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Thread: Chaldea's Case Files

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Chaldea's Case Files

    Volume 1 index:

    Spoiler:
    Dark Crime Skyscraper: Manhattan - by Yugo Aozaki
    -Part 1
    -Part 2
    -Part 3
    -Part 4
    -Part 5
    -Part 6
    -Part 7

    Hijikata Toshizou (and the) Kidnapping Incident - by Korumono Migiwa
    -Part 1

    Ishtar and Ereshkigal's Case Files - by Ryou Amane

    Girls in the cage - by Kyouya Origami

    Malice or Romance - by Van Madoy

    Chronology:


    Translation by Comun
    Proofreading by:
    -Butchcorgi (Hijikata Toshizou (and the) Kidnapping Incident)
    -Narmbo (the other cases)


    Volume 2 index:

    Spoiler:
    Kamakiri Village Catastrophe - by Amphibian

    The London Black Plague Incident - by Houkou Tsuda

    Red Light District Locked Room Murder- by Natsu Hyuga

    Translation by Comun
    Proofreading by Narmbo
    Last edited by Comun; July 4th, 2020 at 11:42 PM.

  2. #2
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Part 1 is up. As I explained in the other thread, the POV is kinda wonky, with Fujimaru attempting to do a neutral first-person narration but often slipping into first person.

    Spoiler:




    The thousands of lights below compete against the night.
    The street lights, the traffic signals, the theater’s decorative illuminations. The headlights of the taxis and the red lamps of the police cars. Lights in bars, diners and stores, or the reflections of those lights on the park’s lake, on the bottles littered all over the streets or on people’s jewelry. And on the windows of the skyscrapers, the giant buildings spread around like symbols of vanity.
    From one of said windows, a girl looks at the city below her. Her sunset-colored hair is tied in a sidetail and its tip is touching the window.
    “That’s so pretty.”
    “Yeah, it’s not half bad.”
    One of her teammates nods in response to her inept commentary. It was not only her first time coming to this city, but also her first time coming to this era. The night scenery from 40 years in the past shows as much liveliness and enthusiasm as the present one, if not more. This is the land of constantly expanding hopes and dreams. A melting pot of boundless greed and activity.
    Yes. This place has been the greatest metropolis in the world for the past 40 years.
    It was the brightest, busiest, richest
    and scariest of all cities.
    The girl kept looking at the window.
    She didn’t want to look into the room she was in, because she will be met with a glare. Her group is surrounded by dozens of big men in suits. It’s been about an hour since they were brought there, but none of them were talking, nor even smiling. No one could relax this tense mood.
    Two sets of footsteps approach and open the door.
    “Hello, Boss!” “Hello, Boss!”
    The men lower their heads immediately. The girl stops observing the night city and looks at the people who just arrived.
    One was a beautiful woman.
    The information I got states she is in her 40s but looks at least 10 years younger. Her face has Irish traits and her long hair is crimson red, looking as if it was dyed with the blood of her enemies. While her body would look magnificent in a dress, it was instead covered in a dark suit for men and releasing a silent but tangible threatening aura. Like her hair, her necktie was also had the color of human blood. Her sharply trained reddish-brown eyes could see through this dazzling city as easily as they could see through an unpopulated wasteland.
    And the other person was an Asian man standing behind her.
    He wasn’t wearing a jacket, only a poorly tied necktie, a white shirt and pants with suspenders. Even though it was impossible to hide guns and knives dressed like that and he had a very thin physique, his aura was the most dangerous of them all. Tattoos were visible from his rolled-up sleeves. His long black hair was tied in the back. His face was handsome, aloof and… Wait!
    I’ve seen him before.
    “Yan Qing?”
    I say it out loud. The man looks at me stupefied.
    “Have we seen each other, miss?”
    “You know her?”
    “Dunno. I guess this is just because I’ve been showing my face around a bit too much.”
    The Asian man answers the woman with a shrug. Is he just a lookalike…? I don’t think so. That’s clearly Yan Qing. Though he doesn’t seem to have his Shinjuku memories. Why is he here?
    One of the men in suits approaches and bows to the woman.
    “Boss, may I have your time.”
    “Sure. What is the matter?”
    “There’re… some people wanting to join our family.”
    She raises her eyebrow, making her aura even more intimidating.
    “Interviewing newcomers is not my job. Deal with this yourself.”
    “W-we know, but these ones are a little… not normal. You see, there was a fight against the Russians on the First Avenue this afternoon…”
    “With the badgers? No one told me about that. How many casualties?”
    “Zero, ma’am… Those guys intervened and sent everyone away.”
    The woman they call boss threw a piercing glare at the girl’s group.
    After a few seconds of evaluation, she moves forward. The sound of her polished shoes echoes throughout the whole room.
    “We follow a principle of never rejecting those who come to us, but… do you know the rules of our family? We discard the useless. We kill the traitors. We kill the smokers even harder. Because there is nothing in the world I hate more than tobacco. Say your names and skills, one by one.”
    The first one to raise her hand was-
    “I am called Ushiwaka!”
    -The black-haired girl with an oodachi. She was wearing what seemed to be samurai armor over her naked body, with only the armor’s armpit guards unreliably hiding her chest. With no signs of noticing how eye-catching her outfit was, her blue eyes looked only straight forward.
    “I am mainly good at combat, swordsmanship and horse riding. I am proud of my strong loyalty. I will devote myself to my family in all sincerity!”
    Her earnestness is totally out of place in an underground business. The boss just says “Ok” and moves her eyes to the man next to her. A young adult wearing a dark green hood. He uncovers his head and says his name.
    “Robin. My skills are, I guess archery and logistical support. About my cigarettes… I can quit any time.”
    That was all. His uncaring eyes, visible behind his wheat-colored hair, showed no signs of being intimidated. Before the boss could get displeased, the informant nervously added:
    “It was those two who drove away the badgers. They’re useful. And while this other one may look like a kid…”
    “He just had his growth cut short due to some problems.”
    Two voices said the same words.
    The one doing this was a 12-13 years old boy, at least head shorter than everyone around him. His hair and eyes were cobalt blue and he was wearing a waistcoat with tights and a bow tie. However, from his throat came the voice of a grown man weary of life. With a fearless smile, he starts talking.
    “This causes me a lot of inconveniences, but it gives me one great advantage. I can infiltrate about anywhere by pretending to be a stupid brat who doesn’t know better. I don’t have to worry about the police questioning my occupation. Your main scene is smuggling, right? I’m someone you’d find useful as a carrier. Am I wrong? The name is Hans. Work me well.”
    “I’ll tell you the second thing I hate the most in the world: men who talk too much. But you do look useful.”
    The boss responds dispassionately and faces the last person: the girl with the sunset-colored hair.
    “She’s so normal compared to all the others”. That’s the opinion written in the boss’ face. She was in fact normal. She couldn’t think of anything to advertise herself. After thinking some, the girl finally opens her mouth.
    “I’m Ritsuka Fujimaru. My skill is… err… being resistant to poison, I guess?”
    “To poison?”
    “Yes. As far as I tested…”
    She had already confirmed that her Poison Resistance Skill hadn’t vanished in this land. She tested it in the afternoon by taking something from Robin’s bag.
    The boss stares the girl from head to toe with the skeptical eyes of someone watching a late-night infomercial, until she flips her hair and says indifferently:
    “Very well. Starting today, you are members of my group. Welcome to the Cascade Family.”
    Her name was Kate.
    Kate Caroline Cascade.
    The boss of the Cascade Family, one of the New 5 Great Mafias of New York.
    Clap, clap, clap. Yan Qing, leaning on the wall, was clapping his hands. In reaction to him, all the previously unsociable men start applauding, too. But the sudden shift into this welcoming mood wasn’t enough to make me feel relieved. Ushiwakamaru, Robin and Andersen were looking terribly displeased. They all probably want to say the same thing.
    Looking down to avoid being noticed, their Master, Ritsuka Fujimaru, whispers:
    “H-how could this happen to us…”


    -


    “I want to applaud me as hard as Melzi used to do. My service today was distinguished.”
    Leonardo “da Vinci-chan” da Vinci puffed her bountiful chest in pride of her ever-improving skills.
    “Before going to sleep, I decided to play with the Sheba Lens like it’s Google Earth, and there I found the tiniest Holy Grail reaction. We would never had found a signal this weak on a normal search. Oh wow, I’m not even surprised at my own frightening skillfulness…”
    “Permission to make a joke about the Google Earth comment?”
    “I’ll pass.”
    “But the point is that you found a Micro-Singularity, correct?”
    Mash Kyrielight asks briskly from the next chair. Ritsuka regained her seriousness and waited for the engineering advisor’s explanation.
    Micro-Singularities.
    Those are small faults appearing all over history as an aftermath of the 7 Singularities destroying Human Order Foundations in the Demon God King Goetia’s plot to incinerate Human Order. Even after Ritsuka’s Human Order Security Organization Chaldea put a stop to their plans, its residue is still being found en masse.
    And what we found today was another of those. Or so I thought.
    “I’d say this is not even Micro.” da Vinci leans her arm on the control panel to support her head. “It’s on a pre-Singularity state. A Singularity in potential. Consider it an egg of a Singularity. You know how normal Singularities have something wrong about them? It could be topography, buildings, weather, lifeforms, anything. But as far as I’ve observed, there’s nothing out of place with this one. Which means it hasn’t become a Singularity yet.”
    “Huh, but… ” Ritsuka tilts her head “a Holy Grail did manifest there, didn’t it?”
    “Although it manifested, no one picked it up yet, I suppose. Before any contact, the Grail is just a neutral mana resource. That’s all. Your job today, Ritsuka-chan, is to Rayshift to the Singularity egg and retrieve the Grail as quickly as possible, preventing the land from turning into a Singularity. Just like removing a tumor before it goes malignant. How about it? You like handling a super easy Order?”
    “Yeah… that does sound better than what I got before.”
    “Then take 2 or 3 Servants that aren’t doing anything and move ASAP.”
    “I’ll handle your support, Senpai.”
    “Ok. Thanks, Mash.”
    “Roger!” The kouhai nods, swaying her violet hair. Mash’s power as Servant has weakened since her fight against Goetia, shifting her to the mission control. But this mission sounds doable even without her helpful but sometimes annoying support.
    As she went to the cafeteria to search for companions, Ritsuka notices she forgot to ask one question.
    “Hey, da Vinci-chan, where am I Rayshifting to?”
    “1977, Manhattan, New York.” She answers with a wink. “It’s an unsafe era, so beware of robbers and mafiosos.”
    The mission was supposed to be easy enough for this joke to be funny.
    She would retrieve an unused Grail from a completely unaltered city. Difficulty level: zero.
    But after Rayshifting, Ritsuka’s party immediately encounters something out of the ordinary.
    “Hey… something’s wrong. I can’t chant anything.”
    “Huh? I’m using my mantle, why am I not invisible?”
    --Hello? Senpai? My screen is blank. Can you hear me?--
    “We have a problem, my lord. I can’t tell where the ‘buroodowei’ is!”
    “Wait, wait, wait!”
    Analysis results: we confirmed that in the entire Manhattan area no one can use Noble Phantasms, Skills, Mystic Codes, going into spirit mode, and not even Command Spells. We had to find our way to Broadway by asking people.
    “I don’t seem to find any issues with my Saint Graph’s maintenance, mana supply or physical abilities. But every other magical element is entirely restricted.”
    Ushiwakamaru makes her self-analysis as she practices her sword swings by the Central Park’s fountain. She hears da Vinci’s sad voice from the transmitter in Ritsuka’s wrist.
    --This must be why we can’t get any images. A source of mana jamming indetectable by our monitor and able to affect even Noble Phantasms and Command Spells… doesn’t sound very possible for a normal Bounded Field. Unless…--
    “It’s the Grail’s power?”
    --Possible. I’m assuming this land…--
    --Don’t you think this land has already turned into a Singularity?--
    The voice of an intellectual man cut into the transmission. It’s Sherlock Holmes.
    --Sorry, da Vinci, I just happened to overhear your conversation. This is just a theory, but don’t you suppose someone already obtained the Grail and wished ‘I don’t want anything out of the ordinary to happen’? Said person perceives magecraft as out of the ordinary and the Grail is responding to that.--
    --Makes sense.-- says Mash’s voice. --That would explain everything.--
    --Though that’s quite the paradoxical wish to make to the Grail. The fact that the more fundamental parts like mana supply are running without problem must be because the wish needs to avoid contradicting itself. In that case, we can deduce the owner to be a… no, I’ll leave their profiling and the rest to you. I have to leave now. The Professor invited me to some board game named Scotland Yard. Though I wish I didn’t have to play against him…--
    The detective’s voice fades out into grumbles. Following that, Ritsuka hears a refreshing laughter right next to her. It’s Andersen.
    “What a masterpiece! A Caster with no chants or magecraft! I’ve always called myself the most useless weakling, but now that went to the extreme!”
    He looked more happy than disappointed. Tourists start gathering around Ushiwaka as she continues her practice swings. Robin is sitting at the edge of the fountain, holding on to his mantle, now turned into a regular piece of cloth.
    “This sucks. I went into this thinking it would be fun… This’s gonna be a bit of a chore, huh?”
    This turned out very different from what he expected.
    It’ll be more than “a bit” of a chore.
    The investigation itself went along swimmingly. Information circulates in droves in a metropolis with 8 million people. After going through a people, the group finds useful information. About a month ago, an influential person obtained an item of extreme magical power.
    When we ask about it, the information broker points to a skyscraper that can be seen from anywhere in the city.
    It’s a tall building in Midtown Manhattan, the center of the metropolis. Its silhouette is a long and thin cuboid, with tympanums on all windows giving it Renaissance airs. Its height seems to approach 250m, being on par with other famous buildings like the Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
    “Publicly, they are an import company, but everyone knows that’s not their deal.”
    “Then what they really are?”
    “The Cascade Family. A mafia.” The man strongly rubbed his fingers together. “I can tell you more details for some chips.”

