Disclaimer: Fate/Stay Night and all of its spin-offs and supplementary materials are properties of Type-Moon. I own nothing. This work is purely for personal enjoyment.

Those two got along well quickly, much to Shirou's surprise. One was an imposingly tall, stoic Catholic Priest, while his seatmate in Emiya house's living room was an energetic young woman in her early twenties. They were Kirei Kotomine and Taiga Fujimura.

At first, it had been an endless expression of gratitude from Taiga to the good priest for (as she had concluded by her own thinking) providing Shirou with shelter and treatment after the boy got run over by a car when he visited Shinto District to play around after school on the day before yesterday. After that, she started to bring up Shirou's personal life as a topic of conversation. Embarrassed but unable to stop her, the boy fled to the kitchen to brew red tea for their guest.

"...And ever since then, he started to fight older kids too. He always got beaten up, but he kept saying that he was fine. That boy, I didn't know what to do anymore..."

"I see."

"You see Kotomine-san, I was thinking that maybe if Shirou got a girlfriend he would become more responsible and self-conscious. But is it okay for a boy his age? What do you think?"

"It might do him good."

'Get along well' might not be the right phrase actually, since it was Taiga who did all the talking. Kirei's role was quietly listened and responded concisely.

It was only when Shirou came back bringing two cups of tea on a tray that the man did the initiative.

"Fujimura-san, would you mind if I ask you about Emiya-kun's current guardianship?"

"Hm? Well... after Kiritsugu-san died, my grandfather manages the finance and administration of this estate until Shirou reaches legal age to inherit it. Shirou's living expenses is also supported by grandfather," Taiga paused to grin at Shirou and then patted the boy's head as she continued, "but this kid would have none of it! He said he didn't want to be a burden and that he would do a part-time job to pay his own expenses. He was so cute back then!"

Shirou could only look down in embarrassment.

"Oh! That reminds me! Neko-san is also worried about you, you know? You should give her a call!"

There goes our chance to settle the most important thing... Shirou mentally complained. The faster Kirei could explain his current predicament with Rin Tohsaka, the quicker Kirei would have to leave his house. Seeing that priest sipping his tea as if not caring about his task as Tohsaka's representation annoyed Shirou for some reason.

But anyway, Taiga was right. Otoko Hotaruzuka, otherwise known by her nickname: Neko, was the daughter of the owner of Copenhagen liquor store and bar. Shirou had been working part-time there since a few months ago. Being Taiga's friend in high school, Neko had easily accepted Shirou as a co-worker and very friendly towards him. An apology for his absents was a must.

Still, Taiga Fujimura must be stopped before she started suggesting random idea like…

"Oh, right! It's time for Kokoro no Kyoukai drama! Shirou, switch the TV on! Now! Switch in on!"

… Like that. Now she would not stop talking about how heart-wrenching that TV drama was.

Time to intervene, then. "I will, Fuji-Nee. But before you start taking all the talk again; there is something I've discussed with Kotomine-san that we need you to know."

"Eh? What is it?"

Shirou glanced at Kirei. "I'm sure you can explain it better than me, Kotomine-san."

The priest nodded nonchalantly. He put his teacup on the table before he started to talk. "Fujimura-san, an acquaintance of mine has expressed an interest in providing Emiya-kun a better education..."

Shirou flinched as Kirei kept speaking on and on in a pragmatic way while Taiga listened in increasingly visible interest. All the priest said were basically true, only told in such a way that left the big picture covered. A fearsome man indeed, Kirei Kotomine was.

Heart of a Hero

A Fate/Stay Night fanfiction by Aqualian

Chapter 2: Training Begins

One Week Later

Issei Ryuudou was a typical model student. Diligent, had good grades, discipline, polite, not to mention quite good-looking even without enigmatic point in his appearance. For a bonus point, he was the student council president of his school.

Recently though, his conflict with his vice-president who was also known as the favorite student of the school, Rin Tohsaka, had caused rumor about him to occur among students. There were some about the possibility that he was a misogynist and probably also a homosexual.

