Battle of Fairy Tail arc

The Battle of Fairy Tail arc is the eighth story arc of the Fairy Tail series. Fairy Tail is taking part in the annual Magnolia Harvest Festival, but Laxus and his personal body guards, the Thunder God Tribe, have other plans besides the festivities. The Battle of Fairy Tail, a battle between friends to determine the strongest, and the battle to prevent Laxus from taking over the guild begins. After their vacation, Team Natsu returns and finds that the guild has been completely rebuilt with a new design, including an open-air café, a souvenir shop, a pool, an amusement center, and everybody is now allowed to access the second floor. While the rest of the team is amazed with the new guild, Natsu frets, saying that the guild doesn't feel the same. The Guild Master Makarov then arrives and introduces the group to a new guild member, Juvia Lockser. The team warmly welcomes Juvia and thanks her for her help during their battle in the Tower of Heaven. Makarov is satisfied with the team's reaction and introduces another new member, Gajeel Redfox. The team are overwhelmed to see the face of their former enemy who destroyed the guild, but Makarov ignores this and tells them that he was only acting on Jose's orders as a loyal guild member. While Lucy sees Levy cowering at the sight of her former attacker, Natsu approaches Gajeel and begins to argue with him. Despite Gajeel's past actions, Makarov believes that he is not a bad guy but agrees with Erza that he should be monitored for the time being, to make sure he is not a spy. The lights are suddenly turned off and Mirajane begins to sing to her guild mates and all the guild members enjoy her beautiful song. However, Mirajane is interrupted when Gajeel accidentally steps on Natsu's foot, causing the two to fight and begin an all-out guild war, which is only stopped when Makarov, knowing that the reporter from the Sorcerer Magazine will be visiting the guild the day after, uses his Giant Magic to scare his "children". The next day, Lucy prepares herself accurately to be ready for the interview, and Gajeel is shown having tied up and gagged a scared Mirajane, staring at her with a menacing look. As promised, a reporter named Jason arrives to interview the guild members and Lucy tries her best to appeal to him. Seeing that Jason is interviewing all the other guild members and ignoring her, Lucy tries to get his attention by changing into a bunny girl costume, planning to dance on the stage. However, her plan is interrupted by Gajeel, who is revealed to have gotten rid of Mirajane because, wanting to be closer to his new guild mates, he wanted to sing a song of his own composition called "Best Friend". However, he sings so poorly that the members start throwing tomatoes at him. The events are recorded by an overjoyed Jason, whose article causes Fairy Tail's reputation to get even worse. A man with a long beard covered in a torn hooded cape is shown getting hold of one of the magazine's copies, and sheds tears while looking at Lucy's picture and pronouncing her name. Days after the article about Fairy Tail has been published, Laxus Dreyar, in another town, spots a group of men laughing at the article about Fairy Tail. After seeing Laxus, the group is intimidated and runs off. Laxus then sees Zatô, a member of the Dark Guild Naked Mummy.

