Hi guys, how are you doing? It took a lot more time for me to finish this chapter than I anticipated; I originally planned to upload this early June. This is the rewritten version of Prologue, and I have changed the narrative from 1st person to 3rd person. I will label the first chapter of every new arc with indicator so you know that the arc has changed. Please tell me what you think of this chapter compared to its previous version. I'll take down all the previous chapters once I'm done with the new versions. Also, I think you guys can guess from this new prologue who Ritsuka's Servants would be.
I do not own Worm or Fate franchise
o - O - o
Arc 1 – Prologue:re
o - O - o
Myriad of lights shone dazzlingly with myriad of colours, illuminating the sky with what could only be described as otherworldly spectacles that both captivated and defied the common sense of humanity. Each light streaked across the sky toward one destination like a beautifully choreographed performance performed with sublime ferocity before inevitably clashed with the maddening form of that eldritch being which had continuously lashed out with unprecedented magnitude at the origins of those lights with its grotesque 'appendages'.
Explosions after explosions, each vary in size and intensity and too many to count, lit the earth ablaze, deafening the eardrums and injuring those who had chosen to stay to fight and to witness whatever end this battle would deliver. Footsteps hastened, those who sought shelters from the apocalyptic battle scrambled to all directions, desperately seeking safety within the sturdiest of constructs that they could find despite instinctively knowing there was no longer any safe places on the face of the Earth.
Fear and desperation marred the faces of the surviving combatants, heroes and villains alike, super-powered and normal humans alike, as renewed and even greater attacks came thundering down upon them. Yet those people who had chosen to fight continued forward in their resistance, refusing to let go of the hope, however faint and tiny it was, sparked in them by the legendary Spirits who had become a beacon for them to follow on the battlefield.
The arrogant jerk of a detective once said that the World was a big place, so big that it was inconceivable for a single human mind to witness more than a minuscule amount of its miracles in a single lifetime, and to attempt to wield these miracles like one would freely wield a common tool would be a fool's errand of the highest degree. Yet, wielding that impossibility was what that bigheaded detective, whose existence itself was nothing sort of a miracle, doing, was it not? That light which burst forth from the detective certainly had revealed the truth to the world and to everyone, and guided them in their crusade against the entity.
The genius polymath of the renaissance, who for some reason appeared as a young girl with long lustrous brown hair, relayed information to everyone with incredible precision and timing from the tank-like mobile base which served as the main command center in this conflict. She had once proclaimed that there were mysteries beyond human's understanding, and that was precisely why humanity should never stop moving forward. To unveil those mysteries, to create a future where humanity could craft their own mysteries, to fight to preserve that right, to live and see what that future would bring was surely a journey most worthy to be undertaken.
The elderly angel who announced death to all that stood in opposition to his Master swung his blade, and at that moment all the 'appendages' of the entity that dared to approach where we stood, where his Master stood, were rendered lifeless with frightening ease. Such a simple motion, yet it was that act which showed the girl many times how frail, how fragile life could be, how 'death' was present for everyone and everything, and would come to reap even those which were seemingly beyond the concept of mortality.
The somewhat aloof-yet-kind bow lady whose love for children was boundless unleashed another torrent of arrows at the airborne 'drones' that threatened to swarm the heroes, wiping most of them with a force not unlike that of a falling meteorite. Feral anger had replaced the calm and composed air she always exuded, anger aimed at a golden figure responsible for the countless fleshy mounds piling up around her. Pulling the string of her bow with enough power that it was a wonder it did not snap, yet not without the grace of someone who knew how to masterfully handle said tool, the bow lady unleashed another torrent of arrows aimed to bring down that hateful figure.
The wandering swordswoman who constantly sought pleasure and self-improvement, yet surprisingly more heroic than many of the self-proclaimed heroes the girl had encountered crossed blades with a golden humanoid 'appendage' of the entity, the strongest of its 'appendages', as it tried once again to 'reclaim' portions of itself from the individuals which it had bestowed its parts to. Though inferior she was in term of the number and scale of abilities she possessed in comparison to her foe, her sheer skill and speed, along with the six-armed demonic figure behind her and the bow lady supporting her in her assault, prevented her foe from breaking through the stalemate they had forced it into.
Questionable though her method was, the unflappable nurse who would go anywhere to save anyone in need of saving without ever yielding to the obstacles in front of her continued to pour all her being in treating the injured inside the zone that she had created. Even though her breath had turned ragged, sweats poured from her forehead, and her body was put under an enormous strain from keeping up her safety zone as she treated an ever increasing number of patients, all the while protecting them from further harm from the outside as well, she nevertheless did not slow down in her effort, for she would choose to perish first than letting her patients died under her watch.
