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Dawn of Arcadia

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Story cover/Artwork drawn by Iceiclesified/Iceikory

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A gentle wind blowing across his face. Rays of light shining onto his eyelids. And his hand placed over a red scabbard.

These are the first things a man with messy black hair noticed when he woke up from his sleep. He groans as he slowly rose up from his bed and removes the sheets. Noticing that his vision is groggy, the man proceeds to rub his eyes. But after giving a few rubs, the man lowers his hands and notices the tears on his fingers. He sighs before wiping off the tears that are still brimming in his eyes.

"The same dream…again…" He murmured.

The man turns his head to the drawer beside him and picks up a pair of glasses. After cleaning the lenses of his glasses with his white shirt, he puts them on and lets out a heavy yawn. He turns around and prepares to get out of-


"AAHHH!" The man yelled in surprise as he fell back down on his bed. With his eyes widened, all traces of his drowsiness disappeared in an instant. As he lifts himself up from his bed once more, the man adjusts his glasses to see a familiar brown-eyed woman leaning forward and gazing back at him with her hands placed at the sides of her hip and a warm smile plastered across her face. Her black hair is tied to a messy ponytail by a pink ribbon and she is dressed in light violet robes with a white tube top underneath, a pink sash, black pants and light violet boots. The woman gave Darren a lopsided smirk as she watches her dumbfounded friend in amusement.

After silently staring at her…assets for a few moments, Darren murmured as he sheepishly turns his head away from her, "Ohayo, Sheena."

"Rise and shine, kiddo." Sheena said, standing up straight. "It's time to go to work."

Sheena hums merrily to herself as she leans against the wall of their apartment building, waiting for Darren to get ready for another day of work. A few moments later, the door beside her opened, revealing her friend who is now dressed in a sleeveless black jacket with a white tank top underneath, a silver cross necklace around his neck, black gloves with silver plating, blue jeans, two black belts with silver buckles strapped around his waist, black kneepads and black boots.

After closing the door behind him, Darren nodded to Sheena and the two stroll their way through the town of Underwood.

Located at the eastern edge of Fiore, Underwood is a border town that was more remote than any other city and town in the country. It is small but lively. Most of the buildings are two-floor apartments and along the road is a huge marketplace where several people are walking through the area and standing around the stalls, examining the items that are on sale. Some of the merchants sat under the awnings of their stalls while others are shouting and encouraging any potential customers to buy whatever they are selling. Further south of the town was a cluster of mountains, located along the borders of Fiore and Bosco, its neighboring country.

"Good morning Darren and Sheena!" One of the merchants greeted as she spots Darren and Sheena passing by her stall.

"Hello Mickey!" Darren replied, smiling warmly at the merchant as he and Sheena turn to her.

"Ohayo Chickentiger-san!" Sheena said, bowing her head. A small bird on Mickey Chickentiger's head chirped at the two. Sheena chuckled. "Ohayo Pii-chan."

"Hey Pii-chan." Darren said, waving his hand at the bird. "How's business lately, Mickey?"

"It's alright, I guess." Mickey shrugged. She looks down at the products that she displayed at the front of her stall. The products are mostly combat gloves, bandages and a couple of weapons. "I just wish more people who are interested in magic and hand-to-hand combat would often come to this town so that they can check out what products I have for sale."

"Why not try selling them at a bigger city like Magnolia? They attract a lot of mages, so I'm sure your business will do better there." Sheena implied.

"Funny you mention that place." Mickey said, scratching her chin. "Pii-chan and I were originally from Magnolia. But while I don't wish to talk much about it, let's say some bad things happen to me over there and that's what made me left. I never return there ever since."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Darren said apologetically.

"Nah, it's alright." Mickey reassured him with a smile.

"Do you ever think about how things are doing back in Magnolia right now?" Darren asked.

"Aside knowing that the town was invaded 2 years ago, sometimes." Mickey said.

"And you gotta have a reason to revisit your past." Sheena said flatly to Darren.

