I in no way shape or form own Fate/Stay Night or Overlord ( オーバーロード). They belong to their respective owner. Fate/Stay night is property of Type-Moon, and Overlord ( オーバーロード) belongs to Kugane Maruyama. And I in no shape or form make a profit of writing and publishing this.

With that out of the way, hello. Yes you, the reader that took time out of your day to click on this fiction. Thank you for being the first readers of my first ever story. I've been a massive fan of the Fate series and Overlord and now I'm trying my hand at writing. Hopefully I do both series justice.

An Author's note is at the bottom for more information.

Without further ado, please enjoy!

Further edited: 2021 - Fixed up the grammar and expanded on a few of the details and dialogues

Extra Edits: 2023 - Fixed up the grammar some more and word choice.

Word Count: 10,126

Prologue: The Death of a Hero

Shirou Emiya, a participant in the fifth Holy Grail War, the Master of Saber, and the second iteration of the Magus Killer, was dying. Or rather, it was more accurate to say that Shirou has been dying for at least two decades and was only now feeling death's grasp clutching his neck.

At the ripe old age of 139, Shirou had lived an adventurous life. Not always a good one, nor one that was satisfying, but unquestionably an adventurous one. Especially in a profession that saw many good die young. Despite his true age, his body looked no older than someone in their late eighties. Yet not even he could withstand the hands of time. The skin that was once healthy and toned has aged, grown wrinkly, and lost its luster. His hands, which were once his pride and wielded powerful Noble Phantasms belonging to heroes of old, were now mere shells of their former selves. Skin and bones were all that were left. Innumerable scars and wounds littered his body, each one a tapestry with its own story and perils to tell. From a purely medical perspective, Shirou should not even be remotely alive with the injuries he's sustained in his career.

His continued health was thanks to Avalon, the scabbard of Excalibur itself. Shirou has lost count of how many times the Everdistant Utopia has saved him from a life-threatening injury. It was for this reason that his body was not breaking down faster than it was.

A small window on the wall next to his bed provided his only access to the outside world. In the past, a favorite pastime of Shirou was stargazing. He remembered all the hours he would spend on the porch, simply looking upwards, towards the sky and above, where brilliant stars illuminated the night sky. Nowadays, it was considered a miracle just to see anything besides smog and polluted gas. The last hundred years haven't been kind to the world. The rise of mega-corporations and heavy industrialization during the late twenty-first century saw to that, destroying much of the Earth's vegetation and green life. The once lush, green world transformed into a brown, polluted mess.

It has gotten so bad that the populace needed breathing masks and goggles to prevent themselves from choking and dying in the polluted air.

"I wonder what is so interesting about the smoke-covered sky that you're always looking outside that window, Emiya-san." A deep but familiar voice called out.

Shirou showed no reaction to the voice. Despite his age and the degradation of his magical circuits and senses, his sixth sense was as sharp as ever. One honed through years of life-or-death scenarios. That, and the man in question radiated enough potency that even a non-magical entity would feel a shudder.

"Zelretch." Shirou spoke plainly, without taking his eyes away from the dreary scenery.

"Emiya-san!" Zelretch exclaimed with a positively cheery tone.

Zelretch stepped out of the shadowy corner of Shirou's room and walked casually to the center of it. Casting a casual glance towards the vampire, Shirou noted that his appearance hadn't changed over these long years. Many, himself included, wondered if the Dead Apostle Ancestor wore anything else but a form-fitting dark suit with gloves covering his hands, and a mantle over his suit. His ashen gray hair was slicked back and combed. He held the appearance of a well-mannered old man, betrayed only by his glowing crimson eyes that indicated him as something more than human.

"It's been a while, hasn't it? How long have we last seen each other? A decade? Two? It seems, Emiya-san, that time hasn't been kind to you." The vampire joked.

Shirou ignored him.

"Would you care for some pudding?" Zelretch reached into his pocket and pulled out a nondescript cup of pudding. The bedridden magus showed no reaction to his question.

"I'll tell you, Emiya-san, you would NOT believe how hard it is to find decent pudding cups now." With a pause, Zelretch opened the cup. Producing a spoon out of nowhere, he quickly digs into his delicious treat. "Mmmm~, caramel. Delicious! Unlike that mass-produced guck that is sold now." Engaging in playful banter, Zelretch continued. "Why, just this morning I was perusing this store and found spinach-flavored pudding. Spinach, I tell you! Healthy and natural they promoted, bullocks I say."

Again, Shirou kept his eyes on the window, choosing not to acknowledge the ancient magician. Zelretch quickly finished his snack and, without care, tossed the empty plastic cup over his shoulder. He quickly fished out another pudding cup. This time, Zelretch kept to himself as he enjoyed his treat. The only sound that broke the silence was Zelretch's smacking lips. This continued for several minutes, with him pulling out more cups of pudding whenever he finished. A small pile of trash accumulated behind him. Only in his eighth cup did Shirou finally speak.

"What are you doing here, Zelretch?" Shirou slowly cocked his head in the direction of the immortal mage, finally giving him the attention he desired. His amber eyes, once full of life, showed only weariness and a sense of emptiness.

"Is it so wrong for me to meet up with an old friend?" Nonplussed, Zelretch nonchalantly answered.

"You and I are not friends." Shirou's eyes narrowed, and his lips twitched downward into a frown.

"You wound me so, Emiya-san." Zelretch placed a hand over his heart and feigned hurt. It almost looked genuine, were it not for the mirthful smile on his face.

Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, Zelretch of the Jewels, the Wizard Marshal, the acclaimed mage and Wielder of Second Magic; Kaleidoscope. He was a man with many titles, and they were well deserved. Zelretch was a man who was as feared as he was respected, if not more so. With numerous titles and a fearsome reputation, he was known predominantly as an extreme prankster. There was a popular saying back in the day of the Clocktower: 'If Zelretch takes an interest in you, pray. Pray to whatever false god you may or may not believe in for mercy. For you will learn that Zelretch shall spare you none.' Something Rin and Shirou didn't learn until it was too little, too late.

Many who have met him, Shirou included, would have described him as a sarcastic and whimsical man—a Dead Apostle technically—with a penchant for practical jokes. His pranks could range from simple to harmless, such as replacing everyone's clothes with bikinis that disintegrate upon contact with water. To his favorite, removing one's consciousness and implanting it into another body in an alternate universe via his Second Magic, and allowing them to live that life only to be ripped away back to their original time. Give or take anywhere between a few days, months, or years, depending on his mood. It was close to impossible to discern just what the Dead Apostle was thinking, as his thoughts could change on a dime.

Back to the matter at hand, Shirou had met Zelretch only a handful of times, but each encounter was as memorable as the next. All of them involved Rin, and they weren't all necessarily pleasant. For him to go out of his way to meet Shirou now after all these years, he was up to something.

