Chapter 5: Trust issue
(by Yankee-chan and slightly me)
The next morning, Levy awoke with a start. She felt like she had slept only a few minutes, her eyes were heavy and she felt dizzy. But there was a good reason. She had spent much of the night to think about what she had discovered. She wasn't sure, but the fact that Metalicana could be the monster they had to fight wasn't an option to exclude. And she hadn't spoken to Gajeel yet.
Slowly, she turned toward him. He was still sleeping peacefully and was offering his back to her, hidden under the blanket. If Metalicana was really the one behind everything, she understood his reaction, she also wouldn't have wanted to believe it and would have got annoyed if she had been him. She held out a timid hand and stroke the Dragon Slayer's long black hair with her fingertips, feeling her heart pounding in her chest, making her doubt a little more with each passing second. Should she tell him? It was his father after all! And, if it wasn't him, she would commit a mistake by talking about him. She'd already noticed that he never talked about him, or with a great reluctance and bitterness.
According to what Fiorenzo had said when they were arrived here, the monster which attacked them was hiding in the mountains. If she wanted to be sure, she had to go there first. But she didn't know if it was reasonable to go on her own, or if she should rather stay here wisely. After juggling between the two solutions, she eventually reached a compromise. She had to know in order to talk about it next. So, she would check this morning and go back in time for the lunch. There were too many problems and too many unresolved things that clouded her mind, now it was her turn to solve the problem. She knew that if she would check by herself, it could answer a lot of questions. And if she took the risk to tell Gajeel that she was leaving to check if his father was the monster, he wouldn't let her go and plus he might get angry again. She was tense suddenly... if she found the Dragon... what could she say?! Under the influence of stress, her brain already imagined what kind of weird discussion they could have. Like: ""Good morning mister Dragon, are you alright?" "Yeah, yeah I'm fine, and you?""
Nonsense. She had to watch herself. She stood with a sigh and left the bedroom on tiptoe in order to not wake up Gajeel who seemed to have sweet dreams. She swallowed a very light breakfast, grabbed her bag, gathered a few things and left without a sound, closing the door behind her. She hadn't watch the clock, but it should be less than eight am. The sun was barely rising and there was no one in the streets usually well animated. Levy inspired fully and contemplated the mountains which were dominating everything before her. She didn't know if something was really waiting for her there, but she'd better be prepared mentally. And physically, because the ascension might be difficult. With an irresolute pace, she finally decided to leave, vowing that she would be back as soon as possible to not worry Gajeel. What annoyed her was that her brain wanted her to turn around absolutely, and made her look over her shoulder regularly. She wasn't paranoiac but she slowly began to be.
Strangely, the more she made progress, the more Levy had a bad feeling. It was like the one she was looking for could emerge from anywhere, even if she didn't know exactly how a Dragon looked like, beside it was big, and was possessing wings and a tail. She moved cautiously, principally because the mountain was scattered with crevices and she didn't want to fall inside. And because she didn't want to be lost too, so she was following the trail. Though deep down, she doubted that the Dragon would certainly be on this trail, if he were hiding. Well, she was wrong. Because at the corner of a small rocky point, she found herself nose to nose with Metalicana.
Gajeel finally woke up, blinking due to the sunlight. He stretched his members with a groan and cracked his fingers, feeling completely numb. Despite her short size, Levy was still able to hurt if she wanted to, and his body was feeling it now. He turned and suddenly narrowed his eyes when he saw that Levy wasn't here. It was nearly eleven o'clock, she was probably already up. Deciding to check it, he dressed and opened the bedroom door. But still no one, she wasn't in the house. Why did he have an impression of déjà vu? He sat roughly at the coffee table where Levy's notes were spread, and he didn't even eat, worried, he wasn't hungry and he couldn't stop wondering why the young girl had disappeared. Well, she couldn't be so far, considering the fact they had began to reconcile the day before. She wasn't the kind of girl who could do the same mistake twice... was she?
