Disclaimer: I do not own anything
"I do not like that man." A day had already passed since the skirmish with Lancer. Illyasviel and her entourage had left the local church of the city. As per tradition she had announced her presence of the moderator of this war, one Kotomine Kirei; they had also found out from the man the war had not officially started yet as the final servant, the servant Saber, had yet to be summoned.. During the time between now and then she had started scouting the city for herself, that and to start turning the battleground into a weapon itself, with Berserker, Sella and Leysritt, they had placed plenty of rune circles. It was possible that a highly skilled mage and the servant Caster may have found them, but the unique touch Negi would place on them would ensure that their enemies would really have to work to find and even disable the circle, if one was not careful they could find themselves at the end of a highly destructive spell discharge.
Another fortunate incident had also occurred. During the trip back Illyasviel had run across Emiya Shirou. She had recognized him by a photo and the information told to her by her grandfather had been enough for her to have a dislike for him. She also noticed the spike of his prana indicating the parameters of a master, giving him a smile that be masked its true intention, she gave a small piece of advice, but with the look of confusion on the teen's face she doubted he understood, but it didn't really matter to her. She would make him pay for stealing her father from her regardless.
After reaching the safety of their base, Illyasviel had called her servant to do her bidding. "I want you to scout the city again. This should be a good chance for you to find the other servants. I want to remind you that you are not to engage in combat with them. Information gathering is your main concern, find out what you can. If the situation grows hostile flee, only fight if there is no recourse and tell me immediately." With those instructions Illyasviel went into the study to find more information on Lancer, the only servant to appear to her thus far.
Negi leapt from rooftop of one building to the next. He found it easier to complete the objective set out by his master while he remained in his physical form. This was due to his nature as a magi. He had more connection to the land, the spirits, and other sources of mana, allowing him a greater sense of perception for those of a more magical nature. Negi landed and then stopped. He noted three presences and two of them were servants. The third had higher than the normal prana level but it did not hold a candle to the bigger sources, thus making it more likely than not, a master. The master and servant duo seemed to be heading away from his current location, indicating to him at least that they hadn't discovered his presence yet. The other servant seemed to be moving towards him. Negi quirked an eyebrow to himself and wondered about this servant but he immediately started to work on a magic circle, he wanted to make sure he had some bases covered just in case.
Rider felt some small comfort as her body soared through the air as she jumped from building to building. She had been forced to collect prana again. With her current master unable to supply her with enough energy, and despite his enthusiasm to do so she had had to go around town to drain a part of the souls of some of the more unsavory residences of the city. Landing on the rooftop of a skyscraper, Rider's body tensed as she found someone waiting for her.
It was a form of a boy wearing a deep purple great coat. He was looking directly in her direction. Her senses grasped the power within him and she felt it, this boy he was a servant, and while his energies was strange there was no doubt that there was power hidden within that small frame.
With a flick of her wrist, the sound of metal filled the air as Rider took a step back and readied herself with her newly summoned weapons in her hands, the chain that attched her two weapons together twisting around like a serpent. She was surprised but did not let down her guard as the other servant raised his hands, the universal sign that he was unarmed and surrendering, though the purple haired servant knew that it was far from the truth.
"I am not here to fight. The war hasn't officially started and while there is nothing in the rules about pre-war fighting, I do not wish to start anything. I am just looking for answers." Answers? What kind of answers would he and his master looking for? "First of all, you seem to be low on prana, isn't you master able to support you with his or her own reserves?" Rider did not answer, she was not obligated to give information. He was staring intently at her. As if looking through her thoughts and intentions. Neither of the two of them were going to give an inch it seemed.
The minutes ticked by before finally the boy sighed and turned around and started to walk away. This was was truly a temptation Rider was having difficulty to ignore. An opponent with his back turned, with her speed it would be only a few moments to pierce his heart, but there was no telling what skill he possessed. Gritting her teeth and Rider dashed forward, intent in taking the other servant's life. This was for Sakura, she would do anything for her. Though as she neared her target she stopped as a runic circle sprang to life around her forming a pyramid of light trapping her inside. Magic! Caster! She cursed her own impatience and stupidity as the cage completed itself.
Negi felt her the moment the she steeped onto his trap. He wasn't sure if she would really take the bait, but his hunch proved to be right on the money. He turned around to face his prisoner-for-the-moment. She had lowered her arms but her weapons were still on her. "I would rather not resort to violence right away." 'For good reason to.' he added silently to himself. "Now would you be so kind to answer my previous question." The purple haired woman remained neutral and silent. Negi furrowed his brows, this servant knew the power of information, but still her low prana pointed to one of two things; either her master could not support a servant at all and was possibly a regular human, or her master was planning something and was having this servant do something strenuous and having her find alternate means of restoring her prana.
Then there was how quickly she moved and her weapons. The nails attached to chains ruled her out as Saber, being that he was summoned as Berserker ruled that class out as well. He had already met Lancer and if she was summoned as the Archer class she would've spotted him from afar already and would've most likely pepper him before getting close. Also, judging from her reaction of surprise and that she used a more physical approach that reduced the chances that she was Caster. That left the Rider class and the Assassin class.
