Disclaimer: Fate is owned by Type-Moon. Also Fragments of Chaldea and Their Guiding Light is written by GhostXavier and this story is written with his permission.
Harbinger of Spring
There is a hum in her ear, much like static. Slowly, it becomes louder.
Louder to the point where she can no longer ignore it.
Then, a warm feeling overcomes her. This overbearing warmth that can burn away her skin if it comes any closer.
Skin? How can she feel especially, when she is-
"Your continued charge is meaningless."
"I will not be defeated here, not by the likes of you!"
"I grow tired of this farce!"
"More then you'll ever imagine…."
"I see, Sir Bedivere… your mistake had meaning, more for her then me. May your shine never dull, Arturia Pendragon."
Yes, she remembers now. She is, no, she was the Lion King. She clearly remembers the light that has once engulfed her, and meeting her end. However, where is this? That question alone floods her thought process.
Arturia Pendragon, the once Lion King, opens her eyes and sees the unwelcoming ground. Aching pains spread through her body. Ignoring the biting pain from the bruises, the cuts, and the large hole in her chest, she staggers to her feet with teetering steps, casting her gaze at the hellish landscape. Red, red as far as the eye can see, while the dull clouds above look as if they are ready to cry. The ambiance is enough to force Arturia's eyes open, and face reality.
Is this… Camelot…?
Flames engulf everything leaving only cinders of ash in their wake. Structures that have once stood tall have since fallen, as the flames greedily feeds off anything they can get their hands on. Even human flesh she notes if her nose is still working right. The destruction she has caused with the spear of the end was quick, and mercilessly ending lives in an instant. This fire only burns to drag out the suffering, as ash clogs her nose.
Where is this? This thought travels through Arturia's mind. Her current state of being alive despite no longer having Rhongomyniad does not even register in her mind. Only the utter destruction registers in her mind. The hell is cut off quickly, as stone crumbles, falling a few feet away, shifting her focus towards the situation at hand. The 'how' and 'why' can wait, right now, she needs to escape this place and gather her bearings.
Placing one foot forward leads to another, but all Arturia continues to see is a seemingly everlasting hell. The crackling of flames fills her ears. Her legs slowly start to feel brittle and weak, as the wound to her chest dyes her damaged armor crimson, leaving a trail behind her. Still, in this never-ending nightmare, she finds herself still in hell, yet presses onward. It is not due to a king's will, or a god's will, but a human's will. A will to survive.
Perhaps this is my punishment? To wander in this sea of flames till I either join as kindle or bleed out? Somehow, this thought finds its way to Arturia's mind. It is a decent punishment, but it is not as severe a punishment as she deserves. As her walk starts to slow, unknowingly, she sees something different in the hell she trudges through.
A human hand juts out of a concrete slab, desperately reaching out to another hand only a few inches. The first hand has smooth feminine skin covered in burns, while the other hand is smaller, but does not look feminine at all.
"A mother and child…" Arturia sighs, as she checks for more signs of life. There is none. While the sight does disturb her, it is something she has seen numerous times when she ordered the cannibalization of a village due to scarce resources. She also encountered it hundreds of more times throughout her travels after Camelot fell. Just like those times, she will move onward as the living live the lives the dead can no longer feel. Looking the other way, Arturia moves onward, climbing over the debris that cover the corpses.
For a moment, Arturia looks back towards corpses. How many could be buried underneath the rubble… hundreds… thousands… perhaps even millions? In a twisted way, this world may as well be her Reality Marble. Everything from the fire to the lifeless bodies can link back to her in some way. So why should she continue? As it is, if she keeps going, she can repeat the same events unlike the King of Knights who somehow managed to move forward, away from the blood and regrets with her allies. So, far away from the broken woman, all alone, can only see ahead, and hope to at least touch of that warm light reaches her.
It is sometime later, Arturia is forced to stop. She needs a break, her body that is still running on the little adrenaline she has needs to stop. Despite still being a divine spirit, her nerves, her bones, her skin all cry out for her to stop and rest. Foreseeing the consequences if she keeps going, she falls back on the debris near her allowing it to takes her weight. Her wound is getting worse with all her movements; she looks back at the slowly thickening drops of blood that mark her trail. She considers at least patching the wound temporary, but found that she just did not want to. It only takes a moment to find the answer.
Arturia Pendragon is tired. Tired of everything. Everything leading to her kingship, to her fall, to even now. Nothing seems to go right, and even when it does, it is then twisted to the point it could no longer be called a good thing, just like when she tried to save humanity. Perhaps her mind was warped by the spear, as she can now see the idea was just wrong. It is hard to admit, but she is thankful that Chaldea brought her the chances of her other self-defeating that of all things is impossible even if she was at full power, and had all her resources she doubts Chaldea would be able to stop it even with all their power, it would still be fruitless against it.
