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Thread: Melancholy of One (A Grail Works. LTD. Story)

  1. #1381
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...okay, is it just me, or did the local Rin survive death?
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  2. #1382
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    ...okay, is it just me, or did the local Rin survive death?
    Well, I did drop quite a few clues earlier that her apparent death wasn't quite as cut-and-dry as that. We'll see how this all plays out in the next few chapters.

  3. #1383
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Okay, that actually makes sense, now that you mention it.

    Still... what else is going on that we might not be aware of?
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  4. #1384
    Drunk Anime Is The True Path. Mattias's Avatar
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    Well, we're getting Persona 4 up in here. A bit better fit for the final boss than Budda, more overtly bad. Can't wait for Kara to meet Twice too.
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  5. #1385
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattias View Post
    Well, we're getting Persona 4 up in here. A bit better fit for the final boss than Budda, more overtly bad. Can't wait for Kara to meet Twice too.
    I agree wholeheartedly on all points.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  6. #1386
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Okay, that actually makes sense, now that you mention it.

    Still... what else is going on that we might not be aware of?
    Honestly, at this point? Not a lot, I'd say. We're halfway through the final week and it's mostly time to start resolving plot points instead of introducing new ones.

    ... Nope no curveballs here. Really. Honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattias View Post
    Well, we're getting Persona 4 up in here. A bit better fit for the final boss than Budda, more overtly bad. Can't wait for Kara to meet Twice too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly on all points.
    Heh. I was wondering how obvious I should make the clues to Avenger's identity, so I guess stuff like that would make it easy to guess for anyone who knows about her.

    I can only hope that what I write for the eventual confrontation(s) will be to your satisfaction, so thanks for all the comments!

  7. #1387
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    pureauthor, sarcasm does not befit you, not at all.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

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  8. #1388
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Chapter Seventy: Wi/Sh/ine

    *~*

    You know there are times when you're really close to the end of a story that has gone on for really really long and you're all 'Wow, the finish line is in sight!' and then you look down at the few remaining chapters you have to right and you're all *deep breath* 'okay I can do this. I just have to write. Just keep putting the words down.'

    That's me. Right now.

    Disclaimer: I own nothing.

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Arena, 7th Chimeric Lunar Sea

    “Well, here it is, Praetor.” Kara handed the golden card to Shiki with a nod of satsifaction. “That's the first of the Trigger Keys.”

    He accepted it, although the worried look in his eyes did not go away. “Are you sure you're all right, Kara? Those Guardians...”

    Kara sighed and shrugged. The gate-like entities had been something she'd never gotten the chance to face before, and she had surprised by how ridiculously sturdy they were. But even so, it wasn't as if she had really struggled against them.

    Okay, so she had taken a hit. Or two. Or three. But she had prevailed, and that was what was important.

    “I'm fine, Praetor.” She heaved a sigh and rolled her neck to get rid of the lingering aches. “I have you to thank for keeping me healed all through the fight.”

    A sigh from her Master, and she looked back at him. “It wasn't like I could contribute any other way,” and his expression was sour, “my knife barely scratched the thing.”

    “.... Pray don't feel too bad about it, Praetor. This is the final hurdle before the end of the War. It is only natural that even the basic obstacles should be beyond a normal human's ken.” Kara smiled at her Master, trying to encourage him. “You have already done so much to aid me, surely you could let me be the one to serve you in the last legs of the War?”

    There was a short chuckle. “Well, I suppose. But we've gotten what we came here for today. We should probably head back.”

    “True enough” Kara scratched at her cheek. “After all, you did say we were only here to survey the area, but we did end up spending far longer-” She broke off as her eyes narrowed, and she saw Shiki turn as well to regard the approaching presence.

    “Ah, Shiki. And Saber. Well met.” Leonard's smile was bright and open as he walked up to them. Kara's eyes widened slightly as she noticed the scar going up the side of his neck and cheek for the first time. Did he receive that during the fight against Assassin?