Before he could contemplate further, the servant's left hand had moved quickly and removed the visor she had been wearing on her person this entire time. The effect was instantaneous as he looked into the square pupils and the purple irises, he felt himself become weaker. He fell to one knee as felt his body grow numb and his breath becoming ragged, but he smirked at her confused expression. "The...barrier...runs on... an independent...source." His breath was short and he knew he had to leave. Though he had to try and give her credit, he had thought of laying a simple barrier entrapment spell, but he thanked his foresight, he might've been able to maintain the barrier even if weakened but it would go down the moment he would try to leave in the state he was in, giving an open invitation for his demise. Through this attack on himself was now a clue on the servants identity.
He gave her one last look as the woman was partially glaring at him through an even stare before he turned into his astral form and left. As he gained distance from his impromptu opponent, he felt the pressure cease but his body had still felt weakened, he would have to cut the scouting mission short until he could recover. Ilya would not like that he had only found info on a single opponent but she might be pleased to find how much he learned from that one meeting.
Illyasviel looked up from the book she was reading on Irish mytholgy and lore. She had little to go on on finding Lancer's identity so was having little luck at the moment. She noticed her servant appeared before winded. She narrowed her eyes. "What happened?" It was still relatively early in the night, had her servant been caught? He looked at her as he stood straight. "I had met with another servant, we had a slight altercation but I escaped as soon as I could." Illyasviel closed the book she had researching through. "And? what have you learned?"
Negi then started to tell her about his meeting with the purple haired servant, and his own thoughts as she looked through the information she had received from the Master's Clairvoyance. Mystic eyes and the possibility it being the Rider or Assassin class, this information was very good. A stray though entered her mind as she went to the nearby book shelves. There were only certain individuals in history who had powers with that had something to do with their eyes. The first and most common... "Medusa." Illyasviel smiled as she looked at the book on roman mythology. It made sense, a beautiful woman turned into a monstrous form that could turn any onlooker to stone, but in her servant's case, weakened him. "It's a start, get some rest, we will continue tomorrow." Without another word her servant left as she poured through the lore of the newly discovered identity. They would have to investigate more on this servant and her master to find any potential use for her.
It would be hours later when she would feel it. A large spike of energy. The final servant, her, onii-chan's servant, had been summoned. She called her servant and Negi appeared at her side immediately. "Let us take a stroll Negi." A malevolent gleam in her eye told her servant all that he needed to know as he nodded to her request.
Emiya Shirou smiled as his companion-now-self-declared-enemy was threatening him. "Have you two finished talking already?" A melodic voice of a young girl drifted through the wind. His eyes drifted to the top of the hill and there he saw the girl he had met once before. She was alone but that did little to ease a growing worry in his gut. As quick as he disappeared earlier in their conversation Tohsaka Rin's red knight appeared at her side, at the same time his own servant Saber took off the rain coat she had used to disguise her form and stood in front of him, her greaves grasping the hilt of her invisible weapon.
The girl looked towards Rin and curtsied. "Nice to meet you, Rin. I am Illya, Illyasviel von Einzbern." The introduction made the red clad mage stiffen, no doubt in Shirou's mind she had recognized the name. She smiled at the two of them as the next words spoke made him shiver. "I am going kill you now Onii-chan, Rin." She had said those words without nary a reaction, as if discussing the whether.
A sound caught his attention and Shirou noticed that in Archer's hand were the twin chinese falchions he had witnessed him use earlier. It only took a moment but something whizzed by the red clad man and his master, only for Saber to intercept it. The looks on surprise on Shirou, Rin, Archer, and Saber's were not lost. In front of Saber, her invisible weapon clashing against the metal vambrace, was a small boy no bigger than the girl that had just appeared. The shock of seeing the figure was enough for the boy to tug on Saber's wrist and blow her back near her master with a twin palm strike. The sound of electricity crackling in the air.
The blonde swords-woman gritted her teeth as she tried to stand from her kneeling position, but to no avail. "Saber!" In concern her master ran towards and tried to help her up and yelped in shock when he reached out; electricity was sparking around her. The boy servant was about to continue when he leaned to the left, then to the right and leapt to the side as he dodged the sword strikes from Archer.
Shirou tried to remove the feeling of numbness from his fingers as Rin looked over Saber. Archer and Ilya's servant having a stare down, though there was a look of confusion in the former's eyes if one were to look real carefully. "The Saber class usually has a high resistance to magic but why is she..." Rin was muttering to herself as she looked from Saber to her own servant and the opponent he faced.
The silence was palpable, Shirou noticed the hard look between the servants, they were waiting, analyzing each other, though Archer took a moment to spare Saber a glance, no doubt wondering what had happened to her. That slight lapse of concentration was what the small servant needed as he rocketed towards Archer. Archer himself wasted no time in sidestepping a straight punch to his chest, and the ensuing elbow thrust. Even Shirou understood what Archer was doing. Saber had been incapacitated and by locking arms with the one that did that to her was not the wisest of choice. The red knight continued to dodge strike after strike after strike, but was caught off guard by a blast of wind that knocked him to the wall. The force leaving him breathless. Once again the small form blurred and appeared in front of Archer fist crackling with blue energy as it neared Archer.
