AN: This post has been edited as of the start of 2019 in an attempt to make the story more compliant with Fate canon. If this story falls short of Fate canon in some respects... well this is the best I can do. I'm mixing two large and complicated universes, one of which is continuing to develop even now, both of which are rife with pervasive fanon. And even listening to the people who know fate inside and out I sometimes run into conflicting opinions and that's before incorporating Worm's own brand of bullshit. I'm gong to miss details, and be vague, and bend or break a few things as I work to bring you the best story I can. I will try to stay canon compliant, but I'm not going to promise perfection here. Especially not when some of this boils down to conflicting opinions. I hope you can look past any missteps and enjoy the story. But if you can't I understand. Just don't tear into me too harshly for it either. I am trying to do right by all of you to the point where this is actually the second set of rewrites this story has seen. I want to do this well, I just can't go chasing after the impossible dream of making everyone happy with it.
As a general point of clarification for Fate fans, the Entities are being powered by magical energy stored as crystal flesh rather than Wildbows nebulous 'energy' stored as crystal flesh. Their abilities and powers are very much grounded in science, like magecraft, and not the conceptual bullshit that pops up with certain Noble Phantasms and other abilities.
I don't own Worm. I don't own Fate Stay Night, or any part of the Nasuverse. I hope you all enjoy! Please leave a review if you enjoy the story!
With a gasp I pinwheeled my arms and tried to get my tired cramped legs under me properly. The locker was gone, the filth was gone, the whole fucking school was gone!
Looking around the scenery kept changing. One moment I was in a pure white room. The next I was in a massive library. Another moment passed and I was suspended in the black of space, stars winked back at me in the millions.
"That's quite enough of that, I think." A calm male voice spoke from behind me. As he finished speaking the surroundings changed one final time. Now I found myself in a perfectly normal if fancy sitting room. The centerpiece of the room was a small circular table set for tea with a chair on either side. Sitting in one chair already was a very tall man with white hair. He wore black body armor that showed off the kind of abs you could grate cheese on. He also wore some sort of red sleeves that covered his shoulders and were held together only by a large tied off string.
"Ah, Taylor. Please, take a seat." I could only stare wide eyed.
"I've gone crazy." I finally mumbled as I almost fell into the open chair. "The stress was too much and I finally snapped and went insane.
The man only shook his head and poured me a cup of tea. Without really looking I absentmindedly took a sip. The flavor was unlike anything I had tried before.
"It's oolong with jasmine." The man stated calmly. "As an American I realize you are likely more familiar with black tea, but I thought you might appreciate trying something new."
"It's delicious." It really was. Something about the flavor almost radiated peace and calm.
"I'm glad you like it. Now, to business. I am Counter Guardian Emiya. But please, call me Archer."
I licked my suddenly dry lips. I didn't really want to know where this was going I was still half convinced I was losing my mind. Still, I'd rather be here and insane, than sane and still trapped in my locker. Probably.
"Ok, Archer. I'm Taylor Hebert."
"Nice to properly meet you, Taylor." He said with a bit of a smile. "There is a great deal of information I need to explain to you. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of time just yet so it's going to have to be the cliff notes version, for now. To be honest a lot of the details won't matter to you anyway."
I settled for simply sipping more of my tea.
"The broad strokes of it are that magic is real. If far more complicated than popular culture would have you believe."
Am I still crazy if my delusions sound crazy to me?
"Part of that means that both the planet earth and the general will of humanity are both… lets say aware, and capable of intervening. My job as a Counter Guardian is to intervene and destroy whatever might be threatening to end humanity. Usually that means certain groups of humans. But not this time. Let me show you something."
With a wave of his arm the room dissolved back into the expanse of space. Though the table, chairs and tea remained. Archer turned a bit and pointed. Following his finger, I saw them. Two massive shapes. Crystalline worms, spiraling around each other as they moved through the black.
"May I introduce to you, our enemy. They are beings unlike anything found on earth. On any earth. Their bodies are an insane fusion of crystallized magical energy and organic matter. They are also the source of what you call powers."
"What?!" I whipped my head away from the, things, to look at Archer. He never took his eyes off of them though.
"Indeed. They detach pieces of themselves, and the pieces settle on alternate versions of earth. Then they establish connections to humans through a pair of growths in the brain. Each shard is capable of a different kind of magical ability. By providing power for, and allowing humans to use those powers they gather more data about the ability allowing the shards to refine themselves." He calmly explained.
"They convert the planet, every instance of the solar system, into enough raw magic to replace what the shards used, to rebirth themselves, and fuel their travel to the next unfortunate planet. Then they move on and begin the process anew."
I was shaking. I was terrified. What he was saying was insane. Utterly and completely insane! But with every word there was a bone deep chill and a certainty that he was telling me the truth. I didn't understand it. Couldn't explain it. But I knew everything he was saying was real.
