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EdwardSunnyDisposition

6th Holy Grail War: Pre-War Stage

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Here, we will start making preparations for the War. Preparing the catalyst, undergoing the ritual, summoning the Servant, forging alliances, or simply watching the other participants from the shadows. None of the above is required to be shown; your Servant may already be summoned if you wish. Ultimately it all comes down to you...fate rests in your hands.

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Fuyuki Central Park

The day was cold, a slight fog blankets the grey park. A man walks through the barren park alone, wearing a black coat, seemingly not bothered by the cold air, nor the park's unique chill. "Do you sense that?" he asked as he looked to his side. "Left alone, these are the things that humans do. They haven't changed after thousands of years, nor will they ever. Evil is after all a big part of human nature. For some, the only part." There was no response. The man continued to walk through the park. "This 'Holy Grail War' is no different." The man scoffed, his black eyes as if looking down on the world. "Seven people fighting and murdering each other to fulfill their own desires. Just knowing that I'm about to be part of it sickens me. And yet it's the only way to achieve it with my own two hands..." The man stops and takes a deep breath. He turns his gaze towards the cloudy skies and sighs. "So be it. If winning this 'war' is what it takes to cleanse the world, then it's precisely what I must do. After all... the lord's will must be done." Again looking to his side, he said "Send out the birds." As if out of the wind, a voice responded to his command. "As you wish... master." The man again turned his gaze towards the skies, his mouth turning into an evil grin. "The death of seven sinners... a fitting prelude to the Armageddon." Doves fly out of the park and into the city as the man continues through the bare land.

Edited by A Random Player

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Several months have passed since Michael obtained the artifact from the pirates back in Vietnam, and he just finished all the preparations for his hideout in Fuyuki. It took quite a while to amass the armory he needed for this Holy Grail War, especially since he had to work around the strict gun laws here in Japan. It took a while, but he was able to collect several hunting licenses to get a few rifles legally in his collection. The rest of the weapons, including a few assault rifles such as the FN-SCAR, AK-47, and HK416; submachines guns such as a couple of uzis, MP5s, and a two MP7s; handguns such as the Glock 26, Smith and Wesson M&P, and the Springfield XD; and of course sniper rifles, with which Michael is the most proficient in, that include Cheytac M200 Intervention, Barrett M107, and his favorite because of the pun in the name, AWSM (Arctic Warfare Super Magnum). None of these weapons are legal, except his few Remingtons, which are legal hunting rifles. It doesn't help that he keeps several clay-mores, flash-bangs, and grenades handy with him as well. He, with the help of several "businessmen" stored these weapons in a warehouse very close to his isolated house that he purchased some time ago in preparation for the war. The amount of money required was far too much for any normal person to acquire, even someone like him getting military benefits from his time in the war. Most of the money he obtained during his time as an illegal pirate, which was only done to obtain these ancient artifacts. Of course, with these artifacts in hand, all he had to do was go home and complete the ritual.

The first step is to walk from his local McDonald's carrying his lunch, while also keeping a keen eye on his surroundings to make sure he doesn't get jumped by a master or his servant. This feeling of paranoia felt all too familiar to him during his time overseas in a less mystical war. He kept his hand near his waist, near his hidden Glock in case danger occurred to give him trouble. Sadly, he realized that despite his huge arsenal, none of them would be of any use against Servant, He would have to learn useful magic quickly, or else his end may come sooner than he would like. Nonetheless, he made it back home, careful to not trip any of the wires set to explode in the entranes of his house. Once he safely entered, he began the preparations for the ritual and closed the curtains around his house to ensure no one wold peek in on him through his windows (which he made sure were bullet resistant, despite even more high costs). He then created the circle needed for the summoning and set up the pedastal placing the artifact on it. The artifact itself was an arrowhead, which left Michael thinking he may summon an Archer servant. He thought of the usefulness of having a ranged servant at his side, it would make avoiding direct conflict much easier. With these thoughts swirling in his head, he began the summoning.

"Heed my words. My will creates your body, and your sword creates my destiny. If you heed the Grail's call and obey my will and reason, then answer my summoning. I hereby swear that I shall be all the good in the world, that I shall defeat all evil in the world. Seventh-heaven clad and the great words of power, come forth from the circle of binding, Guardian of Scales."

"Ugh, what the hell?" were the words leaving Michael's mouth as a bright light engulfs the room. Soon, the light started dying down, and a beautiful woman wearing what appears to be a bright whitish, blue hanfu, wooden sandals, and appeared to be armed with a....sword. When Michael's eyes finally got adjusted to the sudden change in lighting, he looked at the girl in front of him. He walked all around her, looking for a bow of some sort. None seemed to show. The woman then spoke "Hello, my mast..... wait are you checking me out?" She smirked "Now don't get any naughty ideas, I may call you master, but you better buy me dinner first." 

Michael felt startled "What? No, I thought you were an archer. I was looking for a bow." The woman then replied "I am holding a sword genius, and what, you wanted to looked under my shirt for a bow?". Again, Michael felt irritated at the remark "No, ugh never mind, I must have messed up the ritual or something." The woman then responded "Messed up? Honey, look at me, no I way you messed up. Besides, you know what servant class you summoned don't you?" 

"Saber" answered Michael. "Good, by the way, that is my name from now on, don't want to spoil identities and all that." She looked at the bag of McDonald's on the table. "Ooh, I am hungry, who knew being summoned back from the dead would leave you famished." She then took one hand into the bag and grabbed the only burger inside, eating Michael's lunch. A sigh drifted from Michael's mouth. This was gonna be a long war.

Edited by bioky858

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Helmut Boltzmann von Aigentler (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

Despite the unusually chilly weather on this particular day, the Shinto District of Fuyuki City remained as busy as always. The ever-moving mass of people continued to go about their day and filled the modern streets with a familiar buzz not uncommon to see during the later hours of the workday. Amongst the busy rush of common salarymen heading back to their homes it was almost impossible to distinguish one car from the other, each simply one of many that formed the daily evening traffic. As such, even a black Audi Q7 rental car that had been purchased at the Fuyuki Airport blended in just fine despite it housing a phenomena that even those well-learnt in thaumaturgy would consider a true miracle. Despite a near-perfect reincarnation of a Heroic Spirit riding on the passenger seat, from the outside the car seemed as irrelevant and forgettable as any other.

“This world…”, the Heroic Spirit absent-mindedly muttered as he solemnly regarded the outside scenery that passed him by, “…though I believed to have enjoyed the riches of royalty during my time, it seems that I lived the life of a barbarian until the very end. Apparently I was no less ignorant of the world than I was before I left my father.”

His words were directed at no one in particular, yet neither was he alone. Next to him, driving the car, a man of similar age was troubled by the open-ended statement since he knew not what to say in return. What troubled him wasn’t so much the content of the words spoken by his Servant, but rather his Servant himself. Having reclined his backrest to make the ride more comfortable, his Servant was clothed no longer in the armor he donned when first summoned at the Aigentler estate in Austria, but rather a comfortable pair of sweatpants and a tight-fitting long-sleeved shirt made of elastic fabric that was likely intended as sports-wear. In short, he dressed like a man who would spend the majority of his time indoors, or rather, somebody who had only just gotten up from bed… yet his royal presence forbid such insults to ever make it past the tongues of his onlookers. His athletic built seemed almost too perfect, much like a fantasy come to life, and while his body was clearly toned and muscular he retained a lean physique that was apparent even beneath his comfortable clothing. His head was covered in rich brown locks that hung loosely at a moderate length, yet never did a single strand seem out of place despite their unkempt nature. He was an unusually attractive man, that much was obvious at a glance, yet his most striking feature was the unmistaken royal air he seemed to exude with each breath. He seemed not like a man who was suckled and weaned with a golden cup since birth, but like one who had lived long enough without such privilege to have come to truly appreciate it once tasting it for the first time. He was royalty without a doubt, yet he hadn’t always been.

Confronted with the jarring contrast between the way his Servant preferred to clothe himself and his outwardly solemn demeanor, Helmut took a second too long to reply to his Servant's thoughtless comment which he had chosen to voice on a whim.

“Pay no mind to what I said Master, I was simply complementing the state of your world. The comforts granted by living in this era…”, Archer briefly glanced at his outfit of choice, “…they seem fit for the gods indeed. A shame you would have all this progress wasted.”

Helmut carefully observed his Servant from the corner of his eye. His expression appeared unchanged, his eyes still seemingly gazing at the outside scenery, but it was clear that Archer’s attention was now on his Master alone. They had had this discussion many times ever since Helmut had revealed to his Servant the wish he would ask of the Holy Grail, yet it seemed that Archer remained unsatisfied with his Master’s answer until now.

“Not wasted Archer, merely reset. I don’t intend to reset human advancement back to level it was at during the stone-age, I simply wish for humanity to learn to live alongside it’s host without exploiting it”, Helmut carefully answered while keeping his eyes on the road.

“Wouldn’t it be possible to simply cull your population then?”

“Possibly.”

“You’ve clearly not put too much thought into this.”

“I… no.”

Helmut’s fingers tensed around the steering wheel. It seemed his Servant had run out of patience and demanded a serious answer from him whereas he had previously simply dodged the topic whenever it had come up. He took a deep breath, sighed, and continued to talk.

“My goal is no less a goal than a child’s wish to skip school and live a life of undisciplined happiness. I don’t have a concrete vision of my life like my sister does, I simply have a fantasy that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Call it escapism if you will. Much like a man who dreams of drowning in riches he didn’t have to spend time and effort to earn, I fantasize about a world in which humanity has not become the exploitative disease it has become today.”

“Hm. So you are aware that you are being foolish. That you are entertaining merely a fantasy born of a bored man who spent his life fulfilling the expectations laid upon him by his family?”

“Not a bored man, a selfish one.”

Archer regarded his Master with a look before chuckling softly, “Then you are very unlike my own brother after all, I apologize for comparing the two of you previously. You are determined to add a second clause to your wish you intend to ask of the Grail, are you not? One that ensures a comfortable life for yourself and your family.”

“…”

“Just as I thought. You have little empathy to waste on humans that you do not know, they are simply numbers to you that would not be missed after the culling that you so dearly desire. However. It seems that this very sentiment does not extend to those that you do care about.”

“Is it that surprising that I would prefer the comfort of my family over the lives of those that I don’t know?”

“No. It simply explains how you were able to summon me of all people with such an ambiguous artifact. Of all the Heroic Spirits associated with it, of the many that have eclipsed my tale with their own tales of glory and bravery, it was me whom you managed to call forth. It is said that without an artifact the Grail merely choses to assign a Master a Servant most similar to himself. I can’t say that I see much of myself in you Master, yet if I had to name one trait we share then it would have to be our selfishness.”

“…so you are not ashamed of the way you were remembered by?”

Archer smiled bitterly at his Master’s question, but seemed otherwise unperturbed.

“Of course I am annoyed by the fact that my envious enemies have decided to portray me as a villain, yet I am more annoyed that my way of life had been stigmatized in this modern era. I’ve lived a simple life as a child so I desire comfort and pleasure as an adult. Is that wrong? Is this what your people call selfish?”

“Most certainly would, me included, but this is simply what it means to be human, does it not?”

“We might pretend to be better men than we truly are and strut around as peacocks do, but in the end selfishness is what sits at the core of every animal… either way, I am tired of speaking about the nature of humanity. I have heard enough of this useless chatter during my lifetime at court, and my enthusiasm for the art has not changed upon my death.”

“In that case… since we seem to have settled the issue of my wish, you have never deemed it necessary to tell me yours.”

“…”, Archer’s eyes narrowed at the mention of his wish, lifting his head from it’s relaxed rest on his palm and facing his Master properly for the first time during their conversation.

“My wish is not unlike yours, Master. It is the self-same fantasy that every man keeps within his heart and yearns for until his dying breath.”

Helmut was compelled to take his eyes off the road for a second to answer the call of the royal prince that had graced him with his full attention, “It being?”

“I wish to live a life of joy and comfort with the woman that I love, a happiness that was denied to me due to the schemes of the jealous men which could not stand to watch me fulfill this dream while they were left with the dusty old crones of their homeland.”

Helmut was stunned by his Servant’s reply, his lack of response filling the interior of the car with a heavy silence that persisted even after he returned his attention back to the road.

“I suspect this is not what you had expected of a Heroic Spirit such as myself?”

“I-… no, strangely it seems your wish suits you exceedingly well, though I never would have expected you to share it so willingly.”

Archer shifted back into his comfortable resting position with a neutral expression.

“You have entertained me with your own wish so I thought it only right to return the gesture, but don’t mistake this for an act of obedience on my part. I have decided to offer you my bow only because our goals didn’t happen to collide just yet, but even that remains to be seen.”

“Then you would wait until the judgement of the Grail until the very end after all.”

“Precisely. You wish for a world in which humans and the world can live in peace, I desire to take back the life of happiness that was taken from me. It is up to the Grail to create the world you wish for, so know that if your fantasy would result in an era that I deem unsuitable for myself and my wife, I will take your life with the very bow that won you your coveted Grail.”

Helmut could feel blood rush through his body as the chilling threat of his own Servant washed over him. He wasn’t kidding around, Archer would end his life without hesitating if it meant to further his own goals. He knew that. His Servant had made that clear to him from the very start, yet it wasn’t a threat that a normal human such as himself could take lightly. Quietly releasing the breath he had been holding to release the tension of his body, Helmut answered Archer with the only reply that he could give at the moment; none at all.

Archer seemed to get the message and finally changed the topic to a more relevant matter as he spotted their destination in the far distance.

“A church? I wouldn’t have taken you to be a pious man.”