    -

    “Our infiltration was successful… What’s our next action?”
    “That man back there was the Youxia, no doubts about it. Why’s he here?”
    “How would I know? Regardless of why, the fact the enemy has a Servant is a huge problem for us.”
    “Was that boss really the one who wished for nothing to happen? Why would she wish something like that?”
    “HEY, greenhorns, stop blabbering and get over here.”
    They hear the high-pitched yell of a man. A black man with an afro is at the end of the hallway gesturing at them to come closer.
    Once they approach, they hear the beep of an elevator arriving.
    They are guided inside it. Until now, they have been on the 70th floor, the highest floor in the building. The elevator was glass-sided, so the sick-looking Ushiwakamaru held herself close to Ritsuka without a second thought. If I recall right, she mentioned before that she was afraid of heights.
    The man with the afro presses the 1 button. As the box begins to descend, he turns to Ritsuka.
    “I heard you’re looking for a place to live. There’s an empty apartment on 29th Street, go there. Take the key. Name’s Billy. I’m the official instructor here. My dudes call me Billy the Kid.”
    “You don’t look very much like the real one.”
    “You’ve seen the real one’s face?”
    “I meet him often in the cafeteria…”
    “You’re a funny chick.”
    “By the way, Billy the Kid-senpai,” Robin makes little effort to hide his displeasure. “What kind of lady is our boss? She seems to be more than your average honcho.”
    “Kate is a badass. The woman came to this city all alone 10 years ago and made this huge organization in an instant. The only problem with her is that she hates smoking. Hahaha.”
    “Where was she before she came here?”
    “Some random organization in London. Clock Fort…? Clock Tower…?”
    “It’s Tower.” Andersen answered. “Of course, she’s from there. Was it the boss who summoned Yan Qing then?”
    “Summoned? Don’t know what you’re talking about, but Yan Qing is one of the new capos who joined last month. The Boss’ bodyguard. You better obey his orders.”
    “We’ll take care. But, man, this org must be doing pretty well to have a man like him around. Our bread and butter is smuggling, right?”
    “Yup. We have regulars all over the city.”
    “Then we should be trading some really rare stuff. I’ve been hearing rumors around that the boss got some amazing treasure…”
    “Oh?”
    Billy-senpai raised an eyebrow and Robin closed his mouth. Did he speak too much? The elevator ride gets tense. The floor number lamp is the only thing still moving.
    After the number lowered past 40, Billy-senpai showed his white teeth. His laughter was like that of an obnoxious child trying to show off their expensive toy.
    “You mean the Holy Grail? ‘course the rumors already spread outside.”
    “Oh, that’s the one!” Ritsuka’s voice cracked. “Hehe, I wonder where it is. Sounds like a fun thing to see.”
    “Ok, we can stop there before we leave.”
    Billy-senpai presses the 35 button, the exact center of the building. The elevator soon stopped and opened its doors. He walks cheerfully through a hallway with no signs of life. Ritsuka’s party follows him.
    “Nice flirting, you’re a pro.”
    “You should start learning from me.”
    I quietly praised Robin and got a mean retort. This victory wasn’t even thanks to his interrogation skills, it was more thanks to the interrogated party’s personality. Billy-senpai is still talking without a hint of suspicion even now.
    “The Boss’s only got one person in her family, a son named Kevin. He’s going to high school in Paris now, but in half a year he’ll come back and inherit the family’s throne. The Boss is planning to give the Grail as present to lil’ Kevin. And our most important job is to protect the Grail until he’s here.”
    To pass it on to her successor.
    To protect it from enemies for six months.
    “Ah, so that’s why she wished for nothing to happen…”
    The moment Ritsuka felt all pieces of the puzzle fit together, she saw the end of the hallway.
    Billy-senpai pushes open a double door with the words Security Room written on it. Beyond the door was an empty room with no windows. In the center of the room was a desk with a black telephone on it. Next to it, a single chair.
    A man was sitting on the chair.
    Seeing the visitors, he picks up the weapon by the side of the chair and stands up. He was wearing a suit instead of his armor, but his purple hair, stern face, broad shoulders, and most of all, his broadsword beautiful like dawn’s reflex on a lake were unmistakable. Ritsuka’s confused mind recalls Billy-senpai’s words. “Yan Qing is one of the new capos who joined last month.” One of the new capos…
    Yan Qing is not the only Servant the Cascade Family has.
    “Any problems?”
    “Hello, sir. I’m just show the greenhorns the building.”
    “I see. But don’t go any further than here.”
    He’s saying whoever gets any closer will be cut down.
    An implicit warning said by Sir Lancelot of the Round Table.
    While the four of them where unable to hide their shock, that was just the appetizer. The main dish was still waiting them behind Saber. Noticing that paralyzed the party harder than any Stun effect.
    “Hey, Billy-senpai… Is the Grail perhaps…”
    “Yup, inside here. We call this place the Cradle. A safe crib for lil’ Kevin.”
    The thing occupying most of the wall behind Lancelot. The thing a knight of the strongest level was indomitably protecting. The thing releasing a silver light as the room’s illumination reflected on it.
    It was a visibly secure, clearly solid, absolutely thick…
    giant vault door.

  3. #3
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors AAM1232's Avatar
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    Thanks Comun!

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    Part 1 is up. As I explained in the other thread, the POV is kinda wonky, with Fujimaru attempting to do a neutral first-person narration but often slipping into first person.

    Spoiler:




    The thousands of lights below compete against the night.
    The street lights, the traffic signals, the theater’s decorative illuminations. The headlights of the taxis and the red lamps of the police cars. Lights in bars, diners and stores, or the reflections of those lights on the park’s lake, on the bottles littered all over the streets or on people’s jewelry. And on the windows of the skyscrapers, the giant buildings spread around like symbols of vanity.
    From one of said windows, a girl looks at the city below her. Her sunset-colored hair is tied in a sidetail and its tip is touching the window.
    “That’s so pretty.”
    “Yeah, it’s not half bad.”
    One of her teammates nods in response to her inept commentary. It was not only her first time coming to this city, but also her first time coming to this era. The night scenery from 40 years in the past shows as much liveliness and enthusiasm as the present one, if not more. This is the land of constantly expanding hopes and dreams. A melting pot of boundless greed and activity.
    Yes. This place has been the greatest metropolis in the world for the past 40 years.
    It was the brightest, busiest, richest
    and scariest of all cities.
    The girl kept looking at the window.
    She didn’t want to look into the room she was in, because she will be met with a glare. Her group is surrounded by dozens of big men in suits. It’s been about an hour since they were brought there, but none of them were talking, nor even smiling. No one could relax this tense mood.
    Two sets of footsteps approach and open the door.
    “Hello, Boss!” “Hello, Boss!”
    The men lower their heads immediately. The girl stops observing the night city and looks at the people who just arrived.
    One was a beautiful woman.
    The information I got states she is in her 40s but looks at least 10 years younger. Her face has Irish traits and her long hair is crimson red, looking as if it was dyed with the blood of her enemies. While her body would look magnificent in a dress, it was instead covered in a dark suit for men and releasing a silent but tangible threatening aura. Like her hair, her necktie was also had the color of human blood. Her sharply trained reddish-brown eyes could see through this dazzling city as easily as they could see through an unpopulated wasteland.
    And the other person was an Asian man standing behind her.
    He wasn’t wearing a jacket, only a poorly tied necktie, a white shirt and pants with suspenders. Even though it was impossible to hide guns and knives dressed like that and he had a very thin physique, his aura was the most dangerous of them all. Tattoos were visible from his rolled-up sleeves. His long black hair was tied in the back. His face was handsome, aloof and… Wait!
    I’ve seen him before.
    “Yan Qing?”
    I say it out loud. The man looks at me stupefied.
    “Have we seen each other, miss?”
    “You know her?”
    “Dunno. I guess this is just because I’ve been showing my face around a bit too much.”
    The Asian man answers the woman with a shrug. Is he just a lookalike…? I don’t think so. That’s clearly Yan Qing. Though he doesn’t seem to have his Shinjuku memories. Why is he here?
    One of the men in suits approaches and bows to the woman.
    “Boss, may I have your time.”
    “Sure. What is the matter?”
    “There’re… some people wanting to join our family.”
    She raises her eyebrow, making her aura even more intimidating.
    “Interviewing newcomers is not my job. Deal with this yourself.”
    “W-we know, but these ones are a little… not normal. You see, there was a fight against the Russians on the First Avenue this afternoon…”
    “With the badgers? No one told me about that. How many casualties?”
    “Zero, ma’am… Those guys intervened and sent everyone away.”
    The woman they call boss threw a piercing glare at the girl’s group.
    After a few seconds of evaluation, she moves forward. The sound of her polished shoes echoes throughout the whole room.
    “We follow a principle of never rejecting those who come to us, but… do you know the rules of our family? We discard the useless. We kill the traitors. We kill the smokers even harder. Because there is nothing in the world I hate more than tobacco. Say your names and skills, one by one.”
    The first one to raise her hand was-
    “I am called Ushiwaka!”
    -The black-haired girl with an oodachi. She was wearing what seemed to be samurai armor over her naked body, with only the armor’s armpit guards unreliably hiding her chest. With no signs of noticing how eye-catching her outfit was, her blue eyes looked only straight forward.
    “I am mainly good at combat, swordsmanship and horse riding. I am proud of my strong loyalty. I will devote myself to my family in all sincerity!”
    Her earnestness is totally out of place in an underground business. The boss just says “Ok” and moves her eyes to the man next to her. A young adult wearing a dark green hood. He uncovers his head and says his name.
    “Robin. My skills are, I guess archery and logistical support. About my cigarettes… I can quit any time.”
    That was all. His uncaring eyes, visible behind his wheat-colored hair, showed no signs of being intimidated. Before the boss could get displeased, the informant nervously added:
    “It was those two who drove away the badgers. They’re useful. And while this other one may look like a kid…”
    “He just had his growth cut short due to some problems.”
    Two voices said the same words.
    The one doing this was a 12-13 years old boy, at least head shorter than everyone around him. His hair and eyes were cobalt blue and he was wearing a waistcoat with tights and a bow tie. However, from his throat came the voice of a grown man weary of life. With a fearless smile, he starts talking.
    “This causes me a lot of inconveniences, but it gives me one great advantage. I can infiltrate about anywhere by pretending to be a stupid brat who doesn’t know better. I don’t have to worry about the police questioning my occupation. Your main scene is smuggling, right? I’m someone you’d find useful as a carrier. Am I wrong? The name is Hans. Work me well.”
    “I’ll tell you the second thing I hate the most in the world: men who talk too much. But you do look useful.”
    The boss responds dispassionately and faces the last person: the girl with the sunset-colored hair.
    “She’s so normal compared to all the others”. That’s the opinion written in the boss’ face. She was in fact normal. She couldn’t think of anything to advertise herself. After thinking some, the girl finally opens her mouth.
    “I’m Ritsuka Fujimaru. My skill is… err… being resistant to poison, I guess?”
    “To poison?”
    “Yes. As far as I tested…”
    She had already confirmed that her Poison Resistance Skill hadn’t vanished in this land. She tested it in the afternoon by taking something from Robin’s bag.
    The boss stares the girl from head to toe with the skeptical eyes of someone watching a late-night infomercial, until she flips her hair and says indifferently:
    “Very well. Starting today, you are members of my group. Welcome to the Cascade Family.”
    Her name was Kate.
    Kate Caroline Cascade.
    The boss of the Cascade Family, one of the New 5 Great Mafias of New York.
    Clap, clap, clap. Yan Qing, leaning on the wall, was clapping his hands. In reaction to him, all the previously unsociable men start applauding, too. But the sudden shift into this welcoming mood wasn’t enough to make me feel relieved. Ushiwakamaru, Robin and Andersen were looking terribly displeased. They all probably want to say the same thing.
    Looking down to avoid being noticed, their Master, Ritsuka Fujimaru, whispers:
    “H-how could this happen to us…”


