Disclaimer: I do not own Fate/Stay Night. There, now will you lawyers PLEASE stop stalking me?!
Note: If there are any grammar, spelling, or information mistakes, please tell me. I hate mistakes.
You're probably wondering why after so long being dormant, the first thing I do is make another fic. It's because I'm kinda stuck in Virtue of Knowledge, while THIS is an entirely new idea that I'm actually motivated to write with. In the first place, I write for my own amusement, so I write whatever the hell I want to write.
Maybe after some time writing this I'll get some inspiration for Virtue, but for now, leave it. It's more or less dead.
"Honestly Emiya-san, you don't have to do all of it in a day. You can continue it tomorrow if you like." Issei couldn't believe how lucky the school was sometimes to have Shirou Emiya in it. The boy was nice, polite, and so unbelievably helpful it wasn't even funny.
Shirou just smiled and shook his head. "It's fine Issei. I prefer dealing with problems all at once anyway. Just leave the list of things to fix here and go back home. I'll finish them all today."
Issei sighed, then bowed in thanks. "Once again, thank you Emiya." He said before leaving.
Shirou nodded as the other teen left, before looking at the broken heater in front of him. The truth was, he needed Issei gone if he was to fix the broken appliances, seeing as his method of fixing them would look completely impossible if other people saw him.
He knelt in front of the heater, placing a hand upon the broken machine and imagining the trigger that would activate his magic. "Trace on."
In his eyes it appeared, an incredibly complex and gigantic web made out of thousands of strands of golden threads. He smiled, and imagined a single strand getting set on fire. That was his trigger, and a single magic circuit came to life inside of him.
With that, he used his magic to analyze the heater, its entire structure becoming known to him in an instant. The smile widened as he figured out the problem.
It took hours before he finished with everything, and by that time, it was already late at night. Shirou screwed back the cover from the last appliance he had fixed; an AC.
"Well, that's the last of them." He muttered, crossing out the final unmarked appliance on the list, before packing away his things and walking out of the room and towards the exit of the school.
It was as he neared said exit that he started hearing something unusual. Specifically, the sound of impacts, of steel meeting steel in a continuous cacophony of noise.
A shiver of dread running down his spine, he slowly walked out, trying his best to remain undetected as he attempted to see what was causing such noise. Were there hooligans out there trying to deface the school?
The reality was worse.
Two figures, one red with black and white swords, and another blue with a red spear, fought each other. It was an image straight out of fantasy as he watched them fight with blows faster and stronger than anything he had ever seen. Their arms swung like pistons as they smashed their weapons together again and again, their blows making small shockwaves from the sheer force in them.
It was beyond anything he had ever thought possible. It was something that could exist only in stories, and in that instant, Shirou knew that those things fighting each other were not human. They were too great, too powerful, too skilled to be something so frail.
It was from a moment of respite as they leaped away from each other that the blue one spotted him, and Shirou felt terror shake his entire body as his eyes locked with the red ones of the spear-wielder.
"Tsk. A witness." He almost didn't hear the statement.
Shirou dropped his toolbox and ran. In his mind, several dozen strands set themselves on fire, and he felt his body warm up very slightly as his circuits activated and channeled prana. He directed the prana and filled his body with it, reinforcing it.
Reinforcing. The art of improving an object by filling its gaps and cracks with prana. Shirou himself used it frequently on himself, and it had gotten to the point that he could go up to almost thirty miles per hour if he wanted to.
Right now, he really wanted to do just that, and he put all his focus into putting one leg in front of the other as he ran away, the streets blurring out of focus at his speed.
A minute later, the school was but a speck in the distance, and he slowed down, going into normal human speeds then stopping, gasping for breath as his body sweated at the exertion.
'What the hell were those two?'He thought in terror. They had come out of nowhere, trying to kill each other. He couldn't quite wrap his head around the experience. "Still, at least I lost them."
The voice from above him almost made him lose control of his bowels. "That was some impressive running kid, but no, you didn't lose me."
He turned around, and above him on top of a streetlight, stood the blue spear-wielder, grinning maniacally. The spearman dropped down, several meters away, before readying his spear. "Any last words?"
