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Thread: Calling Card (Psyren x FSN - Nasuverse)

  1. #21
    The Cursed ZidanReign's Avatar
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    Its been many years

    plus lol petitions you're funny

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by ZidanReign View Post
    Its been many years

    plus lol petitions you're funny
    So? It's not exactly unheard of for a literary piece to get a movie/tv series much later.
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  3. #23
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Just heading this conversation off, arguing won't solve anything and you both have your opinions you're not likely to change. Just agree to disagree.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  4. #24
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Chapter 2

    Chapter 2

    The moment I touch it and feel the glossy texture covering the surface, I can’t deny it’s real. The dream had been real. That… white-thing and its words were real. What did I get myself into?

    I pick up the card and turn it over, expecting to see the same number as before. Instead, there’s a list of rules to follow:

    1.) Those that possess this card and traverse time are known as “Drifters”.

    2.) Those that still have a value on their card are known as “Active Drifters”. It is best for Active Drifters to keep their cards on them at all times.

    3.) Active Drifters are required to respond in a set amount of time if they hear the ringing in their heads. The intensity determines the urgency, and failure to respond in time will lead to death.

    4.) Active Drifters that die in the future have their bodies die in the present.

    5.) Drifters that attempt to speak of matters directly related to their mission to non-Drifters will be judged by Nemesis Q to deem if they are allowed to. Any further attempt after the initial warning will be considered a violation and lead to instant death.

    6.) Drifters are still bound by the rules, even if their value is used up.

    7.) Rules may be changed over the course of time.

    Who came up with these rules? How is it even possible to travel through time?


    Damn it, I need to get this to Emiya. But if it was a violation of the rules then would I really die? Maybe I can just slip it into his bag at school? Before I can think on it further, a soft rapping noise comes from the door.


    A softer voice follows. “Nii-san, are you awake?”


    “Yeah.” I put the card under my pillow as Sakura takes that as a cue to stick her head inside of the room. I see she’s dressed to go to Emiya’s place already. “You’re heading to that idiot’s place this morning?”


    She nods. Good. Then I can give her the card to hand to that idiot and have her tell him to look it over carefully.


    I reach under the pillow to pull out the card. But the moment the words begin to come out of my mouth, my mind and body freezes in terror. The thing-in-white is standing there now, right in front of my eyes, like a semi-transparent ghost.


    “Nii-san?” Sakura’s head tilts as she looks at me. “Are you okay?”


    It’s standing right in front of her, yet she doesn’t notice it. Can she not see it?


    The white-thing raises a finger. It waves it back and forth. Then the barbed wires around my brain and heart shift, digging the points that had settled into place deeper into them.


    Nnnghhh!” I release the card to hold my hands over my head and heart, fingers digging into them as though to pull out the wires. They’re hurting me in warning, telling me that death is the result of what I plan on doing.


    Sakura enters the room and stops by my side at the sight of my pained face as they tighten further. “Nii-san, are you okay?”


    I lie to her. “…I’m fine. It’s just heartburn from the restaurant.”


    The white-thing lowers its finger. The pain stops. Then it vanishes, its message delivered well-enough.


    I breathe easier once it disappears. But my fear remains. How did it get into my room? Didn’t the Old Worm have some protections into place around the manor?


    Sakura reaches out and touches my head, feeling the sweat that dotted it from the fear.


    I brush her hand away. I couldn’t be sure if it judged giving her the card, speaking to her about the card, or having her deliver the card was a violation, but it’s safe to say that those options are off the table. She’s useless to me here. “I’m fine. Just leave me alone and go to that idiot’s place.”


    Sakura looks like she wants to say something again, but falters when our eyes meet. She merely nods silently and then walks out of the room. The door closes softly behind her.


    The hurt look on her face at the end makes my stomach churn, like I’ve kicked a puppy. But I have to be careful, even if it means not putting up with her misplaced gratitude. I can’t go into this blindly. I don’t want to die for someone else’s sake like this after everything—especially not because I decided to try and help someone else for once.


    …I need to find Ayako. She has to be a Drifter since she has a card as well. She’s the only person I can be certain has one, so I need to find her and have her explain everything to me.


    ******


    Ayako isn’t on the school grounds by the time the morning session of the Archery Club is about to end. Not only that, but the Student President isn’t here either. The card feels heavy in my pocket when I think on how the connection couldn’t be more blatant.


    Then Ayako’s brother forcefully opens the door to the Club Captain’s room. He’s still in his school clothes, so I assume he just arrived. Without any preamble, he marches over, grabs me by my lapels, and shoves me into a wall.


