The Great Banquet is an event that takes place during the Grand Magic Games arc.
In the year X791, just like in previous years, the Royal Family decides to host a grand tournament, the Grand Magic Games, to decide which of the Legal Guilds in Fiore is the strongest; Fairy Tail decides to participate in order to reclaim their lost glory. After five grueling days of battle and hardship, Fairy Tail emerges victorious in the Grand Magic Games.
Concurrently, however, a Rescue Team composed of Natsu Dragneel, Mirajane Strauss, Wendy Marvell, Happy, Carla and Panther Lily is sent to break out the wrongfully imprisoned Lucy Heartfilia and Yukino Agria. After successfully infiltrating the castle the Rescue Team quickly locates Lucy and Yukino and free them. However, they are then sent to the lower reach of the Royal Palace, the Abyss Palace, and are confronted by Fiore's Royal Executioners: The Garou Knights. The Rescue Team makes short work of the Garou Knights and seeks to find their way out of the castle, where they happen across Lucy's future counterpart. Learning of their doomed future and using Future Lucy as a guide, they make their way beneath Mercurius, but are halted by the Royal Army and the Garou Knights. Now in a pinch, the Rescue Team is saved by a mysterious shadow that swallows the entirety of the Royal Army. Watching in shock, the Rescue Team bears witness as a man walks out of the shadows; the man reveals himself to be Rogue Cheney.
Future Rogue ignores the shock of those present and divulges information about his time to the Rescue Team before killing Future Lucy, who jumps in the way of her present counterpart to spare her from Future Rogue's wrath, sparking a conflict between him and Natsu. Leaving Natsu behind to battle Future Rogue, Lucy and the rest of the Rescue Team make their way to the top of Mercurius, where they witness the Eclipse Gate open. Meanwhile, deep underground, Future Rogue easily defeats Natsu and leaves the mortally wounded Fairy Tail Mage for dead.
Back atop Mercurius, Lucy realizes the farce that is the Eclipse 2 Plan and repeatedly tries to close the Gate, all the while avoiding the Dragons that are slowly filing out. With the assistance of Yukino, Lucy manages to close the Eclipse Gate, allowing only seven Dragons to arrive. At that time, Future Rogue arrives and declares the beginning of his new Draconic era before ordering the Dragons to kill every Mage in Crocus. Before long, Future Rogue finds himself face-to-face with Natsu once more as the battle between Mages and Dragons begins.
With the battles raging, man finds themself at a disadvantage against the Dragons and the freshly-released Miniature Dragons, leading to the deaths of those such as Gray Fullbuster. Seeing the tragedies around her escalate, Ultear Milkovich decides to rewind time at the cost of her own, resetting the entire planet to the way it was one minute prior, preventing said deaths and allowing the fighting Mages to see one minute into the future that was.
Natsu and Future Rogue's battle, however, comes to a close, as he and the befriended Dragon Atlas Flame overpower Future Rogue and Motherglare, sending the two crashing into the Eclipse Gate, completely destroying the device. As it is now destroyed and Rogue Cheney has no way to grow up and travel back in time, thereby preventing the events that transpired from occurring, all beings from the past and future return to their respective times. Before disappearing, Future Rogue gives Natsu a final warning as to how he can prevent his present self from turning evil: make him protect Frosch in one year. Explaining that doing so will prevent the ever-chasing shadows from consuming his heart, Future Rogue returns to the future. Lucy, meanwhile, experiences the joy her future self is feeling after moving on to the afterlife, and silently hugs Natsu, thanking him for everything he's done.
The Great Banquet
Several days later, in a dressing room, Yukino, wearing an elegant emerald dress, expresses her embarrassment at being forced to wear such clothing, calling it gaudy. The other girls present (Lucy, Mirajane and Wendy) all compliment Yukino on her appearance, sans Lisanna, who is begging Mirajane to help her with her corset, leaving Yukino even more embarrassed.
