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#1Houren Vanadis 

on Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:29 am

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Tenrou Island, the holy ground of Fairy Tail.

The Fire Dragon Slayer couldn't help but think of a book that he had read so many years ago when he was younger - in that novel, ten people had been lured to an island not unlike this one; mainly uninhabited, privately owned and of similar size and shape. The only major differences was that the island in the story wasn't actually as remote and isolated as Tenrou, instead being only off the coast of the country as described in the story. The country could be seen from the fictional island's only port, but unless you were part fish or an exceptional swimmer, you could not get there without a ship. Another big difference between the island Houren was currently on, and the one that he had read about in the story was that the other island was actually pretty well furnished. He couldn't recall the details completely, but if memory served him correctly in this instance, a very wealthy man had built a house on the fictional island so he could use it as a summer home. He had also hired butlers, and the place could more or less be compared to those tropical islands that people so often travel to for holiday, but in the case of the fictional island, it was always off season, or deserted in other words.

He had begun to reminisce about that story, here on the deck of Captain Seagull's ship, while the old man was off doing some more maintenance work on the ship, and had fond memories of it before remembering the grisly plot of the story. It wasn't a tale of a group stranded or marooned on an island, although he could vaguely recall reading a class with a plot quite similar to that; something about flies, but at the present moment, the memory would escape him and attempting to recall it actually gave him a slight headache. He gave up on trying to remember the other story and focused primarily on the one with the ten people who had been lured to an island. Yes, the Fire Dragon Slayer remembered clearly, it was a mystery novel, a murder mystery novel no less. There was an obscure, historical poem that had been used in the story (Houren could not recall the poem or its contents and did not even bother to try), and as a result of its use in the story, it had become popularized.

There were probably many people in Fiore who knew of the poem, and would attribute its origins to the murder mystery novel of which Houren had read when he was a young boy, but those people would, unfortunately, be painfully mistaken. The murder mystery novel had paved a path for the poem so that it could take it place in popular culture, but that was not where its origins lay. Houren could not remember the poem, as stated, but he wouldn't have been surprised if it was actually from some very old folk tune. Without giving anything away, he thought it would have sounded better as a song than as a poem.

525/500

#2Houren Vanadis 

on Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:45 am

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Houren wondered about where he could get a copy of that book. The title still escaped him, but he was sure that he would be able to recognize it immediately if he saw it, or even the cover work for it. Besides, there were plenty of bibliophiles in the Fairy Tail mage's circle, so even if he wasn't able to remember the title of the story, all he had to do was consult one of them, recite the summary that he remembered and wait for those humans with library database for minds work their magic (sometimes, literally, he had friends who had magic related to library books and it wasn't anything cool like Archive either). Perhaps there was a copy in the attic of his family home, although as of right now, he had little to no reason to go there. Being stuck on Tenrou Island and all, he didn't really have the means to go back there right now even if he wanted to. It wasn't that he really, really wanted to read the book right now and reminiscing about it or anything like that.

Rather, Houren would have been delighted with pretty much any book right now, but of course, out of all the books in the world that one would have had to have been his first choice at the present moment. He had come to this island without bringing anything that he could use to entertain himself, and that was something that he was heavily regretting. Clearly, he had underestimated the amount of time that he would have to be stuck here on Tenrou Island. Holy ground of the guild or not, Houren had to admit that if he stayed here for too long, he would definitely start to go a little bit mad. In fact, it wouldn't have been a stretch to say that he was already going just a little bit mad. Just a little bit. In any case, he had already asked Captain Seagull whether he had any books to read, but there was nothing in the old man's private quarters besides some maps, navigation logs and his old journal.

Maps and navigation logs meant nothing to the Fire Dragon Slayer in the least, but he thought that maybe the captain's log would actually be somewhat interesting, and if he was on any other ship then maybe it would have been. Captain Seagull was a man of adventure, and also one that preferred to verbally recite his tales. After a chapter, which was roughly less than a month in real time, the journal was completely empty and it seemed like Captain Seagull had neglected to fill out the journal at all for the past, well, the past few decades that he has been out at sea. "Gah, why am I so disappointed? It's nothing to do with me...." he put the captain's log back into the shelf and shut it with a little bit more force than he had originally intended to do.

500/500

#3Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:59 am

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Well, that was a bust.

Captain Seagull had made for good company; talking to him, learning from him, it more or less was a very good learning experience for a young man like Houren. But that only applied to verbal conversations and communication. Captain Seagull was from the previous generation, and because he was from the previous generation, the Fire Dragon Slayer knew that he could not trust Captain Seagull to record down anything. That probably explained his completely empty log. The Fairy Tail mage couldn't really blame the veteran sea captain though, since writing down about your great exploits was incredibly boring, especially after the fact. In the end, it was much better to be out at sea fighting against legendary sea monsters as opposed to writing about them in your log at the end of the day. Houren supposed that Captain Seagull was that kind of man - the kind of person who went from one heartbeat skipping adventure to another, never bothering to stop to admire the splendor of his deeds. It was a pity, but at the same time, it was one of the things that Houren liked about Captain Seagull. He, to a tee, fit the description of cool, middle aged man who was about to enter his twilight years.

The Fire Dragon Slayer stepped out of the captain's private quarters, completely undetected by the aforementioned captain himself since that captain was too busy doing maintenance work on the ship. He eventually did spot Houren, but had no idea that the Fairy Tail mage had been in his room; instead of reprimanding him like he probably would have done if he knew that the Fire Dragon Slayer had invaded his privacy, Captain Seagull shot Houren a grin before walking away to continue with his maintenance tasking on the ship. The Fairy Tail mage decided that this was probably for the best - that Captain Seagull was oblivious to the fact that Houren was snooping around the place. It wasn't worth the risk either, he decided, since he had already put himself on the line to find the captain's log only to be very disappointed by the contents of the log that he had tried so very hard to find in the first place.

"Didn't I bring a carrier bag? Maybe there's something interesting in there?" the Fire Dragon Slayer mused, remembering the giant bag that was practically a large luggage case rather than a travel bag. He had put in a bunch of necessities but had not gone through the process of emptying out the bag before using it, so perhaps there were still things inside there like a half finished packet of mints, or even an old paper back. Either would have done nicely. With a fairly uncharacteristic grin etched onto his features, the Fire Dragon Slayer decided to leave Captain Seagull to his maintenance tasking on the ship and headed straight for the guest quarters where the Fairy Tail mage had left the aforementioned carrier bag.

501/500

#4Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:10 am

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At the very least, there was a paperback.

