In recent news, I'm not dead! Hey everyone, looks like I'm back from the grave and have a new chapter for Return of the Spring. Anyway this chapter finds our cast dealing with the events of the previous day, and new events as well. The part of Shirou's heroism is based on a true event that happened, so ten points to who can use my context clues to name it. More notes at the end. For now enjoy! (and Review this sucker! It's been nine months!)
Night had settled on the small community, with many families having recalled their young ones to come into their homes for the night. The only noise that resounded outside in the cool, evening air was a small whoosh of wind as a large blur entered the area. A few birds scattered at the sudden entrance of the person responsible for the disturbance upon their roost on the rooftop.
Shirou placed Amu down on the roof, and the younger girl beamed happily at her older brother. The girl's hair was a pink mess as having soared through the air at ridiculous speeds caused it to become that way. However, the third companion in the group wasn't as happy about the trip. Shirou noted that Ran was looking quite shaken about being launched at high velocities without much warning.
"Shirou-nii, what do you think the prince is going to tell us when we see him next?" Amu asked the older teen. Shirou rubbed his jaw thoughtfully.
"Most likely he will explain what has been happening to you, since he appeared to have a Guardian of his own. I also hope he will explain some more about this Ikuto that seemed so bent on capturing our new friend here." Shirou indicated toward Ran. "In any case, I could always just beat the answer out of him…" Amu's face turned surprisingly red and she began trying to beat on Shirou.
"N-No Shirou, no beating up the Prince!" Ran floated up toward Shirou's face and nodded defiantly in response to Amu's emotions.
"Shirou-kun, you can't beat people up for answers, besides I can tell you some things if you really want to know." Amu stopped her tirade and looked toward the small, floating Chara.
"Well…what is a Guardian Character?" the young girl asked quietly, and Shirou also looked toward Ran, expecting an answer.
"We are the self you want to be," the fairy replied simply. Amu had a puzzled looked on her face and Shirou pondered that a bit. 'The self you want to be?'
"Elaborate a bit on that for me," Shirou replied. Ran nodded.
"You see Shirou-kun, Amu-chan wished for a different personality, and it was out of that desire that I was born. Up until a few hours ago I was sleeping, just like these guys," Ran explained, indicating the other two eggs Amu had begun thumbing at. "We are Amu's personality eggs."
"The person you want to become…" Amu whispered under her breath. "An obedient girl."
"What was that, imouto?" Shirou asked the young girl, until she suddenly launched up and grabbed Ran in her hands.
"That was you! I had forgotten all about that," Amu slumped slightly as she remembered the events from the assembly earlier that day. Her features fell as she remembered what the prince had told her "I was rejected…" Amu shuffled slightly as the trio made their way into her room. Shirou sat next down to his imouto as she flopped onto her bed.
"What are you two talking about?" Shirou asked Amu quietly, as he began to rub her head. Amu sat up from her current position and Shirou removed his hand from her.
"During the assembly Ran performed her transformation and changed my personality. I jumped up in front of everyone there…and confessed my crush for the prince. Now I just know no one will talk to me at school and it's all her fault!" Amu pointed an accusing finger at her Guardian Chara.
"Imouto…" Shirou began but Amu let out a scream of frustration and dove underneath her pillow.
"Just get out! I don't know if you're a Guardian Spirit or a Character, but stop tampering with my life!" Ran physically jerked back at Amu's words, but floated slowly back to her egg and entered it. Shirou gave Amu's form one last loving hug before he exited the room and left his imouto to slumber.
The following day – with Amu
As the morning bell tolled from the towers of Seiyo Academy, Amu trudged slowly along to her first class. Her gaze was cast downward in a saddened state. 'Ah, heading into class…I bet everyone will be talking about how big of a fool I made of myself.' Amu reflected on the events that had happened the prior day during the assembly, and how Ran had taken over her personality. 'I wish she had never come into my life…I should have just skipped class today.'
As the pink-haired girl walked into the building, she was quickly swept up in the crowd of students that were bustling about inside the school as she continued her quiet journey to her homeroom. Most of the students were too busy to pay much mind to her, but a few stopped and stared at her. 'I'm sure it's some big scandal now…' Amu thought piteously as she continued to her homeroom. Silence reigned as she entered into the classroom, as the entirety of her classmates just looked at her entrance with mixed emotions. 'They'll say 'all the rumors about her are all wrong;' I'm sure they're all thinking about how uncool I am.' Amu slipped her backpack off and sat down in her desk, looking down at the floor sadly. A small noise caught her attention.
"Ah…Hinamori-san?" Amu looked up slowly, and scooted back in her desk in surprise as three girls were suddenly in her face, looking very excited. "Yesterday was amazing! It must have taken so much courage to confess like that!"
"Yea! Hinamori-san likes the prince too!" another girl next to her cheered loudly. Another girl nodded enthusiastically.
"It was so amazing~!" Amu stared at the girls dumbfounded, caught off guard by the sudden attention. 'What's with these girls all of a sudden…?' "We always thought you had such a 'cool' personality, Hinamori-san!" The second girl nodded.
"We've always wanted to know you better! Is it okay if I call you Amu-chan?"
"Uh…sure," Amu nodded, still confused about the current situation. The three girls lit up brightly and soon Amu found herself grinning as well. The four dove into a conversation regarding the prince. 'None of its true at all! All it took was opening up, and these girls are my friends.' Amu thought happily. As the four girls giggled and the rest of the class resumed its normal routine, the door to the room slid open.
"Excuse me," a feminine voice called out to the room at large. Amu looked over to see who had entered the room and raised her brows in surprise. 'The Queen's Chair from before! What is a Guardian doing here?' The purple haired Guardian walked into the room and her features turned friendly as she spotted Amu.
