A/N: Sorry for the wait.
"-and that's why I got banned from the flea market run by talking celery sticks. I mean, how was I supposed to know that that was their grandfather? Anyway, that reminds me of the time when I banned a couple of bipedal crabs-"
Saika had had enough. The old man, Zelretch according to the whole news fiasco, had not stopped talking ever since he and another white haired man had been taken into custody in the heavily armored truck.
Beside him, the driver of said truck, Ishida, was listening intently (was he really that interested?) as they made their way through traffic. Saika didn't know how he could put upwith this. The old man's ramblings were downright insane!
But, given that there was just an invasion in the heart of Ginza, the revelation that magic was real, maybe there was some hint of truth there, regardless of his own skepticism. Hell, even seeing it with his own eyes, and he still couldn't believe it.
After all, if those two really were some sort of wizards, wouldn't they just break out of this truck?
This was perhaps one of the closest to True Magic that any third rate Magus like him had ever gotten.
His arms, but not his arms, were crossed as he listened to Zelretch ramble on, while Zelretch watched in the same spot as that Zelretch. It was confusing to look at to Shirou, but his own disregard to common Magi practices let him just shrug it off as Zelretch being Zelretch. He was still curious though, as would anyone in their position.
"Like it? It's something I came up with a while back. Hypnosis is great for people, but cameras can be a pain."
Shirou could understand that reasoning. A person can be directly hypnotized, but those behind a camera cannot. They would see everything that they did without anyone being able to do anything. What Zelretch was doing was circumventing that.
An application of the Multi-Dimensional Phenomenon he first saw used by the false Assassin of the Fifth Holy Grail War. By tapping into parallel universes, one can force two or more realities into existence in the same universe, having them both happen at the same time.
The difference with how the master of the Second Magic was using it was that instead of letting events fully materialize into the World, he was instead taking the top-most 'layer' and placing them just above their own selves, allowing everything around to perceive their alternate selves as the them of this universe, while they were encased as what Shirou could only describe as a 'bubble' of Magic.
Thus, the two of them could speak freely about anything without anyone the wiser. Anyone who did try would be subject to the Dead Apostle's stories.
"You let yourself be detained." The comment came out more hostile than Shirou wanted. The Magician didn't mind, much to Shirou's internal relief. An angry Magician is one that could rip you to literal shreds after all.
"It was the only way I could talk to you without breaking some laws." It needn't be said that using the Second Magic was a loophole in that scenario. Shirou could only nod for the Apostle to continue.
"I told everyone about Magecraft on live TV."
Shirou choked on his own spit.
It was over an hour later that they arrived at their destination. Curiously, said destination was not a jail, or holding center, but an office building in the middle of Tokyo. Neither Shirou nor Zelretch were actually cuffed, which in of itself was a puzzling occurrence.
As they were escorted off of the vehicle, the Magus saw that people were actually being held back by police barriers, and many more were shouting and holding their phones out towards them.
He paid them no mind, as if he were in the same position, he'd want to see the person who'd defended Ginza, regardless of his own distaste at being revealed without consent.
He only wished he didn't see the signs with 'Marry me Emiya-senpai!' plastered on them.
As they moved into the building, Shirou used Structural Analysis among the people they passed. No Magi in sight. He'd think that the Clock Tower would send Enforcers right about now, but considering the typical Magus' lackluster ability to operate modern devices, he assumed that they haven't heard of the situation.
He started Analyzing the building itself. Relatively new, only ten years since it was first built. Typical composition too. Owned by th-
Shirou paled. Zelretch obviously knew about this, as he was laughing his ass off as Shirou came to the realization.
Both of them were pushed through a set of double doors.
Dozens of people, hundreds of flashing lights, and two podiums at the center. Shirou blanched.
A press conference. He'd been brought right to a press conference.
Zelretch continued to laugh with a shit eating grin.
Shirou dreaded the situation he was in. He'd honestly prefer a jail cell to this. But he couldn't refuse now, not when the exits were guarded by heavily armed men.
Oh, sure, he could go through them with ease. But what about the civilians? They would get caught in the crossfire, and he couldn't guarantee that everyone would be protected.
Cornered, that's what this was.
