Sorta Synopsis. With commentary.
I'll paste in what I had.
No One Left Behind: Swinging In The Rain
The food cart's metal groaned quietly as it ceased shaking from the blow it had sustained and settled into its newly warped state. I couldn't help but feel a little vindicated by that. It meant that my work, for all that it had been done in a rush and as an amateur, hadn't broken under their weight.
Of course, it also meant that I would need to smooth out the dents in the roof and replace the windows, but I could do that tomorrow. For now I could satisfy myself with the simple knowledge that my work was first class.
There was something important I had to take care of before I could even begin to entertain fixing up the cart again.
And that was solving the Mystery of the Raining Wagtails.
"Urgh," someone groaned from over the top of the cart.
Well, at least they were still alive. That was a promising development. I didn't want to think about what I would have to do with two dead aliens. I'd have had to go get Rin, who would give me a look. Besides, I didn't want the first thing she did this morning was to clean up a mess I was in no way involved in creating.
"Are you alright?"
"Guh?" someone grunted in confusion, and a moment later the cart gently rocked as someone struggled to right themselves. "What do you mean 'alright?!' Of course we aren't! We just landed on... what is this thing, anyway?! Is it a car?"
"Nnn, sister," a second voice complained, full of pain. "Don't start another fight."
"Would you have preferred the pavement?" I asked rhetorically.
There was a moment of silence as the aggravated party considered the prospect.
"Hey, you sound pretty familiar," the first voice noted with some suspicion. "Have we done something like this before...?"
Now that she mentioned it…
"You sound sort of familiar as well," I agreed, and tried to remember who this random vandalizer of food carts was.
A tense silence set in as both of us tried to work out just who the other of us was.
When was the last time I had heard that particular kind of temperamental belligerence? It couldn't have been very long ago, could it?
"Hikari, I think I know who-"
As if to deny their counterpart the satisfaction of knowing more than them, someone at last poked their head over the ruined roof of the cart, instantly dispelling whatever questions I had about their identities.
It was one of the first Sekirei I had fought. Number 11, Hikari. It seemed strangely appropriate for her to appear just in time to stop things up again. Appropriate, but annoying.
"You two!" the brash Sekirei shouted, pointing an accusing finger at us. "What are you doing here?!"
"Ah," Akitsu said, deciding to contribute to the conversation. "We were fixing the cart."
"Eh?" She looked down, and seemed to realized what she had just landed on for the first time. "Oh."
"I told you this was a bad idea, sister!" Hibiki chided her sister.
"How was I supposed to know these two would be here?" Hikari reasoned, unwilling to admit guilt.
"Listen, don't worry about it," I told them gently. "Akitsu and I can fix this thing up later. Are the two of you alright?"
"... are you going to go crazy and attack us?" Hikari asked warily, watching us carefully just in case we didn't do her the courtesy of telling her.
"... are you going to attack us?" I asked right back at them. I felt justified in doing so: after all, I'd never used someone's workplace to break my fall before.
Not in Shin-Tokyo, at least.
"Uhm," Hikari looked to her sister with an uncertain expression. Hibiki, for her part, seemed to be weighing her options.
"Not today?" she said eventually.
"'Not today'?," I repeated, and despite my annoyance with the situation I found myself amused. "Whatever. Come on down from there for now, and then we can-"
"Impudent wretches!" another female voice cried out from above. I looked up, and saw a blonde woman scowling down at us from the rooftops with her arms folded across a prodigious bust. (I was beginning to notice a telling pattern among most of their female population. It made me wonder just what they had been 'adjusted' for.) "You dare flee from the fight you started?"
Of course there couldn't be a perfectly innocent reason for them to fall from the roof of a building. That would have been easy to sort out. No, it had to be complicated. There had to be a fight.
"Hey, we didn't run! You pushed us off a building, you crazy bi-"
"Hah! A likely story!"
"What the hell is wrong with you?!"
Now, I felt, was a very good moment to intervene before the damages to my recently wrecked cart got any more severe. I wouldn't want to have to replace any electrical circuits that might get fried by a stray bolt of lightning.
As you can see, this is where Tsukiumi would be introduced. Unlike canon, however, she wouldn't react to Shirou. At least, not very much. As it was pretty heavily implied at this point that it was only happening to Minato because of his growing psychic powers attained from winging Kusano. Or at least I choose to believe that. As Shiro hadn't winged anybody, there would thus be a very subdued reaction. She would just want to hang out with him, maybe learn more about him. Less Tsundere love at first sight, more quiet crush. Cute, in other words.
