" Gajeel roared.

Ancologia let out a howl of pain before swinging a back arm at Natsu who parried it just as he struck Ancologia with an uppercut in the gut. He spun around striking Ancologia with his heel. Ancologia was knocked to the ground. Natsu took the chance to spew fire forth that immersed his foe in flames. Natsu let the fires die down, but just as he had finished he rushed in with fists raised high. His own smoke blinded him, but he did not allow that to stop his attack.

When his fist made contact, it was with the marble floor. He felt a jolting pain in his fist as the marble floor shattered beneath him. If not for his scales, he would have certainly broken his hand.

Natsu howled in annoyance. His eyes darted around the room as he looked for a trace of Ancologia. The wizard appeared at the far end of the room, crouched over holding his side where Natsu had struck him.

"Come back here and fight coward!"


"What are you afraid?"

"Just taking a moment for myself," Ancologia replied.

He placed his hand on the injury as a pinkish light flashed. He clenched his teeth and cringed under pain. After a few seconds he stood straight, the injury alleviated.

Natsu was growing frustrated. No matter what he seemed to do, Ancologia just healed himself. He would have to find a way to deal him a fatal blow. But how could he in his current state? How could he when he could barely get near the wizard? He was going to have to find a way to get close without Ancologia realizing it. But that was a feat that was going to be difficult to accomplish. He would need Gajeel's help but the other youth could barely stand as it was. Their strength was deteriorating fast and they were running out of stamina.

He was going to have to figure out a plan and fast. But then he noticed something, something odd. Ancologia may have healed himself but Natsu could sense that he wasn't himself. There was something off. His eyes focused closely, but that's when he saw that Ancologia was becoming tired. It must be all the magic and blows he had been taking. He may not have appeared injured but Natsu could clearly see that Ancologia was struggling in his own way.

Could it be that magic had its own limits? Didn't matter, Natsu had to take the opportunity while he could.

"Gajeel," he said as he rushed over to the black haired teen's side.

"What?" Gajeel asked as he staggered up to his feet.

"I think I figured something out," Natsu replied as he helped hold Gajeel upright.

"What are you talking about?"

Ancologia watched from afar. He carefully examined them as he attempted to catch his breath. His muscles were beginning to ache, and though he sealed the wound that Natsu dealt him, it still stung with a burning like he had been slashed with fire. He knew that there was a chance for him to attack now, but he could see what the two youths were conspiring. He could hear them, murmuring to one another. He stood by and listened, letting them tell him their plans.

"Ancologia's powers are wearing him out," Natsu said as he glowered over at the wizard. "Even though he keeps healing himself every time we—I lay a hand on him, his strength is drained. We need to find a way to hit him with a finishing blow and end this."

"That's all well and good, but how in the seven hells do you expect us to do that?" Gajeel grumbled.

"I'll distract him. Don't worry his magic can't hurt me, and then you find a way to take him out," Natsu whispered.

"Okay," Gajeel said as standing tall. He nearly fell down again, but Natsu managed to catch him.

Damn, that was all Natsu could think as he looked down at Gajeel. He was right, Gajeel had taken such a beating that there was no possible way that he could throw a punch, let alone a killing strike.

"Wait I have an idea," Gajeel said. "Give me a minute and I'll be able to kill the bastard."

"Sure thing," Natsu said as he let Gajeel go to stand on his own. "I can spare you a minute."

Ancologia raised an eyebrow. They may not have the intelligence of their fathers but those two were smart enough to conceal their intentions. There was no possible way that any plan they comprised would actually work, but then again he didn't want to take the risk. There was no more time for games, he was going to have to finish them off quickly.

He brought his hands together, a crimson light flickered between his two palms. He was going to have to blast them if he wanted to end this. He didn't know what Natsu meant when he said that the wizard's magic wouldn't work against him. Natsu said that the wizard's magic was incapable of hurting him, and though he had shown that it didn't do him much harm, this blast would truly prove whether or not what he said was true.

Natsu ran towards him, the same plan that he had been using. There were no more games left that the wizard wanted to play; no more tricks. He was going to bring this little nuisance to an end. He let out a howl of laughter as he blasted an immense beam of crimson light towards Natsu. The youth charged at it, crying out as he launched his body forward.

