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Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:01 PM
So, first post, and it's a fanfic. That gotta count for something, right? Regardless, many greetings to the inhabitants of Beast's Lair.

So this is a story I was writing over on FF.net, when I was told by Hymn of Ragnarock that it might be an idea to post it over here.
The story basis is fairly simple. Emiya Kiritsugu never found a half-dead Shirou in the fire of Fuyuki. Instead, a half-dead Shirou found the shards of the Holy Grail. One contract later, he's good as new. Sorta.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7331568/1/Tainted_Ideals (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7331568/1/Tainted_Ideals): The fic itself. Link posted for those who prefer to read things in the FF.net format. Currently updated up to the most recent chapter.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/TaintedIdeals: We now have a Tv Tropes page! Feel free to contribute.

Chapter 1: Here
Chapter 2
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Idealsp=333826&viewfull=1#post333826)Chapter 3
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Idealsp=333857&viewfull=1#post333857)Chapter 4
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Idealsp=333884&viewfull=1#post333884)Chapter 5
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=333907&viewfull=1#post333907)Chapter 6
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=342295&viewfull=1#post342295)Chapter 7
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=362452&viewfull=1#post362452)Chapter 8
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=381318&viewfull=1#post381318)Chapter 9
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=401032&viewfull=1#post401032)Chapter 10
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=446123&viewfull=1#post446123)Chapter 11
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=475316&viewfull=1#post475316)
(http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1030-Tainted-Ideals?p=475316&viewfull=1#post475316)--------------------

Ch 1: Beginning

Hot. That was all the boy could think as he stumbled through the burning city. It was so very hot. There wasn't any pain, any torturous agony. Just that constant, constant heat, pressing down on him like a lead weight.

In some small, fragmented part of his mind, he realised that he should be feeling sad right now. He'd lost his home, his family and even his name. But it didn't seem important. What was important was finding somewhere cool, somewhere where the heat wasn't quite so intense, where he could rest.

He walked on, ignoring the screams and cries for help that resounded around him. He couldn't help them. He couldn't even find the drive to try.

--------------------------------------

Pain. That was all the spirit inside of the fragments Holy Grail could think as the city burned down around them. That wasn't unusual though. All the dark spirit had ever felt was pain, right from it's creation, so very long ago, in that small, muddy village…

Well, pain and hate. Hate was its constant companion.

Slowly, ever so slowly, other thoughts began to reach through to the mind of the spirit. It was dying, fading away back to the place its own spite had created. Without a human to contract to, or a wish made, the Holy Grail could not exist on this world. This seemed so horribly unfair, both to the dark spirit and the essence of the grail itself. The spirit wanted to live. The Grail wanted to grant a wish. And they were being denied, by the will of a single human, who'd forced his Servant into shattering the Holy Grail, right in it's moment of triumph. With a command spell that it had given him, the spirit noted, just for that extra irony.

For a moment, a terrible rage ran through it. Again…! Again, it was to be consigned to its own torment! The thought of returning to that dark place, where it could only feel the misery that humans had forced on it, filled it with a new, unfamiliar feeling. Fear.

It paused at that. To feel fear was to not want something to happen. To not want something to happen was to want something else to happen. To want something to happen was hope. Hope. It hadn't 'hoped' for a long time. It hadn't even realised it was still capable of doing such. Was there still something left of that boy, who so very long ago, had been chosen to become the Source of All Evils?

I… Do I still wish to truly live? To return to the days of life from before? The thought was a terrifying one. To have something beyond pain, rage or hate? It could not even imagine such a thing. No. It would not allow itself to even try. It bore enough sorrows as it was, and it would not allow those created by crushed hopes to join them. There was no way for it to survive as it was; No living thing that could accept it was nearby. The magus who ordered its execution had left without a backwards glance and the other, the golden one who had drained much of its power, had taken another magus and gone too. All that was left was broken shards and black mud.

Or rather, that was all there should be.

A small figure stumbled from the burning wreckage surrounding the remnants of the Grail. A boy, his skin scorched, his clothes little more than burnt strips as he trudged through the smoke. His eyes were unfocused, and his will little more than a drive to survive. No, more than a drive.

A wish.

--------------------------------------

The piece of debris under his foot slipped, and he fell, tumbling down to the earth. For a brief moment, a sharp pain forced itself through his already screaming nerves and restored some of his thoughts. Where was he? He looked around him. The area was little more than a crater, within it only a few tiny fragments of gold and puddles of black mud. His eyes strayed to the mud. It looked so cool, so very refreshing. A trembling hand reached out towards it and he realised with a dull surprise that it was his own. He didn't care though, and the strange disconnect between his mind and body didn't worry him. That was just how things were.

His fingers dipped into the viscous liquid. And he screamed as a wave of emotions, feelings, thoughts and dreams swept into him like a black wave. The heat was gone, but in its place was terrible suffering, enough to sunder a soul. And a voice.

Accept our contract! The spirit all but screamed at him. The boy was so very fragile, so very weak from his time in the flames that it tortured him to watch him. This was his chance, his only hope, his one method! The boy would not die! He would not allow it! But to truly heal him, a contract had to be established, so as to allow the prana to flow. Desperation fuelled him like never before. This was not the way he had intended, but to exist in the world was his wish. He would not be cheated, sent back to that foul place with yet another regret, yet another curse, by a foolish little child expiring too soon!

It took a moment for the spirit to realise that he was referring to himself as an gender. An individual. A person. It seemed like the boys mind was already beginning to affect it. A good sign.

Shirou heard the voice, heard its screams. It sounded so very similar to himself. That same desire to live, that same will to survive. In all the world at that very moment, there were probably not two people who wanted the same thing so very much.

"I…" The words were little more than croaks, forced out through cracked lips. "I want to live."

The Holy Grail, the great device created to grant the wishes of others, roared in triumph, a sound echoed by the spirit within. Black mud rose up around the boy, wrapping him within a cocoon, dark as night. Once again the pain assailed him, but this time, it was not so horrible. It was familiar, more than anything else. It was like he'd been bearing it for some time.

The spirit, Avenger, felt the two of them beginning to merge. Normally, such a process would take time, but the boys ego was little more than a fragment, unformed and malleable. Indeed, the boys lack of any true personality was almost a defence against the hate ingrained within the filth. Rather than fighting it, almost certainly futilely, he could accept it. With a little bolstering from Avenger, the boys psyche could survive this with no more damage than had already occurred from the fire outside.

The corrupted mud spilled into the boys wounds, forcing blistered flesh to close and scrapes and scars to fade. His circuits were not prepared for such a thing however and strained, trying desperately to keep up with the rush of injected power. An impossible task of course. No mere human, not even a trained magus, could ever hope to match the power of the Grail. Not without assistance. Avenger surveyed the boys body. For a boy from an unremarkable bloodline, the boy -Shirou, he corrected himself- had a remarkable number of circuits. But to even have a hope of surviving the merge, he would need to have them all open. So Avenger did so.

Shirou's daze was broken by a pain far closer to home than that which surrounded him. His body was pierced by a thousand knives, each sliding into his flesh with sickening cruelty. He blanked out, only to be forced back into consciousness. He couldn't black out, not now. If he did, then the mud would overwhelm him, and Avenger would be caught within a body that could not move, feel or even think. It would be no more than exchanging one prison for another.

Eventually, the pain began to subside and Shirou's taught muscles relaxed. Which made it the perfect time to complete the final step. Golden shards pierced into the worst of his wounds, where the fire had burnt through the flesh, damaging the organs within. Once again, the boy screamed, but it seemed that he'd gained a slightly higher pain threshold, because Avenger was not forced to keep him awake.

Gold began to shift, taking on the form of flesh, similar, yet different to the form it had had but a short time ago. Irisviel had been the previous Holy Grail, or the bearer of it anyway. But merely reverting the form of the grail back to her flesh wouldn't do. Shirou was a male human, and Irisviel was a female homunculus, created through alchemy. They were incompatible. Luckily, the Grail was excellent at copying things. It had more than enough of Shirou's flesh and blood to be able to replicate and transform itself into the parts of him that the fire had destroyed.

It took only a moment, and Shirou was once again complete, his flesh unmarred. On the surface, nothing had changed from the boy who had no doubt been frolicking around less than an hour ago. But there were differences. The Grail had replaced much of his flesh, and while incomplete, the boy was a bearer of the Holy Grail.

Well, not quite. He was missing one key part to be a true Lesser Grail such as Irisviel had been, but that was fine. Avenger's wish had been fulfilled, as had Shirou's. Both the essence of the Grail and the spirit which resided within it were satisfied. Or rather, the spirit which had resided within it.

--------------------------------------

Shirou stood, feeling strangely shaky. It wasn't the shake of exhaustion and pain that the fire had forced on him, but rather the unwieldy feeling of his body being subtly different. For one thing, even with the fire raging around him he felt comfortable, as if there was a buffer between himself and the heat. Had he blacked out? The last few hours were nothing more than a daze.

He took a step forward and his leg supported his weight with ease. He wasn't sure what had happened, but he felt more alive than he had in, well, the last half hour. He looked around the flames surrounding him. While he had no idea which way was which, the flames had to have a limit. All he had to do was walk in one direction and he'd reach the end, wouldn't he?

He took off a jog, moving nimbly over the debris.

As it turned out, it hadn't taken very long to escape the flames at all. It had been no more than ten minutes till the flames had died down around him, and he'd tasted fresh air. He stopped, taking in a deep breath. While the smell of burning was still thick in the air, it was still cool and refreshing. He sat down, relishing in the feel of the concrete beneath him. And then a thought struck him, one long neglected in the escape.

Who am I?

His name was Shirou. He knew that much. But his family name, his home and even the faces of his family escaped him. He tried to recall his life, place names to memories, only to find he had none of those either. For a moment, he paused. He knew he should feel sad about this. Perhaps even cry about it. He'd lost everything. But he honestly couldn't bring himself to feel too strongly about it. He couldn't bring himself to feel too strongly about much, actually.

"Hey! We've got a kid over here! Bring some water!"

He turned at the voice, looking at the man who'd suddenly appeared from his left. He was wearing an odd suit, dark grey, with bright yellow stripes on it. A fire-fighters suit, he realised. He wondered where he'd seen it before.

"You alright, kid?" The man leaned in towards him, concern obvious on his face, even in the dim light. "Can you tell me your name?"

"Shirou," he replied. The older man waited for a continuation, but he shook his head. "That's it."

The man's face was understanding as he nodded. "Gotcha. Hey, Shirou, we're moving all the other kids to a tent where you'll be safe till we find your parents. Do you want to go there with me?"

Shirou considered the offer. He vaguely recalled being told to never go anywhere with strangers, but that seemed less than important, given the circumstances. What were the odds of this guy being some kind of creep, just waiting around in case children happened to stumble his way through the fire? No, in all honesty, this man was almost certainly nothing more than what he appeared. A well-meaning individual. And he was quite curious as to what his parents were like. He nodded and the man took his hand.

--------------------------------------

The tent had emptied considerably since his arrival. There'd been very nearly four dozen children when he'd first arrived. Then there were less than ten. Then there were five. Then just him. Parents and family members had come by one by one for the last few hours. There'd been tears of joy at reunions, children both crying and laughing at the same time. It was probably quite heartwarming.

He sat, staring at the tent flap. Occasionally, one of the staff would come and give him a cup of hot chocolate and some comforting words, telling him that they were sure that his parents were fine, and that they'd be here soon. He wondered why they bothered. His parents were almost certainly dead. Why raise false hopes? A kind cruelty? Or perhaps they just didn't have the strength to tell him that his parents were gone?

He'd overheard more than one hurried conversation. Apparently, there were more tents, just like this one. They'd been moving children that it was believed had lost their parents to a single tent, so as to help keep the situation organised and under control. No doubt he was going to be transferred there soon.

The flap swung open, and he looked up resignedly. Counter to his expectations, the man standing there was not one the staff come back to tell him of his fate. Instead, it was an incredibly tall man, arrayed in the robes of a priest. His eyes were sunken deep into his face, and were empty, as if life itself had been squeezed from the man. Shirou felt an immediate kinship with the him. The man looked like Shirou felt.

The priest looked down at him, his eyes surveying the young boy. Shirou met his gaze. No doubt most would consider the man intimidating, but to be intimidated, you had to have something you feared to lose. He had nothing like that. And neither, he realised, did the man in front of him.

A few moments passed and the priest nodded, as it satisfied.

"Your parents are likely dead."

Shirou blinked. It was a blunt, absolute admission, spoken as if the the man was talking about the weather.

"I know," He replied. "What happens now?"

The man watched him carefully for a second, then continued. If he was surprised by the equal nonchalance of the reply, he gave no sign.

"That is up to you. You can wait here if you wish, then be taken to another tent, where you will eventually be either adopted, or sent to a orphanage." The man shrugged. "If you wish, however, you may come with me."

Shirou thought about that. Both options led to unknown results. Neither the priest or the home were any more certain an option. But the priest was like him, he realised. Both of them were empty. Broken. They weren't anything like kindred spirits. But they could understand each other somewhat.

"I'll go with you." He responded, meeting the eyes of the priest once more.

The man nodded, accepting the answer. "Your name?"

"Shirou. Just Shirou." Again, his response was that accepting nod.

"Do you wish to keep that name?"

A good question. On one hand, the name was a link to a past he could neither remember, or care about. On the other, it was the only thing he still possessed. In a strange way, it seemed important to keep it. He made an affirmative gesture.

"Very well," The priest opened the flap of the tent and gestured that he should leave. "I am Kotomine Kirei. You appear to be in healthy condition, so I will complete the necessary paperwork to remove you from this camp."

He walked out into the rough encampment that had been made, his gaze flicking around the hurrying workers. His eyes stopped on the man waiting just outside the tent. His hair was a vivid gold and fierce red eyes shone out of his visage. A bored expression was plastered on his face, and he picked at the sleeve of his finely made coat with annoyance. He looked up as Shirou walked through the flap.

"So who's this little brat then?" It took Shirou a second to realise that the question was not aimed at him, but at the man behind him.
He turned, just as an amused smirk crossed Kotomine's face.

"He is your little brother, Gilgamesh. Be nice to him." The golden haired mans face went blank.

"What." Gilgamesh said flatly, staring down at the young boy. He was so small and insignificant that it pained him to watch the runt.

Shirou stared at him, meeting the crimson gaze with the same ease that he'd met Kotomine's. "It is nice to meet you, Onii-san." He bowed, as he'd been taught… sometime ago. He couldn't remember where he'd learnt it, but that was hardly a surprise at this point.

Gilgamesh sighed resignedly at the introduction, rubbing his face wearily. "Is picking up this boy another of you whims?"

"You shouldn't refer to him as 'boy', Gilgamesh. He is your little brother after all." Kotomine chided, the smirk grown only wider. "The correct term is Otouto-san. Or -kun, if you feel you're close enough."

The golden haired man growled at that, his irritation obvious. "I wonder if I should have left you back at the ruins. It would certainly spare my royal ears this nonsense."

They bickered slightly, an edge of an actual slight threat in every word they said. Shirou watched them with curiosity. At the very least, it appeared that life with them would be interesting.

-End-

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 01:03 PM
Oh god yes, Kotomine Shirou lives!

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 01:13 PM
:)

Great to see it posted here!

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Ch 2: Bedrock

The boy was interesting. From Kotomine, a man who had found very nearly everything in life to be perpetually dull, that was the highest compliment he could give.

Shirou had adapted well to his new circumstances, accepting everything with a reserved, quiet manner. He ate his meals quietly, he bid Kotomine and Gilgamesh good morning and good night politely and he did his share of tidying up.

But his most interesting trait was his curiosity. It was hardly unusual for a child to be curious, but Shirou's was a little different from the vibrant, excited questions that another child might have. He was more… analytical. He would poke things, and prod them, and test how far they could bend before breaking. He'd dug up some flowers in the church's courtyard and moved them to another, more shaded environment. And then he'd kept notes on the growth of each, the flowers he'd left and the ones he'd moved. When Kotomine had informed him that plants need of sunlight was common knowledge, he'd nodded and said:

"I know. But I wanted to see it for myself."

If anything, that was the young boys defining trait: A need to see and feel new experiences. He avoided things that could prove harmful to him, but was eager to try new things and experiment with those around him. For Kotomine, a man who had who had spent most of life seeking something that actually fulfilled him, the sight was incredibly familiar. A purposeless existence would naturally seek a purpose. That was just the way of humanity.

More important than any of his personality quirks however, was the boys ignorance of what he truly was. He seemed utterly unaware of the Grail fragments within him, and even of magecraft or the Grail in general. Kotomine was torn between enlightening him, and leaving him be. On one hand, watching the growth of a Lesser Grail bearer in a natural environment was quite fascinating. On the other, without at least an awareness of the existence of mage craft, it was quite possible that the boy would never awaken. Which would be profoundly unsatisfying.

Eventually, he came to a conclusion.

--------------------------------------

"Do you know," Kotomine began. "That I am a magus?"

Shirou looked up at him for a moment from the table he'd been cleaning, then shook his head. He put down the cloth. He suspected that this conversation was rather more important than washing a few crumbs off of a table.

Kotomine told him everything. The existence of magi, the magic association of London, True Magic, the Holy Grail war and it's effects on Fuyuki. He explained how in the last battle, a magus had chosen to reject the Grail and had shattered it. The raw, unconstrained power had burst across Fuyuki, casting the city into flames.

Well, very nearly everything. The priest left out the part about Shirou's survival. Some things were best left to develop on their own.

Shirou was quiet. None of the revelations were as surprising as he thought they should be. Kotomine had always been a dark, mysterious presence, so the idea of him being a magus seemed almost fitting in his mind. Although he wasn't sure if priests were supposed to have magic powers. In fact, he was fairly sure that they weren't. Once he accepted that his father was a magus, the idea of a governing body of magi wasn't so foreign a concept either. The Holy Grail war, though, was far more exotic.

He'd never even considered such a thing. How could he have? It was so far removed from common sense or reality. He knew that he should despise the very idea of it. It had been directly responsible for claiming his previous life and the lives of so many others. But it sounded so interesting. A war raged with Heroic Spirits, champions from a past era, against a half-dozen other magi? What would such a thing look like? Was the destruction cause in the Fuyuki fire typical of such a clash? Or considered extreme even for that battle?

Eventually, after nearly a full minute of thought, Shirou looked up at the priest. "I'd would have liked to see it. The entire war, I mean. Will there be another?"

Secretly, Kotomine felt a deep amusement. What would be the result of introducing an unbound Grail into the Grail War? The sheer chaos would be a pleasure to watch by itself. And if Shirou won? If the shards of the previous Grail, paradoxically, wished upon the new? That would be a sight to see. But he hid his smile with the ease of a practiced dissembler.

"Do you wish to compete?" He asked, staring down at Shirou. "If you do, then be aware your life will be on the line. More than that, you will no doubt be forced to kill others." A small, twisted smile snuck onto his lips. "This is the Holy Grail War, after all."

Shirou paused at that. Join the War? What would he do with a wish anyway? Would he be willing to kill another for it? It was yet another alien concept. He knew, on an intellectual level, that killing was wrong. That didn't mean he couldn't see himself doing it though, not if circumstances demanded it. And if the price of his reluctance was to miss out on such an event... Eventually, he nodded again.

"Then you will need to be prepared." Kotomine turned on his heel, walking away. "From now on, I will be instructing you in magecraft, as well as other skills you will no doubt need to have a chance at surviving."

Shirou nodded again, excitement filling him like it hadn't since, well, anytime he could remember. A whole new world had just opened ahead of him and he found himself intensely curious as to what it offered.

--------------------------------------

As it turned out, what it mainly offered was disappointment.

Kotomine Shirou was, quite frankly, incompetent at magecraft. Spells fizzled under his hand, and he seemed incapable of holding together his Od for long enough to create most forms of spells.

Kotomine rubbed his head in rare frustration. There was nothing wrong with the boys circuits; which were all open and in perfect shape. Likewise, Shirou was certainly concentrating hard enough. It was just that his circuits seemingly refused to hold together any kind of spell.

Right now, Shirou was trying to reinforce an iron bar and failing miserably. Gilgamesh was looking on, seated on a throne that he had conjured from seemingly nowhere. Unusually for the Servant, he was looking on the scene with some mild interest as opposed to the barbed comments he'd been shooting Shirou's way since the practice had begun. This interested silence broke when Shirou yet again failed to create any change in the bar.

"Well, brat, you've successfully impressed me. I don't think I've seen anyone fail quite this hard since…" The King of Heroes paused, considering. "Well, ever actually. Congratulations."

"If you can do so much better, then why don't you help me?" Shirou snapped, glaring up at the Golden King. Kotomine raised an eyebrow at Shirou dropping his façade of politeness. It was an unusual sight.

Gilgamesh grinned, baring his teeth. "Hmph. If only to show you the magnificence of the King's wisdom, I'll deign to lend you some small aid."
He clicked his fingers, and an oaken club shot down towards Shirou, bouncing off the floor and rolling to a stop by the young boy's feet.

"Try it again with that, brat." Gilgamesh commanded, gesturing at the club.

Shirou picked it up curiously, examining it. It appeared to be no more than a piece of wood, roughly shaped into a cudgel. Certainly not one of the Noble Phantasms that his adoptive father had spoken of. But he began the process of analysis as he'd been instructed regardless. As aggravating as his 'older brother' was, the golden haired bastard was far more knowledgeable than he let on, especially in more arcane and bizzare areas.

"Analysis start."

The oak club burst into life.

He felt knowledge and understanding forcing itself into his brain like a knife. Numerous internal cracks were present, unnoticeable from the outside, but wearing away at the integrity of the weapon. It had flaws in the grain of the wood as well, some natural, other the result of warping. Apart from that-

He broke the analysis with a gasp, his breath having been held throughout the rush of information. He breathed in and out, staring at the wooden rod with a mixture of wonder and trepidation. In that brief moment of understanding, he had come to know almost everything about the thing.

"As expected," Gilgamesh nodded, seemingly satisfied with the result. "The heart of the matter was plainly obvious for a King."

"What was that?" Shirou asked, his gaze alternating between Gilgamesh and the club.

"That, boy, was you finally taking your first steps as a magus." Gilgamesh's voice was smug as he continued. "You'd been wasting your time trying to work with things like the five elements or reinforcing iron. It appears your Origin is a much more esoteric one. How like a brat to be troublesome."

"I see…" Kotomine said thoughtfully. In truth, he should have seen it himself. If the Grail itself had forced Shirou's circuits open and healed his body then it was quite possible that his Origin had been warped by the event. "In that case, your regime will have to adjust to meet this."

Shirou ignored them, his interest entirely held with his newfound gift. He looked down at his arm curiously. If he could see through a branch of wood then maybe…

"Analysis start."

He could feel it. The blood within his veins, the muscles clenching and unclenching, the thrum of power in his nerves and the very life itself within his flesh. More than that, he could see where it could be improved, where it could be altered, where it could be changed.

A smile forced itself onto his lips. He'd have to thank Gil for the help. Quietly though. The last thing his brother needed was another ego boost.

--------------------------------------

After a little additional experimentation, they'd named his Origin 'Flesh'. It appeared that he could only manipulate or work with anything that was either alive or, for decreased effectiveness, had been alive. For obvious reasons, Kotomine had suggested that he didn't try experimenting on himself.

To thus increase the number and range of test subjects for his mage craft, he decided to take up a new hobby. Horticulture.

His magecraft had proven enormously helpful in picking up the hobby. By analysing the structure of plants, he could decipher their needs, or discover any problems before any outer physical signs were shown. He could even alter them slightly, granting a resistance to common infestations and diseases. The result was that his plants grew tall and healthy at a greatly accelerated pace. The result of that was that within three months, the makeshift orchard of the church had moved far from it's humble beginnings and now resembled a small jungle.

He hummed to himself as he trimmed the roses. He might have altered them a little much, judging by the way that they seemed to grow a good foot everyday, and had thorns the size of small daggers. He didn't mind though, it kept the local cats out of the orchard, which in turn stopped him from treading in something he'd rather not. Or, God forbid, Gilgamesh stepping in something he'd rather not. The last time that had happened, there'd been distinctly less cats in the area for some time.

The King himself was lying under the shade of a tree, having acquired a hammock from the same place he got seemingly anything else he wanted. While the Heroic Spirit had mocked Shirou about taking up a 'womanly' hobby such as gardening, he'd still taken to sleeping in the orchard when he had free time. And supplied a fair number of rare plant's, though with a suitably caustic manner.

He stood as he cut off the last of the extra vegetation. He looked down at the trimmers he'd been using, and frowned. The metal was already nicked and scratched, and he'd only gotten the things a few weeks ago. He glared at the roses, which almost seemed abashed under his gaze. At this rate, he might have to ask his father to allow him to borrow some of the Black Keys. Or maybe Gilgamesh had some top-quality trimmers stashed away somewhere. It wouldn't surprise him.

"Shirou." He turned at the sound of his fathers voice.

"Come with me. There is someone you should meet." Kotomine walked away, and Shirou stripped off his gloves hurriedly, following him.
The first thing he noticed as they walked down the stairs of the church into the basement his father used for magical experiments was the mess. Scorch marks dotted the walls, and in several places around the room, it seemed like a sledgehammer had been driven into the walls. The second thing was the girl.

She was quite pretty, with long, dark brown hair, tied up in two pigtails and deep, aquamarine eyes. She was currently focused on a small stone that was laying on a table three feet from her, softly glowing.

The third thing he noticed, about three seconds after that, was the stone exploding.

"AH!" The shriek of frustration was incredibly loud in the enclosed space. "It was going so well too!"

"I'm sure it was," Kirei said calmly. "How unfortunate that we missed that part."

The girl spun on her heels, glaring round at the priest. "Oh shut up! I nearly had it! I'm alm-" She paused, noticing the boy staring at her outburst. "Who's he?"

