Cold winter sunlight filtered in harshly through the windows of Shirou's room, groaning he rolled over and buried himself deeper into the covers. He didn't want to get up; his only wish was to sleep an extra two or three or possibly six hours. After last night, Shirou had drug his sore tired body into his room before collapsing into a pile of limbs and fabric. Thankfully, his dreams were kind to him, for once, and stayed away. Knowing that further sleep was a wasted effort, Shirou sat up in the bed and stretched out his sore and numb limbs. Maybe he shouldn't have slept on his arms all night. Shaking and ringing his hands to get the blood flowing back to them, Shirou drifted sleepily down the halls to the bathroom. Glancing at the clock on his small desk, Shirou was pleased to note that it was still relatively early in the morning.
Typically, Shirou takes baths at night, but he felt disgusting. Once back into his room, Shirou sat back onto his bed with his small carry-on set in front of him. Kiritsugu had drilled into him the necessity of travelling light. 'If it can't fit into a single bag, it isn't necessary.' Inside the bag were a few changes of clothes, and some necessary toiletries, as well as, a small red and white zipped pouch loaded down with gauze and bandages, thread, over the counter painkillers, ointments, balms and just about everything necessary for being on the go; jammed underneath all of this was a small black leather-bound notebook.
For more critical injuries, Shirou was fairly confident in his abilities to maintain and heal them.
While he was placing everything back into their rightful places, Shirou heard the telltale sign of the front door being flung open. Their was only one person he knows that blasted through like a bull in a china shop. Sighing in exasperation, Shirou pocketed the notebook and stepped into the hallway, to be immediately barraged with bright, and exuberant shouting from the living room. Great Fuji-nee was antsy and annoyed, perhaps he should test out some of the new recipes he had made while overseas.
"Shirou, good morning!" Fuji-nee greeted with her back turned as she fiddled around with the tv in the corner. Such a familiar and normal scene caused a small smile to break out across his face. Even after being away for so long, Fuji-nee still hasn't changed one bit. Opening his fridge door, Shirou groaned under his breath at the sheer lack of food inside. He was going to have to go shopping later today. Procuring the necessary items from his meager stash, Shirou swiftly danced around the kitchen, as the crackle of oil and the fragrance of different spices drew Fuji-nee's attention from the tv.
Leaning against the counter with her face propped by both hands Fuji-nee smiled at Shirou's back, "So what are you making?"
"I was going to make something different that I picked up in Germany, but I don't have the necessary ingredients." Shirou opened up the refrigerator door as he crouched down, "Or anything for that matter, so you'll have to make do with just eggs for the time being. I'll make something big tonight."
"Shirou's food is back!" Fuji-nee cheered while pumping her fist, "I don't care what it is, I'm just glad that it's back!"
"I swear you only missed the food." Shirou's deadpan expression was thrown over his shoulder as placed the final touches on their meal.
"Exactly!" Fuji-nee cheered, "Glad you're learning."
Chuckling once more, Shirou set down the two plates, before taking a seat. Clapping his hands together he blessed the food before he began to eat. Silence hung comfortably in the air only to be broken by the occasional comment from Fuji-nee or the quiet crackle of the morning news from the tv. Perking his ears, Shirou turned to face the tv.
'…In more recent news another small business will be closed temporarily due to over a dozen employees suddenly falling into a comatose state. This is just another in the long string of unforeseen incidents that has affected the downtown Shinto area. When asked, police officials have claimed that it is the results of numerous gas leaks in the area. They are highly encouraging those that commute to and from work there to avoid the major hot zones or to where some forms of protective covering while they are out and about. This is the third case in just as many weeks, and the police are discussing a potential curfew, so that they may clean up and fix the area.'
"Another one huh." Fuji-nee's voice wafted into the air, "That's the second one since Monday."
Shirou turned his attention back to Fuji-nee with a pensive expression, "How many people have fallen unconscious?"
"A couple dozen, however, they never actually stay unconscious for long. The longest they've said was probably two days. Some of them even wake up in transit to the hospital."
"Is it always in the same area?"
"Yeah, there is a stretch of area that has had the highest number of unconscious cases, however, there are also a few smaller ones in the surrounding area." Fuji-nee admitted, before she stared at him critically, "You're not thinking about going down there are you?"
"You are aren't you!" Fuji-nee admonished, "You don't need to worry about it, just leave it to the authorities, they can handle it just fine."
"I wasn't going too." Shirou placated with a wave of his hand, "I was just curious, I've clearly been out of the loop on things here. What has been going on while I was away?"
