The Prismatic Edge.
Disclaimer: No monetary gain, or ownership to be seen around these parts.
Reincarnation was a chore, though due to the situation I felt that it was more pertinent to call it rebirth.
I was reborn to my true parents, they were perfectly ordinary people living ordinary lives. My father was a tall man with russet hair, he was most certainly foreign and the source of my impressive height, just like my mother. She was a hardy woman sharing my father's height and hair, she worked at the docks just as my father did, I shared my eye colors with her. she had my vibrant shade while my father's eyes were a dull green. They worked shifts during the weekdays, conducting the shipping containers that came from all over the world into Fuyuki. They were planning on returning to Europe and raise me there after my fourth grade, a few years late for the fire. I enjoyed my time with them, but at the same time I tried my best to not be attached.
Time had rewound, I was reborn into my own life. I was too young, I could not affect what was to come.
Except my own preparedness for the Holy Grail war, my world lay dormant within my mind, unpowered yet present. I managed to activate my circuits through a ritual I had seen conducted in the slums of Africa the first day my parents left me with a sitter. She had been a kindly lady, but a few sleeping pills I smuggled from the medical cabinet had knocked her out cold so I could conduct the ritual to activate my circuits to their full potential.
I missed a week of school due to the fever that followed, the ingestion of the material had me bedridden and weak for three days. I didn't see the kindly woman again, but my preparedness for what was too come was far more important than the feelings of one lady.
From that moment in time onward, I began to train my body once more. I participated in every athletic club, the formation of muscles in such an earlier age would be beneficial to my plans for the war. Reinforcement could do much more with a body developed with the magic in mind rather than with the jack of all trades I had pursued previously.
To my dismay, the Kendo club did not recruit until the sixth grade, and the only sports I had were soccer and swim. I had been adamant in not utilizing my magic to aid, but competition still got the better of me in some moments. I always apologized to my opponents whenever I utilized magic to win, but I didn't exactly say why either.
I pursued my course in life, my plans in place.
When I saw the skyscraper tumble down, I hypnotized my parents for the first and last time.
I told them to pack and leave, their son died and they couldn't stand living in the place anymore. I placed a compulsion on my father to place stock on a few companies I knew would rise over the years, and knowing they would be well, said goodbye.
They lived, maybe one day I will visit them, but only after I ensured that the Grail was no more.
When the sky began to rain with black tar that set the place alight, I walked in the fire and attempted to save others. I was unsuccessful in most of my attempts, but the failures only added to my will to survive and destroy the Grail once more. My reinforced lungs did well against the smoke, but I still found myself face down upon the ground plenty of times when I took a breath with far too little oxygen.
I was about to keel over once more, when someone caught me.
I heard him whisper 'Thank God." Before I felt the warmth of Avalon enter me, I was safe now. I allowed myself to fall to fatigue in my true father's arms…
"Oh my God, you found one Kiristugu?" A feminine voice suddenly chimed in, I was surprised but the fatigue settling into my mind did not see the sudden voice as a reason to clear itself. "Is he any different from the others?"
I was surprised to feel a pulse of magic travel into my body and identify the twenty seven active circuits in my back, along with my physical composition.
"A magus." My father's voice was despondent but for more hale and healthy than I remembered him ever being, something to be glad about even in the face of what was probably end with me in an orphanage. "This could raise complications in the future, if someone sought him out." He pointed it out to the feminine voice that emanated from the side. I willed my eyes to open against the fatigue that was settling them down. "We take him to the hospital, lay low, and extract Avalon from him then head back to go through with our plans."
"Or…" The voice held an audible aura of malice that sent shivers up my spine, Kiritsugu seemed to tug me closer to his chest. "We bring him with us and get Ilya a little brother!"
"He's eight" He stated, undoubtedly estimating my age with his scan. Kiritsugu did not offer any retort or objection for a reason I could not place. I did not want to check the proverbial gift horse's teeth but I certainly wanted to get a clear look at the person that seemed okay with taking a Magus child found in a fire to immediately raise as a child. "That makes him older that Ilya."
She gave a petulant huff, and managed to finally open my eyes.
She was barely a few centimeters from my face, she was inspecting me closely and I knew I had to seal the metaphorical deal quickly or my chances of living with my father would whittle away to nothing.
I took in the face that reminded me eerily of an older Ilya, I slowly lifted up my hand and asked:
She blinked, once, twice, before a chuckle that made my skin crawl went up my spine. I was swiftly taken from Kiritsugu's grasp and hugged in the tightest hug I could ever felt. Which was saying something since she was only applying pressure with one arm whilst holding my hand to her face. Her face was absolutely euphoric, she twirled around a few moment humming incessantly amidst the charred landscape until Kiritsugu cleared his throat.
The hug turned spine numbing when she used both arms to encapsulate me, I found a ridiculously hard time trying to breath against the valley my face was pressed against.
"We're keeping him." She declared imperiously and I heard Kiritsugu sigh behind me.
Had I known what I had just gotten myself into, I would've taken my chances with the orphanage Kotomine was setting up.
Normality did not suit me, the impasse's that occurred when I was outside of combat were too many to count. Rin admonished me heavily on that when we went to the Clock Tower together my past life. As much as I tried to downplay my skills in combat I caught a the eye of the Enforcers a mere three months later and the ensuing assignments had me traveling through the world facing dangerous creatures with Magi of high caliber while Rin drowned herself in work.
It was one of the few things I could never forgive myself about, letting Rin get so encapsulated and taken in by her work until only a machine remained. I attempted reconciliation, and her disposition towards work lessened considerably. Along with my own chances of being with her, of course. Neither one of us wanted to risk something similar happening again, the combination of stress and worry was not healthy and our paths diverged from there.
Archer would have been angry, but I didn't die on a hill of swords as he thought I would without Rin. I died peacefully, content… but alone.
Something that Irisviel, my new mother and Kiritsugu's wife, would probably have a conniption if she ever found out. Since she smothered me an Ilya at every opportunity that came up, which came often due to the rather smallness of the home that we lived in in comparison to the house Kiritsugu had built when he had rescued me alone. Ilya was effectively my little sister, Kiritsugu and Irisviel as my mother and Sella and her sister Leyseritt as the maids of the large, two story complex that was now my home.
