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Thread: Fate/Antiquity (IC)

  1. #121
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    Rider
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Minami Ward - The Forest of Remembrance - Natural Cave


    “Got it.”

    Rider answers his explanation robotically.

    “Well noted.”

    She continues to nod.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander
    "I don't care if you call me 'boy' behind closed doors, but 'Master' is preferable, should we encounter another Servant."
    “Of co-”

    She stopped. And after a few pauses, she materializes what appears to be a horn-shaped basket with various daily products in it such as fruits and vegetables.

    “Want some fruits?”

    She stuffed her mouth with them, trying her hardest not to laugh at his request.


  2. #122
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    The smell of blood.

    That coppery, iron-like stench which pervades the room.

    A cloying scent of freshly spilled life fluids, a sugary sweetness drenching everything like a child's dream.

    It's one he detects before he even sets foot into the room, before he sees the body. One that as a magus, he's become used to. Not just as used in alchemical rituals, but in the wake of his wanderings.

    But it wasn't the blood that make his eyes focus, a hardness setting into his gaze.

    It was the intense murderous intent lingering in the air, blanketing the room as sure as the blood. It feels as sharp and cold as the weapon that cleaved the man's head from his shoulders.

    Arata's senses immediately set on edge, and he tenses up. The image flashes to mind instantly. He can feel the pain in his neck, the line severing head from shoulders.

    The grisly scene is enough to fill him in on what happened here. A fight breaking out, in this place, on this day? It was obviously related to "that" event.

    Whoever did this was to be taken seriously.

    But is the assailant still nearby? Are they waiting for him? His eyes sweep the room as he steps forward into it, heels clicking, echoing in the impromptu morgue, christened with the life of a sacrifice.

    Arata expected some sort of snag to pop up while visiting this place with Tsukiko; what he did not expect was for someone else to fall into the "trap."

    Or perhaps this was the assailant himself, undone by his hubris. A dead man tells no tales.

    Before all that there was a higher priority. He glances back to Tsukiko, whose paling face can't hide her shock.

    Arata was hoping she'd be spared such a sight. For a moment, he thinks of something that could fix that. Even a magus will find themselves drowning in blood when they set foot on this path. The thought is fleeting. His attention is better focused on the urgent task at hand for now. And in the end, she is indeed a magus; strong enough to have persevered all this time.

    "Yeah. I thought it might come to this. Get out of here. Don't tell anyone. Just forget you saw anything," he says with a firm voice, back turning so he can face the scene. "This is for me to deal with."

    It's a good thing she can't see his own face, paling as well before the crimson offering before him.

    Life and death. Murder. Bloodshed. He was familiar with all of these, an acquaintanceship borne out of the paths he's traveled. But not once did it ever leave him unmoved. It wasn't something he relished, nor something he sought. Nothing could match the gut punch of seeing it firsthand, a distinction he never thought to make until living through it.

    Thankfully, that experience lets him steel himself, centering himself in the moment; the paling face and the unease lurking in his stomach gives way to a detached demeanor.

    It was times like this he regret not having his own weapons at his disposal. Walking the school with them would have been impossible, after all. Their presence would have helped him throw himself into his "work."

    Even without them, he still had something. Something he could take anywhere with him... even if it vexed him.

    So with confidence, he asked Tsukiko to leave things to him.

    Once he's sure Tsukiko has left without event, he sweeps through the room, checking for any lurking surprises. To think that for all his efforts to avoid drawing attention to this forgotten storage room, someone else would have done it anyway.

    Judging by the scene here, this was a concluded battle, but such hasty conclusions could add a second body to the room.

    Assured he's alone, he finally returns to the source of the consternation: the bloody flower blooming in the center of the room, its stem the decapitated corpse of the victim.

    He kneels, inspecting the cooling body and the area around it for clues...
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

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

  3. #123
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Theresa Octavia
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Forest


    “A way to hide your tail…?”

    It was an odd question.

    “Well…” Looking at the overeager and excited Berserker, Theresa found it hard to give a negative answer of any kind. “… I’ll think about it. Something can be arranged, I’m sure.”

    It was probably possible. Her first thought was just wearing an overly large coat would be fine- but she didn’t know exactly how uncomfortable it would be to have a tail hidden under that. Berserker was probably more interested in a magical solution, but that was out of Theresa’s field of expertise.

    She could try asking the old man later if he had any thoughts or tools for it, she supposed.




    “…”

    Rather than the question itself, Theresa was thinking about something else.

    The fact that Berserker had asked this question…

    Theresa glanced at the faint outline of the city lights that could be seen from between the thicket of trees. Considering her newfound understanding of Berserker, a question like this brought to mind only one motive.

    “… I’m pretty sure I already know the answer, but I’ll ask anyways. Berserker, by any chance, are you… interested looking around the modern world?”

  4. #124
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Berserker
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Forest


    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa
    “Well… I’ll think about it. Something can be arranged, I’m sure.”
    The moment her master finished those words, Berserker's eyes lit up; one could imagine stars twinkling in her eyes as she broke into a smile and hops around in excitement.

    "Hehehe... Thank you so much, master! You're so nice!" She said after she finished hopping around the pink-haired girl, giving a grin at her master. This is already turning out to be so much better than she expected!

    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa
    “… I’m pretty sure I already know the answer, but I’ll ask anyways. Berserker, by any chance, are you… interested looking around the modern world?”
    "Yes! A thousand times, yes!" She nods vigorously as she turned her gaze away from Theresa to the faint outline of the city lights not so far away. "I didn't get to see or do much when I was alive... so I'm quite curious on what life is like for humans in their settlements and cities. How they live, what they eat, things like that." She rubs her head sheepishly. "And not just that either... If me walking around the city is gonna draw too much attention, then I'd be interested to walk in this forest or enter a cave, for example! I'll be happy as long as I can walk or run around, no matter where it is."

    The petite servant paused before giving her master a tiny smile.



    "But if it'd jeopardize our chances in the war, master just need to tell me, and I'd stop." Berserker said softly. "Winning the war is more important than my selfish wants, after all."
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  5. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by Shin View Post
    "Now, I'm in his spot for him. Working with a ghost."
    Assassin
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Minami Ward - Minami Cemetery


    The ghost in question remains motionless, unfazed by the changed look. The specter simply looks at Shin, as if pondering something internally.

    Assassin had asked before whether or not his Master stood within the legacy of this dead man, and now he has received his answer. The answer the Servant had hoped not to hear.

    His Master stood here, not because of his own convictions and wishes, but instead because of the teachings of the deceased. One who took in a boy and shaped him up to be the man before him. A man Shin no doubt looks up to even now, and so it must have felt all too natural to continue following the path his uncle set him on.

    The weight of expectation... Assassin knew it all too well.

    "In his spot, for him. I urge your caution my Master, do not confuse the wish of another as your own. Your life is yours alone, do not try and live another's."