Hibiki and Hikari, for their part, would be roped into being waitresses for Shirou's cart. For the lols. Seo gets dragged along as well, using his van to drag the cart everywhere.
Musubi would make a worthy attempt at beating the shit out of Mikogami but would be bogged down by sheer numbers as well as Mutsu. She'd be forced away, and feel all hollow and frowny once again.
Meanwhile... A new challenger as appeared!
The swarthy little man in the scruffy long-coat smiled brightly as he patiently stood in line to be cleared through the airport security. Unlike the other passengers of his flight, he wasn't tired or surly in the slightest, despite the almost sixteen-hour long flight he was just now disembarking from. in fact, he seemed to radiate an optimism and cheerfulness that put many on guard. When a man with only one eye, jagged scars crisscrossing over where the other should be and a smile full of teeth looked satisfied, the natural reaction for anybody in their vicinity is to be uneasy about it. He looked like the kind of villainous drifter that everyone dreads to see on a moonlit highway.
Worse, he looked like he'd been at it for a long time. There were creases at the corners of his eyes and on his cheeks that promised to only grow deeper in the coming years, and more than a few streaks of iron-gray in his short black hair.
Eventually it was his turn to be passed through, and he presented his passport for inspection even as looked contemplatively at the MBI machine that he had watched the others before him breathe into before passing through. There was an appraising look to him as he did so, as if he was carefully weighing his options.
But because it would be strange for him to inspect the security devices for any length of time, he instead did the most natural thing in the world: he asked about it.
"Excuse me, sir, but what is the purpose of this device?" he said with heavily accented English, pointing at the machine in question.
The security guard blinked at the question, surprised. He then stumbled over his own thoughts for a moment in an effort to remember his own English.
"It's so that we can verify your identity through genetic material. Once it confirms who you are, it registers your genetic code into the MBI database so that all MBI security terminals around the world can verify your identity."
"Truly?" The man asked, obviously impressed. "And everyone passing through here is registered in this manner?"
"Of course," the guard answered, unused to such enthusiasm from travelers. Most wanted to get it done with as soon as possible. Genuine and benign interest was a fairly uncommon.
"What a remarkable device," the foreigner admired quietly, more to himself than anyone else.
He gave the machine a second inquisitive glance, then shrugged and dutifully huffed into it while pressing his hand against a scanner.
The machine hummed dully as it worked to find a match for what it was scanning, only to find that there wasn't one.
Which was something of an anomaly. Even if the man wasn't in the database, his biometrics should at least have matched against that of his passport. And thus they would need to be registered with some government (in this case, Greece,) where the information could be retrieved. But such an entry did not exist in any government for the man in question, which was a worrying thought all of its own. Either the machine was broken, or the man was lying about who he was.
The security guard, who had seen the machine at work thousands upon thousands of times without fail, was not about to put too much stock into the former possibility. Especially not for the suspiciously chipper person who looked like he had fought a lion and lost an eye for his troubles.
"Oh dear," the foreigner said, and bizarrely enough he actually sounded surprised that he had set off an alarm. "Is something wrong?"
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you come with me," the guard said gravely, and exerted every ounce of of gravity that a man in a uniform (who sadly lacked a firearm) could muster. It was what he was trained to do in these sort of situations. "We have to ask you a few questions in order to get this sorted out."
The scruffy man smiled like a shark, which instantly put the guard into high alert. By now he was getting a bit unnerved by all of the eager cooperation he was getting. People were supposed to be exasperated or angry, not looking like this was exactly what they wanted. Which really wasn't helped at all by the subtle rustle and chime of metal that emerged from within his coat as he gestured the security guard to lead the way. It had to have been some kind of necklace, because the idea that someone would be able to get through an airport with what sounded like a very long coil of chains was... well, it was ridiculous.
"Yes, of course," the foreigner agreed. "I would like to ask a few questions as well."
This character would have replaced the Archibald from IF, but instead of getting the axe after a single encounter would have started the main plotline proper: Shirou trying to keep the Sekirei secret.
The following is the character profile I drew up for him. (Because I did the work, dammit!)
Daedal Urien Septimius (Daedal U S. Because I am subtle.)
Real Name: Sophia Heurades Daidalos
"Wait, Sophia?! That's your real name?!" "It's tradition for the son to be born first! It's not my fault father decided to fudge the details to keep up the farce!" "Couldn't he just have lied?" "I've been saying that for years!") –
A villainous mirror to both Rin and Shirou individually. Rin in terms of background and ability, Shirou in terms of personality and ideals.