The adventurous and excitable hero(ine?) whose girlish appearance baffled even the greatest Thinkers, and whose optimism was infectious yet exasperating for everyone, was flying around the sky on his fantastic beast, blowing his mythical horn to repel incoming enemies as he rescued anyone who needed help and bringing them back to the nurse. Unusual though his pattern of thinking was, he understood very well that he did not have the level of firepower that many of his comrades had, and opted to act as a support instead. Yet, even if he did not wield a holy sword to vanquish evil, that image of him flying around, saving people on his steed was undoubtedly that of a virtuous knight he claimed himself to be.
The master of the golems stood on the shoulder of the largest and strongest of his creations, directing his golems to form a wall to counter a new wave of 'drones' that tried to reach the ever-expanding hole at the center of the world. The golden, featureless helmet helped masking his unease at the pace the enemies seemingly learned how to handle his creations, even though he continuously created new golems with various different specs. But he would not retreat. Not when so much was at stake, not when so many relied on him. Until the goddess had completed the 'elucidation' and that being was properly dealt with, he would steadfastly remained where he was, letting none of those abominations passed through and reached the realm of the goddess.
The self-proclaimed goddess of underworld and co-deity of the sun, whose adorable attitudes belied her status as a 'goddess of death', whose affection toward mortal lives made all her previous claims about being a 'Divine Spirit' sounded like nothing but an outlandish fantasy, had superimposed on the world a dark realm where bottomless and endless rivers which carried the souls of the departed flowed. Steadfastly the goddess stood in the middle of a vast field of glowing crystals at the center of her realm, glaring with both disdain and defiance at her foe, who 'glared' back at her with its numerous 'eyes' and had made it its priority to get rid of her as it extended countless 'hands' towards her. The Beasts born of a certain man's subconsciousness, however, continued to prevent the entity from ever reaching the goddess in its effort to break free of her 'space' where its 'nucleus' was shackled to.
The Master of the Spirits and the Lady of the Shield worked together as they tried to prevent the number of casualty from growing even higher, having entrusted the front line to those who were capable of felling their abominable foe. Even though the former was by all definition a 'normal' human compared to the Spirits under her command while the latter was said to have lost many of her powers, they nevertheless did not hesitate to brace danger to save as many lives as they could. Those selfless acts despite lacking the 'powers' that their comrades had, that determination to protect that would not wither away under the might of the enemy, truly they were the very images of what ones would consider 'heroes'.
And finally, that single figure whose radiance was like the sun itself, burning away all forms of corruption with the hottest fire known to the world, descended to the realm of the goddess as she finished her 'ritual'. Gone was the majesty that defined his very being, the golden armour that covered his entire body. Yet, in its place, he held in his hand a spear, so divine it was that no words could do justice in describing it, illuminating every corner of the world with a fiery light as if to signal that the end was coming for that bizarre entity.
The girl's mind was overwhelmed by the brilliance of that light, her body felt like it would be washed away by the sheer intensity of it, yet still she brought her hands to her chest, clasping them as words of prayer in a language foreign to her flowed forth from the 'memories' that she and the spear-wielder had shared together.
In this world where humans with extraordinary powers walked under the sun, in this world where heroes and villains fought to impose their beliefs upon the world with their powers, in this world where Beasts of Calamity roamed around unchallenged by even the mightiest of humans while inflicting tragedy upon uncountable victims, and… even in this world manipulated by an existence beyond human reason and understanding…
"Know the mercy of the king of gods!
With this single strike, I shall inflict extinction!
Be reduced to cinders!
As the divine light enveloped everyone and everything, the girl prayed from the bottom of her heart to that gentle Sun that he would guide her to reunite with his son.
o - O - o
The day the girl first met him was not an unusual day by any stretch of the imagination. It was not her birthday date, nor was it her father's or mother's. There was no surprise present in the morning hidden in the house, no party in the afternoon, and though the girl and her mother did bake some pies, cinnamon pies, that was only because her father had invited a couple of new interns to join them for a barbecue, a common scheme of his when he wanted to secure outstanding talents, her mother once said.
Honestly, it was supposed to be just a completely ordinary day, one where the girl would spend the rest of the afternoon idly watching pop show in her room while trying to delude herself that there would be no super-boring history class the next day. Yet this day turned out to be anything but ordinary, for it was the day where the World turned its sight upon her.
"What's just happened?"
When the girl was finally able to form coherent thoughts she tried to voice that question out loud, yet she found she was unable to mutter even the faintest of sounds from her mouth. The girl remembered that something was thrown inside through the kitchen's window, and suddenly there was a blinding light. She wanted to figure out what was the current situation, yet her sight failed her, her body disoriented, and her stomach was churning. It was a miracle the girl did not pass away, though she had to try her best not to throw out the content of her stomach.
The sound of heavy footsteps entered the room in a flurry, and the voices of several men unknown to the girl spoke to each other in a coordinated manner.
"Area is clear, sir!"
"Alright men, start cleaning out the trash."
