Disclaimer: Toaru Majutsu no Index and Fate Series are properties of Kazuma Kamachi and Type-Moon, respectively.
Revealing the partly faded magic circle that was hidden under the large table that she moved earlier, Rin Tohsaka started to prepare for a certain ceremony. She filled in the missing parts of the aged circle, just like she had studied in one of her books about summoning a familiar.
After gathering all the things she needed, the only thing left was to wait for the clock's short hand to hit 2:00 AM. The girl tightly clutched the red pendant she found from her father's study.
The ceremony she was about to conduct was the same ceremony her father had invoked 10 years ago, as per family tradition. Now, it was her turn to join the ritual called the Holy Grail War, as the Tohsaka family's fifth generation Master to participate in it.
The thought of finally summoning her own Servant filled her with both nervousness and excitement. There was the possibility of her dying, but that didn't matter. Rin was confident enough, as she will do everything in order to win.
Then the time to draw out her Servant finally came.
"Now then, I should start."
Standing on top of the insignia, Tohsaka then held out few pieces of her jewelry, melted it in her hands as she crushed it in her heating palms, and let the substance drip to the circle. It slowly spread and coated the writings as it glowed red. With a follow-up, the twin-tailed Mage recited the key words that finally activated the complex calculations written on the summoning circle.
"Silver and iron to the origin. Gem and the archduke of contracts to the cornerstone. The ancestor is my great master Schweinorg."
The red hue emanating from the circle enveloped the dust-filled basement, various signs and symbols started to float around Tohsaka.
"The alighted wind becomes a wall. The gates in the four directions close, coming from the crown, the three-forked road that leads to the kingdom circulate."
The earlier non-existent wind suddenly blew open the pages of the books that surrounded Tohsaka, her black hair visibly waving to the tune of the air.
"Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Repeat every five times. Simply, shatter once filled."
In her mind she wished for the Saber –Class Servant to descend in front of her. As one of the strongest classes, she would have an advantage and utterly defeat the chosen Masters who would participate in the 'competition'.
"…I announce. Your self is under me; my fate is in your sword. In accordance with the approach of the Holy Grail, if you abide by this feeling, this reason, then answer."
As she continued, the wind blew stronger, the floating symbols spun around as it formed a ring around her, and tremors shook the foundation of the mansion. That didn't matter to Rin Tohsaka as she continued. She can feel that she was close. So close from finally drawing out a powerful Servant. Excitement filled her being as she fully dictated the final part of the incantation.
"Here is my oath. I am the one who becomes all the good of the world of the dead, I am the one who lays out all the evil of the world of the dead. You, seven heavens clad in three words of power, arrive from the ring of deterrence, O keeper of the balance！"
And thus Rin Tohsaka was blinded by the lights that quickly spread all over the room.
Chapter 3: The Sixth Servant
'A day like this wouldn't be so bad', was what Rin Tohsaka would have told herself except she discovered the fact that she went to school an hour too early.
She wondered why there was too much silence in the neighborhood as she walked on her way to Homurabara Academy. After entering school grounds and seeing her friend Ayako Mitsuzuri in her Archery Uniform, everything made sense.
Thinking about it thoroughly, the only possible reason she had woken up an hour early was due to all of the clocks and time implements inside her home getting adjusted through some weird reason. She did wake up thanks to her noisy alarm clock. The trigger could have been her discovery of the red pendant from last night. Unlocking the box that contained it may have activated some kind of spell her father, Tokiomi Tohsaka, had placed on it. For what reason, she wouldn't be able to know now that the old man had gone to rest in peace.
Coincidentally, she had a dream about him, too. It was that time when he was leaving for the Holy Grail War from 10 years ago. If only she knew, she could have said a proper goodbye to her father.
After conversing with Ayako, the 2nd year high school teenager was greeted a very rude morning from the Student Council President, Issei Ryudou, and his friend who was working as his lackey for the moment, Shirou Emiya. For the first time in a long while, the red headed teen had greeted her a good morning, although it came out a bit weird as they never really interacted both inside and outside school grounds.
Then again, Emiya is the type of person who is friendly to everyone, even if they are total strangers.
The twin-tailed girl went ahead inside the still empty classroom of section 2-A, passing the time as she studied for today's lessons quietly. A few minutes later, people started entering as they too also prepared for the day's lessons. Sadly, such peace of mind was disrupted the moment an irritating noble appeared with the most condescending voice she had been hearing since that's person's arrival a few weeks ago.
"Ara ara! If it isn't Tohsaka-san!~ You got up early~"
By irritating noble, she meant Luviagelita Edelfelt. Hearing that annoying woman popped a vein on Rin's forehead for a short while as she quickly fixed her composure.
"Oh, good morning, Edelfelt-san~! It is a fine morning indeed~"
She returned the greeting with the same tone the twin-drilled blondie had given her. Everyone in the classroom went silent for a moment, but quickly returned to their personal activities.
It had almost been a month since Luvia first attended Homurabara Academy as a foreign transfer student from London. It was also the first day of their last term as 2nd years, so Rin found it weird that someone was able to transfer this late in the school year.
Of course she found her answers... the painfully ridiculous way.
The first day of the 3rd term.
When the clocks strike 12, Rin visits the rooftop to eat her lunch. Sometimes she would be accompanied by Ayako, but at most she would spend the 30-minute break alone.
The only reason she could think of eating lunch on the rooftop was due to its atmosphere of peace and quiet. She didn't mind the occasional strong winds as this helps in giving her a serene mind. Provided with the meal is a gorgeous landscape of the town on one side and the structural modernism of the tall buildings on the other. From this, Rin considered Homurabara Academy's rooftop as one of her safe havens that takes her away from the busy life of both student and mage professions.
As always, Rin walked a few stairs up before reaching her so-called safe haven. As always, Rin opened the unlocked doors that led to the open space, winter winds blew with a chance of snow falling later tonight. As always, Rin would sit to one side of the fence that would show her the magnificence of the city. As always, Rin would...Smell Darjeeling Tea?
For some reason, the transfer student from her class sat on a lavishly decorated chair, accompanied by a table covered in a white, frilly cloth. On top of the table was a slice of strawberry shortcake and ceramic white teapot with curved, elongated spout, containing the Darjeeling Tea her olfactory sense had detected. Beside the foreigner was an intimidating old man in a long tailcoat, acting as her aide. The blonde's chestnut-colored eyes stared into her black pupils while she held a teacup with a raised pinky, possibly asking why there was another student in the rooftop.
If anything, Rin just sat there, confused as to how can a person like this could be so nonchalant with bringing her butler to school grounds as if it was normal.
The first to break the silence was Luvia.
"Would you like some tea?"
"...I hope I'm not being a bother."
Rin accepted the offer, as she didn't want to appear rude to the newcomer. She did have a certain reputation to maintain.
