The sun crested over the mountains to shine on Fuyuki City, the first rays of the morning light driving away the darkness. The city was split by a river into newer and older sections, and while the more modern part of the city never really slept, the old part was still rather peaceful in the morning hours. Those that stayed in the traditional Japanese houses preferred a more quiet existence, and as such the only noise to be heard in the area was the morning songs of birds.
Until the small explosion, anyway.
In the backyard of the Emiya residence, there was a sizable shed that was emitting a small amount of smoke from the door and windows. Any neighbors who heard the noise or saw the smoke would have dismissed it, as such things had become unfortunately common over the past ten years or so. Inside the structure, a figured coughed and pulled themselves up off the floor, griping the workbench in front of them as they heaved themselves up. The person was girl in her late teens with long, strawberry blonde hair, a curvaceous figure, and a pair of round spectacles on her face.
"Ok…" Agatha Emiya breathed out as she looked at the smoldering pile of metal and wires that used to be the project she was working on. "I think I may have miscalculated the power output just a tad."
She gave a sigh. Well, at least she hadn't gotten too far into it this time. Besides, explosions were part of the natural life cycle of Science. She picked up the mass of materials and looked it over before tossing it into her recycling bin. She would have to melt it down later to get the raw materials back and she had no time for such things now. Given how the explosion had blackened he face and mused her hair, she needed to take a shower before she headed off to school.
As she quickly cleaned up and made her way back into her home, she mentally went over her plans for the next line of devices she was going to build. Ever since she was young she had always been building, invention, improving the things around her. Her fascination with science and engineering only added to this, and as a result a lot of what she made was quite advanced. If not always practical. True she tried to make things that were obviously useful when ever she could, but bouts of mad inspiration being what they were… let's just say that trying to add a relativistic acceleration dynamo to a washing machine probably could have borne out some more thought.
Once in her house, she made her way to the bathroom and showered quickly. Well, as quick as one could with such a large volume of hair, but she had no intention of shortening it. She liked it long, and the unusual color gave her a rather distinctive look compared to everyone else she went to school with. She had no illusions about the fact that she was not of Japanese birth. When her father had found her wandering amid the flames of the Fuyuki City Fire 10 years ago, he assumed that her family had been visiting when the fire broke out. He had told her he searched for them afterward, but with her memory loss of anything before the incident, it was impossible to tell who they were or if they were alive or dead.
Agatha thought back to that day, the first day she held in her memory. It was mostly just flashes of images and sensations; fire, screams, smoke, pain. She unconsciously reached back, touching the burn mark in the middle of her back which she had gotten that day. She supposed it would lucky that it was the only mark she had and it was easily concealed, but she had still never liked it very much. It always looked like some kind of bug to her.
Still, whatever may have happened before, she had loved the man she had come to know as a father. Even if their time had been cut short by the disease he carried. I can fix you daddy! Science can fix everything!
She shook her head to rid herself of memories of the past and got dressed. Heading into the kitchen, she was greeted with a rather familiar sight. "Good morning, Sakura." Agatha said.
"Good morning, Sempai." The long purple haired girl replied. Sakura Matou was a year younger than Agatha, but the two had quickly become friends after the elder of the two had gotten some mean girls to stop picking on her. Since then she had become a rather frequent visitor of the Emiya household, such to the point that she would be there most mornings making breakfast. Agatha had always felt kind of guilty about this, but… she was not a very good cook to say the least. It was a trait she somehow inherited from her adoptive father, and with him gone she usually had no choice but to fend for herself and make rather bland tasting food. She had on more than one occasion tried to make a breakfast making machine so that Sakura wouldn't have to do it, but they all kept breaking for unexplained reasons. It was like she couldn't even make food indirectly. Or someone was sabotaging them, but that would be silly.
"I keep telling you to call me Agatha." The blonde haired girl said and she walked over and started putting food on plates.
Sakura merely shook her head and gave a small smile. "Sempai will always be Sempai to me."
Agatha gave a mock sigh of defeat and began rustling through the cupboards. "So what are you making this morning?"
