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Recap / Fairy Tail Alvarez Empire Arc
aka: Fairy Tail Albareth Empire Arc

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Chapters: 439-545, Episodes: N/A

Short Summary

The last Story Arc in the original series and the finale of the story's Myth Arc. With Fairy Tail as a guild revived, Erza is named the Seventh Master. However, the subject of Makarov's disappearance soon comes up, and Team Natsu finds out that Makarov has gone to the Alvarez Empire, an enormous military superpower made of more than seven hundred light and dark guilds, and who has more or less been in a cold war with Ishgar, the continent where Fairy Tail and their allies live, for the last decade. What's more, since Ishgar's defenses are now gone (the Etherion cannon and the Face bomb) the Alvarez Empire is poised to invade Ishgar, in an attempt to capture Lumen Histoire.

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Main Summary


The Alvarez Empire Arc provides examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: Fairy Tail ends with the main cast embarking on a new quest, the most difficult kind of one in existence. The last chapter leads into the Sequel Series following this.
  • Adult Fear: King Toma E. Fiore pleads with Irene to spare Hisui after watching her lay waste to Arcadios and the Royal Guard, as she approaches the two of them, sporting a Slasher Smile for the manga history books. She doesn't.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Gods of Ishgar are utterly curbstomped by God Serena, who shortly after that is taken down by Acnologia in just one hit. Even Zeref fully admits that he has no hope of defeating Acnologia without Fairy Heart.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Several members of the Spriggan 12 have these. The rest are just incredibly powerful with the same kinds of magic that the heroes use.
    • The strongest of the twelve, August, can copy any magic he's witnessed, amp it up to eleven and send it right back with devastating results.
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    • Jacob Lessio is a Stealth Expert who can completely conceal his presence along Villain Teleportation.
    • Brandish is a Space Master, with the ability to increase or decrease the size of pretty much anything she likes, including people, or parts of them if she so pleases.
    • Dimaria is a Time Master who can use Take Over magic to use the form and abilities of an actual god, in this case Chronos, the god of time.
  • Arc Words: "Why was his majesty's child not loved?" A question constantly asked by August, who is unable to comprehend the love between a parent and a child. Initially thought to be referring to Larcade, it turns out the "child" is August himself, and the answer being that "his majesty" never knew he had a child to begin with.
  • Babies Ever After: Implied in the end between Gajeel and Levy when the latter whispers something to him and Gajeel gives out a shocked expression. Lucy wasn't sure she heard Levy say something about "baby", but seeing Wendy, who has enhanced hearing and is blushing profusely, she figures that it's a safe assumption it's this trope.
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  • Back for the Finale: Many characters who hadn't appeared in a while contribute their energy to Fairy Sphere, including the demons of Galuna Island, the remaining members of the Element Four, and Wally and Sho.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • An interesting variant of this trope. Neinhart utilizes a magic that can look into his enemies' memories, providing him information about the past foes or loved ones, who he can then recreate with their original memories and personalities under his control. The people he "revived" are Azuma, Ezel, Hades, Ikaruga, Keyes, Kyoka, Simon, Ur and Zancrow.
    • Mavis finally gets out of the Fairy Heart Crystal in Chapter 489.
  • Badass Crew: The Spriggan Twelve that acts as Emperor Spriggan's bodyguards may be the most dangerous set of antagonists faced yet by Fairy Tail. Remember the Nine Demon Gates? They're child's play in comparison to these guys.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After being defeated by God Serena, Warrod begs someone, anyone, to stop him from attacking Fairy Tail. Cue Acnologia of all people showing up, striking God Serena down with a single blow, and declaring his intent to hunt down the remaining Dragon Slayers.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: For the first time in the series, Zeref and Acnologia are directly playing the role of antagonists, instead of being Greater Scope Villains. Zeref intends to capture Lumen Histoire from Fairy Tail in order to take down Acnologia. And naturally Fairy Tail is hostile to both, resulting in a Mêlée à Trois.
  • Big Bad Friend: Zeref is this to Mavis. Even if she has acknowledged that the man she loved has become a threat to humanity, the tears in her eyes as she says this makes it abundantly clear that she'd really prefer that he just come to his senses instead of having to fight him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Team B, including Laxus (and Ichiya), showed up to save Team Natsu from Ajeel and August of the Spriggan Twelve, ensuring their Tactical Withdrawal was a success.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Fiore is saved, Zeref breaks his over 400-year-old curse, Acnologia is dead, the Spriggan 12 is no more, the Alvarez Empire coexists peacefully with Ishgal, Hisui is made Queen of Fiore, and the Fairy Tail members are revered as heroes. However, the war brought much devastation in Fiore, Mavis perishes along with Zeref (or so it appears), the Aquarius key has disappeared.
  • Body Horror: Flashbacks with Irene show what it looks like when a human starts turning into a dragon, and it's not pretty. Her skin started falling off, revealing scales underneath.
  • Broken Bird: Irene. Let's just say that her backstory shows how sociopaths are created in stark, unforgiving detail.
  • Breast Expansion: Both played straight and subverted for a brief scene where Brandish uses her magic to shrink and then grow Lucy's breasts to mess with her before putting them back at their original size.
  • The Bus Came Back:
  • Call-Back:
    • When making their way though an island checkpoint, the group use the Cait Shelter symbol to move around so as not to draw suspicion on themselves (much to Wendy's chagrin when the guards dismiss it as a minor guild). Lucy even make sure to change it on her hand. Looks like someone learned from their mistake from the Everlue job.
    • Another callback to the Daybreak arc comes when Erza asks Natsu if he knows what infiltration means. Again his answer to this is to act like a ninja.
    • A cross-series callback to Rave Master occurs when Aquarius brings Lucy and Brandish to the realm of Star Memory. This was the place where Haru Glory was revived after his final battle with Lucia Raregroove and the Endless.
    • Chapter 490 is titled Fairy Tail Zero.
    • The final chapter pays nods to practically every major moment throughout the series from Lucy's perspective.
    • Another one from Tartaros: To kill or let live was Zeref's cryptic warning to Natsu regarding E.N.D. And now we see Precht contemplating the same regarding Mavis encased in Lumen Histoire back in his Guild Master years, when he senses life within her and realizes that she is with child.
    • At the very end, Arleos and Mio, Zeref and Mavis's Identical Strangers, meet in the middle of August, the same time their predecessors met and fell in love, and conceived a child which Zeref would go on to name August after that time of year.
    • Gildarts made a passing mention in his initial debut that some quests are ranked so difficult that mages have gone centuries without accomplishing them. The main group of Fairy Tail goes off to tackle one of these quests at the end.
