Thoughts

Ferdinand sighed.

Same world, but with its own secrets. At least, Lorelei had the decency to show him how humans of the other world lives and what their culture was like. Very colorful! He was just utterly chagrined that the ladies show too much leg in their clothes or worse, too much everything when his legal guardian 'Fuji-nee' once took her out to an outing in a lavish water resort called Wakuwaku Splash. Good lord, those swimsuits horrified him. Don't these women have no shame?!

There's even Hot Spring Resorts solely for relaxation and every year, Fuji-nee's family would go out to different resorts each time and Ferdinand found himself JEALOUS because it would've been real nice if such places existed here.

After normal life, here's where it takes a darker turn.

The society of magi is unknown to normal people. Normal people thought magic doesn't exist, but it in fact does. And practitioners are merely 1% of the world's population considering in their world, there are billions of humans, compared to this world!

Lorelei who was once a boy named Shirou Emiya, had quite the beginning, leading to his destructive and stubborn selflessness that was another form of selfishness due to his Survivor's Guilt Complex as when he got wind in hospital that out of 500 known people living in Shinto District of his city, he was the only one to survive, as well as a gnawing emptiness he couldn't heal from.

He feels that, as the only survivor, it is unfair to the deceased to prioritize his own needs before those of others. He has a distorted sense of values where he only finds self-worth from helping people without any compensation, feeling that the very act of 'helping people' is its own reward. He believes it is highly unfair that some people survive and others do not. When it comes down to receiving an injury or even giving up his life to help someone, he will do it without a second thought.

Ferdinand felt Shirou got worse when he heard his father's last words when he was twelve years old...

Kiritsugu often talked about how he used strive to protect the innocent from the world's many perils, even at the cost of his own humanity, and how he was saddened by the reality that whenever he was able to spare one life, another person was fated to die. Although Kiritsugu was tormented by his inability to save everyone, Shirou always admired his efforts. Right before Kiritsugu's death, Shirou pledged to be a Hero of Justice in Kiritsugu's place and strive to protect everyone at the cost of his own life. Everything that he is thus far is the result of that very pledge.

However, his ideals were put to the test when he got involved into a secret event called Holy Grail War. A ritual where seven mages summon their own familiars based on class. Familiars in question? Famous Heroes of the past! Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Berserker, Caster and Assassin. A fight to the death for the prize...the Holy Grail that grants the winner a wish that will be fulfilled no matter what.

He allied with a schoolmate who was also a Master. They worked together until they become the last two. That was the agreement...until the young adults were linked in some way. Thus his peer mentored him in a bid to even the battlefield because Rin doesn't want an 'underhanded victory' that would shame her and the pride of her house, and was annoyed Shirou's father did not educate him well as a mage. Yet this kid somehow got incredible luck and drew the strongest Servant Class-Saber!

Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou were sisters. But in the laws of mages, there can only be one heir that Sakura was given away for adoption. But the household Sakura was given to, made her life hell...that she was prone to constantly hunger for...that...that Shirou got wind she was abused and exploited at home by her own jealous adoptive brother because he was heir but 'she stole it' in his point of view. But the fact was Shinji has no Magic Circuits leading to the situation in the first place.

Shirou got angry and severed his friendship with Shinji to protect Sakura, a girl he came to care for as a little sister...until things changed.

But considering what her grandfather did to her, she was evolving into a malevolent entity the more Servants died. And the entity within her kills humans and devours their souls out of hunger for mana.

And Illyasviel von Einzbern, was his older adoptive sister through their father...but a Homonculus, a living magical construct in the form of a little girl, but doomed to never grow up. 18 years old, but forever a little girl. During the battle against 'the shadow', Shirou lost an arm and Archer sacrificed his life to let them get away, but not before lopping off his own arm and gave it to Rider for transplant.

Normally, transplants between human and servant can never be. But Archer was adamant that he and Shirou are compatible...because he was none other than an adult Shirou himself! Due to that, Shirou began seeing Archer's memories...continuing to his current life as Lorelei until Archer's death as a human and upon becoming what a Counter Guardian was, he was horrified with what it means to be one. That he had seen his future self's suffering because of their ideals that he wanted to end his miserable existence with the only way he knows how...by the death of the past to erase him in the future. And Shirou began prioritizing Sakura who loved him and needed him more when he found out the truth about her.

