Phantasmal Soldier Chapter One

Nothing lasts forever.

Written by Sam Ryder

Modified April 9th 2021: minor edits

Completed on:

AN: Okay, so straight to the point, I re-read chapter one and almost threw up with how bad it is. So, I'm rewriting it. Of course, by the time you see this, it'll be done but still.

Story Starts Here:

Japan. He couldn't believe he was back in Japan. It wasn't that he never thought he'd be back, he had a trip scheduled at the end of the year in fact. Rumors of a Dead Apostle changed that, an Apostle in a city the size of Tokyo was terrifying, the number of people that could be afflicted made it a priority whenever the rumor came up. That none of the rumors in the last ten years had been verified as anything less than complete falsehoods, well it was the only reason he was alone.

So there he stood in the middle of a crowd, in one of the largest districts in Tokyo; where three supposed victims had gone missing with only a puddle of blood as a mark of them ever being there, getting the lay of the land. He'd been there for four days, four days of no attacks, no more crime scenes, and four days dreading this moment. When the crowds gathered for the doujinshi comics convention.

On the upside, he thought to himself, it looked like the Apostle was nothing more than a witch hunt this time around as well. The dead bodies belonged to the average run of the mill murderer and while that still didn't make it okay, it did mean that there wasn't going to be a huge mob of vampires roaming through downtown Tokyo in the middle of the night slaughtering building after building of innocent people to slake their nigh upon insatiable lust for blood.

Perhaps, he could, if after finding nothing during the coming evening, make a brief detour through Fuyuki and spend a few days visiting Fuji-nee. It had been some time since he'd been home. That was after he took a look around to see if he could find the killer. He knew if a killer was smart or connected enough they could elude their punishment even if they were somehow caught.

Shirou turned, rolling his shoulders as he went. It had been a long series of days. Alternating day and night just in case it wasn't an apostle but a true ancestor causing the mayhem. Needless to say, he was going to sleep well in the coming night.

"Time to head back Emiya," Shirou told himself, his hotel wasn't too far, there wasn't even a point getting the train. A minute into his walk his phone began to chime and he quickly brought it to his ear.

"Hey Rin," Shirou said, moving to the side of the sidewalk as a group of what could be cosplaying otakus wandered down the street, all eight of them part of the same snake-like costume. He shook his head, the comic convention down the street had people traipsing about in all sorts of costumes, oddly the snake guys weren't the weirdest he'd seen.

That honor belonged to the gelatinous horse-like amoeba girl evidenced by the clear oozing gel breasts hanging from the chest of the costume. He understood it was their hobby but did it have to be quite so weird?

"Shirou, I know he's with you! I demand you hand him the phone!" She snapped.

Shirou could just see her, tapping her foot as she clutched at her teacup. He'd seen her do it often enough when contacting her jewel suppliers. Those conversations usually ended up with a broken teacup.

Shirou sighed. "Rin, Zelretch hasn't been here for the last few days. I told you that last night," he said

"He's really not with you..." She seemed to lose much of the force she railed at him with just moments ago. "Fine, so if you could swing by the house, I think I left a few gems in the safe behind grandfather's portrait in the guest room. If you could bring them back with you I'd really appreciate it."

Did she call for Zelretch or the gems? Shirou wondered, the speed at which she switched gears was fast enough that it may have been planned rather than just a stray thought that popped into her head. He had a feeling he knew the answer and it wasn't that she called to learn about Zelretchs whereabouts.

"Yes, Rin. I'll take a look before I come back."

"When will that be? You've been gone for four days and you haven't found anything yet have you? I told you it was a wild goose chase."

She had in fact told him, "Yes, you did, it doesn't mean no one should check. People could have been under attack." He said he was about to say more when he felt and heard a thundering sound coming toward him.

Screams filled the air.

"Shirou what's going on over there?!" Rin snapped, the calm of her voice was gone as if it had never been there in the first place.

"Rin. I've got to go. I'll grab the gems. I'll see you soon." He said and struck the end button.

Shirou turned and he nearly jumped in surprise as a horse-mounted army of what looked like Roman soldiers charged down the street toward him, sending the population around him into a frenzy. He forced his magic through his system as fast as he could manage, strengthening his muscles, his bones, and his senses. Specifically his sight, he could now see well enough to count the numerous nicks in the vanguards blades not to mention the fallen people the force was trampling without care.