Ancologia watched as his blast struck Natsu directly. He was blind by the light, but he could see that the crimson passed had struck the boy and continued on. The marble floor beneath was vaporized as it continued to sore until it hit the back wall and broke through. Everything the beam of light touch was being disintegrated until there was nothing left.

With a couple deep pants, the light vanished and Ancologia rested his hands by his side. He let out a hearty chuckle as smoke was all that remained of the room.

"Finally!" Ancologia bellowed in joy.

Then he went limp as he heard the loud hollers of Natsu as the youth leapt forth from out of the smoke directly towards him.

"It's not possible!" Ancologia cried.

Natsu struck him, hard on the right side of the cheek causing the wizard to slam hard into the ground. His jaw was shattered as he cried out in pain. He was both infuriated and confused.

Natsu bent down and began throwing a fury of punches down upon Ancologia. The wizard arched back as he could feel his organs bruising and bones breaking under the force of Natsu's strikes. After several punches Ancologia coughed up blood. His body was becoming tenderized and it felt like he was going to break.

Natsu swung another blow that struck Ancologia in the ribs. He grinned when he heard several cracks. Ancologia screamed out in pain, blood shot forth, drips showered Natsu's face.

Natsu raised his fist for another blow when Acologia threw him off with a gust of wind. The pink haired youth was thrown away sliding across the marble floor. His body skimmed across fragmented pieces of rubble and marble. Ancologia caught his breath. He saw that every piece of cloth and armor had deteriorated off of Natsu's body. Everything had been singed off except for one piece of fabric, a scarf.

Ancologia rolled over, feeling like his organs were about to rupture if they hadn't already. He lurched upwards to his feet when he heard a holler that caused him to freeze in place. Before he could even look up he was hit by a large, chrome claw that sent him flying back towards the far end window. He came to a grinding stop when he saw Gajeel, now in the form of a dragon, barreling toward him with fire spewing from his lips.

Ancologia lifted his arms as a light barrier formed around him, but it was not enough to repel Gajeel's large palm as the dragon swiped at him and sent him hurling out the window. Ancologia found himself falling outside the tower as the chrome dragon followed after him by crashing through the wall and out into the night sky.

Ancologia transformed himself as he peered upwards at the stars above. His body erupted into black scales with long teal blue tattoos that flowed around his body like little streams. His eyes shined brilliantly like a white blaze. His own set of wings ejected out, spinning as he dove toward the ocean surface. Gajeel followed him behind, a river of fire spewing from him but Anclogia outflew them.

He twirled around as the flames struck the rocky surface of the island below. Ancologia flew upwards as Gajeel continued to tail him. Ancologia attempted to lose him by spinning and snaking through the air. He flew around the tower, Gajeel breathing fire as he followed his every move. Ancolgia flew up over the tower and into the clouds.

He turned and faced the chrome dragon as he swooped down and slashed his claws at his foe. His talons scraped across Gajeel's scales leaving scratch marks. Gajeel shook it off and chased after the black dragon. Ancologia sailed back down the castle side when Natsu, in his dragon form leapt from the hole that Gajeel had come from and chased after the black dragon.

All three of them bobbed and weaved around the tower. The sky was lit as bright as day with the fire that erupted from the three dragons. The tower walls were scathed with black ash, but it was not possible to see in the dark of night. The three chased one another through the air.

Natsu would grin widely if he could. His plan had worked. As a dragon, Ancologia couldn't use his magic. Natsu and Gajeel had him as long as they could take him down as dragons they could finish him. He knew that Ancologia couldn't escape. They would hunt him down and finish him.

Natu and Gajeel were both behind Anclogoia, closing him as the black dragon sailed towards the sea. Then, to Natsu's shock, the black dragon spun around to face them, continuing to fall to the earth below. He opened his mouth as a white-blue light formed and shot a beam at the two of them. Natsu could sense it coming and though he wanted to dodge the shot, he couldn't get out of the way in time.

The beam hit him on the side wing as he spun out of control. He was plummeting towards the rocks and there was no chance for him to avoid the rocks. Just as he was about to crash, Gajeel swooped in and caught him by the back of his wings and dropped Natsu on the rocks gently. A large red burn throbbed on his chest as he felt like the wind was knocked out of him.