The Fire Dragon Slayer held the book in front of him, scrutinizing the cover that had been bent so much that the lady, who probably was actually a very attractive young girl, looked like she was old and very wrinkly. It was a digest sized book, probably some magazine that Houren had picked up on his travels. This wasn't the kind of literature that he was into either, so it wouldn't have been a stretch to say that this was some sort of free newsletter that had been forcibly shoved into Houren's hands. The Fairy Tail mage was a lot of things, and at the same time, he wasn't a lot of things. In the same vein and train of thought, there were many things that he could do, and of course, there were also many things that he could not do; and, one of the things that he absolutely could not do was turn down anything that was being offered to him out of goodwill, or for free. Of course, he could barely remember the digest sized book, its contents (he hadn't opened the book yet, and if he had, it was a long time ago and the memory was not very fresh), or the person he received it from.

He doubted someone was selling these out of goodwill or anything stupid like that, so there was probably no reason for Houren to take it. He would have taken the book if he had been told it was free though, so that was probably why he found himself with some small, pocket sized magazine in his carrier bag. Not that he was complaining, of course, he had already said that it would have been nice if he found either a paperback book or some mints in his bag, and in the end, he found one of the two; it was worth noting, perhaps, that he actually did find a tin of what should have been mints but when Houren opened the packet, it was completely empty although the mint smell still continued to linger slightly in the air, as though it were teasing the nostrils of the bored Fire Dragon Slayer. Or something like that, but it was too outrageous for him to say out loud. He was fine thinking this kind of thing in his head, but if he even tried to say it out loud then he would probably turn red and drop dead from embarrassment.

He felt the digest sized book for a bit, noting that not only had it been trashed about in his bag and probably bent in all sorts of angles but it was also had been exposed to incredibly harsh weather conditions, at least the kind of conditions that you shouldn't ever put your books in. In other words, it had probably gotten wet and not let to dry properly, and some sort of sauce had been spilled on it at least once. Taking note of all these things, the Fairy Tail mage opened to the table of contents.

515/500

#5Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:14 am

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OK, so it was exactly the kind of book that Houren had believed it to be, and he did not even need to go past the table of contents to realize that. It was that sort of healthcare and lifestyle book that you knew existed, but never ever bothered to pick up. He couldn't believe that people in this world actually had jobs that related to these kind of things, whether you were a 'journalist' that reported some of the outrageous claims that were often made in these kind of digest magazines, or an article writer who would write a review about some obscure restaurant in who the hell cares, Oak, or some well known eatery that everyone already knew about it and called it a ''big, big discovery'', or one of those healthcare 'experts' who wrote about health or whatever. The main readership for books like these were, and Houren hated to admit it, was bored people on the toilet; nobody else in the their right mind would actually call themselves a fan of this kind of trash. The Fire Dragon Slayer flicked through the pages with only the vaguest expression of interest on his face, but it went without saying that this expression was very, very fake.

He could try as hard as he wanted to, but nothing in the world could make him care about alternative ways to gaining your protein and calories besides eating, nor was he concerned with a review of the 8-restaurant in Hargeon. He had been to that place so many times and had heard so many things about it, that he could no longer consider some unreliable review in an unreliable magazine reliable at all. Not that he had anything against the magazine and all the people who had put their blood, sweat and tears into making it a possibility though. He was cool with them, in fact he thought they were pretty cool themselves but at the end of the day, the Fire Dragon Slayer couldn't truly bring himself to care. After reaching the end of the book, and then going back to the start and doing the exact same thing to find something that interested him, the Fairy Tail mage came to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing in the book that could entertain him; this digest sized book wasn't even fit to be a litter for his hypothetical pet cat.

The Fire Dragon Slayer let out a deep sigh, considered throwing the book overboard but decided that the ocean deserved just a little bit more respect than Houren was currently giving it, let out yet another deep sigh and dropped the digest sized book back into his bag. He tried digging around his bag a little bit more but couldn't find anything of real note and decided that this was a lost cause. If he had even the vaguest idea that he would be so bored today, then he would have actually brought something to entertain himself.

In the end, life was full of regrets.

507/500

#6Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:23 am

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He was slightly less bored now, but it was still somewhere within the realm of ''hey, I can endure this level of boredom'' and ''oh man, this is boring''. In other words, he was no longer desperate enough to barge into an old, wait no, middle aged man's private quarters to steal his captain's log book, but he was still fully capable of searching through his own personal belongings for even a shred of entertainment. Looking for things to do was actually pretty fun in itself, but if your search proved to be fruitless, then that was exactly what it was - fruitless, pointless, completely meaningless. He was on the deck now, looking out at the ocean and admiring it, despite knowing that the ship was currently anchored and would not be moving at all. For some reason, that actually took away from the magic of the whole scene, but it could have been a lot worse. The Fire Dragon Slayer wondered whether there would be any fish to be caught, and if there was, whether there would be any time to actually go fishing, of course, after the request was done and dusted with, which hopefully would be sooner rather than later. As of right now, Houren was idle, but he was looking to change that very soon.

The Fairy Tail mage put a hand to his stomach and rubbed it. ''Actually..." he wondered whether he could actually be considered hungry. He had ate a fairly hearty meal before traveling from Magnolia to Hargeon and had snacked a bit during the actual journey itself but hadn't eaten a single thing since then. He supposed he was not starving, but rather, in some neutral state where he didn't necessarily need to eat to function properly, but he would not reject it if it was offered to him. He shrugged and decided to get off the boat, deciding that maybe he would go fishing. Before he got off the boat though, he asked Captain Seagull about whether he had any fishing equipment or not, and to his surprise, the captain actually had a net, a rod, three kinds of hooks and plenty of bait; even if he had no more live bait, there was plenty of stuff you could use as bait on Tenrou Island, and in exchange for allowing him to use the gear, Captain Seagull asked Houren to replenish his stock.

"I can do that. Quite easily, actually," the Fire Dragon Slayer grinned, taking everything that the veteran sea captain had to offer. He even took the different kinds of hooks although he had no idea about how any of them worked; he only knew about the normal one. The bait was pretty nice too, and he was confident that he would catch a lot of nice fish like this. At first, he considered fishing around the area where the boat was docked, but he decided that it was a little bit shallow for tasty fish. He decided to find a nearby stream instead.

512/500

#7Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:38 am

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"A bite?! Am I getting a bite?!" he exclaimed in an exciting tone.

Certainly, there was something on the hook, the other end of the rod, that was biting into the hook and dragging it forcing Houren to instinctively begin pulling it back so that he could take whatever was biting onto the hook and take it out of the water. He was sure that this was actually a living thing and not just a boot. There were plenty of reasons to support his reasoning, the most important of them being the fact that this was practically unchartered territory for humanity. It was the home of the Fairy Tail guild, fairies in other words, not humans. He doubted that there was a boot on the other end of his rod, on the hook because there probably wasn't even any boots in the stream. Probably, nobody here ever had the audacity to litter such things in the stream, after all, this was Tenrou Island and not some slum like Oak or Dahlia. It was a nice place, unpolluted, unmolested and away from the dangers of humankind who seemed to have the habit of contaminating pretty much anything they ever put their hands on. Houren didn't like it, but that wasn't to say that he disliked people in general. He was alright with them, just not when he was trying to fish.

