Summary: Living out the rest of the days as an ordinary student of Tsukumihara Academy until suddenly waking up in a strange virtual world with no recollection of the past, Chris Corona is thrust into a fight for survival in war he doesn't understand for a prize beyond value to him known as the "Holy Grail"; an object that grants any wish. With only a strange fox-ear Servant called "Caster" by his side to gain the Holy Grail as he descents into madness and chaos until he finds the most important question to all "Who am I?". This is his story in the 7th Heaven's Feel Holy Grail War.
Prologue 1: Real or Fake?
Days Remaining: 3
It's a bright, sunny morning. The air is filled with the joyful laughter of students. There's more activity than normal in front of the school gate. A crowd is forming as students are being called over.
–I wonder what's going on.
When I peer into the center of the hubbub, I see my friend and student council president Issei Ryuudou. As I approached closer to him, my friend greeted me as usually.
"Good morning! Lovely weather we're having, don't you think?" Issei said in his usual tone before looking at my dumbfounded expression, "Hmm? Why do you look so surprised? We announced at last week's assembly that this month the student council would strictly enforce school rules. I have been tasked with performing inspections to ensure students are in compliance with school rules."
He claps his hands together in a matter–of–fact–like manner as he continues on, "Now, it goes without saying that EVERYONE is subject to inspections, even old friends. Now then, uniform inspection time!"
Issei approaches me and studies my appearance in a manner much like a tailor measuring the width and length of the customer to determine what the proper fit would be for the clothes.
"… Collar, check! Pants hems, check! And your socks… check! Next is the contents of your bag… Notebooks, textbooks, pencil box! Not even a whiff of contraband. Your nails are evenly cut, and your haircut is sensible."
He steps back and nods of approval with his chin rested on his hand. "Indeed, quite remarkable. You're a model Tsukumihara Academy student. Someone like you ought to consider a future in student government. You'd be perfect for it. Oh, but I'd never try to coerce you into joining the student council. We aren't like that. Now then, off to your classroom! Enjoy your day."
Before I can replay, Mr. Diligent Student Council President is on to the next student's inspection. Hungry for gossip on their way to their classrooms, the students jabber about the inspections. Things are always so gently bustling in the morning. Another peaceful beginning to another peaceful day as I proceed to go to my classroom 2–A.
Chimes raise the curtains on humble days,
Precious as a handful of gold dust.
But I can't help but wonder, each day feels so repetitive. Like the days keep on repeating themselves and… I feels like I'm forgetting something, but it's probably my imaginative as I enter into the classroom.
As I enter class, I see Matou with a bunch of girls. Why he's so popular is a mystery in and out of itself… and as I said that in my mind Matou turns his attention towards me, like he just noticed me, and gave me his usual 'smile'.
"Hey, when did you show? You're so quiet and dull that I didn't even notice you for a sec. Even though we've– Hey, we've been friends since our freshman year, right?" Matou pondered in bit before shaking it off, "Anyway, don't sweat the fact that you're as boring as dirt. It's not like you can help it. I mean, anyone would seem boring and stupid when compared to me!"
It's a little early for so much abuse, but as it's Shinji Matou, it can't be helped. His arrogance is almost palatable… I wonder if it will kill him to be a little nicer and considerate. Though I don't know what he's saying, but it makes all the girls squeal with joy. Actually let me rephrase… His popularity isn't so much mysterious as it is… unnatural.
"I was just doing a little math tutoring. This stuff is beyond… for me, anyway," Matou said with his usual smug demeanor.
"… Wait a sec. Hey Matou, isn't the answer to this question… totally wrong in every way?" one of the female students, the one in black, said pointing to the piece of paper on Matou's desk. Shinji Matou's eyes widen in shock and panic as he looks at the paper, gritting his teeth in the process.
"Wh–What in the–? I'm the one who solved that! There's no way it could be wrong!" Shinji bellowed.
"B–But… Look at this. Since when did two plus two equal five?"
"… I'd never make such a stupid mistake! It's all your fault! You're the idiots here, not me!" Shinji continues to deny vehemently.
As Shinji raises his voice, the girls all panic and run back to their desks.
"*Sigh* I hate dealing with the proletariat. Especially when they think they're my equal. It's really pathetic that these worms don't know their place. That's why I like you so much. Even though you're boring, you know not to steal my thunder. You're the ultimate sidekick," Matou replies looking in my direction.
Shinji flashes me a smile. It's weird how I never take offense at the way he talks to me… or our other friend, though that person tends to argue with him a lot but does it in a way to help Shinji become a better person… if that's possible.
By some strange twist of fate, Shinji Matou, our other buddy, and I are friends. How we became friends was… I can't quite remember how it happened…
I want to say we met in spring sometime… The bell for class rings as I try to recollect. And who should fly through the door, but our homeroom teacher, Ms. Taiga Fujimura.
"*Phew* I made it! Good morning, every–"
Ms. Fujimura trips, falling painfully onto the floor. As she lands, her head strikes the corner of the platform at the front of the classroom. The classroom goes dead silent. Every student's attention is focused on the same thing.
"Again… How does she manage to trip in the same place every time…?"
"Listen , you! This isn't the time to be making a jokes!"
"You're right. She isn't moving. Did she get knocked out or something?"
A few brave students get out of their seats and crowd around the still comatose Fujimura.
"Hey, Ms. Fujimura!"
"Ms. Fujimura…? Um… are you okay?"
"Ugh… Wha–?" Ms. Fujimura stirs a bit until she jolts straight back on her feet in an instant, "Huh? What's wrong, everyone? Hey, class is about to start, so get back to your seats, pronto!"
Ms. Fujimura jumps to her feet as if nothing had happened. It's almost as if the memory of her sudden and violent trip to the floor was totally erased. As this happens all the time, no one seems to notice or care enough to say anything.
… No one gives a thought to how odd it is for this to happen every single day.
The scene playing out before me seems to never change from day to day.
The exact same lessons.
The exact same subject.
The exact same content.
"Um, today we're going to study the biography of Dr. Pieceman, a talented physician who–" Ms. Fujimura began her lecture.
Tige… I mean Ms. Fujimura is conducting class today the same way she does everyday.
"You may not know, but when I was young, an unknown pathogen was the cause of a serious epidemic. In fact, outbreaks were common. But now, most illnesses are cured using nanothingymajigs! And FYI, I'm still young. This will be on the test so be sure you don't forget it. I mean it."
Her ensuing laughter stops short at her eyes, which seem deadly serious. Just as everyone is about to call Fujimura out–
The bell signaling the end of class rings.
"All right, that's all for today. Be sure to study hard tonight, and don't forget those important points I told you about," Ms. Fujimura says as class ends for today.
While today's class wasn't all that boring, it is a relief when the bell rings. As the bell signaling the end of the day sounds, students begin to break off into small groups. And as I make my way out the classroom, I was greeted by my friend Shinji Matou thought I don't think he notices me yet.
"Thank god that's over. I was getting sick of all the busywork. Being a student sucks. The worst part of the whole deal is having to attend these stupid classes," Shinji mutters until his eyes gazes on me, "You're still here? … That's unusual. You don't have any plans, like a date or something?"
Shinji started to laugh.
"Ha ha, I'm just messing with you! I know you're too big of a nerd to ever get a date! I mean, you're just going to your dork club– The journalism club, right…? Well, seeing as you're as boring as stale white bread, your life is exactly as it should be. You know exactly what your role in life is, and you stay there. Well, catch you later! See you in class tomorrow!"