    • It turns out fairies do exist after all in the world of Fairy Tail, as Zera has been reincarnated into one. She even tells us "See ya!" at the close of the story.
  • Card Game: Rejenca is a popular card game in Alvarez. The object of the game is to capture a card known as 'the Goddess' and to keep possession of her. Did we mention the Goddess depicted on the card looks suspiciously like an older Mavis?
  • Cast from Lifespan: Fairy Law is revealed to be a spell that drains a mage's life force in direct proportion to the intensity of the casting. Makarov's attempt to use it on the entire Alvarez Empire's forces silenced his life. However, Mavis and Zeref were able to use the last of their magic to revive him as they passed on to the next world. Unfortunately, Makarov still suffered heavy consequences for using Law, because he lost the mobility in his legs and his time as an active mage came to an end for a while, because he has to be pushed around in a wheelchair. After a year, he manages to regain his mobility, which is evident when he is up and about by 100 Years' Quest.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Manages to be even Darker and Edgier than the Tartaros arc, with members of Fairy Tail openly admitting to being terrified of what's coming with the imminent Alvarez invasion. It was so bad that Mavis decided that Fairy Tail had finally earned the right to learn the truth about Lumen Histoire, and her past with Zeref.
    • This arc also marks the first time since the Grand Magic Games arc following the Eclipse Incident that all of Fiore's united guilds faced a seemingly unstoppable force that has been routinely curb-stomping them at every turn. It's also quite possibly the first time in the series that the guilds have suffered casualties on this scale, with multiple Red Shirts shown being killed on-screen, to the point where Sabertooth, Lamia Scale, and Mermaid Heel have had to retreat.
    • This death card carries on to the main cast too: Carla takes a major mortal wound while fighting DiMara and is saved thanks to Ultear magic freezing time giving Wendy barely enough time to heal her. Gajeel is nearly swallowed up in a Taking You with Me attack from Bradman which, if not for Irene's unexpected intervention, certainly would've killed him. Juvia nearly commits a Heroic Sacrifice to save Gray but Wendy manages to reach her in time. And Marakov sacrifices himself to save the guild when they're nearly outnumbered by berserker enhanced fighters. This death...doesn't look to be averted...though later on it is. Then Ichiya and Anna sacrifice themselves to seal Acnologia. It didn't work and they came out alive as well.
  • Combined Energy Attack: More like a Combined Energy Defense, but Fairy Sphere makes a return, with every single surviving character who's even remotely on the side of good contributing energy to it.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: A particularly dark example. In Chapter 480, The Cavalry arrives at the northern front... only to find Blue Pegasus and Sabertooth were utterly curbstomped, and were being paraded around on crosses by the Alvarez army like giant war trophies.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The end of Chapter 469 shows that God Serena's former position as the Number One Wizard Saint was well earned. He single-handedly defeats the four strongest Wizard Saints left in Ishgar without any apparent injury off panel.
    • And in the next chapter God Serena finds himself on the other end of the stick after his immensely powerful Dragon Slayer magic is detected by Acnologia.
    • Arcadios and the Fiore Royal Guard never had a chance against Irene. The actual fight isn't shown, but given the sheer carnage left in its wake, it likely wasn't pretty.
  • Darkest Hour: Starting with Chapter 532: Acnologia is about to blast the Christina out of the sky, along with their last hope. Mavis' plan to stop Zeref fails spectacularly when she decides to try to talk Zeref down, which succeeds only in him admitting that the only regret he will have if his master plan succeeds is that they won't meet in the new timeline, right before he rips Fairy Heart out of her and rams his newly empowered hand through Natsu's sternum. Feeling as if he has nothing left to lose, Zeref leaves to begin preparing Neo-Eclipse.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Zeref is defeated by Natsu, who dies alongside his lover Mavis, and Acnologia disappears through the Time Lapse... only to shatter it open with a dragon fist and reveal that he devoured the Space between Time and is now more powerful than ever.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's implied that Zeref and Mavis had sex at one point, considering that they are both affected by Larcade's magic and have a son together. However, the flashback leads us to believe that Mavis died immediately after her first kiss with Zeref, confusing the matter greatly and resulting in this trope.
    • Chapter 532 leaves zero ambiguity that they did.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Makarov was genuinely surprised by how friendly Emperor Spriggan was, who had him treated as a guest of the Empire with a comfortable room, good food, and even card games, with the Emperor indicating that he was more than willing to negotiate with him when it comes to Lumen Histoire. Makarov even admitted he was expecting the Emperor to be more of an Evil Overlord. Then he finds out he's dealing with Zeref.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Averted. Actually, Fairy Tail was surprisingly understanding when Mavis revealed that she was Zeref's former lover, with Gajeel of all people telling her that she did nothing wrong, and that it's "not a sin to fall in love."
  • Died Happily Ever After: After centuries of suffering and heartbreak, Zeref finally gets his happy ending. Through The Power of Love, he and Mavis finally manage to break their curse, dying in each other's arms and Disappears into Light, allowed to spend an eternity together in the afterlife, with the final page of the chapter showing them holding hands, frolicking in a field of flowers.
  • The Dreaded: The Four Gods of Ishgar make their full debut as a group in Chapter 440. Seeing three of them in the same room is enough to freak out Levi and Jura, and both have an Oh, Crap! face on when they learn that God Serena, the strongest of all of them, has defected to Alvarez.
    • The Spriggan Twelve, as God Serena's membership implies that they are all as strong as him, the strongest legitimate Mage on the eastern continent, which Brandish U all but confirms a few chapters later. The Alvarez Empire as a whole is the paragon of the Magic Council's greatest fear — mages rising up and forcefully usurping the established government. The fact that Alvarez does not distinguish light from dark magic does not help at all. And the clincher? It's ruled by Zeref!
    • Emperor Spriggan, aka Zeref, is feared by Ishgar even though they know next to nothing about him, because he was able and ruthless enough to unite the western continent's 700+ light and dark guilds into a continent-wide superpower. If they knew his true identity, they'd be even more scared shitless of him.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In a rather adorable moment, Mavis's Identical Stranger Mio is revealed to have inherited her love for going barefoot, having completely spaced on the idea of wearing shoes to Lucy's award ceremony, and Zeref's doppelganger Arleos points it out. They go for a walk together in the sweltering heat of August, which Mio says is probably the reason why she forgot to wear shoes. Arleos likes the sound of taking off his own shoes in the summer heat and they presumably go on a barefoot walk together.
