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Too weak to be considered for the S-Class exams, no matter that all of her friends had been invited, no matter that she had taken down a member of the Oracion Seis.

Too weak to go on jobs with the others, no matter that she had gone with them on other missions that seemed much more dangerous.

Lucy's whip flashed through the air, aiming for Loke, although the stellar spirit easily dodged it. She knew why they thought she was weak, of course; she was a Stellar Spirit mage, completely dependent on her summoning. Well, she would just have to get stronger, then.

No matter what, she would get strong enough to break the cage her teammates seemed determined to keep her in. She would shatter it so completely that no one would be able to try and protect her ever again!

Lucy scowled at her ally and accused, "You're not even trying, are you? Hurry up and attack me seriously!"

"Lucy… I can't do that," Loke protested, frowning at her. He was completely unmarked, of course, but he hadn't attacked her either.

"You have to! I'm not going to get stronger if I don't fight for my life!" she reminded him. When she sensed him hesitating, she pulled out her trump card. "What happens the next time I run out of enough magic to summon one of you? You don't want me to be at the enemy's mercy, do you?"

Loke growled but finally yelled, "Regulus! Lend me strength!"

Lucy smiled grimly and braced herself. No matter what, she would break free of her weakness.