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Thread: Fate/EMIYA

  1. #41
    Saint of Summer Augustine's Avatar
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    I've never heard that one before. Pretty funny actually.

  2. #42
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    In Prism Ilya it's actually true. It's like half the cast.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

    Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

  3. #43
    The Condemned Liquid Alter's Avatar
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    It can be pretty funny when used right, yeah. Huh, never knew about the bar being used in Prismaverse. And now for something totally unrelated: in your next Mailbag chapter, how do you think Gil would react to this:
    How does it feel knowing that there are many realities where Shirou shoves Caladbolg II up your ass to kill you?
    In all seriousness, there are thousands of verses where that happened. :P
    Last edited by Liquid Alter; July 25th, 2012 at 08:54 AM.
    [rubytest=永遠の旅人]Infinite Wanderer[/rubytest]

  4. #44
    Saint of Summer Augustine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid Alter View Post
    It can be pretty funny when used right, yeah. Huh, never knew about the bar being used in Prismaverse. And now for something totally unrelated: in your next Mailbag chapter, how do you think Gil would react to this: In all seriousness, there are thousands of verses where that happened. :P
    I'll add it to the list of questions.

  5. #45
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    Thanks.
    [rubytest=永遠の旅人]Infinite Wanderer[/rubytest]

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid Alter View Post
    It can be pretty funny when used right, yeah. Huh, never knew about the bar being used in Prismaverse. And now for something totally unrelated: in your next Mailbag chapter, how do you think Gil would react to this: In all seriousness, there are thousands of verses where that happened. :P
    the BAR itself doenst get mentioned their, but the female characters kind of take over their crushes on shirou in the prismaverse even though its an AU and he never did all the stuff that caused them to fall for him in the normal verse, so it just seems kinda weird and HF-ish xD
    except for issei, who is the same as always.

  7. #47
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Break View Post
    the BAR itself doenst get mentioned their, but the female characters kind of take over their crushes on shirou in the prismaverse even though its an AU and he never did all the stuff that caused them to fall for him in the normal verse, so it just seems kinda weird and HF-ish xD
    except for issei, who is the same as always.
    The bar does get mentioned. There's a scene where you see them all watching him trying to jump it. Except it almost turns into a gag because every character that shows up ends up revealing they were there too.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

    Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mAc Chaos View Post
    The bar does get mentioned. There's a scene where you see them all watching him trying to jump it. Except it almost turns into a gag because every character that shows up ends up revealing they were there too.
    ah your right, i fogot that.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mAc Chaos View Post
    The bar does get mentioned. There's a scene where you see them all watching him trying to jump it. Except it almost turns into a gag because every character that shows up ends up revealing they were there too.
    That's actually hilarious. What a nice gag.

  10. #50
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    A new chapter! Are you rejoicing? I'm rejoicing.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    This was hell. When I surfaced into the medication blurred haze that was my consciousness, that was my first thought. Though the fluorescent lights in the concrete ceiling above me were bright, I continued to drift in and out of a fitfull sleep. The moans and shouts around me seemed to be a part of the shifting dream, rather than the dying breaths and curses of a damned population. As though my body wasn't my own, I raised my head to look around. My clothing was gone, and in its place was a frayed hospital gown. It looked like it hadn't been washed after the last five patients had worn it, and was hardened by blood and sweat. It, the bed, and the rest of the room were also covered in a thin film of grime, like a fast food restaurant at the end of a long day and night. Even with a clouded mind, I knew this wasn't a place I wanted to be for long, and I struggled to sit up, only to feel resistance hold back my arms and legs. I was strapped down, and a pair of rusted handcuffs kept my right arm firmly secured to the equally rusted cot.

    I blinked at the light, which was suddenly burning into my eyes, and turned my head to block some of it out. I could already tell my lucidity was returning, and sensitivity was beginning to return to my body. The first sensation that reached my neurons was pain. Horrible, jagged pain tore through my body from dozens of locations. Even though I could see it pushing up the sheets, it felt like my right leg had been torn off entirely, and I couldn't move it no matter how much I tried. Worse, the pain made it impossible to concentrate, and I wasn't able to focus my magic to reinforce my shattered body.

    "Ah, you're finally awake," said a gruff voice to the right of the bed. It was in English, and my mind struggled to understand. I rolled my head over on the pillow to look at the speaker, and my gaze was met by a pair of dark, hooded eyes.

    The man sat in one of the stainless steel chairs that were strewn about the room. With one arm perched on his crossed legs, he calmly smoked a fat cigar that filled the air with its acrid odor. To be fair though, one bad smell was simply replaced with another.

    "Who are you?" I asked as my lucidity continued to return. I could see the man wore some sort of military uniform; a dark green with patches on his right breast pocket and lapels. I didn't recognize any of the insignia, but I did see the country's flag on his right arm.

    He pulled the cigar out of his mouth and blew the blue smoke towards the ceiling. "Doesn't really matter," he said. "I should be asking you the same thing."

    I leaned back and closed my eyes. "I'm the good guy," I said. "I caught those criminals for you."

    "Yeah," he said, "And we appreciate it. But seriously, who are you? You've been in our country for almost a month, capturing cartel members left and right, while trying to avoid deaths? You run around in a red coat like you're some sort of superhero."

    I smiled at that, but he continued without stopping. "Then you catch a cartel leader, but get so shot up in the attempt that you're easily arrested. That's dedication."

    "I don't like seeing people get hurt," I said. "I only kill when I have to."

    "You try to avoid killing people that wouldn't do the same for you. What good is that?"

    "Everyone should be allowed to live in a better world. If the system wasn't so bad, maybe these criminals would have a better life."

    The man shook his head. "That's foolish."

    I laughed, but winced in pain as my body shook. "No it isn't. I'm not there yet. I have to kill sometimes. But that will all change one day. The thugs that the police arrested will hopefully reform, and then become productive members of society."

    "Listen, buddy," said the man with a hastened tone. "Off the record, I really appreciate what you've done. I hate those cartels as much as the next guy, but you don't understand. Those guys aren't even in prison anymore. One of their bosses is in the government. They're already loose and now you're trapped in here. What did your little stunt in town accomplish other than sending a few guys to the morgue and you to jail?"

    My face fell. Was it really all for nothing? I composed myself and asked, "So who do you work for? The cartel?"

    He smiled slightly and sat back in his chair. As he put the cigar back into his mouth, he said, "No. I'm a cop, if you can believe that. One of the few untouched by the corruption. The uniform's a fake. I had to get a military outfit to even get in here."

    That was a bit of a shock, I'll admit. "So, are you here to get me out?"

    "The Red Crusader?" he said with a smirk. "No freaking way. I'd be strung up if anyone found out I helped you."

    I looked around the room. There were no cameras or any guards that I could clearly see. Not counting the other delirious patients, we were alone. "So what are you here for?"

    "Just keeping an eye on an enemy of the state. I'll call a nurse, it looks like your painkillers have run their course."

    He stood and leaned over to shake my hand. As his burly hand squeezed mine, I felt something rough press against my palm. Then his grip broke and he turned his back on me, calling for a nurse. I opened my hand to let a folded piece of paper drop to the mattress. With difficulty, I maneuvered my cuffed hand to grab it and unfold the pulpy sheet, and revealed the message within.

    It was written in rough, almost illegible English writing. We'll be in touch, it said. My eyes flicked to the entrance as a pair of nurses came in with more medication. They were chatting quietly in their native tongue, and didn't notice me rip up the tiny note and push the scraps off the bed. With careless movements, they attached a new bag to my IV and left without a word to me. Then I sighed as the wave of numbness rushed over me again, and I quickly drifted to sleep.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    It went by in a flash. They were events that I've seen thousands of times, but were now just reduced to feelings. The ragged breath escaping my lungs, the sound of blades clashing, the pain in my legs as I pushed myself to run faster. The new pain hit me, piercing through my chest in a red flash. Then ame cold, and then the new warmth followed. Even though this dream was routine, it was like each feeling was new.

    There was a gap of what felt like seconds between this sensation and the next, a dull pain in my side that knocked the breath out of my lungs and shattered a rib. My hand burned, and then everything got really loud. A voice pierced the darkness, and I realized it was mine.

    "Saber! Don-"

    The scream was cut off in the middle. Whatever I was trying to prevent, I failed.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It was slower now. Feelings had become images. I saw Saber, silhouetted against the moonlight, standing over the slashed body of Archer, Tohsaka's red knight. Our meeting still passed quickly, and when Tohsaka's mouth moved, I could barely hear her. The haze returned, and events passed me by. I could swear that I was walking. Then I shivered. The dream had taken on an oppressive atmostphere.

    "Well then," said a deep voice. "What is your answer, Emiya Shirou?"

    Like an electric shock, everything became vivid. Images had become realities, and it was as though I was reliving the events myself. I was in the church on the hill, standing before that detestable priest. I remembered the curl of his lips when I told him my name, and the pleased look he had on his face when he realized exactly who I was.

    After a pause, he repeated himself, looking down on me with cold eyes. "Will you fight in this Holy Grail War?"

    I gritted my teeth as I glared back. He had such a smug look on his face, as if any answer I gave would please him. Even this late at night, the man wore his priest outfit and a long overcoat. A golden cross dangled from his neck, and every once in a while he would reach up and twist it around on his string. Behind me, Tohsaka shifted from foot to foot, clearly uneasy around him. What sort of relationship did they have? Fellow students rarely had such enmity?

