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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?
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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  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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    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?

  18. #1398
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Chapter Seventy One: La/St/and

    *~*

    So, funny story. I sat down planning on writing the next chapter to the story and before that I started clicking around on social media to see if anything was up.

    And then I saw that someone had done fanart of another one of my fanfictions.

    So if there's any loss in productivity I blame it on me being too busy walking on cloud nine.

    Disclaimer: I own nothing.

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Digital Tsukumihara Academy, Room 3-A

    The 5th day, already... Kara took a deep breath as she stood from her seat. At the other end of the room, her Master was holding a conversation with Illya about what the Lady Arcueid had been up to.

    Well, that was fine. She could use a bit of time to prepare on her own anyway. They'd be heading into the Arena soon to search for the second Trigger. And she had to make up for lost time. They now had only two days to gather it instead of the usual three – because she had been out of commission.

    Stop it. Stop blaming yourself. There was no reason for her to do that. Her abilities had come at a cost – but it had allowed her to win. It had allowed her to protect her Master.

    And that was good enough.

    She swept the mana crystals she intended to bring along into her bag. There would be little sense in hoarding. They were nearing the end of their journey, after all.

    Behind her, the sound of Illya's image fading, and she turned to face her Master, a smile on her face.

    “Are you prepared, Master?” She held up a bag filled with supplies. “We're going need to cover a lot of ground today, so I made sure to get some snacks and drinks from the Commissary. And extra mana crystals too.;”

    “Well, thanks for that. That was thoughtful of you.” He smiled at her, and she found herself smiling back. “In that case, I think we should be heading off now.”

    Kara nodded and her form flashed red and gold as once more she took the guise of the Roman Emperor. “Very well, Praetor. Lead the way.”

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Arena, 7th Chimeric Lunar Sea

    Setting Sun – Leonard's Theme

    “Beautiful.” The words came out of Kara's mouth before she could help herself.

    The entrance to the Arena was upon a raised platform. Far off into the distance, she could see a vast waterfall that spread from horizon to horizon. The roaring waves of water surged down endlessly into the depths, its final destination hidden from her view. A setting sun loomed vast in the distance, bathing the land in swathes of orange and gold.

    “I guess it's a pleasant enough backdrop for our final run through the Arena.” Shiki took a deep breath. “But... it's a little spread out, isn't it?”

    That was something of an understatement. From their vantage point, Kara could see the twisting network of pathways that snaked all around. Simply walking through the place would take hours – never mind fending off the guardians and making sure to explore all the chests for the Triggers.

    “Well then, we had best not tarry, Praetor!” She gave her Master an encouraging smile and brandished her blade. “Onwards!”

    “Right, on – aghk!” Shiki flinched as a sharp jolt shot up his arm. It wasn't painful – not exactly, but it was more like a sudden chill on his forearm, centred around-

    “Praetor?” Kara furrowed her brow as she looked at him. “What's the matter?”

    “No... it's fine.” He shook his head. “Let's hurry.”

    She lifted an eyebrow, but the sensation had started to fade and so Shiki felt safe with ignoring it for now. At least until he could get someone to look at it.

    In turn, Kara gave him a nod and set out down the pathway. Hanging several paces back, Shiki glanced down at his arm. It was hidden by the sleeve of his shirt, but the sensation had been unmistakeable – the location where it had occurred was-

    The mana tap? A frown creased his face. It's been nearly a month since I used it, and... Kara hasn't needed any extra mana ever since that week, so why-?

    “Ah, Shiki. And his Servant, too.” At the sound of Leonard's voice, he looked up to see the other Master standing in a chamber. One hand was clutching onto a golden card – his Trigger key. At his side was King Arthur, hands still clutching tightly onto the her holy blade. “How goes the hunt?”

    “... We've barely started, as a matter of fact.” After seven weeks, Leonard's unflappable and polite nature was starting to wear on him. Well, Shiki conceded, partly it had to do with it being directed against him for the first time – as his opponent. The way Leonard continued to act as if victory was a given was... well, irritating, to say the least.

    Still, it was also possible to pick up something new in his mannerisms. Slightly more guarded expressions, his smiles being more calculated and thoughtful.

    I guess the last battle really was a bit of a wakeup call.

    “Oh, is that so?” Leonard nodded once and stepped to the side. “Well, it would be remiss of me to keep you, then. It would not do for us to miss a chance at a fair match during the end of the week.”

    “... You're eager for a real fight?” Shiki pushed the glasses up his nose. “Wouldn't it be easier if you were able to drive me off and prevent me from finding the Triggers? Then you could win without risking it all in combat.”

    “Well,” a short chuckle shake of the head from Leonard, “that would be quite anticlimactic. But I will admit that I am curious about the strength of your convictions, Shiki. What would drive you here, through six weeks of the Grail War?” A pause, and Leonard furrowed his brow. “Particularly when you are not a native to this world.”

    Shiki did his best to keep his face impassive as he wondered how Leonard had managed to figure that particular little detail out. Well, he had no idea of the information-gathering resources available to the Harway family, so perhaps discovering something like that was no far-fetched at all. Still- “Well, I guess the game is up.”