She sat on the chair offered by the old man as he pushed the seat inside. Rin watched as the butler prepared the tea for her; the aromatic smell of flowers permeated her nose. She can tell it was brewed well. There was also grace in the butler's hand movements as he poured the liquid into the teacup, careful not to spill anything from such overhead position.
The old butler bowed after handing out her serving of tea and cake and walked beside her milady.
Rin took a sip of the tea and a jolt to the brain signaled satisfaction. It was better than she had expected. The way she prepares her tea wouldn't reach such a high bar, meaning it had to be the quality of the leaves that was used by the butler.
She then took a bite from the cake. Another unexpected taste! The utter flavor of strawberry permeated through the two layers of sugary delectableness. The mild kick the tea gave complimented really well with the sweet, fruity-flavored cake.
To describe the taste was like running in a flower field as she was being chased by her beloved, his blank face replaced with the letters "Honey".
"Oh my, it seems you will have another satisfied patron, August."
"Thank you for the compliment, Milady."
Rin didn't notice her expression of satisfaction pouring out of her flushed face, waving her hands around to dispel whatever they thought about her.
"Oh! Sorry about that! I was honestly surprised by how this tea and cake tasted. The way this was brewed is way different from how I do mine. I didn't expect for Darjeeling tea to have another side to it."
"Hm? Then would you like me to teach you about my technique, young lady?"
"It's alright! Now that I know the taste, I might be able to pull it off at home."
The butler was a little puzzled by what Rin said, but he smiled to brush it off and took his time serving the aristocrat on the other side of the table.
If there was one thing that Rin was perplexed about, it was the way Luvia held her tea party. Winter season is yet to end, so the cold breeze should be giving her chills. In Rin's case, she casted a bit of magic to continuously heat up her body so that she wouldn't suffer from the cold.
Luvia was as composed as she was. How could she hold off against this climate?
"I do hope that I'm not bothering you at all! You must prefer to be alone during these times. It is your first day after all!"
"You have nothing to worry about. August is with me to serve my needs. Of course, you are welcome to join me if you want to."
"It might be rude of me to ask, but why are you having tea here in such a cold weather?"
Luvia set down her teacup on the table and hugged her arms, flaunting the abundance of fat she had underneath her uniform. For some odd reason, envy picked on Rin's mind.
"Hmm...To savor the heat of a warm drink, a person must feel the need to do so. In this case, the weather is a perfect opportunity to have warm tea."
Rind found Luvia's logic to be...peculiar. From what she could tell, London suffers from erratic weather conditions. Did she develop some sort of tolerance to the sometimes freezing temperature of the country?
"I really don't think that's how warm tea is supposed to be used in this context."
"What do you mean?"
"As much as I like drinking hot tea in a cold climate, wouldn't it be logical to just stay indoors to keep our bodies warm? That is why heaters and kotatsus were invented."
August answered Luvia's question.
"It's a table with a built-in heater underneath. Usually the Japanese people would use it during winter season, when the temperature drops to a certain degree."
"An interesting piece of machinery... August, we will purchase one after the end of class."
"As you wish, Milady."
August pulled out a notepad from one of his pockets and quickly jotted down something in it. It might be related to what the twin-drilled classmate of hers requested.
"Now, where did our discussion paused?"
"Um...It's better to stay indoors in a cold climate?"
"Hmm...True, your words do hold logic. But, let me ask you this. Why are you having lunch here on this very rooftop? As you have said earlier, it's better to be inside than to drink warm tea in this god-forsaken cold."
"Eh? Well, I like to eat here. Watching the scenery puts me at ease."
"...Is that all?"
Luvia's tone of voice changed, as it sounded to get a bit deep, and Rin didn't know why. Was it something she said earlier?
"Rin Tohsaka, was it?"
"Hm? I haven't introduced myself, so someone must have told you."
"'Edelfelt'...Does my family name ring any bells?"
"I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're trying say here."
"To be honest, I am glad to have discovered another Mage in this city, someone I can truly relate to."
Rin almost spat out the satisfying tea she was drinking from the sudden revelation.
"Pfft! Wait, what?!"
"Yes, Rin Tohsaka. I too am a Mage."
Rin never suspected at all that Luvia is a mage. But, now that she knew the very fact, that helped her realize a few things regarding her strange nature.
'Are mages supposed to have some kind of quirk to go along with their eccentricities?'
Rin cupped her chin as she was in deep thought from Luvia's reveal to her identity.
"Ohohohoho! Surprising, isn't it?"
"Eh...Well it does explains a few things, so guess it makes sense."
"Hmm? Could you be more specific?"
The twin-tailed girl raised her index finger as she went on to explain her observations.
"First off, the reason you could tolerate this climate. You must have used some kind of spell to regulate your body heat, just as much as I did."
The middle finger followed up.
"Second, London is the base headquarters of the Mage's Association. The possibility of you being a member is rather high, yet you could be a lone Mage from a well-known family... This reasoning led me to the third and last point of inquiry."
The ring finger was raised to count her third assumption.
"It's your purpose, Edelfelt-san. The only reason a mage would visit a city like Fuyuki at this point in time could only mean one thing: they are chosen to be participants for the Holy Grail War. Is that correct?"
"...So you were able to think of things that far. I applaud you for that degree of deduction skills, but there are a few things you're mistaken about."
"Eh, I got some points wrong?"
Luvia sighed, possibly out of disappointment. Did that mean she was wrong in some of her assumptions?
"It's true that I came here from the Clocktower, but I transferred to this educational facility of my own volition. I absolutely do not have any idea what you meant about the Holy Grail War or me being a participant to it."
"What?! THE Clocktower?!"
Rin now dubbed Luvia as the weirdest person she had ever met. The Clocktower is the best place for mages to study Magic, as it is also the very headquarters of the Mage's Association. Yet, this very lunatic in front of her transferred here in this very normal private school to leave it all behind?!
"Then what is your purpose for coming here, to Fuyuki?!"
"...I-it's for personal reasons! I can't have someone like you know of my real purpose here!"
A certain redhead sneezed but he didn't know why. He brushed it off and continued fixing one of the heaters in the school, even if it were lunch break.
"Then you don't know anything about the Holy Grail War?"
"Holy Grail War? I don't know anything about that."
Whatever Luvia's reasoning was, it seemed more important than what Rin had assumed. It would mean that the aristocrat wouldn't be joining the Holy Grail War as she had thought.
"But, thanks to you, I finally found my second reason for coming here."
"Rin Tohsaka. Now that I found a member of the Tohsaka family, as the upcoming head of the Edelfelt famiy, I will reclaim what is rightfully ours!"
The blondie had declared that, but Rin still didn't get what she meant. With a drop of the hat, Luvia pulled out her right hand and pointed her index finger as she quickly stood up from her seat. A black light glowed at the tip of the raised finger and it flew past Rin as it melted a hole through the screen fence.
She recognized this spell so well. Why wouldn't she? That was one of her main spells, after all.