    -


    “I want to applaud me as hard as Melzi used to do. My service today was distinguished.”
    Leonardo “da Vinci-chan” da Vinci puffed her bountiful chest in pride of her ever-improving skills.
    “Before going to sleep, I decided to play with the Sheba Lens like it’s Google Earth, and there I found the tiniest Holy Grail reaction. We would never had found a signal this weak on a normal search. Oh wow, I’m not even surprised at my own frightening skillfulness…”
    “Permission to make a joke about the Google Earth comment?”
    “I’ll pass.”
    “But the point is that you found a Micro-Singularity, correct?”
    Mash Kyrielight asks briskly from the next chair. Ritsuka regained her seriousness and waited for the engineering advisor’s explanation.
    Micro-Singularities.
    Those are small faults appearing all over history as an aftermath of the 7 Singularities destroying Human Order Foundations in the Demon God King Goetia’s plot to incinerate Human Order. Even after Ritsuka’s Human Order Security Organization Chaldea put a stop to their plans, its residue is still being found en masse.
    And what we found today was another of those. Or so I thought.
    “I’d say this is not even Micro.” da Vinci leans her arm on the control panel to support her head. “It’s on a pre-Singularity state. A Singularity in potential. Consider it an egg of a Singularity. You know how normal Singularities have something wrong about them? It could be topography, buildings, weather, lifeforms, anything. But as far as I’ve observed, there’s nothing out of place with this one. Which means it hasn’t become a Singularity yet.”
    “Huh, but… ” Ritsuka tilts her head “a Holy Grail did manifest there, didn’t it?”
    “Although it manifested, no one picked it up yet, I suppose. Before any contact, the Grail is just a neutral mana resource. That’s all. Your job today, Ritsuka-chan, is to Rayshift to the Singularity egg and retrieve the Grail as quickly as possible, preventing the land from turning into a Singularity. Just like removing a tumor before it goes malignant. How about it? You like handling a super easy Order?”
    “Yeah… that does sound better than what I got before.”
    “Then take 2 or 3 Servants that aren’t doing anything and move ASAP.”
    “I’ll handle your support, Senpai.”
    “Ok. Thanks, Mash.”
    “Roger!” The kouhai nods, swaying her violet hair. Mash’s power as Servant has weakened since her fight against Goetia, shifting her to the mission control. But this mission sounds doable even without her helpful but sometimes annoying support.
    As she went to the cafeteria to search for companions, Ritsuka notices she forgot to ask one question.
    “Hey, da Vinci-chan, where am I Rayshifting to?”
    “1977, Manhattan, New York.” She answers with a wink. “It’s an unsafe era, so beware of robbers and mafiosos.”
    The mission was supposed to be easy enough for this joke to be funny.
    She would retrieve an unused Grail from a completely unaltered city. Difficulty level: zero.
    But after Rayshifting, Ritsuka’s party immediately encounters something out of the ordinary.
    “Hey… something’s wrong. I can’t chant anything.”
    “Huh? I’m using my mantle, why am I not invisible?”
    --Hello? Senpai? My screen is blank. Can you hear me?--
    “We have a problem, my lord. I can’t tell where the ‘buroodowei’ is!”
    “Wait, wait, wait!”
    Analysis results: we confirmed that in the entire Manhattan area no one can use Noble Phantasms, Skills, Mystic Codes, going into spirit mode, and not even Command Spells. We had to find our way to Broadway by asking people.
    “I don’t seem to find any issues with my Saint Graph’s maintenance, mana supply or physical abilities. But every other magical element is entirely restricted.”
    Ushiwakamaru makes her self-analysis as she practices her sword swings by the Central Park’s fountain. She hears da Vinci’s sad voice from the transmitter in Ritsuka’s wrist.
    --This must be why we can’t get any images. A source of mana jamming indetectable by our monitor and able to affect even Noble Phantasms and Command Spells… doesn’t sound very possible for a normal Bounded Field. Unless…--
    “It’s the Grail’s power?”
    --Possible. I’m assuming this land…--
    --Don’t you think this land has already turned into a Singularity?--
    The voice of an intellectual man cut into the transmission. It’s Sherlock Holmes.
    --Sorry, da Vinci, I just happened to overhear your conversation. This is just a theory, but don’t you suppose someone already obtained the Grail and wished ‘I don’t want anything out of the ordinary to happen’? Said person perceives magecraft as out of the ordinary and the Grail is responding to that.--
    --Makes sense.-- says Mash’s voice. --That would explain everything.--
    --Though that’s quite the paradoxical wish to make to the Grail. The fact that the more fundamental parts like mana supply are running without problem must be because the wish needs to avoid contradicting itself. In that case, we can deduce the owner to be a… no, I’ll leave their profiling and the rest to you. I have to leave now. The Professor invited me to some board game named Scotland Yard. Though I wish I didn’t have to play against him…--
    The detective’s voice fades out into grumbles. Following that, Ritsuka hears a refreshing laughter right next to her. It’s Andersen.
    “What a masterpiece! A Caster with no chants or magecraft! I’ve always called myself the most useless weakling, but now that went to the extreme!”
    He looked more happy than disappointed. Tourists start gathering around Ushiwaka as she continues her practice swings. Robin is sitting at the edge of the fountain, holding on to his mantle, now turned into a regular piece of cloth.
    “This sucks. I went into this thinking it would be fun… This’s gonna be a bit of a chore, huh?”
    This turned out very different from what he expected.
    It’ll be more than “a bit” of a chore.
    The investigation itself went along swimmingly. Information circulates in droves in a metropolis with 8 million people. After going through a people, the group finds useful information. About a month ago, an influential person obtained an item of extreme magical power.
    When we ask about it, the information broker points to a skyscraper that can be seen from anywhere in the city.
    It’s a tall building in Midtown Manhattan, the center of the metropolis. Its silhouette is a long and thin cuboid, with tympanums on all windows giving it Renaissance airs. Its height seems to approach 250m, being on par with other famous buildings like the Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
    “Publicly, they are an import company, but everyone knows that’s not their deal.”
    “Then what they really are?”
    “The Cascade Family. A mafia.” The man strongly rubbed his fingers together. “I can tell you more details for some chips.”

    -

    “Our infiltration was successful… What’s our next action?”
    “That man back there was the Youxia, no doubts about it. Why’s he here?”
    “How would I know? Regardless of why, the fact the enemy has a Servant is a huge problem for us.”
    “Was that boss really the one who wished for nothing to happen? Why would she wish something like that?”
    “HEY, greenhorns, stop blabbering and get over here.”
    They hear the high-pitched yell of a man. A black man with an afro is at the end of the hallway gesturing at them to come closer.
    Once they approach, they hear the beep of an elevator arriving.
    They are guided inside it. Until now, they have been on the 70th floor, the highest floor in the building. The elevator was glass-sided, so the sick-looking Ushiwakamaru held herself close to Ritsuka without a second thought. If I recall right, she mentioned before that she was afraid of heights.
    The man with the afro presses the 1 button. As the box begins to descend, he turns to Ritsuka.
    “I heard you’re looking for a place to live. There’s an empty apartment on 29th Street, go there. Take the key. Name’s Billy. I’m the official instructor here. My dudes call me Billy the Kid.”
    “You don’t look very much like the real one.”
    “You’ve seen the real one’s face?”
    “I meet him often in the cafeteria…”
    “You’re a funny chick.”
    “By the way, Billy the Kid-senpai,” Robin makes little effort to hide his displeasure. “What kind of lady is our boss? She seems to be more than your average honcho.”
    “Kate is a badass. The woman came to this city all alone 10 years ago and made this huge organization in an instant. The only problem with her is that she hates smoking. Hahaha.”
    “Where was she before she came here?”
    “Some random organization in London. Clock Fort…? Clock Tower…?”
    “It’s Tower.” Andersen answered. “Of course, she’s from there. Was it the boss who summoned Yan Qing then?”
    “Summoned? Don’t know what you’re talking about, but Yan Qing is one of the new capos who joined last month. The Boss’ bodyguard. You better obey his orders.”
    “We’ll take care. But, man, this org must be doing pretty well to have a man like him around. Our bread and butter is smuggling, right?”
    “Yup. We have regulars all over the city.”
    “Then we should be trading some really rare stuff. I’ve been hearing rumors around that the boss got some amazing treasure…”
    “Oh?”
    Billy-senpai raised an eyebrow and Robin closed his mouth. Did he speak too much? The elevator ride gets tense. The floor number lamp is the only thing still moving.
    After the number lowered past 40, Billy-senpai showed his white teeth. His laughter was like that of an obnoxious child trying to show off their expensive toy.
    “You mean the Holy Grail? ‘course the rumors already spread outside.”
    “Oh, that’s the one!” Ritsuka’s voice cracked. “Hehe, I wonder where it is. Sounds like a fun thing to see.”
    “Ok, we can stop there before we leave.”
    Billy-senpai presses the 35 button, the exact center of the building. The elevator soon stopped and opened its doors. He walks cheerfully through a hallway with no signs of life. Ritsuka’s party follows him.
    “Nice flirting, you’re a pro.”
    “You should start learning from me.”
    I quietly praised Robin and got a mean retort. This victory wasn’t even thanks to his interrogation skills, it was more thanks to the interrogated party’s personality. Billy-senpai is still talking without a hint of suspicion even now.
    “The Boss’s only got one person in her family, a son named Kevin. He’s going to high school in Paris now, but in half a year he’ll come back and inherit the family’s throne. The Boss is planning to give the Grail as present to lil’ Kevin. And our most important job is to protect the Grail until he’s here.”
    To pass it on to her successor.
    To protect it from enemies for six months.
    “Ah, so that’s why she wished for nothing to happen…”
    The moment Ritsuka felt all pieces of the puzzle fit together, she saw the end of the hallway.
    Billy-senpai pushes open a double door with the words Security Room written on it. Beyond the door was an empty room with no windows. In the center of the room was a desk with a black telephone on it. Next to it, a single chair.
    A man was sitting on the chair.
    Seeing the visitors, he picks up the weapon by the side of the chair and stands up. He was wearing a suit instead of his armor, but his purple hair, stern face, broad shoulders, and most of all, his broadsword beautiful like dawn’s reflex on a lake were unmistakable. Ritsuka’s confused mind recalls Billy-senpai’s words. “Yan Qing is one of the new capos who joined last month.” One of the new capos…
    Yan Qing is not the only Servant the Cascade Family has.
    “Any problems?”
    “Hello, sir. I’m just show the greenhorns the building.”
    “I see. But don’t go any further than here.”
    He’s saying whoever gets any closer will be cut down.
    An implicit warning said by Sir Lancelot of the Round Table.
    While the four of them where unable to hide their shock, that was just the appetizer. The main dish was still waiting them behind Saber. Noticing that paralyzed the party harder than any Stun effect.
    “Hey, Billy-senpai… Is the Grail perhaps…”
    “Yup, inside here. We call this place the Cradle. A safe crib for lil’ Kevin.”
    The thing occupying most of the wall behind Lancelot. The thing a knight of the strongest level was indomitably protecting. The thing releasing a silver light as the room’s illumination reflected on it.
    It was a visibly secure, clearly solid, absolutely thick…
    giant vault door.
    Finally found time to read this, thanks Comun!