And that was when, by pure curiosity, he decided to read Levy's notes. Well, if she had been here, they could have talk about it for a while, he didn't know she had made such a progress. He racked his brain for a little while about the firsts puzzles which hadn't been entirely solved, but he didn't find much, rather nothing, and he only succeed to have a headache. Until he saw the last enigma. This one was easy, even an idiot who knew what happened here could understand. Plus Levy's personal notations related to it, the Dragon Slayer found the answer in a record time. His eyes widened, his knuckles slammed on the table and he stuck his nose to the paper, as if he wanted to be sure he hasn't misread. Before he finally realized that the young girl had just understood what he was trying so hard to hide. Fucking shitty book. Right now, it was the only thing that came to his mind.
"FUCK!" Was the only sound he growled so loudly that the walls shook.
Opening the door on a fly, he slammed it as quickly and rushed toward the mountain, an insidious fear starting to rise onto him. If Metalicana saw her, he knew what he would do to her. And it wouldn't be nice to see. So he was praying that it wasn't too late as he ran even faster, pushing his legs to the maximum.
To tell the truth, Levy didn't found herself exactly nose to nose (or to muzzle) with the Dragon. She had saw him from afar, after she had turned around a big pile of rocks, and she immediately stepped backward. During the first second, she'd wondered: "what's this strange rock?" before the reality hit her hard. Now she was crouching behind a rocky wall, her hands on her mouth, her eyes widened, her face bright red, her heart pounding and her whole body shaking. She couldn't think anymore, except about the gigantic animal she just saw. When she finally managed to calm down after the multiple minutes of total panic, she glanced timidly at the creature from her hiding place.
Apparently he was asleep, she had been lucky to not have been located. She could see his body rising slowly with each breath, making the ground slightly shake. Levy swallowed hard, her eyes locked on the huge beast before her who was at least fifteen times her size. It was like his whole body was covered with embedded metal plates, and it was probably the case considering how the sun was shining on him. Despite her shaking legs, the young girl managed to get closer, an unsatisfied curiosity drowning her fear and the reality around her. She couldn't believe her eyes. Metalicana, Gajeel's father, the one who had raised him and taught him magic, was in front of her. Hypnotized, she approached again, so close that she could touch him if she wanted to. And she wanted to. So, although she was shaking, she reached out her hand.
Gajeel was running, panicking more and more with each step, all his thoughts flying toward the young girl. And he was praying. Praying that it wasn't too late. If he found her dead, he would never forgive himself, never recover. He already imagined himself bringing her corpse to Fairy Tail, having to face every reproachful glare accusing him to not having been able to protect her. He shook his head violently, chasing those horrible flashes and he nearly tripped. Then he accelerated again, following the blue haired girl's smell.
Levy wasn't aware of what she was doing anymore. The only thing she could perceive was her frantic heartbeats and her hand which was getting closer ad closer with each second of the Dragon's neck which was almost her size. Strangely she thought that Dragons had horns on their head obligatory. Metalicana hadn't, instead he had a long refined head and a weird pattern around his eyes. His wings were strange too. Folded against his body, made of enormous metal plates attached to one another, they probably allowed him to fly and cut, considering their thinness. He must have an immense strength to be able to lift them and beat the air with to fly, she didn't know how he could do this. But that wasn't the most interesting for her. Without thinking, marveled, she softly laid her hand on the Dragon's neck, feeling instantly a great warmth irradiate from him and the vibrations ran through her fingers. She nearly felt his breath circulate inside. And now she was paralyzed by her emotions. She was currently touching a Dragon, one of the legendary creatures, which never appeared to humans, surrounded by mystery. Everyone thought they were unreal and gone! And Levy, she had one right before her eyes.
He was running. He was breathless but he kept his pace. Jumping over the crevices and the ditches, climbing up the rocks, he never stopped. With each painful heartbeat pounding a measure extremely fast, only one word was ringing on his head: "Levy". Why was she gone? What did she think to do exactly? Lost in an ocean of questions, he still continued, he had to.
