From the origin of everything, the start and end of all of existence, a myriad of dimensions spawned, each world born on the crossroads of destinies. For every happy ending there is a world where all comes down to zero.
But some events are harder to change than others. Those events burdened by fate are bound to appear and they are not so easily cheated. The bond between the blue knight and her distorted master is one as such, a bond that can be said to be fated the moment Emiya Kiritsugu placed the scabbard of the distant utopia inside the boy.
Shirou is born in the flames of Fuyuki City, his soul destroyed and reforged in fire. The boy is burned away and the image of his saviour is seared into his soul, the happiness he sees becoming a dream he will chase for the rest of his life.
Emiya Shirou was created on that day. That will not change. But that first meeting will not define his life on this world. Against the odds, another path opens for the boy who has become Emiya Shirou.
For in this world, Emiya Kiritsugu leaves Fuyuki City.
The man is tired. The taint that had infected the Holy Grail echoes in his mind while eating away his life. The memories of those whom he failed make it impossible for him to remain at the site of his last battlefield. Simply living there is a constant reminder of his failures: the death of those he loved and the betrayal of his own ideals.
So he leaves, planning to return once more only when he had gathered the materials to put an end to the Greater Grail. With him, he took the boy, the child pulled from the ashes of the inferno he himself began, leaving the scorched earth far behind. His new home, the city of Uminari, does not change the boy's dream. This Shirou still yearns to be an Ally of Justice, desperate to follow Kiritsugu's footsteps towards fulfilling that ideal.
Yes, those events alone were not enough to change the boy's fate, the chains binding him to his destiny are not that easily broken...
"Listen carefully because this is very important..."
….until one small girl changed everything.
"...You will be my friend."
I: Does a Magus, a Magical Girl, and a Talking Ferret make for a Mystical encounter?
When Shirou first woke up the boy found himself resting in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room, white walls and clean floors giving the space a somewhat empty feel. Even though the boy was surprised there was a sense of comfort. looking around he noticed that the room was larger than he had initially thought, finding about a dozen of other beds, most of them separated by thin curtains, filled other persons.
Most of them resembled him, children covered in bandages, some still hooked up to machines which formed a symphony of beeps and wheezes. The sight filled Shirou with relief. After all, there was no doubt in his mind that everyone here, seemingly hurt in a similar way as himself , were also children who had been saved like him.
Later on Shirou would learn that these children were simply those that lived at the outskirts of the disaster area, himself being the only one who had lived at the center of what was now nothing more than tainted ground. But right then the sight was enough for the boy to relax, letting his eyes wander through the room until he finally noticed the window.
With the curtains open said window was a small portal to the outside world. It was a clear spring day, with a sky devoid of any clouds, that greeted the boy, who spent the next hour simply gazing at the bright blue sky that seemed to go on forever. Shirou couldn't remember the last time he had seen such a relaxing sight...
Which kinda bothered the boy. Why couldn't he remember such a simple thing?
It took almost a week before Shirou finally remembered what happened. There had been a terrible fire, one that had consumed everything it touched, burning through Shirou's home and devouring his parents. There had been screaming and pain…
Then someone had saved him, before he had woken up in the hospital, wrapped in bandages and tubes sticking in his arm.
He had woken up to find himself without a single face he could recognise. Nobody knew if he had any family members, his mind refusing to remember their names and faces. The situation didn't make sense to Shirou at the time, but there was some part of the boy that at least understood what it meant.
He was alone now.
Some nurses teared up at the sight of the boy bravely accepting such a horrible truth. But the truth had been that, surrounded by the rest of the children, there was nothing else for Shirou to do but to accept the truth. And as that painful truth settled in, Shirou couldn't help but wonder what would happen next.
"Hello. You must be Shirou."
He came the day Shirou's bandages finally came off, signalling the end of Shirou's stay at the hospital. The boy's first impression of the stranger was that of an unkempt man, dressed in a wrinkly coat. He walked over to Shirou's bed and sat down on the nearby chair. He had an awkward smile... His voice sounded a bit odd, hoarse and tired, but to Shirou it made the man somewhat likable for some reason.
Kiritsugu started speaking, and Shirou found that his world was suddenly being turned upside down. The man had sought him out in the room, filled with children just like him, to offer him a choice.
"I'll ask you directly. Which would you prefer? To go to an orphanage, or to be adopted by this man who you've never seen before?"
He looked like a man with no future. Shirou didn't know what being adopted by this man would hold in store for him… but it was either this man or living at the orphanage.
"I'll come with you."
"I see, that's good. Lets get you ready quickly then. You should get used to your new place as fast as you can… although we might be moving soon. Lets… lets just go then, shall we?"
The man seemed happy with the choice the boy had made, smiling as he messily began to pack up the child's belongings. Soon the boy and adult were walking down the corridors of the hospital. Suddenly the man looked around, before facing Shirou. "Ah, I forgot to mention something important. I have to tell you one thing before you come with me. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, to start off with. I'm a mage."
He spoke it in an exaggerated tone, but his face was completely serious. To Shirou, who was just a child there was no reason not to believe his words. Maybe it was the way he said it or the expression on his face, but the boy didn't doubt the man for a second.
"Wow, you're awesome." Shirou looked up at the amazing man in front of him with a look of sheer awe. From that day Shirou became the child of Emiya Kiritsugu. With his new father came a new name: Emiya, Emiya Shirou.
Just hearing the sound of that name would bring a smile to his lips for weeks to come, and he would treasure it for the rest of his life. Just the sheer fact that he shared that name with his saviour filled him with pride.
"Emiya Shirou! I warned you not to doze off during my classes!"
The reprimand from Shirou's teacher was accompanied with the startling slap of a ruler, the long piece of plastic unleashing a cracking sound as it was slammed down on Shirou's desk. The impact pulled Shirou out of his dream and back into the real world. Unfortunately it also caused him to throw his body backwards in response, pulling his chair along with him. For a single moment the boy seemed to balance himself in mid-air, his chair balanced on two legs even as his face twisted into a look of horror and surprise
But the stalemate didn't last, the balance disturbed by the slightest twitch of a limb, sending the boy downwards towards the unforgiving ground. The entire class winced in unison as the nine year old boy toppled backwards, even managing to catch the edge of the desk standing behind him with the back of his head on the way down. Soon the classroom was filled with laughter as Shirou, let out a painful moan before sitting up, the boy clearly more annoyed then wounded.