Helmut forced a dry chuckle as he wiped the remnants of his earlier cold sweat, trying to hide from his Servant just how shaken he was to no avail, “This Church used to serve the purpose of housing the representative sent by the Holy Church in the past wars, but now it should stand abandoned even after the repairs to cover up the damage of the previous War. At least in regards to the Holy Church itself. The current priest should be ignorant of the Holy Grail, a civilian, so he wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to overcome.”

“…you would have us live in that decrepit building while your era’s skyscrapers shimmer so beautifully in the setting sun?”

“Beautiful or not, what matters is an environment suited for your unique ability, and it just so happens that this Church extends far into the underground.”

“Much like a cellar?”

“More or less. What matters is that such an environment should be perfectly suited for your Personal Skill.”

Archer closed his eyes and momentarily contemplated in silence before finally nodding in agreement, though his expression was clearly soured.

“Fine. The ivory towers can wait, first we shall win this War.”

“In that case I have my first task to ask of you.”

Archer sighed before melting into golden shimmers of light that remained in the wake of his dematerialization into his spirit form. The Holy Church had officially relinquished their right to send a representative to govern the 6th Holy Grail War, but not much could be said about their reputation that they had built up during the 4th and 5th. Assuring that his Master parked a far distance away from the Church, Archer acted on the first order given to him by his Master.

“Scout the premises and make sure that it is safe. If you sense any magic whatsoever, eliminate the cause.”

Edited by ChristmasForJuan

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Outskirts of Fuyuki Virgin Forest 


'Just remember the trek is worth it' Alastor thought as he walked through the forest his patience running thin after clearing a path to his destination.

"Master I sense we're almost there." A voice broke out. He turned to see an androgynous figure his long black hair over his shoulder. He was dressed in a rather modest fashion wearing dark sweatpants and a white jacket over a red shirt. This Alastor mused fit his rather humble servant.

As the tree line finally breaks upon thier destination Alastor let's out a small smile. After all who knew one of the three founding families would contribute to this cursed war even after death. The leyline underneath the manor was just a welcome bonus.

"Caster keep an eye out for any enemies I have to reset the bounded field we don't need any surprises." 

With the time the two went about there task it led  for Alastor to reflect upon many questions. 'Why did the war start so soon?' 'How did it kill off a prosperous family like the Einzberns?' The most important question of all to him was of course 'What happened to my sister in that disaster?'

'It doesn't matter' Alastor decided, 'I will find the truth come hell or high water' resolve showing on his face. 'After all its what you would want isn't it Sis.' 

Later as the pair went about inspecting the building repairing everything as they went along his mind wandered to Caster and his wish.'To think this great man only wants to redeem himself for what trauma he caused to a dear friend.' His thoughts were interrupted by Caster "Master the building repairs are complete."

"Thank you Caster create some golems and humunculi for set patrols and mix up rotations every few hours. Just cause it hasn't started yet doesn't mean some Masters won't try something early." "Understood" "and Caster. I reviewed the reports you must realize you mustn't blame yourself  you were menipulated from the start." Alastor said trying to comfort the troubled man. 

At this Caster gave a bitter smile "Thank you but I don't deserve sympathy not for my actions"

With these words exchanged the two set off in this ancient war of Magi. One looking for answers the other seeking redemption.

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Road to the Fuyuki Church

As a light rain falls through the city, a black sedan drives through the narrow road. Inside, the man now wearing a black suit instead of a coat, is driving while accompanied by the radio droning on about the news. The man looked bored, his black eyes barely paying any attention to the road ahead of him.

"Politician Adam Proster, suspected of misusing government funds related to public welfare for the poor has today been released due to lack of evidence. Despite having leaked documents detailing his misuse of government funds, investigators have concluded that "There are not enough evidence as grounds for conviction." The politician himself has been quoted..." The man turned off the radio and sighed.

Still staring blankly at the road, the man asked. "Rider, the world in your days... how was it?" For a moment, it seemed like there was no answer. But then, the voice from the winds came. "It was a time of wicked men. Drunkards, thieves, murderers, and rapists were uncondemned and sometimes even lauded for their actions while righteousness was shunned by society." The man nodded slightly. "That does not seem too unfamiliar." The man paused for a moment. Now glancing at the rear mirror, the man asked another question. "But you, you were different are you not?" This time, there was a longer pause. Then, in a pained voice the winds answered. "No, I was not." The man didn't reply to that, as he knows that it was the best reply he could give.

As the man continued to drive in silence, the winds suddenly called out to him. "Master." The man raised an eyebrow, acknowledging the call. "The building we are headed to, there is another character currently scouting the area." "Another master?" The man asks.

"A very likely possibility."

"Are they alone then?"

"It is as you say, master. Though it is also quite possible that they have a servant currently in spirit form."

The man's eyes changed. Instead of being bored, he was now concentrating, thinking. After a moment he pressed the brake and turned the sedan's wheel around. "Are we giving up master?" the winds ask.

"It cannot be helped. The church is indeed a strategic location but it's still not worth risking an early confrontation with another master. I suppose this is also the lord's way of telling me that I should not base my operations at a monument to heresy."

"The lord does work in mysterious ways at times."

Now driving towards the other direction, the man asks "The doves flew throughout city, correct?" "They did." answered the winds.

"What did they find?"

"A wide structure painted in gold, the letter H-Y-A-T-T written on the top."

"The Hyatt hotel, too big and too crowded."

"A brown abandoned mansion. Nobody walks near it."

"That could work, anything else?"

"A ship."

The man raised an eyebrow. "A ship?" The winds continued. "The doves saw a ship carrying supplies that should be enough to last you a few months." The man thought about it for a few seconds. He then grinned. "As you wish then Rider. Our base of operations will be on this boat." The rain was getting harder, a big storm seemed imminent. The black sedan drives towards the city, heading towards the harbor.

Edited by A Random Player

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???, Fuyuki

"Man, where AM I?" bemused Mark as he stumbled over a pebble. He had been walking down a winding road, with a forest of trees to either side of him. It almost felt like a highway, but Mark couldn't say for sure. 

"Oh bloody hell. It'd be nice not to think I'm way over my head with this Grail War business, but right now I'm not exactly sure what to to or even where to go!" he thought, and grimaced after feeling some stomach pain. He hadn't eaten in about 12 hours, that having been at Narita International Airport, and in attempting to avoid any locals within Fuyuki had found himself lost. He was just thinking about what to have for dinner when a sharp but quiet humming emanated from his jacket pocket. Mark was trying to avoid having his phone on anything but vibrate if he could help it.

Checking his cell, he was mildly surprised to see this particular caller ID so soon. "The old man is calling? I'm surprised he'd pay international fees to speak with lil old me!" chuckled Mark happily, as he accepted the call. 

The voice on the other end of the line had gravitas, and sounded measured to say the least. "Mr Gatling. You know I'm actually spending a lot just to call you from here, so be grateful." Mark sighed theatrically into the phone. "Oh you...I was actually thinking the exact same thing. You should get out of that dusty Clock Tower every so often; I'm surprised you aren't supervising me here. It's not like you to put any semblance of faith in me. Actually you may have been absolutely justified in that thought process to be fair". 

"That really doesn't bode well Mark", the voice said steadily, continuing on to say "What is the matter? Have you secured a base of operations?"

"Yeahhhhhh no. I don't even know where I am, and that bloody Servant is like a mad dog without a leash! He keeps wandering off. Actually scratch that, I don't even know if it's a he or not." 

"You...cannot be serious. I stressed how important this was for the Clock Tower did I not? You're earning much more than you do for those normal jobs, and you may even be granted a wish if you actually survive. Put some more bloody thought into your strategy! Also, what's wrong with your servant? You didn't add anything extra to the summoning chant did you?"

"No siree, I recited it plain as day, 100%" Mark replied, "I think it has something to do with this guy, or gal's past. That's my best guess anyway, and I don't have a second best."

"For goodness sake...I need you to get your shit together. I will try and assist in anyway that doesn't violate the rules of the War, but you've got to throw me a bloody bone here. Secure a base of operations. Learn more about your Servant. Try to discern their identity if possible. And avoid contact with other Masters this early. In fact try to avoid all contact unless it's an alliance. Given your Servant's class, an alliance may be your best bet in the early stages." And with that the line was abruptly cut.

Mark sighed for what seemed like the umpteenth time, and called out into the woods. "Seriously mate...mate? Are you there? I'd like you to co-operate, it would make both of our lives easier!" Silence. I can't believe you're, bloody making me do this he thought, and he inhaled sharply, then closed his eyes. Within seconds, he was suddenly racing through the woods at an insanely high velocity. His vision was cloudy and red, and his thoughts felt distorted. It was so nauseating that Mark had to slip out of it almost immediately; but this seemed to have an effect on his Servant, who finally zipped out into the clearing. 

A red mass of shadow. That's what was in front of Mark currently. If one were to squint, they'd make out a somewhat broad, yet still slender figure in the middle of it. Red circular lights which Mark assumed were meant to be eyes drilled into his mind, and he winced.

"Independent fucking action, and Mad Enhancement eh? That's my guess anyway. It's like the Grail is playing an elaborate game with me. Well I consider myself quite the gambler...you know I don't have much mana right? Making me use Shared Perception in hopes that you comply is quite draining, and I haven't eaten in a while". 

The mass of shadow spoke nothing for a few seconds, but then uttered a small phrase boldly. "THERE ARE NO CHAINS ON ME" And then more silence.

"You spoke! Well...well yes there are indeed no chains on you. It looks like the Mad Enhancement isn't too severe, although you definitely aren't the most charismatic chap I've liaised with. Look mate, I really really hope we can communicate in some way. It may take some time, but that is in very short supply. Let's just look for a way out of these...woods, or whatever they are. Okay...Okay? 

More silence. And then the mass spoke "I'LL TAKE POINT" 

"Point? Hmm, that is an interesting way to put it...but very well!" Mark replied, relieved that they were going to get somewhere after all.

And so the mass and the mortal slowly made their way down the winding road.

Edited by EdwardSunnyDisposition

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Year 2015

Austin, Tx (Dream Sequence)

Michael stared at the sunset standing on his front lawn, looking at the myriad of houses spanning his view. It hadn't been long since his return from the battlefield, and he began contemplating the reason for both he and his comrades have fought for so long. Was it for these identical homes, each with the same pointed roofs, and the same brick layout? Was it for the variety of fast food chains, each selling the same junk food that would end up causing long term health problems in foreseeable future? It was then that his answer would come calling out to him. "You having another one of these thinking sessions of yours?" Michael turned around to look at a woman, a woman that always made him wonder if he was actually alive. To him, she was a sight to see. Her long brown hair hanged gracefully down her neck,  with the last strands ending at the top of her blue blouse. He stared longingly at her green eyes, accenting her freckles, almost lost in them, forgetting that she was actually saying something to him. 

"Yoohoo? Earth to Mike? You've been doing that more and more you know?" responded Trish to the starstruck husband of hers. His eyes started blinking to signify him coming back to earth so to speak. "Sorry Trish, I was just..." he started blushing. It felt like he was a little kid, and he was terribly ashamed. "I was never this shy before dammit." he began thinking. Trish then states "Aww, are you blushing!" Michael, surprised at her observation responds "No I am not! It's just, I like seeing you that's all." He then starts looking away, realizing that he has been treating his wife as some sort of high school crush, rather than his own wife. 

"Hey, you wanna go out right now?" Trish surprised, asked "What? Right now?" He then responds "Yeah, there is somewhere I want to be with you." Trish, curious, replies "Okay, give me a minute. I need to change really quick." It wouldn't be long, but soon the couple went out on the town. The first thing was bowling of all things. "What is this, a first date?" 

"What if it is? I want to get to know my girl all over again." Michael tied his bowling shoes and started to throw the ball down the lane. After this, they decided to go out to watch a movie, with Trish choosing Hateful 8, as she was quite the fan of Tarantino films, which Michael never understood why. After the film was over, the couple walked out and Trish responds to Michael "You know, it's hard to believe that 8 people would just ruthlessly kill each other like that you know." "I used to think that too." he responds. Trish realizing her mistake says "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have reminded you." "Don't worry about i...." was what he would have said until his slipped falling on her back, bring Michael down with her. "Woops, clumsy me!" says Trish. "Brought me falling down along with ya." Says Michael looking down at her. 

However, his vision started flaring at he was suddenly transported to another room. He sees his wife on a hospital and all he could hear was a loud "BEEEEP!" 

 

Present 2020 

Fuyuki, Japan

"What?" He woke up suddenly, with a cold sweat dripping from his forehead. The dreams started becoming more like recollections, and the vividness of these memories became quite overwhelming. "Trish, I promise..." he began fiddling at his ring on his hand, the same hand holding his command seals, red like blood, seemingly scarring his hand. He looks out the window to the right of his bed, noticing the sun rising slowly over the horizon. He then looks to his left and sees a a woman for some reason sleeping right next to him. 

"Whaaa!" he falls out of the bed, startled at this surprise appearance.

"Who's screaming?" Saber moans. "Turn off the light" she began placing the pillow over her head, trying to block the sunlight hitting her eyes. 

"What are you doing in my bed? I told you where to sleep, there was a bed in the room next to mine!" He yelled, with his heart thumping out of shock.  "And put some damn clothes on." recognizing that the asian woman in his bed was completely naked while under the covers. 

"Why don't you put some clothes on?" She notices Michael, with his well built body being exposed, with only his boxers covering his private parts. "Also, your bed was far more comfortable than mine." Saber says in response to the question he asked her early on.

"Just put them on" he began looking away for the sake of courtesy. "Okay, okay" Saber immediately materializes the clothing she wore when she was first summoned, wearing her whitish, blue hanfu. 

"That is convenient." states Michael. Saber responds "I know right. Still, it would be nice to get new clothes." A thought arises in her head, a thought Michael would severely regret. "....We need to go SHOPPING!" Saber excitedly says. "Hurry up and get dressed!"