The small servant hopped back a few spaces at he dodged a cross slash where he once stood. Saber now stood beside Archer as the tanned servant peeled himself from the concrete. The former looked pained and the movements she had just exhibited showed she was still had not yet recovered fully as her attack was slower than the ones she had pulled of before.
Saber nodded to Archer, her intent clear, the silver haired man grunted in affirmation. Saber charged forward with a cry as Archer reared back his arms. The sound of metal cutting through the air was sung as Archer tossed his blades. Saber attacked relentlessly as two more blades appeared in Archer's hand and were immediately joined their comrades as they arced towards their target.
Saber locked her blade against the boy's forearm guard again, but acting quickly, she pushed him back and followed through with a pommel strike to the head disorienting the smaller servant forcing him back where promptly, the four blades Archer had tossed, landed and exploded. From the black smoke leapt out the Illya's servant, singed and with cuts from the shrapnel. Saber rushed forward for another attack to keep the pressure on the smaller servant but was stopped when the part of the concrete she had stepped on had glowed. "A rune circle?" Rin whispered in disbelief. This servant was capable of magic indicating the Caster class servant, but whoever heard of a caster that could compete in physical prowess with the other servants. The circle promptly exploded. Saber screamed as she was sent flying back only to be caught by the arms of Archer, who had quickly dismissed his black bow and tried to support her.
The reprieve was short lived as he shifted Saber to his left arm as his white blade appeared in his right hand again and blocked an electric covered left fist. The assailant's other hand flattened out for a knife thrust and a beam of light shot to the length of a small blade and was promptly swung to decapitate the man's head. It, too, was blocked, this time by Saber as she used her weapon to block it. Through its invisibility Shirou could make out the outline as the blade seemed to turn red as if it was being superheated.
The small servant started to growl and black flames and shadow started to cover his form. "Finish them off now!" Illya cried out to her servant. Both Saber and Archer were both losing strength. Archer with his right side going numb from the electricity being conducted through his blade, Saber with the wound from the pre-emptive strike catching up to her again. Before the anything could happen the small servant was denied again as several black spheres hit the space had just occupied moments ago. The flame covered figure turned his attention to Rin, who had fired the Gandr shots, and Shirou, his eyes staring straight to the depths of their being.
"Whoo, you sure have been holding back on me haven't you kid."
The situation was diffused in an instant, all of them looked to the side, there on the rooftop was a blue clad figure wielding a familiar red spear. "Lancer!" Saber placed a hand over her chest piece where her heart was pierced earlier. Behind Lancer was another figure, a woman with long purple hair, clad in black, a voluptuous figure with a visor.
Lancer smirked. "I found this little lady here while I was taking a stroll, it took me a while to get her out of the trap you left her in. Though I have to admit you are really are an odd one, aren't you, Berserker?" The blue servant then looked to Illya and gave her a two fingered salute and a smile. Shirou noticed that Illya herself had mix of emotions, anger being the predominant, with worry and a bit of fear. The little girl then huffed. "Let's retreat Berserker." Without hesitation Berserker reappeared at his master's side before a green rune circle appeared underneath them and the two promptly vanished leaving them all to their own devices.
Both master rushed to their servants' side to render aid as Lancer leapt down. The other figure promptly vanished without saying anything. "Looks like you two had a rough time." Lancer let his weapon disperse as he placed his hands up in a sign of non-hostility. "Lancer, what are you doing here and who was that woman with you?" Lancer ignored the accusing gaze being shot towards him but answered Saber's questions nonetheless. "I was still doing my mission as per my master's order and that woman was another servant, I helped her out when I found her trapped in a spell. We felt a disturbance and we came here and saw you guys fighting, so we stayed and enjoyed the show, sort to speak."
Archer let his blade disperse, the situation non-hostile for now as he addressed the blue servant. "I take it you know a little bit on that servant?" Lancer nodded. "A little is just about. I fought him before in a light skirmish. It wasn't really anything special, we just traded blows. I didn't get to see him do the same stuff he did to you two as I was called back by my master for some business."
"You mentioned that he was of a Berserker class, how sure are you? he was using magic, which I might add was able to paralyze me for a while and numbed my body." Saber nodded and appreciated the shoulder her master was giving her to support her body. "Pretty sure, the little lady mentioned his class the first time we fought. Though, from the fight you three had, it seems he doesn't fit the standard Berserker." Both Archer and Saber nodded in agreement. "Yes, he attacks were highly coordinated and precise. Not to mention he was using martial arts and showed just enough skill and knowledge when to dodge and when to rush in for a killing strike."
"Do you know anything else about him Lancer? A clue to his identity perhaps?" Rin added her own thoughts but was disappointed when the servant shook his head. "No, when I told my master, he too was interested to find out more but still he wanted me to finish my last order." He then looked towards both Saber and Archer before leaping back to the roof he was on earlier. "You two better rest, because next time, I'll play for keeps." With that, the blue specter of a servant vanished into the night.
