Disclaimer: Type-Moon owns Fate Series.
"You are to go to Fuyuki City in Japan and participate in the tournament called the Holy Grail War."
That was what Luviagelita Edelfelt's parents told her months ago. It came so suddenly in a rather uneventful afternoon when she was having her lunch with them at the dining room of her family manor in Finland.
Her family was notably absent during the Fourth War due to the fact that their slot was taken by a certain psychotic Master that had performed a massive killing spree by using Magecraft with the main targets being children before he and his Servant unleashed abominable monstrosities towards the city and would've decimated the whole city if not for the interference of the other Masters.
She had accepted it with little protest, considering that it was her family's pride that was being put at stake. And she did force it unto herself to find as many information as possible regarding the Holy Grail War that was created by the three founding families of Tohsaka, Makiri, and Einzbern.
Luvia had thought that she must be as prepared as possible if she were to come to the competition of magi in a battle to the death with the spirits of Heroes of the past as their familiar. She had besought the help of her family's contacts to not only find information regarding the Holy Grail War as a whole, but also too prepare the supplies needed for a one-on-one combat with another magus.
After another month filled with preparation, Luvia went to Fuyuki in the guise of a transfer student from a school in Finland to the school called Homurahara Academy located within the place where the Holy Grail War would take place, an European-styled house had been prepared for this occasion ever since her family's first participation in the Second War.
There, she met with her sworn rival. She was her rival in two things, first was the fact that her family was the rival of the Edelfelt's due to their similarity in magecraft specializations, which was the curse called Gandr along with their jewel Magecraft.
Though one could argue that the Edelfelt family was the older one, and therefore, the original family that specialized in Gandr and the first one that invented the particular branch of Magecraft that uses jewels, the Tohsaka family was more known due to the fact that they participated in a project that involved the immortal Wizard Marshal and Sorcerer, Kischur Zeltrech Schweinorg.
The Edelfelt family had sent two of their representatives back in the Third War. Sisters they were, with a really rocky relationship that ended up with the younger one dead in the hand of the Tohsaka representative and the older one returned to her home and vowed to never return to Fuyuki ever again.
Of course, despite the fact that Luvia's parents knew that her great aunt had been quite fearful of Fuyuki City and regretted her decision of going there in the first place, they were pressured by the rest of their relatives to send her to participate, considering that Luvia had been the prodigy of the Edelfelt family and was expected to win if not bring some more pride to the Edelfelt family once again.
The second thing was that she found something about Tohsaka Rin that made her so... irritated.
She didn't know what it was, but every single time she's nearby, Luvia couldn't just hold that irritation and bury it deep within her psyche.
It must be because of her barbaric personality, yes... that must be it.
Though she may not realize what it was, there were some people in the Academy that she enrolled while in Fuyuki that suggested that Rin Tohsaka and her shared some traits, qualities and quirks... So she had considered the fact that she saw an oriental mirror of herself and thought that it was so ugly that she had to hate it.
Of course, this would imply that she's a bit of a hypocrite for hating what could be considered as her own self so that suggestion was pretty much forgotten by the Edelfelt heir.
While she was at the Homurahara Academy, she also met with the one they called Shirou Emiya.
He wasn't very... He's not too... Well, at first glance, he didn't stand out so much. Besides his red hair and his amber eyes, he wasn't someone who would command one's attention. At least at first.
But... there's something about him that drew her in. He was kind, somewhat mellow, if a little bit of a pushover.
He's good at heart though. That much she could tell. Kind and caring, but not really bright, considering that he had a... group of girls that paid some degree of attention to him without him even knowing of their existence.
And she got somewhat... interested in him.
It began on a certain day during her stay in Fuyuki city, before she was chosen as one of the participants of the Holy Grail War. Where some of the girls there were rather... agitated of her status and her appearance and cornered her before they started to harass her.
She got her back against the wall as her three upperclasswomen were surrounding her while leering.
"So where are you from, hm? England? France?"
"I'm from Finland." Luvia corrected her sempai, "Now why are you people cornering me? Have I done you wrong in some way? I certainly don't remember ever doing something such as that."
"Hmph. Stop with the aristocratic talk already. You think you're better than us? Is that why you talk like that?" one of them asked with a rather angry tone of voice.
"This is the way that I was taught. At least I can see that it would do you some good. So uncouth and uncivilized, at the very least I have the decency to confront someone that I have a problem with by my own instead of grouping yourself to make yourself appear stronger."
After she said her piece, one of them smacked her hand to the part of the wall near her head in an attempt to scare her, but Luvia didn't even flinch, "You fucking bitch... Don't you think that just because you're from a goddamn noble family from Europe means that you won't get into trouble! That attitude is pissing me off!"
"And like you, I too find the manner in which you choose to deal with me as ingratiating..." Luvia said as she narrowed her eyes towards her would-be bully, "If you wish to settle your hatred of my upbringing, then why bother grouping and cornering me? Ask me for a fair combat, a debate, something that would legitimize your superiority over myself. Instead, you choose the path of a common thug. Hmph, how barbaric of you. It seems that despite all that I heard about Japan's noble hospitality and sense of honor, there are some who are just as bad as a backwater peasant such as you."
"Why you little...!"
Luvia saw that punch coming from a mile away, and she was about to retaliate in a manner that would show them that she was not someone to be underestimated.
Until her would-be bullier's arm was halted by the hand of one of her classmates.
"I would appreciate it if you could refrain yourself, sempai."
Said Shirou Emiya as he held the student's arm tightly to the point where she was unable to pry it off.
"What the...?! Who the hell are you, huh?!"
"I'm her classmate, my name's Shirou Emiya." he introduced himself. "And I can't help but notice that there seems to be a problem. Can't you just settle it peacefully?"
"Ha...?! Who are you to tell us? You're our kouhai right? Why the hell should we listen to you?"
Shirou merely smiled as he stared at the girl, flinching her slightly with his unwavering stare, "Because if push comes to shove, I will not hesitate to instigate violence on wrongdoers. Even if they were women."
Afterwards, the older girls left rather ungraciously, obviously rather annoyed by how he had interrupted what was supposed to be the moment where they would teach her some manners.
Of course, it was a ridiculous notion, as if she needed lessons in manners more than they do.
Despite the fact that she could handle herself had he didn't come to the scene, she thanked him nonetheless, for making the upperclasswomen leave without having any of the parties involved resort to violence to settle the matter.
He said that it was nothing special, he was around when he saw it happened and did what anyone would do, which was to help her.
There and then, she found the hidden depths beneath the harmless-looking exterior of a man named Shirou Emiya.
His calmness in such a situation combined with his eagerness to help someone in need were the things that made Luvia think that he had a bit of a... hero syndrome. A rather chronic one at that, considering that true to what the upperclasswomen had said, he really had no business being there.
However, he was not a simple hero-wannabe.
Because at the very least, he could be intimidating enough to coerce the upperclasswomen to just walk away with just some unintelligible grumbling. And that he could very well follow his threat to perform violence if the situation hadn't been defused by his attempt at diplomacy.
As evidenced by the fact that he was a magus.
This realization came when the sigil materialized on her right hand a month or two before the War and prompted her to summon her Servant. In the specially reserved time combined with the mysterious, unknown artifact that the Edelfelt family had had ever since the time of their ancestors.
The artifact in question was a piece of cloth, its previously crimson color had faded due to the passage of time, and because of that, it also looked rather ragged. It was said that it came from the family that would later become the Edelfelt, but due to the lack of written history, its true value was unknown to them at the time.
But when Luvia summoned her of all Heroes... She realized its value instantly.
Luvia covered her mouth as smoke began to cover the whole room.
