July 14th 09:04am...X814, 22 years from now
Fiore. Or what's left of it. After the Magical Barrier Disease, a product of one of the Kingdom's own Wizards, Kurogane Kenshin of Unchained Soul. After an unfortunate incident involving a heavy use of his unique ability, his attack ended up hitting another of Unchained Soul's members, Sif Akiyama, head on, instead of the enemy, fatally infecting her, although through unknown methods, the infection was somehow suppressed for the next ten years until just a few months after the birth of the woman's second child in X805 with Eugene Woodland, it took hold and killed her within a week, devastating many across Fiore. Even more tragedy came forth when the disease also claimed the lives of both the wife and the second child of the Emperor and most powerful Wizard in Earth Land, Ezra Akiyama, his daughter Mara, when she was just thirteen years of age, completely flipping the personality of her older brother, and sending her father down a dark path that was filled with chaos.
Brooke and Brianna raced through the woods, both displaying feats of high nimbleness as they flipped, jumped and ducked under branches, boulders and the sort. But they weren't racing. They were running. A huge, misty Ape-like creature was chasing them, tearing up and crashing through any tree in its way as it followed the two. They would fight back, if they had the energy to even summon their weapons out. They are battered and bloody, panting heavily as they fled for their lives, seemingly towards a certain spot.
They broke free of the forest they were in, sprinting across an open plain towards a small camp as fast as they could possibly go, but the beast was still closing in. "Dad!", Brooke called out as they got closer and closer, just 200 meters from home base. Her yell attracted the attention of both Eugene Woodland, Brooke's father, and Alexander Akiyama, her cousin, and both men immediately broke into a charge.
They almost blurred past the two girls, as they stumbled their way to safety. Eugene took the first attack. "Forest Dragon's Vine Whip!", Eugene casted. His arms morphed into vines, a gift unique to Body-Type Dragon Slayers, and lashed at the beast as Alex took the distraction as his chance to get behind it. Eugene's vine-arms coiled around each of the beast's arms, and threw it into the air. Alex used his Territory Magic to teleport himself up to the beast, and engulfed his hands in spatial matter as he delivered an uppercut. The uppercut blasted a beam of the spatial matter through the beast's skull, as it was launched into the horizon.
As Alex landed beside Eugene, they both gave each other the same look. "We have to relocate.", Eugene said, "No doubt by now that Ezra has detected our Magic and is on his way.", he continued.
"Again?~", whined a small white-haired boy. Josh Chance. He sighed as he, Brooke, Brianna, Kai and Akabane (the latter two being the children of more Unchained Soul members) began packing up the camp in a hurry.
"For now, we have to keep moving until we have confirmation of other arrangements from Ren and/or Ling." Eugene said as he finished up the packing. "Ren and some of the others are at the Norvino Kingdom and Ling is at Dragon Sword island. If Ezra tries to attack the Norvino Kingdom, he'd have to face against the Norvino Knights as well as the queen, all of them are at least at Ezra's level. Same goes for if he tries to attack Dragon Sword Island. He'd have to face off against the Wardens where at least half of their members are as strong as him. Even if we were to evacuate there, he wouldn't be dumb enough to directly chase us to either of those places. Now then, let's set out."
Elsewhere, in a humongous Medieval-vibed castle that was almost as big as Fiore's former capital, Crocus. Or the size it was when the city was still in its prime condition. Now, it's just flattened, scorched lands dotted with the tattered clothes and scattered bones of victims of one of the attacks that started after the MBP apocalypse began.
Nine individuals at around a large, wooden round table, with one seat in particular, a throne-esque one, being empty. A tenth individual with striking red hair and a shining golden armour was standing on a balcony just metres from the table, observing the scarred land that was once Fiore. "Thank you for your participation, Saints.", the man spoke with a calm, yet commanding voice, as he made his way to his seat. "I have summoned you all here today to inform you that the Dragon Slayer's group has been located again. I will be dispatching one of you today to follow the group, and mix in. Take it down from the inside. Scatter them just long enough for me to get my hands on that gothic bastard.", Ezra almost hissed in anger, as his arm muscles tensed.