    I'm used to several volume novels so the story progressing so quickly is new to me, but I like the handle the writer has on the characters personalities and I'm curious how this is going to pan out considering the lack of powers and the vault (Though I can't believe they continue to keep Ushi in her horrid outfit no matter the medium).

    Hans is amusing in his self depreciation as always

  5. #5
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Manhattan part 2
    Log - Ritsuka Fujimaru


    June 14th


    The situation is terrible.
    In hindsight, the reason why Billy-senpai immediately told us where the Grail was is obvious. It’s because knowing the place doesn’t matter when there’s no way to get any close to it. To retrieve this Grail, we’ll need to open that thick safe by ourselves. We’re against a mafia with two combat-oriented Servants. We can’t use magecraft or Noble Phantasms in this city, and since there’s no video transmission, we can’t have Mash analyze the vault either.
    We must crack a safe under these circumstances.
    How…?


    Our place on the 29th Street wasn’t very clean. Since Robin said he was fine sleeping on the sofa, I took one of the three rooms in the apartment. My window connects to a side street, where I can see a building covered in graffiti. I could also see the Cascade Family building in the distance. The only plan for tomorrow is looking for breaches while I’m infiltrating the organization.
    We ordered our dinner from a Chinese restaurant. It came in one of those boxes, just like in the movies. That’s a little dream come true.


    June 15th


    We got our suits done in the morning.
    The rules say all Cascade Family members must wear a black suit with a scarlet necktie.
    Ushiwakamaru is dissatisfied, saying it’s too constrained. Robin looks decent in his. Andersen got mad when I said he looked like he was dressed up for Shichi-Go-San.
    Ushiwakamaru and Robin were appointed as fighters. Their job is to patrol our turf and deal with trouble like the one from yesterday. Andersen got the carrier position he wanted. After they tested my Poison Resistance, I was assigned my role as the Boss’s taste tester. I am responsible for tasting everything Kate would ingest, from her coffee to her meals, and determining if it’s safe or not. Only a real mafia would be wary of poisoning like that.
    The job sounded easy until I was told I would have to follow the Boss the entire day. Together with Yan Qing. Can I make this work…?


    June 17th


    Yan Qing really doesn’t remember Shinjuku. I asked him indirectly without revealing my background and he told me that he manifested as a masterless Servant and Kate picked him up.
    “I’m not the most stable Servant, so I had to take the temporary contract. Luckily enough, I liked the Boss, so that’s why I’m guarding her.”
    “What about Lancelot?”
    “Another masterless summon. He looked like such a man of justice to me though… I wonder why he joined us. Either way, that Saber is the perfect vault guard.”
    Lancelot keeps watch on the Security Room for almost 24 hours a day. Andersen questioned him and he doesn’t remember us either.
    Today’s dinner was delivery pizza. I hope this doesn’t continue for much longer. This will be bad for my weight.


    June 19th


    Today I saw the inside of the Cradle.
    While we were getting down to the first floor, we stopped by the Security Room and Kate ordered Lancelot to open for her. Apparently, she does this safety check regularly.
    Lancelot went to the door and (I presume) typed the password. Once he was done, the door started automatically sliding with a loud rumbling noise. Due to the door being so big, it took almost three minutes for it to open completely.
    The vault was as large as an apartment’s living room but a lot more empty.
    It had a number of boxes and suitcases by the walls. In its center, one small podium.
    The Holy Grail was laid exposed atop this podium.
    Lancelot confirmed that the Grail was inside, left the vault, nodded to the Boss and pressed the button next to the door. The rumbles start once again as the safe closes.
    With the Boss and Yan Qing by my side and Lancelot’s very effective glare, I unsurprisingly couldn’t get any closer. At least I could confirm that it was real.
    But how can I steal it?
    “Any changes on the Boss?”
    As we try to follow Kate outside of the room, Lancelot talks to Yan Qing.
    “None. We got a poison tester now, after all. Wanna switch places with me to see for yourself?”
    “I’m best suited here…”
    After giving that serious answer to a joke, Lancelot looks at me.
    “So you’re the poison tester? I’m counting on you. Protect her.”
    His wording implies he’s entrusting something to me. Looks like his knight mentality hasn’t changed even in this city.


    June 20th


    I hear the building’s chef hates me. No surprise, considering I’m constantly poison testing the food he’s so proud of.
    The entire building belongs to the Cascade Family and it has a warehouse, a weapons deposit, an office, a cafeteria and even a gym and a pool. Kate normally lives on the 70th floor, the top of the building. She sleeps in the bedroom, eats in her private space and does the paperwork at the office. She sometimes goes out in a Jaguar with bulletproof windows for negotiation and contracts. I don’t know if it’s for her underground business or for its front.
    I can’t talk to Kate much, but Yan Qing does a lot.
    “I noticed something on Wall Street that can become a problem later.” “Just noticing is not enough motive to act. We need to focus on the Russians now. Who got this month’s Tokarevs?” “We did.” “Distribute a third of them to Harlem.” “Is this about last month’s insurance money?” “We can’t have the Jams disbanded now.” “With the economy running this well, how about we distribute half?” “That’s up to you.”
    I can tell it’s a dangerous subject.
    I tried making oyakodon with Ushiwaka. The soy sauce here is expensive and bad.


    June 23rd


    I’m slowing learning more about the underworld.
    New York has been the territory of the Sicilian 5 Great Mafias for the longest time. But thanks to the increased public security and internal strife, they have been weakening with the years. The city was in peace… until it wasn’t. Five organizations known as the New 5 Great Mafias rose into power to fill the gap opened by the 5 Great Mafias. And their conflicts made public security even worse.

    In Chinatown, we have the Zafu Association, a brutal group specialized in guerilla, with no qualms about murder and torture.
    In Upper East Side, we have the Badgers Alliance, a collusion of three Russian mafias, boasting forces comparable to an army.
    In Harlem, we have the Jam Bullets, a massing of street gangs united under the leadership of a charismatic black man.

    In Lower Manhattan, we have the Scladio Family, a heretic clique that expands its power amassing estranged mages.
    Lastly, in Midtown, we have the Cascade Family, the dark horse who took control of all the cities’ smuggling routes through plotting and scheming.

    Even if it’s to retrieve a Grail, I don’t know how to feel about participating in the mafia’s evil deeds.
    I want to end this job and go back home as fast as I can.
    Robin is giving signs that he feels incomplete without his cigarette in his mouth. He bought boxes of bubble gum in the most ridiculous colors.


    June 26th


    Today Ushiwakamaru was the talk of the Family.
    She chased a trader who tried to run away with our cash and fought the guy in Times Square, until she got arrested for destroying 1 bus, 2 taxis and 3 shops. The Boss did warn her not to go overboard next time, but I can tell we’re slowly earning her trust. Robin said he became drinking pals with the management sector. Andersen is infiltrating everywhere he can to learn more about the safe for us. I’m still trying to get closer to Kate but it’s hard. Not to mention Yan Qing is there.
    Chaldea’s transmissions are still sound-only. I’m talking to Mash every night, but I feel kinda lonely without seeing her face.


    June 28th


    I was attacked by a hitman.
    As soon as I left a high-class restaurant on the 5th Street a passerby with a knife charged at Kate. Yan Qing moved to the front in a second and knocked him out in one chop. He didn’t even have the time to scream.
    After squeezing the assailant’s knife in his back pocket, Yan Qing inspects the hitman’s body. Kate doesn’t react at all.
    “A Scladio?”
    “His face may be Italian, but his ankle has signs of a burned tattoo. That’s a Zafu, ma’am.”
    “Pretend we got fooled. Contact the Scladios in secret. If everything goes right, we can pit them against the Zafus.”
    “Depending on whether or not they’ll believe us.”
    “Pack and send this guy. That should make them at least listen.”
    “Uh, hey. Is taking him to the police an option?”
    As I respond without thinking, Kate looks turns her eyes to me like she’s seeing a new breed of panda.
    “We would gain nothing from doing that.”
    She leaves the follow-up to her subordinates and gets into her car. Yan Qing drops his hand on my shoulder and continues the talk.
    There was nothing else I could say.
    “That’s how a model mafiosa does stuff.”

    At night, as I told this story to Robin, he said with an awkward smile.
    “To them, their evil deeds are just a means to an end. Their goal is the pursuit of profit. That’s why things can only get worse with them.”


    June 29th


    Today was a peaceful day, the Boss didn’t leave the building once. I mean, peaceful ignoring the fact this is a mafia.
    While I was eating hamburgers in the apartment at night, Andersen came home carrying a mountain of files. He “finished investigating the safe”. We got excited about it, but Andersen’s mood was worse than I’ve ever seen, almost like he was about to meet his deadline.



    “If a publisher requested you 500 manuscripts by tomorrow, what would you do?”
    Ushiwakamaru and Robin stare at each other, with matching ketchup stains on their mouths.
    “Judging by my previous experience helping with the doujins, I’m quite sure 500 manuscripts in one night is impossible.”
    “I’m a lot more than quite sure about that. I’d turn them down right away.”
    “Exactly. That’s an insane request. Some jobs are physically impossible no matter what tricks you employ. Thus, I believe we must give up on the Grail and get back to Chaldea immediately.”
    The fairytale writer dumps his files on the table and blurts out:
    “I’ll cut to the chase: it’s impossible to crack that safe.”

  6. #6
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    the referencer becomes the referenced.

    And as expected of Hans go be the bringer of bad news

    - - - Updated - - -

    I want to see fanart of the characters in suits

  7. #7
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Short update, but before that, a thing I noticed from part 2: this case is impossible timeline-wise. The case is officially set between EoR1 and EoR2, but since Ushiwakamaru mentioned she and Robin already had experience helping Jalter with the doujins, that means BB's Summer already happened, and consequently, they already met BB before in EoR3 and the Foreigner Class in EoR4.