With one last laugh, Shinji Matou exits the classroom.
"Hey!" one of the male students call out to me, "The Editor in Chief of the Journalism Club was calling a general meeting. You'd better go."
On that cue, I hurry over to where the Editor in Chief is usual at which is on the 2F near the Bulletin Board, basically outside of my classroom. On my way out I overheard a couple of female students talking about rumors of a slasher on campus.
As I make myself over to the Bulletin Board where the Chief, she beings to wave at me and starts the conversation right off the bat.
"Look who's here! It's the Newspaper Club's ace! Gotten any leads?"
Leads…? I believe my question made her slightly irritated.
"What? Did you forget? You have to write an 'Unsolved Mysterious of Tsukumihara' article. C'mon, I told you yesterday. There isn't very much time left before the deadline," the Chief pouted a bit… and then regain her vigor with a beaming smile, "Well, whatever. Your work's always good, so I'll leave this in your capable hands! Jeez, my benevolence is like a black panther running around. Yes, that doesn't make sense."
Indeed… the Chief always manages to say the oddest of things. But I never say it to her face.
"So that's that. I've done some of the investigating. It's your job to do the rest."
Wait… she did what? She glares at her as I cast her a bewilder look.
"… Don't look so surprised. There is a method to my madness. Okay, so about the first preview edition, the one called 'Gateway to the Paranormal.' So listen… There's supposedly an entrance to the spirit world at the rear of the Archery Range. One time, a male student who got bullied a lot was told to pick up trash there… and vanished."
She walks back and forth wriggling her finger in the hand, as she explained what she uncovered. But why is she doing the walking thing?
"Everyone's totally convinced that there's paranormal activity going on back there," She says as a sweatdrop formed on her face, "Isn't that scary– I mean, ridiculous? Anyway, go sniff out the truth! Leave no stone unturned! Your nose and eyes are the tools of the trade for a journalist. Got it?"
"Your reply should be 'Yes, ma'am'! All right. Hop to it!"
And on that note, I headed over to the Archery Range to investigate the 'mysterious' disappearance and the 'gateway to the spirit world'. I hope this isn't a wild goose chase…
On my way downstairs I spot Shinji by the Nurse's Office and for reasons I cannot explain I decided to see how he's doing.
"Hey Sakura!" the blue–haired boy address to the nurse, Sakura Matou, who is Shinji's little sister. I recognize her anywhere with her long purple hair and that nurse's robe she wears.
She's so young yet, maybe the same age as Shinji, but she's also the School Nurse and a member of the Archery Club… come to think of it, why is that?
"Oh… it's you, Brother." Sakura addressed her brother with a smile though Shinji looks less than pleased.
"I heard that you've been skipping out on the archery club's morning practices lately! Why haven't you been showing up? And where do you get off taking a break without my say so?"
Shinji looked ready to blow his stream.
"You bi… I get it now. You've been going to 'their' house again, haven't you?"
"… Yes. I have been going there, but I just wanted to help and…" Sakura began to speak, but her voice started to lose strength as she mutters at the end.
"Let me guess… You felt you were obligated to, right? Jeez, why must you be so damn naïve?" Shinji stopped himself for a second and look to be like he was reviewing what he said, "Wait a sec… What was that just now? Anyway, if someone gets hurt, just leave them to suffer. Just do what I tell you to, and things will be a–okay."
Shinji lets out a deep sigh. "I mean, it seems like people get some kind of perverse thrill from getting in my way. To force one of my… err… my dear little sister to miss valuable practice time…"
"That's not how it was at all…! I wasn't forced to do anything. I wanted to help! …Um… why don't you… Why is it so wrong to help those who need it?" Sakura replied.
"Ha! Isn't it only fools and the weak who manage to get themselves hurt somehow? And why help anybody out? Will that person ever pay you back or help in return? Of course they won't! And if you think otherwise, you're an idiot! I won't be used by anyone. It's better to treat others as cattle. And isn't it time for you to admit to feeling the same way?"
"But…," Sakura started to started again as she nibbles on her finger, "But, for me, that option…"
"Stop right there. I don't care what you have to say. Stop going to that house, Sakura. Got it?"
With that final saying Shinji ends the discussion and walks, seemingly ignoring my presence as he heads home most likely. Despite always being harsh on Sakura I have never once saw Shinji ever raise a hand against her… but that was a little harsher than usual for Shinji.
Well anyway I need to get back to…
Out of the blue, a feeling that something was moving behind the door overcame me. As a rule, students aren't allowed inside of the supply room. It might just be a rat or something.
For some unknown reason, I find my eyes drawn to the door of the supply room when… The door is suddenly and violently thrown opened.
"What do you think you're doing?" a voice calls out from behind the door.
Without warning, a man appears from out of the shadows. Dressed in black with a dour expression, the person in question is very intimidating… But that sense of intimidation is immediately replaced with extreme discomfort and unease.
A sudden, overwhelming sense of danger gives me goose bumps all over my body. His cold, blank, stare sends chills down my spine, as though he's marking me for death… For some reason, it feels as if he is deciding whether to break my neck or skin me alive.
"… Odd. Your name doesn't appear to be on the list, but I had better make sure…" the man hissed at me.
He begins to mutter under his breath while at the same time he reaches out with his right hand. The chills running down my spine gains intensity as waves of nausea and vertigo wash over me. I feel like a rabbit watching the wolf draw near.
Maybe this isn't just raw terror. I think he's holding something that's making me feel this way?
"You're not even trying to fight. My instincts aren't as sharp as they should be. I need to rest."
The note of disgust in his voice is obvious as he slowly lowers his hand. The paralysis that seemed to take hold of me suddenly fades away. The man continues to look down on me with those dead eyes of his.
"Students are forbidden from entering the supply room. You'd do well to remember that. The campus is about to close. If you have nothing else to do, I advise you to go home now… Is there anything else? …My name is Mr. Kuzuki. I will be teaching here starting today."
The man who introduces himself as Mr. Kuzuki turns and heads back into the supply room. With that, the final bell begins to chime, signaling the end of school day. Everything begins to progress as normal, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. But I'm still sore and slicked with sweat; an all too real reminder of what happened.
Wonderful. We now have a teacher with obvious murderous intent teaching at our school. Anyway putting that away I head over to the Archery Range just outside the building.
Upon entering the build I spot a lone figure in the distance… which happens to be Ms. Fujimura. Seeing as she's here I decided to ask her about the rumors surrounding this place, but I think I have a good idea what's going on now. Ms. Fujimura spots me as I make my way towards her.
"You caught me in the middle of cleaning. Those Archery Club kids don't even unstring their bows! The worst is when they leave their arrows stuck in the target mound. I usually make the kids do it, but there's no club activities leading up exams, so I'm doing it," Taiga explains to me with a dejected sigh.
Now's a good time to ask her about the rumors… and as expected she looks confused.
"Huh? An entrance to the spirit world? That's just a rumor, it's not real! Exams are right around the corner, so don't waste your time on stuff like that. Go home, shoo, shoo!" Ms. Fujimura starts shoving me out of the room.
As I thought… What appears in the Archery Range isn't an entrance to the spirit world, but Ti– Ms. Fujimura.