"This," Kotomine gestured at Shirou. "Is Shirou, your fellow apprentice and my adoptive son."

The girl blinked. "When did you adopt a son?"

"Why don't you ask him?" Kirei replied, stepping aside. "No doubt Shirou is slightly tired of being ignored."

"I-I knew that!" The girl flushed angrily at Kirei's mockery before facing Shirou. "Sorry about that. I was just surprised at the idea that this fake priest would adopt someone. I'm Tohsaka Rin."

"It's not a problem," Shirou responded, dismissing her apology with a shake of his head. "Kotomine Shirou. I'll be in your care." He bowed, and Rin blushed slightly.

"There's no need for that," She said, crossing her arms and steadfastly not meeting his gaze. "We're both just apprentices here."

"But you're the senior apprentice," He replied. "And I've little doubt that you're far more skilled than me."

Rin blushed again at that, but didn't argue the point, apparently accepting the praise with good grace.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that you're too far behind," Kirei said, brushing the remnants of the shattered stone off of the table. "At the very least, Tohsaka will have to slow down so as to preserve her budget."

The girl bit her lip at that but didn't reply, which suggested that there was some truth to the claim. Shirou examined a shard of the broken stone carefully. It appeared to be amethyst, a fairly precious gem.

"What were you doing?" He asked, admiring the way the light shone off of the vibrantly purple stone.

Rin perked up at the question, apparently more than happy to deflect the conversation from her finances. "I was practicing transferring Prana to the stone," She hesitated, but then continued. "I still haven't quite got it right. I'm putting it in the right places, but a little too quick."

Shirou's brow furrowed.

"Prana transfer? Like reinforcement?" Rin was already shaking her head before he'd even finished.

"No. Reinforcement is a temporary measure, and it's impossible for it to add any traits to the substance that it didn't have before. What I'm doing is creating a Mystic Code." She sounded inordinately proud of herself, which made what he had to say next a little awkward.

"What's a Mystic Code?" Tohsaka looked at him emotionlessly for a second, then faced Kotomine.

"Have you actually taught him anything about Magi?" She exclaimed, glaring at the priest. Kotomine met her glare with a raised eyebrow.

"I taught him the more practical parts of magecraft. I saw no need to expand into the actual culture at this point."

Rin sighed, placing her face in her palm. After a moment's thought, she grabbed Shirou's arm, pulling him up the stairs. Shirou gave no resistance as the girl dragged him away from the makeshift testing ground, too confused by the sudden turn on events.

"Come on, Shirou-san," Rin said. "It's obvious that someone's got to give you a proper education so that you don't turn out like that fake priest down there."

"Why do you keep calling him that?" Shirou asked, almost stumbling over a step as Rin continued to maintain her grip on his arm. She snorted.

"Do actually see that guy as a real priest? With everything he does?" He thought about that for a second. His father was a magus, which he had always thought odd for a priest. More than that, his father rarely prayed and when he did it was with a rather twisted smile on his face, as if amused at some cosmic joke. Not exactly stellar behaviour for someone who claimed to be a man of God.

"I suppose he's not quite what you'd expect." Shirou admitted as they came out of the stairwell and into the courtyard. Tohsaka finally released him.

"Right," She eyed him up and down, as if somehow expecting to be able judge how much he knew just by his appearance. "This could take a while. Do you know anywhere we could sit down?"

Shirou considered that for a second, then nodded. "Follow me." He turned and walked through the gate he'd come through not five minutes ago. The gravel crunched under his feet as he walked towards the orchard he'd commandeered. Tohsaka seemed surprised at the orchards new look.

"This has… changed a fair bit." Tohsaka said hesitatingly, looking at one of the plants with interest. She reached out towards its vibrant flowers.

"Oh. That plant's quite toxic." Her head whipped towards him, incredulous look plastered on her face. He continued. "Aconitum napellus, more commonly known as monkshood. It's really quite deadly. I've been considering trying to mix them with the roses."

Tohsaka looked at the three inch thorns on the roses. Then back at the deceptively pretty flower. "I don't think you should."

"No?" Shirou asked, frowning. He'd been interested to see if the poison inherent to the plant could be transferred through magecraft.

"No." Tohsaka confirmed. She pointed at another plant, a small branching one that had been placed in a separate patch of soil, marked off from the rest of the garden. A few tasty looking berries hung from the branches. "What's this?"

"That's Atropa belladonna, known as deadly nightshade. It's incredibly toxic." He said, smiling. Talking about his garden was one of things he found he enjoyed most in life. "I've been thinking about trying to transfer the toxin to-"

"No." Tohsaka said firmly.

"No?" He inquired, a disappointed look coming over his face.

"No." She repeated.

Shirou sighed morosely. He'd thought it was a good idea too.

Tohsaka shook her head, seeming exhausted. "And I thought you were normal. I guess that's a little too much to hope for, if you were adopted by that fake priest." She shrugged. "You're still better than him though. There's some hope for you at least."

Shirous wasn't quite sure if that had been a compliment or not, so he stayed silent, leading Rin to one of the few sections of the orchard lacking any poisonous plants. Gilgamesh had already vanished , as he always did whenever someone came to the church. Kotomine wasn't too fond of the idea of telling people that he still had a Heroic Spirit and Gilgamesh seemed content to go along with it. Well, he'd tell Kotomine that he was a gutless coward who was also fool for trying to hide the magnificence of the King, but that was as close to content as his older brother got. He imagined that Rin was unaware of the Servant's existence as well, so he'd keep quiet about that.

"So did you grow all this?" Rin asked, apparently distracted from her original purpose by the sheer volume of vegetation around them. Shirou nodded.

"It's my hobby. And it supplies me with samples for my magecraft." He opened up two chairs, sitting them down. Rin ignored them, focusing on him.

"Your magecraft, huh…" She seemed thoughtful. "So you're not the same as that fake priest? You don't use surgery magic?"

Shirou considered that. Theoretically, his magic could be used for surgery and healing, but he'd declined to use it on humans so far, lacking test subjects and unwilling to try it on himself at his current level of skill. But it was fundamentally different from Kotomine Kirei's magic. If Kirei 'cut', then Shirou 'twisted'. He didn't slice through tissue, so much as he moved it out of his way.

"No. I can shape living things, but it's not the same." He replied, thinking. Perhaps a demonstration was needed. He snapped a twig from the overhanging birch tree that was the centrepiece of the garden and focused.

"Analysis start."

Instantly, he could feel the twigs very existence scrolled out before him. The sap still within the wood, the already dwindling moisture that fed the leaves on it, the leaves still taking in sunlight… It all lay out before him, perfectly understandable. To reinforce it or to reshape it from this point was just a matter of Prana and control.

"Force function: Growth."

The prana flowed through the twig, and it bloomed. The wood grew and thickened, becoming closer to a small branch than the twig it had been. New shoots grew out, forming a mishmash of small twigs. He cut off the flow of Prana. Even doing this much was quite draining and he was forced to suppress the shakes already building up within his body.

Rin took the branch from his unresisting branch, inspecting it. "That's pretty impressive. It's almost like reinforcement, but you're applying it to a function, rather than a physical presence." She gave him an approving nod. "That's fairly high end stuff."

Shirou accepted the praise calmly. It was actually a fairly rare thing to receive. His father was a fairy silent teacher, neither praising him on successes or scolding him on failures. And to get praise from Gilgamesh was to squeeze blood from the proverbial stone. Harder even. Stone's didn't shoot things at people who annoyed them.

"But I can't believe that he had you pulling of stuff like this without any of the basics," Rin said, having apparently remembered why she was here in the first place. "Seriously, what kind of magus was he planning to turn you into?"

She sat down and gestured for him for to follow. She rubbed her brow thoughtfully. "Uh. There's so much to teach you, I don't even know where to begin. Alright…"

And thus began the friendship of Kotomine Shirou and Tohsaka Rin. With Rin talking, and Shirou listening, trying not to say anything that could provoke her temper. It would continue in a simliar fashion. Rin had quite a temper after all.

--------------------------------------

Matou Zouken looked down on the girl in the pit with a detached, emotionless expression. In the darkness below, an occasional scream or whimper would emerge, serving as nothing more than proof that the girl was not nearly prepared to take on her duties as a Matou magus. Louder than those, however, was the ever-present sound of thousands of worms crawling towards the girl. That sound abrely even registered to the withered patriarch of the Matou family, so familiar was it.

He was angry, and he knew it. He'd been putting the girl in the pits more often than normal lately, even when it risked her health to do so. The source of that anger was equally obvious. He'd failed to find the remnants of the Fourth war's Holy Grail, which meant that his plans had been utterly derailed. The girl was essentially useless to him now, without the Grail shards to implant within her.

When the Holy Grail had been shattered, he couldn't believe his luck. Some fool had actually denied the Grail, and in turn denied all it offered. He'd rushed to the area as quickly as possible, risking his already frail life in the flames. All to find nothing. He'd kept an eye out for months, sure that some other magus had acquired them. All to find nothing. Eventually it had become obvious to him that either no part of the Grail had survived it's breaking, or that someone had spirited the fragments far beyond his reach. His hastily made plans had broken as surely as the Grail had, reduced to dust.

He gave a hacking cough, a viscous black phlegm coming out. This body was already nearing it's limit, the stress of the past few months having greatly accelerated it's decay. He'd have to feed soon.

Another stifled scream rose from the pit, drawing his attention to the girl. What to do with her now that she had lost her original? He supposed he could use her as a bargaining chip with other families, perhaps try to get some fresh blood into the Matou family. Not that there was much of a Matou family left to speak of. Or perhaps he could prepare her for the next Grail War…

He stopped at that thought, shock filling him. How had missed such an obvious answer?

His thoughts began to speed up. Kariya had been useless, nothing more than a rush job, his small number of circuits augmented by worms that would have killed him by now anyway, even if he had survived the war. The girl, Sakura, had more potential. The Tohsaka bloodline possessed considerable power, and with a rather more… rationed use of his worms, she could be made yet stronger. The next war would not be for some time. While he suspected that the irregular end to the previous war might induce a new war sooner than normal, there was still at least a few years to prepare.

There would have to be changes. For one, he would have to actually start teaching her magecraft, which would put even more strain on his fragile life-force. That meant feeding more often, which would be aggravating. He would also have to regulate her time in the pit. A broken shell of a girl would no longer suffice. Before, all he'd needed was a tool. Now he needed a weapon.

Matou Zouken turned, leaving the chamber. He had preparations to make, but before that, he felt tired and weak. There was only a sliver of moon in the sky tonight. An almost perfect night to feed.

He smiled, revealing a mouth with far too few teeth. He was very much looking forward to what the future contained.

-End-

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:17 PM
Ah, hey there. What can I say? I like the site ;)

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 01:19 PM
Oh man, I am monitoring this like the fist of the north star.

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:30 PM
Ch 3: Summon

Shirou watched his opponent carefully, his body assuming the stance that had been drilled into him years ago. As ever his opponent seemed completely unconcerned with his actions, merely waiting for him to make his move.

He circled, but the enemy merely turned to keep him in view, the man's stance stance a mirror of his own.

It was in utter silence that he surged forward, his leg propelling him towards them in a blur of movement. His fist lanced forward, but his adversary's arm snapped out., deflecting the blow harmlessly. He turned on his heel, narrowly dodging a return blow and simultaneously lashing out with a vicious kick as he did so.

His opponent knew better than to try and block, leaping backwards to avoid the blow and gain space. Once again, he surged forward in pursuit, determined to keep the fight in close quarters and deny the older man the advantage of his greater reach.

He stamped his front foot down, using the movement to reinforce the blow he'd aimed at the centre mass of his foe. He'd stepped little more than two feet from his opponent, sealing the mans movements to only a few potential choices.

The blow was blocked as expected, but Shirou retracted his fist instantly, launching a flurry of attacks, the majority designed to merely distract the enemy from the few blows aimed at more vulnerable areas. He knew almost immediately that he'd made a mistake. His opponent was too experienced to fall for the dummy blows, and could use his greater strength to all but slap aside the dangerous strikes. More than that, he'd used this opportunity to regain his balance and gain room. Shirou gritted his teeth. He'd lost the initiative and that was going to cost him.

A deceptively fast blow shooting out confirmed that thought, and he blocked frantically, crossing his arms to absorb the blow. It felt like he'd had a sledgehammer driven into his arms, but he ignored the ringing and jabbed out with an elbow. If he went on the defensive now, he'd never get out of it.

They exchanged blows furiously and Shirou became increasingly aware of the way the fight was going. His opponent had advantages in height, reach and weight. More than that, the other man was simply better than him; his blows striking with more precision and force. Without shaking up the fight a little, this was only going to end one way: With him battered and bruised. As it always did.

He lowered his body slightly and charged forwards, driving his shoulder into the mans torso. The move obviously surprised the man, judging by the way he only got one stinging blow to the back of his torso before he connected. It wasn't a clean blow, but he hadn't expected one. The old bastard was far too experienced to get hit dead on with something like that. More importantly though, he'd gotten right into his opponents space. His the heel of his palm lashed upwards and connected solidly with the mans chin, sending him staggering backwards.

He kept up the assault, launching heavy blows aimed at every vulnerable point the'd ever learnt or heard off. Face, gut, groin, neck, chin… He repeated it in his mind like a mantra.

The man dodged a blow aimed at his face, twisting his head to allow it to pass by, and in a moment of horror, Shirou realised he'd overstretched himself.

Oh this is going to hurt…

The mans uppercut sunk into his gut and he doubled over by reflex, his body desperately trying to take in air. A low kick swept into his legs and he stumbled, trying desperately to preserve his balance through his gasps. A second blow to his gut told him how stupid an idea that was. An elbow drove into his back, throwing him to the floor.

He groaned, forcing his body to rise, only to feel a firm grip wrap around the back of his neck. The signal was clear, and he slumped, admitting his defeat.

"Your movements are too stiff," Kotomine said, releasing him and stepping away. "More than that, you don't control the force of your strikes correctly. They are often either too weak, or too strong for the situation." He paused, as if considering.

"The shoulder charge was good though."

"Thanks," Shirou replied, pulling himself to his feet. "Glad to know my new set of bruises gets me some praise."

Not that he'd done too badly on the dishing out bruises part either. Kotomine's chin had already turned a dark purple from the earlier strike, and while the practice clothes they were wearing hid it, his arms probably weren't looking so great either.

"I have merely provided you with an opportunity to practice your magecraft as well." Kotomine said, a smirk creeping across his face. "As it was written: Physician, heal thyself."

Shirou snorted, but turned his attentions to his own body. He had school today and he'd really prefer to not be carrying around a half dozen injuries.

"Analysis start."

As expected, the flesh in his torso was already beginning to bruise. He sighed, focusing the prana into the injuries, forcing it to heal. He moved onto his arms, noting the points where his capillaries had been damaged and repairing them with ease. Luckily, there hadn't been much coagulation yet. That was always annoying to tidy up.

It hadn't taken very long before he'd been confident enough to experiment with his own powers on his body. There had been a few concerns of course, such as injuring himself, warping himself into a monstrosity or simply causing his flesh to explode. Nothing extraordinary, but enough to give a little pause. When curiosity had won over caution however, he had found it ludicrously easy. In particular, healing himself and others generally took more no than mere focus of Prana, rather than being forced to recite an Aria.

There were slightly more… aggressive uses to his power as well, but it had been some time before he'd found a way to practice them safely.

He relaxed, checking his internal prana supply as he finished up. While it was hardly an exact science, he'd gotten pretty good at judging the amount of prana that a being held within it, to the point that he could actually attach numbers to it with some accuracy.

He seemed to be doing fine on the Prana front, so he brought his attention back to the present.

"Want me to tidy you up?" He asked, gesturing at Kotomine's chin. The priest shook his head.

"I'll deal with it myself later. You shouldn't waste any more power. Not today."

Ah yes. Today. The big day. Despite himself, he couldn't help but feel a rush of excitement.

The Holy Grail War.

It had shaped his entire known life, it's aftermath his earliest memories. Since the time of the Fuyuki fire, he'd been wracked with curiosity about it. What would it be like to fight alongside a hero from another age? What was the Holy Grail like? How did it grant wishes? The thoughts span through his head, making it near impossible to truly concentrate on anything else. In a way, he was grateful for the continuing sparring sessions with his father. The simplicity of trying to beat someone to a pulp, while trying to stop the same happening to you kept your mind remarkably clear.

Now that he'd finished his training session though, he found his thoughts pulled back towards the War which he would soon be a part of. He'd be summoning a Servant tonight. After that, there'd be no turning back. He would be a Master, battling alongside the Heroic Spirit to achieve the right to use the Holy Grail, the omnipotent wish granter. It would be beyond interesting. It would be… fascinating.

Even the few stories of the previous war he'd managed to persuade Gilgamesh to cough up merely exacerbated his curiosity.

I mean seriously, a dogfight between an ancient Babylonian Airship and an F-15? Who wouldn't want to see that? He thought, leaving the small hall Kotomine had set up for training behind. While it was hardly a dojo, being little more than an expansion to the already elaborate basement level, it had lighting and a floor that wasn't just stone which was enough.

He glanced at his watch. He still had some time before he had to go to school. He supposed he'd grab breakfast and then check on his… garden. He'd already prepared a meal before getting ready for training, so it shouldn't take long.

As Shirou climbed the stairs towards the living quarters, he began to hear a strange melody. He frowned for a second at the strange noise, then speeded up his ascension.

As he opened the door to the living room/kitchen however, things became quite clear.

Some time ago, Shirou had bought a video console. A rather banged up play station, with a few games to go with it. He'd quite enjoyed spending his spare time on it. He'd even persuaded Rin to have a go, and taken great pleasure in annihilating her in any and all multiplayer games. Rin hadn't taken that well at all, and had insisted that they play until she 'got the hang of it'. Rin, regrettably, never got the hang of electronics. She hadn't won a single game to this day. Normally, that would have been the full story of Shirou's history with computer games.

At one point however, Gilgamesh, in a fit of boredom, had decided to take a shot at it. Three days later, a van had shown up, filled with several consoles, a small mountain of games, a new PC and a internet router. It had been a sight regularly repeated.

It wasn't that Gilgamesh was a fanatic. He'd long since surpassed such a term.

His older brother was wearing a golden dressing gown, and was stretched out on a long, recliner. Playing on the screen was a sight that was vaguely familiar. A city of stone and crystal, with a lone figure making his way across it. Huh. He would have thought that Gilgamesh had played Final Fantasy 7 before. He shrugged. It wasn't really his business anyway; Gilgamesh seemed to be ignoring him, so he'd just grab his breakfast and…

He paused, then gave a resigned sigh. The plates he'd prepared were empty. They were also sitting right next to Gilgamesh.

"Aniki," He spoke up. "Where's my breakfast?"

The Heroic Spirit spared him a single glance, before turning back to his game. "Oh. That. I was hungry, so I ate it." The reply was as blunt and short as expected.

Shirou closed his eyes for a second, calming himself. When he opened his eyes again, a wide smile was plastered on his face.

"So that's Final Fantasy 7, right Aniki? Haven't you played it before?"

Gilgamesh gave him an annoyed look at being distracted, but replied anyway.

"Hmph. I've merely been putting off playing it for a while. Things that are popular with the roiling masses are rarely any good." The lone figure on the screen, Cloud Strife, walked into a strange building. "It appears that for once, the mongrels were on to something. Saber is a wonderful character."

"Saber?" Shirou asked curiously. He couldn't remember a character called Saber in the game.

"Oh, her base name was Aeris or some such foolishness." Gilgamesh waved his hand dismissively. "I changed that as quickly as I could."

Wait, Aeris? The City of the Ancients? His brothers seeming ability to avoid even the most well known spoilers? A vicious smirk spread across his face.

"So you're quite sure you ate my entire breakfast?" He asked.

"What? Yes! Make yourself a new one, I'm busy." Gilgamesh had apparently decided that he'd wasted enough time on his younger brother, turning back to the screen.

"Saber dies."

For a moment, there was silence, then Gilgamesh's head slowly, ever so slowly, twisted towards him.

"What." Shirou smiled innocently.

"Saber dies. Get's stabbed from behind by Sephiroth. About ten minutes from where you are right now actually. It's wonderfully dramatic. Unexpected too."

His brothers eyes had dilated, something akin to shock crossing the King of Hero's face. "I'll just use a Phoenix Dow-"

"It's a cutscene death."

"Life spel-"

"Cutscene."

"Goddamn story and gameplay segregation!" Gilgamesh howled, throwing the controller to the floor. "How dare those mongrel producers kill her off! And… and… and…" He stopped.

"You just spoiled the game for me." It was a simple statement, but the threat was obvious.

Shirou raised an eyebrow. "Did I? Oops. Guess I was delirious from hunger."

"You little brat!" Shirou threw himself to the side as a controller smashed into the wall, shattering into electronic scrap and shards of plastic. Already, the air around Gilgamesh was shimmering, a sign that he should probably leave his brother alone for a little while.

"Don't forget to save!" he hollered, running out of the kitchen, the sounds of Gilgamesh's fury being a fine way to start the morning.

--------------------------------------

Over the course of Shirou's time at the Kotomine church, it's orchard had undergone a few changes. Starting as a rather neglected patch of earth, Shirou's striving had turned it into a small, chaotic jungle. And from there, a large, but more ordered jungle.

He strolled through the overgrown garden, ducking under a patch of low hanging ivy. While he'd expanded the number and types of plants somewhat, there was a definite theme for his garden. Lethality.

Apart from his old friends monkshood and deadly nightshade, he'd added foxglove, water hemlock, white snakeroot, meadow saffron, ragwort and corn lily to name a few. At Rin's insistence, he'd limited his transfer of the poisons into more innocuous plants somewhat. Somewhat. And he kept the really dangerous ones, like his new deadly nightroses, (name subject to change), in the workshop, which was nestled amidst the foliage.

To a magus, their workshop was everything. It was the centre-point of their research, the place in which they could safely plumb the depths of knowledge and power. To allow another into it was to risk them acquiring knowledge you'd spent years obtaining. Thus, most mages protected their workshops with layer upon layer of bounded fields, creating a veritable wall of magical energy. It was a nice image, and he wouldn't have minded doing it himself if he'd been any good at bounded fields.

Regrettably, he wasn't. It was just one of those skills, like virtually all aspects of magecraft apart from his quite specialised branch of the art, that escaped him. Tohsaka had done her best to try and correct that, forcing him to study the damn things for the best part of three months. She'd insisted that the creation of bounded fields was one of the skills that any proper magus should have.

It had been an uphill struggle but after the additional three months of practice, he'd managed to create a fantastically weak bounded field. Tohsaka had said that it resembled the one she'd made on her first attempt and he'd replied it really wasn't fair to compare their skills, given that she was the product of a few centuries worth of magical heritage and he was a random person without so much as a family magic crest.

Despite his bounded fields utter frailty, he'd found a use for it. Instead of being a wall, he'd turned it into a trip wire, using it's weakness as an advantage. Upon someone either destroying or crossing the field, a magical command would trigger, affecting every plant in the area and giving them clear, precise instructions.

Grow and Kill.

The result would be no doubt quite amusing, as every single plant in the orchard and worskhop, some of them quite heavily modified by his magecraft, would do their ample best to crush, slice and poison every living thing in the surrounding area that wasn't another piece of vegetation. For a short time, the church orchard would become a death trap. The roses would probably be enough to kill anything short of a Servant by themselves. Bloody things were lethal.

Best of all however, had been Rin's reaction to the idea.

She'd explained, in great detail, how such an idea was far too crude, brutal and savage for a true magus, how subtlety was they key word in the defence on the workshop and most of all, how such a plan was dangerous? What if he was nearby when it triggered?

That wasn't an issue though. There were four people that could pass unmolested through the field and not be attacked by the plants once it had been triggered. Himself, his father, Gilgamesh and Rin. She'd been surprised that his barrier had been altered to allow her to pass unchallenged, but he'd explained to her that she was far too important to him to be hurt by his magic. She'd blushed deep red at that. He wondered why. She was a good friend, surely she hadn't thought that he'd set his barrier against her?

He considered going inside the worskhop, but then shrugged. There was no real need to, given that his altered plants were considerably more durable than their natural counterparts. He didn't need to check on them every day. He'd just check on the more normal vegetation, buy some bread to serve as his breakfast, and head to school.

He had a busy day ahead of him after all.

--------------------------------------

Tohsaka Rin stared into the mirror, her gaze unfocused and dazed. She'd never been a morning person, despite her attempts to become one, and her recent lack of sleep wasn't helping matters all that much. Frankly, she was worried.

As a descendant of Tohsaka, she'd always known that there was a good chance that she'd have to fight in the Grail War. She'd accepted it and even relished the chance to prove herself. Even the War repeating so soon after the last had only thrown her off balance slightly. No, the problem lay in her competitors as opposed to herself. Or rather, one particular other Master.

She sighed. Shirou had never exactly kept his intentions of joining the Grail War a secret. In fact, he'd happily broadcasted the information whenever she asked. And in fact, she hadn't really thought about it as a problem. The war was supposed to be taking place in another forty of fifty years, not right now after all. If they'd come into conflict at all, it should have been years in the future. In fact, she'd harboured a small hope that perhaps there wouldn't be a need for it even then.

I mean, there's no way that two members of the Tohsaka family would have to join the war… She thought. The moment the passing thought registered, her face turned scarlet. She shook her head violently, clearing the mortifyingly embarrassing thought from her mind. T-There was no reason to think about things like that.

She rubbed her eyes wearily, stumbling towards the kitchen, her eyes glaring malevolently at every source of light. Why was everything so bright? Why couldn't it stay dark for a little longer?