"I'm not in the mood for games, Zelretch. Tell me why you're here, now!" Shirou demanded, putting as much steel behind his words as his frail body could.

"Fine, fine." Zelretch waved away the threat. "I know a way for you to escape Alaya's grasp." He cut right to the chase.

Shirou's eyes immediately widened, his mouth agape. "Impossible," Was his immediate answer.

"You and I know that once a contract with Alaya is made, it can't be taken back. It wouldn't allow it."

"True, true." The old vampire nodded. "If it were someone else, you would be 100% correct. However…" Zelretch turned to face him, his crimson eyes gleaming with delight, and his wide-open smile flashing his honed canines. At that precise moment, Zelretch's true personality was fully apparent. "You've forgotten who you're talking to! I am Zelretch! Wielder and Owner of Operation of Parallel Worlds itself. It took a long time, but I found it. A way for you to escape your fate as Counter-Guardian Emiya-kun!"

Upon hearing this, his mind wandered back to the event that led up to the decision to make the deal with Alaya. As the years went by, magecraft continued to decline, just as those in the Clocktower had feared. Midway through the twenty-first century, industrialization erupted everywhere, not just in Japan. As everything became more modernized, those on the magical side died down. Mystery was fading from the world, and once powerful Ley lines dried up due to the landscape and earth becoming polluted from various dumping and chemical activities. Pollution sank its teeth into everything: the air, the water, and the earth itself.

As a byproduct of this, the Earth was slowly withering away, and by extension, Gaia. In a last-ditch effort to wipe the slate clean, Gaia pulled in and used as much mana as it could, shifting the world and reality as she called upon and unleashed various Phantasmal Beasts and wreaked havoc on the planet with natural disasters. The Will of the Earth went so far as to enlist the aid of Dead Apostle Ancestors like Altrouge Brunestud and Primate Murder, to name a few. All to wipe out humanity and eradicate their poisonous presence on the planet. In the face of the coming apocalypse, the Mage Association, Holy Church, and other powerful institutions, along with what remained of the Dead Apostle Ancestor that didn't wish for humanity's total annihilation, joined forces. Executioners and enforcers worked side by side, while clerics and magi provided support. Old rivalries and petty disputes were put aside to deal with what was to come.

Strangely enough, Alaya didn't intervene with any Counter-Guardian. At least, not at first, not immediately.

The conflict that followed was arguably the biggest magical conflict to ever occur. Its impact reverberated throughout the world. A shame that it will soon be washed away by time. The truth and history of the event were all but known to the handful of individuals that survived. Even though humanity triumphed, it was a pyrrhic victory. Roughly 88% to 90% of the alliance died in the war. For every monster and beast they killed, some thirty or forty of their forces perished. One memorable example was Merem Solomon, who gave his life to take down his fellow Dead Apostle Ancestor; Altrouge Brunestud. And not just him, but many noble and powerful families were quickly snuffed out that day.

Not even the likes of Lorelei Barthomeloi or Lord El-Melloi II escaped unscathed. Waver Velvet, or Lord El-Melloi II, died taking down Primate Murder along with some other high-ranking members of the Clocktower. The once Master of the 4th Holy Grail War dealt the final blow before succumbing to his wounds. Lorelei herself was left crippled after the battle. Her left arm was gone, and she was paralyzed from the waist down.

Shirou was still able to recall every last detail of the battle. How his body ached and screamed from all the running and fighting. How his magical circuits burned his skin from constantly tracing and reinforcing his body. The stench of blood and ashes in the air from all the destruction. The sound of explosions and screams of those meeting their demises against the beasts. The sight of dead bodies, both human and otherwise, littered the ground, with rivers of bleeding crimson coloring everything in sight. So much bloodshed, so much destruction, so much death...

Shirou pushed his body to its absolute limit and beyond. To this day, he still wonders how he simply didn't randomly drop dead from the strain his body exerted. He traced Noble Phantasms after Noble Phantasms. Spears, swords, knives, daggers, axes, halberds, shields, everything and anything he held stored in his Reality Marble. Either obscure or well-known legends, he traced them all and unleashed hell upon the monsters. He went as far as to use his reality marble, Unlimited Blade Works, multiple times.

Even with the help of Zelretch and his Second Magic, it was still an uphill battle. Many died, and those that survived were worn out and gravely injured themselves. Near the end, the forces of Gaia mounted one last frontal assault, knowing humanity's forces were weak enough. It was at that moment that Alaya decided to make herself known to Shirou. For the longest time, Alaya has continuously contacted Shirou to try and form a contract with it. All to get her perfect attack dog.

He was able to endure for as long as he could, all to avoid the future that was Archer. To keep his promise. However, the Will of Humanity wasn't one to play fair. It knew that without its help, Humanity was doomed if they lost, and even if they won, the victory wouldn't be without monumental cost. Thus, Alaya waited and bided its time until Shirou was backed into a corner and would be left with little choice but to accept the contract. An underhanded method that sacrificed countless lives, all to acquire her perfect Counter-Guardian. Because the Will of Humanity knew of his dream, of his true nature, to help anyone and everyone, especially those dearest to him, even at the expense of himself.

Through trickery and manipulation, Shirou signed away his fate so that everyone else could live, so that she could live...

With the power of the Counter Force at his side and Counter-Guardians refilling their ranks, they pushed the forces of Gaia back. They won the battle, but the war was lost soon after.

After such a confrontation, the world's meager natural source of mana suddenly dried up. Nobody was ready for such a circumstance. It was calculated that the drain would be impossible to replenish given its size and the increasing levels of pollution and planetary deterioration. The few remaining phantasmal creatures and beasts either perished one by one or withdrew to the Reverse side of the World. They abandoned the world to rot and die off.

The same could be said about the surviving magi. None were spared. Those who survived were severely crippled and weakened. The magical community was left in ruins as a result of the deaths of the majority of their accomplished founders and leaders as well as the general decline of magecraft. The Clock Tower was no more, with many families all but extinct. They were right to be afraid; Thaumaturgy passed away that day.

The only ones left that could use magic/magecraft were the practitioners of True Magic, such as Zelretch. Even then, it was strictly limited to his Kaleidoscope.

The scarce remaining magical families and communities were in disarray as to what to do. Without their magecraft, they were little more than regular humans. Their knowledge, prestige, and skill were utterly worthless while the world advanced past them. Of course, as was traditional with magi, they couldn't accept such a reality. Where they were no different from everyone else in the world; powerless and weak.

Many sought to hold onto their old glory and fame, but like grasping water, it forever slipped through their fingertips. Hundreds sought to experiment and find a way to bring magecraft back into the world. Unsurprisingly and as expected, they all failed, and the meager number that remained dwindled even further. Those who held onto the past, unable to adapt and move on, only faded away. A small percentage reluctantly accepted this new reality and tried to move on. Tried being the keyword, as many magus were extremely technologically inept with the rapid progress of the modern world and technology as a whole. Being one of the fortunate few, Lorelei relocated to the Swiss Alps, where she spent the remainder of her days in peace with her surviving family and servants.

