Chapter 27: Calm and Storm

I do not own Fate/Stay Night and stuffs:

o. o. o.

Tohsaka residence:

Rin woke up in a dark mood.

This was normally not an uncommon occurrence as the girl was not a morning person in the slightest and could not function without tea or coffee. However, this particular morning her irritation was supplemented by the aching pain in her stomach from the previous night's bout with Bazett, if that one sided beat down could even be considered a bout.

The single blow landed on her had damaged her throughout her body and bruised everything from front to back. Not to mention making it almost agonizing to breathe. And all this was after the amount of time she had wasted trying to heal the original damage.

Biting back a long string of curses, the Tohsaka managed to push herself up into the sitting position and slumped over. "Archer. You better be halfway done with my morning drink or so help me…"

The Servant chuckled as he appeared by her side and chuckled with mild amusement. "Everything is already in place Master. I just need to reheat the water and you'll be in the possession of a soothing cup of your favorite tea."

"Boil it with one of your elemental swords if it'll finish it faster." The girl winced as she held her stomach. "Damn. Did she have to hit me that hard?"

"If she knows you as well as I do, maybe." The spirit shrugged mockingly as he walked out the door. He couldn't dematerialize and go through the building's foundations as the bounded fields there prevented it. "It would be too dangerous to underestimate you after all."

"Shut up Shirou. It's too damn early to deal with your cocky attitude." Rin growled irritably and clenched a fist before relaxing it in defeat and letting out a sigh of depression, aggravating her stomach in the process. "Couldn't you at least take what happened last night more seriously?"

It had been a complete defeat on her part. Archer had been able to hold off Lancer without too much trouble despite the fact that his opponent actually had a legend to boost his power, but Bazett had completely destroyed her. Had the woman not been simply delaying her, Rin was certain that she would have been killed. In fact it was a miracle (no pun intended) that she had managed to not get any ruptured organs in the first place.

Every throb in her stomach was a reminder that she had screwed up and was only alive because her opponent had some sort of plan for her. Personally she didn't believe Archer's retelling of his conversations with Lancer, but the fact that there was something there that made the Hound of Ireland hold back in a fight was enough to at least be a bit more skeptical of what was happening around her.

It didn't help that the man's supposed amnesia once again got in the way of answering any possible questions. The best thing he could get was that there were indeed "issues" with the war, but he could not recall any details. He seemed to be perfectly fine remembering details about Lancer once he laid eyes on the man, but that only seemed to give her the impression that he wouldn't remember anything of use until the subject of said memory or some key event came to pass right in front of him.

It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't clearly enjoy her frustrated reactions every time she reached a dead end. Obviously the future gave him a sadistic sense of humor. For a mere moment, she wondered if this was some sort of divine retribution for her behavior around her Shirou before shoving that thought aside as she heard Archer speak up.

"You're alive. We haven't lost anything of value. And we got more info out of our enemies." The servant shrugged nonchalantly as he disappeared downstairs. "Now if you'll excuse me, I do believe I hear the water boiling downstairs…"

"So help me... if he keeps this up I swear I'm going to use a command seal to force him to get back his memories." The girl growled dangerously as she slowly pushed herself to the side of the bed and let her feet rest on the floor.

Allowing herself some time to get used to the pain in her stomach again, Rin went over more of the previous night, or at least what she could remember. Bazett's blow had left her fading in and out of consciousness for a long time.

She recalled arriving near the Matou residence being surrounded by fire and the local authorities trying to put it out. Thanks to Archer's maneuvering, Rin had gotten to her target: the fire captain managing the situation. The guy was some unremarkable forty something year old man she'd probably never remember, but at the time he was the one person Rin had to get a hold of come hell or high water. She managed to isolate him and hypnotize him and learn that there had been no bodies discovered, which could be a good or bad thing.

Archer had also noted that there had been a long trail of fire and destruction leading away from the house, meaning that there had been at least two servants duking it out for a good while, and one of them had been the one to torch the building before speeding off into the distance. Seeing as the battle lasted a while, it most likely meant that Sakura's Servant had been around for a long time…

Meaning that there was a very good chance her sister was still alive. Her servant couldn't give much of a fight without a power source after all. She was nowhere in the area, but Rin wouldn't have stayed either if her home had gone down in smoke when she was in the middle of a secret war.

Thankfully, despite the Enforcer's claim that Rin could be a bit forgetful at times, the teen had not in fact forgotten to activate the bounded fields around her home and accidentally risk burning her property down, much to its owner's relief. The girl's last conscious moments were of Archer lying her onto her bed before the world went black…

And then went red once more as she dreamed of her friend's future. Always walking forward, helping people and not caring how stupid he looked in the process. He never asked for something in return for his services. No one would do such things for the sake of doing them. … No one but Shirou, but most people did not know that. Most people were not broken like he was, so they distanced themselves from him, and he was further isolated, not that he cared.

It was somewhat odd that he seemed to not wear his shroud around his head in the memories, but she assumed that his identity had been spilled at some point so there was no point in hiding it anymore…

Still, it did not explain why he seemed so… alone. He was always pressing forward. He pushed everyone close to him away eventually, even when they wanted to help him. Sakura. Waver. Bazett. Sirius. Herself. Why were none of them around him as he kept going towards his goal? As she recalled, he seemed to ignore everyone for his goal of being a hero… even if they were the ones he depended on and trusted most. For that impossible selfless dream he had given up everything…while leaving everyone behind.

But… why did it feel as if something was not right with these memories? It was if something about them did not seem to match the Shirou Emiya she knows now. It was almost as if she was…

Her stomach throbbed again, breaking her out of her memories of the past night. She clicked her tongue in irritation. She couldn't even think or sleep properly anymore thanks to the damn war.

Gingerly placing her feet on the ground and standing up, the Tohsaka winced. Despite her best efforts, she apparently had not healed herself as much as she thought. She would have to call in sick today and not go to school, lest Luvia see her in her current condition and try something underhanded…

… Not that she wouldn't do the same thing if the roles were reversed. She was fighting in a war after all.

She paused as the blonde made her way into her thoughts. It was very possible that Luvia was the one that attacked Sakura last night. She knew that the Matou was also a Master, not that it took much deductive reasoning to figure that out, or where she lived, but it was possible. Of course by that logic, any of the other Masters in the war would be as likely to attack her as well… save for Bazett and Shirou. The former had been preoccupied with Rin and the latter would rather die than raise a hand against her or Sakura…

But this still left two other possible culprits with motive other than Luvia. This in turn made the task of trying to figure who did what absolutely pointless, which of course did nothing for Rin's temper.

Sakura hadn't been found at her home to her knowledge, so she was in hiding. Zouken… he could have died in the fire for all she cared. Bazett was still at large and if what Archer said about his spear was true, which she had little doubt about, Lancer had the best Noble Phantasm for killing efficiently ever.

Archer could use it too now that he had seen it, but she knew of her servant's abilities well enough to know that it was pointless to do so against its original user in a straight up fight… still it wouldn't be pointless to showcase the spear's ability to the other enemies. It wasn't as if it was her servant's Noble Phantasm after all…

She was interrupted from her plotting as Archer appeared with her tea. "How odd. You're plotting already and you haven't had anything to wake you up yet." He spoke, reading her stance like an open book.

"Keep talking and I'll be less inclined to account for your safety in my future plans." The brunette grumbled as she began to drink her morning fuel. She was never a morning person and her stomach made her temper even more volatile. As the tea made it's way into her stomach, Rin had to hold back a wince as her tender organs tried to absorb the liquid.

"Duly noted." The spirit smirked. "By the way, given your condition are you going to school today?"

"No. I'm still recovering from last night." The teen narrowed her eyes in irritation. It would ruin her perfect academic record, but it was unfortunately something that would have to be done lest she risk exposing her weakened condition to enemies. "It'll probably take a day or two to ensure that I'm good enough to fight again."

"Very well then." EMIYA shrugged nonchalantly. "So… I guess that you'll be calling the school to tell them that you have stomach pains."

Archer soon realized that Rin did not classify her taking her violent anger out on him as "fighting".

o. o. o.

Emiya Residence:

"Should you be up Sakura?" Rider asked skeptically in spiritual form as the addressed moved around the kitchen to make breakfast.

"So long as I don't make any sudden movements or move too much I should be fine." The Matou went around Shirou's sacred ground with practiced ease, looking for various ingredients. "Ever since I managed to get a better grasp of my powers, I've managed to heal pretty quickly so long as I have access to one of the bounded fields I have set up to supply me with extra mana. Thankfully, Shirou let me set one up here on his property and I tapped into it before I went to bed last night."

"He is quite accommodating for a magus." The spirit commented. "According to my knowledge of the era, most would rather die painfully then allow another to set something like that up in their property."

"Shirou isn't like most magi." Sakura grabbed some onions and peppers and began to chop them up. She was still better than Shirou when it came to western meals, but only by a small margin so she decided to get some more practice in and make some omelets for breakfast. "He cares too much about others to be one, and I'm glad for it…"

"You are lucky to have him as a friend then." Rider knew that her true Master was far more than just "glad" for the Emiya's aid, but she kept the comment to herself and continued to watch the girl continue to cook. "About his condition…"

"We will bring it up, but he will talk about it when he is ready." The girl interrupted in a slightly firm tone. "Shirou would never betray or take advantage of us."

"I have heard of the people say the same thing of the gods when I was alive." The goddess turned monster evenly lectured. "And now the world knows what happened to me and what I am."

Sakura shook her head in denial and a small bit of depression. "You don't understand. Shirou is different than anyone else in a way few people know about. He's… broken. Distorted."

Rider paused in confusion and curiosity. She had not expected this sort of word to describe the boy. "Those are a rather odd choice of words to use."

The girl paused in her chopping. "I know, but it is the best way to describe what he is and why he will not harm me, even if his life is on the line. Do you remember what the Rat muttered yesterday when inspecting him and when he noticed that Shirou would not try to bite me? 'Conflicting subconscious impulses?'"

