High School DxD is a Japanese light novel series written by Ichiei Ishibumi and illustrated by Miyama-Zero. The Fate series is owned by Type-Moon. I do not own any of the characters mentioned from both series. The only things I own are the ideas that popped into my head for this story and whatever original characters I would create for the story.
My main muses come from Gabriel Blessing and Marcus Galen Sands, authors of great works themselves. This story is meant to be a work of pure fiction made solely for fun, constructive reviews will be welcomed, flames will be ignored. Any references to characters in real-life are purely coincidental and should not be taken seriously. If I could make money out of my ideas, it would be nice...
Root Damn It!
Published: March 26th 2015
Edited: July 30th 2016 / September 18th 2017
Chapter 2: Enter the Magus
It was situations like this that reminded me that no matter how similar the worlds are in their culture and technology, there were still great differences between the current world I was at and the original world I was from.
I have been in this world for roughly six months now, and I have been trying to stay incognito ever since. Not easy when you have red hair and towering over most of your fellow counterparts in the area, but at least it was better than having my white hair and tanned skin. At the very least, I was thankful that I landed back in Japan with all of its technological comforts, and apparently a world where the technology was more advanced than my home world. But as I said, there were some major differences from my world.
The major offenders include my non-existence here, no Fuyuki City, no other Emiyas or Tohsakas or Matous, and to my total astonishment, the distinct lack of the Association here or the Clock Tower.
I mean, if we were to take the first few pointers together, this would be the third or fourth world I teleported to where none of those exist. But the fact that no magical association existed here was a little too unusual; every world should have a magical group, what with the air being pumped full of Prana. I should know this because when I tried to use a skill to extract Prana from the air, I was astonished by the sheer magnitude that came inside me. I nearly passed out from the sheer quantity and had to quickly create a few swords to get rid of the excess coming through me. That had to mean wherever I had arrived at, the Age of Gods was still prevalent somehow.
It was also by accident that I realized that my weapons did not disappear for an extended period of time, and only do so when I gave the mental order to do so. That would mean that Gaia's effect was either relatively weak, or it did not exist at all.
But I am digressing, so I shall get back to where I was.
I had spent the first few weeks stuck in the hospital recuperating from my fight with Julius, getting absolutely bored out of my mind doing nothing. As much as I was tempted to use Avalon to speed up the process, I had to restrict its healing properties to avoid having to answer questions about why my wounds seemingly disappear after a few hours, which I did not need since I had to deal with the police who got called in a couple of days after my entry.
It was a little difficult thinking of an excuse as to why I was dressed in loose and bloodied clothes, and even more difficult to explain the multiple scars and wounds on my body, and especially the wound above my heart that was still looking as fresh as when I first got it courtesy of Lancer. I would have tried to use a memory alteration spell on them, but my proficiency in them was still not the best, and I did not want to accidentally remove too much memory.
Thankfully I did not spend all that time at the Association with Rin and Luvia without knowing the art of deception that was prevalent in the magus community.
So with a bit of subtle suggestion, combined with the Japanese awareness of crime culture, and the police were given the impression that I was an abused child who ran away from his kidnappers, with the resulting trauma from my wounds and blood loss leading to my amnesia. Evidently I may have done it a little too well, as the police seemed to have become extremely motivated to find my supposed kidnappers and in the ensuing months, experienced a success rate of over 90 percent in apprehending abusive parents and criminals dabbling in child trafficking.
It also brought about the unintentional reduction of my medical bill when it came time for me to leave the hospital. I was prepared to pay the full amount, but the hospital staff were adamant that I only needed to pay half of my bill, then when I was about to do that, the police officers involved came along and paid half of that amount, so I only had to repay the remainder in the end. That said, I still had quite a substantial amount to pay off, so I had to work two part time jobs to pay it all off. I also worked my hardest to pay off the police and the staff; it may have been their intentions to help me, but I could not let that be on my conscious.
With all that said and done, I was currently in the body of a teenager and in the view of the social system, someone who should be in school. And considering that I do not have enough credentials to suggest otherwise and I could not create too much of a ruckus, I had no choice but to go along with their decision. At least until the Kaledo-Amulet was fully fixed and recharged and I can find a way out of my current predicament.
So roughly 2 to 3 months after my arrival into this world, I got transferred to what seemed to be the most prestigious campus in the area, with a somewhat forbidding name. 'Kuoh Academy.' If I did not know any better, I would say that a demon was involved in the naming.
During my time here, I have worked my ass off to pay off my medical debt while feverishly repairing the Kaledo-Amulet with whatever materials I could get my hands on. It was not going very well considering not much of the materials used to create the amulet were normal to begin with. Whatever materials I was going to use would have to be subpar, not to mention the capacity that it can store would be limited to one trip back home.
It was also during this period that I experienced a life that had no Dead Apostles trying to bite my neck, no mad mages trying to perform heinous experiments, no undead infestation that needed damage control, or any Executors or Enforcers trying to take my head. It was actually a very relaxing vacation of sorts.
It was also a little uneasy and somewhat lackluster experience for me to be in.
Back in my home world, my job scope made me have to travel the world taking down Sealing Designations and Dead Apostles on a daily basis, to the point where I would be lucky to have a week's worth of break. Rin at one time went to drag me on a month long trip to recuperate after seeing how messed-up my biological clock became. It later became two when Luvia, Sakura and a few others tagged along to help her keep me in one area.
The lack of action also seemed to be slightly mocking to me, despite how well the situation was for me. I had my fair share of assassins and mad magus trying to take my head due to my Sealing Designation Status, to the extent that I became a little used to their methods and started different strategies to stop them, so not being attacked whatsoever was somewhat alarming.
But I guess that was the issue with me being a 'Sword'; swords or blades, no matter how one tries to utilize them, could only be used on the battlefield. And this peaceful world probably does not need a sword of blood in its midst.
So with that in mind and a body of a sixteen-year old teenager, I spent my life handling my homework, fixing the amulet, helping the needy, doing some menial jobs on the side, perform some vigilante work and dealing with high-school drama.
"KYYAAAA! Those three again!" "Get Them!"
… And the occasional 'Perverted Trio getting chased by the kendo club after being caught peeping into the changing room.' Yeah, that was the story of my current life.
I sincerely believe that Zelretch was behind this madness. Also, since I was currently a teenager, which meant time-travel, then that meant I could blame the Blue. She must still be holding a grudge against me for the 'Montreal Incident' two years ago.
With a sigh, I held out the broom in my hand, waited for a few seconds, then with the ease of one who has done this many times before, brought it down just in time to catch three pairs of feet and sending their owners crashing to the floor.
"OOFF!" All three of them got the air knocked out of them from the hard landing and tried to get themselves untangled, just as the sound of stomping feet reached my area. "There they are!"
"OH SHIT!" The three guys paled as the kendo club raised their shinai and started to beat them with great prejudice.
The two girls closest to me turned and smile. "Ah Emiya-kun, thank you so much for stopping these three again!" The girl with the long brown hair tied into a pony tail and two bangs adorning the side of her face thanked me while bowing, with her friend with the short light brown hair followed suit.
"No problem, Katase-san." I accepted her thanks while thinking about the school.
Kouh Academy was previously an all-girls school that recently turned co-ed to allow boys to enrol. That said, the ratio of girls to boys was extremely high, partially due to the entrance exams and the payment fees to get in. Of the small handful of boys that do get through, these three that were getting their asses kicked in front of me were perhaps the most unwanted trio that every girl around would want to kick out of their campus. The 'Perverted Trio' as they were called, Hyoudou Issei, Matsuda and Motohama were people who seemed to be the very definition of perversity towards anything regarding the female body, and they were completely unremorseful about their behaviour, aside from the pain of getting punished from the females.
Heck, my first day arriving at this academy, and I had both students and teachers pulling me to the side and warning me about them to make sure I don't get mixed up with the wrong crowd. Apparently they had plans to expand into the 'Perverted Quartet', and they extend their invitation to any new male student that came in, be it a transfer student or a freshman.
It was just as well they warned me, though it was not quite needed, because soon after that, I found myself unknowingly stopping those three from trying to peep into the gym changing room, thus ruining their moment and somewhat making them decide to not invite me into the group. Unintentionally, I seemed to have raised my own status on that day, as both the students and teachers were both very happy about it.
Though up to this point, I was a little confused as to why some of the male students occasionally cursed 'Damn Handsome!' while the females were looking at me with somewhat scary eyes that reminded me of the females back at the Clock Tower.
"OUCH! AH! PAIN!"
I turned to look at the trio who were getting beaten black and blue, before letting out a sigh and turning back to Katase. "I don't suppose you can let up on the punishment? I think they got the message right about now."
"Are you with them?!" One of the newer members pointed her shinai at me.
"Nope, I am just fixing and cleaning the lights here." I motioned with the broom at the light fixtures in the Literature Club Room. "I was just finishing up when you guys came knocking."
"That is true." The club president agreed with her friends providing support. "Emiya-kun has been helping us for some time now, and he has not been with those awful trio."
"Emiya?" The girl tilted her head in confusion before her eyes widened in recognition. "As in the Fake Janitor?"
… I could so see Rin collapsing on the floor and laughing her tears out if she ever heard my reputation as the Fake Janitor has crossed worlds. Oh joy.
I mentally shook my head as I faced the two girls again. "So Katase-san, Murayama-san, could I ask that you let up on the punishment?"
"Hmm…" Murayama hummed as she alternated her attention between the three and me. "We could do that, but on one condition." She said with a glint in her eye, one that reminded me a little too much of Rin when she was thinking of extorting me. But this girl was still a novice at that.
"Let me guess, the air conditioning unit in your club-room needs fixing?" I nodded at the surprised expressions on their faces. "Your advisor had informed me about it, but I would need to check on something later. Would that be fine?"
"Deal!" Murayama and Katase beamed at the prospect of getting me as they ordered the club members to stop their attacks.
"EEHH! Emiya-Senpai is coming to our club?!" The girls let out a squeal as they looked at me with the same scary look that reminded me of a predator looking at potential prey. "Okay!"
"Wait a minute, get in line!" One of the girls behind the Literature Club President pouted. "We already have him coming to the Baseball Club later, so no cutting in queue!"
"Damn Handsome!" The trio cursed at me as they groaned in pain.
Hah~ such was my life now.
"Okay, can I just ask one question regarding the three of you?" I phrased the question with a notable tiredness in my voice. I had spent the past few minutes trying to calm the girls into agreeing to an arrangement for me to visit their clubs to fix their issues and disperse from the area, and I could feel the waves of an incoming headache on the way. "Why do you three keep getting into situations like this?"
Matusada, the former jock with the bald head, clenched his fists with great energy as he sat on the floor where they were recovering. "Because it is our dream to see the holy land for men!"
"And it is our duty to see their bodies and preserve the memories for life!" Motohama, the one with the spectacles proclaimed with great gusto. I shook my head as I turned to the last guy. "And what is your excuse?"
"To conquer all obstacles and feast on the Oppai!" Hyoudou Issei said it the loudest as his eyes were literally glittering with excitement. I could not help but let out a sigh of exasperation as I compared him to my world's Issei. For all I know, this guy could be his opposite counterpart in this world. Idly I wondered how my world's Issei would react if he found about this guy. I entertained the thought of him using all the Buddhist tools in his arsenal and beating the crap out of the Hyoudou kid while screaming "Impure Thoughts Away!" at his highest.
Yup, that perked me up a little.
"You do realise that your actions are causing you a lot of hurt right? So maybe you should tone it down a little?"
"Tone it down?!" Issei repeated in a shocked tone as the three of them looked at me with disbelief. "How can you not see that our actions are fueled with our manly passion?! To abandon the dream of seeing that utopia would be to deny our very existence as men!"
Normally, even I would be a little taken back by their will and desire so strong that I would probably take a step back, but in my current state, I was feeling both tired and slightly irritated. So with a light grimace and slight sadistic pleasure, I tapped into my inner Archer, and let loose my secret weapon.
"That may be the case, but isn't it because of said actions that prevented you guys from getting a girlfriend and fulfilling those desires in the first place?" At that, two of them fell to the ground with eyes tearing at the crushing blow, but surprisingly Issei was smiling from ear to ear.
"AHAHAHA!" He laughed in a manner that sounded a little evil to me. "Your words are powerful, but they mean nothing to me, because I, Hyoudou Issei!" He proclaimed with his head held up high, "now have a girlfriend!"
At that point, it felt the ambient sound got sucked out of the area, leaving only silence. I blinked once, and then twice. "Seriously?" I finally asked incredulously.
"Yup, her name is Yuuma Amano, she's a real beauty. We are having our first date tomorrow, and the best part" He paused before delivering the wham line. "She was the one who asked me out!"
"Whoa…" I stared at him in surprise before saying the first thing in my head. "Well… Congratulations, mate."
"Really thanks!" Issei said with excitement as he looked at me happily. I was honestly surprised at the guy actually getting a girlfriend, but I guess miracles do happen. And maybe this Yuuma girl can rein in on this guy's perversity. Well, I might as well give him a helping hand.
"Hyoudou Issei." I said in such a serious tone that the three looked at me with slight trepidation. "Since this is your first date, I should tell you first. You are to treat this girl with the up-most respect, you do not bring her to any shady locations, and above all else, you do not display any of your perverted qualities. If you can do all of that while being on your best behavior." I gave him a light smile of encouragement. "I think you can go steady with her for a long time."
Issei blinked before breaking into a smile. "Yes, I will take your advice Shirou!" He seemed to have changed his opinion about me positively given the happiness he was experiencing. I waved my hand before heading off to my class. At least the kid might have a happy experience.
"Damn you Ise!" "We'll kill you!"
… As soon as he gets away from the onslaught of attacks from his buddies.
"Are you sure you can carry all of that, Emiya-kun?"
I let out a light grunt as I adjusted the books in my arms and directed my attention to the girl next to me. "It is fine, Kusaka-san. Since the council room is close by, I can still carry it."
The girl nodded while giving a thankful smile. Reya Kusaka was a quiet girl of considerable beauty who was a member of the Student Council. Her long brown hair braided in two, brown eyes and a well-developed figure for her age, she was the sort that invoked the impression of a librarian girl, reinforced by her passion for books and her knowledge of different literature of various sources. Her personality was a combination of both Saber's and Rin's gentle sides and that only raised her popularity status among the males.
"Ah, here we are." Reya went a little forward and opened the door, stepping to the side so that I could get through the door. I walked in a few meters before dumping the books with a loud thump, stretching my arms as I glanced around the Student Council Room.
I will give them this, the room has to be one of the biggest and most posh room I have seen to date at this campus. I mean, the room felt more like it was meant for the President of a big-name company, what with all its furniture that could easily cost more than my current working salary and the white tiles adorning the walls. It was that impressive.
"Ah, it's Emiya-kun!" A voice drew mine and Reya's attention to the door as a bubbly ball of sunshine came into the room. "Hello!" The girl waved her hand as she greet me. I waved back with a smile as I looked at her.
Tomoe Meguri was another member of the Student Council of considerable beauty. Combine her reddish-brown hair, brown eyes and slim figure with her hyperactive personality and cheerful disposition, and you have a girl who could quite literally brighten your day and make your worries go away. She was also someone whom I had the slight fear of, if only because her personality was an odd combination of Taiga with all her childish humor and Illya without the bloodthirsty personality.
I cannot imagine, for the life of me, what would happen if the three ever met each other. Oh the horror.
"Emiya-kun, are you okay?" I got jolted out of my thoughts as Reya turned to me with a worried face.
"Ah, I am okay." I waved my hands a little hurriedly. "I'm just feeling a little burned out recently."
"Now, Emiya-kun, this is what we have told you. You should take better care of yourself." Reya frowned as she placed her hands on her hips, and for a while, I thought I was seeing Saber and Rin at her sides giving me their lectures on my behavior. I blinked and Reya was in front of me again.
Damn it. I need to keep control of my emotions.
"Understood, Kusaka-san." I managed a smile while holding my hands up in mock defeat. That seemed to convince her to let up a little and let out a smile. Again, I struggled inwardly at her small gestures that reminded me so much of Saber's and Rin's when we were together. It was subtle, but they were enough to invoke my memories of them when we were together.
"Then why don't we help you relax?" Tomoe went to the table closest to the wall and grabbed the controller for the air-conditioning equipment. She turned it on only to be greeted with the sounds of fans sputtering and what sounded like gears screeching.
"Not again, this is the third time this month." Tomoe groaned as she glared at the equipment like it offended her in some way.
"I guess we would have to get the repairman this time." Reya sighed dejectedly.
"Don't need to." I said as I stood up straight. This was my calling as the Fake Janitor, and I could really use the distraction for now. "I can look it over and fixed it on the spot."
Before they could say a thing, I grabbed the nearest table and lightly pushed it to the wall, took off my shoes and laid a towel on the table before climbing on top of it and removing the cover of the air-conditioner. Under the pretence of looking at intensely with a careful hand, I lightly muttered 'Trace On' and used Structural Analysis to determine the cause, before grabbing my portable toolset and taking out the necessary ones.
"Ah, Emiya-kun! You really don't need to do that." Reya tried to stop me from my work.
"It's okay, I don't mind doing this." I replied as I fiddled with the wiring and took out the worn-out capacitor. "Since I'm here, I might as well do what I can to fix it."
"Thank you, Emiya-kun!" Tomoe let out a very bright smile while Reya frowned slightly.
"Meguri-chan, it is not okay to have someone else fixing our equipment at no expense. And Emiya-kun, you really shouldn't go around helping others all the time. You need to take better care of yourself." Reya replied while looking at both of us.
"I'll be fine, but thank you for your concern." I said as I took up the pliers and fiddled with the insides. "And you're welcome, Tomoe-san." I turned to Tomoe only to be surprised at her pouting at me. "Is something the matter?"
"Meguri." The girl said as she pouted harder. I blinked before asking "Sorry?"
"Me-gu-ri. I told you last time you can call me by that." Tomoe said while still pouting. "You don't need to be so formal all the time!"
"Ah~ I'm not quite sure of that." I replied as I paused to scratch my cheek.
"You know Emiya-kun, you can call us by our first names during private times if you want." Reya said as she placed a hand on her cheek.
"Yes, you can!" Tomoe agreed with great enthusiasm, happy for some support.
I could only offer an apologetic smile as I shook my head. "I thank you for the offer, but that might be a little problematic for me."
That was the truth, considering that I was still somewhat of a stranger to them so it did not feel right to call them by their first names. The second reason was their respective fan-clubs could be a little troublesome when I start calling them by their first names, and I do not need that type of attention.
And lastly, I was still a little unsure of their origins, given the scents coming off them.
Any doubts about this world's possibility of the occult were quickly lessened the moment I stepped onto the campus. The scents that came at me were pretty potent for me to note that there were a few of them present in the school, worryingly prominent with the Student Council. They reminded me a little of the demons back home, but they do not have the scent of rotting flesh or spilled blood. However there was a distinct flavor that got me a little worked up. I have kept my eye out for a while, but there have been no incidents of students disappearing or going on a sudden murder spree, so I eased off a little.
I had also used Structural Analysis on those I had identified to be different from the regulars. One thing that was noticeable was the unusual body structure and unusual Prana circulation. I had avoided close contact but the closest description I could give was their bodies seem to be almost radiating Prana on a regular basis, unconsciously making others around them feel differently.
It definitely aided me that each one of them had their own individual scents mixed in that allowed for easier identification from a distance. Reya's scent was that of parchment with a hint of rosemary, while Tomoe's scent was that of sunflowers.
And speaking of the other Student Council members…
"I hope you don't mind me tinkering with your equipment, Shitori-Kaichou." I almost smiled at the reactions that Reya and Tomoe made as they turned around to see the Student Council President and Vice President at the doorway.
"I do not mind Emiya-kun." Sona Shitori replied as she entered the room. A relatively short girl with a slim figure, short black hair and glasses, she was a girl of strict discipline who was apparently the third most popular girl of the school. If Reya has the nicer sides of Saber's and Rin's, Sona has adopted the stricter sides of their personalities. It was also a bit of an unusual sight to witness even the teachers getting scared when she was approaching them, out of fear for having their clothing untidy or not performing to standards.
The Vice President next to her was another girl of considerable beauty. With long black hair that extended all the way to her knees, heterochimic eyes and substantial curves, which were all accentuated with her height, Tsubaki Shinra was the fourth most popular girl of the campus who had a decidedly less strict policy than Sona.
"You know, I wanted to ask for a while, how is it you always know who is coming even when you can't see us?" Tsubaki asked as she entered after Sona. I paused for a moment before mischievously smiling. "Magic."
Reya and Tomoe giggled lightly at the joke. Hah~ very few people seem to get my humour. I couldn't exactly say that I could smell the hints of water and mirrors from those two. That might sound very rude.
"So is it repairable?" Sona asked as she placed her items on her desk. "It can be fixed." I replied as I placed the final touches to the repairs. "But I think it would be ideal if you could get someone to give this a proper look-over, this is temporary at best."
"That I think we can make arrangements." Sona gestured to Tsubaki to make a note. I closed the lid while checking for any other issues, before pressing the remote to test the equipment. The sounds of the fans humming softly and the cool breeze in the face was the answer I looked for.
"YEH! Emiya-kun fixed it." Tomoe beamed as I got down from the table and pushed back to position.
"Thank you, Emiya-kun. I guess we should pay you something back." Sona nodded as she thanked me.
"Ah, you don't need to do that." I tried to dissuade her only to be stopped by her holding up a hand. "Emiya-kun, it is admirable that you are willing to do this out of generosity, but you really need to consider getting a brain check if you keep thinking that way. It is not healthy for you." Sona said it as she adjusted her glasses, catching the light as she did so. That meant she was in business mode and I should accept it or suffer the consequence.
"Good." She pulled out a booklet from the drawer and wrote something before tearing the sheet and handing it over to Tsubaki, who took a glance before nodding. "You will be paid at half the costs for repairs, and part of your school fees would be subsidized based on your other activities. Would that be fine?"
"And even If I say that you don't need to do that, you would not do so, would you?" I remarked with a wry smile.
"Indeed." She replied with the slightest hint of a smile. "But if you do not wish to accept the monetary gift, there is always another option."
"And once again, I must humbly decline your offer to join the Student Council." I headed off her choice with another wry smile. After the incident with me stopping the Perverted Trio from peeking and a few other cases where I stepped in to either fix equipment or to help others from rival school delinquents, Sona came to my class to offer me a position in the Student Council. Although I had refused the first time, she seemed quite determined to get me into her club.
"Why don't you want to accept her offer? It seems like a nice deal." Tsubaki asked with a curious look. "Even if you do not want the position, won't the monetary award helped? I believe you live on your own right?"