    The impact causes several of the pictures and certificates to fall to the ground as he yells, “Where’s my sister!”


    “That’s what I want to know!”I try to push him, but apparently monstrous strength runs in their family. “What are you blaming me for!?”


    “She didn’t say a word when we went home last night because of whatever you said to her. Then she was gone by the time I woke up. What did you tell her?”


    “Nothing that would have done that,” I tell him. “Now let me go!”


    He doesn’t. Instead, he pushes me against the wall even harder and the back of my head feels the sting of it. That’s when a firm hand grasps his right wrist and pulls it away from me.


    It’s Emiya. He’s standing there in his school uniform, with Sakura in the doorway. He must’ve been coming to see her (or she told him about this morning) when the commotion caught his ears, and now he’s playing the hero always. Not that I’m complaining this time.


    “That’s enough,” he says. “Picking a fight based on assumptions doesn’t solve anything.”


    Ayako’s brother lets me go in order to pull himself free of Emiya. He doesn’t get free even with both hands. Not until Emiya willingly loosens his grip of steel.


    Then Sakura steps just past the frame of the door. She still has that look on her face from this morning, but this time it’s directed towards him. He looks away from her and then storms out of the range itself.


    I rub the back of my head. “Honestly, he just comes in and blames me for it without any proof….”


    Shinji.” I turn my attention towards Emiya when I hear the undertone of sharpness in his voice. The last time I heard it was months ago, but I remember it as clearly as I do the piercing look he’s giving me now. “Do you know what’s happened to her?”


    I catch the underlying inquiry. He’s not asking ‘Do you know what’s happened?’ but ‘Did you do something to her?’ instead. I should’ve expected that much.


    My teeth grit as fire rises in my chest. “I don’t! The talk I had with her was about her slacking off in getting Sakura into shape to take over the club. She said that she was going to talk about it with Fujimura today before she ran out. That’s all!”


    His eyes make it clear that he doubts me, despite being someone who usually believes whatever he’s told. He remembers what happens with Rider and the lie I told him back then about Ayako. But he doesn’t say anything with Sakura there. He still believes that she’s not involved in this side of the world.


    I temper the fire inside my chest, speaking softer this time. “It’s the truth… I wouldn’t do anything to her after she visited me in the hospital. I’ve been different since then. You’ve seen that much, haven’t you?”


    I can tell he wants to believe it when his expression softens slightly. But doubt is still there. The past doesn’t go away. Whether or not he’s forgiven me for what I did back then, he hasn’t forgotten it.


    He puts his hands into his pockets. “Just to be safe, I’ll ask Fuji-nee if she’s heard from her, or if her parents have called in her absence. If she has gone missing, we should start looking into it. Keep an ear out in case you hear something.”


    I struggle not to pull out the card in my pocket and hand it over as he turns to leave. This is the perfect chance, but I remember the pain and warning a few hours ago. I can’t tell him about the card, the white-thing, or the message I heard….


    But, if I recall what the rules on the card were, then I might be able to give him something else to work with. “Try asking the Student President.”


    He turns back to me at that.


    “The Student President might know something,” I explain, crossing my arms. “He’s been hanging out with her in their free time from what I’ve learned, which is a bit off since he shies away from women. I was going to ask him if he knew why she was so tired all the time myself today, but he hasn’t shown himself. When you consider he’s normally one of the first ones through the gate in the morning, and the fact that they’re both missing at the same time….”


    Emiya regards me for a moment. Then he nods in silent agreement before heading back out of the range. He’d look into that much.


    That left me alone with Sakura like this morning. Only this time the white-thing doesn’t appear to finish what it started. It looks like my guess is on the money. It’ll only appear when directly related to the matter of the cards and the future.


    I notice Sakura staring at me for a moment. Did she doubt me too now? It wouldn’t surprise me. She’s been the main victim when I was at my absolute worst. There’d be something wrong with her if she didn’t have doubts.


    “I’m trying to be different, Sakura,” I tell her. “I won’t go back to how I was. Not to you or him or Ayako. I promise.”


    Her eyes soften, and a small smile forms across her face. “I know, Nii-san.”


    That’s when my head starts ringing.


    No. Ringing is too soft a word. It’s more like a piercing shriek that drags the tip of a dagger across my brain.


    The point digs into the brain matter, radiating pain instead of blood. It takes away my breath, takes away the ground, and leaves me staggering as the world tilts beneath me.


