So, dear readers, welcome to Fate: Heaven's Works. This is the re-boot of Fate: Strange Prototype, the one-shot of Fate/Stay Night that I've written.

To those of you who have read the one-shot, I hope that this first chapter is good enough. It still has some of the elements of the one-shot, but I've given it a little more detail, so as to give a slight idea of what's really going on with Shirou.

And to those of you who have not read the one-shot, I welcome you all the same, and hope that this story will satisfy you.

So without further ado, let's begin.

DISCLAIMER: Type-Moon owns the Fate/ series.


Prologue: Keep Calm and Trace On.


All he could see... is an endless desert... devoid of life...

A pair of amber eyes gazed unto the perpetual twilight sky resting upon the desolate land... the gazer's spiky red hair was blown slightly by the soft winds that brought a melodious tune to his ears.

An orchestration of clinking clockworks. Of the moving gears that give power to the machine that they serve.

Such a thing of beauty to his ears, though so esoteric in its beauty that to most, it would serve them with only annoyance.

...

Though organic and natural in its appearance, the desert holds a great mystery.

A mystery that only he knows...

A mystery that only he can use...

And a mystery that only he could truly master...

And to both his pride and shame, a mystery that he has yet to divulge to anyone else save for a few...

...

The arrival of a new presence, one basked in darkness, made the red-haired person turn his gaze to where the presence currently was.

And there stood a shadow, possessing a vague outline of a human being, but the being was clearly something both beyond and less than a human.

A displeasing, pitiable, and terrifying existence to behold.

The red-haired person and the shadow stared at each other, each of them were locked in their positions as if two statues that was specifically created to symbolize an everlasting struggle between two opposing forces of nature.

Then from the upper body section of the shadow-like being that resembled a human head, a mouth was formed.

Without a lip, the mouth only showed a set of human-like teeth... and then it began to stretch its mouth from one side to the other... as if trying to mimic a smile.

Then the eyes were formed, a pair of eyes so big and so wrong to be placed unto it that it was beyond any kind of logical thinking to justify its twisted appearance, even to call it an aberration would be an understatement.

Then it stretched its arms outward, its fingers, save for its thumbs were melded together, as if it were a child's doll.

The shadow being began to drip its darkness out... as if it were a doll given with so much ink inside that it begins to blot out of its body.

Yet the redhead kept his watchful gaze towards the abomination of the natural world, and then, as if to challenge it...

He smiled back.

And then he began to recite his oath... his promise that he made to the world, himself, and those that he valued highly.

...I am the-

But then came the blinding light...

...


...

A pair of amber eyes opened.

And a red-headed boy found himself staring at the ceiling with his back lying on a futon.

"...That damn dream again..." he muttered out loud before he rose up from his bed with a yawn, he then looked at the clock before saying; "5:12 A.M huh...? Well... better prepare myself for school..."

The boy then walked out of the bedroom to start his usual routine before he goes to Homurahara Academy where he spend his time as a student.

His name is Shirou Emiya. A boy that would seem rather unremarkable if one were to judge him from a first glance, his short yet spiky red hair and the pair of amber eyes were the only thing that made him noticeable.

To those who know him, he was like his name, Shirou, blank as a paper, and as plain and as unassuming as one.

But to those who truly know him, which is to say, a very few number that could be counted with only one hand, he was anything but 'white'.

And to those who have a keen insight on human behavior, they would see him as mysterious. After all, in his school, the only thing remarkable that his colleagues thought of him was his humility and his meekness. Though he is slightly taller than his friends, his body language could be said as someone submissive, and his speech was something that one would expect from someone without a figurative backbone.

But like everyone else, he holds his true self within. And, like many others, he would only show this true self of his to those he deemed trustworthy enough to know.

"SHIROOOOU! Have you woken up yet?!"

...One of which was the woman who was screaming at the top of her lungs as she entered the gate entrance to his house.

Shirou sighed, he was just finished bathing and was about to finish wearing his apron to prepare breakfast when the woman arrived with a shout that would've woken up the whole neighborhood from their sleep had she arrived much earlier.

He walked to the entrance and slid the door open.

"Good morning Shirou!" greeted a brown-haired woman styled in ponytail wearing a green summer dress over her long-sleeved yellow shirt with black stripes as she energetically raised her hand in greetings.

"Morning Fuji-nee." Shirou answered before he continued with; "How many times do I have to tell you to tone your shouts down a bit?" he asked her.

"Oh don't be such a tight-ass Shirou! In fact, I should be scolding you for not being so energetic! You are a young man after all, it's only normal for someone of your age to act like me! So, in your place, I shall always show you how you should behave!" the woman explained with so much gusto that Shirou was almost impressed.

The keyword being almost, as the redhead merely give the energetic woman a deadpan stare and said; "Going by that logic, you should stop behaving like that. After all, you're an adult, not a teenager like me."

Taiga was silent before she pointed her finger at Shirou and contorted her face into an expression of anger and exclaimed, "D-don't be crazy!"

"It's a valid point Fuji-nee, either accept or deny it." Shirou said.

Then, her eyes began to well up as she gasped dramatically, "Ah... Shirou... how could you say that to your own guardian? After all that she had done to take care of you...?" she asked as she struck a pose identical to the one usually used by a theater actress to convey her despair, "To think... that I have failed to teach you how to properly behave to one's elders... I have failed you Kiritsugu-san...! But surely you wouldn't be proud of how your son treated me...!" she shouted towards the sky in an attempt to make Shirou retract his statement.

