Even though Erza had told him not to get his hopes up, Natsu couldn’t help it. He’d just been searching for so long, for any type of lead, and this was the first that he’d found in years.
He couldn’t help but hope.
Maybe Igneel wasn’t as gone as everyone kept trying to convince him.
Happy bumped his head against Natsu’s hand, purring. “Do you really think we’ll find him?”
Natsu shrugged, still trying to cling to Erza’s advice, knowing thinking otherwise would only end up with him upset. “Probably not, but maybe we’ll at least find a clue as to where he is.”
Lucy really shouldn’t have spent all that money on that key, and she really shouldn’t have invited the strange pink haired man and his cat to dinner. She was going to go broke if she kept up these reckless spending habits.
She’d just felt grateful, was all. He had snapped her out of that sleazy wizard’s charm spell. Even if it had been an accident. And she really hadn’t expected him to practically order the whole menu. Or for his cat to eat this much either, even if it did have wings, and talked. That had been a shock. “Thanks for getting me out of that wizard’s thrall again,” Lucy said, desperately trying to distract him from the food.
“Hm?” He glanced up, mouth full. “Oh yeah, no problem.”
“I should have noticed,” she continued, frowning. “I’m a wizard, too, after all. I should have at least sensed there was magic around.”
“You’re a wizard?” the cat asked.
She nodded, grinning. “Yeah! A celestial spirit wizard! And I’m pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.” Then she frowned again. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I caught your names.”
“I’m Happy!” the cat replied, tail swishing. “And this is Natsu.”
“Ah, I think I already told you, but I’m Lucy Heartfilia.” She nudged her own empty plate off to the side. “If you don’t mind me asking, why are you in town? You don’t seem like you’re from around here.”
Natsu and Happy glanced at each other. “We were hoping to meet up with a family member,” Natsu finally said. His gaze fell. “But it’s not looking like he’s around. Think we might be in the wrong place.”
Happy’s ears drooped and he licked at Natsu’s hand.
Lucy decided not to press, and had a feeling there was a lot more to what Natsu said than he was implying. “Oh, well, I hope you find him.” She got up from the table. “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime, Natsu.” She waved, and left the restaurant.
“Thanks for the meal!” she heard him shout.
She chuckled. Natsu and his cat were a little odd, but seemed like nice individuals. She hoped they found whoever they were looking for.
She made it a little ways, before she felt a hand on her shoulder. She spun around, coming face to face from the wizard from earlier. “You’re quite the beautiful girl,” he said. “And you’re a wizard, too. Unless I’m imagining the magic power coming from you.”
She squirmed out of his grasp. “Salamander,” she hissed. “Your little charm spell won’t work on me now that I know about it.”
He smirked. “Oh, I didn’t think such cheap tricks would work on you for long.”
She scoffed. Did he think any of his tricks would work on her? She obviously wasn’t interested, couldn’t he see that?
“Come on now,” he said, leaning in far too close for comfort and grabbing her wrist. “You aren’t even a little interested?”
“No. Let me go!” She tried to jerk her wrist away, but his grip tightened.
“Come on, man,” a familiar voice said behind her. “Leave her alone. She said she’s not interested.”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “You again.”
Natsu waltzed up behind Lucy, hands behind his head, smiling like he didn’t have a care in the world. “Using someone else’s name isn’t very nice,” he said.
Salamander’s eyes widened.
“Someone else’s name?” Lucy repeated.
We were hoping to meet up with a family member. But it’s not looking like he’s around.
Oh… she realized.
Salamander’s shock quickly turned to anger as he finally let go of Lucy’s wrist. “And who are you to accuse me of something like that? I’m a Fairy Tail wizard!”
It almost seemed as if Natsu’s entire persona shifted. His eyes darkened, and Lucy swore his pupil’s turned to slits. He bared his teeth, and the sharpened fangs she’d only caught sight of briefly before, were on full display. Smoke escaped from the corners of his mouth as he clenched his fists. “A Fairy Tail wizard by the name of Salamander?”
Lucy felt something paw at her ankle, and she looked down to find Happy. “You might want to stand back,” he warned. Lucy didn’t need to be told twice as she scrambled backwards, many of the people on the street doing the same as they felt the surge of magic in the air.
She liked to think she was good at reading and sensing others’ magical power, and she knew Natsu was more powerful than whoever this wizard was (not Salamander, that much was obvious), but it didn’t appear he noticed. Or if he did, he didn’t have the sense to back down.