The wounds Shirou sustained during the battle were mitigated thanks to the Counter Force giving a much-needed boost in strength. But, they were still crippling to a degree. Shirou slowly lost sensation in his hands and legs as a result of repeatedly burning out his magical circuits. Over the course of the year, it only got worse. His physical condition deteriorated, and he spent the last several decades bedridden. He can no longer activate his circuits without his arms and legs exploding in white-hot pain. Avalon did its duty, but it was only a stopgap, allowing him to live as long as he did.

And thus, Shirou Emiya, The 2nd Magus Killer, was no more, reduced to a mere cripple.

"Spacing out Emiya-san? Is your age catching up to you? Don't worry, it happens to the best of us." The vampiric mage took another jab at the faker's age.

Snapping his head towards the Dead Apostle, Shirou shook his head to clear the cobweb that was his memory of that day. Returning to what he had said, Shirou couldn't help but feel skeptical of it all. If he were being completely honest, Zelretch does indeed have a way to get out of Alaya's contract, in his opinion. It wouldn't be surprising if half the tales Rin told about her mentor were accurate. No... What he really wanted to know was why.

Why now?

"Why? What do you gain out of this?"

"Oh, don't be like that. Like I said before, you're a friend! It's only natural that friends help each other out."

'I don't believe that for a second.' He immediately voiced it in his head. Zelretch, while eccentric, was still a magus. Magus didn't do anything for free, as Rin would constantly beat into his mind. They were selfish and scheming, always trying to get something out of a deal. While he was certainly better than 80% of the population and could be charitable, that didn't mean he was going to do things for free. The question became, what does Zelretch gain by helping Shirou?

"Answer the question, Zelretch! I'm in no mood for a prank."

"Hmph. I see that you've gotten crankier with age, Emiya-san." The magician pouted. Seeing that the faker was still maintaining his glare, he got down to business.

"Fine. There are three reasons why I wish to help you." Zelretch emphasized this by holding up three digits. "The first, is because I like you, Emiya Shirou. I really do." His voice sounded more grounded than before.

Shirou blinked. 'Huh, that sounds honestly genuine. I wonder…'

"You've provided me with so much entertainment over the years, it shouldn't be a surprise that I've taken a liking to you!"

'Ahh… there it is.' Shirou deadpanned at the gushing mage.

"You'll be surprised just how boring it can be sometimes as a magician. It's always the same thing with magus, always experimenting with their magecraft and magic crests. Borrrring~. Discipling those over-ambitious fools at the Clock Tower or a magus doing something as reprehensible as cutting up a twelve-year-old is shocking the first time. The next thousand or so morally bankrupt acts get stale. I dare say I've enjoyed watching your life unfold more than any televised work put out nowadays. The drama! The suspense! The action! Truly, I will never get bored of watching your life play out. Why, it's almost like you're the star of your own anime!"

Shirou gritted his teeth and glared at him as the vampire droned on and on. If he could, Shirou would trace every weapon he had in Unlimited Blade Works and send them toward the Apostle to skew him. His life was not some play or movie to be viewed as such!

Chuckling at the death glare he was getting, Zelretch moved on.

"Point numero dos." He flicked his hand out, holding two digits this time. His smile shifted to something more mischievous. "I get to pull one over on the broad. Not only am I taking away her favorite toy, but I'll be ensuring that even after you kick the bucket, Ayala won't be able to get her grubby hands on you." He explained with a smile on his face.

Huh… Shirou, to a certain degree, could make sense of that. Zelretch has always taken some twisted pleasure in playing pranks on his victims, usually the ones that deserve it. "As a prankster, one must always strive to reach for greatness!" Or at least, that's what the trolling vampire proclaims anyway. By denying Alaya her prize, he was effectively pranking the collective Will of Humanity itself. At least, that is what he assumed the Apostle was after.

"And the third?" Shirou asked.

Zelretch's entire expression changed like a switch being flipped. His playful smile, which he had been wearing throughout the conversation, thinned into a fine line. His eyes lose their mirthful shine, replaced with a sense of melancholy and nostalgia. The playful air around him evaporated completely. Shirou admitted that he was surprised by how quickly the situation changed. While he was no expert on the ancient mage, it was a shock to see him so... human.

"Rin." He answered. Hearing her name caused Shirou's heart to lurch, and his fist tightened its grip on the blanket.

"What about her?" Shirou questioned. For a few seconds, the Dead Apostle remained silent.

"...Despite what many of those idiots in the Clocktower believe, True Magic isn't the end all, be all, as one might think." Zelretch began, ignoring Shirou's question. "Sure, wielding True Magic might be neat for the first several decades, but it quickly loses its luster after a while. Unlike the others, such as Denial of Nothingness or Heaven's Feel, Second Magic took time and practice before I fully reigned in my control. Can you even begin to fathom it? Seeing and learning not just your own but every single possibility. Every decision ever made, every 'what if'? I dare say that kind of knowledge would drive any man insane!" Zelretch cackled at the last part.

"What does this have to do with Rin?" Shirou finally asked.

"I'm getting there." Zelretch assured the third-rate magus, waving his hand dismissively. "Imagine yourself as me for just a moment. You're bored, so you decide to drop by the Clocktower, and on your merry jaunt, you happen to bump into an interesting little magus on the way. I knew she was a firebrand the moment I saw her. I saw something in her that I haven't seen in a long, long time. Conviction. Fire. And a hint of fear from bumping into me, of course." His voice was laced with nostalgia.

"You know the story. On a whim, I decided to make her my apprentice. Just to see what would happen. Would that fire I saw in her be snuffed out like those before, or would it continue to burn bright? To this very day, I don't regret offering her that deal. It was refreshing. She wasn't like those simpering sycophants in the Clocktower. No, no, no! She was a feisty little girl who held nothing back and expressed exactly how she felt, consequences be damned. Not even the old bat, Barthomeloi, would dare insult me to my face. If she did, I would have respected her a lot more."

Shirou, at this point, was starting to get impatient. The conversation has already veered off course, and he was about to demand that the vampire get to the point. Only for him to do just that next.

"Just before she died, I decided to pay her one last visit. You know, a master saying goodbye to their pupil one last time. You know how it goes. I barely closed the door behind me before she begged me to save you."

"W-wh-what?" Shirou choked out.

"On her deathbed, she begged me to save you." Zelretch bluntly repeated.

"But… but, why? She hates me…"

"Do you honestly believe that for a second?" His voice cuts off Shirou's. A lone skeptical brow raised, conveying what he thought. "Even after everything you went through. We both know that girl is the embodiment of tsundere itself." He huffed.

