I: Does a Magus, a Magical Girl, and a Talking Ferret make for a Mystical encounter?
II: Isn't the way of the Magus kinda dangerous?
III: The mysterious enemy is also a magical girl?
IV: Our dreams and feelings cannot be conveyed?
V: Is this fate?
Heroslayer and Fraggle present:
From the origin of everything, the start and end of all of existence, a myriad of dimensions spawned, each world born on the crossroads of destinies. For every happy ending there is a world where all comes down to zero.
But some events are harder to change than others. Those events burdened by fate are bound to appear and they are not so easily cheated. The bond between the blue knight and her distorted master is one as such, a bond that can be said to be fated the moment Emiya Kiritsugu placed the scabbard of the distant utopia inside the boy.
Shirou is born in the flames of Fuyuki City, his soul destroyed and reforged in fire. The boy is burned away and the image of his saviour is seared into his soul, the happiness he sees becoming a dream he will chase for the rest of his life.
Emiya Shirou was created on that day. That will not change. But that first meeting will not define his life on this world. Against the odds, another path opens for the boy who has become Emiya Shirou.
For in this world, Emiya Kiritsugu leaves Fuyuki City.
The man was tired. The taint that had infected the Holy Grail echoing in his mind while eating from his life. The memories of those whom he failed making it impossible for him to remain at the site of his last battlefield. Simply living there becomes a constant reminder of his failures: the death of those he loved and the betrayal of his own ideals.
So he leaves, planning to return once more only when he had gathered the materials to put an end to the Greater Grail. With him, he took the boy, the child pulled from the ashes of the inferno he himself began, Leaving the scorched earth far behind. His new home, the city of Uminari, does not change the boy's dream. This Shirou still yearns to be an Ally of Justice, desperate to follow Kiritsugu’s footsteps towards fulfilling that ideal.
Yes, those events alone were not enough to change the boy’s fate, the chains binding him to his destiny not that easily broken...
“Listen carefully because this is very important...”
….until one small girl changed everything.
“....You will be my friend.”
I: Does a Magus, a Magical Girl, and a Talking Ferret make for a Mystical encounter?
When I first woke up I found myself in an unfamiliar bed. The strange room looked white and clean, and even though I was surprised it gave me an odd sense of comfort. As I looked around I noticed that the room was large, filled with beds used by other people. Most of them were like me; children covered in bandages and hooked up to machines. The sight filled me with relief because everyone here who is hurt must have been saved as well.
I relax, letting my eyes wander through the room until I notice the window. With the curtains open I can see outside. The sky looked so beautiful. All I could look at was with the bright blue sky that seemed to go on forever. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen such a beautiful sky....
Why couldn’t I remember?
It took me a few days more before the memories came back. There had been a terrible fire, one that had consumed everything it touched, burning my home and my parents as well. Then someone had saved me and I was in the hospital, wrapped in bandages.
My parents, my family was gone. The situation didn't make sense to me at the time, but there was some part of me that at least understood what it meant.
I was alone now.
I like to think that I understood that fact quickly. But the truth was that, surrounded by the rest of the children, there was nothing else for me to do. And as that painful truth settled in I couldn’t start wondering what would happen next. When thoughts of what would happen to me threatened to fill me with panic and worry something happened.
"Hello. You must be Shirou."
This was the first time I spoke to Emiya Kiritsugu.
He came the day my bandages came off. An unkempt man that was dressed in a wrinkled coat. As he sat down next to me he sported a smile that seemed to reflect the sunlight streaming through the window. His voice sounded a bit odd, but I thought it was a very kind voice.
This was the man that sought me out in the room filled with children and offered to adopt me. He looked like a man with no future, but it was either him or the orphanage. So when he asked, I decided to go with him. He seemed happy with the choice and messily began to pack up my stuff.
"Ah, I forgot to mention something important. I have to tell you one thing before you come with me. Is that okay?" He turned to me, kneeling so that our eyes were on the same level as he grasped my shoulders. "Yeah, to start off with. I'm a magician."
He spoke it in an exaggerated tone, but his face was completely serious. Honestly, I really was just a child back then so I automatically believed his words. Maybe it was the way he said it or the expression on his face, but I didn't doubt the man for a second.
"Wow, you're awesome." I looked up at the amazing man in front of me.
This moment was the catalyst. It was probably as I said those words that my path was set. If I could become a magician as well, I could be like this man who saved me.
Ever since that day I had been that man's son. I even took up his name, Emiya. Emiya Shirou. Just hearing the sound of that used to bring a smile to my lips. Just the sheer fact that I shared his name filled me with pride. This was the man I would chase for the rest of my life.
"Emiya-kun, don’t doze off during my classes!"
The reprimand, accompanied with the startling slap of a ruler crashing down on his desk, sent Emiya Shirou out of his dream and back into the real world. Unfortunately it also shocked the boy, causing him to throw his body backwards as he took his chair along with him. For a single moment the boy was suspended in the air, balanced on two legs of the chair while sporting a look of horror and surprise until the balance was disturbed by the slightest twitch of a limb.
The entire class winced in unison as the nine year old boy toppled over, Shirou even managed to catch the desk behind him with the back of his head on the way down. Soon the classroom was filled with laughter as Shirou sat up, more confused than hurt.
"Ow…" Shirou moaned as he rubbed the aching back of his head. He looked up from the ground only to see his teacher looming over him, the worry in her expression soon shifting back to annoyance as she stared at him. "A…ahahaha…" He laughed sheepishly before resigning himself to the lecture that the teacher was going to give him.
