They decided to return to the same cafe they'd eaten before for lunch, and Levy brought the book in with her. The waitress had to get them a bigger table to make room for all of the reference books that Levy spread out, leaving barely any room for them to eat.
Gajeel found that she wasn't one for conversation once she was in her little zone, and sighed deeply. He should have known this would happen, really. If her normal book-reading habits were anything to go by, he obviously should have expected it to be worse while she was working. Sometimes he had to physically block the page with his hand before she'd respond to a single word he said. After awhile, he simply gave up and went back to eating his meal.
Levy would muttered unintelligible things every once in awhile, scribbling something down or crossing a few lines out. From observation, he marveled at just how much back and forth there seemed to be in translation. He didn't have the patience to keep going back to fix the same thing over and over again. It looked mind-numbing.
Long after he'd finished his food, Gajeel resorted to simply sit and watch her pore over the book, taking occasional bites of her sandwich when she remembered it was there. Not once did her eyes stray from the leather book or her reference ones.
The bluenette looked completely in another world of her own, which brought a mischievous idea to the dragon slayer's mind. Grinning, he leaned forward, resting his head on his hand, an elbow propped on the table.
"Hey, shrimp. We should just head back to Magnolia right now and bring that book with us. What do you say?"
"Sounds great." She muttered, no indication in her eyes that she was aware of what he was saying to her. His grin widened. Good. She was oblivious.
"Gihee. You know, I've thought about dyeing my hair green. What are your thoughts?"
"Please don't." She replied, and he raised a brow. Hmm. It seemed she would still answer questions honestly, but didn't realize she was even doing so. Perfect.
"Do you like it when I call you shrimp?"
"What about shorty?"
Her pen never stopped writing across the page of her notes, circling and drawing connections to things he couldn't see. Though, he'd found his new favorite past time. Suddenly, he wasn't so bored.
A question came to mind that he'd always wondered about, and he cocked an eyebrow. "So, got your eyes set on anyone in particular?"
"Mhmm." That monotone in her voice never changed.
"Eh? Who is it then?" His curiosity got the better of him, and he crossed his arms with a smirk. For the first time since they'd sat down, she tensed, the pen in her hand ceasing movement. Eyes glued to the page, she said nothing, and Gajeel frowned, thinking that maybe he'd offended her or made her angry. "Oi, forget it, shorty. I wasn't serious. You don't have to-"
"Sólmáni…" She whispered, her grip on the pen tightening, turning her knuckles white. Utterly confused, he cocked his head.
Who the fuck is Sólmáni? He thought to himself, trying to recall such a name from those who were members of the guild. When that turned up empty, he thought about all of the people in Magnolia who's name he knew. Maybe it was one of those guys who worked at the book store?
"Is he in the guild? What's he look like?" He began to question, suddenly very angry that he didn't know who the hell she was talking about. And he didn't know why that made him so angry. And not knowing why he was angry just made him angrier. It wasn't like Levy was his or anything. Even if he wanted her to be.
"Gajeel." She said, her voice shaking a little. She still didn't look up from the book, but he continued on regardless. For some reason he couldn't get over this small revelation, no matter how much he tried to shake it.
"Don't tell me he's from Blue Pegasus or some shit like that, because there ain't no way-"
"Gajeel!" Levy cut him off, finally staring up at him with wide and frightened eyes. He stopped, caught off guard by her terrified expression, one brow raised in surprise. "Sòlmáni…it's the name in the book…"
As quickly as it originally flared up, his anger faded, leaving him slightly ashamed to have come off as being jealous in the first place.
"Oh…well, what does that mean?"
She suddenly closed the book and began gathering all of her reference books around her, pulling them to her chest. Gajeel frowned again, trying to get her to make sense. Something was wrong but she wouldn't say anything.
"Oi, Lev, talk to me. What's going on?"
She stood with all of her things, heading towards the door. Growling, he tossed some jewels onto the table to cover their meal, rushing after the bluenette pushing through the front door. Coming up beside her, he moved to stand in her way, stopping her frantic steps back towards the bookstore.