    He's seen it time after time. Men of renown who'd throw away their lives because of another. Whether they coveted the status or position, power and fame of others, or whether they were compelled and convinced by passion and conviction. Each that stepped into another's footprints did so regretting it in the end. Lamenting how they never had a choice in the first place.

    Even Assassin himself, was no exception to this.

    "The Grail has chosen you because you hold a wish of your own. Perhaps you yourself have yet to realize it, but know this. Only one wish can be spoken into reality."

    No matter how great of a man Shin's uncle had been, his story had come to its unfortunate end. The dead do not return to the stage of life, their souls pass beyond this world into a higher plane.

    To choose a dead man's wish over your own... in the end it is not Assassin's choice to make.

    "Do not rob yourself of your own heart's desire."

    But he urges contemplation all the same.

  6. #126
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Zhang Canyuan
    Day 0 - Evening (3/3)
    Minami Ward - Near the Forest


    "Huh."

    Try as Canyuan might, raised eyebrows and widened eyes betrayed his surprise. The overwhelming presence wasn't entirely absent, mind, but it was like talking to a whole different soul. A different "mode," even. The sheer contrast between visage and inflection was somewhat unnerving in itself.

    The surprise eventually shifts to a mirthful snort.
    A better conversationalist than once thought, who knew.

    Even as Lancer disappeared from view, traces of his presence still clung to him. Ominous as the reassurance was, it still offered some comfort to know who was watching him. Is this what Christians meant by guardian angels?

    That said…

    Quote Originally Posted by Lancer?
    "The Church, my Master? I thought you wanted answers. But, of course, you are the Master. Lead on, little boy, lead on. What comes, what may, in any shape or form, I will bravely follow, and shield you from all harm."

    Lancer's remark in particular did strike Canyuan as curious. Even amidst willing compliance, the pointed edge was there. An edge no doubt born of personal grievances. With the attempt at subtlety, however, it is likely not to the point of irrationality. Better a subject to be addressed lightly.
    With certain care and hum, the Master of Lancer proceeded with the reply.

    "Hoh-hohh. From the phrasing alone, I assume you're not awfully chummy with God's followers, hmm?"

    Of course. These 'Servants' seem to be spirits of long-passed heroes, so it was natural their misgiving would also carry over. While such past matters are indeed in the past, it is not something so easily dismissed; Lancer's prejudices aside, it is clear the Church will not be necessarily an impartial party. Assuming the acting representative treats magicians and his types with the expected disdain, then…

    "Nevertheless, your words are heeded, Lancer. No doubt the minister isn't wholly without personal biases, so I will consciously take their words with some grain of salt." Even if some fiction is mixed with truth, it should be cleared up in time through enough comparison. Not exactly a perfect solution, but a feasible one.

    With the clearing tidied and proof of activity disposed of, the summoning site returned to another woodside opening. A grateful nod towards no one later, Canyuan turned and began to make his way back to civilization.

    "...Still gonna be a good trek 'till we get out, no harm discussing this Grail War matters on the way, would it, Lancer?" Canyuan remarked as he walked. "If we're workin' together, it'll be good to know of one another's fighting chops. While I'm clearly no match against the likes of you, I do have confidence if pitted against their magician Masters – clobbered a fair share of spellcasters myself, so will be keeping an eye on their fancy gimmicks and whatnot."

    "If you fret about someone overhearing, worry not - - the trees and grasses are our only witnesses. None are foolish enough to loiter around here at night, and both are better secret-keepers than most people I met, heheh."

    Dry grass crunched beneath lightened footsteps. Though a light stroll's pace is absurd in such forestry, the help of markers dotting the trees made navigating an easier ordeal. An extreme degree of care it may seem, it was better than overconfidence; even at the peripheral, Canyuan knows well enough not to take this domain lightly.



    "That said, there's no need for excessive details as of now." The handyman adds with a slight smirk. "Be it your caution or constraints of the situation, it would be prudent of us to not be too careless, of course."
    Last edited by SleepMode; June 9th, 2022 at 11:26 AM.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

  7. #127
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Cuan Yugou
    Day 0 - Afternoon (2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kikanbou Ramen-ya


    So she fucks off. Quite unceremoniously, too. With barely a word. The situation resolves - rather, an equation has one of its coefficients set to zero, and the domain of possible solutions simplifies immensely. The mood deflates. The bulky form of Cuan Yugou exhales, and seems to sink a little into the chair. Look around now. People are no longer staring, but some have begun to leave. A "rational" line of argumentation begins to trickle down the back of his neck, to the effect that he could have handled that - "that" abbreviating the whole of everything that's happened in the last few minutes, or hours, or years - better. Indeed perhaps. But don't tolerate it. He clicks his tongue. Another equally "rational" line of argument is deployed to the opposite effect. His actions were - he is already considering how to do it - defensible, if they needed to be defended. That may be enough.

    People are still leaving. To where? Why? Is this - another thought - a "security" problem? No, no, it seems not. Unlikely. Consider it. It is very easy to overestimate the "security" issue here, namely, vis-a-vis, immaterial things. No. The average person - a word used advisedly - is really rather hard to convince of these things. They are not prepared. The people who heard that crack and saw the punch thrown, maybe out of the corner of an eye between sips of broth and chopstick'd noodle - what did they "see"? They saw nothing. They did not know what they saw. The did not know "how" to see it. They had not the "sense" for it. They perhaps saw "something" but did not know - at most they had a vague intimation - they didn't know how to interpret it, only that it was "violent", which is something rarely encountered, very rarely in public, in this fucking daycare of a country. And it stirred up an "impression" and perhaps that motivated some response or other but no-one, it's assured, drew any kind of "correct" impression from it. No. The secret, if you can call it that, of immaterial things, is safe.

    His ramen arrives. And the sake. The wait staff have faintly derealised expressions. They find this character who has appeared in their shop, in their routine, to be incredible. Whatever. A peppery scent obtains below him. Warm vapour. A lipid edge. Scrutiny of a bubble of fatty oil on the surface of the broth. He pours a sake into the furnished clay - this isn't the kind of place where they have a girl do it for you. They do serve it warm, though, which indicates a certain level of cultivation as he finds it. The sake is fine. Not great, not terrible. Watery, a little bitter, has the right fire to it. The movement from mouthswill to gullet to an ingot in the stomach he tries to savour. It's not one to make him ask for the bottle. Still he pours another. Keep trying.

    Now for the ramen. The noodles are excellent. They are added late, how he likes it - curious detail, don't think he mentioned that to them - so they're currently a little "al dente" which is probably not standard here. (Beats me.) He hasn't had ramen in Japan for quite some years. But they slurp well and the broth has good adherence, a pungent gingery miso stock. Sesame oil? The predominant flavour notes are black pepper, obviously; they've gone almost to excess with it, but that's acceptable. Pepper in excess lends it a vaguely fusion-cuisine touch but it's preferable in his mind to excess chilli, which in ramen becomes a crutch. Black beans, too. Not from paste, curiously enough, or not wholly; there is an intact black bean in there. That's good. Commercial bean pastes tend to over-sweeten. The beef is acceptably done. The cut is not as good as it could have been - that's economics probably. It's not quite falling apart as he'd prefer it, but they've clearly not skimped or tried to rush the marinade. Little bit of egg yolk in there too.