Shirou's right eye twitched at the childish woman's antics, he then said this to defuse the situation, "Your attempt to sway me with crocodile tears will not work Fuji-nee, and because of your statement regarding dad's disapproval about me, then feel free to have your stomach be fulfilled by the breakfast of your making rather than mine."

Shirou then began to close the sliding doors...

But found resistance when it was a couple of inches away from being fully closed.

Taiga had to use both of her hands in an attempt to to prevent Shirou from fully closing the door, his upper body strength proved equal to hers, and so, she added a little bit more effort at something else to prevent Shirou from giving her breakfast, "Nooooooooo~! Shiroooou! Don't do iiiiit! I'm sorry! I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry!"

After a brief struggle and plethora of apologies from Taiga, Shirou relented and opened the door, "Alright, fine... come inside Fuji-nee."

"Thank you so much Shirou~!" Taiga shouted with tears coming down from her eyes as she hugged Shirou tightly.

The redhead merely patted her back twice, "Yes yes... now go wait in the dining room while I prepare breakfast, okay?"

Taiga released Shirou immediately and saluted him with a grin, "Sir yes sir!" said Taiga before she went the dining room and sat on one of the chairs dutifully.

Shirou merely smiled and sighed as he shook his head, he had gotten so used to the woman's antics that he knows the best way to deal with her whenever her antics have gone overboard or it really annoyed him.

That was the latter.

Nevertheless, he wordlessly decided to make some breakfast for her, after all, she is his guardian.

Even if she never acts like it...

...


...

Walking towards the Homurahara Academy clad in his student uniform, the redhead kept his head slightly tilted downwards and he kept his posture as relaxed as possible, as apparent by his hands that were tucked into the pockets of his pants.

After he had finished his breakfast and Taiga finished hers, she was the first one to leave for school, being a teacher has its downsides after all, one of which is the requirement to arrive at school before the required time for the students to arrive.

A necessity that she really hates to do.

But she always do it nonetheless, a fact that makes him rather glad, for despite her demeanor, she can show a surprising degree of responsibility when the situation calls for it.

It almost makes up for her incompetence at cooking, cleaning, being mature, and overall, the things that a normal adult should be able to do.

Almost.

But still, despite all of that, Shirou doesn't truly hate her. Annoyed? More so than what other people who had seen their interaction might think. But hate?

No.

After all, he noticed her loyalty and genuine care for him, that alone puts her as someone that he could see as a close friend.

But, never as a role model.

An understandable notion, considering her usual behavior.

"Sempai!"

Turning to the source of the voice, Shirou saw a purple-haired girl with an equally purple eyes come running down from the street that he passed by.

"Sakura." Shirou greeted the girl.

Sakura Matou, she's Shirou's underclassman whom he had befriended when they were little.

He remembered how she was surrounded by bullies who picked on her because of the fact that they're bigger and were in a group. He remembered how angry he was and how he jumped to defend her from the bullies without thinking...

...And how he managed to brutally beat them to submission.

He didn't remember what exactly happened, one moment he was in front of the girl, extending his hands in a gesture that said he must be passed if they want to bully her further, and when the biggest kid directed a punch at him...

His mind went blank... and the next thing he saw was the bloodied, bruised, and beaten face of the biggest kid of the group whose shirt's collar he had grabbed in his 'blackout' as he used his right hand to beat his face to the point where his fingers were covered in the kid's warm blood and his finger's bones were cracked slightly due to the amount of power he had used when he went... berserk.

The other kids who apparently tried to help their leader was also scattered around his proximity, lying on the ground, moaning in pain and crying out of the agony that he had inflicted upon them.

It was thanks to his father who was nearby the area that he managed to get away with it. But he did get the coldest and longest scolding of his life afterwards.

Then he would always meet the girl at the park where he saved her ever since then, and he knew that she felt indebted to him, and looked up to him as a role model, someone that she aspires herself to be.

Someone strong, loyal, and wouldn't hesitate to help those who are in need.

A hero.

He smiled when she called him that, he felt a little proud that someone had given that title to him, especially when it's his friend.

Returning to the present he saw as Sakura walked towards him and said; "I'm sorry I didn't come to your home Sempai... I was... occupied." she said rather bashfully as she tilted her head to the side, avoiding his face.

Shirou always had a gut feeling that something's not quite right about Sakura, it's as if she's wearing a mask...

Of course, to his knowledge, many people wear masks. Masks that served the purpose of hiding their problems, their true selves, their hatred, their affections.

But hers... is different.

Yet despite all these years, he still couldn't figure out what it was exactly.

But then again, unless she wanted to tell him the true extent of what she's hiding, he will not pry. After all, he will honor her privacy.

Still, that doesn't mean he likes being forced to just observe her instead of acting out to figure out what's wrong.

"It's no problem." he replied back to her as they began to walk to school side by side, a moment's silence was broken when he said; "Though Fuji-nee was kinda loud when I stalled her breakfast... purposefully."

Sakura giggled at picturing the image of what Shirou did, the infamously childish teacher's antics is rather well-known amongst the populace of whether the school or the neighborhood of Shirou's house, there's not a single citizen who doesn't know about Taiga Fujimura, the textbook example of the term man-child.

Except with the gender being reversed of course.

"That was mean of you Sempai." said Sakura, though her giggles was an indication that it wasn't a scold.

Shirou smirked and said; "Nah, it's all in good fun. It's rather funny seeing her reactions, so..." he trailed off and shrugged, "...yeah".

Afterwards, they spent the time walking to school talking about a certain childish teacher's antics whenever she's deliberately deprived of her need to eat the food that Shirou makes.

Such antics that would've fit just right in a gag fiction series.

...


...

Late Afternoon...