Shirou hissed as he rubbed the aching back of his head before looking up, the pain all but forgotten at the sight his teacher looming over him, the worry in her expression evaporating at high speed, replaced with something much scarier….
All Shirou could do was laugh sheepishly, even as a dark aura enveloped his teacher..
Later that morning Shirou still found his thoughts drawn back to the dream he had, accompanied by the ringing of his ears after being subjected to a rather lengthy reprimand, reminding him of what would happen if he was caught dozing off again. Really, it wasn't as if he slept through classes everyday. Just, after practicing magecraft the night before, he would be a bit dozy. That's all.
Even so, it had been a while since he had dreamed of his first meeting with his old man. His dreams were usually a lot more violent and nightmarish.
On such nights, he dreamt of the fire.
Shirou tried keep himself from yawning. He chastised himself to stay focused on the lesson even as his mind started to wander off again. Yea, he had stayed up all night, practicing the reinforcement magic that Kiritsugu had shown him last month, but that was no excuse to doze off.
Besides, even though he finally got the basics of forging a magic circuit mastered... somewhat, he hadn't even succeeded at properly reinforcing an object. His ability to analyze objects was top notch, but that was mostly useless from what his old man had told him.
Honestly, his magic wasn't progressing very well. Even after he had been able to successfully create a magic circuit within a manageable time, every time he tried to reinforce an object, it just didn't take. Lately Shirou felt like he was going nowhere...
The boy straightened up at the teacher's voice, trying to remember what she had been talking about before she…
"Just because I let you stay in class just now doesn't mean you'll get off free if you don't pay attention!" She cut off his thoughts. Now, you were supposed to write an essay on what your goal is for the future. Why don't you tell the class what you plan on being in the future?"
A smile grew on Shirou's face as stood up. The nine year old knew exactly what he was going to be in the future. His path had been set the day he had been taken in by Kiritsugu.
No, it was set the day he had been saved from that fire.
"When I grow up…" Shirou started as the class leaned towards him, staring at the boy's sincere expression, "...I'm going to become an Ally of Justice."
Shirou paid no mind to the laughter. He ignored the teacher's chastisement about choosing a serious profession. He ignored Alisa Bannings hammering her head in the desk, Tsukimura Suzuka letting out a sigh and Takamachi Nanoha simply looking at him with that small smile of hers.
He was used to the laughter and disbelief from other people. They didn't understand the world that Shirou wanted to live in, the world where magic was real and where heroes could save people with that power.
That was alright. There was no need for them to know, not even for his friends.
"You know," Suzuka spoke after taking a small bite from her food, "both of you should have taken that essay more seriously. Don't you think so Shirou, Nanoha?"
Shirou looked up from his lunch to see his usual lunchtime companions. The three girls, Nanoha Takamachi, Alisa Bannings and Suzuka Tsukimura were considered to be the cutest girls in their grade by his fellow classmates and had a tendency to hang around each other. Shirou often found himself spending a fair amount of time with the trio.
Originally Alisa had been bullying Suzuka, the more introvert girl and the more outgoing blonde instinctively clashing as they got along like oil and water. In one of his less successful acts as an ally of justice, Shirou eventually confronted the blonde who had not taken his butting very well. Their confrontation had soon degraded to them almost coming to blows, until Nanoha had struck both of them in a single, finishing, strike.
It was strange to see how a shared afternoon of detention had turned such a bad first impression into this strange friendship. Even so, Nanoha seemed happy and Shirou wasn't one to complain about small things such as the past.
"I did take it seriously Suzuka." Shirou responded as he clenched a fist tightly. "I'm going to be an Ally of Justice. I'm going to save people when I grow up."
"Ah, what is with our group? First our idiot give this joke of a speech on being a superhero, then Nanoha doesn't give any answer at all!" Alisa sighed, rubbing her hand against her forehead.
"I think... that Alisa and Suzuka are more amazing for knowing exactly what they want to do already." Nanoha sighed.
"Ah, that's right." Shirou nodded. "Alisa is going to succeed her parent's business and Suzuka is planning to become an engineer, right?"
"Yes," Suzuka nodded. "I like machines and such so I thought it would be nice to go into engineering."
"So nice, knowing what you're going to do…" Nanoha sighed.
"You know Nanoha," Alisa prodded her worrying friend, "you really don't have to worry about this so much! I mean, you still have a long time to look for what you want to do. Perhaps you want to take over the Midoriya when you grow up? You like to help out so it might suit you."
"Hmm, that's one option, but I feel like there's something else out there that's more suited for me. I just wish I knew what that thing was."
"I'm sure you'll find it eventually." Shirou reassured his friend before taking another bite out of his lunch. "Even my old man tells me it's hard to know what job people end up doing when they grow up... or so he keeps telling me."
Alisa nodded in approval, patting Shirou on his back before directing her attention back to Nanoha. "See? Even the idiot amongst us thinks you shouldn't force yourself to make this decision right now. I'm sure you'll find the path that fits you best!"
"..don't call me an idiot." the boy meekly added, well aware that Alisa wouldn't take his objection into consideration.
"...That goes for you too Shirou." Alisa continued. "You shouldn't joke around about your future with such a strange goal."
"I'm not joking. I'm going to be a Hero."
"Being a hero isn't an occupation you idiot!" Alisa cried out.
"Shirou" Suzuka suddenly butted in. "Why don't you just just marry Nanoha and run Midori-ya with her?"
"Oh my, are you alright Nanoha?" Suzuka gently slapped the girl on her back. "Did something get stuck?"
"That… how do you even come up with something like that?" Nanoha wheezed as the girl tried to catch her breath.
"Oh well, sounds like a 'no' to me" Alisa shrugged before grinning at an equally disturbed Shirou.
