Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28

Thread: The Third Faction

  1. #1
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18

    Post The Third Faction

    Summary: Zelretch is bored. So he punts his apprentice and her boyfriend to another dimension to participate in that world's 'very exciting' Holy Grail War. With strange Black Command Seals on Shirou's hand, and their old Servant Saber by their side, Rin and Shirou must use their skills, wits, and limited resources to win the Great Holy Grail War in order to get home. It's seven vs. seven vs. two as the Third Faction enters the fray.

    Genres: Adventure, Humor
    Continuity Fate/Unlimited Blade WorksFate/Apocrypha

    Draconic: Hey, all, Draconic here. I've been contemplating posting this fic here for a very long time, but I've been kind of wishy washy about it.

    I did not write this story. I am merely it's beta-reader, though I occasionally co-author. The author's identity is
    TheMaster4444 on fanfiction.net.

    The fic is reposted here with permission from the author. I started betaing this story after reading the first chapter, not being very impressed, but seeing a very interesting opportunity. Whether you want to leave the review there or here is up to you, but I would hope you reply here, because I want him to get an account on the Lair. We are starting with Fate/Apocrypha, mind you, so the bar is set pretty low, but the idea is to raise it. And I think that we've done a decent job of it.

    This chapter is virtually all by TheMaster4444. I'll let you guys know if I've had a significant hand in the creation of a chapter.

    TheMaster4444: A massive thank you to my amazing beta Draconic! He has a wonderful collection of Nasuverse writings himself so go over and check them out after you're finished here.

    Draconic: I swear on the tattered, charred remains of my soul that was the original author's note after I finished editing this chapter. Anyway, let's begin.

    * * * * * * * * * *


    The Third Faction
    A fanfic by TheMaster4444
    Beta-read and occasionally co-authored by Draconic


    Chapter 1



    There are two types of people in the world.

    Those who have the Second Magic and can travel through the infinite dimensions (frequently referred to as myself)… and those who lack such abilities and sometimes find themselves—whether cognizant of it or not—subject to the whims of the first category (most often referred to as everyone else).

    Now, the thing to understand about a person who possesses the Second Magic, and a possibly infinite lifespan—one of the few things I still don't know, because I've never felt the need to test it—is that at a certain point, one realizes that they've seen… well, everything there is to see. Or has come very close to doing so.

    And sometimes… well…

    I get dreadfully, intolerably bored.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    In a modest apartment in London, Rin Tohsaka happily hummed as she put the finishing touches on dinner. Though breakfast was typically one of her boyfriend's responsibilities in the relationship since waking up in the morning was something of an anti-talent of hers, other meals were typically fair game. Today was her turn. It was also the anniversary of his adoption by Kiritsugu Emiya, which, since he didn't remember his actual birthday, she had decided to celebrate with him. As such, there was no way she was letting him work for her this evening… outside of certain… specific activities, of course. She shook a few indecent thoughts from her head. She still needed to focus on the soup pot or she might ruin this particular dish, and then it would just be a weapon. Like at that restaurant at Mount Miyama.

    Regardless of what day it was, Shirou had protested, of course. Apparently, he thought he was going to be cooking every night this week, and had supposedly wanted to make tuna steaks, but she'd eventually gotten him to concede and let her give it a shot. She'd never actually made tuna steak before, but she was more than confident in her cooking ability and was more than eager to give it a go.

    Naturally, they turned out perfectly, though she suspected that one was a little overcooked near the edge, so she made a mental note to be more careful while grilling them next time. And speaking of time, she still figured she could churn out another dish before Shirou got suspicious about what was taking her so long, so she'd decided to use what was left of the tofu. Given Shirou's nature to be a self-sacrificing idiot, she supposed she should have been grateful he'd agreed to leave the apartment at all until she called him.

    Although she did have a sneaking suspicion that he might have just been using this as a test of whether she'd actually figured out how to use her cell phone.

    Shows what he knew. She'd only misdialed a drunken pub-crawler once that month… and a barber shop… and some old woman speaking Mandarin… and by some weird coincidence Ayako Mitsuzuri's dorm room in Mifune where she was going to university, that was a nice, if awkward, conversation—but none of that mattered!

    After all, the familiars she'd sent to spy on Luvia had informed her the Finnish bitch had accidentally called two electronics stores, the United States' Mexican Embassy, and a sex line. Ha! Sex lines were totally worth six drunks.

    Her good mood soured a moment as she felt a brief pang of homesickness. She missed her old landline. At least that one made sense and never stopped working for some arbitrary reason… what the hell did it mean by 'out of batteries?' She might not be a genius, but she knew what a battery looked like, and that cell phone didn't even have anything to open up as far as she could tell.

    Oh, who cared, her side dish was almost finished and then she'd call Shirou back. Not to mention, accident it might have been, but she'd still figured out that she could just press '1' and it'd call Shirou automatically. The phone called it 'quick dial' or something like that. No, it was 'speed dial.' See, she could remember things about technology.

    With a new spring in her step, Rin scooped two bowls of Mapo Tofu out of the pot and set them down on the dining table. She looked over the array of dishes she'd prepared with a satisfied smirk. Even Shirou would have to commend her culinary skills when it came to cuisine from their homeland. At least that damn priest was good for something, even if it was introducing her to a dish. And she did have a particular talent for making spicy food, after all.

    She could certainly do it better than the maniac running that restaurant.

    She thought about her father's murderer screaming in hell and her grin expanded into a smile of blissful serenity. Oh, what a lovely day.

    A series of three knocks sounded from the door.

    Rin sighed, her head shaking bemusedly as she made her way to the door. If Shirou hadn't been able to keep away from the house like he'd promised, at least he had the decency not to come barging in with his key.

    Still, she was about to share a warm meal with the man she loved while imagining the humiliating desolation of her enemies. How could anything spoil her good mood?

    She opened the door with a smile. "Honestly Shirou, I am perfectly capable of cooking a simple—"

    "Apprentice, we have a problem."

    Rin's mouth slammed shut, her eyes wide at the sight before her.

    Shirou was not at the door. Instead, there was a being who, as far as most people in the world could tell, was only a haggard old man.

    Rin knew better.

    Before her was Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg. The Wizard Marshall. The Old Man of the Jewels. The Wizard of the Second True Magic. The Kaleidoscope.

    Her insane teacher who never did anything normal because it was uninspired.

    And instead of appearing in her home in a flash of light, he had knocked on her door and waited for her to open it.

    Rin immediately stepped aside. "Come in, master."

    Zelretch nodded and did just that. The Dead Apostle Ancestor wadded over to the fully set dining room table and plopped himself down into a seat. The dark look in his eyes momentarily lifted as he idly smelled the food spread out before him. "Hmm, not bad. I hope you don't mind that I bought Burger King on the way over."

    He raised a paper bag that seemed to appear out of nowhere and started gobbling down the contents. "Ah yes, chicken fries. Always a delight."

    Rin silently moved before her teacher. "Master, what's wrong?"

    Zelretch immediately stopped gorging himself and readopted his grave expression. "Ah yes, that. Well, my dear apprentice, there is a cataclysm afoot. A danger that, if not stopped, could spell the utter annihilation of all life in the world, nay, perhaps the multiverse."

    Rin gulped, her hands gripping the back of her chair until her knuckles turned white. What catastrophe could possibly make Zelretch behave so solemnly? Had Alaya lost control of the Counter Force? Had Gaia finally decided to wipe out humanity? Was some ancient collective of demons possessing the long dead body of one of the greatest mages to ever practice the art about to complete a ritual more than a thousand years in the making that would erase all existence?!

    Okay, that last one was a bit out there, but what could possibly be so serious as to—

    "I'm bored."

    Rin plummeted to the floor in shock. Slowly, she recollected herself and stumbled back to her feet using her chair for support. "Come again, master?"

    Zelretch took a pensive bite out of another chicken fry.

    "I'm terribly bored, my dear apprentice.
    When one is as old as I, one reaches
    A point at which one feels that they've seen all
    That can be seen. Been around for too much.
    I've bore witness to so many events,
    Acquired so very many mysteries
    That I now often feel as though there is
    Nothing left that can bring forth new wonders.
    I've arrived at this dread point once again.
    I entreat thine aid that I might stay sane."

    He paused for a moment before scowling and taking another bite of fast food. "Good God, not even speaking in Iambic Pentameter helps!

    "Though I'll admit that verse was improvised
    And as such, it was rather shoddy work.
    Hmm… it seems that this is harder to stop
    Than I had at first anticipated…
    It doesn't help that the part about my
    Sanity is also inaccurate."

    "Well…madness comes in many forms, Master," Rin said uncertainly.

    "That was ten syllables, Miss Tohsaka,
    You aren't helping me cease this nonsense!
    If this progresses, I'll need recompense.
    It's a waste of time, and worse yet, it's a
    Mere distraction from the real narrative.
    Don't think there won't be consequences if
    I keep going like this for much longer.
    It's getting rather exhausting, really.
    Can you please just help me stop!"

    ______________________________"I'm sorry…"

    "Blast it! Just stop finishing the couplets!"

    "It wasn't intentional!" Rin squeaked.

    Zelretch sighed. "Thank you, apprentice. Much better. But the problem remains. I am dreadfully, cripplingly bored."

    Rin let her face fall into her palm. If she was dealing with literally anyone else, she would have torn them apart for getting her so worked up for nothing. But Zelretch was her teacher, the teacher of her ancestors, and a figure of legend for magi. He had instructed the Three Founding Families in the design and construction of the Holy Grail War. He had saved the entire world multiple times!

    Also, he had come up with that on the spot?! She repeated his verses over in her head just to confirm that it really was Iambic Pentameter. It was.

    To be his student was an honor beyond compare. Even if she had to put up with his eccentricities. And Luvia.

    "This is truly a state of affairs that I cannot abide," he continued. "Perhaps it would have been best had I stayed on the world's other side… Oh, still rhyming…"

    "I am… very sorry, master" she spoke diplomatically. "But… look… I'm really not sure how I can help remedy this."

    Zelretch's mouth shot up into a smile Rin was much more accustomed to seeing. He grinned as a spark that spoke of insanity glinted behind the genius' eyes.

    "Ah, but my dear apprentice, I did, in fact, come here with a purpose. There is a very simple way for you to help your beloved master. You won the Holy Grail War, did you not?"

    Rin hesitantly nodded. While she had technically been the last Master standing, she wouldn't really say she'd won the war. Without Shirou to handle Gilgamesh, she doubted she could have done anything that fateful night at Ryuudou Temple.

    "Well… I… survived, I suppose."

    "That you did! Now, here is what I propose: There's a very exciting one taking place on a much larger scale that I've found taking place at the same time as yours did, though in an alternate reality. Now, I've seen how it plays out, and it is a rather dull affair, truth be told, and that is just unacceptable today. Therefore, I'd like to send you to participate in it. By my estimation, that should add a little spice, if you will. I'm sure you'll do fine. Your significant other who you don't want anyone to know has a Reality Marble has already agreed to it."

    "Wait, what?!"

    Zelretch gave her a good natured, if mischievous smile that she really, really did not like.

    "Have fun! Don't forget to be cautious. Tread lightly and all that. Good luck!"

    Rin's eyes widened. "Wait, hold on! What are you—"

    And then her master snapped his fingers and she disappeared in a flash of light.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Shirou knelt down and examined the summoning sigil. It had been drawn in blood across an artificially flattened boulder on the grassy hill he'd landed on when he'd arrived. The freshly slaughtered… thing… the blood had come from—from his approximation, it was some sort of phantasmal beast with the body of a cow and the head of a gigantic rat—was laying in the grass a few meters away. If memory served, the complex mystical circle seemed identical to the one he'd called forth Saber from… or… what he'd assumed was what he'd summoned her from. He'd found the intricate carving in his shed floor well after the fact when he was packing up to move to London. When he had left Fuyuki for the Clock Tower with Rin, he wasn't sure he'd ever see another like it.

    He sighed. He'd done his best to keep away from the apartment like Rin had asked of him, but after a while, he'd just…drifted back to the building's lobby. He'd been so determined to keep his promise that he'd started up a conversation with a passing old man.

    And then that old man had inexplicably told him people were in danger from another Holy Grail War and he hadn't been able to stop himself from asking what he could do to help. The man had just smiled deviously and snapped his fingers.

    The next moment, Shirou was standing on a hill in the middle of nowhere. Which probably should have been more disturbing, but he pretty much did the same thing whenever he used his Reality Marble. His mental landscape had changed ever so slightly with the state of his life, but it would always be a forge. Actually, the lack of endless swords made this place rather picturesque.

    Another flash of light drew his attention to his side, and he shielded his eyes from the glare. When he could see again, he found Rin with her eyes wide and looking like someone just told her she'd have to figure out how to work a new TV in an hour or become Luvia's maid. Overall, about as flustered as she could possibly look.