    "I don't have a wish for the Holy Grail," I said. "Why should I fight and kill others for something I don't want?"

    The priest shook silently, as if he was suppressing a laugh. In his slow drawl, he said, "And do you think Grail Wars are quiet affairs, Emiya Shirou?"

    "What?" I replied. The priest was going off on a tangent. "I'd never heard of the Holy Grail War before this night, so why wouldn't they be kept quiet?"

    This time the priest actually smiled, a bit too widely for my taste. "Why do you think there is a supervisor then?"

    I braced myself for the answer, as if I already knew what was coming. The priest continued after a short pause.

    "It is because magi cannot be trusted when left to their own devices. Without a member of the Holy Church, the seven Masters would use this city's population to power their Servants, and mass chaos would erupt. It would be a travesty."

    Tohsaka pushed past me and yelled at Kotomine with clenched fists. "Don't act like that would be a good thing, you fake priest!"

    With a self-satisfied look on his face, Kotomine said, "Apologies Rin. I forgot this battle takes place on Tohsaka territory. Such an event would cause your great family to be looked on in a poor light."

    "Kotomine," I said, "Has something like that ever happened before?"

    Without hesitation, the imposing priest said, "Not exactly as I described it. But ten years ago, a fire ravaged this city. Do you remember it?"

    Yes, I remembered. Of course I remembered As the words crossed his teeth, my heart turned to ice and my body felt as though a cloak of fire had been wrapped around it. I was sweating, and could barely breathe, much less hear what was going on around me. That fire, the fire that killed my family and nearly me, was caused by the Holy Grail War? So many innocent people died for the wish of one selfish magus? How could anyone have let that happen?

    "Is that true, Kotomine?" I asked with labored breaths. I didn't want to hear the answer, but I needed to.

    "Of course it is, Emiya Shirou. I would never lie about something so serious. At the end of the 4th War, the Grail chose a winner. The winner's wish was selfish, and unknown to the magus himself. The town suffered as a result."

    Damn that priest. A fire that killed more than five hundred people was just a little bit of suffering? My mind was made. I would never allow this to happen. What sort of Hero would stand by and watch when the entire town was at risk? I wanted to protect these people. Faces flashed through my head. Fuji-nee, Sakura, Mitsuzuri, Issei, Saegusa, even Shinji. I wouldn't let anything happen to any of them.

    I straightened my back as I stared down the priest. "Kotomine, I accept."

    "So you have discovered your wish? Very good. I look forward to seeing the conclusion of this War."

    "Yeah, I won't let the Holy Grail fall into the wrong hands. I'd destroy it myself before I let that happen."

    Kotomine's smile flickered for a second, but returned as if there was no interruption. Before I could even let him speak, I turned to leave. Tohsaka was at the door already, and there was no reason to stay any longer. After two steps, a hand seized my shoulder from behind. I pulled forward, out of the vice, and spun to face man who had grabbed me. Kotomine seemed like he had something he wanted to say and his presence filled the high ceilinged church.

    "Rejoice, boy. Your wish has finally come true."

    I turned without speaking and walked out of the church. Anger was boiling up within me. I couldn't deny what the priest had said, but I couldn't accept it either. I wasn't a Hero yet, but this War would allow me to protect others. It sickened me how to save people from danger, I had to put them at risk.

    Tohsaka and I left the church and stepped into the cold night air. It was still February, and I was beginning to wish I'd brought a jacket. Tohsaka seemed fine in her uniform, so I stifled my complaints.

    "We should hurry back," she said as we met up with Saber.

    I nodded back to her without another word. It seemed that we were enemies now, and on the walk home she stayed a few feet away from us.

    "Is Archer…" I began, but my voice trailed off as her sharp eyes passed over me.

    Then she sighed and said, "No. He's at my house recovering. Saber got him pretty good. He won't recover for a few days."

    "What are you going to do until then?" I asked.

    "What? Do you want to hear all of my strategies? Don't think for a second that we're allied just because we walked to the church together!" she was mad, for more than one reason probably.

    "No, I-" I tried to salvage what little I could. I didn't want to be Tohsaka's enemy.

    "Oh, what a surprise. Two on the first night," said a young voice.

    We had just passed the bridge, and entered one of Fuyuki City's parks on a thin concrete path. Directly ahead of us, the path curved to the left to go around a hill. Atop the hill stood a sight that I would never forget. The moon had come out, illuminating the two figures before us.

    My eyes were immediately drawn to the giant. I couldn't even begin to guess how tall he was, maybe ten feet? More? His skin was the color of lead, and from here it might as well have been. It reflected the light as a metal would. He was shirtless, showing off a grotesque physique of deformed, yet amazingly sculpted muscles and black hair fell back from his head like a lion's mane. In his right hand was a sword, if you could call it that. It was barely a piece of rock, chipped and scratched away until it could be swung by one end. In the hands of that giant though, it didn't even matter.

    At his feet was the speaker, a young girl in a purple overcoat and matching hat. My eyes were immediately drawn to her white hair and red eyes. It set me on edge. Those weren't shades commonly seen in Japan, or anywhere for that matter. Then I recognized her. She was the girl that I saw in the shopping district two days before. As her face came to mind again, I remembered her words. It's about to start, Onii-chan.

    The little girl spoke again as she dropped into a polite curtsey. "Hello Rin. I'm Ilya. Ilyasviel Von Einzbern."

    Rin was sweating and crouched as if about to break into a sprint. Even if Archer wasn't with her, she was ready for a fight.

    "Berserker," she whispered shakily.

    If she was scared, I was terrified. My muscles were frozen even though he wasn't even looking at me. Next to me, Saber had her raincoat off and stood with her invisible sword, but I was still immobile. Was this what I had gotten myself into? Looking at the giant, I knew in an instant that I was just a fly about to be crushed. Was Saber really going to fight this thing?

    Ilya smiled, "Looks like I'll kill two tonight! Have fun, Berserker!"

    With a deafening roar, the grey giant sped forward faster than I thought was possible. Nothing that big should move that fast. He was down the hill in an instant, leaving great rends in the earth where he stepped. Saber met him at the edge of the path, swinging up her invisible blade to meet the downward strike of his sword. At the speed the giant was moving, the massive weapon was barely a blur, but Saber was able to not only track, but also intercept it.

    Their weapons met in an explosion of air. The shockwave shot out, buffeting Tohsaka and I, and bending every tree branch in the vicinity. One strike became two, two became six. Saber and Berserker were trading blows, but it was clear where the advantage was. Saber couldn't keep up with Berserker's ferocity, and little by little she was driven back. With gritted teeth, she focused on defending herself and keeping Berserker away from us.

    Tohsaka was the first to move. Muttering in German, she shot a barrage of low level magic at Berserker as she grabbed my hand. "Emiya-kun, let's go!" she shouted.

    "But what about Saber?" I said in shock. I didn't even notice that her magic had no effect. It wasn't blocked like it would be against Saber's magic resistance. Berserker had simply negated the attack.

    Tohsaka was already dragging me away, making for the trees to the left of the path. I could see her plan. In the tight confines we would hopefully be able to maneuver better than Berserker.

    "She can run interference!" Tohsaka replied.

    I ran with her and shouted back, "Saber, don't get hurt, just hold him back with hit and run attacks!"

    I couldn't hear a reply if there was one, but it seemed that Saber understood. Berserker pursued us as we ran, but every time he tried to close, that small girl intercepted him. With strength unbecoming of her diminutive stature, she distracted the beast long enough for us to gain more ground. Even though our plan was working however, it was a losing battle for Saber. My mana couldn't power her effectively, and she was working off her own reserves. Every blow that Berserker launched threatened to throw her into the air, and most were too fast for her to dodge. A couple of blows became near misses, and the force of the dispersed air slashed up and down Saber's body, drawing blood from mutliple places.

    Tohsaka and I reached the trees and plunged into the darkness under the branches. We ran as fast as our legs would carry us, trusting Saber to keep our back protected. As if to answer us, we could hear the sounds of battle approaching from behind. Berserker's roars grew louder, and the clash of stone on steel was a sound that shook my eardrums twice every second. As the two Servants entered the mess of tries, Saber gained a slight advantage. With Berserker's eyesight obstructed, she was able to close easier, and even managed to go on the offensive at a few points. She leapt under his right arm and slashed up with her invisible blade, only to find it repelled by the giant's skin. The blade slid off without inflicting so much as a scratch, and then Berserker's sword swung around in a deadly arc. It crushed two tree trunks without slowly, and Saber was forced to raise her blade to block. There was no time to dodge. With a howl from Berserker, the two blades struck each other at full force.

    Ahead of us, Tohsaka and I could see a short wall covered in white stucco. I looked at her, and in that instant our eyes met. We needed to get over past this wall. On the other side was the beginning of a residential neighborhood, and if Ilya knew what was best for everyone, she would call off her giant.

    Before Tohsaka could use her magic to demolish a part of the wall, I heard a clash behind me. Then a silvery bundle flew past us, smashing into the wall with a crashing sound and a blast of dust and stone fragments. When the dust cleared, Saber was already standing. Her face was tense, and though she was bleeding from numerous wounds, some worse than others, she still seemed fit to fight. Her hair had come loose at some point, and was whipping back with the periodic gusts of wind. Without missing a beat, she turned and slashed at the already crumbling wall with her blade, cracking it further and creating a path for the three of us.