"Most of the spells that the Tohsaka family used were inherited from the Edelfelts, yet you claimed the art to be yours. You know that's plagiarism, right?"
Rin bumped her fist on top of her free palm, finally realizing something that she shouldn't have forgotten.
"Ah! It didn't click at first, but now I remember where I saw your family name. True, the Tohsaka's inherited Gemstone Magecraft and the Gandr Spell, but there is a reason our family uses it. The Edelfelts gave us the opportunity to study it, so it's considered a shared craft, don't you think?"
Luvia was stunned by this explanation. Rin was truly confused with what exactly was happening, but she unknowingly mocked the new girl.
"*sigh* Don't tell me you didn't think that far ahead with our family history?"
The school bells rang. It alarmed the students that lunch break was near its end. Hearing this, Rin stood up from her seat and thanked the old butler who was a few feet away from the table.
"Thank you for the tea, Mr. August. I truly enjoyed it! I hope I get to sip one more cup some other time."
"It's my pleasure to serve."
She then walked towards Luvia and talked to the noble.
"Can I call you Luvia? Let's hurry to the classroom. We can resolve whatever it is you want to speak to me about at a later time. I don't want to miss today's lesson."
"How can you be so calm in this situation? You do know that your life is on the line, right?"
"We're on school grounds. I don't want the others to get involved. You do know that Magic is non-existent in this side of the world, right? Also, it would be best to resolve this conflict with the use of a more diplomatic method. What do you say?"
Rin reached out her hand to Luvia, as if to call for truce. The twin-drilled mage looked at it, as if considering her options. Sadly, she didn't reach out for it and walked towards the exit.
"I can't accept that arrangement so easily, Tohsaka. I still see a brawl to be the perfect way to resolve this conflict, so be careful when you turn your back on me in private like this. August, were off!"
August nodded and pulled something out of the table. A few moments later, everything that was set-up for a tea party disappeared and transformed into a big, black attaché case, including the chairs. Luvia then walked out of the exit, with the butler tailing her, Leaving Rin all alone in the open space.
"...Will she really hold onto those words? It seemed to me that she just wants to be friends, although she might get onto my nerves later on."
She jinxed herself. That's probably it.
It's the last day of the month, a few weeks since Luvia's arrival. The twin-drilled aristocrat had considered her a true rival and would always challenge her in their off-times.
For obvious reasons, they held the fights in a very secluded area, preferably the forests behind school grounds. For the most part, Rin considered these duels a good practice, but something inside was telling her that she should take these fights more seriously, to not back down at all. Due to that, the duels turned into an all-out brawl that it sometimes affected the outside world.
It was also due to these fights that they became a sort of best buddies. Why is that?
"Ms. Fujimura is a good teacher, don't you think so too, Luvia-san?"
"Hm? You seem awfully quiet, is there something wrong, Luvia?"
Rin never got her alone time in the rooftop during lunch since then. Luvia always accompanied her as they eat lunch together. Ayako would sometimes join them, as she was currently present in their afternoon chat.
Not that it mattered, but she really wished Luvia would back-off sometimes. They even call each other through their first names now, but that was probably due to Luvia's culture influence.
In any case, in front of other people like Ayako, the blondie would put up a civilized etiquette in many things. She was also able to compete with her in terms of grades that they would always tie, as much as how their duels would always result in a draw.
Rin found it weird that they have the same preferences to some things, which irritated her. Same case with Luvia too, as she had said one time that they were too much alike. Even then, they couldn't drop out those preferences easily as they had grown into it.
Especially if those preferences also concerned a certain boy they both apparently took a liking to.
"Hm? Well...I was just wondering what Shero could be doing right now."
"...Luvia, you're drooling, wipe it off."
"Emiya? Ah, that's right! Usually he would spend lunch break together with Ryuudou at the Student Council Room. Now that I thought about it, you never asked him to eat lunch with you, right?"
"W-what d-do y-you m-mean, Ayako?! I-I was j-just c-curious, that's all! I-it's n-not l-like I-I li-li-li-li-"
The blondie was choking due to stuttering.
"Luvia-san?! Here, drink some tea! Hurry!"
"...Just what do you see in him anyway? Sure, he's a nice person, but he's like that to anyone. Could it be that you interpreted that kindness to something else, Luvia?"
"Hah...Hah...Hm? What's with the rude tone, Rin? I really don't think there's anything wrong with Shero..."
"Well, you're worlds apart, so that's one obstacle."
"True love can transcend any status in society, Rin. It doesn't matter if you're rich or a commoner. As long as there is love, it will remove the boundaries that keep them apart! Ohohohohoho!"
"Spoken like a true maiden in love. It's kind of obvious that you like Emiya since you would cling to him every chance you get. Sadly he's dense to not see it though."
Rin found Luvia's infatuation to be levels of ridiculous. She didn't inquire any further and breezed through lunch break in silence. A few meters away, she could see Luvia's butler standing on a nearby building, watching over the girl.
'Since Luvia is a mage, August must be some kind of combat butler.'
Accompanied with the many voices of students enjoying their lunch, Rin could hear Luvia chat away with Ayako, their topic of interest is the noble's crush.
"Rin, will you be available later?"
Luvia was asking her if they could have another duel after class.
"Hm? Oh...Sorry but not today, Luvia. I have an important business to attend to. Maybe some other time. Will that be alright?"
Ayako caught wind of the two girl's conversation and joined in.
"I've always wondered this, but why do the two of you meet after class?"
"I would always see you go into the woods and a few minutes later, the two of you looked exhausted as heck. Just what are you guys up to?"
That was something Rin did not expect at all. Who would have thought that there was actually one person who would notice her and Luvia going into the woods? Thinking about it, the Archery Club building was located near the back entrance of the school, so that could be the only way Ayako would have noticed them.
"Could it be...?! Luvia-san, I thought you liked Emiya, but was it Rin all along?!"
Rin spat out the green tea she was drinking and had a coughing fit. Luvia was all sorts of confused by what the kinky lady of the group had said.
"Huh? But I do like Shero. I really don't know what you're trying to say, Aya-"
"There is no way we will get along that way, Ayako! That is a big no!"
"Really? I thought you two had a thing with each other."
"We're not! Right, Luvia?!"
"I really don't understand this conversation at all."
In the end, Ayako Mitsuzuri never got a proper explanation. Lunch break went on in its usual pace.
It's me. I'm sure you know, but tomorrow is the deadline, Rin.
It's a problem for me if you take it easy. There are only two remaining seats. I must ensure all the Masters are arranged quickly.
If you wish to abandon your right to become a Master, contact me today. It takes some time to dispatch a substitute magus.
You already show signs of the Command Spell. Quickly, summon your Servant and open the Command Spell.
Unless, of course, you're not planning to be a part of this Holy Grail War. If you value your life, you should run to the church quickly.
The message on the answering machine ended there.
"You don't have to tell me what to do."