"For me, I wish I know how I got here in the first place." Darren said to her. There was a moment of awkward silence between the two and Mickey. The merchant took the moment to contemplate what Darren and Sheena had just said before finally breaking the silence.

"Now then, are you two just going to stand around or head to work?" Mickey asked.

"Oh right!" Darren realized aloud. "Come on, Sheena. Let's go!"

"Hai." Sheena responded.

"Bye Mickey! Bye Pii-chan!" Darren said as he and Sheena wave goodbye to Mickey and her bird.

"Take care of yourselves!" Mickey said to them as she waves her hand back. Pii-chan chirps in response.

Despite still being rather early in the morning, the town's restaurant is already filled with many customers. Most of them came to have their breakfast while others are also sitting around and drinking away the morning.

"Thank you very much. Please wait patiently for your order to arrive." Darren said as he writes down the orders on a notepad. He turns around, walks away from the table and goes into the kitchen.

While there is certainly life and joy erupting in the dining area, there is a completely different atmosphere happening in the kitchen. The cooks are busy walking around and standing at the stoves, preparing the food for the customers and filling up the workplace with a mixture of steam, smoke and various aromas arising from their cooking and the ingredients.

"Orders for table 15." Darren said as he tears out the page from the notepad and hands it to a tall and overweight bald man dressed in a white hat, a white apron with a purple shirt and tan pants underneath it and brown shoes. The man snatches it from Darren's hand and glares at him.

"Got it." The man said flatly. "And Darren?"

"Yes, Mr. Maroro?" Darren asked with a nervous frown.

"I'm docking your pay again."

"What? Why?" Darren asked incredulously.

"You um…been showing up late to work recently."

"But I have always been coming here few minutes before-"

"Are you going to make excuses or get back out there and fill up the customers' orders?!"

Seeing the scowl on Maroro's face, Darren flinched and sighed inwardly. "Understood, sir." He mumbled.

"Get back to work." Maroro muttered before turning around and walking back to his workstation.

Darren turns around and heads to the door. As he opens it, a waiter comes in while carrying a pile of dirtied plates. Darren moves out of the way to allow him to enter. The waiter walks over to the sinks where Sheena is standing behind and places the plates at the side. Without a word, the waiter walks away, causing Sheena to pout and folds her arms.

"Sheena, we need these dishes cleaned up." Sheena said to herself as she rolls her eyes back. She grins and bows down. "Thank you very much for your help."

"You're welcome." Darren added, smiling at her. Sheena chuckled at him as she stood up. She turns to the sinks and return to cleaning the dishes.

As Darren reenters the dining area, the entrance to the restaurant opened. He looks up and sees four figures entering the place.

"Ah! I am so happy we finally found a good place to eat and relax after an entire week of travelling!" One of them cried in relief with a huge grin on his face. He is a lean and muscular young man with pink spiky hair, black eyes and wears a white scarf around his neck, a sleeveless black jacket, a black wristband around his left wrist, a brown belt with a silver round buckle, a black waistcoat, white pants, and black sandals.

"Aye!" A small anthropomorphic blue cat with large white wings on his back said in agreement as he walks alongside the man.

"I gotta agree with Natsu and Happy. My feet are killing me." A young woman who walked alongside the man said, slouching over with her arms drooped at her sides. She has long blonde hair, tied to a side ponytail by a blue ribbon, chocolate brown eyes and wears a sleeveless white shirt with blue outlines and a large horizontal blue stripe across the top section, a blue skirt, a brown belt and black boots. Attached onto the belt is a ring of gold and silver keys and a black whip.

"You guys should be more like Gray, Wendy and Carla. While they are still out in town stocking up our supplies and continuing our search, you guys are already out of energy shortly after our arrival." Another young woman chided the three. She has brown eyes, long dark red hair and dressed in a sleeveless white blouse, a blue ribbon around the collar, a blue skirt and black boots.