Yet, perhaps her mindset is just too different from her other self. Whatever the case, it will be better for everyone if she just breathes her last breath here. She cannot be a problem if she isn't around to begin with. In this-
Suddenly, she feels cold. Cold enough that she stops her pity party, as she realizes rain begins to fall. Like a cold caress, it slowly starts to combat the surrounding fires. With the flames dying, and their crackles toning down, she can hear something else behind the debris she lays against. Her senses are not as sharp as they once were, and her balance is precarious, but her curiosity is stronger. The thought of someone else being alive in this physical manifestation of hell is beyond logic, and reason, but the fact that someone other than her is here, and may be dying stings her pride. Even though it is behind her; the pride that she once held as a king stings her very being. Her sense of morals, and chivalry as the knight she once was is her driving force. Because, at her very core, she still wants to protect.
She looks, but cannot find. Hurts, but does not cry. As far as the eye can see, there is a mountain of corpses, aligned perfectly where they fell. Truly, this is a hell that no one wants to be in.
Arturia tries to climb over the blockage, but loss of blood to this degree forces her vision to turn into a blur, as she stumbles with each staggering step. Arturia realizes this. She realizes that she can barely stand on her own two feet, and that her balance is shifting. There is no rhythm of rhyme in her steps, as she trudges forward in a unorthodox fashion, just trip over her step, but barely managing to prop herself up with random debris. Every few steps, her body forces her to save herself from a fall, but still finds a way to move forward.
Black hair is the first thing she sees when finally makes it around. A man, a man in civilian clothing is digging through the rubble. From the looks of the blood falling out of his ears and his gloss over eyes, Arturia can judge he does not have much longer as well. His hands are raw, and bloody from digging through the rubble.
"Why is he wasting his remaining time digging for nothing?" The former king thinks to herself. It was not long until the man pulled out a human body, and gently set it on the ground, checking for a pulse. Muttering underneath his breath, the man resumes digging once more in a nearby different area.
"I see, trying to at least do something of value while he still has the time. What's the point of it? "Arturia thinks. Humans are creatures that when they are close to expiring, they try to leave something of value. While she understands it, she does not truly understand the reason behind it. It is something she use to see often as the Lion King, mothers jumping in front of her knight's blade, warriors who knew the futility of their actions fought against her army, the crusaders she destroyed before Chaldea who stepped foot in her kingdom also displayed similar actions, despite their warmongering and selfish ways. Chaldea itself has displayed the very same will when they defeated her.
"Does this mean that I was destined to fail due to that very same feeling?" The former king thinks to herself. Despite being near death, Arturia has yet to feel anything remotely similar to those feelings. All there is shame, rage at her ignorant younger self, anger towards her current self, and despair within the moment. Therefore-
Suddenly, a cheer of joy draws her attention, as she focuses on the dying man once more. It seems he has found something; he pulls it small out of the rubble. It is a boy, a boy who is covered in bruises and various scratches across his body. The worst injury the boy has is a leg that was bent at angle where bone becomes visible to the naked eye. Despite that, the boy with red hair seems to be breathing, despite only taking shallow breathes. The boy is gently set on the ground by the wounded man with tears in his eyes as they fall down his face, causing the boy to open is dull eyes. Rubbing the child face with affection, as the boy's eyes close once more, the man starts to focus on the boy, as a light familiar to Arturia erodes from his chest.
The battered king continues watches the scene with curiosity before she hears a loud crack near the two. Twisting her head sharply, she sees the cause. Debris. Debris barely held back by scraps of thin iron and wire is slowly starting to slip. Urgency fills her. Even if she were to yell or warn the man someway, they will still die, there is no way she can prevent their fate from occurring. There simply is not enough time. So, she has to act in a more direct manner. Standing on crumbling legs, the beaten king steps with purpose. Starting a brisk run, her stabbed heart screeches in agony as blood spurts though the once silver armor forcing her to slow her pace. Still, Arturia muddles forward, through the pain and morose ambiance to the pair.
Ironic, is it not? Arturia does not know why she feels this way, but she knows she has to save them. If not the man, at least the child she can save. What she discovers in herself is, is the same feeling she was fussing about a moment ago.
The man seems to sense something after the light fades from his hell. Arturia is not sure why, but he smiles as he sees her approach. She reaches towards the two. Her mind is set on saving them, in her eyes, they shall not have to die here. If anything thing, only one person here has to die, and it is her. However, the distance is too far for even Arturia to reach them, no matter how far she stretches her hand.