"Oh, just some simple things. Steamed rice, some miso soup, tamagoyaki…" as she listed things off, Agatha gave a glance back to make sure the other girl wasn't looking before opening a secret compartment inside one of the cupboard. She reached inside to grab the item she procured the previous night, but to her surprise it wasn't there. She grasped around blindly for a moment before Sakura's voice changed tone. "Looking for this, Sempai?"
Agatha flinched like she had been caught with her hand caught in the cookie jar, and slowly turned to face the other girl. There in Sakura's hands was the bin of coffee she had been planning on opening that morning. Honestly, how does she keep finding my hiding places? She wondered mentally while she said "Uh… I don't know what you're talking about. But since you seem to have brought some…"
Sakura pulled the bin away as Agatha started to reach for it. "You're not allowed to have coffee, Sempai. You know this."
"Say's who?" The bespectacled woman replied indignantly.
"The school council, the local police department, the local fire department-"
"Ok, I get it."
"Every electronic store in 3 miles, Tokogawa Construction, Fuyuki City Power Grid-"
"Ok I get it!" Agatha yelled, a flush of embarrassment creeping over her face.
Sakura appeared like she was going to continue her lecture, but she stopped suddenly as her gaze fell upon Agatha's left hand, her eyes widening. "Ah! Sempai, your hand!"
"Eh?" Agatha said in confusion before looking at said appendage, and was surprised to see the sight of blood dripping down it. "What the? How did I miss that?" She said as she held her hand up to her face. It looked like there was some kind of injury on the back of it.
Sakura frowned at her. "I heard the explosion. Did you get careless and hurt yourself again?"
"So it would seem," Agatha said with a frown of her own. She could have sworn she had only gotten a bruise or two from being knocked down on her behind, but she guessed she had just been distracted. Oh well, it didn't look like that big of a deal. Agatha proceeded to wash the hand off before pulling some medical tape out of nearby drawer and wrapping it around her hand.
"You need to take better care of yourself." The purple haired girl mentioned.
"I'm fine, I just got a little careless." The other girl waved off. "Now, let's get this on the table. The lay about will be here any-"
Then the front door slammed open and a loud voice yelled out "Sakura! Feed me breakfast!"
"-second now." Agatha finished with a sigh. She took the nearest plates of the counter and walked into the dinning room. Already waiting at the table with an expectant look on her face was Taiga Fujimura, neighbor, assistant teacher, and all around moocher. The older woman had been friends with her father before he passed, and had promised him that she would look after Agatha after he was gone. The only problem with that was Taiga was kind of hopeless and could barley ever look after herself. She came to Agatha's house most mornings to eat the breakfast that Sakura prepared. Agatha wished she could admonish the short, brown haired woman, but she wasn't exactly in a high position as she did nothing to stop Sakura from doing so.
"Hello Agatha!" The woman said cheerfully. "What's for breakfast today?"
"You know, you probably wouldn't be late so often if you made your own breakfast rather than coming here." Agatha remarked, trying to drop a not so subtle hint.
"How can you be so cold to your guardian?" Taiga said as she wept comically large tears. "Where did I go wrong in wrong in raising you?"
"Probably the part where Sakura and I have to take care of you most of the time." She replied dryly before putting the plates down in front of Taiga and herself and digging into her own meal with fervor.
As Sakura came out of the kitchen with more plates and gave her friend a disapproving frown. "You shouldn't eat so fast. You'll get a stomach cramp."
"Can't be helped." Agatha said between mouthfuls. "I promised Issei that I would look at the computers in the Student Council room before school started, so I have to get going." With the skill of someone who had practice of wolfing down meals so that they could get back to work, she finished her plate and hustled to the front door.
Sakura followed after her, continuing to fret. "You don't take good enough care of yourself Sempai. I'm worried of what would happen if you didn't have anyone to look after you."
Agatha felt a small pang of guilt at her friend's worrying, and it wasn't just for the obvious reason. This was Agatha's last year of high school, and she had made it no secret how much she was looking forward to going to college. Sakura, well… her family wanted her to stay and look over the family business (whatever that was), and while her grades were decent, she certainly couldn't get enough for a scholarship. "Well, then I guess I'll have to rely on you for as long as I can." She said as she put and hand on Sakura's shoulder.
