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Thread: Calling Card (Psyren x FSN - Nasuverse)

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Twi View Post
    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?
    Actually, even with my self admitted "lack of understanding characterization, I can't help but feel you got it spot on.
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  2. #42
    BORN TO REJOICE Walnut Sparks's Avatar
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    I think the general mindset seems right, but the timeline might be out of order. Side material states that Shinji and Shirou met four years prior to F/sn, and I keep reading that Shinji found out that Sakura was the new family heir three years before F/sn but I'm not sure what the source is.
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  3. #43
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    I'm using bits of the manga into the story as well, when he learned as a child. The conversation mentioned in Chapter 1 between Ayako and Shinji is also a based on a scene in the manga, though I'm naturally changing the contents of it to fit the story.

    No sense in limiting myself to one media considering that I'm incorporating various type-moon entries.
    Last edited by Twi; June 26th, 2016 at 07:34 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—!


  4. #44
    Fuckin' chicken grill!!! Kotonoha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walnut Sparks View Post
    I keep reading that Shinji found out that Sakura was the new family heir three years before F/sn but I'm not sure what the source is.
    source is F/sn

  5. #45
    BORN TO REJOICE Walnut Sparks's Avatar
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    Ah, right.
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  6. #46
    Not always a dragon Draconic's Avatar
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    It would be impossible for you to write this story fast enough. It's bloody brilliant, and it kills me to stop reading! Your Shinji is awesome! I'm praying that Rin and Shirou get involved soon though. It'll really liven up the story. And though I know nothing about Nemesis Q or the story of Psyren, I get the impression that if they find out, it'll raise the stakes proportionately.

    Sometimes the flow of the story feels a little choppy, possibly because of some occasionally odd diction but those are the only things I can see that could be improved upon. I can't wait for chapter 4.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?

    I joined two years too late...
    Quote Originally Posted by Hymn of Ragnarok View Post
    That makes me think of Rin as a loan shark.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hymn of Ragnarok View Post
    Admittedly, she'd probably be the hottest loan shark you'll ever meet. She'd probably make you smile as she sucked you dry.


    Oh dear, that doesn't sound like yuri at all.
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    Not with that attitude.

  7. #47
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Malgos's Avatar
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    Hm... I wonder if they are going to the "Land of Steel" just with some Psyren elements. Either way seems interesting, I also love seeing Ayako as one of the main characters. Alyways had an interest in reading an Ayako route for Fate/Stay Night. Looking forward to what could potentially happen here.

  8. #48
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    @ Draconic You are seriously missing out by not reading Psyren when you get a chance. But Rin & Shirou won't really do anything until Arc 4-ish. That's when the changes in the timeline start occuring.

    @ Malgos You noticed! Part of the idea is Notes inspired as well. The Taboo are closer to being A-Rays, as the species meant to inherit the world once the changes are completely done, while the Drifters are somewhat a mix between Psychics from Kara no Kyoukai and Ether Liners.
    Last edited by Twi; June 27th, 2016 at 04:08 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—!


  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Draconic View Post
    It would be impossible for you to write this story fast enough. It's bloody brilliant, and it kills me to stop reading! Your Shinji is awesome! I'm praying that Rin and Shirou get involved soon though. It'll really liven up the story. And though I know nothing about Nemesis Q or the story of Psyren, I get the impression that if they find out, it'll raise the stakes proportionately.

    Sometimes the flow of the story feels a little choppy, possibly because of some occasionally odd diction but those are the only things I can see that could be improved upon. I can't wait for chapter 4.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malgos View Post
    Hm... I wonder if they are going to the "Land of Steel" just with some Psyren elements. Either way seems interesting, I also love seeing Ayako as one of the main characters. Alyways had an interest in reading an Ayako route for Fate/Stay Night. Looking forward to what could potentially happen here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Twi View Post
    @ Draconic You are seriously missing out by not reading Psyren when you get a chance. But Rin & Shirou won't really do anything until Arc 4-ish. That's when the changes in the timeline start occuring.

    @ Malgos You noticed! Part of the idea is Notes inspired as well. The Taboo are closer to being A-Rays, as the species meant to inherit the world once the changes are completely done, while the Drifters are somewhat a mix between Psychics from Kara no Kyoukai and Ether Liners.
    Good news for him, it's been licensed over here and is complete i believe.

    That's an interesting bit of info that i'm sure is going to spice things up.
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  10. #50
    吸血鬼 Vampire Andaeus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twi View Post
    @ Draconic You are seriously missing out by not reading Psyren when you get a chance. But Rin & Shirou won't really do anything until Arc 4-ish. That's when the changes in the timeline start occuring.

    @ Malgos You noticed! Part of the idea is Notes inspired as well. The Taboo are closer to being A-Rays, as the species meant to inherit the world once the changes are completely done, while the Drifters are somewhat a mix between Psychics from Kara no Kyoukai and Ether Liners.
    Interesting, though that does raise a number of questions. For example, the Land of Steel as we know it is set something like a thousand years on the future? Are you keeping to that timeline, in which case we can kiss seeing older version of characters good bye, or have you sped things up to be more in keeping with Psyren?