"You should not let your anger get the best of you, my Lord. Especially when your level of Magic Power is taken into account.", said a blue-haired male in a soldier's uniform and with a sword sheathed by his side. His voice was deep and formal, similar to the Emperor's own. "Shall I be the one to do the job?", he asked his Emperor.
"No, Caesar. I'm sending in Number Three.", Ezra responded to the blue-haired swordsman, the Number Four of the Saints. "She is an excellent infiltrator, and even better, not even my own son knows she is a Wizard Saint. They'll never see it coming.", Ezra spoke to Caesar still, as 'Number Three' made her way to the exit, her long black cloak fluttering as she moved, with the large hood up over her face. It was clear her head was facing the floor for some reason. "Three.", Ezra said, before she left. "Make sure my relatives do not lose their lives. Or else.", he almost growled, as a warning that even the other Saints were frightened of.
Number Three lifted her head, causing her deep blue eyes to glisten in the low light, a sight remaining unseen by the other Saints. A single lock of pale hair drifted down in front of her face due to the movement. "Yes...my Lord.", she said without another peep and exited the castle.
Back with the group...
Eugene and the young ones were making their way across an empty plain after nightfall. They weren't walking, but they weren't running either. They had to get to a new safe haven and fast, after their recent one was revealed to the Emperor. "Uncle Ezra's kind of mean now, but if you think about his reasons for all this, is it really that bad?", asked Brooke as she walked along, holding her little sister Violet's hand, "I mean, his heart is in the right place. He lost his sister to a plague. I'm not saying it justifies him, but it still earns him some sympathy, doesn't it?", she continued as the group trekked along.
"Yeah, it does but that doesn't change the fact that he's pursuing us with the intent to kill." Eugene replied. "At this point, his mind has become so lost that he will kill anyone in his way. For now at least, we won't be able to reason with him. If it's in terms of magic power and skill, I can match him but the issue here is numbers. He has the new wizard saints at his disposal and all of the former ones like Master Makarov are either dead or missing. I don't want to kill him either but even with the knowledge of tactics that I've learned from Master (referring to Mavis), I can only think of one or two options to stop him peacefully, and that's only if he makes the correct decision."
"Agreed, for now, we'll have to retreat and regroup with the others behind the safer lines of allies." Akabane said. "Some of the others already sent have already secured the areas there."
"Look, up ahead!", Josh yapped excitedly, "It's Margaret Town!", he said as he broke into a run. Alexander and Brianna looked each other and with a sigh and shrug, they ran to catch up with him. Brooke put Violet up on her back, and ran along as well, both sisters giggling happily as the group approached the town untouched by the plague, barely even damaged, and still bustling with people.
Margaret Town is a busy little location nowadays, even for an apocalypse. However, a half a decade ago, they lost every member of their local guild, Lamia Scale, even Lyon Vastia, to the plague as they tried to hold off MBP-infected monsters that attacked. The monsters were stopped, at the cost of all the Mages being infected, and eventually dying. Although, the town has since began recovering, and is once again a popular vacation spot, and is residence to hundreds of people, including one lucky lady in particular...
Josh, with Alex, Brianna, Brooke and Violet not far behind, and Eugene and the rest making up the rear, moved through the town, all of them feeling a sense of relief. Josh and Kai decided to race each other to the nearby restaurant, a tourist hotspot. "Josh, Kai, watch where you're going!", Alexander called out to his young friend, a tad too late. The two boys bumped into a woman as she was exiting the restaurant, nearly knocking her over.
"Oh my!", she said with a slight giggle, "Aren't you a pair of excited rascals?", she said after as she rubbed their heads and helped them up.
Alexander and the rest of the group, Eugene and Akabane included, eventually reached the scene. "I'm so sorry about these idiots, they're too dull to watch where they go. Did they hurt you, Ma'am...~!", Alex said to the woman, choking at the end of his sentence when she looked up and revealed her beautiful smiling face. "Mirajane?!", Alex yelped in surprise.
"Eh?!", was the reaction of most of the group. Mirajane had been presumed dead for a long time now. Turns out, that was incorrect.
