“We need string.”
“Why the fuck do we need string?”
“For the timeline. I need string to connect shit like a spiderweb.”
“Anything else?” Alanza glared at Laxus, hoping his sarcasm got wedged in his craw and choked him.
“Well we have half a forest worth of paper, and pencils, and enough chalk for the Olympics-”
“What is an Olympics?” Erza had requiped into a suit jacket and pencil skirt and was tapping her pencil impatiently while they waited for Mira and Makarov.
“A worldwide physical skills tournament. Everything from swimming and races to fencing and archery. They use a lot of chalk for acrobatics. If my world had magic, wizards would be excluded from competing because it would be considered cheating.” Erza hummed thoughtfully. Alanza hoped telling her magic was cheating would discourage her from attempting to recreate her own version of the Olympics. “So. Paper, pencils, chalk, pushpins for the mother of all corkboards and her babies, drinks... String and snacks are all I can think of.”
“I brought sandwiches!”
“Mira your timing has to be divinely guided.” Mira giggled.
“Master will be just a moment. He is introducing Juvia to the guild.”
“Would yarn be acceptable for your task?”
“Yeah?” Erza produced a huge ball of red yarn from requip. That woman had serious hoarding issues. “Thanks.”
“You are welcome. I aquired it on a whim, however I find that knitting is far to time consuming a hobby when I could be training instead.” Right.
“Allright, brats. Let’s get to it.” Gramps skipped the chairs and just sat himself on one end of the table.
“Actually Master before we get down to business I was wondering if we could talk about inviting a few people to join us? If everyone approval of course.”
“Who did you have in mind?” Laxus spoke up before she could.
“Freed.” The other S-class wizards fixed questioning looks on the big blond. “Planning shit and stratagizing is what he fucking does. Rune magic is all about out-thinking your enemy.”
“Any objections?” Makarov made eye contact with each person in the room before nodding. “Very well. Freed will be added to the group. We can call him Laxus’s advisor.” Alanza could have facepalmed. These people were so dramatic.
“Levy Mcgarden.” Even Alanza was surprised to see Mystogan speak up. “I've seen her work. The girl is brilliant.”
“Objections?” Before Laxus's sneer could produce words Alanza spoke up.
“She can write her way out of Freed’s rune traps. She really is brilliant.” Laxus grunted.
“Then Levy will be Mystogan’s advisor.” Gramps smirked. “Or representative seeing as how he won’t stick around and we all know it. You do understand this means you have to talk to the girl.”
“I am well aware of the fact that I need to change how I interact with people if I am to avoid certain issues in the future, Master.”
“Do you girls have advisors you wish to bring into the room before we start?”
“Alanza,” Erza paused in her pencil tapping while she spoke. “You know more about what we are capable of than even we do, seeing as how you know our alternate future. Who would you reccommend for the task?” Alanza grinned, knowing that her reccommendations were going to ruffle feathers.
“Lucy and Cana.” Laxus snorted and Erza looked surprised.
“You have mentioned holding Lucy in rather high regard before.” Mystogan spoke in his usual even tone, the enraged mother hen tone from when he had cleaned and bandaged her feet earlier nowhere to be found. “Why is that?”
“To start with she is from a wealthy family. That does not mean she is a spoiled princess. It means she was raised with all the knowledge and abilities to run a multi billion jewel company and all that goes with it. Secondly she is a celestial spirit mage. That means she uses strategy in how she fights and is accustomed to thinking in several directions at once. Also she is a writer. She has a very flexible and active mind. Erza, if you can actually listen to her advice I strongly recommend you choose her as your advisor.”
“All excellent reasons. Master, I choose Lucy as my advisor.”
“I think Cana would make a really good advisor!” Mira ignored Laxus's scoffing and Erza's skeptical look. “She is very reliable when she is needed and her magic could be quite useful here. She uses predictions and probability to tell fortunes after all.” Laxus grumbled a bit, but just shrugged when Makarov looked at him.
“And you, Alanza?”
“I reserve the right to elect an advisory representative at a later date.” Mystogan made an odd choking sound. Probably trying not to laugh.
“Mira, would you call up our new advisors please?” When Mira left the room Alanza picked up the ball of yarn and started to stand up only to have Mystogan yank it out of her hands and shove her back into her chair.
“You stay put. Your feet need rest. Tell me what you want done.” She glared and he glared back from behind his mask.
“Fine. I want a string along the top of the motherboard for starters, about two feet down, to represent the timeline.” He started pinning the red yarn up on the wall. “Shit. I forgot-” Erza requiped a dagger and helped him cut the string. “Scissors. That works too, I guess.”
She pulled a few papers closer to her and began writing the major events as they would have happened in big letters, one for each paper. Phantom War. Fantasia. Nirvana. She almost wrote The Tower, realized that Erza would lose her shit, and wrote Frenemy instead. Edolas. Tenrou. She handed that one to Mystogan.
“Can you put that above the middle of the timeline with a short string connecting them?” Erza cut the string and they hung it up while she continued. Guppy Clock. GMG. She hesitated before labeling one simply The Cube. That Stupid Year. Evil Crybaby. Winged Hypocrite. Really Zeref and Acnologia had to be delt with at the same time, but since they needed to be delt with as two seperate catastrophies she was making them two things.
“Frenemy? Evil Crybaby? That Stupid Year?” Laxus shuffled her papers and gave her a look she was labeling as droll. “The fuck is going on in your head, Carrots?” Alanza smirked at him.
