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

  1. #1361
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pureauthor View Post
    An excellent description - and an equally excellent depiction.


    Misc. Author Notes: Back when this story was in the concept stage, I was toying with the idea of 'someone who could effortlessly defeat Gate of Babylon and/or Ionian Hetairoi, but without being ridiculously OP in general' and came up with the idea of an attack that was otherwise weak but specifically targeted something based on age or how long ago they had passed on. Ideas changed as they go on, and it ended with Kara's Vanishing World - which rejects and destroys things that are supposed to have died or been destroyed already.

    It's therefore worthwhile to note that Iskandar was always intended to be a Servant that Kara would face late in the Grail War, although the idea of pairing him specifically with Hakuno didn't come until way later.
    Some concepts just stick, no matter how long they take to get put into use.


    Well I went back and checked and actually I took over 3 years, because of another long gap near the start. Late 2014 to mid 2017. Sheesh.
    It happens - I've been at trying to properly write a Grail Works sequel myself for how long, now?


    And thanks for the encouragement!
    You're quite welcome - and you deserve it, after all.


    Well, no worries there. Unlike the 6th Week I've already a pretty good plan for everything I want to do over the next 7 days, and the final round of the Moon Cell Grail War. I hope what I do write will be to your satisfaction.
    Good to hear.
    “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

  2. #1362
    吸血鬼 Vampire walrus's Avatar
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    My god, it's 2017 already? Gotta read it again from the start.

  3. #1363
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Chapter Sixty-Seven: Aband/On/ly

    *~*

    Disclaimer: I own nothing.

    *~*

    Father Kotomine's boots rang out through the otherwise-silent hallways as he continued onward in a slow, steady pace.

    “The final week,” he said to no one in particular. “Already.”

    Out of the 128 Masters and Servants, the numbers had been relentlessly pared down, again and again. And now, only two were left.

    The Holy Grail War was always so similar, and yet always had so many surprises in store.

    “I will admit to being surprised.” He paused midsentence. “When I first laid eyes upon the boy and his Servant, I did not judge him as being one who had the fortitude to make it all the way to the final round of the War.”

    “Well, shows what you know.” The air beside him shimmered and rippled, and Arcueid stepped through the portal, walking perfectly in sync with him as if she had been there all along. “Shiki's always been special, and he always had what it takes to do something like this.”

    “I suppose he has proven as much.” Kotomine conceded the point. “And you?”

    “... I need to ask you about the SE.RA.PH. Summoning system and what Servants can be called out.”

    “Why would you feel a need to learn more about that in particular?” He slowed his pace and turned to face her, “Does it have anything to do with that woman you found?”

    “Yeah, she called herself an Avenger, and she claimed to be a participant in the Grail War?”

    “A participant? That appears highly unlikely. After all, there are only two Masters and Servants remaining, and both are accounted for. They certainly cannot be the one disrupting the Moon Cell's function.”

    “Well, that's what she said. And what's an Avenger anyway? I mean, I know just a little bit about Servants and all that and I'm pretty sure that's not a class I recognize.”

    “... My apologies,” Kotomine said as he increased his pace. “But right now, I do not have time for an explanation. Suffice to say I will need to contact the Moon Cell directly for this.”

    “Seriously?” Arcueid made a disgruntled face as a doorway appeared in thin air and Kotomine stepped through it, vanishing from the hallways of the digital school. “Oh fine, whatever. I can just go ask Ilya.

    “Ilya? Are you there? What can you tell me about Avengers? In context of the Grail War, I mean?”

    *~*

    Home Base, Avalon

    “...zzz”

    “Ilya? Can you hear me? If you can hear me, say something.”

    “zzz g'way... dn't... wnna... sndwch... zzz”

    “Ilya?”

    “....snrf”

    “I mean, it's already ten thirty in the morning. At least, I think it is. Is the time in the Moon Cell even synced properly to over there? Hello? Is anyone there?”

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Digital Tsukimihara Academy, Room 3-A

    A Distant Union

    The silence in the room was suffocating. Shiki paced to the far end of the room, stood there for several long seconds tapping his feet before turning around and walking back to the other end.

    On the makeshift bed he had been using ever since he'd started this stupid Grail War, Kara lay resting.

    Well, not really. Rest didn't really seem like the correct word to use in this situation. She was sleeping now, at least, which was an improvement from simply being unresponsive back in the arena.

    But if the soft whimpers and furrowed brow where any indication, her sleep was not at all a peaceful one.

    He didn't know what to do. He'd already tried to wake her up – first by calling out her name and then later by touching or shaking her. But nothing seemed to work.

    Whatever demon Kara was facing in her nightmares, she had to surpass it alone.