    Well, back on topic, here's part 3, where you can tell things are bad because Fujimaru's attempted neutral third-person narration is has pretty completely crumbled already.
    Manhattan part 3
    Andersen began reporting the intel with his mouth full of double cheeseburger. First he took a sheet of graph paper that seemed to contain a blueprint. “I’ll start from the structure of the Cradle. It’s 8x8m wide and 2.5m tall. No pillars, no beams, no steps. It’s large but not guarding a lot. The Grail is right in the center.”
    “Yup, I saw all that. It was just there on a podium.”
    “So, if we can get inside, it’s gonna be real easy to take it.”
    If we can get inside.” Andersen turns towards Robin and raises his eyebrow. “The safe’s walls are all 80cm of pure steel. Not even the super strength of a Servant can put a dent to that.”
    “With a Rikutou Kanpa or a Kumogoroshi, such wall would be no hurdle…”
    Ushiwakamaru says with a pout. However, Noble Phantasms don’t work in this land.
    --Couldn’t you open it with a key?-- Mash says through the transmitter. --What is the door made of?--
    “Steel, just like the walls. There’s no key, only a numerical lock. The door will automatically open when the 10-digit password is input, and won’t open any other way. Then you flip the switch next to the door to close it. While it may be the cutting edge for this era, it’s obviously not connected to the internet. Therefore, we can’t hack it. Only one person knows the password: Lancelot.”
    “Only Lancelot?”
    “Exactly. The boss doesn’t know.”
    Thinking back, whenever Kate went to check the Grail, she never typed in any numbers. It was always Lancelot.
    “Only Lancelot can open the safe. You know what that means? That every time the door opens or closes, he will inevitably be there, watching. Not to mention he’ll order everyone to leave the room before he even starts the opening procedures. If someone absolutely needs to enter to inspect, bring in or take away an item, he’ll personally follow them inside and constantly keep his hands on the Grail. I believe anyone who tried to approach would be crushed by his blade. So far, no one was dumb enough to try, but we might be the first edition they’re waiting for.”
    --How about infiltrating hidden inside a crate? Sounds possible for you, Mr. Andersen.--
    “Or entering through the exhaust ducts.”
    Mash and Ritsuka give suggestions using everything they learned from spy movies. “Very well said.” replies Andersen with an ominous smile.
    Exhaust. That’s the greatest weapon of the Cradle. What happens after the safe closes its door? The exhaust automatically kicks in. Powerful fans suck out the air inside, leaving it oxygen-free in 5 minutes. Just a precaution against fire. By the way, what did you say Mash? Me hiding in a crate? That’s the best idea ever. Assuming a miracle made it work, I’d die of asphyxiation next to the Grail five minutes after crawling out of my box.”
    “…”
    “Not only that, but there’s also no way to open the door from inside the vault. The only keypad is outside. Going through the ducts is also not an option. Even I am too big for that.”

    No way to break the walls. No way to pick the lock. A Servant constantly watching the door. No other entrances. Impossible to hide inside for long periods of time.
    “That’s impregnable.”
    Ushiwakamaru answers, taking a sip on a large cola bottle. Ritsuka still hasn’t give up.
    “Couldn’t we persuade Lancelot?”
    “No. I tried to draw him out a decent amount of times and he remained inflexible.”
    “But he used to be a knight of justice…”
    “That’s precisely why. He worries about the present New York, and believes he can bring peace to the city by protecting that Grail until the end.”
    “Eh, he’s not wrong.” says Robin. “At this rate, the Cascade Family will take the lead and wipe all the other mafias. That’ll be the end of all this pointless conflict.”
    “Exactly. Besides, it’s noticeable that he liked Kate.”
    --…--
    I could almost see Mash’s twitching face. “I get it, he’s weak to pretty ladies…”, Ritsuka adds to the previous point. Ushiwakamaru crosses her arms and legs.
    “Understood, so we’ll need to defeat Sir Lancelot. It shouldn’t be too difficult, three against one…”
    “You understood nothing. That’s only half the work.”
    Andersen shakes his head like a coach assigned to a weak team.
    “Let’s suppose you somehow beat Lancelot and stole the Grail, what are you doing next? We’re dealing with the mafia. When you steal from them, they don’t go ‘Oh no, we lost the thing, the end, credits roll’. We should assume their network is spread through all of Manhattan and be sure that Yan Qing will chase us. We’ll need to evade them.”
    That’s true. I was thinking only of entering the safe, but our escape route is also a concern. Will we be able to escape this city… no, before that, will be able to escape that building safely?
    “Yan Qing, huh. He might be a bigger problem than our knight.” Robin gives out a faint sigh. “That’s the Assassin Class martial artist now turned bodyguard, right? That guy’s too alert. Remember how in the interview he was leaning back on the wall the entire time? He’s the type to never show his back to an enemy. Things are not looking too good.”
    “That leaves us with 4 problems to solve. Finding out how to crack the safe. The boss battle against Lancelot. Countermeasures against Yan Qing. And lastly, ensuring a safe way to escape. As long as we don’t have decent enough ideas for all of those, it’s impossible to retrieve the Grail. I’m packing my bags to go home.”
    After all this talk, Andersen retreats to his room. Everyone remained silent while the slam of his door still echoed.
    --I-it’s alright, Senpai. I’m sure there’s a good way.--
    --I’ll try to come up with something too~--
    Mash speaks words of encouragement while Da Vinci talks like it’s not her problem.
    “Da Vinci-chan, can’t you talk to someone better at this? Like Holmes or Moriarty?”
    --I can’t take those two out of the room since they started that match of Scotland Yard.--
    “They’re still playing?!”
    --It doesn’t look like either of them wants to admit defeat.--
    Exhaustion hits me.
    Finishing her hamburger, Ushiwakamaru puts her hands together decorously.
    “I may be greatly skilled in breaking through checkpoint gates… but I have no experience in cracking safes, so I won’t be of any help. My sincerest apologies, my lord.”
    “No, it’s still alright… Thank you.”
    She totters back to her room.
    I take a look at how the only person left is doing. Robin starts cleaning up the table and channel-hopping the TV to avoid his Master’s gaze, but eventually shrugs his shoulders.
    “Listen, putting your hopes on me is setting yourself for disappointment. I’ve never been a really useful guy. Maybe I could still do something in a forest or a mountain… but here’s the complete opposite of my home field.”
    The forest man stares at the window.
    The lights in the world’s biggest concrete jungle mock Ritsuka’s team.

  8. #8
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    I guess I should be impressed they took this long for a "Lancelot is weak to ladies" joke.

    Though huh....this really is pretty much impossible isn't it,?

  9. #9
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Manhattan part 4
    “What’s wrong? Ok. Keep it up.”
    Kate Caroline Cascade talks on her phone while her eyes focus on the document in her other hand. After putting down the receiver, she comes back to the sheet of paper and runs her De La Rue brand fountain pen through it. The phone call just now must have been Lancelot’s regular report. Even listening to only one side of the conversation, Ritsuka could easily imagine his responses. “Nothing, Boss.” “Understood, Boss.”
    This feels like wanting to get a book from the top shelf and not finding a ladder anywhere.
    One week passes. Their infiltrator life continues, despite Andersen’s complaints. They keep waiting for a chance, considering different tricks and getting more information.
    But they can’t find a solution.
    No one can lay a hand on the cradle.


    “Boss, your lunch is ready.”
    A gang member opened the door. Ritsuka stands up. A poison testing job has arrived.
    “Hold it.” Before she could head to the kitchen as usual, she was called by Kate. “Fujimaru, was that your name? Have you had your lunch already?”
    “No… not yet.”
    “Would you like to join me?”
    She doubted her ears. Kate was sorting her files, as if she wasn’t waiting for a response.
    First rule of the mafia: The boss’s orders are absolute.


    The sole meunière immediately melted in her mouth.
    She makes a loud noise from moving her fork and knife too much. The two are silently having lunch, face to face on a small table by the window of Kate’s completely white and ivory private room.
    Yan Qing, sitting by a wall, seems to be the only person enjoying the situation.
    A-awkward…
    Ritsuka avoids eye contact. Through the large (and most likely bulletproof) window, she sees a bird’s-eye view of South Manhattan that could perfectly be in a postcard. The remarkably tall Empire State Building and skyscrapers are so close together that they hide the streets. The twin towers of the World Trade Center stand side by side, with the Statue of Liberty on the opposing shore.

    “It only looks good on the surface.”
    Kate murmured.
    “It tasted good to me.”
    “I wasn’t talking about the food.”
    She was also looking at the city. She turns her face back to Ritsuka, almost like she’s comparing her to the city.
    “I can’t help thinking you’re not suited for the mafia. What made you choose this life?”
    “You know… I have something I really must do.”
    “I see. Just like me.”
    Kate raises her glass, shaking the mineral water inside it.
    “The place I was before was truly horrid. A power struggle devastating all with a storm of deceit and insurrection. My family failed to sail through it, so I lost my home and my husband. I still managed to escape to this city with only my infant son, but it was almost as dark here as it was there. I… needed to protect my son. ”
    Ritsuka looks at the direction Kate was looking and notices a photo hanging on the wall. Inside the frame, a gentle boy in a boarding school uniform was smiling. He seemed to be the same age as Ritsuka and had a similar hair color.
    She suddenly understood the Boss’s unusual special treatment. The seat she’s in might actually belong to someone else.

    “You joined the mafia for your son?”
    “Yes. I amassed wealth, made this building and obtained the Grail, all for my son. Once he inherits the Cascade Family, no one will dare defying him. Besides, Kevin is a smart boy. He’ll use his new power to make this city at least a little bit better.”
    “But… But that’s bloodstained power.”
    “No king in all of history has ever kept his hands clean.”
    Her knife stops cutting her meunière.
    She found Kate’s words inconsiderate. As someone who personally knew kings, Ritsuka knew about their crimes better than anyone else. But she also knows their anguish.
    “What’s your son’s opinion about inheriting the organization?”
    “What’s your opinion? Do you consider me evil?”
    “…”
    “You can say it.” Yan Qing casually interjects. “We don’t think there’s anything bad about being bad. ‘Cause the tackiest evildoers are the ones who give excuses to their evil. Right, Boss?”
    “Agreed. I’m evil. And once he inherits the organization, my son will also be considered evil. But I’m fine with this.” Kate wipes her mouth with her napkin. “That’s what it means to live here… in this dark city.”
    She stands from her seat and heads to the doors. Yan Qing swiftly gets off the wall to follow her.