    Behind, King Arthur followed silently, keeping one eye on Kara. One hand retained its tight grip on her blade and Kara had a brief moment of wondering how quickly the blade would be rising up and slashing at her if a fight broke out. Her grip on Old Iron tightened as well.

    “Hello to you too, Leonard.” Her Master's expression was guarded. “I thought you'd have finished gathering your Trigger by now.”

    “Well, I have, of course. But idle hands are the devil's playthings. And I understand your Saber was incapacitated for several days following your match against Iskandar? It's gratifying that she has recovered as well.”

    “Well, I won't deny the fights have been getting harder.” Shiki heaved a long sigh. “After all, none of us have escaped the last six weeks entirely intact.”

    “True enough.” Kara could see Leonard's hand straying to his scar before he arrested the motion.

    As she watched the two of them, Kara could only feel a strange sense of detachment from the whole proceedings.

    Two Masters, who had left a trail of over a hundred in their wake. Not all of them, or even most deaths, were by their hands, but still. And at the end of the week, only one of them would still be alive.

    “I'll be honest – among all the Master candidates, I wouldn't have thought you would be one of the finalists.” Leonard said, the gentle smile never leaving his face. “I would have imagined someone like Tohsaka or the Atlas homunculus to be more likely candidates.”

    “Meanwhile, you never had any doubt that you would be here, I take it?” Her Master's voice was calm.

    “... Of course. I will not fail. I cannot be allowed to fail.”

    There was a sigh and Shiki nodded. “Well, that's how you see things, I suppose. Well, in the meantime, we all have our own tasks to perform, so I'll be on my way.”

    “Of course. I would not want to detain you.” Leonard said and took a single step back.

    Kara's eyes narrowed. Leonard always seemed cordial and polite, but... she took a glance over at King Arthur. Her face was impassive, as always.

    As the two of them left the Arena, Kara risked a glance backwards, to see that Leonard had turned and was heading away in a different direction from them.

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Chapel

    Quiet Night – In The Room

    “Master?” Kara's voice came from the booth she was sitting in and Shiki looked up.

    “Hm, what is it?”

    “... What do you make of Leonard?”

    He blinked once and sighed. “Let's see. The world he wants to create isn't one I can support, I'll say that much.”

    “You are opposed to an absolute king ruling over the masses?”

    “Well, I guess that's the normal mindset for most people who live in my time. But even if I were to accept the idea of a king, Leonard isn't the kind of king I would ever see myself willingly serving.”

    “... I see.”

    “Kara?”

    “It is... strange. I know so many rulers of men. Their deaths have become part of me. There have been tyrants and despots. Benevolent leaders who led their lands to glory. Others who could do nothing but watch their realm crumble around them.” A soft sigh from the booth. “What makes one worthy of kingship? What is the ideal that one should hold in that case?”

    “Everyone's going to have their own answer.” Aoko's voice was distracted as she continued to fiddle with the settings. “Some people would think your job is to serve the people. Some think fulfilling their goals, or preparing for the future is what you should focus on instead. That Leonard boy thinks that absolute order is how you get about fixing the world, and that people who go against it must be swept aside..”

    “... I can't agree with that.” Shiki said without looking up.

    “Well, me neither.” Aoko sighed. “But it's not like I can interfere with that. When he comes in for Alterations, I still have do my job. Speaking of which, Kara. It's done.”

    Kara stood from the booth and flexed her fingers. “As always, my thanks, lady Magus.”

    “Stay safe, you two. It's the last leg of the war.”

    There was a silence between the two of them as they proceeded back towards their room. Outside, the digital recreation of the moon threw pale light through the windows, casting long shadows as they passed them by.

    “Praetor,” Kara said as they neared the third floor. “You cannot agree with Leonard's values?”

    “He's said as much that if people refuse to work with him, he'll treat them as meaningless at best or eliminate them. Coupled that with his belief in his own infallibility, and... well. I don't want to see what kind of world he would create.”

    The door to the room slid open, and they both stepped inside. Shiki noticed Kara's gaze travelling to the dimensional tear Arcueid had left in the room.