    We ran through, Tohsaka and I first with Saber following. We traversed fifty yards with no sign of pursuit, and I stopped to look back. Berserker stood on the street next to the broken wall, looking up at the sky as Ilya walked through the breach.

    "This is boring. Let's go home Berserker," she said in a disappointed voice.

    I breathed a sigh of relief, and even Tohsaka seemed a bit more at ease. Saber however, continued to hold her invisible blade at the ready position.

    "Rin," said Ilya with an evil look, "I'll kill you when I see you again. Make sure your Servant is with you."

    Then she looked at me and smiled. "I'll see you soon, Onii-chan!"

    The cheerfulness in her tone clashed with the sight of the giant that picked her up. Berserker lifted Ilya with a gentle touch and placed the small girl on his shoulder before walking off with ground shaking steps.

    It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I could finally breathe freely. Without meaning to, I fell to my knees and placed my hands against the concrete as a rush of nausea hit me. I retched once, and then vomited; painting the sidewalk in a color I won't forget any time soon. I stood up and spat, then wiped my mouth and nodded apologetically at Rin.

    "Its fine," she said, "You aren't much of a magus, so I won't blame you for getting sick in a situation like this. We did barely escape with our lives."

    "Saber," I said, "Are you all right?"

    She nodded curtly and said, "Yes, Master. I received only slight injury during the battle. It could have been much worse."

    "Tohsaka, Saber, as far as Servants go, how strong was he?" I asked. If he was middle tier, this War could be over already.

    Rin shrugged, "I can't say really. Lancer was about on par with my Archer, but Saber managed to beat him in seconds. She did catch him by surprise though. Since Archer didn't fight here, I couldn't compare him with Berserker in terms of actual skill."

    Her eyebrows contracted as she said, "But I did get a chance to read his stats. They're monstrous. He has an 'A' in almost every category, and we don't even know what his Noble Phantasm is."

    "Noble Phantasm," I muttered, trying to recall what it meant before I remembered. "Oh, that's the physical representation of a hero's legend."

    Tohsaka smiled, "At least you remembered something from my admittedly short lesson. Yes, a Noble Phantasm is a hero's most famous weapon or ability. We have to hope that since a hero that powerful was summoned as Berserker, he won't be able to use his true Noble Phantasm effectively."

    I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by that, but asking another question could make her angry, so I just smiled and nodded.

    Saber stepped between us and said, "We should leave the streets. If we linger, another Servant could arrive, and I do not think I could last in a third fight."

    "Alright," I said, "Let's get home. Tohsaka, do you want to stay over?"

    She looked at me to see if I was joking and said, "What are you thinking Emiya-kun?"

    "With Archer injured, you should stay at my house tonight. It's safer that way, since Saber is well enough to fight."

    We began walking in the general direction of my house, but Tohsaka protested. "Your house? My house is the safer one. All you probably have is an alarm. I have multiple layers of defenses."

    She was right. If you considered our houses as castles, hers was a Spanish star fortress, bristling with cannon, while mine was a broken down keep with a wooden palisade.

    "Yeah," I replied. "You're right, Tohsaka. If you'll have me, I'll go to your house. Fuji-nee is busy tomorrow and Sakura isn't coming over until that afternoon."

    She motioned for us to follow her, and we continued up the road, walking a few paces behind her. After a moment, she said, "It looks like we're allies, for the time being. As much as I hate it, I have to thank you for your help tonight. If we had gone our seperate ways, one of us would have died."

    "But you snapped me out of my trance back there. Thanks for that," I replied. To be honest, I was glad we were allied so early. This meant that, for now at least, I wouldn't have to fight her. "Let's work well together."

    She looked over her shoulder at me with a serious expression. "I'm warning you though, Emiya-kun. The Grail is mine. I won't let you have it."

    Though Saber tensed up a bit, obviously not content to let that happen, I said, "As long as your wish doesn't cause innocent people to suffer."

    "I just want it because of my father," said Tohsaka. "He told me how important it was that our family got the Grail, and died fighting for it. I can't fail him."

    Good, I thought. Tohsaka was a good person after all. "Then at the end, we'll let our Servants fight it out."

    I'm sure Tohsaka was wearing a sly smile as she said, "Oh? So you do want the Grail?"

    "I have no wish for it that I can't fulfill on my own, but Saber probably has a wish. It's my duty as her Master to help her accomplish it."

    At those words, Saber's face calmed, and she took a deep breath. When our eyes met again she inclined her head softly to me. Seeing her face suddenly taken with a soft expression, I was dazed for a minute, and nearly ran down Tohsaka, who had stopped suddenly.

    "We're here!" she announced. "Let me adjust the settings for the bounded field. There, done. Now you can enter safely."

    Tohsaka's house, or mansion rather, was impressive. Made of dark wood and stone, it towered above the rest of the buildings in the neighborhood, overshadowing them all. We entered through the front door into a dimly lit foyer. To the right was the entrance to some sort of living room and a darkened kitchen seemed to be beyond that. Ahead of us was a large double staircase, probably leading to the bedrooms.

    "Pardon my intrusion," I said as I took off my shoes. "Tohsaka, where are the guest bedrooms? It's late."

    Her eyes widened like she'd forgotten something. "Right, it's upstairs."

    We quickly went up to the second floor, where Tohsaka showed Saber and I to a small room next to hers. Of course, a small room in Tohsaka's house is still twice the size of my room, and fully furnished. A large bed sat against one wall, and the others were lined with dressers and other objects that I couldn't find any use for. Still, I found a futon in the closet, and that was good enough for me.

    "You can take the bed Saber. It looks like you need it."

    I thought she would protest, but she simply said, "Thank you Master. A good night's sleep for the both of us will greatly aid our chances."

    I hummed in agreement, then said, "Saber, I know you won't tell me your name yet, but at least call me 'Shirou'. I don't like being called anyone's Master."

    She paused for a moment. "Very well, Shirou."

    The way she said my name was unique. The last syllable was shortened, and the name came off her tongue quickly. While she pronounced it incorrectly, I let it slide. She was definitely a foreigner, and even though the Grail gave her knowledge of Japanese, she still had an accent.

    I pulled back the sheet on the futon and lay down. "Good night Saber."

    "Good night, Shirou," she replied after a moment. "Let us work hard tomorrow."

    She was right. We had a big day. The Holy Grail War had begun. I wouldn't let anything happen to the people in this town. A fire like the one that destroyed my life would never occur again. As I fell asleep, the faces of those that I wanted to protect drifted through my mind. Issei, Sakura, Fuji-nee, Shinji, Mitsuzuri. . .

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Well, what did you all think of the first real Grail War chapter? The next flashback chapter will show the first big divergences from the 3 visual novel routes. This EMIYA route will be a lot different. A guarantee it.
    Last edited by Augustine; August 2nd, 2012 at 03:38 PM.

  11. #51
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    I like it! Surprised that Saber made it through the fight without getting almost torn in half by Berserker. It's almost a tradition at this point. We must have the POSE: hunched over with her sword in the ground.

    And Rin's wish is just to win the War as a family tradition, not really to get to the Root. But the rest is good.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

    Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

  12. #52
    Saint of Summer Augustine's Avatar
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    Oh don't worry. That pose will come, though maybe not how you expect it.

    Do you think Tohsaka could play off her wish to get to the Root as an excuse? After Shirou said he had no wish, she would be a bit hesitant to say essentially the same thing.

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    Rin doesn't have a wish to get to the root. Tokiomi neglected to actually explain any of this to her, since he assumed he would survive the war. All she knows is that she needs to win the Grail, she has no idea why, beyond "because Daddy said so".

  14. #54
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    Ah, ok. I'll change that tonight. It least its a small error like that.

    EDIT: Fixed up that little mistake.
    Last edited by Augustine; August 2nd, 2012 at 03:38 PM.

  15. #55
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    Here's chapter 5, after weeks of procrastinating.

    ------------------------------------

    Morning in the Tohsaka house wasn't exactly what I expected. Without an alarm or sunlight to wake me, my eyes opened on their own in the early hours of the morning. I looked around the room, confused at the unfamiliar surroundings before the drowsiness faded and my memories returned.

    It was Sunday, and the Holy Grail War had begun last night. Uncalled for, I flashed back to that fight with Berserker. Simply recalling the ferocity of that giant Servant caused my pulse to quicken. I breathed deeply like Kiritsugu had taught me, and after about thirty seconds I had calmed down again. There was no use getting excited this early in the morning.

    I breathed in deeply as I climbed from the futon. The air in Tohsaka's house didn't circulate much, and though it was still cool, it had the feeling of imprisonment. Kiritsugu had told me once that true magi workshops were closed in to keep the mana from escaping. If that was correct, Tohsaka's mansion was probably a perfect fortress for a magus. Still, it made me uncomfortable, and I couldn't wait to get back to my own house.

    It was then that I realized that I didn't have a change of clothes. I was still wearing my torn and bloody school uniform from the night before, and I doubted that Tohsaka would have any guy's clothes at all. With a sigh, I walked to the bathroom down the hall and silently washed my face. As I returned to the hall, Saber was standing outside the door to our room. Her face showed no sign of fatigue, and she was dressed as she was last night. Her armor was gone, but the blue and white dress under it seemed clean and unwrinkled.