Shirou continued to listen as the conversation turned to other, less disturbing subjects. He didn't really contribute much, the boy content with simply listening as the other three girls chatted, incidentally voicing his thoughts whenever needed. They didn't always get along, and him being a boy did create a small rift between the four of them at times, but they were people who he could call friends.
That alone was enough for him to be content.
"Hurry up Shirou!" Alisa shouted even as Shirou quickened his pace.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Shirou answered as he rolled his eyes, even though he was sure that he was smiling as the girls ran ahead. He adjusted the strap on his duffle bag to a more comfortable position before sprinting after the girls. Since he had started taking lessons from Takamachi Kyouya and Takamachi Miyuki, Nanoha's older siblings, he had been assigned the older boy's original duty of escorting Nanoha and her friends to cram school as compensation. He would grab his bags and the bokken Takamachi Shiro, Nanoha's father, had lent to him before accompanying the girls to make sure they made it to cram school. After that he'd run towards the Takamachi's for his own lessons.
Today it seemed like the girls wanted to take a shortcut, a path running directly through the park in the middle of city. Shirou had disapproved, preferring to stay on the open road instead of running through the park. They didn't take much time discussing the matter before the girls decided that his disapproval was noted but ignored. By now the three girls had gotten a lot of practice in convincing Shirou to do something against his will and they had perfected the art rather frightfully.
After all, at heart, Emiya Shirou simply didn't like saying no to people.
The sounds of the city faded away as they raced through the park. It was just like stepping into the Takamachi families dojo, similar as how the seemingly feeble walls and doors formed a barrier that kept out the noise and unrest from the outside, or the basement in his home where he practiced his magecraft...
"...lease he..p "
Shirou let out a yelp as he, distracted by the sudden sound, ran right into Nanoha, who had suddenly stopped in the middle of the path. The girl looked rather distracted, staring at something in the distance. "Nanoha?"
"Didn't you hear that?" Nanoha tilted her head, as if trying to find the source of whatever had distracted her.
"I... I'm not sure." Shirou confessed as he looked around… only to watch Nanoha take off into the woods from the corner of his eyes.
Shirou ran after the girl, still wondering about what was going on. He normally would have no problem keeping up with the girl but the kendo bag strapped on his body was giving him a hard time. Glancing behind him he noticed Alisa and Suzuka had started chasing after them, the blonde furiously yelling at them in an attempt to have them slow down.
"It came from over here!" Nanoha suddenly called out, pausing for a moment before pointing towards a small clearing between the trees.
He followed her, looking around the open spot but the clearing seemed empty. "Nanoha, I don't see anyone..."
"Ah… Shirou! Just look at this poor thing here..."
Nanoha had knelt down in the grass, scooping up something furry from the ground. It was a ferret, curled up as it trembled in her hands. Judging from it's beat up appearance the thing had been injured, perhaps by a human or a dog.
"N-Nanoha, Shirou, j-just stop for a while so we can catch up!" Alisa cried out as she and Suzuka stumbled into the clearing as well. All signs of anger evaporated at the sight of the wounded animal, both of the girls joining Nanoha in cooing over the sleeping animal.
"It's injured. We need to take it to a vet." Suzuka pointed out. Shirou was already pulling a spare shirt out of his kendo bag, handing it to the girl as Suzuka carefully wrapped it around the ferret in an attempt to keep it warm.
"I'll carry him to the vet after I drop you three off." Shirou promised as he carefully took the fetter off Suzuka's hands. As he carefully cradled the animal in his arms his hand brushed over the red gem that hung on its collar.
A small shock ran up Shirou's arm, making the boy pause as he looked down. For a moment it looked like the red jewel had become brighter, gleaming through the shade cast by the trees, before it faded back to normal.
Was it his imagination?
"Come on," The boy spoke up. "We're almost at the cram school. Shouldn't there be a vet around here somewhere"
"Got it!" Alisa nodded, pulling out her cell phone. Moments later his own phone started vibrating, signalling that Alisa had sent him a link.
"There's one close to the station." Alisa explained while she pulled Nanoha and Suzuka along with her. "We'll walk the rest of the way, you go get the little guy the help he needs!"
"Wait a moment," Shirou protested. "I'm supposed to bring you to cram school first..."
"That little guy needs someone to save him! You're a hero, right?!" Alisa yelled as she took off, dragging her friends in tow. Shirou watched as the three girls disappeared before he pulled out his cellphone. He looked at the map Alisa had sent him before taking off towards the nearest vet.
'You're a hero, right?!'
Shirou sighed. Alisa really knew how to push his buttons.
The key to practicing magecraft is to possess a strong mind and body.
This was a lesson that Kiritsugu had repeatedly drilled into Shirou after he had finally convinced him to finally teach him magic. In his first year as Kiritsugu's apprentice he had not even performed a single act of magic. Instead he had spent those months training relentlessly under his teacher's strict supervision, all in order to harden his body and increase his tolerance to pain.
After a while Kiritsugu had come home with a set of shinai for sparring practice, even though neither father nor son were experienced with wielding a sword. When Kiritsugu had gone on yet another trip, heading to regions unknown, he had left Shirou in the care of the Takamachi family, who had taken it upon themselves to look after the boy in his absence.
Shirou had known that Nanoha's family ran a cafe/bakery. What he didn't know back then was that Takamachi Shirou originally came from family of swordsmen, Nanoha's father having trained both Kyouya and Miyuki.
When the later discovered that the boy was trying to improve his own meager sword skills she had been willing to be his training partner for as long as he was willing to keep up with her pace. Soon Shirou learned the true difference between an amateur like his father, and a talented practitioner like Takamachi Miyuki.
Thus started Emiya Shirou's training in swordsmanship, a path he pursued as relentlessly as the other facets of his training. And now, after months of beat-ups and sparring sessions, his father who had never even trained in the basics of swordplay was not much of a challenge anymore. Thus Shirou found himself spending several days in the week training with one of the Takamachi's after school.
"Straighten your pose!" Kyouya barked, Shirou snapping up in response. "Your sword is tipping downwards!"