Later on Shirou found his thoughts slipping back to the dream he had, even as the ringing of his ears reminded him of what would happen if he was caught unaware again. It had been a while since he had dreamed of his first meeting with his adoptive father, or anything else that had to do with Fuyuki City. His dreams were usually a lot more violent and nightmarish.
Shirou yawned, trying to stay focused on the lesson even as his mind started to wonder off again, "Maybe I should try to get more sleep at home." He had stayed up all night, practicing the Reinforcement magic that Kiritsugu had shown him last month. He had gotten the basics of forging a magic circuit for powering his magecraft, but he still hadn't succeeded at properly reinforcing an object. His ability to analyze objects was top notch, although mostly useless from what Kiritsugu had told him, and he had been able to successfully create a magic circuit within a manageable time. Yet every time he tried to reinforce an object it didn’t take. Lately Shirou felt like he was going nowhere...
"Shirou!" The boy straightened up once more at the teacher's voice. "Just because I already let you stay in class just now doesn’t mean you’ll get off free if you don’t pay attention! Now, you were supposed to think about what you want to do when you grow up for today, so why don't you tell the class what you plan on being in the future."
Shirou nodded, a smile growing on his face as he spoke the only answer he could give. The nine year old knew exactly what he was going to be in the future. His path had been set the day he had been taken in by Kiritsugu...
No, it was set the day he had been saved from that fire.
"When I grow up... I'm going to become an Ally of Justice." Shirou spoke to the class, his expression completely sincere.
Shirou paid no mind to the laughter, ignoring the teacher's chastisement about choosing a serious profession. He was used to the laughter and disbelief from other people. They didn't understand the world that Shirou wanted to live in.
That was alright. There was no need for them to know that world, not even for his friends.
"You should have taken that project more seriously Emiya-kun."
Shirou looked up from his lunch to see his usual lunchtime companions. The three girls, Nanoha Takamachi, Alisa Bannings and Suzuka Tsukimura were considered to be the cutest girls in their grade by his fellow classmates and had a tendency to hang around each other. Shirou often found himself spending a fair amount of time with the trio.
Originally Alisa had been bullying Suzuka, the more introvert girl and the more outgoing blonde getting along like oil and water. In one of his less successful acts as an ally of justice Shirou eventually confronted the girl when he noticed the bullying. Their confrontation had soon degraded to them butting heads before Nanoha struck both of them. It was strange to see how a shared afternoon of detention had turned such a bad first impression into this strange friendship. Even so, Nanoha seemed happy and Shirou wasn’t one to complain about small things.
"But I am taking it seriously Suzuka-san." Shirou responded as he clenched a fist tightly, "I'm going to be a Hero of Justice and save people."
"Ah, what is with our group? First Nanoha doesn't give an answer at all to the assignment then you give this joke of a speech on being a superhero." Alisa sighed, rubbing her hand against her forehead.
"I think that Alisa-chan and Suzuka-chan are more amazing for knowing what they want to do already." Nanoha sighed. It was clear to everyone here that Nanoha was still looking for her own goal as she tried to think of what she would do in her future. So far the options that they had presented to her didn't feel right.
"Ah, that's right." Shirou nodded. "Alisa-san is going to succeed her parents and Suzuka-san is planning to become an engineer, right?"
Suzuka nodded, smiled at the boy . "Yes. I like machines and such so I thought it would be nice to go into engineering. But you don’t have to worry about this so much Nanoha. You still have a long time to look for what you want to do. Perhaps you want to take over the Midoriya when you grow up? You like to help out so it might suit you."
"Hai, that's one option." The girl sighed, staring into the distance. "But I feel like there's something else out there that's more suited for me. I just wish I knew what that thing was."
“I'm sure you'll find it eventually,” Shirou reassured his friend as he took another bite of his lunch. "Even my old man tells me it’s hard to know what job people end up doing when they grow up .... Or so he keeps telling me.”
Alisa nodded in approval and patted Shirou on the back as she directed her attention to the pondering Nanoha . "See? You shouldn't force yourself to make this decision right now. I'm sure you'll find the path that fits you best. But Shirou..." Alisa turned to the boy, frowning at him in disappointment. "...That goes for you too. You shouldn't joke around about your future."
"I'm not joking. I'm going to be a Hero." Shirou replied calmly before taking another bite. Suzuka let out a sigh at the boy's stubbornness while Nanoha failed to suppress a giggle. Alisa however wasn’t feeling like playing along. "Being a hero isn't an occupation you idiot!"
"Says you." Shirou scowled when he realized that none of the three were taking his future ambition seriously. He really couldn't blame them. They didn't know that people like Kiritsugu were out there saving people. He was chasing after an entirely different world. "There are plenty of heroes out there."
"Argh! I give up!" Alisa threw her arms in the air as Suzuka petted her fuming friend on the head, trying to calm her down.
Soon the conversation turned to other subjects, the four of them spending the rest of the lunch period in idle conversation. Shirou didn't really contribute much, content with simply listening as the other three girls chatted.
That alone was enough for him to be content.
"Hurry up Shirou!" one of the girls shouted as Shirou quickened his pace. The boy had soon discovered that, for girls, a promise to wait for him outside the school entrance after quickly gathering their stuff meant that they’d start running the moment he left the building.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Shirou answered as he rolled his eyes , even though he was sure that he was smiling as the girls ran ahead. He adjusted the strap on his duffle bag to a more comfortable position before sprinting after the girls. Since he had started taking lessons from Takamachi Kyouya, Nanoha’s elder brother, he had been assigned the older boy’s original duty of escorting Nanoha and her friends to cram school as compensation. He would grab his bags and the bokken Takamachi Shiro, Nanoha’s father, had loaned to him before accompanying the girls to make sure they made it to cram school. After that he’d run towards the Takamachi's dojo for his lessons.