The former Fairy Tail Mage gave the group a smile. "Hi, everyone! It's been a while, huh Eugene?", she said with a happy voice just like before to the raven-haired Dragon Slayer.
"Yes, it has been a while Mira. How have you been?" Eugene said in response with a smile. He was glad to see a familiar face. "By the way, have you heard of any news about Master? I haven't heard any news about him or the others for a long while now." It was then he felt a slight headache but he didn't let it show on his face as he didn't want anyone to worry. "Anyway, what are you doing here Mira?"
At the mention of the other Fairy Tail members, Mirajane's delicate smile faded, and she grasped her left arm with her right hand, and looked at the ground. "We're all that's left...", she said with a fragile voice. "About a year back, the Master, Natsu, Lucy and even Erza and Laxus were all killed by a sudden atmospheric explosion of Magical Barrier Particles...", she continued as her voice began to break, "I was there with them, but I didn't get infected and I had to watch my family die...!", she started to cry briskly, "The only reason I'm still here is because of the Demon Factor within me, from Satan Soul. It's made me immune to the disease", she ended her response to Eugene with. "I'm here because there is nothing left of Magnolia...for me, anyway. After the the disease took everyone from me, I had to dissolve the guild, as the last member standing. I would have looked for you, but you were always on the move. I didn't know where to start.", she said to the Slayer.
"Is that so? I see." Eugene said in response with a somewhat sad expression. Fairy Tail was the first guild that accepted him. They were like his family. Even after he left the guild, that didn't change and they still treated him like a member of the family whenever he visited. It disheartened him that a majority of his family had died. "Well, it seems that the only thing we can do is move forward from here. If we're alive, in way, they'll still be alive through us." In his mind, he then began to think of the options but then decided to do that later. "By the way, do you know if there's an Inn or something anywhere?" He asked Mirajane. "The kids need some rest now."
"Yeah. And there's an inn just a few streets away. It's where I'm staying as well, come on.", Mirajane said as she got her smile back and began to lead the group to the inn she was residing at.
When the group arrived at the inn, everyone was sorted into rooms. Mirajane, Brooke, Brianna and Violet together, seeing as Mira's room had extra beds. And then it was Eugene with Akabane, and Alexander with Josh and Kai. The rooms were running low.
Josh and Kai both Bambi-pranced towards the window, and looked down, and with both of them having faces lit up with a grin. His excited giggles lured Alexander to investigate. His face also cracked a small grin.
Eugene sat down on his bed and relaxed. Akabane slinked over to the window to have a look outside. He let out a noise of joy and surprise, attracting Eugene's attention with a look-over.
The girls all settled into their room first, before Brooke walked to the window. "Woah...", she said. Her statement got Brianna and Violet to join her by the window, with Mirajane smiling, knowing what they were fascinated by.
"SO AWESOME!!!~", they all yelled happily, as they observed an absolutely humongous swimming pool out the back of the inn. It was at least 150 feet in length, and was completed with stairs to get in and out, large and lengthy water slides, a near-side Jacuzzi, and even a wave simulator. It was perfect. Everyone rushed down to the pool in excitement...not without incident of course. Josh stopped abruptly, causing Brianna to trip over the small boy and fly straight into Alexander's back, knocking them both into the swimming pool before they even had a chance to change, causing the rest of the group to laugh, earning glares from the Prince and the Swordswoman. While the kids were busy, Eugene went and sat down on a cushioned bench.
Mirajane, however, was still up in her room. She used the excuse that she needed a little rest for now. But that was a straight-up lie. "My Lord, I believe now would be the ideal time to strike. Eugene is separated from the children, who are all busy and distracted.", she thought, communicating to Ezra with a Telepathic Link.
"You have my approval, Number Three. Launch your attack. Injure the Dragon Slayer, kill the kids, but ensure that none of my bloodline come to any harm.", Ezra replied back, "I will arrive to end Eugene's life myself.", he continued, before cancelling the link.
