Chapter 1: E-Rank Luck
Archer was falling.
Through the air.
Rapidly heading for the ground.
He wasn't quite sure why he materialised hundreds of feet in the air, he didn't care much either. All he knew was that he had been summoned. From the looks of the city that he was rapidly approaching, it was a summoning in the modern era.
That was good, but he didn't quite remember why. He had an objective in the modern era, or at least in 2004 but he couldn't remember what it was. He was sure it would come to him eventually, there were few goals he focused on so heavily as a contracted Counter Guardian beyond simply performing clean up duty.
No, there was one desperate hope he always held onto. It seemed being summoned as a Servant rather than a Counter Guardian had messed with a few of what remained of his memories before becoming a glorified cleaner.
He landed, crashing onto the upper supports of a rather large bridge.
"An unusual place for a summons…" He mumbled to himself as he began to look around, this city, even during the night-time, was hauntingly familiar to him.
Shelving that thought for later he began to look around for his Master.
'What a moment…' Archer thought to himself as his entire thought process ground to a halt.
Where was his Master, more important than that why couldn't he feel his Master.
'No…' There was no Magical Energy fuelling his existence, he was sustaining himself solely on his own Mana.
'What the Hell!?' He immediately went into Spirit form to conserve energy, the only reason he hadn't completely disappeared upon summoning was his Independent Action skill.
'Where's the Link to the Grail?' He was also working solely on his own knowledge, there was no Grail supplying him with era appropriate information.
'Great...summoned outside a Grail War…' He made a bitter comment in his head, scowling his non-existent lips.
Summoned for seemingly no purpose, with no Master and no Grail. He wagered he had about two days before he ran out of energy and disappeared back to where he came from. What a complete waste of time.
He could probably find a Master but what would be the point, some vague goal he couldn't quite remember. He had no wish for the Grail, that much was certain, but there was at least a chance he would be summoned for something more appropriate than sitting around waiting to return to the Counter Force.
A pair of something zoomed past Archer, he turned his head to see what it was and almost did a double take.
'What the..?' The question was on the forefront of his mind and he reinforced his eyes to get a better look.
A pair of young women, dressed like what Archer could only call clowns with their ridiculous getup.
He couldn't make too many jokes; however, the second that pair started flinging spells at each other Archer would have widened his eyes if they existed.
They were certainly Human, no doubt about that, yet they were firing off Magecraft at a level that wouldn't be out of place being fired by a Caster.
It wouldn't be a very good Caster but it was certainly greater than what most Modern Magi could accomplish.
That then brought Archer to question why? He was a very poor Magus in life, but even he knew that these things were supposed to be a secret and yet these two were flaunting Magecraft around for all to see. It didn't really matter much to him but it was still confusing on several different levels.
No, it wasn't them. It was whatever they were holding. Archer's magecraft was better suited to swords but he could at least identify whatever mystic code they were using to boost their magecraft.
He scanned the red one, and immediately scowled.
Magical Ruby, Kaleidostick, Sentient Mystic Code created by Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, gifted to Tohsaka Rin.
'Why does her name sound familiar?' Archer thought to himself before shaking it off.
Zelretch, the Wizard Marshall. Even in his limited experience of Magecraft and at some points during his career as a Counter Guardian the name had popped up. He supposed he should have guessed that Zelretch was responsible for this in some capacity. It could be no coincidence that he was summoned next to some of Zelretch's pupils.
He looked back to see both the Mystic codes abruptly change their users out of their outfits and back to their regular clothes. It seemed there was some form of disagreement going on, the pair then proceeded to fall.
Archer sighed to himself, the pair would live. They were certainly competent Magi at any stretch of the imagination and he really didn't want to go around panicking Magi that there was a Counter Guardian currently running around.
He was more focused on those Mystic Codes, they might provide some clue as to why he was even here.
He watched them fly off and began to give pursuit, they were certainly fast but he could at least keep up with them until they either came close enough to the ground for him to grab them. Or if that failed try to shoot them out of the sky.