For Shirou, the moment was in perfect clarity. The spearman was clear in his eyes, his muscled figure sleek and deadly and his crimson spear ready to stab and take out his heart. Moreover was the aura of ferality and killing intent coming from him, making him seem larger than life, more lethal than something that looked like a man, a monstrous wolf ready to pounce and rip out his throat.
Not human, his mind told him.
But then again, he wasn't normal either.
"Just two words." Shirou spoke, strangely calmly.
"Oho. And what would that be?" the spearman asked, smiling in amusement.
In Shirou's mind, the golden web was once more present. He prepared himself.
And roughly two thousand six-hundred strands, the entirety of the web, set themselves on fire.
Three dozen glowing...things manifested around Shirou, and launched themselves at the spearman at bullet speeds. In an instant, another set had appeared, and that too immediately flew at the warrior. It was an endless, strangely silent, stream, and no normal warrior could have stood up to that and survived.
Lancer was not a normal warrior. He was a heroic spirit, brought to existence by the power of the holy grail as servant Lancer, and he was anything BUT normal. The projectiles shot at him, all of them directed to maim and kill, and with barely any effort he used his spear to bat away the continuous stream of...words?
Words. The projectiles were words that formed swords. They were in a language that he couldn't understand, though each one evoked a feeling that hinted at their meaning. They were all the same, a hilt made of a...harmonious feeling word that connected to the others, and a blade made of three sharpwords that were so stretched they were almost straight. The three words were then bound together again and again, forming a blade that was more an elongated drill. The words themselves were made out of a glowing blue substance. 'Prana. They're made of prana.' he thought to himself.
'Interesting. So he's a magus. Still think we should kill him, Bazett?'He thought back to his master from their link. Out loud, "That's useless, boy. Projectiles are worthless against me as long as I can see their origin."
Shirou frowned, sweat beading down his forehead as he slowly backed away from the spearman. This was nowhere near his max capacity. It wasn't even a tenth, but then again, using his full output of prana four years ago had caused incredible pain the instant he had tried it, and his circuits had almost doubled now. Still, the fact that his attacks weren't working at all was worrying.
'Let's try something different.'He thought as he added two Words to the new blades he made. The prana cost doubled, but the swords had no difference other than the two Words wrapped around Unity, the word that served as the hilt.
Lancer scowled. "This is getting boring boy." He muttered, before his spear blocked the first of the new word-swords. The moment his spear touched the projectile, it shattered, turning into shards of glassy mana that then exploded upon contact with anything. All the other thirty-five swords did the same, shattering around him, covering him in a screen of blue glass, before detonating.
From out of the smoke he leaped away, more out of surprise than anything as he felt pain for the first time since his summoning. He put a finger to his cheek, where there was a miniscule, practically unnoticeable burn, then to his throat, where his skin had been cut, but so weakly that he wouldn't even bleed. There were a dozen other wounds all over his body, all completely worthless in terms of actual damage, but the fact that the teen had been able to wound him, even with C-rank magic resistance...was astonishing. That required either a lot of prana, or great skill in maximizing the piercing quality of spells.
The amount of prana in the air testified to the former. And the kid didn't even look tired, more worried at the meager results of his barrage, which would actually have fairly injured a servant without magic resistance. If he had allowed himself to be hit full on, anyway.
He thought back to his master. 'Bazzett, whoever this magus is, he's strong. Really strong. For your standards anyway. Fact is though, he's a magus, so it should actually be fine for him to know about the war. Want me to parley?'
Far away, Bazzett answered. 'Yes. No need to cause unnecessary deaths, or piss off a strong magus.'
Lancer nodded, lowering his spear and raising a hand in a peaceful gesture. "Hey kid, there's been a misunderstanding-" he stopped when he noticed the markings on the boy's hand, the bandages having gone undone from his movements. Command seals.
'Bad news. The kid's a master. He just doesn't know it yet.'He said back to his master.
For a moment, Bazzett pondered upon letting the boy escape and taking him down when he finally had his servant. But the thought of a servant powered by a magus powerful enough to get through Lancer's C-rank magic resistance made her instincts as an Enforcer take over.
'Kill him, before he summons his servant. He's too much of a threat.'