Michael sighs, and puts on his plain blue shirt, blue jeans, and places his Kevlar vest over his shirt. Then he wears his red leather jacket to cover the fact that he has a Kevlar vest on in the first place. He also makes sure to cook up some omelets to eat breakfast for both himself and his servant. "Eat up. I know your dead and all, but I have a feeling your still starving. Am I right?" He looks down to see Saber sitting down next to the dinner table, with her hands covering her stomach.

A loud growl can be heard from her stomach. "......I'll take some of those omelets...please..."

Some time later.

A newly refreshed Saber starts walking out the door, basking in the morning sun "Ok, time to gahhh!" She gets pulled back into the house. "What the hell are you doing?" says Michael. "Your wearing your kimono. If a master or servant sees you, they'll know immediately that your a servant, and we'll be targeted." Saber then says "Did you just call my garb a kimono? It's hanfu you culturally disrespectful idiot!" Michael jumped at the sudden anger that was never displayed before. Saber then suddenly lightens the mood stating "Just busting your balls! That is a phrase you Americans use yes?" Michael nods, and then Saber continues "I mean, what could I expect from someone that comes from a country filled with individuals that think Africa is country."  Saber sighs "Anyways, don't worry about me wearing my hanfu out in the open, I'll just materialize and our problem will be solved." she retorts with a cheery smile. She then closes her eyes, and tries to forcefully flex or shrug. "What are you doing?" asks Michael. "Um, well you see, I can't....disappear."

Michael felt like a vein was bursting in his head. "What do you mean 'you can't disappear'?"  Saber starts to have a slight worried expression on her face. Then she breathes a heavy breath and replies "Well, it's not like I'm the first servant with these issues. We can work around this. You have any clothes I can put on?" Michael points to the bedroom in which she was supposed to sleep in and opens up the closet. Inside was a suit case which he opened up, containing a variety of women's clothing, all of which was from his wife. He still kept many of Trish's belongings, even her favorite movies and books. Of course, as he began his recollection of his wife, Saber interrupts the moment "Why do you have so many dresses, bras, panties, and shirts that only fit females? Are you a closet pervert? Or....are you a CROSS DRESSER!?"

Another sigh came out of Michael's mouth. "Hurry up and get changed." He then walked out the door. Saber yells out "If you are a pervert, I'll let you secretly peek on me to satisfy your disgusting need. Otherwise, I think my cross dressing theory may be getting somewhere." Michael's teeth started crunching "Just shut up and change!" After this response, he walked down to his basement, and opened up a lock box, which contained a Colt Remington. He began grasping at his chest as if it was in pain, and then checked further inside the box to find 20 bullets in a small ammo box. He placed this ammo box on his belt just in case, and hid the Colt inside his leather jacket. He remembered his father, and how he finally got to meet him two years after his wife died, on a boat of all places with the other pirates. It was thanks to his father that he was able to get this gun, and the bullets made which his father made from extracting bits and pieces from Michael's own ribs. Apparently this gun was some sort of mystic code, and was based off a gun that was fired off at his father many years ago.

His father told him he could find the original in this city, as Michael's dad was shot by an origin bullet, and was unable to do magic. His father's name was Allistair, and he was desperate to try and figure out how the bullet reconfigured his magic circuits, preventing him from doing magic. He also wanted payback as he was in a coma for quite a while and the doctors were soon about to claim him dead. After he somehow woke up, he began searching for the man who attempted to kill him and figured out that the man who shot him so long ago went by the name of Emiya, Kiritsugu. Allistair eventually gave up on his search for revenge, realizing that it was a miracle that he survived at all as Kiritsugu was known to always kill his targets. However, realizing that his own son Michael was entering a new Holy Grail War, he told his son where he thought the location of Emiya's estate might be, in hopes that Michael could achieve the contender to help him in killing other Mages. Michael knows that if he could find the contender, which paired with his own colt, he would have an arsenal that would prove to be a devastating arsenal to mages. Of course, he doesn't know if the contender has any origin rounds left to fire from it.

He made a plan to help Saber get new clothes, and then he would head for the estate, which seemed to have an dojo right next to it. He waited outside for Saber, and she finally walked out the door, wearing a blue, buttoned blouse and blue jeans, with the sunshine reflecting off her long black hair. It was strange to see another woman in Trish's clothes, but they somehow fit Saber perfectly. "Well, it's time to go shopping!" shouted Saber.

They started driving to the market, and he parked at a meter, paying enough to last several hours. He hoped this shopping spree wouldn't last long, but instead it may have become his worst nightmare. Saber began picking out designer brand shoes, dresses, jeans, shirts, you name it. The price itself was incredibly high, leaving Michael wide eyed at the outrageous price. He wanted the rest of his money to be used to supply food and possibly ammo if required. He never thought he would have to pay so much for clothing. She tried out each of her new pieces, wanting to be complemented by her master, but all she could see was the scowl screaming mentally at her "What the hell are you doing!!!!?" Of course, realizing Michael was no good for compliments, she checked herself out at the mirror and thought "Yeah, I look good." She then told Michael "Time to go. Chop chop." Michael already furious asks "What am I your servant?" Saber then quips "No, I am your servant silly! I'm just making you my paying slave for today!" as she walks happily in stride holding several shopping bags in her hand. 

Michael looks down at the receipt in his hand. "Oh my lord" was what he thought as he saw the numerous purchases Saber had made. "I am gonna be broke by the end of this month if she keeps this up."

Michael opens up the trunk, with his mind in despair over how to maintain his finances for the year. Saber then gleefully places her shopping bags inside the trunk, and closes it with a decent amount of force creating a THUNK sound. "Oops, guess I don't know my own strength." Michael hears the noise and whispers "First your about to break my wallet, and now you want to break my car." Saber turns around "You say something." She says with a child like grin on her face. 

Michael, seeing that Saber may finally be done with her shopping spree, continues with his plan to find the contender.  He then heard Saber say something quietly "I saw those two guns you tried to hide in that belt of yours  back at the house." She took notice of the small amount of worry on his face. "Don't worry, I doubt anyone noticed, although I did see a few men checking me out over there." Of course, she would find some way to lighten the mood. "Anyways, I'm guessing you were some sort of soldier?" Michael responds "Yeah, I was a few years back. Served in Afghanistan. Why the sudden interest in my past?" Saber then replies "Oh, well I trained several army officers myself. I am glad to see both you and I followed the call for our nation. You for your country, and I for my emperor." Michael, curious asks "So, what were you like a drill sergeant?" He starts chuckling a bit. Saber, slightly annoyed asks "What so funny?" Michael, recovering from his small fit of laughter replies "I don't know, it's just after that shopping spree we went through, I thought you were some sort of spoiled princess that just happened to know how to hold a sword. Didn't figure you taught an army how to fight." Saber, proudly exclaims "Yeah, I taught the emperor's best generals on the ways of the sword, and I made sure they learned enough to teach their own soldiers on how to fight." Saber then recalls "Of course, as skilled as they were, none of them came close to matching my own swordsmanship...except maybe one." She came to remember an old friend of hers long ago, and had a somber smile on her face. 'But I digress, where are we headed to now?" 

"Well, there was a dojo I wanted to go to. I think it is called a Tiger dojo or something" Michael was able to learn quite a lot of Japanese while living here, and he could speak fairly well, although he did have an accent. He noticed that Saber herself could somehow speak perfect Japanese, and even English, despite the fact that he has this weird feeling that she isn't from any area where these languages could be prominent, or at least the English speaking ones.  She may be from the time of ancient Japan, but the women back then wore kimonos, and she called her own dress a hanfu. 

Michael decided to ask her, "How do you speak both Japanese and English so perfectly?" Saber replies "Oh, all servants are able to speak all languages perfectly. I think it helps with getting to know our masters, since our master could be from any part of the world." Michael thinks on this. It makes sense, especially since he could have gotten someone else as his Saber class servant. It may have been due to the artifact he used that he got her. He thought he needed some sort of ancient artifact to summon a servant at all, but maybe it also worked as some sort of catalyst to summon a specific servant. For now, he wouldn't be able to know. 

Saber decided to look down at his phone to see the dojo he looked up. "Looks like your right. Let's see what this tiger dojo is all about!" Michael then sighed, "Yeah it is a bit of a drive though, and there is just traffic strewn all about." Saber grinned "Well, let's just say I have a way around that. How many hours are left on your meter?" Michael looked back at the parking meter. Turns out he put in far more quarters in it than he thought, and it turns out there is about 3 more hours left. Currently, the time is 12:00 pm, so he has to make it back here by 3. He responds back to Saber "Plenty, why?" Saber states "Good, follow me!" She tugs at the sleeve of Michael's red leather jacket, and drags him down an alley way. She replies "If I climb up to this roof, could we see the logo of the dojo?" Michael says "Yeah, but climbing a roo-AHHHH" She throws Michael up the roof, and immediately runs up on a wall alongside him. When he falls, it ends being on the roof with Saber gracefully landing right next to him. A THUD is heard and Michael angrily gets up and yells "WHAT THE HELL?" Saber responds "Yeah sorry about that. Anyways is that the logo?" Michael looks throughout the city, exploring this new view, citing each of these buildings. He scans through several logos, spotting a few banks, a KFC, and a McDonald's. He decides to look a bit further and spots what looks to be a tiger logo in the distance. He points and states "Yeah that's the one. But how are we gonna get there, and don't say you're gonna throw me there!"

Saber replies "Oh no, as long as I can see where our destination is, I can transport us there in a flash." Michael, bewildered asks "How?" Saber retorts "Watch and learn." She materializes her sword out of thin air and slices at the wind, opening up a glowing portal of sorts. She looks back at her aimed destination, and a very tiny light seems to be shown right next to it. Michael, amazed at the spectacle he is seeing, looks through the new portal opened by the sword, and sees just an emanating bright light. Saber extends her arm out to Michael. "Follow me." Michael gladly grabs her hand and exclaims "To Tiger's Dojo we go!" Both walk through the light, and immediately exit afterwards. Michael's eyes start adjusting to the light, and he looks up to see what he thought was two golden arches. However, it turns out that it was just the McDonald's logo.

He looks around, and sees that they are no where near the dojo, but instead at a local McDonalds. He looks at Saber in disbelief. "Instead of the dojo, you took me to MCDONALDS!" He yells, then immediately realizes he may be making a scene.  Saber then replies "First, I am hungry. Second, if you're worried about any onlookers, trust me, no one was looking in this direction until you started yelling. You are damn well lucky the portal closed immediately when we went through." Michael takes a look at his surroundings taking notice of the huge trucks blocking their view, which would make sure the portal wasn't immediately spotted. "Anyways, without further ado, I want another burger from here. The last one you gave me was delicious." She then begins walking towards the restaurant, dragging her furious master, just staring back at the where the portal was once at. How long would it be until he made it to the Emiya's residence and obtained the Contender? At this rate, who knows?  

 

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Helmut Boltzmann von Aigentler (Archer Camp) - Fuyuki Church

A large tremor rocked the spacious underground hall that existed underneath Fuyuki City Church, the vibrations of which shook loose clouds of dust from the ceiling as they rained down on the two individuals positioned at the very center of the vast space. One was dressed in a simple buttoned shirt with rolled up sleeves while the other merely wore sweatpants and a shirt, yet even without their contrasting garb it was fairly easy to differentiate them. The well dressed man was gasping heavily for air after his punch had been caught effortlessly by his opponent, an opponent who seemed completely unfazed by the blow he had received without even bothering to take a proper stance. His posture was casual and relaxed, his neutral expression belying the fact that he was in the midst of combat.

“So this is the most powerful blow that you can muster, Master? I realized that I couldn’t expect much from a Magus whose days were spent pouring over his family’s scriptures, yet-”

Archer’s words were cut short as his vision was suddenly obscured by the approaching shadow of his Master’s leg as it sped towards his head. Sighing as he broke the contact between his right palm and Helmut’s fist, Archer carelessly swatted him away to deprive him of the pleasure of having landed a blow, though in the process of doing so he seemed to have accidentally put a little too much force behind the swiping motion of his hand.

“Tch”, Archer was about to chase after the retreating figure of his Master to catch him before he collided with the cold stone of the Church’s interior, when he stopped himself to consider the odd sensation on his hand; that being none at all.

While he clearly felt the touch of fabric against his skin... that was it. Though his Master’s body speed towards the nearest wall fast enough to likely cause a major concussion, Archer had felt no resistance from his body whatsoever. That being the case, he could not even recall having put so much force behind his swing to justify his Master being flung at such disproportionate velocity in the first place.

“What sorcery is this…”, Archer silently contemplated as he decided against moving to brace the fall of his Master, instead remaining where he was and observing his Master’s next move. If his Master was so keen on surprising him with strange parlor tricks, he’d have to accept the responsibly for his distasteful jokes.

Helmut’s body continued to speed towards the vertical surface of the opposite wall with no sign of slowing down, yet the second that his body was supposed to crash, it instantly darted towards the side and momentarily slid across the wall in a jagged movement reminiscent of an old video type that skipped a few frames, before his body explosively lunged outwards by using the wall to propel himself forwards and crossing the distance between himself and Archer in a matter of seconds. Once more Archer held out his hand to receive his Master’s blow, yet this time things were different.

The blow landed on his open palm, the forceful impact of which shook the stagnant air once more, however this time Archer’s left foot had slid backwards by half a pace. Trickery and acrobatics, the strength of a mortal man measured in mere centimeters. While Archer had yet to even assume a proper stance, his surprise was clearly painted across his face.

“So there was yet more strength that you could muster after all Master, though my judgement remains the same. It seems the Age of Man lacks for proper warriors… that aside, would you care to explain yourself?”

Helmut had to try his hardest to suppress a smug smile as he separated himself from his Servant to catch his breath, walking towards a nearby table to retrieve a folded towel to wipe away his sweat and quench his thirst with one of two bottles of sparkling water.