I didn't actually know how to react, as the life of a semi-regular family was beyond my expectations, especially with Kiritsugu being completely fine. I didn't know the details behind everything that was occurring either, everything was occurring at such speed I couldn't help but feel dizzy.
The Grail was shut down, the Wizard Marshall himself personally came and destroyed the Grail and Gilgamesh made a brief showing before being slapped down like a cockroach by one of the Living Sorcerers.
I honestly didn't know whether to feel humiliated or ecstatic. The former at the ridiculous ease one of the creators that the Grail had killed one of the most powerful beings I had ever fought. The latter because Gilgamesh barely had three words out of him mouth before a prismatic ray of light slammed down upon him with divine fury and annihilated the Grail he was attempting to keep safe behind his Gate of Babylon.
I tried to not dwell on it, but whenever I thought about I couldn't help but feel like all those hours training to became a contender in the Holy Grail war and reactivating my Reality Marble, while training my body, was all going to waste.
Then like the foolish child I was I told Kiritsugu one day, that I felt like something was missing in life. He stated that I was probably raised in mind for battle, given my impressive upper arm strength, speed and dominance in the Kendo Club that I had been attending. Kiritsugu stated he would try to find a more suitable outlet for my instilled reflexes and was going to speak to Irisviel about it.
Two hours dinner I woke up in a wooden crate with three bottles filled water, the instructions to return as quickly as possible and how to correctly utilize a bottle as a lavatory, signed imperiously by my mother.
As far as I knew, no one really expected me to return, within three weeks, from being dropped in the middle of the South American rainforest in a cargo container. I spent two weeks fording rivers, fighting the local wildlife with my fists, making first contact with indigenous tribes, running away from tribes and eventually getting to town.
Then I spent a week cleaning up the slums and getting rid of the drug cartels that operated therein. I utilized some of the drug money to escape the country, while burning everything else, just as did in my last life. I returned ready to rest during what was left of my summer vacation and live without having to fight a jungle cat with my bare hands.
I woke up in another wooden container, two water bottles and instructions to get back within one week or it'll all happen again. Once more the set of instructions were signed by my new mother, but with my father's apologies on the bottom.
This time I was dropped off in Africa, which wouldn't have been that bad if it occurred thirteen years form my current age. As the continent stood, when I dropped in, it was a warzone that was dominated by warlords getting armed by the black-market. Not only that, but the country side still teemed with wildlife that still thought of humans as food.
I returned to Japan within the time period, but my mother had better ideas on how I should be trained. The strict regimen of exercise remained, but when I returned I found my room booby-trapped beyond belief, two sets of meals given to me at every period set for consumption (One horribly poisoned while the other clean), and my new mother wielding some sort of medieval weapon whenever in my immediate presence with the intent to use it.
Me and my big, damn mouth.
My senses came to life five seconds before my alarm did, I immediately rolled off my bed and counted to ten.
At the end of my count a series of bamboo spears turned my bed into a pincushion, once they retracted I was already hopping up to avoid the blades that emerged from the floor. Milliseconds after the blades fell back through the floor, I laid myself flat to watch the dozens of darts fly mere inches over my body.
And my mother asked why I never brought any of my friends home.
There were three taps on the door.
"Nothing to clean." I stated simply, sitting up and shaking the cobwebs of sleep that still littered my mind. "Though I'll need a few minutes to fix the bed." I heard footsteps start traveling down the hallway outside my room, and I took it as affirmation that I was heard.
With that done I stretched and began my day, touching up the elasticity of my muscles by tensing them significantly through a few stretches most yoga practitioners would consider insane. Thanks to my physical preparation, however, the stretches were the few that actually strained and were the few that tensed, and therefore stretched, any muscles within my body.
First day back to school, my calendar faithfully reminded me when I went through my morning routines. I pondered on my second year of High School while I showered, and whether I was actually going to be able to spend time within school this time around. My entire school year last year was spent tracking down a rather ostentatious Dead Apostle through Europe and Asia with a quite younger Lorelei Barthomeloi.
Needless to say, once we managed to pin its location down it didn't last very long against the yet-to-be-Queen of Clocktower. She was still pretty much the same to my old boss in my previous life, utterly ruthless, single minded, proud and self-assured. The only thing that was different from the previous soldier-to-commander relationship that we used to have was that I we were both teenagers and both our hormones were raging out of control.
It led to some very odd things, the heat of battle working as it always did. Some things that ending up occurring were better not thought about during a warm morning shower.
My hormone addled mind was quite happy with the thought of spending some more time with Lorelei but my sane mind advised against being too hopeful about it. School was the main subject on my mind anyways, not a very nubile girl that I had practically lived with for over ten months.
I decided thinking about school was pretty much useless until I arrived there and had plenty of distractions to keep my mind on the right track.
I glanced at the clock while I was putting on my very nostalgic uniform, before breaking out in a run towards the kitchen. While Leyseritt awoke the same time every day to see if I was still alive, Sella was just as oblivious as Ilya and Kiritsugu in my morning routines. Though I suspected Kiritsugu's was more of a forced ignorance of insanity rather than an actually not knowing, Sella and Ilya were being purposefully left out of the loop, the former because she needed a normal childhood and the latter because it would be to troublesome to deal with her antics when she found out she vacuumed a floor with more than three dozen blades underneath once a week.
Yeah, if she ever found out, the aftermath wouldn't be pretty at all.
"Good morning, Shirou!" Sella smiled blithely at me when my face contorted in failure as I took in the ongoing cooking. "You're up quite early today!"
"I'm a tad excited to attending school after being tutored for such a long time." The statement would be rather true, if tutored meant being sent into horrible situations to sate my faked addiction to adrenaline by my own mother. If that was what tutored meant I would most certainly be telling the truth. The excitement stemmed from the fact I would be spending time like a normal teenager, at a normal high school. Instead of being shipped to god-knows where or loaned to fetishistic heiresses, I would be attending classes with my fellow age group-
"Irisviel-sama, managed to get you into the correct classes, Shirou." Sella stated with a smile, idly stirring a pot of miso soup while I sat myself on one of the chairs that surrounded the kitchen island. "Isn't it wonderful? You'll get to study with people with similar intellectual capacities as yourself!"
