I do not own Harry Potter or Fate/Stay Night. Those belong to their respective creators and not me. I am only writing this for fun and if you don't like it then that's too bad but if you do enjoy it, I hope you'll continue reading it as more chapters come out.
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Chapter 11: Breaking All The Rules
Rin Tohsaka was not a happy woman at the moment as she laid back in Shirou's arms, alongside Arturia, to bring some measure of relaxation for the night. Her lover had a way of stroking her hair that she loved and made her relax, although she wouldn't admit to it verbally to anyone. She needed it after her ordeal, being targeted by Assassin before being rescued by Archer and then subsequently losing him after that idiot Filch decided to come wandering about ready to blame everything on the resident poltergeist. It was a decent enough cover, so rather than stick around and stage and/or repair the scene like she would have in the Fifth Grail War, she merely let it be and ran.
'Damn blood-sucker,' Rin silently cursed her teacher, easily seeing his hand in her current situation.
When Rin first received her offer of teaching at Hogwarts, she had secretly been rather reluctant since it also seemed like a Grail War had started up without anyone's knowledge in London. As a Tohsaka, one of the three families who started the Grail Wars, she felt a responsibility to try and figure out what was going on. However, Zelretch had been the one to suggest her for the role and as much as Rin absolutely hated the old bloodsucker, she more or less understood that he wanted her to be at Hogwarts. She could have said no, but the Master of the 2nd True Magic had ways of people complying with his orders, the least of which would be stranding her in a world where everyone was nude, fat, and hairy for a few weeks to make her more compliant. In light of knowing Lancelot, Bertilak, Archer, and Assassin were at Hogwarts, Rin found that Zelretch had wanted her in the thick of things rather than out of the way like she had initially thought.
She conveyed her story to Shirou and Arturia, both growing immensely concerned. Hassan-I Sabbah was a legendary killer, no matter which generation, and being their target when not a Servant was practically a death sentence. Why her Master would order Rin's death they had no idea, yet. Thankfully Rin was one of those rare people who could hold up to a Servant, for at least a little while. She had gone toe to toe against Medea during the Fifth Grail War and managed to keep it a stalemate, before Caster's Master promptly kicked her ass. She still didn't like talking about it.
Something that was sticking out in Rin's mind though was how…minimal the collateral damage was so far. Granted, fighting who they assumed was Lancer in Diagon Alley didn't allot to a whole lot of damage, for his Master seemed more concerned with scare tactics and killing than actual battle for the Holy Grail. The Servants on the train likewise didn't do nearly enough damage as she would have expected, and even the battles in the castle so far kept destruction limited to one room instead of a whole wing, or, in the worst case, the whole castle. In Fuyuki City Servant battles brought fourth an immense amount of destruction. Berserker Heracles and Archer EMIYA had obliterated a graveyard in a single clash, never mind the damage Arturia and Heracles did to the streets before they actually got to the graveyard. Ilya's mansion was more or less a ruin, if not rubble, after Gilgamesh and Heracles had their brawl. EMIYA and Lancer Cu Chulainn ripped up the grounds outside Kotomine's church during their clash, never mind what the fighting in the basement between weird Masters and three Servants did. Ryuudou Temple was more or less crushed during their final clash with Gilgamesh and the destruction of the corrupted Grail. Compared to that, everything that was happening in London was positively tame.
'Either the Servants are holding back, or someone has tampered with the Grail while starting this War and severely weakened them,' Rin thought to herself as she listened to Shirou's heartbeat.
The tampering idea had some merit. Like many others in the Magus Association, she knew about the sham of a Grail War that went on in America. The yanks obviously had only the barest clues of what they were doing and certainly had no finesse in their magecraft. Honestly, some of their Servants weren't even human or didn't have a solid form. A Lancer that didn't have a lance, a Hassan-I-Sabbah no one heard of, and they even lost the Saber Class entirely. It was a failure of a ritual no matter how much the American branch of the Association insisted that it was a successful Grail War. The lack of raw power being exhibited by the Servants at Hogwarts could certainly be explained by an improperly crafted Grail War.
The holding back theory also seemed plausible. Bertilak and Arturia were knights, and were definitely not interested in harming children like they could have if they fought on top of the Hogwarts Express without restraint. The same could be said for the Green Knight and Lancelot when they fought it out in the Great Hall. Of course, it was likely that their Masters were in the school as well, so fighting hard enough to bring down the castle likely wouldn't have been the best of ideas.
She involuntarily shuddered at the thought what would happen when a Servant who didn't hold back appeared, or the Masters decided to stop playing nice, if that was indeed the case.
Dolores Umbridge sat at her writing desk, working on her letter which would detail what she had discovered about what was going on in Hogwarts. So far it was mostly just pomp and flowery wording meant to subtly praise Fudge for all of his 'hard work' and 'moral fortitude'. She outlined things she found suspicious and things she personally felt could be culled for the good of Magical Britain. Most of those things involved students reading what she considered the wrong kinds of books, the numerous clubs that didn't seem to hold any practical purpose in her opinion, like gobstones or exploding snap (never mind the fact that she always lost those games growing up, never scoring a win even once). She even wrote up recommendations on proper conduct and dress code as she noted no student in the hall paid her proper respect (I.E. said hello and giving her a smile every time they saw her), and that they wore ridiculous (in her opinion) jewelery in their hair or around their necks. Basically, she was basing her recommendations on her own pureblood and pro-human/anti-everything else standards, which would have gotten her fired, at least, anywhere else but the Ministry of Magic.
Despite her obviously biased and archaic views, which she was currently attempting to convince the minister to back, they were only the most obvious things that she could actually get at, basically everything the students were allowed to see, and nothing else. She may have been the representative for the Ministry, but in Hogwarts that truly didn't mean too much. She didn't have a true capacity in the school and that in turn meant she wasn't allowed to access anything without the headmaster or teachers' permission, such as their offices, private rooms, personal histories, or anything that would give her the proof she needed to get Dumbledore out of a position of influence and keep him from corrupting the minds of innocent students.
The original plan was to have Umbridge become the DADA teacher so she could personally see to it that the students were put on the proper track. There was no war, the Dark Lord was not back, there was absolutely no need for them to learn the offensive spells that she and the ministry knew from those dark days! Fudge even managed to make an educational decree stating that if the headmaster of Hogwarts couldn't find a suitable teacher, the ministry would supply one. It was a perfect opening for her to begin her search for incriminating evidence. Still, with how perfect the setup was Dumbledore managed to ruin it all by simply finding someone in time!