Gajeel continued the chase as Ancologia flew back up into the air. Gajeel was closing in, snapping his jaws along Ancologia's tail. Ancologia spun around again, attempting to hit the chrome dragon with another blast. Gajeel ducked out of the way as the beam of light sailed over his head. Gjaeel was now face to face with him as their claws collided. The two slashed at one another as blood poured from the gaping wounds they cut along their bodies.

Eventually Ancologia broke away as he weaved around the tower. Gajeel continued his chase, but soon crashed into the side and was flung along the side. Anclogia looked to take advantage of Gajeel's confusion but as the beam of light began to form in his mouth Natsu came barreling in from behind, biting Anclogia's neck. The black dragon wailed in pain as Natsu's teeth sank deeper and deeper. He flung himself down bringing Ancologia with him before they plunged into the rocks, Natsu landing on top of the black dragon.

Ancologia howled in pain as he withered on the ground. Natsu stood over him, placing a claw on Ancologia's chest. He bent over and gnashed at the black dragon's head. Ancologia roared as he fired another beam, causing Natsu to leap back to avoid it just before it struck him. Ancologia limped away, his black scales drenched in blood. Natsu jumped into the air and with one fell swoops, slashed Ancologia across the jaw and flinging him into the dark ocean below.

Natsu stood and waited for Anclogia to emerge. Gajeel flew down and landed next to his companion. The two of them watched the water eagerly, but there was no movement. Was it over? Could it possibly be over? Natsu could only hope, but he doubted it.

As they waited the two of them reverted back to their human states. They stood there watching the black waves wash up against the jigged rocks below. They stood there their bodies soaked in blood, wide gaping wounds were spattered around their torso and limbs. Natsu could barely see out of his eye, it was swollen shut.

Once the adrenaline from the fight wore off, the two of them collapsed to the ground. They took deep breaths, but their lungs filling up only caused them to wince in pain.

"Is it over?" Gajeel gasped through pants. He had no energy left. His muscles were ceasing up.

"I think so," Natsu replied. "But I doubt it." He looked back up to the top of the tower. "There is only one way to make sure."

Anclogoia collapsed on the shattered marble floor, panting heavily. Half his face was practically torn off to the point that he part of his skull was exposed. His cloak was tattered to the point that it was only pieces of fabric that hung loosely along his physique. His body was covered in eclectic cuts that poured blood, and the damage was as extensive inside as it was outside. His lungs felt like they were going to rupture with every breath. His let arm was splintered that it dangled like a noodle along his side.

He fell over and coughed up even more blood onto the floor. His vision was fainting. There was almost nothing left to keep him standing. He barely had enough magic to transport him back into the tower. Now there was nothing left. The barrage that he had taken had left him on the fringe of death.

He flinched when he heard the sound of wings flapping outside as both Gajeel and Natsu toppled into the chamber. They returned to their human forms, hobbling towards the wizard. Ancologia attempted to stand up, but his body collapsed under the weight of the pain. He looked at them standing there naked, but he noticed that one key thing was missing, Natsu didn't have his scarf. If he could muster enough strength for one last blast, he could finish the two teens once and for all.

"It's over Ancologia," Natsu spat.

"Yeah, it looks like it," he replied. "Come and get me, I'm already half dead. But before you do," he bidded his time waiting for them to come closer so he could get a clear shot, "is there anything that you want me to tell you before you kill me?"

"I want you to confess why you did everything that you've done," Natsu spat as they wobbled closer to the wizard. "I want you to tell us why you did what you did."

"Very well," Anclogia chuckled wiping away some of the blood on his face. "I made a deal with Ivan long ago, back before I learned magic. When he traded the Book of Zeref to me, I told him that in exchange for the book I would help him in his quest to obtain power. He originally wanted to take control of Konvern, when he saw the ample opportunity he weaseled his way into the king's personal council. He hoped that Jude would be killed in the war, but that didn't work and Jude later married and Lucy was born. When you were brought along, he saw another chance to snatch power, and potentially gain even more power. Unfortunately, he would have to wait that much longer to obtain his power, but why take a country when he could take a continent?"