The Servant paused before connecting the dots. "Whatever was wrong with him before was naturally preventing his moon blood from reacting to you on a fundamental level… I admit, I've never heard of such a thing before. This goes beyond mere self control or influence of attraction."

"Like I said, Shirou is different from most people." Sakura smiled sadly before finishing up the vegetables and getting the eggs out. "He's the only one I can trust completely anymore… so I would appreciate it if you would please stop treating him as a potential enemy."

Rider looked down at Sakura evenly, her face not giving any signs of her thoughts. This girl was so much like her it was terrifying. Slowly being turned into a monster by the one she was entrusted to. Left with little to no allies to trust in save for distant relatives whose concern for your well being was skeptical at best at times. Slowly suffering in silence as your very mind turned against you and the little that you still treasured…

But… but the boy that was now her Master was slowly becoming more relatable as well. He too is slowly turning into a monster against his will, yet he did not seem to care so long as those he treasured was safe. Instead of aiming to preserve himself, he aimed to preserve those he treasured, so much so that even his monstrous side was unable to see them as anything other than allies…

Didn't she once rage and kill to protect her sisters, both unmarked by the passing of time while she aged? When did she start fighting to slaughter instead of to protect? At what point did her mind become that of a monster instead of the divine? How many years had there been between her death and the moment she ate her beloved siblings?

Shirou Emiya. Yes. By the time the war ended, she would come to a conclusion about the boy and what would become of him. Perhaps, if the fates were on her side for once, Sakura would not be the only worthwhile individual she would be able to save…

The loud slam of the front door opening snapped both females out of their musings and caused them to turn and see what on earth the source was. Rider had initially assumed it was a potential enemy, but the lack of prana from that general direction indicated otherwise.

"SHIROU!" The loud and frantic voice of Taiga Fujimura yelled as rapid footsteps were heard approaching the living area. "IT'S TERRIBLE! SAKURA'S HOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND LAST NIGHT ALONG WITH HALF THE FOREST IN THE AREA AND WE CAN'T FIND HER OR ANY BODIES AND I SPENT ALL LAST NIGHT LOOKING FOR HER AND-!"

The woman's foghorn worthy rant came to a screeching halt along with the source's body as the teacher stopped to see Sakura cooking breakfast.

The silence obviously did not last long as the woman dove straight to her student with tears in her eyes, completely ignoring the fact that said girl was cooking with the fire up and there were several knives lying on the counter nearby.


Rider wisely remained silent as Sakura attempted to calm down the ecstatic woman trying to smother her in her grip. It wouldn't do to reveal her presence, and the woman was crying so loudly that Rider doubted that Sakura would be able to hear her anyway.

She was not disappointed that she would be forced to wait in order to eat anything again. Nope. Not in the slightest.

It took a few minutes of attempting to calm down Taiga… and the smell of one ruined burning omelet, before the woman had managed to relax enough to let the girl get back to making breakfast.

"Are you sure you're ok?" Taiga sniffed with watery eyes as she inspected the girl from every angle. "Oh who am I kidding? Of course not. Not after something like that. You poor thing…"

Sakura laughed nervously as she recalled the fact that for a few moments she had almost cut off another person's arm in cold blood and sadistic glee… before she winced and held her stomach. She had recovered a good deal from her injuries, but she was still very sore all over her body and extremely tired. "It's nothing sensei. It's nothing serious."

"Nothing serious my butt!" The teacher roared, already switched into vengeful woman mode. "I don't care if he rescued you and deserves some special reward! You should be the one being waited on hand and foot! When I get my hands on that boy I'm gonna…!"

At that point, divine intervention decided to intervene in the form of Saber opening the door to the main rooms with a calm businesslike demeanor in her jeans and white button up shirt. "If you don't mind, I would appreciate it if you kept your voice down. Shirou is still recovering from last night's events."

"… Huh?" Taiga blinked in utter confusion as she tried to comprehend the presence of this complete stranger and what she just said.

Sakura on the other hand, wisely took this opportunity to get back to cooking and get out of her teacher's radar for the time being.

Saber did not relent as she crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at the taller woman. "I am saying that you are too loud. Shirou is still asleep and recovering from aiding Sakura from last night's ordeal."

"… Huh?" The teacher seemed to shut down as she attempted to make sense of the situation. After all, finding out that your potentially dead student was in another student's home the entire time, and then suddenly being told to be quiet by a young woman, who she has never met before, because other said student was supposedly injured WAS a bit much to sort out all at once.

"Sensei. This is Saber-san." Sakura tried to help things along before Taiga got even more confused. "She's a family friend of Shirou's father from Europe that's staying for a few weeks. She helped Shirou get me out of my home before it was too late."

"You give me too much credit." Saber politely replied. "Shirou did most of the work. I just helped get both of you back to the house."

"Wait wait wait." Taiga shook her head frantically as she attempted to reorganize her thoughts. "Shirou's hurt?! How badly?!"

"He'll be fine in a day or two." The Servant factually answered as she walked to the table and sat down. "He pushed himself too hard and inhaled too much smoke getting Sakura out of the fire, but it's nothing more than that. Be that as it may though, I advise against seeing him now. What he needs most right now is rest."

The teacher relaxed as she heard that her little brother figure was all right. "That's a relief. Shirou's always been a pretty fast healer for some reason, but still running into a burning building is definitely a first for him."

Technically it would be the third time he's done that since working for Barthomelloi, but no one needed to know that.

"Honestly. I thought we managed to get that Hero thing out of his system and then we get this." The woman shook her head in frustration before pausing and laughing apologetically to Sakura. "Ah! Ahahaha! Not that he did the wrong thing mind you! If he didn't you wouldn't be here with us and of course I'm glad for that, but you know… I mean…"

"It's okay Sensei." Sakura smiled genuinely. "I was a bit surprised when he showed up as well."

"Appearing when least expected." Saber noted with a tone of contemplation. "That is indeed something one would expect of Kiritsugu's son."

"Wait a minute…" Taiga paused as she turned onto Saber with a surprising amount of scrutiny. "You! What are your intentions with our loveable but horribly misguided Shirou?"

The blonde raised an eyebrow at the woman's description of her Master. "I have a task in the area that requires my attention and Shirou has been kind enough to lend me a room as my father was an acquaintance of Kiritsugu and pointed me in his direction. Shirou and I were discussing my sleeping arrangements when we were informed of the fire and moved to help Sakura."

The teacher groaned in frustration and massaged her temples. "Just like that you joined him to help out with the fire? Am I going to have to worry about two reckless kids no… wait… SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS?!"

"Sensei! Shirou's resting!" Sakura scolded as if she was the adult in the room.

"I unfortunately did not have any fallback plan regarding my housing when I came here, and I don't have enough funds to get a hotel room and perform my tasks." Saber sighed as if admitting something embarrassing. You had to hand it to her, the King of Knights could definitely twist the truth when she needed to.

"Just how old are you?!" Taiga frustrated spun her arms around childishly, but reducing the sound level of her voice by a few decibels. "You look younger than Sakura! How could a responsible father allow his daughter to travel around the world alone at such a young age?!"

"I don't blame you for your concern." Saber nodded in agreement. "You are not the first to comment on that. Rest assured, I am older than I look and can take care of myself if needed. It is only my housing situation that I require assistance."

"Sensei. Can we please talk about this later this afternoon? If we keep on arguing it will take longer to get breakfast ready and you'll be late for work." Sakura tried to reason diplomatically.

"Urk!" The woman froze as she was caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side was her overwhelming concern for Shirou's well being and her distrust with this woman who seemed to appear out of nowhere. On the other, the girl did help Sakura escape the fire. That and she didn't want to be late for work again.

The rumbling of her stomach several seconds later seemed to push the conflict into a conclusion.

"So we should expect you for dinner then Sensei?" Sakura smiled pleasantly while still focusing on making breakfast.

The teacher cried childishly as she sat down at the table in defeat and kept her head down in defeat. "Yes. I'll be in your care."

Rider couldn't help but shake her head. The previous night both masters and Servants had fought to the death in a secret war, yet that morning they had nearly been thrown out of their second home by a childish woman with no real power whatsoever. This war really was abnormal and different from what she had expected. She still wasn't sure if she liked it or not…

She made no mention of disappointment that she would be delayed in getting her own breakfast either.

o. o. o.


"How sloppy." Gilgamesh commented lazily as he watched Kirei rapidly go over the paperwork that needed to be done in order to cover and explain all the destruction that happened the previous night. "Even if they are nothing compared to me, these paltry Servants still managed to make it to the Throne. They should at least fight as such. To allow so much evidence of their excursions and yet leave not one body in its wake is simply unsightly."

"I agree. The least they could have done was get one of themselves killed in the process." Kirei nodded.

He had expected to have this sort of workload when the war started again, but not until at least the halfway point when the remaining participants started to get a bit more desperate. In fact he was probably doing more now than he did when he was covering up the finale of the fourth war. At least during that event it could almost all be excused as a single massive fire. This however covered three different battles in three different locations with three different types of damage.

The battle by the river's edge he could cover fairly easily as it was mostly just gouges in the earth and destroyed park equipment. Fixing that was easy as it only required blocking off the area for a day while the men under his command cleaned everything up.

The fight in the woods to the south of the city was a bit more difficult to cover up as the area destroyed was far larger than anyone had anticipated. Four square acres of land had been crushed and there were giant claw prints everywhere in it. Even if he taped off the area to prevent hikers and the like from stumbling on it, he would be very hard pressed to prevent satellites and airborne vehicles from flying above and getting a good view of it for long.

Right now he had managed to get men to place a massive bounded field around the area that would prevent people from noticing the area and make electrical devices distort their recordings of the location, however this was only a temporary solution until he could manage to get someone there to either regrow the plant life or come up with some clever way to explain the damage.