    "Saber," I said with a smile. "Good morning."

    "Good morning, Shirou," she said curtly. She waited for me to reach her side, and as I walked past her towards the stairs, she followed.

    "I should cook Tohsaka breakfast," I said to no one in particular. "I owe her for giving us a place to stay."

    After a bit of searching, Saber and I found Tohsaka's kitchen. It looked used enough. As I thought, Tohsaka could cook for herself. She didn't seem like the kind of person that would eat premade food all the time. After checking her fridge for ingredients, I decided to make pancakes. Saber would probably like them, and I could cook a lot of them fairly quickly.

    Tohsaka's kitchen was formed around a central counter where different cutting boards and machines could be placed. A coffee machine was bubbling quietly, dripping the strong smelling liquid down into its clear pot. Around the counter stood high leg chairs that let the counter double as a dining table. Saber quickly pulled back one of the chairs and took a seat as I got the batter prepared. Water for tea was already boiling on the stove as well. That was when Tohsaka walked in.

    "Morning," she said through half closed eyes. Her hair was a mess, and she was still wearing what looked like a nightgown. She was probably too tired to have any modesty. I turned a bit red as I averted my gaze. Was this Morning Tohsaka? It clashed so hard with the version that I looked up to I barely could acknowledge its existence.

    "Good morning," I replied. "I'm making breakfast for us. Are pancakes good?"

    She nodded and muttered. "Sure. Time for coffee."

    I nodded with satisfaction as Tohsaka dragged her feet to the coffee machine and poured herself a cup. After taking a sip, her eyes seemed to light up and composure returned to her face for about ten seconds before she realized what she was wearing in front of us.

    "I-I'll be back in a minute!" she nearly yelled, and fumbled with her coffee as she ran out of the room. A few minutes later she returned, looking a lot more respectable. Her hair was done up in her usual twin tails, and she wore a tight red sweater and a miniskirt with her long socks.

    After working the pancakes on the griddle, I began to place them on plates for Tohsaka and Saber. Tohsaka ate quickly between gulps of coffee, and after a moment's hesitation, Saber began eating as well. I got some syrup and butter from Tohsaka's fridge and placed them on the table. Then I got started on my own food.

    ------------------------------------

    After breakfast was finished, I quickly washed up the dirty plates and cleaned the griddle. Then the three of us took a seat at her table, and I poured us the tea that I prepared earlier.

    "I don't think we should do any fighting tonight," said Tohsaka after sipping from her mug. "Archer can't leave spirit form yet, and Saber just got in a fight with Berserker last night. Her mana reserves must be at least a bit depleted."

    "It will not inconvenience me too badly," said Saber. "I was not wounded to a large degree and I did not use my Noble Phantasm. Despite Shirou's lackluster supply of mana, I will still be able to operate at full capacity."

    I gritted my teeth, angry only at myself. Why did I have to be so under par in this War? The only way I could help right now was by providing mana for Saber, and I couldn't even do that properly.

    As if she could understand my thoughts, Rin said, "Don't worry about it, Emiya-kun. If we have to, I could give Saber blood transfusions in an emergency. Right now though, I think she'll be fine. You and I can talk about your magical potential some other time."

    I felt some of my anger dissipate and said, "Alright. You can come to my house and see my workshop. That would probably give you a better look into my skills."

    "Yeah, but I'm still not expecting much," said Tohsaka. "That still leaves what we should do today."

    Saber was the one to speak. "If we are to search out enemy Servants, we should determine battlegrounds that work in our favor. Some places are a better fit for fighting than others, and once we start actively seeking out battles, it should be on our terms."

    Tohsaka and I were stunned into silence for a moment. I guess we had forgotten that she was actually a fighter. We had been fooled by the appearance of a young girl, even though we had seen her fight a raging monster the night before.

    "That's smart actually," said Tohsaka. "Fights during the day are prohibited, so going around town during the day is safe. I have stuff to prepare here, but I'll send Archer with you in spirit form. That will let me understand what's going on during the day."

    Saber and I stood to leave, but Tohsaka stopped us. "Saber, don't you think that dress is a bit too eye-catching?"

    "What do you mean?" asked Saber. I looked her over, and even though I'm not the best judge of women's fashion, I had to agree with Tohsaka. Saber would stick out like a sore thumb in that dress.

    "Come with me," said Tohsaka, "I have some clothes that Kotomine gave me a few years ago. They should fit you."

    While they were gone, I waited in the foyer on one of Tohsaka's stiff-backed chairs. After about ten minutes, Saber and Tohsaka returned, with the former wearing a long blue skirt with a white blouse. It suited her surprisingly well.

    "Thanks Tohsaka," I said, "Would you mind if we take some more of those clothes with us when we go back to my house? I don't have anything for her to wear other than Sakura's clothes."

    "Sure," she replied. "I'll bring them when I come to examine your workshop."

    "Thanks, Tohsaka," I said, "I appreciate it."

    With that, the two of us left the mansion. As we walked I felt a presence behind us, most likely that of Archer watching in spirit form. We headed north, bringing us through Fuyuki's residential district.

    "I can already think of some places that are good for fighting," I said. "What do you think we should look for Saber?"

    She thought for a moment and said, "Against Berserker we should seek to maximize our advantages. While a cramped area would impede him, for Archer and I to properly fight him, we would both need some space. Therefore, any relatively open area would work."

    "What about battlefields for the other classes?" I asked.

    "My magic resistance will protect me from any powerful spells Caster uses, so no special battlefield is in order. We must simply drag him away from his own territory. Fighting a Caster on their own terms is risky. As for Rider and Assassin, keeping them close is probably best. We should look for battlegrounds that will reduce their mobility to my level."

    "So nothing too wide open?" I said, "We should avoid the bridge and downtown then."

    I lead us west, heading towards the shopping district near my home. The streets around there are narrow, and would allow Saber to stay close to her opponents. I figured that would be the best place to prepare to later battles.

    As expected for Sunday around noon, the shopping district was packed. Families moved around at a slow pace from store to store. Saber and I brushed through the crowd, examining the streets and alleys for chokepoints that we could use in the fights. At night, the streets would be clear, and according to Saber, would be perfect for fighting.

    "Since we're here," I said, "Why don't we go ahead and get groceries for tonight?"

    "That sounds good," replied Saber. "If you do not mind, I will wander around for a bit. You will be safe during the day, just stay around other people."

    "Alright, Saber," I said. I turned and pointed to the intersection behind us, "Let's meet at the corner there in about twenty minutes."

    "Very well," she replied before vanishing into the crowd.

    I focused my attention on getting ingredients. Normally I would go shopping later in the afternoon, but it would be a hassle to go home and then come back later. I had just enough money in my wallet to afford my groceries. I guess I should thank Mitsuzuri next time I see her. If I had payed for myself last night, I wouldn't be able to buy anything now.

    As I was buying some produce from a street vendor, something small tackled me from behind and clung to my pants leg.

    "Its you, Onii-chan!" Said a familiar voice. Fear flooded my body for an instant as I turned to face the white hair girl that held fast to me. Then it vanished as I saw her face. Maybe it was because it didn't feel the presence of the giant that followed her, or Tohsaka's reassurance that I wouldn't be attacked during the day.

    "Ilya," I said slowly, recalling her introduction from last night. "What are you doing out here? Isn't it dangerous for you?"

    She smiled mischievously but didn't answer my question. "Sella and Leysritt are out shopping," she said. "I saw you and decided to say hi!"

    Her demeanor was a complete 180 from last night. Gone was the cold Master. The innocent girl from days ago had returned, and the ice in her eyes had melted away.

    "Where's Berserker?" I asked hesitantly. Was he in spirit form? Could he just appear in front of all of these people? Over Ilya's shoulder, on the opposite side of the street, I saw Saber standing with her eyes locked on the two of us. She was tense, crouched down as if to leap forward to protect me. Under her white clothes I could see her muscles tightened, ready for the burst of motion needed.

    "He's at home. I can't exactly bring him around with me," said Ilya. "Would you like to see it, my house I mean?"

    Before I could even speak, images flashed within my head. A path through dark woods, and a gargantuan castle that reminded me of some European fortress, fresh from the middle ages. Somehow, I knew. I understood what the flashing images meant. Ilya had given me a map, in a surprisingly personal way.

    "Why did you. . ." I began to ask. I couldn't comprehend why she would show me such a thing after she tried to kill me the night before.

    "You should come and play sometime, Onii-chan!" she said, "I was just showing you the way."

    Then I understood. There was no way Saber alone could defeat Berserker. In fact, with Archer, it would probably still be difficult. She could show us her home because there was nothing we could do to harm her. This was her way of being kind.

    "But," she said, "if I find out here before you come and play! I'll have Berserker kill you and Saber."

    Her tone had shifted back to the one from last night, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Then she hugged me tightly, and before the mood whiplash had begun to set in, turned and ran into the crowd. Saber's eyes followed her as she left with two white clothed maids.

    "Shirou," said Saber as she crossed the road, "Are you alright?"

    "Yeah, I'm fine," I said as I got to my feet again. "She didn't even seem that hostile."

    Saber was silent. She seemed to be thinking intently. I assumed she was worried about Berserker, so I didn't bring it up with her.

    "We should go," I said. I spun on my heel, holding my groceries in my right hand, and was face to face with someone familiar.