    "—talking about, Master! What did you—" Rin stopped talking and glanced at her surroundings. Her gaze landed on him and her eyes narrowed into a glare. "Oh…"

    Shirou gave her a small wave, cringing at the thought of the verbal beatdown he could see coming his way.

    Rin growled and stomped over to him. "Shirou, where are we?"

    The fledgling Hero of Justice shrugged. "I don't know. I was…talking to some old man and he suddenly brought up the topic of another Holy Grail War. Then he snapped his fingers and… I found myself here. I know… you probably don't believe me."

    Rin's whole body shook with rage. "Shirou. That old man was Zelretch."

    Shirou raised an eyebrow. "Your teacher?"

    "Uh huh," Rin growled with a nod, her eye twitching dangerously as she struggled to keep a straight face. "My teacher. And the sorcerer of the Second Magic. Meaning he could have literally sent us anywhere, at any point in time."

    "…You don't say?"

    "Yep. Now, would you please explain to me what in the hell you were thinking when you agreed to FIGHT THIS WAR FOR HIM?!"

    Shirou raised his arms in an attempt to defend himself as Rin started slapping him repeatedly. "I didn't know who he was! All he said was that another war was going on and innocent people were in danger."

    He said that like it explained everything. She knew that in his mind, it really did.

    He wasn't a fool anymore. His conflict with Archer had showed him that his ideals were flawed. To follow them expecting the salvation of all was foolish and dangerous. Still, there was something beautiful about them, and just because they were unachievable didn't mean they weren't worth striving for.

    "Look, when I asked what I could do to help, do you really think I was expecting to be teleported to another world on the spot?" he complained.

    Rin stopped smacking him and took a deep breath. He had a point. He was probably almost as annoyed as she was and was just doing a better job of hiding it at the moment.

    "Ugh! Fine! I guess it isn't really your fault. When that old fox sets his mind to something there isn't much that people like us can do. Still, please be a little more careful. We barely got out of the last war alive. Pulling a repeat performance isn't going to be easy."

    A spark of prismatic light flickered in front of them and almost instantly seemed to materialize into the form of a letter, which hung in the air in front of them practically begging them to open it. Rin's name was stamped on it in elegant cursive.

    The Tohsaka heiress snatched up the page and tore the envelope open. Her face paled when she looked at the message within. Shirou read the letter over her shoulder.


    My Dear Apprentice,

    Thank you for agreeing to help relieve me of my boredom. Your beloved master is eternally grateful from the bottom of his heart.

    Now then, you're in another world. Some people nearby are about to hold that exciting Holy Grail War I mentioned. It will be taking place in the Romanian countryside (which is where you are, no need to thank me) near the town of Trifas (which you're not anywhere near). You'll need to find a way to get there on your own. Don't forget to ask for directions. What? I've taken you almost 2½ thousand kilometers (and a day-and-a-half of travel time in a cramped train compartment) in less time than it took the kitchen at Burger King to fry up my chicken fries. What more would you demand of this poor old man?

    I've left you in the immediate vicinity of Sighișoara, a town almost completely unrelated to the Grail War except for a shady man lurking in a church, but such things seem to be the norm in Grail Wars these days. Anyway, the city should already be visible. No sense in forcing you to make your way there on your own dime (no need to thank me for this either, your funds over on this side are limited enough already without forcing you to spend more of them).

    You may be wondering why I would take you to Romania but not the place you need to go. Let me answer that question with two of my own: Isn't the town just lovely? Quaint, but charming, don't you think?

    I've set up the summoning circle and tampered with the Grail itself to ensure you'll have Command Seals as soon as you complete the chant. The boy will get something a little more interesting, but I am forty-three percent sure there will be no negative side effects (as long as he doesn't use all of them, which is something he must not do under any circumstances! That would be hysterically unwise, so keep an eye on him!).

    I have enclosed the modified summoning incantation you'll need. And yes, the color is nonnegotiable.

    Have fun!

    K.Z.S.

    Postscript: If don't think you are up to the task, just say so, and no matter where you are, I will hear you and bring the both of you back (no matter how much the idiot complains). Besides, I'm certain that Ms. Edelfelt would love to give this a shot.

    Post Postscript: I finished my chicken fries and helped myself to one of your tuna steaks—it was superb, by the way—so I'm going to start on your tofu. I'll admit, I've been skittish in the past about trying this particular variety, but I'm sure that if nothing else, the new experience will at least provide a reprieve from the usual monotony of life. I'm sure you won't mind.

    Post Post Postscript: Be sure to check out Sighișoara's clock tower. It's of no significance to mages whatsoever, but I've heard it's lovely this time of year.


    The magic circuits in Rin's arm lit up all at once and the letter burst into flames.

    Shirou took a tentative step back. "Uh, Tohsaka? Are you alright?"

    Rin shook with rage. She'd gained a marginally better degree of control over her temper as they grew up, but…

    She was still Tohsaka.

    She took a deep breath. "Fine. Just, fine, Shirou. We're just stuck fighting in another Holy Grail War, in another world no less. We have no money, no resources, no idea who the other masters are. And, oh yeah, according to this, Master Zelretch has done something to you that has a fifty-seven percent chance of killing you!"

    "Well, I mean, he never explicitly said that."

    "Did you somehow miss the glaringly heavy implications of 'must not use all of them under any circumstances'?!'"

    Shirou sighed.

    "So… do you want to go back? It does say you just need to—"

    "Like hell! I am not giving Luvia a chance to make me look bad!" she turned her head aside to hide a stray tear welling in her eye. "God damn him preying on my pride like this!" she sighed and then flashed him a rueful, almost sad smile. "Besides, even if I went back, you'd still stay to try and help."

    Shirou bashfully rubbed the back of his head. "Well… I can't turn my back on people during a crisis like this. Besides, I'd never forgive myself if someone like Kotomine or Gilgamesh got their hands on this world's Grail and I could have helped stop them."

    Rin shook her head and removed another piece of paper for the singed envelope. "Well then, I guess I should take a look at this new summoning… incantation?"

    Her eyes narrowed as she examined the message. Shirou walked closer in concern. "Are you okay? Is there a problem?"

    Immediately, she pressed the paper to her chest. "No! No, everything is fine! It's just…well… he said the color was nonnegotiable, didn't he?"

    Shirou raised an eyebrow. "Yeah. What did he mean by that? I don't remember there being anything about colors in the chant you showed me after our war."

    Rin glowered. "Nothing. Just… cover your ears while I do the ritual. Okay?" She marched towards the summoning circle without waiting for a response. "The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if Master rigged it so we'd get the worst Servant the Throne could possibly send us."

    * * * * * * * * * *

    It was peaceful when she'd returned.

    She still had her wound from Mordred. She still did not have her scabbard. Her kingdom was still in ruins.

    She still did not have the Holy Grail. Twice, she had it in her grasp and twice she had obliterated it with her own holy sword.

    But… that was what had happened. This was the story of a girl who wanted to save her people. It was a tragic reality, not a fable in which everyone got what they deserved… but this was how it ended. Ultimately, she had failed. Her choices had led her to ruin. But she had done her best. There were people who were only still alive because of her… Because she and her knights had taken up arms to fight for the causes they believed in. They all had their own reasons, but they shared that common goal. She only had herself to blame for the tragic way it ended, but it was better that she tried and did her best than to have never made her attempt.

    She hadn't been able to keep the Knights of the Round Table united, perhaps, but if not for her, who'd have brought them together? Who would defend the people of Britain from the Saxons?

    If not for her, who else could ever have had so much as a prayer of stopping Vortigern? Did she really think that someone else would be able to do that?

    She would never again entertain the suggestion that she should never have drawn the Sword of Selection. Perhaps, if she were ever to get a wish, in another time, in another life, it would be to have found common ground with Mordred before it was too late. Or perhaps for Lancelot and Guinevere's affair to have never been discovered, saving the lives of Gawain's brothers, and Lancelot's pride as a knight.

    If she could do it all again…

    But that opportunity was gone. It had never been there to begin with; all just a cruel joke by whatever monster was lurking in the Grail.

    Bedivere was beside her. She trusted him to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake after she was gone.

    She leaned back against the tree, her last sunset beating down on her face.

    She smiled. This was enough. She'd given everything she'd had. Done the best she could.

    They had taught her that that was all anyone could do.

    Her masters.

    Even as she closed her eyes, she saw them. A just man devoted to his ideals and the fierce woman would keep them from consuming him.

    As she faded away, a smile crossed her lips at the thought of them.

    It was selfish, but she wished she could see them again.

    One last time.

    Something familiar called out to her. She'd heard its voice twice before. But this time was different. It felt clearer and warmer than it had previously.

    But… it wouldn't grant her wish, would it? Was there even any point? No, those were the wrong questions. She should be asking what she had to lose if she accepted once again?

    There was nothing. No reason not to take this chance.

    So she let it take her.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Rin lowered her right hand, the dust from the ritual beginning to settle as the light faded. Three Command Seals materialized in a familiar shape on the back of her hand.

    Shirou removed his hands from his ears, narrowing his eyes to try and see through the glare. And his eyes went wide. He rubbed them with the heels of his hands and looked again.

    "Is that… who I think it is?"

    The smoke cleared. Rin's mouth fell open. Could it be?

    Kneeling before them with her head bowed was a familiar blond woman in a regal blue dress and shining silver armor.

    Rin's mouth split into a massive grin. They might just have a chance after all.

    The knight rose to her feet, her blue dress billowing in the breeze and a steely look in her gaze. "I ask of you, are you worthy to—Rin?" she looked around, "Shirou?"

    "Saber!" Rin cheered, oblivious to the Servant's ruminations. She enveloped the King of Knights in a massive hug as tears of joy fell from her eyes. "We're saved! I can't believe it—we actually have a shot at this!"

    Shirou grinned widely, and strode over to them, but dodged Rin's hand as she tried to pull him in. "I just…can't believe you're here."

    Saber smiled as she returned Rin's embrace, before pulling away, and offering a gauntleted hand to Shirou, who shook it with about as much enthusiasm as could be expected of him. "I share the sentiment. After the events at the Temple, I was fairly certain I'd never see either of you again… I am very pleased to see the both of you looking so well."

    "That said," she looked worriedly between the two mages. "We are… not in the same world, are we?" It wasn't a question. "From what knowledge the Grail has afforded me, we're in Romania, but that concerns me less than the fact that the both of you are here at all. This Great Holy Grail War takes place in an entirely different timeline, concurrent with when ours began. How could you possibly be involved?"

    Rin sighed.

    "My master, Kischur Zelretch—"

    "Ah, say no more," Saber cut in. "The Grail warns of any unduly powerful individuals capable of interfering with the ritual, and he seems to be what it fears most…"

    "Well, he did devise the system," Rin sighed, "It would only make sense that he'd be able to dismantle it as well. Honestly though, right now I honestly wish it didn't make sense." She glanced at the red marks on her hand and her grin returned in full force. "But, with the three of us back together again, we're going to breeze through this Grail War."

    Shirou gave her a skeptical look. "Don't you think that's getting a little ahead of ourselves, Tohsaka? These are still Servants we're talking about. And while my Reality Marble will definitely be an advantage, unless we're fighting Gilgamesh again it will only help so much."

    Rin waved off her boyfriend, idly noting and disregarding the set of black Command Seals that had appeared on his hand. Those could be investigated later. Right now, he needed her calm and rational reassurance.

    "Don't worry, Shirou. We've already been through a Grail War already, which is something none of the other Masters can claim. And with Saber by our side, we'll crush the other six Servants easily!"

    Saber's smile fell away, to be replaced by a look of deep-seated concern.

    "You'll not be happy to hear this…" she murmured, just loudly enough for Rin to catch her voice.

    The joyous atmosphere rotted away in an instant as Rin's smile vanished. She whirled on Saber in trepidation.

    "What do you mean? What's wrong?"

    "There are… fourteen."

    Rin suddenly felt sick.

    "Fourteen what?" she asked, dreading the answer she knew was coming.

    The King of Knights raised an eyebrow. "It seems that there are fourteen other Servants involved in this war, Rin. Two teams of seven with each possessing a single Servant of every class. There are two factions, Red and Black, who will each fight until only their own Masters remain…" she paled slightly, "At which point, those mages will then turn on one another to determine who will ultimately take the Grail. What a grotesque arrangement. Regardless, it seems your master has inserted us into the conflict as an independent third faction. At the very least, we've no reason to fight amongst ourselves as Shirou has no Servant. Although… I am curious about those black Command Seals. And a little concerned."

    "Huh" Shirou remarked. "Guess that explains why the old man said it was 'on a much larger scale'. And the Red and Black does explain why he mentioned a color in the chant. Which one did he give us? Tohsaka? Tohsaka? Rin, are you okay?"

    Rin was frozen, her eyes wild and her teeth bared furiously. For a few moments her head twitched to the side with the rhythm of a broken clock.

    'Fourteen Servants.'

    'Two teams of seven.'