"Nothing really, this is the biggest thing." Fuji-nee admitted, "However, on a more personal note, school has been getting more and more troublesome."
"Kids becoming too much?"
"Yes, but just you wait I'll have them wiped into shape in no time!" Fuji-nee, who had been lying on her hands on the table, suddenly shot up and pumped her fist excitedly.
"I bet you will, Fuji-nee." Shirou snarked.
"That reminds me, you're coming with me to the campus today." Fuji-nee announced, as she stood and carried her things to the sink, "I'm going to get you enrolled into the upper division of the academy."
"…okay." Shirou certainly wasn't adverse to something as normal as high school but he didn't know why he was needed there.
"Great then once you're ready we'll get going!"
"Um, but don't you have a class to teach. It is Wednesday." Shirou asked confused, don't teachers typically, you know, have to teach their students. He wasn't the most familiar with education systems, as a majority of his education centered around field experience or what he could pick up while overseas.
"That's true, but I don't have my first class until 11 o'clock, thus I can get you in and start the enrollment process and still have time to catch up on all the homework I assigned." Nodding to herself for her foolproof plan, Fuji-ne gestured furiously at Shirou, "Come on we don't have all day!"
"Right, right." Shirou sighed exasperatedly as he walked to his room for his coat. While he walked, Shirou couldn't stop thinking about the news. Multiple people falling into comas in the same area, and across multiple days. The police claiming it to be some form of gas leak in the area. Shirou would understand if all these people had fallen unconscious on the same day. However, Fuji-nee had admitted that this had been going on for weeks now. It didn't sit right with Shirou, at all. No matter how he looked at it, this wasn't just gas leaks. Someone or something was intentionally doing this. It heavily reminded him of one of the first missions he and Kiritsugu had undertaken while in Romania.
Much like here, multiple people were falling catatonically ill across the entire city. The local news stations had started to proclaim it as some new form of virus. However, Kiritsugu had almost immediately known that that wasn't the case. Luckily, the duo had handled it before authorities and news stations started to classify it as a hazard zone, or worse, and quarantine off the city. God only knows, how freaked out others would be if what was happening in Romania became the beginning of a pandemic.
However, unlike in Romania, Shirou wasn't exactly certain, he would need to go tonight and scope out the place himself. Best to deal with a potential Magus' Workshop now, before it became known that another Magus was in the area.
Walking out onto the streets, Shirou and Fuji-nee turned in the direction of the academy and walked onwards with idle chitchat exchanged between the two. The early morning sun ebbed away the chill of winter a little. Yet, their warm breaths wafted into the air around them. Scrunching in on herself, Fuji-nee rubbed her arms and sped up her pace just a little. Shirou fell in step over her shoulder and began to look at the many changes that Miyama had undergone since he was gone. Last night, Shirou was way to tired and distracted to notice many changes.
Now, however, Shirou could still note the small congested streets that latticed out in the traditional section of the area. He could also note that they had expanded the central lane that divided both the traditional housing and the more modern foreign housing to the south. That aside, Shirou could tell that Mount Miyama had become a more thriving and bustling commercial district with just how many shops blended in with the housing. It reminded him greatly of Shinjuku, just not as clustered and congested.
Every so often, Fuji-nee was greeted by young teens in tan uniforms as they walked to school. Fuji-nee, bright, and bubbly, as usual, greeted them happily and even joined in on some of the childish games that some of the students played. Shirou often wondered whether he was the one watching after his younger sister from time to time. Once they passed through the gates of the academy, Shirou was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tan in front of him. He wonders if the academy would allow any forms of modifications to the uniform. While he walked, Shirou waved awkwardly to some people that he vaguely recognized from the very short time he had spent here in junior high. The only people he could say with confidence that he was friends with were the Fujimura's.
Fuji-nee suddenly grabbed him by the upper arm and drug him through the many halls of the academy. Again, he didn't know much about proper education systems but wasn't a visitor pass required pretty much everywhere. Despite that, no one got in the way of Fuji-nee as she rampaged through the halls with the hapless Shirou flapping behind her. In her mad dash, Fuji-nee accidently bumped into a willowy statuesque man causing her to fall on her bum, causing Shirou to tumble with her. Rubbing her head, Fuji-nee glared up at the person who would dare get in her way only to falter when she met the familiar hard-edged stare of her colleague.
"Oh Kuzuki-sensei forgive me." Fuji-nee scrambled up as she drug Shirou with her once more.