Rin had prepared everything so that she could win the lottery. It was either a Saber or an Archer, leaning more to the former. It was a 50/50 chance and yet what lay before her was nothing more than dust that flew out of hiding in the four corners of the basement study.
"…Eh? Wait? What happened? I'm sure I did the ritual right."
She went through the list of things needed to do before and during the ritual. Summoning Circle? Check. Catalyst? Optional but necessary for those who have a specific hero in mind. Chant? Correctly recited. Mana? She did the ritual when her pool is at its peak, so check. Command Spells? Right where it should be, on the backside of her right hand.
"Everything seemed to be accounted for...Were there other conditions I forgot to include?"
Her contemplation didn't last long, as a sudden rumble hit the Tohsaka Residence. Rin lost balanced, with her backside hitting one of the tables she set aside.
"Waaah! That hurt!"
The commotion came from above. Worried that she was under attack, she quickly picked up a few jewels from her small chest and hurried to the ground level.
'Isn't this a bit too soon?! I still have no idea why my ritual flunked and they attack head-on like this?! How did they get past the boundary field?!'
Climbing the stairs that led to the ground floor, Rin quickly opened the door to the hallway and leaned her back to the wall of corner left turn. She peeked to see a cloud of dust coming from the living room, its door frame collapsed to the floor. She suspected that the intruder came from above and crashed through the roof. She slowly paced to the opening, her Gandr spell at the ready.
Whoever it was inside the living room either had the balls to face her head-on, possibly another Master who wants to take out their competition, or a Servant who was looking for its opponent. Either one was a threat but she would have to prepare for the worst.
She quickly aimed her right hand at the unknown intruder the moment she stepped into the danger zone.
"Don't you dare move, in-"
Rin paused. All she found was an empty room. A few misplaced furniture and fallen drapes that contribute to the mess caught her line of sight, but not a single person, the supposed intruder, was inside the living room. When she looked at the ceiling, no signs of forced entry were visible.
"...Am I just assuming that I was under attack? Could it be that all of this is an after effect of the summoning ritual?"
Now that she thought about it that way, the word 'failure' appeared inside her mind. Not only did she fail the summoning ritual, but she also caused mayhem inside her own home. Rin placed a hand on her forehead as she sighed in defeat, exhaustion finally catching up with her. She'll have to rethink her plans and find the reason as to why she "failed". Seeing the mess she made didn't make her feel any better. As much as she wants to clean up, she would rather rest for the day.
"Would that fake priest pay for the repair bills, seeing as this damage is part of the Holy Grail War, so to speak? What am I talking about? He should be able to do that! I guess it's time to call him."
Kirei Kotomine, the so-called fake priest, is the current overseer of the 5th Holy Grail War and is the one who currently manages the Fuyuki Church on the other side of the city. As someone who looks after the participants, he should compensate for the damages made due to the battles done inside the City and keep public eye from discovering the conflict.
She turned about face, on her way to the home phone, until she bumped into something. Someone.
Her fighting spirit rekindled, Rin quickly drew out her right hand, pointing her finger at the sudden arrival of the intruder.
Before the twin-tailed girl could cast her Gandr, the intruder grabbed her from the wrist and twisted it to her behind. Pushed to ground on her front, she tried to turn to see her attacker's face, but her head was pushed down to the floor by the assailant's free hand.
"You! What have you done?! Where am I?! Answer me!"
Rin heard a mature sounding voice of a woman. Considering the demands being given to her, she could accept it but the physical force being given to her told her otherwise. Doubt clouded her judgement, so Rin quickly thought of a way to escape.
'This person's strong! In that case…!'
Before the attacker could grab her left hand, Rin poked inside her pocket and quickly grabbed a gem, chanting as she did.
"Whirlwind, blow! Easterly and Westerly winds form into one tornado!"
Gust formed around them and ultimately blew the one on top of the two. When Rin was freed, she quickly stood up and stayed in the eye of the tornado.
Since the gem was still inside her skirt pocket when she activated the spell, the lower garment exploded into many pieces, leaving her with only her black undergarment. The red blouse she wore was long enough to act as a really short dress. It was good thing she was still inside her own home. If she did the same stunt outside, however...
Rin stopped her train of thought there, as she prepared for the tornado to subside.
" If that's how you want to do things, fine by me! Parashu"
It was cut short when something resembling a battle axe chopped the wall of wind into two. The mage quickly jumped back after seeing the spectacle and kicked one of the living room tables at the enemy. The wooden projectile was swiftly cut in half as the axe flew to her direction, making her duck to the floor. The big axe smashed its way through the wall and was vertically stuck to the wall behind it until the giant weapon dissipated into thin air.
"That was too close! You really have no intention to ask questions, are you?!"
Seeing the big wedge it left behind showed how dangerous it had been if she were to get hit from such destructive power. Rin rolled away and sprinted out of the room through the hole as she headed to the nearby stairs, shooting out Gandr on occasions to distract the enemy. Due to the dust created from the wind spell, Rin assumed that her opponent couldn't see past the blanket of white smoke.
And yet a trident of golden light suddenly passed right in front of the teen mage. She stopped on her tracks the moment the trident pierced the wall to her left, to which blew her back to the ground floor.
'Such destructive power! This person's not holding back AT ALL!'
Rin had a coughing fit as she wearily tried to stand, but was stunned the moment she saw what was in front of her.
A tanned girl wearing some sort of belly dancing outfit stood tall as she aimed a silver longbow to her face, a bluish-white arrow drawn out of thin air. White long hair braided up to the tip swayed slightly from the wind. If her voice was of any indication, the girl could be older than she appeared to be even if she were a few centimeters higher.
Rin was still on her knees, but she knew that whatever she does at this point was useless. The gems she had on her pocket were scattered around the room, none of which was close to her reach.
One wrong step and she would be done for. She didn't want to admit defeat, but it looked like things ended for her before it even started.
"...What are you waiting for?"
Why was the girl in front of her hesitating now that she had the upper hand?
A few seconds of silence was consumed until the belly dancer lowered her weapon.
"...Tch! I will search for the answers myself."
"Don't follow me or you're dead."
Then the woman turned and walked away from her. Rin then heard the sound of the main entrance door loudly banging to its frame before she sighed of pure relief.
"Wait... The heck?! What was that about?!"
Even though she had survived the onslaught (for no apparent reason whatsoever), the anti-climactic fight left a very unsettling atmosphere.
Obviously something wasn't right.
"Huh... So only the Servant Archer has been summoned? Are you sure about that, Kirei?"
"That seems to be the case, Rin."
A few minutes had passed since the sudden showdown but Rin had a nagging feeling that something was amiss. As she had planned earlier, she called Kirei through the home phone that was still miraculously intact.
"And the ritual happened only recently?"
"To be more accurate, it was around a few minutes ago that the Servant's Class Name appeared in the spirit board. Are you telling me you haven't summoned your Servant yet?"