She had just finished the ritual required to summon her Servant, and using the ancient artifact that she had brought along with her to be served as a catalyst, she could only hope that the artifact once belonged to a certain famous and powerful hero.
'Did I succeed?' she wondered as the smoke slowly dispersed.
Then, from behind the smokescreen, came a voice, and then, a silhouette, before finally, the figure stepped ahead and showed herself in all her glory to Luvia's eyes ...
"Greetings. I am Servant Caster. And I assume that you are my Master." said her Servant, the woman clad in red, with a grin adorning her beautiful face.
Such air of confidence and strength, such pride, such elegance... Yet she could see that her Servant also held a certain viciousness beneath that exterior, like a wolf awaiting the orders of her master to strike at her enemies.
Luvia took a shine to that. After all, her family wasn't called 'The most elegant hyenas above the ground.' for nothing.
Her family, and by proxy, herself, relish a battle situation. And this Servant shared that trait, and knowing her identity, it was not really a mystery...
After all, the mythology from which she hailed from really boasted her abilities of being the undefeatable entity that once taught the infamous Hound of Ireland, Cu Chulainn and gave him the barbed spear known as Gae Bolg.
Though she lacked the skill of Territory Creation, she made it up by being proficient in Runes and Spells, to the point where her prowess could be likened to that of a Wizard Marshal, hell, even the Queen of Clock Tower herself!
...Though she didn't dare say that out loud, not even when the said person was miles and miles away from Fuyuki.
And her Servant could also summon familiars, mostly in the form of crows. She had said that she was rather fond of the animal despite their grim and deathly connotation, and despite the fact that it was the symbol of a certain vengeful goddess in Celtic Mythology.
Through the information gathered by her 'little birds' Luvia knew several things that was going on in the city, mostly regarding the events related to the War itself.
And she was told that the redhead, the young man named Shirou Emiya, with whom she shared a classroom with, was a magus not unlike herself.
Her familiars had been scouting several potential enemies before the War had properly begun, with those from the founding families placed on top of her watch list. By proxy, Tohsaka Rin was on that list, along with the Matou girl, her brother was also on the list, but it was mostly because of his demeanor.
However, her Servant once questioned her about Shirou Emiya, about the reason why he was off-limits for surveillance.
Luvia then said that he didn't have a potential to be a hostile target, let alone the potential to become a Master in the Holy Grail War.
Not to mention that she considered him as a friend, frequently asking him for help with things and really liking his demeanor towards her, he never once lowered himself because of her stature as an heir to a rather rich family like most of her schoolmates, and he always act like how he thinks, more or less, the opposite of what a magus would be.
But she was quite shocked when her Servant said that he was a magus. Initially, she was skeptical about the claim, but after sharing what she knew...
She found out that her Servant was right.
Why? It was the first question that bugged her. Why would he hide it?
She was somewhat bummed by that information. Mostly because of the fact that Shirou didn't share this particular knowledge to her, and partly because she failed to notice it in the first place.
Before she summoned her Servant and opted to stay in her home to survey the battlefield from a safe location, Luvia had been with Shirou nearly every day of the week. She even got 'invited' to his house.
Well granted, the one who invited her was herself... But the fact that he allowed her inside, hell, even allowing her to his room, was more than enough to say that he's a really close friend of hers.
Of course, that visitation to his room wasn't known by the redhead, for which she was thankful because she had been rather... 'intimate' with the futon that he had used before she arrived... Its scent was quite exquisite, but that's besides the point.
The thing was that Shirou didn't reveal this information to her. At first, she thought that it was because he's a magus from a relatively unknown relative and that he would feel somewhat inferior compared to her and would force her to rescind their friendship.
She had thought that it was silly of him, she would not do that just because he's not really that competent. After all, she'd be more than willing to train him if that were the case. Preferably personally.
However, as the events of the War began to occur, she realized that that was not the case.
When the Servant Lancer announced his position, Luvia was tempted to go there and have her Caster fight him. But Tohsaka Rin got to him first, and as such, she decided that she would just watch from the connection between her and Caster as her Servant saw the fight through her crow-shaped familiar that had remained inconspicuous.
She saw how proficient Tohsaka's Servant was during his fight with the Lancer by using his twin blades, due to that, she had thought that he was a Saber, but Caster made sure to rectify her assumption.
"No. He's not a Saber. His method of fighting is too crude and not as refined as one would expect from a swordsman whose prowess is recorded into legends and myths." Caster said before she looked at the skeptical Luvia, "Trust me. I know a Saber when I see one, and he is not."
Since then, she had been wondering about Tohsaka Rin's Servant, if not Saber, then what class did he belong to?
But that thought of hers was placed into a temporary stasis when she saw that Shirou had seen the whole thing and escaped when he was found out.
Luvia was worried for his safety when Lancer began to chase him. But when she saw that Shirou was capable of outrunning the Servant of the Spear to a degree and into the rooftop...
And then managed to fight the Servant on equal ground...
She immediately discarded the notion that he was afraid of being judged as inferior compared to her.
Shirou Emiya was strong, remarkably, unnaturally, bizzarely strong. She was captivated in awe as she watched the supposedly normal magus fought against the Servant, and would've won too had the Lancer didn't stab him with his Noble Phantasm.
Though Caster's mind back then was on the Lancer's familiarity to her, hers was on the redhead that had turned out to be a great magus. His brand of magecraft that looked rather similar to Gradation Air was mind-boggling as it could withstand the blows of Lancer's Noble Phantasm.
Wasn't Gradation Air just prana constructs? Weren't they supposed to be so brittle to the point where it couldn't hold a certain amount of physical pressure let alone magical constructs' power?
Whatever it was that he did, it was not something that the likes of modern magus would be able to re-create.
It was his Mystic Code, based on a spell that was deemed as worthless by a large part of the magi community. Something like that could only belong to a powerful family, but yet she had never heard of the name Emiya before...
But she had to admit that not only was he a powerful magus, he's also a Master in this Holy Grail War.
When he was killed, she saw that the Tohsaka heir came up and healed him using her jewel.
She could see that it was a jewel that had been painstakingly fed with so much prana, and it could've been used to help her in the War if not for the fact that she used it to heal Shirou.
And for that, she felt a slight gratitude to Tohsaka Rin.
Then she saw that Shirou was once again confronted by the Lancer, whom Caster recognized as Cu Chulainn, the Hound of Ireland and her student, in his house.
Afterwards, a fight had ensued, a rather terrible but impressive fight that abruptly ended when Shirou managed to summon his own Servant, Saber, and forced the Lancer to flee.
So not only was he powerful enough to fight a Servant... He then went and summoned the most balanced, and the most sought out Servant out of the whole damn War...
Luvia's previous assessment about how he was inferior to her seemed rather stupid now that she saw the real Shirou Emiya.
But she knew that Shirou's lie did not extend to his personality. After all, he was still that same idealistic-to-a-fault man that allowed Lancer to flee because he was wounded and would not be able to fight against Saber and Shirou at the same time.
He had the elegance that could equal her own. An honor that could be likened to a set of ideals upheld by a knight. Such qualities could hardly be found in magi let alone commoners.
She was tempted to forge an alliance with him... But knowing her family's desire to win the Holy Grail War with her being the one to bear the burden, an alliance with an unknown magus would be considered as blasphemous if not outright traitorous.
Caster even said that she would prefer to go solo, for her love of battle was her reason to fight in the Holy Grail War. And she said that an alliance in this competition would be welcome if there were a large scale event that would jeopardize the innocents.
Luvia agreed, on the conditions that Shirou Emiya be unharmed until she could reach and talk to him, and that Caster will not seek to fight any Servant unless she ordered her to.
