Tower of Heaven arc

The Tower of Heaven arc is the seventh story arc of Fairy Tail. As Team Natsu takes a vacation at the popular Akane Resort, Erza's dark past comes back to haunt her when a few of her old friends kidnap her and plan to make her a sacrifice needed to revive the most powerful Dark Mage in history; Zeref. Now, Team Natsu must find a way to rescue her and Erza must come to terms with fighting the man who was once one of her closest friends. After Loke gives Team Natsu tickets to Akane Resort, they head off for a vacation. Upon arrival, Natsu, Gray, Lucy, and Happy first decide to enjoy the beach. Elsewhere, Erza unwinds in her room and drifts off to sleep. She dreams of her childhood horrors at the Tower of Heaven where she worked as a slave to build the R-System. She hides in a corner and cries as Jellal Fernandes' voice whispers to her that freedom is just an illusion. Erza then wakes up and looks at herself in the mirror. She changes back into her Heart Kreuz Armor thinking it fits her personality better, before Lucy comes in the room and tells her to get dressed to go gamble at the casino downstairs, where the others are already present. Erza then requips into a rose patterned dress and heads out. At the casino, Natsu gets angry when he loses a roulette game. As Gray plays at slots, Juvia reveals herself and admits that she decided to tag along. Natsu starts complaining again, when suddenly, a block-headed man named Wally Buchanan appears and tells him how to enjoy himself in an adult place, to Natsu and Happy's surprise. Wally then points a gun to Natsu's head, while everyone in the casino starts running in horror. Meanwhile, Gray and Juvia discuss her leaving the Phantom Lord Guild and becoming an independent Mage, as well as her interest in joining the Fairy Tail Guild. Just then, another man named Simon appears in front of them, swatting Juvia aside and demanding to know where Erza is. At the same time, Erza is playing a card game, when suddenly one of Erza's childhood friends, Shô, comes in to rotate dealer positions, but instead spells out the words DEATH with his cards to Erza. Erza stares at Shô, shocked to see him. Shô remarks how its been a while since they last saw each other, but Erza is still surprised to see that Shô is safe. Meanwhile, Simon asks Gray about Erza's whereabouts a second time. Juvia suddenly appears ready to attack in her water form, intending to protect Gray and buy him some time to go find Erza. At that point, Simon gets told, through his headpiece, that Erza has been found, so he uses his Dark Moment Spell to blind Gray and Juvia and escape.

 While in the dark, Natsu gets shot in the mouth by Wally, and a bang is heard throughout the casino. When the light reappears Shô is gone but reappears behind Erza and shows her his Magic Card by displaying the trapped people inside his card deck by his Card Dimension Spell, remarking that he learned to use Magic too. At the same time another of Erza's past friends, Millianna, a cat like woman, meows and uses her Nekōsoku Tube to grab Lucy, despite Erza's protests about Lucy being a friend. Shô finds this remark insulting, saying that he thought they were friends too, until Erza betrayed them. Wally then reanimates himself to where Shô and Millianna are and tells Shô to calm down while also complimenting Erza's beauty.Simon also appears as Lucy falls to the ground with her hands and feet tied. Lucy asks Erza why they are all calling her sister, and she replies that they are old friends, which triggers Wally to point his gun at Lucy, much to Erza's shock. Wally reanimates his hand behind Erza and shoots her with a sleeping bullet instead. As Simon grabs Erza, Lucy struggles in her position to get Erza back, but Millianna remarks that she'll be "cat food" in a few minutes. Wally then remembers that he has a gift for Millianna and presents Happy to her, knowing her cat-loving nature. Shô then exclaims that Erza will be returning to the Tower Of Heaven, where Jellal is waiting for her arrival. After Erza and her former friends leave, Lucy tries to summon Cancer but fails to reach her keys, when she is suddenly poked by a knife belonging to someone inside of Shô's cards. He ends up cutting the ropes for her and the man is rewarded with a kiss. Once freed, Lucy runs over to Gray but when she touches him, his body breaks into pieces, freaking her out, until it turns out to be an ice clone. Juvia then gets up and lets Gray out of her water body, where she was hiding him, getting a freaked-out reaction from Lucy. Gray sheds his shirt and asks where Natsu is, but then Natsu's signature flame breath appears in the distance, before he starts yelling about how it was rude for someone to shoot inside his mouth. Natsu runs out of the casino, wanting revenge on Wally, with everyone else following, since Natsu has a keen sense of smell and can lead them to Erza. At the Tower Of Heaven, Jellal sits on his throne as Vidaldus Taka walks in, reporting that Erza was successfully captured. Jellal laughs to himself and tells Vidaldus why he didn't kill Erza, which was because Erza was going to be the sacrifice to the tower. On Shô's ship, Erza is tied to a pole, and while everyone else is asleep, Shô visits her. She demands to be released, but Shô refuses to oblige. She then struggles to get free but Shô tells her its futile because Millianna's ropes can seal Magic, but Erza corrects him saying she just wants to just equip her armor back so she can feel more secure. Shô tells her that she looks nice in what she has on, and then he hugs Erza, telling her he never wanted to do all this, but it is her fault for betraying Jellal. Erza then reminisces her old friends and her escaping, worried about getting captured and potentially tortured, and that Jellal was the one who gave them the courage to carry on. The Magic Council reacts to the news brought by Siegrain that the R-System still exists. They remember shutting down the R-System projects, but other members point out there was an 8th tower they must have missed and that now it is almost completed. Siegrain interrupts the conversation saying the name of the 8th tower is The Tower of Heaven, while the others tell him to shut up and organize an army to take it down. Michello feels they don't have enough information to do that, but they do know that a cult leader, Jellal, is in control of the tower. Gray, Juvia, Lucy and Natsu travel by canoe to the Tower of Heaven. Gray thinks they're lost and Natsu is sick from the transportation as usual, though they are all counting on his nose. Juvia expresses her surprise that Erza got defeated, which irritates Gray as he refuses to accept that she lost, until Lucy tells him to calm down since they don't know much about Erza. Soon, they see the tower ahead of them and continue sailing towards it. Inside the tower, as Erza arrives, she is thrown in a prison, which triggers her to remember her monstrous past; when the guards came asking who was the mastermind behind the plan to escape, Jellal courageously said that it was him but the guard decided that it was Erza.