Indeed, most of the male students would have cut off a limb to be in this group of women, if not accept the money, but then again I'm not normal, or of their age group for that matter.
"I just don't like the idea that I'm getting paid for something I just feel like doing, even if my circumstances are a little problematic." I rubbed the back of my head absentmindedly as I thought back to the times I got paid against my objections. Word got out about me living alone and that seemed to have struck a chord with quite a few in the academy. Half the time I helped them with something, they either paid me in cash or offered lunch, all while I was trying to convince them that they don't have to. It did not feel right considering I was technically an adult mentally and it was wrong for me to take any money.
But all my defenses fell apart the moment Sona came into the picture; if even the Student Council saw it fit to repay my kindness and bulldozed their way into doing so, there was no way around that. And Sona was particularly hard-headed in repaying a debt.
"Hmm... Well the offer is still open to you." Sona said with a notable frown, before it got replaced with her usual stoic expression. "For now, how about tea? If I recall, you should have no lessons for the next couple of hours, and I would like to ask some questions regarding your life here."
"Well, I guess that is okay…" I started to speak only to choke rather abruptly as my senses picked up traces of one other creature coming near the room. Ignoring their expressions of worry, I took a quick whiff and immediately stiffened in panic.
That scent of overwhelming sweetness that pervaded the room was sending alarm bells blaring in my head. That scent belonged to the one woman whom I felt the urge to run away at all costs. I knew it was just a stupid thought, but all my instincts were screaming at me to run away every time she was close by. The last time I smelled such a scent was when Rider activated her Noble Phantasm to drain the school of Prana, and that was really bad news. It certainly did not helped when the woman was also leaking Prana like a running tap set on high, making my hair stand on end.
But honestly, the scent I got from that woman was an unusual mix of sweetness and 'nothingness'. Unlike Rider's scent that was nauseating sweetness, this woman's scent gave the sense that it was almost intoxicating, that it was enticing me to drink from her blood or do something that would make lose my mental restraints, and that was the reason I should stay away from her.
"I'm sorry, I just remembered I got something to do, thank you!" I said that a little too quickly as I hightailed it out of the room just in time to barely miss the crimson-hair girl and her black haired pony-tailed companion.
"Ah, Emiya-kun, good after…" One of them tried to greet me only for me to move away in the opposite direction.
"Sorry, very busy, bye-bye!" I quickly dashed down the corridor and took the next corner. Again, I know it was stupid and cowardly of me to do this, but considering the amount of Prana I had felt from her the first time I seen her and the nauseating scent of sweetness I had closely associated with Rider, I would rather take my chances with Gilgamesh and Hercules at the same time.
"Mou~" Rias let out an annoyed sound as she pouted while entering the room. "Why does Emiya always run away every time I tried to talk to him?"
"Maybe you did something to him so terrible in the past that he has developed a fear for you?" Akeno teased as she put a hand on her cheek. "After all, you have a tendency to be a little problematic at times."
"I do not have any tendencies to do that!" Rias childishly kicked her feet against the floor. "And I don't think I have done anything to warrant such a reaction from him."
"Yes, I had asked him once about this." Sona remarked while offering a teasing smile of her own. "His reply was, I quote 'I feel that if I get any closer to that woman, my soul is in danger for some reason.' And I must say, he might have a point there."
"HEY!" Rias pouted even harder as she glared at Sona who only turned to Reya with a question. "So, Emiya-kun was working on that only right?" She pointed to the air-conditioner in question.
"Yes, is there a problem?" Reya asked with a slightly worried expression.
"Could you check it?" Sona asked as she raised a barrier in the room. That got everyone's expression changed to a somewhat serious look as they looked at her. They knew what she was referring to the moment she raised the soundproof barrier.
With slight hesitation, Reya touched the equipment and closed her eyes. After a few seconds, she let out a sigh and directed her eyes at Sona. "It is faint, but I can detect some traces of magic. It is the same type that had appeared for the past few weeks."
"So it is true then." Akeno said a little cautiously. "Emiya-kun is a wizard in our area."
"But we did not get word about this." Rias folded her arms as she pondered. "The fact that he appeared without tripping our wards is a little disconcerting. Do you think he is an enemy?"
"No, I don't think that is the case!" Reya said with a notable tone before Sona could reply. "The magic I am detecting does not have any harmful effects at all. If anything, it was meant to test the integrity of the innards."
"And Emiya-kun won't hurt anyone, I know that!" Tomoe added in her words with clenched fists. Sona used her hands to gesture them to calm down with a comforting smile. She understood the reasons those two were reacting in a rather uncharacteristic manner. The two of them were among the first to welcome Shirou into the academy and were quite close to him during his time here. For Reya, she was happy to find someone who could understand all the literature references from the old books she often read, not to mention someone whom she could converse rather easily compared to others. As for Tomoe, she was ecstatic that someone else apart from the Student Council was able to keep up with her, and also he was the only one who could keep her in check at times.
For Sona's part, she could relate to their trepidations. Shirou aside from Kiba, was the nicest boy around. Unlike many of the males in the school, he was a total gentleman with the unusual quirk of going around helping others with everyday matters. He was also very modest about his academic scores and his archery skills which was displayed during the club recruitment drive. Although he had yet to join any clubs, many have been trying to recruit him for both his physical performance and intellect. And she was extremely thankful that he was not drafted into the circle of the Perverted Trio.
Still, he was an unknown magician in their area of supervision, and she can't get too emotional about it.
"So he is not really a bad person, but the fact still remains that he is an unknown in the area." Sona said as she adjusted her glasses. "We would need to keep an eye on him."
"But we would need to ensure he does not get tipped off." Tsubaki replied. "He may not have bad intentions towards us, but there is still the possibility that we may provoke a bad reaction from him." Everyone in the room nodded as they considered the idea.
"Well, I think we can hold off this discussion for tomorrow." Rias stretched her arms as she yawned. "For now, I need to distribute the flyers around town, and you are going to be busy with the new Pawn of yours."
Sona nodded while frowning. Technically she did not like loose ends, but in this case she could not help the situation. She could only hope that the situation would not worsen.
(Next Day, Evening)
"Okay Shirou, you can go home now." The owner said as he hefted the last of the fruit carts into storage.
"Are you sure? There are a few more crates still lying around." I replied as I gestured to the small pile at the back of the room, and I was not just thinking about trying to get more cash for the job. The owner was an elderly man who handled the local bar in my area, and although he was a very energetic person, it did not change the fact that at the age of 63, he was exerting more effort than he should and it was showing at times.
"Those crates can be left there for tomorrow." The old man said as he wiped his brow with a handkerchief. "Also you can come in later tomorrow, you have done enough for the day."
Before I could rebut, a light knock on the head drew my attention to the elderly lady who was holding up a ladle she used to hit me. "Emiya-kun, you should listen to your elders. You can go home and get a good night's sleep, understand young man?" She brandished the ladle like a weapon skilfully, and I found myself nodding very quickly. It was an unspoken rule that when an elderly lady scolds you with a ladle, you should just clam up and walk away fast.
"Okay, thank you for your generosity." I bowed and took my leave, stopping for a moment to grab a smaller pack and put it on the other shelf. Just one less thing for them to move.
I wasn't too sure why I decided to take the shortcut through the park to get to my apartment. Maybe it was because I wanted to take the scenic route for a change, or perhaps the fact that I got off from work early meant I could enjoy my rest in the comfort of my futon.
Then again it could have been due to the scent of blood that I caught a whiff of when I passed by the area and decided to investigate it. I stopped by a small bush and waited for the owner to come around.
It did not take long when I heard a few voices coming from some nearby bushes. To my surprise, Issei came around the corner, accompanying a girl whom I could not help but gawk a little stupidly at the fact that Issei was able to go near such a creature. She had long black hair and a very attractive figure from which her clothes clung tightly to. She seemed a little shorter than Issei and had the air of an innocent girl who was in love with the boy with her, but that did little to ease my mind, because unless I was mistaken, the scent of blood and feathers was originating from her, and it was getting a lot stronger as the sun went down.
"Hey, Ise-kun." The girl called out to him as she stopped. "There is something I want to do to celebrate our first date. Can you listen to my wish?"
Bad News! I got out of my hiding spot and dashed forward while loading the trigger in my head. The scent of blood just sky-rocketed and from where I was hiding, I could see the glint in her eyes that was definitely not a good thing, and the silly kid was too love-struck to notice!
I just need to make it on time!
"Will you die for me?"
Darn it! I quickly create a simple shield and projected it between the two of them just in the nick of time, as a spear of light formed in her hand and she thrust forward with the intent to kill, only to have it deterred by my shield. Quickly seizing the moment, I threw a small blade to distract her before grabbing Issei by the collar and dragging his ass out of the way.
"What the?! Shirou?!" Issei blurted as he struggled between escaping my grip and getting a hold of his bearings. I ignored his protests and threw him into the nearest bush, before bringing up Kanshou and Bakuya to block the light spear aimed at my head.
"Hmm~ I certainly did not expect my second target to appear in front of me when I was about to kill the first one." The girl mused as she appeared before me while descending from the sky. She had certainly changed greatly from the image of that young girl on a date; she seemed to have matured to that of a young woman, and her clothes were decidedly the type which belonged to only the raunchiest stripper clubs, and she had two black wings from her back that lightly folded as she landed on her feet. But the biggest change came from her facial expressions: gone was the innocent expression of an adolescent girl, and in its place was one of extreme cruelty and deception which I was all too familiar with.
"I don't believe I have the pleasure to know you." I remarked as I took my stance. "Though considering the occasion, I think you may have ruined that encounter."
"Well, not that it would matter, but I would have preferred that we did not meet like this." She let out a rather malicious smirk as she looked at me. "That way, when I do get to you, I will get to see your expressions when I stab you."
Okay ~ this girl just earned her spot on the psychotic masochist list. I took a quick glance at Issei who was looking at her with a mixture of horror and utter confusion. It was definitely too much for the kid to understand everything that transpired, and that just deepened my rage at the fact that lives could be taken so easily in the cover of the night, that it was creatures like her that preyed on innocents without reserve.
"Now, it has been a pleasure to meet you in person, but since both of my targets are in front of me, I should not waste this opportunity to get rid of you both." The girl summoned another light spear in her hand as she alternated her sights between me and Issei. "I guess I should complete the first task at hand."
Honestly, how gullible did you think I was? I was already my right arm to intercept the spear thrown at Issei while creating another blade to attack her at her side, before jumping forward and kicking her in the abdomen as she dodged the blade. I did not stop to look at my handiwork as I took out from my dimensional pockets four short daggers with talismans attached at the hilts and threw them to the sides, each one automatically flying a few kilometers away from each other and impaling their tips into the ground in the form of a perfect square. The talismans glowed brightly, then a thin beam of light shot up from them, connecting to one another in an intricate web of energy. Good thing I managed to procure an extra supply of these Shinto barrier charms before I went to fight Julius, I would need to thank Talia when I come back.
'Right then' I took a stance with my favorite blades as I looked at the bird lady.
Time to go hunting.
"Yawn~ we managed to get a lot of customers this time round." Rias stretched her arms as she yawned. "Here's hoping we can get a lot of requests this year."
"Ufufu~ true, we did not get as many last year, so maybe we can get lucky." Akeno replied as she walked steadily alongside her. In the evening sun, the two of them walking by grass made for a sight that many from their academy would be delighted to see.
"So Akeno." Rias turned to her with a cursory glance. "What do you think?"
"I presume you are referring to Emiya-kun?" Akeno asked to confirm her friend's query. She would be surprised if that was not what Rias had in mind.
"Well, considering he has been at the academy for this long, I would have thought that he was trying to kill us, or do something to the school." Rias pondered as she placed her hands behind her hips and started to walk in big but slow steps. "But as far as I can tell, he does not have any bad intentions towards us, and if anything his attitude is the biggest mystery. He honestly goes out of his way to help others even when they don't ask for it."
"But is that not what makes him attractive in a sense?" Akeno joked as she thought about the conversations she overheard from her fellow schoolmates. Shirou's modesty, maturity and tendency to help others with no strings attached had certainly earned him quite a following that was comparable to Kiba's, and from what she heard, it seemed the girls were wishing for the two to meet sometime soon.
Oh the possible mayhem that could occur.
"But you know, I do wonder about something." Akeno frowned as she voiced out the thought in her head. "The magic he used on the equipment were not the type for casting barriers or curses of any sort, and since we did not know for a long time until Koneko pointed it out, I think he does not come from any of the traditional schools we know."
"Well there is that." Rias nodded as she listened. "But I also noticed that he has a tendency to react differently to any of us." Rias let out a small scowl at the memories of Shirou running away every time she came close. "Even when he heard my name from Sona, it seemed he did not react to it like the others do."
"So you think he may not have grown up knowing everything, is that what you are suggesting?" Akeno raised an eyebrow at her suggestion. Certainly it would make sense, if not often, for someone to not know her name well enough, but that would be ludicrous. Everyone apart from the normal folk would know what the Gremory name was the moment they hear it. It was a name that was linked to one of the power groups in the Underworld after all.
"It wouldn't be the first time." Rias commented as she mentally list all the information she knew about the boy. "And if he were aware of us, he would not interact with Sona's Peerage for so long." Akeno nodded as she mused about his interactions with the members.
"So what do you think?" Rias turned around with a smile that Akeno was all too familiar with. "If he is a wizard in the academy, then that would be just perfect. I still have one more Bishop Piece that could complement his magic, and we can have one more magic user in our midst."
"Provided Sona hasn't gotten to him yet." Akeno reminded Rias about her rival. "I do know that she has been trying to get him into her Peerage for some time now, and with the knowledge that he is a possible wizard in the school, she would double her efforts for sure."
"Hmm~ that's true." Rias pouted at the possible loss of a potential ally. "You know, since it is not yet night time, let's call Sona for an outing. I think she needs a break as well." Rias looked to the sky as Akeno took out a phone and dialled a number to call Sona. She needed something to try and get Shirou on her side. Having a magician on her Peerage would be a great boost in attack and defence, and it would certainly be interesting to know the different magical cultures out in the world.
Maybe she should try that new udon store to tempt Sona into giving up Emiya?
Further thoughts were interrupted by a sudden pulse of power that sent shivers down her spine. Both of them turned in the general direction where they felt its intensity.
"Rias, this feeling…" Akeno commented as she focused her senses in the direction.
"I know, the feeling is similar to that of Shinto barriers." Rias frowned deeply. "But I don't recognize the flavour of its power, and its strength is completely different from the ones I know."
The park a few kilometres ahead of them started flashing beams of light and parts of the area got blown up spectacularly. It seemed that the barrier was mainly placed to contain the explosions, as the chunks of earth that flew the air just stopped after hitting the barrier and harmlessly drop back down.
"Looks like we have quite a battle going on." Rias commented as she noted the scale of destruction that was tearing the park apart. On the ground, people would probably feel the explosions but would probably write it off as vibrations from the construction site nearby, but for creatures like her, and at their vantage point, it was quite a sight to see trees and chunks of earth flying to the air in all directions.
"Rias, Sona and Tsubaki are coming to us." Akeno told her as she kept her phone. "It seems they were close by when they felt the energy. They would be coming here to strategize what to do."
Rias was about to say something when she felt a pulse in her pocket. Perplexed, she took out her seal and stared at the glow it was emitting. A summons at this time?! It was either one extremely big coincidence or she had some bad luck. Who needed her at this time?! She paused as she looked at the explosions, then with a slight movement, she pointed her seal in that direction and noted the intensity which increased greatly.
"Well, well. This is a very interesting development." Rias let out a smile as she looked on.
Yup, it was official. My luck stats were definitely E-Rank.
I was having a slightly harder time with this silly birdbrain than needed because of her constant dodging in the air. Normally, I would just rain the entire area with swords to ensure I can hinder their movements, if not impale them to the ground, but considering we were in an open area extremely close to a residential area, I had to keep the collateral damage to a bare minimum. So my best compromise was using a combination of Bakuya and Kanshou to defend myself from her constant throwing of light spears, and a few blades to shoot at her in the air and distract her.
Still, it was just another hunting session for me.
"Damn you bloody wizard!" The woman hissed as she barely dodged another one of my blades aimed at her head. "You dare to raise your pathetic blades at me?!"
"Well, you look like you could use a haircut." I quipped as I moved away from her spears. It had been slow work, but I was able to get her away from Issei, and that meant I could use some of my other talents. I materialized a bow in my left hand and projected a nameless blade in my right, all the while keeping the image of what I want to accomplish.
"What are you going to do with that, shoot me with a sword?" The girl jeered at me, but her posture and her eyes betrayed her emotions, and she was definitely wondering what I was about to do. Well, then I best to make sure I don't disappoint.
"My steel is twisted, my soul is fragile, and my core is distorted." I muttered as I notched the blade to the bowstring and pulled it back, all the while altering the blade's form to be more streamlined and focused to the point that the Prana stored inside was literally roaring to be released from its shell. The bird lady seemed to have felt the Prana, as her eyes went wide and she started to fly upwards to get away from my shot.
Too bad for her.
I released the projectile, and sent it flying straight towards her. As she tried to move away, the projectile glowed red and split to smaller versions that actively chased her like heat-seeking missiles. She panicked and started flying in all directions as the shots picked up speed and weaved around her. It was only when she nearly crashed into a tree that she realized that she was completely surrounded by the interweaving projectiles, just as I planned.
In a way, it was boring.
"Boom." I snapped my fingers as I said that in a flat tone. At least I was sated by the sight of the projectiles exploding loudly and the body crashing to the ground hard. I slowly made my way to the barely breathing woman, noting that she was apparently handling the damage a lot better than I had anticipated. Clearly whatever species she belonged to, they possessed great tenacity. Even the wounds though severe enough to kill, were looking a lot smaller than they should.
Just another question to my growing list for this world. But first things first.
"Damn you!" The woman panted as she struggled to get up only to slump on the ground. "You dare to make me grovel on the ground like a dog, you damn mongrel!"
"Seriously, that's the best insult you got? I have known others who could think of better versions." I snorted as I stood in front of her. "Oh, and for your info, you should say 'mongrel' with a drawl at the end. One guy I knew can do it so well it is practically patented for him." The expression on her face made me want to smirk exactly like the fellow I spoke of.
"Now that I have your undivided attention, I would want some answers right now." I traced a sword and pointed the edge at her body. "What do you mean by us being your targets?"
"And why should I answer you?" She taunted me in a mocking tone, to which I answered back with a quick slice of her wing, clipping a few of her feathers and bits of bones and flesh. She screamed at the pain as she clutched her wound.
"I am not in a very cheerful mood to have you testing my patience." I maintained my tone as I looked at her. "I might have an idea as to why I am being targeted, but I would like to hear from your mouth as to why you are attacking us, especially a normal human like Issei."
"Hah! You humans are all the same, think you know everything but you don't!" The girl spat at me as she managed to stop her bleeding. A quick projection stabbed her other hand into the pavement, adding a new wound to her.
"I will not ask again." I narrowed my eyes as I focused my intent to control the effects from the Black Key stabbing her hand. The weapon seemed particularly overjoyed at the prospect of killing the creature in front of me, and it was taking a lot of my attention to stop it from spreading its effects all over her body and killing her on the spot.
"Okay, okay!" She yelled as she tried to pull the blade out of her hand which was starting to turn black from the wound. I obliged by gripping the handle and yanking it out quickly, making her yelp in pain as fresh blood flowed out of her hand.
"Hah… Hah… I was ordered to keep an eye on the boy, because he has something in his possession that interested my leader." The girl panted her reply as she clutched at her wounds. "He apparently has a Sacred Gear that my leader felt it was too dangerous to be left alone, so I was tasked to keep an eye on him and if he was deemed too dangerous, I was to get rid of him."
'Sacred Gear, the hell type of thing is that?' I thought inwardly while checking her body language for any signs of deceit. Not that I needed to; pain was a pretty good motivator for situations like this, and from what I could tell, she was more of the barking type than the biting type.
"What about me then? What is the official reason for coming after me?" I asked the bit that concerned me greatly. And based on her answer, I was right.
"My leader was curious about you as well, when he noted you had an unusual power around you." She turned her hateful eyes at me as she struggled to get herself conscious. "He checked up on you but could not find a single bit of information, so I was tasked to find you after I got rid of the brat and disposed of the gear."
Damn it, was I too lax with my security? I guess I got careless due to the notion that no one would recognize me in this world, but I had been a little liberal with my abilities for some time now when dealing with other side jobs, and if that caught someone's attention, this was a serious issue. I would need to find out who after I dispose of her. Then again…
"Alright then, tell me who your boss is?" I decided to consider my options by asking her that.
"Like hell I would!" She glared at him with lots of venom in her eyes. "I would rather be dead than to betray him!"
I sighed inwardly at the sight before me. She was the fanatical type it seemed, someone who would rather choose to endure the seven levels of the hell than to betray her trust of the leader. I have met a great deal of this type back in my old world, where the followers of some crazy magus would gladly throw themselves into the fire or slit their throats if they felt would aid their master in his quest for the Akasha Records. There was no amount of therapy to overcome such devotion.
Guess there was only one thing to do.
I slowly raised the blade while looking at her resolutely. Since she won't tell me who was her leader or the other details, I would have to do it the longer way. But at least I would rid the world of one lest damned creature. For a while the blade was held up high, then with a quick movement, I swung my arm and…
I barely reacted in time to stop my blade short of bifurcating Issei as he stood in front of me with his arms wide open to protect the bird lady behind him. His expression was a mixture of fear, pain and confusion as he shook uncontrollably in front of me.
"Issei, what are you doing?" I asked softly while keeping my blade in position.
"Shirou, please don't hurt her!" Issei begged as he tried to move his arms in a manner that would prevent me from getting a clean hit on her.
"Issei, maybe you got hit harder than I thought, but do you realise what you just said?" I narrowed my eyes at him. "If I do let her go, she would come after you again. Is that really what you want?"
"I don't know what is going on anymore, but I do know that you are about to kill Yuuma!" Issei looked at me with tearful eyes. "Please just let her go!"
I looked at him with such an expression and sighed. As much as I wanted to oblige to his request, the fact remained that the bird lady was a danger to everyone, especially him, and that letting her go free was the biggest mistake he could do.
In an unusual but cruel twist, that decision got taken over by someone else.
"Well, you are in quite a pickle, eh?" A voice from behind was the only warning I got to move the blade in time to block a shot to my head, forcing me back a few feet before I could stop. I looked up and found myself staring at a guy who lightly landed on his feet and folded his wings behind him. He was an older man with short black hair roughly in his mid-50s and was dressed in an old pale violet trench coat with a fedora covering his head, making him look like he was imitating a character from the old western movies.