The sound of the bell that rang throughout the school signaled the end of the school's curriculum activities, and as such, the students of the Homurahara Academy began to pack their bags to go home.

But one Shirou Emiya packed his bag to do his informal duty as the 'helper' of the school.

One's moniker at school was usually made due to how they act in school, and for Shirou, his famous moniker is 'Fake Janitor', a name that wouldn't normally bring pride to the poor soul who was given that particular name.

Then again, to the redhead, the name isn't something to be ashamed of.

It defines him perfectly if he had to give an opinion.

For he is a person that would always offer help whenever necessary, and a person who wouldn't turn his back from someone if they needed him the most.

A 'Janitor' who would help someone and fix things without thinking of any repayment whatsoever, a 'Janitor' that would give his all at everything that he had been ordered to no matter how small it was, a 'Janitor' that would finish any beneficial task that was given to him with utmost perfection.

It made him chuckle as how these simple things would go way over people's heads... the 'Janitor' moniker could be equaled to 'Helper', which could then be interpreted into 'Hero'. If one were to interpret it as such, they wouldn't be completely wrong to assume that way. And it was the reason why he accepted the seemingly degrading nickname.

"Emiya." called a bespectacled student as he walked closer to him.

"Issei." he greeted his friend, "You ready to go?"

Issei Ryuudou sighed with a rather knowing smile as he said; "I am, let's go Emiya."

The bespectacled young man is Shirou's friend who is also the President of the Student Body of the Academy. The one whom he considered as his closest male friend thus far. Mostly due to his lack of friends otherwise besides a few exception...

Out of all his colleagues, Issei stood out as being the one who actually liked him for what he is, almost everybody else were reluctant to befriend Shirou due to how he behaves, they would spend their time to talk small things to him or something similar, but in the end, despite his rather likable behavior, his existence as 'Fake Janitor' didn't get him as much popularity as the star player of one of their academy's sports club.

It's not that he isn't famous around his school, but it doesn't give him a 'good' reputation.

Ah the narrow-mindedness of people, always willing to overlook someone just because of what a majority of people defined him or her as.

Although...

...

As Issei looked around his surroundings, the Student Body's President saw that there were some mutterings that were made by some of the girls as they looked towards his direction...

...Or to be more exact, towards his friend.

Shirou Emiya, despite his upstanding attitude, his exceptional diligence, and his intelligence that could be seen as above average considering the almost always excellent results of his exams, is not someone who could notice a unique niche that he had created.

There are many girls who are attracted to him, in their class alone there's probably two or three girls whose attentions he had captured.

Maybe it's because of how he acts, or how well he does in school, or how he's one of the nicest -though a bit blunt- guy you will ever find within and outside the academy.

Or, as Issei had suspected, it may be caused by his aura. Usually, one can see another's personality by his or her body language alone, an identification process that would lead us to assume whether or not someone is arrogant or shy, prideful or meek, and so on.

And this body language, will in turn, affect our aura, an arrogant person's presence would make the others roll their eyes and turn away from him immediately, while a shy person's presence would make others try to be more polite around him.

Shirou's body language always make people think that he's a reserved person, a body language that should've belonged to someone who's shy and/or meek, and, by proxy, a pacifist who hates fighting.

But his aura is anything but.

His presence seems... empowering, enlightening, even to the point of physically refreshing, and it makes it easy for other people to see him as an affable person.

Prideful, yet not too arrogant. Empowering, yet not overbearing... his aura is what makes him feel unique, despite looking rather mundane.

Either way, because of this, he alone had no knowledge about his second nickname besides 'Fake Janitor', a name that was known amongst some of the girls in the school...

'The Humble Prince'.

Such a sappy nickname, and Issei thought that if Shirou knew about it, he would agree with him.

But Issei had to admit that it also fits him well. As despite his friend's reserved stature...

His gaze and his aura practically screamed the word royalty.

The President of the Student Body shook his head to bring himself back to the present, he then turned to Emiya and thought; 'You know Emiya, sometimes I wonder how could someone like you have some traits that are so contradictory to each other?'

But despite the contradicting traits that he has, Issei found that he could and should trust him.

He always have this instinct that allows him to tell whether someone is worthy of his trust or not.

And he found that he could not find a better place to put it than to him.

And never once did he regret this decision.

...


...

Hours later...

The feeling of electricity being sent to one's nervous system. The mental trigger needed for Shirou's circuits to be activated.

The trigger that he had been picturing for the past hours to use his Structural Grasp to see the source of the problem that afflicts the heater that he's currently fixing.

The technique was the reason why he's so adept at fixing things, for he does not need to break them open to know the problem and risking the possibility of making things worse.

Though it was a magecraft that would give him nothing of use in combat situation due to its mundane capability compared to the other branches magecraft, Shirou's affinity to it is so strong that he could master it to the point where it's ingrained onto his very instinct.

Whenever he sees something, despite the fact that he doesn't actively use his Structural Grasp when he does so, he would have a glimpse of blueprint about whatever it was that he see. Machines, animals, people, all of their very being were seen as bits of flashes, and from there, his brain would create a conclusion from the limited yet somewhat thorough knowledge.

Though this ability is rather limited, because whenever he couldn't get enough information, the conclusion that he comes up with would often times be the wrong one. As is the case with Sakura, few clues lead him to a limited assumption.

But, if he channeled his prana to thoroughly see through something, the amount of information that he would receive would be far greater and far more detailed. Such as the date of its creation, the materials that were used to make it, the amount of times it has been used, and so forth.

Though he could understand why a magus would abandon such Magecraft, at a glance, it would seem rather... useless.

But then again, considering the unsavory characters of most magus out there as was told by his father who once worked for several of them, he deduced that they would consider it beneath them to learn a seemingly useless branch of Magecraft.

Something that adds to his pride, to master something that most magus in the world wouldn't even bother to look because of their arrogance.

After all, Shirou adhered the philosophy that every lesson that one could undertake, no matter how small or how seemingly insignificant they are, always have something to impart unto its practitioner.

If only they knew what a master of both Structural Grasp and Reinforcement Magecraft could do to their own body...

Shirou grinned wryly at that thought, not just because he already knew thanks to a certain someone, but because most magus are too proud of themselves or too reluctant to try to experiment such dangerous methods to themselves.

And not to mention, the pain that they would receive had some of them were willing to take that risk?

A normal magus would've abandoned their cause immediately afterwards.

But then again, the word normal is not applicable to him...

He took a breather and looked at his surroundings.

A sight that greeted him is the plethora of electronic applications that has already been fixed, a result of nearly three hours of him working his butt off without even taking a minute to stop.

Yet, he doesn't seem fazed or tired from utilizing a hefty amount of prana to fix them. The only thing that could give a clue that he did something rather tiring was the little amount of sweat trailing down his forehead.

"(sigh), alright... with that's done..." he said as he took his bag and walked towards the exit door of the storage, "...It's time for me to leave."

...

Locking the storage door after he exited it, Shirou began his walk towards the school entrance to go home.

It was currently night time in Fuyuki City, the night where the full moon shined brightly on the onyx sky above, a cool breeze that went past him was the indication that the season of spring had only just begun and that the winter's grasp hadn't left just yet.

As he was about to approach the school's courtyard...

"CLANG!"

The sound of clashing steels distracted him.

A familiar sound, not unlike the sound that was made when two melee weapons made of steel such as swords or spears clashed against each other. A sound that was ingrained unto him thanks to a regiment of hellish training from his former mentor.

His eyes narrowed, someone is fighting on the school grounds.

Not students, not teachers, because as far as Shirou's knowledge extends, nobody in the school is very proficient with weapons to make such noise that would indicate the fighters' strength and power that was beyond normal.

For the echoes that they made reverberated throughout the school grounds.

He shifted his posture from an unassuming one to one that shows his true self. A posture that defines the word strength.

Approaching the courtyard, Shirou Emiya was prepared for any kind of possibility...

...Including this.

Two men... no, two warriors are currently fighting each other in a fight that would look like the stuff that comes out from stories of legendary heroes from the era of mythologies.

One of them is a white-haired man with a tanned skin wearing a black armor and strange-looking coat of which there was only its 'tail' that reached his knees and a pair of long sleeves over its intricate-looking armor. He used a pair of black and white falchions that Shirou knew to be intertwined to each other in someway, but a single glance wasn't enough for him to determine what other properties that they hold.

The other is a blue-haired man wearing a tight bodysuit that is also colored in blue, his shoulders were covered in steel pauldrons integrated into the bodysuit. He used a crimson spear that radiated power of some kind. Shirou knew immediately that the person's spear is something worthy to be feared by most people.

But to him, it only warranted his caution.

He watched the fight began to intensify as the chaos that is their bout turned rather chaotic and near-imperceptible to the eyes of normal human.

Which was why Reinforcement came in handy.

It enabled Shirou to see each and every one of the attacks, deflections, counters, blocks, and evasion that each of them made. All with a simple payment of a small amount of pain.

Years of training and his innate talent at Reinforcement were the only things that prevented him from miscalculating and making his eyes bleed profusely.

But in his reverie, a simple mistake was made...

And it gave off his location to the combatants who turned and saw him standing near the edge of the courtyard with a hardened gaze.

The blue-haired lanceman clicked his tongue as he narrowed his eyes, "Ck! A witness...!"

Shirou's gaze turned to him, and much to his slight surprise, the blue-haired lanceman flinched nigh-imperceptibly.

And it took only one second for Shirou to turn his back away and run.

Though despite the velocity that his body is currently making thanks to Reinforcement Magecraft, the young man's mind is as calm as the mind of a meditating monk.

He ran to the door leading to the school building, and using his already Reinforced body, he broke down the door with his charge.

He then used the stairs to reach the upper level, he passed by sets upon sets of stairs until he reached the door leading to the roof.

Which was locked tight with a padlock.

Channeling his prana to his hands, he enacted a focused and enhanced Reinforcement into his right hand, he clenched his right hand tightly and with a swing directed to the padlock...

...It was destroyed into several bits.

He barged the door open and he was greeted with an empty roof, as suspected and preferred.

Walking to the middle of the roof, Shirou took a breather after running with a speed that shouldn't be possible for a human who hasn't been trained to sprint since birth and talented at the field to achieve.

Then the smallest noise that indicates someone arriving at the area was heard, and Shirou promptly turned his head towards the newcomer...

And found the blue-haired lanceman glaring at him with narrowed eyes and a wide grin.

"That was impressive kid..." he commended Shirou, "Agile, fast, powerful... for a normal human anyway..." he stated Shirou's capabilities, "But your life ends here kid. Sorry, you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Then the lanceman charged.

A normal human would've been unable to see the lanceman's movement. A normal human would've been unable to defend themselves against his attack. A normal human would've been dead before he had a chance to figure out what's exactly going on.

But an abnormal, distorted human would be able to stay calm and said...

"Trace... On."

And the lanceman saw that his spear was blocked by the young man that he tried to kill.

Using the pair of weapons that he had traced, Shirou parried the spear that the lanceman used, and made him take a couple of steps backward.