Biting his lower lip, he met the Dead Apostle's eyes. Shirou's thoughts wandered back to the incident. The cause of the rift between the Tohsaka mage and the faker, and how Saber would be so disappointed in both of them for allowing it to splinter them as it did.

Zelretch continued, paying no mind to Shirou's internal conflict. "During her life as my apprentice, I have heard her ask for or demand something of me many times. But never once did she beg. Whether it be for an answer to a theory or advice on performing a certain ritual. She never begged me for anything, until that moment." Zelretch turned his sight away from the window and looked Shirou straight in the eye. A terrifying chill crawled up his spine upon seeing the wizard's face set in stone. Those maleficent crimson eyes and stone-cold expression.

"She begged me to find a way to save you." With a steady pace, he walked forward toward the bedridden magus. "I promised her that I would."

He stopped at his side, staring down at him.

"And I will."

With a heavy sigh, Shirou leaned back, pressing his back against the bed frame, his eyes casting downward to get away from the sharp gaze of the vampire.

Closing his eyes to the outside world, an image quickly formed in his head. He saw a hill that was bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. On top of the hill stood a young, petite blond woman, dressed in a simple yet elegant white blouse and a flowing blue skirt that gently brushed against her ankles. Her golden locks were unbound and flowing, cascading down her back in loose waves, shimmering in the sunlight. Her emerald eyes shone with a radiant light as she gazed off into the distance.

Standing next to her was another woman, once a budding girl, who had blossomed into an equally stunning beauty. She wore a red blouse with long sleeves that featured a striking cross-shaped design on the sternum area. Her black skirt and thigh-high stockings complemented her outfit, while black ribbons styled her long locks into twin tails.

Together, they made a breathtaking sight, perfectly framed against the picturesque backdrop of the sun-drenched hill.

Saber and Rin.

His allies. His friends. His lovers. His greatest happiness, but also his greatest failures and regrets.

When the fake hero agreed to the contract with Alaya, he wallowed in shame and regret, knowing that he may never see his loved ones again. He wished to apologize and ask for forgiveness, but realized that it may not be possible unless he followed Archer's path and implemented himself into the Throne of Heroes to be summoned as a Servant in some alternate parallel world. However, even that may not lead him to his Saber and Rin, and he wasn't sure if fate or Alaya would allow it. Shirou resigned himself to his fate, knowing that there was nothing left he could do.

But now…

Now. There was something that could be done!

Raising his head to meet Zelretch's piercing gaze, his once dull eyes burned with a fire that was long extinguished. He asked one simple question.

"Will I be able to see them again?"

The vampire's answer was immediate. "Of course."


Just like that, Zelretch's face did a 180. A massive grin stretched across his face, and his eyes crinkled into slits. Another chill ran down his spine. Shirou recognized that face. That was the face that haunted the nightmares of so many magus before. The face of a man who was in on a joke, and whoever his victim was, was the punchline.

"Excellent!" The Master of Jewels joyfully shouted. Multicolored confetti exploded from his hands as he applauded. Damn Second Magic. "I knew I could convince you."

Rolling his eyes at the vampire, Shirou ignored the continued bone-chilling feeling just so he could get this over with. However, there was one question he was curious to have answered.

"How exactly will you help me escape Alaya? From what I remembered with Rin, she's a fixed existence. So long as there's an earth, so long as there's Gaia and humanity, she shall exist. No matter the timeline or dimension."

Zelretch smiled, bobbing his head approvingly.

"I see Rin's lesson hasn't been lost on you. You are partially right. Allow me to educate you: Alaya and Gaia are two parts of a whole. However, it was Alaya that separated itself from Gaia all those centuries ago. And when was that exactly?"

Shirou's lips pursed as his brows knitted in concentration.

"A-around when the Age of Gods ended?"

Zelretch rewarded him with a full-tooth grin that appeared more concerning than reassuring.

"Indeed. Alaya came into existence around the time mankind started to become dominant, during the decline of Mystery, when the Gods and the majority of the mythical and phantasmal creatures and beasts slowly left for the Reverse side of the World. You asked me how I could stop Alaya from cashing in your soul. Well, answer me this. If there's a world out there where the Age of the Gods has never ended or, better yet, hasn't even started yet, can Alaya reach and claim your soul if it doesn't even exist in the first place?!"

"No...?" He cautioned a guess.


Zelretch's answer was a bit too enthusiastic for his liking, his grin stretching wider than possible. Shirou's once dormant instinct suddenly blared to life, telling him to escape now!

"Just hold still for a moment. This'll only hurt for a second."

"W-wha—" Shirou was abruptly cut off with a gurgle. The familiar taste of copper filled his mouth. Why did his chest suddenly inflame and hurt?

Looking down, he found his answer. There was a weapon plunged deep into his chest, more precisely, his heart. And not just any weapon, but the Jeweled Sword itself. A myriad of light began to emit from the crystal dagger, flooding the room with all the colors of a rainbow. Shirou felt his eyes grow heavy. The last thing he saw was Zelretch's smiling visage softening into a sincere expression.

"Take care, Shirou."

Those were the last words he heard before the darkness took him.


Shirou briefly experienced a sense of weightlessness. He was surrounded by darkness, unable to see or feel anything. He was stranded, floating endlessly in a void that only he inhabited.

The magus didn't even have time to ponder the situation before a flash of light blinded him, and then he awoke.

Television often overdramatizes the awakening process. A sharp gasp, a sudden start, or even a surprise lurch. Something to signal that a person was fully awake. For Shirou, more times than he could count, it was always the awareness that got him. His eyes opened, and his senses registered everything around him. He remained there for a few more seconds, his mind rapidly trying to catch up and make sense of what had just happened.

He was lying down, that much he could tell. His fingers felt something soft, grass maybe? His vision was filled with trees and vegetation. Glints of light appeared in the shadow where he lay as soft evening light peaked through the leaves. His ear twitched, catching the sound of water flowing.

Without a word, he rose silently. Shirou's gaze initially landed on his hands. Gone were the barren hands too weak to even pick up a spoon, replaced with smooth, toned skin and muscle. He knelt at the creek next to him, his body moving on autopilot. A face stared right back at him, one that he hadn't seen in a long, long time.

One that was familiar but, at the same time, distant. The face of once his future self stared right back at Shirou. Slowly, Shirou ran his hand against his new face.

"Zelretch wasn't kidding…" He muttered. Shirou took a moment to compose himself, taking in his new appearance.

His new face resembled Archer's closely, nearly identical. Gone was the wrinkled skin, replaced with the creamy and toned skin of his prime. He had a sharp jawline, well-defined cheekbones, and a glowing complexion that made him look rejuvenated. His once ashen gray hair was now a shiny silver color and looked healthier. The most unique feature about him was his eyes, as they were heterochromatic, with one eye being steelish silver and the other of molten gold.