It was a daily habit and Shirou quickly learned to keep the idle chatter mostly about neutral subjects or to just keep quiet. He had no real desire to get sucked into girl talk on a daily basis, though he would gladly join any conversation that had anything to do with cooking. The boy's obsession with cooking had come over as strange out the girls at first, but they quickly accepted it as one of his quirks. Apparently Shirou’s father couldn't cook at all. What also helped was the fact that Shirou was now making his own lunchbox, and was kind enough to share his better successes with the girls during lunch.
Today it seemed like the girls wanted to take a shortcut directly through the park in the city. Shirou had disapproved, preferring to stay on the road instead of moving through the trees, but it didn't take much convincing from the girls before his disapproval was ignored.
The three girls had a lot of practice with convincing Shirou to do something against his will and had gotten very good at it. At heart Emiya Shirou simply didn’t say no to people.
The sound of the city was somewhat muted as they raced through the park, the streets filled with cars somehow far away. It was just like stepping into the dojo at the Takamachi family, the thin walls and doors still forming a barrier that kept out the noise and unrest from the outside, or the basement in his home where he practiced his magecraft...
“...lease he..p “
"Ack." Shirou, who had been distracted by the sudden sound, looked for the obstacle that he had just run into, only to see that Nanoha had stopped in the middle of the path. The girl looked distracted and she was staring at something in the distance. "Nanoha?"
"Didn't you hear that?" Nanoha tilted her head and tried to find the source of the sound.
"I... I’m not sure” Shirou confessed as he looked around, trying to find whatever had just distracted him, only to see Nanoha take off into the woods from the corner of his eye.
"Oi, Nanoha!" Shirou yelled as he ran after her. He normally would have no problem keeping up with the girl, but the kendo bag strapped on his body gave Shirou a hard time. Behind him he noticed that Alisa and Suzuka had also chased after him, the blonde yelling at them to slow down.
"It came from over here!" Nanoha called back, as she paused for a moment, pointing in the direction to which she took off to. Shirou followed her into a small clearing between the trees. Once more he looked around, hoping to find the source of the sound that had apparently called Nanoha here, but the clearing seemed empty. "Nanoha, I don't see anyone..."
"Ah… Shirou! Look at this poor thing here..." Nanoha knelt down in the grass the floor as Shirou looked over her shoulder. In front of them was a ferret, curled up as it trembled in it’s sleep. Judging from it’s beat up appearance the thing had been injured, perhaps by a human or a dog. Shirou sighed as he watched the trembling Nanoha pick up the poor critter in her arms.
"N-Nanoha, Shirou, just stop for a while so can catch up!" Alisa cried out as she and Suzuka stumbled the clearing as well. At the sight of the wounded animal both of the girls joined Nanoha in cooing over it, the sight of the wounded animal overriding their previous anger at him and Nanoha running off.
"It's injured. We need to take it to a hospital... no a vet." Suzuka pointed out as Shirou reached into his kendo bag. He soon found an extra shirt and handed it to the girls as Suzuka carefully wrapped it around the ferret to keep it warm.
“I’ll carry him to the vet after I drop you off.” Shirou promised to the pouting girl as he carefully took the fetter off her hands. As he carefully cradled the animal in his arms, his hand brushed over the red gem that hung on its collar. A small shock rushed up Shirou's arm as he paused, staring at the jem intently as the red jewel seemed to gleam through the shade cast by the trees before returning to normal. Shirou clenched his teeth as he faced his friends, who fortunately were more focused on the animal in his arms rather than his expression, before brushing it off as nothing. "Come on, we are almost at the cram school and there should be a vet around here somewhere, right?"
Alisa nodded, pulled out her cell phone as Shirou guessed that the girl was checking the map. Moments later his own phone vibrated, most likely Alisa sending the image to his own phone. Even now he still didn’t really understand how the girls managed to get all that information from their phone. It had taken Nanoha and Alisa almost a week before he could open his inbox and follow the links they sent him.
"There's one close to the station direction,” Alisa explained as she pulled Nanoha and Suzuka along with her. “We’ll walk the rest of the way home, you go get the little guy the help he needs!”
“Wait,” Shirou weakly protested. “I’m supposed to...”
“That little guy needs someone to save him! You’re a hero right?!” Alisa yelled as she took off with her friends in tow. Shirou watched the three girls disappear with a sigh as he pulled out his own phone. He looked at the map Alisa had sent him before taking off towards the nearest vet.
Alisa really knew how to push his buttons.
The key to magecraft is to possess both a strong mind and body. This was a lesson that Kiritsugu had repeatedly drilled into the boy after Shirou had finally gotten Kiritsugu to agree to teach him magic. The first year as Kiritsugu’s apprentice he had never performed a single act of magic. Instead, he trained in order to harden his body and increase his tolerance to pain. These exercises eventually turned into sparring matches, even though neither father nor son were experienced with wielding a sword. That had changed when Kiritsugu had left Shirou alone for the first time, the man leaving on the first of many trips to regions unknown.
Shirou found himself without a sparring partner. As the school’s kendo club was only for students from middle and high school, Shirou had decided to join a local dojo, which often held training classes for younger students. When he had voiced his intentions to his friends Nanoha had immediately pulled him away.
Shirou had known that Nanoha was a daughter of a family of bakers. What he hadn’t known was that she also came from a family of swordsmen, her father having trained her older brother and sister since before she had even been born.