    Sakura reaches over to catch me. “Nii-san!?”


    I break her hold on me and lean against the wall. At least I think it’s the wall—no, I’ve slid down the wall. I’m on the floor, barely upright with my back against the vertical surface as Sakura looks down at me.


    My eyes catch crimson staining her outfit where my head had been briefly. I reach up to feel something wet coming down from my nose. Blood stains my fingers when I pull back.


    The sound intensifies again. A cry feels like it escapes my mouth. Sakura’s mouth moves as well, but no words can be heard over the noise.


    I can’t think straight like this. It feels like if the pain gets any worse my brain will explode too. I need make the call or else I’ll die, but I can’t with Sakura here.


    I feel my mouth move and hope that I’ve told her to go get the nurse. She looks uncertain for a moment. Then she gathers herself and runs out the club room to do so. Good. That buys me a few minutes.


    I pull out my phone. The number is still saved in the Contact’s list, so I have to assume that’s the one to call. Before my brain splits open from the pain, I press the Call button when the Psyren number is highlighted.


    The white-thing abruptly appears in front of me. It leans down like a bird scouring the ground for a worm, peering at my downed form with its head craned. Almost like it’s judging me. Its head nods and it reaches down and digs its talons into my brain—into my soul.


    Then it pulls.


    The ringing stops. My head clears. My eyes stare up at the ashen, cloud-covered sky.


    So this is the future.


    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm predicting I'll be a bit busy next week, so here's the chapter five days early for you guys and Spacebattles.
    Last edited by Twi; June 11th, 2016 at 12:31 AM.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  5. #25
    Am i the only one who's getting...well it looks like there's a film over the update so it's blurry?
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  6. #26
    The Cursed ZidanReign's Avatar
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    He's using a different font than the standard verdana which doesn't hurt anyone's eyes.

    Word of advice: Use Verdana.

  7. #27
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Whoops. That was an accident. Gimme a second to fix it.

    And fixed.

    If you are familiar with the series of Psyren, you'll note that the rules are different. This is in part due to the story setting being in the Nasuverse.
    Last edited by Twi; June 10th, 2016 at 10:02 PM.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Twi View Post
    Whoops. That was an accident. Gimme a second to fix it.

    And fixed.

    If you are familiar with the series of Psyren, you'll note that the rules are different. This is in part due to the story setting being in the Nasuverse.
    Um, hate to say this but the font just changed size. ...Would me using the default style for Beasts Liar be the problem?

    And yes i did notice that. If i'm not mistaken the plot changing ones are two and three, right. Since in canon the Card would appear wherever it's owner was(it did that with Kabuto), and there wasn't any time limit to picking up(the sound just got louder and louder until you did pick up).
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  9. #29
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Part of it is the urgency of the situation in the future at this moment (revealed next chapter), but another part is because the Cards have a use that replaces the fact that the souls are shifted through time and not their bodies. They can do what Shinji did and just hit the call number in the contact's list if the ringing is bad and they've been separated from their card (as opposed to dying).

    And while in canon Matsuri mentioned you'd eventually go deaf, that hardly seemed like a suitable deterrent for not picking up. By all accounts, a lot of people would rather be deaf than transported to a future like that. Since Nemesis Q doesn't take kindly to people trying to weasel out of a contract, not answering the ringing will eventually just lead to death.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Twi View Post
    Part of it is the urgency of the situation in the future at this moment (revealed next chapter), but another part is because the Cards have a use that replaces the fact that the souls are shifted through time and not their bodies. They can do what Shinji did and just hit the call number in the contact's list if the ringing is bad and they've been separated from their card (as opposed to dying).

    And while in canon Matsuri mentioned you'd eventually go deaf, that hardly seemed like a suitable deterrent for not picking up. By all accounts, a lot of people would rather be deaf than transported to a future like that. Since Nemesis Q doesn't take kindly to people trying to weasel out of a contract, not answering the ringing will eventually just lead to death.
    But i vaguely remember Matsuri mentioning that one guy who didn't answer went insane from the noise.
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  11. #31
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    I remember her saying Melchsee's door drove someone insane. Either way, dead psychicer beats insane or deaf psychicer who knows too much and can spill to this story's equivalent of WISE.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  12. #32
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six gwonbush's Avatar
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    You apparently also have to actually call Psyren in this instead of just have a phone to your ear when you hear the ringing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nasu
    So as to stimulate the reader's imagination, I try not to write too clearly about mechanics and characters' inner workings.
    I am of the personal belief that the Tsukihime Remake is two years from release. It will remain as such until a release date is announced, at which time its actual release date is 6 months after that date.

