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Hometown arc

Act 1

Eight Years Earlier...

Hargeon Town was as bright and colorful as it ever was. People roamed through it's streets and sidewalks as they had always done, and the entire day seemed like it would just be a normal one.

That is, save for one small exception.

There was a particular house on the upper part of the city, facing the wilderness and mountains of Fiore, all by itself. It wasn't a messy or repulsive home, by any means. It was just....a normal home, with good walls, windows, a wide open space on the outside for a good sniff of strong, fresh air. It was painted an odd, grey color, sticking out like a sore thumb in the other colorful parts of the country.

Within the top room of this house, lying in a bed and snoring loud enough to where the folk on the eastern side of Iceberg could hear him, was a young boy, a teenager, most likely. He had spiked up, dark grey hair that was even more messy than it usually was thanks to his tossing and turning while in bed. He wore a white shirt, plain with no stains, and black shorts that one would find on any boy who played outdoors.

His expression, despite clearly drowsy, was actually rather annoyed looking. A bad dream, perhaps? Maybe he just didn't get enough sleep, or maybe he got too much and didn't feel like moving...or maybe it was something more. Maybe this clearly energized teenager had just too much energy, but nothing to exert it on? Perhaps he dreamed of becoming something more than what he already was...but had no chances to do so?

"Eh..." he muttered in his sleep, sniffing as his head rolled over slightly onto it's side. First, his right eye popped open, half lidded and still rather annoyed, and then the left eye did the same. Both of them blinked lazily before he groaned and picked himself up from his lying position, sitting upright on the bed as he rubbed his head slightly.

His room was rather small, having only a single bed, a night stand right next to it, and a dresser on the other end of the room. There were some trivial children's things laying around the floor, a few old clothes, a basketball, a couple of 20 pound weights, and some shoes right next to the doorway leading out into the hallway. But there was a poster on the wall across from him, next to the door. It was a large, bird like symbol, colored in red and outlined in black, contrasting quite nicely with the grey walls of his room.

It was the symbol of his most idolized Guild, Fairy Tail.

He looked at it for a few seconds, each one feeling like a minute at a time. Ever since he had heard about Fairy Tail and their accomplishments, he'd wanted to join them and even try to make a name for himself, live up to their expectations and serve along with them...understanding what "nakama" really meant.

But for now, he was just another kid in the neighborhood, living with his sister. Speaking of which...

"Mikado???" an older feminine voice said aloud from outside his room, as if she was not sure if he was awake or not. "Are you awake?? You'd better be! I'm not dragging you to class this time!"

"Yeah yeah...i'm awake..." he groaned as he stood up fully from his bed, walking up to the door and slightly cracking it open so that he could see outside of it.

In front of the door on the hallway's side was a taller woman with long and spikey purple hair up top, brown eyes and a school teacher like uniform, along with a not so amused expression. "You sleeping in all of the time isn't exactly going to make your future all that bright, Mickey."

"Don't call me that, please." he said in a comically deadpan tone, rubbing his eyes again. "What is it you want, sis?"

"Since you woke up so late, and since you also poke around too much when you get ready..." she began, pushing the door open slightly further open and handing him a fairly large book. "I've decided that it's best to home school you on your lessons. You hardly ever do anything with the class room anyway."

"Gee, this is the best thing you've given me since that gold fish..." he said as he took the book, glancing back at an empty fish tank. "...you know, the one that was dead before you even got back?"

"Well, excuse me for not knowing that fish die after being shaken around!" the woman huffed. "I was in a hurry to get home so I had to run fast, can't blame me for it really, can you?"

"Yeah sure." Mikado teasingly smirked as he tossed the book over onto his bed before looking back at her. "Are you heading out now?"

"Yes I am." she said, placing her hands on her hips as she spoke in a parental, commanding tone. "And I want you to read chapters one and two of that book completely. It's about basic elemental magics, fire and ice for the most part, so it's not that hard. I'm going to quiz you when I get back, so you'd better be ready."