"Maybe I'll use the Holy Grail to wish for a new sun…" She murmured, her thoughts having falling back into a daze.
Shirou bit down into the curry bread happily. While he didn't have his fathers love for spices capable of scorching your very soul, he didn't mind a mild curry once in a while. Besides, he was hungry after subsisting on a few pieces of plain bread for breakfast, and hunger always made things taste better.

He leaned against the roofs railings, looking down on the view of Fuyuki City. Despite the biting winds, he was generally up here at lunch times, for several reasons. It was quiet and secluded for one, due to the aforementioned winds. More importantly though, he could watch all the people below, going about their lives. It wasn't a hobby exactly, but people watching was fairly fun.

The sound of the door to the roof opening drew his attention and he turned to see a familiar sight.

"Yello there," He greeted her cheerfully. "Come for the view, some company or both?"

Rin gave a small smile in response, but her face turned rather more grim quite quickly. He fought the urge to give a sigh. He had a fairly good guess as to what this was about, but kept quiet anyway. Better to let her get whatever she wanted to say out of her system.

Rin leaned on the railings next to him, but said nothing. They stayed like that, silently, for a full minute. He finished his curry bread, swallowing the last few crumbs calmly and looking down at the school yard. It was then that Rin spoke up.

"Kotomine-kun, do you still intend to take part in the War?"

As expected, that's the theme of the conversation, huh?, he thought. He gave Rin an easy, open smile. "Yeah, that's the plan."

"And you know what it involves?"

"You know, I don't actually. I just spent the last ten years of my life living with a Grail War survivor twiddling my thumbs." He replied, continuing before she could butt in. "C'mon Tohsaka, I know what I'm doing and I know what it means to be a Master."

There was silence again. It was obvious that Rin wanted to say more, but was struggling to find the correct way to put it. Eventually, she seemed to slump.

"Just… just be careful." She looked him straight in the eyes. "Ok, Shirou?"

He blinked in surprise at that. It was rare for Rin to call him by his first name even when they were alone. The very slight blush across her face told him that she was well aware of this.

"I've already pulled myself through the end one war," He said, grinning cheekily. "I've got some practice now, so this one should be easy."

Rin sighed at his flippancy, but turned to leave anyway, apparently reaching the end of what she felt she had to say. He called out to her.

"Oh. And Rin?"

She stopped, looking at him.

"Same thing to you. Take care of yourself."
Rin stomped down the stairs, irritated at herself, Shirou and the world in general. Stupid, stupid, stupid! What exactly had she been expecting to accomplish? That she would somehow persuade Shirou to give up on something he'd been looking forward to for ten years in the space of a lunch break? And what had she been planning to say anyway?

"Hey Shirou, the War's too dangerous for you. I don't want you to get hurt, so give up now please. Also, I'm going to be joining the War once we're done with this conversation."

It would have been insulting to his abilities as a magus, hypocritical and most importantly, would go against everything Shirou stood for. He lived for new sights and sounds, to know how things worked and understand them. To tell him that he 'wasn't allowed' to join an event like the Grail War would have gotten her nothing more than a blank look.

It wasn't like he was helpless either. His magecraft was a mish-mash of a dozen different idea, and specialised to the point of absurdity but it was certainly effective. He'd also been trained by Kotomine Kirei, and as much as she despised the fake priest, he was undeniably skilled at both martial arts and surviving even the most dangerous things in general.

No, her concern was selfish, and she knew it. Shirou had been her oldest friend, and the only one she could be completely open with about all aspects of her life, magical and mundane. She remembered when she'd first met him, when he'd been quiet, polite and reserved. He'd changed since then, becoming open, cheerful and even a little childish, but at the same time he hadn't changed at all. He was still Shirou, ever curious, ever blunt as a rock socially. The idea of fighting him was… weird. Unpleasant even.

Still it wasn't as if they'd be going for each others throats right off the bat. It was actually quite likely that they'd end up as allies. And if not…

Well, she'd just have to reduce his Servant to a puddle of spiritual energy. There was more than one way to win a battle after all.

--------------------------------------

He hummed a tune to himself as he trimmed the roses in the school garden. After the small-scale warfare that was the gardening of his own plot of land, keeping the school's garden in check was a relaxing break. He couldn't use magic for anything more than analysis for such a public place of course, but that was a challenge in it's own way. It meant that he had to attend to the plant's needs through more mundane means, like fertiliser and water.

As always, there was someone else with him, their attention alternating between the heavy book they were reading and him. Matou Sakura had been a constant presence during his gardening for almost a year, never helping, but seemingly enjoying watching him work. He didn't mind. She was quite pretty and exceedingly quiet and reserved, which made her an acceptable guest in his workplace.

"Sempai."

He paused at that, peering at Sakura curiously. He could count the number of times they'd spoken on the fingers of one hand, which made this a fairly unusual event by any measure.

"Yes?" He asked, brushing some dirt off of his gloves and he stood and faced her.

"You really enjoy working with plants, don't you?" She asked, looking at him steadily, no emotion evident in her words. He nodded.

"I do. Well, I like working with animals too, but people don't tend to be as willing to let you look after their pets as they are their plants." He replied. He had to be a lot more careful when dealing with animals too. While, if anything, his abilities were most suited to working with fauna than flora, animals were living beings with minds of their own, capable of feeling pain. He couldn't recklessly modify them like he could with plants. Healing was fine, but people noticed if their dog grew wings and gained another row of teeth.

"I thought so. You always look so peaceful when you work in the garden." Sakura nodded at his confirmation. "It's why I like watching you."
Her frank admission was a little embarrassing and he scratched his cheek awkwardly. While he did enjoy it, there were other benefits as well. Teachers recognised that he was taking on a job that needed to be done, and thus tended to grant him little allowances here and there, like being a little late to school or such.

Sakura appeared to have said all she wanted to say and stood.

"Leaving already?" He asked. Normally, she'd stay until he was finished and leave shortly after him.
"Yes. I have things to do today." She bowed, excusing herself. As she walked away, she stopped as if she'd just remembered something.

"Sempai." She called.

"Forget something?" He asked only for her to shake her head.

"No." She faced him and bowed again. "Please be careful, Sempai. The streets are dangerous right now."
With that single cryptic statement, she turned and left.

Shirou considered. The timing of that warning coincided rather nicely with the beginning of the Grail War. More than that, Matou was one of the founding families, though they'd been known as Makiri then. If anyone was going to be aware of the War, it would be them. Kotomine had told him that the line had lost all power though, which meant that they couldn't be Master's. Or had they hidden a single magus from sight, using their reputation as a defunct magical line as a method to hide themselves?

He watched Sakura until she turned a corner, his thoughts still spinning. Eventually, he shrugged. Whether that was the case, or whether Sakura was just giving him a general warning, it didn't really matter. He'd watch the family anyway, and act based on what was happening. If need be, he could just analyse Sakura and see if she had functioning circuits. That was a last resort though, since it'd be as good as declaring himself a Master to anyone who could feel Prana.

He crouched back down. For now though, he had to water the orchids.

--------------------------------------

The light shone off the circle on the floor, making it glisten wetly. Shirou check over it once more. It all appeared in order, with each component of the mystic circle in it's correct place. He'd used blood to draw it, mainly because he had quite a lot of it. He'd be draining and storing small amounts of his blood daily for some time, for the most part to be used in experiments. It was a little hard to get people to give blood for no reason after all.

Eventually, he nodded. This was probably as good as it was going to get, particularly as he didn't have any real reagent to use to summon a specific Heroic Spirit. Well, that was fine. He'd just leave it up to chance. He took his place, and began his incantation. He'd learned from Kotomine that the incantation, like most Aria's, really didn't matter so much as long it included a few key elements. In fact, you could probably do it with just a ritual circle and some luck.

"Hear me, If thou would serve under me, as the Grail has willed, If thou would bind thy path to mine. I am the seeker of knowledge. I am the scholar without purpose. Come forth and break free of your bindings!"

The circle lit up, the blood becoming a fine pink mist that vanished almost as soon as it formed. A violet light shone out, colouring the entire room with his intensity. He stared, refusing to close his eyes. And as the light faded, a voice spoke up.

"I ask of you. Are you my Master?"

He looked at the Servant, a Heroic Spirit of legend. And blinked in surprise.

She was quite small and slim, probably only just barely reaching his chin. Short white hair hung against skin that nearly matched it's shade and her light blue eyes watched him. More important than that, however, was what she was wearing.

She wasn't wearing very much.

A top that vaguely resembled a waistcoat, held in place by a buckle near her throat and a belt wrapped round her torso. Her hands were wrapped in bandages and two other belts were on each of her arms, seemingly for decoration. She was wearing tights on her legs that went up to her thighs. But no skirt. Instead, she wore an incredibly revealing pair of panties, the straps holding them in place little more than threads. That was it.

"Umm, before that, do you want me to get you some more clothes?" He asked hesitantly.

The girl blinked, then looked down at herself. A fierce blush spread across her face.

"Ah. Yes." She nodded shyly.

"Right. New clothes then." Shirou said, walking to the door. They could talk properly in a bit. First, he needed to get something for her to wear. Or rather, something more significant for her to wear.

-End-

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Oh man, I am monitoring this like the fist of the north star.

Well, thankee for your interest, kind sir. I'll do my best to make it worth it.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 01:40 PM
Jack-chan ^^

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 01:51 PM
Ch 4: Talk

The clock struck twelve and Shirou glanced at it momentarily before returning his attention to the seated girl. The Servant was currently sipping away at a cup of tea and looking quite content. More importantly, she was looking rather more clothed, as he'd managed to scrounge up a pair of his old jeans and a t-shirt. They weren't a perfect fit, but they managed to cover her up a little which was the important thing.

After she gotten dressed, they'd relocated to the living room where he'd made a cup of tea for both of them. They'd been sitting in silence for a minute or two, Shirou content to watch her and the Heroic Spirit content to wait, when he finally spoke up.

"Right. First things first." He held up his hand, the command seals glowing softly. "To answer your first question, I'm your summoner. Which I suppose makes me your Master."

The girl looked at the seals briefly and then nodded. It was obvious to both of them that they were contracted anyway. A thin stream of prana was already flowing from Shirou to the Servant, both empowering the spirit and making it blatantly clear who her summoner was.

"I've got a few questions to ask as well if you don't mind." He said, watching the Servant curiously. This was hardly his first time meeting a Heroic Spirit. After all, he'd lived with one for the best part of ten years. But the feeling this one projected was different from the feeling of confidence and arrogance that surrounded Gilgamesh. No, the air around her spoke of blood and dark emotions, vengeance and spite being foremost among them. It was… strangely familiar. He felt like he'd experienced a similar presence before this point, but he couldn't place it.

The girl nodded again. It appeared that despite being capable of it, she didn't like to speak more than needed. Well, that was fine. He took a deep breath, then continued.

"Who are you?"

"Assassin." The response was brief and clipped. He nodded. He'd expected as much from looking at her. No armour, a light build and that collection of knives that was strapped to her back all suggested that she wasn't a frontline fighter.

"Alright. But who are you? Your name, I mean." The girl hesitated at that question, seemingly unwilling to speak. Shirou frowned. While he didn't actually need to know who she was, it was the best way to get a reading on her abilities and how to use them. On the other hand, judging by the feelings of blood and hate she projected, it was quite likely that she really didn't want to speak about her past. While he was intensely curious as to who had summoned, the idea of forcing someone to speak against their will felt off to him.

"Alright. Don't worry about it, it can wait." He said, holding up a hand. "I was just curious."

Assassin seemed relieved and relaxed somewhat, taking a deep draught of her tea.

"Ah." Shirou said suddenly, a thought occurring to him. "Do you want some biscuits?"

Assassin went utterly still for a moment adn the air froze. Slowly,as if not to startle him, she nodded. An odd reaction. He opened the cupboard and pulled out a packet of digestives. While Gilgamesh had his own supply of food and his father only ate things that would be very nearly fatal to others he preferred more wholesome foodstuffs. He'd even learned to cook to some extent, though he certainly wasn't any kind of expert.

He placed the packet down on the table and Assassin watched it cautiously, as if expecting the food to make a break for it. She reached out took a single digestive, dipping it into her tea slowly. Shirou found himself unable to tear his gaze away from the sight. It was almost as if she was performing some kind of ritual, with the sheer attention and focus she was giving the snack.

After a few seconds she extracted the biscuit from the drink and placed in her mouth. She bit off a piece and a strange expression crossed her face. It took a moment for him to realise that the expression was something approaching bliss. She repeated the process with the other half of the biscuit before swallowing it. It was, quite frankly, incredibly cute and he couldn't help but grin at how happy she looked.

"Would you like another?" He asked, moving the packet close to her. She nodded furiously.

"Yes."

Ah, She'd spoken again. Progress.

--------------------------------------

She bit her fingernails nervously as she looked at the circle. This was her chance. When Kotomine Kirei had invited her to take part in the Holy Grail war, she hadn't believed her luck. From the time she'd been a girl, she had been enamoured of the story of Cu Chulainn, the legendary 'Man of Light'. She'd gasped in excitement at his battles, cheered when he'd achieved victory again and again and most of all, grieved when his story ended in tragedy. She'd wanted to change that ending and grant him the happiness she felt he deserved. And now she had a way to do exactly that.

More than that, and she gulped at the thought, she had a way to summon the legend himself. While she'd failed to obtain a relic of his to use a reagent for the ritual, she knew that there was no way that she could summon another Servant. Her entire life had been shaped by his story and there was no chance that there was a Heroic Spirit more suitable for her in all existence.

She took a deep breath and stepped into her place at the circle. She'd use the standard aria for this. No sense in throwing in variables that might confuse the issue.

This will work, she thought determinedly. It will.

The light shined out the circle and she narrowed her eyes at it's sheer intensity. A form became visible in the glare, tall and masculine. She felt her heart skip a beat. Could this be it? The culmination of her childhood dreams?

"Yo." The man stood before her, clothed in a tight blue suit that made a blush spread across her face. "Are you my Master then?" He looked her up and down. "If so, then this is gonna be a good war."

She stumbled back, staring at his fierce red eyes, his wide grin. It was him… She knew it! It was definitely him!

"I-I am." She hefted her hand, showing the command seals. She needed to confirm it. She needed to know. "Are you Cu Chulainn?" Despite her attempts at calm, it came out as a squeak.

"Wow. You know my name already?" He leaned in, causing her blush to spread even further. "I guess your eyes are good, along with just being pretty."

Bazett fainted.

--------------------------------------

Kotomine Shirou was no stranger to people having odd quirks. He had lived with the King of Hero's and a quite possibly insane priest for almost all of his recallable life. He'd had Tohsaka Rin, who never said what was on her mind, as a best friend for an almost equal length of time. Which was the why the fact that his Servant had a sweet tooth didn't surprise him.

He watched the small girl finish off a cupcake, taking a sip of tea to wash it down. She'd finished off the packet of digestives in a remarkable time frame and had looked so very mournful that he hadn't been able to resist the urge to bring out some more sweets. She'd annihilated the plain tea biscuits and despite the cupcakes desperate last stand, only two remained. No doubt they'd be joining their brethren soon enough.

Assassin picked a few crumbs off of her cheek. Her face had taken on that same blank expression that she'd had on her arrival, but her pose was far more relaxed and she'd reclined back in her armchair. He sighed. While he'd originally planned this to be a strategy meeting of sorts, it had quickly degenerated into little more than a tea party. Eventually, he shrugged. Not all the Servants had been summoned yet and so the War hadn't begun in earnest anyway. They could afford to take it easy for a day or two, get to know each other and learn how to use their abilities together for the best effect.

"Well," He checked the clock. "It's probably time for me to go to sleep about now. I've still got school tomorrow after all."

He stood and Assassin mirrored his movement, though she took the chance to grab a cupcake. Walking to his room, her presence a constant shadow behind him, a thought popped into his mind, along with a growing sense of dread.

"Assassin, um, where would you like to stay?" He inquired, turning to face the tiny girl. She cocked her head, as if his question made no sense.

"I will guard you while you sleep." He sighed as she answered as expected.

"Yeah, see, no. That's not going to happen." Again Assassin responded with that confused look. "It's… well… I like my own space."

Well, it wasn't a lie. He did like some space to himself. More important though, was the fact that the idea of having a girl watching him in his sleep was a little disconcerting, spiritual form or no. It wasn't that he didn't trust her. It was just that he was a young man and she was an attractive girl. There were hormones involved. Ones that he couldn't suppress without damaging his body somewhat.

"You do not wish for my presence?" The question was as deadpan as ever, but he couldn't help but feel that there was an undertone of hurt to it. The situation was rapidly becoming awkward.

Practically, allowing her to remain in room in spiritual form would be the best solution. While the Kotomine church was, strictly speaking, neutral ground where battle was forbidden, rules were there to be broken. Without a Servant nearby to protect him, he was just asking for trouble.

On a more emotional level though, the idea of spectral presence watching him at night grated slightly. He couldn't put his finger on it, but it was just a little worrying. He stood, deep in thought, for a moment longer. Perhaps it had something to do with his Origin. If he was naturally inclined to working with flesh, then wouldn't a being with no physical form at all, not even the fake one that Servants normally used to interact with the world, be as far from that as possible?

"Assassin, you can sleep, can't you?" He asked suddenly. The girl paused but nodded slowly.

"I don't need to. But I can." Her pale blue eyes watched him curiously.

"Ok then," He said, moving towards the spare bedroom next to his. "I'll set this place up for you. You can sleep there, if that's ok?"

"It would be safer for me to share a room with you." Assassin replied, apparently not giving up on this point. "And sleep is not needed. If anything, it is a risk. Especially if I am removed from your presence."

"Alright, fine." Shirou sighed again. "Compromise time. You can stay in my room, but I'll be putting a screen between us, and you've got to sleep. No watching over me in spirit form all night long."

Assassin seemed to consider this for a moment.

"Satisfactory. Maintaining my physical form for a protracted period of time will be a drain on you though. The fact that I am sleeping will mitigate this somewhat, but it will still be there, Master."

"I'll deal with that," Shirou responded, relief settling in that he had managed to resolve the issue. "Besides, it'll be good to get an estimation of how big the drain is before we get into a fight."

He stopped, considering. "Oh, and don't call me 'Master'. It just feels weird. My name's Shirou."

The Servant closed her eyes for a second, as if concentrating. "Understood, Shirou."

He opened his cupboard and pulled out a futon, shaking it out briefly before lying it one the floor. When he turned back to the Servant, she was staring at the large, quilted bed with an odd look in her eyes. "Never seen a bed before?" He quipped, giving a small grin.

"I have never slept in one." Assassin responded, her gaze still unmoving. Shirou's smile faded. Wow… that… that made the joke a little awkward.

"Do you want the bed?" Shirou asked. The girls head whipped round at him. She nodded and inwardly, Shirou groaned.

It looked like he was going to be on the floor then.

--------------------------------------

Assassin wasn't sure what to make of her new master. She could tell that he was a good person. He was kind, generous, open and had treated her well so far. He'd also given her sweets and a bed. She pulled the blankets tighter around herself at that thought, enjoying their softness. Frankly, he'd treated her better than anyone had in her entire life.

She slipped out the covers, slightly regretting leaving the softness behind, and trod towards the screen that separated the room. Her movements were perfectly silent and her presence utterly hidden. She was the Heroic Spirit Assassin after all, no human would ever sense her if she didn't want to be found.

She opened the screen slightly and slid through. Shirou lay there, his face peaceful as he slept, his breath even and regular. She crouched down, watching him. In the slums that she'd spent her childhood, indeed most of her life in, even a small blanket like this had been a commodity for the abandoned children of the city. They'd gathered under the few that they could find, often more than a dozen children sleeping together in a huddle, trying to force the sheet to spread over as many as possible. In all probability, the sharing of body heat that their close proximity to each other had caused had probably helped the children more than anything the tattered blankets had done.

She watched him for a while longer. He looked very warm…

--------------------------------------

He dreamt of a city.

It was shrouded in fog, a fog tainted with the pollution of a hundred years of industry. The city was ancient and powerful. An empire spread out from it, crossing the waves and land to rule people thousands of miles away, people who had never seen the city or the Queen they swore allegiance to.

It was a place of money and power, with merchants and politicians fighting day and night to claim and keep their share of both. In such a place, people fell through the cracks so very easily. There was a whole world to be kept in shape after all. Who had the time to truly care about the fate of a child of a street prostitute?

In a back alley slum, a girl would steal money from those who passed. She preyed on those foolish enough to leave their wallets unguarded, and those too drunk to notice a small hand slipping into their coat pocket on a crowded street. It was not a safe existence, nor a happy one. But it was an existence and so for a while the girl was content.

That all changed the day she saw a child run to it's mother, crying. The mother picked it up, comforted it and promised it something good to eat. The father, who'd been arguing with a street seller, came running at the sound of the screams and soon joined the mother in reassuring the child.

She'd asked herself a simple, yet unanswerable question: Why?

Why does that child have a family that cares, and I do not? Why are there so many abandoned children like me, yet so many more that have homes? Why did my family cast me away, before I could even remember their faces?

Slowly but surely, she reached a conclusion. It was her mothers fault. It was the fault of the woman who'd brought her into this world, yet not cared enough to keep her. And her mother was not alone. There were others, whores and prostitutes and nightwalkers that did the same, or didn't even give their children that much of a chance, killing them before they'd even been born.

That conclusion fostered resentment. Resentment became spite. Spite grew to become hate. Hate gave a purpose….

Shirou eyes shot open, the dream of the city of smoke and fog still vivid in his mind. He blinked. That had been… interesting. He'd heard from his father that the memories of a Servant could pass over the bond to the Master, but he hadn't expected it to start so soon.

As he drifted further back into wakefulness, he became aware that he was warm. Uncomfortably warm actually. He pulled back the covers, trying to get some of the morning's fresh, cool air against his body. As the cover came back, his mind went blank as his brain seemed to shut down temporarily. Lying next to him, wearing nothing more than his t-shirt and that pair of impossibly small pants, was Assassin.

Ok, Shirou, he thought, Don't panic. There's probably a good explanation for this. Just wake her up and talk about this. You are a rational, cool-headed person. You won't panic in this kind of situation.

"Snphdsf!" He all but shrieked, back-pedalling out of the futon. Or trying to anyway. Unfortunately, the moment before he made his move a pair of slim but incredibly powerful arms wrapped around him, reeling him in. A small head rested itself on his chest, her breath tickling his abs. Against his will, parts of him began to wake up rather faster than the rest of him.

He struggled in her grip which, while it failed to free him, seemed to wake up the sleeping Servant. Her eyes opened and closed blearily and she eventually looked up at him.

"Good morning." She said calmly.

"Hngifds." He agreed, his mind still reeling. He forced himself to focus. Assassin appeared in no rush to release him, which meant that it'd be up to him to take the initiative in this situation.

"Assassin, what are you doing?" The question came out remarkably calm, all things considered.

The small Servant seemed to consider that for a second, then responded casually.

"I was sleeping."

"Yes. Yes, I got that." Shirou replied, exasperation leaking into his voice. "My question is: Why are you doing it in my bed?"

"You looked warm, so I climbed into the futon. You were warm, so I stayed." Her response was so frank and superficially logical that for a moment, he almost accepted it. Almost.

"But it's my bed." He stated. "I gave you the main bed so that you could sleep there. Not here."

"You don't like it?" She asked, looking up at him again.

The most obvious answer that sprang to mind was 'No'. But that would be at least partly a lie. Parts of him most certainly liked it. On a more… platonic level, her presence was quite pleasant. She was warm and soft and having her next to him was surprisingly comfortable. More than that though, he couldn't help but feel that the question was some kind of test and that a straight out denial wouldn't be the best answer.
"I…" He hesitated. Assassin watched him, calmly waiting for his answer. "I didn't say that."

"So you like it?" The question was as blunt as a hammer to the face and he very nearly winced. He was being forced into a verbal corner.

"It's not about me liking it or not." He said, subtly reinforcing his limbs. While the Servant would almost certainly sense his prana moving, she wouldn't sense the steady build up of power in his muscles. If he timed it right, he could break out of the grasp in one movement. He supposed he could have just used a command seal to get out, but that felt like cheating. And a terrible waste of a command seal. "It's about the fact that we agreed to sleep separated by a screen, and that didn't happen."

"You were warm." Assassin protested, somewhat sulkily, as if that could justify any action she took. "And you didn't answer my question."

"I…" He sighed. This felt like kicking a puppy. Assassin obviously regarded their sleeping together as some kind of mark of trust, and not anything sexual. "I enjoyed it. It felt comfortable having you next to me."

He could feel the arms around him relax somewhat and for a moment, he could have sworn a small smile crossed her face. He slipped out of her grasp. To his relief she didn't try and grab him again. Instead, she curled up in the blankets like a cat, wrapping them around her. Not exactly the stellar image for a Heroic Spirit of legend, but he'd long ago given up on expecting people to conform to what was expected of them. He shook his head violently, clearing it as much as possible.

"Right then, what do you want for breakfast?" He inquired cheerfully. Whatever had just transpired, it was probably best to put it behind him, at least for now. "I could make some pancakes if you want-"

He could barely even perceive Assassin's movements as she shot out of the bed. He supposed she did want pancakes then.

--------------------------------------

Shirou opened the door to his workshop, stepping swiftly inside the small, glorified shed that was his research centre as a magus. After breakfast, he'd decided to check out the growth of his modified plants in the workshop. Assassin, as ever, followed him. She'd apparently gone into her quiet mode, probably out of contentment from a sugary breakfast. Gilgamesh and his father had seemingly vanished, leaving them the whole kitchen to themselves. He wasn't worried. This wasn't the first time they'd both disappeared, and it likely wouldn't be the last. They'd almost certainly be back by the next day.

A small generator hummed in the corner next to the window, powering a freezer. When he'd shown it to Rin, he'd rather thought that she was going to kill him on the spot. Instead, she'd given him an incredibly long speech on why magi didn't use technology in their research, how it cheapened the art of magic and how he should get rid of the bloody thing as soon as possible. She'd failed, however, to answer one important question: How else was he supposed to keep the blood bags frozen?

