Sword of Origin: Zero
The Sword opened his eyes. That was strange. He had believed the nuclear strike would have ended even him. How was it that he was still alive after standing at ground zero?
He shook his head. Irrelevant. What mattered was that he was alive, a state of being he did not expect. Though he had expected it to be the end of his long, long existence, it seemed that He had other plans for him still.
The Sword realized that it wasn't alone. He was standing in an open field, with a castle in the distance. Smoke shrouded the immediate surroundings, but with his 'Eyes of Perception' he could see through it.
Children. They were dressed as wizards and witches were depicted in the games Taiga and Ilya enjoyed playing. Odd, but then he had seen garments of an odder sort among the Clock Tower nobles.
Irrelevant. The Sword discarded that line of thought. The important matter was where he was. The final memory in his mind had been standing below a nuclear war head and a flash of bright light. How was it that he arrived in this area that was the antithesis of nuclear fallout? Not only that, but what was this foreign pulse of energy coursing through his veins?
The smoke cleared.
The crowd of children noticed his presence and began speaking all at once.
The Sword noted a particular name throughout the voices, and the name of a spell. Louise and 'Summon Servant'.
It seemed that he had been summoned then, and that he was likely dead after all. This foreign presence in his system... yes, that must be it. It was a bond between him and his Master.
There was a girl standing before him. Petite, with blonde hair that was tinted pink. Eyes the color of garnets or amber. He had discounted her as another of the crowd, but now he realized that it was she the bond led to.
She took one look at him and then frowned, an expression that hinted at depths further than disappointment. She turned to the crowd of children and said, "Mr. Colbert!"
At her call, the crowd parted and a man emerged from its midst. He was balding and appeared middle-aged, but what drew the Sword's attention was his demeanor.
A warrior, one every bit as skilled as the best of the enforcers he had fought in his battle against the Clock Tower. The man wore a simple black robe, like a majority of the students, but unlike them he carried a heavy wooden staff.
The Sword's eyes flashed a hint of gold, and then he understood the nature of the man's power.
Fire. Though he was able to manipulate other elements, that was the predominant alignment of the warrior that approached, and the skill the man had with the element was enough to harm perhaps even a weak Servant. Impressive for a human.
Though the man hid it beneath a facade of a humble professor, the Sword acknowledged him as the threat he was. Not one that ranked enough to end him, but perhaps wound him.
"What is it, Ms. Valliere?" Like his facade, that voice was one expected of an educated gentleman. He sounded slightly annoyed, but other than that there was no hostility.
"Please! Allow me another try at summoning my familiar!"
The Sword frowned. He saw no signs of a catalyst, so that meant that he was the one most suited to her. Yet, she seemed disappointed.
He resisted the urge to let out a weary sigh. Even now, it seemed that those he was bound to protect did not wish for his presence.
The warrior disguised as a professor shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Ms. Valliere. As I explained at the start of our session, you must summon a familiar upon your graduation to second year. Not only does the familiar you summon determine your elemental specialty, but the Springtime Familiar Summoning is a sacred rite that students must accomplish to progress in their studies."
The girl looked crest-fallen, but made another attempt. "He's a commoner! I've never heard of anyone having a commoner as a familiar! Please, just allow me one more try, Mr. Colbert!"
The Sword tilted his head to the side. It seemed that he was likely mistaken in his initial assessment. While the girl was indeed his Master, it looked like he was not to participate in a Grail War like Emiya Shirou had. Instead, it appeared that the summoning performed was a sort of Origin and Alignment test. If he understood correctly, than his Master should have one suited to a being like himself, meaning she had power rivaling the Creator.
The man, who was called Mr. Colbert it seemed, sighed. "I am sorry, Ms. Valliere, but there can be no exceptions. You must have him as your familiar, whether you want it or not." He put a hand to his chin. "Though there has not been a human summoned as a familiar in the Springtime Familiar Summoning, the rules remain the same: those going into their second year of student must summon a familiar and complete the ritual. I would have allowed another attempt had you failed, but you have indeed summoned a familiar, as strange as the circumstances may be."
The girl slumped. "...I understand, Mr. Colbert." She turned back to the Sword.
For a brief moment, the Sword caught a glimpse of utter defeat, but it was quickly replaced by a haughty expression. "Kneel."
He remained standing and contemplated the girl in front of him. Her expression and that shift. He had seen it before on others that he had known. It was a defense mechanism, one adopted by those who had none to protect them.
"Didn't you hear me, familiar?! I said kneel!"
A forceful command, but the Sword could feel the fragility in those words.