"Get off the streets!" Shirou yelled pointing towards the buildings as he heard the commander give an order.

"Archer's fire when ready!"

Shirou froze, it wasn't like the people who were having such a difficult time running from the charging steeds even with the many cars scattered about slowing their progress, they had no chance of outrunning the arrows. At that moment he found himself in a situation where there was a tough decision to make, save the people and reveal Magecraft or keep the secret and sign many of their fates himself. Rin would advise caution. Get out of sight before helping in any way. Others would have told him to protect himself and the secrets of the moonlit world.

In the end, it wasn't much of a difficult decision.

He spread his arms and reached into himself, he began. "Trace bullet..." he snapped. A sword appeared in the air above him, then two, then nine. The numbers kept rising. In the time it took for the arrows to reach the arc of their shot, countless swords filled the air above him.

Hammer back.

"Continuous fire!"

With a sweep of his arm, the swords launched forward with the tip of each meeting the point of an arrow knocking them off course as the blades continued on their path.

It was the army's turn to scream in fright and pain.

Shirou wasn't content to wait while they gathered themselves. He bolted into the nearest alley and leapt towards the wall. His legs reinforced as they launched him like a rocket but before Shirou readied himself, he kicked off as soon as he'd touched down, sending him even higher into the air. In no time he was rising well above the edge of the building.

He held out a hand, a black bow was waiting even as he gripped the air with an average longsword of plain grey steel fell into his other. He quickly fitted the weapon against the string as it flowed like liquid metal. In its place, a tightly wound-up rod of metal that one would have to admit looked remarkably like an arrow there.

From the ranks, he chose his first target. The horse bearing the commanding officer. The man held an almost spartan short sword into the air and as a copy of it formed in the world his soul had created to contain any weapon he'd ever seen, it downloaded the man's use of the blade directly into his head.

Marcus Tel Quilia. A man of middling honor who'd only been in a single minor campaign previous to the one in which they resided in. It was a blade that while wielded by Marcus, was commanded by another. Numerous civilians from smaller villages had fallen to the blade as a warning to those who stand against the Empire.

He drew the string back as far as it could and released it. He already knew what was going to happen, it impacted the horse's chest and pierced straight through to the ground behind it. The horse toppled and so did its rider.

"Don't stop! For the Empire!" Marcus yelled as he struggled to his feet.

Another arrow flew impaling Marcus through his chest and pinning him to the ground to be trampled like so many of the Japanese people that had been crushed under hoof.

Arrow after arrow screamed their way through the air, lives, and careers ended by the dozens. None of them would be forgotten.

Stephen Tanner, Gyn Bea Nolan, Viscount Jacob Daniels, Henriech Vod Kan. Han Nessy. Each of their blades found a place within the blade works and each of their deeds written into the weapon's very core.

"Raagh!" The shout echoed from above him and Shirou glanced upward to find a man riding what Shirou could only describe as a small dragon amid diving toward him, a sword raised. Gregory March, a low-ranked wyvern soldier.

Shirou was nearing mid-leap leaving him little in the way of the ability to dodge. It was a good thing he didn't need to.

He raised his bowstring, pulled taut as an arrow fitted itself into place and he released. The wyvern's head like its rider turned into a bloody mess as their forward momentum driven by the Wyvern's angled wings faltered upon its death. Mount and rider plummeted toward the streets below.

Landing on the railing of a fire escape, Shirou looked down the length of his arrow pointed at the mass of enemies. So many remained, he had made a dent but not enough to stymie the invading force.

It was time for a different tactic and with the majority of the population who could have seen having fled, well that just made it easier for Shirou. He couldn't use a broken phantasm as It would only catch civilians in the explosion.

He took a breath and delved into the history of the sword he held.

Forged in steel and tempered by a blacksmith of good quality the weapon only had the purpose of filling another hand in the battles to come.

Though plain the sword had done its duty, created toward the end of the middle ages it was held by one of the knights' templars. The weapon was an oddity, used in battles ranging from one side of Europe to another by will or happenstance its edge had only taken the lives of those who attacked. Only anonymity kept the weapon from being known, stopped the sword from being legendary.

