"The accused, one Shirou Emiya, stands here today guilty of crimes against the state, charged with treason and multiple counts of murder. Furthermore –"
I zone out as my executioners waffle on about justice and my so called crimes. I had been arrested after a mission the government had sent me on, one I had completed flawlessly, where I dispatched a group of terrorists before they could bomb an airport in a nearby city. Upon my return I had been swiftly arrested and thrown before this pre-determined jury to be dealt the death penalty. I would almost be impressed with the efficiency of their scheme to remove me, as the prosecution began supplying the evidence I had given them to prove my mission was successful, if it weren't for the fact I was a magus and could easily break free and escape. But I wouldn't do so.
I just didn't care anymore.
Since the Holy Grail War all those years ago I had gone from battlefield to battlefield trying to fulfill my foolish dream of being a hero who could save everyone, but in the end all I ended up doing was killing. I had fought dead apostles, magi, terrorists, and armies alike, yet I usually showed up too late to save anyone, left only with the option to kill what was left behind. What few people I would fight to protect would move on to die somewhere else. I was never thanked for my efforts, and in the end every battle, every massacre, was meaningless. And now, betrayed yet again, I just didn't care enough to save myself.
I had utterly failed at my dream.
"-and how do you plead?" The man in front of me asked, safe and fat off the efforts I spent to protect him.
"Guilty." I replied, my mouth moving into a cynical smile.
"Then you are hereby sentenced to death. Approach the platform."
I move forward, my hands restrained with cuffs behind my back, towards the gallows I was to be hanged at. I silently scoffed to myself, could they not find a more archaic form of execution? At least I had avoided the fate of Archer, from the war all those years ago. Perhaps it was due to the changes he made with his presence, but I had never found myself before Alaya, and had not become a Counter Guardian like him. At least I could die in peace.
As the rope was laid under my neck I watched the sky one last time.
In the end, I couldn't save anyone at all.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
I awoke to find myself seated a short distance from another, more regal, seat with a small table next to it. I took a moment to take in my surroundings, my eyes darting around to take in the room I had found myself in. Or, perhaps, room was inaccurate as I could not distinguish and walls around me, nor the source of the light overhead. In fact, if it wasn't so absurd, I would consider myself in space.
"Emiya Shirou. Welcome to the afterlife. Though you did not live a long life, you died a short time ago." A woman spoke as she passed me and took a seat in the chair in front of me. The most striking thing about her was her long blue hair, along with what looked like a pink ribbon that was wrapped around her.
"I admit this was not what I expected to be awaiting me. Who are you?" I calmly replied. Perhaps now that I was dead, Alaya had come to ask for me to serve it? If so I only needed to refuse its offer.
"I am Aqua, a goddess who guides those who die young into the afterlife." She replied, smiling serenely as she checked something in the book next to her. "I am here to offer you your choices for the afterlife."
She was a goddess? Was that a joke? I may not know much about the afterlife, but that seemed strange to me. The age of the gods ended long ago, and beyond that gods were incredibly selfish beings. What would she get out of guiding the dead? Truly I must be cursed, for it seems I would have to deal with deceit even after my death.
"You have two choices, you may either be reborn into the world you left behind, or you may go to heaven to live as an old man. But just between you and me, heaven isn't as great as you mortals believe." She spoke conspiratorially, as if there were anyone else here to hear us. Perhaps there was, that's something to keep in mind. There could be other 'goddesses' around.
"That's fine, I had no interest in heaven anyway." I said, closing my eyes and smirking. What use was heaven to a twisted failure of a hero like me?
"Starting over from the beginning isn't great either." She continued.
What? Why is she talking down my choices?
She leaned forward her small smile turning into a smirk. "So I have a special offer for you, Shirou."
Ah, here it comes. I knew it.
"Are you familiar with video games?"
She rose from her seat and began striking poses. "A wonderful peaceful kingdom beset by an evil Devil King and his army! Countless helpless people live in fear of their lives as their homes and families are threatened! They need someone to save them or else they'll be … slaughtered!" A brighter light fell on her, as if she were suddenly on stage.
"Are you mocking me?" I muttered coldly, shooting her an intense glare. I may have been a failure, but I had followed my dream to the end. Was this my fate, for my life to be the butt of a joke, before I was erased? How incredibly cruel of her. I know better than anyone how badly I had failed.
She flinched under my glare, and the light shut off. "No! That world is really under that kind of threat! In fact, it's so bad that the population is declining because no one will agree to be reborn, because they are so afraid of the Devil King. They die horrible painful deaths and decide they would rather just go to heaven."