–Well, I can't say I'm surprised she's behind one of Tsukumihara's mysteries. It's fitting actually. I'll report this tomorrow, so I can go home now. Today's been a long day… but why do I feel like I'm forgetting something really important? Maybe it will come to me tomorrow…?
Humble days as precious as gold dust–
Where are the buyers?
Days Remaining: 2
As I walk into class, the girls that normally flock around Shinji Matou aren't there. Shinji seems to be in a bad mood today. His usual posse of girls is keeping their distance. I'll ask him if something happened.
"What? Like I'd tell you if anything happened to me! Which, it didn't. Nothing happened at all. Hey, you know that ice queen Rin Tousaka? She thinks she's so much better than everyone else. At first, I thought that she would be the only one who understood how lonely it is at the top. I tried talking to her yesterday, but I got nowhere. Maybe I just intimidate her or something," Shinji gritted his teeth in angry it seems.
"I might've lost a few points for getting violent, but girls who talk to me get slapped! I'd never hook up with such a violent, stuck up bitch like that, no matter how hot she is! What a waste. She'd be perfect if she'd just keep her mouth shut. You agree with me, right? RIGHT?"
Looks like there's some tension between Shinji and Rin Tousaka. Knowing Shinji, he probably hit on her and got shot down.
"And why'd she take a shot at me? I thought she was going to spinning–star kick me next!"
He continues to whine under his breath. I can only imagine how sleazy Shinji was being with her. Normally, his super–aggressive approach works, but obviously it didn't with Rin Tousaka. Life's more interesting when it's got little shake–ups like this.
As if right on cue, Ms. Fujimura barges into the classroom as the bell sounds.
"*Phew* I made it! Good morning, everyone! All right, no one's absent and since there are no announcements let's just start homeroom," comes the booming voice of our homeroom teacher.
As soon as she turns to reach for the chalk, she trips and falls as she always does. As she falls, her fingernails drag across the blackboard with a horrifying sound
And thus, another typically mundane day begins anew–
"…and though the Great War had finally come to an end, regional conflicts still persist. Despite the suffering of the previous generation, battles are still waged thirty years on."
Standing behind the lectern today is the school's newest teacher… Kuzuki. Although he's supposed to be teaching math, his lesson seems to have gone off on a tangent.
"–Now, instead of armies, attacks in ever greater numbers are being carried out by terrorists. And in an attempt to suppress these terrorists groups…"
–With that, that bell signaling the end of classes sounds. And with the end of the day here, the tension in the classroom drops immediately.
"All right , let us end here today… Oh yes, before I forget. There is an announcement from the student counselor– Recently, a rise in the number of slashing incidents has made the surrounding area dangerous. With that in mind, keep any detours to a minimum and head home as quickly as possible," says the man dressed in black.
Get home quickly…?
Good advice, but I still have to finish a few assignments for the journalism club. Why I'm so gung–ho about investigating the school's Seven Wonders is a mystery even to me, but it seems important for some reason. I have to turn in yesterday's report. I'd better go see the Editor in Chief this evening.
As I stepped outside of the classroom I noticed a group of three female students gossiping with each other.
"Hey, guess what? I just passed this gorgeous girl on the stairs. Could she be a new student?"
"What? I'm sure you're just talking about Rin Tousaka from class B."
"Rin Tousaka? Never heard of her."
"You've really never heard of her? Pretty, athletic, smart, classy… or stuck–up Ms. Perfect who all the guys adore and all the girls despise. It wouldn't be unrealistic to call Rin Tousaka the most popular girl in the whole school."
"… Are you pulling my leg?"
"Girl, you're so dense probably wouldn't feel it if I pulled your leg anyway."
"Whaa? I'm not dense… much… But she wasn't wearing our school uniform. She was wearing red… like that other kid. How do you explain that?"
"I dunno… I hadn't noticed, and isn't that other student a transfer student? Wouldn't that explain the different uniform? I think I heard that person got special privilege to wear that type of clothing."
"Huh? Maybe I'm remembering wrong."
"You would. C'mon, let's hurry to our club."
And with that, the three girls left. I didn't quite catch the entire conversation, but I think they also mention Shinji and my other friend. Indeed our friend wears different clothes because of the transfer student status… but I have no time to dwindle on that already known fact.
"Hey, guess what? I heard this from a friend of a friend, but…"
As I was walking to my meeting spot with the Chief I unintentionally picked up on another conversation from the two girls on my left.
"Huh? What is it?"
"Ms. Fujimura is living with one of the students here!"
"Ew! You mean like romantically? But that's taboo!"
I have a feeling I know who… but Ms. Fujimura just checks up on that student due to living alone without any family members. Plus I hear Sakura also goes there from time to time… seeing as Shinji talk about it the other day with disapproval.
Without noticing I already come face–to–face with the Chief who looks happy to see me hoping to learn more about the late information I'm about to address.
"Oh! Our club's ace. Did you find out anything yesterday? …Mmhm, mmhm…"
I told her what I've uncovered yesterday.
"Interesting. So it was Tiger! Of course there's no entrance to the spirit world! Thanks to you, the article will be great! Are you ready for the next article assignment?"
Another one…? What else did you find?
"The next unsolved mystery is… Yesterday, there was a girl dressed in red on the Rooftop. Rumors about Little Red Rooftop are spreading. Go find out what this is all about. A journalist lets the news guide their feet. To the Rooftop!"
With a dejected sigh, I nod in agreement and head upstairs to where the rooftop is. Bumping into Issei on the way, he mentions he saw the girl head up to the rooftop with a key in hand.
I turn the doorknob and the metal door opens silently on its hinges. As a rule, no one is allowed up on the roof, but I can see someone's elongated shadow. The vibrant colors set off by the setting of the sun is enough to take one's breathe away.
Under the now blood red sky, a single girl looks out onto the town that spreads out below. Like a figure out of a painting, the girl seems to shine with the same red glow as the setting sun. Her long black hair, tied into a twin tail style, flows in the air with each passing breath of the wind. She also wore bright red clothing and a skirt, with long boots or high heels that stretch up to her thighs.
"What a beautiful sunset– I can only imagine how captivating this sight must be for the people who live here. It is indeed a very beautiful scene. A shame that it doesn't really exist. On the surface it seems like such a benign, peaceful world. A pity that it'll soon come to an end," the girl in red spoke in a quiet gentle voice, but with a hint of distain I believe.
But what was it that she was saying? I think she said something really weird just now.
"This place is merely an idealized imitation of the real world. And one done in poor taste– I wonder if there's any value to a memory that can only be observed and then left behind."
I'm not quite sure if that last statement was supposed to express disgust or disappointment. I really don't get what she's talking about. As she finishes speaking, a faint smile forms on the girl's lips as she slowly turns in my direction. Her unwavering gaze makes it seem like she can see things hidden to others. Her eyes seem to shine with an intensity that rivals that of the fiery red of the evening sky.
"What's this, a notice from the system? Thanks for bringing it to me. Huh, that's not it? That means you must be one of the generic N– I mean, students…" the girl ponders a curious look, "If one of the irrelevant NPCs can get up here, I guess I'll have to find another place to hang out."
Continuing to mumble quietly to herself, the girl quickly walks my way.
"Oh well, at least this is a good opportunity for me to look one of you over. Stand still, you."
Unexpectedly, her finger reaches out and touches my cheek.