"Emiya Shirou-san, I presume?" A voice to his left called out. An older man, hair graying and wrinkles pronounced. Shirou recognized him, though only through news and reports.
The current Prime Minister of Japan. Hojo Shigenori.
"Yes, that would be me." In the corner of his eye, he could make out a few reporters scrambling to take a picture. The Minister bowed low, and the Magus reciprocated with a similar one.
"You have my gratitude, Emiya-san. I-no, Japan is in your debt. If there is anything you would want, then please ask. We will be happy to accommodate you." Shirou had never heard a shadier offer than that. There was no possible way that the government would be that lenient to someone with his capabilities. For now though, he shoved that thought aside.
"If I may be so bold, what exactly am I doing here?" Shirou asked calmly.
Why haven't you thrown me into a jail cell for interrogation?
The Minister coughed, "Your actions have provided the people with a modicum of safety, and as such, you have been bestowed clemency for the time being."
Imprisoning you would cause the masses to panic. Do anything wrong though, and you'll be shackled in chains before you know it.
Shirou hated politics, but the Clock Tower required him to get at least a basic understanding of it, with a lot of help from Rin.
If this was the way they wanted information without overtly pressuring him, then he was fine with it. Hopefully, they don't ask anything too difficult.
With a resigned sigh, Shirou marched up to the remaining podium, the Dead Apostle already occupying the first one.
The crowd started getting even more agitated as more questions flew toward them. Finally, Zelretch seemingly had enough.
"Alright, all of you, quiet." Though he only said it, thousands of other voices came from the very walls themselves, saying the same thing and drowning out all of the noise.
Soon enough, quiet ensured, the reporters terrified. Zelretch grinned, "Now that's better. One question at a time."
It took another moment of silence before anyone dared to ask. The old man had just made voices talk from everywhere at once. It was no doubt magic, thought the believers. The skeptics on the other hand, thought that it was a cheap parlor trick. Obviously, there were speakers in the walls, and this Zelretch had the remote for it.
In the end, the Prime Minister held up his hand.
"You claim that magic is real, but have you no concrete proof? While video evidence may be used, it could have been fabricated."
Show us how to do it.
The question was directed at Zelretch, who in turn looked at the white haired Emiya. The crowd followed his gaze, and Shirou let out an internal sigh of annoyance. The Apostle wanted him to answer.
"First things first, Magic and Magecraft are fundamentally different. Magecraft is anything that can be reproduced using science and technology. This, for example," he Traced a simple steel sword, and once more, flashes of light shone as people took pictures, "is Magecraft. While this sword is made of Prana, a real sword can be made with time and the right materials.
"Moreover, as I constructed this blade using said Magecraft, the World itself tries to erase its existence, as it didn't originally exist. This means that this sword is merely temporary and will break down eventually." To prove a point, he crushed the sword with his other hand. More flashes.
"If you see here, this is hollow inside. This is due to Gradation Air, the Mystery used to perform this, only copying the external features of whatever you're creating." The sword faded back into blue particles.
"Magecraft, in short, is nothing more than a branch of science, a branch that a few can perform, and will mostly be temporary." Shirou nodded to himself. That should do it. Hopefully, he'd downplayed the effectiveness of Magecraft enough. He didn't want people to suddenly start trying to learn Magecraft without any Magic Circuits. That would just be disastrous.
"Magic on the other hand, is quite different. If Magi are less than a percent of the total population, then Magic users would not even be visible in that spectrum. Magic are Mysteries that cannot be recreated using science. Because of this, they are not bound to the common laws of physics that we observe here. Time, space, matter, they don't entirely exist when it comes to Magic users."
"However," he almost shouted, as people started to tell again, "Magic is difficult to obtain, requiring not just a lifetime's worth of study, but generations upon generations. I will warn you now, trying to learn Magic will be impossible for the normal man, and will possibly severely hurt, or even kill, you and everyone around you."
Another hand was raised, "Y-You said that Magic users are rare. Where are they now?"
Shirou snorted, "You're looking at one." He nodded toward the Ancestor, who had been silent for his entire explanation. Zelretch raised his eyebrow, "What, didn't I tell you people? The name's Kischur Schweinorg Zelretch, Master of the Second Magic, the Kaleidoscope, the Operation of Parallel Universes."