    He let out another frustrated sigh as he turned and for the first time realized just how bright it was outside his room. He'd barely gotten any sleep himself despite how exhausted he felt after returning from the match, and to be honest, his time spent dozing off had its share of nightmares too.

    “What were you thinking, Kara?” he asked, more so to drive away the oppressive silence than because he expected any real answer from her. “Doing something like that... if it was going to end up with you in this state, then...”

    He trailed off. He knew he was being unreasonable. Kara must have known about this part of herself – whatever it was – and decided that it would be the only way to succeed against Rider. If not... it would take only one of his army's men to realize that removing the Master would be the most efficient method of winning the fight, and he'd be dead right now.

    But was this how it was supposed to go? Had she expected to come out of this in one piece? Or was being rendered unconscious and unresponsive something she hadn't expected.

    Swallowing, Shiki turned and continued pacing. It didn't seem like there was anything else to do.

    Suddenly, the silence was broken by the beeping of his terminal. Jumping slightly, Shiki fumbled with the device for a moment before he was able to read the message that had been sent.

    “Attention, all Masters. The next set of opponents have been announced. Please proceed to-”

    He shut the system off and gave a feeble laugh. What was the point? There were only two of them left and he knew damn well who his next opponent was. He had seen Leonard walking away from the elevator after coming back up, albeit wounded for once.

    That was right. It was already the final week of the Holy Grail War.

    He turned to look forlornly at his Servant, still silent as the grave.

    “Kara...”

    *~*

    Moon Cell, Digital Tsukimihara Academy, Library

    “An extra class?” Arcueid mumbled to herself as she flipped through the pages. “So the initial summoning was centred around the seven main classes. A Ruler, I can get. Someone to oversee a grail war if there's a serious anomaly. But why would anyone create a Servant class designed specifically for antiheroes.”

    Ilya once told me that the Einzberns had hoped to use the Avengers in order to gain a decisive advantage during the Grail War. Of course that didn't work out, but let's go back further to the source. In the first place, they wouldn't be able to create an Avenger class as part of their specific Grail War unless it had been part of the initial greater system.

    The initial Grand Order had been created with the intent of defending humanity against existential threats. In that case, creating a Servant specifically for beings so defined by their thirst for vengeance seemed counterproductive at best.

    Modifications to the initial system at a later date, maybe? Arcueid flipped the page again. She wasn't used to having to seek out information like this. Normally her abilities that defined her as the White Princess allowed her to simply gather relevant information that she could later use to her benefit. Before that, reading had been something she did strictly for pleasure.

    But here in the Moon Cell that apparently didn't work. She wasn't sure if it was because she was technically in a completely alien environment, or because there was supposed to be another her running around on the earth, or simply something about the digital nature of SE.RA.PH that blocked it, but well, facts were facts.

    Add that to Ilya apparently being a lazybones (did the physical manifestation of a grail spirit actually need sleep?) and she was stuck here instead. Referencing indexes and flipping through glossaries.

    Oh well. It's suprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. I've already found out what I needed to know anyway. She shut the book and tossed it aside.

    “Miss.”

    Arcueid stood and looked at the librarian, who was standing there with a frown on her face.

    “Huh?”

    “You're not a Master, and while we tried to be understanding of the circumstances and made an exception to allow you to enter, we have to request you do not make more work for our staff.”

    Arcueid blinked and looked behind her, where nearly two dozen books had been tossed haphazardly to the floor after she had finished with them.

    “Oops. Okay, I'll clean them up, don't worry.”

    As Arcueid busied herself with reshelving her books, she let her mind drift off once more to the issue of the Avenger.

    The important takeaway is that Avenger isn't someone who can be summoned under normal circumstances. Someone needs to be able to manipulate the system, and very well at that, in order to call a Servant from that specific class.

    Either that or... Arcueid's brow furrowed in deep thought. When she had been brought to this world and been forced to participate in the War, she had been forcibly made a part of the Berserker class. If she recalled, the primary qualification for that class was for someone to have lost themselves to battle-lust at one point in their lives.

    She bit her lip as a memory – one nearly a millenium old – snaked through her mind. Screams and curses hurled against her as she had slaughtered her own kin in a frenzy of bloodlust-fueled rage.

    That's the other possibility. Someone who was called in and couldn't be fit into any class other than Avenger. And the more she thought about it, the more it made sense. She did speak as if she wasn't a conventionally summoned Servant.

    Well, that was one hypothesis. Now, what to do about it?

    She still didn't want to involve Shiki in this mess. He still had a Grail War to fight, after all. But going back to the room seemed her best shot at catching Ilya when she woke up – and then they could properly discuss the implications of all this. After all, if anyone in their little organization knew about how the whole summoning system worked, it would be her.