His biggest pain though was with the battle that started at the Matou property and extended halfway to the nearest town. Explaining and covering the damage from this one was proving to be a handful. The fighting had been done on a road that was used more often than not, and the damage was so varied and spread out over miles of road that there was no way to simply just blame it on an earthquake or other natural disaster. Mix in the extensive damage done to the Matou home and the forest across the street from it and he might as well claim that a "magic bullet" did it.

… Or in this case, a "magic" runaway eighteen wheeler towing volatile experimental rocket fuel, starting from the end of the battle and conveniently making its way miles down the road while hitting virtually everything in its path until it plowed through the woods in front of the Matou residence, u-turned, and then crashed into the building itself, blowing it all to kingdom come. The unfortunately deceased driver, whose body was destroyed in the explosion so he was never properly identified or found, was suspected to have overdosed on some sort of illegal drug or two, had been completely unaware of his load's immolated state until he was in front of said property.

It was a paltry excuse at best, but luckily no one but his men would look closely at the damaged area and write up the reports, so he was given some legroom to make some believable evidence at least.

It also gave him a bit of satisfaction to see Zouken's home burn to the ground for such a stupid reason. Should the creature still be alive, he would no doubt be tweaked to hear that his property was publicly thought to have been destroyed by an addled fool.

"Indeed." Gilgamesh nodded absently while staring up at the ceiling in thought. "Had I not been as generous as I am, I would have gone out myself to rectify this mistake."

The priest did not bother to ask the King of Heroes who he was being generous to. To do so would be considered an insulting question by the reincarnated spirit, and learning the answer would serve no purpose. "Hopefully Assassin's summoning will ensure that you will not have to undertake the task."

"Humph. Of all the classes that were made for this war, I have the least faith in that lowly title." The crimson eyed King frowned. "It is tailored for the snakes. It is a class comprised of filth who cannot even win their battles by relying on their strength."

Kirei noted his use of snakes in his remarks, a creature that had in the end been the cause of his ultimate downfall and thus one that the man visibly disdained. "I take it that you were not pleased in killing one of my servant's personas in the previous war then. Agreeing to fake his death in order to ensure his greater freedom must have been an insult in your eyes."

The Golden King lazily waved one of his hands as if brushing off the comment. "The man was a tool. I tolerated his mockery of an existence and the foolish plan simply because it served a purpose. Once it was served, he was thrown away like the trash he was."

The priest didn't need to be told this. He was the one who commanded the servant to its doom after all.

Of course the real reason why Gilgamesh said this was his subtle way of telling him to shut up on the subject before he too was disposed of. "Regardless of whoever he is and what his goals are, let us just hope that his coming will serve as the catalyst we desire and progress this war. I would very much enjoy at least one fatality soon so that the likelihood of an event such as last night does not reoccur."

"My, how dull you have become Kirei." Gilgamesh sighed as he swirled his drink in front of him. "And to think just ten years ago, you had put so much effort into finding out the motivations behind all of the other Masters and Servants."

"It is not my fault I lack the means to do so at the moment, but even so I can accurately predict what half of the Master's desires are." The human did not look up from his paperwork. "Rin wants to restore her family honor. The Edelfelts merely wish to add to that which they already possess. Miss Fraga is simply fighting on behalf of the Association. All of their wishes and goals are mundane and not worth the time to twist."

"True. I suppose we could do something regarding the siblings, however that by itself would only serve as a cheap thrill." The king relented with disappointment. "The Faker is to be left alone for now, as he seems to play a role in the retainer's script. It would be a poor choice to end him before his efforts yield even some results, as it would make for a poor comedy. Are not the Tohsaka and the Matou siblings as well?"

"Yes, however I believe there is already enough strife there with Emiya in the middle and Zouken there that our influence is not required to yield results." Kirei admitted. "If needed, I can offer a few choice words to Rin to aggravate the situation, but it would not be difficult to light that powder keg. To be honest I am more interested in the Einzbern girl."

Gilgamesh hummed in curiosity. "The doll with the mindless demigod? What use do you have for a mere puppet whose end is within sight?"

The priest let out a small smirk. "She seems to harbor a deep ire for Emiya, something that surpasses that spawned by a mere family grudge. I only possess suspicions at the moment, however if they are correct, she could be quite the piece on the board."

The golden man blinked with a bare hint of curiosity as he pondered Kirei's statement before giving up on trying to figure out what the man was hinting at. "Well then, I'll leave it to you my play write. Do come up with something to pass the time adequately before the other plays and my wedding with Saber approaches."

There was a brief pause.

"And do make it more creative than those paltry excuses you are writing down."

o. o. o.

Fuyuki High School:

Luvia felt horrendous, and that was putting it mildly. With bags under her eyes, a slumped posture, and shorter than average temper, the girl had dragged herself through the day with the grace of Rin when she just woke up.

Any conversations with her were limited to the smallest number of words used possible, and while everyone knew that something was horrifically wrong with the girl's situation, none risked pointing it out lest they suffer her wrath.

Caster, still injured from her previous battle but thanks to her magic would be back to full ability within the next day or two, hovered over her Master invisible and concerned. Despite what she and Luvia did, neither could get into contact with their respective counterparts nor locate them. Many of their possessions were gone, including a couple of Marjatta's trunks, and there had been no damage or chaos done at the mansion in the slightest.

As terrifying and frustrating as the idea seemed, the most logical conclusion that the two could come up with was that Marjatta and her Servant had run away to fight on their own and utilized some sort of method to block the more stable pair from finding them. It would not be beyond the ability of a Caster to do so, and they both had to admit that with the previous night's failure the pair would be more inclined to go off on their own, however there were still some issues with that theory.

If the Witch and the younger Edelfelt did go rouge, then it would have been more intelligent of them to destroy the mansion where they stayed at originally. It would have drastically weakened Luvia's position in the war, especially since the Princess was at the most dangerous when inside her temple, more so than most Caster class Servants in their territory even if she was weakened by the manner of her summoning.

Of course, it was also logical that the Witch was merely using them as a distraction since Emiya and Matou knew it was them that did the attacking last night and would without a doubt gun for the building sooner or later and hope that the elder Edelfelt could get rid of some of their enemies for them.

Regardless, as of right now the situation was that Luvia and Caster were on their own, which made their odds of winning or even surviving the war uncomfortably low.

"When I get my hands on that brat I call a sister I swear she will never even consider questioning or going against me again…" The blonde girl growled murderously as she nodded off in class despite Taiga's rather energetic efforts to teach English to her students.

Caster sighed as she observed her Master's deteriorating condition and shook her head. She would have been more alert of her surrounding had any of the other identified Masters and Servants been present in the building, but much to her and her Master's surprise Matou, Emiya, AND Tohsaka were all absent from their classes for the day.

Obviously there had been more than just the battle between the Casters, Rider and Saber that had occurred last night.

Oh well, at the very least Luvia would have something to hold over Rin's head when she finally did bother to come back. At least SHE was capable enough to manage her public and secret life efficiently.

After what seemed like an eternity to the foreigner, the final bell to the school day rang much to her relief. Regardless of how dangerous it was to do so instead of plan and prepare, Luvia was going to sleep until night came as soon as she got back home. Then she would grill Sebastian as much as she could and try to figure out where her soon to be reamed sister was hiding…

"Ah! Luvia-san!"

Struggling to reign in her murderous thoughts, the blonde donned a strained smile and turned to her teacher. "Yes? Sensei?"

Taiga Fujimura blinked with confusion and worry as she walked up with several large envelopes in her arms. "Uh, well I was going to ask you for a favor, but… are you okay? You don't look that good."

Laughing haughtily, but there was a distinct weakness in her demeanor. "Ohohoho! Do not worry about me Sensei. There was just a lot going on with my family last night. I am a bit tired, but I have more than enough energy to perform any task you have for me before going home. It would be rude after all to put my issues before the requests of my teachers."

Caster didn't show it, but she knew instinctively that this was somehow going to bite her Master in the rear very quickly.

Looking uncertain but unwilling to argue against the girl, Taiga shifted a little. "Well if you're sure…" She handed over the packets to the girl. "Can you deliver these for me? I would do it myself, but there's a teacher's meeting today regarding the fires last night and all the other events that have been happening recently. Clubs and afterschool activities are going to be closed down until we get a better idea of what's going on."

Luvia nodded understandingly as she took the packets from the woman. "You chose wisely. I'd be glad to help. Where am I going to deliver these?"

Taiga perked up. "Oh well, one of those is the homework and lesson notes from all the classes Rin had for the day, and the other two are for Shirou and Sakura."

She didn't notice Luvia's face suddenly pale in an instant and her body freeze as she grabbed the last of the packets.

"You might not know this, but Sakura's home was caught in that fire last night, but thankfully Shirou managed to get her out of the fire and is nice enough to house her until things clear up." The teacher whispered in a childishly way as if she was hiding a secret, while still completely missing Luvia's rapidly deteriorating demeanor. "Don't tell anyone about it though since it's against school rules for them to do this. Sakura really doesn't need the attention right now which is why I'm letting it pass."

"Matou's… staying… with Emiya?" Luvia summarized in a tone that would caused most people to start staring at them in concern. Of course she would stay with Emiya! She mentally berated herself. After the efforts he went through to help her, it would only be natural for her to stay with him.

"Yeah." Taiga nodded. "But the fire really did a number on the both of them. It's why they aren't here today. To be honest no one else knows that she's there now other than us, and since you are such good friends with them and you have that driver of yours I thought you'd be able to get it done better than anyone else."

"Of… of course you would!" The blonde squeaked with a higher pitched voice than normal before she began to laugh erratically in a slightly concerning way. "Do not worry Sensei! I will fulfill my duties! What sort of classmate would I be if I couldn't help my fellow friends in their time of need! Ohohohohohohohohoho!" Mentally, Luvia began calculating the odds of whether or not her enemies would break the daylight truce for an easy kill.