    It was her, Shirou, and Saber against two teams of seven Servants and Masters. Servants who could have any number of world annihilating powers and Noble Phantasms. Masters who had very likely been preparing for this war for years.

    And best of all, they'd all share a single goal the moment they realized there were extra participants interfering in their competition. Any time that she, Shirou and Saber showed up in the middle of a conflict between other Servants, those Servants were guaranteed to put their battles on hold to eliminate the three of them.

    And even if they took down one, the others on their team would surely be watching and would be able to plan around their tactics. And each time, they would have no idea what they were up against. Not until it was being used to annihilate them.

    Rin threw her head back and screamed at the sky. He would hear her anywhere, would he? Well then...!

    "DAMN YOU ZELRETCH! DAMN YOU AND YOUR BURGER KING CHICKEN FRIES!"

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Author's Note: So... Originally I was going to wait until I had a backlog of chapters for this before publishing it so as to not starve people for months as my focus will be on RWBY Zero. However, the AMAZING kulamrit5625 did me the absolute honor of creating a TvTropes page for that story and now I am pretty much over the moon. And here we are.

    This story is going to have quite a few emotional beats in it (it would be dishonorable to the characters if it didn't) but I am going to try to go for far more humor than I usually do, as can be evidenced by the last line of this chapter.

    Other than that, I hope you can forgive the snail's pace updates.

    Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy what comes next!

    Go Forth and Conquer!


    Draconic: My main contribution beyond making the story look prettier and reining in some of the humor was the section with iambic pentameter. I figured it was completely unnecessary. In the original script it was a simple rhyme, but I figured Zelretch was a lot more of an intellectual than that, so I tried out a few ten syllable rhymes, and by that point I'd already spent a few hours on it and decided to go all in.

    The story was originally intended to be heavily humor based, and TheMaster4444 and I discussed it later on and decided to take it in a more serious direction. There will still be a few crack-ish elements in the next few chapters, but the story will get significantly more serious over time.

    Updates for the first few chapters will actually be relatively quick, I'm going post four chapters on a weekly basis, and then go to monthly. These chapters are probably going to be prettier here on the Lair than on fanfiction.net though since I'll be making use of Ruby Letters, and I'm really excited to see how that goes.
    Last edited by Draconic; July 13th, 2019 at 03:44 PM.

  2. #2
    The showtime RoydGolden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    In a Dungeon
    Age
    52
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    10,881
    Blog Entries
    1
    This looks promising. I quite liked the humor and the downplayed but heartwarming way Rin and Shirou's relationship was presented.

  3. #3
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Read the whole story as it is on FFN, and I must say, it is very good, even if it goes against Apo canon for having killed off the Tohsaka and Einzbern in backstory.

    I also second Draconic's assertion for the author's note having been the original as it was on FFN.

    In any case, this has given me ideas on how to write Shirou, Rin, and Saber for my own post-UBW crossover fic.

    P.S. Thanks for giving me the idea of having Merlin, Zelrecht, and Dumas all trolling each other on the internet.
    Last edited by SirGauoftheSquareTable; March 3rd, 2019 at 08:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  4. #4
    Dead Apostle Eater Historia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Age
    24
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    4,429
    Blog Entries
    5
    Yes. Good, good.

    Revive this place with fan-fiction.

  5. #5
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Hey, it's hard to find time to write ambitious mega-crossover fanfics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  6. #6
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18

    Post Chapter 2

    Oh... Okay.

    I'm pretty sure this is the most enthusiastic response to a first chapter I've gotten... ever.


    Thank you. Thank you all. I promise I will do everything in my power to make this story as amazing as I can.


    Beta-ed by Draconic

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Chapter 2


    Shirou Kotomine knelt as the sun shined through the church's stained glass. His hands clasped in front of him in a solemn prayer.

    'Oh lord, please grant me the strength to see my dream through to the end' he beseeched the father. 'For the sake of all mankind, grant me victory in this battle.'

    Semiramis had done an excellent job dealing with the other Masters of Red. The first five were in a sealed chamber below the church, docile due to her poison, but unharmed and in complete comfort. Since he was already the coordinator for the Red Faction, the other Servants would not object to the orders he gave them. All that was left before he could begin was to wait for the final master, Kairi Shishigou, to arrive and have him join the others.

    There was still Ruler to consider, but with Lancer and Rider under his control, he was confident that she could be dealt with.

    Sixty years he had waited for his chance to make things right. To save all of mankind. He would not waste it.

    He could not waste it.

    And he refused to allow a single Servant to stop him from achieving his goal, no matter how powerful she might be.

    'Master,' Semiramis' voice rang in his mind. 'It seems that someone is approaching the church. He has Command Seals on his right hand.'

    Shirou smiled. 'That would be Shishigou. Strange, he's early.'

    'I wouldn't be so sure, Master. This one is far more handsome than the photographs you showed me. None of those unsightly scars.'

    That caused Shirou to perk an eyebrow. If it wasn't Shishigou, that didn't exactly leave him with many clues as to who else it could be. He had all of the other Masters of Red captive in the antechamber, and no Master of Black would be foolish enough to walk straight up to the church in broad daylight.

    Could Shishigou have been ambushed by another mage who wanted in on the War? Was it possible that his Command Seals had been stolen from him? Well… yes, it was possible, but that didn't mean it was likely. The man had a fearsome reputation as a mercenary and as a necromancer, and from what intel Shirou had gathered, they were both well earned. Very few magi would be brave enough to try to kill him and fewer still would have the capacity to succeed.

    What kind of ruthless killer could possibly have taken his Seals?

    The doors to the chapel opened with a creak. Shirou heard soft footsteps slowly pad towards him. Whoever was approaching him was breathing evenly and not wasting any movement. Truly the mark of an expert assassin, or at the very least, a trained warrior.

    Of course, that didn't rule out the possibility that this was just a very lucky individual who was walking down the central isle carpet without any ill intent. Both were viable possibilities.

    'Should I eliminate him, Master?' Semiramis inquired, her smirk present in her voice.

    Shirou thought it over for a moment, but in the end, there were too many variables. While he doubted this mage could pose a threat to him in combat, he would do well to gain some perspective before he resorted to violence, lest their death have far-reaching consequences for his plans. For all he knew, the boy could merely be a decoy in Shishigou's service. It would do little good to unnecessarily antagonize the man by killing his underling when he was just being cautious. Rightfully cautious in fact. If circumstances were different, it would have been Shirou's distinct pleasure to work alongside a strategist of the necromancer's caliber.

    Still, he'd waited for this battle for sixty years. He wouldn't let all his planning, all that time, go to waste over a single hasty action.

    "Hello," a young voice greeted behind him. "Are you the overseer of the Holy Grail War?"

    Again, the mage's words were strange. While he was technically the church appointed overseer, all parties were aware that his primary function was as a Master. The Black Faction would have no need to register with him, and the Red Faction would not likely refer to him as such. How curious.

    Not wishing to be rude, Shirou rose to his feet and turned to face the mysterious arrival. He was greeted with the sight of a young Japanese man about his height, if not a bit shorter, with red hair and amber eyes. His posture was relaxed, yet poised to act. He was on guard.

    Shirou's eyes glanced at the back of the boy's right hand. Just as Semiramis had said, he had Command Seals, though were black instead of the traditional red. Strange… very unusual indeed. This man's mystique grew by the second.

    Well, if he had learned one thing from his time in the modern-day church, it was that it was always best to first ask politely. The inquisitors would still be ready for their orders if and when the party in question failed to give the answers he needed.

    Shirou gave the young man an honest smile. "Yes. I am the overseer," he assured the boy. "My name is Shirou Kotomine. It is a pleasure to meet you."

    The effect of his name was instantaneous. The boy's guard tripled immediately, his arms moving into a fighting stance as he took a frightened step backwards. Shirou immediately sent out an urgent order for Semiramis to stand down. She had maneuvered behind the boy and had very nearly decapitated him on the spot.

    "Kotomine?" the boy asked, his tone very different from a moment earlier. "You wouldn't happen to know a Kirei Kotomine, would you?"

    Shirou's face lit up with joy. "Yes! My brother. You know Kirei? How is he?"

    After his failure to stop Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia in the Third Holy Grail War, Shirou had been found by Father Risei Kotomine, the overseer at the time. The man had graciously adopted Shirou into his family, giving him access to the resources of the Holy Church to prepare for his next chance at the Grail.

    In time, he'd also gained a brother. Kirei traveled with their father for the most part, but he had kept track of him as best he could. He had watched from afar as the talented boy had grown into a skilled and humble Servant of the Lord.

    Nevertheless, though he did love his brother, Shirou had decided to limit their contact. He didn't fully understand the impulse. In a way, it felt like a revelation, but at the same time, it was almost instinctive. Whatever the case, he began to feel that remaining in contact with Kirei would ultimately be harmful to the both of them. There was a… distortion of some sort lurking within his brother, and as much as he wished he could heal it, he could think of no way to do so without risking the annihilation of them both.

    Still, he tried to keep an ear out for news about him. And of course, his darling niece Caren. It was truly a shame about her mother.

    What was his involvement with this mage? Perhaps he wed him to his sweetheart? Or maybe helped him see the light of God?

    On the other hand, neither possibility would account for the boy's decidedly hostile reaction. However, it only lasted a moment. Then he scratched his head nervously. "Erm… he taught my friend magecraft."

    Shirou quirked an eyebrow, "Really? I was unaware Kirei had studied magecraft."

    "Well, I don't know all the details. I'm sorry, my friend doesn't really like to talk about him," the boy apologized.

    Shirou sighed, to think that his brother had undergone something as significant as learning magecraft and hadn't thought to tell him. Kirei probably didn't mean anything by it. His efficiency was such that it probably didn't even cross his mind, but he still wished to be able to keep track of his accomplishments.

    Oh well. Back to the enigma at hand.

    He gave the boy a respectful bow. "That is fine. It is good to hear of him. Now then, are you a Master of Red? I was unaware the Clock Tower had recruited someone so young."

    "Me? No, I'm not a Master," the young man denied. He raised his black Command Seals. "This is… well I honestly don't know what this is, but I can't summon a Servant with it. My friend though, she's a Master."

    "She?" Not Shishigou then.

    "Yeah. We weren't expecting to be a part of this war, but my friend's teacher—not your brother, mind you—decided to get us involved," he explained. "Except, we have no idea what's going on. We've fought in a Grail War before, but our Servant told us things are different in this Great War. Like with two teams of seven Servants, and how it's set in Romania. We figured that since the Church oversees the Holy Grail War as a neutral party, we could come see you for answers."

    A Master who was completely unaware of where the pieces were placed in this War? This was growing beyond intriguing and turning into something suspicious. Perhaps Shishigou was killed after all and his Command Seals were passed to the young man's friend, a veteran of another offshoot Grail War as a replacement? That situation was still extraordinarily unlikely. And what kind of teacher would simply drop their pupils into a Holy Grail War, to say nothing of failing to inform them about who they were fighting against?

    It didn't matter. He had only sympathy for their plight, but this unknown variable was far too unpredictable to leave to their own devices. She needed to be put with the others immediately.

    Shirou painted his most welcoming smile across his face. "Of course. I would be happy to provide you with all the information you need. It is my duty as both the overseer and a fellow Master of Red. Would you please ask your friend to come join us?"

    The boy cringed. "I can guarantee she won't do that."

    Shirou raised his eyebrows. "Is that so? Might you explain why that is?"

    "Because she's not a Master of Red."

    Semiramis had once again positioned herself behind the boy in spirit form. Shirou ordered her to hold her strike. No agent of the Black Faction would just come out and reveal themselves so openly. Something else was in play here. Still, he slid his black keys from his sleeve into his hand, not invoking the blades, but ready to go at a moment's notice.

    The boy quickly seemed to realize the implications of his words and raised his hands in a placating manner. "She's not a Master of Black either!"

    That made Shirou raise an eyebrow. "Explain."

    "Well… she's not a Master of Red or a Master of Black. We're… a third faction, I suppose. She didn't come because she figured you'd kill her rather than give her information."

    "So, she sent you instead."

    The boy nodded.

    "Judging by those black keys you've got in your hand, I'm going to say her suspicions were justified."

    Shirou stowed the weapons, his smile never faltering.

    "You're very observant, aren't you?"

    This was impossible. The Grail's prana reserves were already taxed summoning the fourteen Servants for the Great War, as well as the Ruler. Even if it was only one more, it shouldn't have the power to bring forth any heroic spirits for a third faction. And yet, the young man before him seemed too earnest to lie. And the mysterious black seals on his hand were proof enough that something unusual was taking place.

    Then again, wasn't a Ruler from a previous war taking over a faction from the inside already an unprecedented event.

    This new master would inevitably become an obstacle for him. Like the Black Faction, she would have to join him in his quest, or be eliminated. If she had come to the church, he would have ensured she chose one immediately.