Rin Tohsaka and her assistants were a huge source of aggravation for the ministry toad. First of all was the fact that two of the three Dumbledore had hired were foreigners, something which, while not illegal (something Umbridge was determined to get the minister to fix), was something of a blow to national pride, a blow Umbridge could not afford. Britain was one of the most powerful magical countries in the world as far as she was concerned, and she wasn't about to let some uppity foreign bitch ruin that! While Miss Pendragon was a tad more acceptable, the fact that she kowtowed to the Asian woman was just an insult! Worst of all, all three of them dressed up like muggles! Didn't they have any pride in their magic? If one didn't know any better, they could have mistaken the three for muggles! Had it not been for the fact that the DADA teacher used a spell to punish a student, unjustly so in her opinion as she heard it was Lucius Malfoy's son, even she would have mistaken the new professor as a muggle.
So now part of Umbridge's tasks in Hogwarts was to find something which she could use to get the woman and her two followers kicked out, so that she could take the DADA position for herself and finally put the school on the right track! Unfortunately, the same reason she couldn't get anywhere she might find the proof she needed against Dumbledore kept her from finding any against those three. She simply wasn't allowed into the places that held any!
Still, Dolores Umbridge wasn't the type to give up, especially when there were pureblood citizens to protect! It was how she managed to get her bills, that kept dangerous non-humans out of their cities, passed so long ago and she wasn't going to allow Dumbledore and Potter to ruin all of their hard work in creating the society of happy magicals!
Still, Potter himself was just as much a threat as Dumbledore was. Oh the ministry's reporting on his problems and troubled history was cutting down on his believers and keeping the peace. However, when she tried to shut him up for good with some Dementors the plan backfired quite spectacularly. Two were sent out, but only one came back, and what her contact in Azkaban said, it was ranting and raving about some kind of armored monster that killed it's comrade. Even worse, the Ministry of Magical Law Enforcement had clues to the event which all but exonerated Potter for his actions that day. If Amelia Bones ever managed to connect the attack back to her, she could kiss her freedom and her reputation goodbye. Not even Fudge would be able to bail her out, no matter how much he would deny any accusations towards her. Most ministry officials could be 'convinced' to look the other way, especially when certain favors could be done for them in return. Amelia Bones was not one of them.
Still, however Potter managed to kill a Dementor, he had to be stopped before he caused any more chaos with his blatant lies and attention-seeking. If he could kill a Dementor, it was now more important than ever to stop him. Obviously there had to be some dark magic involved to pull off something like that. Of course, no one even considered that, seeing that, despite the ministry's attempts to bring his mental instability to light , Harry Potter was still The-Boy-Who-Lived, and such a lot of people wouldn't believe he could do something so dark no matter how much the ministry tried to tell the truth.
Well, it was only a matter of time before the truth was revealed.
Then Potter and Dumbledore would burn for their lies.
Gryffindor Common Room
Harry and Hermione were having a meeting in the common room, alone with their Servants. Archer had only just returned from a scuffle with Servant Assassin, who seemed to have tried to kill Professor Tohsaka only a short time ago. From what the green bowman said, the woman had stood up for herself rather admirably, actually forcing the female killer back before Archer arrived and decided to lend a hand. What worried the trio and their Servants though was the fact that their DADA teacher knew about the Holy Grail War and about Servants. So the Golden Trio of Gryffindor were trying to brainstorm and figure out what this may mean for them.
Since nobody else was in the common room at the late hour, the three students had managed to grab some prime seating by the fireplace which would, on the off chance that someone came down, allow the crackling flames to cover their words as long as they were quiet enough. Saber had taken a protective position behind Harry, his armor blending into the shadows the flames cast, and even the sections they did light up looked more like they were absorbing the light than being illuminated by it. Archer was sitting on a footrest, still picking his teeth with an arrowhead.
"OK, so Prof. Tohsaka and likely her assistants know about the Grail War," said Hermione worriedly, trying to get her thoughts in order.
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised," said Archer. "The Association are well aware of the War. It's not a big deal unless they interfere."
"But that's just the thing!" Hermione insisted. "The Magus Association and The Ministry of Magic hate each other! All of the research I did into their organization told me that the Ministry considers the Association to be filled with heretics who stray from the teachings of Merlin while the Association considers the Ministry to be filled with stagnant and ignorant fools who just aren't going to amount to anything magically! There's no way the Ministry would allow someone from the Association anywhere near Hogwarts!"
It took a fair bit of Harry's self control not to snort at the mention of Merlin and how Magical Britain seemed to worship the man. Saber, or rather Lancelot, had regaled his Master on the magus who was so famous even muggles knew about him. Lancelot had explained that Merlin had something of an odd sense of humor and would constantly cause chaos in Camelot for the sake of having something to do. Hearing about the many strange pranks the old man would play made Harry realize just where the complete lack of common sense in the wizarding world had come from. Honestly, hearing about a man who according to Lancelot gave a woman working male nether-bits just to see what would happen had to have a few screws loose. Too bad the Ministry had to follow his loopy thought processes so closely when it came to the important things.
"Well…" Ron began. "Didn't you say that there was supposed to be some kind of referee or something for this Holy Grail War? Maybe she hid her past to get into Hogwarts so she could do her job?"
Hermione blinked and pondered the option, but then she shook her head, "No, that doesn't make sense. How would she even know that so many of the Servants would end up here?"
"Don't underestimate the systems behind the Grail Wars," Saber spoke up. "We all received knowledge on this time period and the things concerning it from the Grail when we were summoned. If the Grail recognized this woman as the moderator, then she would also receive knowledge about where the majority of the battles were to take place. She'd know who the Masters are and where the battlefields were to be, as well as the times fights were to begin."
"She seems a bit too young to receive such a responsibility," countered Hermione. "I always thought it'd be someone older, wiser and more experienced. Like Dumbledore."
"Responsibility is not determined by age," Saber retorted. "If one has the talent, the drive, and the work ethic then that is all that is needed to be chosen for a task. You should not be so quick to call one unprepared simply because they do not look like wizened old men or women."
Hermione sighed. Saber had a point there. A person's age didn't really mean much when it came to being a given task. Age didn't equate to experience, after all. As much as she hated to disrespect a teacher, she had to admit that Professor Binns certainly had the age, but it didn't seem to make him any better a teacher. While she thought his history lessons were fascinating, he had a habit of rambling on the subjects he was familiar with rather than the ones the students needed to know. He also wasn't very good at presenting it, what with how the students kept falling asleep during his talks. And that was just someone she respected in Hogwarts, never mind somebody who was supposed to be experienced and in control like the Minister of Magic, which Fudge was clearly not.
Archer sighed and clasped his arrowhead in his hand, apparently finished cleaning his teeth with it, "Well, as long as they don't get in the way, I don't have a problem with them. And that new Professor for your DADA class is quite the looker, so I'd let her slide for now." He finished with an impish grin that made him look all the more related to the Weasley Twins.