The smell of iron and smoke started floating in the air, causing the girl to cough violently after she inadvertently inhaled it. This was like the time where one of her father's friends started smoking while she was sitting nearby. Her mother would carry her into her room when she started to feel sick, concerned that the headaches that she had been suffering from in the last few weeks might have returned and the smokes from the cigarette was a factor in her illness.
The girl managed to squeeze out a weak sound out of her throat the moment her face got splashed with warm liquid. Was it hot water, the girl wondered, yet once it flowed down into her mouth, she knew it was no water for the taste was different. It was unlike water, it was thick, heavy, and bland, not refreshing in the slightest.
"How is she?"
A man, voice older and deeper than the girl's father, asked, and moment later she felt someone's fingers touching her throat, before moving to forcefully open her eyes, flashing light on them.
"Disoriented, confused, but that's all. She won't be able to stand and walk for now."
"…Tie her up."
They turned the girl around, forcing her to lie on her stomach as they tied her hands and legs behind her back, before gagging her mouth and blindfolded her with thick clothes. It was at that moment that a dreadful thought ran in the girl's mind as she started to consider the reality of what was currently happening.
"Is this…kidnapping? Am I being kidnapped?"
Though Brockton Bay was a place where kidnappings were not uncommon, the fact that it happened to her was an image that the girl had never even entertained before. The place where she lived, after all, was considered one of the safe areas where crime was low. Not to mention there was a PRT base not quite far from here. Even so, when they began to carry her, the fear finally dug deep into the girl's heart and she began trashing around as she into a frenzy, trying desperately to somehow escape from their grasp, all the while praying that her parents and Rory would appear to beat up these people.
"Darn it, kid, don't make this harder than it already has."
The person who was carrying the girl on his arms whispered, sounding somewhat apologetic. That did not make her stop, though, quite the opposite in fact, for she began trashing around even more. If the situation were not so dire, she might have patted herself on the back for being able to execute butterfly stroke perfectly despite being in this position.
"Hey! Stop struggling!"
As if she would nod her head and say yes to that! The girl began trashing even more; putting what little power she had into her legs and hip. Her effort was rewarded as she managed to slip from the man's grip, but she regretted the fact that she had not think things through, as the girl fell to the cold, hard floor with a loud thud.
Pain immediately assaulted the girl and she screamed in response, though the clothes covering her mouth dampened the sound of her scream. Squirming on the ground with tears in her eyes, the girl wondered frantically if any of her bone had been broken from the impact of the fall.
Without caring for the girl's plight, another man, his voice sounded younger than the one who carried her previously, yanked her up by the arm, and she immediately let out another pained cry, which would have had lasted a lot longer if not for what her eyes saw. Whether it was from the impact of the fall or from the rough way the younger-sounding man pulled her up, whatever the cause it had loosened the blindfold around the girl's eyes, allowing her right eye to see the situation. And her breathing immediately stopped when she saw the two people who were lying motionlessly not far from where she was.
Her mother and father lied still on a pool of thick red liquid, colours almost gone completely from their bodies. Their bodies were covered in holes, small but visible holes, numbering almost a dozen on each of them, giving a full display of flesh and bones for the girl to see.
The girl's mind went blank; though she still had the strength of will to move her sight across the room to the other three bodies sprawling on the kitchen. Her father's co-workers were also lying still on a pool of red liquid; their conditions much worse than her parents' for most of their heads were gone, seemingly had been blown from close range.
Red liquid. Blood. Corpses.
The girl tried to block her train of thought from reaching that conclusion, but…
It was useless.
It was useless.
It was useless!
"They…mommy…daddy… They're dead!"
Despite the piece of clothes stuffed into her mouth, the girl still let out a wail so loud that it was a wonder how her vocal cords did not snap there and then. All painful sensations in her body were gone, she no longer felt the dizziness that assaulted her head, not because they had been healed, but because her mind and every part of her body were filled with naught but grief and anger, completely overriding all forms of physical stimulus that she was supposed to be experiencing.
The girl did not know how long she wailed, or whether the warm liquid streaming down her face was her parents' blood, tears, or perhaps her own blood, all she cared about was the two bodies in front of her eyes. In her despair the girl forcefully broke out of her captor's grip, twisting and lashing out with feral anger that she accidentally injured her head, blood trickling down her nose and forehead.
The bullies at school might say that her frenzied state at the time made her looked like a wild animal, but the girl's current state of mind would not even register anyone's insult. She crawled toward her father and mother as fast as she could, but right as the girl's face touched the edge of the red pool, she was pinned on the spot.
"Hanson, sedate her."
"Sorry 'bout this, girly, we'd rather not resort to this if possible."
They brought out a syringe filled with transparent liquid. While the girl had no idea what that liquid was, she knew it could not possibly be something good.
As the needle drew closer to her wrist, the girl slammed my head to the floor repeatedly, the earlier scene of her mother baking pies with her, and her father playing cards with his co-workers replaying itself over and over again inside her head.
