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Thread: Dark Princesses, Crow's Wings, and Hero's Broken Dreams

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    Dark Princesses, Crow's Wings, and Hero's Broken Dreams

    Dark Princesses, Crow’s Wings and Hero’s Broken Dreams


    Title: Dark Princesses, Crow's Wings, and Hero's Broken Dreams
    Rating: M for Mature. For sexing, violence and other lovelies.
    Pairing: Rin/Archer, eventually, mentions of Shirou/Saber here and there.
    Warnings: Spoilers for Fate route and YOUR MOM. Okay, stuff taken from notes from Tsukhime 2.
    Summery: A dark princess, out of boredom, wishes to challenge her sister, the White Princess. To do so, she'll rain havoc on the mages of the World, with one Tohsaka Rin and Aozaki Aoko caught in the Middle. Can one Counter Guardian and his former Master save each other, or will magekind, along with the rest of the world, be drug into ruin?

    Okay, before you guys get any farther in this, this was written when I'd just seen the anime and starting through the Fate Route. It's an old fic, a dead fic, but LunarLegend saw it on the TVTrope's web page and since the Old BL is dead and the other place it was posted on had random moon runes on it. So he wanted to read it and it's apparently kind of legendary so . . . Boom, here it is. (There's I think ten long chapters so . . . I'll post them all.) And I'm pulling all of these from LJ.




    Prologue

    Sister Mary Ortez shuddered at the endless black eyes staring at her from the gilded iron cage in front of her. The giant crow’s iridescent feathers gleamed in the candle light as the huge bird shifted restlessly in his cage. The bird kept staring at her with those pitiless eyes before it began to caw fiercely, ebon feathers bristling as large wings brandished wildly.

    Mary’s eyes widened as the gentle golden glow of the candles shifted to a horrid, hellish red. The pale glow of the room shifted into that sickly ruby glow. Soft giggling echoed the stone walls as Mary extended her hand.

    The Black Key appeared in her right hand and she wrapped her hand around the handle. With her left, she grabbed her robes and jerked hard and away from her body. White light encased the dark fabric as it shifted and reformed to a shield. Clad in shorts and a tank top now, the nun took a stance with her giant silver shield and the Black Key.

    “Caw caw!” cried the crow as the wings flapped even harder, beating against the cage in the stillness other than that childish giggle.

    Raven hair that seemed to absorb the light around it topped a young teenage girl’s face that smiled up at Mary with golden eyes. Her white dress swished around delicate ankles as she approached the warrior nun. Those golden eyes bore into Mary, setting her still and she realized that it was quite silly to hold the Key and the shield, wasn’t it?

    Both clattered loudly to the floor.

    The pretty girl smiled, flashing pointed hands before her left hand darted out.

    There was a sickening sound of the wet squelch of flesh giving, the crunch of bones breaking and then the subtle pop of a hand breaking free.

    Sister Mary Ortez’s mouth floundered open and shut like a fish’s before she fell over the young woman, who supported her easily with the arm rupturing through her sternum. Blood spilled to the floor in scarlet rivers, forming tiny pools on the stone floor that reflected the hellish glow all around them. The pouting crimson mouth opened and lengthening fangs shredded into the bronze column of the Sister’s throat.

    Within moments, the limp body was shoved to the ground and the princess practically floated to the cage.

    She pressed her pale hands against the bars with a wicked smile. She tilted her head at the bar and the crow continued to shrill loudly. Its feathers ruffled as it cawed and flapped its wings. She ripped the cage in half with those small hands and grabbed the crow.

    She tossed it into the cooling body. She turned around, long raven hair sweeping behind her, and watched as the crow’s body shifted and reformed. The dark princess clapped her hands at the tall man in black standing before her.

    “So, Gransurg Blackmore, who’s side are you on?” she asked as she looked up at him.

    A muscle ticked along a sharp cheekbone as black eyes narrowed at the teenage girl staring up at him and grinning with a blood stained mouth. He swept his cape behind him and lowered himself to his knees. His head bowed. His teeth were clinched.

    “Yours, Your Highness,” he said with a hiss.

    Princess Altrouge Brunestud, elder sister of Arcueid and princess of the Dead Apostles, master of Primate Murder, practically beamed. She patted his hair and asked, “So, wanna destroy the world?”

    London, England
    Mages’ Association

    Six Months After the Fifth Grail War

    “All it does is rain in this damned country,” an annoyed female voice grumbled as she shook said raindrops out of a large red umbrella. She propped the umbrella against the door and took her hip length black hair in her hands. With a grimace, she twisted water out of her hair and shook it out. The ends immediately began to curl themselves once more. She brushed her hands over the sleeves of her red turtleneck, short pleated skirt and even brushed water off her silken black thigh highs. She shook beads of water off her brown loafers and cursed in her native language.

    Beside her there was a cheerful giggle as another voice replied, “Well, yesterday, it was foggy.”

    Tohsaka Rin scowled at the short, compact blonde standing beside her and snorted, “It just rains and is foggy here. It’s been months since I’ve seen the sun.”

    “It’s England, the land of rain and fog, what else where you expecting?” the blonde answered with a grin that lit up her hazel-green eyes.

    Rin snorted, “The occasional ray of sunlight here and there.”

    “Dude, it’s England, which is why it’s awesome,” the blonde said as she shook out her pony tail.

    Rin sighed, “Because you’re American, you tend to romanticize England, that’s why.”

    “Come on, don’t you love the pubs and stuff? And how people talk here?” the bouncy blonde asked as she linked arms with Rin.

    Rin replied, “The food is abysmal at best and I can barely understand what people are saying.”

    “See, Rin, you need to go out with us some time,” the other teen replied as she guided Rin down the polished hallway.

    Rin looked at her slightly bedraggled reflection in one of the many glass cases they passed. There were tiny dark circles under her eyes and her hands occasionally shook while she handled her stones. When she wasn’t at the Mage’s Association finishing her proper mage’s training, she was at home, lost in her thoughts and her stones. And haunted by a redheaded moron of a boy, she snorted sadly as she shook her head.

    She closed her eyes and amended, And a man with eyes like steel and silvery hair.

    After Shirou and Saber destroyed the Grail, Saber went back to her own time, leaving Shirou alone. He stayed in Fuyuki City to finish High School and probably become some epic hero saving people in his innocent way. While she had been called to England to finish her mage’s training.

    Where she had met the bubbly blonde American Lea Murphy. Lea was the only other mage at the Association who chose to use gemstones as a focus for her magic, except her gemstones were raw crystals and uncut. While bubbly and somewhat absent minded on the surface, get something she could focus on and it made her Rin’s friendly rival at the Association.

    At least when it came to information studies, when it came to practical usage, Rin had the blonde.

    Not that there was anyone worthy after Rin had fought in the last Grail War, but Lea’s coloring reminded her of Saber and her naivete reminded her of Shirou so Rin let her hang around. Rin was absently listening to her prattle on about things. Lea said, “Seriously, you should come clubbing with us, there are some awesome places to have some fun.”

    She then nudged Rin and said, “Maybe you can find a nice guy to help charge your mana . . .”

    Rin stiffened and glared down at the smaller girl. She said, “I would not do something as important as charging mana with some random man I met in a London club. I’d choose another magus and nothing less.”

    “Yeesh, sorry Rin . . .,” Lea mumbled as she fumbled with the citrine pendent around her neck.

    Rin sighed and petted her shoulder, “It’s not your fault. I’m particular of who I’d share myself with.”

    “Actually, she’s smart to be careful,” a deep gravely voice said behind her, sudden warmth at her back and ghostly fingertips resting on her shoulders.

    She easily stepped forward and flicked a lock of hair from her shoulder as she turned to face her impromptu shadow. Icy blue eyes narrowed as a slow smile spread over a thin, arrogant mouth. The teenage towered over Lea’s slight height, but he wasn’t that much taller than Rin. He leaned forward, putting his eyes closer to her level, the edges of his ever present black duster sweeping forward to brush her skirt.

    He continued in that thick, forced deep voice, “One wrong step can have your mana sucked into someone eyes, right Tohsaka-kun?”

    “Yes, this is precisely why I would not attempt do any magic with someone such as yourself, Yukisato,” Rin said with arch sweetness and a tiny grin as she stepped closer to Lea and linked arms with her again.

    Yukisato tilted his head and snorted at Lea. “Well, little crystal wielding mages are safe, aren’t they?”

    “And easier to work with. Your lack of talents would hinder a magus of my caliber, while Lea, because she’s an Earth based magus, is excellent to work with despite her more raw qualities,” Rin continued as her smile grew and sharpened, “And no matter how much you excel at simple book work, you can’t touch her raw power.”

    Lea blushed and looked down at the rings adorning her small hands. Rin gave him a feline grin and said, “Well, we’ll see you in class, Kurokawa-kun.” Then she started to guide Lea briskly down the hallway.

    Lea whispered once Yukisato was out of earshot, “Yukisato Kurokawa scares me. Damned shadow mage.”

    “Sure, shadow magic looks impressive, but it really is useless. It’s good for defense, but in actual combat? I’d shatter him,” Rin said as she cracked her knuckles.

    Lea snorted and rolled her eyes. She said, “Not all of us are good at throwing curses and stuff.”

    “Natural talent,” Rin said with a tiny grin as they walked to class together. However, her shoulders were increasingly getting tense. Lea opened the door and a scant few pairs of eyes, including Yukisato’s icy blue ones, turned to them.

    Lea let the raven haired magus go as she took her seat to the back of the class. Rin, however, marched up to the front and took her desk right in front of the teacher’s. She looked up and expected to see familiar scattered rune stones and a few German spell books littering the surface that marked Adolf Shriber’s desk. Instead it was wiped clean save for one old steamer trunk resting on top.

    She turned to the one person sitting beside her and he smiled, warm grass green eyes lighting up. She asked, “Where’s the Further?”

    “Dinna know, but the Old Man hasn’t been seen since two nights ago,” came the lilting, burring reply.

    Rin frowned and asked, “That’s odd, usually Further Adolf is generally quite predictable.”

    Broad shoulders slumped and her classmate ran a hand through his thick, curly chestnut brown hair. He replied, “Aye, I know Rin-lass, he’s like clockwork, but . . . the trees are talking.”

    “What are they saying, Drustan?” Rin dropped her voice to a whisper as she leaned forward to the burly Scottish mage.

    Drustan’s green eyes narrowed as he answered in his lilting purr, “Carrion crow, not graced by the Morrigan, pecking, gathering.”

    “Why are you Druids so damned cryptic?” Rin sighed as she rubbed her forehead, “Talking to you is like trying to read the sun.”

    White teeth flashed against a freckled face as he laughed, loud, true and boisterous enough to make his whole body shake with mirth. His eyes were glinting like emeralds as he reigned the laughter into happy chuckling. His smile was as honest as the rest of him as he mused, “And why are you so literal, lass?”

    “Because with you poking in the trees and things, Lea’s head in the clouds and because Yukisato is an ass, someone has to be,” Rin replied with a flick of her hair.

    Drustan’s eyes grew hazy as he leaned forward, their faces inches from each other. While not handsome, Drustan was honest and heavily grounded. He did everything to its fullest from something simple like eating lunch or something complex as jerking a full grown oak tree from dead ground and making the land thrive again. There were no half measures with the Scottish Druid magus and his smile was enough to make most girls weak.

    And Rin desperately wished to be attracted to him, but she couldn’t.

    She even asked him on several dates since they started class together.

    The first date had been a fancy restaurant. She’d dressed up in something she’d half hoped to wear for Shirou, fixed her hair and even worn make up. He’d cleaned up as well, even scrubbing out the ever present dirt under his fingernails. He’d ordered hagus and she poked at it and proclaimed it toxic. She proceeded to demand why people of Great Britain had such odd eating habits. He had shook his fork at her and retorted that Japanese eating habits weren’t any better, but she liked Earl Grey tea, didn’t she?

    They had laughed and he walked her home. They hadn’t even held hands. He didn’t even attempt to kiss her when he told her good bye at her flat.

    Their second date had been more fun, his choice. He took her hiking on the Moors. He pointed out animals to her and told her their names. He even made a rose bush bloom to put one of the white blossoms in her hair.

    She tried to kiss him then, to forget, or to perhaps feel something other than drowning obligation and loneliness, but he’d simply stopped her. He had put those big hands on her shoulders and looked down at her with those oddly wise eyes of his. He then turned and pointed out a murder of crows on the Moors before stepping behind her, breaking the moment.

    Walking back to his archaic off-road vehicle Rin had sulked just a little. After all, she was pretty and powerful, and why didn’t he want her? There was no Artura or . . .

    She shook her head at the memory, remembering the question that Drustan asked that day that still haunted her.

    “Ah, Rin-lass, why does such sadness lurk in your eyes? What did you lose that was so important to you?”

    Rin had snorted at the time and spun out of his reach, flicking her hair back almost defensively. She retorted that the trees were gossiping. She hadn’t lost anything, after all, she was at the Mages’ Association, only where the most talented and powerful mages went to study, wasn’t she? She’d lost nothing, but gained a future, she’d told him.

    Yet she looked down at her left hand and clinched her fist as she looked at her now pristine and flawless skin there.

    It burned, a momentary flash of pain that overwhelmed her and almost sent her still. Physical and emotional loss overwhelmed her and she looked at the back of her hand. Her eyes burned with unshed tears as the once familiar marks flashed then faded away.

    Her Archer was dead.

    If he was just a Servant, then why did she feel so damned hollow?

    She wanted to stumble to the ground, sob out her frustration, but the deep, shuddering pants of Saber and the heavier, masculine grunts of Shirou steeled her. She clinched her fists at her sides and spun around. Exhausted, emerald green eyes peered out of a delicate, heavily flushed face and golden-brown eyes, like fine sherry, peered at her imploringly.

    She’d mourn later.

    She had obligations to fulfil and people she cared about to save.

    Just as Archer did, despite the odds, she’d keep going and then mourn later.


    “We Earthlings are just a wee bit different than your type of magus, that’s all,” Drustan replied with a wink, his voice snapping her back into the present.