"Oh?" One of the children spoke. "It looks like Louise didn't just summon a commoner, she summoned an idiot!"
The jeers began with that one student.
"Louise the Zero!"
"You should just give up on magic now, Zero!"
Louise. That was the name of the girl before him. That was the name of his Master.
That was the name of the one he needed to protect.
Tears were starting to form in her eyes, though she tried hard to hide them. Her arm trembled, even as she raised it to wave her wand. Though she tried to put on a brave face, his Master was truthfully as fragile as glass.
For one moment, the Sword considered what his Master must have gone through to become the frail girl before him. In the next, he decided it didn't matter.
The insults and jeers stopped in an instant. The sight of a thousand swords appearing in the air would do that.
With that done, the Sword knelt on the ground before his Master, a calm smile on his face. He gave her a gentle pat on the head, as he used to do to Ilya and the children of those He had given his life for.
Louise stared at the person she had summoned and gaped at the sight of the blades floating in the air behind him.
A Noble. She had summoned a Noble.
From the sudden appearance of those blades, he had to be at least Square class. Probably Earth-Earth-Earth-Wind or something.
Just the thought of it made her feel faint, and she wanted to run from the spot. Not only had she messed up the summoning, the one spell she thought she had succeeded, but she'd messed it up so bad that the restrictions against summoning other Nobles had been broken.
The man had seemed to be just a commoner. Sure, his white long-coat and silver armor were of fine make, but it was something that mercenaries donned rather than Mages. His startling silver eyes and matching hair were strange, but not that strange considering the varied hair and eye colors across the land. But what he had just done, that was something no commoner could have ever hoped of faking.
When he turned his eyes on her, Louise couldn't help but flinch. For a brief moment, she was reminded of her mother when Louise had done something wrong. The man's expression had been of that same cool anger, a face that promised not rage, but wrath.
And then it softened and he knelt before her with a calm smile.
"Do not worry, Master."
The voice was soft, and yet lacking. Just a touch more than a golem's, yet far from being completely human. Even so, she could sense that there was a lot of meaning to those words.
"From now on, this Sword shall protect you."
He spoke with such conviction, that all Louise could do was nod and finish the ritual.
With a wave of her wand, the incantation, and a swift brush of their lips, it was over.
The Sword felt a stab of pain in his chest as the foreign energy gathered there. The stab of pain quickly elevated to the level of a searing burn, but he didn't allow that to show on his face.
The children were all quiet, watching the events with either wide-eyes or fearful expressions. In most cases, it was both.
But then it was over, and Mr. Colbert approached the new Master and Servant pair. Sensing hostility from the warrior, the Sword allowed his blades to return to his inner world.
The moment he did, Mr. Colbert relaxed, a smile on his face, and turned to Louise. "Congratulations, Ms. Valliere."
The girl gave a short nod, with an unreadable expression.
Mr. Colbert turned back to the other children and said, "Well, let's return to class. Come students. And do remember to keep your opinions to yourself."
Ah. So the man decided to rule in his charges. Admirable, if not for the necessity of the Sword using his blades to prompt it.
He watched them leave with interest, especially when they used a Mystery allowing flight to do so.
And then it was just him and his Master.
Louise was quiet for a moment, lost in contemplation.
The Sword respected her silence and did not speak, though he was curious of the situation.
Eventually, she asked, "Who are you?"
He smiled. "I am the Sword of Akasha, Master. I will protect you, for now and for always."
Louise frowned for a moment, turning that over in her mind, but then shook her head. "No, I mean your actual name, not your runic one."
"Ah." The Sword's expression faltered, and his calm smile turned to a bitter one. "...I have no name, but this person was once known as Emiya Shirou, Master. Does that answer your question?"
Again, Louise frowned. "I see." She nodded. "Emiya, then. You might be my familiar, but I can't go around treating a Noble like an object now, can I?" She sighed and started walking towards the castle. "Come, Emiya. We may discuss our... partnership on the walk back." Another sigh. "I hope mother won't see this as too much of a scandal..."
"As you wish, Master."
This is the Tiger Dojo. Take the advice?
Note. Tiger Dojo is a strange hint corner. If you would like to beat the game by yourself, or if you would like to keep the characters' images, please be warned.
"Yosh!" Taiga, dressed in a white kimono and black hakama, clapped her hands together. "You weren't expecting this now, were you Readers?"
"Hi everyone!" Ilya, dressed in a white t-shirt and purple bloomers, waved. "Osu! Welcome to the first Tiger Dojo of 'A Different Path'!"