"… you should be more careful next time." Kuzuki's static apathetic voice lilted out softly. He knew it was a lost cause when talking about his rather… exuberant colleague.
Fuji-nee apologized once more, as she resumed her breakneck march through the school halls, passing Kuzuki by, who stared blank yet inquisitive of his colleague and her… whatever the boy was. Though, he did feel a shred of pity for the boy's current situation.
Forty-five minutes and much biting, fighting, complaining and a ridiculous amount of paperwork later. Shirou's information had been sent off to the board so that he could receive his Certificate of Eligibility. Currently, Shirou was being once more marched through the halls by Fuji-nee, who had taken it upon herself to serve as his guide to the school.
"…Fuji-nee, what about your students." Shirou leaned forward and murmured out discreetly, as he noticed the odd looks thrown their way from passerby's.
"It's fine, it's fine." Fuji-nee waved off his concern. This was a great opportunity for the duo to catch up, for Shirou to see his new school and for her to not have to complete her own work. 'Three birds one stone, nice!' Fuji-nee mentally cheered.
The academy wasn't the largest Shirou had ever seen nor was it the smallest. It fit in rather nicely with the whole aesthetic of Fuyuki. Shirou noted several points of interest – including but not limited to – the cafeteria, library, quad, club activity rooms, the gym and many of the sports clubs. What was quite possibly the most amusing was when Fuji-nee had shown him what was to be his new classroom. She just so happened to casually stroll in in the midst of Kuzuki's lesson, causing an awkward silence to hang heavily in the air. Backing out of the room slowly, Fuji-nee glared angrily at a quietly chuckling Shirou.
After much delay, much backtracking, and much much distraction, the day was closing when Fuji-nee finally dragged Shirou to what she claimed, 'was her second most favorite place.' The duo passed through the threshold of the room, and Shirou felt a comfortable wave of familiarity wash over him, as he took in the site of clean polished floors, racks loaded down with similarly strung and unstrung bows, and a line of cedar bullseyes lining the far edge of the field. Funnily enough, what Shirou failed to note was the line of students sitting in seiza against the wall; some dressed in their kyudo uniforms, and others still in the traditional uniform of the main academy.
Fuji-nee happily greeted the students, which finally managed to garner Shirou's attention, as he turned to them. A majority of them were completely unfamiliar to him; yet, there were a few faces that seemed vaguely familiar. Kind of like a passing stranger that you may have seen once or twice before, you know, that kind of vague familiarity. Suddenly, Shirou was drug to the front of the small assembly, as Fuji-nee threw her arm around his shoulder and introduced him enthusiastically. Apparently, Fuji-nee had spoken highly of him. Multiple times at that, too. Shirou awkwardly and sheepishly scratched the back of his head when he noticed the bright and curious expression on these complete strangers.
Breaking away from the group was a young girl with short dark hair and eyes, who radiated confidence with every single step. She had to be the Captain of the Archery team.
"So, you're the famous Shirou that Fujimura-sensei had gone on and on about." She hummed appraisingly. "The names Mitsuzuri Ayako, Captain of this club, a pleasure to meet you!"
Shirou tipped his head in greeting, before saying, "So Fuji-n… or Fujimura-sensei had been talking about me, huh." At this he turned a sharp eye to seemingly innocent-looking teacher, who clearly found the walls to be interesting.
"Yeah, she said that you're the best shot that she had ever seen." Mitsuzuri admitted with an easy-going air to her.
"Is that so…" Shirou trailed off. He had only ever shot for the old man and Fuji-nee a few times; their was undoubtedly other people better than him.
"It's true!" Fuji-nee suddenly thrust into the conversation, "Why don't you show my cute students how its done!"
At being called 'her cute students,' a lot of the students lining the walls made grunts and shouts of indignation, causing Fuji-nee to turn towards them with her eye twitching dangerously. Shirou smartly turned his full attention to Mitsuzuri, paying special attention to ignoring what was happening behind him.
"She's really only hyping me up." Shirou stated once more, "I'm not exactly the best out there."
At this Mitsuzuri laughed, before patting him on the shoulder, "Fujimura-sensei was right. She said that you would say something like that, but we'll never know, come on you don't even need to do a full set."
After she finished saying this, the doors behind them slide open quietly. Mitsuzuri glanced over his shoulders causing her face to fall slightly. Noticing this, Shirou turned as well and noticed two people padding quietly into the room. Well one padded in meekly and quietly, while the other came in almost like he owned the place. Flamboyant and extra, Shirou immediately found him overwhelming.