"I will I will, don't get you're panties in a wad..." he replied, turning around back into his room with a slight wave of his hand in a dismissive manner.

She almost barged into the room in order to smack the back of his head after hearing him say that, but she restrained as she prepared to leave. "Ugh....I'll be back later."

And with that, she left the hallway, and then the house entirely.

Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap...

THUMP!

Tk-Tk-Tk!

A soft soft series of taps escaped the finger tips of a long-haired boy, whom if met for the first time, would've been confused as a girl at first or even second glance. With a creamy white complexion and wide-eyed brown eyes and a crop of midnight black hair, his smile was as dazzling as his appearance. The one thing that offset this effeminite appearance was a sleeveless tank-top, showing off a well-toned physique that clearly bore some masculinity within it, despite being so lithe overall.

Currently, Jacqueline Florence, Mikado's priorly described friend, held himself up by his forearms on his open windowsill, having ran up the outside of his house vertically and latched onto the exterior entrance of his friend's room, letting his legs dangle outside carefree. 

Here, Mikado's bored demeanor changed for a slightly more excited one. Crawling up on his bed and then opening his window and looking down at his feminine appearing friend. "Hey Jack! Yeah she finally left, and I doubt she's going to be back for a while. The door's unlocked, so come on in!" After saying this, he got off the bed and raced down stairs to greet his friend formally.

Pouting at the thought of having to go back to ground level, after scaling the house in one run, Jacqueline let himself fall down to the ground deftly with ease. After patting his bare feet to the entrance of the house, he opened the door before Mikado could get it, and proceeded to leap towards the incoming friend of his...

GLOMP!

...before tackling him onto the ground mischieviously, giggling in emphasis of his haphazardly coordinated act, "You shouldn't have been a meanie and made me drop back to the ground. You should be more of a gentleman, otherwise no one is going to take you seriously and think you're a brute, hehe!"

"Agh!" Mikado briefly yelled out as he was tackled, slamming into the floor behind him with enough force to make all the objects on top of the various dressers and tables rise up comically before landing back in their place. "Geez dude! I just didn't want Sis to suspect something again! Remember what happened last time you came in through the window? Heck, I still don't think we've found all the shingles from last time...."

"Party pooper," Jacqueline pouted his lips, but quickly resumed a cheerful grin, winking at him as he rolled off Mikado's chest, kicking himself dexteriously up onto his feet, "if you trained your body even half as much as I do, you'd love to do daring things too, you know?"

"Exercise is boring though." Mikado said as he got up from the floor and back on his feet. "I'm not really much of an athlete kinda guy, honestly; I'd just prefer to stay in the back and let all the fit guys do the work." he said with a snicker.

"I can't believe the guy who wears more masculinity than I do is saying that, tch!" Running a hand through his overcasting, silky bangs in emphasis back, much like how a girl would, he giggled in aftermath of what he said. Winking at him, he ushered him to walk back upstairs, "well, at least you're progressing in your magic studies, right? You are studying like your sis wants you to, so you can be as good as I am, aren't ya, little Mickey?"

"Ugh, now you're calling me that too?" Mikado sighed in annoyance upon hearing the nickname, following his friend up stairs. "You've been hanging out with sis too much..." He continued as they ascended the stairs to his room. "But yeah, she left me a new book to read while she was gone today. It's mostly about basic fire and ice magic; nothing special really. Something I'm sure you've already well and covered?"

"Well I pretty much mastered water and ice magic through the teachings. Fire is pretty tricky cause how spontaneous the element is. Here, show me how you do it and I'll see if I can give you some outside perspective, kay?" Jacqueline asked with an astute tone, entering his room and taking a seat upon his bed, clasping his hands in front of his lap as he locked his eyes curiously at Mikado. 

Mikado's eyes jumped wide open in a comical sense, holding his arms out in a "stop" manner in desperation as he spoke in a worried tone. "D-Don't use fire magic in here! That'll burn the whole house down!!!"