"Hinamori-san right…?" The Queen's Chair approached Amu, and handed her an envelope. "Today after school, we'll be waiting in the Royal Garden," the girl then leaned closer to Amu's ear and whispered, "It's a message from Hotori-kun, about the eggs." Amu took the envelope into her hands as the purple haired girl walked out of the room. The other students still silent.
"Amazing Amu-chan," a girl from before gushed, "You've been invited to the Royal Garden's Tea Party!" Amu gazed questioningly at the paper in her hands. 'Tea party? That's right, this is an invitation!' Amu's bag began to rustle slightly as Ran poked her head out from her hiding spot.
"What's a tea party?" Amu whipped around, gasping, and quickly shoved Ran back down into her bag.
"Is something wrong, Amu-chan?" a girl asked her.
"Uh, nothing's wrong!" Amu laughed, brushing off the question. As she whipped back around to her desk, the pinkette never noticed her second egg, a blue one, bounce onto the floor. It cracked in the middle and a small blue-haired fairy poked her head out from the shell.
Yokosuka District, Kanagawa Prefecture
Later – with Shirou
'A Guardian Character, huh?' Shirou thought to himself as he began to tighten his focus on the object in front of him. The teen began sweating a bit under the strain he was putting himself, but it couldn't be helped. 'The closest thing I've ever heard of is the guardian spirits, but those were an entirely different matter.' Shirou shuddered at that thought. The combination of forcing a human soul onto an animal's was just unnatural. The magus grunted under the effort he was putting forth into his exercise.
The teen currently stood on a small island just off the coast of the Yokosuka district, and was currently testing his magecraft. This whole turn of events had put him on edge, and as such he decided he would need to step up his game in case of any potential threats. 'Like Tsukiyomi…' The blue-haired young man quickly made a jump onto Shirou's threat watch when he attacked Amu. Shirou let loose a breath as he reached out with his senses and began utilizing his ability of structural grasping to get a quick lay of the land. Shirou's mind flashed back to a different time when he was much younger.
When he had been a young boy, Shirou had begged his father tirelessly to teach him even the simplest form of magecraft, but the former Magus Killer had refused just a tirelessly. Finally after a long time, Emiya Kiritsugu had relented to teaching his adopted son thaumaturgy. The boy had never really excelled in any formal magecraft, as the only concept he could ever really grasp was Material Transmutation, the skill of interfering with properties of an object.
As time went on, the boy's father revealed to him that he was slowly dying, and thus could teach his boy very little about his magecraft, nor could Shirou inherit the Emiya crest due to being of different blood, and the risk involved in transplanting it was too great. However, the old man did teach him one thing about his magecraft. That Shirou was accessing his Magic Circuits incorrectly and quickly snapped the boy out of that deadly habit. So the young boy trained tirelessly in his only true spells, until that fated night when she appeared.
Saber, the Servant he had summoned during the Fifth Holy Grail War, had changed everything. Well…the Grail War itself had, but still, the woman had a huge impact on the young man. The greatest influence on the young Shirou had probably been himself. Literally.
Archer, the Servant of Rin, had really been a twisted version of him from the future, summoned forth by the same jeweled pendant that Rin had used to save his life from fatal wound given to him by Lancer. Throughout the war, the prolonged contact the two had with one another bypassed many years of training, honing Shirou's once mediocre abilities. During their final conflict, more memories of EMIYA flowed into the boy, and it was a rather painful experience.
That hadn't been enough though. Although the teen had been gifted the Unlimited Blade Works, and its entire store along with seeing Gilgamesh use his Gates of Babylon, Shirou still had a long way to go with his most basic techniques of Structural Grasping and Reinforcement, which is why the teen was on the island today.
Shirou exhaled and got up from his spot on the ground he had taken during his quick meditation into his past, and then closed his eyes as he focused his sights inward. Reinforcing anything organic, let alone the human body, was very complex. When Shirou reinforced himself, he normally did so in a very quick manner and filled in the larger 'imperfections' of his being and achieved adequate results. At his maximum with this style, he could lift up to 1020 kg and run roughly forty kilometers per hour.
The point of this exercise was to speed up his time it took him to reinforce his body to a more in-depth degree, so he could potentially achieve even greater results. Structural grasping was always necessitous in both Tracing and Reinforcement, so Shirou had made sure that his ability to grasp anything he came into contact with was perfect, refined to the point he could grasp the entirety of almost anything, save for a few more abstract Noble Phantasms or things on a large scale, within moments.
So Shirou dove deep within his being, and carefully mapped out the imperfections starting within his bones and working out to the major organs and main muscle groups. Soon the map of his structure was completed, and then, very carefully, the young magus trickled od into his body, and his Circuits began to heat up, as it required much more power to do this. Soon the identified gaps were filled with the prana, and Shirou felt it quite literally down to his bones. This technique of absolutely reinforcing the body could be quite deadly if he could achieve his entire being quickly enough.
The young man, satisfied that he was reinforced, walked about his training ground and once he found a suitable area, he kicked off from the ground. The results were almost immediately noticeable. He sailed nearly three times the height he could normally achieve and once he reached the apex of his height, the teen braced himself as gravity quickly took over and pulled him back down. Once the young man touched down he allowed the prana in his body to be overwhelmed by his natural resistance, and judging by the position of the sun, he had been there for quite some time thinking.
Walking away from where he had landed, Shirou went down toward the small dock that was on this little island and boarded the rented boat. Once inside he piloted the craft away back toward land.
Once Shirou returned the watercraft to the marina, he began making his way toward the main train line, so he could return to Seiyo in time to make his afternoon shift. As the magus walked along his path toward the station, his magic sense flared up. 'What could possibly be setting my senses off?' He stopped at an intersection and eyed around until he picked out a lanky form atop an apartment building. Reinforcing his vision, Shirou identified the person on the roof. 'The cat is back apparently, but what is he doing so far south of our last meeting?'