    But the girl had been clever in sending her friend. If something happened and he did not return, she would make a beeline for him and he would risk losing Servants before the battle with the Black Faction even began. With seven heroes on either side, losing even one preemptively would be a severe blow.

    On the other hand, if he gave them the information they wanted, they could go after Yggdmillenia, and at the very least provide a distraction from his own plans. After all, the Black Faction had no idea this new group even existed, and the element of surprise could give them a critical advantage.
    Shirou smiled, impressed. The girl, whoever she was, had manipulated events so that the only way he could win was if he gave her exactly what she wanted. And with her friend here in her place, he had no way to nip her threat in the bud. It was a superb move.

    The priest signaled Semiramis to restrain herself. He sat down on one of the pews and motioned for the boy to join him.

    "Your friend is quite the impressive strategist, young man."

    The boy grinned and took a seat. "I agree. She's pretty incredible."

    "I will perform my duties as the overseer to the best of my ability. Please bear in mind however that I cannot divulge any information directly relating to the Red Faction, nor can I answer anything that might pose a threat to my associates," Shirou explained.

    He told the boy of the current situation, of how the Yggdmillenia had seceded from the Mages Association, of their position in Trifas. He even let slip that they had summoned Vlad the Impaler as Lancer. It would do him no good if they were caught off guard by the son of Dracul. If their Servant was eliminated, he stood to gain nothing from any of this.

    Moreover, Darnic had spent decades studying the Grail. It would not surprise him if he had discovered a way to forcefully recontract Heroic Spirits. It would be even worse if their Servant were to be captured. He relayed this information as well.

    "In addition," he continued. "We have confirmed the summoning of a Ruler Servant."

    The boy raised an eyebrow. "A Ruler Servant? I apologize for my ignorance, but what is that?"

    "A Servant summoned by the Grail itself to act as a mediator in the war," Shirou explained. "Its duty is to keep the competition from affecting the outside world. They are given two Command Seals for each Servant in the war and are required to have no wish for the Grail upon being summoned."
    He remembered how this had been the case when he had been summoned. But that had changed when he had witnessed the abysmal state of the modern world. No better than the past he had left behind.

    If he didn't help mankind achieve salvation, how many more would suffer?

    He had to save everyone.

    The boy smiled in relief at the description of the Ruler. "That's fantastic. A lot of innocent people got drawn into the last Grail War I fought in. I'm glad that won't happen here."

    Shirou joined in his joy. Despite his plans for his fellow Servant, he had no desire for innocents to be harmed either. The Ruler's duty was truly a righteous one, even if it was sadly insufficient in the face of what needed to be done. It was a shame that he couldn't afford to have another Ruler running amok, but it was a necessary evil. And it would be one of the last evil deeds to ever be committed in the history of mankind.

    Still, he was pleased that the boy was such a caring soul. Such compassion was rarely found among mages. Though, he would admit, he was curious about one aspect of the boy's story.

    "Young man, you have alluded to your experience in a previous grail war. Do you mean to say you took part in an offshoot Holy Grail War?"
    The boy immediately started sweating. "Well, I don't think it was an offshoot, but my friend and I took part in a Grail War in Fuyuki. Though my participation wasn't what you would call planned."

    "Fuyuki?" Shirou muttered. "I was unaware that any of the false wars were held in the Grail's original home."

    The boy paused at that and looked away, lost in thought. Shirou wasn't sure what to think of the boy's declaration. He didn't feel like the young man was lying, but he had endeavored to keep track of the all the false wars that had sprung up after the original wish granter's apparent disappearance. He knew for a fact that none had taken place in Fuyuki.

    So why did this child believe he had fought in one?

    The red-haired boy eventually turned back to Shirou with a worried expression on his face. "Father Kotomine, how did the Grail get from Fuyuki to Romania?"
    Shirou closed his eyes for a moment, recalling his most recent failure. "During the Third Holy Grail War, the last true war, the leader of the Yggdmillenia clan, Darnic Prestone, discovered the Greater Grail, the source of the ritual. Seeing an opportunity, he allied himself with the Nazis and used them to steal the device. The Three Founding Families tried to stop him, but…"

    A woman with long white hair lay unmoving in a field of red snow.


    It was your fault.


    "…he slaughtered them all."

    The boy rubbed his hand through his hair, his lips tight in a thin line of rage.

    Shirou couldn't blame him. It had taken years before he could look back on the event without suffering from the hatred he had needed to cast aside. He had done everything he could to save his Einzbern master, just as Risei had done all he could to save his friends, the Tohsakas. In the end, neither of them could save anyone.

    The boy rose, his fists clenching for a moment before slowly letting out a deep breath. "I see. That's… not what I was expecting."
    Expecting? How could the boy not know that? It was decades old history, and if he had participated in a Grail War before, then certainly he would have studied up.

    Shirou had thought the boy an enigma. Now he felt the term was far too lenient.

    The boy turned to Shirou and held out a hand. "Thank you for your help, Father Kotomine."

    Shirou smiled and grasped the offered gesture. "It was my pleasure."

    It truly was. Despite the boy clearly holding back a great deal of information, he had been polite, earnest, and good natured. Even when he was not telling the whole truth, it was clearly for the sake of his master, an admirable trait in and of itself. He simply wished he could stop referring to him as boy.

    "Young man, I understand that you cannot reveal your master's identity for her protection, but may I know your name?" Shirou inquired.

    The red-haired boy paused for a moment, as if listening to some unseen voice in his mind, but in the end however, he smiled at the priest. "I don't see an issue with that. My name is Shirou. Shirou Emiya."

    The priest raised an eyebrow at that. True, Shirou was not an uncommon name among their people, but to find one so mysterious so far from Japan was rather amusing. He couldn't help the light chuckle that escaped his lips.

    "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Shirou Emiya. I wish you good fortune in the war to come."

    "Likewise, Shirou Kotomine."

    With that, the boy headed for the door.

    Surprisingly, it opened before he could arrive. A large man in a black leather jacket and three scars over his right eye, slightly hidden by the jet-black shades he wore, nearly plowed right over him.

    Emiya jumped out of the way and bowed in apology. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you there."

    The newcomer, who Shirou recognized as Kairi Shishigou, raised an eyebrow. "No worries, kid. It's fine."

    Emiya rose and smiled earnestly at the mercenary. "Thank you. …have a nice day, sir."

    From behind his sunglasses, Shishigou's eyes glanced at the boy's Command Seals. "Yeah. You too."

    With that, Emiya nodded again and exited the church.

    Shishigou strode towards the priest. "You're the Holy Church's master?"

    Shirou nodded. "Indeed. My name is Shirou Kotomine."

    "Kairi Shishigou. Care to tell me who that was?"

    The priest smiled. "Of course. We have a great deal to discuss."

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Rin was on guard until Shirou returned, a gandr primed at her fingertip and aimed squarely at the door. Saber had her armor on and her sword out until her former Master stepped into their temporary base.

    Since the three of them would be in Sighisoara for a bit, they had rented a basement from an elderly couple (Why couldn't she just swallow her pride and hypnotize them?!) to serve as their home base while they got their bearings. The place was a bit musty, but the leylines would help prevent detection from outside magecraft.

    After becoming Zelretch's apprentice, and reading up on how many of her predecessors had gone insane, Rin had taken to keeping her gem satchel with her at all times, just in case. Granted, being sent to another dimension to fight in a supersized Holy Grail War hadn't been what she was expecting, but hey, the life of a future kaleidoscope was never dull.

    Oh, how she missed dull.

    She hadn't exactly been given any time to prepare herself, so her supply of jewels was limited to some twenty-two gems of various sizes and prana values. She had been forced to pawn off one of them to get the money for the basement and had then used two more to form a communication link with Shirou. He had kept his crystal in his pocket during his conversation with the overseer, letting her–and Saber through their Master-Servant connection–hear everything that was said, as well as to try to stop him from boneheadedly telling the priest his name.

    That left her with nineteen jewels for the whole war.

    Nineteen jewels for fourteen Servants.

    It had taken three just to hold Heracles in place for six seconds. Three more for a simple barrier spell that was shattered by a mere familiar.

    The next time she saw Zelretch, she was going to kick him in his family jewels.

    She sighed and looked balefully at Shirou. "Are you sure you weren't followed?"

    "I caught two dove familiars trailing me back, but I took care of them," he assured her. "How are you?"

    Rin tried to smirk at her boyfriend but even she could feel it was fake. "Shouldn't I be asking you that? I sent you into an enemy Master's workshop by yourself."

    "It was the best option we had. Besides, if anything went wrong, I know you and Saber would have come to save me. Though, I'm not sure what he would have done if you had come."

    Rin snorted. Kirei's mysterious brother was one hell of a surprise for sure. She wondered what sort of variation in this timeline had led to that happening. He certainly didn't sound young enough to have been born after her old teacher, so something else must have changed to add another son to the Kotomine family.

    Still, as much as she distrusted the name, Rin wasn't someone going to blame someone for events that they had absolutely nothing to do with. "What was he like? The priest? Did you get the same bad feeling about him that you did with Kirei?"

    Shirou scratched his chin in thought. "No. Not like Kirei. If anything, he felt kind of like Archer, though he was a lot nicer. He seems…honest, if very dedicated to the War. We'll have to fight him eventually, but if we need an alliance I think he'd be a good place to start."

    Rin sighed. "Well, that's good to know at least."

    "An alliance at this stage could be unwise," Saber advised. "While we would be a crucial advantage for either side while both are at full strength, they would at best be able to position us so they can easily eliminate us once we are no longer of use to them. At worst, we would be simple cannon fodder."
    Shirou clenched his fists. "I'm sorry. I dragged you both into this just so that I could protect innocents from the War, but that Ruler Servant is already here for that purpose."

    Rin put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "You couldn't have known that, Shirou. Besides, Ruler may be able to protect bystanders, but they have no control over what the person who wins the Grail does with it," her eyes narrowed. "On what he does with it," she huffed.
    Darnic Prestone Yggdmillenia. She'd heard the name in their world. He had been one of the masters of the Third War that she'd researched in preparation for her own. There, he'd died in pursuit of the chalice. Here, he'd taken it.

    And killed her family.

    Maybe they weren't her blood. Maybe she never met them. But they were Tohsakas nonetheless. And he had murdered them.

    This wasn't like with Kirei though. When she'd realized he had murdered her father, she'd been furious. It was annoying enough that she'd been powerless, but it had at least been satisfying to watch Lancer kill the bastard. It was a shame it had been at the cost of his own life.

    But in this case, her fury was less primal. She couldn't care as much that Darnic had murdered her ancestors. She'd never even met her own grandparents. What infuriated her the most was that he had stolen the Grail from them and was now treating it like his own property. He wasn't just insulting them, he was insulting the entire Tohsaka family, including her, just by having the Grail and high jacking it for his own ends. He'd had his shot and he'd failed, so he decided to throw a temper tantrum and spit all over their struggles.

    She wasn't powerless this time. For the sake of her pride, she could at least avenge her family's honor and grind Darnic into the dirt where he belonged.

    Well, that was why they were headed to Trifas.

    "Alright, according to the priest, the Red Faction was cobbled together in barely over a week. The Black Faction has been preparing since Darnic stole the Grail. Fortunately for us, the Black Faction also have no idea we exist," Rin began. "If we use hit and run attacks against them and carefully assess their defenses, we may be able to weaken them so that when the Red Faction makes their move, the two will be evenly matched. Then, we can swoop in and take out whoever's left."

    Saber frowned. "It is a sound strategy, Rin. But it does seem a tad… dishonorable."

    "We don't have a choice," Rin declared. "You're strong, Saber. But even you can't take on fourteen other Servants, yourself. Especially if one is Vlad the Impaler. In most places, he would be summoned as a vampire, but here in Romania where he's a hero, he'll be a king, and have a massive boost in power due to his own fame. If we're really unlucky, he might even have access to the Imperial Privilege skill, and that's basically a cheat card that lets a Servant do whatever the hell they want."

    Saber narrowed her eyes, but her stare was more contemplative than angry. Rin knew how hard this was for the King of Knights. While she was capable of discarding her honor if pragmatism demanded it, it was not something she enjoyed.

    She sighed and nodded. "You are correct. Without Avalon, I am at a massive disadvantage against a foe of such power. It's like Gilgamesh all over again."
    Shirou cocked an eyebrow. "Avalon? What's that?"

    Rin rolled her eyes. "Avalon is a conceptual weapon Saber had while she was alive, Shirou. It grants her nearly unlimited regeneration. It's why she didn't age a day after she pulled the sword from the stone."

    "Really? That's incredible! What happened to it?"

    "It was stolen from me shortly before the Battle of Camlann," Saber explained. "If it had not been, the wounds that killed me would have been healed instantly. Like how yours were when you fought Archer."

    "Geez, that'd be a nice thing to have right about now…" Shirou mused. "To have that kind of healing available at all times… and I still haven't figured out how I did that."