"Yes yes, good job student." Taiga nodded, and then turned back to the front. "Now, you're probably wondering what happened here, or why this wasn't in the main story."
"Yeah," Ilya said. "What's going on, Sensei? Shouldn't this be in the other story?"
The boisterous brown-haired woman nodded. "Yes. Yes it should. But the path leading to this ending hasn't occurred yet, so the Wizard can't show it yet."
"Oh, I see! So you mean that this onii-chan is from one of those three endings where-"
"O-oi, Ilya!" Taiga ran up to her student's side and clamped a hand over her mouth. "You can't say that! Anymore and a 'Wizard' will do something to you that even the Third Magic can't fix!"
Ilya nodded, but then frowned at Taiga. "Hey, how do you know about that?"
"Teehee." Taiga grinned. "This is the Tiger Dojo! I know everything! Like how Shirou has to-"
This time Ilya clamped Taiga's mouth shut. "Hypocrite! Don't say anything else!"
"Mmph! Mmph!" Taiga nodded, and Ilya stepped back.
"Phew. That was scary, Ilya-chan." She looked at the white-haired girl with wide-eyes. "You went straight for my throat."
"Wait," Ilya said. "Don't we have to tell the Readers how this happened? Won't that mean we have to tell how 'that' path ends?"
Taiga froze. "That's right..."
For a moment, the two looked at the dojo's door with fearful eyes, as if it would open at any moment.
"...Well, it looks like he won't smite us," Taiga said.
"Yeah. Looks like the Wizard's accepted this outcome after all."
"Well, Readers. Since we've gotten the okay from the Wizard, let's get into the meat of this story!" Taiga clapped. "So, Reader-san. You're probably wondering what's wrong with Shirou here."
"Un." Ilya nodded. "Onii-chan's acting really weird. And why is he calling himself the 'Sword'? Even my Archer didn't act like that when he was being a Hero."
"Well, pupil number one. The reason for that's simple. It's not Shirou."
"Eeh?! B-but he's onii-chan!" Ilya frowned. "He looks a lot like Archer, but he's onii-chan, right?"
Taiga sighed. "That idiot did something stupidly Noble in 'that' path. Since his Magic lets him act like God, when he used its full power he had to 'become' God. The soul of Emiya Shirou left the body, and what's left is just a Sword that wields itself in the name of the one it once was."
There was a moment of silence.
"Idiot." Ilya clutched her hands to her side, red eyes blurred with tears.
"I know. Idiot."
"...So then this onii-chan isn't really onii-chan, Sensei?"
"Un." Taiga nodded. "This 'Sword' has Shirou's memories and desires, but he's not the same person. He's like how that idiot was when Kiritsugu first found him."
"Wait," Ilya said. "So does that mean he can become someone like Shirou?"
"Oho, you're quite smart aren't you my pupil? Yes, he will, especially with those runes he got. He's not the 'Left hand of God', but the 'Heart of God'."
Ilya smiled. "Then he'll get a happy ending, won't he? He's not just a sword, right?"
"Well," Taiga said. "Who knows?"
"Mou- that's not fair, Sensei! You're leaving Reader-san here in suspense!"
Taiga sighed. "I know, but the Wizard's saying that we've said enough." She shivered. "And he said that he'd make Shirou leave me in that hospital until the end of the story if I say anything else."
Ilya frowned. "Tyranny! I won't let this-"
A note card appeared in front of the white-haired girl. "What's this?"
'If you keep talking, I'll make Archer die protecting you.'
Ilya froze, and then turned towards the front with a thin smile. "Well, that's all for this Tiger Dojo!"
Taiga gave a stiff nod. "Until next time, Reader-san! Try to keep Shirou out of trouble! And don't let him make a heroic sacrifice to bring-"
The door slammed shut, and the dojo faded back into the darkness from which it came.
End Tiger Dojo
A/N: Right. So I seriously couldn't get this out of my head when I was writing. Now that I've got everything outlined, including the finale, the possibility of Shirou going to other verses popped into my head, and this one in particular just wouldn't leave.
I blame the Hill of Swords and Miracle of Zero for this.
Anyway, this is currently just a one-shot. It obviously takes place after 'A Different Path', which if you haven't read it shouldn't be necessary to enjoy this story, but do note that Shirou will be somewhat out of character when I inevitably continue this.
I don't intend to write anything more for this until I finish 'A Different Path', but since that should be finished in a few months, it won't be long.
Yeah. Hope this was a fun read. If there's any questions and you don't mind being spoiled, leave a review or PM. Otherwise, until the next and thanks for reading.