At first her father had been somewhat unamused by Nanoha’s suggestion, but Miyuki had been willing to be his training partner. The more problematic thing had been the fact that he let slip the fact that Kiritsugu was out of the country with him staying alone...
The outfall of that little incident had been rather awkward, but after Kiritsugu had come back things had eventually been set straight. All that mattered in the end was that Shirou found himself training under ether Miyuki’s or Kyouya’s guidance. At this point his father, who never even trained in the basics of swordplay was not much of a teacher anymore. Thus Shirou found himself spending several days in the week training with one of the Takamachi family after school. They had made it clear that he was welcome to do so as long as he continued to help out, such as walking Nanoha to cram school or running small errands for the bakery on off-days.
“Straighten your pose! Your sword is tipping downwards!”
Shirou gasped for breath as he blocked another flurry of attacks. His hands were covered with sweat and his practice sword grew heavier with every block. He attempted to twist away from his assailant for a breather, only to find himself trapped as he watched his opponent raise his sword.
"You're open!" His teacher called out before bringing down his own practice sword onto Shirou's head.
The sound of the impact echoed through the dojo as Shirou fell on the ground with a cry. He dropped his practice sword in favor of cradling his sore head with his hands. Beneath his protective gear his limbs burned, most likely a collection of bruises already flourishing on the boy's body.
"I think we're done for today Shirou." Kyouya tossed the boy a water bottle and chuckled as Shirou nearly dropped the bottle in response. "You seem a bit distracted, any reason why?"
Shirou finished his water and shook his head. "It's nothing. I-" Shirou paused in the middle of his statement. What was bothering him? He had dropped the ferret off at a vet as the girls went off to cram school. He had even left his phone number behind and texted the girls that the ferret was going to be fine then Shirou had left for his lesson from Kyouya...
“I’m not sure....” Shirou confessed. Even so, there was something nagging him about the whole situation, but he couldn't point it out. Ever since he had picked up the ferret it felt like there was something whispering in the back of his head, as if he had missed something important back in the park.
“Oh well.” Kyouya dismissed Shirou. “I’m done for today. Tomorrow Miyuki will look after you, but try to get a clear head by then.” Shirou sighed as he cleaned himself up, before slowly making his way back home. He didn't really have much to look forward to for the rest of the day. Kiritsugu was out on another of his errants and he still had some leftovers from last night to eat. After that it was time to finish the homework and attempt to continue practicing his Magecraft in the basement.
The Emiya residence in Uminari city was one of the newer buildings in town, a two story urban style house, and thus was no different than any other house on the block - unless you noticed the subtle boundary field that surrounded the house. The boundary field was a warning system that alerted any of the residents if someone entered the area with violent intentions, and had been the first magic Kiritsugu had shown him as soon as they moved in. Of course, understanding was a whole other thing, but it had cemented the idea that his father was a great magus in his eyes.
Shirou's voice echoed throughout the empty house as he placed his bag in the corner of the living room. Of course there was no reply of 'Welcome Home' or 'How was your day?' but Shirou never expected an answer. He had grown used to the act of returning to an empty home, and even the few times Kiritsugu was home he rarely answered the call back without some prompting, the man often dozing off in the sun when left alone.
Sometimes he wondered what kept his old man up at night for him to be always so tired.
The basement that Shirou sat in was spartan at best. The only objects in the room were a single desk currently covered in papers, Shirou himself and a single pipe. Magecraft was a dangerous practice, and at his current level Shirou couldn't afford any distractions. A single mistake could cripple him for life or even kill him.
To use Magecraft is to walk with death. Emiya Kiritsugu had made sure that Shirou understood this most important rule.
Shirou slowly breathed in as he placed his right hand over the pipe. He held in his breath as he focused solely on the pipe.
With the breath that left his lungs all of Shirou disappeared. With the next breath he took, a second object appeared in his mind; the circuit that would channel the power. Slowly the second object became more clear, as the burning in his lower spine increased.
The idea of pain escaped his body with the next breath. There was no room for pain. It has to be perfect, or else the nerves that formed the materials for the circuit would burn out too fast and the circuit would disappear.
A rush of heat flowed through Shirou's body, spreading along his blood vessels and his nerves as his body tried to reject the circuit. Kiritsugu had told him that magic is unnatural and thus rejected by the body. The pain suffered was the price one paid to use magic.
But he knew the pain of burning, his entire body had already been touched by flames once. This heat is nothing compared to that time. Shirou clenched his teeth as he pushed past the pain.
Shirou hissed through clenched teeth as the the Magic Circuit slipped into place. With the circuit running Shirou took hold of the pipe, the same one he has used for the past few weeks. By now he knows the internal structure of the object by heart.
Today Shirou once more tries the magic of strengthening objects. Kiritsugu explained it as the magic of "strengthening" that reinforces the object's abilities by understanding the object's structure and channeling magical energy into it.
By knowing the object and its weaknesses a mage can reinforce it to become better than before. A knife can become sharper, a club can become harder, and a simple rope can become as strong as a steel cable.
"Basic structure, alter."
Today Shirou decided to try to increase the durability of the pipe. He forced his prana to flow through his body, from the circuit through his arm into the pipe. That is the simple part, or so his father had told him. The difficult part was making the magic work.
“Remember Shirou, channeling your magical energy into something other than yourself is like pouring poison into that object. It would be like pumping your blood into the body of another person. Pumping your blood directly into him will only accelerate the breakdown of their body, it certainly wouldn't make them stronger. To prevent that and to turn the poisonous blood into something that benefited the donor humans needed to understand what blood was composed of and how the body reacted to it. The same goes for magic.
