It was the nightmare again. The ball and the prince and the sudden attack. Seeing her beloved fall, as well as her protector, then taking the sword and killing herself in despair.
She was the Princess, and instead of escaping to possibly live another day, to lead her people after such a horrifying attack, she had killed herself.
Mashiro Emiya had always felt the princess in the dream was an idiot. Instead of surviving or trying to escape, she committed suicide with the sword that her protector had been using to try and save her.
And being only fifteen at the time was no excuse. Mashiro was seventeen, and she would rather go down fighting than to kill herself just because the ones she trusted to have her back were killed, even if one was her soon-to-be-lover.
Mashiro made her way down from the second floor of her shed, where she practiced magecraft. She was already starting breakfast when Sakura appeared and began to help. Which meant Taiga would be in shortly to mooch off her.
Once breakfast was over, Mashiro couldn't help but think that there was something of a void in her life.
When she was seven, she was caught up in the Fuyuki fire that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and ended up with some pretty serious amnesia. Kiritsugu had adopted her soon after she was released, and when told of his once-dream, Mashiro had sworn then and there to see that one day she would create a world where you didn't have to kill the few in order to protect the many. A world of actual peace, instead of the often broken truces that countries made.
When she was fifteen, Mashiro felt as though something big should have happened. For the entire year she kept her eyes out for something to occur that would change her life. When she turned sixteen, she gave it up as a bad job and simply ignored the feeling. Even if it never did fully go away.
However one thing did happen that year that changed her daily routine.
That was the year she found Sakura, and practically took her in as family.
Sakura Matou was the younger sister of a known creep named Shinji. Shinji once made the mistake of trying to hit on Mashiro, up to the point she started using him as target practice after one lewd remark too many. To the girls, Mashiro was their champion, because Taiga gave her permission to use Shinji as practice so long as he wasn't seriously maimed enough to require hospitalization.
As such, while Sakura continued to be a member of the Archery club along with Mashiro, who was now captain, Shinji no longer came around for fear Mashiro would use her bow on him, even if she was using blunted arrows.
Mashiro never missed. Ever. And more often than not she liked to aim...below the belt...when Shinji was around.
As such, when she practically adopted the younger Matou as her sister, the rest of the club adopted her as well.
At this point Mashiro was just glad Sakura was at least able to hold her own when it came to feeding the black hole named Fujimura Taiga.
Once at the school, the girl paused and sniffed the air. Her father once called her part bloodhound because she could sniff out prana, though she preferred not to. Not after the time Kiritsugu pranked her with a particularly foul piece of magecraft that had her nose reeling. It had taken weeks for the smell to leave her poor nose, and ever since she made sure to avoid using her Magus sense if possible.
Kiritsugu took the month of spiked food rather well, considering she had been tempted to dust his undergarments with cayenne pepper for a week.
However there was something around the school that reeked of blood and something best not mentioned. Whatever it was made her skin crawl worse than the time Shinji tried to grope her ass last year.
"Emiya-san, could you spare a moment?" asked Issei, blushing.
He always did that when talking to Mashiro, and some people had a running joke about how oblivious she was to the large amount of people in her fan club, both male and female. She had a bigger following than the second most popular girl in school, Tohsaka Rin.
Emiya Mashiro was very pretty, humble, intelligent and extremely approachable and would not hesitate to help a younger student if asked. However she was sometimes a bit of a ditz (giving some of the more snide girls to make dumb blond jokes behind her back), and appeared to be completely oblivious to the fact she had half the school in love with her.
Tohsaka Rin was pretty enough, was Mashiro's rival in the grade rankings, and was somewhat approachable. However there was always this sense of separation between her and the rest of the students, and the rather odd fact that she barely had a clue about how to use something as common as a cell phone. She was extremely prideful and disliked Mashiro on principle.
In short, she was Mashiro's rival for the most popular girl in school, despite the fact Mashiro did nothing to earn it.
Mashiro followed Issei into the student council rooms, where she saw an older heater.
"It broke down again?"
"I'll see what I can do," said Mashiro with a smile. Issei's blush got worse. "You should really see the school nurse about these sudden fevers of yours, Issei-kun."
Issei left, shaking his head at how oblivious Mashiro was as she took out her tools.