"We're not going to use actual spells, dummy," Jacqueline stuck his tongue out while looking dryly at him. Pointing at him in emphasis, he spoke in a continued bland tone, "you're supposed to show me how well you can manipulate the fire element in the palm of your hand. If you can maintain a flickering flame without it going out or combusting, then you're good. Besides, I just told you I'm a master of ice and water magic," winking at him, Jacqueline teasingly reassured Mikado, "I'm going to keep you from turning into a crisp mouse, Mickey. Trust me, hehe!" 

"It's not that I'm worried about..." Mikado rubbed the back of his neck in a nervous manner. "I just really don't want sis to come back to a big burning house, or freezing house....or flooded house..."

"Ugh!" Facepalming upon both of her hands, he dragged them both across his face before pointing at him with an irritated manner, "look! If you have been studying as hard as I know you have, and haven't gotten help from not only your sister, but also me, you have nothing to worry about! Besides, you need years of experience before you pull off a spell that'd actually destroy a whole house, let alone do something to your room," glaring at him fully, Jacquline crossed his arms across his chest and pouted his lips, dryly commanding, "show me your control over fire and ice, starting with fire, now." 

"Okay okay. Can't blame me for wanting to be careful or not damaging my house..." he replied, holding his hand out in front of Jack. His eyes squinted down in focus, and within just a few seconds, a small, light blue bit of fire appeared in his hand. He kept his other hand over it to prevent it from going anywhere else, but otherwise, it appeared to be stable enough. "Hah! How is that?" he said with a bit of satisfaction.

"Good," Jack nodded, smiling in affirmation of his approval to his friend's accomplishment. Raising his gaze to Mikado's, he then pointed at him blankly, commanding next, "now defuse the flame, and use water element. This will help me see if you have enough control over the element and see what's causing the trouble with the ice element."

The blue fire was then dispelled, as Mikado cupped both of his hands together and focused even harder. Though, now that he was trying, it seemed like he was struggling far more in terms of conjuring water magic. When he finally did, a bright blue flash appeared within his hands, and only small cup sized bit of water fell from it onto the floor, and then oddly dried away rather quickly. Sighing, he rubbed his hands together as he looked at the now disappeared stain. "Nope. I still suck at making water."

"Obviously, you're trying too hard," Jacqueline smiled, shaking his head as he got off the bed and then cupped his hands gently over Mikado's, speaking softly as his eyes would meet his best friend's, "listen, each element responds differently from your emotions. With fire, its constant projection of your resolve and most vibrant feelings to the surface. Water, is different. You must calm yourself, and let yourself flow casually from your core up to your hands. If you try to harness that element the same way as fire, then you're going to cause it to evaporate from the intense feelings rising from your heart. Do you understand?"

"Aw c'mon Jack." Mikado replied, still a bit disheartened even as his hands dropped back down, before meeting with each other again for another try. "You and sis have both said I'm the furthest thing in the world from a calm person." This time, he let out a soft breath, and attempted the same sort of technique. This time, the water appeared to be a bit more abundant, and he could even stabilize it more. "Huh...it's not so hard after all."

"I guess you'll have to refrain from switching from opposing elements to keep from messing up your spell," Jack chuckled, as let go of the back of Mikado's hands, before returning to a serious, yet calm commanding tone once more, "now, for ice, you have to extend that control even further. In order to freeze water, you have to envision the shape of the water, and then extend your mind's eye over it, and freeze the image you want the water to take. Its more mind over matter than simple exertion of emotion or control of emotions than anything." 

"Before we do that." Mikado suddenley squeemed a little bit, comically sweating as he started backing up towards the bathroom behind him. "All this water magic and stuff is not really helping my bladder. I'll be out in just a few minutes!"  With that, he went into the bathroom and shut the door. However, this didn't prevent him from speaking to his friend regardless. "So ah...have you heard anything new about those two Dragon Slayers coming to town? Is it still just a rumor, or are they actually coming?"