Her hand still glued to the Dragon's neck who didn't move yet, Levy's brain was boiling. She didn't think anymore, she didn't hear anymore, she was completely dominated by her emotions. But now that her curiosity had been satisfied, her sense of reason resumed its influence, followed closely by the panic. What the heck was she doing there?! Her eyes widened as she realized her imprudence, she broke away and stepped back abruptly. Why had she done that? She just risked her life! She didn't absolutely know how he could have react if he had woken up. She had to go back. Now. And talk with Gajeel. Absolutely.
She walked backward, not daring to remove her eyes from the Dragon or turn her back on him. And that was her biggest mistake. Because she didn't see his tail. She tripped on it, causing a deafening noise, as if she'd rattled saucepans, not to mention the echo. She fell and couldn't contain a yelp which rang high around her. And Metalicana awoke. Before she even hit the ground, before she could understand anything, she found herself pressed against the stone by the Dragon's tail which had risen at a terrifying speed to strike her. Levy was in such a pain that she gagged every time she tried to breath and only managed to emit small miserable gasps. With difficulty she looked up and found the Dragon's red eyes. Gajeel's. But colder, more sadistic, suspicious and dangerous. She might not know a lot about animals, but she knew what this glare meant. She had woken him, he felt threatened and he was ready to attack. He might be a Dragon, a conscious and highly clever animal, able to speak and mastering the magic, he was nevertheless an animal with a defensive instinct. Before she could even open the mouth to apologize softly for having trample on him, he retracted his tail, causing it to fall heavily on the ground. Her heart stopped beating before renewed vigor when he roared so loudly that she felt like her body would explode with such a distortion. She was terrified, this monster was going to kill her, she had no chance against him. What could she do when she was barely taller than his fangs? She should never come here, her bad feeling was confirmed now. She needed help, quick. But Gajeel wasn't here, like an idiot she had left without warning him or telling him because she'd thought she would be back quickly. No, she wouldn't come back quickly, she wouldn't probably come back at all. A sleeping Dragon was easy to stand, but an awakened and angry Dragon was another story! She was paralyzed again, by fear this time. She didn't know what to do, or how to defend herself. She didn't even understand what was happening. Her brain just wanted to disconnect.
And that was when Metalicana rose one of his huge front paw. He was going to strike her, grind her, push her into the ground, crushed her. And Levy, she remained immobile, her legs refused to carry her. And it was just now precisely, when she realized that the Dragon was going to kill her, that she saw her life passed before her eyes. She always had believed that the expression "see her life flashing before her eyes" was only intended to enrich a description in a book, and she didn't think it could really happen. Apparently it could, she was living it right now. Everything she hadn't had the time to do or tell also came onto her memory. So she closed her eyes and waited that death reaped her, she couldn't do anything else.
The Dragon was currently dropping his paw toward her at a such speed that during this short time she felt the pressure he was generating on the air around her. She had the impression she was already crushed. Clenching her teeth she was waiting the pain, knowing perfectly she couldn't run away. It was over.
Only one second was separating her from the death, and however so many thing were still happening! At the same time, her heartbeat increased again when she felt someone pulling her violently from behind. She fell on the ground a few meters away, before she automatically raised her head to see her savior. She shouldn't have done this. Because Gajeel became literally crushed with an horrible sound under his own father's paw. Instead of her. Levy screamed and rushed toward her friend, before the Dragon turned toward her with a threatening glare. The earth suddenly shook under her, and she got shot by a sort of iron pillar resembling Gajeel's, which pierced the ground and sent her back to where she came from. Groaning she curled on herself, completely disoriented. She was expecting the Dragon to removed suddenly his paw with an horrified look and to apologize, but she was disappointed. Because, on the contrary, the creature crushed him harder, increasing the pressure, making the Dragon Slayer growl as this one was trying to catch his breath and was glaring ferociously at his father who did the same. A parent wasn't supposed to act like this with his son! What was his problem? She didn't understand anything. Except that Metalicana clearly intended to crush him.
Finally realizing what was happening, Levy reacted instantly. She stood, grabbed her pen and invoked her magic. Great mistake.
"Solid Script: Fire!"