Nobody had ever spoken out loud directly in front of him, but Issei knew it. He just couldn't care less.

That was because everyone had fallen so deep in the demon's ensnarement and Issei could only accept it as it was.

Issei Ryuudou believed that the perfect Rin Tohsaka was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Her everyday sweetness and good nature were nothing but an image she created to hide her true self: stingy, selfish, and greedy. Meanwhile, his fellow students (and maybe the teachers too) couldn't comprehend how that was true for their most-adored Tohsaka.

They seemed to forget, or decided to forget that Issei was the person Rin Tohsaka interacted the most with in a stressful daily routine of the student council. The sharp-minded president had seen his vice's true self after working together with her for months. People just didn't want to believe it and Rin doing an admittedly good act in front of other people didn't help him.

Issei had seen the truth and he had tried to enlighten others about it, but to no avail. Currently, he only had one hope that someday one person, just one person was enough, would see Rin Tohsaka without her mask on. Thus, he wouldn't be alone with his knowledge.

Not that Issei would ever admit that, though.

"Well then class, please have a warm welcome for Shirou Emiya."

That's the cue, Shirou reminded himself. He took a deep breath and then proceeded to enter his new class. His vision quickly caught the look of his new classmates. They were all looking at him in mild interest and curiousness.

Did they want to know where he came from?

Was there something wrong with his appearance?

Did his red hair seem odd to them?

Such silly thoughts filled Shirou's nervous mind. Nevertheless, he kept going towards the front of the class, stopping in the middle and facing his new friends.

After the teacher had nodded his head, Shirou started his introduction. "Nice to meet you, everybody. My name is Shirou Emiya. This might be an odd time for a new student to transfer over, but circumstances had demanded. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to be your acquaintance, so please give me your best regards." He then bowed.

The students of the class applauded in appreciation as Shirou smiled and looked carefully for someone he might know. There wasn't any.

"I'm not in the same class with Tohsaka-san, huh?"

"Now Emiya-kun, your seat is over there beside Ryuudou-kun. Ryuudou-kun, raise your hand please? Ah, good. Right there, see?"

Shirou walked towards his seat like the teacher had instructed. He gave the bespectacled boy, Ryuudou, a nod of thanks. It was returned gracefully.

"Welcome, Emiya-kun. I am Issei Ryuudou, the student council president of this school. You can ask me if you need something to ask."

"Ah, sure. Nice to meet you, Ryuudou-kun."

As he pulled his chair to take a seat, Shirou thought that maybe this 'transfer student route' wasn't so bad after all.

The discussion for this matter had taken place just before Kirei took Shirou home the other day and gone as followed:

"Transfer school?"

"Yes. As you know, starting from today, you are a magus apprentice of Tohsaka family. Normally we would arrange accommodations for you to live together with your teacher, but considering Rin's condition, it is very unlikely to happen now."

"Condition? Tohsaka-san has a condition?"

- What is it? Does she have an illness? Or a family secret nobody supposed to know about?

Kirei stared at Shirou with half-lid eyes, as if saying, "This boy is helpless."

"You are a boy, Rin is a girl. Living under the same roof is not appropriate for the both of you no matter how you see it. Though, if you insist, I can still work something-"

His face redder than tomato, Shirou waved his hands frantically as he cut off the priest's sentence, "No! No! No! I get it! I get it! I'm sorry for my thoughtlessness!"

"Good. Now back to our topic. Beside your limit as teenagers of opposite gender, you must also know that currently Rin's training has yet to reach completion. Her schedule is full enough with her daily life and training which means taking an apprentice will be taxing to her time."

"... And in what way me transferring over to her school will help things?"

Kirei didn't even inhale before starting his lengthy explanation.