    Rin lifted an eyebrow and asked, “Aren’t you Earth types suppose to be more grounded?”

    “I am, Lea’s not, but then again, Lea works on the ethereal too. She might be a synergist, but no one’s proven that yet,” Drustan answered with a broad shrug.

    Rin turned to look at the pony tailed almost mousy blonde reading a romance novel in one of the back desks of the mostly empty classroom. The raven haired mage cocked both eyebrows and asked, “What do you mean no one’s proven yet?”

    “Lass is even purer than you are Rin,” Drustan said with a wink, “Well, in body anyway. In mind she’s as pervy as a randy lad.

    Rin snorted, “And all of her talk about going to the pub and get laid.”

    “Being untouched doesn’t stop anyone from being randy, Rin-lass, you know that better than anyone,” Drustan teased with a grin.

    Rin flushed and said, “Do the trees tell you all of this?”

    “Nay, the murder of crows that lurk outside your flat for bread crumbs did,” the Scot admitted with a chuckle.

    Rin moved to smack his arm, when brilliant blue light flooded the room.

    Chapter One


    Rin placed her hands on the desk and concentrated. Energy poured from her arms to her fingertips and she infused the desk with it. The wood surface shimmered and light spread across the center of the desk and slid to the edges and down the legs of the desk. As the light traveled over the wooden desk, it transformed the surface into shining substance like steel. She slid the now lighter piece of furniture in front of her and ducked behind it.

    Mo Chreach!” Drustan shouted from beside her as she saw him dive behind the Further’s desk from the corner of her eye.

    She, however, peered over the side of her reinforced desk at the tall woman standing at the back of the classroom.

    The woman, maybe ten or so years older than Rin, stood with a tiny smile on her pretty face and a long finger pointed at the class like a gun. Energy like sapphires blossomed at the woman’s finger tip and cast a blue glow over the entire classroom. Her insanely long red hair whipped behind her like a banner as she cocked her thumb as she was pulling the trigger.

    Yukisato let out a scream as he fell into his shadow and vanished right before the glowing beam of brilliant azure energy hit. Lea squeaked and fumbled with the ever present bag around her neck and pulled out a small black crystal. The redhead turned to her and shot out another bolt of that brilliant blue energy, this time in a blazing ball, at the squeaking blonde.

    The small girl flinched as she pressed her hands over her crystal. She yelped as the magic ball hit the warding shield she haltingly erected. Rin frowned as she rolled up her sleeves and canted her fingers. The mana came to her quickly and easily as the silver lined black power cackled around her finger. It made her skin tingle with warmth as she let the curse build.

    She poured more and more power into the Gand before stepping out from behind her desk. As the elder magus whirled at her, Rin shot the Gand at her. The redhead gracefully jumped out of the way and launched more bolts of that blue energy at Rin. Rin rolled to the ground and fired more Gands at the redhead.

    The redhead smirked as Rin rolled to her feet. Rin ran her hands over her thighs and focused. The muscles grew thicker and stronger as her bones became even lighter. She hunched her muscles and jumped as the redhead fired at her again.

    Rin frowned as she twisted her body and pushed her feet off the ceiling. She shot more rapid Gands in succession, the black bolts of power occasionally meeting the blue. She flipped and landed gracefully on her feet behind the redhead. The redhead spun to the ground with her leg extended.

    Loafers left the floor as Rin jumped away from the jeans clad leg. Blue eyes met aquamarine and the redhead positively smirked at Rin. The younger sorceress looked the redhead over from her pretty, fine boned face, crystalline sapphire eyes, long flowing red hair and, most importantly, the glowing lazuline power floating in her palm. Rin scowled and said, “Aozaki Aoko, I presume.”

    “And you’re Tohsaka Rin,” Magic Gunner, Miss Blue, one of the Five Great Magic Users existing today. A mage so powerful that she could defeat a Servant singlehandedly if she so wished. And she was currently grinning at Rin as if the younger magus did something cute.

    Drustan snapped, “What the bloody hell’s going on here?”

    “Is it safe?” Lea squeaked.

    Yukisato appeared from a shadow and smoothed a lock of his dark violet hair from his face. He sneered, “What is the meaning of this, woman?”

    “She was testing us, you arrogant twit,” Rin huffed as she flicked her hair back from her face.

    Yukisato folded his arms over his chest and snapped, “And who is she to test us?”

    Cach, shut yer mouth Kurokawa before she blows it off,” Drustan said, “She took us all on and we cowered like wee babes.”

    Aoko placed her hands on her hips and amended, “Well, save for Tohsaka. She passed my test, the rest of you failed miserably.”

    “I don’t know how to fight like that! I just heal and increase mana, I’m not like Rin,” Lea protested softly.

    Aoko’s azure eyes flickered over the blonde and said, “You’re a synchronizer. You’d better learn to defend yourself or every moron who has just an iota of power’s going to come after you.”

    The pony tailed head bowed as she fidgeted with the leather bag around her neck. Rin watched as she slid it back underneath her purple T-shirt. Yukisato snickered darkly. Drustan’s hands curled into fists as he looked at the shadow mage.

    Rin folded her arms under her breasts and waited until Aoko advanced towards the shadow mage. She held out her palm and blasted him. Yukisato screamed as he was sent flying across the classroom. The shadow mage collided into the black board with a heavy thud. Rin pressed her lips together to still the chuckle bubbling in her throat.

    “And you ran like a coward into your own shadow, so you shut the hell up,” Aoko said as she walked to the Further’s desk.

    Drustan ran a hand through his hair and asked, “What happened to the Further, I mean Sir Shriber? The Old Man’s always here.”

    “I don’t know where the Further went, so that’s why I was called here. I’m not a teacher, but Headmaster O’Rourke seemed pretty concerned. Not to mention, I owe the Further Adolf a favor,” Aoko answered as she sat at the desk and reached for her traveling case.

    Rin lifted an eyebrow as she took her seat. She asked, “You call him the Further too?”

    “So did the generation before me. What, you think you’re the first group to make a pun off that crazy old German’s name?” Aoko retorted with a smirk as she opened her case.

    Lea fidgeted and asked, “Then what are we going to do then?”

    “Talk about why you three failed the test and Rin passed,” Aoko said as she pulled out a notebook and a pencil.

    Yukisato moaned and Drustan asked, “What about peeling the moron off the chalkboard?”

    “It’s not like he’s doing anything useful, let him stay there,” Rin snorted, “He ran, at least you two stayed.”

    Aoko smiled and said, “Hence why he’s plastered to the board.”

    Yukisato pushed himself from the slightly cracked board and brushed his normally immaculate black suit off and headed to his seat. On the way he gave Aoko a scathing look and asked, “Then why did Rin pass while we failed?”

    “She fought back, the rest of you hid or ran,” Aoko answered with a tiny shrug.

    Rin crossed her legs and rested at her desk. Aoko’s true blue eyes met hers and Rin simply canted her head with a tiny smile. Aoko continued, “She saw me as a threat. She knew if she didn’t stop me that I’d keep coming after and therefore her secrets and possibly her power. Stopping me was the best course of action.”

    “Even though in a real fight I wouldn’t have been able to keep up like that,” Rin said with a tiny frown as she tapped her finger against the desk.

    Lea asked, “Why not? I mean, to me it looks like you were acting pretty badassed back there.”

    “Oh, I’m not going to deny that I’m good, in fact, I’m quite good in all reality, the best one in this class room definitely, but Miss Blue is the Magical Gunner,” Rin paused as she met Aoko’s face, “And she was holding back.”

    Aoko positively grinned as her eyes lit up at Rin. Rin folded her arms under her breasts and met the older magus’ azure gaze as Aoko said, “So where you, Tohsaka.”

    ******
    The Vatican


    “He escaped,” The seemingly young woman dressed in blue sighed as she rubbed her forehead, “First off, you let a neophyte nun as his keeper and then you act surprised when he escapes?”

    She rubbed the bridge of her nose as the five older men in elaborate Cardinals’ robes looked away from her. She edged forward, hands on her hips as she glared at her so called superiors. She pointed and said, “He’s one of the twenty-seven original Dead
    Apostles and you were planning to keep him as some sort of obscene pet?”

    The youngest Cardinal cleared his throat and said, “Agent Ciel, you have no place to speak to us like that here. You should be thankful we let you continue on as you do, abomination.”

    A muscle twitched in Ciel’s cheek as a Black Key started to burn in her palm, demanding release. She checked the urge and met his wavering brown eyes. She moved forward, her skirt flowing behind her as she stared hard into his eyes. “My former condition makes me a perfect candidate to hunt monsters, Your Grace. You would have lost countless resources if it wasn’t for me and my experience. However, this time? You really dropped the ball. Trying to bind Blackmore? How utterly stupid can you get?”

    “Ciel, we made a mistake,” the eldest said as he raised his wizened hand to silence her.

    Ciel spun to face him and said, “You bloody did. He’s a Dead Apostle with ties to the Mages’ Association. That alone makes him dangerous, but . . . He’s also one of the sodding Twenty-Seven Original Dead Apostles, standing in the ranks of Nrvnqsr Chaos, Stanrobe Calhin and The Forest of Einnashe.”

    “That is why you’re going after him,” a hoarse female voice said from the doorway.

    Ciel stiffened and her hands curled against her robes. She could feel the Black Keys hidden under there, but she made no move to grab them. However she did turn around.

    Standing there was a cruel looking woman dressed in a simple black robe who’s eyes met Ciel’s. “I mean, it’s what you’re good for, right?”

    Bitch, Ciel thought dryly as she met the eyes of Narbareck. However, Ciel smiled and replied, “That’s what your lot seems to think, right?”

    Narbareck smirked and replied, “Well, since we can’t kill you, we might as well make some use of you, right?”

    “Something like that, even though your faith is broken,” Ciel replied sweetly.

    The older woman said, “Well, bind Blackmore. We could glean some information off of him, after all, he is an enemy of Altrouge’s.”

    “I’m not making any promises,” Ciel replied as she made her way out of the chamber.

    Her spine stiffened as she heard Narbareck snort behind her.

    ******

    “That woman’s kinda harsh,” Lea whined as she rubbed her shoulder as Rin, Drustan, and Lea left the Clock Tower.

    The rain had ended and the night sky was filling with a heavy fog. Rin wrapped her arms around herself as the wind picked up and whipped her hair back. Drustan said, “And mighty powerful. She probably has more magic circuits than the rest of us combined.”

    “She only has one,” Rin said as the three of them walked to their normal restaurant destination after class.

    Lea’s green eyes widened as she squeaked, “Only one, but the boom and the blue and the Ray of Death and stuff?”

    “She knows how to wield that one circuit in ways that probably none of us could, even myself,” Rin answered, “Compare her to a sniper versus a novice with a machine gun. That fool could fire until he’s well out of bullets but never actually hit you because he has no idea what he’s doing. However, the sniper could nail you from dozens of yards away because they would. Technically, Drustan has more magic circuits than me, but who would you deem more powerful?”

    Drustan’s smile was bright as he answered, “You’d own my sorry arse, Rin-lass.”

    “Exactly, because I have an innate ability to know how to exactly use what I have to its best advantage. I’m still learning, but Aoko has even more innate ability than I or anyone else in this generation, or even the past four generations ever did,” Rin said as she moved closer to Drustan. Lea was creeping to his free side as well.

    The Druid Mage smiled at them both and asked, “Are you lasses cold?”

    “Freezing, and you’d better do something about it, Druid,” Rin warned.

    Lea clapped her hands together and said, “Oh, make the pretty fire! Make the pretty fire!”

    “Anything for you lasses,” Drustan laughed as he cupped his hands together. Simple red and gold flame appeared between his palms, illuminating Drustan and Lea’s faces and spreading warmth from the huge Druid. Rin held her hands out before it with a smile.

    “I do so adore it when men are useful,” she said as she remembered grey eyes and a tiny smirk as a warm cup of tea was pressed between her chilly palms when she first woke up.

    She shook her head and kept walking. She took a deep breath and Lea giggled but Drustan’s eyes met hers. He moved the fire a little closer to Rin before clapping his palms together. Lea sighed in disappointment but Rin looked up at the Scotsman. She mouthed, “I’m fine.”

    He frowned, his broad brow crinkling ever so lightly. Then his hot hands took hers and rubbed them. Lea’s eyes widened as she started to step forward.

    “We’ll catch up, lassie,” Drustan said in his rumbling lilt.

    Lea frowned and said, “Okay . . . I’ll go ahead and get us a table . . .”

    “Thanks,” Drustan said with a flashing smile as Lea trotted off. Rin frowned at the giant Scotsman as he continued to warm her hands. He focused his emerald gaze on her, eyes she wished were steely grey and the fingers holding hers longer and more graceful than Drustan’s blunt workman’s hands.

    Drustan asked, “Rin-lass, what still haunts you so?”

    “It’s stupid and you shouldn’t ask such a personal question,” Rin snapped as she tried to jerk her hands free.

    Drustan sighed and said, “You need to let it out, Lass.”

    “I can’t,” Rin snapped, “I have responsibilities and I need to become a true magus. I don’t have time for stupid frivoling things like odd school girl crushes on heroic spirits!”

    Drustan blinked at her and Rin sighed and asked, “Have you ever heard of the Holy Grail wars?”

    “Lass, I’m a Druid, I pray to the Brigid and the Morrigan, Christ is something of a daft moron to me,” Drustan said with a tiny snort.

    Rin snorted at this and stopped trying to fight, instead she relaxed slightly. She started to explain the whole Holy Grail War concept before launching into her sordid tale of Archer, Shirou, Saber, Gilgamish, Kotomine, Ilya, Berserker and Archer’s death to save them all. She sighed and said, “He was so damned arrogant. His last words to me where, ‘I can distract him, Rin, but can I kick his ass?’ Berserker was damned Hercules, and he was saying he could kick his ass . . .”

    “Guys would say all sorts of daft things when pretty girls are involved, specially if they’re their Masters,” Drustan said with a tiny smile, “Sounds like he knew he was going to die.”

    Rin sighed and said, “So I helped Shirou and Saber escape and . . . the Command Sigal vanished and I knew.”