Berserker watched as his master fumed with anger at the last minute interference. "You see what you've inadvertently done Berserker! You should've finished Lancer the first time around! If you did, we would've defeated Rin and Shirou's servants! Now four servants and their masters know some of your capabilities!" He didn't say anything, she was right after all. It was his fault that things happened this way. Though, secretly he was glad it did. Even if he was loyal to Illya, he did not want to kill so casually, even if it was the other servants, but in the heat of battle, he was slowly loosing himself to the Mad Enhancement, more so with usage of his magic, making him want nothing more that to follow the wishes of his master, the wish for blood of the other masters and servants.
Illya sat down as Sella came in with a tray of tea. "Please be at ease mistress. Here take some milk tea and calm yourself, all is not lost. There is still a chance to win this war and claim your goal." Illya took the beverage with a small nod of thanks and appreciation as she gazed into the liquid, sorting her thoughts in her mind.
"No doubt Shirou and Rin will make an alliance. Lancer is still a mystery and we yet to find out who is Medusa's master." Illya had made good use of the information had been able to deduce the purple haired servant's identity and with her having a good look at the servant herself, was able to identify her class, Rider. "Then that leaves both Assassin and Caster unaccounted for." She mumbled lastly to herself mostly.
Illya looked to her maid. "Sella, I want you and Leysritt to prepare for a trip tomorrow." Sella nodded and affirmed the order before leaving the room. The small white haired girl turned to him. "Get your rest and get ready for tomorrow as well." Berserker did not know what his master had planned but he did not want to test her anger. So with a nod and bow, he vanished from the physical realm to collect his energy and rest.
It was another day in the Holy Grail War. Sella, Leysritt, and Illyasviel piled into the car and left the Einzebern estate and drove into the city. When asked for directions Illyasviel said "We are going to Homurabara Gakuen (Academy)." Both maids and servant were startled. Illya was asking for them to drive to the school in which Emiya Shirou, and Tohsaka Rin, both masters and enemies attended school on a regular basis. They did not question her but Sella and Leysritt did show some concern but Illya did not respond to it and the two had no recourse but to relent.
The drive had taken a while, the Einzbern estate was already in the outskirts of the city and after navigating the streets and being dropped off a few blocks away, Illyasviel left instructions to her entourage to pick them up at later time but to stay within the city just in case something would happen.
Illyasviel walked while humming a small tune, the drive back into the city had taken the better part of the morning and was nearing lunch time. By the time they had reached the school it was a simple manner of having her servant help over the wall when no one was looking. When they did, both master and servant were surprised. "Master, I feel a large magical mechanism surrounding the school." Illya nodded. "It's a bounded field, by the feel of its design it looks like it was made to forcibly take the life energies of anything caught inside of it and convert into magical energies and channel it to its creator."
"Master, this is a serious threat. Any servant will receive a large energy boost due to the number of students attending right now. Also since we are now inside..." The servant did not finish as his master gave him an order. "Look into the bounded field, you should be able to find the foundations quickly with your talents. Neither Rin nor Shirou are the type to stoop to this kind of tactic, so that means that there is another master at this school. I will find them and let them know." Berserker questioned the motive of his master's tactics and she replied. "We can easily handle Saber and Archer. I noticed that Saber reacted to Lancer, so she had most likely sustained a blow from him and hasn't healed yet, and Archer may be a problem but he had a hard time facing you, so his attributes may be a bit below yours but that is a moot point seeing as he we do not know yet what he his truly capable off. It would be best to form a truce with Rin and Shirou until we deal with this third party." With that, the albino girl ran ahead into the building, leaving Berserker set about his own objectives.
It took mere moments to find one of the many foundation pieces of the field among the rest that littered the school, it had the highest collection of magical energy stored and was located on the first floor. He was about to remove it when his vision turned red. 'The bounded field, it had activated!' His instinct led him to locate his master fast but the interference from the bounded field was testing his senses to the limit and the growing madness that is starting to build for the safety of his master and the preparation for battle wasn't helping. It took him a couple minutes to find her presence, she was on the the fifth floor with two familiar signatures, as well as another that had just arrived, it was Saber. It was safe to say that they would be working together as his master had yet to call him to her side; but then when tuning his senses, Berserker found something odd. There is a another master, as well as two other servants in this school excluding himself and the newly arrived Saber. One of the servant's presence he recognized it, Rider; and she was in the classroom right down the hall. Saying a quick chant, his fist crackling with thunder based magic arrows, he rushed into the classroom. Only to see Rider being badly beaten back.
It was a man in a green suit and tie. His movements were fast and confusing as his fists moved fluidly, rhythmically, and he could sense that they were enchanted as well, but Berserker had seen faster with his previous fights against beings like Jack Rakan, his own master Evangeline and Fate Averuncus. The look in the man's eyes and the presence he was giving was that of a killer. On the side watching was a blue haired teen dressed in the male student's uniform looking about in fear of the current fight. He held in his hands a book. "Rider! What are you doing! Finish him! Kill him now!" He was screaming hysterically at the servant, but he yelped in surprise as the book he was holding lit up in flames. Berserker had recognized the young man and the tome that was in his hands moments ago. His name was Matou Shinji, the apparent heir of the Matou household of magi and was considered to be a failure of a mage, the book he held was called the Book of False Attendants, meaning that Shinji himself was not the real master of Rider.