Giggling at the sight of Mikado rushing to be bathroom, Jack got up and tapped his feet across the smooth flooring to rest his backside near the wall proximately to the left of the bathroom door, "Oh, they're coming. Its been like clockwork. They'd come here, take a contract from the independant mage request board from the Burning Goblin Tavern, and then they'd leave for two weeks to a month and be back upon noon of that day. Why? You don't think they're going to show up, or what?" 

"I've never actually gotten a chance to meet them, or even see them up close for that matter." Mikado continued from the bathroom, his "progress" unknown at that point. "I mean, c'mon; Two of the strongest mages in history in my hometown, always coming and going and me never getting to see them in person? That's just not fair."

"They're not ones to glorify themselves. They just happen to be well known from the success of their missions and that they habitually come to our town for contracts and only our town. They're pretty cool looking, but they don't look amazing, so you're really not missing much," Jack stretched his hands out, entwining his fingers in response to waiting on Mikado to be done with his business, "don't know why you're so anxious to meet them, when they're just two guys. They aren't Wizard Saints, after all..."

The toilet could be heard flushing, and a few seconds later, the sink could be heard running as Mikado spoke further. "Still though, they're Dragon Slayers! These guys actually killed Dragons themselves in the past, and that's something that no other Mage in the world has done before. At least, in this day and age. They've got to be some of the most powerful mages in Fiore right now, and it'd just be awesome to meet them in person. Y'know?"

"Well, once you're done this century, these idols of yours might be arriving at the Taven any hour now," Jack teased, thumping his heels against the wall in emphasis of how long he was taking with his bathroom use. 

"Cleanliness comes first." Mikado said in a humored manner, finally coming out of the bathroom with an excited grin on his face. "You think we can make it in time? I really really want to meet them up close!!" he continued, more than happy that he would get the chance to meet two of his most idolized mages in all of Fiore.

"You are such a spaz," Jack laughed aloud, walking past Mikado to the stairs, deftly jumping down to the nearest landing, before hopping to the entrance with ease, "you must be really want to be their disciple or something. Its not like they themeselves could teach you Dragon Slaying Magic. What do you expect from guys like them, anyways? They must be normal mages that just happen to be really good at what they do..."

"And you are waaaay too skeptical." Mikado replied, crossing his arms and huffing in a poutful manner. Jack's consistant questioning and doubtful outlook was starting to wear on Mikado's nerves. "Look, we've got a chance to meet two Dragon Slayers; Dragon Slayers. I mean, have you ever met anyone who has actually slain a dragon before?"

"That's because they're extinct, dummy," Jack flicked back a few bangs, but smiled none-the-less, placing his arms behind his silky-draped head, walking out of the door and onto the street, turning towards the direction of the Burning Goblin Tavern, "but...I dunno. Its hard to believe guys only ten years our senior could be bonofide Dragon Slayers. That means they must've slain Dragons when they're close to our age. Its hard to believe that even if we had weird powers, that we would kill creatures twenty times our size, right?" 

"I know." Mikado replied in agreement, slipping his shoes on as they both prepared to leave the house and to the tavern. "It's so awesome to think about...and kinda embarrassing too. To think, two guys who have killed two of the most powerful creatures alive have been going back and forth through our hometown, and we haven't once seen them!"

"Its cool, I admit, but I just don't want to get my hopes up. They may not be the representatives of the magic community, y'know what I'm saying?" Jack explained as he began jogging down closer and closer to the Burning Goblin, already seeing a crowd gathering within, suspecting the two in question were already present, "c'mon! Today may be your lucky day!" 


"So," after a long pause within the crowded tavern, Sting couldn't decide for once. Mulling around on the job board, everything looked the same. One was about a curse placed about some frog needing to be changed back to his normal form. Another was about a swarm of monsters infesting a ravine filled with precious jewels that a village used to harvest and refine. And the last one he paid attention to was about rescuin a damsel in distress from a gang of bandits who acquired illegal magic items to ward off simple-minded bounty hunters. Leaning over to his friend, wearing a bland and unimpressed expression upon his fair complexion, "feeling anything from today's board? Cause I'm not..."