"Being an apprentice doesn't mean you will always be under your teacher's guidance every time you do training. Mostly, the teacher will give you instruction for a spell, a goal you must achieve in said spell, and deadline to complete it. Your progress will be analyzed each time you have a meeting session with your teacher in which she will give you assessment of your skill and further advice to improve it.

"These steps require regular face-to-face meeting between the two which considering that the both of you are attending separate schools, will be hard to make. Having a contact by phone is possible, but there are many limitations. Attending the same school is the best choice for now, since you can organize yourselves better that way."

Shirou nodded in understanding. "Makes sense, but what explanation should we give to my guardian so she gives me her consent?"

Kirei smirked in response. "That, my boy, is something I have to keep my lips shut tight about so you will not ruin it later."

Shirou clucked his tongue in annoyance. He hated being underestimated so much, yet he couldn't make any assurance that he would not mess things up like the priest had said. Kirei Kotomine seemed to always know how to hit his nerve, and Shirou was itching for a payback.

Someday, maybe someday.

An hour after the morning sermon had ended Fuyuki Church was devoid of people other than him and yet Kirei Kotomine was busy in his duty. Stack of paperworks almost covered his desk completely, save for a small space where he put a phone and a glass of water on.

His work today consisted of examining those documents one by one and correcting any mistake he found. Later, after making sure that each paper had been filled with correct words, he had to type it down with either type-writer or computer, got all signatures and seals of approval, and finally sent them to their intended users.

It was as tedious and boring as it sounded, but Kirei never sighed out in complaint even once. In fact, he occasionally smiled amusedly as he read those text-filled papers. It was not amused smile as in a sense of a worker being fond of his job, it was more like a savvy reader reading a comedy story where he realized that a great set up had been placed in the book and he now looked forward for the punchline.

"It seems those kids are really good at making you busy, Kirei," a man's voice interrupted Kirei's work following the sound of the door being opened.

Kirei looked up from his desk to find a handsome blonde-haired man in expensive clothing smirking at him. In the left hand of that man was a bottle of high-quality wine while a lager was held by his right hand.

It seemed this man had first visited the church's wine storage room before coming to Kirei's workroom.

"Gilgamesh. It's quite rare for you to visit me here."

The visitor, Gilgamesh, walked leisurely towards the chair across Kirei as he poured his wine into the lager. He then sat and sipped his wine at the same time. His movements were swift and elegant, reminiscing a royalty or aristocrat.

"It has come to my attention that something has changed about you these days. You seem to be more zealous in your routine, yet at the same time you have become gloomier."

From Gilgamesh's judging look, Kirei averted his gaze. An image of Shirou Emiya and Taiga Fujimura hugging each other briefly flashed in his mind. "Would you mind to elaborate?"

"Take your sermon of this morning, for example. It was lacking in spirit. You brought it only because you had to, you took no enjoyment from it like you usually do."

It was true, Kirei mentally admitted. His tendency to guide his audience towards the path of redemption by making them regretted their existence had died down this morning. It usually went smoothly; those people would tearfully admit what a terrible, sinful person they actually were upon listening to his sermon, showing agony and suffering as if being shunned by God Himself. Kirei would later provide them with motivational advice which they would keep thanking him for it. That was how Kirei Kotomine found enjoyment in his everyday life while at the same time performing his duty of guiding people as a servant of God faithfully.

"You slightly resembled that time we first met, Kirei."

"Was I?"

"Don't doubt it, Kirei, since it was I who spoke. Now, try to recall what you felt and desired ten years ago and I'm sure you'll find the reason for your uncertainty."

Ten years ago. It had been a time when Kirei, blindly pursuing an answer of one simple question: What is the meaning of his existence?

There had been no joy Kirei had found in his life. All his accomplishments had been nothing but hollow object he just threw away without any care. He had tried to do as many things as he possibly could, but none had truly given him the feel of satisfaction; not even getting married and having a daughter.

There was a man whose behaviors mirrored Kirei: unrelenting in his pursuit of something, ruthless, and never hesitant in abandoning his achievements. Another man with hollow for a heart. That man's name was Kiritsugu Emiya.