The letters took their form at an incredible speed, and in a quick motion the young girl threw them toward the Dragon's head, just before Gajeel screamed a warning, fighting violently to get free.
She had no time to cancel her spell. An enormous deflagration shook the mountain and the Dragon Slayer and his father disappeared behind a huge could of smoke. At least she's managed to hit him. Yes, except he hadn't moved an inch.
Suddenly, Metalicana's head emerged from the smoke and rushed toward her with a whistle. It crashed on her with violence and sent her flying a tens of meters away with a thud, follow by Gajeel's shouts who was beating his father's paw to free himself. When she felt the shock, Levy barely managed to scream with all the pain running through her body. She felt like she had been hit by a car at full speed and she curled on herself, spitting blood before she even reached the ground. And then she felt herself being caught and she was violently pressed against something warm and hard before she fell on the earth. She opened her eyes with difficulty, fearing what she would see and uttering sharp terrified pants. Why did Gajeel's father react such violently? By the way, it was the Dragon Slayer who had caught her after he'd got free and he'd amortized her fall. But he wasn't unscathed. His right shoulder was covered in blood and cut rather deeply. So it was assumed that Metalicana's claws could cut. And not slightly.
Even before she thanked him, even before he could realize, even before they could get up, the Dragon was on them. In a swipe and in two movements, they were broken apart and this time it was the young girl who was trapped under the Dragon's paw, almost suffocating under the weight he was posing on her. She didn't dare to move, fearing that she could slash a member. Then the Metalicana turned toward Gajeel, a strangely familiar green halo surrounding him. Magic. Without a sound, without an incantation, simply growling, he sent the Dragon Slayer against a rocky wall with such a violence it cracked. And oddly he remained stuck there like he was attracted by a magnet. The young girl felt she would give up soon. She already saw little stars dancing behind her eyes and she felt horribly wrong. It was a chance that she wasn't bleeding that much with all she had got through.
"Let her go!" Gajeel suddenly yelled as he fight to get free but without succeed, he still remained fixed to the stone.
The Dragon turned his attention on him, showing a vicious sadistic smirk letting his fangs appearing before he declared:
"And if I refuse to do so?"
It was the first time that Levy heard his voice. A cold voice, a low growl which could make anyone shiver and which was filled with only disdain, hatred and sadism, nothing else.
"She had nothing to do with it, let her go ! Now!"
Levy tried to protest. She didn't want to leave her friend here when he was clearly in danger.
"No. This vermin shouldn't have approached me, it got what it deserved." (AN: the "it" here is referring to Levy since Metalicana degrades the humans)
While the Dragon Slayer's voice was hissing with anger, his father's was very calm, serious and even joyful.
"Still the same huh? Diminishing everyone as if they were fucking inferior beings."
Ignoring the danger and furious, Gajeel spat this words on his face with a so heinous look that even the young girl adverted his eyes. And she was slightly embarrassed too. She felt like she was in the middle of a family dispute. Especially that, incidentally, it was her who had caused it by awakening the nice daddy.
"I'm not diminishing everyone. Only humans. Those things don't deserve magic or knowledge and even less the acknowledgment some of us seem to give them. I don't see why I should lower myself to their level."
The worst part of those words, it was that they seemed sincere. And Metalicana took a mean pleasure and was enjoying the situation and the fact they couldn't do anything against him. Levy was completely lost, weren't the Dragons supposed to be on the human's side, like Natsu always said? Terrified, she decided however to get into the discussion.
"Hey!!! He's your son, isn't he?! How can you say that?" She screamed in tears.
The Dragon didn't even bother to glance at her, maybe he wouldn't answer too, after what he just said about the humans. But after a short while, he finally dropped an answer with a cold and cruel voice which hurt her maybe as much as it had to hurt Gajeel.
"This is where you're wrong, vermin. I never considered it as such. It's only a nobody, and I only wasted my time with it."
"And you're just a fucking selfish bastard!" the Dragon Slayer suddenly burst with anger. He wouldn't let the Dragon insult him and remain silent.