Once Caster agreed to those conditions, and once she had considered herself as prepared as possible, then Luvia deemed that it was high time for her to come into the War.
And... that's what brought her here...
It was the word that could definitely sum up the situation that one Tohsaka Rin found herself into.
After all, two enemies that were supposed to be opposing each other should not go for a tea after a serendipitous meeting in the battlefield where the War was taking place.
Still, that's what exactly happened.
The Tohsaka heir began to wonder whether or not her initial euphoria of participating in the Holy Grail War was somewhat unfounded.
Nothing that had been happening so far went exactly as she had assumed. Truly, it was a strange life that she's living.
Seeing the aristocratic blonde sitting in front of her sipping her black tea, Rin couldn't help but reciprocate the gesture by sipping the same tea that she had also ordered.
After their meeting, Luviagelita Edelfelt decided that they should hold the meeting somewhere more relaxing, and lo and behold, there so happened to be a nearby family restaurant that she knew of. Such a lovely coincidence.
Sure, that's what Luvia had said, but the way she had smiled when she said 'Such a lovely coincidence.' was not really an expression of surprise caused by something serendipitous.
Especially considering the fact that she was ambushed right in the proximity of the family restaurant...
But still, Rin had agreed, both of them had withdrawn their respective Servants and they have been astralizing themselves for about... twenty minutes and forty-seven seconds.
"Such a lovely tea they serve here." Luvia commented with an impressed smile, "Almost as good as the ones my maids could make. Hm, it was not such a bad idea to come to this restaurant."
Deciding to not have any delay in conversation, Rin cut to the chase, "Alright Luvia, why do you bring me here? And get to the point, there's no way that you're dragging me here for a small talk or something like that."
Luvia procured an amused smirk as she said; "But of course. However, it is considered quite rude to just demand the main topic of a conversation be discussed when we've just at the starting point." she finished with slightly narrowed eyes.
"Yeah well, you know what they say in Clock Tower... An Oriental magus does not have the privilege of acting like they are equal to those who are the true magi, so why the hell should I bother with the pleasantries?" she retorted.
"Because you are a magus." Luvia rebutted, her voice quiet but stern, "You know of my opinion about those who speak like they know better than those that has no blood of an European within them Tohsaka Rin, so why would you speak as if I'm one of those people?"
At that, Rin couldn't help but feel a little bit of regret. True, Luvia did not care about a Magi's lineage as long as they were as proficient and competent in their work as they were loud and prideful in their boasts.
"Right... Moving on, shall we?" Rin asked.
Luvia nodded, her eyes are still narrowed, "Very well. If you insist on getting to the point then I shall indulge you." she said before she sipped her tea again.
Putting down the tea cup down, she then said, "I am here for small talk."
Rin nearly banged her head against the table at Luvia's admittance, but she forced out a restrained smile while one of her eyes twitched at that answer as she said, "Why... the hell... are you here for that? Do I need to remind you that we are in a War? What would this accomplish?"
"Many things." Luvia said, "Such as the answer to the problem of the rogue Servant." she answered with a smirk, "Tell me, is it true that our mutual friend is currently fighting her along with his Servant?"
Ah, so it appeared that this Caster had some cadre of familiars that have been scouting the city. But why would she ask her if this were something that she already knew? "You already know the answer to that question Luvia."
"I do. I just want to see your reaction to it." Luvia replied, "And your answer is exactly as I thought it would be."
"Predictable, am I?" asked Rin.
"Quite." Luvia answered without missing a beat, "You were assuming that my Caster had some familiars and that my question was rather redundant, isn't that correct?"
Rin didn't answer, and so Luvia continued; "Your silence betrays you Rin... But, I guess that it would be the first thing a magus would think of if I asked such a sensitive question."
For a second, Rin didn't know that if Luvia meant that as a compliment or an insult, but considering her personality, Rin wouldn't be so surprised if she meant it as both. "What else do you already know about the current War, Luvia?"
"Now that would be telling, wouldn't it?" she asked, "Suffice to say that I know enough to make several decisions regarding certain matters. One of which is the fact that despite my desire to forge an alliance, the circumstances doesn't allow me to make one."
"...Ah. Your family huh?" asked Rin.
Luvia's smile turned rather solemn, "Correct. A magus' family's pride could not be compromised no matter what. While it is rather troublesome, I still have to uphold my duty... As I'm sure you know."
"Somewhat." Rin admitted, "But considering that I'm facing impossible odds, pride isn't really something that I like to uphold."
Luvia's smile widened at that, "And that's why I like you. Your pragmatism is really something to be admired." she said, "However... If you decide to harm Shirou by taking the advantage of being his supposed ally and proceed to proverbially stab him in the back later on, then I will not be lenient in the matter of securing your defeat."
Rin grimaced. She had known that Luvia was somewhat fond of Shirou due to his involvement in a certain event that led to their first eventful meeting. Though Rin had thought of the possibility of catching him off-guard by putting herself close to him, she doubt that she could do such a thing, either because of her own fondness for Shirou or...
She did not just think that. No. Of course she couldn't do that, he's a formidable ally to befriend and to entrust herself with, whether in this War or the aftermath of the bloody competition.
It would be a waste to kill such a dependable guy like him when he still had his uses, even if it's for winning this War.
...And speaking about winning the War... Her discovery of her father's journals and notes had revealed some things that piqued her suspicion slightly about the War's anomalies within the past and the present one.
The lack of details of the circumstances of the First to the Third Holy Grail War was somewhat suspicious. Even considering the fact that the First War was chaotic and the Church only intervened when the Second came along, there should've been some chronicler that took notes about the events of the War or something.
Despite the fact that the Third War was less vague than the previous two, it was not clear enough as to what happened during the War that caused the Holy Grail to summon a legendary serial killer during the Fourth one.
The Holy Grail, as its name might suggest, was a holy artifact. Logically, a morally ambiguous hero cannot be summoned through the artifact, let alone the morally bankrupt ones.
But during the Fourth War, a Servant and his Master went on a killing spree with a specific target in their minds: Children. Young, innocent children. The amount of those little ones declared as 'missing' was heart-breaking when one knew how high the grim possibility of their son and/or daughter were killed by a pair of sadistic Master and Servant.
The killing spree that had brought people to fear them had persisted for a few days before they decided to bring out monstrosities that terrorized the whole city and killed several more people in its wake before both of them were killed.
And on the Fifth War, the Rider was Medusa, the villain of Perseus' legend, an Anti-Hero at best and an outright Villain at worst.
So something didn't add up. How could a holy artifact summoned those whose moral alignment did not make them lean towards chivalry, honor and all those kinds of traditional values that a 'hero' was supposed to uphold?
She was almost discouraged from continuing her research when she discovered that the events of the First and Second War along with the participating Masters and Servants were not recorded into a book or even a piece of paper.
But during her reading time of the written events of the Third War, she found something interesting regarding a certain family of alchemists...
"Armed with the knowledge of the system,the Einzbern decided to gamble with fate once again. This time, to summon a powerful Servant that would win them the war..."
It was something that piqued her interest. The Einzbern family manipulated the system to summon a specific Servant that they had hoped to be powerful enough to win the war.
And judging by the word 'the Einzbern decided to gamble with fate once again.', this was not the first instance of their meddling.
However, the beginning of the story was not accompanied with the middle-part, as the mysterious paragraph didn't lead to an immediate follow-up.
But after she put a little bit more effort, she found something that could be said as its climax.
"The War was lost once more. Though it will be continued in the next couple of decades, the participating members of the Einzbern family had seen what they had wrought and doubted that it will be the same as before. A mark had been left... And it was not something that can be erased easily."