Shirou gasped for breath, forced to block another flurry of attacks as his teacher punished him for his lack of posture. By now his hands were covered with sweat, his shinai seemingly growing heavier with every block. Shirou attempted to twist away from his assailant, trying to find a lull to draw breath, only to find himself trapped as he watched his opponent raise his sword for an inescapable strike.
Kyouya showed no mercy as he brought down his practice sword onto Shirou's head, only holding back right before impact to reduce a devastating blow to a painful tap.
The sound of the sword hitting his head echoed through Shirou's skull. He dropped his practice sword in favor of cradling his sore head as he slipped to the ground. Underneath his protective gear his skin was burning, a collection of new bruises already flourishing after yet another session.
"I think we're done for today Shirou." Kyouya tossed the boy a water bottle, chuckling as Shirou nearly dropped the bottle after failing to catch it properly with his trembling arms. "You seem a bit distracted today. Any reason why?"
"Did a cute girl confess to you?"
"N-No, they didn't! Why do you keep asking that?"
"Older brother's privilege?"
"But you're Nanoha's brother, not mine." Shirou pointed out. "So..."
"You're here so often that you're pretty much already family you know."
"Ah.." Shirou paused. Really, it wasn't the first time Kyouya, or any other member of the Takamachi family had mentioned it. It bothered Shirou a bit to see how this family was so willing to go out of their way to look after him, to the point that he was spending quite some time here.
"So..." Kyouya smiled. "Are you going to tell me what's bothering you now?"
Shirou shook his head. "It's nothing. I-"
Shirou himself didn't really understand what had been bothering him. He had dropped the ferret off at a vet as the girls went off to cram school. He had even left his phone number behind before texting the girls that the ferret was going to be fine.
Even so, there was something nagging him about the whole situation, but he couldn't point it out. Ever since he had picked up the ferret it felt like there was something whispering in the back of his head, as if he had missed something important back in the park.
"I'm not sure..." Shirou confessed before gulping down the precious water that had been given to him.
"Oh well." Kyouya shook his head. "Anyway, we're done for today. Tomorrow Miyuki will train with you but try to get a clear head."
"Thank you for your instructions." Shirou stood up, bowing towards Kyouya who returned the gesture.
The Emiya residence in Uminari city was one of the newer buildings in town. It was a two story urban style house, no different than any other house on the block, unless you took in account the subtle boundary field that surrounded the house. The boundary field was a warning system that alerted any of the residents if someone entered the area with violent intentions, It had been the first act of magecraft that Kiritsugu had set up after they moved in.
Shirou didn't really understand how it worked, but it had cemented the idea that his father was a great magus in his eyes.
Shirou's voice echoed throughout the empty house, the boy placing his bag in the corner of the living room. There was no reply of 'Welcome Home' or 'How was your day?' seeing as there was nobody home. Shirou had grown used to the act of returning to an empty home, and even the few times Kiritsugu was home he rarely answered the call back without some prompting, the man often dozing off in the sun when left alone.
Sometimes he wondered what kept his old man up at night for him to be always so tired.
The basement that Shirou sat in could be considered spartan at best, the only objects in the room being an old desk, covered in papers, an old carpet and a single lead pipe. Magecraft was a dangerous practice and at his current level Shirou couldn't afford any distractions. Kiritsugu had warned him that a single mistake could cripple him for life, if not outright kill him.
To use magecraft is to walk with death. Emiya Kiritsugu had made sure that Shirou understood this vital rule.
Shirou slowly breathed in, placing his right hand over the pipe, discarding all unnecessary thoughts. As he breathed out he made himself disappear, leaving only the pipe behind in his mindscape.
Along with the next breath a second object appeared; the circuit that would fuel his magic. Slowly the second object became more detailed, the burning in his lower spine increasing as his body responded to his mind's image. There was no room for pain. The circuit has to be perfect or the nerves that formed the basis would burn out too fast and his circuit would disappear. Heat flowed through Shirou's body, moving along his nerves even as his body tried to reject the circuit. Kiritsugu had told him that magic is unnatural, causing it to be rejected by the body, and that the pain suffered was the price one paid to use magic.
But Shirou already knew the pain of burning, his entire body had already been touched by flames once before. This heat was nothing compared to that time.
Shirou hissed through clenched teeth as the magic circuit finally slipped into place.
With the circuit running Shirou took hold of the pipe. By now he knew the internal structure of the object by heart, having used the same object for months.
But today Shirou would once more try something beyond reading an object. Kiritsugu had recently started instructing him in "strengthening" objects with magic, reinforcing an object by understanding the object's structure and channeling magical energy into it.
By knowing the object, along with it's weaknesses, a mage could reinforce it to become better than normal. A knife becomes sharper, a shield becomes more resilient and a simple rope could become as strong as a steel cable.
"Basic structure, alter."
Today Shirou decided to try to increase the durability of the pipe. Forcing the prana to flow through his body, guiding it from the circuit through his arm into the pipe, he started flooding the pipe.
"Remember Shirou," Kiritsugu explained, the boy closely watching his father as he continued his instruction. "channeling your magical energy into something other than yourself is like pouring poison into that object. It would be... like pumping your blood into the body of another person. Pumping your blood directly into him will only accelerate the breakdown of their body, it certainly wouldn't make them stronger. To prevent that, to turn the poisonous blood into something that benefited the donor, humans needed to understand what blood was composed of and how the body reacted to it. The same goes for magic.
"So, I should change my magic to fit the pipe?"
"Well, that's not possible of course. But we can predict and influence the way the pipe reacts toward our power by completely understanding the structure. We can strengthen it by channeling the magical energy into the small gaps of it's structure instead of flooding the whole construct, which only damages the pipe even further."
Kiritsugu had spoken about it like it was a bit of a chore, hard but manageable. To Shirou it seemed as hard as hitting a target hundreds of meters away with a stone. The power his circuit produced was just too hard to control.