“My apologies Archer, I couldn’t resist the chance to measure my life’s work against a Hero of old… yet it seems there are limits that humans cannot overcome after all”, Helmut stated between breaths as he leaned himself against the table, offering his Servant the other bottle.

Surprisingly enough, he accepted it.

“The Age of Man is the weakest of all Ages that have come before it, an Age were Phantasmal Beasts have faded into myths and where mankind has come to rely on science as opposed to magic. As a Hero born into the Age of Heroes it is only a matter of fact that your modern magic would do little to dent my defenses, even had I never become a Servant. That aside…”, Archer curiously eyed the bottle of sparkling water for a second before heading towards the nearest pillar and leaning himself against it, “…you have yet to explain what magic trick you used back there. I have heard of Reinforcement Magic to enhance one’s durability and agility, but you didn’t weather my blow, nor did you block it. It seemed as if my blow didn’t land at all, yet even then you were flung away with much greater force than I had even intended.”

His skin still prickling with the rush of blood and adrenaline from his earlier bout, Helmut allowed himself a proud smile as he was overcome with a sort of childish glee. After all, it was rare to be given the chance to show off one’s life’s work so brazenly.

“You are right, magic has become less commonplace in our modern era, or rather, it has become the restricted privilege of a selected few whereas it used to be accessible even to the common man before. Science and technology have neatly filled this gap and have admittedly done a better job at doing so, albeit at the cost of ridding ourselves of the miracles that seemed so natural in your Era. However, you must remember that my family’s Magecraft is based on this very science, Archer.”

Archer crossed his arms and silently motioned for Helmut to continue. While it was clear to the both of them that the Magecraft Helmut employed would always be inferior to that wielded by the warriors of Archer’s Age, Archer seemed nonetheless interested in the trick his Master had used to evade his blow.

“Archer, I have already told you about the Thaumaturgy that has come to define my linage, have I not?”

“The one you would use to drain this location dry of it’s magical energy? Yes you have.”

“Not drain it completely… but yes, essentially. Such is the Entropy Magic handed down to me by my predecessors, a finished product which I could only refine, not add to. It was a Thaumaturgy build upon the scientific research of my ancestor, so if I were to dedicate myself to the creation of a new magic, would I not tread the very same path my forefathers did?”

“A new magic to add to your family’s achievements then?”

“It was meant to be, yes, alas I am not as gifted as those that came before me. My family was able to create a thaumaturgy based on the universal law of equilibrium, the ultimate desire to seek out chaos and disorder… this is a hurdle far to high for me to challenge. I must contend myself with much simpler feats.”

Helmut stopped his gloating as he felt the piercing glare of his Servant digging into his side. He had merely asked a simple question, yet Helmut had showered him with his life’s story. It seemed his passion had gotten the better of him. Helmut felt himself fortunate that his Servant had remained a silent listener despite his apparent disinterest in Helmut’s tale.

“Long story short, my family’s magic has always drawn from the laws of science, that is the way it has always been, so our thaumaturgy exist simply to accompany these laws, not control them. Magic is no mystic art that allows us to circumvent the natural order of the world, magic is simply another aspect of… science really, excuse me if I repeat myself. For example, magic does not create fire, it facilitates a process which creates it; it isn’t all that different from the basic methods of non-magi in that regard, it is simply an easier process to accomplish the very same thing. My magic is based on this very understanding.”

Helmut swallowed the last two mouthfuls of water and set the empty bottle on the ground before turning around and placing his empty palm on the center of the desk he had been leaning on so far.

“The reason why I haven’t published my recent accomplishments is simply because they are insignificant in comparison to my family’s earlier achievement, minor feats of magic that could easily be replicated by thaumaturgical processes that already exist. However…”

Helmut slowly started applying pressure to the solidly built table which showed no signs of budging.

“Are you familiar with the 3rd Law of Motion, Archer? ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. What this means is that at this very moment, as I am pushing down on this table, I have created two motion vectors, one pushing down at the table due to the force I myself am applying, and another which extends into my own arm to resist my advances. Ever physical interaction is based on these two vectors. The larger the vector, or in other words, the larger the force applied, the larger the vector with resists it, invariably increasing the amount of damage both objects will receive. When punching a wall, you yourself are injured despite being the aggressor after all. In that case, what if one was able to overcome this hurdle ever so slightly. Like so?”

Helmut now pushed down on the table with his body’s weight to amplify the force of his push, but it was obvious that the table still wouldn’t budge simply from being pushed by the strength of a normal human, yet it was then that Helmut started channeling his mana. Visible through the thin fabric of his buttoned shirt, Helmut’s Magic Crest burned in a vivid blue hue has his magical energy seeped out of his body, congregated beneath his palm, and structured itself into it’s thaumaturgical shape. With the spell completed, Helmut gave one final push before the table painfully croaked under the sudden weight of his push and suddenly shattered into two halves as it was reduced into a pile of splintered rubble.

Archer took in the sight and smiled in understanding before finally unscrewing his bottle and taking a sip from the unfamiliar bubbly liquid.

“That’s right Archer, normally I would need to Reinforce my body in order to crush a table like this with pushing force alone, but by manipulating the reactionary motion vector extending upwards into my arm and redirecting it into the table, I am capable of effectively doubling the force I have applied on it without receiving the backlash of such a powerful strike. That was the only reason why my punches carried any force at all in our earlier clash despite my body's inefficient movement as I do not know any martial arts. Similarly, when you swatted me away, by redirecting the motion vector that would have otherwise extended back to yourself and redirecting it towards myself, I was able to double the speed of my retreat while you yourself must have felt nothing at all, or at least close enough for it not to matter. That being said…”, Helmut winced as he carefully unbuttoned his shirt to reveal his lower abdomen to be slightly swollen and covered in a noticeably red hue, “…it seems that it is impossible for a human to keep up with the speed of a Heroic Spirit after all. It was just a half-hearted swing on your part, but had I been a second too late in redirecting most of your blow's force this might have caused some serious lacerations… Archer, are you listening?”

Noting his Servant’s silence, Helmet glanced back at Archer only to see him gazing at his empty bottle of sparkling water in disbelief.

“Archer, what is wrong?”

“Nothing aside from a Master who takes several minutes too long to explain what could have easily been summed up in a sentence. More importantly, what have you done to this drink? I was under the impression that this was water, no?”

Helmut was taken aback by his Servant’s odd question; as well as trying to stomach Archer’s criticism of him going off-tangent; but picked up his own discarded bottle to double check that it was indeed sparkling mineral water.

“Yes I’m sure, this was the water I bought at the airport. Is there a problem?”

“Quite the opposite. This Age may lack mysteries and magic, but it seems to have comforts and pleasantries aplenty!”

“Excuse me?”

“This drink. Whatever spring it has been harvested from must have been blessed by none other but Dionysus himself. Even the local wine prepared by the nymphs of Mount Ida pales in comparison to the sensation of this drink!”

Helmut was at a loss for words, double-checking the label of his bottle once more to make sure that he wasn’t mistaken it for something else after all.

“Though the taste itself could certainly be improved, the texture it invokes is none inferior to the wine my wife herself used to cultivate…”

Archer’s sudden passion for carbonated water had unexpectedly drawn out a side of him that was more reminiscent of the curiosity of a child than the evaluation of a royal prince, but just as soon as his enthusiasm had surfaced did it subside at the mention of his wife. The bottle crackled under his tightened grip and his shining aura retread back into himself, leaving naught but a complicated glint in his eyes, one which Helmut was unable to interpret.

Fortunately the heavy silence was broken by the voice of a third party, “All of your belongings have been moved to your room Aigentler-san, is there anything else I can help you with?”

The voice came from the top of the stairs leading to back to the surface, it’s owner an elderly priest with a rounded face; the amicable smile he used when talking to Helmut came as natural to him as the act of prayer.

“No that would be all, please park the car and return to your duties.”

“Certainly”, the priest said before leaving the two men alone once more.

“Aigentler-san, huh? I guess I’ll have to get used to that sooner or later”, Helmut briefly noted silently to himself before he was interrupted by his Servant.

“The hypnosis you cast on him seems to be effective indeed. He has become a slave to your will and remains ignorant of his lack of freedom all the while, serving you willingly as if he himself desired it.”

Helmut frowned at his Servan’t sudden cold remark and shook hid head, “I have not tempered with his mind to that extend, merely making him more lenient and accepting of our presence, all of which was only possible in the first place due to his good-hearted nature. You know this. You were there during the process.”

“…”

“Archer?”

“Pay no mind to what I said Master, I was just talking about myself. It seems that this drink has made me rather sentimental, reminding me of a time when I exchanged one thing for something better.”

Helmut eyed his Servant with a raised eyebrow as he tried to interpret the meaning of Archer’s words. He only knew about his Servant’s life in passing, yet it seems that his rudimentary knowledge wasn’t enough to decipher which incident Archer was referring to. Instead he simply replied, “Isn’t that natural? If you have the chance to exchange one tool for a better one, isn’t it obvious that you would do so?”

“I am of the same opinion. I have made peace with that choice of mine long ago… in any case, now that you have tested your strength against a Servant, I will take my leave.”

“What? What are you talking about, I have yet to set up a bounded field, let alone prepare the ritual to syphon this leyline of it’s energy!”

“Then do so now. I shall simply explore Shinto for now so I will be close by in the case of an attack”, Archer stated dryly as he turned away from his Master and walked off into the direction of the bustling downtown, each step slowly chipping away at his material form as he gradually dissipated into golden glimmers of light.

“As you are now, you are not suited as an Archer, you need to stay close by!”

“Don’t insult me. I may not have access to my gift right now, but I am more than capable of handling my bow without it”, Archer retaliated without slowing his step.

“Stay. I forbid you from leaving.”

“…”, with more than half his body gone, Archer turned his head only to look his Master into the eye before the rest of him burst into a golden glow. The meaning of which was clear as day. Make me.

______________________________

Archer (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

The evening had proceeded into it’s latter half. Instead of businessmen crowding the streets on their way home, Shino was now taken over by Fuyuki’s youth. Restaurants and bars welcomed their patrons with the promise of food and company, couples flirted openly in the streets and the laughter of friends blended naturally into the bustling symphony of Fuyuki’s nightlife. Amidst them all, Archer walked alone, isolated from the rest, a cup of half-empty cheap soda in his hands as he wandered the streets lost in thought.

He heard giggling to his right.

Turning his head he saw a pair of girls, barely women, looking at him from across the road after they had just exited a café they had likely used as a meeting point. Bathed in his gaze the two girls bashfully attempted to hide the fact that they were looking at him, thought their eyes never left him all the while. Eyes filled with anticipation, with excitement. They were waiting. For a sign. For anything.

“Too easy…”, Archer bitterly thought as he toyed with the idea.

No matter the era, there was never a lack of beautiful women, each shone brightly with her own unique charm.

However.

Once one tasted from the forbidden fruit, it was impossible to go back.

Archer looked away disinterested and disappeared into the crowd.

Edited by ChristmasForJuan

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It's late at night, a strong gust of wind blows into a room. Othinus's voice can be heard saying "Lancer what should we get to eat?" as another voice most likely lancer said "I have no need for stuff like food, so it doesn't matter to me." Othinus began to laugh and quickly said "so Danish cuisine is what we'll get it seems" as she dialled a number.

 "hello is this the lounge? i want to order some room service" as a hotel employer answered with "yes, of course Miss Gremlin was it? what kind do you want?" othinus answered with "Some Danish cuisine would be great and don't forget some good wine too!"

"Master, let's get this started" lancer said as othinus looked outside and said "Yeah let's begin 'Raidho, Eihwaz, Aigiz eða DAGAZ!' Othinus mumbled to herself as she yelled the last word. something began to happen to the hotel room.

After a while the waiter came up and said "I'm sure the room was on this floor?" To which othinus opened the door and said "yes, I'm here please come in" as she guided him inside and then closing the door. "Here's your food I hope you enjoy it, if you need anything please just call me." the waiter said just as he began to walk out the door.  Othinus wrote a rune on his back and whispered 'Pethro' as she began to see trough the employee's eyes and said "that'll be all." 

Lancer said "Master are you ready?" to which othinus nodded and began to eat, after eating she said "Nothing beats Danish cuisine after all." as she looked at lancer and said "you're truly beautiful lancer, if I was a guy I might have a hard time holding myself back." while grinning at lancer as lancer said "Even if that was the case I'd doubt you'd be anything worth discussing" making Othinus sigh, as she said "Even In death your regret still lingers it seems" as she looked out the window with a smile to which lancer sighed, as othinus said "i guess we should start." as she took out a rock and said 'Othala eða Berkano' as the rock multiplied which she then threw out the window and when they landed on the ground, they began to search for any other magic nearby, almost like mouse.

<20 minutes later>

A sound began to ring, in Othinus's ear to which Othinus said "I see, this amount of magic it must be a servant, let's get going then Lancer" to which Lancer said "yes master" before Turning into her spirit form. Othinus then jumped out the window and wrote 'Naughtiz' on her shoes as she began to almost walk on the air. as she said "whew that was close"

 

 

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Einzbern Mansion, Fuyuki City 

 

  It was only the second of many days Alastor  would spend in Japan and already the morning was off to a bad start. "Caster I appreciate that you felt the need to be productive while I slept but did you have to make a humunculus literally drag me out of bed? You can let go by the the way." He requested of the silken haired woman dressed in the manor of a typical french maid. "Of course I thought you would love to see the kitchen we have such a wide selection to choose from." Caster replied eyes shining with undisguised mirth.'God first he drags me out of bed then he makes me check..the...' As soon as the he reaches the kitchen his face pales at it hits him 'God how did I forget the food would of expired damn it can I even still use the fridge?' As he  cautiously peers inside he can only stare at layers of black mold. 'My god is it moving?'

