Loke arc

The Loke arc is the sixth story arc of Fairy Tail series.After the Guild War with Phantom Lord settles, life at the Fairy Tail Guild starts returning to normal. However, Loke suddenly begins to act strangely around his fellow guildmates (especially Lucy), who decides to investigate the matter. Lucy laments on having no money and being unable to afford her monthly rent again. Just as she starts losing hope due to her teammates' destructive natures, Mirajane provides her with a simple job to advertise a play in a nearby town; Lucy excitedly takes the job and sets out with her teammates. However, upon arriving at the site, they find out that the cast has run away and the play consequently cancelled. Erza instantly volunteers her team to replace the cast, thus giving them a new job. After a week of practice, the play opens with a revised cast: Erza playing the role of the prince, Lucy a princess, and Gray as the villain. Initially, Erza is excited at this theater opportunity, but she develops massive stage fright at the opening night.

However, she is able to overcome her stage fright for the battle scene with Gray as their respective roles. Later, Natsu arrives in a Dragon costume on the set whilst being carried by Happy, but Happy accidentally drops him and Natsu accidentally engulfs the stage and Lucy in flames. Still performing her role, Erza then slashes Lucy's costume and begins fighting both Natsu and Gray. The fight results in a destroyed theater but a surprisingly pleased audience. With the play as a major hit, the manager makes them perform multiple acts in a single day leaving everyone anxious to return home, except for Erza who is still enjoying the job. A few years before, Loke, then known as Leo, was one of Karen Lilica's Celestial Spirits. As a prominent Mage of Blue Pegasus, Karen was corrupted by her fame and became very conceited and arrogant, especially towards her Celestial Spirits whom she treated more like tools than living things. One day, while being followed by an entourage of lustful men, Karen summoned Aries to entertain them all in her place so that she would not have to deal with them herself; despite Aries' discomfort regarding the task, she was forced to complete it by Karen. The Guild Master, Bob, witnessed the event and warned Karen not to treat her Celestial Spirits so poorly otherwise she would suffer as well. Karen interpreted Bob's words as Aries telling her off to him. While in her home, she summoned Aries and sentenced her to staying in the human world for seven days as punishment, despite the fact that the act would likely kill her. Before Karen could do so, Leo suddenly changed places with Aries and gave Karen an ultimatum: sever her contract with him and Aries or lose her opportunities to work with other Celestial Spirits in the future. When Leo proved that he could not be sent back by his summoner, as he came of his own accord, thus preventing Karen from summoning others, he left to the nearby ruins and told Karen to come and find him once she met his demands. However, Karen stubbornly refused to give in. After thirty days, she pleaded with him to return to her, promising not to mistreat Aries anymore, though she is refused for Leo was able to see through her deceit. Angered, Karen attacked Leo and proclaimed that once he died, she would summon Aries and treat her ten times as worse before leaving him. After three months, Loke found that while his vitality was still draining he could live in the human world much more bearably. He decided to go forgive Karen, only to discover that she had gone on a mission and ended up being killed. Hearing this, Loke was overcome with guilt and subsequently blamed himself for her death. After finishing his story, Loke begins to fade away from existence from his over-extension in the human world, but Lucy refuses to let him die and tries to think of a way to open his gate.

Desperate, Lucy attempts to open Loke's gate forcefully and nearly merges with his life force, which would make her disappear as well. Loke pleads for her to stop, saying he doesn't need to be saved, but Lucy refuses and officially declares her wish to change the rules of the Celestial Spirit World for his sake. Suddenly, the Celestial Spirit King appears before them much to their shock. He reminds Lucy that despite Loke not breaking the rules directly, he still caused Karen's death and is not allowed to return to the Celestial Spirit World. Lucy stubbornly argues that Loke should be allowed to return for all of the suffering that he has endured; though the Celestial Spirit King agrees, he states that he cannot break the rules and therefore cannot save even his own friend. With her will and determination, Lucy summons all of her Zodiac Celestial Spirits and Plue to stand by her decision, an astonishing feat considering that most Celestial Spirit Mages can only summon one at a time; the feat proves to be too tiresome for Lucy already as she collapses from the life-threatening action while her Celestial Spirits disappear. Seeing her resolve, the Celestial Spirit King decides to make an exception and allows Loke to return to the Celestial Spirit World due to Lucy's resolve to save him. Loke initially refuses due to his sin against Karen but is told to live and fight for his allies as a means to atone for it. As his Gate then opens, he sheds his tears and thanks Lucy for her help and support. He expresses relief at being able to move on from the past and gives her his key, thus forming a contract with Lucy. The next day, Lucy summons Loke and lets him explain to the others about his past and reasons for leaving the Guild. After finishing his explanation, Loke provides Lucy and her friends tickets to a luxury resort which they gladly prepare to leave for.

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