    “And you helped Shirou and Saber, dinna you?” Drustan asked softly.

    Rin nodded and said, “Of course. Shirou is a moron and Saber was so weak she could barely stand.”

    “Sounds like you have a wee bit of a crush on Shirou,” Drustan said with a tiny knowing smile.

    Rin drew back her left hand and hit his arm. Hard. The impact reverberated up her arm and the side of her hand hurt. He chuckled as she glared up at him. “I am not that transparent,” Rin said with a snort and a small toss of her hair.

    “And your daft lad fell for Saber, who it stumbles this little Celt’s heart to find out that mighty King Arthur was a wee lassie herself,” Drustan mused as he stroked her hair.

    She leaned on the giant Druid and nodded. She sighed with a small sigh, “If you would have seen her . . . She was so beautiful, so strong and so tiny. This small girl wielded so much power and strength, yet she was kind underneath that royal exterior. And her eyes,” Rin’s cheeks warmed as she remembered Saber’s tiny cries as she licked her in time to Shirou’s thrusts. About sinking her fingers into liquid heat and rubbing until Saber’s vibrant eyes turned hazy.

    Drustan’s chest rumbled as he chuckled. Rin looked up at him and smacked his arm again. “And how much have those damned crows told you?” she demanded with a frown.

    Drustan’s eyes sparkled as he answered, “Silver bullet.”

    She punched him and stormed off in direction of the restaurant.

    ******

    “Am I really that pathetic?” Lea asked with a sigh as Rin studied the dart in her hand. She narrowed her eyes at the board and then hurled the dart at it. Her shoulders slumped and she snorted when it hit the second ring from the bull’s eye on the target.

    Rin asked, “What do you mean?”

    “About what Miss Aozaki said,” Lea sighed as she palmed a slim greyish blue crystal in her palm. The lined structure was familiar to Rin and not one of her favorites, yet when the small blonde was nervous, she always palmed that piece of kyanite. Even though it never picked up negative energy, it really didn’t do much else either. Rin would have preferred citrine, which never picked up negative energy but also enhanced one’s knowledge for creative uses among other things.

    Rin sighed as she hurled another dart. She smirked as it almost hit the bull’s eye -Archer would have been proud- and turned towards the other mage. She smoothed her hair back and stated, “She was very right. You’re a synchronizer and for that to work you have to join with someone. Also known as sex. And, unlike creating mana with two willing partners, you don’t have to orgasm. Someone can rape you and get the same effect. So unless you want to get constantly raped, you’d better learn how to defend yourself.”

    Lea’s grey-green eyes widened as her mouth dropped into an O. She fidgeted with her crystal and squeaked, “My abilities don’t work that way . . .”

    “You don’t need to shoot Gands like I do, but there are other ways to defend yourself,” Rin snorted as she picked up her drink from her table. She sipped on her Shirley Temple before taking the cherry out and putting it between her lips. She pulled the stem out of the cherry and proceeded to idly chew on the candied fruit.

    Lea asked, “How so?”

    “Storing mana in your crystals,” Rin answered as she lifted her eyebrows in disbelief, “Which you can make them explode on contact.”

    The crystal magus’ eyes widened even more and as she replied, “Really? Even I can do that?”

    “Pure mana can be quite volatile, but I can show you how,” Rin said as she flicked her hair back.

    Lea swallowed and squeaked, “You’re going to hold this over my head, aren’t you?”

    “Of course, your marks are almost as high as mine, and I can’t let you get away with that easily, can I?” Rin replied with a wicked grin.

    Lea’s shoulders slumped as she sniffled, “Manipulative witch.”

    “Of course,” Rin said as she tilted her head up imperiously.

    Lea snorted and then leaned over. She asked, “What’s going on between you and Drustan?”

    “He’s a friend,” Rin answered as she swallowed her cherry.

    Lea frowned and asked, “But . . . just before we got here . . . you two . . .?”

    “That loo is even more horrific than Miss Blue on her monthly,” Drustan said as he leaned over Lea and picked up his bottle of Guiness. “Or what I assume to be Miss Blue on her monthlies . . .” He opened the green bottle and proceeded to down the beer quickly.

    Rin snorted, “That is why one should use the facilities before we come here.”

    “But this place does have the best fish ever,” Lea mused, “But really, you two an item?”

    “Friends, Lea-lass, Rin and I are friends,” Drustan corrected as he placed his bottle on the table, “Good friends and nothing more, but if anyone hurts her, I’ll pound their arse to dust.”

    Lea asked, “So you’re single?”

    “Aye,” Drustan answered with a nod.

    Lea grinned and said, “Awesome.”

    Drustan’s worried green gaze met Rin’s and she smiled. “Bollocks,” the Scotsman muttered.

    ******

    Kurokawa Yukisato watched as what he liked to refer to as the Rin-tachi scurried off to the pub they usually took dinner at. The giant Scot walked between the two girls, the stocky blonde and the raven haired temptress with her sparkling aquamarine eyes. Those same eyes he’d noticed when he had first walked into the Clock Tower and met the Tohsaka, the last member of that magus family.

    The Kurokawa Clan was an odd one with legends of mixed blood in their family. It was rumored that someone of the Tohno clan raped his great-great grandmother years ago and it was that bastard child, not one of his grandfather’s, that represented Yukisato’s bloodline. Even through the demon blood was quite thin within Yukisato, there were times where he heard it whisper to him.

    Like the moment he looked into Tohsaka Rin’s ocean colored eyes.

    He’d become obsessed, and coming from such a dark family, he had approached her through challenges and insults. Yet each time Rin had come out the victor with a toss of those ebon tresses and a wicked gleam in her gem bright eyes. So the improbable temptress had filled his thoughts with those of possession instead of power, which was the whole reason he was here.

    His father would have disapproved that he was straying from learning because of one simple Grail War participant who managed to survive. If anything, if he had found out that the Magical Gunner Miss Blue was currently acting as a substitute instructor he would have ordered Yukisato to take her -to impregnate her- by any means possible.

    That was just the nature of the beast in the Kurokawa clan.

    You keep what you take and what you kill and power is absolute either wielded personally or through secondary means such as a talented child.

    However, he wanted to keep Rin for himself. Of course a child created out of that union would be powerful, but Rin would control him, no matter what. He knew that the instant he began their tiny tiffs against one and another. She saw it as almost playful, he saw that he couldn’t obtain her.

    You just don’t have the means to do so yet.

    Yukisato spun around at the voice in his head. He frowned and said aloud, “Who’s there?”

    The soft, giggling child-like female voice spoke yet again, That’s cute, you want that girl who doesn’t want you. Who’ll never want you because she’s pining after a ghost she can’t touch again, despite her former mastery.

    “Mind reading is very rude,” Yukisato said dryly as he adjusted his coat around him.

    Out of the fog stepped a petite figure dressed in a flowing black dress with her long black hair flowing behind her. She focused ruby eyes on him and her skin was the color of moonlight. She almost drifted to him, a creature of fog and shadows and he watched her.

    She stopped mere feet before him and looked up at him with those glowing red eyes. She tilted her head and asked, “Would he make Blackmore a good gift?”

    “Well, if Blackmore changes him himself then the brat’ll become a bird,” a stream lined figure in black armor said as he appeared beside the girl in black. He held a wickedly sharp sword in his hands and red eyes gleamed beneath the helm of his armor.

    A man garbed in a white breast plate but with a flowing red lined white cloak appeared beside the girl as well. He wore a tricorn hat at a jaunty angle and smirked at Yukisato. He placed his hands on his hips and said, “If not, I’d like to take him.”

    “Well, that settles it then,” the teenage girl said as she put a hand on the man in white’s shoulder and smiled up at him. “You can have him, my White Knight.”

    The black armored man asked, “What about Primate Murder?”

    Red eyes twinkled as white shoulders shook as she chuckled beneath her hand. She answered, “Silly, there would be nothing left if I fed him to Primate Murder. He’d be a bloody smear. We want a magus Dead Apostle, right? To get things going.”

    “Why do you care so much about the Magus Association anyway, princess?” the man in white asked with a sigh.

    Her eyes narrowed and said, “Because it’s the beginning. Take out the Mages and the Church and she’ll come back to play.”

    “You beat her once, why bother so again?” the Black Knight asked.

    Yukisato glared and snapped, “What the hell are you three blathering on about?”

    “Dear boy, we’re Dead Apostles, and you’re going to become one too,” the man in white all but purred as he moved towards Yukisato.

    Yukisato snorted, “I highly doubt it.” He opened the door within his shadow and stepped into it. He was surrounded the somber greys, violets, blues and black that made up his shadows. He began to run through his world, but a hand garbed in white reached out before him and grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket. He cried out as he was jerked back into foggy London right before the man in white.

    The princess giggled, “Aww, he thought he could get away. Have fun, Svelten . . .”

    Svelten’s red eyes bore down on Yukisato. The young mage squirmed and pushed on the larger man’s shoulders before he was whipped around with his back against the Dead Apostle. He screamed as he was shoved down onto his knees with the vampire bent over him.

    He yelped as his coat was lifted up ceremoniously away. He began to prey as his pants were ripped from his body. And he began to moan in ecstacy as the fangs entered his throat as the vampire lord took him.

    The last thing he was truly aware of through the haze of almost painful orgasmic bliss and blood was the young girl’s voice asking, “Strout? Is that really suppose to go there?”

    “Apparently so, the mage’s enjoying it,” was the embarrassed reply.

    ******

    Drustan was feeling rather good with a couple of Guinesses in his system. He stood in the middle of two fine lasses and finally got whatever was bothering Rin out in the open. He studied the black haired mage thoughtfully.

    Under all the pretenses, she was just a normal, if sometimes lazy and tomboyish girl.

    A girl who had her heart broken and sacrificed something that no proper lass should.

    Aye, he was quite fond of Rin, but it was a friendly, little sister fondness. Sides, the lass was too tiny. She’d break. Now, Aoko on the other hand . . .

    Well, he was going to go toss off a bit of seed with his hand to the image of the impressive older redheaded magus attacking him as soon as he got to his flat and into the shower.

    “You’re not paying attention,” Rin said, snapping his mind out of that particular vison.

    Lea frowned at the piece of quartz in her hand and said, “I’m sucking ass at this Rin.”

    “No, you have it in your head that you can’t do it so therefore you’re making yourself incapable of doing a task that would be quite simple for you,” Rin snapped as she slapped her hand over the piece of crystal in the blonde mage’s hand.

    Drustan looked away with a chuckle and shook his head. He heard a soft caw above his head and looked up. He frowned at the crow looking down at him from the lit street light as they walked.

    From the corner of his eye he saw Rin force Lea’s hand over her crystal. He dimly heard their conversation as he looked up at the oddly placed crow. Not that crows and London were a strange combination, just crows, despite being all black, were not nocturnal birds.

    The crow’s black eyes met Drustan’s and he saw the quartz flash golden. He heard Lea make a joyous noise that always reminded him of a marmot as the crow bristled and cawed loudly. It flapped its wings furiously and cawed its warning again.


    Frowning, he took each girl’s arm with his hands.

    Lea’s eyes widened as she went, “Eh?” She was still holding her charged crystal.

    Rin asked, “What the hell is wrong, Drustan?”

    “I’m walking you lasses home, no questions asked,” Drustan said grimly as he propelled the girls to their flats.



    The Law Unto Herself Chronicles- JukePop Serial

    Forest is a vampire who's a bit too good for her own good and doesn't know when to leave things alone. Armed with a ridiculously large hand gun, martial arts skills, a bitching pony car, and a love for pop culture she fights the forces of evil. Urban Fantasy 80's Style.

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    Elfgasm: The phenomenon that occurs among the general populace whenever a certain user who has been claimed to wear jackboots and is pointy-eared posts an idea or updates and is met with majority approval to the point of near-zeal as a result of said poster's popularity with the writing crowd.

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    Chapter Two


    Grey eyes like freshly forged steel gazed at her smugly from over the tea cup. Curious, she set her tea cup down as well and blinked. That wide, mobile mouth grinned ever so slightly and her breath caught in her throat.

    “You’re dead,” she whispered as her left hand curled into a fist.

    One of those steely eyes closed as the grin spread across those dusky, handsome features. He replied in his velvet laden voice, “Of course, I’m a Heroic Spirit after all.”

    She shook her head as he took another sip of tea. She said, “No, I mean . . . you died . . .”

    “Fulfilling my duty to the only person that I proudly call Master,” he said firmly as his eyes met hers.

    Her clinched fist began to shake as her eyes grew hot. “Don’t say that, I messed up . . . You didn’t remember who you were and . . .”

    That strong mouth opened to speak and he said, “Rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngggggggg!”


    Rin’s eyes opened as the shrill ring of the phone woke her from her slumber. There were hot tears streaking down her face and her chest ached. She looked at the back of her left hand, at the pale, unmarred skin she saw there. The shrieking ringing continued and she sat up with a grunt.

    She reached over and grabbed the cordless off its charger. She cradled it between her shoulder and ear and said, “Hello.”

    “Moshi-moshi Onee-san,” came the sunny reply.

    Rin found herself smiling despite herself and said, “Good morning, Sakura.”

    “Did I wake you too early?” Sakura asked softly and Rin could imagine her baby sister whisking a lock of purple hair behind her ear.

    The elder Tohsaka looked over at her alarm clock. It was buzzing and she reached over and set it off. She said, “No, in fact, I should thank you for waking me.”

    “Oversleeping again, Onee-san?” Sakura chuckled.

    Rin ran a hand through her sleep tousled hair and replied, “I was having an odd dream.”

    “What kind of dream?” Sakura asked impishly.

    Rin frowned at her blank hand and answered absently, “About someone who died.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” Sakura said softly.

    Rin found herself smiling faintly as she replied, “I’m not.”

    “So it was a good dream then?” Sakura asked.

    Rin frowned and replied, “It was rather vague actually.”

    “How are things going in England?” Sakura asked brightly.

    “Rainy and foggy. Some of the mages here are interesting, one’s annoying but I’ve found a friend so you can stop fretting,” Rin said dryly as she lifted her nightgown while she padded to the kitchen.