"What the fuck is going on?" He demanded, gripping her shoulders and refusing to let go until he got some answers. Levy gulped and glanced around, as if making sure no one could hear them. His curiosity and his doubts rose up. If Levy was worried about something, especially having to do with books, that gave him cause to hesitate just a little.
"This book…I know what it is…And it's not good at all." Scowling, Gajeel shook her gently. He was tired of this bullshit. Why couldn't she just tell him what he wanted to know?
"Spit it out, already. What is it?"
Her answer was barely over a whisper. "It's…it's the Codex of Death."
Before Levy agreed to explain any further, she demanded they go back to the hotel where they would be out of earshot of anybody in the vicinity. Begrudgingly, Gajeel agreed, if only to get more information out of the worried script mage walking in front of him.
Finally, they returned to their room and locked the door behind them, with Levy going over to the table to turn on the light.
"So what the hell is this Codex of Death?" He muttered, crossing his arms as he sat at the end of one of the beds. Levy sat herself in the chair, opening the cover of the book gently, with a newfound respect and fear.
"The Codex of Death is part of a set of books written over 500 years ago. No one knows who wrote them, but through studying another of the three, they were able to discern their true purpose."
She returned to the page she'd been working on at lunch, holding up the book to see the words better. "'By tongue of sun and moon, and blood of magic born, may Sòlmáni rise from death, bringing the second beginning to those worthy, presenting the gate to mortality's end upon those unclean.'" She recited, finally raising her eyes up to Gajeel. "When read alongside the other two books-the Codex of Life and the Scroll of Absolute God-the spell will resurrect the dark mage it described."
"How in the hell did that old guy get his hands on this?" He questioned, staring at the leather-bound Codex in her hands. This was some pretty serious stuff. And here he thought they'd translate some stupid cookbook or play. "And how do you know what it is?"
"I don't know where Mr. Russo got it, but I intend to find out." She shook her head then. "Remember back when Councilman Warrod asked me to organize the archives?"
Oh, he remembered. It was the time he hadn't seen her for a week, which hadn't been the most pleasant experience. He'd had to find other things to do besides teasing her relentlessly while she tried to work, Lily had rather unkindly told him to get his act together because he would no longer tolerate his apparently bitchy attitude.
"Yeah, sure." He replied, shrugging nonchalantly.
"While I was doing that, I found the Codex of Life in one of the restricted sections. I asked Councilman Warrod what it was, and he told me everything. They found it years ago, and have kept it behind closed doors so the three books would never again be reunited." She stared down at the cover again, a strange expression lighting her face. "We should send it to the Council. It'll be safer there."
"Well, what are we gonna tell that crazy gramps?" Gajeel asked, gesturing behind him vaguely. Then, after a moment, he grinned. "Gihee, maybe he'll just forget we ever existed and we can leave."
"No! That's stealing! I don't want my reputation as a translator to be ruined over that." She glared at him. How could he even suggest such a thing?
"Alright, alright…no need to shout, shrimp." He held his hands up defensively, warding off her anger and attempting to calm her down. She sighed, standing from her seat and stuffing the book into her bag, safely tucked beside her reference books.
"I'll figure out something to say to Mr. Russo. I can't exactly tell him what it is…but I'm sure he'll understand if I explain." She gave a small smile, straightening out her clothing and heading towards the door.
Gajeel followed after her, wondering just what they had gotten themselves into.
"Oho! Welcome, welcome!" The old man greeted, pausing in shelving some books to approach the two as they entered the cluttered shop. Levy clutched the leather book in her hands, staring down at the small man. "What can I do for the two of you?"
"Mr. Russo, I've got some news on the book you requested I translate."
"Hmm? I don't recall needing any of my books translated. Are you sure you've got the right place?" He tugged at his beard idly, cocking his head to the side.
Having been prepared for this scenario, she pulled out the poster for the job once more and tapped the front. "This one, sir. We came in a few days ago to pick it up." Then, she waggled the book in her hands, catching his attention. Clarity returned to his eyes, and he clapped his hands together.