Occupation: freelance mercenary, master craftsman, wandering peddler
Chaotic Neutral – main motivators are money, power and personal freedom – AVARICE/PRIDE - graduates to Chaotic Good with Musubi (his devotion to her causes him to have a Heel/Face turn, and prioritizes her safety above his own desires) – PRIDE/WRATH: fuck with Musubi and he will eat your face.
Physical attributes: 35 years old, black hair, swarthy, dark eyes, slim build, very short (and has a complex about it. Is aware of the cliché.)
Personality / quirks: Feigns bad linguistic skills (Knows Farsi, Greek both modern and ancient, English, Old Norse, German, Chinese, Korean and Japanese to a lesser or greater extent) loathes anyone who would enslave others (will kill asshole-ashikabi for giggles), Senses magic through touch, enjoys learning new crafts
Magecraft focus: Artifice / Mystic Code, Runes
Born as Sophia Heurades Daidalos, Daedal was the second-born child of his father and thus something of an anomaly. This is because the Daidalos family have, for at least twenty generations, consistently borne only twins of male and female pairs wherein the males were born first. The males possess greater magical ability than their sibling, and thus are destined to be heirs. This cycle was broken with the birth of Daedal and his sister: Daedal was born second, and with only five magical circuits to boot. His sister, on the other hand, had a phenomenal amount of magical circuits and possessed an affinity for all elements as well. Their father, who was loath to break with tradition, decided that it was in the family's best interest to fudge the details a bit: he declared that since Daedal had been born second, he was obviously female and thus not the heir. (It doesn't make sense to him either.) As the second born, Daedal's primary function in life was to use the family's crafting techniques in order to create mediums for his sister to make powerful Mystic Codes from. (Long before my family were magi, we were artisans. And like all craftsmen, we hate to let good materials go to waste.)
Little did anyone know, however, that while Daedal possessed little apparent magical abilities, he was a genius craftsman that excelled at almost anything he tried his hand at. With abilities he taught himself to better aid his crafting, Daedal was able to recreate many ancient artefacts. The greatest among these were the famous Icarus Wings, animated wings of wax and feathers.
This feat would lead to Daedal leaving his family. Daedal and his sister (Nikephoros Careid Daidalos) had an incestuous relationship, initiated by his sister for the sake of performing a tantric mana exchange ritual in order to grant Daedal the power to create the artefact. When his father realized this he severely punished Daedal while also telling Nikephoros just why he was so badly treated: because she was stronger than him.
Wracked by guilt for how her brother was treated, Nikephoros abruptly broke off their relationship and did her best to put up a front of dispassion around him in the hopes that their father would start to treat him better. But Daedal, already disliking his family, saw this as a severance to his last tie to them, and soon abandoned them.
He would then travel across Europe for a time, seeking a new purpose, while at the same time learning almost any craft that took his fancy (tailor, leatherworker, stonemason, potter, jeweller, gem-cutter) before finally learning blacksmithing from a troll, who gave him his current goal: creating his own lineage of magic distinct from .
Daedal is now a freelance agent and retainer for various families, hoping to build up enough favours and vouchers that he can gain membership to the Association. (six years wandering and apprenticed to Agi Jotnasson the Troll, six years spent as retainer to several minor families in Germany, five years retainer and craftsman for a family of hedge-mages in Korea (ended due to Heresy, for which the family was executed by the church. Daedal has developed his own strain due to their influence based on Bogomolism, and has since avoided the church like the plague), last seven years as a free agent.)
Flavour Quotes: Dae: "My sister and I... we used to be close. Very close. Her magic is very much dependant on me, after all. At times, our relationship wasn't exactly healthy... ...I wasn't treated well, even then. But for her, I could deal with it. It wasn't so bad, if we were together. And one day, she would be the head of the family." Mu: "You two sound very close...What happened?" Dae: *Scowls* "One day she said she didn't need me anymore," *Dae looks away* "And then I felt the same way."
Dae: "This is all a game to you, isn't it? They're utterly devoted to you, and you're making them fight for your own amusement!" Miko: "Of course. That's the point of all this, isn't it? Didn't you get the call?" Dae: "… So all of this is about fun, is it?" *Priscilla leaps out and wraps around Miko* "Are you still having fun?"