The other girl blushed lightly at the contact, but it seemed to lighten her mood somewhat. Agatha gave a nod and turned her attention to the various footwear that lined the floor mat. "Hmm, I think I take the hover skates today." She said to herself as she bent down to slip said implements onto her feet over her normal shoes. The hover skates were named as such as they had powerful air compressors on the bottoms and backs, allowing the wearing to, appropriately enough, skate on cushions of air at rather high speeds. It was one of Agatha's more practical inventions.
"Oi! When do I get my own rocket boot things?" Taiga yelled between mouthfuls from the kitchen.
"When I'm certain that it won't make you a danger to yourself and everyone around you." Agatha yelled back. She turned on the skates with a push of a button and with a last smile at Sakura, glided swiftly out the door and to school.
"So, are you just going to fix it, or will it be trying to take over the school by the end of the week?" Issei asked with no small amount of humor in his voice from his position on the table.
"Very funny." Agatha replied as she continued to look through the computer's innards. "But you know as well as I do that real artificial intelligence is one thing I haven't figured out yet, any even if I did it would be at least 3 Laws compliant."
"My point still stands that your 'upgrades' the school's computer system can be rather hit or miss." The man retorted. Issei Ryuudou was, aside from Sakura, Agatha's best friend and the Student Body President for their high school, Homurahara Gakuen. He had dark hair and thin spectacles, adding to his image of being an intelligent, thoughtful person. He was also one of the few people at the school who liked her inventions rather than was terrified of them. "Your attempt to wire them up to control a small army of Roombas comes to mind."
"Science is a work in progress." Agatha defended herself before pulling herself out of the computer. "Alright, there's a defect on the motherboard. Likely it was there when it was manufactured and it just took some wear and tear to make it worse. Now you could get a new motherboard…"
"Which would cost money the Student Body can't afford to spend." Issei said with a sigh. "Ok, what's this going to cost me?"
"The usual." She replied with a smirk. Issei always liked to have Agatha around to fix or improved the various pieces of equipment around the school, and in turn he would use his status as President to give her certain… liberties. "I'll be needing the school workshop tonight, in fact. My latest product blew up in my face this morning, so I want to make up for lost time by whipping up the model with the lathe."
"I would have thought you'd have made one of your own by now." Issei commented. "So, how are you going to fix it? Nothing too complicated I hope."
Agatha rolled her eyes. "Fine, I just repair the broken circuit bridge. But I'm still going to try out my latest low resistance alloy." She insisted. "I swear, I'm this close to figuring out this whole superconducting problem."
Issei gave a low whistle. "Really? That's amazing."
Agatha gave a pained grimace at this statement. "Well, at least you think so."
Her friend titled his at this. "What do you mea-" he started before his eyes went wide with recognition. "You got another letter from them didn't you?"
"How the hell is it my fault that they can't reproduce anything I sent them?!" she growled angrily as she tossed up her hands. She was referring of course to the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers, and of her somewhat… rocky relationship between her and them. "I send them prototypes and clear instructions! If you can't do anything after that, then clearly you're just a terrible engineer!" Her voice lowered and she looked off to the side. "They had the nerve to call me a fraud and a charlatan. As if I was some kind of street magician."
Issei put a hand on her shoulder. "Well, I know that you're not a fraud. And they're a bunch of idiots for thinking so. I'm sure that one day when you're a famous scientist and inventor, you'll get them to eat their words in a highly public and embarrassing way."
A small smile came to her lips as she thought about that prospect. "Yes… yes of course. I should not concern myself with such lesser minds. Some day I show them." Her smile widened and became more manic. "I will build creations so grand and powerful that they will have no choice but to accept me! And then, when they are bowing before me and my mechanical behemoths of untold power and destruction, I will make them grovel for their presumption! Oh yes, I will show them! I WILL SHOW THEM ALL! AHAHAHAHAHA!"
Issei stood back from the now laughing Agatha, a small smile crossing his lips for successfully making her feel better. Still, when he saw scenes like this, it was a small wonder that most of the school was terrified of her. There actually was a small betting pool on how long before the girl snapped and went full on supervillain.
Well, at least I know my place is assured in the new world order, he thought ruefully.