    Her decision made, to turned and strode out of -

    “You're not allowed to borrow that. You're not a Master.”

    Masking a grumble, Arcueid handed the book to the attendant without looking and headed off.

    *~*

    Dark World

    She ran, panting, gasping for air.

    From what? She wasn't sure. Towards something? She didn't know either.

    All she knew was that she couldn't stay still. The very thought seemed to raise a chill of dread from deep within her, and she found herself dashing frantically through the darkened hallways.

    Hallways... a school? She remembered a school.

    She remembered... remembered...

    “What good are you?!”

    “Ah-!” instinctively she ducked away from a blow that never came. She stumbled as the world seemed to tilt crazily around her.

    And that voice continued, seeming to come from the air around her. That voice... that voice...

    “Why would someone as useless as you be given to me? Is this a joke? Is the Moon Cell making a cruel mockery of my vision and dream?”

    “No, please...” barely aware of what she was saying, she continued her mad dash through the school. The hallways themselves seemed to stretch out infinitely, and they twisted and warped around her as she ran, leaving her disoriented and shaken.

    She fell, found her knee knocking hard against a sharp edge. Stairs? Stairs! She had... go upwards. Somehow, she knew that if she went up, she would be-

    “And you! Trying to hide behind a façade of someone stronger than you? When it was obvious that you're so weak you could never pass for a hero of legend? Don't make me laugh”

    “I'm sorry,” she whispered. She wasn't sure who she was speaking to. She wasn't sure who was speaking to her, only that she had to get away. Keep moving.

    Keep moving.

    Suddenly, a flat surface. There was nowhere further up to climb. The world continue to swirl dizzily around her, and she felt a burning pain in her eyes.

    If only that voice would quiet for a moment. If only the words would stop, would not cut her to her soul every time she heard them.

    “And you can't even die? What am I supposed to do? Just sit there and wait for the enemy to target me instead?”

    “I'm sorry! I'msorryi'msorryi'msorry!!” screaming, she dashed headlong down the corridor, heedless of anything that might be in front of her or blocknig her way.

    Get away...

    Please, don't make me remember...


    She tripped, sprawling on the floor, four limbs now feeling more like blocks of lead than muscle and bone.

    Still she tried to pick herself up. Tried to crawl forward.

    If only...

    A room... there was a room... nearby. If she could just get there, everything would be all right. She would be safe there. The world would no longer fold away under her feet, her vision would not twist and distort.

    “Enough is enough. I'm not going to waste me time with something as worthless as you. I hereby revoke the contract between us. You are not my Servant.”

    “Master...” she could barely hear the sound of her own voice.

    If only she could make it there. Someone was waiting for her in that room. Someone who accepted her.

    “And I am not your Master.”

    “Master...” the world was fading away again just as her destination came into sight, blackness eating away at the edges of her vision, and she knew she would not make it in time. She squeezed her eyes shut and felt tears that traced burning trails down her face.

    If only...

    “Mas... ter...”





    “Shi... ki...”

    *~*

    Chapter End

    *~*
    Last edited by pureauthor; June 15th, 2017 at 02:27 PM.

  4. #1364
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...did I really read that right? Or is that not Shiki revoking the contract between he and Kara?
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  5. #1365
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    It's really meant to be more akin to a nightmare that she's suffering. Note from Shiki's perspective she's still fast asleep.

    As to the origin of the voice... well, maybe the prologue might hold a clue.

  6. #1366
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    ...did I really read that right? Or is that not Shiki revoking the contract between he and Kara?
    It caught me by surprise, too; until I remembered this morning that there's more than one Shiki (i.e., the local version as opposed to our Grail Works visitor) - and more to the point: there's more than one SHIKI . . .
    “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

  7. #1367
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Oh, right, I forgot to keep a note of Kara's wakefulness in regards to that scene... my bad.

    ...and I really need to look over the prologue again to make sure of things.

    EDIT: ...and a point to Kieran, too... what possessed me to forget about the original Tohno Shiki, anyway?
    Last edited by Xamusel; June 16th, 2017 at 12:23 PM.
    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?

  8. #1368
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    Er, so maybe I missed something about my own story or I didn't indicate it clearly enough, but what makes you all think the voice from her nightmare has anything to do with Shiki?

  9. #1369
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...I could very well have been wrong. I apologize for the mishap.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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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?

  10. #1370
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors pureauthor's Avatar
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    I mean, there's nothing to apologize for. I'm just a little confused about how effectively I communicated what I wanted to.

  11. #1371
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    No worries... I had misread it, apparently, so that's possibly what lead to it.
    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?

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