Dae: "Look at them, girl. Look These children could not have known each other for more than a few months, but already they think they have found love." Mu: "Yes..." Dae: *surprised* "You sound sad." Mu: "They love each other." Dae: *snorts* "No, girl. They only think they love each other. What they have is lust, friendship and bond that has fooled them both into thinking that is enough." Mu: "I don't understand..." Dae: "It's the harsh reality of love. It isn't all happiness. It's also fury, sadness, fear and pain. Without them, love is just a drug to make you feel good." Mu: "Is that so bad?" Dae: *sneers* "It is when they are willing to die for it."
Dae: "They're all like him, aren't they? Pursuing their own selfish goals, they own wanton desires, sparing little thought for the lives their destroying." Mu: "No... I think most really do care for their Sekirei, I think. Even love." Dae: "... But they're the same, too. Love is selfish. Their reasons might be different, but the result is still the same... …I think you were lucky, Musubi. When you find love, you will know for certain that it is real."
Weapon of Choice: Chains – handmade chains of varying weaves and sizes. Each one is made wholly out of heavily runed rings, allowing Daedal to imbue them with a small portion of his power. (Similar to Rin's affinity to geomancy/whatever her gem-magic is.) Each chain can be used to perform a wide range of simple spells, but Daedal has also crafted some for special purposes. (Different metals have different affinities.) When not using them for their magical properties he uses them as whips or flails. In an area with lots of purchase, he can also use them to latch onto several structures and swing around, though he prefers not to do this because of his lack of depth perception. (Only has one eye.)
Irony: A man who values personal freedom above all else carries hundreds of chains with him at all times.
Magic / Spells: Daedal's only saving grace as a magus is his skill with crafts. Without a Crest, he is limited to the amount he was naturally born with: a meagre five, focussed mainly in his eyes. (This number has been further reduced due to the loss of his eye.) These circuits possess a strong affinity for Structural Analysis and Cogitation, which allows him to quickly learn almost any craftwork. Further refinement of his skills and study allowed him to create his own style of magecraft: Artificery.
Artifice is the act of refining an object to be much more attuned and receptive to human prana, allowing the object to become a powerful medium for crafting Mystic Codes. Daedal can, with relative ease, craft objects that possess two to four times the power than would otherwise be possible depending on the medium in question. (Gemstones, for example, due to their elemental nature, are more difficult for him to work with as he only possesses an affinity for fire and metal. Metal, on the other hand, is not only much easier for him to work thanks to his affinities but also much more attuned to his prana, which allows him a preternatural ability in fashioning it into Mystic Codes. Metal used in such a way can easily contain up to fourfold more than anyone else might be able to store inside it. Which isn't saying much, because metal isn't very good at storing prana.)
But even this would not wholly account for Daedal's great skill with craftsmanship. What makes him different is that he possesses an origin of 'Creation' – more specifically, 'thought to purpose'. This allows him an enhanced understanding and affinity towards the creative and formative processes, which in turn allows him a higher level of skill at creating than might otherwise be humanly possible, while also granting him occasional bursts of Genuine Inspiration: creations that have no precursor. Daedal, never having been an heir or of great import, has never had anyone examine him closely and thus is unaware of his origin. He simply believes himself to be incredibly skilled, a belief that is reinforced by his own Heresy: Demiurgic Impulse. It is his belief that
"Kogito" (Study/Contemplate/Consider) / "Cogitation" – Daedal can enter a state in which he can rapidly learn by observation. This is because his intuitive learning is greatly enhanced, allowing him to occasionally know the purpose and use of an object simply by looking at it. Daedal can only maintain this state for brief periods of time due to the overwhelming nature of it. (He doesn't just Cogitate the things he focusses on: everything he sees gets the same treatment, and simply looking at a cluttered room can cause him to freeze up while in this state if he hasn't processed much of it beforehand. Using it in battle would be suicidal.)
He normally only uses it when learning a new craft, as watching someone else do the work first allows him to perceive and understand each stage of creation and the reasons for them, which in turn helps develop his own technique much more rapidly. By using this ability, Daedal can theoretically become a master of any craft in a matter of days.
Note: the ability is only useful in peaceful settings, since Daedal's brain is so focussed on observation that he lacks the mental capabilities to react in a timely manner.