Eventually, after a struggle that probably lasted the better of a minute but seemed like an eternity to the combatants involved (namely, the Fire Dragon Slayer himself and the fish that he was trying to catch), the Fairy Tail mage found himself standing there by the stream with a fairly impressive sized fish flopping about on the grass. Normally, this was the part where Houren would take a few moments of his time to admire the fish before putting it back in the ocean, but he was not simply fishing here for the sake of it nor did he have the well being of the fish in mind when he started fishing and he certainly did not have it in mind now. He fished with the full intention of eating whatever it was that was unfortunate enough to latch onto his hook.

Being the diligent man, perpetually prepared, the Fire Dragon Slayer had already started a fire by collecting a bunch of hardwood, putting it together and using one of his fire dragon slayer spells to set it alight. He also sharpened a stick using nothing but his teeth, a painful and disgusting experience and probably an unnecessary one since Captain Seagull probably had skewers on his ship but it didn't matter at this point in time. Staking the fish through the mouth, Houren put it over the flames and waited for it to cook, turning it around occasionally when he felt like one side was getting too burnt or another side was not cooked well done enough. When all was said and done, he decided to take a bite, savoring the taste of his own personal catch of the day.

511/500

#8Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 am

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It was delicious.

There wasn't really anything else that Houren could say, there wasn't really anything that he needed to say besides that. If he had to compare this fish to the best meal you could find in all of Fiore, then obviously the latter would win out but right now, while he was still under the impression that he was stuck on an uninhabited island, the fish tasted like the best thing in the world to him right now. Of course, he knew deep down that he wasn't actually marooned on the island, and had a way to get out of there, but as long as he deluded himself like this, the fish would continue to taste like heaven on Earth. He bit into it for the sixth time, the warmth radiating throughout his body yet the taste did not become familiar to his taste buds. No matter what, every single bite was a completely different, yet delicious sensation. It was an over exaggeration of course, and Houren was not articulate enough to explain it in layman's terms, but it was OK as long as you knew that he was having the time of his life right now fishing for fish in this stream.

After finishing off the rest of the fish, he looked at the rod and wondered whether he should go back down to the bank and go for another one. It was a bit greedy, wasn't it? He had already had one delicious fish but he was thinking about going for more although he was just one man, and one man only needed one fish in the end, right? The Fire Dragon Slayer let out a deep sigh and decided that it was better not to be selfish, declaring to himself internally that he would get started on the promise that he had made Captain Seagull - that is, to collect more bait for him. The Fairy Tail mage headed down to a grassy area and began to dig for earthworms, and I don't know what to tell you, but it wasn't really that exciting of an affair. After collecting an adequate amount, the Fire Dragon Slayer put them into a can and headed back to the ship and handed the can of worms (bait) over to Captain Seagull who was fairly satisfied with Houren's catch.

He seemed somewhat disappointed that the Fairy Tail mage didn't bring him back a fish too, but he quickly got over it when he saw the amount of bait that Houren got for him and quickly murmured something along the lines of ''with this, I can go catch my own fish later while you guys are looking for whatever it is that you're looking for!". The Fire Dragon Slayer wasn't all too sure what he could have said to this but decided to agree with the old man, returning his equipment and thanking him for letting him borrow them before heading back to his own personal quarters to rest up now.

500/500

#9Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:24 am

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He was full now, and had his share of reading done as well (not really, but with the exception of a completely empty captain's log and a digest magazine chock full of content that wasn't even worth the paper it was printed on, there wasn't anything else he could read). He now stood at the port of the ship, observing Captain Seagull as he went about his maintenance repairs but it was obvious that the old seafarer was not paying any attention to Houren at all, as the old man was much too busy with his work. The ship wasn't all that young, and the Fire Dragon Slayer knew that the old man had been through many adventures with this ship; hell, even as he cleaned and maintained its (to Captain Seagull, he would have referred to his ship with the pronoun 'she') components, he was talking to it as though it were some old friend. The Fairy Tail mage was originally under the assumption that Captain Seagull was talking to himself, or perhaps, even addressing Houren but it soon became apparent that this was not the case. It wasn't that he was a loonie or anything like that either - he really did see this ship as one of his friends, inanimate or not, he had memories with this ship that could not be matched.

The Fire Dragon Slayer never had any sort of close, intimate relationship with any inanimate object before, vehicle or otherwise but he wasn't in any position to judge Captain Seagull, he felt. Houren was a fairly emotionally detached guy anyways, so for all he knew there was plenty of people out there who had an unhealthy love for something that wasn't sentient or even capable of speech or any sort of communication. Still, it was common knowledge that sailors felt certain attachments to their ships and regularly talked to them as though they were close, personal friends and even addressed them as though they were women, with the female pronoun. Yes, in the end, Houren was in absolutely no position to judge this kind of going on.

The Fairy Tail mage waited to see if Captain Seagull was going to be done anytime soon, but it soon became obvious that he was not going to be done anytime soon and if the Fire Dragon Slayer desired to talk to him, then he really was pushing his luck at this point. Captain Seagull seemed so into the conversation with the ship at times that it looked like he was actually neglecting his maintenance work, but of course, once again Houren was in absolutely no position to question that. After waiting to see if Captain Seagull would be willing to take a break or something to have a chat with Houren, the Fire Dragon Slayer decided to go back onto the land to see if there was anything to do. It seemed to him that Captain Seagull hadn't even noticed his presence, and realizing that, Houren was content to leave the old man to his own devices.

510/500

#10Houren Vanadis 

on Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:25 am

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There are some things in this world that are better left unsaid, and if one should wish to metaphorically 'let the cat out of the hat', then you'd have to do it alone with nobody else to support you; after all, at the end of the day, was there anybody who wanted to be associated with a person who's policy was just a little bit too red? Things like that didn't really matter to the Fire Dragon Slayer, and even if he didn't necessarily agree with another person's beliefs and views, as long as they were friends then he supposed he had the moral duty to support him, as an individual - to tolerate his preaching, but not to encourage it in any way. After all, even though he was fond of the speaker, he did not agree with what was being spoken and thought it was poisonous to the ears. If he saw people attending the rallies, then he'd definitely be disappointed, but if nobody attended the rallies, then he'd be disappointed for his friend and would console him while secretly being happy that his venom would not spread any further, at least for now.