"Well, you know me. The flames inside me are constantly burning my calories away." Natsu grinned as he places his hand on his abdomen.

"I still feel gross just hearing that." The blonde-haired woman moaned.

As the four go over to an empty table and take their seats, Darren looks around and sees the other patrons in the restaurant talking to each other as they glance at the newest visitors. He can tell that just by their presence alone, they had already garnered a lot of attention.

"Hey!" Darren yelped as a waiter places his hand on his shoulder. "Don't just there. Give them their menus and take their order."

Darren dumbly nods his head as the waiters hands him a few menus. "Sorry, it's just that these four are quite…popular." Darren said.

"Of course they are. They're Fairy Tail, the number 1 guild in all of Fiore. Who has not heard of them?" The waiter said. Darren silently stares back at him for a few seconds before the waiter snorted. "Seriously? Do you live in a well or something? Now go attend to them!"

Darren nods his head again before he and the waiter went their separate ways. Darren walks over to the four and hands them the menus.

"Welcome to Salziger Spitoon. We hope you will find what you would like to eat here." Darren greeted them.

"Thank you very much." The red-haired woman smiled at Darren. She turns to Natsu who stares at Darren for a moment before a smirk takes form on his face. He opens the menu and looks down at it.

"We should order food for Gray, Wendy and Carla too while they are still outside." The blonde-haired woman said.

"Good idea Lucy. I bet Gray just wants something cold again." Natsu said.

"Haha, very funny."

"Huh?" Natsu turns around and to his surprise; he sees a muscular young man with dark blue eyes, messy black hair and is only dressed in a silver cross necklace around his neck, a silver bracelet around his right wrist, a light brown belt with a silver buckle, dark green pants and black boots. "Gray, what the hell are you doing here?!"

"What does it look like, charcoal-for-a-brain?" Gray replied, arching a brow in annoyance at Natsu. "Wendy, Carla and I are here to join you for breakfast."

"You take that back, ice breath!" Natsu snapped as he gets up and jabs an accusing finger at Gray's chest. As the two boys growled menacingly at each other, Lucy and Erza shake their heads.

"How goes the search?" The red-haired woman asked two other figures standing beside Gray. One of them is a small girl with brown eyes and long dark blue hair, tied to two ponytails with red ribbons. She is dressed in a sleeveless dark green dress, gold bands around her upper arms and dark red sandals. The other is a small anthropomorphic white cat with eyelashes and large white wings on her back. She is dressed in a yellow long-sleeved blouse with a pink ribbon around its collar, a dark red skirt and another pink ribbon wrapped around the end of her tail.

"Sorry Erza." The blue-haired girl said apologetically as she shakes her head. "I couldn't detect the one we are looking for at the marketplace."

"It may take a while. But at least we know he is somewhere in this town." The white cat said.

"It's alright, Wendy and Carla." The red-haired woman, now known as Erza, said. As Natsu and Gray continue arguing with each other, Erza narrows her eyes as she turns to them and slams her fist on the table.

"IF YOU TWO DON'T QUIET DOWN, I WILL BEAT YOU TWO TO A BLOODY PULP!" Erza suddenly roared, causing everyone present in the dining area including Natsu, Gray and Darren to yelp.

Natsu and Gray tremble in fear as they slowly get into their seats. Wendy and Carla also sat down along with the rest of the group.

Lucy sighs heavily and turns to Darren who is still standing at their table, looking shell-shocked. "We're so sorry for the commotion, sir. These things happen to us all the time." She said apologetically.

"I-I-I-It's okay…" Darren struggled to say as he shook. "I am still waiting for your orders though."

"Right." Lucy said as she looks back at the menu. "I'll have bacons and eggs."

"I'll have a beef burger and fries, please!" Natsu said to Darren with a grin.

"I'll take pancakes with butter and maple syrup." Erza smiled at Darren.

"Scrambled eggs." Gray simply said with a nod of his head.

"I want waffles." Wendy said.