    Mitsuzuri Ayako stood in front of me, looking almost as surprised as I was. She was wearing a hoodie and jeans, exactly how I imagined her to dress outside of school. Behind her was a redheaded bow with hair of an average length. His eyes were deliberately averted, and he was biting his lip in disgust.

    "Hey Emiya," said Mitsuzuri, "Shopping I see. What's for dinner?"

    "Not sure," I replied. "I just bought what looked good. What about you?"

    She shrugged. "Same, pretty much. I dragged this moron along to carry it all for me."

    She turned and slapped the back of her brother's head. "Hey, bozo! Be respectful to your elder and say hello!"

    He grimaced in anger and then swallowed his expression. "Good afternoon, Emiya-senpai."

    I exhaled. Why did he dislike me so much? "Afternoon, Minori."

    Crap, that pissed him off. He was fuming after I referred to him so familiarly, but a glare from his older sister shut him up. Then Mitsuzuri did a double take.

    "Emiya," she said, "Why are you wearing your school uniform? Its Sunday you know?"

    Before I could answer she got really close to me, staring at the tear in my jacket's breast. "Is that blood Emiya? What the hell happened to you? Did you get mugged or something?"

    She looked up at me and Saber caught her eye. Her gaze flashed between my sweating face and Saber's stoic one, and she grinned, probably assuming something completely in character for me but still very, very wrong. "You dog," she whispered with a bit of amusement. "We'll talk tomorrow at lunch, you're telling me everything."

    She grabbed her brother's hand and pushed past me before I could even hope to clear up the misunderstanding that had probably taken root in her mind already.

    "Should we continue looking for proper battlefields?" I asked Saber to try and get my mind back on task.

    "I do not believe there is any need to continue. These streets are adequate for a fight." She really did seem confident. "Let us return to your house."

    The walk to my house from the shopping district is short, but by the time we reached the gate that led into the yard, we hadn't seen anybody in about ten minutes. If we really did have to fight near my house, we wouldn't have to worry about witnesses.

    We walked across the yard, and as we were taking our shoes off inside the front door, we came face to face with Fuji-nee. She stood for a second, examining the two of us. I started to speak, but the Tiger had emerged before a word could even leave my lips. I was in a rear naked choke in a second, and Fuji-nee was dragging me down the hall, while keeping her eyes locked on Saber. The blond hair girl stared at the two of us in confusion, even as I clawed out to her for help.

    "Shirou," she hissed. "Why is there a blond following you around? What did you do to her? What did she do to you? Do you owe her money?"

    I rubbed my neck and wheezed as she let me go in another room. "She's a friend of dad's," I said, coming up with the only excuse I could think of. At the time, I had no clue how correct and incorrect that statement was.

    Surprisingly, she took the bait, and even accepted it when I said that Tohsaka would be coming to spend the night later. Still, I could see her watching me out of the corner of her eyes, and when I made tea for the four of us later, the table in the living room was almost completely silent save for the clatter of glasses on the tabletop.

    "Where's Sakura?" I asked.

    Fuji-nee shrugged and said with almost practiced laziness, "She called and said she wouldn't be able to come over for a few days, family problems."

    I nodded, but made a note to ask Shinji about it later if I could. The rest of the evening passed without incident, and I managed to get my practice routine in that night. With school tomorrow, the Holy Grail War and all of its planning would have to be delayed until that afternoon.

    ------------------------------------
    Interlude

    It was nearing midnight on the stairs. Around the stone steps, the trees rising into the crisp night sky created a trench like claustrophobia for spiritual beings, but this one wasn't fazed in the slightest. With a natural swagger, the figure strode up the steps, letting his red polearm drag alone the stones behind him. Framed by moonlight, the gate was ahead. His eyes opened and he smirked as he saw the purple hakama fluttering in the light wind.

    On the flat entrance to the Ryuudou temple, the samurai stood like a statue, holding his impossibly long blade out horizontally with closed eyes. "So you've come," he said.

    "Am I the first?" said Lancer from below. His spear spun, and the point came forward to face the swordsman above.

    "Yes," replied the samurai, without any hesitation. "I am Assassin."

    His eyes opened, and he pointed his curved blade towards Lancer as he stepped into a fighting stance. Lancer dropped into a stance of his own, ready to fulfill his orders. Fight every Servant, but do not kill. That was what his Master ordered. So, even though he wanted to skewer this Assassin, he would have to hold back.

    Then Assassin leapt forwards, bringing his long sword down in a diagonal slash towards Lancer's neck. The Irish warrior leaped back, avoiding the blade entirely, and managed to dodge the next two before allowed the fourth strike to slide off his red spear. Then he counterattacked, stabbing forward faster than Assassin's eyes could follow. Still, the samurai's instinct protected him, deflecting and parrying strikes that he couldn't see or even hear. But with every strike, Assassin was forced back towards the gate.

    Then Lancer saw a glint in Assassin's eye, and his counter attack began. Strikes came from outside of Lancer's field of vision, strikes that Lancer should certainly see coming. Even after dodging or blocking them ten times, they still surprised him as the long blade whistled through the air. He began backing down the stairs to gain some distance, but Assassin followed him the whole way, launching attack after attack.

    "You're good," said Lancer with a deep breath. The pair paused and reassessed each other. "Never thought fighting an Assassin one on one would be so hard."

    "Well," said a feminine voice from above, "then you have made a mistake coming here."

    He looked up to see a cloaked figure flying above, her dark robes spread like the wings of a massive bat. Gibberish flowed from her mouth, and the night lit up. Beams of magic flew towards Lancer, and his eyes widened. Even with his Magic Resistance, one shot would probably cripple him. He turned to disengage, only to find Assassin had leapt behind him during the distraction.

    His only option was to charge up the stairs with Assassin trailing him. He avoided blasts of magic as well as swipes from the samurai's blade as he desperately thought of a way out. One solution came to mind, he would have to use his Noble Phantasm to escape. He spun and switched his spear to an underhanded grip, ready to throw it down to slay Assassin.

    "I will not allow that," said a voice. He turned and prepared to block the incoming strike, only for his eyes to widen in shock as the punch hit the back of his head. He stumbled towards the suited man, still wondering how he could be hurt as the man's knee struck his chin. Lancer nearly fell down the stairs as the ground exploded all around him. Then Assassin's blade slashed into his defenseless back and the suited man's foot connected with his cheek. He was surrounded now, and was using up all of his effort just to defend himself. There was no chance to flee, and no chance to even activate his Noble Phantasm to kill one of his foes. He couldn't even detect where the man's attacks were coming from, much less how they were hurting him.

    Above, Caster was speaking in an accelerated voice, shouting out in an ancient language to power her magics. This time, she spoke five verses for a single spell. With her already shorted casting times, this length powered a specialized magic from the Age of Gods. Crystals shot down with surprising accuracy, striking Lancer on the chest and legs. They held fast and spread at an alarming rate, even with his innate Magic Resistance skill. Assassin's blade struck, tearing a chunk of flesh from his neck, and he fell to his knees. At the same time, the suited man launched a powerful uppercut into his gut, shattering two ribs and stunning him.

    In an instant, Caster was in front of him. Under the hood of the cloak, she was smiling, and in her hand was a glowing dagger of dull jewel. Lancer couldn't do anything as the blade rushed forward to pierce his throat. But the blade did not slay him.

    Caster's hand began to glow, and markings appeared, taking a form familiar to Lancer. Then he felt an immense flow of mana, held back like a dam. He looked up at Caster with a question in his eyes.

    "My Rule Breaker has severed your contract with your Master. Whether you like it or not, I am your Master now."

    Lancer laughed. "I didn't like the guy much, but don't expect me to betray two people in this War."

    She frowned and looked down at her hand. One of the marks was faded. "By the power of this Command Spell," she said as another part of the pattern began to glow. "Submit to my will."

    Power rushed through Lancer, but he resisted. With all of his might, he fought the activation of the Command Spell, and was barely able to hold it back. He chuckled with pain in his voice and said, "You won't break me that easy."

    Caster laughed. "You'll submit soon enough." Pain flooded Lancer as her magic filled him. So, he thought, she would torture him until he could no longer resist her commands. He would have liked to think that he could hold out, or die without submitting to her, but deep in the recesses of his mind, he knew. He wouldn't last more than a day.

  16. #56
    Dapper Deathwing YeOfLittleFaith's Avatar
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    Hoho! Update!
    The differences going on in this version of the 5th HGW are interesting so far. Humm, it really strikes my curiosity as to how this will change things, especially a few details, such as Caster now getting Lancer.

    That last one isn't good news for anyone involved, really.



    Quote Originally Posted by RadiantBeam View Post
    Not my fault Shirou is an awesome bro to lesbians.

  17. #57
    Saint of Summer Augustine's Avatar
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    New chapter! This one takes place entirely Post-Grail War. Its also my longest chapter by more than a thousand words.


    -------------------------------------------------
    In the two months that I've been held in this dank rock, I've learned the extent of this country's sickness. It's diseased to the core, with the corruption of drugs and drug money eating at its heart from the inside out. A maggot ridden corpse has more life than this place. A pragmatic doctor would say it's too far gone, that the dying parts should be cut away to salvage what can be spared. And yet here I am, that desperate physician trying to save the whole body of a rotting man. I've come to think recently that it will be impossible. To save this place, I'll have to amputate.