As he pronounced those words, the green halo reappeared around him and a ray burst from his jaws to hit the iron mage with such a strength that the young girl shook. Under the violence of the shock, the rock behind the Dragon Slayer exploded, drowning his cry of pain and the young girl's in a deafening noise, making the snow on the top burst. And when the dust had cleared away by the wind, Gajeel was collapsed, lifeless on the ground. And Levy really began to cry. Metalicana was too strong, they lost, and it was because of her. Because she hadn't say anything and had gone to try to solve a family business that didn't concern her. The Dragon, who heard her sobs, pressed his paw even harder, making her suffocate for real this time and condemning her to suffer in silence.
"You... bastard... LET HER GO!" Gajeel screamed.
He rose with difficulty, nearly falling back on his knees twice, keeping his head up anyway. He had run away the last time, it wouldn't happen again. He would fight and face him until the end. So he ignored the pain and launched himself toward the Dragon who took an amused expression, sneering coldly. Gajeel invoked his magic which surrounded his arm, and without even an hesitation, he threw himself on him.
"Iron Dragon's Club!"
"Don't make me laugh! You'd never been able to touch me!"
The iron mage could be fast, but it wasn't enough. Metalicana relaxed his neck and struck like a snake, biting furiously Gajeel's already shattered arm covered with iron. In another motion of the neck, he sent him back to the earth, hastening to immobilize in the same way as Levy.
But it didn't stop Gajeel. He was really enraged after what his father had said. His pride had taken a blow for the second time since they'd began this fucking mission, now he was done. Maybe Metalicana had raised him, but this time he would spit him on his face the words he had contained for all those years.
"If I was a such burden for you, why didn't you let me die then?!"
"No idea. Maybe I should have do so. A weakling like you wasn't very useful. I tried do solve this problem two days ago, and I thought I had succeed but apparently I was wrong. I think I'm going to fix that now."
""Useful"? So I was right, you didn't educate me by soul goodness!"
"Of course I didn't. Igneel, Grandeeney, and many others... their name became famous when they suddenly decided to took humans with them and taught them magic. Why them? Before this event, I everyone knew my name, for the good or bad things I've done. But then they forgot me, they considered me as less strong than those weaklings, and it really pissed me off. Then someday, you came to me. So be it, I raised you, taught you magic, like they did with their humans, even if in the end you showed you were a complete limited, stubborn and rebellious incapable."
At this precise moment, Gajeel's expression was completely dejected. Levy knew it, she had done the same, had felt the same as him at this moment, except that for her, she had felt it two days ago. But unlike the Dragon Slayer, she was sad for him. Of course he had been sad for her too, but not immediately. In a way, it was just his reward, Metalicana had been as horrible as he had been, except that Gajeel had though the half of what he'd said. And the story repeated itself. How ironic.
"Tell me why you've gone."
It wasn't a question, neither a request, and neither an order. He just had dropped this sentence like this, hoping certainly an answer, but knowing he wouldn't have it.
"I don't have to tell you, it's not your business." The Dragon simply declared as he straightened above them suddenly.
Gajeel looked down, he knew he was defeated, he knew he was going to disappear. Metalicana never had mercy for anyone, he was just a fucking selfish being. He didn't react more than that when a kind of a green smoke emanated from the Dragon's mouth and when a long growl shook his body. Levy wanted to speak, scream, shout him to react, ask him what was going on, completely distraught and disoriented, but she hadn't enough air in her lungs, and a muffled hiccup replaced her words.
When the Dragon's jaws parted, she didn't need an answer anymore, he was going to shoot. Like before, except that this time, the ray would be more powerful, she felt it. She had seen Natsu used a Dragon Roar once, and she knew its power. Knowing that Metalicana had managed to destroy their hotel in the same way, she knew it would be mighty and devastating. Except that now, Gajeel couldn't protect her and there was no wall to block the attack. They were going to be struck at full strength, helplessly, unable to fight.
For the last time, they stared at each other. For the last time, their eyes locked. The last thing they saw was the other's face. Before a green light along with an excruciating pain overwhelmed them and they forgot everything, even their names. And both of them sank into darkness.