"Why? Why am I still alive? Why am I the only one left alive?! What do they want from me?! Rory, where are you?! Why're you not coming?!"
The girl shut her eyes tight the moment she felt prickling sensation on her skin, steeling herself for whatever would happen. Suddenly, the world began spinning rapidly, carrying countless vivid scenes that sped past the girl's eyes in what felt like forever. Though there were small differences between each of them, there was one similarity that she could not possibly fail to notice, as numbers in percentage form popped up in her head accompanied by a familiar headache.
Chance Rory will arrive in time: 03.66%
Chance the Protectorate will save me: 04.91%
If there were any hesitations left in the girl's mind that somehow she would find a way out of this mess, it was all blown away by those images, by those numbers. Rory would not come in this timeline, and if by some miracle he did come, the images had shown her what would happened to him in those timelines. Her heart sank, this event was an inevitability, an inescapable moment where no heroes would come to her rescue, where no heroes would come to inflict retribution to these awful people who had taken her parents' lives.
The girl felt the needle stabbing deeply into her vein, the liquid being injected into her blood stream, but by this point, knowing that no hero would come, she was ready to resign her fate to these men, to whatever plans they had in mind for her. Minutes later, her breathing started to become shallower, her eyelids felt heavy, but just when she was about to fall unconscious something peculiar happened.
The world before her eyes started to shift again, but unlike what happened when she had her headaches there was no numbers this time; the scenery, instead of showing countless images, started to blur until it formed a hazy, dream-like of a landscape filled with flowers spanning beyond what the eyes could see. A woman was there, oriental in appearance and dressed in ornate white and pink garment. An oddity, for she was the only vivid thing in this scenery; her flowing black hair that reached down all the way to her feet did not seem to bother her as she tended to the flowers while humming an unknown song that somehow made the girl felt very nostalgic, stopping only when she sent the girl a sideways glance.
Beautiful though she appeared, there was something undoubtedly inhuman about the woman, but the girl could not pinpoint what it was. The woman's icy-blue eyes were focused entirely on the girl, scrutinizing her with a mixture of curiosity and indifference; moments later, with a smile that sent a chill down the girl's spine, for the emotions in that smile could not possibly belong to that of human emotions, the woman pointed a finger at a spot in front of the girl. The girl blinked once, wondering what the woman was pointing at, but the next thing she knew her parents' bodies were in front of her again, the scenery had returned back to normal. Before she could think about what that was all about, however, the girl found herself being carried like a sack of potatoes, and this time the person who was carrying her clearly did not care about being courteous to her from his rough handling of her.
Strangely enough, the girl's drowsiness had completely dissipated, and, perhaps expecting that she would be fast asleep, they did not bother to fix her blindfold. It would have been better if they covered her eyes completely, the girl though, for at the very least that way she did not have to continue seeing this nightmare.
Blood was dripping down to the floor from the girl's nose and forehead, leaving a trail not unlike that which Hansel and Gretel made, except hers was made of blood instead of breadcrumbs. Seemed like these bastards saw no need to treat her injuries. Fantastic, the girl would bet her hidden chocolate stash that they would win this year's 'caretakers of the year' award.
Sarcasm aside, it seemed her eyes were playing tricks on her because of the injuries. It was inconceivable to think that her parent's blood would flow on its own towards hers; it was inconceivable that the blood then created a perfect circle containing an octagram the size of an adult on its own; it was inconceivable that a small flicker of fire started to appear right at the center of the circle.
The flicker of fire exploded, forming a pillar of flame which obliterated the roof of our house, burning away the clouds above alongside the girl's presumption that she was merely imagining things, colouring the orange-tinted skies with light that temporarily turned the world back into daylight. It was a sight unlike anything the girl had ever seen before, for the flame began twisting around into a tornado, before slamming back into the ground and reshaped itself into a sphere of fire.
Beautiful yet at the same time terrifying, the flame captivated the girl; she was unable to pry her sight from it, at least not until the screams and smell of burning flesh entered her ears and nose. She was dropped to the ground, and around her there were noises of things falling down to the floor. Peeking to her right, her breathing stopped again, nausea assaulted her, all because what greeted the girl were the completely scorched bodies of her parents' killers. The girl did not know how the men looked under the black masks they were wearing, yet she understood that no way in hell they actually looked like this previously; entire bodies blackened, skins completely gone, any common features like lips and nose were gone, their flesh and insides were clearly cooked.
If she had to give a short description on what happened to them she would just say, "it looked like they got barbecued", to anyone who was asking.
The girl could hear commotion coming from outside. When she glanced towards the entrance of her house, more men were rushing inside, wearing the same masks as the barbecued men and carrying the same dangerous weapons while cursing and yelling, before setting their sights on the sphere of fire. Many them began firing at it, while a few quickly tried to take her away. The keyword here was 'tried'; for they did not manage to carry the girl away even for a feet before flames shot towards them in a whip-like fashion from the sphere, incinerating them to ash in an instant, not leaving a strand of hair behind, causing the surviving masked men to all shoot at the sphere, seemingly panicking.