  • Driven to Suicide: How Irene is defeated. Even after everything Erza threw at her, she still had more fight left in her than Erza did. Instead seeing her daughter smile reminded her why she couldn't kill her daughter in the first place, and she kills herself so she won't harm her again in the future.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Gajeel, to Levy, as Gajeel vanishes behind a portal to the netherworld. Subverted in that he still survives.
  • The Empire: The Alvarez Empire, which has to access to the combined might of 730 guilds (both legitimate and dark).
  • The Emperor: Spriggan, aka Zeref, the current emperor of Alvarez, who is protected by twelve mages, a personal guard called the Spriggan Twelve, all of whom are in the same league as God Serena (who is one of their members).
  • Face–Heel Turn: God Serena, the strongest member of the Ten Wizard Saints and the Four Gods of Ishgar, left the Wizard Saints and joined the Alvarez Empire some time ago.
  • Fight Your Friend: Erza, Kagura and Jellal are intially faced off by Simon through Neinhart's Historia of Corpses, but he recalls this memory shortly after he's encountered by them. Later he uses the same spell on Gray and Lyon, and pits them against their mentor, Ur.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final battle between the Dragon Slayers and Acnologia takes place inside the Time Lapse.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: Alvarez has an entire armada of tricked-out Cool Airships. And they're not afraid to use them.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: All five natural dragon slayers are orphans from four hundred years ago who were adopted and trained by their respective dragons and sent to the future via the Eclipse Gate as part of a plan to defeat Acnologia, with the help of Zeref and Anna Heartfilia, a distant ancestor of Lucy's. July 7, X777, the day the dragons "disappeared" (or in the cases of Sting and Rogue, "died"), was actually day the children arrived to the present era after the gate was opened by Layla Heartfilia.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Back when Irene Belserion was still a non-villainous queen, she invented Dragon Slayer magic in hopes of ending the war between dragons and humans after conversing with Belserion. The tragedy would have ended there if it wasn't for what happened next: most of the dragons were wiped out, she was transformed into a dragon and cursed for 400 years, and Zeref gave her a new body at the cost of her sanity, providing the catalyst of what would lead her to join the Alvarez Empire.
    • If Grammi got the summons a week earlier, not only would Layla have to use her remaining life force to open Eclipse, but Zoldio wouldn't have killed Grammi, and Brandish's Roaring Rampage of Revenge would've never gone ahead.
  • Freudian Excuse: We finally see why Zeref turned out the way he did.
  • Fridge Horror: In-Universe. Warren detects a massive invasion force approaching from the east. Thing is, that's where the border between Fiore and Bosco is. If there's an army coming from Bosco, that can only mean one of two things, and neither of them are good; and Fairy Tail knows it.
  • From Bad to Worse: Alvarez's siege of Magnolia started with a surprise attack from fifty airships. It's quickly revealed to be a feint designed to make Mavis tip her hand early; three hundred more ships are soon detected, Wall Eehto poked a hole in Freed's barrier, Brandish has already bypassed it (likely with Marin's help,) and there's an incoming Million Mook March from the east, from across Bosco's border, which could mean that Bosco has already fallen or has otherwise sided with Alvarez meaning Fairy Tail is trapped on all sides and this was just the opening of the invasion with FT already on the ropes. Cue a Mass "Oh, Crap!".
    • In chapter 469, it got worse again. After DiMaria utterly humiliated Kagura and Bradman decimated Sabertooth, both sides had to retreat, lamenting their massive amounts of casualties. And as if that weren't bad enough, God Serena trashed the other Four Gods plus Jura, and even seemed poised to deliver the killing blow to Warrod. And this after Natsu failed to kill Zeref, who has all but indicated that, with his hope of dying now seemingly beyond his grasp, he's taking the gloves off.
    • In chapter 470, things somehow get even worse. Acnologia has entered the fray and is on the hunt for Dragon Slayers.
    • Chapter 488: Acnologia finally makes his appearance on the battlefield, engaging Irene Belserion. Gajeel is quite possibly Killed Off for Real (or worse), complete with a Really Dead Montage as his body disperses into magic barrier particles and disappear into a portal to the underworld. And the clincher? Brandish, who was in the process of a Heel Realization and was trying to talk August down from attacking Fairy Tail, is given fake memories by Mest that convinces her to stab August, whom she saw as a grandfather figure. As she watches in horror as she realizes what she's done, Mest gives a Slasher Smile, showing just how much he's lost it, and all but guarantees that neither Brandish nor August will be willing to listen anymore. The worst part is that Mest's stunt doesn't even work; August survives, and he's pissed.
    • And then we have Chapter 489. August delivers on his rage, using a spell so massive that it could be seen hundreds of miles away in Magnolia, without even revealing the fate of Natsu, Lucy, and Mest. There's a brief Hope Spot with Mavis finally getting out of the Fairy Heart crystal, before revealing she is NO condition whatsoever to fight due to muscle atrophy after being there for over a century. And then, enter Irene, who chastises Zeref for not taking the war seriously and more like a game, and says she's going to end it herself. She is then revealed to be a Reality Warper that makes Rusty Rose look like a cheap cabaret magician: She casts a spell called Universe One that targets the entire country of Fiore with a blinding Pillar of Light that even catches Acnologia off-guard, who can only mutter the words "Who Are You?" Even Zeref has an Oh, Crap! moment, realizing what Irene just cast: A Reality Warping spell that will rewrite the entire fabric of reality in Fiore.
    • Chapter 532. Zeref obtains Fairy Heart. That is all.
    • Chapter 539. Acnologia eats the Space between Time.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Brandish's mere appearance causes Natsu and Gray to have an Oh, Crap! reaction, and the latter notes that her power level he senses from her is off the scale.
    • Again when DiMaria shows up. As soon as she pulls out her sword, both Lamia Scale and Mermaid Heel have a Mass "Oh, Crap!" reaction, with Kagura of all people being visibly intimidated. Keep in mind, Kagura is one of the few characters in the series shown to have the potential to beat Erza.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Quite literally, once the invasion begins and Brandish appears in Lucy's bathtub. She orders Lucy to climb into the bathtub with her or else she'll use her powers on the whole town. Lucy complies, deciding to battle her in the..bathtub.
  • Game Changer: Irene's use of Universe One is this in spades. For context, she believed Zeref wasn't taking the war seriously, and that it's time for the glove to come off. The spell she casts shrinks Fiore's landmass to one twentieth its size, randomly teleports everyone in the country to the four winds, teleport Zeref literally right of Mavis, and warps Fiore's city and landmarks all over the place. The purpose of this was to deny Fiore the homefield advantage, leave them with no real way to put any distance between themselves and Alvarez' Million Mook March, create mass chaos and panic to demoralize Fiore, help Zeref achieve his goal of acquiring Fairy Heart virtually unchallenged, and send Acnologia somewhere out in the middle of the ocean to buy time.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Max does this to Warren via Groin Attack after he freaks out at all the Ishgar forces closing in on them, stating that he's scared too but they need to stat focused if an opportunity arises that could tip the battle back in their favor.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The last we see of Gajeel is a tearful smile, as magic barrier particles close around him in a portal to the underworld.