So the generator had stayed, despite her complaints.

As he entered, several plants, engineered to feed on prana, rustled. The moment they recognised his od however, they settled down. They went through a similar process for Assassin, but he'd already altered the field to accept her, so they settled down once again. He was quite proud of the wasting thistle, (name subject to change), actually. They were effectively perfect magus killers. A fair degree of magic resistance, and their ability to feed on the od of magi enabled them to rapidly drain a magus of his or her ability to defend themselves. Which would leave them easy prey for the deadly nightroses, (name subject to change), and green strangler (name not subject to change. He rather liked it).

He gave each plant a quick check over, analysing them carefully to ensure that they were healthy. He was pleased to see that his prana reserves were still doing quite well, having even recovered from the summoning of Assassin, despite the fact that she'd maintained a physical presence nigh constantly. Still, it would probably be a good idea to take some help, just in case he ran into another Master even this early on.

He opened a drawer, taking out two small tins. He opened them carefully, peering inside. A half dozen seeds rested in each, visibly notable only for being quite large. To a magus however, the prana within was hugely obvious. Each seed practically bristled with the stuff. He closed the tins and put them in his pockets.

"Alright Assassin, you ready?" He faced the Servant, who seemed to have become deeply engrossed in inspecting one of the plants.

"For what, Shirou?" She turned her attention away from the plant and back to her Master.

"I've got school now, so you're probably going to need to be in spiritual form to accompany me." The Servants eyes widened slightly.

"You mean… You're going out? In the day?" Her question was one part incredulous, two parts nervous. Shirou frowned.

"Well, yeah. Is that a problem?" He replied.

"No." Assassin said it firmly, as if trying to convince herself. "You wish for me to be in spiritual form, yes? Invisible to others?"

"That's right." Shirou nodded, curious as to his Servants concern. More and more he found himself wanting to know exactly what her identity was. Hopefully his dreams would continue, so that he could puzzle it out.

"Then it's fine." She nodded, before vanishing from sight.

Shirou stared at the spot where Assassin had been, a memory from last night surfacing. She'd blushed when she'd noticed what she'd been wearing in front of him on arrival. She was the Servant Assassin, a class that devoted themselves to mastery of stealth and surprise attacks. A realisation struck him, leaving his mouth nearly agape. She was shy. A legendary Heroic Spirit, a being of myth and lore, with power that surpasses all others was shy. And had a sweet tooth. And liked to bond by sleeping next to her Master.

The realisation rapidly turned to amusement. And why had he expected any different? He'd lived with Gilgamesh, the King of Hero's, for nearly ten years and the man had been anything but the epitome of nobility. He was an avid video gamer, he had an online account called Kingofpwnrs for God's sake! Heroic Spirits, for all their power and skill, were still just people. They'd been placed on a pedestal by magi, made into some kind of supreme existence. And on one level, they were. Each of them had overcome trials and challenges that would have destroyed another. They'd ascended to the throne of Hero's. But despite that, despite that, they still had the same troubles, same neuroses, same joys and same goals as any other human was capable of.

It was definitely food for thought.

--------------------------------------

"You will take this." Sakura said, passing the book over to Shinji. He looked at it, gaze worried. While he'd never had the magic circuits required to be a magus, his theoretical knowledge was quite good. She knew that he knew damn well what it was. The Book of the False Attendant. A magical item that allowed him to act as a Master, if only by proxy.

"Why?" He asked nervously. "There's no way I can fight in your place."

She was well aware of that. Whether as a combatant or a source of prana, her brother was equally useless. He didn't have the arrogance to believe otherwise. That day in the pit had driven all such things from him.

"You will not be required to," She replied. "Your purpose is to serve as a screen for my activities."

It was a tactic that had been used to great effect in the previous War by Emiya Kiritsugu. One magus to act as a distraction, the other to hunt down opposing Master's.

"But... that's..." She knew what he wanted to say. It would be suicide. His chances of surviving were practically non-existent. But he didn't have the nerve to say it, not in front of Zouken.

The old man was watching them from the shadows, his gaze like a sword poised over their heads. While Sakura had no particular fondness for her brother, the tactic still rankled. It was a suicide mission. While the book itself would give him access to a few basic combat spells, they'd be pale shadows of what a true magus would be capable of.

"Do not be concerned," She said calmly. "This mission will only last until all Master's identities have been confirmed. I will supply the Prana to Berserker. You need only act as a figurehead."

Shinji's eyes flicked to the Servant in the corner. The huge, looming figure stared back at him, eyes savage. It obviously didn't reassure him.
But, as Sakura knew, there was no way he would refuse. Zouken had decided that this was how the War was going to be fought, and in the Matou household, his word was law.

Despite herself, she could feel fear building up within her, just from the soul-crushing weight of his gaze. Zouken had trained her, made her strong, but his intent had always been clear. She was a weapon for the use of the glory of the Matou family. Zouken's glory. Despite her training, or perhaps because of it, her fear of the rotten old magus matched Shinji's. The slightest frown of dissaproval caused her to panic, memories of time spent in the pit rising up. Terror had become a constant feeling for her. She could never escape that pressure, no matter where she went.

Except for one place.

The memories of that simple, tiny school garden and the boy who tended it calmed her. Kotomine Shirou. His presence soothed her in ways she couldn't even begin to describe or explain. When she was watching him work, she felt tranquil, at peace, like she had never felt since before ever coming to the Matou household. He would survive the War, she decided. He would not be a casualty of the crossfire between Masters. She would ensure it.

--------------------------------------

The street was quiet. Why shouldn't it have been? It was early morning after all. Almost everybody was either asleep, or in the early stages of getting ready for work or school.

Ilyasviel von Einzbern stood in the middle of the road, her body shaking slightly. Finally, as if she couldn't hold it back anymore, her fist pumped into the air.

"Heroine of love and justice, Ilyasviel von Einzbern has arrived! Master's who would abuse their powers, beware!" She shouted, the sound piercing the early morning air. As the shout faded away, she nodded in satisfaction. A hero always had to announce themselves on arrival. It was only fair after all.

"Master…" Her Servant gave a long suffering sigh next to her. "That wasn't exactly wise."

"Oh, don't be boring!" Ilya gave the Heroic Spirit a beaming smile. "Even if anyone heard, it's only giving them a chance to get ready."

"Yes, Master. That's my concern. We don't want them to get ready." The Servant sighed again. If she hadn't been summoned nearly four years ago, and thus had a chance to acclimatise to the small, white haired girls personality, she'd no doubt be ripping her hair out by now.

"Boring~" Ilya trilled. Suddenly, her face darkened. "And why are you calling me 'Master' now? I thought we got past that years ago?"

"Yes, Master, but we are in the Holy Grail War itself now. Caution should be paramount."

"Nope." Her response was abrupt.

"Nope?" The Servant questioned.

"Nope. You're not calling me 'Master'. My name is Ilya. It's a good name." Ilya crossed her arms stubbornly, fixing her Servant with a piercing gaze.

"Very well, Ilya." The Heroic Spirit said, folding before that determined look. Ilya beamed once more.

"You see? That was easy, wasn't it?"

The swordswoman nodded grudgingly. Ilya smile grew wider. Once you knew how to work around her Servant's incredibly serious personality, dealing with her became so much easier.

"So, Ilya, if you don't mind me asking: Why are we here in the morning?" Now it was the Servant's turn to cross her arms, giving the little girl a suspicious stare. "I assumed that you had a plan of some sort, so I didn't question it back at the castle. I would like to hear that plan now. Our chances of encountering a Master in an area suitable for battle are practically non-existent at this time."

"Huhu," Ilya laughed evilly. "You'll like this. My plan is to go to all the arcades in town and play around all day."

Silence reigned.

"Tell me, Master," The swordswoman's voice was cold. "On what God-forsaken piece of rock would I ever like that idea?"

"Oh, don't be a spoilsport." Ilya said, waving off the complaint dismissively. She'd known that her Servant would react like this of course. "It'll be fine. I'll look for anyone suspicious while I'm doing it."

"That is a lie." The Servant stated. "You intend to do nothing of the sort, and instead you plan to mess around all day long."

Ilya frowned. It looked like her Servant was catching on to the way her mind worked. That could make things more difficult. Time to appeal to her Servant's sense of pity.

"Oh, please let me." Her eyes began to tear up, and she stared at the swordswoman pitifully, her red eyes wavering. The Servant wavered. Ilya suppressed her vicious grin. Time for the finisher. "I- I haven't been out to play for such a long time. You know that! I just wanted to- I just want…" She trailed off.

"Very well." The swordswoman's jade eyes were filled with reluctant pity as she replied. "I suppose one day will be fine. Not all the Servant's have been summoned yet."

Ilya cheered, immediately running off in the direction of the shopping district she'd seen earlier. Her teary eyes had already vanished. "C'mon Saber! We've got to be quick to get as much done as possible!"

Saber blinked, the realisation of the fact that she'd been taken for a ride crossing her face. "Ilya!" She roared, chasing after the small girl, even the blue dress that had been provided for her barely slowing down the King of Knight's. "Get back here!"

Ilya giggled as she ran. She knew that Saber would give her a row when they got back, but for now, the day beckoned. This was going to be a fun War.

And more than that, she would prove that she could uphold her fathers ideals. She would make him proud.

-End-

Alulim
September 13th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Ah, this is here. Good.

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:12 PM
Ch 5: Calm

Emiya Kiritsugu had had everything he'd ever wanted. A loving wife. A healthy child. A chance to fulfil an ideal he'd considered impossible, yet struggled towards anyway. It had been more than he'd considered himself worthy of.

He'd thrown it away.

It had been for a good reason. The Holy Grail had been nothing more than a tool of destruction. To use it would have been to go against everything Emiya Kiritsugu stood for, everything he represented. So when he was given the chance to bring back his beloved wife, and live together with her and his child, he'd forced his Servant to destroy the Grail, the instrument of her own salvation. How could he have done otherwise? The price for his happiness would have been the world.

And as if to mock him, despite his desperate search, he'd found no-one amidst the flames. He hadn't saved a single person. What had stumbled out of the wreckage had been a broken shell of a man. Emiya Kiritsugu, Magus Killer, was long gone. All that was left was a man who needed to see the last thing that was important to him.

His path to the winter country where the Einzbern made their home had been dangerous. He'd made enemies, too many to count, even before the war. They'd hunted him, but the skills that had made him one of the deadliest men alive had not faded, even if he couldn't summon the drive to use them for any proactive purpose. They'd hunted him, and they'd died. Not without cost to himself though. The curse that the Grail had placed on him grew only stronger, and his continual use of magic and strenuous physical activity only sped up the process.

Yet still, he'd persevered. And eventually, he'd reached the lands ruled by the Einzbern's. He'd been denied entry of course. They considered his actions a betrayal and wouldn't let him near his daughter, their pawn for the next war. Not that that had stopped him. The Einzbern's bounded field was impressive indeed, but he'd always been good at breaking such things and theirs was no exception. In less than a day, he'd pierced his way into the heart of their territory, and showed no signs of stopping, no matter what they threw against him.

Their familiars, their alchemical creations, their servants and even their own magi. They'd thrown it all against him, like a body trying to drive out a hostile invader. He'd avoided what he could and slain what he couldn't. But at a cost, always at a cost. If it had been a shell of a man that had entered the forest of winter, it had been fragments held together by willpower that had reached the castle.

He'd stumbled through its all but empty halls, halls that had been emptied to hunt him, until he'd reached a room in the highest tower, like a knight rescuing a princess. But he was no knight and she was no princess. Just a father, who desperately wanted to see his daughter. And a daughter, who desperately wanted to see her father.

He'd opened the door, and for a moment, she hadn't recognised him. When she did, her face twisted in concern. He knew why. Wounds dotted his form, and the curse had sapped almost all the remaining vitality from him. He looked like a dead man walking. But he was smiling as he saw the little girl dressed all in purple.

She'd tried to help him, tried to heal him. A useless effort. The Einzbern family weren't much for healing to begin with, and his daughter had barely begun her training. So he'd shushed her, and told her a story.

It wasn't a pleasant one. There were no happy endings, no heroes. There were just fools, jesters and monsters, who'd battled for a worthless prize, no true victory ever possible. A silent girl, who had followed his orders to the end. A dark priest, so very warped that he had been unable to recognise his own wickedness and then not cared when he had. A beautiful woman, who'd deserved so much more, who had become a container for the darkest of forces.

And the greatest fool of them all, a man who had thought that miracles could occur, that someone could be saved without cost.

He'd told her that he loved her. Oh, he told her so many times. She cried and cried and cried, nodding. She loved him too. He'd kept his promise after all.

As the last of the life that had sustained him slipped from his body, he'd whispered something. His purest desire.

"When I was young, I wanted to be a superhero."

She'd nodded, tears running down her cheek and said:

"That's fine. You're old, so there's no way you can do that anymore. Just watch me pull it off."

He'd grinned at that. Despite all the pain that ideal had given him, hearing the words from his own daughter's mouth made him happy in a way that he couldn't describe.

"In that case, I can be a little relieved."

Emiya Kiritsugu left four things to his daughter. A battered gun. A handful of bullets. An old sheath. And a way of life that had destroyed him.

She thought they were the best presents he'd ever given her.

--------------------------------------

Kotomine Shirou sighed as he settled into his seat. School just seemed so surreal. He'd always enjoyed it, despite his classmates feelings on the place. Somewhere that handed out knowledge, that rewarded curiosity and experimentation, just felt right to him. If some of the teachers were dull, or strict, then so what? The library alone more than made up for such small inconveniences.

But the fact of the matter was that he was a Master now, fighting in a war that none of his classmates could even imagine, let alone ever be a part of. There was a barrier between the simple life he'd lived before and the reality of the life he was living now, imperceptible but absolute. He wondered if this was what Rin felt like, all the time.

He'd never embraced the lifestyle of magus, and had never intended to. He felt no need to present a perfect self image to the world at large, like Rin, perfect honour student and school idol, did. Furthermore, while he had enough common sense to keep his magecraft secret, he'd thrown aside most of the other 'codes' of magi. Partly because the idea of magi having a set of common rules that they all abided to perfectly was as ridiculous as the idea of herding cats, but mostly because they rankled in their intent. Magi saw magecraft as a research subject, knowledge to be stored and hoarded. To them, magic itself was both the end and the means.

It was different for him. He saw it as a way to experience new things and affect the world around himself. Magecraft was important to him because of what it allowed him to do, not just because of itself. They were both scholars of the art, but if they were philosophers, he was an engineer. They looked for higher truths. He researched and used his magic to change the world around him. It had been one of the many sources of tension between him and Rin, along with the bounded field and generator. She'd called him a 'magic user', someone who had the skills of a magus, but none of the way of life. It was apparently meant as an insult, but he quite liked the title. It didn't sound quite as pretentious for one thing.

Speaking of Rin, he thought, mind turning to more practical matters, I really need to talk with her.

The moment the lunch bell rung, he walked out, making his way to Rin's classroom. As luck would have it she was just outside, deep in conversation with a number of female juniors, all of whom looked rather impressed. Rin had that effect on people. People who didn't know her anyway.

"Tohsaka!" He called, and Rin turned, facing him. So did her newfound fans, all of whom looked quite annoyed by the interruption.

"Kotomine-kun?" Rin replied, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, sorry to interrupt, but it's quite important." He gave a brief, apologetic nod to the girls. "I need to talk to you about your suggestion to increase athletic club funding."

"Oh?" Rin raised an eyebrow, then sighed. "I suppose we'd best go somewhere else then. This might take a while. Sorry girls, we'll try and talk later." She apologised to the juniors, then followed him to an empty room.

"So you've developed an interest in student council affairs now, Kotomine-kun?" She asked sardonically, the moment the door was closed behind them.

"Oh, you know me. I'm a dedicated member of the community at heart." He responded casually. "I've always got time to throw myself into the fire of your wrath for the sake of my fellow students."

"So I see." She sat down. "So what's this about?"

Shirou looked her straight in the eye. "I need to borrow some of your clothes."

Rin's face was fantastically blank.

"W-what?"

"I need to borrow some of your clothes." He repeated. "Preferably nice ones. A selection of different colours would be good too."

"May I ask why?" Rin spluttered out. Shirou frowned as he watched her. She was acting like he'd asked for something weird.

"Sure. They're for Assassin." He replied calmly. Rin's face paled.

"Who?"

"Assassin. Wait, hold on a sec," He paused. "Assassin, could you come out?"

There was a moments silence, then a small girl, clothed in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans appeared. If her sudden appearance didn't clue Rin into what she was, the four knives strapped to her waist probably did. Rin's already pale face became alabaster.

"Shirou, you summoned a Servant last night?" She asked, her voice quite steady.

He nodded. "Yeah. About ten o'clock. Why?"

Rin closed her eyes and rubbed her brow, as if horribly tired.

"You know, I'm going to be a Master as well. Telling someone what Servant class you have is a pretty hefty advantage to give an enemy."

Shirou frowned. What was Rin talking about? "That's not a problem. I've never considered you an enemy. The War isn't going to change that."

He watched as her face turned magenta. He'd thought about it before, but Rin had a wonderfully emphatic face. Despite her best attempts, she'd never got dissembling quite right. When they were younger, he'd even amused himself by getting her to break her perfect façade in front of others. The look on her face when she realised that she'd acted like… well… herself, in front of others never ceased to make him smile.

"I-I see." Rin said quietly, looking away. Her voice trailed off to an imperceptible murmur as she continued. "Well, I guess I've thought something similar on occasion."

"Sorry Tohsaka, what was that?" He leaned in, frowning. He hadn't quite caught what she'd said.

Rin's face was now a blazing inferno of scarlet. "Shut up! I won't say it again! I'll get you the clothes and even bring them round to the damn church! I hope you enjoy them!"

"Rin."

"W-what?" She crossed her arms defensively, refusing to meet his gaze.

"Thanks."

"It's fine!" She huffed, apparently calmed down somewhat.

"No, really. Thanks. I think I've told you this before, but you're a good person, you know that?"

Rin was quiet at that, apparently shocked into silence. Eventually, she forced her mouth open. "No, I'm not!"

He raised an eyebrow at the protest. Being a little defensive there aren't you, Rin? Still, when Tohsaka was in one of her stubborn moods, arguing was as pointless and inevitably painful as beating your head off of a wall.

"Sure, sure. You're a heartless witch, dread emanates from you in waves, children scream at your presence, etc etc. Even so, thanks once again." He turned to Assassin, who'd remained quiet throughout the talk. "Alright, let's go, Assassin."

Assassin nodded in acquiescence. But before she vanished, she glanced at Rin, a glare of obvious dislike on her face. It was the last thing Rin saw on the small Servant's visage before she went into spiritual form.

Shirou paused at the door.

"Oh. And Rin, we've done this before, but take care, alright?"

She opened her mouth to reply, but Shirou left quickly. As fun as watching a flustered Rin was, he still had to grab lunch.

--------------------------------------

Rin had been as good as her word. A quite large selection of his clothes had been waiting for him on the doorstep of the church, after his return from gardening. Some of them were even different colours from the red and black combo that his friend so favoured.

Oddly enough, Assassin didn't seem very pleased at that, eyeing the pile with a mix of disdain and mistrust.

"Something wrong?" He asked, picking the clothing up.

"I don't want to wear it." She replied. He stopped, shooting her a curious look.

"Why? I mean, you only have to wear it indoors. No-one else is going to see it, if that's what you're worried about." Assassin shook her head as he spoke.

"Not that. I just don't want to." She had clammed up after that, refusing to speak another word on the matter and eventually, he'd given up. For now, she'd simply have to make do with his old clothes, at least until he could buy her something new. He wished she'd come to this conclusion before he'd asked Rin though. It would have saved him some trouble.

He walked into the living room, depositing the pile of clothing on a chair, along with his school gear. Gilgamesh had returned, and was once again enthralled within the world of Final Fantasy 7. He'd made some progress since his last save point, apparently reaching the Northern Crater for the first time.

He blinked in surprise as Gilgamesh paused the game, turning round. Gilgamesh never paused games, not for anything short of an earthquake or a determined interruption. And even then it had to be a fairly big earthquake. His older brothers gaze briefly inspected him, before passing over to the Servant at his side. Assassin dropped into a combat stance, knives flicking out into her hands. Gilgamesh sneered at the motion.

"Don't worry, Assassin," Shirou placed a hand in front of the girl. "He's my brother, not an enemy."

The Heroic Spirit hesitated a moment, then slipped her knives back into their sheaths. Her pose was still wary though, and she watched the King of Heroes cautiously.

"Well, well brat. It appears you've managed to summon a glorified street rat. I don't know whether I should be shocked at your failure, or merely consider it par for the course." Gilgamesh drawled, turning his attention back to his little brother. "I don't suppose you want to get rid of her? I could go out and kill a Master, and you could make a new contract with another, more… noble Servant."

Assassin bristled at the insult, her hands reaching for the blades at her hip. Shirou stopped her with a gesture, shaking his head.
"
Thanks for the offer, but I'm fine." He replied. A small smile crossed his face."Oh, and be careful."

The King of Heroes raised an eyebrow at that. "Be careful? Of what? You don't think your little street urchin is a threat to me, do you?

"No, but you're about to miss the scene where Cloud is suggested to be a failed clone of Sephiroth, who's been trapped in a vast, crystallised materia in the Northern Crater for the past few years."

There was a moment of silence while Gilgamesh digested what he'd heard.

"You little braaaaaaaaat…!" The roar followed Shirou out of the room as he grabbed Assassin and made a run for it. Given that this was the second time he'd ruined his brothers gaming experience in the last few days, it would probably be best for them to be out of the house for an hour or two. A second cry echoed out from the church behind them, followed by a blade embedding itself in the ground a few feet from his position.

Maybe a few more hours than originally planned then. Still, the frustration on his brother's face made it all worthwhile.

He supposed that they'd be eating out. That was fine, he knew a good Chinese restaurant. They did a great Mapo tofu, as long as you asked them to go easy on the spices.

…Really, really easy.

--------------------------------------

Lancer was in a good mood. He'd been summoned by an attractive young lady, he was going to fight in a war against combatants that could rival him and he was in an interesting country, so very different to his own land. All in all, it was everything he could ever really want.

Well, a few more girls and some drink would be great.

He lounged back against the fence, his Master beside him looking over the city. Bazett, for all her charms and the cute way she stuttered around him, was surprisingly professional when it came to the War. She'd insisted that they get a good overview of the town they were going to be waging war in, and he'd obliged, taking her to the top of the tallest building he could see in only a few bounds. He'd been hoping that the experience would cause her to cling to him a little, but if anything, the contact had made her more nervous than the death-defying leaps.

"Lancer, you should take a look at this too," Bazett scolded, turning to him. "Knowing the layout of the city will help you better know how to-"

"Already memorised it." He interrupted. His Master hesitated.

"Oh. Really?"

"Yup."

Bazett appeared a little embarrassed by her presumption that he was slacking, intertwining her fingers and looking away from him. Then again, she'd always been like that around him. Her crush on him was so blatantly obvious that he actually felt a little guilty flirting with her. It would just be so easy that it felt almost wrong to take advantage of it. Like he was cheating or something.

"Well, not like it'll help till we get into a fight anyway. And the way things are going, who knows when that'll be." Lancer reclined back against the fence. Bazett had been a stickler for the rules so far. Not all the Servants had been summoned, so they weren't going hunting. If they encountered another Master by chance, then that was fine. They'd engage them. But they weren't going to join the War in earnest till everybody was ready. While he was annoyed that his long awaited battles had been put off, the idea had a certain element of fair play to it that pleased him. After all, the longer he gave his enemies to prepare, the better the match they'd be.

"Even so, we might need to make a tactical retreat at some point. This is the sort of war where even something as simple as knowledge of the local terrain that can spell the difference between life and death."

"Wow, Master. I never knew that." He drawled in response. "Guess all that fighting in my life never taught me any real lessons in warfare. Who would have thought?"

Bazett scowled for a second, then shook her head. "Sorry. I'm thinking aloud more than anything else." She hesitated. "I'm a little nervous."

The admission surprised Lancer. His Master tended to project a businesslike air wherever possible, rarely showing emotions like fear or concern and speaking of them even less.

"That so?" He picked his at teeth casually. "Well, I guess that this war would unsettle anybody from this era-"
"
It's not that." Her interruption shot across him. "I have no concerns with regards to the War. I have you helping me after all." She blushed at that, but continued. "My worry is that you will find me somehow unsatisfactory as Master."

Lancer stared at her for a long moment, then burst out laughing. Guffaws sounded around the empty roof top, and he wiped his eyes of the tears his laughter had created.

"Oh. That's too good. That's just fantastic. Look," He faced her, face growing a little more serious. "You're a good woman. And when I say that, I don't just mean you're attractive. You're strong, brave and loyal. You've shown all the traits that a Red Branch knight should have. Frankly, I respect you. No matter how the War goes, as long as you face it as you have, I'll have no complaints."

Bazett watched him for a moment, as if trying to drag a lie from what he'd said. Eventually, she relaxed. "Guess I was making mountains of molehills then?"

"Far as I can tell, that's not an uncommon thing these days." The Heroic Spirit gave a disappointed sight. "There just ain't anyone able to take it as it comes anymore."

Bazett smiled. "I'll try and correct that from now on." She stretched, her form illuminated by the sun sinking past the horizon. "For starters, how about we get something to eat? I thought I saw an interesting looking Chinese restaurant down there. I'll get some takeout."

Lancer laughed again. She really is a good woman, huh?

"Now you're getting it. Grab me some of the drink from around here while you're at it, would you? If I'm going to wait, might as well sample the local flavour!"