-or not, well it was too good to be true if that was the case anyways.
"Yeah." I sighed dejectedly, I hid it behind and upturned lip and applying the old act of rubbing my head when I was confused. Sella was none the wiser, and we conversed idly while she cooked. I barely paid attention to the conversation, however, since I was trying to dredge up my previous life's memories of calculus and ancient history.
I had just reassured myself that I wouldn't displease my mother in my new classes and was planning my conquest of the kitchen when Sella served me my Miso soup, Rice, and Sautéed mackerel.
Then I felt her hand touch something on my back, her face darkened considerably as she brought up an oil-covered finger.
Shit, I forgot the pipes that shot darts were just maintained by Leyseritt yesterday! While the chances of a dart getting covered by the grease was low when accounting to the fact that it must have stuck to the roof, the large deluge that was prepared and fired every day made the rather small percentage large in comparison.
It seems that a few drops of the pitch black motor oil had spilled on my back while I was checking the floor boards.
"What's this Shirou?" Sella's voice was ice cold, her face looked like she was studying an insect that had just crawled next to her while she was using the vacuum, split on amazement over stupidity and amazement over the rarity of the occurrence. I can count the number of times I've had a stain on my clothes with one finger and three left over, even when taking this one into account.
I applied the old, I'm confused and please forgive me gesture that was the hand to the back of my head.
"Oh I was just fixing the vacuum that I kept in my room." I lied shamelessly with a forced chuckle, "I didn't want to waste one of my uniforms so I decided to keep wearing it!" I pressed my hands together. "Thanks for the meal-"
As swift as lighting my food disappeared from where I had prepared to dine upon it. My suspicion on where my breakfast was suitably quenched when I found all three bowls individually stacked atop one another in one of Sella's hand. She pointed towards my room, with a trembling hand.
"I will not have you go to your first day of school looking filthy, Shirou!" She declared imperiously leveling the finger at me before pointing right back to the general direction of my room. I could basically feel my chances of having a large breakfast flying away. Despite the fact Sella, and Leyseritt only required Prana to live, they still consumed large amounts of food, so much so that the last diner usually got less than they wanted. "Return to your room and change your clothes immediately!"
By 'they' I meant me, and by 'usually' I meant all the damn time.
The situation was steadily getting worse since Ilya was a growing girl and had already matched my mother's appetite before the sudden growth spurts she would undoubtedly start to experience. I was already planning my escapes into the town for food, and wondering if Kiritsugu would like to come along, once they returned.
I held up my hands in an effort to placate her, making a show of nodding fervently in assurance as I backed up to the steps that led to the second floor. I narrowly dodged the rice spatula that was thrown my way in irritation, but I believed it had been worth it.
Along the way I stumbled on my half-asleep sister, dragging a teddy bear with her.
I honestly still could not understand how she was able to live normally, and grow like any child did. She was two years younger than me, yet already at my chest in height. I doubted I would be able to understand how she was now mostly human, but I couldn't feel any less thankful of the occurrence.
I ruffled her hair and tugged up the sleeve that was falling down her shoulder as I greeted her good morning by pressing my lips against her forehead as I pressed her into a hug. Seeing her so happy, without a noose slowly crawling around her neck made me want to do it every day, and I did so as much as I was able.
"G-good morning, Onii-chan." She stuttered, her face flushing lightly, probably embarrassed at my act of familial affection. She was almost a teenager, and I went through the phase of being embarrassed about things like that twice. Once with Fuji-nee and this time with Irisveil, I couldn't honestly say which embarrassed me more but the former was quite in the lead. She returned the hug, hesitantly but I was happy to receive it.
Moments like this, made me happy to have been reborn and placed into the world once more.
"Sella's got breakfast ready." I took her plush animal gently as I backed away, I noticed the bags underneath her eyes but I didn't necessarily comment on them. I would speak to mother if she was the same for the next couple days, but I didn't feel any harm in some late night television watching until it got out of hand. "I'll take this guy back to your room, and meet you down."
She gave a nod, only barely managing to do so without yawning. I was slightly worried that she would fall asleep in class, but I didn't ponder on the occurrence too much. She'd either learn her lesson, or Irisveil will catch on and all hell would break loose. I sincerely hoped the former would occur instead of the latter, but I would check my bug-out bag tonight anyways. Being prepared never hurt, especially when my mother was concerned.
I changed my jacket before I ventured into Ilya's room with the intentions of placing the bear back to its natural habitat, when I stumbled onto something highly improbable.
A pink stick, with a star surrounded by a circle with wings, attempting to utilize the remote on a muted television.
"Damn single minded humans!" The stick squealed in a distinctively lady-like voice, "Never thinking on how something without finger would ever operate a television remote."
I placed the bear on the neat bed, before crossing my arms and staring intently on the stick that was jumping up and down the remote to change channels. After a few moments it laid itself flat, and began using the wings to slap the buttons instead, resulting in a speedier yet still inefficient way of changing channels.
"You could just get up and use the larger buttons on the television." I pointed out, deciding to reveal my presence as the stick flew in circles furiously.
The obviously magical object rounded on me.
"I will not be made a fool of by some mediocre device made out rubber and plastic," Somehow spittle landed on my impassive face from the magical device. "I would sooner strip myself down and submit to my sister's whims than-"
The oddly shaped device looked at me, and I looked right back.
A weighty silence occurred as it stopped talking and dropped itself on the carpet.
I kept staring at it, staying stock still in front of the doorway.
A few moments passed.
"If you think that's going to fool me…" I stated with a sigh, crossing my arms and tapping my foot on the floor after I locked the door. "You'll find that the situation will be in your favor if that you declare your intentions, before I attempt to destroy you in any way I choose." I paused, going over that sentence in my mind, the threat behind it was carried well but the end was most assuredly compromised due to the fact I found the object in my sister's room. "If your intentions are pure, I'll let you live." I tacked on as an afterthought.