"So, someone was saying that she did not need any help dealing with a mere human, huh?" The man asked in a mocking tone as he looked around at the destruction within the area. "Good thing I was in the area and decided to find you, Lady Raynare. If it were not for that weird barrier, I wouldn't have noticed you were getting your ass kicked around."
"Shut up, Dohnaseek."
I turned my head quickly to find Issei standing weakly with a light spear protruding from his chest, with the woman standing behind him with a slightly irritated expression while holding the spear in her hand. "I was just getting side-tracked by the wizard here."
"Wizard?" The man turned to me while narrowing his eyes. "So the second target to watch out for was a wizard? Guess this one is a little unusual; I have never heard of one who fights with swords before. A Sacred Gear user of swords perhaps?"
"Who knows?" She shrugged as she pierced the spear deeper into Ise, causing him to cough up more blood from the mouth. "I just want to get rid of these two right now and..."
Whatever she wanted to say, I didn't care anymore. I sprung forward and with a quick jab, punched her cleanly in the face that caused her to stumble and pull the spear out of Ise's body. I managed to grab his body just before he fell to the ground and pulled him away from the two. Once he was secured, I immediately turned and ran in the opposite direction with my reinforced legs.
"Oh, so you think you could just hit me and take my prey away?" the woman's voice was audible with a hint of disdain for me. "Fine, consider it your final gift from Raynare of Grigori, because when I come after you, yours would be the next corpse to taste my wrath!"
I did not look back at all and just kept on running at full speed, using the trees to prevent them having a clear shot at my back, until I arrived at a small cluster of bushes and a big tree that served as a good spot to take stock of the situation. I put Issei gently on the softest patch of grass I could find and checked his wound. It was a pretty fatal wound that cut through his spine and his heart, I could almost the grass patch under him through the gaping wound. No matter how I looked at it, he needed a doctor quickly or he would die on the spot.
"Hang on, Issei. You are not going to die on my watch!" I checked my Prana levels to see if it was enough, then closing my eyes briefly, I traced a staff entwined by a wooden serpent, wrapping his arm around it and pouring some of my Prana inside. The eyes on the figure head glowed green, before a light shone from the staff and spread to his body, focusing mainly on the wound and starting to make it smaller.
The Staff of Asclepius, the tool once wielded by the deity of healing and medicine to help the sickly and those who were extremely weak in mind and soul. I encountered this during my trip to Greece and added it to my collection to at least have an edge in my fights, but its effects were diminished due to me being a mortal who could not fully comprehend the true aspect of the staff used by the god. Still, it should be enough to keep Ise alive.
For now, I could only supply the staff with whatever Prana I could spare and hoped that it would be enough. From my position, I could see the two creatures approaching my position, and I would not want to give them an opportunity to finish the ob.
"Stay here, you'll be safer that way." I moved a few of the branches to hide him better before getting up. "I'll be back." With that, I sprung towards the next clearing to gain some distance between them and the kid.
I will save him no matter what!
'Is this it for me?'
Issei thought deliriously as he looked down at the spear protruding from his chest, his blood soaking the shirt that he took a long time to pick for his date. It did not make sense at all, why would he have a spear stabbed him from behind?
No, for that matter, everything did not make sense. Starting with Yuuma asking him to die for her, to her using some weapon to attack him, to her new appearance as an older woman with a rather unusual clothing and black wings, to her sounding so malicious and cruel as she tried to stab him continuously, to the man with the same pair of wings appearing and attacking…
After that, he noted his world spinning uncontrollably to the point he felt like throwing up, before he was granted reprieve by being laid down on something soft and a green light appearing in his vision.
"Hang on, Issei! You are not going to die on my watch!"
Ah yes, how could he forget the parts where Shirou saved him from Yuuma, where Shirou fought her off using weapons that appeared out of thin air, and also the bit where he saw his expression as he got stabbed from behind? Shirou was trying to save him, and he ended up wasting his efforts by presenting himself to Yuuma on a silver platter.
"Stay here, you'll be safer that way." Shirou's voice echoed to him like he was at the far end of a tunnel. "I'll be back." He heard Shirou said that before his figure vanished and the shadowy forms of his attackers fluttered after him.
No, he couldn't do that. He should not be doing that! He should not be facing his attackers alone without someone to help him!
Someone, anyone! Help Shirou!
Before his vision went dark, Issei noted subconsciously that he was clutching to some papers in his pocket and for whatever reason, he thought he could see a glimmer of crimson light.
For the eighth time in the row, the sky lit up brightly as one of my swords got deflected by Dohnaseek's spear and exploded in both his and Raynare's faces. I was able to get their attention for quite some time now, partially because Raynare seemed pretty intent on killing me herself after my interrogation with her. The other fellow on the other hand seemed more interested in having an opponent who could keep up with the both of them and stuck around to take me on.
End result: when the smoke cleared, one was looking really murderous, while the other looked like he was having the most fun in a long time.
"This damn wizard is taking up a lot of time! We need to find that brat quickly!" Raynare hissed as she formed another spear in her hand and gripped it tightly.
"Come on, lighten up Raynare, when was the last time we had such a good opponent to keep us entertained?!" The man remarked as he let out a very scary smile.
"We don't have time for your battle ego!" Raynare glared at her companion with a lot of contempt in her eyes. "Considering all the destruction that just transpired, it won't be long until the owners of this town get wind of us and come here. We need to get rid of these two now!"
Well, that was just great then. So this town had supervisors to safeguard the area, kind of like Rin when she was the Second Owner of Fuyuki. But considering the circumstances, I would prefer to finish them early and make my getaway. And judging from their expressions, they thought the same.
"Well it is a bit disappointing, but it seems I can't play around with you anymore." The guy gave a frown as he turned to me. "So I would like to ask a favor from you. Please scream when I torture you."
"Geez that would be a really bad favor." I quipped as I projected a fresh set of my favorite blades into my hands. "How about I make you scream instead?"
"HAHAHAHA!" Dohnaseek gleefully flashed that scary smile at me. "Let's see you do that boy!" Before Raynare could react, he lunged at me with such speed that I barely reacted on time to deflect the tip aimed at my head. Well from the looks of it, I have managed to rile up the both of them, because they seemed to be picking up their act and their attacks were getting more aggressive and accurate.
"HAH! What's wrong, having trouble dealing with the Fallen of Grigori?!" Raynare gleefully yelled as she repeatedly shot a few spears of light at me from a distance, forcing me into defense while Donanseek attacked at close quarters each time I let an opening for him to exploit, which I barely managed to deflect on time. Damn it, at this rate I really going to get my butt kicked!
You know what? Root This!
Fending off another barrage of attacks from them, I projected a large number of blades that rained down on the area until we were completely surrounded by them. The protection spells on them started to activate and create a solid wall of light that extended high up in the sky and completely containing the three of us inside. Once I confirmed the barrier was up and fully secure, I abandoned most of the discarded blades on the ground to conserve my Prana for the one I was about to project.
"I am the bone of my sword."
In my right hand, an outline of a sword shimmered lightly, then with a bright flash of light, a blue blade with silver edges and a blue handle guard appeared in my hand. Ideally, I would be using this blade when I had the afternoon sun on my side, but given that I did not want to destroy the neighbourhood and the sunset was still around, this would do just fine.
"What the?!" Dohnaseek paused as he looked at the blade with an expression that resembled fearful reverence and anticipation of the unknown. Even Raynare seemed to have halted at the sight of the blade that was beginning to glow with a bright radiance. Their admiration stopped when their spears started to crack and strands of light energy leaked out to join my blade.
"Our light is disappearing?!" Raynare looked at her spear before looking at the balls of light that was appearing all over the area and started to gather around the blue blade. She poured more of her Prana into the spear to bring back its shape and raising it to take aim. "He is doing something, kill him!"
"Just kill him already!" Raynare threw her spears directly at my head in an attempt to stop my attack. But again, too bad for her.
"GALATINE!" I swung the sword hard, sending a huge burst of Prana that covered the entire area we were in, its power being focused within the barrier that was clearly getting strained by the amount of Prana being forced inside like a funnel. This effect continued for a solid minute before the Prana burst dissipated through the cracks in the barrier, slowly revealing the wreckage of the battlefield I was in, with the broken pavement strewn around, uprooted trees with smouldering branches and partially melted lampposts.
… Maybe I should have held back a little?
A groan drew my attention to the last location I saw those two, and what I saw nearly made me groan in exasperation. A few metres away from where I stood, Dohnaseek was barely standing using his spear as a support to stand upright. He was quite a wreck to say the least; his coat was completely burnt to a crisp, and his trousers were notably charred black at the edges. The bare chest that was peeking from underneath the coat showed sever first and third degree burns, with blood flowing from the cracks in between the skin. The biggest damage came from his face, where half of it got seared black from the blast, making him lose half of his hair in the process.
Shame the same can't be said for Raynare, who was glaring at me from behind him. It would seemed that she used him as a meat shield to fend off the majority of the blast, thus negating the damage and getting mostly superficial wounds. Okay seriously, does this girl have B-Rank Luck by chance? I have been bombarding her with explosive attacks and she still lived on like a cockroach!
"Damn you, human!" She hissed with enough venom to make me feel shivers down my spine. "You dare to hurt us this much, make us grovel on the same ground as you, we who belong to the sky?! You damn insignificant human, I would make you suffer for this humiliation a thousand times over! When I'm done with you, there won't be anything left of you on this pathetic earth you stand on!"
Whoa, do I know how to piss people off or what? That mental question got answered in a physical manner when light spears started to form behind in large quantities, illuminating the area with their purple radiance as they were all directed at me. It seemed that she was not used to doing this, I could feel the faint presence of unstable Prana forming, but she was making it up with the sheer rage she was feeling.
Oh come on, I was being rhetorical when I asked that question damn it!
Excalibur Galatine vanished in a cloud of Prana, in its place Kanshou and Bakuya returned as I looked at the impending storm of spears that would skewer like a kebab. I really wondered whether I was able to pull off another blade to blast them all to smithereens, but that might be a little over the top for me. Guess I would have to make do with defense.
"At least make your death a worthy one by screaming in pain!" With that, spears started to rain down on me in all directions, each with enough Prana to blow me to bits if not skewer me with holes. "Trace Bullet, Continuous fire!" I let loose the storm of blades to intercept the spears in my way, using Kanshou and Bakuya to cut down or deflect the few that got pass. This was reminding me so much of Archer's fight with Caster as he had to handle her bombardment of attacks, this was so not funny for me.
"Just go down already!" I knocked the last spear out of the way before sending a blade towards and exploding it in her face, distracting her long enough to halt the onslaught and introduced her to my version. The sight of her and Dohnaseek flying through the air from the explosions was rather satisfying indeed.
"Damn this wizard!" Raynare yelled as she turned to me once again, but before I could make a move, she paused for a moment before her scowl deepened and her energy dissipated. I also noted that whatever caught her attention, it was behind me. "Damn, they are here!"
… Okay granted, I was a little rusty in the detection department, but I don't think I would have missed out anyone behind me. I focused my senses to the surrounding area, and only after taking a quick whiff did I understand Raynare's agitation, because a few metres behind me, I caught the scent of overwhelming sweetness.
The same scent as the crimson-haired girl.
"Hmph!" Raynare stood a little taller and glared at me. "Count yourself lucky that some interference has arrived. Next time you will be dead." Raynare opened her wings and took off in the air, pausing to look at Dohnaseek. "Get up you oaf! We are leaving!"
The man did not reply and instead looked at me with his good eye. He was certainly not smiling anymore given the damage I gave him. "We will have our rematch boy, mark my words!" With that, he opened his wings and followed Raynare who vanished in a flash of light and feathers.
Oh, like hell I am going to let them go for what they did to Issei!
"Oh no you don't!" I threw both of my blades right at him, cutting off both of his wings and sending him crashing to the ground. "GAGH!" Dohnaseek glared at me as he stabbed the spear into the ground to lift himself up. "Damn you boy! That's it, I don't care about anything else! You will suffer for this!"
Yeah, like I haven't heard that before. Now then, time for some much needed practice.
"Spirit and technique, flawless and firm"
I traced a fresh set of Kanshou and Bakuya and launched them from my arms, the blades flying about sideways. Dohnaseek quickly used his spear to deflect Kanshou while stumbling to avoid Bakuya from stabbing his neck.
"Our strength rips the mountains"
"Our swords split the water"
I traced a second set of blades and charged forward, slashing at him just as the other two blades came back from behind him. With the previous set attacking his back, Dohnaseek panicked and attempted to parry off both attacks. He managed to block the Kanshou in my hand but failed to stop the first Bakuya from slashing his shoulder. He stumbled to block the first Kanshou, thus giving me the opportunity to cut his back with the other Bakuya.
"DAMN YOU BOY!" He screamed as he swung wildly at me. I simply jumped back and threw my blades to the sides to add to the pair flying in the air, while tracing the final set in my hands.
"Our names reach the imperial villa"
I flooded the blades with my Prana, feeling the blades get heavier as they lengthened and expanded beyond their original size. It was not an even expansion; as they grew, the blades started to crack and splinter from the hilt, until they resembled nothing more than a pair of black and white wings with feathers of broken steel adorning the back.
Dohnaseek, who was busy alternating his attention between the flying blades and myself, turned pale at the sight of my elongated blades as I rushed forward at him. He brought up his spear to try and block the blades.
Too bad he was a second too late.
"The two of us cannot hold the heavens together."
"Crane Wing Three Realms!" I shouted as I slammed the blades into him just as the other two pairs came from behind and made contact with him. With a loud explosion, the blades completely shattered, sending the broken shards of steel straight at him, completely shredding his body and clothes, tearing into his flesh and sending him flying a few feet into the trees and bushes. The attack continued on, sending his already battered corpse crashing into the trees and causing them to topple over him, completely covering his body and leaving behind a smoking wreck.
For a while, I held my stance, waiting to see if he managed to survive the attack. Only when the final tree dropped, I stood up slowly to check the area. When no one else came to avenge him, I quickly turned around and made my way to Issei. It did not take too long to get back to find him still on the ground with the staff disappearing into the wind.
"Oui, Issei! Wake up!" I rushed to him and checked his pulse. I was relieved to see him breathing a little heavily; at least that meant he was alive. But when I checked the wound, relief turned to surprise. I remembered the size of the wound was a lot bigger than it should, yet the wound was a lot smaller now. Even the [Staff of Asclepius] would have trouble closing a large wound like his since I was not its real owner and it was merely a fake that I projected.
But as I checked it again, a scent came from the wound that made me pause in fear.
"Oh no…" I closed my eyes to concentrate on the scent, praying I was wrong. When I talked to him earlier, he was most certainly human. But now as I was tending to him, I could catch a faint scent from him. The same scent that appeared at the Academy.
The same scent that was evident in the Student Council.
The same scent as that crimson-haired girl.
The same scent as the ones behind me!
I traced a few daggers and quickly threw them behind me, sensing the group scattering to avoid them. I bought a new Bakuya in my hand and stood up while talking in a very angry but restrained tone. "I am in a very bad mood right now, so you have 10 seconds to announce and explain yourselves before I give you the same treatment as that guy over there."
A moment of silence, then four figures appeared at both sides of me from the shadows. I already got an idea of who was watching based on their scents, and seeing them in person only confirmed my suspicions and deepened my frown. "Good evening, ladies. I would suspect that this is not a regular walk for you."
"No, it isn't." Rias Gremory flicked her crimson hair lightly as she smiled at me. The most popular girl of the Academy was standing with her hand on her hip, and I must admit, even in the night she was an extremely eye-catching beauty whom one cannot drag their eyes away willingly. She seemed to encompass the western standard of female beauty: long red hair that reached her legs, great facial features and an extremely voluptuous figure that would put models older than her to shame. If anything, she might give Rider a run for her money when she gets older.
"Ufufu, it certainly isn't a regular walk for us." Her black pony-tailed companion remarked as she stood a little away from her. The second most popular girl was also eye-catching based on the eastern standpoint, with her black hair tied in a ponytail and demure manner coupled with another eye-catching figure, she represented the ideal Yamato Nadeshiko that all Japanese girls desire to grow up to.
On my left, Sona and Tsubaki were looking at me and the battle scene with a discerning eye, for a while looking at the blades that were scattered around the battlefield. Wordlessly, I dismissed the tracing, making them disappear back into Prana. I figured they were more or less in the same group, the question that need answering was 'Are they allies?'
"So Shirou Emiya." I turned my head towards Rias who was looking at me with a smile and a look that made me a little uncomfortable. "The Fake Janitor, the Kendo Expert, the Ace Archer, the genius student who got the sixth place in the school exam on his first transfer and skipped a whole year. And now a wizard in hiding, huh?"
"Magus." I automatically corrected her without meaning to. "And I honestly don't think I'm that much of a genius. News of my achievements have been… greatly exaggerated."
Rias let out a light laugh at my dry humour. "You are too modest, Shirou. I know about your work around the school, but still, you have a lot of hidden talents. You have good tactics and no stranger to combat, not to mention your swords…"
Yup, I really do not like the look in her eyes when she was commenting about me. Time to end the conversation.
"Can I confirm something with you all?" I asked everyone in general. "Why did you not step in to save Issei earlier or help me when those creatures attacked us?"
"Ara, but it looked like you got it under control, so we just went to heal the boy while you took on the role of the knight in shining armour." Akeno replied as she loosely took a stance that I recognized as one preparing for sudden confrontations. At the corner of the eye, I could see Tsubaki doing the same thing while standing slightly in front of Sona.
"You did more than that." I raised the blade and pointed at Rias. "You did something else, didn't you? Because whatever you did, I can detect faint traces of the same scent on him as you."
"It's rude to say that a woman smells, Emiya-kun." Rias pouted while as though offended by my words. "I simply defended my newest addition to my Peerage, that's all."
'Peerage?' I frowned as I thought inwardly. I decided to go for broke and just ask straight out. "What are you girls?"
"Oh, you don't know who we are?" Rias tilted her head curiously as she watched me closely. "It seems you really do not know who or what we are, that is rather surprising. It has been quite a while since anyone from the supernatural side knows little of us. Very well then, I shall tell you."
"Rias." Sona spoke with a notable tone of hesitation in her voice.
"I think our secrecy has been blown for quite a while, considering our interactions." Rias replied before turning to me. Then to my unpleasant surprise, two wings resembling that of bats emerged from her back and opened wide while she took a bow. "My name is Rias Gremory, a devil. Pleasure to meet you properly, Shirou Emiya."
Devils?! Wait, as in the actual devils, ones with wings, pitchforks and going around tempting people into giving up their souls and damning them to the seven levels of hell, those devils?! But they were supposed to be fictional characters, and even if they were real, they should not be looking like girls who walked straight out of a modelling magazine?!
Then again it could explain the bit on temptation if they did look that way.
But if what she said was true, and there were devils out and about in the human world, that would mean that all the scents at the school belonged to devils, and that would mean…
"… I see. So you two as well?" I turned slowly to face Sona and Tsubaki, to see them flinch slightly at the possible expression that was on my face. Hardly a surprise, when one finds out that some of their closest relations were devils who preyed on human souls. "Kusaka-san and Tomoe-san?" Sona closed her eyes as she nodded slowly, clearly pained at giving me an answer.
I decided that such matters would be dealt with later and settled for the more immediate issue. "What are you going to do to him?" I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and asked Rias again. "Because right now, I am half-tempted to blow your asses to kingdom-come, and I will not stand by if you are planning to make him hurt people."
"Ah, that you do not need to worry." Rias stepped forward confidently with Akeno following and keeping an eye on me. "Right now, he is currently healing using my Evil Pieces. He should be healed soon, and I'm not planning to make him hurt anyone. That will be my word as a Gremory."
"Is there really no way to save him, apart from these 'evil pieces'?" I glanced at Issei again and quickly used Structural Analysis on his body. It was faint, but I could detect at least eight objects in his body that was emitting the same feeling as the woman in front of me.
"Afraid not, he was already half-dead by the time we came, and we did answer his call to be saved." She pointed to the pieces of paper with the occult circles. "The only way to save his life and pay off his debt was to become a servant of my Peerage."
I closed my eyes to think through of the information I have just heard. This was really getting out of hand, but that's what I get after relaxing for a few months. My life would always get back to the battlefield in the most outrageous manner.
"Now what are we to do with you?" Rias tapped her chin thoughtfully. "You know about us, and we have seen a sample of what you can do. I dare say that we are very interested in your lifestyle." I ignored her as I checked my surroundings. This was a little problematic for me, and the biggest question was whether I could get Issei to safety and reverse whatever they did to him.
"I won't do that if I were you." Rias said as though she guessed my thoughts "I will say this. You can't interrupt the process now, otherwise he would die. At the least, he can be alive, just not a human anymore."
I looked again at Issei while keeping a close watch on those four girls. Issei was still having a hard time breathing due to the massive wound in his chest, and though he was healing quickly, it still was a slow process to me. Wordlessly, I drew in the air a rune above Issei before muttering "Helbrede". Almost immediately, his breathing became lighter and his wound started to heal faster. I was still a little uncertain of the situation but for the time being, the boy was safe. And as much as I hate to leave this in uncertain territory, I will have to trust her words.
"Fine, I will leave the boy to you." I levelled my blade at them. "But I am expecting some answers soon, and I want you to promise that you do nothing that could jeopardize his humanity further, got that?" After seeing their nods, I slowly walked away from them, before taking a peek at the feathers on the floor. I went to pick up the ones left by the winged harpy, and after taking a quick slice at the dismembered flesh, I placed them both in a glass flask that I conjured up and store them in the dimensional pocket, all the while keeping close attention to the four. On their part, they seemed curious as to my actions but made no comment on it.
"Well, I'll be leaving now." I stepped backwards as I silently drew a sign behind my back to cast an invisibility spell. I might as well leave an impression on them. "See you in school later, and make sure Issei is safe." With that, I completely blended into the shadows and took off running, making sure to make tight corners to throw any familiars after me.
This was going to be a long week.
"Well, that went well." Tsubaki remarked as they watched Shirou disappear into the night.
"Hah~ this is a lot to take in." Sona rubbed her temple as she recalled what had transpired. It was one thing for Shirou to be a wizard, but it was another thing entirely for him to be physically capable of taking on two Fallen Angels at the same time and decimate one of them completely. What was also puzzling was the type of magic Shirou was using; she could not fathom what spells involved conjuring swords out of thin air, and yet she knew it could not be a Sacred Gear because of the mere feeling exuded from them. There were no other gears that could exude such a feeling of grandeur besides the supposed Longinus, but she had made sure that Shirou had no Sacred Gear on him.
"What I want to know is why there were two Fallen Angels in the area, and why they attacked him?" Tsubaki motioned to Issei. Sona grimaced as she thought of the amount of paperwork involved for this incident. It was a very delicate situation; considering that the Fallen Angels were in their jurisdiction wreaking havoc, there was going to be a lot of questions needing answers as to why they were doing so under their noses.