Lancer shrugged. 'Your call.' To Shirou, "Never mind kid. Looks like I still have to kill you." He lunged forward.
Shirou hadn't let his guard down. More of the exploding swords appeared, in almost double the numbers before. This time Lancer ran through them all. They exploded all around him, all direct hits, but thanks to his magic resistance, the damage was all superficial. He was almost within stabbing distance when half a dozen new swords appeared.
They didn't have the new words on the hilt, but the blades were much thicker, now being made of eight words instead of three. His instincts screamed at him, and he leaped backwards as the blades fired at him.
They shot at him faster than the others, three times as fast, and as they got within meters of him, they suddenly extended, elongating to three times their length in an instant. The sudden growth surprised him, and he only managed to deflect five. The forces inflicted upon his spear were incredible, enough to actually make him put an effort into deflecting them. The last one however, only grazed his shoulder.
Grazed was poor term to use, seeing as the speeding blade would have punched completely through his flesh if it had been a direct hit. As it was, it tore out a strip of Lancer's shoulder as he dodged at the last instant, although the blade looked half-corroded as it experienced the nullifying effects of Lancer's magic resistance.
Silence, in all three of the people present as they processed what had just happened.
In Shirou, there was relief in figuring out what could hurt his seemingly invincible enemy. Even if a combination of single Words of Rush, Extend, and six words of Impale cost almost four times as much prana as a normal Cut-Stab-Cut Word-blade. But if it could hurt the monster in front of him, then he was willing to spend all his Prana in that Word-blade.
In Lancer and Bazzett, there was sheer shock as they studied the magus, the humanin front of them that had just displayed the capability to possibly kill a servant. If all of those new blades had hit, and at vital parts, then Lancer might just have gotten a fatal wound.
'And he's only JUST starting to spend some effort into this. He doesn't look tired AT ALL from using so much prana.'Lancer thought. Indeed, while Shirou was breathing heavily and sending out clouds of steam with the temperature of his breath, actual exhaustion from expending much of one's prana was not at all visible in his features.
Bazzett, from where she was hiding, took a deep breath. 'So he not only has the capability to focus and sharpen his spells, but also a lot of prana to spend? Screw this. Take him seriously Lancer. Take this boy down. I can only imagine what kind of terror he could be as a master.'
'Right there with you.'Lancer affirmed. He readied himself into a stance, not at all bothered by his bleeding shoulder as Shirou manifested more and more of the eight-word blades. "Impressive kid, really impressive. Few can say they could stand up to a servant by themselves. As it is though, that makes you too much of a threat. Can't have you being a master in this war."
Shirou frowned in confusion, sweating at how hot his body felt, as if a full summer sun was beating down at him for four already. It was uncomfortable, but nowhere near lethal. Yet. "I don't know what this 'servant' and 'master' you're talking about. All I know is that you've tried to kill me. Do we really have to do this?" One last chance for leaving peacefully, then he'd go serious.
The spearman shook his head. "Poor idiot. You don't even know what's happening in your very own city, do you?" He charged. "Sorry, but you're too much of a threat to leave alive!"
Shirou gritted his teeth as he activated a fourth of all of his circuits. By now, he had created over a hundred of the Impale blades during their short exchange, and with a fourth of his circuits activated, a stream of fifty of those was initiated. A hundred and fifty swords were launched as an initial volley, with fifty more constantly rushing at Lancer.
Lancer merely grinned, batting away the barrage, as he raised the respect he had for the sword magus a notch. To make him have to use the power of his lance, the magus must be great indeed.
"You should be honored, kid. I only use this for the best of my enemies."
Shirou frowned. The man was grinning. Why? He was pinned down, and too far away to launch a charge lest he be impaled. Still, apparently he was going to use his trump. Best prepare himself. He readied Words of protection in his mind, set to unleash them the moment the spearman attacked.
Lethal killing intent filled the street, and Shirou choked, body shaking as a feeling of sudden impending death shook his body. What could cause such a feeling?!
Reality was rewritten. What was 'the spear is thrust so the heart is pierced' turned into 'the heart is pierced, so the spear must have struck'. Such was the power of a noble phantasm. Mere mortals stood no chance.