"… Wait, what's this? Is this a warning from the system? Direct interference does break the rules, after all…"
Mumbling to herself, the girl disappears without a trace. It's like no one was ever there at all.
There or not, her form has been indelibly burned into my mind.
"Oh, you're still here. It's almost time to leave school, so you should prepare to go home. What's wrong? You look a little pale."
The sound of Issei's voice pulls me back to reality. I must look completely dazed and confused. Maybe I'm tired, or–
… I'll talk with the Editor in Chief again tomorrow. In any case, I think the course of wisdom for now would be to go home like Issei says…
On my way heading downstairs I spot Shinji again near the Nurse's Office, but it looks like he's trying to go through the side-door which doesn't won't to open it seems.
"That's weird. Why won't it open?" Shinji mutters to himself as he turns around and sees me. He flashes one of his smiles again at me.
"What, you haven't left yet? Wait, don't tell me… No, never mind. Losers like you shouldn't be on campus right now. Who knows, you might get whacked by that killer. Hey, don't say I didn't warn you. Hahaha!"
Though I like to ask more about the Killer, but the thing I'm most curious about…
What are you up to? I bluntly asked Shinji who returned my question with a quick glare.
"Sh–Shut it, you! It won't mean anything to a nerd like you, but I? Wait… why am I explaining anything to you? Just get the hell out of here already!"
Typical Shinji response… I should've expected as much. Still I'm worried he'll do something stupid… he's lucky he was someone to look out for him and complain to… and another person to argue with and help point out his flaws. He's still the same… but he's getting better, or possibly worse. I do hope Shinji gets better at this rate or he won't have any real friends.
Actually I have no time to think about such things at the moment, I need to get home and get some rest. I'm starting to get a headache… everything has become so surreal lately.
On my way out to the Main Gate I spotted Ms. Fujimura… maybe I should ask her about the rumor about her living with one of the students? And as expected she freaks out about me asking such a question.
"Me? Living with a student? Aaagh, no! I'm that student's guardian! Just a guardian! The child of my one of my parents' friends had been living alone, so I've been helping out. Which means that I go over to their house, but not that I live with them! I don't! Not at all!"
Why is she defending it so… vehemently? It couldn't be really…?
"… Hey! What's with that face? You don't believe your own teacher? You're a good kid. You don't even know what those bad kids mean by living together, right? RIGHT? And now, your teacher needs to give those kids who are spreading rumors a little educational guidance…"
… I will not pursue any further than that.
With everything of note done, I head out of the Main Gate… weird, why am I getting so light–headed now…?
Auspicious star, such dazzling light.
It drowns even the chime of bells.
Days Remaining: 1
I enter the classroom. Once again, Shinji Matou, in the seat next to me, has a full house.
"I'm telling you, you don't have any talents. Give up before you look like a retard. So you know what he said to that?"
"What? What? What did he say?" one of the girls around Shinji asked in anticipation.
"We're dying to know! Tell us!" another one chimed in.
Shinji chuckles to himself in glee as he captivates his audience with his story.
"This wuss gets all boo-hoo, and he says– 'I'll keep practicing until I get better. I can at least get better than you, who skips practice'. Sorry, I have to laugh! Anybody knows that you can't –practice– your way into being a genius! If he wants to practice something, he should practice not sounding like a tool!" Shinji laughed at his own story.
"This guy's not a total maggot, but he's still trash that needs to find a garbage can. Ahaha, that moron. People aren't created equal. Even people who are born above average can never reach the same heights as the naturally gifted!"
I let out a sigh… there he goes again. And not only that, but I hear someone else sighing as well next to me… it's our another friend the one dressed in red and black who's also the transfer friend that Shinji and I befriended… I think we did… sometime in spring last year? Either way my neighbor muttered something under their breath, something along the lines 'C'mon Shinji… I know you're a good guy at heart, but you need to learn to respect other people's opinions'.
Our friend's concern for Shinji is just as unnatural, more so than mine, as Shinji is with girls flocking towards him. Does my friend see something in Shinji that others don't?
"You must be sooo talented if you don't need to practice, Matou! I feel bad for that kid," one of the girls spoken up recapturing my attention in Shinji's group.
"Trash can't help being trash. It should learn to stop dreaming about being something better," Shinji gloated.
The bells rings. In response, the gaggle of girls shuffle off to their own seats. While we wait for the teacher to arrive, I get caught up on what Shinji said for some reason.
Whether or not Shinji has innate talent, I think it's pretty clear that I'm a nobody. A nobody, with no goals. I mean, when I try to even think about the future, I get overwhelmed. As long as I keep plodding along, some day I'll reach my totally average future. Yay.
That's what happens to everyone, right? Are there actually people who break the pattern? How?
Though I bet my neighbor would argue with what I thought as my friend points out everyone has a worth and value… and I kinda envy that about my friend as that person constantly helps people out, but states they need to pitch in as well. A gentle, kind, but strict person my friend and neighbor is. There was something… different about this person. Off maybe…
I have no idea. For me, today is just another ordinary day–
"Good morning, everyone!"
Suddenly, my heart accelerates, each beat painfully strong. It's as if my body's on high alert. I know it's not a reaction to Ms. Fujimura. No–
"Well, kids, this is a little out of the blue, but today I want to introduce you to a new friend," Ms. Fujimura announced to the class… introducing a young blonde boy in a red uniform of our school who stood silently next to Ms. Fujimura.
It's him. That blonde boy is the one who's causing my body's fight or flight instincts to prickle.
"Go on, Leo. Introduce yourself."
The boy, who is presumably Leo, glance at Ms. Fujimura as if he was asked a strange question. "… For what purpose?"
Ms. Fujimura seemed taken aback, but continued on with a smile. "Huh? Well, Leo… You'll be attending school with these people, so I'm sure they'd like to know who you are."
"… Ah, I see. These good people do not know my name yet."
He steps forward, and then in a louder voice, says–
"Everyone, my name is Leonardo Bistario Harway. In time, it will be a name known to all the world, but for now it is the name of your classmate. I'm pleased to meet you all. I hope we enjoy our time together."
The classroom is silent. There aren't even any jabs at his eccentric manner of speaking, or any coos over how pretty he is. Instead, the entire classroom is enthralled by his regal bearing. Entranced, even.
Shinji's words come to mind.
… This is what it means to be on a different level. None of us plebes could ever hope to reach the level that this new kid lives on. It's not overextending to call his very existence transfixing. Like deer in headlights, we're immobilized by a presence far brighter than our own. His natural place is above us, looking down as our king.
How did someone like him end up here…? It must be a mistake.
"Ahhh… um… Anyway, everyone, please make Leo feel welcome. Then, Leo, if you would please take a seat… It looks like the third seat in the second row from the right is open. Will that be okay?" Ms. Fujimura asked coming out from her dazed by Leo's speech.
"… Leo…? Ah, you're addressing me. I see no reason to not allow you to call me Leo, as it didn't feel awkward to hear it from you. If you have the chance, I'd very much like for a delightful woman like you to visit my country," Leo addressed Ms. Fujimura in a fashion I find very bold… and weird.
Ms. Fujimura was totally caught off-guard by that statement and became very flustered. "Wh-Wha? J-J-J-Jeez, don't joke with you teacher! To your seat, Leo! I won't smack you since, well, it was kind of flattering of you to say that."
