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The Alvarez Empire arc (アルバレス編 Arubaresu-hen) is the seventeenth and final story arc of the Fairy Tail series.

With Fairy Tail's revival accomplished, Mest Gryder reveals the disturbing truth about Makarov Dreyar's disbanding of the guild one year ago. The Seventh Master Erza Scarlet must face her greatest challenge as the new leader, as the guild is about to stand against the most terrifying threat yet, which even the Magic Council is desperately trying, but are barely able to stop. The military-driven Alvarez Empire from Alakitasia is poised to launch a full-scale war upon Ishgar to lay claim to Fairy Tail's secret artifact, Lumen Histoire. And to make matters worse, a familiar and ancient foe with a troublesome past intertwined with Mavis Vermillion's own is pulling the strings, trying to fulfill his destructive agenda, all while the inscrutable danger of the deadly dragon, Acnologia, looms over the world.


A New Leader and the Overseas Threat

The Seventh Guild Master: Erza Scarlet

Five days after the formal restoration of the Fairy Tail Guild, the members begin construction of their new building in the crater where their old building once stood. Leaderless, several ideas to locate the Sixth Master are proposed; however, Levy states that they require an immediate Guild Master to complete the legal procedures for the Guild's revival. Meanwhile, a typical brawl erupts between the guild members, only to be easily broken up by Erza. Levy instantly notes down Erza as the Seventh Guild Master, much to the latter's surprise, and the approval of a member nobody seems to remember: Mest Gryder. Revealing that their former Master is in a dire situation,[1] he leads Erza to the concealed Lumen Histoire, forbidding anybody else from following. The rest of Team Natsu promptly trails them, blowing their cover only upon witnessing their Guild's greatest secret. Overlooking their disobedience, Mest then shares his memories about his undercover mission in the Magic Council. His main objective was to gain intelligence about the Western Continent, home of the Alvarez Empire, which attempted to invade Ishgar in X781 to obtain Lumen Histoire, but were dissuaded by the threat of Etherion and Face. However, the aftermath of Fairy Tail's war against Tartaros left Ishgar with no defense against another invasion, prompting Makarov to disband Fairy Tail to protect the members, then depart to the Alvarez Empire in order to negotiate with their authorities and stall them as long as possible.[2]

Gajeel proposes to reform Team B

In order to extract Makarov from Alvarez without impeding the Guild's revival, Erza decides that only the ones present in the chamber will participate in the mission. Mest also describes the reformed Magic Council to be under pressure from the potential war threat from the West, just like their predecessors. The supposedly secret dialogue is overheard by Gajeel thanks to his sharp aural senses. He begins to plan the reformation of the B Team from the Grand Magic Games, apparently knowing where to find Laxus.[3]

In the Magic Council's headquarters, Levy officially finalizes the rebirth of Fairy Tail. While there, she also witnesses three of the four Gods of Ishgar, Warrod, Wolfheim and Hyberion, discuss the threat posed by the Alvarez Empire and the defection of Ishgar's top Mage, God Serena, who is now a member of the personal guard of Emperor Spriggan: the Spriggan 12; whose members are on a level equal to his own.[4]

The Grand Rescue Operation

Team Natsu attack the imperial troops at Caracole

Erza's exfil team sets sail for Alakitasia, deciding to resupply at Caracole Island and also get information from Mest's spy who is present there. Meanwhile, as Gajeel's squad travels to find Laxus and his Thunder God Tribe, Gajeel and Levy explain that their unit would provide support to the main team to improve the chances for a successful extraction. Back at the ship, the rescue party approaches Caracole, only to notice the Alvarez Navy in control of the island. When Natsu and Wendy inform the others that their enemy's purpose is to roust out the spy, the team members disguise themselves as members of Cait Shelter to pass through the port authorities' inspection. However, they soon get into a skirmish with some of the soldiers who are about to kill a child.[5] While Wendy and the Exceeds escort the the child to its father and Mest heads off to find their informant, the remaining four defeat their opponents, then discuss their future course over a serving of Star Mango Gelato.[6]

Suddenly, the stall they are patronizing is destroyed by a person who introduces himself as Marin Hollow, a member of the Brandish Squad. Erza and Lucy find themselves unable to use their Magic and, after being informed that all forms of Magic that involve dimensional manipulation are nullified by Marin's Spatial Magic, are forcibly teleported to his personal dimension. The Alvarez Mage then brings forth an utterly beaten Mest and engages Gray and Natsu in combat, easily outmaneuvering the two thanks to his expert combination of martial skills and teleportation. But his little game soon ends with the arrival of his superior, the Shield of Spriggan Brandish μ, a woman whose humongous reserves of Magic Power absolutely terrify Gray.[7] Concurrently, completely unaware of their comrades' predicament, Team B relaxes at a hot spring owned by Blue Pegasus, where they are joined by Ichiya, who reveals that Laxus and his bodyguards are currently upstanding members of Blue Pegasus.[8]

Brandish warns Fairy Tail

Back at Caracole, Brandish completely ignores Natsu and Gray and, disappointed to see the Star Mango Gelato store wrecked, declares that she will return, believing the spy to be insignificant as Ishgar is too cowardly to act against Alakitasia. She commands Marin to free the women he has captured, intimidating the man into obedience by raising the entire island onto a pillar of rock. Despite this favorable turn of events, Natsu stalls her departure by complaining about Mest's injuries, so Brandish seemingly disintegrates Marin as a form of compensation. She reveals that she is aware of their true identities and reassures them that Makarov is alive. She then returns to her fleet after shrinking the island to a mere pebble as warning to stay away from her Empire.[9] A fishing fleet soon arrives to rescue the stranded population of the former Caracole Island. After getting his wounds treated, Mest teleports everybody to an underwater temple in order to meet the spy, Sorano, who discloses information about Makarov's whereabouts as the sailing temple Olympia sets course for Alakitasia.[10]

Emperor "Spriggan" returns to Vistarion

In the capital city of the Alvarez Empire, Vistarion, Makarov and Yajeel discuss Fairy Tail's revival and the exemplary hospitality extended towards Makarov, contrary to the rumors regarding the Empire's operation. Just as Yajeel mentions that dialogue with the emperor is rare due to his love of travel, crowds in the street begin to celebrate the return of their beloved sovereign. The two old men head out to witness the spectacle, but Makarov is shocked to see that the emperor is none other than Zeref himself.[11]

Zeref returns to his castle and orders for the Spriggan 12 to gather, he's met by four of them, including Invel, Dimaria Yesta, Ajeel Raml, and August, as well as Yajeel who directs him to Makarov, informing of his need to meet him. Zeref and Makarov go somewhere private and talk, with Zeref revealing that he is indeed the Emperor of Alvarez, having created the country and kingdom a long time ago so he may have the forces he needs to fight Acnologia and capture the Lumen Histoire or as the two know it, the Fairy Heart. Zeref also reveals that he will start the real Dragon Festival: A war between the humans, Acnologia and himself to see who survives.[12]

Natsu lands a hit on Ajeel

Makarov tries to attack him after hearing this, but Zeref holds him in place with his Magic, thanking him for raising Natsu. Before he can deliver the final blow, Mest suddenly warps in, grabs Makarov and teleports away back to the forest where Team Natsu awaits. As Mest recovers, he informs the group he saw Zeref, much to Natsu's anger.[13] Makarov then laments the pointlessness of trying to negotiate with the Emperor, but Team Natsu assure him they understand his actions and inform him of Fairy Tail reforming, with Natsu telling him they've come to take him home. However, they're suddenly found by Ajeel whose power over sand allowed him to track the group. As Mest is low on Magic Power, he can only make one more teleport, and is saving it for reaching the shore to jump to Sorano's vehicle, Makarov orders everyone to run. They do so, with Erza driving a Magical Vehicle and Gray and Lucy trying to slow Ajeel down with their new powers. It seems to work until Ajeel creates a sinkhole under the vehicle, intending to bury them in sand, all the while gloating of his superior power. However, much to Ajeel and Makarov's shock, the group manages to bust out of the sinkhole before Natsu punches Ajeel in the face.[14]

Fairy Tail stands against Ajeel

Despite the hit, Ajeel recovers and unleashes a major sand attack on the group. Makarov manages to save Team Natsu proclaiming he won't let Ajeel hurt them. But the Spriggan Guard responds by sending a gigantic sand tidal wave at them that'll disintegrate everything. Just as it's about to hit, lighting suddenly vaporizes the wave. The group see that it's Blue Pegasus's airship with Laxus standing on it along with the rest of Gajeel's group aboard it. Seeing this, Mest teleports their group into it. When Ajeel tries to attack, Laxus sends a major lighting attack down to stop him, allowing the group to get away. Though August manages to save Ajeel thanks to a barrier he threw up at the last moment. Zeref, sensing this, states that things are just in the beginning phase.[15]

As everyone reconciles on the ship, Makarov smiles and cries, stating Fairy Tail is the best family one could wish for.[16]

Prelude to War: Secret of Fairy Heart

Mavis, ready to reveal her past with Zeref

The parties all return safely back to Magnolia and the guild hall celebrates the return of Makarov. Erza quickly gives up her position as guild master to Makarov, now making him the eighth master. After a bit of partying, Makarov gets everyone's attention and apologizes to them for his actions in disbanding the guild. He also warns them that Alvarez will soon be coming for them, although Natsu assures him that the guild will be willing to fight, which everyone agrees with. Makarov then proceeds to tell them about the Lumen Histoire, but Mavis steps in and offers to do it herself, beginning to detail her past with Zeref and what lead to the current situation.[17]

Mavis recalls her first meeting with Zeref in the forests west of Magnolia, who taught her and her companions Magic in order to battle Blue Skull and liberate the city. Her usage of Law granted them victory and saved Yuri Dreyar's life, but at the cost of Mavis' ability to age. In year X686, Fairy Tail was founded, and shortly after the Second Trade War broke out between the feudal lords, where Mavis proved her genius on the battlefield, earning her the title of Fairy Tactician. Mavis met Zeref once again in year X696 and thanked him for his tutelage. Zeref reveals his identity to Mavis, which surprises her, and reveals to him that she used Law, much to Zeref's shock. He tells her that her life-or-death choice brought Ankhseram's curse upon her, and the only reason it did not activate yet was because she did not value the lives of others due to her participation in the Trade War, but once she becomes aware of the preciousness, the curse will activate. Mavis then runs away to the guild in tears, recalling Zeref's words.[18]

Mavis' first and last kiss with Zeref

Mavis then attends the moment of Makarov's birth in the guild and becomes his godmother. As Mavis grabs Rita's hand, she unwillingly kills her, realizing that Zeref's words came to pass and horrified, she flees the guild, forcing herself on self-imposed exile, having outbursts of Death Predation taking many lives on the way. One year later, she is yet again encountered by Zeref, with Mavis visibly broken and wishing to die of starvation, yet to no avail. Zeref then explains what he has been up to all the time: creating Etherious to kill him, as well as his involvement with Alvarez Empire, of which's construction and rule treats akin to a game. As he explains his reasons, Mavis notices that even his thoughts contradict each other while he is suddenly having one of his breakdowns, including his lifetime wish for Natsu to end his life, then him switching to a want to kill his brother instead. Mavis then vows to help Zeref to find a way to end their curses, proclaiming mutual love. However as Mavis and Zeref kiss, the power of his own curse overwhelmed Mavis', ending her immortal life and pushing Zeref even further into darkness. Having found something to live for again through love after previously discarding the value of life, it was the ultimate contradiction of the curse, causing Mavis to die even though she was supposed to be impervious to death.[19]

Zeref carrying Mavis to the Fairy Tail Guild

Zeref, grieving over the loss of the person that was willing to help him overcome his curse, encounters his other student and friend of Mavis, Precht Gaebolg: the man who later will become known as Hades. Precht recognizes the Black Wizard and that he is carrying the First Master on his arms. After a brief conversation, Zeref unceremoniously drops Mavis on the ground, saying that he came to return her back to the guild. Zeref reveals his identity to Precht before walking away, comparing himself to a polar opposite of what Mavis was, a Spriggan to Mavis' Fairy, before departing to Alakitasia in order to continue running his growing Alvarez Empire, remarking that he shouldn't, or rather couldn't ever fall in love. Precht then senses a residual Magic source still dwelling inside Mavis' seemingly lifeless body and attempts to revive her, but to no avail. He later realizes that the Magic was in actuality the still active Curse of Ankhseram, which left Mavis' body in a state between life and death. He then created a ruse about Mavis' death and made a fake grave on Tenrou Island, as well as became officially the Second Guild Master of Fairy Tail. Thirty years later, Precht's efforts ultimately gave birth to a limitless font of Magic, known as the Eternity Magic: Fairy Heart. Mavis also reveals that Zeref is most likely after Fairy Heart to make it a power source for his own forces in order to take down Acnologia. Natsu then reveals that he developed a secret, powerful technique sealed under the bandages on his right arm, powerful enough to take down even the immortal Zeref.[20]

War Begins: Assault on Magnolia

Acnologia anxious for war

Back in Vistarion, Marin Hollow is revealed to be still alive, but shrunk to a miniature size and is seen taking care of Brandish's pedicure. Dimaria Yesta visits Brandish's room informing her about the imminent gathering of Spriggan 12. Meanwhile, in Fairy Tail, Natsu reveals that his secret technique can only be used once, boosting the morale of the guild members. Makarov then reveals the intel about the known members of Spriggan 12: Invel, Ajeel, Dimaria, Brandish, God Serena, August, Wall Eehto, Bloodman and Neinhart. At the same time, the Spriggan 12 meeting takes place, with Zeref revealing his intention to launch a full-scale invasion on Ishgar with two goals: to capture Lumen Histoire and total annihilation of Ishgar. While two sides plan their strategies, the third force in the conflict, Acnologia prepares his move.[21]

Lucy reminisces about Fairy Heart, the reason why Alvarez wants to invade Ishgar, as well as her duty to protect it, since it's the body of their First Master, the person responsible for the foundation of Fairy Tail, the guild she met all the Mages she befriended so far. Natsu and Happy manage to break into her place, and Lucy notes that the townspeople were already evacuated. Natsu also recalls the words Igneel left him: to speak about the future, which shall become a thing that will ignite his will to live. In the Fairy Hills dorm, Erza and Wendy reminisce about how the former invited the latter into the guild, and Erza thinks about how she has to protect everyone, but Wendy vows that she, alongside the others will be ones that will protect her from now on, prompting Erza to acknowledge Wendy's growth. Erza also tells Wendy that Crime Sorcière will join their fight, having their own goal of taking down Zeref and his underlings.

