Chapter I: An Unexpected New Enemy
"Gah, I miss Happy" said the pink haired mage.
"Well, he said he didn't want to deal with our bickering, can't say I blame him” said the ice mage.
“Yeah, who would like to be with you for four full days. It’s torture!”
Gray stopped walking after hearing that remark and said, “What did you say flame-brain? I didn’t want to go on a mission just with you, that would be last thing I would want. You ruin everything.”
“I do?!” Shouted Natsu. “I am not the one who nearly got us kicked out of every inn because he was naked while talking to the receptionist girl, like a hentai. Besides I wasn’t the one who froze the entire inn.”
“Baka!” Gray raised his voice, “I wouldn’t have had the need to freeze the inn if someone hadn’t set fire to it in the first place. Learn to control your fire.”
“You know what, I wasn’t able to blow enough steam in this mission. So I am gonna kick your ass.” Natsu readied himself into a fighting position.
“Well, since Erza isn’t here to stop us, I am not going to hold back flame-brain!” Gray had a confident smirk on his face.
“Ice princess!” Retaliated Natsu.
Both Natsu and Gray were getting ready to fight. Natsu started by summoning fire from his fists, while Gray positioned his hands in order to use Ice-Make magic. Bright, white light and ice started to manifest on Gray’s hands, “Ice-make: Arro...huh?!” He suddenly stopped mid-spell, the ice on his hands vanished, and started to check his surroundings.
“What is it stripper? Are you going to chicken out?” Asked the fire mage with a provoking tone.
After checking his surroundings, Gray quickly turned to face Natsu, “Shut up retard. Can’t you feel it, I think someone is watching us.”
“Huh…?” Natsu wasn’t sure what Gray was talking about.
“I’ve been feeling eerie since we crossed this path.” Gray paused for a moment trying to make Natsu understand. “Are you telling me you can’t feel someone has been watching us? What is the point of having those super senses of yours if they don’t work when we are being watched!”
“You are just being paranoid. Or are you trying to avoid fighting me by using that as your excuse, huh hentai-exhibitionist.”
“Dammit ashes for brains!” Shouted Gray, losing his patience because he couldn’t make his teammate understand. “Use that nose of yours and locate the person that is spying on us.”
Natsu sighed heavily, “Okay then, if that would shut you up and make you fight me then I’ll do it.” Natsu closed his eyes, he concentrated, taking a good sniff to his surroundings. He took his time, trying to smell and distinguish all the scents in the air. The flowers from a valley not so far, the smell of the few pine trees that covered the area, Gray, he stinked, actually so did he, they both reeked of sweat, they were kicked out of the inn before they had the chance of taking a shower, and with all the walking it only made things worse.
“Oi Natsu, can you smell anything?” Asked Gray.
“Shut up popsicle, your voice doesn’t let me…!” suddenly Natsu caught a scent, it was faint but his sensitive Dragon Slayer nose was able to smell it. He shook his head, right and left, up, in every direction, trying to locate that scent. “This scent, it...it smells familiar...it can’t be.”
“What it is? What are you smelling Natsu?” Gray gave Natsu an angry look for not being informed on the scent he caught. “Tell me flame-brain!”
Natsu turned his head and made eye contact with Gray, “i-it...it smells like a dragon!”
Gray’s eyes widened in shock after hearing those unbelievable words from Natsu. “A dragon? Are you...are you sure?!”
“Well, not a dragon, almost a dragon, I smell someone. Another human perhaps.”
“Perhaps? What are you talking about Natsu, you don’t make any sense.” Gray was frustrated because Natsu wasn’t making any sense, nor did he knew what to make of the situation that was happening.
“Gah! Where are you? The scent is so faint and it’s everywhere, I can’t locate it.” Natsu screamed in a moment of rage. Frustrated because he couldn’t locate the scent, somehow his amazing nose wasn’t doing the job. Natsu, in a violent and rapid manner, shook his head in every direction, searching, smelling.
“Look out!” Screamed Gray, and pushed Natsu out of the way. Natsu wasn’t able to react and, fell to the ground.
“What the hell! What is wrong with you?” Said Natsu with a furious tone. More angry for being interrupted on his search for that scent than being pushed.
“Look.” Gray pointed at something at the ground, just a few inches away from Natsu.
Natsu followed Gray’s hand to where he was pointing. What he saw left him speechless.