  13. #33
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's another intentional change.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  14. #34
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Just cross-posting this:

    PSI Types (FSN Skill Comparison):

    • Rise (Self-Strengthening): Using PSI to enhance one's body, divided into enhancing five senses (Sense), physical capabilities (Strength), and regenerative (Healing). Overcomes Trance in combat.
    • Trance (Thought Waves): Use PSI to tamper with the mind, usually through direct interference with the mind. High-end skills can crystallize it act similar to Burst and overwhelm with Trance waves, but it has minimal physical presence. Overcomes Burst in combat.
    • Burst (Rending Waves): Using PSI to manifest something in the outside world, whether elemental or a projection of some kind. Has a strong physical presence and can incorporate various attributes. Overcomes Rise in combat.
    • Hybrid: Some PSI can combine two different aspects into one, such as Cure (Healing and Burst) or Visions (Trance and Sense).
    • Zone: PSI that control a location or territory, allowing one to act in some manner that others cannot.
    • Nova: Combining the three forms of PSI into one, each is unique.



    PSI Ranking Level:

    • Nonexistent: Absolutely no skill in the field whatsoever.
    • Inept: Can barely do the basic of the basics.
    • Average: Has an understanding of the basics and can use them with little-to-no difficulty.
    • Proficient: Above average skill in the area.
    • Monster: One of the best in the field.
    • Almighty: Best of the best.

    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  15. #35
    Does Almighty still involve turning into Psi energy, like what Amagi Miroku does.
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  16. #36
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    It's a sort of ranking of how skilled they are with their powers, not the abilities themselves.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  17. #37
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    Chapter 3

    About 12 hours earlier than I planned, but:

    Chapter 3

    I rise to my feet as I breathe in the cold air that has the aftertaste of metal. It was cold, even for Autumn. Probably had something to do with the ashen sky, not a bird in sight.

    Looking around, I find that I’m in a set of ruins of some kind. I want to say it’s the archery dojo, considering I see that the school is a broken pile of stone and rubble just across where I am. How many years into the future am I for all the wood to be missing, having rotted away?

    I stumble out of what was left of the school grounds and head towards the road to my home. I had no idea if it is still around, but the state it’s in will at least give me some insight into how much time has passed. And it’s closer than going to the Church or the albino brat’s castle. If I have to admit it, a part of me hopes that the Tohsaka Estate has been reduced to rubble, but my priority is finding a way to get back to my own time.

    The road feels softer than concrete and asphalt should be. Almost like the ground beneath it is quicksand or silt. The buildings made of stone are leaning as if exhausted, some half-broken and others toppled over. Those made of wood are missing entirely.

    Looking at all of this, I can’t help but wonder if there are any people left alive in this environment. It feels too cold, the scent of metal lingers in the wind, and the only light is the silver rays that break through the clouds from above. I don’t think plants can survive in it.

    The white-thing, Nemesis Q if I had to guess, had spoken before in my dream about embracing power to change the future. Assuming it plucked my soul from my body, displaced my existence through time, and then dropped me into the future, what did it expect me to do here to get back? What power did it mean that would allow me to change it?

    Why is Ayako involved in this at all?

    Too many question and not enough answers.

    I keep walking until I spot something moving on the path ahead of me. It looks like an animal at a distance, a dog sniffing the ground with some kind of black growth on its head. I decide to walk through the rubble of another home that had been along the path to mine, leaving it to scrounge for rats or whatever it ate to survive for however long the world had been in this state.

    No sooner than I walk through the rubble do I hear an inhuman screech that makes me jump. I look back to the source to see that the dog is closing in on me. What, is it hungry enough to try and eat me now?

    I decide to run. I won’t be able to fight against it without some kind of weapon or rock. But I trip before I can make it three steps because I’m wearing the club uniform, and the footwear isn’t made for running through terrain like this. By the time I can climb back up to my feet, the thing I thought was a dog is close enough that I could make out the details better.

    That thing can’t be called a dog anymore, even if it was once upon a time. It’s pale white, a black orb on its head in the place of where there should be eyes. There looks to be gills of some kind on the sides of its neck, with some kind of silvery build up crusting it. Its mouth opens into four parts like a peeled fruit as it faces me.

    Then it screams.