"Ah, yes! I do seem to remember now, oho! But pardon me, what was your name again?"
"Levy." She sighed obviously, once again wishing that anyone else but him had requested this job. If Gajeel hadn't known how serious Levy was taking the situation, he would have laughed at her defeated posture.
She knew he didn't mean to be so frustrating, but really, he wasn't making this any easier on her part. Especially considering what she planned on saying next. "Sir, I believe this book…would be very bad to keep in your shop."
"Oh? And why is that?" He questioned, gazing up at her readily. His honest and kind eyes were making her hesitate. How could she straight up lie to this man's face? It didn't feel right, but the alternative was out o the question. Before she decided to back out of her original plan, Gajeel stepped forwards, interrupting.
"It's filled with curse magic." He explained confidently, remembering the lie Levy had been crafting on their way to the store. "You've noticed the signs, right?"
Mr. Russo scratched at his forehead, thoroughly confused but trusting the two Fairy Tail mages. At least, for the time being. They seemed like honest people. "Signs? Like what?"
Pushing through with her resolve, Levy jumped in the conversation once more. It was better this way, anyways. "Well, sir, it details that wherever this book resides, the interior will forever be cursed to be an unorganized mess! And look around!" She gestured to the towers of books and the toppled piles still laying on the floor from where Gajeel had knocked a few down.
Mr. Russo's eyes widened, seeming to take in the appearance of his store for the first time. "Oh, so it appears you are correct! Now that you mention it, the piles never used to be so high…or so plentiful…" He muttered, thinking over this new revelation.
Levy continued. "Also, the owner of the book shall become very forgetful, or lose their train of thought often. Have you experienced anything like that?" Gajeel had to suppress a grin as the older man frowned, rubbing at his chin thoughtfully.
"I don't believe so…but perhaps it's only a matter of time before such things begin to occur." Levy suppressed a smile. Looks like he'd forgotten about all the times he'd forgotten about things. He looked up to the two mages, a resolute light in his eyes. "Very well. If you believe that this book is more trouble than it is worth, please, take it with you."
"Don't worry, I'll make sure it doesn't find it's way into anyone else's hands." The bluenette promised with a smile, happy that her plan had worked. Gajeel smirked beside her, watching the two converse.
"I thank you for your hard work." Mr. Russo bowed, then turned and weaved his way to the counter with the register. It was difficult to follow his path with all of the towers of books surrounding him. "Allow me to fetch your reward."
"But I-" Levy started, jumping slightly when Gajeel's hand covered her mouth, preventing her from saying anything more. She looked up at him in confusion, the rest of her sentence muffled behind his palm.
"Leave it, shrimp." He commanded. She frowned, pushing away at his hand gently.
"I didn't finish the job though. And we're taking the book with us-"
In reply, Gajeel simply shrugged, waiting for the old man to come back. "All the job description said was to translate the book. You did, so the job's done. Nothing said he had to keep it."
She puffed out her cheeks, crossing her arms over her chest. Of course, he was correct, and there was no way she was going to allow the old man to keep the dangerous book anyways. Regardless… "It doesn't feel right." She muttered with a sigh. Gajeel couldn't help but grin, and he placed one hand on her head, ruffling her blue locks.
"Gihee, don't forget you have rent to pay. You can't afford to be turning away jewels."
His words were true, but it didn't mean she had to like it. Mr. Russo returned with a canvas sack and gave it to Gajeel. "Your payment." He said, smiling with pleasure. "I thank you both for your services, oho! Have a safe trip back to wherever you came from!" He thanked, forgetting what guild they belonged to.
Saying their goodbyes, Gajeel and Levy exited the store, and they headed towards the hotel. It was getting rather late and there wouldn't be any trains back to Magnolia at this time of night back in Rosalia anyways.