"ἅλυσις, καίε" - "Alysis, Kaie" ("Chain, Burn") – Each link in a chain heats up intensely until the metal melts. Daedal can carefully time this spell to coincide with a whiplash so that he can send a thing spray of molten metal at his enemy. Another variant is to have a chain made from a reactive metal, such as magnesium. Or pure Potassium. That explodes violently when exposed to the open atmosphere. (Yes, pure potassium would make for a worthless chain. Freakin' MAGIC, people) SPECIALIZED
"ἅλυσις, κλείε "Alysis, Kleie" ("Chain, Close") – Causes a chain to immediately close and Reinforce itself until the od stored inside of it is exhausted. Is most often used to choke the wearer to death. Daedal commonly gives them to his victims, claiming that it offers protection. (And it does. For Daedal.) Once its prana is spent, the chain is destroyed. SIMPLE
"ἅλυσις, λύε" - "Alysis, Lue" ("Chain, Release") – The chain briefly exudes all the od stored inside it into the wearer, which can either restore some energy to the wearer if their circuits are synched to his od or disrupt anyone else's and cause intense pain for a few moments. SIMPLE
"ἅλυσις, πυρός (puros, pyros)/ γῆ (ge)/ ὕδωρ (hudor) τεῖχος (teichos) ("Chain, Fire/Earth/Water Barrier) – The chain instantly releases all of its energy in order to briefly manipulate its surroundings into creating a barrier in order to protect Daedal. This barrier can manifest as either fire, earth or water depending on which element Daedal invokes. Daedal tends to use earth and fire barriers defensively, as he has some affinity for both of those elements. His water barriers are largely useless due to his lack of affinity for the element and his own neglect, but he prefers to use it as an emergency supply of water. SPECIALIZED
"Efialtis Pygmalion Para Alysida: Atsali Erpeto" ("Nightmare Pygmalion Of Chains: Steel Serpent") – Considered his ultimate spell, Daedal has only used it once. After carefully applying all of his Artifice skills, Daedal was able to create an intricately weaved chain made from heavily sanctified and runed rings to have an affinity towards human flesh. Daedal then removed (permanently) and grafted a Magic Circuit into it (His left eye), wish allowed it to gain anima and minor sentience. The snake is now a living creature, and behaves much like a real boa constrictor. The eye Daedal grafted into it is inside its head, inside where its throat should be.
Daedal calls it Priscilla.
This familiar can devour living beings by shredding them with its body (each ring in its body, when constricting its victim, will dig in and tear small pieces of flesh away. Think of a cheese-grater,) and then absorbing them into itself, allowing it to replenish its prana much faster. Daedal prefers not to allow it to do this, because "it's gross to watch and annoying to listen to. Really, you try listening to someone being slowly shredded to death."
"Monad", "Dyad", "Triad", "Tetrad" – The only "real" magecraft that Daedal knows. The four stages of creation that Daedal undergoes to enhance the overall quality of his crafts as well as greatly magnifying their magical properties. These act as a form of self-hypnotism: by invoking "Monad", Daedal instantly enters into the creative state of Flow (full concentration, maximum ease,) while simultaneously blocking out the majority of outside stimulus not involved in his craft. This state cannot be ended until he is finished with his chosen piece. In his words: "You know those times when you're so deeply immersed in what you're doing that you're surprised when you find out hours have passed? A state of flow that absorbs all focus until your surroundings are mere details? This is like that, but removing the option of ever stopping until done."
"Monad: I perceive the Wellspring of Creation"
"Primordial state" – ca 10-30 min
Daedal perceives the materials at his disposal. Note: while in this state, Daedal must be completely alone as he loses the ability to perceive of living entities as such. They are simply more material. Case in point: Priscilla. Daedal had originally not intended to graft his own eye into it, but he saw his own reflection in a sheet of metal and realized that if he did so he would be able to create not a mere construct but a true familiar. (He has since then tried to limit the amount of reflective surfaces in his workshop to a bare minimum: less chance of personal disfigurement.)
"Dyad: I perceive That Which Is Not"
"Imagination state" ca 30-90 min
Daedal considers what he wishes to create. During this time it is possible for Daedal to achieve True Inspiration (though this term is actually inaccurate, since inspiration requires a source): by attuning himself towards things that do not exist, Daedal's subconscious mind can draw from them in order to create something that has never previously existed. If Daedal had the means to create an Noble Phatasm (he doesn't), and he did so while in this state, it is possible that Gilgamesh would not have it in his Gates of Babylon. (This would be unlikely, though, and as there are just so many useful things in there that even if he did manage it the product wouldn't be very powerful.)
"Triad: I perceive the Order of Creation"
"Conception state" – ca 30-90 min
Daedal perceives how his creation must manifest. During this time he considers the first and second states, and how they relate to one another. He begins to see how he can form the materials into the object of his choosing
"Tetrad: I perceive the Joy of Creation"
"Creation/Demiurge state" – Indeterminate amount of time
Daedal begins the process of creation/manifestation. During this state Daedal combines all three previous states into one, and begins the process of creation. It is this stage that allows him to improve upon normal creative processes: as he has bent the whole of his existence towards this final act, the item created becomes wholly unique even before his Artificery gifts it with a supernatural affinity for human prana. In this way a mystic code can, under the right circumstances, become several orders stronger than might otherwise be possible even for more powerful or experienced magi.