If it was actually a problem then why would they get a choice? Just about anyone who dies wants to go to heaven, because that's where their family and loved ones are. It was only failures like me who would prefer to be reborn. Suddenly I had doubts about this 'heaven'. If going to heaven meant you wouldn't be reborn, and most people would want to go to heaven, and people need to be reborn for people to be born back on Earth, wouldn't this be a problem without the supposed 'Devil King'? That made no sense.
"So we figured people that died here could be sent there alive and ready to fight! That way people who died young could continue to live, that world would gain fighters to fend off the Devil King, and we wouldn't have to worry about depopulation. Everybody wins!" She finished with a twirl and beamed at me.
Ah, so that was why. The offer of heaven or rebirth was likely meaningless, it was a setup for this choice. Those who chose either heaven or rebirth would simply be reborn, as memories are not carried over through rebirth, anyone who choose heaven would simply be reborn unaware of their choice. The 'goddess' in front of me was looking for me to solve a problem for her.
Or this could be a trap specifically designed for me. After all, I cynically smirk to myself, I am Emiya Shirou, the one who tries to save others. Presented with this choice, even if it is a trap, I end up unable to say no. How could I simply be reborn when presented with my dream and a shot at redemption? If this was a trap created by Alaya or some other being for me it was masterfully done. Still, I could use more information.
Closing my eyes and leaning back in my seat I sigh before finally speaking. "If you could revive me in a different world so easily why don't you just kill him yourself? Or revive a local legendary hero? Why do you need me?"
"Ah, goddesses like me can't interfere with the world like that, it's against the rules." She answers leaning forward and getting in my face. "Please, that world needs your help."
What a blatant lie, and delivered with such a straight face! Reviving me in an entirely different world isn't interfering?! I held my tongue though. If she was willing to lie so obviously I likely wouldn't get any real information out of her. And did it even matter? I had expected my end to be when I died, a forgotten killer for hire who failed in his life, and yet I was being given an offer to try again.
I sigh again, thinking over my life. I had tried to be a hero who saved everyone, and ended up unable to save anyone. If I accepted, wouldn't I just continue as I had been and end up just as unhappy? Perhaps this was my chance to try something different? If only I could be so lucky.
"Very well, I accept." I declare solemnly.
"Excellent!" She exclaims, before taking a couple steps back and getting the book she left behind. "Then before I send you off, I will grant you one boon! One thing you may take with you into this world to help you survive and to defeat the evil Devil King and his army."
"I thought I was taking my body?"
"Of course you will. Your physical body will be moved there as part of our deal and revived. Beyond that, to ensure you are fit for the years to come, you will be returned to the prime of your life. That is not the boon I will grant you in order to succeed in your quest!"
Does that mean I would keep Avalon and the Shroud of Martin? I had been executed on my return from my mission and had died with both of them. That would already be an enormous boon. And what did she mean the prime of my life? While I considered this, she began throwing pages from her book all over the floor.
"You may choose anything to bring with you, and if you have nothing in mind here are some ideas!" She explained.
My eyes scanned the pages on the floor, Legendary Swords, Powerful Artifacts, Special Abilities, and various other things were listed on them. What use were any of them to someone like me? I had legendary swords, I had powerful artifacts. In the end they were all useless due to my own weakness. What here would actually make me able to save people? My mind drifted to when I was at my strongest, that time over ten years ago when I face Gilgamesh. While I had more magic circuits than the average magus with 27, they were all of exceptionally bad quality, and I had been forced to make a contract with Rin in order to have the sheer prana to face him, in order to use my ultimate trump card, the Unlimited Blade Works. There had been many times in my life it would have been useful to use it, but I had lacked the energy for it to be effective. Even now, having spent so much time perfecting it and increasing my reserves, I could only hold it a couple minutes before I was completely drained. Not to mention the weapons I could use with more or better magic circuits. If I had been able to use them, would I have been able to actually defeat my enemies fast enough to help those I'd been trying to protect? If I just had more magic circuits…
"Can you increase the number and quality of the magic circuits I have?" I decide.
At some point in my contemplation she had returned to her seat and was snacking on a bag of chips she had gotten somewhere. Hearing my question, she suddenly froze up breaking the chip she had in her hand and covering herself with crumbs.
"You're a magus…" she whispers, suddenly shivering.