Man, it really was a drag to try to remember things that happened so long ago, so long ago that they weren't even relevant anymore. He supposed he owed 'that person' something for everything that he had done for him, but it had been so long ago at this point that Houren could barely remember his face; he certainly remembered how that guy had made him feel, and the things that he had taught him but besides the important lessons, he couldn't really recall that guy at all. He had been tall, Houren remembered, probably slightly shorter than Houren was now, but back then, he must have looked like a skyscraper among men.

As mentioned before, it probably didn't matter at this point but there was no denying that that guy's influence on the Fire Dragon Slayer had been considerable and it was a great shame that his facial features were pretty much a blur in Houren's mind; the Fairy Tail mage found himself dreaming of that man occasionally, and his face would be as clear as day in the dreams but in the end, that was it and everyone knew how dreams were - no matter how vivid or clear they were, by the time you wake up, it would break into fragments and you would forget it even if you swore to yourself that you wouldn't. The man with the vivid face in his dreams would become a blur in the morning, and that was just something that he had to accept. Still, it wasn't as though that guy was dead or was gone, or anything like that. The Fire Dragon Slayer still had a chance to see him, and he was confident that such a day would eventually come.

He was looking forward to that day, no matter when it would come, if ever.

501/500

#11Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:04 pm

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The Fire Dragon Slayer's body that could rival the physique of the legendary Adonis was the envy of lesser men everywhere. In terms of physical appearance, Houren was no slouch but it wasn't as though he put any particular attention into his looks either - he was born with a nice face and strenuous exercise and the labor heavy lifestyle of a magus did wonders for his body. Still, even if he was like that, Houren's life was anything but perfect. His body may have been as close to perfect as one could expect, but he had spent these past few years completely neglecting his mental health; it wasn't unusual for a magus to accumulate stress especially when you realized that people of this occupation actually made their living from doing odd jobs that were never guaranteed. Joining a guild was one thing but if you weren't a famous magus from that guild, then just having that emblem somewhere on your body wouldn't be good enough. The names Fairy Tail, Lamia Scale and Blue Pegasus were famous throughout the land, but if you weren't someone who appeared often in the Sorcerer's magazine or made a big splash at the Magic games, then it was only natural that some people would be reluctant to let you do a job for them.

After all, these were odd jobs, but they were probably the best paying odd jobs out there. A magus that specialized in doing high rank quests could probably get by for a few months by doing just one but magus were humans too, and of course, many of them pursued wealth as well as fame. The Fire Dragon Slayer was fortunate enough to already be a credible name in Fiore, but it hadn't always been like this especially considering the fact that he lost his parents when he was quite young. He had never really been able to reflect on this kind of thing back on the mainland, perhaps he would have done if he was in solitude at home but he was rarely there due to the nomadic nature of his work. Now that he was on Tenrou Island, he found himself able to think ore clearly about this kind of thing, and finally come to grips with the fact that he had been neglecting his mental health all these years and actually do something to try and rectify this.

Houren sat down on the deck of Captain Seagull's ship and began to think. He had learned this from one of the wenches he had done a job for when he was a much younger man - she had been a monk of some sort, not actually a monk, but someone who practiced and extolled the virtues of spirituality. Whatever it was that she was, she was a teacher of meditation and had actually taught the Fire Dragon Slayer a thing or two about using meditation as a means of relieving stress.

Perhaps it was time to try it, Houren thought to himself, as he attempted to recall the things he had learned so long ago.

515/500

#12Houren Vanadis 

on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:11 am

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Did it work? It sorta did, but at the same time not really.

The Fire Dragon Slayer loved to work up a sweat, and up until now, that is how he attempted to relieve stress; not by meditating like he was trying to do now, but by going on a run or going to the local bar and picking fights with the local ruffians (only those that had it coming to them though, Houren was an instigator but the last thing he wanted to do was to punch a guy who was only just minding his own business). These strenuous, physical activities and meditation were pretty much polar opposites of each other though, and they didn't translate well when Houren decided to stop doing one and do the other instead - that is, to stop picking fights and physically exercising his body and to try and meditate instead. Effective meditation meant that you had to clear your mind, and stay still but the more he tried to do that, the more he wanted to move as that is what his body was used to doing. What he needed was willpower to break the habit, and while he was under the impression that he had plenty of that, it looked like his body didn't agree as after perhaps two or three hours of being still, the Fire Dragon Slayer had no choice but to scratch an itch on the nape of his neck that had begun to appear almost 50 minutes ago and had not gone away since.

"The one with the problem is me, I guess," he let out a deep sigh as he got back onto his feet and looked around the deck of Captain Seagull's ship. One of the essential things you had to do when meditating was to tune out everything that was happening around (that's why most specialists recommended that you do this sort of thing someplace safe since you'd definitely be caught unawares if you were to be caught. Of course, they also say that if you can meditate efficiently in a place like a battlefield or town square during the Christmas rush, you'd probably reach Nirvana), and at least in terms of being able to tune everything out, Houren had done an acceptable job. Still, he hadn't been out long enough for any of this to actively affect him so as far as he knew, everything was the same as normal and the deck had been practically left untouched. He supposed this was for the best as well, as he decided to head back to the guest quarters on the Captain's ship.

He was now bored of Tenrou Island and couldn't wait to get back although at this rate, it didn't seem like it would happen anytime soon. He considered calling for Cpatain Seagull and inquiring as to when the ship's maintenance would be completed, but the man wasn't anywhere to be seen, and while working, he wasn't the type to respond to a call anyways.

#13Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:14 am

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There was a certain scariness, a certain claustrophobic feeling associated with being stuck in a very narrow space for a long period of time. The place that they had just managed to get out of wasn't really that narrow, but for the Fire Dragon Slayer, he couldn't help but feel a little bit nauseous when he was in there, but didn't actually feel anything until after they had been teleported out of the booby trapped tomb, and he realized that he suddenly felt good. His demeanor had been fairly neutral when they were stuck in there, and perhaps with the golems attacking and the plants that came to life for the sole purpose of attacking them and all, the Fire Dragon Slayer didn't really notice anything out of the ordinary. But yes, now that he was out, he could safely say that there was a certain feeling of discomfort that had smothered him when he was in that tomb, but that was gone now.

It was strange as well since that normally wasn't the sort of thing that bothered him. The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail couldn't help but wonder whether this was just due to the fact that he was far away from home, but he knew deep down that this couldn't possibly have been the case since he was, in essence, a mage. He was someone that traveled around often and never stuck around in one place all that often, so there was no way he could have attributed that uncomfortable feeling to being away from home, since he was almost always away from home but had never felt that way before. Perhaps this feeling was foreboding something, it meant that something bad might happen soon.