    My time has been spent doing a total of two things, pouring prana into my ruined body, and talking with my police contact. Generally, he called once a week on a private phone and we talked for a few hours at a time. Rodrigo, as he called himself, kept me updated on current events in the area. He and a few of his clean partners had been searching out the political leader that was pulling strings for the cartels. Apparently I was to do something when I inevitably got out, but he never said how I was supposed to escape.

    The people here are interesting as well. The guards are practically cartel members themselves. They can do whatever they like and get away without any repercussions, and they tend to. The prisoners are a mix of the insane and the outspoken. Anyone that vocally opposes the government has been spirited away and tossed here, with no hope for escape or release. A terrorist like me is just a part of the crowd.

    I climbed from the hospital cot. This ward, home to the prison's insane, had become my home. I faked my injuries, allowing me to stay in a relatively unsecure environment. Barefoot, I walked out of the concrete floored room, making my way towards the center of the prison. Guards were scarce, but with a majority of political prisoners, there wasn't much chance for a riot. I followed wet hallway, keeping my eyes and ears open for any unusual activity. My only clothes for the past few weeks had been a pair of grey sweatpants, and a shirt that had been torn badly a few days before. So, I made my way to the phone bare-chested. There wasn't anybody in the room when I got there, so I just waited and looked at the phone from a wooden bench against the wall. Everything in this prison was concrete or wood. It was unnerving, and definitely an advantage for the wardens. The surroundings demoralized the prisoners, and kept them subdued in a way that even threats of death would not.

    After about thirty minutes of waiting, the phone rang twice and I picked it up. "Hello?" I said, in English as usual.

    "Your pronunciation isn't getting much better, samurai," said the man on the other end. I could almost hear his wide-toothed smile.

    "Rodrigo," I said with a breath. That was even harder to pronounce. "Do you have anything for me?"

    "Yeah, but first, maybe you shouldn't say my name. Those R's give you trouble," he said, rolling his tongue.

    "Not that much, I can at least attempt to say it," I replied. "Your name could be a lot worse, like Luviagelitta."

    "I'm not even going to ask who that is," said the burly Hispanic. "More to the point, we need you out here."

    "You've made progress?" I said with expectation. If he had found the source of the political corruption, it was time for me to spring into action. Of all the people in this country, I was the only one that could act. I had no connections here, or any history. My body was strong enough now as well. I had spent the last few days working out, getting back into a semblance of physical fitness while hiding my condition from the guards. I wasn't at my prime, by any means, but it would do.

    "Yeah," he replied. "We found the guy, but from where we sit, he's untouchable, politically and physically. We need you out here."

    "When can you get me out?" I asked.

    "That's the thing," he said, after a pause, "We can't."

    My face fell, "What do you mean?"

    "Kid," he said, "We don't have the political leverage to pardon you, or the numbers to break you out. Unless you can get out on your own, you're stuck there."

    I wracked my brain for a solution. If I had to escape, I wanted to do it quietly, but I doubted that was an option. "Do you know an easy way out?" I asked.

    "If you can shut down the guard tower searchlights, they won't be able to track you. That would require waiting for night though, not sure what you want to do."

    I nodded. That could work. With the searchlights down and the tower guards incapacitated, I could get over or through the outer wall. I just had to worry about the unknown number of guards. I still hadn't been able to make an accurate count.

    "I'll find a way," I said. "Where can we meet?"

    "About four miles south of the prison is a small mountain hamlet. I'll be there with a few of my trusted men. We'll wait until dawn, but that's it."

    "Yeah, I understand," I said. Then something hit me. "Can the guards listen in? I should have asked weeks ago, but they never seemed to notice."

    I heard a laugh from the other end of the line. "No," said Rodrigo, "They can't. My men aren't idiots. We have this line secure. Besides, I doubt any of them speak English."

    "How did you pull that off?" I asked. Something of that scale probably wasn't easy.

    "Don't even ask," he replied. "It hurts even thinking about it. Alright, we'll wait in the hamlet tonight. Don't get killed, and go with God."

    "Thanks," I said, and hung up. The sun was beginning to creep into the room from the single barred window, a square foot cut into the thick concrete wall. I left the room and entered the hallway, also beginning to brighten with the morning sun, and looked out into the courtyard. I had to stand on my toes to even reach the window, again barred with strips of rusted iron.

    The courtyard wasn't much to speak of. Whatever grass there had been, it was gone now, whether because of poor care of bad weather, I couldn't tell. With the rains the prison got, the dirt that made up the yard was a quagmire, sucking mud and deep puddles that could see a man submerged if he took a bad step. The area was about a hundred square meters, with a ten foot high wall of concrete marking the borders. Guards patrolled at irregular intervals on the walls, and two towers on the corners had snipers positioned.

    "This is trouble," I said with a sigh. The only way out of the prison is through the courtyard. The rest is built into the side of the mountain, and there weren't any secret tunnels like in the movies. Outside the gate, a flat mountain road leads downward, making an easy target of any escapee. If I was supposed to escape, I'd need to take care of the towers.

    Thankfully, most prisoners were confined to the wings further back. The medical wing was closer to the entrance, giving me a head start, and reducing the chances of getting innocents caught in the crossfire. That was a small blessing, but it was enough for me.

    I returned to the hospital wing, and climbed back into my bed. Today, I'd play the part that I have been playing for weeks, an injured man slowly recovering. While I rested, I laid my plan. My two objectives were the armory near the center of the prison, and the guard towers on the outside. With the armory down, I could recover my Shroud and prevent access to weapons. Then I could disable the searchlights and escape. All in all, it would be pretty simple compared to some of the things I've done. I rolled over on my cot, building up strength for the night to come.

    The shouts of the guards woke me. I rolled from the cot and walked to the door, peering around to stare down the hallway. A few guards were loudly arguing with a prisoner. It was in Spanish, and far too fast for me to understand. Then one of the guards struck the prisoner, an older man that probably weighed less than Sakura. The three guards crowded around the fallen man and began to beat him senseless. Two held short clubs, while the third struck him with the butt end of a revolver.

    I dashed forward, my feet silent on the concrete floor. My arms wrapped around the neck of the guard with the gun, and I pulled him back off his feet. With a single motion I threw him downwards, slamming him into the floor. The rifle slid away, but I didn't care. I stepped forward, under the guard of the startled men. I saw the shock on the first's face as my fist hit his floating rib. The crack was sickening as the rib snapped. It must have punctured his lung, as the man's next breath came away bloody.

    As he fell, I snatched his club from the air and used it to strike the throat of the third guard. The man fell without a sound, his trachea crushed. I breathed deeply, standing over the three bodies. Without me giving more than a glare, the prisoner ran off, leaving me alone. I looked down. One corpse, one about to be, one living but unconscious. I had killed them without even a second's hesitation. Was this part of my amputation? These were men as well, but did they have to die? At this moment, I resolved, yes. They did have to die, simply because they were in my way. I had to kill them to escape unharmed, because there was a greater fight on my horizon. The lives that I could save then would be of a much greater magnitude. So, my aversion to killing now had to be suppressed.

    I took the pistol with me. It was a venerable weapon, battered and scratched, but it would do its job, at least until its six rounds were spent.

    I ran deeper into the prison, hugging the walls and keeping my steps light. It was getting dark, and I assumed that the guards were taking a break for dinner. The bonus of having a compliant population was the way they could all eat together in a small room near the entrance. Most of the active guards were probably in the courtyard. There would be little chance of them seeing the guards I had dealt with.

    The further into the prison I got, the less uniform it looked. The floors and walls were cracked, concrete haphazardly laid, almost like the builders had gotten tired of digging deeper into the mountain that provided the foundation. I stepped carefully. Cutting a foot on a piece of cracked concrete would put an end to my hasty escape.

    The armory was ahead. I had expected something out of a Hollywood bank robbery, a massive vault with a thick door. What I found was simply a barred off area of the hallway, no different than a larger cell. I put my back to the wall and slowly edged my way closer. I stopped at the edge of the concrete and listened. Rustling around the corner alerted me to the presence of a guard. He was close, probably no more than arms length from the gate. If he wasn't, I could be in trouble.

    I spun around the corner and shot a hand through the bars. Thankfully, the guard was seated unbelievably close to the door. He was half-asleep, head nodding as he drifted into slumber. I grabbed him near the collar and pulled him towards me. At the same time, I leapt backwards. His head hit the bars first, deforming the poorly made iron and sending him into an entirely different kind of sleep. As I lowered him to the ground, I unclipped the key ring from his belt. There was a mess of keys, each rusted and overlarge for their purpose.

    I opened the sliding bar door and wasted no time preparing to leave. I quickly clothed myself, putting on denim pants and a sleeveless white shirt that I found in a bin at the back of the room. I put on boots next. Footwear was probably more important than anything else. My shroud was neatly folded on a shelf that lined the wall, and on top of it laid my pendant and the photo of Rin and Ayako. I breathed a sigh of relief. Those were two things I couldn't afford to lose. I quickly put them in my vest pocket and took a long look at my weapon, and then to the rack of guns that lined the wall. They looked almost unused, a line of fresh American made M16A4 rifles. Why were the guards not carrying them? Were they worried that they would get fouled in the weather, and only kept them for riots like the one I was about to cause?