    “Any response from the Scladios?”
    “Yes. They said they will retaliate against the Zafus.”
    “Suggest for them to do it in the abandoned building on Union Square. That’s a good place for a surprise attack. Thank you, Ritsuka Fujimaru. That was enjoyable.”
    Kate pays this cold lip service as she leaves. The napkin folded on the table is stained red in one corner. Ritsuka remembers she hasn’t finished her meal and brings the food to her mouth.
    She looks again at the exhaust-streaked, pale blue sky.
    Only looked good on the surface. Sounds right. The scenery she considered simply beautiful a month ago now looks slightly different. The darkness accumulated in-between the skyscrapers pervades her imagination. The rusted emergency stairs. The graffiti covering the walls. The smell of oil and the broken basketball posts. Homeless people, stray dogs, mafias. Manhattan, New York, 1977. The brightest and yet darkest city in the world…

    A shake.
    The cradle inside her head started rocking.
    It was like she was finally able to grab the hand she was so desperately reaching for.
    “If I recall right…”








    “So, what’s the big idea?”
    Night. In the 29th Avenue apartment, Andersen glared at Ritsuka.
    “I didn’t really have an idea, I just remembered something…”
    --Do you know how to crack the safe, Senpai?--
    “I’m not sure but maybe…”
    “How articulate.”
    “C’mon, guys. Now we need to let her talk everything before we join the conversation.”
    “Fling dirt enough and some will stick, as the saying goes. We’re listening, my lord.”
    Robin opens a can of beer before he takes a corner of the sofa. Ushiwakamaru also decides to stretch her back. Ritsuka clears her throat while she tries to find a metaphor that doesn’t suck.
    The explanation lasted mere 20 seconds.
    The three took more 20 seconds to examine the idea, and 10 more to look at each other.
    The Rider, the Archer and the previously displeased Caster had inspired smiles on their faces.
    --Ritsuka, I double-checked here.-- says da Vinci. --Your plan is possible.--
    “It’s gonna be a race against the clock though.”
    “Indeed, as all gambits must be like.”
    Ushiwakamaru stated decisively. I guess something switched her back to her warlord mode, because she’s briskly advancing the discussion.
    “Your plan solves the issues of the safe’s door and of escaping their network after the pilfer. We’ll need a lot of preparation, but nothing that can’t be done within a week. Allow me to handle our escape from the building. But about Yan Qing and Sir Lancelot…”
    “Ah, a suggestion.” Robin Hood casually raises his hand. “If that’s what we’re going with, I think I can neutralize Yan Qing.”
    “OH, you can beat him?”
    “Not exactly beat… He’s not the kind of guy we can defeat head on. But, you know, I never fight head on.”
    “Just let me see what I can do.” says Robin, gulping down his Budweiser. He was just saying stuff without giving any reasoning, but Ritsuka already knew she could count on him for this kind of situation.
    --But we still have to deal with Lancelot. How do we separate him from the Grail…?--
    There’s only one person here still available for the role. When they all look at him…
    “Let’s do this!” The fairy tale writer gave out a resigned yell. “I get it. I’ll find a way.”
    “You think you can do it?”
    “I came up with a plot. Getting a solid starting point is all a good writer needs to get things done in an instant. Are you listening, da Vinci? I’m going to need your help.”
    --…--
    “You’re not fooling anyone!”

    Their TV was left on, airing the innings of a Yankees vs Indians game, but no one was paying attention. Under the yellowish fluorescent lamp, Ritsuka’s party adjusted their plans, going over the details while they munched on cheap roasted nuts. The plan was ready by the time the Indians managed to turn the tables and guarantee their victory.
    --Is that how Arsene Lupin and Ishikawa Goemon felt when scheming their crimes?--
    Before she fell asleep, Ritsuka was lying on her bed, listening to Mash through the transmitter.
    --No matter how aware of the dangers we are, it’s still somehow exciting.--
    “But I don’t know if it’ll work. I’m taking a huge risk here.”
    --No, I’m sure you’ll be fine.-- The kouhai’s voice was filled with a strange amount of confidence. --After all, we are…--
    Last edited by Comun; March 15th, 2020 at 11:10 AM.

  10. #10
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Today I learned the World Trade Center was built in 1973.
    Supports:


    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  11. #11
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Manhattan part 5
    July 13th. The day of the plan.
    Ritsuka is in a corner of the office, more tense than usual.
    The sun has long set, and yet a radiant light fills the skyscraper. A dozen members were gathered in front of the desk for their daily reports. Kate doesn’t waste much time with any of them. Yan Qing is yawning by the wall. Everything is running as usual. For now.
    The clock on the wall read 9:20. The conditions for the operation to invade the anti-magic fortified safe Cradle are about to be cleared. Everyone is fully aware of their respective roles and all preparations were complete. Now is just waiting for the right time. It all hinges on this. Will it go well…?
    “Fujimaru, how’re you doing?”
    Her shoulders quiver. Billy-senpai, the gang’s instructor, starts talking to her.
    “You look sick. Did you eat something bad?”
    “D-do I?” Ritsuka can’t take her eyes off the clock. “Maybe my food was poisoned.”
    “Haha, your jokes were a lot better on the first day. This one got too real…”
    A rustle.
    A dry rustle can be heard from Ritsuka’s feet.
    A folded piece of paper slips down from inside her pants. Ritsuka shivers. She hurries to pick it up, but Billy-senpai takes it first.
    “Hey, you dropped something. What’s this… Shit… Boss! Boss!”
    He immediately dropped his cheerful tone.
    Ritsuka tries to escape, but a shadow jumps silently to block her way. It’s Yan Qing. Men in suits are blocking all other escape routes. All she can do at that point is step back until she was backed against the wall in less than two minutes.
    “Let me see it? Ah, this sure is a blueprint of our safe.”
    Yan Qing spreads the sheet open and speaks like he’s sorting advertisement mail. Kate glares at Ritsuka from her desk.
    “Why do you have this, Ritsuka Fujimaru? What are you using it for?”
    “That’s for…”
    She isn’t given the time for an excuse. Kate reaches for the phone.
    “Hello. Lancelot? One of our newcomers was a traitor. Yes, the poison tester who joined last month. Verify the Grail immediately.”
    It takes about 3 minutes for the giant door of the Cradle to open or shut. She gets more and more tightly surrounded as everyone waits. It was the same kind of silence she experienced when waiting for her interview, only multiple times heavier. Nobody sees Ritsuka as one of them anymore. Some crack their necks, some unlock their guns’ safety.
    “Bad joke, Fujimaru.” She heard Billy-senpai whisper. “Really bad joke.”


    -

    “Back down.”
    35th floor, Security Room.
    Per the Boss’s command, Lancelot orders all subordinates to leave immediately. He types the 10-digit password into the keypad attached to the door.
    A loud rumble…
    The door begins sliding to the side. By the time it was half-open, it was possible to see the Grail inside.
    A loud rumble… and a click.
    After the door finishes opening, he enters to touch the Holy Grail for confirmation. Even in this magecraft-rejecting land, directly touching the source of the abnormality makes it possible to feel the vast amounts of magical power contained in it. It’s the real Grail. Nothing around the podium looks different from the usual.
    Lancelot returns to the security room and grabs the phone he had left on.
    “Boss, the Grail is in safety. Nothing unusual in the vault.”
    --Nothing happened…? Understood. Close the door immediately. Don’t let anyone near it.--
    “Yes”, he answers and hangs up. He never took his eyes away from the Grail the entire time.
    Knights of the Round Table never give in or blunder. They are loyal to their lord’s order and will do everything within their power to fulfill their assigned obligations.
    Keeping a close eye on the vault, he walks next to the door and flips the open/shut switch.
    A loud rumble…
    The door begins sliding again. While waiting for the door close, he glances at the clock on the wall.
    9:32 PM


    -


    “Nothing happened…? Understood. Close the door immediately. Don’t let anyone near it.”
    When the call ended, Kate stood up.
    She crosses the sea of subordinates, advancing in Ritsuka’s direction. Her eyes weren’t burning with anger. They were hopelessly emotionless, like the ones of a coroner working at a morgue.
    The clock’s hand moved. 9:32 PM.
    “What a shame. I was hoping to make you a friend of my son.”
    “I think… I’m not the best person for him.”
    “I can see that. Do you remember my first warning? Rule number 2:
    . But before that, we’ll make you tell us all your motives. Yan Qing, break her limbs.”
    “’Kay.”
    Yan Qing folded the blueprint and put it in his pants’ back pocket. And then he faces Ritsuka with a smile. The slimy smile of an assassin.
    “Sorry, missy. I don’t have anything against you, but like my boss, it’s not in my nature to forgive traitors.”
    Ritsuka sticks her back to the wall, knowing it wouldn’t accomplish anything. She keeps counting the time inside her head. 60 seconds passed. 9:33PM. Still more waiting to do. Yan Qing takes a step. Her heart speeds up.
    In her uneasiness, she hears Mash’s voice crossing the back of her mind.
    Ritsuka shifts her gaze from the hoodlum about to attack her, staring straight at Kate.
    She saw the mafia’s boss and the New York City she rules over. She saw the flock of skyscrapers.
    The thousands of lights below compete against the night.
    “Kate… thanks for all you did for us in our short time together. I’m quitting the mafia today.”
    Because we…
    “We won’t lose sight of ourselves, no matter how dark it gets.”
    “We? What organization are you from? The Zafus? The Scladios?”
    “The Human Order Security Organization Chaldea.”
    “Chaldea?”
    “Yes.” Ritsuka takes a deep breath. “It means lighthouse.”
    In an instant,
    All lights went out.







    “Yup, Ritsuka.
    There’s a fact only us time travelers know about.
    A secret trick to pull a fast one on their impregnable safe arrangement.
    A real incident recorded in many history textbooks.
    The crisis of July 13th, 1977, 9:34PM.
    I’m talking about...
    The Great New York City Blackout.”
    Last edited by Comun; March 24th, 2020 at 08:26 AM.

  12. #12
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    Manhattan part 5
    July 13th. The day of the plan.Ritsuka is in a corner of the office, more tense than usual.
    The sun has long set, and yet a radiant light fills the skyscraper. A dozen members were gathered in front of the desk for their daily reports. Kate doesn’t waste much time with any of them. Yan Qing is yawning by the wall. Everything is running as usual. For now.
    The clock on the wall read 9:20. The conditions for the operation to invade the anti-magic fortified safe Cradle are about to be cleared. Everyone is fully aware of their respective roles and all preparations were complete. Now is just waiting for the right time. It all hinges on this. Will it go well…?
    “Fujimaru, how’re you doing?”
    Her shoulders quiver. Billy-senpai, the gang’s instructor, starts talking to her.
    “You look sick. Did you eat something bad?”
    “D-do I?” Ritsuka can’t take her eyes off the clock. “Maybe my food was poisoned.”
    “Haha, your jokes were a lot better on the first day. This one got too real…”
    A rustle.
    A dry rustle can be heard from Ritsuka’s feet.
    A folded piece of paper slips down from inside her pants. Ritsuka shivers. She hurries to pick it up, but Billy-senpai takes it first.
    “Hey, you dropped something. What’s this… Shit… Boss! Boss!”
    He immediately dropped his cheerful tone.
    Ritsuka tries to escape, but a shadow jumps silently to block her way. It’s Yan Qing. Men in suits are blocking all other escape routes. All she can do at that point is step back until she was backed against the wall in less than two minutes.
    “Let me see it? Ah, this sure is a blueprint of our safe.”
    Yan Qing spreads the sheet open and speaks like he’s sorting advertisement mail. Kate glares at Ritsuka from her desk.
    “Why do you have this, Ritsuka Fujimaru? What are you using it for?”
    “That’s for…”
    She isn’t given the time for an excuse. Kate reaches for the phone.
    “Hello. Lancelot? One of our newcomers was a traitor. Yes, the poison tester who joined last month. Verify the Grail immediately.”
    It takes about 3 minutes for the giant door of the Cradle to open or shut. She gets more and more tightly surrounded as everyone waits. It was the same kind of silence she experienced when waiting for her interview, only multiple times heavier. Nobody sees Ritsuka as one of them anymore. Some crack their necks, some unlock their guns’ safety.
    “Bad joke, Fujimaru.” She heard Billy-senpai whisper. “Really bad joke.”