“You ain’t no Fairy Tail wizard,” Natsu snarled. “And you sure as hell ain’t no Salamander!”
Salamander threw his arms out, sending a wave of fire towards Natsu.
The crowd, and Lucy, screamed, before beginning to scatter, fleeing the fight scene. Lucy ducked behind a bench, peering over, wanting to watch. She hoped the bench was enough to protect her from any major damage.
Natsu laughed as the fire hit him. “Man, this is disgusting.”
That was when Lucy realized he was eating the fire. Salamander’s jaw dropped, before he began sputtering.
“How did he do that?” she demanded, pointed to Natsu.
Happy, who looked far too calm for the situation, licked his paw. “He’s a fire dragon slayer. Fire ain’t gonna hurt him.”
And he was right. Natsu was completely unharmed, though he still looked pretty pissed. Although Lucy felt kind of like an idiot. She probably should have realized he was some type of fire wizard after he started breathing smoke. She didn’t have any idea what a dragon slayer was, though.
Natsu took in a deep breath, before shouting “Fire dragon roar!”
“Oh great,” Happy mumbled. “Erza’s gonna yell at us for destroying things again.” He hopped up onto the bench for a better vantage point.
Bright red flames exploded from Natsu’s mouth.
Lucy threw herself to the ground, hiding from the insane heat that came from them.
Salamander screamed as the fire ravaged over him, sending him careening into a brick wall. Natsu leaped after him, pouncing on his prey, his movements more animal-like than human. He pinned his scorched body to the ground, and even from her distance, Lucy could tell that his nails were cutting deep enough to draw blood from the man’s shoulders. “As a Fairy Tail wizard, I don’t ever wanna hear you actin’ like one of our members ever again,” Natsu said, leaning down, baring his odd, pointed teeth.
Salamander nodded vigorously, abandoning the misplaced pride in his own abilities.
Natsu snorted a puff of smoke into the man’s face. “And don’t you dare use the name Salamander again. Do it, and I’ll kill ya.”
“I promise,” he wheezed.
A light breeze blew over the stench of smoldering flesh, and Lucy gagged. It took everything in her not to throw up. Happy didn’t seem to mind. He just continued to lick his fur.
Natsu responded with a curt nod, seemingly pleased, and got up.
It took the other wizard a few moments to stagger to his feet, and when he did, Lucy’s nausea only worsened. From her angle, she hadn’t seen the man after he’d been caught up in Natsu’s fire, seen the extent of his damage. His face was blistered and swollen, sloughs of skin already peeling off. His clothes were in tatters, the skin beneath not much better off. Blood from Natsu’s nails dripped from the mangled flesh and onto the pavement.
Frankly, Lucy had no idea how the man was alive, let alone functioning.
Natsu skipped back over to Happy, grinning madly, and scooped the cat up in his arms, as if he hadn’t just nearly killed someone. “Let’s be headin’ back, Hap. I’m sure the guild’s missin’ us.”
Happy let out a pleased purr and climbed onto Natsu’s shoulders.
As he turned to go, Lucy leaped to her feet. “Wait!”
He turned back around.
“Are you really a Fairy Tail wizard?” she couldn’t help but ask.
Fairy Tail wizards were her idols. She’d admired the guild for as long as she could remember, and had wanted to join ever since she was a little kid. As vicious and strange as Natsu was, she couldn’t let this opportunity just slip by.
“Sure am!” He jabbed a thumb to his chest. “Natsu Dragneel, the Dragon of Fairy Tail!”
Lucy’s eyes widened. Natsu Dragneel! She had no idea how she hadn’t recognized him! She’d read all about him! He had a destructive streak, so much of one he’d become somewhat of a symbol for all of Fairy Tail’s demolitions (and she could now see it wasn’t exaggerated), and was well known for his ancient, unusual magic, that no one but his guild seemed to understand.
And they weren’t sharing with anyone.
“Please take me to Fairy Tail!” she begged. “I’ve wanted to join ever since I can remember!” She held out her keys. “I promise I’m a powerful celestial spirit wizard. I even have some zodiac keys!”
Natsu tilted his head. “What do you think, Happy?”
The cat tilted his head as well. “Well, she did give us all that food, so we kind of owe her a favor.”
Natsu nodded. “Just what I was thinking. Alright, Lucy! I’ll introduce you to the rest of Fairy Tail!”