    Altogether it's really not bad. One bowl and two bottles become - more. Run it through the multiplication tables. Time passes. And eventually he checks his watch - which is a Bin Laden, of course, very ancient digital LCD - and sees that yes, he does have to leave, and thinks that as well. He gets up. The ruins of a meal lie before him. The innards of the restaurant seem to cringe and retract. Something fearful in the walls. The awareness impinges upon him that the company card he has - as an employee, nominally, as a "legal person" to whom a contract of employment (as a "security contractor" which is basically half true) has been made out by Sekigahara Aggregated Holdings, namely to Mr. whatever, whoever his alias is, resident of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China - has been loaded onto the phone and he can probably pay with that. Everything must be cashless here these days, right? He watches the figure flash up on the terminal as he pays and remembers the phrase "plus expenses" and emits an amused grunt that does not bear translation.

    One minute later Cuan Yugou is outside hailing a taxi. He wants to drive a bullet through the back of his skull.

    Flashback
    Day -191
    Dàlián, Liáoníng Province -
    Dàlián Xīnghuǒ Restaurant

    <"Look at me. Look. Look me in the eyes and tell me what you see.">
    <"I'm dying here.">
    [...]
    <"I do. It's true. I say it because it's true.">
    <"I'm dying.">
    <"I really am.">
    [...]
    <"Metaphysics.">
    [...]
    <"Everything. This place. Here. All of it.">
    <"Makes me sick.">
    [...]
    <"Yeah, and you too. You think I work for you because I like you?">
    <"Wouldn't that be the day.">
    <"Hey. Hey! Can we get another bottle - two bottles of this? This table? Thank you.">
    <"Regretting that decision already.">
    [...]
    <"No.">
    [...]
    <"Because the people I deal with, right, these people, present company very fuckin' much included, are, are, immaterial to me. Insubstantial. I look across this table and I see you like a wet cardboard cutout of a person. It's nauseating.">
    <"Happily, happily, I would kill you, and you, and her, and everyone in this room, bare-handed if necessary. I would have no compunction. And you know I could do it. You know very well. But I won't, right, not 'cause I'm humanitarian at some level but because I just - don't - give enough of a fuck either way. Because I would still be sick regardless.">
    <"I'm dying here.">
    [...]
    <"I'm not obliged to like you. Or anyone. I'm obliged to do your work and take your money. In sickness or in health.">
    <"And it would be fine, of course, were it not that the, uh, the money - the money - I see it pile up in my accounts and it makes me want to open my veins with a piece of broken glass.">
    <"Makes me sick.">
    [...]
    <"Quitting is not an option. People like me don't quit.">
    <"Item one, what the fuck else am I supposed to do? This is what I do. It's what I'm good for. I know this game. I deal these cards, I rule this kingdom. Top dog. This is what people want from me. This is what they're willing to pay for. And I need the money, don't I?">
    <"And, item two, you know, anything else, right - I could, very much, go live in the mountains like Bai Juyi and it'd make me sick just as much. It's me. It's all the same. I'd be dying anyway. I'm dying now.">
    [...]
    <"You know what helps? Cocaine fucking helps.">
    [...]
    <"Sake. Charcuterie. Taipei prawn soup. Seven courses at the Manchu. It helps some. The good things of this earth. You need them. When the rest is too sickening. When the money gets too much. Just burn it. Burn it wherever, however. Twenty grams an hour. Boil blood for soup. Eat roadkill off the highway.">
    <"And at the end you wake up, or come down, and you throw it all up, and this returns your problem to the same problem you had before, which is that you're sick, you're dying, and you need money, which makes you sick, and you get it from people who make you sick, and every time you need more - more money for more drugs, more weekends, more everything, 'cause every time it, less and less, subdues you.">
    <"Eventually it won't at all.">
    <"And it's all just sickness.">
    [...]
    <"I'm dying here.">
    <"I told you.">

    Day 0 - Night (3/3)
    Kita Ward - SRH Bonded Warehouse

    Ah, it's dark. Day has declined seamlessly into a murky kind of gloaming which bleeds like liquid between the streetlights. The warehouse district near the port is lit up harshly, old sodium-vapour yellows from the previous century. The shadows are very long and very deep. Cuan Yugou walks within them. The taxi has dropped him off near the gate to the fenced SRH precinct near the docks and he is walking to the gatehouse, where the night-shift guards have just clocked in. SRH stands for something-or-other, one of the many subsidiaries of the core Sekigahara holding company; his coin should be good here, and it is. No complications. He holds up a company ID and the uniforms at the gate scan it briefly and let him through, no questions asked. Good. The particular warehouse he is looking for should be somewhere toward the far end.

    And as he makes his way over there, he is thinking. He is thinking first that the one, two, many pours of sake he had earlier were, despite their best efforts, not enough. But he is thinking also about his own thinking. He is "observing" himself. Leg over leg he is wandering, as it were idly, like a lost child, through the labyrinth of stacked shipping containers, warehouses, parked trucks, cranes, forklifts, safety bollards, (et cetera) which compose this district and he is wondering why he is finding himself, even in minor key, unenthusiastic.

    Reluctant. (Do you want to be here, a voice asks.)

    He is making a lot of money from this.

    (Not an answer.)

    Where is "here"?

    (Here.)

    Japan? No.

    (Not Japan. Here.)

    Here is here. And so is he. He finds the warehouse; the side door has been left unlocked for him. Enter. Pitch-black inside, obviously. He fools around for a minute looking for the lights, finds them. Ice-white fluorescents smash-cut the place into visibility. Get a good look at it. The warehouse is comfortingly generic. And empty. The contents have been mostly cleared. A dormant forklift is parked near the entrance. Safety markings all over. A few containers have been left in the back but the majority of the floor space is raw concrete. In the centre of the raw concrete is - a large, circular, painted sigil.

    Cuan Yugou grimaces. He feels something. The pins-and-needles feeling on his left forearm. Try to ignore it, which he has been fairly successfully - call it a high pain tolerance - but he's been feeling it for days now. He scratches at his forehead. He looks down at the immaterial geometry on the floor. Some weird cult shit under industrial light. The combination strikes him as somehow ominous. Somehow fatal.

    (You're afraid, a voice tells him.)

    Is he? That may not be right word. There is something peculiar about this situation. Something which seems "real" or "definite" - as if he is seeing everything here in a colder, sharper light - moreso than before. A very intense sense of "reality" pervades. Which is odd. It is very odd. This here will be - he expects - he has been trying not to think of it in this way but really he is about to "perform magic", isn't he? Which is thoroughly immaterial. Really?

    (Aren't you?)

    Of fuckin' what?

    (Fighting.)