Again, the girl fell to the floor, and though she wondered how she was completely uninjured and unaffected by the flames, her attention, as well as the men's, was immediately on the sphere, or rather, on a demon who had stepped out of the sphere of fire, body completely wreathed in flames, which it used to incinerate the men who were shooting at him.
The girl's breathing became uneven as the demon walked towards her, completely disregarding the scorched remains of the masked men, and as soon as it was right in front of her its flaming hand moved closer to her face. Closing her eyes, she expected to be engulfed in flame, only for the clothes on her mouth and the blindfold around her eyes to be gingerly removed as if saying to her that the demon did not want to cause her even the slightest bit of discomfort.
"…Eh?" The girl slowly opened her eyes, hesitating to see why the demon had not incinerated her like he did to the others. Looking up, her eyes widened in amazement for the flames around the demon had disappeared, revealing a man who was kneeling down with one knee in front of her, staring at her with inscrutable gaze.
"I, Servant Grand Lancer, Karna, have come to answer your call. Tell me, are you my anchor, my Master?"
o - O - o
Across the city of Brockton Bay all pairs of eyes had their focus glued to the pillar of flame that had suddenly appeared as it continued to burn the clouds away. Citizens stopped in their tracks, mesmerized by the spectacle while carrying various mixtures of emotions in their chests; astonishment, horror, curiosity, delight, alarm and so forth.
At the same time, in the headquarters of local Protectorate team, an overweight elderly woman with hardened gaze that could scare off even an experienced warrior, and also happened to be the managing director of the local Protectorate team, was yelling at the microphone because of the unexpected action of one of the Protectorate members who had suddenly bolted out of the base without informing her or even stating any reason for doing what he did to his team leader.
"Triumph! Where do you think you're going! Under my order as the director, you are to stay with your team and await further instructions!"
"That flame's close to my cousin's house, Director! I'll take any punishment you've got in mind, but I won't wait when their lives may be in danger!"
Gritting her teeth, the director addressed the three people who were standing by in front of her, ready to take action once she gave them order, with a low growl.
"Darn kid… Miss Militia, Armsmaster, Dauntless, follow him, make sure he does not let his recklessness cause any collateral damage, we don not need anymore bad rep to be cleaned up right now. Also, while you're at it, do try to find what or who is dumb enough to do something that extravagant in this city," the director ordered, gesturing at the pillar of flame shown on the screen.
Nodding in understanding, Miss Militia led her teammates to follow Triumph.
The director leaned back on her chair, but as she was about to focus her attention to the live footage shown through Armsmaster's head camera, her eyes noticed a peculiarity in one of her colleagues' condition.
"You are sweating a lot, Calvert. If you are feeling unwell, go to the medical bay and get a check up. I do not want to find a base full of sick people tomorrow."
The slim man with cropped hair wearing PRT uniform, Calvert, let out an exhausted laugh.
"Will do. See you tomorrow then, Director."
The director eyed Calvert one last time, and though she could have sworn that Calvert had a look of distress on his face for a split second, she dismissed it as just him truly feeling under the weather before looking back at the monitor.
It took Miss Militia and her team almost half an hour to reach where Triumph was headed due to bad traffic caused by vehicles stopping to witness the spectacle of the flame twisting into a tornado despite the police urging for them to keep moving, creating a bottleneck when the vehicles finally started moving again. Unfortunately, because they did not arrive quick enough, they were unable to prevent the situation from escalating, as Triumph was yelling with hostility at a man who stood within a circle of flame.
"Did you not hear what I said?! What have you done to them?!"
"Why do you continue asking a question which answer is already obvious?"
The man gave an offhand replied to Triumph's question. The next moment, Triumph let out an indignant scream at the man, blowing away everything in front of him in an effort to take down the man. Had he noticed the small girl hidden behind the man, Triumph would have closed his mouth tight instantly, preventing the shockwave from coming out even if it meant injuring himself.
o - O - o
The girl thought those words did not truly do justice in describing how beautiful the man was. Of course when she thought beautiful she did not mean pretty like a woman, or the kind of beauty that many male models had. He was like a masterpiece of an artwork, like a marble statue that was crafted by human hands yet at the same time blessed with otherworldly beauty. Not that she had ever seen a marble statue directly before, so even that comparison might be inaccurate as well.
The man, having introduced himself as Karna, had a pale complexion; paler than anyone she had ever seen, almost as white as the colour of snow. His unkempt hair, paler than the colour of his skin, seemingly appeared translucent at times; his eyes, staring at hers with unwavering strength, were like sapphire gems; none of which, many would agree, comparable to sight of the golden armour adorning his body, yet wore it he was not for the armour seemed to be fused to his flesh, which was covered by thin black substance from the toe up to his chest where a red, lustrous gem was buried at its center.