What kind of Servant did they summon? Such ominous lines were quite enough for her to be afraid, afraid of the dangerous, uncertain, and uncharted grounds of the War that she had never thought of before.
They had wrought a Servant that ended up with them losing the war again. And whoever that Servant was, his or her influence was enough to 'mark' the Holy Grail with something that would not make it the same as before...
And as evidenced by some of the Servants that was summoned during the Fourth and Fifth War, Rin couldn't help but feel rather apprehensive.
The omnipotent wishing machine called the Holy Grail was not what it seemed to be.
And she hated the fact that once again, Shirou's suspicion turned out to be right. 'Thanks to his Origin no doubt...' she mused.
Returning to what Luvia had said, she replied with; "There's no need for you to say that, Luvia. I am not that low of a person."
"I know." Luvia said, "I just want you to know that if the thought ever crossed your mind, know that I will be there for the just retribution if you decide to go through with the deed."
"Noted." Rin retorted at Luvia's protectiveness of Shirou, it wasn't like the guy couldn't handle himself if the situation calls for it.
Luvia was about to talk again when she noticed something outside the window, her eyes were squinted, as if she were having a hard time looking at whatever it was that she's looking at.
Her curiosity got the better of her, Rin turned towards where Luvia's perspective gazed to...
And found something that made her hair stand on its end...
Life wasn't always fair to most people.
Sometimes, bad people didn't get their just retribution for the deeds that they had done, and sometimes, good people were condemned or punished for helping or aiding someone in need.
But the most poignant cases were those who were born in the wrong time, wrong era, wrong parents, wrong family, wrong society, and wrong existence.
As was the case of one Illyasviel von Einzbern.
Born from a human father and a homunculus mother and raised under the stern and watchful eyes of Jubstacheit von Einzbern, Illyasviel had lived knowing that she was not and could not be like a normal person.
The metabolism of a homunculus, even a half-homunculus, was not something that could be likened to the metabolism of a normal human. At a certain age, the body would cease to function in a slowly decaying manner.
Chronologically speaking, her age was nineteen. However, looking at the physical side of things, no one, not a person would say that she's over than six or seven years of age.
It was a mildly annoying thing for her, to not be able to grow into a more womanly figure, but she had decided that it was unnecessary.
Considering the fact that she's not going to live long anyway.
So she had resolved to fill these short few years of her life to do something that would give her a slight amount of satisfaction, true satisfaction.
Which was to find the one whom her father had left her for, and kill him in the most agonizing, humiliating way possible.
Oh how she hated her father so, leaving her just like that after giving her the false hope that he would return... And the gall of him to adopt someone else when he knew that his daughter, his real daughter, his flesh and blood, was waiting for him.
Though she knew that 'grandpa' was not a really benevolent man, he was kind enough to let her know about what her beloved father had done during his absence in her life.
And to say that she was angered by what he had done, it was a severe understatement, as she would like nothing more than to give her a piece of her mind, preferably in the form of revenge best served cold.
But after the news of his death managed to get to her, she decided to alter the course of her anger towards her 'brother' instead...
And nothing less of a mind game would give her the satisfaction she so desire.
The 'game', as it were, began in earnest when she arrived at Fuyuki City and saw her 'brother' walking alone in the old district of the city.
After quite a few days spending her resources to find him only to continuously fail and caused her quite a fair amount of annoyance, she managed to find him when she was just walking around the city purely out of whim.
How fortunate for her, and how unfortunate it was for him.
At least, that was what she had initially thought...
"Onii-chan." she said softly to make him turn towards her position.
Doing exactly what she wanted him to do, she then smiled rather ominously, hoping to change his expression to one filled with slight fear, "It's a pleasure to meet you. Please summon your Servant the next time we meet, okay Onii-chan?"
Then, while instilling as much venom into her tone of voice as she possibly can, she said; "Because if you don't... You'll be dead."
She then left by turning her back on him and walked towards the opposite direction of where he had been heading before she called him.
But she stopped as she was called by him.
"Why do you want to kill me?" he asked.
Illya had never faced a man so stupid before. To ask her so nonchalantly after she just threatened him, how laughable!
But he amused her enough for her to answer; "It's rather personal Onii-chan. And if you want to know what it is exactly, I can't tell you~! You just have to wait until the time comes, okay?" she asked in an excited tone before she left.
If she had bothered to turn her head back, she would've seen Shirou's nonchalant expression. He didn't appear to be concerned at all about her implied threat. Nor about the fact that a child just spoke with such enmity towards him.
Had she seen that, she wouldn't have been surprised when she discovered that he was able to fight Berserker and killing him twice in one go. In fact, she should've been able to see it coming.
He was not like what 'grandpa' had told her, physically, he was the dead-ringer to his description, but judging him in terms of skill and prowess... the man could defeat a Servant, what's an Enforcer or an Executioner in his eyes? Let alone magi for that matter?
So, the creation of a new plan seemed inevitable. As such, her initial plan to subdue him using magecraft, bring him over to her mansion and having her way with him was not something that could be considered as a valid plan, let alone a good one.
At first, it bugged her, Shirou Emiya had no known weaknesses that she could exploit, at least not the physical ones...
Then it hit her. She realized that a weak link happened to exist within Shirou. That is, the alliance that he had built with the Tohsaka heiress... Or to be more exact, a friendly relationship between the two of them.
Quite an amiable pair they were... Perhaps she could exploit that somehow, she had thought.
Though her servants weren't too keen on agreeing the excellence of her plan, especially regarding the modification of a certain Servant of hers, Leysritt and Sella decided to follow their mistress' order. After all, they were made to follow her orders at any cost.
After all of the mess were completed, it took her to the second part of the plan, standing in the view of a window of a family restaurant, smiling rather menacingly as she looked upon the heiress of the Tohsaka and the Edelfelt family who stared back at her.
The blonde woman with her hair styled into drills were not a part of the plan however... But it didn't matter so much.
She still had her ace in the hole after all.
"...What's she doing here...?" Rin muttered as she looked upon the Einzbern representative outside the family restaurant.
"That girl... she's Berserker's Master, is she not?" Luvia said. "Perhaps she's here to fight." then the Edelfelt heiress smiled in anticipation, "Interesting... But who will she fight between us two, I wonder?"
This... was not good. Nothing in this situation could be described as something good.
'Archer, are you prepared for combat?' asked Rin through their link.
"As prepared for combat as one would expect from a wounded soldier." Archer replied rather sarcastically, though there was a tinge of apprehensiveness to his tone of voice.
Hearing a new, unknown female voice speaking to them, Luvia and Rin turned towards her location, which was right beside the table that they have occupied for the past few minutes.
They saw the figure of a woman wearing a maid uniform that looked somewhat similar with a nun's uniform. The clothes covered their body for a single exception, which was her face. From her stern-looking face, they could see that the color of her eyes red, an indication that she was not a normal human.
Luvia was the first to reply to her, "Yes? Can we help you?"
She bowed slightly and said; "I am here representing my mistress. She implores both of you to come and meet her at the nearby park in the next ten minutes."
After hearing that, Rin swiftly turned her head towards where she saw Illyasviel was, and found that she wasn't there anymore.
"She's patiently waiting for your arrival. We hope that you will be courteous enough to attend." the maid said.
Luvia nodded, "Very well. Thank you for your polite invitation, we will be there."
Inwardly, Rin couldn't help but to feel a little bit frustrated as the maid bowed again before leaving the restaurant, turning some people's attention towards her, due to her choice of clothing.
