There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
This was going to be an utterly waste of Vandrad’s time and energy.
He wasn’t sure why he agreed to the job in the first place, let alone that he would do it solo. Frankly he couldn’t offer a decent reason to have himself and Mercury take part in what was surely going to be a farce of a mission. And yet, he’d been asked for specifically -- which was saying something about the name he was apparently making for himself. He didn’t quite like that; Vandrad operated better when he was one in a crowd, working without being noticed. He’d lucked into basically being unknown in Fiore and joining Fairy Tail had given him a wide berth to operate without suspicion, save for Mercury’s infatuation with annoying him and his mother’s spies.
But he’d done a fair number of jobs while with the independent guild and he’d apparently been noticed as someone who was effective and reliable. Traits he appreciated having and seeing but not ones he wanted to shine a light on him. Nonetheless, a job had been posted on the Fairy Tail board with his name specifically. While he didn’t like the glory or the fame, he was hopeful that such a request would provide, at the very least, a decent challenge. It did not; he was being asked by the owner of the Black Cat Lounge, Agil, to go and rough up some hooligans. Apparently another bar called the Demon’s Den had been taking the business rivalry a bit too seriously and had caused some serious damage to property and people going near the other bar.
So essentially he had been hired as an outer-network bouncer. It was a bit pathetic and he hated himself for considering it, more for agreeing to it. But considering that a specific request had been put in for him, it would look bad on the guild if he turned it down or, worse, called it beneath his capabilities. Fairy Tail had a reputation to upkeep and turning paying customers away was a good way to diminish business. With a few grumbles and curses, Vandrad signed the job slip and departed for Crocus, the capital of Fiore. It was a quick and easy flight for the Prince; his ever-increasing magical prowess aided in his ability to travel swiftly. Trips that would take hours took mere minutes at this point, a feat that was not underappreciated by Vandrad. Being able to get around so quickly was beneficial and opened up possibilities for other jobs in other countries.
Crocus was larger than Magnolia and far more grand. The expanded limits of the city were nearly double of the hometown of Fairy Tail and were filled with buildings and attractions of all sorts. The royal castle, home to the sitting royal family of Fiore, lay near the southern end of the city, guarded by intricate mazes and more guards than were needed. It was a town that thrived on visitors and the trade from other cities and it was, without a doubt, the busiest place that Vandrad had ever stepped foot in. Even he had to take a moment to stop and look around, surrounded by people from all sides.
With its immense size, figuring out where the Demon’s Den based on the crude job description wasn’t easy. The Prince opted to stop and ask a guard for directions, better relying on a denizen of the city rather than someone who had haphazardly written the location. With the woman’s help, Vandrad was standing before the door of the bar, arms crossed over his chest as he examined the building’s outer foundation. It wasn’t much to write home about; it lacked flair and color to draw in crowds and really leaned into the dismal, terrifying notion that one might end up drinking beer across from some kind of brigand or criminal. The curtains were drawn, blinding anyone from seeing what was going on inside the establishment.
"Tsk. Hardly worth it,” Vandrad muttered to himself as he walked up to the door, putting forth a hand to grab the handle and pull. Much to his surprise, the door was locked. "A bar that’s closed in the middle of the day?” he asked, snorting in amusement. With barely any more strength added, he ripped the door off of the entryway and deposited it on the ground behind him, the hinges clanging as they bounced onto the stone street.
Everyone within the bar came to a stop as Vandrad entered the room, all eyes turned to him in different looks of surprise, annoyance and outright anger. A man at the closest table stood up, picking up his bottle by its neck and turning it around like some kind of blunt instrument. “Oy! What the hell you think you’re doin’, breakin’ in the door like that?”
"You expect to get paying customers if you lock the doors? Perhaps no one has properly educated you on business etiquette,” the Prince remarked idly. "Then again, I can’t expect a group of thieves, brutes and morons to understand how to run a business, can i?”
“Oh, boy, you’ve done walked into the wrong place,” another voice said from past the bar. A man stood up from a corner booth, a hulking mass of muscle and man that towered over the rest of the people inside even without them standing. He walked around the bar and towards Vandrad, a wicked grin on his face as his features… changed. His skin bubbled and contorted, taking on sharp points and edges as his eyes sunk in and melted into blood red pools. A bolt of pain shot through Vandrad’s head, offsetting him from his calm demeanor and forcing him to grab for the stool nearby. His vision grew hazy as the pain throbbed in his head, his anger rushing to the surface as well. “Scared already? Calm down, boy. We haven’t even started the fun yet.”
"No,” Vandrad hissed, his voice shaking with pure rage. His eyes rose up to look at the fully transformed demon. He could taste blood in his mouth. He could feel power rushing through his veins. His forehead throbbed but all he could see was the demon. "No we haven’t.”