Whichever came first.
He continued following the pair of codes for a few more minutes before he eventually got tired of the cat and mouse chase. He was preparing to de-astralise and shoot them down before he saw the red one, Ruby, break off and make a beeline directly for a house.
Archer saw this as his lucky chance and followed it, eventually coming across a rather mundane house. The stick darted in through an open window, shortly followed by the sound of something impacting flesh then a groan of pain.
Archer landed down in a tree next to the window, and looked through. Only to turn away the second he saw a young girl in a bath.
'I'll just listen instead and wait for it to be alone or something.' Breaking into the bathroom of a young girl was a particularly bad idea. More importantly this house seemed to have a bounded field, it was an early warning detection one which Archer stood just on the edge of crossing.
Alerting the Magi family inside would prove to be more of a hassle than it was worth.
Reinforcing his ears he listened in "-agical stick of love and justice, Magical Ruby-chan!" a rather high-pitched and somewhat grating voice greeted Archers ears ``Do you want to be a Magical Girl?"
'That sounds like the worst scam of a magical contract since being offered one by Alaya'
"What do you think?" the voice continued "Become a magical voice and join forces with me and fight all that I deem evil"
At this point Archer was tempted to forgo subtly and just grab the Mystic Code and leave before the girl could do something stupid like accept.
"Sounds like you're thinking 'this is something fishy' aren't you?"
'If she is, she's at least smarter than the younger Emiya Shirou.'
"N-no...yes." Another voice chimed in, another seemingly familiar voice yet Archer couldn't quite place it.
"How sad." The voice lost that fake cheer and was now replaced by exaggerated dejection "Easy girls that dream of being Magical girls just don't exist in this age, huh?"
"A-anyway...could you please get off Onii-chan's face?" The way the girl said 'Onii-chan' made Archer slightly stiffen, as if he expected something to suddenly attack him. He waved it off.
"Oh? Is this dumb looking guy your brother?"
"Onii-chan isn't dumb!"
Archer continued to listen to whatever this conversation was for nearly a full minute. This was going nowhere, the girl was clearly seeing through whatever scam the mystic code was selling and Archer was just waiting for it to leave so he could grab it.
He didn't have anything else to do, if it turned out this had nothing to do with Zelretch at least he wasted his time here rather than butchering people.
At the point where they were talking about love Archer was on the verge of just giving up, he didn't really think it was worth it anymore.
At least until he heard the next few words.
"I already said you're wrong! Idiot!"
"Huhuhu! That was much easier than I thought…" The voice sounds again, a tone of treachery, one that Archer very quickly found something wrong with "Confirmation of Master through blood...A user contract formed through direct contact. And the love power of a young girl as the activation key!"
'What? No…No, it didn't…' Archer thought with dread as he feared he just listened to some girl get tricked into a bogus contract.
"It all went off without a hitch! Let's wrap this up...Tell me your name!" The voice sounded again and Archer listened to the strained voice of the other young girl.
"I-Illya...Illyasviel...Von Einzbern!" Archer froze.
A memory came flooding back to him.
"You'd best hurry up and summon yours soon Onii-chan or you're going to die…"
'Shit…' Archer remembered, 'Illyasviel Von Einzbern but if she were here...then…'
Emiya Shirou, a stupid idealistic pathetic boy. That was Archer's goal. He was here to kill that fool before he could curse the world with his stupid borrowed ideals.
'Onii-chan...she called the boy in there Onii-chan…' Archer completely forgot about the Kaleidostick or whatever the Mystic Code was called. Emiya Shirou was in that house, but none of this made sense.
He didn't remember much of his own Grail war but he knew for a fact that he didn't live here, nor did Illya. This was wrong, very, very wrong and it all came back to Zelretch.
'A parallel world…' Archer would have cursed his luck before he thought of something else 'Even if the circumstances are different, if he's still that naive fool. He'll still have to die.'