"Salmon!" Happy shouted cheerfully.

"What he said." Carla shrugged.

Darren wrote down their orders on his notepad before looking back at them. "Alright, please wait patiently for your food to arrive. Thank you very much for choosing Salziger Spitoon." He bowed to them before he grabs the menus, turns around and hurriedly walks back to the kitchen.

As the guild watched him depart, Erza narrows her eyes and turns to Natsu. "Natsu, are you sure it is him?" She asked solemnly.

Natsu nods his head in response. "Aye."

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful for Sheena and Darren. They continued working normally for hours until it is time for their afternoon break. They leave the restaurant and head to the apartment building at the other side. Sheena and Darren manage to climb up to the rooftop thanks to their skills, sat down and each ate a loaf of bread. They spent the rest of their break time conversing with each other.

"UGH! It's so obvious that he's using your hard-earned money to gamble again! That filthy pig." Sheena said irritably, gritting her teeth.

"I felt the same way..." Darren's eyes softened. "But then again, where else can we go if we lose this job?"

Sheena sighs heavily before turning to Darren. "By the way, you were at the dining area at the time. What was that loud yell earlier?" She inquired.

"Oh well, it came from a guild that visited the restaurant this morning. If I remember correctly, they're called Fairy Tail." Darren explained. He still couldn't believe that he had just met the members of Fairy Tail this morning. Sheena had told him before that guilds are groups formed by mages which they can join and work together to earn money by accepting requests from civilians and government officials throughout the country. But he never thought of meeting the most powerful guild of them all today.

"I see." Sheena narrows her eyes.

"Is it true they are the number 1 guild in Fiore?" Darren asked.

Sheena lies down on the rooftop with a hand placed on the back of her head. A wide smile takes form on her face as she replied, "Yup, everybody knows that, including me."

"You told me about guilds but you never told me about Fairy Tail. Why?" Darren asked.

"Because I never wanted to." Sheena said bluntly.

"Why not?" Darren asked.

"Sheesh. Being awfully curious today huh?" Sheena arches a brow at him. She gets back up in a sitting position and replied, "Well, no matter what, I don't want you to get too interested in joining a guild. Sure it sounds fun, but you gotta remember. Only mages can form or join a guild. But you don't have any magic inside you at all."

"That's true." Darren said, lowering his head.

"Fortunately, thanks to my training, you know how to do sword fighting with that katana of yours. That alone is already enough to help you survive out here. Right?" Sheena asked.

"Yeah." Darren responded.

"You still don't remember how you got here, don't you?" Sheena asked.

"No. I don't. I also still don't understand why I'm seemingly the only person here who doesn't have magic." Darren said.

"Hey, don't worry. I'm sure your memories will come back." Sheena said before placing her hand on his shoulder. "Things always come naturally, don't they?"

Darren turns to Sheena and smiled at her. "I'm glad to have you around, Sheena." He said.

Sheena responded with a wan smile, "Me too."

Darren and Sheena leave the restaurant after a long day of work. By the time they had finished work, it was already 9:30 pm. The two sigh wearily as not only did Darren's payment get docked again, but also that they have little time for rest as soon as they return home and before another day of work comes again by sunrise.

When they arrive back at their apartment, Darren and Sheena took turns to use the bathroom to change into their nightclothes and brush their teeth. When they are done, they are ready to tuck themselves in for the night. Sheena follows Darren to his room and watches him lie down on his bed and gets under the blanket.

"Sleep well. Tomorrow's going to be another rough day, I'm sure." Sheena said as she stood at the doorway.

"You too." Darren replied.

Sheena gave him a final smile before she turns around and closes the door. Darren stares up at the ceiling and closes his eyelids. Before he knew it, he has fallen asleep.

Darren moans as he woke up, lying on a grassy field. His vision was groggy at first, but he managed to lift his head up and rubs his eyes. When his vision became clearer, Darren widens his eyes and adjusts his glasses. He gets up from the grass and stood up, looking around his surroundings in awe.