"So you did it to help Ivan gain power? What did you gain? A book? You betrayed your people and your country for a book?"

"No, they betrayed me!" Ancologia shouted. "They robbed me of my throne, of my title and my home. I was hoping they would reconcile their mistake, but they didn't. I knew Draconia didn't have a chance to defend itself, so I searched for a way. I wanted to keep to our traditions of peace, and there was only one way for me to do so. I would have to learn magic. I did what I did to protect my country. But when they discarded me without a second thought, they needed to be punished.

"Ivan was the one who tempted everyone to invade our country, so I manipulated him so I think that he was getting what he wanted just before I took it away from him. He wanted my country's gold in order to build a larger army, so I took it from him. When that didn't work, Ivan needed another method to obtain the power he was so desperate for. That's when you came along. He wanted to use you and manipulate you into killing Jude for him so he could take control of the throne. The only thing was that he needed a motive, and he never could have predicted you and the princess would fall in love. But he would use that, and slowly expose it when the time was right. Lucy would be scorned for her affair with a slave, no longer worthy of marriage or the throne and then he would use that to convince you to kill Jude."

"Ivan was just using me the entire time?" Natsu asked. Gajeel could see the look of hurt in the youth. Not from his injuries, but the realization was just a shock to him.

"Ivan couldn't have planned it any better than what really happened," Ancologia smirked. "You fell in love with Lucy, Jude arranged for Lucy to marry Duke, and then Ivan told Duke about your relationship with Lucy. Duke would kill Lucy, thus eliminating the heir to the Konvern throne, and disgrace Jude. Ivan knew that Duke had a greedy desire to conquer the rest of the country, as did Jude. But Duke was young and naïve, he was easier to manipulate. So, Ivan betrayed Jude and turned to his attention to Duke. Ivan devised his plan with Duke to betray Jude, and wrote the contract between the countries that removed Jude from power. However, he also wrote it so that if Duke died he would inherit Duke's throne. He planned on having Duke invade the other countries, have you or someone else kill after the war. But, you foiled all his plans when you and Gajeel learned to become dragons and destroyed his armies. It's funny, he thought he needed you."

"What do you mean?" Natsu asked. They were so close now, just a little closer and they were within Anclogia's striking distance.

"He wanted the Draconians as his weapons. If you were under his control than he could easily control all the conquered people with little resistance. That is why he wanted you. Nothing more than a humanized weapon that he could control."

Now they were within striking distance. It would take all his strength, but Ancologia leapt up and was ready to discharge another beam of energy. Natsu shoved Gajeel to the side just when the beam hit him. Even though it was significantly weaker than any of his other blasts, it was still enough to knock Natsu to the ground.

"Not so tough without your scarf huh boy?" Ancologia laughed. "Got you that time!"

"Gajeel!" Natsu shouted as he pulled his scarf out and tossed it to his companion.

"What!" Ancologia exclaimed. The boy had hidden it behind his back and used it to deflect the beam. Ancologia attempted to shoot Gajeel but Gajeel caught the scarf and held it up to shield him from the beam.

Gajeel pushed back against it as he began to walk towards the wizard. Ancologia's hand gave out and fell to his knee. He bent over and sagged over his knee. He swung his arms, a gust of wind came out and knocked Gajeel away. When he looked back up he saw that Natsu was no longer lying on the floor. He couldn't even see where the youth had gone. He peered around the room when he spotted Natsu half jogging from the side. He lifted his hand and shot a beam at the youth, but Natsu held up a piece of his scarf and once again deflected the shot.

"It can't be!" Ancologia cried. The boy had torn the scarf in half and tricked him into thinking that he gave it to Gajeel.

Ancologia had no magic left, and desperately swung a punch to knock the youth away, but Natsu just ducked out of the way. Ancologia swung another punch, but Natsu avoid that shot too. Natsu bent down and with his talons he jammed his palm into the wizard's chest. Ancologia's moth went agape in shock, horror and pain as he stood there stunned peering down at Natsu's arm. He saw Natsu's hand penetrated deep into his chest.

Natsu gritted his teeth together and with a loud cry he yanked Ancologia's heart from his chest. With one last sputter of blood Ancologia fell to his knees and fell to the ground, dead.

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