The clothing of the magus mirrored that of the Counter-Guardian. He donned a nearly black bodysuit with silver accents on the front, along with black pants featuring black leather straps fastened to his thighs and shins. His metal closed-tip boots completed the ensemble. Over the bodysuit, he wore the signature bright crimson cloak and mantle, which covered his arms and were tied together with an agemaki knot, leaving his torso and midriff exposed. The second part of the crimson attire was purely for aesthetics, consisting of two long red cloths attached to his waist with a silver-plated buckle.

The outfit was comfortable, reminding Shirou of his old hunting uniform. The form-fitting clothing pressed against his skin and served to highlight his chiseled pecs and abs more than it did for actual protection. His arms displayed distinct biceps, and his legs displayed strong muscles along with broad and strong shoulders that could carry mountains.

Shirou felt great. No. Not just great, but amazing. Not even in his prime did he feel so rejuvenated or powerful. Shirou was so deep in thought that he failed to notice a couple of discrepancies right away. Like how the mana-rich air made his skin tingle or how his new face was set in a perpetual phlegmatic expression similar to that of Archer. His eyes were cast in a calm, immovable, stone-like glare. It wasn't until the distant sound of an explosion knocked him out of his stupor.

'What was that?' He wondered.

A second later, Shirou heard it. A familiar sound.

"Agghh!" A loud cry of pain was heard, echoing far into the air.

When he heard this, his instinct, which had lain dormant, awoke and immediately took charge, his senses becoming razor-sharp. Everything had lost its significance. All that mattered was the burning desire to help and save someone once again.

"Trace on!" Shirou chanted. The thrumming of his magical circuits ignited, firing on all cylinders, greater than ever before. Two weapons appeared in his hands. One of concentrated darkness and the other of pure white, and both sported a yin-yang symbol near the handle. The all-too-familiar Noble Phantasm: Kanshou and Bakuya. The magic circuits in his legs flared up, pumping prana into his legs as he used Reinforcement for the first time in countless years.


Shirou took a single step and was surprised to find himself launching forward a dozen or so meters with incredible speed. Even with a simple reinforcement boost in his previous life, he had never reached this level of velocity. However, his amazement was soon overshadowed by the appearance of blackened text that displayed his magecraft for only a second before disappearing. Before he could ponder this further, another explosion rocked him out of his thoughts. Quickly refocusing, he blurred his form to find the source of the explosion.

Shirou quickly noted that his sight and hearing were extremely finely tuned, easily picking out the direction of the source. His eyes were extremely sharp, capturing everything. Strangely enough, he felt his sense of touch and smell were muted compared to the others.


His ear twitched. Voices! The magus could make out voices. Doubling his effort toward the source, the voices got louder and clearer.

"Hahaha, eat this, you freak show!" A voice exclaimed.

"Arrggh!" The voice cried.

The sound of clanging metal was clear in his ear. A foot or a fist? Whoever it was, they were enjoying themselves, if the clear, twisted jubilation in its voice was any indication. The forest and trees parted to reveal a cliff edge made of stone. A less experienced and immature Shirou would have rushed in, consequences be damned. After decades of combat with monsters, heroic spirits, insane magus, cultists, and everything in between, it taught him that rushing in blind with no idea who or what he would be facing was the epitome of stupidity.

Halting, Shirou crouched and carefully made his way to the edge, peeking over. He needed information. Who or what was he fighting? How many? How dangerous are they? Could they sense Shirou from here? Information was key, and if he wasn't careful, then there was a possibility of him failing and losing not just his life but also the one he wished to save.

"Come on, that's all you got, ya' freak?"

"Yeah. You could have at least made this interesting!"

Two different voices called out. More tormentors, he wondered.

"Easy for you to say!" There it was, the victim. He honed in on that particular voice.

"Acting all high and mighty because you're beating up a level 2 Player."

'Level 2? What?' His words caught Shirou's attention, yet he was unable to make sense of them.

"Why don-" The voice was abruptly cut off by the sound of a metal boot smacking the victim.

"Whatever Skeletor." Another voice scoffed. Other voices chuckled and joined in.

Finally, Shirou got a clear view of the situation. There was an undead being, a skeleton if the milky white bones and vacant skull were an indication, in robes, and four separate humanoid individuals. Typically, this would've been a scene Shirou has seen a thousand times. Undead harassing and killing any and all humans they come across.

However, this time, the situation was completely reversed.

It was the undead that was on the ground, and if his hearing was correct, it was the voice of the victim. The undead was cornered against a tree by four humans, who loomed over the defenseless undead. One of them was a woman donning white robes like those of the Church. Another wore full-plated armor and had a sword resting on their shoulder. The third person was dressed in fine leather armor and carried two small daggers. The fourth person was an archer, as evident by the bow and quivers they had.

If that wasn't strange enough, text appeared over each one of them, filling his vision.

PwnSlayer213 – Lvl: 90

LuckyLoveLucy – Lvl: 88

Killershoooot – Lvl: 84

TheAssAssin – Lvl: 83

Momonga – Lvl: 2

Names and numbers were assigned to the humans and the lone undead. Next to their name was a bar. Everyone but the undead was full and green. The robed skeleton had only a tiny fraction remaining and was colored red.

'W-what am I looking at here?' Shirou's expression remained unchanged, but one can easily picture him blinking owlishly as the situation unfolded before him. His brain was a storm of activity, and his mind was attempting to process and make sense of it all. Hundreds of questions bounced back and forth in his mind. 'How am I seeing their name? What kind of names are those? What do those numbers mean? Should I interfere? What's going on?!' Were but a few examples.

"What did Zelretch drag me into…"

In all his experience as a freelance enforcer and executor, this was perhaps the first time he had ever seen something like this before. The undead was cowering before the four humans. Normally, it was the supernatural being that was in control, hurting and killing humans without a single care. It was the monsters that tormented the weak humans. Their strength and abilities far exceed those of an average human, making their victims easy prey. It fostered a sense of superiority, believing that humanity was nothing but insects and food for them. Rarely has he seen such a bizarre situation where it was the inverse instead.

Until now, that was.

Shirou felt conflicted. On the one hand, it wasn't humans that were being hurt. That was something he was glad for, but he didn't approve of their behavior. They were needlessly tormenting the undead, very similar to how Apostles and other monstrous ilk would treat a human. They would taunt and look down on them, playing with their food, so to speak. The comparison hit too close to home for Shirou's liking. On the other hand, it was an undead being. On principle alone, he should just get up and leave, especially with his past experiences with monsters and the undead. Shirou knew that not all undead or magical beings were necessarily evil and saw humanity as a pest, but that didn't mean this was a fight he needed to intervene in.

"Look, I just want to play this game, alright? I'm not even a threat to you guys, for god's sake." The undead begged. Begged. Strangely enough, he noted that its voice sounded very human-like, lacking the gravel tone that was attributed to such unnatural beings.

"Not our business, creep." The image of an evil smirking emoticon popped up.