    -

    “Back down.”
    35th floor, Security Room.
    Per the Boss’s command, Lancelot orders all subordinates to leave immediately. He types the 10-digit password into the keypad attached to the door.
    A loud rumble…
    The door begins sliding to the side. By the time it was half-open, it was possible to see the Grail inside.
    A loud rumble… and a click.
    After the door finishes opening, he enters to touch the Holy Grail for confirmation. Even in this magecraft-rejecting land, directly touching the source of the abnormality makes it possible to feel the vast amounts of magical power contained in it. It’s the real Grail. Nothing around the podium looks different from the usual.
    Lancelot returns to the security room and grabs the phone he had left on.
    “Boss, the Grail is in safety. Nothing unusual in the vault.”
    --Nothing happened…? Understood. Close the door immediately. Don’t let anyone near it.--
    “Yes”, he answers and hangs up. He never took his eyes away from the Grail the entire time.
    Knights of the Round Table never give in or blunder. They are loyal to their lord’s order and will do everything within their power to fulfill their assigned obligations.
    Keeping a close eye on the vault, he walks next to the door and flips the open/shut switch.
    A loud rumble…
    The door begins sliding again. While waiting for the door close, he glances at the clock on the wall.
    9:32 PM


    -


    “Nothing happened…? Understood. Close the door immediately. Don’t let anyone near it.”
    When the call ended, Kate stood up.
    She crosses the sea of subordinates, advancing in Ritsuka’s direction. Her eyes weren’t burning with anger. They were hopelessly emotionless, like the ones of a coroner working at a morgue.
    The clock’s hand moved. 9:32 PM.
    “What a shame. I was hoping to make you a friend of my son.”
    “I think… I’m not the best person for him.”
    “I can see that. Do you remember my first warning? Rule number 2:
    . But before that, we’ll make you tell us all your motives. Yan Qing, break her limbs.”
    “’Kay.”
    Yan Qing folded the blueprint and put it in his pants’ back pocket. And then he faces Ritsuka with a smile. The slimy smile of an assassin.
    “Sorry, missy. I don’t have anything against you, but like my boss, it’s not in my nature to forgive traitors.”
    Ritsuka sticks her back to the wall, knowing it wouldn’t accomplish anything. She keeps counting the time inside her head. 60 seconds passed. 9:33PM. Still more waiting to do. Yan Qing takes a step. Her heart speeds up.
    In her uneasiness, she hears Mash’s voice crossing the back of her mind.
    Ritsuka shifts her gaze from the hoodlum about to attack her, staring straight at Kate.
    She saw the mafia’s boss and the New York City she rules over. She saw the flock of skyscrapers.
    The thousands of lights below compete against the night.
    “Kate… thanks for all you did for us in our short time together. I’m quitting the mafia today.”
    Because we…
    “We won’t lose sight of ourselves, no matter how dark it gets.”
    “We? What organization are you from? The Zafus? The Scladios?”
    “The Human Order Security Organization Chaldea.”
    “Chaldea?”
    “Yes.” Ritsuka takes a deep breath. “It means lighthouse.”
    In an instant,
    All lights went out.







    “Yup, Ritsuka.
    There’s a fact only us time travelers know about.
    A secret trick to pull a fast one on their impregnable safe arrangement.
    A real incident recorded in many history textbooks.
    The crisis of July 13th, 1977, 9:34PM.
    I’m talking about...
    The Great New York City Blackout.”
    I cannot even imagine the anxiety that is having YanQing coming to break your limbs, yeesh.

    Though that was quite resourceful

  13. #13
    Mesopotamia's King Gilgamesh_maximaster's Avatar
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    Thanks for the translation, you are great.

    ad

    Someone will do a PDF version when this work is complete?

  14. #14
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    No one asked me about it yet.

  15. #15
    Mesopotamia's King Gilgamesh_maximaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    No one asked me about it yet.
    if you can do it I'll built an altar for you Hero without cape

  16. #16
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Sorry for the long hiatus between updates. A lot of stuff happened recently, including my first real VN job. Anyways, here's the next chapter.

    Manhattan part 6
    The windowless Security Room went completely dark, but that isn’t a big deal to Lancelot.The real issue is that the electronic safe door stopped half-open.
    He grabs Arondight and rushes back to the vault before the afterimages of his surroundings vanish. He reaches for the cold, metallic vessel. He can feel a powerful magic under his fingertips.
    That’s, without a doubt, the real Grail.
    His subordinates outside start panicking.
    “What the hell! What’s going on?”
    “Guess it’s a blackout.”
    “Anyone got a match? A lighter works, too.”
    “Smoking is forbidden here! Why would any of us have one?”
    “Wait, there was a flashlight around here… What? It’s not turning on! It’s broken.”
    “Don’t we have emergency power?”
    “That’s not working. Someone destroyed it!”
    “Lancelot, the Grail…”
    “It’s safe.” Lancelot was loud and clear. “Everyone leave this floor! Immediately. I’ll slash anyone in my range without a second thought.”
    He turns away from the vault, his left hand still touching the Grail and his right hand positioning the broadsword close to the ground, ready to remove any intruders’ legs with a just one-handed swing.
    The sound of the footsteps and the commotion of his subordinates slowly grows more distant. He could tell the building’s emergency power and flashlights were all destroyed in advance. The timing for the power outage was also too good. This blackout was clearly planned. Thieves are coming for this chance.
    But he has no reason to be concerned.
    He was the first to grab the Grail. No one should be able to steal it.
    No matter how strong the assailant, no one will ever take it from his hands.


    -


    70th floor. Office.
    Immediately after the blackout, Yan Qing detects three slashing sounds, followed by the sound of something collapsing. The voice of a girl where a wall used to be.
    “This way, my lord!”
    Since he was positioned to attack, he took too long to react. He reaches his arms for Ritsuka Fujimaru and grabs nothing. (So, she had her cohort in the other room, waiting to make the hole in the wall the moment the lights went out…)
    “Boss! I’m going after them.”
    “Wait!” Kate’s voice was exasperated. “The Grail is more important. Go to the vault!”
    It finally hits him.
    It takes about 3 minutes for the safe to open and shut. The boss ordered it open around 9:32. The power went out 2 minutes later. The door most likely stopped half-open. The Grail is completely exposed, and they have no means of contacting Lancelot.
    “Don’t care about them or about me. Hurry to the 35th floor!”
    That order had no coercive power to the guy who was just on a temporary contract in this Command Spell-less city.
    And yet, Yan Qing obeyed his Master. He crouches for a long jump and immediately thinks of the most effective option to reach the 35th floor.
    He can’t use the elevator without power. His only means of getting there are the stairs. Yan Qing is known mostly for this swift footwork, but that only works on a level grounding. Vertical movement is a whole ‘nother story. If he were to race down narrow staircases, having to make constant U-turns, he wouldn’t be able to accelerate enough. How many minutes would it take for him to reach the 35th floor? 3? 5? Would that be enough to get there before the enemy?
    (Screw that.)
    Yan Qing runs smoothly. Not towards the door, but towards the city that lost its light.
    He breaks the bulletproof glass in one kick and jumps down, with his back turned against the hole.
    Once he dropped 5 floors down, he grabbed the bargeboard with both hands to kill the momentum. He lets it go, falls again and grabs the next one. Repeating this process gets him lower at a fast pace. That’s the shortest route to the 35th floor, available only to him due to his superhuman martial arts.
    60th floor, 55th, 50th.
    He got to the 45th floor in no time. Only two more drops to go. Yan Qing lets go of the window. He descends, tearing through the darkness. The sound of the wind grazes his ears.
    “I knew you’d come from here.”
    Interrupted by the strange sound of the air being slashed,
    he suddenly halts his fall.
    “Huh?!”
    He takes a while to notice the pain. Something pierced behind his right shoulder, pinning him to the wall like a bug in an exposition.
    Once his eyes get used to the darkness, he figures what pierced him.
    An extremely simple arrow made from oak.
    Yan Qing’s eyes started to go white. The veins on his legs start appearing, and his mouth gets stiff. He turns around to face the opposing building, with a mix of rage and excitement in his voice.
    “Archer…!”


    -


    “Whew~ Now that’s the flavor I like.”
    On the roof of a 40 story building across the street from the Cascade Family, Robin Hood was puffing a cigarette. He was back in his usual outfit. A forest green mantle on his shoulders. A handcrafted crossbow on his right arm.
    “Sorry this was a literal backstab… but please don’t get mad. After all, this was all because you’re too strong. The only way a halfwit like me could beat you is by shooting you where you can’t see. But you don’t show your back to anyone. So, you got me thinking, how could I get you to show me?”
    He props a new arrow and pulls the string.
    “You’re always with the Boss and she’s always on the highest floor. If a blackout happened at that moment, the Boss would prioritize the Grail and send you to the safe. The shortest route to the 35th floor available for you would be the building’s outer wall. And bouldering down a building without showing your back… yeah, that should be tough even for a martial arts Servant.”
    After exhaling some smoke, he points his arrowhead towards the building across.
    “What would make it or break it was how I could aim for the right spot in complete dark… That’s where I had to get a little clever. You got a habit of keeping items taken from enemies in your back pockets. Just one of the bodyguard quirks you picked up in this city. As you never showed your back, those pockets were the safest place in the world.”
    Only one mark flashed in the darkness.
    It was the blueprint in Yan Qing’s back pocket.
    “You know phosphorescent paint? We soaked it on that stuff beforehand. We bet all our chips on the chance of it coming to your hands… and I see my Master was a good enough actress.”
    (Welp, that’s goodbye to you.)
    Robin focuses his eyes and steadies his aim on the small light.
    The arrows used by the people of the forest contained a strong poison. Even without this follow-up attack, it was only a matter of time until he won. Still, he had no intention of waiting it out.


    Yan Qing is pinned, with all his limbs lowered and unmoving. Was the poison already running through him? Did he already accept defeat and was waiting for the coup de grace?
    “Sorry, Assassin…”
    “Don’t blame yourself, Archer.
    All parties are at fault around here.”
    He thought he heard Yan Qing’s aloof voice, but it could have been just his imagination. The strange feeling made Robin open a broad smile.
    A streamline runs above the avenues.
    The second arrow pierces through Assassin’s Spiritual Core.

  17. #17
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    Sorry for the long hiatus between updates. A lot of stuff happened recently, including my first real VN job. Anyways, here's the next chapter.

    Manhattan part 6
    The windowless Security Room went completely dark, but that isn’t a big deal to Lancelot.The real issue is that the electronic safe door stopped half-open.
    He grabs Arondight and rushes back to the vault before the afterimages of his surroundings vanish. He reaches for the cold, metallic vessel. He can feel a powerful magic under his fingertips.
    That’s, without a doubt, the real Grail.
    His subordinates outside start panicking.
    “What the hell! What’s going on?”
    “Guess it’s a blackout.”
    “Anyone got a match? A lighter works, too.”
    “Smoking is forbidden here! Why would any of us have one?”
    “Wait, there was a flashlight around here… What? It’s not turning on! It’s broken.”
    “Don’t we have emergency power?”
    “That’s not working. Someone destroyed it!”
    “Lancelot, the Grail…”
    “It’s safe.” Lancelot was loud and clear. “Everyone leave this floor! Immediately. I’ll slash anyone in my range without a second thought.”
    He turns away from the vault, his left hand still touching the Grail and his right hand positioning the broadsword close to the ground, ready to remove any intruders’ legs with a just one-handed swing.
    The sound of the footsteps and the commotion of his subordinates slowly grows more distant. He could tell the building’s emergency power and flashlights were all destroyed in advance. The timing for the power outage was also too good. This blackout was clearly planned. Thieves are coming for this chance.
    But he has no reason to be concerned.
    He was the first to grab the Grail. No one should be able to steal it.
    No matter how strong the assailant, no one will ever take it from his hands.