Alone, its history would have left it an unextraordinary tool, in Shirou's hands, however, the blueprints of a second weapon surfaced in his vision. One that he'd seen emerge from a golden vault many years ago.

An unnamed short sword he had gained a copy from the Gate of Babylon. Ancient, the weapon was forged of a diluted iron but its prowess was great enough it became a legend nonetheless. Copying the power of the blade, he shunted it over to the sword-turned arrow and affixed it deep into its history.

Historic Convergence, Rin had called it, citing since she had come up with the idea of it, the technique was hers to name, even if she'll never be able to wield it.

The arrow began to emanate frost as if it were pumping out part of winter itself and Shirou loosed the arrow. It missed the front lines, narrowly missed the second by which point the rest of the force was already moving away from its path. But that didn't matter. In its wake, his arrow had turned the entire street into a frozen waste. Horses slipped on the ice as well did the men and those were for the lucky. For those caught close enough to where the arrow flew, ice had begun creeping up their arms and legs, some of it going so far as to grow over their chests.

A good thing considering he really didn't want to kill them all.

The momentary pause in the battle gave him precious moments to think, to observe. The enemy forces weren't made entirely of humans, creatures no bigger than large children that looked like orcs had joined them. Between the wyvern and the orcs, a small part of him wondered where they came from, both species had all but been hunted to the brink of extinction centuries prior if any survived at all that escaped to the Reverse Side of the World.

A scream a few streets over caught Shirou's attention and he leapt into the air, near a footbridge a woman was under attack by a soldier while her child was being dragged away by another. Shirou lifted his bow and paused as a scruffy-looking man launched himself at the soldier attacking the woman snapping his neck with one swift motion before hurling the fallen soldier's dagger into the throat of the one pulling the child.

He could hear helicopters approaching in the distance, reinforcements from the government. The enemy now had a clock before they were brought to a heel, that didn't mean Shirou was going to cease his assault. After a brief moment of searching, he discovered his next target. A muscle-bound man swinging around a spiked ball on a chain. Tomas Trite. He was using his weapon to break through the display windows in an effort to get at those hiding within or playing lookie-loo.

Not even his helm slowed the arrow as it pierced through one side of his head to the other.

The next target he drew down on was a full platoon making their way down the street at a canter, pennant flags held by the two at the front. No doubt the commander's forces, especially considering a rider with a yellow drape raced away from the group holding a wound piece of paper even as he held the reins. He hardly rounded the corner before Shirou loosed the arrow, he fell ten paces later, horse and all.

Two more arrows pierced the goblin creatures before burying themselves to the asphalt. The next was a tall man who fell as his knee was impaled by one of Shirou's weapons. The following three, who were in the midst of pulling a female police officer's clothes to shreds to satisfy themselves, every one of them fell to an arrow.

As a force of people charged passed his position, led by the scruffy-looking man from before and a police officer. It seemed they were all looking for refuge from the coming over-eager platoon. The platoon that was gaining ground. It was worrisome but Shirou did have a plan.

He shouldered his bow and stretched out a hand into which fell half a dozen caltrops. Spreading them between his hands, he pressed his magical energy into them until flecks of the copper that made them flaked away. It left them damaged, broken, volatile. Jumping from the rail, Shirou threw them into the charging mass of soldiers. Two to the front of the lines and one of each for the following two.

On contact with the ground they exploded.

Horses, orcs, and men alike lost their limbs, some losing their lives as well when Shirou landed on the opposite roof.

It was a technique he practiced incessantly during a hunt a few years prior when a rogue magus enhanced his pheromones to control several hives' worth of murder hornets. Sadly for the magus, but fortunately for the small town that he was plaguing during his testing phases; the blasts, the shrapnel, and even the smoke were all excellent in regards to ending the threat the insects posed.

The soldiers stopped their advancement, in fact, their lines broke, with many choosing to flee with their commanders dead. The helicopters were nearly on top of them now.

Shirou slipped into the building through the roof's access door wiping the images of his constructs from his mind as he went, knowing that they'd be gone in moments. Gunfire had begun before he had reached the middle floors, followed by many screams in the distance.