    I though the only thing we knew about Ether Liners was that they could survive in Grain and were stronger than humans. Does that mean the Drifters have been more fundamentally altered, or is it just your explanation for slight differences in the mechanics of psychic power? Of course, the most interesting implications come from the comparison to the Tavoo and the A-Rays. That would change their role, and presumably the villain's plan, quite a bit from the original Psyren.

    Anyway, I'm still really enjoying the story. Also, good on you for using such a under-utilized character! Hope Gai doesn't die terribly.

  11. #51
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Similar, not the same. It's just a comparison me and the others noticed world-building and it matched disturbingly well, so I decided to use that setting and as a comparison to simplify things. In general, the time line is the same as Psyren for the most part (Shinji is assuming that that its decades due to the rate of decline and Ayako mentioned time seemingly flowing different), but the end goal is different for the villains. Ouroborous isn't a planet-destroying entity and doesn't intend to destroy the planet, but rather... huh, does it count as a major spoiler to reveal the rest?

    Anyway, think of it like this: Taboo are artificially created like A-Rays for the environment since they were meant to inhabit it, with the Illumina Cores being essential, while Drifters are modified from having their bare souls exposed to the environment of the setting and it carries over to their bodies in the past. Both use the energy in the atmosphere for their respective abilities/livelihoods, only the Taboo can't function outside of the future environment or exposure to the raw sunlight, while Drifters have their powers nerfed to an extent outside of it.

    Rise is probably the least affected by the environment since its the user's body.
    Last edited by Twi; June 27th, 2016 at 10:16 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—!


  12. #52
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Chapter 4

    Chapter 4

    The wind feels a bit colder as it whistles through the remains of Fuyuki.

    I carefully peer around the corner of a half-fallen building and make sure the path is clear before I turn to Gai and gesture for him follow. Ayako is in his arms, still unconscious and feverish. He can carry her without being slowed down because he’s broader than me.

    We were making our way back to the Shopping District, to the phone that served as the gate to the past. By my guess it’s been at least half-an-hour since we left the building that Ayako had brought us to. We were maybe a little over halfway to the district at the hurried, yet cautious pace we were going. It spoke wonders of just how fast Ayako had been when she brought me there in less than five minutes.

    I had thought magecraft was involved at first. But I brushed it off on account of Ayako not being a magus. I confirmed as much when Rider drained her to the extent it took days for her to recover, and had a good laugh when Emiya brought it up back then.

    Obviously, I’m not laughing now.

    Besides, I’m not a magus. The Old Worm had pointed that fact out many times. I was a defect in the bloodline of the once proud Makiri, a failure without worth despite the effort I put forth in school and how I presented myself.

    So if the requirement needed to gain a card was the presence of Magic Circuits, then I wouldn’t be here. Then there was the gauntlet with a crossbow she had earlier. Was it a mystic code of some kind that she could summon at will? Or was I just stretching for something—anything to make the facts line up with what I knew.

    What exactly is this the power Nemesis Q spoke of to change the future?

    The answer could wait. At until after we got back to our own time. But there was one thing I was absolutely certain of at this moment.

    I am never going to wear this uniform again if we get pulled into the future.

    It’s impractical for this sort of terrain and weather. And the only reason I kept the sandals on is because the alternative was dealing with bits and pieces of rubble wedging themselves into my feet. I can’t run away if that happens.

    As we come to a stop at another outcropping several minutes later, Gai speaks. “I don’t think we have long if this fever gets worse.”

    I feel her head. He’s right. She’s warmer than before. “I think we’re ten minutes—”

    The words die when I hear a sound coming from the distance and peek around the corner. I see another one of those hounds that nearly dragged me off. But it’s not alone.

    No, there’s a person there with it. Or at least what used to be a person before it got turned into Frankenstein’s Monster, lugging around some kind of giant vat or container.

    The muscular torso gives me the impression that it was once a tall man, but certain body parts seem misshapen. The arms are elongated to a similar length of Nemesis Q’s arms, yet the legs are muscular and swollen. On its head is a mask of steel that left its eyes and nose hidden, and its ears are shaped like that of a bat’s.

    I turn to Gai and press a finger to my lips before pointing over to the edge so he can see as well. His eyes squint before he pulls back. His voice comes out hushed.

    What is that?

    “I’ve run into the dog-thing before. It nearly dragged me off until Ayako killed it. But that other one is new.”

    I think back to that time, before Ayako carried me off. She mentioned that the ‘Catcher’ would follow the sounds the Hound made before spiriting me away. I guess that must be it.

    It looks fast. I couldn’t see us getting to the phone fast enough to save Ayako if we had to go around it. But going straight ran the risk of us being caught….

    At least without bait. “Gotou, how fast are you?”

    His eyes narrow at the question. “I make decent time on the track course. Why?”

    I nod to Ayako. “Neither of us can run fast enough to avoid getting caught if we have to carry her. But we don’t have time to waste if we need to circle around. Not before that fever puts her down for good. You’re in better shape than me and are wearing actual shoes instead of these sandals.”

    “So you want me to throw myself at them?”

    That’s the gist of it actually. But he doesn’t need to know that. Instead, I shake my head and point to the right.

    “No, I need for you to go that way while the wind is blowing towards the left. You’re going to circle around until the Hound catches your scent and then leave your shirt behind. That’ll buy you time to circle around again and get to the phone while I’ll take Ayako straight ahead.”