Hermione threw a scowl at the redhead, making him chuckle. Even with Archer's comments, her mind was firing, trying to think of something to deal with the situation. Since Professor Tohsaka knew about the Grail War, could that mean she was a Master, or was she the moderator that had yet to make an appearance? If it was the latter, then all of her and Harry's questions could be answered concerning the finer details of their situation. On the other hand, she could very well be the as of yet unknown Master of either Caster, or Rider, or even of Berserker or Lancer. If that was true, then they'd be walking straight into a trap. Since Harry and herself had both insisted that their Servants need not follow them all over the castle during the day, they'd have to rely on their own talents against a legendary figure turned Servant.
With that line of thought, Hermione decided to ask a question, "Archer, if Harry or I were faced with a Servant on our own, how would we best deal with the situation?"
"How?" Archer blinked. "That's easy, run. There's absolutely no way you'd be able to take on one of us and live."
"But…didn't Professor Tohsaka do that?" asked Harry.
"Master, you must understand something," Saber explained. "We Servants are more than just humans who are empowered by magic and hold our Noble Phantasms. We are Heroic Spirits, symbols of strength that people strive for, symbols of hope in times of darkness, symbols of heroism that very few people have ever achieved. We are empowered by our legends and that worship of our names makes us even more powerful, allowing us greater strength, better skill, and more power than we ever had in our lifetimes. We are the enshrined idols people place on a pedestal. We are very much beyond what regular humans are capable of."
"Right," Archer agreed. "You'd have to train yourself to a ridiculous amount or hold some kind of divine skill in order to be able to compete with us for any length of time, much less have a decent shot of winning in a fight."
"But Professor Tohsaka was able to fight Assassin!" Hermione protested.
"Yes, but Assassins are legendary for their ability to kill, defy logic in how they're able to do it, and skills which could be considered supernatural or inhumane," Archer replied, pointing his arrowhead at Hermione. "In short, Assassins are not front-line fighters. They aren't that good at it. They can fight, but their best bet is to simply take out an opponent from behind or some other kind of sneaky trick. Out of any Servant that exists, Assassins are the only ones a fully trained magus may have a chance of surviving against. The rest of us Servants know fully well what battle is like and survived a lot of fights before we joined the Throne of Heroes."
"So we don't stand a chance against a Servant then," Harry slumped.
"Very little, if any at all," Saber nodded, before looking at the group. "Still, if Assassin attacked this woman head on then likely her Master forced her to do it. That would mean whoever that is would be inexperienced in a fight and does not know how to properly use their Servant's skills."
"You think so?" asked Ron. "Bloody hell then we'd have a chance of taking her down then!"
"Do you think it might be one of the students then?" asked Harry. "I mean, all of the teachers are fully trained and went through the first war with Voldemort, so they'd know how to fight. Not very many of the students would know how to do that beyond throwing a hex or two."
"True, but how many students go to Hogwarts?" Hermione reminded her friend. "It would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and Assassin could very well try to kill us before we can even find a clue."
"Yet search for a clue we must," Saber nodded. "But in the meantime, you three should try not to make yourselves look suspicious. Assassin likely does not know who any of the other Masters are, so we shouldn't make it look as if her appearance has put us on edge."
"Bit of a risk there isn't it?" asked Archer. "If we follow our Masters astralized Assassin would still be able to see us. Your solution seems to be to hang back and not let anybody know we're sticking with anybody."
"It is a risk," Saber admitted. "But there isn't much Assassin can do during the daylight hours without revealing herself to the school population, and that is something none of us dare risk. After sundown is when we will have to follow our Masters, as with less people around it will be a more preferable time for her to strike."
"True," Hermione sighed. "We'll see how it works in the morning though. I need to go to bed. As important as this is, I do not want it to ruin my grades." Standing up, Hermione headed for the girls dormitories. Archer astralized himself and followed behind her. Saber, Harry, and Ron were left behind to watch the pair go.
"She still needs to sort out her priorities," Ron sighed.
Assassin leaned back on a tower above the school, allowing the cool night air to wash over her body and at least try to soothe her temper. She was in need of calming; she was annoyed and pissed. As an assassin, her forte was subterfuge and killing without being seen or exposed. She was silent, she was stealthy, and she could kill her target and leave absolutely no trace about how she had done it. However, her current 'Master' didn't seem to understand the concept of stealth and had used her to commit petty revenge which did not go as planned. He had forced her to attack a target neither of them knew anything about and it had all gone very wrong. Her existence in this school for magi had been exposed and now all of the Servants that were residing in the walls were going to be on the lookout for her. All thanks to a spoiled brat she was forced to call her Master that didn't have the first idea just how the Holy Grail War was meant to be fought.
Maybe she would get lucky and he would get killed off. At least her previous Master, as spineless as he was towards Berserker's Master, understood the application of tactics. Hopefully the boy had enough common sense to not pester her with his petty grudges, lest she stab him on principle.
The next day was particularly dreary as rain moved in during the previous night. For once, to Harry's pleasant surprise, the daily gossip wasn't in fact about him and his apparent mental maladies, but more focused on how one of the hallways had apparently been destroyed with what looked like some kind of explosive spells. Many of the students merely put it down as one of Peeves' pranks to kick off the new school year. Some of the Slytherin students reported that the Bloody Baron gave him hell for it, but the poltergeist proclaimed his innocence (although he would like to shake the hand of who actually did it). The Slytherins then tried to paint Harry as the one who did it in a fit of delusion, but since Harry had been in the Gryffindor Tower all night, that quickly died out.
Harry cast his glance up at the Teacher's Table to see how the resident authorities were handling everything. McGonagall was whispering to Dumbledore about something and looking quite uneasy about it. At the far end Umbridge was smirking to herself like a cat who had just spotted a canary and was all but poised to try and nab it. Likely she had managed to get wind of what happened and was now trying to figure out how to use it to discredit Dumbledore even further. Most of Harry's attention though was aimed on the spaces filled by Professors Grubby-Plank and Tohsaka along with her assistants. Hagrid had yet to return and it was making Harry uneasy, especially with current events such as Voldemort's return and the Holy Grail War. Professor Tohsaka on the other hand was as cool as could be with the rumors flying about, eating her breakfast as if she hadn't been in a fight against a legendary killer. Mr. Emiya and Miss Pendragon were just as relaxed, either they hadn't been told about what their employer had gone through or they did and were playing it cool as well.
"Umbridge is going to eat this up," Ron muttered. "Look at her, she's looking like she's just been confirmed for the Order of Merlin."
"She's been asking all of the students questions," Neville spoke up. "She's been telling them to go right to her if someone starts talking about Voldemort. She's all but asking them to spy on you Harry."
"Figures," Harry sighed, once again feeling his irritation grow at the lengths the government would go to so they could avoid dealing with the issues and instead stew in their own outdated ideals and practices.