No, I'm not obsessive at all.
As you've probably guessed by now, he gets involved with Musubi. Small world, huh?
Shirou gets the cart set up properly. Rin and Saber have a sit down with him to devise a plan of action, and decide to have Shirou use his status as a neutral party (hah!) and foodcart to enter other territories and gather information. Matsu, funnily enough, would not have actually escaped MBI in this fic, and thus she would not be around to hand out information to whoever she was bonded with and thus handily remove any reason for the FSN3 to not proceed to stomp a few mudholes in everyone's ass. With that out of the way, Saber and Rin would go do whatever it is they do and leave Shirou, Akitsu and Tsukiumi (who would be lurking around in the background, stalking her pseudo-crush,) to clean up for the day.
Enter Villain, stage left. Daedal would trick the two Sekirei into trusting him, while Shirou would eventually catch onto his fishiness. Daedal would have disabled Tsukiumi and Akitsu with Greek Gifts of necklaces ("Beware of Greeks bearing gifts…") and attacked Shirou, who would then proceed to beat unmerciful ass. Daedal would be fatally wounded, but kills Tsukiumi in order to buy time to escape. Shirou would let him go in an attempt to help Tsukiumi. And fail, of course. (Take that, love!)
Musubi, feeling sorry for herself, would come across a half-dead foreigner with a sword sticking in his chest. She would take her to the hospital. A non-MBI hospital... (It belongs to Higa. Obviously.)
In the aftermath of the attack, Shirou would be super mopey due to his inability to help Tsukiumi, but Yuki would appear with Shiina in tow and really freak him out. He would vow to do better for his sister.
Daedal would awake with Musubi at his side, because she had nowhere else to go. And then a wild Kakizaki appears! It uses Blackmail! It misses! Because Daedal gives no fucks about Musubi. But he agrees to work Higa anyways, because he wants money and resources to make new weapons. Musubi, upon learning that Daedal intends to kidnap Shirou, asks to help him in his task.
Rin and Saber hear about the Veiled Sekirei, and hoping to calm things down a bit head out to put a stop to her reign of terror. They beat her, and force the truth out of her.
Daedal and Musubi spend some quality time together, as Musubi tries to talk about love and Daedal tries to find out wtf is wrong with Musubi. Ends with Daedal getting Musubi a puppy in an attempt to get her to love again. Because evil (or villainy, at least) is adorable when it's nice.
Kazehana gets drunk on the pier, falls in the water and drowns. Because fuck 'er. (Okay, seriously? That's a joke. She just wouldn't be appearing, or at the least just stayed in the background.)
Rumours about "The Northern Alliance" (Yukari keeps calling it the "Pancake Alliance") begin surfacing on the forums, and it's up to Shirou and Magic Meals (the foodcart) to provide a mobile neutral ground for other ashikabi to meet up and collectively get their shit together. Yukari and Rin hijinx.
Daedal and Musubi do some more bonding, and Daedal finds himself feeling sorry for his companion. He makes her a pair of magical cestus (they're like boxing gloves that are real weapons. People put metal, spikes or blades on those things.), in order to better hurt people and feel better about herself. Because love hurts.
Shirou VS Daedal
Akitsu VS Musubi
The plot thickens! Or not. Shirou wins. Again. Akitsu and Musubi break shit. All the shit. The fight ends when Musubi takes a hit meant for Daedal, after which the two flee. Hibiki and Hikari provide live commentary.
Daedal berates Musubi for protecting him, displaying minor tsundere tendancies himself.
Homura, Rin and Sabre liberate Chiho from Higa's grasp, but in doing so are forced to fight against random Sekirei mooks. They win, but the fight is recorded on security cameras.
Daedal is butthurt, and spitefully tells Higa that Magic Meals is a part of the Northern Alliance just to fuck with things. Higa, angry with Rin and Sabre, posts video of Rin
Shirou and Akitsu deal with the backlash against them as various Ashikabi feel betrayed that the "Scrap Twins" are shacking up with Rin and Saber. (It's worse because they're half right.) In spite of this, Yukari proclaims her loyalty to her brother and her allegiance to the Pancake Alliance. Seo is forced to join up too, because Shirou pays his rent.