"Friend of yours?"
"Something like th…"
"Ah Mitsuzuri!" Even his voice sounded sly and coy, slimy even.
"Shinji, so nice of you to show up today." Mitsuzuri stated dismissively, before turning a soft smile towards the younger of the two. "Sakura, good afternoon."
At her words, Shirou turned to face the meek girl who hung close to the shoulder of the other boy. Immediately, Shirou tensed and felt a cold sheen of sweat coat his forehead; he recognized her smell. She was a Magus a fairly potent one at that. You see, Shirou had a really really keen nose when it came to sniffing out the irregularities of another person. Hell, Shirou was fairly certain he could smell when someone was lying. This girl's smell was overwhelming to put it lightly. She had an overbearingly wrong smell to her; kind of like a sweet smelling plant that you knew to be extremely dangerous. Hidden underneath the sickly, sweet scent was a faint scent that Shirou couldn't quite put his finger on.
"Ah good afternoon, Senpai." The girl that Mitsuzuri called Sakura bowed to her, causing her odd colored hair to pool over her shoulders. Her hair was difficult to describe; Shirou could tell that the root color of it was purple, however, it was faded to resemble lavender more closely, yet it still maintained much of its purple shade.
"Oh, so everyone is here!" Fuji-nee's voice cut through Shirou's internal ruminations as she appeared at his side.
"Good afternoon, Fujimura-sensei."
"Good afternoon to you too, Sakura." Fuji-nee announced loudly, before turning to Shirou, "So are you going to show them? Are you, are you?"
Taking in the bubbly, childish excitement on Fuji-nee's face, and the expectant expression on Mitsuzuri's, Shirou sighed as he padded across the floor towards the rack pressed against the far wall. Lined before him were standardized bows used by Japanese archers – thinner wood and longer grooves – different from what he was used too. Shirou preferred a heavier weighted bow since it allowed for more power at further distances.
Ultimately decided, Shirou marched assuredly across the room and took his position in front of the many large targets. At his back, Shirou could hear the bated breath of the Archer club members and the ill-contained excitement of Fuji-nee over his right shoulder. The distance to his targets was negligible at best, a scant dozen meters in ideal weather, child's play. Easily dropping into proper position, Shirou calmly evaluated his targets before drawing the string back and releasing his shot. It range true slamming directly into the center of the central-most target, followed swiftly by the other two arrows, which pierced the exact same location as his first. Thankfully, the arrows used here were aluminum or he would have to pay to replaced damaged property.
Dropping his stance, Shirou turned around to his captivated audience, who were looking at him as if he had grown a third head. Awkward silence hung heavily around Shirou as he subconsciously ducked his head marginally. Having to many people watching made him nervous and awkward. The only one that didn't seem to feel the heavy atmosphere was Fuji-nee, who began to clap joyfully breaking everyone else out of their stupor. At once, everyone began to clap and cheer for him, while Mitsuzuri came and clapped him on his shoulder.
"Fujimura-sensei wasn't kidding, you're a monster with a bow." Mitsuzuri announced upbeat. A monster with a bow, if only she knew. This was simple child's play, Shirou had hit much more in much worse conditions.
"I told you right, he's going to be perfect." Fuji-nee announced cheerfully, as she joined the conversing teens.
"Perfect." Shirou confused voice sounded out.
"Yeah, perfect. You see, the academy requires all students to participate in a club, if they want to graduate. So welcome to the Archery Club." Fuji-nee announced proudly with her arms crossed, while she nodded to herself. "As the club advisor I completely approve of your application."
"Having such promising new blood on the team will do us some good." Mitsuzuri approved.
While the trio were talking – well more like Mitsuzuri and Fuji-nee basically indoctrinating Shirou into the club – Shirou turned his attention to the screen door violently slamming open. Standing in the threshold was Sakura as she tried to reason with a furious Shinji, who snapped harshly at her before storming out. As if sensing him watching her, Sakura turned and bowed her head apologetically, as she ran off.
"Sorry about him, Shinji's… Shinji." Mitsuzuri patted his shoulder. "Hey sorry, you don't need to decide now; hell, from what Fujimura-sensei had said you're not even a student yet. However, would you like to stand-in on practice and see what we're all about?"
"Alright." Shirou shrugged, as he took a seat next to Fuji-nee and watched the Archery Club practice. Across the board, most of the students were fairly average, with a few that shone brighter than most – Mitsuzuri clearly had the Captain position down pat.