“So, I should change my magic to fit the pipe?”
“Well, that’s not possible of course. But we can predict and influence the way the pipe reacts toward our power by completely understanding its the structure. We can strengthen it by channeling the magical energy into the small gaps of it’s structure instead of flooding the whole construct, which only damages the pipe even further.”
Kiritsugu spoke like it was an easy thing, but to Shirou it was as hard as hitting a target hundreds of meters away. Even with the circuit active the power it produced was too hard to control...
"Guh…! R-Reinforcement Complete.”
The boy let out the breath he had been holding as he fell backwards. The heat from his body dispersed, leaving him exhausted on the ground, his breathing labored and his face flushed with exhaustion. His entire body felt heavy like he had run a marathon but his elation at finishing the exercise overran any pain or exhaustion. The magus in training struggled back up into a sitting position and looked down at the Reinforced pipe.
"Another failure...” Shirou concluded sadly as he held the iron pipe in his hands, the magical energy poured into it already evaporated into the air. "…It's really hard to improve something."
Shirou just stared at the pipe before letting it slip from his hands. Giving up for the night, he stumbled back onto his feet and slowly... lethargically returned upstairs to his room.
Emiya Shirou was asleep before his head even hit the pillow.
Shirou groaned as he slowly roused himself from his slumber. He gazed around the room in confusion as he recollected hearing a voice calling out to him. Kiritsugu wouldn't be home for another few days and nobody had sneaked into the house as far as Shirou knew, the telltale sound of the barrier going off missing from the scene.
So where was that voice coming from?
'Hurry, someone come and help!'
Any remaining traces of doubt or sleep was brushed aside when Shirou received the desperate plea, along with the image of the red jewel that he had seen before.
There had been something strange with that ferret he found earlier today. Most likely that animal had something to do with it. Someone had called for his help.
Moments later Shirou ran out of his house, following the voice as he held onto his practice sword. As he had suspected, the strength of the voice increased as he ran towards the veterinarian's office. He ran out into the streets and followed his instinct as the voice echoed in his head. Eventually he turned around the last corner before sprinting towards the veterinarian.
"This is…" He had been to this building earlier this afternoon, and there had been nothing unusual about it. But now Shirou instinctively knew that something was going on, his skin tingling from the sheer amount of magical energy pulsing out of the building. It was so dense that Shirou wondered how long it would take for someone else to notice and show up...
Behind him another set of feet stopped as an all too familiar voice called out. Shirou spun around and stared at the speaker in complete bewilderment.
"Nanoha? Why?.... what are you doing here?"
Why was she here? Why of all the people was Takamachi Nanoha outside at midnight, clad in nothing more then her pajamas and her jacket? Normal, regular humans should be sleeping in their bed... not standing next to a magically soaked building.
Before Shirou could get any answers from the girl he froze, the building behind him shuddering as if it had been struck. Both children turned around to stare at the building in confusion before taking cover as the wall of the building exploded, sending pieces of shrapnel everywhere. Shirou threw himself in front of Nanoha to protect her, both children tumbling down as the cloud of dust enveloped them. Shirou watched with baited breath as two shadows moved in the smoke, another blast clearing the area as a sudden gust of wind washed away the dust cloud , revealing...
Shirou had expected the ferret, the animal most certainly involved with all the strange things going on lately. It was the other being that had caught him by surprise.
Hovering out of the hole in the wall was a strange black ball of smoke and shadows, resembling something like a cloud of black cotton with a demonic face pasted on top of it. Whatever it was, it was oozing power, the thing making his nerves burn as if he had forgotten to disperse his circuit. His body, still sensitive from his training, was aching as it drew closer.
This thing, whatever it was, was powered by magic.
Both he and Nanoha stared at the sight of the small animal being attacked by a magic cloud of darkness for a moment before Shirou snapped out of his stupor. If this thing was caused by magic then Nanoha had to leave before she got hurt. “Nanoha, you...”
"Ah! We have to help Ferret-san!" Nanoha cried out as the ferret dodges another swipe from the black creature. Before he could stop her, Nanoha ran over and picked up the ferret. Shirou darted in front of the two of them as the monster dove down for another attack.
A regular stick wouldn’t work against a thing like this. All he had was the bokken lend to him by Takamachi Shiro, and it was all he had to protect his friend. If only he could use his magic properly....
The beast was three seconds away. There was no time to activate his circuit. Even so, power still remained in his body. If only a little bit, it would have to do.
Two seconds left. Structural analysis of the sword was complete. Unlike the pipe Shirou understood the blade almost instantly. It’s strength, it’s weaknesses and...
Knowledge that he didn’t have before entered Shirou’s mind. Another had held this sword before giving it to him. His experiences are part of the sword...
That’s right, the sword’s weaknesses were already known to him from the start. The small amount of power that remained flowed into the sword as it guided him in the strike that would protect Nanoha.
With a cry he slammed his sword against the creature, launching it back into the air.
“Shirou... thats amazing!” Nanoha cheered from behind him, before yelping as the black menace charged at them at full speed. Once more Shirou caught the monster on the sword, launching it back into the air.
“This thing.... It’s too tough for me to do any damage!” Shirou yelled to Nanoha as he ignored the burning sensation in his arms. “I can hold it off but I can’t hurt it like this! Take the ferret and run!”
“I said...” Shirou gritted his teeth as the black monster rushed towards him again, so fast that it nearly ripped the sword from his hands. “...run! I can’t keep this up for much longer!”