The worst thing to her now was to somehow explain to the others that Shirou was a wizard who had found out about them, and may now be an enemy. She could not bear to think about Reya's and Tomoe's reactions. That expression on his face tore at her soul more deeply than she had anticipated, and she did not want them to experience the same thing.
"Hmm... this is a very interesting development." Rias remarked as she tended to Issei. "The boy here seems to have a power that took up all of my Pawn pieces, while Shirou is a wizard who could take on Fallen Angels with ease." Rias surveyed the fight zone with an analytic eye and a glint in her eye. "He has great battle experience and a magic that we do not know of. Good speed and reactions as well, hmm…"
Sona could tell at a glance what Rias was thinking and decided to head her off.
"Before you even go there, need I remind you that Shirou has a bit of trust issues towards us considering that we have been watching the fight without helping him out in terms of protecting that boy? Also, he seems to have had the same idea as us in terms of surveillance on unknown factors, so he is already wary of us. We should not do anything else that could worsen the situation."
"Oh Sona, I know that." Rias pouted before giving a devious smile. "Then again, you were also thinking the same thing as me, weren't you?" Sona turned her head to face the devastation to prevent Rias seeing her discomfort. She would not deny that Shirou possessed an unusual ability and great physical prowess that allowed him to handle fights easily. So if coupled with either a Knight or Bishop Piece, he could easily overwhelm anyone in the Rating Game.
But that was if he agreed to be in a Peerage in the first place.
You know, I believe Archer was to blame for this predicament. For all I know, he could be abusing his higher authority as a Counter guardian to send trouble my way, and just sit back to watch me burn in agony. All while having that ever-sickening smirk of his.
My few months of relative peace and relaxation were put to an abrupt stop when Kuoh Academy's number one pervert got speared to death by his date who was not a human, and I ended up fighting her and killing her comrade. Then under my nose, he got revived by one of the most seductive creatures I have seen to date to be her minion of sorts, and thus I introduced myself to four of the creatures of the town who apparently called themselves Devils.
Yup, just me, my regular supernatural encounters and my usual E-rank luck.
After that encounter, I had spent the first few hours of the night tracking down that Raynare girl in hopes of taking her down on the spot. But she had a head-start getting away from me, and for whatever reason, I could no longer detect her scent as earlier. That would mean she had hidden herself behind some ward, and I was not willing to spend the remainder of the night finding her and be unprepared for whatever she had planned. So I had no choice but to head back home, increase the number of protection spells, before hunkering in for a few hours of sleep, then head off to school.
Honestly, being a teenager again sucks when you had to meet a monthly quota of attendance.
In any case, now that I have been exposed to devils and vice versa, that meant they would need to decide on the methods to approach me. In my line of experience, this boiled down into two options. The first option was one I had too much experience with, mainly the opponents attacking me head on or ambushing me in an attempt to kill me. This offers the most amount of success and ensures the target does not become a liability in the future. But considering what I have seen so far, I would say the second option was more preferable; sending in a representative to make contact and possibly recruit me.
That only begged the question of whom will be sent to seek me out. Considering I have met most of the Student Council and I knew Sona's watchfulness over them, it was clear she would not let them meet me so soon. That left Rias's group whom I have yet to meet in person. And considering the reactions I kept getting from her and her pony-tailed partner, that would have left the other unknown members. So that would mean they would probably use the honey-trap approach with the other girls, considering all I have seen were beautiful women in both groups.
"KYAA! Kiba-kun!" "Kiba-sama!"
… Or they would use the pretty boy approach.
Said pretty boy who just entered my classroom amidst the sea of squealing girls was the Academy's number one popular male of the lot. Kiba Yuuto was a young man with pale skin, blonde hair and grey eyes, with a small beauty mole under his left eye. His appearance coupled with manners befitting that of a knight appealed to the girls greatly, and apparently he was the reason for the phrase 'Damn Handsome' that I kept hearing for the past few months.
I also learned a few months back that he was also part of the same group as Rias, and since I did not have any reason to seek him out or the desire to mingle with them, I did not interact with him at all. At least until now.
"Emiya Shirou?" He asked as he came to my table. "My name is Kiba Yuuto. I have been asked by Rias Gremory Senpai to accompany you to see her and Kaichou. Please come with me."
"EEEHHHH!?" All the students in the classroom and outside of the corridor exclaimed loudly at the news, and the reactions after that were mixed between the two sexes.
"Damn it! The two of them have finally met! There is no hope for us now!"
"Now Emiya is going to meet the Onee-samas, Damn Handsome!"
"He already interacted with the Student Council, now he is going for the Occult Club girls. Damn that guy!"
The males were angrily complaining while throwing dark looks at the both of us. But they were nothing compared to the reactions from the females whom I was starting to feel a little haunted by.
"Kyaa! Kiba-kun and Emiya-kun together! It is a dream come true!"
"Kiba's gentlemanly manner, and Emiya-kun's manly body and attitude!"
"The Kiba x Emiya Pair has finally been born! I have no regrets!"
"Where is my camera?! I need to record this moment quickly!"
The girls closest to us were swooning at our interaction while the ones further behind were looking at us with the type of dazed eyes that seriously made me question my safety in this world. I mean, these girls were worse than the ones back at the Association, and they were really questionable in their behaviour.
"Lead the way." I grabbed my lunch from the table and stood up to follow Kiba. Hopefully we can get away from this lot in one piece.
"So, this happens to you every single time?" I asked in a slightly flat tone as we made our way up the stairs towards the level where the Student Council was situated.
"Hahaha…" Kiba let out a somewhat polite but rueful laugh while scratching his cheek. I don't blame him for such an expression. I mean, how the heck anyone can handle so many girls swooning over him in such a manner for a long time?! The nobles back home could do so since they grew up with the attention since birth, but this was high school damn it! I found myself pitying Rin when we were both in high school.
"Here we are." Kiba opened the door and motioned to let me in, which I did so after a moment's hesitation. There was always the danger of being in an enemy's territory, one never knows what they had in store for you after you found out their secrets.
The first thing I noted was the arrangement of the room seemed to have changed slightly, with the tables moved closer to the walls to allow more chairs in the room. On my left, the few members of the Student Council were seated in a somewhat sombre manner. I kept my expression passive as I looked at Reya and Tomoe who were looking at me with an expression of regret mixed with slight fear. Tsubaki was seated nearest to Sona's desk and was looking at me attentively, then a few metres away from them was at least one other member I had met so far. With white hair that extended to her shoulders and a modest figure, Momo Hanakai was a girl whose appearance stood out quite vividly and her demeanour seemed to appeal to the males.
I on the other hand was slightly wary of her, because the few hints of her attitude I have seen and her appearance reminded me a little too much of a certain someone back home.
On my right side, there were fewer chairs and the mood was decidedly more upbeat. Akeno was seated closest to the president's table and waved a friendly hand at me. Seated next to her was a very small girl with white hair and a somewhat sleepy expression and had an unusual scent of a cat around her. She merely nodded in my direction before closing her eyes and dozing off silently.
"Buchou and Kaichou are currently in class dealing with other matters." Kiba explained as he shut the door and made his way to one of the chairs. "They would be here shortly. If you want, you may have your lunch while we wait."
"I see." I inspected the chair that was presented to me before I sat down carefully. I was not feeling too hungry from the situation and I did not think that I should have my hands occupied with cutlery, so I had to make do with the small daifukus I made earlier. I had to at least have some energy if I got into a fight.
I paused short of putting one in my mouth, sensing a strong stare in my direction. I turned and saw the little girl who was now wide awake and was looking at the daifuku in my hand. I alternated my attention between the two, before raising my hand above my head, watching her eyes locked on it while her head stood still. I brought my hand down, and her eyes followed suit. I moved my arm sideways and she still kept her eyes on it.
Despite the serious conversation that could potentially determine my fate later, I could not help but have a mischievous smile forming on my face as an imaginary Rin whispered into my ears words of mischief. It might be childish, but it was too good for me to pass up.
I started to move my arm a little faster, in every possible direction I could think of, all the while her eyes keeping track of it without moving her head even once. It got to the point that my hand blurred from the speed I was going at, and her eyes were still able to keep up, right to the moment I abruptly halt it in front of my hand.
It was downright hilarious seeing such a reaction from her. It reminded me like a kid looking at a candy she wanted at a candy store. I chuckled as I put forth the daifuku in my hand. "You want one?" She looked at me for a while before nodding. I lightly threw it to her, wondering how devils would react to my cooking.
She looked at it tentatively as though to check if it were poison. Then with a gesture that suggested she was content with her checks, she opened her mouth to reveal small fangs and took a small bite of it. Her reaction was rather interesting, in the form of her eyes widening and two tufts of hair standing upright like cat ears. Then just as quickly, the daifuku vanished from her hand completely.
Damn, she could give Saber a run for speed eating. "Is it good?"
"… Yes." She gave her answer while looking at the bag of daifukus with a hint of longing in her eyes. Feeling slightly amused at her expression, I removed two more from the bag, before handing the remainder to her. "Here you can have them." She took the bag slowly, before handing them out one at a time to the others and hanging on to the rest.
"Koneko-chan, don't forget to leave some for Sona and Rias." Akeno reminded her gently and after a moment, the little girl reluctantly removed two more to be placed aside, before tackling the remainder on her own, which made one of my eyebrows go up in amazement. I mean, sure she enjoyed my cooking, but could she really tackle that number of daifukus?! I made a little too much and had planned to save some for later, but was she really planning to finish the remaining twenty?!
"So Good!" I turned to see Tomoe with an extremely ecstatic expression after she took a bite of the one in her hand. The others showed similar expressions as hers with varying differences; Tsubaki looked torn between blissful and serious, Reya and Momo were looking at their daifukus with stars in their eyes, Kiba was still gentlemanly in his praise by simple nods and for Akeno…
Well, for whatever reason, the scent of leather was overriding the scent of burned ozone, and it was really making me feel uneasy at her gaze and blushing of her cheeks.
Further thoughts were put on hold when the door opened and the last two additions to the meeting came in. "Oh my." Rias blinked as she looked at everyone's expression. "Something good must have happened."
"Ah, Kaichou." Tsubaki stammered as she alternated her sights between her and the daifuku in her hand. "This ~ this is not what it looks like. Emiya offered some to her and she gave some to us and we took it and…"
"Here." Koneko raised the plate with the remaining two daifukus left for them. The two looked at each other before taking them, pausing to check for any poison or spells before they took a bite. Their reactions were quite amusing to me. Rias went red in the face and placed a hand on her cheek as she looked at the daifuku with a very blissful expression, and Sona actually let out a light moan before she clamped her mouth tight with her hand. I for one was a little surprised at that type of reaction from her.
Damn it, I should have took out my camera phone to capture that moment.
"Whoa, Sona." Rias let out an amused tone as she turned to her. "I know that this is good, but to have this type of reaction from taking a bite? I think your fans would be downright shocked."
Sona coughed softly while having a light blush on her face. "I assume you made this Emiya-kun?" She turned to me with an expression that was decidedly stoic, ruined somewhat by the deep blush and her reaction from earlier. I simply nodded and pointed to the bag of daifukus that Koneko was demolishing at an alarming rate. "She evidently liked my food, so I just handed it over. At least I still have my bento, otherwise this would be problematic."
"… I see." Sona looked at the daifuku in her hand with a cute and complicated expression, as though torn between eating it now, otherwise saving it to eat later. Then with a sigh, she finished off the remainder and made her way to her seat, focusing her attention on me.
Looks like it was time.
"Shirou Emiya." She began as Rias took her seat next to her. "It has come to our attention that you are a wizard in our jurisdiction, and considering your battle prowess and your encounters with the individuals from last night, we would like to have a discussion regarding your stay here."
"Alright, but before we continue, I wish to enquire one thing." I held up a finger to stop them as I turned to Rias. "Depending on your answers, this conversation could go either way. So tell me truthfully, what have you done with the kid?"
"Oh, you mean Hyoudou-kun?" Rias mused as she smiled at me. "I was under the impression that you don't talk to each other that much, considering the many attempts you have stopped him from peeping in the Kendo Club's changing room."
"That may be the case, but until yesterday he was a human being, and that meant someone whom I should be protecting from knowing the creatures from the other side." I replied back ambiguously. "And the fact that a few creatures of said side apparently ignored the fighting that was ensuing, and decided to turn a helpless person into one of their own on his deathbed, is something which I am having a lot of trust issues with."
Hey, I might sound cruel, but that was the truth.
"Ah, if that is the case, then you need not worry." Rias replied coolly without missing a beat. "He has been healed and I am not making do anything that would jeopardize his humanity. In fact, I just spotted him going to the Kendo Club's changing room with his buddies."
Yup, he must be fine if he was going to peek into the changing room after getting stabbed the night before. A sigh escaped my mouth as I rubbed my temple to ease the slight headache, pausing to look at Sona who was apparently doing the same thing as me. We both looked at each other for a moment before hanging our heads and sighing again.
Yes, Issei was about to become a general pain in the ass.
"All right, since he is safe, I guess I can now listen to this discussion." I just shook my head and leaned back to hear them. "So what is your verdict?"
"We would like to ask you to join us as a member of either one of our Peerages." Sona promptly said it after her mini exasperation fit. That definitely changed the mood in the room, as the girls from her group looked a lot more serious at her suggestion, while Rias's faction seemed a little subdued.
"Kaichou, I don't mean to interrupt, but are you sure?" Reya asked while peeking glances at me.
"I am very certain about the choice." Sona replied while gesturing with a hand. "Emiya-kun has quite a proficiency in fighting, and has more than enough capability to take on two fallen at the same time."
"Fallen?" I blinked at her while thinking back about the opponents I faced. So that's the name of Raynare's species, huh?
"As in the two you fought." Sona turned to me with a light frown, while Rias was looking at me with the same curious expression as that night. "Emiya-kun, by chance you did not know they were Fallen Angels?"
For a moment there was silence, then I opened my mouth. "What?"
"Seriously, you didn't know whom you were fighting?" Rias mused as she studied me even more while letting out a thoughtful smile. "How intriguing."
Sona ignored her comment as she focused her attention on me. "Emiya-kun, do you really not know that you fought off two agents of the Fallen Faction without understanding their identities?"
"… Okay, before we go any further, can I just confirm something?" I held up a hand to steady my head from the implications of her question. "When you are talking about Fallen Angels, you are referring to the ones who fall from grace and forever exiled by the Big Guy up there?" I motioned with my finger upwards to get the point.
"That would be the typical version from most literature." Reya replied as everyone was now giving their attention to me. "Emiya-kun, you are looking a little unsteady. Are you okay?"
Okay, I got the feeling that Zelretch and Archer were laughing their asses off right now. They must have joined forces to torment me for my lack of action for the past few months by throwing me some major curve balls. Damn them.
Okay, time for some damage control. It was clear that whatever knowledge I did have before, it was not enough for this world, and since I had more or less admitted my lack of knowledge regarding the creatures of this universe, I had to play it smart.
Guess I will go with the safer option: half-truths, no lies.
"Ha~ okay, considering how the number of questions in my head are increasing and our progress is going nowhere, let us first clear a few things in the air." I took a deep breath and let it out as I sat up straighter in the chair. "First, I think it is safe to say that both of our secrets are busted by each other, so I guess I should clear some stuff on my end. I am technically a third-rate magus who did not complete the training, since my first mentor died a few years ago. He and I are atheists, so forgive me if I find it a little hard to believe in the concept of God and his angels."
That was technically the truth. Dad never really believed much in Gods despite the evidence of their existence, and for my part, I was not too bothered about them since there weren't many left in my old world, unless they go around terrorizing people due to some stupid spell cast by some wreck-job. Even then, many of the magus in question were not believers in religion, since they were very practical and the idea of Fallen Angels or Devils were considered fairy tales.
"Yet you have no issues when we introduced ourselves as Devils last night?" Rias tilted her head as she asked. I looked at her steadily and replied in an even tone. "When you have fought enough demons, monsters and other inhuman creatures that hunt humans for sport or food, the term 'Devil' just becomes another synonym to refer to such creatures."
"I see." Sona nodded slowly as she pondered on my words. "But still, you are able to handle them easily without proper mentorship."
"Just because I did not complete my training, that does not mean I cannot pick up some skills to take down monsters." I replied back smoothly. "I do need some skills to survive after all."
Okay, really hating the way I am sounding like Archer. Let's get back on track.
"Now that you know I have a limited knowledge regarding you and those Fallen Angels, why don't you fill me in on the different creatures?" I leaned back in the chair. "And also, what do you mean by a peerage?" Sona and Rias looked at each other for a moment, before Rias gave a gesture that signalled to her to take the role of explaining the different bits to me.
"Very well, I think the best place to start is from the beginning, but I will give you the shortened version for better understanding." Sona readjusted her glasses again. "There was a war that raged on many millenniums by the three factions the moment they were born: the Angels led by God himself, the Fallen led by one of the first to fall from grace, Azazel, and finally the Devils, led by the original four Satans."
"Hold up, four Satans, as in plural?!" I interrupted her explanation with a hand while feeling the blood from my face getting flushed out at the implications that there were four such high-powered creatures leading the Devil faction.
"Yes, but they died during the final years of the war." Sona answered back with an expression that spoke of her getting used to people reacting to that particular part of the news. "Some time after, all three factions decided to call off the war and make an uneasy truce due to massive losses on all sides. This was particularly so for the devils whose numbers dropped deeply back then. It was during the peace period that Ajuka Beelzebub, one of the newer generation who took up the post as one of the 4 rulers, introduced the Evil Piece System." She took out an object that I recognized as one of the knight pieces for chess, albeit one that had a reddish tinge and what looked to be a small symbol at the side. She then held it out for me to take and observe.
I slowly brought out my hand, pausing just short of taking the object in question. I had some experience of creatures trying to catch me off guard with magical items, and whatever this chess piece was, it definitely had some odd scents from it, a mixture of water like that of Sona's, a hint of dark oak, and something oddly reminiscent of Zelretch for some reason but not as deeply 'flavored' as his. Still I don't think she would try anything that would…
All thoughts got put to a halt when I opened up my hand and she dropped the piece on it. The moment it touched my palm, the piece lit up brightly with a blue glow, and visions started to flash before my eyes.
A little girl running around on a field with another girl with twin-tails…
A field of ice and water surrounding her with a bull-like demon in front of her…
Battlefields of old and creatures both beautiful and monstrous clashing with one another…
An old man shrouded in white and light obscuring his face wielding lightning and blades to strike his enemies…
And finally four towering figures shrouded in shadows, the tallest of the lot turning his head slowly, his yellow eyes looking at me with fire around its iris and looking deeply into my soul…
The sound of drawn steel broke the visions and I was greeted to the sight of Kiba holding a sword up while some of the other occupants were up on their feet standing with a stance. I blinked and realised that I was up on my feet with the chair strewn on the ground, with the offending object on the ground, its glow slowly diminishing and eventually back to its original state.
"… That never happened before." Sona muttered as she looked at the evil piece while still seated on her chair. "I have never seen or heard such a reaction towards anyone in my life or the entire history."
"Yes, very interesting indeed." Rias who was still standing next to her mused while Akeno was by her side with electricity arcing from her fingers. She turned to me with a raised eyebrow. "Well you seemed to have recovered from that, so could you please keep the sword away?"
I blinked again in confusion at her words before realizing something was in my right hand. I looked to it for a moment, before letting out a word. "Oh."
In my grip, the runes on Lobera were glowing brightly while it was actively straining to leave my hand to cut down these creatures before me. The sword of Saint Ferdinand the third was a holy sword that I encountered during my trips to Spain, and its reputation of being a demonic slayer was certainly one to take note of. And unknown to the common folk, there was a very good reason why it was named 'Wolf-slayer', because in the past there was a magus who studied on Dead Apostles and lycanthropy, and at one point he decided that people would survived any catastrophes if they were no longer humans. He concocted a virus and injected it into a stray wolf that he caught, before releasing it into the nearby village, turning the inhabitants into raging werewolves within days. The old Association and the old Church worked together for that period to contain the situation while forging a sword that would be able to bypass their natural defenses. Soon after its completion, the man who would become the King of Castile took up the blade and singlehandedly went about killing off every single werewolf in his midst, eventually dealing he final blow to the creator who transformed into one himself. Due to its holy runes, it was extremely deadly to other demonic creatures.
And right now, I could feel its raging intent to cut off the heads of all the devils in the room.
"Calm down." I spoke to the blade while mentally projecting my thoughts to it. Slowly and somewhat reluctantly, the blade's glow receded to the runes before completely disappearing. I took a moment to ensure it was calm before cancelling the projection.
"Hmm, a holy blade of superior quality." Rias looked at me with that unusual smile and hawk-like attention. "A different blade from your fight with the Fallen, and also several demonic ones back then. You really are a mystery."
I ignored her and looked at Sona in the eye. "I am not sure what just happened, but I apologize for my actions." Sona studied my movements before bowing her head. "It is also my fault, I did not expect that the piece to react in such a manner." I bowed back before reaching to pick the chair up and put it back properly, choosing this time to stand. "Okay, before we got interrupted, was there anything else you wanted to add?"
"Yes." Sona let out a sigh while signalling to her members to stand down. "The Evil Pieces were designed to allow High-class Devils change other species into devils themselves, and have them as our servants."
"Servants?" My eyes narrowed on that word. Granted it was not the one I am deeply familiar with, but the manner she worded it… "You mean you enslaved them through their souls?"
"No, not like that!" Sona let out a panicked tone while acting flustered for the first time since the start of the conversation. "The purpose of the pieces isn't to create slaves, it was meant to increase our numbers. Although there are some who abused the system, we make sure to punish them severely and!"
"Stop." I held up a hand while taking a moment to take a deep breath to clear my head. That, and to control my intent to fill the room with sharp blades. "What you are essentially saying is that you guys would go about taking other creatures by converting them into devils while they are mostly on their last toes, so that you increase your numbers to possibly invade the human world."
"Wait that isn't!" I moved my hand towards Tsubaki who tried to speak up for Sona. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what she did to Ise?" I motioned to Rias while keeping a close eye on the others. Sona looked pained as she tried to explain out of the predicament. "Please understand Emiya-kun, but when the cease-fire was introduced, it was less of trying to increase our battle force, but more for the survival of the species. The only bits of conflict are from the Rating Games and they are generally harmless, not to mention…"
I returned the palm to her while closing my eyes to process the situation. I wanted to believe her words, I wanted to trust that she meant everything she said, but my experiences were a bitter reminder that for every silver lining, there was always a copper lining that gets twisted and destroyed. The idea of the devils increasing their numbers was bad enough, but the fact that they involved the ones I knew, how else should I react?