An hour or so later, Shirou was talking idly with Fuji-nee while the members of the club changed and cleaned up the dojo. Once everything was cleaned and put away, many of the club members spilled out of the dojo into the cool wintry evening, the sun burning the grounds in fiery hues of red and gold. Shirou, Fuji-nee and Mitsuzuri maintained a calm and peaceful gait as they talked about many mundane things – most of the time was spent convincing Shirou to join.
"Fujimura-sensei." One of Fuji-nee's colleagues marched up to the trio with a frustrated indignant look on their face. Fuji-nee saw this and sheepishly turned away from them, before attempting her grand escape; only to be barred by two other teachers, who grabbed her shoulders and marched her into the main school building. Shirou chuckled loudly when he heard some of the comments floating over to, he and Mitsuzuri.
"I take it you're the one at fault for Fujimura-sensei getting into trouble." Mitsuzuri stated good-naturedly, causing Shirou to turned a flustered and annoyed expression to the girl. "I was kidding, trust me, I know intimately well some of Fujimura-sensei's actions."
"Tell me about it." Shirou groaned quietly while he rubbed his face.
"What will you be doing after this?" Mitsuzuri suddenly perked up as the duo began their trek across the quad.
"I'll probably just be heading home. I have a few things that I need to do later." Shirou stated, definitely something important – at least, for him.
"Oh, that's too bad because I was won…" Mitsuzuri trailed off as she threw a hand up in greeting to a straight-laced glasses wearing boy from across the quad. Noticing the vigorous waving of the girl, the boy marched across the quad, and paused in front of the duo. Shirou felt that he was extremely familiar, yet he couldn't quite put his finger on why that's so.
"Issei, good evening." Mitsuzuri greeted.
"To you as well, Mitsuzuri." The newly named Issei stated passively as he regarded the two; more so the unfamiliar, yet intimately familiar face of the boy behind Mitsuzuri.
Upon noticing Issei's observations, Mitsuzuri thrust Shirou forward with an arm over his shoulder. "This is Shirou… I'm I never got your last name."
"Emiya. My name is Emiya Shirou." Shirou stated as recognition flashed across Issei's face.
"Emiya," He grunted out, "I knew I recognized you from somewhere. Do you remember me?"
"Vaguely." Shirou admitted feeling explicitly bad for some reason.
"Ryuudou temple. We used to play together when we were younger." Issei stated in a more animate manner. "My name is Issei Ryuudou."
At his admission, Shirou finally connected the face with the feeling of familiarity. There was a time just before the duo had left the country, where Shirou had spent many days among the monks of the temple. He remembered the awkward first encounters he had had with the youngest son of the patriarch of Ryuudou Temple. As well as, the subsequent encounters afterwards that had led to them becoming decent friends. It had also helped that both were equally as awkward when thrust into uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations.
A relationship built from awkwardness, clearly the best type of relationship.
"That's where I knew you from," Shirou admitted with recognition flashing across his face. "How is your old man doing?"
"Everything has been fine here." Issei admitted, "How long have you been back?"
"Just over a day."
"Fujimura-sensei had mentioned you were overseas, but she never went into detail. What all did you see? Where did you go?" Mitsuzuri joined in with the conversing boys.
"A lot of places." Shirou admitted vaguely, "All over the European continent, parts of North Africa, parts of Russia and the United States. Though I did spend a lot of time in Germany."
"Wow." Mitsuzuri whistled impressed, "You are so going to have to tell us about some of these places. Come on Issei were going out for some dinner."
"I'm pretty bu…" Issei began but Mitsuzuri shot him a look; one that no sane man would dare to confront lest they want to see tomorrow.
"Understood." Issei immediately relented.
Mitsuzuri carried on in the direction of the main gates not once looking back at the two boys that marched at her shoulders. While they walked, the two boys shot each other a look of mutual understanding. Silently communicating perhaps, the most important lesson of all, 'never go against a woman when their mind is set on something.' The quad had mostly cleared out save for the few stragglers whose clubs had let out late.
Unbeknownst to the other two, Issei's steps had slowed to a crawl as they approached the gates. Shirou eventually noticed and patted Mitsuzuri on the shoulder, as he jutted his chin out towards the tensed Issei, who was crawling towards them. His eyes firmly locked onto a person close to the gate. Shirou turned his attention towards the cause of Issei's stress. It was a girl; admittedly beautiful, but not someone that Shirou would trust. She gave off the vibe of something extremely beautiful but extremely dangerous.