    Rin sighed. "Yes. Another tidbit of mysterious knowledge that will do us no good if we focus on it right now. We need to come up with—"

    A sheet of paper poofed into the air in front of her, floating gently to the ground. Rin's eyes widened when she recognized the handwriting and she readily snatched it out of the air. Saber and Shirou leaned over her shoulder to read it.


    My god, how did you three survive a Grail War?!

    The scabbard is in the idiot! There! You have a 'chance.' With him around, I get the distinct impression that you might never figure that out on your own, even given time.


    This is the last time I'll be providing any assistance. You'll have to do the dirty work yourself, so… murder, mayhem, tax evasion, all that messy business is up to you.


    Regards and best of luck,


    Your beloved master,


    K.Z.S.


    Postscript:
    I assure you, this is not because I feel guilty for eating your tofu. It was vastly inferior to my chicken fries. Not your fault, mind you, merely that particular kind of tofu is a travesty against God and all his creations, is unsuited for use as anything other than paint thinner, and simply should never exist in any form. I am genuinely appalled that you're capable of eating that.

    Post Postscript:
    On a much more serious note, I feel it would be wise to give you a warning about Darnic Prestone Yggdmillenia: I can assure you that you're a better mage than him in terms of talent, natural ability, and even raw power; just as in our world, he's little more than a manipulative, two-faced plagiarist. However, Darnic… cheats.

    I'll explain: He's assimilated several souls into himself in order to extend his lifespan—only three times total, but as I'm certain you're well aware, that's far more than the norm—and in doing so, he has also acquired the power those souls contained. It doesn't help that he's a conniving schemer. He'll be more than a match for you if you try to face him directly. Nevertheless, it is in your best interest to ensure he dies. That priest was telling the truth, but if anything, he gave you a watered-down summary, not that this provides much more detail: In the world you currently find yourself, Darnic's alliance with the Nazis, turned out to be a rather one-sided arrangement.


    From what I determined during my stay in that world, he had a Servant of unrivaled power. A great Irish hero who supposedly had access to all knowledge in the world, and as such could determine his enemies' weaknesses almost instinctively. But I digress. With this familiar at his side, he systematically hunted down and butchered all the members of the Three Families like animals. This includes your ancestors, as I'm sure goes without saying.


    You may have a brief advantage when he hears your last name. He'll likely be… shall we say unsettled… to find out that he not only 'missed one,' but allowed them to roam free, so that she might be able to acquire power and seek revenge on him. Which though never a good thing, nevertheless would not lower you from the moral high ground in any contest involving this petty thief. If he figures out that you arrived where and when you are using Second Magic—and he might, he's a cheat not a fool—he's certain to make a point of 'acquiring' you in some form or another. You'll be getting a failing grade on this if you get your soul stolen by this leech.


    As for his treachery: Once he had acquired the Grail, he called in his Nazi collaborators and successfully had it airlifted to his castle outside Trifas. And then he slaughtered all of them. Now, I'll admit, a dead Nazi is the best kind of Nazi, but nevertheless, they did much of the work, and he got all the credit because there was no one left to whom the deed could be attributed, which is consistent with most of his life's 'achievements'.


    He's surrounded himself with other talented mages, giving them his family name, and I expect that he wouldn't bat an eye at killing them all if it helped him reach the Root.

    It occurs to me that this postscript is much longer than the actual letter. Perhaps this should have been the content to begin with and the thing about the scabbard should have been the postscript.

    Post Post Postscript: One last thing of note; Celenike Icecolle Yggdmillenia.

    She's just terrible.


    The worst sort of person. Awful, perverse, grotesque, top-heavy yak… just all sorts of unpleasant nouns. If you see her, kill her. Trust me, if you let her escape, she'll start fantasizing about mutilating your corpses in her smallclothes while making assumptions about how you pity her, which… unfortunately, your significant other might.



    Rin's eyes nearly popped out of her sockets. She whirled on her boyfriend. "Shirou! Did you know about this?"

    "That your tofu was better than Burger King? It'd be hard not to—"

    "That's not what I—Wait. Hard because you hate fast food or because you like my cooking?"



    "Both? I mean between the two of us we could probably open a restaurant. Also, I'll admit, I hate mapo, but I can recognize a well-made dish when I eat it."

    Saber gently pushed the two apart before Rin could decide whether to kiss Shirou or kill him. "We are getting off topic. I am sure Shirou loves your cooking just as he loves you Rin."

    The dark-haired girl blushed, turning away from the others ever so slightly in order to hide the grin that had sprouted across her face.

    Shirou sighed. "Thanks, Saber. I'm not always the best at saying what I mean."

    "Think nothing of it, Shirou."

    The King of Knights spoke no differently than she usually did, but Rin couldn't help but notice that she was eyeing Shirou with what could only be described as fascination.

    "A lot of things suddenly make sense now," murmured Saber. "That being said, I'll need to borrow my scabbard for the time being," she held out a gauntleted hand.

    Rin blinked. She supposed it only made sense that she'd want it back. Avalon was said to be King Arthur's most prized possession, but—wait, what did she mean by 'borrow?'

    "I was kind of expecting you to just want it back, period," Rin said by way of commentary.

    "Oh, I most certainly do. I would happily take possession of my scabbard, however…"

    She gave Shirou a look of complete exasperation.

    "There's just the issue of your total lack of responsible behavior during our previous War."

    Ohhh riiight…

    Rin was sure her own face was mirroring Saber's now.

    "I would like to keep it in my possession just until we encounter some other Servants, Vlad Tepes III in particular. Just to ensure I am not killed at such an early stage. And though I regret the necessity, it is, after all, just that. I'll need to return it to you."

    "I really don't understand. Why do I need it more than you? —Wait, hold on, what do you mean irresponsible?"

    Rin and Saber looked at each other, sighed, shook their heads, then went back to giving him that look.

    "Okay, why are you two looking at me like that?

    "I feel like I should not have to answer this, particularly since I am quite certain I've said it before, but you serially put yourself into unnecessary danger, to the point that it was difficult to gauge whether you even had a rudimentary self-preservation instinct. You lost enough blood, over the course of that one week, to fill the veins of a warhorse. You had your ribs shattered by the shockwave from Archer's attack that night in the graveyard with Berserker. Archer nearly severed your spine when Caster strung you up into Ryuudou Temple."

    "You've got a pretty good point, Saber." Rin added. "Come to think of it, when you took that chain–or whatever that thing was–for me when the Rider class Servant attacked us, it punched clear through your wrist! And then you immediately ran off to fight a Servant on your own! It's a wonder you didn't bleed out right there, forget actually managing to survive long enough for help to arrive while Rider attacked you!"

    "And that isn't even mentioning your duel with Archer—" Saber went on even further.

    "Hey, but you agreed not to interfere with that fight—"

    "Yes, I did. That does not mean I supported your decision. It was reckless of you, and by all means, you should not have come out of that battle alive. Archer dealt you multiple fatal wounds, and I can see now that the only reason you survived at all was because of Avalon. You could have simply let me—"

    "Okay, okay, I get it!" he pleaded.

    "Do you, Shirou? Do you really?" Saber eyed him disparagingly.

    Rin very slowly shook her head no, to which Saber could only respond with a sigh. "Please just stop…" whined Shirou.

    "Thus, my decision to merely borrow it."

    Saber and Rin both nodded to one another again, as the Servant once again raised her arm, giving him a stern look.

    "But for now… my scabbard, Shirou."

    He paled.

    "I-I don't know how to give it to you. What did the letter even mean by 'the scabbard is in me?'"

    "Exactly what it sounds like," Rin said matter-of-factly.

    "If there's a scabbard inside me, shouldn't I have felt the effects of it being there for… however long it's been there? It should be in the way of something. It'd be at least as long as Saber's sword, right?"

    "It's a powerful magical artifact, it wouldn't cause any problems," Rin added.

    "Just for the record, I don't know how long I've had it, either. I certainly don't remember anything about getting some sort of sheath put into my body."

    "That's fine."

    "If you plan on trying to surgically remove—"

    Saber and Rin were giving him a different look now, one of confusion.

    "We can't get Avalon out of your body by cutting it out of you."

    Shirou breathed a sigh of relief, but at the same time, he began to sweat. Not cutting it out just meant that it had to be removed in some other way that he hadn't thought of.

    "I still don't know how to remove it though."

    Saber drummed the fingers of her right hand against her other gauntlet. She looked to Rin, who shrugged. Turning back to Shirou she said,

    "It shall likely be a process of trial and error."

    She probably wasn't considering the fact that her former Master might come away from this with a few burns or bruises, because she'd spoken just a tiny bit too brightly than would have been reassuring.

    "Yeah, I don't like the sound of that either."

    "Don't worry, it'll be fine, most of my ideas barely even involve touching you," Rin said. "Most of them. Now, arms out at your sides, don't lower them for anything. If you get tired, Saber can hold them up for you."

    It wasn't like he had a choice. Even if Rin was being a bit gung ho about it, Saber had been right about needing Avalon.

    It was going to be a very long evening.

    That night, just as Rin slept with Shirou in her arms, Saber did with Avalon.

    Although it could be argued that the king was far more affectionate.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    This story will not always be updated this quickly, once a month will probably be closer to normal rate, but I pushed myself to make an announcement o
    f my brand new Patreon! (Fanfiction.net really hates that word, doesn't it.)

    Yes, I have started a Patreon! I'm never going to stop doing this, but it can't hurt to put myself out there. Link below and on my profile!


    Thank you for Reading! I hope you enjoy what comes next!


    Go Forth and Conquer!

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Omake: Rin and Saber's Lecture — The Fate Route Version - Written by Draconic

    "There's just the issue of what happened during our first fight in our previous War."

    Ohhh riiight…

    Rin was sure her own face was mirroring Saber's now.

    "I would like to keep it in my possession just until we encounter some other Servants, Vlad III in particular. Just to ensure I am not killed at such an early stage. And though I regret the necessity, it is, after all, just that. I'll need to return it to you."

    "I really don't understand. Why do I need it more than you? Wait, hold on, what was wrong with what I did when we fought Berserker?"

    Rin and Saber looked at each other, sighed, shook their heads, then went back to giving him that look.

    "Okay, why are you two looking at me like that?

    "I feel like I should not have to answer this, particularly since I am quite certain I've said it before, but—"

    "No, you've got a point, Saber. I'll save you the trouble," Rin interrupted, "The issue is that you got everything on and in your torso–with the exception of your spine–smacked halfway across a graveyard, you numbskull!"

    "That was—"

    "If you honestly think you can say anything that'll justify taking a five-hundred fricking percent lethal attack for someone who will die the second you do, you are certifiably insane."

    Shirou shut up.

    Rin and Saber both nodded to one another again, as the Servant once again raised her arm, giving him a stern look.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Draconic's Note: My only contribution to this chapter beyond standard editing work was the Fate Route/Heaven's Feel omake version of Rin and Saber's lecture.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  7. #7
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18

    Post Chapter 3

    And so the chapter of May arrives!
    Draconic's Note: Gosh, it's been a long time since I edited this

    TheMaster4444's Patreon Page
    Draconic's Note: It's at the beginning of every chapter, but I'll limit it to every fifth chapter from this point forward.

    Beta-ed by Draconic


    Draconic's Note: I got distracted by my family's vacation to San Diego, so I owe an apology to those of you only reading this on Beast's Lair. Next chapter will come the Monday after next.


    * * * * * * * * * *

    Chapter 3



    "These clothes feel amazing! Thank you Master," Mordred cheered, a spring in her step as she looked over her new outfit.

    Kairi shrugged. "Don't worry about it. It was a necessary expense."

    God knew if it wasn't he wouldn't have put out a dime for them. The freelance mage business paid well enough, but money dried up just as quickly as anything else in the world. Like life, it wasn't something to be wasted on unnecessary things. But, Mordred wanted to be able to walk around in public, and she seemed like a good kid. There was no harm in granting her wish.

    "It's strange. We came all the way out here to the heart of the enemy. But nobody has attacked us yet."

    That too. They thought alike and he could already see that they had a good Master/Servant dynamic going on already.

    Besides, he owed her one for backing him up with the priest. Kairi had encountered members of the Eight Sacrament Assembly before, hell he'd even worked with them a few times, and they were never what you'd call normal. Religious supercommandos rarely were. But then, he was a necromancer who made toxic smoke grenades out of peoples' hearts and demanded payment in the form of a dead baby hydra, so who was he to judge?

    Even so, something about Shirou Kotomine had just seemed…off. More so than usual when dealing with the Holy Church. The man just seemed too soft spoken, too pleasant. Maybe he was just being polite, but unless he was a saint, that kind of purity could only have been a façade. His instincts had been screaming at him to leave as soon as he could, but they did that with most of the jobs he took. If he listened to them over his logic every time, he'd never get any work.