"Of course. I appreciate your diplomacy, Ms. Fujimura."
Then, the boy gave the kind of easy smile that only kids can. That simple smile washes away the tension in the room, and people even being to smile themselves. I think he's not so much a king as a prince. He may be above us, but he also has natural charisma that draws us up to his level. However… it seems that there is at least one person in class whose mileage varies.
"… I don't like him. Flirting with the teacher already? That arrogant little twerp," Shinji snorted in disgust.
Shinji's clearly not happy.
"If you have any questions, ask anyone in the class or myself. Er, I mean, come to me first. There's no need to be shy," said Ms. Fujimura.
"Yes, I understand. I'm pleased that I will be attending such a good school," Leo bowed politely and heads off to his desk… but not before briefly stopping in place and then continuing en route.
–Am I imagining things? Just for a second, I thought he shifted his attention towards ME. Not toward anyone else, not even Shinji, who's still bad-mouthing Leo, but to me alone.
… Yeah right. There's no way a practically otherworldly person like him would notice bland me.
The school day ended with nothing else of interest occurring. But, that Leo… I can't shake the uneasiness he awoke in my heart. It feels like cogs somewhere have become misaligned. No, I'm just excited because for once, something happened. Well, besides what happen yesterday.
–I should report yesterday's findings to the Editor in Chief.
Outside of the classroom, I hear a familiar voice as I walk down the hallway. It's coming from around the corner.
"… and there you have it. To summarize, about thirty percent of the participants have overcome the computer's brainwashing. These individuals now remember who they are. They've all class A magi."
Wait… do I know that voice…?
"One girl in particular made quick work of the brainwashing. You might say she's a natural, and therefore more adept than magi who have been more sheltered. Unlike those domesticated sheep, she's a wild mouflon. Stronger, rarer, wilder. She couldn't even bear to put on the school uniform the other sheep mindlessly wear. As novel as that girl's wildness is, wild things end up in cages. Still, keep your distance and your guard up."
The voice coming from in front of the Supply Room is none other than that of a teacher… Kuzuki. He was speaking politely, almost reverently.
"This Rin Tousaka. The Harways in Asia have voiced some concerns regarding her. She is the daughter of a noble family, which makes her unruly behavior even more becoming."
The voice that chimes in to join Kuzuki's is none other than the transfer student, Leo's. Unlike in class, his voice held a childlike temerity. It seemed like Kuzuki's words bothered him.
"…I simply just… She is a failure, like the other dropouts, and so… She's below your concern–"
"There's nothing in the world that doesn't concern me, teacher. More importantly, I wonder what a domesticated being like me can learn from her wild bravery."
"There is nothing, because you are already perfect. Anything you lack is something the world itself lacks."
"It was a joke. It's been a while since I've been scolded. I think I enjoy it, coming from you. In any case, I'll heed your warning about her. So, are there any other important happenings?"
"It's worth noting the assassin sent by those alchemists. I have yet to confirm anything, but no doubt they're lurking about."
"Ah. I don't believe I've ever seen how an alchemist fights. Their charms, or their symbols, rather, are quite unusual. We have the opportunity now. Aren't you curious, teacher?"
"Wait until I have checked about this assassin first. Those are the only ones to watch out for. However, there are others with excellent abilities. A handful of others have passed the prelims besides Rin Tousaka."
"Huh. I don't see the rush. I think there's so much to be learned from observing this school. I'd like to take my time and enjoy, for instance, the beauty of things like the garden. They seem to employ quite the skilled gardener. You should see the garden, too, Mr. Kuzuki. No– Brother."
"I will respectfully decline… That ends my report."
"I see. Too bad."
"Then, if you need anything else…"
"It'll be best if we have as little contact with each other as we can. It is unusual for a teacher and a student to meet like this."
"I understand. Be careful."
"Yes. You, too, Brother."
Following those words, they both disappeared, perfectly in sync with each other. I didn't understand what they were saying, but I get the feeling that I shouldn't have been listening.
Heading back to my original destination I meet up with the Chief.
"Oh! Our club's ace. Did you find out anything yesterday? …Mmhm, mmhm."
I told her what happened the other day.
"What? Little Red Rooftop vanished before your eyes? If she disappeared, there's isn't anything we can do about that."
Eh? What? Did I hear right?
… Nothing we can do? What's with the Editor in Chief's reaction? It's not right. I thought she'd say something like 'Hey, don't scare me like that!'
Actually, the problematic part is how nonchalant she is that a person disappeared.
"Your next story will be… Mystery of the Courtyard Chapel!"
The Editor in Chief keeps talking like nothing happened. She's already on to the next thing. Should I… say something?
"Hey, did you know there's a chapel on campus, even though this isn't a mission school? It seems the chapel has been here longer than the school. This is just rumor, but they say that it's haunted and magic rites are performed there. I'm sending you to investigate. The entrance to the courtyard is one the end of the right side of the first floor hallway."
And then the Chief sends me off before I could say anything… I feel like something's out of place. As I start heading over to the courtyard… for some reason I felt compiled to go to the third floor. Like something was calling me.
I saw a lone student at the top of the stairs and tapped him on the shoulder. He swirled around so fast I thought he was going to deck me, until he calmed down when he saw me.
"? You scared the bejeezus outta me! What do you want? Actually, I'm glad you're here. The Editor in Chief asked me to investigate the Seven Wonders, but check this out…"
One of Tsukumihara Academy's Seven Wonders is a female ghost who wanders the hallway! The ghost of a foreign girl wanders the third floor. If you respond to her, she'll suck out your soul!
"Now that you know the details, go investigate it for me. Huh? You think I should just walk around the third floor and do it on my own? No way… I really can't handle paranormal stuff. If anyone can take on the case of the wandering ghost on the third floor, it's you. Good luck!"
And with that… he booked it down to the second floor. Lovely, another investigation I have to do and seeing as I'm already here I might as well check out this ghost girl.
Once school is over, all traces of humanity disappear. The silence left behind is terrifying. Alone in the midst of this unnerving scene, I suddenly sense a strange presence nearby. It feels like there is someone standing right behind me, staring at the back of my head. It has to be my imagination. I hear no footsteps, no sounds of breathing. I am alone here.
And yet, the feeling that I am not alone persists. It must be a hallucination of some kind. What should I do? If it's my imagination playing tricks on me, then nothing should be there if I turn around and look.
I turn around and… of course, no one is there–
Is what I want to say… However standing there is what appears to be a young girl. The young girl's appearance is definitely at odds with the surrounding campus. With its mass of frills and hooped skirt, her dress is right out of the Victorian era. Combined with her porcelain-like skin, she looks like a child's doll come to life.
… It's kind of a relief. But the point is, she doesn't seem like she's really alive. The girl doesn't move a muscle.
Just like a doll. /Just like a corpse.
Just like a painting. /Like a wraith.
Her eyes, so full of sadness, stare fixedly in my direction. Suddenly, her figure begins to melt away. As she slowly fades into nothingness, the last things to disappear are her eyes.
With that, the strange presence I felt fades away. There's nothing to indicate a girl was ever here.
… She must be the source of all of the wandering girl stories floating around school.
Absent-minded from the whole event I wander down the halls a further bit until spoke to me, seemingly wanted to share his story with anyone.
"So I was looking at the Garden and caught the eye of a stranger– and then they vanished! Maybe it's just coincidence, but I've had a splitting headache ever since. What's up with that?"