    -


    70th floor. Office.
    Immediately after the blackout, Yan Qing detects three slashing sounds, followed by the sound of something collapsing. The voice of a girl where a wall used to be.
    “This way, my lord!”
    Since he was positioned to attack, he took too long to react. He reaches his arms for Ritsuka Fujimaru and grabs nothing. (So, she had her cohort in the other room, waiting to make the hole in the wall the moment the lights went out…)
    “Boss! I’m going after them.”
    “Wait!” Kate’s voice was exasperated. “The Grail is more important. Go to the vault!”
    It finally hits him.
    It takes about 3 minutes for the safe to open and shut. The boss ordered it open around 9:32. The power went out 2 minutes later. The door most likely stopped half-open. The Grail is completely exposed, and they have no means of contacting Lancelot.
    “Don’t care about them or about me. Hurry to the 35th floor!”
    That order had no coercive power to the guy who was just on a temporary contract in this Command Spell-less city.
    And yet, Yan Qing obeyed his Master. He crouches for a long jump and immediately thinks of the most effective option to reach the 35th floor.
    He can’t use the elevator without power. His only means of getting there are the stairs. Yan Qing is known mostly for this swift footwork, but that only works on a level grounding. Vertical movement is a whole ‘nother story. If he were to race down narrow staircases, having to make constant U-turns, he wouldn’t be able to accelerate enough. How many minutes would it take for him to reach the 35th floor? 3? 5? Would that be enough to get there before the enemy?
    (Screw that.)
    Yan Qing runs smoothly. Not towards the door, but towards the city that lost its light.
    He breaks the bulletproof glass in one kick and jumps down, with his back turned against the hole.
    Once he dropped 5 floors down, he grabbed the bargeboard with both hands to kill the momentum. He lets it go, falls again and grabs the next one. Repeating this process gets him lower at a fast pace. That’s the shortest route to the 35th floor, available only to him due to his superhuman martial arts.
    60th floor, 55th, 50th.
    He got to the 45th floor in no time. Only two more drops to go. Yan Qing lets go of the window. He descends, tearing through the darkness. The sound of the wind grazes his ears.
    “I knew you’d come from here.”
    Interrupted by the strange sound of the air being slashed,
    he suddenly halts his fall.
    “Huh?!”
    He takes a while to notice the pain. Something pierced behind his right shoulder, pinning him to the wall like a bug in an exposition.
    Once his eyes get used to the darkness, he figures what pierced him.
    An extremely simple arrow made from oak.
    Yan Qing’s eyes started to go white. The veins on his legs start appearing, and his mouth gets stiff. He turns around to face the opposing building, with a mix of rage and excitement in his voice.
    “Archer…!”


    -


    “Whew~ Now that’s the flavor I like.”
    On the roof of a 40 story building across the street from the Cascade Family, Robin Hood was puffing a cigarette. He was back in his usual outfit. A forest green mantle on his shoulders. A handcrafted crossbow on his right arm.
    “Sorry this was a literal backstab… but please don’t get mad. After all, this was all because you’re too strong. The only way a halfwit like me could beat you is by shooting you where you can’t see. But you don’t show your back to anyone. So, you got me thinking, how could I get you to show me?”
    He props a new arrow and pulls the string.
    “You’re always with the Boss and she’s always on the highest floor. If a blackout happened at that moment, the Boss would prioritize the Grail and send you to the safe. The shortest route to the 35th floor available for you would be the building’s outer wall. And bouldering down a building without showing your back… yeah, that should be tough even for a martial arts Servant.”
    After exhaling some smoke, he points his arrowhead towards the building across.
    “What would make it or break it was how I could aim for the right spot in complete dark… That’s where I had to get a little clever. You got a habit of keeping items taken from enemies in your back pockets. Just one of the bodyguard quirks you picked up in this city. As you never showed your back, those pockets were the safest place in the world.”
    Only one mark flashed in the darkness.
    It was the blueprint in Yan Qing’s back pocket.
    “You know phosphorescent paint? We soaked it on that stuff beforehand. We bet all our chips on the chance of it coming to your hands… and I see my Master was a good enough actress.”
    (Welp, that’s goodbye to you.)
    Robin focuses his eyes and steadies his aim on the small light.
    The arrows used by the people of the forest contained a strong poison. Even without this follow-up attack, it was only a matter of time until he won. Still, he had no intention of waiting it out.


    Yan Qing is pinned, with all his limbs lowered and unmoving. Was the poison already running through him? Did he already accept defeat and was waiting for the coup de grace?
    “Sorry, Assassin…”
    “Don’t blame yourself, Archer.
    All parties are at fault around here.”
    He thought he heard Yan Qing’s aloof voice, but it could have been just his imagination. The strange feeling made Robin open a broad smile.
    A streamline runs above the avenues.
    The second arrow pierces through Assassin’s Spiritual Core.
    Wowu, I certainly didn't expect such a smart way of defeating YanQing. Watching them go against all odds is pretty fun

  18. #18
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    Manhattan part 7
    Lancelot was alone, staring at the pitch-black scenery. The darkness didn’t make him feel fear or anguish, but instead a comfortable warmth. He felt these conditions were perfect for someone of his origins and his nature.
    How long had it been since the blackout? 5 minutes? It’s quiet. He was expecting back up from Yan Qing, but he gave no signs of appearing. He might have been taken down. The city is always a battlefield when it’s dark, so losing a companion was routine.

    But what about the Boss? Was Kate safe?
    That was his only concern.
    He had a reason why he swore to protect the Holy Grail in this organization. It wasn’t just a duty in exchange for provisions, nor just for this city's provisory peace. Lancelot secretly related to her pain. He could see behind her empty eyes and notice they shared the exact same insecurities. For example:

    “Lancelot, I got news!”
    He hears an unexpected voice from outside. It seems like one of the subordinates he drove away came back.
    “Wait, don’t come any closer. Speak from where you are n…”
    “We could get the emergency lights working again!”
    The subordinate spoke over him.
    “But only partially. The Boss ordered to direct the power to the safe’s mechanism first.”
    “Got it… Leave.”
    In the darkness, the sound of the footsteps grows distant. Next starts the sound of heavy machinery.
    A loud rumble.

    Lancelot doesn’t move. He calmly counts the seconds.
    When he counts 50, he lets go of the Grail. He runs diagonally, turns his body and quickly slips horizontally through the gap between the door and the wall.
    Click.
    Barely after he’s out, the sound of the door closing echoes through the Security Room. The Cradle was closed again.
    He lets out a quick sigh. He reaches for his necktie to loosen the knot.
    Brrrrrrring.
    He’s startled.
    A phone rings. Is it the Boss? Lancelot slowly moves towards the center of the room. By extending his hands, he finds the black phone’s dial. He takes the receiver and puts it to his ear.
    --Great job, Knight. --
    It was the voice of a man. The young courier who joined last month, Hans. He wonders how he knew this number and immediately realizes it. The traitor poison tester girl was always with the Boss. It would be easy for her to learn an inner line number. Hans was connected to her, which means…
    “So you’re another one of the thieves. What’s your goal?”
    --Listen first, talk later. I’m in a terrible mood right now. Can you guess why? Why did they think I’d be the type that would be motivated to do a job that not only doesn’t pay, but also has too many moving parts I need to keep track of? I’m just waiting for our little house of cards to crumble at any time now. --


    Lancelot raises his eyebrows. Something felt off. He feels like he overlooked a small detail… or one so big he would never seriously consider.
    “If you wanted to steal the Grail, you missed your chance. The safe is closed. No one else but me can…”
    --I’m not going to fight you. --
    “What?”
    --That’s obvious. I couldn’t come even close to standing a chance against you, not even if I could fly and had a 5-star Craft Essence equipped. That’s why I won’t fight you. You don’t get a role in this story. I’m not giving you a single moment to swing your pretty sword. Instead, I’ll stick to my own field of expertise. Question: what do you think my real profession is?--
    (Hans moves on with his speech without waiting for my answer. Clueless to where he’s getting at, I don’t feel like I can get any information about the enemies. Should I hang up? This call… Wait!)
    --Correct answer, exactly. I’m a humble author. My field of expertise is… --
    (If there’s no electricity… why is the telephone working?)
    --creating fiction. --
    The voice paused with a snap.
    The next thing to call the knight’s attention is a small light visible outside the Security Room. The light approached little by little along with the sound of footsteps, until it finally entered the room.
    “Mr. Lancelot, we found one flashlight that still works. With this you can…”
    When the subordinate illuminates the interior of the room, his voice freezes. Lancelot follows his line of sight and sees the vault for the first time in ten minutes.
    The electric door of the Cradle isn’t closed. It’s just as open as it was when the blackout started, exposing its unguarded interior.
    The Grail isn’t on its podium.


    -


    “The Great Blackout happens, causing the safe to stop working. The room is covered in darkness. What would Lancelot’s next move be?”
    Andersen asks himself while he dashes his pen through the sheet of paper. He draws two squares connected by a large door. He writes “Security Room” in one and “Vault” on the other.
    Ushiwakamaru and Robin stop chewing on their roasted nuts for a moment to answer.
    “I assume he’d return inside the vault and guard the Holy Grail.”
    “He’d give some sign for all the grunts to get out.”
    “I’m 99% sure that’s what he’ll do. What next?”
    Andersen places a black nut on the center of the “Vault”, and then one smaller white nut on a corner of the “Security Room”.
    “Under these circumstances, what would happen if I took advantage of the darkness to come in and pass him a fake report that we partially recovered the power? And what if I played an audio of the gate closing?”
    He moves the black nut outside of the door.
    “He would, without a doubt, try to leave the safe. Not only because it only opens from the outside, but also because Lancelot is the only one who knows the password. If he locked himself in there, no one would be able to save him. To top it off, the safe would be out of oxygen in 5 minutes, so he’d guaranteed to kick the bucket before he could even consider calling a locksmith. Therefore, he’d be forced to leave the vault, wanting to or not. That’s how we make him let go of the Grail.”
    “Isn’t it possible for Sir Lancelot to leave still holding the Holy Grail?”
    “I don’t think so. Lancelot is not one to take chances. If Yan Qing takes too long to show up, he’ll conclude that his teammate got taken down. In other words, he’ll be aware that the enemies have the power to kill Servants. And he instinctively will consider the possibility that he could also be defeated. He should know well enough that the Grail is safest inside the vault. Moving on…”
    He moves the black nut back to the middle of the “Security Room” bit by bit, to represent the movement of a person walking. Switching sides with the black one, the white nut goes into the “Vault”.
    “I’ll keep him distracted with some other sound effects. With how exploitable his loyalty to the boss is, the sound of the phone should work. Within this timeframe, I have a free pass to go steal the Grail and get the hell out. I’ll need to get these floor plans memorized if I don’t want to hit my head into any walls, but don’t worry, I won’t charge for the extra service.”
    The white nut leaves the “Vault” avoiding the walls and move towards the “Security Room”’s exit. In the end, Andersen carries it to his mouth.
    Still chewing, he asks the Master: “Sounds good?”. She thought the plan was good but there was one aspect that worried her.
    “You mentioned audio tricks for the door, but can you really make it sound convincing enough? Mash, what do you think?”
    --Good question. I don’t trust 1977’s audio devices to be good enough…--
    “You have a point.” Andersen says with a composed expression, before he points to Ritsuka’s wrist. “By the way, what’s that thing you just talked to?”


    -


    The dumbfounded Lancelot turns his eyes to the receiver in his hand.
    The end where his ear goes had some sort of white bracelet he’s never seen before around it. From this bracelet, he could hear the voice of a girl, feeble like the voice of a child who was just caught by her father in the middle of a prank.
    --Sorry… Lancelot--
    Last edited by Comun; May 20th, 2020 at 01:43 AM.

  19. #19
    Mesopotamia's King Gilgamesh_maximaster's Avatar
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    The volume 1 is complete? anyone can make a PDF or Epub Version??? please

    BTW Thanks for the great work you need an altar for be worshiped XD

  20. #20
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Comun's Avatar
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    The volume 1 has 5 cases and the first of them is not complete yet.

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