Sword of Origin: Zero
The Sword opened his eyes. Strange. The nuclear strike should have ended him. How was he still alive after standing at ground zero?
He shook his head. Irrelevant. He was alive, despite expecting it to be the end of his long existence. It seems that He has plans for me yet.
He was standing in an open field with a castle in the distance. Smoke shrouded the immediate surroundings, but with his 'Eyes of Perception', the Sword could see through it.
The Sword realized that he wasn't alone.
Children. They wore clothing similar to that of wizards and witches in the games Taiga and Ilya enjoyed playing, namely robes and wands. Odd, but then he had seen odder garments among the Clock Tower nobles.
Irrelevant. The Sword discarded that line of thought in favor of determining the situation. His final memory had been standing below a nuclear war head followed by a flash of bright light.
How had he arrived in this area, one that was the antithesis of nuclear fallout? And what was the foreign pulse of energy that he could feel coursing through his veins?
The smoke cleared.
The crowd of children noticed his presence and began speaking all at once.
A name, and the name of a spell was repeated in the chatter. Louise and Summon Servant.
It seems that I was summoned then. And from that, it seemed that he was dead after all. This foreign presence in my system… yes. That must be it. The bond between him and his Master.
He realized that a girl stood before him. Petite, with blonde hair tinted pink. Eyes the color of garnets or amber.
At first, he took her as another in the crowd of children, but now that he focused he realized that it was she the bond led to.
The girl took one look at him and frowned, an expression hinting at depths further than disappointment. She turned around to the crowd behind her and said, "Mr. Colbert!"
At her call, the crowd parted to reveal a seemingly harmless man, balding and middle-aged, who walked forward.
The man was a warrior, one every bit as skilled as the best of the Enforcers that the Sword once faced in his battle against the Clock Tower.
Like the children, the man wore a black robe, but unlike them he carried a heavy wooden staff rather than a wand.
The Sword's eyes flashed gold, and then he understood the nature of the man's power.
Fire. Though able to manipulate other elements, the warrior that approached carried an alignment towards fire, and possessed enough skill with that element to harm a weak Servant. Impressive for a human.
The Sword acknowledged the man as the threat he was. Not one that ranked enough to end him, but perhaps wound him.
"What is it, Ms. Valliere?" Matching his façade, the voice spoken was that 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 he was the one most suited to his Master. Yet, she seemed disappointed.
He resisted the urge to let out a weary sigh. Even now, those I protect do not wish for it.
Mr. Colbert 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."
Left unsaid was the fact that attempting it again would be blasphemous.
The girl in front of the Sword looked crest-fallen, but made another attempt. "But 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!"
After hearing the exchange, the Sword tilted his head and revised his analysis of the situation.
While the girl was indeed his Master, it looked like he was not summoned to participate in the Holy Grail War, like Emiya Shirou had. Instead, it appeared that his summoning was a sort of Origin and Alignment test.
If he understood correctly, that meant his Master should have one suited to a being like himself. In other words, she should possess a power rivaling the Creator.
Mr. Colbert 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 are no records of a human summoned as a familiar in the Springtime Familiar Summoning, the rules remain the same: those going into their second year of schooling 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 on her face, but it was quickly replaced by a haughty expression. "Kneel."
He remained standing and contemplated the girl in front of him, the one who was now his Master.
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, who faced the world alone.
"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. An average sort of person with brown hair and matching eyes. "It looks like Louise didn't just summon a commoner, she summoned an idiot!"
The jeers began with that one statement.
"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.
She was facing him. Because of that, he could see the truth that she was desperately trying to restrain.
Unshed tears shimmered in the corners of her eyes. Her lips quivered despite her attempts to keep them in a firm line. And her right arm, clutching her wand, trembled as she raised it to cast her spell.
A girl who put on a brave face, but was truthfully as fragile as glass. That was the nature of his Master.
For a brief moment, the Sword considered what his Master must have gone through to become the girl before him, who tried and failed to her glass heart with a steely visage.
In the next he decided it didn't matter.
The Sword didn't move, and yet the insults and jeers from the students behind his Master stopped in an instant.
The reason for that would be the thousands of swords appearing in the air behind him, each pointed at a student in the crowd.
Seeing that the crowd had gone silent, 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 for 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 a Square class mage, probably Earth-Earth-Earth-Wind.
Just the thought of it made her feel faint. She wanted to run from the spot. Not only had she messed up the summoning ritual, the one spell that she thought she succeeded in casting, but she'd messed it up to the extent that the restrictions against summoning other Nobles had been broken.
She thought he was just a commoner when he had appeared. Sure, his white long-coat and silver plate mail were of fine make, but it was something that mercenaries donned, not Mages.
His startling silver eyes and matching colored hair were strange, but not too strange considering the varied hair and eye colors that could be found in Halkeginia.
So Louise thought she summoned a commoner. 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. The expression on the man's face reminded her all too much of the one she had seen on her mother, that look of cool anger promising not rage but wrath.
And then it softened and he knelt before her with a calm smile and said, "Do not worry, Master."
The voice was soft, and yet lacking. Just a touch more emphatic than a golem's, yet far from being human. Even so, she could sense the sincerity in those words.
"From now on, this Sword shall protect you."
He spoke the words with such conviction that all Louise could do was nod and complete the ritual.
With a wave of her wand, a brief 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 crowd was quiet, watching him and his swords with either wide-eyed or fearful expressions. In most cases, it was both.
But then the pain 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."
She gave him a short nod in reply, an unreadable expression on her face.
Mr. Colbert turned back to the crowd and said, "Well, let's return to class. Come students. And do remember to keep your opinions to yourself."
His last statement would have been admirable, if not for the necessity of the Sword using his blades to prompt it.
The Sword watched them leave with mild interest, especially when they did it by flying.
And then it was just him and his Master.
Louise was quiet, lost in thought.
The Sword respected her silence and did not speak.
Eventually, she said, "Who are you?"
He smiled. "I am the Sword of Akasha, Master. I will protect you, for now and for always."
Louise frowned, turning that over in her mind, but then shook her head. "No, I meant your actual name, not your runic one."
"Ah." The Sword's expression faltered, and his calm smiled turned to a bitter one. "…I have no name, but this person was once known as Emiya Shirou, Master. Does that answer your question?"
Louise's frown deepened. "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?"
Louise sighed and started walking towards the castle. "Come, Emiya. We may discuss our… partnership on the walk back."
Another sigh, and then she said, "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 complete the story by yourself, or if you would like to keep the characters' images, please be warned.
The scene is the Emiya Dojo. Upon arriving, a voice echoed.
Taiga, dressed in a white kimono and black hakama, clapped her hands together. "I bet 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. "Now, Readers, 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 Ilya and clamped a hand over her mouth. "You can't say that! Any more and the Wizard will do something to you that even the Third Magic can't fix!"
Ilya nodded, making Taiga back off, and then frowned. "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 Ilya with wide-eyes. "you went straight for my throat."
"Wait," Ilya said. "Don't we have to tell the Readers how this story 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 any moment to reveal a demon.
"…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, 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 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. "I mean, 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 clenched 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 used to be?"
"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 the Readers 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 this0"
A note card appeared in front of her. "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, Readers! Try to keep Shirou out of trouble! And don't let him make a heroic sacrifice in A Different Path to bring-"
The door slammed shut, and the dojo faded back into the darkness from which it came.
End Tiger Dojo