Why the sudden change in tone? "You didn't know?" I asked raising an eyebrow. "I would have thought a 'goddess' would have already known that?"
She didn't seem to hear me though, as she rocked back and forth in her seat.
"Is something wrong with me being a magus?" I tried again.
Hearing the word again she snapped out of her trance and focused on me.
"You a-a-aren't going to attack me yelling about t-the Root are you? Or about Akasha Records?" She stammers out.
Now it makes more sense. Yes, I could see a Magus freaking out and attacking her when confronted with this place. Still, to see that she was apparently traumatized by it was surprising. Simply thinking the word had completely broken her composure, and she was acting like a completely different person.
Suddenly she goes back into her shivers. "I s-started hiding behind that c-chair to see if any one else who came through was a crazy m-m-magus who would attack me and yet o-o-one has still appeared in front of me." She begins mumbling to herself.
I haven't even done anything and I still a little guilty. Perhaps this wasn't a trap for me or some cruel joke?
"If it makes you feel better, I have no interest in pursuing the Akasha Records, and I won't attack you…" I trail off, unsure of what to say.
"You won't?" She mutters to herself, and it seems to help. "You won't. Of course you won't, I'm the goddess Aqua, who would dare to attack me!? They should attack Eris instead! I don't deserve this kind of treatment!" She suddenly exclaims standing up.
What a sudden turnaround, does she have some kind of complex? It might explain why she calls herself a goddess.
She focuses back on me seems to notice what she was doing because she composed herself and retook her seat.
"Yes, I can increase both your magic circuit number and quality. Your boon will be one thousand excellent quality circuits!" She states.
What?! That's way too many!
Suddenly a blinding light appears from under me and I feel myself being lifted from the chair.
"Chosen hero! I pray you will be able to slay the Devil King. Upon your success, you will be granted any one wish as a gift from the gods!"
Wait I don't have time to process this! A thousand circuits are way too many! And I don't have a wish!
"I wish you luck on quest, chosen hero! Farewell!"
Thus I began my journey into a new world.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
It had been a few weeks since then, the day I had appeared in a town called Axel, alive despite my death. With no money on hand and no knowledge of the land I had moved into the nearby forest and made my camp there. From there I began gathering information on everything I could, the city I found myself in, the monsters that prowled around it, the Devil King said to lead them, and the goddess who sent me here. And how could she be anything but a goddess? She had truly revived me in an entirely different world, something that flew in the face of everything I knew about magecraft. I had taken stock of the changes in my body, the fact that my hair that had turned white from the overuse of my magecraft had regained its red shade, that my skin that had been tanned from my journeys through the Middle East had been returned to its natural state. I could feel the change in my own circuits and the power I had no idea how to make good use of it. To someone like me who had been forced to live with next to no reserves, the sudden massive increase left me unsure of how to actually use it.
To adjust, I had begun hunting the local monsters, not just as a source of food or because they were a threat to the locals, but just to try and get a grasp on the strength I had gained. There were all sorts of strange creatures in this world labeled 'monsters' by the local citizens, despite most of them being just large animals or in inconvenient locations. I had found and fought large toads, large wolves, large deer, and once while investigating a local lake some large alligators. In the end though, they were just animals and served as good targets to test my new limits. Occasionally, I would encounter a small caravan or a group of travellers engaged with these monsters and despite my protests that I had done nothing worthy of a reward, I had still accrued quite a few of the small coins this land called a currency, even though I had no idea how much it was actually worth as there was nothing I really needed to buy.
Still, until I felt I had a good grasp on my new strength, I would continue to hunt. That was how I found myself in these grassy hills looking for more toads to shoot with my bow. Their numbers had been increasing the last few days, and thus they had become my prime targets. Lining up another shot, I traced a nameless sword and prepared to fire. With my reinforcement, the 700 meters between us was no obstacle. I could easily take a shot twice as far.
Suddenly, a little to the right and in the distance a bright flash caught my attention, and what was unmistakably the sound of an explosion reached my ears. What was that?
I take the shot, and the toad collapses. I return my attention to the explosion in the distance. What could have caused that? Was it some monster I was unaware off, or had someone in the area caused it? Regardless, that attack had gotten the attention of everything around here, and if I was going to get any answers I would have to investigate. With my mind made up, I reinforce my legs and began making my way quickly in that direction.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
Drawing closer I'm able to make out what looks like a handful of large toads surrounding a lone figure. I blink, why are those two toads looking straight up? Wait are those legs sticking out of their mouths? I retrace my bow and take a few quick shots with some normal looking arrows. That way if I'm lucky I can avoid having to explain why I'm shooting swords from a bow. The toads collapse, and the human rushes to free his companions.