Archer was prepared to enter the house and kill the fool before he turned and noticed Illya had left the house.
He scowled, it seems the Mystic code had turned her into a 'Magic Girl'.
Archer preferred to think of it as being scammed, especially if she were forced to dress in a frilly pink outfit.
Illya proceeded to have a small breakdown at being taken outside and dressed up like a fool. Archer couldn't even laugh, this was just pitiful.
"It's perfect! You look so good in that outfit!" The mystic code proceeded to rattle off, patting itself on the back.
Archer couldn't keep quiet at this, he returned to his physical form in front of them "I'm sure she appreciates a lesson in fashion from a con-artist…" he remarked with a slight frown.
Illya panicked slightly as a tall, tanned man with white hair wearing a red and black outfit literally appeared in front of her.
"W-who! Where!?" She stared at him wide-eyed and fell on the ground in shock.
"I was going to remain quiet, but you're a real piece of work for a mystic code aren't you?" Archer didn't answer her and instead focused on Ruby.
"This feeling!" Ruby sounded somewhat nervous "A Servant!?"
"Oh? You know what I am then?" Archer crossed his arms and frowned "Then perhaps you could explain what I'm doing here in the first place?"
"W-what? You shouldn't even be capable of speech!"
"What?" Archer quirked an eye at the stick "Why shouldn't I be capable of speech? I realise some Masters prefer their servants silent but I've rarely heard of a mute one."
"There you are! You stupid stic-ack!" A girl in a red jumper with a white cross, a black skirt and black ponytails came running around the corner of the house shouting, only to freeze and go wide eyed at the sight of Archer.
"Y-you're…" She remained frozen as Archer merely raised a singular eyebrow.
"Yes, we've established that I am in fact an Archer class Servant." Archer made a small gesture to his body "What I want to know is why you're surprised by me being able to speak."
"Archer! But we already have the class card!" Rin exclaimed in disbelief.
"Class card? What are you even…" Archer shook his head before focusing back on the Mystic code "You didn't answer my earlier question of why I'm even here."
"W-why would I know?" The stick shrunk back slightly, Illya was still left horribly confused as to what was even happening.
"You were made by the Wizard Marshall and I find myself summoned outside of my usual circumstances as a Servant with no Master." Archer narrowed his eyes "You tell me?"
"I don't know! I was only made by the Grand Master, I don't know what he does!"
Archer sighed before looking at Rin, she stiffened when his eyes fell on her "I suppose you don't know either?"
She shook her head, Archer released another sigh.
"Perfect…" He shook his head in exasperation before furrowing his eyebrows and turning back to the stick "What was that nonsense you were saying about cards or something?"
"Why should I tell you?" The stick said, voice full of false bravado.
Archer raised a single eyebrow, very slowly.
"Fine...I don't really care anyway, the least you can do is let that girl out of that sham of a contract though." Archer gestured to Illya who jumped slightly as Archer pointed at her.
Rin seemed to remember the original purpose of why she came here before rounding on the stick with a scowl, although her eyes kept darting to Archer "Yes, you stupid stick! Where do you get off dumping me in a river!"
"Ah, Rin-san...I see your still alive." The stick turned away from Archer, eager to escape the stare of the servant and turned its attention to Rin "It doesn't matter, I've already selected Illya-chan as my new Master!"
Illya's eyes widened and she held up her hands in a placating manner to the pair "It's not my fault! It was fraud! I was tricked!"
"I know/I figured." Archer and Rin said at the same time, they stared at each other for a moment before turning their attention back to Illya.
"It doesn't matter, just hand the stick back. It's dumb but I still need it." She held her hand out to Illya, a small frown on her face.
"That's impossible!" Ruby cried out "I've already overwritten your credentials as my Master! Once the contract is made it can't be undone!"
"Oh? Are you sure about that?" Archer smirked slightly, when everyone turned their attention to him he held out his hand and projected a small jagged dagger.