If she were alone, she would've outright refuse. Or, at the very least try to, considering that the Einzbern 'princess' was a rather psychopathic child, prone to perform tantrum whenever something didn't go her way, such an example of that case was when Shirou fought Berserker using his heavily modified Gradation Air and was more than skilled enough to use a Noble Phantasm of some sort to destroy two of Herakles' twelve lives.
A Noble Phantasm user that was not a Servant and was instead a magus from modern times. That would lighten any magus' proverbial fuse anytime, anywhere, including the Einzbern girl.
"Well." Luvia began as she stood up, "It seems that we have ourselves a common enemy to face. You are targeted due to your alliance with Shirou, correct? While I seek to fight the girl because of her desire to hurt Shirou." then her eyes narrowed as she flashed a rather vicious smirk, "Now that is a fool's cause. And I will make sure she realize that after I'm finished with her."
Afterwards, she began to walk towards the cashier to pay for the drinks, but after noticing that Rin didn't stand up from her chair yet, she turned and said; "What are you waiting for, Rin Tohsaka? Let us go. We have an important person to meet."
She stood up and walked towards the blond, and then she said; "I thought you're not going to ally yourself with anyone."
"True." answered Luvia with a smirk, "I did say such a thing... But that doesn't mean I can't fight the enemy of my prospective allies, now does it? And you know of the saying; the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
There's always a loophole ready to be abused in any kind of situation after all.
The walk towards the park that the Einzbern maid had told them to go to was accompanied by a rather tense silence... At least for Rin.
"Hm... that maid was an Einzbern homunculus was she not?" Luvia wondered, "Quite remarkable. As expected of the family of alchemists. The quality of their homunculus is unparalleled."
Rin couldn't help but notice that Luvia was not scared to face Illya and her Berserker, even with the knowledge that the little girl's Servant was one of the most, if not the most famous mythological hero in the world, summoned as a perpetually maddened warrior.
Perhaps it was because of her Servant's identity? Whoever she was, Rin was sure that she felt her spine crawl when she saw the woman's eyes... So warm and friendly at first glance, but she could sense her bloodthirstiness from beneath her crimson eyes, somewhat similar to the eyes of the King of Uruk's possessiveness that she had shown towards Shirou.
This woman... This Caster, was not a low-tier Servant. That was for certain, her presence alone demanded Rin to be aware of her stature and respond accordingly.
If Luvia were to fight Illyasviel's Berserker, then perhaps she could get away? Leave the battlefield with her hide still intact?
...But then again her own pride wouldn't allow her to do such a cowardly, though tactically-sound thing. Not to mention of her own duty as a Tohsaka heiress, if her Edelfelt rival had chosen to go solo despite knowing Shirou's capability, then she must mirror the girl's foolish bravery with her own.
After all, her Servant could still fight. Although it would require a lot more of his wits than strength to actually survive this time, considering his barely-healed wound.
"Say, Tohsaka." Luvia said as she turned to her sworn rival, "Speaking of a family of alchemists... do you know of what has happened in Romania?"
Rin frowned, remembering something in the news about a certain city in the aforementioned country in Europe. "I don't exactly follow the latest news in magi society outside Japan. So why don't you enlighten me?" she asked, requested, not demanded.
"Well, every member of the family of Yggdmillennia, that is, every single one of them, without any exception, was killed due to an yet-verified catastrophe that befell the city of Turifas."
Now that's a family name that only a few privileged ones would know. A family of alchemists whose works was touted as something that could rival those of the Einzberns' creation.
And all of them were killed? By what? What could possibly be powerful enough to destroy that family's lineage?
"All of them are dead? Every single one of them?" Rin asked in disbelief, "What the hell happened?"
"The Clock Tower is still investigating it as we speak. However, as of today, no new information has been discovered. Only that the Yggdmillennia had dabbled in something that summoned a being that could rival a high-class Dead Apostle Ancestor in terms of how quick it could kill human beings... The amount of people that died in Turifas along with that family numbered in twenty thousands at the very least... And it took only less than a minute to achieve that number of casualties..."
Rin felt a chill crawling down on her spine, what Luvia just described could be likened to the work of a Dead Apostle Ancestor, that's for certain... Even up to the point of the legendary Type-Mercury.
But she was reminded of another creature that could do such a thing, "That's... that kind of genocide is on the level of Primate Murder, isn't it?"
Luvia smirked, though Rin could see a trail of cold sweat falling down from her head towards her neck, indicating that she had also assumed the very same thing, "Almost at the level of Primate Murder." Luvia answered, "The Clock Tower is currently on high alert... Hopefully, whatever it was that caused such a thing can be found and exterminated as quickly as possible."
"And let's hope that we won't get to see what it was..." Rin added with a hopeful tone of voice.
Despite the forced optimistic tone, Luvia couldn't help but pat her rival's shoulder, "Do not fret, Tohsaka. I am sure that they will find the cause and we won't get caught in its warpath."
...However... despite Rin's willingness to believe what Luvia had said, she knew that no matter how small, and no matter how unlikely it might seem... The worst thing that could happen to them had a fair chance of actually happening in the future.
So she could only hope that this Holy Grail War would not be even more complicated with the interference of a mysterious force capable of destroying cities and threatening humanity as a whole with its sheer presence.
And she could only hope that the perpetrator was not the legendary White Beast which was leashed to a powerful Dead Apostle Ancestor in her own right, or something of that caliber.
But then again... If a human being can fight a Servant and win, nearly everything that had been thought as impossible by most magi, including herself, could be regarded as false.
Arriving at the park, Luvia and Rin saw the Einzbern girl, sitting on a bench, moving her legs rather jovially as she hummed a nursery tune of some kind.
Despite her angelic looking face combined with such a happy expression plastered on it, Rin knew that it was just a mask. A facade to keep to keep strangers and prospective enemies in the dark about her real self.
Rin knew that she and the little girl weren't all that different. After all, she had been playing the part of a 'school idol' so that no one would suspect her as a part of a reclusive society that was the world of magi.
Beneath this exterior, beneath this visage of a playful, innocent little girl with peculiar physical attributes, there was a beast, ready to be unleashed upon those she deemed as 'worthy' enough to lash it out on.
The 'beast' in question could be considered as a metaphorical or even a literal one, considering her personality and her Servant represent both definitions respectively.
Right now, Rin was on the proverbial territory of the aforementioned beast. She watched as the little white-haired girl turned to look at them, and with a bright, seemingly innocuous smile, she said; "Ah. Edelfelt-san. Tohsaka-san. Finally you've arrived." she said as a way of greeting them.
Illyasviel then got herself off the bench, wiped away the dusts on the lower part of her purple coat, and said; "You have accepted my invitation. That's very courteous of you two."
"And it's quite courteous of you as well, Einzbern-san." Luvia generously reciprocated the gesture, "To invite us to a place where we could have a battle without involving any innocents and that you have placed a bounded field in this area as well so that they won't come across our fight. I appreciate your concern over the general population of this neighborhood."
Illya smiled as she shrugged, "Well, I see no need to involve them anyway. Not unlike the disgusting wretch that had ordered his Servant to consume people every day because he's not competent enough to be a Master."
'She must be talking about Shinji.' Rin said to herself, having a slight idea that the 'wretch' was the Matou boy, Sakura's 'brother', the Master of Rider, despite the fact that he's not supposed to have any trace of Magic Circuits.
Hopefully, Shirou's business with Shinji and his Servant would be done anytime soon if it wasn't already.
And considering the fact that she had no method to communicate with Shirou from afar, she realized that she couldn't call him for assistance.
'Man up Rin. Man up!' she inwardly yelled to herself.
There was no reason for her to be so worried, she knew the Einzbern's Servant, she knew her tactic, which was the simple strategy of 'order the big guy to lay waste to the enemies'.