  • Godzilla Threshold: It turns out the Etherion and Face cannons were meant as this to defend Ishgar from the Alvarez Empire, but thanks to the antagonists of previous arcs activating them early, the country is now completely defenseless and a possible invasion looms on the horizon.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Once the war becomes a Mêlée à Trois, Ishgar's forces (Fairy Tail in particular) take the role of the good, Alvarez of the bad, and Acnologia of the Evil.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • After performing a Heroic Sacrifice with the Christina to protect the Fairy Tail HQ from a long-range nuke blast, Ichiya immediately airs a nation-wide broadcast calling all Fioran guilds to take up arms to defend their home.
    • In the final battle against Acnologia, Meredy links everyone on the continent to Lucy to offer their magic so she can strengthen Fairy Sphere and keep him from escaping.
  • Grand Finale: Word of God has confirmed that this is indeed the final arc of the series. A countdown begins with the last ten chapters of the arc, which reminisce on past arcs on the cover pages, and the final two chapters are extended length. However, this is not the complete end of Fairy Tail altogether, just the last installment of the first title.
  • Grand Theft Me: Irene initially wanted to do this to Erza, to reclaim her own humanity. She claims that it didn't work because, magically, the two aren't compatible due to having both completely different magic, as well as different biology (later, it's revealed she simply couldn't bring herself to try). It later works with Wendy, who both uses enchantment magic and is a Dragon Slayer.
  • Gut Punch: Gajeel's apparent death. In spades. Complete with a Really Dead Montage. Subverted, because Gajeel survives the ordeal, although it's not exactly quite clear why, possibly thanks to Irene's world reconstruction magic Gajeel lampshades the fact he should be pretty much dead at this point and is completely baffled about how the hell it's possible that he's not.
    • Zeref's defeat of Mavis and Natsu. He apologizes to Mavis with tears in his eyes about everything he's done, and says that his sole regret about resetting the world will be that they won't know each other in the new timeline, all while Mavis begs him not to do it, because "this was the world where we met." He then finishes draining Fairy Heart from her, giving him a new, angelic appearance. Natsu tries to attack the newly empowered, demigod-like being, and it quickly becomes clear that he stands no chance: Zeref casually rewinds time around them, undoing any damage Natsu did, and then rams his fist through Natsu's chest, leaving him for dead after delivering a brutal Kick the Dog Bond One-Liner.
    Zeref: "You don't need to apologize to Makarov. He's already dead. I hope you two meet in heaven. Goodbye, Natsu."
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Just as Brandish, who was undergoing her own Heel Realization at the time, was getting through to August and convincing him not to attack Fairy Tail, Mest implants her with fake memories and convinces her to stab August in the chest, all but guaranteeing that neither Brandish nor August will be performing a Heel–Face Turn any time soon. Natsu reacts as could be predicted.
  • Heroic BSoD: Gray falls into a brief one when Juvia is forced to commit suicide to break free from Invel's control.
  • Heroic RRoD: When Layla opens Eclipse, it takes everything she has to compensate for the 12 Keys of the Zodiac. Once the Dragon Slayers arrive in the present, she promptly falls ill and eventually dies.
  • Hopeless War: Ishgar's Magic Council knows all too well that a war with the Alvarez Empire in their current state would be unwinnable. Ishgar is outnumbered (500 separate guilds vs. an empire formed from 730 guilds), it no longer has the superweapons that halted Alvarez's previous invasion attempt, and the strongest mage on the continent God Serena who was their best line of defense recently defected to the Empire and joined their Emperor's Praetorian Guard.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After a year of being treated hospitably as a guest and hearing that Emperor Spriggan is willing to negotiate, Makarov lets himself believe that war can be avoided. Then he sees Emperor Spriggan in person for the first time and discovers that Spriggan is Zeref.
    • In the backstory, Zeref and Mavis had hope that they could find a way to beat their curse together and fell in love. In a cruel twist on The Power of Love, their shared love of life made Zeref's curse powerful enough to kill Mavis, leaving him alone again and sparking his Start of Darkness.
    • When Natsu attacks Zeref head on, it's shown his new power can indeed harm Zeref. For a moment it looks like he won...but Zeref comes out of his attack just slightly wounded. Just as Natsu's all set to finish him off, it's only then does Zeref reveal that the two are brothers and that Natsu will die if Zeref is killed as he's the only one who can keep him in existence via the Book of E.N.D. Happy is forced to pull Natsu away after hearing this, not wanting to see his friend die. Zeref then continues his invasion in earnest, believing that no one can stop him now.
    • The Four Gods of Ishgar are seeingly beaten and God Serena is posed to finish them off. Warrod manages to revive and catch Serana off guard allowing the other members to counterattack. Seems like they've gotten their Heroic Second Wind....and then God Serena quickly demonstrates his Hybrid Theory power and that he's a dragon slayer himself, taking out all of them again in the span of minutes.
    • Gajeel manages to attain Dragon Force and defeat Bradman, an Etherious capable of using the curses of the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros. However, Bradman doesn't intend to go out alone and ensnares Gajeel, trying to take him to the underworld with himself. Going by the events of Chapter 488, this seems to have succeeded as Acnologia states there's only 6 Dragon Slayers left.
      • Played even further for Levy, who desperately tries to save him... only to be held back by Panterlily as Gajeel admits his feelings for her.
  • If We Get Through This...: Gray promises Juvia that after the war with Alvarez, he'll finally give her 'an answer.' Lampshaded when Lucy tells Natsu to shut up once he starts talking about what he wants to do after the war, saying he's "Raising a Death Flag." And guess what happens to Juvia later.
    • Played especially - and tragically - straight in the Death Flag sense with Gajeel, who shared a brief moment with Levy in which he said he was going to arrest her once the war was over. Gajeel seemingly dies while fighting Bradman.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Zeref does this to Natsu in full visceral, Gory Discretion Shot-free detail once he's empowered by Fairy Heart.
  • It's All My Fault: Although she failed to return Aquarius's key in time for Layla to open Eclipse, Grammi crossed the Despair Event Horizon over her part in Layla's death, since the latter otherwise wouldn't have used her own life force to compensate. She also accepts her own death for this reason.