--------------------------------------

Shirou watched the diminutive Servant pile away the food. No. That didn't describe the small Servant's talents to a satisfactory degree. She annihilated it. She reduced it to rubble. She was the force of destruction itself to the realm of food. If a curry was to be exposed to the force of a thousand detonating suns, then forced through the crushing gravity of a black hole, it might have rivalled her effect on the foodstuff. Might. It would up to the judges to decide.

"So you like it then?" He asked, amused.

"It is a pleasant taste." The Servant said in between mouthfuls. "One that I have never experienced before."

It had damn well better be pleasant, Shirou thought darkly. He'd fought long and hard to get the idea across to Batsu-san, the manager of this place, that when one asked for 'spice', they did not in fact mean the that the refined flames of hell should be liberally added to their food. Nor that almost every other vegetable that the meal normally used should be replaced with red pepper.

He glanced down at his own meal. Beef lo mein. One of the few meals that had been safe to eat even before his frequent arguments with Batsu-san, mainly due to the fact that the recipe didn't allow for much, if any, spice to be added.

"Hmmm. So you've never had Chinese or curry before… What about Italian or Indian food?" He probed gently. While he'd decided to mostly leave the subject of her past alone until she was ready to tell him, the curiosity was still present. A few questions on foodstuffs weren't all that bad, right? Besides, he quite enjoyed seeing Assassin looking pleased.

Assassin shook her head. "I have not tried any of those. I ate little when I was alive, and it was mostly plain fare. Bread and such."

"Well, you certainly seem to be making up for lost time." He noted, eyeing her almost empty plate. Her almost empty second plate. If this was going to be the way of things for the course of the war, his wallet would be all but screaming by the end.

"Is that bad?" Assassin asked, her movement pausing as she looked at him, the fork held in mid-air.

"No, it's not." He shook his head, smiling. "If you enjoy something, then enjoy it. It's as simple as that."

The Servant seemed to consider that, then nodded. "Good advice. I shall remember it."

"Really? Rin told me that it was stupidly simplistic when I said it to her." Shirou said, a smile breaking out over his face as he remembered the scolding. She'd been in a particularly bad mood that day.

"Rin." He looked back at the Servant. "That is the girl from earlier?"

"Yep. She's my oldest friend, and heir to the family of Tohsaka." The Servant impassive visage distorted as he spoke.

"You should not associate with her." It was phrased as a statement. "She is to be a Master. She will be your enemy."

"I don't think so." He replied. The way she'd said that had been strange, like she'd been trying to convince him. "Rin and I have been through too much to start going for each others throats over something like the Holy Grail. In fact, once she's summoned a Servant, we'll probably join forces."

"That would be pointless." Assassin's voice was cold as she spoke, the ever-moving fork placed down on the table. "Only one Master and Servant can hold the Grail. It cannot be shared. You may be able to cooperate for now. But in time you will strike the other."

"We'll find a way round that," He said firmly. "Truth be told, I don't think either of us really care for the Grail that much."

"That may be the case now. But it will change." The small Servant stood up from her seat, facing him. When she stood, she was almost as tall as he was seated. "You will have to be on guard against her. If you are not, then I shall be."

"And how exactly are you planning to be on guard?" He asked, expression cooling as he met his Servant's gaze.

"Should she try to harm you, I will kill her. Should she approach you without warning, I will kill her. Should she threaten you, I will kill her. Should she hide information from you, I will kill her. Should-" A feverish light was in the Assassin's blue eyes as she spoke, her fingers twitching slightly, as if grasping a knife.

"I get the feeling you don't like Rin much." He interrupted, voice heavy with sarcasm.

"I don't." Assassin replied flatly. He waited for a moment, but the Servant didn't elaborate.

"Any particular reason why…?" He inquired, trying to draw an explanation out of her. He was beginning to find the aggressive stance Assassin was taking with regards to Rin more than a little worrying. Having my Servant trying to kill my best friend is one experience I could do without, he thought dryly.

"You are too close to her. Your judgement is being impaired." He stared at her for a moment, then shook his head in resignedly.

"Alright, I understand your point. I don't agree with it, and I'm not going to start planning how to kill Rin, but I get it."

"Then you will cut contact with her?" That same feverish look was back in her eyes as she leaned forward. Shirou shrugged.

"I don't intend to do that. For the moment, I don't have any particular plans with regards to how to deal with each individual Master. But," He paused for effect, then continued speaking. "I'm not going to kill Rin. That won't change, even if she does decide to seize the Grail."

Assassin's face distorted once more, anger twisting it into an almost feral expression. "Why? Why do you value her so highly?"

"Because she's my friend, and thus important to me." He replied simply. "And I intend to protect what's important to me during this war. That's all."

The Servant stopped, seemingly considering what he'd said. Her eyes closed as she fell into thought. "At the least, will you be ready to combat her? Should circumstances call for it?"

Shirou hesitated. It wasn't really something he even wanted to think about, but Assassin had a point. There was the possibility that Rin might be coerced or compelled into fighting him. Eventually, he nodded. "If it comes to it, I'll fight her. But it won't. And even if by some chance it does, I won't kill her." He emphasised that last past firmly. Finally, Assassin relaxed a little.

"That will have to do." She sat back in her chair, grabbing her fork and attacking her now cool food.

He couldn't help but feel that she was stabbing the curry a little harder than necessary.

--------------------------------------

Assassin felt an anger bubbling beneath her impassive exterior. Her Master was truly kind. Too kind. He trusted people he should not, even in circumstances that all but declared their impending betrayal. This 'Rin' was just one example of this. The anger within thrashed like a snake at the thought of the girl…

Who was the girl to interfere with her Master? In the Holy Grail War, the only person a Master could trust was their Servant. All others were suspect. The only person Shirou should trust in was her. The only person Shirou should be kind to was her. She remembered his face when he'd admitted that he'd enjoyed sleeping next to her. No one else should be allowed to see that face.

She realized she was being irrational. Shirou knew more about Rin than she did, had a far deeper emotional connection with the magus than he did with her. He would know better than her if Rin could truly be trusted. That thought just made her angrier.

No, she decided, Rin couldn't be left alone. She would betray Shirou, and Assassin would not allow Shirou to feel the sting of betrayal from one he considered a friend. So the solution was simple. She'd kill Rin. She'd have to change her technique a little. As much as she would have liked to repeat the style of her Whitechapel murders on the flesh of that girl, it would be a road sign to her once Shirou figured out who she was. So she'd make it look like an accident. Rin would slip, and fall down the stairs, and die. It would be that simple. All she needed was a few minutes in which Shirou was distracted and she could make it so. He'd never even realise that she'd been gone.

The thought warmed her a little, and she turned her attention back to her meal. Or tried to.

A warning rang across her mind, her senses detecting the presence of one like her, a spirit from another time. She stiffened, turning to her Master.

"Shirou. There is an enemy approaching." Shirou stopped, putting his cutlery back down on the table.

"Never a dull moment…" He sighed. "Do they know we're here?"

She nodded. "I was not hiding my presence. A mistake." He shook his head.

"Don't worry about it. I wasn't exactly combat ready myself. What are they doing now?"

She focused, letting her sense reach out to the presence of the other Servant. It hadn't moved.

"They are waiting." She answered. Shirou sighed again at that, exasperation clear in his voice.

"Well, I guess that's about as clear to an invitation as we're ever going to get." He stood, depositing some money on the table. "You ready for a fight, Assassin?"

"Yes, Shirou." And she was. She'd show him that he didn't need Rin to win.

She'd show him that he didn't need anyone but her.

--------------------------------------

Tohsaka Rin was not a happy magus. The moment she'd returned, she'd begun preparations to summon a Servant. If Shirou had called his, then there likely few places left in the War. The idea of missing the Holy Grail War, simply due to not summoning a Servant in time, was just too ludicrous to be contemplated.

The summoning itself had been a perfect success, a digital alarm clock that Shirou had bought for her some time ago alerting her to the time to perform the ritual. Well, nearly a perfect success. She hadn't gotten Saber, which had been her hope, but the Servant she'd summoned seemed powerful, if eccentric.

The woman had reclined on the sofa, a coat as red as her hair wrapped around her tall, well-developed body. She'd pulled a pipe out from somewhere, and was smoking it in a relaxed manner, occasionally sending perfectly formed rings into the air.

"So, are you going to tell me who you are?" Rin asked calmly, her perfect smile concealing the growing annoyance within her. First impressions are everything after all. Not that this idiot seems to know that.

"Ah. I suppose I should," The Servant drawled, pulling herself up. "I'm Francis Drake, Rider of this War."

Apparently satisfied with her efforts, Rider slumped back down onto the chair, taking a long draw on her pipe as she did so.

"Wait…" Rin held out a hand to stop the Servant. "Francis Drake? As in Sir Francis Drake, the privateer?"

"That's the biscuit." Rider agreed cheerily.

"But Sir Francis Drake was a man!" Rin exclaimed, shaking her head in denial. "There's historical records of him!"

"Well, I can't speak for those," Rider said, taking another puff. "But I certainly don't remember ever having a rod and tackle. Now, I can remember enjoying more than a few of them, but-"

"You can stop there!" Rin shrieked, a blush covering her face.

"I did tend to hide my gender as a prank for Lizzie." Rider mused. "Maybe I was better at it than I thought?"

Rin rubbed her brow. The idea that such a huge portion of history could be so very wrong due to a prank was ridiculous. Yet looking at the woman in front of her, she found herself able to believe it.

"Well, whatever." She dismissed it. Whatever her Servant's unusual origins, the more important part was how they'd work together. "I need to know more about you if we're going to be fighting in this War."

"Oh?" A lopsided smile crossed the Servant's face. "You want to know about moi? Well, I'm a hedonist at heart. My favourite thing is spending money and my personal motto is 'Gold coins should be used up like a storm!'. Furthermore, I really like drinking-"

"That's not what I mean," Rin said exasperatedly. "I mean, what kind of abilities do you-"

She stopped. Wait a minute, what did she just say?

"Rider, could you repeat that last bit for me?" The Servant gave her a curious stare.

"Sure. I really like drink-"

"Not that bit," Rin interrupted. "The part before."

"Oh. Well, I really like spending money and my motto is that 'Gold coins should be used up like a storm!'." The Servant looked around appreciatively. "Y'know, now that I get a look at this place, it's pretty nice. You must be fairly well off, right?"

The greedy expression in Rider's eye granted a greater terror than Tohsaka Rin had experienced for a long time. By some strange quirk of fate, the magus nicknamed 'The Miser of Fuyuki' (by Shirou) had summoned her natural enemy: A frivolous spender.

-End-

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:12 PM
And with that, all current chapters are up.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 02:15 PM
Rin is screwed so badly it turns full circle twice and still lands in the laughing department

nununu
September 13th, 2011, 02:16 PM
Cool, it got posted here. Not that I'm reading it. :p

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:22 PM
Rin is screwed so badly it turns full circle twice and still lands in the laughing department

Yeah. There were two reasons she got that particular Rider. One, without a material focus attuned to a particular Hero, the Grail grabs a Hero who suits you. From what I can tell, other than their opposing approaches to money, they're actually quite similiar.

The more pressing reason is that I like making Rin's life as amusingly torturous as possible.


Cool, it got posted here. Not that I'm reading it. :p

I completely and utterly believe you.

nununu
September 13th, 2011, 02:36 PM
I completely believe you.

Since sarcasm doesn't convey well on the internet, I feel I ought to explain my self. I usually shy away from dark stories, and from what little I read off the synopsis on ffnet I assumed this is one so I avoided it. So, currently I am not reading it. Depending on the feedback here, and from who, I might. Just saying.

So question: is it?

EDIT: Oh fuck it. I guess I'm gonna be reading this now.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 02:39 PM
Oh god. Shirou spoiling FF7 for Gil was one of the most pleasant things I've read in a Fate fic. I love this.


Since sarcasm doesn't convey well on the internet, I feel I ought to explain my self. I usually shy away from dark stories, and from what little I read off the synopsis on ffnet I assumed this is one so I avoided it. So, currently I am not reading it. Depending on the feedback here, and from who, I might. Just saying.

So question: is it?

Aside from that beginning with the Fuyuki fire and the Grail this story has been very pleasant and hardly what I'd call dark.

FlameStrike
September 13th, 2011, 02:39 PM
Wow, this is good, so damn good! The concept of Kotomine Shirou itself is already an interesting idea, but your execution is just great. I really enjoy the changing character dynamics brought about by Kotomine Shirou. It makes sense for Kiritsugu to go back to Ilya, and Rin's relationship with Shirou is fun to see. I especially like how Shinji has been brought down a couple notches. Finally that bastard knows his place. And most of all, Assassin is so Hnnnngh~. I really wonder who she is. I'll be following this series and eagerly await for more. Keep up the good work!

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:41 PM
Since sarcasm doesn't convey well on the internet, I feel I ought to explain my self. I usually shy away from dark stories, and from what little I read off the synopsis on ffnet I assumed this is one so I avoided it. So, currently I am not reading it. Depending on the feedback here, and from who, I might. Just saying.

So question: is it?

Oh sorry. Didn't mean to sound aggressive. As to your question...

It's not that dark right now. Kotomine decided to allow Shirou to grow up as he willed, rather than trying to shape him into a ready-made Anti-christ, so the main influence on his personality was Rin. Honestly, it's no worse than the VN itself. In fact, at the moment, I'd say it's lighter than most of it.

It'll get darker, but never to the point of, say, Saya no Uta's bad endings.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 02:43 PM
Wow, this is good, so damn good! The concept of Kotomine Shirou itself is already an interesting idea, but your execution is just great. I really enjoy the changing character dynamics brought about by Kotomine Shirou. It makes sense for Kiritsugu to go back to Ilya, and Rin's relationship with Shirou is fun to see. I especially like how Shinji has been brought down a couple notches. Finally that bastard knows his place. And most of all, Assassin is so Hnnnngh~. I really wonder who she is. I'll be following this series and eagerly await for more. Keep up the good work!

If you want to know who Assassin is, she's one of the Servants on this wiki article. http://typemoon.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Fate/Apocrypha_characters I won't say which one if you want to avoid the spoiler.

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:43 PM
Wow, this is good, so damn good! The concept of Kotomine Shirou itself is already an interesting idea, but your execution is just great. I really enjoy the changing character dynamics brought about by Kotomine Shirou. It makes sense for Kiritsugu to go back to Ilya, and Rin's relationship with Shirou is fun to see. I especially like how Shinji has been brought down a couple notches. Finally that bastard knows his place. And most of all, Assassin is so Hnnnngh~. I really wonder who she is. I'll be following this series and eagerly await for more. Keep up the good work!

Shinji got fed humble pie fairly early on in this continuity. Only the humble pie was filled with worms and near death experiences.

nununu
September 13th, 2011, 02:44 PM
Decided to read it. Here's hoping it sticks enough that I won't abandon ship when it gets dark. >.<

I dislike jumping overboard.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 02:51 PM
I wanted to say something good about this, but you posted new chapters thus rendering my first review obsolete... and what remains...

So, a change of Origin for Shirou, mh? I have to admit this doesn't convince me much...

Oh, and it was going so well until you brought in Jackie the Ripper and... Piratits. *sighs* Please tell me we won't see Astolfo. Please.

(the vimana isn't babylonian)


Ah, hey there. What can I say? I like the site ;)

Not for very much longer, especially if you will be an active poster.


Oh man, I am monitoring this like the fist of the north star.

Eh?

qsurf
September 13th, 2011, 02:54 PM
Initial Character Statement: ...Kotomine Shirou is a right bastard. You do not spoil games like that...you just don't! >.<

Interest Observation: At the same time though, is it just me or did he trip Assassin's Yandere flag?

Overall: This is most relevant to my interests, you may continue. ​Meatbag.

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:54 PM
Not for very much longer, especially if you will be an active poster.

Arguments get heated over here or something?

And no, you're safe from Astolfo.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Eh?

Huh?


Arguments get heated over here or something?

Type-Moon is serious business. I doubt you'll get any harsh criticism. But if you manage to mess up with Sakura I can imagine Mike having a go at you.

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 02:58 PM
Arguments get heated over here or something?

And no, you're safe from Astolfo.

This is an understatement. Wait until Mike reads this. O.o (I actually don't know if he'll rage)

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 02:59 PM
Huh?


Type-Moon is serious business. I doubt you'll get any harsh criticism. But if you manage to mess up with Sakura I can imagine Mike having a go at you.

Oh, I know that Type-Moon is serious business. On /a/, you can't bring it up without being buried under a half-ton of debates about powerlevels, who's the best girl and whether Ea can actually destroy the world.


This is an understatement. Wait until Mike reads this. O.o (I actually don't know if he'll rage)

So I assume that Mike is a fervent supporter of Sakura?

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 03:03 PM
Oh, I know that Type-Moon is serious business. On /a/, you can't bring it up without being buried under a half-ton of debates about powerlevels, who's the best girl and whether Ea can actually destroy the world.

If I wasn't using this laptop my response to this statement would just be the signature /a/ "Type-Moon thread" image with Gilgamesh and Arc having a back and forth over Ea/Marble Phantasm with Shiki in the background asking "Can I kill Servants?" then in the next panel Sakura and Rin are calling each other names, and in the last panel the discarded heroines are complaining about not having routes. But since I can't do that I'll just recite the image from memory.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 03:07 PM
Huh?

What did you mean with


Oh man, I am monitoring this like the fist of the north star.

@Spinach (and Stormedge)

2789



So I assume that Mike is a fervent supporter of Sakura?

*rolls eyes*


This is an understatement. Wait until Mike reads this. O.o (I actually don't know if he'll rage)

Very probable. Because Sakura is not with sempai. Alternatively, he wouldn't even go beyond reading the title and discard the fanfic entirely.


Arguments get heated over here or something?

And no, you're safe from Astolfo.

Yes. yes they do. And powerlevels aren't even the tip of the iceberg, be careful.

Good, now if only I can be safe from Nero...

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 03:10 PM
So I assume that Mike is a fervent supporter of Sakura?

...Yes.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 03:12 PM
What did you mean with

Just that I'm very eager to read this and will be checking up on it.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 03:17 PM
This is an understatement. Wait until Mike reads this. O.o (I actually don't know if he'll rage)

So I assume that Mika is a fervent supporter of Sakura?

Yes.

As in, hounds and needles at people who write her incorrectly and don't give her spotlight. Or people who write endings where she isn't saved. I think I remember him saying he doesn't read fics that don't star Sakura once.

Take a look at Neir's signature sometime, he keeps few amusing quotes from/on mike there.

UberJJK
September 13th, 2011, 03:17 PM
This, This was good. Very good. Hero!Illya, Kotomine!Shirou, And good ol Rin.

I have but one word for you: MOAR!

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 03:21 PM
Yes.

As in, hounds and needles at people who write her incorrectly and don't give her spotlight. Or people who write endings where she isn't saved. I think I remember him saying he doesn't read fics that don't star Sakura once.

Take a look at Neir's signature sometime, he keeps few amusing quotes from/on mike there.

Ah, I know the type. If you ever happen to stumble into /a/, look up Park Ranger. You won't be disappointed. And I'll give that signature a look.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 03:31 PM
Edit: Sorry it was already revealed by another

Neir
September 13th, 2011, 04:07 PM
Basically, Mike's a complete bitch unless you write Sakura as he likes. It's easier to ignore him, for the most part.

Cypher27
September 13th, 2011, 04:17 PM
Kotomine Shirou uses the greatest evil . SPOILERS!

FlameStrike
September 13th, 2011, 04:19 PM
Hahahaha, Mike is a bit outspoken to the point of hilarity, but his heart lies in the right place! I tend to agree with most of his arguments. Just don't needlessly bash Sakura and he's cool with you.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 04:22 PM
Hahahaha, Mike is a bit outspoken to the point of hilarity, but his heart lies in the right place! I tend to agree with most of his arguments. Just don't needlessly bash Sakura and he's cool with you.

*snerk*

Yes, when he doesn't twist your post or shoehorns Sakura into the discussion.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 04:24 PM
*snerk*

Yes, when he doesn't twist your post or shoehorns Sakura into the discussion.

Has that ever actually happened?

Neir
September 13th, 2011, 04:25 PM
Uh, yes. Constantly. In almost every thread he posts in. Which is why he is so reviled.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 04:26 PM
Has that ever actually happened?

How about... yes, and not only once?

Please, Hymn.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 04:26 PM
No, I mean, has there ever been a point in time when he has not creatively misinterpreted posts to find an excuse to include Sakura.

reborn214
September 13th, 2011, 04:31 PM
When he argues with spy?

Neir
September 13th, 2011, 04:31 PM
No, I mean, has there ever been a point in time when he has not creatively misinterpreted posts to find an excuse to include Sakura.

A few. But then he's usually talking about his hatred of authority.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 04:46 PM
A few. But then he's usually talking about his hatred of authority.

This is the first time I've heard or seen anything about him that doesn't indicate that he's a living and breathing caricature of a fanboy. Color me amazed.

And having given this matter far more consideration than it really deserves, I shall drop it entirely to focus on the story. Which is much more deserving of attention.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 04:51 PM
I want to see what Rider buys with Rin's money. Modern appliances in the Tohsaka household that Rin has no idea how to use.

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 04:55 PM
This is the first time I've heard or seen anything about him that doesn't indicate that he's a living and breathing caricature of a fanboy. Color me amazed.

And having given this matter far more consideration than it really deserves, I shall drop it entirely to focus on the story. Which is much more deserving of attention.

Really? Damn! I was just about to rename the thread Mike general too!:p

That said, he really does sound like... quite a character. To put it politely.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 04:56 PM
I want to see what Rider buys with Rin's money. Modern appliances in the Tohsaka household that Rin has no idea how to use.

It's either that or Rider converts all of Tohsaka's available cash into gold.

Because paper money is just stupid.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 04:59 PM
Rider doesn't care about currency I think, just spending it.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 05:05 PM
Rider doesn't care about currency I think, just spending it.

Well, her motto, or one statement that defines her philosophy, involves spending gold coins. Not money in general, gold coins. It doesn't seem unreasonable for her to have a fondness for a particular currency.

Mike1984
September 13th, 2011, 05:06 PM
Basically, Mike's a complete bitch unless you write Sakura as he likes. It's easier to ignore him, for the most part.

At least that's better than being a complete bitch all the fucking time, like you....


*snerk*

Yes, when he doesn't twist your post or shoehorns Sakura into the discussion.

I don't twist posts, and nor do I shoehorn Sakura into discussions.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 05:13 PM
...*holding back laughter about the fact Mike is wrong by about 50% concerning how often he shoehorns Sakura into discussions*

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 05:14 PM
I don't twist posts, and nor do I shoehorn Sakura into discussions.

Yes you do. Not that this is bad every time, but you do.

And this is the last thing I'll say, I'm not interested in this debate.

(nor is the case to derail the thread)

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 05:16 PM
To late the thread has been derailed, the only thing that can stop this is another update. *perfectly serious*

Mike1984
September 13th, 2011, 05:21 PM
Yes you do. Not that this is bad every time, but you do.

No, I don't. I talk about Sakura, yes, but only when she's relevant.

reborn214
September 13th, 2011, 05:22 PM
So is Rider going to buy a bunch of useless junk from the internet giving Rin a heart attack thus accidently killing her master?

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 05:24 PM
So is Rider going to buy a bunch of useless junk from the internet giving Rin a heart attack thus accidently killing her master?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKtlK7sn0JQ

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 05:24 PM
Extra!Rider shall buy a houses worth of...shoes *perfectlyserious.jpg*

nununu
September 13th, 2011, 05:35 PM
Rider gonna try and one-up Imelda Marcos now?

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 05:37 PM
Maybe... or she can invest in various things and accidentally make Rin richer if her luck is high enough.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 05:46 PM
Maybe... or she can invest in various things and accidentally make Rin richer if her luck is high enough.

Hmmm...*looks up stats*

....Have fun with that one Lancer.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 05:49 PM
What does lancer have to do with that

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 13th, 2011, 05:52 PM
What does lancer have to do with that

IIRC, Gae Bolg's thrust, once it's invoked and the target is in range, can be avoided or mitigated with a high degree of luck. Rider has several things going in her favor should this occur. Might not be enough, and she may need prior knowledge to make use of them, but still.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 05:53 PM
IIRC, the only way to avoid Gae Bolg's thrust once it's invoked and the target is in range is to have a high degree of luck.

Or high MGI, IIRC.

reborn214
September 13th, 2011, 06:00 PM
Knowing Rin's luck Rider is going to win the lottery then Rin decides to let Rider waste a bit after all there is no way she could spend that much. Rider promptly spends twice as much as she won leaving poor Rin in back breaking debt causing her to take a job as Luvia's maid once this is all sorted out

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 06:05 PM
*snort*^

Also who needs to fight someone when you got an armada?

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 06:26 PM
Suffice it to say, if Rider discovers internet shopping, there will be blood.


*snort*^

Also who needs to fight someone when you got an armada?

That is pretty much the basis of her combat style. She is a Rider after all.

Neir
September 13th, 2011, 06:27 PM
Not until she gets a credit card. I don't know how hard that is in Japan, though.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Suffice it to say, if Rider discovers internet shopping, there will be blood.

But she likes to spend gold/money. Does she acceptthe concept of checking/current account?

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 06:34 PM
But she likes to spend gold/money. Does she acceptthe concept of checking/current account?

As far as I can tell, it's not so much 'money' as 'value', that she likes to spend. Basically, she's the exact opposite of Gilgamesh, who takes hoarding to it's natural extreme. She only talks about 'coins' because that's the currency she used in her time.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 06:35 PM
Sup with Caster, by the way? Will she still have Kuzuki as her Master? Will she still try to summon a Servant? Oh god, please let her summon Frankenstein's Monster somehow..

Stormedge
September 13th, 2011, 06:38 PM
Sup with Caster, by the way? Will she still have Kuzuki as her Master? Will she still try to summon a Servant? Oh god, please let her summon Frankenstein's Monster somehow..