"Best ignore it for now," Hermione offered before looking at Harry. "We have other concerns at the moment."
"Right, right," the bespectacled wizard agreed.
Breakfast ended soon enough, and everyone headed off for their classes. Once again the teachers seemed determined to prepare them for their OWL exams by any means necessary. McGonagall actually began teaching them Vanishing Spells, which were likely going to be the most difficult spell to learn and be tested on during their examinations. Hermione was the only one who could pull it off, but Ron swore his snail, the target of practice, had gotten paler. Harry hadn't even gotten far enough to even say that.
Care of Magical Creatures rolled around and Harry was half-dreading it. On one hand, Hagrid wasn't going to be there and it just never felt the same to him without the friendly half-giant. Of course, they had to take the class with the Slytherins and ever since they started it in their third year, Malfoy never missed an opportunity to make some snide remark about how bad a teacher Hagrid was. Of course the little ponce's masterpiece in the class was when he insulted a Hippogriff even after Hagrid warned his students quite clearly that it was the absolute worst thing to do. As expected, Malfoy got injured and then went whining to daddy to get poor Buckbeak lined up for execution all the while milking an injury for weeks when Madam Pomfrey had likely healed it in a heartbeat.
The class met near Hagrid's cabin like always, meeting Professor Grubby-Plank. Of course Saber and Archer were following as they were, but were hanging back further than usual, keeping hidden as if they were visible to prevent any other Servants from guessing who their Masters were. The woman stood next to a long trestle table that seemed to be filled to the brim with piles of twigs. The Slytherins arrived as usual with Malfoy in the middle, surrounded by his band of suck-ups, a proud Prefect badge attached to the front of his robes. He looked like he was about to come in with a swagger as always, but when he got close enough he seemed to just slow his pace and began looking around. Harry raised an eyebrow, wondering what had snapped Malfoy out of his usual boundless arrogance. His entourage seemed likewise confused as Pansy gripped his arm and began asking him if he was alright.
"Heh, look at him," Ron grinned. "The git's probably afraid to get close in case something bites him."
"If only we were so lucky," Harry muttered.
"Right, is this everyone then?" asked Grubby-Plank. "Good. Now can anyone tell me what these are?"
Predictably, Hermione's hand went up with a few other. Pansy made a hopping motion with her front teeth sticking out pretending to be an insulting version of Hermione. Plenty of the Slytherins got a chuckle out of it but Pansy promptly shrieked when the bundles of twigs stood up to be revealed as small humanoid creatures with long harp fingers, bark-like skin, beetle eyes, and flat faces.
"Bowtruckles," Hermione answered. "Tree guardians. You can usually find them living in wand trees, and they are fiercely protective of them."
"Five points for Gryffindor," Grubby-Plank smiled. "Now can anyone tell-By Merlin!"
The teacher's sudden outcry came when the Bowtruckles all stiffened as if shocked before promptly leaping off the table and running in a certain direction. The majority of the students were certainly confused about the sudden charge of the Bowtruckles when they had been so docile before. Harry and Hermione on the other hand thought their hearts stopped when the Bowtruckles charged straight towards Archer and Saber who were hanging back from the class, concealing themselves from all manner of sight near some of the trees. The tactic would allow Saber and Archer to protect their Masters, but not reveal just who those Masters were in such a large gathering of students.
The Bowtruckles ran straight up to Saber and just seem too pool around him and look up at him as if they were looking at some kind of statue of some sort.
"Friendly little fellows aren't they?" Archer chuckled. "Looks like they like you."
"Hn," Saber sighed.
It took Harry a moment to stop panicking, but then he remembered why the Bowtruckles might react to Saber like they did. Lancelot of the Lake had been raised by the Lady of the Lake before discovering his name and joining Camelot's court. He had been exposed to magic of some of the most powerful all his life, Fae Magic. He'd been raised around it and lived it. His own sword was crafted by the fae to be similar to that of Excalibur. It made sense why magical creatures would be so interested in him.
Why did they have to do it now though?
"Oh...I suppose they just wanted to examine the tree," Grubby-Plank murmured. "Well, I was going to hand them out for you all to care for anyway. May as well go and pick one."
Harry stepped forward towards the Bowtruckles and knelt down with his right hand out, palm up to them. It was a peaceful and inviting gesture towards the creature. They all gazed upon Harry. One gingerly stepped forward and placed its hand upon his. Sensing no ill intent, the Bowtruckle then climbed onto Harry's hand. With a smile, he gently lifted the creature up to return to the class area for the professor's instruction. The Bowtruckle then climbed up Harry's arm to sit upon his shoulder.
"Ah, well done Mr. Potter," Grubby-Plank praised. "You seem to have a way with Bowtuckles."
"Thanks," Harry nodded, but he wasn't sure if it had anything to do with his own skills or if the Bowtruckles could somehow sense he was connected to Saber.
The class was smooth after that. The Bowtruckles were friendly, or at least indifferent so long as the students didn't try anything foolish with them. Some scratches were made on a student or two when the tree guardians were gripped a little too tightly. For all her teasing and arrogance, Pansy was having enough trouble just holding one without grabbing Malfoy's arm for security, only enhancing her spoiled little girl persona.
For once, Harry was feeling good about his school day.
History of Magic
When Ginny had started at Hogwarts, she hadn't been prepared to really believe her brothers about everything that went on in its halls. After all, Fred and George were notorious pranksters who had purposefully messed with Ron about the house sorting before he went to Hogwarts. Heck, she was even able to guess that wrestling a troll was a ridiculous way to sort kids into houses.
One thing which her older brothers told her that unfortunately turned out to be true was Professor Binns and his extremely boring lectures which didn't quite go anywhere. She'd been taking History of Magic for four years now and she never really learned a whole lot of anything beyond giant wars, goblin rebellions, some of the weirder wizards that showed up in history, and maybe some more riots by various other magical breeds. Mostly Ginny just studied the historic periods she needed to know with Luna's help since Binns seemed to keep gravitating towards the periods he seemed most connected to. Maybe death addled him more than he thought?
In any case, the period Ginny sat in that class was usually used to catch up on some of her homework. In this particular case, Ginny was still reading through the book Hermione had let her borrow, the one she had used to get that array drawn that allowed her to take up Archer. Ginny had used the excuse that she wanted the book to read up on the different views of magic of the Magus Association, but Ginny's interest was focused solely on the summoning magic which had brought out Saber and Archer.
Ginny wasn't dense or ignorant, even if the majority of her brothers felt that as the youngest they needed to keep her out of the loop on some of the things that were going on in their lives. As a result, she knew the signs of when someone was trying to hide something from her. Ever since Hermione and Harry showed up in Grimmauld with Saber and Archer in tow, they had been hiding something important. It was pretty big too with how much Harry and Hermione seemed to steal away to discuss things when they had a chance. If had been Harry's upcoming trial, he would have been talking more with the others to try and get ideas on how to beat the charges that were obviously trumped up by Fudge's corrupted regime. Something else was up and only Hermione seemed to know about it; unless you counted Saber and Archer.