Shirou casually walked with the crowd until he was near the building enough to clearly see the other teen. He could easily jump to the top, but with so many people he couldn't expose himself. Instead he walked around to the side of the building and made his way over to the fire escape, before slightly reinforcing his legs to jump up to the ladder.
After pulling himself up the escape, Shirou began climbing up the winding stairs and eventually reached the top of the apartment complex and to his luck, Tsukiyomi hadn't taken off. Shirou began walking over to the other teen.
"Back for round two, nya? Don't think it will be so easy!" Shirou looked around quickly, and saw that the small cat Chara was flitting around his head. "I'm not so scared of you, tough guy! C'mon me and you let's go!" Shirou sighed inwardly.
"Enough, Yoru." Tsukiyomi calmly ordered his Chara. The small fairy whipped around and eyed the boy.
"Why, he isn't so tough. He doesn't have his big chain from last time, nya!" Shirou just stood patiently and replied.
"I would be slightly afraid, little cat."
"Yeah, what for?" Yoru asked brazenly, before he turned back around to face his new opponent, only to see that the auburn-haired magus had managed to somehow arm himself with a Wakizashi. "W-What are you going to do, nya?" The small Chara flew behind his master, and the blue-haired teen arched a brow.
"Yes, what do you want? Have you been hunting me all this time, Hinamori-san?" Tsukiyomi asked Shirou. Shirou pretended to sheathe the small blade behind his back before dismissing it. "Or did the little king let you in on what exactly he thinks we're doing?" It was now Shirou's turn to arch a brow. 'What exactly does he mean by that?'
"Let's clear some things up first; my name is Emiya, not Hinamori. Next, all I really know about you is that you attempted to steal something rather precious from Amu, and you then attacked us. That's what I want to know about."
"Well then Emiya, I'm not really able to talk about it, so I suggest you drop the matter," Tsukiyomi replied harshly. "Otherwise, it won't matter who you are, if you get in our way, things won't be very fun for anyone." Shirou shook his head.
"Not good enough, Tsukiyomi, what did you want Ran for, and don't dodge my question." Shirou said firmly, but the Alley Cat just sighed before he muttered something to Yoru, who nodded slightly, affirming it with a small 'nya.'
"I suggest you back down, or this will not end well for you. Just return to Hinamori and we will meet again soon." Shirou put his hands behind his back and traced three Black Keys into them each, before brandishing the favored weapons of the Executioners. "Oh, so now you have claws? So do I. Yoru." The small Chara flitted around the teen's head before seemingly merging with his body. The Alley Cat began emitting a vibrant blue light and cat ears appeared on his head and he sprouted a long, slinking tail. His outfit was replaced with a rather short navy top and navy pants, and on his right hand appeared a glove with cat's claws. "Do you want to leave now?"
"No," was all Shirou uttered before he charged the other youth head on. Tsukiyomi ducked down into a feral crouch before launching himself at Shirou. With his right hand extended, the transformed teen swiped at the magus, but Shirou managed to block with his Keys. Swiping upward Shirou managed to barely nick the other teen, but the magus did see a bit of blood fall from his torso. Looking up fearfully, the blue-haired teen jumped backwards. 'Apparently he's never been in a serious fight…too bad.' Shirou mused.
As the Alley Cat landed on his feet from his leap backwards, Shirou took note of where his shadow was cast, and took aim with all six of his Keys. Tsukiyomi froze up as the six blades flew towards him, but then slackened his stance as they missed and nailed into the ground behind him. Shirou simply shook his head, as the transformed boy noticed he couldn't move. One of the abilities of the Black Keys was being able to paralyze an enemy by striking their shadow. After being pinned by six, Tsukiyomi wasn't going anywhere.
"What is this Emiya?" The cat asked annoyance clearly in his voice. "Are you going to kill me now? What would Amu think of you?" Shirou slightly bristled at that, but it did make him stop. He could just kill him, but after so much time with his younger sister, what would she think of him? 'I must be going soft, five months ago, this cat would've been dead long before this. I really am pulling my punches…'
"No, not because of what my imouto would think of me, but you still haven't told me what you wanted from her. So the choice is yours, you can either tell me, or…" he trailed off as Gáe Bulg found its way into his hand. "Well you get the idea."
Sweat formed on the transformed youth's brow slightly as he considered Shirou's words. His current opponent seemed to be too well trained to simply be another one of the boy king's allies. Rather than show his spear-wielding foe the fear that had begun to cycle inside of him, Tsukiyomi gave a grunt of a laugh. Shirou became annoyed with his incompliance.
"You still don't get it do you? It seems you really don't have any connection to the child king after all, aside from Amu of course. Tell me, Emiya, what would do you if I told you that there was a way to grant you any wish you desired?" Shirou's mind flashed back to the days of the Fifth War, and Tsukiyomi noticed the distant and somewhat pained look on his face. Just as quickly as his face changed, it reverted to the steady gaze it held moments before.
"I would say you are tampering with powers that you can barely comprehend," Shirou stated frankly. Obviously this wasn't the answer the Cat had been expecting, but the magus continued. "Let me ask you something then. Are you prepared for what needs to be done to acquire something of that nature?" His eyes narrowed. "Do you really believe in your very soul that you can put yourself above all others, even your Guardian Character, to achieve what you want. Do you think you're the only one who would want to get their hands on something like that? How do you plan on keeping them out of the way? Disable them? Kill them?"
The dark-haired teen shook a bit at the words, but then his face hardened. "What are you talking about? Some of us fight to keep it from winding up in the wrong hands, but the Embryo can grant a wish to everybody, one wish per person." Shirou shook his head quickly, the other teen still not seeing the point.
