Young Dragons

10 Dec 2018

“Oh, you’re such men. Stop being so militant for a minute, would you? Natsu needs a purpose and you think soldier, overseer, political leverage – when he can just be himself. An Imperial Prince and a representative of the Emperor’s court.”

“Prince and representative?” Igneel raises an eyebrow at the woman. “Empress, aren’t we in this predicament in the first place because he’s so bad at diplomacy and table manners he punched a guest?”

(How Prince Natsu Dragonil of the Alvarez Empire is chosen to be Royal Ambassador to Fiore Kingdom, and how his entourage came to be)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 4
Words: 47,032

Young Dragons

Chapter 3
In which a Prince talks to a LOT of people


Natsu gathers his team, but things aren’t always so simple when it’s about asking your friends to leave their home.

Chapter Notes:

Here it is, finally! Natsu and his entourage!

There are a few OC’s sprinkled through this chapter, but they are mostly minor/background roles to fill up the scenes and move the plot. Don’t think about ’em too much. So – onward!


If Natsu were to describe the Shadow Dragon’s office, he’d say it was more of a lair than an office. He’s a creature of the sun and of warmth, so the cold stone walls of Skiadrum’s dungeon always left him feeling a bit uneasy. Unlike the Light Dragon’s office which Natsu frequents in comfort, the place always bustling with workers, secretaries and guests, it’s rare to find a lot of people at the same time in the Shadow Dragon’s office.

Today, Natsu only counted a grand total of four others, including the two guards, as he headed for Skiadrum’s office. He wouldn’t be surprised if he missed some, though – Skiadrum’s men specialized in cloaking and concealment, after all. He simply focuses on the task at hand and finds the man himself in his typical fashion: sitting in the shadows, long raven hair falling like a waterfall down his shoulders and back and obscuring most of his face, and hunched over his table full of scrolls, brushes and ink. The ink reeked of magic, and Natsu knew if the room had been brighter, he would see the black aura surrounding it, but as it is, Skiadrum sat with only a lone lamp for company. Natsu knew for a fact that the man saw better in the dark.

He didn’t even have to announce his presence as Skiadrum acknowledges him without looking up.

“Fire Prince.” the man says in his deep but smooth voice.

Natsu greets him easily. “Hello, Skiadrum.”

There’s an unimpressed huff at his lack of proper greeting. Skiadrum tugs one of his robes tighter against himself, as if Natsu’s presence somehow made him more cold.

When Natsu was younger, he had once sent Igneel in a fit of laughter when he asked his uncle if the reason Skiadrum was always hunching was the multiple layers of dark, heavy silks and scarves wrapped around his body and draped across his shoulders. Now, Natsu thinks somehow the layers have only become thicker with the man’s age.

Skiadrum doesn’t look up from where he’s staring down at-


“Are you still thinking of what to write? Or is the ink invisible?” Natsu asks, eyeing the blank scroll the man’s eyes are glued to.

“The ink is invisible.” says Skiadrum.

Natsu squints. “Are you just saying that because it’s embarrassing that you actually don’t know what to write?”

He notices the man’s hand twitch, a touch of annoyance. “No, the ink is truly invisible.”

“If you say so.”

“You need to learn more about the art we practice here in the shadows, young one.” Skiadrum says, fingers tracing invisible letters. Natsu sees a spark, a flicker of magic in the man’s pale fingers, and on the parchment. Skiadrum smirks as the young prince’s brows shoot up slightly. “Specially given your new title.”

Natsu hums. “You heard about that?”

This time, Skiadrum actually eyes him, one red eye almost glowing in the dark. “If that is a serious question, I worry about your competence.”

The prince laughs, hands shooting up, trying to appease. “Relax, old man! Of course I know that you know anything and everything going on! I’m not a spy like you all are, but I’m not that dumb.”

“So?” Skiadrum prompts, still looking unimpressed. “What brings you here, then?”

Natsu shrugs. “You just made me say it. You know exactly who I came here for.”

The man heaves a long sigh, and goes back to his blank parchment. “He just came back last night.”

This part is a surprise to Natsu, and he doesn’t hide it. “Did he? He’s fine, though, right? I haven’t heard from him in… months.”

“I reckon he’s had enough sleep.” Skiadrum says, and the short tilt of his head tells Natsu that the man also shrugged, under all the layers and scarves. “Or maybe he hasn’t. He’s been gone a while. I think you can guess where he went, directly after finishing debrief.”

Natsu’s brows furrow in confusion before he realizes what the man is telling him. “Oh. Well, then. I know where to find him, I guess…”

“Do that, and perhaps remind him that his mission did not end with debrief, that he has a full report to submit, still.”

Natsu pauses, wondering why the man is giving him an errand now. Then he caught up. He snorted to hold back his laugh. “ Aw , he ditched you, didn’t he?”

The man scoffs, looking utterly offended. “I have not been… ditched.”

“He totally did!” he laughs, the sound loud in the dungeon. “For his boyfriend !”

“Mind your manners in my office, child.” Skiadrum glares, then hisses under his breath, “ Hopeless. This is because Igneel spoiled you rotten.”

Natsu wipes tears from the corners of his eyes as he gathers himself and nods. “Okay, okay… I’ll go now. But… I have to ask you too. Are you okay with this?”

Skiadrum raises an eyebrow. “With what?”

“With me… you know…” he trails off, hands waving around vaguely. “Scouting?”

The man raises his chin and exhales. “I’m the Empire’s Spymaster, Your Highness. I serve the throne, and whatever the throne wills that is within my means and expertise, I provide.”

Natsu tilts his head, examining what he could see of the man’s face. “Including your best Shadow?”

“Raios serves the same master, and he can make his own decisions.” Skiadrum answers, and goes back to his work. “You are better off asking him what he wants to do. As you can see, he pretty much knows how to ignore me completely, so what I say wouldn’t matter, anyway.”

There’s silence, as Natsu thinks on what the man had said.

Then finally he nods.

“So you admit you’ve been ditched.”

“Get out my office, fire brat.”

The prince barely avoids the crumpled parchment thrown at his head.



The Light Dragon’s office, in contrast, is the exact opposite of the Shadow Dragon’s. The windows were tall and wide, the walls white marble, decorated with paintings, portraits, sculptures, vases and other artifacts depicting the culture and history of the Empire and its trading partners. The fabric of the curtains were light and gauzy, drawn to let in the natural sunlight. The people were abundant – of various ages, colors and cultures. The ground and second story of the office is like an open museum, and Natsu takes his time greeting and smiling at the guests who recognized him on his way to the third story.