“Wouldn't you like to know.” Alanza pulled the papers back to her and put them in two stacks with tiny numbers in the corners to show what order they went in. She wrote October in parentheses at the bottom of the Fantasia paper.
“Damn, Girly. Quite the set up you've got goin on up here.” Cana seemed to be mostly sober for a change.
“Since when does the guildhall have a conference room?” Alanza fangirled inside just a bit at being this close to Lucy.
“Master gave you a whole hall for your secrets, eh, Alanza?”
“Yeah I guess so.” Freed said nothing, but his eyes flicked from the papers on the table to the wall and back.
“Alanza this is your meeting as far as I am concerned, I’m just here to observe, keep order, and share my aged wisdom.” Alanza wasn’t the only one to roll her eyes at their little master.
“Ok, first thing you four should know. Anything and everything said or seen in the Hall of Secrets stays in the Hall of Secrets. Your teams, girlfriends, boyfriends, pet dust bunnies, and rose bushes can not hear about this? If you want to back out now is your chance.” She waited, but none of them left or spoke up, not that she expected them to.
“Each of you was chosen by one of the S-class wizards here today to help us change the future. Master says you are advisors as well as representatives of your S-class wizard when you are available when they are not. The representative thing is mainly for Levy because Mystogan is an antisocial bastard as well as responsible for some important shit none of the rest of us can deal with. We are going to be making some seriously heavy decisions in this room, and I imagine some pretty big mistakes as well, so this is your last chance. Have a seat or walk out.”
They sat. They weren't stupid, that was why they were here, so each wizard sat next to their own S-class wizard without being told who they were attached to. Levy and Lucy sat in the correct seats even though Mystogan and Erza were both standing on the other side of the room. Alanza handed the two stacks of event papers to Mystogan.
“These are before Tenrou and these are after. For now just space them evenly I guess. Just like the Tenrou page.” As Mystogan and Erza hung the papers Alanza leaned back in her chair and addressed the newer additions to the group. “What we are hanging on the board is a timeline of the future. Or what would have been the future if I hadn’t come to this world. Yes, I said this world. I’m from another universe in which this one existed as a comic book. This-” She pointed to the wall. “Is basically a list of all the bad things that would have happened in the future and we-” She gestured around the room. “Are going to do everything we can to prevent them.” Cana raised her hand.
“Do I have to do this sober? Because I could really use a drink right now.”
“Depends. How well do you trust your own judgment and the accuracy of your magic when you are drunk? The last time Gildarts faced a dragon he lost more than just an arm and a leg.” She pointed at the board again. “There are four seperate dragon attacks on that timeline.”
“Fuck.” Alanza almost laughed. The word spoken softly from half a dozen people in tandem came out pretty loud.
“Erza could you cut these papers in half Without harming our table please?” Alanza intentionally looked away from Erza while she kept speaking. “Like I said. Big stuff. Also. Several of the wizards in this room and a few who aren’t are going to have to deal with some downright painful shit from the past. I’m going to give you some advice. Deal with it straight on. Trust your guildmates. We are a family and we will always take care of eachother. Speaking of which.” She leaned forward and smiled. “Hello, Lucy. I’m Alanza. It is very nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too.” She turned back to the timeline.
“We will start with the things that are sooner and work our way up the timeline. First of all. The Phantom War.” Erza handed the stack of halved papers back to her and she began puting names on them.
“Gajeel and Juvia were Phantom Lord wizards.” Levy's forehead was wrinkled in concern.
“Yes they were. We changed that. You, me, and Laxus. They are Fairy Tail now and it will stay that way. At least they will be once Gajeel and Ryos get here. Their joining us will severely cripple the master of Phantom Lord. However the war may still happen. Lucy. I’m afraid you are going to have to be the first of us to deal with shit.” Lucy paled. “The excuse Phantom Lord used to attack Fairy Tail was a job request. To return the kidnapped daughter of one Jude Heartfilia.” Lucy looked sick. Alanza handed several name papers to Mystogan. “Could you put those under Phantom War with lines connecting them to where it’s string touches the timeline?”
The whole team watched while the names were tacked up. Gajeel. Ryos. Juvia. Jude. Jose. Totomaru. Leo. Loke was the one Alanza was the most concerned about at the moment. The Phantom War had been a bonding moment between him and Lucy. She didn’t want to share Loke’s secret if she could help it, however he needed to bond with Lucy and she with him.
“We are slapping a Fairy Tail stamp on Gajeel and Ryos as soon as they get into town. Juvia is already taken care of. The mission Jude sent is only an excuse. Jose will doubtless find another even if Jude is dealt with. Juvia has told us that Totomaru is a decent sort of guy, so if we can tempt him away from Phantom Lord that would also be nice. As for Leo... I’m working on that, and could we also attach that one to Fantasia?” Honestly she had to talk to Loke before she actively did anything there. "Lucy. Would you like the chance to tell the group about Jude? Remember what I said earlier. We are a family, even if Laxus is an emotionally constipated asshole, and you aren't the only one who will have to deal with some rough stuff today.”
What qualified Alanza to guide these people through their past emotional trauma she wasn’t sure, but she was the only one who could do it. The Stupid Year was evidence enough of Makarov’s failing to deal with the mental and emotional state of his brats. Though she guessed that was an improvement over poor Laxus and whatever the hell he had been thinking when he raised Ivan. Lucy might be first, but Erza, Mystogan, Mira, and hopefully both Laxus and Cana had shit to face. And that was just today.