“What is that?” Asked Gray.
Both of them completely fixated on what just attacked them. It looked like...fire? But, but it was different, it wasn’t like Natsu’s fire, it was black, pitch dark. Both Gray and Natsu had seen different kinds of fire, hell Romeo alone had several with his Rainbow Fire, but never a dark flame. It looked like the flames of the God Slayer from Grimoire Heart, except far darker, plus he was dead.
The flame just stood there, burning, the fire waving harmlessly. There was nothing for it to feed on but ground, yet it did not disappeared. Tempted, Natsu decided to touch it, but just as he was reaching for it, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
A voice startled both of the Fairy Tail wizards. They looked in every direction, trying their hardest to find the voice that would lead them to the one who just attacked them.“Who’s there?” Shouted Gray.
“Show yourself.” Natsu demanded.
“Sure, just give me a minute.” Said the voice.
The dark flame started to expand. It took the shape of a human body. Growing all four limbs. It looked exactly like a human body, just lacking the basic features of a face, ears, fingernails and clothes. So, almost like a body.
Both Natsu and Gray were dumbfounded, they couldn’t understand what their eyes were watching. But the show was far from over.
“What the hell is happening?!” Said Gray, astounded.
“Just wait,” responded the human-shaped fire. “I am almost done.” The flames dimmed, a face started to be appear. It was white, white as snow, with dark, crimson eyes. He had long, spiky, white hair. A small nose. Small, thin pinkish lips. Below sharp, elongated canines, longer than Natsu’s. With a sudden outer push of his right arm the flames vanished. And out of them, a person, a boy to be precise, just a little younger, and shorter, than Natsu.
The boy was wearing, red shirt. On top of it a black vest. His black pants had several patches on them. The most odd feature were his pointy boots. They looked old school. Really out of style. To top it off he was wearing a long, cape. It was black. Darker than anything, even the night sky.
“Happy?” Asked the boy with a smirk painted on his face.
“Who are you?” Asked Gray.
“Why did you attacked us?” Shouted Natsu.
“Why? Because you,” he pointed at Natsu, “are my target.”
“Fine.” Natsu, without any hesitation, got into battle position. He was challenged and was happy to accept it. His fists were covered in fire. “Since you interrupted my fight with Gray, I guess I’ll blow off some steam on you.” Natsu charged, not caring whom his opponent is, or what he wanted.
“Wait Natsu!” Gray tried to stop him but it was too late.
Salamander was already half way, ready to present his flaming right fist at the boy who dared interrupt his fight with the stripper. “AAAAHHH!!!” Yelled Natsu, thinking one good punch would be enough to knock the boy down and win.
But the boy’s face showed no hint of doubt or hesitation. He stood there calmly, waiting for the reckless Dragon Slayer to try and punch him.
Natsu threw his flaming punch, expecting to make contact with the enemy, but the boy, without a problem, dodged it. Natsu’s punch went past the enemy’s head; the boy quickly grabbed Natsu’s wrist with his right hand, and with his other hand Natsu’s elbow, with little effort the boy flipped Natsu to the ground. The slam cracked the ground.
“Gah!” Yelped Natsu at the top of his lungs, feeling how the air left his body.
“Natsu.” Gray, seeing his teammate on the floor, charged too. Just like Natsu he tried to punch him, but with an ice fist instead, but just like in Natsu’s case the boy easily dodged it and tried to grab his wrist. Gray realized this and quickly stopped, putting his legs in defensive position, not giving the momentum to his enemy.
“Oh, you are smarter than the slayer I see.” Said the boy with a sarcastic tone.
“One of us has to be.”
A malicious smile appeared on the boy’s face, showing one of his canines. “Maybe not clever enough.” The boy vanished into flames; they scattered all around. Then, in a blink of an eye, the flames manifested themselves behind Gray, they reformed into the boy just above Gray’s head, he then proceeded to kick him in the right cheek.
Gray, caught completely off guard, quickly fell to the ground. His cheek was red from the kick, there was blood on the corner of his mouth. Gray cleaned the blood with the back of his hand and cursed, “Dammit. How did he do that?”
“Not so clever now, huh?” said Natsu, picking himself up.
“He is stronger than he looks.” Gray too stood up.