Lancer disappeared. One moment, pinned down from the projectiles. The next, Shirou was on his back, Gae Bolg firmly lodged in his heart, Lancer gripping the death-dealing instrument. The last of Shirou's Word-blades slammed uselessly against the ground Lancer had been standing on an instant ago.
Lancer grinned. "Good fight." He twisted the spear, then pulled it out, the blood indistinguishable against the crimson spear. He walked away, fading away as he astralized. 'Pity I couldn't fight your servant. It would have been a great fight.'He had no doubt the boy would have summoned something monstrous. Exactly the reason why he had to die now.
"And I didn't even get your name. Rude of me." Lancer muttered as he surveyed the damage. The street was full of pinpricks and grazes from the first two types of swords, but the third kind truly brought home the lethality of the magus. The impaling blades had torn wide holes deep into the pavement, to the point that it seemed as if somekind of super-mole had been digging into the ground.
"Good fight." He repeated, and those were the last things Shirou heard from the servant as his vision started fading.
'So this is it? All my dreams of being a hero? Gone.'
He tried to breath, but his lungs wouldn't work, and his heart tried futilely to beat.
'I guess...I failed...then...'
Faintly, he heard voices
"...mmit!...oo late!...to do?"
"...eave hi...not...our faul..."
He faded away.
That was all that Shirou Emiya could say as he blearily stood up from the middle of the street.
'Oh god, it feels like a truck ran over me...what the hell? What happened here?'He thought as he stood up, noticing the destruction all around him, the pitted concrete, with its grazes and craters and holes, looked like a battlefield.
Then he remembered. The blue spearman!
Immediately, his hand shot to his chest, where instead of an open wound he found...flesh? Indeed, though his body was extremely sore, his chest, where the spearman had dealt him a fatal blow, was completely healed.
Was it just a dream? No. The damage was here, all around him, so was the blood on the ground and the hole on his shirt.
Shirou frowned. How had he survived? He asked, but as he dwelt more on the memory, he came to an even more important question: how would he keep surviving?
Looking frantically around him for signs of the spearman, Shirou sighed in relief, before reinforcing himself and running to his house.
'Servant', 'master'. Those were the words the killer had been bandying around. They seemed so familiar...
Shirou almost tripped as he remembered.
'The Grail War. A war between 7 magi masters and 7 summoned heroic spirits in the form of servants, all for the prize of a wish. The last war happened at the same time as the great fire that orphaned you. Coincidence? I think not. Still, it only happens every sixty years, so you don't have to worry your sword-obsessed little head about it until you're much older. Now get back to the lesson! This is 'Hunt'...'
His teacher had only mentioned it in passing, but it was enough. Shirou had faced a servant, a heroic spirit given material form and powered by the legends of his feats...no wonder Shirou had stood no chance.
'Still, to think that I actually forced one to use his weapon's full power. I don't know whether to be proud of myself, or terrified.'On one hand, it was a sign of his skill as a magus. On the other, the spearman would take him seriously right at the start the next time they met.
'Both then.'He decided as he arrived at his house, panting heavily from exertion as his already sore body protested against his decision to run reinforced. He stepped inside, and immediately came to the kitchen, opening the fridge and pouring the cooled water into a cup. He couldn't drink it fast enough, and poured the cup full twice more. Finished, he let out a sigh of pleasure as he felt his uncomfortably warm body starting to cool down.
He leaned against the counter, wondering what next to do. "Servants. Holy grail war. Wasn't that supposed to happen decades from now?" It should, but apparently it had decided to come early.
Shirou gritted his teeth in frustration. "And I don't even know how to summon a servant. Without one, I'm practically defenseless." That wasn't what he was truly worried about however.
The innocents...the thought of destruction just like the last war occurring set his teeth on edge. He had to keep a disaster like that from happening. And he needed a servant to have a chance of doing that.
'It's what a hero would do...'
"Then you should have summoned one the moment you got here, kid, instead of standing around like an idiot." The spearman's voice came out of nowhere, and Shirou froze, nearly unable to believe his luck. Or lack of it anyway.
He dodged at the last second, reinforcing his tired legs and leaping to the side, narrowly avoiding the spear that would have stabbed through his skull as Lancer crashed through the windows.