I think I should get a second opinion on this, and not from them.
"Don't mind me saying, but this conversation is over." I let down my hand and opened my eyes. "I will have to say no to join your groups and I will be taking my leave."
"Wait, you can't just get up and leave!" Momo spoke for the first time as she looked at me with agitated eyes. I merely turned around while avoiding contact with Reya and Tomoe. "I will not tell anyone about you, but no mistakes. I am not wanting to be with you guys for now, I am wasting enough time as it is. Time which could be better spent hunting down that creature Raynare." I made my way to the door, only to stop short of having a blade nearly piercing my neck.
"Sorry, but we can't let you leave." Kiba said coolly as he held the blade with one hand. Despite being roughly a head or two shorter than me, he was holding the blade with the ease of one who dealt with taller opponents. I ignored his words and looked at the sword, concealing a frown as I studied it. Appearance-wise, it was a thin blade with straight edges with no distinguishing markings apart from the golden hilt, but there was the distinct feel of demonic energy coming off it, not as potent as the ones I have though. Yet for some reason, I could not decipher its composition or its core. Unlike Gilgamesh's Ea, which caused me to have a splitting headache due to its composition of a fallen star, this one left me an odd feeling of 'emptiness', like it was missing a key piece of something to make it whole.
I would have to think about it later, right now I was feeling really pissed off.
"A demonic blade with a straight edge. Designed for quick slashes but relatively weak against stronger blade strikes, this blade is obviously meant for high speed hit and run." I turned my face slightly to see Kiba's surprised look. "So that is your weapon huh. That's cute." I pushed away the blade with my finger and continued to the door, before pausing and tracing Bakuya in time to block the blade aimed at my neck.
"You know, you are not exactly making a very good case if you wanted to invite me into your peerage." I remarked as I turned to face them. "Considering your actions, I am thinking of more extreme methods to refuse you, but considering we are in school, I will opt for less violent ones and just give you this warning. Do not do that again, understand?!" I let out a bit of my Prana into the room as I made my statement, flooding my intention to hurt them inside my Prana and spreading it in the room, causing a few loose objects to vibrate uncontrollably on the table. After a few lessons with Rin and Luvia, I had managed a rudimentary version of it that was effective enough for most magus.
After seeing them back away from me, I eased off on the Prana burst and made my way to the door, pausing halfway through the door. "For now, I will not attack you guys, but that does not mean we are friends just yet. There are still some questions I need answering, and I will find out my way." With that, I walked out of the room and closed the door, then slowly walked off while maintaining a strict vigilance in case they decided to attack or trap me with their magecraft. Well, that pretty much ended whatever possibilities of an alliance with them, unless something else turns up.
Whatever thoughts I had got interrupted as I felt a familiar pulse in my pocket. Taking a cautious gaze around me, I quickly went to a corner and pulled out the object in question to look at it. The Kaleido-Amulet that I had been hanging on all this time was glowing a little lightly, with small arcs of electricity coming off it. But even as I was thinking that it was fixed, the glow started to fade and eventually returned to its dull state.
That was… a little weird.
Sona let out a sigh as she watched the door close. At least there was no casualties involved, but sadly it seemed that negotiations failed. Granted, perhaps they should have handled it better, but she for one could not be certain what Shirou might do if forced into a corner.
But she was also a little scared at the odd hallucination she witnessed when Shirou was telling them to back off. For a moment, his figure was seemingly replaced with another figure of an older man with white hair and tanned skin, dressed in black clothes and donned a red cloak, with dark eyes staring at her like she was about to get stabbed by a thousand blades.
What was that?
"Well, I guess we blew that opportunity up." She turned to Rias who shrugged a little stiffly as she looked at the door attentively. "But I guess it helps to confirm one thing. He does not have a Sacred Gear."
"Yes, that is true." Sona forced her negative thoughts out of her head and concentrated on other details. The sword used to block Kiba's strike was clearly created using magic that she clearly had no knowledge. It resembled a lot like Kiba's Sword Birth, but his blades did not have the same feel of power as Shirou's, and from what she had seen with his fight with the Fallen Angels, it would appear that he could utilize blades that had both holy and demonic attributes far exceeding any she had felt thus far.
"So, do we consider him an ally, or an enemy?" Tsubaki asked with a frown. Sona paused while throwing a cursory glance at the two members who were looking a little despondent. She had to be a little careful in her words.
"It would be reasonable to say he is neutral for the time being." Sona replied as she restack her paperwork. "He is not too keen on us for the time being, due to his slight misunderstanding, but at the same time he is prioritising on the Fallen Angels based on their attacks on him and Hyoudou. So as long as we don't antagonise him, we should be fine."
"I suppose that would be the ideal position for him." Rias nodded as she turned to her group before pausing. "Yuuto-kun, what's wrong?" Rias asked Kiba who had an odd expression as he looked at the sword in his hand.
"I'm not sure." He replied slowly. "But Sword Birth was reacting to Emiya-san in a rather unusual manner this whole time."
"Well, when I was taking him here, Sword Birth was 'excited' to be in his presence. It makes me think of a child overjoyed to see his father after so long." Kiba explained as he continued to scrutinize the blade in his hand. "Then when he was leaving, I felt it pushing inside me, like it was reluctant to be away from him. And also…"
"And also what?" Rias prompted him to reply, who only responded by dismissing his blade and showing his hand to them, revealing angry burns on his palm.
"Apparently, Sword Birth does not want me to hurt him in any way." Kiba winced as the pain shot through his hand while he tried to flex his fingers.
"Hmm, that is unusual." Rias tilted her head at the implication while Akeno came forward to heal his head. Aside from the Longinus and other gears that had spirits or creatures stuck in them, ordinary Sacred Gears don't have any type of consciousness that would react to anyone outside of its area, more so in such a manner against its owner. She turned to Koneko who was still in her chair. "How about you, do you notice something odd about Emiya?"
"… Steel." Koneko replied softly as she got off lightly and walked to her.
"Steel?" Sona blinked at the random reply she gave.
Koneko nodded once. "There is a hint of steel around him." Sona and Rias exchanged a look between them, both thinking the same thing.
Shirou Emiya, a very interesting and scary individual indeed.
I sighed as I leaned back on the benches to stretch my back, absentmindedly waving back at the girls from track-and-field group as they ran past my spot. I tuned out their excited squeals and concentrated on the information I had gathered from Sona and Rias.
I was perhaps most surprised at the fact that there were FOUR SATANS running hell's affairs in this world, or that there was apparently a war between mythological creatures that came straight from the Bible. Oh, let's not forget, Devils apparently try to increase their numbers by means of converting the normal folk on their deathbeds.
And I could more or less guessed from her name, but Rias belonged to one of the 72 Demons based from Ars Goetia. But the fact that all of them were around and the amount of Prana leaking from them was quite substantial, that meant that my hypothesis was correct. This world was still at a time when the Age of Gods was still active.
It also compounded the fact that I was no longer in my home world, and that the craziness of this world has finally caught up with me. Oh joy.
With a sigh, I stood up and made my way to the gates just as someone grabbed my shoulder and forcefully turned me around. I immediately prepared the trigger in my head to project Kanshou in my hand, thinking that maybe the devils had resorted to option one after all. It was only seeing the offender's face did I stop short of cutting off the head.
"Shirou!" Issei shook my shoulders hard as he looked at me with very desperate eyes. "You remember Yuuma, right?!"
"Huh?" I could not help but stare at him blankly while trying to process the situation properly.
"Oh no, not you too! You gave me advice about my date with my girlfriend! And you fought her and the overcoat dude last night!" He demanded again while looking even more desperate.
"You mean the stripper lady who impaled you in the back on your first date?" I could only say the first thought that popped into my head after processing everything up to now. That definitely stopped the shaking of my shoulders, but it really shocked me when I saw his eyes starting to tear up uncontrollably.
"You do remember her! She is real!" He screamed in a Root be damned loud voice as he sobbed uncontrollably. I could only let out a light sigh and put a palm to my face.
This was going to be a long night.
"So all of that was not a dream?" Ise, as he had requested to be called, paled as he clutched the hot drink that I passed him. "I actually died last night."
"Sorry to break the news to you in that manner." I replied as I opened my can and chugged the contents down my throat. It took quite a while to get him out of the campus and calm him down considerably and it was really thirsty work.
"And you." He turned to me with an expression that clearly spoke of his confusion of his situation. "You are a wizard who saved my life?"
"Magus." I said again while wincing. Okay, I have to get that out of my system, it may not be helpful in this world. "And I only helped so much, my spells did not heal you the way I wanted them to."
"But magic can't be real." He said it a little forcefully as if to deny the abyss that was coming to him. With another wince, I brought up my finger and wrote something in the air. "Ansuz." A small flame appeared in my hand to illuminate the darkness around us.
"Holy Shit!" Ise jumped as he looked at the flame with wide eyes. It seemed that the final defenses of his sanity have been breached and he was now getting the actual situation.
"Yeah, magic is real. So are demons, devils, fallen angels, and other supernatural creatures." I extinguished the flame before looking at him straight in the eye. "Welcome to the Moonlit World."
"Moonlit World?" Ise asked as he sat back down heavily and looked at me unsteadily. It seemed the shock was too much for him and he was currently trying to grasp some lifeline to hold his sanity together.
"A nickname once used by my dad to describe the supernatural phenomenon normally hidden or kept hidden away from the normal people." I explained gently in the most detailed manner possible. "Typically it deals with creatures like ghosts, magus and other supernatural creatures, but also tends to include regular humans with unusual abilities or strengths."
"People like you and… her?" Ise asked with a hint of hesitation from the memory of his attack. That hesitation got my attention as I decided to get to the point. "This might seem unusual to ask, but what do you really remember about that night, and why were you asking me about my memories?"
Ise looked at his hands as if to check for feeling before closing them into fists. "It's just that no one seems to remember a thing about Yuuma! I even checked the school records, went to her classroom and asked everyone she bumped into, but all traces of her just disappeared, like she never existed in the first place. And something about me seems to be different. I mean I got stabbed, I should be dead in a pool of blood, yet I woke up in my bed with no wounds on me. I feel like I got sun-burn in the day, but I get stronger and faster when night comes. What is happening to me?!"
I frowned at his description of events as he took a few deep breaths to calm himself. This had espionage written all over it; back in my old world, the Enforcers or magus doing any work in any given area for an extended amount of time would first integrate themselves into the society, using magic and paperwork to ensure their activities were not discovered by the normal folk, then worked towards their target, be they Dead Apostles or Sealing Designates. Then after their target was captured or destroyed, they would simply destroy all records of them and employ memory wiping spells to clean up their tracks, occasionally removing other key personnel to ensure no loose ends.
That in turn would tie in what Ise had told me and the words that Raynare lady said to me. The fallen angel was targeting him specifically, and after killing him off, concluded her mission was complete and removed all traces of her existence to ensure she was not compromised. But considering I had interfered with that bit, chances were good that she may come after the both of us in the future, since I too was her target somehow.
But that did not help me in dealing with the second part of Ise's conversation.
It seemed that whatever this 'Peerage' was about, it involved converting a human into something similar to the undead, but with the mental state of a Dead Apostle. My stomach twisted at the idea while some of the swords in my reality marble started to get agitated at the prospect of taking down the possible creature in front of me. That meant that Ise was quite possibly turned into a devil without his consent or his knowledge, and he was now a damned soul who could potentially be called in to hunt others for similar reasons.
Maybe, just maybe, I would do him a service by ending his suffering right now. That way he would not be forced to enslave humanity and…
'Hmph, so for all your talk of heroism, in the end you cannot escape your fate.' A voice that I hated all too much echoed in the back of my head with that ever irritating tone of dismissal and smugness. Damn it, what should I do? I was supposed to be saving lives, but could I save one that was condemned in death?!
I looked at Ise again as he took another gulp of the canned drink that I handed him earlier. I got to think carefully about the choices I was about to make. This would determine how I would handle the situation from here on.
It was choices like this that made me suffer Rin's Gandrs and Luvia's extensive use of her wrestling moves, with the occasional wracking from Fuji-nee's Toraishinai.
"Ise." I called out to him, and he turned with a hopeful expression. My heart felt a little painful to see such an expression. "I am about to check your body, and I need you to keep still okay?"
"Uh, sure?" He replied uncertainly as I placed my hand on his chest where I remembered the wound was. "You might experience some momentary discomfort." I warned him before focusing my senses. "Trace On."
"Whoa?!" Ise shuddered slightly as I poured my Prana into his body and used Structural Analysis to check his body. Right there. The eight objects that I have detected earlier were still inside him, but they felt more 'complete', as if it had bonded with him over time. I also noted that a devil's body was apparently not too different from that of a human, apart from the increase in muscle mass and bone density. But one of the biggest differences was the presence of Prana Channels that started forming inside. He had a few poor-quality circuits inside, but that was still a jump from his old state of zero circuits.
But what really caught my attention was something that resided inside his left arm. I was not too sure what it was, but something about it felt both familiar and alien. What was it?
Something stirred inside me, like a creature sleeping deeply inside me was stirring, traces of its drowsiness starting to disappear as it struggled to wake up from its slumber. That was an unusual feeling and it did not help my uneasiness when I detected the 'thing' in his left arm was seemingly reacting to me in a similar way, like it was starting to wake up. Best to end it now.
I removed my hand and took a deep breath to calm my nerves. It was always an unusual feeling to check another body with my abilities, no matter how many times I had done it. But at least the feeling inside me stopped gently.
"Phew! That was an odd feeling." Ise shook his body slightly. "It felt like my body was getting tickled from the inside out." He turned to me with another hopeful expression. "So, did you find anything?"
"Something of sorts." I shook off the feeling that was in me. "It seemed that your body has most of the injury healed from your attack, and the side effects from the treatment was giving you the associated feelings you got at different times of the day."
"I see." Ise lightly clutched his chest with an expression of pain and uncertainty. "Then can you tell me about Yuuma?"
"She called herself Raynare when I found the both of you." I scratched the back of my head uncomfortably. "And in my line of work, other creatures do not use their real names when attacking normal folk or hunting others to ensure no one knows how to kill them."
"But why?" Ise started to get more hysterical. "She asked me out! I planned the date! We were happy! Then why did she have to kill me?!" It seemed he was still hung up more on the fact that he was killed in cold-blood by his date than the notion about Raynare being a non-human that targeted him and killed him.
I sighed heavily, feeling my mental age as I thought about my course of actions. Sometimes it was really tiring work to be a therapist of sorts, even if I absolutely sucked at it.
"Okay, for the time being, you might want to try your luck with another person for your answers." I told him as I stood up. "Try Rias Gremory, she might know something." That seemed to have temporarily knocked him out of his hysteria as he looked at me with a cursory eye.
"Rias Gremory, the top Onee-sama?"
… I'm not going to comment on the student body's choice of titles, and decided to concentrate on other bits. "She was the one who seemed to have saved your life during my fight, so she would be your best bet to get your questions answered."
Ise nodded as he stood up, his expression now replaced with a slightly more determined look on his face. "Okay, I will try to get some answers from her then."
"Hold on a minute." I stopped him from heading off in a hurry. "When you get your answers, mind telling me about it as well. I am missing a few pieces of the puzzle and I hate not knowing everything."
"Are you not coming with me?" Ise turned to me with a slightly disappointed note.
"Currently we had a slight miscommunication, and I feel there are some answers that only you should get alone." I replied to his query. "And I still have to find that girl before she attacks another." I added while feeling one of the feathers in my pocket. "So when you have your talk with them, clue me in on their matters."
"Okay then." Issei started to walk quickly before pausing for a moment. "And Shirou." He turned to me with a complex expression. "Sorry for wasting your efforts to protect me. I blew that up big time, huh?"
I looked at a moment before lighting shaking my head. This kid was really innocent at heart despite being a major pervert. "For now, I'm just glad you are safe. But make sure you don't get your ass in that sort of trouble again please?"
"Haha, I will try." Issei scratched his head while looking embarrassed. "See you around then!" I waved my hand back before walking off in the opposite direction.
I just hope I can get my answers soon.
As it were, it did not take too long to get some answers about the devils from Ise, as he came to me a couple of days later to tell me the details after school hours. That seemed to have sparked an unusual rumour among the student body about Ise trying to bring me over to the 'Dark Side', and the girls were particularly distraught about it, if their multiple attempts at dissuading me from meeting him or the constant screams of pain originating from the boy were of any indication.
Anyway, I got my questions answered from him, and it really got my head spinning to say the least. Apparently their methods of ensnaring humans were, well, more 'humane' compared to the Dead Apostles or other creatures of the night that adopted the policy of stealing a person's soul or sucking their blood dry and turning them into the undead. They actually encouraged them to give in to their desires more by offering them services to fulfil their wishes, thus forgoing the direct method of recruiting them.
Secondly, it seemed they used some form of chess as their basis for Peerages, each member being represented by a chess piece which designates both their role and strengths in combat. Ise was apparently designated the 'Pawn', the weakest of the chess piece and seemingly a position which left him in tears for a while. Ignoring his outburst for the moment, I asked him about the other positions that he could enlighten me about. Based on his descriptions, it seemed that the Devils followed a system rather similar to the Servant System from the Holy Grail War. A person being chosen for the Peerage would be given at least one of these pieces to be converted into a Devil, while gaining the traits based on the type used.
There was not much that I could learn, mostly due to his lack of understanding of the system, but also in part to his somewhat sheepish reluctance to tell me more. I chalked that up to Rias telling him not to give me too much info, which was logical since I was technically an unknown variable who could attack them if I knew about the enemy. I placated his worries and asked him about other matters, which was not much considering the mental state he was in.
In return, I told him what I could divulge regarding my search for Raynare. It was safe to assume that her injuries had prevented her from trying to target the both of us, considering we were both still intact with our limbs and no one had been trying to kill us. But I had been keeping track of any unknown occurrences in the town, and one thing I had noted was the odd number of murders that had sprouted for the past few days. With a hint of trepidation, I asked if he and the others knew about them. For his part, he only knew based from the official word from the police, and he was not sure if the others had known about it.
We did not talk much, since there was only so much we can both divulge about our work, and I could tell that he had yet to recover from his experience with Raynare. So we broke it off and went our separate ways.
It was roughly four days now since the attack and I was still no closer to getting Raynare in my grasp. I let out a light sigh of exasperation at the lack of progress I was having. Back in my old world, I had contacts whom I could trade information to get a general location of my target, but here in this world, it was non-existent. At this rate, I would not be surprised if Raynare recovered from her wounds and started trying to find me and Ise at this point.
Whatever thoughts I had got interrupted by the sounds of metal clashing and the scent of blood originating from one of the houses I passed by. As I turned to look, I could see dim flashes of light from one of the windows, before an object resembling a lamp crashed through it and hit the ground. I immediately dashed forward while readying the trigger in my head. Taking cover near the window, I peeked inside and frowned deeply.
It was a typical house with typical furniture, but a dead corpse hanging upside down was certainly not part of the typical décor. In the middle of the trashed living room, I found Ise clutching his leg that was bleeding badly, with the members of his group standing around him protectively while facing a white-haired boy dressed in pale priest clothing who was holding up a sword made of light and a silver gun. On the floor a few feet away from him, a blonde girl dressed in green clothing resembling a nun or one of the sisterhood was holding up a hand to cradle her cheek that was slowly swelling.
Kiba said something that I could not hear, but I could guess based on the reply by the other individual I do not know.
"Yeah, yeah! I'm vulgar! Sorry about that! That's because I stray away! I was kicked out! That's why, screw the Vatican! I'm all right as long as I get to cut Devils whenever I feel like it!" The white haired priest yelled while waving his sword and gun with a huge maniacal grin on his face.
Okay ~ another psycho in town. Oh Joy.
No matter, from the looks of the situation, this dude was the enemy who attacked Ise, killed the owner of the house, and hit the blonde girl to the ground. In short…
Time for me to go hunting. First, I need to separate that priest from the girl and Ise.
A quick projection saw him getting him hurled out of the house by a short blade dragging him out by the collar. Before he could recover, I rushed forward to try and cut him down, just to be stopped short of cutting his arm by his sword.
"Oh~ who are you? You are not a devil, yet you dare to attack me? You must be one of their pets that go scurrying around in the shithole they belong in! Allow me to end your pathetic existence by cutting off your head!" He gleefully screamed as he swung wildly to cut my limbs. I backtracked a little and readied my stance as he took his. This guy was definitely off his medication if he looked so happy in killing.
"Shirou!" I spared a quick glance at Ise who limped his way out of the house with the others following suit. He looked to be in bad shape with that wound on his leg; his face was sweating and paling from the loss of blood, and he was clearly panting hard from the exertion.
"Mind if I cut in?" I quipped as I stopped a strike from the priest and pushed back.
"By all means." Rias replied. "But I would appreciate if you could at least queue for your turn. I have a few words I like to say to that boy who was apparently handling my servant in such a rude manner." I got a chill down my spine when I heard the sharpness and coldness in her speech. She was pissed all right, with a capital 'P'. Guess she really did not like this guy who attacked Ise.
"Rias, I am sensing some Fallen Angels coming our way." Akeno alerted her with a big frown on her face. Rias paused as she took stock of Ise's injury, then with a grim look she turned towards me. "I understand that we have some bad blood between us, but in the current situation, we need to get Ise to safety and…"
"Go." I focused my attention on the guy as I answered. "Keep him safe then."
"Wait a minute! We can't leave Asia behind! We need to save her!" Ise argued as he attempted to move only to be held back by Kiba and Koneko while Akeno started to draw a magical circle in the air. Struggling futilely, he tried to reach out to the blonde girl who had a sad smile on her face. "ASIA!"
And with that, they disappeared in a bright flash of light, leaving me to deal with the priest and the blonde girl who started crying when Ise disappeared. "Ah damn it, they got away!" The boy cursed as he stared at the spot where they disappeared, before glaring at the girl. "And would you just shut up, you stupid girl?! Or would you rather I tear your clothes off and just screw you right here and now to shut you up!"
'Ching!' The blades shook slightly as my grip got tighter and I glared at the boy. Truthfully, I was a little put off by Rias who basically dropped her problems on me, but given what I have seen and heard, I was now feeling really happy that she left him all to me.
I was going to make him scream.
A quick step forward brought me right into his face and his brief moment of surprise was enough for me to cut off his left arm cleanly. "GAGH!" Freed clutched his stump in pain before looking at me with a distorted expression of pain and rage. "Oh, so the pet has some bite in him huh? Allow me to defang you, by pulling out all your teeth!"
I parried off his thrusts and slashes with some minor difficulty on my part; evidently he was a lot better at swordsmanship than I thought, and his loss of an arm was doing little to hinder his attempts at cutting off my head. Then without warning, a blur of blonde and green came between us.