    Sakura giggled and asked, “What sort of a friend?”

    “A tall, good looking Scottish mage with a purring lilt to his voice,” Rin answered sardonically as she put water in her tea kettle.

    Sakura sounded pleased as she said, “Good! I’m glad you found someone, Onee-san.”

    “And what about you?” Rin asked as she placed the kettle onto the stove. With a subtle flick of her wrist, the burners lit and she adjusted the flames.

    Sakura’s sigh told her enough before she answered sweetly, “I’m fine, I promise.”

    “Shirou’s still pinning after Saber, isn’t he?” Rin snorted as she stuck an English muffin in the toaster.

    Sakura sighed before answering, “Sempai just needs some time, Onee-san, that’s all. Maybe you should come and visit, that’s all. I miss you and it would be good for Sempai.”

    Now that would just be lovely, wouldn’t it? Going to that house, with Ilya and my baby sister and Shirou still chasing that ridiculous idea of his, Rin thought with a snort as she grabbed the butter and strawberry jam from her refrigerator. Instead she answered, “I would, but I am in heavy studies right now at the Association, especially now that Aozaki Aoko is acting as an instructor.”

    “I’m sorry, Onee-san, but who’s that?” Sakura asked in a slow tone.

    Rin grabbed her tea pot and Earl Grey when the whistle for the tea pot sounded out. As she walked back over to the stove she answered, “One of the world’s five most powerful mages. She could easily take on several Servants or a Dead Apostle by herself without blinking.”

    “What’s a Dead Apostle?” Sakura asked.

    Rin turned off the burner and proceeded to pour the boiling water in the tea pot. She answered with a tiny smirk, “A vampire.”

    “Vampires exist?” Sakura squeaked.

    Rin chuckled and replied, “Come on, little sister, both your big sister and the guy you have a huge crush on both fought in a war using the spirits of Epic Heroes as Servants and you doubt the existence of vampires?”

    “It just . . . sounds so odd,” Sakura amended.

    The toaster popped and Rin slathered butter proceeded by the thick jam over the bread. She replied,
    “Well, it’s more intense than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’ll freely admit.”

    “You know we don’t watch Western TV here, Onee-san,” Sakura chuckled, “Matter of fact, only Fuji-nee and Ilya-chan are the only two around here who really watch TV.”

    Rin stared at her tea pot, willing the tea to brew faster. She remembered Archer bringing that first cup of tea and how utterly perfect it had been. He even knew how much sugar and cream she took in her tea. She hastily spooned some sugar and poured some cream in her tea cup as she continued to wait.

    Rin replied, “They play it frequently at a pub I visit.”

    “Well, I’m glad you’re adjusting, Onee-san. Ilya-chan was telling horrid stories about the Association and being a mage. I wanted to check on you,” Sakura admitted softly.

    Rin found herself smiling as she poured the tea into her prepared cup. She replied, “That’s sweet of you to worry about me, Sakura-chan.”

    There was a sweet giggle that made her heart catch in her chest as Sakura replied, “Well, you’re my Onee-san. If I don’t worry about you, then no one else will.”

    “Well, I am throttling that spoiled brat next time I visit, mark my words,” Rin snorted as she stirred her tea. She took a sip and started to quietly eat her muffin.

    Sakura chided, “Onee-san, Ilya-chan’s just a little girl, you should be nicer to her.”

    “You, Teiga and Shirou spoil her rotten. She needs discipline,” Rin sneered between bites. She’d wanted to smack that smug look off that brat’s face. Needed to. For Archer. For herself and her loss.

    Why the hell do I keep going back to that?
    Rin thought before taking a fierce drink of tea.

    Sakura snickered and said, “How could we not?”

    “I couldn’t,” Rin said dryly as she shoved the rest of her muffin into her mouth.

    Sakura asked, “You’re eating breakfast, aren’t you?”

    “Yes, then I need to shower and head for class,” Rin answered softly, sadly almost.

    Sakura replied, “It’s okay, Onee-san, it was good to talk to you though.”

    “And you keep at Shirou, he deserves to be happy,” Rin added softly.

    Sakura frowned and asked, “What about you, Onee-san? I thought you liked Shirou too?”

    “I’m haunted by a ghost,” Rin whispered softly.

    Sakura’s puzzlement was audible as she asked, “What do you mean, Onee-san?”

    “That you’re a better match for Shirou than I am, keep working at it,” Rin said brightly.

    Sakura sighed happily and said, “Thank you, Onee-san, and you have a good day. Learn lots for us.”

    “I will, Sakura-chan, and take care,” Rin said fondly as she hung up the phone. She finished the rest of her breakfast and then ran to the shower. Hopefully, I won’t be haunted the rest of the day, she thought dryly.

    ******

    “Kurokawa’s not here today,” Lea said as she peered into her book.


    The three of them were at the Clock Tower’s library. There were other various mages milling about quietly, noses all but burrowed in books, suspicious eyes glancing out occasionally. They ranged in ages from mere children to the elderly. Normally, mages were suspicious and distrusting of other mages, hoarding their secrets and techniques, luckily, their group wasn’t like that.

    Drustan smiled and said, “Maybe he got eaten.”

    “Who’d want to eat Yukisato?” Rin snorted as she grabbed her reading glasses from her purse. She opened the case and slid them onto her face. Nodding, the tiny German print was clearer to read now.

    Drustan answered, “Someone desperate, lass.”

    Lea mused, “Is this good eating or bad eating?”

    “There’s a difference?” Drustan asked with a frown.

    Rin smiled as she turned the page. “Come on, Drustan, don’t tell me your precious crows didn’t tell you about that.”

    Drustan’s freckled cheeks flushed as he looked away. He cleared his throat and said, “You got me there, Rin-lass.”

    Lea frowned and said, “But it’s weird. I mean, normally he’d show up, say something vaguely witty to Rin and insult the both of us because we’re not Japanese or some crap like that.”

    “Some crap like that? Lea, sometimes your mastery of the English language astounds me,” Rin said dryly as she focused on the German text.

    Her eyes widened as the words became clearer.

    It was, in complete detail, how to create a familiar.

    Again, steel grey eyes haunted her and she slammed the book shut. She huffed, shoved it away and stared at it. Damn it, it’s a little late for that sort of wistful thinking, isn’t it Tohsaka? Rin thought bitterly to herself as she looked away from the book.

    “Rin?” Lea asked quietly as Rin took her glasses off.

    She rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed. “Nothing, nothing at all I’m being stupid,” she snorted darkly.

    Drustan picked up the book and snorted, “Bugger, my German’s worse than my French, and that’s not saying anything.”

    “It’s about creating a familiar,” Lea mused as she began to thumb through it. “Nifty, one can even make spirits familiars and give them physical form.”

    Green eyes met hers steadily and he reached out and patted her hand. Rin turned her head away and tilted it at a haughty angle, “You know how much mana that would cost to do so? It would be a ridiculous waist of effort and power.”

    “Speaking of effort and power, look at this baby,” Lea said proudly as she pulled a violet silk pouch from her jeans pocket and sat it on the table.

    Rin blinked and said, “Yes, we’re all aware that your favorite color is purple, however, I don’t get it.”

    “What’s inside the pouch, duh,” the healer snorted as she pulled the string and fished out a quartz point the size of one of her small, plump fingers.

    Rin’s eyes widened as she took the pulsating crystal into her own hand. “How long where you charging this last night?”

    “About an hour, I was catching up on American TV,” Lea answered proudly.

    Rin felt the shutter of power flow through her. One tiny charge in just the right manner could make the crystal into either a volatile weapon or a powerful healing tool. “How many of these did you do?” Rin asked as she handed the crystal back to the blonde mage.

    Lea smiled and answered, “Just the one, I mean, yeah, I know like my mana and magical circuits work towards the healing and synchronizing end of things, but, you know, I don’t want anyone calling Rape Time on my ass.”

    “Good. Because of your unique abilities, you will be sought after, and it’s a wonder you weren’t approached before now,” Rin said dryly.

    Drustan chuckled, “Well, you’ve never met her father.”

    “I take it your father’s a mage as well,” Rin said.

    Lea winched and said, “Not technically, they wanted him to come here, but he told them no thank you. His gifts aren’t meant to be used like that he said.”

    Drustan smirked and added, “And he threatened them with an axe.”

    “It was a tomahawk, thank you very much,” Lea snorted.

    “And your family?” Rin asked Drustan.

    Drustan said, “Hale and hardy Druids the lot of them. Mum talks to plants, Da to animals and Grandmum can make things grow out of the ground. I’m a fluke and got all of this, plus Great-Granddad’s ability to harness the elements. They talked it out and agreed it would be good of me to come here. To at least spy anyway.”

    Lea asked, “And your family’s been with the Association for ages right? I mean, you have a seal and stuff.”

    Rin nodded and replied, “Yes.”

    “So, are you going to be working on a project soon or are you just continuing to focus your abilities?” Drustan asked.

    Rin answered, “Continuing to focus. I have had enough of special projects for a little while.”

    “I’m working on something,” Lea said, “I mean, because I suck at most things, so I figure . . . I’m working on something.”

    Drustan smiled and said, “I’ll continue with talking to Nature.”

    Rin smiled and said, “That’s part of the reason I remain with you two.”

    “Because we’re not competitive and you can sponge on us?” Lea asked brightly.

    Rin tapped her friend’s forehead with a book and said, “I do not sponge.”

    “You’re lazy, Rin-lass, we all know it,” Drustan said as he perked up and picked up a book in Gaelic.

    Rin glared and slapped his arm, “I am not.”

    “Laaaazzzzyyyyy,” Lea drawled in her sometimes audible Southern US accent.

    ******

    “The blonde American is a synchronizer,” the old mage said in his German accent as he watched the mirror. “She . . . can heal and produce mana at a rapid rate that she can distribute to others, however, her general spell casting abilities are low. Now, the large Scottish boy is a Druadic mage. He’s powerful, but he has to do with nature and life.”

    Blackmore pointed to the girl with the long black hair dressed in red. He asked, “And her?”

    “Tohsaka Rin,” old Adolf answered as he rubbed the back of his head.

    The giant Dead Apostle in the black armor said in his iron soft voice, “That sir name sounds familiar.”

    “That family is spoken highly of by Wizard Martial Zelretch,” the crow like Dark Apostle said as he flexed his wings attached to his arms.

    Strout locked eyes with the quivering mage and asked, “Powerful?”

    “She fought in the last Grail War and helped destroy the corrupted Grail,” he squeaked out.

    Blackmore smiled and said, “She would be a wild card, if an excellent candidate.”

    “Yes, but not for you. If the Wizard Martial is interested in her, then she is my Princess’s and no one else’s,” Strout continued.

    Blackmore’s ebon eyes narrowed as he sneered, “Your princess can go hang herself for all I care. I serve the Crimson Moon, not that spoiled brat.”

    “But yet you’re bound to her,” the Black Knight said somewhat smugly and the crow like vampire’s feather’s bristled ever so slightly as he looked away.

    Blackmore stated, “Against my will.”

    “It was either that or to be bound to the Church for the rest of eternity,” Strout said calmly.

    The aged magus looked between the two Dead Apostles and wrung his hands. He continued to stare into the mirror and his eyes widened as he caught sight of a long banner of bright crimson hair. The figure was tall, lean yet shapely dressed simply in blue jeans, a white T-shirt and sneakers. She carried a suitcase slung over one shoulder as she wove through the library, catching feared and suspicious stares and glances with each passing movement.

    “Beautiful woman,” Strout said appreciatively as he caught sight of the Magical Gunner Miss Blue, one Aoko Aozaki, currently one of the Five most powerful mages on the planet.

    Blackmore snorted, “Don’t you prefer young boys?”

    “That’s my counterpart, myself, I have an eye for women,” Strout answered as his helm tilted appreciatively at Aoko, “Who is she?”

    “That’s the Magical Gunner, Miss Blue, Aozaki Aoko, who’s name is spoken in the same breath as the Wizard Martial,” Blackmore said as he pointed at her with a claw like finger.

    Strout snorted, “That woman is that powerful?”

    Adolf stared at Aoko, remembering when she’d first arrived in his classroom. It had been before the full mastery of her powers. She hadn’t been fire bright then, not as she was now, but she still had enough force to draw one’s attention to her. She’d been coarse, rough around the edges and eager. Very, very eager to surpass them all.

    Eventually she did, mastering the rare wind magic like lightning.

    Adolf stared at the Black Knight and replied, “She has enough power to make the White Princess still her hand.”

    “And my princess keeps her long, golden hair as a trophy, so that’s not enough to give us too much pause,” Strout replied in his iron roughened voice almost whimsically.

    A tiny smile appeared on Blackmore’s pallid features as he watched the redheaded sorceress. He said, “She’d be an excellent candidate.”

    Adolf’s eyes widened as he looked at Blackmore. Blackmore’s pitiless black eyes met his, narrowing ever so slightly. Adolf froze as his heart picked up in his chest. He stayed still and kept silent as Strout eyed Aoko.

    “She seems rather defiant,” Strout said appreciatively as he watched Aoko speak to another senior magus. The older man blanched ever so slightly as Aoko grinned, her shoulders shaking with mirth. She smiled and patted the other man’s shoulder before turning on her heel, her red hair swaying behind her with the movement.

    Blackmore smiled and offered, “Perhaps your brat will let you have her.”

    “Perhaps,” Strout said thoughtfully, “if not, then that is her will.”

    Adolf asked, “And the shadow weaver? Kurokawa?”

    “Svelten had his fun with him. He’s progressing quickly from mere Dead into Dead Apostle though, we should be able to use him within a week or so,” Strout answered calmly.

    Adolf asked, “Why is the Black Princess doing all of this? Why attack the Mages’ Association? Why not the Church?”

    “The Church is not nearly as powerful as the Mages’ Association,” Strout replied, “And turning the ranks of the Mages’ Association into Dead Apostles will draw attention of the Church, but with that power in my Lady’s numbers, those paladins wouldn’t stand a chance.”