Warren and Macao discuss Alvarez's next move with Makarov

Elsewhere, Gray thanks Juvia for being by his side, promising her that he will give his answer once the battle is over, focusing himself on taking down both E.N.D. and Zeref. Back in Fairy Tail, Warren has established his radar facility that is supposed to detect enemy forces advancing around Magnolia. Mavis proposes that the forces should split in two directions: a diversion force stationed in the north, while the main force waits in the south. However, Alvarez fleet consisting of 50 ships assaulted the Guild's position from the air, using cloaking devices that inhibited Warren's radar, revealing themselves once they came in close proximity. Ajeel, the Shield that commanded the operation proclaimed that Fairy Tail will be reduced to nothing more, but dust.[22]

Erza challenges Ajeel

Mavis quickly has the bell rung to alert the others. Ajeel commences his attack only for the ships cannon fire to be blocked by a shield Freed puts up, though struggles to do so with Bickslow lending his own Magic Power to help. As Ajeel keeps up the assault, Mavis sends out the Dragon Slayers and their Exceeds to take care as many ships as they can. Meanwhile, Mavis has Alzack and Bisca ready a Jupiter Cannon in the hopes of taking down the main ship. Since the cannon takes 15 minutes to charge, they know they can't afford to miss. Bisca fires as soon as the charge is completed but Ajeel just deflects the shot though in scattering it, the shot does take out a few more ships. The Dragon Slayers decide to fight Ajeel personally, forgetting about their motion sickness since they're on a flying ship. Ajeel prepares to kill them only for his men to knocked out and his ship to be sliced in half, dropping the part with the Dragon Slayers away from the Spriggan. Ajeel turns to the culprit to find Erza ready to fight him.[23]

The others are worried for Erza since even with her strength, it'll be a difficult fight. But Mavis tells the others to have faith in her. For the moment it seems the onslaught is contained and Freed being able to keep the shield up on his own. Outside the city on the Western Hills, a few Alvarez forces march in by foot from that side headed by Squad members, Kareem and Bakel only to be intercepted by the Dragon Slayers. After seeing Natsu beat some of his forces, Bakel engages Natsu in a fight. Back on Ajeel's ship, Erza and Ajeel square off. At first Erza seems to be holding her own but Ajeel surrounds her with a whirlwind of sand which seemingly disrupts her Re-Quip magic. As this goes on Freed and Warren find that the barrier has been penetrated by Wall who has his forces march into the city.[24]

Brandish invading Lucy's apartment

Mavis warns the other members of this who rush to intercept them. Lucy starts to head out, but hears someone in her bathroom. Investigating, she finds Brandish bathing in her tub who states that Lucy left an impression on her. Brandish's presence is soon detected by Warren before he see that three hundred air ships are heading from the North with three more Spriggan Knights on them, later there was a report of three hundred more ships with three more Spriggans from the South. If that wasn't bad enough, he finds that over one million more forces are coming in from the East with three more knights. Meaning Fairy Tail is boxed in from all sides. As Mavis hears this, she realizes that there's virtually no chance of victory no matter what strategy she comes up with.[25]

Mirajane's latest Satan Soul

Meanwhile, The Flying Dragon Squad continues to deal with the Alvarez forces on the Western Hills. Happy suggests to Natsu to go all out but he declines guessing correctly that more forces on coming. Gajeel meanwhile goes on to fight Kareem. On the western side of town, Gray, Erza and the Strauss Siblings find themselves outnumbered by the forces they're fighting. Mirajane unveils a new Satan Soul form: Seilah, much to the shock of the others which Lisanna explains she took pity on her and absorbed her power to keep her from dying. She uses her power to make some of the soldier falls asleep. Wall notices this and recognizes the demon as one Zeref's toys.[26]

On Ajeel's ship, Erza struggles to get her power back while at the headquarters Warren continues to worry at the hopeless situation to the point he doesn't respond to Mavis's orders. Max snaps him out of it, telling him that he's scared too but they need to stay focused for the sake of their friends and family. This works, and Warren regains his composure. Seeing this Mavis tries to come up with a plan. Back at Lucy's house, Brandish orders Lucy into the tub, threatening to shrink her, the town and her friends if she doesn't comply. What's more she brought Marin, still in small size, with her. After she shrinks the neighboring house as a warning, Lucy complies though readies herself for a fight as she strips naked.[27]

Brandish realizing Lucy's ties

Lucy gets in the tub and Brandish confesses she's not very cute, going on to humiliate her by making her wear cat ears. Brandish states she feels she knows Lucy from somewhere, but as her country doesn't get eastern magazines or know of the Grand Magic Games, she can't recall where. As Brandish forces her to wash her back, Lucy sees her unaware and vulnerable, which she then prepares to use Aquarius's broken key shard to stab her. However, Brandish suddenly realizes where she knows Lucy as she remembers her last name and she is the daughter of Layla Heartfilia. She instantly shrinks Lucy's house, forcing her to run outside. Lucy tries to ask how she knows her mother but Brandish refuses to talk about it. Cana suddenly arrives and forces Brandish away from her. Lucy reveals she managed to grab the capsule that was containing Marin and knocks him out by stepping on him. With Marin unconscious and his Magic dispelled, Lucy regains her Magic and puts on the Aries Form Star Dress to combat Brandish.[28]

Marin's defeat likewise allows Erza to regain her Magic and she quickly goes on the counterattack, resuming her battle with Ajeel. At the Western Hills, the Dragon Slayers and Exceeds have beaten the invading Ajeel Squad, however they notice more incoming forces in the air. Bakel suddenly revives and tries to attack Natsu but Natsu easily counters him and punches him into the air, right into and through Ajeel's ship much to Ajeel's shock. Erza takes advantage of the distraction to deliver a major blow on Ajeel.[29]

Erza helpless against Ajeel's might

Erza continues her attack with Ajeel surprised a sword could actually damaged his body. Erza reveals it's a water based sword which is able to harden his sand on contact. Angered, Ajeel unleashes a major sandstorm over the city, causing both the Fairies and Spriggans to be caught up in it. Ajeel proclaims himself as a God when he uses this move, managing to grab Erza and dry up her life force. He tries to get her to say he's a God but she refuses, stating Fairy Tail will never bow to him while changing into an armor that emits a bright light. Thinking her actions futile, Ajeel forms a sand ax and goes to behead her. However. Bisca sees the light through the sandstorm and fires the Jupiter Cannon in his direction. The shot slams right into Ajeel, destroying his ship in process. With the opening gained, Erza quickly delivers the finishing blow defeating him and dispelling the sandstorm.[30]

Natsu timely saves Erza

With Ajeel downed, Erza arises out of her battle victorious but wounded, falling from the sky at great speed. Natsu notices her and dashes for her location, timely saving his friend before she hits the ground. Elsewhere, with the sandstorm dissipating, Lucy and Cana look around for Brandish, who developed a sneezing fit as a result of the kicked-up pollen in the vicinity. Cana swiftly takes her out from behind, with both the female Mages agreeing to take her back to the guild. On the battlefield, Gray's group encounter mechanical soldiers that are able to combat their flaws, a result of Wall's magic, which exposes the opponent's weaknesses; Wall later departing to assassinate the Jutsu Shiki creator blocking the outside forces. At the Kardia Cathedral, Wall arrives to see the Thunder God Tribe as the culprits, and with Freed unable to move due the vast amount of energy used for his Magic, Evergreen and Bickslow step forward to engage the Shield of Spriggan. Wall creates more of his soldiers who easily handle the two Mages; prompting Freed to tell them to use their Eye Magic, however it is to no avail as Wall reveals he is a Machias, a species unaffected by their Magic. Suddenly, lightning electrocutes the soldiers, revealing it to come from Ichiya's Thunder Perfume, which greatly shocks the Fairy Tail Mages.[31]

Freed and Ichiya destroy Wall

With the Thunder God Tribe flustered by Ichiya's appearance, the Blue Pegasus Mage announces he will aid them in their battle. Wall goes to examine his weakness to use against him, but is overloaded as the Mage simply has too many. Ichiya tries to retaliate by using his Poison Perfume, but it proves futile against the Machias. Wall then blows back in a counterattack, knocking back the Mage. Bickslow and Evergreen rush to his defense, only to be countered by the Weakness soldiers. Ichiya tries to again attack the Spriggan 12 with lightning, only for it be absorbed as the Machias explains how he immunized himself to his own weakness, transforming into a stronger state and letting out a humongous electrical discharge, which electrocutes everything within the vicinity. Freed then comes to bear that he has to dispel the runes in order to fight, which earns him a berating denial from Laxus: telling the Mage to not undo the barrier. Laxus offers assistance that is met with a swift denial by his bodyguards. Almost on the brink of defeat, Elfman and his group provides a key to defeating the Weakness soldiers; by switching opponents, to which the members take out their respective Weakness soldier, with Freed being able to combine his strengths with Ichiya's to allow the duo to destroy the Shield of Spriggan; all seeding from the announcement of Natsu's reveal. Everyone in the guild gleefully cheers on their guild's victory, with Wall's remaining head smiling ominously.[32]

The real Wall readies his cannon

With the Mages victorious in their battle, Ichiya explains of the cruel treatment he endured from a few days earlier when Team Fairy Tail B rudely barged into his guild in order to retrieve Laxus, took his ship, and after arriving in Magnolia left the Mage by his lonesome as he had to restock and resupply Christina. The Fairy Tail Mages apologize but suddenly Freed notices the detached head of Wall and hurriedly rushes towards Ichiya as the robotic head detonates, destroying the cathedral in the process, which in turn grievously harms the Thunder God Tribe. Meanwhile, from the southern waters of Hargeon, countless ships are sailing towards the port. The real Wall cackles incessantly, as Dimaria tells him to cease it immediately. Wall tells her he finds Ajeel and Brandish's predicaments funny, causing Dimaria to mimic his laughter. They both commend Fairy Tail as worthy opponents but Wall states that he's unhappy with the name of the Spriggan 12 being mocked. He then materializes a giant cannon and fires it, aiming for Fairy Tail's guild hall but it is blocked by the heroics of Ichiya, who uses Christina to shield the guild from the blast, destroying it in the process. He then, through the communication system, alerts all the guilds in Fiore to mobilize as the time of their battle has finally arrived.[33]

Ishgar vs. Alakitasia Ensues: Brothers Collide

Brandish tells Lucy to kill her

As the sun rises, everyone reminisces on the previous day's battles and plan out their next steps with the other guilds joining the fray. Mavis unwillingly didn't want other guilds to join the fray, to which Laxus and Makarov both disagree with her standing, later asking Warren to report the current state of affairs. Meanwhile in the underground prison, Brandish is locked away in a cell, forced to wear Magic Sealing Stones cuffs and shackles. Macao and Wakaba stand guard whilst making lewd comments, rewarding them with a hit to head by Lucy who again asks of Brandish of her relationship with her mother. Brandish refuses to talk, demanding Lucy to kill her, instructing her to make it fast. Lucy abject refuses to cooperate with Brandish's request; as all she just wants to know is what the relationship between her mother and Brandish is. Brandish repeats herself, stating that Lucy should hurry as this may be her only chance to do it. Cana intervenes at this point telling Lucy to quit trying, all the while a normal-sized Marin plans to infiltrate their guild from the outside.[34]

Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus head north

Elsewhere from the west of Magnolia, Invel gives word to Zeref about the deaths of the Ajeel and Brandish; news which causes grief to Yajeel of hearing of his grandson's passing but Zeref eases the minister's mind, noting that the two are still alive due to the perceived weak mentality of their opponents. Back at the guild, Warren gives the shocking news that the guilds of Fiore's neighbor of Bosco have been wiped out by the Alvarez Imperial forces. However he also mentions good news of Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus going to intercept the enemies to the north while Mermaid Heel and Lamia Scale are traveling to repel the southern forces occupying Hargeon Town. Mavis then mobilizes the Strauss siblings, Gajeel, Levy, and Lily to assist the northern forces whilst Natsu, Gray, Juvia, Wendy, and Laxus are to provide assistance to the south. Natsu however is nowhere to be seen leaving everyone in the guild scrambling to find him, nevertheless Erza insists on taking the truant Dragon Slayer's spot, stating that he'll be fine. Mavis orders Lucy and Cana to keep watch over Brandish while saying the rest of the remaining forces are to stand by for Zeref's incoming forces, coming in from the west. Romeo questions who will defend the east, with Mavis revealing that the remaining Gods of Ishgar, along with Jura will take care of the eastern forces. Suddenly the Magic Radar picks up on Natsu's current position, who's flying at an incredible speed, heads toward Zeref's position; the Dragon Slayer stating it's time for the final showdown between the two.[35]

