The first in a series of short stories written for From the Azure to Zero that don't fit into the main story.

I still own neither Blazblue nor Type-Moon.

How had it found itself in Europe? That was a question that none could answer.

Hints of its existence could be found in various tales and stories spoken of by travellers. Some found it lying on the road, others among the possessions of their hapless victims. Either way, it appeared to refuse to simply be left lying by the road; always calling for attention.

It did not seem to be some great weapon of legend, it did not change the course of history and was never recorded in popular tales. Even after being used near the end of the thirteenth century, it faded back into obscurity as an unexplained tragedy.

It first came to the attention of a certain lineage of magi when it came into possession of their founder's brother, a man with some small magical ability. Though unable to grasp the true value of his find, his talent was at least sufficient to realize that he had found something.

The family in question had only just begun to establish themselves and naturally saw this as an opportunity to increase their own power – why, if the relic was as ancient as it appeared to be, it could be the key to their ascension!

They were sorely disappointed when the secret proved far out of their reach. From this point on, it was left to the side as something of a curiosity.
Over the following years, the family would grow into prominence until it could claim a position of significant power.

It would not be until their tenth generation that the acquisition would prove it's worth.

With patient cautiousness, the young man directed his energy toward the container. The device contained within absorbed it with gluttonous speed.

Moments later, a dark green smoke began to fill the glass container, obscuring the insides.

"Hum…interesting. Take note, Maria: Indirect transferance of prana is rejected upon reaching a threshold of eight units."

"Yes sir, eight units."

With the haste of a practiced professional, his older assistant wrote down his observations in a black handbook.

It wasn't for his own sake, of course. He would retain the information acquired in such experiments for the rest of his life. The notes were made for the sake of his future inheritors, so that they would have no need to repeat his research.

This particular subject had become something of a family tradition over the generations. It was hardly a central point of their knowledge, but it had become a custom for each new generation to push the study of it a little deeper than the last. Eventually, they would learn all that there was to know and it's mystery would become another proof of the Archibald family's proof of superiority.

The attempt at an indirect transmission of prana had been a whim of his, sparked by his great-grandfather's attempt at directly injecting prana within the relic. He hadn't expected anything, but it turned out that the result was different; his great-grandfather's notes indicated that the prana had been rejected after transferring 15 units.

It was possible that the difference was caused due to an incompatibility between the relic and himself, but since his natural talent far eclipsed his predecessors that was rather unlikely. In all likelihood, he had accidentally trigged a defensive mechanism made to limit outside interferences.

"The marked difference between these results and the results of experiment 26 indicate that my grandfather's theory that the relic was meant for direct use by a magus is most likely correct. Take note."

With a nod, the blond woman hastily transcribed his words. He quite liked her; obeying orders without question, able to keep silent and lacking curiosity, she was close to the ideal assistant for a magus like himself. Of course, she would never get far in life, but that was the natural divide between the common people and those meant for greatness. Better for her to quietly stand by his side than to embarrass herself by reaching outside her station.

But how was the relic meant to be activated? Clearly, it required more than a simple injection of prana which was eventually rejected. Perhaps the intended user possessed some physical characteristic that allowed proper activation? One of his grandfather's servants had reported receiving images similar to some spiritual contacts when he had been required to make contact with it. Further testing had proven unsuccessful and he himself hadn't experienced anything of the sort when he had first handled the artifact.

Taking all known factors into account, the relic was most likely a weapon meant to be wielded by a magus, animated by his prana and operated by mental commands. Or perhaps a mix of mental and vocal commands; some of the runes that they had managed to translate certainly seemed to be an incantation of some kind. Sadly, reciting them hadn't elicited a reaction.

If the missing requirement was some form of physical characteristic, then his attempts would most likely be fruitless.

Still, there were some options that were only possible for a prodigy like him. Since it was tragically possible that his successor would lack his natural talent, it was his duty to push it as much as he could.

With the sound of a snapping jaw, the nearby wall was neatly pierced. The reinforcement of the bounded field had been overcome without resistance.

Long trenches had been dug into the ground and most of the laboratory had already been ruined.

Blind and deaf to the destruction raging around him, the young man grappled with the maddened relic, mercilessly pouring power into it's circuits.

"You! Will! Obey!"

The chant of a thousand dying screams.

Gloriously revelling in destruction, it struck again and again at the whim of it's owner.

A tool of war was one of destruction. It mindlessly, flawlessly obeyed it's programming and the commands it received.

With an ear-piercing cry, the device released the power that had been forced upon it, sending him crashing on the ground.

Panting from exhaustion, his body heavy from the amount of prana that he had been forced to provide, the man nonetheless smiled victoriously.

He had been correct! Even if he hadn't quite managed to gain control, he had managed to connect with the device to a degree that none of his predecessors had reported.

Even better, he had confirmed his own theories as to it's nature and the means of it's operation.

Glancing at his surrounding, he assessed the damaged that the berserk device had caused with disinterested eyes.

"Hum...the reaction was stronger than expected."

It was likely that with a sufficiently large amount of prana he could achieve complete mastery over the weapon. However, he lacked easy access to such a source of power and collecting his own prana would mean a delay in his other, more pressing studies. Perhaps he would have time for it later, or his successor would have a greater natural compatibility with the artifact.

The path of a magus was one of patience, after all. Years later, the memories of a semi-autonomous weapon would inspire the creation of what he could truly call his masterpiece.

As he left to call for his employees to take care of the mess, the unmoving snake that he had been struggling with remained silent on the ground. It's path, too, was one of patience.