She could confirm a lot of things from the information she had just learned. Since there was only one Servant Class Name that appeared on Kirei's magical item for this day alone, it could only mean that the ritual she enacted was successful. That also meant that the person who attacked her was the Servant she had summoned: Archer.
If so, then why did that belly dancing war-freak attacked her, the Master who had called her out? What did that woman meant by what she had done? Was it the summoning ritual?
"...You were waiting for me to summon my Servant? Aren't you a little excited?"
"Tomorrow is the deadline, so I needed confirmation. Can I take your response as an acceptance for participation?"
"Sure...List my name or something. At least this makes me an official Master."
She might sound mean, but she just couldn't stand this person. Even if Kirei was his father's disciple in the past, something about the priest irks her since the first time they met. Sure, he can be nice sometimes, but something about the older guy's attitude gives her the chills.
"Then as of February 1, 1:21 AM, you shall be appointed as the Sixth Master of the Fifth Holy Grail War. Is there anything else you'd like to ask?"
"Well...About the ritual..."
Rin scratched the side of her cheek, carefully thinking about the words she were about to ask the fake priest.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, the house needs to be... renovated. Can the Church cover for the fees as this incident is related to the Holy Grail War...?"
Kirei, who was on the other line, suddenly cut off the connection, making Tohsaka hear a repeated sequence of high-pitched beeps in her handset. She was stunned by the silence for a few seconds before returning to reality.
"THAT DAMN STINGY PRIEST!"
Slamming the handset back to the device, Rin stomped her way back to the living room and climbed up the slightly charred stairs to the second floor. It looked like she would have to sell a bit of her gems to pay for the repairs. She can fix some of the damages with a bit of Magecraft, but based on her assessment of the damages, some parts of the living room could not be restored that way. There was also the part that she was partly suffering from Mana drainage. The summoning ritual and the earlier skirmish took a lot out of her.
On her way to her bedroom, a particular line from the earlier conversation suddenly hit her thoughts that made her stop in her tracks.
"...Did he just say that the time right now is 1:21 AM?"
It was then that she remembered about the clocks in her home. None of them had been adjusted, as she was busy preparing for the summoning ritual.
"SO I WASN'T AT MY PEAK WHEN I DID THE RITUAL?!"
That night, the genius mage Rin Tohsaka had made many mistakes she wouldn't be able to fix anytime soon.
That was the only thing Shirou Emiya could perceive.
There was the possibility that his eyes were closed all this time, so he tried moving his eyelids. It yielded the same results, which made him question the possibility of being blindfolded.
The next thing he knew, he could not feel his muscles moving.
Not even a single twitch.
Not even a single scream escaped his breath.
Neither smell nor hearing aided him at the moment.
All of his senses were devoid of activity. He was completely frozen in place, wherever he was.
He could not think of any reason as to why he was subjected to such situation, making him wish it was all just a bad dream.
Maybe he's dead.
"Don't worry, you're not dead."
Words directly entered his mind. The owner of the voice sounded like a man in his late 20's. He didn't know why, but it sounded familiar.
"Obviously you're alive, but you will be dead if you don't make your decision fast."
Shirou was confused. Was that supposed to be a warning?
"To be honest, I'm the one who wants you gone. But to be put in such situation, this can't be helped."
Just who is this person? What did he mean?
"I'm just as confused as you are, so don't ask me questions I can't answer."
So he can also hear his thoughts? That's convenient.
"There is one thing I do know, however."
"I'm stuck here."
"Also, it seems like you haven't received the mark. Strange..."
Again, what did he mean?
"Like I said, I can't answer questions I don't know about."
"It would be best if you wake up now."
"No, really. You do know this is a dream, right?"
He had already suspected as much but if it was, how could he wake up in such a paralytic state?
"Here, let me help you."
Then there was a sudden pain in his chest. All of his senses returned at once and the first thing he saw was red in his chest.
"At least this sates my urge to kill you, Shirou Emiya."
As his fading sight caught the man who had stabbed his chest with a sword, he saw a blood-curdling smile plastered in his face.
Gasping for breath, Shirou Emiya was given a rude awakening. He held onto his chest, feeling the palpitations within. Sweat was released profusely through the pores all over his body as he tried to calm himself down.
A wake-up call.
The dream's contents felt different, but it still had the same awakening effect that gave him chills down his spine. As always, it was forgettable like its predecessor.
But he felt pain in his chest. Whatever that dream- no, nightmare was, it was no laughing matter. Conflict definitely happened inside his unconscious mind.
'Why...What are these dreams for? Could this be a sign of things to come?'
Again, he ain't that much of a superstitious person, but considering the things happening around him lately, especially yesterday-
'Now that I thought about it, what was up with last night's events?'
That was the name of the person who he fought to save a girl from getting killed.
He wasn't the only one there. There was also the white-haired duo that aided him, Illyasviel von Einzbern and Accelerator. Apparently, the rogue mage was handed over to the authorities that deal with supernatural incidents. An agent from Necessarius picked him up if he remembered what the crutched teen had told him. After that, once they reached his house, the albino collapsed from 'running out of batteries'. Whether that was a deliberate statement or not, it was obvious the fight drained a lot of energy from the four survivors.
Shirou was glad nobody died, but that might be stretching it. Last night's events might not be the last fight he will be caught onto.
For that reason, he needed to master his technique. The only problem is the teacher who could help him.
'I wonder how those three are faring? Maybe I should check out on them.'
Illya told them that her house was located a bit far away, so it would take time to get home. There was also Accelerator's exhaustion, to which the person was vital for her to reach their destination. Due to those reasons, Fuji-nee gave them permission to stay the night, but she would ask early in the morning what the deal was with them. It was a good thing there wasn't much blood from the unconscious girl's sweater or it would cite more inquiries from the older woman.
'They should be using the guest rooms on the back.'
Shirou tried to lift his upper body out of the futon, but he felt some tugging force coming from both his arms. He looked at both directions to see the cause.
At least it answered his questions regarding his guests.
There were two girls to his sides. He felt the both of them cuddling his arms. He recognized the two as his guests. Why they were in his room, he had no idea at all. His blanket partly covered his body, giving him a good view of the two.
A really good view.
Illya was on his left, wearing a purple blouse and a short, white skirt. Shirou can feel his left thigh wrapped around by the little girl's slim legs. Then the boy remembered that he was only in his boxers, the skin-to-skin contact making him feel all kinds of mixed feelings. Add to that the cute exterior the girl featured, telling his mind to not commit a crime right here, right now.
The worst part was that the girl to the right, the maiden he saved, was partly naked. She had changed out of her white sweater, replaced with a white shirt too big for her. The buttons weren't exactly helping to cover the parts that were supposed to be hidden. She too wrapped her legs around his right one, making his right hand go to the valley that he shouldn't traverse. He had already seen how beautiful the girl looked but seeing her face up-close was far more stunning. He had forgotten at first, but didn't he perform CPR and blew breath to those soft lips of hers?
