The next day, also the second day Gildarts returned to Fairy Tail.
Lisanna woke Noah up with her usual perky voice, he got up and donned the clothes laid out by Lisanna and he descended down to the ground floor’s bar area.
Lisanna instinctively hid behind Noah when they arrived. Usually around this time, Natsu and Gray would rush up and charge him with the intent of beating him down but they would get their ass handed to them in a jiffy. Lisanna didn’t want to get caught in the middle of it, that’s all.
She quickly noticed something off. Natsu and Gray didn’t zerg rush Noah, instead they sat still by a wooden table. Natsu sat there, crossing his arms and pouting with tears at the croners of his eyes, he also had a big bun on top of his head. He looked like he would cry anytime now. Meanwhile, close to Natsu & Gray, Mira, Erza, Cana, Elfman and the others circled them. They looked at Natsu who had a meat bun growing on his head with judging eyes. Natsu felt dejected by their glares.
“What happened with Natsu?”
Noah asked after noticing this scene.
“Could he have challenged Mira or Erza and then got put down?”
The two looked at each other and walked on over to where Natsu and the gang are at.
Lisanna tugged at Mira’s hand before she asked her in curiosity.
“What happened to Natsu?”
The moment she saw Lisanna, Mira snuck a peek at Noah in a clandestine manner, she then coldly snorted.
“The guy had it coming!”
“Natsu seemed to have challenged Gildarts to a duel.”
Erza shrugged helplessly.
“And, this is the result you’re seeing, get me?”
Her simple statements gave them all the information they needed as they bitterly laughed.
“Should we say, as expected of Natsu?”
“It’s really just Natsu’s style…”
“The enemy is the strongest magician in the guild no less, how can this stinky flaming lizard ever win.”
Gray placed his two hands to the side of his head as he said so.
“Even Noah already said Gildarts is so strong he could one shot him. If you can’t even beat Noah, what makes you think you can win against Gildarts?”
“No matter how you put it, your opponent this time was way outta your league.”
Cana sighed, she proceeded to point at Gray matter-of-factly and reminded him.
“And Gray, where is your shirt?”
Gray seemed like he’s only aware that he’s in his briefs just now.
“Ne, Noah, is the Uncle called Gildarts that powerful?”
Elfman, still a bit shellshocked, asked Noah.
“Something about so strong he can put you down in a second?”
Everyone there focused their attention on him. They had the same intrigue in their eyes as did Elfman. At the same time, they also had doubts in them.
Can’t be helped, the young ones didn’t have a clue how mighty Gildarts really is. However, they are well aware of Noah’s prowess. Even if he can’t use magic just yet, his swordsmanship could garner him a top spot standing toe to toe with the likes of Erza and Mira!
Hell, Natsu and Gray who worked together to ambush him also got done in by him within the blink of an eye!
It’s probable that if one were to compare Noah with the skillful magicians within the guild, Noah could probably put up a fight on even grounds.
That’s why they all doubted him when he said Gildarts could instantly defeat him. That’s the same for Natsu who was defeated thoroughly and Cana who seemed to have a strange attitude towards Gildarts as well as those close to Noah like Mira, Lisanna, Erza, Gray & the others.
He shrugged in front of everyone.
“I can only asy, he’s that strong. If he got serious, I probably wouldn’t even last a second!”
Everyone’s eyes widened.
And at that moment, a sound rang.
“Yo! Everyone seems energetic as usual!”
When they heard this sound, Natsu jumped up before anyone could respond and shouted.
Still the same appearance as he was yesterday, he went around greeting the guild members with that sloppy face of his. Then, he walked on over to the kids section.
When they saw Gildarts walking over, the girls and boys panicked. Only Noah and Natsu had different reactions. One of them sized him up, another passionately called out to him.
“Gildarts! Let’s continue our duel!”
Gildarts rubbed the back of his head and he avoided him by waving his hand.
“Sorry sorry, let’s leave that for next time.”
He might have said he agreed but Natsu already got into position, ready to charge Gildarts at the drop of the head.
Gray and Elfman hurriedly rushed Natsu and suppressed him. Natsu struggled and wailed.
“Let me go! Let me go! I wanna fight Gildarts!”
Gildarts felt helpless.
“This recklessness, as expected of youngsters?”
“Isn’t it fine?”
Erza who was carefully examining Gildarts grinned.
“Since Natsu wants it so bad, why not give him what he wants?”
“No no, I’ve just returned and I still have much resting planned.”
Gildarts dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
“Natsu won’t gain much fighting me with his style of charging straight at everything he sees. I would like to be excused from that.”
Gildarts is a man of unfathomable might. To challenge such an existence, perhaps if he was heavily disadvantaged and one used roundabout tactics and maneuvers would one be able to inch a slight chance of victory. Someone like Natsu who only knew how to charge, would only be sent home no matter how valiantly he went to deliver vegetables (Tl: To get served faster than fast food), the slight chance that he stood against Gildarts was rendered a zero by his actions.
Everyone understood what Gildarts meant. But then, something happened that exceeded their understanding.
Noah lifted his head and looked at Gildarts with a taunting smile.
“How about a duel with me?”
Everyone was surprised.
Gildarts seemed to have been stunned as well. He looked at Noah, but the slack and easy going attitude was gone. What replaced it was a stern smile, the one which he had when he returned to the guild yesterday.
“Alright, I will entertain you!”
Everyone was stupefied, they then yelled out in surprise.
♦ ♦ ♦
The cheering, or rather, their attempts to fuel the situation into bigger hype came from all around.
“Noah (Noah Onii-san)!”
Mira, Lisanna, Erza, Natsu, Gray, Cana, Elfman and the others stood closest to the centre of this mob. Some had worried expression, some had serious faces while others looked excited. They looked like they are more invested in the situation than Noah is.
The magicians who seemed like they don’t have anything better to do, formed a human wall around the whole spectacle. Noah sternly looked at Gildarts who was standing a bit of a distance away in front of him. He had his hands on the hilt of a sheathed arming sword.
Gildarts smiled in stark contrast to Noah, he looked like he’s taking it easy.
“Now, before we fight, I have a question for you.”
Gildarts grinned as he opened his mouth.
“Why the sudden urge? Didn’t you say I can defeat you in an instant?”
“That was under the assumption that you got serious.”
Noah entered his most natural blade drawing stance before he lightly laughed.
“But before you get serious, I figured I can last a round or two against you.”
“Actually, I was curious how the guild master suddenly had another grandchild. Given how he had another one as well, that brother of yours who is a pretty great fellow as well. I have to play second fiddle to that guy someday right?”
Gildarts struck a taunting gesture by beckoning Noah with a finger.
“Then, let me see what you’ve got!”
Noah didn’t reply but his grip on the blade became tightened.