Author's Note: This... this is... this story is... um... it definitely is made of words, I know that...
Einzbern File #001: The Planning Phase
Ilyasviel von Einzbern pondered.
"Sella! Leysritt!" She snapped finally. "Advice mode!"
Her two maids, in proper Einzbern tradition, appeared in her room as if from nowhere; Ilya didn't even hear the door open. She approved of this... in her mind an efficient maid was essentially a combination of domestic servant and ghost.
"What," She asked, "Time is it?"
Sella and Leysritt blinked. "I believe it is noon, milady." Sella answered after a short pause.
"And what is eaten, traditionally, at noon?" Ilya asked.
"And who ate lunch with me, this noontide hour?" Ilya asked. "Who was my company in this meal?"
Sella and Leysritt stopped to ponder this once again, because even an emotionless homunculus maid can be confused. They understood that this was a trap of some sort, here... Ilya was obviously not happy, and when Ilya got angry, folks tended to be hurt. Sella and Leysritt didn't have a lot of self-preservation instinct, but they did have some and therefore wanted to kinda be sure the person who got hurt was not them. They didn't think she was angry at them, but it was hard to be sure. Keeping track of the young mistress's emotions required a guidebook and several maps.
"Mistress..." Leysritt finally said. "I believed you took lunch alone, tod-"
"Exactly!" Ilya roared. Had they been the sort to be startled, Sella and Leysritt would have been startled. "Alone! Despite a standing invitation to dine with me, sleep over in my lavish castle in my bed that is the perfect size for cuddling, and wash my back in the bath, I have spent today, and indeed most days, utterly Shirou-less! My Shirou levels are critically low! And it vexes me. It vexes me greatly."
Sella, despite herself, had to repress a sigh. "Milady... I understand you are somewhat fond of the young Mr. Emiya." She said, pronouncing 'Emiya' in the tone most people would use to say 'festering skin rash'. "Have you considered, however, that this fondness might be somewhat misplaced? He has treated you as though you were a... a lady of common birth. He ignores your attention, fails to even slightly worship you, and yet you continue to seek his affection. It... well, I cannot lie, it worries me, milady. I feel like you repeat the same futile actions over and over again, for a man who simply cannot appreciate your unique appeal."
"... … … … you may be right, Sella." Ilya said.
"Of course, you are the lady of the castle. Your path is your own to choose, and if you wish to pursue this man we have no choice but to comply with your will no matter how much we disappr-" Sella began, before abruptly stopping, her eyes widening with the most genuine emotion she'd shown in years. "... milady, did you just agree with me?"
"You... you..." Leysritt said, her voice soft. "You're taking advice? Milady, are... are you ill? You never listen to the opinions of others. You once said that you determine who to ignore by listening for words that sound too different from your own thoughts."
"I do, and I maintain it is a wise course of action. Yet despite this clear genius? I remain Shirouless." Ilya said. "As much as I hate to admit it, I find that my current course of action is not getting me the results I desire. Something has to change. If I want my man, I clearly need a new approach. And I need you two to find it for me."
"... Milady, that is really not what I meant when I said something needed to change." Sella said. She really shouldn't have bothered, because Ilya was well beyond listening.
"Why is Shirou never with me?" Ilya asked. "Because his attention is divided. There are rivals... rivals for his affection. I don't blame them... great men often attract hangers on. But despite the fact that they are, obviously, not the right choice for him, these simple creatures have somehow managed to hold onii-chan's attention. I need to know their secrets, ladies. What common deception they have used to ensare Shirou's primitive male instincts."
"So you can... free him from it and create a level playing field?"
"What? Level? Leysritt, that's stupid. I want to beat them at their own game and use their tricks to ensnare Shirou for myself." Ilya said. "I'm done playing fair. This is war and I'm going to win."
"... Mistress, I can't help but notice that you didn't put this much effort into the actual War you were in..."
"I prefer to live in the 'now'." Ilya said dismissively. "Now, I need you girls to go do something for me..."
Some time later, Ilya smirked at the discs. "And you got all three? You're sure?"
"The spy network of the Einzberns is flawless, milady." Sella said with a touch of pride. Then, with slightly less pride, she said, "It is... um... also not made for spying on teenage girls. But... … you are the mistress."
"Yeeeees... yeeeeeeessssssssss!" Ilya hissed maniacally. "Soon... soon! Saber, Rin, Sakura... soon, you will face the wrath of Einzbern! You! Shall! All! Faaaaaaaaall!"
As Ilya took the collected data and retreated to her private War Room (Yes, she had appointed a War Room specifically for this vague whim), Sella and Leysritt stood in silence.
"Sella?" Leysritt asked.
"Do you ever wonder if, perhaps we should have pushed the young mistress to... get out more?"
"She probably would benefit from a hobby, yes."
Ilya smiled, the monitors of the Einzbern Romance War Room (She thought that the 'romance' in the title gave it a little something 'extra'. A certain little something other War Rooms lacked. Oh, but this was fun! A grand battle for romance!) displaying the data she had painstakingly collected.
… okay, had her family's spy network and magical servants collect for her. She still considered this to be at least partially a successful effort on her own part. It had not been easy to be born into a family of insanely wealthy wizards, after all. And hey, she was the brains of the operation! She'd handled the planning phase, that was big. Yes, she was a key factor in the success of the operation, no doubts there! She knew it must be true because she'd thought of it, and obviously she wouldn't lie. Especially not to herself.
But regardless of where the exact 'effort' had been placed and who had done the most 'work' (She was still pretty sure she'd done the hard part), she couldn't argue with the results. Three monitors were lit, and on each danced a variety of images, though all were of a few particular subjects. Ilya's eyes drank them in.
On one monitor, a beautiful blonde woman, petite and girlish, but with an aura of dignity that added steel to her otherwise almost ethereal loveliness. She was cold, and lovely, like a sculpture carved from diamond. Indisputably beautiful, but somehow... beyond human. Like a young goddess made flesh.
On another a raven-haired girl in red. In one image she was as cool and dignified as the blonde, in another she smiled with an inner fire that made her seem almost a different woman. In both, her eyes were the same, though: burning with intelligence, humor, and charisma the eyes of a born star. She was shining.
And finally, a girl with violet hair and eyes, smiling gently. Easily as beautiful as the previous two, she differed from them mainly in the appearance she gave of kindness... in some indefinable way, every inch of her simply exuded gentleness, care, and a quiet, soft grace. Even an image of her could somehow just... put the mind and soul at ease. She was peaceful, beyond all else.
Ilya looked at these amazing girls, and had only one thought.
Then she opened the data files, and began to study. Photos, notes, clandestine videos, testimony from classmates. These girls had a certain commoner appeal, Ilya knew. And as a proud noblewoman, Ilya knew that there was little that could not be achieved by exploiting the Hell out of some commoners. All she had to do was determine what, exactly, she needed to exploit. And so she studied.
The first rule of war was, after all, to know your enemy.