    He laughs. He barks a laugh. Fuck, he says. Fuck no.

    (Dying?)

    Dying? No. Not him. Doesn't happen to him. And even if it did, well. Well. It's nothing really. Nothing to it. Why wouldn't you? Dying is a process. Not to be accomplished all at once. He's been dying for a while now.

    (Winning, then.)

    He cracks one of the joints in his fingers. Then another.

    (Are you afraid of winning?)

    Why indeed would one be afraid of making one billion yen, no tax?

    (That's not the question.)

    How loathsome and how nauseatingly "rational" he is being to himself. Awful. He shakes his head. Just do it, he thinks. Just go. He pulls out his phone. The company phone, correction. The "incantation" he has to read is on it. Reading a magic spell off an OLED screen also strikes him as somehow ominous. He scrolls around for a while and eventually finds it. He grunts. He reads it. He grunts again, he reads it again. Like some idiot nursery rhyme, he thinks. Cuan Yugou is standing at the very edge of the magic circle.

    This is a job. Of course. Win the "game" - this ridiculous game - for Sekigahara. So he can keep his own corpse alive for a few decades longer. That it takes some magical miracle machine to do that much is probably the universe telling him to throw in the towel already. But that's not his decision.

    (Is it?)

    Is it what.

    (Just a job. For Sekigahara.)

    Sure, he thinks. Win it for him. For the money, naturally. "Complications" notwithstanding.

    (Do you want to win?)

    He will win. Regardless of what stands in the way. He will crush and burn and mutilate whatever the fuck thinks it can stop him. Oh yes. He will leave nothing standing in his wake. There can be no doubt. He will win. The victory is here, it's in his hand, he's holding it. Right now. Closer to him that his own neck-vein. He will win.

    (Do you want to, though?)

    He is grinding his teeth again. He notices.

    (What do you want?)

    "Fuck this," he says. He is whispering. He is sweating, almost. His voice in the chill air of the empty warehouse barely carries. He is rooted to the spot, unmoving, unable to move. "Fuck this," he repeats.

    He pulls up the phone. The incantation. He is in a daze, almost, as he

    reads.

    And slowly, as he does,

    as the words

    very simply

    trickle

    from his mouth

    something immaterial


    foregathers.
    Last edited by Dullahan; June 9th, 2022 at 09:22 PM.
    げっ
    すい
    こう


  8. #128
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Lysander Scriberis Archemiste
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Minami Ward - The Forest of Remembrance - Natural Cave


    "I'm fine, thanks."

    Lysander's stomach chooses that moment to grumble, as if saying the single onigiri he ate earlier is nowhere near enough to compensate for an entire day spent running around skipping meals with only pocky and water as prior support. It is a quiet rumble, but one that his own senses - and thus certainly a Servant's - have no trouble picking up.



    "..."

    Well then.

    "I'll gladly have some."

    As he fishes a slightly squashed paper plate out of his backpack and starts carefully picking fruits and vegetables out of the basket Rider is offering, a thought strikes Lysander.

    "Rider, these are from your magical energy, aren't they?"

    That's no good. They haven't secured a supply yet. Every little bit counts. Dying because of something like this would just be too embarrassing.

    "Here. Fruits of Kamigahara. Compliments of old Tetsu."



    An outstretched hand holds a counter-offer.

    With the half-price sticker still on it.

  9. #129
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
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    Reinhold Dietrich Presper
    Day 0 - Evening (Phase 3/3)
    Nishi Ward - Presper Residence

    In the moment that inspired such awe it was easy to forget that what I had beckoned was still, at some point, human. Its impressions were shaped by what it had seen in its lifetime. De Bello Gallico had never been too flattering on the ancestors of my people, so I suppose I should have expected this.

    I hoped that at least the shower I took earlier would convince him of some changes to our society in his absence, as he seemed to come uncomfortably close to me.

    "No, such a mere title is unsuitable for mine summoner. To summon I, God, nay you shall be my greatest asset in this tribulation," the Servant exclaims pointing at the German. "Under my Authority I grant you the position of 'Pontifex.'"
    "A title I would gladly accept from you." What I called him or didn't call him was meaningless. I needed him to listen, first and foremost, and if it meant indulging him for a bit it would not be a problem to me. In any situation where I would have to face this man unleashed, I would die in a heartbeat. However, it was ensured such a thing would not come to pass.

    I received this honor because the system fed him the knowledge he needed. The knowledge that doing anything to me would end his little adventure in our new and beautiful world, and with that it would bury the desire he chased just as well. As said, a human remains a human, and they will do anything to actualize their desires.

    "And I command that you refer to me not by that odious container. But by a title befitting my former mortal form---"
    ...

    "Yes, Kaiser."

    For a second it amused me how much it fit into the format established for the classes. Many magi would have probably had reservations at this point. Insistence on the nature of the familiar, and the nature of the relationship thus established. But there was no need for me to be particularly prideful. I was not born a lord, and subservience to them had become second nature to me. It was logical, the difference in might illustrated it in a way that a child would understand. And the gap between my usual masters and this Servant was higher than the gap between me and them ever would be.

    "You will understand that, I will have to refer to you as Servant to competitors...or allies. You will have to find this agreeable, as much as it offends you. For clarities sake it is necessary."

    Now I finally muster enough courage to look him straight into the eyes. It wasn't unheard of that familiar that sensed enough fear and hesitation would soon wear the body of its master, and it was an outcome that I had to preempt with a firm, leading hand.

    "Kaiser, we will have to act carefully and slowly in this war, and I want to do so because of one simple reason: I have no intention of losing. I will make allies and enemies for the duration of this war, but my plan is as simple as it is clear: nobody but us will survive, no matter what side of this they shall come down on. If you have any objections to this way of conducting ourselves, you may voice them now."

    I didn't move an inch, but my posture had relaxed quite a bit the more I talked to him. I needed to shake the shock and make an ally of him, or this plan would not play out in my favor.
    [04:55] Lianru: i3uster is actuallly quite cute

  10. #130
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    You do a sweep around the crates. It appears the assailant was only interested in the contents of a particular one. A few are bloodied, but untouched. For Tsukiko’s sake, it could easily be spun off as a theft of sorts. One priceless relic stolen, one victim of a dispute between criminals.

    The body is cold. You haven’t been to Japan for a very long while, but his appearance is typical yakuza, a fancy suit, tattoos peeking from his stump of a neck, illegal firearm a distance away. It looks like a Beretta to you, but even for a magus like you, guns aren’t your forte. You are, however, familiar with the circumstances that beheaded him.

    From your own experience, it looks like a blade. A damn fine one, to boot. Slicing opponents with wind-elemental magecraft often scattered the blood slightly as air vibrates at vicious speed, but it appears that this was a fluid, consistent stroke. Nothing else, other than the crate further in the back, stained with blood, seems to be tampered with. A battle that ended swiftly, disarmed from the looks of it. Or perhaps the victim threw it?

  11. #131
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    Arata frowns.