Unnoticed by all, the Princess displayed a rare moment of frustration and put her face in her hands in despair. Hopefully Saber and Rider would not hold a grudge for last night's events and…

Oh who was she kidding? She was doomed.

o. o. o.

In a dug out cave somewhere beneath Fuyuki:

Zouken was less than pleased with his current situation. He was not at the point where he could consider himself outright furious, but it would not take much to get him there at this point.

No one could really blame him for it. After all, his home had been turned to ashes, along with a good portion of the Matou library, and his main workshop had been exposed and deemed unsuitable to rely on for the remainder of the war. As soon as the fighting had started, the worm user had escaped by simply using one of the secret passages he had constructed in his workshop that not even Sakura knew of and watched from a distance through the worms that remained in his burning home.

Sakura had indeed performed adequately against the Edelfelt girl, far more than he had expected against a trained combative magus, however the girl had in the end proved herself to be the lesser of the two as her inexperience led to her downfall.

He was somewhat amused that the girl had anticipated that his worms would come finish the job should she fail to defeat her opponent, however that soon fell down the drain as soon as the blonde's Servant was summoned and destroyed or scared off all of his familiars to the point that he couldn't see or hear anything.

By the time his worms had come out of hiding, the catacombs were empty and his storage of crest worms was slashed in half. Sakura was still alive if the signal he was getting from the worms in her body were any indication, and none of the Servants in the war had been killed yet. In fact Assassin had been summoned a few hours after the incident… or not. For some reason the servant's imprint on the grail system was faded… incomplete…

He could only assume that the Emiya boy and his servant had upheld his part of the deal and managed to drive off the enemy, but it still left several questions unanswered. The boy certainly had the power to kill the girl and her Caster, but instead she still lived. Had a deal been made or was there something preventing him from doing so?

And if he did come to her aid, then what of the other two battles? Three battles at the same time required six sides, of which there were total… and yet three of them were involved in one of the fights. This would mean that there would be a seventh party involved… but Assassin wasn't summoned until later…

Bah. There was no point in dwelling on such minor possibilities now. The main issue was that his supply of worms had been drastically cut and he needed them in order to maintain his bodies. Throw in the fact that his home and workshop were both unusable meant that he had to lay low for the entirety of the war or he'd risk getting killed.

… Which posed a problem since he would need to contact Emiya at one point or another in order to keep the boy in line, and he needed to be near Sakura in order to unleash her darker aspects or control her himself…

Slowly the magus closed his eyes in weary defeat, unable to conjure a suitable solution to his issues at the moment. Perhaps when he woke up that night he would be rested and lucid enough to come up with something…

Or if he couldn't do that he would at least go out and hypnotize some of the politicians and pest control workers in the city to get rid of the rats that have been running around lately. He didn't know why, but the furry blights had suddenly developed a taste for his worms recently…

o. o. o.

Emiya Household:

The first thing Shirou noticed when he woke up was that he felt as if something was right with his body…

No, not "right", more along the lines of "relieved". It was almost as if a weight that had been on his body for a long time had been lightened. It had not gone away, but its load had been drastically reduced to the point that he noticed that the weight had been there in the first place.

"Nnnn." He groaned as he picked himself up and massaged his temple. Judging from the light outside, it was way past morning. "Huh? Did I oversleep?"

"Considering what you went through last night, one would suggest that you have not rested enough." Saber sagely stated from the side of his room on her knees and waiting patiently, completely unnoticed until then.

Given how he had been raised and trained until that point, it should not have been surprising that Shirou's first reaction upon Saber speaking up from his blind spot when he was still half asleep was to jump in the opposite direction and instantly project a dozen nameless broadswords around him all aimed at the speaker. It was only due to his self control and recognition of the target that he held himself back from actually firing his projectiles at his Servant.

"S-Saber!? What the heck are you doing in my room?!" The Emiya stammered in surprise. Other than Sakura, he had never woken up with another female in his room before. "I thought we said that you were going to take the room next to mine while you stayed here!"

The King of Knights did not change her demeanor in the slightest as she stared at her Master with sharp eyes. She did not say it, but she did approve of the teen's quick and appropriate reaction to her unexpected presence while still half asleep, even if it wasn't warranted. "Given what your state was when we brought you in last night Shirou, I believe that my stay here was the correct decision."

"Last night?" He frowned in confusion before flashes of the fire and confronting Marjatta echoed through his head. "Shit! Sakura…"

"Is staying here temporarily, as is Rider." Saber answered knowing exactly what he was going to ask. "Your teacher came this morning, and after some negotiation Sakura and I managed to convince her to let us stay without any issue. In addition to that you are both excused from going to School for the next couple of days due to the traumatic fire that destroyed Sakura's home and the injuries you sustained while getting her out."

The Emiya blinked in confusion several times as he processed what his partner just said before a small grin made its way onto his face and the swords around him shattered silently. "Well I guess I overdid it this time. When I learned that Sakura's home was on fire I rushed there as fast as I could. It was a bit rough going through all that fire and smoke, but thankfully I had enough clothing on to protect me from getting burned."

Saber's lips twitched in amusement. "It was still a very foolish thing for you to do Shirou. One might even say you had a death wish going in headfirst like that."

The redhead shrugged casually and brushed off the comment. "It wouldn't be the first time someone's accused me of that."

Saber's smile became more vibrant. "Indeed. So much so that it would almost make one ignore the fact that said individual has apostle blood running in their veins."

Just like that, the temperature in the room dropped like a rock and Shirou stood in place in pure shock.

"Tell me Master." Saber smiled politely, but referred to him by his title instead of his name, her tone sickeningly sweet. "Was this one of the things you said was different from Kiritsugu's visions that you wanted to talk to me about? I am somewhat surprised that you would wait so long to inform me of something so important."

"Important?" The Emiya squeaked in fear and confusion, clearly knowing that he was in deep trouble at the moment. "I didn't think it would be that big of a deal! I've never had any problems with it before and all the impulses I get are controllable!"

The King of Knights sighed in frustration and shook her head. "Yes. It was so controllable that it nearly consumed you from the inside out last night. Had the Rat Priest not come last night to provide us with advice and aid, your body would have slowly and quite literally consumed itself."

Shirou frowned and his body language instantly went from an uncertain state to a more solid but precautions one. "The Rat Priest? You couldn't mean… no… no of course he would be here. It would be just like him to be interested in watching the war if I'm involved in it."

"I take it you know who this "Priest's" master is. This Apostle, that you somehow managed to become acquaintances with despite your occupation as their hunter." Saber questioned knowingly.

"Sometimes I wish I didn't. Don't get me wrong, he's a good guy and I trust him, but you probably know how… distant and different his kind can be compared to humans, and he's one of the oldest ones out there. Sometimes it's impossible to tell what's going on in his head." The Magus Killer relented tiredly as he scratched his head.

"I'm slowly becoming quite familiar with the sensation." The Servant pointedly stared at her Master.

"Very funny." Shirou humorlessly glared at the woman before looking at her sharply. "Since I'm still very confused right now, can you please tell me what I missed last night so I can have a better idea of what to explain to everyone and what to avoid to prevent things from getting worse?"

Saber nodded before going over the trip back to Shirou's home, his unnatural state, the King of Rats and his diagnosis, cure, and his warnings. Throughout the entire explanation he remained quiet and did not break eye contact with her in the slightest.

"I see." The Master bowed his head and closed his eyes. "So I have to make sure that I'm away from people if I am too drained of prana. Sounds simple en-" Whack. "Ow! Saber!"

"If that happens, then Rider or I will give you some of our blood." Saber corrected sternly in a final tone as she returned to her sitting position. "And that's only IF the situation has deteriorated enough that you are forced into such a situation."

"Er… right." The teen laughed nervously, not willing to argue against the glare Saber was giving him.

The emerald green eyes sharpened. "Shirou. You WILL inform us when you are running low on prana, won't you? We would be most… displeased if you were holding back such important information from us during battle."

"Yes Ma'am." Shirou surrendered obediently. There was no point in trying to argue against Saber at this point. He would not win and admitted there was no reason to argue against her valid points.

Damn B ranked charisma.

"Good." The blonde nodded in satisfaction before getting up and walked to the door. "Now I can leave you to clothe and bathe yourself while I eat. It would be best if you looked and smelled adequately when you encountered Sakura. She was the most distraught out of all of us when your condition regressed last night."

It was only at that point that the teen remembered that he was still in bed, dressed in blue and black pajama pants and a plain white t shirt over his upper body. Moments later, the aroma of his own body reached his nose. Obviously while his body had been thrashing and yearning for blood, it had also caused him to sweat enough to make him feel like he's covered in grime. Shirou's first thoughts agreed with his Servant's comments.

His second thought however…

"Saber? Who… who changed me when I was unconscious? Sakura was too injured last night to do anything and the only people in the house that were capable of doing so were you, Rider, and the Rat Priest."


"… On second thought, I think it's best if you didn't tell me."

"I agree completely."

Shirou laughed nervously as he picked himself up from his futon and realized how good he felt. "Hey Saber?"

The door had by this point closed behind the Servant, however her silhouette was still visible on the other side. "Yes Shriou? Do you need anything?"

"No it's… I just wanted to say thanks for… well… your blood. I know you didn't have to do it but still."

The King chuckled softly. "Shirou. I pledged to be your sword and shield, and the war itself is anything but peaceful. Even if your plans go as expected, I doubt I would not shed any blood in the next few weeks. Spilling a few more drops for my Master every now and then is not even worth paying attention to. As far as I'm concerned, I am merely doing something that is expected of me. Please don't consider it as a sacrifice on my part as I will never see it as that."

The sounds of her footsteps soon faded away, leaving Shirou alone in his room.

"Damn. I didn't even make it a full day before becoming a burden for everyone."

Several minutes later, Shirou was clad in only a towel in his bathroom and sitting on a wooden stool, pouring hot water over his head periodically to wash himself off.