The dragon slayer tucked the jewels into his bag, knowing that the weight indicated Mr. Russo had paid them much more than the posted reward. No doubt, he'd forgotten how much he'd offered for it, and simply chose a random amount as payment. Of course, if he told Levy that, she'd insist they march straight back into the store and return some of it. So he kept quiet.
"I'll contact Warrod and let him know that we're sending him the book. Hopefully he can arrange to have it stored safely." Levy remarked, leading the way down the road.
"Councilman Warrod, I'm sorry if I've interrupted anything. I needed to speak with you immediately." Levy spoke, watching as the tree-like features of her previous employer came into view. He peered into his own lacrima on the other side, skewing his face a bit on her own screen.
"Levy? I didn't expect to hear from you. A very unpleasant surprise." The old man said with a deep frown. Levy gulped, eyes widening. The last thing she wanted to do was anger someone of great power such as Warrod. Gajeel simply raised a brow, having a feeling he knew what was coming next.
"O-oh…I see. I know it's been some time since we've been in the Council and all-" She started, but was interrupted by his rousing cackle.
"It was a joke, a joke! Of course it is great to hear from you again." He cried in delight, finding humor in her worried expression. Finally, she smiled gently. It seemed some things didn't change. Gajeel approached her from behind, in view of the lacrima. Warrod paused a moment, then laughed nervously. "A-ah, wonderful to see you again as well, Gajeel…"
"Gihee, how goes it, tree gramps?" He grinned, but Levy interrupted their conversation before it went any further.
"Sir, if you don't mind I'd like to get onto why I've contacted you." She reached beside her and held up the leather book so he could see. "I was called for a translation job here in Bosco, and what he had for me turned out to be this."
Warrod placed a pair of spectacles over his eyes, peering into the lacrima at the object in her hand. "Oh my…I'm afraid I have no idea what you are holding." He admitted, and she sighed.
"It's the Codex of Death, sir. The second of the three books."
Warrod's eyes widened, removing his spectacles and rubbing his face. "My my. What a magnificent find, Levy. It's a good thing you were the one to find it. Sólmáni is not a force we want to take chances with."
"Who is this Soulman guy, or whatever his name is, anyway?" Gajeel interrupted, feeling more than just a little left out of the discussion. Levy turned to him.
"Sólmáni. He's a dark mage from centuries ago. They say-"
"Now, hold on right there." Warrod stopped her, looking gravely serious. Gajeel almost missed his stupid jokes that no one understood, compared to this version of him. "I'm afraid I was not entirely truthful with you when you inquired about the Codex of Life during your time here."
"What?" Levy questioned, confused by this. Warrod looked slightly ashamed by his deception, but continued nonetheless.
"The Sólmáni to whom you refer was indeed a dark mage, but he was alive much earlier than a few centuries ago. More accurately, he was one of the first known users of magic."
"He's a mage of origin?" Levy asked in awe, her grip around the book tightening. Gajeel noticed this, but felt just as surprised as she.
"To be precise, he is the mage of origin. The very first. His magic is that of creation and destruction. The ability to give and take life as he sees fit. At least, that's what we can gather from what little evidence we have. Most scholars believe he was closely associated with The One Magic, or even born from it." Warrod nodded slowly. "Very few writings were ever found of that time, but the legends say he was the one who used The One Magic by his own will, supplying the world with magic by his gifts and blessings."
"Is there any truth in those stories?" Levy wondered, having never heard them before. It was difficult to grasp the concept of a single man being responsible for all the world's magic. "Did he create magic? Or give it to other people?"
"While there is no definitive proof of anything substantial, many believe the more simple explanation for this, which is that Sólmáni's descendants inherited their father's magic, and passed it down to their children, grandchildren, and so on." Warrod explained.
"What happened?" The Iron Dragon Slayer huffed, interested in the end of this guy's story. That was much more relevant to their situation now.
"Again, there is no hard evidence of this." Warrod pushed, not wanting any of what he was about to say to set in theoretical stone in their minds. "Legends describe that Sólmáni lived for centuries, watching the world slowly accept the magic he supposedly created. But, as having an abundance of power tends to do, he began to use his own gifts to benefit only himself.