  • It's Personal: Brandish deeply resents Layla Heartfilia, and after finding out about Lucy's relation to her, she decides to kill her. It's because Brandish mistakenly believes that Layla killed Brandish's mother Grammy - the third of Layla's servants after Zoldeo and Spetta - to get Aquarius' key back. As it turns out, it was actually Grammi who caused Layla's death.
  • Jerkass God: Ankhseram. In spades. He's a little too curse-happy, and Zeref turning out the way he did is entirely Ankhseram's fault.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Mest in Chapter 488. Out of panic, or perhaps staring into the abyss, he messes with Brandish's memories and causes her to stab August, someone whom she saw as a grandfather figure, and someone who was willing to at least hear Fairy Tail out during negotiations. Once Brandish realizes what's happened, she can only shake in horror with tears streaming down her face, Natsu is not amused, and August... well... you can guess.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Brandish shows she's not a nice lady when she casually shrinks her own subordinate to make things "even" with Fairy Tail and shrinks an entire inhabited island (leaving a lot of innocent civilians stranded in the ocean, some of whom can't swim) just to demonstrate her power to Fairy Tail.
    • DiMaria may justify her attempted execution of Brandish because her numerous Pet the Dog moments towards Fairy Tail throughout the war made her a traitor to Alvarez, but that doesn't change that Brandish is undoubtedly a Token Good Teammate.
    • Irene Belserion, the aptly-named Scarlet Despair, tops this when she utterly demolishes King Toma E. Fiore's guards, including Arcadios, and then turns Hisui into a mouse right in front of her father after he begged Irene to spare her, all the while grinning maniacally while demanding to know if he 'still loves her in that pathetic form.' He reacts as can be predicted.
    • Zeref to Larcade. Zeref blasts a hole through his chest when he interrupts his fight with Natsu, tells him "I Have No Son!", and then kills him while Larcade is crying and begging to be spared. Natsu reacts with disgust.
  • Kirk Summation: Natsu does this to Zeref during their second fight, complete with an Armor-Piercing Question. It noticeably makes Zeref hesitate.
    Natsu: "That's not what family is! It's not about being allowed or not allowed! You create happiness! That's what family is! If you're going to claim you have no family, then any last sliver of a bond we have is gone right now! Alright, Big Bro?!"
  • Lack of Empathy: The reason Zeref's curse doesn't trigger in Alvarez is because he treated the whole "creating a continental superpower" thing like a live action version of Civilization or Risk, with the people of the continent as his game pieces. He apparently took good enough care of his pawns, much like a good Fire Emblem player, that they adore him anyway.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Natsu pulls this off again in this arc, heading straight for Zeref's flagship, where he and Invel are, shortly after the initial attack on Magnolia has been thwarted, with the original plan being to take it down once all other fronts were mopped up from Alvarez invaders.
  • Living Battery: Precht's fruitless attempts to revive Mavis had the side effect of transforming her into a limitless source of magical power, Fairy Heart. Its existence is Fairy Tail's most closely guarded secret since letting anyone get their hands on power like that is a bad idea.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: So far, Jenny, Yukino, and Kagura have ended up with their footwear lost in battle and are stuck in bare feet. Wendy also lost hers at one point but was afforded a moment to change clothes, allowing her to replace them.
  • The Lost Lenore: Mavis is this to Zeref.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Mavis' 'death' at Zeref's hands after their declaration of love and a Kiss of Death led to his true Start of Darkness.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: In chapter 470, God Serena's onslaught of Dragon Slayer magic is what tips Acnologia off to his location.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In chapter 453, after Warren discovers that Alvarez airships that headed towards Magnolia were cloaked, preventing his radar to detect them before they actually showed up above the guild hall and pretty much anyone was caught with surprise, with Macao and Wakaba both throwing shocked remarks that one of the airships could easily destroy the guild hall.
    • That's nothing compared to their reaction when they realize that was just a feint. The real army is coming... and it's huge.
    • In chapter 470, once Acnologia steps into the battlefield, he immediately kills God Serena, prompting this reaction from both the defeated Gods of Ishgar and Spriggan 12 members present.
    • In chapter 480, Gajeel's team reaches the north and sees Alvarez' army marching. Right when they started to wonder where Sabertooth and Blue Pegasus were, their question was answered when they saw them, or whatever remains of them, crucified. The war has only been two days long and two of the strongest guilds had alreaby been defeated and the northern front is now open. Now Fairy Tail is defenseless on three fronts!
  • Meaningful Name: A Spriggan is an ugly mythological creature that protects treasures and acts as a bodyguard for fairies. They also have a propensity for stealing said treasures. Considering the Empire is after Lumen Histoire, The Reveal about Spriggan's true identity may suggest he's after it for a completely different reason Makarov initially thinks (using it as a weapon).
  • Mêlée à Trois: The war between Alvarez and Ishgar become this once Acnologia joins the fray.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Red Shirts-a-plenty die in this arc, some in quite graphic ways.
  • Mind Rape: Zeref's curse causes this. Him having to constantly think in contradictory terms of life having value or not has had a side-effect of him not being able to think in a linear way, resulting in his thoughts contradicting his own actions, or him contradicting himself from one sentence to the next. It's why he seems to be such a Mood-Swinger at times, why he was alternating between Friendly Enemy to Natsu and intentionally trying to piss him off, and even struggling with his own feelings for Mavis after confessing his love for her (which was clearly genuine).
  • Mood Whiplash: Zeref and Mavis have The Big Damn Kiss in Chapter 450. And then she dies... sort of.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Lucy and Cana save Brandish's life from Marin. Brandish thanks them by tricking Lucy into releasing her from the magic-sealing handcuff and trying to strangle her the same way Marin tried to strangle Brandish.
    • Again when Jacob realizes that Brandsh and Marin got caught in his attack that sent everyone to another dimension, and does the honorable thing of releasing them. Lucy takes advantage of this to use Gemini to copy Marin, No-Sell Jacob's Space Master powers, and immediately turn the tide against him.
    • And again, in perhaps the biggest example in the entire series thus far, Brandish, while undergoing a Heel Realization, decides to try Talking the Monster to Death with August, stating that Fairy Tail has absolutely no hope of defeating him. The two of them go way back, with Brandish even seeing him as a grandfather-like figure. Right when it looks like it might actually be working, Mest gives Brandish fake memories that makes her stab August in the chest, completely blowing up the negotiations and alienating someone who was just starting to look like he might be performing a Heel–Face Turn. The Slasher Smile on Mest's face as he does it speaks volumes.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Empire is good at causing these:
    • Jura and Levi freak out (Levi even starts crying Tears of Fear) when they are told that God Serena, the strongest Wizard Saint, has defected to the Empire and joined the Spriggan Twelve.