As soon as he steps foot in Weisslogia’s office, he is greeted by the man’s staff – lively and accommodating, as expected of their job descriptions. Then the man himself moves to welcome him with a flourish.

“Ambassador!” Weisslogia calls, his elaborately-embroidered, feather-and-fur-lined cape fluttering behind him as he steps around his equally fancy desk. Long blond hair swings from the ponytail tied at the back of his head. “Is it true? Are you going to whisk my son off into some foreign land?”

Natsu blinks. “Well… that’s up to Sting, really-” He cuts himself off, distracted. “Wait, how did you know?”

It’s one thing for the Shadow to know everything. It’s another for the Light to be this well-informed so fast-

Weisslogia shrugs, as if the answer is that obvious. “Old Ski told me.”

-then again, the two offices always went hand-in-hand, sides of a coin.

“Wha- I haven’t even really told him!” Natsu shakes his head. “And I literally was just with him, ten minutes ago…”

The man’s laugh is loud and boisterous, worthy to rival Igneel’s. “You really ought to learn more about how fast a shadow can spread, given the right light.”

The prince only rolls his eyes as he mumbles, “Creepy, cryptic old geezers.”

“What was that?” Weisslogia blinks, smiling curiously.

“Nothing important.” he lies quickly. “You know… I won’t whisk your kid away without his consent, Weisslogia.”

The man crosses his arms across his chest. The gold chains and bangles in his arms and fingers glimmer brilliantly from the sunlight streaming in from the window. It’s a running joke in the offices’ inner circles that while Skiadrum always blended in perfectly in the shadows, Weisslogia always stood out wherever he is and sometimes even seemed to glow.

“I know that, little fire.” the man sighs deeply. “But I also know that you’d need an agent from my office with you, and who better than the best I have?”

Natsu stares. “You and Old Ski really do say the same things. Just… you say it like you’re gonna cry about it, and he says it like he’s gonna murder me.”

Weisslogia opens his mouth to retort, then thinks better of it and shrugs. “You know if you convince one, you get the other, do you?”

Natsu smiles, almost apologetically. “Of course I do. That’s why I wanna ask them together.”

“Well.” the man huffs, finally conceding. It’s always much easier to gain his favor, compared to Skiadrum or Metallicana. “My boy hasn’t reported to me today. You can probably guess why.”

“What?” Natsu frowns in concern. “I mean, I can guess , but… really?”

That’s not like Sting – even preoccupied with his lover, he would probably be late at worst, distracted by last-minute kisses and wandering hands, but he wouldn’t just… skip his duties altogether…

“He’s sent word that he and Rogue would be at Grandine’s.”

“Why? What’s wrong? Was Rogue hurt?”

“He was … Hm. Well…” the man mused. “He looked fine. A bit worse for wear, but already patched up last night, when he snuck into our quarters.”

Natsu snorts. “You caught him… sneaking into your son’s room…”

“…and I said ‘Have fun, boys!’ because it’s infinitely more entertaining to embarrass your kid than to scold him.”

Natsu couldn’t suppress his sniggers, imagining the looks of horror and shame on his friends’ faces.

“But it would seem like they got into some trouble again this morning, if they’re heading for the healers.” Weisslogia finishes, frowning slightly. “Do check on those boys, would you?”

Natsu nods. “I will.”



“-and then he shouted, like, really loud – ‘OH LAND THAT HURTS’ and I was worried that we didn’t prepare enough but it turns out it’s just his stitches. Lots of blood back there-”

Natsu feels like he has to stop his friend right here, right now- He’s heard enough. “Wait- Wait, you-… what ?”

“I said,” Sting sounds resigned now, “I jumped him and his stitches gave.”

Natsu stares. “How hard did you jump him-? Wait, no- Don’t answer-”

“Well, we haven’t seen each other in months so-”

Someone else cuts in before he can go further. “I really didn’t need to hear any of that.” Wendy says, voice soft but stern. Despite her exasperation,  her hands were steady as she focused on her work fixing up the reopened stitches in Rogue’s side. She had been the only one in the apothecary when the apprentices pointed Natsu to the room. Grandine was out, and the others were either in their lessons, or attending to the few patients in the palace’s medical wing.

Rogue winces from his seat on the bed, but bravely bears the pain and doesn’t make a sound. “I really didn’t want you to hear this either, Wendy. I’m so sorry.” For the last part, he directed his glare towards Sting, who throws his arms up, at a loss.

“What? His Highness asked!” the blond whines, feigning innocence.

Natsu groans, eyes closed and rubbing his temples as if nursing a headache. “His Highness didn’t need details. Now His Highness has images in his poor brain, images of his friends that he really doesn’t need. This is worse than walking in on you guys.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad, actually.” Wendy muses.

Before Natsu could protest, she points to the nearby table. Having worked with healers many times before, he automatically reaches out for one of the many bottles and jars that were laid out on it.

“Not that- No, left- Small- That one. Yes, thank you. Open it, please?”

Natsu uncaps the jar. All three young men collectively cringe at the sudden strong smell that spread around the room. Natsu shoves the jar into Sting’s hand, who, perhaps out of sheer love and concern for Rogue, dutifully keeps his grip and holds it out towards Wendy. The healer does not react at all, save for reaching out to dip two fingers in the dark, viscous substance inside the jar before carefully applying it to Rogue’s wound.

“You wouldn’t believe some of the things we hear about in here, when we ask how some wounds and… other injuries… happened.” Wendy continues, fingers glowing slightly with soothing magic. Rogue relaxes considerably as the poultice and the magic start to work their effects on his wound.

“I can… believe that…” Natsu says, voice tinny and nasal because he had pinched his nose. “Spare us the details, though, please.”

“Thank doctor-patient confidentiality then, Your Highness.” Wendy says, sounding amused. Natsu longs for the days when she was a wee girl, and was yet to learn sass and sarcasm from Erza and Grandine.

“Is this thing supposed to heal Rogue?” Sting asks in a small voice, muffled by his free hand. “Because… no offense, but… it smells like murder, Wendy.”

Wendy only sighs, before lazily waving a hand in a gesture they all recognized. A gentle breeze sweeps around the room, fluttering sheets and curtains and rattling some jars but not damaging anything. The pungent smell from the poultice is considerably gentler when the breeze dies down.

She remembers something then, and looks up at Natsu and Sting.