The cracking echoes, the detrimental sound bangs in her ears.
The debris is barely held in place by thin wires. There is not much time left, so the man does the only sensible thing possible in the situation. With what little strength he has left in his body that barely clings to life, he throws the boy towards Arturia. Only with the senses of a seasoned warrior does Arturia manage to catch the child in time.
Within milliseconds, the wires snap. The thin wires that held the debris up for that man's last moments snap like they were no more than string. Debris falls on the man. Every last bit of it crushes the brittle body of the man. It is the last sight of the former goddess, as her vision fades into nothingness.
She is in a bright place. A place so bright it causes Arturia to go blind she has to keep her eyes shut as her ears start to slowly function once more.
Arturia's eyes pry open. The bright light makes her vision no more than a blur, and takes some time to adjust. Arturia feels something squeezing her head tightly, but as she tries to touch it with her left hand, there is something in her left arm that prevents her from moving it in a certain way. There is something attached to her finger as well. However, she cannot clearly manage to make anything; it is all a blur to her. There is an occasional beep she hears nearby. It takes some time but her eyes finally adjust as she sees where she is.
White tiled floor, with only a bed and a television her knowledge, obtained from her divine status, tells her. There are wires that run along the floor that are attached to various machines. The bed she is laying in is stiff, and unconformable. The smell of medicine and disinfectants fills her nostrils, making her realize she is in a place of healing. Something touches her inhibited hand, making her look to see the redhead boy she helped touching her hand. She wants to know about his condition, but the words refuse to come out. Her throat is dry as sand. Looking for comfort due to tightness of her chest, she tries to leverage herself, but a hand grabs her shoulder, easily pushing her down in her weak state.
"Easy Ms. Watson!" a woman in a white overcoat with brown hair speaks, before turning to a woman dressed in similar clothing. "Chitose, please, get the doctor! Ms. Watson has regained consciousness!"
"Right away!" the woman named Chitose runs off, leaving Arturia with the woman is the cloak who pushed her back down in the bed.
"Ms. Watson can you understand me? My name is Izumi Ozai. You are in Fuyuki Hospital." the woman says, with a stern face, but the concern radiates in her voice. Arturia can only quizzically tilt her head at Izumi's words.
"Watson?" Arturia manages to choke out causing Izumi to frown. The boy walks off, letting go of her hand to go elsewhere.
"Elisa Watson. I am Doctor Yuki." a man in a green smock says, as he comes in. His grey eyes display exhaustion, but he seems to be hopeful as he sees Arturia. Sitting in a chair next to her bed, he brings out a weird instrument and shines a light in her eyes. Too weak to resist the procedure, Arturia lets the doctor work as he pleases. "How are you feeling?"
"Sore, and my throat is dry." Arturia realizes that they think this Elisa Watson woman is her. Dr. Yuki nods, bringing his cold hands to her wrist, checking his watch for a few moments. Arturia has no knowledge of this era's medical technology, so, she lets the doctor do what he needs without her interference.
"Ms. Watson you are really a survivor. You lost almost a full pint of blood through hemorrhaging through the wound in your chest. We managed to fix the damage, but you should not move or strain yourself for several more weeks."
"How long… have I been asleep?"
"It has been at least four weeks Ms. Watson." the doctor responds immediately. "We honestly expected you to sleep even longer as your body replaces the lost blood."
"I have always been harder than most doctor." Arturia huffs. She cannot be here, she needs to leave, but her blood level is low. Too low. She may have been able to recover faster, but it seems the mystery in this era is thin, making it even harder for her body to gather mana from the air. Suddenly, her bed moves, surprising even her doctor. It stops moving at a seventy degree angle of prefect comfort. Before she knows it, the king has a paper cup filled with water in hand and a young boy with red hair staring at her.
"You are…" Arturia says in wonder as she takes in the child's condition. She did not get a good look at the boy before, but the broken leg is no longer there. So, are the other wounds as well? A normal human shouldn't be able to heal that quickly, unless there are a magus. Or perhaps, the man that saved him did something?
"You don't play with these buttons." Chitose tells the young boy who only stares blankly at her. Before she can continue to scold the boy, Arturia intervenes with a simple question.
"Where are your parents, child?" She asks. She does not know why this child is here with her of all places. He should be with his parents and loved ones. Not a stranger.
"I-" The doctor speaks up, but silences once Arturia's firm gaze is fixed on him. "I am sorry to say, but we have yet… to find his parents. Due to the fire, everything is a mess, and everyone is scrambling to… adjust."