Due to how things are going, Shirou, Rin and Illya along with Sakura's servant Rider, the Gorgon Monster Medusa now have a common enemy...the blunder of the Einzbern Family that evolved into a curse that brought out Sakura's feelings of hatred and anger borne from a decade of suffering from abuse and torment in her new household with no support and her focused desire on the boy she loved, Sakura's grandfather who caused all this to happen on purpose and a wild card in the priest Kirei Kotomine.

Sakura was focused on Shirou because he was the only one who bothered to show her kindness and human decency. He taught her housework and how to cook, and he watched out for her. Things her own family couldn't be bothered to do, easily giving her away like an unwanted toy to a household that made a chew toy out of her.

She clung to the only light she had in her life that as Corrupted Sakura, he was all she thought of. Her actions revolved around him. She will gladly kill anyone else but him. Which they put to good use.

Corrupted Saber and Rider's battle, were awesome and bone-chilling. It was a two minute hi-speed battle of two Heroes at full power they've got in life, because Sakura who is now corrupted and partially a Black Grail, was connected to the Holy Grail that possessed enough mana to destroy all of Ehrenfest. Rider can only hold off Saber for two minutes before Shirou was to do his part...sever her from Sakura with a magic dagger, effectively killing her due to having no supply of magic to restore her strength and maintain her existence.

For Rider to pull off what she did, she was a Master of Enhancement in ways current progress of this world hasn't caught up to yet. Her physical capabilities, strength, agility, speed, dexterity, reflexes, reaction time and eyesight, all maxed out to survive Saber AND win.

He grieved killing Saber, but he could not stop. He had to help Rin with Sakura. But Rin was defeated and Sakura was losing control out of grief and was willing to die. But Angra Mainyu restrained her to save itself by preventing her death, and was now using the 'ribbons' that made her 'dress' to try and kill Shirou. Through sheer effort, he was able to reach Sakura and projected Caster's favored weapon, Rulebreaker to save and sever her from the Grail, effectively turning her to normal, but naked.

And by drawing on his Reality Marble, he was 'losing himself' to his own power that literal blades are sticking out of him that he didn't have long...and a little shadow familiar became her new dress for her modesty. He was glad Lorelei helpfully censored things out by imagining Sakura covered in fog in the cavern.

That he can't even speak properly to Rider anymore but managed to convey his wishes to her. To get the two sisters out, and give Sakura his house keys. Both know that he'll never come back alive because he still has to destroy the Grail, and deal with the priest. Despite everything, only Shirou can now, due to Rulebreaker. A very dangerous weapon, the embodiment of Caster, the Witch of Betrayal, Medea who created the magic tool.

As Shirou lost himself to victory as his power devoured his mind, defeating Kirei, he saw his sister, dressed like a Priestess. He was familiar with her. Knows her. Doesn't want to lose her. She would die upon destroying it herself.

She intended to save him from death, but she was late. Archer who was a Counter Guardian more powerful than her, interfered leading to their deaths in the present and his future as a cursed Counter Guardian. Sure he died back in Einzbern Castle, but he put his soul in the pendant Shirou has on his person just for that moment.

Because as Ferdinand sees it, its impossible for Shirou to fully heal from the Encroaching of his Reality Marble. He would die anyway. Might as well kill him than suffer more.

As Lorelei, she recovered her memories thanks to his future self and more, seeing the future that led to despair and desperation. But two personalities are merging starting from when she was a baby up till now. Shirou and Emiya themselves. The naive and optimistic Shirou, and the bitter, jaded and cynical Emiya. Resulting in Lorelei who has the best of them both, as she swore not to have the worst of them both, and move on with her life, as it was all she can do, and trust the girls left behind to live well, and prioritize people who she cares for and cares for her back, out of the love she had for her friends and lover.

Skill-wise, Lorelei was a great chef and brewer, having studied how to make alcohol and liquor due to Shirou's part-time job where he analyzed everything when he got curious how they were made. She can also fix electronics that have the same benefit as magic tools, a prodigious Archer in High School because he was destined to be an Archer in his future. She never misses and will only do so on purpose. A master Marksman but to use her skill, she has to retrain her body to be able to wield a bow again or use Enhancement to wield a bow.