    But Mordred echoing his own thoughts? Yeah, that was a good enough reason to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

    The priest had seemed disappointed at his decision, but he had bid them a fond farewell. His Servant, Semiramis, got a bit uppity with him, but she didn't attack him. Acting independently or not, they were still on the same team. They'd hold off any backstabbing until the Black Faction was dealt with.

    'And this Third Faction,' Kairi thought grimly.

    Hadn't that been a surprise. In addition to the intel on Yggdmillenia and Ruler, Kotomine had informed them of the unexpected addition to the Great Holy Grail War. The priest had sounded pretty sure that the Grail's prana reserves couldn't support more than the one Master, but that didn't put Kairi at ease. Whoever this Master was, they were smart, staying hidden away in some hidey-hole and sending an emissary to collect information from the Overseer in their place.

    Normally, Kairi would be concentrating on finding out who this Master was and what their Servant could do, but honestly, he was more concerned about the emissary. The red headed kid he'd let walk right past him. The guy with the strange black Command Seals.

    Shirou Emiya.

    He wasn't surprised Kotomine didn't realize the significance of the surname. He'd thought he'd heard the last of the Emiya name years ago.

    Kairi had been one of the best in the business ever since his daughter died, but if anyone were to ask him who was the best in the mage mercenary game, there could only ever be one answer:

    Kiritsugu Emiya.

    The Mage Killer was infamous in his day; a ruthless assassin who never failed a job. Kairi had had the supreme displeasure of working with him once. It wasn't that he was particularly unpleasant; more that there was something unsettling about the man. Like he was completely empty.

    Nevertheless, the man knew what he was doing. He knew how mages thought, almost to a frightening extent, and he was well aware how to use modern technology—and honestly, a little common sense—to get around the most intricate of obstacles. It didn't matter what hexes or bounded fields his target had defending them. Once he took a mark, that person was already dead. Whether they realized it or not.

    The target that they had gone after together had been a man who'd slaughtered more than thirty Enforcers. Kiritsugu had made it just a little too obvious that they were coming, which Kairi had found infuriating. It didn't make sense until their target attacked them preemptively. The spell used had turned the surrounding environment to glass from the sheer heat. Kiritsugu fired a single shot in the same instant. And their job had ended before Kairi had the opportunity to do anything. The Mage Killer hadn't batted an eye as the other mage's body tore itself apart at the seams. It took five minutes before the sounds of screaming, bones crunching, and joints snapping finally stopped. When Kairi had looked again, their target wasn't even human anymore.

    Humans didn't die like that.

    The right arm had turned inside out and was actually inside the man's torso, which had torn open like something out of a horror movie. There were the obvious and bloody signs of a catastrophic aneurism, and half of the joints were bending in the exact opposite direction from how they were supposed to move. Both hands had snapped apart, the fingers shattered like bundles of twigs, barely held together by a few strands of sinew.

    All this from a single shot from an old gun.

    That was what it meant to be hunted by the Mage Killer.

    Publicly, the Mage's Association decried Kiritsugu as a renegade and a disgrace, but behind closed doors they employed him just as much as anyone else. It was also entirely possible that many in the Mages Association just resented him for being so brazenly technologically literate as well. But when you were skilled and efficient, people tended to overlook moral quandaries and personal grudges, and the Clock Tower was no exception. Hell, if he hadn't finally kicked it a few years back, he probably would have been recruited for this Grail War mess. No, not probably. Guaranteed.

    And now some kid with his name showed up working for a supposedly impossible Master? That was too much of a coincidence for Kairi.

    Whether this Shirou Emiya really was related to the Mage Killer or was just using the name to take advantage of the reputation, Kairi had little doubt he would end up being one of the most dangerous forces in the Grail War.

    And that meant the necromancer needed to know who he was and fast. He'd get his feelers on it as soon as possible, but until then…

    A line of people with red eyes dressed in spotless white military uniforms occupied the surrounding streets. A dozen hulking rock golems lumbered up behind them.

    …he had work to do.

    Kairi pulled out his sawed-off shotgun, fully loaded with gandr imbued fingers.

    Mordred giggled. "Oh, I get it now. I thought it was just me, but you were a decoy too!" she slapped him heartily on the back—which given her strength, very nearly doubled him over. "Master, you just might be insane!" the Saber declared with a good-humored, almost childlike grin, before letting it twist into something more feral. "I like it!"

    Kairi recollected himself and stared down at the force before them. He could already hear the heavy footsteps of their reinforcements coming up behind them.

    "You take the golems," he ordered. "I'll focus on getting rid of the homunculi."

    "Yeah. And how 'bout that Servant on the roof back there?" she asked, not even gesturing.

    Ah yes; their not so inconspicuous tail. Mordred had sensed them when they were getting the clothes, but they couldn't have attacked in the public shop. Once night had fallen, they'd initially waited for the hero to attack, but they never did, seemingly content to watch without taking action.

    "Be on guard," Kairi advised. "If they're a Servant of Black, they'll use these guys as an opening. If they're one of the other Servants of Red, they might help us, or stand back."

    And if they were a Servant of the Third Faction, who knew what they'd do. Regardless, they needed to deal with the problem in front of them.

    "Show me the extent of your power, Saber!" Kairi shouted.

    Mordred turned and caught an attack from one of the golems with one hand. She grinned. "Understood, Master!"

    They charged into the fray.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    When Saber had accepted the Grail's summons for the third time, she hadn't expected to see any familiar faces. Being reunited with Shirou and Rin was a wondrous surprise that she would be eternally grateful for.

    This was… less so.

    When she had gone out to buy ingredients for Shirou as an apology for her… forceful handling of the matter of Avalon, the last thing she had anticipated was catching sight of her in a nearby clothing store.

    Mordred. The homunculus created from her genetic data. The warrior poisoned against her by her sister's venomous words… and her own, admittedly, subpar handling of the situation.

    The knight who demanded to be her heir, and yet brought her kingdom low.

    Her son, who she'd last seen when she drove Rhongomyniad through her chest.

    What was she doing buying clothes in this time period?

    The answer to that was obvious enough. She had been summoned, just as Arturia herself had been, to compete in the Great Holy Grail War. Why she was buying clothes with a large man with three scars over his right eye was more confounding. Could she not assume spirit form, or did she just wear modern clothing so that she could remain materialized by preference, as the King of Conquerors once did?

    That seemed fine, but did she have to choose attire that was so… scant? It was unbecoming of a knight.

    She should have returned to Shirou and Rin immediately, but against her better judgement, she began to follow her wayward son and her Master. She stuck to the rooftops to avoid civilian eyes as much as possible and tried to suppress her prana, so Mordred wouldn't sense her.

    It was surreal to see her again. When she had seen Lancelot in the Fourth Holy Grail War, she had been filled with horror and self-loathing. But with Mordred, her feelings were more conflicted. While she had accepted her decisions and the consequences thereof, she still remembered that Mordred had not only raged against her but chose to start a war that slaughtered thousands of innocents, knights who had been friends of them both.

    The title of Knight of Treachery had been well earned.

    But had her failure to understand her son not merited the betrayal?

    On the other hand, the king's duty was to ensure his people's safety for as long as possible. Thus, was it not her duty to deny the throne to a reckless upstart who cared more about having the throne than the responsibility that came with it?

    But, was it also not a parent's duty to protect and care for their child? To say nothing of skewering them with a divine artifact?

    Ugh! She would be useless to Rin and Shirou if she allowed these conflicting emotions to unbalance her. She needed to deal with them immediately!

    Of course, she was alone. Without her Master. It would be improper to initiate a battle when Rin was absent without her express orders.

    Yes. She should observe the enemy Servant and then report back with what she'd learned. Preferably without being seen.

    The two continued walking down a dark alleyway, only to be set upon by a hoard of homunculi and a squadron of hulking golems. The Master pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and charged the homunculi, shouting, "Show me the extent of your power, Saber!"

    Hmm, so Mordred had been summoned as a Saber. At least that meant she wouldn't have to deal with her being affected by Madness Enchantment.

    Though honestly, it was difficult to tell the difference between her fighting style and that of a Berserker. As she had been in life, Mordred was both utterly bursting with power and completely lacking in any restraint. Her technique, if one could even call it that, was simply to smash the golems with whatever she had on hand. There was no finesse, no precision, and she threw her sword away like a fool!

    Still, she was only fighting golems, so her brute force strategy was perfectly sufficient for the task. The homunculi, armed with only bows and polearms, were no match for her Master either, who blew through them with his firearm and a strange grenade made out of a heart.

    It was over in minutes. Mordred finishing the last of the golems by carrying one over her head and smashing it into another.

    Saber would deny it in the future, but that did bring a smile to her face.

    "Looks like we're done here," the Master observed, stowing his gun inside his jacket.

    "I'm surprised by your skill, Master," Mordred complemented.

    Saber could agree with that assessment. That scarred mage had been ruthless in his attacks, but when faced with multiple opponents, that was perfectly understandable. He had been practical in his strategy, eliminating one group of foes before taking cover so he could evaluate the changed battlefield. It was not a knight's way of battle, but he was not a knight.

    Besides, it was far more honorable than the last mage Saber had known who used firearms.
    =
    The Master rubbed his chin in thought. "But why did they go all out like that?"

    "All out? They didn't even send one of their Servants," Mordred whined. "Those cowards."

    She glared at the rooftop during that last comment. Saber slowly backed away from the edge. Had she been detected? No. Mordred would never have been able to restrain herself if she knew someone was watching her.

    "Let's retreat for today," the Master decided, examining some of the rubble of the golems, particularly the purple gems from their foreheads. "It wasn't a complete waste."

    Mordred nodded and then started eagerly patting the man on the back. "So, with that out of the way, tell me. What do you think of my skills as a warrior?"

    'Sloppy, overly aggressive, desperately in need of footwork…'

    "You're quite good," the Master declared with a smile. "I ended up with a magnificent Servant here."

    "Damn right you did!" Mordred concurred. Her lips fell into a more contemplative expression. "I'm the only knight that far surpasses my father after all."

    That was pushing it. Nevertheless, Saber knew that if she had been taking the fight seriously, all of those things would have been perfect, though perhaps with a little too much emphasis on using brute force.

    Her Master chuckled. "Now, that part where you threw your sword, that may have been a bit much."

    "You idiot," Mordred grinned merrily as the two started to walk away. "As long as you win in the end, who cares how you do it?"

    Saber had to agree with the Master, that part was incredibly irresponsible. She blinked as a thought occurred to her. Had she been fighting like that because she was seeking approval?

    No. Not right now. It wouldn't do to focus on such thoughts.

    Saber backtracked and dashed off in the opposite direction, her mind awash with doubts despite her best efforts.

    When Mordred had arrived at Camelot, she had been wearing full armor, helmet included. Her deeds earned her a place at the Round Table, but the other knights had no idea what she actually looked like. Saber only found out the day she came to her and revealed their relation. And on her face was an earnest smile.

    Saber had been confounded by her enthusiasm and the news of Morgana's manipulations. She had had no idea how to respond to such news, but she had known Mordred, and she knew that despite her noble heart, she did not have the capacity to be king, seeing the throne only as a right and not a responsibility.

    The enthusiasm quickly turned to fury and Saber thought to never see that earnest smile again.

    And yet, when Mordred spoke with her Master, there it was.

    The knight she had called friend, the son she would have been proud to call hers had fate not put the responsibility of kingship upon her, still lived. She was buried underneath the ruthless butcher who thought nothing of razing Camelot for vengeance, but she was still there.

    There was still a hero hiding somewhere in that armor.

    Saber found herself smiling.

    But the thought quickly soured.

    Whoever this Master was, he was bringing out the best of Mordred, reigniting the kind soul that had first sworn fealty to her, and who had eagerly adopted the values of knighthood. With her new, and admittedly better understanding of her own past, Saber wanted to speak with her son. To try and reconcile after their last battle… but it was more than likely that her presence would simply cause Mordred to regress back to the spiteful upstart she'd been upon her death. No, this was something best left to the scarred mage.

    The smile remained on Saber's face, but it was the smile of a person who had a wish they couldn't imagine being granted. She had to stay away from her. The best thing that she could do for her wayward knight was to leave her alone.

    Which meant that she, Rin and Shirou needed to leave this town immediately.

    Besides, Mordred seemed to be under the illusion she had somehow surpassed the King of Knights. It would be kinder to let her live in that fantasy a little longer.

    "Rin," Saber called out telepathically. "Where are you?"

    'Saber? Where have you been?! You were supposed to be back hours ago.'

    "My apologies, Master. Something… came up. Have you and Shirou secured the necessary supplies and transportation?"

    She could practically hear Rin sigh. 'We used up the last of the money from that jewel I sold, but yeah, we've got everything except what you said you were going to get.'

    Oh, yes, the groceries. She would have snatch up Shirou's ingredients from one of the closing stores and leave the money behind as payment. Normally she wouldn't ever consider such actions, but… Mordred.

    'Other than that, we're just waiting on you outside the house. Is everything okay?'