"Would you keep this a secret if I told you everything?" The utterly despondent magical device stated somberly, raising a side of its ' head' to glace at me. How the Mystical Code was flexible was beyond me, but I didn't doubt that the device was able to do so. I had seen plenty of the things my previous life, sentience and flexibility were the least ostentatious of the many features I had encountered. "My sister would hold it over my entire life if she finds out this is how the secret got out."
"You're in the room of my own sibling," I sighed, uncrossing my arms, bringing up my right arm in my habit of scratching the back of my head while reinforcing my ears to keep track of the movements within the house. I was attempted to trace the outline of the house's floor plan and see where there was the most pressure, but I didn't want to give that trick away to Kiritsugu, just yet, who will then surrender the information to Irisviel sooner than later. "If anything I know better than to make other's suffer from my own pains, so you have my promise."
The Mystic Code perked up and immediately zipped into the air, flying in figure eights in the room. I was impressed, to say the least, such a feat was amazingly difficult without wings in greater proportion attached to its 'head'.
"I am…" The device declared solemnly, as it seemed to glitter and shine as bright as the sun lighting up the room spectacularly. "The great and marvelous," The star suddenly became a myriad of colors, filling the rooms with incandescent colors. "Kaleidostick Ruby!"
Zeltrech, I should've known, dammit.
"How long did that take you to plan up?" I commented, taking the posture of a critique, complete with one arm across my abdomen supporting my other pointing hand.
The stick slumped in midair, curling as if it was drying like a piece of laundry hung on a clothes line.
"It wasn't that bad," I attempted to assuage the Mystical Device, moving both my hands in a calming manner, palms out and slowly going up and down. "I'd seen better but you definitely take a place in the top twenty."
If anything that seemed to only make the Mystic Code even more depressed.
"Ten weeks of planning my intro and I can't even make top ten." The Mystical Code, seemed to curl up into itself even more, using its wings to over its 'face', "I bet Sapphire is stunning her new master just fine dammit…"
I attempted to gain the device's attention few more times, but at the end of my attempts it seemed to have the effect of making it curl itself into an small ball. Seeing as the Mystical Code would like to sulk, or at the very least cause a singularity by compressing itself so much. I decided to just return later for the interrogation for the time being.
I bumped into something as I went, it was about up to my waist in height, which confused me since Ilya had become larger than that about a year ago. I had yet to bump into her since she had hit her growth spurt.
I looked down at whatever was obstructing my movement from leaving the room and, as I took it in, my blood warred between the choice of rushing to my face or leaving it.
Sella didn't seem to take it all that well either, thought it may have something to do with the fact her face was pressed against my crotch. Whether the blush was of embarrassment or furious anger, I didn't care to find out as I made a beeline for the door. I grabbed the bento on the top of the counter and made my way to where Ilya waited for me to walk her to school.
It really was too early to be dealing with these sorts of things.
"See you later, Onii-chan!" Ilya yelled as she rushed into the all-girls academy that didn't exist before my last life. I would remember if a private school that insisted in a ridiculous hat as part of a uniform, if it had existed in my previous life.
I responded with the traditional 'Go and return Safely' as I waved her good-bye. I was glad to see so many girls congregate to her side as she made her way to the campus. Irisviel had the same effect on people, both of my family members exhibited astounding amounts of charisma around others, despite their rather limited upbringing concerning the number of people they had met. Mother's odd way of making others bend to her will and presence was terrifying, and I sincerely hoped that with more people to speak to Ilya wouldn't treat other's like maids anytime soon.
Though I wouldn't be surprised if she attempted to get people into maid outfits, she had an unhealthy (I truly wanted to utilize the word fetish, but I didn't feel comfortable applying the word to my adopted sister) interest, in maids. In general, the costume just seemed to hit her buttons like a sledgehammer and had led us to being banned from most of the maid cafes within the city.
"Oh my~" A melodic yet somehow monotonous voice sent chills up my spine, I tried to smile but I really just couldn't get my face from voice's effect of setting it into 'Combat Mode.'. "I would never have thought a man as yourself would degrade himself to the task of escorting his sister to school."
"Ortentesia-san." I managed to not growl at the school's 'nurse' as she walked up to me, white hair kept in a ponytail and eyes twinkling mischievously "I did not expect to see someone with as much talent as yourself degrade herself to watching children suffer."
To many it may have been a joke, if harsh, but, a joke between two friends. It was not the case in this situation, like her father, she only gained happiness when seeing others in pain. A rare, and extreme, condition called Schadenfreude led the working woman my age, that had the skills to get any job she wanted, to working as a school nurse to simply be happy seeing children cry.
"So defensive, Emiya-kun." The words slipped off her tongue like silk, my body tensed when she pressed a finger against my chest. My twenty seven magical circuits activated and I was already ready to fight as she withdrew. "Stress isn't good for your body, you know? Tends to lead to cardiac arrests when you're older."
"I'll be sure to look you up when you reach that age." I replied venomously, I would be lying if I said I wasn't itching to take her on. She reminded far too much of her father for the two of us to ever be cordial. "I wouldn't miss such a sight for the world."
Her smile was beatific, I was tempted to say radiant, but I was sure such words shouldn't be used to attribute happiness that stemmed from another's hatred of yourself.
"I'll hold you to that," She flipped her ponytail to the side, "Though I admit I wouldn't have expected such inappropriate thoughts from a man of your stature, Emiya-kun."
I blinked rapidly, and I was pretty sure the exact words that came from my mouth as my brain tried to reconfigure after being so confused was: "Bwah?"
"You," She clarified, a wicked grin replacing the smile. "Want to see me convulsing, writhing on the ground…" She took a step towards me, and my brain was frozen. "My breath coming in ragged gasps…" another step brought her closer, so much so that I had to look down to meet her eyes. "and see my body still as my final breaths leave me dazed."
I was pretty sure my face looked as if I had between sucking a lemon and got punched in the process.
"I could say that I wouldn't expect inappropriate words to come from a nurse at an elementary school." I pointed out, praying that the heat that was transferring steadily to my face wasn't creating a luminescent blush. "Especially when they're also representatives of the Church." She was close enough that I didn't even need to reach out to touch her Mystic Code- Shroud of Magdalene- "Or priestesses in search of demons." I reached out for her neck, where I remembered where the most recent demonic possession injury had been inflicted.