Mirajane went down to the pool area, and stood on the path leading out of the door. She observed the kids and Eugene as they enjoyed themselves. Alexander was sneaking sly glances at Brianna in her bikini. Josh and Kai were splash-attacking her and Brooke. Violet and Akabane were relaxing calmly on the edge of the pool. They were the more mature members of the group, despite their ages. Eugene was sipping from a drink as he kept a watchful eye from the corner sofa he was nestled on.
"Hey Mira, come join us!", Brooke called over to the former Fairy Tail Mage. She got no response.
Mirajane looked down, as her hair flowed in front of her eyes. Her blues eyes went dull, as her purple Magical Aura shimmered around her body.
"Mirajane...?", Alexander said quietly and inquisitively, as her power began to exert to frightening levels.
An arrow all of a sudden pierced the ground in front of Mirajane. "I knew I couldn't trust you. Eugene's too trusting of his friends so I had to come out myself." A female voice said from a medium length distance. The group looked towards the source of the voice and saw Yuna with a bow in hand and another arrow pointed at Mirajane. "Eugene, I don't know why but at this moment, Mira is our enemy." At this, Eugene gave a bitter smile.
"I see, now I get why I got that headache all of a sudden." Eugene said. Whenever one of his alternate personalities, whom were so separate they were like different people anyway, had a differing view to his own and/or wanted to raise an alarm to switch, he would get a headache if they weren't coming out on their own. Contrast to Eugene's trusting personality towards people he knew, Yuna was the least trusting of his personalities and if she found something that felt off, she would remain suspicious. "I bet you have your reasons but to protect my family as well as the family of my friends, I'll fight you as an enemy. Don't expect me to hold back because we're friends." Despite the now cold tone in his voice, there still held a sense of trust that there were reasons and that Mira was not a true enemy, even after Yuna said that stuff in his face. However, he wouldn't let his trust hinder him. He then made certain blowing sounds and certain sounds could be heard in the surrounding area and the kids would all of a sudden find themselves with their normal clothes back on. "Kids, get out of here and go and find Ren. He'll be contacting you giving you the coordinates to teleport in due time." He said as he drew his sword. "Don't worry about your luggage and such, they'll be transported along with you and there'll be people to aid you from the shadows."
"Dad, we can't just leave you!" Violet exclaimed in protest. Although she knew that a majority of their group wouldn't be able to do much against a foe like Mirajane, she still didn't want to leave her father like that.
"Don't worry, I won't be by myself and I'll get some more help later." Eugene said as he gave the kids a reassuring smile. "Besides, I don't think I'd be able to fight Mira and protect you all at the same time. "Brooke, Akabane, Alex, Brianna, make sure to protect the younger ones okay?" Once the kids left he got ready to fight Mira. He had been observing her and gotten the gist. "Let me guess, you have orders to kill Kai, Akabane, Brianna, and Josh, spare Alex, Brooke, and Violet, and then severely injure me?" He said. "I figured it out from observing how you were looking at us. Your eyes were full of killing intent towards the first four I mentioned and instinct makes you figure out how to do that efficiently. You also show a killing intent towards me but at most, you're aiming at vital joints and organs that would incapacitate me but not kill me. Most importantly, with the last three, you show a look saying that you can't kill them out of a fear. Based on this, I can conclude that you're working for Ezra. He's the type that wants to kill me himself and he wouldn't harm those of his own blood. Well, now that we've got that out of the way, let's get this started."
Mirajane looked up, revealing her eyes shimmering with energy. She spoke, but when she did, it seemed as if Ezra's voice was mixing with hers, "Well done, little lizard boy. I'd say I'm impressed you figured all that out...but I'd be lying. I'd rather you hear truth before your blood stains my Earth.", the double-voice spoke as Mira's skin started turning more pale. Her hair began to flow upwards, remaining in a slicked-up position as a dark scar-like 'tattoo' formed itself across her right eye. Her outfit morphed from her elegant dress, into the bodysuit of her basic form. She had activated Satan Soul. "Mirajane, my dear. Kill the archer, but bring Eugene to me, give or take a few limbs or bones.", he said before releasing his voice from Mirajane.