She was also a seasoned mercenary, spy and assassin as Emiya based on client needs and has been to many battlefields and a Master of Reinforcement, Projection and Alteration Magic. But due to faulty magic circuits, the backlash caused Emiya's hair to turn white, and skin to darken.

But Lorelei has all their skills on her person. If she were to act, she's actually more competent than anyone below Bonifatius, himself and Karstedt.

Nature-wise, all three were neutral-good. They will act for the sake of what's best without casualties...or the best deal they can get while accepting sacrifices to be made. Lorelei decided to live as a good daughter to her kind family and help them rise to Mednoble before she marries out. Because by then she can no longer help them as she's obliged to help her new family if asked of her outside wifely duties. She can only 'freely' give her help to her own family but there are rules daughter-in-laws must follow after all!

As a young lady, she is highly educated with impeccable manners and etiquette other than her thirst for food improvements. She read her family's old schoolbooks, thus knew the old curriculum before the curriculum changed Post-Purge. Sadly she can't practice spells that's way beyond a Magic Ring. But she can sew magic circles. If Main was crazy for books, Lorelei was crazy for food that with her pride as a cook, he can understand her disgust of their world's food with how spoiled her tongue was for years with Gourmet Cuisine. In her spare time, she was mastering 'wifely skills'. Her needlework, knowing latest trends in fashion in what season and household management to please her mother and grandmother.

She was using old worn-out tablecloths and curtains as practice material for her embroidery as she learns from her second mother, Lady Wagner. She has no memories of her mother as Shirou, erased by amnesia through dangerous Smoke Inhalation in that fire. She also adjusted herself as she is now female, no longer male even if she admits 'this is gonna be weird'.

Well, Lorelei is confirmed an ally they can use. Just...a wild card. A wild card they have to use right by appealing to what she's willing to fight for. She will act if her family or Main - her fellow Japanese is in danger, or if she can safely skirt around rules and laws to give a superior a beating they deserved for doing very wrong. She really will kill without blinking and no hesitation unless told not to.

...this was what he told Karstedt when he returned the magic tools to him.

'...wow. That's quite the adventure.' Karstedt whistled. He cannot believe his ears!

'Mm. But still, about Main...Lorelei knew the inevitable that she would be adopted upon getting wind she's a commoner with mana. And she has a way to stave off Main's Mana Clumps until she gets and brews her own Jureve.' said Ferdinand. 'Main must be adopted into a noble family. Their world holds wonders. Standard of living astonishingly high even for Commoners that for the rich, it's too mind-boggling that we are paupers compared to the rich of their world in regards to living standards, even if we surpass their wealth in gold by miles.' Karstedt choked on his wine. 'That is why considering the situation...you must be the one to adopt her.'

'Me?!'

'Japan is highly rich in culture. High level in education with fierce competition. Other countries like America and Europe where her future self had been is just as amazing.' Ferdinand continued on, seeing only future benefits in mind to further develop Ehrenfest. To be a power where nobody can overstep ever again.

'That's high praise coming from you...' Karstedt sweatdropped. 'Well, two reincarnates from the same world...and a side of that world Main didn't know about due to secrecy involved and a justified reason Lorelei gave...'

'Yes...and we have to improve our combat standards.' Ferdinand's expression darkened. 'Lorelei, Saber and Rider...showed there's so much more Reinforcement can give. Our imagination is indeed, only the limit that we have been fools for years. I will have to retrain myself.'

Karstedt thought 'Uh-oh.' because once Ferdinand smoothens out the kinks...and his father gets wind of it...Karstedt prayed for his own near future because his father is...a little nuts.

'We'll have to make plans.'

xxx

'Is High Priest Ferdinand so rich you got 100 large gold from him?!' the Wagner Family went bonkers when Lorelei came home with her money, but due to Client Confidentiality Clauses, she was forbidden to talk about her client.

'I also said it's way too much for Doctor's Fees, but he insisted...' said Lorelei weakly. 'And he called it Pocket Change!' her grandfather and one of her uncles choked out blood. Everyone else was horrified.