    “If you’ve got this all planned out, why don’t you do that while I carry her?”

    “You’re faster than me and, again, not wearing sandals.” I wiggle my feet for a moment and then tilt my head to Ayako once more. “It’s not about me or you. She’ll die if we don’t do it this way. Do you want to let that happen after she helped us out?”

    He looks hard at me at that. Then Ayako. A sigh follows as he stands up and starts unbuttoning his shirt. “Fine. I’ll do it.”

    Works like a charm. “Run fast.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Just don’t screw this up, Matou.” That said, he runs off to the right and disappears around the remains of a building that way.

    Honestly, I don’t expect him to get away from those two entirely. But I do expect him to distract them long enough for us to get to the phone. That’s what counts.

    That container that the Catcher has looks big enough to house a single person. And, while the ears give me the impression that its hearing is sharp, I can use the wind and softer surface to mask my movements. I’ll live through this and get back to the past with Ayako.

    … It’s about three minutes before I see movement on the other end. The Hound lets loose a sharp bark and the Catcher standing next to it rouses. They move off to the right and out of my view.

    I reposition Ayako onto my back with some effort. Her fever hasn’t gone down in the slightest and she’s started mumbling something under her breath. Like I told Gai, I really do have to hurry and get her to safety before she dies.

    No sooner than we pass by the spot where the Catcher and Hound had been did the winds shift, blowing towards the direction that the monster pair ran. I cling to a faint hope that our scents remain out of the Hound’s range as I push ahead faster. But that hope is snuffed out when I hear a barking noise.

    Fear crawls up my spine. It’s coming. The Hound is coming. If it gets close enough to scream, then we die.

    I seriously consider leaving Ayako behind for a moment, but that isn’t an option. She’s the clear condition and the reason I came here in the first place. I already threw Gai to the Catcher to buy us time, but doing that to her isn’t an option. I have no choice but to run.

    But I’m not fast enough to get away before the Hound catches up. The moment it caught my scent, running stopped being an option. And, even if we hide somewhere, the Hound will just track us down by scent and sound. That only leaves one final option:

    I have to kill it somehow.

    I don’t know how Ayako killed the last one, but I knew that they could be killed. I can probably manage by bashing its skull in or something. But a frontal assault will just get me caught by the scream and leave me helpless again. I need to arrange an ambush then.

    My legs burn while running until I come across the ideal battlefield—one of the buildings that looked as if the foundation shifted. This caused it to lean, tearing down one half of the building and exposing the gutted remains to the elements. I can see a spot where the second floor can be used as an ambush point, and the large rubble beneath it as a weapon.

    I enter the first floor through the opening and set Ayako down against the mountain of rubble, beneath where the second floor collapsed. Then I remove the top of my uniform and set it down ahead of her feet. I don’t expect it to distract the Hound for long, but it should make it sit still for a second or two.

    That has to be enough.

    I grab the largest chunk of stone I can before I climb up the stairs. It’s… a lot higher up than it looks from the first floor, but I get into position as the Hound comes in. The moment it sniffs at the discarded clothing, I hurl the head-sized block down from the second floor.

    It smashes down on the Hound’s head hard enough to shatter and makes it yelp. But it’s not enough to do more than crack the black orb on its head. And it knows I’m here now.

    I freeze as its legs tense. My blood turns to ice at the knowledge that if I don’t do something, it’ll come after me now. I don’t want to be caught by that thing and dragged off. I don’t want to die for getting myself wrapped up in this, trying to be a hero like….

    Like Emiya.


    Something clicks inside of me when I think on what Emiya would do here? What would the idiot who went out of his way to help others do? The answer is stupid and obvious.

    I leap down, screaming. I throw myself at the problem without thinking further. I ignore my heart leaping into my throat as gravity grabs my body and drops me down.

    The Hound’s legs buckle under my weight and we collapse onto one another. The blood pounding in my ears acts like a war drum. It takes away my sanity.

    I find myself screaming as the desire to survive takes hold, scooping up the largest chunk of what was left of the stone I threw. It was maybe the size of a baseball and jagged, the tip pointed enough to serve as a makeshift knife. I stab at the Hound wherever I could with it around the head, neck, and mouth.

    I have to kill it. I can’t let it get a chance to recover or it’ll kill me. I have to kill it!


    I have to kill it! I Have To Kill It! I HAVE TO KILL IT!


    The Hound whines and redoubles its effort to throw me off at the pain. It succeeds. Then it opens its mouth to scream.

    I don’t think. I react. My closest arm moves, sinking my fist into its mouth until it’s lodged in its throat. It closes its jaws on reflex and bites into my arm.

    AHH!!” It hurts, but it doesn’t break the bone. It can’t scream like this and it can’t get away. Something inside of me can’t help but giggle as I start hammering away with the stone in my other hand.

    It tries to escape, but it can’t. So it tries to take off my arm instead. Pain surges through my body as it jerks its fangs to rip my arm apart, tearing into the flesh until blood began to cascade from between its fangs.

    It hurts. It hurts! It hurts!
    But I can’t lose this chance or else it’s all over!