“I need to stir my potion and put some ingredients in.”

The two stand at attention and look around the rest of the apothecary, gazes landing on the several cauldrons on the table, all containing different potions and concoctions, some of which were brewing over a fire.

“Which one is that?” Natsu asks, ready to help. He’s far from an expert like Grandine and the rest of the Sky Dragon’s healers, but many Alvarez royals had been taught how to brew a choice few potions as part of their basic education. Natsu at least knows how to stir.

“No, please – it’s a very complicated brew. Can one of you take over here, though? This poultice sets best if kept cold. Just a simple temperature spell will do, for at least ten more minutes.” Wendy asks, looking between the two.

“I’ll do it.” Sting is quick to volunteer, already flexing his fingers. With that, Wendy withdraws, and Sting sidles up to sit beside Rogue on the cot, letting the other man lean against him before hovering his already glowing hand above the poultice-covered wound. Rogue quietly tucks his head on his lover’s shoulder, content and comfortable despite the awkward angle of their limbs.

“I’ll come back in a bit to wrap it.” Wendy says before she heads off to the opposite side of the room to attend to her potion.

Natsu occupies the chair she left, propping his arms on the bed. He nudges Rogue’s leg with his elbow. “Feeling better? It’s not like you to get in trouble on the job.”

“It was a tricky one, but worth all the effort. And I am feeling much better, thank you for your concern.” Rogue says with a quiet smile, which turns into a slight grimace. “You said Skiadrum sent you here?”

Natsu shrugs. “Well, I was looking for you, so he pointed me to Sting, so I went to Weisslogia, and he pointed me here. Old Ski says to tell you that you’ve got a report to turn in.”

“Of course.” Rogue sighs. “Leave it to him to use the Prince as a messenger. I am sorry for the trouble.”

“Eh, you know I like trouble.” Natsu quips with a cheeky beam, then waves it off. “No really, I don’t mind. Led me to you guys, so it worked out.”

“I’ll turn that report in as soon as I can. Anyway, he knows the most important parts.”

Sting clicks his tongue, tilting his head to nuzzle Rogue’s cheek. “You should rest a bit more.”

“I’ll rest after the report.” Rogue assures him, meeting his eyes, fond, before he turns to ask Natsu, “You were looking for us, Your Highness?”

“Ah, yes.” Natsu says, nodding. He purses his lips first, realizing he never really thought about how to tell them. Then he decides to just go for it, no use mincing words and try for formalities in the presence of two friends he’d known since childhood and saw more as brothers.

“So… I volunteered to be the Royal Ambassador for the trade channel we’re opening in Ishgar, and Zeref let me take the job. I want you – both of you –  as my representatives from the Light and Shadow offices.”

He is met with twin stares. Some things never change.

He sighs. “It’s just… you both know I’m not really good at the whole business, art and culture stuff, as well as the spying  and intelligence side. I’m gonna work on it, but I need help. I need experts. I need people who know how to do the job well, but I also want to be able to trust them.”

“Natsu,” Sting starts, shifting just slightly to sit straighter, still holding Rogue snug to his side. “We serve the throne, of course we’ll be honored to work with you, but…”

Natsu had expected that, the hesitation. He nods, expression open. “Yeah?”

“That means leaving, doesn’t it?” Rogue asks, voice soft and quiet. He glances around as if afraid to be heard. Wendy is humming as she works, and the steady sound of her knife against the chopping block echoes loud in the apothecary in contrast to their hushed conversation. If she could hear them, she must have decided to keep to herself. “We’ll have to go with you to Fiore?”

The Prince nods. “Around a year, at most two, of preparation, for both the goods and our folks. Zeref has already drafted a missive for the Fiore government offering a trade relationship. It’ll be there in a few weeks. For our part, I was thinking two trips, one to start initial negotiations, spread the word and prepare lodging, maybe secure a compound or a place to serve as an embassy. Then, a second for the ambassador and the goods. Not that different from when we send overseers to stay in a territory.”

“A territory we hold. That’s governing. Politics.” Rogue says. “This one’s a trading relationship with a kingdom independent of us. Business.”

“I said not that different. I know they’re still different.” Natsu replies. “So… yes. I’d most likely ask you to accompany me to Fiore.”

“That’s… That’s quite a long way from home.” Sting says, wary. “You… Man, I’ve got… I’m father’s- I’m Weisslogia’s second. I have… a lot… on me. Right here, at home. I don’t think it’ll be so easy to leave all that…”

Rogue nods. “We’re happy for you and you know we always have your back, Natsu. I am not just saying this because Sting feels hesitant… I know that Skiadrum relies on me. And… jobs for us Shadows, it’s not as simple to pass them along for someone else to do.”

“I knew you might say that, I know this is a big thing to ask.” Natsu says, looking down. “I don’t want to order you to leave behind everything you know. But… I still know I need you guys.”

Sting sighs. “Natsu… you know if you issued an order, we’d follow it.”

“Exactly. But you’re my friends, and…” he shakes his head. “You’re my friends.” he repeats, more firmly. “I’ve learned something from Mavis these past few days, something really important. I care more about you two than whatever title I have, so… I won’t issue an order. I’m going to ask you to choose.

“So here’s the deal – I won’t ask you to sail with me to Fiore now. But while I’m getting started on this thing, while I’m still learning whatever it is I need to know, I want you both by my side. While I’m here in Alvarez, I want Sting to handle affairs with the Light Dragon’s office and I want Rogue to be the Ambassador’s Shadow. After a year, after everything’s ready… when it’s time to sail for Fiore, that’s when I’ll ask if you want to go sail with me or not. Then, you can give me your answer. I won’t hold it against you if you say no, but I’ll ask you to present me with someone from your office who you can trust to go with me.”

His friends both stay silent as take hold a moment to let his words sink in.

“You really would let us do that?” Sting asks.

Natsu shrugs. “Yes. You know how bad I am at these stuff and I think you’re my best bet to really help me get started with what I gotta learn, I guess?”

“You’ll let us help you with all the preparations, but not go with you, and instead entrust the job to someone else?”

“You get choose who that someone is.” he says, grinning knowingly. “You’re Weisslogia’s second, and Rogue is Old Ski’s best Shadow, you gotta learn how to delegate someday, anyway. I just have to trust that you won’t choose someone who would compromise what you worked for.”

He sees Rogue put his hand on Sting’s shoulder and give it a comforting squeeze. “It’s a good deal.” he says, and then looks at Natsu in the eye. “It would be my honor to work with you, Your Highness.”