Higa begins to mobilize his forces against the Northern Alliance, and manages to get Mikogami to join in on the fun as well. (He calls it a raid. That's MMO parlance, beeteedubstep.)
The Northern Alliance gets wind of this, and realize that they're up against almost every other Sekirei in the plan.
Daedal and Musubi do more bonding, with Daedal pointing out just how messed up both Sekirei and Ashikabi are. (I could have transplanted one of the quotes from his profile, but meh. Look it up!)
Shit goes down.
Shit gets real.
Shit hits fan.
Daedal and Musubi are forced to retreat yet again, and by now Daedal is pissed. Mikogami and Higa talking about their "losses" (Mikogami bemoans his loss of toys, Higa of tools) and Daedal loses his shit because of their treatment of their Sekirei. ("It would be better were they slaves. At least then they could hate you.") He kills them both and, by now realizing that Shirou was sealed because of UBW and thus vastly outclasses Daedal and Musubi, calls up his buddy in the enforcers: Aednat Fraga, the replacement for the IF Fraga.
And you know what? I have some info for her as well. Don't worry, it's not nearly as much.
Aednat Fraga (?)
Lawful Evil – Main motivations are PRIDE/MALICE – Graduates to Neutral Evil when she find out how attached Daedal has become to Musubi (she's the Dark Side of Tsundere: "I'm here because I thought you had something worthwhile, Sophia. Not because I care one whit about you.")
Aed: "You want to protect her?! She's not even human!" Dae: "It doesn't matter to me." Aed "That's because you're weak, and you'll take anything you can get! You'll never amount to anything if you stay with her!" Dae "And that would be so very terrible, wouldn't it?"
Aednat has had a secret crush on Daedal ever since he randomly saved her while on some enforcer mission or other. But when she found out about his low status and weak abilities, she did her best to crush these feelings. However, she secretly hopes that he accomplishes his goals (gaining power and influence) so that she wouldn't be ashamed to be involved with him. This is part of the reason that she eventually goes all genocidal on the Sekirei: on top of being jealous of Musubi, she's also seeing Daedal turn away from his goals and, to her, any future they might have had.
A bit of wank for Daedal, but whatevs. Early concept work, and a reason for her to lose her shit and warm up the gas chambers.
The Northern Alliance celebrates their victory with much food and good cheer. (Kazehana might possibly not have drowned, just to get in on this action. But probably not.) Hijinx. Basically a run-down chapter.
Shirou and Akitsu have celebratory winging sex, and Rin is very disappointed that Shirou is a stereotype. MBI is on the ball, and Shirou is admitted into the plan as a participant.
Aednat gives no fucks about Shirou, and instead decides that the Sekirei are a better prize. She in turn calls up her magi buddies, and Daedal begins to realize that he might have messed up.
As more and more Magi begin to appear, the third stage begins.
Because the Northern Alliance has emerged as a powerhouse, MBI decides to pit Shirou, Rin and Saber against one another.
Rin, Sabre and Shirou square off!
Except not. Because that would be wasteful and stupid.
They "fight" by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. 2/3, like real men. Much ado is made of this.
Elsewhere, Musubi is busy keeping Musubi safe from unscrupulous Magi. After Aednat demands that he give her up, the two flee. Daedal then shacks up with the only major player that he hasn't betrayed or attacked at some point: MBI. And in doing so, he busts open the world of thumaturgy. (At that point he gives no fucks about his fellow magi: as far he's concerned, their magecraft is as worthless as they are.)
Third stage continues! The Northern Alliance lurks in the shadows! Things happen!
And then the magi attack! Much panic! Much terror!
Rin, Shirou and Saber are forced to ally with MBI to deal with the new threat!
Shit really hits the fan as Shin Tokyo is ripped apart by magi. Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. In a quiet, not-public kind of way.
MBI and the Northern Alliance try to fight back, but it's hard to fight so many magi. Their activity gains the attention of the CT proper, and everyone realizes that things are about to get really bad.
Rin therefore gets a great idea: remake the jewelled sword Zelretch with Shirou and Daedal's help.
Pre-bossfight build-up. Much scowling and snarling between Shirou and Daedal as they are forced to work together. Daedal burns his remaining magical circuits while assembling the sword, and in doing so blinds himself. Musubi is now forced to take care of him, and the two have a relationship upgrade. (She remains scrapped, however. She feels the normal kind of love.)
FSN3 & co prepare themselves for the final confrontation…
Final confrontation. Much 'splodeys. Much hurty. Shirou gets Mind of the Eye.
I saw the blow coming, and shifted to the side...
