"How was your guys' first day here?" I wrapped my hands around the cup of fruit punch that Mirajane had given me and glanced down the long bar table at my friends, who were all seated on the tall stools beside me.
Dallas swallowed her gulp of lemonade and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "It was good," she said. "Great, really. Natsu and Wendy showed Paige and I around the guild hall, and we even got to start practicing our magic already! Here, look..." She trailed off as she lifted one hand so that we could all see. A small, yet brilliant, fire appeared on her palm, the flames twisting and writhing as if it were alive. "Pretty cool, huh?"
"It's not just pretty cool, it's awesome!" Katie laughed as Dallas effortlessly extinguished her little fire. She paused, then continued, "Do any of you know what kind of magic Gray uses?"
"Something called Static Ice-Make," Cassidy replied with a shrug. "No idea what it does, though." She leaned forward, using her fingers to tilt her straw at a certain angle so that she could reach the last drops of her drink.
"It's a form of Maker Magic," Alison piped up. She adjusted her glasses, blushing, before going on in a softer tone, "It allows the user to make objects, inanimate ones in Gray's case, out of ice."
"Mmm," Katie mumbled. "Hey, Paige, you've been pretty quiet this whole time. Something on your mind?"
Paige jerked her head up, as if startled, then relaxed and let out a faint sigh. "No, not really..." she murmured, "it's just that... I was wondering where we're supposed to live now... since we're apart of a guild."
We all fell silent as the weight of our situation slowly started to sink in. Without our parents to provide shelter and food for us, a very scanty amount of money to purchase it ourselves, and little to no prior magic experience to go on jobs, the path ahead seemed next to impossible. That is, until Mirajane butted in.
"Don't worry, girls!" she interrupted as she wiped the countertop with a cloth. "Most of Fairy Tail's female members actually reside in our own special dormitory, called Fairy Hills. If you'd like, I can take you all to visit it right now, and we can see if there are any rooms available."
I smiled, grateful for her kindness. "That'd be great, thank you so much." I rose from my seat and slid my cup across the table to Mirajane, who grabbed it and started rinsing it out in the sink behind her. As I moved, I noticed that there was a pile of dirty dishes half-hidden in the soap suds floating on the top of the water, and I immediately felt guilty. "Are you sure you're not too busy?"
"Don't worry about those old things. I'll have enough free time on my hands to wash twice that amount tomorrow anyway," Mirajane said in a gentle, reassuring way, drying her hands on a towel and coming out from behind the bar. "Are you girls ready to go?"
Taylor grinned. "Of course we are!"
* * *
About ten minutes later, we were there. My curious gaze wandered around, taking in everything, from the I-like shape of the entire building, to the smaller details like the dark red letters spelling FAIRY HILLS in a slight arc above the front door. To be honest, it wasn't nearly as spectacular as the guild hall, but it was still pretty impressive.
"We get to live here?" Dallas breathed out, staring around her in complete awe. "I knew it would be nice, but I never imagined something as big as this!" She shifted the straps of her backpack to a more comfortable position on her shoulders and leaned over to whisper something to Paige, who smiled and murmured something back.
Mirajane walked forward and pushed the front doors open, gesturing to us with her free hand. "Come on in, before it gets cold," she called out. I noticed that she was still smiling, and I silently wondered how she managed to be so happy and perky all the time. But I didn't question it as we all filed quietly inside.
The main room was nice and cozy, and was made even warmer when Mirajane let the door fall closed behind us, sealing out the cold night air. A table that looked vaguely like a reception desk stood by the far wall, and made everything feel like a sort of hotel, but there was no one behind it. Alison must've noticed me staring at it, because a second later, I heard her mumble, "Levy told me that we don't have to check in and out, but we should probably tell our mentors when and why we are leaving."
"This way." Mirajane was already walking down a nearby hallway that I hadn't noticed before. Five doors stood on either side, but I immediately presumed that they were occupied, since we didn't stop at any of them. We then continued to go up a short staircase to the second floor, where three young women stood in the corridor, talking to each other. One, who had long dark blue hair pulled into pigtails, was noticeably shorter than the rest, and had a small white cat standing at her side. The other two were roughly the same height, and I saw right away that one of them was Erza Scarlet, the scary lady we had met before. The last girl had wavy, medium-blue hair that fell to a point just slightly past her shoulders, and was wearing a long sleeve shirt with fluffy white cuffs. Judging from the battle that had gone down just a little while ago, I guessed that her name was Juvia Lockser, a water wizard.
"Hello!" Mirajane greeted them as we approached. "Do you happen to know if we have any vacant rooms for our new members to stay in?"
Erza cast a sideways glance at us, as if we weren't worth her full attention. "We do," she said slowly, "but I'm afraid that only two are available at the moment." She folded her arms across her chest and turned away, rather indifferently, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, Juvia was staring rather creepily at Katie, who was looking more and more uneasy by the moment. "You're Gray's new apprentice, aren't you?" she finally said after a moment. Actually, it was more like a hiss than anything.
"Er, uh, yes, I am," Katie stammered nervously. "...Why?"
Juvia took a threatening step closer, so that she loomed over Katie. "You better not try any funny business, you hear me? Because Gray darling is mine, and mine alone. If anyone tries to get in the way of our love, they will pay the consequences," she went on darkly. "Got it?"
"Y-Yes, m-ma'am," Katie stuttered, "y-you can have the p-pervert all t-to yourself, d-don't worry."
"Good." Juvia opened a door, which must lead to her room. She looked over her shoulder at Katie and added, "I'll be keeping my eye on you," before the lock clicked behind her.
"That was weird," I commented the moment she had gone. A thought suddenly struck me, and I looked around. "Hey, doesn't one of us have her as their mentor?"
Taylor, who had been relatively quiet the entire time, rubbed her head and sighed. "Please... don't remind me," she groaned. "She seems like she's pretty strong, but I don't want to have to deal with her nonsense just to learn a couple of watery spells."
Cassidy gave her a pat on the shoulder. "Hey, don't worry, we can be in this together, Tay," she pointed out mildly. "Don't forget, I'm probably going to die in the first week of training, with..." She lowered her voice a bit and jerked her thumb at Erza, "that monster."
Iris gave a small yawn. "It must be getting late," she commented, blinking tiredly. "We should probably just go with our hotel roommates and get some sleep. We're bound to have an..." She yawned again. "exciting day tomorrow," she finished sarcastically.
"You're right," Paige agreed. She wandered over to a door and knocked gently on it, then when there was no answer, she pushed it open. "Come on, guys!" She vanished inside, with Dallas, Iris, and Katie trailing wearily after her. I heard their voices talking quietly to each other for a moment before it became muffled by the closed door.
"Seems like you four have this one," Mirajane said, startling me. I'd almost forgotten that she was there. She walked forward and gestured us into the last room in the hallway, the farthest one from the stairs that we had come up. "Goodnight, girls. Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite."