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Elf
July 2nd, 2011, 02:33 PM
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Type-Moon characters or properties expressed in the work of fiction below. They belong to Type-Moon and their creator, Kinko Nasu.


That Ever Illusive Utopia


By: Elf

Prologue
Folly of the Third



Saber was glad.

The urge to close her eyes was strong, but she kept them open, staring at the boy before her. His golden brown eyes were starting to become dull and blank, the toll of the unnatural graft of his new left arm all too evident. Bits of shining steel were starting to break through thousands of places his skin. He would break at the end of all of this, but before then he would emerge victorious.

He would save the day, be the hero he so craved to be.

Sakura and Rin would be safe at the cost of his life, this she was sure of.

Then again she knew what sort of fool her former Master had been that first night.

So, it is not a bad thing to die by his hand.


Saber watched as his glaze cleared as he looked down at her and his arms trembled, even his alien left arm. His chest rose and fell deeply with each breath as the dagger was suspended before her. Already she could feel the wounds mending, he wouldn't have long before she could stand again and strike him with her cursed blade. He had chosen this path and everything it entailed.

The blade came slamming down, and Saber finally found peace.


******

They were both dead mad men engaging in a useless folly. The boy's body had all but turned into the swords that were within him and the evil buying the priest his time had all been but defeated. Yet they still raged as a clash of ideals, however they were two sides of the very same coin. Good and Evil, Light and Dark, Yin and Yang. They both knew deep down that one could not exist without the other and liked the other simply for that.

Not that they would ever breathe a word of that to each other.

So as broken limbs threw punches driven by sheer will neither were aware that they were being watched.

Ilya stood there in her heavy dress of spun gold and watched with tears forming in her eyes. Her hands were clenched at her sides as she watched beloved flesh being shredded by more and more steel that should not have been real. She wondered if this fate was kinder to her younger brother than the man who's soul was trapped inside of her, but neither ending was happy.

The boy would die only to have his lover waste away without him.

The man had been damned to an eternity of slaughtering many so countless he would never see would live.

Ilya watched as the priest fell first, his determination and body falling to the one named Emiya Shirou. She watched as Shirou stood panting, staring ahead with blank, lifeless eyes at the horror brewing before him. She bit her lip and brushed away tears with a heavy hand before taking another hard step.

She wished she had more of the Servants inside of her, after all she didn't want to part with Archer. It would have been nice to take him with her into eternity, to have his soul reborn with hers over and over again. However she knew that was not to be.

“Sempai,” a familiar soft voice whimpered beside her.

Ilya turned to see the nude, blood streaked girl standing before her. Matou Sakura was once again sporting her soft violet eyes and hair. Ilya regarded her dark counter part and tilted her head.

“He's dying,” Sakura whispered, tears pouring down her eyes, “Nee-san's dead and Sempai's dying . . . It's all my fault.”

Ilya knew that Rin was far from dead, after all the magus was too stubborn to die from such a trivial wound inflicted by her own sister. However she was right about Shirou, but both young women had been shaped for a purpose by nefarious forces. They had the ability to work a Miracle between the two of them.

Ilya held out her small hand, smiled, and said, “Well, you have the power to change it, if you want.”

Sakura blinked at her hand and asked in a soft voice, “What do you mean, Ilya?”

“We were both messed with for others’ gain. I think it might be nice to make a wish of our own making, don't you think?” Ilya asked with a grin as Sakura bit her lip, but the other girl's hand carefully grasped her own.


******

There was no peace, no sense of satisfaction, just burning anguish.

The former king of the Britons sat up with a scream as she was brought back into the hellish cave where she thought everything had ended.


******

"Onii-chan, I'm going to need you to wake up, Onii-chan."

It was a soft voice, an all too familiar one with a sweet sing-song quality to it. A cool hand caressed his cheek and his eyes opened to gleaming, white light. Automatically he reached up for that illusive hand, the harsh bronze of his skin a stark contrast to the gleaming white. Crimson eyes squinted shut as a large smile spread across angelic features framed by silken hair the color of fresh falling snow.

"Ilya," he whispered, his voice harsh and rusty even to his own ears as the rest of his senses began to focus.

There was no gaping hole leaking in his chest, his left arm was attached to his body once again, and there was no connection to an interesting little magus. The prana that was flowing through his circuits was his own and there was nothing ethereal about his existence. Even though steel was his body and fire was his blood, the tissues were restored and whole. Life was given once again.

“They’re going to need you, Onii-chan,” Ilya said as the former Counter Guardian Emiya rose shakily to a sitting position. Ilya was standing before him, a being shining with her own inner light that was almost blinding to behold.

His eyes widened at the sadness reflected in crimson eyes that were too old for the face that held them. Automatically the large hand held the smaller one even tighter as brother and sister stared at each other for what seemed like a small eternity. After a moment Archer broke the silence and said, “Ilya, what’s going on?”

“I’m acting like an older sister for once. You tried so hard to protect your Ilya and it broke you,” she said in a soft voice as her eyes shimmered with crystal tears and her free hand brushed his cheek.

He threw his free arm around her and cradled her close, her words a heavy weight upon him. “I’m not losing you again,” he said against the silk of her hair as he clutched the soft material of her dress.

Ilya stepped back and gave him a bittersweet smile before her hands slipped away from him. “It’s my choice Onii-chan,” she said as those glittering tears finally spilled from her eyes.

Archer shook his head and said, “No. No, goddamn it, Ilya, I’m not . . .”

Eyes like the finest rubies bore into his, locking and holding him in place as if she had bolted him down to the cave floor. Her voice rang out with the clarity of a bell as she said, “Farewell, Onii-chan. This time promise me you will try to be happy, see what my onii-chan saw.”

“No,” Archer said, and he would have shook his head and grabbed her if he had been able to move, but the pressure she was putting on him was too great.

Ilya smiled, spinning ever so slightly, her white dress floating around her. She said, “Maybe you can save the one person you failed.” Then she was gone, walking farther and farther away from him.

Archer gritted up his teeth and summoned every reserve he had to break the spell she’d put upon him. With a shout he fell forward onto trembling limbs as he forced himself to his feet. He started to run in the direction she had vanished, screaming her name over and over again.

Yet she had left him once again.

A loud, female scream in a voice he knew all too well resounded from deeper within the cave. Gnashing his teeth, he looked back to where Ilya had vanished and headed into the cave. Each step deeper into the cave brought him closer and closer, Ilya’s last words to him ringing through his head with each step.




Author's Notes: Okay, since my laptop died that had The Hound and the Blacksmith and S&CB on it, I had to start this until the information's recovered. Don't worry, I WILL end S&CB, and the Hound and the Blacksmith is my fun project.





Prologue : Folly of the Third
Chapter One : The Collapse from Within
Chapter Two : Cryptic Words and Half-Answers
Chapter Three : Promises and Alliances
Chapter Four : Unwelcome Returns
Chapter Five : Discarded Precious Things
Chapter Six : Akin to Apathy
Chapter Seven : Vipers and Uniforms / Servitude in Secret
Chapter Eight : Prospects and Potential
Chapter Nine : The King is Not Dead
Chapter Ten : Battles of Attrition
Chapter Eleven : Understanding Anguish
Chapter Twelve : Unlikely Saviors
Chapter Thirteen : Unfortunate Circumstances
Chapter Fourteen :Salvage Missions
Chapter Fifteen : Offers of Camaraderie
Chapter Sixteen : Acceptance of Changes
Chapter Seventeen : New, Unexpected and Uncertain Feelings
Chapter Eighteen : Rider’s Plight
Chapter Nineteen : The Faker to the Kings
Chapter Twenty : Remember What The Red Knight Said
Chapter Twenty-One : The Maiden Underneath
Chapter Twenty-Two : In Haste and In Need (Lemon)
Chapter Twenty-Three : Nightmares Within Bliss
Chapter Twenty-Four : Pressure Released (Lemon)
Chapter Twenty-Five : Matters of Diplomacy
Chapter Twenty-Six: Seeking Knowledge (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=645088&viewfull=1#post645088)
Chapter Twenty-Seven: http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=756228&viewfull=1#post756228][B]The Art of Being a Girl
Chapter Twenty-Nine: What Ifs . . . (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=865893&viewfull=1#post865893)
Chapter Thirty: Revelations through Nightmares (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=925189&viewfull=1#post925189)
Chapter Thirty-One: A Date Fit For A King (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=1050613&viewfull=1#post1050613)
Chapter Thirty-Two: Matters of Love (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/739-That-Ever-Illusive-Utopia?p=1133124&viewfull=1#post1133124)



Thank you to Valmoer for going back and making a listing of all the chapters for new readers so they don't have to slog through all the posts.

ItsaRandomUsername
July 2nd, 2011, 02:33 PM
It's here! This calls for an Illya smiley!

:illya::sader:

And a Sader just to be safe.

Alulim
July 2nd, 2011, 02:34 PM
Nice.

Mike1984
July 2nd, 2011, 02:39 PM
Yeah, nice start....

Kratosirving
July 2nd, 2011, 02:46 PM
Oooo la la~ me like~

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 02:49 PM
Ooooooooh, GOOD! GOOD! Waiting for more!

Elf
July 2nd, 2011, 02:51 PM
The thing of it is, I do adore Ilya, I really do but . . . :(

She sacrificed herself for porn. Thank you Ilya, we love you.

ItsaRandomUsername
July 2nd, 2011, 02:52 PM
Her sacrifice will not be forgotten, or in vain.

Alulim
July 2nd, 2011, 02:52 PM
A worthy sacrifice I believe.

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 02:55 PM
It's the first chapter and I already want to see how angry and/or broken Saber really is here. *0*

lantzblades
July 2nd, 2011, 02:59 PM
wait a minute. is this going where i think it is elf. archer...saber...damn it.

also damn you and your writing voodoo magic. you made me want to hug a-arch-ughhgh I can't bring myself to say it, oh god your voodoo almost made me though. I cautiously look forward to the next part.

Mike1984
July 2nd, 2011, 03:02 PM
The thing of it is, I do adore Ilya, I really do but . . . :(

She sacrificed herself for porn. Thank you Ilya, we love you.

Yeah....

That is the one part of the HF True ending that I find sad, actually. In fact, the only thing that has me crying more is the HF Normal epilogue.

ItsaRandomUsername
July 2nd, 2011, 03:05 PM
You made me sad. Thanks Elf. :'(

EnigmaticFellow
July 2nd, 2011, 03:11 PM
Illya, the girl who sacrificed herself for porn. In that name do we of Beast's Lair put our trust in.

Elf
July 2nd, 2011, 03:30 PM
It's the first chapter and I already want to see how angry and/or broken Saber really is here. *0*

Well, technically, it's the prologue, not quite the first chapter. :)

But yes, honestly Ilya's sacrifice made me rather sad yet bittersweet in HF True. (I didn't get normal, I damned well made sure I got my Ilya points. :) ) I always liked her, and I never really get to use her. However, she did have a good part in the prologue. Next though we get to see how fucked Saber really is and Archer trying to deal/cope.

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 03:36 PM
Well, technically, it's the prologue, not quite the first chapter. :)

But yes, honestly Ilya's sacrifice made me rather sad yet bittersweet in HF True. (I didn't get normal, I damned well made sure I got my Ilya points. :) ) I always liked her, and I never really get to use her. However, she did have a good part in the prologue. Next though we get to see how fucked Saber really is and Archer trying to deal/cope.
Especially that Archer is on a crash-course with the screaming woman. D:

lantzblades
July 2nd, 2011, 03:45 PM
Next though we get to see how fucked Saber really is and Archer trying to deal/cope.

i'm going to feel things aren't I? damn it...

Tobias
July 2nd, 2011, 04:49 PM
...huh. Off HF. Didn't see that coming. This isn't alter, is it?

Mike1984
July 2nd, 2011, 04:51 PM
...huh. Off HF. Didn't see that coming.

Why not? HF is the most logical of the three routes to base a Archer/Saber story in, IMO, because it's the route where Saber has the least connection to Shirou and the main couple. Plus, it neatly deals with Sakura's situation....


This isn't alter, is it?

I believe not, no.

Tobias
July 2nd, 2011, 04:59 PM
Now there was a far more predictable response. Eh, maybe it's just because I had expected to take an angle similar to sakura's in cherry blossoms where saber had to resolve the difference between her feelings towards shirou as opposed to archer, but rather in HF such feelings likely boil down to a mix of guilt and resentment.

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 05:33 PM
The original idea was that Saber would be living in the Emiya household, but without any of her normal, positive energy. On the contrary, she would be depleted and without the will and/or need to live. Moreover, living near Shirou's room, she would have to hear two bunnies going at it nearly every night. I don't remember what involvement Rider would have in all this.

But, now that Archer's going to find her first... I wonder how that will develop.

Mike1984
July 2nd, 2011, 05:36 PM
Well, I'd assume she'll still end up living with Shirou, if only because she has nowhere else to go.

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 05:48 PM
Hmm, about that.

I'm picturing that in the moment in my head. I kind of want her to lose consciousness and be taken by Archer somewhere. They talk (with jumping moods) after she's woken up. Then, later, when Archer is no-where in sight, she'd just leave that place and walk very slowly to the Emiya household. I'd like the weather to be dark, cloudy and raining. She's soaking wet and arrives at the place just when Shirou and the rest are having dinner. She rings the bell and Shirou goes to get the door. He opens them and when he sees her, he's shocked like hell. Then a lightning flashes and a thunder cracks. There is heavy silence between them, but Shirou is able to see one thing: bitter sadness with a hint of detest in her eyes.

I'd also like for Saber to use the "This is the first time I've cursed you, Shirou." line at some point.

Mike1984
July 2nd, 2011, 05:51 PM
Why would she hate Shirou, though? He had no choice but to kill her, and she wouldn't have wanted to live like that anyway.

She will feel bad, yes, but because of what she did, not because of what Shirou did.

Keyne
July 2nd, 2011, 05:53 PM
Why would she hate Shirou, though? He had no choice but to kill her, and she wouldn't have wanted to live like that anyway.
She wanted to die. Being alive was not her plan at all. And you used the word "hate", not me.

It's kind of like tripping the flag for Femme Fatale.

Hermitfold
July 2nd, 2011, 07:33 PM
Ooh, I'm looking forward to this very much. Please keep up the great work, Elf.

Kieran
July 2nd, 2011, 08:28 PM
Some of what she's got planned is fairly dark - but then, Elf works with that so well . . .

Yes, that was a sad fate for Ilya-dono, and I'm sorry it had to happen, but maybe it will mean something good for Sakura - that she managed to take what was inside her, and do something positive with it. And it allows for a really awesome Saber story, so I can't help but be pleased.

. . . Yeah, I've been anticipating this one for a looooong time. :D

amado
July 2nd, 2011, 09:07 PM
nice. I like the prologue.

btw, since you seem to be planning to do these to sakura, saber and rin, do you also plan to do one for ilya?

Tobias
July 2nd, 2011, 09:16 PM
I wouldn't think so, I think elf was on mike's side last time we argued about archerxilya. Could be wrong though?

RadiantBeam
July 2nd, 2011, 09:17 PM
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. An excellent start, a very excellent start. I look forward to the rest!

Kotonoha
July 2nd, 2011, 11:37 PM
Is the title supposed to say illusive or elusive?

Kratosirving
July 2nd, 2011, 11:56 PM
illusive - based on or having the nature of an illusion




elusive - difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze


Based on the way Fate was handled, (and because this is going for Saber) my bet is that the title is correct. Fits well when you consider that everything that happens in the Grail War for Saber is just another dream, but it seems like it will be twisted into a waking nightmare for this story before it ends in a better light.

Froggie
July 2nd, 2011, 11:58 PM
Oh, very nice. I look forward to more of this :)

Kotonoha
July 2nd, 2011, 11:58 PM
"Ever illusive" sounds strange, maybe it's just me?

Kratosirving
July 3rd, 2011, 12:16 AM
I tend to think of it as Saber being lost in a fog, wandering around and seeing glimpses of things, but every time she gets close it turns out to be just an illusion.

Kotonoha
July 3rd, 2011, 12:18 AM
I'm also surprised Gauss didn't point out "Kinko Nasu".

Moar liek kinky Nasu.

Alulim
July 3rd, 2011, 12:21 AM
Indeed.

Techlet
July 3rd, 2011, 12:21 AM
I love you, Elf, and everything you stand for.

ringlhach
July 3rd, 2011, 01:46 AM
"Ever illusive" sounds strange, maybe it's just me?It sounds like a Touhou title, to be honest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 02:37 AM
It sounds like a Touhou title, to be honest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS

Alulim
July 3rd, 2011, 02:38 AM
Meep~

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 02:40 AM
Is the title supposed to say illusive or elusive?

It's suppose to be Illusive.

Like Krato said, it's more like an illusion than it being difficult to reach.

It's me playing with words here.


Using both 'make' and 'making' here is redundant.

Ah, but it's dialogue. People do tend to be redundant when speaking. I was doing that on purpose. The two of them were made to make a wish. Again, word play. :)

Still, thanks for the catches. Most of this was written at work (and you can probably tell when it wasn't) between orders so things can get dicey. However, I was wondering when you were going to come in with your proof reading.

Alulim
July 3rd, 2011, 02:42 AM
Playing with words is fun~

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 02:54 AM
who's s/b whose

From this is obviously going on HF stating it's Archer and Shirou would be redundant and lose the impact of the current poetic nature of Ilya's thoughts.

Keyne
July 3rd, 2011, 03:08 AM
Elf-tan, I posted a few thoughts earlier on. Tell me if you like them, please. :)

ringlhach
July 3rd, 2011, 05:36 AM
THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGSThat wasn't a complaint! You've got to admit that it does, though.

Kotonoha
July 3rd, 2011, 07:11 AM
From this is obviously going on HF stating it's Archer and Shirou would be redundant and lose the impact of the current poetic nature of Ilya's thoughts.

He's saying "who's" is wrong and should be "whose".

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 09:29 AM
That wasn't a complaint! You've got to admit that it does, though.I don't know the Touhou names. Goddamn Touhou, insinuating itself into my fandom.

Kotonoha
July 3rd, 2011, 09:34 AM
Touhou is in everything, deal w/ it.

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 09:36 AM
I know. ;_;

Kotonoha
July 3rd, 2011, 09:37 AM
Why do you dislike it anyway?

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 09:47 AM
The way it took over everything instantly and the hordes of followers. I was also unmoved by the game (only played the first) and was annoyed by all the hype.

Kotonoha
July 3rd, 2011, 09:50 AM
So uh... "I hate it because it's popular"?

I am disappoint.

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 09:51 AM
elitism? on my internet?



Its more likely then you think.



(also, I know nothing about touhou, I hate bullet hell games)

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 09:56 AM
I hate it because it's fucking everywhere and I didn't like it myself. It's more that I can't swing a dead cat without hitting something Touhou related.

Not terribly fond of bullet hell games either.

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 09:59 AM
WHY ARE YOU SWINGING AROUND DEAD CATS?!


;_;

Neir
July 3rd, 2011, 10:01 AM
You need to have SOME fun at a vet's office. /notsrs

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 11:07 AM
Elf-tan, I posted a few thoughts earlier on. Tell me if you like them, please. :)

You're just going to have to see what happens, Keyne. :)

However, there's one thing I'm trying to figure out about Excalibur.

. . . I like Touhou. I can't play it worth shit, but I like the characters. I wish there was an official Touhou anime. However the Castlevayna Touhou games sport some stellar artwork. (I've been watching Lee play the recent one. Sakuya is sex.)

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 11:09 AM
what were you trying to figure out about it?

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 11:10 AM
what were you trying to figure out about it?

Saber's not going to be corrupted at this point by Angry Manjew, but I'm trying to wonder if the sword still is.

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 11:13 AM
I doubt it, the sword was a measure of light and darkness through the fairies, when saber was corrupted by the effect of blackening, the sword responded by turning to its dark aspect, logically, reversing the process of blackening would restore it to its light aspect as it responds to saber's persona.

Kratosirving
July 3rd, 2011, 11:14 AM
Yup, it's reminiscient to Nagisa in Fortissimo in that way too, so I was about to say the same thing that rapebird said.

Techlet
July 3rd, 2011, 11:15 AM
That would be an interesting twist.

I'm assuming it'd be something like 'not being able to Darkcaliblast without coming to terms with its new nature.'

But also quite unlikely because of what Tobias said.

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 11:19 AM
So, no Black Excalibur.

Well, that scrubs off a sub plot I was playing with, but at least this makes things easier.

Mike1984
July 3rd, 2011, 11:36 AM
Saber's not going to be corrupted at this point by Angry Manjew, but I'm trying to wonder if the sword still is.

No, the sword responds directly to Saber, and her prana. If Saber is dark, the sword is, and vice-versa.


I doubt it, the sword was a measure of light and darkness through the fairies, when saber was corrupted by the effect of blackening, the sword responded by turning to its dark aspect, logically, reversing the process of blackening would restore it to its light aspect as it responds to saber's persona.

Well, when Shirou traces and uses it in HF, the version he got was the light version, so I'm pretty sure it reacts to the person using it.

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 11:40 AM
isnt that what I said?

Mike1984
July 3rd, 2011, 11:43 AM
Yes, probably.

Elf
July 3rd, 2011, 11:45 AM
He did.

So, that actually makes things a bit easier then.

ringlhach
July 3rd, 2011, 11:51 AM
I'm more interested in if and how much she'll remember, personally, and what she'll admit to remembering. People do trauma-block stuff sometimes, after all. Don't see it happening to her, but we'll wait and see.

Keyne
July 3rd, 2011, 12:38 PM
She should remember all of it. She tends to stack up guilt.

ringlhach
July 3rd, 2011, 12:42 PM
That's where the "admitting" part comes in. I don't see her as wanting to be punished. Regretting, sure, but that and wanting punishment are two different things. She's not really a sub, you know?

Keyne
July 3rd, 2011, 12:58 PM
That's where the "admitting" part comes in. I don't see her as wanting to be punished. Regretting, sure, but that and wanting punishment are two different things. She's not really a sub, you know?
Oh, she's punishing herself already. Being really hard on herself is just one aspect of it.

Tobias
July 3rd, 2011, 03:16 PM
That's where the "admitting" part comes in. I don't see her as wanting to be punished. Regretting, sure, but that and wanting punishment are two different things. She's not really a sub, you know?

she does tend to beat herself up more then needed though. hell, so does shirou

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 01:15 AM
Whoooo more Elf stories. Also, Archer gets all the chicks.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 01:24 AM
Whoooo more Elf stories.Also, Archer gets all the chicks.

He does in my stories. XD

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 03:15 AM
I require more! ;C; My life depends on it!! [/jk]

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 03:39 AM
You require more CG Black Dragon rape.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 03:40 AM
You require more CG Black Dragon rape.
O u prankstuur. :3

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 03:48 AM
Oh come on, we have Alter but no Alter CG Dragon? I DEMAND EQUALITY!!!

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 03:51 AM
We don't have Alter anymore. Saber's back to her normal state.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:21 AM
I'm rooting for such a scene in the rain like the one I invented. It has such a depressing feel to it. I hope Elf-tan will consider it. I really do. :)

Double post for Great Justice!

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:30 AM
. . . Just one thing that's bugging me.

What the hell to do with Rin?

Honestly, it wouldn't be hard at ALL to go with Saber/Archer/Rin.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:32 AM
Rin... will go to London later on. Or pair her up with Rider.

I don't think a triangular relationship would be of any good here.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:36 AM
But but . . . Saber/Archer/Rin would be a beautiful thing!

Honestly, I don't want to go that route in the main story. Now I might write a side ending where that happens just for fun and to write the threesome lemon, but no it would not be the main story line. Now, that doesn't mean that they're not close to Rin, in fact Archer acts as her Second when she's in London.

Techlet
July 4th, 2011, 04:37 AM
Lancer x Rin?

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:38 AM
But from all the routes, HF!Rin knows Saber the least and has some bad memories as well.

An omake is fine, though.

Techlet
July 4th, 2011, 04:39 AM
Wait, I got it.

Rin x Ayako

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:39 AM
Lancer x Rin?

Lancer got eaten by True Assassin. Assassin got his ass handed to him by Kotomine . . . So no Lancer X Rin.

Pretty much the four remaining servants are: Archer, Gil, Rider and Saber. (And you'll find out about gil in the first chapter.)

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:41 AM
Will Kotomine be back?

Techlet
July 4th, 2011, 04:41 AM
Ah, so it's not a universal reset like SChB?

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:45 AM
Ah, so it's not a universal reset like SChB?

Nope, not at all. That's why I went with the prologue here while I didn't with S&CB. It is probably going to be as dark in points, definitely more violent.


Will Kotomine be back?

Sadly no.

No awesome conversations of Archer and Kotomine this time around. Which makes me a bit sad, but I didn't want to be a same trick pony. Nah, I've got someone else in mind to be Archer's Bro.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:49 AM
I seriously can't wait for the next chapter. This miserable, sorrowful aura is just too compelling.

Alulim
July 4th, 2011, 04:54 AM
Indeed.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:00 AM
I'm curious about one thing. The Servants in SaCB had places to stay in. How will this be solved here? I'm fairly sure Archer's going to be on the lookout for a hideout.

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 05:23 AM
Actually, from the way the prologue sounds it looks like Archer is taking Shirou's place, so he'll probably be able to use his house.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:27 AM
Oh.... INTERESTING~~

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 05:52 AM
The one thing I'm still questioning is that from the way it was worded, is Archer in Archer's body, or Shirou's? :/

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:58 AM
Yes, this is curious. I think it'd be a nice twist if Archer returned to his young state, only his skin would be his natural color.

Also, there's going to be Archer/Saber lemons here, and Shirou himself could fill her vagina completely with his cawk. Archer, being the tall, dark and muscly mothafucka he is, will be bigger. It can deliver her much pain.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 07:06 AM
Rin... will go to London later on. Or pair her up with Rider.

I don't think a triangular relationship would be of any good here.

Yeah.

Rin copes fine with not having anyone in canon HF, and it's not like she's going to be short of suitors. Plus, she has a perfectly good support structure here, with her sister, Shirou etc. caring for her deeply.

And, yeah, if you need to find someone, Rider would probably fit, although Rin would likely want a guy at some point so she can produce an heir (assuming she doesn't just ask Sakura, that is...).


I'm curious about one thing. The Servants in SaCB had places to stay in. How will this be solved here? I'm fairly sure Archer's going to be on the lookout for a hideout.

Well, I'd assume Archer would live with Rin at first. Saber and Rider would, of course, be with Shirou....


Actually, from the way the prologue sounds it looks like Archer is taking Shirou's place, so he'll probably be able to use his house.

I doubt it, because then you'd have to deal with the whole "HF Normal" thing (only probably worse, because Sakura revived a form of Shirou who doesn't love her, and failed to revive the one who died protecting her). Plus, do you honestly think Sakura would just move out if Shirou were actually dead? Or, for that matter, that she would make a wish which didn't revive him?


The one thing I'm still questioning is that from the way it was worded, is Archer in Archer's body, or Shirou's? :/

Well, I'm pretty sure Shirou is still around, otherwise this is an absolutely horrible ending for Sakura, even more so if Archer were to turn up in his body and proceed to start fucking Saber. If he did that, I think Rin would actually kill him....

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Well, I'm pretty sure Shirou is still around, otherwise this is an absolutely horrible ending for Sakura, even more so if Archer were to turn up in his body and proceed to start fucking Saber. If he did that, I think Rin would actually kill him....
You went extremely fast-forward with that "fucking Saber" part, I think. '~'

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 07:17 AM
Alternatively, possibly you could pair rin up with shirou and sakura?

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 07:31 AM
You went extremely fast-forward with that "fucking Saber" part, I think. '~'

Perhaps, but you know what I mean. You have a version of Shirou (who sacrificed everything for Sakura) come back and then promptly entirely ignore her, and start fucking Saber. It would be horrible for her, even worse than HF Normal was.

I'm pretty sure it's not the case, though, because Elf has made it clear with previous posts that Shirou is still alive. I was just pointing out to you and Krato that that would not be a good setup, unless you wanted a very dark and depressing fic.


Alternatively, possibly you could pair rin up with shirou and sakura?

Well, that could work in theory, but I don't think it's very likely, TBH (I'd say even less likely than pairing Sakura with Rin and Shirou post-UBW, because I can't see Shirou being willing to risk hurting Sakura that way, and I can't see Rin being willing to either). I'd say it'd make a decent omake, but I don't think it fits the main story.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 07:34 AM
I'm pretty sure it's not the case, though, because Elf has made it clear with previous posts that Shirou is still alive. I was just pointing out to you and Krato that that would not be a good setup, unless you wanted a very dark and depressing fic.
To be honest, I was expecting it to be a dark and depressing fic, at least in the first stages.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 07:36 AM
That depends on if the level of violence and grim dark is enough to force rin and the others together for an extended period of time, the dynamic could change a little. Sakra and shirou are in trouble, rin will stay by to protect them, specially since I seem to recall something about new puppet shirou having to retrain his powers in his body so won't be able to really defend them.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 08:23 AM
To be honest, I was expecting it to be a dark and depressing fic, at least in the first stages.

Yeah, but Shirou being dead makes it dark and depressing the whole way through, with a thoroughly shitty ending where Sakura wastes away whilst an alternate version of her Sempai shacks up with Saber.


That depends on if the level of violence and grim dark is enough to force rin and the others together for an extended period of time, the dynamic could change a little. Sakra and shirou are in trouble, rin will stay by to protect them, specially since I seem to recall something about new puppet shirou having to retrain his powers in his body so won't be able to really defend them.

Yeah, but Rin staying around to protect them doesn't mean they're going to get into a relationship with her. It would take a hell of a lot to convince any of the three that it was a viable option, and a hell of a lot more to convince one of them to actually suggest it.

If any of the three makes the suggestion without being completely sure that the other two will be OK with it, they risk breaking their family apart entirely. Plus, Rin and Sakura are sisters, they're not likely to be overly interested in getting into a sexual relationship with each other.

I just don't see any of them suggesting it, or even thinking of it as a viable option. Rin knows how much Sakura loves and needs Shirou, and wouldn't be willing to risk hurting her by suggesting they "share" him, or even by making it known that she has feelings for him, Shirou has no reason whatsoever to suggest it, because he's quite happy with Sakura, won't want to hurt her and doesn't know Rin's feelings, and Sakura won't suggest it because she doesn't know Rin's feelings and would surely feel insecure at the idea of Shirou wanting Rin too.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 08:30 AM
Actually thinking about it we have no idea what the actual problem is. Gil is alive apparantly, so something weird must have happened, he can't be blackened so.....what, sakura coughed him up?

Anyway, this might actually be some sort of elaborate plan to find/help/resurrect shirou.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM
Actually thinking about it we have no idea what the actual problem is. Gil is alive apparantly, so something weird must have happened, he can't be blackened so.....what, sakura coughed him up?

Yeah, I have no idea how Gil survived here. Or Saber, for that matter....


Anyway, this might actually be some sort of elaborate plan to find/help/resurrect shirou.

I really don't know where you're getting this "Shirou is dead" stuff from. If he were, this wouldn't be an Archer/Saber story, it would be a "Sakura is fucking depressed" story or a "let's go hunting Sempai" story. Plus, with Shirou gone, Saber would have nowhere to go, and Rin would be too interested in Sakura's hunt for Shirou to care about Archer, as would Saber, for that matter.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 08:53 AM
just thinking out lo0ud, no need to get excited. there is obviously some kind of conflict here (else it wouldnt matter what Excalibur looked like since other then maybe at he beginning it would always be under IA) and with the arguable exception of archer, the easiest way to galvanise the whole motley crew would be something involving shirou.

plus on the technical side ilya also resurrected archer, presumably from the Garm, so her ability to restore shirou via application of the heaven's feel might have been reduced.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 12:45 PM
Shirou's NOT dead, I couldn't do that to poor Sakura, but between the two of them Ilya gets to save both versions of her Onii-chan. I've got some interesting conversations planned between him and Archer. Plus because Shirou's steered so far away from Archer's path it's not instinctual hate between the two of them. Especially not on Shirou's part in the actual route himself.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 12:46 PM
I think Archer will just leave him alone. Though, he will be concerned with Saber. Maybe they'll have a few convos about that.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 12:46 PM
eh, come to think of it, shirou right now is in crappy puppet body, dont they need to start dipping into the matou's kitty for paying off touko?

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 01:00 PM
eh, come to think of it, shirou right now is in crappy puppet body, dont they need to start dipping into the matou's kitty for paying off touko?


...Wut's with that wording?

ringlhach
July 4th, 2011, 01:01 PM
eh, come to think of it, shirou right now is in crappy puppet body, dont they need to start dipping into the matou's kitty for paying off touko?For a moment, I thought you meant a literal cat for a minute, and they were going to dissect it because Zouken had kept his cash there. The sad part is, I was going "When did they get a cat?" That poor cat.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 01:01 PM
what wording?

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 01:10 PM
......I think I need to get my mind out of the gutter.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 01:29 PM
plus on the technical side ilya also resurrected archer, presumably from the Garm, so her ability to restore shirou via application of the heaven's feel might have been reduced.

Perhaps, but if she had had to make a choice, I'm pretty sure Shirou would have come first especially since Sakura was helping her.


eh, come to think of it, shirou right now is in crappy puppet body, dont they need to start dipping into the matou's kitty for paying off touko?

In the game, they paid for it by selling the Matou magic books to the Association (because Sakura and Rin presumably have no wish to learn how to worm-rape people...).

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 01:30 PM
isnt that what I said?

ringlhach
July 4th, 2011, 01:47 PM
You said to "dip into the Matou kitty." While I'm not sure where Kratosirving went with it (kitty = cat = pussy = ... well, pussy, maybe?) I know where I did; you can look up above. I'd actually like to see Kratos's logic, now that I think about it.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 01:48 PM
....how many people have not heard the word kitty to reference a bank account or place of stored valuable/currency!?

ringlhach
July 4th, 2011, 01:53 PM
It's hardly the first thing that came to my mind. People I know usually call it a "bank account," a "vault," or a "stash." Sometimes a "hoard" (not to be confused with "horde," which is something completely different and most people seem to fuck up), but not very often. I don't think I've ever heard anyone actually use it in conversation. What can I say? It's a weird usage.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 01:54 PM
I'm saving this money FOR THE HORDE!

lethum
July 4th, 2011, 02:16 PM
....how many people have not heard the word kitty to reference a bank account or place of stored valuable/currency!?

I hadn't, until you did.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 02:20 PM
Honestly, I thought something else when you said the Matou Kitty.

Alulim
July 4th, 2011, 02:22 PM
Indeed.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 02:34 PM
Honestly, I thought something else when you said the Matou Kitty. You think porn 24/7, that ain't my fault!

Ergast
July 4th, 2011, 03:06 PM
Interesting prologue, Elf. I have high expectations placed in this fic.


....how many people have not heard the word kitty to reference a bank account or place of stored valuable/currency!?

Another one here. I suspected you meant the Matou's money, but I didn't heard the word kitty used to referencing a bank account.


I'm saving this money FOR THE HORDE!

After all, it's hard to be green. Honestly, I'm not sure where I'm going with this, I just feel like doing the joke



Honestly, I thought something else when you said the Matou Kitty.You think porn 24/7, that ain't my fault!

In fact... we didn't want to tell you, but it is your fault for all of us to think about porn, rapebird. C WOT I DID THAR?

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 03:55 PM
Chapter One
The Collapse from Within


Bile was raising sharp, bitter, and burning from deep from within as a thousand things swirled at once. Small hands encased in heavy gauntlets made from blackened metal with vicious ridges trembled violently as the slight form rolled over. Pressure was burning behind closed eyes as the acidic contents forced themselves out through a raw throat. Tears streaked down a bloodied face with each dry heave until the small girl was coughing and trembling.

What have I done? What was done to me? I failed . . . They betrayed me . . . I betrayed them . . . Why was I not granted my peaceful end? Have I not suffered enough?

King Arturia Pendragon rose to her knees before screaming again.

The former Servant Saber was aware of the cave around her starting to tremble and quake in the wake of the events that had taken place here. Automatically she looked down at the blackened armor covering her and the gash in the dull steel that had gone straight into her flesh. Her fingers prodded the tear in the armor to find the wound completely healed, as if Avalon had been restored to her, but she had not had her sheath since Emiya Kiritsugu had been her Master. Her eyes had narrowed as she absently brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen into her face.

She was aware to notice that her hair had been restored to its normal gold, not the ashen color it had became when she had been taken by the Shadow. However further glances downward proved that she was still garbed in the hellish black armor and garb. Small teeth worried a bottom lip as ice fear gripped the knight’s chest as she looked over beside her. Her eyes closed for an instant as the chill continued to race through her veins before she took a deep breath and opened them.

Lying there almost like a gleaming beacon was her sword. Excalibur was resting upon the ground gleaming silver, golden, and deep blue. The Sword of the Lake was exactly how she held it for so many years, the taint of the evil that had gripped its wielder completely scrubbed clean. Saber almost sobbed in relief as she reached for her sword and brought it to her chest. A loud rumbling lurched again from the walls around her as bits of stone began to fall more and more to the cave floor, yet she remained still.

Let these walls be my end. Let this cave be my tomb, she thought as she looked up with gritted teeth.

In the distance she heard a loud cry that sounded like her second Master’s voice. Automatically she looked towards the direction it had came but shook her head. She felt no ties to anyone anymore. She was no longer anyone’s sword but her own, and she had no battle left within her. It was not the beautiful death at Shirou’s hands she thought she had been granted, but she was not going to argue the unfairness of it all.

After all, she had been a King. She had walked hand and hand with miserable duty and unfair situations to serve the Greater Good. Now it will just end. I had failed, this is an acceptable end to me, she thought as she tightened her hold around Excalibur and shut her eyes.

The cave rumbled again and she held her head up, waiting for the crushing pressure to end her misery. However there was a sound that was growing louder and louder, like the footsteps of someone at a heavy run. Her eyes opened to see a tall figure approaching and she widened at the deep red they wore.

Servant Archer stood a mere stone’s throw from her with his broad chest rising and falling with each heavy breath. His steel grey eyes locked upon her before widening as they stared at each other. You died, Saber thought with a tilt of her head as she studied him. Mayhap the same force that forced her back to life had done the same to him as well.

Unlike me, Archer deserves it, she thought as he rapidly approached her. The last she had seen of him had been the first battle she had partaken in since the darkness within Sakura had taken her. The battle had changed her opinion of him; after all he stood alone against forces he had no chance to win against. In fact she had swatted him back as if he had been an annoying fly only to have him come rushing back to protect his Master, Shirou, and Ilya.

Saber bowed her head and waited for the killing blow, after all the last time they had met they had been enemies. Instead large hands grasped her shoulders and lifted her to her feet. Her eyes widened and she snapped, “What are you doing?”

“This cave’s going to collapse any minute. Rin, Sakura, Emiya Shirou, and Rider are still in here. I’m not letting anyone die here today, especially not you,” Archer said in a low voice with narrowed eyes as he propelled her in the direction where she heard another yell, but this time in Rider’s voice.


******


Archer had ran through the rumbling cavern at a frightening speed as he poured more and more prana into his limbs. With each step his mind was racing as he was assessing everything around him. My body seems to be in the same condition as when I was a Servant before Saber injured me, he thought as he heard her voice screaming over and over again. He Analyzed the cave: Structural integrity compromised. Stone structure cracked, the fissure rapidly spreading. Five minutes until complete cave in.

I can work with five minutes, Archer thought as the screams cut through him. Even after all of his life and the records he had gleaned off of from his duty as a Counter Guardian, he still hated that sound more than anything. He became so familiar with the cries of others to tell if the screams were due to injury, fear, or soul shattering despair. The screams stilled for a moment before breaking off into a heaving, choking sound for a long moment before continuing with a rawness that made Archer’s chest tight.

He broke into a chamber that was still smoldering from a previous battle and kneeling in the center of the chamber was a small figure clutching a sword nearly her size to her chest.

Saber was dressed still in her black armor and gown with its hard, cruel ridges. The Holy Sword clutched to her chest was gleaming like a captured star though as if it had been scrubbed clean of the corruption that had infected its master. As always, Archer was caught by the sheer beauty of Excalibur and its master. Despite being streaked with blood, her skin was no longer ashen, her hair was a golden blond, and the wide, red rimmed, tear streaked eyes that met his could shame the finest emerald.

He watched Saber’s brow furrow as she tilted her head while she watched him with those wide eyes. Yet she made no move towards him nor did she even stand at her feet with her sword at the ready as she should have. Her head bowed down in surrender and Archer felt something hot flash through him as he closed the distance between them.

“Maybe you can save the one person you failed.”

He grasped her shoulders and lifted her to her feet as if she was a doll. He towered over her now, more than he did as a teenager. He was aware she was not his Saber; he had failed his Saber to save the world. It was the first of many difficult choices he had made in his attempt to pursue his idea of being a “super hero”, and, from some of the records he had glimpsed in that first night from previous Grail Wars where Rin had apparently summoned him, was a mistake he would try to rectify when he could.

Despite everything, every time he would see her for the first time again he felt like he was seventeen again lying on the floor of his shed looking at a radiant form encased in moonlight. It had been a glorious sight that had been burned into his memory even after he had been thrown into Hell so many times. He wondered each time if it rendered him prone like this time, giving her time to strike at him because for that bright, shining moment he wasn’t Archer or Emiya the Counter Guardian, but Shirou the Innocent, Idealistic Idiot struck stupid by her radiance.

Her eyes snapped open and she asked, “What are you doing?”

He glared at her bloodied, tear streaked face and how her blond hair was falling loose from the once perfect bun. The blackened, bloody Saber was dull, dirty and had been cast aside. She was wanting to die, Archer thought as he looked down at her, torn between his anger and the knowledge of the all too familiar feeling himself.

“Maybe you can save the one person you failed.”

Archer’s voice was surprisingly low and gruff, even for him, as he said, “This cave’s going to collapse any minute. Rin, Sakura, Emiya Shirou, and Rider are still in here. I’m not letting anyone die here today, especially not you.” Saber’s green eyes widened as he pushed her forward. A yell rounded from deep within the cavern, the exotic throb having to be Rider’s voice. Saber stumbled forward but did not start walking on her own, so he grabbed her by the wrist and took off at a run again.

He felt another hot spike of anger as she made no move to cut him down with Excalibur, but meekly held the sword close to her as they traveled deeper into the cave. With each step it continued to rumble and shake more, more and more stones tumbling to the ground. Archer gritted his teeth when he heard Sakura say, “Rider, please get Nee-san and Sempai out of here.”

“I am not leaving you,” was Rider’s reply as Archer caught view of another sight that made him curse.

Sakura was cradling an unconscious and bloodied Emiya Shirou in her hands. Archer’s eyebrows lifted at the sight of the boy’s left arm whole and attached lying limply against the teen’s bloodied body. Sakura’s nude body was blood streaked as she clung to her lover, her eyes filled with tears. Rider was holding Rin’s limp form, but underneath the red turtleneck Archer could see the faint, sickly, green glow of her chest through the fabric.

“We’re getting everyone out of here alive,” Archer said as Rider and Sakura’s heads snapped to where he was standing beside Saber. He was already taking off his mantle to drape around Sakura’s shoulders as he lifted Shirou’s body over his shoulder. He said, “We have about three minutes before the cavern completely collapses. If we move quickly we’ll make it.”

Sakura’s eyes widened at him and she swallowed before looking at Rider. Rider tilted her head and frowned before looking back at Sakura. The Gorgon said, “What did the two of you do, Sakura?”

“Made sure that Sempai wouldn’t die and be happy . . .” Sakura said with wide eyes as she looked up at Archer before whispering, “That’s . . .”

Archer sighed and said, “We’ll talk semantics when we’re not in peril.”

“Leave me behind,” Saber said in a soft voice as she looked away.

Archer glared and said, “No. Are you afraid to atone, Saber? Why, you’re shaming that sword to give up that easily.”

Green eyes sparked and narrowed as he continued, “You failed to protect him once, it would be shameful of a knight like yourself to fail both people you pledged your sword to, wouldn’t it?”

Saber continued to glare at him when he looked at Rider and said, “You’re the fastest and physically the strongest. You lead the charge. I can take Rin as well in case there are any obstacles that are probably going to appear in our path.”

“This is a turn of events,” Rider said with a tiny smirk as Rin was easily placed in a fireman’s carry so she could use her hands if need be.

You’re telling me, he said before looking down at Sakura who was clutching his mantle to her naked form tightly. She looked up at him and he said, “Sakura, no one else is dying in this cave today. Let’s go.”


******


Sakura’s hands were shaking.

No matter what, she couldn’t stop them from trembling. They had managed to escape the cavern before it closed in. Sempai was alive and so was Nee-san. Rider had gotten Nee-san home where she had called informing everyone that Rin was already rapidly recovering on her lands especially after Rider gave her a bit of the prana she was siphoning from Sakura.

Then there was Sempai.

Archer carried him to their room and laid the redhead out on the futon. Sakura looked up and asked, “Why isn’t he waking up?”

“I don’t know,” Archer said in a soft voice when he shook his head.

Sakura placed her shaking hands to her face and said, “Ilya said we were making a wish. We kept him from dying.”

“I think you brought him back to life, but he’s still injured,” Archer said as he looked down at her. She flushed as she realized that she was still nude except for the mantle he had given her.
Still, she looked up at him and asked, “Is there anything we can do?”

“Actually yes. We need Saber,” Archer said with a nod.

Sakura blinked and asked, “What do you mean?”

“Your Emiya Shirou has something of hers within him, something that his foster father placed into him when he found him in the fire all of those years ago. It saved his life, but with Saber close by it activates and would completely heal him,” Archer explained.

Sakura’s eyes widened as she asked, “Does Saber know this?”

“No and neither does he, not yet anyway,” Archer said with a shake of his head towards the sleeping redhead.

Sakura bit her lip and said, “And you know because you were him, weren’t you?”

Archer sighed, his large shoulders slumping ever so slightly before nodding. He answered, “Yeah, I was, but because of you now he won’t become me. So I thank you for that, Matou Sakura.”

She stared at him and said, “I could go get Saber.”

“I’ll get Saber. You get cleaned off and dressed. Then I can fix us something to eat, I’m sure you’re starving after all of this and since I have a mortal body again having a good meal would probably be a good thing for me as well,” he said with an all too familiar smile.

Sakura felt herself at ease slightly as he headed for the door. She said, “Archer?”

“Yes?” he replied as he looked back at her.

She bowed to him and said, “Thank you, for everything.”

“I really didn’t do anything,” he said with a snort and a shake of his head.

Sakura ran her fingers over Shirou’s left arm before looking at Archer’s. The longer length with its darker skin and thicker muscles was all too familiar to her. She swallowed and said, “Yes you did. You gave my Sempai the means to save us all.”

Archer snorted and said, “By almost killing him.” With that, he was gone, leaving Sakura alone with her lover. She sank to her knees and wrapped her arms around him for a moment. She wanted to clean him off before getting him rested, but she didn’t know if that would reopen his injuries or not.

She wondered how Archer had become so bitter, but was relieved by his comment. And something I’m going to ask him about. Nee-san got her answers from Ilya. I’m going to get my answers from Archer directly.

Bloble
July 4th, 2011, 04:06 PM
Suicidal Saber makes my chest hurt. Just saying. Otherwise, an awesome chapter. But how did Sakura know Archer and Shirou were the same person? I thought no one found out in HF.

Alulim
July 4th, 2011, 04:06 PM
Oooooh~

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 04:11 PM
Oh man depressed Saber is so sad.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:11 PM
Suicidal Saber makes my chest hurt. Just saying. Otherwise, an awesome chapter. But how did Sakura know Archer and Shirou were the same person? I thought no one found out in HF.

Ilya knew, and it was heavily applied that off-screen Rin forced Ilya to tell her.

Besides, it wouldn't be too hard to put two and two together.

"Wait, Shirou was able to get this SERVANT'S arm grafted to him without killing him instantly?!"

Sakura's not dumb. Plus Ilya told her she wanted her Onii-chan alive and happy, and Ilya was protective of Archer's soul inside of her.

ringlhach
July 4th, 2011, 04:14 PM
How is the GARm going to work now, anyway, now that EMIYA's back and mortal and I can't imagine those two knowingly leaving Shirou with anything that's going to kill him? Is it just a normal arm now?

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 04:20 PM
It actually loomed to me like Sakura was feeling shirou's normal arm? Could be wrong. It's kind of a moot point though because Avalon would correct the imbalance created by the archer arm and either reaffirm it as shjrou's or reject it and then regrow him a new one.

Interesting chapter I might add.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 04:21 PM
How is the GARm going to work now, anyway, now that EMIYA's back and mortal and I can't imagine those two knowingly leaving Shirou with anything that's going to kill him? Is it just a normal arm now?

The story tells you right here:


Archer’s eyebrows lifted at the sight of the boy’s left arm whole and attached lying limply against the teen’s bloodied body.

And:


Sakura ran her fingers over Shirou’s left arm before looking at Archer’s.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:36 PM
This.. is... just what I wanted to see, among other things. *0*

This is brilliant, Elf-tan!

Ah, I found a small "had became" in Saber's paragraph.

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 04:40 PM
Oh shit, wasn't expecting an update so soon. Great chapter here Elf!

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 04:42 PM
I wonder what will happen now? They're out of the cave and are preparing to treat Shirou. I wonder what Shirou's reaction to his internal add-on will be? Or how will Sakura interact with Saber? Or Saber's general attitude?

SO MANY QUESTIONS! :D

ringlhach
July 4th, 2011, 04:45 PM
The story tells youAh. I'd just taken that to mean that it wasn't screwed up, and that Archer had one.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 04:57 PM
Oh shit, wasn't expecting an update so soon. Great chapter here Elf!

Yeah, that was a really well-done chapter.


I wonder what will happen now? They're out of the cave and are preparing to treat Shirou. I wonder what Shirou's reaction to his internal add-on will be? Or how will Sakura interact with Saber? Or Saber's general attitude?

SO MANY QUESTIONS! :D

Well, I don't see Sakura having any real issues with Saber. And Saber probably won't have any problems with her either, because none of it is her fault.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:00 PM
Well, I don't see Sakura having any real issues with Saber. And Saber probably won't have any problems with her either, because none of it is her fault.
Saber isn't her usual self. Heck, she's so far from it it hurts. Things may go a bit differently.

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 05:05 PM
Saber is the master of blaming herself for things beyond her control.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 05:08 PM
Yeah, as is Sakura, but that doesn't extend to blaming other people.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:11 PM
Yeah, as is Sakura, but that doesn't extend to blaming other people.
And here you go. I haven't specified how different she'd act and you say she'd blame someone already.

The only one she's ever blamed in her entire life as king and laters is herself, herself, herself and herself.

Mike1984
July 4th, 2011, 05:14 PM
And here you go. I haven't specified how different she'd act and you say she'd blame someone already.

Erm, what?


The only one she's ever blamed in her entire life as king and laters is herself, herself, herself and herself.

Yes, that's what I said.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 05:17 PM
This.. is... just what I wanted to see, among other things. *0*This is brilliant, Elf-tan! Yeah, I won't pretend I don't still find the premise a little disconcerting, but elf certainly has style.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:19 PM
Yeah, I won't pretend I don't still find the premise a little disconcerting, but elf certainly has style.
You don't like a downcast Saber, Tobias?

Bloble
July 4th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Anyone knows that a looking at a depressed Saber just hurts. Inside.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Anyone knows that a looking at a depressed Saber just hurts. Inside.

Which is why its bothering Archer so much, who already has Saber Issues already.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 05:34 PM
You don't like a downcast Saber, Tobias? Something like that, I suppose.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 05:37 PM
Something like that, I suppose.

And you don't like the idea of Archer/Saber too right? I remember when I was generally asking which fic I was going to start on next, you were wanting the Rin/Archer one.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:44 PM
For Saber shit hit south when she killed her son. All the misery and hopelessness spilled out in an endless stream of agony, which brought her to thoughts of self-annihilation... I thank the Heavens that she could meet Shirou.

I know that Saber without her ususal positive energy and honest, endearing personality isn't a happy picture, but for Saber to be able to at least smile, it'll take some time for Archer to fix her. I expect failures, but in the end.. he's Shirou, too.

Kratosirving
July 4th, 2011, 05:46 PM
Sword fits perfectly in the Sheath anyhow.

Keyne
July 4th, 2011, 05:47 PM
Sword fits perfectly in the Sheath anyhow.
But right now the Sword is broken, and a skilled Smith is needed to forge it back to its former glory.

Tobias
July 4th, 2011, 06:29 PM
And you don't like the idea of Archer/Saber too right? I remember when I was generally asking which fic I was going to start on next, you were wanting the Rin/Archer one.

I am a little surprised you remember who voted what.

RadiantBeam
July 4th, 2011, 09:23 PM
Dear God, this thread grew while I was gone. Do I have to dig back far to find the update?

Techlet
July 4th, 2011, 09:32 PM
Oh god, Saber. Ouch. ;_;

lethum
July 4th, 2011, 09:36 PM
Quote Link to the Chapter/Update

Plop!


Dear God, this thread grew while I was gone. Do I have to dig back far to find the update?

Nope.

RadiantBeam
July 4th, 2011, 10:34 PM
Oh, Saber, baby. Let me hug her. God. My heart aches for her right now.

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 11:32 PM
I am a little surprised you remember who voted what.

The majority voted for Saber, you and Kratosirving voted for Rin.

Hell, Mike voted for Saber because it gave "Sakura the best end."

(Even though obviously Saving Sakura was going to be a major point in Rin's story, but hey.)


Oh, Saber, baby. Let me hug her. God. My heart aches for her right now.

I know, isn't she just like some miserable puppy that you just want to take home?

RadiantBeam
July 4th, 2011, 11:52 PM
I know, isn't she just like some miserable puppy that you just want to take home?

Archer should hug her. Awkwardly.

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 11:52 PM
That's what Archer did.

RadiantBeam
July 4th, 2011, 11:53 PM
He should do it again. Saber needs all the hugs she can get.

Techlet
July 4th, 2011, 11:54 PM
He should do it again. Saber needs all the hugs she can get.

And a delicious hot meal.

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 11:57 PM
It is time for Archer to unleash the true form of his Reality Marble. "Unlimited Kitchen Works".

Elf
July 4th, 2011, 11:59 PM
That's what Archer did.

More like he gripped her shoulders and lifted her to her feet.

Hugging Saber right now will just make her think you're pitting her sadly. :(


It is time for Archer to unleash the true form of his Reality Marble. "Unlimited Kitchen Works".

LOL, that's actually something that will come up later in the story: Archer's culinary skills and his EX ranking of tea brewing.

Pata Hikari
July 4th, 2011, 11:59 PM
Nah I was saying her took her home with him. :p

Elf
July 5th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Nah I was saying her took her home with him. :p

Well, yes he did and then he proceeded to make sure everyone got home.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 02:57 AM
He should do it again. Saber needs all the hugs she can get.
Hugging her won't do any good, it'll just worsen things, just like Elf said. She was forcibly rought back to life when she wanted to die. She was denied her peace and "punished for her sins". No hug will cure that shattered heart and spirit for a long time.

Bloble
July 5th, 2011, 03:25 AM
Then I have no idea what Elf will do this time. As far as I can tell the 'pull yourself together slap' or 'grit your teeth punch' only work on hotblooded young men, so the 'you can get through this hug' is all that's left.
Or maybe all she needs is a good dose of time, rest, and character development.

Mike1984
July 5th, 2011, 03:27 AM
Hell, Mike voted for Saber because it gave "Sakura the best end."

Well, I had to pick somehow, and honestly I don't really care which of the two Archer ends up with.


(Even though obviously Saving Sakura was going to be a major point in Rin's story, but hey.)

I never claimed that Sakura's ending in the Rin story would be bad, just that her end in this one would be better.

Here she ends up with Shirou, whereas IIRC in the Rin story Shirou is with Saber. Unless you have some even better (for Sakura) guy lined up to take Shirou's place, I can't see how that story could possibly be as good an ending for her as this one is.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 03:28 AM
Well, I had to pick somehow, and honestly I don't really care which of the two Archer ends up with.
So shallow...

Or maybe all she needs is a good dose of time, rest, and LOOOTS of character development.
Exactly.

Mike1984
July 5th, 2011, 04:01 AM
So shallow...

Why should it bother me? I don't really care that much for Archer as a character (I don't dislike him, but he's not someone I'm going to base decisions around).

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 04:11 AM
Why should it bother me? I don't really care that much for Archer as a character (I don't dislike him, but he's not someone I'm going to base decisions around).
Because this was a poll about which story with Archer you'd like to see: with Saber or with Rin.

Kieran
July 5th, 2011, 06:57 AM
Oddly enough, the stuff that stuck in my head were images of Saber in her Alter armour and (I'm assuming) an otherwise nude Sakura wrapped in Archer's cere-cloth. I suddenly really wish I could draw - and on further reflection, that last image would be an awesome one for "Steel and Cherry Blossoms."

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 09:25 AM
interesting that saber's armor is blackened come to think. wonder how her prana is holding up?

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 09:30 AM
Her armor is black, but Excalibur is back to its shining self. Also, her skin, hair and eyes are back to normal. I guess that in the moment her prana is imbalanced and will take some time to take one course, which will be the light side.

Elf
July 5th, 2011, 09:32 AM
More like she was brought back to life and the thing she died in was the Altered armor.

Her situation's going to be explained better in the next chapter.

Archer's been established: He's a Real Boy again.

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 09:36 AM
....huh. Implying that the armor is actually a solid piece as opposed to formed of her prana. someone get the poor woman a squire.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 09:38 AM
More like she was brought back to life and the thing she died in was the Altered armor.

Her situation's going to be explained better in the next chapter.

Archer's been established: He's a Real Boy again.
Archer: "I wish I were a real boy..."
Ilya: "I shall grant your wish."
Archer: "W-who are you?"
Ilya: "I'm your Fairy God-onee-san."

Though, seriously, I kind of thought she's be lying there naked.

Techlet
July 5th, 2011, 09:40 AM
....huh. Implying that the armor is actually a solid piece as opposed to formed of her prana. someone get the poor woman a squire.

So Saber could get revived naked? I certainly wouldn't be opposed to that...

Elf
July 5th, 2011, 09:42 AM
....huh. Implying that the armor is actually a solid piece as opposed to formed of her prana. someone get the poor woman a squire.

Or an Archer. :)

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 09:44 AM
Or an Archer. :)
Archer will be taking off that armor? D:

~Erotic~

Hermitfold
July 5th, 2011, 10:33 AM
I can't believe I missed this, awesome update, Elf. Angsty Saber hurts my soul, but that will make it all the better when things get better for her.

Keep up the great work.

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 10:42 AM
*snerk* nothing says lets get it on like 15 minutes trying to peel off 80 pounds of armor and sweaty under wrap.



hmm......have an idea I should run by elf later actually.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 10:49 AM
*snerk* nothing says lets get it on like 15 minutes trying to peel off 80 pounds of armor and sweaty under wrap.



hmm......have an idea I should run by elf later actually.
That's my fetish. '_'

[/jk]

Mike1984
July 5th, 2011, 11:27 AM
Because this was a poll about which story with Archer you'd like to see: with Saber or with Rin.

Yes, exactly. It was a poll about which story we'd rather see, not which pairing. My criteria for making that decision is just as valid as yours.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 11:31 AM
Yes, exactly. It was a poll about which story we'd rather see, not which pairing. My criteria for making that decision is just as valid as yours.
Though when I was voting, I was concerned about the protagonists, while you went for the story in which Sakura's situation was better.

Mike1984
July 5th, 2011, 11:56 AM
Though when I was voting, I was concerned about the protagonists, while you went for the story in which Sakura's situation was better.

No, when you were voting, you focussed on your favourite character, just like me. It jsut so happens that said favourite character was the protagonist (of one of the two stories).

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 12:04 PM
No, when you were voting, you focussed on your favourite character, just like me. It jsut so happens that said favourite character was the protagonist (of one of the two stories).
Not quite, Mike. I was more concerned how Archer would solve Saber's problem, not Saber herself. Plus, I've been waiting for this story for a long time.

Now, If I had to choose between Rin and Rider co-starring with Archer, who do you think I'd choose?

Kratosirving
July 5th, 2011, 12:40 PM
...Rider for me~

Mike1984
July 5th, 2011, 12:44 PM
Not quite, Mike. I was more concerned how Archer would solve Saber's problem, not Saber herself.

Of course you were....


Plus, I've been waiting for this story for a long time.

Yes, because it involves Saber.


Now, If I had to choose between Rin and Rider co-starring with Archer, who do you think I'd choose?

Whichever one gave Saber the better ending :p


...Rider for me~

Me too, probably, unless the story had Sakura dying or otherwise getting totally shafted.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 12:52 PM
Of course you were....
Believe it or not, that was it.

Yes, because it involves Saber.
There are a few more factors than just Saber that brought me to this idea.

Whichever one gave Saber the better ending :p
Herpaderp.

Garlak
July 5th, 2011, 04:42 PM
....huh. Implying that the armor is actually a solid piece as opposed to formed of her prana. someone get the poor woman a squire.


Well, the way I see it is... Excalibur's state is something that depends on Saber. Same for Saber's appearance.

Her armor CAN still be made of her prana... its just it was made of Alter's prana.

The difference I'm seeing is that Alter effectively made her armor, and EFFECTED Excalibur.

Which is why Excalibur goes back to normal, while the armor remains.


Presumably if she doffs it and reconjures it, it will be her classic armor. It could still be that her nature DOES affect her armor, and so maybe it would come out as the black armor still... or some new variant, either as a result of her change... or as a result of her intent; mostly guilt/shame/penance I imagine.

Still I don't think she'd keep the black armor willingly even if she felt a need for penance. Maybe switch to all-white since dust and such shows up easily on white; promotes constant vigilance*. Maybe it'll look like Saber Lily's armor. Or, again, it looks like something else/new.

Hell it might just be her classic Sabre armor, I dunno.



*On the other hand she might decide she needs to mellow the fuck down. Strive for calmness/serenity rather then resigned penance.



Honestly, I think her biggest inspiration in terms of What To Do/How To Deal With This, would be Lancelot, in life and in the 4th War. She might recall that he felt his error impossible to correct, because there had been no, er, Labor set. Or she might focus on the fact that, he messed up... but King Arthur forgave him. So does she ask a labor, or does she decide that if she didn't blame Lancelot that means she shouldn't blame herself -- especially if the people she might have hurt are alive and relatively whole (Except Illya and Heracles...).

Interesting thought. Especially since while Saber had trouble Saving Everyone/Don't Scre Up The World -- i.e. felt she failed her kingdom -- and now she might feel she screwed up on the personal, Save Your Friends/Don't Screw Up Your Friends, scale... Archer might benefit from being more... not exactly selfish, but... prioritize personal matters and friends rather then go Kiritsugu's way. He probably wants a vacation... which would probably end up looking suspiciously like Work to a normal person ("Home improvement? Taking it easy? Seriously? Most people go fishing or hit the arcade or something..."), but sheer normality of slice-of-life might be a balm to Archer. Saber's probably feeling rather lost, though.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 04:59 PM
For now Saber's feeling guilty and empty. The feeling of being lost will come shortly. As for a reason for being... she has absolutely no reason for being at the moment. She's like a clean sheet of paper, only crumpled, shreaded here and there and rolled into a ball.

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 05:34 PM
@Garlak
well yes, but that doesnt directly explain elf's comment that saber's armor was still alters because thats what she died in, which was then followed by stating archer was a real boy. in that light, given that the armor wasnt a noble phantasm, its more likely that its now a normal piece of equipment. even if saber soaked it in prana via prana burst to reinforce it, I dont know how much effect it would actually have on the metal itself.


possibly the outside that she just reinforced might change.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 05:37 PM
@Garlak
well yes, but that doesnt directly explain elf's comment that saber's armor was still alters because thats what she died in, which was then followed by stating archer was a real boy. in that light, given that the armor wasnt a noble phantasm, its more likely that its now a normal piece of equipment. even if saber soaked it in prana via prana burst to reinforce it, I dont know how much effect it would actually have on the metal itself.


possibly the outside that she just reinforced might change.
Elf said that she would explain this in the next chappie. I'm looking forward to it.

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 05:39 PM
I reserve the right to second guess and occasionally look ahead with precious few and tiny fragments of information and even smaller scraps of actual logic as my guiding principles.

Keyne
July 5th, 2011, 05:43 PM
I reserve the right to second guess and occasionally look ahead with precious few and tiny fragments of information and even smaller scraps of actual logic as my guiding principles.
Fine, be that way. ;_;

ringlhach
July 5th, 2011, 05:48 PM
I reserve the right to second guess and occasionally look ahead with precious few and tiny fragments of information and even smaller scraps of actual logic as my guiding principles.Logic? Who needs that? *steals Tobias's logic and throws it out the window. There, take that! Seriously, who here uses logic in a rational, non-self-serving manner on the board? Not me, let me tell you. There's a reason my title is what it is.

Kratosirving
July 5th, 2011, 06:07 PM
*Whistles as he walks outside*

Alright, what should I do tod-

*Tobias's logic lands on head, is knocked out*

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 06:11 PM
Impossible, my logics do not have that much mass!They would float to the ground like a feather, or a bubble of air, like the empty headed thought patterns which gave birth to them.

RadiantBeam
July 5th, 2011, 07:47 PM
This logic that you are discussing, what is it exactly?

Elf
July 5th, 2011, 09:21 PM
This logic that you are discussing, what is it exactly?

About what state Saber is in right now. Physically.

Mentally we all know that bitch is fucked up.

RadiantBeam
July 5th, 2011, 09:23 PM
About what state Saber is in right now. Physically.

Mentally we all know that bitch is fucked up.

Ah.

Well, I'd assume she's really sort of fucked up in both ways, depending on whether or not the corruption might still be lingering in her. I doubt it, though, since by now Sakura's contract has been broken, so Saber would also be pretty clean unless the shadow's corruption ran deeper.

Tobias
July 5th, 2011, 10:00 PM
well judging from Excalibur you would expect saber to be free of the physical effects of the process of blackening, (snazzy goth armor notwithstanding) but its worth noting, there is no telling what she may or may not have gotten used to while her alignment was reoriented.

Elf
July 5th, 2011, 11:06 PM
. . . Man, I'll say this.

Archer and Saber are already a lot easier to write than Archer and Sakura were.

RadiantBeam
July 6th, 2011, 09:12 AM
Sakura in general, I've found, tends to be a bit of a hard character to write.

Keyne
July 6th, 2011, 09:23 AM
I think it's time for my daily dose of grimdark sadness. Where is it? ;_;

Tobias
July 6th, 2011, 09:25 AM
I dunno, it wasn't so bad. course mine was a short.

course elf had some extra trouble because Rider kept intruding in her mind, IIRC, in cherry blossoms.

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 01:57 PM
Sakura in general, I've found, tends to be a bit of a hard character to write.

Well, she's a bit like Rin in that respect. She has a lot of different layers to her, and a rather contradictory personality. Plus, she's a character who there is a lot of debate over, and also one who polarises opinion.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 02:01 PM
I had a hard time characterizing a traumatized Sakura in my most recent chapter of my fic...if I didn't like her so much I am sure that I would have just skimmed over some of it to save myself the mental anguish.

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 02:04 PM
I had a hard time characterizing a traumatized Sakura in my most recent chapter of my fic...

Isn't that basically just normal Sakura...?


if I didn't like her so much I am sure that I would have just skimmed over some of it to save myself the mental anguish.

Well, you should definitely give her (and everyone else in the story) your full attention when writing her.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 02:07 PM
I am trying, and by traumatized...I mean more so than before, she has almost a decade of more torture than the regular Sakura.

Keyne
July 6th, 2011, 02:08 PM
Well, you should definitely give her (and everyone else in the story) your full attention when writing them.
Fix'd.

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 02:11 PM
I am trying, and by traumatized...I mean more so than before, she has almost a decade of more torture than the regular Sakura.

She does?

Why is that? Did Shirou and Rin fail her that badly?

Not that I think it would alter much, TBH. By the time of FSN, she's already totally broken. Other than losing Shirou, I don't think it could get any worse. And, what fic is this, again?

Tobias
July 6th, 2011, 02:13 PM
telling mike seems a path frought with peril.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 02:14 PM
She does?

Why is that? Did Shirou and Rin fail her that badly?

Not that I think it would alter much, TBH. By the time of FSN, she's already totally broken. Other than losing Shirou, I don't think it could get any worse. And, what fic is this, again?They are trying, and remember the beginning of my fic starts in 2009 and they have yet to find Sakura. So there is a lot of time for Zouken to do all kinds of unsavory things to her.

Fate/ Machina VARDANT is the fic.

RadiantBeam
July 6th, 2011, 02:30 PM
Well, she's a bit like Rin in that respect. She has a lot of different layers to her, and a rather contradictory personality. Plus, she's a character who there is a lot of debate over, and also one who polarises opinion.

Actually, I find Rin rather easy to handle overall, even if her more emotional scenes are a bit of a challenge. Sakura is the one I'm always worrying about when it comes to writing, between the two of them.

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 02:36 PM
They are trying, and remember the beginning of my fic starts in 2009 and they have yet to find Sakura. So there is a lot of time for Zouken to do all kinds of unsavory things to her.

I thought you said (or at least implied, anyway) that she was free of Zouken by this point....


Fate/ Machina VARDANT is the fic.

Yeah, I thought you were talking about that, but I thought Sakura was free of Zouken there.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 02:39 PM
She has vanished, but is still in Zouken's clutches. She will be free of him eventually but for now she is stuck.


I wonder what part of my fic implied that she was free, I may need to fix that...

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 02:40 PM
She has vanished, but still in Zouken's clutches. She will be free of him eventually but for now she is stuck.

Ah, OK.

So, yeah, her life will have been horrible for those ten years, especially given that Zouken saw fit to run away with her (meaning that he wanted her for something).

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 02:42 PM
Indeed, lets just say that he used her in a way that allowed him to summon a Servant. So you know he did quite a bit of tweaking.


I just realized that we shouldn't be discussing my fic in someone else's thread. Al is ashamed~

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Indeed, lets just say that he used her in a way that allowed him to summon a Servant.

Erm, what?


So you know he did quite a bit of tweaking.

Hopefully nothing with any additional long-term effects....

Tobias
July 6th, 2011, 04:44 PM
perhaps this discussion would be better suited for that thread....?

ringlhach
July 6th, 2011, 04:44 PM
Well, she seems to be pretty well mindfucked, but she was that before, so... not really?

She's blaming Shirou and Rin for not rescuing her, though, so it seems that she's gone extremely Dark, to say the least.

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 04:49 PM
She's blaming Shirou and Rin for not rescuing her, though, so it seems that she's gone extremely Dark, to say the least.

Erm, no she's not. Or, at least, she shouldn't be, anyway....

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 05:19 PM
And I started something which shouldn't have been started here...

Mike1984
July 6th, 2011, 05:24 PM
And I started something which shouldn't have been started here...

Well, you could just move the discussion somewhere else.

Also, I hope you haven't been taking advice from Neir on Sakura characterisation....

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 05:26 PM
So lets move it to the story thread then if you want to continue.

Elf
July 6th, 2011, 08:16 PM
Actually, I find Rin rather easy to handle overall, even if her more emotional scenes are a bit of a challenge. Sakura is the one I'm always worrying about when it comes to writing, between the two of them.

That.

Rin I get rather easily, not as easily as I do Archer, but I do get Rin rather easily.

Sakura I was like, "OH FUCK WHAT DO I DO NOW?!" most of the time while working on S&CB.

Rider . . . I had no idea how awesome Rider was until I started using her and damn she's . . . I wuv Rider.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 08:20 PM
Sakura I was like, "OH FUCK WHAT DO I DO NOW?!"This.

RadiantBeam
July 6th, 2011, 08:51 PM
That.Rider . . . I had no idea how awesome Rider was until I started using her and damn she's . . . I wuv Rider.

My God, I agree. It's a struggle for me to keep Rider from taking over every time I write her. She's just way too much fun.

Altima of the Gates
July 6th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Really? That difficult eh?
I'm glad I talk with Elf so much then (still shipping Rider/Rin for this btw).
Though I can't say anything, because while thinking up my own scenarios, I have trouble pinning down some characters myself.

Elf
July 6th, 2011, 09:54 PM
Chapter Two


It was heavy, encasing her in a steel cage and making each step a massive effort. Saber gritted her teeth as she shed the metal gauntlets and let them fall to the ground beside her. Then small hands reached down to untie the plates covering the stiff black skirts under the armor. Fingers picked at heavy leather lacings, trying to work stubborn and hard to reach knots. Saber grunted in frustration as heat filled her cheeks. I had forgotten what wearing actual armor was like, and I truly did not wear anything like this, she thought as she stared down at the black skirts that hit her about mid-calf.

Saber had acted like a man, dressed like a man, but for some reason she could not fathom the Holy Grail decided to clothe her in a dress each time she had accepted its summons. It was as if Fate had been taunting her then, stripping her of what she had worked so hard to accomplish despite her gender. Shirou's adopted father had been displeased due to the fact she had been a woman and Shirou himself had acted foolishly because of it. Sakura had been pleased with her, but Saber understood why.

Her fingers caught on the leather thong before the knot for the left plate plate finally gave. It fell to the floor with a loud crash that seemed to echo through the paper walls of the room and down the hallway. Her head jerked up and she looked around before twisting to reach the plate on her left side. Her fingers fumbled against it almost uselessly and she quietly cursed as her shoulders began to ache.

Saber had been unusual for a Servant, but there was still a shock to being brought back to life again, true life, especially after tasting the devastating power that Sakura had given her. It had felt too good to be like that, to be an utter force of destruction and to unleash her true feelings upon the world. She understood all too well Lancelot's desire to be summoned as a Berserker in the Fourth War. It would be a sweet thing to throw all your pain into madness and battle, she thought before gritting her teeth as her almost feeble efforts did nothing to release the armor plate on her left.

"Saber."

She froze at the low, male voice from behind her. She turned to look at the fellow Knight standing at the doorway with an unreadable look on his face as he folded his arms across his chest. He was still without the crimson mantle Saber was use to seeing him in, giving her a view of long, powerful arms that had a few scars littering the bronze flesh.

She jerked to her full height as her fingers stopped working at the knot, yet her cheeks burned as she eyed the right set of plates lying on the ground. Archer’s state of undress had to do with him sparing Sakura’s modesty while Saber was finding her armor too taxing to wear. Its blackened state was even painful to gaze upon. It was heavy and brutal, nothing honorable or pure in its sharp plates and harsh lines. It was the armor of a killer who had no qualms about who was shattered under her foot.

“It’s heavy and damaged, possibly beyond repair,” Saber said as her fingers ran idly over the tear in the breastplate. Something chalky and dark came up from the surface of the metal and a quick look confirmed dark red dust on pale finger tips. The small hand clinched into a fist before falling absently at Saber’s side.

Archer titled his head thoughtfully at it before moving to her left side. She blinked as he dropped down to his knees and jerked the fastenings holding the plates up. She stared at him for a moment as he worked, his eyes narrowed at the task before him. “I can do this myself,” she said as she started to step aside.

He smirked up at her and said, “If you move too quick Saber you might cause me to lose one of my fingers. I just got my arm back, so I’ll go ahead and thank you now for being still.”

“Why are you doing this?” Saber asked as he gingerly lifted the set of plates from her hip. He carefully laid it beside the first discarded set of plates before looking back at her.

He answered, “Because Emiya Shirou still needs your help.”

“I doubt I can be any aid to him,” she said as she looked away. No aid other than to bloody his innocent hands.

Broad shoulders shrugged as Archer answered, “Ilya and Sakura were able to resurrect him from death, but he wasn’t healed.”

“Then why are we back? That power should have been directed to making Shirou whole again,” Saber said with a frown.

Archer looked down with a distant look in his steel colored eyes. He flexed his hand and said, “Ilya wanted her younger brother alive no matter what the circumstances or time.”

“I don’t understand your worlds,” Saber said with a frown, “Your cryptic words are vexing, Archer. You speak as if you know me, but I have no idea who you are.”