"Eugene...", Mirajane struggled to speak, "Help...me...", she barely managed to whisper at such a low tone that only Eugene and Alexander, due to their enhanced hearing, were able to notice before snapping into a colder persona. "Darkness Stream!", she yelled as she thrusted out her hands and released numerous tendrils of solid Darkness towards both Eugene and Yuna.
"Yuna." Eugene said briefly and his female counterpart merely nodded in response as no other communication was necessary. She aimed her bow and let loose an arrow, the arrow shattering into pieces right before it hit one of the tendrils. Using his magic, Eugene turned the wooden shards into bomb flowers, causing massive chain explosion that caused a lot of smoke and dust to fill the air, making it difficult for anyone to see anything. At this point, numerous shuriken were sent flying at the possessed Mirajane. However, they weren't aimed at her and merely landed around her as they released a paralyzing gas. Eugene knew that it wouldn't completely stop Mira but it would slow her down at least a little as he readied for the next attack.
The gas seemed to be vacuumed away. Mirajane was inhaling it! Her Demonic nature enabled her to be virtually immune to negative substances like these. She sighed happily, as a crooked smile crept onto her pale expression. Mirajane's eyes shimmered, and it seemed as if Eugene was losing control of his actions as time went by. He eventually was rendered unable to move. Mirajane giggled in a ghastly sinister manner.
"Eugene Woodland. Forest Dragon Slayer.", Mirajane spoke strongly, "I order you.", she went on. "Erase Yuna from existence, both from your body...and your mind.", she laughed as her absorbed Curse Macro from Seilah all those years ago activated fully on her former guildmate.
"No." Eugene replied simply, going against her orders without any difficulty. "Is that all you have? Mind control? I thought you would do better than that Mira." All of a sudden, large roots came from the ground and grabbed Mira and restrained her body, the roots being from the Gigas Cedar which would have been hard even for someone as strong as Mira to get out of. Two figures came out from beneath the ground, one was Eugene and the other was a female in ninja attire.
"You have to pay more attention to your surroundings degozaru." The female ninja said as the two of them joined the other Eugene. The Eugene that was previously ordered to do something and refused shifted his form and revealed his true identity as a male ninja.
"Well, let's see how this plays out Mira." Eugene said as he pointed his sword at her. He wanted to figure out some things about what was going on so despite the fact that they could have slipped on handcuffs that disabled her powers, he chose not to for now.
Mirajane started to cackle to an extent that almost seemed psychotic. And then everyone across town felt a frightening tingle through their spines. The sky turned dark. Thunder boomed, rattling the air itself as bright lightning flashed with blinding brilliance. "She's here...", Mirajane sang eerily.
The children ran down a hill, before they too felt the eerie tingling. They stopped and looked back at the town, with expressions of worry, especially Brooke and Violet. "No...it's..it's not possible..", said Alexander as he watched in horror as an ominous funnel of cloud began to descend from the pitch-black skies. Only the lights from the building, and the flashes of lightning illuminated the area for miles around. "It's her!!", he yelled in anguish. Brianna pulled Alexander by his arm towards the open time portal to the past.
"Any chance you had of fleeing with your friends is GONE!!! For the arrival of one of the most dangerous and horrifyingly powerful Wizards in the world, second to none but Emperor Ezra himself is now!!", Mirajane bellowed, "The Rank Two of the Wizard Saints...", she continued in a whisper.
"Caiera Bronzhardt!!!", yelled both Alexander and Mirajane simultaneously from their respective locations as the dark-skinned Sky Wizard, known as the Herald of the Infinite Skies, descended out of the cloud funnel with a veil of lightning around her.
As the last of the children were pulled through the time portal, Eugene and his ninja-like allies all showed expressions of concern in the presence of a woman who's extreme Magical Power gave off such an intense feeling that it made nearly everyone, bar Eugene and Mirajane, nauseous and vertigo-afflicted.
"My, my.", she said with a gentle, high-class tone of voice as she perched on the ground. "Seems I have myself a troublemaker...", she continued as sparks danced between her fingers as her blue-eyed gaze lingered on the Dragon Slayer before her.
- - - END OF CHAPTER - - -