His friend in question, Rogue, didn't have much of a different demeanor. In fact, his attention didn't seem to be focused on the board at all, despite facing it. It would seem as if he couldn't care less about which job that he wanted. "No. Just pick one and let's get it over with..." he said, closing his eyes in a dismissive way at the situation.

"But that's what we've been doing the last five times we gotten here!" Sting implored with a more convincing tone, his left gloved hand gesturing towards the board in emphasis and trying to direct Rogue with his physical examples, "these are jobs that we've seen and done countless times! Let's try and find something alluring, challenging, and a promise of rich reward! We seem to squander all the big jobs on reparations for damage we caused, or accidental structural collateral that was induced upon the contract's duration. Let's try and get something that will make us famous and rich for a change, while also having excitement and danger within it!" 

"Alright alright, no need to get so loud." Rogue replied in a lower, comically annoyed tone, not wanting his friend to draw unwanted attention to themselves from the other bar goers, though alot of them were already looking at them anyway. "This is just feeling a bit...well, dull. We aren't really doing anything with the gold we get from these jobs, other than pay for a place to stay. I mean, go here, slay this creature...come back, and then go beat these bandits, get some precious artifact for someone who's never going to use it for anything...it just feels pointless."

He started looking over the bounties once again with only minor interest in his eyes. "I doubt we're going to find something as "grand" as what you're implying in a small town like this..."

"Sorry fellas," The bartender, one of the few people to have genuine company with the twin Dragon Slayers, shrugged as he cleaned another mug from behind his counter, not too far from the job board, "but those are the most recent ones I got. I don't think I know of any thrilling S-Class missions to give you. Most of those go to the organized Guilds and such, considering their reputation, if you'd understand..."

"Drrrraaaah! This is so damned annoying!" Sting placed his hands through his hair, discouraged by what he heard, scratching it with infuriation as he kept looking at one other job he skimmed over, only to be disappointed by the request altogether, "can't we get something different for a change? I don't mean boring different but legitimately good different! Is that so hard to ask?!" 

"Well...it looks like the best option we have is to find another town..." Rogue began, almost turning away. But in that moment, his eyes caught someone walking towards them. She was wearing a large black robe with a hood over it, and she had a paper in her hands. She walked in between the two of them, and placed the bounty on the board. When she turned, Rogue could see her face somewhat; silver eyes looked over at him briefly, and she smiled, winking at him briefly before leaving.

"Uh..." he started, looking back at her as she left, not paying attention to the bounty for a few seconds.

"Oh? I wonder who that could've be-" Sting cut himself off, before the breath left his lungs and his eyes bulged comically at the numbers upon the bounty. Before even reading it, Sting's face spread into a wide-tooth-filled grin as he yelled out in rejoice, "OHOHOHO! Rogue! This is it! Fate has sent us a mistress to deliver our prized next mission! Check this out, look at the reward amount!" 

"Um...what? Oh, right..." he said, finally turning his attention away from the attractive girl (from what his eyes could see, at least) and to the bounty. "What is-What the?!"

The bounty's total amount staggered him nearly.

"FOREIGN HEIRLOOM LOST. NEED GROUP OF POWERFUL MAGES TO HELP RETRIEVE. REWARD: 100,000,000 JEWELS."

"O-One hundred millions jewels??!!" he said aloud in a comical fashion. "That...That's crazy! I don't even think the King of Fiore has that much!"

"Well whoever this is, it isn't a politician, that's for sure!" Sting said excitedly, shaking Rogue in emphasis, but tried to still himself long enough to read the rest of the contract, "wait! It says that there is a recommended group size of eight mages needed! What the Hell does that mean?!" 

Overcoming his shock rather quickly, Rogues face now entered a more deadpan state as he glanced over at his White Dragon Slayer partner. "Uh, it means that we should bring at least five other mages with us, of course." He then looked at the bounty, reading over it some more. "I've never heard a bounty requiring that many mages at once...it must be pretty big."

"Well that's just great!" Sting scratched his head with frustration, before slumping his arms down as a comedic cloud of despair loomed over him, "where are we going to get five skilled mages on short notice? With the way this was put up, it could be placed at official guilds, and I'd rather not compete with too much competition."