 Zatô begins to belittle Laxus, who gets irritated and knocks him unconscious with one powerful attack. After defeating Zatô, Laxus expresses his anger and rage, blaming Makarov for Fairy Tail's bad reputation. Laxus and the rest of the Thunder God Tribe appear as well before the shocked eyes of the other guild members. Laxus states that they'll be playing a game to decide the strongest in Fairy Tail is, and that the petrified girls will be kept as hostages, to prevent their guildmates from breaking the rules of the game. Natsu, pumped and by no means shocked or afraid, seems to approve of the contest, gets ready for battle. Natsu, excited, charges towards Laxus, but is struck and knocked unconscious by Laxus' lighting in an instant. Evergreen goes on to explain that their fellow Fairy Tail Mages will have to find and defeat Laxus and the Thunder God Tribe in three hours, or the girls will meet their demise. The battlefield shall be the entire town of Magnolia. Having announced these things, the four opponents disappear, and their guildmates start leaving the place, rushing around to search for them in town. Makarov tries to leave as well, but finds that he is incapable of doing so, with the area having been previously surrounded by one of Freed's enchantments, preventing stone statues those older than 80 years from leaving the enchantment. Makarov is then forced to remain behind while his "children" search for the opponents. The Master asks Reedus Jonah, who remained behind since he was afraid of Laxus, to find Porlyusica in the East Forest, since she may have a cure to release the girls from petrification. In that very moment, Natsu wakes up, and, spurred by Makarov to go and defeat Laxus rushes towards the enchantment and finds it impossible for him to leave due to Freed's barrier, despite it blocking the exit only to those older than 80 years and to stone statues, with Natsu not belonging to either of the two categories. Meanwhile, the first battle between comrades takes place, with Alzack Connell being forced to fight and defeat Jet and Droy in order to escape one of Freed's barriers and keep searching for the opponents to save Bisca. Both Laxus and the ones stuck in the guild are informed of this, with Laxus rejoicing, and the others remaining shocked. Fights between comrades to escape Freed's enchantments rage on everywhere in town, with Makarov looking on as more than half of Fairy Tail is defeated by internal disputes, and Natsu trying to leave the barrier to join the fray, despite still considering Laxus a comrade and a member of their guild. Elsewhere, some guild members run across the Thunder God Tribe: Reedus, prevented from leaving the town by one of Freed's enchantments, gets to meet the leader of the Tribe himself and faces defeat at his hand while Gray is pitted against Bickslow. Shortly afterwards, Evergreen defeats Elfman, causing more shock to Makarov, Natsu and Happy. As Reedus is easily defeated by Freed, Laxus, through the use of a Thought Projection, appears before Makarov, Natsu and Happy. He expresses wonder at the fact that Natsu actually thinks he's bluffing about killing the prisoner girls, and says that, with both Natsu and Erza out of the way, none of the members can stand up to his Thunder God Tribe. The others object that there's still Gray, and state that Laxus shouldn't underestimate him. Gray is shown fighting Bickslow in a shop, with neither of them managing to gain the upper hand on the other. Having revealed that, through his Seith Magic Human Possession, he can freely change the "containers" for the souls he employs in battle, Bickslow runs away, forcing Gray to chase after him.

 Bickslow manages to draw Gray in an alleyway, where one of Freed's barriers is revealed, preventing those inside it from using their Magic. Gray, unable to use Ice-Make, suffers heavy damage from the blasts Bickslow's dolls fire to him from the outside, and, despite managing to land a punch on Bickslow, he's defeated, much to the dismay of Makarov, Natsu and Happy, and to the joy of Laxus. With Gajeel nowhere to be seen, Makarov surrenders to Laxus, asking him to stop the whole thing. Laxus, however, says that, in order to end the battle, Makarov has to resign his position of Guild Master in his favor, stating that he has just an hour and a half left to do so, before the petrified girls crumble to dust. Laxus states all Makarov has to do is to give the announce to the loudspeaker, and, when Natsu tries to attack his Thought Projection, it disappears. Makarov claims he wouldn't have problems giving up his title, but that Laxus isn't the one he can trust it to. Gajeel suddenly shows up and readies to go after Laxus, but, much to his and everyone's dismay, finds himself incapable of passing through Freed's barrier too. Elsewhere, Evergreen is shown having defeated a large amount of Fairy Tail members. Bickslow defeats Nab Lasaro and Laki Olietta, claiming that he doesn't have weaklings for comrades. Freed appears before an injured Alzack. The latter, angered, uses Guns Magic: Tornado Shot against Freed, but the opponent easily cuts through it with his sword, and then defeats him due to the conditions of one of his barriers, this being to deprive those who use Magic inside it of oxygen. With only Natsu and Gajeel left, but confined within the barrier, Natsu thinks they should depetrify Erza, believing he could do so with his fire, much to the others' alarm. He opens up a crack on Erza's petrified face, but the results are good, as the girl is then freed from her stone prison, with her punching Natsu for burning her. She was freed due to her magical eye having absorbed half of the offending Magic. This way, one more fighter for Fairy Tail joins the fray, rapidly followed by another: Mystogan who makes his appearance as well, readying to take part in the battle.

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