A/N: This story is written by me and SuperNova23 ( u/2817228/SuperNova23), so go check out his stories as well!
Disclaimer: We don't own the Fate franchise or the JoJo one. Although it'd be nice to swim in money pools all day long.
A/N 2: Spoiler alert for the Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Drei Manga, up to chapter 45 for this chapter only. We tried to keep them down to a minimum, but... :)
To think that Miyu and Shirou-san had to go through all of this…
Illya twisted uncomfortably in her bed, trying not to wake Kuro up. She knew that the other girl was just as exhausted as she was, if not more and needed as much rest. After all, despite their best efforts, the Ainsworths had escaped all but unscathed, with the exception of Angelica. While Illya wouldn't trust the blond any further than she could throw her, the white-haired kid couldn't help but feel some pity for the older woman. Learning the true nature of their enemy, both of them, was making a complicated decision even worse.
Save the world, save Miyu, save Julian. That is a list that keeps growing longer and longer.
She recalled what Angelica had said regarding her own transformation into a Doll. Angelica Ainsworth. The user of one of the two strongest Heroic Spirits was currently their captive, the dangerous Card she had used as her weapon gone and in the hands of what could be considered an even wilder card.
Her thoughts turning on the red-eyed boy, Illya felt her hands ball into fists. He abandoned us. I knew his objective was his Card, but he could have at least said good-bye. He fought with us. While she knew that the strange boy was by no means a friend, she had still considered him a comrade. Not only had Gil-kun saved Tanaka and her from the clutches of that crazy, mapo-obsessed man, he had even bought clothes to shield them from the cold too. He had helped them take back Miyu and Shirou-san. Illya just couldn't wrap her head around his… his betrayal.
And then there was Tanaka. Tanaka-san was clearly not just an amnesiac girl. Illya was doubting even the fact that she was human at all. And that hand. Even as she lay in bed, she made a grimace. That silly Tanaka-san!
As each thought led to another, Illya eventually decided that sleep wasn't something she would get at her current state of mind. The entire situation was overwhelming, even impossible if she had to sit and think it through logically, but if she faltered now, then she would return to being wishy-washy Illya. She would let down her friend and her sister and everyone else who had believed in her.
With a sigh, the albino threw the sheet off of herself. A warm glass of milk may help. Careful not to alarm her sister, Illya got off the bed, put on her borrowed slippers and exited the room. She wasn't familiar with the layout of Miyu's home yet, but she managed to eventually find the kitchen. She took out some milk from the fridge, however, checking the expiration date on the cart she huffed in frustration. I imagine grocery shopping isn't a priority when you are a prisoner. I guess tea will do.
"Who's there?" a sharp demand came from behind her, startling the white-haired girl. "Turn around and don- oh, Illya. Why are you still up?"
Don't act like you didn't just scare me out of my pajamas! "H-hey Rin-san! I couldn't sleep so I thought to make some tea." Illya explained. "Why are you up?" she added as an after-thought.
"Same as you, I suppose. Come, I have some tea ready outside." Rin offered as she reached for a second cup.
Illya nodded and followed the brunette. They sat in the backyard, drinking tea and looking at the sky for some time, neither willing to break the comfortable silence.
As Illya reached for a second refill however, Rin decided to speak up.
"Illya. Do you remember where you entered this world?"
"Eh? Ah, I think it was within the woods. But, I am not sure about getting back there Rin-san. I was cold and alone and I can't say I was paying too much attention. It couldn't have been too far away from the main road though."
"That's definitely a start. Assuming that the rift created by that sword isn't closed completely, we need to gather some data on it and study it. After all, we can't stay in this world forever."
That's right. I bet Mama and Papa and onii-chan and Sella and Lizz… I'm sure they are all worried sick.
"Say, Rin-san. How did you and Luvia-san end up as maids?"
"E-eh?" the magus was clearly caught by surprise and her expression quickly turned sour. "W-well, neither I nor that rich bimbo seem to be able to recall anything. I imagine that either the brainwashing has affected our short-term memory, but seeing as that isn't the case with you, maybe we were simply caught and our minds over-written before we could put up a fight."
"Oh, I see."
"Either way, Illya, you and I will tomorrow go to the great cavern. I am not certain about the safety of doing so, but you seemed to reach the city without any problems. So, I want you to try and back-track, if possible."
