The Prismatic Edge.
Disclaimer: I do not gain money from this, nor do I have claim to any of the characters.
"You look terrible, Emiya." Rin had her arms crossed under her chest, and an insufferable smirk on her face. I swear, she was more likely to laugh at my troubles in this new world than the last. "Trouble in paradise?"
"Maybe we shouldn't do this today…" Ilya ventured with slight trepidation, biting her lower lip. She was already clad in the mystical dress and Ruby in her hand. "We shouldn't fight if one of us is sick. The team is only as strong as the weakest link."
"We'll be fighting today." My stomach rumbled unpleasantly at the thought of fast movement, Kirei's vengeance bubbling within. I was half convinced that my stomach was going to leap up from its crevice and throttle my brain. The diabolical item that I consumed wreaked havoc in my mouth while I consumed, and was summarily attempting to kill me from within. "We can't afford to wait any longer, if what you said about more of these monsters was true."
"Alright then, as you say Sir Emiya." Luvia declared and gave a nod towards Miyu. The girl clad in an outfit I most certainly didn't approve of returned the gesture and brandished Sapphire. "Mirror world transfer: ten meters!"
The magic was intense and held the feeling being turned inside out. I was able to pay attention to it this time. Even with my prior experiences in my past life, I was safely able to say that I had never felt something similar.
The dark sky of the mirror world was covered in massive magical arrays, enough firepower to blast an island into pieces. Any Magi should be able to construct a defensible position that was nigh unbreakable. Caster being a spirit of one of the greatest Magi even in the age of gods shamed anyone I had ever met. No one was able to match her in the sheer raw power she was able to bring to bear.
Yet for her it was all for naught, as Miyu brandished the Rider class card. The sudden surge of magic calling forth the Bridle of Bellerophon. The saddle of the ancient Greek warrior allowed mounts of mystical nature to be ridden, but one in particular came to its mystical call.
The Pegasus was a mythical beast of ancient times, and of greater power than any Magi could hope to replicate. Offense and defense combined, the winged horse was a wall of solid magic that had wings that could flay flesh and whose body was so fast and strong it annihilated all in the way of its majestic flight. Then the actual bridle of Bellerophon came to play, and in one single attack the entire might of the Pegasus can be brought to bear. An attack that I believed could only be overpowered by one other noble phantasm.
It was unstoppable object liquidated into a single creature.
Then there was my sister.
"Alright, Ruby." She whispered to the mystic code, "Let's do this!"
Who was frankly terrifying when it came to learning about magic.
Power poured from her, she had yet to learn the finer points of Reinforcement, but she made up for that weak point with ludicrous amounts of energy. The mystic code in her hands streamlined the effect of that particular weakness anyway. Ruby already enhanced her physical attributes to a massive degree. The effect of making conscious effort of Reinforcement while under the physical effects of Ruby, was akin to covering solid concrete with layers of steel.
Then came Prana Burst.
My sister launched herself off the ground for her flight. The magic she used surpassing that even Saber utilized in battle. The tremor I made when I did it myself was a laughingstock compared to the one she created. If she had done that atop a building, I had no doubt it would have crumbled underneath the force. The ground cratered from where she kicked off, cracks forming dozens of meters from the epicenter and hundreds of pebbles launching themselves up to my height.
I knew for a fact that they would be fine against Caster. The two of them were faster than the beams that streaked towards them, each one's physical power could annihilate the magical servant in a single hit. The battle for the skies would last for moments, as Caster would use every trick in her sleeve before falling to one or the other. The battle was over the moment it begun.
Then I heard the sound of armor in the distance and knew the battle wasn't going to be that easy.
So I struck against my two fellow students, who both staggered as darts containing incapacitating drugs strong enough to knock out elephants ran through their systems.
"E-emiya." Rin struggled to speak as her legs lost the battle against gravity. "W-why?"
"Tohaska, Edelfelt." I addressed the two, their hazy eyes attempting to catch my own as they fell face first on the ground. "You may not believe it now, but I'm doing this for your own good."
That was a lie, they could help me against that all too-familiar sound and steady gait of armor. They were both talented magi, more so than I could ever be. Rin and Luvia, were both geniuses of a caliber that would be remembered for the ages. They could most certainly make my work easier.
But the truth was… I was being very selfish.