The blond girl snickered. Contrary to popular belief she wasn't entirely oblivious to the boys (and girls) crushes on the only sapphire-blue eyed blond as they believed. It was just she hadn't yet found anyone worth her time.
She wanted someone with a bit more mettle in them. Besides, Taiga would never let her hear the end of it if she did finally find someone worth dating.
Being given the Talk from the woman had been mortifying enough for both of them.
The girl used a little Structural Analysis to find out the problem, and quickly set about fixing it. Good thing she came to school early.
Mashiro didn't mind doing minor repair work, because it saved on the household expenses, but she preferred her other hobbies to repairing random things.
Like video games, for instance. She was absolutely addicted to that odd Sailor V game that came out three years ago, and when she connected her console to the internet she had the second highest score in Japan, beaten only by one Ami Mizuno.
There was also her rather large manga and anime collection, her music collection (most of it from a violinist by the name of Michiru), and of course the scant few magecraft books Kiritsugu had left her inside the shed.
Then of course there was the one thing Mashiro couldn't wait to try out, at least once her license cleared.
A brand new Kawasaki motorcycle which Taiga's grandfather gave her for her sixteenth birthday after she expressed an interest. It was probably a side effect of having to repair his motorcycle and that of his 'associates' more often than she could count. She was cheaper than any repair shops and she never asked why there were bullet holes in the metal.
Hence why he was more than happy to get her one of her own once she expressed an interest in riding one rather than repairing it. And she had undergone several lessons to that effect from a few enthusiastic members of the Fujimura clan.
Mashiro was extremely popular with teens and adults alike. She just had that sort of aura about her.
As Mashiro made her way home, she noticed a subtle feeling in the air, almost like it was charged. The last time she felt like this...was right before the fire started that claimed her memories.
She was a bit quicker to head home, once she realized that.
In taking a different route, she completely missed the almost white-haired girl with red eyes in foreign clothing that was out looking for her.
Once she was home, the feeling in the air grew worse. It was almost cloying. And if that weren't bad enough, the feeling that had started when she was fifteen had almost doubled.
Even while cleaning up, she couldn't shake it. So she decided to head to her workshop to try and do something more productive than homework.
So it was only natural that with how distracted she was that she didn't notice the giant glowing circle in the back of the shed until it was almost too late.
She took one look at the ritual circle and ran out the shed.
All of a sudden there was a pain on her right hand as blood began to pool freely. Hissing slightly at the pain, she watched with fascination and some horror as the blood began to form an odd tattoo on her hand.
It was a crescent moon with a pair of wings on each side, with the moon looking like some form of twisted smile. In the center of the moon was a large eight pointed star that extended from one end of the moon to the other.
The glow was reaching it's peak, and Mashiro had a feeling this had something to do with the 'war' her father spoke of shortly before he died. The Holy Grail War.
The feeling reached it's peak and there was a flare of power inside the shed, almost destroying the windows. Seeing the smoke, Mashiro cautiously entered the shed...to find a man with hair as gold as her own wearing golden armor and oozing arrogance.
"I have answered your summons, peasant. So be grateful that I, Archer, will be your Servant."
Okay, there was only one "Servant" that Kiritsugu spoke of, however briefly, that had golden armor, blond hair and the arrogance of a god.
"Are you King Gilgamesh of Uruk?" she asked cautiously.
Archer's eyes narrowed.
"Well at least my Master isn't completely useless. Do you have a name?"
"Emiya Mashiro," she said immediately. She could handle dealing with Gilgamesh for a while. Everyone in close proximity to her eventually feel prey to what Kiritsugu once called "the most absurdly high charisma ranking" he had ever encountered in a living human.
Case in point, the massive fan club which included well over half the students in her school, aside from the freshman who only just started.
Gilgamesh eyed his new Master with a patient gaze. Whoever this Mashiro girl was, she had a charisma about her that rivaled his own.
At least he wasn't stuck in that basement with only the Priest, or force feed wine. Though he did wonder how such a slip of a girl was able to power him...or have four command seals if he was reading her right.
Masters were only supposed to have THREE when they were granted the power to summon a Servant.
As Mashiro made dinner, trying to figure out how to explain GILGAMESH being here, she almost forgot about one important fact.
Sakura generally crashed at her house, and she was about due for an overnight visit.
True to form, Sakura showed up an hour before Taiga would come over to mooch dinner. She took one look at Gilgamesh, then without a word held up her own right hand revealing a similar set of runes on the back.