"But what if I can't? You can't expect me to do something like that and besides, isn't it dangerous to go out?"
Rin turned to smile at Illya. "Surely, my best pupil isn't going to chicken out?"
The recipient of Rin Tohsaka's so-called smile, broke in a cold sweat. Say something! She may attack! "S-sure Rin-san! You can absolutely count on me!" Why? Why must it be me?
"Good. Now, it is time for you to go to sleep. We will go out immediately after dinner tomorrow and I don't need you dead on your feet. Also, you will take a Card with you. I don't believe that the Ainsworths will attempt anything so early after their defeat, but we must be prepared- don't make that face. Even if it doesn't feel like one, we took back Miyu and all of us are alive and well. After witnessing the sort of power Julian Ainsworth has at his disposal, it was the best we could hope for in our current state."
Then why does it feel like things just got worse? "Right. Goodnight Rin-san."
Illya got up to leave the yard, already feeling a bit sleepy. And she had to be well-rested for tomorrow's mission. She wanted to have faith in Rin-san, truly, however experience had taught her to never have faith in Rin-san's words. She somehow seemed to mess up things at the most crucial moment- case in point, getting her involved at the whole Card mess in the first place.
"Hm?" the albino turned to look at the brunette, who remained gazing at the moon.
"You and Kuro get along fine, right?" she inquired. Illya hadn't heard Rin use such a serious voice outside the battlefield. What's on Rin-san's mind…?
"I guess so… why?"
"Even though she thinks you did her wrong, right? But you still managed to get along."
Illya blinked. "Well, yeah. I suppose it took a while, but… yeah. We managed to get along. We are sisters now."
"I see. Well, talk to you in the morning."
This time, as Illya got comfortable under the blanket, sleep came much faster than she would have thought.
"Illya! Hey, Illya, wake up! Dinner is ready!"
"Hmph. Fine. Stay hungry. See if I care."
Kuro purposely shut the door loudly as she left the room. That slouch. Not my problem if she is dead on her feet all night.
She was back in her normal outfit, although she had taken extra care with her hair after she woke up that evening, putting them up into twin braids at each side of her head. See if onii-chan prefers them that way. A devious smile appeared on her face, intent on discovering just how far she could push this version of her precious onii-chan before some member of the current female population in the house tried to castrate him. Sella's supervision made things too easy sometimes. Her own onii-chan was just so easy to tease and get him in trouble that the whole thing was losing its novelty. Not enough to stop though. Let's see what this Parallel World Onii-chan is made of.
Entering the kitchen she took note of the fact that Tanaka seemed to be already fed, if the fact that she was loudly snoring with her face inside a bowl was any indication. Rin and Luvia were also up and looking all roughed up, leaving no doubts that the idiot duo had lost no time in getting themselves in a fight. Bazett was also present, the only one calmly eating, while Miyu and Shirou were still working in the kitchen. She noted the Doll was absent from the table all together and she hadn't seen her in the hallway.
"Good evening everyone!"
A chorus of replies in various tones greeted her back and she took a seat. There were already a few plates before her, so she served herself some rice and a bit of the omelet. Bazett offered to pour her some tea and Kuro began munching down on her food, for a while completely focused on the delicious taste. It was even better than what her own onii-chan made, let alone Sella's cooking.
"Kuro? Where is Illya?" Rin asked, sipping her tea.
"Still sleeping. I tried to wake her up but that numbskull just pushed me away." she explained and took another bite. "This is really good, Shirou-san!"
"Huh? Uh, thank you. You can have seconds if you'd like." Shirou called from the kitchen.
"Don't mind if I do!"
Truth be told, Kuro was really, really low on mana, but so was Illya. Normally, she would have gone right ahead for the usual win-win: replenish her mana reserves as well as watch Illya's face have the usual ridiculous expression of abject terror. Today though she had looked especially drained, so Kuro decided to be gracious to her younger sister for once and postpone it for later. Which meant that, until then, she had to stuff her face with food and get as much as she could out of it.
As she helped herself to the third serving of food, Miyu and Shirou brought in extra rice, tea and coffee, as well as a big amount of udon and several small sausages. Briefly wondering if someone had gone grocery shopping before she woke up, she then shrugged and attacked the extra food with as much appetite as when she first sat down. For a while, the only sound was that of people eating and Tanaka snoring. Miyu had tried waking her up when she took a seat, however clearly the airheaded girl wasn't going to wake up if she didn't feel like it, or if the moment wasn't dramatic enough for her to ruin. Illya entered shortly after and dug in without losing any time, Ruby flying around her head.