    “...To an extent. I will admit I've not discovered that much about your origins-”

    “Gah!” Shiki winced as that strange sensation in his arm flared up again. “What-”

    “Leonard, get back!” A blue streak interrupted the conversation as King Arthur threw herself in front of her Master, Excalibur blazing a golden path through the air and deflecting the assault of-

    A crimson spear, glowing all along its length with a dark flame. As it was deflected, the red missile flew away, zipping through the air – until it was grasped in a hand of blue.

    Wait that's-?!

    “Tsk.” if he was at all surprised, Leoanrd certainly did not show it as he glared down the corridor. As Shiki followed his gaze, he caught sight of a glowing hole, seemingly carved straight out of the air. And standing in that portal, one arm outstretched, was-

    “Tohsaka,” Leonard's voice was calm, “I suspected as much.”

    End of All – Lancer vs. King Arthur

    Shiki felt his mind go blank. Seeing Rin standing there was shocking enough, but even more appalling was the state of her body.

    The dark miasma that appeared on Masters when faced with deletion was on Rin's body as well, dark patches that appeared to eat away at the edges of her form. Entire chunks of her torso and legs appeared to be missing, and her left arm was entirely vanished – a black stump that terminated in the cloud of black nothingness. The right side of her face too, had vanished into darkness – her remaining eye gaze was cold steel as she glared at Leonard.

    “Still... had things to do.” From the way she spoke, it was obvious that doing anything at all was a huger strain for her. “I can't rest... until you're dead.”

    “... I see.” A gesture from Leonard, and King Arthur had moved into position, blade at the ready. “Do you truly hate me, that much, Tohsaka? You cannot survive much longer like that. And yet you will spend the last of your life in an attempt to make sure I go with you?”

    A fierce grin spread across Rin's face even as she struggled to speak. “Well. It's a long... lonely road to hell. I coulduse... the company.”

    Something about Leonard seemed to harden, then. His face became an impassive mask, and he nodded once. “Very well. I shall respect that resolve, at least. King Arthur. Lay this tortured soul to rest.”

    King Arthur dashed forward – and her strike was parried by the spearman, now sporting a fierce grin. He at least didn't appear to be suffering from any physical impairment, and the two of them faced off against each other, the Arena ringing with the sound of their blows.

    As Shiki watched, he saw Leonard's eyes narrow, as if seeking something. He followed the boy's gaze and saw on Rin's right hand – the command seals, glowing with crimsonlight.

    “The procedure that allowed you to survive deletion by the Moon Cell...” the boy king narrowed his eyes. “That was something created by my brother. Hm. Truly a genius to have been able to copy his technique without formal study. Yet, obviously incomplete.”

    “I... know...” Rin took a deep breath and chuckled. “Didn't... have time to copy it perfectly. But... I had a few tricks up... my own sleeve.”

    As she spoke, once more the almost-painful sensation going up Shiki's arm, and then his eyes widened as realization struck. He saw Rin looking over at him with a nod.

    “Yeah, guess you... just figured it out. That glyph doesn't just... just regulate mana flow. In the worst case scenario... well, guess you could say I was piggybacking on... your identity as a Master.”

    “... Hah.” He wasn't sure a laugh was the appropriate response, but then he wasn't sure there was actually an appropriate response at all. She had lied to him, of course, and now it seemed she had been using him to one extent or another. But it was all in the name of survival in the deadly game of the Holy Grail War. Could he really blame her in that case? “I should have figured you'd try to pull something like this.”

    “Honestly, it was... pretty obvious a codecast that complicated... wasn't just about mana flow. And of course... it'd be useless if you got eliminated at any point,” a snort of laughter, “but, hey, I figured since you knew... about as much of codecasting as I do about the Irish Ogham... it was worth a shot. And... it paid off.”

    “Well, I did warm him you were dangerous.” Leonard gave a meaningful glance to Shiki. “You might want to get rid of that sigil as soon as possible, Shiki. There's no telling what else she's coded onto that thing.”

    “Hah! Don't worry, Leonard!” The last word was spat out in a venomous snarl. “You... are my only target. LANCER!”

    Her Servant's attacks seemed to increase in frequency and ferocity, and for a moment it seemed as if he were forcing King Arthur back. But then she rallied, standing her ground and fending off the assault.

    As Shiki watched the two Servants clash, he glanced to the side and saw Kara standing there, one hand still clutching tight onto her blade.

    *~*

    Excalibur flashed, carving golden trails through the air as King Arthur tried to find a way past Lancer's defences.

    Lancer was giving as good as he got, his strikes coming in at a blistering pace and always almost striking home. More than once she was forced to rely on her armour to withstand a glancing blow instead of being able to block it outright.

    She batted away the spear as it was thrust at her once more, and her gaze narrowed.

    Lancer... Cú Chulainn. Wielder of the cursed spear Gae Bolg. Servant's True Names were supposed to be tightly guarded secrets, of course. But Leonard had always deemed the Tohsaka magus to be one of his greatest threats and had focused on discovering as much as he could about her before they had ever been matched up.

    She supposed she had reason to be grateful for that now.