“...run! I can’t keep this up for much longer!”
“You.... you came for me?”
Nanoha yelped as the ferret in her arms suddenly spoke up, forcing her to divide her attention between the creature in her arms and the creature striking at her friend. Horror filled her eyes as Shirou once more raised his sword to block the strike, only for the impact to sent him flying across the street.
“What is that thing.... what is going on!”
Her friend hit the ground, rolling a few feet before coming to an halt only mere steps away from where she stood.
Her friend was hurt. She didn’t want that..... she didn’t want to stand here helplessly as Shirou...
“It seems like you possess the proper aptitude” The ferret spoke. “Please! Lend me some of your strength!”
“Yes! I originally came here to solve this problem alone, but I underestimated their strength. Please, use your strength along with her guidance!”
Nanoha suddenly noticed that the red gem that the ferret had been holding onto had detached itself from his collar and was now floating in front of her.
Shirou’s body burned as he forced himself to crawl back onto his feet. His eyes were locked on the shadow spiraled into the sky, before it once more moved to crush the small boy with its body.
“I, the one who accepts this mission...”
With Nanoha still standing behind him he couldn’t dodge. That was fine, his legs were already spent.
“...The winds of the sky and the stars of the heavens....”
All he could do now was use all his strength to meet the monster's charge head on with his strongest strike.
“...This magic in my hand, Raising Heart! Set Up!”
A flash of pink light flared out to the side of them. The monster froze at the sight of the light and stopped right before hitting his target.
Unfortunately for the monster, Shirou was not that easily deterred.
“Ha!” The boy cried as he struck the monster between the eyes with everything he had. Even so, the boy overextended himself, causing him to tumble to the ground as the monster retreated once more from the strike with a painful cry.
But at that moment Shirou couldn't care less. From the ground the boy stared at the bright light in amazement, unable to speak as Nanoha reappeared, now wearing a white dress and armed with a staff. The girl’s aura that of one of the cheesy magical girl series he had watched on tv.
The monster roared at the new threat, ignoring the annoyance it had been dealing with so far as it rose into the air for another charge. Shirou could only watch as the monster dove directly towards the girl causing Nanoha to freeze.
"Don’t stand there Nanoha, move!"
A flare of power blinded Shirou as a pink barrier appeared in front of Nanoha, stopping the monster as it struggled to smash through. Shirou couldn't help but smile as he watched Nanoha’s confusion shift into a more confident look, the barrier keeping the monster at bay with ease. With a wave of her hand the barrier exploded, the rebound of the force throwing the monster backwards and scattering into several gooey pieces.
Before Shirou could even ask her what had happened to her he froze, something moving in the corner of his sight. "What does it take to defeat this this thing?" Shirou cried in surprise out as the pieces of the monsters were moving together, reassembling itself as it even started to grow. The boy pulled himself up using his sword as a crutch, his legs trembling even as he took position once more.
"We can’t defeat it with force, it will only continue to regenerate! We need to seal it!"
"It… can talk…" Shirou looked at the source of the voice, only to find the ferret from earlier standing on the ground near Nanoha. The sight was so bizarre that the boy could help but grin as he pointed at it with an amused expression on his face. “ Don’t tell me, you are a magical animal from another world!"
"Correct! His name is Yuuno and this is his staff." Nanoha giggled at Shirou's stupid smile as she gestured to the staff in her hands. “And apparently I’m a magical girl!”
“T-this isn’t the time to joke around!” The ferret yelled, causing Shirou to shake his head as he focused on what was going on.
"...Sorry, enough jokes for now. Mister magical ferret, how do we seal this thing then?" Even though countless questions, remarks and other thoughts swarmed Shirou’s mind he pushed them back. Right now a magical girl was facing off against a shadowy enemy and here he was, holding a sword... which trembled as his arms wouldn't keep straight, the burning muscles trembling under even the lightest strain.
"Nanoha and Raising Heart can do it. She just needs some time to figure it out." the ferret spoke calmly as Shirou nodded. The monster was nearly done pulling itself together, so Nanoha would need someone to keep it off.
"Alright then, I'll distract it while she does that."
"No! You’re already hurt!” Nanoha was quick to reject his offer. ”You won't. It's too dangerous!"
Emiya Shirou simply smiled. “What kind of Hero would leave the magical girl behind to face the monster alone? Besides, your dad will kill me if I don’t bring you home safely. Protecting people is why I got to borrow this sword in the first place...”
A determined expression crossed Shirou's face as he gripped the sword, a second wind of strength flowing through his body as he faced the monster. After all....
"It’s not like you're not the only one that can do magic, Nanoha."
Thats right, earlier had been just a fluke. A small bit of power flowed into the blade, reinforcing it to it’s former strength. But this monster was beyond that. Emiya Shirou had never successfully used magic, except on this sword in his hands.
If a fluke could work, then the real thing should as well. The circuit made earlier had already started to disappear. Had this battle taken place a few hours later, at the break of dawn, he would have been powerless...
But in the middle of the night, Emiya Shirou still had enough to fight one more time.
Shirou ran to confront the reforming monster, ignoring the familiar heat and pain as the blueprint of the bokken formed in an instant. The shape of the wood, the imperfections in the materials which were invisible to the naked eye and even the dirt and filth were all mapped out in a single moment. Od flooded through the makeshift circuit as Shirou pumped all the prana he could draw from it into the blade itself, filling the imperfections and the weaknesses as he made the sword more than it originally was.