I'd love to answer that one way or another but, y'know, spoilers and all that jazz.

Sherrinford
September 13th, 2011, 06:48 PM
As far as I can tell, it's not so much 'money' as 'value', that she likes to spend. Basically, she's the exact opposite of Gilgamesh, who takes hoarding to it's natural extreme. She only talks about 'coins' because that's the currency she used in her time.

Mah, I still think she prefers tangible money.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 06:48 PM
Wonder what rider's reaction will be if she discovers you can buy noble titles over the internet.

Spinach
September 13th, 2011, 06:53 PM
I'd love to answer that one way or another but, y'know, spoilers and all that jazz.

Gah. I'll be patient, I guess.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 06:55 PM
Tangible money is for lesser beings, credit triumphs as that means practically unlimited shopping.

gilgamesh has the original credit card with unlimited credit...who wants to bet Rider will hunt him down to the ends of the earth for that.

reborn214
September 13th, 2011, 07:23 PM
Rider isn't interested in things that are infinite she only wants things that eventually run out like gold coins

ItsaRandomUsername
September 13th, 2011, 10:39 PM
Now I have an excuse to read this! ^_^

Fantabulous
September 13th, 2011, 11:11 PM
Why do all the Riders have to be so damn sexy?

Not that I'm complaining, or anything.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 11:16 PM
Because Type-moon loves to genderbend bishounish males, turning them into drop-dead gorgeous women.

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 11:16 PM
Because Type-moon loves to genderbend bishounish males, turning them into drop-dead gorgeous women.

Alexander was pretty darn feminine at times, and instead of a genderbend, they made him manly as hell. *shrug*

Fantabulous
September 13th, 2011, 11:18 PM
Wow, forgot about Alexander...

Yea, fuck it, he's still damn sexy.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Iskander was never bishounish he was 100% rugged man

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Iskander was never bishounish he was 100% rugged man

This is so wrong.

Fantabulous
September 13th, 2011, 11:20 PM
^agreed

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 11:21 PM
I'm bi, deal with it

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 11:22 PM
I'm bi, deal with it

You misunderstand. He was just not terribly manly.

Soldat der Trauer
September 13th, 2011, 11:22 PM
I'm bi, deal with it

Every time I read that, my mind still ends up getting blown.

Fantabulous
September 13th, 2011, 11:22 PM
And I'm straight, and I'd still let Alexander plow me with his Gordius Wheel.

Cypher27
September 13th, 2011, 11:23 PM
He is to manly to be bishounen.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 13th, 2011, 11:25 PM
On the interenet, everyone is bi.

SeiKeo
September 13th, 2011, 11:25 PM
On the interenet, everyone is bi.

...nah, I'm not.

Fantabulous
September 13th, 2011, 11:26 PM
^^
Except Mike.

burningclaw2
September 13th, 2011, 11:26 PM
You are now

Edit: No, Mike will love Sakura even if you turn her into a guy.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 12:56 AM
I ind this story very entertaining though I do wonder what will Jack-chan will do if she will get the chance.

reborn214
September 14th, 2011, 12:59 AM
Appoint herself as the only breathing member of Shirou's harem

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 12:59 AM
She will kill off Fuyuki's female population in order to keep Shirou as hers...she will also kick Gil in the nuts and spoil 20 different video games and get away without a scratch.

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 12:59 AM
...Al wonders if he supports this...


...I honestly don't know.


On one hand loli, on the other massive death.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 01:03 AM
...Al wonders if he supports this...


...I honestly don't know.


On one hand loli, on the other massive death.

You know you'll support the loli.

and Riders are funny.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 01:06 AM
Rin's imagine spot with Shirou as her husband was amusing. Not so tsun now, are we Rin?

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 01:18 AM
Appoint herself as the only breathing member of Shirou's harem

Shirou's only harem so far is Rin, Sakura and Jack.

Shouldn't be too hard though who knows what he'll attract with his bar.

reborn214
September 14th, 2011, 01:23 AM
ORT the galactic loli from Mercury the only thing that jack can't kill so she has to grudgingly share Shirou with

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 07:18 AM
ORT the galactic loli from Mercury the only thing that jack can't kill so she has to grudgingly share Shirou with

Honestly, she'd still probably give it her best shot.


...There's only room for one loli in this town.

nununu
September 14th, 2011, 09:34 AM
Talk about gray.

A'ight, I've decided to root for the magical girl. Please don't make me wallow in despair too soon. :illya:

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 09:43 AM
Who's the magical girl, Ilya? Saber shall never be able to defeat a loli.

nununu
September 14th, 2011, 09:54 AM
I dunno about Jack-the-Ripper beating King Arthur but Illya is definitely vulnerable to Maria the Ripper.

Unless we get male/male pairs for the remaining participants, Jack-chan's NP's carry an inherent advantage in this HGW. Shirou also appears to have a pretty defensible base of operations that would be advantageous to Jack-chan's modus operandi.

Here's hoping that Illya doesn't die too early. Looking forward to an Illya/Saber VS Sakura/Berserker.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:03 AM
Jack-chan's NP's allow her to get insta kills on female enemies if she sneaks up on them.

UberJJK
September 14th, 2011, 10:35 AM
Jack-chan's NP's allow her to get insta kills on female enemies if she sneaks up on them.

Isn't that only at night?

Also so far:
Summoner: Servant's Gender.


Shirou: Female
Rin: Female
Illya: Female
Bazett: Male
Sakura (Shinji): Male
Unknown: Unknown (Caster)
Unknown: Unknown (Archer)

The only master/servant pair (that we know of) that is safe from Assassin is Berserker when Shinji is covering for Sakura. Seems like Sakura's plan is working quite well.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 10:37 AM
It doesn't sound to me like it's Sakura's plan, TBH.

At least, I sure as hell hope it's not, because Sakura would never do something like that.

nununu
September 14th, 2011, 10:39 AM
It doesn't sound to me like it's Sakura's plan, TBH.

At least, I sure as hell hope it's not, because Sakura would never do something like that.

This Sakura thinks of Shinji as a prana battery. Zouken groomed and raised her as a magus; she's bound to be different. I think nurture won out on this one. For now, at least.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 10:42 AM
Hmm, well, I haven't had the chance to read the entire story yet, so maybe I missed something, but it seemed like she was rather unhappy with the idea to me.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:50 AM
This Sakura was actually raised to be the Matou family heir instead of a grail, since Shirou absorbed the grail into his body. So instead of what practically amounted as pure abuse for a tool, she was raised to be Zouken's heir in the event he does die, thus instead of a submissive tool who is pretty much living out of spite, she is a true Matou family magus.

Hope this helps.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 10:53 AM
Well, that makes sense, but even so I don't see her agreeing to kill innocents or put Shinji in harm's way. Rin doesn't, certainly, and she is every bit as much of a "true magus" as Sakura is.

Anyway I should probably read the story properly before commenting on it in any detail....

UberJJK
September 14th, 2011, 10:57 AM
Re-reading the section is mentions that even though she was indifferent to Shinji, Sakura was a bit "rankled" over sending Shinji on a suicide mission.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:57 AM
You forget the Zouken factor, either he is putting Sakura up to it or Sakura was semi-brainwashed.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 11:02 AM
Well, that's basically what I said.

Sakura would never come up with a plan that involved using Shinji as cannon fodder, but Zouken most certainly would, and even if he were to raise Sakura as a "proper" heir there is no doubt that he would make her position in the family quite clear to her from very early on. Not to mention that even training her properly still involves throwing her to the worms, at least at first.

In this timeline, she may well out-rank Shinji but there's no doubt whatsoever that both of them would be well aware that they should disobey Zouken at their peril, so I doubt she'd be willing to stand up to such a plan, at least if Shinji does not.

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 11:08 AM
Well, that's basically what I said.

Sakura would never come up with a plan that involved using Shinji as cannon fodder, but Zouken most certainly would, and even if he were to raise Sakura as a "proper" heir there is no doubt that he would make her position in the family quite clear to her from very early on. Not to mention that even training her properly still involves throwing her to the worms, at least at first.

In this timeline, she may well out-rank Shinji but there's no doubt whatsoever that both of them would be well aware that they should disobey Zouken at their peril, so I doubt she'd be willing to stand up to such a plan, at least if Shinji does not.

You've pretty much got it. It wasn't Sakura's idea and while she doesn't actually like Shinji, she doesn't much like the idea of using him as a meat shield either. Partly because it reflects badly on the talents she's developed in this timeline, and partly because he is her brother. But neither of them are going to oppose Zouken on it.

DreamsRequiem
September 14th, 2011, 11:13 AM
I really want to see how Illya interacts with this Shirou~

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 11:14 AM
You've pretty much got it. It wasn't Sakura's idea and while she doesn't actually like Shinji, she doesn't much like the idea of using him as a meat shield either. Partly because it reflects badly on the talents she's developed in this timeline, and partly because he is her brother. But neither of them are going to oppose Zouken on it.

Yeah.

Sakura wouldn't like the idea at all, but I doubt she would care about Shinji enough to take the punishment that she would get for standing up for him, especially when he himself seems not to care. Standing up to someone who can kill you on a whim takes a hell of a lot of guts, and whilst Sakura possesses the capacity to do so, she is only likely to exercise it when it really matters to her. Plus, it's not really any different from what she did in canon, the only difference is the apparent intent behind it.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 11:15 AM
I think that is one of the shortest Sakura arguments of Mike I have seen.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 11:23 AM
I think that is one of the shortest Sakura arguments of Mike I have seen.

That's because she's not obviously OOC, unlike in many fics.

Plus, I've not read the fic properly yet (I've been meaning to for ages, since I saw it on FF.net, but I never quite get around to it) and, also, it's an AU, which means that her character is a lot more maleable and open to interpretation than it would be in a fic which followed the canon universe.

Neir
September 14th, 2011, 12:52 PM
... Isn't every fanfic AU to some degree? Other than a novelization, I mean.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 12:58 PM
... Isn't every fanfic AU to some degree? Other than a novelization, I mean.

No, not really. Some fanfics are AU, but others are non-canon continuations of the main story, which should have the characters acting as they would canonically.

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 12:58 PM
... Isn't every fanfic AU to some degree? Other than a novelization, I mean.Not necessarily, like for example if Shirou has the same upbringing but summons someone other than Saber.


There may be a small degree of AU, but not enough to make any difference in the characters.


^This too.

nununu
September 14th, 2011, 01:00 PM
... Isn't every fanfic AU to some degree? Other than a novelization, I mean.

Well yeah, in as much as the three routes are all AU's. A big enough change is required to happen before canon timeline for a story to be labeled as an AU though, IMO.

UberJJK
September 14th, 2011, 01:12 PM
... Isn't every fanfic AU to some degree? Other than a novelization, I mean.

The way I view AU's is that they have to change something (typically major) in the background. If you change anything that happens during the story (IE: Shirou gets a different servant, Rin and Shirou get to Illya before Gilgamesh, ect) then its just the normal variation caused by it been a fanfic. Where as an AU is changing the past of the story (IE: Shirou adopted by Kotomine, Tokomi not giving Sakura to Zouken, ect) and that change is typically (but not always) a key part of the story.

Mike1984
September 14th, 2011, 01:19 PM
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

lethum
September 14th, 2011, 01:48 PM
In my opinion every fic is AU. Feel free to disagree. I know I am. :p

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 07:58 PM
Finally read it. What up! >=D

And Jackie is incredibly cute. Oviously unhinged, but still cute as a button. The best ones always are. Yandere love~~~

The interactions with Gilgamesh...yes. I've always wanted to see how a Kotomine-raised Shirou would interact with him, and this pleases me greatly.

...this version of Kotomine Shirou's potential harem sits well with me. But good thing Jackie and Rin have leads~

Francis Drake as Rider (LOL'd at her interactions with Rin. Poor Rin is going to get her bank broken by Drake >:3), Artoria is still Saber, CuChulain is still Lancer, Jack the Ripper is Assassin, who knows what as Berserker, and Caster is still unaccounted for......

I like this Grail War. I really, really do.



I really want to see how Illya interacts with this Shirou~

This ought to be especially fun. I'm curious as to how this will happen. I demand more. DEMAND MORE.

She's so lovably distorted I just wanna eat her up!

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 08:08 PM
I had to open the spoiler in your sig to even realize that was you, IRUn.

Oh, what about Archer? Wonder who that'll be. Maybe another Apocrypha Servant?

Sherrinford
September 14th, 2011, 08:29 PM
Atalanta or David? Either way, I'm fine with it (if Archer is really from Apocrypha).

... but I prefer bear-ears.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 08:29 PM
@Spinach:
That's what happens when one suits up.

@Sherrinford:
Well, at least someone is putting the Servants of Apocrypha to good use. And this pleases me.

Sherrinford
September 14th, 2011, 08:32 PM
@Sherrinford:
Well, at least someone is putting the Servants of Apocrypha to good use. And this pleases me.

*snerk*

You want to know what use I'm thinking for those abominations of Jackie and Piratits?...

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 08:33 PM
*snerk*

You want to know what use I'm thinking for those abominations of Jackie and Piratits?...

May I assume it involves something unpleasant? Just a guess.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 08:35 PM
@Spinach:
That's what happens when one suits up.

@Sherrinford:
Well, at least someone is putting the Servants of Apocrypha to good use. And this pleases me.

agreed though a part of me wants to see atalanta or jeanne to join the harem perhaps

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 08:37 PM
YOU WILL NEVER SEE JEANNE EVER


....heh, what if Kotomine summons her, since she is supposed to be the moderator of Apocrypha?

Fun times.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 08:38 PM
Caster can be Nursery Ryme(sp?) from Extra. More loli's to fall in love with Shirou.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 08:39 PM
*snerk*

You want to know what use I'm thinking for those abominations of Jackie and Piratits?...

Becoming the main heroines, right? I bet it's that.

It's totally that.

Hey guys, Sherrinford wants us all to use Jackie and Francis Drake in our stories more often.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 08:42 PM
YOU WILL NEVER SEE JEANNE EVER


....heh, what if Kotomine summons her, since she is supposed to be the moderator of Apocrypha?

Fun times.

That would be hysterical. Unless Kotomine just Command Seals her into submission.

Glgamesh must refer to her as the insane wench because of her Revelation ability. Which, come to think of it, may be a way for her to spite Kotomine while under the effect of a COmmand Seal. If she wants to accomplish her objectives while obeying the geas, then she'll find a way.

Huh, maybe it would be hysterical no matter what.

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Becoming the main heroines, right? I bet it's that.

It's totally that.

Hey guys, Sherrinford wants us all to use Jackie and Francis Drake in our stories more often.

Really? Well that makes my life easier.

I was thinking the orgy between Jackie, Frances and Shirou atop Sakura, Rin and Kirei's corpses was a little over the top, but with that kind of encouragement, how can I not add it?

Fantabulous
September 14th, 2011, 08:44 PM
One question: Does Gil play WoW?

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 08:44 PM
Kotomine accidentally leaves a loop hole allowing Jeanne to kick him in the nuts whenever he pisses her off.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 08:46 PM
YOU WILL NEVER SEE JEANNE EVER


....heh, what if Kotomine summons her, since she is supposed to be the moderator of Apocrypha?

Fun times.

He'll probably command her to sleep with Shirou due to her revelation on what's the best way to mess with Tohsaka.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 08:46 PM
Don't forget Nero. Sherrin loves her almost as much as he loves Jackie and Francis.


One question: Does Gil play WoW?

I can only imagine him hoarding weapons in his bank and complaining on the wow forums about the personal banks being too small.

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 08:47 PM
One question: Does Gil play WoW?

He did, but they had to close his server due to him utterly dominating the economy, owning every single weapon in the game (including those owned by other players, bind-on-pickup be damned) and effectively ruling his peers.

He was known as RoyalPwnage.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 08:48 PM
Kotomine accidentally leaves a loop hole allowing Jeanne to kick him in the nuts whenever he pisses her off.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3OhDQAOICI&amp;feature=player_detailpage#t=11 s

Is that you, Jeanne?

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 08:49 PM
Was he Horde or Alliance? This is very important.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 08:49 PM
*snorts* God, did he play any other mmorpgs?

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 08:49 PM
Really? Well that makes my life easier.

I was thinking the orgy between Jackie, Frances and Shirou atop Sakura, Rin and Kirei's corpses was a little over the top, but with that kind of encouragement, how can I not add it?

Fantastic idea. But only if Sakura and Rin got nailed before hand. Possibly at the same time.

Everyone wants Shirou's taint in them, but only Servants (And Ilya) can handle it!


He did, but they had to close his server due to him utterly dominating the economy, owning every single weapon in the game (including those owned by other players, bind-on-pickup be damned) and effectively ruling his peers.

He was known as RoyalPwnage.

That redeemed an otherwise shitty day. My thanks!

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 08:52 PM
*snorts* God, did he play any other mmorpgs?

Several, but he mainly employed vast numbers of Chinese gold farmers to do the actual work for him.

A King should never have to dirty his hands with grinding after all.

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 08:54 PM
Fantastic idea. But only if Sakura and Rin got nailed before hand. Possibly at the same time.

How did you think they died? Shirou can keep going for quite a while if he wants, especially with GRAIL POWER.

...Those poor mundanes just couldn't keep up.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 08:56 PM
Where's the possibly brocon, Caren?

Edit: Carenx Grail powered ShirouxJeanne.

Sherrinford
September 14th, 2011, 08:56 PM
May I assume it involves something unpleasant? Just a guess.

No.

No use at all. As in... let them fall into oblivion. That's their place.


Hey guys, Sherrinford wants us all to use Jackie and Francis Drake in our stories more often.

Don't forget Nero. Sherrin loves her almost as much as he loves Jackie and Francis.

I like you guys.


... hey, you forgot (aaargh) Astolfo!

/ shooting himself in the foot.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Fantastic idea. But only if Sakura and Rin got nailed before hand. Possibly at the same time.

Everyone wants Shirou's taint in them, but only Servants (And Ilya) can handle it!

[FONT=verdana]

That redeemed an otherwise shitty day. My thanks!


...I can get behind this.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 08:59 PM
I like you guys.

... hey, you forgot (aaargh) Astolfo!

/ shooting himself in the foot.

I like you too, but I can't bring myself to joke about Astolfo. I mean, I can appreciate a good trap but.. it's Astolfo, man.

shiningphoenix
September 14th, 2011, 09:00 PM
... hey, you forgot (aaargh) Astolfo!

O Hai Thar

SeiKeo
September 14th, 2011, 09:00 PM
I like you too, but I can't bring myself to joke about Astolfo. I mean, I can appreciate a good trap but.. it's Astolfo, man.

And it's a good ​trap.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 09:00 PM
Well, lookee here: this thread sure is popular.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 09:02 PM
And it's a good ​trap.

I know, and it's torture. I can't break down the wall in my mind reminding me that he's Astolfo. Why couldn't he be another Peer, other than Ogier or Roland?

SeiKeo
September 14th, 2011, 09:03 PM
I know, and it's torture. I can't break down the wall in my mind reminding me that he's Astolfo. Why couldn't he be another Peer, other than Ogier or Roland?

Because Astolfo is such a cute name~

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 09:04 PM
How did you think they died? Shirou can keep going for quite a while, especially with GRAIL POWER.

Original post was better. But...if that really is how they died...then what's Kirei doing there?!

I'm going to assume Shirou needed a bit of a pick-me-up of grail taint after marathon sex with at least two women and Servants. Or that Rin really wanted to spite Kirei.

Also, Jackie strikes me as the type that, if she ever did want sex, would be totally fine or even aroused by the corpses. And Kirei's grail tainted body

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 09:05 PM
Original post was better. But...if that really is how they died...then what's Kirei doing there?!

I'm going to assume Shirou needed a bit of a pick-me-up of grail taint after marathon sex with at least two women and Servants. Or that Rin really wanted to spite Kirei.

Also, Jackie strikes me as the type that, if she ever did want sex, would be totally fine or even aroused by the corpses. And Kirei's grail tainted body


I....can imagine.

Does Shirou know he has a sister?

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 09:06 PM
Even if he does, it's the Nasuverse. Those are fair game if they are half-sisters or adopted-sisters.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 09:07 PM
Guh. I wish Rinaldo was the one who got trapified. I could get behind that.. oh yes. OH YES.

Great, now I feel gayer than I tend to get when it comes to traps. Thanks.

Sherrinford
September 14th, 2011, 09:07 PM
I like you too, but I can't bring myself to joke about Astolfo. I mean, I can appreciate a good trap but.. it's Astolfo, man.

...

... now you know what I feel.

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 09:08 PM
Also, Jackie strikes me as the type that, if she ever did want sex, would be totally fine or even aroused by the corpses. And Kirei's grail tainted body.

You kidding me? She did a bloody victory dance on their corpses first. It was sort of like a waltz, only with more kicking their heads.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 09:09 PM
Even if he does, it's the Nasuverse. Those are fair game if they are half-sisters or adopted-sisters.

I'm actually counting on that just to see rin's expression when she comes into Shirou's home only to see him tied up and Caren about to mount him.

Oh yes there will be trolls.

Edit: But wasn't he originally a man to begin with so its not really a trap.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 09:09 PM
Kirei and Gil were genderbent, but kirei was so ugly that Shirou killed him in spite. I have yet to see a pic of Gilko(girl-gil) so I cannot judge.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 09:10 PM
She's incredibly hot. Like, Arcueid-levels of hot, only she's way more ojou.

Somebody help a bro out here and post a pic, would you?

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 09:11 PM
^what the weirdo I do not know in the suit said.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 09:12 PM
@Sherrinford:
http://i51.tinypic.com/6qumv6.png
"Please don't hate me because I'm beautiful. That peeves me off and makes me quite sad."

Sherrinford
September 14th, 2011, 09:12 PM
@IRUN:

IRUN, you...

(/ :p)



@GIl-ko: This is what danbooru has to offer

http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/index?tags=gilgamesh-ko

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 09:12 PM
I oblige with both loli Gilko and regular.
27982799

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 09:15 PM
2800

Double sniped, in my face.

Fantabulous
September 14th, 2011, 09:17 PM
Just noticed something:


"I did tend to hide my gender as a prank for Lizzie." Rider mused. "Maybe I was better at it than I thought?"

2801

...

ItsaRandomUsername
September 14th, 2011, 09:18 PM
You gotta see these, Burning:
http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/show/904907/blonde_hair-breasts-cleavage-fate-stay_night-fate-
http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/show/736564/bad_id-blonde_hair-can-fate-stay_night-genderswap-

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Just noticed something:



2801

...

She was really good at it. Like, compression vest good.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Just noticed something:



2801

...

It's vanishing oil. She thoroughly rubs it into her chest to make them vanish. We can only see them because we're omniscient players/readers, but everyone else sees a manly chest.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 09:24 PM
Shirou: Hello ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back to your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to All The Evils Of The World he could smell like me. Look down, back to me: I am Avenger! Suffering has only made me more GAR, and I smell better than ever! Buy from our newest selection of All The Evils of World for your man today, or send me a photo with your number for a personal consultation on what will drive you wild. Talk to you soon ladies...

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 09:40 PM
First I liked the Gilko in the fuku pic, wierd person in a suit that I do not know.

Second...*slams a mallat onto Grail!Shirou's head* No advertisment! Unless it is Type-Moon canon goods and where to find good fanfics and fanon like this fic.

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 09:45 PM
I like you too, but I can't bring myself to joke about Astolfo. I mean, I can appreciate a good trap but.. it's Astolfo, man.A bit late but...

Alulim, taking care of all of your Astolfo needs.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 09:48 PM
First I liked the Gilko in the fuku pic, wierd person in a suit that I do not know.

Second...*slams a mallat onto Grail!Shirou's head* No advertisment! Unless it is Type-Moon canon goods and where to find good fanfics and fanon like this fic.

*looks askew* Now I really wish I had found a way to use Kirei for that. Possibly Gilgamesh.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 09:51 PM
Shirou: Hello ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back to your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to All The Evils Of The World he could smell like me. Look down, back to me: I am Avenger! Suffering has only made me more GAR, and I smell better than ever! Buy from our newest selection of All The Evils of World for your man today, or send me a photo with your number for a personal consultation on what will drive you wild. Talk to you soon ladies...

*whistles the Old Spice theme*

Stormedge
September 14th, 2011, 09:57 PM
*looks askew* Now I really wish I had found a way to use Kirei for that. Possibly Gilgamesh.

Man, Kirei would be awesome at that. Now I want to have a shot.

Kirei: Hello, ladies. Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back to your man. Now back to me. Luckily, he isn't me. But if he bathes in the Holy Grail, he'll become like me. Look down. Back up. Where are you? You're in my church, with the man your man could be like. What's in my hand? It's a list of all your character flaws, which I intend to mock you with. Look again. The list is now a photo of your man proposing to one of his many harem members.

Anything is possible with the unlimited power of the Holy Grail! I'm throwing mud at you.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:01 PM
*slams an even bigger mallat onto Kotomine's skull* No advertising the Holy Grail we got enough nutjobs after that thing already no need to add more.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 10:04 PM
A bit late but...

Alulim, taking care of all of your Astolfo needs.

And I'm looking forward to it, regardless of how I feel toward Astolfo.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 10:05 PM
*slams an even bigger mallat onto Kotomine's skull* No advertising the Holy Grail we got enough nutjobs after that thing already no need to add more.

Noooooooo!

*Throws self in front of mallet*

There are very few instances in which taking the metaphorical bullet for KIREI is worth it, but that's one of them!

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 10:07 PM
And I'm looking forward to it, regardless of how I feel toward Astolfo.Squeee~
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b372/Cade300/21589610.jpg

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:10 PM
Noooooooo!

*Throws self in front of mallet*

There are very few instances in which taking the metaphorical bullet for KIREI is worth it, but that's one of them!