Meanwhile, at an outdoor café in the city, several men discuss what happened days earlier: a supposed attack upon the capital city by Dragons; one of the men calls it a lie, however, another man states that there were witnesses to said happening. Quickly changing the subject, one of the men asks if today is the day that the King's banquet for the Mages is being held, which is confirmed by one of the other men expressing his jealousy at them for being invited inside the Royal Palace. Noting that never before has a single Mage been so much as invited into the castle, the men decide to let the King's decision be and celebrate alongside them.
Being ogled by the male attendees, the girls arrive at the banquet, marveling at the grandeur of such an occasion, where they are greeted by Elfman. Behind him, however, Gajeel and Gray bicker, until, that is, Erza calls the group over to their table, claiming that all the guilds have gathered. With Fairy Tail all together at their own table, the other guilds interact, not only with themselves, but with others; The Trimens express their joy at being invited into the castle and treated like royalty whilst Ichiya courteously greets Bacchus.
The festivities then take off: Ichiya grabs a microphone and tells the performing band to play "that song" in B flat, much to their befuddlement, Cana and Bacchus once again begin a drinking match, being cheered by Team Quatro Puppy as such a thing begins. Concurrently, Kagura makes her way through the grand hall and is flattered by her teammates on her appearance as she blushingly states that such looks don't suit her; Millianna however, only looks down at the floor in sadness. Meanwhile, Makarov and the members of his old team, relishing in the benefits of living long lives, sit and drink together.
In another section of the grand dining hall, Lucy is approached by Hisui, who recognizes her as Jude Heartfilia's daughter before saying that she was friends with her father before his untimely passing, all to Lucy's embarrassment. Hisui then apologizes to Lucy for causing her trouble despite being in Jude's debt, but Lucy denies that Hisui caused anything of the sort, stating that as she is a Mage, trouble has become a part of her life. Smiling at this, Hisui asks Lucy where Natsu is, to which the former replies that she doesn't know.
Elsewhere, Juvia manages to find Gray and tells him that she has upgraded herself to "Juvia 2.0", prompting Gray to ask her when she became a machine. Smiling at Gray, Juvia tells the man that she intends to enter a new age and leaps at him, telling Gray that she loves him. Gray, however, turns away from Juvia and informs Juvia that he isn't interested in her, much to her dismay. Explaining that he too intends on entering a new age, Gray states that he now intends on being quite frank about what he does and doesn't like; Juvia is unfazed by such a revelation and instead amorously states that she loves it when Gray toys with her affection. Taken aback, Gray tells Juvia that she's crazy, but is quickly reprimanded by a passing Lyon, who solemnly says that he finally realized that Juvia's heart has no room for him, earning him sarcastic remarks from the nearby Yuka and Toby. Looking around, Gray wonders aloud where Natsu is; Juvia mentions that being away from places where action is is highly unlike him.
Meanwhile, Wendy and Sherria stare at a piece of gelatin and remark upon its pristine appearance, as well as wondering what it tastes like; the two quickly devour the dessert. Just then, Mavis Vermillion appears before Wendy, drooling, and states that what she just ate looked delicious, surprising the Sky Dragon Slayer. Unable to see Mavis, Sherria asks Wendy if anything is wrong, but she denies anything of the sort. Sherria then returns to eating and confusedly stares at Wendy as she asks Mavis to show some restraint. With Sherria no longer paying attention, Wendy asks Mavis if she has seen Natsu, to which she replies that she hasn't, making Wendy wonder why he isn't present as he usually maintains a constant presence during events such as this; Mavis hovers behind Sherria and drools over her food. Sherria senses her presence and begs Wendy to help her, as she feels strange.
Others soon notice Natsu's lack of a presence, such as the Thunder God Tribe and Laxus Dreyar, however, Freed shows more concern about the women fondling Laxus and demands that they release him. Levy also takes notice and tells Jet that even Lucy has no idea where he is, though he and Warren tell her not to worry.