The rare mystic and genetic condition of receiving the wounds of a demonic possessed individual made Caren one of the few Demon Detectors in the world. A man had arrived three months ago and had a series of neck injuries that were similar to attempted hanging, though he hid it well, the wounds inflicted themselves on Caren the moment he walked past the school.
She requested my assistance and we dealt with the demon and sent the man on his way… to the police station.
Just as my hand was about to reach her neck, however, a roll of paper suddenly impacted on the side of my head. I deduced the arc of the paper to the second story of the building and…
Oh… I was reaching for the neck of the school nurse in front of the school itself. Common knowledge states that this wasn't the best of ideas, and nearly all of the windows had girls congregating and whispering amongst themselves.
"You planned this," I whispered to the white haired, bemused woman at my side, my eyes drawing to my sister's furious expression at the second floor. Her arm was still outstretched, so it didn't take a genius to know that she had been so embarrassed by my actions that she decided to get me out of her school's property.
She grew up so fast… I would've added something about watching her grow up, but I was nearly always away from the house that if her childhood was a montage I would've been in the least seen family member within.
"I don't know what you're taking about." She stated monotonously, her face slightly red from all the stares she was receiving from the majority of the student populace. The faux-burse glided towards the school entrance, and I decided that was my cue to leave as well.
I gave my blushing sister a wave after I bowed in apology towards the many frowning teachers in the that were attempting to regain control of their classes. I wasn't all too surprised that many of them returned the gesture with angry glares, but I was surprised to see Taiga waving Tora fiercely in my general direction. The curse and malevolence within the cursed bokken was heady and thick even from my distance, and I was glad to not have her as a teacher once more.
The previous operation that nearly the entire school in my last life participated in to rid the world of the bokken was epic beyond words, and involved ridiculous amounts of cooking from my part. My cooking skills were rusty because of Sella, and I had doubts that I would be able to create such a feast of good enough quality long enough to distract the woman.
Judging from the numerous whacking sounds I hear emanating from the school, I had no doubt that they would leave the school with a meaningful fear of swords.
"Raise your elbow up to your ear's elevation." I instructed one of the five girls Ayako had practically dumped on my lap when I arrived. I had no grounds to complain since she was working with seven, and that more than three of them were utter wrecks concerning archery.
I sometimes wondered why so many girls attended the class, but I never asked questions on why someone would pursue the road to Archery. Whatever a person's reasons, Archery was good for mind and body and I wouldn't advise anyone to leave the club for any reason.
When the girl fixed her positioning, I called for release of the shots. I was more than proud to see all shots strike near the center of all the targets. I idly wondered if this was what they called 'pride of a teacher', but I didn't ponder it too much as I gave them more tips on their shots.
"Senpai!" A voice called out from the doorway, and I excused myself from my students as I headed for the door.
I opened the door and I wasn't too surprised to find myself in a crushing hug as Sakura Matou led herself in.
"Good afternoon to you as well," I greeted my underclassmen, and childhood friend in both my lives. She was quite more optimistic and cheery in this world, than in the previous, though I was unsure how it occurred with her still a Matou and appearances changed. "Quite late though." I tacked on as an afterthought. "Picking up bad habits while I was away?"
"Onii-san thought it would be funny to hide my bow." She giggled as she let go my waist, hefting the decidedly dusty bag holding her arrows. "I made him give it back though." She added cheerfully, and I felt an odd chill crawl up my spine when I remembered another example to how the new Sakura acted. "It's nice to have you back Senpai."
Sakura really did not actually take any sort of nonsense in her daily habits, as much as it frightened me to admit. My childhood friend was most certainly a bit domineering in some aspects, and she gave out the most cruel and unusual punishments when anyone crossed her and was decidedly caught.
Shinji could attest to that, the number of times he ran through the hallways buck naked, save for the duct tape wrapped around his crotch, during middle school could attest to that.
I actually wondered if he was doing on purpose to get pity points from the underclassmen, but I wasn't nearly as on good terms with him in my last life. At the very least, he didn't seem to treat his sitter oddly anymore, and it was probably due to the lack of a massive guillotine known as the Grail War hanging over their heads to thank for that.
"Well I'm glad that's settled." I gave her a nod, which she simply hummed in reply to. I waved Ayako over, since she had the keys to the changing rooms.
Ayako raised an eyebrow at Sakura though, obviously cautious as she adopted her rather haughty pose of crossing her arms, and I couldn't blame her. Sakura's purple hair, cheerful demeanor, coupled with the bow she carried around most of the time, was quite the eyebrow raiser.
"A friend of yours, Shirou?" Ayako seemingly sized Sakura up, and I was surprised to sense Sakura tense and lift her shin up minutely. I had the oddest feeling of being trapped between two birds of prey about to attack each other.
"Matou Sakura." My purple-haired friend replied in a crisp tone that I had to blink several times a. I had most assuredly never seen that before, even in my previous life. "I've been with Senpai since we were little." She smiled and I could have sworn that I heard something crack.
"Oh!" Ayako feigned surprise as her voice gained the same crisp tone that Sakura exhibited, and I resumed my blinking at one of my old friends. "I never noticed you while I've been with him," The archery club captain stated frostily, extending a hand. "It's very nice to meet you, now."
Sakura grasped hands with Ayako, and I was sure I felt lighting crackle between the two as they tried to crush each other's hands.
"Why don't we get to know each other?" Sakura stated, cloyingly sweet. "I need someone to show me through the lockers after all."
"I wouldn't want you to get lost on your there." Ayako stated just as cloyingly sweet, supplying the phrase with a smile that sent my danger senses to overdrive. Not the combat danger either, those I could handle. No that smile triggered several that were usually only triggered by Sella and Irisviel. "I'll be sure to walk you slowly through it all."
"Of course!" Sakura declared, and I averted my eyes as her vest seemed to suddenly straight against her vest. " I wouldn't want to walk anywhere without a big Senpai by my side!"
Ayako's smile became strained, and Sakura's grin widened as the former led the latter to the dressing room.