I ran as hard as I possibly can, ignoring the mass of lights above as Caster was slowly being worn away. Saber's resistance to magic would make her nigh impossible to defeat with magic. Her skill and power would put the two at risk, maybe before they could even attempt to kill her.
When it came to my old Servant, there were certain ties that had never been cut. Old, broken ties that crossed over from my old life and had plagued me since those fateful days of the Fifth Holy Grail War.
So I encountered her alone.
Resplendent, even with her armor black and stained with red. I could not say that she wasn't awe inspiring. The power behind her was present even at my distance, and was only becoming clearer as she walked closer. Her skin was paler, and the golden locks looked faded, but the ethereal beauty remained. I wondered what happened to her eyes, as they were hidden behind a savage visor.
I drew the gun from its holster and fired all the shots within the gun's clip. The depleted uranium rounds bounced off Invisible Air, drawing the attention of my old servant… teacher… friend.
I felt a small, sad smile tug up the corners of my lips as she brandished an invisible blade. I holstered the gun, and held out my hands. The familiar weights of Kanshou and Bakuya settling within them.
"Hey, Saber." I greeted the warrior who walked toward me, hearing nothing. "It's been a while."
The silence of the encroaching blonde warrior made me feel my age. My true age, I felt every bit of the old man that died alone in a hospice. The old man who mastered the blades in my hands now.
One pairs at shoulder height, one in my hands, one at the waist, blades hovering where I could not touch. The technique I gathered from Archer, tempered by decades more of experience. Three Realms Perfected…
I leveled my blade in challenge and she stopped moving. The servant adopting a stance that was tugged at faint memories.
"I think I have room in this filled brain of mine for one more lesson, eh?"
She struck first, the white blades on my right side all coming to intercept the blade. There were only a few openings in my defense, and I knew them well after years of battle. A single opening against the beings I fought could be exploited and get me killed. The entire basis of my fighting style, was to control my openings and guard them.
Excalibur, wreathed in Invisible Air, broke the first two of the Chinese swords and the last one barely held against the blow that would've easily bisected me at the waist. Saber was at her full power, despite all my training and all the experience I had, I was in for the fight of my life.
I let go of my hold on the three black blades on my left side and the blades flew towards her spinning rapidly to connect with the only remainder of their opposites. One came down her neck, the other her chest, and the last at her abdomen.
Impossibly fast, she leapt back and left the three blades dry. The sheer force of her leap backward nearly stunned me, it was as though she pushed herself off the small gap between the two of us. The explosive movement would allow her to return to the fight instantaneously, she still bore the sword ready to attack.
Still, it was probably going to be the only opening that I was going to get.
I charged in, throwing the white blade ahead and simply letting of the rest follow. They made rapid arcs through the air, sounds akin to the slow 'thumps' of helicopter blades. I've used the technique to cut apart even Dead Apostles, but Saber batted them aside as though they were toothpicks
I was fighting Saber at her best, I could settle for doing anything less than extraordinary to hope to win against the once and future king of Great Britain.
Heracles' stone great sword came into being above me, nearly crushing me under its oppressive weight. I swung the gigantic mass of stone to bisect my old teacher, only to see her take stance the tip of her sword touching the ground.
The ground underneath her feet crumbled from intense force. I realized the technique she was enacting before she could finish, I was unable to stop my swing.
Excalibur could cut through armor plate, rend a knight in half from shoulder to the horse beneath. The tip lodged in the ground she swung to empower her strike with the miniscule resistance the land could provide to the absurdly sharp blade. The swing left a furrow akin to a car crashing into the ground.
The holy sword burst through the one hewn from solid rock, my hands turned numb from the shockwaves that traveled. A plated foot impacted my stomach and sent me tumbling onto the ground until I dug my fingers into the dry soil. The swing hadn't allowed her to slice me in half due to the strength behind it. A small mercy as my chest throbbed from the force of her kick. The strength of my body was akin to solid steel, that kick felt as though it was flesh and delivered by piston driver.
I was surprised to find none of my bones broken.
She charged again, not the least fatigued by the technique that would've drained my reserves of energy in as few three uses. The blade was held aloft, in a strike that would bisect me perfectly in half. Kanshou and Bakuya reformed in my hands, and I was barely able to knock the attack to the side while breaking the legendary tempered metal.
I needed breathing room, close combat with Saber was tantamount to insanity.