    The moment it does, I fall down again from what feels like being hit by something invisible that passes through me. The shriek did something to my ears and bones, leaving me hearing a ringing and feeling my insides shaking. I couldn’t get my bearings fast enough to run or even sit up straight as it trots over, grabs my hem, and starts to drag me with ridiculous ease.

    It’s taking me away. It’s taking me somewhere and there’s nothing I can do. I… fuck that!

    “Get off me! Let go!” I flail. I scream. I force myself to move however I could. At best I’m no different than a giant worm that’s struggling in the maw of the bird that caught it.

    It still works. The dog-thing releases my pants from its grasp. Then it aims its mouth up towards my head, peeling it again into four parts. It’s going to scream again and scramble my brains more thoroughly this time, isn’t it?

    I close my eyes on reflex and cover my ears in time for a muted explosion to sound out. The force of it washes over me and covers in a blanket of something like dirt or dust. There was so much, so abruptly, that I thought it had decided to bury me as I was. I cough violently, cracking open my eyes to see that the dog-thing was missing.

    Instead, Ayako stands in front of me, covered in what looked like patches of ashes with her clothes ripped in certain places and damaged. On her left arm is a black-gauntlet of some kind with a wrist-mounted crossbow on it. She’s panting, her chest rising and falling quickly as she stares down at me with eyes that have rings of exhaustion around them.

    Again, she looks pissed. “You called the number.”

    It wasn’t a question. “I… may have memorized it.”

    IDIOT!!” she yells abruptly as the crossbow gauntlet vanishes and she mounts my stomach. My body still feels out of sorts and I can’t move well-enough to stop her from grabbing me by the lapels and pulling my head up towards hers.

    Why? Why would you do that?” she demands, shaking me with every word. “I warned you! Do you know what you’ve done!?

    “I—” She lets my head fall down before I can even get the words out to give her an answer. The ground hurts from the impact, driving my eyes to close on reflex. Fire pools in my chest at the abuse when I came here for her sake in the first place. “What’s the big idea….”

    I trail off as something wet hits my cheeks and I hear the near-silent sobs. They quench the fire as I open my eyes to the sight of Ayako struggling not to cry. Sitting on top of me, with her head angled down and her shoulders limp, her eyes glisten with tears.

    Her voice shakes as she softly whispers, “I don’t want to see someone I know die again.”

    …She looks pathetic like this. Really pathetic compared to how she normally looks and acts. It doesn’t bring me any joy seeing her like this.

    The sound of a distant shriek brings an end to her tears as her body stiffens in alarm. She twists her head towards the source, even with the half-standing walls and buildings in the way. Then she wipes her tears and gets off of me.

    “We need to leave before the hound and catcher arrive.” She lifts me up with ease, hoisting me like a bride in her arms. “They heard the previous one shrieking and are on their way here.”

    “Come on, this is just embarrassing!” Her arms feel like they can give out at any time and she still looks exhausted. “You’re going to drop me!”

    “Beggars can’t be choosers,” Ayako tells me with an edge in her voice. Then she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Her arms find new strength and she braces me tight against her body. It feels like she’s burning up on the inside.

    Then she moves.

    The world becomes a blur of short-lived colors and sights as they pass us by. The wind rushes past my ears and drowns out every other sound. This speed is foreign yet familiar, almost like I’m being carried by Rider.

    She carries me through a web of ruined buildings and structures, the last remaining monuments to the people of Fuyuki for all I know. It’s only when we reach a district somewhere between the Big Bridge and the school, filled with more commercial buildings, that she jumps through a second-floor window without glass in it and sets me down on the ground.

    “Okay,” she sighs. “Hopefully you’re the last one. I don’t think I can make another trip right now.”

    “Last one?” I look around at that and see a shadow move around a corner. A familiar bed of blonde hair comes into view. It’s Gai Gotou from class. “What are you doing here?”

    “He’s another idiot who got himself a card,” Ayako says as she leans her back against the wall to the left of me. “Straight from Nemesis Q itself.”

    I can’t keep the surprised look off my face. “How?”

    He scratches his cheek. “Well, I heard that Kane was looking for one and I thought that I could get one for her. But the one guy I found who had it wanted to charge a ridiculous amount for it that I couldn’t afford. So I ran around looking for any that may have been left around at the payphones when I got a card this morning, in a dream. The ringing wasn’t that bad for me though when I answered it on my way to school.”

    “… Seriously?” The skepticism in my voice is thick. “That’s how it happened?”

    “That’s the reason that I told you not to look or think about the card at all.” She massages her temples. “Just knowing about it can put you in Nemesis Q’s sight when it starts recruiting, and in this mission alone it invited around twenty people who had an interest in the cards or Psyren this time.”