Gray lashes out on Erza

As Natsu charges head on for an encounter with Zeref, everyone at the guild is up-in-arms with his latest selfish stunt. Erza tells everybody to have more faith in their comrade, with Gray now in her face, vehemently opposing this statement. Lucy breaks up the two's argument with Mavis concluding for everybody to put their faith in Natsu and continue on with their plans. Meanwhile, Natsu and Happy reach the fleet of marching soldiers; beginning his assault he intends on creating a commotion in order to draw out Zeref. The Fairy Tail Mage immediately lets loose a flurry of attacks against the Alvarez Empire soldiers, who are unable to deter his charge despite their overwhelming number of Imperial troops. Suddenly, Zeref arrives on the scene, informing Natsu that he has only defeated but a fraction of the massive army. Natsu shows surprise on how quickly they've come face-to-face to each other; the Black Wizard expresses that he desired to confront Natsu immediately. The Dragon Slayer concurs with his statement as he begins to unravel the bandages binding his right arm in preparation of battle with the Empire's emperor.[36]

Natsu reveals his Dragon tattoo

A few Imperial soldiers begin to wonder why the Dragon Slayer called their Emperor by the name of Zeref, which Invel points out that on Ishgar he is known as his true identity of that name. Zeref then tells Invel for him and the squadron to fall back—as does Natsu to Happy—which the Winter General opposes, but eventually complies. Natsu then reveals the Dragon tattoo underneath his bandages, surprising Zeref, as the Fire Mage tells him that this power is what he inherited from a dying Igneel, stating it took him 10 months in order to master it. After the two exchange multiple blows, Natsu enters his Fire Dragon King Mode, which he declares that this one-time move will be what ends the Black Wizard. As he closes in to finish him, Zeref gleefully recalls of all the benefactors that helped him reach this day: Igneel, Anna Heartfilia, Layla, Mavis, and lastly Natsu, whom all helped him towards obtaining his ultimate wish: being able to finally perish.[37]

Through the debris, Zeref is shown still being alive although heavily damaged from Natsu's attack. Natsu admits he still has one more try in his final attack which Zeref applauds him for gaining marvelous strength in order to kill him. However he said it is for naught, as he has now decided to annihilate humanity instead; not long after revealing that he is the Dragon Slayer's older brother and the latter's status as his ultimate and most powerful Etherious: E.N.D.[38]

Natsu's senses are connected to the Book of E.N.D.

The news stunning the in-denial Natsu, while Zeref goes on to reveal of their parents' death and how he died during a Dragon's attack 400 years ago, causing him to research Magic in order to revive him, thus creating the Etherious. Natsu rebukes his theory by saying Igneel could have destroyed E.N.D; Zeref concurs, but notes that the Fire Dragon King could not succumb to destroying his very foster son. Zeref goes on to reveal that Mard Geer was the true creator of Tartaros, saying Natsu indirectly had a hand in the creation as well, which the latter gives an angry retribution to the Black Wizard, who pierces the Book of E.N.D, hurting Natsu in process. He then goes on to tell him of why the dragons forsaken themselves into the bodies of their foster children: in order to defeat Acnologia and prevent themselves from dying due to the lack of Ethernano in their time. The dragons, in conjunction with Anna and her clan, formulated a plan to open the Eclipse Gate, using the portal to leap forward 400 years into future; with Zeref revealing that Layla, her descendant, opened the gate on July 7, X777, which was the true reason behind the dragons departing their children on that fateful day.[39]

Fed up with his words, Natsu angrily charges at the Black Wizard, aware if he succeeds upon killing him he will die in conjunction. Happy stops the Dragon Slayer, sobbingly stating he cannot go on to live without his friend while hurriedly flying him to the guild, as Zeref concurs that his younger brother is no longer capable of stopping him.[40] Healing himself from his strife with his brother, he comes to realization that no one can stop him now; ordering Invel to move the troops out once again while asking him to bring him a new set a clothing. Later by a pond, as Happy washes his burnt paws, Natsu asks if he is ok which Happy replies he is; running up to and hugging Natsu in which he tells him he won't let him die.[41]

Dimaria and Wall conquer Hargeon

Elsewhere at the port of Hargeon, Dimaria and Wall take in the scenery of the town—usurping the control while wiping out the citizens—conquering the port harbor on sight. The knightly Mage is pleased that the Machia didn't destroy the serene town, but Wall contradicts her statement as Magnolia was his target; Dimaria once again reminding him that Brandish is imprisoned at the local. She then asks of Neinhart's whereabouts, which a solider replies he is still on the ship, causing Dimaria to lament her troublesome partner's act. On the outskirts, Lamia Scale and Mermaid Heel are marching towards the town, the members in awe from Alvarez's vast imperial forces. Forgoing their fears, the Fiore Mages charge to engage their opponents, with Dimaria and Wall preparing to show the true strength of the Spriggan 12.[42]

In the north, Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus are engaged with the enemies, repelling their initial forces. Yukino comes to see some Sabertooth members running in fear, with suddenly one of the members getting killed; the perpetrator revealing to be one of the 12 Shields, Bloodman. In the east, God Serena, along with August and Jacob Lessio, encounters with his former comrades, the Four Gods of Ishgar. As Draculos (the true name of Hyberion) and the powerful Mages wonder why he has betrayed his homeland, the Shield of Spriggan simply deflects his question.[43]

Cruel Fate: Betrayal and Revenge

Marin strangles Brandish by the neck

In her solitary confinement in Magnolia, Brandish is approached by Marin, who successfully infiltrated the guild. As Brandish orders him to remove her cuffs, Marin grabs her neck, beginning to forcibly strangle her, as he has decided that she "fails" in his eyes, pointing to all of the mistreatment and humiliation he received from her thus far.[44] Meanwhile, in Hargeon, the members of Lamia Scale and Mermaid Heel continue battle against the Alvarez Imperial army. Wall creates missiles that annihilates some of the opposing guild members; Kagura repels the rest of his incoming missiles via bifurcation, and just after engages in sword-to-sword combat with a very snide Dimaria.[45]

Aquarius returns to save Lucy

Meanwhile in the infirmary, Brandish awakens to see Lucy, Cana, and Porlyusica, who reveal to her that they saved her from Marin after she lost consciousness. Brandish assumes Lucy wants knowledge on her and Layla's past, demanding that in exchange, they release the chains binding her (not the Sealing Stone, however). Lucy obliges; Brandish explains her that her mother, Grammi, was one of Layla's trusted servants, and the one she passed down Aquarius' key to when she could not continue to be a Mage. Lucy mentions that Aquarius's key was gifted to her by her mother, but Brandish asks Lucy how such a thing could be possible if her mother had the key: the answer is that Layla killed Grammi. A shocked Lucy vehemently disagrees, but Brandish takes advantage of Lucy's naivety and leaps from her bed, where she begins to tearfully asphyxiate her. During the struggle, a vase is knocked over, and from the water rises Aquarius, who saves Lucy from Brandish's grasp.[46]

Shocked to see her old friend, Lucy bursts into to tears while the two embrace after over a year. Aquarius explains her key has been reborn somewhere on this world, and with the help of the Celestial Spirit King she was able to travel to this world as he temporarily opened her gate. She then greets Brandish, admonishing and ordering her around after the two haven't met in so long. Aquarius then explains that Brandish's hatred to Layla is misguided, as she brings both her and Lucy to Star Memory, a realm where one can see the memory archives of the past spirits and Mages. She shows the two girls of Anna Heartfilia, a Celestial Spirit Mage, conversing with Zeref about their plan to send warriors to the future to defeat Acnologia, by using the Eclipse Gate. Anna opened it 400 years prior, with the plan being passed down all the way to Layla, who opened it on July 7, X777 but did not have all 12 keys required to open it, as Grammi, who had the remaining one, was away in Alakitasia with Brandish. Layla used her own remaining life force to cover the last key which she fell ill from Magic Deficiency Disease, worrying the returned Grammi as she promised her master that she will return Aquarius's key so she could pass it down to Lucy.[47]

Zoldeo stabs Grammi

After the two friends converse, Grammi leaves, not long after being approached and stabbed from behind by Zoldeo, who is angry at Grammi for being the reason of the dying Layla. She accepts her fate but requests Zoldeo not to harm Brandish as her dying wish, which causes Brandish in the present to break in a fit of tears as Lucy comforts her, wanting to be her friend as well. Suddenly, the mood is turned into melancholy, as a tearful Happy brings in a despondent Natsu—pleading for help— utterly shocking everyone present.[48]

Stunned from seeing Natsu motionless, Cana and Porlyusica rush to the room, confused as to why Happy rushed his friend so suddenly past them. Lucy checks his heartbeat, which she confirms she cannot hear it, which garners Porlyusica to quickly attend to the Dragon Slayer, as she reveals an Anti-Ethernano Tumor has arose in his body, developing inside of him from a mass exertion of his Magic Power and that without surgery, he can perish from the mass contaminating his body. Her reveal worries everyone, as she continues on to say no one on the continent of Ishgar is capable of healing the virus. Brandish then comments that her Magic is capable of shrinking the tumor to a minuscule level that it would be harmless, requesting for the Fairy Tail Mages to remove her cuffs in order to begin the operation.[49]

God Serena wipes out the Four Gods

Later, after the operation was performed, Brandish returns to her cell and is confronted and thanked by Lucy and Happy for saving Natsu, only for the Spriggan 12 to mention she wants to be left alone. Aquarius, after bringing Lucy to the balcony, tells her about her key is somewhere in this world, however, she lets the latter know she won't be able to spare clues on its' location. Lucy complies, promising the Celestial Spirit she will recover it in on her own; the Water Bearer happily departing after hearing her vow. Meanwhile in the south, Lamia Scale and Mermaid Heel have retreated to their bases from their mission to liberate Hargeon, being too overwhelmed by Dimaria and Wall's might; likewise in the north, Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus have also retreated from Bloodman's forces with the prominent members discussing the mass amount of casualties they have taken. In the east, God Serena, without the help of August and Jacob, has defeated his former comrades, stunning the Heavenly Mages of his massive power. Warrod, on his last dying breath, remembers his journey with his former comrades, not long after the Spriggan 12 conceivably proclaims that he will put an end to the Wizard Saint's life.[50]

Acnologia tears through God Serena

Downed by his immense power, Warrod forgoes his regrets and begins to retaliate against the former God of Ishgar, entrapping him in his Green Magic. With the Spriggan 12 surprised, Wolfheim attacks him in a fury, followed up by Jura's array of attacks. God Serena admits he his former comrades are powerful, just as the Magic of Draculos paralyzes him into the ground; the vampirish Mage admonishing him, declaring his ego to be his downfall. Jacob begins to step in but is halted by August, who relishes the chance of seeing his comrade's true power, who begins to enrage in his power, delivering a multitude of powerful spells, stunning Jura, as he is revealed to be a Dragon Slayer, bequeathed with eight Dragon Lacrima, being able to use them all in conjunction with each other. Just as God Serena unearths another technique, August stops him, as the damage has been done with the Gods of Ishgar laying haplessly defeated. Mocking his former colleagues, God Serena and the other Spriggan 12 head for Fairy Tail, not long after sensing a humongous power source, revealing to to be none other than Acnologia in his human form, enamored by the scent of a Dragon. God Serena, giddy that he has appeared in front of him, moves to defeat the former but is quickly cut down in a flash by the Dragon Slayer. With all parties stunned at this feat, the Black Dragon moves to to annihilate the remaining seven Dragon Slayers, wanting to whisk away any remnants of the Dragons in his presence.[51]

As they watch Acnologia depart, Jacob moves in effort to assault the former, but August tells him to stand down as they cannot do anything, and that they need to make haste with retrieving Fairy Heart as it might be their only hope. In Fairy Tail's infirmary, as Lucy and Happy watch over Natsu, a worried Freed comes and asks for Laxus' location, which the two tell him he has left with the others to liberate Hargeon. Meanwhile on the trails toward Hargeon, Erza's group sets up camp while discussing Laxus' whereabouts. Gray later finds a sickened Laxus, questioning how long he has been suffering. Laxus rejects him, while Gray comes to realization it is from the effects of the Magical Barrier Particles he inhaled from a year ago. Laxus strictly tells Gray not to tell the others, while stating that he won't die until the war is over. Elsewhere, a worried Levy is comforted by Gajeel, who surely believes they'll return to their guild in the war's aftermath.[52]

Battle at Hargeon: Time Goddesses Clash

Wendy blows back Dimaria

As the sun rises, the battle to liberate Hargeon continues as the Lamia Scale-Mermaid Heel alliance rekindles battle with Dimaria and Wall's forces; the two Shields of Spriggan eager to do battle once again. Sherria begins to take out some foot soldiers, not long after her clothes begin to tear away from the swipe of Dimaria's blade. The Warrior Queen identifies her as the alliance's healer and moves swiftly to kill her but it struck away by Wendy, coming to the aid of Sherria. Gray and Juvia begin to back up a surprised Lyon, while Erza join forces with Kagura, who admits that their guild's problems is the reason for their allies aiding them against Alvarez. Just as Wall scopes out Fairy Tail's arrival, Laxus appears from behind and hammers him; Wall then absorbs his attack. The Machias prepares to retaliate, but it swiftly struck again by Laxus, who proclaims he'll take out the perpetrator who attacked his comrades: the Thunder God Tribe.[53]