Et tu? I know I've been getting slight headaches lately, but not as profoundly as now. Anyway seeing as there's nothing left in school to investigate I head out to the garden… and I came across something unsettling.
I see the bodies on students lying on the ground and as soon as I rush over to see if they're OK their bodies start to vanish as soon as I touch them. The only other figure out here is a familiar man in black I've come to know these past few days.
The man stands like a black stain, tainting the joyfully multicolored flowerbeds around him. It's the new teacher, Kuzuki. But… the man standing in front of me isn't acting like a teacher by any stretch of the imagination.
The sick malignancy of overbearing aggression fills the air. And then scattered around him are… dead bodies of students.
"Why did you come in here? I'm certain I locked that door." The man spoke in disgust, almost ignoring me.
"– I suppose I'll test you out."
His thin lips hardly moved. But in the next instant–
I'm bowled over, as if struck by an invisible force. Chaotic thoughts bury my brain like endless grains of sand. What happened? Can I move my limbs? Seriously, what was that? Kuzuki hasn't moved. No one else is nearby.
My thoughts whirl.
My heart races.
"I see what you are now. It isn't you, I suppose."
His voice was a quiet hiss, but I could hear everything he said. This man with cold, inscrutable eyes raises his palm toward me…
–When I come to, I'm collapsed in the garden. The garden is silent. There's not even a trace of Kuzuki or of the corpses that had been there. I'm uninjured, though my body aches from laying on the hard ground.
The cold sweat that had covered me is gone, too… Only the piercing pain in my head remains. Maybe it was just a bad dream. I gulp air and attempt to stand.
–The ground seems to move under my feet.
… I'm delusional. Of course the ground isn't moving… I'll give my report to the Editor in Chief tomorrow and just go home for today…
I'm my way out I spotted Shinji once again near the 1-B classroom. What's he up to now?
"That's strange, even for here…" he muttered under his breath until he spotted me at the corner of his eye, "Oh… it's you again. I don't have time to play like you obviously do. Go play 'reporter' or whatever it is friendless little geeks like you do instead of having a life."
… There was no point in bugging him today as I headed outside. I really need to go home…
… Eh? Who is that? A… priest?
"Hello, young pupil. I shall follow your progress with great interest. Best of luck," the strange priest dressed in a somber cassock said.
OK, seriously who is this guy? Is he the one in charge of the chapel in the garden? Ugh… I have no more energy to process that thought.
My headache has started to come back again, and even worse than before… it feels like something is gnawing at me, telling me to remember something of importance! But what…?
Where is the belfry?
In that moment, gentle days end.
Days Remaining: 0
When I enter the classroom this time, things are a bit different.
"Wooowww! Okay, then how do you solve this problem, Leo?"
"In this case, you substitute this for this, and divide everything by x. It's the same simple equation that you used earlier," the blonde boy pointed out for the female student hovering around him.
"Whoa, you're right! Thank you, Leo!"
Unlike someone else, he helps out his classmates without displaying an ounce of condescension. And that someone is directing a nasty scowl toward the new kid.
"That bunch of brown-nosing idiots will suck up to anyone who's got bigger pea-brains than theirs… Hmph. Whatever. It's no skin off my back. People who are ugly inside are ugly outside, too."
It seems that Shinji's gaggle of female admirers has migrated to Leo's desk. For once, Shinji's irritation is kind of understandable.
"I'll give him this– the brat is a real charity worker, laying on the charm for those sows. He's desperate to appear smarter than me, but I'm the real smart one here. I see what he's doing. That dumb little kid doesn't know that I'm onto him–"
Reacting to Shinji's voice, Leo glances this way. Leo's expression is inscrutable, but not hostile.
"Ah, er… What do you want? You wanna go?"
After a few false starts, Shinji finally manages to squeeze that out in a low voice, which is not the most graceful of all comebacks in my humble opinion. I don't know if Leo heard, but he gets out of his seat.
The recoil turns into a noticeable flinch, which Leo smiles kindly at in response. Unlike Shinji's, Leo's gestures are filled with dignity.
"If I have unknowingly given you cause to be malicious, I would like to deeply apologize. Shinji Matou, was it? I'll be careful not to upset you in the future."
His message firmly delivered, Leo returns to his seat. His soft voice bore no note of hostility or resentment.
… I know it's hard to believe, but maybe Leo wasn't upset.
"H-Hmph. He knows when to bow down to true authority, it seems. I'm such a nice guy, I'll just accept his apology. Y-Yeah, it's not like he ever pissed me off."
After visually confirming that Leo is otherwise occupied, Shinji feigns calmness and leans back.
"*Phew* I made it! Good morning, every–"
That sound makes me cringe, no matter how many times I hear it. Everyone is desensitized to it for the most part. Even knowing that she'll jump to her feet in a few seconds, we should probably worry more.
Shinji still seems to be in a bad mood. It's obvious that he doesn't like Leo all that much. But with him it's impossible to tell if he's really made or just being cynical. Either way, it's just more of the same. Just like our homeroom teacher's daily dramatic entrance. And once again, the day begins.
"… All righty, then… let's pick up where we left off. According to Dr. Pieceman's biography–"
During class, I thought I saw Leo smirk a little, but other than that nothing exciting occurred. Today is just another boring day in a long string of boring days–
"Who here knows that amnesia is?" Ms. Fujimura asked the entire classroom, "It's a terrifying condition where an individual loses all of their memories! It's caused by brain damage, severe trauma, or even infections of one's mucus membranes. The section of the doctor's biography we just covered touches on this condition… The cure for such a scary condition was discovered by Dr. Pieceman. With that said, using amnesia as an excuse for forgetting your homework isn't going to fly!"
I hear some of the students around moan on that last part.
"When I was young, a fair number of my classmates were unscrupulous enough to try this– And before you get any ideas, I'm still young! In fact, I'm putting that fact on the test!"
And as per the norm, Tiger's lecture starts to peter out… Just as a collective 'This again?' starts to rise from the students–
Without being acknowledged by the teacher, Leo suddenly rises to his feet. The tension in the classroom ratchets up immediately as all eyes focus on Leo. The young boy surveys the room with a mysterious smile, taking in everyone's startled glances.
"…Oh, and of course, my fellow classmates. It is time for me to leave. We will probably never meet again, so I wish you all well," the blonde boy stated.
My head… the pain…
"…Ah, and before I forget… Ms. Fujimura, I think you are still young, even now. Just your presence is enough to remind me of the beauty of youth. You're a remarkable person."
After what seemed to be a very slight bow, he immediately seems to disappear from the room.
"U-Uuhhhmm… A-All right, then… Let's continue. Please turn to page 86…," regaining her composure Ms. Fujimura continued.
And accompanied by the sound of flipping pages, the lesson goes on as if nothing had happened.
"*Sigh* Showing off like that in the middle of class… What a jackass. If you have to use the john, be a little more discreet. And that 'I have to leave' crap–! Seriously, isn't he supposed to be some kind of aristocrat or princeling or something?" Shinji barked in a low tone at Leo's leave of absence.
Of course, what just happened is impossible. A highly suspicious disappearance in the middle of class and the teacher doesn't seem to care. No one in class says anything and the class continues as if nothing strange has happened. It was the same dull, dreary scene as yesterday, and the day before… This can't be natural…
After Leo's exit from class, the lesson continues unabated, as if following a set script.