"Yeah, blame your shit luck. LoL." Another pop-up appeared with 'LOL' displayed.

The armored warrior delivered another kick to the skeleton, slamming him back against the tree. The small red bar was shortened even further. This earned another round of laughter from his companions.

Shirou's grip on his weapon tightened. This type of behavior wasn't uncommon among the executors of the church or enforcers of the Clocktower. The magus had seen their type before, human supremacists who wanted to cause pain when they could, just like those they hunted. It matters not if they were humans or otherwise; there will always be those who seek to put others beneath their feet to feel strong.

Two sides waged war within him. His mind told him to leave, that it was another undead. It wasn't his concern. He needed to move on and figure out what was going on. That was more important. His heart told him otherwise. Just as not all magical beings or undead were complete monsters, not all humans were saints. It was calling out for help, to ignore it would be no different from condoning it.

"Any last world bonesy?" The warrior questioned, his sword poised to strike.

"Damn it… I just… I just wanted to live a while longer." The undead's shoulder slag, looking down, all but giving up and accepting his demise.

The debate in his head only intensified.

Shirou recognized that tone of voice. The undead voice was soft, he would have missed it if it weren't for his enhanced hearing. It was the defeated and forlorn tone of one who has resigned to their fate, knowing there was nothing they could do to change it. He had heard and seen it many times before, on fathers who had lost their families and couldn't go on, or on women in abusive relationships, unable to escape the pain. And he had seen it in himself when he accepted Alaya's contract.

The voice of someone who had given up.

The voice of someone who needed a hero!

"Maybe that'll teach you to play a freak!" With a roar, the blade descended.

In that singular nanosecond, a decision was made.

And just like in all great tales of heroes, in the face of injustice, their bodies moved on their own.


Closing his eyes, Momonga suppressed the desire to release every profanity known to man and curse the PKers. Players like them were sadists, they would enjoy hearing him scream and rage. He won't give them the satisfaction.

Momonga spent the better part of his weekend, the only time away from his shitty job, relaxing and grinding to level up. And everything was going smoothly until a group of bored Players came across him and decided to hunt him down for the better part of an hour.

His once level 32 character was now reduced to a mere level 2. As a Heteromorphic Player, certain starting towns and areas were impossible to go into because of his character's race. As a result, the number of respawn points was limited, so they just camped around until he fully revived.

The PKers wouldn't kill him immediately, allowing him time to run away before they hunted Momonga down like sport.

'Looks like I'll have to make a new character, again.' He thought sadly.

Momonga could already hear the voice of the main menu of YGGDRASIL claiming that his character model had died and "encouraging" him to make a new one. A part of him wondered why he even bothered, and maybe he should quit YGGDRASIL and try a new game.

Yet, that didn't happen at all.

Instead, his ear caught the sound of clashing steel along with the shouts and gasps of his tormentors.

"What the hell!" The warrior shouted.

Momonga's eyes snapped open, and when his vision came back to him, he was surprised to find himself still alive. The second thing he noticed was that someone had intervened. Standing in between him and the PKers was another Player.

Emiya – Lvl: 100

'I'm… saved?' He thought in disbelief.

If his virtual avatar could, its jaw would be on the floor. Momonga held no illusion that anyone would come and help him. Unless one was in a party, clan, or guild, it was every man for himself. What shocked him even further was that his savior was a Humanoid Player. At least, that was what he assumed he was, seeing as this Emiya lacked any racial characteristic that would identify him as a Heteromorph or Demi-human. He held in his hands two weapons, short curved swords—Dao swords, if Momonga was remembering the classification correctly. There was minimal armor on his saver. He could only assume that it allowed his mysterious savior freedom of movement and speed but sacrificed any suitable protection.

Considering his attire and weapon, Momonga surmised that he was a [Rogue] or perhaps a [Ranger]. But if that were true, then why would he expose himself? Those that specialize as [Rogue], [Ranger], or [Assassin] would completely lose in a head-to-head fight. Builds like those prefer to attack unseen and get the drop on their opponents. Was he reckless or perhaps arrogant, thinking he could take on a party? Does he have some friends with him to back him up? What if—

"Are you... alright?" A deep, baritone voice cut Momonga's thought process short.

"Ahh… I-I'm fine." He stammered.

"That's good…"

Momonga noted that the Player had an odd inflection in his words, almost as if unsure about something.

"Hey!" The PKers shouted. Their surprise was replaced with confusion and, quickly, anger. "That's our kill, no kill-stealing! You find your own." An angry face emoticon hovered above the warrior.

"…I wasn't planning on killing it anyway." Emiya said.

"What? You serious?" The archer in the group spoke up.

"I do not wish for any more trouble. Walk away, and you won't have to see either of us again." Hearing this, the four Player looked at one another before bursting out into laughter. Not that Momonga could blame them. During this, Emiya remained still and waited.

"How about this?" Recovering from their hysteria, the party leader addressed Emiya. "Seeing as you got in our way, we'll kill you first AND that freak!" With a battle cry, the warrior charged forward. The rogue followed him up, his daggers gleaming. Their cleric stuck back, ready to provide support if necessary, while the archer fled to the side to gain a better vantage point for sniping.

"So be it..." The skeleton mage heard Emiya mutter.

Then, he moved.

No. That wasn't correct.

Moving implies that there was motion, for one thing, to have visibly traveled from point A to point B.

It was more accurate to say he disappeared. One moment he was standing in front of Momonga, the next he was in front of the female cleric, his body all but a blur as he rushed past the two PKers. The rogue and warrior fumbled to a stop as their target all but vanished from their sight and slipped past them within the blink of an eye.

What made it more frightening was that Momonga didn't hear a skill being used.

The surprise didn't stop there. Emiya launched a series of quick slashes, moving his hands so fast that they appeared blurred. Momonga felt his jaws unhinge further at the display before him. He didn't hear any skills being activated, which meant it was completely physical. Was it even humanly possible to reach such speed? Any doubts Momonga had about the mysterious Player's abilities vanished when he saw the healer's health bar. Her health had dropped into the mid-yellow, just under half her HP, all without any skills being used!

'Those weapons must be maxed out Divine class at least!' Momonga numbly thought.

"Ahh!" The lone female Player cried out. He wasn't finished, as he spun on his heel and gave her a powerful kick. She crashed into a tree as she flew back, losing a small portion of her HP in the process.

"[Shadow Strike]!"

The rogue was the first to recover. Activating a skill, he blinked away and reappeared behind Emiya. However, Emiya reacted quickly and managed to block the rogue's surprise attack by twisting his arm and upper body. He then regained his balance and deflected the daggers. Emiya took advantage of the opening and attacked the rogue with a series of slashes, causing the rogue's HP to decrease rapidly, similar to the clerics.

"[Heavy Striker]!"