"You don't understand my words though. Regardless of the fact if it can grant one wish per person or one all together, people will still fight! Don't you think if a certain group obtained it they would want to withhold the object from anyone else who threated their plans? It would cause fighting, and if that's what Amu is caught up in the middle of, I will not allow her to become involved in a Sixth War!" His mind made up, Shirou extended Gáe Bulg in his hand and aimed it toward the youth. Right before the strike could be made, a beam of what appeared to be phantom butterflies descended upon the two.
The demonic spear left Shirou's hands and he quickly traced a long sword with a golden blade and white hilt. The Rune Save blade was one that could cut that which could not be cut, and Shirou slashed at attack and dispelled it. After dismissing the blade, Shirou looked up to see who had been attacking. A small blonde girl, no taller than Amu, descended to the rooftop next to Tsukiyomi.
"What are you doing here?" The Cat asked the girl, a grind in his voice. The small girl giggled a bit. "Don't just stand there, destroy those knives behind me." The younger girl nodded and attacked the Black Keys. Shirou was already moving at this point. The small blonde let out a pained cry as she was rammed by Shirou until he had her pressed against a wall, as large, plain dagger traced in his hand and at her throat. In his mad dash, the magus failed to notice Tsukiyomi ending his transformation and having his Character pull out the remaining Keys. "Let her go, Emiya."
"Isn't this nice? A bit of role reversal," Shirou pointed out how he had managed to duplicate the situation he and Amu faced the previous day. "Tell me what this Embryo is now."
"It is a special egg that can grant wishes, it is made from the Heart's Egg and it is an extremely rare occurrence." Tsukiyomi answered quickly. Shirou nodded in slight satisfaction and released the girl.
"You're lucky your big brother was willing to play nice, otherwise, he might not have had a little sister anymore," Shirou whispered harshly to the girl. He let her up and she quickly flew behind the Alley Cat. 'Good, the more they fear, the more they stay away.' "Now get out of my sight before I decide to not be so forgiving." With that, Shirou traced Kanshou and Bakuya in his hands and threw them. The two others flinched, but opened their eyes when the bonded blades landed in the concrete in front of them, and Shirou had disappeared from the rooftop.
School Practice Grounds
Second Period – with Amu
As an instructor blew her whistle, Amu was currently seated down next to her fellow classmates in a row, waiting to hear their instructor's words about the activity they would be doing in gym that day. The pink-haired girl stared at the ground in contemplative thought as she recalled the events from the previous class. 'Why would the Queen's Chair or the Guardians want to invite me to a meeting? It must be about the Characters.' The girl perked up when she noticed a classmate trying to get her attention.
"Don't you think so Amu-chan?" A girl with short, blonde hair asked her. Amu looked at her with a question gaze.
"I'm sorry, what were you saying?" The other girl frowned slightly, but regained her cheery expression a few seconds later.
"I was saying now that the third trimester is almost over, they're most likely going to be picking new Guardians. That must be why the current Queen's Chair came in to talk to you! It's definitely an honor to join the Royal Guardians!"
"I don't think that's why…" Amu trailed off. 'But at least I'll be able to see the Prince again…' The girl fought back a blush.
"Hey Amu-chan, why'd you bring your bag to gym class?" The other girl asked the pinkette before the teacher blew her whistle bringing the class back to reality.
"All right, stop talking! Today you're going to be working by yourselves. Let's give it our all at the challenge bar!" Amu paled at her teacher's declaration. 'T-The challenge bar? Why does it have to be that?' As Amu worriedly contemplated how she would perform at the activity, she didn't notice Ran pop up out of her bag.
"Be first, Amu-chan," the small sprite cheered from her hidden location.
The pink-haired girl's eyes widened a fraction as she felt the familiar sense of her Character Change being activated. The teacher moved in front of the students and began eyeing them over.
"Now which one of you will be first?" The teacher asked, and as she did Amu rocketed from her spot on the ground and jumped wildly into the air. "H-Hinamori-san, I haven't called your number yet!" Amu, not in control of her actions any longer, kept in motion and grabbed ahold of the tallest bar in the line and began swinging herself back and forth until she was spinning around it rapidly. At her display of apparent athletic genius, the other students in the group began praising her.
"Amu-chan that's amazing!" the girl who had been talking with her previously called out to her in cheer. Many other students echoed her praises, while the teacher was frozen in shock at the sudden prowess her pupil had displayed. Amu came to a halt at the top of the bar and entered into a one-handed vertical stretch.
She stayed in that position for a few moments, before she grabbed onto the bar with her other hand and swung a few more times before dismounting the bar with grace of a seasoned Olympian. After she dismounted the bar, Amu sank to her knees in exhaustion and weakly smiled at the rest of the class, who were all cheering for her.
Amu climbed to her feet, and began to move to sit back down next to her classmates to let someone else have a go at the bar, before she felt a hand on her shoulder. The teen looked behind her and saw her teacher standing there, a look of astonishment still plastered on her face, and the teacher slowly pointed to a very familiar face. Amu shirked back.
Takebashi Station, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Earlier – with Shirou
After having dealt with the Alley Cat, Shirou had decided to hop the metro and explore more of the city before he had to return to work in a few hours. The subway finally rolled into Takebashi and Shirou assimilated into the outflow of people and ascended the stairway to the streets of Chiyoda.
During all of his time in Tokyo, he had never actually seen the Imperial Palace, and it had always been something he had wanted to do if he found the time. While this was not his world, the cityscape seemed to be extremely similar if not the exact same to the Tokyo of his home. Shirou emerged onto the streets and was greeted to a rush of warm air and he inhaled deeply. 'Without the constant presence of the Clock Tower in this world, it almost seems peaceful…almost.'
Shirou knew better than to lull himself into a false sense of security, there was always something that could crash the peace of anywhere in a heartbeat. Shirou continued to walk around the walkway on the outskirts of the Imperial Palace, taking in the architecture that reminded him of his old home. He sighed inwardly remembering all he had left behind. 'Has it really been so long?'
Having seen enough of the Imperial Palace, Shirou decided to head further into the city, hoping to find something to do before he had to catch the next train back to Chuo. The teen hailed a small cab from the corner and proceeded to pay the driver before he requested a café close to the Giza line. The driver promptly entered into the stream of traffic and headed out onto the main roadway.
The cab driver, having travelled on the Showa Dori road for the last ten minutes made a left and proceeded to head west to a popular café nestled in the center of Chiyoda. Traffic was getting thick as the lunch rush was letting workers pour out of their offices in hopes of grabbing a meal between their busy schedules. As the cars moved at a slow crawl, a sudden honking of horns caught both Shirou and the driver's attention as they saw a large box truck fly past on the tram line.
"What in the world?" the cabby muttered, and Shirou continued to track the large vehicle until it whipped around another corner and disappeared from sight. 'Whatever is going on doesn't look good. There's always something to throw things into chaos…' He thought bitterly before he unbuckled himself from the seat.
"Traffic looks like it won't be moving anytime soon, I think I'll walk from here, but keep the fare for the whole trip," Shirou told the confused cab driver, before he exited the small red cab and began running in the direction of the truck. The magus, now clearly in his battle state of mind, inhaled deeply before his Circuits began to warm and the metaphorical gun in his mind fired.
Shirou quickly analyzed his own being down to the marrow and began pumping od into his body at a rapid rate but managed to improve his normal enhancements by thirty percent. The young man rushed around the corner at just over fifty kph, and sped toward the site of the van, already his enhanced senses picking up the sound of tires screeching on pavement at what he assumed the sudden presence of the truck.
He saw the truck veer to the left suddenly and it was on a crash course for a shop in between were nearly two dozen people. As he raced toward the impending crash, he quickly traced a simple mask and donned it. Regardless of the situation, he could not let his magecraft be exposed to the world any more than it already had. The auburn-haired teen rushed toward the truck, and with one final thought he made up his mind. 'This is going to hurt like hell.'
He already heard the screams of the dozens of patrons to the shops sounding, as the two ton vehicle were meters from crashing into the store. Gritting his teeth the magus barreled into the front corner of the truck's box and when momentum changed hands the vehicle's path shifted to the right and the truck was knocked onto its side as it skidded to halt on the street. Shirou wasn't' much better off as he went flying back the way he came a skidded to a halt on the pavement, the back of his shirt shredded.
Groggily the teen crawled to his feet and swayed slightly, before righting himself. While many of the on-lookers were still fixated on the overturned truck, Shirou noticed he was getting a few odd stares as well. The magus realized a few tufts of his hair were sticking out from the mask he had traced, and he quickly turned to bolt away.
As he did so, he nearly plowed into a young woman, who had chestnut-colored hair pulled back into a bun, and sapphire eyes, that were examining him intently. The young man sheepishly put his hand on the back of his head before he moved around her, but he was stopped as she placed a hand on his arm.
"H-how?" was all she asked, but he shook his head, denying her any answer. Then for a moment longer than it should have lasted, their eyes met one last time, golden brown crossing sapphire, and the magus took off, leaving the young woman to herself.
A few moments later
Shirou exhaled deeply as he put his hand to his chest and discarded the impromptu mask to the curb, where the prana left the construct and it appeared to evaporate. 'That was unnecessarily close,' the teen reflected. 'What was with that girl? Why did I let myself get caught up like that?'
The young woman from before flashed once in his mind, but Shirou forced the image out, and focused on the task at hand, which was cleaning up for work. Eyeing his mobile phone, he noticed the time and paled. 'Crap!' with that final thought he made a beeline for the nearest metro hoping he could make it to work on time.
Shirou bolted from the train station and rounded a few more blocks before he finally saw the school in sight. Sighing in relief he continued to run toward the building, but not before he saw a rather peculiar display on the athletic field.
Reinforcing his eyes, the magus easily saw a certain pink-haired girl performing feats on the challenge bar that even an Olympian gymnast would be hard-pressed to match. He gawked at the sudden revelation of his imouto's athletic abilities but then he saw it. The hairpin holding back her pink locks was not the normal cross, but a small red heart. 'Well this is unfortunate,' he thought as he began striding toward the field.
As Amu shirked back from the unexpected presence of Shirou, the young man began conversing with her teacher.
"E-Emiya-shūrikō, is there something I can help you with?" The instructor stumbled over her words, still wondering how her pupil had pulled off her performance. Shirou's eyes moved between the teacher and Amu quickly, and he put his hand to his head and sighed.
"Ah – yes, Hayashi-sensei, I was asked by Amu-chan's father to deliver the news about her mother. It is extremely urgent, and I would just need her for a while, she will be back by the start of next period." The teacher tapped her pen to her clipboard, and then nodded.
"Yes that will be fine, please have Hinamori-chan return to the fields when you are done or to her art class if you plan to keep her until the next class period." Hayashi turned back to the other girls and began taking volunteers for the next go at the challenge bar.
"Come along, imouto," Shirou called to his sister, and she quickly got up from her spot on the ground and collected her bag. She then fell in line behind the much taller magus as he began walking toward the school. After they had been walking for a few moments, the young magus rounded a corner near the side entrance he and the other janitorial staff used, and he knelt to the ground in front of Amu. "Why are you trying to impress them?"
"Oniisan…" the young girl began quietly. She didn't know how to put the words together, but Shirou took her hesitation as guilt and sighed. He rested a hand upon her shoulder.
"Amu-chan, I want to tell you a story, and I want you to listen very closely, because the lesson here is something you must always follow, now that you have Ran. Do you want to hear it?" The young girl, confused by his words, nodded carefully. "Alright, what I'm going to tell you has to deal with my work as a magus, so this must stay between you and I. Do you remember how I told you what happened to me before I met your mother and father?"
"You told me how some thugs had stolen all your possessions after you arrived into the city, and you met okasan and otasan while you were looking for work one day in the city. There's more to the story isn't there, Shirou-nii?" Shirou nodded. "I knew there had to be more to it, I've seen you fight other thugs, and I just didn't believe you would be beaten so easily." The magus smiled wistfully, and knew his imouto was much more observant than many gave her credit for.
"That's right, there is more. Back before I lived with your family or even came to Tokyo, I worked with other magus, just like myself, in England. There are many rules that come along with being able to practice magecraft, and it was found out that I had been studying and could do something that was considered one of the greatest taboos in our culture." Amu cocked her head to the side.
"But Shirou-nii, from all you've told me in your stories, all you're really good is making swords and finding out what stuff is made of, and making it better. What is so forbidden about that?"
"It's the way that I do it, imouto, not what I do. You've seen a few of those action manga that the boys in your class read right?" The young girl nodded. "Think of it as my final attack, and the other mages did not like the way I went about doing it or that I could do it. Most mages can perform a certain type of element, like fire or water, and some rarely can use all of them. My attack was outside the normal scope of those elements, and that's why I was chased out of town."
"Were they jealous of my all powerful niisan?" Shirou laughed at the idea of the Mage's Association being jealous he could utilize a Reality Marble, and he shook his head.
"Not quite, but I got in the most trouble when I used it to save a small town from an evil mage, and as a result I almost exposed magecraft to the rest of the world, which is a big no-no. The group ended up sending their police force to try and bring me in for questioning and possibly imprisonment, but after we fought, I escaped on the train and then you know the rest. Do you know why I'm telling you this?"
"Because the evil wizards might come and attack you again?" Amu asked with a worried look.
"No not quite, I don't think they know I am here and I've been keeping a low enough profile where I doubt they could find me. I told you this because of my situation; I was hunted down like a common crook because of the misuse of my powers, and even though this all happened within the magical community, it could be just as likely to happen with any government or group like that. If you use your powers in public like that, you could be caught by someone and they'll start asking a whole lot of questions you won't be prepared for. Also it isn't fair to the other kids at school, because you can just give yourself a physical boost and surpass anyone you come across in competition!" At this the young girl's bag shuffled and Ran flitted in between the two.
"Shirou-kun, I've told you before, a Chara helps his or her charge become their would-be self. There are things we can and can't do, and these are only things Amu would be able to do normally!" the small sprite defended.
"You mean just like how she jumped nearly four stories just the other day. I'm hard-pressed to do that with my own magecraft, and you tell me she can do that normally?" Shirou asked in an annoyed tone.
"Alright…I may have put too much into it that time, but this time when I changed her, she didn't do anything she won't be able to," Ran countered.
"You changed her? In the middle of public and surrounded by people who aren't accustomed to powers like this? Amu shouldn't be able to do any of that, not without years of training, which I'm sure most people will infer she hasn't had." Shirou felt something moving and he looked over seeing his sister shaking visibly.
"Enough…Ran, Shirou, both of you stop," she commanded in a small voice. "All this stuff about magic and Charas, is just too much for me. To change someone's personality…it's not right."
"Imouto," Shirou began, but Amu looked up at him fiercely.
"No Shirou-nii, it has to stop! Ever since Ran came, nothing but trouble has followed. You might be used to almost dying because of this stuff, but I'm not! After running into the cat-boy I don't want this life!" Shirou moved to hold her but she moved away.
"Amu-chan…" Ran tried to get her attention, but she ignored the sprite.
"Imouto, no one in their right mind asks to be a part of this." 'I guess I'm not in my right mind...' "You were suddenly thrown into this one day and I still have yet to figure all of this out myself, because I have never heard of any Phantasmal Species being born from the soul of a human." Ran flitted in front of Amu.
"Amu-chan the blue egg is gone!" Ran cried as she had tried to tell the girl once, but it had fallen on deaf ears. "We need to find it before that boy comes sniffing around here again and tries to get his paws on it!"
"Fine…but after we find it, it's goodbye. Just take the others and leave." Ran shrunk down at Amu's tone, and slowly flitted back to her egg. Shirou just looked on at the girl in sympathy. "Oniisan, I have class in a few minutes, can I go?" Shirou nodded and his imouto headed into the building.
Shirou headed inside after spending a few more moments pondering all that had been going on. 'That poor girl, suddenly thrust into something like this without knowing what she was getting into. There may not be any Mage's Association here that I'm aware of, but the nature of humanity would exploit that regardless.'
He entered into the locker room provided for the maintenance staff and quickly made a quick swap of clothing into something more suitable for his work, rugged denim jeans and a slightly worn cotton Henley. From there he exited the room and proceeded to the small office.
"Oi buchō I'm here!" Shirou called out, hoping Daitaro would here his calls. After a few moments the ox of a man exited a supply closet and grinned as he saw his employee.
"Ah Emiya, good to see you, I don't have much for you today, but there are a few jobs that you can do. It's most likely going to be a short shift for you. Anyway, there are a few televisions that need looked at, which are piled up in a club room at the end of the hallway by the gymnasium. After that there are a few targets that need to be set up for the archery club and the facility's sliding doors need to be re-tracked. Got it?"
"Shouldn't be a problem, anything else?" Shirou asked his boss, hoping there may be more work for the day. The large man laughed and shook his head dismissively.
"Nothing comes to mind, Emiya, just consider it an early start to your weekend. Well I'm off, if you need any help just give Shuzo a ring, he's on call for you this afternoon. Take it easy!" Shirou waved as his boss exited the room, and then the young magus cracked his knuckles. 'Time to get to work.'
A bit later – with Amu
Currently, the teacher was going over some art club announcements before the class formally began, but Amu was staring out the window considering all that she had gone through in the last few days. 'It was weird enough having Shirou-nii admit to being a wizard or whatever he called himself, but now I have powers too? And Ran…both times she just changed me without asking, and both times I've embarrassed myself.'
"Alright everyone~~!" The teacher's singsong voice pulled Amu from her thoughts. "Today we'll be drawing portraits of our neighbors, so whoever is sitting across from you is your partner!" Amu looked up and noticed that Yamabuki Sayaa was seated across from her. 'Just my luck…'
"Alright Hinamori-chan, how shall I draw you? Beautifully or honestly?" Yamabuki asked the pinkette. Amu hesitated, and prepared to answer, but the other girl spoke up again. "Never mind we'll both just draw honestly, because with me what's the difference?" The girl laughed at her own little joke, while Amu rolled her eyes, and began to sketch.
After a short time, Amu looked down at her creation, and deflated, almost comically. 'This doesn't look like her at all!' The drawing that Amu had produced looked as though she had attempted to draw it that badly, and she sighed. 'Oh no…the eraser smeared. I'm not good at art…'
'So then why don't you change?' a voice echoed in the back of the teen's mind. 'From a girl that can't draw, to one who can!' Amu let out a strangled yelp as she felt the familiar sensation of a character change happen. With speeds that would turn anyone's head, she ripped off the old drawing and sketched a completely new headshot of her partner in the span of a minute. The teen was panting and red in the face, as she turned the easel and revealed her art.
"This is me?!" Yamabuki cried out in both flattery and dismay. She had been one-upped by her rival once more. A few other students in the class hovered over the portrait and had similar responses.
"What a beautiful picture! It looks like it was painted by Da Vinci himself!" a girl in glasses, from the first day of school, gushed, and her blonde counterpart nodded. They were both giddy until they caught a glimpse of Yamabuki's portrait.
"Yamabuki-san, why are you even in this art class?" The blonde asked, and the auburn-haired girl deflated further. While the three girls continued to prattle, Amu looked to her bag with a worried look.
"Ran…" she hissed out, but when the small Chara poked her head out, she shook her head quickly.
"It wasn't me! I only do exercising!" Amu thought quickly about what had just happened, but then she glanced out the window and saw yet another Chara floating there. This one was a female as well, but she had a large hat on it with a spade pin. She also had a sketch pad and messenger bag draped over her shoulder. When she caught Amu looking at her, she took off.
"Oh no you don't!" Amu cried loudly, as she bolted from her chair, startling the rest of the class. Ran was at her side in an instant, flying quickly through the air.
"Amu-chan that girl!" Ran said firmly, and Amu nodded.
"I know, the second Guardian Character!" As Amu bolted past her teacher, she grabbed the hall pass. "I'm sorry; I have to go to the bathroom!" Before her instructor could give a reply, the pink-haired girl bolted into the hallway after her second Chara.
A few moments earlier – with Shirou
As the young magus put the finishing bolts into the practice targets, he got to his feet and wiped his brow. 'Nothing like a good bit of work.' He then proceeded to roll the target's stand in line with the others for the club's use later that day. 'Alright, all that's left is to get those sliding doors rolling properly and I'll be done.'
Shirou moved over to grab his toolset, before he heard a large crash outside of the facilities, and moved to head outside to investigate. When he made it out of the building, he looked around for the source of the noise. After peering he found a large dust cloud forming and whatever was causing it was coming toward him.
"What on earth?" He muttered before he saw a small blue fairy flit by a few meters away and then a very familiar pink-haired girl speeding after it. Shirou sighed and put his fingers on the bridge of his nose. "Couldn't she at least wait until after school?" With that the magus jogged after his imouto.
After running for a bit, he finally caught up to the trio of girls and cleared his throat to announce his presence. None of them paid him any mind, as it appeared Amu had finally managed to end the chase.
"I finally have you trapped!" The girl huffed in small victory. Amu looked extremely ragged from what must have been quite a bit of running. Ran floated next to her blue counterpart and eyed her oddly.
"Why have you been running from us? Aren't you supposed to be Amu's Guardian Character?" the pink fairy asked. The little blue one nodded slightly, before she eyed Shirou and realized he was looking at her. Despite her apparent runaway status, she instantly moved behind Amu and Ran to block Shirou.
"Who are you?" the unnamed sprite demanded softly of Shirou. Before the magus could get a response in, Ran flittered in.
"This is Shirou-kun! He's Amu's older brother, and he can see us too! Even though he doesn't have a Heart's Egg, he's kind of a weirdo." Ran summed up, and Shirou sighed at the quick explanation, though it seemed to relax the newest member.
"You must be from the blue egg," Shirou commented. "Why are you running away from Amu?" The blue fairy floated back to the front where she could be seen by the other three.
"I'm Miki, Amu's 'wanted personality,'" she said the last part with a bit of sarcasm. "It's unclear to me though if I can go on anymore. I'm nearly at the point of vanishing. Amu looked up at the new Chara. 'Wanted personality?' she thought. Ran on the other hand looked at her counterpart with disbelief.
"No way!" Amu suddenly declared, and all attention was brought onto her. "You won't just disappear." Ran stepped up and nodded solemnly.
"It's not a lie, it's all true. It's Amu-chan's power. If you don't believe in us, we'll fade away and you'll lose your Heart's Egg. So please believe in us, Amu-chan." Shirou in the meantime was standing stoically, watching the scene unfold. Minutes ticked by in silence, before Amu muttered something.