"And they actually wrote you that? What a bunch of tools." Gai said as he and Agatha moved with each other across the padded floor. Agatha's high school had a surprisingly large number of physical activities that students could choose from when it came to school clubs. Agatha choice for a physical past time was Judo, as she found the best counter balance to working carefully on devices was to just though things around for a while. What she was throwing around at the moment was her friend Gai Gotou, a somewhat excitable if odd young man with a mass of dyed blonde hair on top of his head.
"Yes, well, I probably shouldn't worry about it for now." Agatha said as she went in for the grab but was swatted away. "Once I get to college, I'll have ample chances to prove them wrong."
"You're really looking forward to that, huh?" her sparing partner replied. "I think you're one of the only people here who's looking forward to the actually learning part of college rather than the partying."
"There is only so much I can do here." Agatha said, this time going low. "At a university I will have access to more resources and some of the greatest minds in their fields. Hup!" She said as she successfully disrupted Gai's balance and knocked him to the floor. Standing tall over her defeated foe, she continued. "There I have far more potential to be at my best, and advance the state of mankind. Through Science!"
"If you insist…" he replied, rubbing the back of his head from the fall. "So, where do you think you're going? I've heard that Shin Tokyo University just opened and it's pretty high brow."
"Perhaps, but they're more focused for their Biomedical program. I'm more of a mechanics kind of girl."
"Yeah, but if you combine the two, you could get badass cyborgs!" Gai exclaimed as he jumped to his feet. "And then they could be all super strong and fast, and shoot laser beams and fight crime! For Great Justice!" He shouted as he stuck a pose, causing a few of the others in the dojo to look at him oddly.
Agatha gave him a dry look. "You were watching Kamen Rider last night, weren't you?"
"You're the only one that can make my dreams come true, Agatha!" he said, his hands clasped before him and his eyes filled with pleading tears.
The girl couldn't help but give a small chuckle at this. Gai always was something of a dreamer who wanted the world of TV to become reality. Last week he had asked her to build a super sentai combining mecha. After a moments pause, she said "It truth, I have not decided yet." She had brief thoughts as to the people she would leave behind, but she shook her head to clear them.
"Huh. Most people would be more stressful about picking a school than you." Gai said, his previous excitement gone in an instant. "Then again, with grades like yours, you could probably go to any school you want. I think only Rin Tohsaka has higher grades than you."
Agatha gave a small snort. "You giving me far to much credit. You know I'm nowhere close to the top ranking students." This was the case as Agatha was at best average in most subjects that she did not have a particular interest in (humanities and history came to the forefront of her mind). However, Gai was correct in that she had the highest grades when it came to the sciences out of any student at Homurahara. This had put her into somewhat of an amusing rivalry between her and Rin. Rin was a straight A student, but most of her grades in sciences came from simple rote rather than actual skill, a fact which seem to annoy her to no end for some reason.
It had gotten to the point where Tohsaka's fan club (the fact which it existed Agatha found somewhat disturbing) had come to consider Agatha akin to a villain to Rin's protagonist. Agatha would have found this amusing if it wasn't for the nickname "Madgirl" which they had given her.
"Yeah, but those top ranking students can't turn cars into walker mechs that shoot missiles from behind the headlights." Gai retorted. "Anyway, the club seems to be wrapping up for the day. You should be getting home soon."
"Actually, there's something I have to take care of first."
Agatha carefully guided the piece of metal she was holding though the machinery, cutting it out into a sort of elongated triangular shape. This was not going to be part of the final product; as she had told Issei, she was making a model (more of a mold really) of the final shape the device was going to be in, upon which point she would craft it using alloys of her own design. It might have been easier if she had started with a wooden model, but after the little mishap that morning, she wanted something a bit sturdier in case it happened again. There was just one little thing that nagged at her as she made the last turn and looked at the finished product.
She had no idea what she was building.
Agatha frowned at the pieces of metal before her. There were two blocks that held the depression to be used as the actual mold along with several curving sheets of metal that were going to be used to press various levels of circuitry into the alloy she was to eventually use. The shape in the mold was an isosceles triangle about a meter and a quarter long that curved elegantly to the point. Still, no matter how she looked at it, she didn't know what it was supposed to be. Even in her most manic and inspired state, she at least had a vague idea of what she was doing.