Of course, it went without saying that the Fire Dragon Slayer had absolutely no idea that the tomb was going to be booby trapped or even that the thing they were looking for, that jewel, was hidden in the tomb until he found that the map that he was holding suddenly changed. He had been surprised by the plants, and even more so by the golems and something bad probably would have happened if he had decided to take the jewel without replacing it with an apple as well; maybe they wouldn't have been teleported out, or perhaps the magic system there would notice the jewel was gone and set some other kind of enemy upon them?

In any case, he was glad that they had managed to get out of that place, and now they could go back to Captain Seagull's place and head straight back to Magnolia to give this jewel back to Cecilia so she could do whatever it was that she wanted to do with it. On that note, all he could say was that he was glad that they were finally going to be off this island; it was the home of Fairy Tail and he cherished it for that reason, but it had been long enough.

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#14Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:20 am

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But wait, there was still something wrong here.

When they had entered the tomb, the Fire Dragon Slayer was sure, and had completely prepared himself for a conflict or at least a fight of some sort with the Kerberos guild that Tori had identified. At the very least, the Fire Dragon Slayer and his friends knew that these intruders were on the island and while some of them was content to write those treasure hunters off as innocent people who had stumbled upon Tenrou Island by chance, the Fire Dragon Slayer wasn't so sure. He knew that treasure hunters, at least most of them, had greedy hearts and if they ended up on this island of all places, then it couldn't have been for a good reason. Even if they did not know this was the home of Fairy Tail, the fact remained that they probably intended to rob this place, so Houren was somewhat reluctant to go back to Captain Seagull without having settled the score with them first.

"Does Fairy Tail have other treasures here, I wonder?" he took the jewel from his pocket and began to shift it around, clutching it in his left hand before transferring it to his right as though he was some sort of jewel appraiser, but of course, he was no such thing and wasn't qualified to say anything in that regard, but still, one look at the jewel and he could tell that it was very valuable. Even to his layman's eyes, the magnificence of the jewel was undisputed and he was sure that those treasure hunters had come because they had received a tip off of some sort about this thing. In that regard, Houren the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail was glad that the jewel was in his possession. If they wanted it, they had to go through him and soon enough, he and the jewel would be off the island.

But if such a thing existed on the island, and so well protected as well, then Houren could not help but wonder whether other treasures of Fairy Tail existed on this island? If they did, then those treasure hunters could easily obtain them after the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail who went by the name Houren Vanadis and his friends had left the island. Or perhaps Cecilia was the one who had the tip off, and knowing that Kerberos were planning a raid on Fairy Tail's ancestral home of Tenrou Island, had asked Houren and his friends to retrieve the jewel before it could be stolen? If that was the case, then surely, if there were other treasures to be found on Tenrou Island, Cecilia would have asked for the to retrieve them too. If he were to believe in Cecilia's competence and ability, then he just had to trust that this was the only thing of worth on this island (at least, of monetary worth), and be done with it. He had to leave the island.

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#15Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:34 am

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"Evil people expect evil from others. Perhaps you should be a little bit more trusting, boy-ya?" the voice rattling on in his head was one that was not his own, but at the same time, he could not place his finger on who it belonged to, and why it had decided to take residence within the confines of his mind.

But it encouraged him, in all the wrong ways; it wanted him to leave Tenrou Island with the jewel and give it to Cecilia as he had promised to do. It wanted him to leave as soon as possible, to gather his friends - Kazumi, Tori, Winderlin and Sael and head back to Magnolia immediately on Captain Seagull's ship, and leave those Kerberos guys to do whatever it was that they wanted to do without interrupting them, be it acts of malice or benevolence. The voice's reasoning, perhaps, no, almost definitely flawed, was that the Fire Dragon Slayer was not trusting enough, that he did not believe in his teammates, or anybody else for that matter. That was probably why he decided to do jobs alone, that was probably why he was a person who didn't care for others and simply wanted to get things done as opposed to forming lasting bonds. For the past two decades, he had lived his life that way, the voice acknowledged this, and encouraged Houren to change.

Perhaps the Fire Dragon Slayer himself also wanted to change, wanted to become a person who had the capacity to believe in others, someone that depended on others, while being dependable himself, someone who could enjoy his every day life, not in solitude but in the company of others in similar situations. If two people are lonely, and you bring them together, then you are essentially killing two birds with one stone is what the voice was trying to say, and it had almost swayed Houren as well, especially when it claimed that the Fire Dragon Slayer was altogether too jaded - that he was a bad person. It was essentially saying that bad people expected other people to be bad, but good people looked for the good in others; if Houren insisted on wanting to confirm things with the Kerberos members who had found themselves on Tenrou Island, then he was expecting them to do evil; because of that, Houren was evil.

But what was the alternative? Believe that they were good people and just go on his own merry way back to Magnolia? How could he possibly do that? If he confronted them, then he would know for sure whether they were here to do good or evil, whether they had come here with plans to steal something or whether they had just ended up here by some sort of mistake. If he simply believed in their goodness, then he would never know, then he would never be able to find out. He shook his head profusely, attempting to kick this voice out of his head, but it did not seem to want to budge.

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#16Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:53 am

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''In the end everything is going to disappear, but even so, it's not supposed to be meaningless. It's because things have an end that these moments are so very precious. Don't regret your decision," the unknown voice spoke again.

This time, it was a lot clearer and the Fire Dragon Slayer actually thought he knew who the voice belonged to. Actually, scratch that, he had absolutely no clue as to who the voice belonged to, but he did hear the contents of the message very clearly, and he could come to the conclusion that the voice, whoever it belonged to, was very familiar to him. The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail didn't exactly have the greatest childhood in the world, so it went without saying that he had a slight case of repressed memories. In other words, because he didn't want to face reality at times, he completely cordoned off a section of his mind and refused to acknowledge it. He had killed his own biological father, and while he always knew it deep down, he never came to grips with that and would never mention it. As long as he kept running away like this, then he was going to be fine. Perhaps the voice belonged to his old dad, or at least, to the ghost that was trying to speak to him. Probably not. It wasn't as though Houren remembered what his father sounded like; like he said, he was repressing those memories.

He knew deep down that the person who was talking to him was himself, his subconscious, the part of him that he didn't want to acknowledge, the Houren Vanadis that only seemed to show up whenever the Fire Dragon Slayer was feeling down. Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, this voice from within his head would show up and try to verbally kick him while he was down. The voice was almost always the voice of someone who he had known in his past, but the Fire Dragon Slayer was never fooled. It may have spoken with his father's voice, or his friend's voice, or his mother's voice, or her voice, but Houren knew that it was himself deep down. Even if he began to hallucinate and his father showed up beside him in a vision, that would not be enough to convince the Fire Dragon Slayer that he wasn't going crazy. Ghosts didn't exist, and if they did, they had better things to do than to bother Houren Vanadis.