    The man's build and appearance is not unlike the men he spied in the hall earlier before when he first ran into Tsukiko. If the rough image didn't seal the deal, the presence of the gun certainly did.

    What was the yakuza doing here?

    No, that was the wrong question.

    Relics like this, priceless objets d'art and historical curious often spared nothing for security.

    Sometimes that meant the government, and other times the underworld.

    The mystery and strange phenomena associated with many of them demanded discretion and secrecy.

    So it wasn't unusual that an organization like the yakuza, used to operating outside the bounds of society, would be employed.

    In fact, he'd tangled with them himself a few times in similar pursuits.

    That's why he knows it was the wrong question.

    If someone is going to make a move against the yakuza, they would have to be particularly powerful.

    It takes an organization to take on an organization, especially the yakuza.

    But the aftermath of this battle tells a different tale.

    The story of one man against another. A loner's fight.

    For someone to do that on their own, something has to be different.

    It has to be someone with enough confidence in their strength to wager it all on making an enemy of the underworld.

    And not only that, they were in fact powerful enough to win.

    Arata's gaze moves from the body, to the decapitated head settled on the floor near the body.

    The swordplay was another matter. A gun against a sword was no fight at all; there's a reason the blade fell by the wayside. And yet the sword found its target and cleaved the yakuza's neck; the callouses on Arata's own hands attest to how difficult such a thing would be, if not impossible.

    Impossible for a normal human, that is.

    But given the fight he's stepped into...

    Yes.

    Someone else like him must be out there. Someone who can slip in here undetected, and take what they need.

    Arata's shoulders sag as he sighs deeply, shaking his head. He doesn't like having to use that, not after all this time... bitter memories hide behind those glasses.

    Yet faced with this brutality, there's only one thing to do.

    In the coming battle, information and knowledge is the difference between life and death... and knowing who he's going to encounter makes all the difference, whether it's a hitman or something else.

    Raising a gloved hand to his spectacles...


    ...he removes his glasses.

    The limiter comes off, but chains tighten.

    A sealed power, buried deep within him, rises back to the forefont.

    The jewel of the Hashimoto line, polished by a thousand hands. The secret held back for generations.

    His eyes ache and strain, a brilliant orange flower blossoming in his gaze.

    The burning suns sweep across the bloody chamber, encompassing them in its glow.

    Reaching out with his hand, Arata grabs hold of the wheels of time, the gears churning.

    They grind to a halt in his grasp, and with a motion from him, bend to his will, spinning backwards.

    The hourglass turns upside down and the sand flows in reverse.

    The world itself shifts and bends. The forgotten storage room around him rapidly changes as if haunted by a poltergeist; the yakuza's decapitated head suddenly bobbing into the air, the blood rising up to form waves and flood back into the deceased yakuza, who rises up, the gun returning to his grip.

    Everything moves quickly, until events freeze at the precise moment the swordsman first enters the room. He radiates confidence; no, he was confidence incarnate. Before he even set foot in this room, he knew what the end result was going to be. The simple calm before an oncoming storm that will ravage everything in its path.

    Everything about to happen is just a formality.

    And so Arata already knows how this is going to end. Intervening would be fruitless, even if he had his gear. But even now, the killing intent the man exudes is so thick in the air that a chill runs down Arata's spine.


    Destiny, set in motion, plays itself out, as the stranger swordsman rockets across the room in a single breathtaking step and does something wondrous, something that has to be admired in its deadly, elegant brutality. Seven times the yakuza dies in the space of the single beat of a bird's wings, all executed as one smooth motion with the ease and surety of a painter wielding his brush across the canvas.


    The blood that flowed back into the yakuza leaves again, bursting out of him like an exploding grenade. It's even more stomach turning seeing it happen live. The gun flies across the room, pulled by some unseen force, and the killer addresses his comrade.

    Arata watches as he plunders the crate, taking the spoils of his victory, red in tooth and claw. An ancient armament...

    With that, events suddenly quicken again, rapidly shifting until they resume their original places around him.

    So that's how it is.

    The faces of the killer and his comrade firmly set in mind, the professor considers what he just saw.

    He wasn't acting alone, after all. What did the young man say? He would call for some cleaners... so they were working for someone after all.

    The state of the room made it plain the cleaners hadn't arrived. Tsk, he clucks his tongue, as puts his spectacles back on.

    That'll be a problem. They're sure to get in the way of what comes next here.

    The fire in his eyes winks out, the glasses resuming their original place.

    Whoever that swordsman works for, Arata will have to keep an eye out for him. Arata knows more than anyone the skill that went into that blade, and the sheer coldness radiating from it. The drawing of a blade, and its use, cannot be done until it becomes an extension of the wielder's body. It becomes a part of the swordsman himself. And that swordsmanship was a callous and brutal one, announcing that he might be Arata's greatest enemy here.

    Someone of that caliber must either be a Master, or on par with one. Did that mean entire groups had thrown their weight into the ring...?

    There was much to chew on here, much he could draw out for later action.

    His thoughts linger on the exchange, and he can't help but wonder what would have happened had he drawn his own........?

    The dryness in his mouth and the quickening of his heart. Was it fear... or anticipation?

    He tasted the name of the man on his lips. Ito.

    Arata can already hear the sound of the cold steel releasing from its sheathe. The first opponent in the fight card.

    A mental battle plays out in his mind, one he's done countless times in other times and places. But before it can reach its conclusion...

    The sound of oncoming footsteps interrupt the showdown.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

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

  12. #132
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    Rider
    Day 0 - Night (Phase 3/3)
    Minami Ward - The Forest of Remembrance - Natural Cave


    Rider pauses as she is about to devour another grape.

    “Ah... the magical energy needed to materialize these fruits is close to zero, and I received support from the Virgins, so it's practically costless. But you are still correct about that.”

    Rider expects discipline from her allies, and she will not bargain that standard, not her. What she has been doing just now is far from it. She was being childish, and the most unacceptable, she was being lenient to herself of all things.

    Noble Phantasms aren’t meant to fool around. It is a tool to secure victory. Even if her magical energy will be immediately recharged after, she shouldn’t let even a slight disadvantage at herself.

    “You have reminded me of something important, I’m thankful. For that, I will guarantee your earlier request, Master.”

    She dematerializes her horn basket and took the small box that her Master passed to her, looking at it curiously.

    Is this some kind of… portable plate made of plastic? How convenient. 480 Yen, seems like a very cheap product meant for the masses. Half-price? Just how poor is this young man again? Rice, meat cutlets, and gravy; seem very heavy and unhealthy in the long run. What about these numbers plastered on it? Are these ranges between months, like dates?

    She splits a disposable chopstick perfectly in half, pick up the rice and cutlets with no issue, which all of those surprises her a little, and tuck it in her mouth.

    “...!”

    Its taste good. It’s not the best in the world and obviously its ingredient is standard, but she is surprised that something this fluffy and crispy can be bought in a cheap price.