“What he said.” Sting adds with a grin.

“Glad to hear that. I promise this job won’t be boring.” Natsu grins back.

“With you at the helm, I can’t imagine it being so.” Rogue says with a chuckle.

Natsu rolls his eyes, but reaches out to pat Rogue’s knee. “Good to have you back around, Rogue. Sting’s been unbearable.”

Sting gapes, color rising to his cheeks. “Hey!”

“He made me work those dreadful numbers with him while he was pining over you.”

“Did he?” Rogue asks, amused. “He told me he’s been good, though.”

“Oh, no, he’s been the absolute worst .”

The good-natured bickering comes to a halt when someone walks- no, barges inside the apothecary. The girl looks to be no more than thirteen, wearing the sky blue robes that marked her as a novice apprentice of the Sky Dragon’s healers.

“Miss Wendy!” she calls, voice frantic, making Wendy turn from her work. “We- We need-” The girl looks around frantically, eyes widening when she catches sight of Natsu on the room. “Oh! I- Um, I am ever so sorry for barging in, My Prince-”

Natsu straightens up almost involuntarily. “Oh, don’t mind me- I mean, uh- At ease? Carry on?”

Sting lets out a snort at the very military phrasing, earning him a hopeless look from Natsu.

But that was good enough for the girl, it seems, as she turns towards Wendy again. “Miss Wendy, I am so sorry to interrupt-”

Wendy shakes her head as she stops stirring the potion in the cauldron and heads towards the girl, laying a hand on her shoulder. “Easy breaths, Illi – what seems to be the trouble?”

Wendy is only four years older than the girl at most, but her deep blue robes that indicated her high rank among the healers and her gentle voice seem to instantly calm the girl down, the same way a child calms once an adult reassures them that whatever was wrong can be easily fixed.

“The… the man, the soldier, from before? He’s looking for Miss Jaina again.”

Even across the room, Natsu, Sting and Rogue could note Wendy’s expression darken.

“We told him she’s not here today, but he demands that he see her. He looks drunk. He’s making passes at me and Aisha- Sir Dimi’s trying to make him leave, but he’s very insistent, and then he shoved poor Sir Dimi-”

“Illi,” Wendy starts, rubbing the girl’s back comfortingly. The girl stops talking. Wendy then proceeds to untie  her apron as she steps away. “I need you to keep stirring that potion over there, just slow and steady. Can you do that for me?”

Illi looks up at her, wide-eyed but obedient as she nods. “I-… yes, miss.”

“Thank you, I’ll be back shortly.” Wendy says, shrugging off her apron and draping it on the nearby chair before she walks out the room. They could swear a faint breeze chilled the room for a few seconds in her wake.

Illi starts stirring the potion as instructed, and when she sees the looks from the Prince and his friends, she gives them an awkward nod and a small nervous wave.

Before they can wave back, they hear noises from outside the room. A man shouting, people scrambling, muffled voices and general commotion. Illi flinches when they hear a crash.

“Natsu.” Sting whispers, and when Natsu looks to him, Sting’s brows only shoot up, imploring. He mouths, ‘Go.’

Natsu goes, running for the door, but comes to a halt just in time, narrowly missing crashing against the man who comes flying through the doorway, as if thrown inside. Said man is wearing regulation soldier armor that clangs noisily when he lands on a heap on the floor.

“What the fuck , lady!” the soldier says as he scrambles to get back up.

Wendy re-enters the room, and blinks when she sees Natsu so near. “Oh! I’m sorry, Your Highness, I didn’t mean to bring him here, he just wouldn’t stop running around, and my aim’s not the best-”

“Your Highness!” the soldier exclaims in wonder. “Please tell this bitch to stay in her place-”

“Oh, I think she’s very much in her place, soldier. It’s pretty clear that you’re not , though.” Natsu says, voice cold as he crosses his arms across his chest, making it evident that he’s not interested in helping the man in any way.

Wendy steps forward, and the soldier scrambles backwards, trying to keep distance. He is glaring as her, and she does not glare back so much as she narrows her eyes and frowns.

Her voice is gentle as she speaks, but it might as well be laced with venom. “My friend Jaina has told you, multiple times, that she is not interested in your advances. She is not here today, and even if she were, I doubt that she would want to see you. You’ve made our apprentices uncomfortable in their place of work, and injured one of our recovering patients. Sir Dimi’s going to need his arm back in a cast because of what you did-”

“He was in my way!”

Wendy steps forward once more, and the man finds himself backed into the apothecary’s stone counter. “I advice that you leave the premises this instant, otherwise I can’t promise you that I wouldn’t do anything that would make you require medical assistance, which we are really not willing to provide to you at the moment.”

The man, in a very foolish effort in bravado, scoffs. “Oh, please, what can you do? You’re just a-”

He freezes, because there’s a glint of something, a silver streak, and when he looks down, there is a dagger, embedded on the floor in front of him, bracketed by his thighs, just a few precarious inches away from his crotch.

He looks back up in terror.

Wendy raises a hand, and her long hair flutters slightly behind her, a small breeze settling around her body. “Don’t make me throw you back out myself, sir.”

The soldier doesn’t say anything as he scrambles back on his feet, and then breaks into a run from the room.

Wendy sighs, picking her dagger back up and sheathing it before returning it to her sleeve. She lets out a pleasant smile as she looks at her companions – Illi, stirring a potion, looking in unadulterated awe, and Natsu, Sting and Rogue, all looking at her in shock.

She blinks, then finally comes to a realization and clasps her hands together before heading for the cots. “Oh! That poultice will have set well enough, let me wrap it up now.”

Natsu leaves her to work with Sting and Rogue as he sidles up to stand beside Illi.

“She’s amazing.” the girl whispers.

“Yeah, she is.” Natsu says with a grin. “Don’t worry, you’ll start learning that too by the time you’re wearing green.”

The girl looks up at him in wonder and he only nods to tell her he’s serious. He knows that the apprentices start learning about self-defense by the time they join the ranks of assistant healers. What Wendy just did is far more advanced, though.

“When you’re done with your training today, come see me and I’ll take you to the Iron Dragon’s office. I’d like you to tell Metallicana all about that trouble-making soldier of ours. I’m sure he’d be willing to come to a proper punishment for the bastard.”

“As you wish!” Illi nods, eager and grateful. “Thank you, My Prince!”

