Hi again Dreamers! This chapter is rather late but I've been crazy busy recently - There just wasn't enough time in the day :/
But at long last I've been able to publish the next chapter! I hope you like it :)
As for the whole weekly posting thing... I'll try my best but that might be somewhere closer to once in two weeks - I'll try my best to update sooner but we'll see how it goes...
Laxus was pouring as much power as he could into the emerald artefact which had intricate writing laced its edges. They had thought that overloading the artefact would destroy it – and yet it only seemed to give the Obscurums more power.
"Is it just me or are these guys getting larger!" Ruby looked rather pale as she saw the monsters almost double in size. They began to circle around Laxus and Ruby, looking for an opportunity to strike.
One of them let out a loud screech and lunged at Ruby. Suddenly a burst of magical energy erupted from the centre of the room and the Obscurums let out a loud howl as they backed away from the centre of the room.
The emerald pyramid that once stood in the centre of the room fell apart like shattered glass; its once bright light now extinguished.
The Obscurum's dark cloaks began to crack, a blinding white light seemed to be coming within them. They all gave a final shout before they all burst into etherial energy.
"Kinda looks like fireworks." Laxus smirked as the self-confident look returned to his face. Ruby simple shook her head but felt as though she could finally relax.
Unfortunately, the peaceful moment was broken by a loud cracking sound. Looking up, the ceiling began to crumble, shortly followed by the ground beneath them shaking and splitting in two.
"Is this an earthquake?!" Ruby shouted.
"The artefact must have been the only thing holding this place up!" Laxus turned towards the exit but just before he began walking towards the large doors, a large chunk of rock came crashing down.
"We're trapped!" Ruby looked frantically around but there was no escape.
"Take my hand." Laxus held out his right hand to where Ruby was, an earnest look on his face.
"Al..Alright..." Ruby took his hand, the room around them was still collapsing but something in Laxus' gaze reassured her that they would be alright.
"Hold on tight!" Laxus pulled Ruby closer.
A golden magic circle formed above them, shining as bright as the sun. Ruby looked at Laxus with wide eyes but he simple grinned back.
"Lightning Dragon Eclipse!" Laxus shouted and the two of them were immediately launched upwards.
The spell destroyed the rock that was above them as they soared towards the sky.
They landed on a large rock formation but it wasn't anywhere near the stone archway they had entered from.
"This is the second island we saw from the beach!" Ruby exclaimed as she realised where they were.
"Well seems like the rumours weren't baseless after all – who would have thought that there was an ancient artefact all the way down there." Laxus looked down at the once large hole that he had made through the ground. It had now collapsed completely and appeared to be a pile of rubble.
Just as they could finally relax, the ground beneath them began to shake once again.
"Let's get out of here!" Ruby said as she walked towards the shore.
"Yeah." Laxus looked back towards the eerie black stone that made up the island.
Strange that no one knew about this before though… He thought.
It was late afternoon by the time they had made their way back to Dawn City. They walked back towards the hospital, hoping the people that were injured by the Obscurums were now better. Bickslow, Evergreen and Freed were waiting for them by the entrance, now looking much healthier than the last time they had seen them.
"Hey guys!" Ruby greeted them cheerily, she was relieved that they were back to their normal selves.
"Took you guys long enough!" Evergreen replied as she flipped her hair backwards. Her voice, as ever, sounded harsh but her kind gaze showed how concerned she was.
"You must forgive me Laxus! The Thunder God Tribe has failed youuu." Freed had already burst into tears as Laxus chuckled.
"Don't worry about it, everything worked out in the end anyways. And can you please stop calling us the Thunder God Tribe!" Laxus rolled his eyes.
"A few hours ago, the people who were attacked by the Obscurums before suddenly just got healed right up! I'm guessing you two had something to do with that?" Bickslow asked.
"And that huge explosion everyone heard as well?" Evergreen looked at Laxus sceptically.
"Yeah that was us! The mission's all finished and we can head back now." Laxus grinned and chose to ignore Evergreen's comment.
"Well, I guess this is it… I'll go report to the city mayor." Ruby looked sad as she said goodbye.
"Ah well about that… What would you say about joining Fairy Tail?" Laxus asked.
Ruby bit her lip as she recalled what Evergreen had told her before.
"Well you helped finish the mission, didn't you?" Evergreen said.
"Well yeah but you said…." Ruby trailed off.
"This was an S class mission you know. If you were able complete it with Laxus then I'd say you're more than qualified." Evergreen's gaze softened as she looked at Ruby.
"Besides, Laxus is the Guild Master's grandson so I'm sure you'll get in!" Bickslow said as he elbowed Laxus.
"How about we go ask him now?" Laxus took Ruby's hand and went to find a communication lacrima before anyone else could interject.
Soon enough they had indeed found one nearby and Laxus began calibrating it to contact Fairy Tail.
"You know how to use these?" Ruby asked as she peeked over his shoulder.
"Yeah we have to use them all the time. Since it's a lacrima you just have to infuse it with magic and put in the frequency for the receiving end and there you go." Just as Laxus finished an image showed up on the lacrima – but it wasn't who they were expecting.