The ancient man held his hands together, not unlike a stereotypical villain, "And that's exactly why I'm here." He'd silenced the crowd before they even started this time, "What happened in Ginza didn't happen in any other parallel world. It was completely unique, and those that have read about the multiverse theory knows that this should be impossible."
At this, Zelretch's face turned grim. His earlier grin snuffed as if it wasn't there in the first place.
"No situation can be unique. Everything must have happened everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Yet this event only happened here. Which is why I propose that we have a joint expedition into the anomaly. For the first time in millennia, I don't know whether humanity will see the light of tomorrow. And honestly, that scares me."
The Apostle relaxed slightly, even as Shirou mulled over his words. During the trip, Zelretch had told Shirou of his lack of insight in the future. While the masses would never be able to grasp the real meaning behind his words, the Wrought Iron Magus could.
Humanity is in trouble, and it's only a matter of time before It gets involved.
"That is all I have to say. If you have more questions, please direct them towards Emiya Shirou." Zelretch sat down on a rather comfy looking bean bag he'd taken out of some portal. The reporters had no qualms with going forward with even more questions.
All in all, he had been forced to answer nearly a hundred questions before the conference was over. Most of the questions were easy, as he was under a Geas to not answer them. Even then, it had lead him to answer what a Geas was in the first place.
Then there were the questions that he knew the answers to, and could tell others. Like what a Dead Apostle was, as well as the Ancestors. This just meant that people looked even more scared of the Wizard Marshall when they realized that he was near the top of them.
The questions only went downhill from there. His identity as Shirou Emiya was relatively unknown until then, but the reports of a red clad man going around the world and saving people from disaster after disaster that had been brought up had Shirou pause. Zelretch, in his infinite wisdom, 'graciously' provided a 'screen' to view all of his exploits as an Enforcer.
That fire in the middle of the Amazon? Set off by a rune sequence improperly triggered by a Sealing Designate. Shirou had to escort a team of explorers back to civilization amongst the burning forest.
Those terrorists in the Middle East that used swords and ran into gunfire with no remorse? Wraiths that became slightly corporeal due to a fractured ley line leaking out massive amounts of Prana. Shirou had been sent to diffuse the situation as some bullets went through and almost hit civilians without his intervention. Thankfully, the ley line had corrected itself just a day later.
Those murders in London resembling Jack the Ripper's modus operandi? A Dead Apostle who had been turned during that time, and had been hibernating ever since. Shirou and a team of Enforcers had been sent down to take him down when the Clock Tower found out that he'd awoken.
And many more. His exploits as an Enforcer, events that he'd not normally tell due to his own perception of them as largely unimportant, were in full display. He didn't expect praise from people, he didn't want it even. All he did was devoid of pride, just his goal.
Yet the people around him ate it up.
Instead of the questions being about Magi in general, it became all about Shirou himself. Questions ranged from 'How did you start?' to 'Are you married?'.
When he'd said no to that last one, he swore that he'd heard some women squeal in the back.
As the both of them were escorted to the back, Shirou could only stare with a wry glare at the Ancestor, though it was tame due to the exhaustion he felt. Behind them, he noticed the Prime Minister stepping up onto one of the podiums, no doubt to make his own statement on the matter.
Really, you'd think that he would have made his own announcement before basically forcing two unknowns onto the stage.
"You know, I was serious about the whole joint expedition thing." Commented the Kaleidoscope, almost off-handedly. Had it been a normal man who'd said that, it would have been taken as a joke. But it wasn't. Instead, the man who said it was one of the most dangerous things to ever walk the planet. Zelretch may have been prone to a few practical jokes here and there, but never had anything he said was unimportant.
In that moment, everything clicked in place for Shirou.
Let it not be said that the third rate Magus had gotten his position due to his physical prowess alone. Against Magi, a twisted way of thinking must be adapted. Every single tile on a floor may trigger a trap, the very air you're breathing may be poison.
Despite his status as a Magician, once upon a time, Kischur Schweinorg Zelretch was a Magus.
This entire thing had been set up by him. It would have been easy for him, even with the lack of clairvoyance coming from being the Master of Parallel Universes. The reason for doing this was simple.