Reading the instructions on constructing a summoning array, she knew that the knight and bowman had something to do with the weird things going on lately. Maybe if she tried her hand at summoning she could figure out just what that was.
Luna was busy working in her Herbology lesson, dealing with some of the exotic magical plants. The class was always interesting, even if it didn't involve Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Of course, having Caster in the class made things ever so much easier to understand.
Caster's very presence seemed to make the plants more docile. The Mandrakes which Professor Sprout had been caring for periodically in case of repeated events such as second year were continuously poking their heads out of their pots to gasp at where Caster normally was but then burrow back down when he would glance at them. Plants such as the Venemous Tentacula were as docile as puppies and a small batch of them actually snapped at one another for his attention. Caster had explained that his connection to the natural world made its residents more amicable towards his presence. He called it a Marble Phantasm, getting Luna interested in researching just what that meant.
"So you managed to find a secret chamber?" asked Luna, once again working alone since her schoolmates thought her too Loony to be any help in lessons.
"I did. I believe it is the Chamber of Secrets which you mentioned during your stories about your previous school years," Caster nodded, tapping the leaves of a Mandrake and making it giggle despite being in his spectral form. Nature had a way of perceiving things that humans could not or would not notice.
"How exciting," Luna smiled, carefully pruning her Popping Cactus' thorns. The thorns were excellent for hot spices but getting them could be difficult since the plants were notorious for exploding when mistreated, throwing their thorns in all directions. Thankfully Caster's presence was soothing them. "Imagine the secrets Salazar Slytherin left behind?"
"A Magi's workshop usually holds a plethora of secrets. It's very rare to get into one unless you either kill the magi or are their apprentice. It would be best to solidify our position there and perhaps gain some advantages with anything this Salazar left behind. If nothing else, it would be a perfect place to hide you if things become...unfavorable."
"Maybe, maybe," Luna nodded. "Plenty of time for that later though. I still need to work on that article about your adventure with her majesty's nephew."
"Yes, yes," Caster chuckled. "After your classes though. Now pay attention before you irritate your plant and it pumps you full of thorns."
"Yes, yes," Luna smiled.
Arturia heaved a sigh as she sat at the windowsill in one of the upper floor hallways, giving her a wonderful view of the Hogwarts grounds and some of the classes which were going on down below. Hogwarts had been a nostalgic place for her, bringing her memories of Merlin and some of her more pleasant days of Camelot. Even the suits of armor bowing to her or the portraits giving her due respect if they came from the right time period was another reminder of her days of ruling Britain.
Learning of Lancelot's return served to put her in emotional turmoil. Her guilt in his situation still ate at her, but seeing him again made it all more consuming. When she discovered his identity as Berserker during the Fourth War, she had been willing to let him kill her if it would have helped him ease his guilt over their personal tragedy. Had his master not run out of magic when he did, Arturia was sure that Lancelot would have killed her. Having him die in her arms seemed to bring him some solace, but it broke her heart to know he wouldn't remember it. Still, after everything she dealt with in the Fourth and then Fifth Holy Grail Wars she thought that perhaps she would be permitted to put her past behind her. It seemed that she would have to face it once more. The only saving graces she could think of was that Lancelot was not the Berserker, and she was not one of the combatants in the Grail War this time.
"Praise be to small mercies," she murmured softly to herself. Still, now what was she going to do? She could not ignore the threat of the Grail War taking place with so many children about. There was also the fact that the Grail was still corrupted. She couldn't permit that kind of foul evil to be born into the world. Of course, it was unlikely that all of the Masters would be willing to listen. The Grail's power was incredibly tempting, and not many would be willing to give up on it simply because someone said it was tainted. On the other hand, Archer's rescuing of Rin may have been a sign of his Master permitting him leeway, a sign of trust between Master and Servant. At the very least, Archer's master may be willing to listen if they could find out who that was.
Broadening her senses, Saber tried to pinpoint where any Servants may be in Hogwarts. Unfortunately, all she could really sense was the magical equivalent to static. Unlike that night in the Great Hall where Saber had sensed the battle in progress, this time all Servants that may be in Hogwarts were conserving their prana and thus not turning themselves into beacons of magical power. Unlike Fuyuki which was so modern and mundane it made sensing Servants easy, Hogwarts was steeped in so much magic with the ghosts, the students misfiring spells, the various trinkets the teachers had, and even the enchantments woven into the very castle itself, it muddled Saber's senses to an extent. Should a Servant begin throwing their power around then she would be able to sense it as clear as day, but when they were lying low then she likely wouldn't sense them and would have to rely on her eyes to try and spot them. It made finding the combatants in the War harder, as if being in the building while knowing Assassin was there wasn't hard enough.
'Stay in the present' Arturia mentally commanded herself. 'Assassin can be dealt with. You just need to be diligent and observant. You know that she is here so she has lost one advantage already. She will not be in a rush to lose another.'
Arturia blinked, snapped out of her thoughts before turning to see who had spoken. The source was a pair of students, ones she remembered from some of the classes she and Shirou would assist Rin in. The pair were easy to remember since they giggled a lot in class, usually when they could get a good look at Shirou or when Rin would make one of her lectures.
"Miss Patil. Miss Brown," Arturia nodded. "Can I help you?"
"Well," Lavender spoke up. "We were on our way to Defense when we saw you at the window. We were kind of hoping to ask you a few questions while we walked."
Arturia blinked before looking up to a nearby clock, "Hm. It seems time had gotten away on me. Very well. I will try to answer what questions you have. Please try to remember that my area of expertise is slightly different from your teacher's though."
"Oh yes!" both girls nodded with smiles.
Albus was at the moment busy sending out missives and letters to his various contacts. Half of them were inquiries into Voldemort's movements and activities. Unfortunately, he had received no news on that front. Tom had been keeping his head down to prevent the Ministry from trying to deal with him before he was ready. Speaking of the Ministry, that was what the other half of his letters were about. Fudge's paranoia, denial, and bigotry was causing the man to be completely irrational and make all sorts of plots to try and 'cull' Dumbledore's influence. It seemed he was in the process of trying to make several new edicts to apply mainly to fields that Dumbledore had his hands it.
Albus could only shake his head as he read over the letters from his friends and contacts in the Ministry. Fudge was of course making up all sorts of reasons for his attempts at passing all sorts of new rulings and such, but ones who knew politics, like Dumbledore, could easily tell that Fudge was scrambling to collect as much power as he could so he wouldn't have people questioning him or doubting his ability as a leader.