"R-Reinforcement Complete." Shirou gasped, letting out the breath he had been holding in. The pressure that had been building up inside the core of his body vanished, leaving him exhausted on the ground, his breathing labored and his face flushed with exhaustion. After a moment, the magus in training struggled back up into a sitting position and looked down at the reinforced pipe.
"Another failure..." Shirou concluded sadly as he held the iron pipe in his hands, the magical energy poured into it already dissipating into the room. "…It's really hard to improve something."
Shirou just stared at the pipe before slowly letting it slip from his hands. Calling it quits for the night, he stumbled back onto his feet and slowly, lethargically, returned upstairs to his room.
Emiya Shirou was asleep before his head even hit the pillow.
Shirou slowly roused himself from his slumber, gazing around his bedroom in confusion as he swore he had heard a voice calling out to him. Nobody but him was home right now. Kiritsugu was gone for at least another few days, and nobody had sneaked into the house. The latter would have resulted in the telltale sound of the barrier going off.
Where had that voice come from?
'Hurry, someone come and help!'
Any remaining traces of doubt or sleep were brushed aside with that desperate plea, accompanied with the vivid image of the red jewel Shirou had seen that afternoon. There had been something strange with that ferret.
But that didn't matter. Someone had called for his help, and Emiya Shirou wouldn't refuse such a call.
Shirou ran out of his house, guided by the pleas of the voice while holding onto his shinai. The clarity of the voice grew stronger as he ran through the streets. Eventually he approached the veterinarian's office…
Shirou had been to this building on the previous day and there had been nothing unusual about it in the daylight. But now the boy couldn't help but feel that something was terribly wrong, his skin tingling from the sheer amount of magical energy pulsing out of the building.
The miasma was so dense that Shirou wondered why someone hadn't noticed, and why he had been the only one to show up.
An all too familiar voice called out, Shirou spinning around to stare at the speaker in complete bewilderment.
"Nanoha? Why?... what are you doing here?"
Why was she here? Why, of all the people was Takamachi Nanoha outside at midnight, clad in nothing more then her pajamas and her jacket? Normal, regular humans should be sleeping in their bed, not standing next to a magically soaked building.
But, before Shirou could get any answers from the girl, he paused as the building behind him started to shudder. He turned around as both he and Nanoha stared at the building in confusion. For a moment it seemed that the shuddering had stopped…
...and then the wall exploded.
Alarm bells ringing in his head, Shirou had wasted no time in throwing himself in front of Nanoha before the blast had hit him, both children tumbling down as the cloud of dust enveloped them. But there was no time for them to recover. Another blast erupted and a sudden gust of wind pushed away the dust cloud, revealing the cause of the explosion.
Shirou had kinda expected the ferret, the animal most certainly involved with all the strange things going on lately. It was the other being that had caught him by surprise. For what hovered out of the hole in the wall was best described as a cloud of black cotton with a demonic face pasted on top of it.
Whatever it was, it was immersed power, making his nerves burn as if he had forgotten to close his circuit after training. It made his body, still sensitive from his training, ache as it drew closer.
There was no doubt about it. This thing, whatever it was, was radiating mana.
Shirou and Nanoha looked on in shock at the sight of the small animal being attacked by a magic cloud of darkness until the boy snapped out of his stupor.
This whole situation reeked of magecraft. Nanoha had to leave before she got hurt.
"We have to help it!" Nanoha cried out, dismissing his attempt to order her to go home as the ferret failed to dodge another swipe. It almost happened too fast. Nanoha was running over to pick up the ferret. Shirou suppressed his fear and darted in front of the two, barely making it before the monster dove down for a finishing blow.
A regular weapon wouldn't work against a thing like this. All he had was the shinai on his back, a gift from the Eldest Takamachi to replace the cheap knock-off Kiritsugu had bought. That was all he had to protect his friend….
The beast was three seconds away.
There was no time to activate his circuit. Even so, some power still remained in his body. It was only a little bit, but it would have to do.
Two seconds left.
Within a moment the structural analysis of the shinai was complete. Unlike the pipe Shirou understood the practice blade almost instantly. Knowledge that he didn't have before entered Shirou's mind. Another had held this sword before giving it to him. His experiences were part of the sword.
That's right, He had known the sword's strength and weaknesses from the start. The small amount of power that remained flowed into the sword as it guided him in the strike that would protect Nanoha.
Shirou slammed his sword into the creature, launching it back into the air.
"Shirou... thats amazing!" Nanoha cheered from behind his back, yelping as the black menace immediately charged at them at full speed. Once more Shirou caught the monster with the Shinai, forcing it back with a second swing.
"This thing, it's far too tough for me. I can't do any damage to it." Shirou spoke, addressing the girl taking cover behind him. "I can hold it off for a little while, so take the ferret and run!"
"I said..." Shirou hissed, gritted his teeth as the black monster rushed towards him. This time it struck so fast that it nearly ripped the sword from his hands. "...run! I can't keep this up for much longer!"
No matter what, the boy would definitely protect his friend.
He told her to run.
Nanoha's legs refused to move even as Shirou's plea echoed through her mind. Run? Leave him behind? But that's….
"You... you came for me?"
Nanoha yelped as the ferret in her arms spoke up, shaking her head as she tried to divide her attention between the cuddly animal in her arms and the monster striking at her friend.
Horror filled her eyes as Shirou darted forward to meet the beast head on, only for the impact to send him flying across the street.
Her friend hit the ground, rolling a few feet before coming to an halt only mere steps away from where she stood. Her friend was hurt. She didn't want that... she didn't want to stand here helplessly as Shirou...
"It seems like you possess the proper aptitude." The ferret quickly spoke up. "Please! Lend me some of your strength! Not just for me, but for you friend's sake as well!"
"Yes! I came here with the wish to solve this problem alone, but I underestimated their strength. Please, use your strength along with her guidance!"
"...her?" Nanoha couldn't help but ask, confused by the ferret's particular line of speech.
Looking towards the source of the new voice Nanoha suddenly noticed that the red gem, which the ferret had been holding onto, was now floating right in front of her.