The inherent greed of all Magi for knowledge, barring himself of course, had driven Zelretch to do what he did. For the first time in perhaps eternity, Zelretch didn't know the answer.
He was afraid.
Knowledge that should have come as easily as breathing was somehow not present. It would be akin to a man spontaneously going blind while walking. He didn't know what had happened, therefore fear was prevalent. To assuage that fear, he needed to know what was beyond the anomaly.
He wanted someone that wouldn't withhold that sort of knowledge from him, who would have no qualms with parting with precious information. Someone who had enough skill to get through whatever may lie ahead.
The only candidate among the Magus community was none other than Shirou Emiya.
The events at Ginza provided Zelretch the perfect opportunity to act. By portraying Shirou in the best light possible, he had shown that he was one of the best the Moonlit World can offer. His announcement of a joint operation would then have to include Shirou as at least a guard, if not as someone with higher authority.
The Ancestor had pulled all the strings just enough to guide everyone to his tune, his hands unseen by anyone else.
Terrifying. Despite the man's facade, a normal man would call him terrifying. To know that you had done exactly what he'd wanted, to know that you don't know if you finding out was also part of his doing, was a concept most weren't ready.
But Shirou wasn't most people. Coupled with his tiredness, the white haired man spoke without thinking, "This was just some PR stunt, wasn't it?"
Zelretch could only laugh.
Night had fallen when the pair were able to leave the building. It wasn't that they weren't allowed, but rather even as they walked, they were accosted by random people wanting interviews, autographs, or both.
Shirou knew that the only reason that they were even walking was because Zelretch found it amusing.
Nevertheless, as they reached their vehicle, graciously provided by the Minister, a thought came to the Magus.
Among the residents of the Clock Tower, there were only a few people that used technology. One of them was Lord El-Melloi II, who was infamous for his addiction to strategy video games within the Association.
Another was himself, but his was mostly for communication purposes, particularly with Sakura and Taiga, though he recently had been talking with both Issei and Ayako again.
The one that worried him, however, was one person.
"Rin is going to kill me." He groaned out loud. Despite Rin's general bad luck when it comes to modern technology, she knows well enough to keep track of the local news. More than likely, she had seen the entire happen live.
"Should I just skip going back to Fuyuki?" Shirou seriously considered it. He was only supposed to be in Tokyo for the rest of the week, then he'd go back to Fuyuki to pick Rin up and they'd both head back to London together. Skipping Fuyuki altogether would have him avoid Rin's wrath for now.
But that wouldn't work with her. Rin was vindictive enough that she'd just find some way to punish him for avoiding her in the first place.
"Going back to Fuyuki then." He was already dreading the encounter. He nodded to the driver of the vehicle, and they were off.
Something he said apparently caught the Magician's interest, as his head snapped to Shirou's direction, "That does remind me..." Zelretch tore open a rift and pulled something out. As the colors faded, Shirou could see exactly what that 'something' was.
A book, weathered as if it had been fingered through countless times. Shirou tried to Analyze it, and immediately gripped his head as a headache erupted. An object that shouldn't exist and is existing. A book written between the folds of reality itself, with materials that he could not comprehend.
"Read this. Normally, you wouldn't know of these events, but the timeline's already unpredictable. Why not add a little more chaos?" Zelretch ignored Shirou's visible pain and handed the book over to him, who gingerly took it in his hands.
"We have a few hours till we get to Fuyuki. I suggest you get started on that."
And so the idealistic hero who wished for a beautiful dream read a story of great heroes and great evils, of heroism and corruption.
The story of a boy who would sacrifice the world for the one he loved.
When Ayako woke up, she wanted to go back to sleep. Really, who could blame her? It was her day off! Being the assistant manager of the Homuhara high school archery team was hard work, you know. Especially when the people who joined the team only joined because it looked cool.
Man, she wished Emiya would come by to help whip those kids into shape. The man was an expert in archery, no matter what he said about himself.
Begrudgingly, Ayako dragged herself out of bed. She flipped on her television as she rummaged through her cupboard for her morning coffee, though to be fair, it was a little bit after lunch. She looked behind her, seeing a news report about people, dragons, and dragon riding people attacking Ginza.
"New movie?" She muttered to herself as she waited for her water to heat up.