But lately? She had been getting the urge to build this… thing with nary an idea why. It was like a dream she would forget upon awakening, the details floating at the edge of consciousness, but fleeing when ever she reached for them. She could almost swear she was building a… sword sheath? But that couldn't be right.
Agatha glanced at the clock and gave a small sigh before putting the materials in her personal locker in the school workshop. It was getting late, so she would deal with it tomorrow. For now, she just wanted to get home and draw up few diagrams to see if she could coax some more information out of her head. After she had cleaned up after herself and powered everything down, she exited the building to head back to her locker in the main building. The workshop was a relatively new addition to the school, and as such had to have a new structure built to contain it.
Agatha was very much preoccupied by her own thoughts, which was why she didn't notice anything until she heard a large crash coming from her right. She gave a jump in surprise and turned to look, and what she saw was so surprising that she stopped dead in her tracks to just stare in disbelief.
What she saw was two men, one in a sort of black armor and red cloth, and the other in some kind of blue body suit. The red one held a pair of Chinese sabers, while the other carried a wicked looking blood red spear. The two men were also trying to kill each other, very enthusiastically. It wasn't just the fact that she had stumbled onto apparent death match that held her attention though; the two were moving at incredible speeds, their forms blurred by their movement save for the few moments where they stopped to measure and ready themselves for the next barrage. When their weapons met, Agatha could felt the clashing metal in her body from the several dozen meters away from them where she was standing. Wha, what is this? She thought to herself. Are these people even human?
She did not know how long she stood there watching the spectacle before her, but it came to an end when the man in blue paused at looked directly at her. He then said something and grinned. Agatha could not hear what he said from that distance, but she didn't need to. That grin made her blood run cold, and her body locked up in pure unbridled fear. That was the grin a wolf gave a deer before it ran it down. He's going to kill me! She thought in terror. I wasn't supposed to see this, and he's going to kill me!
She remained motionless for a moment longer before something snapped in her and she bolted for the school as fast as her legs would take her. She reached the doors and slammed them open, not even slowing as she bolted down the hallway. She heard the doors slam open again behind her, but she dared not look back. She just had to get to her locker. If she could get to her hover skates, she could get away.
She ducked down a few different hallways, trying to lose the man following her. She wasn't sure if it worked, but she heard nothing behind her by time she found herself in front of her locker. Her hands were shaking though, and she nearly cried out in frustration when she couldn't steady them enough to put in her combination. In the exact moment she finally managed to pop the lock open, she heard a voice whisper in her ear. "Hello, my dear."
She screamed and spun around, finding herself face to face with the man in blue. Now that she was up close, she could see that he also had blue hair, and his eyes were a deep crimson. He gave her a wolfish grin as he twirled his spear. "Well, that was a decent chase you gave me, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill you now. Nothing personal, but I can't leave witnesses."
The man's spear blurred forward to her heart-
And then was suddenly pulled back just in time to deflect a white saber that had been flying though the air towards him. "Hey, I'm busy here-!" was as far as he got before he had to deflect a black saber as well. A split second later the man in red leapt into view, driving the man in blue back with yet another pair of sabers.
Agatha screamed as she dove to the ground, trying to stay out of the way of very fast weapons that were now tearing up the lockers around her. She frantically pried open her own locker from her spot on the ground and grabbed her hover skates, shoving them onto her feet as fast as she could. She heard someone yelling, but she wasn't listening. She was too focused on getting the straps clipped on and the motor spun op.
When she finally heard the telltale whine of it functioning, she crawled on her belly until she reached the nearby doors to the outside. Sparing one last glace at the fighting pair, she stood up, threw open the doors and speed off into the night.
Agatha took deep, ragged breaths as she stumbled into her home. She didn't even bother taking off her stakes as she walked into her living room and simply collapsed on the floor, trying to deal with what just happened to her. When it came to crazy things happening in her life, she was normally more unflappable, but this… someone had tried to kill her. With a bloody spear! This was not something she was used to, to say the least.