He saw that the boy has summoned a pair of identical serrated falchions with glowing yellow strands surrounding the blade, they do not have hilts and instead, they were equipped with a pommel that has an opal-shaped jewel that glowed with a demonic shade of red.

"...Oh you've gotta be kidding me..." the lanceman said, 'Are you seeing this?'

"...What the... what the hell is he? To be able to deflect Gae Bolg required skill and weapon that could be equaled to a Servant and his weapon... and he's a normal human." replied a voice through the mental link that the lanceman shared with the speaker.

'I don't know... but that weapon was Projected by him, Gradation Air I think...'

"...That's even more impossible, Gradation Air couldn't hope to match the real thing that it's based on. It's just objects made of Prana...!" said the voice with terror apparent in the speaker's tone.

'I think he's using a more advanced and specialized type, he used some kind of aria before he projected the weapon into existence.' the lanceman said, 'And it's strong enough to parry Gae Bolg... he's not someone to be taken lightly here... what are your orders Master?'

The lanceman's master was silent before saying; "...Damn it... kill him, he's too dangerous, even without adding the possibility of him being chosen as one of the Masters in this War..."

The lanceman sighed before grinning, 'Understood.'

Then he charged once more, and to add to his surprise and confusion...

The young man swung his falchions rightward, yet he did not move from his spot.

But his confusion was shattered when he narrowly blocked the moving blade that would've inflicted a grave wound on his person.

The blades moved closer to him while the wielder remained in his place. That alone was enough for the lanceman to know that the weapon is special.

But the redhead young man kept adding a hefty amount of force to his attack, and the lancer was pushed according to the attack's trajectory, and the only thing that kept him from fully thrown away by the force was his solid footing, he planted his foot down so powerfully that the concrete was partly destroyed by his attempt to not be overpowered by the young man's attack.

Then the sword retracted to the young man's hands and it allowed the lanceman to fully see the blades' other remarkable feature.

Which was the chain that trailed off from the bottom of their hilts and wrapped tightly around the boy's arms...

'...The chains enhanced the weapons' range... and the chains can also be used to control them... an identical pair of esoteric weapon, powerful enough to be called Noble Phantasm...' was the lanceman's thought.

"...Why isn't he known within the Association?" wondered the lanceman's master.

'I do not know...' replied the lanceman, 'But his weapon is a fearsome one... even when compared to those that existed in my lifetime...'

The two combatants went silent as they began to evaluate each other.

From the lanceman's point of view, the boy is an anomaly, a normal human capable of summoning a weapon that can be equaled to a Noble Phantasm. With the strength to match not to mention, and despite knowing it's a mere projection, the lanceman wondered how it could match his Gae Bolg, the spear that was given by his teacher, the fearsome Schathach of Alba, the warrior-woman who was very well-renowned for her prowess in combat.

It was enough to throw away his initial judgment of the boy.

From Shirou's perspective, the lanceman isn't something that could be called human.

While he already knew that fact when he saw the lanceman and the swordsman clad in red fought in a battle to the death, his fight with him only further cemented the notion.

He took a deep breath before saying; "Tell me... what should I call you as?"

The lanceman raised his eyebrows, his eyes twinkled and the edges of his mouth turned upwards in amusement and wonder, "...Call me Lancer, kiddo."

Shirou returned the lanceman's smile with a grin and said; "Then call me Emiya Shirou."

Then the young man swung one of his blades diagonally, and using the chains, the range of the attack is lengthened.

Lancer deflected the blade using his spear, afterwards, his instinct picked up another attack coming from his left, and deflected another sideways strike while one of the blades that he had deflected retracted back to the boy's hand.

When the blade retracted, the lancer moved his sight to where the boy was...

For a moment, he saw that there was nothing there...

Until he was forced to dodge a downward attack made by the boy who had jumped quite high and swung the identical blades at the same time towards Lancer who was below his level.

Lancer stopped himself from moving too far away and jumped towards the airborne Shirou, Gae Bolg ready to pierce the young man's heart out.

But it seems as if Emiya Shirou had some experience in mid-air combat...

"CLANG!"

As he managed to use one of his blade block Lancer's spear once more...

"KRSSH!"

...While at the same time, delivering a sideward slash using his other blade that ripped his bodysuit slightly and gave a visible gash on Lancer's body.

Lancer was caught by surprise, but Shirou Emiya managed to twirl his body mid-air to add the momentum of his next attack, a diagonal slash that used both of his blades that glowed brightly with the amount of magical power that they hold within them.

But before Lancer could even try to compose himself from the attack, Shirou delivered another diagonally-aligned slash that the blue-haired lanceman could only block...

"BOOOM!"

...And he ended up embedded into the roof's floor as a result of the explosion that the blades caused when they collided with his spear.

But the redhead didn't stop there.

As he was plummeting down towards the downed Lancer, he pointed the blades downward, idly hoping that the momentum of the fall would augment the force of the attack and as a result, imbedding the blades into the lanceman's gut.

But the red-eyed lanceman dodged the downward attack by rolling to the side, and Shirou ended up planting the blades in the roof's floor that nearly went through to the room right below.

Shirou immediately turned towards the Lancer who had already gotten up and ready to charge, and when the lanceman did so...

The redhead reciprocated with his own.

"CLANG!"

The clashing of steels caused the reverberation of sounds made by indomitable physical force that echoed throughout the school, and the cacophony of steels colliding with each other repeatedly acts as a music to the scene that they have created.

The air shuddered as the two monsters bred for battle clashed multiple times, and it's as if the very surroundings began to applaud in appreciation for the spectacle that they have created.

For it has been hundreds of years since a human is capable of such a feat, a feat of not only being able to stand their ground against a demigod...

But to push him back against the wall.