I fired off as many blades as I was able, the sudden torrent of steel actually able to push away my old protector. Nameless blades they may have been, but they were more than enough to give me the second I needed to combat my teacher.
The blade was strong, one of the strongest upon the endless hill of swords. No matter how well I trained, or how experienced I was, summoning the best that my endless armory could offer was beyond my reach without uttering the beginning of my creed:
"I am the bone of my sword."
Durandal a sword the same era of Saber, wielded by knights. The blade's three miracles was beyond my skill to replicate all at once. Against Saber, though, I truly needed only one of them.
The distance I created vanished, and I blocked the sword of promised victory with my newly created blade as my arms cried out in pain. The sword was unbreakable, though its thin form easily making it look fragile.
Another blow hit me in the abdomen, making me lose my grip for a second. The sudden kick allowed the short stalemate to be broken, as Saber brought down her invisible blade like a hammer upon a spike. I leapt away, the tip of the blade scoring the first blood of the encounter by creating a gash from my shoulder to my hip.
There was no room for fear, I had to fight her.
"Onii-san!" A bright light shot from my periphery, not even glancing against Saber's armor. I looked to the sky, and saw that the mystical arrays were no longer present. Caster had been destroyed… that meant that…
My sister was coming and that Saber was looking right at her… like an enemy.
Overwhelming urge fueled me, as I realized that I had been too damned stunned to realize what was in front of me. The intention of the being in front of me, was to kill a child. Saber didn't exist, this was just whatever was left of the corrupted grail.
An enemy like this, needed to be dealt with by overwhelming force.
I uttered my creed once more, weapon in my mind appearing in my left hand. It was a sword made by a family that tilled the earth, the son was taken to war but longed to return to his farm. When he returned home, he melted the blade back into the tools his family starved to death for and built his family anew. "Plow the earth!"
A gouge appeared where I stabbed the blade, and the servant fell into it. I had overloaded the blade's mystery to the point that it's effect increased by an order of magnitude. There were hundreds of swords with mysteries that just worked better when magical energy overloaded them.
I could have attacked as she fell, filled the crevice with countless swords. It may have been the best opening I had, to kill the shadow that was one of my best friends.
But something more important was at hand.
I turned on my heel, and caught my sister as she flew towards me. My legs pumped as hard as they were able, as I carried her away.
"Y-you're hurt!" She was frightened I could tell, near hysteric even. Her eyes were trained on me and my blood. "Stop! Let me help!"
"There are some opponents you'll have to other people face, Ilya." The voice that issued from my mouth was gentle, despite the overwhelming urgency I had to keep her safe. "This new one is one of them."
Hooves clattered onto the ground and Miyu looked decidedly grimmer than any child should. The Pegasus easily kept pace with my dead sprint with ease.
"I'm going to delay her as long as possible." I explained to the raven haired girl and I handed my sister to her. "Tell Rin and Luvia that the enemy has A ranked Magic Resistance."
"I'm not going to leave you to fight that thing alone!" Ilya cried, but I shook my head.
"You're not." I explained carefully, as rapid steps of armor entered my hearing range. The shade was most certainly very close now. Outrunning her wasn't an option on my part, but the Pegasus was more than able. "You're going to make sure Miyu tells Rin and Luvia exactly what I said, and you're going to help them come up with a plan to beat this thing."
My eyes met Miyu's just as the charging metal steps became more languid and much, much closer. "Get back soon."
The Pegasus darted off, becoming a brilliant white light. Something trailed after them, issuing from Saber. I didn't know what it was, maybe an offshoot of the Invisible Air that surrounded the monster I faced. All that I knew, was that I wasn't going to let it touch them.
A cutlass formed in my left hand, as I uttered my creed.. The magus-pirate that created it used it to propel his ship forward with wind even in the most calm of days in the ocean. I submerged the blade in Prana, and swung it towards the reaching tendrils. The blade exploded, but the intense winds that issued forth blew the attack away on my sister away.
Durandal was in my right hand, because I had wanted to fight Saber on even terms. This thing was most certainly not Saber. This was a powerful monster and I knew exactly how to deal with monsters.
I changed the mystery that I was powering to the edge I desperately needed, and transformed the blade. The cross guard and handle turned into the spokes of the feather, and I had very little to change about the blade itself.
She charged, and I kicked off the ground forming my weapon in my right hand.
The shade leapt after me with and brandishing her blade to cut me from side-to-side.
She took the bait, and I pulled back the cracking blade and fired it right into the corrupted being's chest. My enemies, despite the few that had survived fights with me, never managed to take into account the speed of which it took me to attack from afar. Two arrows every second, supplanted by the hundreds of Phantasms I had at my fingertips, made sure no enemy had a third change to find out.
Durandal was like a black-bolt covered in an intricate web of light. The arrow burst through invisible air and into the being's chest. My calculations of how long the broken phantasm would take to break were inaccurate, so it didn't explode within the corrupted warrior's chest, but behind her instead.
I could work with that.
Caladbolg II was the greatest weapon I had in my arsenal. It rent apart a target using a distortion in space and time.
I had used it so often, known it so well through all the years of my life, bringing it into existence and firing it was as easy as breathing.
Breaking the blade would create an explosion that would damage the better part of a city block, I would have to risk my own life to even attempt to wound my enemy.
Just like old times.
I fired the arrow right into her face, which was a mere ten feet away.
The shockwave of the blast caught onto me and sent me flying off, the spherical rent in space ripping apart the edge of fabric that touched it. I twisted myself out of the way, rolling until eh expanding ball came to a stop.
Only for an armored fist to nearly snap my neck, fingers gripping with such harsh force that they drew blood. My eyes were starting to ache from the continuous use of Reinforcement, but the toll on the rest of my body was fine. Even with my crippled circuits in my last life, I was quite able to manage taking down beasts most magi would balk at.
Excalibur came upward from the lower left, a one handed swing that broke through three of the most massive blades I could project in front of it. The gigantic swords were renowned for cutting through horses and hammering armor plate, but they crumbled against the might of the invisible blade.
Not a matter, their copies would exact vengeance. Massive blades shot formed and shot at the wounded shade, forcing it back as each one required a swing to block effectively. The battle gown was in tatters, revealing more armored plate underneath. Save for such cosmetic damage and the gaping wound she was fighting despite of, the beast was virtually unscathed.
The monster was in its prime element, supplied to the brim with Prana and against a single opponent. The Saber class was at their strongest against singular opponents, I had seen it myself.
I was merely being the delaying action, the stopgap measure while Rin came up with a half-cocked plan.
Good, that just meant that I was doing what I did best.
Suddenly dozens of magical bolts flew above me, encompassing my barrage of blades and granting them more force.
I didn't turn around as a gloved hand smacked me on the back of my head from my right, and haughty laughter came from my right.
"Baka." Rin stated and joined the fight, brandishing Ruby with easy confidence. An idle glance to my left made it known to me that the same was true for Luvia.
I was glad to see that their outfits were far more formal than what my sister and her friend wore, but a question came to mind.
"Neko ears?" I mused and my new allies twitched as one.
"Shut up and fight."
Rin leveled her scepter, and the tip became a pointed blade. Luvia began weaving magic behind us that was so strong it felt more powerful than what Caster had ever managed.
Then, faster than even my enhanced eyes could manage to see, Rin engaged her. I wanted to follow, but a hand gripped my shoulder, Luvia giving me a wink as she kept me back. The burning of my circuits were all too apparent to me, I'd hamper them if I became deadweight.
Rin was more powerful than I had ever remembered, her strikes meeting Saber's with equal force. I should have taught her how to use Prana Burst…
I focused past my mistake in not doing so, by cutting off the wraith's avenues of attacks, filling in the sides of the battle with a storm of blades. Rin still had the advantage of having a clear line of retreat, and the ability to fly.
Still, those advantages weren't enough. Rin was kicked back, soundly destroyed by precision strikes by her opponent's behalf. The twin-tailed magus clutched at her stomach as she came to a stop next to me.
"You took this on for five minutes as a human, Emiya? Even wounding it?" The heiress puffed and winced as she stood up. I closed the small gap and began battering the corrupted being with an onslaught of massive blades. "You're a monster."
Power pulsed behind me, and six massive mystic batteries fired in unison. The solid 'hum' of energy was relevant for a full minute, but I knew that it wouldn't work.
"Seems that your ranking of her defenses are spectacularly correct, Emiya-san." Luvia noted as the figure stood. The mask was gone, and yellow eyes drifted over us. "It seems physical fighting is indeed the best method of approach."
"You can hurt it again right?" Rin inquired and I gave a nod. Durandal worked once, it would work again. I would not miss the brief window of explosive strength this time.