Instead of Makarov's jovial face, he saw a rather irritated looking Mirajane.
"Hi there Mira-" Before Laxus could finish Mira cut in.
"Where on earth have you been Laxus?" Do you have any idea how many times Master has tried to contact you? Things have gotten really crazy over here!" Mira was almost yelling as she glared at Laxus. Master had told her about all the strange appearances and monsters that had been discovered recently – the one that Gajeel saw could have killed him.
"Look I'm really sorry Mira but I was busy with.. Can I just speak to Master please?" Laxus had a feeling he wasn't going to get through to Mira any time soon.
"He's gone to a Magic Council meeting, which he wanted you to come to as well. What have you been so busy with that you couldn't even get the time to see a lacrima message?" Mira continued to glare at Laxus but before he could reply Ruby peeked over Laxus's shoulder.
"Um Mira I can explain. You see Laxus and I…" Ruby looked at Mirajane's now icy glare and trailed off.
"You've spent this whole time with some random girl AGAIN?! Laxus you're better than this!" Mirajane was now well and truly infuriated. She wasn't too sure why but the sight of the petite black-haired girl next to Laxus made her feel like something had been set on fire.
"Wait this-" Before Laxus could say anything Ruby bolted out of the room. He sighed to himself - he could tell this was going to end badly.
"Master was even going to name you the next guild-." Mira stopped mid-sentence. She felt her gaze become blurry as her eyes began to water.
"Listen I-" The screen went blank and Laxus knew he was in for one hell of a ride when he got back.
Oh crap I forgot about Ruby! Laxus ran out of the room in search for her.
After a bit of a walk he found her crouched by the side of a fountain in the central park.
"Hey." He said as he walked up and sat next to her.
"I knew this was a bad idea." Ruby said in a quiet voice.
"No it's not that at all! Actually, it's my fault Mira got so angry." Laxus said as he looked at the darkening evening sky.
"What do you mean?" Ruby looked up at him questioningly. Laxus let out a sigh as he looked back at her.
"You see... It's a bit complicated." Laxus sighed again.
"We dated for a year or so. It wasn't much of a surprise to the guild since we had known each other since we were kids and things were going pretty well." Laxus sighed again, he looked as though he was in pain as hands clenched into fists.
"Dated as in past tense? What happened?" Ruby looked concerned as she asked.
"It was after.. no actually during the Tartaros battle. I always took pride in being an S class mage, in being someone who could use Dragon slayer magic. But in that fight, despite all my years of training we were on the brink of death. I don't think I've ever been that scared in my life." Laxus closed his eyes, reliving the moment when he took in the poisonous attack to save Bickslow, Evergreen and Freed. For months later it felt like his body was on fire and every movement hurt – even blinking.
"You know what Mira told me after the battle had finished?" He gave himself a self-depreciating laugh. Ruby was listening in silence; the pain was still fresh on Laxus' face even though the wounds had long since healed.
"She said that I was brave." Laxus remembered her struggling to get the words out, still crying as she sat by his bed in the infirmary.
"I was pathetic. I couldn't even defeat one enemy without being taken out. I knew I had to get stronger but the irony was that I could hardly move. I've never felt so powerless."
"A few weeks later I broke up with her. I couldn't live with myself the way things were. Everyone in the guild looks up to me, especially my grandfather and I wasn't ready. Sometimes I think I never will be." Laxus' voice was just a whisper as he confessed what had been bothering him all this time.
"That's not true! You were amazing back in there when we were fighting the Obscurums!" Ruby tried to reassure him but Laxus shook his head.
"No. I'm a coward. As soon as I got back to normal, I broke her heart and ran away. I've been taking back to back missions ever since to avoid going back to the guild. I said I need to get stronger but all this time I've just been running away." Laxus looked away and starting blinking rapidly.
Ruby was still unsure of what to say as she bit her lip.
After a long pause she spoke up. "Well why don't you face your fears head on?" she stood up and extended a hand to Laxus.
"All you have to do is give it time, Laxus. I'm sure everyone else will understand."
He gave a weak smile but accepted her hand as he stood back on his feet.
"Let's go back to Fairy Tail. After all, you know what they always say. Thinking won't get you anywhere, the only way to conquer you fears is to face them." She gave Laxus a bright smile.
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Laxus smiled as they made their way back, thinking that maybe, just maybe, things would go back to normal when he returned.
"Ughhhh" Natsu groaned for the millionth time as the train finally made its way into Shirotsume station.
"It's ok Natsu! We're at the station so we can get off now." Lucy said cheerily. Natsu's complexion was still very pale and slightly green.
"Fin…Finally" Natsu tried to get up, grabbing on to the edge of his seat for support. A few seconds later he fell back down face first on the ground.
"Owwwww…" Natsu mumbled, not bothering to move from where he fell.
"Umm Gray do you mind helping Natsu off the train." Lucy looked at Gray expectantly.
"Why do I have to do itttt." Gray complained but he still lifted Natsu up and half dragged him off the carriage.
He walked to a nearby bench and dumber Natsu on it, with a nervous looking Lucy standing next to him.