'Fuck, get your mind out of the gutter, Shirou! Calm down and assess the situation! Remember what Issei told you about temptation!'
"Senpai, it's morning! Wake-"
Luck wasn't on Shirou's side today, as the sliding doors opened up with Sakura being given a full view of his misfortunate positioning.
"Hm~ Fwive mwore mwinutes, Shella..."
"...I can explain?"
A wry smile crept into Shirou's face as Sakura stood there, staring at the scene. He couldn't tell what exactly was running inside his underclassman's head of hers, but he should dissolve the misunderstanding quickly before it-
"I'm sorry for disturbing!"
A loud bang erupted as the witness ran away from the scene of the crime, the culprit wasn't given a chance to make things right. The girl's apologetic outburst rang throughout the halls, possibly notifying the other residents in his home.
That also included his bedmates.
"Hrmm... Toooouuuuma, what's with the noise? Is it breakfast alrea-"
The one who got up first was the older girl to his right, hugging his arms with eyes wide open after rubbing off dirt from it. Both teenagers' expressions synced with each other, from a blank stare to a horrified face of realization regarding the situation. Of course, the girl got the most horrified expression of the two.
A strong slap to the face made Shirou Emiya revolve all across his room, the wall stopping his unintentional advance. A big red hand mark was visible all over his right cheek.
"Wha-How-Who-Who-Who are you?! What did you do to me?! D-D-Don't tell me you...You...Nooooooooooooooooo!"
"Wa-wait, please! Let me explain! It's not what you think!"
"Pervert! Lecher! Rapist! Stay away from me!
The girl was about to leave the room, to which Shirou recovered from the blow and grabbed hold of the girl with both his hands on her shoulders.
"It's not like that. Please calm down."
He couldn't stand for the misunderstandings to pile up, so he needed her to calm down to explain himself. Also, he couldn't let her leave the room the way she was dressed at the moment, as the cold would quickly get to her exposed skin. They're in a rather delicate situation, so Shirou tried to be as composed as possible as he explains everything.
He took a deep breath and began.
"First off, I'm just as confused as you are right now. Second, I didn't do any this. And lastly, I'm sorry that you got into this situation."
"Liar! I can't trust you!"
And the red-head got shot down pretty quickly.
"N-no, I'm telling you that this isn't my doing-"
"Tell that to yourself, you panty weirdo! I can't believe a single word you said while wearing underwear over your head! Wait, now that I look closely, that's mine isn't it?!"
Shirou was confused, but was enlightened the moment he laid his hands upon one of the things women considered their prized possession and man's road to the Garden of Eden. Like the girl said, it really was on his head.
So it wasn't only the girls that Sakura was surprised about. It was also the cloth wrapped over his head.
Oh, did I mention already that luck wasn't on his side today?
"Shirou, what happened?! Why did Sakura screa- Eh?"
What lay beyond the now open door was the "Tiger of Fuyuki", her eyes now filled with rage a few seconds after seeing the scene in front of her. To Shirou, his position may look like he was trying to persuade the girl, but for Taiga it was a very different interpretation. It looked like he was about to pounce on the half-naked, teary-eyed girl like some rabid beast. Add to that the panty on his head and she can only see a true sex offender.
No words were spared as a drop-kick to the chest ended it all.
Hidden under Shirou's blanket, Illya wore a cheeky grin.
That was what the alarm clock said but Rin knew that it wasn't the real time, so she adjusted it. It was due to that mistake that something incomprehensible happened last night. Not only was the living room a mess, but her Servant Archer ran away. Thinking about those things made the girl frustrated even further.
"I'm still late for class either way. I guess I'm skipping."
She stood up from her bed and went straight for the bathroom to freshen up. Staring at the mirror while she was brushing her teeth, the girl was lost in her thoughts.
Last night was an experience she will never forget. It was the second time she experienced her life being on the line, the first time was 10 years ago when she had confronted the kidnapper of a classmate of hers that she tried to save. With the exception of the duels she held with Luvia, last night was also the first time she actually fought in a magical battle with a very powerful being and tremendously lost.
Due to that experience, she thought that she may have grown both as a person and as someone studying Magecraft.
"...I should look for her. It was weird enough that she didn't recognize her own Master. On top of that, she will definitely draw attention from the other Servants."
As a Master, Rin couldn't let her Servant run amok in the streets where danger loomed in every corner, especially now that there is only one Servant left to be summoned.
Changing from her cat-print pajamas, she grabbed from her closet the usual garb she wears when going out and tied her long hair into her preferred style. Placing gems in her pocket, she took a mental note not to use these things while still inside her pockets. She also remembered that she needed to call for renovation help.
"Ugh...Maybe fixing some of the damaged parts in the living room can help to lessen the renovation fees and the burden."
There were a lot of antiques that were placed in the living room, so she thought to start with those first. Once she reached the bottom of the stairs, she went straight to the living room, only to see it spic and span.
Not a single sign of a deadly brawl could be seen. Every damage and destruction that was made last night disappeared, as if it never existed. Baffled by this development, the teen mage looked around curiously as to what possibly caused this phenomenon.
"The furniture, windows, and the floor are fixed. Even the big hole in the wall is gone...Why? Who could have done this? Kirei flat down rejected my request, so it couldn't be him. Ah! I should have noticed it earlier, but the stairs was fixed as well!"
Racking her brain with the many possibilities, Rin then saw a small note on top of the table. She picked it up and read its content.
To the person who owns this place,
By the time you would read this letter, I may have already left this city. Due to my uproar last night, I had lost judgement and attacked a complete stranger like you, with no chance of interrogation. As an apology, you will see that everything I had destroyed during that pointless squabble had been fully repaired. I know that I had done you wrong, but during that time, I was extremely confused and anger quickly took over, as I was in the middle of an important task. It may have made a bit of a difference if you had called to me at a later time. There is someone important to me that I needed to save no matter what, and because of what you did, I may have lost that opportunity. I was also responsible for the lives I had possibly sacrificed. I really don't know, but it had been a few hours since then. I really can't blame you for what happened to them, but it was too late now. The least I can do is check the situation. I need to know what happened. The same goes for you. I will come back to see to your request, but this is goodbye for now.
P.S. Left some curry in the kitchen. Hope you like it.
"...What is this?"
Rin was completely confused. The note was written in a very formal fashion, yet it totally contradicted the personality 'Archer' exuded during their fight. If anything, the grammar was very awkward, indicating that she was a foreigner. Not only that...
"What did she mean by leaving the city? Didn't she know that she would disappear if she is away from me for a long time?! She'll run out of Mana at this rate! I need to find her now!"
Rin was about to rush out of the room when she halted and took another look at the note, a part of it she found rather odd.
She took a quick check inside the kitchen and found a big pot filled with the brown substance mixed with potatoes, carrots, and beef. The smell wafted over her nose, the many spices put into it made her stomach grumble.
"...Maybe a bit before going off the road."