    “Humor me, Master. Is this ‘expiration date’ what I think it is? This food will not spoil for months until this date? A full meal with wet gravy in it?”

  13. #133
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    The sound of footsteps grows louder and louder—you’re certain that they’re just outside the door. A grunt, then a thump. They placed something in front of the door, from the sound of it. The doorknob turns with a little click, hesitantly then fully, and the door is swung open, before being slammed shut with equal brevity.

    In comes a man wearing a janitor’s outfit, complete with a cart of cleaning supplies, with a box at the bottom, just large enough to hold a corpse. His carefree eyes narrow as he spots you, his free hand reaching for something in the cart. It gleams as he brandishes the knife with no hesitation.

    “You’re welcome to keep shut,” he says, though it’s a bit hard to take him at face value. He stands between you and the door, with that cumbersome cart in the way. No, he’s more interested in observing you. Most people, after all, are not as collected around corpses as you are. “Say nothing, and we can keep it all under wraps. Not lookin’ forward to killing more than necessary.”

  14. #134
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    The sound of footsteps.

    They break his thought process. Whatever he's mulling will have to wait for later.

    His newfound killer might have returned to the scene. But no, that can't be it. He doesn't feel the same sense of malice, the same pressure, the same killing intent that he felt from that man — Ito.

    Was it Tsukiko coming back to tell him she got help? He hoped not; she should be getting out of dodge now.

    In any case, he watches as the door opens, and a janitor appears pushing a cart.

    What bad timing — ah. Any ambiguity in the situation is dispelled as the so-called janitor brandishes a knife at him.

    The man's clearly here for a reason.

    Thinking back to the sights he saw play out in this room, Arata remembers.

    "I-I'll call for a cleaner," he forces out in ragged breath.

    It's the standard operating procedure, then.

    The yakuza don't like to leave their messes out for others to find, at least not unless it's meant to send a message to someone.

    A body, marring a once pleasant view with the splatters of its blood.

    There are those whose entire job is to make it disappear.

    A cleaner. Spic and span, like it never happened; a handwaved and the person vanishes like a breeze. It's the janitor before him, literally coming to clean up this room.

    If that's the case... a thought surfaces while he faces the man. A conclusion reached after comparing this to the grisly scene he'd witnessed. Both sides must have been yakuza. It's not the once living yakuza's compatriots who sent this cleaner — it's the victors, Ito and his ally, who did.

    And now the cleaner wants to do his job. To cleanse this room, to scour it of any evidence of the battle which unfolded. It might be easy enough for Arata to just step aside, and let him do as he pleases.

    He seems like a trustworthy enough man, he chuckles to himself.

    If the cleaner's simply going to do his job and leave, then there's no problem.

    But, well, the Clock Tower archeology professor's been around the block enough to know the truth. These yakuza types are somewhat comfortable for him to deal with. Predictable, consistent. They value order and tradition, much like magus families.

    It would be nice if he could just walk away, but... adjusting his glasses, he looks at the cleaner, and the cleaner looks at him.


    Something transmits between them, a knowing, an understanding that both knows the other has reached.

    Cleaning up one dead body is already on the agenda.

    A witness creates complications, problems. There's always loose ends that can come back to bite you. Especially when your higher ups ask you why you left their asses uncovered like that.

    What's much more convenient to deal with?

    Two dead bodies.

    You're already here to clean, after all.

    It's only natural to do the thing you were sent here to do.

    The yakuza cleaner's knife glints malevolently in the afternoon light, eager to confirm that conclusion.

    It's enough for Arata to impart his own.

    Something inside him shifts.

    A reordering of elements.

    A circuit that activates.





    "Another death? Yeah, that would be a problem for the both of us.
    You can relax. I'm here to take over for you."

    The words leave Arata's lips, and the cleaner reacts.

    But it's not as you'd expect.

    There is no smirk, no blunt retort, no flashing of the knife.

    The cleaner stands there, eyes glassed over, in a daze.

    The Clock Tower and Church would often deal with incidents of magic exposed to the public.

    The exposure of mystery would cause a problem for both of their worlds.

    To deal with it, they eliminate witnesses, just like the cleaner was about to do.

    But there are times where the direct and blunt method won't do; times when the exposure is so great, that a more delicate touch is required.

    "Gas leaks." "Heat stroke." "Swamp lights." "Mental breakdown." "Drugs."

    All of these and more represent a loss of the senses, an explanation for the disconnect between what one thinks they saw, and what actually transpired. A way to understand a gap in memory, to contextualize the breaking of the boundaries between the normal life of the everyday citizen and the supernatural.

    Something like that might have been told to the cleaner once.

    He might even chalk up what he experiences now to that.

    But this is a little different.

    A suggestion from Arata buries itself in the cleaner's psyche, and it sets to work on the man's internal workings. A story that creates its own justifications, a thought process that remembers an artificial event, the fake becomes real.

    There's a saying in a movie Arata rather liked that he thinks of whenever this happens. It's not something that his father would have ever approved of, but his studies became somewhat unorthodox after a certain point.

    "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

    With a smirk playing across his lips, Arata steps forward and guides the cleaner out of the room, and down the hall, where he leaves him to stand in a contemplative stupor for a few moments longer.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

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

  15. #135
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Hashimoto Arata
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    Arata returns to the storage chamber, quiet and lonesome now.

    When the cleaner stirs from his stupor, he will only be pleased that his job has been taken care of so quickly. Another has already been assigned to the task, after all. The cleaner's job is done, and he can continue on. A seamless thought process, like two strips of film cut and put together to make one reel.

    This time, Arata locks the door behind him.

    Why did he come back? He already obtained the information he needed from the corpse.

    It's because he was going to come here all along, for a different reason.

    Arata'd hoped his precautions would have led to this relic room to stay under the radar, to go undetected from any attention and activity until he was done.

    But it looks like it wasn't the case. It's already contested ground, and there's sure to be more yakuza to follow up.

    Eventually his little cleaner friend would run into the truth of the matter; or rather, it would be more accurate to say that his fellow yakuza would realize the problem in his story.

    Once that happens, they'll rush back here and secure the place, and his hopes of returning to this chamber for his goal would vanish like tears in the rain.

    Which means time is scarce, and Arata has to act now. It isn't how he'd have preferred to do things, but sometimes a developing situation demands new plans.

    What he wanted to do here, in this place drenched in history...

    ...is conduct his summoning.

    It just so happened to be bad luck, a twist of fate, that someone else got here first.

    What's more, the room had been sullied by the killing. Summoning here now, with such a powerful act left amidst the ritual, could ruin everything. A misfire here would cost him his life, at worst, or conjure a particularly unpalatable Servant given the nature of the slaying.

    Luckily, he came prepared. Withdrawing something from the innards of his coat, he holds up a peculiar object to the light.

    A blood red piece of steel, coiled around itself in a perfect mobius strip. Twisted in such a way, it resembled the twistings of a tree branch.