"Thanks..." Is all Natsu managed to get out, still recovering from the long train ride.
"Oh good you guys got Natsu." Erza said as she walked towards them, shortly followed by Jellal.
"Well we all made it in one piece... More or less." Jellal said as he looked at Natsu.
"Let's hear off to the motel. We are leaving for the Celestial Temple early tomorrow morning, right?" Erza asked Jellal.
"Yeah, that's the plan. Listen, I gotta meet up with the rest of Crime Sorciere and sort out some things. I'll see you tomorrow ok?" Jellal replied.
"Yeah, sure." Erza smiled as she watched him go.
Jellal walked towards where Crime Sorciere had already made camp. It was already late evening and there was a warm campfire waiting for him.
"How was the train journey?" Meredy asked when she noticed Jellal walking towards the camp. She had already set up a work bench which had a pike of old books as well as a rather old map which took over most of the table.
"Have you seen anything suspicious?" Jellal asked. He had asked her and a few other members of Crime Sorciere to scope out the area, just in case anyone else had stumbled across the ruins before they got the chance.
"Nope. There were a few hunters in the woods but that was closer to the river." Meredy gestured towards the river that ran down one side of the mountain that eventually cut through Shirotsume. There was a large red circle around the site where the Celestial temple ruins were thought to be.
"That's good. We don't want this getting any unwanted attention." Jellal stared at the map and looked deep in thought.
"Listen… I was going to leave this till after the mission but something's come up." Meredy bit her lip as she carefully chose her words.
"What is it?" Jellal asked. It had only been a few days since they last saw each other, surely nothing too drastic could have happened in that much time.
"Well you see… Yukino's left her guild. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal but no one's seen her since that day." Meredy heard the rumour that she had gone missing a month ago but they had all thought it was yet another rumour.
"Are you sure? What did Sorano say… I'm sure Yukino would have told her older sister something about where she was going at the very least." Jellal asked as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"No, she hasn't heard from her in months. She was worried about Yukino so she left for Sabertooth a few days ago, along with Sawyer." Meredy remembered Sorano's concerned face when she heard the news. She was surely feeling guilty about not being in contact with her sister, but then again, the missions Crime Sorciere went on were usually some far of desolate land with little access to communication devices.
"It does seem rather odd." Macbeth walked towards them, clearly having overheard their conversation.
"Or she just had a fight with her guild mates. We could be overreacting to all this." Meredy placed a hand on her hip as her voice took on a more irritated tone.
"Hmm but still, something doesn't add up here…" Jellal closed his eyes and thought about what could have happened.
She may have been targeted by someone. Perhaps she got on the wrong side of a dark guild on one of her missions or something. Ahh that does seem rather far fetched though… perhaps it's just a simple case of just wanting to run away from whatever it was that was bothering her. But still just to be on the safe side…
"Hey Macbeth, do you mind heading down to the city tomorrow and contacting Makarov. I think this is something he should know." Jellal said.
"Yeah sure but... what about the whole celestial temple stuff?" He asked
"We'll handle it on our own. It doesn't seem like there's anything to be worried about. I can hardly sense any magical pressure coming from there." Jellal replied.
"I'll go ask Erza if she's heard anything about Yukino." Jellal got up and started heading back to the motel they were staying at.
As Jellal walked back to the city, the night stars slowly started to fade as they were drowned out by the bright lights of the city. It was well into the night when Jellal finally got back to the motel and as he stood outside Erza's door he hesitated before knocking.
Maybe I should have come tomorrow… I don't want her to get the wrong idea or anything…
After hearing no reply, he turned the doorknob to find that the door was actually unlocked.
"She can be so forgetful sometimes." He whispered under his breath.
He opened the door and walked into the room, but instead of seeing a sleeping Erza, he just saw an empty bed. The sheets were still crisp, the only thing in the room that indicated someone was here was a half open suitcase.
Jellal remembered the conversation he had with Natsu and Gray on the train and well… the timing couldn't be any better.
"Well it couldn't hurt to peek…" Jellal said as he walked towards the suitcase.
He lifted up the lip just enough so that he could see what was inside, half expecting to find it filled to the teeth with armour.
But when he finally saw what was in the suitcase, he smiled and his gaze became softer.
In the middle of the suitcase was a small photo frame that could fit in his hand. It was a heart shaped frame and had two people smiling back. Erza was on the right and he was on the left, it was a picture they had taken a year or so ago, back before things got so out of hand.
"Hang on a second I think I left it in my room." Erza's voice could be heard from the hallway and sure enough a few seconds later there was a distinct click of the doorknob.
"Ah there it is." Erza grabbed her bag from inside the closet, the room was completely empty.
After she walked back into the corridor a loud sigh could be heard just outside the balcony of her room.
Jellal stood just to the right of the glass door, he had just enough time to run outside and hide.
"That could have gone wrong." Jellal gulped as he imagined Erza's flurry of attacks if she had found her in her room.
"Yeah… I'll just ask her tomorrow." Jellal said, not wanting to risk getting caught breaking and entering – especially in Erza's room.
As he slid away into the night, there was still a smile on his face as he walked back to Crime Sorciere's camp.