*drives both Hymn and Kirei through the earth where they opo out in the middle of China or China town whichever is further*

shiningphoenix
September 14th, 2011, 10:12 PM
Squeee~
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b372/Cade300/21589610.jpg
Where did you find this?

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 10:19 PM
Where did you find this?Where else? Pixiv.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:21 PM
*pokes Astolfo and watches as he tipes(sp?) over*

Alulim
September 14th, 2011, 10:22 PM
Drop the e. Just tips.



Indeed.:neco_arc:

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 10:58 PM
That horn of his must way a ton *watches as Astolfo tries to get up*

qsurf
September 14th, 2011, 11:24 PM
*watches as Astolfo squirms and wiggles as he tries to get back up with his ass in the air, realizes a choice must be made*

a) Delicious Trap, must hit
b) Help out poor little Trap, hit as a reward
c) Help out poor little Trap, treat him to a dinner and movie, hit that night
d) Go get popcorn and watch

SeiKeo
September 14th, 2011, 11:24 PM
c) Help out poor little Trap, treat him to a dinner and movie, hit that night

That.

mangafreak7793
September 14th, 2011, 11:25 PM
D. it's entertaining and I rather not get butthurt.

DreamsRequiem
September 14th, 2011, 11:26 PM
d) Go get popcorn and watch

This.

Spinach
September 14th, 2011, 11:31 PM
e) Astolfo, this is the real world. What are you even doing here? You're ridiculous. Hit it anyway.

burningclaw2
September 14th, 2011, 11:35 PM
f)watch Astolfo squirm, then tap his arse.

VelspertheCat
September 14th, 2011, 11:37 PM
*watches as Astolfo squirms and wiggles as he tries to get back up with his ass in the air, realizes a choice must be made*

a) Delicious Trap, must hit
b) Help out poor little Trap, hit as a reward
c) Help out poor little Trap, treat him to a dinner and movie, hit that night
d) Go get popcorn and watch

e. Shirou promptly strips Astolfo to look for command spells.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 14th, 2011, 11:40 PM
*watches as Astolfo squirms and wiggles as he tries to get back up with his ass in the air, realizes a choice must be made*

a) Delicious Trap, must hit
b) Help out poor little Trap, hit as a reward
c) Help out poor little Trap, treat him to a dinner and movie, hit that night
d) Go get popcorn and watch

e) Lather him in vaseline. Then get someone else to help him.

reborn214
September 14th, 2011, 11:40 PM
Shirou's mind is blown that there is an elephant down there. Shirou does not compute trap. Shirou makes contract with Alaya to correct said trap. Shirou becomes Archer. What there are two Archers? TIME PARADOX
BAD END

UberJJK
September 15th, 2011, 04:23 AM
Shirou's mind is blown that there is an elephant down there. Shirou does not compute trap. Shirou makes contract with Alaya to correct said trap. Shirou becomes Archer. What there are two Archers? TIME PARADOX
BAD END

Two Archers are never a Bad End. It might destroy the world with an impossible amounts of GAR but that's an Awesome End.

qsurf
September 15th, 2011, 06:27 AM
e) Lather him in vaseline. Then get another Rider to help him.

Fix'd

No charge ^^y

amado
September 16th, 2011, 12:32 AM
this story is great!
I especially like how shirou is a bit eager to use dangerous kinds of stuff and how he made the defense for his workshop.


Shirou's mind is blown that there is an elephant down there. Shirou does not compute trap. Shirou makes contract with Alaya to correct said trap. Shirou becomes Archer. What there are two Archers? TIME PARADOX
BAD END


Two Archers are never a Bad End. It might destroy the world with an impossible amounts of GAR but that's an Awesome End.

im still hoping on archer getting in here.
id love to see how he reacts to the new timeline and the change in shirou. also see who his master would be.
though it will probably be one of those other archers... I was hoping that he would still be contracted with rin and then be able to notice the obvious jealousy animosity coming from assassin.

ringlhach
September 16th, 2011, 08:49 PM
*watches as Astolfo squirms and wiggles as he tries to get back up with his ass in the air, realizes a choice must be made*

a) Delicious Trap, must hit
b) Help out poor little Trap, hit as a reward
c) Help out poor little Trap, treat him to a dinner and movie, hit that night
d) Go get popcorn and watchBecause it would be hilarious. And possibly douse him in some sort of lubricant. Not that type, you pervs. Gah.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 16th, 2011, 08:53 PM
Fix'd

No charge ^^y

Oh man, forgot to respond to this one. That'd be hot.

My vote's for Medusa. Because...well, Medusa.

burningclaw2
September 16th, 2011, 09:51 PM
The trap does not deserve Medusa...or should it be that Medusa has done nothing to be forced to rape a trap?

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 16th, 2011, 09:54 PM
The trap does not deserve Medusa...or should it be that Medusa has done nothing to be forced to rape a trap?

Then pray tell, which Rider does he deserve?

Although I could totally see Rider enjoying relentlessly teasing him.

burningclaw2
September 16th, 2011, 11:05 PM
Were there any rider's in apochyrea(sp?)?

Spinach
September 16th, 2011, 11:20 PM
Saint George, Astolfo. (Apocrypha) Karna and Siegfried also qualified for Rider according to the information.

Larekko12
September 17th, 2011, 12:25 AM
In this story Rider is beyond broken. The only stats on her list are for operation under magicless Shinji not human dynamo Rin. She should get at least 2 and a half. And a moderate boost to mag res. That unreal luck with solid stats Deadly.

Also loving this Story with fleshy Shirou. Will Shirou be imitating Kurama or is that beyond the scopes of his ability? What about Poison ivy? Can he make familiars? As a lesser grail can he bypass servant Mag resistence?

burningclaw2
September 17th, 2011, 01:55 AM
Originalf/sn!rider is different from Francis Drake. Plus I think those stats were still mainly affected by sakura.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 17th, 2011, 02:43 AM
I for one am curious as to what sort of influence Avenger will have on Shirou. On so curious. I'm personally hoping for something like a psuedo-alter ego sort of mindset a la Nanaya Shiki or Ryougi SHIKI.

...I can dream, can't I?

VelspertheCat
September 17th, 2011, 03:01 AM
Shirou gets a three piece suit made out of shadows. The montage out does any scene with EMIYA playing in the background.

Soldat der Trauer
September 17th, 2011, 04:46 AM
^Classy.

Stormedge
September 17th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Shirou gets a three piece suit made out of shadows. The montage out does any scene with EMIYA playing in the background.


Actually, it's a one piece. Pic added for reference (OVER 9000 HOURS IN MS PAINT)


2805

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 17th, 2011, 12:34 PM
Were there any rider's in apochyrea(sp?)?

Fine, fine. We'll let Ms. Hedonistic have her way with the trap.

I think Medusa may have been kinder, but this would be pretty damn funny.


Actually, it's a one piece. Pic added for reference (OVER 9000 HOURS IN MS PAINT)



2805

It is All The Evils of The World....

Stormedge
September 17th, 2011, 12:35 PM
Ch 6: Storm

Shirou walked through the quiet streets warily. Despite the fact that Assassin was giving him regular updates on the location of the enemy Servant, he couldn't help but feel tense. More than that, while Servants could detect each other easily enough, they had no such abilities for discovering the locations of Masters. It was unlikely, but possible, that the enemy Master might be trailing them even now. While their stealth capabilities would have to be incredible to hide from the senses of a Servant, it wasn't entirely impossible. Not in this War.

"Are they still moving away from us?" He asked quietly.

"Yes." Assassin replied, her pose even more combat ready than his. "They are heading north at a steady pace. No notable deviation."

"So they're drawing us somewhere…" He murmured. The only notable landmark north of this point was the park. While it would be nice to think that they were being drawn there for a fair fight, away from the eyes of the uninvolved, it was equally possible that they were walking head first into a trap. "Assassin, there's no way that they could have sensed you before you noticed them, is there?"

"No." Assassin shook her head. "Only an Assassin class can hide their presence from others. We should have located each other simultaneously." Her voice was a little bitter as she spoke, obviously still annoyed at her own negligence.

Well, at least that cuts down the chance that they've prepared a surprise for us, he thought.

Frankly, he was considering telling Assassin to hide her presence and then making a run for it. The Assassin class just wasn't suited for flat out combat. Subterfuge and murder were their favoured methods of battle, not a clash of arms. While he had little doubt that Assassin could handle a Master with no effort, sending her to duel Saber, Lancer, Archer or Berserker wouldn't be the best of ideas.

"Shirou." He turned at the Servant's voice. "Do not worry." She gave an impossibly small smile. "We will win."

Shirou grinned at the Servant's reassurance. What exactly was he worrying about again? Even if the Servant was one of the three knight classes, it didn't mean that victory was impossible. Besides, it wasn't like the war could be won entirely from the shadows. Eventually they'd be forced into combat. Best to get some experience now, while he had as many resources on hand as possible.

They continued walking through the darkening streets, following the trail of the other Servant until Assassin paused, frowning. "They have ceased movement, Shirou. About two hundred meters north of this point."

He nodded. Then it was the park that they'd been heading to. Good. That meant he could be a little flashy.

He stretched out his senses as he approached the wooded area, seeking any tell-tale signs of magecraft. He was a little surprised to find none. The area seemed virtually undisturbed, in fact.

The trees parted, revealing a small clearing, likely used for picnics. Standing there were the rival Master and her Servant. She watched him steadily as he approached, seemingly trying to read him. With her severe suit and piercing gaze, she probably would have made a fairly imposing figure, if she weren't standing next to her Servant.

The blue clothed Servant seemed at ease, leaning on his spear, but his eyes were like a wild animals, fierce and savage. He was a warrior. Shirou could tell just from watching him. Of course, almost all Heroic Spirits were, to one degree or another, but this one's entire presence all but shouted it to the world, like a challenge. He gave a savage grin as he saw them approach.

"Well, well. Looks like an interesting pair here, huh Master?" The Servant, almost certainly Lancer, judging by his weapon, drawled.

The woman ignored the Servant, stepping forward. "I am Bazett Fraga McRemitz, Master of Servant Lancer." She declared, her voice cool and measured. Shirou blinked in surprise. Giving out your full name and the class of your Servant willingly was very nearly unheard of. It could reveal what abilities you were likely to possess and help your enemy defend against your Servant somewhat.

More and more, he was beginning to suspect that this woman really was just incredibly honest. He shook his head, bringing himself back to the present. The woman was still waiting for his response after all.

"Kotomine Shirou, Master of Servant Assassin." The woman gave him a surprised look at that.

"Kotomine?" She stared at him, as though trying to see something in his face. "Are you related to Kotomine Kirei?"

Shirou blinked again. It seemed that surprises just kept coming tonight. "My father," He replied slowly. "Do you know him?"

We've worked together," Bazett responded, looking a little uncertain at the revelation. "I didn't know he had a son."

There was a brief silence, and then Bazett shrugged. "It changes nothing. You are still a Master in the Grail War. If you are truly Kotomine Kirei's son, then you know what that means."

"I do." Shirou declared firmly, meeting her gaze. Eventually, she nodded.

Almost instantly, the air grew thick with tension. Lancer had pulled his spear out from the ground, leveling it at them, even as Assassin drew her knives. Excitement began to build up within Shirou, almost childish in its simplicity and intensity. This was the War he'd been preparing for almost his entire life for, the clash between magi and Heroic Spirits. How could he not be excited?

It was Lancer who broke the standoff, launching forward as little more than a blue blur, his lance aimed directly at Shirou, a streak of red in the dim light. It was near unstoppable, a perfect thrust. It never even got close.

Assassin was like a shadow, intercepting the warrior with a flurry of attacks, forcing him to abort his charge and switch to defence, batting away the impossibly fast stabs and slices. Lancer leapt backwards, trying to use the range advantage of his weapon, only for Assassin to match his speed perfectly, her knives never letting up the assault. Their weapons showered sparks off of each other as they collided time and time again, the two Servants movements a blur as they dashed off to the side.

Which left the Masters.

Shirou charged. While Bazett's skills were unknown, he favoured his chances in close combat more than he did at range. His abilities were primarily focused around enhancing himself physically, as opposed to the ranged combat Rin excelled at. Even as he ran, prana built up in his limbs, reinforcing them to a level far beyond normal limits.

Bazett didn't move, merely taking a combative stance as she watched his approach. Behind her, a metal orb floated serenely. His eyes narrowed. While he had no idea what the sphere was, he'd give good odds that it wasn't good. If it was a projectile weapon though, the last thing he wanted to do was hesitate at this range. He sped up, reinforced legs propelling him towards the Fraga in a last furious dash.

His elbow lashed out as he reached her, but Bazett twisted aside, launching a staggeringly fast punch directly at his head. He snapped his other arm up, blocking it. He gritted his teeth as the strike connected. The sheer force of the blow had jarred him, even with his reinforcement.

It looked like the older magus had some enhancements of her own.

--------------------------------------

Lancer growled in dissatisfaction as the other Servant twisted around the jab of his lance, once again closing the combat range. Her knives flicked out, and he grasped the lance in both hands, using the length of the red pole to block the attacks, before lashing out with its butt. Assassin crouched low under the path of the weapon, exploding forward before he could reverse the strike, knives jabbing violently at him. He blocked them, pushing her back before launching a series of rapid thrusts.

On one level, he was impressed. The girl was a better fight than he'd been expecting from an Assassin, almost keeping up with him. On another, he was getting increasingly aggravated with that very same fact. If the other Servant had been a talented fighter, someone he could match blows with to the fullest, that would've been fine. She wasn't. For a Servant, her skills were lacklustre. It was that her ridiculous speed restricted his style, preventing him from using the reach of the lance to its fullest effect. A deadlock. Her skills couldn't penetrate his defence, but without the full reach of his lance, she could dodge any of his attacks with ease.

Except one, of course.

That was a last resort though. Noble Phantasms were a trump card, not something to be pulled out whenever you ran into an opponent you couldn't beat in five minutes. For all he knew, there was a rival Master watching this battle right now, just waiting to see a Servant use their Phantasm. Someone knowing his identity would be particularly troublesome, given his collection of geas.

No, he decided. Annoying or not, he'd kill this Servant with his own skills. Or she'd die when Bazett killed her Master. Either way.

--------------------------------------

Shirou launched a series of kicks, driving the other magus back momentarily. He followed up with a rapid jab, only for Bazett to block it, seemingly without discomfort. She lashed out with a flurry of punches, and he back-pedalled, trying to avoid as many as possible. She lunged forward at that, an uppercut aiming towards his gut, but he swept the attack aside, striking a solid blow at her head in response. Her arm shot up, blocking the strike, but a pained grimace crossed her face at the impact. He fought down a smile of satisfaction. At least she wasn't invulnerable.

Even so, it was becoming increasingly apparent that Bazett outmatched him. Skill wise she actually seemed to be a little below his father, her blows not quite as crisp as Kotomine Kirei's precise movements, but that was more than made up for by whatever enchantment empowered her. She was blindingly fast and almost ludicrously strong for a human, as the numerous bruises on his body could attest to. While it was little grating that she was better at physical enhancement than him, he wasn't one to let pride force him down a harder road. If that was her speciality, then he'd try something else.

His leg swept forward at a low angle, the kick aimed at her legs. As expected, she moved back, only for him to take single step forward, slamming his foot down to strengthen the punch he launched at her midsection. Her arms crossed to block it, but he retracted the attack before it came close to landing, throwing himself backwards to gain space, hand reaching into his pocket. It only took Bazett a moment to realise the trick, before she charged right back at him.

A moment was a little too long.

He pulled out one of the seeds he'd taken earlier, hurling it between them and shouting the activation aria as he did so.

"Bloom, flower of Thanatos!"

The seeds had been yet another point of contention between Rin and himself, though he admitted she was a little justified on this one, given that he was essentially copying the Tohsaka clan's most prized ability. And copying it badly, which was probably what made Rin angriest.

When he'd tried, in a fit of curiosity, to directly place prana into a gem, the results had been quite… explosive. Or simply failed outright. So he'd come up with another plan. All living things held prana; Birds, fish, dogs and more importantly, plants. With his unique element, forcing more prana into a living thing than it could normally hold was possible, opening up a whole new range of options. The culmination of this had been the creation of his own, rather lacklustre, Mystic Code.

The seed expanded, the prana within fuelling it's development to an impossible speed. Within seconds, a full bush had grown, the deadly nightroses (name no longer subject to change) lashing around, the magical command imprinted on them driving them to attack anything without the od of their creator. While it would be utterly ineffective against a Servant, a normal human would have to act with caution around the plant.
Bazett ground to a halt, leaping backwards to avoid the frantic whips of the thorn laden vines. Two more seeds shot out of his hand, forming a rough perimeter around the older magus and trapping her within a ring of the frenzied plants.

It barely slowed the magus. She charged forward, protecting her face with upraised fists. Her fists lashed out, their sheer speed and solidity enough to snap and destroy even the toughest parts of the plant. She burst through the bush all but unharmed, save for a single, tiny scratch on her face, barely deep enough to draw blood. Not even enough to draw the attention of a fighter of her calibre.

That was, if the deadly nightroses thorns didn't secrete a horribly potent toxin.

Shirou met Bazett's charge silently, taking on a defensive stance. He faced her flurry of blows head on, dodging what he could and blocking what he couldn't. A fist lashed out towards his head, but he twisted aside, dodging backwards and forcing Bazett to pursue. A sudden kick nearly caught him off guard, his arm only just stopping it before it collided with his ribs. He grimaced at the pain, but reclaimed his footing. It would only take a short time for the effects of the poison to start showing.

Until then, he just had to wait.

--------------------------------------

Assassin leapt up into the tree, glaring down at the Servant below. So far, neither she nor Lancer had managed to land a single blow on the other, and frustration was beginning to show. Despite the fact that she'd kept her offensive up almost nonstop, Lancer's defence was almost unbreakable, his lance blocking even the fastest salvo of attacks.

And while she wasted time here, Shirou was fighting for his life against that other Master. Her teeth clenched at the thought of Shirou, battered and bleeding, lying at the feet of the other magus. No. No. That wouldn't happen. She wouldn't let it. She kicked off the tree, her knives blurring as she deflected the red lance. Lancer retreated, keeping her at bay with the tip of the thrusting lance but she gained ground steadily, her frantic dodging and parrying allowing her to slowly close the distance.

Lancer suddenly twisted, striking her with the shaft of the spear. Her right hand knife snapped up to block it on instinct, but the force of the blow still staggered her, throwing her to the side. Lancer leapt on that like a beast on wounded prey, continuing with a savage rain of attacks that refused to allow her to regain her footing. A single jab slammed forward, slicing her shoulder and sending a spray of blood across the ground. A second cut her arm and a third very nearly took her throat. Finally, she managed to get her feet under her, throwing herself backwards to escape the seemingly endless combo that Lancer had trapped her in.

The blue warrior's face had twisted into a vicious grin as he advanced, crimson spear cutting through the evening air. She knew why. Servant or not, these wounds would slow her down. More than that, Lancer was adapting, getting used to her speed and agility, learning how to adjust his blows. Essentially, she was fighting a losing battle.

So she'd change the terms of the fight.

The other Servant paused, no doubt sensing her bloodlust increasing. She bared her teeth at him, a twisted parody of a mischievous smile, then spoke.

"The Mist."

The world shattered.

--------------------------------------

He batted aside her punch, responding with his own jab to her torso. Bazett gave a grunt of pain as his fist sunk into her stomach, but managed to retreat back, reforming her guard. Her movements had been slowing down, losing their crisp edge. More than that, even standing the other magus was unsteady, her body swaying slightly. The left side of her face, where she'd been cut, was a swollen mess.

He went on the offensive, a flurry of punches like the one he'd used against his father just the day before, lighter blows concealing the heavier ones. It was far more effective here, Bazett's crippled reaction speed just not being quite able to keep up with him, despite her still superior speed and strength. She stumbled back and he pressed the attack, driving his knee into her gut. She doubled over slightly from the force of the strike, exposing her head.

Instantly, he stepped back, lining his fist up with her skull and clenching it tight. He lunged forward, fist streaking towards her head as a blur in the dim light. Bazett's hand shot up, but it was too late. Even if she drove the blow aside, he could simply follow it up with another. Except her strike went upwards, past his own blow. Despite himself, his eyes followed the movement and rested upon the destination.

That small metal orb, still innocuously floating above her shoulder, a faint nimbus of electricity fading around it.

"Fragarach!"

A flare of light exploded as she struck the sphere, the metal shifting, taking on the form of strange sword. He barely had time to register the transformation before the blade shot forward, slamming deep into his chest.

For a moment he stood, attack abandoned as he stared at the weapon jutting out of his flesh. That… that shouldn't be there, he thought dully, legs giving out beneath him.

He crumpled to the grass, head smacking against the ground as his vision went black.

--------------------------------------

Throb.

Flesh, physically no different from that which surrounded it, began to pulse as circuits long left unused began to open. Once again, they had a purpose to fulfil.

A wish was not merely a one time event. It was a desire to shape the world to the wisher's will, to make something that is not so, so. To have one granted is a reformation of reality, a miracle in its own right.

Long ago, a boy had wished to live. A spirit had wished for salvation from its role. Their wishes were one and the same.

And they had not ended.

--------------------------------------

Bazett staggered back upright, her now burnt hand just another injury on her battered body. The boy had crumpled when hit by Fragarach, but he wasn't quite dead. Not yet anyway.

Fragarach, Gouging Sword of the War God, the only Noble Phantasm that could be used by humans in this day and age. Known also as The Answerer, it was the ultimate form of counterattack, a weapon that warped causality itself in order to always strike first in response to an enemies strongest attack, slaying them in a single blow. But she'd been forced to use it as nothing more than an normal attack in this case. The boy had only been punching her after all, not using some kind of supreme trump card.

Still, even that was more than enough for a human. Though he had proven incredibly resilient and surprisingly skilled. Those bushes were a nasty trick too. She was a little disappointed in herself though. Truth be told, she'd been hoping she could have knocked him out at the fight's beginning, at which point she could have taken his seals without killing him. Kotomine was, after all, if not a friend, then at least someone she deeply respected. Delivering his son's corpse to him wasn't something she had wanted to do, but circumstance had forced her hand. He'd trained the boy, Shirou, a little too well. She walked towards the prone Master, footsteps still unsteady. At this point, the kindest thing she could do for him was to finish him off-

Her vision went white.

She stepped back, raising her fists defensively in preparation for some new attack. None came, and she realised that only mist had surrounded her. Still, it definitely wasn't natural. It had come too fast, out of nowhere, blanketing the park in white. She could barely see a few feet in front of her, with even Shirou's body being little more than a dark blur.

She could still see him though, and if this mist had been created by his Servant, which it almost certainly had, killing him would bring it to an abrupt end.

She moved towards him, then stopped once more as a sudden pain flared on her face. A thin trickle of liquid began to run down her cheek, and when she brought her hand away from it, the crimson colour told her exactly what it was.

Similar jabs of pain were occurring all across her body as the wounds she suffered in the fight began to bleed afresh, seemingly worsening without any stimulus. Even the parts of her that had avoided injury began to feel uncomfortable, as if something was prickling them.

It's the mist, she realised. Now that she stretched her senses out, an incredibly powerful bounded field had surrounded the area, no doubt the cause of the mist that was attacking her. That just made finishing off the Master in front all the more important. She moved her gaze away from her hand and towards the prone-

He wasn't there.

She whirled, once again adopting a defensive stance. She glanced around, gaze seeking a telltale shadow in the mist. It was getting harder to concentrate, both the poison within and the mist without taking their toll on her body and mind. Despite the clammy fog, sweat was running down her brow and her cheek felt like it was burning. Whatever that toxin was, it was fairly effective. She'd need to end this soon, or she'd be simply worn down.

"Analysis start."

She turned quickly at the voice, seeking its source. Whether by luck or design the mist thinned slightly, revealing a shadowy figure little more than ten metres from her position. She charged.

--------------------------------------

Shirou's eyes opened. He found that curious. He'd been fairly sure that they weren't going to do so again, what with the sword currently lodged in him. At that, the memories of the past few minutes returned with a jolt and he sprang to his feet, pose wary. A quick glance down confirmed that the sword was gone and-

He stared. Where the blade had pierced him, the flesh was bubbling, turning and twisting like a roiling sea. Prana both foreign and hauntingly familiar flowed through the injury and he realised that it had already been mostly healed. Which would have been fine, if he'd been the one that did it.

He dismissed it from his mind. He could investigate it later, somewhere safer. He looked around, peering through the mist. That was new too, but it seemed to be working in his favour so far, concealing him and deadening the sound of his movements. If Bazett was still nearby, she'd have as hard a time finding him in this as he would her. He stalked off slowly, ever cautious. The mist seemed to thicken and thin at random intervals wherever it pleased, sometimes nearly opaque, other times barely even visible.

He shook his head in frustration. Even if could find her in this, he wasn't sure that he could win. While the hole in his chest had somehow healed, he was still aching from the earlier beating Bazett had given him, which annoyingly enough, hadn't healed. He sighed. If he was going to have a mysterious healing factor, couldn't it at least be all inclusive?

Still, the point remained that he needed an edge. Or several.

His Origin had been described as 'Flesh', but that wasn't quite correct. While his element was no doubt 'Flesh', Origin's were the very orientation of the soul. They rarely fell into such material things as 'Fire'or 'Flesh'. In fact, his Origin was more likely along the lines of 'A talent for working with flesh'. Had he never been introduced to magecraft, it was likely that he would have become a surgeon or gardener or perhaps a butcher. Anything that allowed him to work with and manipulate living tissues.

But he was a magus. And that meant he could do things with flesh that no surgeon ever could. Particularly with his own.

"Analysis start."