    • Team Natsu freaks out when they meet Brandish of the Spriggan Twelve and sense her incredible magical power, and that's before she casually makes the entire island rise and shrink. Lucy is horrified when Brandish then warns them that the rest of the Spriggan Twelve are just as powerful.
    • In chapter 444, Makarov's relatively hospitable stay and hearing of Emperor Spriggan's Reasonable Authority Figure traits convinces him that maybe he can prevent war from erupting between Ishgar and Alvarez over Lumen Histoire. Then he gets a look at the Emperor when he returns from a year-long absence and realizes 'Emperor Spriggan' is Zeref. Makarov's expression of calm and hope is immediately replaced by one of shock and dread.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Typical of the series, Zeref just sits back unless somebody challenges him directly.
  • Out-Gambitted: Let's just say Mavis' plan to stop Zeref in the war's climax failed miserably.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: After Natsu is killed by Zeref, Lucy decides to fix letters of the book of E.N.D., Natsu's life source. He does come back to life, but in doing so, an unknown power from the book begins to take over Lucy...
  • Power Gives You Wings: Zeref gains both spectral wings and white hair while empowered by Fairy Heart.
  • Power Nullifier: Marin Hollow's Law of Space to any magic that requires to draw power from other dimensions or teleportation.
  • The Power of Love:
    • Shown in the cruelest way possible. The mutual love between Zeref and Mavis strengthened Zeref's curse (whose strength is proportionate to the love one feels for others) to the point that it was able to kill Mavis despite her own curse.
    • Eventually, it's revealed that the only reason why it didn't take Zeref's life as well is because Mavis forced herself not to believe she loved him in order to spare his life. When she finally does, the curse finally kills them both.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Spriggan Twelve are the strongest wizards in the Empire, hand-picked by Emperor Spriggan to be his personal bodyguards and enforcers. They are all implied to be on par with, if not stronger than the Ten Wizard Saints, and the mere presence of one caused both Natsu and Gray to have an Oh, Crap! reaction once they sensed her level of power.
    • The true identity of the Emperor really brings into question how much he needs the protection. Turns out he doesn't really, they just follow him due to his influence and power. In fact as he reveals to Marakov he was the one reigning in the rest of the guards to keep from attacking Ishgar.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Aquarius's story of what happened between Grammi and Layla differs a bit from the time Brandish tells Lucy about what happened. First, Brandish implies to Lucy that Layla betrayed her and killed her for possession of Aquarius's key. Then, when Aquarius rescues Lucy from certain death, the former shows the wizards the true story: Grammi received the summons just as Layla was about to open the Eclipse using her remaining life force. She regretted it, but it was too late — Layla's death caused Zoldio to actually kill Grammi.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Brandish is an emotionally-scarred young woman who lost her mother Grammi to an apparent murder at Layla's hands. Naturally, when she realizes that Lucy is Layla's daughter, she decides to simply kill her.
    • Even after Erza realizes that Irene loved her so much, there's just too much hurt in their relationship for the latter to reconcile with her.
  • Really Dead Montage: One of Gajeel's envisioned future with Levy, as he realizes that it's never going to happen as he vanishes, quite possibly forever. Subverted when Irene's Universe One magic saves him.
  • Red Herring: We are initially led to believe that Larcade Dragneel is the son of Zeref and Mavis, mainly by August's monologue to Jellal. As it turns out, Larcade is an Etherious from the Books of Zeref and a prototype clone of Natsu, who was given the Dragneel name because he was the closest to resembling the genuine article. The "son" that August was talking about was actually himself, and even now, close to a hundred years after his birth, he has yet to tell Zeref the truth.
  • Rescue Arc: The first part of the story anyway. Team Natsu decide to head to the Alvarez Empire and try to locate Makarov after hearing from Mest where he was last before losing contact with him. They manage to succeed though barely manage to get away.
  • The Reveal:
    • Emperor Spriggan is Zeref.
    • Lumen Histoire is Fairy Heart, the ultimate secret magic of Fairy Tail, greater than even the three legendary Fairy Magics.
    • Mavis has the same curse as Zeref, as a result of her casting incomplete Law to save Yuri. This eventually led to her and Zeref briefly becoming lovers.
    • Small one, but Mirajane reveals she absorbed Seliah into her at the end of the Tartarus arc to keep her from dying. And now has her as a demon form, complete with all her powers.
    • The five original Dragon Slayers (Natsu, Gajeel, Wendy, Sting and Rogue) were sent from the past through the Eclipse Gate by Layla Heartfilia and another Celestial Spirit Mage Anna, as part of the plan devised 400 years ago by Zeref, Igneel and Metalicana to take down Acnologia.
    • E.N.D. never was the guild master of Tartaros, Mard Geer only happened upon the book by chance and used it as a tool to organize and hype up the "E.N.D.'s will" to the Etherious as a means of controlling them. That said, he was being honest about waking E.N.D. up, likely figuring he would be just as onboard with the mission to kill Zeref as all the other Etherious.
    • Larcade is Zeref and Mavis' son. Later subverted — it turns out that he's only an Etherious from the Books of Zeref. More specifically, a prototype of E.N.D. Zeref and Mavis, however, did have a son that neither of them knew about: August.
    • Irene Belserion is the biological mother of Erza, as well as the one who invented Dragon Slayer Magic, and its first victim in terms of dragonification, and we finally find out what causes this: a Dragon Seed. Oh, and by the way, Natsu has another one inside of him - a Demon Seed (E.N.D.) which actually collides with his own (already neutralized) Dragon Seed, slowly killing him in the process, since his body can't handle both simultaneously.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Gajeel is the first major protagonist in the series to quite possibly be Killed Off for Real, if not suffering a Fate Worse than Death as his body becomes magic barrier particles, trapped in the underworld. Subverted thanks to Irene — Gajeel survives.
  • Sequel Hook: The final chapter ends with the strongest members embarking on the Hundred Year Quest, and Lucy has still yet to find Aquarius's reconstituted golden key.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Chapter 532 leaves absolutely no ambiguity about Zeref and Mavis consummating their relationship, showing a flashback to them both in the lake outside of Magnolia (where they first met), naked, and beginning to kiss while saying the "world was theirs." And it's in color.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Brandish assures Fairy Tail that Makarov is still alive. She then makes a veiled threat that that might change if Fairy Tail doesn't pack up and go home.
  • Ship Tease:
    • A lot between Mavis and Zeref. Other than a flashback to Fairy Tail Zero showing their first meeting, Zeref's Naked First Impression and all, there was also a Headbutt of Love between them. It was to confirm whether or not Mavis had Ankhseram's curse, but she didn't know that, visibly blushing and not exactly protesting as hard as she could have. Chapter 450 makes it official between the two.