 

      "Caster get a maid to take the fridge out back and burn this thing we need to make a shopping trip." "Of course and would you like to take that dirt road out back I sent a scout and it leads back to town it one of the maids even brought back your truck."bemusement dripping from Castor's voice. "Ugh at least one of us is enjoying themselves get in the truck were going shopping."

 

   Fuyuki shopping district.

 

     As the two men finally make it back to civilization after ensuring that no one can enter the forest without them knowing they soon arrive at the parking lot. Both men unfortunately with their distinct apperances start attracting stares the minute they exit the truck.

 

     "Alright we got 3 hours on the parking meter. Make sure you got your list cause if you forget anything we're not coming back for a while. That being said if you find anything let me know we still have to keep a budget after all." Alastor said used to the stares his build often invoked.

"Alright anything else Master.""Damn it we've been over this do I need to go over it again" As Alastor's features grew frustrated Caster's only grew confused."Don't call me Master after we put up with each other this long I'd like to think we're friends damn it."He says face going soft to show his sincerity "You may be a Servant but that doesn't mean your not a person now come on there's got to be a grocery store around here somewhere." "Of course lead the way Alastor" he replies a bright smile making it to Caster's face.

       Some time later

       "Alright I could understand arguing with the butcher over the difference between pork and bacon, I could even tolerate you getting all that Guinness to an extent but why do you need a fishing rod and bait there's no lake near the house and certainly none in the woods!"Caster said  "It's for the harbor.""What was that?" "It's for the harbor. Look I know the war starts soon but fishing in me blood." "Your safety in this war is far more important than a few fish!" Caster already looking less than pleased at the explanation.

"Look if you let me go fishing once I'll give you some really interesting information." Alastor implored trying to kill the argument before it gained traction. "Look you know there we're three families that founded this war right? Well I figured we already got something from the Einzberns might as well get something from one of the other families.

 

     This readily caught Caster's attention "Go on." Seeing he had his full attention Alastor couldn't help but smirk "See thought that'd catch your interest you mad scientist you. Ever hear of the Jeweled Sword Zelritch rumor has it the blueprints are hidden in one of the families manors. With how much Mana that thing is able to absorb just imagine how valuable it would be to your research."'Heh just like those fish hook, line,' "Alright you can go fishing once but only after we find those blueprints." Caster said the prospect far to tempting to ignore,'and sinker'. "Well what are we waiting for let's..." They both paused feeling a sudden spike of power in the air.

 

    "Did you feel that?" They both looked around the previous discussion all but forgotten. There was no mistaking it for no magi could produce so strong an effect. The only question on their mind was which Master would so brazenly allow there servant such free reign in broad daylight.

 

      "The signature seems to have come from one of the restaurants in the area. What do you want to do?" Caster whispered conscious of the civilians in the area. "Find an empty alley and astrilize.  If you find spot them report back to me immediately no reason to needlessly provoke someone before this bloodbath starts." Alastor's training kicking in immediately in light of the situation. "What will you be doing?" Castor asks through their bond.

 

         "I'll follow the light of their prana signature and see if they brought their vehicle. I'll leave a note asking to meet us at that pub Copenhagen we passed on the way here at 7. Hopefully we can discuss thier servant's actions like reasonable adults."

 

      

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Fuyuki Harbor
 
The ground was still wet after the heavy rain stopped. The harbor was busy with ships both entering and leaving the harbor. At one of the docks, two men are negotiating the purchase of a small yacht. One wearing an expensive looking black suit and trousers, and the other wearing a white shirt that has turned yellow more than white and red shorts. The man with the white shirt looks irritated but man in the black suit doesn't seem to notice or if he did, he doesn't seem to care either way. "I'm not selling the boat, that's the end of it." says the man in the white shirt, clearly intent on ending the conversation and leaving. But the man in the black suit seems unperturbed.
 
"Is there no way I can convince you to change your mind, sir?"
 
"No, now if you'll excuse me. I have more important matters to attend to." says the man in the white shirt, as he turns around to leave.
 
"Going home so soon, Mr James Devenish?"
 
The man in the white shirt stopped. "I don't recall telling you my name."
 
The man in the black suit grinned. "I know a lot more about you than just your name, Mr Devenish."
 
He then continued, "For example, I know that you live at 1-8-7 Shinto, with your wife Olivia and your 14 year old daughter Evelyn. That you have an 18 year old son Levi who is currently studying at Nottingham University, England. You currently run an independent export company passed down to you after the owner retired. You usually show up at the office in 8.30 AM and go home at 2.00 PM every day from Monday to Saturday. Your wife and your daughter stays with your mother-in-law, who doesn't like you very much at Misaki town twice a month, an opportunity you use to drink with your workmates, even though you told your wife that you don't drink anymore. Now if you call your wife this very moment, she should be able to tell you that a black sedan is parking just across the road from your house. I would strongly suggest that she doesn't call anyone or leave the house. And don't think about sounding the silent alarm either. Failure to comply and we won't be able to guarantee her safety or your daughter's currently spending her time at the Hyatt Hotel nightclub. Any questions before we continue?"
 
James swallowed. He was sweating bullets. "Are you t-threatening me?" Said the man trying to sound brave however being betrayed by his own voice. The man in the black suit is still smiling, seemingly proud of his work. "Call your wife or sign the papers." he replied. "What do you hope to gain by threatening me, my company, ransom?" James asked. At that the man let out a dry laugh. "None of those Mr Devenish." he replied. "I just REALLY want the boat." he continued. James hesitated for a moment. "What happens if I say no?" The man let out a laugh that's somehow dryer than the last, his black eyes looking at James as if in disbelief. "Is that really the question you want to ask, Mr Devenish?" In a final attempt of desperate defense, James says "I left the keys at my house, I'll have to return first to get it." The man in the black suit sighed and shook his head. "Mr Davenish, please. We both know it's not. In fact you're still carrying it this very moment in your pocket."
 
James sighed, bowing his head, both his arms covering his face. Realizing that there's no way out, he picked out the keys out of his pocket and threw it at the feet of the man in the black suit. "Leave my family alone." he said, defeated. The man in the black suit bowed down to take the keys. Looking at James, he replied "Of course Mr Davenish." After getting on the small yacht, he looked back at James and continued, smirking. "I would suggest that you take a vacation with your family Mr Davenish. Ideally out of the country." he said before turning on the yacht's engine. "If you knew I was carrying it all along, why didn't you just take it from me instead of going this far?" asked James. His black eyes staring through James, the man in the black suit replied. "The lord forbids us to steal Mr Devenish." he replied, before driving the small yacht to the sea.
 
 
Out in the Sea
 
The man in the black suit was sitting inside the small yacht. Seemingly aware of another presence, he asked a question.
 
"Is the car taken care of, Rider?"
 
"Returned as your instructions, Master."
 
"I see."
 
The voice in the winds was silent for a moment.
 
"You are wondering how I knew some of the things I said, Rider?"
 
"Yes Master, we never found out about where his daughter was and where he kept the keys."
 
"The keys were a logical deduction. The yacht was recently repaired, if he came to check the yacht, naturally he would bring the ignition keys as well. As for the daughter, I didn't need to know where she was, only that she was out of the house. After all, what daughter tells her father that she's going to a nightclub?"
Edited by A Random Player

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"Wow". 

Mark was speechless. It was the only natural reaction as he made his way out of the woods and onto the stone path paved before him. The path led up to a rectangular shrine gate, which Mark knew was commonly referred to as a "torii", and beyond that lay an almost quaint shrine building. It looked almost like a shack or cottage, but Mark suspected it was of more import than that. "Well look at that Assassin, we may have just struck gold!" Mark exclaimed, turning to the red cloudy mass. Assassin did not respond, but merely walked up the stone path, without so much as a glance at the Master. Mark issued his trademark sigh, and followed after Assassin.

Ryuudou Temple, Miyama Outskirts, Fuyuki

"Wow the Wi-Fi here is pretty good Assassin!" exclaimed Mark, "They have crazy good Wi-Fi and no one lives here? Absolutely criminal." Through research, Mark had learnt that he was currently residing in Ryuudou Temple, although there were surprisingly few hits for it online of any relevance. "Not that popular is it? Maybe Shintoism isn't in anymore" Mark wondered. Although he was ignorant now, Mark would very soon discover just how many leylines of Fuyuki converged here, and that by chance he had stumbled upon a key strategic location for the War. 

His first hint was waiting for him outside. Mark suddenly felt a chilling pressure, coming from outside. Making his way to the sacred grounds, he saw Assassin kneeling to the ground, and all of a sudden red veiny lines shot out over the grounds, and on the walls of the building. Mark stood agape for a brief moment, then quickly collected himself.

"The old man was lecturing me about things like this...was that like...you know, a Reality Marble? Or some form of territory creation?"
Assassin's red beacon's that represented it's eyes darted round and fixated on Mark. "NEITHER." Then silence. 

Before Mark could open his mouth to retort, Assassin surprised him by speaking again "I LIVE TO SERVE, EVEN IF THE PEOPLE THINK I AM WRONG." Then once more silence. 

"O-oh, okay then." What more was there to say? Mark headed back inside and got back on his laptop. "Assassin, do you think they do delivery here? Haven't eaten in almost a day." No response.

While one might think this man was a fool, he was anything but. Under this cheery and lackadaisical demeanor, Mark had begun plotting and formulating oh so many different plans and contingencies. If he had learnt anything, it was this saying.

"Let the opponent think you are unwise. Knowing is half the battle, and in thinking you know nothing, they know less than nothing".

Hmm, who said that again? Mark pondered this, as he searched for the best takeaway while simultaneously trying to figure out Assassin's identity.  

 

Edited by EdwardSunnyDisposition

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(Lancer and Othinus) Shinto, Fuyuki City (Near archer)

after jumping out the Window, Othinus activated the Kenaz rune on herself as she spotted someone sticking out in the crowd of people and began following them while still being in the air.

After following the suspicious individual for a while Othinus yelled out loud "Oh father, what a glorious occasion this is, let us celebrate it with the coming of an age of despair, brutality and terror for everyone to see, let mankind see what Gaia is trying to hide and let us break the seal of the man who fathered divine beasts, monsters and gods, let this wish bring forth the final age of man. Which shall continuously repeat till the end of time, as you and I become one again!!!" As she removed the flight rune and sky dived towards the suspicious individual with a Smile on her face. 

Othinus got caught by lancer and landed on a house right beside the individual. "Lancer...." she said as lancer said "Master.... I know you're excited but please be careful not to harm the normal citizens and try to stay calm for your own sake" as Othinus looked at her with a large terrifying grin on her face which sent shivers down lancer's spine as if she was reminded of someone or something, Othinus then moved her eyes towards the suspicious individual. 

Othinus jumped down from the house and moved towards the individual, to which lancer turned into her spirit form and followed by her side as Othinus said "Oh lancer I can do this myself...." as she then yelled "You there!" And pointed at the suspicious individual as she then looked towards the individual with a large grin on her face as she then said "Why don't you me join in this war my dear archer or should I say your name hmmm?"  

Edited by Featherine123

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Archer (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

The mana signature was undoubtedly that of a Servant, sharp and suffocating as it was, yet accompanying it was the flicker of another’s energy, a presence far more potent than the innate aura of the many civilians around Archer. A Master then. The fact that he was able to discern their presence this accurately meant that they must already be close by.

Bold and arguably foolish as it was to enter the battlefield side by side one’s Servant, Archer couldn’t ignore the possibility that such carelessness was born out confidence; confidence in one’s abilities and strength. Hubris it was all the same, though this one was of a much sharper, a much dangerous kind. Should he flee then? It was unlikely that either Assassin or Caster would so blatantly announce their presence in such a brazen assault, and neither did a Berserker have the capacity to show such restraint considering that the enemy faction had yet to launch an attack despite their proximity. Which meant his enemy was likely to be one of the other two Knight Classes or a Rider, either possibility not boding well for himself.

As he was now he might hold them off for a time, but to save himself he would have to ask for the aid of his goddess… a last resort that would be wasted considering that the War had yet to truly begin. What choice was he left with…?

Archer’s expression hardened as he looked around him, seeing naught but the boundless masses of civilians as he grasped the air at his waist in preparation for drawing his sword. He couldn’t flee so long as he didn’t know the direction of his opponent’s attack, so all he could do was to weather through the first blow and plan his retreat from there.

His eyes snapped instantly towards the rooftop of a nearby building as his vision picked up on the movement of a woman leaping off it with the familiarity and ease of one simply descending a single step. It was clearly magic she employed to accomplish this feat, marking her as the Master. The presence of her Servant followed her like a shadow, yet it chose to remain in Spirit Form as of yet, exposing itself to Archer’s attack. While he wasn’t able to discern the details of his opponent, their spiritual core was left vulnerable and defenseless. In other words, their intent was not to ambush him.

Archer narrowed his eyes as he observed the approaching Master, his right hand positioned behind his body at his waist, noting the woman’s porcelain skin and hair of a vibrant blonde. It didn’t shine in the golden hue of his wife’s impeccable beauty, yet the thought flashed through his mind nonetheless.

Before the Master had even stepped within earshot, she began to address him with a shout.

“She cares little for the subtlety of mages that my Master preaches of it seems, meaning that the lives of these civilians would make for worthless shields…”, Archer frowned as yet another means of escape seemed to wither away, taking note of the ring of civilians that had begun to gather around them.

A woman who a selected few have seen jumping off a roof raising her voice at a man in odd attire, it was inevitable that this meeting would become a small spectacle for the bored and curious. Yet what was most unsetting was the grin on the woman’s face. She didn’t care about the commotion she caused in the slightest, instead remaining focused only on Archer. It was as if the gathering crowd was worthless to her, as if she couldn’t care less about their existence.

Finally she reached him and without hesitation she uttered, “"Why don't you join me in this war my dear archer or should I say your name hmmm?"”