Shirou's body burned as the boy forced himself to crawl back onto his feet. The shadow monster had spiraled into the sky once again, most likely to gain some momentum for his next attempt to crush him. He wouldn't be able to last much longer. With Nanoha standing behind him there was no way that he could move to evade the attacks. Then again, he had barely any strength left in his legs to begin with.
"I, the one who accepts this mission..."
Power. Magical energy flooded over the skin of his back the moment Nanoha had started chanting. In response the monster decided to speed up, heading directly towards them.
"...The winds of the sky and the stars of the heavens..."
All Shirou could do now was stand his ground, meeting the monster's charge head on with his strongest strike. Shirou didn't know what Nanoha was doing but...
"...This magic in my hand, Raising Heart! Set Up!"
Pink light flooded the area, blinding the incoming monster as it came to a halt right before striking his target. With the light at his back, Shirou could see the opening perfectly.
The boy let out a primal cry as he struck the monster between what appeared to be the eyes. The strike connected and Shirou tumbled towards the ground as the monster jumped away with a painful shriek.
Turning around to see what had happened to Nanoha, Shirou suddenly found himself doubting his eyesight. No words came to mind as Nanoha stepped forward, wearing a white dress and holding onto what appeared to be a staff of some sorts, embedded with a larger version of the jewel the ferret had been holding onto. The monster roared at the sight of a new threat, and lunged directly towards the girl.
"Don't stand there Nanoha!" Shirou cried out in panic as Nanoha froze on the spot. "Move. Get away...!"
Before he could even finish his warning Shirou winced, the flare from the pink barrier appearing in front of Nanoha catching both the boy and the monster by surprise. To Shirou's relief it had instantly stopped the monster, leaving it to struggle in an attempt to smash through. A hesitant smile crept on Shirou's face as Nanoha's confusion shifted into a confident look as the barrier kept the monster at bay.
Then nanoha balled her left hand... before punching her own barrier.
The barrier exploded outwards, throwing the monster down the street and scattering into several gooey pieces. Shirou's triumphant cry died on his lips as he immediately spotted the individual blobs moving on their own. "What does it take to defeat this this thing?" Shirou cried out as the pieces started to reassemble itself.
"We can't defeat it with force, it will only continue to regenerate! We need to seal it!"
"It… can talk…" Shirou pulled himself up from the ground, using his shinai as a makeshift crutch, before staring at the ferret sitting next to Nanoha.
The sight seemed so bizarre that the boy could help but grin, pointing accusingly at the ferret even as a grin slipped on his face. "Don't tell me, you are a magical animal from another world!"
"Correct!" Nanoha answered with an expression which Shirou assumed was an attempt to keep a straight face. "His name is Yuuno and this is his staff, and apparently I'm a magical girl!"
"That's… wow." Shirou spoke up. "And here I thought I was the only magic user around here."
"T-this isn't the time to joke around!" The ferret yelled, causing Shirou to blink. He was being serious… and was not keeping track of the monster that was about to jump him, again.
"...Sorry, you're right." Shirou turned back to face the nearly resurrected monster. "Then, mister magical ferret, you said we have to seal this. How do we do that?"
"Nanoha and Raising Heart can do it. She just needs some time to walk herself through the process." the ferret answered.
Shirou nodded. "Alright then, I'll distract it while she does that."
"No!" Nanoha loudly objected, causing Shirou to look at her in surprise. "You're already hurt!" the girl pointed out. "You're just a boy It's too dangerous! Please, get out of here..."
"Look who's talking! You just learned your first lesson and already I'm just a boy?" Emiya Shirou smiled. "Besides, what kind of hero would leave the magical girl behind to face the monster alone? Your dad will kill me if I don't bring you home safely. Protecting people is why I got to borrow this sword in the first place..."
"But, you only have that shinai!"
"That's enough for me. I just told you, you're not the only magic user around here, didn't I?"
Shirou ignored Nanoha's confused expression, instead recalling what had happened when he previously struck the monster.
Earlier had been just a fluke. He had understood the sword, and had used that power to keep the monster at bay. A small bit of power had flowed into the blade, enough to keep it from breaking.
Emiya Shirou had never once successfully used magic. Tonight, wielding the Shinai, had been the first time his magic had worked. The circuit he had made earlier during training had already degraded, his nerves returned to normal, but some prana had remained behind in his body. Had this battle taken place a few hours later, at the break of dawn, there would have been no traces of prana left, and he would have been powerless.
But, in the night, Emiya Shirou still had enough prana left to perform a last feat of magecraft.
Shirou ran to confront the reforming monster, ignoring the familiar heat and pain as the familiar blueprint of the shinai was once more brought to the front of his mind. The shape of the wood, the imperfections in the materials which were invisible to the naked eye and even the dirt and filth were all mapped out in a single moment.
Shirou squeezed all of the prana he could draw from himself into the blade, filling the imperfections and the weaknesses. But this time he went beyond making it less breakable. This time he would perfect the blade, making it ascend to something beyond it's original limitations.
A rush went through Shirou's nerves as the sword accepted the meager amount of prana, the blade strengthened to the point that the practice blade acquired a strength one would normally find in real steel. The blunt object acquired a sharpness it was never meant to possess, turning the sparring weapon into something lethal…
...something that could defend Nanoha from the monster, which had finished reassembling itself and was diving right towards him. Driven by reflex, the result of many hours spent at the Takamachi dojo, the boy rolled to the side, barely dodging the claw aimed for his head. The monster's blow dug right into the ground, trapping the beast as the boy climbed back onto his feet. Shirou tightened the grip on his sword while he rushed towards the monster, driven to force it to focus on him, and only himself.
The monster wasn't allowed to focus on Nanoha while she did...whatever she was doing. Going for a killing blow, or an attempt at one, would keep the beast distracted. If his sword was strong enough then the strike would hopefully knock the beast out. If his reinforcement was not up to the task and failed then the sword would break. Without the sword and inside the reach of the monster he was as good as beaten. But no matter what, Nanoha wouldn't be targeted.
"Stay down already!" Shirou yelled as the monster turned to face him, screeching as the shinai smashed directly into it's face… before the blade sliced right through the black substance that the beast was made of. Shirou screamed as something broke in his arms, forcing him to let go let go of the sword.