He realized that he is standing in the middle of a grassy field in a park. There are very few people strolling through the area and paid no attention to him. There are also several buildings that form a street in the distance and behind the metal fences that lined the boundaries of the park.

Darren snaps out of his thoughts when he felt a rubber ball gently knocked against his right leg. He turns his head and looks down. Sure enough, he sees the ball, but what also caught his eyes is a red scabbard in front of his feet. Shortly after picking up the ball, a small boy scampers over and Darren looked at him.

"That's my ball, sir." The boy said as he extends out his hands.

"Kid? Where am I?" Darren asked the boy.

"You don't know? You're in Underwood." The boy replied.

"Underwood?" Darren said dumbfounded.

"Yup. Now can I have my ball?" The boy asked. Darren nods his head before handing the ball over to the child. "Thank you!" The boy smiled at him before turning around and running off.

Darren looks back to his front, feeling perplexed as several questions began hatching inside his mind. Aside from the name of the place, he has no idea where he is and how he got here. Oh and why is there a scabbard in front of him too.

Looking back down at the scabbard, Darren picks it up and holds it firmly in his hand. He looks back up and begins walking his way to the town. Hopefully he will get some answers from the townspeople.

Darren looks around in awe as he strolls through the town. The place does look beautiful and each building is built differently and has its own personality from one another. He walks through the marketplace and sees the fruits, vegetables and other groceries that are displayed at the front of the food stalls. As he felt his stomach grumble, only did Darren now realize that he hadn't eaten anything ever since he first arrived to this strange place. While still holding onto the scabbard, Darren inserts his other hand into one of his pockets, but he couldn't feel anything. He inserts his hand into the other pocket, but-

While Darren was trying to find a single cent on him, he didn't look what was in front of him while he was walking and he accidentally bumps into someone's back. Darren looks up as he came to a halt. He widens his eyes as he sees a tall man standing in front of him. The man turns around and frowns at Darren in annoyance. He looks muscular has green spiky hair. Standing behind him are two other men, one's hair is straightened up to a pink Mohawk and the other has long blue hair, tied to a ponytail and wears sunglasses.

"Hey, do you even know where you are going?" The green-haired man muttered to Darren.

"I'm sorry, sir." Darren said apologetically to him.

"Pay up." The man gave a terse reply.

"Huh?" Darren said incredulously.

"Are you dumb? Pay up!" The man yelled furiously.

"But I don't have any-"

To his shock, Darren gets cut off when the man swings his fist, punching him across his left cheek. The other people in the marketplace saw this, but unfortunately none of them are brave enough to help Darren and stand against the three muscular men. All they could do is watch in fear and worry.

"In case you didn't know, we owned this town! And if you show disrespect to us, you have to pay for your actions in cash! NOW DO IT!" The man yelled again.

"I'm sorry, sir!" Darren cried, looking back at the man and trying to reason with him. "I really don't have any money with me and-"

The man responded by throwing a punch to Darren's gut. Darren gasped in pain before falling on his knees.

"You are really stubborn, you know that?!" The man barked at Darren. The other two thugs standing behind him chuckled. "Now pay up or else-"

"Whoa, whoa, guys. What's going on here?"

Darren and the three men turn their heads in confusion and see Sheena walking over to them with her hands placed at the back of her head.

"Huh?" Darren managed to choke out while still kneeling down on the floor in pain.

As Sheena places herself between Darren and the three men, she smirked at the green-haired man as she lowers her arms and places her hands at the sides of her hip.

"I overheard you saying that you owned this town? Give me a break." Sheena rolls her eyes. "With those silly hairstyles and the clothes you wear, you can't even intimidate a curily."

The three men grimaced at Sheena, infuriated by her comments.

"You got a lot of nerve, scum." The green-haired man said icily to Sheena as he clenches his fists. He yells as he swings his fist at Sheena. The woman simply dodges it by turning to the side. The man swings his other fist, trying to hit Sheena again. But the woman backs away to avoid his attack.