That was when she saw him. Shirou Emiya. White hair, darkened skin, and wielding a pair of short, curved blades of black and white. He was fighting people, killing them as he carved a path through the heart of Tokyo. Immediately, she knew something was wrong. Emiya always helped people, but even she didn't think that he'd appear in some random movie. She grabbed her phone, and saw that she'd missed a over half a dozen calls from one person.
Taiga Fujimura. Fujimura-sensei. Sister figure of Emiya.
She checked her messages, and saw that Fujimura-sensei had left four.
'Mitsuzuri, turn on ur tv, its imprtnt'
'Cn u call shiro? Hes not picking up'
'Wht abt tohsaka? Cn u call her? I dont have her nmbr'
'Mitsuzuri u der? Im coming over.'
Ayako frowned. Fujimura-sensei was being a lot more vague than she usually is. And wasn't that last text sent just five minutes ago? If Fujimura-sensei was coming over, she should have arrived by now.
As if on cue, her doorbell rang.
Blinking to herself, Ayako made her way to the door. Opening it, she found her former teacher standing, sweaty, panting and eyes darting everywhere.
"Have you-have you seen Sakura? I need to-uh, to talk to her."
Unceremoniously, Taiga fell to the ground, heaving deep breaths. Ayako, alarmed, hesitated for only a moment before going to help her old English teacher. As she dragged the tired Taiga onto her couch, Ayako could only wonder what the hell was going on.
To say Tohsaka Rin was annoyed would be an understatement. Here she was, just wanting a vacation from the hectic life she and Shirou had within the Clock Tower. With her at Fuyuki, she thought everything would be fine.
She should have known Shirou would stumble into something completely insane. And not even the normal insanity that came with the job of being an Enforcer. This time, it was something world changing, something that would change human history forever.
That, and Zelretch. True, she was annoyed that Zelretch did what he did, but if her time as his student has taught her anything, he did it for a reason. That said though, did Shirou really just HAVE to be in the middle of everything.
Rin grumbled to herself as she worked. Well, no use dwelling on it now. She'd just have to beat the shi-reprimand the other Magus later. Right now, fortifying her home was priority. Magi were normally uninformed about modern news, but that didn't mean normal people were.
She may be a top tier Magus, but eventually, someone will find out who she was, either through government records or even through personal interaction. She knew her school records were still in Homurahara, and the multitude of people that admired her in high school would certainly remember that she and Shirou were close.
Still, she had to make the Field around ber house just a fraction stronger. The Bounded Field around her home during the War had been irreversibly destroyed after a Sealing Designate Shirou was after found out her connection with him, and tried to use her as a hostage.
Needless to say, when Shirou arrived that day, the Designate was a whimpering wreck that begged to die. Rin chuckled softly at that memory.
After that, she had decided to copy the Bounded Field that was around the Emiya household, the very same one that even she didn't notice. It was a masterwork, if she was being honest. Due to the persistent Prana fueling Bounded Fields, they would normally be felt out by a Magus when near it.
Yet, she had stayed there for months on end and she hadn't noticed a damn thing.
Rin shook her head in exasperation. The Emiya family truly was one of the most headache inducing families she had ever encountered, and that counted the Edelfelts. The thought of Luvia made her grip just a bit tighter. Unfortunately, the gem she was currently holding was already deteriorating due to the Prana going through it.
As such, the gem exploded in a violent display of colours, knocking Rin back a few steps. She stared blankly as gem dust flew helplessly in the air. Intellectually, she knew that this was no one's fault but her own. Still, she couldn't help but scream out loud in frustration.
Ayako jumped up in surprise. It had been half an hour since Fujimura-sensei collapsed in front of her. She had successfully dragged the older woman onto a relatively comfortable sleeping position on her couch. She had spent over fifteen minutes just doing that. The rest of the time, she had spent looking at every single piece of information she could find.
Apparently, everything had happened while she was asleep. The entire thing had been broadcasted on live TV, where soldiers and dragons invaded Ginza, where an old man had revealed that magic was real, where Emiya Shirou was shown to be fighting them with the JSDF. It was absolutely surreal.