The light reflected of the golden armour was enough to force the girl to close her eyes, and it reminded her of the times she was staring directly at the sun.
Noticing the discomfort he had seemingly caused to the girl, Karna suppressed the light of his armour, dimming it to a level where it would no longer troubled the girl. Moving to untie the girl's hands and feet, the red mane on his back fluttered gently as hot wind carried the ashes of his fallen opponents.
Karna repeated his question once more.
"Again, I ask of you, are you my anchor, my Master?"
The girl, having opened her eyes with hesitation once she realized that the light was no more, did not understand what Karna was talking about. Karna, instead of repeating his question again or gave an explanation for the girl, simply moved his gaze towards the back of the girl's left hand. Faint though it appeared, the tattoo, a lance-like pattern within a circle, on her hand was without a doubt 'Command Seals'.
The girl in front of Karna was undoubtedly still a mere child, not even yet a teenager. Her countenance was youthful, but with less vigour he expected to see from a child; long, wavy dark-brown hair stopped just above her waist; round black eyes, both glistened with tears; finally, thin, fragile body that would crumble if he did not careful with her. Bruises were visible on her fair skin, with blood still trickling down her nose and forehead. Karna had little doubt those injuries were caused by the men that he had incinerated.
Small curiosity began nagging at his mind and Karna found himself asking why this small girl was chosen by the World to anchor his existence to this world. He at least understood the reason for needing someone to properly bind him to this world, seeing that the density of mana in the atmosphere was abnormally thin, even for a modern world standard. He surmised that this world was unable to properly manifest his spiritual body into a physical one and it needed help to do it from someone living in this world. But that still did not answer his question.
At least Karna could take comfort from the fact that the girl, his Master, was not supplying him any mana, and instead mana was channelled to him by this world through her Command Seals. She was no magus, and seemed to have no knowledge or experience relating to that side of the world. By all definition she was just a normal human girl, and if his mana consumption as a normal Servant was so bad that it could cripple experienced magi, he was initially concerned with the severity of damage that he would inflict upon his Master with his new position as a 'Grand' whenever a fight occurred.
Karna finished untying the girl, and unexpectedly she immediately crawled away from him, all the while shaking her head as beads of tears flowed down from her eyes.
"Stay away. Please, just…stay away from me, or you'll die too."
"I won't, for you will be in danger otherwise."
Seconds later gunshots rang in the air. Eyes widened, the girl saw what appeared to be bullets combusting in the air before they could even come near them.
"Take him down!"
"Die, you fucking pyro freak!"
"Trap him with the containment foam and kill him!"
Karna did not heed her order, because his senses had warned him of several hostiles coming to their direction. Judging from their attires, these hostiles were definitely in league with the men he incinerated earlier.
But that was not the problem. It was their unreasonable fear towards him that had clouded their judgement and action that could pose a threat to his Master's well-being. And that simply would not do.
Karna would rather die first than letting further harm befell his Master.
"Shit! Men, unload everything you've got on him!"
The men were firing indiscriminately towards Karna, disregarding the girl who should have been their target, throwing grenades filled with containment foam and explosives alike. All to take down the 'cape' who had ruined their mission.
The realized they might not be getting paid in full if the girl was not in perfect condition, but considering that they just lost more than half of their team, that deduction sounded much more appealing than losing their lives.
With a swipe of Karna's hand, flame erupted out of thin air and formed a circular wall around him and the girl, burning away all of the bullets and explosions. Light then gathered in Karna's hand, condensing into a thin, long cylindrical shape, before it finally manifested into a golden spear that was a luminous as his golden armour.
"Choose. Will you leave and swear never to come after my Master again, or will you fight and join your comrades in circling the wheel of Naraka?" Karna asked with an air of authority. "While the emotions you feel towards me are justified, letting yourselves be blinded by it will simply invite needless death when you could avoid it and live a better life. You should not feel shameful for running away from a superior foe that you can not surpass, from a battle that you can not win."
"Shut the fuck up, you freak!"
Gunshots continued, and with it Karna closed his left eye.
"I see. So that is your choice," Karna said. "May Brahma guide you to your proper next life."
Karna swung his spear, and flame burned the masked men, instantly reducing them all, and whatever remained of the house, to cinder.
"It is done. There's no longer any threats present."
The girl could not hold back from puking. The sight of her attackers' being turned to ashes, combined with the nasty odour of their burning flesh entering her nose for the second time, was simply too much for her. It was terrifying how easy it was for Karna to take care of them.
Remembering what happened to her parents and her father co-workers, she desperately looked back to where their bodies were lying, hoping that the flames did not do any damage to them.
Sighing with relief that the flame did not damage their bodies, her joy did not last long as it was immediately washed away by grief. Bawling her eyes out, the girl clutched her parents' hands, her chest felt like it would be bursting open from the unbearable despair.