Looking back into the fight, that order which had cost the Matou the control of Rider had given her a boost of energy and she quickly pounced forward with her weapons intending to impale the man with them aimed for his head and his heart. The man proved skillful though and was able to push her back which followed through into a killing strike to her neck.
Rin had to admit, meeting Illyasviel turned out to be a blessing in disguise, despite that she still didn't trust the little terror, which could not be the same of her red-haired companion. While Shirou had been able to summon Saber and with Illyasviel's own Berserker already on the premises and with her unable to call Archer, the three of them had decided to link up with Berserker who had been looking for the source of the bounded field and try to disarm it, leaving Saber to deal with the most of the skeleton golems on the fourth floor and to investigate the presence of a servant; and while she would fire off her Gandrs with Illyasviel firing off wireframe birds the size of small dogs and with Shirou defending them with a pair of reinforced chair legs, the Tohsaka heir's train of thought wondered to Illyasviel's servant Berserker. A small boy heroic spirit who could wield magic. Then there was the short conversation between Lancer, Saber, and Archer the night before, the way Berserker fought was not true to his namesake and fought with precision and cunning. Never before had she heard or studied in text and lore of a boy who could wield magic like he did. Berserker, despite his small frame was fearsome indeed.
A large crash and the sound of chains caught everyone's attention as they reached the first floor. A body flew out from the classroom, and following it were two blurs. The body had landed a few feet away from them and both Rin and Shirou recognized the figure. It was Kuzuki Souichiro, Rin's homeroom teacher and both her and Shirou's teacher on World History and Ethics.
Souichiro did a quick flip to get back on his feet and a backflip to avoid the twin kicks that had landed and created a crater where he had been a scant few seconds earlier. Now occupying the space was Illyasviel's servant, Berserker, and surprisingly Shinji's servant, Rider. A quick glance to the side brought a small smug feeling to Rin in the surprise on Illyasviel's face on the cooperation between Rider and Berserker.
The rustling of cloth and before their teacher was a shrouded figure in a green cloak and purple robes, concealing her identity and features. "Shirou!" The sound of metal on the floor and the voice announced the arrival of Saber. "Watch out, that woman is the servant Caster!." The blonde servant stood in front of Shirou hands readied, no doubt her invisible weapon raised. Caster muttered something she couldn't understand, then the space between them distorted and the both Caster and her master disappeared. The attention now drew to the three remaining servants two of which were unplanned allies from a previous encounter.
Saber looked at the both Berserker and Rider. The formers master had not yet given an order and the latter's master was conspicuously absent from the fray. The red disappeared from her eyes and the bounded field that was surrounding the school disappeared. Rider gave a small inclination of her head at Berserker who spared a glance at her and Illyasviel. "My master thanks both you and your servant in aiding me. Had it not been for servant Berserker then I would have surely have been slain. I hope we can leave this encounter for now without any more altercations?"
"You expect us to -" She was not able to finish as Shirou placed a hand on her shoulder. "Shirou?" she looked over her shoulder and her master shook his head, his unspoken request reaching her as they locked eyes. The blue clad knight sighed and grudgingly accepted. Rider nodded and then looked to Illyasviel and Rin, both shot questioning looks back to the purple haired servant but did not say anything as well, giving and unspoken permission for her to leave, and Rider did so as she vanished form their sights. That now left the so called "mad" servant and his master. "Looks like my talk with my dear sibling will have to wait. I hope we can meet again onii-chan." Illyasviel had given Shirou a curtsy and shot Rin a small, haughty, glare, before turning to leave, her servant standing to guard her back before he too left.
To be quite honest, Berserker intrigued her. She felt a small connection to the child-hero, like he too knew the weight of something great at a tender age, not as young as she had been when she took up the mantle of King but still young nonetheless.
"Master, we are being followed." Negi mentioned to her as soon as they had rounded the block. "Who is it?" "It is Rider." On cue the black clad servant landed in front of them. "I thought your master did not want any further altercations for the day?" Rider shook her head. "My master does not know that I am here, but I am not here to pick a fight." The white haired girl raised an eyebrow and motioned her to continue. "My wish to offer an alliance, a truce if that is the best that this can come to. I wish to protect my master but there are factors that I stop me from doing so, but maybe you and Berserker will be able to help."
Illyasviel thought about it, her Master's Clairvoyance already updating and taking into account Rider's skill of Independent Action. One less servant to worry about in this war, until at least it was down to the last two, it was a promising situation, with the information they already had on Rider. "This is not the place for such a conversation. Follow us back to my family's estate, we can discuss matters safely there." With a nod of appreciation, Rider disappeared from view as did her own servant before linking up with Sella and Leysritt at the park. The trip was made with haste and as soon as they reached the estate, she had went into the study with the two spiritual beings and asked her two maid to not to be disturbed until she was done.
"Rider." A soft voiced called out to her, her original master. She materialized in front of her. Matou Sakura looked at her with concern, her right hand gripping her left forearm, where her command seals were etched into her skin. "Are you alright? I heard you were in a tough fight from onii-san." 'Sakura is truly kind to everyone.' The servant thought as she noticed the respectful tone she laced her words in, even in regards to Shinji, even though he had done those acts to her. It strengthened her resolve and the choice she had made. "I am fine Sakura, you don't need to worry."