    “I take it they didn’t make it?”

    She shakes her head. “The Taboo, creatures like the hound that caught you, killed all of them so far. I tried to help and warn them, but they didn’t listen and the number of Taboo have swelled compared to my last trip. The people who die here have their bodies drop dead back in the past and the card disappears, so it seems like Sudden Death Syndrome struck them.”

    I frown at that. It’s only been a few hours since she went missing. “Your brother said you went missing this morning in the Club. The morning session hadn’t ended before the ringing nearly split my head in half.”

    “Time moves differently between the past and the future,” she claims. “Or at least it feels that way. I left home this morning, an hour before I normally do, when the ringing started to grate on my nerves. Drifters who have been awakened get a warning ahead of time compared to new recruits, to put our affairs in order, so I knew it was coming since the club meeting yesterday.”

    So that’s why she ran out yesterday. She heard the call coming in and went to make arrangements. The Student President being absent this morning likely had something to do with that—all the evidence points to him being involved in this too as a Drifter.

    “And how long have you been here?” Gai asks.

    “It’s been over three or four days on my end. It’s hard to tell since clocks, watches, and other electronics don’t work properly. I can only go by when it’s light out and when it’s dark, and since people keep popping in I have to stay alert and kill any Taboo I find so they don’t keep killing everyone.”

    Ayako lets out a long sigh and her throat muscles shift as she takes a moment to just breathe. “Shinji, you said that it felt like your head was splitting, right?”

    “Yeah.” The thought alone makes me want to take a migraine pill. “I didn’t hear anything before it just hit me all at once. It got so bad that I couldn’t stand and blood came out of my nose. I had trouble thinking straight.”

    “Usually, when it gets that bad, it means that the time is almost up to answer the summonings.” She opens her eyes and stares at me with her brows furrowed. “Another minute or two and you would have probably had an aneurysm.”

    So I went from assured death to nearly being dragged off by the banshee dog or whatever it was. Lucky me. But Gai said he answered just after he woke up, so does that mean the summoning has a priority even among the same group?

    Or was Nemesis Q punishing me for skirting the rules with Sakura and telling Emiya where to look. “So how do we get home?”

    “We have to complete the mission Nemesis Q gives us,” she says. “The objectives change depending on what Nemesis Q wants, and there’s no way of knowing that ahead of time. If it’s a recruitment mission like I think, then we have to stay until all of the people with cards answer their summonings or die from trying to ignore it. Then we’ll learn the location of the gate through a vision in our heads and have to make it… there….”

    She slides down the wall as she trails off, until she’s setting against the bottom. Her legs are splayed out like she’s lost all strength in them, and her breathing hasn’t settled either. It looks like she’s about to pass out.

    I crouch down next to her and grab her shoulders. “Don’t fall asleep yet, we still need answers.”

    “I… I just need a few minutes of rest.” She grabs my wrist, but her fingers are so slack that they barely cling to them. She’s even struggling to keep her eyelids open, and failing . “Just… stay here until then. Don’t… try… and leave…”

    Her eyes close. Her hand slips from my wrist and falls to her lap. Her head leans to the side.

    She’s out cold. “Tsk. Of course you fall asleep now of all times.”

    I take a seat next to her. She won’t be any good to anyone if she’s tired. I’ll let her rest for a while.

    Gai goes to the window and stares out of it for a moment, his brows closing in while he works his brain to think about something. “I’m having trouble believing this is the future.”

    “I bet the others who came here before thought the same,” I say. It makes sense if you didn’t know things like that were possible. If I hadn’t been part of the Holy Grail War, or combed through the library at home as a child, then I probably wouldn’t believe it either.

    But, while it’s been a while since I’ve read that stuff, I know for a fact that there should have been some way for this sort of thing to have been avoided. How far into the future are we so that all the safeguards failed and magi allowed this to happen? Fifty years? One hundred? What could have caused all of this?

    I look back over to Ayako and see her ash-covered body lying defenseless. If she’s been here for days, she could have been hurt. I carefully run my fingers along her skin, where the patches of ash clinging to it are. They wipe away with some effort to reveal unblemished flesh.

    Good, she wasn’t hurt after all. It would have been a waste to have gotten involved only for her to die next to me because of a wound I didn’t notice.

    Gai clears his throat. I look up to see he’s giving me a disapproving look with a frown. “Not cool, dude.”