Karna stood behind the girl. He understood the pain that his Master was suffering from, yet he did not know what he needed to do to alleviate that pain. In that momentary uncertainty, a fragment of memory that belonged to him yet at the same time did not belong to 'him' flashed in his mind. An image, of a fiery-haired girl older than his master, of someone 'he' clearly had never met before. At the same time this warm feeling welling within him told him that he knew her, who was like a star that guided everyone even in the blackest of night, and fondly remembered her kindness.
Are you feeling better now,****? Next time, don't hesitate to let it out, we're all **********, after all.
Karna kneeled, following the example set by that 'star', and tenderly wrapped his arms around his Master.
"It's alright. Cry. I'm here for you."
The girl began savagely pounding at Karna's chest with her small fists, silently venting all her anguish and anger at him.
Holding her tighter in his embrace, the girl's fists carried no strength in them to possibly cause any discomfort to Karna; yet, with each pounding he pondered more and more to himself whether he had done the right thing for her.
Not long after, however, he reluctantly let go of his Master.
Karna would have preferred to continue soothing his Master, but unfortunately he was alerted to a new presence that was quickly entering their vicinity. The likelihood that it was enemy reinforcement was not nil, but then why would they send a single person instead of a troop as a backup? They clearly did not care about subtlety, not when they rushed in with heavy equipment and brazenly parked heavily fortified vehicles outside, so it put a doubt in his mind whether this newcomer was actually affiliated those men.
Still, it was better to be cautious and safe than regretting it later.
It was then followed by a great number of souls coming into the vicinity, with a few possessing stronger aura than the rest. The majority of them were weak, civilians most likely, but he still immediately reassessed the threat level because of a peculiarity he sensed coming from those few strong ones.
It was a stark contrast from the moment he manifested in this world where there were almost no other humans around them, else it would have been strange that there was no commotion from this kind of a scene happening in a residential area. It certainly was not the work of a boundary field that kept people away, which led him to think of two possibilities. It was possible that they had among their ranks someone who could manipulate people's consciousness, either a form of mind control or something else with similar function, but that the ability was not potent enough to successfully manipulate every mind in the area; but, considering time and speed seemed to be essential in their actions it was more likely that those people were under the employ of someone who relied on cunning to control the movement of the mass for a period of time, and with resources to erase whatever tracks they would have had left behind. And with how fortified those vehicles were implied that whoever was behind this wanted to take no chance of failures if a clash with authority occurred. Though those vehicles might have also been provided to them for disposing bodies of their unintended victims. He did not and most likely would never know the answer.
What exactly did his Master have that would make someone go through such length just to obtain her?
Hypothesizing aside, at least one thing was clear to Karna: the dead could not give him answers, only the living could. And it was not unreasonable to think that whoever sought to obtain his Master would try to do so again in the future.
It mattered not to him what might come. Even if they threw the force of an entire world to accomplish their objective, Karna solemnly swore in his heart that he would not let further harm to befall upon his Master.
Positioning himself so as to shield his Master from possible harms, and readying himself for another battle, what greeted Karna was a sight most curious.
He had seen unique attires in his life, but this was the first time Karna saw a man who actually seemed so devoted to a lion symbol. Arriving on a sleek silver motorbike, the man's golden helmet, shaped like a lion's head, bore a black visor that obscured most of his face except for the mouth; similarly, lion's head was also the motif found on the pauldrons and the belt on the man's shoulder pads, which, obviously, were also coloured gold.
While stories of Heracles donning the Nemean lion's skin as attire was well-known, Karna doubted that even the great son of Zeus would win in term of pure display of affection for the big cat when compared with this man.
Was the man purposefully dressed himself as a golden lion for psychological purpose; or perhaps it was some kind of tribute to a god and wearing that kind of attire was his way of drawing the blessing associated with said god? A glimpse was enough to inform Karna that the man was clearly quite powerful for a human, but the peculiarity that he sensed coming from the man was clearly different from any magus or beings he had encountered before.
The man's helmet obscured his expression from Karna, but even without seeing his face it was obvious to the naked eye the fury that the man was exuding.
"Sonnova bitch, what have you done?!" the man asked, and Karna simply checked where the man's gaze was directed to, the remnant of his Master's house, burned down by the heat of his flames, with all that remained were a couple scorched floor and woods where the embers were still glowing quite bright.
It should be very obvious to the man, should it not? Karna had no desire to entertain the man's question, not when his eyes caught a glimpse of three figures that had arrived in a car and a blue motorbike.
A man, dressed like a Spartan warrior, complete with a spear and a shield, stepped out of the car together with a dark-haired woman whose attire consisted of green shirt, green long pants, and scarfs with blue and red stripes with stars pattern tied around her lower face and waist respectively. Another man, from what Karna could see was seemingly older than the rest, wore tactical blue armour that protected him from the head down to the toe.