    I drown out the pain with a scream as I keep hammering away, every hit causing the jagged edges to cut into my good hand. It tears at my flesh and leaves my blood to run over the pitch-black stone as the crack widens. Then something inside of the orb begins to pour out like steam.

    The Hound’s fangs loosen. Its throat tightens with a whine that chokes on my arm. It’s dying. Good.

    Die! Die! DIEEEEE!” I keep hitting at its weak point until it collapses. Its body begins to soften as the stone buries itself into its head, whitening and loosening. I only stop when it turns to ashes and laugh as I pull out the bloodied limb coated in white powder. “That’s what you get for coming after me, stupid mutt.”

    The pain hurts so badly that I don’t think I can use either of my hands again. But I’m alive. The thought makes me laugh again. “Hehehahaaha….HAHAHA—

    “Sh-Shinji?”

    The voice draws my attention. I turn to see that Ayako is awake. The noise must’ve woken her.

    “Did you see, Ayako?” I gesture to the pile of ashes. “I killed it. Hahaha… you see, I killed it on my own.”

    “Shinji… you need to… calm down….” She leans forward off the rubble, despite her face being red from the fever. “Take a deep breath.”

    Ah, she’s staring at me with those eyes.
    My lips curl into a frown as I recognize those same pitying eyes that Sakura used to stare at me with. Those same pitying eyes that said she was laughing behind my back that I couldn’t use magic when she could. Those same damn pitying eyes that shows she thinks she’s better than me!

    I hate them. I hate them! I HATE THEM! IHATETHEM! IHATETHEMIHATETHEMHATETHEMHATETHEMHATEHATEHATE!

    Stop staring at me with those eyes!” I try to rise up, but my body sways on my feet a little. Blood stains the ground as I stumble towards her to wipe those eyes off her face. “You should be grateful I saved you! You couldn’t even do anything and yet, I—

    My foot slips over my discarded top. I fall forward. She reaches out and grabs me before I can hit the ground.

    Her body is uncomfortably warm. It stinks of sweat and ashes. But she holds me tight before I can struggle and doesn’t let go.

    Shinji, don’t let this place drive you insane.” Her tone is gentle. And her embrace soothes the burning inside of my chest. “I don’t want to see someone else like that. Calm down so we can go back to the past together.

    Her words bring back my sanity. I realize how close I was to doing something I would regret again to the person giving me a second chance. Shame comes with the pain in my limbs and an apology slips out. “I’m sorry.

    “It’s okay.” She pulls back and looks me in the eyes. “What happened to Gotou?”

    “He….” I struggle to find the words to say ‘I sent him off to die in order to buy us time.’ Yet, if I worded it wrong she would likely try to go out and find him. In her condition that wasn’t likely to work out and we’d die here stupidly. “The Catcher caught him and left the Hound behind. He’s gone.”

    A tear streaks down her eyes at hearing that. A shuddering, lifeless breath leaves her mouth. It takes her a moment before she lets me go and pulls herself together. “I’ll get you out alive then, at the very least.”

    The shame and embarrassment still lingers in my chest. I sit up on my knees. “Mitsuzuri, about a moment ago… I didn’t—”

    She cuts me off with a slow shake of her head. “It happens. I’ve seen people go insane in different ways. One girl threw herself off a building when I first started out, before Issei could get to her. Another guy tried murdering others until…”

    Ayako trails off. The message is clear enough for me to get the picture. Desperate people did stupid things. The pain in my arms lingers as proof of that. I don’t know what I was thinking…oh wait, I wasn’t.

    Then again, Emiya probably would have done the same thing. He’s an idiot like that.

    “We need to wrap those injuries before the shock wears off entirely.” She tears apart her torn clothes further to wrap strips around my bloody hand and arm. “Once we get back to the past, Issei will be able to heal your wounds.”

    “He didn’t come with you?”

    “No, he’s a Veteran Drifter.” She finishes and wipes the sweat from her brow with her forearm. “He went through his card’s value around the time I got started and helped me cope through it. Right now he’s taking care of my body in a guest room at the Ryuudou Temple, while I’m here. The wounds we sustain transfer over to our bodies once we snap back, so he stays nearby to heal them. I’ll tell him about you the moment I wake up.”

    She rises to her feet and sways before steadying herself. “Did Nemesis Q appear?”

    I nod and rise to my feet, letting her lean on my shoulder for support. “The clear condition is to get you to the phone in the Mount Miyama Shopping District. We’re not too far.”

    “Then if we hurry, we might be able to save Gotou. If the clear condition is met, all surviving Drifters are pulled to the past as long as they don’t end up inside of the Tower.”

    That’s convenient. “Then let’s go.”

    We push ourselves to move, stumbling out of the building with our weary bodies. Now that the adrenaline isn’t coursing through my body, I feel like I’ve ran a marathon of some kind and my legs and arms ache. It takes effort to just walk while supporting Ayako.

    I glance towards her. The fever hasn’t gone down in the slightest, but she’s trying to put on a brave face. Yet her eyes are half-lidded and straining to remaining open as she looks into the distance. She’s pushing herself too far just to see me to safety…

    No, it’s not just me. She’s hoping that if we get there quick enough that Gai can be saved too. It’s a frail, fleeting hope, but enough to get us both to safety nonetheless.