    • And then the final chapter in 455 basically all but confirms every major pair except for Laxus. However, in typical Mashima fashion, he tricks us into believing love confessions are going to be witnessed by us firsthand and there will be some smooching involved, but the only pair he outright confirms to our faces is the one that is the least prominent- Erik and Kinana, who drops his name as that of her new boyfriend in a very minute scene. Moreover, we have confirmation that Gajeel and Levy did indeed start shagging up, as Levy is pregnant with their child.
  • Shout-Out: The scene in which Zera disappears after Mavis becomes aware of her existence yet again looks like it was ripped straight out of Puella Magi Madoka Magica with the way Mavis and Zera float toward each other, naked, in Mavis' mind.
  • So Happy Together: Mavis tells Zeref that she accepts him as the only one in the world who understands him, and that they'd find a way to break their curses, together. Zeref embraces her, confesses his love for her, and then kisses her. They even conceive a child together. Unfortunately, the curse bringing together two people whom the curse was meant to make miserable proves to be one final contradiction, the biggest of all, killing Mavis and triggering Zeref's true Start of Darkness.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zeref and Mavis. Ankhseram wants Zeref to suffer for eternity, and made every effort possible to ensure that they can never truly be together. Mavis is still alive (technically), but the projection of her spirit can only be seen by members of Fairy Tail. Zeref is aware of this to an extent — it must've driven him mad that the only woman he ever loved and the only person who ever really understood him is still a part of the living, but cannot be a part of his life.
  • Status Quo Is God: Once the guild is completely reformed and Makarov is saved, Erza resigns as the Seventh Master and Makarov goes back to being the Guild Master, for the third time, with the guild more or less exactly the same as it was before the second Time Skip, with the only real difference now is that Mest has officially (re-)joined the guild. And then Markarov dies during war, subverting it permanently.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Once Makarov was safely in Fairy Tail's hands, Erza knew they had no choice but to Run or Die once the Spriggan Twelve were sicked on them. Just one of them almost proved to be too much for Team Natsu to handle, and much to Natsu's chagrin, the rest of them knew trying to fight all of them at once was suicidal, and that doing so would leave Lumen Histoire completely undefended. Finding out Emperor Spriggan is Zeref was the last straw. Thankfully, The Cavalry arrived.
  • Tempting Fate: After Serena manages to beat the Four Gods of Ishgar a second time, he boasts that no dragon can stand up to his power. Enter Acnologia right then and there, who drops Serena like a sack of potatoes before he can even do anything.
  • That Liar Lies: Natsu's reaction to Zeref explaining that he is E.N.D and Zeref's brother is to accuse him of making it up. Then Zeref proves his point by shooting a hole in the book of E.N.D, hurting Natsu. Then Natsu believes him.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Let's just say that Zeref was not kidding when he said he was going all out. His army is millions strong, and they're all headed for Magnolia.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: August has the power to No-Sell any magic used on him but it turns out his power doesn't work on magic enhanced objects. This means that Cana's magic, which is typically ineffective against enemies of any significance, is one of the few attacks he's afraid off.
  • Throw-Away Country: Bosco and its entire population were completely wiped out by God Serena, Jacob Lessio and August on their march towards Fiore.
  • Together in Death: After confessing that, in spite of everything that has happened between them, they still love each other, Zeref and Mavis, with the help of the One Magic, are finally able to die and share an eternity together in the afterlife. They also (unknowingly) reunite with their son there as well.
  • Tsundere: Zeref is a rare, bizarre example of this trope actually being Justified. After confessing his love for Mavis and kissing her, her 'death' broke him, and he unceremoniously drops her body on the ground at Precht's feet, followed by him walking away saying that he shouldn't have fallen in love with her and couldn't have fallen in love with her, with tears streaming down his face. See Mind Rape above for the reason why.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Mavis succumbing to Zeref's curse in the backstory caused serious long-term consequences. It resulted in the creation of Hades and Grimoire Heart, who caused so much suffering for Earth-land.
    • Irene invented Dragon Slayer magic while she was Queen of Dragnof, thus leading to her being cursed for the rest of her life as well as the near-extinction of the dragons.
    • Both Layla opening the Eclipse at the cost of her own life and Grammi arriving too late to help her have some disastrous long-term consequences even they couldn't have foreseen. Grammi's death factors in Brandish enacting a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Heartfilias, while Layla's death resulted in Lucy's strained relationship with Jude as well as Phantom Lord's guild war with Fairy Tail.
  • Villain Decay: Any of the Spriggan 12 who had been defeated before Universe One was cast suffered this when they went in for Round 2. Justified in the case of Wahl, Bloodman and God Serena, whose Historias were explicitly weaker than their living bodies. That said, their summoner Neinhart is demolished the instant he goes up against Natsu despite having been powered up by Irene, Dimaria is worfed by the newly awakened E.N.D., and Jacob and Ajeel are handled mostly offscreen by the Strauss siblings.
  • Villainous Rescue: Acnologia of all people saves the Wizard Saints in chapter 470 when he kills God Serena.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: For most of the story passed the 2nd time skip, we see that Team Natsu has gotten stronger where that Natsu took down Bluenote, a foe he couldn't even touch in their previous encounter, with ease and the whole team managing to streamroll a group of Zeref zealots. This arc however brings that streak to a screeching halt once they make contact with one of the Spriggan Twelve and feel just how high a power one of them holds, revealing that the Empire is indeed going to be a tough fight on par with if not surpassing Tartarus.
  • War Arc: The Great Magic War between Alvarez and Ishgar is a major focus of this arc, with all the guilds of Fiore involved in defense of their country and Fairy Tail. And there's also Acnologia, who's hostile to both parties.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 444 reveals that Emperor Spriggan is actually none other than Zeref himself. Oh, Crap! indeed, Makarov.
    • Chapter 449 and 450. Mavis was cursed with the exact same curse Zeref has, and the first victim of her "Instant Death" Radius was none other than Makarov's mother. Mavis promptly suffered a Despair Event Horizon, and ran off, attempting to commit suicide by starving herself to death and becoming a complete emotional wreck. Zeref eventually found her, and Mavis witnesses him have one of his curse-induced mental breakdowns. She embraces him, tells him she accepts him for who he is and that they'll find a way to break the curse together. He returns the embrace, confessing his love for her. They have The Big Damn Kiss... and she dies (except not really). Thus began Zeref's true Start of Darkness.