    “I was checking her for injuries.” I really was.

    “Right, and I—WHOA!” His words turn into a surprised shout as Nemesis Q appears out of thin-air in the middle of the room.

    This is its doing. This is a sick game of some kind that it’s putting me through. When I think about all the pain to this point, my body moves on its own to grab it and force it to take us back.

    It ignores me as I pass through its body. There’s no physical presence at all. While I tumble onto the floor, it goes over to Ayako and gives her that same inquisitive look that it gave me, as if judging her worth.

    It points towards her and the world zooms out until we’re further in the air, overlooking the ruins of what was once Fuyuki. A quick glance behind me reveals the Shinto district looks almost like a desert of silver sand. Then an image appears in my head of a payphone half-buried beneath the remains of a building and sign.

    Escort the Drifter to the checkpoint to clear this round and be rewarded with the power to change this future.

    Then, as abruptly as we were taken away, we were back in the same spot. Had we even left in the first place? Or was it something like remote-viewing? Nemesis Q is gone before I can even ask.

    Gai shakes his head to clear it. “That…. looked not too far from the school grounds. I think I’ve seen that payphone in the Mount Miyama Shopping District.”

    “That’s in the direction we came from and a little north.” If that’s the case, Ayako can get us there in a matter of minutes. I gently shake her shoulder to wake her up. “Rise and shine, we need to go.”

    She doesn’t move.

    A pang of worry stirs in my chest and I try again. “Mitsuzuri, wake up!”

    Her only response is heavy and labored breaths.

    I reach for her face and feel her cheeks burning. Her forehead is the same. It clicks and my chest tightens when I realize why it appeared now. “That son of a bitch!”

    Gai comes over. “What’s wrong with her?”

    “She’s burning up.” I had thought her movements before was from using Magic Circuits and figured the activation caused her body to feel so warm while she carried me and afterwards. But I was wrong. The sweat and her breathing being so labored while she’s unconscious say otherwise. “She’s got a fever and it probably won’t settle while we’re here.”

    He tenses. “Seriously?”

    “The words it told us were ‘Escort this Drifter’ weren’t they? If she could move on her own, Nemesis Q wouldn’t have phrased it that way because she could just run with the both of us given how easily she carried me. It was addressing us. And she said that Nemesis Q had been recruiting this round and we’re likely the last ones left.”

    “So… it’s testing us?” he figures.

    I nod. “With her life on the line as the wager. Either we get her back in time or she dies and we remain stuck here.”
    Last edited by Twi; September 10th, 2016 at 05:11 PM.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  18. #38
    (waiting eagerly for the next chapter to see what happens next)
    For those writers looking for new story ideas visit my account: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/6347453/FateOnline. There are dozens of challenges there waiting to be picked up.

  19. #39
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Next 10th or 15th is when the next chapter will be released here. It's technically already done, but I like the breathing room.
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


  20. #40
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm trying to properly construct Shinji's Mindset after the Holy Grail War for Chapter 5. No real spoilers for Chapter 4 though. Any input?

    Spoiler:

    I stare up at the florescent lights and count ceiling tiles of the hospital room to pass the time.

    Being stuck here alone is a quiet sort of Hell. But I can’t leave the hospital until they finish monitoring me for any changes in my body after having the albino brat’s heart shoved into me. The memory of the pain that followed makes me clench my bed-sheet and grit my teeth.

    My head turns to the tray by my bedside. On it are two slices of apples cut into rabbit-shapes, with one on its side and the other with a tooth-pick in it. Leftovers from when Sakura was here.

    The ears were perfectly shaped, like something out of a magazine. She even glazed the flesh with a light and sweet glaze that I liked when I was a child. She put a lot of work into them, overstepping her bounds as someone who was sold to the Matou family.

    I still remember the day I was told her family sold her to mine, when I came back from my study abroad after the last Holy Grail War. The thought of an outsider in my household, in my world, made me sick. But a part of me felt bad for the girl, having been sold into being a possession of our family by her own. Then again, I expected as much.

    I learned early on that there were two types of people in this world: those that were special and those that weren’t. The former stood on top, sacrificing and using those that stood on the bottom to move up in the world. Then you cut them out when they were no longer useful. Zouken taught me that at an early age, which was what happened to my mother.

    Yet, I pitied Sakura.

    She was supposed to be special, but was then cast out to become something less. The little girl with dull purple eyes and never smiled was meant to be a tool, but that was just so pathetic that I couldn’t stand it. So, as the heir to the family, I decided to take pity on her and treat her like my sister.