"Normally the afflicted worlds would be written off in order to preserve humanity. But these things have somehow blocked that response. They have turned a number of dimensions into a beachhead from which they can run their experiments, and when that is finished, they will consume their beachhead to gather enough power to either move on, or make a push against the other iterations of earth. We are not assuming they would be so benevolent as to leave after feasting on their testing grounds." Archer said with a scowl.
"These things have done everything they can to limit us. They settled on earth's without mages, and they have done their best to keep the spirit of earth, and humanity, out. Working together though, those two forces managed to hijack one of the shards. The shard that connected to you. They overwrote the thing and made it a vessel for me instead, to help humanity strike back."
Archer took a moment to sip his own cup of tea as I digested everything he had said.
"It's not hopeless. So much of their power was used up creating this staging area of theirs, and even more is being used to maintain it. They will be limited, powerful beyond measure, but limited in comparison to their full capabilities. More than that we've gotten extremely lucky. One of them is already dead. That alone makes what could have been impossible only extremely difficult. Honestly, I couldn't even guess what our odds are, but we at least have a chance."
Finally, Archer turned to face me.
"My abilities, my power, my experience, and knowledge. All of that plus a source of magical power so large you likely couldn't deplete it in twenty lifetimes. All being brought to bear through you, making you more, eventually making you a Demi Servant if one needed to be technical. And we are going to pit all that against the remaining entity."
The teacup in my hand shook violently as I placed it down on the table.
"Why me? What the hell makes me the best choice to try and stop that, thing!"
"Honestly? It could have been anyone. But that shard was chosen in part because it was a good match for my abilities, and in part because it looked for hosts who would, when motivated, fight even seemingly impossible battles. People who were creative enough to find unexpected solutions. People with drive to see their course of action through to the end. That's you, and like it or not that's what humanity needs right now."
"This is crazy." I whispered. "You're crazy, or hell maybe I'm crazy!" My voice got louder as I spoke. "The source of powers? Alien super worms who want to destroy everything? You want me to save the world!" I was shouting now. "I can't even deal with a few bullies! How the hell am I supposed to save the world?!"
Archer didn't say anything at first. He just stared at me with a serious look. Finally, he sighed and placed his tea cup back on the table.
"I'm truly sorry. I know this is a lot to take in. I know it isn't fair to you. But you are who we have to work with. You are the best and only shot we've got. When I volunteered for this there were already a handful of plans in the works for getting you some backup. And even more plans for if we fail." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before refocusing on me again. "But those will take time to prepare. Some of them require our help to get started. A number of them are also the kind of plan that calls for sacrifices to be made. Even my being here is coming at a price."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm connected to you, and to the shard. The entire point of my presence here is to grant you my abilities… but those abilities are unique to me. Eventually, I'll be completely subsumed. Then you'll be all that's left. Albeit a you who has been heavily influenced by me. I will fade away until I die, and you will be changed. That's what a Demi Servant is, a fusion of human and heroic spirit, though this will be a unique merging in many ways."
"That's insane." I whispered. Then I started to shout. "I don't want to be changed! I don't want someone to die just so I can get some power! I just want, I want…" what did I want? For the trio to leave me the hell alone. For my life to not suck. For Dad to get his shit together and remember me. For Mom to never have died. For this insane mess to not be my problem.
"Such is the way things are. The world has need of you, humanity has need of you, and they don't bother to ask. All that is left is for you to adapt. There aren't any other options." He glanced to the side.
"Our time is up. You're starting to wake up. If you are still trapped I'll take over long enough to get you out."
"What are you-" and then I was back in the locker, still trapped. The brief break from the smell had let my nose recover slightly and now I was being hit with the stench all over again. I dry heaved for a moment before I felt my body leave my control.
"I was afraid this would happen." It took me a moment to realize that the voice I was hearing was my own. "Pay attention, Taylor. This is the basis for my entire style of combat. You'll need to learn how to do this, and the sooner the better."
I felt energy, power, flow through me. In my mind I could see a dusty series of hills illuminated by a setting sun. Everywhere embedded in the ground were blades. They numbered in the countless thousands. The scenery seamed to whip by until I saw a pair of crossed blades, short but wide, one black and the other white.
"Trace on." The power surged and suddenly my hands were holding the two blades. In the blink of an eye my body still completely beyond my control moved and the locker door was cut off, falling to the ground with a clatter. My body stepped out of the filth. The swords faded away in particles of light… and I was back in control.
Funny, for hours I had only wanted out. Now I had my wish, and I had no idea what to do next. My body could be stolen from me at a moment's notice. I had powers I didn't even begin to understand. I had an older man riding shotgun in my fucking head who wanted me to save the world! For fucks sake I just, I just.
It was too much. My vision started to swim turning black around the edges. I couldn't seem to get enough air into my lungs no matter how much air I tried to take in. Then the floor was rising up to meet me as I fell forward.