Golden Snake

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In the dark maze of the large cave under the volcano of Volcano Mountain, Lucy, Natsu, and Happy walked in. Although the maze was scary, the one who remained careful and cautious was Lucy while the other two had been as reckless as they have been since the start.

An angry glint flashed in the blonde's eyes. Despite this mission to be a low class mission Natsu and Happy picked for, her it was still best to be careful. To Lucy, it was not to be lazily and recklessly done like this! Even though Natsu's strength was strong, she didn't look down on the volcano they were in.
"Luce, hurry up!" Natsu impatiently urged.

"Lushy's so slow!" Happy added with disappointment.

Lucy glared at them, "You guys ought to be careful! This is a cave under a volcano! Who knows what will happen?!"

However, despite Lucy's scolding, Natsu and Happy remained reckless as they lazily walked along the path leaving Lucy behind.

Lucy helplessly sighed. To be honest, she did underestimate the mission at first. It had a good reward and the mission was simply to investigate the paths to make a simple map. Naturally, this wouldn't have interested Lucy if the rewards did not include a strange celestial key with unknown abilities. Being Lucy, she got interested and wanted to obtain it to study it. What celestial mage wouldn't be tempted with having money and a celestial key as a reward just for making a simple map of the cave?

However, after seeing the volcano which the cave was nestled in, Lucy then realized why none dared go inside. Luckily, Natsu was the one who came with her. With him  she can rest easy, but somehow, as she went deeper while walking with a magic paper in hand to create a map, an uneasy feeling rose inside Lucy's chest.

The temperature rose steadily as they descended. Lucy started to sweat profusely. Her heart started to palpitate, and anxiety rose in her mind. She looked at her front and her body jerked up, the anxiety in her welled up that she almost collapsed.

Natsu and Happy had disappeared!

No, that was kind of wrong...

She completely lost them!

Lucy held the magic paper and studied the map again to retreat back to where she had been  but when she looked back, there was no paths! The surrounding completely changed!

Lucy gulped and licked her lips. This wasn't just a simple thing as being lost. There was dense magic seeping out of the caves. These weren't present before. Lucy became really nervous, but she came to a point where she needed to calm herself down to analyze her situation.

She reached out to touch her keys and took Virgo's key. As she waved it to summon  her, nothing happened. Lucy's throat became dry. She checked her body, and she was sure she still had magic in her. But as she tried to summon a spirit, there was nothing. Lucy looked around, and found some glowing rocks. It had some weird seals and as Lucy deduced, this strange rock was the one that nullifies magic.

She walked near it and took out her whip and hit it. It had some effect and later it broke, but the moment it broke, it produced a white smoke that covered the entire trap. Lucy closed her eyes and coughed a few times before steadily blinking to regain the muddle vision she had. When she came to, Natsu and Happy were where they had been before she was trapped.

"Oi, Luce hurry up, I'm getting hungry!" Natsu complained.

"Natshu, there are a lot of treats for you here. Why don't you drink the lava up?!" Happy exclaimed as he flew next to Natsu and sat on his shoulder.

Lucy blinked and eyed her surroundings again. It appeared to be the same place where she got 'lost'. After seconds of thinking Lucy became confused. It looked like everything that happened looked like an illusion. It happened a long moment ago, but it looked like it happened in an instant.

Staring at Natsu's back, Lucy sprang a bit to catch up before asking him, "Natsu, did you feel that something weird has happened a moment ago? Like, me suddenly disappearing?"

"Huh? You were just behind all along Luce." Natsu creased his brows in confusion, "Are you okay?"

"Lushy doesn't look okay, Natshu" Happy chime looking worriedly at Lucy's slightly pale face.

Lucy shook her head, "I'm perfectly fine. It's nothing..."
After investigating the cave and completed the map, Lucy and Natsu handed it to the city lord in the Volcano City, the nearest city near the volcano.

Lucy felt elated as she looked at the strange key handed to her. It was golden, but it wasn't like her zodiac keys. It felt slightly weaker, but as Lucy analyzed it further, she found out that it was actually sealed! And it's seal seemed really powerful; however, it wasn't out of Lucy's power. The seal was powerful, but it seemed like due to the years that it had been sealed, it became a lot weaker.

Lucy licked her lips, if the seal was once powerful, who knows how much powerful was sealed inside!

Lucy was sitting in the sand by the shore carefully studying the key, ignoring Natsu and Happy's bickering nearby. The beach they were at was owned by the city lord that issued to mission. Since they took the mission, they were given free lodging in the luxurious inn the Lord owned and they were also given freedom to play at beach. So coming here wasn't much a surprise.

Lucy stared intently at the key. The symbol it had had a faint similar body of a snake, but even though Lucy had a faint guess that it was a snake, she felt like it was something else.

Unable to suppress her curiosity, Lucy summoned Crux and asked a few questions.

"This...key is somewhat familiar. Wait a moment, Miss Lucy." After Crux analyzed the key, he returned it to Lucy and apologetically asked her to wait as he faded into the spirit world once more.

It took quite a while for Lucy to wait. While waiting, Lucy felt a slight sting in her skin. There was somewhat a powdery feeling, and it stung more than sunburns. Lucy bit her lips and pocketed the strange key. As she endured the sunburn like pain, she walked to the water. She didn't know why she had sunburns, but she thought that maybe dipping in the cool water in the beach would be able to make it better. The water in the beach was fresh water and as Lucy dipped on the blue translucent water, the pain subsided.

But the pain only subsided for only a few moment. The next moment, a burning pain came from the inside of Lucy's body. It was so painful and acute that Lucy couldn't even mutter a shout. The moment the pain came, it was like something banged Lucy's head that made her consciousness fade.

As Lucy fainted, Natsu and Happy, heard a sudden splash. They happily went over in an attempt to prank her, but when they sighted Lucy's pale complexion, Natsu panicked and picked her up to run. Happy followed along, not knowing that a golden key that had a snake-like symbol omitted a faint dull golden light and slowly coagulated into a small rope like light under the water on the sea bed.

"Miss Lucy, that key was...Miss Lucy?" Crux appeared above the water. When he saw nobody around, the spirit was confused. As he looked around, he found a golden light below the water nestled on the white sand. As the light dimmed, Crux' eyes widened. What formed from the dim golden light was a thin golden snake!

"M-Miss Lucy!" Crux shook. He dipped his hand as he quickly floated to a shaded area where he settled the golden snake on the damp sand. He summoned a paper and magically wrote something on paper. With all his might, he wrote until his spiritual power diminished. With a grave expression, he rolled the paper and slip it inside a bottle and marked it, 'Read me' in all caps and placed it in a nearby place where it can be seen, but fully ignored. Then after diminishing his magic, Crux stared at the golden snake gravely.

"...P-Please be safe, Miss Lucy"

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