Yet, an empty pit formed at the bottom of her stomach. How long had Emiya been part of this? Had he been keeping this from everyone since his time in high school? Were she and Ryuudou not trustworthy enough? But a bigger, more important question was, did Sakura know?
As she tried to answer these questions within her head, Fujimura-sensei had awoken abruptly.
"Wahhhhh, Shirou you dumb idiot what the hell did you-huh, Mitsuzuri? What are you doing here? And where's Shirou?" Ayako could only laugh as her old teacher frantically look around for something, "And where's Shirou? I swear he was here a minute ago."
"Fujimura-sensei, remember, you came to my apartment and passed out at the front door?" The Tiger furrowed her eyebrows as she thought about it. As if a lightbulb flicked on in her head, she palmed her fist.
"Right! Sorry about that Mitsuzuri. But man, I just had the craziest dream. Shirou being some sort of wizard on live TV? Like that would ever happen!" With a sigh, she lied back down on the couch. When silence met her, Taiga could only swallowed audibly, "Hey, Mitsuzuri, that was a dream, right?" The panic in her voice was so unnatural that it made Ayako's previous mirth vanish in an instant.
Then, a groan of frustration escaped from Taiga, "Dammit Shirou. Only you." Within a moment, she was standing up from the couch and walking toward Ayako, "Thanks for the save, Mitsuzuri. I owe you one. Now, I gotta ask, do you know where Sakura is? I couldn't contact her at all earlier."
Ayako furrowed her brow. It was very much unlike Sakura to ignore anyone. Not unless something came up, that is. Or, maybe…
"Give me a minute, Fujimura-sensei." Ayako began scrolling through her own phone. She remembered Sakura mentioning something, but she couldn't recall the details. Nearly three minutes pass, before she finds it.
Taiga hadn't even finished reading the message when they both were readying to head out. Ayako knew she had to come along. Both of them knew their destination.
Ryuudou Temple, and the grave of one Matou Kariya.
A soft breeze flitted through the temple. The sun today wasn't as harsh, and the wind provided a comfortable chill to the air. Ryuudou Issei sighed in contentment as he meditated. The temple was silent, and nobody else was inside. The others had been invited to a wake and Issei had decided to remain behind in case any worshippers came by.
Honestly, Fuyuki's air had never felt so peaceful. At least, the air he had breathed in ever since the fire nearly two decades ago. Now, it felt as if a great burden had been lifted from the shoulders of every person in the city. A return to normality almost.
The peace wasn't to last.
"SAKURA! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?" Issei sighed. He recognized that voice. He stood up from his position on the front porch to greet the people coming through the gate.
"Fujimura-sensei, and Mitsuzuri? To what do I owe the pleasure?" Issei felt a wave of confusion hit him as both women looked particularly distraught. It took a moment for him to remember what his old teacher said.
He remembered seeing Matou Sakura as she entered through the gate, and greeted each other with a nod. While Shinji was someone that deserved no respect, Sakura was a kind soul. She and Issei may not know each other all that well, but their mutual friend in Emiya was a common ground they shared, and that itself was enough.
Regardless, like with Tohsaka, he felt as of the younger girl was hiding something. However, unlike Sakura's upperclassman, Issei didn't think that her secret was something that everyone should know. He's seen her, at times, before she met Emiya Shirou.
Hollow and empty. Her eyes were black pits of nothing. It was as if she didn't even want to live. Yet, the moment that the then redhead came into the picture, her eyes started to shine bright, and her lips formed into a gentle smile that would captivate just about anyone. It was at that moment the Issei knew, Sakura had been hiding the sadness she once held in her heart, cured only by the constant presence of the resident Homurahara Brownie.
He didn't say anything, but seeing Emiya's oblivousness to her advances made him want to tear his own hair out. In all honesty, Issei was rooting for her. Better Sakura than Tohsaka.
When he saw her earlier, he saw that the hollowness had returned, if only slightly. He noticed that she held a small bouquet of flowers as she walked toward the cemetery. He didn't say anything. He already knew what she was here for. One of the tasks he wast first assigned to was to periodically tend to the graves. Several names had caught his eye in the process, and he'd deigned to at least remember them.
Tohsaka Tokiomi, Emiya Kiritsugu, and the important one right now, Matou Kariya.