Due to being a ruler, Arturia can easily tell he is not telling the full truth. Currently, she does not have the energy nor patience to ease the answers out of the doctor. Taking a drink of the water the boy has given her to ease her desert-like throat, Arturia takes a moment to adjust her thoughts.
"Then why hasn't he been given a guardian?" She asks, sharpening her gaze, causing the adults to straighten their spines instinctively. This child should have someone to rely on, yet these people aren't not even trying?
"W-we tried several times, but h-he escapes and comes back here." Chitose squeaks at the Arturia's glare. Did she offend her? Will she be punished? But this woman is hurt, and wounded; she couldn't do anything, right?
"What is your name, child?" Arturia turns to the boy whose auburn eyes remain gloss over. The room pauses for several seconds as he seems to struggle for words.
"It is… Shirou." he mumbles.
"H-he spoke. That's-" The doctor speaks, but anymore he wants to say is cut off by his in bed patient.
"Shirou," Arturia says to herself. "That is a wonderful name." Arturia smiles, as the sound of the boy's name as it passes her lips once more. The boy only nods in response. "Shirou, you may stay here as long as you do not interfere with the doctor's work."
There is spark that ignites a small light in Shirou's eyes, "I may?"
"Yes, as you can see I am in need of someone to reach things for me." Arturia gestures with both arms signifying her condition. "Do you wish to stay here Shirou?"
Since she saved the boy, and no one knows where his parents are. No one is watching him correctly either. Therefore, even if she does not want the extra burden, it falls to her to correct this. She may not know much about children, but surely it is not that hard, right?
It takes only the recommended weeks before Arturia Pendragon, or rather Elise Watson as she is called by the staff, to get back on her feet. Her original strength is only twenty-five percent back, but at the very least she can stand and move around without help, though, that does not stop a certain child from holding her hand. Arturia is taking her daily round through the hospital with Shirou glued to her as usual. While she does not mind it, the cute squeals, and squeaks from the other women are irksome. Their envious stares are almost as irksome as the gazes of the male population as they stare at her for unknown reasons.
As they pass the play room, Arturia sees several children playing. Hoping to get Shirou to have some fun, Arturia speaks, "Shirou, do you wish to play with the other children?"
"Not really." the boy quickly replies, as he squeezes her hand tighter. The few women at the register counter notice the action uttering an 'awe', only to unintentionally annoy Arturia. "Do you not want me here?'
Now she knows that Shirou is trying to be smart. Slowly, the boy has the light return to his eyes; while Arturia recovers. While she is happy about that, she wishes Shirou was not so cheeky at times. "No, I don't mind."
She cannot find it in herself to deny him for some reason. Spoiling him like this would not bode well, since someone else will be taking care of him sooner or later, she hopes. As a divine spirit, she will undoubtedly attract attention, and undoubtedly, some of that attention would not be friendly. There is also a worry that Solomon or Chaldea might try to track her down if they learn the era she lives in now has become a singularity like she fears. While she does not mind facing either of them in her weakened condition, having a child involved would not be good for her conscious.
"Ms. Watson are you enjoying your walk today?" an elderly man calls her with a wave, as she nears back to her room. The man is her neighbor who started visiting the day after she regained consciousness. Though him she learned various things about the happenings of the outside world and a few things to help her with Shirou since she was not able to move too much. The nurses seemed to dislike him for his flirty nature, but Arturia does not mind it, since, to her, he is the spitting image of her adviser; Merlin.
"Good afternoon, Hiroshi." Arturia greets him. Hiroshi for his part nods, but Shirou glares at him not hiding his displeasure at all.
"Ah, I see the youngster is attached to you as usual."
"He is. Though, do you have the book I asked for?"
"Sure, sure," as Hiroshi smiles, he hands the book over to her. "I am surprised to see you already up and about. If you ever need anything, don't hesitant to find me, or my daughter. She's taken quite a liking to you."
The reason why Hiroshi's daughter has taken a liking to Arturia, is due to Arturia finding several mistakes in her business that would lead to a massive loss of profit to her bookstore. Due to this, Arturia now has a source of information as well as connections which she needs, as she has to stay in this era. Arturia signals a farewell to Hiroshi, and turns to go back to her room. Before taking a single step, she hears something hitting something else. She sees Hiroshi holding his hand and Shirou glaring daggers at him.
"Hiroshi," Arturia calls out to him. "Is something wrong?"
"No, no I just… it is the old joints aching, yes."
"Very well, Shirou come along now."