At least, his father's ghost would have better things to do. The Fire Dragon Slayer began to massage his temples, his head finally starting to hurt due to the echoing in his head from this distant voice which may or may not have belonged to his father. He wanted it to stop, he wanted it to just shut up for a second so he could hear himself think. Yes, that's what he wanted. He wanted to be able to hear his own voice, his own thoughts.

505/500

#17Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:04 am

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"It's not a case of whether it has any meaning or not. I don't need a reason for not wanting to lose, do I?" the Fire Dragon Slayer found himself arguing with the voice, which had somehow manifested itself as Houren himself. Much, much younger but unmistakably, it had taken the form of the boy who would eventually become Fairy Tail's Fire Dragon Slayer.

The younger Houren laughed, a boyish laugh that would have been characteristic of him, a boy who couldn't have been anymore than fifteen years of age, yet there was a certain cynicism in the laugh that wouldn't have been present in the real Fire Dragon Slayer. He looked at the Fairy Tail mage with a certain amount of disdain, as though he were looking at some sort of escaped convict from the local loony house, and in a way, maybe that wasn't an inaccurate thing to say. After all, it was the current day Houren Vanadis that had suddenly began to speak to the voice that was inside his head, and in the heat of the moment, he had even given that voice in his head a body, a physical form that manifested itself in the form of a younger version of its host.

It went without saying that the Fire Dragon Slayer had reached out his hand and tried to touch his younger self, only to find his hand completely going through the young boy's stomach. Either this was a very elaborate memory or illusion magic, or Houren had actually gone crazy, a lunatic that hallucinated about things that weren't actually there. If he was this crazy, when did he snap? Were the others that came to the island with him real? Was Captain Seagull real? Was everything up until now actually real if it turned out that he was actually a crazy man?

The Fire Dragon Slayer wanted confirmation, and was willing to put this little argument between him and his younger self on hold for a bit until he could confirm it. "You look like you have something to say, but before you talk, tell me one thing. I can see you right there in front of me, but I can't touch you. Should I be worried for my sanity?" the Fairy Tail mage spoke earnestly, he had nothing to fear from himself and even if his younger self did respond with nothing more than spiteful ridicule, then that was OK as well since you know, this guy was just a younger version of Houren. In fact, it was probably likely that he would begin to laugh at Houren and mock him for his own perceived weakness, since that was the kind of thing that the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail liked to do. At the end of the day, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail was a man who excelled in self deprecation. Without further words, the Fire Dragon Slayer looked at his younger self for the confirmation that he sought.

501/500

#18Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:16 am

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The Fire Dragon Slayer's younger self suddenly burst into laughter at his elder self's question, clutching his stomach as though he had just heard the funniest joke in the world. Of course, it went without saying that the present day Houren Vanadis, and Fire Dragon Slayer, could not see the funny thing that his younger self could see, but was patient enough to allow the manifestation to finish his chortle; all the while, the Fire Dragon Slayer looked at this younger self with a certain sense of expectation, as though he knew that this manifestation of his younger self would not lie to him, even if it did ridicule him, even if it did mock him, it would not lie to him. It would tell him everything that he needed to hear.

"You don't know how much of a fool you look like right now, I gather?" a sinister smile appeared on the lips of the younger Fire Dragon Slayer, of course, it went without saying that at this stage, Houren had yet to obtain the lacrima that would grant him the powers of a Fire Dragon artificially, so perhaps that was the wrong way to address his younger self. Maybe something like young Houren was better, or just 'it'. After all, even if it took the appearance of a boy, that didn't make it a boy or even another living thing. It was simply a case of the current day Houren Vanadis coming to face with his past, and that past just happened to have a voice and body that just so happened to be masculine.

The manifestation folded its arms and began to tap its finger, as though it were waiting for the Fire Dragon Slayer to speak but when it became apparent that that wasn't going to happen, it opened its mouth. "If you're worried that you've gone insane, then rest assured. I'm a lot more real than a simple hallucination you see because of some chemical imbalance in your brain. I didn't come into being because of your psychosis or delirium," the manifestation sighed, perhaps hoping that this question would be enough to appease Houren for the time being.

The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail considered it for a bit, before replying. "If that's really the case, then why are you here?" an obvious question to ask, but the Fairy Tail mage that went by the name of Houren Vanadis and also happened to have a lacrima in his body that granted him the powers of a Fire Dragon thereby making him a user of Fire Dragon Slaying magic did not stop there. He had more he wanted to say, and he wanted answers. "No, I guess you could say that it isn't important why you're here. It doesn't change the fact that you are here. I want to know how you're here. How can this be if I'm sane like you say?" the Fire Dragon Slayer countered, his voice raising slightly as he spoke.

500/500

#19Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:28 am

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The manifestation of the Fire Dragon Slayer's youth actually seemed taken aback by his host's passionate flurry of words, but quickly regained its composure. It wasn't as though it needed to worry about keeping up with appearances or anything like that. It would have cliche, or perhaps funny to claim that he was the hidden power inside of Houren, like the protagonist in a comic book aimed at pubescent boys, but like the Fire Dragon Slayer had guessed, the manifestation could not lie directly, or rather, it had no reason to. Doing so certainly would not have been in its best interests either, especially since its paper thin hold on existence completely depended on Houren's mental state. But even so, it was not a true human, one that feared death. It existed, but it could care less if it no longer existed and was completely forgotten. That was probably the difference between a regular existence and the manifestation; the manifestation had absolutely no sense of self preservation.

"For the lack of a better word, I guess you could say I came into being because of your stress?" the manifestation played around words, trying to find the best way to explain its existence. It seemed to expect Houren's reaction to be volatile but the Fire Dragon Slayer simply listened to what the manifestation had to say, and didn't seem to move an inch at all. What he wanted right now wasn't to pick a fight, but what he did want was information. "This is a very routine job, isn't it? So you might be wondering why it's causing you so much undue stress, right? Well, you should already know that stress is something that accumulates gradually. It's a snowball, in other words, or think about it like a cliff. Stress builds and builds and that forces you closer and closer to the edge. Eventually, it reaches the point where even the slightest push causes you to fall over the edge. I guess it's something like that?" the manifestation mused, but the Fire Dragon Slayer wasn't in the least bit impressed. He wanted to say something but before he could do so, the manifestation had begun another tirade.

It began to laugh, and took some steps so that its back was turned towards the Fire Dragon Slayer. "You're looking for an excuse, Houren, and that's why I'm here. Do you feel dizzy?" the manifestation asked, and for a split second there, the Fire Dragon Slayer thought he could actually sense some concern or at least compassion in its voice, but its next words were completely cold, and actually managed to send a slight chill down the second generation Fire Dragon Slayer's spine. "You want to pass out, right? You want to rest? If so, then feel free to, and when you come to, just tell everybody that it was me who knocked you out. I'm here for your convenience, and I can take any form you want. I'm apart of your subconscious so as long as you can imagine it, I can make it a reality," the manifestation smiled, turning towards Houren and bearing its literal fangs.