"Tohsaka." Issei muttered when they passed the girl by.
"Good evening to you as well, Ryuudou." The newly named Tohsaka's voice lilted out soft yet cold. 'Dangerous.' She sat leaning against the wall by the gates to the school with her arms resting easily on her hips, as she scrutinized the trio of students.
While the duo shot quips back and forth; Mitsuzuri tried desperately to play mediator. Shirou immediately tensed once more when he smelled the same overbearing sweet scent from before, coming up from behind him. Turning his head in the direction of the school, Shirou was greeted once more to the sight of Shinji and Sakura coming to a stop beside the group.
"Shinji." Mitsuzuri was the first to recognize them; Issei and Tohsaka still going at it, "Sakura."
"Senpai." Sakura's soft voice lilted out; Shirou didn't notice it before but her voice had a static, distant quality to it.
"Ah Mitsuzuri." Shirou felt he would always recognize the slime that coated Shinji's voice. The boy in questioned blatantly overlooked the others of the group has he swaggered over towards Tohsaka. "Tohsaka."
"Matou." She replied. Shirou could easily note the subtle shiver that passed through her body as she crossed her arms. The girl in turned smiled softly at the younger girl and tipped her head. "Sakura."
Sakura bowed once more and voiced another greeting to the other girl. Shirou found it amusing to see all of Shinji's blatant advances fall on their face, as he tried and failed to flirt with the dark-haired girl. Shirou noted that her attention seemed to be primarily focused on Sakura, as well as, his group.
"Oh dear, I forgot to introduce our newest member." Mitsuzuri announced suddenly garnering the attention of the others. "Introducing Shirou Emiya, our newest recruit to the Archery Club."
Shirou nodded to the group, taking conscious effort to appear calm; the smell among the group was turning his stomach. At her admission, Shinji's smile from before turned down as he clicked his teeth. A sly grin stretched across his lips as he regarded Shirou.
"After your little display, you want to join, huh." Shirou wasn't stupid; he recognized the challenge and the threat in the boy's tone.
"I don't know yet." Shirou admitted, "I still have to actually become completely enrolled here."
"Then how…?" Issei began.
"Fujimura-sensei." At that, a wave of understanding washed over all members of the six man group.
"Well if that is all, I will be going." Tohsaka stated once more. "Have a good evening, and it was nice to meet you, Emiya-kun."
"Wait!" Mitsuzuri announced suddenly, "Why don't you come with us were going to grab some dinner and grill this guy here for some stories." At this Mitsuzuri wrapped her arm around Shirou's shoulder – it was clear that the girl didn't meet a stranger.
"I'm fairly busy later, perhaps another time?" Tohsaka deflected, as she turned away.
"Come on, all of us are going!" Mitsuzuri announced as she turned her attention to the silent girl still standing at Shinji's shoulder. "Would you want to come with us, Sakura?" After this Mitsuzuri tossed a glance towards Shinji and snarked, "I suppose you could come as well."
Shinji hummed in annoyance, before tossing a glance towards Shirou with a sly smirk. "Alright I suppose we could."
"But Nii-san, Granfath…!" Sakura began, only to faltered when Shinji turned a sharp eye to her, 'This was personal; don't interfere,' was blatantly painted across his face. The girl relented and tipped her head towards her older sibling, as Shinji turned back to the group.
"So, what do you say, are you in or what, Tohsaka." Mitsuzuri called to the stationary dark-haired girl. Tohsaka glanced at the watch on her wrist before turning to the five that were staring at her expectantly from the base of the hill. Relenting, Tohsaka nodded in acquisition as she returned to the group. She would have to begin her investigation later tonight then.
The reactions among the group was mixed: Mitsuzuri cheering and patting herself on the back, Issei's indignation becoming more apparent, Shinji's mix of victorious and envious. The only two that didn't react were Sakura and Shirou; the former just seemed so placid and distant that nothing seemed to affect her. Meanwhile, the latter was slowly beating down his fight-or-flight response.
A long while later, the six- man party was seated around a low table with two inlaid coal-burning grills before them; Izakaya's were perhaps some of the most popular restaurants for high school and college students; cheap, all you can eat, and decently good food; the three priorities for broke students. Stories were exchanged and games were played – mostly propagated by Mitsuzuri.