    I found a tactical vest in the back. It was one of four, and I doubt there were more around. I doubted that a backwater place like this would get a lot of money, so the weapons were surprising enough. I filled its slots with extra magazines, and then put even more spares into the bag. The last thing I grabbed was a knife. Even with my projections it was good to have a backup weapon.

    I left the armory after making sure the guard was still unconscious, locking the gate behind me as I went. However, instead of taking a left to head back to the courtyard and freedom, I went right, deeper into the facility. I needed to free the other prisoners. Some would die in the escape, more were probably too weak to even keep up, and none of them probably knew how to use a weapon. This was stupid, Shirou. This was stupid, reckless, and idealistic. Really, this was completely in character for me. I couldn't leave them to rot, ever.

    As I ran, I tossed a look back down the hall. If anybody came to relieve the guard at the armory, I could get trapped down in the cell blocks. I needed to move fast. I sprinted forward through darkened halls, lit only with dying halogen bulbs, bare to the elements. A guard turned the corner ahead of me, lighting up a cigarette. My rifle butt took him straight in the forehead, and before his body had even hit the floor I had rounded the corner. Another guard was right in my way, but too far to knock over. I fired two shots, cringing as the crack echoed within the confined area. The guard, just a boy really, stumbled backwards and slid down the wall, leaving a smear of red on the concrete. I paused unwillingly, looking at him. His hands weakly moved to raise his gun, but he didn't have the strength. A wide pool was spreading beneath him, staining the dirty green fatigues he wore. He mumbled something under his breath as blood dripped from the corners of his mouth. Never once did his eyes leave mine. I stared back, mouth slack. My throat was dry, and though I wanted to offer an apology, what could I say? I swallowed painfully and walked past him, looking at the floor.

    I walked through the thin door and emerged into a wide room lined with massive cells. Rather than create individual rooms for each prisoner, the builders of this pit had decided to shove the inmates into these confines like a one would keep an animal. There were no toilets, and the walls were coated in blood and excrement. Huddled in groups behind the rusted bars, the prisoners turned to look at me, eyes distant.

    "It's time to get out of here," I said in English, hoping someone would be able to translate for me. "All of us."

    There was whispering in the crowd as I stepped forward towards one of the cell doors. The bars looked weak, but I didn't want to risk anything. I closed my eyes and considered a weapon to project. One came to mind immediately, as usual. I concentrated, allowing the prana to flow into my right hand as I visualized, broke down, and recreated the weapon's structure and history. Then, grasped in my hand was something solid. I opened my eyes to look on the weapon I had projected. It was a thin sword, no more than four feet long, double edged with a basket hilt. The razor-like blade gleamed even in the darkness.

    I stepped up to one of the cell doors and swung the sword down towards the lock. The metal parted like butter, and the wheeled door slid backwards. Then I walked to the other side of the room to do the same. Once the doors were open, and I made sure that there weren't any more, I allowed the sword to shatter into nothing.

    Slowly, the prisoners began to exit the cells, and I finally got a good look at them. They were, for the most part, half starved. Ribs were clearly visible under the rags they wore, and some of the older prisoners could barely walk as it was. At the fore however, was a cadre of about twenty young men. Even with the lines of hunger on their faces, they had enough strength. They knew what I was here for, and they were ready to leave.

    "Who are you?" asked one of the men.

    "I'd like to say I'm a hero, but I suppose that's not entirely true."

    He didn't seem to fully understand, but said, "We'll follow you. The weaker ones will lead the old and sick. None of us can stay here any longer."

    I nodded, and ran back the way I came, trusting them to follow. We needed to move fast. If the guards had a sudden spark of intelligence, they would have heard the gunshots earlier and come to investigate. The halls were clear and we made it to the armory without a problem. I dropped behind the corner that led into the armory and began covering the hall as the younger men began to arm themselves. One stood next to me, watching the same direction with his new assault rifle. He was also wearing one of the tactical vests.

    "Looks like we're doing ok," he said.

    "Yeah," my voice was tense. The guards could come by at any time, and then the killing would begin.

    "I'm Fernando, by the way," he said out of the blue. I looked up at him. It seemed that the idea of freedom was fueling him, and color had begun to return to his rounded face.

    "Emiya Shirou, er- Shirou Emiya," I said, remembering to phrase my name in the proper order. I looked back, the younger men were almost fully armed and the elderly and sick were being brought up. Then there was a crack, and one of the prisoners, a frail looking man with white hair, slumped forward, bleeding from a hole in his chest. Four more shots came, and the escapees in the hall dropped to the ground. I wasn't able to tell who was hurt and who wasn't.

    Above me, Fernando began firing his weapon down the hall. I brought the plastic stock to my shoulder and aimed as well. At the "T" at the end of the corridor, two men took cover behind the corners, just as I was doing. They fired at us with handguns, probably all they had on them at the time. I squeezed the trigger of my rifle, got used to the recoil, and then began to snap off suppressive shots. Above me, Fernando was firing bursts. His shots were going wild, striking the wall at the far end of the T. It was enough though, the return fire slowed and then ceased all together.

    I waved the other men forward, and they edged into the hall, firing in succession to discourage any gunfire in return. After I was sure it was relatively safe, I ran to the wounded. That old man I saw fall was unmoving, and when I lifted him up, there was no strength in his body. One look at his glassy eyes had told me all I needed to know. There was nothing I could do, and I reluctantly lowered him to the ground. Groans from behind me indicated at least one more wounded.

    "Fernando, tell them to stay back. We can't let them get in the line of fire again."

    He looked back at me and nodded, and then began giving orders in Spanish, seemingly addressing both the armed men and the ones trailing behind. The younger men regrouped and began advancing down the hall, still firing their weapons. They were smart, conserving their ammo by firing single shots, but still a bit jumpy. I trailed behind them. If I moved to fast, I posed the risk of surprising them.

    Then they reached the corner. One of the boys turned to the right at the T while the others slowed to a halt. I was running up to pull him back when the first bullets hit him. He jerked a few times, and little puffs erupted from his body. He looked puzzled as he fell, but with that many wounds, it was already over.

    Fernando started screaming in Spanish, holding a few of the others back as he cursed. I reached them, and wordlessly sidled up to the corner. I lied down on the wet concrete and inched around, just trying to catch a glimpse. Gunfire erupted around my head and I pulled back with a jerk. My ears were ringing and the impacts of the bullets on the walls had covered my face in dust, but I got a good enough look.

    I grabbed Fernando. His eyes were wide and shaking, and he kept swallowing. I slapped him hard and yelled, "Keep it together!"

    He seemed to calm, or at least regain control of his faculties. I gripped him by the shoulders, and said slowly but forcefully, "They have at least eight guards on the other side. Handguns, shotguns, maybe one assault rifle. We can't get around that corner like this, but if they keep us pinned, we're screwed. They'll just wait us out."

    "W-what do we do?" he said shakily. He was twitching, frightened. Obviously he had never seen fighting before. His gung ho attitude was gone and I realized that he was probably a law student, or a doctor or something innocent like that.

    "I need suppressing fire. Then I can act. It will put you at risk, but it's the only way."

    He nodded, resolve returning to his face, and began speaking to the others. They moved to the corner and began firing bursts. The return fire was intense, but they were able to keep up a steady stream of shots back at the guards. One of Fernando's men fell, shot through the stomach, and he was pulled back and laid down. Another took his place and continued to shoot. Meanwhile, I began my projections. First, my bow appeared in my right hand. That was an easy thing to trace, almost as easy as Kanshou and Bakuya. Then in my left, a blade. It was one from my memories, a nameless thing that had just been shown to me. I didn't understand anything about its history or lineage, just how to use it. I pushed more prana into the weapon, breathing out as it deformed.

    Then, I launched myself out into the middle of the hall as I notched the sword onto the bow string. I drew back as bullets whizzed by me and let the arrow loose. It flew down the hall, through the closed bar gate that separated the cell blocks from the administrative area, and hit the line of overturned steel tables that the guards were using for cover.

    The blade exploded in a brilliant flash, and all return fire from the guards ceased as they were either killed by the shrapnel or tossed off their feet. Before the smoke had even begun to settle, I was running forward. I shot the gate's lock four times and kicked it open without even breaking stride. I heard shrill screams behind me. Then, Fernando's men were at my side. They were charging like madmen, screaming as they ran. We entered the administrative area. Papers and files were strewn everywhere, knocked about by the explosion, and there was a massive crater in the floor. The few guards that were left alive were just now getting to their feet, and in what I assumed to be vengeance, were immediately gunned down by the men at my side.

    At the other end of the room, one guard managed to stand and fire off the six rounds that his pistol held. One of the rounds struck the butt of my rifle, shattering it. The deformed bullet continued on its path, hitting my tactical vest in the left abdomen. The impact stunned me, and I fell to a knee. As I checked to make sure the bullet hadn't pierced the vest, I heard two rifle shots and a scream. Evidently, that guard was now dead. Fernando's men were effective, even if they had no training. I sighed as I stood. They may be frantic and angry now, but they lives they took would burden them later. I looked up, and immediately my eyes widened in shock.

    On the floor in front of me laid Fernando. One of the guard's bullets had struck him right below the eye. The round was too small of a caliber to leave an exit wound, so a small drip of blood from his cheek was the only indication of a wound. However, I knew what had happened. The bullet had bounced around his skull like a pinball, a horrible thing to think about. "At least it was quick", I thought as I closed his eyes.