    Blackmore’s eyes bore into Adolf’s again, making him squirm and sweat. The avian former mage said, “The brat just wants to get older sister’s attention and fight her once again. She’s bored. This is a mere power play and anything she can’t use will get trampled in the process.”

    “Oh God,” Adolf breathed as he shrank back from Blackmore’s advancing form.

    Blackmore shook his head, his black hair reflecting iridescent greens and violets in the cavern’s dull light. The ancient vampire stated, “No, not God. God has nothing to do with this. Praying will get you no where, besides, the only thing you ever had faith in was your magic.”

    The old magus tilted his head up and faced Blackmore. He clinched his hands into fists at his side and braced himself as the vampire advanced. When sharp fangs almost gently penetrated his throat, hot tears spilled forth from the old man’s eyes.

    He did not pray.

    He did not grovel.

    He did not hope.

    He simply gave in to the carrion bird transforming him into something else, something other.

    After all, it was either transmutation or being crushed under the wheels of the carelessly playful juggernaut that was coming for them all.

    ******

    “I’m starving,” Lea moaned as she lifted her arms above her head and stretched, arching back.

    Drustan ran a hand through his thick hair and said, “Aye, me too, I say we break for dinner and come back.”

    “You two go ahead, I’m almost done here,” Rin said absently as she continued to read.

    Earlier, in the library, she had stumbled onto the journal of one of the former participants in the Second Grail War. Intrigued, she had picked it up and began to read it. Especially the rich detail the old man had put into his summoning, a Berserker with long red hair and blazing blue eyes.

    A Berserker, who he had later found out, was the former Iceni Queen, Boudica. The Lioness who was the only person in history who ever managed to take London in vengeance after she had watched her own daughters gang raped by Roman soldiers in front of her. To add insult to injury, they had flogged her. However, instead of breaking her will like the Romans had hoped, it just enraged her enough to lead a massacre throughout Great Britain.

    Eventually, as every story of a great freedom fighter turns, the Romans caught up with Boudica and her war party. To avoid capture, the warrior queen took her own life. The old magus had found the very bronze knife she had used to slit her own wrists and used it to summon her.

    Rin had followed the exact same steps almost to the letter when she summoned Archer. Except, instead of an artifact, she had used the ruby pendent her father had given her as her focus. She frowned at the text as she reread it again and again.

    Ilya summoned Berserker with a piece of the temple that Hercules was buried at. Shirou gained Saber because he had Avalon hidden within his body by his stepfather. The magus who summoned Lancer had the earrings he wore. All of them had something tying them to their Servants’ past lives.

    Except me. Is this why Archer didn’t know who he was? Or did he know who he was and simply not tell me?


    Rin snorted as she slammed her book shut and pushed it away. She grunted as she laid her head on the desk. She pounded her hand against the desk before rubbing her forehead. And why the hell am I still brooding about it?

    “You seem frustrated,” a throaty female voice said in front of her.

    Rin looked up to see Aoko leaning against the desk, her suitcase slung over her shoulder. Sapphire eyes flickered over her as she placed the suitcase onto the table. Rin sat up and said, “Vaguely.”

    “Wanna get something to eat?” Aoko asked as she jerked a thumb behind her.

    Rin gestured to where Drustan and Lea had been and said, “I’m going to meet Drustan and Lea.”

    “They’ll understand, eat lunch with me,” Aoko said as she leaned towards Rin, blue eyes bright with a tiny, eager grin on her pretty face.

    The younger mage’s cheeks flushed as she asked, “Why do you want to eat lunch with me?”

    “I want to talk, that’s all,” Aoko said as she placed her hands on the table, getting even closer.

    Rin smiled back as she began to stand up. She said, “You know, I think I’d like that.”

    “You paying?” Aoko asked as she energetically rose up.

    Rin sighed and looked heavenward. She replied, “Only because you’re a senior mage and it’s the respectable thing to do.”

    “If I was the Further, would you make the same oh so generous offer?” Aoko asked as she grabbed her suitcase.

    “Of course not. Like I said, it was the respectable thing to do, and for me to do something respectable, I have to have respect for the party involved,” the raven haired teen retorted.

    ******

    “When I agreed to take you out for lunch, I didn’t expect this,” Rin drawled as the two female mages made their way through the smoky pub.

    Aoko grinned at the younger mage and said, “They have good stake here.”

    “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been here,” Rin said as she made a face at a wadded up bit of paper on the grimy floor at her feet, “Nor would I ever want to go here.” She side stepped bits of garbage in her expensive loafers as Aoko strode easily through the grimy pub.

    Aoko tilted her head back to her new student and said, “It’s a mage’s tradition to eat here while studying at the Clock Tower.”

    “Well, perhaps in this one instance I should break tradition,” Rin said with a grimace as her eyes found something in the corner.

    Aoko, knowing this place rather well, had an idea what Rin was seeing. Rin hissed, “If that was a rodent, I’m turning and leaving.”

    “You’d promise to buy me lunch at the place of my choosing. I’m holding you to that bargain, Tohsaka,” Aoko said as she grabbed the girl’s slender wrist and began to drag her to one of the back booths. On their way back to the booth, a few of the myriad of various men’s eyes traveled up and down both mage’s bodies. Rin glared at one man looking particularly interested in the thigh highs and miniskirt the teen was sporting. Aoko met the eyes of a burly middle aged dock worker who’s eyes were focused on where the white fabric of her T-shirt strained over her breasts.

    Rin folded her arms under her breasts and tossed her hair back. She snorted, “Nor do I enjoy being eyed like a piece of meat on display.”

    “You just got to know how to handle these assholes,” Aoko said as they past the man ogling her breasts.

    The Wind Mage locked her foot on the stool’s leg as she past and jerked hard in one fluid motion. There was a startled cry, the crystalize crash of a beer bottle and a muffled thump as the man hit the floor. Aoko smiled ever so slightly to herself as Rin’s large eyes blinked at the man before she hurried to meet Aoko at their booth.

    “Like I said, you have to know how to handle those assholes,” Aoko said as a wiry man with an apron and thinning dark hair approached their booth.

    Rin primly crossed her legs -the girl was so haughty Aoko wanted to chuckle- as the man approached. Familiar brown eyes met Aoko’s as he reached out and hugged her. Aoko returned the hug and petted the man’s thinning back.

    “Aozaki, long time no see,” he said joyfully.

    Aoko beamed and replied, “Good to see you too, Pryce. This is an associate of mine, Rin. Rin, this is Rupert Pryce.”

    “Good to meet you, love,” Pryce said as he extended his hand to Rin.

    Rin eyeballed his hand as if it was going to jump up, bite her and then proceed to smear filth all over her. Aoko kicked the snooty mage under the table and Rin glared at her before extending a hand out to the bartender. Rin smiled and said, “I’m Rin Tohsaka, it’s good to meet you Mr. Pryce.”

    “So, the regular, Aozaki? And like two for your little friend,” Pryce asked Aoko as he leaned against the wood post of the booth.

    Aoko looked Rin over and said, “Yeah, she could use some more steak, but . . . I don’t think she can put it away. I’ll take my regular and she’ll take the normal.”

    “Got it, drinks?” Pryce asked.

    Aoko answered, “The dark lager and Tohsaka?”

    “What are you ordering me?” Rin asked as she looked between magus and bartender.

    Aoko waved her hand and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll like it. Dark lager for me and Shirley Temple for her.”


    “Got it, I’ll be back with your drinks, but it’ll be a few minutes on the cow, Red,” Pryce said with a wink as he walked back to the bar.

    Aoko rubbed her hands together and replied, “I know, but it’ll be worth it.”

    The British man’s chuckle wafted back to them as he left the two women alone.

    Rin propped her arm against the table and then rested her chin on her fist as she eyed Aoko. “First you bring me to this filthy pit then you proceed to order some sort of cow.”

    “Trust me, Tohsaka, you’ll like it,” Aoko replied with a shrug.

    Rin sighed and said, “This would be some place that Lea or Drustan would drag me two.”

    “Maybe you should bring them here one time. It’s good to see some mages that are actually friends instead of secretly planning to stab each other in the back,” Aoko pointed out with a nod.

    Pryce returned with their respective drinks and sat them in front of the two women. He smiled briefly at them before heading back to his kitchen. Aoko took a sip of the bittersweet dark lager and sighed. “God, this is the good stuff.”

    Rin plucked the cherry out of her drink and stared at it. “How do you know that I developed a taste for these?” she asked.

    Aoko shrugged and replied, “I didn’t. I just figured you’d like the cherry. Besides, this place is missing a lot of good drinks that we have in Japan.”

    Rin stirred her drink thoughtfully as asked, “What did you want to talk to me about, Aozaki-sensei?”

    “The Fifth Grail War,” Aoko said as she sat her beer aside.

    Rin shrugged and answered, “Emyia Shirou and his Servant destroyed the corrupted Grail and defeated Gilgamish. That’s all there was to it.”

    “Emyia Shirou’s not listed among Magi though,” Aoko pointed out.

    Rin answered, “Well, he only has one talent. Besides, he’s putting things back together at home. I highly doubt he’d be able to handle the life of a Magus.”

    “And you helped him do so, why?” Aoko pressed as she studied the younger girl. Rin looked away and flicked her hair off her shoulder. Aoko recognized these gestures in the normally over-confidant magus.

    Rin answered, “Because that was the only thing to do.”

    “You could have killed him,” Aoko pointed out dryly.

    Rin’s cheeks flushed as she sat up straight. She replied, “I could not.”

    “You have feelings for him?” Aoko continued.

    Rin’s eyes narrowed as she retorted, “If I did? So?”

    “If you did, then why are you here? Or rather, why isn’t he with you?” Aoko asked softly.

    Rin looked down at her hands and said, “He fell in love with his Servant . . . I . . .”

    “Yes?” Aoko pushed.

    “I made some careless mistakes,” Rin answered icily, “One of which cost me my Servant, a very good one I might add, despite being Archer class.”

    And there’s the rub.

    Aoko smiled gently and said, “The both of you were too young to fight in such a War, Rin.”

    “I was fulfilling a promise I made to my father,” she replied.

    Aoko met Rin’s eyes and stated, “Rin, your father was an asshole.”

    “Most mages are,” Rin retorted, flicking her long, black hair back and looking away, “Normal families don’t give their daughters to abusive foster parents to have her molested repeatedly by her older stepbrother. Normal parents love their children and will do anything for them, not use them to achieve their own selfish ends.”

    Aoko said, “I have a sister. She’s a magus too, a puppet master of all things. Greedy bitch, but she’s still family.”

    “You’re a rather unorthodox magus,” Rin pointed out with a tiny smile.

    Aoko smiled back and replied, “There needs to be more of us out there. It’ll show those uptight bastards a few things.”

    “Like Drustan and Lea?” Rin offered thoughtfully.

    Aoko met the younger girl’s eyes and reached out and patted her hand. She said, “And you, Rin.”

    “So you want me to revolutionize the Mage’s Association then?” Rin said dryly with a tiny, arrogant smirk.

    Aoko snorted and shoved her own hair back. She replied, “Well, you’re arrogant enough to do so, but they definitely need to break some of the traditions or we’re going to find ourselves extinct.”

    “You do have a point,” Rin said thoughtfully.

    Aoko grinned and said, “Good. Now, about the Grail War? What was that like?”

    “Exciting, frustrating, heartbreaking, beautiful, thrilling and frightening all at once,” Rin said with a tiny fond smile, “Especially when helping a boy with a ridiculously huge hero complex that managed to summon the most powerful of all the Servant Classes.”

    Aoko chuckled as Pryce returned with huge plates with heaping slabs of steak, potatoes and carrots. Rin’s eyes widened as she poked her somewhat smaller, but still huge, portion of fat dripping steak in front of her. Aoko looked at the elder bartender and smiled, “Thanks, Pryce.”

    “You’re welcome, love. Funny how such a lovely girl can put away stake like you do,” the Brit laughed with a happy chuckle.

    She smirked as she picked up her fork and stake knife. There was a sharp metallic clang as she scraped the blade of her knife over the edge of her fork. “Well, I did win the steak eating contest at home,” she proclaimed with a grin.

    Rin looked up and asked, “How am I suppose to eat all of this?”

    “With your mouth, pet, with your mouth,” Pryce said with a chuckle and a tiny wave as he walked off.

    Aoko began to carve into her serving of meat as Rin continued to stare at it with wide eyes. The older mage chuckled as Rin poked it with her fork then looked back up at Aoko with wide sea colored eyes. Aoko gestured at the food and said, “You’d better get going Rin, we’re not leaving till you’re done.”

    Rin’s face paled even more as she all but wailed, “You’re sadistic, you know that!”

    “And you’re ten pounds underweight,” the redhead proclaimed with a mouthful of steak.

    Rin whimpered as she began to cut into the fatty meat.

    (And yes, there is eventually a Rin x Aoko sex scene.)



    The Law Unto Herself Chronicles- JukePop Serial

    Forest is a vampire who's a bit too good for her own good and doesn't know when to leave things alone. Armed with a ridiculously large hand gun, martial arts skills, a bitching pony car, and a love for pop culture she fights the forces of evil. Urban Fantasy 80's Style.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    Elfgasm: The phenomenon that occurs among the general populace whenever a certain user who has been claimed to wear jackboots and is pointy-eared posts an idea or updates and is met with majority approval to the point of near-zeal as a result of said poster's popularity with the writing crowd.

  3. #3
    War sword KooriRenchuu's Avatar
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    Aoko and Rin seem to get along very well! I look forward to the next installment!

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    The Royal Chancellor of Avalon Keyne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KooriRenchuu View Post
    Aoko and Rin seem to get along very well! I look forward to the next installment!
    It's a dead fic. This may be all there is.


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    Stupid Low Luck Rating Elf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keyne View Post
    It's a dead fic. This may be all there is.
    No, like I said in my above notes there are eight to ten fairly long chapters. Most of which contain porn after the fourth one.

    And this proves that no one reads the author's notes. There is still quite a long way to go.