It was a soothing and therapeutic repeating process, filling the small bucket with water and pouring the contents over his head. He made sure to wash himself in between rinses, but letting his body run on autopilot in the warm environment really helped clear his head.

Now that he had time to think, he realized that he felt good. Actually he felt better than he did in years. He had little doubt that it had something to do with Saber feeding him her blood the previous night, but he couldn't be sure if his relaxed state was due to simply being fed, or because he had drank Saber's blood, high quality dragon blood, in particular. Merem had said that he was barely turned, so the normal Apostle instincts were significantly weakened or nonexistent with him, but Shirou didn't know if this was one of those cases.

Would he be addicted to Saber's high quality blood if he kept this up? Or would he be addicted to blood in general now that he finally had a taste? He admittedly liked the current relieved state of his body, but he would bear his previously unknown burden times a thousand if it meant that people wouldn't be inclined to bleed for him.

On the other hand, there was some merit into storing away some blood for emergencies. He could feel his body generating prana easier than it ever had before, and it wouldn't be long until he was back to being full even if he was supporting two servants at once. Once more he was forced to recall the fact that Dead Apostles were feared for a reason. Despite their many weaknesses and dependencies, they were still naturally exceptionally powerful existences.

If it could help him manage the war to keep everyone alive… if it was only for the duration of the war and he was very sparse about his use of Saber's blood… if it prevented everyone from being in danger later on…

Instinctively he held out his hand and pulled Rule Breaker from Unlimited Blade Works. It would be so easy to just get Sakura to the priest now, de-worm her, stick a copy of Avalon into her body and then use Rule Breaker to get rid of the worms in her nerves with Saber nearby and sever her connection to the grail…

But he didn't, because Zouken would be impossible to find or hunt down if he did. As much as it sickened him to do so, he had to use Sakura as live bait to lure the demon out otherwise he'd just find some other way to make their lives miserable…

The destruction of the Matou household was a bit of a mixed blessing that way. On the one hand, he could keep a close eye on Sakura at all times now and Zouken would have a harder time of using or torturing the poor girl. On the other hand, now Shirou had no solid way of getting into contact with the sorcerer, meaning he had no sure way of luring him out to whatever location he needed.

So at the moment, Shirou was stuck unable to move anywhere. The best he could hope for was that Zouken decided to get into contact with him soon before any of the other Masters or Servants tried to attack him… something he highly doubted would happen if his last encounter with Illya was any indication.

"Honestly. I knew I would have to change plans quickly during this war, but all this after the first day? At least you had some time with Saber before the fighting started Dad…" The Emiya chuckled bitterly as he disrupted the prana in the dagger he was holding, destroying it in an instant.

Sighing to himself and pouring water over his body again, Shirou decided to talk to Saber about storing away some of her blood for him. He would normally be completely against the idea, but if it meant that he wouldn't pose as a risk to his friends later on when their lives were on the line, he'd suck up the shame and embarrassment. Of course, if Saber said no, then he'd probably just have to go to a nearby clinic during the night, raid the freezers there and…

The sudden pull on his reserves snapped him out of any plotting he had been making an instantly put him on guard, stiffening his body like a strung bowstring. None of his bounded fields had been triggered, however both Saber and Rider appeared to be at the front door and ready for battle.

Without thinking, the soaking wet male ran out of his bathroom at full sprint, forgoing his clothes as time took priority over modesty. He was far from fully recovered, but at least now he could fight a bit before Saber and Rider drained him dry, and Sakura would not have to be in harm's way.

There had been many things running through his mind as the Magus Killer skidded to a stop in front of the hallway that led to his front door. Several dozen weapons to trace. Tactics to use. Curses of frustration that he was going to fight again so soon…

None of them prepared him for the reaction he got from the two humans and three heroic spirits, all female, turned to look at the well built teen clad in nothing but a small towel stand in front of them ready for battle.

Shirou had been right in a way. His quick appearance had indeed ended the potential fighting rather quickly. Just not in the way he had planned.

o. o. o.

Einzbern Castle:

Illya had spent the entire day in bed, save for when she went to the bathroom.

She ate in it.

She slept in it.

She read in it.

She ordered her servants around to do meaningless things in it.

She thought and planned in it.

Five lives. Berserker had lost five lives in a battle that had nothing to do with the war last night. This single fact had not left her mind all day long and it did nothing to temper her dark mood. Supplying her mad Servant with power was easy, she had plenty of prana. Restoring his lost lives however was tiring, even for her. It would take her days to replenish those valuable resources, even if she did nothing but rest in the castle…

She grit her teeth in irritation. The beginning of something new? Why would she care about such a thing? She was going to die soon! Her very purpose and goal in life had been stalled by something as meaningless as that? No wonder the Church and the Association hunted Apostles if this was the way they acted all the time. Even the ones that are reasonable are completely out of their minds.

She didn't bother to try to guess what the bloodsucker was trying to hint at when he left. Why her brother was trained by her father didn't matter to her in the slightest…

Had she bothered to think about it more, she would have found it odd that Kiritsugu had started to train Shirou for the war almost a decade before it started… since the Einzberns didn't know that the war was going to start prematurely until about a year ago.

"Sella." The girl ordered out loud for her servant to come. The fellow homunculus was nowhere in hearing distance of her, but due to the enchantments on the castle the servant would always be aware of when her master needed her.

Two minutes later, the door opened to the touch of the woman clad in a maid outfit. "Yes Mistress?"

"What progress have you made on gathering information on the other Servants and Masters?" The albino asked coldly, however due to her small statue many would interpret her demeanor as "adorably grumpy".

The maid bowed. "There were three battles that occurred last night including yours and the one at the Matou residence. The third took place on the opposite banks of the local river. Given the damage done to both areas, it would not be far off to assume that Lancer was one of the servants at the river, and either or Rider and Caster were among the servants battling at the Matou residence."

Illya nodded. It made sense. From what she had been told, the sheer distance of the battle Matou's servant had participated in was ridiculous, and the massive smoldering hoof prints left in the concrete of the area didn't hurt noting either. There had been at least one mounted beast in that battle, and to Illya's knowledge only Casters and Riders were capable of summoning anything like that. Sabers technically could as well, but there had only been one type of animal tracks in the battle and Sabers were as a general rule couldn't summon mounts of that level.

"Wait." She frowned. "Tell me of the tracks left behind. There were burning hoof prints, but what else?"

Sella bowed her head apologetically. "No other trace of animal existed my lady. There were several sets of the hoofprints, but nothing else out of the ordinary. I would like to add however that there were several trees at one point that appeared to be ripped straight from the ground and seemingly used as projectiles, and the craters in the road appeared to be caused by primarily fire based thaumaturgy or pure prana based."

"Rider and Caster then." Illya concluded. "It would make sense. Rider possesses an ability to summon multiple fire themed mounts, and Caster would have some thaumaturgy to fly and attack from a distance. It would explain why there were no other marks on the road." She paused. "And since it is well known that neither Tohsaka nor Matou would willingly summon a Caster class Servant, we can determine that Matou is Rider's Master."

"We can only assume so my lady." The maid nodded, humoring the girl as she smirked proudly at her deduction.

"Can you tell me anything else in particular about the battle by the river?" Illya continued to interrogate her maid.

"Other than the fact that it appeared to be a brief skirmish that primarily dealt cuts to the area, no."

"Then we can assume that Saber was the one to fight Lancer then." Illya rushed to her conclusion. "Archers don't do close combat, and even if they did there would still be some projectile based damage in the area of which there is none. We have Berserker. Caster and Rider were fighting one another, and Assassin was summoned later last night. It makes perfect sense."

"Indeed it does." Sella replied, not bothering to shoot down the girl's assumptions as mere speculation as mood seemed to improve by doing this. Besides it didn't matter if she was wrong anyways. No one could beat Berserker. "Now that you have examined the situation, may I suggest that you shower my lady?"

Illya's moment of glory fizzled out quickly as she slowly leered at her maid. "… Are you by chance implying something Sella?"

The older looking woman didn't flinch. "Yes. I am implying that I need to do my chores around the castle, which includes washing your sheets."

She did not comment on the fact that the girl had been stewing in yesterday's grime all day and was starting to smell.

The childish teenager pouted and puffed out her cheeks. "Humph. Fine. It would be selfish of me to stop you from your tasks." Sulking slightly and getting out of bed, dressed in nothing but a white nightgown, the girl made her way to clean herself. "I expect breakfast to be made by the time I'm done."

Sella waited several seconds after her mistress left eyesight before allowing herself to sigh in relief. "Finally. I thought I'd never get her out of bed. Sometimes I wonder if she really is older than I am."

o. o. o.

Emiya Residence:

The table was quiet as the people sitting around it waited on edge for the food to be served.

On one side sat Saber, Rider, and Sakura. All of them unflinching and unwilling to take their eyes off of the newcomers for a second.

On the other, Luvia and Caster both wondering if this was their last supper.

At the very least, they had an interesting show beforehand.

"If I may?" Caster spoke up hesitantly. "Can I ask why is he doing this? Master and I really were here to just deliver the parchment for your teacher… as unbelievable as it sounds…"

"He", referring to Shirou, was working frantically in the kitchen with a great deal of ingredients to make a rather large and unnecessarily elaborate dinner.

"Shirou cooks when he is stressed." Sakura replied calmly, with neither warmth nor coldness. "Despite your blatant attempt to kill me and Rider last night, he seems to trust you enough to not try anything until after you leave tonight."

"We don't." Rider added factually with a very dark tone.

In a way it showed how much she disagreed with Shirou's rather stubborn and ludicrous decision to have the newcomers for dinner. She was beginning to rekindle her thoughts about turning against the boy and returning to Sakura in the later part of the war if his behavior continued along this route.

"Yes well… you shouldn't." Luvia hesitantly agreed with them. "We are at war after all."