...

Lancer couldn't believe what was happening.

He, a Servant of the Holy Grail War, a hero from the olden times with the power and talent that surpassed even the most skilled warriors of his time, is being fought to a standstill by a mere human!

Granted, the redhead's normality is something that must be questioned, considering that he managed to do the aforementioned thing... but still, if his teacher saw this, she would reprimand him for underestimating him.

No warrior should underestimate their enemy, no matter how weak they may seem. One of the rules that he's supposed to adhere and follow to the letter, and he had failed.

He first saw the young man as a witness that needs to be eliminated, someone who was just unfortunate enough to saw the fight between that other Servant. But when he decided to fight back, Lancer began to see him as an enemy...

Only, he never saw him as someone who would force him to use his trump card...

'Master, permission to use my Noble Phantasm on this kid?'

"...Do it Lancer, goddamn it do it... he doesn't even look tired or exhausted after all of this, he can't be human. If he's a Master then that's it for this War... use it Lancer!"

Lancer grinned before he took a couple of steps back so that the blades wouldn't be able to reach him even if the redhead tries to do so, and said; "I applaud you kid, you're the first human in this era that forced me to do this..."

Shirou stopped and began to feel a sense of dread crawling up from his spine as the spear that Lancer holds began to shudder and warp because of the power that it holds within...

Normal human would've been petrified at the spot, a normal human would've been unable to move as the dreadful feeling gnawed at their brains, and a normal human would've been unable to even think clearly.

But Shirou is not normal... no kind of definition of that word could be applied to him.

And so, he charged, hoping that whatever it was that the lanceman had prepared for him, it would be halted by his attack.

"Gae..."

But the name of the spear that the lanceman shouted out managed to halt his movement for a split second...

"...Bolg!"

And it costs Shirou Emiya his downfall...

Lancer evaded the fallen redhead who was carried by the momentum of his charge to crash on the fence that surrounded the rooftop.

Shirou was able to twirl his body mid-fall to land on his back, but despite that, all the redhead could feel was only pain...

The twin blades shattered as he began to lose his consciousness... Shirou moved his right hand to his left chest and found that there was a hole that wound his heart, a wound that was made by the spear that the lanceman had been using.

"It was a good fight kid..." the lanceman said, "Shirou Emiya right? You're an impressive human, to be able to evenly fight a Servant like me... as a parting gift, I shall give you my name, I am-"

"Cu Chulainn..." Shirou answered, much to the surprise of Lancer who thought that the boy doesn't have any more strength and willpower to think, let alone to speak, "The Hound of Ulster, Ireland's greatest Hero... Someone who shouldn't exist at this era..."

"...Oh." was the only thing that Lancer could say before he smiled, "You already know about me eh? Well that sucks... it seems that my parting gift is not necessary..."

Shirou, despite the blood coming out from his mouth, grinned as he summoned the chainblades once more as the first act of his Last Dance... "Don't worry Lancer... I shall give mine instead...!"

The redhead's form then seemed to warp slightly on Lancer's perspective.

Then to his surprise, the young man stood up with his chainblades being gripped tightly to the point where his hand began to bleed, his upper set of teeth bit his lower lips to the point where it draws blood, and his bloodshot eyes opened wide to show the strands of blood vessels surrounding his scleras and his shrunken pupils...

And then he roared. A sound so inhuman and so terrifying that it made the Lancer's eyes wide in fear... and recognition.

'...Impossible! Riastrad? From a human of this age?!'

Then the boy lifted both of his chainblades high, and they glowed brightly, an indication that the young man is using his remaining powers for the final attack that he could give...

And then he swung them down...

"BOOM!"

And they created a massive wave of flaming, thundering golden energy that reached the Lancer in less than a second.

The technique managed to throw Lancer far off the rooftop, and the only thing that kept him from being thoroughly wounded was Gae Bolg that he had used to block most of the energy wave.

When he managed to land on his two feet, he waited. And after a couple minutes of silence, he said to his Master, "..Well... on the bright side, he should be dead from doing that last attack..."

Lancer felt massive relief from the mental link that he's sharing with his Master, "Thank god...whatever he was... I'm just glad that he's already nipped in the bud..." said his Master, "But is it true? Was he capable of Riastrad?"

"As much as it scares me, it's the truth..." said Lancer before he sighed, "Say... it's a real pity that he's dead you know? I mean, I know why you're so scared of him, he's fucking powerful... But to think that such a person had existed on this era..." he said with an admiration apparent in his tone of voice.

He heard his Master's sigh through the link, "...Lancer..."

Said lanceman shook his head with a mirthless smile, "It's okay... it's just... it's a real pity that he had to be killed before he fully matured, that's all..."

He turned his back from the school that has shown him a human that would've been worthy of his era and disappeared from sight.

...


...

"Once more Shirou!"

Shirou once again charged at his mentor with one of the many swords that his mentor had given.

He managed to perform several hits, but all of them was blocked by his mentor.

And before long, he fell to the ground when his mentor swiped his feet off the ground.

"Oof!" the little redhead mouthed out as he hit the hard ground beneath him.

He then felt his mentor's hand helping him up and after he got on his two feet, he patted his shoulder.

"It was not perfect, but you already have a good grasp." said his mentor, "Remember, a weapon is merely a weapon if you do not know how to use it. And there are two things that you need to have a firm grasp on if you want to be a good fighter, can you tell me what they are, Shirou?"

Young Shirou took a breather before he answered; "Methods... and Instinct."