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#20Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:37 am

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Basically, it was saying that Houren was stressed. It was saying that the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail wanted so badly to pass out, but did not want to appear weak in front of his teammates, and as such, it had come into being. Any moment now, it would ''attack'' the second generation Dragon Slayer, and Houren would be able to use this excuse if anyone asked why he suddenly passed out. Rather than admit it was because of stress or anything like that, he need only say something along the lines of ''I was attacked by a member of Kerberos'' or ''I was attacked by a demon of some sort'' or something along those lines. It could manifest itself as anything, even those things mentioned so it was simply a trick of the mind - Houren's way of convincing himself that he had been attacked. That's why it said it was here for the Fire Dragon Slayer's convenience.

The manifestation had transformed into a Kerberos member at this point. In reality, it wasn't actually the face of appearance of the actual Kerberos members on the island since the Fire Dragon Slayer didn't get a good enough look at them; instead, his stress manifested itself as a random sinister looking guy that Houren might have seen on the street (for all intents and purposes, he could very well have been a kind man with a scary looking face), with the Kerberos emblem located on his forehead to top off his 'charm points'. The Kerberos member manifestation balled both hands into fists and banged them together.

"This form works for you, does it? I suppose it's for the best, huh? You know yourself that these treasure hunter guys are on the island, so it wouldn't be hard to convince everyone that one of them ambushed and attacked you. I don't have any hold on the physical world though, so I won't take the jewel. I guess you could just say that I, the Kerberos member, wasn't bright enough to take the jewel or something like that, huh?'' the manifestation laughed with the appearance of a generic villain that just so happened to be a member of Kerberos, but the voice was still the one that Houren had heard earlier that he could not fully identify.

"That's not correct at all, you idiot," the Fire Dragon Slayer spat, although, when you got down to the nitty gritty, he was essentially saying this to himself, but whatever. The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail that went by the name of Houren Vanadis decided that he didn't want to take this easy route out. Actually, he didn't even consider it for a second so it was strange to him why this hallucination was still even around. He decided to make it known, although they could probably actually communicate telepathically. After all, it wasn't as though he was actually talking to another person. In the worst case scenario, one of the others would see him talking so passionately and approach him, only to find that he was talking to himself. After all, the only person who could see the manifestation was himself.

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#21Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:49 am

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"I don't have any intention of taking the easy way out, just so you know," the Fire Dragon Slayer held his ground, telling the manifestation that he was more than capable of tanking the rest of this journey, and he really meant that as well, you know. He found it strange that this manifestation would suddenly appear out of nowhere and begin to tell him that he decided to show up as a manifestation of the Fire Dragon Slayer's latent stress. Sure, he might have been stressed, but he didn't feel it one bit, or perhaps that was why the body had to force Houren to acknowledge the stress by giving it a voice and a physical form? Or at least a physical form that at least the Fire Dragon Slayer and nobody else would be able to see? It was troublesome more than anything else, if he had to be honest, since now his friends would probably accuse him of being crazy. He knew of plenty of ways to relieve stress, but he wouldn't be able to use any of the while he was stuck here on Tenrou Island, so that was a bust. What if it turned out that this manifestation would follow him until he reached Magnolia? If that was the case, then it'd be pretty bad since there might be episodes where it is just Houren talking to himself, yelling at the manifestation to shut its trap while Captain Seagull is trying to tell him a story or something like that.

That'd be bad, and he didn't need the manifestation of his stress to tell him that.

In any case, he had already made his mind up that he wouldn't be taking the manifestation offer's of ''attacking'' him so that he would have a convenient excuse to just pass out and hopefully rest. The Fire Dragon Slayer always thought of himself as the tank, the pillar no matter where it was that he decided to go. If things were looking bad and everyone had to drop, then he would be the last to drop, not the first. Besides, what was the point of being the strongest physically when you were the weakest mentally? There was no point, right? Following this line of logic, he needed to be strong, not only for himself but for everyone else as well. He had no intention of letting the manifestation of that Kerberos adventurer come and attack him, but that didn't mean that there wasn't actual Kerberos members on the island; there was, and unlike the manifestation of the Fire Dragon Slayer's stress, those treasure hunters posed an actual threat to the well being of Houren Vanadis and the rest of the Tenrou Island expedition team. The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail had to hold out for the sake of those on the team, and be ever vigilant especially when others on the team didn't really see those greedy hunters as a threat. That was a mistake, one that he wasn't going to suffer for.

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#22Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:59 am

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"Hah!? What's that, fool? You're not going to take advantage of my mercy? I called you a fool to bait you earlier, but don't tell me you actually are that stupid? Do you want a repeat of what happened last time?" the manifestation spoke as though this sudden revelation would suddenly get the Fire Dragon Slayer to change his mind, but Houren simply stood there, just as confused as he was before. This caused the manifestation to begin to guffaw. "Ah, that's right. I forgot you were the kind of person who averts his eyes from things he doesn't want to see. How about a trip down memory lane?" the manifestation licked its lips.

The manor inn stood firm in the gradually dimming half light, the only thing of note in what was otherwise a featureless backdrop. To the Fire Dragon Slayer's pleasant surprise though, the interior of the building was well lit, and the proprietors seemed friendly enough, at least to the extent that they did not groan obnoxiously upon his arrival only a few minutes before the established 'locking up' time. Instead he was greeted warmly, insincerely perhaps, and offered a vacancy on the second floor of the building, something that he accepted graciously and without complaint. The walk to the room was needlessly long however, and somewhat tedious as he was guided along the mansion house's complex design.

The minute he entered his room, he felt a sudden chill and the manifestation, no, not the manifestation but a voice - it began to speak to him. The ensuing conversation between Houren and whoever owned the voice was incredibly distinct to the point that it was impossible to make out what they were talking about. The present Dragon Slayer who was viewing this flashback as a third party couldn't recall this memory at all, and it went without saying that he didn't know what they were talking about either. When it seemed like their conversation was going to be finished though, the Fire Dragon Slayer walked over to his bed, still neatly made and not having been slept in even once, sat down, closed his eyes and immediately dropped down, his head not even hitting the pillow but slightly below it on the edge of the covers.

The way he fell was unnatural as well, the third party Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail saw - it wasn't as though he had done it intentionally, it wasn't the movements of a man who was about to go to sleep but rather, it was like he had collapsed onto the bed, but not out of any will of his own. The Fire Dragon Slayer sighed and finally came to grips what had happened in that manor who knows how many years ago; the manifestation had probably appeared that time, in Houren's moment of stress and offered him the same thing as right now, and at that time, the Fire Dragon Slayer had taken it. And as a consequence, could not remember anything.