    The Law Unto Herself Chronicles- JukePop Serial

    Forest is a vampire who's a bit too good for her own good and doesn't know when to leave things alone. Armed with a ridiculously large hand gun, martial arts skills, a bitching pony car, and a love for pop culture she fights the forces of evil. Urban Fantasy 80's Style.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    Elfgasm: The phenomenon that occurs among the general populace whenever a certain user who has been claimed to wear jackboots and is pointy-eared posts an idea or updates and is met with majority approval to the point of near-zeal as a result of said poster's popularity with the writing crowd.

  6. #6
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elf View Post
    No, like I said in my above notes there are eight to ten fairly long chapters. Most of which contain porn after the fourth one.

    And this proves that no one reads the author's notes. There is still quite a long way to go.
    I do! And it is nice to see this back, even if we won't get any more.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    The Royal Chancellor of Avalon Keyne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elf View Post
    No, like I said in my above notes there are eight to ten fairly long chapters. Most of which contain porn after the fourth one.

    And this proves that no one reads the author's notes. There is still quite a long way to go.
    Sowwy. ;^W^


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    ジュカイン Lycodrake's Avatar
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    Definitely wanting to see more of this. Absolutely wonderful read so far.~
    Quote Originally Posted by Seika View Post
    Yes, excellent. Go, Lyco, my proxy.
    F/GO SUPPORT

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    Evil Good RadiantBeam's Avatar
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    Hm, interesting. Shame it's dead, but it'll be cool to see how far you got before it ended.



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    Sentimental Fool NewAgeOfPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadiantBeam View Post
    Hm, interesting. Shame it's dead, but it'll be cool to see how far you got before it ended.
    I thought she just said it wasn't dead, but completed a long time ago...? Or did she never complete it after 8-10 chapters?
    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"

    -)|(-

    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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    Either way it's Elf. It's gonna be good... I hope.

  12. #12
    So it's finally up on this site. Subscribing now; no way I'm letting this out of my sight.

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    Stupid Low Luck Rating Elf's Avatar
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    Chapter Three


    “Drustan, I am seriously not hungry,” Rin said as she placed a hand over her still bloated stomach. Their pub was quieter tonight, almost empty and without the usual ruckus of college students from Oxford or other teenagers who visited it. Drustan was lifting a fork of some dripping thing towards her mouth with a big grin.

    He smiled and said, “Come on lass, you need to eat.”

    “Aoko made me eat an entire cow today. Food is one of my least worries right now,” Rin replied as she turned her face away from the Scot.

    Lea had her hand cupped over a crystal and had her eyes glowed. Her lips moved softly with invocation ,or prayer, as her hand glowed faintly. She bowed her head and her unbound strawberry blonde hair fell into her face. Her normally chipper voice was hoarse and throaty as Rin caught words like, “Creator” or “Manato” or “Blessing”. Her invocation’s a prayer, how interesting, she thought as she tilted her head thoughtfully and watched the tiny American.

    Lea lifted her head and took a deep, shaking breath before shaking her right hand and cradling it in her left. “Got it charged, Lea-lass?” Drustan asked softly.

    Grey-green eyes flickered up as the American’s head rolled languidly. She giggled before falling back in her chair. Rin yelped as she reached out to grab the other girl. Despite being shorter than Rin, Lea was compact and sturdy. Despite gamine features, Lea was rather durable and strong, so Rin setting her upright was a rather difficult task without Reinforcement.

    “You’re going to put yourself in mana burn, you know that,” Rin sighed as she smoothed the other girl’s hair out of her face.

    Lea sighed and said, “But that’s all I can do. Oh, look at me, I’m an endless power supply. Just pull down my pants and jam it in.”

    Rin looked up at Drustan and the Druid rubbed the back of his neck. He cleared his throat and explained, “We were tested while you and Aoko went to lunch, lass.”

    “God, how barbaric,” Rin snorted, “What and who was it?”

    “Some weird man in a black duster. Black something or another,” Drustan scowled and ran a hand through his hair, “I dinna like him. Felt off to me, Rin-lass.”

    Lea snorted, “At least he liked you. He thought I was some worthless bug or something.”

    “Your abilities with magic are invaluable to other mages,” Rin retorted, “It’s one of the reasons I partner with you so much.”

    Drustan snorted, “Which makes Kurokawa feel slighted.”

    “Where has that bastard gone anyway? This is the third day we haven’t heard anything about him,” Lea said as her nose scrunched up with a frown.

    Rin frowned as she looked around the oddly quiet pub. She could even make out the words of the song coming from the jukebox in the corner as Drustan wiggled his fingers at Lea. “Maybe he was devoured by hungry demons,” he moaned in an eerie voice.

    “Quiet for a second, Drustan, and listen,” Rin said as she looked around the pub.

    Lea and Drustan blinked as they followed suit. The Scot frowned and the American tilted her head thoughtfully. “They’re in mourning,” she said quietly.

    “What makes you say that?” Drustan asked with a frown.

    Rin studied a couple in the corner who were sitting quietly and looking down at dark cups of lager. Her eyes shifted over to a small group of college girls huddled together in a corner patting a sniffling girl’s hand. Her eyes widened at a middle age man who was hunched over the bar holding a shot glass with a shaking hand. Rin leaned forward and whispered, “Everyone in here is sad about something or consoling someone.”

    “Grief’s heavy shit,” Lea said idly as she twisted a lock of her hair between her fingers, “I don’t know what happened, but something did and it was of the bad.”

    Rin looked at Drustan and asked, “Could you ask your contacts if anything happened to explain this?”

    “I’d need to go outside to do so, but yes,” Drustan answered with a small nod.

    Lea tilted her head and gestured to the scant few people around her. She said, “Something like this we’d just need to turn on the news.”

    “Isn’t there a TV in here somewhere?” Rin asked as she scanned the room again.

    Drustan smiled and answered, “Above the bar.”

    Rin looked above the large fully furnished bar to see the bartender, a young attractive man in his late twenties, leaning against the bar and reading something. The TV screen right above his head was blank and the jukebox continued to play. She stood up and walked over to the bar.

    The bartender had a dark complexion signifying an Indian heritage with a gold hoop earring in his left ear. His amber flecked eyes lifted towards Rin as she rested her hands on the bar. She grinned at him and leaned against the bar with a hand on her hip. “Can I help you miss?” he asked in a very cultured British accent, probably Manx she reasoned.

    Rin pointed up to the TV with a smile and asked, “Can you turn on the news for us please?”

    He frowned at her and asked, “How can you be so morbid?”

    “What do you mean?” Rin replied as she narrowed her eyes at the bartender.

    He gestured through the bar and asked, “Don’t you know what happened?”

    “No, hence why I’m asking you to turn on the news,” Rin answered dryly.

    He shook his head and sighed, “Fine then. Don’t blame me when you need to dry your eyes.” He reached under the bar and grabbed the remote. There was an electrical click and a bright flash of white on black before the colored picture came into view.

    Rin blinked as a large red brick building with the Thames River in front of it and the elaborate St. Paul’s Cathedral looming behind it. Tragedy At the City of London School appeared on the screen as a dark haired woman in a crisp black suit appeared on the screen holding a microphone. She looked at the screen and said, “No one knows what happened, but the entire Hale house student and facility body vanished without a trace. The London police force is baffled by this turn of events but now Scotland Yard is looking in to it. I’m Shelia Telsy, and we’ll keep you updated on these tragic turn of events.”

    The bartender sighed and asked Rin, “May I turn this off now, love?”

    “Yes,” Rin answered softly before turning back to the bartender. She leaned over the bar and asked, “What happened?”

    “No one knows. One morning one of the heads of the other houses went to Hale house to find it totally empty, including it’s head of house. My older sister’s a forensics tech for the London Bobbies. Said there were little splatters of blood on the walls and floor. Oddest thing she said . . .” the bartender drew off with a tiny shake of his head.

    Rin kept the pleasant smile on her face as she said, “Thank you very much.” Then she walked back to the mages’ table. Drustan and Lea looked up at her as she grabbed her jacket. She swept it around her shoulders and slid her arms into the sleeves.

    Lea asked, “What’s going on?”

    “I want to go to the Library. I think I know what happened,” Rin said as she started to stride to the door.

    Drustan reached out and grabbed her shoulder. He asked, “What’s got those thigh highs in a twist, Rin-lass?”

    “The City of London School was attacked by a Dead Apostle,” Rin answered.

    Lea frowned and asked, “What makes you so sure?”

    “Small splotches of blood, everyone in the house gone . . . Sounds like a Dead Apostle to me,” Rin said as she tossed her hair back, “So we need to gather evidence of this and then give it to the head of the Tower.”

    Drustan smiled and said, “If we’re lucky, perhaps we could be awarded of the task of killing the wee leech ourselves.”

    “Are you insane?” Rin demanded as she stared into his open green eyes, “You know how powerful they are? Do you know what they can do?”

    Drustan shrugged and said, “Look at us, Rin. Lea is an amount of unlimited power. I wield all five elements better than any magus here. Then there’s you, Tohsaka Rin, of the Tohsaka House with your magus seal and survivor of the Holy Grail War. If any of the mages here can fight a wee vampire it’s you.”

    “If you say something so stupidly naïve, then you have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rin said as she grabbed his arm, “And we’re going to the library so I can knock some since in that dense Scottish skull of yours.”

    ******

    “There are two types of vampires,” Rin said as she slammed a heavy leather bound journal in front of Drustan and Lea. Their eyes widened at the book and the pile of dust it created as Rin stood before them with one hand on her hip and the other on her book. “Well, technically three, but vampiric creatures due to demonic blood or other reasons and just suck blood but are not beholden to the rules of the other vampires.”

    Lea pulled the book towards her and opened it. Her eyes focused on the book as she began to read at a rapid rate. “The first type of vampire is the True Ancestor while the second is the Dead Apostle,” she murmured.

    Drustan asked, “What’s the difference?”

    “True Ancestors were born as they are,” Rin said as she started to pace back and forth in front of the table, “They don’t need blood to exist, but they crave it and that craving can and often did drive them insane. Generally, the True Ancestors put themselves in an eternal sleep before that happens, but there’s always an exception. However, that’s where the Dead Apostles come in.”

    Lea’s voice was distant as she said, “Originally they were people who donated blood to the True Ancestors, hence the name Dead Apostle, they were apostles that were already dead. However, it’s really tough to become a Dead Apostle, they generally became Dead, then ghouls, then Walking Dead and finally the Dead Apostles. But one’s gotta have really high magical potential to become a DA. It generally takes like years to do so and it’s like a one in ten thousand chance to become one.”

    Drustan nodded and said, “But the higher the magical potential the quicker one becomes a beastie, right?”

    “Right, but the Church calls any vampire that’s dangerous a Dead Apostle, even though probably a lot of them are Demon Lords,” Lea explained as she continued to read at her rapid rate, “Or True Ancestors who went certifiable batshit insane.”

    Rin leaned over to the blonde and asked, “Didn’t something happen to the True Ancestors that let the Dead Apostles go on their own?”

    “I’d say the White Princess,” Lea said as she sat back in her chair and looked at the two other mages.

    Drustan asked, “Who?”

    “That was their weapon, right? One of my ancestor’s journals made fuzzy references to her. A perfect being, or so they say,” Rin mused as she tilted her head thoughtfully, “But you’re the expert on vampires, Lea.”

    Lea tightened her pony tail and chuckled, “Well, I’m morbid and vampirism always fascinated me, but anyway. It’s kinda iffy about the White Princess, but one of the legends is that she went off and killed the True Ancestors and now hunts the Dead Apostles, or rather, kinda fixates on one Dead Apostle . . . But anyway . . . about the Dead Apostles, there are like twenty-seven of the baddest of the bad, but I really don’t think they’re here. I mean, with the Association and stuff, especially since Aoko’s here. But it could be some random noobie fledgling walking dead or something.”

    “I donna think some fledgling could kill an entire house of boys without drawing attention,” Drustan said with a frown.

    Rin nodded and said, “Drustan’s right though, no mere Walking Dead would be able to pull a slaughter like that off.”

    “But we’re not talking about one of the Twenty-Seven right?” Lea asked quietly with wide eyes.

    Rin shrugged and replied, “Maybe, we know too little to make any assumptions.”

    “We should tell Aoko or what?” Drustan asked.

    Rin nodded and said, “We should tell Aoko, but I don’t know where she went after lunch.”

    “That horrible ordeal that it was, eating with that lovely woman,” Drustan said with a tiny smile.

    Rin looked at his face and snorted, “She attempted to force feed me a cow.”

    “You need to eat some more stake, Rin-lass,” Drustan replied with a smile.

    Rin tossed her hair and replied, “I’m sorry I’m not naturally curvy like Aoko, right?”

    “Um, not that you’re not lovely, but . . .” Drustan stammered as he fiddled with his large hands.

    Rin leaned forward with a wicked grin and asked, “You were turned on when she kicked our asses in class, weren’t you?”

    “Oh, Lady yes,” Drustan breathed as he flushed from the roots of his hair down to his throat.

    Lea looked away and fiddled with the pages of the book. Rin reached out and brushed her hand through the girl’s pony tail. Lea blinked and looked up, and Rin winked at her. Lea frowned and tilted her head. “Senseless crush,” Rin said with a wink.

    Drustan snorted and said, “Aye, getting along with that woman would be more troublesome to something like me than anything.”

    “What do you mean?” Lea asked.

    Drustan smiled and said, “My magics all about creation, her’s is about destruction.”

    Lea startled and looked up. She asked, “What time is it?”

    “About quarter till nine,” Drustan said as he looked at his pocket watch.

    Lea stood up, swept a stray a lock of hair behind her ear, and grabbed her bag. “Shit, I’ll see you guys later,” she said as she started to rush to the door.

    Rin frowned, grabbed the other girl’s forgotten leather jacket, held it out and asked, “Where are you going?”

    “I’ve been working on something and I’ve got a timed thingie, catch you guys later,” Lea exclaimed as she grabbed her jacket, slung it over her shoulders and continued her flight out of the Clock Tower.

    Drustan asked, “What’s with her?”

    “She mentioned some sort of project she was working on,” Rin answered with a shrug.