Their battle commences with the Dragon Slayer blowing back the Spriggan 12; Wall firing created bullets at that former but it is to no avail. After striking the area with thunder, Wall becomes impressed with the Mage and analyzes his body, surprised he has been contaminated by magical Barrier Particles and goes in to attack judiciously. At the same time, Erza and Kagura leave to face a separated Neinhart located in the port harbor, while a braggadocious Dimaria plans to show no mercy against the Sky Sisters. Back at their fight, the two Mages continue to exchange furious blows; Wall now completed his analysis of the Dragon Slayer, enacting the specific system changes, afterwards launching a blast of fire towards the latter. Laxus dodges the blast, but it is affected by the anti-Magic particles in the process as Wall proclaims his new form is now online.[54] As the Dragon Slayer is being affected by the deadly particles, Wall charges directly at the latter, striking him in the air, and then following up his attack with multiple bombardments from his constructed weaponry. Finishing his onslaught with his railgun, he fires the constructed cannon that makes contact with Laxus, but to no avail as Laxus is replenished by electrical currents, setting up a counterattack by the Lightning Mage. Now on land, Laxus collapses with Wall recognizing it as the Magic Barrier Particles taking effect, preparing his Etherion cannon as he calculates it will end his life.[55]

Laxus kills Wall

Laxus, heavily damaged, draws a Jutsu Shiki that surrounds the two which Wall is surprised with, but quickly nullifies the barrier. Laxus thanks the latter, charging at him as he has now nullified the particles in his body, which Wall becomes angry about; his frivolous personality setting now reverting back, claiming he cannot be beaten by lightning. As Laxus makes contact with him, he remembers back on Ryuzetsu Land when Mavis told him of his great-grandfather Yuri, and how much resembles of him although Laxus retorted her notion, stating they're nothing alike. Mavis, however, believes they are more similar than he thinks, given that they both go to the extremes to protect their friends, which is instilled in his mind as Laxus uses red lightning to kill Wall and his previously electrical immune body.[56]

As Happy watches over a sickbed Natsu and a sleeping Lucy, he promises he'll find a way to avert a future that Natsu perishes along with Zeref. In the guild hall, Warren updates Mavis and Makarov on the state of the war, announcing that two of the 12 are downed but the eastern and western Alvarez forces are completely unaided by their forces, leaving them on a direct path to Fairy Tail. Even as the guild members rejoice that there are eight remaining of the Spriggan 12, Makarov ceases their happiness by mentioning there is no backup plan to take on the eastern and western forces, causing Mavis to ponder what she must do to take down Zeref.[57]

Ultear returns to take on Dimaria

On the battlefield to liberate Hargeon, Gray, Lyon, and Juvia begin to take out the members, not long after two of the soldiers try to assassinate Juvia from behind, only to be timely saved by Meredy, who announces the arrival of Crime Sorcière. Journeying to the port harbor, Erza and Kagura quickly take out two of the Four Heraldry Knights of the Neinhart Squad, who tried to impede their progress. As the other two attempt to catch them off guard, Jellal swiftly downs them, uniting with Erza and a fearful Kagura. Back towards their battle, Dimaria proclaims she can swiftly kill the Sky Sisters, clicking her teeth as she pauses the entire battlefield. As she relishes in her suspended "world" due to her Âge Seal, she playfully teases the trio as her ultimate Magic cannot be beaten, deciding on killing Wendy with her blade before the latter jumps out of her peril, snapping Sherria out of the trance as they both follow up with a combo attack to push back the Warrior Queen. Dimaria confused to how they broke the seal, a voice admonishes her for thinking that her world was only accessible to her, with the voice turning out to be a youthful Ultear, who swears to bring her down in the name of her former guild.[58]

Carla sacrifices herself for Wendy

Ultear's reappearance stuns the girls, as Dimaria concludes she was the perpetrator who negated her Magic but she reveals the time flow is still the same, explaining that she only exists in time-space valley; her body decaying away due to her not being able to maintain her form. Dimaria, fed up with the intrusion, goes to attack the woman but it's revealed she's only Thought Projection, only available to prevent the Spriggan 12's Magic from stopping the young girls' time. With her help appreciated, the Sky Sisters go to attack Dimaria; the Warrior Queen pushing them back while revealing her true power that the God of Time, Chronos, has privileged her with through the former's God Soul. With everyone stunned at his might, he releases a humongous explosion; Carla quickly pushes Wendy out of the way due to her foresight and takes the brunt of a laser shot from the deity. Wendy screams as her friend falls, but Ultear quickly stops her time to prevent her from dying. As the Time Mage begins to run out of options, she reveals that the young girls might be able to prevail if she unlocks their Third Origin: the not-yet-tapped power from the future. But the cost is dire, as the two young Slayers will never be able to use Magic again, stunning them in disbelief.[59]

The two girls begin to bicker over who will utilize Third Origin as one will have to battle Chronos and the other to heal Carla. Wendy takes the lead after shoving Sherria aside, charging at the God empowered by Ultear's spell. Chronos easily sweeps her aside with his paralyzing techniques and a damaging energy beam that goes through the Dragon Slayer's leg. Going to finish her, an enhanced Sherria defends the Dragon Slayer, engaging the God as she was the one who truly attained her Third Origin after pleading to Ultear to let her take on the Spriggan 12. After exchanging multiple blows and calling out his status as a deity, Sherria declares that her next spell will be her final one, which concurrently strikes down the Warrior Queen, dispelling her Âge Seal. Wendy quickly attends to the wounded Carla, in tears over her friend's momentous loss but is comforted by the former God Slayer, as she proclaims Magic is nothing compared to love.[60]

Guild in Crisis: Assassin Strikes

Jacob demands Mavis of Fairy Heart

Lucy and Happy continue to watch over the sleeping Natsu, noting that he'll awake soon as the guild members rejoice that another Spriggan 12 has fallen. Makarov incurs on Mavis, who is worried about the movement in the east, not long after Jacob arrives to their guild, surprising the members as their locations appearing on the Magic Radar was only a ruse. He mentions he went ahead of August because of their holiday and wanting to pay respects to the elderly Mage, using his Magic to transport all of the living to an alternate dimension, with only Mavis' ethereal body remaining. Jacob notices her, shooting and beginning to torment her with his Magic, identifying her as Fairy Heart, demanding where the weapon is being held. Lucy, saved from his Magic by Horologium, surprise-attacks the assassin from behind but after the latter flings a knife in her direction she is defended by a rejuvenated Natsu.[61]

Their battle begins as Natsu charges to engage Jacob, the two going back-and-forth with continuous retaliating blows. Jacob suddenly vanishes in thin air, reappearing to attack Natsu from behind, then again to torment Mavis as he goes on to explain the nature of his Magic: Stealth, which is able to camouflage and mask anything he chooses to disappear. Lucy quickly summons Loke to illuminate the room, exposing Jacob but the assassin continues to overwhelm the trio with a physical, as well as invisible weaponry assault. He soon pins down Natsu and erases Lucy's clothes in order to subdue him, but the Fairy Tail Mages use the opportunity to their advantage, knocking back the Spriggan 12 after he undoes the Magic, all which garners Mavis' attention. As the Shield of Spriggan begins to go in a fit of rage, Mavis comes to an epiphany on how to finally defeat the immortal Zeref.[62]

Natsu finishes off Jacob

In the west, as Zeref has finished changing his attire, he listens in to Invel's update of the war, as five of the Spriggan 12 have fallen. As the war continues to ensue around the country, he orders the soldiers to move out toward Fairy Tail after an arousing speech. At the guild hall, Natsu and Lucy continue their struggle with the assassin, exchanging blows while the duo takes the brunt of damage from the well-trained Spriggan 12. Jacob begins to get weary of the task, forcing their hand as he proclaims he will start killing off their captured comrades one by one, but is quickly stuck in a rut after Lucy informs him that Brandish is among the captured. Jacob quickly releases her and Marin, with everybody then confused as to why there are two Marins present, the latter a clone of Gemini, who uses the Spatial Magic user's Rules of the Area to negate Jacob's Transport which returns all of the captured Mages. Makarov soon punches Jacob through the guild, flinging Natsu in his direction to finish the deed with his enhanced fist attack, ending the threat of the Shield of Spriggan.[63]

After their bout, Brandish returns to her cell where she is greeted by an exuberant Natsu, thanking her for saving his life. She shuns him, speaking only of the impeding reality that her comrade, August, is on his way to the guild, stating that the war is all but over. Outside, the members begin repairing the side of the guild in which Makarov destroyed, weary of the feat of the elderly Spriggan 12 who is coming in their direction. Underneath the guild, Mavis and Cana are visiting the location of Fairy Heart; Mavis explaining to the latter that she has concocted a plan to defeat Zeref, but needs Cana to destroy her current apparition using Fairy Glitter in order to free her real body currently inhabiting the Lacrima. Cana digresses but Mavis urges her she must as this is the only possible route.[64]

Past Returns: Another Sin

Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus crucified

In the north, Gajeel's squad begins to see the massive northern Alvarez army heading for their direction. As they prepare to do battle and aid Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus who are currently fighting the army, they come to witness both of their ally guilds brutally crucified at the enemy's wrath. In the south, as Wendy, Sherria and Laxus all are biding their time, along with Meredy backing the trio of Gray, Juvia and Lyon, Erza's team heads for the port harbor on the ship's stead, where suddenly a pitch-black darkness surrounds the trio. Confused, they begin to get battered until the culprit reveals to be Simon, the very brother of Kagura, who stuns the group that he is alive. Jellal quickly deduces that he is an imposter, with Kagura going to angrily rebut his notion, only for a voice to be heard at the top of the ship's mask, revealing to be Neinhart, who comments that the Historia of the trio is what they are currently seeing, all twisted into a sordid, but beautiful story.[65]

Kagura helps Jellal

The trio stands before Neinhart, who applauds them for recognizing that Simon is only but a creation of his Magic. Kagura moves forward towards her brother, with Jellal halting her progress as he is only an illusion. Neinhart insulted at the latter's comments, sends a pulse of energy in the two's direction, knocking them in the ocean as Jellal saves Kagura. Erza who tries to assist them, is attacked by Ikaruga, created by the Spriggan 12's Magic. Stunned, they quickly do combat before Azuma is materialized and joins their fight, battering her about. Neinhart continues on, explaining the nature of his Magic: Historia of the Dead, which can create actual undead apparitions of those who were ever encountered in the past of its target, summoning Kyôka as a measure of supremacy. Gleefully succumbed in his Magic, Neinhart decides to play along more, extending his Magic throughout all of Hargeon, with all the Southern Ishgar forces encountering one-by-one their previous battles from their own histories. As Erza continues to get battered around by the creation specialist's Magic, Kagura recovers port side with an unconscious Jellal, who had been hit by the anchor of the ship. Kagura moves to unsheathe her sword, but slowly puts it down as she attempts to resuscitate her mortal enemy.[66]

While the other Ishgar warriors face their Historias, Erza continues her strife, having trouble fighting off her own. As the trio of Kyôka, Azuma, and Ikaruga overwhelm her, they go on to tie her up; Kyôka taunting the latter while beginning to torture her once again, brutally wounding the Fairy Tail Mage. Erza staunchly reminds them of how they had all been defeated by her, threatening them by saying that if they choose not to leave, they shall feel her blade once more, causing the fearful replicas to disappear. As Neinhart is in shock, Erza falls to the ground unconscious due to her severe injuries with Jellal and Kagura rushing to her side. Jellal glares at the Spriggan 12 in fury over his misdeed while Neinhart, still in curiosity, remarks the vaguely familiar presence to that of Irene in the knightly woman.[67]

Jellal defeats Neinhart

As Kagura pleads for her friend to wake up, Jellal admits he will commit one more sin, darkening the sky throughout the town. Juvia and Meredy react to his power, joining forces with a Sensory Link to combine their own as well. Gray and Lyon continue their struggle against their former master, with Lyon admitting that they've both come along way; Gray acknowledging from his own missteps that caused their master's death but says their journey isn't over by any means. As Ezel looks to finish a hapless Wendy, Carla decries she'll never leave her, scooping her in the air to assist her longtime friend. Combined with Laxus' tribulation against the 2nd Guild Master, the four parties decisively overcome their Historias, while in the meantime Jellal prepares to attack; Neinhart uses a last-ditch effort to demean the trio by summoning Simon, but the latter is quickly struck down by his very sister, who tells Jellal to end the Shield of Spriggan; the former Wizard Saint raining down his power to defeat the creation specialist in conclusive fashion.[68]

While the south rejoices, Natsu foolhardily decides he is going to confront August, the strongest among the Spriggan 12 who is currently on his way to the guild hall. However Brandish, now released from her solitary confinement, gives off the ominous proclamation that although August is the strongest man among them, the strongest woman is of the very same magnitude: Irene Belserion.[69] As Jellal and Meredy clean up the remaining Alvarez forces, the southern Ishgar faction begins to recoup, with Gray deciding that the Fairy Tail squad should return to their Guild, weary of the unknown danger that might be occurring there currently. With that said, Kagura, who recalls resuscitating Jellal, kisses Erza as an apology, shocking everyone present at the scene.[70]

Countdown to Despair and Disaster

Irene drastically changes the climate

Back in the guild hall, Brandish proposes that she will negotiate with August in order to ease his inevitable arrival. Mest casts doubts on her true intentions, but Lucy digresses his notion, stating she'll believe in her words. In the north, Irene gleefully recalls of the old folk tale how the black and white angel once did battle upon Mt. Zonia, this causing Juliet to poke fun in her diatribe of her homeland's old tales, with Heine quickly silencing her. Irene returns the favor of wanting the two to do battle, but calls her bluff that it was simply a joke. As they watch the northern Fairy Tail faction do battle and begin to recover their fallen allies, Irene changes the current climate to suit her, while calling Bloodman and Larcade to arm themselves for battle against the newly arrived reinforcements.[71]