"Master. How do we know that the food isn't poisoned or that they won't attack us when we leave?" Caster asked warily.

"It would be the farthest thing from his mind." The blonde human answered without thinking. "Shirou prides himself on his cooking and a welcoming host. He would be insulted if he was ever told to do such things."

"You are familiar with my Master." Saber's eyes narrowed. She did not know how close she was to Shirou, but right now she was an enemy. Enemies that knew your secrets were among the most dangerous ones to have, and Shirou unfortunately had plenty of things to hide.

"We've frequently talked at the Association and when I moved here." The Edelfelt answered honestly. "I found him more interesting and tolerable than most of the people back home."

"I can sympathize with that at least." Sakura nodded evenly, though showing no emotion in the process. "… Why did you attack me in particular last night? I understand that we are at war, but I want to hear your reasons for doing so. Was it because you knew who I was? Or was it because you thought I would be an easy target?"

Luvia remained quiet for several seconds before she let out a long breath. "Honestly? I had no intention of engaging in many battles for the beginning of the war and had planned to simply gather information, however certain events had prompted my sister and I to attempt to obtain another Servant, or at least reduce the competition faster. In that regard, yes. We went for you because we knew of your identity and your apparent lack of experience."

She did not mention that her sister was the one with the grudge against Matou, nor that she had witnessed Shirou's fight against Berserker.

"And what information would that be?" Saber asked, continuing her interrogation.

"The kind that is none of your business." The fellow blonde retorted bluntly. "We needed a target and Sakura happened to fit the criteria… or at least we thought she did. And in the end the mistake cost us three command seals and the loss of the secret that my sister and I both have a Caster, and their identities."

"Medea of Colchis." Rider nodded shallowly.

"Lady Medusa." Caster returned the gesture. "It is regrettable that we had to meet again under such… unstable circumstances. Ones such as us should have the greatest reason not to fight one another for such reasons. Have we not suffered enough?"

Rider didn't respond, however the cold aura around her lessened slightly.

"You may speak sincerely, however I doubt that your counterpart shares such sentimentality." Saber observed. "If I recall correctly, Sakura mentioned something about her wanting to her as some sort of experiment, and that Marjatta seemed to have gone out of her way to make that happen…"

Luvia's and Caster's eyes widened momentarily before they both narrowed considerably. "Is that so?" The Master grunted in irritation. "THAT apparently was information that my dear sibling and her Servant had conveniently not informed us of. I will most certainly talk to her about this when I see her. Human experimentation is NOT something I condone."

"Neither do I." Caster nodded. "While my counterpart draws her strength from the more unsavory parts of my legend, I still have love for my fellow humans and would not use them in such a way."

Sakura looked at her skeptically. "Forgive me for asking, but doesn't your Noble Phantasm Aeaea possess the animals that were transformed by humans by your aunt, the goddess Cerce? Would that not mean that the creatures you summon were at one point tricked humans?"

Medea had the guilt to flinch and look down in shame. "I am indeed capable of summoning those cursed by my aunt's whims, lions and wolves of great numbers, however I will never allow myself to use them. I stayed on that island to repent for my sins, even though said actions were prompted and urged by the whims of petty gods. My aunt, while cruel to most, was most kind to me and aided in my self-imposed exile, taught me more of my craft, how to take care of the animals, how to defend myself from the subtle machinations of the other gods, and had the heart to get rid of that selfish fool Jason. It truly was the land of redemption…"

"… Unfortunately, it appears as if Jason grabbed some other poor woman after he left and passed her off as me in order to claim that he was with a princess and blessed by the gods, thus giving me a tainted legend that you are all familiar with, and enabling me to be summoned alongside my counterpart who walked down a darker path in life."

"You are fortunate." Rider nodded in approval. "Your tale is as stained as your hands when you killed your brother, however you attempted to redeem yourself with self exile and learned your craft for the betterment of others. I was not so fortunate, and sunk further into insanity after I killed my own siblings."

"May Athena, Aphrodite, and Poseidon rot in Tartarus for what they have done." Caster growled. "Any being that deems forcing others to commit parricide as inconsequential to their goals is damned, god or not."

The gorgon queen donned a faint but bitter smile. It really was a shame they would have to kill one another. Rider was becoming quite fond of the woman…

Saber on the other hand remained quiet for another reason completely.


Had it been only a little over a day since she had been summoned from that cursed hill? Since she had last laid eyes on the still body that had once been her own flesh and blood?

No… the better question was how long had it been since she thought about "him" and not just the chaos he caused?

She had not raised "him". She had not clothed "him". She had not fed, washed, taught, nor even laughed with "him". In fact "he" had been a product between a sick immature joke of Merlin's and Morgana's witchcraft… and yet…

"He" had called her father with "his" dying breath from a wound she had delivered herself. Her child had laid her land to waste, raised a rebellion, slandered her name, tried to take the throne from her… and yet out of all the things that could possibly come out of "his" mouth with the final seconds in "his life… it had been a longing call, almost begging for something simple like a child…

She had slain her kin out of duty, denied "him" happiness out of no human's or god's prompting, but out of her own cold judgment.

"The King does not understand people."

Those words echoed through her head once more and caused the King of Knights to think about something that she had rarely gone over before. When had her son first lost sight of the noble path? Until "his" betrayal, Mordred had been one of her most loyal knights, right up there with Lancelot, Bedivere, and Gawain.

Ah… now she remembered. It most likely started when "he" told her who "he" was. When she as King rejected Mordred's right to be her heir and denied "him" the right to call her family…

When she had drawn the sword from the stone, she had willingly sacrificed herself as a woman and as a human to be the perfect King. She undertook trial after trial to ensure that peace and fairness reigned in her Kingdom, certain that with Avalon inside of her to ensure her immortality her land would one day reflect the nature of her sheath with her guidance.

To accept that Mordred was her son was the same as accepting that not only he would be next in line to be King, but that the possibility that she herself would one day fail her people and fall, leaving her land in less suitable hands than her own… and to that day, she had never encountered anyone who was more suited to be the king than she was.

How could she have not? None had sacrificed more than she did. None had the blood of the dragon and the skills that she possessed… the willingness to make the hard sacrifices that she had made, and the blessings of the fae…

No. None of them had the capacity to be King like she did, and she would only be willing to hand down her reign to someone of equal or greater capacity than her…

All for her beloved Britain…

And yet here she was. Her land was gone, her men slain. Her loyal knights of the round either abandoned her or dead in their service to her. Her child killed by her hands and she by "his".

All caused not by a God's whim or the aftereffect of humanity's beliefs, but simply by her own "fair" and "just" judgment.

She doubted that these two heroic spirits, each with legends that were the complete opposite side of the line of nobility and morality of hers, would accept this tale with understanding.

It was rather ironic in a sick way.

Perhaps this was yet more evidence that she had not been truly fit to be King… perhaps…

Everyone's thoughts were interrupted however as Shirou walked in a literal feast on his arms. Dishes of various origins were on plates on his arms, carried out in a professional manner before placed on the table between the females. Steak bits accompanied by three different sauces, fried rice with teriyaki sauce, shrimp and vegetables, chicken dumplings and pork rolls with herbs and spices, sushi, penne ala vodka with garlic, onion, pepper, mozzarella and provolone cheese… It truly was a feast that could fill a person just by looking at it all.

The sheer amount of it, let alone the quality of the food was astounding to the females there as it had all been done by Shirou within an hour and a half. Even Rider was visibly surprised by the Emiya's reveal of his culinary prowess.

Sakura shifted on her legs nervously. This was a first. As far as she could tell, Shirou had gone all out on this meal and his mood still didn't seem to improve much. He must have had a lot of pent up stress if this much cooking didn't significantly relax him.

"Please eat." The chef stated tiredly as he sat down at the head of the table and began to serve himself slowly. "Servants included."

Caster looked around skeptically. "He does know that we…"

"Yes." Saber and Rider answered on reflex as they served themselves rather large portions of food.

"Of course he would feed you anyway." Luvia sighed in defeat as she joined the crowd. "Far be it for Shirou to not let someone eat simply because they don't have to."

"Shirou? Are you ok?" Sakura asked worriedly, and for good reason. Despite his protests that he was fine, the sole male there looked exhausted with small bags under his eyes, slumped shoulders, and a slightly hunched over posture.

The Emiya's eyes looked up at her, tinted slightly grey, but with a sharp metallic shine to them that betrayed how much they truly saw. "I'm ok. I'm just a bit tired from last night, same as you."

Luvia quietly listened to the brief conversation in confusion. Why would Shirou be tired? Save for supporting Saber in last night's fight and shooting off a single projection at her sister's Servant, the Emiya had done nothing that would put a load on his body. Maybe it had something to do with his peculiar eyes. Perhaps he had some sort of ability stemming from demonic blood? His true lineage was unknown after all, and Japan DID have a rather large population of human hybrids…

… Or maybe it was simply because he had summoned Saber recently. He obviously didn't have her around two nights ago when Berserker attacked him. The fresh strain on his body could easily have been the cause for his exhaustion.

"Good." Caster blinked in surprise as she sampled the various dishes in front of her. "My word. This is wonderful. Never has such dishes or tastes been made on Aeaea, or back in the royal palace of Colchis."

"Indeed." Saber nodded in agreement as she worked on her second serving. "Shirou's cooking is truly a feat in itself. I would have had him knighted had he provided for me like this in my court. In fact I do believe that wars could be started in order to obtain this kind of skill."

"Knighted?" Luvia noted the word carefully as she started to eat in silence and watch as the others there converse casually... before realizing that what she was eating was abusing her tongue with delicious textures and tastes of which she had rarely partaken of, even with her high class lifestyle.

If this is how Shirou cooked when stressed out, she would have to find a way to get under his skin more often while staying on his good side. It would be well worth the risk if she could manage to pull it off.