Archer was slightly taken aback. Not an ambush but an offer for an alliance no less, though what truly concerned him was the matter of his identity.

“Nary a day has passed since I arrived in this country and you have already uncovered my secret. Not only do you know of my Class but of my given name as well…”, Archer cautiously glanced at the Servant whose appearance continued to elude him, “…who are you and how have you come by this information. What is your intent?”

Edited by ChristmasForJuan

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Othinus

Othinus just blinked when archer asked her who she was and as a smile appeared on her face  as she immediately said "My name is Othinus the daughter of Thor and Freyja" as lancer continued to stay hidden as Othinus said "I'm the Vessel of the All father and as such I ask of you, oh great warrior of the bow, are you happy about how you died? A great man such as yourself was not granted a second chance by the woman you had loved, why was that? It is simple you as a man had failed to understand other peoples feelings but you as a warrior was given praise by both the gods and men alike, as such I ask of you oh dear Archer, are you loyal to your master? Of course not. Archer you as a man is scum but so what? What is wrong with being scum, doesn't that just make you more human? Why must great men be punished for their crimes by the gods and all whom they hold dear?" As she then said "My intent is for us to join each other and win this war"

As she thrusted her fingers into her eye and ripped it out which made all the people around them scream as she then said "Let me show you the truth then archer!" As a rune began to appear under her as the ground began to shake. Othinus's appearance began to change to what could only be described as Human. 

having the external appearance of around a 14 year old girl. She had long, wavy blond hair. She was wearing a revealing outfit, a low-cut neck line that goes down below her navel. a long cape, and a ribbon wrapped around her. Traces of a witch-like design are present, such as the cape and a wide brimmed hat with a pointed tip and an eye-patch over her right eye. 

a golden spear formed in her hand as she said "Let me show you the power of the All father" As the magic power released from her knocked out the people around them to which she said "Do you want to win this war and get your happy ending?" As lancer appeared a woman with long hair of unmistakable beauty who was wearing an office suit as she said "Archer I ask of you won't you join us I have no wish to kill you" 

in a monotone as if she was completely confident in winning against him. Othinus said "This form is disgusting, but even so It's still a form granted to me by the father and as such this spear may not be the original but it's still the Spear of Odin" as she pointed it at him while having open arms almost as if she was accepting everything bad about him she just told as she said "Archer you must know you can't beat me so why should you suffer?" With a gentle smile on her face 

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Archer (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

Othinus was insane, a dreamer that had lost her touch with reality.

Archer recalled her name from his strategy meetings with his Master, a pitiful product of a fallen Magus Household, a child that was entrusted with a burden that she was incapable of bearing. Despite feeling no divine presence from this undoubtedly mortal child, his opponent still claimed to be the fated offspring of her worshipped Gods, a belief that seemed to have eroded away any semblance if her humanity and replaced it with fanatic extremism.

Yet… the words she spoke made sense regardless. Even with her mind clouded in lunacy, the opposing Master still managed to point out his critical flaw; his failure to understand the feelings of others, or more accurately, his unwillingness to bother with such a thing. He was an innately selfish man and had made peace with that fact long ago, yet how could a man stave off such doubt forever? He could not, and as such, it was inevitable that the ramblings of the woman before him tore open a scar which he believed to have buried long ago. He had lived the life of a selfless man until reaching early adolescence. As a selfless man he tended to his father’s animals, showed respect to the mountain which they called their home and offered his gratitude to the gifts that it provided for him. As a selfless man he took his first wife and lived a simple life, as happy as a selfless man could be… so then was it truly wrong of him to embrace his selfishness, and with it, the bountiful pleasures that came with it? His selfishness caused him to abandon his first wife for one far more beautiful, his selfishness crowned him a prince and celebrated him a hero. His selfishness provided him with joy and comfort that a selfless man could hardly imagine, however…

Archer’s expression soured as the woman’s words stung like the sharpened point of a feathered arrow.

In his selfishness he never cared much for the feelings of those that surrounded him, those that loved him. He made no attempt to understand them and took their support for granted, and why wouldn’t he, he had won it by right. Why then… why did the mad woman’s ramblings affect him so much.

The screams of horror and disgust snapped Archer out of his reverie, only for him to be greeted by the grotesque sight of Othinus gouging out her very own eye without regard for the pain it must have caused her, and act which altered her appearance to that of a prepubescent girl, though this change made her no more charming or appealing than before, instead amplifying the uneasiness he felt from conversing with her.

"Archer I ask of you won't you join us I have no wish to kill you”, the enemy Servant finally made her appearance, yet she remained clothed in civilian attire as if to support her Master’s claim of mutual cooperation, her weapon nowhere to be seen.

Though Othinus made little sense, Archer could at least discern that they had revealed themselves to him for a reason when an ambush would have been the far more efficient solution had they intended to kill him. While he was hard-pressed to trust the Master, the Servant seemed moderately honest in her desire not to kill a fellow Servant just yet, though he remained unsure of whether this was out of goodwill or personal benefit.

Returning his gaze towards Othinus, Archer soaked in the last of her words. A boastful comment to preach of one’s own superiority, though it was nonetheless unsettling as Archer had no way of knowing whether this boast was grounded in reality or in the fantasy of her own wicked mind.

Archer fell silent and dropped his gaze to think on the offer. The only reason stopping him from materializing his armor being the promise of partnership, yet the overwhelming urge to garb himself in the safety of his armor kept his body tense and alert. Finally he spoke.

“Mad as you seem to be, you manage to speak true of matters that don’t concern you. It remains a mystery how you managed to discern my identity and my past no less, and it is an even greater feat that you were able to shame me with your words like no other mortal could. To understand the feelings of others…”, Archer thought back on his earlier reverie but quickly shook his head to dispel his brooding and looked the enemy Master straight into the eye, “…I have no need for that. No more now than I did when I was still alive. The love I was showered in was a gift that I chose myself, and even if the doubt born of this action had plagued me in my previous life, I now have the Grail to dispel these concerns for me. You have asked me for my bow, yet you seem to be mistaken despite all your knowledge of my person. Your flattery is baseless and hollow, the feats you speak of cloaked in flowery language. I am no warrior of great renown, I am a coward that managed to slay a hero not by way of my own achievements, but solely thanks to the support the Gods have deigned worthy to show me.”

Archer attempted to mask a slight frown as he continued to talk.

“Make no mistake, I am neither unhappy nor ungrateful for their support, I have made peace with the way I have lived my life, yet that only serves to question the validity of your claim. You say you desire my bow for it’s ability, yet the power it wields is not my own but that of the Gods. Why then would you wish to ally yourself with a Servant such as myself?”

Archer allowed himself a breath to pause his speech and wait for his opponent’s reply, yet there was something within him which continued to irk him. An annoyance that urged him to voice a concern despite deeming it irrelevant to refute the off-handed claim made by Othinus. After a brief moment of hesitation, Archer continued speaking regardless of his desire not to.

“And one more thing. You questioned my loyalty to my Master. While there is no reason for me to refute your claim, I am nonetheless obliged to ask you a question”, Archer observed Othinus with a measuring glare, “My Master’s wish, while foolish, is one born of a childish dream. While his goal might be wicked his intentions are dripping with the naivety of a child; there is no evil in him, at least none that directly concerns me and my own wish. My wish… Once again I am made to accept the truthfulness of your words. I have failed to understand and care for the feelings of others. I loved and was loved, yet this happiness was merely a gift granted to me at the behest of a Goddess whose favor I won in my youth. Therefore my wish is simple. I wish for something genuine. Love that is not granted to me, but one that is founded on mutual understanding and trust. My wish is dripping with the same selfishness that soaks my Master’s naive goal, yet here is another Master who claims to understand me better than that fool. Prove it then. Offer a reason why a fool of a prince should ally himself to the self-proclaimed offspring of God.”

Edited by ChristmasForJuan

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 Lancer and Othinus (Archer camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

 

Othinus began to smile while archer was talking and as he finished talking she said "You ask why you should join me, a so called offspring of a god and to that I say it's because I'm a so called offspring that I understand you better than anyone else, you were born honest to a fault however before you had set foot on earth, you were already branded as a destructive existence, but your honesty was enough for the gods to choose you as someone worthy But because of your honesty you were naive to the world and chose the selfish option when it was right infront of you" as she was talking lancer could be seen clenching her fist. Othinus looked at her with an emotionless face and said "Lancer this is what your thinking right now 'Master you're neither human or a god, you're just a monster' isn't it?" 

As she was done talking lancer said "Yes you're completely correct master" as she closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. Othinus then said "Let's continue then. unlike your brother who is a true hero that gave his life for you and made it possible for you to win against someone The gods favoured even more than yourself, you can't be described as a hero however even if that is so your brother still believed in you till the end, he fought because he believed in you and the choices you had made in your life to be just" 

as tears began to fall from Othinus's eyes she continued to talk "You're an honest, naive and selfish individual but it's exactly because of those things that I want you to join me, I do not desire you as a warrior, one who the Gods favoured or as the coward you are, no what I desire from you is much simpler. I want to see you release all you feelings and break the chains that bind the true you the one that has been sealed, the child that was abandoned but survived because of his innocence and kindness, the one who gods saw fit to choose for them, but who was naive and started something which got a person close to them killed, even so he wouldn't curse you or scorn you no, he would be crushed by the fact that you are not the person he remembered you're but a former shell that has to be hidden away because the world doesn't agree with what you did, a child that had been made into a man who lost everything that made him the person he was, no the person before me is but an empty shell except that the man before still habors a wish which is entirely selfish, yes he still remains so let me show you" as she said that lancer looked at her to which Othinus stopped talking.

As lancer said "oh gods, head my call I ask of you to grant me the power you posses and have granted" as a white aura appeared around her as she said "You should know this power it's what led to the death of the one of the greatest warriors on earth, a man of complete selflessness, a man who was called a coward, who did what no one else could and fought the one who was favoured to a close end. isn't that true oh Dear Man of men, no you're no Man of men but rather a Man of the gods!"

as she looked at archer to which Othinus said "Archer why don't you show the true you, instead of this fake person that stands before me?" As she closed her eyes and said "You asked why you should join me and I'll tell you now, everyone can only see you as a selfish person however those people hold no right to decide if what you've done is selfish. under that selfishness lies the true golden apple that the gods wanted a person who's love is pure to fault, so join me archer and finally let yourself free from the shackles the world has bound you with!"

Edited by Featherine123

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Archer (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

Archer had listened to the drawn out monologue of his opposing Master long enough, her ramblings gnawing at his patience more and more the longer they went on. Her words, while not completely untrue, only served to test his temper.

“Enough of this farce! While I cannot fault you for your words, I question the intent behind them. You have already proven to me that you are skilled at prying into a man’s past and recite to him his greatest mistakes for the purpose of enraging him. In that endeavor you have succeeded. But for what purpose, what is it that you wish to achieve?”

Archer kept his eyes narrowed and trained on Othinus, glancing at her Servant every so often to assure himself of her status. She had assumed a strange white glow which’s purpose Archer was unable to discern, yet judging by the chant that had accompanied it, it couldn’t bode well for him.

“You speak of freeing me of my shackles, of accepting me as I truly am, but there is no more to accept than the man who currently opposes you. While your understanding of my past certainly calls for praise, that is all. My past has long gone, and with it the regrets I may have had in my previous life. You seem fond of insulting your potential allies to their face so allow me to borrow from your speech. I am merely the pale shell of the man I was in my youth, and as such I have no desire to right my wrongs nor become the man I used to be. I have lived my life and come to terms with the choices I have made, now I merely desire to live out this lie of a life in the manner of my own choosing and die knowing that I have tasted genuine love.”

A slight frown crept up on Archer’s face as his expression softened into a more neutral expression, relaxing from the agitated tension from before.

“To make me reveal this much about myself is a testament to your understanding of who I used to be, regardless of the trickery you might have used to gain that knowledge. Had you been more respectable in your demeanor I might have considered your offer, yet as things are now I see no reason why I should abandon my Master for one who is shunned by her own Servant. Whatever potential you wanted me to reach, whatever shackles you wished for me to escape from, know that I care little about them. Keep your fantasies to your own demented mind or impose them on Servants other than myself and leave. If you yet remain intent on forcing me to my knees and make me submit to your command then do so in the advent of the War. There is naught for you to gain here tonight.”

Following the conclusion of his answer, Archer’s gaze shifted to the Servant standing at Othinus’ side, a woman whose pleasing features he just now noticed, yet whose sharp aura was painfully apparent even behind the veil of her beauty. She seemed capable enough to be a hero of great renown; her posture, even without her weapon drawn, showed no exploitable weaknesses.

“A shame then…”, Archer concealed a pitiful glance, “…that she is made to fight at the behest of a madwoman.”

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As archer was done talking all the emotion in Othinus's face disappeared as her eyes went completely hollow she said "I see so you've chosen this path, what a shame, it seems I'm still no good at lying to people" as lancer went in front of Othinus and said "Archer I warned you that this fight only has 1 result and yet you still chose it. Now let's fight, now call upon the gods that have been with you since your youth and I shall show you how weak they are in front of me?"

As lancer looked at Othinus who then said "Lancer, RELEASE!" With a smile on her face as the magic power of lancer went wild to which she said "Hector, Alexander or Achilles it wouldn't matter all who stands before my spear are destined to lose" as she then said "become my shield" as the white aura turned into a blue aura as Othinus said "Now, let the Valkyries sing a song, worthy of this massacres!" as Othinus looked at Archer and said "Let me guess you're pitying Lancer for being my servant aren't you?" With a smile on her face, Othinus right now could only be described as True insanity in human form, a person who has lost her touch with reality.

however, that's exactly why Lancer will never discard the loyalty she has for her master, because they are equally similar, both are broken individuals.