"Mr Freed, please stop!" The girl named Asia spread her arms out with her back to me as she tried to dissuade the priest in English. "Please no more, I am begging you!"
"Get out of my way!" Freed snarled before raising his arm and knocking her to the floor, drawing a little blood from her blood as the result of using a lot of force. Okay, now he was really asking for it.
I pushed forward with my attack to get him further away from the girl, eventually finding an opportunity to kick him hard through a tree and into the fence. Now I could finish the job and…
The scent of blood and feathers was the only indication I needed to use Bakuya to shield myself before a light spear hit the ground and exploded right in my face, sending me crashing through the walls of the recently deceased owner. Pushing the debris off me, I briefly shook my head to rid myself of the dizziness before setting my sights on the new arrivals.
Great, that was so typical of my line of work. Oh Joy.
"Well, isn't this a pleasant surprise?" Raynare cooed as she dropped down on the ground and placed her hands on her hips, while her other companion landed next to her. Her companion was a woman arguably a little older than her, with long hair and a coat that left an opening at the top for her very abundant assets to be shown. Seriously, was every single female from the supernatural side born a supermodel or something? That had to be a limit to such a thing in this world?!
"I must be really lucky, I was thinking of finding you and failing your skin once I was done crushing every bone in your body." Raynare took steady steps while lightly swaying her hips. "But you save me the trouble of having to find you."
"Likewise." I replaced Bakuya before readying my stance. "I have yet to settle the score with you."
Rayanre chuckled as she gave an expression that was a mixture of sadistic pleasure and somewhat excited loathing. "In a way it is a shame that we are fighting each other, you are kind of my type, but I would find solace in reaping your soul."
"HEY, GET IN LINE LADY!" Freed butted into the conversation looking extremely ticked off. "I'm the one who is fighting him, so wait your turn!"
"Hmm... Is that so?" Raynare gave a mocking smirk as she looked at the state of his body, lingering on the stump where his left arm used to be. "Well I guess you would not need a 'hand' then?" She then turned to look at Asia who came into view, her expression of mocking amusement replaced with a frown of annoyance. "What happened to her?"
"TCH! The girl kept getting in my way when I tried to cut down the devils and this guy, so I knocked her around a few times." Freed replied lazily as he used his remaining hand to clean his ear with his pinky finger. "She just won't shut…"
Whatever thing he wanted to say got cut off as Raynare raised her arm and with a quick swing, slammed him with enough force to get thrown into the wall this time, causing the already unstable house to crumble and fall around us. "You damn fool! I have been tolerant with your attitude for a while now, but I will not do the same when it comes to your treatment to some of the females in this group!" Raynare hissed at him, before turning to a frightened Asia, her expression quickly replaced with that of almost humanly concern "He did not hurt you too much, did he?"
"Erm, no Miss Raynare." Asia bowed her head while trying to cover her bruises. Raynare just stepped forward and placed her hands lightly on her cheeks, cradling her face to look straight into her eyes. "Okay then, why don't we get you home and get those wounds tended to? You should not have any injuries on you. After all." She paused before continuing in a rather creepy undertone. "We can't have you injured before the ritual."
Crap, I do not like the sound of that.
"It is a shame, but I guess we would need to take a rain check, Shirou Emiya." Raynare wrapped her arms around Asia while her companion went to drag Freed by the collar and dragged him out of the rubble. "But rest assured we would meet again very soon."
Damn it! I jumped forward to reach out for the girl, but with a great flash of light, the group disappeared without a trace, leaving me grasping at air and in the middle of a wrecked battlefield.
I really hated this world big time.
Well that was a bit of a let-down.
I spent the next couple of hours trying to find traces of the priest and Raynare, and once again they managed to slip from my grasp. Seriously it was getting annoying trying to track them down. Still, as least I now got a break in my deadlock.
From what I gathered, the demented priest was working with Raynare's faction to go around killing off people that had some connections to the Devils via connections of summons or other deals. It seemed to be more of his personal issue when it came to cutting them or the Devils down with extreme glee.
I was however more worried for the girl. Judging from Ise's behaviour and the gestures made by the nun, she was one of the more innocent parties who had the misfortune of tangling with the wrong group of people, but at the same time she was apparently a key personnel that Raynare did not want anything to happen to her. I recognize her actions as one trying to procure an object of great power and importance from Asia, and the worst part was when Asia's role was complete, she would be considered 'expandable'. I would need to find them soon.
It won't be long now though, that much I was certain as I looked at the magic circle in front of me. The feathers and blood I had obtained from our fight was placed neatly in the center of the rune circle I had made with stones encircling them. On another table, a similar circle with the arm I obtained from the demented priest was glowing slightly as it try to find the boy.
Originally this spell was only meant to track targets using stones, but after extensive research and Rin's modifications, this spell could now detect any targets within 15 miles, even further if I had a sample of the target. I was very thankful that it was the weekend, so I should be able to find both Raynare and the boy with the spare time I had. Considering the information I got, either one would lead me to both of them.
Granted, the tracking spell was still a trial run since me and Rin did not get many chances to test this spell, and I could only make do with whatever I had, but it was more than enough to narrow down the possible spots. I even placed detection runes and Boundary Fields to restrict her movements and they helped significantly. The problem was trying to get an exact location; it would seem that Raynare got a place that was able to hide her presence and that interfered with my tracking spells. I needed something more concrete, I needed a secondary source of information, I needed…
I paused as I took a whiff of the air around me. There was a hint of feathers similar to that Raynare girl, but this was a different one altogether, and if I was not reading it wrongly, there were two of them.
Well, I think I know where to get that source of information.
Well, the process took more days than required, but I had done it. I was able to locate the area where Raynare was apparently hiding, and in hindsight I should have considered the possibility earlier.
I was currently at a relatively remote location where the only way to get this place was through a small path alongside the main road. In front of me a few metres was the only church in the town, and it was in some serious need of repairs. The tiles were falling off, the paint was peeling off the walls, and the vegetation around it was growing out of control.
It was also the location where that Raynare was hiding all this time. I guess the reason I did not associate this location with the fallen angel early on was because she was… well 'fallen'. One would think that an angel thrown out of the service of the Almighty would not be allowed to be in any of the metaphorical houses. Maybe it only works when the church was still active? From what I read up, this church has been abandoned for quite a few years now.
Nevertheless, I had finally found this place, no thanks to my location spell, the scents coming off this area, and a reliable source of information.
"Hey, did you not hear me?! I said let me go, you damn pervert! I have rights you know!"
… Make that a reliable and particularly loud-mouthed source of information.
I let out a sigh of slight irritation as I turned around to face a pair of angry blue eyes glaring at me with such intensity that if glares could kill, this one would most certainly do. The little spitfire who was defiant despite being tied up was the fourth Fallen Angel I had met so far, and she was also the youngest one. Short blonde hair tied in two ponytails, she was dressed in a Gothic Lolita costume with a large bow in front, a jewel at her collar, complete with thigh-high socks and black shoes. She was undoubtedly a beautiful girl in her own right, and quite possibly could grow up into a beautiful woman, but let's just say that her vocabulary for cursing was enough to make some of the fouled-mouth magus back home weep in shame.
After I had detected the scent, I went to investigate the area and stumbled onto her and another one of her associates. After a short struggle I was able to capture her relatively unharmed and asked her 'politely' to tell me the location where I could find Raynare. After confirming with my tracking spell, I brought her along to ensure she does not try anything funny. I have been holding her since and I was able to get more info out of her.
That said, I have been sorely tempted to clamp her mouth shut if not kill her on the spot. For one thing, I overheard her describing Ise's date with Raynare and his eventual death with particular relish and gloating how he bled out so slowly. Then to rub more salt into the wound, she was saying something about some new recruit that came into their area was to be sacrificed for some ritual. And considering what had happened thus far, I could make a guess to the identity of the new recruit.
That prompted me to leave my covering and attacked her and her companion on the spot. I managed to injure the other one deeply, given the amount of blood spouting from her arm, and used that as a complementary object to confirm my bearings.
"As much as I would love to let you go, considering the track record you guys have for stabbing people, I would have to hold off on that." I remarked dryly as I looked back at her with a cool gaze. "Also, considering your circumstances, I would say it would be more preferable for you to stay alongside me."
"Oh, and how may I ask?" The girl narrowed her eyes as she asked.
"Hmm, let's see. You got caught by the enemy, interrogated by the enemy, and then lead said enemy to your stronghold of sorts." I raised a finger for every point I made. "Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised that they would consider you a liability and just cut you down where you stand." The sight of her going pale made me feel a little guilty at the slight pleasure derived from that expression.
I seriously blamed Archer for this.
"Shirou?" I stopped for a moment before turning around to see Ise coming up along the path followed by Kiba and Koneko close behind. He stopped in front of me and grabbed his knees as he panted hard while sweating. It seemed that he came here running at full sprint and in great urgency.
"Shirou Emiya." Kiba greeted me as he came within speaking range. "Unusual to see you here." He asked while looking at my prisoner with an expression of curiosity and interestingly enough, a fair amount of hatred. It seemed that he and the girl did not hold much of a grudge against me for the other meeting, considering their stances.
"I was trying to find the bird lady that attacked Ise, and I tracked her to this location." I tugged at the rope holding the girl. "With a little bit of help from her."
"Great!" Ise seemed to have caught his breath enough to speak, as he stood up and looked at me with a somewhat agitated face. "It is a good thing that you are here, because we need your help to save Asia!"
"Asia?" I frowned as I recalled a little incident before scoping the area. "So it was the girl I saw when I arrived. She was being forced inside by that weird boy in the priest clothing."
"You have seen her?!" Ise grabbed my shoulders and stared with such intensity that I had to grab his arms and forced them off me to get some breathing room.
"I could tell you that there are a few guards keeping watch, and I had caught sight of at least two other Fallen Angels." I started my explanation. "I counted at least twenty priests in dark clothing inside. Also, I peeked through the windows and saw some of them going down a small stairway under the alter, supposedly to an underground basement with the girl. The demented boy stayed behind in the foyer. Judging from his attitude and the manner he ordered everyone around, he would be the one dealing with the security work and the first problem to deal with."
"That is… more information than expected." Kiba remarked before smiling. "You have done this before?"
"Well, this would have to be my first Fallen Angel opponent I'll be facing, otherwise it is a regular walk in the park for me." I shrugged while trying to ignore the feeling of exuberance that had come about since the attack. I guessed the swords in me were happy that I was now back on the battlefield again.
"Let's get going already!" Ise turned to run towards the church head on.
"Hold on one second, I just got one more thing to do." I stopped him before turning to my prisoner. "You stay put here, you will be safe."
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" She yelled at the top of her voice and making my ears ring slightly. "What the heck type of person are you, huh?! You ought to be grateful that I helped your ass, you stupid piece of!"
"Stille!" I muttered as I touched her forehead and enjoyed the sight of her trying to yell something only to realise that no voice was coming out of her mouth. Man, it took me a long time to perfect that spell, and it was utterly satisfying to finally use it on her. She was really driving me nuts with that voice of hers.
"A silencing spell?" Kiba asked as I proceeded to tie her to the nearest tree and placed an invisibility spell on her. "I don't recall one that is that effective." I merely offered a smirk that made me feel I was replicating Archer's. Damn it.
"Let's go!" With that, we all went straight to the church, with me noting that the other two were able to catch up even when I reinforced my legs. Guess that must have been due their bodies being enhanced as devils.
"So, how do you want to do this?" I asked as we got closer. "Do this the slow but safe way by the back door, or go in guns-blazing through the front door?" Everyone else just sped up towards the church doors with determined faces.
"Guns-blazing it is then." I projected a small dagger and poured s bit of Prana inside. "Allow me to start the fireworks." With that, I shot the blade towards the door and used Bakuya to block my eyes. "You might want to cover your eyes." I warned the others I stopped just a few metres away from the door. Their questioning gazes got their answers in the form of the church doors exploding loudly.
"WHAT THE FU?!" I heard someone shout as Kiba sped up and entered the church through the smoking doorway. I went in second and found myself in the midst of an epic sword fight unfolding in front of me, where Kiba was actively clashing against the demented priest with his sword and speeds which I could barely keep track with my eyes.
"FREED! Where is Asia?!" Ise yelled as a red gauntlet appeared on his left arm and he clenched his fists hard.
"Well, how do you like that, it is the same shitty Devil from before?! And the shitty wizard swordsman who cut off my arm!" Freed gleefully swore as he easily parried blades with Kiba despite having one arm. "Normally Devils would die on the spot when I cut them into pieces, I'm that strong! But you are alive, that's no good, that disrupts my style~ so I should kill you over and over! And for you bloody wizard, I should carve your body up into tiny bitty bits and feed you to the pet monsters we have!"
Seriously, were all the villains in this world this foul-mouthed, or was it just my E-Rank luck that I kept meeting these types of people?
A groaning sound drew my attention to the left side of the church, and I could not help but gawk at the little girl lifting a church pew that was at least five times her size as if she was lifting a pillow. "Get smashed." She said flatly before throwing it hard at the guy, who nimbly dodged it in the nick of time, before getting overwhelmed by Kiba using a sword made seemingly of dark energy that ate away at the light energy and then getting punched hard by Ise.
Seriously, I really need to read up on their system.
"Damn it, I am getting beaten up by some shitty Devils?! This is not happening!" Freed staggered as he wiped the blood off his mouth. "Enough stalling, what are you doing with Asia?!" Ise growled as he came stomping towards him with the jewels on the gauntlet glowing brightly.
"Fine, guess it won't hurt too much since you are going to see her die anyway." Freed sneered as he looked at him. "Just head down the stairs behind the alter, if you hurry you might be able to catch her screaming her lasts bits of life."
"Why you!" Ise raised his arm to punch him, only to stop when I placed my blade in front of him. "Shirou, what are you doing?"
"Go save her." I kept my eye on Freed as I talked. "She does not have much time, and that time could be used better to get to her." Ise alternated his looks between him and me, before growling in agreement. At least he understood the consequences of the situation. "The both of you should also go with him, there were a few guards around when I came." I glanced at the other two devils.
"Are you sure of that course of action?" Kiba narrowed his eyes at the priest who just stuck out his tongue at him. "We should get rid of him now."
"You don't need to worry about that." This time, I gleefully let out a smirk that Archer would be proud of without restraint. "Last time I was interrupted by Raynare, this time I am going to finish the job properly."
"Shirou…" Ise said a little unsteadily at the implications of those words. I decided to adopt a gentler expression and placate him. "Don't worry, I got this. Go and be the hero who saves the princess in distress." That seemed to reassure him enough to put on a determined expression and made his way to the hidden staircase. "Make sure you stay alive after this, Shirou!"
"Don't worry, I intend to." I readied my stance as Freed stood up himself. Now that they were gone, I can finally concentrate on completing the task at hand.
"Oh, so the little doggy of the devils decided to play with me all on his own? All right, I will play with you, by cutting off your limbs first!" Freed jumped forward and swung his blade hard, then quickly throwing a kick to my abdomen when I blocked his blade, forcing me back into one of the pews and making me dodge in time to avoid his blade cutting me in half, bifurcating the pew in the process. I retaliated by throwing in a feint of attacking his neck, and then using the other blade to slash his side.
"Damn you!" Getting a bit of distance from me, he stabbed the blade into the ground and reached for his gun, firing off a few rounds as he tried to regain his footing. I nimbly parried the bullets as I rushed forward, then with a quick swing, I rendered his weapon useless by cutting off the gun barrel.
"Tch!" Freed threw the remains of the gun at me and grabbed his sword to try once more at killing me. By this point it was clear that he was getting extremely impatient at me and just wanted to end it all. Well, if he wanted to end it quickly, I shall oblige.
And it seemed that Lady Luck was on my side tonight.
"HAHA! Got you now!" Freed parried my blades and aimed the tip at my head when his body suddenly stopped, the momentum forcing him to lurch forward and missing me by a mile. A quick snap of my fingers brought down blades taller than him to surround him, the edges threatening to cut into his flesh if he so much as moved from the spot. "Why can't I move damn it?!" Freed struggled to move his body as best as he could between the giant blades. As a reply, I pointed to the ground next to him, where a thin black blade was impaling his shadow into the ground.
It seemed that the explosion I made earlier damaged the structure even further, widening the gaps already present in the roof enough to let moonlight through, casting its rays inside and giving me the opportunity to restrict his movements.
"The hell type of blade is that?!" He demanded while looking extremely pissed. "That, my very demented friend, is a Black Key." I walked forward to look at him with a straight eye. "This little fellow allows me to restrict your movements via a special rune that acts as a binder on your shadow, essentially trapping you where you stand. Ideal for taking down demons, but works just as well for trash like you." With a quick hit from Bakuya, Freed's blade flew out of his hand and landed a few feet away, the light getting extinguished while leaving behind the handle. "Any last words?" I raised Kanshou steadily as I aimed for his neck. Freed took one look at me before yelling out in frustration.
"Not fair, you damn shit~!"
With a light swing, his head hit the floor and rolled towards the entrance, his expression of rage and pain permanently stuck on his face, while his body collapsed to the ground without anything to support it. I took a moment to catch my breath, then uttering a fire spell, set fire to the body parts while containing them within a barrier to avoid the wood from being set ablaze.
Right, what was I supposed to do again? Oh yeah, saving the damsel in distress.
I swear, what was it with villains and their obsession with dark basements that could only be accessed by a very long and narrow flight of stairs? It was taking up a lot of my time to get down to this damn level! If I ever met its architect, I was so going to introduce my version of Gandr to his face.
I took a moment to catch my breath before making my way towards the source of light in front of me. I could hear a fair bit of commotion through the door from which the light was coming through, guess that meant Ise and the others managed to get down here to wreck some havoc on Raynare. I peeked through the door to assess the situation.
In the centre of the relatively spacious basement, Kiba, Koneko and Ise were duking it out with a group of people dressed in more unusual church clothing similar to Freed's, each one wielding a similar blade of light of varying colours. At the far end of the room, atop a very tall podium, I spotted the girl dressed in a very thin undergarment and tied to a wooden post with several stone-faced priests standing in a circle, chanting something remotely Latin in a monotonous tone. Next to them was Raynare who was looking on at the scene with a somewhat smug expression, as if everything was going to plan.
"Asia!" Ise yelled as he attempted to push forward to the girl only to be held back by more priests blocking his way. He was clearly getting desperate at trying to get to the girl, and it only pissed me off more that the humans around the girl were the ones actively hurting her.
"You are too late!" Raynare proclaimed while opening her arms in a triumphant gesture as Asia started to scream with her body glowing brightly. "Now it is mine to bear!"
Oh no you don't!
"Trace Bullet, Continuous Fire!" I sent out a barrage of blades to take down the priests performing the spell before sending a few at the ones surrounding the devils, giving them a clear shot at the podium. "NOOO!" Raynare let out a frustrated scream as the glowing diminished and Asia slumped down unconscious, the rising and falling of her chest revealing that she was still alive. This was a good time to press forward. I pushed through the door and onwards to the podium, taking down those who managed to avoid the fatal strikes to their bodies.
"You again!" Raynare glared at me with a lot of venom in her eyes. "How many times are you going to interfere with my plans, you damn human?!"
"Shirou!" Ise let out a surprised but happy tone as I drew near him and the other two. I took a brief glance to calculate the distance between us and the podium. A little far to get there even if I were to reinforce my legs, I would end up being a big target for Raynare and a couple of the priests at the podium.
But a good throw might do the trick.
"Better clench tight, Ise." I dismissed one of the blades in my hands and reinforced my arm. "Huh?" His confused expression was all over his face at my random message. My only response was to grab him by the waistband, lift him up and threw him as hard as I could at the podium.
"WAHH!" He yelled almost hilariously as he sailed above the battlefield and towards the blonde nun. I immediately projected two daggers and directed them at the remaining two priests, stabbing them in the heart and killing them instantly, before grabbing one of the other blades stabbed in the ground and throwing that Raynare, narrowly missing her head and distracting her enough to let Ise get back on his feet, free Asia from her bounds and escaped with her. "Go on, we will cover you!" Kiba called out to him as he took down two other priests with that dark blade of his. Ise nodded and made his way back to the church upstairs through the doorway.
"Damn it all!" Raynare glared at us, or more specifically me, with a lot of rage in her eyes. "I will deal with you runts later, I got a brat to catch!" And before any of us could react, she disappeared in a pillar of light and feathers.
Seriously, I should consider using or finding a Noble Phantasm that would allow me to disrupt teleportation. Maybe Gae Dearg ought to do the trick?
Whatever the case, I would have to consider that later. She was clearly going to finish off Ise, and finish whatever she started with Asia. I would need to take a shortcut upstairs then.
"I will be leaving the clean-up to you both." Before Kiba and Koneko reacted to my answer, I quickly sent a blade to the ceiling to blast out a hole, before using my reinforced legs to jump up high and grab the ledge, using the momentum to pull myself out of the hole and back to ground level.
Damn, if I knew how much faster it was to get here, I would have blasted the floor a long time ago and not waste time running my ass down the damn staircase.
"Shirou!" I turned to find Ise lightly cradling the nun who was lying down on one of the few standing benches. "She is not waking up, and I do not know what is wrong with her!" I quickly made my way to them, bending down on one knee to examine the girl. She was clearly worst for wear; she was heavily breathing and there were a few beads of sweat going down her pale face. I quickly used Structural Analysis on her and found her organs were barely functioning enough to keep her alive. Whatever was wrecking her body was really doing a number on her, and the possibilities were high that she may not last very long.
"Ah, what a pity for Asia." I and Ise turned to find Raynare standing with her arms clasped together and an expression of mocking sympathy. "She would have had a quick death if you did not interrupt the ritual. Now she would have to suffer as her Sacred Gear struggles to decide who the real owner is of it."
My confused thoughts on her words got answered as she raised a hand and placed it in her wounds, a brief glow of green appearing on one of her fingers as her wounds disappeared before my eyes. "Ah, how beautiful it is. Even if it is just half of its power, it is more than enough to bring me back to health!" She exclaimed with great relish. "Once I get the other half of Twilight Healing, I will finally be able to become a High-Level Angel, and maybe he would see me properly!"
Oh great, so this girl was not only the loyal type, she was also the 'obsessive love' type for her leader. I ignored that for the moment and checked Asia once more, this time noting a similar glow on her right hand, the light coming from the gem of a simple ring on her fourth finger. That must be the Sacred Gear I had been hearing for quite a while, and from what I could tell, the binder to her soul. So the ritual was to transfer the Sacred Gear from one person to another, killing the original owner in the process.
I was starting to miss the old crazy magus back home.