"Sólmáni was a very proud man, and not one to be crossed. Still, there were some foolish enough to do it. He would strike down entire countries who did not swear fealty to him. His power grew, and he saw himself as God. There are theories that this prompted the creation of God Slayer Magic, as well, though there is no proof."
"A God, huh?" Gajeel said, cocking an eyebrow. "So, how'd he die?"
"They say that during Sólmáni's lifetime he crossed paths with Zeref, who struck him down with his own magic. Unfortunately, this caused his followers to make him a sort of martyr, worshipping and praising his existence. He was buried in an unknown location, the tomb sealed."
"So, no one knows where the tomb is?" Levy clarified, her eyes having gone wide from the terrifying description of such a being. Had she known about all of this the first time she'd inquired, she never would have taken a closer look at it again. He appeared thoughtful a moment, then shook his head.
"I'm afraid the location is actually very common knowledge." Levy's eyes widened, and she gripped the book tighter.
"R-really?" Her voice quivered in fear. Gajeel narrowed his gaze, crossing his arms defensively. Before they could say anything else though, Warrod burst into frivolous laughter, wiping a tear from his eye.
"A joke, my dear! It's a joke!"
Cheeks red with embarrassment of having been played, Levy sighed inaudibly. She'd forgotten how annoying the Councilman could be. "So no one knows?"
"That is correct. As his worshippers slowly died out, or converted to Zeref's cause, the location of the tomb was forgotten with time. After centuries of being lost, I'd imagine it is far beneath the earth at this point."
"Ah, that's a relief." Levy sighed, a small smile gracing her lips. The situation had seemed so dire, so imminent, but now she could let out her pent up breath. "So, we're in no real danger right now?"
"Heavens, Levy. Simply being in possession of that book is dangerous, but unless someone has found the tomb, there is no chance of Sólmáni being resurrected."
"Hang on a sec." Gajeel remarked, holding up his hands to pause the conversation. "So where'd the three books come from?"
Warrod shrugged from his place in the lacrima. "No one quite knows. The earliest mentions of the three texts are from around X240, and even then the descriptions are vague and answer no helpful questions."
"Great." Gajeel scoffed, crossing his arms in irritation. "So some worshipper of this guy probably wrote the damn things hoping his great and powerful God would return to him, yeah?"
"Your guess is a well founded one." Warrod admitted, closing his eyes. "Beyond speculation, there is no further information I could give you at this point. I'm afraid we are still in the dark about much of those books."
Levy spoke up again, still holding the book. "I'm going to send a messenger by guarded carriage with the book in the morning. I imagine it should arrive within a week."
Warrod nodded slowly, accepting her plan. "I will personally oversee that it is stored and protected properly upon it's arrival."
"Thank you, Councilman." Levy smiled, waving her goodbye. Warrod said his goodbyes and disappeared from the Lacrima, the faint glow returning to a flat, glassy surface once more.
"Well, that takes care of that." Gajeel sighed, walking over to the bed and flopping onto the comforter. Getting comfy, he placed his hands behind his head and closed his eyes, quite content to simply lay there after a long morning of training.
"You're just going to sleep after hearing all of that?" Levy asked incredulously, finding it difficult to even let go of the leather book in her hands. Honestly, she'd never understand how that man's mind worked. Protecting her from danger one moment, then teasing and annoying her the next. The raven-haired man cracked open an eye, grinning.
"You bet, shrimp. Why don't you join me?" He mockingly patted the space beside him, chuckling at the red color that swept her cheeks. She was so predictable sometimes.
"H-how could I rest when I should be arranging the transport? Stupid Gajeel." She muttered, turning and entering the bathroom.
"Gihee…" Gajeel laughed under his breath, amused by her reaction. There'd been a hint of sincerity in his offer, but honestly he knew she'd never accept. Eh, it was worth a shot anyways. Totally worth it after seeing her face flush like that.ns184.108.40.206da2