Shirou barely noticed Nanoha's cry as monster roared in pain, the beast panicking as it's face fell apart. As it thrashed around it struck Shirou, launching the boy through the air until his aided flight was painfully interrupted by the wall of the animal clinic, leaving the boy to curl into a ball.
The initial strike hadn't been that bad, but he could have sworn that he felt a rib crack when he crashed into the wall.
"Jewel Seed Seal!" Nanoha yelled, her voice cutting through the beast's howling. Pink ribbons spun out from the staff, binding the monster, before Nanoha blasted it with another beam of pink light, seemly vaporizing it.
"That…was pretty cool." Shirou admitted as he watched a small jewel drop to the ground. His eyes widened in surprise as Nanoha poked the strange gem with the staff, the red gem embedded in her staff glowing before absorbed the jewel.
"[Receipt number twenty one]". The staff spoke in a calm female voice while displaying the number it just had registered.
As the girl rushed to his side, the boy immediately tried to pick himself up.
"I'm okay." Shirou tried to reassure her. The fact that his arms weren't really cooperating weakened his statement as the girl glared at him.
Shirou honestly didn't care about that right now, his mind currently focused on another subject. "What happened just now... That was definitely magecraft."
"Eh?" Nanoha paused, looking at him in surprise. "What was that you said?"
Shirou was somewhat confused. Takamachi Nanoha had just used magic; ridiculously strong magic that could blast monsters in a single shot. It was unlike anything Kiritsugu had ever told him.
"Shirou... you're staring." the girl meekly spoke up, looking somewhat uncomfortable. Shirou sheepishly scratching his cheek, not realising what he was doing until the girl turned her head aside.
"Excuse me," The ferret spoke spoke up. "I don't want to sound rude, but are you really okay?"
"Don't worry so much. I'm fine." Shirou reassured both the girl and the pet. "We should probably get out of here ..."
"But you're injured! We can't just move you...!" Nanoha protested as Shirou pulled himself on his feet. Shirou flinched, both from the pain and the sound of the sirens approaching the area. People would come and look around real soon. Magecraft was to be kept a secret. That was another lesson that Kiritsugu had beat into his head.
"We should go, like right now." Shirou insisted as he started to walk, albeit slowly. "It doesn't matter where, we just really need to go, right now!"
"Alright. We're far enough from the veterinarian building now, lets take a break." Shirou spoke as he and Nanoha made their way towards her home. The girl, having wrapped his arm around her shoulder, gently put him down, the ferret jumping from her free shoulder to take a closer look at the boy.
"You know…" it spoke. "You really don't look that good..."
"I'll get better." Shirou replied as he glared over the ferret and resisted the urge to poke the cuddly looking creature a few times for making Nanoha worry even more. "So... you were saying that you're a magical ferret wizard hunting these shadow monsters?"
"Yes.. wait, No!" Yunno paused, the animal clearly trying to get its bearings straight. "It's a long explanation." He eventually answered. "Before I begin I just want to say I'm sorry for getting you involved in this."
"Don't worry about it," Shirou dismissed the ferret's apology with a smile. This kind of thing is what I've been training for...sorta. Emiya Shirou isn't afraid to help other people in need."
"That's right, introductions!" Nanoha clapped her hands before she reached her hand towards the ferret. "My name is Takamachi Nanoha, nice to meet you!"
The sight of the small ferret handing a paw in return reduced the girl to a giggling mess at the sight. "I am Yuuno Scrya. I am glad to make your acquaintance."
"So, what are you doing in Uminari Yuuno? What was with that monster?"
"That monster was..." Yuuno trailed off for a moment to gather his thoughts. "Well, that monster was my fault. I was the one to find them so I am the one responsible for collecting them again."
"Them? You found some monsters?"
"Not the monsters. That was just a side effect of the Jewel Seed's activation." The ferret explained. "The cause of that was the Lost Logia, the ancient treasure, Raising Heart sealed earlier. They are called called Jewel Seeds."
"Jewel Seeds," Shirou repeated the name. " That.. doesn't really sound that dangerous though."
"My clan and I are archeologists. It was on a recent dig that I found them. They were part of one of the oldest ancient civilization. Particular artifacts from those times which are dangerous or irreproducible are called Lost Logia."
"Oh," Nanoha nodded. "and these Jewel Seeds… spawn shadow monsters?"
"Not really. The Jewel Seeds are believed to be capable of granting wishes. But when used in the wrong way, or when unsupervised, they can do all sorts of damage."
"Wait." Nanoha looked at the ferret with a look of confusion. "So someone wished for that creature?"
"Probably not. We don't really know what the original purpose of these Jewel Seeds were. All I know is that they were described in ancient lore as miracles that are driven by desires. If there is no mage around when they activate, their effects are random and unpredictable. That shadow monster might have been such a result."
Yuuno paused as he stared at the ground. "We decided that it would be best to have them sealed and stored in a safe location. But instead they were scattered across this world during transit. I was the one that found them, so I am going to be the one to seal them back up. Please, I just need a place to rest to regain my strength. I won't bother your for more than a few days!"
"Don't worry about that!" Nanoha smiled as she turned to her friend. "We'll help you with this, right Shirou?"
"Of course." Shirou nodded. "Not even an amateur magus like me would leave something like those Jewel Seeds out in the open where they can hurt people. Magecraft is supposed to be hidden after all. Normal people shouldn't be endangered by this. I'll help you until everything is back to normal."
"You, you don't have to do all that." The fetter objected. "This my responsibility!"
"You're in no shape for monster hunting." Shirou pointed out. "Besides, we can't just leave them alone. People could get hurt, and that's something that's unacceptable."
"Right!" Nanoha agreed with the boy."... wait a minute. What did you say before that?"
"People could get hurt?"
"Not even an amateur magus like me would leave something like those Jewel Seeds out in the open?"
"That!" Nanoha clapped her hands. " I knew I had heard it correctly…. what does that mean?"
"Well, even as an amateur I... wait a minute. You just used magecraft yourself, why are you even asking me something as basic as that?"