The woman gave him a mocking yawn, angering the man. The man swings his leg up, trying to give a massive kick to Sheena. However, Sheena moves to the side and wraps her arm around his leg. The man widens his eyes in shock before Sheena gave a twist to his leg.

"AAAAHHHH!" The man screams in agony as he fell to the ground. Sheena releases his now injured leg and the man clings onto it in huge amounts of pain.

"Why you…" The pink-haired man charges at Sheena and throws his fist at her. Sheena ducks down, turns around and grabs the man's arm. To his surprise, the man helplessly watched Sheena gets up, yanks his arm and tosses him over her shoulder. As the man slams onto the floor beside Darren and with a hard thud, Sheena stomps her foot onto his face.

The remaining man growls as he magically summons a metal pipe in his hand. Darren widens his eyes in shock and horror. Shock came from the fact that the man can magically summon an object in his hand and horror from the fact that he is about to attack the woman from behind.

As the blue-haired man yells and charges over to her, Sheena whirled about and swings her leg up.


The man cringed in pain and drops his pipe as Sheena's foot made contact with the bottom of his crotch. Sheena lowers it and throws her other leg at him, delivering a massive kick to his abdomen. The eyewitnesses quickly move aside as the kick sends the man sprawling through the floor.

Sheena lowers her leg and lets out a sigh of disappointment. She looks down at her fallen opponents, still lying on the ground in pain or in an unconscious state. She shakes her head and remarked, "Why do you guys even bother?"

As the people around them continue strolling through the marketplace as if they hadn't seen anything, Sheena began to make her departure.

"Wait!" Darren cried to her. Sheena stopped and turns her head to him. As his pain had faded away, Darren gets up from the floor and nods his head. "Thank you."

"Nah, you don't need to thank me. I was just bored and looking for people to bother." Sheena said nonchalantly. As she turns back to the front and tries to walk away again, Darren spoke up.

"Wait, ma'am. I hope you don't mind helping me once again but…I really don't know where I am and I have no money with me." Darren said.

"If you don't have any money, just go get a job. Simple as that." Sheena shrugged.

"But I don't know where to go next either." Darren added. "And I don't know what jobs you can do here."

Sheena sighs heavily again. She turns back to him with an arched brow and places her hands at the sides of her hip. "You keep saying that you don't know. Are you alright?"

"I think…and at the same time, no." Darren frowned as he looks down at his scabbard and tightens his grip on it.

Sheena stares wordlessly at Darren for a few moments. She hadn't seen this man around in this town before and despite being taller and perhaps slightly older than her, he has absolutely no clue on what's going on around him. Is he an amnesiac? If so, if he were to be left out here alone with no money and no one to turn to, he wouldn't survive out in the open for even a day. Sheena felt conflicted on whether to help this man though. She will never forget the misfortunes she had experienced in the past which eventually led her into becoming an outcast, but if she won't help him, who else will?

Sheena approached Darren and places her hand on his shoulder, causing him to look back at her.

"Very well, why don't you follow me for the time being?" She said.

Darren widens his eyes in surprise. Shortly after, a huge smile appears on his face and he said enthusiastically, bowing his head to Sheena with gratitude, "Thank you ma'am! You really are a kind person!"

Sheena stares blankly at Darren for a moment, completely caught off guard by his reply. Eventually, a small smile takes form on her face and her eyes softened. "No problem." She murmured.

As Darren looks back at her, he holds out his hand and introduced himself, "My name is Darren." He paused and turns his head away for a moment. He looks back at Sheena when he remembers his last name. "Darren Leong."

"At least you know your own name." Sheena smirked. She removes her hand from his shoulder and shakes his hand. "My name is Sheena. Sheena Fujibayashi."

As she turns around, Sheena gestures Darren to follow her and the two stroll through the marketplace together. She turns back to him and said, "So Darren, tell me everything you do know inside your head."