Walking around the dining hall, Erza, per chance, happens across Kagura and asks the woman how her wounds; she is met with a similar reply. Extending her hand, Erza asks Kagura if they could become good friends, despite what recently happened between them, as they are from the same hometown. However, Erza is abruptly cut off by Kagura, who states that she refuses to be friends, leaving Erza shocked. She then quickly mentions, much to her embarrassment, that she'd prefer it if they could be more like sisters. Erza then quickly embraces the Mermaid Heel Mage and tells her that she is too adorable, prompting the onlooking Beth, Araña and Risley to laugh in enjoyment. Erza then turns around and notices Millianna's sour expression and asks her how long she intends to look that way. Stating that she has no choice, Erza removes Happy from her breasts, who exclaims, upon exiting, Millianna's catchphrase. Despite quickly expressing joy, Millianna returns to looking depressed; Erza then reveals that she has Panther Lily and Carla on her person as well, causing Millianna to become elated. Watching Millianna play with the Exceeds, much to their chagrin, Erza asks Happy where Natsu is. When she is met with a negative reply, Erza wonders what happened to make him not show up.
Looking for Natsu, Sting, with wine and glasses in hand, and Lector find Gajeel's table and demands that Natsu and he have a drink, though he is quickly put down by Gajeel, who bluntly informs the Sabertooth Mage that Natsu is nowhere to be seen, leaving him quite dejected. Turning away from Sting, Gajeel talks to the accompanying Rogue, calling him "Ryos"; Rogue asks Gajeel to not call him by that name. Gajeel then questions the Shadow Dragon Slayer about the man that came from the future, prompting to Rogue to admit that even he himself is clueless. However, Rogue adamantly states that no matter what happens, he will not turn into his future self; Frosch agrees with Rogue. Gajeel then smiles at Rogue, but Sting pats his back and, saying that he'll "settle" for the Iron Dragon Slayer, asks him to have a drink with him. Embittered by this statement, Gajeel vocally states that he wishes to hit Sting, but is asked by Lector to forgive him, as he has always been somewhat unruly. Watching from afar, Orga and Rufus note that Sting has lightened up considerably, with Rufus in particular mentioning that the Sting he's looking at isn't preserved in his memories. The three Dragon Slayers then clink their glasses, toasting to Sabertooth and Fairy Tail's newfound friendship.
Just then, however, the three Dragon Slayers take notice of Lucy, Mirajane and Yukino's presence; Frosch becomes delighted at Yukino's sight. The former Sabertooth Mage turns around to walk away, apologizing as she does so, but she is stopped by Sting, who apologizes as well, stating that he didn't know she was here. Sting proceeds to explain that Minerva and Jiemma have disappeared and that he is going to rebuild Sabertooth from the ground up. Becoming visibly unnerved by the tenseness of the subject, Sting formally apologizes to Yukino for the way that they, Sabertooth, treated her in the past and tells her that they plan on becoming a guild that treasures their comrades. Confused, Yukino asks Sting why he's telling her this, to which he says that he wants her to rejoin Sabertooth.
Sting's formal request is then interrupted by the arrival of an extremely drunk Kagura, who raucously states that as per their bet, Yukino's life belongs to her and that she shall join Mermaid Heel, leaving Sabertooth utterly shocked. Angered, Sting rushes up to Kagura and calls her out on her stupor, though she rudely demands that Sting keep quiet. The two, however, are silenced by Erza; Fairy Tail joins the fray, also demanding that Yukino join them, leaving Yukino embarrassed. In a matter of moments, Blue Pegasus, Lamia Scale and Quatro Cerberus each demand the same of Yukino, though some note that the situation isn't going to end well. Ignoring Yukino's embarrassed plea to stop, even the Guild Masters join the fray, with them in particular starting a brawl for Yukino's membership.
Seeing everyone fight over her, Yukino collapses to the ground, crying, and is consoled by Mirajane, who tells her not to cry; Yukino sobbingly replies with a smile on her face that she can't help it, as even if everyone is kidding and isn't serious, she can't help but be happy. Happy for Yukino, Mirajane smiles back, pointing out that Yukino has finally managed to smile. As the members of all the guilds brawl, Mirajane tells Yukino that she has many places she can call home now, something which she agrees upon.