Lancer then wrote some ruins on her feet and hands as she said "Now archer, let see how much of hero you are and if you're worthy of being called one" as a spear appeared in her hand radiating with magical power, as Othinus said "One who's power comes from the gods vs The one who the gods fear, this is truly a fight worth seeing!" As lancer took her spear and carved a rune into the ground, which said 'Ath nGabla' as she said "Ready Archer!" And then disappeared from sight and appeared behind him and said "Die"

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Archer (Archer Camp) - Shinto, Fuyuki City

The instant Othinus’ intentions turned hostile, the world took on an entirely new appearance.

Colors seemed more vibrant yet dulled at the same time, whatever object Archer focused on glowed in pristine detail before fading into the background once his attention moved on to something else. The noise around him became muffled and dull as if struggling against a blanket of feathers that have chosen to cover his ears, yet the most minute noise rang clearly in his mind like the sound of the clear water of a mountain spring splashing against rock, like the groaning of aged oak, the crackling of leaves underneath of hooves of local wildlife. However it weren’t only his surroundings that were accented, Archer could now also feel the rhythmic ebb and flow of his blood as it circulated underneath his skin, the steady and reassuring beating of his heart which accompanied the constant pace of his breath.

While he took in the developments before him, the Master who decided to drop her false facade and the Servant that seemed likewise intent on ending his life, his usual instinct to flee was wiped from his mind and instead replaced with the calm demeanor of a warrior that he never was. He could hear his opponent’s words, but he could not recall their message. He witnessed Lancer’s deadly spear, yet seemed to have lost the anxiety that would have compelled him to flee under normal circumstances. The runes which Lancer etched into the ground, thaumaturgical marks of purpose unknown, were they to blame for the state that Archer suddenly found himself in? Or maybe was it a combination of them and something more?

Archer clenched his right fist and relaxed it, relishing in the flood of sensations this exceedingly simple act provoked. The tension of his muscles and the flexing of his skin, Archer was simultaneously elated and apathetic to the advanced sense of awareness this blessing granted him, yet just like with all gifts, this one came at a cost as well. That being the deterioration of his archery. It had been what felt like an eternity since he last relied upon the blessing of his goddess, yet he now welcomed it more than ever.

His opponent took merely an instant to charge at his unprotected back, yet these eyes of his managed to witness her movement frame by frame. As her muscles tensed to take the first step of her sprint her body inevitably changed it’s center of gravity every so slightly. Her head was lowered by mere millimeters as she leaned forward to counterbalance her body’s natural resistance to sudden acceleration, and her hair fluttered wistfully in the wake of her movement, accurately tracing her path. Step by step. Lancer seemed nimble enough not to crack the earth beneath her feet despite the force of her charge, a feat which spoke volumes of the expert control she had over her own body, a familiarity of herself which she must have spent her entire lifetime honing, sharpening, and perfecting.

In that case…

“…I am the worst insult to a warrior such as herself.”

A wealth of information flooded into Archer’s mind with each passing second, each distinct and different from the second before it. He felt the current of wind brush against his neck as Lancer came to a stop behind him, her lance surely poised and ready to skewer him, could perceive the hint of womanly scent in the air which mingled in the wind, yet none of that information he was able to comprehend. He was incompetent in that regard, wholly unable to make sense of the cascade of sensory details that flooded his mind… yet his body acted out of instinct nonetheless.

Curling up into a ball, Archer spun halfway in midair to release a straight-forward kick aimed at the shaft of Lancer’s weapon, though instead of pushing his opponent away or affecting her in any way, it was Archer who was propelled backwards by the act and fell to the ground. Yet he did not crash. Skidding across the floor on metal vambraces to absorb the momentum and to build up strength in his upper body, Archer released the tension of his muscles to force himself into the air with the strength of his chest and arms alone, this time leaving a trail of glimmering gold as his ascent was met with the manifestation of armor fit for a royal prince. Though of noticeable Persian design, the armor seemed personally crafted to accommodate the shape of his body, a light-weight armor that was fitted tightly to his athletic build to allow him unrestrained freedom of movement. The armor itself was crafted on a base of dark studded leather into which various segments of metal plates were sewn to offer an additional layer of protection. On his chest shone an ornate chest-plate of immaculate design, while his hips carried two weapons. A quiver was fastened to the back of his hip, filled to the brim with feathered shafts, and a gold embroidered bow was attached to it by a protrusion extending from the quiver itself, a bow of formidable size and commendable craftsmanship. While it seemed worn and used, it seemed no less powerful than had it been freshly carved and oiled and never seen battle, in fact exuding a more capable air because of it’s apparent use in war. In complete contrast to that, hanging from Archer’s right waist was a sword. Bright and unblemished, a masterpiece of an expert sword-smith adorned with a pommel of brilliant gold, yet that was it. It’s most noticeable aspect was it’s lack of chips and scratches, of tears and discolored patches of leather. It seemed still brimming with the heat of the forge that made it, a sword that had never been tested in battle.

Emerging from the trail of gold that followed his manifestation, Archer, while still facing downwards, retrieved his bow and arrows without any wasted movement and immediately focused his sight on Othinus after briefly confirming Lancer’s position, his arrow already nocked and bowstring drawn, yet he was surprised to find himself unable to loose his projectile on his target. The Master remained defenseless, her life ripe for the taking, yet a strange compulsion forced his hand to shift towards Lancer, and before he realized, the tip of his arrow had aligned itself with said warrior against his will.

“…”

While his mind pondered the oddity of the situation, his body had already nocked a second arrow after letting the first sail through the air. One after another, his fingers moved with surgical precision to repeat the cycle over and over so that by the time his feet once more touched the ground, the string of his bow had been plucked 7 times, the residual humming of it's use registering smoothly against his palm. However, the arrows themselves carried only moderate weight due to the distraction of his focus, two of which he already knew would miss and tear up the ground beside his opponent without even touching her, causing a large plume of smoke to explode from the point of impact.

In the few seconds left to him, Archer strung a final arrow on his bow and pulled it back to his chin with he familiarity of a man putting on his shoes, intending to take off the head of a civilian lying at his feet.

Archer blinked.

And suddenly his sight had shifted to the cloud of dust once more.

“I see…”, Archer silently muttered as the image of the runes which Lancer had etched into the ground flashed though his mind, “…not only am I forbidden from killing anybody aside from her, it seems I have yet to even consider my retreat. What wicked witchery this is to deprive me of my free will.”

Archer cursed underneath his breath while his bow remained perfectly still at his side, the arrow’s feathers tickling his chin as they whistled in the wind.

Edited by ChristmasForJuan

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So much blue everywhere.
Out the window here, the only things in sight were the ocean and the sky. Svanhild noted something down on a notepad before groaning in annoyance and crossing it out. The ocean has long been inspiration for many poets, but it seemed Svanhild was unable to find this inspiration. Possibly it was taking the day off.
There's not even any words that rhyme with 'ocean'!

Putting the notepad away, she pulled a folder from her handbag.
Once more, to review. In alphabetical order.
She pulled a document from the folder and read through it. She'd already read through all these documents often enough to have them memorized, yet she felt it was best to be properly prepared. This document had a name at the top.
An Enforcer. And a good one at that. I don't think my Runes would hold a candle to Alastor's.
She replaced the document in the folder and pulled out the next one.
There's a lot of bigshots in this war. Helmut's definitely a man to watch out for.
Before moving on to the next document, she looked at the back of her hand. There was red polish on her nails and a gold ring on her finger, but no sign of a command spell. This didn't worry her too much, as she'd still be able to conduct research on the war without participating, but it might make things more difficult.
Mark Gatling.... amateur magus but skilled with weapons. Potentially dangerous.

"Would you like anything?"
"Hmm?"
Svanhild looked up from her documents as a response to the flight attendant's question. The girl had an honest nervousness about her, the kind you get on the first day of a new job when it feels like even pouring someone a cup of coffee might cause untold devastation.
"Can I offer you some refreshments?" the girl asked.
"Oh. No thanks, I had lunch at the airport."
The flight attendant nodded apologetically and moved on to the next row. Svanhild turned back to her documents.
Michael's not much of a mage either, but he's a military man so I shouldn't let my guard down.
While taking out the next document, she wondered if any trains went from Tokyo to Fuyuki, and lamented over not looking it up sooner. She'd failed to get a flight from Oslo straight to Fuyuki, so she'd settled for Tokyo and had decided to find a way somehow.
The Gremlin family, from Denmark. Another Nordic representative in this War. And another Rune user.
Moving on to the final document, she sighed.
Peter apparently tried to found his own religion a while back. This was after he defected from the Holy Church.... What in the world would cause an El-Melloi to behave in this manner?
Having run out of profiles to look over, she placed the folder back into her bag. Then she turned back to the window to await landing in Tokyo.

See, plenty of words rhyme with 'land'.

Edited by Leona
Submitted before it was finished.

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Mark awoke to the sounds of cicadas chirping.

I’m definitely in Japan” he mused comically, and slowly rose from his futon. These low, quilted mattresses were a lot more comfortable than they seemed, and Mark, who usually had a hard time sleeping, felt very refreshed. After a few minutes of sitting near the futon in a reverie, he found the willpower to slowly get up and amble to the main room of the temple shack. Placed on a table towards the end of the room was a metal box about the size of a shoebox. Mark snapped open the buckles holding the lid in place, and opened said box.

Resting there was a gauntlet, about the size of the average Western man’s forearm. It was jet black with gold embroidery running down its length. 4 reddish jewels were placed in the four corners of the gauntlet, filled with a vast reservoir of mana. This mana was not Mark’s, in fact it belonged to the original owner of this ancient relic, a mana so rich and pure that Mark’s own paled heavily in comparison. The old man had explained when he handed it over that there was enough concentrated mana in this gauntlet to keep it functioning for several years of constant use. A quick spell of memory manipulation had dealt with the airport staff checking the luggage scans, and one could say it was instrumental to Mark’s survival.

“The old man never clarified, but I posit that this belonged to some famous warrior who fought in a colosseum” Mark wondered, and then promptly slipped it onto his left wrist and forearm. His right arm was his shooting arm and while the gauntlet had surprisingly little density (there was most likely some enchantment in place for this effect), it wouldn’t feel right there.

Feeling a lot more secure, Mark stepped out onto the temple grounds, and saw Assassin on the roof of the neighbouring cottage, sitting down and keeping what seemed to be a very vigilant watch. He had not moved an inch throughout the whole night. Mark attempted to make communication “Assassin! Anything happen in the night?”

Silence. Mark stood unperturbed; he was used to this by now. As a last-ditch effort, Mark exclaimed “It won’t do you any good cooped up in here all the time…we could go to the town, do some recon, you know? How about it? Assassin?”

Assassin’s beacon-like eyes swivelled to regard him, and then he heard “MOTHER WOULDN’T ALLOW IT”. And then silence. Mark merely shook his head, and then ducked back into the main building.

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Sitting in the local McDonald’s at 12:30 pm

Sitting down at one of the tables near a window looking out towards the parking lot, Michael just stares intently at Saber wolfing down a Big Mac. Some lettuce falls out the back of the burger, onto the wrap sitting on the table, with condiments in the burger dripping down her chin. Michael, feeling like he was watching a child eat, handed a napkin for her to wipe her face with.

“Oh, thanks” says Saber with a mouth full, and takes the napkin from his hand and begins using the napkin to wipe her chin. She then swallows the rest of her meal, and replies“I have never had something like this back from where I am from. It’s so delicious!”

Michael then interrupts “Yeah that is great and all, but we gotta hurry to the dojo. I don’t have many hours left on the parking meter.” Saber responds “Come on, 2 hours and 30 minutes is plenty of time. Relax, and live a little. I mean, people of your time period have so many more years to live than the people of my time. Look at you, you are in your 20s. You should be going out, hanging with friends, dating new women, living your life.”

Michael started getting irritated. He hates the fact that he always ends up looking younger than he actually is. “I am 30, and I am not in my 20s. Plus. why would I meet new women. I am ma…..” He realized the mistake he was about to make in his sentence. The ring on his finger felt like it was starting to burn a bit, or it may have just been his own imagination. Saber noticed that Michael began holding his right hand, and noticed the ring. Deciding to change topics, Saber then suggests “You know what, let’s head to that dojo. I am interested to see how much our modern swordsmen have developed over the years.” Michael, nodding his head in agreement, follows Saber out the door. She begins heading to the back, looking for cover behind some cars so that she can secretly create a new portal. Michael, deciding that he didn’t want to risk any attention, told Saber “It’s not that far. We can walk from here.” Saber, looking back at Michael replies “Okay, but I am getting kinda bored. How ‘bout a race!” Michael, his eyes starting to widen tries to say “No…” but Saber immediately dashed past him, blowing a gust of wind in his face. He then tried his best to run right to his destination, wondering how fast Saber must have been running.

 

Taiga’s dojo (12:45 pm)

Michael ran as far as he could, breaking quite a sweat as he was not only wearing kevlar (which was quite heavy) but also his leather jacket, which only maintained the increase in heat. He eventually slowed to a crawl, walking through the gate, then bowing forward as he kept his hands on his knees to catch his breath. He looked up to see Saber, grinning as usual with the dojo to her back.

“What took you so long. I was running so darn slow!” exclaimed Saber, walking towards her master. Michael recalled when Saber ran past him. It was like something out of a cartoon, and all he could remember was eating her dust. She just dashed right past him, and despite him running full speed, he never spotted her once. Was she that far ahead of him? Michael just couldn’t contemplate. Are all servants that fast?

Saber, noticing that her master was drenched, commented “That must have been a hell of a workout for you.” Michael replied “I am used to it. Been through far worse than this during my training days.” Saber, recalling her own military experience comments “Yes, we soldiers do have to go through quite a regiment don’t we.” Michael then responds “Except you were the one giving the training, I doubt you had it as bad as us.” Saber then responds “Yeah, you’re right. I was just too good!” in a confident manner. Saber looks back at the dojo. “I saw some cars already parked nearby. It looks like there may be a training session under way.”