A simpleton's tactic, but when the big guy in question was the strongest hero in Greek Mythology, maddened to the point his monstrous strength was doubled if not tripled from its usual magnitude.
Which was to say, a lot.
So perhaps she had quite a few reasons to be worried, but at the very least, she must not let it show.
"Ah. You are talking about Rider." Luvia casually mentioned. "But of course, we won't do something as foolish as what her Master did, we intend to keep this War a secret if we are capable of doing so."
Illya giggled, "Mhm~! That's very good of you to think about maintaining our society's status quo, Edelfelt." she said with a cheerful smile, "But I digress... We aren't here to compliment or congratulate each other. We are here... to do what we are expected to do in this Holy Grail War."
"Hm." Luvia hummed with a smirk as her Servant astralized herself and stood beside the blonde aristocrat, "We had a suspicion that it would be the case. Let us begin then." she declared, "Unless there's something else you wish to announce, Einzbern-san?"
Illya shook her head, "Nope!" she declared enthusiastically, then she turned to Rin and with a sadistic gleam apparent in her eyes, she said; "So, Tohsaka-san? Will you summon your Servant as well?"
Rin raised her eyebrows, both curious and worried over her willingness to let Archer show himself again, "Aren't you going to fight one-on-one with Luvia?" she asked the little Einzbern girl.
"Ah, surely you two must know of who my Servant exactly is by now, don't you?" Illya asked rhetorically, "With that knowledge, would it be wise for you to assume that one would be enough?" she challenged.
Rin immediately realized that the Einzbern girl had something up her sleeve. Something that made her so confident in facing two Servants despite the fact that her Servant's identity was known.
Now the unknown factor began to send chill down her spine, that confidence, that certainty... The maddened Herakles was already strong in his own right, but was there anything else that might augment the juggernaut's ability?
Though she dare not think about it, she kind of had to...
It's her life at stake, after all.
"Rin." Luvia said, prompting the aforementioned heiress of the Tohsaka family to turn to her, "I think it would be best if Caster and I take this by ourselves. She's powerful enough to handle Hercules by herself and-"
Luvia turned to her Servant, looking somewhat shocked, and said; "W-what?"
"Let her Servant fight alongside me." Caster repeated what she said, this time in a more complete form, "While I would acknowledged that, on occasion, I can be stubborn enough to challenge a high-class enemy on my own, I am not as stupid as to challenge the one who subdued the guardian of Underworld's Gate all by himself to one-on-one duel."
...Seeing at Caster's eyes and the way she said her excuse, Rin had an assumption that Caster had come to the realization that Illyasviel was going to use a yet to be revealed trump card.
And she's thinking of using Archer as a bait.
But after a second of thinking further, Rin realized that she had been placed in an awkward situation. If she said no, then Caster would have to face the Servant alone. Now, while that would give an advantage to Rin, as she would be able to assess Caster's capability and perhaps her identity along with it, her intention would be glaringly obvious and as such, she wouldn't get a proper assessment of the red woman's power.
They're supposed to be enemies after all. Why would the red woman use her full power to be seen by a prospective enemies?
On the other hand, if she were to summon Archer, given his condition, it would be somewhat hard for him to fight Berserker, even with Caster's help.
And not to mention that she kind of wanted to keep her cards close to her chest...
But the situation didn't allow her to do so. Damn the Einzbern!
She heard him sighing before he replied back; "Guess there is no point in stalling... They already know what you're thinking anyway. Your expression says it all, Rin."
Even before he materialized himself, Rin just knew that Archer was both reprimanding and also making fun of her somewhat.
And when he did materialize himself, with his swords in his hands, she could see a slight smirk on his tense expression. So perhaps he was just covering up his uncertainty through his sarcasm and wit.
Though considering the situation, she was not that surprised.
Still somewhat annoyed though.
"So what class are you, Servant?" Caster bluntly asked as her crimson eyes directly gazed into Archer's gray ones. "You use swords, and yet your fighting style is that of a reckless, untrained, but experienced fighter. A Saber you are not. An Assassin? No, your stance does not peg you for such a profession. Yours is like a soldier. Disciplined, firm, but severely lacking in personality."
The edges of the woman's lips then creased upwards, forming a rather unnerving smile, "...So Archer it is, then?"
Archer narrowed his eyes, though this Caster is not the one that he had expected, she still scared him all the same.
Her physical features, or to be more exact, her choice of attire, did not indicate her affinity with Magecraft. At all. In fact, her choice of clothing reminded him of Lancer.
'Perhaps they came from the same place?' Archer inwardly asked, assuming that the similarity in their clothes were not a mere coincidence.
Sure, Rider and Berserker came from the same mythology, but considering that one's a hero with an affinity in close combat while the other was a monster villain in another hero's story, their different choice in attire might be justifiable.
Not to mention that the Caster that he had expected also wore something that could be described as a mage's robe from ancient times, so seeing a Caster wearing something similar to what a certain hero from Celtic Mythology was wearing threw him off a bit.
'A battle-oriented Caster huh...? But who could she be? Aife? Emer? Either way, the Hound might know her personally.' Archer mused, 'Considering his womanizing attitude, it's more than likely that she had shared a bed with him once or twice.'
During his lifetime before he was summoned, he took it upon himself to learn about the lives of the mythological heroes, from the most famous ones such as Herakles, Perseus, etc, to the relatively obscure ones in the eyes of the public, such as Bellerophon and Gilgamesh.
And Cu Chulainn, judging by the stories told about him, was quite a womanizer during his lifetime. Some of them included several women-warriors of well renown as well.
So Archer assumed that this Caster was one of those warrior-women. Perhaps someone that had been considered worthy to be welcomed into the Throne of Heroes.
There were several women that filled that candidate, he had narrowed it down to three, and he had a suspicion about one certain name in that roster...
Archer then replied to Caster's question and said; "I suppose I am."
The woman's smile widened, "There is no supposition. It is certain that you are." she said rather cryptically.
The tan-skinned man procured a smirk, though a single drop of cold sweat could be seen trailing down from his forehead and down to his chin. And Archer didn't say anything in response to that, knowing that it's useless to try and cover up his class now that it's known.
Then the sound of Illya clearing her throat made the attention of those present turned to her once more, "Now that you have materialized, Archer-san, let us begin..." her smile then turned into a rather sadistic-looking one as she continued with; "...Shall we?"
Within a moment, the air around them felt a lot thicker and heavier. Though there was no booming noise, no sound of cracked concrete, no earth-shaking movement that should've heralded the materialization of the beast known as the Berserker, the raw power that he exuded was more than enough to thicken the air surrounding them all.
The figure was silent, unmoving, just like how he had been when Rin first saw him summoned by the Einzbern girl.
But... there's something amiss, an anomaly, a strange thing that made her feel that something's not quite right or off.
And the feeling came when Berserker was materialized.
Like before, it felt as if she's facing a large, rabid dog tied onto a leash. But unlike before, where she could feel the unbridled rage and the directionless wrath that the Berserker boasted, she felt as if it were more... controlled, somehow.
"Berserker..." Illya said as she pointed towards Archer, "Kill him first."
And Rin's apprehensiveness were proven true when Berserker did not roar and charge head-on like an enraged animal bent for destruction, in fact, he then formed a stance.
Archer's eyes widened, but before he could do anything, he heard a voice speaking from the throat of the monstrous human being known as Herakles...
Archer knew what was coming. There was no stopping what's about to happen and there's a very little chance that he would survive this onslaught with more than enough power to keep himself existing...
But he resolved to fight. To stand his ground. To try his chance at survival.
So he yelled two words as he extended his right hand...