"Fine." Shirou smiles toward Arturia and follows her. She can hear Hiroshi muttering something about youth as she goes into her room. While it may not be a long walk, the king still feels tired and needs to lie down. Coming back, she sees that the room and the bed have been cleaned. The small stack of books containing topics on modern law and various trends of this era have not been moved, nor touched. She raised a ruckus the last time she seen them mercilessly toss them aside in order to clean underneath them. However, there was something different this time. A yellow and thin folder sits on top of them. The buzz from the television alerts Arturia that Shirou is now watching it, letting her at least have a break from watching him for now.
Setting the book she is holding down, she opens the folder as she lays in the bed, her muscles thanking her for giving the much needed break. However, they tense a moment later, as a familiar face appears on the front page. The face is of a woman with green eyes and long gold hair with a resolute expression on her face, looking exactly like she once did. If it was her younger self that appeared in the photo, she may have torn it up then and there, thrown it into the trash, and once Shirou was not looking or around, set it on fire. Since the face was an exact copy of herself, Arturia manages to calm herself even if the tenseness has yet to leave her.
This confirms my suspicions. She has had a suspicion that her being in this era may be more than what it seemed. The fact that someone else looks like her is too much to be coincidence, so, the only explanation is, either a Servant summoned by a Holy Grail, or perhaps something more. Perhaps, she was dragged here due to her fighting in a resolving singularity. There is no way to know for sure. However, the fact that this version of her has to assume a false name clued her in on how she has no one questioning her citizenship, or purpose in this country. It is not much, but it is enough to form a hypothesis or two.
For now. The king thinks to herself as she looks at the redheaded child.
It is best I keep a low profile. Making this place a stronger singularity and attracting Chaldea would not be wise.
Arturia goes through the other documents, learning everything she can about the false identity if anyone asks her about her past, or claims to know her. She learns that her background is not too unique, making it easier to memorize. An only child whose parents passed on in her early adult years she then enrolled into the English Army before moving on to more private ventures. She is skilled with a sword, and has a degree in history, along with political sciences, among other things. It also seems she somehow has a small fortune if her new knowledge in this era's money system is correct. Her current employer is named, Kiritsugu Emiya. Perhaps, that person may have been the Master of the Arturia that was here, can perhaps tell her something. If she finds this person, or at least an acquaintance of his, she may find some clues on why she is here.
Suddenly, another yellow folder slips out and lands on her lap. With curiosity fueling her actions, Arturia opens the folder and see only a simple paper. Reading it, her blood runs cold.
'Congratulations on your adoption!'
Arturia does not read the rest of the paper, but only seeing the name Elise Watson, and Shirou Watson. Like a broken puppet, the Lion King slowly looks up at Shriou for about a minute before the child notices her staring at him. The sight that greeted him terrifies him, her skin is pale, and her green eyes are wide, as if she is sick or upset, and her mouth is slightly agape. The child could not think of a reason why she is acting like this. It is a nice day, despite the lecher being next door. Shirou then remembers something one of the nurses told him to do once Ms. Watson reads the paper.
Perhaps, Ms. Watson is upset because he has yet to say those words? It would be wise for him to say those words then.
"Thank you very much, Mother!" Shirou did with a cheesy grin on his face, as he was told to do. However, this has the opposite effect as Elise just continues to stare with a shocked expression. It takes the woman several seconds to recover before a slight smile, the very same smile she had when she invited him to stay as a helper. This smile seems to have a hint of hesitation along with fear unlike the one Shirou is recalling.
"Y-you're welcome Shirou." Elise sputters out.
It was there that Elise Watson, or Arturia Pendragon, her former name, for the first time in her very long life, lacks the knowledge of what to do.
Author Note: First of all I would like to once more thank Na- I mean Ghost Xavier for giving permission to write this story based off his popular FGO Series Fragments of Chaldea and its supplement Their Guiding Light as without his permission I wouldn't have wrote it in the first place.
Hm, honestly this is the most difficult thing I written as I never written a story based off another's fanfiction series. I enjoyed the process but I felt if I were to write something like this I would need to give it more than 100% in order to show how much I enjoy the Fragments of Chaldea. So about six rewrites and one massive editing session (Thank you SaberAoi) we've arrived at this point. I had some difficultly but I finally climbed this mountain! Anyways I hope you enjoyed it!
Music used when writing(Got to keep in tradition even if I don't have a tumblr):
A Day in My Life- Five Finger Death Punch
Let it Burn- Red
P.s Yes this is based off the manga made by Gohan Kimi. Found it in the Avalon Fan club and beast lair.