The blue servant grinned. "Well what do you know? There I was, bringing my master to your corpse to find out just what makes you tick, when instead of a corpse we find nothing? I don't know what you did to survive, boy, but you're not going to summon anything if my master has anything to say about it." He lunged.
But Shirou had already started running away, and behind him, numerous Word-blades fired at the Servant. Two Words of 'Push' were added to the basic Cut-Pierce-Cut, making Lancer put more effort into deflecting the projectiles.
It was meant to distract, not to hurt, for Shirou had no doubts about his skill to defeat as legendary hero. As of now, he was simply trying to get to his workshop, hoping against hope that he would find somethingthere that would aid him in survival.
His reinforced legs pounded against the floor as he leapt out of a doorway leading outside, barely avoiding Lancer as he stabbed down where he had been just a second ago.
"Tricky little fox, aren't you?" Lancer growled as a dozen more Word-blades fired at him. Scowling, instead of blocking, he actually charged straight into them. For Lancer, this proved to be a wise move, as he barely bruised from the impacts, and it enabled him to get close enough to strike at Shirou.
The sword incarnation managed to twist at the last second, and instead of getting lanced through the gut, he found himself suffering only a hard blow to his chest that broke several ribs and threw him bodily down into the doorway of his workshop.
For Shirou, the pain was nowhere near the pain of creating another magic circuit, but at least he had good chances at surviving those. This...this was doom. There was no way out. He had effectively cornered himself.
'I don't want to die...'
Unbeknownst to him, the summoning circle on the shed's floor started lighting up, reacting to the mass of prana Shirou was channeling.
Shakily, he stood up, idly noticing the two cylinders of diamond he had tinkered with last night on a table. Hope filled him, and he grabbed them, one in each hand, channeling prana through each one.
'I haven't fulfilled my promise yet...'
Lancer walked down just in time to see twin glowing blades of prana burst out of the handles. Two and half feet long, straight and double-edged, like a longsword, but a longsword didn't have tiny jagged blades spinning across the middle of its length. If one were to disassemble it, one would see that the blade was made of a multitude of Cuts and Pierces melded so perfectly together as to go into the shape of an actual sword, and that the spinning chainteeth were miniature Words of Rip and Tear used side by side with Spins in the inside of the blade to make the spinning teeth.
Behind Shirou, half a hundred Impale-blades fired at Lancer, who suddenly found the narrow confines of the shed detrimental to dodging. With skill born of a thousand battles and reflexes honed to a razor edge, he fluidly moved his spear to block each and every projectile fired at him.
The display only proved to heighten the difference between them, as Lancer stood in one place, moving with inhuman speed to bat away a barrage that would have overwhelmed and torn apart any mortal that faced it.
The deflected Word-blades scattered everywhichway, tearing apart the research notes, mechanical parts, and clutter that was scattered all over the shed.
Shirou, against all sanity, charged. Lancer glanced at him, and grinned as he proceeded to not only weather the storm of Words, but also Shirou's flurry of sword-blows. His spear was a blur as it moved perfectly to defend against them both, and it was Shirou who became worried as even with his reinforced strength, each protective blow from Lancer made his arms tremble from the impact, and he could already sense minute cracks forming on the reinforced diamond hilt.
Finally, Lancer had enough, and with insane speed, swiped downward with his spear, tripping Shirou, then jabbing with the blunt end, hitting Shirou on the chest and propelling him to crash against the wall even as he deflected the rest of the Words.
Shirou groaned, coughing out a wad of blood, his vision blurring from the impact.
'No. Not now. It can't end this way...'
More magic flowed into the summoning circle that both combatants had yet to notice.
Lancer grinned. "Sorry kid, but this is the end of the line." He pulled back his spear, ready to thrust.
Once again, the world slowed down, and it was then that Shirou felt a tugging on his prana. He looked to the side, and hope flared in him when he saw the circle.
'One chance then. I have to this now.'
"Die!" Lancer stabbed.
In Shirou's mind, the golden web, already set completely on fire, blazed into an inferno. For an instant, all of his activated circuits flared and channeled prana throughout his body, as Shirou threw all the prana he could gather into the circle in an attempt to summon a servant.
"I WISH TO LIVE!"
For the two, the world flashed to white.