Unlike the pipe, the sword accepted the power, the wood strengthened to the point that it was indistinguishable from a blade forged out of tempered steel, the blunt object acquiring a sharpness it was never meant to possess. Shirou look away from the sword to see that the monster, having finished reassembling itself, was diving right at him. Driven by well trained reflexes the boy rolled to the side, just in time to dodge the monster’s strike. The monster's blow had driven it right into the ground where Shirou had had just been. Realising it had missed, the beast pulled itself free as it tried to find it’s prey, until it noticed that the white clad girl hadn’t moved.
Shirou tightened his grip on his sword as he rushed towards the monster. It wasn’t allowed to focus on Nanoha while she did... whatever she had to do. Moving close was suicidal but it made things simple as well.
If his sword was strong enough then the strike would knock the beast out. If his reinforcement failed then the sword would probably break. Without the blade and inside the reach of the monster he was as good as beaten.
Either way, In the time the monster had to deal with him Nanoha wouldn’t be targeted.
“Stay down this time!” Shirou yelled as the monster turned around, facing him moments before the blade smashed into the monster. Unlike the former attempts the blade penetrated the blob, roughly carving through the black substance that the beast was made of.
Shirou screamed as something broke in his arms, the last traces of his power burning through his veins as his arms let go of the sword.
Shirou barely noticed Nanoha’s cry as he watched the monster roar in pain, the beast trying to reform itself. In it’s struggle to get free form the blade it rammed Shirou, sending the boy flying through the air until his aided flight was interrupted by the wall of the animal clinic. He slid down the wall and curled into a ball in pain. The initial strike hadn't been that bad, but he could have sworn that he felt a rib crack when he crashed into the wall.
"Ugh…" The Magus moaned to himself as pink light once more flooded his vision, the sight of Nanoha wielding what appeared to be some sort of staff.... cannon a welcome sight as her determined look told him what was about to happen. "Well, that went as well as I hoped."
"Jewel Seed Seal!" Nanoha's voice cut through the beast’s howling. Pink ribbons spun out from the staff and bound the monster tight, before Nanoha blasted it with another beam of pink light.
"That…was pretty cool." Shirou weakly commented as a small jewel dropped to the ground as the monster dispersed for good. He watched as Nanoha poked the strange gem with the staff she held, the red jewel embedded in her staff glowing as it absorbed the small gem into itself.
“[Receipt number twenty one]”. The staff spoke in a female voice, displaying the number it just had registered. Only after the device had returned to normal did Nanoha look around.
The boy immediately tried to pick himself up as the girl rushed to his side, her face filled with worry. He tried to reassure her, but the fact that his arms weren’t cooperating wasn’t really helping as the girl paced around, not sure what to do with him. Shirou honestly didn’t care about that right now, his mind currently focused on another subject.
“What happened just now... That was definitely magecraft.”
Takamachi Nanoha had just used magecraft. Ridiculously strong magecraft at that. But it had been different from anything Kiritsugu had told him. Shirou didn’t even realise that he was staring at Nanoha until the girl turned her head away, sheepishly scratching her cheek.
“I don’t want to sound rude, but are you really okay?" The ferret spoke as Shirou directed his attention from Nanoha to the newcomer.
"I'm fine." Shirou reassured the girl and the pet. "We should probably get out of here ..."
“But you’re injured! We can’t just move you...!” Nanoha protested as she watched Shirou pull himself on his feet. Shirou flinched when he heard sirens approaching the area. Magecraft was to be kept a secret. That was another lesson that Kiritsugu had beat into his head.
"No,” He hissed as he started to walk, “we should go, like right now. It doesn’t matter where, just go!"
"Alright. I think we are far enough now. You can put me down here for now." Shirou spoke as they walked through the street towards Nanoha’s home. The girl carefully sat him down, the ferret jumping from her shoulder onto the ground as it took a closer look at the boy.
“You know... you don’t look that good...”
“I’ll get better,” Shirou replied as he loomed over the ferret, resisted the urge to poke the cuddly looking creature a few times. "So... you were saying that you're a magical ferret hunting these shadow monsters?"
"..Yes.. wait, No!" Yunno paused as he tried to get his bearings straight. “It's a long explanation. But before I begin I want to say I’m sorry for getting you involved in this."
"Don't worry about it,” Shirou dismissed the ferret. “This kind of thing is what I've been training for.... sorta."
"Oh, That’s right!." Nanoha clapped her hands as she reached her hand towards the ferret. "My name is Takamachi Nanoha and this boy is called Emiya Shirou."
The sight of the small ferret giving a bow in return reduced the girl to a giggling mess as the ferret continued to speak. "I am Yuuno Scrya. I am glad to make your acquaintance. As for me and that monster." Yuuno paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. "It's my fault. I was the one to find them so I am the one responsible for collecting them again. The cause of all of this are the jewels like the one you saw earlier. They are called called Jewel Seeds."
“Jewel Seeds,” Shirou repeated the name, the name in itself not sounding very dangerous... but then that shadow monster had been less than innocent.
"My clan and I are archeologists." Yuuno continued, a little nervous at the attention that Shirou was paying towards him. "It was on a dig that I found them. They are part of an ancient civilization, and particular artifacts of this classification are called Lost Logia. The Jewel Seeds are believed to be capable of granting wishes, but as that creature showed, they can have far different effects."
"So someone wished for that creature?" Nanoha asked, confused about why someone would so so.
"Not exactly. We don't really know what their original purpose was. But they are described in ancient lore as miracles that are driven by desires. So if there is no one around when they activate, their effects are random and unpredictable. So we decided that it would be best to have them sealed and stored."