"Hm...." Rogue pondered, glancing back at the hooded woman, who had just left the building. "...I'm not sure taking this bounty would be a good idea unless we knew more about it. That woman is still outside, maybe we should go ask her about it?"

"Tch, she better know of some competant mages around here, otherwise we'd have wasted our time even looking at this stupid contract!" Sting sighed with an aggravated tone, as he walked towards the exit of the Tavern, intent on having Rogue follow. 

It was unfortunately he didn't watch where he was going.

Bump-Bump...

SLAM-SLAM!

As he reflexively pulled his arms over his head, with his elbows facing forward, he didn't pay attention to an oncoming pair of young men with mage trappings, slamming them into their faces and causing them to fall onto their backside.

A group of four other men, in similar trappings walked up behind them, and looked aghast at the sight of their comrades being knocked over so casually. Growling, they all glared at them, with the two at the head being the angriest, due to the pair of bruises upon their faces. 

It took Sting a few moments to realize what happened, looking annoyed at the six mages blocking his path. With a sigh, he drawled out, "Um...excuse me, I'm trying to get out of here. Do you mind?!" 

"Watch your mouth punk! Maybe you should be watching where you're going!" The one to Sting's left, Jose Ringo, was burlier than most, with massive pectorals and arms with a mane of black hair hanging down his shoulders with a goatee for facial hair, and a strong facial shape. His red eyes, peculiarly colored enough, were glaring rightfully back at Sting's dispassionate gaze. 

"No one messes with the Wolf Pack Guild and gets away with it!" The one to Sting's right, Timothy Westwing, sneered at Sting as he held up a fist in emphasis. While only around the same lithe body size and shape as Sting, his garments bear more spell-casting use than close-quarters combat, with silk hakama wrapping around baggy slacks, and a red cape wrapped over his shoulders covering his dark green tunic. His bruised cheek damaged his dignified fair complexion, otherwise somewhat attractive, with perfectly combed back auburn hair. 

The others in the background had various appearances, but most had a motley assortment of custom-made gear, conveying that they weren't an official guild, with the exception of identical black wolf tattoos arranged on different areas of their skin. 

"Ugh, Rogue!" Sting bent his back enough so he wouldn't relinquish the position his arms were in, causing a comical stance of Sting lazily asking his brother-in-arms for assistance, "can you get over here please!" 

The Shadow Dragon Slayer sighed in annoyance at the new and sudden situation that they had gotten themselves into, or Sting did at least. Closing his eyes in unison with the sigh, Rogue finally opened them and walked up next to his comrade, speaking in a low tone towards these so called "Wolf Pack" Guild members. "I recommend that you freelancers move aside and let us pass. We've no real business with you, and trust me, you don't want business with us."

"Not a chance!" Jose reached out and grabbed the two Twin Dragons by their collars, lifting them up as he pulled them close to his angry face, "we're going to settle this outside! For blindsiding us, we're going to mess you up, and mess you up good!" 

"We're going to teach you a lesson that no one messes with the Wolf Pack and gets away with it!" Tim spoke in a threatening manner, chuckling darkly as his partner lifted the two of them off the ground. 

Sting looked indifferent, even bored, as he stared Jose's angry eyes, "Really? A lesson? What makes you think you neanderthals are qualified to teach even rocks a lesson?"

"The rocks could probably teach them a couple things." Rogue commented in a dismissive manner, still giving off these bandits the impression that he truly did not perceive them as a threat, just like Sting, despite being held up in the air by these large, imposing figures.

"Enough talk!" Jose turned on the ball of his foot and threw them out of the doorway from, opened promptly with good timing by his fellow Guild members, as Rogue and Sting's deadpan, bored expressioned faces were flown head first out of the cantina. 

Gracefully, Sting bent over to his left, skidding on the ground with his glove, before somersaulting up onto his feet into a crouched stance, as the Wolf Pack Mages rushed out and gathered in a Semi-circle alignment around the two of them.