    • Chapter 465: All five natural Dragon Slayers are revealed to be children from four hundred years ago who were sent forward in time via the Eclipse Gate as part of a plan to defeat Acnologia.
    • Chapter 470: God Serena's is revealed to be a Second Generation Dragon Slayer with 8 Dragon Lacrima. And the kicker? He is immediately dispatched by Acnologia, who is after all the Dragon Slayers. He went for the kill as soon as he arrived at the scene, taking down Serena in just one hit, ripping part of his ribcage. Ouch.
    • Chapter 483: Turns out Erza might be somehow related to Spriggan 12's Scarlet Despair, Irene Belserion - the only Spriggan whose magic power is as strong August's. Irene's debut confirms Neinhart's remarks about the uncanny resemblance between Erza and her.
    • Chapter 490: Universe One reshapes the Kingdom of Fiore to the point it's virtually inrecognizable. To sum up: Irene attempted to teleport Zeref to Fairy Tail guild hall, and kick Acnologia far away to buy time. The rest is the work of Random Number God nature of the spell - Fiore gets reduced into 1/20 of its original landmass, every person in the radius was teleported to random locations in the area, Crocus and Magnolia seemingly were merged together, and Gajeel looks to be still alive, who lampshades the fact how the hell it's even possible. And then Zera, of all people, shows up before him.
    • Chapter 493: The last of the Spriggan 12 to be revealed, Larcade is the third Dragneel to be introduced in the story. Later chapters reveal that he is an Etherious that was a failed prototype of E.N.D., with strong envy towards Natsu.
    • Chapter 503 and 504: The supposed anti-Ethernano tumor that Natsu had from overusing his magic power was in reality of Etherious origin, and it just kicked right when Dimaria attempted to gouge Lucy's eyes out, awakening his Superpowered Evil Side, E.N.D. The next chapter reveals that Natsu mistook Lucy for being dead, thanks to Dimaria's Time Stop in which he could move freely, and in his rage, the internal order to kill Zeref that is embedded in him, just like in all other Etherious finally activated.
    • Chapter 505: Makarov dies casting Fairy Law to stop the Alvarez Empire's army, enhanced by Irene's Berserker spell. And unlike Gajeel's Unexplained Recovery or Carla's intervention with Juvia, this Heroic Sacrifice looks like it's going to stick.
    • Chapter 526: Remember Larcade being the son of Zeref and Mavis? Turns out he is only an Etherious that can be considered a prototype of E.N.D. with enough resemblance to the real deal to be granted the Dragneel surname. However, the true child of Zeref and Mavis turns out to be August.
    • Chapter 532: Zeref goes One-Winged Angel using Fairy Heart.
    • Chapter 536-9: Natsu defeats Zeref, Mavis and Zeref kiss and break their immortality curse, dying together, resulting in Natsu disappearing (for a single chapter), and Acnologia is sealed away - only to bust out easily and face off against Natsu one final time.
  • Wham Line:
    • Invel reveals to Gray the true identity of E.N.D. hiding behind the acronym. Gray is visibly unnerved.
    Invel: "It would be more accurate to say you are the only one who can defeat E.N.D. However, you are still blisfully unaware... of its true identity. The mightiest of all the Demons from the Book of Zeref, is none other than a man you know too well... Etherious Natsu Dragneel."
    • Irene finally meets Erza, saying it's been a long time. Erza has no clue who or what Irene is, and the latter gives her this response.
    Irene: "I am you, and you are me."
  • Wham Shot:
    • Chapter 444: Here comes Emperor Sprigg- Wait, isn't that Zeref?! Oh, Crap!
    • Chapter 467: Aquarius is back.
    • Chapter 474: Ultear returns, and she's young again. Later chapters reveal that it's just her manifestation in the timeless realm, and her physicial body is still prety much aged.
    • Chapter 488: Gajeel's possible death... and confession to Levy that he loves her in his final moments.
    • Chapter 532: Zeref goes One-Winged Angel with Fairy Heart's power.
    • Chapter 538: The time lapse cracks open, hinting at Acnologia's return.
    • Chapter 539: Acnologia and Natsu prepare to square off one final time.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Of the surviving members of Spriggan, only DiMara, Brandish and Invel are confirmed to be alive. However we never learn their fate after the war concludes. The only implication being that they departed Ishgar after their armies were defeated.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The only Spriggan 12 members actually killed by the allies forces were Wahl Icht and Bradman, a Machias and an Etherious respectively. God Serena was killed, too, but that was done by Acnologia.
    • Subverted with Larcade being killed by Zeref. While he's an Etherious, Natsu does not approve of Zeref killing him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mest got a very well-deserved one from Natsu in Chapter 488. See Jumping Off the Slippery Slope above.
  • World's Strongest Man/World's Best Warrior:
    • God Serena was the strongest of the Ten Wizard Saints and the Four Gods of Ishgar — meaning he was officially recognized by the Magic Council as the strongest legitimate wizard on the eastern continent. His Face–Heel Turn and subsequent joining of the Spriggan Twelve is to illustrate the scope of the strength of the Alvarez Empire — as his membership implies that they have eleven other wizards as strong as he is, if not stronger.
    • Emperor Spriggan, since he supposedly united over 730 magical guilds (light and dark) on his own to form Alvarez, indicating a great deal of magical power that perhaps surpasses even God Serena and the rest of the Spriggan Twelve. Then it's revealed he's actually Zeref, aka the strongest Mage in history, and suddenly everything makes a lot more sense.
    • Among the Spriggan 12, there are August and Irene, who are acknowledged by other Spriggans as being the most powerful members of the Emperor's guard.
    • Acnologia - by far the strongest character in the series, be it in human or dragon form.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Imperial troopers seem to have no qualms about attacking kids if they become an annoyance to them.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The first part of the war starts off like this, between Mavis and Zeref. Zeref sends a vanguard of Cool Airships led by Ajeel while holding back the bulk of his forces as the first wave. The airships attempt to shell the city, only to be intercepted by a Jutsu Shiki barrier. Mavis responds with Jupiter blasting half the fleet out of the sky, followed by the Dragon Slayers on their Exceeds, which are too small and fast for the airships' cannons. Zeref's first wave is quickly revealed to be a feint, however; Zeref knows exactly how good of a strategist Mavis is, and as soon as she's tricked into tipping her hand early, Wahl pokes a hole in the barrier, Brandish bypasses it entirely with Marrin's teleportation and immediately suppresses Erza and Lucy's magic. It only escalates from there.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The war is over, Zeref is gone, Acnologia has been sent through the time lapse... then Natsu disappears and the sky cracks open. Here comes the Black Dragon... again.

Alternative Title(s): Fairy Tail Albareth Empire Arc

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