The lighting I was talking about earlier? It was a full blown thunderstorm now, and I was hopelessly confused as to why the two of them seemingly wanted to get at each other's throats whilst out of my sight.
The other club members were milling about, so I decided to take charge for a moment and had them pick up the massive rubber bands the school issued for strength training.
Hopefully things would start making sense once the two came back. I was more than a bit worried that I would have to question the two seemingly angry women, however I was glad to see them both back to normal when they left the locker.
Even if Ayako started giving me really odd stares, and Sakura kept whispering to her during class, I was glad to have two of my old friends back.
I was able to rest for around thirty minutes after I arrived back home, before getting hounded by Sella to start the humongous amount of work that had been dropped on to me on the first day of school. I finished it minutes before dinner and I few moments of piece before Irisveil's magical trace on Ilya went off and I felt an itch in my bones. The 'itch' occurred whenever Ilya left the house, and only occurred once every time. The signal was impossible to miss however, and I was sure that she was sneaking out because I didn't hear the front door opening and closing.
There were a few sharp knocks on my door, and I opened the door knob to Leyseritt. Though her face was as passive as ever, I sensed her urgency and accepted my suitcase from her hands without a word.
"Tell Sella I just went to fix something at Issei's" She gave a nod and I closed the door after her. The excuse may have seemed rather flimsy, but I still held the title of 'School Janitor' along with a few other titles pertaining to the numerous sports I used to participate in.
Then I laid the case on my bed, the rectangular carrying case was made from black leather and inlaid with enchantments designed to fool airport security. I was quite sure that whatever mother had designed the insides to look were designed in mind to make other people wary about ever opening it, or disgusting enough to warrant no one attempting to check the insides.
There was no way I would've been able to ferry the items within through any sort of commercial flight anyway.
I regarded the multitude of weapons within, mostly ignoring the explosives in favor of a ten millimeter pistol with an electric dart launcher hooked up underneath. Kiritsugu would have wanted me to arm myself with everything within, in case Ilya had been subliminal controlled to leaving the house, but walking through town with an assault weapon and explosives never suited me.
Besides, any magus that would require the full arsenal would be better off dealt with by blades. Any fool that had it in their mind to control my sister would be easier buried when they were in numerous pieces, and gunshots would be investigated by the local precinct.
I took the jacket held within and had to withhold a shudder as the article of clothing forced my body temperature to levels that they would no longer noticed. I pondered on changing my clothes, but the length of the jacket stipulated the I only needed to wear the boots if I wanted to correctly hide my jeans and shirt. The jacket offered a place within for concealing weapons, but the holster on its outside hid the weapons from mundane eyes anyway.
Kiritsugu used the technique when he hunted Magi down now, for many of his hidden targets it only took a glance towards a seemingly obvious weapon before they found it pointing at them. I took three clips of sixteen and two extra darts, bringing me up to what Kiritsugu would consider 'minimal' armament despite the fact the bullets could bypass most armor and the darts could short out a neighborhoods electric grid if made contact.
I pondered on taking the mask as well, but I decided that particular legend was better left in the slums of South America. The number of killers that would come hunting when they heard 'El Tormento' was in a small town in Japan were far too high.
I wondered if I could stand Ilya seeing me kill someone, especially since she was raised as a normal girl this time. The consequences would be easier to handle than having the entire town caught up in a massive manhunt for me though, and I was certain I would be able to reason with her later on.
Boots on, and armed as I heavily as I would risk, I leapt out of the window allowing my senses to expand and I immediately caught on to Ilya's distinctive scent as she made quick inroads towards the edge of the city mere blocks from where we lived.
I was surprised by the initiative behind her work though, as well as her knowledge of the streets. The two facts simply meant that she was going through this by own will, and there was no magus controlling her and haphazardly guiding her through the streets. Well either that, or someone has taken up residence a few months earlier and this was a carefully planned out abduction. My families many enemies were more than capable of hiring someone of a similar mindset to my father, the only question was how they would have known of our existence.
I took great pains to not be associated with my father and mother, the two of them were basically boogeymen in Europe. The Barthomeloi's were probably the only family my mother deduced were to be too powerful to even think about attempting to fool, and my 'services' last year had been part of the payment that would keep them from revealing the secret. While I had no idea what else I would have to do in the future, I couldn't be any more impressed by my mother's political movements.
No noble would ever willingly place such a collar on their necks and give the leash to someone they wanted to appease. Irisviel knew this perfectly and did it to show subservience to the Barthomeloi, utterly intriguing them as well as flattering them as the only one she even considered to speak of my relations with them.
Since Lorelei would never betray anyone she considered a comrade in arms, I was more than stumped at who would be able to initiate such a daring plan
Ilya stopped at a clearing behind my school and I hid behind a tree, quite frankly I was more than a bit perturbed at the large expanse of land that Ilya chose to stop at
"Right on time." A voice stated from the opposite side of the clearing and my heart nearly stopped. I had to stop myself from glancing around the tree trunk, I was quite sure that she would be able to see me from where her voice originated.
"Of course!" The mystical artifact, known as Ruby, chirped from Ilya's location. "My new master is much more even tempered than my previous master!" There was an odd sound, and I could've sworn it must've been a raspberry. "She actually listens to my wonderful advice! Making her a hundred- no a thousand times bett-"
There was the sound of concentrated magic flying around and I had to admit I winced at the sound as it made impact with the flying artifact. Gandr were concentrated curses that impacted with the force of bullets, the impact alone was more than enough to take a normal person out of commission. The magic was utterly efficient in its use, making it Rin's most favored spell.
"As I was saying." Rin scoffed, and I could imagine her flipping her hair back, putting one hand at her waist and pointing the other. Classic Tohaska lecture pose number four, if my memory was anything to go by. "I'm glad you realize the importance of becoming my slave for the time being, Ilya-san."
"Slave…" Ilya muttered alongside my bewildered thoughts, I was even more tempted to take a look and make sure this was Tohaska. I had not seen her in years, and I was quite sure she had left for London before we reached high-school. "…Isn't there a nicer way to phrase it?" Ilya finished in a huff, and I was quite sure she was shaking her head. I heard paper ruffle as it was taken from a pocket. "Your note didn't really give me much of a choice."