“Eh, it’s nothing. We don’t need people like that in our army.” Natsu says, and gives the girl a pat on the back before he walks back to the other side of the room, where Wendy is wrapping bandages around Rogue’s torso.

“Say, Wendy?”

She doesn’t look up, as always focused on her work. “Yes, Your Highness?”

“How would you like to go on a trip to a foreign land?”



There used to be a time when Natsu only had to walk down a hallway, into a guest bedroom, and find Erza. That was back when she was Princess Erza of Belserion, on a visit to the Imperial Palace with her Queen mother, negotiating trade and politics with Natsu’s Emperor father.

These days, Natsu has to walk to the Iron Dragon’s camp, past the soldier’s barracks and into one of the many apartments that the Empire provides for officers with the rank of general or higher. These days, he would call for Erza Scarlet, a general and a good friend.

The young lady who welcomes him when he arrives is surprised to see him, but he knew it was not because of his status.

“Prince Natsu… I-… did not expect you to visit… so early…” she says, quickly stepping aside to let him in. “Oh, what’s gotten into me? Good morning, Your Highness!”

“Good morning, Millianna. Don’t mind the early call, I was just on my morning run and decided to drop by.” he says – which isn’t a total lie. He was on his morning run, he simply took another route for the day. He steps inside, having visited enough that he is quite familiar with the place. “Is Erza around?”

The girl nods. “She is doing her usual sword drills in the backyard. She should be finishing soon, I think. I’m about to bring up morning tea in her reading room.”

“Thanks. I think I’ll come find her there.” he says. Millianna bows as he leaves the room and navigates the familiar halls of the apartment towards the backyard, where he knew Erza liked to train in the mornings, enjoying the cool breeze and the gentle morning sun.

He doesn’t quite reach his destination, as he rounds a corner and comes face to face with his friend. Erza is pressing a towel to the back of her neck, her training robe sweat-soaked enough to cling to her skin, loose at the top and exposing a generous amount of cleavage. A wooden sword is tucked to the cloth tied around her waist. Another man might have buckled at the sight, and Natsu is reminded of why she had stopped doing drills with the other soldiers and kept to herself most of the time for training.

“Natsu.” she blinks, letting her towel drape on her shoulders before running a hand through her long, messy red hair to keep the strands away from her face. “What are you doing here?”

“I said I’ll come have breakfast with you one of these days, right?” he asks, smiling easily.

She raises an eyebrow. “I eat breakfast with the squad. It’s just tea for me, this early.”

He shrugs. “Tea, then. Millianna told me she’s about to bring it up.”

“Very well, then.” she concedes, all too used to his willfulness. She walks past him and he turns to follow her. “I heard about your new title, by the way. Congratulations, Royal Ambassador.”

“Huh. Thanks. I’m still tryin’ to get used to it.”

“I think you’ll do great at it, once you get it all worked out.” she says with a smile. “It’s nice that you wouldn’t have to leave so soon, too. You’ll get time to spent with your family before sailing, right?”

“Right. Not as much time, I think. There’s lots of work to do so things will still be busy. But yeah, I guess… I guess a year’s good.”

They reach Erza’s reading room, which is simply a lounge connected to her sleeping quarters. A tea set is already on the low table in the center of the room, and the two easily make themselves comfortable sitting across each other in the pillows and rugs on the floor. Millianna had been thoughtful enough to include an extra cup for Natsu in the set. Erza pours them both a cup right away, and lean sideways to rest an elbow against the armrest beside her on the floor before she takes a sip of her tea. Natsu does the same, but he leans forward, elbows resting on the table.

He never really liked tea much, so when he notices the cup of honey on the table, he breathes a sigh of relief and begins adding some to his cup. The added sweetness is enough to appease him. Typically, he preferred chocolate, but this is on him for not asking Millianna to serve that as well. In speaking of the girl-

“I saw the training swords in your receiving room.” he says. “Is Millianna enlisting on the next call for recruits?”

“She is.” Erza says with a smile. “She’s finally of age for it. From what she tells me, her family doesn’t sound very enthusiastic about it, they seem to prefer her keeping her job as a house servant.”

Natsu hums, absently stirring his tea. “Do you still need her around?”

“For house chores? Land, no. I can manage that.” Erza laughs lightly. “I took her in the first place because no one would, all complaining that she was too scrappy and feisty when she’s only a girl who doesn’t like taking their shit.”

Natsu rolls his eyes. “Now that the wars are over, can we just get rid of the bastard officers? A lot of ‘em only stayed on because we needed as many hands on deck as possible.”

“Oh, Metallicana already dismissed several, last time I checked. The ones who only got promoted because of their family titles.” Erza says, her smile satisfied. “But really… I liked having Millianna around for company, and it’s been nice to teach her some basics of sword-handling, but she’ll do better honing her skills with the squads. The old training swords are sort of my parting and good-luck gift to her. Might also serve as a note to her family that their daughter is talented enough to impress someone like… me.”

Natsu raises an eyebrow, grinning. “Using your influence, Titania? First time I’ve heard of it.”

“It’s for a cause!” Erza argues, though her cheeks color slightly. She never really revelled on her reputation. She knew her worth, and that was that. “If… If it helps a hopeful girl with lots of potential, I’d gladly assert my… influence… more often.”

He hums thoughtfully, then finally nods, letting it slide. He couldn’t say otherwise for himself, anyway, as just the other day, he himself had gotten a soldier booted for the trouble he did in the Sky Dragon’s premises.

They sit in silence for a moment, both to sip their drinks, and then Natsu finally takes a deep breath and says, “I came to talk to you about… about what you said earlier. The Ambassador thing.”

Erza nods, studying her friend’s face closely. He looks tentative, so she reaches out to lay her hand on his arm. “I have to say, I was surprised, but I do think it fits you. It’s bound to be an adventure, and this time it won’t be a war.”

He snorts. “Might still be, you know, with my diplomacy skills.”

The woman rolls her eyes, exasperated. “Natsu, for the last time, I know no one would say it because that’s how aristocracy works, but everyone is absolutely happy that you punched that man.”

That gets him to laugh. “You all validate me too much.”

“He deserved it.” she says, voice low as she shudders at the memory. Under her breath, she starts muttering. “The way he looked at Empress Mavis… Land, I could have chopped him to pieces…”

“Okay, I’ll interrupt your early morning murder thoughts now.” Natsu chimes in, though he chuckles one more time before he finally says, “I want you as the Royal Ambassador’s protector.”