    The phone comes into view and I let out a sigh of relief at the thought of safety being only short walk away. But then Ayako freezes mid-step. “What’s wrong?”

    She turns her head to the side. Her eyes furrow and close in. “I hear footsteps and hard breathing.”

    “What?” I turn behind me and try to listen in. But I don’t hear anything until nearly ten seconds later, when a bloody Gai stumbles out from an alley. Just how sharp is her hearing?

    “Gotou!” She releases me and tries to go to his side. However, her strength hasn’t returned just because she sees him. She nearly falls forward until I catch her, sending pain lancing up my limbs.

    Gai sees us and yells, “RUN!”

    That’s when the Catcher leaps out from the corner in a crouch. The vat it carries is on its back, strapped on like a backpack. In a motion too quick for me to see, it throws itself forward and pounces on Gai.

    AGH!!” He goes down with it on top of him like a feral beast, placing a hand on his head like it’s going to crush it. His strained voice reaches our ears as he yells again. “Hurry up and go!

    I don’t need to be told twice. Ignoring the pain in my arms, I pull Ayako forward with fear giving me the strength to run away. “Let’s go!”

    She resists. “We can’t leave him!”

    “The hell we can’t!” Why do women make this more complicated than it needs to be? Since I don’t have time to argue, I crouch down and lift her so that she’s slung over my shoulders like a bag of potatoes. The act causes blood to slip beneath the makeshift bandages and the muscles in my hands feel like they’re tearing apart.

    Ayako doesn’t argue. Instead, she opts to say, “Brace yourself then!”

    That sent up some red flags, so I turn my head expecting the Catcher to be lunging for us this time. Instead, I see Ayako raising her arm and that crossbow-gauntlet appearing on her wrist with a flash of light. There’s a bolt of pure white energy thrumming in it.

    The moment she lets it loose, the backlash knocks me off my feet as an explosion sounds out. I end up falling on my stomach and then have the air knocked out of me as Ayako ends up mounted on my back. “Ow!”

    In contrast, Gai is half-buried under ash. Confusion paints his face as he notes the absence of the Catcher. “What… happened?”

    Uhh….” Ayako’s body sways on top of me. Then she falls to the ground next to me.

    “Hey!” I sit up and take a look at her. Sweat covers her face and blood runs from her nose as she desperately gasps for air. It’s clear she made her condition worse.

    Yet, despite all of that, she gathers enough energy to just glare at me with barely-opened eyes. “You said… he was caught…”

    I look away. “…I made a judgment call. The clear condition was to bring you to the goal. If he hadn’t been caught, then he would have been brought back to the present as well.”

    I had no proof of that until she informed me earlier. But it’s the best excuse I can think of to appease them. A little white lie to avoid making it sound worse than it was.

    The conversation died there as Gai came over and helped us to our feet. He’s rough with me and looks like he wants to say something, so I take it that he didn’t like being bait. Shame he couldn’t play the part properly, given I had to kill the Hound, but at the very least he seems to understand that now’s not the time.

    Before anything else can jump us, we get to the phone. The moment Gai picks up the receiver, the world vanishes. We abruptly start falling through space again as Nemesis Q lingers above us and claps its hands like it’s giving us an applause.

    A look of pure hatred crosses Ayako face at the sight of it. It makes the glare she gave me earlier seem tame in comparison. Then again, Nemesis Q ran her through this who knows how many times now.

    Then everything goes dark as the bird that’s mimicking a person grows distant….
    Last edited by Twi; September 10th, 2016 at 05:10 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—!


  13. #53
    I've got to applaud your characterization of Shinji. Even when he's trying to do right he's still the snake we know from Fate/Stay Night. All around believable character.
    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.

  14. #54
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Well yeah. The contrast between him and the other protagonist is a good thing for keeping one creative. And while he did throw Gai to the wolves, because Shinji puts his life above others, he did give him a legitimate strategy. He wasn't doing it to simply be a dick.
    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. #55
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    Chapter 5

    Chapter 5

    Six Months Ago

    I stare up at the fluorescent 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 are perfectly shaped, like something out of a magazine. She even coated 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 was 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 off by her own family because I wasn’t good enough pitied me. I was so pathetic that someone who lost everything from her old life and was 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 occurred, telling me 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 wouldn’t 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 the one 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 sensation of worms crawling through my body and bloating my flesh from the grail came to mind. Was that 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 treats 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 become after losing my chance at being truly special, only to find that it wasn’t worth it in the end?

    Knock. Knock. Knock.


    The knocking at the door turned my attention away from the ceiling tiles to the door. Through the slit that serves as a window, I can make out a familiar bed of brown hair and matching eyes. It was Ayako.

    Once she notices me staring, she opens the door and enters of her own accord. She’s wearing a pink wind-breaker and a pair of jeans, rather than her uniform.

    I sit up and turn so that my feet find the floor. “What are you doing here?”

    “Sakura mentioned you were in the Hospital, so I thought I would drop in and check on my Vice-Captain.”

    “Didn’t you say you were going to expel me from the club?” I distinctly remember that argument before I sent Rider after her. In hindsight, it… may have been going a bit overboard.

    A slight pout forms on her face. “Well, you were starting to get out of hand. I had members on the verge of quitting because you were in a bad mood and decided to take it out on them. Unlike last year, we’ve got a shot at the Autumn Tournament and I want us to come home as the champions.”

