When Zeref realizes that Natsu might be able to end to his existence, he finally reveals his relationship with Natsu and begins to recount his past, informing the Dragon Slayer about his resurrection as E.N.D. and his role in Igneel's plan to kill Acnologia. Refusing to believe that he is the Demon who is infamous as the Black Mage's most evil creation and that he would die with his creator, Natsu charges at the immortal man, but Happy pulls him back and forcefully takes him back to the Guild, refusing to allow Natsu to forfeit his life.
Natsu's battle against Zeref reaches its climax as the Dragon Slayer launches an incredibly powerful attack, visibly injuring his opponent. However, the intense fight is halted by the Dark Mage in order to reveal some extremely important information to the Fairy Tail Mage. He states that, for a long part of his existence, he had clung to the hope that Natsu might be able to finally allow him to rest, but that he has now given up on that hope and has decided to destroy humanity instead. But, believing that Natsu's final attack might fulfill his forsaken desire, Zeref finally reveals that he is Natsu's older brother to the latter's shock.
The immortal man proceeds to narrate the tale of his childhood. The destruction of his entire family at the hands of a Dragon, which led him to research a way to resurrect a human being, culminating in the creation of the Etherious and, eventually, allowed him to revive his brother in the form of Etherious Natsu Dragneel. Refusing to believe Zeref's statements, Natsu questions why Igneel couldn't kill him or why the members of Tartaros considered him to be their Guild Master, but Zeref merely answers that the Fire Dragon loved his ward too much to harm him and that Tartaros simply followed Mard Geer, who happened upon E.N.D.'s tome and used it to rally all of Zeref's Demons under him. To indubitably prove his claims, Zeref shows Natsu the Book of E.N.D., then shoots a small hole through it, sending a stabbing pain through the youth's chest.
Zeref continues with his tale, informing Natsu of Igneel's plan of having some Dragons take five orphans under their wing, teach them Dragon Slayer Magic, and then use the Dragon Soul Technique and the Eclipse Gate to travel into the future, Igneel obtaining Zeref's permission to take Natsu as his disciple. The objective of the plan was to take down Acnologia, an impossible task in the past due to the scant amount of Ethernano. In accordance with the project, a celestial spirit wizard named Anna opened a Gate to an era with an abundance of Ethernano, while another celestial spirit wizard Layla opened the Gate on the chosen date, July the 7th of the year X777, to allow the Dragon Slayers entry into her era.
However, Zeref regretfully states that his own disposition has changed over the past 400 years, a result of the many horrific and traumatic things he has experienced, and that he has lost his respect for the value of life. Furiously denying the truth, Natsu moves to end the battle. Making no attempt to defend himself, the Black Mage simply declares that his death would result in the destruction of all Demons from his Books, including Natsu. Natsu refuses to allow this fact to affect his resolve in taking down the enemy's emperor, causing the latter to shed tears of joy while simultaneously mentioning that this will be the last chance for him to die. However, the younger Dragneel's charge is arrested by none other than his partner, the Exceed refuses to let his best friend sacrifice himself. Natsu tries to reason with him, but Happy tearfully yells that he will not allow his best friend to die. This statement leaves Natsu speechless and Happy takes this opportunity to speedily head home. As he watches the two depart, Zeref bids his brother farewell and also asserts that the Dragon Slayer is no longer capable of killing him.
Characters in Order of Appearance
Battles & Events
Magic, Spells, and Abilities used
- Aera (翼 Ēra)
- Dragon Slayer Magic (滅竜魔法 Metsuryū Mahō)
- Fire Dragon Slayer Magic (炎の滅竜魔法 Honō no Metsuryū Mahō)
- Black Arts (黒魔法 Kuro Mahō)
- Fire Dragon King Mode (モード炎竜王 Mōdo Enryūō)
- Dragon Soul Technique (魂竜の術 Konryū no Jutsu)
- Hand-to-Hand Combat
- Eclipse Gate (エクリプス Ekuripusu)
|Avatar arc||Alvarez Empire arc||N/A|
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