The venerable Headmaster really should have expected this outcome when Tom managed to pull his return. Cornelius had always put too much stock into purity of blood and never liked looking at a worst-case scenario when he could just ignore it and have someone else deal with it instead. Dumbledore had hoped that with all of the advice that the Minister would ask him for he could perhaps bring Fudge to a better way of thinking, but it seemed that the man's belief in purebloods and the power of gold swayed his decisions in just about everything. Once Fudge got that silver spoon into his mouth he was bound and determined to keep it there by any means necessary, even if it meant being one of the most corrupt ministers that the Wizengamot had ever seen.
Current events weren't helping Dumbldore's current crisis though. Someone or something was destroying portions of Hogwarts in some kind of battle, or perhaps just out of maliciousness. They managed to get the Great Hall repaired before Dolores Umbridge learned that something was wrong, and merely played it off as a student's beginning of the year pranks. Although her demands for...strict punishment with that gleam in her eyes certainly did not give Dumbledore any false notions of the woman's idea of leniency. Unfortunately, she did manage to discover the destruction in the hallway. She didn't make any grand announcements, but the gleam in her eyes was more telling than anything showy she could have done. It was quite plain that she intended to alert the minister of what happened, possibly to use it as ammunition for Fudge to begin implanting more of his edicts on Hogwarts.
What was confusing Dumbledore was why this random destruction was happening. There was no apparent goal to it since the events never ended up anywhere near places where Harry, or any other person of interest, would be found in the late night. The destruction seemed more like collateral instead of anything intentional. If it was intruders of any sort, the wards of the school would have alerted the headmaster to their presence. If it was students in league with the Death Eaters (Merlin forbid) then the portraits and ghosts would have seen something happening and report it. Instead, all of the entities in Hogwarts simply denied seeing anything although Dumbledore was sure they must know something. Still, Albus prided himself on having his wits even after all these years. There were several new faces in Hogwarts that may or may not have had a role in this current mess. He had little reason to doubt Miss Tohsaka or her assistants. Zelretch may have been a meddling coot with one of the strangest senses of humor he had ever seen, but he wasn't so bored with the world that he'd allow someone with malicious tendencies to become his apprentice. Well, not that bored as of yet. The only other suspects he had were the mysterious figures of Saber and Archer who were steadfast in protecting Harry and Hermione.
Dumbledore of course knew about the pair and also some of the things they did in the time they were in Grimmauld Place. He knew how Archer and Saber seemed to be able to penetrate the wards around their headquarters, but also how Saber seemed to take numerous curses, stunners, and jinxes head on without any sort of effect. Archer confessed to have a lesser amount of protection against magic. He also knew about the debacle outside the Ministry of Magic with a figure he was told was called Rider.
He strongly suspected that Harry and Hermione knew what was going on. For whatever reason it was, neither of them were willing to talk about it. Dumbledore didn't blame Harry for it, having been avoiding the young lad for some time now, but with Voldemort's bond with him likely so much stronger now that he returned, he didn't want to risk Harry being turned into an unintentional assassin who would try to kill the venerable headmaster. With Umbridge in the school, she would make sure Harry would be sent to Azkaban and wouldn't bother with a trial, much like with Sirius. What surprised Dumbledore though was that Hermione didn't come forth to volunteer what she knew about what was going on. Hermione was usually fully behind the Order's operations as well as protecting and helping Harry however she could. Naturally this situation had something to do with Harry so why was Hermione not trying to get Harry to come forward, or come forward herself?
Normally Dumbledore was one who believed that forcing students to admit to something always made helping them much more difficult. Unfortunately, the situation was not permitting Dumbledore to go with his usual methods of having his students trust him and come forward. Two parts of the school were highly damaged and it was only fortune that made sure that no one had been hurt. The ones responsible were still in the school or nearby and for the good of all had to be stopped.
Dumbledore hated using Legilimency on people, even when he had no other option, but this was for the greater good...
Ginny walked through the hallways, hoping that her Potions class wouldn't be too horrible before the day's end so she could get to work on her personal pet project. She had managed to swipe some chalk from Professor Binns' classroom so to have something to actually draw the circle she needed on her workspace. The ghost didn't really use it and instead used a spectral stick which had been in his pocket when he died and thus remained with him in death. The book had mentioned that certain materials were better conduits for magic, they called it prana, then others. Metals were some of the best, but things like blood and chalk worked just as well. Not wanting to repeat what she did in first year to the roosters or other animals she decided chalk would just have to be good enough.
Ginny had it all planned out in her head. She needed a large and empty place to draw the circle, as it needed to be a certain size. Apparently numbers were just as important as symbols. Measurements that all had the same numbers were some of the factors which helped in ritualistic spells. She would have to get some Arithmancy-tools to make sure she got everything right. Something this important she didn't want to screw up. It seemed like a complicated spell to do and she'd only get one shot at it during the night. She had everything else she needed, except that she didn't have an empty space for the task, but an empty classroom would likely help with that.
'Just a few hours and I can get to work,' she reminded herself, steeling herself for Snape's classes once again.
Ravenclaw Common Room
The classes finally ended and Luna returned to her room to reflect on the day's lessons as well as check her notes. She was the portrait of calm even when some of her housemates would try to mock her for her belief in creatures no one else believed in. When they tried though, they would suddenly find rugs they were on would shift from people stepping on it and they would trip. Others would be sitting in perfectly good chairs that would inexplicably break, dropping them to the floor. One or two by the fire would suddenly discover cinders landing in their notes, which could catch fire and destroy the parchment the Ravenclaws used to record their precious notes.
"You're rather vindictive, aren't you?" Luna noted, reading her notes. "Thank you for the thought though."
"I am a firm believer in an eye for an eye," Caster replied, twisting his ax on the ground. Luna easily noticed, being quite observant, despite what people thought. Caster was usually as patient as a stone and not prone to fidgeting. If he moved, he usually had a reason for it.
"You seem agitated," she whispered. "Did their words make you angry?"
"I care not what children say so long as they are punished for their rudeness," Caster shook his head. "I feel...something in the air. Something is going to happen very soon, and I believe it will have an impact on the Grail War."
"Oh?" Luna looked up. "Do you think it will be another Servant, or perhaps the moderator?"
"I cannot say," Caster shook his head. "All I am sure of is that a change is in the wind and will be upon us soon."
"How exciting," Luna smiled.
Gryffindor Common Room
The day came to a close and dinner had been served and eaten before the students began heading to bed for some late night reading, or finishing up their homework. The fifth years were already dreading the amount of homework they had to deal with and the OWLs which were oh so far away. The seventh years were in a similar state for their NEWTs. Students were still up in some cases, but they weren't that way for long.