On the trail to encounter August, Natsu ponders of August's strength, which causes Brandish to say he would be obliterated the minute they battle. Natsu then exposes Mest who was stalking the trio; the latter saying it's risky to trust the Spriggan 12, whose restraints have been removed. After conversation about their travel method, Brandish uses her Magic to increase the size of Happy, able to now support everyone's weight. In the guild hall's basement, Cana falls to her knees in an attempt to destroy the First Master's body, failing to kill her friend. Mavis says she carries a likeness to her friend Zera, telling her to continue her task in order to fulfill in her plan. In the north, while the battle continues, a sulking Sting is slapped by Yukino, who tells him that the battle isn't over, reenergizing both Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus as they go on to assist Fairy Tail in the battle. As one the Shields, Bloodman, descends onto the battlefield, he is pinned against a tree by multiple iron rods, with Gajeel moving towards the God of Death to return the wrath of the former's actions.[72]

The "third guests" arrive to Zonia

As Gajeel and Bloodman's strife continues, the God of Death plans to properly bury him, while the former says he's already was in search for a place to die. From afar, Irene orders Heine and Juliet to advance to the front lines; this upsetting Juliet as it would overbearing for them to join the war if two of the Spriggan 12 are currently participating. Irene mentions that the third guests have arrived, the remnants of the Oración Seis, while the fourth guest will be one she will take care of personally; this delighting her two underlings.[73]

Meanwhile, Natsu's group continues to travel upon a enlarged Happy, suddenly feeling a massive amount of magical aura, turning out to be coming from the Wizard King himself. As Irene prepares her spell, she speaks a diatribe of her Majesty's "war game" unfortunately having to end due to the incoming fourth guest, Acnologia, soon to make his arrival upon Zonia. Elsewhere, Bloodman soon corners Gajeel by summoning a land of skulls that deteriorate everything in its clutches. Levy soon comes to his aid, dispelling parts of the skull with a holy spell, denying the Dragon Slayer's request to flee as she does not want him to perish. In the west, Invel asks what is the matter with the Emperor as Zeref, donning a worried look, feels the land's Magic changing, wondering what Irene is possibly planning on doing.[74]

Bloodman drags Gajeel to the underworld

Opposed by his comrade, August wonders what is the meaning of Brandish appearing in front of him, which she tells him she's here to negotiate a ceasefire with him. She asks of God Serena's fate, which the Wizard King says he resides with him, going on to conclude that because she does not look tortured it can only mean that she's betraying the Emperor's very word. Back towards their clash, Bloodman states that once the first and seconds seals have been crossed the Third Seal begins to open, leading to those who encounter him unable to ever return to the living, beginning to attack the duo with a barrage of Curses as he wields the powers from the Nine Demon Gates at his disposal. He then attempts to drain the two in a whirlpool of skulls; Gajeel quickly saving the weakened Levy, who is slowly being contaminated by the particles through skin and mouth intake, with her collapsing to the ground. Gajeel rushes towards the God of Death, eventually absorbing the iron and poison from the particles, allowing him to enter his Dragon Force, swiftly cutting down the Shield of Spriggan. Turning around to assure Levy, Bloodman quickly pulls the latter towards him, attempting to commit a double suicide as he drags down the Dragon Slayer with him.[75]

Gajeel struggles in Bloodman's grasp, with The Grim Reaper stating he'll die with him in the underworld. Levy races towards Gajeel; the Dragon Slayer stopping her in her tracks but she denies his request, forcing him to nail her against a rock to protect her. Levy quickly cuts the rock into two and charging for him against his wishes. Lily, however, appears and quickly grabs her from behind, preventing her from moving forward. Gajeel then lets Levy know that he always wanted to walk beside her, as she was the one who changed him, before telling Lily to make sure that Levy returns to the guild safely. Gajeel is then completely absorbed, disappearing in a flash, causing Levy to scream his name in horror.[76]

Brainwashed Brandish stabs August

Elsewhere in a wasteland, Acnologia notes that only six of the Dragon Slayers remain, not long after Irene appears before him, pointing out that that is his true objective. He tells her to leave at once, which the Scarlet Despair shrugs off, as the Dragon King wonders aloud if she truly wants to challenge him, which she gracefully confirms. Meanwhile in the negotiations, Brandish continues to explain her decision to August, explaining that their monarch is only out for blood, wanting a one-sided massacre. August tries to rebut her thought, but after Brandish's denial August eventually agrees to converse with the Fairy Tail Mages due to her request. However, suddenly, Brandish pulls out her dagger, enlarges it and stabs August with the blade, shocking everyone present. Natsu then turns to yell at Mest, who is the one who manipulated Brandish into stabbing her comrade. August, who is massively enraged, declares that their action in the negotiation only shows of their true colors.[77]

August, in his dark form, quickly puts Brandish to sleep, before casting an incalculable pillar of light, vastly damaging Natsu and the others. From the guild hall, some of the Fairy Tail Mages can see the vast funnel of light from afar, while in the basement, Cana successfully breaks Mavis' true body out from the Lacrima; the First Master mentioning her body is suffering from muscular atrophy. In the wasteland, Irene and Acnologia begin their bout, the two exchanging blast after blast, causing Irene compliments the latter, who is aware that she learned of her enchanting from the Emperor himself. She takes a sly shot at her Majesty, saying that he is simply somewhere enjoying the war as a game, before decidedly wanting to end it. The ground begins to light up, with Acnologia wondering what Magic this is; Irene telling him this is something never seen before, being a Magic of a new era. All around Fiore, the ground lights up as all the participants of the war look in wonderment, as Irene enacts her Magic unbeknownst to the world: Universe One.[78]

Zeref confronts Mavis

From all around Fiore, the beaming light began to dissipate, awakening Mavis from the confusion, as she quickly comes out to the lobby to see Zeref sitting in a chair, stunning her. Elsewhere, Natsu and Lucy arise from the confusion, looking around in wonderment while Gray, along with an injured Erza, comes to see that everyone's positions might have been changed. By the shore lines, most of the members of the Fairy Tail Guild come to look around to what has happened, until Alzack locates the arriving enemy ship; Makarov preparing the group for battle. At the same time, Brandish shrinks August's wound, who figures the Magic was of Irene's, who purposely reorganized the map of Fiore to get the Emperor closer to Fairy Heart, while banishing Acnologia to another location, which in turn changed the landscapes and territories of the country to benefit Alvarez. In Mercurius's castle, Irene ponders of her location in front of the Royal Family, while in a strange area, Gajeel awakens to see an apparition form in front of him, turning out to be none other than Zera.[79]

Fiore Reconstructed: Battle For Tomorrow

Zera contacts the Fairy Tail members

Gajeel, confused at this strange happening, continues to question Zera, who scarily tells him that he is alive due to the Magic that reorganized Fiore. She reveals they are currently on Tenrou Island and that once Mavis remembers her presence—being that she was reincarnated by Mavis' reset psyche—she will vanish, so concurrently she looks to aid the guild in the meantime. Elsewhere, Natsu and Lucy reunite with Gray, Juvia, and Erza, discussing what as happened, while in the palace, Irene wipes out Arcadios and his men easily. She begins to torment Hisui and the King but quickly catches a presence, using her left eye as a scope to the area, noticing someone with scarlet hair similar to her. On the battlefront, some of the Fairy Tail members continue to the struggle; Juliet and Heine appear likewise, deciding on murdering Mirajane before the task of eliminating Makarov. Zera then telepathically contacts the members of the guild to hurry back to the guild hall as their mother, Mavis, is in danger.[80]

Irene appears behind Mirajane

As all the Fairy Tail members continue to look dumbfounded at the voice they hear, Gajeel's voice is heard in the broadcast which confirms to them it's an ally, initiating the race to the Guild. Mirajane wonders where Elfman is located, but is soon attacked by Juliet and Heine, retaliating against the duo, telling Lisanna to follow the guild members as she can handle the two of them. In the jungle, Elfman appears with Yukino and the Saber Exceeds, hearing the voice as he they all begin to traverse to the guild hall. Someone appears from the forest, turning out to be Sorano, who her and her younger sister are shocked at seeing one another. Back on the beach, Juliet and Heine quickly barrage Mirajane with an array of attacks, mocking the latter for already using her trump card, but the former showcases her true new power, Satan Soul: Mirajane Alegria, which surprises the young girls as she told them after the war with Tartaros she went and devoured all the Demons of the Dark Guild. She quickly then buries the two, who are revealed to be enchanted swords, which shocks Mirajane as the one who was responsible for it, Irene, appears floating steadily behind her.[81]

August perforates Mirajane

With Mirajane shook from the immense pressure Irene is giving off, the Scarlet Despair declares she'll pay for harming her "children" in Juliet and Heine, enchanting the two swords that bind the Fairy Tail Mage to a pillar with their Magic, delivering excruciating pain to the latter. Suddenly, August and Brandish appear behind the two; the elderly Mage disappointed in the red-haired woman's actions, but she says it was all to get His Majesty to Fairy Heart. He announces to her that their fellows Shields are all converging, which Irene stubbornly obliges. She mentions she would like to take care of her victim first, but it's for naught as August pierces their enemy through her chest; the Shields depart with her body profusely bleeding out. In the forest, Sorano denies Yukino's compassion for her older sister, stating she want to cleanse herself of all her sins before even hugging her sibling. By the shore lines, a worried Lisanna sees her sister brutally wounded, but the latter notices her wound has gotten smaller—due to Brandish's Magic shrinking it. Elsewhere, some Lamia Scale Mages harass a captured Dimaria, but their souls are taken away as her comrade, Larcade, has come to her rescue.[82]

Zeref and the 12 ready for Fairy Tail

In the Fairy Tail guild hall, Mavis and Zeref continue their stare-down, with Zeref rehashing their long-awaited reunion while Mavis internally discusses her plan to annihilate her former lover. Invel freezes her body, as he doesn't want her to activate Fairy Heart, but is scolded by Zeref who eventually is relinquished by the Winter General into inducing his Ice Slave upon her, which prevents her to think and move properly. One by one, the fellow Spriggan 12 are introduced to Mavis; Irene appearing before the two in exuberance with the army's morale gathering in one place. Zeref asks her to begin making an isolation Enchantment, one that would be able to remove Fairy Heart from Mavis; this scaring the latter as Irene agrees. Zeref then declares that he will not allow another tomorrow for Fairy Tail, posted with his guards as they await the resistance. Far off in the horizon, Erza ponders whether or not the next dawn will be their last but is encouraged by Natsu who says there is no doubt they'll take back their guild from Alvarez.[83]

As five-sevenths of Team Natsu glare at the countless amount of enemy soldiers surrounding their guild, Erza believes they should concoct a plan but Natsu overrules this, as he mentions their comrades are on their way. With that, Gray challenges Natsu to see who can defeat Zeref first; Natsu taking up his offer as the Fairy Tail Mages charge at the Alvarez military, unleashing their attacks upon them as more and more Ishgar warriors arrive to the battle. Suddenly, eight dragons arise from the ground as the Historia of God Serena appears to impede their progress, utilizing three types of his Dragon Slayer Magic, which shocks the heroes of the strongest Mage on Ishgar's power. In the midst of his barrage, a large crash comes down, splitting his Magic and land, as all wonder who has arrived, that person turning out to be Gildarts, who is hungry for the return of his guild.[84]

Gildarts engages God Serena

The long-awaited arrival of Gildarts has his fellow guild members in glee; with God Serena muted in silence before him. He goes over to hug his daughter, who tells him of the outstanding enemy in front of them; which he turns to him mention the vacancy of his Magic Power, due to the latter being revived as a Historia. The Spriggan 12 shrugs off his notion, clashing with Gildarts as his fellow Shields begin to make their move to the battlefield, engaging with the newly-arrived Ishgar warriors alongside each other; Minerva—being among them—orders Yukino to search for Neinhart to stop his undead summons. Back at their spar, with God Serena in surprise of his Magic continually to break, Gildarts blasts him back in a declaration of war, leading the pack of all the Fiore Mages heading towards the guild. From the hill side, however, Invel glares down upon the war front, preparing to make his move on Ishgar.[85]

Gray vs. Invel

In the guild hall, Mavis struggles in pain as Irene begins the process of removing Fairy Heart from her immortal body. Zeref sees her in pain, wishing for her not to suffer but Irene denounces his caution, saying that if he continues with that attitude he will never be able to overcome Acnologia; this causing Zeref to agree with her statement as departs the room. Neinhart appears to inform that the enchantress that he has located Erza, which Irene orders him to kill her if he cannot with his Historias. The battles in the war zone continues, with Natsu and others encountering more soldiers; Natsu attacking them with a roar, but him, along with the others behind him, minus Gray, are frozen solid by an arriving Invel. Gray moves to attack him but is quickly throttled by the Winter General, who casts doubt that his ice can defeat his own winter.[86]

Gray and Invel stare each other down, beginning their clash of ice, something Invel easily cancels out as he notes he's of the purest ice Mages, using his Magic to freeze all. Gray unleashes his Ice Devil Slayer Magic, taking Invel by surprise as he slashes through the 12. Invel is impressed at this feat, but admits that Gray's darkness will start to slowly consume him, as he shown qualities of being a comrade of theirs. Invel continues to back up this notion, with Gray silencing him by saying that he'll do whatever he needs to protect his family, being evil among them those options. Natsu then breaks out himself as well as Lucy and Juvia, but not long after a super-sized Brandish comes to grab them, telling them to be quiet as she takes them away. Invel then takes the opportunity to place an Ice Lock upon Gray and Juvia, telling them that those under this Magic are controlled like puppets, and the only option to break it is if one or the other perishes. Pitted against one another, Juvia quickly comes to the conclusion that she must not harm Gray by rather having her life in peril than his, all the while Invel proclaims the one who will defeat E.N.D. is not Zeref, but Gray himself.[87]