That seems to sober Erza up, and she looks at her friend, her Prince, in surprise yet again. “Your… protector? You want me to sail with you to Ishgar, to be your… how do they say it there? Your…” she stops to think, then in a language that Natsu recognizes from the few times he had heard Mavis, Gajeel and Anna speak it, she says, “ Swordsman?

“You know their language?”

“Only a few choice words.” she says. “Mostly unsavory ones, really. Partnered up with Gajeel in the trenches for a while, you learn some words in his native tongue. That’s what he called people who swear their swords to protect a specific person, or a noble house.”

Natsu nods, taking in the information. “Well, that’s what I want to call you when we get there.”

Erza smiles wistfully. “You know I’ve already sworn my sword to you and yours, Prince Natsu Dragonil.”

“Then I want you to go with me when I sail to Fiore…” he starts, looking into her eyes, warm brown, almost gold in the morning light. “…and continue doing what you’ve always done.”

She thinks about this for a while. When she speaks again, she asks, “Who else?”

“Who else what?”

“Who else have you asked?”

“Only you.” he says. “Well, I’m already working with Sting and Rogue, but only for the preparations being done here. They’ve yet to decide if they would sail with me.”

She accepts this easily. “They can work with you here, but they’re too important to leave.”

“I told Wendy we’re in need of a healer in our crew, because I think she might like to see new places. She’s hesitant, but I said if she finds herself interested, we’d be happy to have her.”

“She’s so young, but she’s already qualified. A senior healer at her age.” Erza nods, understanding. “She really ought to see more of life outside those halls, but she did work very hard for what she has now. It’s right to give her time.”

“…and finally, you.” he continues. “I’m asking outright, because I grew up with magic… well, everywhere – in my veins, in the air that I breathe, and now I’m going to this new land without that and… frankly? I am scared out of my mind.”

Erza’s eyes soften. “You’ve never been without it.”

“Never.” he shakes his head. “I don’t know how it would feel to not sense the Land’s magic on my feet. Even in our farthest territories, it might be scarce, but it’s still there.”

“You need someone who can fight well without using magic.”

“You’re at your strongest without it.” he confirms. “I can’t see anyone else who could protect me better than you can.”

“So I’m your best candidate?”

“That, but also, you’re my friend, and… well… wouldn’t it be a fun trip to be on together?”

Erza laughs, nodding her head in agreement. “It does sound like an exciting plan.”

Natsu grins back. “So… you’ll go then?”

She almost nods, but at the first tilt of her head, she seems to remember herself. Natsu watches his friend’s expression morph from amusement to hesitation. “Natsu, I’d love to, but… There are things…” she sighs, and it pulls at Natsu that she looks pained as she asks, “Can you give me time, too?”

“Erza.” he starts, and is at a loss of what to say for a while. When she only looks down, he reaches out to hold her hand. “Is something wrong?”

“Oh, it’s- Natsu, it’s nothing, really, I just-”

They are interrupted when they hear a startled squeak from the side, and both whip their heads to see the young woman standing by the bedroom doorway. Natsu expected Millianna, perhaps, but instead he gapes as he takes in the sight of the stranger – he doesn’t know this girl, but he recognizes the clothing – what little of it – that she wears: jeweled and flimsy, barely covering any skin in her well-endowed body.

“Adah!” Erza exclaims, withdrawing her hand from Natsu’s and climbing to her feet, walking towards the girl. “Did we wake you up?”

The girl blushes, taking in Erza’s post-training appearance, painfully shy as she wraps her arms around herself. When she speaks, Natsu notes the distantly familiar accent. “N-No, milady- I just… I… woke up by myself…”

She must be one of the dancers who provided entertainment during the previous night’s gathering. Natsu was in attendance, a bonfire and a feast in the soldiers’ camp to celebrate someone’s birthday or something. He had retired early, but he did catch the lively performance by the caravan girls. Besides that, he didn’t know much about how the night went-

Except now, he also had knowledge of the fact that one of the girls seemed to have spent the night at Erza’s.

“You were sleeping so peacefully, I didn’t want to wake you.” Erza says, smiling softly as she tucks strands of the girl’s – Adah’s – disheveled, wild red-gold hair behind her ear.

Scratch that, Natsu thought, spotting some marks on the girl’s exposed neck and hips. She definitely spent the night at Erza’s.

“I-I’m… I’m very sorry, I didn’t know- You have a guest…” Adah trails off, pressing up against Erza as if to hide. Natsu realizes that she probably feels uncomfortable with him looking, so he averts his gaze and pointedly stares at his cup of tea instead.

“Oh, it’s no trouble. He’s a good friend. Natsu-” Erza starts, and this time when Natsu looks up, he makes sure to look at the woman’s face only. Though he also notes that Erza’s hand laid comfortingly, reassuring, on her waist. “This is Adah, she was one of the performers last night. Adah, this is my friend, Natsu. I think he saw your performance too. Didn’t you, Natsu?”

“I did. It’s nice to meet you, Adah.”  he says, with a sincere smile.

“Oh, Land- You’re Prince Dragonil!” Adah squeaks, and this time she does cling to Erza, blushing furiously. “It’s my honor to meet you, Your Highness! Please excuse my-… my appearance, I- Oh, I look like a mess-”

“It’s fine! It’s fine, I promise.” Natsu says, trying to appease. “You and your friends did great last night. It was quite a performance.”

“Thank you! Oh, the girls would be so happy you thought so!” she says, earnest, then she looks at Erza. “I regret I must go back now, though, milady.”

“Now?” Erza’s brows furrow. “You haven’t had anything yet. Would you like some tea before you go? I can have breakfast prepared for you-”

Adah shakes her head. “It’s alright, milady. There would be plenty to eat when I get back. Our caravan leaves at noon. They must be looking for me. I must return before they grow worried.”

Erza looks conflicted, but she nods anyway. “Alright, but you can’t walk around camp like this, let me give you one of my robes. I’ll also have Millianna accompany you-”

Adah’s eyes widen in shock as Erza pulls her back to the bedroom. “Oh, milady, I can’t possibly-”

“Please.” Erza says, voice firm as she cups the young woman’s cheek. “For my peace of mind, sweet one ?”

Natsu’s brows shoot up, recognizing the foreign word – it’s from a distant local dialect, one he knows Erza knew fluently because it is spoken in territories situated in the border of the Dragnov Kingdom, of Belserion, her homeland.