An ethereal shield was formed in front of Archer, a petal-formed shield that looked ready to challenge the might of the maddened Son of Zeus with his technique that killed the Hydra in one swift attack.
The air trembled and the ground shook as the swings of the mad hero's sword hit the ethereal shield. In a span of a second, nine slashes overlaid with one another in the form of a multiple attack targeted at several spot in the body of the enemy disguised as one single attack.
Then one by one, the petals fell as the attacks overwhelmed it thoroughly.
When the first petal fell, Archer felt his stomach burst.
Then the second petal fell, and Archer felt his bones cracking.
At the falling of the third petal, Archer could feel his muscles ripping itself apart.
At the fourth, he felt his intestines shriveled and his liver bleeding out.
At the fifth, he felt his brain being fried and his heart being crushed apart.
When the sixth petal fell, he could feel his entire body beginning to relinquish its hold over his soul...
When the axe-sword that Herakles used to deliver Nine Lives hit the seventh petal... It finally stopped.
And so, the barrage of attacks upon the Conceptual Weapon that belonged to one of the most prominent figure in the Trojan War, Ajax, was stopped. But there were no doubts that it was a formidable technique, as it was powerful enough to reach the seventh layer before finally stopping.
As a price of using the defense mechanism that was connected to his physical body's well-being, Archer could barely stand after the attack... and he fell to the ground after 'The Seven Rings that Cover the Fiery Heavens' was dispelled.
"Archer! Astralize yourself!" Rin commanded immediately when Archer fell down to his knees and was about to hit his head on the cold, hard concrete.
"My my..." Illyasviel drawled, "He barely survived. I'm somewhat impressed that he had a Noble Phantasm that could withstand Herakles' Nine Lives... But he's not capable enough to fight on after that, is he?" she asked with a rather sadistic smile.
Rin felt cold sweat trickling down her head, her Servant had just been thoroughly incapacitated by Berserker, who, as she now noticed, wasn't that blinded by rage as much as before.
His capability to unleash such a coordinated attack was the indication that the Einzbern girl had tinkered a little bit with her Servant's Mad Enhancement, perhaps lessening his strength while allowing him to control himself a bit more so that he could use techniques instead of just blindly swinging his stone sword on his enemies.
"That was the technique he used to kill the legendary Hydra, was it not?" asked Caster, "Truly marvelous." she remarked before she swung her halberd slightly, tracing her fingers on the weapon's edges, she spoke in a foreign language, and the weapon began to glow slightly.
Runes. That was the first thing that Rin thought when she saw the halberd glowing, an ancient branch of Magecraft that only few could truly master in the modern age.
Knowing that Rune had been featured rather prominently in Celtic Mythology, Rin began to realize that the woman might just be a female mage during the time of the Hound of Ulster, a hero from Celtic Mythology...
But the thought of brainstorming was thrown back into the recess of her mind for the moment as she saw Caster grin menacingly towards the Son of Zeus, her red eyes gleamed, and it made her twistedly elated expression slightly scarier than before, "Let us see if you're able to kill me, Mad Demigod."
This time, Berserker growled as he charged with a purpose-driven fury and the prowess of a trained warrior rather than the destructive capability of an uncontrollable madman in a warpath.
However, Caster turned out to be one of the most dangerous Servant within the War, as evidenced when she reciprocated Berserker's charge with her own, used her halberd to withhold the stone blade for a split second, swiftly moved towards Berserker's side, proficiently placed several runes on his body, and then thrust it with her halberd...
Creating a large scale explosion that threw Berserker quite a few yards away, destroying the concrete that the monstrous-looking Servant had been standing on, and disconcerted the three Masters that had barely seen the details of what just happened.
Without wasting any more time, Caster moved towards the seemingly incapacitated figure of Berserker, her halberd and her skintight bodysuit were riddled with glowing crimson lines that accentuated her terrifying visage even more so.
"Rin." Luvia said, prompting Rin to turn to her blonde rival, "Leave this place. Your Servant won't be here to save you if hers defeated Caster and turned on you."
Though she really wanted to run, Rin couldn't help but add one little thing; "What, you're not confident about your Servant's capability?"
Luvia shook her head, "No. I'm worried about you. Go. Now. We'll handle this."
Seeing the form of the Servant of Madness and Spell duke it out with each other without one overcoming the other with either brute strength or proficiency in ancient Magecraft, Rin knew that Caster was more than capable of handling Herakles on her own.
In fact, it looked as if the red woman was enjoying the bout thoroughly, if her wide smile were any indication.
Rin gritted her teeth as she turned and ran, leaving Luvia and Illya along with their respective Servants alone. Cursing the fact that she didn't see the Einzbern's meddling with her Servant's Mad Enhancement coming from afar.
Now that Archer had been placed into a near-death status and that she only carried some C to B-ranked jewel that could barely penetrate Berserker's nigh-invulnerable hide, her usage in the battlefield was next to none unless she had some A-ranked jewel and a window of opportunity to use it against him or Illya.
Considering the little girl's solid connection with her Servant, Rin had no doubt that the moment she saw her using any of her jewel, she would sic Berserker upon her instantly.
That, among other reasons, was one of the driving forces that forced her to realize that she was helpless and useless.
Two things that she hated in being, whether it was due to the situation or due to herself, her pride had been literally bruised.
Running towards the direction of her house, the sounds of battle turned quieter as she went further and further away from the park, 'Archer. Archer, can you hear me?' she called on her Servant.
The sound of silence that filled her link was unnerving. Even though she could still feel his presence, his lack of answers, or his lack of energy to answer was the indication that he's clinging to a single thread to persevere.
That shield that he used to protect himself against Berserker's technique... Rho Aias, the name of the shield that was used by Ajax. but considering the feat that Ajax had performed and the weapons he used, Archer definitely wasn't Ajax.
'Yet how could he have his Noble Phantasm?' Rin wondered as the distance to her house was getting smaller.
However, when she was just a few blocks away, and when she turned right in one intersection...
She saw the same maid that she had encountered before, blocking her way by standing there with her hands intertwined right below the location of her navel.
Her stern expression and her steely gaze was directed right at Rin, and it was clear that she had been ordered by Illya to do something to her, perhaps to subdue and kidnap her for some diabolical purpose concocted deep within the recess of the little girl's mind.
"...Heh... Hehehe... I assume you've been ordered to stop me?" Rin asked, though her voice might indicate that she's not afraid, the single drop of cold sweat trailing down from her forehead and her uneasy grin was the proof to the contrary.
The maid nodded, "I have. Illya-sama has ordered me to prevent you from arriving at your house. By any means necessary."
Rin pulled out some of her jewel from her pocket, and said; "Well then I won't go out without a fight. Come on, give it your best shot!" she defiantly yelled out.
To her confusion, the maid shook her head and said; "It will not be necessary."
Before she could ask or react to her statement, she was suddenly given a blunt trauma right at the back of her head.
When Rin fell to the hard concrete and was on the brink of unconsciousness, she heard the voice of the stern-looking maid speak again.
"Because she also ordered us to take you alive. By any means necessary."
A couple of hours later...
"Shirou. What was it that you do that transformed you?" Saber asked with apparent curiosity, "You spoke an Aria to trigger the transformation to change you into that... that form. Can you tell me what it was?"
The female knight and the redheaded magus were walking towards his house after the anti-climactic battle between her and Rider and him and Shinji, both of them were no worse for the wear and both of them were also rather put off by something that Shirou had found out.
His sword, Elucide, was an enchanted sword of some kind that pierces both the body and the soul, and he had used the sword's trait to, essentially, 'hack' into Rider's Master's memories as he dealt a mortal wound to his physical body.