Gray and Juvia attempt suicide

Looking at one another in shock of the Winter General's Ice Lock, he commences the two to begin their battle to the death; the Fairy Tail Mages violently trading barbs at each other as Invel reminisces to a time when he asked Zeref of the pendant that he always wears around his neck, which contains a picture of his younger brother Natsu; the one who Invel wants Gray to defeat for His Majesty. As Invel continues to wait for Gray to unlock his darkness, Juvia takes the unbearable pain of not wanting to harm her lover, impaling herself with a water blade, looking up in shock to see Gray committing the same act simultaneously; Invel dissolving his Magics and then departing from the scene after being stunned from this miscalculation. As both of them fall to ground from their attempted act of suicide, Gray arises with the feeling of Juvia's blood within his body, learning from her that she secretly trained a blood transfusion spell to save Gray's life, if indeed this very occasion ever was made into a reality. Gray cries at the death of his friend, remembering all of their moments with each other after the water Mage tells him that she will now live within his body. Invel, who left the scene looking for Brandish, turns around in fright from feeling a staunch Magic Power, coming to see it emitting from a furious Gray who is marching directly towards him.[88]

Walking to some ruins, Brandish drops Natsu and Lucy, who wonder what she's planning. She informs them that she doesn't want to hurt them but state she will annihilate all of her friends and that this war is over for them as the 12s along with the army are too much for them to handle. This leaving Natsu to question if she thinks he will let her freely accomplish that all while a scorn Dimaria overlooks this conversation. Towards the battle, Gray continually unleashes his barrage of attacks, setting Invel to fortify himself in an ice armor to parry Gray's onslaught; this leading Gray to overwhelm the Winter General with an empowered fist attack, crushing his defenses.[89]

Dimaria cuts down Brandish

In the negotiations, Neinhart appears to advise Brandish to step aside so he can destroy their enemies while on his quest to locate Erza has been initiated. Brandish says to fall back, which prompts Neinhart to attack her from thought of betrayal, as well as their enemies with his new attained enhanced body from Irene. Natsu denies his presence by blowing him back, while in the meantime Juvia is quickly saved due to Carla's precognition and Wendy's healing before truly dying of blood loss. A defeated Invel lays solemnly, preaching to Gray that his pain won't cease until his mortal enemy in E.N.D is defeated, revealing to him that the true identity of the Etherious is Natsu.[90] With Neinhart knocked down, Natsu turns to Brandish to tell her if they are not comrades he will fight her, but the Dragon Slayer quickly collapses due to Brandish to enlarging his tumor that she previously shrunk down. Lucy violently questions her methods which Brandish retorts that he simply an enemy, beginning her soliloquy on needing to confirm and settle her inner differences, prompting Lucy to engage her swiftly in battle. The Spriggan 12 kicks her away, which Lucy then utilizes Scorpio and three of her Star Dresses to combat Brandish with, but each are countered by the latter reducing and magnifying her powers against her, overwhelming the Fairy Tail Mage. Suddenly, Dimaria appears to question Brandish's leniency over Lucy, theorizes that she could easily kill both of their foes but instead puts up a farce in front of her while holding back. She quickly cuts up Brandish for her actions, using her Âge Seal once again to stomp on Lucy as she will torment the latter for corrupting her comrade's beliefs.[91]

As Irene is in the later stages of removing Fairy Heart, Zeref comes in the room asking her for some last waning moments with his former lover. As Irene she disagrees, the real Zeref hurries in the room to tell her that's an illusion created by Mavis, with Irene noticing the Mavis on the table is an illusion as well, leading Zeref to order her to pursue the real body immediately. On the cliff side, an escaping Mavis is taken to safety by Mest, while Gajeel appears to assist Jet and Droy who are beaten by the enemy troops. Levy sees his arrival, attacking him as she reminds him that he promised to take her back to the guild, something Zera oversees who is beginning to disappear due to Mavis' conscious being back to normal. The two reunite in her mind; Mavis thanking her best friend for everything she has done. Dimaria is seen in a jail cell, having locked up both Natsu and Lucy, preparing to deal their punishment while outside, Porlyusica finds a wounded Brandish, telling her the tumor she diagnosed originally was mistaken, being something much worse than she previously thought.[92]

Gray encounters E.N.D.

Arising from her sleep, Lucy awakens to see Natsu tied up as well as herself under some Magic Sealing Stones, which Dimaria appears to say that she was the one incarcerated the two of them. After playfully removing her bra, she then says she will torment her for ruining Brandish, beginning with gorging out her eyes. Lucy adamant she doesn't care, leading Dimaria to begin and for Lucy to go completely blank, waking up to see the time goddess injured in the corner, murmuring that she couldn't believe what the power of E.N.D truly is. Brandish and the others arrive to her location; Porlyusica informing Lucy that the tumor she originally diagnosed wasn't made of anti-Ethernano, but more of a demonic power laying in him, this stunning Lucy. Outside, a demonic Natsu runs around looking for Zeref, locating him at the guild hall but Gray, who is after Natsu himself, encounters his friend in a cold glare.[93]

With Gray in his way, Natsu order the Devil Slayer to move, but the latter refuses, asking to confirm if he truly is E.N.D. or not. Natsu begins to utter his desire to kill Zeref, which causes Gray to reflect upon Invel's words from the aftermath of their battle, who told him that all of the Etherious have an imbued instinct to kill their creator Zeref. Angry from the Books of Zeref destroying his life and family, he charges for Natsu to begin the fated clash with his mortal enemy. In the chamber, Brandish reduces her wound but still has trepidation in her mind, but is encouraged by Lucy who says it is what makes someone human; with that the Celestial Spirit Mage departs with Happy in order to find Natsu. While Juvia wants to prevent Gray from his own demise, the Ishgar troops struggle against the immense Alvarez army, not long after Irene uses her magnified eye to locate Mavis, but the latter creates a humongous illusion of herself, raising the morale of their side as well as being the guide to their wanted victory. Irene, smirking at her foolish words, casts doubt on what's to come next for Alvarez's enemies.[94]

Makarov's last Fairy Law

At the forefront, Irene taps the ground to enchant the battlefield, with all the soldiers beginning to morph into beastly creatures that charge for the resistance, responding to her Berserker Enchantment. The Mages on the battlefield begin to struggle mightily with them, while Makarov onlooks this in grief while Irene explains that this Enchantment increases the abilities of those targeted by it whilst their thought process becomes primitive as a side effect. As Erza continues to push through, Makarov declares this is the end of him, beginning to prepare Fairy Law but Mavis tries to stop him as the more numbers it is used on, the shorter the caster lifespan will drain. Makarov tells her this is what a father must do to protect his children; casting the powerful Magic to clear out the soldiers as the various guild members begin to weep in sorrow; his body completely immobile as he passes on to the next life.[95]

With the 8th guild master's body now in the next life, Mavis reminisces on being the one who named, breaking down in complete despair before being comforted by Laxus, who asks her to continue to guild them with her wisdom in order to win the war. Erza bows down in respect of her fallen father figurine, thereafter beginning to track her fellow comrades in Natsu and Gray, who are in complete deadlock in their battle to succumb one another. Back and forth it goes on, leading Natsu to take charge to deliver a decisive blow of Gray; who prepares his own attack on Natsu, but both Mages are halted by a tearful Erza, who are belittled by the swordswoman for their foolish act of fighting one another.[96]

Erza embraces the two

Stepping in between the warriors clashing, a tearful Erza bemoans their act, causing both Natsu and Gray to reflect on the past; recounting the times they've seen their comrade cry, something they both never wanted to see again, causing both to stop. Erza pulls both of them closer, embracing them not long after thinking in her mind of the words of their deceased master, passing on their will to be a family to two them. Lucy, Juvia and Wendy arrive, the trio worrying about the two; whom both collapse due to exhaustion from their battle. Elsewhere, Jellal and the members of Crime Sorcière consistently try to group-attack August, but are massively overwhelmed by his might, who calls every move they plan on, and try to do. Back to Erza's group, a huge explosion occurs, breaking parts of the battlefield, revealing to come from Irene, who greets Erza after a long time. As Wendy internally monologues she resembles Erza, Irene introduces to the group that she and Erza are one of the same.[97]

As Minerva and Rogue defeat their undead enemies, they begin to discuss the light that destroyed many of their enemies; Minerva recognizing it as Fairy Law, something that destroys all that is evil to its caster. Meanwhile, Sorano and Yukino as well discuss the light, only to be interrupted by Larcade, who comments that he has to return the favor for that light destroyed many of his allies. He begins to use his Magic Pleasure, which attacks all who have experienced the forbidden pleasure of life, which engulfs many of the warriors on the battlefield, his allies included. Zeref asks him to cease his Magic as it is bringing harm to his comrades, something the holy warrior apologizes for as he directly attacks Yukino, only for her to be save by Kagura. The swordswoman then ponders why someone who walks in the path of light could ever follow the Black Wizard; Larcade retorting this by simply stating he is not his follower but something much deeper: he is the son of Zeref himself.[98]

Kagura falls before Larcade

As the entire guild lays defeated by the Wizard King, Jellal laments him and the others being disgraced by his opponent, who walks over to step down on him, wondering why someone who used to follow Zeref decided to face him. Jellal said it is because he found his light, but August retorts his claim by stating the Emperor had a son who was born of great light, but was neglected by his father with led him to amass power. Concurrently, Kagura and Yukino look in shock from Larcade truly revealing his affiliation to Natsu and Zeref. The two Mages then begin their battle; Larcade flinging blades at light at his foes which Kagura parries them while thereafter slicing the mountain in means to get Larcade to face her. He summons the white tendrils that trap the latter, but she bites her tongue which snaps her out of the feeling of pleasure, speedily confronting the holy warrior. She slashes at him but he parries, slicing her side as she falls before him, her side gushing out with blood as he prepares to remove the souls of the two. Meanwhile, August mutters that the only one who may be able to beat the heartless man is his very own mother, Mavis.[99]

A Dragon's Past, Demon's Heart

Natsu witnesses his previous memories

In the underneath chamber, Porlyusica and Brandish finish attending to the wounds of Natsu, Gray and Juvia; Lucy worrying about the Dragon Slayer's new condition. Dimaria mentions he is nothing but a demon, saying that it's things you never know about one another, comrades included. Lucy denies this stating she knows more than the Warrior Queen would, but after explaining her reasoning on the comment Brandish and Evergreen made, everyone notices Natsu's body letting off a cold steam, worrying for what is currently going on with him. Inside his conscious, Zeref appears to inform him he will die soon so he'll be taking this opportunity to fill him in on his past before Igneel, including his parents and the other Dragon Slayers. Sting's apparition appears after Zeref's gets erased; the Sabertooth Mage bringing Natsu to see the depths of his body. Meanwhile, the real world Sting arrives at the nick of time to save Yukino from Larcade's Pleasure, eating the white tendrils while denouncing him as an enemy who's scent carries the same as Natsu's.[100]

Sting's arrival brings to light the relationship between Natsu and Zeref towards Larcade, as denounced by Lector and Yukino, to which the Dragon Slayer curiously questions why the man carries the exact smell as Natsu. Larcade ambiguously reveals it is because you can consider both of them as Zeref's children; the holy warrior sending his light blades towards the Mage who eats them, retaliating with his own holy attacks. The Spriggan 12 then seals Sting as well as the entire area with a starvation Magic that immediately causes the Ishgar warriors to begin to devour each other without caution to stop. Sting mentally snaps out of it and proceeds to knock everyone out to prevent them from consuming each other. He then charges for Larcade, but is overwhelmed and eventually stabbed by his cross weapon; the latter wondering why someone not of Fairy Tail is in their way, as Sting says it's because their guild changed Sabertooth. Suddenly, Rogue appears via Minerva's Territory to give his comrade the remains of his Magic, allowing the latter to merge both of the Dragon Slayers' elements into one, challenging Larcade in his new form while the Shield of Spriggan begins to induce the last of his Magics: R.I.P.[101]

Sting defeats Larcade

Sting chargers for his foe and knocks him back which thereafter the holy warrior retaliates but is neutralized by Sting by a White Dragon Slayer and is again attacked by a combined attack by Sting. Larcade then uses his 3rd Magic, which puts everyone in a drowsy state until they completely close their eyes, never able to wake up again. Rogue hastily tells Sting to plunge into the world of shadows to be able to heighten his senses, with the help of Kagura's Gravity Magic he able to succeed, racing towards the Spriggan 12 and able to counter his prowess. In his memories, the newly-appeared guide in Rogue tells Natsu that his scarf was knitted by Anna, who Natsu recognizes her as Lucy at first. Zeref appears behind to tell him of his last detail before his life is over is now closing in, while Happy in the real world weeps, revealing everyone that if Zeref dies Natsu will die with him.[102]

Minerva and Yukino rush to Sting and the others' location to assess their standing; everyone in glee of their reunion. Minerva then notices Kagura, remembering the pain she brought her and Millianna during the Grand Magic Games, wanting to apologize for her transgressions. Kagura accepts it by saying she simply wants to move on, leading to all the group to hope for Fairy Tail to come out top against their enemies. Elsewhere, Erza and Irene continue to clash; Erza attacking her with multiple sword projectiles that Irene manipulates into a flower, complimenting the woman who she claims is her very daughter, shocking Erza and Wendy. Erza denies this while saying she never had any parents except the master, but Irene begs to not care as well, explaining that it would be a pity if Erza would not know of her own past before her demise. The two close in one another with Irene beginning the depiction of her past, starting with the reveal that she was once the queen of the Dragons.[103]