This is definitely strange.
…It's as if the world tilted slightly and everything within it is losing its sense of presence. My head… feels like it's going to explode. The pain is making it hard to remember who I am…
Wait. Come to think of it–
I mean… really…
What is my name? How old am I? Where do I live? How many people are in my family? What was my life like before I started attending this school?
I can't… remember anything. My memory has been completely erased somehow. How, and why, did this happen–?
–That's right. The Editor in Chief of the Journalism Club. As the president of the Journalism Club, she should at least know my name. I know I had to have filled out something when I first joined the club. I'll ask her.
Hopefully she'll be in her normal spot.
"Oh! Our club's ace. Did you find out anything yesterday?"
The Editor in Chief is her usual cheery self. All I can think about is the pile of dead bodies I witnessed. No, I have to ask about myself. I'll ask her what my name is.
"Huh? Your name? Just… look it up in the registry in the Library."
Yeah, the school registry. It has everyone's names. If I look at the school registry, it might jog my memories. I'll go to the Library… I have to know… who am I…
Entering into the Library I immediately head over to the bookshelf with the school registry is located.
I found it.
–Tsukumihara Academy Student Registry–
Once I read through this, I should be able to remember everything about myself… I open the book and begin turning pages. Immediately, I notice… something's terrible wrong.
–The pages are blank. Blank. Blank. Blank. Every single page was blank. I reach for last year's school registry, and when I start flipping through the pages…
Blank. Blank. Blank.
What is happening here? Who am I? And just what… is this place? I franticly ran outside of the Library… I had to get out of there… just what the hell is going now here? Is… is this even real? Am I dreaming? Is everything… just a lie? A fake?
Not aware of where I was going I suddenly find myself on the third floor, down the hall. A pleasant breeze blows in through the open window that overlooks the garden. As I look into the garden, I see a female student standing in the center alone.
She has a striking appearance, with long purple hair, almond skin, and a preternatural calm. It seems like she is meditating, her hands folded in a specific way and her eyes closed. I find that I can't stop looking at her. No one else seems to notice that she stands out dramatically. I start to feel uneasy about her. The girl's eyes snap open.
Suddenly, a massive jolt rocks the school, causing me to stumble uncontrollably. The building shakes with a thunderous roar. The source seems to be the girl in the garden.
What in the hell just happened?
In the resulting confusion, my vision begins to distort. Dizziness. Headaches. A sense of weightlessness. I close my eyes to keep from being overwhelmed.
When I open my eyes again, everything is exactly as it should be, like nothing happened. However, the air is permeated with a seductively sweet scent. Also, the girl that was in the garden had already disappeared.
Was everything that happened just an illusion, or maybe–
As I turn to leave, I see the girl from the garden walking towards me.
"That blast was meant to destroy everything in its range, but… the school seems stout enough."
As she walks, she looks out the window and talks to herself. As she goes by, she gives me a smile.
The… hell? I don't understand what's going on anymore! And this headache isn't helping one bit…!
I start running to the other side of the hallway and don't stop.
As I try to catch my breath from running away from the purple-haired girl, I suddenly felt the presence of someone staring at me from behind. What, this spot is where I first met that girl in white, and I turned my head to see who's behind my back.
Ah, there she is again. I thought I had scared her away for good, but she's come back. I'd better not make any sudden moves or she'll just run away. Also, I'll let her speak first.
However, she just continues to stare at me with an intensity that borders on terrifying. Maybe I should say something to her, but softly so as not to startle her? Maybe if I keep my back to her, it'll help a little. I'll just call to her over my shoulder. I obviously can't see the look on the young girl's face. And all I sense is… hesitation.
Her voice matches her appearance… small and faint. In a hesitant, halting voice, she begins to speak.
"Onii-chan, y-you're not… afraid of me? Could it be… that you came to see… me?" the young girl squeaked in a small voice, "I-If that's so– I'm Alice. I'm always here, so…"
She suddenly stops talking. Thinking she disappeared again, I turn around– Only to see Alice still standing there. As I turn, she flinches a little and begins to fade away… then stops. And starts staring at me–
As our customary staring contest begins anew, I swear that I can see a faint smile on her face.
"Hey onii-chan, let's have tea together sometime."
She says before disappearing once more.
This… this is just plain crazy. I mean, what the hell is going on around here and my headache keeps on becoming worse each passing second. The static won't go away too!
Maybe if I go to the Nurse's Office? Maybe my head will be clear if I talk to the nurse and got some rest. As I stumbled my way to the Nurse's Office, my body taxed out by the shock earlier caused by that purple-haired dark-skinned girl and 'phantom' girl.
I know that voice… Shinji Matou.
"Oh… it's you, Brother."
"I heard that you skipped archery practice again! What in the hell is wrong with you?"
Shinji is in an even worse mood that I've never see before!
"I'm sorry, Brother. But I…"
"You've embarrassed me again! How many times must I repeat myself, Sakura? Are you stupid? I mean, if you keep listening to others instead of me? Wait… Wait wait wait wait…"
Shinji stops himself as his eyes widen in shock to a realization. Scratching his head and muttering to himself… the words that come out of his words both shocks and disturbs me.
"Did I call you my little sister? I… don't have a sister. I mean, I've always wanted one, but..."
"Man, recently, things have been kind of flaky… G-Gah! D-Damn it… Wh-What's this weird feeling?"
"Ah, Brother. You appear to be experiencing fatigue. Inserting apology text. Error detected. Please maintain, a calm demeanor. Brother, please relax. Inserting reassurance text. Error detected. What's up, Shinji? Whatever is the matter, Brother. Select desired sister personality. Things will get worse if you don't decide. But any choice you make will be the wrong one, B-B-B- So, why not totally lose it, Brother? Calm down, down, down, B-B-Broth-th-th…"
Sakura kept on speaking like… some malfunctioning robot. The hell? Seriously. What. The. Hell? Apparently even Shinji shares my thoughts.
"What in the? Wh-What's going? Damn, everything is going haywire!"
Shinji runs past me, not noticing me or completely ignoring my presence. The only thing on his mind was to run, run, run, run… to get away from his so-called 'sister'. The horror, sweat, and terrifying look on his face justify his reason for running away as his 'sister' calls out to him.
"Brother, wait! Cease forward progress, male relation construct Broth-er-er-er…"
Sakura Matou's speech begins to skip and repeat, like a malfunctioning robot… it was freaking me out. It's like she was reading from a script rather than engaging in a normal conversation.
It wasn't only the incredible fleeing Shinji or the robotic Sakura that was going insane. Vertigo overcomes me as the school starts to waver. Something strange is happening to the world! This isn't the school I know… this is Hell. I don't even… know what's going on anymore.
I ran! I had to get out of here! Someone! Anyone! Please… tell me what in god's name is going on here? There is something wrong with this place. But more worrying is the fact I can't remember who I am. As I wander the campus, I see Leo walking down a hallway on the first floor.
As a transfer student, I can't see why Leo would want to visit any of the freshmen. Also, there's nothing but a dead-end up ahead. I wonder what Leo is really up to… for some reason if I follow him… will I get answers to this madhouse and, maybe, more importantly… about who I really am?
Seeing the path set before me I chased after Leo. I suddenly have this weird feeling that someone or something is up ahead in the hallway.