    “You wouldn't have to live in such a world, in any case.” Her voice was soft as she shed the guise of the Emperor Nero.

    “True. But it's like I said. After fighting in this war... after claiming lives and ending the dreams of others... I still feel responsible. I have to do something. In this case, I just can't allow Leonard to secure the Holy Grail and change the world as he sees fit.”

    “Is that so...” Kara's voice was soft, and she appeared deep in contemplation.

    “Kara. Is anything the matter?”

    “Not really. It simply seemed to me that – when we met him in the Arena today, Leonard appeared... different somehow. I cannot place it exactly. But for the first time, he did not give off the aura of being a supremely confident individual.”

    “I see. Well, I can't say I noticed anything myself.” Shiki sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “But maybe his own experiences in the War have shaped him. After all...” he glanced over at Kara. “We're both not quite the same people we were six and a half weeks ago, are we?”

    “Well.” She shrugged and smiled. “I might not be the best judge for myself, Master. But you've grown splendidly as a Master over that time.”

    “Heh. Thanks.”

    “Am I interrupting anything?” A crackling sound, and suddenly the image of Saber appeared in the room, this time dressed in her usual white shirt and blue skirt. “Well met, Shiki.”

    “Hello, Saber. And no, it's fine on our end. What's the matter?”

    “Well, nothing much of consequence.” She took a deep breath. “First off, congratulations, Kara. Defeating the King of Conquerors and his army is no mean feat.”

    “... My thanks.” Kara averted her gaze. “But I... do not wish to speak of it.”

    “I understand. Very well. On to business.” Her gaze hardened. “Shiki, I understand that your final opponent has another version of me as a Servant.”

    “Yes.”

    “There are no significant differences between her and me? For instance, is she given to using Rhongomyniad instead of Excalibur?”

    “... Well, I've yet to see her in battle directly. But she always has Excalibur at her side, so I'm pretty sure she's a Saber class like you.”

    “I see. Well then,” Saber let out a sigh. “I do not wish to aggrandize myself, but... well. Kara, I will be blunt. My physical abilities far surpass yours.”

    “It's all right. I know I'm only on the level of a third-rate Servant anyway.”

    Kara...

    “Still,” Saber said as she heaved a sigh, “there remain several avenues for you to try. I am not invincible by any measure of the word. And perhaps exploiting some of my weaknesses would end up being the key to victory.”

    “... Are you sure this is okay?”

    “Beg pardon?”

    “Um... you don't feel it odd to be giving advice on how to defeat yourself?”

    Saber folded her arms and shook her head. Nonetheless, a slight smile came onto her face. “Believe me, Kara. If it were at all possible I'd have entered the Moon Cell myself and taken her to task. Now, do you want to have a notebook handy? This could take some time.”

    *~*

    “Master Harway, is something the matter?”

    Leonard turned to regard his Servant, still standing at attention.

    “Ah, nothing much. I was simply... pondering.”

    “I see.” A puzzled expression crossed her face. “About what, if I may ask?”

    “Well, mostly about the Holy Grail. After this week, I'll have secured it.” He cupped his chin thoughtfully. “And, well, I suppose I was wondering what exactly I should ask of it.”

    “You had not thought of it before now?”

    “I told you before, did I not? The main reason for this venture was to prevent the Holy Grail from being used to stop the Harways. Absent such drastic changes, there will be no reason for the Harways to fail in our drive for dominion.”

    “... I see.”

    “Yes, and then we return to the question – what am I to use the Grail itself for?” He took a deep breath. “What about you, King Arthur? If you could make a wish to the Grail instead, what would you desire?”

    “... I doubt even a supercomputer like the Moon Cell could fulfill my wish. All the mistakes I made in ruling Camelot cannot be undone. Time itself is not so easily worked against.”

    “I see.” Leonard kept his expression neutral. “Still, if one cannot recreate the past, then perhaps the next best option is to learn from it instead.”

    King Arthur laughed. “By which you mean that you will ensure that your kingdom will not suffer the same fate as mine?”