Irene's Dragonification begins

400 years ago in the Kingdom of Dragnof, Sage Dragon Belserion returned from his inspection of the west, which is beginning to get violent. He informs Irene of the potential upbringings of war, worrying his queen but promising he will protect all humans. After demonstrating the potential of Irene's Enchantments being a major factor in the war, Belserion returned from participating in it, solemnly stating they will lose. Irene then wonders if a Dragon could enchant a human with their Magic, thus Dragon Slayer Magic was born from the invention of Irene, stunning Erza and Wendy. In his subconscious, the mirages of Wendy and Gajeel inform Natsu of the same, guiding them to the depths of his heart. Irene tells the two that it worked for some time, but the of learning the Magic came with severe consequences, as the Dragon Seed in her body began her dragonization process, all the while she was pregnant with her very daughter.[104]

Irene morphing into a Dragon

During the closing moment of the Dragon King Festival, the father of Erza was a shogun that was together with Irene for political reasons. After seeing Acnologia massacre both sides of the war, many included her father cast Irene aside into the dungeon due to the belief she will eventually become another Acnologia. She was beaten and tortured until her fateful day her husband announced they have her death trial ready, moving in to slice her belly to prove that she contains no baby by theirs as no one has been pregnant for 3 years (which she explains it was through the use of Magic). Irene begins to transform in to a Dragon, killing her husband and destroying her captivity location while flying into the forest to wait hundreds of years, trying to break her own curse. She eventually encounters Zeref, who through the use of Enchantments, gave her the physique of a human once again. But difficulties with food intake and sleep deprivation began to occur, causing Irene to choose Erza as her body container with the means of enchanting her body into hers to become fully human. However it failed, leading Irene to mercifully dump her daughter at Rosemary Village. Erza, equipping her armor in the process, thanks her for her deed, as she was able to meet her true family through her mother's lost love of her.[105]

Erza stands against Irene, telling her she will not let anyone who harms her family get away, which Irene says likewise, promoting the fact she only said her story to test her resolve, but it has not changed as she attacks her daughter. After the two Fairy Tail Mages harm the Spriggan 12, Irene mentions the Dragon Seed located inside Wendy, but the latter says it has stopped due to the Dragon Soul Technique her mother performed on her. In Natsu's subconscious, Igneel appears to tell him that the reason of his timed death is occurring is because the counterpart to his Dragon Seed, aka Demon Seed in laymen terms, is fusing with one another, saddening the Dragon Slayer. Back in their battle, Irene becomes enraged to learn that a Dragon could perform said ability, violently attacking the two afterwards. After Wendy boosts Erza's attributes, she lands a direct attack on Irene, something she's unfazed from. The Scarlet Despair admits she understands the truth behind Enchantments now, seeing it's not impossible to enchant herself into another human, identifying her vessel in Wendy due to her being compatible with her as she relinquishes her body from her, concurring she's been reborn anew.[106]

Wendy Belserion

Walking towards her daughter in her new body, Irene examines the anatomy of her new figure, mocking Erza as she tries to attack her only for Irene to blow her back, declaring this is her body now. She notices her Magic Power isn't low as she thought, continually destroying her daughter as she mercifully tells Wendy to get her body back. Irene begins to fly and make use of her new-attained Sky Dragon Slayer Magic, all while noting she'll take the new persona of Wendy Belserion. As Erza tries to attack her, she remembers all of Wendy's close moments with her, again being struck down. Wendy, however, takes possession of Irene's body and tries to blow her back, while using a Separation Enchantment to remove her persona from her body. It ends up being successful although Irene severely damage Wendy's body in the process when she denied returning her body back. Wendy asks Erza to take care of the rest, which she glares at her mother with the idea of doing so.[107]

The two women begin their renewed battle, trading barbs back and forth as they've both been through, and have had miserable pasts. Erza believes she grown stronger from them, which Irene casts her hate on her even more, finally triggering her to morph into her true of form as a Dragon, swinging her arm that crushes Erza's entire left side of her body. Irene then proclaims as she is a Sage Dragon, she can amplify her Enchantments from something either greater than "high" which they become "master". She then calls for a meteor to crash through the planet's atmosphere and to destroy all in its' radius. Erza, using her good right hand, deflects off the ground as she flies directly to the prevent the impact of the meteor, this causing Irene to look in wonderment of her daughter's foolish tactic.[108]

Irene impales herself

On the a direct path towards the asteroid, Erza makes contact with it and immediately destroys it with a swing of her blade, stunning Irene. She then heads for her but Irene mentions that she would not be able to harm a Dragon's scales, which Wendy at that moment enchants her Sky Dragon Slayer Magic onto Erza's blade, allowing her to harm her mother and revert her to human form. Irene still standing grabs Erza's sword and begins to walk towards her to finish her but then is inflicted with the memories of her daughter and her past, which due to not being a viable vessel for her, places Erza in Rosemary which completes saddens her. Her smile kept angering her, which Erza takes this time with the sword gashing her body to headbutt Irene although she still stands after. She then shockingly stabs herself, saying even though she murdered countless people she could not succumb to killing her own daughter because in truth she always loved her. Irene falls to the ground and Erza looks in disbelief and awe at the event that occurred.[109]

As Irene's body lays motionless on the ground, Wendy comforts Erza to make sure she's doing alright, but wonders where the master's scent has gone too, which leads Erza to quickly hug. Inside Natsu's heart, Igneel finishes his story by saying Natsu has the choice of who he'll become, either a dragon or demon, as if he doesn't choose he will die. Natsu looks up and says he'll be human, which thereafter both seeds dissipate and he wakes up in the room with Lucy and the others. Not long after, Universe One begins to dispel, with the country of Fiore returning to its' normal state. Natsu and Lucy, at her apartment, then prepare for the final march towards their guild and Zeref.[110]

War Climax! March Towards Fairy Tail

Gray meets Zeref at the guild

With Magnolia returned to it's regular status, the climax of the war breaks out all around the city; Mavis commands everyone to use their familiarity to their advantage. Mirajane defeats Jacob while Lisanna and Elfman overcome Ajeel's grit; which prompts Yajeel to step forward to tell them to cease their attack and instead attack him which Ajeel lambastes his grandfather over. The two siblings respond to which they themselves have family just like he does and they never intended to kill as all war does is make both sides lose precious things. Elsewhere, Natsu and Lucy regroup with Brandish and a shrunken Dimaria; the latter walks away intending to stay out of either sides' way, while Porlyusica and Evergreen ask what became of Gray. Suddenly they feel the ground shake, as it is caused by August who calls his fellow 12 to destroy all for His Majesty, but is then encountered by Gildarts who engages him in battle. Natsu then quickly begins to depart, believing to know where Gray went, while meanwhile, the ice Mage appears at the doorstep of the guild, telling the man who is in his seat to depart at once, that person turning out to be Zeref.[111]

Zeref, completely aware of who Gray is, wonders to him if he despises him as his creations have ruined his life. Gray says Zeref knows a lot of him, which Zeref says it is crucial to know your enemy for war. Gray asks him why he truly wants Fairy Heart and Zeref says it is to defeat Acnologia but in truth it's not for something as insignificant of that. Gildarts and August trade blows, following with Gildarts using his Crush to dissemble August but the Wizard King reveals he possesses the same Magic, blowing back Gildarts until he dodges some incoming cards that came from Gildarts' daughter, Cana, who joins her father's fight which he vehemently opposes. Back in the guild hall, Gray is shocked to hear Zeref's true goal, while Zeref says Gray will lie dead so Natsu will be able to fight him at full strength. Gray knows then that if he kills Zeref Natsu will die and that he understands now that Natsu, regardless if he's E.N.D., he is still his friend. Gray then prepares his Iced Shell stance, which Zeref recognizes but sees that the lost attribute has been added to it, which Gray states that it for so that it was wipe out any memories of anyone who has encountered him, so he can seal Zeref and for no one to feel sad at his loss.[112]

Acnologia announces his presence

With Gray's Lost Iced Shell in the process, Gray reminisces when he was Avatar it was then when he came to learn of adding lost attribute to his spells. He says that this will seal Zeref and erase those memories of whomever encountered him; Zeref pointing out that he is eternal and no matter what kind of ice it is, that it will eventually melt and he will arise again. Gray understands that but until then it will be peace and Fairy Tail will come out victorious. While in the midst of losing his conscious, the mirage of Ur appears to tell him he can't give his life away, and as she murmurs for him to stop, Natsu barges in to stop his friend while burning away all the ice in the guild hall. He then tears up to say that they are friends and he must live. Zeref points out that fate has determined what happens, with Natsu rebuking that theory, defiantly stating he'll burn away any type of destiny like that. Elsewhere, at Fairy Hills Wendy finishes healing Erza and the begin to walk away from Irene's body but suddenly feeling a huge Magic Power, that figure dropping in front of them, turning out to be Acnologia who states he is bored of this current world; this happening triggering August to solemnly state that their time is up.[113]

Acnologia, descending in front of Wendy and Erza which of who is wondering who this person is and the Magic Power she felt before, immediately walks over to Irene's dead body and says he now knows who she is, as she was the one who granted humans the power to slay Dragons. However he begins to viciously stomp on her body, cackling uncontrollably as he claims she is his sin. Natsu and Zeref begin their second clash, trading barbs as Zeref pushes him back and notices he cannot beat him without Igneel's power. They all feel Acnologia's presence so it incites Zeref to say Natsu will die here. On August's front, he mentions Acnologia has arrived and that without Fairy Heart, it will be all for naught. Gildarts says he gives up too quickly, but August says it is because Acnologia will paint their future black and that his Majesty is doing everything for the sake of humanity. Cana calls him out and says it's nothing different, preparing Fairy Glitter to strike him with it, but he comes out un-phased. August asks the two if they love each other and that although he learned every Magic in the world, he doesn't understand the love being parent and child. He wonders what emotion Gildarts will show if he were to see his daughter killed in front of him, which immediately angers him.[114]

Zeref blasts "his child"

Gildarts angrily charges for August after his provocation which August muses aloud that if it's known that a parent loves their child and vice versa why isn't the case the same with His Majesty's and his son. After blowing him back however, his daughter Cana comes to her father's aid to tell him to not treat her as a child which the latter refuses. In the guild hall, as Natsu and Zeref continue to trade blows, Mavis telepathically contacts Lucy and Gray to tell them to rendezvous with her quickly due to Natsu's fate in the balance, which causes both of them to curiously wonder why. Zeref, with his curse of contradictions acting up, becomes giddy while partaking in his battle with his younger brother, only for Larcade to appear shortly, casting R.I.P. on Natsu to aid his father's wish of killing him. Zeref then fills himself with anger, with a flashback occurring of Precht at the time deciding on what to do with the remaining life force being held his Mavis' comatose body. Zeref then blasts Larcade for getting in his way while August continually muses why the distinct dislike for Zeref has surmised to the unloving his son Larcade.[115]

Gildarts and Cana continue to do battle with August, who continuously overpowers them as none of their Magic seems to work on him. August goes to stab Cana, which Gildarts defends her, thrusting himself towards the powerful Mage which Cana yells in fear for his life. In the guild hall, Zeref continues to shun Larcade, which Larcade wonders why his father would, leading Zeref to reveal he's another demon from his books that was created when in the process of reviving Natsu and that was deemed the strongest one of his attempts and donned the last name of "Dragneel". In the flashback, Precht has released the child that was in Mavis' womb, dumping him in the middle of nowhere, which the child born of massive Magic Power learned to live on his own until he met Zeref. Back at their battle, Gildarts learns that August uses an advanced type of Copy but cannot copy Holder-Types, leading Gildarts to strike him with his prosthetic arm. The child of Mavis, who is also Zeref's son, was eventually named "August" for the time Zeref and Mavis spent time together.[116]

August's last goodbye to Mavis

Larcade continues to cry that his "father" rejects him, which angers Zeref to the point of killing Larcade, something that Natsu punches his brother for and doesn't agree with his actions. On the battlefield, Gildarts' arm is immobile from his last attack, noticing August has risen from the impact taking little to no damage. August then says how he was neglected throughout his life but it was always for the Emperor so he has no qualms with giving up his own life, casting Ars Magia which begins the denotation of Fiore. Mavis tries to contact others through her Telepathy but it is blocked, with her as well as others coughing up blood and finding it hard to breath. Before Ars Magia is complete, August thinks back to his monologue that only his mother would be able to stop him, glancing over her and then reneging the destruction of the country, appearing in his child form in an illusion as he always wanted to share one moment with his mother, before eventually passing on. Lucy and Gray then meet Mavis, who has retrieved Natsu's book and that she plans to enact her final plan, telling them to let Natsu battle Zeref alone. Natsu in confrontation with Zeref tries to get through to him with emotion by acknowledging him as his brother, but Zeref rejects it as they begin their final face-off.[117]

The Teacher and the White Wizard

The Dragon of Magic

Acnologia, still mocking the death of Irene, continues stomping on her corpse as Erza orders him to stop desecrating the dead. He turns to her and notices she carries the same scent as Irene, while pointing out that Wendy carries Dragon Slayer Magic. They recognize his Magic Power and as soon as they realize who their opponent is, Acnologia bull-rushes them only for the two to get defended by Jellal. He then uses an assortment of attacks to throw Acnologia off balance but it is to not avail as the Black Dragon is able to consume any type of Magic, being that he is the Dragon of Magic. Wendy's determination as a Dragon Slayer makes her act on his terror but as the Dragon King goes to kill the girl, a rebuilt Christina slams into their enemy, with Ichiya hurrying to get the three on board. He then mentions if they can lead Acnologia astray to a certain location, it would be possible for them to defeat him, with a woman walking up behind him in agreement.[118]