"Well, I guess it can't be helped," Sting smiled with resignation, blowing out a sigh through his nostrils, as he stood onto his feet. Rolling his neck, side-to-side, before rolling his shoulders, Sting closed his eyes and asked Rogue, "which ones do you want? I can take half and you take half. Or if you don't feel motivated, I can just take them all at once with my eyes closed, just to make things interesting. Or you could?"

Rogue, having calmly stopped his fall by skidding on his feet, simply crossed his arms as he looked over the group dismissively. "Doesn't matter, really. I guess we'll go half and half, keep it fair at least." Truthfully, Rogue would have found the idea of fighting the group pointless and a waist of time, and he didn't find acts of pleasing crowds to be in his interests as well, but then again, they were in the situation now, and there was no helping it.

All this time, Mikado and Jack had arrived, squeezing into the gather crowd as well as they could to witness the brewing fight that was about to start. "Wow...Sting Eucliffe and Rogue Cheney here in town...and we're gonna get to see em' fight!" the grey haired boy said to himself in excitement.

Jack could only nod in admittance of the spectacle about to unfold before him, as he tried to squeeze himself to the front of the crowd, to get the perfect view of the battle about to unfold.

To Sting, the event being called a "battle" would be more like mopping the floor with amateurs. 

"If you insist," Sting responded to his partner, as he took off towards the large man and the mage behind him. Pivoting his head down low with his arms hanging behind him, he moved with swift velocity, reaching the two within a matter of seconds. 

As Jose raised his arm up, instinctively activating a Beast Arm transformation to turn into reinforced cobblestone, he would find a light-coated fist striking it with immense force. The aftershocks itself would rip it apart and bruise his arm, while sending him nearly ontop of his cohort.

"Get 'em!" Jose growled as he inspected his arm, allowing his partner to deal with him as he recovered. 

"Claw Magic, Steel Edge!" The hooded mage leaped towards Sting, his painted black nails suddenly turning into stainless steel edges, before lashing out at Sting. They would only meet air, as Sting hopped back and forth, each swipe striking only air. 

Leaping over the mage, Sting launched a knee kick into the man's face with bone-crushing force, before grappling his shoulders with both hands, and vaulting over him, while throwing him at Jose's front, causing them both to collapse at once.

"Like bowling pins, they go down in one strike!" Sting commented with a wry grin on his face, giving himself a thumb's up for his own efforts. 

Rogue's "fight" wouldn't amount to much either. At least five of the thugs all came around him, cutting him off from any support that Sting might have been able to offer. His half lidded eyes then shined a bright red glow as he glared down at the particular brawler in front of him, causing the man to stagger in a comical fashion. Without warning, the shadows being cast by all five men suddenley became much darker, and before they could react, they found themselves sunk into their dark shadows until they were stuck in the ground from the shoulders up.

"H-Hey!? What's going on here!?" one of them shouted in comical fear.

"I can't move! Help!" Another whined

"Every one casts a shadow." Rogue spoke calmly as he left the circle of now immobilized thugs. "And as long as you have a shadow, I will always have an advantage over you."

"Geez, Rogue," Sting drawled on with a disappointed, dry expression crossing his face as he placed his arms behind his head, "I was hoping I'd see you punch some guys, not drown them in the dirt."

The crowd, however, were amazed and aghast of what the two Dragon Slayers have done. In less than thirty seconds, they have reduced a noteworthy Freelance Mage Guild's strongest members into an embarassing heap with utter ease. They all cheered, clapped, and squealed with admiration and with great awe. 

"They weren't worth the effort." Rogue replied calmly, crossing his arms as his brown cloak covered his form once again. "I felt no reason to really try and push myself with these oafs. If you feel like kicking them while they're stuck, go right ahead." he finished, of which caused the five stuck bandits to shiver in comical fear.

"Its no fun to kick heads in when they're already down for the count," Sting pouted his lips, looking away with a disappointed huff, crossing his arms in resignation, "if you want to, go ahead, but try not to overexert yourself, Rogue."