“I am just getting started.” Natsu started to inhale, he put his hands before his mouth, in a pose resembling a trumpeter. “Fire Dragon’s Roar!” Fire quickly escaped Natsu’s mouth, enlarging as it got closer to the enemy. The attack hit the target, creating a huge explosion. “Haha! Not so tough now.”
Back at the Fairy Tail Guild in Magnolia. The guild was unusually quiet, instead of the cheering, laughter, excessive drinking and fighting. Most the guild was empty, since many of the members were on missions, besides, without Natsu and Gray constantly fighting and challenging everyone the guild was lacking some excitement. Lucy, Erza, Wendy and Cana were sitting by the bar. Mira, like always, cleaning the counter.
“I am so bored.” Yawned Lucy, Fairy Tail’s Celestial wizard.
“Yeah, without those two, things can be rather uneventful,” said Erza, while she cleaned her lips with a tissue after taking a bite out of her strawberry cake.
“Why are they taking so long?” Asked Lucy. “It has been over four days.”
“Was their mission that hard, Mira-san?” Asked Wendy, after taking a drink from a glass filled with orange juice.
“Hmm…” Pondered the gorgeous, white haired, Sorcerer Magazine model. “Let me see,” she started to look into a pile of forms that guild wizards have to fill before going on missions. “Aha, here it is. It says the mission they took is about protecting a village from a band of thieves. The rewards is not that big, just 30,000 Jewels, but for some reason the master sent them both.”
“Knowing those two the mission should have been piece of cake.” Said Lucy.
“Knowing those two the village in probably in ruins.” Joked Cana, as she took a drink of her barrel full of beer.
“I don’t think they would go that far…right?” Wendy looked at everyone’s faces, but none of their expressions seemed to tell her that that scenario wasn’t impossible.
Erza stomped her foot on the floor and said, "If those two idiots did something stupid I'll have to punish them." Proclaimed the scarlet haired wizard with an annoyed grin on her face.
I sometimes forget how scary she can be, thought Lucy. She turned to look around the almost empty guild, she saw Levy sitting alone, working on a book. "Hey Levy, what are you doing?" She asked out loud.
"She is just sad because her dear Gajeel isn't here.”
"B-baka...I" said an embarrassed Levi, her cheeks blushing. "...I am just having, huh...writers block. I don't care that I haven't seen Gajeel in days." Those last words were spoken with a sad tone.
"Speaking of unrequited love," Cana turned to the other end of the guild, to a table in the far corner to where Juvia was sitting, in a far of table. "How has she been handling not seeing Gray for these past days?"
"I think it's been hard on her." Expressed a worried Lucy.
Juvia was sitting by herself, sulking because her dear Gray dared to abandon her for a mission. "Juvia misses Gray-sama so much. I wish Gray-sama would go on a mission with Juvia. Imagine, Juvia and Gray all alone, for days." Juvia started to blush at the thought. "Juvia's heart is sad. Gray-sama please come back!" She screamed and cried with all her might.
"Well, I guess that answers my question." Said Cana, just finishing her unnecessary large container of alcohol.
After seeing his roar hit the enemy Natsu started celebrating. He jumped, screamed, laughed and cheered, seeing the enemy that humiliated him was being burned to a crisp. But the celebration was cut short by Gray. “Wait, can you hear that?”
They could hear slurping sounds coming from the direction of the supposedly defeated enemy. The flames around started to disappear, they were being consumed. “N-no...it can’t be. He is eating my fire?” Salamander couldn’t believe his eyes.
The boy finished absorbing Natsu's fire roar, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve as if to signify he just enjoyed a meal. "Well, that was rather tasty. But it seems your fire kinda upsets my stomach. Here have it BACK!" The boy, with all of his might spit the flames, but the roar was bigger than Natsu’s, and it was mixed with dark flames.
Natsu was taken aback, shocked to see his own flames being fired at him. Gray quickly got in between the roar and Natsu, “Ice-make: Shield.” A giant shield of ice appeared in front of him, taking the hit of the fire roar. The fire quickly melted the shield, but it was strong enough to stop the attack. Quickly the battlefield was covered in steam.
“Who are you?” Natsu was furious. How could this kid absorb his magic? “How did you absorb my fire?”“Oh, excuse me, how uncivilized of me. I never properly introduced myself.” The boy’s word were spoken with great confidence, then a huge smile appeared on his face. “I am Zane Darkfang. I am the Dark Flame Dragon Slayer!”