Sakura nodded before retreating to her bed for some rest, closing the lights as she did so. Rider vanished from the room and reappeared outside. There in front of the door was one of two men she detested most in this age, Matou Shinji, Sakura's older brother. In his hands were a pair of books and a cruel smirk on his lips. She followed him as he motioned her two and prepared herself for another night of depravity and loss of dignity. Though in her mind she smiled as this turn of events was what she had hoped for.
It was the next night when Berserker informed his master on news from their new ally. The plan was simple, in order to solidify this alliance with Rider would require the usage of all the command used to help keep her on this plane of existence. Doing so would allow Illya to make a pact with Rider and claim a second servant. With Illya being a homunculus, her magical strength was far beyond the reaches of a normal mage and would allow to to go through with this plan with little consequences. With that, both he and his master raced into the city to find Rider. It didn't take long to find her, already locked in battle with the golden haired Saber running up the side and jumping in between the tall buildings. "Berserker, stand by and get ready, I will go and make sure that this will go as planned." With a nod he disappeared and allowed his master to follow the purple haired servant and her opponent.
She huffed as she went up the stairs, the sound of metal clashing getting louder. Her lungs were screaming for oxygen as she moved even faster. It was a hard effort even with the boost from her runes and alchemy enhancing her; her body not suited for such strenuous activity. She took a few moments to gather her breath before heading towards the door. Peeking around the corner she saw Shirou just a few feet away, his servant before she could anywhere else a large gust of wind was being whipped about. There a short distance further was Saber inside the gale. 'Her noble phantasm, she's about to unleash it.' Illya couldn't believe her luck, as the gale died down, Illya could see it and Shirou mouthed out the same words she thought. "A golden...sword?" A shrill cry came from above coming from a white trailblazing comet, no, it was Rider, who had unleashed her own weapon.
It took sheer force of will to look away and go about her task. She would only have a few scant moments to this. Focusing her prana into her body, Illya detected another person on the roof, Rider's information was spot on, her 'master' , Shinji, was on top of the roof with them. Climbing a nearby metal ladder on the side she spotted him hiding behind the water tower, a smirk on his face. 'No doubt arrogant that he would be the winner of this fight.' She thought as she readied her spell.
"EX- - - CALIBUR!"
A great beam of golden light nearly blinded her but that was the signal she needed with quick flick of her wrist she sent a small alchemic avian no bigger than a humming bird towards the books the blue haired teen was holding, as it was about to reach him, it burst into flame crashing into the tomes and set them ablaze. With the act finished Illyasviel jumped down and hid herself between some of the nearby crates. She saw Saber looked extremely tired and slightly pale, and her breathing was hard, this made her curious as that while invoking their Noble Phantasm was tiring it should not have them drained them so extensively, either Saber was hurt more than she let on, or something else was going on. It took a while until she was sure that Shirou had disappeared before she went down as well, unaware of a pair of eyes that had observed her the entire time.
Archer reappeared before his Master and waited as she finished drinking her tea. "Shirou is taking care of Saber right now, so we are alone for the time being." Rin said as she placed down her tea cup. The white haired servant nodded. "Rider is alive." Rin's eyes widened minutely and momentarily before narrowing. "Shirou told me what happened, he isn't the type to lie and Saber is in bad condition. So how is Rider still alive?" "It was due to the machinations of Illyasivel. I had espied her doing something during Saber's battle with Rider."
Rin bit the nail of her thumb at the implication of this information. "So we can assume that Rider herself had allied with Illyasviel and Berserker without consent or knowledge from her master. I don't like this, not one bit. We still have Caster to deal with and there's Lancer as well and Assassin and his master haven't made an appearance just yet." She looked up to her servant. "We will have to wait and help Saber recover. No doubt Caster has chosen the Ryuudoji temple as her fortification if the rumors of a witch at the mountain are true, with Assassin and Lancer beyond our reach and Illyasviel gaining the service of a second servant plus her own we're at a disadvantage."
Archer snorted before seating himself across the table from the brunette. "If you ask me we should cut our ties with the boy and align ourselves with Illyasviel. She seems to be consolidating her power and there's still her mysterious Berserker." Rin shook her head. "Illyasviel might be a better choice but we can can't trust her, with Shirou, we know at least he won't pull anything underhanded against us." She smirked. "He's too naive...too nice, to do that." Rin's smirked turned into a frown. "But that still leaves the question of who Berserker is. I have never heard of a boy who can wield magic, and didn't you notice the way he fought you." Archer nodded as he remembered the short fight. "Yes, controlled, precise, Berserker dictated the pace of the fight. He incapacitated Saber for a short while and was able to surprise me, he kept me at close range so I couldn't use any of my special arrows." "Exactly, he wasn't fighting as a Berserker should. There's just too many things that don't fit with that servant."
Archer grunted as he gave his master a pointed look. "So there really is no choice huh?" Rin closed her eyes and sighed. "Yes, at least for now. We will have to help Saber regain her strength before making our move." Archer remained silent and nothing but the clock on the wall was the only thing making a sound as the two contemplated the situation at hand.