I'm getting close now, and I can better pick out their appearances, as the male in a green tracksuit pulls a young girl in some kind of elaborate robe out of one of the toad's mouths, and their third member starts wriggling free of the other. A tracksuit? I'm almost certain that shouldn't exist in this world, why would something like that be here? And wait, that woman that wriggled out of the other toad, isn't that the goddess that sent me here? The man collapses to his hands and knees panting next to the facedown girl he pulled out. I'm close enough to make out what they are saying now.
"-not worth it! What kind of arch mage can only cast a single spell in a day! We almost just died!" The male exclaims, obviously out of breath.
"I told you. My magic is the most powerful, so using it has completely exhausted me." Came the girl's response.
Beside them the goddess covered in saliva began to cry loudly.
This was a really pathetic sight.
Making note of the smoking crater a short ways off, I announce my presence. "Are you the ones who made that explosion?" The answer was pretty obvious, but confirmation would be useful.
The man seems startled quickly looking up at me. "But you were so far away… how did you get here so fast…" He trails off.
Before I could reply the girl spoke up. "Yes, I was the one who caused that wondrous explosion. I am Megumin, most powerful arch wizard of the Crimson Demon clan, master of Explosion magic, the best of all offensive magic!"
Don't say that while face down on the ground.
"Is that so." I respond deadpan. "Well it certainly caught my attention and…" I drawl off looking around "the attention of every monster in a few kilometer radius." And it was true too. I reached here quickly due to my speed, but the toads, while slow seem quite numerous. Apparently they stayed underground during the day, and the explosion had brought them up in force. I made note of it for when I returned later that if I ran out of targets I could draw more out with explosions.
"Eh…" The male exhaled, looking around and seeing the same thing I was. "Megumin you've doomed us all. We're all going to die here." He says in a completely tone dead voice.
"It seems so. The end is near." She says in the same tone. The goddess next to them starts crying louder.
This may be the most pathetic group of people I've ever seen.
Suddenly the male shoots up. "Wait! You killed all five of these toads with your bow instantly! Can't you save us!" He shouts at me, looking me over. "But where are your arrows…" he trails of looking horrified. "Are you already out!? And why don't you have a weapon! Why is everyone I meet useless!"
That's kind or harsh. The useless one here is you.
"Why don't we just run away? The toads are really slow and we aren't that far from Axel." I speak up, trying to resolve the situation. "You two aren't injured right? And you can still run?" I point towards the male and the goddess. "I'll carry Megumin here and we'll just go back to town." I sling my bow over my shoulder to hide the fact I could just dispel it and bend down, turn Megumin upright, then pick her up bridal style. The slime she was covered in while smelly didn't seem dangerous and I don't care about getting it on my armor.
"Wait!" She exclaims blushing. "Carry me on your back! This is embarrassing!"
Having to be carried at all is embarrassing, and I didn't want to get that slime in my hair.
"I can't carry you on my back because I'm carrying my bow too, plus this is faster." I explain away. This had nothing to do with my bow or the speed of the action. The toads wouldn't even be here for another couple minutes.
She pouts, but doesn't argue thankfully. "Kazuma get me my staff and hat."
So the male's name was Kazuma? A Japanese name, paired with the tracksuit and the goddess, implies heavily he's also from Japan. I'd need to ask them about it later.
With Megumin's gear gathered, we run back to town.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
We only had to run a few minutes before the toads were long behind us, so I slowed and let Kazuma take the lead as I had no idea where they were going in Axel. Thankfully, in the time it took us to make it back to city both he and Aqua had managed to compose themselves, and after a short break where we all regained our breaths, we continued inside. We got some odd stares due to fact the two girls in our group were covered in slime and that I was carrying one of them, but I had long since stopped caring about what others thought of me, so I paid it no mind.
"So uh, what's your name? In all the panic back there I forgot to ask." Kazuma hesitantly asked back at me as we walked.
"My name is Shirou." His eyes lit up, obviously recognizing the Japanese. Surprisingly, the blue haired goddess to my side didn't react at all. Did she not recognize me? "I'm no one special. I just happened to see that explosion in passing. After we reach wherever we are going I'll head off."