She took out a plate and placed some of the sauce on top of cooked rice. It was still hot, meaning that the cook possibly left a few minutes ago. From that she hoped that she wasn't late to find her Servant. She placed the plate on the kitchen counter, ready to eat the contents.
"T-Thank you for the food..."
Hunger taking over, Rin took a spoonful of the meal. As the girl slowly chewed her food, the flavor slowly started to show its true color. Said flavor can be seen on Rin's face as she stuttered her first impression of the taste.
"...It's...It's...IT'S SPICCCCCCCCCY! WATER! I NEED WATER!"
Desperation was evident as Rin quickly ran to the sink to drink tap water, hoping that the spiciness would disappear from her burning tongue. It wasn't enough, so she dashed to the fridge and found a milk carton lying in wait for her to open and gulped it down to the last drop. Catching her breath, the teary-eyed girl took a menacing glare at the plate of horrors.
"She's apologizing, right? This is her reconciliation gift, right?! I know that curry sometimes need to be spicy, but not this much! Just what did she put in it? Argh, if that's the case maybe I should just use a Command Spell and forcefully call her here! I'm saving this for dire situations, but it's better to use this now than wasting my time looking for her all over the city!"
Now that she thought about it, using a Command Spell could have prevented last night's incident. Of course she didn't know that the girl really was her Servant, so the idea never occurred to her. There was also the exhaustion due to things happening at a very fast rate, making the idea very obsolete until she realized now that it could actually work.
Due to that, Rin earned herself a facepalm.
"Sorry that I had to summon you at the wrong time, but you have some explaining to do right here, right now, Archer!"
Rin held out her right hand containing the Command Spells. She chanted right away her very first command.
"By the power of the Command Spell, I order you, my Servant! Come!"
With a quick flash of red, the kitchen was engulfed in a bright light and slowly the form of the belly-dancer appeared in front of her, posing in a way as if she was on the phone. She spoke in English with an obvious Indian accent, supplementing her country of origin.
"-'coma'? What are you talking about? What do you mean by- Huh? What the- Wait, isn't this...!"
"Yo, Archer. So for interrupting your conversation, but there are a lot of things we need to discuss about."
The belly dancer looked at her with pure confusion visible on her beautiful face.
Shirou had survived the onslaught of Taiga Fujimura, but was asked by the older woman to stay away from the girl named Index for a while. A rather bizarre name for a girl, but he didn't ask any further to avoid piling up stress on her due to this morning's shenanigans.
With the exception of Index and Accelerator, the residents had breakfast, Sakura beating him to cooking duty again. The atmosphere was heavily awkward as everyone in the table silently chewed on their food.
Shirou decided to skip for the day, as his excuse was to help the three guests search for their parents. The two regulars just silently nodded, his explanation flew off their heads, and took off. From the response alone, the boy knew that this morning's incident had a very distinct effect on them.
He did try to explain that their guests were foreigners that got lost when going around the city and asked them to stay for the night. It was a good thing Illya followed through and told them of a tale that awfully sounded like the little match girl's. The ruse tale also flew over the two girl's head, not suspecting a single thing.
Shirou and Illya currently paced themselves to Accelerator's room.
"So when you said Accelerator ran out of batteries, you really meant that he literally ran out of batteries? Does that mean he's a robot?"
"He's not a robot, but once the battery on his choker runs out, he turns akin to a vegetative state. From his explanation, apparently he got caught in an accident last year that cost him some of his cognitive functions. That choker serves as a support device to fill out those gaps."
"So that's the reason why you need a charger?"
"Exactly! That idiot didn't bring his, thinking that our trip to the city yesterday would be short, but due to yesterday's fiasco, he had to expend energy to use his powers. Ah! We're here!"
The two stopped in front of one of the guests rooms of the Emiya Residence. Shirou was rather surprised with the sudden change in the little girl's tone. At one time she would sound like her age would, but on the other, she would sound mature and calculative.
'What's up with those contradicting personalities? I don't get her at all.'
Illya opened the door to Accelerator's room, sounding cutesy as she entered the unlit room.
Shirou excused himself before he entered the room, flicking the lights on to see his guest more clearly. It looked like the white-haired boy was peacefully sleeping on the bed, but on closer inspection his eyes were already open, staring at his two visitors. Accelerator tried to lift himself up the bed, his back gently resting on the wall. He looked at Illya and then he faced Shirou. The red head greeted him as he raised a hand to wave with.
"Yo. Slept well?"
"Can't speak, huh?"
"...Ah! I know!"
As Illya explained earlier, the boy had comprehension problems that may include his conversations skills and such. Shirou remembered the robotic voice coming from the albino's choker, which completely supported the girl's claim.
From that, Shirou thought that their only way to communicate with the crippled boy right now was to use text. There would be possible comprehension problems, but he will try his best to get his message across.
Shirou pulled out the cellphone he rarely uses from his pocket and tried to hand it to Accelerator. A puzzled look invaded the boy before clumsily taking the device.
"This way, we can talk to each other."
Accelerator nodded. It looked like the bedridden teen understood his intentions. The albino clumsily typed with his thumb his message and showed the screen to him.
[Anything you want to ask?]
"Illya said that the device on your neck is necessary for you to engage in physical activities. She also said that we need to charge it so that you can return to normal. But, you left your charger behind, landing you in this situation."
[What about it?]
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
Accelerator paused before he sighed and reached for his choker. A small click indicated that the battery was pulled out and the boy handed it to Shirou. It was really small, the size of a AAA battery. He closely inspected the thing before the white-haired boy showed him another message.
[You think you can charge it?]
"I'll try... I have leftover materials back at my workshop, so I might be able to create a temporary charger."
"I'll be back!"
Shirou called out to Illya as she stood silently waiting behind him.
"Sorry, Illya, but could you wait for a while? I'll have to do something about this."
With that, the red headed teen stepped out of the room. Illya relaxed and dropped the childish act and faced her Servant. The half homunculus crawled to the bed and sat on top of Accelerator's lap, resting the back of her small head on top of the boy's chest
"It looks like we'll be going home after he charges up your battery."
"Aaah~ I'm bored already."
The two quietly stayed in that position. Illya thought that the silence was overbearing, since the boy behind her would always reply with a snarky tone to some of her outburst and witty comebacks.
"You should always put your charger in your pockets 24/7. Who knew that we would have to fight someone like that mage? To top it off, you wasted batteries while we were waiting for Shirou. Just what were you thinking, you stupid Servant?"
"You also left your cellphone. Communication is important in this day and age, so why didn't you bring it with you? Wait, now that I thought about it, we haven't bought a phone for the castle."
"If only you brought your charger with you, we wouldn't be in this situation at all. It's a good thing Shirou knew a bit of electrical mechanism or whatever it is that concerns science and stuff. Without him, we wouldn't be able to charge your battery. You better thank him once he's done with it.
No response came from the awfully quiet boy, even if he had Shirou's phone in his hand.