Gilgamesh's eyes narrowed, clearly debating on whether to kill her now or watch her struggle later.
So imagine the shock of both Sakura and the Golden King when Mashiro firmly hit Gilgamesh on the head with her ladle.
"None of that. She's our ally, and I'm not going to explain to Taiga why there's a cooling corpse in my dining room, or where the blood stain came from."
"...Did you just hit me with a cooking utensil?" he said incredulously.
Mashiro's eyes turned into a fiery blaze of blue.
"No one, not even the King of Heroes himself, is allowed to fight this close to my kitchen. I'll fight Herakles myself with only this ladle if it means no one touches my kitchen," said Mashiro flatly.
"If it makes you feel any better, Mashiro is a very good cook," offered Sakura, once she got over the strong desire to laugh at the gobsmacked look on Gilgamesh's face at being hit by his own master with a ladle. She had the feeling he wouldn't like it. At all.
Though if the almost battle near the kitchen was bad, it was nothing compared to what happened when Mashiro tried to go to sleep. Alone. In her own bed.
"I am not sharing a bed with an unmarried man I barely know."
"You do realize that as my current Master I must protect you from all threats. It's easier to kill you than it will be me," he said smugly.
"I am a young maiden of marriageable age. You are a king from a time when harems were considered publicly acceptable. Are you seeing my problem?" she said, raising a single sculpted blond eyebrow.
Every once in a while, Taiga would take Mashiro and Sakura for a girl's night out.
Manicure, pedicure, haircut, the whole works. And when they were done they'd go clothes shopping with a set budget.
Needless to say it was the time Sakura enjoyed the most.
Gilgamesh didn't see her point.
So she phrased it another way.
"I have half the school in love with me, yet I've never had a single boyfriend. No one has yet to meet my high standards, and until then I will not allow a man to sleep in the same room as me without someone to chaperone. However...there is a room right next door and easily breached if you're that adamant about it."
Opening the door that lead to the next room, which was originally intended for storage, Gilgamesh snorted.
Mashiro intrigued him. First by summoning him without a catalyst and drawing his previous self straight from the Church, then by establishing her dominance as the one in charge of the house with that surprise attack which he hadn't felt or seen coming.
Considering he was a hero far beyond that of mortal men, and 2/3rd god to boot, that was pretty damn impressive. But if asked by someone he actually respected, he had a very different answer.
There was something about this girl that seemed familiar. As in when 'he was still alive' familiar. Her face kept bugging him and that wasn't bringing into account the energy he felt coming off her, untrained.
He was interested to see how far this Mashiro Emiya would go.
Sakura decided to make her own summoning circle, with Mashiro watching to see how it SHOULD have been done and not the bizarre impromptu one she had used. To be fair, she hadn't planned on summoning a Servant this soon anyway.
However it was the Servant Sakura summoned that brought an entire slew of new issues.
Specifically the fact that this Servant had prior experience with Gilgamesh and disliked him immensely.
Saber looked very much like she wanted to strangle Gilgamesh where he stood.
"So how are you going to explain Saber to your grandfather?"
"I'm not. I'm going to destroy the mansion and him with it," said Sakura darkly.
"...Do you mind if I watch? And what about Shinji?"
"If he lives, then he lives. If he gets killed, then it's not my problem. Coincidentally..."
"Yes, you can crash at my house. You're practically my sister anyway~!" chirped Mashiro.
Mashiro had been wanting to do this since the first time Sakura broke down and told her exactly what when on in that house. Shinji's existence in her eyes dropped to terrifying levels.
And Zouken? He should have died a long time ago.
In Mashiro's hands was a bow and on her back were her special arrows.
For some odd reason, whenever she carved runes into her arrows, they always turned into holy weapons. And Kiritsugu simply couldn't figure out why.
Her Element was Holy, and her Origin was Life, but that shouldn't automatically turn any weapon she modified into a holy-element!
"Remember, you and Saber take out the mansion and I'll deal with any of the worms that come out," said Mashiro.
"And if you see Shinji..."
"Aim low," grinned Mashiro viciously.
Sakura and Saber walked into the wards of the mansion, while Mashiro waited outside. A few worms tried to slither out, but one hit from Mashiro's arrows and they burned up as if on fire.