Illyasviel smiled at Rider as she finished the contract ritual. The drain she felt was there but no where as bad as she first summoned Berserker, sometimes she was thankful that she was a homunculus and great stores of mana that came with it. "With this ritual complete, I am now your servant, Master." Rider said as she stood up. "I hope that you will be able to keep your end of the bargain." The tone did not say anything but the implication was there, even with a low skill level of independent action, Rider would extract the deal she had made with her. Illyasviel nodded. "Do not worry Rider, we Einzbern's complete out ends of deals and bargains." The female servant nodded before turning to her first servant. "I thank you as well Berserker," she gave a small smile, "This is the second time you have saved me from death."
Berserker himself gave a sheepish smile and chuckled. "Well, I do what I can to help, though I am surprised the plan had worked, I didn't expect that I would still be able to form Pactios." He then handed Rider a card reminiscent to that of a Tarot Card. The picture on it depicted her riding majestically on top of a dog like being reminiscent of a wolf, but upon closer inspection, the dog had three heads, a cerberus. "Still to allow me to summon such a creature..." "The Artefacts made from the pactios are supposed to represent the characteristics of its wielders, a cerberus may be mighty, the guardian of the underworld, but some legends regard it as being a stalwart creature." Negi explained. "Just remember, you must say 'Adeat' to summon the artefact and 'Abeat' to return to its card form."
"We should rest for now." Illyasviel said. "My body is still adjusting to Rider and it has been rather tiring since the start of the war." As if on cue both Sella and Leysritt entered the study. "Mistress, Leysritt and I have dinner prepared." Illya nodded. "Thank you, you two. Berserker, Rider, won't you two join me, though, Rider, you may want to change into something more fitting for dinning." She motioned to the the two servants as she left the room, missing the brief glance the two maids shot to Berserker. They were happy that Illyasviel was opening up to others more that she would invite them to dine with her, even if it was non-human companions. "Miss Rider, please follow us so that we may acquire something for you to wear tonight. "Uh, Y-yes, of course." Rider, not expecting this, followed suit leaving Berserker to follow after his master.
Berserker sat beside his master as they patiently waited for Rider to appeared. Though he was a bit surprised that the bear he, Sella and Leysritt made was sitting on a chair next to the albino girl. He inwardly smiled. The doors to the dinning room were opened and Rider came into view. She was dressed in a strapless black dress, which hugged her figure and showed enough skin to be quite tasteful but covered enough to preserve her modesty and dignity. Her purple hair was done up into a long and elegant ponytail and the simple glasses she wore matched the dress and gave her and elegant and mature air. 'No doubt those glasses help keep her eyes in check.' Negi thought as he once again encountered the purple eyes with square irises, recalling the effect they had on him.
As how he had been instructed in life, Negi stood up and pulled out the chair from the opposite from where he was seated at Illyasviel's right with her at the head of the table. "Thank you." with a murmured thanks to her new partner, Rider took a seat and waited as Berserker himself took a seat, he noticed the small glance Rider gave the bear and the small smile it elicited from her. Soon dinner was served and the three ate in silence, this continued through dessert, until the three were having their after dinner tea. "Pardon me for asking Berserker, but may I ask what your story is?" Rider asked, having to keep the situation civil. "Please, call me Negi, Rider-san. As to your question, it is quite a long story, one you might find a bit hard to believe even for you." "I don't mind, if master will not." The two looked at Illyasviel who just nodded silently whilst drinking her tea. Negi smiled at the acceptance before looking at Medusa. "Well, even if you don't mind, the story is still quire long. Still, I might have a way to make things a bit easier." Negi then started to mutter something.
"O spiritus árbitrum, Exaudi vocant, Auxilium peto, Aliis exhibere quod vidi quod habui et dabo coram me."
The two women were given a sight to see as the the room disappeared into a swirl of color and images of his life, he's beginnings, his inspiration to be what he was now, his trials, his tribulations, his end. Through it all, the two watched in awe and fascination on the sheer grit and determination one so young would bring out. By the time the impromptu film viewing ended, Rider and Illyasviel were both silent. "That's basically my life in a nutshell." He said in a small chuckle as he brought his tea to his lips and took a sip of the liquid.
For Medusa, the memories she had viewed were a bit humbling, to her at least. In her life she lashed out on others to protect herself and her sisters, only for those she cherished most to meet their end by her own hands. It wasn't the happiest of existence but at least it was long and she had enjoyed it for the most she could. Her fellow servant's life was not even a tenth of hers and yet he made the most of it, changed a world, even at the expense of his very life and existence. Where young babes would be out playing with friends and being with their families, Negi was out battling beings of who would've turned normal humans, maybe even magi to paste. His childhood while happy, were not full of fun and games but of sleepless nights studying and practicing to live up to the mantle of his father, unaware of how he would carve his own legend at the end. 'For one so young, in the face of adversity, could so such strength, he is truly worthy to be given a title of hero.' Rider thought.
Illyasviel looked at the teddie she had clasped in her hands the entire time of viewing. She didn't really know what to think. Her time with her parents were short, but at least she had them. For her first servant, he had not such a luxury, at best he was being a given a small mockery of an existence in a eternal paradise, which he denied himself and fought against the tide of fate to protect the people of two worlds.