The sword-wielding warrior charged ahead, his blade gleaming in the light with his skill. The agile rogue quickly dodged out of the way to create an opening for his ally to strike. The warrior swung his sword down with the intention of slicing his opponent in half. However, Emiya swiftly raised his weapons, intercepting the attack. Momonga was astonished to witness Emiya's smaller weapons successfully blocking the warrior's massive sword and even stopping it completely. Although there was a brief struggle as both Players locked blades, Emiya remained unscathed. The undead player also noticed glowing streaks coursing down the Humanoid Player's body.

"[Heavy Bolt]!"

Emiya swiftly released his grip and dodged to the side just in time. If he had hesitated even slightly, the arrow would have struck him. However, the arrow found its mark on the warrior, causing him to curse loudly at his teammate as he was forcefully pushed back. The one responsible was the party's archer, who had go forgotten, having observed the fight in a slightly dazed state before springing into action to help his party members. He was perched on top of a tree, giving him a vantage point.

"S-Shit!" He cursed. "[Hyper Shot]!"

The archer notched another arrow and let another arrow fly toward the dual-wielding swordsman. His attack was noticeably faster than his previous one. Yet, without trouble, Emiya dodged the speeding arrow and closed the distance between the two. The archer scrambled to backpedal, firing his skills in a vain attempt to halt his advances as the crimson-clad Player dodged and parried the incoming arrows with effective ease. Emiya quickly closed the gap, running up a nearby tree and delivering a flurry of slashes at the archer. The ranged fighter's health points rapidly dropped to yellow in the blink of an eye.

"G-get away! [Shadow Roll]!" With one more skill used, the archer crouched down and rolled backward. His body turned into wisps for just a moment to distance himself from the dominating Player. Emiya must have figured out his plan, as he predicted the archer's course and intercepted him. He leaped from the tree, using the tree branch as a spring, and hit the ground first. He had predicted his opponent's course and readied his blades the moment the archer became tangible again.

With a roar, Emiya raised his two swords and brought them downward in an X-motion against the unprotected archer's back. His HP hit zero in an instant, and the sound of glass shattering accompanied his death. The Player's body cracked, breaking into shards of light and polygons. His bow dropped as the prize.

"He got Shooot-san!"


"What the hell kind of ranger does that much damage?!"

The once four-party team, now reduced to three, began to panic.

In just under two minutes of fighting, he killed their range support, reduced two Players to half-health, and did so without using a single skill! Momonga silently took back every doubt he had about the man. To be that skilled, it was no wonder he didn't appear afraid of a balanced party. By this point, Momonga had been completely forgotten in their minds. During their moment of panic, Momonga noticed that Emiya was completely still. He was staring at the spot where he killed the archer.

"What just happened...?" Despite no facial animation, Momonga could easily hear the surprise in his voice. Why would he be surprised? Was he perhaps surprised that his attack did that much damage? But why would he? From what he remembered, classes like those of the [Rogue]'s and [Ranger]'s have additional damage multipliers if they target the backs of Players.

"Calm down!" Momonga snapped out of his musing after hearing the warrior raise his voice. "He just got lucky. We still outnumber him! Lucy-san, use a resurrection spell, quickly! No more playing around!"

The party of PKers initially felt confident when they saw the crimson Player standing alone. They had originally planned to take it easy and be playful with him. But after witnessing the powerful display, the group realized they couldn't afford to take him lightly anymore.

The party was quick to organize itself again. Momonga snapped his head back to Emiya, who was still reeling from whatever it was that he was caught up in.

"You need to stop her, or else she'll revive him!" He shouted.

Emiya's head jerked back toward him. A second later, his body was already moving. A magic circle appeared at the caster's feet.

"Like we'll let you!" The warrior and rogue rushed towards him.

Momonga clenched his fist. He wanted to help; he truly wanted to. But as a level 2, his spells were pathetically weak and useless, and they were more likely to bounce off of them than anything else.

But yet again, Emiya showed that he had it under control.

"Triple-linked Crane Wings!" Calling out the name of a skill, he threw his swords.

What happened next would forever be ingrained in Momonga's mind.

The weapon sailed past the warrior and towards the cleric. However, the agile rogue swiftly intervened, positioning himself in front of the cleric to deflect the incoming attack. In a split second, the rogue managed to divert the weapon's trajectory. They missed the cleric by the narrowest of margins, spinning past her. The warrior let out a cry of excitement, as in both their and Momonga's minds, Emiya had just thrown away his only weapons. And perhaps it could have been their victory, had the two curved blades not arced back around, their spinning form like a whirlwind of destruction, pursuing their original target and inflicting a surprise attack on the unsuspecting cleric.

Lucy, who was close to reviving their teammates, faltered and was unable to react in time.

Taken by surprise, the cleric's resurrection spell was interrupted and canceled. To add to the shock, Emiya conjured exact replicas of his previously thrown swords, now back in his empty palms. With remarkable finesse, he deftly parried the heavy warrior's impending attack and maneuvered past him. But that was hardly the end of it, as he flung his second set of blades towards the rogue. Swiftly, the two blades spun towards the Player, inflicting severe slashes on him as he scrambled to defend himself against the first set of blades hurtling back toward him. Without pause, Emiya conjured a third pair and blinked in front of the cleric and rogue. Meanwhile, the first two pairs of swords curved through the air, cracks appearing on their surfaces before they exploded, causing damage to the two Players and leaving everyone surprised.

With dramatic flair and grace, Emiya twisted his body and put all of his weight behind him as he struck. The white and black blades cut through the cleric's and rogue's bodies in a single fluid motion at the same time as the spinning swords exploded, bringing their HP to zero. A piece of equipment fell from their bodies as they shattered into a shower of light and polygons.

And then, there was only one.

"Fuck!" The lone PKer exclaimed. The warrior, after seeing the rest of the party wiped out thanks to only one Player, made the only rational decision left to him. He ran away. The Player ran away with his tail between his legs, cursing Emiya's name to the high heavens.

On the battlefield, silence descended, and for a brief period, nobody spoke. Momonga's jaw was set firmly on the floor as he continued to be in utter shock over everything that had transpired. Emiya was once again gazing down at the spot where the two Players died.

His savior slowly turned away, raised his head, and fixed his gaze on the undead Player. Momonga experienced a slight chill going down his spine. He could feel the intensity of those heterochromatic eyes staring at him, even behind the digital avatar, scrutinizing him. For a moment, the low-level Player was afraid that he might finish the job the PKers started.

"Hey, are you... alright?" Emiya asked, slowly making his way over.

Once again, Momonga picked up the odd inflection in his tone, awkward with an undertone of caution. A fact that greatly perplexed him, as what could someone like him even do to a max-level Player? Absolutely jack all. If anyone should be cautious, it should be him.

The crimson-clad Player stopped just a couple of steps away from Momonga. He lowered his arms but kept them ready for any potential deception or attack. He held his swords with a firm grip.