"Are you-" He suddenly cuts off, I'm guessing because of our company. "Never mind. I'm Satou Kazuma, this is Aqua and you're carrying Megumin. We're going to the baths, Aqua and Megumin really need to wash off and everyone usually takes baths before dinner. Why don't you join us? We owe you one for your help back there so I'll pay for yours."
I see, if we went to the baths the girls would be separated from us, and we could ask each other questions. Smarter than I would have expected from him. Before I could answer though, Aqua interjected.
"Oh! And you should come with us to the guild after words! We'll need you to confirm the deaths of those toads so we can complete our quest and get the reward. I'll even buy your meal!"
Quest? What did she mean by that?
"I have no problem with that, thank you for your generosity." I accept politely. I'd rather not stick around, but I had questions for Kazuma and Aqua I wanted answered and a free meal was nice so there was no real reason not to accept.
We stopped outside the bath house, and I looked down at the girl in my arms. "Alright Megumin, are you going to be able to walk on your own?" I asked. There was no response.
Did she fall asleep?!
Megumin had her head leaned up against my chest with her eyes closed, and she was breathing softly. When we had arrived I had though she was just embarrassed and thought nothing of it, but was she asleep the entire time? Megumin had said she was exhausted but I wasn't expecting her to be this tired.
In front of me Kazuma had a very unimpressed look on his face, and Aqua had started giggling to herself sliding up next to me. "She's only know you for an hour and she's already fallen asleep in your arms, you sure do work fast Pedo-Shirou." She stage whispers to me and poking me in the shoulder with each word, knowing full well everyone can hear it. She even drew out the annunciation of 'Pedo-Shirou' as if it was some clever nickname. What a truly cruel goddess.
My eye twitched violently. Everyone around us was suddenly giving me a very dirty look, and Kazuma snorted holding back laughter in front of me.
"If you wanted a bath that badly Aqua you should have told me sooner. Let me just wake Megumin up and I'd be happy to throw you into that river we crossed just a second ago." I say ominously while shooting her my nastiest glare. She ignores me though and, laughing quietly to herself, makes some distance between us.
I sigh, and lightly shake the girl in my arms. "Megumin, wake up. We're here."
Her eyes shoot open and realizing where she is, she tries to leap out of my arms. Unfortunately for her, she was still covered in slime, and the action didn't have the friction it needed, instead sending her careening out of my arms face first into the ground.
"Are… you going to be alright?" I mutter uncomfortably. I could feel the eyes of the passerby's digging into my back.
"Just leave me here to die." She moaned piteously up to me.
I nod solemnly, and walk into the bath house.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
Kazuma paid for the four of us, and before Megumin and Aqua followed us in we headed into the men's bath. I let Kazuma know I'm not looking for a full wash, and just intend to wash off my hand and armor. I would take a full bath when I returned to camp tonight. Thankfully the slime was easy to wash off, and the smell was mostly removed by the scent of the soap. It would do until I could do a more thorough wash later. After I was done I met back up with Kazuma and confirmed we were both from Japan.
"How long have you been here?" He asked. "You seem to have gotten some pretty good equipment. Was that your boon?" He gestures to my Shroud of Martin and my armor underneath, then to my bow.
Did I explain to him what they actually were? After my questions were answered it's likely I'd never see him again. Just half-truths would work best.
"Not exactly, I got these somewhere else. I've been here for a few weeks now and I've just been gathering information. Why is Aqua here? She was the goddess that sent me here, but she didn't even seem to recognize me."
"She was to be my blessing. I asked to take her with me, though she's been more of a curse than a blessing."
You could do that? When she had told me about the boon I would get, she had said anything and had assumed it didn't include people. It appears I was mistaken.
He continues. "She's completely useless! She can't fight at all, she spends all the money we earn on food and drinks, and she complains constantly about being here!"
That doesn't surprise me at all. Gods are incredibly selfish beings. But she doesn't want to be here? "If she doesn't want to be here, why doesn't she just kill herself, or if she's tied to you, both you and herself? If she's a goddess won't she just return to her realm?" I ask.
He freezes, before turning to me slowly.
"She… she wouldn't do that right? It's got to be against the rules or something!"
"The rules she made up? How can you be sure there are any rules at all?" I continue.
"There has to be! Otherwise this isn't fair at all!" He exclaims. Suddenly I'm glad we're the only ones in the men's bathing area. Despite Kazuma's earlier assertion that people took showers before dinner, there was no one else here. Perhaps it was simply too early? This world seems much further behind in technology than my own, and I had yet to see a clock, but judging by earlier it was only around four in the afternoon.