It’s hardly audible, but Natsu catches Adah’s whispered reply, spoken in the same dialect. “ For you, Princess.

Well, now. This is something .

He waits patiently as the women move around in the bedroom, and when they re-emerge, Adah is wearing one of Erza’s simpler robes, her hair now pulled back in a bun on top of her head. Erza tells Natsu that she’ll show Adah to the door, and Natsu could only nod quietly and wave an awkward goodbye to Adah as she bows respectfully to him.

He waits, patient, for Erza to come back.

Well, maybe he isn’t so patient, because he downs a cup of tea bottoms up and pours himself another in an effort to clear his head. That… explains some things.

As soon as Erza comes back, he says, “Okay, if you were worried about sailing away because you have a girlfriend, you should have just told me. We can take her with us on the voyage.”

Erza rolls her eyes in exasperation as she takes her seat across him again. “It’s not what you think it is, Natsu.”

“Of course it isn’t.” he deadpans. “Just like it’s not like you at all to take a pretty girl home because you saw her dance once, and to call her darling and to let her call you princess.”

She looks surprised. “You understood that?”

He shrugs. “We went to fight in those borders once. Had to know a bit of the dialect.”

Erza doesn’t ask him to explain further, and instead she sighs as she pours more tea in her cup. “After the dancing, the caravan girls went to mingle with some of the crowd. Adah sat with the men in the table next to where I was, and… I guess someone had asked her to sing, so she did, and I recognized the song, she was singing in Old Belseri. Um… a dead language, from ancient Belserion. Princess lessons would teach you dead languages, I guess.

“When she was done, I called her to me. You’d already left, and Gajeel had disappeared somewhere. No one dared question it. I asked her where she learned the song, she said she came from this little town on the outskirts of Dragnov. I recognized the name, we talked in dialect. It’s been so long since I did that, I had almost forgotten that I could speak it. I asked her to keep me company, tell me stories from home until it was time for them to leave, and she did, and she stayed even when her friends have retired to their caravan.

“I took her home, away from the cold. I asked about Belserion. She told me about what little news she knows. The Mad Queen’s madder and angrier every day, many people still flee from the capital, the Great Library’s still locked under her spell. But that’s all she could tell me, so I asked her to just tell me old stories again. I know many of them already of course… I just-… I just wanted to hear them told with words that sound like home, you know?”

She takes a sip of her tea, and Natsu stares at his. After a while, he whispers. “I’m sorry.”

“Oh, it’s all fine.” she says with a reassuring smile. “It was a good night.”

He snorts, finding it funny how simple she tried to make it all sound. “Looked like it, too.”

“I simply made it worth her while.” she says, this time with a light blush and an indignant smile. “Shut up, Natsu.”

“I’m not saying anything!” He laughs, lighthearted again. “So I guess between all that, you let it slip that you were a princess? No, better – you were the princess.”

“Actually, she recognized me.” she answers with a hint of amusement. “She’s a smart girl, knew my accent wasn’t as provincial as I tried to make it sound. Also said something about how only pure-blooded Belserion royals have hair this color. I do admit, it is a dead giveaway.”

“And you put it in your name?” he grins.

“And I put it in my name.” she repeats in agreement, because Erza Scarlet might have shed her royal status and her title, but she always owned who she is.

“So… if it’s not your beautiful dancing, singing, story-telling friend Adah…” he ventures again, more careful now. “Are you unsure about sailing away because you want to keep an eye on Belserion from here? You’re worried something may happen to your mother and we would be across the sea on the different continent?”

She looks him in his eyes, and then shakes her head. “You missed a little. I’m not worried for my mother. I’m worried for my Empress and my Emperor. I’m scared that Queen Eileen would try to hurt my new family… and I wouldn’t be here to protect them like I promised.”

“I understand.” he says, pulling up his best, reassuring smile. He meant what he said. He understands, but it still left him feeling a bit shaken. He had thought he would surely have Erza if he only asked – he should have know she has ties in the Empire even heavier than the others had. “Let me know when you decide?”

Erza smiles. “I will.”



Natsu leaves Erza’s house only to stop by another, just a few blocks away, down the same street. He does a quick check, sensing magic inside the house. He knocks on the door first, and because he knows that Gajeel had and will never employ help, he calls out, “It’s Natsu! Open up, Iron-bastard !”

He doesn’t mean the bastard part, not really – but he knows that Gajeel knows that already.

In Vistarion’s tongue, to someone who doesn’t know better, the nickname sounds cruel – it used to be a slur that the other soldiers had taken to calling Gajeel when he was still starting his service, filled with all the callous anger of a jaded man and the bad manners of a foreigner who doesn’t bow to royalty, on top of all his untapped potential. Over the years and as he climbed the ranks, the man had gone to own the name for himself, and nowadays when it’s addressed to him, it is more likely out of respect, adoration, or even endearment. It’s just as well as calling Erza ‘Titania’ .

Just with considerably less grace.

The door slides open to Gajeel Redfox himself, noticeably halfway into getting into his training gear.

Before Natsu could go into the minimal amount of pleasantries that he knew the man could tolerate (‘Good morning, Gajeel, I see you’re heading to the training grounds? Mind if I walk with you?’) , Gajeel huffs and beats him to it.

“No.” the man snaps. Natsu isn’t even aware there was something to be snapping about.

Natsu stops. “…Uh, pardon- I mean, what ?”

A scoff. “I said ‘no’, Your Imperial Royal Prince Highness Ambassador…   or whatever way you’re supposed to be called now.”

Gajeel is always rude, but not always this rude. And sarcastic! Is he in a bad mood? Natsu tilts his head, too much at a loss to be bothered by the utter lack of respect he’s being met with. “Wait. Wait- Please. I’m confused – I’m honestly confused-”

Gajeel rolls his eyes.

“What are you saying ‘no’ to, exactly?”

“I heard from the others- well. From Metallicana, then from Rogue. You’re Ambassador or some shit and you’re going to Fiore to open trade and you’re gathering folks to come with you. You need a local guide? Well, find someone else . Not me, you’re not dragging me back to that continent, My Prince .”

“Oh.” is all Natsu is able to say, nodding. “Alright, then.”

“Right. Are we done now?”

“That… is actually not why I came to you, though?”



Gajeel looks exasperated now as he growls. “What else did you come to me for?!”