And what he had seen inside that person's.. That wretch's memories... When Shirou told her, it was something that had made Saber bristling with fury.
Though Shirou wasn't as expressive as Saber in showing how much he distaste what that Shinji Matou had done, his golden eyes were filled with cold, unrelenting fury.
Despite the fact that it had died down for quite sometime, the proverbial chilling gaze was still there. Deep beneath that warm-looking amber eyes lies a beast that could not wait to be unleashed to the one who started it all, the one who put the Sakura girl in such hell that she had been placed upon in so many years.
Especially after personally seeing the creature that was responsible a couple days ago. The one called Zouken Matou, the abomination that shouldn't be able to walk the earth any longer than it already had...
Under that thing's watch, Shinji had seen glimpses of what that thing put Sakura into, and sometimes, he was even asked to be its accomplice in performing certain acts that would quell the things that that thing had implanted within her in the first place.
Judging by how he was more than compliant to do the act, Shirou felt some satisfaction, due to the fact that Shinji's death was not without merit.
Not only that it satisfied his need to dispense justice, he now also had a justification for his instinctual hatred against Shinji, who had been vehemently protected by Sakura, thereby preventing him from actually hurting him until Shirou found him as the enemy in a bloody and unforgiving competition between magi.
It was his distortion that gave him the feeling of accomplishment when he killed Shinji. And it was also the very same thing that allowed him to access the very thing that only few human could have...
"It was an activation spell." Shirou began, referring to the Aria, "The Aria referred to my Dual Origin, Sword and Artifact, and its function is to forcibly awaken my Origin for a short time."
Saber's eyes widened, and she could feel her counterpart's admiration and irritation, "Such a thing... No wonder that it felt very strange when he turned to that... that thing."
Awakening of one's Origin was something that should be treated with care. Acknowledging it is one thing, but to fully realizing it and let it manifest to the universe was something else entirely.
"Shirou..." Saber began with a stern but worried voice, "I hope you realize that it's-"
"An advantageous but dangerous Magecraft to perform, I know." Shirou answered immediately, "It's so powerful to the point that I was able to defeat my mentor using that form for nearly thirty minutes. But whenever I go over thirty minutes using it... well, let's just say that it's not a pleasant experience for everyone involved..." Shirou said rather cryptically.
When one's Origin is awakened, their identity, their individuality, their personality, their quirks, their defects, the things that would define them... Would be gone in favor of a new one and a set of incredible power that one could not achieve when one's Origin Persona was unable to be manifested.
He learned that the hard way when his mentor had to put him on a magically-induced coma. A necessary measure to sink the Origin Persona down to the darkest depths of himself.
Though calling it 'Persona' would be an exaggeration, as it was nothing more than the representation of his soul, his ideals...
And his view of the world. Condensed into a human form with 'Shirou Emiya' as its anchor.
A powerful beast that had the potential to destroy everything in its path if Shirou ever let it to.
"Use it when the situation requires you to. Whether in a seemingly hopeless situation or to quickly finish a problematic situation."
It was an advice from his mentor that he adhered to. The former was when he was captured in Rider's Mystic Eyes of Petrifaction, and the latter was the reason why he had used it to quickly find it Rider before she could set her Bounded Field or hunt other people again.
"Rest assured, Saber, I will only use it if the situation requires it." Shirou said, paraphrasing what his mentor once said to him.
Saber nodded as she crossed her arms, "Good. I am obliged to save you from both external and internal influences that seek to do you harm, Shirou. But for the latter, I cannot do it alone. You have to realize that to save yourself from yourself requires your interference along with others as well."
Shirou smiled at what Saber said, "Then I shall trust you to keep me from losing myself." he said.
Saber smiled faintly before she nodded, "But of course. You do not need to remind me of it. I am your Servant and you are my Master, your safety is my concern."
The red head sighed before saying; "And your safety, mine." he replied back with a wistful smile.
Without anymore reply, Shirou turned his head forward and went silent.
Leaving Saber rather confused and slightly miffed due to his last statement of him worrying about her safety. Why would he be concerned about her, knowing what she was and what she could do?
Before she could ask any further however, they have arrived at the proximity of Shirou's house...
And saw a rather peculiar sight to be gazed upon.
In front of the gate leading to the garden of Shirou's house, there stood a woman who was wearing a rather gaudy blue-colored dress with a pair of white boots and gloves, indicating her aristocratic standing in society.
Her long blonde hair was styled into several 'drills' as it were, such a remarkable hairstyle that could only be pulled off by those who have the time, the accessories, and the money to keep it like so.
Saber's first instinct was to see this person as a potential enemy. After all, she could see her Servant, hidden to Shirou's eyes due to her astralizing herself as she loomed over her Master and gazed upon Saber's.
Saber saw the blonde woman's Servant smirking as she looked at Shirou, prompting Saber to narrow her eyes and moved to his front in order to prevent him from getting hurt by the woman clad in red.
Shirou noticed both this and the blonde woman, and due to Saber's sudden protective gesture, he said to her; "Saber. Calm down... I know who she is."
"...That may be so, Master." Saber said, caught by surprise by him knowing the identity of a prospective enemies, "But you may not know that she is-"
"A fellow Master." Shirou answered in her stead, "I know her, I know that she's involved in this War, and because she doesn't immediately attack us on sight, why don't you give her the benefit of the doubt?" he suggested as he walked towards Luvia, with Saber following close behind, slightly agitated but deciding to follow the given suggestion.
When they were close enough for Luvia to finally notice, she smiled out of relief as she said; "Shirou! You're finally here."
Sensing her tone, her stance, and her expression, Shirou knew, and Saber realized, that the woman named Luvia wasn't there to fight, but to tell him something of importance.
"I've waited for quite a while." Luvia said, "Shirou, I trust you know of my status as a Master?"
Shirou nodded, "I do."
Then Luvia looked at Saber and said; "So is she yours?"
The redhead nodded again and said; "Yes. She is. Her class is Saber." he told her.
Luvia nodded, and said this without missing a beat; "Pleased to make your acquaintance, I am Luviagelita Edelfelt, and my Servant is-"
"Let me have the courtesy to introduce myself, Master." said the red woman that Saber had noticed as she materialized herself, enabling Shirou to see her, "After all, the knight had already seen me." she remarked before she nodded once, "Pleased to meet you, Saber. I am Servant Caster."
Caster then turned towards Shirou and said; "My Master has told quite some things about you, boy. It is good to finally meet you in person." she then smiled as she said; "You are indeed promising, just like she said."
"Caster...!" Luvia hissed out, as if not wanting the red woman to speak further.
"What are you doing here if I may ask?" Saber asked, "If you are here to fight, then I shall oblige." she said as she began to summon her invisible sword.
Luvia raised one of her hands as she said; "Peace, Saber. I am here to tell Shirou something." her expression then turned somber as she continued with; "Something important."
Shirou then asked her, "What's going on?" he asked with a cautious tone of voice.
Luvia then answered; "Rin has been kidnapped. The Einzbern Master had captured her and her Servant is incapacitated."
To be Continued...
So it seems that I've replaced Shirou's place with Rin... You know, in the visual novel, Fate route I think, Illya kidnapped Shirou using her Mystic Eyes when Saber was exhausted after fighting Rider and he went out without any supervision.
In the middle of a goddamn Holy Grail War where a lot of people seek his death.
Not really a good strategist, is he, Canon Shirou? Not really a logical person either.
But I digress. So as you can see, the inclusion of Luvia, Rin's kidnapping, along with a certain event that happened outside Fuyuki city is the indications that this fic has begun to stray from the Canon path.
So be prepared for some more excitement. Rescuing Rin would be the first step into this brave new world.
See you at the next chapter, everyone!