Despite the fact that it was Shô who had the idea, Erza accepted the punishment trembling with fear, but also smiling, to assure the others that she was not afraid. Now in the same prison again after years, Shô tells her she will stay there until the "ceremony" starts the following day, in which she will be the sacrifice for "Paradise". Erza tells Shô not to use the R-System to resurrect the Dark Mage because of the consequences it will bring to the Magic World, but Shô is adamant, believing that Jellal will bring them to "Paradise" and that they will all rule together. Erza then brings Shô to his knees by kicking him in the face and requips into her Heart Kreuz Armor, determined to find and fight Jellal.Happy wakes up in Millianna's room surrounded by stuffed cats and cat pillows, and he starts looking for Natsu. Millianna asks Happy how he is, and he shocks her when he reveals his ability to talk. Simon then comes in to tell Milianna and Wally that Erza has escaped, much to Happy's surprise that she is somewhere close. Simon tells them she's probably going for Jellal and they all set out to find her.In the throne room of the tower, Vidaldus worries about the Magic Council's actions. At the Magic council, everyone is still arguing about what should be done, until Siegrain says the tower is way too dangerous to let it stand and recommends using Etherion. Almost everyone initially refuses, claiming the Etherion is their ultimate weapon and is even more powerful than the R-System, but Ultear Milkovich agrees to use it, so Siegrain begs for three more votes to let the chaotic weapon be used.Back at the tower, Erza continues fighting and looking for Jellal. On the outside, Natsu and the others think there are too many guards to just walk in so Juvia recomments they go through an underwater entrance she found. She produces water helmets to give the Mages oxygen while underwater, and after they go through and reach the ground, Lucy points out how useful the water helmets were, surprising Juvia, who admits to having made Lucy's tank smaller than the others so that she wouldn't last. Guards then spot the gang but they are easily defeated, and then a door leading to the inside of the tower opens for them. In the throne room, Vidaldus asks Jellal why he is letting enemies enter. Jellal just claims that everything is a game to him and that they just passed a level. At the Council, Siegrain is able to gain one more vote, which leaves him with two more votes needed. Once Natsu and the rest get in, Lucy changes into the clothes that Virgo gave her. More enemies start running towards the gang until Erza shows up and fights her way through them, asking about Jellal's whereabouts. Although surprised to see her friends at first, she then tells them to go back and that this is her problem to deal with, but Natsu refuses, as they have even abducted Happy. Erza decides to tell her friends everything she knows about the R-System, meanwhile reminiscing that when Jellal was captured, she and the other slaves decided to fight for their freedom starting a rebellion but by then, Jellal had completely changed.

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