    After the summer of the first year we didn’t have Emiya anymore in the club, after I made a comment on his burn mark. Did she blame me for that too? “If you really want to win then why are you talking to me? You know where Emiya lives.”

    She just stares at me for a moment, her lips pursed. Then she steps forward and gets in my face, looking me in the eyes. “Having Emiya back would make it easier, but I want you back in the club more than anything.”

    “…Come again?”

    “In truth, I’ve been doing some thinking about reorganizing the club since we’ve been doing pretty badly lately. I want your help to whip them into shape by the time I have to step down from the role of Captain and help your sister take the reins. I get the feeling that she’d be a good Captain, but right now she’s the type that stands back and quietly nods rather that assert herself, so it’ll take some time.”

    She doesn’t sound like she’s joking. But it doesn’t make sense. “Why me?”

    “Because we’re a lot alike, so I feel like I can understand you.” Her eyes look towards the ceiling. “You and I don’t like to lose, but Emiya was always better both of us. I admired and was jealous of him for that, yet he quit so easily that it was hard to believe it really even matter to him. How can someone like that drive others into giving it their all?”

    “And you think I can?”

    “Yeah, I do. As long as you keep your behavior in check, I think that you’re the only person I can trust to be my Vice-Captain. What do you say?”

    I know the Archery Club means a lot to her, so hearing how earnest her words are only serves to make me feel uncomfortable. Of all the people she could place her trust in, I am the last one person she should. Not after everything I’d done to her.

    Guilt rears its ugly head for the first time in a long time. “You shouldn’t forgive or trust me so easily. After all, I was the one behind what happened to the students and school. And with you in Shinto—”

    Ayako’s response is immediate. She slugs me on the shoulder. The hit isn’t hard enough to do any real damage, but it does draw my attention to her face. She looks upset.

    “Jokes like that are in bad taste, Shinji.” She crosses her arms. “You’re a jerk occasionally, but even you aren’t that much of an ass. I mean, could you imagine Emiya or your sister standing by you all the time if that was the case? They must see something good in you, right?”

    … No, I am that horrible. Both of Emiya and Sakura know that. Even I’m not sure why they act so cordial to me, but they’ll never forget what I’ve done. Ayako’s so painfully ignorant that it hurts… but I prefer the way she thinks of me, a jerk with a softer side rather than a monster that reveled in whatever power he got.

    I want her to be right. I want a second chance to start over, to live a normal life without the desire to be out of the ordinary pushing me to become a monster. A second chance to be the sort of person she thinks I can be, and someone who can face Emiya and Sakura without seeing everything I’ve done written over their faces, even if unsaid by them.

    If this was the first step to doing that, then I’d do it. “Fine, I’ll straighten up and help if you really need it.”

    Ayako smiles as the golden sunlight pours into the room, becoming a radiant scene that burns itself into my memories. “Looking forward to working with you then, Vice-Captain.”

    ******

    My eyes snap open to find fluorescent lights hanging on the ceiling above. For a moment, I believe I’m back in the hospital room and the last few months have been a dream. That the future I’d seen was nothing more than a nightmare.

    “So you’ve awoken then?”

    Then I hear a familiar voice and turn my head towards the source. The Student President is sitting down in a chair a few feet ahead of the infirmary bed. His eyes are fixed on a book of some kind.

    I sit up and become aware that I’m wearing my club uniform. But there are no signs of rips and tears. I lift my arms to see they’re still in one piece.

    He glances up at me. “Mitsuzuri informed me about your abrupt trip to the future and the injuries you sustained. You’re fortunate that I arrived before someone noticed the wounds.”

    I hold my head as the visions of that terrible future come flooding back. “So it was real after all?”

    “Of course it was.” He closes the book and adjusts his glasses. “You pried where you shouldn’t and were brought into the fold as a result. Whatever your reasons for doing so, you involved yourself in this and the consequences of that are you have seen the future and are now responsible for changing it.”

    I want to deny his words about prying, but a brief image flashes in my head at the thought. It’s the memory of that hospital visit from Ayako. The smile she wore when I accepted her terms. It's stupid that such a simple request and smile moved me enough to make an effort to help her. But I was desperate for a new path to take and she offered me the way.

    If Sakura was the hand that supported me, and Shirou was the hand that saved me, then Ayako was the hand meant to guide me towards a second chance—my redemption. So did that mean that this too was a part of what it meant for me to have a second chance? Was it worth it if I got hurt or killed in the process?

    … No, it’s not my job to try to sort out that mess that could be set decades into the future for all I knew. I only got involved for one reason and one reason alone, and that wasn’t it. “Where is she? She was with you, wasn’t she?”

    “I’ve already treated Mitsuzuri’s injuries and left her behind with Gotou. He had answered his phone while on the way to school and passed out on a sidewalk, so someone called an ambulance and they rushed him to the Hospital. After I had treated him, she remained behind to inform him of the circumstances of his current situation when he wakes.”

    He frowns slightly as he looks down at me from over the rim of his glasses. “For the record, I didn’t appreciate your efforts to turn Emiya against me with baseless accusations. Please refrain from doing so again. I have enough on my hands as it is.”