    With this, he could still salvage the day. What he held in his hands was a powerful catalyst; a material component for the ritual that directly linked the summoning act to the Heroic Spirit being called forth.

    It's one of the most powerful occult concepts; the concept of sympathy, of resonance. Like attracts like. It is for the same reason that the bloody corpse here would have stained the entire process, drowning it in blood like a food overly soaked in too much sauce.

    Pulling up an unopened, unstained storage crate, Arata empties it before placing the blood red strip of metal atop the box like a pedestal to house the ritual's prime ingredient.

    There was something alluring about it, something that drew the eye to it, something that filled one instinctively with the premonition that there lay something deeper behind its bizarre shape and form.

    Laying out the magic circle with powdered silver, Arata draws out the four encircling patterns of departure within erasure inside the summoning circle.

    “Shut.

    Shut.

    Shut.

    Shut.

    Shut.

    Five perfections for each repetition."

    Arata spread the silver as he chants the incantation, a melody rising all across the city by many magi.

    "And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead!”

    It was a procedure he'd practiced countless times.

    The first test posed to every magus seeking to become a Master.

    He'd done it so much he could see it with his eyes closed, he would dream of it as the time neared.

    "Let silver and steel be the essence.

    Let stone and the archduke of contracts be the foundation.

    Let red be the color I pay tribute to.

    Hear me in the name of our great ancestor, ████."

    All across the city, the same ritual played out in countless ways.

    Each Master came here with a goal, a desire that burned so fiercely in their breast that it pushed them to the desperate act of entering an occult death match where only one would succeed.

    A wish.

    "Let rise a wall against the wind that shall fall.

    Let the four cardinal gates close.

    Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching unto the Kingdom rotate."

    A desire had brought Arata here, too. One that beat in his chest, coiled in his stomach, and dominated his thoughts like a demon's possession.

    To realize his aim, for anyone to do so here, required trampling over the dreams of others.

    Every defeated Master becomes a stepping stone forward to grasp just a bit closer to the everdistant ambition out of reach.

    What drove one to act with such abandon, such determination?

    Every Master must have a powerful reason behind them to enter this contest.

    Arata could only hope his was just as powerful.

    Could his dream truly be worthy of a wish...?

    "Set--

    -- Set

    Let it be declared now; let thy flesh rest under my dominion, let my fate rest with your blade.

    If thou submitteth to the call of the Holy Grail, and if though wilt obey this mind, this reason, then shou shalt respond."

    Prana ripped through Arata's body, his circuits working overtime to channel the magic necessary to activate the summoning.

    At this point, it would have been child's play for the cleaner to return and run him clean through.

    He was so intensely focused on the ritual, that he had become the very extension of it.

    As he chanted, sweat beaded his brow, and his muscles spasmed from exertion.

    Acting like a machine, an automaton through which the World would act and bring about the miracle of granting shape to a Heroic Spirit in a container called a Servant.

    Thunder boomed and arcs of lightning tore through the room, a hurricane kicking up and sweeping everything into disarray.

    In the intensity of that pressure, a weight so heavy that it would cause any normal person to collapse to their knees, Arata stands unmoved.

    And in that whipping gale, the professor's mind wandered, so lost in focus was he that it was as if another person had taken over.

    "An oath shall be sworn here.

    I shall attain all virtues of all of Heaven; I shall have dominion over all evils of all of Hell."

    A child.

    A living sacrifice.

    A mummy interred by other living corpses.

    Moving, acting, but dead in all but name.

    The bandaged cadaver reaches out for the light of the sun——



    "From the Seventh Heaven, attended to by three great words of power——"



    "——come forth from the ring of restraint, protector of the holy balance!"
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

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

  16. #136
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Saber
    Day 0 - Afternoon (Phase 2/3)
    Nishi Ward - Kagamihara University


    In that instance, the wind picks up.

    With it comes the scent of a foreign land.

    A far away land, both in space and in time - and yet even more than that. Far away in reality as well, a world that exists beyond the confines of this suffocating reality. The wind carries the echoes of that long gone tapestry, no longer proudly painted upon the canvas of the world. Yet, though long gone, it has been awoken once more - and with it, brought forth a being of that reality, a resident of that reality.

    — Nay.

    As their form is drawn upon the wind, as the fifth theoretical element becomes true and shuts down the vision of all those who gaze upon it to spare their mind of madness, they are still able to witness it. It is the picturesque presence and existence of something beyond space and time that has been made real. And it is not brought forth by this distant, yearned past.

    The existence, instead, brings forth the past - as if it were their shadow, as if it were their mantle.

    A legend, a story, a song…

    Their very appearance calls forth such poetic analogues.

    For that is what they are. Both real and ideal, something so much more than what could be found in this wanting reality of ours.

    In other words…

    — A Heroic Spirit.

    The gentle wind becomes harsher, the scent becomes sharper, and the existence becomes clearer. It is now a violent wind, one that grabs the man by the throat and trashes them about, like a wolf that has caught a hold of their prey. It growls and it roars, it booms out in a large wave as magical energy is forced into the fold, to become the physical vessel for the spiritual core that churns like a maelstrom upending oceans itself. The amount of power being gathered is staggering, causing the air to grow thin and smell of ozone, akin to the heights of the tallest mountains. At the same time, white light, searing light, begins to peer through the eyelids of those present, forcing them open much in the same way as the theoretical element forced them to close.

    In the center of that wind, of that maelstrom, of that light, stands… a silhouette of a human. But it is no human. Anyone, whether they can see or not, can sense it. They are not human, and have never been. The shape may be the same, but the ideology, the tenets of it, the very ideology… is as far removed as the stars.



    And there it shines.

    At the very center of them.

    Like a beacon within a beacon, a nova within the light.

    —--- A Saint Graph, both terrifying yet inspiring. It moves, and the air stifles its breath.

    And thus, it takes form. Magical energy, exceeding abundance of it, wraps itself around the cores. It fills the silhouette, draws over the ethereal framework, creates sinew and muscle in accordance to the expected blueprint given to it, before finally painting it all in the colors of the legend reborn. A miracle takes form, a whisper of the song - stored beyond space and time - is given life, and crafted before the very eyes of the one who has called out to it, shouted between the layers for the omnipotent vessel to grant them a guardian.

    Therefore, a guardian shall appear.

    And lo’, he shalt step forth from the wind, from the old, from the yonder legend and through the image created, the blueprint laid bare and become that very image itself.

    — When he arrives, he walks on air itself.

    A massive white cape, fluttering in the storm of ambient mana and od, adorned with deep, sanguine crimson. A strange, almost alien armor - blacker than the deepest night, strong as the void between spaces, yet lithe and thin enough to be akin to a second skin worn by him. Soft head of snow white hair, like a winter field that rested upon his scalp. His skin the color of fair ivory, unblemished and unmarred by the countless wars he had waged. His limbs, strong enough to crack mountains, yet graceful, almost gentle in their appearance. His body, lean and agile, a hunter and a warrior in his prime, upon the zenith of his argent years. It was all brought together into an appearance regal yet imposing, tranquil yet terrifying.