'A-an annual income of a low-standing Mednoble...he just calls Pocket Change...?' her grandmother looked faint now. They have heard of Ferdinand. He left Society entirely because of HER. He stayed in the Academy UNLESS he was called home. Leading to him graduating with high honors and accomplishments in Scholar, Knight and Archduke Candidate Courses and has patented many researches and inventions-only Archnobles can use. He is thus, stupidly rich on his own on his own patents, that unlike most people in the temple, he is self-sufficient. His accomplishments are legendary.

'A-at least while we're earning for Bride Prices, this 100 large gold can be Lorelei's Marriage Dowry...' her mother feebly pointed out optimistically. 'We have the family heir and other sons to worry about!'

'It's also saying High Priest paid for it...he has no idea does he?'

'Ahhh, rich folk...their world is too different from us, the poor.' said another uncle with a gloomy sigh. 'What would they know how we feel about this, eh?'

xxx

Third Month of Autumn...

Vacation time for Siegbert Sohn Wagner.

'Well, better little vacation time than nothing.' He had increased in height and form since he continued his training even if it's still General Education in his own room, and runs laps every after classes before dinner.

He gained four inches in height, got better muscular developments that three times in a school year, he had to get his uniforms magically-resized. He wasn't the only one needing resizing...his other fellow Knight students needed resizing too, while other students needed only one resizing...

He sighed. Well, he's bigger than his sister now no doubt...he got home via Teleportation Circle from the Aub's Castle and got picked up by his father.

'Are there many changes since I was gone?' Siegbert asked his father.

'Many changes.' said his father as they went home via rented carriage, as he cannot sustain Highbeast Flight for too long. So they're on a carriage to Groschel Borders, before flying westward for home. 'So you can marry with your head held high. I could not send you letters for possible interception cases and we are developing in secret with only certain people knowing...once we're on a Highbeast later, we can talk freely.'

'Alright father.'

Siegbert could not wait to learn what happened at home, but father promised that one day, he and his cousins can marry with their heads held high...

...due to from tiny annual income to a huge leap, thanks to his younger sister's research. Oh, my god! And they're still thinking of enlarging their cellars to earn lots more!

Huge income aside, they are able to renovate their mansion for free. All they needed, are materials and magic, and magically scrubbing 'with intensity' using the Waschen spell! Right now the womenfolk are hard at work with making new clothes for their husbands and sons. And the dresses of the women long done first and a new pair of shoes made for his sister.

So now, he came home to a gorgeous mansion.

Gorgeous, because it's renovated AND clean. Furniture will take quite a while to change, as their marriage is to be saved up first, and stashed away!

Perhaps its good that they don't get guests.

It's no news that Laynoble residences are...worn-down and has seen better days...the equivalent of a haunted mansion that's cleaned for habitation. But there's loose floorboards, cracked walls, rusty hinges on windows, etc. Even Laynobles themselves are embarrassed and even if they're friends in social events, they won't dare invite each other and lose face!

'I-is this a trick of the mind? T-this can't be our house...'

'It is our home, boy.' his father chuckled. 'For the sake of the future of our becoming Mednobles through you, we are changing things little by little.'

'Heee...'

'Of course, the most important thing is Mana levels...we need to check your progress. I can't sense you as of late, so indeed you have grown stronger!' said his father with pride. And come measuring later...?

The family was amazed.

'Oooohhhh!'

'What progress?!'

'Maybe having tasty food had to do with it...'

The family was overjoyed.

In terms of MP, Laynobles in Game Equivalent, are up to Level 25 and less, Lorelei thought as Siegbert enjoys his family's praise on him. Mednobles would be Level 30-55 and Archnobles would be 60-100.

To light up a Citizenship Medal with magic come Baptism in Winter Debut, you must at least, have enough mana equivalent to an average magus. It was what she felt when she touched the medal with a Temple Schtappe and took mana from her.

Tohsaka and Sakura classifies as Mednobles back in Earth as for Magi, Magic Circuits are everything too. Quality and Quantity. But Quantity usually compensates for Quality. Illya whose body-make-up is Magic Circuits and a Lesser Grail qualifies as Archnoble.

Of course, the family does not know that Siegbert practices Mana Compression...until now due to this huge leap. A better way Lorelei taught him how, but got magicked into never telling about it to their family until the topic came up...like now.

