The door to rooftop of Tsukumihara Academy closed.
A locking sound followed it, as one of my comrades hacked it to ensure that it couldn't be opened by anyone else while we were up here. To be safe, I had her layer on a buffer to prevent sound from escaping.
The four of us had finally gathered.
"Looks like all of us passed the qualification," I said, revealing the back of my hand to the others. There was a scarlet, intricate mark embedded into the skin. The rest did the same, showing their own unique designs.
They were Command Seals, proof that we were Masters in the Holy Grail War.
"The preliminary phase ends tomorrow," a polite, soft voice came from my right. "There still hasn't been any sign of the Harways' representative."
"Did we receive bad information?" a masculine voice rose up.
"No," I said. "The Harways have been going after the Holy Grail for some time now. With their resources, we'll have to assume they'll be lying low. The representative is most likely an expert at spiritual hacking."
"Regardless, our goal is clear," the mature voice of wisdom spoke up. "We all entered this war, knowing full well that only one of us could leave alive, in order to secure the Holy Grail, and end the Plutocracy."
The Harways owned over 60% of the world at this point, and halted all technological advancement. The stagnation they've inflicted upon the world would slowly lead it to a fate of decay and death.
"Alright," I stood up. "Is everyone ready?"
They all nodded their heads.
"Myta," I looked over to the blue haired girl with glasses, "link us up."
Myta began hacking into each of our profiles, through the .PH. Data flowed through our minds and was altered, restructuring the link between our physical bodies, and our avatars. Our vision was cut off, until Myta had finished the job.
"Hacking Complete," Myta said. "Shared Perception has been integrated into all of our profiles."
We all slowly opened our eyes, revealing the illuminated blue irises that connected us, until only one remained.
I used my terminal to access the private room assigned to me in Class 3-B.
Inside, I stumbled once the room became slightly off tilt, only to find that I had nearly fell over without realizing it. The familiar sound of a digital being gaining a physical form alerted me to the figure standing behind me, holding me upright. It was a presence that I was still growing accustomed to, after decimating that effigy that stood against us so that I wouldn't become one of the nameless, faded figures that were forgotten.
I turned to face my Servant, my spear and shield in this war.
She had a beautiful face, befitting of one of her stature in her previous life. Her scarlet hair was wrapped up in a Dutch braid, which fell past her shoulders. She wore a modest, white linen kirtle, which was a minor modification of her character model, made at her request using the Alteration of Souls done in the Chapel as a back door.
It was such a trivial thing when you consider the fact that we would be fighting for our lives from here on out, but that red haired woman said that it was no problem since she gained some experience by accident during the last war. Although I didn't find out until after the modification was done, I still cringed a little whenever I thought about what she said had happened to the last person she tried that with.
That poor bastard…
Although it was only superficial, it would hide her identity while outside the Arena or the Elimination Battle. Just in case someone oversaw her.
"Fylkir," she called, referring to me as "Master" by her native tongue, while her hazel eyes were entrancing me. "That modification to your channels did something to the link between your physical body and avatar…"
"It's just the feedback that made me stumble," I told her. "We used a modified version of a technique from before Magecraft vanished, called Shared Perception. I didn't shut it down properly, so I got a sting from the process being abruptly cut."
In this war, information would be the key to survival. So we needed to be able to share it at the drop of a digital nail. We could pass on any information during an enemy encounter with this trick, gaining an upper hand on future enemies.
"I'll be fine, Lancer."
She nodded and silently made her way over to stack of desks that became a tower surrounding her. While she laid in the hollow center of the tower, I planted myself into a chair and closed my eyes. I couldn't dream in this virtual world, but compared to the nightmares I normally had in reality, that was a blessing.
Truthfully, just hanging around in this school setting was a blessing as well. How long had it been since we didn't have to worry about bombs suddenly exploding, or the sound of gunfire filling the air?
But that ended tomorrow.
Because, after tomorrow…
The Holy Grail War would begin.
Fate Extra ~New Moon~