"Correct." said his mentor, "Methods mean that you must have extensive knowledge of the combat style that you are using, one-handed, two-handed, dual-wielding, unarmed, anything, even your own two hands and feet can be used as a weapon. But without the knowledge on how to utilize them correctly and the knowledge to identify your enemy's style and the best way to fight them, it will only begets defeat."

His mentor then turned his back and asked, "Now, what is Instinct, Shirou?"

"Instinct means... one's mind must be tempered to get used to battle, to not only know when and where the enemy's going to strike, but to prepare and give a counter when he does so. And it also means to be familiar with any weapon and their styles to the point where not even a polluted mentality would rob one's skills and knowledge about how to fight with the weapon."

His mentor smiled at that, "Very good." he said.

He then threw the sword that Shirou used towards him, and when the redhead caught its hilt, his mentor said; "Now, once again Shirou!"

Shirou nodded with a smile before he charged at his mentor once more...

...


...

A pair of amber eyes opened and saw the stars that filled the night sky...

And thousands of definitions of pain was the thing that he realized when he woke up from his slumber.

Shirou Emiya groaned as he picked himself up, his mind was still in disarray and so he wondered what exactly happened.

And thanks to a certain mental conditioning training that he had went through, it only cost him a moment before he fully remembered.

"...I just fought a hero." was the first thing that he spoke of.

Cu Chulainn, Culann's Hound, a mythological hero from Ireland whose fierceness in battle was well-known throughout his home country and whose legend persists to this day.

And he had forced him to use his famed weapon Gae Bolg on him.

He couldn't help but smile out of satisfaction and a little bit of glee.

But then the smile was gone as he realized that what he just did was impossible. Hell, Cu Chulainn's existence in this era is supposed to be impossible by itself.

But yet he fought him...

And then the Hound of Ulster managed to kill him...

But yet here he is, still breathing and alive...

And there was only a hole in his school uniform instead of also having one on his left chest.

And so, Shirou could only speak one thing, one thing that he thought as befitting to this whole events that had transpired...

"The hell's going on here...?"

...


...

Emiya Residence.

Opening the sliding doors leading to the interiors of his house, Shirou took a deep breath before immediately going to his room and removed the school uniform that he had worn, leaving him with only a long-sleeved white shirt and his school-standard brown slacks, leaving his feet bare by choice.

He had a slight feeling that the hound isn't finished with him just yet.

"You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time." was what the Lancer said.

'So not only that his fight wasn't supposed to be seen... but that a witness must be eliminated as well, disregarding the situation that brought them there in the first place.' Shirou deduced, 'It doesn't matter if someone's just unlucky enough to witness their fight... it's a rule of thumb to not leave loose ends.'

Shirou clenched his fist and narrowed his eyes, 'This is a game isn't it? A game of death involving heroes from times long gone summoned to this era by some kind of ritual... but who are the participants and what is the goal of this game...?'

The redhead can deduce some of the elements of the game by what Cu Chulainn had said during their fight. One of them was what Cu Chulainn called himself, a Servant.

The title implied that he has a Master who had summoned him to participate in the ruthless game that permits murdering innocent if they so happen to stumble into a similar scene that he had watched.

Such a rule meant that this is a secret competition organized by a very reclusive community.

...And what kind of community that is more reclusive and sociopathic enough to condone such needless killings than the community of Magus?

He growled audibly, knowing that his assumption is bound to be right and said; "Maybe I will participate in this game... if only to prevent unnecessary casualties and end this goddamn thing."

The redhead then walked towards the garden of his house, and without even bothered to wear anything to cover his feet, he walked to the grassy clearing and stopped right at the middle.

He closed his eyes and sniffed the air around him, an action that would've earned him some strange looks if he were seen.

But to him, it is the thing that made him alert to a presence nearby.

A presence that smelled like a hound covered in blood that is currently attacking at him from above...

And it was the same presence that he managed to block its attack with a massive curved sword that glowed blue.

"Heh! A new weapon eh kid?!" shouted the blue-haired lanceman before he pushed his spear forwards so that he would gain enough momentum to land on the ground, "How many weapons do you have in your arsenal exactly?"

Shirou smiled mischievously and said; "I don't know... hundreds? Thousands? I know the exact number, but revealing it now would be telling wouldn't it?"

Without uttering anymore sentences, Shirou charged towards the lanceman.

Lancer managed to parry the massive sword that should've required the strength of two people to even lift, let alone to swing it, "Heh! Impressive kid! You're stronger than you look! something like this would require an exceptional strength to even lift! A strength that a normal human shouldn't even have!"

"Then let me ask you this..." said Shirou, "When did I ever say that I'm a normal human?"

The blade's glow began to intensify, a flashy prelude to...

"Cracka-boom!"

A magically-induced explosion.

The explosion was enough to catch Lancer off-guard once more. And before the smoke fully dispersed, Lancer jumped out of the smokescreen and into the rooftop to observe the battleground.

"Lancer! Are you hurt?"

The lanceman gritted his teeth and answered, 'A little...! Damn it! I should've been prepared for that-'

...!

Before the Lancer could even finish his train of thought, he felt a massive killing intent from behind him.

Instinctively, he turned his head around while simultaneously moving his spear to intercept any kind of physical attack.

"CLANG!"

And the sound of violently colliding steels was heard throughout the residence as Shirou Emiya's hardened gaze bore upon the lanceman's red eyes.

Lancer gritted his teeth as the redheaded boy began to push him back.

Deciding that he will have none of it, the lanceman roared as he gathered his strength to push the human back.

But Shirou decided to jump over the lanceman and back into the garden, where he waits for the blue-haired lanceman to continue his attack.

Lancer turned towards Shirou who was below his level and jumped to attack him.

Shirou Reinforced his legs and jumped to anticipate the lanceman's attack.