Ginny had been patient though and waited for her housemates to fall asleep. Once she was sure that no one would notice her absence, she got out of bed and pulled on some clothes. Quietly, she collected the book Hermione lent her as well as her Arithmancy tools. Packing them into her schoolbag, she headed down the stairs and into the common room. Glancing about, she saw no one was there. Although she knew that Saber and Archer could make themselves invisible, she just hoped that neither of them were in the common room to rat her out. Darting across the room, she gently opened the door so not to disturb the Fat Lady too badly before stepping out and gently closing the door.
"Ah, finally someone with a little courtesy," the Fat Lady yawned, almost making Ginny shriek in surprise. Apparently unaware of the shock she induced, the portrait continued, "I appreciate your politeness, but I was already awake. Still, I won't make you wait unnecessarily once you come back from your 'appointment'," she finished with a giggle. "I won't tell a soul either."
"Ah...thank you," Ginny mumbled before she began running down the halls.
Ginny kept a sharp eye out for any patrolling teachers, ghosts, or worse, Filch and Mrs. Norris. At least the ghosts in some cases would let you go on your way if they saw you out late at night, though others would be quick to scold you and turn you in for being out of bed after hours. Still, Ginny had both first and second-hand experiences from her brothers and her own wanderings now and then after dark. She knew her way around the school well enough to not get lost anyway.
"Now where can I find an empty classroom?" she frowned to herself. She couldn't use a classroom that was likely going to be in use anytime soon. Someone would likely find evidence of what she did. Getting caught doing something like this wasn't on Ginny's list of priorities. Being out of bed was bad enough, but she wasn't sure what would happen if she got caught using magic like this summoning array she planned to make.
Traversing the hallways and hiding herself in the shadows twice, thinking she saw Filch or Mrs. Norris at the end of the hallway, Ginny found herself in a wing of the school she didn't often find herself in. Usually she'd just travel through it to another one of her classes. Still, she didn't specifically recall any classes actually taking part in that particular area. Ginny immediately began checking the doors to see where they went. Two of them were just walls pretending to be doors and thought it was funny to fool her, one was a broom closet, three were locked, but she finally opened one to find a classroom with desks piled up under white sheets, possibly a room used by the previous DADA teacher that had yet to be cleared out completely, or no one bothered since the turnover rate was so high.
"Perfect!" Ginny grinned.
Sliding inside, she gently shut the door to avoid catching the attention of anything wandering around, be it ghost or portrait. After holding her ear to the door and silently cursing the fact that she hadn't had the foresight to bring an Extendable Ear, she was satisfied that no one was coming down the hallways. She moved to the center of the room and immediately began pushing some of the desks away to make space for herself. The circle was going to be big and she was going to need the room to draw it.
With the desks pushed to the sides, Ginny unpacked her back and began pulling out her Arithmancy measuring tools and the chalk she swiped from Binns. She quickly set to work, marking out the points of the circle before doing her damn best to connect the points to make the best circle she could. Her measuring tools helped her get the size right, all of the measurements being the same number. When she felt she had the outer circle made properly, she took her borrowed book and opened it to the page with her chosen circle in it so she could begin copying it onto the wooden floor of the classroom. She was slightly worried that the gaps between the floorboards would impede her work, but the gaps were not as large as she feared, making the details of the circle able to be drawn without interruption.
Getting onto her knees to begin the detail, she felt a sharp pain in her thigh. Shifting on the spot and trying not to yelp, Ginny reached into her pocket and pulled out one of the few pieces of jewelry she owned. The item looked like a blue scarab set in gold with wings spreading from the sides and a red circle on the scarab's head. It was an Egyptian amulet that Bill had found in one of the tombs he raided for Gringotts. He swore that it was curse-free, which was good enough for her considering his profession. Who it belonged to he wasn't sure since the tomb he found it in was raided by muggles ages ago and the necklace was part of a cache which had been hidden deeper in the tomb where the previous raiders hadn't been able to get to. Unfortunately, the name of the tomb's owner had been lost. Still, Ginny was quite fond of the piece and carried it around even if she had been too shy to actually wear it.
"Forgot that was in there," she sighed, setting the ancient piece down next to the circle. She quickly got back to work, transferring as many of the details from the book onto the floor as possible. The work was hard and before long she was sweating, both from the combined effort and the nerves she felt whenever it sounded like something was walking down the halls. It was way more complicated then drawing a picture of an animal or recreating a diagram for one of her classes. Detail wasn't such a big deal for notes or the little tasks in class where the worst one could expect was some missing house points or a lowered grade. If she got the details wrong in the circle, it may very well blow up in her face, and she was rather fond of her face where it was; thank you very much!
It took her an hour before she was satisfied and the chalk was worn down to a nub. She had to erase certain parts and do them over because she felt the lines weren't straight enough or she missed a detail. Still, she finally managed to complete the circle and feel like she did a commendable job at it. Personally, she felt she owed her success to watching Fred and George try to forge signatures of their teachers or parents for so many years. That was probably where she got her attention to detail.
Standing up and getting the feeling back into her legs, Ginny grabbed the book and began reading over the incantation which was inscribed on the pages next to the circle. Reading instructions, she stepped up to the circle and held out her right hand towards it.
"Silver and Iron to the Origin. Gem and the Archduke of Contracts to the Cornerstone. The Ancestor is my Great Master Schweinorg.
The Alighted Wind becomes a Wall. The Gates in the Four Directions close, coming from the Crown, the Three-Forked Road that leads to the Kingdom Circulate.
Shut (fill). Shut (fill). Shut (fill). Shut (fill). Shut (fill).
Repeat every Five Times."
'Merlin this spell's long,' Ginny thought to herself. Length of the spell aside, she could feel it beginning to work. Fire raced through her body, tracing lines up and down her limps, through her chest, and making a fireball where her heart was. It was like she could feel her magic coursing through her body. It hurt, it hurt more than most pains she felt in her life, like something was actually trying to force her to quit what she was doing, trying to pressure her into stopping. At the same time though, something kept pushing her to continue, like she was breaking some important rule but was getting away with it anyway out of sheer peer pressure.
In front of her, the chalk lines began to glow a pale silver, much beyond what moonlight could do to the color white. The air began to stir into wind, despite no windows being open, making the sheets covering the desks flutter. Still, Ginny pressed on, knowing that she had to get involved in whatever Harry and Hermione were up to with Saber and Archer. That thought allowed her to push on despite the heat and pain.
"Simply, shatter once filled.
Your Self is under Me, my Fate(doom) is in Your Sword.
In accordance with the Resort of the Holy Grail, if you abide by this Feeling, this Reason, then Answer.
Here is my Oath. I am the One who becomes all the Good of the World of the Dead, I am the One who lays out all the Evil of the World of the Dead.