Later on, Shirou and Shinji had fallen into a one-sided competition to see who could inhale the most Gyūtan. Shinji didn't have a chance though, because Shirou ate a lot. Meanwhile, both Tohsaka and Issei were casually annoying each other, while the dark-haired girl tried to get Sakura to join in on some of the competitions being held. She managed to get her into one, and the girl completely destroyed the competition, who knew that such a small, petite girl could put away so much food. Shirou wanted to know where it all went.
"Alright then," Mitsuzuri began, "you have to tell us somethings, Emiya."
Idly Shirou poked at the meat and vegetables that he was grilling up, as he turned his attention to the group. "Alright, what do you want to know?"
"Where did you stay the longest?" Issei voiced out curiously; he really wanted to reconnect with his lost friend.
"Germany." Shirou stated, "I stayed mostly in Berlin, but I spent a lot of time in Frankfurt and Bavaria." 'And the surrounding countryside.'
"How long were you there?"
"About two years off-and-on, I travelled mostly." Shirou stated with a shrug before dipping his cooked meat into some soy sauce.
"What were you there for?" Tohsaka queried curiously.
"My old man served as a travelling medical assistant, and we were there to help out when needed." Shirou shrugged, 'Doctor, right.' Shirou almost chuckled at his duplicity.
"Have you ever been to Paris, or London?" The girl stated as she scrutinized Shirou.
"No, I actually haven't." Shirou admitted, as he regarded the girl adjacent to him, "We predominantly stayed in Central Europe."
Questions were shot off in rapid-fire from the many residents of the table, as Shirou answered to the best of his abilities. Skirting around sensitive topics or offering vague but satisfying explanations. After much fanfare and fiasco, the six of them walked back towards Miyama, and gradually drifted away from each other when their streets came up. Eventually, Shirou was all alone, after he had said his goodbyes to the Matou siblings and Tohsaka.
Over the course of the evening, Shirou had managed to maintain his fight-or-flight response, however, now that he was alone, the cold feeling of wrongness washed over him again when he thought of the Matou siblings. Something definitely wasn't right with them. The girl being a Magus made her exceptionally dangerous; he would have to avoid them outright, or exercise extreme caution when around them. He was trying to maintain his new normal life; announcing that he was a Magus would completely destroy that.
Once back within the safe confines of his home, Shirou changed out of his everyday clothes into a monotone pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Shirou wanted to minimize the amount of attention thrown his way. Sliding open the draws of his dresser, Shirou began to pull out different items that he may or may not need. Kiritsugu had always drilled into him the importance of being prepared. Even if he could utilize his Magecraft, sometimes it wouldn't work for every situation. Therefore, Shirou always had a back-up just in case.
Much like how Kiritsugu would utilize both his Contender and Calico, while they were overseas, Shirou made sure he had back-ups as well. Thankfully, Kiritsugu had gotten a specialty order weapon made for him in the same vein as his own Contender. Granted, Shirou rarely rarely used it, but he couldn't be to precautious.
'If you can't defeat what's in front of you then don't hesitate to run and plan accordingly. Always be prepared for every possibility and eventuality.'
Once properly equipped and prepared, Shirou walked back out onto the streets and made his way back to the bridge that he had crossed not even an hour ago, on his way home. The streets were empty and quiet as Shirou walked. The only sound ringing out was the soft trot of his own footsteps, as he carried on. Eventually, the soft orange glow of streetlights bled into the harsh neon lights of the downtown city nightscape. Unlike during the day, where the streets were congested with salarymen and women, the streets at night were populated mostly by people of high school or college-age. Nobody paid Shirou any attention as he walked.
True to form, Shirou could easily make out the bright fluorescent tape that quartered off the area where all those people had fallen unconscious. Surrounding the police line was a small crowd of individuals that tried to get a glimpse of something – anything – that was of interest. Things didn't add up as he walked; not only was there Magus in the city but they were being reckless and drawing attention from regular civilians. Was this a Workshop or was it a breeding grounds? Shirou knew of certain denizens of the Moonlit World, who would claim a section of some territory and use it for its abundance in mana; siphoning it so that they may further fuel their Mysteries.
If it were the latter, and they were using innocent people as fuel cells, than Shirou would… Honestly, what would he do? Would a Hero of Justice intervene here? 'Of course, they would. Kiritsugu would.' Pushing his way through the crowd, Shirou scoped out the scene, and looked for some vantage where he could get behind the police line without drawing attention. Unfortunately, this area was densely populated with massive skyscrapers that choked the area. Fortunately, however, they were skyscrapers, therefore, Shirou didn't actually have to deal with normal civilians. Darting into an alley, Shirou quickly scaled the rough hewn wall up to the lowest level of the building before making his way inside. This wasn't breaking and entering; it was just entering with style. Clearly not breaking and entering.