Any doubt on whether the person opposite of my little sister was Tohaska left me abruptly as I had to stifle a chuckle. The many notes she had attempted to right to me during our senior year always ended on a rather off note. Quite frequently it was 'Or I'll Kill You.' r 'Or Else' scratched out and something like 'Or I'll See You Tommorow' or 'Or I'll Leave You to Your Day'.
"T-that's not important right now." Tohaska blustered, and I could visualize her bright red face easily. She always did when she stuttered. "Have you properly mastered Ruby?"
"Mastered?" Ilya stated weakly, "You mean she does other things than shoot magical blasts?"
"Don't worry, Illya!" Ruby chirped happily. While Timing and Heart will improve over time, Magical Blasts shall get us through this encounter without so much as a scratch!"
"Quite pretentious of you." Rin stated snidely, probably crossing her arms over her chest. "But I guess you me and your guest will have to deal with the Card all by ourselves."
"Guest?" Ilya voiced and Ruby mimicked her, before suddenly screeching out in fright.
I knew that kind of squeal, and I knew even more what to do as the tree exploded from concussive shots of Gandr.
I dashed from one tree to the other, Rin's shots barely trailing moments behind me. Reinforcement of my body was easy, but Gandr was effective because of the medley of curses it delivered, and I didn't plan on visiting Caren any time soon to get the multitudes of curses removed.
I stopped moving when Gandr shots starting appearing from the front as well as behind me, forcing me to dodge, marking the moment when she started getting fed up and utilized both hands. Her aim was still as meticulous, and I wondered if she had been in combat while she was at Europe. Rin had never been able to do that in my past life, if I remembered correctly. She had been quite a poor shot when attempting to do the same her counterpart was doing now.
I heard her yell triumphantly as she managed to pin me down, the concussive blasts started to make my ears ring, but I heard it clearly. An impossible number of Gandr came forward, a solid wall of concussive force and curses.
I was prepared to call up Rho Ais, but a blur of pink suddenly appeared in front of me, and I was bemused to see Ilya in front of me, a luminescent pink shield in front of her. The attack didn't even crack the shield, and I wasn't surprised to find my now-oddly clothed sister look the slightest bit winded from the effort.
That many Gandr couldn't have made Rho Ais budge, but it was conceptual defense of a seven layered fortress walls represented as seven petals. The fact that the shield Ilya just produced blocked it, without any lifelong training, lit up my curiosity and worried me.
"Onii-san…" Her eyes were wide, as if taking me in only after she's saved me. I schooled my features to hide my interest. "Why are dressed like dad?"
"It's… complicated." I stated giving a shrug as sheepishly as I can manage while I concentrated on powering the runes on the coat. They were nowhere near the craftsmanship of a certain Enforcer, but they were more than enough to ensure I would come out the winner should I be able to engage Tohaska on close quarters.
"So you have a brother who's a magus." Tohaska sniffed, finally coming into view, not even the least winded from the number of Gandr she had thrown at me. She looked pointedly at me, her eyes honing in on my weapon. "Even if he's using mundane weapons, he'll be helpful I guess."
"Weapons?" Ilya's eyes scanned me, before honing in on the pistol I had decided to bring along. I was more than a bit relieved that I hadn't chosen to bring the Automatic Rifle chambered for .308 rounds, it was far more intimidating than the measly pistol. "W-why?" She pleaded, I heard the distinct crinkling of fabric as her gloves clenched into fists.
I was tempted to tell her right there and then, but the fact that Tohaska was present quashed that urge quickly. Besides the knowledge that people remained relatively the same from my past life, this Tohaska had already been trained by someone else.
Ilya seemed intent on getting an answer, but I just shook my head.
"I'll tell you after you tell me what's happening." I held up my hand as she started to object, shaking her head. "Leyseritt was worried and told me to look after you, and I was curious to where my little sister went in the middle of the night." I scrubbed her hair with my hand. "No more secrets, I'll tell you where I've been going these past years even. " I promised her, and her eyes lit up.
She knew about magic, I saw no need to hide it from her anymore. The promise of information will mollify her enough so that I could address the current threat.
I swiftly drew the weapon. My Reinforcement on my body with magic, coupled with the light reduction on atmospheric pressure offered by the cloth along with its runes of armor, made the drawing of the weapon a blur to the naked eye, Reinforced or otherwise. I leapt over my sister my step cracking the dry flacking ground beneath my boot, I quickly alleviated the power sent to the pressure dampers and allowed gravity to place me right next to Tohaska.
The arms she had gripping her sides tensed as she felt the barrel of the pistol nudge the side of her head.
"Now." I stated as calmly as I could manage, while thumbing down the safety with an audible 'click'. "Explain your intentions upon my sister, Magus."
The silent warning that her head would be blown off if she so much as twitched went unsaid, but she certainly didn't make any sudden movements.
I raised my hand in her general direction and gave a shake of my head, silencing my sister. The gesture was both kinder and faster than a harsh glare, as well as keeping my eyes on Tohaska. In her last life, she was one of the most resourceful of mages I had ever encountered. The ways she could take advantage of a situation given her aptitude for magic were nearly uncountable, especially when she had proper preparation time. Her jewel magecraft allowed an extreme amount of storage time for any spell she wished to prepare and store, I had no doubt that she can store them indefinable amount of time given the Tohaska's lineage being well founded on the concept.
Her output of 1000 units of Prana was staggering, and, if anything, she seemed to have an even greater proficiency in its usage this time around. The barrage earlier was a testament to the skill differentials in comparison to the Rin I remembered.
She was about half way to the Rin I remembered from my last life, meaning she would still be prone to physical attacks. She would know of this, of course, due to the fact she acknowledged her own limits no matter the amount of arrogance she put on display.
I proded the side of her head with the barrel once more.
"Talk." I stated, and her mouth opened minutely before I felt the familiar spike of magic that was used to initiate Gandr shots from the schools direction, towards my direction.
I ducked underneath the shot, and she leapt away. My hand touched her leg as I attempted to grab hold of her, but she pulled away and kicked off my wrist as a flurry of shots surrounded us.