He turned his gaze on his arms. They were quite damaged, the defensive battle he'd fought against Bazett having taken its toll. That wasn't a problem though; what he had in mind would heal them. Instead, he felt past the wounds, examining the very form of the limbs themselves, how to change and how to alter. After a brief moment, he was satisfied.

"The body is a tapestry." He recited the aria calmly and his prana surged into his arms. Bones began to crack, reshaping as his will had demanded. Muscles strengthened and thickened, new cells being created at an impossible rate through his prana, becoming whatever he needed them to be, bone or flesh. Luckily, the process was painless, if slightly odd to watch. It was still as interesting an experience as ever though, watching his very flesh ripple and reform before his eyes.

So interesting in fact, that he didn't register Bazett's presence until it was too late.

Her fist sunk deep into his gut and he nearly vomited from the force of the blow. Her leg swept round in a follow-through, catching him in the ribs. The newfound pain as he was blown to the side suggested that he'd just acquired a new collection of broken ribs. He gasped as he hit the ground, pain lancing through his side like daggers under his flesh.

He rolled to the side as Bazett drove her heel into the ground where'd he'd lain just a second before. She advanced mercilessly, fist jabbing at his skull as he forced himself to stand, body screaming in pain. He lashed out, his hand cutting into the flesh of her arm. Or rather, what had been his hand.

Gone were his fingers. In their place, jagged spars sprouted from his hand, lengths of bone sharpened far beyond any natural weapon. Not that his claws resembled anything in the animal kingdom to begin with. They did not hold prey, they could not grasp or use tools, nor would they ever require something as mundane as sharpening. They were unnatural weapons, made to lacerate and cut flesh.

He gave Bazett a vicious grin as she retreated, no doubt trying to account this new turn of events into her strategy.

"Round two?" He asked, flexing his new weapons.

He didn't give her a chance to reply, surging forward, claws slashing furiously.

--------------------------------------

Assassin twirled, knives flashing through the fog. Lancer brought the haft of his weapon up, blocking the strikes and she retreated, fading back into the mist.

For all those within the field, the mist was a hindrance, obscuring visibility and steadily weakening them. While Shirou had been granted safe passage from the truly harmful effects of the mist, he would still be as lost as any other within the fog. Well, any other apart from her.
The Mist was her Noble Phantasm after all, the representation of the 'mist of death' that had been formed from a hundred years of pollution. She could see through it with ease, and move through the vapours with confidence, her prey's location ever known. Combined with the Assassin class ability of concealing their presence, The Mist made her all but undetectable to other Servant's, even up to the very point of her attack itself. The perfect hunting ground.

She approached the spearman carefully, knives poised. Lancer had taken a ready pose, spear lowered and stance tense. She noted that he'd closed his eyes, apparently realising that they were effectively useless in the mist. He really did catch on fast, not that it'd help him.

She flipped a knife in her hand, launching it towards him. The moment the weapon left her hands, she ran, strafing around to his back. Lancer's spear shot up as the projectile struck, deflecting it into the ground at the exact moment that she leapt at him, blade poised. To his credit, the spearman seemed to realise his mistake, swivelling to block her. But he wasn't quite as fast as he'd been. Even if the Mist wasn't sufficient to truly hurt him, it still hampered his movements, decreasing his agility by a full rank.

Her blade bit into his shoulder and Lancer snarled, lashing out at her with the crimson spear. It was pointless though. She'd already retreated, mist hiding her form. Next time she'd strike his other shoulder, and then his legs, wearing him down piece by piece...

Suddenly, the other Servant froze completely.

"Oh, damn it!" The blue-clothed Servant roared, leaping off as fast as his muscles could carry him. For a moment, Assassin was confused, then the connections fell in place. Lancer was heading towards Shirou.

Instantly, panic filled her mind and she sprung forwards, gaining on the spearman. She wouldn't let him hurt Shirou! She wouldn't! Through the connection in her mind, she'd felt the wounds he'd suffered, and the fact that she'd been unable to help had been tearing at her. But if Lancer reached him first, and had time to line up a killing blow…

Her mind nearly shut down at the thought, and she sped up, not even bothering to conceal her presence.

--------------------------------------

Yet another spray of blood wet the ground as Bazett's attack was deflected by his claws. The woman was breathing hard now, seemingly barely able to stand, yet still fighting. Shirou grinned, a quick flick of his claws splattering the earth with yet more of the crimson liquid. He was feeling surprisingly calm about this. In fact, he'd even say that he was enjoying himself. A fierce excitement was sweeping through his body as they fought, and he could feel his pulse beating strongly. He just felt… so very alive.

His arm shot out, and Bazett ducked. His other hand swept round, reaching for her face even as she tried to dodge. She'd lost that incredible speed now though, with blood loss, poison and the ever-present mist bringing her ever closer to death. She avoided the worst of the blow, but his nails still carved a shallow furrow into her shoulder.

He launched attack after attack, only growing faster and faster as she weaved through his strikes. She'd all but given up on offence now, merely attempting to preserve her life. It wasn't enough. He was still landing hits, and each and every one merely drove Bazett closer to the edge. It wouldn't be long before her body simply gave out, reinforcement or no reinforcement. He pressed his advantage, claw streaking forwards to rip out her throat. She moved back, arms raised to block the strike, protecting her most vulnerable point-

She slipped.

It was such a simple thing to do. The grass had grown damp from the fog, and her muscles weak from exertion. It was so easy to do. But the look in her eyes told him what he already knew. Game over, Bazett.

A backhand caught her on the chest, just below her breasts, the claw ripping through her clothes and into the flesh beneath, cutting into the very bone of her ribs. The sheer force of the blow picked her up, propelling her across the wet grass. He didn't hesitate, sprinting after her, one claw upraised to end her life.

The haft of a red lance caught him less than a second before the blow landed, blasting him through the air, yet more ribs shattered. He slammed into the trunk of a tree, eyesight blacking out. He gasped for air, a burning pain spreading across his torso.

"Shirou!" He looked up, his vision still hazy. Assassin stood in front of him in a guard stance, blades ready. Her back was to him, but he could hear the concern in her voice. "Are you alright?"

Why do people always ask that? He thought. Isn't it sorta obvious that I'm really not feeling that great right now? He swallowed the words though. The question had been asked with good intentions.

"I'm… ok. Thanks." he responded, dragging himself to his feet, pain shooting through him once again. "You?"

"I'm fine." She said and he nodded. She certainly didn't have any obvious major wounds at least. He turned his attention to the current situation.

Little more than twenty meters from his position, Lancer stood, Bazett held under one arm. The look on his face suggested he knew exactly how damn precarious the situation was for him. Even holding Bazett, he could cross the short distance faster than Shirou could breathe, likely impaling him with a single thrust. He certainly didn't think he could block it, not with his ribs feeling like someone had taken a hammer to them. But that wouldn't happen, not with Assassin primed to move. And if he tried to guard Bazett while fighting, it was obvious that the fight could only go one way. It would only take a single lucky blow, and he'd be out of a Master.

He couldn't even run. Assassin would be on him like a wolf on a wounded dear, and from behind, Bazett would be easy prey. It would take a miracle for him to survive this, let alone win.

For a moment, Lancer's shoulders slumped, as if he'd accepted defeat. Then came the bloodlust.

A wave of it, nearly palpable in its intensity swept out from the spearman, his red eyes fierce and hateful. Shirou remembered something he'd learnt a long time ago.

A desperate beast was the most dangerous one of all.

The grip on his lance shifted slightly, making the weapon appear more like a javelin than a spear. "Hey, kid."

Shirou met the gleaming crimson gaze. "Yes?"

"You and Assassin fought well, so I'm going to make an offer." Lancer paused for effect. "Let me take Bazett away and we'll have a rematch later, where we can really pull out all the stops. I'll swear on it."

"And if I refuse?" Shirou asked calmly, face expressionless.

"Then chances are; none of us are going to walk out of here alive." The reply was flat and honest. It wasn't a threat, just a simple statement.

Shirou paused, considering. Lancer wasn't bluffing. For one thing, the warrior simply didn't seem like the type to try and talk his way out of a bad situation. If he said that he could kill his opponents before he died, then he likely could. On the other hand, they were in a enormously favourable situation. Despite his wounds, he was still far more combat capable than Bazett was right now. If need be, he could simply shut down his sense of pain for a while and deal with whatever wounds he got later. And even Lancer had a few injuries on him. If he gave Assassin support with a Command Seal, it was quite possible that they could finish this before Lancer pulled off whatever trick he had in mind.

He opened his mouth to reply, when yet another feeling of dread pulled at his mind. He spun, a movement echoed by the two Servants, as a vast, impossibly vast, amount of mana began to gather, forming a radiance that pierced the mist. A divine light that spoke of absolute power, a strength that surpassed all others.

He felt fear.

The revelation shocked him. He'd never felt fear. Nervousness, concern, tension, yes. But never a true fear for his life. Not Lancer, not Rin, not even Gilgamesh in his rare moments of true anger had ever created such a response. Yet that golden light, visible even through the fog, filled him with primal terror.

I know it… I know that light! He had no memory of it, yet it was so terribly familiar, a harbinger of destruction given form.

Suddenly, the mana compressed, forming a blast of energy hurtling towards them. The bounded field shattered as the energy struck it, the magecraft simply unable to maintain it's form under such pressure. The mist cleared almost immediately, revealing the piercing golden ray in all its terrible glory.

It sped between the two groups, annihilating all that stood in its path. A spray of rocks and rubble was scattered by the waves of force emanating from the blast. Assassin stood in front of him, her blades shielding him from the worst of the debris, but she couldn't block the sheer intensity of the light and for a moment, he covered his eyes.

Almost as suddenly as it had come, the light vanished, leaving a scene of devastation. A deep furrow had been ripped into the ground, the earth simply annihilated by the sheer power of the attack. Loose bits of stone and plant, blown away by simply being near the light, littered the area. His gaze flicked up. Lancer seemed to have taken the chance to escape, no doubt using that great speed of his to take Bazett to a safe area, using the attack as an impromptu distraction.

"Shirou." He turned as Assassin spoke, wincing slightly at the pain even that small movement caused. "The enemy Servant approaches."

His eyes followed the path of the destruction, moving along the straight line to the source of the light. He saw her, and his throat constricted.
She was radiant, even under the dim starlight. Shining armour, either silver or polished steel glowed as she walked towards them. Hair like spun gold. But it was her aura that drew his attention. It was not like Assassin's, which felt like blood, hate and spite. Nor Lancer's, with his animalistic bloodlust and savagery. It was raw, unrefined power given form. Magical energy rolled of her in waves, the air itself seeming to howl around her.

"You have got to be kidding me…" He breathed. He could tell at a glance. She was leagues above Assassin in terms of power. Even Lancer was nothing more than a dim glow next to her. If she attacked, he had no doubt that they'd be killed in seconds. And if she created that light again…

He shivered at the memory.

"Shirou." Assassin had moved in front of him again. "Retreat. I will hold her."

He was shaking his head before she'd even finished speaking. "She'll kill you, Assassin."

"Perhaps," The Servant agreed. "But I will obtain sufficient time for you to retreat to-"

"Not a chance." He interrupted, stepping up beside her. "I'm not abandoning you."

Assassin shot him a shocked look, surprise obvious on her face. She watched him for a second, as if expecting him to retract his words. When he didn't, she smiled a bright smile, the purest he'd ever seen on her face. It was beyond adorable, and he found himself unable to look away. She was beautiful. He wondered how he'd never noticed that before.

"Thank you, Shirou." She said, her smile not losing even a fragment of it's intensity as she spoke.

"It's… not a problem," He replied embarrassedly, looking away. "You can thank me after we deal with our new friend here."

He inclined his head towards the silver armoured Servant and Assassin nodded, still smiling happily. First though, he had to do something about this pain. Healing it would drain him of almost all his remaining prana, and without reinforcement he'd be utterly useless, so that was out. It looked like he was just going to have to go with his original plan.

"Analysis start."

He reached within himself, seeking that cluster of nerves at the top of his spine. Finding it, he grasped it, visualising it as a collection of switches. You simply had to turn the one's you didn't want off. He flicked one, and feeling vanished within his body. He rolled his arm, nodding in satisfaction as he felt nothing from it. Gingerly, he poked his ribs. Nothing.

It didn't fix anything, of course. In fact, it was incredibly dangerous, doing no more than concealing the pain while leaving the injuries untouched. But he didn't have much choice right now.

The Servant had nearly reached them, and he frowned as he noticed another figure next to her. He'd thought her alone. The girl standing next the Servant was like a doll, with fair white skin and silver hair that glistened softly in the light. From what he could tell, her clothes were of a fine make, their fine cut embroidered with gold patterns. In all honesty, she looked like a princess, or a fairy, her steps light and dainty next to her Servant.

She stopped ten metres from them, her Servant by her side. She said nothing, slowly raising her hand into the air.

"Heroine of love and justice, Ilyasviel von Einzbern, has arrived! Masters who would abuse their powers, beware!"

The excited shout shattered the still evening air, and his image of her as some kind of fairy.

What." He replied dumbly, staring at the girl. Next to him, Assassin seemed to be having a similar reaction, watching at the girl with amazement. Despite the absurdity of the introduction, he recognised the name. Einzbern. One of the founders of the Holy Grail War, and perhaps the faction who sought the great device the most fanatically.

"Huhu," The girl, Ilya, laughed mischievously. "That's my introduction. Isn't it great?"

Shirou looked at the Servant next to her, who looked appropriately mortified, giving him a slightly apologetic nod. He turned his attention back to the girl. "It's… it's certainly distinctive, I'll give you that."

"That's right!" Ilya said, nodding. "An introduction has to be distinctive, so that the villains know who they're dealing with!"

"But if the villains know who they're dealing with, doesn't that mean they can prepare for you?" He asked. He was aware that he was being drawn into her pace, but her very presence seemed to make it impossible to stay within the bounds of normality.

The Servant beside the girl sighed at that. "You see, Ilya? He agrees with me. It's not a good idea to announce yourself every time you meet someo-"

"Boring~" Ilya said cheerily, cutting through the Servant's speech. "Saber, you're too serious about things like this. We went to all the trouble of getting their attention, we might as well go all out."

That told Shirou two things. The first was that the woman in armour was the Servant Saber, generally considered the strongest Servant. The second…

"Wait a second. That," He gestured at the huge crater stretching across the park, "Was to get our attention?"

"Nobody ever ignores us." Ilya said happily. He shot Saber a glance. She looked vaguely embarrassed, but nodded. He felt there was something wrong with the fact that an immensely powerful spirit from another era had more common sense than someone born in the current time, but didn't say anything.

"Well, it is a pleasure to meet you, Ilyasviel von-"

"Call me Ilya," The girl interrupted. "Ilyasviel's just too stuffy."

"Right. Well, it's nice to meet you, Ilya." He gave a stiff bow of greeting. While he couldn't feel it, he had little doubt that even that small bow had driven several shards of his ribs into his flesh. That'd be a bitch to heal. "I'm Kotomine Shirou, and this is Assassin." He gestured at the Servant standing next to him, who was still wary. He was glad at least one of the people here still seemed to be taking this seriously. "May I ask what your purpose is?

"Kotomine?" Ilya gave him an interested glance. "Now I really want to talk to you. Oh. I suppose that answers your question as well, doesn't it?"

"That's all?" Shirou said, a little confused. Frankly, Ilya and Saber had them in a perfect position to wipe them out. He was injured, Assassin had used a fair portion of her prana in the battle and they had no real method of escape. And why had his family name inspired yet another reaction in yet another Master? Was his father that well known?

"That's all." Ilya confirmed.

"I see." He closed his eyes in thought. After a moment, he opened them. "In that case, would you mind waiting for a second? I need to get rid of these."

He waved his claws in the air, and Ilya gave them an interested glance before nodding.

"You might want to look away," He said warningly. "It's not exactly a pretty process."

Despite that warning, it seemed like he had the full attention of everyone in the area. He sighed.

"Analysis start."

He looked down at his body, examining the new form he'd given his arms. After a few seconds, he nodded.

"The form returns to the weave." Instantly, his flesh began to heave, the bony claws retracting into his flesh, distorting the surface of his skin with their presence. Unneeded muscles and fats broke down, moving through his arms to gather at a single point. His bones once again to crack and reform, shards breaking off and moving towards the same point as the excess fat and muscle. His fingers reformed, fresh skin forming around them.

A few moments more, and he had a normal set of arms once more. Well, apart from the large, bulbous cyst each had, containing the unneeded biomass of his last transformation.

"I don't suppose either of you have a container?" He asked hopefully. Ilya and Saber shook their heads head, and he sighed mournfully. "Alright, pardon me for a moment."

He stepped behind a bush, crouching down and lowering his arms near to the ground. With a slight effort of will, the cysts opened, releasing a slurry of blood, bone and flesh. Another effort of will, and the now useless flaps of skin fell from his body. He gave the open wounds a brief glance. His analysis was still running, so he could heal a wound of this degree without another aria. He should probably see about patching himself up a little. If Ilya and Saber wanted to kill him, he couldn't stop them even if he had full prana reserves, so there wasn't really any point in not healing himself.

A few seconds later, he stood, body nearly completely restored. His prana reserves were now pretty much nonexistent though. And he still had more broken ribs than he'd like. Still, he was in better shape than he'd been a few minutes ago.

"Alright," he said, walking back towards Assassin. "Thanks for waiting."

"It's fine," Ilya said, dismissing the complaint with a wave. "I got to see something interesting."

"I'll take that as a compliment," he responded airily. "So where do you want to have this chat?"

Ilya shrugged. "Anywhere that's neutral territory will do. We've only just arrived in this city, so I don't really have a favourite place."

Shirou considered. He was tired, thirsty and really felt like sitting down. He didn't particularly mind where they went, but somewhere vaguely familiar would be nice.

Eventually, he came to a conclusion. He turned back to Saber and Ilya.

"Well, I know a place that does great Chinese…"

-End-

nununu
September 17th, 2011, 12:55 PM
BodyHorror!Shirou~

Fun~

DreamsRequiem
September 17th, 2011, 12:56 PM
...Excaliblast right off the bat? Sounds like Illya, definitely.

burningclaw2
September 17th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Shirou and Assassin-chan were both badass in this

qsurf
September 17th, 2011, 01:03 PM
Shirou and Assassin-chan were both badass in this

Very, I just hope they'll survive the next encounter with Lancer and Bazett.

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 17th, 2011, 01:08 PM
...Excaliblast right off the bat? Sounds like Illya, definitely.

Well if there was ever a time when Ilya was justified in complete and total overconfidence, this is it. Particularly if Saber is the one carrying Avalon.

Exthiel
September 17th, 2011, 01:27 PM
Well if there was ever a time when Ilya was justified in complete and total overconfidence, this is it. Particularly if Saber is the one carrying Avalon.

They do have Avalon, since Kiritsugu left it to Ilya

Larekko12
September 17th, 2011, 01:28 PM
You are doomed ye who walk in the darkness. Who the fucks going to be try fight Arturia with a beserker Herakles fueling Dynamo behind her? Unless Archers and Serker are more Hax than I thought any one who's not assasin's fucked. And even that;s only if illya doesn't have her simply rip open the mist when she casts it. Let us hope Gil mellowed out. I am loving this.

Have you considered looking to prototype, prototype fanfics, tyranids, and shoggoths for fleshy weapons?

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 17th, 2011, 01:35 PM
They do have Avalon, since Kiritsugu left it to Ilya

Yes, but who is carrying it: Ilya or Saber?

Ilya may benefit from having the sheath on her, and it ensures that Ilya will survive long enough for Saber to rescue her no matter what happens.

If Saber is the one carrying it, there's no reason why she can't curbstomp everything and everyone in a fight. In fact a valid strategy may be to become a threat so overwhelming that Saber needs to take the sheath from Ilya, thus leaving Ilya vulnerable.

Or have Assassin steal it from Ilya.

Or, very distant possibility, the Einzbern have a reason or way to retain Avalon with or without the duo's consent.

Stormedge
September 17th, 2011, 01:41 PM
You are doomed ye who walk in the darkness. Who the fucks going to be try fight Arturia with a beserker Herakles fueling Dynamo behind her? Unless Archers and Serker are more Hax than I thought any one who's not assasin's fucked. And even that;s only if illya doesn't have her simply rip open the mist when she casts it. Let us hope Gil mellowed out. I am loving this.

Have you considered looking to prototype, prototype fanfics, tyranids, and shoggoths for fleshy weapons?

I'll just say this now. There's no possible way for Assassin to match Saber in pretty much any kind of combat. That's not even a spoiler. I'm just looking at the stats. Saber's Instinct skill allows her to counteract the effects of the Mist somewhat, Excalibur can rip the Bounded Field apart, her Magic Resistance means that Maria's curse can't do anything against her and if she happens to have Avalon equipped, then Assassin can't even wear her down. Hell, Saber regens fast even without Avalon. Assassin would have to attack pretty much non-stop to keep up, which is just asking for Saber to get a counter in.

To put it in terms that Gilgamesh would understand: Saber is Omnislash.

burningclaw2
September 17th, 2011, 01:47 PM
I'm not sure if I got it but was Bazett still poisoned when Lancer took her?

qsurf
September 17th, 2011, 01:49 PM
Umm, what about that insta-kill females move that Assa-chan has?

Hymn of Ragnarok
September 17th, 2011, 01:50 PM
To put it in terms that Gilgamesh would understand: Saber is Omnislash.

But does that make Gilgamesh plan his attack of Saber more cautiously, given the end Sephiroth met? And if so, does this mean that playing video games made Gilgamesh Genre Savvy?

I'm tempted to say that Gilgamesh identifies the most with Sephiroth, but I suspect that the King of Heroes will forever hate Sephiroth for what he did to Aeris.


Umm, what about that insta-kill females move that Assa-chan has?

The one that requires protection from curses to escape?

Yeah, not putting money on it working as advertised.

Spinach
September 17th, 2011, 01:54 PM
Umm, what about that insta-kill females move that Assa-chan has?

Since the attack is curse based high magic resistance makes surviving it possible, and Saber has more than enough magic resistance AND Avalon to protect her from it.

shiningphoenix
September 17th, 2011, 01:55 PM
Umm, what about that insta-kill females move that Assa-chan has?
"To protect against this Noble Phantasm, it is not physical defensive power but resistance from curses that is necessary."

Magic Resistance, basically.

Stormedge
September 17th, 2011, 01:56 PM
Umm, what about that insta-kill females move that Assa-chan has?

Maria's curse. It's blocked by Magic Resistance or other methods of resisting curses. Essentially, I don't think it'll work. Unlike Gae Bolg, which is a cursed weapon, Maria itself actually 'casts' the curse, so to speak. It can even be done from a distance.

ItsaRandomUsername
September 17th, 2011, 01:58 PM
Alex Mercer? Is that you?

...heh.

Now, considering that this is your big debut-fight chapter, I have to say that it succeeded. Great job. You were especially creative with Shirou's Flesh techniques involving the seed Mystic Code and his fleshy magic. And Assassin!Jack was spot-on, as per yoosh.

Then the "heroes of justice" arrive:

"Nobody ignores us, so fire the Wave Motion Sword, Saber!" ... is pretty much what Illya just said.
AWESOME. This should get interesting.
Illya!Saber is theoretically OP as hell, and now that there's Avalon......better not make an enemey out of them.

This chapter is ItsaRandomUsername approved. Keep on trucking, Stormedge. ^_^



@Genre-Savvy Video Game Playing Gilgamesh:
The horror.

reborn214
September 17th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Maria definitely won't work on Saber as it's is more like a spell. As long as Jackie and the target on in the mist she could cast it from a mile away assuming the mist stretches that far, but Illya on the other hand will end up as a blood stain on the street if Jackie used it from a mile away. Gae blog's magic is basically the noble phantasm itself so it ignores magic resitance.
I'm pretty sure that's how it works though I could be wrong.

Exthiel
September 17th, 2011, 02:14 PM
Maria definitely won't work on Saber as it's is more like a spell. As long as Jackie and the target on in the mist she could cast it from a mile away assuming the mist stretches that far, but Illya on the other hand will end up as a blood stain on the street if Jackie used it from a mile away. Gae blog's magic is basically the noble phantasm itself so it ignores magic resitance.
I'm pretty sure that's how it works though I could be wrong.

Maria the Ripper's curse works need three condition to work: It has to be at night, a fog is present and the target is female. I don't know the maximum range but if all three conditions are fulfilled then it's a instant kill by being dismembered

nununu
September 17th, 2011, 03:00 PM
Nothing is stopping it from working on Ilya though. Or does she have a similar kind of protection?

Cypher27
September 17th, 2011, 03:20 PM
Then the "heroes of justice" arrive:

"Nobody ignores us, so fire the Wave Motion Sword, Saber!" ... is pretty much what Illya just said.
AWESOME. This should get interesting.
Illya has a way to make people pay attention on her.:illya:

nununu
September 17th, 2011, 03:24 PM
Illya: They seem to be too caught up in a life-or-death situation that they cannot sense the awesomeness wafting off of us. Saber, grab their attention<3!

burningclaw2
September 17th, 2011, 03:40 PM
Would be funny if Archer shot Saber during that.

Larekko12
September 17th, 2011, 03:59 PM
COuldn't Saber just Lucky bitchslap it away like Gae bolge? Does Illya's grail nature give protection from curses?

shiningphoenix
September 17th, 2011, 05:57 PM
Nothing is stopping it from working on Ilya though. Or does she have a similar kind of protection?

Avalon.

reborn214
September 17th, 2011, 06:10 PM
Does Avalon protect against curses? I thought all it did was heal unless you have saber activate it which in that case becomes the ultimate defense

Tracer
September 17th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Shirou goes Alex Mercer.
AWESOME.

Larekko12
September 17th, 2011, 06:58 PM
Does Avalon protect against curses? I thought all it did was heal unless you have saber activate it which in that case becomes the ultimate defense

Yes it does protect against curses. AFAIK