    She would never be as special as me, who was to be the heir. But she would be better than everyone else outside of the family. As long as she was loyal, I would never sacrifice her like my grandfather and father did my mother.

    Then the truth came out.

    Sakura was there to be the true heir, not a failure like me. She knew the entire time and just humored me, laughing behind my back every time I said I would be the heir. I showed her mercy and kindness, treating her like a person rather than the tool to carry on the bloodline she was, and my reward for it to be mocked.

    She deserved to be slapped. To be beaten. To be reminded of her place. So I paid her back for every laugh and taking what was rightfully mine.

    And she never fought back. She never claimed it was her right to be the heiress. She just sat there and took it.

    At first I thought it was because she knew that she deserved it. The abuse was her atonement for mocking me. If that was the case, maybe I would have forgiven her as long as she served me sincerely. But then Zouken kindly informed me of what it really was:

    Pity.

    She pitied me. Someone who was sold to use by her own family because I wasn’t good enough pitied me. I was so pathetic that someone who lost everything of her old life and then given away like a tool pitied me.

    Things were a blur for a moment after that. I remember yelling, hitting, exposing her pale skin and feeling lust overtake me. A fleeting thought that if she was mine to use as I pleased then why not do so in every aspect? Then I felt euphoria, an immense satisfaction flooding me to my core as I experienced the pleasure of being a man for the first time.

    She didn’t complain. Zouken didn’t chastise me for it. Of course they didn’t. I hadn’t done anything wrong by the standards of the world we lived in. So our roles were set and life continued.

    Then Emiya came into the picture.

    He was an idiot. He constantly did things that other people didn’t want to like he was a natural-born servant and enjoyed it. But he was useful, an honest idiot that I felt like I could tolerate compared to other people.

    Someone who could never attain happiness outside of helping others was someone would always be willing to do what I ask without question. Someone who would usurp me like Sakura did. Someone I could see as a friend and wouldn’t sacrifice like Sakura, before the truth.

    Then he turned against me because of Sakura. He couldn’t understand that Sakura was supposed to be mine, a tool to be used in exchange for taking everything away from me as heir to the Matou line. He chose her over me and the thought of those two together filled me with a black flame inside my chest as I watched them.

    Then came the Holy Grail War, a chance to prove myself to Zouken as who should have been the rightful heir to the family. Sakura not wanting to fight was so pathetic that he surely had to acknowledge me. Plus, if I won, I could have used it to fix my defective body and become a true magus.

    That’s all I wanted in the end. To have been a true part of the world I was born into. Like my father, my grandfather, my sister, and… and my friend.

    I couldn’t see the strings being pulled behind the curtain because I wanted to be special. And I got played for it… suffered for it.

    I shudder as the phantom sensation worms crawling through my body and bloating my flesh came to mind. Was this what Sakura felt everyday for the sake of being a magus? If the stupid girl had said something, I would’ve….

    No, it wouldn’t have changed anything.

    I had lost my ability to feel sympathy for those I saw beneath me a long time ago. It was only because I had been placed into her shoes that I could understand everything she felt, after I regained my sanity. A moment of empathy towards someone who’d experienced years of a similar Hell silently with no one to save her.

    Sakura treated me with sympathy after my ordeal, understanding the pain I’ve been through. She could have mocked me or thrown it in my face after everything I’d done to her. But she simply stayed by my side and cared for me.

    Like a sister should.

    That moment also made me truly realize why Sakura clung to Emiya despite the abuse I put her through for it. Having been stuck in a position where death would have been preferable, I too wanted someone to desperately save me. And though it was Tohsaka who pulled me from the prison that my flesh had become, she’d made it clear that she’d done it for him. Despite the number of times I’d tried to kill him after he sided against me, he still extended his hand by proxy to save me.

    Like a friend should.

    The only question now was what I should do when I get out of here. How do I face them? What should I aspire to after losing my chance at being truly special, only to find that it wasn’t worth it in the end?
    Yet the burden shall be shared by two entwined, from which the sword will part from the body and be bestowed upon the vassal to sacrifice themselves and cleave through space and time.

    Mark upon this unworthy flesh the emblem of the sacrifice, the vassal whose death shall bring forth victory through the fields of steel and blood!

    The oath is laid here. We are the ones who represent all the good within the pure lands, and we are the ones who judge what is evil within the pure lands. Thou, Seven Heavens clad in three mere words of unequal power, shall emerge from the spiral of control, O keeper of the balance—!


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