Michael responds, “We’ll, let's just enter in, and pretend we are here to take a class.” Both Saber and Michael start walking towards the entrance of the dojo, taking in the scenery of the classic Japanese architecture. “This place feels very ancient” was Michael's response to the area around him. Saber replies back “If you’re talking about the buildings, not as ancient as you think.” Michael then asks “How do you know that?” Saber responds back “It’s more of a feeling if anything.” She then begins to press against the doorway. “Here we are.”

Both individuals notice a woman at the front desk when they enter. Next to the desk is a stand of sorts, posting a sign that says “SIGN UPS!!” in big bold letters. Saber curious, tells Michael “We should sign up for a class. I am quite curious at how they teach swordplay now a days.” Michael, with his eyes closed and nodding sideways replied “I didn’t actually think we were going to apply. You know, we’ll just pretend to be students. After all, we don’t really have time to take a martial arts class. I came here to find something quite important.” However, by the time he opened his eyes , he saw Saber immediately start talking to the woman in the front desk.

Saber speaks to the woman up front, with short brown hair, with glasses on her head and wearing what appears to be a business suit and skirt. Saber replies to the woman “Sign up for two please.” The woman looks up to see past Saber, noticing Michael. A smirk appears on the woman’s face “Oh, I see, you both have come to be trained in the ways of the sword, as well as come closer as a couple.” Tears start forming in the lady’s eyes. “Oh you have entrusted me to be the sailor in your boat, your own personal cupid!” The lady then bows “I will not fail you two. You will both experience the romantic implications of swordplay. I will teach you to feel the handle in your hands, creating the swing, formulating the wind that will blow through your hair. The sparks will indeed be ignited!”

Saber, confused at this woman’s strange monologue, asked “So we can join right?” Immediately the woman in front of Saber reclines back in her chair and replies “Yes, That will be 1336 yen please.”

Wow, she changed demeanor so quickly.” thought Saber, of course she felt a hand approach her shoulder. It was Michael, who whispered to Saber “What are you doing?”

Saber whispers back “If we enter this class, we may get closer to the owner, and then maybe have a better opportunity to find whatever it is you are looking for.” Michael, after witnessing the lady in the front desk have such an outburst, realized it might be too late to back out of the class now. It wasn’t super obvious, but the woman up front had some sort of aura about her. He couldn’t tell fully, until she started talking to Michael in English, rather than Japanese. “How do you do?” she says with her hand out stretched to accept a handshake.

Michael, startled at hearing his own native tongue after some time replies “I am good, thanks. I guess we’re about to head off to class. What time does it start?” The lady, taking off her glasses, beaming a glare of ferocity exclaims “RIGHT NOW!”

A few moments later

Michael and Saber are both in an open room, staring at the wall in front of them, with several other students, many seemingly teenagers from high school. The students all seem to be wearing traditional Gis, and each hold a wooden sword, something usually used in kendo. Their appearance made both Michael and Saber stick out like a sore thumb, as since both are new students, both of them did not yet purchase their own Gi. The others do make comments on the two. Mostly on Saber, who the guys seem to all blush at, and the girls seem to talk quite a bit about how elegant and pretty she seems to be. Saber then comments to Michael “Ah teenagers. So young, so affected by their own hormones. The males seem to find it difficult to stare at me wouldn’t you say?” Michael ignored these words, focusing on getting past this glass and finding the contender. Saber, noticing Michael's intense focus replies “You know, you don’t pay as much attention to me as most other guys do.” However, before she can continue, the sliding doors to right start to open up.

The lady from the front desk starts walking through, this time without her glasses, wearing her own Gi, and carrying a wooden sword. She walks up in front of all the students, and speaks in loudly for all inside to hear. “Hello! I’m Fujimura Taiga, the instructor of the Tiger Dojo, the rescue corner who trains people to prevent them from dying easily.” A student then replies “We already know your name Tiger-sen….” Somehow, the woman up front, known as Taiga, ran up to the student, and smacks him with her weapon yelling “Daryaaaaaa!” The student then immediately grabs at his head. ‘Owowowow!” Another student comments at the situation “It seems the demonic sword, Tora-shinai, is quite fearsome indeed.”

Saber takes note of the name. She begins thinking “Tora-shinai? Is that some kind of new powerful weapon? Does it rival that of a noble phantasm?

Taiga then exclaims “DO NOT EVER call me Tiger! Understand!” She then walks up front, and then tries to begin the class.

A few practice swings are done, and the students do simulate these swings, but then Saber interrupts the class by raising her hand.

Taiga, visibly annoyed by the interruption, asks “What is it my young, inexperienced student?” with disdain in her voice.

Saber, eager to test out Taiga’s skills, and her Tora-Shinai asks “Can I fight you one on one? I want to see how the Tora-Shinai works!” like some ignorant child. Some of the students giggled, and others seemed interested at seeing Taiga fight. There were other comments, believing that Taiga would humiliate the newcomer.

Michael just sighed, which seemed to just become a common action for him at this point. “What the hell is Saber doing now?” He went to try and stop Saber, but a small crowd quickly gathered around the two combatants, blocking Michael from getting to her at all.

“What the..?” exclaimed Michael, realizing he had no way to stop the battle about to begin.

Saber began readying her sword, excited for a battle with modern swordmaster. Taiga, with her eyes closed and beaming a confident smile, began speaking as if she was some sort of protagonist from a shonen manga states “All right! If you’re willing to go this far for a fight, let’s see how good you are.” Taiga readies her sword then adds on “Just know, when I defeat you, you must immediately leave this dojo. However, if you defeat me, then I will allow to stay for further training.” Saber, perplexed then asks “If I defeat you, then why would I want to stay for more training? I would have already proved I am stronger than you yes?”

Taiga, again annoyed by this question exclaims “Shut up and fight!”and charges at Saber with her wooden sword. As she runs at Saber with the sword vertically for a strong forward strike, a sudden strike from Saber with her own wooden sword knocks Tora-Shinai into the air above them both. Of course, Taiga never notices this strike at all, as a gust of air passes by Taiga as she notices her weapon suddenly disappear at her hand. She turns around to see Saber at the other side of the room catching Taiga’s weapon, with her own practice weapon at the wayside in her left hand.

Saber looks at the new practice sword, tossing aside her own, examining what the details of the Tora-Shinai. “I wonder what is so amazing about this weapon. It looks just like any practice sword to me.” Saber thinks as she is carefully examining Taiga’s weapon in front her. Taiga then exclaims ‘You fool! You think I would just carelessly use the demon sword for practice in front of my students!” Taiga then whips out another practice sword from the sleeve of her Gi.

The weapon in Saber’s hand suddenly turns into a bouquet of flowers. “Wahhh?” was Saber’s reaction at the sudden this sudden transformation. Taiga then again charges at Saber once again, with what appears to be the real Tora-Shinai. Saber quickly shaked off her feeling of perplexity and used her right hand to swat away Taiga’s new weapon. The same result occurs, with Saber dashing to the other side of the room yet again to catch the falling weapon. Taiga remains frozen, still grasping at air for the weapon now in Saber’s hands. Saber, fully realizing that the Tora-Shinai is some sort of myth, walks towards Taiga and bonks her on the head with the weapon. “It looks like I win.” says Saber with a grin.

However, unexpectedly, Taiga starts crying out, with her face seemingly raining down with tears.”Waaaahhhhhh! You win, you win! Happy, you can leave now!!!!” Her students crowded around Taiga and started comforting her. “It’s okay Taiga-sensei. It’s all fine now.” were what one of the students said to her that was audible to Saber. It caused Saber to grow a smile on her face. She saw that this woman did indeed have many students who cared for her, and respected her. It reminded Saber of her own students from long ago, but that recollection was interrupted when Michael tapped her on the shoulder. “You pissed her off, we should go before we, no you cause more trouble.” said Michael. However, Saber of course disobeyed him and went straight to Taiga and declared “No, I shall not leave. I have come to learn from the great Tiger-san, and I since I have won, I shall remain to learn her great teachings” with a resolute salute to Taiga.

Taiga started wiping her tears, and slowly got up. “Ok fine, you may stay, but one thing.” suddenly Taiga tried to strike Saber’s head with her wooden sword, but Saber easily sidestepped and dodged. “Tch” was Taiga’s reaction. “Okay, that was just a test...uh” Taiga began saying, unsure of who her former opponent’s name was. “I am sorry, I didn’t even get to remember your name, what is it again?” Saber politely replied and said “My name is Saber.” Taiga then replied “Ah Saber-chan” and then immediately started scratching her head, feeling like she remembered that name from before. Her eyes started widening. The woman in front her had the same name as her. Is she related to her? Could she help her find her missing students from so long ago? Could she help her find Shirou? These were all questions swirling in Taiga’s head, but instead of asking any of them, she just said to Saber “Pleased to meet you, but remember, DON'T EVER CALL ME TIGER AGAIN!”

 

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Westminster Cathedral, London
 
Victor frowned at the pile of papers sitting on his desk. While the dissertation claimed to be a damning document revealing how the church perverted the teachings of the lord, a closer inspection would expose it as no more then a list of brazen claims backed up by disjointed sections taken out of context from their respective sources. Turning back to the first page, Victor sees the name of the author written with bold letters. "A pseudonym?" he thought aloud. Victor can't imagine any sane person would want to take credit for the pile of garbage they wrote and tried to pass off as a dissertation.
 
While he was still pondering about these things, a knocking sound is heard from his door. Victor looked up from his desk. He wasn't expecting any visitors, and people very rarely come to visit him otherwise, preferring to consult priests and bishops instead. But at the same time, an intruder would also have little to gain from visiting him, so who could it be?
 
"May I enter, father?" Asked a man behind the door. "You may enter." answered Victor with a cautious voice. The door opened to reveal a man wearing a black cassock with a purple trim and beret, along with a pectoral cross hanging on his chest and an episcopal ring on the ring finger of his right arm, clothing which screams 'bishop'. Looking at his face, one could clearly tell that he is at least 50 years old, and that's still being generous. With his wrinkled skin, sagging cheeks, and baggy eyes, the man could easily be older than 65. The man stepped forward, "Father." he called to Victor. The word sounded weird in Victor's ears, hearing this old man calling 40 year old Victor 'father'. And yet that is the kind of respect a position like Victor's demanded. As the appointed archbishop of the Cathedral, Victor jumped ahead in rank compared to many older bishops, some having been one longer than he had been in the church. "I bring information regarding the 6th Holy Grail War father."
 
The sentence jerked Victor from his line of thought. Victor immediately remembered the reason he was appointed as archbishop in the first place, that being his close ties with the Clock Tower and his extensive knowledge regarding the holy grails. By this time, the grail has definitely chosen its 7 masters. "So, how many of the 3 were chosen?" Victor asked the bishop. "That's what I'm here to report father, none of them were chosen." The bishop replied with a flat voice. Victor's eyes widened, he must have misheard the bishop. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" he asked the bishop, making sure to sound calm. The bishop maintained a stoic expression "None of our 3 candidates were chosen as master father." It was at this point that Victor lost it. Slamming his left fist on the table, Victor shouted "THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!" with a volume loud enough to be heard throughout the whole cathedral.
 
Taking a few deep breaths, Victor realized what he just did. Victor looked at the bishop still standing in front of his desk. While he seemingly maintained a stoic expressions, Victor can tell that beneath it he was amused about his sudden outburst. Quickly composing himself, Victor asked the bishop. "Is that all you came to report?" The bishop took out the document he was holding and put it on Victor's desk. "Somebody from the Association stopped by earlier, this document contains all the data the have regarding the 7 Masters in the 6th Holy Grail War." Victor glanced at the document. "Anything else?" The bishop took a step back and bowed slightly. "That is all father." Victor nodded in acknowledgement. "You're dismissed, return to your duties." The bishop bowed again and walked out of Victor's office, closing the door behind him.
 
As soon as the door was closed, Victor leaned back on his chair and let out a frustrated sigh. The 3 candidates chosen by the church had been handpicked by him personally following his theory about the kinds of people chosen by the Holy Grail as Masters, a theory he formed after a throughout investigation of every master starting from the first holy grail war all the way to the fifth. It was pretty much guaranteed that at least one of them would be chosen by the grail and a high chance of the 2 others to be chosen as well. With 3 Masters from the church, victory would've become all but certain. He had even requested the Mage's Association to train the candidates in magecraft in order to improve their effectiveness as Masters.
 
Of course, it was the Mage's Association that betrayed me. Thought Victor. His theory was perfect, the Mage's Association must have done something to sabotage his candidates. Victor regretted ever trusting the Association. After all, mages can never be trusted for anything aside from their own interests. They must have had their own candidates to send and therefore sabotaged the church's. Victor can't think of any other scenario. That would mean that the information they gave him in the document would also be naught but lies and made up data intended to mislead him. That being the case, it doesn't mean that he can't learn anything from it.
 
Opening the document, one person immediately caught Victor's attention. The man was pictured wearing black robes, as well as having sharp features along with sharp black eyes and short black hair. But it was his name that caught Victor's attention. Peter El-Melloi Velvet. Victor immediately recalled the dissertation he read earlier. The same name was penned as the author. He was chosen by the grail instead of my candidates? Is the Mage's Association so intent on humiliating him as to put his name on the list of Masters? Then again, if this person was actually chosen as a Master, it would be too much to be a coincidence. Even if the data given by the Mage's Association was fake, he still had other ways to find out the identity of all 7 Masters in the war. If this Peter Velvet is indeed one of the Masters in the war, Victor will have to look more into his background and why he was chosen. It would seem that it won't be enough for him to merely observe the holy grail war from the cathedral remotely. I've done a mistake. Victor thought.
 
But it's still not too late to fix it.

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