Siegbert was Level 16 initially in comparison of capacity and amount. The strongest of their family sons to date. He's now 19 in equivalent. Quite the leap for his first year. And there's six years in the academy. If he keeps this up, he'll be a mid-level Mednoble by graduation as the Organ grows. And he has to marry a Mednoble 'a bit stronger' than him to achieve the family dream of promotion.

Lorelei on the other hand, was currently a Level 35 when she began Compression at seven years old and finished her first try in one year. By the time she attends school this year, she would have a bigger leap due to the much bigger space to fill she had, than her brother. By the time she attends school this year, she'd be a 'step into' mid-level Mednoble.

'Kids! You've been doing Mana Compression for two years now?!'

'That was reckless! You're lucky you haven't gotten hurt!'

Yup, they got scolded.

xxx

'Well, sure we got scolded, but all's well that ends well!' Siegbert grinned as the adults finally let them off. 'You got scolded more though.' well, she's the one responsible behind him doing it way earlier...

'Well, before I teach, I try it on myself first and you know that.' said Lorelei wryly as they were by the gardens, picking up fruit from the trees. 'As a researcher being curious is par for the course...then get answers by trial-and-error until I get answers I want that has no slivers of mistakes. Our Mana Slaves are also practicing Mana Compression until I tell them to stop as the Chalices do have limits when priests drop by.'

'And them having high mednoble levels would be bad for them and us, as the superiors will feel threatened for sure and wipe us out. So as far as strength can go, each of them has enough power to fill up three chalices to full per kid and that's enough. We're doing a delicate dance in here after all. It's enough that those guys know that ahem, I'm usually the one doing the filling until I go to school.'

'Yeah...some of those Blue Priests are from higher-ranks.' Siegbert frowned. 'They aren't as crafty as you that we're able to rise up to a better future. Then again, as you told me once before...those who are poor will work to find a way to make things better, while the rich who fell from their perch have no idea what to do and throw a tantrum than do anything about it. If they find out our trick, they'll raise a stink.'

'Well, the Aub already knows, and his cousin purchased some of our kids.' said Lorelei. 'As you know, the Veronica Faction harassed damn near everyone that she interferes in the Temple preventing those she dislikes from getting Chalices and enforces famine on other domains. But as we now joined the Florencia Faction and when she finds out, our family will get harassed too and denied our share of Chalice later that I devised a way to still give mana to the land if it came to that point. Our adults DO have Schtappes now...I got us a loophole.' she grinned. 'And we spent these past months hunting for high quality red Feystones that this is definitely going to work out for us if the worst happens.'

Archnobles get three, Mednobles two and Laynobles one. Only one due to ahem, level of land development...

And a chalice is given to them at spring, and taken back at autumn. Her family happily enjoys themselves with it, filling it up again and using it up as much as they can, leading to abundance of harvests come end of autumn for the Harvest Festival, along with annual taxes to be paid to the Aub. Their domain only has one village so far to worry about, so not much issues there.

Naturally, the priests get nothing from the noble domains. They only get 'something' when visiting local villages and towns within Aub Ehrenfest's Domain only. The blue priests are normally given a percentage of the taxes and harvest which are brought to the castle using a magic circle by the scholar official, where their families would need to fetch their collected share.

What's left for the Temple is then divided into Budgeting Expenses just enough to get by for the year when she gleaned information. And she has no idea if Main knows.

'You're in deep thought.' Siegbert frowned.

'Well, we are preparing for the worst, should the old hag finds out the Florencia Faction's got us under their wing...' said Lorelei sheepishly. 'We have been constantly scheming for our survival. I mean, have you heard what's happened in Haldenzel for years now? That large domain is super-poor and super-hungry and that's an Archnoble Domain.' Siegbert gulped as he imagined how bad things are that was too scary for his young mind to comprehend. 'It's in the near future. If it happens...we'll be OK. We're not sitting ducks.' she promised him.

'Mm...'

'Well, rest well this autumn. The Autumn Rituals and Festivals are long over and we returned our Chalice. This last month is now for ahem, Pork Processing Day. Wanna come?'

'It's smelly...' Siegbert croaked out, nauseous.

'You have to learn you know.' Lorelei tut-tutted. 'You're the future Lord of this land, it'll be weird if its only you who doesn't know how to process pork! Jeeez!'