Who, for some reason, is examining the wall at the end of the hallway with almost excessive interest.
"The attention to detail is quite impressive. Even the surrounding air is surprisingly substantial. If that is the case, this world is in some ways more real than the real world it represents. But that's just my opinion… How about you guys? What are your thoughts on this?"
In that moment, it feels like my heart skips a beat. Almost immediately, my blood pressure skyrockets along with my body temperature.
*Ba-dump* *Ba-dump* *Ba-dump*
My pulse is like an explosion in my ears as my blood races through my veins, and the reason is clear. Now he… I mean, Leo has turned to face me. I now know for sure he's talking to me as there is nobody else present besides the two of us… which makes his early comment strange.
"Greetings. I believe this is the first time we've had an actual conversation."
I don't feel any sense of hostility from Leo. In fact, his smile seems genuinely friendly. His smile has the same effect on me as the rising of the morning sun, warm and comforting. In addition to his smile, his presence is inviting and inclusive and I find myself drawn to him.
Oddly, my worries have vanished. All I can think of is doing as he says, as that's the only way to… My mind feels like it's' in a haze. It's like Leo is controlling my thoughts in some way.
"Attending school wasn't half-bad. I've never had the opportunity to go to one before now. In that respect, this has been quite an interesting experience… However, the time for fun has come to an end. I did not come here to play at being a student. No matter how enjoyable the detour, eventually one must return to their appointed path. And for me, the time to do so has arrived…"
With those final words, Leo turns his back on me.
"Farewell… No, that's not quite right. I don't think farewell would be accurate in this situation. For some reasons I cannot explain, I have the distinct feeling that we will see each other again. So I guess I should use the more congenial, 'See you later.' Well, it's time for me to move on. I wish you the best of luck."
With those final words, Leo disappears… but not before casting one final glance. Oddly it didn't seem like Leo was looking at me when he did… like he was looking past me.
It's like he ceases to exist. One moment, his hand is on the wall, the next he is gone. The young man in front of me seems to disappear before my very eyes. I want to say reality rejected his existence in it, but it feels like it was the opposite, that he refused to be constrained by it. It wasn't any special ability that allowed him to do so; just his strength of will.
With his departure, I feel as if a great weight is lifted from my very being. And rather than be a cause for concern, it brings a fundamental question in mind: Who am I?
As the question pops into my head, it begins to take on a life of its own, searing my brain…
I investigate the wall that Leo disappeared through. It's just a concrete wall at the end of the hallway. About the only thing on the floor is dust. But I am positive there must be something here, because Leo walked through the wall.
It would be so easy to turn around, go back down the hallway, and pretend nothing happened. But there are still things I need to know.
I have no memories.
That means I've never had anywhere else to go but here. No place to return to. What was it that Leo said?
'No matter how enjoyable the detour, eventually one must return to their appointed path.'
That's what he said, didn't he? Then beyond this wall lies the 'appointed path,' and the truth. If I follow him, I'll learn the answers to my questions, even if those answers are painful. But, ignorance is bliss. Do I have the fortitude to face the truth and accept it?
Yes… I want to know.
Something's different. Down to the floors and the walls, the school has changed the very substance of its being. For some reason, reality cracking this way is intensely disturbing. This world around me is more real than a painting, but not even as real as a sand castle.
I feel like it's so brittle I could tap it and the echo would shake this whole world. Where the boring concrete wall once stood, now there's a doorway that I can freely walk through. It's an entrance. No, an emergency exit, like stairs to the outside. It's not something of this world.
I have no doubt that the world the door leads to is utterly alien. Whatever awaits inside, whatever shape it takes, there's no certain sort of finality to seeing it. Ultimately, I've already committed to this path. I bid farewell to the false world, and take my first step along the appointed path.
Beyond the door seems to be a dismal looking scrap yard. Out in front of me is the smooth skinned effigy. While trying to figure out exactly what to do with it–
"Welcome, potential Master."
A voice comes out of nowhere.
"That effigy with you is your sword and shield for what lies ahead. It will move in response to your commands. Now then, please proceed. The truth that you seek lies ahead."
The motivations of the owner of that voice worry me, but it's obvious I won't learn anything by standing here. Also, there is no longer a path by which I can return.
–I have no choice but to head into the darkness with only this strange doll as protection.
–I made it.
Within the deepest depths of the world beyond the door–
This place must be the goal I'm suppose to reach. At least, that's what I thought. It's stifling aura of purity that seems to act as a ward against corrupted souls who'd try to enter.
…The feeling is familiar. It has the feeling of a chapel where the spirits of the deceased still linger.
At first I didn't notice, being overwhelmed by the grandeur of the room, but to one side is a young man in a familiar uniform, lying still on the ground. I call out to him, but there is no reply. I shake him in an attempt to wake up when I notice–
He is stone cold.
I go as pale as the corpse before me and I can no longer think coherently. All I can do is stare in bewilderment. It is at this moment–
The fallen effigy lying next to the male student comes to its feet with clatter. Before I get a chance to make sense of what's going on, it suddenly twists around and comes right at me.
The fallen effigy attacks my effigy relentlessly and before I had a chance to retaliate. And in only a few short blows the opposing effigy pierce my effigy's chest with its long arm as my effigy falls on its knees and the opposing effigy corners me. With nothing protecting my fragile body, the effigy makes one final clean thrust… right into my chest.
The sound of metal tearing through flesh echoes throughout the room.
The burning sensation of intense pain was agonizing as the effigy pulled its arm out of my body, with blood spewing out, as my body falls to the ground like it was meant to be. My vision falling, my limbs losing all strength to obey my will, and my breathing become more frantic in slow coughs.
"…Hmph, you seem to be lacking as well."
I didn't stand a chance against that thing… It seems I wasn't qualified to be here.
Me? Qualifications? That's right–
I should know everything by now. The truth has to be here…
Everything's going dark…
… I'm not even really scared. The only feeling that remains in me is regret. Even at the very end, I was unable to remember anything about myself.
… Someone… anyone… If you make it beyond here, please don't forget… my name…
As my final thoughts fade away into the darkness, I hear the sounds of footsteps coming from behind me… someone from my classroom… a familiar boy dressed in a garb of red and black…
His story has ended–
But, what about yours?
Before you write your own story,
Choose the vessel of your power.
The figure that responds to your soul is… a magical fox girl, a half-demon shaman clad in revealing robes.
Author's Note: Hey guys! This is my first ever Fate/Extra fanfic I'm writing, and I actually wanted to write one for a long time now, but there was no translated version of the game into English text until the official localized version published by Aksys.
Originally I was going to write a Fate/Extra where the Main Character accidently summons all three of the playable Servants because of a System Error, and the three of them butt heads (mostly Saber and Caster regarding their Master, Archer simply watches in amusement), with some alternations to the story regarding who the MC fights.
Anyway this fanfic is solely based on the Main Character and Caster, to get a feel for the story then I'll do the three Servants one.
I hope you guys enjoy! I played the Prologue chapter in the game again and to write down the dialogue plus I added in some more original lines and such and added in the extra events with Alice and Rani in the Prologue chapter if you explore the school thoroughly enough.
UPDATE: Hey there guys! As of March 31, 2012 I've updated this chapter with a missing scene I missed during my first time checking all the hidden events in the Prologue chapter of the game and added in a few little lines here and there and a few cleanups. If there's still some mistakes, please let me know!