And an orchestration of clashing steel resounded over the neighborhood as the two combatants are giving their best to defeat the other.

...

Damn it...

Damn it damn it damn it...!

He couldn't believe how fun this is!

"Lancer...? Lancer...?!"

The blue-haired lanceman grinned and opted to ignore his Master speaking to him as he becomes more and more invested in the battle with the young man named Emiya Shirou.

How long has it been since he felt like this? To be at the heat of battle with an opponent who would risk his own life and open himself without using anything that he might've kept hidden under his sleeves?

No tricks, no ace in the hole...

Just pure, raw, unadulterated physical bout between warriors.

This era has proven to be somewhat disappointing, what with most of the warriors of this time having a massive inclination towards mass-produced ranged weapons that only required little skill compared to the weapons used by warriors of time long past.

But here... here is someone who's not only capable of living in the age of legends... but to be able to triumph among them and be recognized as one of their own!

Truly, such a precious gem hidden in a disappointment of an era.

He almost hates himself to have to kill such a character...

But it was the thing that his Master had ordered him to...

"Gae..."

...

The mystical barbed spear with the property of reversing causality.

'The spear has been thrust, and so the heart was pierced.' the simple fact could be changed into... 'The heart was pierced, and so the spear must have been thrust.'

Though Shirou doesn't know that exact property of the spear, he knew that its activation is something that he should avoid or prevent at all cost...

And so, he augmented his whole body with Reinforcement, charged at the lancer with an unbelievable speed, and de-summoned his massive curved sword to add more speed...

In a split second, Shirou traced a massive gauntlet that covered his right fist in an onyx steel shaped like a roaring lion's head, and the trajectory of the gauntlet's swing would hit Lancer right on his head.

"...BOLG!"

The moment the gauntlet hit Lancer's head, the reversal of causality was disrupted, the lose of focus was something that made the Hound of Ulster failed to enact the spear's power towards the intended target... but because it was already released...

It managed to hit Shirou nonetheless.

But instead of his heart, it hits his left shoulder.

And due to the amount of force that Lancer had put behind the thrust of the spear, he was thrown backwards, the same way that Lancer is thrown backward with the power of his gauntlet.

He crashed into the door that lead to his shed and his back hit the wall with so much force that it cracked slightly due to his Reinforced body strengthening his durability.

The redhead gritted his teeth as the gauntlet dispersed into particles of light, it was the second time that he was hit with that legendary weapon of the past. Luckily, it only managed to hit him in a non-vital spot of his body.

When he was hit with it before, he was forced to induce his innate battle frenzy that was nurtured and restrained by his former mentor to try and give the lanceman one last retaliation before he died of his wound.

Such battle frenzy wasn't something that he would like to use unless it was for a last resort. As not even his closest allies and friends could be saved from his rage if he were to activate the boiling blood within him that craved for battle.

Now, his wound is slightly less lethal, though exhausting, he still could enact more strikes against Ireland's most renowned hero.

He stood despite his pain, and from the blood that is pouring out of his shoulder, he inadvertently activated a summoning circle beneath him that was drawn there by someone long ago.

The redhead didn't notice this of course, as the lanceman showed up at the front of his shed with a shit-eating grin that he managed to procure despite his messed-up state.

"Heh... Hahahaha! That was fun! That was really fun, kid! Who knew that you're able to change the trajectory of Gae Bolg?" but then, his demeanor turned serious and apprehensive when he noticed the summoning circle beneath his feet.

But once again, Shirou only noticed Lancer's hesitation, and so he recited the first verse of an aria...

An exceptional aria that would only make sense to him and his former mentor who made him this way...

...I am the sum of all weapons...

Then he traced the lion-shaped gauntlet back to his hand and charged at the lanceman, never noticing the glowing summoning circle behind him.

He then landed a powerful punch using the gauntlet right into the lanceman's gut, and the gauntlet began to glow...

Before it roared, and the resulting attack created a visible shockwave that made the lanceman flew towards a part of the concrete wall that surrounded the residence...

"Boom!/Craaack!"

And into the next one behind him.

Shirou took a deep breath before he sank to his knees, he let his gauntlet disperse as his wound began to take its toll and his magic circuits are exhausted somehow...

'Why am I tired...? I only used the first verse, why did it take a lot out of me...?'

Then, he felt a helping hand preventing him from fully passing out of the sheer exhaustion...

"Young man, are you alright?"

He turned his head towards the source of the beautiful voice that is filled with worry over his well being...

And what he saw nearly took his breath away.

For a woman with blonde hair styled into a royal-looking bun with a pair of stunning green eyes is looking at him with a soft gaze that showed her worry over his well being.

She wore a blue-colored battle dress beneath her old-looking armor, the indication that she is similar to the lanceman in terms of being someone who came from an era that has long passed.

"...Who... are you?" asked Shirou.

Without even showing any slight change to her expression, she answered; "I am Servant Saber of this Holy Grail War... and I ask of you... are you my Master?"

...

...


...

In life, there's always that one event where your life was turned upside down because of it.

Shirou Emiya knew that when he saw the fight between the two warriors and meeting the lanceman, his life would be turning to a place filled with uncertainty. And from there he must decide which path that he should take...

But he only had the slightest idea of the burden that will be placed unto him...

After all, to be called to save the world is a burden that only suits a hero to undertake.

But a hero is what he will try to be...

...And a hero is what he will end up as.

Because he is Shirou Emiya.

...


End of Prologue.


And... finished.

Thank you for reading this dear readers, if you like it then stay tune for the next chapter, which would be published in... seven to nine days from now.

So see you until then.