Okay now I got to figure out how to keep her alive. It looked like she was about to take her last breath soon and none of the healing Noble Phantasms I have would be able to help her, not even the Staff I used on Ise. Unless…
I paused as I considered the course of action. I did have one that could help in this situation, but I really did not like the implications of revealing such a hand in this area so early into any situation. If I let it out, anyone who laid their eyes on it would start asking a lot of questions, and it was those type of questions that led to my status as a Sealing Designation.
"Damn you Yuma!" Ise clenched his fists and gritted his teeth as he looked between her and Asia with eyes that were brimmed with rage and despair, tears threatening to run from them. One look at him was enough to make my decision.
Screw secrecy, I was going to save this girl.
"Ise, go get her. I will help Asia." I said as I started to gather whatever available Prana I had in my circuits to pull out the item in mind. Ise turned his head in a blur, his face holding an expression of fearful hope. "Really, you can save her?!"
"Ha, don't bother mortal." Raynare dismissed my claims with a wave of her hand. "No spells you can use would save her this late in the game."
Oh is that so? Well then, sorry to disappoint you. I extended a hand towards Asia and closed my eyes, getting the mental image of the object in my mind.
"I am the bone of my sword."
The circuits in my arm flared up and travelled down to my hand, the 'Od' inside me being pulled out and manipulated to form the outline of the object in question.
"Steel is my body, fire is my blood."
In my mind, the image of a golden sheath with ornate designs appeared, the ideal of protection for the user.
"I have created over a thousand blades."
And after that image, the brief memory of 'her', standing with her head up high, her sword supported by her hands and resting on the ground, her sights set on the goal at hand.
The Prana in my hand burst in a bright radiance, receding after a few seconds to reveal the golden sheath that would bestow all with protection and heal any type of wounds and grievances. One that would certainly do the job properly.
"What?!" Ise gasped as he stared with an open mouth at the copy of Avalon. Even Raynare seemed to have been struck dumb by the brilliance of the sheath and looked at it with the type of terrified reverence that one would associate as a devotee meeting his god face to face. I ignored their reactions and placed it on Asia, pouring in whatever Prana I could spare for the healing process. The effect was immediate, as Asia took in a deep breath and started to breathe normally, and the paleness seemed to recede almost completely. Her organs too were now getting healed back into optimal form and keeping her stable.
"She's alive!" Ise cried out loud with a note of happiness evident. It was a bit of a shame to have to put a damper on it.
"Ise, hate to rain on your parade, but this is somewhat temporary." I told Ise as I focused my attention to regulating the Prana. "This is only a copy, so I can only maintain her state for a while. She can be brought back to full health if we can get back whatever the Fallen Angel had taken from her." I looked at him in the eye to dispel any interruptions he might be thinking to say. "Right now, my hands are tied trying to keep her alive, so it will be up to you to take down Raynare and get back this Sacred Gear of hers." I paused before continuing. "And I believe you too have some unfinished business to handle with her, so let it all out."
Ise took a glance at me before looking at Asia who was now breathing a little lighter. With the clenching of his fists and a deep breath, he nodded at me and stood up to face Raynare. "Please keep her safe, Shirou."
"Leave her to me." I flashed a smile before dropping it. "Give the lady hell."
"Oh surely you jest." Raynare chuckled as she recovered from the shock of seeing Avalon. "A mere low-level Devil who has a sorry excuse of a Sacred Gear that only doubles the power of the user, beat me, a mid-tier Fallen Angel from Grigori? Hah! This would be a quick one. You on the other hand." She looked at me and the object in my hand. "You are an unusual variable that cannot be overlooked any more. Weak blades like that of Sword Birth are one matter, but your blades that contain such holy and demonic attributes are a totally different matter. Not to mention your unusual talent in the magical arts and that sheath. You are not a user of a Sacred Gear, but you skill-sets are too dangerous to be left alone." She paused as she gave a light frown at the hand that held the ring she took from Asia, its glow notably getting dimmer. "And I can't have you healing the girl, otherwise I cannot truly attain Twilight Healing."
Thank goodness the both of us were paying attention, because she decided to spray the area with a large number of light spears in an attempt to kill us both. Ise jumped to the nearest pillar to avoid getting skewered, while I summoned a few shields and blades to block off the attacks. It seemed that even half of the Sacred Gear's power was enough to boost her own reserves to an absurd amount, if she could create this many spears at once.
I seized the moment she held off on her attack to send a couple of mine at her, exploding them in her face to distract her long enough for me to move Asia away from her and to an area that had more protection. Raynare's second attempt to snipe us got interrupted when Ise rushed out from his cover and laid a punch right in the stomach.
"Not this time, Raynare! Now I will settle the score with you!" Ise grabbed Rayanre and pushed her further into the room for them to fight in. That definitely caught her attention, as she struggled to get away from his grasps while shouting something along the lines of 'a swine daring to call her name so easily.'
Whatever the case, I ignored them and turned back in time to find Asia trying to open her eyes and said something. "Issei-san?"
"Hush child." I told her gently while easing the flow of Prana into her body. "Ise is fighting to save your life, so save your strength and get better, okay?" Asia turned her head slowly to look at me with unsteady eyes.
"Who ~ you?" She let out a light wheeze as she tried to speak.
"A friend." I gave that reply. "Don't worry child, I and Ise will save you."
"M~ my lord?" Asia muttered softly before closing her eyes again. Man she must be really out of it if she was saying things like that. Better focus on the healing process. But it was just as well that I kept my senses focused, because I nearly did not notice the scent of sweetness amidst the commotion. But considering the lack of ill-intent towards me, I let it go with a warning. "Not now, I am trying to save her!"
"Goodness me, someone is a little tensed." Rias let out a good-natured pout as she came from behind, followed shortly by Akeno, Kiba and Koneko. She looked over my shoulder to look at the girl in question. "She seems to be doing fine, considering the ritual meant to remove her Sacred Gear got interrupted." She then let out a confused frown at the sight of Avalon in my hand. "I guess it is thanks to this object, but this is unusual. I am sensing holy energy, yet we are not affected or harmed by it. And it is not a Sacred Gear." Even at my position, I could feel Rias giving me a very thoughtful gaze. "Honestly, who are you, Shirou Emiya?"
"Someone who is trying to save the girl's life." I muttered as I noted with slight trepidation that the healing process had already repaired her body, but she was still in a state just short of being in a coma. It seemed that healing her physical state was not enough, she needed her gear to be together to be fine. "Why aren't you going to help Ise?"
"I believe the answer is the same reason you let him fight on his own." Rias replied as she stood up straighter. "It would be best for the child to confront her himself in order to move on from his past." I could only sigh inwardly in agreement. It would be a long time coming, but if Ise could deal with Raynare his own way, he might get a chance at having some normalcy in his life.
"I think he is done now." Akeno remarked as they started to move from their spot, with me lightly carrying Asia and following them. The scene before me resembled a lot of my fights in the past, with the better part of the church completely wrecked and Ise panting like he had ran a marathon. A broken window and the trail of destruction leading to it gave me the clue that Ise gave Raynare a heck of a punch to knock her outside.
One thing that definitely changed was the weapon he had. I only caught a glimpse from earlier, but I recalled it only covering his forearm and the back of his left hand; now it was covering them with dragon-like scales and talons at his finger-tips, with glowing markings and gems lighting up the area. I looked away to avoid analysing it, I did not need something foreign to distract my concentration to heal Asia.
"Buchou? Why are you here?" Ise asked with a notable tone of surprise.
"I did say I have other matters to look into." Rias replied as she motioned Koneko to the broken window. "It just so happened I was looking into the actions of the Fallen Angels recently."
'That explains some things.' I thought while putting Asia on the nearest pew as Koneko was about to pass me, likely to retrieve Raynare from outside. A though came into my head and I knelt down in time to whisper something into her ears. For a moment she paused to look at me, before giving me a simple nod and continued to go outside. A few seconds later she came back dragging Raynare by her wings. "I brought it." She somehow managed to say it really flatly as she dumped her on the ground like a sack of rocks and Akeno summoned a ball of water to splash her face.
"Grigori's Angel Raynare." Rias drew a stern expression at her as she looked down from her standing point. "It seems that you have been quite busy in my area recently."
"Hmph. If you think that you got me, you're gravely mistaken" Raynare had spunk all right, that much I would give, but mouthing off to someone while looking like she had went a few rounds with Mohammad Ali was clearly not a clever move, something that Rias seemed to have a counter for with particular relish, as she deliberately drew out a few feathers of different colours and held them out for Raynare to see. "Fallen Angel Kalawana and two other low tier Fallen Angels have been dealt with. They were particularly overjoyed at the prospect of boasting their plans when I asked them as a last favour to them. After that, I dealt with them personally." She released the feathers to let them fall to the ground, and from where I was looking, Raynare was viewing them as iron bars clamouring to her doom. "It seemed that you have been moving around without Grigori's permission, and so I am well within my rights to eliminate you for trespassing. You are now the last one left."
Rayanre looked around in frustration before setting her eyes on Ise. "To think that a mere low-level Devil would take me down with such a useless gear…"
"Ah, for that matter you are gravely mistaken." Rias interrupted while taking a cursory glance at the gauntlet. "What you thought was Twice Critical is actually something more. Specifically, one of the Longinus that has the ability to take down Gods, the Boosted Gear of the Red Dragon Emperor."
'Longinus?! DRAGON?!' My head snapped to the gauntlet that Ise was gawking at. That explained the odd feeling I had when I examined his body, and now that I was examining it, I could definitely feel the power radiating from its jewels, and I was honestly a little terrified that it had the power to take down Gods.
And Rias said it was one of them, how many precisely?
"Now that is settled, it is time for you to kiss your ass goodbye." Not knowing my thoughts, Rias held out her hand and summoned a ball of dark energy that immediately set off every single alarm bell in my head to get away. At least I found out the origins of the scent of nothingness, because that power was seriously 'empty' in feeling.
"Could you hold off on the attack for a moment?" I came forward and faced Rias. "I still have some unanswered questions that I need to be resolved."
"Fine." She raised an eyebrow at my request. "Better make it quick though." I nodded before turning back to Raynare.
"Do you really think I would answer to a mere human like you?" Raynare asked in the ever haughty tone of hers. Too bad for her I got a counter ready for that.
She screamed while clutching her hand that was reintroduced to my Black Key, all while being subdued by others pinning her shadow into the ground. This time I loosened my concentration and let the blade spread its influence on her hand, darkening her skin and spreading up her arm and stopping just short of reaching her neck. That ought to be a good motivation for her now.
"I have some questions regarding your orders to hunt us." I made sure to use my full height to my advantage and loomed over her. "One of your own, the blond angel girl, said that you called them out to help you in this mission to find Asia and Ise, before killing them and taking their gears. Now that I heard the story from Rias, it does answer some questions, but that opens up something else."
"Mainly, the part of regulating orders."
"What is the problem with that?" Ise asked as he looked between the two of us.
"Because on my way here, I encountered another Fallen Angel, and the reply I got was really different from the blond." I lightly tapped the Black Key to send minor jolts of pain as a reminder. "One thing I had noted was the fact that the older ones knew that you were going against the orders of your superiors to kill Ise and Asia, and that attaining their Sacred Gears was something not even approved by them."
"That is a lie, it is just AHHHHHH!" Raynare screamed suddenly as the Black Key in her hand started to vibrate hard and the scriptures on it started to glow a menacing red.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you, this little fellow hates liars, so it tends to get a little edgy when even a little white lie is told." I gave that lie with a straight face as the blade stopped moving and she panted hard to control her pain. The truth was the Black Key was extremely sensitive to anything remotely evil in nature and intent, so it did not care whether she was telling the truth or a lie, it just wanted to destroy her. And I underestimated how much the Black Key really wanted to kill her and thus did not hold off enough of its effects.
But I guess that little slip-up did the trick.
"Okay! You are right, I and the senior members partaking in this mission know what is really going on!" Raynare wailed as she tried to use her Prana to stop the progress of the Black Key's destruction of her arm. "Mitelt was the only one I lied to about this operation! I told her that this was something that the higher-ups were worried about, and that they wanted us to kill them!"
"But you couldn't do so without them realising, you needed a distraction of sorts. That was when I came in right?"
"When Lord Azazel informed me about you as a possible target, I realised that was the only chance we could get to take them both out and possibly take both if not one of their Sacred Gears!" She spat that bit out with a hint of spite in her tone. "So in that manner, I could deal with the both of you by monitoring both sides while moving to secure Twilight Healing."
"Then why do you need Twilight Healing?"
"Because of its abilities to heal you dolt! I could become a High Level Angel with its power, and besides no one would miss a girl who was excommunicated from the church for healing a filthy devil!" Raynare gave that reply in an angry tone. I turned to look at the blond girl who still on the pew breathing lightly. From the little I have seen and what I knew of Ise's character, it would seem that this girl was one of the nicer folks around here, and the gentleness may have goten used by someone.
"One last thing, and this is something I wish to confirm from you guys as well." I turned to face Rias who have been looking on with a thoughtful look, not the least disturbed by the swords around us. "Is it possible for a Fallen Angel to ascend back to Heaven and be a True Angel again if it commits an act of good?"
"What are you talking about?" Rias frowned at my question. "It is impossible to do so, once an Angel commits an act of sin and casted out of Heaven, that Angel is forever banished from the Sky and made to traverse the world with blackened wings as a sign of its sin. No amount of good deeds can allow it to go back home." She looked to Raynare with narrowed eyes. "Ah so that was how you convinced the other one then."
"I thought so." I turned back to find a really pale faced Raynare sweating like she had ran a marathon. "From what that woman said, it seemed that you tricked the little one into thinking that completing this mission would allow her to go back to Heaven, and I'm guessing the others were being misled to some extent as well?"
"Tch!" Raynare looked at me before grimacing as the Black Key started to get agitated from her rage. "Yes, I lied to Mitelt about the prospect of returning to Heaven. That girl fell from grace a few centuries ago and yet she still had delusions about returning to be alongside the Angels who would not even bat an eye at us. Heck, why would she want to give up all this freedom?! Freedom to properly choose, freedom to do whatever we want, and not having to care whether we could fall at any point in time?!" Her answer got pretty heated as she expelled all her frustrations from her heart. "And those guys, HAH! They actually believed that by getting the Twilight Healing, they themselves could become High Level Angels. The only way that can happen would be to have them sacrificed to properly force the gear to recognise their injuries and push itself into Balance Breaker in order to attain that power, which as you can see, I am the only one who can use it. So all of them are fools for my use!"
For a moment, everyone paused and gave her a glare of contempt, then the silence got broken when I let out a quiet laugh. It was a normal laugh, but the setting made it sound eerie enough that the Devils and Raynare were looking at me with slightly disturbed eyes. "What is so funny?!" Raynare demanded while looking at me like she was seeing a facet of what I could become.
"Oh? I just figured that your answer was most typical of villains." I stood up before turning my head to the opening while muttering a command. "Well, there's your answer, so what do you wish to do?"
"What?!" Raynare turned her head only to lightly gasp as the invisibility spell I placed on the young angel earlier fell apart to reveal the pale face of one betrayed by someone she trusted. I asked Koneko to bring the girl in so that I could see both their reactions while I questioned Raynare's faith in her crew. And much of what I thought was true regarding the young one called Mitelt; that despite her cruelty, she was still a naïve young girl at heart, and I felt a little disgusted at myself for using this method to reveal the truth.
"Mitelt! Save me!" Raynare cried out to the girl while stretching her arm out in desperation. But the blonde haired girl took a step back with an expression of betrayal and anger.
"You said that we were under orders to take the gear from the girl, you said that the girl and the boy were enemies to Lord Azazel!" Mitelt said it through clenched teeth. "You said that we could be forgiven and that we could go back home!"
"T~ this human tricked me! He is lying!" Raynare pointed at me in anguish as she tried to salvage the situation. "We are given orders by Azazel to take them down, and we can go back to Heaven! We just need to join forces and…"
"No!" Mitelt covered her ears and knelt down, shutting herself out of the world with her wings. "You were always like this, I don't want to hear your lies anymore! Just leave me alone!"
"Well, too bad for you, to be abandoned by your own due to your lies." Rias raised her ball of dark energy again. Raynare panicked and turned to Ise once again. "Issei!" My guts twisted slightly at hearing her voice changed back to the innocent girl on her date. "Please save me from the evil Devil! Together we can defeat her!"
Ise took a step back while having an expression of sorrow, disgust, uncertainty and painful regret. "Buchou, I can't do it, so please…" Those words sealed her fate, as Rias directed the ball at her and in a blink of an eye, she disappeared leaving behind a few feathers and a silver ring that dropped lightly on Ise's hand. Damn, I would rather not get hit by that.
At the same time, I really hated the manner I manipulated the conversation so that Mitelt could hear the truth. I could have used a geass to force the truth out of her but that may not be as effective or helpful as this. In a way, I was glad that Rin was not around to see me do this interrogation.
"Shirou, how is Asia?" Ise jolted me out of my thoughts and I turned to check on Asia again. She was fine in terms of being in a healthy state, but her condition was still at the edge of uncertainty. Even after Ise placed the ring back on her finger, she was still no closer to waking up from earlier.
"It seems the connection between her and Twilight Healing got damaged from the ritual." Rias looked at her while checking her brow. "In her current state, she would only continue to be in a deep sleep even with her Sacred Gear intact."
"Damn it! Is there really anything we can do?" Ise lightly cradled Asia's hands as fresh tears flowed down his face. "She did nothing wrong, so why did this happen to her?!" For a moment I considered bringing out the real Avalon to try and boost her chances, but Rias beat me to the punch by putting a hand on his shoulder and taking out a crimson chess piece, a Bishop if I recalled correctly.
Oh no, she can't be thinking of that method?
Several holy blades hit the ground where we stood, each one giving off waves of holy energy and murderous intent towards all the devils in its presence. "I take it that you are not going to let me help her?" Rias was one cool customer all right, even with the holy blades blatantly growling their intent to purify her to the core.
"Shirou, what are you doing?! Buchou can save her!" Ise sounded anguish as he saw me holding one arm out to protect Asia.
"Is she really doing that?" my voice got very grim as I noted the positions of the various Devils around me. "Because the way I see it, she is basically doing the same thing as she did the last time, resurrecting a soul from the dead without giving the girl a chance to be judged worthy to enter Heaven."
I guess those religious Executors got to me a lot more than I thought when we went on our missions to take down Dead Apostles, now I was actually talking about fair judgement and the chance to meet the big guy with a capital G.
"Before you counter my words, let me ask you this." I turned my head to keep everyone of them in view. "Does she have a choice in this matter whereby she could choose to have a peaceful death or be resurrected as A Devil? If she were alive and kicking when she agreed to your deal, I would be packing my stuff and be back home for supper. But considering her current state, I think she would soon be given a chance to have eternal peace with herself, and if that is her fate, then I would at least protect her wish until she passes through the Gates of Heaven."
That seemed to have struck a chord with the Devils in question, as they looked to each other with slightly uncomfortable faces. Guess they never considered how the individual in question might object to the idea of being resurrected.
"Ise-san?" A quiet whisper brought our attention to the girl who struggled to open her eyes and find the boy in question. "Asia!" Ise cried out in restrained joy as he lifted the girl's hand again. "I'm here, don't worry!"
"Ise-san, I am so glad you are safe." She let out a weak smile. "Somehow, I had the feeling you would be able to come back alive."
"Don't worry, I am pretty strong, I can take on anyone!" Ise tried to assure her to ease her worries. Asia lightly turned her unfocused eyes on me. "My Lord, is that you?"
'Again with that title?' I shook my head lightly to remove that thought. "Rest easy child, you are in safe hands."
"My Lord, I have a request if it is not too much to ask." She let out a tired sigh as her eyes started to drop further. She may not have much time left it seemed. I might as well grant her final words.
"What would your request be?"
"I… I would want to be with Ise-san a little longer." She lightly coughed as she struggled to make her words. "I would want to be his friend, is it too much to ask?"
"… It is not impossible to be his friend, but would you truly be satisfied with a moment in time?" I made a solemn tone as I asked, indicating to the others that this was the moment she would make her choice. "How about Ise? I believe he would want to know you a lot longer."
"I~ I want to be with him longer, I want to be his friend!" She struggled to say those words with tears flowing down her eyes. She clearly cared for Ise a lot.
"Then child, let me present you with a choice." I made sure to say this as plainly as possible to her. "You can be with him for a very long time, but there is a possibility that you may not have another chance to come to Heaven again. Would you be willing to do so?"
Asia paused as she looked at me, clearly torn between the prospect of staying on with Ise and the possibility of not going to heaven. Then with a deep breath, she made her choice. "I will stay with Ise, I want to be with him for as long as I can."
"I see." I laid a hand on her head to place a sleeping charm on her. "Then your wish shall be granted, and I will pray for your happiness." She let out another smile before she lightly dozed off into a deep slumber. With a sigh, I dismissed the holy blades in the area and turned to Rias. "Well she has made her choice, I will now hand her over to you then." I took back Avalon and stood a few metres as I observed Rias placing the chess piece on Asia, noting how the piece glowed brightly before sinking into her chest, making her body glow lightly and her taking a deep breath of her new life.
"Now that is done…" Kiba moved to face the last Fallen Angel in question, but this time I was ready for them, making my way quickly in front of him and projecting a katana in my hands.
Okay, this was getting very repetitive.
"Shirou?" Ise asked while looking conflicted as to whom he should be siding with.
"I have been lenient towards your actions regarding Ise's situation and Asia." I raised the katana lightly to reflect the moonlight off its edge. "But do not think that it is my weakness. Right now, I feel that much blood and tears have been shed, and we should not add more tonight."
"Admirable traits, but she is still an agent of Grigori and our enemy in our area, so…" Rias started to speak, only for me to interrupt.
"No." I cut her off. "She goes free. But if you really want clarification of her position…" I promptly turned around and knelt in front of the blond girl, noting her crouched figure and scared expressions resembled a lot like Illya's. "Mitelt, that is your name right? Do you have anywhere else to return to?"
"No, I don't." Miltelt spoke with a disheartened tone. "I have broken orders to take down the boy and the girl, and there is no way Lord Azazel would allow me back into the Grigori. Even if I could, it still means I can't go back home."
"I see." I paused while looking at her before I voiced out my alternative. "If that is the case, you can come with me then."
The reactions from that statement were pretty spectacular to watch to say the least: Ise openly gawked at me with his mouth wide open, Rias dropped her arms and looked at me like I was insane, Akeno and Koneko looked at me with raised eyebrows and slag jaws, and even Kiba actually dropped his sword in shock, his arm still in the air and an expression of absolute surprise on his face. As for Mitelt, she had stopped sobbing and was looking at me like I had grown an extra head on top of my first one.
Yup, that was pretty standard behaviour to my ideas, some of which got me introduced to Rin's Gandrs and Luvia's wrestling moves.