After everyone was done, Luvia cleared her throat, drawing everyone's attention on herself, before placing something on the table. Leaning closer she saw, to her surprise, two Class Cards: Rider and Saber.
"Eh? What is this, Luvia-san?" Illya asked, alarmed.
"Tohsaka and I found these within the pockets of our maid costumes." Luvia explained, disdain clear in her voice. Kuro suppressed a chuckle at the busty blond's… accident the previous day. "They are different from the Cards that Illya holds. We assumed they were given to our brainwashed selves to use as a last resort in case of battle. We also have a few spare Noble Phantasm Cards, which we decided not to use and safe-guard for future battles."
"By which you mean you have no idea how to Include them without the sticks now that you are no longer dolls. Is that right?" Kuro corrected her with a smirk. Luvia's death glare was enough of an answer to that.
"It could be that they are worthless." Shirou spoke up. "The Card Sakura gave to me was also just a failed Card. The fact that I managed to link it to that Heroic Spirit was pure coincidence. Maybe this is the case here as well."
"Yes, it is possible." Rin nodded. "And the Cards are certainly precious enough that the Ainsworths couldn't risk giving them to two brainless dolls. We assumed that they had some measure of success but they were not properly linked to a Heroic Spirit, which would make them a watered down version of one."
"Maybe that doll outside can provide us with some insight." Luvia concluded.
Shirou seemed hesitant. "I am not sure she would turn on her master. Angelica may consider herself discarded, but her loyalties lie with the Ainsworths."
"Even taking that into consideration," Bazett cut in, "the Cards are now in our possession and Illya and Miyu can Install them. There would be no point in not sharing her knowledge of those two Cards specifically."
"I guess so…" the redhead conceded, but didn't seem convinced. "I will talk to her, but don't expect results."
"I can come with you Shirou-san." Kuro offered. "She may try something. She may even have a few spare Cards on her we don't know about."
"Oh?" the grin spreading on Kuro's face was a sure sign that this was going to be awkward. He walked right into that one! "And you would know that how exactly Shirou-san? A full-body search perhaps? Angelica is a beautiful woman after all and you are just a guy…"
The boy's face instantly became flushed. "W-what? Don't say such things!"
"But she is right." Rin chimed in. "You sound very sure that she is not hiding something."
"Could it be that you are that kind of guy? I am disappointed in you, Shero."
"P-please, stop making assumptions!"
"How could you onii-san…" Miyu looked away from her brother, her eyes empty.
"Miyu, no! Please, don't lose faith in your big brother! You believe me, right Illya-chan?" Shirou next turned to Illya, in a desperate attempt to regain his pride.
"How could I? My big brother would never do that, but you…"
"You should be ashamed, Emiya." Bazett offered her own two cents.
"Tanaka also thinks you are scum."
"Oh, now you wake up!"
"It's okay if you have a fetish Shirou-kun, so long as it is consensual~." Ruby added.
"Stop talking like that in front of my little sister!"
"You are not denying it Shirou-sama. Is it not a lie then?" Sapphire demanded from next to Miyu's head. "I cannot allow my master to be under the influence of such an immoral person."
"Indeed. Miyu, as your elder sister, I forbid you to be in the presence of such a man." Luvia ordered.
"What is wrong with you people?!"
Kuro couldn't help but relish in onii-chan's awkwardness. It seems like some things can never change…
Her malicious entertainment was interrupted however by the sound of the kitchen door sliding open and in came the object of Parallel Onii-chan's current trouble. "Angelica! Thank God! Please, tell them I didn't do anything indecent to you!"
The Doll regarded him coolly. "Why should I lie?"
"Eh? What are you talking about?"
"Surely you cannot expect me to be forced into such an indecent garb, have my own clothes taken and still offer something in your defense."
Kuro noticed that Angelica had been given what she could only assume to be Shirou's clothes to accommodate her… assets –how can this woman fight with those!- but still, the shirt was too tight and the shorts revealed as much leg as an average Rin skirt.
"But-but-but I- I just- why are you doing this to me!"