"...You're asleep, aren't you?"
For the first time in a long while, Accelerator spoke through his lips. Hearing him speak for real slightly surprised Illya, as it had been long since the boy spoke last time. She did try to understand his speech pattern during the times he did physically moved his lips and later on found a pattern.
Thanks to that, the girl could comprehend the boy a little more clearly. Obviously, the albino was truly grateful for such dedication.
Illya heard the boy sigh before he rested his chin on top of her head, earning him a complaint.
"Geh! Your head is heavy."
Illya grumbled before replying to Accelerator.
"Hrm...To be honest, I feel more comfortable being beside you than Shirou."
"Because I'm scared."
Illya hugged her legs and put more weight on her back to completely rely on Accelerator's body for support. The boy lifted his chin and slowly opened his legs to the side to give way to the little girl's light body.
"So you've been awake since then?"
"You must have been helpless ever since waking up."
Accelerator felt Illya's small body jerk as a reaction to his question. The albino went ahead and sighed.
"Well, the opportunity was right there, so I used it."
"Remember that girl from last night? Index was her name, right? I kind of used her to harass Shirou and turn him into a sexual deviant."
The albino was silent, but Illya knew that the boy wants her to keep going with the story.
"At first I was supposed to give him the title of a pedophile by sleeping next to him, but that girl suddenly entered the room and slept on the other side."
"It could be that. To seal the title, I removed the girl's panties and placed it on Shirou's head."
"But because of that, Index got a bit traumatized and locked herself inside one of the guest rooms."
"Thinking about it, I may have done something I couldn't fix and I'm scared. What if they find out that I did it?"
"Guilty? That's impossible. There's no way I would feel guilty about what I did."
Illya heard Accelerator sigh, possibly due to disappointment.
Illya, for a lack of better term, was someone who stopped growing as a human and was raised as a weapon for the Holy Grail War. Her feeling guilty was an unprecedented phenomenon, yet Accelerator could understand what the girl was going through. That was why he could only offer one word of advice.
"Hey, didn't you just hear what I said? Sure, confessing to the girl to ease my guilt would be fine, but Shirou is my real target, meaning I wouldn't feel guilty when I do those kinds of things to him at all, even in the near future."
"Are you really helping me dissolve the situation or not?"
Illya was utterly confused with the meaning of Accelerator's message, but the boy continued as if to disregard that ignorance.
"What makes you say that?"
"Eh? A nun? Her? That's impossible! Shouldn't they be staying at convents or something and always wear habits?"
"As if you know would what they do on church, you atheist! You thought that she would be a mini-confessional or something?"
A few minutes of silence passed, and Illya broke the emptiness with a sigh.
"Fine, I'll try confessing. But it's not because you told me to, so don't get the wrong idea."
Hearing this, Accelerator lifted his right hand and continuously patted the little girl's head. Illya was a bit flustered from this action.
"That, whatever you're doing right now!"
"Don't make me waste my energy today, Berserker."
A wild hug appeared, surprising Illya even further.
"Hyah! Now you're hugging me! You have no tact at all, you-"
The hug got tighter, but the albino's silence was what surprised Illya even more.
"Hrrmm... Jeez, just what is with you today?"
They stayed like that for a few minutes until Accelerator moved his lips again.
Last night's fight flashed in Illya's mind. Back then, she was shocked when she felt her connection to Accelerator disappear out of nowhere. Fear easily overcame her whole body and she almost cried. It reminded her of the time her parents disappeared from her life 10 years ago.
The half-homunculus knew her parent's duty as participants of the Holy Grail War, but back then she was still a confused child. The reality of the situation was suddenly forced upon her, telling her that Kiritsugu left her mom to die and ran away.
The pain wasn't gone. In the first place, it never left the innocent part of her heart.
Realizing that the same thing could happen to Accelerator, it was the same feeling. Did that mean she considered the boy as someone important to her too? Illya always saw the albino as a disposable weapon to claim her desires. But, ever since their meeting two months ago, she started to notice unusual burst of emotion within her.
She would be irritated when he does something stupid.
Angry when she was being ignored.
Joy when she sees him partly suffering but apologetic a few seconds later.
Sadness when he almost died yesterday.
Illya peeked at the boy's face, only to see him sleeping again.
"This person, taking a nap like there's no tomorrow. Is he some kind of cat?"
She was not able to answer his question verbally, but she did not leave her Servant's side. The little girl snuck in closer to the #1 Esper's now unconscious frame and closed her eyes.
'You shouldn't say strange things like that. You're the strongest person I've ever known. You wouldn't die so easily.'
She grasped his shirt tightly, with no intention of letting go.
A few hours later, Shirou returned with the fully charged battery. When he saw the two sleeping in that weird position, the boy decided to return later and quietly turned off the lights and closed the door.
"It looked like something happened while I was gone. Better to leave them alone, I guess."
He didn't know this people much, so he really couldn't intervene with whatever moments they were having. But seeing them like that gave him a case of diabetes.
Between The Lines 3
People worry for those they truly care about. It is most obvious when they see them in pain. They will never leave their side, not wanting them to disappear within their sights. It is not a complicated feeling, that's for sure. Human nature taught people to care for one another.
That is a stated fact most people knew about already.
Inside a certain hospital room, a girl with chestnut hair never took her eyes away from the person she cared for the most.
Edit: Made a revision in Rin and Luvia's conversation, specifically Clocktower being separate from MA...Corrected that already. Sorry for being forgetful as this particular topic was literally talked about in the first part of the previous chapter.
A/N: For those who have read Unlucky Servants before coming here, Welcome. For those who started with False Reality, it's nice to see you guys again.
This term was hell, making the release more delayed than it should have. At the very least, I survived and now eligible to take thesis next term.
...Which would delay my chapter release even further.
There are a few things I need to point out in relation to the previous chapter's content. Some of you may have wondered about the adventures of Souichirou Kuzuki as Anti-Skill and that not showing up in this chapter. I'm really sorry that I can't show it to you guys right now, as I had figured it would spoil some of the twists of the story. I'll release an SS Chapter at a later time once the twist is revealed. For now, no Kuzuki action.
To some degree, whatever I wrote regarding Accelerator and Illya's relationship back in Unlucky Servant kind of affected this story, so I hope I'm not being a bother to that. Just remember that US and FR are two different stories with different continuities.
This is mostly a relationship establishment chapter, focusing on Rin/Luvia, Rin/'Archer', Shirou/Index, and Illya/Accel. Please take off your shipping glasses. I haven't decided on any pairings at all.
Who could be that mysterious girl in the between the lines section? Hmmm...
Special thanks to Encendrel for doing beta work for this chapter! Really appreciate it!
That's all for now, I guess. Leave a review if you want to and thank you for reading. I'll see you guys in the next update! Happy Holidays!
P.S. Mental Note: Never watch/read Shokugeki no Souma in the middle of writing a fanfic.