    "Very well, Master. But you should prepare to move out as soon as I return. There is a dangerous Servant in this town."

    'You encountered the priest's?'

    Saber winced. "Not exactly. I'll explain when we reconvene."


    * * * * * * * * * *

    "What did you mean by 'not exactly?' Saber? Saber?"

    "Is something wrong?" Shirou inquired, just finishing up strapping their supplies onto the sidecar of the motorcycle they'd bought. She'd been hesitant about the matter, but getting to Trifas on foot would take ages. She ultimately determined that they'd need to sell more jewels, but when she'd been rooting through her satchel for something suitable, she found a pair of diamonds that she knew hadn't been there when last she'd checked its contents. She recalled what Zelretch had said in his first letter: No sense in forcing you to find your own way there on your own dime. The old man could be counted on from time to time after all. Nevertheless, it hadn't been enough for even a small used car. Thus, the motorcycle.

    "She cut off her end of the link," Rin exclaimed. "Saber doesn't do that. That's like something that an angry teenager would do."

    "Is she in trouble? I can go look for her," Shirou offered, rising from his station.

    Rin held out a hand. "Don't bother. She's on her way. She should be here in a few minutes at the latest."

    "Alright then." Shirou leaned back against the motorcycle, gazing at her with worried eyes. "How are you holding up? I know finding out about this Darnic guy can't have been easy."

    Rin sighed and trudged over next to her boyfriend. "It's… complicated. I know he didn't kill my family, but they were still Tohsakas. What pisses me off though is that he stole their lives' work, the Holy Grail, and polluted it for his own gains. He dishonored generations of hard work for a power-grab."

    That was unforgivable to someone like Rin. Magecraft was an art, a practice to be meticulously researched throughout one's lifetime until their time ended and they entrusted their work to the next generation. Every family spent centuries furthering their research, adding to their magic crests, all of them working to the bone to thrive.

    Rin knew there were mages out there who didn't share her principles, who stole the prized research of other families and used them for their own advancement. Even Luvia was better than that. The Edelfelts might have been battlefield scavengers, but in a certain regard, they were making sure that when a mage died without an heir, their research would live on. Darnic killed people so that he could pry their prized possessions out from their lifeless hands after they so rudely refused to hand over literally everything they valued. Darnic's type were scum who didn't deserve to be considered mages. She had slaved away for years, every day since her father died, so that she could call herself that. She would not let Darnic Prestone Yggdmillenia reap the spoils of defiling her family, even if it was in another world.

    "What do you think he's after?" Shirou inquired.

    "The Root, probably. Same as most mages" Rin shrugged. "Doesn't really matter. Even if we can't pull out a win ourselves, there's no way I'm letting him get the wish."

    "Tohsaka, you don't have to kill him."

    "He's probably the Master of Lancer of Black. It'll be a lot easier to deal with him than Vlad the Impaler."

    "We thought the same thing about Mr. Kuzuki and Caster, and look how that turned out," Shirou reminded her. "Rin, I agree we can't let him get the grail, but I don't want you to become obsessed with vengeance against a guy you've never met."

    "Obsessed with vengeance?" Rin gave Shirou the stink eye. "Shirou, I am perfectly capable of annihilating our enemies without letting my personal feelings get in the way. God knows I'll need to if we're going to get out of this alive."

    Shirou frowned worriedly. "If Kirei had survived what happened with Lancer, would you have been able to put things aside then?"

    Rin had no answer to that, but she couldn't avoid the question, so she answered it with a question of her own.

    "Would you, if Caster had killed Ms. Fujimura?"

    Shirou stared at her a moment, then sighed. "No. I don't know what I would have done if things had turned out that way. And that terrifies me, just like I'm terrified at the thought of what you might become."

    Rin smiled and kissed his cheek. "And I love you for that, you idiot. But this isn't some drive-in movie where I throw away everything for some meaningless revenge. I'm going to make Darnic wish he never heard of the Holy Grail, but I'm going to do that because it's what we need to do to win and go home. Though I can't say I won't enjoy it."

    Shirou raised an eyebrow, but he did have a ghost of a smile. "Alright, if you're sure. Just know that I'm always here for you."

    "As if I could ever forget," Rin chuckled. She took his hand in hers. "I've got any world's biggest bonehead by my side until the very end."

    Shirou grinned. "Always."

    The two leaned in to kiss…

    …And were interrupted by Saber landing next to them, grocery bags in her arms.

    Rin instantly jumped away from Shirou, her cheeks blushing. "Saber, you're back already."

    Saber briskly handed Shirou the groceries. "I'm truly sorry for the delay, but we need to move out immediately. Oh!" she noticed the motorcycle. "Is this our transportation?"

    "Yeah. I needed to dish out two more jewels, but at least we have some money left over.

    The Servant actually looked rather excited about being the driver. She must have wanted to finally put her Riding Skill to use. Still, something was definitely off and it wasn't just her being giddy over getting Avalon back.

    "Shirou should protect the food in the sidecar," she said, handing her shopping bags off to him, "Rin, you are behind me."

    "Saber wait, what's—"

    "Shirou get in the sidecar!"

    Saber must have used her Rank B Charisma in that shout, because Shirou was in the sidecar faster than Rin could blink, and he looked as surprised about it as her. Soon, she found herself sitting on the motorcycle behind her Servant as the group raced out of town.

    Once they were on the highway, the wind blasting past their faces, Saber closed her eyes for a moment, her brow creased in concentration. A moment later, a cone of high-pressure air erupted around them and gleaming silver armor materialized over the motorcycle, as well as the sidecar. The wind was roaring past them now, but strangely, it wasn't buffeting them directly anymore.

    "Saber!" Rin inquired, the wind howling far too loudly for her words to be heard without shouting. "What's going on?!"

    "This is a byproduct of Invisible Air, Master. By using it to cover our vehicle, I can keep our wheels firmly on the road with the pressure while decreasing our air resistance to zero to increase speed. The most accurate name for the final result would be 'Motored Cuirassier.'"

    Rin frowned. "Not what I meant, but good to know!" Her expression shifted to one of worry for her Servant. "Saber, tell us the truth. This isn't like you! What's so dangerous about this Servant that has you so rattled?"

    "Whatever it is, I doubt it's anything the three of us can't handle together," Shirou assured her.

    Saber sighed, reducing their speed to something more comfortable. "I'm sorry. I should not have acted so brashly. No matter our familiarity, you two are still my Masters. I have no place ordering you so."

    "It's fine, Saber" Rin promised as they blazed down the road, a pickup truck racing by them in the opposite direction. "Just tell us what's wrong?"

    Saber paused a moment, but eventually spoke up. "The Servant I saw in town. It was someone from my past. Someone I'm… not quite sure how I feel about or how to deal with."

    "Who?"







    For some time, the only sounds that could be heard were the rumble of the engines and the wind rushing past them.

    "Saber, who was it?" Shirou asked.

    Saber sighed. She just couldn't say no to him…

    "Mordred."

    Rin was so stunned that Shirou actually answered before she could. "Mordred? Your son?"

    "Indeed. The homunculus offspring that Morgan le Fey created from me. The one who I believed was not capable of being king and so refused to acknowledge as heir," Saber lamented. "In the end, we slew each other at Camlann."

    Rin gulped. She didn't know too much about the details of Saber's death beyond what the legends said, but anyone that could mortally wound her must have been a dangerous foe. "Is he dangerous?"

    "Mordred? Not as I am now. She is certainly talented, but without a way to overcome Avalon, I need not fear her. Nevertheless, it would be in both of your best interests to stay out her way."

    "If she's no danger to you, then wouldn't you just be able to defend us? Why did we rush out of town?"

    "Because—"

    An explosion rang through the night before she could reply. Ahead, Rin caught sight of a cloud of smoke rising from the road by a highway sign.

    "Oh look, an explosion. We should go ensure no one was injured."

    Rin scrunched her face in fury. "Saber, you aren't getting out of this that easily—"

    A spike of prana surged through the air, the likes of which Rin hadn't felt since the corrupted grail nearly manifested. The brisk night air was suddenly replaced with a heat wave so dry, the young magus frantically glanced about to make sure the grass beside the highway hadn't shriveled to ash in the sudden shift in temperature.

    "Tohsaka. Do you feel that?" Shirou asked, a hint of worry in his voice. "We… should probably make sure no one got hurt."

    Rin gulped. If even Shirou could understand the threat ahead, it was truly something they should avoid. Even if Saber had Avalon, they shouldn't charge headfirst into danger just because someone might need their help.

    Oh wait, she forgot who she was with.


    * * * * * * * * * *

    Jeanne's grip on her flag tightened as Lancer of Red glowed with power. Her True Name Discernment skill instantly relayed his identity and abilities to her.

    Karna, Son of Surya the Sun God, Hero of Charity, a legendary warrior with few equals even in the vast expanse of the Throne of Heroes.

    The Ruler had sensed his presence easily; it wasn't as though he was trying to hide it. He had provided her with ample time to know he was there and warn the civilian who was giving her a ride to Trifas in his truck. She'd sent the kind old man back the way they'd come and prepared for a battle.

    A moment later, the demigod had dropped from the sky in an attack that the Maid of Orleans had only just managed to dodge, crushing the asphalt with his impact and sending a cloud of smoke and dust into the sky.

    "Lancer of Red!" Jeanne called. "I am Servant Ruler. True name, Jeanne D'Arc. I am the Arbitrator of this Great Holy Grail War. Do you understand the meaning of baring your fangs at me?"

    "It is unwise to ask questions to which you already know the answers," Karna replied calmly. "It should be obvious that my presence is a declaration of war."

    Jeanne narrowed her eyes. The legends of Karna spoke of him as a man of near limitless honor and kindness. He wouldn't attack her without good cause. "What is your purpose for wanting to dispose of me?"

    "Truthfully, I do not know" the Lancer admitted. "My Master commanded me. As per our contract, I simply act as instructed."

    A Master's command? It was inconceivable that a Heroic Spirit as bound to virtue as Karna would lie to her, but it made no sense for a Master, any Master, to want to kill her. While gaining Ruler as an ally would be beneficial to either faction, her death served no purpose so long as she remained neutral, as was her duty.

    'First, my summoning through Laeticia, then those strange revelations, and now this? What is going on in this Great Holy Grail War?'

    Lancer's golden spear ignited in an inferno of crimson flames. He raised it into an offensive position. "Let us proceed. Considering your special privileges, I have no need to hold back."

    Jeanne grit her teeth as she raised her flag. While it was true that those of the Ruler class received a sizeable boost to their parameters, she was still far below Karna's level. If he deemed to use any of his Noble Phantasms, he would annihilate her in an instant.

    And yet, she could not let herself die. Not when humanity was still in danger.

    It was her duty to protect them.

    "One attack as a tribute," Lancer declared. "That should more than enough to finish this duel. Prepare yourself—"

    "Saber, get him!"

    "Rin, take the wheel!"

    "Saber, what are you—ah!"

    Twin blurs, one silver, the other blue, sped towards Lancer from either side of the road. The demigod saw both coming and kneeled to the ground, spinning his spear to deflect both swords that came down on him. The Servant rose back up and repulsed both assailants, who stood protectively before Jeanne.

    One was a tall man wielding a massive greatsword. Upon his head was a wild mane of unruly silver hair, with scale like gray armor coating a good deal of his body. His bare chest was engraved with what looked like a strange glowing scar of some sort. His stoic face gazed impassively on Karna, though he did raise an eyebrow at the other who stood beside him.

    Siegfried, the hero of the Nibelungenlied. Saber of Black. A noble and strong hero if Jeanne ever saw one.

    The other figure had a facial structure similar to Jeanne's own. She was far shorter than Siegfried but no less stunning. Starlight gleamed off the woman's silver armor and blue dress, her eyes hard as she observed both Karna and Siegfried. Her hands were positioned as if they were holding a sword, but to all appearances, she held nothing but empty air. Though given her knowledge of her identity, Jeanne guessed her blade would be too recognizable.

    Arturia Pendragon, the King of Knights. Saber of…

    What? That… that couldn't be right.

    Jeanne blinked and gazed at the Servant again but her True Name Discernment did not give her any new information.

    This was… utter nonsense. There were only supposed to be two factions in the Great Holy Grail War. And even if there were another side involved somehow, certainly it wouldn't be called… that.

    Both Siegfried and Arturia warily eyed each other up, subtly shifting their forms so that they would be prepared for an attack from either Lancer or their surprise assistant.

    Karna observed the two sword masters impassively. "You must be Saber of Black," he remarked of Siegfried. He turned to Arturia. "Does that make you Berserker of Black? Or perhaps I've simply confused one of you for the other? …No, the two of you are much too cautious of each other to be allies. How curious."

    "That was a close one, Ruler!" A rather obese man with a thick blond mustache under his nose and a rather obvious combover jogged over to Jeanne. His hand was raised in greeting.

    "I take it you are Saber of Black's Master?" Jeanne inquired.