    And it was all crowned by his deep, vermillion eyes. Eyes that told of a truth that none could deny. Of a man who had known not one day of mortal life, not one human day under the sun nor the moon. His gaze was that of an outsider, so far removed and displaced from humanity that it might as well been inhuman, unearthly in its making. A gaze alienated from all around him, gaze of a man who had never walked anything except a path of song and myth, of hardship and mortal danger - leaving footprints in the sands of time, never straying from his road.



    Thus, as he floated forward, his presence making the air hum, he extended his foot - and lightly touched upon the ground.

    The firmament shook, the terrain quaked, the earth groaned and the town itself wailed.

    Nature was changed.

    Leylines readjusted themselves upon his presence.

    Gravity, for a singular moment, became like a sledgehammer upon those in his presence, pressing down on them as the world adjusted to the man’s presence. It, along with the dispersing wind, threw those around the man to the ground.

    Calmly, so very calmly that it was as if he could not even feel the deep, startling change his presence caused in the world, the man extended his back and rose to his full height. He let his vermillion eyes scan the world around him. He turned his body to the side, gazing upon the faraway sky - offering his master a view of a Heroic Spirit etched against the world, a painting-like perspective of the man as white as snow and red as blood, clad in a night-like armor.

    Then, he craned his neck and turned his head to the side, to regard his Master. He leveled him that stare, so alien and so strange, so inhuman it might as well have been the freezing depths of outer space. And though a faint, calm smile had played upon his lips so far, it disappeared.

    Instead, he gazed upon his Master, sitting on the ground, with utmost seriousness.

    And opened his pale lips.

    "I, Servant Saber, have come forth in response to your summons.”

    His voice was deep and quiet, in contrast to his beautiful face.

    "---------- I ask of you: Are you my Master?"

  17. #137
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Lysander Scriberis Archemiste
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    "If you keep it in the fridge, yeah, it'll last a while. But it's best fresh."

    Lysander has already procured a bento of his own, digging into it while taking care not to spill anything on the expensive upholstery. As he finally eats dinner, he begins to talk between bites, eyes staring off into the distance.

    "Old Tatsu makes new ones each day and puts them out in the morning for the kids to buy on the way to school." Bite. Chew. Swallow. "But select ones go on sale in the afternoon. The half-off sticker's like a badge of honor, so there's a rush to grab 'em the second that noon bell rings." Bite. Chew. Swallow. "Luckily there were still some left today. Usually they're all gone by three..."

    He trails off, then blinks back to reality.

    "Ah, sorry."

    He stares outside for a moment.

    "Poor fare compared to what you're used to, right?"

  18. #138
    Greatness, at any cost mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    The tremendous gale knocks Arata on his back.

    He's hardly cognizant of it. Entranced by the majesty of the summoning, his eyes are glued on the form taking shape before him, of the figure out of fable and legend returning back to creation.

    A miracle.

    What he's witnessing is a miracle.

    None of his studies, none of his dives into past lives could have prepared him for what he's seeing now.

    As the whirlwind around them subsides and the figure gently bobs down towards the ground like a leaf settling after a storm, Arata feels a chill run down his spine.

    "---------- I ask of you: Are you my Master?"

    A chill of excitement, and nervousness.

    Regaining his sense of self, a self awareness imposed on him by the figure's presence, Arata gets back up to his feet, and straightens out his jacket.

    This is a Heroic Spirit. The personification of his family's dreams. Even though his father would be turning over in his grave to see Arata here now, this is something even the clan's late scion would have been captivated by.

    Power and might made manifest. Consolidated mystery given human form. The weapon he would wield in the coming war, the shield that protects his flesh.

    In the back of his mind, Arata wonders what such a being could possibly have left to wish for. Isn't a hallowed hero like this by definition one who would have taken pride in their path...?

    And yet it answered the call of the Holy Grail. The promise of that everlasting chalice proved great enough to draw him out.

    Stuffing those concerns aside, he takes a tentative step forward towards the Servant. Putting power into his voice, he responds.



    "Welcome, Saber.
    I am indeed the one you call Master."

    Arata greets the returned hero, establishing their contract.
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

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

  19. #139
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Slowly, the inhuman Servant nodded.

    "From this time forth, my sword shall be with you and your fate shall be with me."

    His crimson eyes bore a hole through Arata, as if looking through all that he was as a man, as a magus, as a human being. And whether or not the Heroic Spirit found any of those things wantings was only for him to know. The cold, impassive face betrayed no expression, no emotion. Instead, it regarded all around him with almost chilling indifference... or perhaps, to put it in more fitting terms, an aura of separation. As if he was merely a visitor in this reality, in this mundane world of flesh and blood.

    "--- Now, our contract is complete."

    There was finality in his tone of voice. A sort of creeping dread that announced that from this point forward, there would be no escape - no running away or hiding.

    With the appearance of this being, Arata had - permanently - stepped into what was known as the Holy Grail War.

    Then, now that the contract had finally been established and the roles of the two had been announced, the white-haired Servant let his eyes roam the room. He took in the sight of the boxes and the cabinets with same intensity as he had stared at Arata. He gazed at the concrete walls with a look often reserved for other sentient beings. He, for a moment, spared a brief look at the magic circle of powdered silver underneath his feet. And then...

    His eyes finally stopped at the decapitated corpse still lying on the floor.

    ".........."

    His gaze, for but a second, snapped back to the runes beneath him.

    "... Not a sacrifice," he spoke coldly, stating is as a matter of fact. "Then..."

    His vermillion eyes turned towards Arata.

    And finally, there was emotion in them.

    A flash of danger.

    As if he was weighing the man before him once more.

    Reassessing his indifference to him.

    "-------- A tribute?"

    Spoken like a being who was not a stranger to such things.

    "Well... Nameless Master?"

  20. #140
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander
    "Poor fare compared to what you're used to, right?"
    "What do you take me for?" she frowns, offended. "I'm not the kind of a woman that demands what can't be done, I demand the best choice available."

    She resumes to dines the cheap food. Without dropping a grain, nor does stain her clothes, nor opening her mouth too wide, so soundlessly until she finishes her plastic plate clean; all done while maintaining her royal dignity.

    "Sure, I normally have something luxurious, but that's because I have wealth. If the situation doesn't allow me to, such as in the middle of a forest with a broke Master; then I will opt for something less."

    She remembers there is a noble who foolishly ask a slum to hold a feast for his arrival. He ended up dead in some alley. To ask something like that is no longer about having a standard, but not being in touch with reality.

    "Even among low price range, there is always something standout than the others; that's what I'm looking for. From my assessment of this food, this Tatsu place fits that criteria."

    She let out a sigh, wondering what if they have something remotely like this food during her time. If the troops had a full meal like this instead of consuming hard bread and spoiled meat daily, they could hold more expeditions and win more wars.

    "Introduce him to me sometimes."

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