Kirei had tried to confront the man, thinking that maybe Kiritsugu had had an answer for his question. He had been wrong. Kiritsugu had not been someone looking for a purpose of his existence, he had been chasing after an impossibly childish dream. A dream that as Kirei had witnessed, Kiritsugu had failed to realize. A dream that somehow, after his complete downfall in the abyss of despair, was inherited by his son: Shirou Emiya.

Did that mean Kiritsugu Emiya had found salvation before his death?

Kiritsugu had been living surrounded by individuals like Shirou and Taiga Fujimura. Had he been living carefree life until the end, no longer in regret?

"There. You have found it. The core of your problem. Envy is such an ugly thing, huh? Kirei?"

At Gilgamesh's rhetorical question Kirei only snorted, scoffing himself for his melancholy.

"I concur. It's hard to believe that such a small thing can still affect me after all I've gone through. My thanks to you for reminding me, King of Heroes."

Gilgamesh sipped his wine again. "I just don't want to lose an opportunity to see how much entertainment you can provide me, Kirei. I can't let you go soft just yet," he said.

"By the way, Kirei. What is in these papers that amuse you so much?" Gilgamesh asked as he snatched one of the paperworks on the desk. His unusual eyes, crimson in color, quickly examine the paper's contents. "... the head of Tohsaka family, Rin Tohsaka, hereby declared to have taken Shirou Emiya as an apprentice of Tohsaka family's magic arts..."

"It is a communiqu to the Confederation for registering Shirou Emiya as magus apprentice," Kirei explained without being asked. "These papers are all made for that purpose. Such a complicated bureaucracy is fitting for that organization."

"And Tokiomi's daughter is such a spoiled brat to have you taking care of these."

"No. They are all Rin's doing. Just look, the text is hand-written; she spent every night in this whole week to finish these documents. My duty is to check them all and correct any mistake."

"Hoo, she might be not so bad," Gilgamesh commented before his eyes glinted in excitement. "Ahahaha, I see. I see. This will be interesting indeed, Kirei."

Kirei smiled in response. It was not so hard for him to imagine what kind of ruckus would follow should the higher-ups in the Confederation read the name 'Emiya' in those papers. To what extent this would damage how many people; Kirei Kotomine was looking forward to it.

It was at the break after the first period when Shirou asked, "Ryuudou-kun, do you know a girl named Rin Tohsaka in this school?"

To his new friend's question, Issei Ryuudou sighed in resignation. Had Rin Tohsaka's popularity reached so far outside his school? It was even possible that Shirou Emiya transferred only to get to know that girl.

"Yes. She is pretty popular here. She usually hangs out with his friends in cafetaria at breaks. Do you want to meet her?"

"Hmm, yeah. We are... an acquaintance. It wouldn't be proper if I don't greet her after I have come all the way here, right? I also need to ask her out for something."

"Yeah, you are right. But let me warn you beforehand, Emiya-kun. I don't know how well you know Tohsaka, but please don't be hasty in judging her character. She is not as nice as she appears to be."

Despite noticing Issei's increasingly edgy tone, Shirou tried to remain positive. "Sure, but I don't think she is such a reclusive person."

Issei sighed again. "All right. It's fine if you think so. Come on then, let's go see her. I'll show you the way."

"Oh, thanks."

"There she is. Rin Tohsaka is in the middle. Go see her and get your business done."

Issei's index finger pointed at a group of girls sitting around a table in the corner of cafetaria. Shirou could see his master in the center of the group, chatting happily with her friends. It seemed she was leading the conversation. A school idol, huh?

"Okay, thanks. You coming too?"

"No, thanks. I'll be waiting here."

Shirou took a deep breath in preparation. The idea of talking directly to Rin in front of her friends made him nervous. But it was necessary. He had to arrange a meeting between the two of them because today was the day he started to learn magic from her.