    The man panted from his run but had a proud smile on his face at Jeanne's words. "That is correct. I am Gordes Munsik Yggdmillenia. It is a pleasure to meet you. Now then…"

    He whirled on Karna. "Lancer of Red! We arrived just in time to clearly witness you attempting to murder Ruler. Plotting to eliminate the Arbitrator of the Holy Grail War is—"

    "Saber!" A piercing screech stopped Gordes mid-speech.

    Jeanne and the others all turned their eyes to behind Ruler. A young woman with long black hair and a red sweater rose from a motorcycle that was turned on its side. A boy with red hair followed her after righting a sidecar that had detached from the vehicle.

    Jeanne's eyes widened. Both of the mages, for what else could they be, bore Command Seals on their hands, though the boy's were strangely black instead of the usual red.

    The girl stomped up to Arturia, whose regal face suddenly looked quite panicked. "Rin, I'm terribly so—"

    "No, Saber. No," the Master, Rin apparently, declared. "I am used to this kind of reckless stupidity from Shirou, but I'm not letting you start acting like a fool too. I get what you're dealing with, but having conflicted feelings about something is not an excuse to hand me off a magically enhanced motorcycle with barely a second of warning."

    The King of Knights winced like a scolded child. "You cannot deny that this was almost certainly an emergency of unprecedented scale. Nevertheless, I am sorry, Master." She closed her eyes a moment and then gazed at Rin like the fierce king she was. "I swear, from this point forward, I will put you and Shirou first, as both a Servant and a knight should. As I should have already."

    "You should probably measure that vow," Karna advised. "If your Master cares enough to comfort you on your own feelings, it is unlikely that she wishes for you to close yourself off to them. She cares for the person you are after all, not the weapon you could be."

    Arturia's eyes widened. She looked to her Master with glistening green eyes, touched.

    Rin on the other hand, was beet red. She glared at Lancer furiously.

    "Hey! Just who do you think you are? You don't just butt into people's private conversations like that, jerk!"

    "My apologies. Though, if you wished for your words to be private, perhaps you should not have shouted them in our current location."

    "Excuse me!"

    "What is going on here?" Gordes roared. He pointed angrily to Rin and Arturia. "Who are you? Why did you call that Servant of yours Saber? I wield Saber, so you can't unless… unless you are a Master of Red! But… but then why did you attack Lancer?"

    The Yggdmillenia smirked gloatingly. "Could it be that you Mage's Association dogs are already turning on each other? How pitiful."

    "Actually, no." The boy with red hair walked up next to Rin and Arturia. "Sorry for the confusion, but we aren't affiliated with the Red Faction at all. We're an independent third—"

    "Shirou!" Rin whined. "You weren't supposed to tell them that. The Yggdmillenia didn't know. We could have had him worried about Lancer of Red teaming up with us."

    "Lancer was trying to kill Ruler. Why would we team up with him when he was trying to hurt someone who protects the innocent?"

    Jeanne smiled at Shirou's query. Not only because he stood up in favor of her, but because of his genuine concern for the innocents that she protected. It was a rare thing for a modern magus to care for those uninvolved in their work and the Saint was glad to see that compassion had not died out completely.

    However…

    "I cannot aid you in this fight," she informed all parties, Gordes and Rin's mouths both dropping in shock. "Lancer of Red making reckless threats against my life and a battle between him and the Sabers of the other factions are two completely separate matters. As Ruler, I must remain impartial in such events unless they threaten the sanctity of the war itself."

    "But, Lancer just tried to assassinate you!" Gordes protested. He glared at Rin's group. "And this so called third faction's arrival is too precise to be mere coincidence. They must be in on the plot."

    Shirou narrowed his eyes at the other Master. "I would never try to kill someone who protects innocent people."

    "Indeed," Arturia concurred. "The mere suggestion of using such despicable tactics is an insult to my Masters' honor. You would be wise to keep such thoughts to yourself in the future, mage."

    Rin snorted. "Unlike some people, we don't need to try to cheat others to get what we want, Yggdmillenia."

    "You… You dare!" Gordes whirled to his Servant, a vein pulsing in his forehead. "Saber! Kill them! Slaughter Lancer of Red and this interloper!"

    Siegfried raised his sword but made no attempt to advance on either Karna or Arturia. A wise decision, since to move on one would have meant showing his back to the other, and as his legend went, that was where his weak point lay.

    "A third faction? Intriguing. Though it would have made little difference even if you were allies," Karna remarked. His gaze concentrated on both his opponents. "Your eyes, both of you possess eyes quite similar to a man I once knew. A man who was undeniably a great hero. To meet not one, but two foes approaching his caliber… This battle was not mere coincidence. It was predestined."

    With a flourish, his entire form lit up with the brilliant flames of a crimson star. "My name is Karna, Son of the Sun God," he declared proudly. "If you do not fear my lance, then fight me."

    "I am the wandering knight of the Netherlands. My name is Siegfried," Saber of Black responded dutifully.

    "I am—"

    "Saber don't you dare!"

    "But Rin," Arturia turned on her Master with pleading eyes. "They have both divulged their true names. I am honor bound to follow suit."

    "I did not grant you my name as a means of coercing you into doing the same," Karna informed them. "If your Master forbids you, then your first loyalty should be to her, not me. Do you concur, Saber of Black?"

    Siegfried nodded wordlessly.

    The King of Knights frowned. "Still, you have both been highly accommodating. It would be disgraceful of me to not grant you some manner of referring to me."

    "Your traditional class title will suffice," Karna assured her. "Though, even that will require the name of your faction."

    Rin froze, her eyebrows shooting up in trepidation. "Our name?" she squeaked out.

    "That seems reasonable enough," Saber concluded. "Do I have your permission, Master?"

    "No! That is completely out of the question! Just call her Saber!"

    "Are you deliberately trying to cause trouble?!" squawked Gordes.

    "You surely realize that such a careless arrangement will cause some confusion, as they are both Sabers," Karna pointed out.

    Rin growled at the Lancer, but crossed her arms in embarrassed worry.

    Jeanne didn't understand why. Sure, it was not what one would consider a traditional faction color, but she could think of no real reason to withhold it.

    "What's the harm, Tohsaka?" Shirou asked. "They were going to find out eventually."

    Rin grit her teeth, but after a few seconds under Shirou's gaze, her resolve crumbled. "Fine. Fine, use the name."

    Arturia smiled gratefully. "Thank you, Master. I promise, I will do you proud."

    "Tohsaka?" Gordes mumbled under his breath. "That's impossible."

    The King of Knights raised her invisible sword and proudly faced her fellow heroes. "Heroic Spirits of Black and Red, I wish you good fortune in the war to come. Tonight, you face Servant Saber of the Periwinkle Faction!"

    Rin remained completely calm. She most certainly did not make a strange keening noise in the back of her throat like an obese fruit bat having a stroke. She did nothing of the sort.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    And so the war begins.

    Arturia and Mordred is always one of my favorite relationships to examine and here is no different. The two of them are going to do a lot of circling before they meet, but my god is it going to be fun.

    Rin shows her strength of character and common sense in not letting vengeance consume her in the mater of Darnic, while Shirou shows why Rin/Shirou is my personal Fate OTP.

    And Karna and Sigfried show up! I love the former so much and I look forward to diving into the latter a bit more that canon was able to in this story. Especially the whole dragonslayer versus Saber, who has dragon essence, thing.

    Thank you for Reading! I hope you enjoy what comes next!

    Go Forth and Conquer!


    Draconic's Note: I expanded a lot of the content in this chapter, mostly Saber's inner conflict upon first spotting Mordred, Shishigou's suspicions about Emiya, the contents of the groceries, and adding some detail to the scene's transcription. I also, up until this point, had been begging him to reconsider the faction name, like, altogether too much. But we came to an agreement a bit later on that we were both satisfied with. You'll see in two chapters.
    I also originally changed the ending of this chapter somewhat drastically in my admittedly overzealous drive to edge away from pure comedy. I'll be posting the revised but cut ending of this chapter at the end of the following chapter.

    TheMaster4444 and I haven't discussed how much we're going to use from the dub and how much from the original script of the anime that we're going to use, and as some of you may have noticed, I have been asking around about content from the original light novels here on the Lair. Particularly in regard to Jack the Ripper and Spartacus. In the case of Jackie, well, that's over and done with. As for Spartacus, I don't really know where that's going, but I doubt he's going to last very long. In any case, we're mostly trying to go with whatever sounds best.
    Last edited by Draconic; April 1st, 2019 at 07:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Aside from the accidental double-post, glad to see this chapter posted near-concurrently with the FFN update. Speaking of:

    Spoiler:
    While I am somewhat disappointed Chiron died and Jeanne wasn't present for the end, both were understandable and executed well. In addition, the FSN trio's exorcism of Jack was extremely powerful, solemn, and honestly a wonderful culmination of everything FSN is about, and UBW in particular, displaying a stellar understanding of the route and its messages, so bravo for that, and the moment when Jack showed Shirou some pity (that's gotta hurt somewhat). Moreover, glad the Atalanta hateboner for Jeanne is not in, though honestly, I don't find Archer of Red all that interesting in canon, so you better do something good with her, and I have full confidence you can. Finally, Chiron's death raises major questions about the role of Achilles from here on out. In canon, he is essentially defined by his interactions with Chiron and Atalanta, and for me, only one of those actually worked, and it was the Achilles-Chiron interactions. With Chiron gone, I wonder what you two are going to do with Achilles to make him interesting without his teacher as a rival/foil, since thus far he's got nothing of note. Actually, me being this bummed about Chiron exiting the story is a testament to how well you had written him in this fic, so bravo.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  9. #9
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    I really don't know what we're doing with Achilles, though we do know that he canonically doesn't get along with Semiramis and is suspicious of Amakusa. I have a few ideas as to where we're going with Atalanta, though I can't be sure of any of them yet. But TheMaster4444 and I both were very eager to get away from her ridiculous hateboner for Jeanne. If she uses Agrius Metamorphosis, I'm pushing for a Dark Beast Ganon circa Twilight Princess iteration, and as Lostbelt 1 has explicitly demonstrated, she is entirely capable of doing that. With wings no less.

    Speaking of which, we haven't seen Jeanne in a little while. I'm beginning to wonder where she's gone off to. I'll probably find out soon though.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  10. #10
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Yeah, that suspicion of Amakusa part wasn't really used all that well because in canon, he ultimately went with Amakusa's plan and told Chiron he actually agreed with it, despite being suspicious of the priest. Also, no one but Shirou really gets along with Semi. Maybe Karna does, but it is impossible to faze the guy, so that also doesn't really say anything either.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, I may have said this before, but I probably am one of the few who really didn't like Achilles' admiration crush on Atalanta/Atalante evolving into full-on shiptease. It just feels wrong IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  11. #11
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    If things continue the way they are though, Atalanta might end up sticking with Mordred and Shishigou. There are plenty of ways that could go, especially considering that her official Master, Rottweil Berzinsky is the single most vile person on the Red Faction. Heck the only reason Amakusa survived meeting with him is because Semiramis neutralized him before he inevitably decided to murder him.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  12. #12
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Draconic View Post
    If things continue the way they are though, Atalanta might end up sticking with Mordred and Shishigou. There are plenty of ways that could go, especially considering that her official Master, Rottweil Berzinsky is the single most vile person on the Red Faction. Heck the only reason Amakusa survived meeting with him is because Semiramis neutralized him before he inevitably decided to murder him.
    I've never heard this about Atalanta's official Master. Is this in the side materials? Also, do you really think Amakusa could be easily murdered by some psychopathic mage? He was a member of the Assembly of the 8th Sacrament for 70 years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  13. #13
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    You've got a point.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  14. #14
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  15. #15
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Just saw it, and it's kinda sparse, but quickly filling up. Of all the fics out there, this one deserved it.
    Last edited by SirGauoftheSquareTable; April 4th, 2019 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Damn typo
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  16. #16
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Spoiler:
    I just thought of a terrifying idea for what might happen to Fiore now that she's Servantless. Avicebron and Darnic might think of using her as the reactor core for Golem Keter Malkuth, since she is a very strong magus and without a Servant, and Atalante might have to save her from that per her promise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  17. #17
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    Gonna relay that to TheMaster4444, because that is a very good idea.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  18. #18
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Draconic View Post
    Gonna relay that to TheMaster4444, because that is a very good idea.
    Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  19. #19
    Hey, I ain’t no lizard! Draconic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Miskatonic University
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,782
    US Friend Code
    194,434,580 - IGN Ritsuka
    Blog Entries
    18
    Previously considered, but denied.

    Depending on where the story goes, I might try to push harder for this idea though.
    Likes attention, shiny objects, and... a ball of yarn?
    F/GO Supports

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


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

  20. #20
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Wherever there's Wi-Fi
    Age
    21
    Posts
    6,444
    Makes sense. The idea was too logical not to consider at least somewhat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •