"So, you spend days playing hookie in order to prepare for summoning me and joining the greatest War you'll ever see in what will probably be your rather short life… and the first thing you do after all that is go right back to school?"
Rin struggled to both keep her eyebrow from twitching and looking back at her astralized Servant as she walked down the street. "I can't afford to be acting suspiciously at a time like this." She said in a low tone to the invisible man, trying not to attract attention by seemingly talking to thin air. "The Tohsakas have a tradition of participating in the War after all, and if people notice that I am not leaving my home during the day, they will know for a fact that I am a Master. This allows for some misdirection, if for a little while."
"Ah yes, hiding out in plain sight. It's perfect because no one will be able to tell that you are in fact a Master just by being around you." Avenger said, still keeping his insolent tone. "Except for, you know, other Servants and Masters. Otherwise known as the people you're trying to keep it a secret from."
The dark hair girl grit her teeth and seethed. "There aren't going to be any other Masters at my high school. I've already investigated all the possible candidates and I know they aren't participating. Besides which, even if there were, the rules strictly prohibit fighting during the daytime." She said, her tone slightly acidic.
"Of course, how silly me. It's not like anyone throughout the long and bloody history of the past 4 Wars has ever broken the rules to get an advantage. That would just be morally wrong, and if there is anything magi are about, it's behaving morally." Rin was not able to keep her eyebrows twitching from that flippant comment, but remained silent. Avenger gave a small, yet theatrical, sigh. "If you insist. I just hope I get to do something more interesting than floating over your shoulder for 7 hours. Otherwise this is going to be so boring."
This time Rin did spare a glance back at the man, a scowl on her face. "Didn't you learn anything about patience and discipline when you were in the military?"
"Probably." he replied with a glibly, his eyes smirking behind his mask. "But that was so long ago, and I didn't really care for it much. Hence the whole becoming a bishop thing." There was a pause before he said "So, why don't we go into the city and scourge the local criminal underground for fun?"
"What?!" The girl said incredulously at the bizarre non sequitur. "Of course not!"
"Oh don't be like that," Avenger with a slight sag of his shoulders. "Come on, I'll get to do some Good Work, and you'll get some practice in for killing the other Masters. Plus, it'll be a bonding experience!"
Off put by how casually he spoke of killing people, Rin spun back forward and began walking down the street faster. "We are not doing something so pointless and time consuming," she ground out. "I am going to school and that's final!"
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that..." Avenger said before he started to grumble. "But it's so boring!"
It took all of Rin's concentration to tune the man out as she walked. For not the first time since she summoned her Servant, she wondered if that phony priest knew this was going to happen and gave her that stupid cloth because of the annoyance it would bring. Her Servant was anything but the saint or soldier he supposedly was. He was obstinate, capricious, and seemed to only do what Rin said because it suited his whims. It was such that she had serious doubts that the man was in fact the real Saint Martin. Sure, he had said that he was when she asked him, but he could have just been lying as such did not seem unthinkable for the man.
All of this was beside the point though, as she could put up with the little annoyances and even not summoning the person she wanted. No, the real problem was his bloody class! Avenger? How in the hell had she summoned the eighth class? She might have felt privileged if not for the fact that, like all accounts from the only other time the class was summoned in the Third War, Avenger has some atrocious stats. It was all Ds and Es! In a fight he would be even weaker than a Caster! And his skills did not help, as she could only see the one. Behind the Legend was a class skill that obscured all of Avenger's stats, skill, and Noble Phantasms from anyone who might try to gleam them, save for Rin herself when it came to stats.
She remembered that the Beserker of the 4th War was said to have a similar ability, but whatever benefit she might gain from it was offset by fact that he wouldn't tell her what he could do! He kept coming up with ridiculous excuses every time she asked as to why he wouldn't tell her (Memory loss, other Master's could learn his weakness if she knew, abilities change every time you look at them), and he never even bother to give her the same explanation twice! The end result was that her Servant was an annoying mystery, wrapped in an infuriating enigma, wrapped in a frustrating package!
She walked through the gates of the high school, her foul mood clear to anyone who noticed her. Most stayed out of her way, but one particular student had become long since accustomed to Rin's temper. "So, you're filled with sunshine this morning." Ayako said glibly as she pulled up beside her, giving Rin a sidelong glance.
Rin grumbled slightly, for once being thankful for the fact that she did not had to keep her perfect facade up around someone. "I've had… a rough few nights."
"That seems to be going around a lot lately..." The brown haired girl said in a strange tone. Rin looked at her curiously, but Ayako moved on before she could ask about it. "Anyway, do you want to talk about it?"
Rin sighed "Not really. It is just a minor inconvenience and nothing more."
"If you talking about me, I resent that." Avenger said. "I'm anything but minor."
Once again Rin ignored him, and Ayako twisted her mouth into a frown. "Are you sure? Because you know that you can talk to me about stuff if you have too."
"No, no, that's fine." Rin said waving her off. "I just want to get this day over with is all." The other girl gave a small sigh, and Rin swore there was a hint of disappointment in her tone. Rin narrowed her eyes slightly as they both came to a stop in front of their respective lockers. "Why does it sound like there is something that you would like to talk about?"
"Well," Ayako started before she hesitated. She gave Rin an oddly calculating glance before her shoulders slumped a little and she said "You've been acting distant lately."
Rin blinked at this, not expecting that. "No I haven't."
"Yes, you have." Ayako insisted. "You've been popping in and out of school, you've been making excuses not to hang out with me, and your excuses themselves have been suspect at best."
There was a long expectant pause where she seemed to wait for how Rin would respond. Eventually Rin said "That's just silly. You're acting like there's some sort of conspiracy going on."
"You said it, not me." The other girl replied with a bemused smirk, before her face turn back to a more solemn expression. "Look, just… be careful, alright. That tanker truck explosion last night was nasty and things have been getting weird lately and… well, try to stay out of trouble, ok?" With that, the girl walked away.
Rin frowned at her back as she walked around the corner of the lockers. Well, that was cryptic, she thought to herself. Her friend clearly had developed suspicions due to her behavior for the past 2 weeks or so, though of what she didn't know. To be fair, she had been correct about Rin's behavior, and it probably hadn't helped that Shirou and Sakura had the own responses to the War. Rin had never considered herself as close to Ayako as she had the other two, but a small twisting sensation filled her stomach at the thought of the other girl thinking they were neglecting her.
The thought of wiping Ayako's memories briefly crossed her mind, but she quashed that idea. Even though it was her duty to wipe the memories of anyone who learns the secret of the Grail War, what was she going to erase, a bunch of vague impression? Uhg, I bet this is why most magi don't have non-magi friends. Then again, from what she had heard of magi back in England they didn't typically keep friends at all.
It was then that Avenger spoke up "Well, maybe school will be more interesting than I thought."
Rin gave a look back at the invisible Servant. "What are you talking about?" She said under her breath. "I don't know what you're thinking, but you're not doing anything to her without my say so."
"Hmm? Oh no, I wasn't talking about her. I was talking about the fact that this place has far more ambient prana than it should."
This caught Rin off guard. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm saying that it looks like you're not the only Master in this War who has to be home by ten." He said. "Someone is setting something up in this building, and it subtle too. I only noticed it due to the extra bit of energy I'm getting."
For all of his many flaws, Avenger did have one thing going for him: his Magic rank of EX. Every Servant, having a body made out of prana particles, had a near limitless capacity for prana, so the Magic stat determined how much they could handle at any given moment. Avenger was unique in that he could use up all of his power in a single instant if he wanted to, though for what Rin had no idea. Likewise, he was also capable absorbing a great deal of the ambient mana wherever he was. And he certainly needed it, as he burned through it at a surprisingly quick rate. Just another reason to keep him in his astral state to save power.
Rin's expression set into something harder. It looked like keeping secrets was going to be harder than she thought.
The morning progressed slowly. Rin's teachers droned on about things that weren't relevant to her, while her Servant droned on about how bored he was. Lunch could not come soon enough, as both Rin and the other students had been feeling antsy all morning. It was then that Rin finally conceded to allow Avenger to roam the school grounds to find out what he could about the source of increase in prana. Rin picked a spot by herself on the empty roof and sat down to think, only occasionally picking at her food. Normally she would be in the cafeteria with either her friends or acquaintances but she wasn't up to that today. Not only had Shirou not shown up for class today and Ayako was acting strangely, but Sakura was spending her time with her brother.
Rin had no intention of going anywhere near Shinji, even with Sakura there. Besides which it looked like he had somehow tricked another girl into dating him, a very attractive black haired girl which her memory refused to place. Any time spent there would likely result in inane gossip or Shinji hitting on her in spite of the new girl. Regardless, she needed some time to herself in order to ponder.
The incident last night was a clear indication that the first battle of the War had already been fought, and considering the collateral, it did not bode well for the rest of the War. While the hillside was the far more noticeable devastation, there was also a section of the commercial area that had been torn all to hell as well. The most obvious explanation was that two long range Servants had engaged in combat, but the far more worrying fact was that there were such obvious signs of combat at all. Every Master involved should know consequences of making the War too obvious, but as Avenger had insinuated earlier there were those in the past that hadn't cared about secrecy at all.
Rin had to suppress a shudder as the memory came back unbidden. Children, being lead down into a dark basement, reeking of blood and fear. She shook her head to get her mind away from that dark place. She shouldn't worry about that too much. It was the Church's job to handle such things, and she knew for a fact that Shirou would not be happy about that happening in his town. She hadn't seen him in school today, so she could only imagine that boy was busy handling the fallout from last night. Besides which, it was entirely possible that things had simply gotten out of hand and such an incident would not occur again.
A sudden pain in her arm caused her to sit up straight in surprise. Though this was the first time she had experienced it, she had no doubt what it was or what it meant. Her Command Seals were reacting to the presence of another Master. Her head whipped around to look for threats while she called out "Avenger."
There were a few seconds pause before the Servant's astral form appeared next to her, sliding up out of the floor. "Ah, so I'm guessing you noticed."
"Another Master has arrived." She said firmly. "No doubt to check their work. It will be difficult as they no doubt know that I'm here as well, but if we're careful and quick we might be able to find out who they are."
If was hard to tell, but Rin thought that she saw Avenger arch an eyebrow behind his mask. After a moment's pause he said "And if I should find their Servant, shall I put an end to him?"
Rin scowled. "Of course not! I told you that there won't be any fighting during the day! You should just keep an eye out for him!"
The man gave an exasperated sigh. "Why won't you let me do anything fun?" He folded his arms and settled into what she could only guess was a pout.
She glared at him before saying "Well? What are you waiting around here for? Go find him!"
"He's right there." Avenger said sullenly, pointing down off the roof. Rin followed his gesture down to the gate, and a cross between a groan and a sigh escaped her lungs. "Edelfelt..." she breathed out. Standing in front of the black limo that had pulled up to the school was her nemesis and her driver, both of which were now looking up at her. Or as it would seem in the driver's case, them. "She has her Servant drive her around? How wasteful."
"Guess she decided to get some more mileage out of her arrangement." Her Servant said as he casually waved to the pair. "By the way, don't even think about getting me to do that. I guarantee you that any vehicle I drive will end up in ruin. Along with whatever it was I actually wanted ruined."
Rin ignored that little comment and continued to watch the pair down below until they began to walk towards the school. "I supposed I shouldn't be surprised that it was her that was responsible. But what did she hope to gain by casting some spell over the school?"
"Don't know. I couldn't figure out what the end goal of the whole thing was." Avenger spoke up. "I can tell you though that it has nodes in every classroom and hallway and is connected like a web. And it's using the student body to power it."
Rin looked him in surprise, both at the information and the fact that he seemed to more apt at magic than she thought. She put that aside for later and asked "It's draining them of prana? Why haven't I noticed?" Forcibly draining the prana out of ordinary people was very dangerous, and more often than not ended up ripping the soul right out of their bodies.
"Like I said before, this one is subtle. It's not trying to do anything so violent as rip it out so much as coax it out. I'm guessing that there are small enchantments that cause emotional peaks or tension, but the rest is done by the kids themselves." He gestured. "Prana can be exchanged through intimacy, and while the emotional range here is far less than you would use for a normal ritual, the little bit you do get from the hundreds of students adds up with no one the wiser. This whole building is a giant flywheel, and the kids are the water that moves through it. Or more accurately in this case, blood."
Rin thought over this new information quickly, as she had only a minute or two before the blonde wench made her way up to the roof. "Even if we don't know what she's up to, it's best to stop whatever Luvia's plotting as soon as possible, especially if she's gradually gaining prana from it." She glanced at Avenger. "I don't suppose that you figured out how to get rid of this problem, did you?"
"As a matter of fact, I did, and I can do it fairly quickly and discretely as well." Once again, Rin was surprised and Avenger noticed. "I may not be a Caster but I do know at least of few things about magecraft. So, shall I do so Master?"
The use of her title made it clear that this was something he wanted to do. She considered it for a moment before she nodded her head. "Do it." If he could do as he said, then now would be the best time to do so while she herself kept Luvia distracted.
Avenger nodded and once again passed through the floor and out of sight. As Rin prepared herself for her meeting, she realized that she would be meeting another Master and Servant without her own immediately present. Sure, Avenger wasn't too far away, but it might mean all the difference depending on how fast the enemy Servant was. Stop worrying, there is no fighting during the daytime, she told herself. She then remembered the devastation of last night's battle. Probably.
Regardless, keeping an air of control was key, so she positioned herself facing away from the door to the roof, sipping her drink casually. When she heard the door open, she said to the open air "I must say, I am surprised you would return after the rather… undignified manner in which you left the last time." She turned with a smirk on her face. "Then again, I suppose you are used to the taste of dirt in your mouth."
Luviagelita Edlefelt returned Rin's smirk with a vitriolic smile of her own as she walked through the doorway to the roof. "And hello to you as well, Tohsaka. I see that your manners have not improved since last we met either, but I suppose that is only to be expected of a family of scoundrels and barbarians such as yourself."
Rin's kept her face neutral at the comment, instead focusing on the task at hand and looking behind the blonde girl to see the Servant she summoned. Unfortunately, even as the man took his place behind and to the left of her and whispered something in her ear there wasn't much to see. He was clearly of European descent, with brown eyes and hair, but that was all she could tell about him. The fact that he was currently materialized was the reason she could see him at all, but his Master had been smart enough to dress him in an unassuming black driver's outfit and cap. Regardless of his attire though, she was still acutely aware of his presence, and how she was lacking her own Servant at the moment. Remain in control, she thought to herself. "Using your Servant as your driver? How wasteful, both in his services and you own reserves."
Luvia merely looked smug at this. "If we are doing away with all pretense, then I will freely admit that I have enough prana to spare to be indulgent. You on the other hand do not even have your Servant with you."
Rin casually shrugged. "He will be here if he's needed." She said, seemingly totally unconcerned with her apparent disadvantage. "In any case, what has brought you here? I would have thought you would have reconsidered joining this school once you knew someone better than you was already attending it."
Luvia titled. "As adorable as your misconceptions are, I have no intention of going to this little school. I merely want to stop by and see if a certain lout had gotten herself involved in something out of her depth." She gave Rin a fluffy smile. "It's only right to look out after others after all."
The other girl merely tilted her head to the side. Confirming that she was in the War did make sense, but didn't it also draw unwanted attention? She needed to know more about what Luvia was planning for the school. "And that is the only reason you came here? Just to see me? I am flattered, though I assure you that your concern is unneeded. Besides, I am far more concerned with keeping our student body unaware of what is really going on in this city, which would be difficult if I had to fight off a troll who barges in."
"Oh please." Luvia countered. "Unlike some people, I do have a sense of decorum. If anything, the plebeians here would be delighted by my presence."
"Yes, right up until they become your unwitting pawns. At least I can say I have their interests in mind."
For the first time since they started talking, a slight look of confusion crossed the blonde's face before it smoothed back out. "I am not sure what you are getting at Tohsaka, but I assure you I have no interest in harming any of these children. Besides which, he would be very cross with me if I did." She said while gesturing to her Servant, who had been watching the back and forth with a small grimace of disappointment.
Rin's brow furrowed. She would have thought the other magus would have let something slip about her spell if just to gloat, but it looked like she was a better liar than Rin gave her credit for. Well, it didn't matter in the end because-
Sudden the Servant at Luvia's side blinked and stood up straighter. "Mistress, we should leave."
Before either of the girls could question this, the fire alarm went off. The two were equally nonplussed by this, though Luvia recovered first and gave a sigh. "Well, I supposed there isn't much more to be said anyway. I expect for you to put up at least something of a challenge in the days to come, Tohsaka." She said, before she primly turned on her heel and left.
Rin had only a moment to look after her before her own Servant floated up through the floor. "Job's done." he said.
Rin turned and looked at him with a frown. "Avenger… you didn't just pull the fire alarm did you?"
Avenger actually manager to look offended at this. "What? Of course not! What kind of man do you take me for? Incidentally, we really should leave the building. Like, now."
She stared at him for a few moments before a more unpleasant thought occurred to her. "Avenger..." she said in a low growl, "you didn't just light the building on fire did you?"
"It's amazing what a person can do with the contents of a chemistry cabinet, janitor's closet and a few empty classrooms." He said proudly.
Red started to seep into the corners of Rin's vision as she seethed. "Why in God's name would you do that?! How does that possibly help in any way?!"
"Simple!" He scoffed, as if it should be obvious to her. "You can't have a spell cast over a building if the building's burnt down!"
Rin started then started to scream at him till her voice gave out.
Sakura and Shinji walked home in silence, the former because she had nothing in particular to say, the later because he was busy stewing in his own anger. While at any other time the boy would have view the shutting down of the school as a blessing to get away from things that bored him, now it had proven an interruption to his plans. It wasn't until they were almost home that he suddenly spoke up and said "I don't see what you're so happy about. If you didn't notice your whole plan to get more prana is screwed!"
He didn't say this to Sakura, but rather to his 'girlfriend' who was walking in front of them with a small spring in her step. She turned and gave Shinji a coy look as she said "Oh, the school was always going to be just a test. I'm happy because it worked so well for a first attempt. And for the fact that those two other Masters so focused on each other they did not even think there was a third party involved." She glanced at the bag at Shinji's side. "The book of False Attendant worked marvelously as well. They were not able to detect that either of you were a Master."
In spite of her reassurances, Shinji let out a grunt of annoyance as he gripped his bag tighter. "I still think this stupid. You shouldn't bother with all this subtlety and just rip the souls right out of the plebs like the cattle they are."
Sakura felt her stomach tightened at this, but she didn't fail to notice the slight twist of the Servant's mouth or how her tone became more sickeningly sweet. "But of course I will do as you command Master, but you shouldn't let short term gains take precedence over your long term plan. By building power subtly we can avoid noticed and let the others weaken each other before we strike. If circumstances present themselves later, then perhaps the direct method of acquiring prana can be used." She looked off to the side and gestured, and a dove from a nearby tree flew over and landed on her outstretched hand. As she stroked it she said "If there are any we could afford to eliminate now, it would be that dark haired Master. If you are as familiar with her as you say, all you would need to do is slip that vial I gave you into her drink and then there is one less problem"
"I have plans for that Tohsaka bitch." Shinji replied with a growl. "I need her to see how wrong she is about me, and for her to grovel for forgiveness for looking down on me."
"Of course, of course. You certainly seem to know what the right course of action is." The girl said smoothly as she let the dove fly, instantly capitulating.
The boy frowned for a few moments, but if he suspected that she was being insincere he didn't say it. Instead he replied "In any case, we're still going to need something bigger than the school. Something much bigger."
"Oh don't worry, I know just the place to start." She cooed. "Humanity will always have place to gather and interact, and this age is no different. Besides which, it will give me chance to have some fun with them too."
It was at the point the trio reached the Maotu Manner and let themselves in, though the blue haired boy gave an exasperated sigh. "Why the hell can't you just be a normal Servant?" He asked, his eyes flickering to Sakura to make sure she knew whose fault it was for their odd Servant. "You can fight, but you prefer to dick around with magecraft rather going the direct route. You can't even properly turn invisible, and instead make everyone look at you like an attention grabbing whore!" he put his hands on his hips and glared at her. "Just what kind of Assassin are you?"
If the Servant in front of them was offended, she didn't show it. In fact, she didn't even immediately turn to face him, instead walking a short distance into the fourier, her hips swinging provocatively. Eventually, she said "There are so many ways kill, even when restricting oneself to the more subtle methods. The true masters are said to be those that leave no trace of their passing, and they are but ghost which death follows. There are certainly merits to this… but that is not me."
She spun in place and the glamor she had spun around her body faded. Her youthful features changed from that of a girl into a woman of immense beauty, her raven black hair swept past her elfin ears and now reached to the floor, and her eyes twinkled with a dark cunning. Her clothes changed from a school girl's outfit to an elaborate gothic dress, all black save for the ruffles of red at her waist. As she walked back towards Shinji, the motion of her high heeled feet gave her a swing to her hips. Her gloved arms folded gently under her ample chest, which was covered only by a lacy corset. "If it is desired not to be see, how much greater is it then for all to see you and still get away with it. How much greater to gain their confidence, their trust, to have them so focused on you yet never see the knife plunging into their back or the poison in their cup. How much greater to stare into their eyes in that last moment so they can see the passion you had for their death."
She stopped in front of Shinji and she leaned forward, her hand reaching forward to caress his cheek and her voice barely above a whisper. "I am the first Assassin. And I swear I shall be victorious, Master." Her tone was almost sensual, and it had the desired effect by the way Shinji shivered slightly at her words. All thoughts of dissatisfaction gone, a lecherous gleam entered his eyes and he reached out for her. However, she captured his hand with her own and said "Why don't you retire to your room? There are a few matters with the defensive Bounded Fields I must look into, but I shall be up shortly so that we can… discuss our plans."
Her insinuations were clear, and a grin split his face. "Oh yes, I'm looking forward to it." And with that, he trotted out of the fourier and up the stairs. Sakura looked after her brother with mixed feelings, though she couldn't tell why. Shinji seemed to be happy with how things were going again, and ostensibly no one had to die needlessly. But why did she still feel so helpless?
A sigh to her left got her attention. "Men. Let them think that they're making all the decisions and they can be so easy." Sakura looked to see Assassin giving her a sidelong glance, a rueful smile playing on her lips. "Particularly the one's that let their smaller brains do the thinking for them. Sometimes it seems like my greatest ally and coconspirator is the thing that dangles between their legs."
Sakura blushed at this. ""T-thank you for keeping my brother happy." she said. "I know he can be trying at times, and you shouldn't have to… go that far with him."
Assassin looked at the younger girl in confusion for a moment before she suddenly burst out into a lyrical laughter. "You actually think I have touched that little oaf? Are you really that innocent?" As soon as she said that though her smile died somewhat, as if an unpleasant thought crossed her mind. "No, just blind in this case I suppose."
It was now Sakura's turn to be confused. "Wait, if you're not doing… that with him then why..."
The other woman recomposed herself and her smile returned. "Oh, I have a great deal of experience with men like him. He certainly thinks that we have already done all manner of debauch, but let's just say that I have found a number of different ways to make men very… suggestible." A small bottle containing a black liquid suddenly appeared in her hand, dancing between her fingers before it disappeared back to wherever she had been hiding it. "While my methods may be more advanced and varied than most, I feel that it is a skill which all women who desire control over their lives should lean."
"Oh," Sakura said, not really sure what to say about that. She supposed that she could have felt indignant on Shinji's behalf for the Servant's deception, but her need to defend her sibling hardly went that far. No, she was feeling something different at learning this, something more personal. Her body unconsciously shifted as she tried to place the emotion, and when she finally figured it out, it took her by surprise: Envy.
It would be nice if I could do something like that.
"But it would seem that not all are successful in that field." Sakura's attention snapped back to Servant to find Assassin looking at her. The purple haired girl couldn't stop herself from cringing slightly. No one had really told Assassin what her true Master's situation was like, but by this point how could she not at least have an idea? She was summoned in the worm pit where Sakura had her daily training, and her Double Summon skill made her a Caster as well as an Assassin. She must have a reasonable idea of what Sakura's life was like given that and the way her family treated her.
However, rather than looking at her with scorn for being weak willed, Assassin gave her a much softer expression. It was look that conveyed the woman's true age, a deeper wisdom that hid behind those dark eyes. In a moment the look was gone and Assassin's demeanor was back to normal, but Sakura couldn't help but feel that something important was expressed. Something that made her feel a little better.
She did not have time to dwell on it, as a moment later the woman in black said "In any case, after all of my business is done here I need to venture out into the city to acquaint myself with the populous. You shall accompany me."
"W-what?" Sakura said. "But why? Wouldn't Shinji-"
"I will need a guide for my efforts and my Master will have other thing on his mind." She said with a smirk. "Besides which, from what I understand of this culture, women frequently gather in social groups to go purchase things together. It shall be the perfect cover. Make sure to wear something suitable. If you don't have anything, I suppose we will have to acquire you the appropriate finery."
She then astralized and left Sakura to her own thoughts, wondering if she really was about to go on a shopping trip with an ancient Assyrian Queen.
"Oh come on, that was obviously a dive!" Caster yelled at the television. "This game is bullshit if the ref allows this! Anyone who tried that kind of shit in my day would have their legs broke for real so they wouldn't be liars!" He leaned back on the couch with a scowl on his face. Reinforcing the Bounded Fields around the loft he and Bazette were currently calling home and patching up his Master's suit had proved to be just as dull as he feared, so he had taken up on watching some modern entertainment while he worked to amuse himself. His Master had suggested a sport she was fond of, but so far he wasn't seeing the appeal. It was just a bunch of guys kicking a ball around and sometimes tripping each other.
"It's an away game. Of course the ref's are going to side with the Bohemians. Shelbourne'll still make up the difference though." Bazette commented from her place on the other side of the room, still shuffling through papers and documents about her quarry. Caster spared a look back and a frown crossed his face. She had barely bothered to rest since last night's fight before she was up again trying to work out whatever this Phahn guy was up to. Hell she hadn't even bothered to talk to him about what happened during that last fight yet, like it didn't really matter to her at all.
Caster was not what one would call a strategist, but he still felt that she should probably be at least a little concerned about the Fire boy and his tiny but fierce Servant, especially since he had already stated he was pretty sure they were still alive. That boy's entire nature was that of fire, and even then it surprised Caster that he was able gain control of his own Divine flames. And the fact that his woman had use Protection from Arrows was very suspicions. Caster knew that particular skill wasn't terrible common. Given that and the fact that her Instinct had improved to his level by the end of the fight, he could almost swear she learned it from him.
He was about to bring up the topic himself before Bazette suddenly said "You're sure that Phahn can't summon multiple Servants, right?"
Caster rolled his eyes at being asked that question for the third time today. "For the last time yes. I mean, From what I can tell this Grail System has a number of safeguards and limitations built into it. You'd need at least some intimate knowledge of how the whole thing worked to even attempt something like that, and the only people who have that are those three families that first made it. Why do you keep needing to hear that?"
"Because then this would make sense." Bazette growled out before tossing a folder back on the desk. "The man has stolen well over a dozen artifacts from all over Europe which have no connection to each other! And don't even get me started on the archaeology and paleontology museums in Russia!" She gave a sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose before finally turning back in her seat to look at her Servant. "I can see at least six possible candidates for him to Summon as Servants should he use them as Catalysts. Why would he bother getting all of them if he wasn't planning on using them all?"
Caster shrugged. "Well, I'm pretty sure that if he did the Administrator would have noticed it by now, and I'm guessing that he'd be none too happy about that." Curiosity got the better of him and he asked "By the way, what Servants?"
The woman reached for a piece of paper and began reading of the items on it. "There was a bronze platter that was said to belong to Herodias, the Killer of Saints. A spear which once belonged to Theoderic the Great, the Exile King of Germania. The remnants of a bow belonging to Eadric Clid, the Wild Outlaw. The crown of Valdamar IV, The New Dawn. A horn inscribed with Celtic text which might be related to Fionn mac Cumhaill, The Warrior Hunter." Caster peaked up slightly at hearing a Hero from his part of the world, but his master continued on with a small grimace on her face. "And a dagger he acquired from some black market antique dealers. Supposedly, it was Carnwennan, the dagger of King Arthur."
Caster let out a low whistle. "Damn, now that would be a hell of a fight. Then again, maybe he got them all because he wasn't sure if he had the real thing and was hedging his bets."
"Maybe, but if that's the case, then why collect all the other things as well? He collected arrowheads from an ancient Germanic tribe, an old flintlock rifle from England, and that's not even going into the artifacts that are clearly connected to gods. Odin, Arawn, Woden, and let's not forget Lugh consider his theft of Fragarach." She said, a hint of bitterness creeping into her tone.
The servant tilted his head. "Well, him and grandpa Manannan."
Bazette blinked. "What?"
"Yeah, most people forget that while my dad wielded the sword Fragarach while he was doing his God of War thing, he originally got the thing from his dad Manannan, God of the Sea."
"Oh." She said, a frown slowly creasing her face. She glanced back down at the list in her hand, her head tilting to the side. It looked like something was nagging her, something she couldn't quite put into words. She turned back to Caster with a question forming on her lips before her eyes widened and face froze. It then twisted into anger. "Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me!"
The man leaned a little away from her, surprised at the outburst. "Huh? What is it?"
"You gave McFinnigan a red card?! That's bullshit you lying sack of crap!"
Caster stared at her in complete confusion, having no idea what the hell she was talking about. He felt a small bit of panic when she got up and started walking over to him clearly pissed off about something, but it changed to confusion again when she simply vaulted over the couch past him and towards the tv. Bazette grabbed the tv and started shaking it violently. "I will find where you live, you hear me?!" She shouted at the inanimate box. "I will strangle you to death with your own esophagus and piss on your grave, you worthless lying dickbag!"
Caster watched the outburst with mixed feelings of confusion, fear, and for some odd reason a faint bit of arousal. After a moment a small smirk split his face. The sport may have be boring, but it looked like its fans were right up his alley.
A/N: So another Servant is revealed. As you might have guessed, I'm handling Assassin a little differently than she was used in canon, particularly with Presence Concealment. It struck me as a little odd for have such a charismatic Queen become unnoticeable, so I decided to mix it up a bit.
As far as the whole thing with Phahn is concerned, I'm doing something unique with his Servant. Internet cookie to the first guy that figures it out.
One last thing. I've said earlier that the reason for the differences between the Church in the nasuverse and the real church is that Christianity never schismed there. Well, as it turns out the real reason is much simpler than that: Nasu never cared to get his facts straight or come up with a cohesive history for the Church. So… yeah, take that as you will.
Till next time.