"Yes." I was already seeing the route she was going to take.
The shade regarded us, its distance optimal for blocking my strikes with mere flicks of the wrist.
I wondered if it was scared, I would certainly be if I faced Rin Tohaska with unlimited magic power at her disposal.
That dream was broken, as a gale that could shatter a fortress burst upon us. I was barely able to grab onto the ground as it sent my barrage of blades flying back at us. Luvia abandoned her efforts and joined Rin in blocking the massive onslaught of blades. Invisible Air was both a weapon and a shield, but using it as a weapon meant losing its value as a shield.
Then I saw what became of the holy sword and my heart clenched.
Black as night, with rings that seemed to be glowing blood. Even the holy blade had not escaped the corruption that befell the shade of the person I once knew.
My two companions projected massive shields, but they would assuredly fall against the corrupted sword of promised victory.
But maybe if I helped…
The magic was intense, a dull throbbing as the sword transformed and pure darkness was basically held in my opponent's hands. It surpassed the length of the small bridge that allowed cars to cross the ravine we fought in.
I needed to win, I could not afford to lose when I knew what this thing would assuredly do to my sister if I lost.
The blast was insurmountable in power, blasting through the combined defenses of both Mystical Code users in the blink of an eye. I took a deep breath and presented both my arms forward.
"Rho Ais!" I declared and the flower shield of Ajax appeared before my hands. My circuits were burning and my strength wavered a petal immediately fell. Pain lanced up my arm and onto my shoulder, as though every bone broke at once. The mystery behind the shield that blocked the spear of the mighty Hector was that each was as strong as a fortress wall, but the damage taken by the shield was given to the user.
The first petal evaporated against the onslaught and the second was being eaten away at a rapid rate, I feared that we didn't stand a chance to survive.
He was bleeding, everywhere. I could barely stand, I could barely breathe. He was so strong! How could he possibly be losing? How could I face something that could hurt him?
"Ilya." Miyu no longer had her Pegasus, something about time limits on the cards or another. I couldn't help but look to her at the moment, she was calm and cool. Nothing like how I felt. "Are you fine?"
"How can I be fine?" The question was absurd! My brother was getting hurt, Rin and Luvia were going to help him and they both weren't sure about their chances. "This is crazy! Onii-san is-."
It was a massive blast, I couldn't name it. The force was like a gigantic wind had rushed towards us both in every single direction. We both ran, without prompting, to where we both knew where it came from.
Rin and Luvia were both behind him, shocked for the first time I'd ever seen. They were always in control, but they didn't seem to be this time.
But it was probably because of the massive blast my brother was holding back with his hands.
And I knew that he was going to lose.
The petals of the massive barrier he put up, which I knew were stronger than I could ever manage, began to peel away one by one against the massive pillar of darkness.
He was going to die-
The thought was interrupted by something snapping.
Something inside me… broke…
My hand moved to the card Rin had told me to keep safe.
I remembered what Ruby said to me about the card. That it took humongous amounts of magical power to equip, that an ordinary magi wouldn't be able to cross the boundary without preparation.
But he was in trouble, so I no longer cared.
I slammed the card against the ground, power I didn't know I had flooding out of me like a massive wave of energy. It was uncomfortable, as though I was being pulled in every direction, but I couldn't care less.
Esoteric symbols appeared, a massive circle with symbols I had never seen before. I only took notice of them, because I wanted them to give me power.
And they did, much, much power.
"Ilya!" I heard a familiar voice, but ignored it. "How can you?!"
My hair no longer framed my face, and the clothes I wore tightened in some areas while disappearing in others. The material that remained felt alien and strong, but what mattered was what appeared in my hand.
A massive bow that I had cared so little for in when I last summoned it into existence. This time though, I knew exactly how to use it.
The sword was like a cork-screw, but I knew the power behind it and fired into the mass of darkness threatening my family.
"Install!" I heard a cry to my side, and curiosity got the better of me. I should've paid more attention to my opponent.
Miyu was clad entirely in blue, a red lance in her hands. Her own circle fading from existence. A part of my mind remembered her skill, and her intelligence. I supposed that she would readily be able to do as I had done, she had more experience in utilizing the cards than myself.
A nod was exchanged, and we both charged into battle.
*Edit: Fixed many grammar errors, and dumb Microsoft word spell check errors.
This chapter is now 1.3 in its update status.