    Ah, he must be talking about what I told Emiya this morning. “You shouldn’t have made yourself so suspicious, Mr. President. Besides, you were with her.”

    “Regardless, you had no evidence to support that theory. It was fortunate that I managed to cover it up on my way here by saying that she came over to the temple to spar with me this morning and suffered a minor injury that left her unable to attend.”

    It would pass somewhat as an excuse. Ayako was the type of person who was into those sorts of things. Being a member of the family that ran the temple, it was natural that he would know some kind of martial arts to go with his attitude as well. In addition, she was also the festival committee chief for the upcoming cultural festival, meaning it wouldn’t be strange for the two to discuss matters in private.

    He rises from his chair. “I’m sending word to your sister to escort you home now and informing her that within a few hours you will experience a fever and severe nosebleed that will leave you bedridden for the rest of the day. Don’t mention anything you’ve learned or gone through to her or you’ll risk her getting others involved in this as well. You’ve seen for yourself how unforgiving that world is.”

    I don’t need him telling me that. Ayako mentioned that even knowing about what I do can draw Nemesis Q’s attention. Not to mention the bird-thing tried to kill me once before when I tried showing her the card. She’s been through enough as is and I’m not in a hurry to die.

    Though I didn’t like what he said before all of that. “What do you mean I’ll be bedridden for the rest of the day?”

    The Student President elaborates. “Upon returning to the past, all those that survive the first round undergo a transitional phase as a result of being exposed to that environment as far as we can tell. The body feels as though its melting on the inside as the change happens. Then, when the symptoms pass in the morning, you wake to find that you can perceive the world differently—to know that you have been changed in some aspect from the people around you.”

    I think on it as he makes his way to the exit. It must be the abilities that Ayako used in the future. For a moment, my heart quavers at the thought of possessing that sort of power. Then I remember how the last time I yearned for it had earned me a visit to Hell every time I dreamed.
    The only reason I didn’t this time is probably because of the displacement of my soul.

    As he stops at the door, the Student President gives me a final glance. “When you wake up in the morning, come to the base of the mountain. Mitsuzuri and I will meet you there. Once you and Gotou have arrived, I’ll take you both to meet the other veterans in Fuyuki and they’ll inform you of everything and begin your training. Make sure your schedule for the day is clear.”

    Nothing left to say, he leaves the room and gently shuts the door behind him.

    I lie back down and just think on everything I just got myself into. It’s ludicrous to think that any sort of power that I can wield would be enough to change a future that has already come to pass. The abnormal sky and condition of the land and those Taboo creatures—how did something like that come to pass by the moonlit world of magi and monsters? Weren’t there safeguards in place to avoid things like that from happening?

    Or were they the ones responsible for that future?

    The door slides open and the thoughts fade as Sakura steps into the room while dressed in her school uniform. In her hands are my clothes and belongings. She looks slightly relieved as she comes over to my bedside.

    “Nii-san, how are you feeling?”

    “As best I can be for now.” I sit up and take the clothes. “You talked to the Student President, didn’t you?”

    She nods her head. “He said that you would need to rest back at home for the rest of the day and we have permission to leave early. Though, Senpai suggested we should head back to the hospital so they can give you a thorough examination.”

    I shake my head. No more hospitals. If I have to stare up at one more tiled ceiling I’ll start pulling out my own hair. “After the symptoms pass, I’ll be fine.”

    “But—”

    “No, Sakura.” My tone is firmer this time to get the point across. “Emiya doesn’t have a say in this. I said I’ll be fine, so drop it. Understand?”

    “…Yes, Nii-san.” Her eyes lower slightly, leaving her hair shadowing them from view. Without another word, she turns around so that I can change my clothes.

    The feeling of kicking a puppy returns with a vengeance. I wish I could just explain that I can’t get them involved for both my sake and hers. That I would like nothing more than to push this onto Emiya since this is his sort of thing. But I can’t as things stand.

    I sigh deeply and then look up to the clock again. “Sakura, you haven’t eaten Lunch, have you?”

    “Not yet,” she replies softly.

    “Then let’s go find a place in Miyama to eat.” I’ve got my wallet on me so it shouldn’t be a problem to treat her. “It’ll be my way of apologizing for getting blood on your uniform since I’m going to be busy tomorrow, so I won’t accept you trying to take a pass on it.”

    She looks slight confused given my abrupt change in demeanor, but knows better than to refuse and nods.

    We leave the school grounds minutes later and make our way to the district. The cool autumn breeze briefly blows past us along the way. The lack of biting chill and aftertaste of metal were something I couldn’t help but notice. The warmth of the afternoon sun caressing my skin felt almost foreign. And the people ignorantly walking along the side of the road and going about their day without any worries of what the future holds for them….

    I do my best to ignore them all as we find a place to dine in peace.
    Last edited by Twi; September 10th, 2016 at 05:10 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—!


  16. #56
    Love Shinji's little "pet the dog" moment.
    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.

  17. #57
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    He's trying. Anyway, all that's left for Arc 1 is Sakura's Interlude. Then we're onto Arc 2.
    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. #58
    Not always a dragon Draconic's Avatar
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    Okay, kinda short for a two-week wait, but I'm excited to see the Sakura interlude. That'll be interesting. I wonder how much she actually knows? Because she always knows.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?