You, Seven Heavens clad in Three Words of Power, arrive from the Ring of Deterrence, O Keeper of the Balance!"
The final words seemed to trigger a reaction. The burning in Ginny's body centered down into her outstretched hand, bringing a red light to the girl's eyes, before the light from the circle rose up into a pillar that turned the room bright white and almost blinded her. In hindsight, she wouldn't have doubted that creatures in the Forbidden Forest had seen the light from the Hogwarts windows. A tearing noise came through her ears, but if it was something actually tearing or her own eardrums Ginny wasn't sure as a wave of force knocked her onto her bottom with a grunt. The wind whipped wildly, causing the sheets to fly in all directions like victims of a tornado. As quickly as the chaos of the spell came though, it ended; leaving Ginny blinded and rubbing her eyes. The taste of smoke was in the air, making her cough in her attempt to breathe.
"Should have *cough* opened a window!" she gagged, getting her breath back. Shaking her head, her eardrums rang from the noise that the spell created while her hand still burned. Rubbing the back of it, she looked down as her eyes adjusted to see red markings looking like a hieroglyph image of a scarab with feathered wings, the scarab itself, and the circle above its head. Running her fingers along the markings, Ginny discovered to her horror that they weren't going away.
"Mum's going to kill me," she groaned.
Standing up in the smoke-filled room, Ginny was ready to run before Filch arrived, no matter how much her body ached. Well, that was until...
"I, Servant Avenger have broken the rules of the Holy Grail War to ask of you...are you my Master?"
Ginny blinked and looked up, realizing that she was not alone in the room anymore. In front of her was someone who had definitely not been there before, and hadn't gotten inside through the door or the windows. That someone was in fact, female. Her hair was colored dark obsidian which came down to her shoulders and was as straight and smooth as a river. Her eyes were an emerald green which stood out against her bronze skin. She first appeared to be of Arabic descent, but a deeper examination of her features would reveal a mix between Arabic and Mediterranean features, of which she quite obviously got the best of both. A golden hoop rested on her head, keeping her hair from her face, decorated on the front of a scarab filled with blue precious stones with bird wings coming out of its sides. Her eyes were decorated with mascara, making them resemble the famous eye hieroglyphs of Egypt. Her torso was covered by golden metal which fit her snugly and accented her gifted figure, but decorated with another image of a winged scarab near her collarbone, and lines of hieroglyphs. Her arms were bare, save for golden bracelets studded with precious stones. In one hand was a long spear decorated with a golden snake circling around it, ending in a sharp point coming out of the snake's mouth. Around her waist she wore a simple white linen skirt which was open at the sides so to allow her legs free movement, her feet protected by simple sandals with straps that wrapped up her legs. Draped on her shoulder was one of the sheets from the desk, making her appear regal as she looked at Ginny with amused anticipation.
Ginny couldn't help but gape. "Bloody hell..."
To Be Continued...
TAIGA DOJO PREVIEW!
"ORYAAAAAAHHHHH!" the kendoka-clad form of Taiga Fujimura screamed as she leaped onto the scene of the Emiya Dojo (which she commandeered) swinging her infamous kendo sword as she went. "FINALLY! I MAKE MY GLORIOUS APPEARANCE INTO THIS STORY!"
"Not so glorious if you ask me," a bloomer-clad Illyasviel von Einzbern commented, following her teacher.
"Of course it's glorious! Fate/Stay Night just isn't the same without ME!" Taiga insisted. "I'm even in Fate/Extra!"
"Ha! Yeah right! I'm an iconic character!" Ilya insisted, huffing while crossing her arms. "I was in Fate/Stay Night AND Fate/Zero! Not to mention in Hollow Ataraxia and my own manga series where I'm a magical girl!"
"GRR! I WAS IN ATARAXIA TOO! I think...I should be..." Taiga mumbled.
"Looks like someone didn't check his sources," Ilya giggled, pointing at the screen. "Shame on you Ten-Faced Paladin! Shame! On! You!"
"Sorry," a kneeling figure wearing ten masks on his head, chest, and arms sitting in a corner spoke, complete with a guilty dark cloud over his head.
"Who's that guy?" Taiga blinked at the figure. Shaking her head, she continued. "Anyway it's about time Paladin got off his butt and updated this story! Going so long without an update is just cruel! Cruel I tell you!"
"Sorry," the masked man mumbled again.
"It couldn't have been that long, could it?" asked Ilya.
"IT WAS SEVEN MONTHS!" Taiga screamed, her voice actually causing Ilya's hair to fly back from the force. "Don't you realize that in fanfiction going seven months without an update is just cruel and unusual mistreatment?-! Think of the fans!"
"It is?" asked Ilya.
"Sorry," the masked man sighed again, the cloud growing bigger.
"Yes!" Taiga nodded in a sage-like manner. "And another thing! Just when the heck and I going to get some face time in this fic huh? I wanna go snog that hottie Sirius Black like Kyugan might let me do in his Herwald von Einzbern stories!"
"I love those stories," Ilya beamed. "I get to live AND I get to have two wonderful brothers!"
"I want my dapper, suave, charming, funny, mysterious, and downright hot Englishman! I want my HOTTIE!" Taiga continued to rant.
"But Sensei," Ilya began. "This story takes place after Fate/Stay Night when Onii-chan, Rin, and Saber all move to England. You're back in Fuyuki. You don't get face time outside of this segment."
"WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?-!" Taiga screamed, her face going into her 'RAWR! Furious' mode. "THAT'S BULLSHIT! I'M NOT GOING TO WASTE MY LIFE AWAY ON PUNKS OJII-SAN WANTS ME TO HOOK UP WITH WHEN MY DASHING MAN IS OVER IN ENGLAND!"
"I don't get face time either," Ilya huffed, covering her ears. "I'm dead!"
"Sorry," the masked man sighed, his cloud starting to rain.
Taiga wasn't listening as she pulled out a cell phone and began dialing a number before bringing it up to her ear, "Hello? Fuyuki International Airport? I want you to book me a ticket to Great Britain as soon as possible! I mean ASAP!"
"This isn't good," Ilya grimaced.
"Ah! You got one? Great! I'm on my way!" Taiga grinned. Hanging up, she reached offscreen before pulling out what looked like a massive over packed suitcase with her kendo sword slipped through the handle. grinning, she ran out of the scene at top speed with a cloud of dust following her. "BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA!"
"This is probably going to turn into an international incident," Ilya groaned. "Oh well. Next Chapter of Fate/Ingens Cor: The Wild Card! Look forward to it. And remember, Ten-Faced Paladin feels bad enough about taking so long so don't flame him or I'll use my Mystic Eyes of Puppies on you!"
"Sorry," the masked man mumbled, a clap of thunder running through his cloud.
"You should be!" Ilya huffed. "Making the poor fans wait!"