With a loud bang of his sword, Arcadios puts a stop to the brawl and draws the attention of all the Mages; he states that for their bravery in participating in the Grand Magic Games and for saving their country from the Dragons, the King has decided to come to the banquet in person, something which Arcadios requests that they let sink into the very depths of their hearts. Throughout the silence, Asuka cheers, though she is silenced by her mother; Lucy watches utterly confused as, rather than the king coming out, Natsu walks out onto the balcony. Dressed in Toma's robes and wearing his crown, Natsu loudly demands that they party as loud as they can, ignoring the attempts of the King, who is dressed in his "Mato" costume, to get his crown back. With everyone completely mortified at Natsu's display, Makarov in particular, Arcadios, livid, demands that the Garou Knights remove Natsu from the balcony, however, they say that such a thing is impossible. Over the top of everyone, Natsu shouts that he's become the king and that everyone is his subordinate, embarrassing his guildmates, though they quickly brush his antics off, with Lucy saying with a smile that Natsu has always had a penchant for crossing the line.
Following the Great Banquet, Team Natsu, plus Wendy and Carla, ride back to Magnolia in a horse-drawn carriage, wherein Gray chastises Natsu for his persistent sickly moans, claiming that he should've ran alongside the carriage; Lucy, Erza and Happy express their sadness at leaving Crocus. With Wendy and Carla listing off all the great things Crocus possessed, Natsu woozily makes his way towards Gray whilst Erza answers that Jellal has yet again disappeared. With the breeze blowing, the drapes hanging on the back of the carriage blow apart and Gray notices a lone old woman walking along the stretch of road; the old woman smiles at Gray, prompting the Ice-Make Mage to shout for the carriage to be halted, though the old woman shakes her head and Gray desists his action. Remembering when he was killed, tears begin to form in his eyes as the man recognizes the old woman to be Ultear Milkovich. Breaking down in tears, Gray questions why both mother and daughter had to save him, all as the carriage slowly makes its way back to town.
Soon after, the entire guild returns to their hometown where they are warmly, albeit loudly, welcomed by both the citizens and fellow Mages of the quaint village, as well as those that aren't even residents of the town; Fairy Tail takes pride in their celebratory "welcome home". Despite the festivities, Gray remains saddened by his sighting of the elderly Ultear and dismisses Juvia's concerns. Meanwhile, Lucy is congratulated by her landlady, who also demands that she pay her rent, causing Lucy to sigh. Erza also receives praise by onlookers, though this leaves her embarrassed.
Claiming to have something for the townspeople to feast their eyes on, Natsu digs around in his sack and pulls out Toma's crown, leaving Wendy, as well as Wakaba and Macao, shocked at his thievery, though he dejectedly puts it back as it was not the item he was looking for. Very quickly, however, Natsu pulls out the royal trophy and flaunts it before the crowd, prompting his guildmates to cry tears of joy and the crowd to cheer even louder. Still unamused, Gray silently sulks until Juvia lightly tells him that his persistent sorrow at such at an occasion is rather rude, which he agrees to. Smiling and thinking that he must be happy for Ultear's sake, Gray thanks Juvia, making the latter lovingly wonder why he became more dreamy to her.
Banaboster then proceeds to get the guild's attention by announcing that the mayor intends to give Fairy Tail a commemorative gift. Blushing, Makarov begins to say that there isn't a need for such a thing, but the mayor interrupts him and asks Fairy Tail to cast their gaze forward; the mayor reveals that he, as well as the townspeople, worked to restore their guild building to its former glory, leaving Fairy Tail to experience both extreme shock and happiness. Sobbing, Makarov asks the mayor how he can repay him, something which he states there is no need to do. Completely overwhelmed by the hospitality, Makarov loudly declares that he loves the town and all its people.