    The others had only just noticed. Their bodies seemed to go slack as I stood, their faces blank with shock. I shook my head, and it was like I flipped a switch. The four of them that were left began shouting what I assumed were expletives directed at the guards.

    "Calm down!" I snapped. "This is no time to lose control."

    They didn't even seem to hear me, and my heart sank as I realized none of them could understand. The others were coming now, and despite my attempts to slow them, they weren't going to wait. Upon seeing Fernando's corpse, they picked up their pace towards the door leading out into the courtyard.

    "Stop!" I shouted, stepping in their path, but they were too frenzied to listen. They shoved their way past me, striking at me violently if I tried to pull them back. I managed to grab one, a younger man of about forty with thinning black hair and a scar down his cheek. I managed to lock his arms while I shouted for the others to come back.

    They didn't listen, and they paid the price. As the fifteen or so prisoners ran into the courtyard, they were hit by the massed automatic fire of the remaining prison guards. They were situated in and around the guard towers, armed with the secondary weapons that must have been secured in the towers themselves. I could only watch as the prisoners fell one by one, hit by dozens of bullets. The scant few that were armed fired off a few futile shots before they fell. To their credit, they continued to fire even as they died. In less than thirty seconds, everything was quiet. I released the man, and we solemnly overlooked the carpet of bodies lying in the courtyard. They were covered in mud tinged red, contorted into impossible positions. The young, the old, the sick; they all laid side by side.

    The man looked at me furtively, not encouraged by my grim expression. I grabbed him by the shoulders and lowered him to the ground. Even though he couldn't understand my speech, hopefully he could comprehend my body language. If the two of us were going to get out of here alive, I needed to take care of those guard towers. I was about to project my bow when I heard a woman's voice behind me.

    "Stop, please!" she said. Her voice was accented English, motherly but strict. I turned to see a three people, two women and a man. They were standing near the door on the other side of the room, half open and leading to a file archive. All three of them wore white jackets over their grimy work clothes, and immediately I recognized them as the prison's doctors.

    They weren't threatening, so there was no reason for me to be hostile. "Yes?" I asked.

    "You'll die if you go out that way," said the other woman. She looked about twenty, with dark hair framing brown eyes and a round face. "The guards will kill anybody else that sets foot in the courtyard."

    "Even you doctors?" I asked, surprised that two of them spoke English.

    "Make no mistake," said the older woman. "We may walk freely, but we are prisoners just the same. We would like to go with you."

    "You just said we can't leave," I said with a sarcastic smile. "Unless you have another plan?"

    I looked outside. A storm was starting to come in, and the howling wind through the open door sent the papers that had settled to the floor fluttering across the room once more. The rain would hit soon, and that would provide the best chance to escape.

    "There is another way out," said the younger woman, glancing fearfully at the storm just as I did. "It will not let us escape, but it can allow you to get the drop on those guards."

    She motioned towards the archive they came from, and I followed. As I did, the older woman spoke in hushed tones with the only prisoner I managed to save from the massacre that had just occurred.

    "What do you have for me?" I asked as we entered the cramped room. She didn't even need to respond. At the back of the archive was a service ladder that led through a hatch in the ceiling.

    "It will take you to the roof," she said, not looking me in the eye.

    "And in this rain I'll be practically invisible," I finished. This could actually work. I handed the girl my bag and immediately began up the ladder. The hatch led to a darkened tunnel leading straight up, and I followed the rungs of the ladder blindly. Eventually I reached the top, another metal hatch, rusted over by a combination of age and the elements. In the scant space I had, I fumbled for a latch, and eventually found it. Even then it took a few minutes of fiddling before the rust cracked and the hatch pushed up with a groan.

    I was immediately assaulted by the hot rain and violent wind. Eyes closed, I climbed up by my sense of touch alone and found myself on the flat concrete roof of the prison. Ahead of me, on the roof was a long lip of concrete that I could use as cover, and beyond that, the courtyard. The walls surrounding it were even with the roof, and I could easily charge across the wall to engage the guards up close. If I was an idiot that is.

    I concentrated, and in my mind's eye, the storm was gone. My bow appeared in my right hand, the graphite rough under my fingers, as real as any other thing in this world. A series of hard thwacks followed as ten swords impaled the concrete in a circle around me. I felt the strain of the projections all at once. This many was pushing it already, normally I could only summon five or six, and all at the same time to boot. Still, I couldn't quit now.

    I breathed in deeply as sweat and rain both poured down my face, and ripped a sword from the ground. I forced prana into it and immediately fired, aiming at one of the two guard towers that made up opposite corners of the courtyard. Before the first had even hit, I had primed and fired the second one. They both struck the towers about 3/4ths up their height and exploded in a flash that held back the rain for what seemed like ten seconds. Shards of concrete were launched in all directions as the towers collapsed. The guards at the base were crushed, while the others fled in blind terror, trying to escape the falling rubble.

    This was no time for sympathy. I continued to draw and fire swords at the walls, and explosion after explosion lit up the night until there was as much smoke in the air as rain. I sighed and let my bow and the last remaining sword dematerialize. There was not a single soul moving in the yard. I had killed everything. As I stumbled back to the hatch, I realized that I had never once thought that particular phrase before. "I had killed everything". That idea was so alien to me I nearly vomited when I realized how many lives I had just ended. Even if they were part of the rot I was amputating, their deaths were due to my weakness, and no excuse could make up for it.

    I reached the ladder as the muscle pain hit me. Every single fiber in my limbs was screaming for a quick death, and it took all of my focus to just go down the ladder. As I passed through the lower hatch, my leg slipped, and I fell to the floor with a yelp. Next thing I knew, the girl was helping me up.

    "Thanks," I muttered as I rolled my shoulders, trying to get rid of the pain.

    "What did you do out there?" she asked with disbelief written on her face. "There was explosion after explosion."

    "It's better if you didn't know," I said, trying to make her feel at ease with a smile. "What's your name?"

    "Rosa," she said.

    "Shirou," I replied. "A pleasure to meet you."

    She smiled and then the two of us walked back into the administrative area, rejoining the others. Seeing my tired stagger, the male doctor lent me his shoulder and helped me sit down on a desk.

    "They're all gone," I said, wiping sweat from my face. It was still pouring down my face, like I had just run a marathon.

    "We heard," said the older woman. "You've got some strange tricks up your sleeve, I think."

    "You have no idea," I replied with a short laugh. Then, to change the subject I said, "Let's get out of here, it's quite a walk."

    "There is a jeep outside," said Rosa. "It's for the commandant, but I think you killed him."

    She pointed to a corpse lying against the wall. It was the man who killed Fernando, and only now did I notice the fact that his uniform was a bit more ornate than the other prisoners. Though now soaked with blood, the gold trim and fineries were unmistakable. Rosa immediately ran over and began going through his pockets. She pulled out everything he had, and then smiled as he jingled a ring of keys.

    "I can drive," she said with a grin. "My papa taught me before I left for school."

    "That makes one of us," I said. Despite my profession as a world travelling adventurer, I was a horrible driver, but no one really needed to know how bad I really was.

    The five of us quickly made our way out and through the courtyard, using the keys on the ring to open the outer gate. Despite the rain, we found the jeep and piled in. I jumped in the back with the male doctor and the other prisoner, while Rosa and the other woman climbed into the front. Everybody was soaked to the bone now, and we nearly cheered when the car rumbled to life.

    "Hang on," said Rosa as she shifted the car in gear. "This road is unpaved."

    The jeep lurched forward, jolting us all. Rosa gained control of the metal beast after a moment, and soon we were bumping our way down the mountain road, desperately trying to fend off the heavy rain. I reached into my bag and pulled out the shroud, taking care that no rain got on the photo in the bag.

    "This coat is great against the weather," I said as I handed it to the prisoner next to me. When he didn't understand, Rosa quickly translated for me. Then the man smiled and wrapped the coat around himself with a smile.

    Despite the pounding rain, I smiled as well. Even though I killed so many people, and failed to save so many more, that one man's smile brought warmth to me unlike any furnace. I knew though that that warmth was fleeting. The pain of those deaths would hit me soon enough. But as the lights of the village could be seen in the distance, I took refuge in that one smile. As long as I could save one person, I knew I could save ten. As long as I could see that one smile, I could save myself.

  18. #58
    Sentimental Fool NewAgeOfPower's Avatar
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    It's been awhile. I posted my review.
    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster;
    And treat those two impostors just the same,

    -Ruyard Kipling, "If"

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    My works [Updated June 21st, 2013]


    "From a dusky world with an ever-setting sun, a limitless rain of Ryougi Shiki streaked down from gargantuan gears set in the sky." Fate: Over 9000, my best Crack yet.

  19. #59
    Saint of Summer Augustine's Avatar
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    I saw, I appreciate it. Its hard to find time to write now that I'm in college.

  20. #60
    Sentimental Fool NewAgeOfPower's Avatar
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    Same here, classes are eating my time.
    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster;
    And treat those two impostors just the same,

    -Ruyard Kipling, "If"

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    My works [Updated June 21st, 2013]


    "From a dusky world with an ever-setting sun, a limitless rain of Ryougi Shiki streaked down from gargantuan gears set in the sky." Fate: Over 9000, my best Crack yet.

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