Come on! Being a magus means you don't fear death! It's just asking her out! No more! Shirou tried to push himself. Something felt off about his thinking, but Shirou didn't care. In a quickened pace, he started to approach those girls.

"E-excuse me! T-To-Tohsaka-san!"

The girls' chatters stopped as their gaze fell upon him. Cold sweats started to appear on Shirou's face. Stuttering really was not part of his plan. Nonetheless, he couldn't just back down now.

"H-hi! It's me! D-do you remember me?"

Half of the girls looked at Rin while the other half eyed him suspiciously. "Do you know this boy, Rin-chan?" one of them asked.

"Hm..." Rin, in what appeared to be an effort to remember who Shirou was, observed the boy for hair to toes. The silence was too awkward for Shirou as he started to panic.

She is going to say 'Sorry, I don't know you,' isn't she?! She is going to embarrass me, isn't she?! She is going to make her friends think I am a weirdo, isn't sheee?!

"Ah! Emiya-kun! You really do transfer here!" Rin said cheerfully.

"..." Shirou said.

"Eh? Is he your friend, Rin-chan?"

"Yes, he is my pen-pal, Shirou Emiya," Rin said before smiled sweetly at him. "I'm sorry for not quickly recognize you, Emiya-kun. You look quite different from the last time we met."

"Eh? Do I?"

"Yup. You look more handsome now."

Shirou felt something hot in his cheeks. So very hot he feared it would induce steam.

"Rin, you are such a charmer!" "Rin-chan! I don't know you are so bold!" compliments and laughter flooded the cafe.

And Rin Tohsaka just smiled coolly at that.

"Well then, Emiya-kun. I'm currently busy with my friends here, so let's meet again in the second break. I'll show you around school as we have promised. My class is 2-C, pick me up, will you?"

There was no such promise, but Shirou could only nod his head obediently.

"... Uh, g-got it. W-well then, s-see you, Tohsaka-san."

"See you, Emiya-kun!"

He turned around and walked away from her. In what he felt like forever, Shirou finally reached the table where Issei was waiting for him. He then sat down unceremoniously, a huge breathe of relief escaped his mouth.

"Well, how was it? She accepted?" Issei asked as he offered Shirou a glass of iced tea. Muttering a thank you, the redhead accepted and sipped the drink gracefully.

"She did. We will meet again in the second break."

Issei was shocked. "She did? Whoa, that's unexpected of her!"

"... You thought I was asking Tohsaka-san for a date, didn't you?"

"You didn't?"

"I didn't. We are just going to talk about a business... between friends. That's all."

"Oh, I see. So, you have been her friend for long, I assume?"

"Well, not really that long, but she is really different here than I remember."

"Different? In what way?"

Shirou scratched his head for a bit before spoke in low voice. "She was more... assertive and less polite. How would you say that... It's like she is wearing a mask."

Unexpectedly for Shirou, Issei was rendered speechless by what he had just said. The bespectacled boy then lifted his right hand in front of his chest in a praying position, whispering a quick prayer as he did so.

"Uh... Ryuudou-san?"

"... Amazing."

"What is amazing?"

"To think that my prayer comes true in such a short time..."

"... What prayer?"

"Another man who had seen the true form of that demon has come."


"Emiya-kun," Issei began, his expression was completely serious. He then grasped Shirou's right hand tightly, much to the redhead's surprise. "This is the beginning of eternal friendship between us."

"... Well, sure..." Shirou confusedly said. Silently, under the suspicious stares of his new schoolmates, he wondered if this 'transfer student route' was really the good way to go.

Miyama National Middle School was in an uproar. The mysterious red-haired new transfer student had asked the school idol Rin Tohsaka for a tour around school, so the rumor said. That would have been easily dismissed as a part of Rin's duty as vice student council president if not for the princess brought two lunchboxes with her.

Rumors spread out uncontrollably with its content rapidly grew more complicated as more mouths were involved.

"Eeeh!? Are they d-dating?"