Here Yuuno paused as he stared at the ground. "Instead they were scattered across this world during transit. I was the one that found them, so I am going to be the one to seal them back up. I just need to rest first to regain my strength. I won’t bother your for more than a few days.
"Don’t worry about that! We'll help you with this." Nanoha smiled as she turned to her friend for reassurance. "Right Shirou?"
“Of course, “Shirou nodded. "Nobody would leave something like the Jewel Seeds out in the open where they can hurt people. Magecraft is supposed to be hidden after all, normal people shouldn’t be endangered by this. I’ll help you until everything is back to normal!”
"You can't." Yuuno shot to his feet. "It's my responsibility!"
"And you're in no shape for monster hunting." Shirou frowned. "We can't just leave them alone. People will get hurt... I can’t accept that."
"Right!" Nanoha nodded. Then she remembered something and turned to Shirou. "Ah that's right. Shirou-kun, what did you do earlier when you cut the monster in half?" Yuuno paused in his attempts to persuade these two from doing this and looked at the boy. "That's right. I don't think a wooden sword would have done that much damage. Not to mention you said something before you struck the monster."
" ‘Torasu on’ I think." Nanoha tilted her head at the odd English phrase.
Shirou blinked, suddenly realising that Nanoha had actually seen him use magecraft on the bokken. “ Well, T-thats....” He stuttered, trying to find an explanation that would hide.. “Wait, you used magecraft yourself, so why are you so surprised?”
“Wait wait wait!? I only used magic for the first time tonight, why should I know?” Nanoha sputtered in defence before it suddenly hit her. “Shirou... can use magic?”
“Shirou can use magic..... and he never decided to tell me?” The girl pouted as she glared at the boy, who suddenly felt a lot more uncomfortable under the nine year olds pouting gaze.
He was in no way feeling guilty, not at all. It was a rule to keep magecraft hidden from normal people.... although Nanoha seemed to as normal as he was.
“But you’re not a magic user,” Yuuno pointed out. “I mean, you have some potential if you heard my call, but I can’t even sense your linker core at this range. Neither did Raising Heart when you picked her up...”
“...what's a linker core?”
A painful silence followed as ferret and boy stared at each other in complete confusion, until the last member of the part coughed, before speaking up.
“Then... Shirou. What kind of magic did you use on that sword?”
“Err...” Shirou turned his attention to Nanoha. “I analyzed the sword and strengthened it by reinforcing it with my magecraft?" Shirou paused at the blank look both Nanoha and the ferret gave him. "It’s supposed to be a basic skill for any magus?"
"Magus… To be honest I didn't know that Earth had many magic users." Yuuno stared at the boy. “Nanoha-san, could you give Raising Heart to Shirou for a moment?"
"Hmm?" Shirou blinked as Nanoha handed him the red gem that used to hang around Yuuno's neck. He watched as Nanoha placed the gem in his palm, before he felt it warm up in his hand. Shirou closed his eyes as he felt something tug at him, deep inside of him, before letting go again.
"Activation aborted; mana levels insufficient." The gem flashed as it chimed back.
"Was it supposed to do that?" Shirou frowned, handing it back to Nanoha before turning to Yuuno.
"Raising Heart requires a certain amount of mana to activate. If the user's magical storage doesn't match a certain level then it will not activate." Yuuno yawned and curled into a ball as Nanoha picked him up again. "Even at its lowest levels you probably would end up like me, incapable of using it to its full potential. It seems like you do have magic, just not a lot of reserves."
“Ah, I’m not a natural born mage so I’m probably really weak.” Shirou shrugged, that tidbit of info not new for him. After all, he had no circuits to begin with so using something as Raising Heart was out of his league. “But why can Nanoha use it then? She herself said that she had never used magecraft before"
“It’s because Raising heart did all of the work for her this time, all she had to do was feed it power.” Yuuno pointed out. “Raising Heart is an Intelligent Device so it can compensate for the user in many ways, but it cannot do so without a large supply of power.”
"[Emiya Shirou's magical level rating is inconclusive. A stable connection cannot be created between user and mainframe. Current ranking of user Takamachi Nanoha is estimated to be at rank A.]" The device lit up as it made itself known again
" A-Rank?" Nanoha looked surprised, “ Is that good?”
"...Ranks go from E through S." Yuuno mumbled, the ferret barely awake as it answered their questions. " A-rank is something like one in one thousand on an average population like that of Mid-Childa. It’s just raw power though.... fuaah."
"I think we should go home." Nanoha spoke as she lifted a sleeping Yuuno from the ground. "We can talk about this later."
"Right..." Shirou nodded as he pushed himself from the ground using the bokken, ignoring the pain that shot through his body. He would have to be careful on his way home, but he should be fine.
"Are you okay?" Nanoha frowned at his pained expression. "That monster hit you pretty hard."
Shirou tried to reassure her, but he moved too quickly and winced at the spike of pain that shot through his chest. "Don't worry about it.” He smiled, trying to get the girl to head home. “I'll probably be a little sore tomorrow, but this isn't anything worse than when I spar with your brother."
"If you say so." Nanoha didn't seem convinced but let it go. Given that Nanoha usually caught his lies fairly easily, this just underscored how exhausted she was. "Then... I'll see you tomorrow Shirou."
Shirou nodded and turned around, started his long painful walk back towards his own home...
"Wait, where am I in the first place... which way is my house?”
AN: Yep, thus starts the rebirth/rewrite of the work that spawned a thousand snippets. Part 2 will follow soon(tm)
Remember: regular Nanoha/FSN stuff goes HERE