501/500

#23Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:09 am

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The Fire Dragon Slayer's head was swimming with questions at this point, most of all he wanted to know how he could possibly have known about these manifestations before. No rather, that was the wrong way to phrase it. What he wanted to know was how could the manifestations have appeared before but he had no recollection of them ever showing up to him ever, he couldn't even remember the manor that the manifestation showed him, and for a second was plagued by self doubt. Could it have been a false memory? Was there a manor like that in his past? Did he ever stay at a place like that, and if he did, did the devil show up to make him a deal as he saw in the memory? Perhaps it actually was a false memory, but what was true was that right now, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail was face to face with a manifestation of a Kerberos treasure hunter that had initially taken the form of a young Houren Vanadis, and he spoke so familiarly as well. Perhaps that event had actually happened and was true, and it was simply another one of Houren's repressed memories that he refused to allow himself to remember.

It was strange, but maybe this was a habit of Houren from the very beginning? Perhaps he was simply a guy that, when under great stress, would begin to hallucinate such things and the manifestation would always offer him this refuge, and he would always accept its offer, but when he did so, it would become one of his repressed memories and he would suddenly forget about all of that, including his probable mental illness that had never been diagnosed. "That half assed flashback doesn't tell me anything, so what exactly is it that you're trying to say? If I accept your offer and let you knock me out, I'll be at peace but I'll wake up with absolutely no recollection that my stress is capable of manifesting itself physically and cause me to hallucinate?" the Fire Dragon Slayer was slightly flustered after having learned such an intimate detail about himself that he didn't know before. Not even the past him in that memory reacted so harshly, but perhaps he had already known at that time and only chose that manor so he could pass out in a safe space? It wasn't as though he could hear the conversation anyways.

The manifestation shrugged, and suddenly turned back into a younger version of Houren Vanadis. "How the hell am I supposed to know? Why are you talking to me like I have a separate set of memories from you? I have the exact same ones, except I'm not a pussy that chooses only to remember the pleasant times. If you opened up your mind a little bit, you'll learn all sorts of things about yourself. You've taken the easy way out plenty of times, Houren - you just don't remember because you're embarrassed. So why don't you let go of that shame and remember?" the manifestation suggested aggressively.

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#24Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:51 am

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The Fire Dragon Slayer thought about it for a second, but found that none of this meant anything to him at all. Did it matter that his stress occasionally manifested itself physically and began to berate him, offering him the easy way out? The Fairy Tail mage had always followed the motto that the only easy day was yesterday - this was the motto that he followed since he was young, and he couldn't imagine himself ever breaking it. Besides, this entire story was just a little bit too fishy as well, wasn't it? The Fire Dragon Slayer had a pretty quirky childhood, and it was true that he killed his biological father, but it wasn't as though they were close or anything. He regretted killing him, yes, but at the same time, doing so did not cause Houren immense trauma like the manifestation was suggesting. He came to the conclusion that this manifestation must have been lying to him. The Fire Dragon Slayer's life wasn't so sad that he would need to repress his memories like that; sure, there were some things that happened in the Fire Dragon Slayer's life that were unfortunate and things that he would rather not think about, but he didn't forget them. He would be insulting countless people if he just forgot.

He would never forget. He could cry about it, and regret it, and want to die, but he couldn't forget, and even if he had the chance to go back and change things, he wouldn't do that either because there were some things in this world that were just better left as is. "I don't believe you. I'm not such a weak guy that I'd choose the easy way out every time. I've never been ashamed of my past. I don't know who you think you are, but you and I definitely show share the same mind," the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail was sure of it now. This guy, whoever it was, was just messing with him from afar somehow. It definitely couldn't have been a manifestation of Houren's stress - the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail wouldn't say something like that was impossible, but in this case, it probably was. The Fairy Tail mage didn't have the easiest of lives, but he didn't have it so hard that his body and mind needed to force him to relax like that. He wanted answers, and the answers that the 'manifestation' had been giving him thus far just weren't good enough.

Instinctively, the Fire Dragon Slayer tried to grab the 'manifestation' by the collar, but it wasn't as though Houren realizing the truth would suddenly make him tangible or anything like that. Like before, the Fire Dragon Slayer's hands simply slipped through the manifestation's body, and it threw its head back and began to laugh, but this time it was much more good natured than before. Its body shape changed again, this time to someone Houren recognized, and as it were, it wasn't someone from his past like he thought it was.

510/500

#25Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:26 am

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The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail watched as the figure suddenly changed into, much to the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail's surprise, a person that he actually recognized as Lucian from the Fairy Tail guild. He was a very unassuming member of the guild and one that Houren supposed he considered a friend. They didn't really travel together and the second generation Dragon Slayer wasn't really around in the guild that often, so it wasn't actually correct to call them close friends or anything like that. Still, whenever Houren was around, he would chat to Lucian quite often so they could be friends. Lucian wasn't the kind of person who left Magnolia often either, preferring to do jobs in that area, so it wasn't like they missed each other often. The Fire Dragon Slayer knew that whenever he was back in town, he would be able to find his friend Lucian for a chat if he so wished to.

The strange thing about this Lucian guy was his magic though - it wasn't particularly useful in combat or anything like that, but the Fire Dragon Slayer could almost safely say that he had a magic that was completely unlike any other in the world. At least, it was a very rare magic, perhaps just as rare as Dragon Slayer magic. He had the ability to project his image and make it move around. It was essentially cloning himself in a way, although his projection wouldn't be tangible, but as long as there was no physical contact, it was a perfect copy. Projection magic was only one thing though - it was an advanced spell, but not really all that rare for the right mage. However, Lucian was actually able to transform the shape of his projection as well, which is what put Houren off.

He was such a good actor that he actually managed to fool Houren, albeit for a second, that he was actually the manifestation of the Fire Dragon Slayer's stress, but of course, no matter what kind of illusion magic you use, it wouldn't work if the recipient's will is too strong. It was true that the Fire Dragon Slayer was under some stress, he had confessed that to Lucian many times, but it wasn't this bad, and Houren knew it, it didn't matter how many phony memories you showed him. He eyed his 'friend' up and down, and demanded an explanation from him.

"You can project your image anywhere in the world? Or did you follow us to Hargeon and sneak onto Captain Seagull's ship? I'd say it's the latter, right? If it's the former, I'd be surprised why you aren't one of the Ten Wizard Saints already," the serious expression on the Fire Dragon Slayer's face melted away. It was a distasteful joke, in truth, but it wasn't one that he wouldn't expect of Lucian. If it was done with no malice, then he could forgive it, and Lucian was not a bad guy in the end.

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