The Self Defense Force has arrived.

He waited near the lobby door until the shots had faded to nothing and stepped out onto the street and he wasn't the only one. Men and women were inspecting the carnage that awaited them. Trails of blood leading through small craters and over corpses, rapid words in an altogether unfamiliar language and weapons. Dozens of swords, bows, shields, and spears.

"It's you." The words came from a teen girl still dressed in her school uniform and chewing bubble gum, when Shirou didn't respond right away, she tugged at his sleeve.

"Can I help you miss?" He asked though he wasn't sure how much it was going to be helping considering the number of people who seemed to have heard the girl in the eerie quiet the corpses seemed to generate.

He blinked as she poked him in the chest, "Don't try and make like it wasn't you. We all saw. It was amazing!"

"I'm afraid you must be mistaken," Shirou responded and began making his way through the crowd, which wasn't a difficult task as they parted in front of him.

"Thank you so much."

"Do you know who these people are?"

"You saved my life."

"How did you do those things?"

"Hey, hey! These people are part of the experimental time travel tests the governments doing right? And you're like out here to stop them?"

The statements, the questions. They kept coming, but Shirou answered none of them, it was a piece of advice Rin had given him. Admit to nothing and people will generally make up their own story of what happened to be going on.

He double-timed it to his hotel. Pausing only to duck into alleys as police cars drove by calling for the residents to return to their homes until the area was swept for any survivors and if they came across any suspicious activity, call the police immediately.

However, as he reached the fourth floor, where his room was located he found himself looking at several men and women in grey and black suits. "Emiya Shirou-san," one at the front of the pack said, "I am Tanaka, Go. Public Safety Commission. We'd like you to come with us."

"May I ask why?" Shirou asked as he took a half step back towards the elevator and pressed the button urging the machine to return.

A woman stepped out of the crowd to open a laptop and Tanaka pressed a button. It played his fight, the camera angles changed as he moved to where a different camera catching his actions but they had it clearly. His use of Magecraft.

Any hope of escape without assaulting the crowd in front of him and going on the run went out the window, it was probably why so many of them were there. Besides if the video existed on the screen in front of him, then it existed elsewhere as well.

"Emiya-san," Tanaka said again, "will you please accompany us so we might figure out your role in all of this?"

Shirou wasn't quite sure what to do, there was no guaranteeing who had or hadn't seen the footage and if the government had it then it was a fair bet others had it as well. A first-rate magus might have hypnotized his way through the group but the skill was beyond Shirou, a second-rate practitioner would likely have slaughtered them all. Shirou however merely nodded his head and followed Tanaka and a few others back into the elevator.

They led him out to a black SUV that Shirou was fairly certain wasn't there when he walked into the building and twenty minutes later Shirou was sitting in an interrogation room at the police station. Forty minutes later he was joined by two women.

"Emiya-san, can I get you anything? Before we begin?" The older of the two asked as she adjusted her jacket.

"Yuri, we don't have time for pleasantries! The diet wants answers and they want them now!"

As Yuri ignored her partner Shirou tapped at his leg trying to figure out just what he was going to do. The tea came a minute later and he had no more answers than he had when he'd begun.

"Emiya-san," Yuri began as she took a place across the table from him. "Can you tell us what happened today?"

Her partner snorted and struck the table with an opened hand. "What the hell was that kid?"

"An invasion I'd guess? I mean they were attacking people?" Shirou answered though he knew it wasn't the answer that they wanted.

Yuri nodded, "That, we do understand. We do not however understand who those people are nor where they came from, or even what connections they might have to you."

Shirou stared at her incredulously. They actually thought he might have something to do with the attack? He was killing and maiming the attackers and it wasn't like he went to them. "Simple truth I was in the wrong place and the proper time."

"Come on kid! We saw the freaky things you could do! Are you some kind of bio-engineered weapon? A cyborg? Someone from the future?" Yuri's partner exclaimed as she popped a cigarette in her mouth and lit it.

"Aya! Emiya-san is not a suspect! He saved lives today!" Yuri chided.

Aya turned to sit on the table and stare into the two-way mirror as she answered. "Maybe he should be? The Prime Minister isn't so sure it's not just a plot Yuri."

"Please ignore Aya, she's very good at her job and it's taken a lot of the faith she had in people away," Yuri said and Shirou nodded. It wasn't something that was going to surprise him.

"Still, we do need to know what's going on?"

"Understand, I can't tell you everything partly because I can't, partly because it would be wrong to do it." Shirou said, he looked up, his eyes catching Yuri's, "My name is Emiya Shirou, and I am a magus." He said

"A mage? I mean we were just attacked by roman soldiers so I guess it's not impossible but come on. Even you have to admit that's a bit far-fetched." Aya said and tapped out her half-finished cigarette in the ashtray.

"Not mage, magus, there's a difference. Besides, from where I sit now, I have no real reason to lie."

Aya slid herself off the table and moved to stand behind him where she leaned down and spoke into his ear. "Then do some magic, make a floating ball of light or something," her dare came.

Shirou held out his hand a butter knife formed not a moment later, "I'm a bit more specialized than that.

The two didn't seem surprised, whether because they had a lot in the way of practice at keeping a poker face, or they had seen the video, or perhaps television had desensitized them, Shirou couldn't be sure. Probably the TV.

"Well, that's cute. Moving on, who were those invaders as you called them?"

He shrugged, it wasn't like he knew the answer, even if he knew their names and where they were from it wasn't like he was actually going to explain the whole thing to them. That'd just be asking for problems.

"I have no idea." He added a moment later when it looked like they weren't going to say something unless he spoke first.

Aya sighed, "Can you explain why you were in Ginza today?"

It was such a simple question, yet, Shirou had no idea how to even begin that answer. 'I'm making sure an alien infected human extremely similar to vampires wasn't making the area its own personal buffet?' Chances were an answer like that wasn't going to go over well.

'Give them enough information and they'll create the story themselves.'

"I was here looking into the deaths that have been happening recently, making sure they weren't magical in origin."

"So you're like Scully and Mulder then? A paranormal police officer? Was it a vampire killing those people?" Aya replied with a scoff.

Shirou shook his head, "No, it was your garden variety, serial killer. No vampire involvement."

He watched as Yuri marked something down on a notebook she pulled from her pocket. "So it was a coincidence you were there?" She asked after looking up.

Shirou nodded. "Like I said, wrong place right time?"

Aya snorted as Yuri's phone began to ring.

"Yuri here." She answered.

"Yes, we're with him right now."

"Of course sir."

"Yes sir." She tapped at the phone before gesturing to Aya who pulled her own out and handed it over.

"I'm bringing it up now." She said while clicking away at the phone's screen and suddenly they were viewing what looked to be an interview. An interview with the girl that had tugged at Shirou's sleeve.

"Those people came out of nowhere and they had those creature things with them. They were trampling people, shooting them, you know awful stuff." She shivered but then brightened.

"Then this guy was there. Looking like he walked out of the pages of a fairy-tail, pulling swords out of thin air, turning them into arrows, and shooting those jerks attacking us. He was like-" She paused to reach into the air and pull an imaginary sword before miming firing it from a bow. "Plus he's a total hottie!"

The camera panned to include a reporter, a short-haired young woman wearing what looked like a military vest over her pantsuit. "So you're saying this man was using something like magic?"

"Like yeah! Those swords seemed to come out of nowhere!"

"I apologize Ohkata-san, I have just received word that the station has been sent a video of the event. We're going there now."

A low-resolution video began focused on the charging company of soldiers. There was a lot of screaming and the video jumped this way and that before it caught a shot of him as he created a sword and fitted it into his bow and then it changed into the sword arrow.

The video went dark.

"But sir!" Yuri said though even as she said the words she seemed to deflate, "Yes sir."

A moment later she stood, "Aya let's go." She said and though her partner looked ready to protest she followed Yuri out the door leaving Shirou alone in the room once more.

A short time later a uniformed officer brought in a to-go box of food labeled "Moritake's" and a large glass of water. The food was garlic chicken alfredo and just so happened to be surprisingly good.

An hour and a half later a mustachioed man in a deep green military uniform stood in the doorway as another man with mousy brown hair and glasses opened the door. "Emiya-san," the first man said. "I'm General Hazama, I understand that today's been a difficult one. However, I'd appreciate it if you came with me."