Sakura had passed him by as he continued his silent meditating. The pain of loss was one that all needed to come to terms with. Sakura just seemed to finally be doing so.
"Ah, if you're looking for Matou-san, she's still in the cemetery, if I recall." Taiga nodded in thanks, and headed off immediately. Now Issei knew that something was wrong. The Tiger of Fuyuki would never act so subdued when thanking someone. As Ayako made to follow, Issei voiced his concern.
In response, Ayako looked at him in shock, "You...haven't heard?" The monk-in-training frowed and shook his head.
"I'll assume you're talking about something on the news? Then no, I haven't." It was true. Issei had decided when he started training full time, pleasures such as television could come after everything was done. As such, he hadn't even touched the television for today. Ayako shook her head, and motioned for him to follow.
He hesitated. He was the only one here after all. If someone did come by, they'd think that the temple was just closed and leave.
"I'm sure that no one will want to leave their house today. Seriously, come on." Ah. He had said that out loud, hadn't he. Emiya must be rubbing off on him.
When he failed to respond, the shorter girl grabbed his collar and dragged him along despite his protests. Then, she started to explain. The first few minutes, he thought she was joking. Then, as she showed him pictures, then videos, his eyebrows kept going higher in disbelief.
Issei didn't even notice when he started walking with the archer instead of being dragged by her.
Finally, they reached where Taiga and Sakura were. Yet, it seemed that the confrontation was already over. Sakura's eyes were back to what they were years ago. Cold, lifeless, with tears at the corner. Without another word, she pushed past the two of them and ran.
"Fujimura-sensei?" The unasked question came from Ayako, though he himself wanted to ask as well.
The Tiger looked as if she had aged years in that instant. With a sigh, one full of sadness and regret, sue stared at the grave of Matou Kariya, a bouquet of flowers sitting innocently as if nithing was wrong, "Sakura…Sakura just needs some time, is all. I'm gonna check on something here. Thanks for your help, Mitsuzuri. You too, Ryuudou. Both of you should head back." She started walking in the opposite direction of Sakura.
In silence, Taiga's back disappered among the graves. Soon enough, the both of them headed home in a similar fashion.
That night, they would be in for a surprise.
Shirou's hands gripped the book hard enough that you could practically hear the book groan in pain.
"How different is this world from the one written here?" His voice was icy, with a rage that he didn't think he could have felt before. He was well and truly angry, but he couldn't help the shame that rose from his stomach.
How had he not noticed?
"Not a lot in the way you're asking." Zelretch's response was clipped. His face was akin to stone. The Apostle gave no more signs of the jovial old man he portrayed himself to be. With his words, the Wrought Iron Magus' grip tightened even further.
"And you haven't done anything?" A hint of accusation seeped into his voice. The rational part of him was telling him to shut up, but the part of him that made Emiya Shirou who he was didn't care.
The Magician shrugged, "Part of the deal that old fossil made was that I couldn't directly interfere with his plans. Even this right now is a stretch." He leaned back and stared out the window, "As it stands though, I believe that this is the right course of action."
Shirou was silent as he contemplated the choices laid out in front of him. It took only a moment. He was a Hero of Justice, or at least a man who aspired to be one. He looked down at his armrest. There, innocently laid a single phone. He asked the driver to confirm his suspicions as to who it connected to.
With that out of the way, he picked it up and let it ring. Once, twice, thrice.
"Good evening, Hojo Shigenori-san. I would like to call in that favor." On that night, it wasn't the third rate Magus that called. No, to call him that was to do him a disservice.
That night, the Prime Minister recieved a call from the Second Magus Killer.
After all, Emiya Shirou was now on a mission of retribution. Many years ago, he promised to save everyone he could, yet he missed the suffering of those closest to him.
On that night a new promise was born.
Matou Zouken would die.
A/N: Again, sorry for the wait. I don't have any excuses other than I got really fucking lazy. I feel that this chapter isn't up to par, what with the lack of ny real action, but I think waiting 2 years for a second chapter is a bit fucking much. Still, I don't think I'll be able to push out chapters on the reg again, as I'm a bit busy with college right now. Apologies to anyone who wants regular updates, but rest assured that I will continue to write, no matter how slow it may be.