Chapter 31 - Carrying on
The next day we all stood behind the guild hall wearing black clothing. Most of us battered and bruised. In front of us there were 7 graves. One for each dragon, and in the middle, one for Makarov. Mavis was up there saying a few words and doing the general things a priest would do at a funeral. Then just about everybody came up and said a few words which was an emotional wreck. Everybody had tears in their eyes when Natsu stepped up.
"I- I don't know where to begin… Igneel was the only father I ever knew, and when he disappeared I was lost and lonely. Then I came here. Makarov took me in and cared for me and I found a family in the guild. Makarov was the closest thing to a father I had after Igneel and now… they are both gone..." Natsu said. Just about everyone was crying now. "But I know I will never forget the lessons that they taught me, and the memories I have of them. I know that with them gone the only way I can honor them is by doing what they always helped me to, get stronger" At this point Natsu was crying as well and had his head down, he went back to his seat and Mavis asked if anyone else would like to say anything. I stood up and walked over.
"I didn't know Makarov very long and I only just met the dragons yesterday but I'm grateful for them. I'm grateful that they raised my friends and took care of them. I'm grateful that they have helped us in stopping a terrible threat. But most of all I'm so happy that they helped to put this family together as one. We will rebuild the guild and we will rebuild the life we had. We will carry on because that is what they would want us to do! I-" I was about to say more when I saw someone at the back of the crowd. It was the red eyes of Zeref staring back at me.
"YOU!" I flew right at him and he was just gone. "Where did, what?!" I looked around franticly.
"What's going on Ryan?" Lucy asked.
"I saw him, I saw Zeref!" I was flipping out. Natsu put a hand on my shoulder.
"Zeref is gone, we incinerated him, you're just seeing things" Natsu said. Just as I began to calm down I heard his voice, Zeref's voice.
"If only that were true my dear brother" Zeref said. We all spun around to see him standing there. Natsu went to punch him but instead he fell to the ground, he went through Zeref.
"The hell?" Natsu muttered getting up.
"It seems as if this curse I have has brought me back in a new form. My body is in fact dead, but my soul is still haunted… I now have the same form as Mavis" Zeref said.
"I'll still find a way to kill you!" Natsu said.
"It would only be a waste of time and energy" Zeref turned to Lucy "Now that I'm 'dead' the barrier between worlds will start to heal, so could you please call your unicorn, I have something to show the slayers" Lucy looked at Natsu, he nodded without taking his eyes off Zeref. She opened the gate and Zeref whispered something to Monoceros. The Unicorn then opened up the gate to wherever we were going.
"That could be some sort of trap" I said.
"Yes it could, guess you will have to find out" Zeref replied. I thought about going through but then Natsu dived in.
"Natsu!" Happy yelled, flying in after him. One by one we all went in. On the other side there wasn't much to look at, just some old ruins.
"Carla are you okay?" I heard Wendy ask. I looked over to see Carla wide eyed like she had just seen a ghost. Then I got hit with the vision. I saw burning buildings, people screaming. I saw a small boy with black hair dragging another kid with spiky pink hair out from a building. Zeref and Natsu… The flames had settled and Zeref was crying over Natsu. Then I was back to reality and so was Carla.
"Did we just see the same thing?!" I asked Carla.
"Burning buildings, small children?" She ask.
"Yep, same thing"
"What your were seeing is something that happened over 400 years ago" Zeref said. That was the night me and my brother, Natsu, became orphans.
"Wait, your brothers?" Sting asked.
"And if it was 400 years ago why is Natsu not dead?" Rouge asked.
"I have already been through this… but I suppose I should give you the full and real story" He said.
"Real? So what you said before was a lie?!" Natsu asked.
"Yes, I didn't revive you in x771, I brought you back over 400 years ago. I gave you to Igneel while the other dragons took in the 4 other dragon slayers, who were only orphaned kids at the time. They trained you and raised you and entered your bodies the same day we sent you through the gate, July 7th, x777"
"Wait, so ALL of us are from 400 years ago?" Wendy asked. Zeref nodded.
"Yeah right" Gajeel said.
"Wait, Gajeel, remember when we couldn't leave the guild because of Freed's ward. It stopped anyone over 80!" Natsu said.
"Damn, that would explain it" Gajeel said.
"So why are we here?" Erza asked.
"So I could show Natsu something, come with me" Zeref said. We all followed him and near the village was two small crosses.
"Mom and Dad, I couldn't find Dad's body so I made a grave, didn't learn till later he was still alive. But Mom's is buried here." Natsu walked slowly over to them and dropped to his knees. He looked at the one on the right.
"Lindsay Dragneel" Natsu said aloud. He looked to the left "and Ac-" He jumped up surprised. "Acnologia Dragneel?!"
So he wasn't lying…
"Yes, our Father was Acnologia" Zeref said.
"S- so what?" Natsu asked
"Just thought you would like to know"
"Why would I? So you can torment me more by telling me I lost all three of my fathers on the same day! Well it's your fault! So just get the hell away from me!" Natsu fell to his knees and the air heated up around him. Zeref disappeared and after Natsu calmed down we went back to the guild.
"Hey, so you look like you could use some cheering up" Jake said and then he handed me a cupcake with a lit candle. "Happy birthday"
"It's your birthday?!" Wendy said.
"Yeah, well, yesterday was… It didn't really seem like a great time to be celebrating anything" I replied.
"Well I feel bad now, I didn't get you anything..."
"Just… stay you. Stay awesome and cute and funny, that can be your gift to me"
"Haha, done. There is something I can give you though" she said moving closer to me.
"And what's that?" I asked, already knowing the answer. She kissed me and then hugged me tight.
"I love you"
"I love you too Wendy" I said smiling.
"Well if it's your birthday, then lets party!" Natsu yelled jumping up on a table and getting everyone excited.
"He is the last person I would expect to see being upbeat and cheery" Wendy said.
"Maybe it's good, his way of healing, ya know?" I said.
"Yeah, maybe you're right"
"Well, he's already spitting fire, LET'S PARTY!" We joined in on the fun and games. We all partied in the mostly destroyed guild hall. The was laughing and yelling and a couple of friendly fights. It was great.
"Don't you think it's a little… inappropriate to be partying when Makarov just died yesterday?" Mavis asked me.
"Maybe, but this is what he died to protect. He died so we could live and be able to have this. This is the guild he raised and I think he would be happy to see us like this" I replied.
"Hum, I guess you're right" She said and then she disappeared just like Zeref did before.
"I'd like to say I will never get used to that, but I already have..." I said to myself. We all partied for the rest of the night and after that the guild was rebuilt and life carried on. Things weren't the same but they weren't necessarily worse either. I know there will be more challenges ahead of us, but I also know that it's going to be one awesome adventure.