"Are you nuts?!" Mitelt voiced out the thoughts in possibly everyone present in the area. "You want to take me in, one of the few who tried to kill you and take the Sacred Gears from those two?"
"Oh of course, I have not forgotten what you guys have done." I let my tone indicate my deep displeasure for the whole matter. "Which is why I am going to lay out some ground rules. If you can follow them, you are safe, but if not, well…" I merely glanced at Rias to give her the idea of the consequences. "So are you ready to hear the terms?"
"… Fine." Mitelt restrained her outburst and looked at me with a disgruntled if somewhat amusing expression. "Name your terms."
"I have a few simple ones, but the main terms are these." I lightly tapped the blade on the ground with its tip. "Firstly you are not to wander around without some form of supervision. Strictly speaking, you have to be near me or someone I approved to watch over you within a set distance. Secondly, you are not to harm any innocent while you are here. And lastly, whatever actions you take do not endanger me, my friends or any other innocent parties during your stay."
"Seriously?" Mitelt looked at me again in disbelief.
"I don't see why not." I let out a light shrug. "I am willing to make some compromises just as long as you can follow these ones. Regarding the last one, if any one you have wronged in the past or have any justifiable reason to seek revenge on you, I would have to recede my protection, otherwise I am willing to aid you from overambitious killers, greedy fools and the occasional idiotic creatures." I laid it out as plainly as possible, this type of talk was more of Rin's forte. "I am not forcing you to take up my terms, if anything, you may even leave now or sometime later if you feel the terms are not fair to you in anyway."
"In short you are asking me to leave my judgement in your hands?"
"Nope, just to show you that my hands are not tied. As I said, I will not stop you if you wish to leave, but I would have not have my choices killed off, understand?" I projected a small dagger and started to carve some runes on a piece of broken stone, quickly finishing the task due to my long practice of writing these spells. I turned to her and asked her once more. "So what would be your reply?"
Mitelt looked at me with a complicated expression before directing her eyes at the Devils behind me, then with an exasperated sigh, she turned her tired eyes at me, clearly having no more physical energy or mental capacity to deal with the situation. "Okay, I accept your conditions."
Nodding lightly, I placed the make-shift stone tablet in between us and placed both our hands on it. Upon contact, the runes started to glow lightly, then similar markings glowed at the back of our hands. I then spoke the words that would be my oath towards this angel and I honestly prayed hard that I did not leave any loopholes in my words.
"I, Emiya Shirou, hereby swear in exchange for the oaths you swore upon this tablet, that I shall bestow my protection on you on the grounds that you abide by your own oaths, and I will ensure that you are safe from threats I deemed unjust and see to your needs as honour dictates."
At that moment, the runes on tablet glowed brighter and light started to literally flow out of my end of the tablet and swirl around my hand, quickly settling on my skin and enforcing the rune on my hand. Once I felt the process ending, I motioned to her to do the same. After a moment with an expression that could be considered as 'thoughtful', she nodded and spoke her words.
"I, Mitelt, Fallen Angel of third ranks and former agent of Grigori, hereby swear to be an honourable guest whilst under your protection, and I would avoid taking actions that would be detrimental to you or your allies, and I shall aid you in your time of need. That I shall swear by my name and blood."
Once more, I saw the runes glowed brightly before the one on her hand glowed brightly. A faint shiver from her was all I needed for confirmation that the oath had taken place inside her. I took the makeshift tablet and placed it into my dimensional pocket for safe keeping. Now it would seem that I had to deal with a supernatural creature of the biblical type staying with me, and I had to rethink on getting a place for her.
"The contract is complete. You are safe, for now as least." I stood up and faced the Devils who were looking at the scene with a mixture of surprise and thoughtfulness.
"… I suppose we cannot object." Rias nodded as she relaxed her stance. "I will however have to notify Sona about this, since this took place on our grounds and it is a very delicate situation when dealing with outside factions."
"If you need a witness and some paperwork done, you know where to find me." I waved my hand as I offered the other to Mitelt for her to get up from the floor. "Just as long as I am not asked to pay for damages."
"Ah, Shirou!" I turned to face Ise who was now lifting Asia from the bench. "Thank you for saving Asia. It really means a lot to me." Ise bowed his head with a big smile of gratefulness on his face. I let out a small smile of my own as I pointed at him and the girl. "Make sure you stay out of trouble okay?" After that, I made my way out of the wrecked church with the blond Fallen Angel following me behind.
Well, I could say this would be a job well done, just one last thing to then.
I stood before the very gates of doom, taking a few deep breaths to steady myself. Come on Shirou, you have done more difficult jobs and more dangerous missions than this! I mean, you had to go against some of the strongest Servants in both your old world and other parallel universes. You had to go toe to toe with some of the more outrageous Magus, some extremely deranged Executors, particularly persistent Enforcers, and political backstabbing's courtesy of the most influential clans around like the Einzberns. You hunted down Sealing Designations, fended off hordes of the undead, took on some of the Twenty-Seven Apostles, and oh, before I forget, had to fight off in one of the alternate worlds, the FREAKING ROOT BE DAMNED ORT?!
But of course, all that paled to my most risky job of all, one that made every single Magus, True Ancestor, Dead Apostle and other sane individuals' quake in their knees when they heard about it, one which Rin and Luvia were quick to yell at me for even thinking of such a thing, one that made Waver do the most epic face palming in the history of the Association, and it even made the Queen of the Clock Tower raise her eyebrow at me. That task was something so dangerous and so ludicrous that I felt even Archer would need a change of pants if he found out about it.
That particular job in question involved me having to fight against Zelretch, and placing a few spells that would send cream pies to his face, send him into a temporary dimension with laughing gas creatures, and one spell to dance like a mad man.
Yup, you heard it correctly. I, Shirou Emiya, am the only other person apart from Waver to go against Zelretch with some major attitude, sparred against him a few times and also the only guy who dared to prank the Wizard Marshall.
Hah, good times.
My thoughts were interrupted when the door in front of me opened to reveal Ise holding the handle. "Ah, Shirou! Just in time." He beckoned me inside while moving to make room. I let out a light sigh and made my way inside.
I decided a couple of days later after the incident to give an apology to the two groups of Devils considering my outburst back then, but I was not sure how to approach them without setting them off the wrong way. In the end I had to ask Ise to help me arrange a meeting with them so that I could talk face to face. Ise on his part was quite willing to help me; indeed his attitude towards me seemed to have changed over the week and he came to me every now and then just to have a chat, though he would only do so when none of the female student body were around. Apparently they really did a number on him when they heard about him coming to me.
I stepped through the door to find myself feeling an odd sense of Deja-vu, seeing the tables pushed back again to allow room for more people inside. This time though, the environment was a lot more relaxed and cheerful, with new faces added into the mix. From the Student Council group, I saw a blue-haired girl whose name I barely recalled was Yura Tsubasa, a girl who apparently has the reputation for being the 'bishounen' for the ladies due to her somewhat pretty boy facial appearance, a younger girl with twin tails who was apparently the most junior of the lot, and the rough looking boy who was the only male in the group. From the Gremory Group, Ise stood next to the blonde haired girl who recently entered the entourage, with Akeno, Kiba and Rias standing nearby.
"Hello, Emiya-kun. How may we help you?" Sona greeted me as I stopped in front of the table in front of me. She seemed pretty calm considering our previous discussion, but I guess that calm attitude was what made her the Student Council President.
"I have come to offer a peaceful resolution to our previous encounter." I lifted up the small basket I brought along and placed it on the table. "I admit I was a little hasty in my judgement regarding you guys, and after a little research and the events that had occurred over the past week, I guessed you are not quite the evil creatures I had envisioned you to be."
"Hmm… Well as least you understand that." Sona nodded her head lightly. "And thanks to your efforts, much of the fiasco was handled a lot more smoothly if we did not have the evidence to prove that the Fallen Angels have been running loose in our areas of jurisdiction. Though I must question your decision to take in one of the Fallen Angels in question."
"Just because she was one of the enemy agents who had attacked Asia and Ise, that doesn't mean that she cannot be given a second chance." I maintained my stance on that matter. "And let's not forget that I am technically still a little uncertain of the current status quo, so I would need some info from other sources to get the whole picture. No offence to you all, but I will decide based on the views of others as well."
Much to my surprise, Sona actually let out a wry smile and nodded at my decision. "Cautious yet open to reason, and willing to see past other stories to get the whole truth while maintaining a close eye on everyone. I was right about you being a neutral for this situation. Very well, I shall let you take custody of the Fallen Angel Mitelt, provided you keep a close eye on her."
"Glad to help." I offered a grin before turning to the others. "So on that note." I bowed my head really low with my body a perfect 45 degree angle. "I apologised for my outburst and misunderstanding." Some of the members turned to each other with surprised expressions, which was saying something considering I never seen them do that, then again the sight of me doing this was perhaps new to them.
"It is okay, Emiya-kun." Reya said as she offered a smile. "I supposed it is also partially our fault that we gave you that type of misunderstanding."
"For my part, I don't know much about the argument between you guys, but I do know that Shirou is a good guy!" Ise threw in his comment. "Heck, he saved both mine and Asia's, and that is more than enough to trust him." The blonde girl next to him nodded happily while looking at me with such a radiant smile that it made all my worries disappear.
"Well, now that we got it all sorted out, what say we eat these treats?" Rias motioned to the food basket. "I for one am curious of the food that is making Koneko here looking at the basket with such longing." She added while raising an amused eyebrow at the little girl who was looking at it with a very intense stare, and unless I was imagining it, there are a bit of drool threatening to drip from her mouth.
Best not to make the little one wait too long. I opened up the basket to reveal a small array of sandwiches and snacks for everyone to eat, and I made doubly sure to make extras for Koneko. From what I have seen, she would certainly give Saber a run for her money in the food-eating department. I couldn't help spouting a smile at the sight of Koneko jumping forward and grabbing each of everything before everyone else, and making her way back to her small corner where she dumped her stash on the table and started to work her way through.
"Oh man, this is so good!" Ise was literally crying tears of bliss as he worked through the sandwiches that he got his hands on. The others showed varying expressions to show their happiness as they sampled each of the items I procured.
"Hmm, so not only a wizard in hiding, you are also a talented cook? So many talents indeed." Rias mused as she sampled a macaroon. "Rias, don't even think about it." Sona adjusted her glasses while looking impossibly adorable with a piece of chiffon cake on her plate. "I have my eye on him for some time, and you are not taking him without a fight."
I had a few words to say regarding that conversation, but a tap on the shoulder put that on hold. I turned around to see Tomoe and Reya standing next to me. "This is really good, did you make all of these Emiya-kun?" Reya asked while holding up one of the vegetarian sandwiches.
"Yeah, I had to learn to cook at a young age, so I got a lot of mileage on this." I replied before pausing to look at Tomoe who was shifting her feet uneasily. "Is the food not to your liking, Tomoe-san?" That seemed to have startled her a little, judging from the light jump she did.
"N` no, the food is great!" She stammered before looking down. "D` aren't you angry?"
"Angry?" I blinked at her odd question.
"Angry for not telling you about us?" She looked at me with somewhat tearful eyes. "I mean, you must hate us a little."
'Ah, that's what she meant.' I absentmindedly scratched my head as I looked at her. Better not screw this up. "I admit, I was a little angry that the people I had talked to for a while could possibly be the type of creatures I hunted down for years. A part of me did not want to believe that innocent looking girls such as yourselves would be the type that would enslave others."
"However." I pressed on to stop them from interrupting. "After seeing the different sides of the Devils, I guess much of my prejudice was somewhat misplaced. So I cannot be angry at you anymore." I put a hand on her head and rubbed her hair lightly. There were some advantages of being the tall man in the group. "So you can stop worrying yourself and put that smile back on your face okay?"
Tomoe looked at me for a moment with a light blush on her cheeks, then with a quick wipe from her sleeves, the tears were gone and her smile was back on her face. Even Reya seemed to have a more relaxed smile on her face. I guess they were more worried of my reactions than the others.
"So are we friends now?"
"Hmmm… almost, just one more favour." Tomoe looked at me with a serious face somewhat marred by the mischievous smile on her face. "You have to call me Meguri from now on, got that?"
"You are still trying that?" I raised an eyebrow in amusement. Well, I might as well humour her, wouldn't want to spoil the mood now. "Very well then, Meguri-san."
There, at least I kept my promise and maintained a certain form of formality towards her. That much Reya seemed to agree, as she moved to intercept Tomoe who was pouting lightly. "Now Meguri-chan, do not rush him so much okay? At least he is doing what you asked him to." Tomoe, or rather Meguri could only nod after a moment.
"That said…" Reya turned to me with a twinkle and a smile that reminded me a little too much of Rin's when she was in a teasing mood. "Now that you have started with the first names, you should also call me by my first name. Okay?"
… Was this girl by chance related to Rin's ancestors in this world? Because I certainly did not expect that from her! I mentally shook off the image of her and Rin laughing together and took a deep breath. "Understood. Reya-san." At that, she let out one of the most radiant smiles I had seen yet.
"Well, since you are doing that, we might as well do the same." I turned to find the rest of the group looking at me with smiles. "You were already introduced to her, so I shall skip that part." Sona motioned to Rias before taking a step forward and let out a curtsy. "Allow me to reintroduce myself, I am Sona Sitri, heir to the Sitri Clan."
'So a princess?' I thought to myself as I looked at the rest. Since they were doing all of this, I might as well do the same. I faced them with my legs together and my right hand above my heart and bowed my head. "An honour to be introduced to two of Ars Goetia's Demon Clans, my name is Emiya Shirou, a magus of blades. I thank you for your welcome." And with that, I shook hands with them and made up for the craziness that occurred.
Well, I guess with the Kaleido-Amulet still out of commission, I would make do with the simple pleasures of this world. At least this world was more peaceful without the crazy magus, Dead Apostles or any other creatures roaming around from my world.
"You got them?"
"Yeah, I got your feathers and a few drops of blood. No body though, that crimson princess totally disintegrated it to nothing, not even ashes were left."
"That's a shame, still at least you got the others."
"But seriously, would it not be better to get a fresh sample? Why not grab that blonde haired loli, she should be suitable for your experiments? Or any other Fallen Angel since they frequent the area, there should be stronger types for you to sample?"
"Maybe later, but for now this would do just fine."
"Hmmm… If I didn't know you and your experiments well enough, I would say you have a fetish for objects that used to belong to dead people."
"HAHAHA! Now that would be laughable. So, what do you think?"
"You know what I mean. Based on your findings, the damage of the surround areas resembled that person. Do you think it is him?"
"… The damage based on the bodies I managed to secure before the clean-up crew bared the signs similar to his style of fighting, but I cannot be certain because there was very little to go on. And even if it is similar, there is a possibility it may not be that guy, after all this is not our old world. Perhaps it is the alternate version, but we have not seen or met that in this world since our arrival."
"Yeah, guess that is true. But then again, we should be on guard, after all the Wizard Marshall did give that guy the ability to traverse between universes, we should not be surprised if he came here. And when it comes down to the possibilities, well… Who would have thought that we ended up here ourselves?"
"If that is the case, what would you do if it is him?"
"KEKEKEKE! I will gladly take my revenge on him for stopping my work, and I will prove to those fools at the Association that I am not someone whom they could just throw away for them to hog the knowledge of Akasha."
"Hmmm… well that is you, and I think we can more or less guess how our other companions would feel."
"HA! I could care less for the others, especially 'that monster'. He should curl up in the corner and die for his type of work."
"Yeah~ about him, I met him at the church along with a few of the others, seemed like he went there earlier to grab the same materials as us, and again, only those belonging to the females. He just ignored the other bodies around him that could yield other materials."
"TCH! That guy alone, I would be willing to work alongside the Twenty-Seven Apostles just to rid the world of his existence. From what I hear, even our mutual enemy has a score to settle with."
"Well, Shirou Emiya has always been a righteous individual, if not strange in his behaviour, but for this person, I highly doubt anyone would miss the monster at all, if anything they were considering working together with Shirou to kill him."
"That figures, but enough of that topic. How about you? If it is the Shirou Emiya we know, what would you do?"
"A rematch. That is all I want."
"A quick answer, but is that really all you want?"
"Our previous fight got interrupted so abruptly and rudely, and I know for a fact that Shirou would probably feel the same about loose ends."
"Well then, looks like we are all in for a little fun after a long time. And if it is Shirou Emiya who has travelled all the way to this universe to find us, then I guess we better roll out the welcoming carpet and give out the biggest surprise of his life. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"
Previous Chapter Noble Phantasms:
Claiomh Solais - The Sword of Virtuous Light
Rank: C to D- (Normal) / B (Broken Phantasm)
This blade is a double-edged sword that is roughly one arm's length, with a small silver hilt and a small plumage of pale yellow feathers around it, with leather wrappings around the handle and runes on it. When activated, the blade glows with a bright light that can strike down average demons
A blade that typically appears in Irish stories and folklore which talk about a hero compelled to complete three tasks to be proven worthy of his skills, it belonged to Nuada Airgetlam who was the first king of Tuatha De Danann, and considered to be one of the four treasures of the country. Being more of a ceremonial weapon that deals with storytelling, its purpose as a weapon of war gets severely diminished, rendering it a little more than a glorified dagger. Its main ability is to light up in the dark to fend off creatures of dark nature. Its effectiveness is severely diminished when facing off stronger opponents, even Avenger could defend against it if given time to do so. Its strength however gets stronger if the user gets help from his aide, usually a female given the nature of the stories where the female would be able to find the weak spot of monsters.
As a Broken Phantasm, Shirou uses it more as a cross between a stun grenade and incendiary grenade, the bright light blinding those around it and the blast taking out a large number of enemies.
Sutr - The Flaming Sword of Jotnar
Rank: A+ to B-
A double-edged blade roughly the height of a full grown man, with red runes on its handles and adorning the edge. The hilt has a single red ruby that shines brightly when it senses danger to the user, and it has a light veneer of gold along the center of the blade. When activated, the runes on the blade would light up before covering it with red flames with tinges of yellow and black.
Despite its name, it is NOT the true blade of Sutr, rather it is the essence of him and some of his kindred forged into the core of the blade. During the waning years that led to the end of the Age of Gods, Sutr sent out waves of his essence that could be detected by anyone with a hint of Prana within to store them within, eventually settling for a blacksmith who was known for creating unusual blades for the people. Fueled by the visions of Sutr and his kind, the man strived to forge the blade to placate them. Upon its completion, Sutr poured a better portion of his power inside, making a safeguard if ever he needed to resurrect himself should the Age of Gods survived. But after his death, the blade got passed on to others, never fulfilling that purpose.
Being a weapon holding the essence of the giants within, this is a weapon that could take on multiple Dead Apostles and even a couple of the Twenty Seven Apostles, provided the user is proficient enough to wield it. Having the essence of the flame giant itself, it can incinerate almost everything in its path, but if pitted against other flame-wielding creatures, it has a fifty-fifty shot of winning a fight.
Current Chapter Noble Phantasms:
The Staff/Rod of Asclepius - The healer's staff
A wooden staff cut from the bark of an aged pine tree, it has the wood carving of a serpent entwined around it, with green gems embedded in the snakes head as eyes.
Used by the God of Healing and Medicine, the staff can heal the sickly and remove all ailments from the body. However the effectiveness is slightly reduced for open wounds that are considered extremely fatal and from supernatural causes, and reduced further if the user is a human since only a god could truly understand how the wounds of supernatural come about.
Shirou came across this staff in one of the old Greek temples and added it to the Reality Marble for mostly cases where he needed Avalon for himself and had to spare other means of healing for Rin or other people. When activated, the gems would light up and the staff would spread its glow on the recipient, focusing its effects on the ailment or the wounds in question. Its effectiveness would be considered a trifle compared to Avalon, but its Prana cost is significantly lower, allowing Shirou to bring out two more if needed.
Lobera - The Wolf-Slaying Blade of the King
A thin blade that has a golden hilt and indentations on the blade. At the tip is a golden protrusion with etchings adorned on it, with the end sharpened to resemble a spear.
A sword that belonged to Saint Ferdinand III, it was one of the few objects in history that replaced the typical rod as a symbol of power. Forged with the intention to take on an army of monsters, the blade was forged by some of the best blacksmiths with priests blessing it at every step of its creation. The power is more than enough to take on enemies of at least B-rank, and can do reasonably well against those of A-rank. Due to its reputation of being a wolf-slayer, the blade experiences a big jump in the power rankings any time its faces off with a creature that is remotely a wolf. It would not be an understatement to say that the blade would be a game-breaker against any wolf-type creatures, even a wolf god would have a hard time fending off its effects.
Shirou encountered it twice in his life. The first time was on his trip to Spain, where he had seen the blade and stored it inside his Reality Marble. The second time was during one of his adventures in a different dimension, where he encountered the king as an alternate Saber in the Fifth Grail War and witnessed its use against Medea and her minions.
Hello, I have returned with a new chapter for this story. When I first started the chapter, I did not think that I was going to get such an immediate response, I was trying to get rid of some stuff in my head (Still do considering the length of this chapter). For me, I just wanted to write a little about a Shirou who had some background from the Fate route and be done.
I have taken the advice of some of the readers to look through the other stories, and one thing I had noted with them and other Fate inspired stories, Shirou would always boil down to these types:
1) UBW Shirou
2) Heaven's Feel Shirou
3) Archer EMIYA
4) Some variation of fore-mentioned Shirou from the far future.
Yet for whatever reasons, none seemed to encompass much of the Shirou from the Fate route or anything regarding his future choices that could potentially lead to his role as EMIYA, so I figured I would try my luck with it, but with some differences. I also found that every story for this crossover involves him becoming a Devil for Rias, so I thought why not make him a human for this round?
For those who are interested, Shirou has Avalon in this universe because Saber gave it back right before she returned, so it has stuck with him for the years he had been fighting. I figured since she gave up on the Grail, made peace with her decisions and possessed Avalon for a while, that meant she could wait for Shirou in Avalon.
For those who wondered why this Shirou seemed to be different in terms of manners and mentality, keep in mind this is an alternate Shirou who has spent a few years fighting on the battlefield and is slightly jaded in his thoughts regarding the people around him, not to mention the fact he is currently having doubts about his ideals, so he is trying to find middle ground while trying to maintain a bit of humor forcefully. This will be a Shirou who is approaching a crossroads that would decide whether he would find Saber or would take the path that would lead to him becoming Archer.
And before you ask, yes he has a Reality Marble. One which I might add has gone through two iterations due to his experience, so in this story he is on the verge of realizing his new Aria. I'm still thinking how best to say those words.
Oh, and someone once mentioned why it had to be only Shirou that gets transferred to DxD world. I agree, why only him, so I decided to add in a little something at the end.
And I lay my pen down for now.