"I-I… thank you..." Momonga mentally chastised himself. He should at least thank his benefactor correctly instead of stuttering. Standing up, he looked the other Player straight in the face. "I'm eternally grateful for your help. Thank you, Emiya-san!" The undead bowed.

"How do you know my name?!" Emiya suddenly shouted.

Immediately, his body tensed, and he aggressively raised his swords. Emiya was in front of Momonga in a blink, one sword raised to his neck and the other pressed against his chest. The sudden change in attitude startled the low-level Player, who held up both hands quickly to placate his rescuer.

"Answer me." The sword wielder demanded.

'Did I do something wrong? Why is he making a big deal out of his name?!' Momonga panicked. It didn't help that Emiya's character's model maintained a powerful, heated glower.

"I will ask you again. How do you know my name?"

"…I can see it. Just like you can see mine." He shakingly answered back. With a bony finger, he pointed up above Emiya and then towards his own gamertag.

Emiya shifted his head upward.

"Momonga?" He called out the undead's name.

Rapidly nodding, he waited in stiff silence, and only after a few more seconds did Emiya slowly relax.

"S-sorry. I didn't expect you to know my name, that's all." He rather sheepishly admitted, apologizing to him.

Again, Momonga was caught off guard by his words. It was almost as if he didn't realize that his gamertag was on full display. Despite these mounting inconsistencies, he put the matter aside for the moment.

"Apologies accepted." Momonga immediately accepted. He was just happy that he didn't earn the man's ire and ended up dying despite it all. That would've been an embarrassing way to go out.

The mood plunged into a brief, awkward silence. Both Players kept to themselves, eying each other. More so Momonga, who wasn't too sure what to say or do in fear of accidentally incurring the crimson Player's spontaneous ire.

With the fighting finished and his life no longer in danger, Momonga wanted to log off and get away from it all for a bit. Glancing at his benefactor, he figured that would be all, and the two would go their separate ways. As he waved his hand and opened his menu, his skeletal finger rested just over the logout option.

Before he could, the confusing Player spoke up one more time.

"I do have another question. Do you happen to know where we are?" Emiya said, at last breaking the tenuous silence.

"Umm… We're in the Tall Plains area, just south of the Great River."


Momonga heard Emiya say, naked confusion clear in his voice.

'Perhaps he's asking for something more specific?' The skeletal Player reasoned.

"It's an area near the starting town of Luotenburg. The one in Vanaheim." The undead magic caster clarified.

"Luotenburg? Vanaheim?" It seemed that the names went over his head as well. At this point, Momonga was feeling confused as well.

"Yes, Vanaheim. You know, one of the nine playable worlds in YGGDRASIL?"

"…Yggdrasil? As in the World Tree of Norse Mythology?" Emiya asked.

"Yea, the main inspiration for the game. I'm sorry, but how do you not know this?"

At this point, the Heteromorphic Player was thinking that he was having a joke played on him or something. There was absolutely no way a max-level Player like Emiya could be this ignorant or confused.

"…I'm sorry, but could you repeat that?" Emiya spoke, his voice no louder than a whisper.

"Err… YGGDRASIL, the video game...?" Momonga helpfully repeated.

Emiya said no more. The silence returned, one that was more awkward and stiff as Momonga did his best to not fidget in place as the man in front of him stared him down. The tense mood only mounted, and he wondered if he said something wrong. Did his answer somehow displease him? What was it that rendered him speechless? Momonga anticipated several reactions—


—But what he didn't expect was for Emiya to suddenly scream at the top of his lungs.

'Did he say Zelretch? Where have I heard of that name before? ...Oh! That's right. Is he talking about the founder and CEO of the company that made YGGDRASIL? That Zelretch?' Momonga mused as he watched his savior collapse to his knees… and cry?

Author's Note:

My first published fanfic. And practically 9k words in the prologue alone. I've always been one that enjoyed writing narrative more than I do dialogue, so hopefully I found a perfect balance with this. So you can expect at least 6k chapters at the minimum. But no promises. I've seen enough heart-breaks as it is on this website, and I'm not about to contribute to it! (Rest in peace all those great novels you've read but never ever updates. You all know the ones.)

Theatrics aside, what do you all think? Good? Bad? Was it enjoyable? Or was it so awful you now need bleach for your brain because I've effectively ruined both Fate and Overlord for you?

Do review, there's nothing like a nice review that motivate me to try and pump these out faster and faster.

My thoughts:

1. One of the things when I first planned this chapter was how to connect the two different world of Nasu universe and that of Overlord. The answer was obvious, Zelretch. However, I also wanted to add my own spin on things. Many Overlord fics I've read usually skipped over the game of YGGDRASIL. Which is a damn shame as the world building and idea from a purely gamer point of view has so many potential. Hence why I started Shirou off in YGGDRASIL first before reaching the New World.

Of course it will reach that point, but I wanted to have the first few chapter establishing and laying the ground work for my future chapter. The ending being a prime example. Maybe no more than 4-5 chapter before embarking in the New World.

2. A second idea I had of combining the two different worlds was the issue of Gaia. With Overlord's world taking place in the twenty second century and from how the light novel describe a near dead earth I wanted to integrate that with the Nasu verse magical world. I did take some liberty with creating that back-story, in regards to Gaia, Alaya, and among other things in the Fate universe. I tried to make it important enough as backstory content and a catalyst to connect the two different worlds together. Basically I wanted the World of Overlord and Fate to make some sense, and I didn't simply wave it off like some authors would. Apologies if I stubbed some toes with my interpretation of the Fate universe and lore.

3. Zelretch. When I first came up with the idea, I immediately thought of the 'shitty devs' mentioned in light novel of Overlord. How they were massive trolls and sadists to their players. How fitting would it be for the biggest troll in the Nasu-verse to be the same one owning the company that develop the game. A game well known for screwing with their players. I couldn't pass up such an opportunity as it just make too much damn sense if so. I also hoped I did a job with my portrayal of everyone's lovable badass trolling vampire.

4. Shirou/EMIYA. Picking which Shirou to use was rather easy all thing considered. I don't much enjoy Fate!route Shirou as I see UBW!Shirou was a better version of that route. HeavensFeel!Shirou was actually my first choice when brain storming. I had plans to include characters like Sakura, Illya, Rin, and so on. I ultimately decided that, that idea was a bit too ambitious for a new writer like myself. For now, I'll keep it in the back of my head. I did consider alternate Shirou from Fate/Kaleid but didn't mesh well with my Zelretch idea so I scrapped it. By trial and elimination, UBW!Shirou won.

For his new virtual body, it basically the same appearance as EMIYA as Archer. I would think a man like Zelretch find it funny in the irony of it all by placing Shirou into a body with the same appearance of his future and hated self.

See you in the next chapter.

Next Chapter: The World of YGGDRASIL