    Drustan kicked his feet on the table and Rin lifted her eyebrows at him. He asked, “So, what’s with you and the Lady Aoko?”


    “I don’t know, but I’m not going to question the Fourth Magic User about it,” Rin answered with a shrug as she sat across from the Scot, “But she seems interested in me.” Her eyes narrowed as she added, “And she looked into my family.”

    Drustan tapped his boots together and asked, “Dark secrets in the Tohsaka family tree?”

    “Something like that,” Rin huffed as she strummed her fingers against the hard wood table.

    Drustan smiled and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”

    “Not particularly,” Rin sighed as she ran her fingers through her bangs as she shifted in her seat.

    Drustan reached out and patted her hand with his brilliant smile. He quietly asked, “You donna agree with some of the practices that Mages still currently cling to, do you?”

    “Not one bit,” Rin answered quietly as she squeezed his hand.

    Drustan chuckled and shook his head. “No wonder you were drawn to us.”

    “Because both of you are so unorthodox,” Rin admitted with a tiny shake of her head, “I’ve realized that I prefer people who are unorthodox than those who are uptight about how everything goes.”

    Drustan grinned and asked, “So, when are you going to become more unorthodox yourself?”

    “I’m working on it,” Rin replied with a smile as she stretched in her chair.

    Drustan swung his huge legs from the table and stood up. He said, “Come on, Rin-lass, you’re exhausted. I’ll walk you home.”

    “Thanks Drustan,” Rin said as she stood up and pressed a hand to her still full stomach. “Next time Aoko wants lunch, I’m choosing the place and she’s paying.”

    Drustan chuckled and said, “I donna like Lea running off on her own either.”

    “You know how she is, she focuses on one thing and the rest of the world falls away,” Rin said as she slipped into her red jacket as Drustan shrugged on his leather coat. Drustan fell to her side as they walked out of the door together.

    ******

    “You know, I doubt I’ll ever get use to this cold,” Rin said as she shoved her hands in her coat pockets as Drustan continued to walk her home.

    Drustan canted his head as his breath created puffs of steam in the night air. He looked her mini-pleated skirt and thigh highs over and smiled. He retorted, “Maybe you’d better invest in some actual clothing and not a lampshade around your waist.”

    “I have you know that I can move very freely in this so called lampshade. Besides, my legs are my best feature,” Rin replied with a tiny grin as she flexed her left leg in front of her.

    Drustan admired the view and shook his head. He said, “Aye, fine stems, lass, but seriously, the winter here is going to be quite different than it is in Japan.”

    “Well, I’ll guess I’ll have to invest in some pants then,” Rin said as she linked his arm and began to swing it gently.

    He smiled at her and shook his head, “I’ll admit that I wouldn’t mind seeing Aoko in an outfit like that.”

    “You have a huge crush, don’t you?” Rin asked with a tiny tilt of her head that caused all of her wavy, raven hair to cascade down one shoulder.

    Drustan closed his eyes as he saw the redheaded mage in his head. She was leaning against her desk, one long leg crossed casually over the other, her hair falling past her knees like a crimson banner, and her sapphire eyes glinting as she smirked just a little it. Then she lifted one arm and pointed a finger with a blazing azure light at the end before literally obliterating the classroom.

    He shook his head and answered, “A lofty one indeed. Why do we want things we canna have, Rin-lass?”

    “Since the beginning of time there has been a draw to the forbidden,” Rin answered with a shrug, “Not to mention opposites attracting. Light to dark, life to death,” her eyes narrowed as she smiled at him, “creation to destruction.”

    Drustan sighed and said, “An impossible hope.”

    “Well, like also attracts like,” Rin said as she patted his arm and studied him, “What about Lea?”

    Drustan blinked and said, “Sweet girl, a little spacey at times, but . . . Lea’s a good lassie.”

    “Then why haven’t you asked her out?” Rin asked as she tilted her head back to the night air. The breeze picked up and whipped her hair back from her face.

    Drustan studied her with her head tilted to the wind, pale face, eyes closed and raven hair whipping back from her face. Part of the reason he couldn’t say yes to the lass was that there was something unattainable about her. Something that put her beyond his reach, her power, her grace, the far away look her aquamarine eyes sometimes got, almost everything about Rin Tohsaka reminded him of his Lady. Rin was fierce, intense, and competitive, but she was also passionate, kind, and had a good heart.

    He adored Rin, but it was the sort of adoration of a brother to his wee sister, not of that to a lover.

    She opened her eyes and studied him, demanding her answer to her question. Drustan sucked his cheek into mouth and canted his head. Lea Murphy, the American with her autumn colored hair that she always pulled back and round, fey features. She laughed easy and true and was utterly honest to the point of bluntness sometimes, but she wasn’t cruel by any since of the world. She was a tad uneasy about herself and was a wee bit jealous of the other mages at the Association.

    “She seems like she needs someone strong and steady,” Rin said gently as she patted his arm.

    Drustan looked down at her and raised his brows. He replied, “Are you playing matchmaker, lass?”

    “You helped me, so it’s my Karmanic duty to help you,” she answered as she looked away, “And Lea.”

    Drustan chuckled and hugged her. Rin stiffened for a moment before her arms awkwardly wrapped around him. He patted her hair and said, “You know, you should find happiness too, Rin-lass.”

    “I’m a mage. My duties as such come before my happiness,” Rin said as she stepped out of his arms.

    Drustan shook his head and snorted, “You sound like a broken record, lass.”

    They turned to the street where Rin’s flat was. The streetlights had all been lit, casting the old red brick buildings in a golden glow. Drustan frowned as he heard various house plants whispering to him, the earth under the concrete and brownstone crying for release. He shrugged off the tiny cries of the Earth as Rin dug out her keys from her jacket pocket.

    This part of the city was old, long repressed. It yearned to be released yet it spoke of old things and history past. He both loved and hated the historical block that Rin lived in. His own flat was across town, set in the center of a giant botanical garden that put him close enough to nature to function.

    Rin unlocked her door and said, “But it’s the truth the Tohsaka family has lived for years. So, do you want to come in and have some tea?”

    “Rather not, I need to water my plants plus catch some horrid Hammer movie on the telly,” Drustan replied as Rin took of her shoes before stepping into her apartment.

    Rin chuckled and asked, “Horrid Hammer movie?”

    “Aye, this studio in the 60’s and 70’s that produced a bunch of brightly colored horror movies that were heavy on atmosphere and lots of busty vampires,” Drustan answered with a grin.

    Rin placed a hand on her hip and asked, “We might be dealing with a Dead Apostle and you’re going home to watch Dracula movies?”

    “Lea’s the bookish one, this is how I do my research,” Drustan said with a tiny wave as he turned to leave. He heard Rin’s chuckle as the door closed behind her. He shrugged his shoulders and began to walk home.

    He sighed as he headed to his flat. He actually got on the Double Decker Bus on part of the way home. As he sat on the second level of the bus he began pondering the whole vampire thing. The air whipped through his hair and chilled his cheeks, but the cold helped focus his thoughts and kept them away from three wonderful women.

    He remembered the crow he saw at night. Crows weren’t nocturnal birds, and unlike normal crows, this one did not talk to him. It seemed off and then the attack on the Boy’s School with all of those wee lad’s missing pointed another finger at the supernatural element.

    The bus stopped and he climbed off to walk the rest of the way to his own flat. Then with the fact that Kurokawa was missing as was the Further was odd. He ran his hand through his hair and mused aloud, “Why the hell would they attack so close to the Clock Tower though?” I mean aren’t there mages who fight these beasties too?

    As he approached his home, he noticed it became quieter and quieter as he cut through the garden. That was odd because there was always some sort of noise because of the birds and other animals who dwelt within the micro-forest. Drustan stopped, pointed his hands with his palms out and fingers extended towards the ground, closed his eyes and focused.

    Run. Run Drustan MacKeltar, run. Flee, Drustan.

    He opened his eyes as he felt a sharp breeze rush past his shoulder. Standing before him was Yukisato Kurokawa dressed from head to toe in black, his dark purple hair hanging in his face and his hands in his duster pockets. He smiled as he flicked his hair back from his face and said, “Hello MacKeltar.”

    “Kurokawa, where the hell have you been?” Drustan said as he walked towards the Japanese mage.

    Yukisato shrugged and said, “Been through some changes lately, MacKeltar.” He then turned glowing ruby red eyes towards Drustan.

    Drustan’s eyes widened as he snapped, “You’re a goddamned vampire, you son of a bitch!”

    “Yeah, it’s kinda of awesome,” Yukisato said as he spread his arms out, “Well, not the getting raped part, but you’re not pretty enough to worry about that.”

    “Silence, boy,” a familiar voice said behind Drustan.

    Drustan spun around to see the mage who tested himself and Lea earlier today, Black something or another. The man had been tall, gangly and sporting a black duster with long black hair and sharp pale features. Now his arms sported feathers, like bird’s wings and he had feathers running along the black suit he was wearing.

    The crow like mage pointed at Yukisato and stated, “That blasted White Knight is not having this one, neither is the Black Knight or that insipid brat.”

    Drustan pointed his hands towards the ground and closed his eyes. He opened his magic circuits and channeled mana into the Earth. He felt it flow through his body and opened them to their fullest. He felt his body began to burn before shoving his power into the Earth with all of his might.

    He screamed as the circuits began to sizzle and crack within him. Green light flashed in the ground around his feet and sparked up. He roared with the sheer agony as he collected more and more mana to shove into the ground.

    Then the Druid shouted one command.

    GROW!”

    Roots, leaves, stems, branches and bark shot out of the ground between him and the two vampires. Yukisato cursed and the crow vampire tilted his head thoughtfully as trees began to grow and intertwine around Drustan and the vampires. His knees shook as he forced himself to run as the trees continued to rise from the Earth.

    His lungs were contracting, his heart was pounding, and his body burned from the misuse of his circuits. Yet as he ran he could hear wings rustling through the trees as the crow vampire closed in. Drustan screamed as he forced the remaining mana into his circuits and pointed his hand out.

    The Second Element, the complement to Earth was his goal this time. His throat raw and broken, he whispered, “Burn.” The trees he was shoving out of the Earth caught on fire as he stumbled to the ground. His body was shaking with agony, each movement felt as if his body was twisting and burning from within.

    As the suddenly grown forest began to burn, the crow vampire landed beside him. He crouched down beside Drustan and looked at him with dark red eyes. “I know it hurts, boy, and, if it was up to me, you’d all be left alone. However, I’m not my own right now,” he said as he lifted Drustan into a sitting position in his arms.

    Drustan squirmed and flailed. He cursed, “Getorf of me, you fooking son of a bitch . . .”

    “Unfortunately, my boy, we’re all under the whims of a spoiled brat,” the Dead Apostle said before his fangs sank down into Drustan’s throat.

    Drustan roared as the fires burned out and the trees stopped growing. His body was growing heavy and numb with each pull of blood that the vampire took. As his eyelids began to flutter closed, Drustan whispered, “Damn false crow . . .”

    ******

    Tiny red dots were scattered blurrily across the oak surface. Gilded edged feathers were fuzzy as they laid beside tiny slivers of shinning silver. The only thing clear was the faintly glowing circle of clear quartz surrounded by silver so only one face of the stone was visible. Shaking hands lifted the pendent up, dripping red fingers smearing a crimson glaze upon the stone.

    Lea took a shaking breath. Her chest was tight, her head was pounding, her wrist was numb save for the red warmth spilling from it, and she cradled the glowing pendent in her hand. Her hand trembled as she transferred the stone from the work surface to the soft red streaked brown clay bowl that was still damp. She laid the pendent so the stone was facing her and squeezed her fist to force more blood over the stone. It flashed crimson before she used her quivering hands to seal the bowl shut.

    Breathing deeply, she grabbed a towel beside her work station and pressed it against her wrist. Her stomach rolled but she swallowed down the nausea as she staunched the bleeding. She turned around her work station, seeing the myriad of various crystals on the cedar and pine shelves around her. She smiled at the raw stones ranging in colors from pale blue-grey to shining black.

    Rin preferred cut stones and red ones at that, generally rubies or some such. Lea was fonder of quartz and tourmaline. The two stones that vibrated at almost the same frequency as the human body and naturally had a charge to them that was perfect to channel mana through. There were various books tucked in between the various crystals ranging from scientific journals, books on Shamanism, and leather bound volumes from earth and jewel mages that she’d gotten lucky to get her small hands on.

    She removed the towel around her wrist and grimaced at the gooey mass of dark red that had congealed on the slit there. Light headed, she reached for a pale pink lump sitting within a circle of clear quartz points. She pressed the stone against her wrist and closed her eyes. Warmth pooled upon the numb cut and started to tingle. She gasped as she opened up her circuits and circulated the mana into knitting tissues together, creating and cleansing blood, destroying foreign bodies nestling within her system, and sealing her flesh.

    Even exhausted, she could still use her magic like that. She was a healer, like her father before her. Sadly, her father had other abilities that had the Association hounding after him since they took note of the Medicine Man when he was a small child. He had told them off many times, going so far to threaten with a tomahawk. He had told him that his Path lie somewhere else, however, as Lea’s abilities started to manifest the Association came calling again.

    This time he sat her down and told her that her path lie there while his lay with his people. He sent her to London with his blessing from the Medicine Bag she always wore around her neck to a nice monthly allowance to cover any crystals she bought and the occasional romance novel she indulged in. However, staying here she could see that while she thrived, because London was just awesome, she had a feeling her father would wither here. Drustan was suffering despite his weekend trips to the Moors because of his ties to the Earth. While bound to the Earth somewhat, Lea was more bound to people and the energy they released be they were happy, sad, angry, or the other emotions caused by the human condition.

    And London had more human energy to spare.

    Still, being called all but useless save for her one trait, one that her father oddly didn’t have, was beginning to wear on her. She stared at the drying clay mass that she sealed the pendent in. Its contents would hopefully change that, if everything worked out right. It had been a long process of channeling mana, storing it, and bleeding the entire week since Kurokawa’s last taunt.

    Hopefully, it’ll make her more valid than a simple tool to boost another mage’s power without the threat of rape. Which, if she heard that one more time she’d borrow one of her Daddy’s tomahawks and shove it up the speaker’s ass. She stood up and put the rose quartz back within its circle of clear quartz and headed for the living room of her flat. She looked at the clock and figured she had enough time to watch an episode of Buffy to wind down before bed. As she headed for the living room, a shrill ring cut her off.

    Tilting her head, she rushed towards the phone and picked it up. She cradled it against her shoulder and her ear and chimed, “Hello, Lea Murphy . . .”

    “Hey Whistle Pig,” a deep male voice she loved very much came across the other line.

    Lea perked up and chirped, “Daddy!”

    “Hi, sweetheart,” her father’s voice said wearily.

    Lea frowned and asked, “What’s wrong Daddy? Is Mom okay?”

    “She’s fine, but . . . You’re not,” he said in the grave voice that she equated with Serious Shit Going Down.

    She grimaced at the red, flaky mess on her wrist and replied, “I’m fine, Daddy, honestly. I’m not attempting suicide, honest. So, if you saw some messed up Vision of me cutting my wrist, it’s for a project. I promise. No emo stuff, I swear.”

    “No, something else. You’re going to give that thing you just made to that hottie of a force of destruction tomorrow morning and then you’re going to hop on a plane and get your ass back to Ohio, Lea,” he said sternly.

    Lea looked back to her work room and frowned. She replied, “But . . . what’s she going to do with it? I have a friend who uses stuff similar to the stuff I use, she’d be better than the Almighty Magical Sniper who’s got my crush the worse case of blue balls ever and he won’t notice me because I’m not all powerful go boom with the magic.”

    “Give it to Miss Blue, Lea,” her father said sternly, the use of her name stilling her.

    Lea whispered, “Daddy, what did you See?”

    “I’m sorry, Lea,” he replied softly, “You need to come home.”

    The tiny mage gripped the phone and whispered, “What about Rin? What about . . . Drustan?”

    “The pretty Japanese girl? I don’t know, I didn’t see anything about her Fate, but the big Scottish boy you’ve fallen for?” he answered, his voice cutting off before he took a deep breath, “Come home.”

    Her heart caught and twisted in her chest as she sank to the ground. Her father’s Visions were never wrong. Never. She took a deep and shuddering breath as her back hit the wall and her knees curled up to her chest. Her eyes burned as sobs began to wrack her body.

    ******

    What the fuck?

    The pounding on the wood became louder and more insistent. The magus grumbled and rolled over. She grabbed a pillow and put it over her head. Despite clasping it to her ears the pounding became hammering which transformed into loud banging. She snarled as she almost fell out of bed.

    She rose to her feet and staggered to the door while snarling and kicking at empty pizza boxes, dry bottles of beer, as well as other hazards to the hotel room door. Her nose wrinkled at the awful smell of day old pizza and ripe beer as she rubbed her forehead. The couch was a blurry spot as was the door. She kept traveling to the beating of the wood.

    She lifted her hand and focused the Wind. Coldness filled her palm as the bright, burning azure light appeared there. Wind whipped around and threw her long, red hair back as she threw open the door. Big grey-green eyes blinked owlishly up at her as Lea Murphy shifted back and forth on her feet.

    Aoko clinched her hand and the blue magic dissipated into a mere tingle in her palm as her windswept hair fell in disarray around her. The American mage was clinching something in her hand, her cheeks were pink, her eyes were red and swollen, and her face was damp. “Goddamn it kid, I could have blown you in half,” Aoko snorted as she flopped gracelessly on her couch.

    She opened the pizza box at her side and smiled at the piece of cheeseburger pizza left there. She grabbed it and took a fierce bite of it. She tilted her head and looked at the fidgeting and very upset girl. She asked, “So, what’s wrong?”

    “I need to give you this,” Lea said in a hoarse voice as she handed a red veined clay lump to Aoko.

    Aoko swallowed and took the lump. Energy coursed and pulsed through her arm in amounts that made her tingle from the tips of her fingers, the top of her head to her toes. She blinked at it and asked, “What is it?”

    “My project. Makes a person a synchronizer when using it,” Lea answered.

    Aoko frowned at it and said, “It’s still steeping.”

    “Should be ready in a couple of hours,” Lea said as she shoved her hair that had haphazardly escaped her pony tail from her face.

    Aoko blinked at it and asked, “Why the hell are you giving it to me?”

    “Daddy told me to,” she answered softly as she headed for the door.

    The Magician’s eyes widened as the implication of those words sank in her sleep addled mind. Edward Murphy, someone the Mage’s Association had been wanting to get their hands off for years. A man of many talents, perhaps the best was the Sight. Aoko looked at the disheveled girl and asked, “What the hell did your father see, Murphy?”

    “I gotta go,” Lea said, her voice hollow, as she rested her hand on the doorknob, “I have a plane to catch.”

    “Wait, Murphy, what the hell should I do with this?” Aoko demanded as she looked at the girl as she edged her way out of the door.

    Lea turned around and rested her hand on the door. She lifted her head to look at Aoko and said, “Rin’ll know.” With that, the girl headed out and shut the hotel room door behind her.

    Aoko stared at the clay bits in her hand and chuckled. She clutched it with a grin. Something bad was going to happen? Good. It had been a while since she could really cut loose. She flexed her hand again and smirked at the magic she started to summon that whipped her head back.

    She dismissed the force of destruction with a flick of her wrist before shoving her hands into her pockets. She made sure the clay lump was secure before staggering back to bed. She flopped on the bed, pulled the covers over her head and closed her eyes.

    Within moments, she was back asleep.

    ******
    “Okay, Tohsaka. . . it just blew up.”

    Rin chuckled beneath her palm as Emiya Shirou sighed over the other line. “Damn it Tohsaka, I thought this was going to be easy,” he grunted as she heard something being shook over the other line.

    Rin smiled and teased, “Well, it would be hypothetically simple for a man who Traced Caliburn and Avalon twice, but I think I sorely underestimated your talents Shirou.”

    “It’s not a weapon, Tohsaka, so therefore I’m sucking at it,” he said with a wry chuckle over the other line.

    Rin stifled another chuckle as she smiled wistfully and leaned against the wall with the phone cradled to her ear. She said, “Perhaps it wasn’t the best course of action to try to teach you to create something over the phone, Shirou.”

    “Yeah, but I wanted to show Ilya that I could do it,” he said with a winsome sigh

    She moved to the tea pot and poured herself another cup of tea. She balanced the phone on her shoulder as she added sugar and cream to the dark, fragrant liquid. “So, how is that miserable demon child anyway?” she asked.

    Shirou’s voice lightened as he said, “She’s gotten taller. She terrorizes Fuji-nee though.”

    “I don’t see how Taiga-sensei lets her get away with half of the things she does,” Rin snorted before taking a sip of tea.

    Shirou replied, “Well, it is Ilya.”

    “Yes, and I would have shot a Gand at her if it was me,” Rin said as she rolled her eyes and shook her head.

    She could see the wounded frown on Shirou’s face despite being thousands of miles away. How that wide mouth would droop just a little and his sherry brown eyes would widen in surprise as someone badmouthed his precious little sister. Even though she’s not really his sister, Rin thought with a scowl as Shirou asked, “Why do you hate her so much Rin?”

    Well, let’s start with the fact she shamelessly clings to you like some insane parasite. She cavorts around you and you smile and laugh and let her. That your whole face lights up around her.

    That Archer even looked a bit wistful around her as well. What is it with swordsmen and insane loli complexes?

    Oh, yes, I had to sacrifice my Servant to save you from her.

    So, yeah, Shirou, I really don’t like that vicious, bloodthirsty brat.


    Instead she answered, “I have my reasons.”

    “Is this because of Archer?” Shirou said with an awkward cough.

    Rin almost smiled at that. She truthfully answered, “Partly, even though for some reason you two really didn’t like each other.”

    “He was an asshole, Rin,” Shirou said with a chuckle.

    Rin found herself smiling as she replied, “He was, wasn’t he?”

    “Yeah, but he was . . . yeah, he was a Hero though, you know, at the end,” Shirou finished quietly.

    Rin snorted, “He was stupid at the end.”

    “Still, how the hell did he know what I could do?” Shirou mused thoughtfully.

    Rin tilted her head and replied, “Honestly, I don’t know, but he did. Perhaps he has similar abilities? I’m not sure. He couldn’t remember who he was.”

    “Yeah, I highly doubt he was Robin Hood,” Shirou replied brightly.

    Rin laughed at that and said, “True there.”

    “So, what are you planning to do today, Tohsaka?” Shirou asked as Rin heard the familiar banging of pots and pans in a kitchen.

    “Class with Drustan and Lea as always with Aoko,” Rin answered as she drained the cup of tea.

    Shirou asked, “Who’s Aoko?”

    “Aozaki Aoko, one of the Five Great Magic Users living today,” Rin answered, “Magical Gunner Miss Blue. Insanely powerful, very . . . spacey. Not to mention she likes to eat absurd amounts of beef.”

    Shirou asked, “So she’s one of the five most powerful mages today or something?”

    “Actually, she surpasses the title of mage and is a true Magician, and technically there are only four of the Five Great Magic Users, where the Five Great Magics come from is that there are five almost impossible magics to wield. When a mage masters one of these, they become one of the Five,” Rin explained as she rinsed her cup out.

    Shirou’s voice was amused as he replied, “I guess crafting Magical Swords out of nothing isn’t one of those Five Magics?”

    “No,” Rin laughed as she placed her dirty dishes in the sink, “It is a very rare event for a mage to make that transition. I’m surprised that Aoko is even teaching at all. She mentioned owing one of the other professors a favor or something.”

    Shirou said, “Well, it sounds you’re doing well there. Sakura’s worried about you, that’s all.”

    “So, how is she doing?” Rin asked slyly.

    Shirou answered, “Well, we’re both on the Archery Team together. We took first place at the last competition. It’s the same old same old here, but I’m still practicing my Reinforcement and Tracing.”

    “And how are you doing?” Rin asked softly.

    Shirou sighed and answered, “Better, Tohsaka. It’s still . . . I miss her.”

    Rin sighed and shook her head with a sly grin. She said, “I understand.”

    “Well, it’s getting late here, Tohsaka, so I’ll talk to you later,” Shirou said after a moment.

    Rin looked at the clock and said, “I’ll look forward to it. Besides, I should get to class as well.”

    She replaced the phone in its cradle, grabbed her jacket and umbrella and headed out into the soft rain. She opened the umbrella before sprinting to the sidewalk. She frowned at the stoplight that Drustan usually waited for her at. Her nose scrunched up as she scowled at the empty space under the stoplight before quickening her pace.

    She navigated the familiar path to the British Museum amongst the rain, cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. She stopped at the Museum and turned to the hidden entrance hidden with Glamour under the Museum. She reached the Glamour hidden wall and blinked.

    Standing there, under a cover of shadows was Kurokawa Yukisato.

    As always, the shadow mage was dressed in his black slacks, black button up shirt, and his long, flowing duster. His face was obscured by his dark violet hair which he pushed back away from his face as he looked towards Rin. His thin lips curved into a sharp smirk as he leaned against the wall under his shadows as he faced Rin.

    However, instead of his normally pale, icy blue eyes, the eyes that met Rin’s were a glowing crimson.

    “Hey, Rin, what have I missed?” he asked as she caught a glimpse of fang.



    The Law Unto Herself Chronicles- JukePop Serial

    Forest is a vampire who's a bit too good for her own good and doesn't know when to leave things alone. Armed with a ridiculously large hand gun, martial arts skills, a bitching pony car, and a love for pop culture she fights the forces of evil. Urban Fantasy 80's Style.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    Elfgasm: The phenomenon that occurs among the general populace whenever a certain user who has been claimed to wear jackboots and is pointy-eared posts an idea or updates and is met with majority approval to the point of near-zeal as a result of said poster's popularity with the writing crowd.

  14. #14
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Getting closer to the good stuff.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    ジュカイン Lycodrake's Avatar
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    Most of my commentary tends to be speculation...so I don't know how much I can really supply...
    Quote Originally Posted by Seika View Post
    Yes, excellent. Go, Lyco, my proxy.
    F/GO SUPPORT

  16. #16
    Stupid Low Luck Rating Elf's Avatar
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    Should I continue to keep posting it here, or should I just post the links if anyone's reading it?



    The Law Unto Herself Chronicles- JukePop Serial

    Forest is a vampire who's a bit too good for her own good and doesn't know when to leave things alone. Armed with a ridiculously large hand gun, martial arts skills, a bitching pony car, and a love for pop culture she fights the forces of evil. Urban Fantasy 80's Style.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    Elfgasm: The phenomenon that occurs among the general populace whenever a certain user who has been claimed to wear jackboots and is pointy-eared posts an idea or updates and is met with majority approval to the point of near-zeal as a result of said poster's popularity with the writing crowd.

  17. #17
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors nitewind's Avatar
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    Here.
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    As a general rule I hold no opinions that I have not been paid to hold.
    I am now a beta, so if you need help with a story feel free to ask.

    Words of wisdom from ItsaRandomUsername:
    "Pssh, with proper writing almost anything can be logical. If it can work believably, then there's no reason why it shouldn't.
    Please note the keywords: "proper" and "almost". Bad storytelling mixed with nonsensical couplings are the drunk-driving of literature."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiiam View Post
    Nothing helps you mature more than a little murder, especially in the Nasuverse.
    We are Beast's Lair!
    Derailer among derailers!
    Look upon the continuity of thy threads ye mighty, and DESPAIR!

  18. #18
    死徒 Dead Apostle hatori's Avatar
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    both please...

    God i missed this story.
    I shall serve thy cause, upon my honour, till thy death.
    -Avenger/Jester. Trinity Series.
    Destined Legacies, shamelessly rewriting it since 2010

    When I go random.


  19. #19
    Evil Good RadiantBeam's Avatar
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    I definitely vote here.



  20. #20
    Sentimental Fool NewAgeOfPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Getting closer to the good stuff.
    Yes. Definitely post here, si vous plait.
    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"

    -)|(-

    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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