    I joined two years too late...
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    That makes me think of Rin as a loan shark.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hymn of Ragnarok View Post
    Admittedly, she'd probably be the hottest loan shark you'll ever meet. She'd probably make you smile as she sucked you dry.


    Oh dear, that doesn't sound like yuri at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Techlet View Post
    Not with that attitude.

  19. #59
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Sakura's Interlude is even shorter, so I might post it earlier or with the first chapter of the second arc. I'm just happy I managed to finish it this far since I'm not framing it within the context of the HGW and I'm using mostly supporting characters.
    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. #60
    Author of Mages Twi's Avatar
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    Quick question, mild spoilers for Chapter 6: I'm trying to work on the Nasuverse mechanics where someone with an Extra Channel (Esp/Psychic Power) has a stronger effect on someone who didn't have one before for my fic. Here's Shinji's perspective of the change he feels post-nosebleed.

    Spoiler:

    I go to the bathroom and take a shower, letting the hot water wash away the crusted sweat and rehydrate my skin. Inside of the cascading water, I take a few minutes to center myself. That’s when I notice that something is different about me.

    It’s hard to explain in proper words. It’s like a part of me feels normal and ordinary, like anyone else who walks the city. I am human, a social creature that dwells in a civilization of many. I can tell that much.

    But there’s a small part of me that says otherwise. Like a whisper in the back of my head telling me that I am not the same as everyone else. I don’t belong here.

    …The thought makes my brain trembles. A sickening feeling bubbles in my stomach at the nagging sensation. It feels wrong.

    So I push it away with the same vigor that I do the nightmares and painful memories when they surface. I crush it down. Wall it off. Forget it….

    Forget it.


    …I finish cleaning myself up and dress in my casual clothes since the autumn morning air is cold. The walk to the entrance of the mountain is boring for the most part. It feels like I’m alone in a world of my own, to the point that the solace is hauntingly similar to the feeling in the back of my head.

    Forget it.


    Relief only came when I neared the base of the mountain and found Ayako sitting on the bottom stairs. She’s wearing a pink windbreaker over and a pair of jeans with zippers around the knees for pockets. Her eyes look distant as she brings what looks to be a snack-bar of some kind to her mouth with one hand, while holding a canned drink in her other hand.

    They only come back to the present when she notices me and swallows. “Morning, Matou-kun. Did you sleep well?”

    “I wouldn’t know. A few hours after we got back to the present that fever and nosebleed hit me. The next thing I knew I was waking up in my bed an hour ago. Sakura apparently had to drag me to my room and spend the entire night watching over me.”

    Her brows furrowed and her lips formed into a pout. “That’s a pretty bad reaction. The only one of us I can think of that had it that bad was Issei. I suppose I’ll owe your sister an apology for adding to her troubles, and you over what happened that day. Minori told me about how he acted in the club.”

    An apology won’t save him from what I do to get revenge. I might have to be careful now that I know that Ayako is capable of exploding things, but I need the catharsis. I take a seat on the stairs opposite of hers and we wait in silence for Gatou to arrive.

    …Minutes pass. The silence permeating the mountain becomes unbearable as time ticks slowly. I fish around my thoughts for something to break it. “Does it get worse?”

    Ayako looks up from her now-empty can that the prompt. “Hm?”

    “The feeling that you don’t belong here. The constantly whispering voice in the back of your head?”

    Her expression sours. “Not really. I think it’s because we have to live with the knowledge that we are different. That we’ve learned things that no one else knows. That we know that eventually that future of cold and sand is what we have to look forward to.”

    For a moment her expression darkens further. Then she looks up with resolve. “But I also think that it gives us the power and foreknowledge to try and change it. We’re the only ones who can do something about it.”

    “So basically we’re the one-eyed people in the country of the blind?”

    A look of confusion crosses her face, signaling I need to clarify for her.

    “It’s a passage in English that I read once. It’s a saying on how even someone with limited knowledge and abilities are more advantaged over people who don’t. If the world is truly going to be like that in the future and we gained the power to do something and knowledge of it, then we’re the ones that hold the advantage.”

    “That sounds like something someone privileged would say.”

    Ignoring the irony of Ayako saying that someone born into a family of magi, I make a note that there’s a darker interpretation to it that most people who read that passage don’t consider. But it’s something that a magus would.

    ‘In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But that means he is the only one who knows just how ugly and meaningless the country is and his kingship is meaningless. Thus he lives in search of a way to ascend outside the borders of the world and become God instead.’

    I may not be a magus, but I know more of the moonlit world than Ayako. I know the things that go bump in the night. I know the things that others who consider themselves kings (magi) do to their countrymen (humans), and have done them myself because of that mindset.

    And, having seen horrors of mankind that she can’t even fathom because of those actions, I feel like the one-eyed king compared to even her—my kingship brings me no pleasure, power, or privilege.

    I merely overlook a world overrun by a sea of cursed mud, chained at the foot of the overseer’s throne.


    Blissfully ignorant of that, Ayako speaks. “Anyway, to make that feeling go away I do things I did before I got involved in all of this. Like visiting the game center in the Verde, attending the Archery Club, things like that.”

    Last edited by Twi; August 2nd, 2016 at 08:37 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—!


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