"Perhaps she just hasn't realized? Her intelligence is pretty low…" That's kind of harsh isn't it? She is a goddess.
Suddenly he focuses on me, looking completely serious.
"You must never tell her."
Tell a goddess to kill herself? An amusing idea, but I would never do it, there were many ways that could be misconstrued, and I had no real reason to help her escape when she is essentially sending civilian after civilian to kill a Devil King because she didn't want to do it.
"Of course not." I reply evenly.
"Good." He nods to himself.
"Moving on, what have you learned of the Devil King while you've been here. It may be worth sharing information." I change the subject.
"The Devil King?" He asks. "Nothing more than what I was told when I died…"
"Seriously? The goal you were sent here to complete and you haven't asked for any information?" I pushed.
"When you put it that way it sounds kind of dumb…" He trailed off.
I sigh. That's because it was.
"Here's what I've heard. Apparently the Devil King has been around for nearly forty years now."
"Forty years!? How has he not been defeated yet?"
"About thirty five years ago he was a real tyrant ordering the massacres of entire villages, but for some reason, something changed. Whatever reason his armies stopped killing innocents and some kind of conditional peace was agreed to. Strong fighters still occasionally hunt down both the Devil King and his generals but when they are defeated by monsters there is no retaliation on their end. Surely you've noticed it right? Despite there being a Devil King in this world, no one in this city seems concerned at all." I explained.
"W-What…" He seems dazed.
"Were you told when you died that this world was having a depopulation problem because no one wanted to be reborn due to the Devil King? Didn't you think that strange? When offered the choice why would anyone not want to go to heaven? After living here for a short time, I believe the real reason why goddess' are taking people from our world to fight is because no one here is really interested in defeating the Devil King anymore. " I finish.
Kazuma seems to be in shock. Was that too much all at once? Perhaps I should stick around a bit longer to make sure he'd be alright.
"Then the quest… it was all a lie?" He whispered.
"Perhaps not. While the people here may not have a grudge against the Devil King, it's clear the goddess' do. Considering their power to revive us here they may well deliver on their promise of a wish if you manage to defeat him, as long as it's not too absurd. But this is almost certainly a personal grudge against him rather than any great heroic quest. Keep in mind tough, even if their reason is selfish, you have been given a second chance. If you decide to fight anyway knowing this, make sure it's for something you believe in, alright? Regardless, I have no more questions for you right now. I'm done here, so I'll wait outside."
Finished with my business, I leave Kazuma to his thoughts.
-God's Merciful Gift Upon This Undeserving Hero-
AN: So my grand return to fanfic writing is here! After the disaster that was my last fic finally left my mind I took the opportunity to learn from it. There were a lot of mistakes I made in the world building and storytelling of that one that I believe I've managed to avoid putting into this one. Hopefully with a better plan in place for this fic I'll have far less trouble actually writing it.
So a couple things. My greatest flaw by far in the last fic was taking it far too seriously. I ended up trying to stuff tons of world building and f/sn lore I didn't understand down the readers throat because I thought it was important and it wasn't. In this fic, I'm going to take a more hands off and light hearted approach and not worry about every single detail of the f/sn lore and just enjoy the writing. That means more concise explanations and only when it makes sense! I won't explain why Shirou can trace a bow, or why he uses swords instead of arrows or what a prana is and so on. If he explains it to someone then that's fine but it needs to make sense in context.
Another thing, this fic will jump back and forth between Kazuma and Shirou's perspectives. Everything in this chapter was presented from Shirou's point of view because it makes the most sense to introduce him to cast, where next chapter will begin with Kazuma's perspective on the fallout of Shirou's reasoning because that makes the most sense.
Also not everything is as it appears. Shirou is assuming a lot about the Goddess' motives based on what he knew of gods in his world. Everything Shirou pointed out is his point of view, and may not be the truth. This should be obvious but it doesn't hurt to point out. I don't believe in bash fics and will not be bashing Aqua or the other goddess' out of some personal vendetta. She does end up traumatized quite a bit though in the actual anime doesn't she? And Shirou certainly doesn't like gods, especially after the life he's led. Also, while some of this was quite serious, this fic will mostly be comedy. Just assume anything too dark that gets in is trauma from playing Nier: Automata to 100%.
The last thing is why this version of Shirou? Simply because I think it's the funniest in the long run. I wanted a super overpowered cynical Shirou that isn't afraid to be a jerk, because I think it fit best with the cast. Disagree? Write another fic! I'd love to read it.