    Wounds from that spear are not easily healed. I can't afford to be hurt in this battle. I will still have another match in a couple of days.

    Another exchange of blows. Each retreated back a single step before charging the other again.

    From what I understand, a characteristic of his Noble Phantasm is that it is extremely mana-efficient. He could use it with impunity if he so wished. And given the dire straits his Master is in, it would behoove him to end the fight as soon as possible.

    Another clash. This time, Lancer did not duck away fast enough. A thin mark of red on his arm was drawn across his arm as a result. He paused, glanced at it, and smirked.

    Then, why? Why hasn't he attempted to use his Noble Phantasm at all?

    Another slash from her blade – a quick duck to the side, a counterthrust with the spear that she leaned backwards under to avoid – and both combatants jumped back.

    “... Lancer,” she finally spoke. “I can sense you're not fighting to the best of your ability. What is going on?”

    “Hah?” A derisive snort from her opponent as he shifted the grip on his lance. “What's it to you? I can spend my energy however I like.”

    Her eyes widened and she glanced back at Lancer's Master. “I see now. That energy I sensed around the Tohsaka magus... that's your Rune magic, isnn't it? Combining it with her own patchwork spell... you're devoting most of your mana supply to preserving her existence.”

    “... So what if I am? She's my link to this world, you know. Figured I owed her one after four weeks of this War.” If anything, Lancer's grin only grew fiercer. “Not to mention, keeping her alive gives me one more shot at a fight to end all fights. So really, I'm doing this for me, too!” And suddenly, Lancer had vanished from view, and Saber sensed that he had managed to dashed to the side to strike at her flank.

    “Gh!” Whirling, she blocked the spear in the nick of time.

    I see... in that case, Lancer's abilities are limited. But then, given that he's been able to pressure me this much as is...

    Another attack. Another block. Another evasion.

    In that case, should I release my own Noble Phantasm? I might be able to defeat him that way, but if I fail, I'll be left wide open.

    Silently, she tried to calculate her advantages. Her Master was able to keep supplying her with mana and healing, something that the Tohsaka magus couldn't do. But with that spear of his, even glancing blows would be more problematic to deal with than normal. No. Trading hits won't work in this case.

    Then she frowned. ...Trading?

    A bud of an idea formed in her mind. One that was risky and perilous, but if executed properly would allow her to finish the fight in a single blow.

    Once more Lancer was rushing her again, and King Arthur moved forward as well, Excalibur flashing in the orange light of the setting sun. As she moved, she angled her blade, seeking to force down his spear instead of simply deflecting it. Lancer responded, almost instinctively, shifting the grip on his weapon-

    She lashed out with her foot, almost catching him by surprise, but he was fast and skipped again to the side just as she brought her blade up. She feinted, a strike that appeared be aimed at her midsection, but as he swung his spear to block, she twisted her wrist, changing the angle of her strike to be aimed primarily at the spear instead of his body.

    For a moment, both combatants stood still, straining against each other. And then King Arthur wrenched back – catching Lancer by surprise.

    Both cursed spear and holy sword were sent flying. She could see Lancer's expression twisting in confusion as he reached out his hand – she knew he could call his spear back to him with a thought.

    But for now, for one precious moment, he was without a weapon. She focused, reaching deep within herself.

    My existence as a Servant limits what abilities I can draw upon, and limits the number of my Noble Phantasms. Avalon is sealed to me, as if Rhongomyniad. I sacrificed the existence of Invisible Air too; Leonard saw no value in keeping my identity a secret. But, in exchange...

    Golden light burst through the air again, and once more a sword was in her hands.

    A second weapon – one she had lost long ago. But as a Servant, it had become an indelible part of her legend, and so it had been made available to her now.

    “CALIBURN!”

    Golden light flared through the blade as she swung it up – catching Lancer by surprise at point blank range. The blast of light sent him hurtling back, landing in a bloody heap on the ground several meters from her.

    Silence. Saber lowered her blade, feeling exhaustion burn through her body as she gasped for breath.

    A valiant effort. Yet, without proper support from his Master, there was only one way this could end-

    Her eyes widened.

    Something was wrong.

    She whirled about, just in time to see a dark shape – Master Tohno! - dashing at Leonard, almost upon him. In his hands, a gleaming knife, stabbing upwards.

    LEONARD!

    *~*

    Chapter End

    *~*

    Thanks for reading everyone! Please review!
    Last edited by pureauthor; October 10th, 2017 at 12:16 PM.

  19. #1399
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...the heck? How did Shiki get himself stuck in that predicament?
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    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?

  20. #1400
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pureauthor View Post
    Chapter Seventy One: La/St/and

    *~*

    So, funny story. I sat down planning on writing the next chapter to the story and before that I started clicking around on social media to see if anything was up.

    And then I saw that someone had done fanart of another one of my fanfictions.

    So if there's any loss in productivity I blame it on me being too busy walking on cloud nine.
    Ah, yes - I remember that feeling. No worries, just enjoy it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    ...the heck? How did Shiki get himself stuck in that predicament?
    I know it's going to be fun finding out . . .
    “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

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