"….Are you an idiot?" Ran and Miki both were taken aback slightly at the small insult. "I don't believe in Guardian Spirits or Characters or any of that, and I don't understand them either!" Shirou moved to console his imouto, but she shook her head, and looked at him, a small fire in her eyes. "And you Shirou-nii…"
"What about me?" Shirou asked, puzzled at his sudden involvement in this unfolding drama.
"You come to my home, my parents telling me that an older boy would be staying with us for an unseen amount of time, and I was skeptical at first, but then you showed me what it was like to have an older brother. It was great, until that night I first saw you fight! You just had to go and show me that all the imaginary things in life weren't so imaginary. So…" she looked up with a small blush on her face as she eyed Ran and Miki.
"I'm not saying I don't believe in them either." Amu finished, and a surprised look crossed Miki's face, while a huge grin formed on the face of her other Chara. Shirou smiled warmly, and nodded in satisfaction.
"Amu-chan!" Ran cried out as she moved to attempt to hug the much bigger mass of Amu.
"Only a little! Only a little!" The teen giggled and Miki had moved from her floating spot and had decided to perch herself on one of Shirou's shoulders. "Oh no! I need to hurry back to class, it'll seem like I've been in the bathroom forever!" Miki moved from Shirou's shoulder to Amu's bag along with Ran, and the girl bid farewell to the magus and ran back to her art class.
Atop a skyscraper – Unknown location
Looking out over Tokyo, another person with a Guardian Character contemplated their next move, as the wind bellowed around them. Tsukiyomi Ikuto's nose began to twitch as a familiar scent hit his nostrils. 'Somewhere, another Character has been hatched…' He turned around as a noise caught his attention.
"Is that what Ikuto wants?" a feminine voice asked him sweetly. Ikuto passively looked her over, before turning his attention back to the city and his thoughts. The small girl walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him. "That Amu girl's eggs?"
"I want the Embryo," he stated plainly, and the girl nodded her head in his back.
"I'll get it for you then, for your sake." He chuckled at her misguidedness.
"Even after running into him today?" The Alley Cat felt the girl bristle at the mention of the early run in with Emiya, and what it had almost cost them.
"Yes, I will take care of him personally," the sweet voice turned harsh, and Ikuto sighed.
Outside the Guardian's Garden
After school – with Shirou and Amu
"It's finally time for the tea party, Amu!" Ran cheered excitedly. Miki had once again resumed riding on Shirou's shoulder, and looked on at the scene neutrally. Amu nodded in agreement, and shook a bit.
"U-uh yeah…should we go in?" she asked, gripping the invitation to her chest in nervousness. Shirou eyed the building itself and snorted.
"I still don't see how they managed to get this place on their budget…the school board must be pushovers for kids, I've been pinning them for new landscaping equipment for weeks and nothing!" Miki looked at him, and gave him a look.
"Is now really the time, Shirou-kun?" The magus huffed in slight annoyance, before putting his hand on the pinkette's shoulder.
"Imouto, whatever you want to do now, I'm with you all the way. We can just turn around now and figure this thing out ourselves if you want."
"No, the Guardians seem to know a lot about this…or at least know a way to get more answers. We're doing this, and going in now." Shirou nodded and pushed open the door to the large indoor garden.
"Sorry to intrude…" Shirou began before he got a good glimpse of the place. It was immaculate, and seated around the table in the center he recognized Hotori and Souma, but there were two other girls there, and what piqued his interest the most, was they all had Characters of their own. The King's Chair moved to get up from his seat, but Shirou held up a hand. At this point Amu poked her head in the door as well and took in the sight.
"Ah Hinamori-san…and Emiya-shūrikō, welcome to the Garden. I'm sorry we didn't prepare more room, we were only expecting Hinamori-san," Hotori explained. "Although after the run in with him, I should have known you'd come as well, Emiya-sama. Please sit down, we have much to talk about.
"Yes that we do." Shirou stated in agreement, before he ushered his imouto in, and shut the door to the Royal Garden.
Alright well I'll have to leave it hanging there until next chapter. Anyway a few things to cover here. Firstly, was Shirou himself. I tried to split it evenly between Amu and he, but he really did get more attention this chapter. How do you think I handled bringing in a bit more Nasuverse lore into this world.
Also his act of heroism from stopping the truck. Literally sat in front of my laptop with a calculator and physics simulator contemplating how to make it plausible enough for him to knock a 2 metric ton truck off course, and it hit me, power to weight ratio, simply put I may have tweaked Reinforcement a bit to allow Shirou's mass to be enough to make it plausible. And don't get me started on the Google Mapping of this either, I have a personal map with all of my landmarks in the story set around Tokyo, so I can give accurate enough time tables for travel and what not.
Back to the topic, his little act won't go unnoticed, but the reaction to it would have felt forced, so next couple of chapters will have the consequences of it, and be sure to pay attention to the little things of that scene, wink wink. Go ahead and leave your thoughts on the significance of it, I really want to hear if I laid enough clues.
Next up, we have the scene of Shirou trying to explain the responsibility of having powers to Amu. Did that go okay? She still doesn't know about him being from another world, but I tried to work it in enough where his background was still plausible without giving her too much knowledge. Speaking of which, would you guys like to see something similar to the Mage's Association in this fic, since Easter is our main powerplayer, but I think even them going at odds with another entity would be interesting to see. Let me know!
Also, how did my confrontation with Ikuto go? Was he a bit to OCC or did I manage to keep him in character enough? Hopefully Shirou didn't get too violent, but after writing last chapter, I remembered just who I was writing, and after playing through UBW route over my break, Shirou really can be super brotherly, but mess with his family and you get the horns. I guess I'll wait to hear your responses.
Lastly, was Miki, hopefully her introduction went well, pretty much verbatim from the manga, save for a few changes. Alright that's all from me, it's good to be back, and hopefully it won't be nearly nine months until my next update. Peace! R&R.