Illya's face paled and Rin went wide eyed as Archer approached the young girl with a knife.
"You monster! You'd kill a young maiden!?" Ruby cried out.
Archer scoffed "No, you idiot. I'll just separate your contract. Then you can find some other sap to scam into whatever scheme you're pulling."
"Don't do that!" Ruby pleads "You'd send me back to that hag!?"
"It's better than dragging some little girl into this." Archer replied calmly as he approached her.
"Illya! Think 'Damn you!' really hard and point me at Archer!" Ruby shouted, Illya in her mild terror did so.
"Hmm?" Archer stared at the Kaleidostick pointed at him, his eyes widened as a beam of mana was shot out at him. It collided with him and knocked him on his back.
There was a tense silence from everyone.
Ruby realised what she just ordered Illya to do.
Illya for actually shooting someone.
Rin for watching a Servant get floored.
Archer was busy cursing his luck for not noticing such an obvious attack.
"Owwww." He groaned as he sat back up, it was a mildly irritating sensation of pins and needles rather than actual pain. He got back to his feet and scowled.
"Y-you stupid stick! What did you just do!?" Rin screamed out in horror, her eyes darting between Ruby and Archer.
"S-sorry! It was Ruby! I swear!" Illya held her hands up in a surrendering motion, looking like she was about to cry.
Archer sighed and dismissed Rule Breaker "Fine, I'll allow the contract." he narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms "For now…"
"Yeah! See that Illya-chan! The power of love triumphs again!" Ruby danced about in Illya's hands as the girl desperately kept hold of her emotions.
"Tch!" Rin clicked her tongue "Fine, you. Girl." she point at Illya who jumped slightly before adopting a softer expression "Listen, this is important. I'm sorry you're involved in this but blame Ruby because you can't refuse." she hardened her expression "From now on, you'll be a Magic Girl and collect Class cards."
"Eh?" Illya let out a small noise of confusion.
"Ahem." Archer cleared his throat, attracting attention back to him "Perhaps you would be better off explaining what a 'Class Card' is. I imagine they relate to Servants somehow."
Rin goes to say something then remembered that everyone was still standing outside "We should probably go inside for this."
"B-but how will you all get in?" Illya questioned looking at the pair of them.
"Simple." Archer said, then returned to spirit form.
"I'll leave it to you to imagine something." Rin shrugged "You should probably retreat through your bathroom window for now. I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Well?" Rin asked as she sat down on Illya's bed "Did they believe your story?"
Illya sighed as she closed her bedroom door "Yeah...where's Archer?"
"Here." Archer said as he rematerialised, leaning against a wall rather casually.
"AH!" Illya let out a slight scream as Archer appeared out of nowhere, before relaxing slightly and pouting at him "Don't do that…"
"So the big bad Heroic Spirit likes scaring little girls, eh?" Ruby mocked while dancing in front of Archer. He held out his hand and flicked the Mystic Code across the room as casually as one would flick away an annoying fly.
"So?" Archer turned back to Rin "What's this about class cards?"
"Ah, right." Rin nodded her head "I should probably explain." she turned to Illya "I'm Tohsaka Rin. I'm a magus."
"A...magus?" Illya tilted her head in confusion.
Rin smiled slightly, "Well, you can think of yourself as a magician if you want."
"Magician?" Illya began to imagine Rin in a magical girl outfit, she unfortunately made it very clear which she was thinking, Archer smirked and Rin's kind expression vanished in an instant. She let out a strangled noise and karate chopped Illya's head "That's wrong!"
Illya winced and rubbed her head while Rin crossed her arms and huffed "I'd rather you didn't imagine me in such an embarrassing outfit." she then adopted a look of smug superiority "I may not look it, but I'm a candidate for the Clock Tower chairmanship!"
"But...I was forced to dress up like that…" Illya looked slightly downcast.
"Don't worry, Illya-chan!" Ruby made a waving motion with her wing-like limbs "It really suited you!"