"I have a better idea." Rogue started, glancing over at Sting with a raised eyebrow. "How about we find the person who gave us this bounty to begin with? Something about it feels wrong...."

"You called?"

From the now slowly dispersing crowd, came the same hooded woman who had put up the bounty. She had a fairly curvy and attractive form, wearing a mix of black clothing and armor, along with a white dress around her waist, of which extended down to her ankles, and when she removed her hood, she revealed that she had fairy short black hair that spiked out on her sides, and beautiful grey-silver eyes. "I see you guys managed to find the bounty I put in front of you back in there. Did'ja say you had questions?" she said with a calm, confident smirk.

"Yeah a couple," Sting said casually, lowering his arms from his head to prop off his hips, smiling with an appraising glance up and down her form, "for one, are you single? I have to say, you are quite the client to come in person and expect me not to ask."

The girl smirked, placing her hand on her hip and she spoke in a wry tone of voice. "Sorry there, stud, but you're not really my type, based on what I've seen and heard. You're Sting Eucliffe, and you're Rogue Cheney, the twin Dragon Slayers I've heard so much about, right?" she finished, pointing at the two of them, respectively.

"Hold on a moment," Sting waved his right hand up, while keeping his left hand propped against his hip, physically emphasizing his confusion, "not my type? What does that suppose to mean? You already know who I am and what I've done, so why am I not of approval?"

"Well, for one..." she started, retaining this teasing tone of hers. "...I don't really like blondes, honestly; they can be a little too dim-witted for my tastes. Secondly, you're too outspoken and too cocky. I like someone who can be more humble and not as much of a loud mouth."

She then glanced over at Rogue, winking at him. "Kinda like Mr. Cheney."

Rogue simply gave her a dismissive glance. "Sorry, but I'm not interested."

"I thought as much." she replied with a light giggle, and turning her attention back to Sting. "Now, if you're done staring at me, I guess it's only natural for you both to wanna know more about this bounty I've set up for you two, and hopefully more later on."

"Tch, yeah might as well," Sting rolled his eyes, smiling to himself, before crossing his gloved harms over his chest in readiness, as his eyes locked back onto hers, "so what's this about a gargantuan bounty and such a large amount of Mages? Are we trying to quell a demon Zeref left behind, or is there an army of Undead that's ransacked a cave of treasure?"

"It's actually much bigger than either of those things." she replied, turning her teasing expression into a more serious one, standing up fully and crossing her arms as she spoke further. "I'll spare you the details, but let me ask you: what's the furthest distance from Fiore that you've ever traveled?"


While this was going on, Mikado and Jack had both managed to sneak into an alleyway just a little ways from the three conversing mages, with Mikado listening in as much as he could. "Who is the chick?" he asked his friend, without turning to look at him.

"I dunno, but she looks like someone important, if they're taking their time to chat with her," Jack shrugged nonchalantly, about as confused as Mikado was with the event unfolding in the aftermath of the 2 second brawl. 

"Well, regardless of who she is, I wish she'd hurry up and quit yappin' so much." Mikado huffed, crossing his arms and glancing back at the woman in annoyance. "We finally get a chance to meet the twin Dragon Slayers, and she might take that chance away if she keeps going."

"I wonder what kind of task she might have if its something she needs to meet in person. Maybe we can get closer, and..."

"Get closer and what?!" A gruff, intimidating voice broke out behind Jack and Mikado, with the clear audible sound of crackling knuckles against an open palm, staring down at them with a pair of yellow twinkling eyes of the most intimidating visage. 

The reaction, on Mikado's part at least, was all too appropriate.

"AAAAAAAH!!!!!" he yelled aloud, immediately falling out into the street on his rear, staring back up at the new imposing figure with barely contained terror. This was enough to cause both Casilda and Rogue to turn in their direction, looking for what started the commotion, both of whom seemed annoyed and indifferent, respectively.

"I don't have anything on me!" Mikado comically pleaded with the man. "DON'T PUMMEL ME!!"

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