. Between the Lines . 172

After lunch had been eaten, Lucy took a deep breath and made her way to the arena. People were filing into the comfortable stands of the arena and Lucy could hear excited chatter coming from the Fairy Tail section as she hung out in the entrance to the arena, rubbing Loke’s key between her fingers.

The way Mineva had fought told Lucy that she needn’t hold back on anything. She was prepared to use two Zodiacs, her whip, and Urano Metria if she needed to.

She’d fight for victory, even if she didn’t get it.

The smallest of comforts had been the realization that the Council was watching and that several S-Class mages would jump in if they felt it was bad enough. It was an undeclared rule in the Games. It was one that she was grateful for.

“Tch. I’d have appreciated someone worth a challenge,” an icy voice muttered. Lucy glanced up as Minerva sidled into view, looking beautiful and deadly all at the same time. Her dark hair had been tied up, her sleeveless top and jeans hugging her like a second skin. She’d strapped on heels with sharp points and Lucy grimaced at the realization that she’d be fending them off soon.

Proudly raising her chin, Lucy retorted, “I’m a challenge. I’ll have you know I took out some of Oracion Seis and survived Grimoire Heart.”

She mockingly laughed, touching a finger to her red painted lips. “Oh? Such accomplishments. When something far more powerful comes knocking at your door, will you be just as confident?”

“Yes,” Lucy said firmly. “Because I won’t be alone when it does. Plus,” she added, shooting the other woman a proud look, “The princess of Bosco holds a great amount of power, you know, even if I’m not sitting on the throne as a queen.” That said, Lucy heard the announcer call out for them to enter and she gripped her keys and entered.

“A change was made earlier in the day when the royal family asked for it! Miss Heartfilia has been put up against Miss Orland and Mr. Dragneel will be up against Mr. Redfox on the fifth day of the Games.”

The crowd roared as she and Minerva moved to the center of the arena. When they reached it, they took up stances across from one another.

Fairy Tail shouted her name and Sabertooth called Minerva’s. Various mages shouted for either of them, but Lucy drowned them out and readied herself.

“Go!”

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