"Do you regret anything?" she asked him. Negi thought about it, looking at his reflection in the clear brown liquid he was drinking pensively. He closed his eyes and smiled. "No, I did not regret my choices, they were mine to make and mine to live by, and in the end, I had accomplished what I had set out to do." "Negi, the war, the servants themselves may be able to fulfill any wish should they win the war." Rider told Negi, the ramblings she had had overheard back at her stay at the Matou household, the implication hanging in the air. "It would be wasted on me. I have nothing left to wish for, and I doubt that even the grail itself to have an affect on a world different from where it is situated in. I had no regrets and now I am here to help master reach her goal, no matter what it may be, and now that you are here, to help you as well." He added a smile at the end.
The two ended dinner without more to say, each one retired for the night. One on the roof to reflect on she had witnessed and the thoughts about the boy servant. Another in her room, plush bear clutched against her chest as she remembered her parents and the time she spent with them, cherishing them more strongly than she ever did, smiling at all the good times that had past and would stay in her heart. While Negi left the building to wander.
Emiya Shirou sighed as he sat down on the bench, grocery bags beside him, head bent back to rest against the backrest; it had been rough taking care of Saber after the battle with Rider. After tending to her, Rin had sent him out to get groceries to prepare for dinner while she would help looking after the blonde knight. "Yen for your thoughts?" Shirou sat up straight and found himself staring into the eyes of a familiar figure. He broke out into a cold sweat, it was Berserker. The small servant smiled and sat down next to him. "Don't worry, my master is at home resting. She has been pushing herself since we have arrived from Germany." The servant explained as he looked up into the night sky. "I was just taking a walk when I saw you." he explained to the unasked question Shirou had on his mind.
The teen hummed. "I guess even heroic spirits enjoy walks as well." Berserker looked hummed as well. "I am not sure about the others. This was just something I did from time to time when I was alive when I would want to ponder on some things." "How old were you when... you know..." Saber's master let the question hang, a little bit of awkwardness creeping into the air. "I was ten, well, nine if you want to be technical about it." Berserker answered simply. "I chose my path and followed it without regrets, there were pains as well as triumphs. I did not do it because I wanted fame or recognition, at first I did it to follow in my father's footstep and later on it became more. I ended up carving my own legend, even if it was not my intention." "It must've been hard for you." "It was, but I had friends, people to support me and keep me from straying when the burden started to overcome me."
Berserker's eyesight followed the grocery bags. "I assume you were on your way to prepare some food." Shirou nodded and sighed with a small smile. "Yeah, the people I am living with can be quite demanding sometimes." Berserker gave him an odd look. "Girls?" Shirou nodded. "Girls." Let it not be said that man, hero or not, could still not fathom the minds of those of the fairer sex. The two chuckled.
"Well I better get going." Shirou felt a little at ease with the somewhat strange servant, the fatigue from the earlier battle with Rider and the nursing of his servant disappearing. As he took his first step Berserker said. "Emiya Shirou, my master is not as bad as she seems. You may not know it but the two of you are connected, by the same man who took you in; and while I enjoyed this impromptu chat, heed this, the next time we meet, if my master wills it so, I will kill you." Shirou did not say anything but nodded and continued walking.
Berserker watched as Shirou rounded the corner before addressing another who had kept himself hidden this entire time. "Are you going to come out... Archer?" The red knight appeared in front of him but he made no instant move, though the red knight highly doubted the boy was defenseless in any measure. "I was wondering if you were going shoot your arrow at me or at Shirou." The boy said as he stood up from the bench. "I was under orders from my master to look out for the boy, foolish as the request was." "You have questions no doubt, something tells me you were not expecting me, and not in the sense that I was summoned for the Berserker class."
The tanned skinned hero raised an eyebrow but a smirk was playing on his lips. "Oh, aren't you quite the astute one boy." He said mockingly, then his face turned serious. "Tell me did you happen to meet one Kishua Zeltrech Schweinorg?" "Oh, are you a traveller as well?" Archer just grunted. "To an extent." "Then to answer your question, yes I have." "Then that answers the rest of what I had in mind to ask."
Once again Archer smirked, the air around them seemed to still. "You know, these are the times I really love the Independent Action my class provides." The enigmatic knight said as his twin falchions appeared in his hands. "I can always say I did this under her orders, that and it would put the boy on the spot with Rin." Berserker said nothing as he readied himself; feet spaced apart, magic crackling around his fists.
To be continued...
Geez this took a while. Hopefully I got this chapter right. Anyway, it took so long because of a few things. One, real life. Two, writer's block, had to scrap the first one because characters were going out of whack without me trying. Three, trying to get rid of ideas for other stories, I will most likely set up a separate fic that will feature several CH 1s for you to view, just so I can get rid of them from my head.
Anyway thanks to those who are supporting me, and read and review if you can (or want). Flamers will just be ignored and used to light my incense.
Dminion signing off...
1. Oh spirits of the mind and heart; Hear my call; I ask for help; To show others what I have seen what I have experienced and give them the sight I had