She lay down on the floor, looking at the ceiling and letting her breathing steady. Ok Agatha, a man just tied to kill you. What are you going to do now? She thought to herself. Thoughts of building automated sentry guns and point defense lasers came to mind and danced through her head for a minute or two. Right when she was considering the best way to get them to differentiate between guests and homicidal maniacs with spears, she realized that there was a much more immediate and sensible solution to her problem: call the police. They would probably want to know about people trying to kill each other on school property.
Feeling somewhat silly, Agatha propped herself up to begin moving towards the phone. That's when she heard a chillingly familiar voice. "I have to say, those are some very interested boots you have there. I know I would have liked a pair back when I was still alive."
Agatha spun around, and was once again terrified to find the man in blue standing behind her. He continued to say "Now, I'm going to have to make this quick before that fake Archer shows-"
That was as far as he got. Agatha was nothing if not able to adapt to new situations, and she had no intention of freezing up a second time. There was a coffee table between her and the man who broke into her home. Throwing out her legs in his direction, she blasted the piece of furniture with maximum thrust from her hover skates. This caused it to go flying at the man and her to go tumbling in the other direction. The man in blue, while surprised, was easily able to smash the offending object before it collided with him. However, that brief second of distraction allowed Agatha to put some distance between the two of them and stumble to her feet, at which point she took off down the hallway.
She threw anything that came within arms reach behind her to slow him down. End tables, lamps, anything at all. She heard all of her makeshift weapons being smashed, but she just needed some more time. Moments later she burst out the back door, skating as fast as she could. Contrary to popular belief, Agatha did not spend all of her time making weapons of mass destruction (she preferred to put her talents to more constructive uses), but she did still have a few prototype weapons stored away in her workshop which she had made out of curiosity. If she could get to the shed, bar the doors, grab a weapon, call the police-
She was suddenly taken off guard when the man in blue suddenly just appeared next to her, seemingly having no problem keeping up with her speed. "Like I said, they're pretty nice," he commented. "But you still can't outrun me!" He lashed out with his spear, and due to the proximity, Agatha was caught by the haft in her midriff, sending her flying back into the shed she had been running to. She also felt a line of hot pain across her abdomen, as the tip of the spear had also managed to graze her before she left its reach.
She landed on the hard concrete floor of her workshop, gasping for breath. Her hand clenched her midriff, a few drops of blood escaping her fingers and landing on the ground. She looked up to see the man standing in the doorway, spear slung across his shoulders as he looked at her. "I have to admit, you've got some fight in you. Hell, if this were another time, I might be taking you out for drinks." He gave a sigh. "But orders are orders. No hard feelings."
Agatha wanted to deliver a few choice words on just how she felt about the situation, but she had no breath to say it. This is how I'm going to die? At the hands of some maniac for reasons I don't even know? But I have so much I want to learn! So much I want to do!
As the man leveled the spear and thrust it at her, a single thought went through her mind. I WANT TO LIVE!
Suddenly, the world erupted in light. Agatha instinctively closed her eyes, both at the light and in response to the oncoming spear. However, she felt nothing. Instead there was a loud clash, the sound of metal striking something. She opened her eyes to find someone else standing in the shed with her and the man in blue. It was a short woman with blonde hair done up in a bun, wearing blue robes underneath plate armor that conformed to the robes underneath to give it an elegant look. The spear was stopped in front of her, and the way she held out her hands made it look like she was hold an… invisible sword?
With a cry of effort, the woman lashed out with her invisible weapon, and a great rush of air blasted the man out of the shed and tumbling into the yard.
The woman turned to Agatha, her brilliant green eyes staring intensely at the other woman, and she said
"I am Servant Saber. Upon your summoning, I have come forth. I ask of you, are you my Master?"
A/N: I really think that Girl Genius doesn't get enough attention on this site, so I'm aiming to rectify that. Granted, this probably won't be the best example as I'm basically adopting Agatha to fit within the Nasuverse, but still.
For those of you who don't know, Girl Genius is a webcomic set in a Steampu-, er, I mean 'Gaslamp Fantasy' world. The tag line is "Mad Scientists rule the world. Badly." I cannot recommend it enough if you haven't read it yet.