    “Yes, of course... but of late, I have been wondering.”

    King Arthur raised an eyebrow.

    “I am a king. And I am worthy to be called such. Of that, I have no doubt. Still, I have seen many kings walk through the hallways of this school these past few weeks. And I have been privileged to fight alongside one for so long as well.”

    “I must say this sounds remarkably self-effacing for you, Master Harway.”

    “A sharp-tongued king, no less.” Leonard's gentle smile never faded. “And I've come to realize that there are many things that can only be taught by one who has experienced it for themselves.”

    “Well, I should hope my advice to you was helpful.”

    “Yes, it has.” A brief pause. “And I would want such helpful advice to continue.”

    “... Master Harway?”

    “It was just now that I finally decided on what wish I would make to the Holy Grail.” Leonard nodded once and extended his hand. “What say you, King Arthur? When I claim the Holy Grail, using it to construct a living body for you should be a simple matter.”

    King Arthur blinked once. “You mean to use the Holy Grail to give me another life?”

    “Indeed I do. As much as I could accomplish on my own, there is so much more I could do with you at my side. To advise me. To dissuade me. And yes, to guide me. Camelot may have faded into history, but together... together we could ensure that my kingdom will never fade and never meet the same fate.”

    *~*

    Chapter End

    *~*

    Thanks for reading! Comments and reviews are much appreciated!

  9. #1389
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    . . . Well, crap - you had to pick now to give me a reason to feel sympathetic towards Leonard?!
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  10. #1390
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Well in the game proper Leonard apparently breezes through all the fights until the last week, so his perspective on himself never really changed. In this story I wanted to write about how a combination of King Arthur as a Servant (someone who would be far more confrontational than Gawain) plus coming a lot closer to being killed during week six might have affected his perspective.

    Thanks for the comment, by the way!

  11. #1391
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pureauthor View Post
    Well in the game proper Leonard apparently breezes through all the fights until the last week, so his perspective on himself never really changed. In this story I wanted to write about how a combination of King Arthur as a Servant (someone who would be far more confrontational than Gawain) plus coming a lot closer to being killed during week six might have affected his perspective.
    . . . Fair enough.


    Thanks for the comment, by the way!
    My schedule may be a little erratic, these days - but I'll always try and find a way to make time for *this.*
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  12. #1392
    Thanks for sticking with it, pureauthor. Whether I comment or no, I'd be reading until the fitting conclusion I trusts you'll provide. Of course, I'll be eagerly waiting for your next work/original works, but that's nether here nor there.

    There are no significant differences between her and me
    It doesn't really fit the mood of the story, but I can't help envisioning a

    >specifically, two massive differences? In the, errr, torso region? :v

  13. #1393
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBlades View Post
    Thanks for sticking with it, pureauthor. Whether I comment or no, I'd be reading until the fitting conclusion I trusts you'll provide. Of course, I'll be eagerly waiting for your next work/original works, but that's nether here nor there.



    It doesn't really fit the mood of the story, but I can't help envisioning a

    >specifically, two massive differences? In the, errr, torso region? :v
    Sorry for the late reply, but thanks! I'll do my best to ensure there's a fitting conclusion to the story. Also Saber would probably specifically avoid ever bringing that particular topic up. Eveeeerr.

  14. #1394
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...what differences?

    Wait... is this not regular-Saber in form?
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  15. #1395
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    He's making a joke based on what I wrote. Saber considered the possibility that she could be summoned under the Lancer class with Rhongomyniad, which Shiki said wasn't the case. Leonard's King Arthur is functionally identical to normal Saber.

    Of course this entire story was started in two-thousand and friggin' eleven, where FGO was barely a twinkle in Type Moon and Delightwork's eye. And then later on we did get Lancer Artoria in that game.

    Except of course the lance probably isn't what most would notice first...
    Spoiler:


  16. #1396
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    . . . Yeah, to quote the Great and Powerful Mushu, "There are a couple of things I know they're bound to notice!"
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  17. #1397
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Okay, yeah, you guys have a good point. I can understand that one all too well.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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