Darren woke up from his sleep as the sun shines brightly in the sky. He smiles blissfully as he rises up from his bed. Despite still having no idea how he first arrived to this town, the memory of meeting Sheena for the first time always helps bring him warmth and ease.

He turns to the scabbard which he placed beside him on his bed and picks it up. He grabs the hilt and pulls the object out from the scabbard, revealing it to be a katana.

Why did this object appeared alongside him is yet another unanswered question that still lingers in his mind. Until his training with Sheena, Darren has no memory of ever being a swordsman or a fighter. Yet this ancient sword still appeared with him upon waking up to this town. Although he has no idea why, Darren felt that he had to keep this object with him at all times. He still clings onto whatever hope he had that one day, he will finally know why this sword is with him and what it actually meant to him.

As Darren sheathes the katana back into the scabbard, he places it aside and turns his head, just as the door opens to reveal Sheena.

"Ohayo!" Sheena greeted with a grin. "Rise and shine!"

After changing into their casual clothes, Darren and Sheena step out of the apartment, preparing for another day of work. However, as soon as Darren closes the door, he gasped as he suddenly realized what he had forgotten to bring along with him.

"Crap!" Darren said, looking down on himself. "I forgot to put on my necklace!"

"Oh come on. You can work for one day without it." Sheena said to him.

"No Sheena! That necklace is special to me!" Darren cried, narrowing his eyes.

"It's your lucky charm, I guess." Sheena smirked and shrugs her shoulders. "Very well, go get it. But don't take too long, will ya?"

"I won't." Darren turns around, opens the door and reenters the apartment. After Darren closes the door behind him, Sheena turns and glances around the town to pass the time as she waits for her friend.

However, it didn't take long for Sheena to spot three figures, dressed in jackets and jeans, standing at the rooftop of one of the buildings at the other side of the road, spying at their apartment. Sheena frowned at them questioningly, immediately realizing that something strange is going on.

Darren walks through the living room and makes his way to the staircase…completely unaware that he had walk past a certain blonde-haired girl dressed in a white shirt and blue skirt.

"Hello sir!" Lucy greeted.

"Huh?" Darren stops and turns his head to Lucy.

"It's good to meet-" Lucy gets interrupted when Darren responded with a yell of shock. She watched in horror as Darren stumbled backwards and slams his back against the wall. He slides down and lands on the floor on his rear.

"Owww…" Darren moaned in pain as he rubs the back of his head.

"Ah! I'm so sorry for startling you! I didn't mean to do it on purpose!" Lucy cried as she waves her hands frantically.

After shaking his head and recovering from his fall, Darren looks up at Lucy and asked, "How did you get in here?"

"Well," Lucy rubs the back of her head sheepishly. "I would say that I summoned Virgo to help me and my friends unlock the window at the back of your apartment, but…" She hangs her head and her arms drooped at her sides. "Natsu had to burst through it without any second thoughts."

"Huh?" Darren said dumbfounded.

"That's right. There's a broken window, and kinda of a large hole at your kitchen right now. Sorry." Natsu said as he steps into the main area of the apartment along with Wendy, Gray, Erza, Happy and Carla. Darren stares at them incredulously as Natsu wipes off the dust from his jacket.

"Geez, you had to make a ruckus early in the morning and startling the person we came here for, don't you?" Gray chided Natsu.

"And what would you have done, huh?!" Natsu snapped at Gray. Lucy and Wendy sigh heavily while Erza shakes her head.

"So much for a pleasant first impression." Lucy mumbled.

"Hey guys!" Darren yelled exasperatedly as he gets up from the floor. "I want answers right now! What the hell are you all doing here?!"

"We are here to rescue you." Wendy replied as everyone look at him.

"What are you talking about?" Darren asked in confusion. Erza walks up to him as she folds her arms.

When she stood in front of him, Darren fell silent as Erza gave him a solemn frown. "You said you want answers, and we're happy to provide them."