He darted up the stairs two at a time until he came out onto the rooftop of the building looking down on the neon-flushed streets below. Shirou peered down onto the streets below Reinforcing his eyes to give him a better vantage. He could make out many plastic suit clad individuals darting in and out of a building just off the main road. Standing around barking out instructions – from the looks of it – and playing damage control for curious citizens were officers in uniform. Shirou needed to get in there, without being caught. Simple enough, especially when he was dealing with mundane and normal individuals. Nothing beats trying to sneak into a Magus' Workshop.
Turning around and dropping down to a lower floor, Shirou hoped out onto an adjacent buildings rooftop, as he began his slow and methodical waltz across the rooftops. About three-quarters of the way there, Shirou dropped back into an alleyway. Pressing deeper into the shadows when he saw the flashing blue and red speeding towards him. Once passed, Shirou swiftly darted out of his cubby before diving into the shadows of a building adjacent to his target. Methodically making his way around the building, Shirou easily avoided the authorities before scaling into the building.
Shirou doubted he would be discovered, but he still played it safe and stuck close to the shadows as he began to sniff around. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, no scent just seemed to jump out and scream at him. The only thing he could smell was the residual smell of coffee, paper, and ink. Everything was normal; perhaps it actually was gas-leak. Still though, Shirou had to slog through seven floors, there was no way he was going to make a judgment call now. While he walked, Shirou maintained a vigilant eye on his surroundings; anything that stood out to him as remotely odd, he would be taking with him. What was more disconcerting – even more so than the lack of smell – was the lack of a Bounded Field anywhere in the vicinity; Shirou would have felt something if this were a Magus's Workshop or feeding ground.
Magus were fickle, selfish creatures that kill to protect their possessions.
Floor after floor, Shirou found nothing; no smell, no sigils, no nothing, everything was to in order. Perhaps this actually is just a gas-leak. It was faint – almost non-existent – Shirou might not have noticed it, were he not being so careful. It gave Shirou pause as he tipped his head to the air.
A fragrance perfumed the air; one that was to unique to be normal.
It was heady and strong and ancient, Shirou didn't quite know how to describe it. It smelled kind of like a mix between sunbaked earth and decaying detritus. Something distinctly dead, yet not of flesh. Shirou had never smelled something so odd to find in an office. Pausing at the threshold to the topmost floor, Shirou heard the distinct gait of footsteps on the floor itself, as well as, the echo of footsteps on the stairs down below.
It seems like he's trapped. If he went up, he would be caught; the upper floor most likely followed the same patterns as the lower floors; an expansive hallway with doors lining the walls, and the stairwell doors in clear view from both sides, with the elevator bank adjacent to them. His best option was to go down to the previous floor and escape that way. Dropping from six stories was nothing, Shirou could probably drop from double and be fine.
He did not want to test that theory though.
Still though, a clue to Shirou's search was on that top floor, and he needed it. Hearing the footsteps ring out louder, Shirou groaned quietly as he retreated down the steps. He would have waited in the stairwell as however was upstairs went down to the lower floors via the elevator. Unfortunately, Shirou had E-rank Luck, which meant that the power was out – of course it was. Once more down onto the lower floors, Shirou made his way back out into the chill of the night; not once being seen nor heard. Despite everything being just so odd about this situation; Shirou did confirm one major thing.
This was a city with multiple Magus.
Just what was he going to do?
Disclaimer: Just like before I do not own anything please support the official stories' release. Also, this will be the last time I put this down.
On to more serious topics, you all are insane with the amount of support you've shown the first chapter. You all need to calm down. Shoutout to every single person that favorited, followed, and commented.
Notes: Izakaya's are cheap all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink restaurants that range anywhere from 2000-5000 yen for 6-8 people. Generally, very popular among younger people, for obvious reasons.
Gyūtan is braised or barbequed beef tongue that is a common menu item at Izakaya's, Pairs well with malt beer and different types of vegetables.
I wonder why Kiritsugu was still making use of his Contender, even after the events of the Fourth Grail War, anyone want to make a guess? Also why is it that Shirou didn't recognize Tohsaka as a Magus, any guesses for that (It's fairly obvious).
Also, I'm kind of curious, what other series are you guys fans of aside from the Fate series?
For me, man I absolutely adore JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, it's just so… JoJo. I'm currently catching up with Jojolion.
Let me know what you guys think.
Until next time.