Among the newcomers, by battle potential alone, the one dressed as a Spartan was most likely the one that would be most challenging, for a given definition of challenge. Yet, Karna's sight was not on the Spartan who was the most dangerous among the bunch; it was on the woman dressed in green.
These newcomers possessed some manners of peculiarity enveloping their souls that he could not pinpoint as to what their origin was. All he could tell was that they were all the different individually, but at the same time the same, like they were a part of a hive. If he had to describe the peculiarity he was sensing from them, it was like looking at four cups filled with water; different cups, but same water from the same source; same source of water, but different level of purity; same volume of water, yet different weight and thickness.
And between those four, the one who was the most bizarre was the woman in green, for hers was emitting the most foul of 'aura', yet her soul appeared to be the purest among them.
"Did you not hear what I said?! What have you done to them?!"
The loudmouth yelled again, and Karna sighed.
"Why do you continue asking a question which answer is already obvious?" Karna answered, slightly curious.
The response Karna got was different than what he had expected for the man suddenly roared, producing a sonic blast that was coming straight at him.
Karna's mind was neither at the incoming sonic blast that would have shredded him had he been a mere human nor was he pondering how a human who did not carry the blood of a siren could create this kind of phenomenon without relying on tools, for those were miniscule matters compared to the thought for his Master's safety, who was still sobbing behind him.
Though it was easy for him to slice and disperse the sonic blast with a swing of his spear, much to the surprise of the four newcomers, he berated himself for not taking into account the possibility that his Master might get injured from a stray bullet. As such, he decided to end the battle before the man in lion-suit's sonic blast could come close for the second time.
"I won't forgive you! Uncle, auntie…Dinah…! You took them away! I will never forgive you!"
"While I don't quite understand what you were saying, you have almost brought harm upon my Master, and that is reason enough for me to slay you," Karna said, declaring the absolute fate of the man who dared pointing his blade at his Master. Flame gathered at the tip of his spear, forming a small sphere the size of a marble. While he could certainly created a much bigger and powerful sphere to ensure the complete annihilation of the lion-suit man, he deemed this size and power to be enough to eliminate the man from this distance without accidentally taking out the other three and the civilians that had gathered quite a distance away behind them. Besides, that level of destruction, without a shred of doubt, would also put his Master in danger.
"Triumph, stop letting your emotions get to your head and back down! You, too, put down your weapon and surrender!" the woman in green shouted.
Neither Karna nor the lion-suit man, Triumph as the woman had called him, heeded her order.
For Triumph, it was because he was too enraged to think rationally about the possibility that the man with the golden spear might not be responsible for the bodies he saw sprawling on the floor, or that his cousin might actually still be alive and was just hidden behind the wall of flame that had been erected to protect her.
As for Karna, there was no need to even bother listening to the woman in green's order, for the only order he would hear and heed was his Master's only.
Triumph took a deep breath, readying his strongest sonic blast yet; at the same time, the sphere at the tip of Karna's spear shimmered with even brighter intensity as if mirroring the sun.
"Shit! Armsmaster, Dauntless!" With urgency, the woman in green, the man in blue armour, and the Spartan dashed toward Triumph and Karna, weapons drawn, clearly intending to stop the battle.
Triumph would have been eliminated there and then, but moments before Karna launched a beam toward him, the girl suddenly made a clutch at Karna's waist.
"Stop! Don't kill Rory!"
The girl's voice made both Karna and Triumph faltered at the last second, but it was not soon enough because Triumph had already unleashed his sonic blast, but that was not the problem.
The beam of flame had been launched, blasting away Triumphs own attack with an even greater force, forcing Karna to bend the trajectory of the attack using his sheer will so it would miss Triumph by an arm's length. The beam streaked across Brockton Bay's skyline with sustained speed, going beyond even the outer layer of Earth's atmosphere until it collided with a meteor the size of a small house, creating a hole at its center from the resulting explosion.
Had the beam hit Triumph – no, had the beam even grazed his arm, it would have created an explosion that would have reduced the man to nothing more than an ash in the air.
Loud murmurs and sirens entered Karna's ears, guns and weapons, namely a halberd and a spear, were pointed at him as flashing lights from cameras illuminated the area. Men in uniform were yelling at him to drop his weapon; some were trying to get the civilians to back further away from where he stood.
However, neither their demands nor the look of fear and horror in their eyes mattered to Karna.
What mattered to him was one thing only-
"Dinah…Dinah! I'm so glad you're alive."
-that he almost did the irreversible and caused anguish to befall his Master again.
o - O - o
End of Prologue: re
o - O - o
Before I forget to give explanation regarding the difference of 'world' vs. 'World', let me get it out of the way now. Whenever I use 'world' it refers to the planet / reality as a place, while whenever 'World' is used it refers to the collective unconsciousness of the planet and mankind.