"You're just a creep aren't you?" Archer raised an eyebrow.
"Hmph!" Ruby huffed and turned back to Archer "At least I didn't dress her up in Spandex!" she made a gesturing motion at Archer's outfit.
He narrowed his eyes and Ruby instantly hid behind Illya "Ah! Save me Illya-chan!" he shook his head at the bizarre display.
"Is Archer-san a magus as well then?"
"No/Yes." Two voices answered at once, Rin turned to Archer wide-eyed.
"You're a magus?" Rin asked in disbelief.
"I know enough magecraft that I could be summoned as a Caster." Archer shrugged "But to answer your question, girl, I'm a Servant rather than a magus sent by the Clock Tower."
"Servant?" Illya looked at him in confusion "Like a butler?"
Ruby let out a huff of amusement and Rin turned to the side to stop the smile on her face being seen. Archer deadpanned at the little girl "No."
Archer turned back to Rin "So? Why has the Clock Tower seen fit to send you here?"
Rin turned her attention back to Illya, taking glasses from seemingly out of nowhere and placing them on her face while putting a hand on her hip "Long story short, myself and Ruby came to this city under orders from the Clock Tower to collect Class Cards."
"Class...cards?" Illya asked, a puzzled expression on her face.
Rin reached into a pocket and pulled something out "Like this." Archer stopped leaning against the wall and walked up to the Card, both he and Illya stared at it in confusion. Illya because she couldn't read the writing at the bottom and Archer for using his Tracing on the card and promptly narrowed his eyes.
"What type of Magus thought that messing around with Heroic Spirits was a good idea?" Archer said with a scowl.
"Heroic...Spirits?" Illya turned back to Archer.
"Historical figures, who after death, become incorporated into the Throne of Heroes. They can be summoned from the Throne as 'Heroic Spirits' or more commonly referred to as Servants."
"Serv…" Illya looked thoughtful for a second before her eyes widened and she pointed at Archer "You! You said you were a servant! So you were a Hero?"
"I'm no Hero. Just some Nameless Spirit who got into the by chance." Archer turned away from her slightly puzzled face and back to Rin "So some Magus decided to incorporate a portion of a Heroic Spirits power into these...cards'' he point at it "And you've been sent to retrieve them before some fool let's loose a Noble Phantasm in the street or something?"
Rin looked slightly surprised for a moment before controlling herself "Yes. That's pretty much the gist of it." before pausing slightly "How did you know it was a magus who made them."
"My magecraft allows me to read an object's history. Works better with swords, so I couldn't tell you who made it. Just what it is and which Spirit it uses."
"Really?" Rin raised her brows slightly "Which Spirit does this card use then?"
"Me." She stared at him, wide-eyed. "That card uses my power as a Heroic Spirit, or at the very least a very degraded version of my abilities."
'Hmph.' Archer smirked at himself 'A fake of a fake.'
Rin shook her head before turning back to Illya "Like Archer says, these cards are dangerous. Which is why we were sent to collect them before they can do serious damage."
Illya furrowed her brows while thinking about something before her eyes widened in realisation "So you're a secret agent bomb squad looking to defuse these magic bombs set out across the city!"
Archer smirked as Rin when downcast "That's a really novel way of putting it, and it's aggravating that it's technically true." she cleared her throat and composed herself "That would normally be a difficult task, which is why I was given this…" she lashed out and grabbed Ruby as she floated around the room "Stupid stick to help me."
Ruby flailed about in Rins grasp while shouting "How rude! Calling a mystic code of the highest class a 'stupid stick', this is why I ditched you!" she broke free of Rin's grasp "We have the right to choose our own Masters!"
"You are aware of what would happen if Rin was more like the more common Magi in the Clock Tower aren't you?" Archer quizzed with a raised eyebrow.
Ruby remained tellingly silent.
"Regardless," Rin shook her head "Until I can change this dumb sticks mind, you'll be helping me collect the Class cards." she flashed a small smile "Make sure you're prepared."