"Wait wait wait!?" Nanoha sputtered "I only used magic for the first time tonight, why should I know? Wait a minute… Shirou, you can use magic?"
"Shirou can use magic..." Nanoha calmly repeated the statement even as a dark aura started to surround her figure. "...and he never decided to tell me?!"
By now the girl was outright glaring at the boy, Shirou suddenly feeling a lot more uncomfortable as the girl slowly walked towards him. He was in no way feeling guilty, not at all. It was a rule to keep magecraft hidden from normal people, although Nanoha seemed to be as 'normal' as he was.
"But, You didn't register as a magic user." Yuuno looked at Shirou in surprise. "I mean, you have some innate potential if you could actually hear my calls. But even now I can't even sense your linker core, even at this range. Raising Heart also didn't establish a link when you picked her up before..."
"err." Shirou paused. "...what's a linker core?"
A painful silence followed, both ferret and boy staring at each other in complete confusion until the last member of the party loudly coughed.
"Then, Shirou." Nanoha spoke up. "What kind of magic did you use… Like, how did you even manage to cut through that monster with just the shinai?"
"That's simple." Shirou turned turned his attention to Nanoha, happy to change the subject. "I analyzed the sword before strengthening it, reinforcing it's capabilities with magecraft."
Shirou paused at the blank look both Nanoha and the ferret gave him. "Isn't it supposed to be a basic skill for any decent magus?" He added with a frown.
"Magus, an interesting title." Yuuno noted. "To be honest I didn't know that Earth had many magic users to begin with. Nanoha, could you hand Raising Heart back to Shirou for a moment?"
Shirou watched as Nanoha placed the gem in his palm. Heat seeped into his hand and for a moment it felt like the gem was tugging at him; somewhere in the core of his body...
"[Activation aborted; mana levels indexation failed. Linker core connection failed.]" The gem chimed back.
"Was it supposed to do that?" Shirou frowned as he handed the gem back to Nanoha.
"Ah." Yuuno answered, the ferret scratching his head in a way that made Nanoha squeal once more. "Raising Heart requires a certain amount of mana to activate and requires a stable connection with a linker core to function. If the user's magical storage doesn't match a certain level then it will not activate. I don't understand this at all." Yuuno yawned. "I wonder why it can't detect anything… Is your body that off-sync with Mid-Childan mages?"
"Well, I'm not a natural born mage so I'm probably really weak." Shirou shrugged, not worrying about the strange reading. After all, having no real circuits to begin with, using something like Raising Heart was out of his league from the start. "Still, how did Nanoha use it? She said that she had never used magecraft before, it took me months to learn the basics."
"Ah, Nanoha barely did anything this time." Yuuno pointed out. " Raising heart did all of the work for her, all she had to do was feed it power. Raising Heart is an Intelligent Device so it can compensate for the user in many ways. Still, it cannot do so without a large supply of power."
"[Emiya Shirou's magical level rating is inconclusive. A stable connection cannot be created between user and mainframe. Current ranking of user Takamachi Nanoha is estimated to be at rank A.]" The device lit up as it made itself known again
"A-Rank?" Nanoha looked surprised. "Is that good?"
"...Ranks go from E through S." Yuuno answered. "A-rank is something like one in one thousand on an average population like that of Mid-Childa. It's just raw power though…."
"Are you alright?" Shirou suddenly asked, carefully watching the ferret as it's head drooped down.
"Just… need some sleep." Yuuno replied. "I'll be fine."
"I think we should go home." Nanoha decided. "We can talk about this later."
"Alright..." Shirou nodded as he stood back up, ignoring the pain that shot through his body. Hopefully Nanoha didn't see him wince...
"Are you okay?" Nanoha frowned "That monster hit you pretty hard."
"Don't worry about it, I'll be fine." Shirou nodded.. "I'll probably be a little sore tomorrow but this isn't anything worse than when I spar with your brother."
"If you say so..." Nanoha didn't seem convinced, but was willing to let it slide. "Then... I'll see you tomorrow Shirou."
"Ah, good night Nanoha."
After watching the girl walk down the street the boy turned around and started his long, painful walk back towards his own home...
"Wait a minute." Shirou suddenly spoke up as a rather unsettling truth dawned on him. "...Which way is my house?"
Q&A for new readers
Q: What is this? This isn't Fate night Sky at all!
A:Nope. While this is a MSLN/FSN crossover this is a whole different story.
Q: I know this story! You stole this from Heroslayer! It's almost exactly the same! I'll have you banned! BANNED!
A: The original "Mahou Senki Lyrical Days" was written by Heroslayer. A while back he and I tried to rewrite his work, seeing as many readers had complained about certain choices and I really liked the idea for the MSLN/FSN crossover myself. Eventually both he and I decided to split up, creating two parallel worlds so we could each tell our own story.
Q: It took you 6 months to upload this to ? Lazy Fraggle!
A: This version is even better than before! It's triple proofread! Besides, you'll get the other 4 chapters in less then two weeks while the forumites had to wait for months!
Q:Really? I think I found half a dozen grammar mistakes just now.
A: Shut up.
Q:Is this fic going to be NanoFate?
A:I prefer Nanoha x Raising Heart. They work well together.
Q: ShirouxFate then?
A: Nasuverse protagonist often defy fate. whether is also counts for Fate… who knows?
Q: Is Kerry going to cap a bitch?
A: One question which so many people keep asking me. Personally I'm against excessive animal cruelty.
Q:Isn't it supposed to be written as Takamachi Shirō and Takamachi Kyōya?
A: that's true. But seeing that Emiya Shirou and Takamachi Shirou have [exactly] the same name, and people prefer Emiya Shirou, I've chosen to write their name in the same manner.
Q:Fraggle! I feel like I have this great idea/ commentary for your story and I want to tell you all about it!
A: I kinda don't read my PM's when it comes to story ideas. But there is a Lyrical Days thread on both the spacebattles and the Beast's Lair forum. The latter also has a MSLD/FSN crossover snippet tread with loads of material for the combined verses.