Shirou stood watching as the mouse man's hand inched toward his sidearm. "Of course."

Together they made their way out of the building which was a frenzy of activity and out into the street where a jeep awaited them. It was only after the three of them were seated and the jeep was once more in motion did the General speak again.

"Emiya-san, I must ask you to go through the events of today again. I know you've given your statement to the agents before but you must understand. Japan has received two major shocks today. These attackers seem to have come through a portal and you have shown us all that magic exists. We need answers."

Shirou gave the General just that, from his evening meal the previous night to stake out the area of the attacks to the assault from the Empire's men, glossing over how his magic worked of course. The General didn't interrupt and even silenced the mousy man when he made it. In the end, he stroked his mustache a number of times and spoke.

"Thank you. Now if you don't mind I do have some questions." He didn't wait for Shirou to answer.

"This magic you use, can anyone learn how to do it?"

Shirou shook his head, "Magic, in general, requires magic circuits that not everyone has."

"Then those with your gift are limited?"

Shirou nodded. "Worse, is those who have circuits and if you search, you may find some, but using Magecraft is the same as walking with death. Those who do, do not have easy lives as even your own spell may take your life."

"So the chances of having a force of Magi I believe you called yourself during your interview with the agents," He paused and looked to Shirou for confirmation, and again Shirou nodded.

"Having an army filled with Magi's isn't likely."

It wasn't impossible but it was improbable. "Right," Shirou said.

"Well then Emiya-san, would take a look at his portal for us?" General Hazama asked as the car began to slow.

Shirou shrugged, "I can but I don't think it will help you very much. I'm a combat specialist, not a researcher."

"Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated." The General responded.

The car stopped and as the door opened, Shirou found himself looking at a large gateway that held what looked like pure darkness within it. Even as he stepped out he knew he hadn't figured anything out about it. It was beyond his understanding. Heck, he didn't even know where to begin! It might be the Kaleidoscope or it could be a tunnel through time, heck it might just be a portal to the pages of Dante's Inferno for all he knew.

So he asked the first question that popped into his head. "Has anyone gone through it yet?"

"Not as of yet" The General responded.

For a minute Shirou inspected the portal, he doubted the General would have accepted it if he hadn't. He picked up a rock and tossed it into the darkness and waited but no sound came. "Well, I have no idea what to do with this," he finally said.

The General sighed and clapped Shirou on the shoulder, "Well you did say you were more of a combat specialist. We've set you up in a different hotel for the night, the ceremony will happen in a few days."

"Ceremony?" Shirou asked.

The General laughed, "Of course! You and Lieutenant Itami are being honored for your heroism in a few days."

It was to help the people of Japan. To give them hope after the loss of so many lives, after so much destruction. So as much as Shirou wanted to avoid it, to say no, instead he nodded his head.

"Okay."

The room they had gotten him turned out to be much nicer than the one he'd gotten for himself and it just so happened to be two buildings away from the portal and filled with military personnel. Which also suggested another reason he'd been placed there. So someone was around to monitor his comings and goings.

The next morning came and with it, the General returned as did his mousy attendant who carried a folded suit over his arm.

"I believe this will fit you just fine." The General said. "Go on give it a try."

In no time flat Shirou found himself garbed in a black suit and tie. He didn't like it, the clothes were far too constricting as far as he was concerned. Still, after looking in the mirror he found that it did make him far more official-looking, which he reasoned was their goal.

"Fits fine. You have a good eye for sizes, General." Shirou said, and he wasn't lying, Rin had put him in a suit once or twice, something about a butler and it had been a touch too short and a bit too tight. Of course, that part might have been part of her goal he reasoned.

"Father was a tailor, in another life I might have been one as well." The general said, "We'll have to be heading out, I just wanted to make sure the clothes fit, make sure you're ready for the ceremony. We'll be by to pick you up at eleven hundred hours."

Shirou nodded and the General left.

He all but flew from the suit and back into his regular clothing all the while planning out his day. There was only one item on the agenda but it had multiple parts, so as soon as Shirou was dressed and he'd placed food in his stomach he set out.