With Acnologia hot on their trail, The Trimens and Jenny, aiming the built-in Jupiter, provoke Acnologia into chasing them while firing their attacks at the latter, although to no avail as he simply consumes it all. They then activate Christina's turbo boosters, speedily trying to outrun the Black Dragon as he chases them down. At the same time, the woman is revealed to be Anna, whom of which Wendy remembers as she was her caretaker and teacher; the woman telling the others that she came to the future along with the five Dragon Slayers to defeat Acnologia. While Lucy and Gray grieves over Natsu's book, Anna continues to say that she came to this time as it was in abundance of Magic, and that she took five years to locate all the children that were separated from Eclipse but seeing how they were enjoying their lives, she decided not to interfere. However the true reason for her biding her time was that she came across a "power" that she didn't know if it manifested from Eclipse or a natural occurrence, but this power she discovered has the ability to seal away someone in the Space Between Time, which she believes could be the key to defeat Acnologia.[119]

Anna arrives 400 years later

In July X777, while the surrounding civilians notice a lunar eclipse, Layla beneath the kingdom's grounds opens the gate as described by the book passed down in her clan, with five stars, the children Dragon Slayers, busting through the ceiling and afterwards, her ancestor Anna arrives through the gate and breaks down everything to the king and Layla of what has occurred and what those five stars were. She later leaves to locate those children while Layla asks the king to destroy the gate. In the present, Anna talks more of the Space Between Time, being it made from "nothingness" and that their plan is to lead Acnologia there so he can succumb in it and vanish forever. In Magnolia, Gray and Lucy decide to open Natsu's book while in the guild hall Zeref clutches Natsu's within his Magic, while telling him of his fable Neo Eclipse plan; which in combination with the Space Between Time and Fairy Heart he will reset time to when he wasn't immortal to live his life completely over.[120]

With Acnologia hot on their trail, the Blue Pegasus members discuss what about the alternatives and scenarios to make sure he is fully lured by them. Wendy tries to remember Anna fully while Jellal and Erza discuss her validity. Ichiya then alerts they are closing in on the Space Between Time, barrel rolling so dodge it while Acnologia crashes into it, but passes right through it unaffected due it to be closed by it's founder, Zeref who sealed it until he obtained Fairy Heart. Elsewhere, Lucy opens Natsu's book only to have numerous characters fly out that Lucy concludes on it being Natsu's history. Meanwhile, in the guild hall Natsu is still in Zeref's clutches by the time Mavis arrives, saying that she will defeat Zeref, only for the latter to smirk that the final key to Neo Eclipse has finally arrived. Natsu, entering Dragon Force, burns away Zeref's Magic and tells his First Master that he will be the one to finish him off.[121]

Zeref, the White Wizard

Natsu in Dragon Force charges for Zeref, whom the latter is mocking the former, before their battle is impeded by Mavis, who asks Natsu to allow her to talk to Zeref one last time. Zeref grabs her head to ask her what is the meaning of this, to which Mavis states she has a plan that would be able to free him from his immortality, which Zeref shrugs off as he attempted every possible means to die. Mavis asks why he is afraid of Acnologia to which he replies it is because he cannot die, which would in turn will cause him and Mavis to be toyed with by the Dragon King for all of eternity. After Mavis tries to convince him one last time, Zeref begins to absorb her Magic which Natsu tries to stop. Acnologia meanwhile is still hunting down Wendy, which Anna says leave it to her to open the Space Between Time. Back at Fairy Tail, Zeref promises Mavis that with Neo Eclipse he will defeat Acnologia and make sure the future is safe, while Mavis states she doesn't want the world to be destroyed but falls to the ground. Zeref then activates Fairy Heart, turning him into a god that surpasses both time and space.[122]

While the guild members reconvene from the strong magical pressure that was released from the guild hall, Lucy and Gray arise to delve into more of Natsu's book, which Lucy suggests that they should rewrite the contents. In the guild hall, Mavis is in fatigue while Natsu says to her he must finish Zeref, charging then striking him which in turns blows majority of the guild hall away. Natsu powers down, thinking he has finally killed Zeref but the latter reforms himself with his ability to manipulate time and space, piercing Natsu's chest to which he walks off, as Natsu lays on the ground, bleeding and defeated.[123]

The Book of E.N.D. affecting Lucy's body

As Acnologia continues the chase to kill Wendy, Jellal tries to impede the Black Dragon with his Meteor, but Acnologia eats the spell's aura, blasting at the ship while tearing a rift of the sea. Anna struggles to open the Space Between Time, noticing it's been shut off as Zeref who is the culprit, opens the rift to merge it with the door of the Fairy Tail guild hall, admitting this will lead to a new world. Meanwhile, Lucy and Gray notice that many letters of Natsu's tome are breaking, which they conclude Natsu has been injured. Lucy then begins to replace the old letters, leading to Natsu to arise from the earlier strike to impede Zeref's plan once more. However, due to the tampering of his book, Lucy's body is affected by the contents, which causes both Happy and Gray to panic.[124]

The contents of Natsu's book begins to overtake Lucy's body, with her screaming in agony from the heat. Although she tries to manage it, Gray quickly uses his ice to cool her down as they he declares for both of them to save Natsu. Meanwhile Natsu barks at Zeref, who notices Natsu has been healed by whoever is tampering with his book, although he concurs that person will fall into darkness like those who tried to rewrite it in the past. By the sea, as Jellal struggles to to push Acnologia in the Space Between Time, the Black Dragon eats his Magic and then begins to crush his body within his palm, while the ship everyone is aboard on crashes to the waters. Natsu and Zeref's back and forth ends with both of them unleashing a powerful attack at one another, in attempts to finish each other off.[125]

Natsu bids farewell to Zeref

Natsu and Zeref continue to clash, with Natsu's fire being so hot that Zeref claims its splitting his own time, while desecrating the Dragon Slayer's arm. By the ocean, Anna takes over the broken Christina to once more push Acnologia through the Space Between Time being that it is her 400 year plan, but cannot control the ship which allows Ichiya to take it over in her stead. The two forcefully push the Black Dragon through the wormhole, sucking the three in the neverending sphere of space, vanishing in thin air as guild cries for their victory and loss. Natsu, meanwhile, overcomes Zeref's might which, at the same time, Mavis arises to finish off Zeref with her plan while Natsu bids goodbye to his brother after their final confrontation.[126]

With Zeref defeated, Mavis comes closer to her former lover, with both noting how much life has been a struggle for the two, something Mavis wants to fix. Zeref realized she never truly loved him, it's why the curse took her life instead of his. Mavis points to that thought being false, with her admitting she didn't reflect as much on her love for him. She begins to get affected by the curse of Ankhseram, violently hitting Zeref while mentioning she loves him. She decides to take both of their lives, kissing Zeref which activates the curse, in turn killing both her and Zeref. Elsewhere, Makarov rises from his slumber from Fairy Law being cast, leading to the guild rejoicing as the First Master has passed on.[127]

Natsu disappears

Lucy finishes decoding Natsu's tome, falling down from the powerful demonic magic infusing in her skin. Gray uses his Devil Slayer Magic to exorcise the power, curing his friend whom she thanks him. Soon after, Natsu reunites with them and after rejoicing they four begin to head to the guild. Jellal awakens from his failed sacrifice; Jenny informing him that Anna and Ichiya have sacrificed their lives in order to abolish Acnologia. Back to the four, while talking of what they plan to do next, the trio notices that Natsu has vanished which causes Lucy to break in depression even after she rewrote the book to unbind his life to Zeref's while in the sky, Wendy notices a crack is beginning to form.[128]

The crack in the sky is caused from Acnologia absorbing the Space Between Time, becoming a controller of Time Magic. Everyone is fearful for their lives, while Acnologia declares humanity is all over, casting Eternal Flare which decimates parts of the world. With his newfound power, he warps all seven Dragon Slayers into the dimension of the Space Between Time, facing Natsu as he prepares to slay the remaining remnants of Dragons to become the perfect Dragon in existence.[129]

Final Battle: Acnologia vs. the World

7 Dragon Slayers stand against Acnologia

Inside the Space Between Time, Natsu encounters Acnologia who informs him that all the dragon slayers have been immortalized as pillars in order to stabilize his magic and begins to do the same. Anna and Ichiya are released from the time-space magic and enlighten everyone on the current status, while Mest later appears to take Erza to the rest of the resistance. They all learn that Acnologia's physical and spiritual has been split, and his physical is on a crash course towards Magnolia. Through the thoughts of their loved ones, the six other dragon slayers break free, with the Dragon King challenging the last of the dragon slayers.[130]

Manga & Anime Differences

Young Acnologia

  • During one of the introduction episodes of Anna Heartfilia, a connection to the second movie Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry was made in which a sixth star was seen shooting out of the Eclipse Gate; that star being the reason behind the shooting star effect that scattered the five Dragon Slayers across the world.
  • Among the climax episodes of the final arc, an origin story of Acnologia was shown depicting the Dragon King's life before his rise to power, as well as his endeavours before becoming the figure he is revered as today.


  • The Alvarez Empire arc is the longest arc in the Fairy Tail series, totaling 108 chapters.

Battles and Events


  1. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 438, Pages 2-20
  2. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 439, Pages 2-20
  3. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 440, Pages 2-12
  4. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 440, Pages 13-20
  5. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 441, Pages 2-20
  6. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 442, Pages 2-7
  7. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 442, Pages 8-20
  8. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 443, Pages 2-5
  9. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 443, Pages 9-30
  10. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 444, Pages 2-13
  11. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 444, Pages 14-20
  12. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 445, Pages 1-17
  13. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 445, Pages 18-19
  14. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 446, Pages 1-31
  15. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 447, Pages 1-19
  16. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 447, Page 19
  17. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 448, Page 1-19
  18. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 449, Page 2-20
  19. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 450, Page 2-20
  20. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 451, Page 2-20
  21. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 452, Page 2-24
  22. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 453, Page 2-20
  23. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 454, Page 2-20
  24. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 455, Page 2-15
  25. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 455, Page 15-20
  26. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 456, Page 1-17
  27. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 456, Page 18-20
  28. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 457, Page 1-16
  29. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 457, Page 17-20
  30. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 458, Page 2-20
  31. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 459, Pages 2-20
  32. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 460, Pages 2-20
  33. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 461, Pages 2-20
  34. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 462 Pages 2-8
  35. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 462, Pages 8-20
  36. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 463, Pages 2-20
  37. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 464, Pages 2-20
  38. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 465, Pages 2-8
  39. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 465, Pages 8-14
  40. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 465, Pages 15-20
  41. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 466, Pages 1-6
  42. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 466, Pages 6-11
  43. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 466, Pages 11-16
  44. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 466, Pages 17-19
  45. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 467, Pages 2-10
  46. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 467, Pages 10-20
  47. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 468, Pages 2-14
  48. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 468, Pages 15-20
  49. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 469, Pages 2-7
  50. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 469, Pages 8-20
  51. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 470, Pages 2-20
  52. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 471, Pages 3-15
  53. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 471, Pages 15-26
  54. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 472, Pages 2-20
  55. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 473, Pages 2-10
  56. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 473, Pages 10-20
  57. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 474, Pages 2-6
  58. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 474, Pages 7-20
  59. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 475, Pages 2-20
  60. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 476, Pages 2-19
  61. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 477, Pages 2-19
  62. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 478, Pages 2-19
  63. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 479, Pages 2-18
  64. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 480, Pages 2-9
  65. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 480, Pages 9-19
  66. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 481, Pages 2-20
  67. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 482, Pages 2-19
  68. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 483, Pages 2-18
  69. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 483, Pages 19-23
  70. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 484, Pages 2-9
  71. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 484, Pages 10-19
  72. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 485, Pages 2-19
  73. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 486, Pages 2-7
  74. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 486, Pages 7-18
  75. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 487, Pages 2-24
  76. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 488, Pages 1-11
  77. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 488, Pages 12-19
  78. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 489, Pages 2-19
  79. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 490, Pages 2-20
  80. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 491, Pages 2-20
  81. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 492, Pages 2-19
  82. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 493, Pages 2-20
  83. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 494, Pages 2-18
  84. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 495, Pages 2-23
  85. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 496, Pages 2-18
  86. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 497, Pages 2-20
  87. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 498, Pages 2-19
  88. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 499, Pages 2-19
  89. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 500, Pages 2-18
  90. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 500, Pages 18-28
  91. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 501, Pages 1-20
  92. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 502, Pages 2-20
  93. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 503, Pages 2-19
  94. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 504, Pages 1-18
  95. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 505, Pages 2-19
  96. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 506, Pages 2-19
  97. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 507, Pages 2-19
  98. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 508, Pages 2-20
  99. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 509, Pages 2-19
  100. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 510, Pages 2-19
  101. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 511, Pages 2-19
  102. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 512, Pages 1-19
  103. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 513, Pages 1-19
  104. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 514, Pages 2-19
  105. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 515, Pages 2-20
  106. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 516, Pages 2-20
  107. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 517, Pages 2-20
  108. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 518, Pages 2-20
  109. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 519, Pages 2-19
  110. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 520, Pages 2-19
  111. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 521, Pages 2-19
  112. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 522, Pages 2-21
  113. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 523, Pages 2-18
  114. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 524, Pages 2-20
  115. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 525, Pages 2-20
  116. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 526, Pages 2-19
  117. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 527, Pages 2-20
  118. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 528, Pages 2-19
  119. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 529, Pages 2-20
  120. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 530, Pages 2-20
  121. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 531, Pages 2-19
  122. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 532, Pages 2-19
  123. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 533, Pages 2-19
  124. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 534, Pages 2-19
  125. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 535, Pages 2-20
  126. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 536, Page 2-19
  127. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 537, Pages 2-19
  128. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 538, Pages 2-20
  129. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 539, Pages 2-18
  130. Fairy Tail Manga: Chapter 540, Pages 2-19

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