A faint smile touched his features as he said, “It’s a bad habit of mine.” Then he moved to her back. She froze as she felt the warmth of his hands through his armor as he began to take off the breast and back plates.

“How the hell you guys can wear such cumbersome armor is beyond me,” Archer said with a grunt as her body was rocked back with the force of his efforts.

She frowned and asked, “Why do you need my aid for Shirou? You seem to have everything in control here.”

“It’s a good façade, but I’m just one man who really needs to learn his limits this time around,” Archer said as Saber felt a lifting of weight from her back. She took a deep breath at the lack of restraint and tilted her head to look at him.

Saber gripped the black skirt of her dress and said, “Well, I am glad that you were given a second chance. I believe you proved yourself worthy of it.”

The breast plate began to slip down and Archer carefully removed it as well. Saber swayed slightly at the lack of weight pulling her down. She rubbed her arm and turned to look at him still on his knees before her. It made her taller than him, but not by much and the eye contact was shockingly frank. Heat flooded Saber’s cheeks as she said, “Were you someone’s squire at some point? You knew how to handle that armor expertly.”

“No, I was just a sheath for a sword a lifetime ago,” Archer said as he rose to his feet.

Her brow furrowed at his cryptic words yet again and she sighed. “I believe it would pain you to be straightforward for once, Archer.”

“It’s just not the right time to reveal myself to you, Saber,” he said with a slight grin that quickly vanished, “But Emiya Shirou does need your help.”

Saber swallowed and asked, “What can I do to help him?”

“Stay by his side during the night,” was Archer’s answer as he headed for the door once again.


******

This isn’t mine.

Archer stared at the nearly pristine piece of white cotton in his hand with a frown. Large hands tightening on the fabric and causing it to crinkle as keen eyes narrowed at it. It isn’t mine. But I want it to be.

Looking down at the lightweight armor and heavy pants, Archer realized that what was on his back was all that he had. He had rounded up everyone, gotten everyone safe at home, and now he was standing in a room that he could find everything blindfolded. Despite his familiarity with everything here he knew it wasn’t his.

He was misplaced. He should have been back at the Throne awaiting use as a Counter Guardian or being summoned as Archer once again. His mind was filled with records upon records that had no rhyme or reason and would take lifetimes to sort through, and he had a feeling all the blood in those pages would break his mind even more than before. He was a man out of time, in a world that was all too familiar yet all too alien.

Yet I’m free.

Archer slid the strap over his neck before tying the apron strings behind his back. A deep breath was taken before the kitchen was inventoried. A cold blast of air greeted heated skin when Archer opened the refrigerator and took stock of the ingredients inside. Without thinking, large hands began to pull out wrapped slices of meat, vegetables and milk before gathering proper spices, utensils, and pots, pans and a wok. The rice cooker was plugged in, filled, and the lid closed before the former Servant fell into familiar yet long unused patterns.

Is Rider alive too? Should I make enough for her? I have enough ingredients for large portions for all of us . . . A loud, gnawing rumble erupted from Archer’s gut as he stood holding a leek in his hand. The vegetable was rested upon the carving block before a hand absently rested on the ridged stretch of armor as an empty stomach made its demands known again.

I need to make enough to take back to Rin as well, if she’s awake and can eat, Archer thought as he started chopping vegetables with a real knife, not one of his own making. A pang hit him at the thought of his former Master being carried in Rider’s arms, her red turtleneck soaked with her own blood. Rider had assured everyone that Rin was recovering nicely, but he needed to see her for himself.

Then there is Saber.

The image of those haunted emerald eyes looking up had burned into him as surely as the sight of her radiance that first night eons ago. That was not the Saber who pledged herself as her sword to me. Nor am I the boy who had been her Master, he thought with a shake of his head. The knife nimbly carved through heavy roots and crisp, green leaves leaving even slices in its wake.

“Archer?” a small, feminine voice said from the doorway.

He looked up to see Sakura standing there dressed in a long skirt and heavy white sweater. Violet hair was still damp and pale cheeks were still flushed from the shower. Her violet eyes looked around, down and everywhere but him. Then again the last time they had met before today he had been trying to kill her.

She was too much of a threat to Rin and there was something he couldn’t put his finger on at the time. In hindsight it was just Alaya who was picking at his brain to let him know that a horror such as the Shadow was threatening humanity. Which just had pissed him off at the time, but he’d been all but powerless to stop it, but apparently he had made the right choice to graft his arm onto Emiya Shirou’s.

“I’ve got this. I’m sure you can use a rest,” he said, giving the timid girl a chance to flee from him. He looked down before gathering up his aromatics and placing them in the pot with a bit of chicken stock. The rich, earthy fragrance filled the room in puffs of steam in a way that only caused Archer’s stomach to clinch even more.

Sakura said, “What happened to you?”

Archer looked up from stirring the pot and she asked again, “What happened to you?” Even though she was biting her lip slightly, her violet eyes met his and held them.

“I was an idiot,” he said with a shrug.

Sakura toyed with the sleeve of her sweater and said, “But you became a hero, right?”

“Not exactly. I stupidly made a deal thinking it was something, but it turned out to be something worse and cursed myself for it,” Archer answered before turning back to the refrigerator.

Sakura answered, “I’m not Nee-san. She might be able to get through your half answers, but I want the whole truth, Archer.”

“So you can make sure that your sempai doesn’t leave your side? If that was the case I would have killed him myself,” Archer said as he met her eyes.

She frowned and said, “You wouldn’t have.”

“I would have without thinking twice about it. In fact, that was my wish in this,” Archer replied.

Sakura frowned and said, “If you wanted to prevent whatever happened to you from happening, why not just tell him?”

“Time doesn’t work like that Sakura,” Archer said before turning back and checking the rice cooker, “All it does is create another reality.”

She said, “Then . . . I’m glad Ilya was able to bring you back too.”

He stopped and stared at her, but her violet eyed gaze was honest and her expression utterly sincere. She smiled, lighting up her whole face, and said, “Even if you’re not my Sempai, I still don’t want Emiya Shirou to suffer. Neither would Nee-san. She tried hiding it, but she was upset with what you did for her.”

“I’m good at pissing your sister off,” Archer said as he felt his own lips quirk up.

Sakura walked over to him and held out her hand. Blinking, he took it and was surprised at the firmness of her handshake. She said, “I want to thank you too. Without what you did I would have lost Sempai and it would have been my fault.”

“What the Shadow was doing wasn’t your fault, Sakura,” Archer said with a frown as he let her hand go.

Her smile was fragile around the edges as she said, “Yes it was. It was acting on what I wanted. I was angry at Nee-san. It would have killed her. I wanted Sempai unable to fight anymore but alive. It took his arm. Yet you sacrificed yourself so Nee-san lived and Sempai had the power to fight for me.”

“The majority will always win over the minority, Sakura,” Archer said with a shake of his head.

She headed over to check on some beef he had stewing and shook her head. As she lifted the pot her eyes met his again. She said, “And maybe you’ll find your own special person someday, Archer.”


*****


I failed, yet I am still here.

Saber was sitting in perfect Japanese style beside her former Master’s side. She found her gaze wandering to his bare left arm with its sleek muscles and pale skin. It was proportioned to the rest of his body, not foreign and mismatched as it had been during their last fight. She wonder how it had been possible for Archer to graft his own arm onto Shirou, but if he hadn’t Shirou would have died far sooner than their confrontation in the cavern.

The redhead shifted in his sleep, reaching out for something that wasn’t there. Biting her lip Saber reached over and recovered him with his blanket. There was color returning to his cheeks and he wasn’t deathly still anymore. His breathing had evened out the moment she had sat beside him.

She bowed her head as she remembered forcefully telling him that she was going to sleep with him to protect him. The discussion had turned into a heated argument until Shirou all but forced her to sleep in the room beside his. It had irked her at the time, but she respected the sentiment after being in Sakura’s head and seeing her memories.

A shudder ran through the young woman’s small frame at the phantom feel of those things. Even though Saber’s body had never been touched in such a fashion by anyone, Sakura had been violated since she was a child. The happiness Shirou granted Sakura was yet another reason Saber had been hesitant to fight him. It was just something else on her long lists of regrets and failures.

There was a slight creek and a whisper of paper sliding against paper that filled the room. Saber looked up to see a tall figure haloed from the light in the hallway standing there holding a tray. “I figured you were hungry,” Archer said as he entered the room.

The rich aroma of food spiraled through her nostrils and made Saber’s mouth water. Her eyes widened at the arrangement of fare on the tray that Archer had set before her. Then she closed her eyes, knowing she had done nothing to deserve such care from him. Yet the smell was too much and she turned towards it.

She picked up the chopsticks and began to eat, cursing her weakness for not letting herself waste away.

“I’ll come back for the tray later,” Archer said as he headed for the door.

She bit her lip and nodded, not knowing exactly what to say to him at the moment as her eyes lingered on him as he left the room.

Alulim
July 6th, 2011, 10:08 PM
And there was much celebration. (for the new chapter)

Kieran
July 6th, 2011, 10:11 PM
Poor, suicidal Saber . . . I hope she snaps out of this.

(Besides, this is my shtick, damn it!)

RadiantBeam
July 6th, 2011, 10:21 PM
Oh God, Saber. She's like a poor, lost little puppy left out in the rain.

Altima of the Gates
July 6th, 2011, 10:27 PM
Welp, it's a slow process, and it will be slow, but the wheels are turning.
Nice chapter.

Kratosirving
July 6th, 2011, 11:01 PM
:( *Wibbles* SEIIIIBAAAAA!!!!

Pata Hikari
July 6th, 2011, 11:11 PM
Elf you're breaking my heart

Froggie
July 6th, 2011, 11:19 PM
My, I wasn't expecting to find two chapters since the last time I checked this. I'm really enjoying this so far. Thank you for writing it :)

Elf
July 7th, 2011, 12:12 AM
Ah, thank you all very much.

Also, this fic will have a Big Bad.

Alulim
July 7th, 2011, 12:13 AM
Oooooh, Al wonders who (or what depending) it could be.

Pata Hikari
July 7th, 2011, 12:24 AM
Ah, thank you all very much.

Also, this fic will have a Big Bad.

So it isn't just you tormenting Saber? :P

Bloble
July 7th, 2011, 12:27 AM
Elf: The Biggest Bad.
She'll make you cry when you read her stories.

Altima of the Gates
July 7th, 2011, 12:49 AM
She certainly did it to me.

Keyne
July 7th, 2011, 03:24 AM
http://sadpanda.us/images/555205-PWQETYP.png

Marvellous.

Techlet
July 7th, 2011, 05:50 AM
Damn, I can just imagine Saber, bowing her head, crying silent tears as she stuffs herself full with delicious food.

Hermitfold
July 7th, 2011, 08:19 AM
Ah, caught this one quickly. Once more, excellent work Elf. You are a master indeed.

Tobias
July 7th, 2011, 09:52 AM
....ooooooh.......I get it!



cool chapter, I think I see where this might be going.

also, did sakura just pull an arc?