Okay then continuing on from my Omnibus review we move on to this week's chapter.

Chapter 281: Malice is Concealed By the Curtain of Darkness

What Went On: Jellal talks with Erza about the oddity of the magical energy not being felt and the two decide to look into it further. As Erza walks home the cloaked Mermaid Heel member reveals herself to her, revealing its Millianna and the two catch up. At the Sabertooth base, the guild master, Gemma, is displeased about the days events. He makes Yukino strip for her failure before throwing her out while Sting is given another chance. As Rouge and he walk home with their exceed we get more insight into their characters. Natsu, Lucy, Happy and Charle are making their way to their lodge where they find Yukino awaiting them. Finally we go back to Erza and Milli who are talking about Kagura, however the conversation takes a dark turn when Milli reveals Kagura is after Jellal's life as is Milli for the Tower of Paradise events.

Cheers and Jeers: A nice exposition chapter that really raises the stakes on the games. I like that Erza's and Jellal's relationship is growing and that Jellal is finally starting to feel comfortable around Erza but of course something had to come along to threaten it. Indeed his backstory tying in with Kagura's certainly came out of nowhere but it does explain why she's so stotic half the time. I am curious as to how Jellal destroyed her hometown though, there was no mention that he had left the tower save for using the Siegrain hologram, another force perhaps?

Well we finally get why Sabertooth is so so douche-y, they got a cocky ass guildmaster whose only it for results. I heard a lot of complaints that having Yukino strip was more for blatant fanservice, I'll let it slide here because at least there was a reason for it. To show how much a jerk Gemma is, this indeed feels like something someone obsessed with winning would do. I just wonder how they're gonna pull this off in the anime ^^;;. The insight into Rouge and Sting's character was a nice touch, at least we know Rouge has some common sense and I like his comforting of Frosh too, so good on him. I guess Sting is just a full on jerk now, unless something affecting him (which I REALLY hope isn't the case). Because that speech he made in his introduction just makes no sense now if he's willing to abandon someone just cause they don't meet his standards. I really can't wait till he gets his butt kicked. But seeing as he hasn't revealed his true powers yet, that'll be awhile.

Sheesh how lucky can Lucy be, everyone just practically giving their keys away to her now. Okay I'm probably jumping the gun but what else reason is there for Yukino to be waiting for them? I doubt she'd wanna join the guild (good chance she'll go to Mermaid Heel due to the bet she made) and she doesn't have anywhere else to go. So yeah its a good chance Lucy gonna gain three more keys next chapter.

Lastly kudos on Mashima for the Milliana reveal, I gotta admit I wasn't really thinking about her and it never hit my mind that she was the cloaked member. But its nice to see her again though and I look forward to what she can do now. Of course her character doesn't seem to have changed much as once again she just following someone blindly rather then finding her own path. Heck in fact her motives are once again for revenge (only against Jellal this time). It justifed this time sure as Jellal did kill Simon but still de ja freaking vu. I do like that this does put some pressure on Erza for the coming events and looking forward to see how this pads out.

Overall good chapter, plenty to mull over and some intrigue for coming events. Day 3 here we come.

Grade: A

Its great to be back all, see you next week!

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