"Honestly…" Archer sighed "Making a little girl do all this work…"
"Why don't you make a contract with me and help her then?" Rin asked.
"You seem awfully convinced I'm even wanting to stay around to help?"
"Oh? Dresses in red, scares people, nasty attitude…" Ruby began listing things off before dramatically gasping "Don't tell me! You're actually Satan!"
"I'm not!" Archer made to shout but stopped himself at the last moment, "Fine. I'll make a contract with the girl...I'm certainly not leaving her alone with you."
"Eh?" Rin looked surprised "But she's not even a Magus!"
"No, but the amount of Mana that little mystic code grants her far surpasses you." Archer shrugged, "She's just a better battery."
"Battery!" Ruby exclaimed "You would treat a young maiden like Illya-chan as a battery! You really are Satan!"
Archer scowled at the Mystic code before turning his attention to Illya "Considering you've already been dragged into this mess by this foolish piece of magical trash-"
"Shut up, Satan!"
"-I still wouldn't be much of a Heroic Spirit if I left you alone with such an arduous task." Archer extended his hand to her "Therefore, Servant Archer. I have been called upon by a summoning not your own, yet I ask of you. Are you my Master, Illyasviel Von Einzbern?"
"Uhhh…" Illya stared at the outstretched hand before grabbing it nervously "Sure?"
"Then the contract is made." Archer shrugged, before humming to himself "It seems you have quite the high aptitude for being a Master to begin with, we'll probably have to see how many circuits you have...however I suspect that when in you…magical form…" Archer sent a small glare at Ruby "I'll have access to a considerable amount of magical energy. I'll help you with these Class cards."
'I'll also keep an eye on the fool.' Archer had an ulterior motive to, being close to Illya meant being able to see whether that fool still preached his stolen ideals of being a 'Hero of Justice' if he did.
Well, the world would be better off without such an idiot in it.
"Well, now that's been taken care of." Rin looked slightly bitter about being passed over for a small girl but composed herself "I'll be in touch with you when we find the class cards." She stood up and walked away "And Archer?"
"Hmm?" Archer turned to her.
"Make sure Ruby doesn't do something stupid."
"Hey! Don't be jealous that you couldn't cut it as a Magical Girl!" Ruby made an indignant noise.
"I think she may have dodged a bullet on that one." Archer smirked at the mystic code.
"Be quiet, Devil!"
"I'm...nevermind." he returned to Spirit form.
"Huh? Where'd Archer go?" Illya looked around before she heard a voice in her head.
"I'm still in the room, Master."
"Ah! What!? How!?" Illya gripped her head and looked around the room in a panic.
"It's just a mental link, Master. I can talk to you in your head."
"Eh? C-can I do that too then?"
"You can just concentrate on where my voice is coming from and think of what you want to say."
Illya scrunched her face up for nearly a minute before Archer heard a reply "Like this?"
"Yes...like that. As for your earlier question, I'm in Spirit form. Basically invisible and untouchable to everyone in the House."
"Oh…I see...like a ghost?"
"...Yes. Like a ghost."
"It seems you've figured something out." Rin cleared her voice, altering people that she was still in the room "I'll be leaving then. We'll talk soon." She then left the room.
"My poor Illya-chan!" Ruby exclaimed "She's been bewitched by Satan and forced into a horrible contract."
"Master...I'm going to scout the area before I decide to smash the mystic code."
'Why...why did I get involved in so much trouble…' Illya thought to herself before putting herself to bed.
AN: Yep...we're doing this.
Archer...in Kaleid...that guy.
Woohoo! Well I saw no one else really put Archer in it so I figured, 'Eh, why not?'
I like to think I got his personality right, but be sure to leave some reviews to let me know.
I'll still keep it quite close to cannon, obviously we'll hit some changes though. I still plan on having Kuro Illya exist, yeah...that'll be fun won't it.
But we're on this journey now. Can't stop it.
And yes...that was an abridged reference.