(Basically just Shirou dodging shit a lot)
I could see her tensing, and knew that there would be no stopping this. In the midst of all this chaos, with all her allies either fighting for their lives or fleeing Shin-Tokyo, she had sought me out. As her ambitions died around her, she looked for the one who had been the lynchpin of her downfall.
"I may have lost the war," She growled at me hatefully. "But there is still a battle I can win."
And with that she attacks.
I trust my instincts, and move without thought.
I dodge her initial swipe at me with her right hand, noting with some apprehension that she was moving faster than I was even while Reinforcing my senses and body. Her fist makes a worrying whistle as it cuts through the air, but I take no solace in this small victory.
She uses the momentum of attack to spin around and leap once more at me, fist pulled back to strike at me with cataclysmic force.
But I am already moving, rolling between her legs in order to dodge her flying punch attack.
I am struck by a sudden realization, an epiphany of sorts.
This must have been how Archer fought: never in the present, but always straddling the point between 'now' and 'what will be'. Never reacting to what was happening, but what would happen.
An archer doesn't aim where his target is, but rather where it will be.
The principle was the same here, merely taken to a greater extreme. Careful calculation, an intense study of known variables and a good amount good-old of intuition... it all added up in the grand equation that was battle.
And what it added up to was this: I could see the blows before they happened. From the way she leaned, I could tell that she would move this way. From a tiny shifting of weight, I could see how she was preparing to attack. But it was more than merely reading the signs: it was pre-emptively reading them. The Fraga wasn't telegraphing her attacks, not in the normal sense. It was... difficult to think about. But it was infinitely easy to do.
It was like catching a ball that was thrown to you: if you tried to calculate and project where to put your hand in order to catch it, you would spend hours on a fruitless endeavour. But if you simply watched it, then all there was to it was to reach out and grab it. The variables involved were irrelevant: you knew where the ball would be by the way it moved. It was an instinct; a reaction.
And now I knew how to use it.
It didn't matter how fast or how strong she was: so long as she fought me as she had done before, I would win. She was the ball, and she was doomed to complete her arc and fall into my waiting hand.
Because the moves were already there: we had simply not made them yet. The battle was already over, but we still had to fight it to its ultimate conclusion. The deadly equation of death still needed to be balanced.
I wonder for a moment if she senses this as well, and that was why she had sought me out. But then I realize the foolishness of that belief. Of course she didn't.
What kind of person would knowingly seek out their own demise without a purpose?
(A few more exchanges)
"Yes, well, unfortunately I can't allow that."
I snapped my head to the side in time to see a blur of metal whip past me, and it takes me only a second to recognize Daedal's aberration of a familiar. It wraps itself around the woman's neck, yanking her up from her knees back onto her feet, a few quiet gurgling noises emerging from her mouth as the dark-skinned man emerged from his hiding place amongst the ruins, grim-faced and determined.
"Daedal," the Fraga managed to get out, glaring at him. "I knew you didn't have the spine for this work, but I never would have thought you'd turn traitor!"
"Traitor implies that I had loyalty," Daedal pointed out with a small shrug. "But each and every one of you Association bastards have pointed out that I'll never be one of you. So I found a better offer."
Aednat stared at him with incomprehension even as she struggled feebly to free herself from the chain. Even so, she found the strength in her to make one last threat.
"They'll find you, Daedal! They'll make you pay!" she hissed, still trying to wriggle away from the sentient chain. "If you help me, we can forget about all this! We can fix this!"
The little man snickered, and wrapped the chain around his arm for a stronger grip.
"I don't want to fix anything. And besides, I'm weak," he leered at her, and -
- with a flick of his hand the sentient chain twisted in a complicated motion that cleanly snapped the magus's neck with an audible crack. Her limbs instantly went slack as she was paralyzed. "So long as nobody tells the Clock Tower I'm still alive, they'll just assume that I'm dead."
Aednat was dropped unceremoniously to the ground, her eyes still glowering furiously at Daedal even as she slowly asphyxiated to death.
Good guys win.
Bad guys lose.
And the peasants rejoice.
Zelretch appears and congratulates Rin on her success and then proceeds to strongarm the CT into fixing everything for Shirou and co. Daedal shits his pants when the Wizard Marshal hears that he had a part in it, though happily nothing ever comes of it.
Shirou returns to his studies with his lovers. (*Scowl* With fresh harem members in tow as well. God I hate harem endings.)
Daedal and Musubi continue to work with MBI, who are now trying create magitek. Because magitek rocks.
Also, babies ever after. (With some Emiya Clan jokes.)