Over the course of the next two days he: moving rubble, served food to others who worked on reconstruction when they refused his help, aided in the search for missing people, and of those he searched for, he found all but one girl and one boy. Still, he felt like it just wasn't enough.

The morning of the ceremony Shirou found himself seated beside several military men and women as the prime minister spoke to a crowd of several hundred maybe even one thousand people and all those in the front row just so happened to be members of the press.

"Japan has suffered a horrible attack! We have lost friends, family, our sense of safety. But we have persevered! Despite the tremendous personal danger two heroes stepped forward, they put their lives on the line for our people and I for one am tremendously grateful."

The crowd erupted with applause as the Prime Minister gestured to a soldier that Shirou recognized as the scruffy-looking man that had been fighting against the soldiers and leading people to safety. He stepped forward and Shirou moved to stand on the minister's other side as the man beckoned to him.

"Second Lieutenant Yoji Itami, from the JSDF. For your bravery in the field and your protection of countless lives, you have been promoted to First Lieutenant and have been reassigned to the special region. We would also like to present to you the medal of honor!"

The crowd roared delighted seeing one of their heroes receive recognition while Itami saluted as the medal was pinned to his chest. He stepped back a moment later, tears streaming down his face as he raised his head high. Something about it told Shirou that those weren't tears of joy.

"Emiya Shirou, you who are not a soldier faced down an entire platoon of soldiers in the defense of the people. Even going so far as to reveal your secret of magic. So we give this Medal of Honor recognizing your service to Japan. As well as the Order of the Rising Sun. None shall ever forget your service."

Shirou bowed his head allowing the medal to be placed around his neck and bowed to the Minister before stepping back as the Minister continued to address the crowd. He spoke of the special region of magic and its dangers before thanking the people for coming.

After the ceremony, the General and several agents pulled him aside, "We'd like you to consider joining us when we go through to the special region."

"Wait, what?" Shirou asked. Several things about the portal or as the military was calling it now, "the Gate" had also been found. It did work both ways, and once one passed through the first side they had to walk down a long black tunnel to get to the other side. What they found was an entirely new world with apparently the freshest air the scout had ever experienced.

"What would you need me for?" He asked a moment later, judging by the armor the soldiers wore, they were far behind when it came to technology. They'd have no problem defending themselves.

"We'd like you to come not only because it would make the people of Japan feel as if we are truly doing all we can but there was one of those goblin-like creatures waiting for our scout on the other side. He used a dagger that spewed a ball of fire."

It didn't even take Shirou a second to connect the dots. There was magic in the special region! Still, he wasn't Zelretch, he had no place moving between worlds.

The general must have seen his hesitation as he put his hat back on and made his way toward the door. "Take a few days and think it over Emiya-san. You could help a lot of people if you joined us."

The agent pressed a manilla envelope into his hands before following her superior from the area.

In the end, it didn't even take him a few days to decide.

Shirou looked down at the papers in his hand that just so happened to give him exactly what he wanted, meaning the time had come. Retrieving his phone from his pocket Shirou lifted it to his ear and waited for a moment before the answering machine came up.

"Thank you for calling the Tohsaka Residence," It was Rin, just not the voice he'd heard over a semi-regular basis by the one she used when she was pretending to be the perfect high school girl she acted like. He'd have to get her to change it now that she was an adult, and with how often she called her house to check her messages from the sunlit world, she'd know exactly what he was talking about when he brought the topic up.

"I didn't want to do this over the phone Rin, let alone a message but I'm guessing you're sleeping right now. But what I have to say won't keep. I've been given my orders, I'm to head into the special region as a special consultant to the JSDF. That's where the bad news kicks in." Shirou. Trailed off before he slowly moved what he had to say, though he didn't expect that she would forgive him. "You see," and Shirou began his explanation already knowing and waiting for the earful he was sure to get in response.

He laid the paper on the desk and began rubbing his eyes.

Fin. The End, Done. Hoping it's better than the last two options that my brain came up with within this scenario.

If you'd like to become my patron you can find me at () swryder, all patrons will be listed in the acknowledgements section of my book.

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Up next, well currently it's a toss up. You'll see it when it goes up. After that, A True Titan. Lastly, time's running out to vote on Miyu's alias! Poll's in my profile.

It's going to be a blast.

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