"I heard that Emiya is her childhood friends that had been separated for years from her."

"Isn't he her fiancé?"

"Hey, hear, hear, the president held the new guy's hands in the cafe! Sooo romantic!"

"So the president really is..."

Shirou sneezed. He wondered if that was caused by the breeze. The school's rooftop might have a nice view, but the wind could really get high quickly.

"Bless you," Rin said as she had another bite of her lunch. Shirou on the other hand had to satisfied himself with a piece of bread. Rin's second lunchbox which almost all boys envied Shirou for turned out to be containing jewels and talismans. She had made a bounded field around the rooftop to ward off peepers with them. Anyone who came close to the place would suddenly have a very strong urge to do something else. No one would eavesdrop their conversation.

"You must be getting popular, Mr. New Transfer Student," she added with a playful grin.

"Thanks to you, Sensei," Shirou responded dryly.

Rin almost did a double take. "S-sensei? … Oh, right. I'm your teacher from now on... yeah."

"So then, when do we start the lessons, Sensei?"

"We will go to my house after school. We'll start by making a switch and define your affinity. I can arrange your training schedule afterward. Leave immediately and meet me at the main gate, alright? I cannot accept visitors after dark. We need to be fast and efficient."

Shirou looked over the sky as he murmured absentmindedly. "I see..."

"Something's wrong with that?" Rin asked, her tone sharp.

"... No. This is just my first time coming over to a girl's house. I ask your pardon in advance for the intrusion."

That answer came without Shirou looking right at her, Rin noted.

"Hey, is there really nothing wrong, Emiya-kun?"

Shirou just munched his bread in response; his eyes never left the bright blue sky. Neither Shirou nor Rin said anything for a while as the former was thinking of a reply while the later was waiting for it. Only the sounds of breezing wind filled the atmospehere. Rin closed her eyes and took a deep breath n relaxation. When she reopened them, she found that her redheaded apprentice had been staring at her; his expression was the definition of awe.

A second later, a red-faced Shirou who had realized what he had been doing quickly bit his bread in an attempt to escape Rin's attention. She giggled since Shirou's gesture reminded her of a cat.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I just... I was... I... sorry..." Shirou said. His words got lower and lower in volume as they turned into messy stutters. Rin involuntarily let out a hearty laugh at that.

"You said sorry too much."

"Oh! S-sorry, I apologized without realizing it..."

Rin laughed harder.

"Oh my, you are really a funny guy, Shirou."

Blushing madly, Shirou averted his eyes from Rin as he chewed his bread. A laughing Rin Tohsaka was a new thing for him and as a normal, healthy guy, his heart had skipped a bit as he realized how fascinating it had been. Damn. Would this kind of interaction continue forever?

But once he thought about it, her laughter had eased up the tension between them. Well, one problem at a time, then.

It was only after he swallowed down the rest of his lunch that Shirou started to talk again.

"Doesn't teaching me magic will take up your time, Tohsaka-san? You are a top student, vice student council president, and you haven't finished your training yourself, right?"

"Add my responsibilities as family head and second owner and you get the complete list," Rin said. "Therefore be grateful to me for busying myself with you after all those."

"I am grateful. I am very grateful, Tohsaka-san. But doesn't making me your ordinary servant make more sense? I can do cooking and laundry for you, helping you with many things, instead of becoming a burden for you. I don't mind it, really, since I do owe you my life. Beside, if you really wish me to be your student, shouldn't we do it after you at least graduate from high school?"

Rin flinched at Shirou's inquiry. The boy was right. Taking up an apprentice in this moment wasn't the smartest thing to do. She had no much time to spare.

"Or did you not think this through?"


Bull's eye.

"Then what do you want?" Rin asked after she had regained her composure.

"You need to reconsider this, Tohsaka-san. I don't want you overexerting yourself. I will do anything to repay my debt but... this will only become a burden for you."