Even Rider was captivated by the quality of the dishes in front of her, evident by her lack of effort to hide her self control and fast movements to refill her plate in almost the blink of an eye. While her servings were smaller than Saber's (granted they were still on the large side), she finished them faster as well all but ensuring that she ate as much if not more than her sword wielding partner.

Within an hour, the feast had disappeared, mostly in part to Saber's and Rider's deep stomachs, however it turned out that Caster was a surprisingly big eater as well. The Masters there guessed it had to do with the fact that the three women were not human and thus could absorb the energy in the food faster.

Surprisingly enough, Sakura had managed take cleaning duty away from Shirou, leaving him to sit at the table calmly with the other women there. Thankfully at this point the mood at the table had lightened significantly. The Servants were still on guard, but the malevolent intent between them had all but disappeared.

"So Fuji-nee really sent you to give us our class work?" The redhead chuckled disbelievingly as he took the envelopes from Luvia, quickly structurally grasping them as soon as he made skin contact with them to ensure that there was no tampering of magecraft done to the contents to be safe. "Honestly, even without meaning to she makes things like the war more chaotic than is necessary."

"I am not doing that woman any more favors until the war is over." The Edelfelt grumbled sullenly. "She nearly killed me doing this. Thankfully I had Sebastian send Tohsaka her work while I came here. I don't think she would have any trouble ordering her Servant to attack me while my back was turned."

Shirou laughed faintly, knowing very well that not only would Rin indeed do that to Luvia if given the chance and no reason not to, but that Luvia would most likely do the same if their positions were reversed. "Well, thankfully we haven't encountered that scenario."

"Yet." Was the unspoken word that echoed through all the Servant's and Master's heads.

"While I do thank you for your hospitality and the meal, I do hope you don't assume that this means that we are allied Shirou." Luvia sighed with a hint of authority in her voice. "Obviously I'm in no position to make threats, but I am not going to reach my hand out to you either."

The Emiya shook his head and smiled sadly. "I doubt you would. You're too strong willed to do that so easily."

No one missed the blush on Luvia's face appear; no one but Shirou, being who and what he is, merely assumed that he had simply just embarrassed her.

"Y-yes. You're correct. There is no way I would let a chance like that slip away if I had the chance. Considering who my competition is I would obviously need to take any advantage I could get in order to win. This is a war after all." The Edelfelt stammered before getting up. "A-anyway. Thank you very much for the meal, but I'm afraid I have to leave now. There are things that Caster and I must see to at home."

"I see." Shirou nodded. "That is after all where your workshop is. I doubt you would make any other place in Fuyuki your base of operations."

The blonde looked at the host skeptically. "Of course not. Why would I even consider storing my valuable equipment in any other place but a building tailored to my family's craft? I have used a great deal of my family's funds to restore the mansion to its former glory and then some. It would be insulting to the Edelfelt name if I did not put the results to sufficient use."

"I'm just stating facts." The Emiya raised his hands in mock defense. "There's no need to take it as a slight Luvia."

The Edelfelt huffed pompously, her confidence somewhat restored by the conversation. "Well if that's all, I will take my leave now…"

"Yes. Rider. Please escort Luvia and Caster until they are a block or two away from home. Not that they would, but it would be good to make sure that they don't try something…"

"Am I to assume that they are not to be attacked after we reach that point?" The Gorgon asked evenly, causing a chill to run down the spines of Caster and her Master.

"So long as they don't do anything suspicious or against us, you are not to hurt them." Shirou sighed. He thought that went without saying, however with everyone as high strung as they were, it apparently needed to be said after all.

"Thank you very much for the meal." Caster bowed politely as she and the other two females prepared to leave. "You have been a most gracious host. If nothing else, please know that your hospitality has been one of the highlights of the war for me, and that I do regret the nature of our first encounter. While I have been summoned to fight, I take no pleasure in violence."

"Neither do I, yet it seems to be a necessary evil in our world. Regardless, thank you for your kind words. It's a pleasure and an honor to be praised by royalty." Shirou courteously replied, pretending to not notice the leer that Saber gave him from the side. "Please think nothing of it."

The Servant nodded with a grateful smile before turning to follow her Master outside, leaving Shirou with Saber and Sakura still in the kitchen.

"You seem quite content." Saber stated calmly as soon as the guests were out of earshot.

"Why shouldn't I?" The redhead asked curiously. "I managed to cook, get complimented by everyone, and prevented any major fighting or blood to be spilled in my home."

"And you pleased someone of royal stature with your culinary skills." The blonde added casually with just the barest hint of annoyance laced in her tone.

Shirou blanched at his accidental goof. "Er. Well, I was trying to throw them off. They would assume that you weren't royalty from that comment."

"Mhm." The King of Knights humored the teen unamused. "At the very least your cooking more than makes up for your inability to lie."

"Well would you look at that. I have homework." Shirou laughed nervously as he desperately grabbed the envelope that Luvia left for him, opened it up and began flipping through the notes. "Might as well do it. Let's see. English. Math. Japanese. Histo…"

A small piece of paper fell out of the small packet of notes and fell onto the ground, catching their attention.

"How odd." Saber mused. "I was under the impression that all your parchment would be of the same size."

The Emiya frowned as he bent over to pick it up. "It should be…" He paused to read it… and a moment later used his magic to destroy the note, turning it into a small pile of shreds. His eyes had taken a cold steel hue, and his body had stiffened significantly.

"Shirou?" The Servant asked warily and prepared herself for some sort of conflict. "What is the matter?"

The Magus Killer didn't reply immediately as he contemplated what his next move should be before he met the King of Knight's eyes. "… After Sakura goes to sleep, we're going out for a walk…"

o. o. o.

With Bazett:

"So what are the odds that we actually come across someone tonight?" Lancer asked his Master curiously as they jumped around the residential area of Fuyuki. "I mean from what I heard, yesterday was one hell of a bash. Don't get me wrong, that Archer was pretty interesting, but the damage done on the other side of the river… man. I bet you a drink that Berserker was at least one of the guys responsible for those."

"All the more reason that we should be thankful that we weren't over there." Bazett chided her partner as she landed on the roof of what appeared to be a general store. "Until we find out a way to beat him, or until we find another Master to partner up with, it would be best if we stayed away from that one. Right now we're just scouting and seeing if we can find any more info on any of the other Masters and Servants."

"Well that's no fun." The man in blue mumbled sullenly. "Where's your sense of adventure?"

"Partnered with my sense of self-preservation." The Enforcer shot back humorlessly.

"Yeah yeah. Killjoy. You should live it up a little. You're good looking. You're young. You aren't poor. You can maim any normal idiot that tries to take advantage of you. Go on a vacation or something." Lancer shook his head depressed. "It's really a waste for someone like you to spend your entire life working for those wrinkled old bookworms. I mean I can understand if you work for that grandfather of yours. I'd kill for a boss like that, but still…"

"Lancer, shut up or I will use a command seal to do it for me." The Fraga grunted, not wanting to be reminded that her social life was very limited. Spending all that time playing the political game and hunting down Sealing Designates and Apostles really did a number on her social skills, and thus her life outside the Association. In fact, beyond Sirius, Waver, and Shirou, Bazett could count the number of people she frequently interacted with outside of work on a single hand.

"Touchy." The Hound of Ireland snickered before pausing as something caught his attention. "Oi Master. We're in luck. I feel a Servant nearby. He's trying to hide himself but he's not that good at it. I can tell the general direction they're in."

"Really?" The woman raised an eyebrow before readjusting her gloves and turning to the direction her partner was looking. "How far do you think…"

She was interrupted however as a red blur close to a mile away phased into existence and shot towards the mountain area. About halfway to hitting the forest, the blur seemed to splinter and multiply into at least a dozen copies of itself. Upon impact, each of the lights light up considerably and set a few trees nearby aflame, causing a good portion of the mountainside to light up like a Christmas tree.

Two… Three… Four more of these incendiary scattering projectiles fired off from the distance at the same general mountainside, spreading the flames all over the forest in a wide spread that would without a doubt catch the notice of the locals.

"Well isn't that interesting?" Lancer chuckled as he looked at the slowly growing fires. "That didn't feel like a Servant's doing, so it must have been a Master. I wonder what was going through his head?"

Bazett didn't need to think as she looked closer at the area. "Isn't it obvious? Look further up. There's the local temple…"

The spear wielder blinked before understanding what his Master was saying. "Ah, I get it. The guy's pointing out where one of the other Servants is to everyone else without getting his hands dirty. This thing will be the talk of the town tomorrow… but wouldn't the Servant there just up and leave now that he knows his cover's been blown?"

"No." The Enforcer shook her head. "I have a good idea who just fired those spells off, and he wouldn't do something so obvious unless he knew that the Servant there was reluctant to move." She paused. "Ryudoji temple… I remember now. That place has some history to it and is built upon a leyline. There's a powerful natural bounded field around the mountain that acts against spiritual existences. The only opening to it is through the main doors."

"My kind of entrance." Lancer grinned hungrily.

"Be serious." Bazett chided. "The place is a natural fortress when it comes to fighting spiritual beings, is the perfect place to set up shop during the war, and there is only one viable place to attack from. I should have remembered it sooner."

"You're worrying too much." The spearman snorted as put his hands on his hips. "All we have to do is burst in through the front door, kill whoever tries to stop us, get the servant and then leave the way we came. Unless Berserker is the door guard, I highly doubt we'll have any real trouble getting through. Besides, everyone knows that this guy's hideout is busted now, including the one crashing there. It's better to attack now while they're trying to figure out what's going on than wait and let them prepare their defenses more."

Despite how simple the plan was, Lancer did have a point. Waiting now would only make things harder in the long run, and the element of surprise was no longer an option. "Fine. Let's go."

The Hound grinned savagely before taking off in an instant. "All right. Come on."

"O-oi! Slow down!" Bazett stumbled, not ready to move so quickly after agreeing to attack. "I'm not as fast as you!"