“Hey, you don’t get to do that!” Natsu growls back, more petulant than angry. “You’re the one who snapped at me first thing before I could even tell you ‘good morning’, and assuming the wrong things- I did not consider asking you to be a… local guide…? What even is that- Never even crossed my mind to- I wasn’t about to ask you to sail with me or something! I know you’d rather die before you go back to Ishgar, I’ve only listened to you cursing that land so many times while you were drunk and we were stuck together in a camp!”

Well. Gajeel at least had the sense to look ashamed. “…Oh.”

Natsu sighs, scratching his head. “Let’s just… forget ‘bout all that. You were defensive, I get it. Just stop… snapping at me, man. I’m a little shit, but I don’t deserve that.”

Gajeel nods, looking considerably more agreeable this time. “Fine. Sorry for snapping at you. I haven’t had breakfast yet and the first face I see today is your mug.”

A pout. “But I have a nice mug.”

“Yeah, keep tellin’ yourself that.”

“I’m a handsome prince.”

“Of course you are.”

“Grandine said so!”

“Grandine’s half-blind.”

“Still ought to make me half-handsome.”

“That doesn’t make sense and you know it.” Gajeel shakes his head in resignation, but he’s calmer now, and a smile is starting to tug at his lips. “So. Prince Dragonil. How may I serve you today?”

Natsu brushes off the obvious sarcasm and answers him, straightforward. “You were right that it’s something to do with the Ambassador job. I won’t ask you to come sail with me. But I also know Fiore is your homeland. I need to learn a lot of thing before I go, so I was thinking, maybe you can teach me a bit of the language?”

Gajeel looks surprised, but not particularly dismayed by the idea. “You want me… to teach you the language?”

“Yeah! You’re one of four people here who know how to speak it. I don’t want to bother Mavis any more than I already had, Zera’s busy at the temples, and Lady Anna’s still in her sabbatical. I figured I’d ask you.”

“Well… That’s… fine, I guess.” Gajeel says, looking like he’s still not quite sure to what he agreed to, but he shrugs it off. “I do have some free time in the afternoons since Metallicana’s started to have others besides me oversee the soldiers’ training…”

Natsu beams. “It’s just until Lady Anna’s back, I swear. I think we expect her back in two months, but you never know with her, so it may be a bit longer. But when she gets back, I’ll sit in with her instead.”

“Yeah. Yeah, whatever. I don’t… mind.”

“I mean, if you’re my only teacher, I’ll probably sound like a barbarian when I get there. We can’t have that, right?”

Gajeel sneers. “Shut up before I change my mind.”

“So… you gettin’ breakfast?” Natsu asks, now bouncing on his toes, all too used to the other man’s grumpiness. “Can I come with?”

Gajeel scoffs as he finishes with his training outfit and steps out of his house, securing the door behind him. “You sure you don’t prefer breakfast in your royal bedchambers?”

“Aw, no!” As they start walking down the street, Natsu slings an arm around his friend and fellow general’s shoulders. Gajeel is taller, so he ends up halfway between pulling the man down and hanging off him. “I’m a prince of my people!”

“Of course you are- You’re heavy, get off -”

“Me? Heavy? One of the Iron Dragon’s best generals can’t even lift his prince?”

He’s answered with a low growl. “Oh, you asked for it, Your Highness.”

Natsu cackles as Gajeel picks him up and then easily throws him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.



“So… how goes the scouting?” Mavis asks as she sits with Natsu on the palace balcony, the one with a good view of the brilliant, glowing colors of the Vistarion marketplace.

Natsu hums first before replying. “How does Zeref do it?”

“How do I do what?” a deep voice says in answer, and they both turn to see Zeref himself walking towards them. He looks tired, as usual, but he had a fond smile on his face as he eyes two of his favorite people together, enjoying a peaceful afternoon.

“How do you just… order people you care about around? Tell them to just… do this and that? Because I tried, and I couldn’t do it. I just end up asking ‘em nicely.”

Zeref’s smile bares a hint of melancholy as he props his elbows on the railings beside where the other two are sitting – a rare moment of relaxation for the Emperor. “Do you resent me for that?” he asks his brother.

Natsu’s answer is a snort that comes from holding laughter back. “No! Of course not, it’s your job!”

“Stop asking ridiculous questions, my love.” Mavis says with a bemused smile of her own. “Also, won’t  you come join us? You’re missing the wonderful view of the marketplace.”

He blinks. “I am joining you now, aren’t I?”

“No, you’re not.” Natsu says. “This here is the best position for viewing.”

Zeref realizes what they’re saying and chuckles. “I can see the marketplace well enough, thank you.”

Mavis pouts. “Zeref. Just… suck it up and come up here .”


His wife raises an eyebrow now, tilting her head for full effect. “Is the Emperor too good for sitting in the railings?”

“Ooooohhhh…” Natsu jeers, because of course he would always take Mavis’s side.

Zeref sighs and finally concedes. “Fine. I could win wars but I could never win against you both.”

It’s uncomfortable at best, in his heavy robes, but he manages to climb up and settle beside the other two. It must look so unbecoming for His Great Imperial Majesty, sitting on the balcony railings, his legs dangling from the edge. But he had to admit, it indeed provided a better view of the marketplace.

Mavis scoots over to tuck herself to his side, snuggling until she’s comfortable. He wraps an arm around her tightly as she whispers, “Now, watch.”

It’s always a sight to behold, the marketplace at sunset. As the sun sets behind the distant mountains and the sky darkens, the people start lighting up their lanterns and fires, and the simultaneous use of magic adds to the usual colors they are used to seeing. The marketplace lights up, brighter than during any other time in the day, like a jewel shimmering in a sun’s ray. Then slowly, as the people settle back, the lights and colors dim to its usual, though still brilliant, shine.

“I’ll never get tired of seeing that.” Natsu says from Zeref’s other side. He meets his brother’s eye and grins.

“Will you miss it when you leave?” Zeref asks.

Natsu’s nose scrunches up. “Have you eaten anything today? You’ve been askin’ a lot of ridiculous questions.”

Mavis giggles, and Zeref looks at her, betrayed.

“I’ll miss it.” Natsu answers, finally. “But I have a year to watch it, everyday.”

Zeref nods, and reaches out to ruffle Natsu’s hair. “We’ll simply make the most of that year then, little brother.”

Natsu beams. “You bet we will, big brother.”



Chapter Notes:

Our poor baby Natsu’s team’s headcount is still 1. :'( Last chapter next week! Find out what happens in his year of preparations, and how he sails away!

As always, don’t be a stranger – leave a comment or a message bc I’d love to hear what you guys think! 😀

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