This time, it was Rin who brought the silence. She gazed at the sky thoughtfully, doing as Shirou suggested. Almost a minute went by before she suddenly stood up and walked towards the railings and leaned on it. Confused, Shirou followed her.

"You, of all people, told me not to overexerting myself? Really, Shirou?" she muttered once she was sure that Shirou was close enough to hear her.

"What do you mean?"

"You did it. The jump."


"It was an assignment from Ryuudou. I had to go to your school to settle a matter about join event for the end of this month. I stayed there until afternoon. It was when I was going to go home that I saw you running on the school yard alone, doing high jumps."


"At first, I was surprised when I sensed a leakage of prana out of you, but I decided to keep watching because you didn't actually use any spell. And then, you made it. You completely jumped over the bar."

"... I'm not sure about that last bit."

"I guess you were starting to lose consciousness at that time. But you really did; the bar fell not because you touched it, it just fell. And then you blacked out. You should know the rest.

"But you see, you have accidentally pumped your od to strengthen your legs' pushing power. Kirei said that your leg muscles were damaged because of it."

"And what does this have to do with our discussion?"

"I know what kind of a guy you are, Shirou. You are an idiot who will not give up to achieve his goal no matter what, right? And you once said that you want to be a hero. You will keep going after that goal, with or without magic, right?"

"I will," Shirou said, quickly and firmly. Rin gave a small smile in response.

"Ah... actually it's rather hard to put my reasoning into words, but I guess... you could say that I envy you. Trying your best for the efforts and not pursuing the results and even achieving your goal despite all odds. To think that a person like you exists... I just can't leave you alone, you know?"

It would be a lie if Shirou said that he understood what Rin had said. But to the boy, Rin's tender smile was enough. He didn't need to hear her exact reason because there was no exact reason in the first place. It was a sincere wish to help him learning magic better. A wish that would really become a waste if left unfulfilled it could be considered a sin.

Furthermore, a hero would never let that smile faded away. Never.

"Thanks for answering my questions, Tohsaka-san. I don't have any doubt anymore. I will be in your care... Sensei."

"Oh, so I don't need to reconsider my decision anymore, Shirou?" she smirked as she asked this.

"I will go with anything you choose, Sensei."

"Then be prepared. Tohsaka family's magic is hard to learn. You have to train your body too. And this is not your ordinary self-defense training, you know?"

"I'm ready."

"We'll see," Rin said, ended their discussion that day as she extended her right hand. Shirou, a bit hesitant and red-faced, reached it slowly and shook it. The warmth of his teacher's palm seeped through his skin, as if notifying him that his adventure was starting from now on.

Shirou was ready for it, but first...

"By the way Sensei, since when did you start calling me by my name?" he had to ask about that.

To be continued…

Author's Note: Hello folks, here is the second chapter. It took longer that I expected but I hope this meets your expectation. Yes, the training has yet to actually begin and yes, the plot is moving slowly. But it's necessary to establish the characters and their view towards each other. I expect reviews and criticisms!

Also, my thanks to you who have shown appreciation to this story. I never expected it to get such warm response. I'll be sure to try harder for future chapters. For some who have expressed concerns, here is a Q & A section:

Q & A

Q: What will you do to Shirou? Why did you cripple him? Will you make him a badass?

A: To be honest, I'm aiming to make him more mature instead of stronger. Badassery will follow. And there is a reason I only allow him to use twenty-five circuits. You need to wait.

Q: Is Kirei going soft here?

A: I have some plans concerning Kirei Kotomine. But no, definitely not.

PS: Don't trust the preview so much, changes might happen as the writing goes. I failed to introduce reinforcement magic in this chapter, for example.

On the next chapter...

"Why are you smiling like that, Sakura?"

"She is still too young to know anything about the history of Emiya family!"

"Now that traitor's son has become Tohsaka's guard dog, my granddaughter."

"I might be wrong about your father, Shirou."

"Trace On!"

"Let's have a dinner!"


Chapter 3: Steel and Jewel I