She wore a dress that would not have been amiss in a few European parties that I've been to, white lace and blue silk that must have cost thousands with a frilly lace bow with a crystal at her neck. Her hand was lifted lazily pointed making to finger pistol that would be fired with humorous amounts of recoil.
I needed to regain control of the situation, I stayed crouched but transferred my weapon to my left hand and darting my hands into my coat. I felt the cold steel slide between my fingers, stamped and balanced steel slipping between with ease. I flicked my wrist at my new opponent's direction, releasing a single knife from the four between my fingers, while I fired my pistol in Tohaska's direction.
My knife cut through the leather pouch of the newcomer, while the bullet tore into Tohaska's. Gems spilled onto the ground, their primary weapons out of reach I stood up and considered the two Magi.
Their eyes darted towards me and the jewels on the floor, undoubtedly carrying out the calculations of the speeds I had reacted and coming to the same conclusion.
If they reached for them they would die.
"I will not repeat myself." I truly attempted to not growl, but more than a few of the Gandr had barely missed Ilya. My sister stood shaking, whether from being terrified at me for actually firing my gun, or the sudden standoff that had two ladies about to fire Gandr at me. Nonetheless, her ire angered me enough for some of my anger to burn through my calm wall. "State your intentions so I can decide what will occur."
The blonde smirked.
"Why tell you?" She giggled daintily and raising her hand up. "When we can show you?"
"Miyu!" she declared and my eyes caught onto the individual standing in the shadows behind her. "Mirror World Transfer! Fifty meter diameter!"
"Master?" A voice alike Ruby's followed, and my heart sank.
"Do it." A girl whispered stepping into view, with an unreadable look in her eyes.
I realized her dress was almost exactly like my sister, save in color, and she carried a wand that had allowed my sister to utilize magics beyond anything she should have been able to do without the training I knew she did not receive.
A massive magical circle erupted between us, I felt as if the world turned upside down.
And suddenly, right in front of me was Rider, mouth bared and chains ready to strike.
I reacted to the dangerous entity before me, the world blurring until she and I were the only ones present. I steeled my mind, hardening it so that I could execute the actions I wished to enact with as much speed and power as I could, enabling my body to ignore the pains that would stun me.
I raised my leg up to my chest, a burst of Prana into my boot. The climbing spikes within, burnished with black to allow concealment, shot out and I brought it down on the Heroic spirit's shoulder. Her resistance was admirable until I increased the pressure on my body until I weighed three times my own weight.
The spike tore out of her shoulder when I slammed her entire body with one leg onto the pavement, cratering the area with the controlled force. My body protested as I forced it to move and stay upright against the amazing pressure, but I clenched my right hand and drove the three knives through her shoulder blades with both pressure and power behind it.
Regardless of her class, Rider was a Heroic Spirit. Knives of such manufacture would not have harmed her in the slightest. I had them charged and Reinforced with Prana as I drove them in, and the action still felt as if I were driving them through concrete. Coupled with my strength and the heavier gravity affecting my body, the three knives cut into her spinal column.
But if that was all it took to kill the dreaded Medusa, she would not be a Heroic Spirit. A fanged hand knocked me off my balance and she quickly retreated. I noticed something impact her with tremendous power, but ignored it as it merely left a bloody welt and pursued her. I reached into my jacket and pulled a short sword from my Reality Marble into reality.
Crafted in mind for a legionary commander during the Roman Empire, the iron sword was blessed with amazing resiliency in mind. The warrior who wielded it held an entire bridge for hours as his comrades rallied to destroy the same bridge, fighting alone against a seemingly endless army with only the sword and shield.
Slashed at Rider's skin and drew blood, her chains whipped around me and I lightened the pressure so they wouldn't gain force as the tore into my body. The lessening of their weigh allowed my clothes to weather the damage, though I still felt my muscles numb and refuse to act due to the monstrous strength behind her weapons.
This was a battle of speed, and I lashed out with the Roman sword with the Roman commander's knowledge of its nature guiding my arm. My empathy with the weapons history allowing me to use the gladius as if I had trained with it for a lifetime. I parried the chains that would have struck me in my vitals with great efficiency, the number of openings I left open were nearly zero because of the lack of the other sword in my hand.
But the weapon in my left hand had its own advantages.
I leveled the pistol into the lavender haired woman's face, allowing her chains to drive through my arm. I heard a scream but I favored firing the bolt of electricity into the woman's face than caring to look away.
Enough volts to kill an elephant shocked through her, the weapon wasn't made in mind to incapacitate after all.
Rider roared through the tremendous amount of energy, and punched my through the chest, I would have been sent flying without the activation of the seals in my body. My stomach felt like a battering ram had just made impact, but no blood escaped my lips. There would be bruising, but none of my internal organs were damaged.
More magical missiles impacted the beast, a sudden gigantic buildup forced me to rocket away from the enemy. A massive orb of energy impacted her, and dust flew in every direction. I heard sighs of relief behind me, but I reinforced my eyes in search of my enemy.
Rider was damaged, but not dead. Her hand was gripping one of her wicked nails and was about to pierce her throat.
I ignored the pain in my leg as a muscle snapped as I pushed myself past my heightened limits. The dust cleared in front of me as my speed pushed it aside, my feet fell and shattered the ground.
Bellerophon, the Pegasus of Medusa's slayer, was a mystical creature that could charge a target with enough force to level a block. Rho Ais could certainly stop it, but the damage would be catastrophic.
So I made sure she couldn't.
The smoke cleared, her blood was flowing in the sacrifice, magic circles were all around her.
I jammed my gun into her mouth and fired the depleted uranium darts into her throat, and, once the fifteen bullets entered her body, I rammed the Roman gladius into her chest.
For a moment, I wondered if she survived, but I let out a relieved sigh when she began to fade away. Her form steadily decreased until only a card remained where her heart had been. I picked up the card, along with the depleted uranium pellets that had entered the spiritual body.
I reloaded my gun as I heard words said about returning to the real world.
I met Tohaska's gaze with my own, hefting the class card and the gun towards her.
"Where were we?" I asked simply.