Ten minutes later the pair had landed at the base of the temple's steps. The glow of the fires made earlier gave the sky an ominous dull orange hue just above the tree line, and the smell of smoke had already met their noses with vigor.

"Huh." Lancer looked around curiously. "I don't feel anyone here. I assumed that the guy who fired off those spells or the Master on the mountain would have appeared by now to see how things turned out."

"It is odd." The enforcer leered as she looked around warily. "I have a good guess as to who made those fires. If I'm right, then there's a chance he didn't anticipate anyone actually coming tonight. He just wanted the info to spread…"

"Tch. That's a cowardly move." He frowned. "He's making us do all the dirty work. Not that I mind doing dirty work, but being used without even meeting the guy whose pulling the strings is not something I can get behind."

"Be careful." The woman frowned in thought. "The guy who made the signal is one thing, but the fact that the one staying in the temple hasn't shown up yet is another completely. I don't like it."

"There's only one way into the place." Lancer snorted as his spear materialized into his right hand before casually moving forward. "Of course they've prepared something. It's probably at the top from what I can tell. Regardless, we aren't going to find anything just standing here and worrying."

Bazett held back a retort and followed her servant up the stairs. The whole situation screamed "trap" to her, but in the end she was willingly walking ahead anyways. She had little doubt that Shirou was the one that had started the fire. He was the only Magus on this side of the planet that she knew of that could pull off mysteries a mile away from where he stood under his own power without a ritual. The red light was obviously one of his fire sword projections molded into an arrow form, and the dividing was a result of a time released gradient parallel.

More importantly however was the fact that Lancer detected a Servant in the direction that the lights originated from… meaning that Shirou was a Master. That alone was going to give her a massive headache, especially if the kid managed to summon Saber of all classes…

But still, it wasn't like him to point out a potential enemy to everyone and let them handle it. In fact, Shirou would either leave the person be if they weren't doing anything wrong, or attack them himself if they were. To actually lure the participants to fight or gang up on one of the others… it simply wasn't like him at all…

Unless there was something seriously dangerous going on up there… and Shirou was in bad enough condition that he actually admitted that he couldn't handle it himself…

Suddenly the quiet forest with the orange and black sky became far more ominous to the Enforcer.

They were halfway up the stairs when the ground in front of Lancer exploded violently without any warning, throwing both Master and Servant back down to the next flat portion of the stairs by the mere shockwave itself.

Lancer had taken the brunt of the damage, and while the explosion itself did not seem that powerful compared to what other Noble Phantasms were capable of, the man in blue had none the less sustained a surprising number of scratches and burns across the entirety of his body, as if whatever had exploded had managed to do the max possible damage to him at that distance.

However that alone would not keep him down. Nothing short of a decisive killing blow to his heart or head would end the ferocious Hound of Ireland, let alone slow him down. As such not even halfway through his decent, the man in blue had corrected his fall so that he would land on his feet… however his burning red eyes were proof enough that he was far from amused by the sneak attack.

On her part, Bazett had merely been blown backwards off the stairs by the explosion due to the shockwave and being behind Lancer, so she had as little trouble as he did correcting her fall. Raising her arms up to protect her vitals, the woman's eyes darted around to see if she could see her hidden assailant. A dozen possible plans for attack and retreat ran through her head as she attempted to figure out what the best one was given the situation.

However the first step to all of them was obvious. As soon as she landed she would move, preferably backwards. It would do her no good to get in the way of her servant's fight. Fragarach was next to useless here. There was no reason for their attacker to use their strongest moves right off the bat, especially if they were expecting more enemies soon. They would want to conserve their strength instead. They would…

Three feet off of the stone landing she would have landed on, the world around Bazett Fraga McRemitz turned white, and her mind knew nothing but pain for but an instant before blacking out...

o. o. o.

Omake: Why the Church (and Kirei) hate Americans and Hollywood:

Kirei Kotomine was jogging all night.

It had been a week since the Louvre incident and despite the fact that the master vampire had been killed, there were still a huge number of undead familiars meandering around both sides of Fuyuki that needed to be cleaned up. As a man of god and a member of the holy church, he was obligated to take up the task in case his young and naive charge proved to be incapable of doing so.

He had just been going around the south edge of the city that bordered the woods when he heard some shouting.

"What the fuck was that for?" Some young man swore in english. "Get away from me you freaks!"

"Goodie." The Priest mused unenthusiastically as he approached the commotion. "An American."

Kirei had encountered many sorts of individuals in his travels, but inner city Americans tended to be dredged up from the bottom of the gene pool in his humble opinion. At least people growing up in rural areas knew the value of hard work and could do more with their time than hang out in gangs and pretend to look smart with the latest technology hanging out of their pocket.

Turning a corner Kirei saw that the fool was surrounded by at least thirty undead, trying to hold them back with a flimsy steel knife that probably would get stuck in the first body it was stabbed in. No doubt the idiot had been shouting enough to attract any and all of them in this part of the city. Deciding to not want to bother with covering a foreigner's death, the man sprung into action, whipping out his black keys and grabbing them between his fingers…

"What the…" The teen blinked in confusion as Kirei tore through the first five with ease.

"Holy fuck it's Wolverine!"

The priest had to suppress a groan as he decapitated another undead. He had forgotten how often members of the Church were compared to that ridiculous fictional comic book character those Americans made.

"Dual wielding for the win!" The idiot continued, not bothering to do something productive like run away for his life.

"At the very least, I highly doubt he can get more annoying than this."

"Sash! Whapow! Kaching!"

"I stand corrected."

"No wonder he's kicking ass. Two daggers always beats one." The American said out loud as he looked at his knife disappointingly.

"Great. I'm saving a fool."

Kirei had been so distracted by the boy's idiocy that he almost missed the blur charging out of the woods to the side and nearly slashing him in half. Instead it merely clashed against metal and pushed the man back, though destroying the black keys in the process.

"Damn. My keys."

"Fuck! His claws!"

Quickly discarding his ruined weapons, Kirei bolted forward and using his modified martial arts, combining it with some muy tai, blasted through his mutated target's defenses and crushed its chest with his elbow.

"Have some elbow!"

"Is it just me or are his comments becoming even more juvenile?"

The priest's next two moves left the creature with a dislocated shoulder and a shattered spine.

"Eat shit ya bitch!"

"No. It's not me… unfortunately."

Kirei was just about to seriously contemplate murdering the foreigner when several strings invisible in the night wrapped around him and held his arms apart taught.

"Spiderman's here too?! Why the hell is he here?! I'm arachnophobic! I hate spiders!"

"I'm more surprised that he knows what aracnophobic means."

Apparently it wasn't the red and blue mutant nerd as the pair soon found out. Instead, an undead that had progressed in its transformations and had developed some spider like qualities had appeared from the darkness, drooling some pale yellow fluid from its mouth.

As expected, the foreigner screamed like a small child and backed up. If Kirei was lucky, the creature would kill the uncivilized first and spare them both the agony.

Unfortunately, the teen didn't look where he was going and hit a treebranch with the back of his thick skull.

"Ow! Son of a! God damn it I fucking HATE TREEES! THEY SUCK MORE THAN THE SPIDERS!"

"And just when I thought he couldn't get any more stupid."

"But still, fuck the spiderwebs. Oi Wolverine, kill this asshole already!"

"I am very tempted to believe he is speaking in the third person."

Deciding to end the incident already before he got a headache, Kirei reluctantly obliged the man's request, flicking his wrist to whip out more Black Keys, cutting the webbing holding him in midair in a second, and then tearing apart the creature from behind.

The foreigner staggered to the bloody priest, smelling like the urine that he was all but bathing in and staring at the vivisected creature. "… So you think that's a boy monster or a girl monster?"

Slowly, the priest looked at the idiot, his face an impassive mask.

"Haha! Yeah you're right! Who cares if it's a man or a woman! You're fucking Wolver-urk!"

Kirei didn't even blink as his blades slid out of the teen's stomach.

"A-asshole…" The dying man whispered in shock as he fell to the ground holding his wounds. "I hope you… suck cock… in hell…"

"… Fuck you."

The Priest spoke for the first time during the entire event, not really putting any effort into it and in all honesty it left a bad taste in his mouth. He never really got the point of swearing after all. There were much more clean ways to make people suffer. Still, killing this particular fool did make him feel as if he was doing humanity a favor by enforcing Darwin's theory.

Five minutes later he had finished calling the men under his command to clean up the mess and closed his cell phone, stuck it in his pocket, and began to run again. He had more important things to do.

Back to jogging.

o. o. o.


Not my best omake, but I just had to get it out of my system.

Bazett just can't get a break when it comes to the Grail War, can she? Heheheheh.

Sorry for the wait. Lots of crap happening at home and work, so my time was short. Also didn't help that my friend lent me his 3DS and Zero Escape… ah the brain puzzles and technical jargon, they amuse me so, especially since I can actually understand it.

Once again a rather slow chapter with me getting my sillies out. I actually originally wanted to have Merem point Bazett to Caster's direction, but the way I did it seems a bit less abrupt and smoother in the scheme of things.

For anyone expecting a fast paced war, sorry to disappoint you. There will be a lot of fights, but the thing about the war is that the participants need rest and time to develop their own plots, while other characters do their own thing. Otherwise most grail wars would be done in half the time. And with no potential lemons… save for emergency tantric rituals of course. Plus the more I drag the war out, the more plot stuff I can cram into it.

I apologize once again for my slower update speed, but it's just something that can't be helped.

Um… so I guess that's it… other than Heart of the Swarm is coming out next month… and the White trailer for Monty Oum's new series RWBY is coming out in a few days, which will be AWESOME. Actually the new Naruto ninja storm game coming out next month looks pretty good. All the jinchuriki are playable and story mode has some epic looking fights in them.

Blah blah blah, check out the fanart on deviantart and the tv tropes pages. I'd really appreciate it if someone could do the alphabet folder thing for my Yawaleh tv tropes page. That thing is massive.