The blond pointedly ignored Shirou, who had curled into a ball of obvious misery and sat down at the opposite head of the table, clearly not affected by the suddenly tense atmosphere. "I don't want you to take this the wrong way. I am not going to fight on your side. However, I cannot allow the pride of the Ainsworths to be tarnished by allowing you to think this is something we consider a proper weapon, even for our maids."
"We are not your maids you big-breasted, pig-tailed little-"
"My, my, Rin Tohsaka! How disgraceful of you to so openly admit your sense of inadequacy in front of others. So inelegant…"
"Don't screw with me you stupid bimbo!"
Some things really never change…
If Angelica was perplexed by that show of idiocy from the other two, she did not comment on it. "Those Cards are failures. During the process of creating the Class Cards, it is understandable that a degree of magic as high as that did not succeed at the first try. Through some terrible error in judgment, Beatrice was tasked with disposing of the failures. Eventually, it was revealed that she simply threw them away wherever she was standing. As such, the maids were given the mission of locating and eliminating them. I do not believe them usable. However," here she paused and shifted her gaze at Shirou's sobbing form, "we thought the same of the Card he used to win the previous Grail War."
"So what you are saying is that we should try to Install and see if we can link them to a Heroic Spirit?" Rin clarified.
"How could you believe such things for your big brother?"
"No. The Faker was a special occasion that could not possibly be foreseen. These Cards should simply be discarded immediately. Even if you did manage to link them to anything, it would be a failed version of a Heroic Spirit, with the resulting manifestation being either worthless or dangerous."
"I see." Luvia nodded, putting a hand under her chin. "Even so, we will keep the Cards for further experimentation." She concluded, which elicited an agreement from Rin and Bazzett. "And now, on to other things. Tohsaka. When will you leave for the Great Cavern?"
"Once dinner is cleared. I will only take Illya to avoid getting any unwanted attention, but we will also be prepared for trouble. Speaking of which," she turned to Illya, "you and Miyu should decide which Cards to keep. So long as you two are the only ones capable of performing an Installation, you should never be caught without a Card on your person."
"Wait a second!" Kuro cut in. "I will come with you as well! If that crazy one attacks again, Illya cannot fight her on her own!"
"Kuro has a point." Miyu agreed.
"It will be alright. After all, if they do attack, Luvia and I won't be of any use without gems… and Emiya-kun is still weak. You cannot fight them alone either, Miyu, and we cannot afford to be without a base of operations."
Kuro gritted her teeth. She understood where Rin came from, but she just had a bad feeling about this. "At least take Bazett with you." she suggested.
"Yes, I could offer sufficient protection."
Rin seemed to be considering it for a while. "Very well then. You two go get ready, we are leaving as soon as possible."
The two other members of the team nodded and stood. Kuro and Miyu stayed behind to clean up the table and finish the dishes, seeing as Shirou was currently experiencing a mental break-down. Really, this Parallel Onii-chan is no good at all…
Illya put on her coat and patted it down to fix the wrinkles. Briefly, she wondered if Gil-kun could now be considered an enemy. That would be bad.
Shaking her head, as if to clear it of such thoughts, she picked up the Deck and chose a few Cards to take with her on the mission. After a lot of thought, she concluded on taking three of them and one of the extra Cards.
And the unknown Rider.
She was hesitant to take two of their stronger Cards, but this mission was dangerous. Besides, Lancer was also very strong and Berserker was untested as of yet. She was taking a risk but it wasn't that bad. Additionally, Miyu would have Kuro and Shirou-san as back-up, if need arose, so she should get as much protection as she could with her.
After all, Rin-san said that it was unlikely something could go wrong…
The feeling of unease only seemed to be intensifying. With a sigh, Illya returned to the kitchen and gave the Cards to Miyu. As she made to leave however, Kuro grabbed her wrist tightly.
"Don't go like that. Change into Magical Girl form." she ordered, her tone leaving no room for questions.
"Eh? Is something the matter, Kuro?"
"Just humor me. I don't like this idea in the least. Just go into your default mode and don't change back until you return."
Illya opened her mouth to protest –it was cold outside!- but the look on Kuro's face, along with her own feelings of unease, gave her pause. "Alright then." she promised. "Let's go Ruby."
"Yep, yep! I am right here~"
Illya gave a last wave towards her sister and friend and went ahead to meet with Rin and Bazzett.
A/N: And that just about concludes the first part of the prologue! Hope you enjoyed it! :D